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Occult & Politics

An interesting talk at Treadwells last night by Gary Lachman. He's an affable speaker, reacting to the audience with humour and understanding. The talk was a bit of a ramble, partly because it's based on his unfinished book and partly because he likes to digress.

He certainly knows his stuff. It's a bit like when I talk to chilledchimp about any of her pet subjects, they both can quote chapter and verse, give references and generally make you aware of how many people have been thinking about the same thing. Being a mathematician, my approach has always been that the result counts more than who said it. I don't think I'd get very far in humanities, or at least, I'd have to train myself to remember these things.

The talk was about many things. One of the core ideas was about the difference between progressive and traditional political thought, sometimes called left and right, which either aim at a Utopia in the future or hark back to one from the past.

Magicians have been claimed for both sides. Magic is about imposing your will, politics too. The practice might be different but the desired result is often the same.

The Golden Age that bother pro- and re-gressives aim at is all about a narrowing down of the options, the possibilities, until everyone submits to the same will - preferably the magicians/politicians ("I only want to hear helpful things", TB). It's no wonder that utopia is always fleeting, or that I prefer the liberating of possibilities that is an-archy.

chilledchimp raised the interesting point about occult knowledge that as soon as you tell anyone it's not occult any more. The Christians had the dilemma as to whether to provide the bible to the people. They chose not to but printing forced their hand. The Internet is a similar breaker of traditions, giving knowledge to everyone. Of course, the problem now is that it's hard to tell the useful from the dross. And the structure is not protestant, that of direct communion with knowledge. Knowledge is obtained through intercession with the saints of savoir, the opinion makers, the media, the interested parties, the lobbyists.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
gbsteve
Oct. 25th, 2007 12:25 pm (UTC)
Of course, there is possibly a debate as to whether occult knowledge is actually knowledge at all.
davidt3001
Oct. 25th, 2007 02:44 pm (UTC)
Off the top of my head, there's the semantic one about what each of the words in the phrase, actually means (colloquial vs. original) and also whether the phrase itself means "knowlege of the occult" in the sense of a mastery of the literature or a personal insight of some sort.

Don't forget that the tao you can know is not the tao.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )