|Hmm What is Truth? What the hell is everyone|
Arguing about all the time.
There's a whole bunch of random thoughts that together will probably get me in trouble. First, I am always pretty somewhat amazed by all the wonderful comments on the internet that talk about "Chaos Magic" and "Look how these Chaos magicians seek out real training". Jack Faust is one "Chaos magician" like myself that has sought out formal initiations. We can leave the usefulness of those to the reader, however this is used to somehow hold up the system as "useless." First, the problem is that it was never a system despite what people do on the internet. It is a meta-system to start. Second, often in the same BREATH these critics are doing things that they are claiming are great innovations that are not traditional. I know, the almighty buck calls and no-one wants to be actually admit they made things up when they are trying to sell people services. Its much more impressive to "lean on" traditional thought and be an Atlantian Empowered Soceror of Darkness.... or whatever.
Besides this annoyance on the internet, I have been asking the hard question of traditional practices versus non-traditional practices. Not the simple questions. I know both work already, but require different things to work. I would be the first to admit, that the innovation and construction path seems alot harder. It is very easy to work with the Lwa who gets results most of the time. Do the song, with the service, and it works. I love them. It really is that easy if you know what spirits walk with you. The religion itself is very beautiful and has much to learn. I really love it. So why ask questions about the explanations of things. About what the hell is really going on, why does any of it work... Not just the what to do, Why, what is going on? Why does any of this magic stuff work? What is the nature of the universe that allows for this?
In Quantum Voodou, Reginald Crosley, I think started to ask the kinds of questions I wanted to ask about Vodou and the Lwa when they called to me. The praxis or stories of any tradition, over one layer of what, but not the seemingly deeper layers. Remember the traditions are based and taught to people with different brain structures, training, and even linguistic traditions. There is a vested interest in the priest caste (and it is usually people coming to the traditions outside of their natural culture) that so vehemently and aggressively defend "tradition". The answer to these kinds of questions that do not, in fact, come from a very scientific culture is often so simplistic and more or less because I said so.
There just seems to be something unsatisfying with the idea that "the spirits" are real, and thus, they work. Equally unsatisfying is the "it's all in your head" explanation. The advent of the internet should really have forced the more traditional "practitioners" into existential terror. Outside of all the "terror" and games to keep people in line, people do just fine outside of the traditional methods. In some cases, a mentor really does help a TON, but in enough cases it's an abuse problem. Once burned, people seem do to just fine. They grow and get better. But the single question of why and how does the universe work, falls apart in an integrative culture. It goes from "because I told you so" to how does it work across multiple Conflicting Truths?
This, my friends, is the Faustian like question that has always driven the Chaos magical current. How can this work, when we have so much access to information? The notion that Chaos magic is "idiots doing whatever", just does not pan out. Neither does Jason Miller's idea ( and I love him), that Chaos magic is unfulfilling since everyone seeks out "real training". That is not the point. Chaos magic was never meant to be filling, it was meant to, in a way, answer this integral question of post cultural stew. The grand narrative provides meaning, but the meaning is one we accept and choose. Still the Universe will merely reflect back to us and has mechanics to do so, of course, some of us are going to settle down and do one thing for a long while. It does work better to stay in one system a while to do that. But the Faustian question remains.... and its a question that GNAWS AT ME.
This problem is even worse, when you start looking at why magic works at all. In fact, how you believe magic works makes a stunningly awesome correlation to how it usually works. Believe in spirits, and all of sudden things happen that look like spirits are "helping." Think it's all in your mind, and everything becomes insight driven. Really, time and time again, the "universe" simple refuse to be classified, contained, or otherwise Truth-ed. It's pretty bad about that as well. Try it for a few weeks and then switch a belief and really get into it. You sit in a Existential confusion and basically come to the conclusion that the Universe just wants to fuck with you. When you get over that, then the question remains, what the hell is going on here? These mechanisms are really only able to be studied from a cross cultural point of view, because any singular culture will have a bias that limits explanation Every individual will also be biased and limited, but at least we acknowledge and know that. The single historical fact is that many of the "clinging to tradition" is probably a reaction to the speed that the stew would mix. Before the information age, there would be a lag time that the the human mind can deal with regarding the mixing. Sorry, welcome to the future. When the machines start conversing metaphysics with us, then we really will have a conundrum about the belief about our specialness as well.
"Why are we fighting to save the humans? They're a primitive and violent race."
In the same way those who hold up the Grimores as the final answer are equally in a questionable intellectual landscape giving the amount of information we have. Same system of magic, VERY different implementation. The dreaded Goetia. For example, Dr. Rudds Goetia is not at all the same as the Golden Dawn which is not the same as OTHER Medieval magicians books on the Goetia. What the hell is going on here? Its pretty clear that these books are almost the working books of magicians? AKA Lab notes they developed over time.
Keep in mind, I for one find traditional training to be quite rewarding. I simply don't equate that with Truth, nor needfully better. Nor do I buy the this is absolutely the way to do this. Let's take Acupuncture, my associate +Zachary Lui is really an expert on this. Acupuncture as is taught is in-fact, from Communist China. Look at the Taiwanese acupuncture, and their are so many differences and in fact the Acupuncture seems like it is based on completely different principles. How can different acupuncture work? He quoted numerous German studies to the effect that states the different Acupuncture system show strong believe effects. Again, the universe merely reflects our beliefs back at us. Its quite humorous, first because of the belief effects really question a lot of western medicine and at same time question Chinese medicine, and at the same time question all the assumptions of mechanisms of consciousness and the body. Again the universe does not seem to care one bit.
I can respect the desire for tradition. This is a desire for cultural stability and the diving into a singular system generates a compelling self-story that does effectively train the subconscious mind. The magic does work, and the I told you so is EFFECTIVE, but never does it answer that gnawing question when you have access to multiple streams of information. Nor does it mean the person is more right (even though they claim to be, see acupuncture and different Goetia examples). I can get all the hate mail in the world, still not going to convince me people are right. They just like the comfortable zone and I can appreciate it. The comfort zone still does not answer these kinds of questions outside of one system. I still believe, effectiveness is your only measure of correctness, regardless of what cultural assumptions we try to cling to.