The Pontifical Sexagesimal Nativity Address 2013.
From His Pestilence Stokastikos the First; upon the eve of his 60th birthday.
Fellow earthlings, firstly let me say to the majority of you who haven’t got there yet that 60 seems far more agreeable than I had anticipated. Perhaps as a result of self-employment, walking everywhere (acute Apophenia suggests I don’t drive), occasional punishing exercise, and a couple of books a week, I still have my own hair and teeth, a 32 inch waist, and still enough IQ to understand the limitations of IQ. I will perhaps live till 84, for a Uranus return. So the brief time remaining leaves me a hell of a lot to do, what with the global situation looking pretty shite, the Big Bang delusion still infecting cosmology, particle physics still in a state of confusion, a coherent theory of magic still in its infancy, my country still ensnared in the corrupt and undemocratic EU synarchy, EPOCH, the Esotericon and Portals of Chaos to complete, starships not yet invented, Svalbard and New Zealand amongst many places as yet unvisited, and grandchildren perhaps on the horizon in maybe 3 years time and maybe 10 years time.
You may have noticed that the world failed to end on the recent winter solstice. As a precaution I sent someone down into the vaults of Arcanorium College to dust off the old Achroniser and give the faintly glowing ruby reset button a good whack, this sent the entire universe exactly 63,081,429 years backwards in time, yes, the entire universe, lock stock and barrel, normal service of course resumes instantly, we usually only do this when the Jehovah’s Witnesses start playing silly buggers, but seriously..........
The survival of human civilisation, as we know it, for the next 24 years seems far from certain though. During my lifetime the world’s human population has almost trebled, a critical dependency on fossil fuels has developed, westernised economies have become addicted to growth, developing nations with huge populations now embark on the same course, and the climate has begun to go awry with the strong possibility that it will go much more seriously awry sooner rather than later.
The older westernised economies now seem likely to have few growth prospects for the next decade at least, and little appetite to invest wealth in remedying the medium term ills of the global situation. Everywhere the pressure to maintain if not increase fossil fuel and resource consumption remains paramount.
All in all, the situation looks very fragile. A modern city may look very solid and grand but its continued existence depends on inputs of resources from singular or highly interdependent sources. Any interruption to its supplies of power, or fuel, or food, or information, would now reduce it to smoking rubble in a week.
Unless economic consequences force policy changes first, mega-deaths may have to occur before the socio-political will to address the problems of overpopulation, overconsumption, and climate change arises. A few billion untimely deaths would not in themselves matter much to the survival of our species, but a substantial loss of knowledge and technology could set the human adventure back several centuries or millennia into a new dark age. This planet lies littered with failed human civilisations and abandoned cities, but in the past failure tended to remain local, recovery from global failure would prove far more challenging. Save some real books, don’t commit everything to electronic media. Consider joining The Knights of Chaos, First Earth Battalion, we conjure actively against global catastrophe.
On a brighter note, two new courses begin on Arcanorium College in the 3rd semester of out glorious seventh year. www.arcanoriumcollege.com
Semester 3. 16t January – 27th February 2013
Dave: The Dragon-Eagle Working: Northern Magic models of energy and ecstasy.
Kite: Oracular Magic: Divination, Enchantment, Evocation
My own course, ‘Physics for Mystics and Magicians’ draws to a close after an intensive look at the questions implied by such established and speculative phenomena as holographic universe ideas, quantum-neuroscience, panpsychism, and the Drake equation.
Amongst the many books I received during the festive season I can recommend:
The Starry Rubric – Seventeenth Century English Astrology and Magic. By Alexander Cummins (Head of the Department of historical Magic at Arcanorium College) and Doctoral researcher at Bristol University.
This book really gives the reader an insight into how people actually used astrological and magical ideas practically in the 17th century, and how much such ideas and practices affected people’s personal lives and even the destiny of the nation during the turbulent period including the English civil war. Deeply researched and brilliantly narrated.
Hadean Press. ISBN 978 907881 21 3.
By some strange coincidence I also received a 1783 copy of a Cornelius Agrippa and Peter de Abano book of 1555, in English, resuming the Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy, Geomancy, and The Arbatel of Magic, still in readable condition; this has proved a fascinating accompaniment to Al Cummings book above.
Also I must recommend ‘Antifragile’ by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, published by Random House (USA), Penguin-Allen Lane (UK) ISBN 978 1 846 14156 0
The Sunday Times called him ‘The hottest thinker in the world’; they may well have a point.
In English, ‘Intellectual’ has strong connotations of ‘effete arts based leftie with head in clouds or up own arse, probably French, and best ignored by sensible pragmatic thinkers’. Taleb does not fall into this category. Rather he comes across as a muscular renaissance style polymath who has seen a lot and done a lot, and put his money where his mouth is, making a personal fortune in the process. Readers may remember his Black Swans and Fooled by Randomness books. He writes of living in a world of fundamental unpredictability, but a world in which we can at least respond, not by attempting to predict events, but by creating structures at all levels that improve rather than break under stress. He provides an illuminating swathe of examples of fragility and anti-fragility in everything from biology and evolution to personal and societal health, through engineering to economics and politics, with enlightening asides from classical philosophers to modern ones, and from a couple of characters that may well represent poles of his own extensive personality. He extols the virtues of chaotic inputs to various systems and pours vituperative scorn upon the ’fragillistas’ who end up wrecking things by trying to create false stability. All in all he has produced some thoughts of great practical value; some of them might just get the world beyond a number of its current crises.
Despite my attempts to remain animageous in the public domain, (I do not wish for disturbance whilst reading on public transport, or neighbors with brands and pitchforks, so I decline to confirm or deny that any of the confusing array of images purporting to portray me actually do so.), yet someone found a copy of a video interview I gave in the nineties in LA. Well it’s about 20 years old now and I’ve since redesigned my facial topiary, so I’ve let it pass. Perchance that the video interview contains any errors due to the jet lag under which we conducted it, I gave the publisher of it a long e-mail interview for edition 5 of his Chaosphere magazine, see magazine and video at:
May I wish you a survivable Pandaemonaeon, as we move into the ‘interesting times’ of globalization and hyperscience, and towards perhaps some largely unpredictable mixture of enlightenments and catastrophes.