The 2015 Chaoist New Year Pontifical Address, Stokastimass, January 8th.
From His Pestilence, Pope Pete 1st.
As we languish in the slough of the dog days following the seasonal celebrations and brace ourselves for a coming year of incessant toil, it behoves us to draw comfort from the better events of 2014 and to contemplate the Chaos ahead.
EPOCH, The Esotericon and Portals of Chaos eventually receives a rapturous reception from the esoteric cognoscenti despite a bit of a cock–up at the print works which led to its unavailability for its official launch at the Esoteric Conference at Glastonbury. The memory of standing up at the conference to talk about a book which didn’t actually exist at the time will long remain. Nevertheless soon after we took delivery of them they started to fly out all over the world despite the daunting carriage costs of sending the two kilogram book and card deck package to foreign lands. Matt Kaybryn’s artwork has set an astonishingly high new standard for magical artwork, the concept of extra-large cards for use as altarpiece icons has already proved its worth, and the paradigm challenging text looks set to keep a lot of philosopher-wizards busy for some long time. A party of intrepid volunteers currently seeks to explore the possibilities of the Epoch’s Necronomicon Mythos on Arcanorium College. Hopefully Azathoth of the Nuclear Chaos may have some intuitions to offer on the particle physics front.
Our Eldest finally got awarded her science doctorate, however in the mental aftermath of writing up her brick thick thesis which specially flown in experts from abroad passed without correction, she forgot to book the actual doctoral graduation ceremony, (a bit of a relief all-round actually) so we climbed a suitably symbolic mountain near her highland home and placed a suitably customised mortar board on her head for posterity and photographs.
The Scottish Referendum yielded a thankfully sensible result, one of the world’s most successful political unions remains secure, and the family feud over this matter has now subsided. My arguments and propaganda efforts did not go down well with our eldest who has gone native bigtime with all the fervour of a recent convert, after marrying into a clan up there. You have to admire Cameron’s balls in calling the bluff of the tartan romantics. I hope he does well in the coming May General Election; a Con-Ukip-Green coalition seems like an interesting and agreeable possibility, and an opportunity to distance Britain from the ghastly mess of the European Union. The other two parties seem laughable and without principle or credibility.
Readership of Hypersphere Cosmology on this site suddenly went astronomical and currently stands at nearly three hundred thousand and climbing. The breakthrough in this hypothesis came with the identification and quantification of the mechanism of galactic redshift which arises as a natural consequence of the positive spacetime curvature of this rotating hypersphere of a universe that we call home. So don’t panic, the universe did not arise from a cataclysmic big bang, it doesn’t bizarrely expand at lightspeed, it won’t end in an entropic fade out or a catastrophic collapse and it doesn’t mostly consist of phlogiston like dark matter and dark energy.
This year’s Knights of Chaos campaign scored some notable hits by psychic attack against specific ecocidal projects going on in various parts of the world, but so much remains to do. Nevertheless a consensus grows that in principle humanity must leave the planet’s carbon reserves where they lie, but the practise desperately needs to catch up.
2015. What Chaos lies ahead?
Particle Physics. Don’t expect any surprises from the Large Hadron Collider when CERN fires it up again. They have probably found all the fundamental particles now and just pouring in more power will only create fleeting composites like the supposed Higgs Boson. The Higgs mechanism remains unproven and unnecessary and in contradiction to General Relativity. Gravity will never reduce to a Gauge Theory. A unified theory will look more like quantum geometry with extra time dimensions, rather than a quantum gravity theory. The LHC may become another Euro-White-Elephant-Mega-Financial-Disaster-Investment if desktop Wakefield Generators come online this year and do much the same job. (I may get one myself.)
Cosmology. Expect to read a lot of sense in the forthcoming book: ‘The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time: A Proposal in Natural Philosophy’. Hardcover – 31 Jan 2015 by Roberto Mangabeira Unger and Lee Smolin
The publication has become a little delayed but from pre-publication reviews and e-book reviews it would seem that these two gentlemen, the first a Philosopher and the second a Physicist, call for a reversion to the principles of Natural Philosophy when it comes to cosmology and the big questions about existence because the current cosmological ‘physics’ has let the mathematics run away with itself into realms of crazy speculations about singularities, dark matter and dark energy, cosmic inflation, multiple universes, multiverses of multiple universes, or a block universe where absolute causality reigns supreme and time has no real meaning, with each of these otherwise unsupported conjectures acting as articles of faith for various cliques of believers in the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics even in the absence of any sort of observational confirmation.
It may well prove a seminal book.
Earth. The plague of humans on this planet shows few signs of self-control when it comes to population growth or resource consumption. We burnt 43 gigatonnes of fossil fuels last year and we seem set to exceed that this year. Expect unpredictable extremes of weather. Whether the human population of this planet by the end of this century will reach 10+ billions or whether it will collapse back to a few hundred thousand hunter-gatherer-scavengers remains an open question.
A world human population of 500 million and an environmentally neutral steady state economy seems the only sustainable long term policy. The challenge remains to achieve this without passing through a phase of civilisation wrecking catastrophe first.
Many of the Islamic countries seem caught in a very difficult position; the theological differences serve only as convenient flags for the underlying problem of conflicts of population and resources. Nearly all of those countries have huge and still growing populations living on rapidly diminishing resources, and cultural attitudes which often inhibit the social and technological reforms which could ameliorate such problems. In the meantime expect the situations to worsen indefinitely.
Beware of any meme complex that cannot tolerate criticism, humour, apostasy, or blasphemy. It means that its own internal contradictions will make it behave violently.
Moral Philosophy. Don’t expect any major changes of moral fashion in 2015. Those who have had their sexualities legalised will continue to opine upon the involuntary nature of such orientations, whilst society will continue to opine upon the elective and punishable nature of illegal orientations. Law and Disgust continue their cultural dance. Necrophilia with prior consent will probably still remain illogically illegal. The victimless crime of sex with other animals will probably continue to attract surprisingly harsh punishment despite that the killing and eating of other animals remains approved. Violence, murder, and war will provide much of the entertainment for all ages as usual, although the slightest hint of sex will still trigger an avalanche of restrictions. Offending fat people may become politically incorrect and then illegal if the fat lobby can prove itself involuntarily fat. Sick old humans will remain condemned to suffer for as long as possible whilst we will continue to put down sick animals at the slightest sign of distress (to us). Sometime in 2015 expect the emergence of a euphemism for ‘unacceptable’, a word which has become tiresomely over used to imply that everyone should dislike what the speaker dislikes. Also the current official PC euphemism for ‘Dimwit’ may become due for its five year replacement.
Magic and Esoterics. The excitement of the last magical revival which began in the late 1960’s shows definite signs of cooling with fewer young magicians taking up the wand at present, the hardcore survivors getting older, and fewer innovative titles becoming published. Basically the 1960’s revival began as a resurgence of a paradigm rooted in Platonism and Neoplatonism and coloured with Neo-Paganism and Orientalism, against the growing current of scientism and the decline of religion in western culture. It took many of its cues from the previous magical revival in the 1880’s when the Romantics tried something similar in the face of growing Industrialism.
The recent revival has left two legacies, firstly it has kept alive the third way of thinking, the magical one, as opposed to the scientific and the religious ones, and this continues as a sort of softcore new-agey factor in many peoples thinking. Secondly, as the revival developed, some theorists began to question the underlying Platonist and Neo-Platonist metaphysics which supported both conventional religious and conventional magical thinking to a considerable extent, and speculated on whether they could replace it with metaphysics based on quantum physics instead.
The mind-body dualism has become as suspect as the spirit-matter dualism and the Platonic essence-substance dualism, whilst the wave-particle dualism has become physically demonstrable, if only in limited circumstances, and it promises a mechanism that could nowadays more comfortably provide an explanatory model for magic. In religious aeons magic tended to share its metaphysics with religion, today it moves towards sharing its metaphysics with science.
The removal of the Platonist essence-substance model form magic would weaken the hold of the spirit-matter model of most contemporary religions. This pernicious idea underlies most of the justifications that religions use for their appalling behaviour on the material plane.
However this paradigm shift remains a struggle in progress, the old model falls into disrepute but the new one remains somewhat obscured by confusion, ill-informed enthusiasm, and the intellectual difficulties associated with any non-trivial new concept. Expect another magical revival as the new paradigm achieves greater coherence, its own vocabulary, and a more widespread understanding.
Over the last year we have found much of interest in the breathtaking scholarship and the musings of the grumpy old Archdruid of America, John Michael Greer: -
However his other blog on the decline of technological civilisation: -
Provides a sobering and sometimes terrifying read.
We live in interesting times, welcome to 2015. Pete.