New Year’s Address 2017
1) Penumbra Livros have just published Liber Null and Psychonaut in Brazil in Portuguese. My hardback sample copies arrived as a surprise present on xmas eve, it all looks very well done with the diagrams beautifully reproduced. Although I cannot read the text, the emails I’ve had from the translators indicate their fluency in English, so I guess the translation will have come out equally well done.
2) I have just read the latest draft of ‘My Years of Magical Thinking’ by Lionel Balgrave Snell, aka Ramsey Dukes, aka Dr Wunlita Suzuki (and no end of other aliases) who must surely rank as the finest metamagical theoretician currently, or perhaps ever, incarnate. In this masterly summary and exposition of a lifetime of magical thought, Lionel muses deeply on the relationships between art, science, magic, and religion. You may not find much of immediate practical use in this tome but it certainly expands and contextualises the magical way of thinking as a distinct and increasingly relevant way of relating to perceived reality. Lionel told me he had tried to write about magic for the general reader in this latest book. He may achieve that, in places he digresses into magical thinking strategies in the dark arts of politics and marketing, yet I will always regard him as ‘The Thinking Magician’s Magician’, the wizard who looks into the ideas behind the ideas, and as such he may well go down in history as the 20th & 21st century’s version of Paracelsus.
I found his idea of the symmetry between scientific ‘falsifiability’ and religious ‘non-believability’ stimulating, and wondered if that symmetry might extend to ‘improbability’ in magic and ‘dislikability’ in art. Each discipline need to find the appropriate level of such things and ‘modern’ art seems to have tried to enhance its exclusivity by going heavy on the dislikability.
Hopefully Lionel will publish MYOMT sometime in this coming year.
3) A Robert Anton Wilson Biography by Gabriel Kennedy may perhaps appear this year. http://www.rawillumination.net/2016/04/propanon-man-behind-new-raw-bio.html
I have passed on a few reminiscences from my meetings with Bob; and some contacts to those who knew him for the project. RAW had a very seminal impact on the lineage of ideas from which much of Chaos Magic took its inspiration. RAW did apparently join the IOT Pact along with William Burroughs and Dr Richard Alan Miller towards the end of their lives but I understand that in Bob’s case this probably meant a largely honorary position.
The ancients happily invoked various gods and goddesses for technical and political advice, how to catch game, when or whether to wage war and son on.
In the dreary monotheist aeons, humanity seems to have scaled back its expectations and merely contented itself with creating deities to advise on quotidian matters of personal and social morality and emotional wellbeing.
All this will change this coming months when psychonauts from Arcanorium College get down to the serious business of invoking the Elder Gods of the Necronomicon Mythos to ask some questions of a more serious nature concerning technical matters about life, the universe, and everything.
On Wednesday I shall present a challenge to the assembled philosophers and metaphysicians of The Salon in this city: - the idea that Neoplatonism perhaps needs replacing as the default spiritual/metaphysical idea of the west.
2017 shapes up to become the year when neo-liberal economics and social liberalism go into reverse. The neo-liberal economics forged in the Thatcher-Reagan years seem to have eventually delivered economic decadence. Free-trade has hollowed out the manufacturing capacity of developed nations and left their economies dependent on service industries and property investment. Only the very rich in developed economies and some of the poor in developing economies have really prospered from this.
In developed nations, social liberalism has similarly promoted social decadence. Multiculturalism and minority ‘rights’ have eroded social cohesion. The nanny states have increasingly replaced responsibilities with ‘rights’, and the inevitable backlash approaches.
‘Globalisation’ has failed rather badly because uncontrolled market forces act mainly to the benefit of those few people able to exploit them. The EU has failed to benefit the majority of its citizens and this coming year will probably see it unravel further.
A Europe predicated upon the exclusion of Russia has never made much sense anyway. Donald Trump’s desire to seek a rapprochement with Russia could well show Europe the way. All three blocs have far more to worry about in the shape of Chinese geo-political ambitions and Islamic militancy.
Of the four major blocs in the world, Europe seems the weakest player as this year’s round opens. Whilst it still has a large but sluggish economy it remains militarily weak and unwilling. The EU experiment has failed miserably and needs replacing with practical trade and defence treaties because the attempt to impose political union by mega-bureaucracy has failed.
Global warming becomes ever more alarming. Despite what they say, the world’s politicians seem determined to avoid an economic downturn by reducing fossil fuel use, and instead they have pinned their hopes on technical solutions evolving without enormous investments.
That seems like a huge gamble, we desperately need massive improvements in renewable energy technologies, efficient solar plants, massive wind and tidal power projects, better battery storage facilities and so on.