Dumb

The clock is tick-tick-ticking off its judgments. Tick – stupid. Tick – Hey, stupid. It’s new. I bought it for six bucks at the local five-and-dime. La Virgen de Guadalupe smiles serenely from its face, held aloft by angels.

Black Swan, White Swan... Let's Call the Whole Thing Off

Formal logic might be the blackest of magics (and it makes for the most excruciating of reads). Just try figuring out the Black Swan Problem. Read a ton of obnoxious articles by formal logicians – who I imagine wear capes and brood in towers while they go about their dark art of turning language into math – without pushing your thumbs into your eyeballs until they pop.

Donald Duck: High Priest of the Illuminati

Conspiracy theorists are dreadfully thorough, but I guess most of them missed this one: Donald in Mathmagic Land, the 1959 Disney featurette starring Donald Duck which teaches us about the Pythagorean cult, the pentagram, the Fibonacci Sequence, and the Golden Ratio.

Jack Kirby And Comic Book Mysticism

You may not recognize the name Jack Kirby, but if you’ve ever argued with your friends over who gets to be Cyclops when you were playing X-Men in your backyard, then you’ve been touched by his creations.

Eye of the Skeptic

Those “I’m always right” types absolutely need faith, or else those vicious doubts start creeping in. Not only will you find faith in the religious mind, calling God a fact, you’ll also find it lurking in the atheist, saying He isn’t. Come to think of it, anyone who uses the word “fact” so easily must be pretty faithful, at least when it comes to their own nonsense.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Stingy Jack and the Legend of the Jack O' Lantern -Disinformation

Originally published October 31, 2013 via disinfo.com

It’s Halloween.  Time to help your kids develop their bed-wetting habits.  Time to buy a ton of candy, claim it’s for trick-or-treaters, turn off the porch light, and gorge yourself on waxy chocolate.  Time to carve the ol’ jack-o’-lantern.

One of my favorite Halloween myths is the origin story of the jack-o’-lantern: the trickster legend of Stingy Jack.  This folk tale comes from Ireland, which was also a major cultural center for the Celts, who observed the festival of Samhain, which serves as the root from which our modern Halloween sprang.
According to the story, which may be centuries old, a drunkard known as Stingy Jack was infamous throughout Ireland as a liar and a cheat.  He was especially despised for his love of trickery, his favorite pastime.

One day, while bored and lounging lazily around Hell, Lucifer happened to overhear some horrible stories about Jack’s devious skills, which were apparently even more dastardly than his own.  Not to be outdone by a mere drunken Irishman, the Devil decided to find Jack and see if the stories were true.
That night, while stumbling in an alcoholic haze through the darkened Irish hills, Jack came upon a body, lying in the road.  Always curious when it comes to inert bodies (dead people don’t usually press charges against thieves), Jack shambled over for a closer look.

Turning the body over, Jack was surprised to find the face of Satan staring back at him.  Assuming he was there to take Jack to his final reward, he pleaded to be taken to the local pub for one last drink.  Seeing the humor in the situation, the Devil conceded.

The rest of the night should probably have its own legend attached, considering the new levels of debauchery discovered by the pair as they drank the pub dry.  When the party finally died down and the bill showed up, Jack, who wasn’t called “Stingy” for nothing, turned to the Devil and demanded he pay for it.

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Hyper-Real Spirituality: Pop Culture Magic -BoB

Originally published October 31, 2013 via theblogofbaphomet.com

Most folk’ll tell you the use of pop culture iconography in ritual began in the 80′s with Chaos Magick and the IOT. A few folk’ll tell you it started earlier with people like William S. Burroughs, who was known to use a cardboard stand-up of Mick Jagger for “rites of performance.” But I think it can be traced back to the beginning if you consider that at one time, even the Sumerian gods were pop sensations.

Those in the chaos current have always accepted the use of pop culture as being magically relevant. Just examine the successful integration of the Cthulhu Mythos by Anton LaVey, Phil Hine, and many others into the magical landscape over the last fifty years. Borrowing from any archetypal pool is considered okay, as long as it gets results. Devotion to an entity isn’t necessary for it to be useful as a magical tool.

Recently, though, a trend has popped up that I’ve found myself right in the middle of: serious religious devotion given to fictional characters drawn from pop culture. I’m a member of the Sons of the Batman, a magical group that honors the Caped Crusader. Although it may appear to be a joke or an intellectual exercise, it’s definitely not, and we take the worship of Batman very seriously.

And we are by no means the only ones.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Aghori: India's Sexiest Mystics -Sitting Now

Originally published October 22, 2013 via sittingnow.co.uk

Editor’s note: The following e-mail was received yesterday, following a deadline lapse by Frater Isla.  In lieu of an actual article, we have decided to print this e-mail, as it may be the last time we hear from him (if he is to be believed).  As always, the opinions put forward within this communication belong solely to Isla, and in no way reflect the feelings of the editorial staff here at Right Where You Are Sitting Now.
 
Dear [Editor],

I apologize for the lateness of this e-mail.  I understand you are a very busy man, and my untimely response is incredibly unprofessional.

I might as well let you know that my promised article on the so-called “black-eyed children” phenomenon is at a dead end, and will probably never be written.  To be honest, the subject has no real substance, and from what I can tell, seems to be just more internet mumbo jumbo.  The stories that I have read are unsubstantiated at best, and shockingly plagiarized at worst.

But while digging through the sloppy bog of internet prose, I made contact with someone who claimed to have witnessed one of these children in the flesh.  His obviously fraudulent story wasn’t what interested me, though, it was his (equally false) claim that he had spent a number of years among the Aghori, a Hindu sect in India.  He said they were cannibals, sexual deviants, and all-around weirdos.  I’d never heard of them, but it sounded much more interesting than some spooky kids who knock on your door and give you the heebie jeebies.

I spent the rest of the night reading some very strange accounts of these mystical madmen, who appear in striking photographs, covered in the ashes of dead men and drinking from human skulls.  The Aghori are a sect of Shaivite Hindus.  They believe that the universe was created in the image of Shiva, meaning that everything under the sun must be a perfect manifestation of the divine, including death, putrescence, and all manner of nastiness.

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Eye of the Skeptic -Disinformation

Originally publishedOctober 18, 2013 via disinfo.com

“Belief is the death of intelligence. As soon as one believes a doctrine of any sort, or assumes certitude, one stops thinking about that aspect of existence.”
                                     -Robert Anton Wilson
“No amount of belief makes something a fact.”
                        -The Amazing James Randi

“Faith” should be a four-letter word.  I propose a change in spelling.  “Fath,” maybe.

Those “I’m always right” types absolutely need faith, or else those vicious doubts start creeping in.  Not only will you find faith in the religious mind, calling God a fact, you’ll also find it lurking in the atheist, saying He isn’t.  Come to think of it, anyone who uses the word “fact” so easily must be pretty faithful, at least when it comes to their own nonsense.

One of my favorite “always right” groups to hate is the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF), a self-proclaimed “skeptical” organization founded by professional debunker and ex-stage magician, the Amazing Randi.  According to their website, the Foundation “was founded in 1996 to help people defend themselves from paranormal and pseudoscientific claims.”  If you look at this statement closely, you’ll see that little demon, “faith,” wearing a lab coat and a clipboard, trying to look casual in the corner.  It presupposes that “paranormal and pseudoscientific claims” are something to be defended against, and presupposition is the very antithesis of skepticism.  It goes against the very spirit of skepticism: a “questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts.”

Although I’m sure most supporters of the JREF are scoffing right now at the idea that their beliefs are grounded in faith, there’s almost certainly one thing they never question: their own senses.

According to cognitive science, vision makes one of the largest contributions to our perception of reality.  We rely on our sight to interpret the world around us, but in reality, it only sees a fraction of what’s there.  The wavelength of visible light ranges between 380 and 750 nanometers, less than 1% of the entire electromagnetic spectrum.  We cannot see X-rays, gamma rays, microwaves, or infrared.

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Secret Affair Between Science and Magic -BoB

Originally published October 10, 2013 via theblogofbaphomet.com

Every year, it seems that the line between magic and science gets a little more blurry. Quantum physics seems determined to become the new mysticism with ideas like morphogenic fields, simulation theory, and the holographic principle.

Meanwhile, occultists are desperate to rationalize their practices with parallels found in theoretic physics.
Pointy hats and white coats
Pointy hats and white coats
Entanglement, for instance, may give a scientific basis for explaining the magical idea of “like begets like,” in that two particles which have become “entangled” appear to react to a stimulus simultaneously, despite their isolation from one another in space.

There’s also the “Copenhagen Interpretation,” which states that a quantum particle is always in a superposition, or taking up all possible positions at once, and is only fixed when it is observed. In opposition to this interpretation, we have the “Many-Worlds” theory, which posits that when there is more than one possible outcome of an action, an entire universe is created for each one. Both of these theories can be applied to magic. If you go with the Copenhagen Interpretation, you can say that an act of magic is influencing where the quantum particle “lands.” If you prefer the Many-Worlds theory, it can be said that the act places the operator in a universe where the chosen outcome is a reality.

But quantum physics isn’t the only area of scientific study that seems to be proving what mystics and occultists have said all along. The fields of psychology, cognitive studies, or neurophysiology can also be veritable treasure troves for the wise magician.

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Monday, October 7, 2013

Black Iron Kisses and #the1stuniverse -Sitting Now

Originally published October 7, 2013 via sittingnow.co.uk

Building an entire universe from scratch by yourself is hard work.  Just ask God.  It took Him a week, and He’s omnipotent.  But a little bit of help from the internet can go a long way, as artist Sia Abderezai found when he started building #the1stuniverse about six months ago.

Sia is the founder of Black Iron Kisses, an art group based in California, whose website is a kind of tongue-in-cheek occult philosophy emporium.  There, you can find artwork, essays, and consistently revolving manifestos dealing with a metafictional cosmology which brings together elements of Philip K. Dick, H. P. Lovecraft, and David Icke.

#the1stuniverse is an open source space developed using World of Text, a universe-builder which allows visitors to edit existent worlds in real-time, using text as building blocks.  According to a block of text found within the universe, itself, it is an “experiment in hivemind thinking,” that will be played out until it’s predetermined apocalypse, September 23, 2045.

According to their website, within hours of the world’s creation, “We saw a sudden explosion of people contributing a little bit of themselves, completely anonymously through this world.”  The digital graffiti ranges from simple messages (“allworkandnoplaymakesjackadullboy”) to massive works of art, all done within the minimal medium of green text on a black field.  The inherent message is hard to miss: this world is your playground.  Play.

But even internet art worlds have their bogeymen.  A few months ago, a troll with lots of time on their hands and a worn out backspace key took it upon themselves to erase the entire work, leaving nihilistic messages in the wake.  Luckily version 1.5 is up and running.

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

An Interview with Occult Author and NLP Master, Philip H. Farber -Disinformation

Originally published October 6, 2013 via disinfo.com

A couple of years ago, I realized that thanks to social media, I could start hunting down authors I was interested in like dogs, hounding them with questions I’d never been able to ask before.

One of these poor schmucks was Philip H. Farber, occult author of FutureRitual, Meta Magick: The Book of Atem, and Brain Magick: Exercises in Meta-Magick and Invocation.  He has also written a novel, The Great Purple Hoo-Ha.

Philip is a hypnotist, Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) practitioner, and magician.  Beside his books, he also teaches courses and seminars dealing with ritual magic and NLP.  DVDs of some of these can be found at Hawkridge Productions.

Friending Phil on Facebook was one of my smartest moves.  Not only was he willing to answer all of my questions at length, he was also quick to give me excellent reading recommendations.  And all for free.  What a sucker.

In preparing for this interview, I reread some of his books, re-watched some DVDs, and reviewed some of our old correspondences.  And there, staring coolly at me from behind computer screens and printed word, was the ugly beast of accusation.

This interview is an act of apology to Phil.  If anyone out there has ever gotten me drunk enough to talk about my actual views on magic, you should now realize that all of those brilliant and thought-provoking ideas spewing out of my mouth were most likely lifted from this guy.

Sorry, Phil.

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