Well golly. First chance I get to join the fun. Tim’s really good at stirring up shit isn’t he? This time it’s socially conscious occultists who want a piece of his hide.
The whole thing seems to revolve around several related topics:
-is evangelism a valid tactic for political change?
-is spirituality/magick a valid topic for evangelism?
-is it spiritual or ‘adept’ to work for political change/evangelise?
Let’s break this down for starters and establish our terms. I will obviously be coming at this from my own idiosyncratic perspective, but I’m trying to honor the traditional wisdom in this matter.
What is spirituality?
– The spirit is that which transcends the manifest world. It is essence within the substance. It is the timeless, deathless, and unchanging. Spirituality in it’s quintessential form is the path to full realization of the eternal, infinite and unchanging. A still more sophisticated conception is to regard the whole manifest universe as eternal unchanging spirit, but traditionally it is taught to achieve the first before realistically understanding the latter.
What is magick?
-Magick is a skill set. It is typically a toolbox designed to use internal states to induce change in accordance with the will. Yes it’s fuzzy. If everyone does it or acknowledges it’s efficacy it’s not magick anymore, it’s science. Magick is science that doesn’t have the blessing of the consensus yet. There is a lot of overlap with spiritual practices largely because the same skills are applicable in both areas. ie; getting what you want, and transcending desire altogether. Yes that’s a paradox. Life sucks, get a helmet.
What is politics?
-‘Politics is the process and method of making decisions for groups. Although it is generally applied to government, politics is also observed in all human group interactions including corporate, academic, and religious.’
What is evangelism?
– Evangelism is the act or attempt to change the views of others, usually through active procedures of debate, media saturation, and peer pressure. Evangelism may also refer to any form of recruitment or spreading-the-word for a group or movement seen as ideological or committed.
Close enough? Okay then…
How does spirituality relate to magick?
– Tricky but fairly clear. Spirituality is an end, magick is a means. Magick is useful for getting things you want, it could be getting laid or knowing god. ‘this technology is morally neutral’. You can be a magician without a whiff of spiritual understanding, but it’s pretty likely a spiritual person will have some magickal skills, even if they tend not to use them. Why? Magick works partly as a result of broadening one’s views of reality. Achieving spiritual insight is necessarily a broadening of views by quite a bit. Magickal skills are frequently a byproduct of this process. As I’ve said elsewhere undertaking spirituality as a way of gaining powers is regarded as a perversion of the path. Undertaking magick as a way of gaining powers is just like any other way of gaining powers. Your ego with superpowers is still your ego, and you still have to deal with it.
How does spirituality relate to politics?
-Here the rub isn’t it? Most traditions are in agreement that a fixation on any doings in the material world is an obstacle to spiritual growth. Action is appropriate insofar as it reflects an eternal or timeless perspective. Doing it because of genuine love and devotion to truth is different than wanting to be famous or change something in life you dislike. If your motivations are hopelessly intertwined with some external outcome, or idealized result, you’re probably feeding your ego again. You inevitably become trapped in craving, mundane becoming and suffering. Outcomes are like the carrot on the stick you never quite reach. I talked a bit more about this here. Doing things because they are worthwhile for their own sake is the way to go. Politics is all about compromise and short term gains. Not easily conducive to perfected action, or selfless detatchment.
On a related note, it’s frequently pointed out that one’s own liberation is tied into the liberation of others. Meaning, if you help yourself you’ll be helping others by being around them and associating with them. This doesn’t mean you have to save everyone. You’ll have your hands full with your own shit. It does mean, work on yourself is inherently political insofar as it will change others you contact with whether you like it or not, and this is probably the best way to go, long term.
How does magick relate to politics?
-Again, magick is a skill, like bodybuilding. Is bodybuilding inherently political? It is if you use it that way. Worked for Arnold. Doing magick has historically been a political scapegoat and a whipping post for the orthodoxy. Nobody likes to hear about all the shit you can do that they can’t. Persecution makes you political automatically. Don’t expect a mass exodus into your land of persecution and idiosyncratic psychosis. Few people have the energy or ambition to learn any skill, let alone one that calls into question their ontological categories.
How does evangelism relate to politics?
Cough! moving right along….
Is spirituality a valid topic for evangelisation?
-Generally speaking, no. Spirituality requires critical thinking and self examination. Being evangelised tends not require either one very much. If you’re capable of being evangelised, your hold on whatever reality set you had before was probably pretty weak, which implies you weren’t using your critical thinking before, and probably aren’t now.
The important thing to remember is that spiritual practice is not based on changing your concepts. It is based on changing your expeirence of life, beyond the reach of conceptualisation. Evangelism doesn’t touch this area, and tends to deal entirely in the change of opinions and viewpoints. Most traditions council to let potential converts come to you. If you go to them, it’s not really their idea or intiative, and that will cost them later on in the practice.
Is magick a valid topic for evangelisation?
-Again, it’s a skill set. Is body building a valid topic for evangelisation? Maybe so, but you’ll look pretty strange doing it. Advertsing works on creating a perceived need for a product. Most people already have a percieved need for spirituality, and when people try to ‘evangelise’ magick they’re usually talking about spiritual practices that are intertwined into magickal practice. It’s hard to convince somone who isn’t already leaning that way that you can do supernatural things, and the aforementioned lack of critical thinking is just as much an obstacle to magickal practice as it is to spiritual. If you build it , they will come. The last thing you want is a bunch of people playing with your tools who haven’t got a fucking clue how they actually work. It’s just embarrassing for all of us. trying to convince the average person that supernatural skills are an integral part of everyday life they’ve been missing is not likely to come to anything good. That’s where ‘crossing over’ and psychic hotline come from…
‘ someone here has a dead male relative named bill or steve or matt or john….’
yeah right. shut the fuck up.