Oh, I’m sorry. Did I break your concentration? I didn’t mean to do that. Please, continue! You were saying something about “best intentions”? What’s the matter? Oh, you were finished? Well, allow me to retort!

I apologize for the ugly spectacle that has unfolded in the comments thread a little ways down. I probably handled it badly, combined with letting certain people abuse my goodwill to a degree I’m not comfortable with. I have no problem with people disagreeing with me. In fact, I encourage it. What I won’t tolerate is throwing around insults in lieu of command of the facts, or wild and uninformed speculation about me as a person, or anyone else here. The internet has enough social retards without entertaining any here.

The way I parsed my arguments for an energy related die off probably threw some people into a bit of tailspin, especially if you’ve read a lot of my other stuff and can’t quite figure out how to reconcile that material with the idea of a mass die off of a sizable section of the human population.

Let me say again, in case it wasn’t obvious enough: I do not claim to have any special knowledge, and I do not claim to have the only answer. That is why it was so upsetting for me to solicit some alternate interpretations of what I was looking at and find nothing but shallow grasp of the facts and good intentions.

The ‘good intentions’ aspect of this is probably the most troubling. I can deal with people who don’t have time to do research and don’t have the figures at their disposal, who haven’t got time to listen to hundreds of hours of lectures and commentary, and hear all the arguments and counter arguments. That’s cool.

What’s frustrating for me is when people want to open this up into the occult dimension, and even worse so, when they want to parrot my own work back to me as if that exposes some contradiction in my thinking, or some fundamental inauthenticity in my work.

Because, after all don’t I go on and on about the psycho plastic nature of reality, about not getting snared in negative reality tunnels, or malignant conspiracies to control your views? And it’s true; I absolutely have.

But here’s the thing: when people get turned onto this stuff for the first time, it’s like a lot of profound experiences in life; because the world and the people around you never talked about it, and show little evidence of understanding any of it, you almost feel like you’re the first person to ever see the world that way. You could almost feel like you got there first, and everyone is just going to have to catch up with you.

With things like magick, or whatever brand of new age ‘new paradigm’ piffle they’re shilling these days, the natural instinct for people like this is to imagine that we can transfigure the whole world with magick and positive intentions, that all you have to do is jack off over sigils scribbled in the margins of the dancing wu li masters and that quantum physics and probability waves will make it all better.

But here’s the false bottom in that little fantasy world, and the key to the naive arrogance in that thinking: you want to change the world as it appears to be, into the product of a magickal act? Well guess what; the world as it it appears to be is already the product of magickal acts.

Long before you got up this morning and tried to change reality with your happy thoughts, long before you were even born, there were adepts doing that very thing, and doing it better than you ever will. Except their thoughts might not always qualify as ‘happy’ in your books.

Tell me, what’s the difference between eckhart toole fulminating about ‘a new earth’ to squadrons of gape mouthed well wishers who read the law of attraction, and George H.W. Bush professing a New World Order to the planet? Here’s a hint: old eckhart didn’t have the CIA, the drug cartels, the IMF and the united states military working for his vision.

It is, alas as the late Robert Anton Wilson used to say; The border between the Real and the Unreal is not fixed, but just marks the last place where rival gangs of shamans fought each other to a standstill”.

And I’m sorry guys, but if you really think you’re running with the toughest gang of shamans, I’m flattered, but you need to give your fucking head a shake.

A lot of what I’ve done here is precisely to bring up the quality of ‘our’ ( whatever ‘our’ means…) gang of shamans, and while in some ways the result has been encouraging, in other ways, not so much.

As I’ve said at least a couple times now, peak oil was one of the formative influences on my work here, starting in 2005, and I had been researching it for a couple years before that. Part of the reason I am even here is that I saw a window, a slice of time where things were still plastic enough to be changed, when the magickal zeitgeist was still being formed, when the gang fight could go in either direction.

What I’m trying to say here, at least in regards to certain aspects of the peak oil question, is that that window has clearly begun to close, if not closed entirely. The front line of the war has rolled over us, and pretending that it hasn’t is just foolish. If you didn’t have the chops to prevent it, you certainly don’t have the chops to reverse it, or mitigate it to any significant degree.

Your ‘probability waves’ or sigils, or reality tunnel shifting, or good intentions are not going to change what has cemented into a consensus reality by now. You will not be changing the amount of oil in the ground, you will not be changing the energy infrastructure by snapping your fingers. You will not be making food out of thin air. The best you can do is to command your own private sphere and work to redraw the playing field in some useful way.

But don’t kid yourself that you’re going to out-magick the reality priesthood. Not about this. You needed to get up a lot earlier in the morning for that. An awful lot of really holy, really spiritual, really positive people have suffered gruesome fates over the centuries, and a lot of them understood this stuff much better than you or I ever will. The reason you don’t hear all their stories, is because they’re dead. Just because a few optimists lived to write theirs, doesn’t change the truth of that.

You don’t get to wish away the physical world and it’s momentum just because you had a couple interesting insights. You don’t get to ignore hard facts by thinking happy thoughts. If you keep thinking that, the wave will crash right down on your head, and you’ll be another optimist who doesn’t get to write an uplifting biography.

This shit is chess, not checkers.


14 thoughts on “Best Intentions

  1. Hey there, Zac. I’ve been a lurker for some time, and wanted to tip my hat to your efforts and this body of work. I began studying and putting magick to daily practice a little over a year ago, and your Augoides series was very inspiring.

    Interestingly enough, my interest in the Peak Oil theory coincided with my interest in this new spiritual work. There is a connection, but I’m still not entirely sure how to put it to words. It has something to do with discovering your place and influence in the scheme of things… or something like that.

    I share a lot of your views, particularly with what appears to be a closed window of opportunity. As a fledgling magician, I see that my domain of influence has grown even smaller and that my best bet is to focus on what I should have been doing all along: modifying my own behavior.

    I have learned that maybe the best ‘magick’ I can be working right now is that of learning to grow my own food, or at least trying to lessen the burden on the industrial food system. I began scheming last year, and was able to convince my landlord to allow me to use a 4’x10′ slab of concrete behind my Brooklyn apartment for the experiment. Container gardening (specifically when coupled with self-watering containers) is amazing – I have been able to produce a large amount of lettuce, beans, and tomatoes plus a few potatoes and carrots. I have learned quite a bit about how much work is required to grow food, and therefore have a lot more respect for the farmer and gardener.

    The downside is that I have also seen how much land is required to grow a livable amount of food. My little space may give me some nice treats for the summer, but it certainly couldn’t keep me alive year round. It is going to be a rough road for a lot of us.

    I suppose the point of this ramble is that I believe that us ‘magicians’ (of any cloth) need to be spending our time modifying our own behavior and investigating less energy intensive solutions to common problems. Pretty much what you’ve already said. More of us need to be learning about natural physical therapy techniques (such as your practice) and herbalism. How about basic electronics (such as radio) and gardening? How hard is it to produce the minimal amount of nutrients that a family of four needs to survive? Do you at least have a reference handy that can tell you what herbs to use to alleviate common ailments?

    I don’t see how we can run from this or just wish it away. This behavior is part of the group egregore and has been running its course for a very, very long time. This is a deep neurosis. It is up to us to alleviate the suffering of those around us as much as we can.

    And… after reading what I just wrote, I think I might take myself too seriously. 😉

    Anyway, please keep up the good work.

  2. This latest piece was music to my ears! Well said!

    I’ve been following the debate with interest, and have not been able to come up with anything that could fault it, not that I have any background in the subject. The only historical analogy I could think of was the aftermath of WWII, when fuel supplies were trashed. There were faminines as a result – it was only narrowly avoided here in the UK. However, this doesn’t take us far as an analogy (except perhaps to identify areas where famines might hit first) because the fuel *was* available, so it was only a race against time…

    I don’t buy this idea that a massive die-off can occur without repercussions on the rich nations. Even if the rich aren’t hit directly then war, migration, terrorism and the political fallout will have knock-on effects, as if collusion in the mass murder of millions isn’t a shitty enough existence already.

    I’m with Michael (above) on this one: where are you taking it, Zac? If we’re truly facing up to reality then ‘a gruesome fate that leaves behind no traces’ was always what was going to happen to the vast majority of us… If we don’t starve to death, then cancer will only get us later on instead… Are you planning to develop any thoughts on how to deal with these circumstances skilfully?

  3. Hey lads.

    Nice to have you michael. lose one, gain one, there’s some symmetry to that. I’m glad you found the augoeides inspiring. for me it was like being on the inside of a train wreck and also the train being wrecked.

    the simplest thing I can say about herbalism, or nutrition in general is that the best use of herbs and plants is preventative. I mentioned a couple posts back that pretty much everyone i know is showing signs of mineral deficiency, and that’s mainly because our soils are bled dry of nutrients, so the plants that grow on them are pretty bland and sick.

    The easiest remedy to that is either start taking a good vitamin and mineral supplement, or start adding some wild greens to your diet. if you hit up the anthropology section of the library or bookstore, or the internet obviously, ( come to think of it I’ll try and add a good link sometime this week) you can probably find out what indigenous plants the natives used to eat. another possibility is wilderness survival guides like tom brown’s guide to wild edible and medicinal plants. even things like dandelion greens are good sources of plant minerals. they’re pretty bitter though, so rip up the existing leaves and harvest the new growth after a week or so. make sure you gather as far away from car exhaust as you can. lead and arsenic particulates tend not to help matters. if you’re growing your own veggies on good quality soil, you’ll be okay.


    In some sense, all of this is my idea of a skillful response. in the long view if we don’t bring up our level of consciousness, all we have to look forward to is a chain of relapsing catastrophes for hundreds of thousands of years, even if we happen to pull out of this one.

    in the near term… of course I have some things in mind. owning up to the likelihood of mass starvation and dieoff doesn’t especially alter my future predictions, just adds some extra granularity to images I already had. massive upheavals like that only make the more radical elements I see coming more likely to unfold. there is imply too much accumulated knowledge and infrastructure for us to slide all the way to stone age conditions. It has to reform at another level and probably will, faster than you think. it’s getting from here to there without dealing a mortal wound to the human spirit that will take some doing. an epic tragedy of that magnitude could send us into a psychological dark age if nothing else does.

  4. “Tell me, what’s the difference between eckhart toole fulminating about ‘a new earth’ to squadrons of gape mouthed well wishers who read the law of attraction, and George H.W. Bush professing a New World Order to the planet? Here’s a hint: old eckhart didn’t have the CIA, the drug cartels, the IMF and the united states military working for his vision.”

    That’s how I’ve felt every goddamn day for the past goddamn six months. No matter how much juice I can get up, I can’t and more importantly won’t top killing three thousand people ritually in front of billions of watching eyes as part of some depraved and degenerate 2=0=1 ritual. And I sure as shit can’t plunge entire nations into chaos.

    “An awful lot of really holy, really spiritual, really positive people have suffered gruesome fates over the centuries, and a lot of them understood this stuff much better than you or I ever will. The reason you don’t hear all their stories, is because they’re dead.”

    “in the long view if we don’t bring up our level of consciousness, all we have to look forward to is a chain of relapsing catastrophes for hundreds of thousands of years, even if we happen to pull out of this one.”

    maybe I’ve just gotten in touch with a deep-seated existential pessimism i didn’t know i had, but i tend to agree completely.

  5. existential is a good word for it. as bleak as it seems the only spiritually authentic thing is to work for the good, whether it works out or not.

    despite the intellectually lazy epithets that get thrown around, I’m not a ‘doomer’, I do not think we are inevitably fucked forever, but I think you have to be honest about the challenges we face before we can fix anything.

    you have to make decisions on the basis of what you understand, but that doesn’t mean you can understand everything. but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t act, either.

  6. the question is, how the fuck to act. there was someone who wrote that opposing the military-intelligence structure via activism is like being a slavery abolitionist in the 1820s. I’d kindly suggest that opposing (frankly, at this point, all the “think positive” solutions I’ve seen are nothing more than pissing up a rope, and more to the point) the people behind the coming shit-storm and advocating a “spiritual” path is kind of like being a slavery abolitionist in ancient Assyria. but without the snide self-satisfaction of being a “future mutant” or even an “outsider”… old 1960s terms that should have died long ago.

    To quote Dr. Ingram, “I can often feel like an alien wearing a trench coat of normalcy,… you should take this admission as yet another warning. If you get way into this stuff, you will discover this same loneliness.” or to quote Who Killed John O’Neil, “You are trying to fight a machine that has been on autopilot for thousands of years”.

    From a certain perspective all history looks like a joke run by a bunch of clowns with the good fortune to have the occasional intervention by their “higher selves” and the progress of technology.

    What’s the usual story about how man discovered fire? He ran into a bush that got struck by lightning and decided to pull out some of the flaming twigs.

  7. I guess the thing to remember is that, thermodynamically speaking, these fascist control nightmare scenarios are a step down, a degradation of effectiveness, from the peak of consumer culture where people behave because they’d rather watch tv than have economic development in africa. to manage populations in a resource poor hellworld, is a massive energy intensive undertaking, and any sane planner would recognize that as a last resort on the way down the thermodynamic cliff of social control.

    I think the real picture is even more tragic: it’s just the egalitarian holocaust. the green meme put technology in the freezer and economic development in reverse and we collapse under the weight of 40 years of collective refusal to make value judgments. it breaks down the existing strucutres and replaces them with nothing, so all you can do is slide down to primary loyalties, egocentric gangsterism and tribal warfare.

  8. It is daunting to see the great work and its discussions fall to those of little belief. The reality of one special individual can be made real indeed through true intent. It was never set final the decision of anyone’s destiny save those who believe in that word. This is why it is good to guard your ears from those of the downtrodden. Those who have opened up gates and avenues that they did not concieve they opened although they are effected in high degree, being controlled to the point were the higher self becomes confused with the Most High. Everything lies in intend, as the world was built to accelerate spirituality was created to continue to master it. There will always be a design yet to come that none have viewed or anticipated. The moment one accepts the great works it should continue to implore them as your true assistance becomes visible.

    Unlock you Chakras use Meteorites and Tektites then you will see the world as it truly is and not in the mind that has become too dark from lack of light. When seeing even a high vibration being get healed we innerstand what it has taken for the world to remain on axis so those that find themselves free in decision can be allowed to make it.

  9. This is an incredibly insightful article. We, as magicians, do tend to think of the power structures as impotent (magically speaking), when in reality they are working magic 24/7 to maintain themselves. You have my attention. I will definitely be reading this blog in the future.

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