17 May 2007

Individual and collective

A kindly contributor to our comments alerts me to a shitfight on the Ultraculture mailing list, where one fellow decides to go off about how Voodoo is teh purest EB0L. Not wishing to get into this knee-deep primate shit-flinging contest, but one non-batshit participant ot that debate has this to say:

I develop meaningful, mutually beneficial
relationships with people and entities all the time. They use me and
I use them. My job uses me to write code. I use it to pay my bills.
My friends use me for support and discourse. I use them for the same.
It seems that you're isolating the lwa as "parasitic" simply because
you perceive that they do in fact make use of vodosanti's energy. To
steal castenada's phraseology, in "making yourself available to
power", you are also used by that power. it's not a
hoarding-all-of-this-is-mine process.

This reminds me very much of discussions with pettybourgeois individualists on how all political parties are by definition evil mind-control cults. If the Revolutionary Party is an egregore which aims to focus the power of a mass movement, then certainly by making yourself available to it you are also used by it. This requires you to make certain compromises with your freedom of speech and action, so as to synchronise with other consciousnesses to unify the forces (RIP RAW). Just as you would do in any ritual situation, naturally.

But the mere idea of this is of course anathema to the modern consumer consciousness, which declares that the isolated monadic individual is - self-evidently - the only real reality and only total and complete intellectual "independence" (i.e. isolation) is acceptable. But the catch is that "your only weapon is those you work with" (The Redskins, 1986). The isolated consumer-individual has absolutely zero power to do anything real - just to masturbate to a different set of images. The question is whether you want to be part of a world-changing endeavour and a vessel for power, or if you want to be a Beautiful Soul Unique Snowflake Pure Individual Just Like Everyone Else.

Not convinced that our culture promotes isolation, alienation and paranoia as not only an ideal, but the highest ideal? A common complaint in customer satisfaction reports is that some poor consumer's experience was ruined because they could hear the staff having conversations. They didn't pay good money to be reminded that real people are doing the work. They paid money for the privilege of voluntary isolation from other human beings - of being able to have a private experience in a public sphere. Think on that for a moment - that consumer culture promotes collective experiences, but only to the extent that any participation in them must be totally individualised and monadic.

Marx's utopian vision was one where the collective no longer contradicted the individual. Oh, we are so far away from that.


  1. again and again you hot the nail on the head as regards the views of individualism. Especially greta was the revelation about consumer complaints regards workers being, shock, people! it shamed to realize that these feelings have arisen in me, not consciously, they just arise. When your in the belly of the beast sometimes you miss some of the details of the beast.

    Oh yes Im interested in your opinion of voodoo, santeria ect as tools for workings in the occult marxist sphere.

  2. Thanks for your comment. I'm afraid I couldn't comment on Afrodiasporic religious traditions from anything other than book-knowledge. I did know a couple who claimed to be practising voodoo, but they were extremely white ex-Crowleyites so I shouldn't base anything on my experiences there.

    The essential point of voodoo is that it is a "creole" religion in the linguistic meaning of the term - the content of one system wrapped in the form of the other. Some of the people on the Ultraculture thread make the vital point that it comes from the culture of slavery - those people who say that this automatically makes it dark and dangerous should remember that Christianity came out of the same milieu. Of course, that might well be their point.

    Possibly the only concrete comment I could make on that tradition is that the people will need new gods for a new era. I would be especially interested to know what if any role Afrodiasporic spirituality is playing in the current quasi-revolutionary situations in Latin America - esp. Venezuela.

  3. As is often the case with Marxists (and occultists for that matter) you make a number of claims which emanate directly from yr reality tunnel while making no attempt to cite source. Broad sweeping statements with not even the slightest pretense at unpacking them may give you something to do on a Sunday afternoon but it has little to do with either Marx or Bob.

    Oh, and by the way, the big nonsense words just make you look dumb.

  4. Gee, don't hold back, UL. Tell us all how you really feel.

  5. That was him holding back... trust me.