09 April 2010

Come on the beach with the nouveau-riche!

The traditional Marxist attitude to occult movements is that they're petty-bourgeois self-delusion, desperately searching for individual solutions to the accelerating collapse of individualist subjectivity brought on by the inexorable growth of corporate capitalism (and the forces of commodification and reification that go along with it). I, being young and impulsive, demurred, believing that perhaps art, cultural studies and psychology might be a missing link between the social liberation promised by Marxist revolutionary practice, and the personal liberation sought by the occultists and psychonauts.

This attitude is a little difficult to keep up, however, when I realise that so many of the authors of the mystical texts I've dug over the last few years make their living by being very efficient servants of the "corporate egregore" - the Globalised Free Market. One is a copywriter, whose website brags of (to put it in occultist terms) his efficient use of verbal and graphic "spells" to garner more attention and financial energy for the biggest, most bloated, most dehumanized corporate entities on the planet. Another is a "creative coach" - someone who will teach you how to get yourself noticed by corporate scumbags, and how to get them to make you an offer of big buck$$$ on your immortal soul. Another is... oh, hang on, this guy's website is not nearly as offensive as I remember it being, so forget I mentioned him (and read Join My Cult!, it's funny.)

But is that all it is? Is that their True Will? Is the end point of consciousness warrioring to be able to peddle your metaphorical ass to corporate pimps for the biggest $$$? And then do what with those $$$? Engage in leisure pursuits to build up your market-based ego, of course, because then how else will you get more $$$? Money, as conceived in the capitalist marketplace, is an addictive drug, and is getting a sustainable supply the best we can hope for?

The Sufis teach that the nafs (aka ego, aka "false self") is the trickiest little bugger, and will continually disguise itself as something else (God, the Greater Good, ascended Space Brothers, the Muse) in order to continue your slavery and addiction to it. Actually - connect the two paragraphs above. The individual ego is very, very much like money, in that (a) neither of them have any objective reality; (b) the capitalist system is defined by its elevation of both to the fundamental principle of life.

Karl Marx defined the glorious future day of communism as that day when "the condition for the free development of all is the free development of each"; or, to put it another way, when there is no more contradiction between the personal, the social, and the global. Is it just coincidence that this is how Aleister Crowley described the consequences of every man and woman following their True Will?

I'm going to spend, er, the next year and a day (how's about that?) attempting to cut meaningless bullshit out of my life so I have more time and energy to dismantle my ego and find my True Will. I gamble that this will go along 100% with being a more effective political activist, cultural theorist/propagandist, and artist. If this proves not to be true, it proves that Chaos Marxism is pretty useless and you should ignore it. Stick around.

ETA: ...what was I doing a year ago? Oh, that's the time when I first discovered the Islamic/Sufi traditions... and started talking big about writing a CM book. Huh. Every time I think I've got it All Sorted Out and I can start preaching to the masses, it's drawn to my attention that my personal practice doesn't really back up the Big Ideas I'm peddling. Perhaps there's an important lesson in that.


  1. I consider myself a post-marxist, and lately I have been attracted to the Rose Croix. I follow the Hermetic and Neo-Hermetic traditions of the West; I am specially focused on the study of Tarology (Tarot), Kabbalistic Numerology and Astrology.

    I think it is important to separae the political from the personal in order to be able to reconcile the antagonistic focus of seeking social and ecological justice in the material plane and seeking the achievement of Unio Mystica/ theosis/Devekuth in the mystical ethereal plane.

    The archetypal narratives of Christianity might be useful here: "Jeshua was both Son of Man and Son of God." Two different persons (body and soul) temporarily united in purpose to achieve "a mission".

    I do not believe that the personal is political (I am objectively anti-feminist) and I reject the notions of time and essentialism as presented in the Western liberal materialist canon.

    The political is not personal because the political is social.
    The personal concerns The Soul of Man inhabiting a biological body in context of an indifferent nature whose permutations are chaotic.

    Every "Man"/"Woman" is a social actor and host of narratives who lives under the illusion of an "individuality".

    / Miguel.

  2. Thanks for participating. "The political is not personal because the political is social", I can see what you mean by that, but of course surely the personal is social?

    And what does "objectively anti-feminist" mean?

  3. Yes. Humans are social actors and would not be able to survive without a social context. What I meant was that I try to not mix "the political" in the sense of advocating for global policies based upon economic and ecological justice, with "the personal" as it applies to social networking or the persuit of personal spiritual goals.

    I choose to believe that in an economically and ecologically just multipolar world where many worlds are possible there will be more opportunity to engage in beneficial and edifying social networking and spirituality.

    By objectively anti-feminist, I means that I do not believe in essentialist premises as they apply to "race", "gender" or "sexual orientation". I am gender and race blind. I do not follow liberal identity politics. I rather focus on more universal and fundamental solutions that can benefit everyone regardless of "race" or "gender" like global economic and ecological justice.

  4. I had never encountered the term "nafs" before, and I've been thinking about it constantly since I read it here yesterday. Thanks for this little vin-dit.