TALKING EVIL WITH ALEX TSAKIRIS -- GORDON WHITE -- RUNE SOUP

thx. can you sum it up in a couple of sentences.
sry, i should have mentioned that it's queued to that particular section, but sure. I really like how he articulates it so here's a relatively accurate transcript:
It's what magic has always been for. [...] There's medicine in realizing that whilst it [current covid situation] is super challenging, this is what magic has always been for. Magic has always kind of flourished at times of tremendous disruption...and it flourishes based on need at the margins, particularly in a European context. [...] It is the recourse of...cunning folk. And we've known how to do this. These ways of being in the world not just work but are there for us and belong to us.

There's a reclamation of magic that can come with understanding its longer history. [...] When you situate the practice of magic in response to need at the margins in its genuine historical context, all of a sudden you realize that you have these ancestors of practice that go back millennia, who've done this, and you can call on their wisdom and their example (depending on how you feel about spirits). [...] Chaos Protocols was me trying to get magic to configure back in that sense...and you should be in some respects more excited the more disrupted world gets, because if you're going to have to go through it [disruption] anyway, you might as well [use the chaos protocols]. The whole book is about how this is the end of this particular [post cold war] system. This is how we get to what our preferred lives look like.

It's a question of how you position yourself. This comes back to what do we think life is and how do we do it. There's no choice but to be in this moment -- that's kind of the Chaos Protocols thing. There are protocols for chaos. There are things we can do.
so on a big picture level, i think Gordon is saying something like: "the chaos vs. order dynamic that many cultures reference as defining the universe is to some extent an actual real thing, and magic is a tool/technology for creating order in times of high chaos. And in doing this, the person using magic has more agency in (co-)creating their life."

pretty dang interesting... and makes me think of the relationship between magic and free will. that could be an interesting discussion...

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semi-related: this is one of my favorite stories. It's told by Carl Jung and reprinted in a couple books.

There was a great drought where [Richard] Wilhelm lived; for months there had not been a drop of rain and the situation became catastrophic. The Catholics made processions, the Protestants made prayers, and the Chinese burned joss-sticks and shot off guns to frighten away the demons of the drought, but with no result.

Finally the Chinese said, ‘We will fetch the rain-maker.’ And from another province a dried up old man appeared. The only thing he asked for was a quiet little house somewhere, and there he locked himself in for three days.

On the fourth day the clouds gathered and there was a great snow-storm at the time of the year when no snow was expected, an unusual amount, and the town was so full of rumours about the wonderful rain-maker that Wilhelm went to ask the man how he did it.

In true European fashion he said: ‘They call you the rain-maker; will you tell me how you made the snow?’

And the little Chinese said: ‘I did not make the snow; I am not responsible.’

‘But what have you done these three days?’

‘Oh, I can explain that. I come from another country where things are in order. Here they are out of order; they are not as they should be by the ordinance of heaven. Therefore the whole country is not in Tao, and I also am not in the natural order of things because I am in a disordered country.

So I had to wait three days until I was back in Tao and then naturally the rain came.’”
 
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Alex

Administrator
sry, i should have mentioned that it's queued to that particular section, but sure. I really like how he articulates it so here's a relatively accurate transcript:


so on a big picture level, i think Gordon is saying something like: "the chaos vs. order dynamic that many cultures reference as defining the universe is to some extent an actual real thing, and magic is a tool/technology for creating order in times of high chaos. And in doing this, the person using magic has more agency in (co-)creating their life."

pretty dang interesting... and makes me think of the relationship between magic and free will. that could be an interesting discussion...

---

semi-related: this is one of my favorite stories. It's told by Carl Jung and reprinted in a couple books.

There was a great drought where [Richard] Wilhelm lived; for months there had not been a drop of rain and the situation became catastrophic. The Catholics made processions, the Protestants made prayers, and the Chinese burned joss-sticks and shot off guns to frighten away the demons of the drought, but with no result.

Finally the Chinese said, ‘We will fetch the rain-maker.’ And from another province a dried up old man appeared. The only thing he asked for was a quiet little house somewhere, and there he locked himself in for three days.

On the fourth day the clouds gathered and there was a great snow-storm at the time of the year when no snow was expected, an unusual amount, and the town was so full of rumours about the wonderful rain-maker that Wilhelm went to ask the man how he did it.

In true European fashion he said: ‘They call you the rain-maker; will you tell me how you made the snow?’

And the little Chinese said: ‘I did not make the snow; I am not responsible.’

‘But what have you done these three days?’

‘Oh, I can explain that. I come from another country where things are in order. Here they are out of order; they are not as they should be by the ordinance of heaven. Therefore the whole country is not in Tao, and I also am not in the natural order of things because I am in a disordered country.

So I had to wait three days until I was back in Tao and then naturally the rain came.’”
thank you :) this is all quite excellent. as you know I like Gordon, and highly respect him... he's a first-rate thinker... and an amazing writer. kiss points regarding the history of magic are important and unassailable in my opinion... but there's a spiritual materialism here that's never really dealt with. here's my parable:

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https://skeptiko.com/phillip-watt-backdoor-materialism-tony-robbins-chaos-magic-380/
But the story about Amma, that I love, is Amma is tireless in her work. You just go and see her and however old she is, I don’t know how her physical body withstands the work that she does, and on the last day she stays up for like 36 hours, constantly hugging people, helping people, doing all of this stuff. And when she’s in India, if you watch the videos, it’s even more impressive. She’s out there digging the latrines with the untouchables, and all of this stuff.

One of her disciples went up to her one day and said, “Amma, you’re always talking about how the world doesn’t exist and we’re spiritual beings and none of this stuff matters, and yet, you’re doing all of this stuff for the world?” and her response is, what I’ve written there on the page, she says, “World? What world?” As if she’s the embodiment of that, kind of Vedantic, yogic, kind of beautiful contradiction of someone who realizes that just because you’re in service, doesn’t mean you’re attached at all to any of the servers, you’re just this soul being who’s, kind of going through life.

That paradox, that catch 22, “World? What world?” contradiction, to me explains the backdoor-materialism, but Dean Radin doesn’t. Using new empirical means to find out how magic really works, that doesn’t,. That doesn’t ring true to me in a way that Amma does.

(later)

So, next up for consideration Phil, is another BatGap guest. A guy that, I’m sure, slipped under the radar for 90% of the people who listen to BatGap, but it’s a guy who said something that just has stuck with me, and has been so meaningful to me, it’s in my list of daily questions that I ask and challenge myself with, to kind of propel me forward.

The guy’s name is Norio Kushi. He’s a Japanese truck driver. He’s American, but Japanese by ancestry. And he’s a truck driver, he really is a truck driver, and his experience, and you’ve got to give Rich Archer again a ton of credit, because, true to the name of the show, Buddha at the Gas Pump suggests that Buddha may be right there, you know, filling up with diesel at the truck stop.

This guy claims he never was into meditation, never was into deep, kind of spiritual devotion of any kind or another, but was contemplating these deep questions on the road and thinking very deeply about them, and the one thing that he said, which I just think is a golden, golden nugget, I’m going to play for you and then we can talk about it.

Norio Kushi: The words came clear, they said, “Life is not going to turn out.”

Alex Tsakiris: And I’m going to stop it right there, in order to keep it beautifully succinct and I want to expand on it a little bit because it’s one of those things that I think is so great in the truth seeking path that we’re talking about, in the spiritual seeking path, that someone can say one little throwaway line like that, and it can reach into my soul and touch me, and it doesn’t reach into everybody’s soul, but it reaches into my soul and it says, “You know, I’m a doer, I make things happen, and I’m successful and I have a good family and a wife,” and all of this stuff and, “I made it happen,” and, you know what, it’s not going to work out. It never works out. Something is always looming that isn’t going to work out and it truly, from the deeper I get into my spirituality, the deeper I understand the fundamental truth in that, that I want to control things, I want to scheme, I want to, even if it’s good scheming, I want to scheme on behalf of my kids or on behalf of this group or that group. And in the end, none of the scheming ever works out, because that’s not what ‘service’ is about, that’s not what Amma ‘what world?’ is about. She’s saying the same thing. She’s saying, “I’m just doing this crazy shit because I’m doing it, not because I think it’s going to work out, it’s just what I am drawn to do at the moment.”
 
there's a spiritual materialism here that's never really dealt with.
Can you explain a bit more what you mean by this in relation to Gordon White? Are you saying that he's using a spiritual practice to, in some sense, scrabble his way through the unpredictability of material reality, and that this is less 'enlightened' than Amma or Norio Kushi's way of just being and accepting being-ness?
 

Alex

Administrator
Can you explain a bit more what you mean by this in relation to Gordon White? Are you saying that he's using a spiritual practice to, in some sense, scrabble his way through the unpredictability of material reality, and that this is less 'enlightened' than Amma or Norio Kushi's way of just being and accepting being-ness?
yes to scrambling, no to "less enlightened" (well unless he is and then yes to that to :) [I mean, how could anyone judge the "enlighten-nees" of someone else]).

then again, we're all doing some scrambling all the time (which is IMO the strongest point in favor of the magic worldview). so, I guess my biggest point is to make this more explicit and see where it gets us. the idea of complete (or near-complete) detachment from "the unpredictability of material reality" is fundamental to many of the eastern traditions. it's the essence of non-dual. doesn't make it "the" way, but needs to be considered.
 
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