August 10, 2004


The most effective hexes conceal the way they entrap you. White magic hides itself behind layers of bluff good sense ("Magic? Come now. Lighten up. Get yourself a girlfriend." )

Well, there's been a few sneering digs at 'academic theory' recently. Let's consider some of these so-called 'academic theorists' should we?

Spinoza - never held a university position. Worked as a lens grinder. Banished from the Amsterdam synagogue. Victim of an assassination attempt, possibly organized by the higher echelons of the synagogue. However abstruse Spinoza's theory, it was all packaged as a manual for disassembly of tortured mammal meat. Less a book than a program. Run it and get Out.

Deleuze and Guattari - well Deleuze certainly held a university position, but Guattari was a clinical practicioner and political activist. The whole academic lockdown on D/G proceeds programmatically:

Install 'Deleuzianism' as a research project. Typical focus: Difference and Repetition, the most boring book Deleuze ever wrote. (Interesting that Freud says that fetishists fixate on the final object they see before confronting the 'horror' of the vagina. The Philosophical establishment is similar with D and R, the last moment you could pretend what Deleuze was doing was academic philosophy.) Object: turn Deleuze's work into 'respectable' philosophy. Systematically sideline not only Guattari (i.e. refer to Capitalism and Schizophrenia as by 'Deleuze') but more importantly downgrade the whole concept of collective authorship.

It's all OK provided you don't take it seriously i.e. provided you don't really ask 'how do you make yourself a body without organs?' When they say 'sorcery' they're being metaphorical, right?

Irony: the one thing you are not allowed to do in the academy is talk about practices of intensification, still less - hah! - engage in them. Of course, what you are endlessly required to do is deconstruct your own position, worry about the politics of taste, develop negotiated readings.

The Situationists - never held anything like an academic position. Worked temp jobs to fund their activities. Misleadingly described as 'art-types', were precisely critical of the very concept of 'art' as relatively autonomous aesthetic production. Described the total coca-colonization of everyday life by Kapital, displacement of social relations by frozen images, as 'the Spectacle'. Massive impact on counter-culture, esp punk (see Marcus, Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century)

Mark Downham - status and biography unknown. Key texts 'Cyberpunk' and 'Videodrome: the Thing in Room 101', published in Vague magazine (a photocopied post-situationist 'data manual' heroically edited by longterm unemployed Stoke Newington intensity engineer and connection machine, Tom Vague). Downham's work notable for fiction-theory hybridizations far more intense than those gestured at by the likes of university incumbents such as the pedestrian Donna Haraway. The idea that Downham's delirial theory-derrives through Debord, Blade Runner, Ballard, Apocalypse Now and Neuromancer could ever be classified as 'academic' would make a dog laugh. Amongst other things, Downham's de-aestheticizing of the term 'cyberpunk' - i.e. his processing of it as not a generic 'style', but as a destratificatory cultural machine - was unspeakably important in the hatching of

Ccru:Described in its own words:

'Many members of the Ccru had fled cultural studies, disgusted by its authoritarian prejudices, its love of ideology, and pompous desire to 'represent the other' or speak on behalf of the oppressed. To us, it never seemed that the real articulacy of the left academic elites was in any way superior to the modes of popular cultural expression which were either ignored or treated as raw material to be probed for a 'true' (ie ideological) meaning by white middle-class intellectuals.

Ccru has tried to connect and cross-intensify with peripheral cultural processses (dark-side digital audio, cyberpunk, Neolemurian sorcery, numbo-jumbo, Afro-futurism, Indo-futurism, Sino-futurism …). It seeks to think, theorize, and produce with rather than 'about' (or -even worse - 'for') them. We think everything interesting happens on the periphery, outside the standard modes of 'developed' existence.

Ccru engages with peripheral cultures not because they are 'down-trodden' or oppressed, but because they include the most intense tendencies to social flatness, swarming, populating the future, and contagious positive innovation, hatching the decisive stimuli for the systematic mutation of global cybernetic culture.'

Of course, the great 'mistake' Ccru made was to imagine that you could not be academic in an academic institution. i.e. what 'academic' means analytically, is: think, don't do. (And thinking unconnected with action isn't even thinking really.) It wasn't long before the police arrived, retrochronically liquidating Ccru and passing the magical sentence that it 'does not, has not, and will never exist'.

An academic ivory tower? A pyschic warzone, more like. Neuronic timebombs were installed, with all sorts of bad occasionally psychiatric consequences. It was messy for a while.

Freud - well, as every teenager knows, Freud says everything is about sex, right? Wrong. Freud - again a clinical practicioner, not an academic - discovers that life is anorganic tension. Beyond the Pleasure Principle is one of the most astonishing works of speculative theory-fiction in the twentieth century. Moses and Monotheism - a pre-Stargate afro-futurist myth about ur-myths.

Lacan - hounded out of the official Psychoanalytic movement. Way darker and more nihilistic than your Cult Studs prof would have you believe. Cllinical practicioner.

Baudrillard - incredibly, holds a position in the French academy. Last wrote a footnote probably twenty-five years ago. Theory has long since migrated into Jarry-inspired cyber-poetic-Pataphysical riffs. Reviled, misunderstood and dismissed from all sides.

Irigaray - producer of ice-precise dissections of anti-body male philosophical canon in Speculum: of the Other Woman. Forced out of employment while at Vincennes university, ironically confirming her analysis of phallocratic institutions of thought. Cartographer and anti-climatic eroticist of the body without organ ('women have sex organs just about everywhere') in This Sex Which Is Not One. Explorer of the female-oceanic continuum in Marine Lover, conceived of as a virtual encounter with

Nietzsche - abandoned his university appointment in disgust and frustration. Composed his works of untimely intensity-mappings, joyful wisdom and programs for futural emergence whilst constantly on the move. Ultimately succumbed to total nervous collapse when the AOE neuronic microcops took over.

Academic theorists?


Abstract engineers.

Posted by mark at August 10, 2004 03:04 AM | TrackBack

Stating the obvious here, but someone has to do it, I suppose. A few "art-types" worthy of mention here: Burroughs, Godard, Ballard, Moorcock, Richard Pinhas (a student of and collaborator with Deleuze, natch), Philip K. Dick. (You already referred to Debord.) As an, ahem, former academic, I'd say that the ideas of the aforementioned quite obviously have more contemporary currency/relevance than any of the current crop of "legitimate" hackwork from the vaunted academy.

Alas, in the US, at any rate, the hot trend in state philosophy (cf. Deleuze) - the paying and/or tenured jobs, at least - is ... the return to the dry, dull (death) valley of ... analytics.

Sorry for the delay in getting that Deleuze interview to you. It's here, somewhere, in this Library of Babel mess of data CD-Rs strewn about my desk. I haven't forgotten - just still searching.

Posted by: Carter M at August 10, 2004 07:50 AM

Carter of course...

one of the great benefits of the concept of abstract engineers is that it cuts across the philosophy/ fiction divide

Only didn't mention those you've listed in that post coz I was trying to demonstrate that the so-called academics weren't.

Don't know Pinhas (yet)

To add to yr list:




hey, don't stress about the interview, whenever yr ready...

Posted by: mark at August 10, 2004 07:59 AM

One more, almost an inverse though.

Delanda, highest degree is a BFA, from SVA an art school with no legitimate liberal arts department to speak of. Financed his books by animating commercials. Books are getting increasingly more academic, although the next one on sociology will probably be considered a step back from the philosophy tome. Actually holds an adjunct professor job, but its at the architecture school.

His card btw, reads "street philosopher", a touch pretentious maybe, but he can back it up pretty well... Not surprisingly when I asked him about graduate school he unquestioningly discouraged the idea.

One more, not a huge fan, but you can also add Barthes to the list.

Wonder however if their is a distinction between those that do the academy and then quit in disgust vs those that never bother to go through the system at all.

Posted by: Abe at August 10, 2004 09:17 AM

De Landa of course....

Related to that: Braudel (tho comparatively speaking, a respectable academic of course)

Barthes, yeh --- was only reading some yesterday actually ---- Marcello's done good stuff with that concept of 'punctum' for instance ---




Posted by: mark at August 10, 2004 10:26 AM

On a totally different trip, have you heard of Keith Hart (, founder of the amateur anthropological association. Last time I heard him he had given up being published and was attempting to lead a purely verbal existence within the academy, frustrated by the fixity of texts and his own experiences of not being able to write about his 'participant observation' of criminality in (I think) Accra. He's off on a different thing now, writing about money as information, but he's a really inspirational speaker and thinker/doer anti-academic.

Posted by: Jamie at August 10, 2004 10:30 AM

2 more pivotal abstract engineers
and especially
John Cage.
Joy in that there anarchism. He taught at The new School for Social Research ...then again, wouldn't you?

ahhhhh maybe a few more
Chris Marker , Performance work of Vito Acconci and Bruce Nauman and perhaps Christian Marclay.. Today I'd say I pick up more from Dj/Rupture than just about anyone though. Magical and inspiring.


Posted by: Justin at August 10, 2004 10:52 AM

Resnais. You gotta see 'Mon Oncle American'.

Posted by: HKM at August 10, 2004 11:00 AM

Hey, this is fun...




of course!!!

Haven't seen that film HKM, though love Hiroshima Mon Amour

Posted by: mark at August 10, 2004 11:20 AM

yeah, the name dropping game, i like this...
blake, rimbaud, terrence mckenna, breton, tzara, artaud, elliot, michaux, picasso, ernst, picabia, plato, simone weil, rd laing...

Posted by: luke.. at August 10, 2004 11:29 AM

Resnais and Marker = bezzies. They worked together on docs in the 1950s. I have hardly seen any Marker, and even in France none of his films are on DVD. However, those two, and William Klein (worked with Serge Gainsbourg, made doc during May '68), Agnes Varda, and Georges Franju ('Eyes Without a Face') were all in a gang and are an interesting alternative to the 'Cahiers' new wave of Godard et al.

Posted by: HKM at August 10, 2004 11:45 AM

How have we forgot the absolute don:



Jeff Nuttall

Posted by: mark at August 10, 2004 12:03 PM

de chirico, mallarme, and how cezzane did get forgotten?!! (don't think i'm close to spelling his name right though)
the best thinkers exemplify their ideas instead of explixate them. thats why i am in the 'theory haytaz' camp i guess

Posted by: luke.. at August 10, 2004 12:18 PM

there's that yeats line, something about truth can be embodied but not explained

Posted by: luke.. at August 10, 2004 12:25 PM

But that is the D/G position on theory luke... more or less everyone we've mentioned features in ATP!

Posted by: mark at August 10, 2004 12:28 PM


Posted by: HKM at August 10, 2004 12:31 PM

then maybe if they learn to communicate they too will be included in my list. until then they're banned for failing to grasp obvious things.

Posted by: luke.. at August 10, 2004 12:41 PM

well I know this isn't going help luke, but according to deleuze philosophy is to do with creating concepts, not communication ;)

my vote for Francis Bacon, too.

Posted by: undercurrent at August 10, 2004 01:04 PM

Uh, I don't think we really need to vaporise Mark's point here by grinding it down into another wanky list? Do we?

Do we?

I'm not a theory hater -- though I am, after all, from Essex -- but I was interested in seeing Mark riff on magic for a moment. The connection between theory, pop, and magic should be obvious: magic is about thinking, yes, and feeling, even more. But magic is by definition about doing. Translating ideas to... existence. The word made flesh, the videodrome, televisionarying (just say no to death TV).

All of which Mark is slouching towards, without quite getting there. Shoulda talked to Phil Hine in 94. All old hat now...

Posted by: paul "Essex boy" meme at August 10, 2004 01:08 PM

psst, meme, this stuff was around before 94 you patronising fuck! just cos thats when YOU were interested in that complex of ideas, doesn't mean it's when it all started out. its all been around from the 60s, at least, and a lot of those currents precede that even so stop showing off!

Posted by: luke.. at August 10, 2004 01:22 PM

Lol --- calm down Luke ----

But D and G call themselves 'we sorcerers' ....

Posted by: mark at August 10, 2004 01:39 PM

Kudos to the gent who mentioned Ballard and Burroughs. In so many ways, both are the the two most important writers of the last century.
Choices to add to the canon.
Writers - DeLillo, Pynchon, Genet and Celine.
Film (From a purely visionary and language perspective) - Watkins, Bakridge, Bunuel, Tarkovsky

Posted by: Jason Ulane at August 10, 2004 03:50 PM

pokemon: gotta get em all!

Posted by: mark s at August 10, 2004 04:18 PM

i think "theory" is a tactic same as making a single is a tactic, viz a practice intended to produce certain things which probably produces other things also/instead, wanted and unwanted - i am not anti it as a practice except really as used to build the comfortable pedestal from which the best minds (self-defined) gaze out and down at the world

i am a bit suspicious of the pall of sameness this particular act of listing above casts over the gents in it; i am historically very suspicious of the perspective that "writing" (any kind) has things to say abt "music" but never vice versa ---> i am not particularly casting aspersions here in ref the gathered crowd, but the structuring observation does largely go one way for obvous practical reasons (interview a musican you get grunts or tech jargon), but actually the critical gaze goes both ways, it's just that one perspective is not expressed in words

the relativism charge (cf cross comments box below) always baffles me: after all it wasn't me arguing that various fields of considerable internal variation and use (eg television/the charts) were "all the same"; it wz me objecting to this - i am quite keen on detail and differentiation as it happens, though it's true i don't go in much for the "five stars you must buy this book/record/DVD" consumer-directed aspect of um anti-relativist reviewing

i am (= me myself as a writer) generally more interested in use and effect than author-intention - i think the latter tends to be overemphasised - and so yes, i do think that very difft things can end up "coming down to the same thing", if the audience makes choices which are lazy or smug or prejudiced or conditioned by lack of time and energy or or or

i think that i think my duty as a writer is to scramble readers' ideas of what their chocies are, so they have to learn to sort things out for themselves - it's quite likely i'm better at this actually during writing then when arguing abt the theory of how i (pre)judge things, when i evidently get v.brittle abt certain kinds of habit i'm keen to banish (from me if not from the world)

(it occurs to me that some of my temper = retroactive kneejerk defensiveness abt the editorial line i took at wire, which was certainly more intutive than thought-out, and far from evident from my poor co-workers, who assumed half of it wz perverse caprice i suspect)

anyway, i am aware that i tend to turn into the puce-faced gothfynder general when apparent whiffs of my Favoured Heresy reaches me; if i cd find a 12-step programme i wd hurry towards it, since it upsets me too a bit, and apologies to anyone who felt they got the wrong side of it in the last few days

Posted by: mark s at August 10, 2004 05:26 PM

Shoulda talked to Phil Hine in 94. All old hat now...

Shoulda talked to AOS in '21...

Mark, I don't want to get into an argument with you about the merits of Difference and Repetition, but wonder how you can possibly deny Deleuze's status as a (slightly aberrant)academic given all the other stuff he wrote after Capitalism and Schizophrenia. I'm thinking particularly of the Cinema books, but also seem to remember you taking a very dim view of his final book with Guattari?

I agree with you about the eradication of Guattari, and don't think there's a lot of mileage in arguing who wrote what in C&S, but would suggest that there is a palpable continuity from Difference and Repetition to the later works which means that if the former is simply academic dross, so are the latter.

Just to be clear, my own position would be that the problem with Deleuze is not any of his own writings (although I do have problems with them), but the way they are being programatically bled dry of all affect by the endless stream of appalling secondary literature which is currently being vomited out. But then, I'd say that Kant suffered the same thing...

Posted by: johneffay at August 10, 2004 05:42 PM

i like this thread mark...

your thoughts on castaneda??? perhaps the winner of this discussion if only because he actually enraged the academic community

Posted by: jeremyg at August 10, 2004 06:45 PM

there's more to deleuze's 'academicism' than has been said yet: he spent much of his early life teaching in lycees - like an A-level college, 15-18 yrs - rather than universities, and then most of his most productive years (inc his collab with guattari) he was teaching at Vincennes where his 'pupils' by his own account were 'not students but a mixture of all ages, people with all kinds of professional activities, including psychiatric hospitals, even patients...young painters...musicians, addicts, young architects, people from very different countries, with waves of visitors that changed every year'.
So whereas Deleuze may be in the process of being 'rehabilitated' back into the mainstream university system, he spent a lot of his life (and by his own account, his most happy and productive years) in slightly different settings (depending on how different you think 15-18 yr olds are to 18-25 yr olds...)

Posted by: undercurrent at August 10, 2004 10:11 PM

That makes me feel better about teaching 15-18 year olds, lol, didn't know that Robin... still think John's point is fair, but really, if you asked me to junk all Deleuze books apart from ATP I wouldn't be that sad --- didn't say D and R was dross, just that it's boring (Logic of Sense is at least nuts ), and think the differences between the similarly treated themes in D and R and ATP are significant --- if only because of context (i.e. it's clear in ATP that philosophical reflection is not sufficient in itself) --- never been able to do anything with the Cinema books myself --- agree about the secondary literature obv ---

Mark S

Fair play, I think many of the difficulties here are to do with the discussion being conducted at a meta level -- ie theory as opposed to practice lol

think the closest statement of my views wd be in the Ccru quote above -- which implies precisely the kind of mutual 'commentary' between pulpoid forms and theory that yr rightly calling for --- course Kodwo's book a major player in this music-as-theory line... was thinking actually that some of KE's heavy hitters - Perry, Sun Ra, M Davis and most definitely Grace Jones (who as a theorist obsolesced and outdid Haraway even before she had appeared) -- should have featured...

really really happy to junk once and for all the term 'theory' any way --- really really would much prefer to talk about abstract engineering --- incidentally actually think the list above has got out of hand a little: not EVERY good writer/ artist is also an abstract engineer --- think it would be useful at some stage to see where the line might be drawn..

Use and effect versus authorial intention --- happy with this to some degree --- I'm interested in 'intention' hardly at all, but I do remain more invested in production than consumers (too many unspeakable academic conferences where the consumer is king line was pushed I'm afraid) --- obv most postive model is one in which production and consumption become seamless i.e. Simon's scenius... mentioned the Potter and Royle Family e.g.'s on the other thread I think partly because there ppl were forced to confront their role as consumers -- and potentially become something else ---

Castenada: obv important --- see Hyperstition blog!!!

Posted by: mark at August 11, 2004 12:25 AM

So Mark... where is the line drawn? At this point the 'abstract engineer' in your own list as well as this thread seems tied much more to a sensibility (from Artaud to cyberpunk and on...) than any useful/practical definition. You listed Warhol above but otherwise this seems more like a genre than a deterritorialisation? (i.e., if I don't like Cronenberg/Gibson/whatever is there room to make Britney Spears (say) an abstract engineer - in the sense that it seems to have more to do with the way you use the writer/conceptual personae than ostensibly 'instrinsic' qualities?)

Posted by: Sandy at August 11, 2004 02:08 AM

dunno bout mark but i would say involved in trying to overhaul your perception of the world. blake, cezzane, rimbaud, casteneda, picasso, burroughs etc all consciously engaged in that pursuit, britney spears clearly not...

Posted by: luke.. at August 11, 2004 10:39 AM

I agree with Luke re Burroughs vs Britney, but think that this simply counts for the 'engineer' tag. Surely 'abstract' would refer to some sort of non-teleolgical practice of the now, along the lines of Bataille's repudiation of project. This would at least serve to distinguish your Deleuze from your Kant. However, it might also serve to knock Freud and Marx out of the running.

Are Zen Buddhists abstract engineers?

Posted by: johneffay at August 11, 2004 11:52 AM

Whilst agreeing that lists are strictly for nerds, and arslikhan is strictly for stalker-fans, I feel someone should give a mention to the person who first alerted me to how supposedly abstract/academic theories could engage and mutually-libidinize with the 'real' world....A certain mr S Reynolds ;)

Posted by: undercurrent at August 11, 2004 12:15 PM

agree with Luke obv, agree with John also --- VERY important distinction that needs to come into closer focus, that abstract vs engineer thing ---- also agree with John that Marx and Freud need to be decoded in order to function as abstract engineers proper --- isn't that what Anti-Oedipus was for?

will try and answer all other posts on an abstract engineering post this pm

Posted by: mark at August 11, 2004 12:16 PM

good. look foward to it. don't use jargon. i hope to follow it.

Posted by: luke.. at August 11, 2004 12:26 PM

It's not the lists I find a bit odd, it's that they're lists of names: "Stanley is great knives. Black & Decker are cool too, esp Decker who tends to get overlooked..." Wouldn't it make more sense to deal with the tools themselves? With, eg, Burroughs is it reading the novels, or doing cut-up on your own writing, or dressing like an FBI agent, or shooting up and staring at your shoes? In each case, what are the parameters that can be played with?

Posted by: rx at August 11, 2004 02:01 PM

Black & Decker are cool too, esp Decker who tends to get overlooked...

ha ha ha ha ha

luke, don't use jargon? thought we'd agreed yesterday re: marvel that jargon is the shit???

Posted by: mark at August 11, 2004 02:06 PM

only when it means nothing!

Posted by: luke.. at August 11, 2004 04:23 PM

the problem with magic is that it doesn't work

Posted by: that's all very well at August 12, 2004 03:54 AM

I wouldn’t know about that. I induced a man to behave like a baboon from a distance of 5,700 miles.

Posted by: Sphaleotas at August 12, 2004 09:03 AM

Luke, the point I'm making is that Mark (both here and in the CCRU text) was beginning to develop an interesting hybrid of esotericism and philosophy, and that just adding to a list of thinkers is OK but doesn't really extend the concept much. There's always some value in developing Morley-style lists but I thought something valuable was being obscured.

I'm not sure I am being patronising (though it would be a shame to have missed the opportunity ;-)) and I'm not sure whether "these ideas were around before 94". -- well maybe. What I was thinking about was the ideas and practices around post-modern magick that developed around 93/94 and which seemed pretty different from similar esoteric precursors (for example COUM, TOPY, the Process, all of which shared similarities with that strain of thought). They were also definably different from philosophical thought which flirted with magick (Paglia's chhtonicism, perhaps) because it was active, actioned. When I say "it's old hat now", what I mean is that most of the people in the occult scene have largely moved on from this style of thinking / working -- it's in the background, but it's not where people are focusing. For example, I talked to Phil Hine about this stuff a lot in 92/93, but by 96 he was pretty much out of it. But there's still some potential there in my view, particular when you take the philosophical angle, and start layering magick on top. That can really loosen sphincters. As to whether magick "works" or not -- ah, that is the right place to start. But it's also the point you go back to, moving through it over and over...

Posted by: paul "Essex boy" meme at August 12, 2004 11:35 AM

i dunno paul, it just seems like you think your mates (or 'the occult scene' as you call them) are cleverer than mark and his mates. it might be true, but if it is you shouldn't boast about it.
send me something to read that will tell me something i didn't already know and i'll be impressed, until then i say theres nothing new there.

personally i think me and my mates are the cleverest cos we didn't bother with either univeristy courses in cybernetic philospohy or hackney council sponsered 'majikal workshops' with wican wendy, we just took a few drugs, talked a bit, tried some stuff out, experiemnted on our own and worked out the way the world works, send me a tenner and an eighth of monk and i'll explain it to you.

but like arsene wegner said every bloke thinks hes got the prettiest wife.

Posted by: luke.. at August 12, 2004 12:53 PM

Paul: If you do a little digging you will find that there is a tradition of philosophy layering magic(k) on top, and vice versa, in an actioned manner since at least the Ancient Greeks.

The 'occult scene' does not begin and end with TOPY and the bickering Chaoists.

Posted by: Douglas at August 12, 2004 02:02 PM

Luke, where did I say "my mates are cleverer than Mark's mates"? Didn't even imply it. On the contrary, I think where Mark is going / coming from is dead interesting. But it is different: where Mark's stuff takes you, and where magickal stuff takes you, can be remarkably similar, as evidenced by the CCRU article at least. But magick has a different and potentially interesting mode of engagement.

Dunno if any books really explore the links between recent philosophy and magick, but Prime Chaos and RAW's Quantum Psychology might be good places to start. And a surf through the Temple section of Barbelith maybe.

Ah, bickering Chaoists Douglas! Know wot you mean. Yes I'm very much aware of the links between classical philosophy and esoterrorism. Pythagoras etc. My curiosity was piqued however by the similarity in Mark's conceptual approach and that of some post-Chaos magickal thinking, especially in the early-mid 90s.

Dunno quite what point you're making saying the occult is more than TOPY and chaos, but you're right, there's lots of scenes, not all of which engage with the kind of ideas Mark's exploring. Would be interested in discussion of modern philosophers who make a good go of magick, can't think of any who'd do a good banishing ritual but they could be out there!

Posted by: paul "Essex boy" meme at August 12, 2004 04:38 PM

Reckon Biroco makes a better depressed blogger than Marcello.

Occultism has always looked like party-line platonism to me: "this world" for the suckers, "the real world" for the initiates. Hence at the level of politics you get masonic conspiricies and what-have-you; at the level of ethics, memory work. I took it that the deal with Chaos was that is was experimental rather than memorial. If it fizzled out, wouldn't that suggest that the baby was the bath-water?

Posted by: rx at August 12, 2004 05:11 PM

Joel's a good guy. I'm not sure THE point of chaos was that it was experimental; I suspect the point was that it didn't have any single point. Though many would say it was about results -- don't forget it started out as "results magick". I don't think it's in a memorial stage -- quite the reverse actually. It's all too fashionable to slag off chaos IMO(funnily enough Birocco has been for, oooh, ten, fifteen years?).

The duality rx describes is simultaneously something that magical work ties to get past, and a necessary element of groups. I just shrug my shoulders.

All magickal scenes "fizzle out", same as music scenes (though of course none of them go away forever). The smarter groups know this and adopt schisming and mutual denunciation as a growth tactic. Whether or not chaos was "bathwater" or not is a matter of debate. At the time, Wicca was dead dull, and Chaos was hot; now the reverse is true.

I take it you're not a practitioner then rx? What about you Douglas?

But, this is all just talking "around and about" the cross over between modern philosophy and modern magick -- principally gossip about chaos -- rather than examining what it means to extend Abstract Engineering into operative magick... Mark?

Posted by: paul "Essex boy" meme at August 12, 2004 08:10 PM

i believe in magic but not in people who call themselves magicains. maybe i'll write about it in heronbone. i only do it when i need weed and it always works. the weed fairy i call her, she comes to my aid. mark however summons demons on the regs, at least he says he does on hyperstition. he might be fibbing. if you're in london on sunday you should come out meme, dunno why you solate yourself in that far north bolthole. its perverse.

Posted by: luke.. at August 12, 2004 10:37 PM

Paul wrote - What about you Douglas?

I am a practitioner but, like Luke, not a magician. Once, I wanted to be, but all the occult groups I got involved with (and several I observed from a distance) just boiled down to backstabbing and ego-massaging.

I am still very interested in ritual but only on a personal basis. Occasionally I do stuff with other people, but only casually.

Posted by: Douglas at August 12, 2004 11:09 PM

Practitioner of nothing but laziness - "deificari in otio". To be deified by leisure was good enough for St Augustine, so I reckon it's good enough for me.

Posted by: rx at August 13, 2004 09:03 AM

Deified by leisure -- ahh! Your part of the Out of Order Order!

"i believe in magic but not in people who call themselves magicains" -- shit! Have you been reading Pete Carroll? Maybe some Grant Morrison?

"Once, I wanted to be, but all the occult groups I got involved with (and several I observed from a distance) just boiled down to backstabbing and ego-massaging." So it goes my brother, so it goes... there's an ace section on magickal groups at Phil Hine's site, might make you smile with recognition:

Guys, I've never called myself a "magician" in my life. And you're all ideologically very similar to people on the occult scene. Even -- maybe especially, cos he doesn't believe in it -- rx. Belief is the enemy!

Posted by: paul "Essex boy" meme at August 13, 2004 04:32 PM

Paul: I first came across Phil Hine back in the days of 'Pagan News'. He is one of the 'good guys'.

Who knows, if you were hanging out around him, the IOT, or Chris Bray and the gang back then, our paths might have crossed. Still, in the spirit of K-Punk's dissolution of the ego into a cybernetic network, and Marvel Comics fixation, I could not possibly reveal my 'true' identity any more than I would expect you to reveal yours.

All the best


Posted by: Douglas at August 13, 2004 04:50 PM

Douglas, wow, not all that many people on the scene were actually hanging with Phil back in the Pagan News days -- that makes you a mover and shaker! Woo hoo! Yes, was doing stuff around / with IoT, Chris Bray et al back in the day, was busy -- VERY busy -- w/ TOPY stuff at the time. 'kin 'ell -- when everyone was raving, I was putting the farking work in! Ridiculous really. Amazing but not at all a surprise that the K-Punk network should be reeling in some of the old associates.

Yes bruv, my ID is locked down tight!

Posted by: paul "Essex boy" meme at August 14, 2004 03:23 PM