Author Topic: Language, Symbolism, Philosophy, Psychology and Magick -- Alan Moore quotes  (Read 3879 times)

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August 09, 2005, 10:04:58 PM
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Wild Fox Zen

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Comic book writer Alan Moore has a ton of great insights when it comes to magick-- he's a real practitioner of the art. I wouldn't reccommend trying to read all this at once.

...I suppose the thing with magic is that a lot of it is about writing anyway. To cast a spell, that's a fancy way of saying spelling. Grimoire, the big book of magical secrets, that's a French way of saying grammar. It's all about language and writing. It's all about incantation, all these things. Magic, really, it turns out to just be a continuation of the stuff that I've been doing anyway. Using certain arrangements of words or images to affect people's consciousness.

But is Idea Space bounded by your perception? So if you had no knowledge of alien beings, could you encounter them?

No, it's not bound by your perception. There's the possibility that you may have alien minds in Idea Space, there is also the possibility of a kind of fauna native to Idea Space that is made entirely out of Idea stuff, that is indigenous to this realm. So if they're made of this stuff, what are they and all the other forms made of? We've got to make up a word: ideoplasms. There's the Idea Space, there's the ideoplasms that it's all made up of  the stuff of ideas, the medium. Now in my experience of this stuff, this plasm, it seems to be mercurial and reflective in that, say that hypothetically I believe myself to have encountered a number of demons mentioned in various grimoires going back to biblical times . . .

I think we clothe these idea forms. . . The demon Asmodeus that I saw appeared to me as a web of spiders that kept turning itself out into a dimension we don't have, into a web of lizards, and then back again. The immediate impression I got was it's trying to tell me. . .

As I see it there's a glossary of imaginary beings. My experience with demons suggests they are a very different category of being than gods. It's something to do with complexity, and it's something to do with emotions. The demons that I have seemingly encountered, and this is probably complete hallucination, or schizophrenic episode, whatever, have recognisably human traits. They were different to us and Other than us. But you could see that they liked to show off, had vanities, rage, closer to us than the couple of gods I seem to have encountered, which are a different level of complexity and have no recognisable human emotion at all. They are more complex, they are higher. Some entities I've encountered seem to be completely stupid, they're like astral fish. Spectacular, but they're not there for much. Not very intelligent, they have their properties and peculiarities but they're not that interesting. . .

. . .they're us unfolded in some way. I don't know what I mean by that. In a sense, they are all, for want of a better word, God. . .

So that's a rough mapping of how it seems to me. That there is this rich world of the mind, and also one of my nuttier ideas, I mean so far as this waffle about Idea Space is still fairly within the bounds of sanity, I'm just talking about the possibility of an imaginary space, but I also suspect that ultimately this space we are in now and Idea Space are the same space, it is just that. . .

Everything we're wearing, sitting amongst, had its origins in this nebulous and, according to science, non-existent territory of the human mind. It's what Koestler called the ghost in the machine. Now I've entered a real problem. You can see how much of a problem it is when you look at people like BF Skinner, the father of Behaviourism, who managed to explain away consciousness by saying we're not really thinking, aren't really conscious, it's all done by a vibrational by-product of the vocal cords. What a contortion to have to go through, to explain this bothersome numinous conscious-ness of ours.

To me magic is a very political thing, it's ultimate politics. You're not just questioning how the state is governed, you're questioning reality, the rock that it's all standing on, dangerous shit like that, but necessary at this juncture, at the end of the 20th century, when we have been removed from. . .

As I understand the original Gnostic Christians, 'gnosis' means 'to know'. You don't want to be told, you don't believe in anything, you don't have faith, you know because you've seen it. Doubting Thomas, my favourite Apostle, sounds like he comes from Northampton, he's like, 'I want to stick my hand in here, this could be a hologram'. I can respect that. What happened with the invention of Christianity, which as far as I can see was the invention of Constantine and his advisors, they needed a composite religion to solve the political problems in ancient Rome. That was invented out of a blend of other beliefs and all of a sudden it was no longer required that you have a personal divine vision, they're saying 'Come to us'. In fact they're saying it doesn't even matter we haven't had a divine vision, we've got this book, and this book is about people a long time ago, and they had divine visions and we'll read to you about them. In effect it's putting a dam between people and what you might call the godhead, their personal power.

It's like our original mythic landscape, all myths whether you're talking about Gilgamesh or Arthur or whatever, what they do is have this mythic landscape full of monsters, mythical places, gods. All of which mean something, they are all forms in the human psychosphere, they're all messages, and important ones. Then you invent your hero, your Gilgamesh, your Arthur, as a kind of Everyman, the projected astral body of the people listening to it, the point of identification. They travel round the world of the Odyssey with Ulysses as their astral body, their virtual body. That is the mythic landscape. We enter into the mythic landscape through the tales of heroes or gods or whatever. Strikes me with this CD ROM stuff you've got the potential to actually open a doorway to the real mythic landscape in a much more encompassing sense, and see what kind of experiences people have. My ideas are still formative but that's an example of how having a new form of technology opened up and created this rich web of possibilities.

But, yeah, people's heads are stuffed with a fantastic amount of information, and I think all too often they cannot assimilate, digest or connect up that incredible amount of data into a coherent worldview. And I like to think that if my work is complex, it's because we live in a complex world. What I'm trying to do is give a bit of coherence to that complexity, to say that it is possible to think about politics, history, mythology, architecture, murder and the rest of it all at the same time to see how it connects.

... Connection is very useful; intelligence does not depend on the amount of neurons we have in our brains, it depends on the amount of connections they can make between them. So this suggests that having aഊmultitude of information stored somewhere in your memory is not necessarily a great deal of use; you need to be able to connect this information into some sort of usable palette. I think my work tries to achieve that.

I’ll give a brief recap in case we feel we missed anything. Magic and language are practically the same thing, they would at least have been regarded as such in our distant past. I think it is wisest and safest to treat them as if they are the same thing. This stuff that you are dealing with - words, language, writing - this is dangerous, it is magical, treat it as if it was radioactive. Don’t doubt that for a moment. As far as I know, the last figures I heard quoted, nine out of every ten writers will have mental problems at some point during their life. Sixty percent of that ninety percent - which I think works out at roughly fifty percent of all writers - will have their lives altered and affected - seriously affected - by those mental problems. I think what that translates to is - nine out of ten crack up, five out of ten go mad. It’s like, miners get black lung, writers go bonkers. This is a real occupational hazard. There’s plenty of ways to go bonkers, some of them a lot quieter, some more insidious than others - drink, heroin, there’s lots of other sorts of things - but this is dangerous - we’re dealing with the unreal. You’re dealing right on the borderline of fact and fiction, which is where our entire world happens. We’re living in a world of fact and we’ve got out heads full of fiction, the characters that we’ve invented for ourselves - we’re all writers, we all invent characters for ourselves, roles in this little play that we’re running in our head that we call our lives. With a writer, you’re dealing with the actual stuff of existence, you’re playing the God game. All the things that you will have to consider before you write a story are exactly the things God had to consider before he created the universe - plot, characters (laughter) and what’s it mean, what’s it about, what’s the theme here . . . motifs. A lot of them suns, they’ll do, we’ll put them everywhere - hey, snakes! These are easy . . . (laughter).

I'd say that, entities are a kind of compound idea, at least as far as I see them. And I do see them occasionally but they seem to me to be some sort of compound idea form. But it might be an idea - and this is just a mad, hippie, did-too-much-acid-in-the-'60s kind of theory but - if you could get an idea that was complex enough, self-referential enough, could it become aware? They say that awareness is an emergent property of complexity. Could that be true on a purely immaterial level, about ideas? If you had a complex enough idea form, could it become aware? Could you have things that were ideas but were alive? I mean, I've certainly encountered things that seem to be ideas but act as if they're alive. I'm not saying that they are, I'm not saying that they're not just some projection of me, that's also quite possible, I wouldn't want to rule that out but they pretend not to be. [Laughs] They appear to be something else. That is the way that my magic tends to go. When I first beame initiated into magic, which was by an event, a spontaneous event, rather than in any organization, that was the way that my thoughts seemed to be going on the subject: that actually, awareness is a space, mind can be looked at as a space and that space may be inhabited. There might be entities that are indigenous to that space. Flora and fauna of the mental realm, which I think is more than enough to explain all the demons, angels and chimera and UFO grey aliens and elves, leprechauns, pixies of all of our human culture.
...So I guess that these kind of themes, these ideas, they probably run all the way through our lives like a kind of developing music, that the basic kind of chord patterns are there right from the beginning, probably, but they just become more elaborate, or more penetrating or more deeper.


Any commentary?