…every malign spell has a lie at the heart of it, and if you can expose the lie in a way that the person under the spell can see and understand, the lie dissolves and takes the spell with it. It’s like the old claim that a demon can never change itself wholly out of demonic form: there’s always a hoof or a claw or something, and if you can train yourself to notice that, the illusion fails.
We need stories that expose the epic lies behind the Thaumaturgy of Destruction.
We need stories that imagine spaces where we may act and leave these lies behind.
There have been stories reaching after one or the other. How about both together?
This question hides in plain sight behind a futile question, so often asked, “Why don’t you give us some answers, provide some solutions along with your criticism?”
This question is mired in our expectation that we can only move along a binary course, either away from something or toward some other idea of how things should be. This handy duality polices the boundaries of our possibility, ensuring we remain stuck in futility.
How are these questions different?
Exposing the lie is not the same as discovering and attacking an enemy. We slide without notice from finding something wrong to naming names. It’s quite difficult not to. But, unless we do something else; unless we maintain focus on the lie and not fight those who fall for it; we are playing duality games with no chance of finding a creative break.
Describing a space in which we can – without great doses of intoxicated delusion – see ourselves moving, is not the same as providing a plan. A space is not a plan, or an idea, or a program. It’s just room to act. We have discovered how far into a corner we’ve slipped. There doesn’t appear to be much room for us. Our imaginations have been destroyed along with everything else. This imaginative space is as endangered as a glacier or a rain forest or a corral reef.
Thaumaturgy shows us an entry. So long as we cannot see the products of Spectacle as thaumaturgical acts either formulated or accepted and propagated for their abilities to distort our attention; we have no traction. All illusionary magic – and perhaps a lot of any other kind – works through the illusionist’s ability to direct and misdirect our attention.
In the Twentieth Century this art developed into Propaganda. After the Second World War Propaganda was folded into the much more palatable sounding Marketing Revolution. As we’ve come to have our attention dominated by mass media, and now – again note how this sounds so much nicer – social media; these efforts have gained a tremendous influence over our attention. Whether we wish it or not.
This trajectory mirrors, and has also amplified, the effectiveness of all the other accelerations-leading-us-off-the cliff we’ve lived through. It has provided the mental energies that latched onto cheap abundant sources of energy and all the power-plays these have fueled. It has made it almost unimaginable for us to see any possible alternatives to this madness. Even hiding the extent and sources of our insanity from us.
But just as Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf, – his plan, simply the reductio ad absurdum of rationalism, only universally condemned because he was just so literal! Lacking in nuance…. The secret to being believed is to believe your lie yourself. The Big Lie is most powerful. And, if at first they don’t believe, lie, lie again!
Here is the kernel at the heart of Propaganda/Marketing. Not only the source of its power, but also its greatest weakness. As JMG wrote above, “…if you can expose the lie in a way that the person under the spell can see and understand, the lie dissolves and takes the spell with it.”
But this can’t be done using the same means as have always been used to propagate lies. We can’t fight persuasion with a War on Lies! If that’s all we can come up with, we have not found an alternative. We’ve gotten nowhere.
These exposures will only sink-in if they enter our attention in a way that in itself signals that we are involved with something else. That this is not just another volley in a negotiation vying for our opinions. Story and the wider, not strictly verbal net of extended metaphor needs to exhibit a holographic wholeness. Holographic in the Bohmian form not in the much-touted Matrix inspired sense: Yet another example of how Spectacle has swallowed and digested a story that aimed to break its grasp but failed to escape its tropes.
These holographic stories bring us into their weorlds. Their weorlds touch us. Their weorlds are – and here’s where the second part comes in – not trapped in the same claustrophobia of futility in which we find our selves. Their actors do not necessarily shoot their way out of trouble. They don’t just react against and fight whoever opposes them.
Such stories provide a glimmer of light shining through some small crack in our habitually indoctrinated conditioning that illuminates a space outside of our accustomed futility.
Our strength is unleased when we recognize such a connection. Strength, not power…. As with anything that contributes to our integration, we are strengthened as we are made whole. Our energies released. We gain clarity. We have an experience of coherence to light our way out of our customary incoherence. We’ve been given – not a map, not a plan – tools.
Such stories provide us with the two things we need to liberate us. A re-connection with our capacity to recognize lies and an experience of what it is to occupy – another useful term bulldozed by the Spectacle – a space in which action is possible.
As we’ve found, there is a realm in which we can co-create spaces that cannot be physically colonized by the forces of destruction: It is the Theosphere, where we confront mystery and all that cannot be known, another name for the infinite. So long as we are held by reductivist reactions to the all-too-visible evils of Religion and close our eyes to the Theosphere we are trapped in a lie. Our so-called Materialism is a lie. An anti-Religion that shuts us off from our physical weorld in-the-name-of an abstraction, another -ism.
If we enter the Theosphere without being hobbled by duality and reductive, power-seeking strategies we find a clear space. One of a Triad of realms that make up our sphere of attention: Theosphere, Art, and Craft. This entry point strengthens our capacity to wrest space in the other two realms. Art and Craft exist in this physical space that has been so thoroughly colonized and despoiled. Beginning in the Theosphere we can begin to carve habits of attention and action that carry-over.
No story can limit itself to the Theosphere. This would be another reductive lie. We cannot live in Utopia, no-where. The Theosphere is an entry. From here we grapple with Art and Craft. In Art we grapple with Meaning. In Craft we integrate Meaning into the artifacts and actions we use to meet our physical needs. Inhale, hold, exhale. These three Realms form the rhythm of our breath, the source and fulfillment of our lives. We find this in these stories – recognizing it in old ones, we integrate it into new ones.
This can be a pathway leading us out from under a spell, liberated from an evil thaumaturgy. We discover a space we can inhabit through stories. We attend to our revitalized imaginations. There is no cause & effect at work here. That’s not how things work. These stories introduce us to a web of interactions, influences and responses.They start us along other paths we have not been able to recognize. Paths that have been hidden, obscured, by the Spell of Spectacle and the Thaumaturgy of Destruction.