I have wanted to pick up a few threads from earlier pieces and weave them together. The discussion of aesthetics and occultism at the end of Phase I and my concern with the disruptive role of capital in spiritual practice come together in this piece focusing on Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” It also has some connection to the hesitation I have around relying on narrative discourse for a deeper understanding of spiritual experience, too.
I came across this article thanks to Warren Ellis; I see Ellis’s point clearly enough and it’s one that I have been more than a little concerned about myself, especially in the greater occulture. Kingsnorth, the Dark Mountain, and the broader halo of thinking that surrounds and informs them has significant influence on the scene. It’s a trend that extends well-beyond the greens, too. A lot of folks who are committed to ‘preserving a culture’ are edging along similar terrain, looking to join national autonomy to cultural safety.
I often find it easier to think about time in terms of space, in terms of the way we can abstract and spatialize time for a number of broadly mathematical operations. I think that’s pretty common, because we are better suited to conceiving of space than we are to conceiving of time. We can use our better grasp of space to ‘sneak up’ on time.
Following the tail of the last post, I want to turn toward the account of the Fall in Genesis, focusing on a couple of details. The first is that the creation of Eve is something of a capstone to the creation of animals. The second is that Eve is not given a name until after judgment has been passed on the Serpent, Eve, and Adam.
I believe it was in Difference & Repetition that Deleuze specified that the foundation of any system of exchange was not exchange at all, but theft and gift. This fits into his broader argument in that text regarding the derivative nature of systems of equivalence and representation. Those are deep waters, beyond the scope of a blog to plumb, but I want to focus on that bit about theft and gift in regards to a discussion of spiritual syncretism and appropriation.
Gnostic traditions have a habit of forming lineages, lines of succession, through which the spiritual charge and secret knowledge are passed. Those are good things. They preserve methods for intensifying the spark’s activity within its coil and, when things go really well, provide connections to spirits who have been doing this sort of work for a while. Some of those operate in plain sight while others operate in a more sub rosa fashion. Some of these traditions are well aware of the gnostic nature of their work while others have had it comingled and confused with other things. And so it goes. As these gnostic traditions form the more stable vehicles of gnosis, they have also played a large role in shaping our ideas about how gnostic work should operate.