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Never say die

By Jack Faust | September 19, 2010 | Print This Post | E-mail This Post | 6 Comments

As a special treat for International Talk Like a Pirate Day Jack Faust has written an in-depth and thought provoking essay about piracy – what it is, what it means and what it could mean in the future.

Anticopyright: September 18th, 2010.

The following is the sole “intellectual property” of Jack Faust…but he doesn’t care what you do with it. Hell, you can even lie and claim that all of these ideas are your own. But if he catches you, he’ll probably make fun of you for a long time.

Biting the Hand that Feeds

Information was never intended to be free. Knowledge has almost always come with a price tag, though the price tag differed depending on which civilization you were a part of. One way or another, however, you’ve almost always been expected to pay for that knowledge. In the past, the reason for doing so was often a matter of prestige; access to privileged information lead to a “special status” to which the consensus thus granted power to in the form of authority. Of course, technology has now made it so that such status, privilege, and information might not last forever…

Some forms of piracy, on the other hand, will last forever. One might take the instance of Somalian pirates in recent years. Largely faced by a lack of economy, which has been made worse both by the recent Somali civil war, and the divestment of fishing territory by foreign corporations. Before one was to begin discussing the moral implications of such activities, it should be noted that the yearly per-capita income of a family in Somalia is $600, making it one of the poorest countries in the world.

But let’s not mistake the above for what’s happening across the Internet. The first children of the 21st century and the last children of the 20th century are not occupying somebody else’s boat with guns, divesting them of their property, and then making off to sell it on the black market. Why, then, do we call the act of file sharing piracy? Continue reading »

Room service

By Psyche | April 2, 2010 | Print This Post | E-mail This Post | 8 Comments

I recently began reading The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. It’s been on my shelf for years, but I’ve only just picked it up in preparation for reviewing Ten Years of Triumph of the Moon.

Edited by Dave Evans and Dave Green, Ten Years is a collection of academic essays inspired by Hutton’s groundbreaking work. Hidden Publishing provided me with a copy for review, but of course this necessitates first reading Triumph. And so here we are.

I’m finding it a fascinating read, and certainly as important as the hype that surrounds it has suggested. At the moment I’m still in the pre-Pagan stages of its history, covering the Golden Dawn and high magick, and this particular quip from Hutton seems a rather accurate summation of how magick is often approached:

Traditional scholarly magic was at basis an elaborate way of ringing for room service.

The reference is in regards to the Holy Guardian Angel, commanding spirits and demons, and much of the ritual work that was reintroduced in the occult revival at the turn of the last century.

It struck me that work with the Goetia hasn’t change substantially since that time, and, for good or ill, certainly many people seem to treat their HGA experiences this way.

How relevant is this observation today? In seeking experiences with entities outside ourselves, are we only “ringing for room service”?

Sexism in contemporary occulture

By Psyche | February 15, 2010 | Print This Post | E-mail This Post | 79 Comments

Female/Male/TransSexism is a topic that came up in a forum I recently started participating in. None contested that it was endemic in occulture, but few seemed interested in exploring why this was.

I know women who have been asked “who are you here with?” when they attended events. Several have had men try to “explain” technical points to them, unprompted. In my own experience, after choosing a stone to represent an element at a gathering, I overheard a man complain that I should not have been “allowed” to choose Fire.

The most common reaction reaction to the above was a dropped jaw and a private resolution to never attend such events again. And they don’t. Yet many (men, usually) seem bewildered by low attendance of women in their group/temple/lodges.

We have lost essential voices of dedicated magickians because they were treated poorly and edged out of the public sphere. They post profound things in friends-locked spaces on LiveJournal, are brilliant on IM, in private conversation  and other “safe” spaces where they won’t be shut down. Few publish books, and those that do stick to other “safe” topics like occult biography and history. 

How did we let this happen? What can be done about it?