Saturday, 25 May 2013
"Necessity brings him here, not pleasure."
Do not be afraid: our fate cannot be taken from us; it is a gift."
"Consider your origin: you were born not to live like brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge."
Dante Alighieri -- Inferno, The Divine Comedy
Anyone familiar with the work I do here at Amid Night Suns will be aware that I am a fan of poetry, literature and various forms of mythology. They will also be aware that I believe art to be a powerful tool for the evolution of human consciousness. More than this though, I believe art to be the Oldest Magick – a process and system that predates all other forms of spellcraft.
Like standing up for what you believe in, art is not simply a pleasure – it is a necessity. I believe that human consciousness developed a capacity for art, story-telling and meaning-production because it literally had no other choice. It was simply a case of evolve or die. Find meaning in life’s endless brutalities, and solace in that meaning – however subjective – or suffer the consequences. But I also believe it goes much deeper than this. I believe that art is the twin of cognition. One cannot exist without the other. Art is considered, creative perception. Even animals make art. First and foremost they make it in the way they love and play and exist. It is an instinctive, embodied kind of art, and they may not be able to muse on its nature the way we humans do, but it is a lived art nonetheless. I hope people grasp the subtlety of what I’m suggesting here; that cognition itself has an imagining, combining faculty. This art-making function isn’t some accessory or afterthought of human consciousness; it is intrinsic. Mystics and visionaries have been giving us intimations of this idea for thousands of years. Artists have also been telling us much the same thing, whether explicitly or implicitly.
Art is a necessity. It always has been, but now more so than ever. This is because the controllers and rulers and manipulators of our world have declared a war on art and the human imagination. We are being colonised. Our consciousness is slowly but increasingly becoming pathology, and our realm is being reconstructed as a living hell. If you truly doubt this, take a look at the world around you and ask why, in the 21st century, is the gap between the Haves and have Nots continuing to widen? Why do western governments still utilize slave labour based on the exploitation of maintained third-world economies? Why does human trafficking and child abuse and all kinds of depravity still run rampant in our supposedly democratic, civilised world? When most of us think of hell we think of a cruel and depraved place filled with vice and sin.
We forget sometimes that this world, here and now, is far darker than most of us can bear to contemplate for more than a few moments. Sometimes we have to compartmentalize, shut off, ignore, or focus on brighter things. A truly full comprehension of the state of our world as far as injustice and cruelty goes would be simply too disturbing, and, more pointedly, debilitating. I understand that. Again, this is why art is a necessity. To make the darkness bearable. To shine a light, or gather and focus the light that does already exist in this world.
And there IS Light in this world, even amid the crippling darkness. For every horror there is an act of staggering beauty or compassion or grace. My point in all this is that there are various kinds of fire. Hell is often imagined as a place filled with fire – a fire that is used to torment. But fire can also warm and heal and quicken and empower.
I put my faith in the fire of what I call the Innermost Light – the fire of Love, Magick, Passion, Sex and Creativity. I believe in the inferno that exists within the heart of every lucid soul – a ferocious and unassailable connection to infinity, to the divine. I choose to believe that despite the horror that this world confronts us with every day, there is an alchemical furnace in each one of us -- just waiting for the right communion of art and science to transform us from what we are into what we have always secretly wanted to be. And we want to be meaningful. Truly, when all is said and done, most of us can accept our hardships; our mortality, our secret hidden grief, if we can manage to walk through this world with meaning in our hearts – and if we are able to share or stoke meaning with others. We don’t need to try moving mountains on our backs, or tearing down corrupt empires single-handedly. All we need to do is recognise our own power – who and what we truly are – and let that knowledge guide us towards attempting to leave the world in just slightly better shape than when we found it. Make no mistake, just this task alone requires a concerted effort and tenacity and courage, but it is not impossible. If enough of us do this – recognize who we truly are and then act on that Gnosis – the world is thus profoundly transformed. There will be people who will not want to share this effort, to help us collectively reach this critical mass, and so the world may seem just as dark and brutal and unjust as it ever was despite our best efforts. This shouldn’t sway us from acknowledging our true selves and then acting on such knowledge, should it? It is simply a choice between sanity and insanity, between love and disinterest. The Ragged Magi hope that you will choose Love and Sanity.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Don’t be afraid to fail. Become a creator of meaning rather than a passive consumer of it. Express your insights and your wisdom, sharpen your intellect and discernment…show the world an inferno than is not based upon torment, but instead an inferno that has the fire of lucidity at its core. Hone yourself upon your Art, and become a practitioner of the Oldest Magick.