29 July 2005

“Concerning the Spiritual in Art”

I’ve been talking a bit with Tim and he was nice enough to post about my pursuit of an occult design on Occult Investigator. Seeing him throw it up there, and then tossing and turning till 03:00 this morning got me to thinking: everything we, as humans do, seems to have a method of finding divinity. You always hear people talk of surfing as though it’s a mystical experience. Watching My Architect, they made Louis I. Khan out to be more than just an architect but a genius of another calibre altogether. It’s been a while since I’ve read Concerning the Spiritual in Art (download or read), by Wassily Kandinsky, which is something I need to do again soon. I belive Kandinsky has many of the keys I may be searching for (via the Schönberg Center):—
The work Concerning the Spiritual in Art, completed in 1910, is Kandinsky’s most important theoretical writing. He had made notes for it already ten years before, it was published at the end of 1911, so it was ready for the opening of the exhibition of the editors of the “Blauer Reiter.” Up until 1912, three reprints were necessary.

In the Introduction, “inner necessity,” the expression which was important to Kandinsky was introduced. In the first chapter, Bewegung (Movement), Kandinsky draws a triangular picture of spiritual life: a triangle with a single figure standing at its point moves ever forwards. In the following chapter, Geistige Wendung (Spiritual change) Kandinsky specifies this idea and attempts to give it historical proof. Before he actually comes to speak of art itself, he mentions the Theosophical Society as a great spiritual movement. His appeal to literature leads him to Maurice Maeterlinck and Kubin as soothsayers of the decline; as far as music is concerned, he sees principally Claude Debussy and Arnold Schönberg, who renunciates the beautiful and leads into a new kingdom of spiritual experiences in music, as carrying the hopes of the “spiritual change.” In painting he specially emphasizes Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse as pathfinders. The chapter Pyramide (Pyramid) shows the relationship and the differences between the arts. Kandinsky strives towards a joining of the arts to form a “monumental art”.

The main part, the chapter Malerei (Painting) is, in contrast to the preceding chapters, reserved for systematic argument. Kandinsky investigates the effect of colors (as “vibrations of the soul”) and develops a system for connecting form and color. In this, he places abstract elements in the foreground. According to Kandinsky colors are basically arranged warm-cold / light-dark. Each color is assigned a spiritual expressive quality, which he illustrates with musical examples. From the preceding chapter he takes the idea of “monumental art” and designs a new form, the “stage composition,” whereby dance joins color and music as a third element. The closing words concern reproductions of Kandinsky’s own works, here he makes sub-divisions into “Impression”, “Improvisation” and “Composition” and refers to motives and aims of his own works.

Kandinsky was adamantly against art for art’s sake. Perhaps that is the equivalent of myself opposing sorcery for sorcery’s sake. And by this, I mean that every action should either be a) an act of developed intuition, or b) if the ego must be involved, a calculated, designed approach to life. Interestingly, Tim has been mapping out his own understanding of Gnosticism. I’ve just thought that all this Gnostic Renaissance stuff has been a fad, but he’s genuinely going down C. G. Jung’s road and I respect him for that. Sloughing off the religious symbolism, he’s concluded that it’s a mythological structure by which we can analyse and implement blueprints for leading one’s own life:—
The observation of limitation
The intuitive knowledge of potential beyond limitation
The experience of transcending limitation into potential

I really admire this about Tim because, essentially, this approach is how I started years ago before I was comfortable practicing any sort of magics. But the wealth of knowledge he garners now will serve him a thousand times over when he approaches even his most basic exercises in the future.

Also, in his refinement of so-called Gnosticism to these three concepts, and even exploring the themes more recently in gangsta rap, we have the unspoken aspects of a brand that are essential to every human being on the planet. Here, in fact, is the universal brand for all mankind (at least in its current incarnation).

(This is why I love community sometimes, and why Jason and I worked so well together in the occult for the past decade: being able to bounce ideas off one another and hear them said differently. It helps to clarify and magnify the message, it helps to understand oneself. We all need the social mirror to look into to aid in self-analysis and understanding.)

I have a book I’ve only ever flipped through but I should really read soon, too, all about the structure of secret societies and their effects on members socially and psychologically. These societies work not because they’re “secret” but because of how the members associate with one another. Under the auspices of a group, it empowers the individual to act differently than she or he would if they were without the backing — even if its illusory and a purely psychological trick of the mind. e.g. Let’s say if you were to associate yourself with a brand, a market and symbol, an advertised image that conveyed just that. Again, I know I’m not trudging any new ground yet. Marketers have known this for years. But it’s one thing to read it, another to figure the workings out for oneself so they become second-nature in your planning process. This is what I do.

I have plenty of ideas I’ve been quietly researching for the past while, and as they become pertinent I’ll post them online. For now, I want to explore the power behind this entity before it’s let out of its womb.

I recall coming across articles on ancient Egyptian priests’ rites (labyrinths, more magical sorts of rites and tribulations), the trials of African tribesmen (abduction, scarring, whatever), and of the Tantrikas of Asia (intercourse with corpses, residing in graveyards, and the such). Freemasons exist within European and North American culture and maintain their rites and trials for their members, but from what I understand they’re nothing more than an old boys’ club now. At least in North America, for the most part.

Although denied entrance due to my lack of magical group work, the Illuminates of Thanateros seem to have decent numbers and are organised well enough to have persons in order of membership and light administration. I come across this and that dealing with their workings, mostly in England it seems, so I don’t really know much about what IOT America is up to. But they remain silent and quiet, so not a lot to learn from them. They also haven’t published much in the last while, and the chaos magic current seems to be going through a lull as Peter J. Carroll, Phil Hine, Jan Fries, and the others I am familiar with seem to slowly disappear from the limelight. Grant Morrison still seems to carry a public torch for chaos magic, however, and he’s one of the best idols that modern sorcery has. Him and Alan Moore, at least. The rest come across as idiots, such as Genesis P-Orridge and Marilyn Manson.

And this will touch on occult design: how do you expect to communicate your ideas if you are so laden with schtick that no one takes you seriously. Your message has become buried under the gimmicks utilised, and thus your “conscious act of will” to enlighten and empower is now part of the gimmick and you’re a dork. A dork with tits. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Tool did it right. P-Orridge and Manson did it wrong. This is just my opinion, however.

[EDIT — I don't mean to say that they did it WRONG, but if there is to be an approach of acting intuitively upon the world and all the while reviewing and watching from a esign point of view, this gives on the tools necessary to perceive the overall affect you have on the environment. For all I know, P-Orridge and Manson may be the end-all be-all of doing it RIGHT, it's just not the way I'd do it. And I see other examples affecting more, in a healthier light, and, ultimately, from a design perspective, handling the message and approach more with more successful intent.]

And interestingly, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Tool never pushed themselves as occultists or mystics or whatever. They did what they did, like architect Louis I. Khan and painter Wassily Kandinsky, and they infused their art, work, and whatever with a higher quality that sang out occult truths. Truths that were lacking from anyone else’s works.

This brings me back to the idea of ego ruining any pursuit. Ego is a saturated market. Why do we do this? Fame? Riches? Glory? Revenge? One thing I’ve found through any sort of so-called spiritual lifestyle is that intuition begins to play a much larger role. One may go left or right at whim simply to see what happens. Tragedy is as interesting as comedy, and I often perceive my life as a series of chapters or acts in a play. I never am so upset with my life that it’s a burden. If anything, I sit within this vehicle and enjoy the ride.

This whole experiment I am looking at now is a culmination of years of “failed” or half-attempted feats that were above and beyond my experience at those particular times. I’ve tried to produce short films, I’ve tried to get posters of scholars out, I’ve promoted parties and bands, I’ve tried to start a magazine that actually garnered attention from around North America for its unique and sellable concept, and on and on. While many have raised an eyebrow at me and considered me a failure, I’ve also accomplished more in my years than most have by the time they retire — dealing with subjective, emotional, perceptual, and spiritual matters. Which ones are more important? Well, to my generation, it is often the wallet, latté, and the car. I took the approach of the senior citizen, the aging baby boomer and now have that done. Time to conquer what my peers started on seven or eight years ago (and some still haven’t even started on).

So now that I explore an umbrella to carry a larger message, all these experiences with design, publishing, editing, writing, networking, promotions, marketing… they can all tie together to bring about properly a new experiment. Every failure is thus a success later on.

And all of these things I do intuitively. I don’t usually think about stuff anymore. I just do it. Why do I put these stickers up? To make others feel better. And to watch people’s reactions, to learn. Why do I say all the nasty or caring things I do? To observe, to learn more about human interaction, to help others. My ego still exists, but not as it was. My experience of being spilled over from focusing on what makes my ego swoon and now perceives my environments and interactions from the point of view of many more interior aspects.

Part of this experiment shall be designed, magically induced, and in doing so I will become a willing pilot and rider of this ride. I will also be doing many things intuitively, for no good explicable reason, other than it needed to be done. Not for me, not for you, it just needed to be put out there. For them.

For them? That is interesting. I firmly believe that we are all connected in this inter-subjective phenomenological matrix of ours. I guess it would be for me, not in that it satiates the illusory self I perceive to be me, but that I believe I can be a part of the transcendence of the human race. In my eyes I see it as both apocalyptic and transcendental, but for many I know it’ll be frightening. I work intuitively to ruin the human race as it is so that we may move on.

Is this part of the Secret College, of a current that moves beyond words and instils itself in artists and others around the world? A drive beyond words to ultimately bring about the race? To merge us with the spirit so as to allow us to collapse this world and begin the next part of our race’s journey — perhaps beyond the carnal?

If so, I think it’s fun to give up the driver’s seat and just sit back in this body and enjoy the ride. Especially since my ego has started to figure out that it’s now watching the events of a much larger entity play itself out, nothing that could possibly satiate my ego could be as entertaining or grand as the events that unfold as you give yourself up to satiating the will of the Universe.

2 comments:

lord moranosa. said...

what p-orridge and marilyn manson continue to do would be to influence the current from a very primal fashion. meaning, that p-orridge and marilyn manson are influencing elements that flow into the overall 'source', if i use that word. these two are as shamanic and brilliant, in my personal observation, as tool, led zeppelin, the beatles, pink floyd, grant morrison, neil gaiman, alan moore, garth ennis, warren ellis, and the list continues to thrive and grow and illumine....

as i mentioned him in my other comment, what makes grant morrison very successful and inspiring would be his ability to bend his will and his ego to meet the tasks placed in front of him by him. over the last several weeks, i have downloaded from online several very fascinating interviews with him, that i would gladly pass on to you as totems of power and continuing inspiration (my email, to reach me as such: osa46@westelcom.com).

what i have learned from grant has been to fit myself into paradigms that works for me, and to wage war against any other paradigm that has failed me, in terms of no longer inspiring me to drive deeper within the wilderness of my mind and my intent. the problem that i have observed, with any type of 'magick' has been how many become either stuck in the proverbial rut, or too lazy to extend themselves further into their evolving magickal systems. i have read hine and carroll but found them a bit too predictable and 'safe' for my personal taste. why i find grant to be inspiring would be because of his very to-the-point feelings involving magick and ritual -

that if the ritual you have created for yourself no longer inspires the mojo rays of mind and flesh, then burn the fucker to the ground and create the ritual that does kick those rays into the seventh sphere of the eleventh house of the high archon of feral arousals and influences.

too many so-called 'magi' become buried underneath every type of rigid 'law' as they can possibly seek and feast upon. rigid to the point where they fail in their personal magick, and no longer charge the current. for all of their -schtick- manson and p-orridge are definitely not buried underneath all of this 'law of high' that too many magick communities love to worship and uphold (..to immediate mind comes the wicca community: buried underneath enough format to reduce feminity to this level of utter voidness of sensuality and creativity...)

the only magick that can work must belong to the systems you have chosen to conceive and nurture.

tim boucher said...

Fell, I posted a sort of response to part of this:

http://www.timboucher.com/journal/2005/07/30/the-essential-human-brand/

I feel like we're getting down to the nitty gritty of something here.