Year of Thinking Magically Addenda: Possibility



I'm not going to try to define what magical thinking should be in terms of method or dogma. I don't really subscribe to either. But I do have what I think is a very practical goal or result that magical thinking should lead you to, and that is a sense of possibility.

Possibility is a rare commodity these days.
And it seems there are a lot of people whose profession is essentially to limit possibility. There's the whole concept of extreme possibility that we've covered a lot here, but that's a loaded term that tends to lead to some interesting but not immediately applicable side roads.

Tonight, I was trying to define my approach to pop culture -- specifically sci-fi -- when talking to Cosmic Gnostic for an upcoming podcast. The word I was looking for was scrying, as ridiculous as that might sound. The reason I write about the specific pop culture artifacts that I do here (Kirby, TXF, etc.) is that they tend to be the richest sources for whatever it is I'm looking for, whether it's syncs, symbolism, subtext and/or memes. It's gotten to the point that this scrying process takes over my superficial experience of the work in question.

And of course The Outer Limits has been an absolute motherlode for me over the past year. I forget exactly how this particular episode recently crossed my path, but I wasn't looking for it. But on rewatching it I realized it tied directly into the the ideas I've been exploring with the whole concept of magical thinking.

When I hear the word scrying, I immediately think of Dee and Kelley and their secret alphabets and that's exactly what this episode is about. It deals with two adolescents who've been trapped in childhood due to outside circumstances, but who are saved by magic. And as Alan Moore explained back when we started this journey, magic here is based in language (which as Burroughs informs us, is a virus from outer space).


We see a young girl (played by Rachel Leigh Cook, who looks like a living kewpie doll here) who hears voices (again, usually the definition of madness) and is haunted by dreams and visions. The authorities want to literally cut the magic out of her head and the rabble think she's a witch responsible for the town's multiple tragedies. Unable to put her visions into words, she resorts to sculpture instead.

The obligatory (ancient) alien probe (covered in secret alphabets, just like its later counterpart in The X-Files) is simply a concretization of the principle of magic, just like nearly all of the science is in most sci-fi, and maybe a lot of our ostensible science science as well.

So what this story is really about is a young woman who wants to hang out to the magical thinking of childhood and bring it with her into adulthood. This is something that artists have to do-- good ones, anyway-- since creativity is itself a completely irrational act. It's also the only socially acceptable form of magic these days. The magic also helps her solve the great dilemma of her life, which is as it should be, since true magical thinking should necessarily lead to discovery and problem solving.

Childhood is-- or should be-- a time of magical thinking as well as a time of great possibility. It all comes very easy to kids, even those in bad circumstances. It makes you wonder if all of the scholastic pressure that's being put on certain kids these days is part of an attempt to rub out that magical thinking and limit possibility, because as far as I can tell that's exactly what it's doing.

Postscript: Strangely enough, this episode is directed by Catherine O'Hara, of SCTV and Beetlejuice fame, among others. Jonathan Young --who plays Nikola Tesla on Sanctuary-- plays the young conspiracy theorist. Non-US readers try here if video doesn't play.

NOTE: As Anadae points out, Cassie's magical initiation takes place in a cavern, that most venerable place for magical transformation. See also subway stations in the case of Captain Marvel and Nikopol.

15 comments:

  1. Magic is good planning… good preparation for things to come. The more one visualizes beneficial outcomes… the more likely they are to come about. Invoke often!

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  2. 'It makes you wonder if all of the scholastic pressure that's being put on certain kids these days is part of an attempt to rub out that magical thinking and limit possibility, because as far as I can tell that's exactly what it's doing.'

    wonder no more, you're correct.

    US education by design, is meant to kill any creativity or any independent thought/freewill that institutionalized religion misses in its modus operandi; subversion of the individual freewill to its agenda... only its magical thinking is prescribed, all else is heretical and proscribed w/ threats of eternal damnation and annihilation.

    probable re-mention; john taylor gatto's "underground history of american edu' free in entirety; online

    http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/index.htm

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  3. "This is something that artists have to do-- good ones, anyway-- since creativity is itself a completely irrational act. It's also the only socially acceptable form of magic these days. The magic also helps her solve the great dilemma of her life, which is as it should be, since true magical thinking should necessarily lead to discovery and problem solving."

    One of the reasons after a utterly shitty 'education' in every respect I chose many years later to train as an artist was exactly that reason--I thought it the only accepted way to be magical and mad in this godamn brutal culture.


    "Childhood is-- or should be-- a time of magical thinking as well as a time of great possibility. It all comes very easy to kids, even those in bad circumstances. It makes you wonder if all of the scholastic pressure that's being put on certain kids these days is part of an attempt to rub out that magical thinking and limit possibility, because as far as I can tell that's exactly what it's doing."

    'Education' most definately is there for that purpose, as is the mental 'health' movement, and mass media.
    I wonder if we can envisage a MIND--pictutre a brain and mind. We all have one and share this experience. There is a deep irrational fear from the rational-brain OF 'magical thinking' for many reasons one being superstition. insanity and all that.
    I see this fear in sceintificy types when I have ttried to talk about subjects that freak them out. Thie fear manifests as vicious attack. AGAINSt me/against the mind that this is a part of----the nonrational mind. lol this is very hard to communicate about

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  4. another great magical music find.. im' battin 1K this wk..

    dead can dance
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJqUbb-WuPQ

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  5. All so eloquently put, as always.

    Exploring possibilities, open mindedness, creative thinking, discovering things, self belief and looking for the silver lining that (most) clouds that comes along have, (often tucked away out of sight), keeps me going in life.
    I try not to judge or form opinions, although it gets hard not to sometimes. In fact quite often these days.

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  6. I would just like to add that I think people generally let fear and passion control them. Someone once told me that everything a person does is down to fear and I laughed at them at the time. The more I thought about it though the more it changed my life for the better.
    I can see that everyone has different intentions, which complicates life on a global scale. I think most people act out of fear, passion or love though.

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  7. Nice one, Christopher. Thanks, man. I like how Cassie's close encounter with something occured within a cavern, caverns being places of reverence for millennia. If anyone's ever in or near Virginia, you have to visit Luray Caverns. It ain't Carlsbad, but it's still wonderful.

    An aspiring spelunker in the Old Dominion,
    Anadæ Quenyan Effro ~ (•8-D

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  8. I like how you use scrying
    in context of the global
    information cloud, past
    present and future.

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  9. Hey Chris,

    Your 'Year of Thinkng Magically' posts have been exceptional. Awesome work, dude.

    Peace

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  10. So opening yourself to "extreme possibilities", as Spooky Mulder would say, entails retaining a childish attitude even in adulthood —also proposed by that Jewish carpenter dude 2000 years ago.

    And it's interesting to think that the thing skeptics hate the most about the UFO phenomenon, is precisely the childish manner in which it behaves —buzzing airliners, playing "cat & mouse" with jet fighters, disturbing neighborhoods with odd sounds and potent beams of light, etc.

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  11. Considering the alleged motivations of the Tucson shooter, it appears your earlier reservations about the film Inception may have been correct.

    "Conscience [sic] dreaming"

    Your last few posts have been extremely thought-provoking, to such an extent that I find it difficult to arrange my own thoughts in the form of a comment. We are certainly living in interesting times.

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  12. And--dont know if it means anything, but for last 30 mins I have found out about this Tucson shooter and was watching Alex Jones talking about it when your post dinged. He is saying he lates in a long line of Manchurian Candidates
    Arizona Assassin Jared Loughner, Obsessed With Mind Control I also had previously checked out the shooter's youtube site which hasn't been taken down yet.

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  13. Hi Chris,

    I was going to comment on this post but realized It touched on the very subject I wanted to mention on my next post in my blog. So here's the link to it. And thank you for awesome work.

    http://dreaminginthevoid.blogspot.com/2011/01/unleash-dreamers.html

    Peace

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  14. JH-I like your thinking. It's about doing all of the work and letting the X factor do its thing. Interesting.

    Kikz- It's meant to create good workers. Just smart enough to do their tasks and just dumb enough to know their place. I defer to Carlin on this issue. His bit on education blew my mind.

    Muzu- The older I get the more I see the barbed wire around everything, you know? The problem is that the inmates are growing increasingly lethargic and apathetic. Will the bonds be loosed just a bit? I'm not counting on it.

    Cindy- I hear you. Opinions can be such terrible things. They're so high-maintenance. And yes, fear is a harsh taskmaster. Makes you wonder why the so-called alt-media sows the seeds of fear just as much as the mainstream media, no?

    Anadae- Excellent call, sir. Duly noted.

    Pete- Cheers.

    Raj- Cheers redux.

    Red Pill- Didn't the US Army do the same kinds of things in Viet Nam? Only a bit nastier? Makes you wonder sometime, no?

    141- Just like the Chinese curse, no?

    Muzu- Which is why I don't do much on the subject. More often than not people obsessed with mind control are schizophrenics who are agonizing at their inability to control their thoughts. I have had close experience in my life with people who are mentally ill and it's a living hell for everybody. The worst thing to do is feed into it.

    Bruno- Well done, sir. Thanks for the link.

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  15. Not so much with the pop culture vein, but THE primer on magical thinking is SSOTBME by Ramsey Dukes.

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