Ooo, It’s Magic

I’ve been listening to a lot of The Last Podcast on the Left while I work on this afghan. Two of the hosts are chaos magicians. The third host makes a lot of fun of them about it. So, you know it tickles me.

I’ve been thinking a lot over the past few days about why magic and Buddhism (and weirdo cults like Scientology) catch on so well in artistic communities. And, because I’ve been thinking about it over the past few days, I’ve come to believe that the answer is that these professions are full of a lot of capriciousness and luck.

It’s very hard to believe that God has a plan when you see a lot of interesting, good shit not get the attention it deserves, or people who work really hard and nothing happens for them, or when you see cheaters or jackasses prosper. Like, fuck, if this is the plan, what kind of jerk is coming up with the plan?!

But, if you see that there is no plan, that everyone works really hard and things happen for a lot of people just based on luck, you can see why Buddhism, or the American take on it, becomes really popular–let go of expectations, make peace with not being able to control things, etc.

But you can also see how worldviews that promise you some level of control or ability to manipulate the chaos would also be super enticing.

2 thoughts on “Ooo, It’s Magic

  1. Funny, I just read these words from an American Buddhist (paraphrasing 13th Century Zen teacher Dōgen Zenji): “Even if the whole universe is nothing but a bunch of jerks doing all kinds of jerk-type things, there is still liberation in simply not being a jerk.” A little too easy maybe, but that could be just why it catches on.

  2. I like that. But I don’t think it’s too different than the point I’m trying to get at. If you’re faced with capricious nonsense, you can either try to let go of being invested in the capricious nonsense (a la American Buddhism) or you can try to manipulate the capricious nonsense to go your way (a la everything you can play “Six Degrees of Jack Parsons” with).

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