Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains:
Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / Social Epistemology / Cosmology / Magic /
@ K. 1997 10 15
Mission: to distinguish between magic and order with regard to politics as well as religion
Order vs. Magic
A while back a friend who’d just written a book about angels asked me about my relationship to God. I answered that I’d always felt very close to God but that my understanding of divinity and nature had changed considerably over time. I now recognize the importance of distinguishing between the God of Order and the God of Magic. It’s the former that I serve; the latter is “nothing but a con.”
“Ooo, that’s so profound,” she murmured from Chicago, on her way with her son for a vacation in Orlando and a visit with me.
In our politics, we proclaim our innocence
(In our wars, we enforce our innocence);
In our religion, we know we are guilty
After “improvising” this bald contrast, I realized that I was half quoting the
great hyper-string theorist, Michio Kaku. His book on Hyperspace further gladdened my heart with this question:
What good is intelligence if our primary use of it is to deceive ourselves?
For more on that latter point, carry on to Magic, our Father and True Magik [Link to be restored].
Of course there was always a good excuse.
The mind can sell itself anything.
Einstein referred to God freely. Some religious try to get mileage from his supposed “faith.” But you won’t find any St. Paul type faith in him, nor St. Augustine’s. Do your homework and you’ll see that that great thinker was using a familiar, certainly emotional, even homey metaphor for Order: How It Is, The Way It All Works.
I now see that the same distinction takes on similar importance with regard to the State. Order and Society is a redundancy. Any society needs territory, resources, shelter, and some measure of security.
But the tried and true path to power isn’t through sensible organization: it’s through promises of Magic. Promises that don’t ever have to be kept so long as there are grander promises, or new candidates with their promises.
The house of delusions
is cheap to build
but drafty to live in.
A E Houseman
I’ll develop this further, but before I take a break, let me sketch some highlights of what’s coming:
There are some among us who don’t profess faith in God. But how many are there who don’t exhibit (a similarly uncritical) faith in “America”?
Hasn’t the State in fact become our “catholic” church? (Catholic meaning universal. (Sort of like two American professional baseball leagues having a “World” Series.)
Even if we are all doomed to live under the state,
it doesn’t follow that there is, or even can be,
such a thing as a good state. …
Thus does a “necessary evil” become an idol.
Maybe we’re stuck with it. But do we have to worship it?
Another similarity I see between God and Country is the nature of their existence. Physicists call objects whose dimensions can be measured “extensional”: they extend in space. The philosophical term for “things” that have no physical dimensions is “intensional.” (Notice the s instead of the t). They don’t exist in space; they exist in space/time. (Some of them exist only in that part of space/time which is human pathology.)
2000 08 23 Subsequent to writing the above I’ve developed these concepts more fully in Extension vs. Intension and am in the midst of making it a keystone at Macroinformation in my development of a Classification System for Being.
You can measure the height, depth, width, mass, volume, and age of Chartres Cathedral. It’s only the age that you can measure of the Church itself. (Of course you can estimate its prestige, its wealth, its power …) The Capital Building in Washington, DC, the White House, have bulk. You can measure the area of United States territory. But you cannot measure the United States except in the same ways that you “measure” the Church.
files such as this could be categorized as Theology, as Cosmology, as Magic … any of those could be subsumed under Abstractions …
You can weigh the President. But to “weigh” the Presidency you need a different kind of measure. The existence of the two is of entirely different logical types.
If you burn the flag, are you burning a piece of cloth? Are you burning the country? If it’s the country that you are burning, is the Woolworth Building on fire? No: you are burning a piece of cloth, about which no one cares, and, about which many care very deeply, you are also burning the symbol of the country. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names are what we go to war over.
Church and State have intensional existence only. Ditto God.
That applies equally to the State which builds highways and to the State which promises to be #1! It applies equally to the God of Order and to the God of Miracles.
There is though a huge difference. The Laws of Physics (the true ones, not the approximations we theorize) are immortal. At least for the life of this universe. The age or mortality of the True God can’t be known. Not without knowing cosmology perfectly. (Again: the true cosmology, the “Platonic Original”; not the guesses we publish.) The power of the voodoo hex depends entirely on the number of candles burned, the number of chickens with their entrails ripped, and your “faith” as the hexee. If forty million Muslims say that God wants you dead, you really are likely to perish.
Ancestors who aren’t “fed” by the Confucian descendants loose their power. The gods who terrorized the Persians cannot today frighten a child. How many times over could the nuclear weapons of the United States kill every man, woman, and child on Earth if no one paid their taxes and there was no fuel to power the generator at the launching site?
But we could still build sidewalks. We could still mate, and have friends.
Thomas Jefferson said that if he had to choose between a world with newspapers and no government and a world with government and no newspapers, he’d take the newspapers.
But what are newspapers compared to the internet?
And the internet is a tawdry piece of business compared to what FLEX offered.
2000 07 13 A point I must clarify as soon as I can will relate to this module and to others in this and in the Social Pathologies directory.
We think of things as being uniform, logically one-way. We are trained to think as though our thoughts corresponded to some logical ideal, free of paradox, contradiction … Actually, the buzzer is a better model of how we “think” in many of our modes: if it comes on, then it goes off; if it goes off, then it comes on …
For example, one minute we in the United States say we are a people “under God”: another minute, even seconds later, we say we are a government “of the people.” Well which is it? It can’t be both. Theocracy and Democracy are contradictory.
If we want to do what God says, then what the people say is irrelevant. Our task is to find out what God says: to make sure we’re got the right God, to make sure that we or somebody hears him accurately, then to make sure we hear that somebody accurately … If we don’t want to do what God says, then what difference does it make what he says?
A number of our founding fathers understood this problem well enough to want God out of the loop altogether. Others, the majority, though they did want their own way, adamantly resisted breaking the old fetters: at least out loud. The result is the culture we have. (Then again: when were people ever really fettered to God? As suggested throughout this section of K., God is a mask that this particular species of large predators wear as a camouflage.)
2001 03 20 It’s been nearly four years since I posted this module. I certainly expected
to do more with it before that much time had passed. Other things that might
have appeared here have gone into other modules instead. I still need to add
a module on religion per se to go with this one, with Magic, and with God. In
the meantime, Jay Hanson’s DieOff.com BrainFood newsletter arrived today with
this delicious contrast:
Religion is the opposite of science. Science attempts to make its doctrine conform to the physical world, but religion attempts to make the physical world conform to its doctrine. Moreover, scientific doctrine is based upon “observation and experiment” (and is subject to revision), but religious doctrine is based upon “revealed truth” (and is immutable).
2005 08 12 With regard to the God of magic, I am an atheist: with regard to the god of order, I am a believer: a true believer.
2005 11 23 Kaku relates the god of order with the God of Magic. Check my gods, God, & god Scrapbook [Link to be restored] for a related pairing between centralization and decentralization.
2013 07 03 I’m going to import some related material here, ponder whether it should be it’s own module: it had been:
(first I try to resurrect, if it’s a dup, forgive me: I’ll de-dup later.)
Mission: to emphasize the absence of any direct linkage between evidence and belief among things trusted as magic: god, country …
Primitive man (bless him) caught on after a while that his magic didn’t make it rain when he wanted. But man has never caught on that magic had nothing to do with it. First we thought that the fault was with the individual: Me, my magic is no good; so we believed, insisting on magic, that it was the expert whose magic worked when ours didn’t. It rained, didn’t it? Thus the individual gets demoted, the shaman gets promoted. And the shaman who’s already figured out that his magic doesn’t work either will keep his mouth shut and take the extra laudits. And when the people stop believing in the shaman, they go right on believing in the magic: only now the shaman-expert-specialist magician who practices the true magic is further abstracted to a ghost: a spirit, a god. Long after Pierre and Marie have stopped believing they can make it rain, Og, Dora, and Bling believe that Moses can make it rain: or at least Yahweh.
I’ve said all this before at ￼K. I now repeat it to make a different point: the faith in the falsehood is ineradicable. Evidence will have no direct, one-to-one linkage with the belief. No experience of harm from the false magic can convert the believers from their faith that the magic is not only real but fundamentally there to benefit them.
God exists to help ME! Not you; me. God exists to make me immortal, to overlook all of my faults: and to punish YOU, my enemy.
God plays Eve and Adam for suckers: he’s here to help.
God purges the biosphere back down to Noah and a couple of breeders: he won’t do it again.
Don’t you see? Now we’re safe. Now we can commit any atrocity. We’ve got the god committed to any lie we want to tell ourselves. He’s our slave. We keep him in a box.
God watches his own special good-man, his magical son, get tortured and lied about: so he can forgive the torturers? Yes: but you have to have the magic formula: light a candle, eat a wafer …
Now notice: country is the same!
No experience with government will dissuade people from their government training in the government lie that the government is here to help. As the earth turns to a cinder — far faster under government care than it ever did under abuses just from Og, Dora, and Bling. The government robs Og to help Dora: taking a portion for itself. Then the governments robs Bling to help Dora, taking a portion for itself: or Dora to help Marie, always taking a portion for itself. The government robs everybody to hold everybody prisoner in special concentration camps (called schools): where it drills us: The Government Is Here To Help.
There’s a reason the government’s hand is sewn permanently into all of our pockets: it’s to HELP.
God help us all.
No: you-all don’t need God; you’ve got GOVERNMENT!
But here again is the main thing: no experience of failure from magic can dissuade public faith; no experience of actual civilization, wall to wall kelptocracies, united against any green patches left between them: all chanting the mantra, as all turns to cinder,
Government is here to help. Church magic false; government magic true.
As always, I’ve more to say: but I’ll string it in at my convenience, scrapbook style: reediting, tightening … on occasion.
Government is here to help.
And no experience of harm will dissuade us from our faith,
our living superstition.
Government helped Morgan, Flagler … take Palm Beach from the Miccosukee. Then Florida took money from Og and Marie and Dora and Pierre so that the army engineers could fuck up the Kissimmee River. What’s good for sugar is good for all of us. Now Florida takes our money, always keeping a portion for itself, to fix what it fucked up. Imagine what the next fix will cost.
The first few drunks you have may be drunk for a penny. Finally all the money in the universe can’t get you drunk: and the last hundred thousand drunks were no fun.
I bet the simplest blow job pleased de Sade mightily when he was twelve. But eventually rivers of blood couldn’t get it up for him.
Card: God here to help. He butchered Sodom, but he’s here to make YOU immortal. no daily headlines add up in Og’s mind to government kills 163 million last century.
Don’t think pk wants those 163 millions saved; those extra millions only existed because of God and Government … burning all candles at all ends. Me, I’ll trade it for Og’s belief that he can make it rain.
When God first spoke to me, I thought it boded well for me. I had thoughts of green pastures; not spasms from the cross. First God tries to kill Moses, Finally, God keeps Moses out of Canaan. Why should anyone want to hear from God?
How can people think he’d treat them better than he treated Adam? No connection between experience and belief. (None simple, none direct.)
2015 10 11 I’m reading Robinson Crusoe, loving it: love how carefully Defoe confuses “country” meaning climate, topography, ecology … and nation meaning cultural majority, political and cultural hegemony … Crusoe asks Friday about his country, his nation, and Friday equally carefully confuses them in his response: that is, he does not distinguish them.
Don’t be misled that government concentration camps called schools are only part time, that you get to go home at night. In time, school hours will get longer and longer: till the school is the only home you know.
Illich pointed out that when the Church invented Purgatory it was because it had already saturated its captive market with masses. The Church needed to sell more masses, always more. Once one mass was supposed to Save you; now an infinity of masses weren’t enough. Ditto school. When government has everyone in school, it will need more schooling, it will extend the hours: to infinity.