Continued thoughts: this from the thread I started at Rigorous Intuition
One of my problems from the start with “synchromysticism” was the irrefutable fact that neither the word nor the practice actually adds anything to Jung’s initial concept of synchronicity. In fact, Jung’s concept entailed reading the events of one’s life (not just pop culture) as part of a design that intersected in precise but mysterious ways with our own psyches. So my main query about Jake’s work and the whole synchromystic “movement” remains—why mess around with movies when the whole world is a kind of movie screen onto which our psyches are collectively projecting? My guess is that it’s at least partly a case of guys who don’t get out enough, succumbing to the dangerously seductive quality of movies and pop media. Maybe synchromysticism is even a case of fledgling sorcerers being hoodwinked into paying attention to stuff they would be better off putting behind them? Instead of getting out there and doing something? After all, movies, not religion, are now the opium of the masses. So what better to keep sorcerers plugged in than a religion based around movies?
(I say this in all humility, as a still reforming movie addict.)
My other main contention with SM—and I think it’s connected—is the use of the word mysticism itself. It’s not a word I care for, or rather, a perspective that I value very highly, the reason being that, as essentially an Eastern mode of thinking, mysticism is the very antithesis of the way we are genetically hardwired to connect to the Source as Westerners. Mysticism, like movie-going, is essentially passive—it’s the very opposite of sorcery, which is interactive, and which creates patterns rather than simply contemplates them—and not just by observation but by action. A shaman doesn’t simply read the signs around him, he or she is in constant communication with the natural world—it’s a dialogue. And how much dialogue can you have with a movie?
Regarding the difference between mysticism and shamanism, two days ago I was “coincidentally” reading a chapter in Wilhelm Reich’s Ether, God and Devil (thanks SZ). I came across this:
“The primitive view of emotional life was not mystical, as is our view today; neither was it spiritualistic or metaphysical. It was animistic. . . . ‘Mysticism’ means, in the literal sense, a change of sensory impressions and organ sensations into something unreal and beyond this world. Anthropology teaches us that the devil with the tail and pitchfork, or the angel with wings, is a late product of human imagination, not patterned on reality but originating from a distorted concept of reality.”
“The process of animating the surrounding world is the same with the animistic primitive as it is with the mystic. Both animate nature by projecting their body sensations. The difference between animism and mysticism is that the former projects natural, undistorted organ sensations, while the latter projects unnatural, perverted ones. . . Mysticism is rooted in a blocking of direct organ sensations and the reappearance of these sensations in the pathological perception of ‘supernatural power.’”
“Functional natural science must defend primitive animism against perverse mysticism and take from it all elements of experience corresponding to natural sensory perceptions. . . . The widespread and acknowledged view of the harmony of nature is basically an animistic view which, in the mystic, is degraded to a personified cosmic spirit or a divine universal being. The mystic is trapped in the absolute. The absolute is incomprehensible. The animist remains flexible, his views can be shifted. He has the advantage that his view of nature, contrary to the mystical view, contains a practicable core of truth.” (pg 87-94)
Bringing it back to Jake again (sorry Jake, you aren’t the whipping boy here, just a necessary case study!): in my opinion Kotze is a shaman who has been temporarily lured into mysticism—passivity, and an excessive love of movies—through a natural desire to avoid the nuts and bolts of the left-hand path. In-the-field, fully interactive sorcery entails not just psychedelics and sex (things I expect Jake is fully at home with), but real, dirt-under-the-nails, honest-to-Lucifer work—above all healing work, dealing primarily with human misery and woe.
Shamans are the garbage collectors of the Universe. To be fair to Jake, he is doing this with his movie stuff—gathering nuggets in the trash can of pop culture—but it’s at a fairly infantile level. Nothing wrong with that, shamans have to start somewhere. But it becomes questionable—and open to rigorous scrutiny—when such activity begins to flower into a whole movement—and especially when what is at best shaman playschool gets touted as the full graduation experience.
All for now. I hope Jake will forgive me this trespass and totally uninvited amateur psychoanalysis.