About how to distinguish a performance artist from a magician

Yesterday I read an article about Marina Abramovic who allegedly invited Clinton Campaign chairman John Podesta to an occult spirit cooking dinner. This story was the result of the leaked Hillary Clinton Email Archive proudly presented by Wikileaks.marina 1.pnghttp://vigilantcitizen.com/featured/chairman-clintons-campaign-john-podesta-attended-occult-spirit-cooking-dinner-hosted-marina-abramovic/

The article was discussing this story as if they had uncovered a Satanist cult group which was intending to … do what? Although the article was highly suggestive, the purpose of this supper was not hinted to. The reader would have to fill the blanks himself. Obviously, one might assume that in these election times one might be inclined to make a pact with the devil, sell his soul in order to win the election, right?!

While reading this story I also began to question if Marina could indeed be a black magician. As a performance artist, she is purposefully investigating all the dark and rejected aspects of our soul. While doing this she is not shy at all of using occult symbolism. To me personally, I feel that she is doing a great job in bringing our rejected parts back into the light. I admire her mission and immense courage.

Curious, if she was indeed a black Thelematic magician, I searched the internet. Surprisingly enough, I was not able to find any conclusive confirmation that she actually was a Satanist!

And thus I had to figure it out for myself. And I came to ask myself the question: what actually is the difference between a performance artist and a magician? After some consideration I came to the following two criteria: intention and skill.

Let’s start with intention. Marina as a performance artist describes exactly what she does: she performs. Her main focus is on the outer form. By showing rejected images and symbolism from our subjected subconscious, she helps is to reintegrate our darker aspects into ourselves. And as a result, healing can arise. From an outer perspective, it might look like Marina is doing the same as a magician. But for a magician, the main focus lies in achieving a goal, rather than the display of outer form. Magic is the art of changing consciousness at will in order to achieve certain goals. Certainly, a magician uses certain outer forms (regalia, robes, etc.) but this is only secondary for what he actually tries to achieve.

The second criteria is skill. Let’s visualize Marina performing an open heart surgery on a living person. Although, it might look like she knows what she is doing, I am quite sure that after the operation the patient will be dead. And nobody in their right mind would be surprised of this: Marina does not have the many years of studying and training to perform such operations. She could be interested in them: yes. She could have read about open heart surgery: sure. But nonetheless she will not be able to bring the operation to a successful conclusion. The same goes for the magician. A magician in the Western Mystery tradition has many, many years of training. When he is initiated to a certain degree, he is only qualified to perform rituals up to this degree. A magician works mainly on the so-called astral planes. These are energies which cannot be seen with the untrained physical eye, but which can be felt by sensitive persons. He works with energies and forces which he is able to control completely. And similarly as an open heart surgery, a ritual is only a success when the goal of the ritual is achieved. Marina can make draw symbols with blood and sperm on a wall, but in the end the following matters: was she actually able to successfully raise certain energies in order to achieve a certain goal?

And this brings us back again to intention. If Marina is able to perform magic, what is the purpose of these rituals? Is this to banish poverty from Earth, to create a lovely soup or to generate bad health to someone? Magic based on the intention of the latter would be black magic. The other two examples can be considered to be white magic.

Based on the above, I do not believe that Marina is a Satanist. She is a very inspiring and talented performance artist, but she most likely lacks the skills to perform satanic rituals. Also, although she explores the darker sides of human nature, I do feel that she has a good intention.

Later in the day, a response from Marina was published where she stated that the allegations were complete nonsense. The spirit cooking ritual was actually a normal meal and John Podesta was not even present at the dinner. Interestingly enough, for this dinner Marina did make an outstanding traditional soup which did make her guests feel remarkably uplifted and reborn…

marina 2.pnghttp://www.artnews.com/2016/11/04/marina-abramovic-on-right-wing-attacks-its-absolutely-outrageous-and-ridiculous/

 

 

About the ethics of honesty: how spiritual lies deal with guilt

Being honest is one of my main virtues. I hate lying and I like to tell the truth. I believe that being honest is very important for being genuine, something which is becoming increasingly rare these days. When someone ask me how I am doing, they will get a general answer. But when they ask me what I am busy thinking about, I am happy to share very intimate processes which I am dealing with. I believe that we all deal with the same issues and when you share your processes, you can help others in their process as well. However, lately I realized that from an ethical perspective, in some cases I need to stop being honest. I call this spiritual lies. Spiritual lies are when you are not honest about something, because the other is not able to handle your truth. You do not need to feel guilty about spiritual lies.

I am not the only one who values honesty. Honest can be seen as a main characteristic of the Dutch culture: we are very open and direct. Often in social interactions (family, friends, relationships) we would say that everything can be said. It is the same Protestant notion that makes us keep the curtains of our front windows open: we don’t have anything to hide, right?! This honesty is however limited to a certain level. When you go outside of the social boundaries, your head will be chopped of. In Dutch this is called: ‘je hoofd boven het maaiveld uitsteken’ (standing out from the crowd). The choice is either to conform yourself to the group or do as you please, but become a liar (and expelled) when you get caught.

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Let me further explain my concept of spiritual lying. We can be honest about a whole bunch of things, but let say we can be honest about either facts or opinions. Being honest about facts is important. When you accidentally bump into someone’s car when parking, you need to man up and leave your insurance details. Honesty about opinions is more difficult. Other people’s personal and social convictions and rules are at stake here. When what you want to say falls within the convictions of your audience, you can easily be honest. At my work it is perfectly fine to say that I was drunk the whole weekend. But what I cannot say is that I have been smoking pot the whole weekend. This is because this lies without the social convictions of my work space.

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When something lies outside someone’s convictions, then you might still be able to tell what you believe, when you have an explicit agreement that you can be honest with each other. Usually this is between close friends. Implicitly, this is an agreement for change of convictions (growth). For example, when I perform adultery and I share this with my previously faithful friend and he understands it he might also become adulterous. Thus, when you have opinions which lie outside the boundaries of your audience it is perfectly fine for you to lie spiritually. There is no need to feel guilty about this.

Spiritual lies can be a form of compassion towards the other. Because when you share a spiritual truth with someone who is not yet ready for it, you force them to grow spiritually. And because it takes time to grow, this is like spiritual force-feeding. It is like throwing pearls before swine’s which would turn them into humans before Circe’s curse is worn out properly. It is like breaking the egg from the outside instead of from the inside. Everybody has the right on their own spiritual process on their own time. In these cases it is OK not to tell certain things. And, since you also have the right of your own spiritual process at the same time, spiritual lies are important.

I found a couple of examples about truth and honesty in movies.

The first one ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NW5u4cCsNUY  )is from the movie The Fisher King. Here one guy called Parry is delusional and his friend tries to snap him out of it by telling the truth. However, Parry needs his delusional world in order to remain sane after his trauma. The truth hurts him like boiling water. This is an example of trying to break the egg from the outside. You can only see those truths which you are able to handle.

The second example is from the movie A Few Good Men. This movie contains the famous court rant of Jack Nicholson ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtpOtFIEkbs ): ‘you want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!’ In this case the general believed that it was necessary to mortally discipline a marine, because of a treat to national security. In this movie there is a dispute about which rules apply: the social convictions of the American constitution of the rules of War. Jack Nicholson’s outburst refers to the reality of continuous threats, which the American people not want to see (social convictions). Hence his surprise when he gets arrested while he is trying to protect the nation from harm.

For me, the subject of honesty has become a bit more subtle than I initially thought. The idea of spiritual lies will help me with keeping genuine communications with others without feeling guilty about lying. The downside of spiritual lying is that people will no longer see you for who you really are. This can result in loneliness. For this is it important to at least have a couple of good friends which whom you can be completely honest. Alternatively, you can keep a diary or even start your own blog!

 

Horror as a wake-up call for Good – an analogy by Stephen King’s IT

‘The greatest trick the Stephen King ever pulled was convincing the world that the Devil does exist.’

(Rephrasing of the quote from movie Usual Suspects about Keyser Söze)

Some time ago I watched Stephen King’s IT again. This a horror story about an evil clown terrorizing a small town in America (it is not about Trump!). When I first watched the movie, I was about 12 years old and it was scary. Later, around my 16th, I read the book (943 pages) and I was intrigued. But after watching the movie 25 years later, I realized a deeper meaning of horror which I had not realized before.

IT describes the story of an unimaginable evil from outer space which has landed in a small town called Derry, USA. This evil has psychic skills: it is able to read the minds of its victims and he uses this to present itself in the others worst nightmare. Its main manifestation is in the shape of a clown called Pennywise which it uses to attract its favorite victims: little children. Although evil is all around and children are disappearing, adults seemed to have accepted IT and choose not to see IT. The movie is about a group of outcast teenagers who become friends and decide to fight IT although they are seemingly unprepared and unqualified to do so.

After watching IT again and finding a deeper layer in horror movies, I had to adjust my initial view towards horror movies. Because to be honest: in my mind, I labelled horror movies to be for teenagers only. At that age you crave for all kinds of things which are gore and very explicit. And thus I dismissed horror as being childish.

However, because struck me when rewatching IT, I started to wonder what horror stories exactly are. Horror stories investigate the deepest depths of our subconscious fears and put them into the light by means of fantastic stories. Horror stories are the stuff that nightmares are made off made concrete in books and movies. By this confrontation you wake up to the potential of a dark and evil reality. Often evil takes the shape of an archetype of something subconscious which resides within yourself. For example: a vampire is a being who is taking energy from others in order to exist. When you are scared of vampires, either you get leached yourself a lot or… you leach on other people too! In this sense horror movies are like a mirror which allow you to become conscious of your own dark sides.

The greatness of Stephen King is that he adds a deeper layer in his horror stories. I will describe it by comparing King with his famous horror predecessor H.P. Lovecraft. King has stated that he is indebted to Lovecraft. But there is an important difference between the two. In Lovecraft’s Call of Cthulhu, for example, he unveils the story of a monstrous evil lurking in the depts of the ocean. But the story remains open ended. Yes, evil is found, but it is not overcome. The result of reading this story is a horrifying uneasy and anguished feeling.

Stephen King’s horror stories are different. He is not merely describing evil. He is using evil as a means to illuminate the good. This is what Stephen King also does in IT.

As already said, IT tells the story about an unimaginably evil monster whose powers grow by fear and division. As a result the whole town minds its own business and looks away (scarily this is much familiar with our today’s society). This evil is opposed by a group of 7 (lucky 7) teenagers who are outsiders and become friends. Because they are not yet adults, they can 1) still see evil and 2) still believe in great virtues such as friendship, courage, love, faith, and loyalty.

As a result, they are, unknowingly, IT’s worst nightmare and they defeat IT with it’s own means (‘this is battery acid, you slime!’), believe in good and stay together although they are scared.They are able to defeat IT twice (!): once as teenagers and once as adults. Defeating IT the second time is more difficult because they first had to learn to believe again.

By zooming in on unimaginable evil, King brings forth IT’s opposite: unimaginable good. Not the good of a perfect and mature Superman. On the contrary: he presents the good of 7 flawed and uncertain teenagers. Although they were different, scared, and traumatized, within themselves they found the good to overcome evil. And if they can do it…. so can we!

Stephen King convinces us that there is great good within us as long as we dare to confront the great evil within us and not look away. Who could have thought that we could find such great spiritual truths in childish horror stories. 🙂 zyizrxg495xvvl9kivul.jpg