(Still shot from the video for a great anthem of revolutionary Eros - "No Church in the Wild")
The highly wicked and wonderful Russell Brand reminded me of something the other day in his most recent interview. Namely, that the revolution has to come and that we're responsible for creating it.
The revolution has to come, Mr. Brand rightly explains, because our world of enforced alienation is absolutely non-sustainable, and not in accord with anything that's actually true in anyone's heart or real desire.
Like, who the fuck wakes up in the morning thinking, "Wow, I really hope everything about our society stays exactly as it is so I can continue to be degraded by corporations every day, forced to be a wage slave, and constantly encouraged to feel separate from and in competition with my fellow human beings."
The truth is, none of us want the world as it's presently structured. We don't want alienation and disconnection and debt and property. We want to be with each other and love each other and eat actual food and live in actual houses and fuck and raise children and make music and dance and do work that enhances our community's well-being rather than the profit margins of a company.
As a magician, I'm also a revolutionary anarchist. And you are too. Whether you know it or not. Whether you give a fig for politics or not.
What the practice of desire-fueled magic (i.e., tantra, alchemy) eventually leads to is the dissolution of dualistic perception and the falling away of all conceptual stories. This happens in your own mind and in the minds of those around you who are inevitably opened by your liberation.
Which is to say, your magic is what happens when you surrender enough to allow your eros to lead you outside of your societally conditioned identity - and this process ultimately leads to you entering a condition of nondual perception. As more people enter their eros this way and come closer to the perception of this nonduality eventually the story of private property and the global corporatist state that supports it will have to dissolve.
Our whole society is built around the protection of the dualistic fiction of private property. The fiction of private property is the idea that people can "own" things beyond what they can personally use - vast tracks of land, giant houses with empty rooms, factories, huge piles of money. It's a fiction that creates intense alienation and enormous wealth disparity.
I say that private property is a dualistic fiction because ownership literally is the story that someone has a right to the exclusive, sovereign use of something - and, as fictions do, this story has to be perpetually remembered and re-told in order to stay "real" - it requires record-keeping to document the past in which ownership commenced.
Without the story of a past in which the property in question was "secured" into the ownership of a specific someone through inheritance or purchase, there can be no property - only the thing in itself - the house, the land, the factory - just standing there, free in itself, belonging to no one.
All belonging, all ownership is a story. It's not real. And because it's not real, it requires perpetual force to be maintained.
Basic, self-evident facts don't require the threat of violence for their protection. No one ever went to war over the notion that the sky is blue. Stories, however, do require such protection, precisely because they have no actual reality.
So the state exists to protect the fiction of private property. If you try to go farm on the lawn of a rich person's estate, odds are awesome that they'll have the police forcibly remove you. Likewise if you try camping with a few hundred of your friends in a city park, or squatting to reclaim empty buildings for community use. You can expect tear gas, handcuffs and rubber bullets.
Basically, the current suck-ass state of the world is created by a fear-fueled sort of black magic.
And I'm not talking about black magic that's done by a secret society of Reptilian Illuminati Overlords. I'm talking about the spells that are openly and perpetually cast by capitalism and the state and its media which enforce the notion that people are separate from one another and that it's possible for some to benefit while others suffer.
All of us in this world are subject to these spells. And they're not new either. They were around in Jesus' time, and so common that he just called this nexus of fear-fueled black magic "the world" - he liked to contrast the world with "the kingdom of heaven" - the nondualistic state of perception in which nothing is owned or limited.
Magic (the good kind) happens when we allow our desire (the wish to be connected, no matter what, no matter how much it hurts to feel other people and let ourselves be felt) to be larger and stronger than our fear (the wish to be separate and protected). It grows when we continually act on our desire instead of on our fear.
This is a bit confusing because often when people talk about their "desires" they're not really describing their desires at all. They're describing the things their fear tells them that they need to get and keep in order to be safe. Private property was a story that was invented to help people feel safe, to help them believe that they could hold onto things.
Except they can't. And when they try to, it just fucks everything up for everyone. The people who own the private property are screwed just as much as the people who are left in poverty - they're screwed because they're having their false sense of separation from others enforced.
Jesus said it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven, because once someone is rich with property they become not so keen on the idea of accepting the nondual reality of the kingdom of heaven. Dualism and alienation starts to look awful cozy to them, because they're "winning" at it. Of course they're not winning, though, because they're living from their egos and stories rather than from surrender to the living truth.
Real magic begins when we make the heroic decision to stop using stories to deny and hide from the radical non-safety of our existence and all the intensity of sensation that comes along with it (no one gets out of this world painlessly or alive, have you noticed?).
In making this decision to accept uncertainty, we start to drop our efforts to stay secure and separate. We stop holding on so hard to our possessions, in part because we stop holding on so hard to the story of our past and our future. We drop rules and boundaries in our relationships. We become more open, malleable, fluid, vulnerable. This is massively uncomfortable. We have our hearts broken and our hopes dashed ten thousand times a day. And we start to like it.
We start to like it because the willingness to embrace of the total uncertainty and groundlessness of our being is actually the only real security there is in this world.
It puts us into the heart of our genius, our irreducible originality and responsiveness to reality- the intensely erotic, playful being that's spontaneously there when we stop being concerned with winning or losing in the finite games of property, reputation, and possession.
Russell Brand himself looks to me like a fine example of what this kind of empowered, erotic, spontaneous, and responsive genius looks like in action. It seems to me that a good deal of his own power comes from his willingness to play in that radical uncertainty and connection with other human beings as human beings.
For evidence of this, I offer you Russell's June 2013 interview on MSNBC - wherein he wrapped every one of the talking heads present around his little finger merely by staying present and human in a room full of people trying really hard to be corporate automatons.
My mind often flips through the options available to me to spark a revolution. I often think of civil disobedience, but civil disobedience has its limits. It can be readily squashed by cops in riot gear, as we saw with the Occupy Movement.
The kind of revolution that's a lot more difficult to squash is a ton of people no longer willing to play at life from a place of fear and self-protection but rather from dauntless desire to experience the reality of our radical non-security and our total connectedness.
And of course, it's also quite possible that if we all began living much more potently from this place of desire and dauntlessness, we might be a hell of a lot more disobedient, No Church in the Wild-style.
"I live by you, desire I stand by you, walk through the fire Your love is my scripture Let me into your encryption."