Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I recently came upon this wonderful nugget of a book excerpt written by John Moore & posted on the deoxy.org website

a few choice excerpts:

"Individuals undergoing this process were bewildered, in the original, integrated sense of the term. They entered "pathless places" in two senses. First, wilderness areas (i.e., the vast totality of the world) contained no paths or tracks—neither the roads of imperial domination and plunder constructed by the Romans, nor the routes of commerce carved by Islamic merchants. By definition, the wilderness remained free from incursions by technology. And secondly, there were no established journeys to be undertaken, no predetermined paths to traverse. All social codes were annulled: vision, emotion and behaviour were no longer subject to regulation and control. Total transformation was possible. But the directions—for unlimited eversion were no longer, or only minimally, under individual control. The individual will, subsumed within the will-of-the-land, no longer retained the power of volition. Possessed by the wilderness, individuals eagerly became vehicles for its sacred and ecstatic expression."

"Techniques for recovering bewilderness are available. Many of Starhawk's magic exercises, for example, attempt to elicit precisely this condition. She proposes wordless chants, inarticulate noises which resolve into the sounds of the wilderness communing through individuals and groups. Such techniques aim to liberate the involuntary, be it a yelp of pain, an orgasmic groan, a growl of anger, or any other expression. The individual invokes, and waits to discover what energy emerges. Magic consists of merging and participating in these energies, and shaping their manifestations. The nature of the resulting patterns depends on the metaphors and symbols utilized. For example, Starhawk, characterizing subjectivity within hierarchical control structures, discerns three aspects of the self: Younger Self, the playful, sensory element that appears when the infant distinguishes itself from its environment; Talking Self, the later rational faculty of abstraction and codification; and Deep Self, the all-pervasive oceanic consciousness: Imagine Talking Self's domain as a house we live in, and Younger Self's domain as a garden that surrounds it completely. Beneath the garden are the caves and wells of Deep Self; outside it are the other realms of reality, the wilderness. There is no clear dividing line between Younger Self's garden and the wild until Talking Self builds a wall. Younger Self constantly brings in plants and animals... In order to walk out into the wild, we must first pass through the garden.

Or, conversely, in order to examine any piece of the wild Younger Self brings in, in order to name it and set it on the shelves of our house, it must first be brought through the garden. The clearer the paths are, the more familiar we are with their windings and turnings, the friendlier we are with the creatures that inhabit them, the clearer are our contacts with external reality - both physical and metaphysical.

Despite its illuminating qualities, Starhawk's metaphor remains descriptively inadequate because it lacks any notion of the historical relativity of the configuration of elements she discerns within subjectivity. Deep Self can undoubtedly be found beneath the garden (and the house), but also - and most prodigiously - in the wilderness. Here lies Starhawk's major error. Rather than contrariety, one finds identity: the wilderness is Deep Self, and vice versa. Primal peoples realized this fact. They also knew that Talking Self was a useful and beneficial agency, but only so long as it remained contextualized, in situ, within its proper, circumscribed dimensions. Its constant tendency to hypertrophy was recognized, and thwarted by the bewilderness process. But in hierarchical control structures, this tendency is encouraged, and Talking Self becomes deracinated, denatured, (pre)dominant. Hence, in terms of Starhawk's metaphor, the central issue should not be tending the garden, making it more hospitable, indeed civilized, but rather flattening the wall. Younger Self's garden should by degrees imperceptibly shade into the wilderness, allowing for an untroubled access to and from the two complementary areas of hearth and hinterland. Any strict demarcation automatically creates and maintains the divisions of private property."

excerpt from  Anarchy and Ecstasy, Visions of Halcyon Days by John Moore
which can be viewed and downloaded as a free pdf file HERE

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