Gordon White, Pieces of Eight: Part 1, Christianity’s Shadow |332|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Nov 1, 2016.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

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    Gordon White, Pieces of Eight: Part 1, Christianity’s Shadow |332|
    by Alex Tsakiris | Nov 1 | Consciousness Science, Spirituality

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    Gordon White’s new book challenges our understanding of Chaos Magic and religion.
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    photo by: Skeptiko
    Gordon White’s new book Pieces of Eight: Chaos Magic Essays and Enchantments stirred up a lot of questions for me. Gordon not only tackles materialism, panpsychism, idealism and animism (his preferred harbor in the storm), but also the role Chaos Magic might play in understanding and navigating this “spirit haunted world.” In fact, I had so many questions for Gordon I’ve prepared this episode of Skeptiko in order to lay them out before he joins me to hammer out the finer details of life’s deepest mysteries.
     
  2. Far.From.Here

    Far.From.Here New

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    I read Pieces of Eight and I didn't think about any of that stuff! Just saying. Not a criticism, more of an expression of amazement about how people take different paths even when they read the same book. (Read the same book 5 years later and it will be a "new" read, of course.)

    I just don't get why you are so hung up on the Christianity stuff. I mean, who cares? When you listen to Gordon's stuff a lot of times in the interviews with other magicians they have a lot of interesting stuff to say about the power inherent in the rituals of the church and of the "saints" that are still apparently active as entities interacting with this "physical" reality. It's a bit like counting the number of angels that can fit on the head of a pin. Magic works. And healing "in the name of Christ" apparently works in some cases (which I would also call magic.)

    It seems to me you are mixing apples and oranges. Whether Christ actually existed or not doesn't really have that much to do with the power of magic.

    I mean if you were born in India and were doing this show, do you think you would be dissecting whether Shiva really existed? The Romans were animists apparently and had gods for everything--doors, fire, pathways, wood, cooking pots. You name it. And when you hear Gordon talk lately he is keying in a lot more on animism and the idea that this is probably a lot closer to the nature of reality than idealism. But I still don't see why it would matter if Christ was a real live figure or not.

    At root I think you are mixing up the two worlds. You are mixing up this apparent reality with its politics and drama and conspiracy stuff with the "other side." Obviously there is a relationship there, but I don't know that language and reason are the best way to try and get a handle on them. The first world you use language and reason. The second I think you basically use "magic." (Lately I think magic can include true magic, OBE, dreaming, remote viewing, etc. What is the difference in all that stuff? Is there any?)
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2016
  3. gabriel

    gabriel New

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    I'm only half way in, but I thought we'd comprehensively refuted the ahistorical Jesus claim in the other show? Even people who categorically reject any messianic role for Jesus of Nazareth acknowledge evidence for his existence is unassailable. The evidence doesn't only rely on Josephus.
     
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  4. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

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    I understand what drives Alex in this direction of questioning because it drives me the same direction.

    If the two worlds are totally disimilar then you're right that there is no way to understand the "other" and no point in trying. I do agree that there is an "other" that is incomprehensible and is the principle of The Abyss of ambiguity that lies around the fuzzy edges of symbol to meaning transformations.

    But what we hear from people who have dealt in the spirit realms and OBE NDE realms is language that leads to structure and one type of structure that is implied by graduations or levels or laws is hierarchy. If the magical realm were a complete free-for-all where anything goes, there would be no patterns so nothing would "work."

    My opinion is that the "spirit realm" is ordered, structural, logical, with both hierarchy and network, but it is less rigid and more pliable because it involves more forays into the Abyss than this world with its seemingly incorruptible laws of nature (which can usually only be slightly nudged by force of will).
     
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  5. Far.From.Here

    Far.From.Here New

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    I don't think I said that. I said that the avenue for any real connection to the "other side" is through some kind of "magic." Look at this forum. It is not really a practitioner's forum. Most of the discussions (at least the one's that are interesting for me) are the one's where we explore ideas and theories about the "non-physical" based on published stuff on the OBE, NDEs, dreaming, mediumship, channeling, drugs, etc. That's the real meat of the forum I believe. I'm not really saying that we can't use language and reason to develop a conception of the afterlife. Because I think we can. But it's kind of like talking about sex. Or even reading a description of a meal. And even in that regard, I think if we can talk about the non-physical, we can really only talk about the areas that most nearly resemble this reality. No amount of talk or reasoning will explain why entering into a type of courtship with a particular entity will exponentially increase the amount of positive synchronicity in your life. Or why the tarot or I Ching can do what they do. We are back into Streiber territory. We can look clearly at what, but we really can only guess on why or how.
     
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  6. Far.From.Here

    Far.From.Here New

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    I think there are likely always going to be laws as long as you are in the "manifest" side of reality. The alternative is the Tao--absolute nothing. Two sides of the coin.
     
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  7. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    Of course there's nothing wrong with having an opinion, so what I say isn't a disagreement in that sense,

    However, my opinion over this last part is very different, at least in practical terms. We get so caught up up in practical experiments such as attempts at telekinesis where small effects are sometimes observed, that false deductions are made about the nature of the world, for example that it is largely deterministic and there is no free will. I know that isn't what was said, I'm simply expressing my own train of thought.

    As far as I can tell, we are powerful spiritual beings and our impact on this world is immense. Our every thought carries out into this world and constructs it for us. I don't mean we levitate rocks or anything like that. Concentration on the physical is to mistake the dream for reality. But I do mean the world we inhabit depends on our individual and collective thoughts. In a world bombarded by media in the form of commercial advertising, political speeches, movies, entertainments of all kinds, the amount of external influences on our thoughts is immense. Finding space to quieten that bombardment and to think our own thoughts is a starting point, a way to assert our own power. Next we need to choose what type of thoughts to think. When we understand that the way in which we visualise the world has a direct effect on constructing that world, we begin to take back what is our right. The idea of living in a deterministic material world controlled by others is an abandonment of responsibility and a handing over of power to others for better or worse.

    ... in part this is a soliloquy addressed to myself. Apologies to Alex for the distraction from the topic of this thread.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2016
  8. Ben Heaton

    Ben Heaton Member

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    I agree that much of Christian apologetics is an easy straw man to knock down. However, if Christ is first mentioned in the writings of Paul in the 50's CE, Josephus surrendered in 67 CE, and wrote The Jewish War in 75 CE, then doesn't Paul's account of Jesus predate Josephus' writing by 25 years?
     
  9. manjit

    manjit New

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    I read "Pieces of Eight" as soon as it came out. Have probably read hundreds of books on occultism, dozens specifically on "Chaos Magick" over the past 3 decades......I have to say I was extremely disappointed with "Pieces of Eight". Imo there are much, much better books on "Chaos Magick" out there. Gordon's pretty adamant belief in animism is one of the major flaws, imo, in his perspective, which undermines a "truer" or "deeper" comprehension of the occult & specifically "Chaos Magick". Indeed, I wouldn't personally even call this book to be about "Chaos Magick" really.

    Now having heard dozens of Gordon's podcasts, read 2 of his books (and one still pending on by bookshelf), my enthusiasm for his perspective has begun to wane quite considerably. Sometimes it is very hard to discern between a wonderfully gifted & informed speaker (appearances) and being an excellent self-promoter, and somebody with a deeper experience & insight into these subjects, but perhaps without any element of desire or interest in self-promotion.........
     
  10. Steve

    Steve Member

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    This kind of points to us learning individual lessons. Personally this topic is of very little interest to me. Maybe yourself and Alex have something specific to learn which this topic can teach?
     
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  11. E.Flowers

    E.Flowers New

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    I said exactly the same thing in the last thread. We all get that being brought up in a rigid dogma is terrible, and I know that Alex has commented about it several times before, but we (as a public) are past it. Prodding at Christians every show takes away from the experience, and is at the very least, distracting. I don't think that we can argue that skeptics are "stuck on" anything if we keep lingering on that issue.

    A while ago, there was a series of two or three (consecutive) shows that were about bashing Christianity, and I was hoping that would help get that out of the system and allow the upcoming interviews to focus on the interesting stuff... Yet here we are again.
     
  12. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

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    I don't see how it is irrelevant to everyone else? Once you determine that there are other conscious entities "out there" and that some can be benevolent or some dangerous and that there are "higher" and "lower" levels with some impetus for progression towards some goal, then everything is set up for spirit world political science.

    If you were in your pre-human-incarnation counseling sesh and had the opportunity to ask any and all questions about this life to try and figure out what it is like and how it works and how to take advantage of the rules and systems there for your benefit, and your counselor failed to explain the food chain or dangers to survival or religion or democracy or government or authority, then you wouldn't have any idea about how this life and this world works. And now we're here trying to figure out how the next life works and reports from beyond seem to indicate there are analogs there to what we experience here. And my understanding of reality is that it is built of repeating iterations of patterns on various scales, such that understanding one piece of reality can lead to insights about another piece of reality.

    We have cases where people come back from an NDE with new skills, languages, accents, musical talent, etc. These are all patterns and programs that are in the mind but somehow have an object existence somewhere. And when we have many reports of people meeting the same entities in the great beyond - entities that are prominent mythical figures in this life - it tends to point to some sort of objective existence.
     
  13. Far.From.Here

    Far.From.Here New

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    It may be just as close to say some are like a rain shower and some like a tsunami. There may be a subtlety surrounding "intent" or morality on the part of "non-physical" entities or "energies." I don't think it is necessarily good to get locked into an image of "Entity X" who has a messy desk somewhere in the non-physical and who enjoys occasionally terrorizing people near ouija boards. But I don't think the idea of intelligence should be separate either. But I don't think it is clear cut.
     
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  14. Far.From.Here

    Far.From.Here New

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    You did have very high praise for his Star Ships. Has that changed?

    I get the feeling that part of Gordon's "magic" is becoming successful and supporting himself through his endeavors like runesoup and the books. I can't fault him on that. I view him as on the crest of a wave. I get the sense that Gordon has a sharp intellect and he is able to bring a lot of sometimes disparate information into a cohesive and intelligent sounding package. And he has a pleasant personality. His coin dropped considerably for me during the whole Mars destroyed by nukes thing. But I am an unabashed podcast junkie, so I continue to enjoy his talks.

    I've always been an animist since I have any memory of being alive. So I kind of agree with him on that front. Though I don't think I could really put my idea of animism into words and I wouldn't want to.
     
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  15. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

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    In one clip Gordon mentions that materialists have flipped into saying now that perhaps everything - all matter - is conscious and he pooh-poohs that idea.

    I don't think it should be dismissed. I'm starting to think we could consider consciousness to be the act of transforming symbol into meaning, and meaning is yet another type of symbol. So the act of symbol transformation could be thought of as a consciousness element. The more complex the symbol transformation process, the more complex the consciousness.

    Symbol transformation requires pattern creation and pattern overlay and this is where subjectivity and objectivity intersect and this intersection is consciousness. What is the difference between the human sense of touch and two electrons encountering one another and feeling a force? The degree of difference lies in the degree of complexity and number of feedback loops involved.
     
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  16. manjit

    manjit New

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    No, not all! My praise for that book, as limited as it was, still stands and is not at all contradicted by what I write here!

    I do not believe "Star Ships" was a book really about the occult or "chaos magick". It was a book about history!

    Gordon is without doubt one of the most entertaining & informative podcasters out there & I will continue to enjoy his output!

    Just, imo, there are far deeper aspects & uses to "occult" than Gordon ever touches on. And that is hinted at by his limited understanding of animism & chaos magick for eg. But each to their own :)
     
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  17. Alex

    Alex New

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    thx for this feedback/dialog :)

    fair point. I'm synthesizing a lot of different threads here... hope it will eventually make sense.


    my point is that everyone seems to care a whole lot more than they let on. The Chaos Magic people care that's why they say the Lord's Prayer three times backwards and engage in other silly rituals.

    maybe it does, maybe it doesn't, that's kinda my point in that Magic/Occult people seem to think/act like it does.

    yes... for sure :)

    that's what I'm pushing against... i.e. I don't see this is a coherent idea... many holes... doesn't fit the date... the Christian thing being one glaring example.

    don't blame me, blame the gods :)
     
  18. Alex

    Alex New

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    I don't really understand where you're coming down on this issue. what version of Jesus are you advocating? I mean, if you're leaning toward a Bart Ehrman "freedom fighter" and you take out all the tough talk in Mark (per this episode), you don't have much left.

    However you slice this you wind up in the same place -- the Jesus of the Bible... the one we grew up with in Sunday school... the one our parents believed in... is ahistorical.
     
  19. Alex

    Alex New

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    I could see it :)
     
  20. Alex

    Alex New

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    this is the direction I'm leaning as well.
     
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