“In the beginning was the word, and the word was with god, and the word was god.” (John 1:1)
Hello. This is a final paper that I am writing as a senior at Santa Cruz. This is my last school paper ever. I just thought I should say that, because I am about to express through words everything that I have learned in college, and then go off and use what I know to reinvent the world I love. I hope you enjoy it J
In speaking on Revolutionary Magic, of which I shall effectively translate in the upcoming pages, perhaps I should start by describing potential and kinetic energy, as well as Osmosis, in their respective roles concerning human behavior:
Potential energy, that which is contained in a subject and capable of coming to be, can be likened to theory in that it provides for a new framework in how an individual will act. These particular actions are, in essence, the transformation of potential to kinetic energy as the subject works to accelerate his mass (to live). Any possible action governed by that theory is contingent upon the current understanding of the subject, determining which possible future will be experienced out of an infinite number of potentialities. [The language used here will continue to be used for the entire paper, have fun]
Osmosis, on the other hand, is the diffusion of a high water potential into a low water potential through a semi-permeable membrane to equally balance the concentration. This can be paralleled to the dissemination of a particular theory of high concentration into a community through the use of speech to physically communicate and come to a common understanding.
Theory becomes its own potentiality, confined within the human mind, until it is expressed through work (action) to produce real effects for reality. Similarly, as this energy is created and recreated, the makeup of different minds (their concentrations) begins to escape from the specific individual to permeate the surrounding members and the environment they are together absorbed within. A child born in a particular climate who is coming to terms with his environment will criticize the established norms in order to create a better theory that absorbs a larger understanding of the world. Think of Einstein creating new formulas to explain the world. Though at first these theories may not be given much credit, as they are tried and tested the proposed theory is acknowledged and accepted until it is proven wrong. These new theories perpetually reinvent knowledge to change the collective understanding of the world. This allows the potential for work within a new present while maintaining its energy until the speed of acceleration changes.
The connection between science and technology is an example of the physical manifestation of the relationship between theory and action.
Quantum theory was a revolutionary understanding of the world that dealt with those mechanical systems whose dimensions are close to or below the atomic scale, such as molecules, atoms, electrons, protons, quarks, and other atomic particles. At its most basic level, the theory states that the observation of our surroundings creates its very existence. Because all we ever experience are sense impressions, the existence of a physically real world beyond those impressions cannot therefore be established; rather, the probabilities of potential wavelengths are ultimately collapsed, providing for one particular reality to be assumed:
“The bottom line is that any observation disturbs things enough to prevent the disproof of quantum theory’s assertion that observation creates the property observed.” (Rosenblum, Kuttner 106)
As quantum mechanics led to new technologies like the laser, the transistor, and the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), the theory provided for new work to be done, realizing through that theory–and creating through action— similarly new realities from formerly potential (but now collapsed) ones. The forces inherent within each action are manifested in the surrounding reality we create for ourselves. These actions are governed by the theories we synthesize in our minds and are dependent on the evolution and application of new information. Therefore, within each present lie theory and action—potential and kinetic energy.
Just as small things simultaneously do and do not exist in microscopic tests, certainly big things would also not exist in a function of time and space if people had not understood the world in a specific way (by creating theory), interpreting and collapsing any possible future except for the one dictated by the actions demanded by that theory. The twin towers, for instance, existed one day but not another, due primarily to the social circumstances in which they stood. Because past events evolved into a seemingly unstable present, an action resulted which collapsed all possible futures but one.This fusion of the past, present, and future provides us with a theory of multiple dimensions, illustrated by string theory.
Various packets of energy, called quanta, oscillate in ten different dimensions and vibrate according to their particular frequencies. Subatomic particles then, are nothing more than different resonances to be manipulated through forces, much in the same way as a harmony is created on a set of strings. Though there are 5 different manifestations of the ten dimensions, they are all simply different versions of the same conclusion: that these strings all originate in an 11th dimension.
“The astonishing conclusion was that all the matter in the Universe was connected to one vast structure: a membrane. In effect our entire universe is a membrane. The quest to explain everything in the Universe could begin again and at its heart would be this new theory. It was dubbed Membrane theory, or M-theory.”(Horizon)
Though previously thought to be a tranquil place where membrane universes gently floated, the 11th dimension was later proposed to be a violent and chaotic environment by the end of 2001, crashing into each other- the big bang conceived of as the aftermath of a collision between two worlds. This union became the spatial-temporal location in which Man’s consciousness was born.
As these membranes mutually evolve into a system where stars explode and planets are created, a great cycle of energy evolves interdependently through time, as man becomes the form it takes to make it conscious of itself. Through the introduction of new theories created by time, we may reassess and recreate our world through the manipulation of language, in order to live in accordance with our own knowledge. In this way can we figure the universe to be a verbal hologram.
Those words that have real effects do so because they are acknowledged and accepted, thereby granting authority to the speaker. When a theory-induced reaction to a set of events collapses an infinite amount of possible futures, the individual is regarded as having changed reality, becoming, in essence, a magician. One’s own actions affect the environment they are absorbed within, transforming potential theory into kinetic action.
There are two ways to approach the recognition of a magician- fear and love. Fear manifests itself as resistance to change while love manifests itself through the embracing of change. If the power to change the world became a possibility for just anyone, then the entire world would be in jeopardy at any given moment if someone without the foresight to efficiently maintain the world were given power. So, we reserve the power to a select few, trusting that they will correctly utilize the institutions afforded to them to keep humanity’s best interests at heart. This helps us to contextualize magic and power within Rebecca Lesses’ analysis of the performative utterance in a Jewish ritual: the adjuration of the Prince of the Presence. “The person who says this adjuration must be in a specific relation to the powers which constitute his world in order for his words to be effective in the ritual.” (Lesses 197)
The adjuration presupposes that a pure human being will make use of the divine names by which god has created everything, in order to force the Prince of the Presence to do his will. Because this presence has the ability to “destroy the whole world,” only certain people, by virtue of their place in society, have the knowledge of the Name of 42 letters to control the Prince and the inherent forces of nature with which hold the potential to protect or endanger their fellow beings. (Lesses 201) Here, the Word is entrusted to a specific portion of society, not to be revealed to those “inferior” members who could potentially recreate the world in a “damaging” way.
Historically, words have always been kept for the elite, who are most often favored in a given environment, until technology disseminates that knowledge to a broader audience. The invention of the printing press led to an extensive distribution of literature (much of it the bible) that provided men, women, and children the opportunity to learn how to read. As these peoples’ consciousnesses absorbed many new and different systems of words by way of a massive book production, their minds and attitudes changed as well, leading to the Protestant Reformation and a direct criticism of authority in general. More theories were eventually created, leading to new actions and new possibilities as language manifested different ideas through speech.
If we consider the letters of the human language as intrinsically endowed with the syntactic possibilities to create and reinvent the world we see before us, and we accept that comparative literature is the assertion and emergence of the “other” in a literary sphere, we can then see how language is used to connect us all under an umbrella of the “acknowledged.” Words are used to provide an “other” side to a particular story, providing for us a new understanding of “reality,” while simultaneously pointing out alternatives to that which is considered to exist.
It is in this way that we can understand Revolutionary Magic to be a battle between different systems. A more powerful magician will use his knowledge of the world to create a theory (affecting action), which is then absorbed within the inferior magician’s consciousness as he accepts the observable universe that is created for him. By translating the language of theory through speech, the former magician can maintain his control by way of technology and authority that has been bestowed upon him. An illusion is thus created, imprisoning the inferior magician within the verbal hologram, yet generating the conditions and rationale needed for a final revolt to ensure freedom and safety.
By gaining knowledge of the dimensions in the verbal hologram, one can better learn how to dismantle it. First needed is the ability to even perceive the illusion through bodily senses: sight, touch, taste, smell, and sound. This knowledge is confined to the first dimension. The ability to perceive leads to the actual perception of the illusion, the assertion of the one possible reality not collapsed by a different observation. This describes the second dimension. The third dimension illustrates the assessment and interpretation of the illusion by superficially compartmentalizing knowledge. This is to help basically understand how things are placed in relation to one another within the illusion. The fourth dimension contextualizes the illusion through time, stating how the illusion evolved into what it has presently become. Knowledge of these four dimensions differentiates “reality” from “possibility,” the latter being represented by the conscious imagination of the enslaved character in the fifth dimension.
After initially being presented with an oppressive illusion, the subject can use any knowledge attained from the hologram to escape into his imagination to then entertain various alternatives to the illusion. These possibilities are all tangents that shoot off from the fifth dimension, producing an infinite amount of alternatives to the hologram, installing themselves as sixth dimensional portals. Once an alternative to the present illusion is carefully constructed and evaluated by the mind, the choice to create a particularly new illusion is made, whereby the inferior magician can transform potentiality into reality through his own translation of theory. The abstraction within the mind in this case can now be realized as the individual has dissolved the illusion that has imprisoned him, providing him the tools needed to defeat the superior magician.
Magicians are not necessarily good or bad, but rather the active agents of their specific godheads and ideologies. When two groups of magicians encounter the other’s particular consciousness, the interaction can be met with one of the same two emotions: love or fear. Thus, two systems of belief will either coexist, or one will elect to exterminate the other. Resisting a new system is thus to prevent its rise to power, while the embrace of a new system becomes the essence of a new revolution in an otherwise stagnated conceptualization of the world as it exists. So then, a “narrative of resistance” becomes for us simply the observation of an imposed ideology described by the subject to be “bad,” while a “revolutionary narrative” portrays the emergence of an ideology considered to be “good.”
In Things Fall Apart, Achebe uses the character Okonkwo as an observing member of the community who sees the potential destruction of the system he is favored within. Though many other members (the youth, the untouchables, etc…) flock to the new Christian ideology, Okonkwo sees it as a threat worth resisting. As the power of the new godhead (Jesus, the Queen) increases with its newly accepted and ever growing members, authority is transferred to a new leader, and Okonkwo kills himself before he can be destroyed by the contradiction of a new reality. [sorry there’s no quote, I lost the book]
In Heart of Darkness, Conrad uses the character Marlow as an observing member of the community who sees the oppressive system that colonization has maintained.The inherent goodness of the system’s constituent members is destroyed in order to provide a product for the empire for the sole purpose of making a profit. Marlow lies to Kurtz’s intended to prevent her from understanding the true nature of the illusion of “reality,” opting instead to cast his own spell on her so that she might be happy in an environment devoid of any real companionship. “And perhaps in this is the whole difference; perhaps all the wisdom, and all truth, and all sincerity, are just compressed into that inappreciable moment of time in which we step over the threshold of the invisible.” (70) This demonstrates not a resistance to the system, but a complete revolution within it.
In Waiting for the Barbarians, Coetzee uses the magistrate to personify revolution in his own consciousness, rather than to provide a symbol for resistance. The character becomes the manifestation of an awareness that, though superficially denouncing the atrocities of the soldiers, cannot help but to control the native girl in the hopes of better understanding the individual who accompanies him in the observable illusion around them. It is in this moment that he gives up resisting those oppressors to concentrate on the endurance of time, revolting against the futility of resistance by giving himself up to an uncontrollable present. This in turn, destroys any sense of future, disintegrating any conceivable alternative to what exists: “This is not the scene I dreamed of. Like much else nowadays I leave it feeling stupid, like a man who lost his way long ago but presses on along a road that may lead nowhere.” (152)
In Fatelessness, Kertesz personifies a total subordination to the verbal hologram through his narrator who endures a concentration camp. Rather than resist the illusion (and possibly be murdered for that resistance), the boy comes to terms with his place in time by stating that there was nothing he could do, or rather anything he could do, that would have prevented his suffering. Only in taking one step at a time could a revolution against an assumed extermination ever be realized, providing for the boy some sort of worth in an otherwise uncomprehending world. “Did they want this whole honesty and all the previous steps I had taken to lose all meaning? Why this sudden about-face, this refusal to accept? Why did they not wish to acknowledge that if there is such a thing as fate, then freedom is not possible?” (260)
Through understanding a perspective not usually described, we are better equipped to create an environment that mutually benefits all rather than a privileged few. Systems of words create through their texts a new consciousness, described as theory, by which new potentials and possibilities of actions can occur, engineering through conversation the construction of a future in the present. Yet it is in remembering that those architects are granted authority to serve the rest of humanity only through the acknowledgement and acceptance of power that we recognize the benefits of utilizing language for ourselves. Otherwise, and without language, we become subjugated to an illusion we cannot control or recreate, essentially becoming the inanimate slaves to be used by any authority. Those with language are equated with gods (and magicians) to procure a new reality in which all other members serve, unless they too can be found worthy to influence the course of events described as fate.
The final “other,” projected to bring about the last battle between “good” and “evil,” is the Antichrist, destined to usher in the end of an era. Without this individual functioning as the leader for the “anti-society,” there can be no sense of self that is created in relation to the “other.” In this way can we recognize the necessity of those not equated with ourselves, to better construct a notion of what is “right” and who should be given authority. Only by accepting the Antichrist through love and understanding can we hope to finally live in peace, maintained and controlled through an everlasting consciousness that provides for the freedom of existence and the right to life guaranteed to every individual.
“In the rooms of the palace where we firmly stood—free from the chains of illusion we had made without—the sound that filled us was unlike the link of memory itself. It was the inseparable moment within ourselves of all fulfillment and understanding…It was the dance of all fulfillment I now held and knew deeply, cancelling my forgotten fear of strangeness and catastrophe in a destitute world.” (Harris 151)
Rosenblum and Kuttner. Quantum Enigma Oxford University Press: New York, NY 2006
Barlow, Dilly. HorizonParallel Universes: BBC Two 9:00pm February 14, 2002
Lesses, Rebecca. Chapter taken from Ancient Magic and Ritual Power Brill Academic Publishers, Inc: Boston, Leiden 2001
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart Anchor Books: 1958
Conrad, Joseph. Heart Of DarknessW.W. Norton & Company, Inc: New York NY 2006
Coetzee, J.M. Waiting For The Barbarians Penguin Books: 1999
Imre, Kertesz. Fatelessness Vintage 2004
Harris, Wilson. Palace of the Peacock Faber and Faber 1988