Category Archives: occult/occultism

A Treasure Trove of Mind Expanding Documentaries and Movies

Just found this site (TubeGnosis) and thought it was worth sharing with the world. Great site with documentaries and films on and from all the usual suspects, Burroughs, RAW,  Crowley, Jodorowsky and on and on. Weeks worth of viewing here.

I’m particularly excited to see the 1972 documentary about R. D. Laing Asylum:

In 1971, filmmaker Peter Robinson and a small crew entered a world of anarchic madness and healing compassion unlike any other. The resulting film, Asylum, records their seven week stay in radical psychiatrist R. D. Laing’s controversial Archway Community — a London row-house where the inmates literally run the asylum. Laing’s conviction that schizophrenics can only heal their shattered “self” where they’re free and yet are held responsible for their actions, challenged patients, doctors and, in Asylum’s incredible document, the filmmakers, to live communally and peacefully. 

A documentary treasure built from truthful moments of astonishing tension and grace, Asylum takes on a gripping narrative strength usually only seen in fiction. Hailed as “beautifully done” by The Village Voice at the time of its 1972 release, Asylum has since become “a model of cinema verité.” (The New York Times) 

“[Asylum] The only thing we have in film that shows what we think works for – well, for people who feel that society is destroying them.” – R. D. Laing

Plenty more besides that one. Going to be a busy week.

Tube Gnosis: Mind Expanding Documentaries and Movies.


Keeping the Cosmic Trigger Happy: thoughts on Robert Anton Wilson

Last week was  raw week  over at  Boing Boing. .Marking the fifth anniversary of Robert Anton Wilson’s transition to a different pattern of energy and information and who’s 4-dimensional form existed in space time January 18, 1932 – January 11, 2007.

I’d originally intended to write a post about Wilson’s influence on comic books but instead I ended up writing this. Will hopefully get to that other one next week.  So this is just some thoughts on Wilson, whose work had a profound impact on my philosophical and psycho-spiritual development and who still sometimes (not sure if I should mention this so I will) appears to me as as a kind of gigantic and benign floating head whenever my more unusual states of consciousness seem like they might get too much. Which, by the way, is awesome and I don’t care if its not really him; everyone gets the Robert Anton Wilson they deserve. So, an intellectual influence then and, in some strange way that only writers who you love but have never met can be, a friend. Continue reading


Superheroes, psychedelics, counterculture, magic and posthumanism: Best post ever?

Hello humans.

My paper “The Silver Age Superhero as Psychedelic Shaman” is now available HERE on Nth Mind or HERE if you’d prefer a printable version with illustrations (and who could blame you?).

I’m very happy with this one. But then, of all the types of posthuman body discussed in my thesis the Cosmic Body is the one closest to my heart and the vision of posthumanity that is most capable of ensuring the greatest happiness for all. Posthuman bodies require posthuman minds!

Valuable context is available in the first paper, “Producing and Consuming the Posthuman Body in Superhero Narratives” (click the tile to read that), which lays out my idea that the discourse of the posthuman is a matter of bodies -discourse being not just representations (talk, language), but also material practices. So for example, ‘genetic engineering’ is not just a matter of science-fiction but also a real-world techno-scientific practice. Not to mix my academic work with parlance of hip-hop but this shit is real, baby.

This posthuman discourse consists of three overlapping discursive domains-speculative Trans/humanism (also including ‘real-world’ tecno-science); critical-philsophical Post/Humanism (in which include people like Foucault, Haraway) and of course Superhumanism (the realm of science fiction, but also comic books). Superhero comics offer a delicuos smorgasboard of posthuman bodies. Considering these bodies lets us also consider how they are found in the other two discursive realms.

Without going into too much detail (you can read the paper for yourselves after all), this paper takes a rhizomatic journey through the Cosmic Body, following the hidden underground root systems that link superheroes with the psychedelic counterculture of the sixties with Transhumanism’s forebear the Human Potential Movement with eastern mysticism with Nietzsche’s critique of Humanism with shamanism with Western occultism and the scientist-shaman with Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol with One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest with, well, you get the idea.

(The paper isn’t written in this style I should add. I’m a professional, I just blog as an excitable child with a precocious interest in esoteric ideas and countercultural philosophies)

At any rate, this paper is a point where it feels my academic, philosophical, personal and creative interest came together as one. A point where, as I say in the paper, critical theory and cultural criticism can become productive and transformative practices rather than simply nihilistic and deconstructive (not that that doesn’t have its own appeal).

Make your own minds up, of course ( and anyway, in a couple of months I might think it’s rubbish) but I would love to hear any comments, criticisms and suggestions. Anyway, once again, because I wrote more there than I meant too, here is “The Silver Age Superhero as Psychedelic Shaman“.


Comics are Magic Part 1: Superman, archetypes and invocations

Hello you. And welcome to what will be the first in a series of posts discussing the various strange and hidden ways the world of comics and magic are connected. I’ve dealt with some of these issues in my paper The Silver Age Superhero as Psychedelic Shaman (find that here) but these posts will be a bit more relaxed in style and content.

Less theory, more wierdy.

So lets begin with Comics are Magic Part 1: The Myth of Superman.

Its become pretty commonplace to refer to superheroes as a modern mythology, or contemporary manifestations of mythic patterns. And while this is interesting on a purely intellectual level it also has interesting occult implications. Continue reading