The war to end wars…?

December 25, 2019

Man, when preparing for bloody war, will orate loudly and most eloquently in the name of peace. This dichotomy is not an invention of the twentieth century, yet it is in this century that the most striking examples of the phenomena have appeared. Never before has man pursued global harmony more vocally while amassing stockpiles of weapons so devastating in their effect. The Second World War – we were told – was the War To End Wars. The development of the atomic bomb is the Weapon to End Wars. And yet wars continue. Currently, no nation on this planet is not involved in some form of armed struggle,  if not against its neighbours then against internal forces. Furthermore, as ever escalating amounts of money are poured into the pursuit of the specific weapon or conflict that will bring lasting peace, the drain on our economies  creates a  rundown urban landscape where crime flourishes and people are concerned less with national security than with the simple personal security needed to stop at the store late at night for a quart of milk without being mugged. The places we struggled so viciously to keep safe are becoming increasingly dangerous. The war to end wars, the weapons to end wars, these things have failed us.

Alan Moore
Watchmen

witchy-woman

The advantages of treating magic as an art seem at first glance to be considerable. For one thing, there are no entrenched and vested interests capable of mounting an objection to magic’s inclusion in the canon, even if they entertained objections in the first place, which is hardly likely. This is patently far from the case with either science or religion, which are by their very natures almost honour-bound to see that magic is reviled and ridiculed, marginalized and left to rust there on history’s scrap-heap with the Flat Earth, water-memory and phlogiston. Art, as a category, represents a fertile and hospitable environment where magic’s energy could be directed to its growth and progress as a field, rather than channeled into futile struggles for acceptance, or burned uselessly away by marking time to the repeated rituals of a previous century. Another benefit, of course, lies in art’s numinosity, its very lack of hard-edged definition and therefore its flexibility. The questions “what exactly are we doing and why are doing it”, questions of ‘method’ and of ‘aim’, take on a different light when asked in terms of art. Art’s only aim can be to lucidly express the human mind and heart and soul in all their countless variations, thus to further human culture’s artful understanding of the universe and of itself, its growth towards the light. Art’s method is whatever can be even distantly imagined. These parameters of purpose and procedure are sufficiently elastic, surely, to allow inclusion of magic’s most radical or most conservative agendas? Vital and progressive occultism, beautifully expressed, that has no obligation to explain or justify itself. Each thought, each line, each image made exquisite for no other purpose than that they be offerings worthy of the gods, of art, of magic itself. The Art for The Art’s sake.

Alan Moore
Fossil Angels

blowing in the wind

I mean, for me, the whole turning-point in my thinking about magic was when I realised that the only place this has to happen is inside your head. And that doesn’t mean it isn’t real. I think we have a problem in that we live in a materialist society – I don’t mean “everybody’s a bread-head, man”, I mean that we believe that the material world is the only one that’s important, the only one that exists. Despite the fact that believing that requires thinking, and science can’t actually explain how we think. It’s the ghost in the machine, forever outside the province of science. You can’t reproduce a thought in an empirical laboratory experiment, so you cannot properly talk about thought. Thought is a supernatural event which we all experience every minute of the day. The world of ideas is much more important than the material one. I mean, what’s more important, the reality of a chair or the idea of a chair? I’d say it looks like the physical world is actually predicated upon the intangible world of ideas and the mind. It looks like that’s the more important territory. Okay, so let’s treat it literally as a territory. There might be ways to explore it, ways since time immemorial that people have used to explore it. Drugs. Meditation. Some unpleasant ones like scourging and fasting, which never sound like much fun to me. Lots of ways that people have found over the years to get themselves deeper into this mental space.

Alan Moore
Interview published in MUSTARD issue number 4.