28 Jun 2023
Climare changes oblige, fully luxury automated communism is not on the horizon anymore. It’s not like the old workaholic in me ever truly craved that. But as the desire for work and achievement is often pushed as this simple idea of internalised capitalism, I wanted to try to think about the future of (our relation with) work.
Personnaly, I’m not very good at having fun or at doing nothing. I am definitely considered an overachiever by my people. And I did burned out twice before turning 25. Now, I have put the boundarie to not accept to work any full-time job because I know I am not ready to let go of my 345285 personal projects I have on the side, therefore working full-time will almost systematically lead me toward the burnout route.
At once, I tried to slow down on my political activities. My social life often revolved around organising meetings and in the long run, I thought it was kind of unhealthy. I need to allowed myself to just chill. And I did this, I’m still doing this : allowing myself to chill, and coming back in the ‘’productive field’’ gradually, while keeping in mind my priority of keeping my life in balance.
I don’t know where I heard or read recently that the issue is not about trying to abolish work, but rather reclaiming work. It resonated in me as I am kinda doing that, since my ‘’chilling moment’’ is also a moment where I’m trying to consolidate the foundation of my very own non-profit. If I have to work, I will work in my own term, on something I truly believe in. So I realized I was already in the praxis of reclaiming work.
It lead me then to want to ponder about the theory around this idea of reclaiming work. How can work be pleasurablre and fullfiling? On a more personal level, how can I try to stop with this fear that I am necessarily working from a place of internalised capitalism, making myself feel shame for wanting to be useful and accomplish things?
So, I’m coming to the terms that human nature might actually crave work. Psychologist Csikszentmihalyi’s notion of flow comes to mind. I also think about the fact that using our hands to do manual works actually is good for the brain.
In my activist circles, we already started this reflexions a few years ago about how can we find (and bring) joy and pleasure in all this unpaid labor of ours. Now, I’m thinking, how can I personnaly bring a change around work in the lineage of pleasure activism? Maybe the issue this whole time wasn’t that I’m ‘’not able to have fun’’. Like I’m able to have fun and I am fun to be around. I make people laugh in meeting, I find ways for things to flow more efficiently, dare I say, more pleasurably.
Because the thing is, there will be just more and more work to do in the following year. In the realm of activism but also in general with the upcoming collapse of everything. How can we create an anticapitalist culture of (fullfiling) work that can not be recuperated by the current ideology? How can work nurture our growth instead of economical growth?
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08 Jan 2023
I like to think of my reading journey as some fantasy quest. Books are paving the way, but along the path I see beautiful fascinating plant-ideas that nourish the whole adventure.
The first book I finished reading this year was the short Occult Features of Anarchism by Erica Lagalisse, which I read in one sitting. The book offers an historical overview of anarchism, putting in the light the occult dimension of it. It suggests :
Modern anarchism has never been purely atheis except in name, and instead develops based on overlapiing syncretic pagan cosmologies that behold the immance of the divine, In fact, utopian socialism, anarchism and Marxism each rely […] on a specific syncretic cosmology that is incipient in the Middle Ages, changing and crystallizing in the Renaissance, and gradually given a scientific maeover throughout the Enlightenment up to the twentieh century. (p.34)
The book also posits firmly this hypothese I’ve been dancing around for a while now (see last digital garden entry) that the discarding of the spiritual/magical is something deeply anchored in oppressive systems, or as Lagalisse put it in relation to anarchism :
It is one thing for anarchists to maintain that they are ‘‘against all forms of domination’’ nominally speaking, yet a decolonized anarchism that properly challenges gendered power requires acknowledging how the secularization of social movements agains the state mirrors the secularization of the modern colonial state itself, which privatizes religion and gender yet continues to embody a specific cosmonoly and patriarcgal arrangement in both structure and ideology. (p.28)
Once again, it was highlighted how an “elite magic” anchored in Western occultism was deemed acceptalbe, but folk and women magic wasn’t. Lagalisse showcased namely how (male) scientists during the Enligthment were working through alchemist traditions in their experiments. She gaves the example of the “magical” Johannes Kepler who received the title of Imperial Mathematician while his mother was imprisoned for witchcraft.
Anyway, that was a very nice read. It was refreshing to learn that communist and anarchists symbols took their origin in witchcraft and secret societies (freemasonry), or again that the anticapitalist May Day has link with pagan celebration. Even more pleasant was it to discover the “spiritual side” of anarchist thinkers, like this Bakhunin quote did a good impression on me :
Let the religion become the basis and reality of your life and your actions, but let it be the pure and single-minded religion of divine reason and divine love… [I]f religion and an inner life appear in us, then we become conscious of our strenght, for we feel that Gos is within us, that same God who creates a new world, a world of absolute freedom and absolute love… that is our aim.
The essay also covers how women and indigenous thinkers are often left out of anarchism history, but it feels as if this section could have been more explored. Conspiracy theories also have their dedicated chapter, as it was actually the starting point of Lagalisse’s investigation into this occult alley, and it was very interesting : it motivated me to go back to my own conspiracy theories studies (see entry fascism and conspiracy theories), and this aspiration to make it part of some kind of left populism in the line of what Chantal Mouffle advocates for, but also in the spirit of Amitav Ghosh’s call to involves religion in the fight for climate justice. Nonetheless, here as well, I thought this section was short and I would have wanted some more.
Nevertheless, it was a very good and interesting read. To the suggestion of the writer, I think I will pursue my own investigation with this following book : Magic, Science, Religion, and the Scope of Rationality by Stanley Jerajaya Tambiah.
Also shoutout to the first digital entry I’ve post on Ravirer on 2020 on mystical anarchism, we’ve gone full circle!
20 Dec 2022
As I was listening to an interview on Rune Soup with John Michael Greer, I was remembered that witchcraft was not only the legacy of poor people and women, not only my childhood obsession. When Greer mentionned that the occultists he was surrounded with were from the managerial class, it opened my mind’s eyes again to the political dimension of witchcraft. I started to dive into Greer’s books and realised that he was shockingly prolific. Many traditions and conspiracies came into focus in his writings, and there was also a whole lot of title about politics. I felt compelled to read some of them eventually, to see how it might sound.
One think Greer is conviced of is that we are experiencing the fall of our civilization. This is an idea I somewhat share with him (see Russel Means’ speech at the end of this entry). At least, it’s the imminent end of the American hegemony (hello USA’s Pluto return!), and hopefully, of the capitalist society at large. I think that the cyclical nature of human life and civilization is something important to ponder about again, like the Ancients did. Greer is explaining well where we are at, in our collective thinking. Indeed, we forced people to be convinced by the idea of progress, progress becoming the religion of our time, so what does one do when they realize we aren’t progressing anymore, and, worse, that we are even regressing?
When I’m asking myself those questions, I usually think about the working class, from which I am part : what are we thinking ? What could we collectively be thinking in this frenetic and precarious life that don’t give us the time to think that much?
But it’s true that we could also ask the question to the upper middle class and rich people. It’s true too that we could decide we don’t care what the “uneducated” working class thinks and try to enforce ideas upon them.
While I was still trying to make up my mind around Greer — is he someone I shousld cheer on? for popularising the occult, the magic, this other episteme I also defend with all my heart? or should I not put my trust in him at all, as he is a supsicious old white man? —, I stumbled upon a video that helped shape my opinion. The video in question was about how Greer was actually nurturing a climate where ecofascism could easly thrive. (On this topic, see digital entry fascism and conspiracies theories.) I’ve learned that he predicted Trump’s election and was ever since quite popular in the right and far-right spheres. I sighted without surprise.
Of course, he wouldn’t be the magician ‘‘hero’’ I want to see in the world.
But I guess I am still grateful to him for putting back in my horizon that rich people believe and are using withcraft too. Can you believe he’s written a book named The King in Orange about the presupposedly magical war that shaped american politics behind the scenes since 2016? I need to read that.
I wrote ‘‘presupposedly’’ but, the thing is, I do believe in magic for real. I believe in mine, I believe in my fellow QTBIPOC’s one, but do I believe in the magic of the rich? Deep down, I think most of rich chaos magicians — or whatever name they may used for themselves — aren’t able of real powerful acts of magic, that they are probably just living in delusion, craving for more and more power, always. But, at once, I know that their traditions and mine share similar symbolism, that of tarot, astrology, kabalah, etc. and, of course, I do believe in those symbols and systems. I would invalidate my very own practice by completely discrediting theirs. Superpower or not, we both read the same stars in the sky.
Though, parts of me really believe that humans aren’t that powerful and that, therefore, we mostly rely on the magic of the nature around us. I also strongly believe that it is better, in the long run, to try to work with those magical forces of nature (association), rather than trying to tame them in order to harness them (domination). (See Eisler’s association vs domination framework here.)
When I was in my Youtube rabbit hole, learning about Greer and Atlantis theories, I stumbled about a video named Does Remote Viewing Work How To Be a Psychic Psy. The video was around 6 min and there was this old guy invited to a TV show to prove that the was able to remotely see where someone was and he was there to prove it. So they set up a woman who would wo go anywhere she wanted in London and the old man would write “thousand of pages” to get clue of what he saw “through her” to finaly disclose her possible location.
First, it wasn’t impressing nor convincing. Second, psychic spy, really?
Although I would adore to be able to spy on fossil fuels psychopaths, and that I do believe remote viewing is possible, please, someone, save me from myself if I ever go on a TV set pretending I’m James Bond or somethig to get attention from a potentially very sacred craft. I will not elaborate any further, I think it speaks for itself of how white men can think of magic. A mere other skill, self-promotion trick, potential passive income, name it.
So all of that to say that I felt called to go back to my unfinished work around witchcraft as political strategy for the left. Oh, how I crave more than ever a decolonial chaos magic by and for the people!
It’s been a while I’m mad at this sanatized paradigm of scientific thoughts and nothing else. Initialy, I was mad on the basis that the people in power who shaped history forced an idea upon us. But now I am even more mad because, it’s not simply a matter of pushing in. Picture a quite full suitcase : they didn’t try to push the idea in that suitcase, sat on it to make it close, and then forcefully zipped it. It if was what happened, maybe our suitcase-mind would be a bit crowded, uncomfortable with contradictions, but we would still be able to work it out. No, rather, they took out all our belonging that were in that suitcase without asking if we cared about them and burned it (actually, they secretly kept a part of it for themselves), filling the now empty luggage with only what they care about, only what would benefit them, not caring a minute about our needs.
What I mean by that is that they had to violently destroy in order to create their worldview. A bit like AI art today is destroying in bits of data meaninfulg art to render new meaningless art in the hands of capitalists.
The first time I’ve stumbled upon this emphasis on destruction this week was when I was reading the book Kitchen Witch : Food, Folklore & Fairy Tale by Sarah Robinson. In it, the author compared the witches’ trials to a second burning of Alexandria.
Today, I’ve heard another phrasing of that destruction that really triggered that ancient sacred anger. In a video by Advaya, Dr. Vandana Shiva geniously synthetized the evolution of thoughts since the colonization by Europeans. She went back to Bacon and said that, by enforcing a mechanic worldview, with the help of the State and the Church, they rubbed us up of so much. Killing the animistic nature of what surrounds us was the beginning of the end, or in Shiva’s terms, it was actually the begining of a genocidal epistemology.
Everytime my vocabulary to express sacred anger expands, I shout.
So yeah, going back to Greer… He might be an hyper archiduide or whatever, like yes, he might truly loves nature and enpower people to connect on a deeper level with it, but still. Still, I refuse to let people anchored in the paradigm that killed everything to benefit from witchcraft, witchcraft they systematically tried to take away from us.
Which brings me to say : if we need a magical class war, I’d be happy to help lead the way.
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08 Oct 2022
My crisis of faith about writing/literature is over. Thanks to the full moon in aries and namely marvelous books I’ve recently read, I feel so inspired to create/write.
Actually, last night I had a download about composing a collection of stories, essays and poems that would be nammed future/ing plant magic. In this note, I’d like to compile all the sources I want to try to put in communication throught that project.
- [MOVIE] Without Name, 2016 (ecohorror about forests and psychedelics)
- [MOVIE] Invisible Demons, 2022 (Mubi documentary about climate changes)
- [MOVIE] Ruins, 2008 (tentacular ecohorror about plants)
- [MOVIE] Arrivals, (science-fiction about time and langage)
- [BOOK] The Great Derangement by Anitav Gosh
- [BOOK] Plant-Thinking : A Philosophy of Vegetal Life by Michael Marder
- [BOOK] Magie, meurtre et médecine : des plantes et leurs usages de John Mann
- [BOOK] How Non-Violence Protects the State by Peter Gelderloos
- [BOOK] How to Blow up a Pipeline by Andreas Malms
- [VERSO BOOK] Capitalism and the Camera (essay collection)
- [ACAD.BOOK/ECOGOTHIC] Fear and Nature : Ecohorror Studies in the Anthropocene
- [ACAD.BOOK/ECOGOTHIC] EcoGothic in the gardens in the long nineneteenth century : phanthom, fantasy and uncanny flowers
- [ACAD.BOOK/ECOGOTHIC] Plant horror : approaches to the monstruous vegetal in fiction and film
- [ACAD.BOOK] Novel Cultivations by Elizabeth Hope Chang (vegetal orientalism, empire)
- [MAGAZINE&PODCAST] Emergence Magazine
- [PODCAST EPISODE] Necrocapitalism : Plague, Ideology, & The Murderous Logic of Capital by Revolutionary Left Radio
- [PODCAST EPISODE] Dark Green Religion : Nature Spirituality and Planetary future by Revolutionary Left Radio
- [PODCAST EPISODE] Allen Clements - An Introduction to Biodynamic Agriculture by The Permaculture Podcast
- [DIGITAL GARDEN ENTRY] problems bigger than states (mars 2021)
- [DIGITAL GARDEN ENTRY] herbalism and decolonial gardening ressources (septembre 2021)
Some of thoses resulting pieces would include one named to kill a politician with poisonous plants about (non-)violence and plants intelligencia and another one would be the oracle of invisible demons which would be a speculative future design essay potentially accompanied by a short story.
So themes that would be explored in this collection future/ing plant magic would be : [time], [violence], [transnationalism], [plant agency], [plant communication], [spirituality/religion], [climate change], [narratives], [death], [anthropocene].
03 Aug 2022
Prior to that note, another one named green religion, planetary conciousness and decoloniality never saw the light of day. I started it at the end of February, but never followed up with it. But it’s fun to see today that the thoughts that live within me right now already started to take root last winter. So here’s the pieces of content I wanted to talk about back then, which truly blew my mind at the time, for posterity and anybody’s curisosity :
Back then, I wanted to connect those to two pieces of fiction : the good old Lost City of Atlantis, which was one of my favorite childhood movie and that I had just rewatched back then and also the book The Overstory by Richard Powers, which truly moved me. But hey, time’s missing so I’ll just leave it on that. BUT, I remember that one of the general feeling I was trying to vehiculate was my eternal ‘‘urgh universities are outdated’’ as I was gasping at all this international relations theory that were thought outside of the framework of nation borders, (see digital garden entry from mars 2021, problems bigger than states on the topic).
Otherwise, since then, summer came and therefore I was back into my urban agriculture worker routine. And this year, I’m still so much in awe in front of nature, but I’m trying to truly act on it, honour it. Therefore, I’m reading and consuming a lot of content on the topic, and also I’m trying to truly and concretely feed my herbalist praxis.
The book that probably awaken the most my thirst for a deeper connection with nature is Braiding Sweetgrass by botanist and indigenous scholar Robin Wall Kimmerer. Truly, this book is life changing. I’m not done reading it yet, but it really speaks to me.
In parallel, the podcast Green Dreamer never stops to amaze me and feed my soul deeply. I could name so many episodes, but the one that recently brought me tears of joy is Mia Birdong : Deepening our interdependence with community . In it, the guest suggest the provocating idea that ‘‘Freedom is community’’ and I am absolutly embracing this paradigm shift. It resonates so much with this quest around connecting with nature and others, trying to think ecologicaly about the world and us in it. Truly, I’ll ponder around this one for a long time.
Another podcast that I recently discovered, but that I am already passionate about is Medicine Stories. In this one, the last provocating quote I’ve heard is the following : “The more a culture is intact, the lesser cookbooks it produces.’’ (from the episode Confessions, Ancestral Foodways, Modern Matriarchy, & The Power of Radical Honesty - Katya Nova). For me, the question of culture, nature, health and community is so much linked to food. Like (cultural and traditional) food as been one of my obsessions of mine in the past 6 months and I love this phrasing, and everything that is being brought to light in this podcast. It’s very creative and inspiring. I can’t wait to think more deeply into all of that.
And this cookbook quote made me want to ‘‘burn books’’. On another topic, I’ve been questionning my study fields, wondering if I should pursue in litterature as planned or rather in plain communication. I then I reached the conclusion that stuff I said about myself when I was a kid isn’t true anymore. Like I realized that nowadays, my passion is not about writing but about communicating itself (hail Mercury). Also, reading is also not the passion : the passion is learning and being in awe (communion), no matter what is the medium. And that made me want to burn books.
Because for so long I told myself I had to write a book to be sucessful, that I was better at writing than talking, in a way that distanced myself from others, to feel more safe, to hide my vulnerabilities behind dead trees. But if community is freedom than books are bandaids, bridges at best.
In many of those media about herbalism and ancestral ways of living, there is this saying about having forgotten the langage of the world around us, be in the one of plants, animals or even our own inner voice or the own of our ancestors. Humans are the only specie who needs to read book to be able to thrive, it was also said in that last Medecine Stories podcast episode mentionned.
So yeah, I’m having a crisis of faith around writing and literature in general. But my craving of radical embodiment of this need for anchoring and building within a community gladly compensates that. Only the tools have to change, maybe. It wouldn’t be the first time I argue for that change of tools…
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