In the beginning there was the word……or the command line. Naming a thing used to be the literal path to power. Now we are pretty meh about the whole thing. Ritual magic is kind of a satanic panic middle brow thing in America even though we have a history of throwing in with prosperity theology. We’ve got entire evangelical communities dedicated to naming and belief with the expectation it will generate wealth and manifest prosperity. The meme magic folks who wished Trump into office were really just regurgitating Norman Vincent Peale prayers. Plenty of folks like to blame this kind of magic on like Max Weber with his Protestant Work Ethic but I’m mixed on it as I don’t think he envisioned Pentecostals when he said hard work was a moral good.
A friend of mine who knows my interest in both capitalism and its underlying energy in culture suggested I watch an old talk from illustrator and comic book author Grant Morrison.
Honestly you should pop it out and watch the whole thing if you have any interest in creation. But especially if you are interested in chaos. He discusses a term he coined called a Hyper Sigil. He is building on contemporary chaos magic which isn’t too far off from manifestation theology. He contends that bodies of art but really any form of creative work can be turned into collective signs of meaning with willpower and force. He literally means they are magic and if this interests you go read Ray Sherwin and Peter J Carroll. If that doesn’t no biggie the following point still stands. We have sigils in America that are pretty literally manifestations of power.
Corporate sigils are super-breeders. They attack unbranded imaginative space. They invade Red Square, they infest the cranky streets of Tibet, they etch themselves into hairstyles. They breed across clothing, turning people into advertising hoardings… The logo or brand, like any sigil, is a condensation, a compressed, symbolic summoning up of the world of desire which the corporation intends to represent… Walt Disney died long ago but his sigil, that familiar, cartoonish signature, persists, carrying its own vast weight of meanings, associations, nostalgia and significance.
I’ve completely fallen down a Grant Morrison hole as this kind of thinking is crucial to work in attention economy trades like communications, public relations and marketing. But I’m frankly a lot more interested in the practical aspects of how he conceives of himself as a chaos magician and how he we can all affect the reality around us. I’ve purchased his Invisibles comic. When he says imagination is the fifth dimension he literally means it. Multiversity is rad.