Reality Sandwich asked two of our leading occult scholars, Richard
Smoley and Mitch Horowitz, to share their observations about the current
state of mysticism in America, and where they see the field heading in
Where is the intersection between literature and healing? Between narrative and
neuroscience? Between writing and life? . . . It is a little like tracing the boundary of self, like scrying a mirror for distinctions
between mind and matter. What fearful, fitful relations exist between these sister terms?
A generation of avant-garde writers are making conscious magazine headlines and electrifying the festival-speakers' circuit. Featuring a brutally honest look at the shadow self, and society at large, these books are not fluffy New Age reads. They are harder to define, hosting a multidimensional mix of spiritual awakening, new media activism, punk attitude, Burning Man aesthetic, and Occupy ideologies.
Most people know Philip K. Dick through films like Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, and
A Scanner Darkly, which were all based on his writings. The
Matrix and Vanilla Sky also owe a debt to his work. What is not so well
known is that he spent the last
decade or so of his life struggling to come to terms with a series of visionary
The Greeks regarded sexual passion as a kind of madness —
possession by Eros — which deprived you of all dignity and made you betray your
friends. Nowadays we are particularly prone to such madness because we have
lost the religious depth which would contain and define the soul's desire for
something beyond the human.
Perhaps it hit me when Time Magazine named their 2006 Person of the Year. You. It was so simple, so obvious. The decision must have been based largely on the runaway success of YouTube. Much else was changing about the ways we communicate and spend our free time and energy. But even that simple switch from passive to active media consumption was one that, I felt sure, would forever transform our society.
They wear pleasant looks on very white faces and hand out literature. They also wear helmets and some of the boys are big enough to play for the L.A. Rams. They are ready: members of the American Nazi Party. Well, it's Hollywood . . .
In the mind, sound is not so neatly sectioned off from space, touch, words, or image. One bleeds into the next, slipping and sliding in a spiral of associations. Digital media has already begun to reflect qualities of consciousness that had been beyond the means of artists to capture. In coming years, this will only accelerate.
Fifty years after its first broadcast, an interview with Aldous Huxley is presented to a new generation.