Posts tagged occult
for real, you can trace my last big breakup to the week by the playcounts of “irreplaceable” overtaking “halo”. actually it was going wrong for a while there, so you probably could’ve predicted it before the fact using this method. (beyonceology? beyoncemancy.)
“the production of possession: spirits and the multinational corporation in Malaysia”, aihwa ong, 1987 (read in full)
I pretty much always want to talk about women’s bodies under capitalism but not in a stupid reductive “advertising gives girls low self-esteem” way that positions women as only ever consumers rather than producers/workers; such an analysis is itself misogynist. apparently this article is a bit of a modern classic? it’s about spirit possession and assembly-line workers in 1980s Malaysia. currently putting together a reading list on the alienation of women’s labour, how this is accomplished through distinctly gendered/embodied means, and the interference of the supernatural with this process.
well, you can get all your calories from the necronomicon, apparently it’s made out of human flesh
and I wouldn’t even have to worry about rabbit starvation what with humans being a high-fat species and all
I learned from the example of christopher mccandless, everyone
adorno hated astrology. I mean, if you’re waiting for adorno to like what you’re doing and see hope in it you’ll be waiting a long time. I have to say though that he was Not Wrong, at least about astrology in the culture industries. he attributed its popularity to the fact that “the semi-erudite vaguely wants to understand and is also driven by the narcissistic wish to prove superior to the plain people but he is not in a position to carry through complicated and detached intellectual operations”, which is snotty as fuck and kind of unfair but like, not entirely unfair? it occupies your mind but doesn’t necessarily challenge it. to me, reading about astrology does indeed feel really really similar to reading tvtropes or a similar kind of pop culture analysis website, or doing five million “which hunger games character are you?” quizzes*, which lets me feel like an “expert” in something without really ever thinking too hard. I’m pretty sure doing much of that kind of thing is bad for you.
Adorno also talks about the reliance of the astrological cold reading on people’s narcissism and consequent ability to make literally anything applicable to ourselves. ouch. but I am, actually, repelled by modern Western astrology’s endless categorisation and recategorisation of the self even as I find it seductive, for the same reasons that I find it seductive. it’s fundamentally individualist, thus useless and deadening, and that’s why it’s so marketable, so consumable, such a narcotic.
but on the other hand, one of the main reasons a lot of people are mad about astrology is that it’s about how you are irrevocably shaped by the astronomical (historical) conditions in operation at the time of your birth, and that’s really threatening b/c what about free will. but isn’t the insistence that the individual is shaped by historical forces central to leftist thought?
and this is all kind of a recent development, astrological predictions used to be less about the individual and more about events, broad historical trends; less about psychology and self-help and more about actual fortune-telling.
modern Western newspaper horoscopes are focused on your sun sign; the sun rules the individual and the personality, and changes rapidly. but the outer planets move through the zodiac slowly, with entire generations under the influence of the same position of neptune (which rules fantasy and idealism), pluto (sex, death, and transformation), saturn (work, limits, hardship) and uranus (revolution).
solar astrology is totally individualist but what would a Uranian or Plutonic astrology look like? it’d be more structural, surely. astrological cold readings of a generation’s attitude to sex and death? sign me up
I mean I agree that astrology often promotes of a sense of powerlessness in the face of an inhuman world, I just think it’s possible to work with that
I think part of the reason I’m so pro-woo woo is that it’s so self-evidently fucking goofy and that makes it feel less dangerous to me
same reason I prefer astrology over myer-briggs personality tests and the like
if you actually talk to people who are into that stuff about their beliefs they’ll often eventually admit that they find them a useful framework for understanding the world, and aren’t so concerned with whether they’re literally true. (incidentally whentroublesleep, when are you going to send me that anthro article about how a lot of pagans will cheerfully admit they’re basically making shit up)
or if they don’t come out and say that they often say things like “I don’t understand it but it works” which I think indicates a lack of investment in the rather implausible physical mechanics behind astrology/tarot/whatever, and a more pragmatic attitude
having said that, there are a lot of unscrupulous psychics out there who are charging a lot of money for some pretty destructive advice, it is an Industry, yes (there are also a lot of terrible psychoanalysts out there, and frickin Žižek is a guy with a career, just sayin’)
I guess what I’m saying is: if we’re friends I will read your cards and interpret your chart for free, just come over
“Psychologists have discovered a strong link between belief in superstition and poor exam performance in academics”
ok fine, I’ll get off the internet and work on my bibliography
ARE there people who do astrology + radical theory? lord knows there are enough radical ppl who are into astrology?
well, a lot of radical anthropologists talk about the social functions of belief in magic, the occult, etc
anthropology being anthropology, it’s almost entirely descriptive, “this is how they understand the world” rather than “this is how we can understand the world”, but it’s still a really interesting place to start
also I guess some of the kookier ecofeminists??? but to be honest I don’t really wanna go there, it’s a mess