Came across this while waiting for my pizza:

I’ve always felt an almost physical loathing for secret things – intrigues, diplomacy, secret societies, occult sciences.  What especially irks me are these last two things – the pretension certain men have that, through their understandings with Gods or Masters or Demiurges, they and they alone know the great secrets on which the world is founded.

I can’t believe their claims, though I can believe someone else might. But is there any reason why all these people might not be crazy or deluded? The fact there are a lot of them proves nothing, for there are collective hallucinations.

What really shocks me is how these wizards and masters of the invisible, when they write to communicate or intimate their mysteries, all write abominably. It offends my intelligence that a man can master the Devil without being able to master the Portugese language. Why should dealing with demons be easier than dealing with grammar? If through long exercises of concentration and willpower one can have so-called astral visions, why can’t the same person – applying considerably less concentration and willpower – have a vision of syntax? What is there in the teachings and rituals of the Magic Arts that prevents their adherents from writing – I won’t say with clarity, since obscurity may be part of the occult law – but at least with elegance and fluency, which can exist in the sphere of the abstruse? Why should all the soul’s energy be spent studying the language of the Gods, without a pittance left over to study the colour and rhythm of the language of men?

I don’t trust masters who can’t be down-to-earth. For me they’re like those eccentric poets who can’t write like everybody else. I accept that they’re eccentric, but I’d like them to show me that it’s because they’re superior to the norm rather than incapable of it.

There are supposedly great mathematicians who make errors in simple addition, but what I’m talking about here is ignorance, not error. I accept that a great mathematician can add two and two and get five: it can happen to anyone in a moment of distraction. What I don’t accept is that he not know what addition is or how it’s done. And this is the case of the overwhelming majority of occult masters.

(Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet, tr. Richard Zenith)

Pessoa’s condemnation could as easily apply to the new priesthood – the Literary Theorists, who are akin to occultists except they lack the unintentional comedy value of the Grand Black Chaos Magisters. Just as Pessoa turns away from occultists out of aesthetic contempt, so anyone with an ounce of intellectual honesty would take one sniff of false prophets like Homi Bhabha and Judith Butler, and turn away in disgust.

i think it’s the case that most people are swayed not by logic so much as by aesthetics, or by an inner need, an innate sense of how the world is, which corresponds to a particular creed, philosophy, etc. So, with my Calvinist friend the Viking, for example, i think his innate sense of the world is of order, structure, predictable and comforting linearity, hierarchies, a world which makes sense and in which all is as it should be, a world where the men in power are worthy of implicit trust, unquestioning loyalty, because God put them there. He is about to become a Roman Catholic, perhaps out of a sense that Protestantism is too unstructured, leaves things too open, undetermined in a sense (that which is determined being inscrutable).

My own sense of the world is of a great big mess in which very little makes much sense and the powerful usually exist on a spectrum between corruption and evil (that is to say, they are human beings). Although i occasionally perceive an order, it is very much a behind-the-scenes affair, to do with the continuities between lives, from incarnation to incarnation.

i don’t see any great order in the world – or rather, i see glimpses of a largely incomprehensible order, as in the fictions of Kafka and Borges – and i therefore resist any system which makes things too apparent, too solid and obvious. For me, the world is simply not like that. That is, perhaps, one reason i am drawn to “the occult”.

i am not, however, interested in occult organisations and rituals – these seem to me mistaken, in trying to make the matter too apparent. My first introduction to the occult was about 12 years ago, when i found Aleister Crowley’s Magick in a second-hand bookshop. Parts of it were interesting but the rituals with their magical swords, pentagrams, incantations and demons seemed to me evidently fake, ludicrous and weak – like Esperanto, or the languages invented by Fantasy novelists (even Tolkien’s languages sound ridiculous and artificial when spoken).

Rune work is different – i cannot say whether the runes are a human invention, in the way that Elvish was invented by Tolkien, or whether they arose as did French or German, or whether a god gave them to mankind – or, “all of the above”, as they say. It is both interesting and futile to speculate. One never comes to the final ground – i would go further and say that the attempt to get to the final ground of things is wrongheaded and leads only to mental collapse, or capitulation.

My approach to rune work is pragmatic. i cannot know if the universe is really in some way divisible into twenty-four runic energies, or if a god gave them to mankind – all i can know is how they work in me; that is, how they help me to understand my self and my world; and what we call “magic”. If i’m wrong, well, i shall probably start calling myself Grand Black Chaos Magister Elberry and if i hadn’t disabled comments you could all tell me “Elberry, you’ve gone nuts.”

But by then it would, of course, be too late.

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