i was pondering the Michael case. i’m a little puzzled that people prize their ipads and what not but have no interest in books, since a great deal of the internet is just words. It’s true that Michael used his iphone for playing extremely inane computer games and watching youtube clips, before he drunkedly left it on the back seat of a cab. But nonetheless.

i rarely read books at home now and so don’t particularly mind my hour on the s-bahns to & from work, as i use this for undistracted book-reading. i enjoy reading books but in my very brief time at home tend to just watch Sopranos episodes, films, post on Facebook, and read blogs & what not. i once thought that i didn’t read much anymore until i copy & pasted a Word document of blog posts & articles from the McLingua computers, and read it at home (before i had private internet). i did a word count and found i’d read 60,000 words of articles & blog posts in one day. i hadn’t realised how much i’d read as it wasn’t strenuous really, and because the longest article was about 5,000 words it was a kind of literary channel hopping.

i do something similar with my Kindle, which i take when i have a 16-hour day and want more than one book to read. At present i’m reading Dion Fortune’s Mystical Qabalah, Roman Imperialism and Runic Literacy (Svante Fischer, a Facebook find), Malory’s Le Mort d’Arthur, the Bible (Psalms), Byron’s Don Juan, the Collected Works of Wittgenstein, and Richard Mitchell’s The Gift of Fire. i’ve rarely read only one book at a time and see nothing wrong with only reading a book for 5 – 10 minutes a day, though it doesn’t really work with novels. A Kindle isn’t so evidently different, in use, to a 16th Century bookwheel.

i think the difference is to do with the nature of physical objects, artefacts. Every physical object gathers to it non-physical energies, to do with the emotions and thoughts of the living. Even materialist dullards feel this, to some degree. As a hobo in Germany i can’t lug my 1000-book library about, or my 800 CDs or 500 DVDs, so i am reliant on electronic files. Just as even the highest quality MP3 is notably thinner than a CD, so with all electronica. i’ve bought replacement CDs and books and always feel a difference, because the physical artefact is different, even if it came out of the same factory at the same time. But if i delete a Kindle ebook i can just download it again and basta, no difference.

i rarely buy replacement books, i think i’ve only done it with Dante’s Inferno, Shakespeare, and the Bible. i left my hefty Shakespeare & KJV Bible in England and so bought new versions in Germany. i read Inferno to death and when pages were falling out i ripped it apart and used parts for, e.g. wrapping delicate packages (flapjacks). When i bought exactly the same edition of Inferno i felt an alienating shock at its sterility and had to read it a few times to get used to it.

Easy with books, where the fingers and pencil leave their mark, but i feel this even with CDs. It is because every physical object takes on some degree of consciousness, or non-physical energy, and so a Kindle or ipad is more like a very old mirror, with many owners. i suppose if you use a Kindle purely for reading black magic, child porn novels, and anti-semitic tracts, it may have a particular aura to it, but otherwise it is no substitute, magically, for a book (and magic is just how things are – for everyone).

i like books and am even warily respectful thereof. i recognise and generally value the energies they attract. With electronica i feel nothing. If i lost my Kindle i would buy another and have a few tedious hours downloading the same books for free, and then there would really be no difference.

i think people like Michael don’t feel comfortable with books because of their particular, unique energy. They are not so easily used and discarded as electronica. i have books i bought in the 1990s and they are still worth reading. i threw away my Amstrad CPC 464 a long time ago; likewise my Amiga.

An ipad (etc) offers the ultimate convenience; everything is discardable. You read for entertainment, and if you get bored you read something else or watch youtube clips. You do not in any way respect the electronic files. It is the perfect technology for impatient, hyperactive adolescents, like Michael or even my more literate friend Bonehead (who no longer watches films, despite being a scriptwriter – instead he only watches scenes from films). If growing decently older is to do with learning to respect your world, most people remain adolescents, and are so encouraged by their technologies.

i wonder sometimes how my last life would have regarded my sorceries. i think, after an initial difficulty, he might have understood, that there is no such thing as “the real world” of materialists, a realm free of enchantment, magic, beauty, grace, where the only true things are money and work and suffering and death.

Our culture, if you can call it that, tends towards the disembodied (you can even observe this in porn, which grows increasingly implausible and robotic, to the point where you can find manga porn), the fraudulently gnostic. One reason i use a typewriter or pen for my real writings – i value the physical, for this is the root of magic; not mystical incantations & what have you, but real physical things. You may, by all means, have your angels and archangels and sephiroth, but it begins, and returns to, the physical. Some of my greatest magics have been ordinary human acts, with a runic accompaniment.

The older i get, and i am now about 4500 years old, the more i value the physical and regard the electronic, the disposable, as a 2nd-rate convenience. You can’t do magic without sacrifice, and everything is magical, finally. Thus i write now by hand or with my GDR typewriter:

If one wonders why there is so little great modern art, it is partly because the money people have regulated everything, so it is exceedingly hard for anything good to make an impact; and partly to do with the loss of magic, the physical. Consider instead, roughly 2000 years ago, Catullus and his boat:

CATULLUS ON HIS BOAT

the little boat you see before you friends

was once she says unbeatable for speed

and nothing on the sea she says could catch her

with oar or sail

the truth of this the stormy adriatic

could testify the cyclades or rhodes

the thracian or the savage pontic sea

where she was first a tree

there too on cytorus she felt the wind

and boxwood slopes beside the black sea port

would know that from her very birth she stood

upon the topmost peak

then first in those far waves she dipped her oars

and brought her master home through raging seas

tacking to right or left or running straight

before the wind

no votive gifts for her to sea-shore gods

since she was safe from her first setting out

to cross the deep from furthest ocean’s bounds

to this smooth pool

but all these things are past and she grows old

and dreaming gently in these quiet streams

returns her thanks for all that she has been

to the twin gods

(tr. david lisle crane)

and as Catullus wouldn’t burn his faithful but now uselessly old boat, so the good magician recognises that which endures, and gives his fidelity thereto.

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