Notes on the Void Responses (1).

The void responses as we have identified them so far are: philosophy, sorcery, love-compassion (characterised by Buddhism) and a concept we feel in the region of hedonism. This latter category may have an almost Nietzschean quality to it, a fullness of life that attempts to overcome the void by strength of enjoyment of life.

Probably the notion of lining these up with the Jungian quaternity is something of heuristic fantasy, nevertheless the idea spawns more consideration of the matter generally. Can philosophy be viewed as such a purely mental activity when it overtly recognizes the void as an issue for us? The 20th century saw phenomenological existentialism recognize the void as a feature of existence that we must deal with. This is a fascinating occurrence considering the thesis (that philosophy is a response to the void) that implies a Hegelian moment of self awareness for the discipline. Yet is such a moment sufficient for some these aspects of philosophy to be considered to transcend its morass of endless argumentation -by which we characterised it?

On reflection possibly not. The multiplicity of phenomenologies and existentialisms, despite possibly having some marginal effect on peoples lives, largely functions only to create more philosophical territory which can then be debated. The word marginal is probably a disservice here. There are no doubt people who, having read Nietzsche feel inspired to reach higher, people who have read Sartre who sought to live every moment to the full. Such cases are not to be denied, our claim is only that in the majority of cases even the when one feels strongly impressed by the ideas, the impact on actual behaviour is largely minimal.

For this reason then the original claim of philosophy as an activity which understands the nothing and seeks to build a foundation of reason where a priori none is possible is maintained.

Another consideration is that the category of sorcery must be made to include chaos magick. CM is most certainly a void response. The awareness of the insanity that not all the magickal systems can be true pushed the (potential) efficacy of it onto the subjects will and subtracted the intrinsic powers of the symbols. Castaneda’s sorcery and CM make an interesting pair. At a glance CM would be thought to subsume sorcery, however we are not convinced this is the case. CM tends to facilitate the desires of the ego, whereas for sorcery all such desires are a priori pointless and can only undertaken as ‘acts of power’, that is acts done to their absolute best despite their absolute pointlessness. A CM practitioner could employ this belief set for their own purposes, however this proves difficult since if the CM practitioner considers the matter they will discover that CM itself considers all activities pointless, from this though it merely concludes that we might just as well indulge the ego as not. It would however be probably be difficult to be brought to face the void and act in the face of it (sorcery) and then to return to an ego position as then the holding of the ego itself would be forced to be viewed as an act, which one could choose to uphold or not. Probably acts of petty magick would drop away. This is not to say a CM practitioner might not learn all such things without every touching sorcery. Here we only comment on a certain popular playful aspect of it. The truth is that both sorcery and CM advocate altering the self frequently to destabilize it. The only claim here is that sorcery is not necessarily one more tool in the CM kit, and can be better considered to be a complementary equivalent.

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