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Moorcock & Religion ?

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  • Not sure what Alan's Invisible Man is. He's riffing off Wells surely! He's a very good friend and I share a conviction that writing fiction, poetry and so on is a form of shamanism, but, as Alan knows, I've no interest in magic beyond the metaphorical or symbolic.

    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
    The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
    Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
    The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
    Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

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    • Originally posted by Michael Moorcock View Post
      Not sure what Alan's Invisible Man is. He's riffing off Wells surely! He's a very good friend and I share a conviction that writing fiction, poetry and so on is a form of shamanism, but, as Alan knows, I've no interest in magic beyond the metaphorical or symbolic.
      Thanks for this response! I'm curious what you mean by writing being a form of shamanism.

      A chaos magician I once knew showed me an example of his system of "casting spells" which was, literally, spelling words on paper (rearranging words into new sentences). He made sure to point out that a "Grimoire" means nothing other than "grammar" and "spells" are literally "spelling," the use of symbols and language to weave magic. Since our perception of the world is largely a perception created by the symbolism of language, I thought the idea made a lot of sense if magic could be believed to be real or scientific in the least bit.

      So, anyway, he would literally write out a page of exactly how things WERE in his life, using as much detail as possible. Then, he would take this page and manually rearrange the letters to form a full page of what he WANTED instead in as much detail as possible using only all the letters of the original, no more and no less. It was kind of a combination of the Burroughs-Gysin "cut-up" method and basic sigil casting. It was pretty impressive since it was all done by hand, not computer.

      So, this sort of "shamanism" I can understand. I'm not sure what you mean by the term, unless just mean a certain sort of psychological process to alter consciousness in some way for yourself and readers?

      Comment


      • Hmm... Actually, I guess it wasn't on Fireclown's Basic Booklist... must be I just googled "Fireclown" to see who this Fireclown guy was and, instead, discovered the book he obviously derived his name from. It was quite a while ago. My name comes from the beverage I was drinking earlier, btw.

        Anyway, glad I finally read one of his books and I have now ordered "Fireclown" off Amazon.com.

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        • In common with a number of writers of poetry and fiction, I think of such writers as functioning in our society the way shamans functioned in theirs, presenting and interpreting dreams, for instance, offering mantras for certain aspects of life and so on. Otherwise, the only power I'm interested in possessing is power over the page.
          Last edited by Michael Moorcock; 09-27-2008, 07:11 PM.

          Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
          The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
          Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


          Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
          The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
          Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Michael Moorcock View Post
            In common with a number of writers of poetry and fiction, I think of such writers as functioning in our society the way shamans functioned in theirs, presenting and interpreting dreas, for instance, offering mantras for certain aspects of life and so on.

            I agree.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Perdix View Post
              Aah! Chiliastic eschatology! A fun example of cumulative paranoia and the misinterpretation of arbitrary datelines.

              My 'religion': I am a pound or two of salt, and a few buckets of water.
              I think, feel and love. I am no better and no worse than any other animal, human or otherwise. I try not to 'harm'. I try to tread lightly. Life is a ride to be enjoyed to its full, whilst helping your contemporaries to do the same. When I die, I suspect that will be it. If it ain't, it won't be like anything we expect it to be. The plurality of religious persuasions tends to persuade me of the specific invalidity of any one creed, whilst accepting the importance of belief to the individual. The ultimate spirituality is the blood surging in our veins, feeding the creativity in our minds and the potential to love in our hearts. Eat cake, drink wine, write, go rowing. Do not take oneself seriously. Drink daylight.

              >Burp!<
              Elegantly put and a truer representation of my own philosophy, I have yet to read.

              Marca, you say, "I can't embrace an atheistsic viewpoint, which I find nihilistic. " I used to describe myself as being agnostic but my current understanding of the term atheism is simply the absense of belief in a deity. This understanding makes the term agnostic somewhat redundant as anybody with no active religeous beliefs might be dexcribed as an atheist.

              I don't need to be an agnostic to respond intelligently to a sudden explosion of evidence (the second coming or a rather chatty burning bush appearing for example). In fact I'd be crazy not to. As an atheist, I think I'm pretty well equipped to respond to new information without any metaphysical baggage.

              After all, it's not like I'm saying that I - and all other non-believers - understand what's going on with the universe. Quite the contrary and, in fact, I love debating the ideas of David Bohn, Karl Pribram, Krishnamurti, Paul Davies and many others in these areas. Sometimes, i think I might even understand what they're talking about!

              Like Perdix, whom I quote above, I feel that- should there be a realm beyond what we call life - it's extrememly unlikely to resemble anything they taught you about in Sunday school or the local Mosque.

              It will, perhaps, be stranger, more enlightening and more wonderful than anything we've been led to expect. Or just oblivion. Either works for me.

              Comment


              • Since people are discussing their own personal views, I'll share mine...

                Being raised for a short time as a Jehovah's Witness, I remember there was a time when I couldn't NOT believe in God. It took a lot of reading and self-convincing to slowly undo that. And now, 20 years later, I guess I absent-mindedly succeeded somewhere along the line. I have a very hard time even keeping the idea of God in my head for a few seconds at a time because I immediately begin to feel silly. How does this God exist? Circular logic.

                I also remember a time when Tibetan Buddhism seemed more superstitious and more silly, but the more I learned about it, the less so. Now, I can say without hesitation that I honestly believe in Tibetan deities, Buddhas and bodhisattvas, the 6 realms of existence, etc. but find it impossible to believe in a Creator God and his accompanying angels in heaven or his arch-nemesis Satan in hell with his demons. They are vastly different concepts once you understand the three kayas (dharmakaya, sambogakaya and nirmanakaya) and methods of practice.

                Tibetan Buddhism is closer to a Hermetic Qabalist view of cosmology whose Godhead is very different from the basic sort of monotheism you generally read about. It is closer to chaos and multiverses than divine order, although the end result is still Perfection, despite that it may seem like realms of endless suffering.

                In short, I may believe in some fantastic sounding ideas to many people, but I'm still an atheist. One can not really understand Buddhism or accurately say he is a Buddhist if he is not also an atheist. So, it is a major learning experience when one begins to study Samantabadra, the "all-creating king." And, once that concept is really grasped, one should have no problem relating to the sambogakaya deities.

                Comment


                • I prefer an agnostic position. What if WE are God ? That means we are responsible for certain elements of life. Not natural disasters but misery caused by poverty and so on. We can make God a God of love. But we need the will. And, I fear, the intelligence...

                  Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                  The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                  Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                  Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                  The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                  Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Michael Moorcock View Post
                    I prefer an agnostic position. What if WE are God ? That means we are responsible for certain elements of life. Not natural disasters but misery caused by poverty and so on. We can make God a God of love. But we need the will. And, I fear, the intelligence...
                    ^ I sort of believe that. That's kind of what Samantabadra is about.

                    My problem really lies in two aspects of the typical God concept: personhood and first cause. In the concept you propose, which to me implies dependent origination, "God" seems more a term applied for convenience but it has a lot of baggage that goes along with it that doesn't appeal to me. Vague loose ends or something.
                    Last edited by Dr. Pepper; 09-28-2008, 08:27 AM.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Michael Moorcock View Post
                      I prefer an agnostic position. What if WE are God ? That means we are responsible for certain elements of life. Not natural disasters but misery caused by poverty and so on. We can make God a God of love. But we need the will. And, I fear, the intelligence...


                      An aspect of God exists in the human heart, I think that many will agree with this.

                      I think where many disagree is the way in which the universe was created (and from what, inside what, made out of what, is there anything more beyond?), it would be so good to learn the truth about this. There is probably only one truth about this, so the creationist parts of possibly all religions and science will be rendered meaningless. There may be no intelligence involved, it seems to have involved alot energy entering our universe in a sudden event from somewhere beyond.

                      God would then be seen as a representation or being of ultimate goodness kindness and Love to which we could all aspire to. The eternal life aspect might then be viewed as the mortal living on after death in the hearts of others and through good works and through children.
                      Last edited by Tales from Tanelorn; 09-28-2008, 08:42 AM.

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                      • I'm bothered by the paternalism inherent in so much conventional religion. The religious victors also write the religious histories.

                        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                        The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                        Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                        The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                        Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Michael Moorcock View Post
                          I'm bothered by the paternalism inherent in so much conventional religion. The religious victors also write the religious histories.
                          Yes. My favorite part of this whole topic was where you said something about how, perhaps due to your profession, you know first-hand how easy it is to make all this stuff up. I don't have that great of an imagination, so it gave me pause, even though I generally believe it is mostly made up. I do generally entertain ideas about archetypes, though, so I usually consider these myths less of an outright act of fiction and more of an elaborate map of what these ancient people deduced of their own minds through any number of experiences. I tend to believe the original stories were more honest and direct and those ideas became politicized over time. It is pretty fascinating to examine the Hebrew language and learn about how much meaning is actually embedded into the Old Testament and to learn the Greeks had a their own similar and often overlapping symbolism which was embedded in the later scriptures. It is also interesting to examine the discrepancies and difference in tone of the Gospels.

                          I begin to feel fairly trapped when I discover yet another way history has been rewritten and forgotten by most. Even though the glaring lies sit there uncovered by a few scholars here and there, it does not seem to draw much attention from the general public and we go on repeating the same historical fictions as fact. Yet society has become so cynical due to so many such exposés, one can expect a sarcastic response of dismissive mock surprise as if it is not a big deal that our histories are fictions and any worldly person should be quite used to the idea by now. That may be the case, but doesn't anybody want to know the truth of our origins? Or is it more important just to have a firm understanding of the current status quo and not make waves? I suppose it is naive to think there is a discernible truth out there to discover.

                          I like Joseph Campbell's work on this subject.

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                          • It helps if you know where you've been if you're trying to go somewhere else... I've never read Campbell, maybe because we appeared to have a lot in common. I mention in BEHOLD THE MAN how the Greeks of the day found so many of the Judaeo/Christian ideas so familiar and not exactly revelatory -- especially the Greeks who lived around Nazareth and had brought many of those ideas with them to the region. I've sometimes wondered if that was part of the reasons Moslems revered the Greeks so much and were generally dismissive of Romans.

                            Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                            The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                            Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                            Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                            The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                            Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                            Comment


                            • I just Wikipedia'd BEHOLD THE MAN and I probably shouldn't have. Spoiler without any indication at all. Just told the entire story in 2 paragraphs. Sheesh. Sounds cool, though. I'm glad you've written a ton of books because I intend to read quite a bit more.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Dr. Pepper View Post
                                That may be the case, but doesn't anybody want to know the truth of our origins? Or is it more important just to have a firm understanding of the current status quo and not make waves? I suppose it is naive to think there is a discernible truth out there to discover.
                                I take it your belief system varies from the Hindu school of thought that there was no moment of 'creation'; that all is maya; and that there is no Atman but Brahman.

                                The similarities between various schools of Buddhism and Yogic thought (and Taoist and Zen branches) seem so intertwined, I'm often surprised to find that there is such strong dogmatic separation for what appears purely sectarian reasons.

                                Do you mind clearing up my confusion about your stance on these issues?

                                Thanks. :)
                                Ani Maamin B'emunah Sh'leimah B'viyat Hamashiach. V'af al pi sheyitmahmehah im kol zeh achake lo b'chol yom sheyavo.

                                "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." - Phillip K. Dick

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