The rejection of any absolute external reality, truth or meaning may seem a paradoxical or even horrific principle on which to base a spiritual quest. I personally do not think so. Absolute truth would be absolute tyranny and historically it has always been. I would rather the freedom to forge my own spiritual vision. The evidence of my senses suggests that the universe is basically random within arbitrary limits which themselves arise capriciously. Reality is a hierarchy of accidents ruled by pure chance. Even so-called “scientific laws” are only statistical approximations describing the most persistent types of accident. I am free, not because freedom was conferred upon me but as a consequence of my being a purely accidental creation with random behaviour patterns.
Chaos Magic necessarily implies a certain individualistic antipoliticism or even anarchy. It is plainly an illusion that people are ruled by politics. People are ruled by philosophies and fashions, and it is from this higher level that Chaos Magic launches its attack on reality. To practice magic implies that you are actively seeking to forge your own spiritual viewpoint often in contradiction to cultural norms.
Magic arises to prominence when the boundary of self is either expanding or contracting. For example, during times of innovation and discovery, or during times of repression. A profound magical renaissance is now in progress because the boundary of self is both expanding and contracting simultaneously. Science, drugs, psychology, communications networks and all the paraphernalia of late twentieth century life have expanded aspects of awareness to a degree inconceivable a century ago.
Conversely, many aspects of industrial civilisation oppress us and hence encroach on the territory of self. The childish allegories of religion have been rightfully jettisoned but the whole principle of the self as a mystic entity has taken a body-blow in the process. The natural environment is being rubbished to feed the industrial behemoth and our capacity to relate to it is diminishing. As the pace of life becomes more frantic the value of introspection becomes diminished except in art where it is encouraged to become grotesque. Consumerism and the prospect of thermonuclear armageddon (which it seems must inevitably accompany it) could diminish us all. Thus with all these pressures on self, magic has mushroomed and taken on a colouration distinct from its historical antecedents. At once there is an extraordinary necrophilia and eclecticism and at the same time a powerful feeling for anachronistic practices. Quantum physics rubs shoulders with nature shamanism and Tantric practices are employed for parapsychological purposes involving telepathy experiments arranged by satellite link between home microprocessors whilst ancient goetic incenses smoke away on the mantlepiece in homemade braziers.
A renaissance is marked by the presence of renaissance people, and the contemporary magician is very much a renaissance figure in the sense that the term is usually taken to imply. Contemptuous of the conventions and paradigms of his age, he looks both backward and forward in time for techniques to circumvent them. Religion, and the neo-religious magic that fought it, are dead or dying.
Arise the Sorceror Scientist!