When I picture
Acid Communism, it’s
beyond laboring, beyond
“There seems to be plenty of it,”
as does Huxley
in his mescaline book,
The Doors of Perception.
And in this picture, I
picture as well
a sexual component.
Visions of Red Plenty invite
dreams of Red Love.
What might that mean? How might we
kissing and giggling,
co-living, co-parenting, if we wanted, and
if wanted or
Add to Olson
and arrive at
polis is this.”
Do Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, the heroes of Tolkien’s fictions, pass through portals? Their home in the Shire features a circular door, through which they step when they begin their journeys. ‘Tis a magic circle, of the kind theorized by Johan Huizinga in his book Homo Ludens. The world in the circle is the realm of Faerie — or what Huizinga would call the realm of play. “Play is not ‘ordinary’ or ‘real’ life,” writes Huizinga. “It is rather a stepping out of ‘real’ life into a temporary sphere of activity with a disposition all of its own” (8).
Tolkien, as one of the preeminent figures of twentieth-century fantasy, shares Huizinga’s interest in this other, “temporary” sphere born of play. That the worlds that result from this sphere are temporary in nature leads Tolkien to assume them “sub-creations” — “secondary” worlds, as he says in his 1938 essay “On Fairy-Stories” — but not in a way that diminishes their value. In keeping with his Catholicism, he believes that humans are handiwork of a single god, a single divine creator. And therein lies our magic, he argues. Created in that being’s image, he says, we too possess a capacity to create. We who are “created sub-creators” in one reality get to be creators of worlds of our own.
So sayeth the Fantasist.
“But what if, instead of distinguishing these worlds as ‘primary’ and ‘secondary,’” adds the Narrator, “we opted rather to call them ‘partner worlds,’ or ‘corresponding pairs’ — as in the Hermetic saying, ‘As above, so below’?”
“What if, in so doing,” replies the Traveller, “we followed the paths of the Alchemists and the Surrealists? What if, as Magico-Psychedelic Realists, we brought them together, allowed them to merge?”
Despite its protestations to the contrary, Western science is both a literary-artistic experiment and a religion. Upon the doors of its church of realism I nail my theses.
Thesis #1: Magic is a feature of some/most/all indigenous cultures. It predates colonization, and survives the latter as an ongoing site of resistance: spells cast to break spells of Empire.
Thesis #2: Magic is a paralogical retort, a way of knowing and doing that persists and evolves alongside Imperial Science, refusing and contesting the latter’s bid for supremacy.
Thesis #3: Magic is one of the elements most commonly associated with fantasy. Yet it’s woven as well into whatever one might pit against fantasy. It is as apparent in our natures as it is on our screens, equal parts imaginary and real. Cf. Arthur C. Clarke’s Third Law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Thesis #4: Science is a subset of magic.
Here stands Mr. Potato Head, or the hollowed shell of Mr. Peanut; some such figure, dainty as ever, not with cane but with umbrella in hand as if to sing in the rain, wanting to go dancing. Shall we join him?
Where does one go to go dancing? Right here, apparently. Lay down the B-side of The Slider. Feel the problem in Marc Bolan’s terms: “call, ball, all night long” is what I want. Focusing is how it starts, “Main Man” how it ends. I focus attention on what feel like horns of a dilemma: some narrative called “Desire and What to Do With It.” Erotic art punctures me and makes me come. Costumes. Dessert. How much of this should I hold onto? Is it just me waiting for you to knock on my door?
“I love watching you write, and the smile on your face as you sense me watching you. Come and take me: I’m yours,” say consenting adults amid healthy networks of polyamorous play. Buy condoms and lube, focus on what is pinched-restricted and make it wet, air it out, make it flow.
Walking is what needs to happen. And a haircut. And a new notebook. Crazy Brave, wandering alone, becomes sociable — connects, dates fellows, companions weaving again a world rich in plot, as in the Zapatista formulation: “a world into which many worlds could fit.”