Don’t call it a come back

Daniel Pinchbeck, and the fine folks at FutureHi, are starting a project called Metacine: a Magazine for the New Edge. It’s about stuff like Burning Man and, like Future Hi, “new” psychedelic culture.

It sounds a lot like Mondo 2000, a magazine for the new edge that ran sporadically from the late 80s (under the title Reality Hackers) until around 1997. It had articles about Burning Man, raves, designer drugs, smart drugs, etc. and basically spawned the magazine Wired. Burning Man’s been going for nearly 2 decades now. Nothing new there. All the sustainable bio future stuff they’re talking about on the Metacine web site? Sounds like Mother Earth News or the Whole Earth Catalog.

So what’s “new edge” about all of this? I don’t think there’s anything wrong with any of what they’re doing. I’m excited about all of it, honestly. But trying to package it up as some sort of new movement sounds like journalese to me. I’ve been as guilty as anyone else about this. Just look through the Technoccult archives and you’ll find plenty of evidence.

Why this obsession with doing “new” things? Finding the trends, the edge, blah blah blah blah blah. Seems like we’re all still stuck in the past, rambling about sustainable energy and Leary’s 8 circuit model and all that. But is that really such a bad thing?

Then there’s Jason Louv’s attempt to create a new occult ultraculture. Rather than trying to document a new culture, Jason’s trying to will a new one into existence with his book. I admire what he’s doing, and I know he’s doing it for the right reasons. He wants to see a new generation of socially consciousness occultists. It actually reminds me a lot of Terrence McKenna’s stuff though, about the role of shaman as a healer for the community. McKenna called his vision of the future an “archaic revival,” because everything he expected to occur was actually ancient.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for Jason and for the Future-Hi cats, and I’m sure Pinchbeck has the best intentions. I’ll be pre-ordered Generation Hex and will probably be a Metacine subscriber. But I’m worried that an obsession with novelty and “the next big thing” will only hurt all our long term goals, stunt our personal development by making us trend whores, and blind us to realms of less glamorous possibility.

6 Comments

  1. I’ve nothing particular to add, except I’m in agreement with you. It looks like a sickness to me. Bah! I’d rather play with my wife and kids.

    –Andrew

  2. I had to laugh, because I’m infantile. I read this:

    “Why this obsession with doing ?new? things?”

    Then my eyes flowed down to the previous post, titled “New issue of the Grey Lodge Occult review”

    I know, it’s meaningless. Funny anyway.

  3. That “anonymous” was me, JohnFen.

  4. John, the irony was not lost on me when I was posting that =)

    Also, I don’t know why the commenting field doesn’t have fields for user name, URL, etc. I’ll have to fix this sometime…

    -Klintron

  5. I’m sauceruney… maybe…

    This is great news, though yeah, the whole new edge thing reminds me of a mondo letter to the editor about someone pushing the envelope (on their desk) to the edge… and wondered (im vaguely remembering this and am too lazy to pull out a back issue…

    anyway, M2K was able to laugh at themselves about the whole thing. I’m putting my money on these guys being open to do the same.

  6. Nah, that Pinchbeck dude just likes making a buck.. and he reckons he’s spotted an opening.

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