As I was reading this work, I was struck by how similar the work is to that of Alan Moore, specifically Promethea. Not simply the psychedelic nature of the work, but the way in which both of these works were about the underlying philosophical and metaphysical beliefs of the authors, and both presented in the most holistic way possible. They’re more like modern alchemical texts, grimoires for the psychonaut, without the layers of metaphor that Mike Carey might throw in or the allegories Chris Claremont developed to spread occultic ideas through more mainstream comics. (Granted, Grant Morrison does this in his own way as well, but not everyone is fully armed to read The Filth and his politics have raised more than a few eyebrows… )
These comments from the Grant Morrison in Arthur Magazine thread but I thought it would be worth highlighting them on the front page.
The first comment comes from Trevor Blake:
Role models for Aryan supermen, cartoon ethics, trusting in Bush / Blair /Nixon, negating the drive toward individuality, the holocaust was perfectly valid… y’all remember this next time you hear someone say ‘I don’t like [x], he’s a fascist.’
Morrison found flaws in his previous sense of what the purpose of his life and life in general was. He ditched the flawed understanding. Excellent.
He replaced it with a bigger ‘purpose’ in which everyone is as groovy as everyone else. Bunk.
Here’s the scoop: he, me, everyone, and everything has no ‘purpose.’ Some humans can give themselves a purpose that is satisfying. That’s about it.
In response, I cited another choice Morrison quote:
‘Asked about the current state of the world, particularly the war in Iraq, Mr. Morrison offered, ?perhaps it’s just an essential part of the system, as horrible as that may seem.’ He wasn’t particularly interested in being part of any active anti-war movement, and noted that in his previous experience, a number of those people only seemed to be ?interested in meeting up with the police.”
Then I went on:
I’d like to think that it goes with out saying that I don’t endorse Morrison’s philosophy on this, but since people very frequently confuse my opinions with the opinions of people I quote here, I figure I’ll set the record straight: I think Morrison’s whole ‘it’s all part of the system’s plan’ philosophy is a bunch of crap. I’m also not fond of his ‘individuality is an illusion’ stuff.
I don’t disagree with what I’ve read about Manuel DeLanda’s position on individuals and societies, but I haven’t read his new book yet. Shaviro’s review is here. He seems to reach a logical conclusion distinct from the over-romanticizing of of the individual and the problematic concepts of new age collectivism.
I look forward to reading Bloom’s Lucifer Principle as well.
‘Here’s the scoop: he, me, everyone, and everything has no ‘purpose.’ Some humans can give themselves a purpose that is satisfying. That’s about it.’
Agreed, more or less. Nothing has any meaning save for what we impose on it. This is not bad/depressing, but liberating.
Bush and his cronies did not have to invade Iraq to fulfill some systemic destiny. They made a choice. We have a choice as well – accept the decisions made by the control machines, or struggle to change things.
Arthur Magazine has posted their now classic interview with Grant Morrison on their web site:
And The Filth came out of that, trying to understand that every cherished thought and belief had an equally valid counterpoint. Once I realized I had to think about this stuff and I had to deal with it, I decided to treat it as an Abyss experience, based on the ideas of kabbalistic magic. Because that at least gave me a context to deal with the experience. According to Kabbalah, or to Enochian magic, the Abyss is a kind of Ring-Pass-Not for consciousness, which means that beyond that, the typical self-aware 11-bit consciousness you use to get through the day, doesn’t operate. The kabbalistic idea of the Abyss is manifold. There’s a kind of crack in Being and the crack is the moment of the Breath before the Big Bang. It’s also the crack of dead time where we do nothing when we’d like to do something, the crack between the thought of doing and actually doing. That gulf can become immense and daunting. We might decide to be President and do nothing, leading to a life of reproach and regret. [chuckle] Then you’re in the Abyss. So I felt this confrontation with difficult material coming, and I chose to frame it as a trip into the Abyss, I took the Oath of the Abyss, from the Thelemic version of Kabbalah, the Aleister Crowley version, and…again all this stuff really is to me ways of contextualizing states of consciousness. Crowley also talks about the demon Choronzon who’s the guardian of the Abyss, and Choronzon is a demon who takes any thought and amplifies until it becomes a completely disorienting storm of disconnected gibberish.
Something I’ve been meaning to blog for a while: Barbelith’s been compiling a Grant Morrison interview archive.