July 31, 2006
Review: Generation Hex.
A fascinating collection of essays and curiosities from magicians under the age of thirty, it certainly clocks up it’s counterculture cool points from the Paul Laffoley cover through to the glowing anointations from Grant Morrison, Genesis P-Orridge and Phil Hine on the back.
And it kind of delivers on the hype. Kind of. There’s certainly nothing else like it. A bit of a flaw is that not that many of the essays would be much use for anyone just beginning to look at this area. It seems very much reaching out to an active community, or even trying to create one.
What I like is its function as conscious branding. An attempt at creating an identity, albeit heterogenous, out of the disparate freaks who have been picking up on the confluence of the world’s occult and mystical practices made readily available in this connected age.
An identity particularly defined by the sense of taking this stuff and using it. It’s one thing to read freaky shit, smoke dope and giggle to yourself, and swan about in black velvet claiming to be a magician to help you get laid. It’s something else, and something much more relevant, to reclaim the role that people with these inclinations have to play (and have played) in their societies and in the lives of their communities. To that extent, Steven Grasso’s eloquent Dreams of a Midwich Planet would be my pick for keynote of the pack.
It’s the role of magicians to get their hands dirty in places other people are afraid to go, to speak to the universe and try to understand its nature, to traffic with invisible intelligences on behalf of the wider community, and seek to create meaning for the species we belong to. … We must become the most potent and effective generation of magicians that this world has ever seen, because when evolution comes, it takes no prisoners. Those are the stakes.
In an information age where we are all on the battleground of ideology, subect to a corporate media invasion of our minds and lives, in a social, political, ecological and technological environment on the cusp of massive change, we need people who get it engaged on the frontline (which is everywhere) of reality, fearless people willing to embody freedom and love and take responsibility for their lives.
We need people willing to go first in creating a new, better world.
When you accept that the authorities are lying (or do not know), and start questioning everything, it is really a matter of taste where one stops in the quest for truth. But since your beliefs are your problem, you only have to satisfy your self.
Also heartening were the signs from some authors – editor Jason Louv and Grasso notably – of getting into the straight mystical core behind the means of getting there, engaging with the divine energy unclothed by words.
James Curcio’s piece, Living the Myth: Creating Meaning in a Cultural Vacuum, is superb. (Although, personally, I don’t think I learned anything from it… I feel like I have read the same freaky stuff he has, had some weird experiences, and figured out much the same stuff. How does one get to write for things like this? That’s what I want to know. 🙂 I keep muttering about writing a book on consciousness/language/reality/belief, which quickly overlaps with stuff deemed ‘occult’.)
A variety of perspectives, generally always interesting, of which your mileage will most certainly vary, are on offer; a healthy diversity. From the fun, visceral and autobiographical (Sedman, Treleaven, Frente), to the intersection of psychedelics and magic (Pellerano, Forrester), to the high on attitude if not content (Haywire), or the deeply entrenched in their own subset of magick and not seemingly interested in expressing themselves coherently for anyone else (Elijah).
The stuff I found valuable was the practical autobiographical bits, the way people integrate this stuff into their lives as a means of making sense and making change. However, this sort of thing was often scattered through as incidental material rather than the focus of essays (excepting Arkenburg’s amusingly warped LoveWar with Fox News).
Does Generation Hex represent a warning shot across the bows of the future from the beautiful freaks? Maybe. I kind of hope so, cos looking at the world we need something to get people moving. I link to Ultraculture on my sidebar because I’m curious to see what will come of it. The time feels right for something like this, whether it folds or flies.
Is it a good read that will tell you something new? Certainly.
Worth tracking down.