Activist Architecture

More so than any building in the modern era, Christian churches still hold sway over both the built and rural landscapes in the West. Each is a virtual extension of that religion’s foundation text, a museum to intolerance and bigotry full to overflowing with painstakingly rendered illustrations of their blighted and archaic creed. Many feature representations of their long dead overlord, replete with dripping blood and shattered bone. Watching over his forever penitent flock, this arch-liche’s pain is touted as a gateway to forgiveness that few would ever earn despite sizeable donations made directly to the priesthood of the day.

In a way not dissimilar to modern advertising, buildings that were conceived as little better than proof of some abstract territorial dominance became extensions of that religion’s teachings, and a tool to further spread those ideas by virtue of their graven imagery deep into the surrounding lands. Alan Moore, master magus and all round grumpy old man holds that language represents our first and most underrated occult technology. He considers committing an idea down in writing to be a ritualistic act like any other that we might perform. Such a concept becomes doubly important when applied to artistic representations of an entire body of text, painted a hundred feet high in gorgeous stained glass.

It makes sense that the Church had little choice but to painfully labour over small scriptural points in hand rendered form back when the Bible was only available in Latin and the majority of worshippers knew as little of that as they did Sumerian. Each individual image would form yet another sigil helping to bolster the overall brand towards its continued domination of the zeitgeist. The most annoying thing is that there is no real evidence the early Christian cardinals had any idea what they were doing, or how they were utilising the modern concept of memetics to literally infect the heads of their congregations with ideas that would go on to shape the next two thousand years of Western culture.

Boiling the entire scriptural slurry found within the Old and New Testaments down to a single pictographic representation and relying upon the memory and subconscious of the worshipper to decipher its purpose created a sigil in all but name that would be cast and recast every time it was seen. Add to this the reverence which those creating these icons attached to the work that they were undertaking, the desire to do a job worthy of their famously jealous god, and you have an almost archetypal example of the processes involved in creating a talisman to attract the current associated with a given faith or ideal.

It is also impossible to overlook the ban which most Abrahamic denominations place upon self pleasure and masturbation. Repressed sexual energy has long been seen as the perfect way to empower sigils, with the priest’s orders to look to dry old scriptures as opposed to a moist new Playboy serving to earmark this essence exclusively for their godform. Said maintenance of the memetic trigger tied to those icons becomes important, as does anything that might compromise the overall integrity of the brand. In this the spiritual is no different than the corporate, where counterfeit products are stamped out by well financed watchdogs who seek to protect the general population from inferior and sometimes dangerous merchandise.

The fact that those buying the items may well know that the deal was too good to be true, and that the content itself has to be either faulty or badly put together becomes irrelevant. Once the idea that Nike or Apple produce a substandard doohickey makes a couple of hundred laps of the internet it is too late and the damage is well and truly done. What results from that self policing attitude is a situation where groups within a given spiritual network who hold such bootleg beliefs, who dare interpret the iconography on display in a different way and therefore risk infecting the memetic soup with unvetted and unwanted ideas, must be stamped out.

As a result of this attitude whole congregations such as the Cathars, who famously disagreed with Catholic dogma on some notable philosophical points, have been put to the sword over the years. It is worth remembering that we Pagans, magickians and Satanists are all viewed as heretics too. Commonality of thought is a vital aspect of the lies which have enslaved billions of people worldwide up to this point, and many a dissenter has faced the Inquisition over an alternative view of the universe. Should occultists ever decide to stand and fight for cultural control we need to realise that brute force is not the answer, because even on a good day their faithful outnumber us ten thousand to one.