Peter Steele, the sourly misanthropic front man for both Carnivore and Type O Negative, was fond of stating that metal should offend everyone equally. In many ways this anarchic call to arms is reflected in the chaos current, forming an intriguing undertone to the solipsistic viewpoint held by most of the occultists who still flock to the eight pointed star. Yet that rebellious streak, once so revered during the youth of our movement, has now been snuffed out in favour of prepackaged skill sets, moribund occult orders and verbose online courses. So what exactly happens when you take a countercultural concept such as results magick and try to make it acceptable to the masses for profit?
We get to witness the rise of plastic chaotes, of course. This is doubly disquieting when you realise that some very skilled magickians are responsible for their existence. Not only has chaos magick gone stale, but many of those who would attempt to build a career on the back of this most ersatz of paths seem to be the very reason it is crumbling to dust around all our ears. One such occultist, Jason Louav, seems to spend more time apologising for the cultural appropriation which has always formed the core of this already misunderstood movement than defending that core tenet of our collective experience against those who would lay us low.
While his Ultraculture podcast showcases many interesting thinkers from the wider esoteric diaspora, Jason himself seems to be depressingly straight laced for someone who studded under rightly revered underground icons such as Genesis P-Orridge. Much of the early fire that gave us books such as Generation Hex seems to have been extinguished by his desire to sell his techniques to those who he supposes would benefit the most from having a wealth of occult tools without the need to do the leg work in finding the original sources for themselves. Altruistic perhaps, but an action that has also lead to a noticeable softening of his ideas as well.
Of course, I see no issue with an occultist making money from his or her craft, even if I have very little desire to do so. Yet when your efforts to reach as many people as possible becomes more important than the magick itself the movement as a whole will suffer. With his continued lamentations about the death of the American middle class and demise of the mainstream media gatekeepers who once controlled the global dissemination of information in the dark ages before the implementation of web 2.0, he is a strikingly conservative figure to be the unwitting poster child of the modern chaos movement.
Considering that Jason went to great lengths to stand against this outright manipulation of the zeitgeist in his earlier career the sudden shift in focus towards what can only be seen as a dumbing down of modern occulture is nothing if not strange to witness. But despite my overt condemnation of his role within the chaos current, this blog is not supposed to be a slam piece. Nor am I disputing that Louav is a nice guy, as all the available evidence seems to show that he is generally well liked in the esoteric realm. The criticism I am levelling at him is in direct proportion to his visibility to and influence on younger and more impressionable proto-chaotes, nothing more.
The truth is that Jason is far from alone in becoming stagnant in his thinking. Some of the originators of chaos magick as a system seem to have either gone off the deep end or walked away from the topic all together, leaving a vacuum that has allowed a handful of published authors, most notably from the United States of America, to fill the void with a torrent of absolute crap that bares no relation to the original feel of the current at all. While Louav is one of the more informed writers on the modern occult movement his level of skill is very much the exception and sadly not the rule.
As much as it pains me to admit it the only noteworthy expression of the anarchy at the heart of the chaos current in recent years seems to have been birthed by the memeticists on 4Chan and Twitter. Their concerted efforts to influence politics through the co-opting of a relatively unknown cartoon frog did indeed generate results, even if a good chunk of the those faced with King Trump’s continued lunacy would rather it had failed right out of the gate. Evolution is a constant, and as our grasp on the magickal system we once claimed ownership of slips, so others will fill the void left behind. Whether they decide to call themselves chaotes when the dust finally settles remains to be seen.