UltraCulture is built on a paradox : having Utopia as a topic and DIY tutorials as a method.
With a growing community of journalists and readers, the Ultraculture nebula distinguishes itself from most blog by its ambitious project, as Jason Louv explains, the blog’s founder : « We want to empower our reader, and offer practical tools for a better futur – tools drawn from new scientific discoveries, technology, spirituality, consciousness alteration and alternative living, while hopefully keeping the geek quotient and New Age cheese factor to a bare minimum ». More than a blog, Ultraculture now has an « online University » who teaches Magick, Lucid Dreaming and Hardcore Meditation through webinars and digital books.
The TRYANGLE, whose modest project is merely to make the population crazier, has asked some questions to Jason Louv, founder of UltraCulture.
TRYANGLE. Could you introduce yourself to our readers ?
Jason Louv. I’m a Los Angeles-based journalist and writer. I’ve done six books and constantly write for the web, largely focusing on the impact of technology on mass consciousness, and how consciousness as a whole is changing over time. That is my broad concern; magick is one area I look at that provides an interesting angle on that, but I am critically interested in human consciousness itself and am not limited to any specific way to investigate that from.
How did you come to be interested in the occult ?
Colin Wilson’s excellent book “The Occult,” in which Wilson outlines his theory that underneath the glamour lurks a set of techniques for “waking up” the full spectrum of human consciousness. A critically important idea for a very asleep time—both then and now.
What is UltraCulture ?
Ultraculture is a device for doing some heavy, dirty lifting on what I see as existential threats to the human race, and passing on more helpful information and techniques in the process. Chaos magick is just one of those nifty toys I’m introducing people to—one of many.
You write for Vice Motherboard, Gizmodo, Dangerous Minds and even Humanity Plus. What is the common thread of those collaborations ?
I write for many publications around the web as I work as a full-time journalist. If there is a common thread, it’s largely trying to understand the changes we’re undergoing as a species, and often looking to the fringes or the shadows of society, as these tend to be good vantage points to look back from and therby get the mainstream in proper perspective.
If you had to recommend three books to our reader, what would they be, (including yours !) ?
Well then, if it’s mine… 🙂 I have to first recommend my about-to-be-released Hyperworlds, Underworlds (English Edition), which collects the best of my journalism over the last five years. After that I’d recommend Ultraculture Journal: Essays on Magick, Tantra and the Deconditioning of Consciousness (English Edition), featuring contributions by legends like Brion Gysin, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and Ira Cohen, and my recent quickie Monsanto vs. the World: The Monsanto Protection Act, GMOs and Our Genetically Modified Future (English Edition), which takes a critical eye at the debate around genetic modification of food.
When did you first discover Chaos Magick ?
Like many I first heard about it through the work of Grant Morrison, who would openly talk about his interest in and experiences with chaos magick in the letters columns of his comic book The Invisibles. This and similar angles of inquiry got me on the hunt, and a few key books—“The Occult” by Colin Wilson, “Modern Magick” by Donald Michael Kraig and, finally, “Liber Null and Psychonaut” by Peter J. Carroll gave me enough theoretical grounding and practical exercises to start experimenting in earnest as a teenager.
When you work with Vice, for exemple, how is your belief in Magick perceived ? Vice has a tendency to be quite defiant and to sum it up, more interested in Dystopia than Utopia, don’t you think ?
I doubt they care, frankly. Journalism is too fast-paced to worry about things like that, and I’ve published articles that reference the occult there without any eyebrows raised. And yes, VICE is very good at showing many of the broken parts of our existence; it seems to be their calling.
There are plenty of definition and usage, what are yours ?
Most of the definitions are paraphrases of Crowley or Carroll. I’ve spent a long time exploring the world’s spiritual traditions so my definition of “magick” really has little to do with any specific occult school or even Western esotericism in particular. Broadly speaking, I use the word “magick” as a simple and taboo-tweaking shorthand for a vast spectrum of religious and consciousness-altering techniques from across the world’s cultures and world history, incorporating shamanism, yoga, martial arts, prayer, meditation, self-hypnosis, study of world religion, trance, inspired art, dancing, the grind of daily living and everything in between. More practically speaking, anything that helps in disciplining the self into becoming a greater and more broadly helpful individual. I largely leave all the old definitions about “causing change in conformity with will” and “sorcery” and all that behind, because they’re unnecessarily spooky and distract away from what magick actually is: A long and grueling process of self-discipline, self-examination and forcing oneself to stay conscious in a largely unconscious world.
You have given lesson on Chaos Magick online, how did you start learning and practicing ?
I studied and practiced myself for years, then hooked up with groups to get a handle on how others were doing it. The real quantum leap came when I was lucky enough to intern and apprentice under Genesis Breyer P-Orridge for seven years, who helped open me to broader possibilities and more compassionate, humane ways of seeing the world than simple, dusty old occult technique. I also spent time studying in Nepal, under several Hindu gurus and several broadly aligned spiritual traditions.
What is the gnostic state ?
“Gnostic state” is a misnomer; gnosis means “knowledge” and the original connotation, from Gnostic Christianity, was of a direct experience of Divine Revelation, specifically of the true Christ, who breaks through the illusory veil of the world, Maya, to shock the Gnostic Christian into awareness. More or less. This word was misused by the early chaos magicians to simply mean an “altered state of consciousness” of the kind induced by heavy breathing, meditation, dancing, fasting, Tantric sex and that type of thing. A better word for this, if you want to stick to Greek, is ecstasis or ecstasy.
Is Chaos Magick about creating your own religion, with the concept of « Magical paradigm Shifting » ?
That’s part of the sales pitch, but very few ever do this. People usually default to a previously existing religious structure—Thelema, Vedanta and Tibetan Buddhism are often popular choices. But it definitely can be used to create a totally new model of viewing the world. Thing is, the wheel’s already been invented by cultures around the globe. I’m interested in finding the core truths of being alive, which are trans-traditional and trans-cultural.
Should everybody create or discover his own spirituality, picking from other religion/toolboxes ?
It would be far from me to suggest any course of spiritual action for anybody!