Open Buddha

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Ultraculture: Aryan People Only Please

Ultraculture is a wouldbe movement around magic and improving the world (so it claims). It is also a zine that has recently been put out.

Most it seems to focus on watered down chaos magic. It also apparently rejects the non-Western forms of spirituality which, conveniently, happen to be non-White as well. A little cultural imperialism for you? The one exception to this is an approved form of non-specific Nath spirituality.

As states in its entry on Ultraculture defines it as:

Ultraculture is a term coined by Jason Louv in 2004, and is a cultural movement based around the mass interest in magic and the concordent need to apply it to improving our thoroughly disturbed world. Ultraculture specifically means two things: 1) It is the name of a social networking system. Specifically, the idea behind “Ultraculture” is to apply the Indymedia model to magic, and establish open city-based “scenes” based around mailing lists and web pages where people can link up with people in their area interested in magic, esotericism, consciousness evolution, etc., discuss it in terms of how it applies to both their own experiences and their communities, and then determine their level of activity and involvement within that growing network. Ultraculture is NOT another magical order, group or hierarchy, nor is it just another discussion forum; in this capacity it is only a social connecting system on both a local and global scale. Occultism has traditionally been the pursuit of the “Outsider” figure; Ultraculture then aims to situate magic more firmly as an activity of communities. [...]2) If Ultraculture can be stated as a simple ideology, it is “The creating of solutions through (but not limited to) magic.” We are not interested in opposing culture, simply creating our own—and hopefully funnier, more intelligent and more erotic—versions of culture through DIY reality solutions. (Hence the “Ultra.”) That which identifies itself as “counterculture” is doomed to fail by definition and can only find “pure” expression in acts of violence (in which case it acts only to further validate reactionary forms of government) or in “selling out”; its internal contradictions are far greater than any detectable within late capitalism, if a “counterculture” can even be said to truly exist at all. Following its utter collapse into self-contradiction at the end of the 1990s, the counterculture in the West is re-emerging as a magical power battery, now acting as a full replacement and upgrade for culture instead of a critical voice within that culture. Everything culture can do, Ultraculture can do better. Applies specifically to anybody using magic to improve the world. The full form is Global Alchemical Ultraculture. Ultraculture is a TURQUOISE-vMEME approach to cultural stimulation and growth, for those familiar with Spiral Dynamics or Integral theory. It aims to consolidate, utilize and respect all previous expressions of the human endeavor within a progression towards the living mystery of “life worth living” and a global culture worthy of being called such. Ultraculture aims simply to be a space in which individuals and groups can be free to dream on the social and global level, in the company of supportive others, and find the tools necessary for manifestation of those dreams.

Apparently all of this talk of dreams, community and consciousness doesn’t apply to certain spiritual traditions or people that practice them. As a friend of mine pointed out today, there is a long thread on the Ultraculture google group in which two of the groups key people, Shivanath and Jason Louv (the founder), decry voudon as being evil.

Shivanath states:

Actually, my personal right to dislike things which I think are bad for people is just that: a right. Crack is a Bad Drug, and while it's your right to do it, I'm absolutely free to say Crack is a Bad Drug. Voodoo is a Bad Tradition. The basic mechanism: displacement of an individual human consciousness from their body and temporary replacement with a parasitic life-force-harvesting energy - this kind of psychic body prostitution in payment for magical favors - is inherently problematic. AAAW! You say, but it was the last resort of the oppressed! Well, so is hiding razor blades up your bum. But when the crisis is over - and, believe me, the people who are at risk from slavery now mainly live in Africa and Eastern Europe (and, depending on your particular views of economic coercion, China). It's time for people to grow out of voodoo and start investing in approaches which are suited to the modern world, rather than dragging these horrible parasite-gods out of the Medieval Colonial Barbarism period into the present. They should have died with slavery, in short, and to continue to feed them is perpetuating part of the slave system into the present day, under the guise of "liberation." Being enslaved to the parasite gods is not freedom.

He compares Voudon to Crack and then later on states:

So, at that point, I have first hand practical experience pointing out that this stuff is first class nasty evil shit, and that I know two women who were raped in voodoo rituals. [..] So, you know, give me credit for experience here. There's not much in this world that I use the term "evil" for, but voodoo is like giving yourself blood diseases because you like the pretty patterns crawling along your veins. Smart people avoid it at all costs, and if these guys show up and attempt to invade a magical or spiritual community (a favorite pass time: invade the temples, steal the accumulated energy, and breed on the women if there's a chance) they must be met with lethal force. First one or two show up and introduce a few people to the practices, or they'll take an arts scene or even a band, and just hang out at the edges, or back stage. Then, gradually, the parties start, and get more ritualistic, and there's a division into the people who can be bent and then taken, used and discarded, broken - and those who won't play ball and must be made to leave. After that, things go rapidly downhill.

Previously, Shivanath had posted a diatribe against Vajrayana Buddhism:

No. The doctrine that the Original Awareness is trapped in karma is absolute bunk and should be discarded immediately by anybody who wants any kind of relationship with that part of their being, or a full revelation of the nature of mind. You have to let go the concepts around karma and merit for a start - those are simply tools for keeping track of scores in games, like monopoly money. All bunk. Let go fully of the division between the enlightened and unenlightened state and tell me once again why one even needs the union of political and spiritual power... It's *all* gross spiritual materialism, mate - they *embody* it because of the emphasis on unification of the fields. The Dalai Lama is a POPE, much like any other, head of an integrated Church-State, and no amount of window dressing reverses this. I tell you, the Tibetans lost everything they knew of the non-dual tantric wisdom as soon as they tried to fuse Buddhism, with it's essential misunderstanding of the amusing and recreational nature of Maya, with Tantra, which revolves around the simple truth that the concept of enlightenment is a semantic spook, a minor accident in the translation from reality to humanity's ways. I'll go head to head with any Tibetan adept who thinks that they can win a Dharma Combat with me. Because, at the end of the day, I've seen what's out there and, with all due respect, I've yet to see an enlightened Tibetan Buddhist. Lots of people trying, but nobody attains any more, and I see scant evidence of it for centuries. It's over. I'm goddamn sick and tired of seeing the seeds of confusion and of further entanglement in the non-fun aspects of Maya pouring forth from every bookstore, proclaiming the wisdom and compassion of this deeply flawed and incomplete tradition. It's time to put it to bed and, when y'all reincarnate, to find a nice new religion.

When Jason Louv was called on whether these opinions are those of Ultraculture and whether its leaders hate Voudon and Buddhism, he said:

And nobody hates Buddhism (and it was Vajrayana being discussed, not Buddhism as a whole), simply exposing the very dark side that so many people remain willfully blind to. And nobody hates Voudon. At the Atmanic level I love these people as emanations of the divine just like drug dealers, mobsters and Helena Bonham Carter are. But they are not coming in my house claiming turf. No effin way.

He had also previously said:

You are misreading me. My opinions were not formed by Shivanath. My opinions were formed by doing voodoo first-hand and also by knowing many, many practictioners. The list of casualties is miles long.

So, there you have it. The new movement is a lot like the old movement. Typical wannabe occultist wankers. I think this is really just Jason trying to make a name for himself in the “occult” world, not because he wants to make change, but because he wants to sell books. His latest book, Generation Hex, has been out for a while and if he is going to be a big name occult author and publisher, he needs to keep driving sales and generating attention towards himself. If you do that for long enough, no matter how bogus your ideas are, someone will pay you to keep writing. That seems to be his plan for changing the world (well, his world anyway).

This is exactly the kind of shit that pushed me away from occultism and into becoming a Buddhist. There was the draw of Buddhist thought and tradition pulling me in and the craziness pushing me away. I doubt you’ll hear a Buddhist teacher (except for Brad Warner) calling anyone an “asswipe” soon as Shivanath did in the thread when someone disagreed.

I need to go work on generating some compassion for these fellows now because they sure need it.