The tl;dr here is that Recursive Occlusion, my interactive occult overview of Doctor Who, is now available for just $8.99 from Amazon and Amazon UK. An altogether more impish version of this announcement follows:
Dear John C. Wright
I don’t think anybody should murder you. I just thought I’d open with that, since it seems like what passes as courtesy in your depraved sickness of a worldview.
Also, my name is Philip Sandifer, with an I, and not an O, which I can’t imagine you don’t know, despite the fact that spell it as Sandofer literally every time you write it on Vox Day’s comments thread. You might like to know that my full name is Charles Philip Sandifer, and that my actual schoolyard bullies called me Charles. You know, just in case you want to up your game.
Anyway, I just wanted to respond to a couple of things you’ve said on Vox Day’s comment thread, like where you say of me:
As I suspected, he is not a real pagan, not old-school, but one of these modern post-Nietzsche types who regards the gods as instruments to be used, if not constructed out of his own thinking. He is playing with occultism as a diverting bit of entertainment. To him it is an abortive psychic technology: something he wants to get something out of, not something he wants to serve.
He would not die for Odin or castrate himself for Cybele.
Sir, a real pagan would kick your ass.
Mr. Wright, are you completely out of your skull? I mean, let’s be clear here: you are currently condemning me for not chopping my dick off for an Anatolian mother goddess. This is not a normal thing to fault someone for. I am reasonably confident that, out of seven billion people on this planet, you are literally the only one who, on June 12th, 2015, faulted anybody for not castrating themselves for an Anatolian mother goddess.
That said, I will concede the point, there are essentially no circumstances under which I would castrate myself for Cybele, or, indeed, die for Odin, who’s frankly an egotistical wanker better left to the myths. But I want to get at a larger issue here, because I really think you’re just not understanding me.
Of course occultism is not something I want to serve. The whole reason I hated One Bright Star to Guide Them was the fact that it was a heavy-handed and unsubtle paen to blind obedience of unseen forces you don’t understand. That is literally the entire point of why I started picking a fight with you and your overly vocal god: because I think your valorization of obeying orders whether or not you understand them is morally abhorrent.
So no, my occultism isn’t about unquestioningly serving pagan gods. But given that we both agree that serving pagan gods is a terrible idea (we just disagree about whether unquestioningly serving your god is also one), I’m not sure why you’re framing this as a criticism. You’re absolutely right: I am not evil in the same way that Richard is in the second chapter of One Bright Star to Guide Them. That’s precisely why I found that chapter’s sneering dismissal of the occult so noxious.
Also, you switched from third to second person there.
Anyway, in another post you say:
I have been an atheist and been a Christian, and I have studied occultism more deeply than you. Christianity has the monopoly on wonder and appreciation. It is fun being a Christian. You get to talk about things like kings and angels and the splendor of creation and the horrors of hell and mean every word. My life is clad in purple and gold. Yours is a cesspool, and you think if you dive bravely enough beneath the shit, you will find some wonder among the mud sloughs and little fish bones at the bottom.
Wake up. Stop fooling yourself. Go to confession. I eat God every Sabbath morning, and our magic is stronger than your magic, and we have joy.
You have nothing but self loathing, and grinning, mirthless dead-eyed face of the Prince of Darkness waiting for you.
We have joy. You have crap.
Atheists talk about themselves and mean every word. Witches talk about devils and talk and talk and talk about themselves and mean nothing.
Wake the hell up, you half wit, before you wake up in hell. Everything you ever wanted is right in the Church you most sincerely hate, and she is the only one who can cure your hate and your self hate.
There is much I could say here. I could point out the strangeness of the sentence “I eat God every Sabbath morning,” and on the weird way in which it focuses on the carnality of Communion. I could point out how this goes hand in hand with your strange concoction of abortion/sex rituals in One Bright Star to Guide Them, or your apparent fascination with my willingness to castrate myself. Perhaps even with your apparent horror at The Wasp Factory. You have a fascination with this sort of carnal, bodily power that far exceeds my own, and that I suspect is not entirely healthy within your worldview. Suffice it to say, I was perfectly happy with my muffins this Sabbath morning. Banana nut muffins, homemade. Delicious.
That said, if I may be so bold, the hubristic pride with which you speak of kings and angels and splendor and of a life clad in purple and gold makes you sound like a complete and utter dickbag.
Among the tasks on my to-do list right now is writing a eulogy for my grandmother. I’m going to talk about her Catholic faith. The quiet and humble way she lived, and the grace that suffused her life; a grace earned not through arrogance or greed for purple and gold, but through a peaceful acceptance of the place she had in creation.
I will talk about the beauty of this faith. Of realizing that the voice to which we kneel is not one thundering forth from the clouds, but speaking with quiet and unwavering insistence within. How we do not hear God when we bluster loudly about “our goodness” and “their evil,” but rather when we strip away such pride and listen to that faint and solitary light in the darkness of the glass through which we see – a glass that turns out, in the end, to have only ever been us.
Because I want to be clear, Mr. Wright, it’s not Catholicism I find ugly. It’s not Christianity. It’s not the God of Abraham. It’s the God you describe that’s ugly. Western literature is full of moving, compelling descriptions of the One True God. The problem is this: your work isn’t among them. Your work describes an ugly, bullying would-be tyrant who deserves nothing but contempt and mockery.
I have read your conversion experience, Mr. Wright. You speak movingly of the grandeur of what you saw. Do you truly presume that these mysteries were revealed to you so that you might place yourself above those who have not seen? Was your reaction, upon seeing “the workings of a mind infinitely superior to mine, a mind able to count every atom in the universe, filled with paternal love and jovial good humor,” truly to take this as a sign that you should proclaim your reason, human and fallible as it is, to be a model for others to follow? Do you think that God showed you the splendor of creation to make you proud?
Do not forget, Mr. Wright, that you do not belong to one of the branches of Christianity where salvation is a matter of faith, or of external grace, but something you must earn through deeds. Remember; the Catholic church does not believe that being Christian is a prerequisite for salvation, whereas hell is full of Catholics who fell short. Do you really think, in a faith where one of the most important concepts is the notion of divine mysteries, that an unyielding conviction in your own apprehension of absolute Truth is holy? Take a long look at your pride, Mr. Wright. Better yet, set it aside and listen to something other than the roaring echo chamber of your own mind, and ask yourself: do you serve the God who showed you the vast mysteries His creation, or just your own hollow human memory of what you saw?
Finally, I’d like to address this:
The fool knows nothing about the occult world. The whole point of occultism is learning the secrets, the mysteries, which enable you to piece the veil between the Seen and the Unseen.
If death is inevitable and inescapable oblivion, then there is no Unseen. There is no veil and nothing on the other side, no spirits and no spirit world, no black magic because there is no magic.
The only people more blind than witches are atheists, and here was have a man who manages to achieve the blindness of both.
You’re continuing to try to have your god and eat it too. Either I’m evil because I’m an occultist or I’m a moron because I’m not really an occultist. I can’t possibly be both. So instead of talking about what my occultism isn’t, why don’t we talk about what it is? Because here’s the interesting thing: I’ve actually written a book on occultism. Really, I have. It’s called Recursive Occlusion, and it’s actually an almost perfect occult inversion of One Bright Star to Guide Them. See, whereas you revisit the work of C.S. Lewis, I revisit the world of Doctor Who, which, in a fitting bit of occult symbolism, began the day after Lewis died, as though my system of the world was the natural successor to yours, a sort of Aeon of Horus to your Aeon of Osiris, if you will.
Like your book, mine revisits the classic structures of children’s literature, in this case the classic Choose Your Own Adventure books, which Recursive Occlusion has been meticulously designed to be a loving homage to, right down to the typography. And like yours, it revisits it not in the spirit of some deconstructive parody, but in an attempt to fully understand the truths that were so clear in childhood, but which have faded into the fog of adult understanding.
It is, of course, tempting to simply offer some occult trivia questions based on the book. “According to the Queen Scale, what color is associated with Hod?” “What is the generally accepted best translation of the figure with whom the narrator speaks in the Poimandres?” “Who was head of the Ancient Druid Order from 1799-1827?” “What figure connects the 15th century translation of the Hermetica with the education of John Dee?” Then we can figure out who actually knows anything about the occult.
But that seems churlish. So instead I’m doing this. Previously the book cost $15, and was available exclusively through the Createspace eStore. But I’ve just cut the price to $8.99 and made it available on Amazon and Amazon.co.uk. I want to be very clear, I am doing this because of you. My decision to make my occult interpretations of Doctor Who more readily available is entirely because of your smug “Witchier Than Thou” moralizing and your sinful pride. You are directly responsible for everyone who buys my book and is seduced into the occult mysteries of the universe because of it. So thanks for the royalty money.
Anyway, that’s not why I’m writing. Since you proclaim that you take me “seriously,” and clearly want to demonstrate how your understanding of the occult is superior to my own, I figured you might want to tackle the actual book I wrote on occultism and not some random comments on Vox Day’s blog. Then you can decide whether I know anything about the occult world, and whether (and why) my beliefs are as evil as all that, as opposed to just shouting semi-coherently.
So I was just wondering, to what address should I send your review copy of Recursive Occlusion?
P.S.: I’d still love to hear the answer to my question to you a few days ago: when the Pope’s encyclical about climate change comes out this week, will you be obeying its demands in spite of your doubts and lack of understanding? I’m especially curious about the bits about how climate change is the fault of global capitalism.