"When myth incarnates in the waking world...”
This article first appeared on Noctiviganti: The Blog of Author Christopher Scott Thompson and appears here with the author's permission.
by CS Thompson
Δ Ƶ = Δ X / Δ Y
A relationship change equals a change in something per a change in something else, or an acceleration in information speed.
Some information sets are too large and complex for quick results. In this situation, success is relative – you aren’t necessarily hoping to transform the entire set instantly, but to introduce enough new information energy to set a process of change in motion.
A relationship change is always a change in one zed object per a change in another zed object. If you’re hoping to introduce change energy into a complex system, you need to have a clear understanding of which zed object you hope to change relative to which other zed object.
In ancient times, victims of theft would try to avenge themselves on whoever had stolen from them by inscribing a curse on a lead tablet and burying it in such a way as to gain the attention of the chthonic deities. If we describe this working with the formula Δ Ƶ = Δ X / Δ Y, delta zed is "vengeance," delta X is divine punishment on the thief and delta Y is the anger of the gods. "Vengeance is obtained through divine punishment due to the wrath of the chthonic gods."
The poem "Curse Tablet," originally published by Gods and Radicals, was not actually inscribed on lead or buried with a dead man, but the poem refers to this symbolism to create connections in information space:
I write these words on sheets of lead And leave them in a dead man’s hands To bring them to the silent lands
Of root and water, and of rot. I whisper them into the ear Of one who can no longer hear.
I show them to the gaping eyes Of one who lies beneath the leaves. Oh gods of dread who punish thieves,
Leave off all lesser punishments and hear! The thieves who rule the world have gorged On others’ bread and meat. They’ve forged
New manacles to bind the wrists Of any who resist. They kill Whoever will not do their will.
Oh gods who dwell beneath the earth, Arise tonight and hunt for prey More worthy of your power. Slay
The kings of thieves, the lords of men, And not the poor who steal their bread. I write this curse on sheets of lead
And leave them in a dead man’s hands. I whisper them into the ear Of those who sleep, but always hear.
I show them to the empty eyes Of those who lie beneath the leaves, Oh gods of dread who punish thieves!
The poem aims to create two different types of change simultaneously, both of which can be described using the formula Δ Ƶ = Δ X / Δ Y:
1- Justice is obtained by drawing the attention of the gods who punish thieves away from the powerless and toward the powerful.
2- The capitalist system is weakened by strengthening the resolve of those who oppose it and perhaps raising questions in the minds of other readers as well.
The poem calls on the gods using mythopoetic symbolism (the sixth bell). It presents an argument about the relative blameworthiness of different types of theft, an argument intended for the reader as much as the deities (the fifth bell). It uses formal meter and rhyme for aesthetic effect (the fourth bell). It appeals to an explicitly radical and pagan belief system to trigger a response in those of a similar ideological bent (the third bell). As people read the poem and share it, it affects their participation in anti-capitalist politics (the second bell). The physical act of typing the poem up and publishing it makes all this possible (the first bell) – and this, rather than "art for art’s sake," is why the poem was published in the first place
The more people read the poem and share it, the more information energy it generates. You can expect only so much from a single poem, but what if that poem is only one tiny piece of a much larger cultural and artistic movement? Now we’re talking about metapolitics:
"A way of expressing and enacting political goals through cultural, spiritual, and societal change, rather than overt politics… metapolitics is founded upon the idea that political change cannot occur until a culture is first created which lays the groundwork for political power." (Gods and Radicals)
As my father pointed out in "Notes on Relationships," a "change in something per a change in something else" would be graphed as a slope. A slope describes an acceleration. This type of magic enhances change, by increasing the information speed of certain ideas, making a small but meaningful contribution to a much larger project of transformation.