Cut-up writing as a gateway to spiritual transmission

Posted on May 8, 2012
Filed Under Magic, Taylor Ellwood, writing | 2 Comments

I’ve been reading Thee Psychick Bible for a little while now and came across an article by Genesis where he notes the following:

No matter how short, or apparently unrecognizable a sample might be in linear time perception, I believe it must, inevitably, contain within it the sum total of absolutely everything its original context represented, communicated or touched in any way; On top of this it must also implicitly include the sum total of every individual in any way connected with its introduction and construction within the original culture and every subsequent culture it in any way, means, or form, has contact with forever.

It’s interesting perspective about cut-up and one that Burroughs alludes to in his own writings, but in not so explicit a manner. My own approach has favored the idea that the act of cutting up text frees it from its original author and meaning, and that the rearrangement of the text is the appropriation of it by the person doing the cut-up in order to create a new message, but I can also see validity in Genesis’s approach to cut-up, especially if you apply the concept of spiritual transmission to cut-up.

Burroughs talks about how doing cut-up allowed him to catch divinatory glimpses of things that could occur, but it stands to reason as well that in a way you can’t really cut out the original author of a text. You can rearrange the text, change the meaning, but there is still a connection of sorts to the author, to the original vision of the text. If we think of words as a means of connection with the author, not merely in terms of meaning, but in terms of an actual spiritual meeting with the author it changes our approach to text in some ways. We see it not even as a divinatory practice, but as a practice that allows us to meaningfully connect with the essence behind the writing. The rearrangement of text, and the reading become an invocatory practice that shifts us into an experience of transmission from a variety of sources.

It always fascinates me with how people approach a given technique and end up using it in different ways than others do. It demonstrates, to me, that magic is much more of an experiential process than anything else. Different people will have different methodologies and perspectives on how a technique works and all of them will be right.

Comments

2 comments
cobaltie
cobaltie

I think I semi-consciously do this when I'm putting together music mixes. Taking a track or two from a specific source, in some ways I'm calling on the full emotional impact of the entire album, movie, or game from what the song came. Invoking the power of the music from its original context, and putting that into a new framework. I know it works for me, anyway, even if others might have different or no emotional impact from the original source. 

 

Have you played the PS3 game Journey, by the way? It's the most beautiful and transcendent experience I've had in a while in video games...so of course I recently incorporated some of the soundtrack into a new mix, and I can already tell it's much more effective.