Occulture and Internet McDonaldisation of occult culture
A Questionaire in April 1997
Dear inhabitant/citizen of the Cyberspace
Do you consider yourself merely a passive consumer of the Net or an active
-- Mostly I just sit around and read my mail, so I have to choose passive
for the most part.
-- Mostly passive. Most of what I see on the internet is superficial
information or simply regurgitation/repetition of other peoples
opinions and work. Some are just plain ridiculous (such as Ordo
Antichristianus Illuminatus - OAI - who by their own definition exist
only in the context of Christianity, which they intend to eliminate. If
they succeed then they eliminate themselves.)
-- Im' not sure what you mean by the terms "active" and "passive" in this
context, but I'll say this: I use the Internet and the World Wide Web
as research tools [with sites like the Perseus Project, or Project
Libellus, etc.]; I do not maintain a web-page or ftp site, however.
-- I try to include as many inhouse links to productive information. The
website is there to educate. There are only 3 pages I have with outside
links, and that is because 1) deals with Pagan networking, 2) deals
with magick and some more academic sights have more information on
specific subjects than I could represent, and 3) has some reciprocol
links to sites that I feel have something to offer and have tried to do
the same thing I am doing but deal with general Paganism instead. -
Besides the website, I also own Grimoire-L, help moderate Darkpaths-L,
have 3 webrings which I run, and myself and my partner have #witches on
over 10 different IRC Nets. :)
What do you generally think about the active and/or passive consummation
-- I think that the passive consumation of websites invite commersialism
and consumerism - the growing "silent audience" of the net, I feel,
threaten the original dynamism of the net. (I have been a net citizens
since the summer of 94, and can attest a great change by those nearly 3
years). Active consumation - it means that the parties; provider/host
and consumer/guest, interact (which is true "interactivity": not only
flashing buttons and animations on a contentless webpage containing
links and nothing else) - and that is the intended use of this medium
-- I find simple "browsing" of the Web to be a pointless waste of time --
one doesn't have much time to devote to The Work if one's aimlessly
roaming about the 'net [IMO]: I feel the same about IRC, generally;
occasionally there are organized meetings/discussions held on IRC
channels that can prove profitable, though they are, admittedly, very
rare in my experience. Personally, I think web-pages should be
information repositories — your page for example, or Leaping Laughter
Camp's on-line Library, Project Libellus, the Perseus Project and so
forth; also, they might serve as points of contact. Personal pages [the
type that say: 'hello, I am --- and I read --- this week and listened
to --- and went ---.'] seem pointless wastes of band-witdh [IMO].
-- Passive consumption limits the information one can gain to what is
posted on the site. Active consumption (communication with the people
involved with setting up the site) can yield much more information.
However, most sites do not indicate that there is any useful
information to be gained by communication. For example, one Caliphate
OTO site looks much like another, and if one is looking for general
information about the Caliphate OTO then almost any site will do (to
-- The Web interaction is forming virtual larval egregores of mental
energies. The participants' ego is mislead into assuming fake
identities and tumorous personae. Participation into these egregores
brings to the clients a sense of self-grandeur and importance, of
-- I only believe, that cyberspace and occultism are very familiar to any
other kind of drugs. Each of them are giving a kind of "reality", that
cannot be turned off. A Junkie will always be a Junkie. No matter what
kind of drugs be used. (Sex, H, acid, TV, occultism, researches about
occultism, love, religion and each other thing, that kicks up the
-- I have seen some Net-addicted persons who do nothing else but surfing
the whole day long, without any active participation. They say they
feel OK. I cannot only link and watch, without learning or at least
making a good use of web-sites.
-- I think that the Internet is active, either way you consider it. There
can be no interaction without the user's intervention ... otherwise we
might as well call it "television".
-- I think of passive consumation of websites a little more than what TV
does. TV teaches people to veg in front of it, and besides the remote
control people don't need to move to do anything. Unfortunately,
websites have become similar in a lot of ways in the sense that they
allow people to travel the internet without being active in it. Please
check out this link for further information:
-- PASSIVE PARTICIPATION FOR RESEARCH, ACTIVE PARTICIPATION AS A WAY TO
UNDERSTAND THE WORKING SCHEME OF NET-RELATED AFFAIRS.
-- I think, at best, the 'net is a great resource, but with this great
tool comes a lot of hype. For anyone, whether "active" or "passive"
(how can one be passive in this area?), I think for each, whatever best
suits their needs.
-- Artists need audiences and vice-versa. Oftimes, a person can be both;
those of us with enough ham in our makeup enjoy sharing our
thoughts/tastes/opinions/creations with our fellow-humans and other
intelligences on the Net. Likewise, it's cool to see what other people
-- I find remarkable things, but the *active* part comes in the effort
needed to seek them out and critically evaluate the material.
-- If someone puts information on the Web, it's their own repsonsability.
In a sense, because of the "world wide publishing" capabilities, anyone
who has a website is considered an "expert", even if it is in their own
mind. But that person is still responsible for that information
(especially in the wake of the "Heaven's Gate" suicide two weeks ago).
-- Websites suck, I have one ... but they suck.
Do you often send e-mails via a homepage that you just visit without
knowing whether you are answered to?
-- Email sent to homepages is like email sent anywhere else. We don't know
whether we'll be answered.
-- No, I do not e-mails via a homepage, I prefer taking down the e-mail
address and writing through my e-mail program.
Do you participate in occult related newsgroups/Mailing Lists?
-- No! Tried it for about 6 months and found nothing of worth in them. Too
much trivial drivel ... LOL
-- Not NewsGroups, but I do engage in mailing-lists. NewsGroups, as public
as they are, are basically "spam magnets"; I don't have the time to
wade through 40-50 off-topic messages just to find one or two on-topic
posts. Lightly moderated lists such as Thelema93-L, the Enochian list
of the Freemasonry list seem to be of more value.
-- If people would use them as they should be used for the discussion of a
related topic instead of a soap box in which to preach I might enjoy
-- I react only when I am involved personally (criticized for my attitude
about "cults" and religious liberty or one of my books is misquoted
If yes, what is your experience re the possible change of human
relationships in the cyberspace (maybe due to the speed)?
-- I mostly do business through the cyberspace and this is different.
-- The primary change in human relations that I have seen is that we are
thrown together with people we would never otherwise meet. This leads
to a lot of awakening. It also leads to a lot of fighting, which can
bring compromise or bitterness, but always awareness. The speed of the
net combines with its distancing effect to allow people to become
intimate and vulnerable. This is generally good, though there is the
drawback that people are often unprepared for it.
-- Best of all, the Net makes it impossible for groups to keep abusive
behaviour as secret as they once did.
-- The speed of e-mail is a major factor in the loss of the
person-to-person approach. Handwritten (and stamped) letters and
postcards are nice, but my handwriting is awful and I usually type the
letter anyway. On the other hand, e-mail might be a factor in actually
doing MORE towards interaction with others BECAUSE of it's ease-of-use.
-- I'm concerned that email is really poor means of conveying EMOTIONAL
communication, and that the readers interpretation of verbal (written)
communication is, therefore, often distorted in meaning. On the other
hand, it is superior to other forms of written correspondence because
the "dialogue" style of incutting-and-answering preserves a greater
continuity of the communication thread and makes it more likely that
clearer response will occur. The chance for someone misrepresenting who
they are is immensely greater. This is a SERIOUS problem. Overall, I
think that the Internet trend will depersonalize human contact in the
long-run (and probably already has in the short-run).
-- The majority of people are assholes and fools. Now, however, they can
prove it more quickly.
-- I think that it is easier for people to say nasty and ignorant things
to each other without thinking twice, since non-verbal interaction such
as this may sometimes be easily misunderstood.
-- It is a very mental way of communication. The feelings have no way of
being transferred or expressed except through the mental process of
written words. But even if feelings are discriminated, most people are
not capable of only relating to the factual communication, and often
projects interpretations both emotional and intellectually.
-- Cyber-relationships tend to be ephemeral, intense, controversial, and
superficial. Also it fascinates me how cyberspace seems to bring out
the "inner child" in many people, including the nastiness and
emotionality of children, as well as adult sexual needs which are
largely frustrated by a competitive, hierarchical, authoritarian
society based on work.
-- There is an annoying tendency on the net, esp. newsgroup called
"crossposting" which means that 99% of the posts on an unmoderated site
will be utter off-topical nonsense. As for faster mediums - WWW based
chats and IRC - I think it is a very acute and effective medium, the
internet; if used in the right way, and by the right person.
-- People seem to relate to each other as semi-pure intelligences online,
even though we know we each have a life or lives elsewhere. IMHO, this
is a Good Thing, eliminating, as it does, grounds for bad attitudes
based on race, age, comliness or the lack thereof, ethnicity, religion,
-- We realize there are more of us than we thought.
-- I don't find human relationships changing in Cyberspace, EXCEPT that it
is no longer important WHO you are (male, female, race, age, sexual
preference, etc.). The Web is the great Democratizer, yet most of the
people - even the young ones - can communicate well ... better than
people on the street!
-- My travel funds and even long-distance phone funds are limited ...
-- Acquintances and friendships are made. Information is relayed faster
and there are hopefully less secrets. I don't think that the real
spiritual work can be accomplished via the web.
-- I have made real friendships because of the capability to interact via
Do you think that occult participants do have a different approach to
Cyperspace than the "others"?
-- No, because I don't really think that there is a such thing as an
"occult participant". Of the few occultists that I actually know
personally and respect, none of them are on the internet.
-- Not in general. Such a question would be like asking if occult
participants have a different approach in ANYTHING in life. Most
occultists I've encountered (in the most general sense) are usually no
different than anyone else. A little eccentric sometimes, but many,
(going out on a limb here!), are "into" the occult to hide their
psychological (or other) deficiencies.
-- No, hooligans are hooligans, whether they are occultists, or Michael
-- I think that occultists tend to be very computer literate.
-- Occultists often think they are different from the others. I suppose
that they keep this kind of thought when dealing with the Net.
-- In my experience the occult participants are more active and creative
in their use of the Net.
-- It does at least support diversity.
-- In real life people may keep their occult interests out of sight of
most people. The internet allows these people to anonymously show-off
their interestes and try to build support for their particular flavour
of tradition/religion/whatever. One's ego can become inflated when he
sees how many other people in 'cyberspace' agree with his ideas. This
is not limited to occult participants, but because of their relatively
low profile in the real world they are probably more affected by this
-- Somewhat. I do think we tend to see it more as an opportunity to
network and maintain an active community, whereas members of more
mainstream subcultures are more likely using the topic of conversation
for courtship rituals.
-- I think that most occultists see the Internet as a new frontier, a new
-- Certainly, most all aspects of our life are "different".
-- Yes, feel that they feel they are at home. We no longer have to worry
if someone will do us harm simply because we are different within
cyberspace. We can just exist.
-- Yes, Occultists are "used to" wandering around in different worlds,
easier to treat it more like dimension than a tool.
-- I have hard many occultists refer to cyberspace as the astral world. So
in that sense, I think they have a unique perspective on it.
-- I think some of them see the internet presence as an extension or
expansion of themselves.
Have you ever thought that a lot of the pages you visit only mirror the
self-referential aspect of the participants? (e.g. "Hee, I am here, have a
look at these others who also say that they are here and link to my page
to say again that we all are here") (also: only-link pages)
-- The Thelemic Kaaba, the Thelemic Golden Dawn/O.A.I. and the Temple of
Thelema pages come to mind; on the "Kaaba" page, Mr. xxx [name left
out] proclaims himself the "chief of chiefs" of A.·. A.·. traditions;
xxx [name left out] does the same with regards to G.·.D.·.; on the
T.O.T./C.O.T. pages, xxx [name left out] implies rather the same thing
as regards himself. Also, there are such pages as WWW.AMADO-CROWLEY.COM
which doesn't seem to amount to much of anything [an entire server with
only one page], or the Living Flame Camp of the Caliphate O.T.O. where
two owners of the Page proclaim themselves to be "Babalon and the
Beast/Anti-Christ". - I grow weary of such pages. - But, on the other
hand, there are very good pages such as the "Smoking Dog Project" of
the Caliphate O.T.O.'s Scarlet Woman Oasis, which presents much
original work and research; or Adam McLean's Alchemy & Rosicrucian page
which contains transcriptions of many [100+, I think] rare or obscure
Alchemical and Rosicrucian documents for the sake of the Seeker.
-- I think it is part of the "campus" mentality of some of the
participants, if we look on the professors and scholars homepages -
they contain only bibliography and published papers, self-referential,
yes - but they are not using the medium to make themselves the message,
like many more "immature" participants.
-- Yes, most are junk.
-- Oh yes! That's why I'm a signer of the "Independent Web Manifesto". It
is really important to resist the temptation of
self-advertisement/aggrandisement via the web.
-- Yes, but one person's narcissism is another's brilliant reference.
-- Yes. People do not feel alone if they can point to others that agree
with them. Cyberspace is a big support group for many people.
-- Some. In most cases I think it is an opportunity for persons to achieve
self-expression, creativity, and self-advertisement which might
otherwise be unable to do so, since not everyone can write a
publishable book, etc. Also it tends to foster alternative and deviant
points of view which might not command a large enough audience to be
-- No. I tend to find these pages extremely useful.
-- I the links provided by interesting people to the places they
find interesting ...
-- ... while they are an inconvenience to many of us to some they are life
saving and very satisfying.
-- Yeah, I've seen a lot of sites that seem to be there for the sole
purpose of giving the web-master (term used lightly) a reason to "be on
the 'net". Though, in all fairness, many, many sites offer great
information and provide a significant means to interact with others of
-- I think some editorial bias is showing through the phrasing of this
question ... There is nothing wrong with a page that says "This is what
I'm/we're about, any by the way, here are some other places to go for
more information on that if it appeals to you as well."
Do you think that the presence of Occultism in the Net does support
-- Absolutely. Maniacs are usually the most creative.
-- Mostly, yes, I think quarrels is creativity ...
-- Yes. Most occultists are free speech advocates, too.
-- YES. I believe it has resulted in a whole new interest in
occultism/magick and therefore new material.
-- I've been in on-line, timed rituals, joined a group doing a serial
writing of a book, a chapter per person, helped create a tarot deck the
same way, and received a wealth of information from like-minded people
I could never meet any other way or have time to spend with, including
some of the real "biggies" of occultism.
-- Creativity, NO. Conformity, YES. When so many other people do it in one
way they must be right. Therefore any individual thought one has must
be incorrect. And if you do not accept that and actually say so then
you may be told thousands of times that they are right and you are
wrong, until you agree with them. ... But look at the books that are
being published. Most occult books are regurgitation of other peoples
work, usually Crowley, Golden Dawn and the standardized 'religion' of
Thelema. Most say the same things with no individual thought in them.
-- It should be this way, but I think that we can find two kind of groups:
one is open to new ideas, the other tends to spread its own doctrines
and do not take open debates. But if you are really free, you should
not expect creativity coming from the Net; rather you should be
creative on your own, and take the chances from what you find on the
-- Define Occultism. Are you confusing Occultism with Pagan (of all
countries in all it's forms) Religion? Need more information. (No
offense, but you could use some practice in stating your questions more
succinctly. They are way too ambiguous and general.)
-- I see no correlation between the three. There are creative occultists
and non-creative occultists. There are creative non-occultists, and
-- Not necessarily. It's just another form of exposure.
-- I think it encourages the large majority of incompetents to feel that
their opinions are on an equal footing with those of someone who
actually knows something.
-- Occultism on the Net doesn't necessarily support or inspore creativity;
I feel it's more of an exercise in freedom of expression.
-- I would like to see more original Works (occult), and less of the same
stuff from site to site. (i.e. How many o.t.o. websites do we REALLY
-- It is disappointing to see so little research of real value being made
-- Some of it does, and much others don't. It's a regurgitation of old
theories that are going unquestioned.
In the case you maintain a website:
How many visitors do you have per month?
How many of them say only "hello", or "how fine", or "great"?
How much of them do comment on the information on your site, in an
How many of your visitors contribute with inspiring insights (that YOU
consider inspiring, as "really contributing" beyond the average
If you are an organisation: how many of your visitors want to become a
member or just seek advice?
-- Perhaps one out of every four actually grok the nature of my site and
speak about it, generating comments. Another one-fourth ask me for
spells, and a third fourth tell me about fixes that they think I need
to give my page. The last fourth says, "you are one of the coolest
people I've ever met," which is an actual quote of an entire message
that I received from some lonely person.
-- Most of the e-mail I get is from 1) people with similar views who want
to see more of something in a specific area, 2) people who are opposed
to what is their and disagree but still find insight within the
website, and 3) people who ask questions which I answer and if enough
questions are asked about a given subject then I try to add more
information on that area.
Date: April 1997