AMERICAN COSMIC by D W Pasulka
More than half of American adults and more than seventy-five percent of young Americans believe in intelligent extraterrestrial life. This level of belief rivals that of belief in God. American Cosmic examines the mechanisms at work behind the thriving belief system in extraterrestrial life, a system that is changing and even supplanting traditional religions.
Over the course of a six-year ethnographic study, D.W. Pasulka interviewed successful and influential scientists, professionals, and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who believe in extraterrestrial intelligence, thereby disproving the common misconception that only fringe members of society believe in UFOs. She argues that widespread belief in aliens is due to a number of factors including their ubiquity in modern media like The X-Files, which can influence memory, and the believability lent to that media by the search for planets that might support life. American Cosmic explores the intriguing question of how people interpret unexplainable experiences, and argues that the media is replacing religion as a cultural authority that offers believers answers about non-human intelligent life.
Showing how art and magic were initially one and the same, the author explores the history of magic as a source of genuine counter culture and compares it with our contemporary soulless, digital monoculture. He reveals how the magic of art can be restored if art is employed as a means rather than an end--if it is intense, emotional, violent, and expressive--and offers strategies for creating freely, magically, even spontaneously, with intent unfettered by the whims of trends, a creative practice akin to chaos magick that assists both creators and spectators to live with meaning. He also looks at intuition and creativity as the cornerstones of genuine individuation, explaining how insights and illuminations seldom come in collective forms.
Exploring magical philosophy, occult history, the arts, psychology, and the colorful grey areas in between, Abrahamsson reveals the culturally and magically transformative role of art and the ways the occult continues to transform culture to this day.
“Occulture is a word that was inevitable. During the hyperactive phase of Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth in the 1980s we were casting around for an all-embracing term to describe an approach to combining a unique, demystified, spiritual philosophy with a fervent insistence that all life and art are indivisible. At any given moment our sensory environment is whispering to us, telling us hidden stories, revealing subliminal connections. This concealed dialogue between every level of popular cultural forms and magical conclusions is what we named ‘occulture.’ Carl Abrahamsson takes this rendering of an innate cultural dynamic and exposes a multitude of parallel creative Universes that do that thing. So easy to perceive with hindsight but so invisible to the closed mind, he changes our means of perception--turning a straight line into an intricate spider’s web of possibilities and impossibilities combined. He performs magick; he concretizes meaning and brings forth revelation into his carefully focused vision.”, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, English singer-songwriter, musician, and poet
“These days, too much occult discourse comes off as grandiose, needlessly arcane, or desperately darker-than-thou. But decades of participant observation on the art-magic-transgression beat have given Carl Abrahamsson a more down-to-earth approach. Streamlining Crowley, LaVey, and postpunk chaos magic, these talks and essays offer up accessible, pragmatic, and psychologically savvy takes on the intuitive potentials of creative individuation. This is not another ‘system’ but sparkplugs engineered for your own magical engine.”, Erik Davis, author of Nomad Codes and host of Expanding Mind podcast
“A sharp, frank, and level-headed exploration of some of the most important figures and movements on the current edges of occultism. Highly recommended.”, Richard Smoley, author of Forbidden Faith: The Secret History of Gnosticism
“Carl Abrahamson’s Occulture is itself a beautiful example of the phenomena it discusses. Erudite and a pleasure to read, the collected essays have the potential to nudge consciousness beyond the ordinary perspective of culture and history. A necessary read for students of culture or magick.”, Philip H. Farber, author of Brain Magick, Meta-Magick, and FutureRitual
“Carl Abrahamsson--that curator and champion of everything in occulture that is cool, edgy, trendy, and artsy--inspires us with this mind-expanding collection of essays: meditations on art, magick, sex, psyche, and society that collectively trace the supernatural’s proclivity to cross over from counterculture to mainstream, casting light on how we see and understand our world. Not to be missed!”, Richard Kaczynski, author of Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley
“Through this collection of articles, essays, talks, and miscellanea, Carl Abrahamsson emerges as a dedicated communicator who shares concepts, histories, and ideas with insight and imagination. Whether exploring the culture of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth or the philosophies of Crowley, Steiner, Jung, and Paul Bowles, Abrahamsson’s work is never less than engaging.”, Jack Sargeant, author of Flesh and Excess, Naked Lens, and Against Control
“A welcome collection of insightful essays on the acculturation of society from the veteran chronicler of countercultures.”, Hymenaeus Beta, Frater Superior of O.T.O., musician, and occultist
"Although dealing with some deep matters - occultism, art, philosophy - that are often the object of pretentious or bombastic writing, Occulture is pleasingly free of either. Despite the breadth of his knowledge and experience, Abrahamsson never talks high-handedly to his readers, delivering his thoughts and arguments clearly. There’s much in the book for readers with every level of knowledge of the subjects discussed - although it does assume a familiarity with, for example, the ideas of Crowley, LaVey and Jung - and much to reflect upon., Clive Prince, Magonia Review of Books
"It's a pleasure to read essays that are both demystifying, they are written in a truly free thinking mode that invites your own input, encourages it from the point of view where all the platitudes and traps of magical, cliquey thinking have no place. But most of all, Carl's book holds a very clear and distinctive message-a message of encouragement to steer away from soulless, digital monoculture of now to open yourself to sublayers of realities that can help us to rejuvenate into the kaleidoscope of emotions, self-integrating trip to express our own voice.", Felthat Reviews