Category: Jessa Crispin

Filling the gone god holeFilling the gone god hole

“The event that Nietzsche called ‘the death of God’ — less metaphorically, the collapse of Christian faith as a living factor in the lives and psyches of most people in Europe and the European diaspora — left an immense void in our collective life, and a great many people went looking for some secular equivalent of religion in order to fill that void. Over the last century or so, faith in progress has become the most popular replacement for religion, and believers in progress cling to it as unquestioningly as believers in other religions cling to the dogmas of their faiths.” – John Michael Greer (interview with Jessa Crispin in Bookslut)

If you believe in magicIf you believe in magic

“Most people in the industrial world believe in progress the way that peasants in the Middle Ages believed in the wonder-working bones of the local saint. It’s an unquestioned truism in contemporary culture that newer technologies are by definition better than older ones, that old beliefs are disproved by the mere passage of time, and that the future ahead of us will inevitably be like the present, but even more so. For all practical purposes, belief in progress is the established religion of the modern world, with its own mythology — think of all the stories you got in school about brilliant thinkers single-handedly overturning the superstitious nonsense of the past — and its own lab-coated priesthood. Most people these days literally can’t think outside the box of progress. That’s why the only alternative to the endless continuation of business as usual that has any kind of public presence these days is apocalypse — some sudden catastrophe gaudy enough to overwhelm the otherwise unstoppable force of progress. The faith in apocalypse is simply the flipside of the faith in progress — instead of a bigger, better, brighter future, we get a bigger, better, brighter cataclysm. Suggest that the future ahead of us might not be either of those hackneyed stereotypes, and you can count on hearing the echoing bang of minds slamming shut.” – John Michael Greer (interview with Jessa Crispin in Bookslut)

Hold the fame, just hand over the fortuneHold the fame, just hand over the fortune

“It is possible to find fame at the wrong time. The gods get distracted and send their gifts too late or too soon. If fame comes when we still need it too much, that shining light of acceptance every artist dreams of and chases after, then fame can destroy us. If we still believe it is the answer to all of our needs, the proof that we are worthy creatures after all, it can burn us into position. Stunt us. Quickly turn us into plant matter. If we believe the light will give us all the sustenance we need, we shoot out roots into whatever shallow soil we may find ourselves in the moment we first feel its warmth, bending our bodies towards that radiant light. And bending ever further as it starts to find other targets.” — Jessa Crispin, Bookslut

Being a better person makes you a better personBeing a better person makes you a better person

“It’s a favorite myth in our culture that hardship makes you a better person, that it is merely the grindstone on which your essence is refined and polished. But the truth is that scarcity, depression, thwarted ambition, and suffering most often leaves the person a little twisted. That is the territory where mean drunks and tyrannical bastards come from.” – Jessa Crispin, “Talking to the Dead: Channeling William James in Berlin”

Toss me a lifejacketToss me a lifejacket

“[William] James is now a bit of an odd fellow in philosophy. More widely influential than widely known, his theory of pragmatism and his groundbreaking work in the field of psychology make him something of a hidden mover. If you do seek him out, it’s not generally in the way one reads Descartes or Kant or Nietzsche, as a refinement of the intellect or in the pursuit of one’s studies. One finds James when one needs him. He makes quiet sense of the world, in all its glories and deprivations, its calamities and its beauties. As a philosopher, James is able to hold all of the sorrow and violence and pain of the world in his mind and remain somehow optimistic. It doesn’t wipe out the goodness of the world, it just sits beside it. It’s no wonder then that people get a little religious about this agnostic philosopher, this man who can restore your faith in the world, without necessarily bringing god into it.” – Jessa Crispin, “Talking to the Dead: Channeling William James in Berlin”