Actual Magic: On Ramsey Dukes' SSOTBME

Episode 141 · February 28th, 2023 · 1 hr 24 mins

About this Episode

Ramsey Dukes, also known by his real name of Lionel Snell, may be one of the most important thinkers on magic since Aleister Crowley. In the impishly-titled Sex Secrets of the Black Magicians Exposed (or SSOTBME for short), Dukes accomplishes something few writers on the topic have been able to do: he gives us magic without asking us to sacrifice anything that makes us sensible modern people. He makes magic seem like the most obvious thing in the world, and he does it without taking away any of its, well, magic. How he does it and what it means are questions that would take several episodes to unpack. In this one, Phil and JF begin the work by discussing how Dukes situates magic in an epistemic compass that also includes science, art, and religion. This set of tools is as essential to a holistic view of reality as the four suits in a deck of cards are essential to a proper poker game. In other words, when we lose magic, we lose a way of dealing with reality.

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David Lynch (dir.), Mulholland Drive
Ramsey Dukes, SSOTBME
Slavoj Žižek, The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema
C. P. Snow, The Two Cultures
Weird Studies, Episode 139 on Art Power
Marshall McLuhan, Gutenberg Galaxy
“Virtual” and “Actual”, as developed by Bergson and Deleuze
Pragmatism, philosophical school
Jack Parsons, American rocket scientist
Mircea Eliade, The Myth of the Eternal Return
William Shakespeare, Macbeth