I have just noticed that there are different patterns to the diagnostic questions psychiatrists ask when they are trying to figure out whether someone is crazy. Some of these questions are about fearful fantasies, of the sort we call paranoia. They ask whether someone has been spying on you, following you, or in general making…… Continue reading Spec Tech: Thought as Stuff
What makes a cult group leader successful? Mishell asked me to answer this question but it is not the first time I have been asked. The first time was shortly after some forty members of an odd little group called Heaven’s Gate had decided that a spaceship full of aliens was coming towards earth in…… Continue reading Spec Tech: The Next David Koresh
Yesterday I met a young man so interesting but so disturbing that he has haunted my thoughts and it has occurred to me that he may be of interest to you who write on the darker side of fiction. I am an anthropologist, and among other pursuits (magic, spirituality) I study madness. Today I spent…… Continue reading Spec Tech: The Poetry of Madness
Tis the silly season between Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the spirit of the time I offer a short diversion. Here’s my puzzle. In my work as an anthropologist, I have found that people who experience the holy spirit and magic, people who are able to experience God as a person among persons (while still remaining…… Continue reading Spec Tech: Do You Beleve in Magic?
In my last blog, I said that magicians needed training—non-fictional human ones, anyway. That training involves what I call “inner sense cultivation,” the deliberate practice of imagined perception, in which someone sets out to see, hear, feel and even to smell and taste that which is in the mind and not in the world. It…… Continue reading Spec Tech: Inner Sense Cultivation