is, historically speaking (which is to say, in my opinion of things), just a very barbaric and primitive form of what military strategists have in this century called 'psy-ops', rather than calling it propaganda and mind-control, which is to say, psychic warfare, whose remnants still persist today for similar reasons as they may have been used back then, namely for the stockpiling of wealth and empire. Surely I'm not the first to say this, but I'm adding weight to the number of persons fervently entertaining this notion, such that perhaps very soon these numbers will begin to have a massive effect.
For instance, it says, in Ephesians 6:12
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places"
in other words, perhaps this is an allusion to a battle between proto-ideologies, world-views on the rise and in conflict; spiritual manifestos, for instance that of a cyclical universe of antiquity versus the linear, progressive model, which took reign and still purports to rule today, incessantly crying, marching: 'progress, evolution, industry, utility, a universal happiness only for those who believe...' (but perhaps the time is nigh we renounce all happiness that is purportedly universal?... heaven knows)
(the swastika, many know, far precedes its use by the Third Reich; it's a pagan symbol, exemplifying the circular path of all things, the eternal recurrence of all natures, returning to the same, and a vindication of all life, and all death, in perpetual re-synthesis. its opposition, in the Nazi regime, to the Judaic tradition, is particularly revealing, since many Jewish scholars claim, as a token of cultural pride, that the very notion of Progress itself which we today take for granted--the very concept of linear time--is an invention of the Jews. Christianity purports to fulfil the linear progress implied in such a belief in the messianic legacy bequeathed by them, but as we know, the Judaic tradition strongly disagrees. Nietzsche's opposition of the doctrine of the Eternal Recurrence, against Christianity's Final Judgment could be interpreted as a sort of renaissance of the notion of cyclical time in the West, and nothing less than a literary declaration of war against the linear model of time, adapted by the generation following him, but this remains to be shown.
Everything goes, everything comes back; eternally rolls the wheel of being. Everything dies, everything blossoms again; eternally runs the year of being. Everything breaks, everything is joined anew; eternally the same house of being is built. Everything parts, everything greets every other thing again; eternally the ring of being remains faithful to itself. In every Now, being begins; round every Here rolls the sphere There. The center is everywhere. Bent is the path of eternity. - Nietzsche
There is a Great Year, whose winter is a great flood and whose summer is a world conflagration. In these alternating periods the world is now going up in flames, now turning to water. This cycle consists of 10,800 years. - Attributed to Heraclitus)
contemporary politically motivated religiosity, I argue, is barbaric because it villainizes every notion of civic virtue not reliant on their peculiar and vacantly authoritative frame of mind. and it is primitive because its fundamental beliefs, structures, tactics, and assumptions, have not evolved with the progress of scientific knowledge (which, vindicating Socrates, has shown in recent years, we don't know with certainty regarding much at all about the deepest and most fundamental natures of the universe, actually). these beliefs, whether forced by shame, guilt, threats, or police brutality, are on par with a Stone Age-grasp of nature and our supposed place in it, which thrived in the darkest, superstitious, and most psychotic eras in the history of what is often shamelessly still referred to as 'humanity.' its message is 'progress' but its means are clearly antithetical to such ends.
according to the late historian of Neo-Platonism Pierre Hadot, the genealogy of a peculiar form of magic as a way to persuade the masses, originates in mechanics, which etymologically refers to trickery (mekhanika). the dreaded dramatic phrase Deus ex machina still carries this connotation of forgery or travesty as a cheap remedy to a genuine problem.
the "indian rope trick" is a good example of this, a trick that relies on bright torches placed in front of the audience to blind their range of sight, or the pulleys and levers attached to the doors of pagan temples in antiquity which, upon opening, were connected by clever engineers to sound trumpets, create fire, smoke and other divine spectacles, to amaze the followers into believing in their purportedly divinely sanctioned power (and as the cult of Hollywood still shows today). as the author Arthur C. Clark put it, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." and Aleister Crowley, the self-described "beast 666" defined "magick" as "the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will." fair enough, I say, but is there a chance he might have confused the art of science (the inquiry into knowledge, for knowledge's sake) with the art of technology (the concern with effect, appearance, and utility)? I propose this tangent could be pursued at another time. yet the poetry of Goethe is prophetic.
You instruments, you mock me, I can see,
With wheel and pulley, cylinder and cords:
I faced the gate, you were to be the key,
But cannot lift the bolts, however shrewd your wards.
Mysterious in broad daylight, never
Will Nature be defrauded of her veil.
What to your spirit she reveal not, that you fail
to torture out of her with screw or lever.
Goethe - Faust
to return to the issue, the pervasive connection between miracles and divinity is moreover clear in the Gospels, and strangely, also the use of miracles as 'proof' for belief, despite their insistence on 'blind faith' for anyone clearly born unfortunately after such purportedly miraculous events. (i.e. 'doubting Thomas', who believes in the resurrection only after poking the spear wound in Jesus' side with his finger tips)
yet we ought not to forget how the supposed modern 'greatest magician of all time', Harry Houdini, revolted by the manner in which local practicianers of magic fraudulently robbed the bereaved by using such deceitful means to purportedly communicate with their dead loved ones, made it his life's work to expose the fraud of practical magic in his own time, knowing very well the trickery involved in such shameless, shady, business.
what is reasonable to decide for the moment is that yes, we ought not to rule out magic in the universe, as a rare event, a prodigious happening on earth which can eternally shatter belief (and how many beliefs must be shattered, if not every last one?). but whoever depends on miracles would seem a pathetic soul, for any reasonable being, like the poor factory worker who gambles away all his hard-earned savings, or spends it on the lottery. whoever preaches magic, the uncanny, the unlikely, and the seemingly impossible, by principle, we ought to treat with caution and skepticism, which only means the capacity for inquiry--there may be magical beings in the world, yes sometimes even I entertain there truly may be... but history shows thus far it has only been through nothing less than a kind of baptism by fire, suffering, torture, insufferable anguish, and mayhem--against infinite odds--that such magic ever was revealed, to be hidden forever again. magic comes at a high cost it seems and it has always been the task of humanity--its only birthright one is tempted even to say--to resist its precariously delicate advent by every means it can conjure, until the day that humanity itself is shattered and broken in the very attempt, at long last to clear the way for something unarguably and truly great standing in its demise. then it should all probably happen again, in undue course as always been, and perhaps even ought to be.