Open Sourcery: The Collective Magic of Open Source
Applying the philosophy of open source software to the realm of magic could help redesign our collective reality.
The open source model embodies the best of the Internet: its spirit of liberation and transparency. It works towards expanding our collective consciousness ––By Allowing people to know the code with which a digital product was made, open-sourcing has been one of the greatest technological innovations of our age. Theoretical analysts like Douglas Rushkoff have posited that we could take this principle to other mediums like money, markets, democracy, and even hardware.
One of the most interesting instances of this model is what the digital artist Joshua Madera developed: Open Sourcery, a software that, as the name suggests, promotes the interchanging of algorhythms and texts on the occult. This seminal idea came out of the realization that the opening of information is a way to eliminate the quackery and charlatanry that today cloaks magic. The words of Peter J. Carroll in Abracademia sum up this development:
Contemporary adepts should be able to explain themselves and their methods and ideas without charlatanry or mystification. Magic does not work by magic, if you see what I mean; it requires hard work and dedication and a lot of practice. I believe that releasing effective magical ideas will actually lead to less of the sort of satanic nonsense that leads some idiots to try sacrificing the neighbor’s cat.
Historically, magic has needed its secrecy ––among other things, to avoid persecution and/or the abuse of its power. And of course this could not be wholly modified form one day to the next without serious risks, but Joshua Madera believes that, even if there is a fathomless realm of mystical experiences that need to remain secret, there is a level of magic that can be enriched through collective sharing. Remix and recycling, which are so vital to the ideas of economy and ecology today, could also bear fruits in magic. This esoteric transparency could, to a great degree, mitigate exaggeration, authoritarianism and superstition.
For this, the Internet seems to be the ideal ethereal machine: It is already a telepathic space for images, texts and sounds in which people interconnect across seas and time in order to exchange information ––Therefore, using it as a ritualistic space for shamanic healing or magic-driven group projects is only given.
The writer and philosopher Terence McKenna used to say that “the real secret to magic is that the world is made up of words, and if you know which are the words that hold it in place, you can do with it what you will.” To decode this language –the source language– with which reality is designed could change form being a solitary, mystical experience, to being a collective one that feeds on planetary consciousness.
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