February 12, 2008

Obama: The Sorcerer's Method Behind the Madness

obamababes.jpg "Come on home, girl,"
He said with a smile
"You don't have to love me yet,
Let's get high awhile.
But try to understand,
Try to understand,
Try, try, try to understand
I'm a magic man."
-- Heart

"In savage society there is commonly to be found in addition what we may call public magic, that is, sorcery practised for the benefit of the whole community. Wherever ceremonies of this sort are observed for the common good, it is obvious that the magician ceases to be merely a private practitioner and becomes to some extent a public functionary.

"The development of such a class of functionaries is of great importance for the political as well as the religious evolution of society. For when the welfare of the tribe is supposed to depend on the performance of these magical rites, the magician rises into a position of much influence and repute, and may readily acquire the rank and authority of a chief or king.

"The profession accordingly draws into its ranks some of the ablest and most ambitious men of the tribe, because it holds out to them a prospect of honour, wealth, and power such as hardly any other career could offer. The acuter minds perceive how easy it is to dupe their weaker brother and to play on his superstition for their own advantage.

"Not that the sorcerer is always a knave and impostor; he is often sincerely convinced that he really possesses those wonderful powers which the credulity of his fellows ascribes to him. But the more sagacious he is, the more likely he is to see through the fallacies which impose on duller wits.

"Thus the ablest members of the profession must tend to be more or less conscious deceivers; and it is just these men who in virtue of their superior ability will generally come to the top and win for themselves positions of the highest dignity and the most commanding authority.

"The pitfalls which beset the path of the professional sorcerer are many, and as a rule only the man of coolest head and sharpest wit will be able to steer his way through them safely. For it must always be remembered that every single profession and claim put forward by the magician as such is false; not one of them can be maintained without deception, conscious or unconscious.

"Accordingly the sorcerer who sincerely believes in his own extravagant pretensions is in far greater peril and is much more likely to be cut short in his career than the deliberate impostor.

"The honest wizard always expects that his charms and incantations will produce their supposed effect; and when they fail, not only really, as they always do, but conspicuously and disastrously, as they often do, he is taken aback: he is not, like his knavish colleague, ready with a plausible excuse to account for the failure, and before he can find one he may be knocked on the head by his disappointed and angry employers."


Text from Chapter 4. The Magician's Progress. Frazer, Sir James George. The Golden Bough 1922.

Posted by Vanderleun at February 12, 2008 9:49 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

This massive emotion-based maya is truly frightening. I watched Obama last night on TV and feel helpless in the face of this momentuous train roaring down the tracks weaving a spell of Santa Claus-like hope, togetherness and gift giving---only to the worthy poor victims of his own determination. The job creators and risk takers of our economy are to be taken behind the wood shed for punishment---the economy has just been too good for them.

We were once there, weren't we G? On the side of the Mayans...and now we're all better from that foolishness. Heaven knows we only learned from being in enough of those train wrecks ourselves, both personally and politically. But, O-O-O-O seeing it from a survivors' perspective is dauntingly sobering. We can only hope the bubble will burst sooner rather than later. In any event it's not going to be a pretty sight up ahead.

Posted by: Webutante at February 13, 2008 6:43 AM

"Hell shalt have no fury like a Believer scorned."

Posted by: MarkJ at February 13, 2008 7:49 AM

I think I would have gone with "Barackuda", myself.

Posted by: Rich Fader at February 13, 2008 11:42 AM


We're agreed then: Obama is a fraud even by politicians' standards?

Isn't Illinois the same state that gave us Carol Moseley Braun?

Posted by: Roderick Reilly at February 13, 2008 1:31 PM

Was this about Obama or Billhillery? It seems to apply to both.

Too bad the repubs are lacking sorcerer who can ignite the baseless base!

Posted by: ChiefTestPilot at February 13, 2008 4:30 PM

Of course, the magic that all the Republican contenders have said they believe in isn't really magic at all. (sarcasm off)

"Suffer not a witch to live" meant "Kill all magicians that aren't affiliated with us". In other words, religion of any sort (except possibly Buddhism) at least started as magic; defined loosely as influencing presumed supernatural entities by mumbling the right words, often in archaic languages, wearing the right clothing and making the right gestures (sound familiar?), and sometimes killing the right animals (which of course were subsequently eaten by the priests). Religion is magic whose proponents won. This of course also applies to the ritual cannibalism that at least Catholics indulge in once per week.

"When the first knave met the first fool, then was created the first priest".

Note that this has nothing to do with whether God exists or not. If there is one - and I happen to think there is - I cannot imagine that what words one mumbles every week, or which bits of whose bodies are placed in contact with each other under what circumstances, are of any interest or importance to him at all.

Posted by: Fletcher Christian at February 13, 2008 11:47 PM

Obviously, anybody who uses the word 'Tribe' in a write up about Barack Obama is a racist. Probably somebody who has personally lynched about 8 or 10 innocent black children...

But really, I think the sorcery charge is a red herring. The problem is that Obama has not promised anything specific, not that he is getting away with promising the moon.

Ronald Reagan, on the other hand, promised to cut the Federal budget by getting rid of "Waste, fraud, and abuse" over and over again. Instead he raised spending and the annual deficit and created a demand-driven prosperity. One trick is as good as another, I suppose.

Posted by: Fred at February 14, 2008 1:45 AM

haha, what a ridiculous article! What politician doesn't try to persuade voters?! What kind of propaganda are you guys trying to spew? Way to just throw up some quotes instead of making an original argument. OBAMA 08

Posted by: SH at February 15, 2008 10:00 AM

What original argument did you have in mind? You search for "original" arguments you'd better pack a lunch.

We merely note that there are certain parallels. You can make of that what you wish.

Posted by: vanderleun at February 15, 2008 10:19 AM

Obviously, anybody who uses the word 'Tribe' in a write up about Barack Obama is a racist.

Except for those of us who are of his same tribe--the African one.

Posted by: baldilocks at February 20, 2008 6:12 PM

This charge that Obama isn't offering policy specifics is a crock. Just go to the man's website. He's got plans for health care, the economy, foreign policy, green energy, and more. And they're far more elaborate than the half-baked, self-contradictory domestic plans McCain's offering.

And this "sorceror" business is just sour grapes. The man is charismatic, an excellent speaker, and highly effective campaigner. Just because the GOP field has none of these qualities, y'all need to pretend something sinister is going on.

Posted by: Justin K. at February 21, 2008 9:55 AM

Jeepers, this complete non-sequitor surely couldn't apply to any other national leader we've ever had. Particularly couldn't apply to the current Chief Executive in the immediate post-9/11 days. I can't think of anything more ritualistic than "Mission Accomplished."

Seriously, what is the deal with all these Republicans who vote for faith-based candidates without a wince suddenly having pangs of secular consciousness when the candidate on the other side shows a bit of sincere faithfulness?

Do you really expect us to take seriously your sudden concern for "magic" and "sorcery" in the Dem. candidates when religious zealots are keynote speakers at the Repub. Convention?

Posted by: jlo at February 21, 2008 11:43 AM