Failure As Art
I read an essay called The Aesthetics of Failure: ‘Post-Digital’ Tendencies in Contemporary Computer Music by Kim Cascone. Since then, I have dedicated my life to destroying convention in all senses.
Shortly thereafter, I watched a documentary on a musician named John Cage. He espoused a philosophy called indeterminacy, which is pretty much Taoist thought applied to the arts. Leaving things to chance, taking yourself out of music. It was anti-art.
Then I learned about Dada. The early 1900s anti-art movement that turned its nose up at the prim and proper establishment at the time. These people kicked Salvador Dali out for not “getting it.”
In the essay, I learned a lot about how there are always disturbances and things going wrong. It’s all about how you manipulate and handle it. There is a certain art to manipulating failures.
These philosophies came together in my mind as a completely new lifestyle. At first, it led to a metacontrarian lifestyle of intentional misdirection, or trolling. It’s a little different from the philosophies I’ve mentioned before, a bit juvenile. However, I seem to have made it work for me.
I feel a calling. Somewhere deep down, I know that I am not supposed to make sense and make my own rules. You can’t possibly be in control of everything, so why not embrace it? Control what you think you can, and let the rest flow like water.
When it comes to ceremonial magick, a lot of practitioners get caught up in the rigid structure of each ritual. Everything must be done a certain way. The ritual is written a certain way and invokes certain symbol sets for a reason. However, if you cannot abide by failure then what is the point? You are supposed to believe in it enough so that you convince your brain that it’s real. You also need to convince yourself that your failure is part of the art.
I am not suggesting that anyone run out and go start failing at all aspects of life on purpose. Sure, you’ll learn some lessons that way but that’s not the point. Rather, I would suggest accepting it as part of your reality. It’s going to happen.
My magick, the art by which I choose to live my life, is based upon accepting failures and creating new opportunities from them. My art, the tangible results of my magick, is based upon the same thing.
There are similar philosophies such as Discordianism. It says that order and disorder are illusions placed upon the universe by the human nervous system and is influenced by Taoism. A lot of these things end up coming back to Taoism. Everyone works with different symbol sets, and I find dada and indeterminacy to be symbol sets that I am comfortable with.
I identify as a chaos magician at the very least, because I know the universe’s true nature is chaos. I embrace failures and use them to create art. I embrace all that is absurd.