Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Michael Hoffman’s Fundamental Paranoia
Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare (Independent History and Research, 2001)

It is hard to imagine a more penetrating intelligence shackled to so drearily conservative a weltanschauung as that evidenced by the case of Michael Hoffman. In Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare, Hoffman offers some astonishing insights into the murky waters of Masonic Sorcery Theater and postmodern political intrigue. Yet Hoffman appears to have become unhinged under the impact of his own revelations, because the work overall is severely reduced by the “moral” conclusions and personal judgments which the author imposes upon his findings, and upon his readers.

Hoffman casts judgment not merely upon the political factions who (he argues) control our society at every level via the abuse of certain occult principals; he also throws into question the practice of occultism itself. In fact, Hoffman’s perspective is almost perfectly aligned with that of American fundamentalism, even though in other regards he is as set against this group as he is (apparently) against everyone else. Hoffman’s fall-guys (either the perpetrators or patsies of his hypothetical dark agenda) include John Dee, Aleister Crowley, Eliphas Levi, Robert Anton Wilson, Terence McKenna, and the first Matrix movie (bizarrely, Hoffman is a fan of the Hannibal Lecter books and movies). His vitriol would probably also be aimed at Carlos Castaneda, Jacques Vallee, John Keel, Whitley Strieber, and any other decent “occult” writer, alive or dead (besides Hoffman, that is), if Hoffman only had the time.

One exception is Jim Keith, whom Hoffman labels an “anti-occult” writer, as if bestowing the highest possible recommendation thereby; Hoffman even hints that Keith’s death (admittedly suspicious) resulted from his courageous denunciation of occultism (news to me). At times, Hoffman’s viewpoint suggests that only those personages murdered for their beliefs (such as “anti-Freemason” Edgar Allan Poe—victim of “the group mind”—and Christopher Marlowe) are to be trusted. He never toys with the possibility that his omnipotent God (to whom he pays repeated lip service throughout the work) might protect His most loyal agents from such harm; apparently only Hoffman’s all-powerful Cryptocracy gets to decide between life and death.

Hoffman’s fundamental paranoia posits a global plot that is nothing less than the groundwork for “the open, undisguised rule of Satan himself.” He lumps together all occult interests or pursuits without exception as part and parcel of this fiendish plot. Kabbala, and occultism in general, are not merely systems that have been abused by unscrupulous individuals, they are corrupt in and of themselves—and not merely in the sense of being impure, either, but downright evil. Woe betide anyone duped by the clever manipulations and sinister mind games of this diabolical clique—whom Hoffman charges with the ultimate sin of hubris—into thinking that we might actually take a conscious hand in our own development. As Hoffman has it, the only sound way to live is in perfect subjugation to his (Christian) God, to accept our limitations and renounce “Satan,” and all heretical (occult) teachings along with him (except Hoffman’s). Hoffman even recommends that those wanting true wisdom read the Bible.

He writes: “It was God who intervened to set limits, to make division, to sow boundaries and separation . . . Therefore we know that the authors of machine unity and language are diabolic and not divine and that unity when used in the sense of universal, secular ‘new order’ is in fact a very antiquated order despised by God. . . There hangs the cleavage in Western history: between the soothsayers of unrestrained expansion and the upholders of limits prescribed by divine law.” (pg. 140, my italics)

To give him his due, Hoffman does make an extremely strong case for our present culture being both inherently corrupt and corrupting. It’s just that the way he argues his case undermines it so badly. Hoffman never seems to consider the possibility that the occult symbols, teachings and terminologies abused by secret societies for their own malevolent ends might have some value beyond the sordid uses to which they have been put. In tracing humanity’s “fall” to the inception of such systems, he leaps to the conclusion that this alone is proof of their untrustworthiness. The idea that these tools and symbols are now all we have left to navigate the darkness cast by the loss of divine consciousness does not occur to Hoffman; or if it does, he dismisses it as more obfuscation, coming between us and necessary surrender to the Supreme Being.

Hoffman’s God, like his Satan, is an external force to be worshipped and obeyed (or resisted and reviled) if we are to escape the awful snare of devilish lies laid down by the controlling elite. Primary among these is the Masonic blasphemy, “There is no God but Man.” Ironically, Hoffman seems to admire William Blake, even though Blake advocated this same “blasphemy,” when he wrote that God can only express and manifest through, in, and as Man. Hoffman is too busy directing his fear and loathing against the egomaniacal black magicians, apparently, to tell the difference between those who wish to supplant or deny the divine, and those who wish to embody it. As a result, his book is every bit as infuriating as it is revelatory.

At one point, Hoffman admits that, by revealing the schemes of the dark cabal, he may be unwittingly serving its ends. Then he goes ahead and does it anyway. Quoting British Intelligence, he writes: “Realizing that our activities will sooner or later come to light, we structure our activities so that as conspiracy researchers unravel them, they will release information into the public consciousness in such a way that it mirror our initiatory procedure. In this way, the more we are investigated, the more masses of people are psychologically processed by the very people who seek to expose us. The meme that constitutes our essential structure is then successfully mimicked within the consciousness of those who investigate us. Success can then be measured precisely to the extent that our work is ‘exposed.’” (pg. 77)

Hoffman goes on:
“To reveal these after-the-act secrets in our modern time, to a people who have no memory, no will power and no interest in their own fate except so far as it may serve as momentary titillation and entertainment actually strengthens the enslavement of such a people. . . Exposure and publicity by themselves, without a broader understanding of the epistemology of the Hermetic alchemical control process itself, is worse than useless, it actually plays into the hands of the conspirators.” (pg. 78-9)

Perhaps the secret fear of playing into the hands of his adversaries is the reason Hoffman is so hell-bent on propagating his moral and religious beliefs? It might also explain his insistence on advocating the supremacy of “God,” and the corresponding danger and folly of self-advancement through “sorcery.” By such means, Hoffman can feel he is getting a “positive” message out there, along with his dark and possibly harmful revelations of the method.

Yet it struck me while reading this book that Hoffman’s “message,” and the spin he gives to his revelations, is serving the Masonic agenda far more than he imagines. By demonizing occult truths and the individuals who helped disseminate them, Hoffman is effectively scaring his readers away from the heretical notion of taking their destinies into their own hands. He is advocating the old rituals and discouraging individual thought or soul exploration (“mind expansion” as he disparagingly calls it), in favor of reading the Bible. Maybe Hoffman took some bad acid back in the sixties? For a pioneer of paranoid awareness, he’s a real square.

Aeolus Kephas, October 2006


Nalyd Bey said...

In hopes that you remember me from a few months back... been perusing your book again in light of looking at a couple of other books; the first 2 volumes of Peter Lavenda's Sinister Forces: A Grimoire of American Political Witchcraft. I was curious if you have looked at them as well and have any thoughts on them to share. With the book you are reviewing above (I have never read it), it doesn't sound like Michael Hoffman understands his own use of magick and the "occult", his own paranoid qabalah. I am always struck by the "magical thinking" that underlies the very essence of conspiratorial thinking. Like, in my opinion, how James Shelby Downard was an excellent practitioner of the "magical method" even if he himself thought he was opposed to it. In the case of your own amazing book, are you too suggesting that the paranoid piecing together of all of these connections should lead to a breakdown of those seeming patterns into what you term "lucidity". It was actually my own active perusal of, and investment in (Vaihinger's and Spare's "acting as if" true), of conspiracy literature when I was younger that introduced me to the likes of Crowley and put me right into the magickal mindset and things have never been the same since. It has been almost 15 years for me now and I feel as if I have come more to a Taoist peripheral perspective, Do what Tao Wilt. I think I read RAW's Cosmic Trigger at just the right moment about 12 years ago to break me from what could have become a very bad habit of taking my own BS too seriously.

Anonymous said...

Almost finished with The Lucid View, and Loveing it! Brilliant, I hope you will write more.
Tamara & Ishtar Rising

Ramsey Dukes said...

Intrigued by the quote from "British Intelligence" - what is that? I cannot see MI5 or 6 using that sort of language?

Anadae said...

Greetings. I was once a correspondent of Mr. Hoffman's. When his flirtatious link w/ Neo-Nazi-ism (the IHR, hello?) reared its hydra-headedness, I dropped off.

ALSO, it is my opinion that he's a textbook e.g. of how the human animal will plummet into the depths of organic dementia due to maintaining a macrobiotic diet, never nutritionally appropriate for homo sapiens to begin with.

ALSO, notice, he never uses "Junior", but, instead, opts for "II", as in "the second". He'd made reference to me to the "Jr." tag as a device denoting a male offspring carrying the exact same name as his paternal unit as having overtones of an Oedipal nature.

Oh. I see, Michael. Let us go back to the beginning, shall we? When did you start to feel this way?

I cannot WAIT to achieve a copy of your "Lucid" title. I've only read its distillation from PARANOIA magazine. Excellent synopsis!

Best wishes for bigger & better exposure of your perspective,