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Occultural intrusions: signposting and mediating ineffable otherness

McLaughlin, C. (2017) Occultural intrusions: signposting and mediating ineffable otherness. Panel Presentation presented to: 6th International European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE) Conference: Western Esotericism and Deviance, Erfurt, Germany, 01-03 June 2017.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Panel Presentation)
Abstract: The current discourse in the Study of Western Esotericism, with regards to Christopher Partridge’s sociological category of ‘occulture’, raises important questions about whether occulture is a recent phenomenon that has arisen due to the proliferation of modern communications technologies. Is occulture emergent from the radical shift towards a non-hierarchal nexus of horizontal communication, organised around the infrastructure of the Internet and wireless communication? Or has the emergence of such technologies merely served to be enormously catalytic in bringing about the widespread cultural—and thereby occultural—transformation seen in the latter part of the Information Age? Furthermore, does Partridge’s subsequent refinement of occulture as ‘ordinary’ suggest that it is, in fact, concurrent with all culture; wherever we find culture, might we find occulture and does this point towards an underlying process in the interplay between the two? This paper will consider an exploratory modelling of just such a process and the manner in which it relates to secrecy. In this model, occulture serves to both signpost and mediate ineffable and unlanguageable Otherness within culture-at-large. Central to this thesis is the understanding that the ordinary, open and democratised nature of occulture does not revoke its relationship with secrecy, most especially, the type of secrecy that lies at the heart of many esoteric traditions: the orders of mystery (or Otherness) that can never be communicated. As Antoine Faivre argues, a secret of this type does not need one to actively keep it, even if materials related to said secret are freely available, it still requires experiential insights and progressive multileveled understanding and penetration. Such Otherness cannot be articulated or expressed, so necessarily it must transcend culture, because it cannot be transmitted through forms of communication from one individual to the next. However, in the proposed model, it can still impact directly on culture, by way of occultural intrusions into the cultural fabric, altering its topography and providing deviations from cultural norms.
Subjects: T Technology > T Technology (General) > T58.5 Information technology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF1404 Occult sciences
Creators: McLaughlin, Cavan
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: Faculties > Faculty of Arts, Science & Technology > Journalism, Media & Performance
Date: 2 June 2017
Date Type: Publication
Event Title: 6th International European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE) Conference: Western Esotericism and Deviance
Event Dates: 01-03 June 2017
Event Location: Erfurt, Germany
Event Type: Conference
Language: English
Status: Published / Disseminated
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