Jay-Z's "On to the Next One" - it's all black and white, there's some beautiful imagery and aesthetics in there, but it's got all kinds of occult/satanic symbolism.
What think ye? A "yea" vote is a vote for aesthetics or general defiance of the religions, spirituality, and philosophy that'd condemn the occult. A "nay" vote says, "No, I don't think any aesthetic value is worth glorifying that sort of thing."
For a music video that's black and white, and also haunting, but lacks the satanic imagery, there's Massive Attack's "Splitting the Atom" -
What do you think? I was thinking of commissioning a work of art later in life that's somewhat ridiculous - I was going to get myself sitting at a desk in a replica of Date Masamune's armor, with a map spread across the desk, a feather quill in my right hand, and my left hand resting on a skull. On the desk to the left of the skull is a strategist's war fan for signaling troops at a distance. Two swords on my belt.
That has the symbolism of how I think of myself in the world - a warrior, clad in armor (readiness) at all times, thinking and planning, truly international, strategist, aware of my death at all times, ready to fight and die for what I believe in. There's a mix of Western and Eastern themes there - the quill, skull, desk, map are more traditional depictions in European art. The armor, helm, swords, and commander's fan are Eastern.
Ultra-rough version in MSPaint:
I'd be worried it's be interpreted incorrectly by overzealous people and I wasn't sure if I was going to do it - in reality, that's Christian and Bushido imagery that's very much virtuous-warrior-centric, but the imagery could look vicious to the untrained eye. But actually, now that I'm writing this, I've decided to do it later. Whenever I realize I was going to not do something out of fear of being misinterpreted, that makes me decide to do it.
Actually, I find an enormous amount of value in many "occult" traditions. Like any other "spiritual" practices, the burden is on you to sort the wheat from the chaff. But these stories are the way deep wisdom was passed for a long time. For instance, Kali is a a figure that might be described as "occult". She is the (to the best of my knowledge, apologies for my ignorance) Hindu goddess that represents death and the end of all things. But she also represents eternal energy and fearlessness. To me, these concepts are tightly bound, so I enjoy reading stories that represent the underlying relationship, and enjoy art that uses these shared symbols to tell great stories.
But, like anything else, it's what are you really communicating, so the audience matters. To me, being a Christian means loving your neighbor, joining together in a community to do good things, fearlessly standing by your principles unto death, etc. But to many, it means intolerance to change, hypocrisy, and, all kinds of nasty things. So I'm careful to whom I communicate that I identify with Christians unless I know he /she will understand that to mean what I mean. Like anything else, it's just a symbol, and I have no more right do define it's absolute meaning than anyone else.
Same goes with a skull. A skull can represent the transient nature of human life, or it can represent insecurity, intimidation, and that you don't understand the value of life.
So, do you want a tattoo of a skull? Might not serve your best purposes. But a work of art involving occult symbolism that has a deep meaning to you? To me, that is a very worthy investment, and your opportunity to strengthen the meaning you see behind symbols that are important to you.
About three years ago, I read the excellent book Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. At that time, I made a list of the top 5-10 people in my life that I was to and had similar goals with. I sent out emails to them every once a month with what I was working on.
Eventually, I fell off from this habit. Not sure why - I'd had gotten good advice, stayed in touch with people I like, and it was a positive experience. I started re-thinking building my counsel a little over a year ago.
The challenge is, I've got a diverse set of goals and ideas. I write, I do business, I travel, I create art, I adventure, I'm looking to establish a strong family, and so on. I have friends who are writers or artists that aren't interested in business. I've got friends in business that pretty much always stick to their one city. I know guys who are pretty simple, work a normal job, don't make any art or do any entrepreneurship, but have very strong and good families. I know very successful businessmen who travel and adventure, but aren't interested in having kids.
So I was thinking - how do I balance this all on my counsel?
And eventually, the idea hits me. I need multiple, relevant counsels.
I already know that this post is going to get a lot of negative comments like the religion one. And that's because this "every vote counts" dogma that everyone loves so much shares a lot with religion. It's a belief that's held true without a single bit of compelling evidence, and it's a strong belief.
But before I get into that, let's talk about some other things.
First, Obama won and I'm happy about that. I don't think that he's a superhero like a lot of people do. When I look at his positions I disagree with most of them. I disagree with most of McCain's positions as well.