Book Review: The Chaos Protocols

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We inherit a system of value that is mostly unaligned to our spiritual or magical values because they come from an economy that is just simply not built for our benefit. As such, any journey toward finding meaning or value in our lives must begin with an understanding of the value system we have inherited.
—Gordon White, “The Chaos Protocols”

I am deep in my second reading of The Chaos Protocols, the 2016 book written by Rune Soup’s Gordon White. It is, quite frankly, the best contemporary book I have found so far to give practical advice and perceptive forecasting on the strange newish world we are quickly finding ourselves immersed in—the world I have given a brief overview in my post “The Road to 2020.”

The Chaos Protocols is a book about finance. It is a book about futurology. It is a “self-help” book of the “career and success” genre. And it is a book about chaos magic.

That last detail, if you are not familiar/comfortable with the topic of the occult and esoteric, might be a deal-breaker for you…but I would still urge you then just read the first several chapters and then skip to “How To Wage A Mind War” and the conclusion. Because the perspective that White lays out here—in readable, witty, easy-to-grasp prose—is that important.

…We do live in a “last resort” world. A biosphere in crisis, a wealth gap not seen since the age of empires, levels of youth unemployment that previously triggered revolutions, total surveillance and the erosion of civil liberties, robots competing for middle class jobs that were once safe for life, an unelected overclass rigging the game at our expense, a global economy built on criminal banking and continuous war.

White’s hypothesis is that a desperate, sentimental clinging to The American Dream in the middle of all this deconstruction and despair is to doom oneself to sinking with a concept that was largely “advertising” anyway.

Instead, one needs to become flexible, knowledgeable, and willing to change with the tides; being comfortable with trying out new methodologies rather to sticking to previous narratives of “how it is done.”

But the key to The Chaos Protocols that separates it out from other books encouraging people to “be the best You you can be” is to not throw the baby out with the bathwater or believe that the Universe revolves around you and is also your personal ATM. This, in some ways, is the most important passage in the book, and a real corrective to a lot of “new age” self-help stuff out there:

…The majority of it appears to be a wholesale adoption of the “special snowflake” myth from the monoculture. This notion that you are in some sense entitled to a destiny or that you automatically “deserve” to have your dreams fulfilled is not well-supported in magic or Paganism’s classical texts. We have diluted what is probably our most powerful asset, magical thinking, by confusing it with the advertising slogans you heard during the television programmes of your childhood. Nowhere is it written that you are guaranteed miracles on demand.

And as much as I have gotten some good out of the “new age” self-help stuff—even books like The Secret—I’ve only been able to do it in a temporary, “suspension of belief” sort of way, using these as momentary tools the way I might do so many other belief systems. This involves reserving part of my psyche—just a sliver, mind you—in a state of rational observance, retaining a sense of irony and humor about the entire enterprise.

To take such “wealth manifestation” gospels literally, especially in the tenuous economic climate we’re in, is to court massive personal disaster. (and there’s a part of the book that deals specifically with why literal money spells, using the currency, doesn’t work—fucking brilliant!)

Instead, we need to stick more to things that are most probable…using various techniques (positive thinking, magic, etc.) to “tip” the scales. And that’s where, if you are also using the book as an intro to magical theory, you’re in really good hands. This is some of the most practical advice regarding the subject you will ever find, and a “starter” grimoire to boot!

There is so much more I could say about The Chaos Protocols, but I think this is enough as a very brief intro. It’s not an expensive book—published by the Llewellyn Publications imprint and quite easy to purchase online—and worth checking out.

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