Did “positive thinking” and “mental science” help put Donald Trump in the White House? And are there other kinds of “occult politics” at work in the world today? In my book Dark Star Rising: Magick and Power in the Age of Trump, I look at the strange magical and esoteric ideas that are informing postmodern politics in the United States and Russia in the twenty-first century. From New Thought to Chaos Magick to the far-right esotericism of Julius Evola and the Traditionalists, a web of connections stretches out across the globe bringing together such disparate characters and phenomena as Norman Vincent Peale, Pepe the Frog, the Alt-Right, Vladimir Putin, President Trump, Reality TV, “meme magick” and much else in a weird tangle of postmodern occultism in which reality is up for grabs, facts give way to internet fictions, and truth is a negotiable commodity. My talk will look at this post-truth alternative fact landscape in which reality is defined as what you can get away with.
Gary Lachman is the author of twenty-two books on consciousness, culture, and the western esoteric tradition, including The Secret Teachers of the Western World, Lost Knowledge of the Imagination, and The Quest for Hermes Trismegistus. He writes for several journals in the UK, US, and Europe, lectures around the world, and his work has been translated into more than a dozen languages. In a past life he was a founding member of the pop group Blondie and in 2006 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His website can be reached at www.garylachman.co.uk