Friday, November 11, 2011

Débrouillard Magique

Note: The inspiration for this post came from last Thursday's Jupiter Working. I perform the Gate of Jupiter regularly, at least once a month, and usually weekly. The morning after the rite, I woke up to some notes I'd left myself from the Working, and the things Tzadqiel had showed me.
System D is a slang phrase pirated from French-speaking Africa and the Caribbean. The French have a word that they often use to describe particularly effective and motivated people. They call them débrouillards. To say a man is a débrouillard is to tell people how resourceful and ingenious he is. The former French colonies have sculpted this word to their own social and economic reality. They say that inventive, self-starting, entrepreneurial merchants who are doing business on their own, without registering or being regulated by the bureaucracy and, for the most part, without paying taxes, are part of "l'economie de la débrouillardise." Or, sweetened for street use, "Systeme D." This essentially translates as the ingenuity economy, the economy of improvisation and self-reliance, the do-it-yourself, or DIY, economy.

A while back, Jason Miller was talking about jealousy of the named path and whether magician or sorcerer were the right terms for what he does.

I would like to propose that perhaps a good term for him is débrouillard. When I read the description of the débouillard, my first thought was that it's exactly the kind of person I am, and shortly thereafter identified Jason and many of my other friends online in the occult community as also being débrouillards. It's  what I like about them most, the central shared trait that draws me closer to them in particular than others. 

I'm not the best at it, by any means, but I'm an opportunist who can see money to be made in most situations. I'm an entrepreneur. While I prefer to use the system that presents the least risk, I'm willing to weigh risks against return on investment and make the most beneficial choices as necessary. I have no qualms about resorting to System D to supplement my income and my needs. I've learned enough about how life works from the spiritual level to know that the official regulated economy is really all based on an agreement made between those with weapons and those without, usually. The official economic system is a shadow economy anyway, aimed at benefiting the rich elite rather than all who participate. 

The way System D works is just like magic. We work with the entities of a hidden system to accomplish our desires. One could even accurately say System D is the Occult Economy. Heh. It's ours.

So I was thinking about how débrouillard magic would look in practice. The way I see it, there's two phases to focus on to be successful at integrating myself into the $10 trillion global economy:

a) Making Connections in System D so you can begin working with it more
b) Blessing the fuck out of business opportunities within System D once you get established
c) Keeping the activities occult

For part a), I've got a rite to the Moon, Venus, and Mercury in mind. Part b) would be an extensive operation working with the spirits of all seven spheres, and Part c) would be more Lunar magic.


  1. A) I'd not forget the other Wanderers and Lights either

    B) Exactly, though some discernment of ultimate outcomes might be necessary. Blessing child pornographers might not be so cool, dig?

    C) Idunno - if I want to play "hide the bodies," I think of Saturn. If I want to use said corruption and decay as fertilizer, Saturn again. That the French for Saturday is Samedi is less than coincidental.

    That said, how is this essentially different from the rave-ist chaote scene in the 90s? Contextually, it's quite different. Essentially, I'm not seeing much to distinguish it from the Mondo2000 reading magical thinkers as they built the Valley start-ups that busted in August 2000. Other than making loads of cash (note the term used), what's the endgame?

  2. Oh my, I really like the sound of that word.

  3. A) The three lower spheres were selected because of specific revelations and observations of how they work together on networks and social contacts specifically, to be discussed at length in Débrouillard: The Musical. :D

    B) Seriously? That needs to be said?

    C) You want to hide the ongoing activities, you don't want to kill them and have them decay. We're talking about a network, a system made up of living things that requires motion and communication to maintain, and encryption to protect.

    Your initial areas of awareness that tune in at the thought of the "black market" economy is focused on criminal activities that are WRONG. Child trafficking, hiding bodies.

    Most "black market" transactions take place at flea markets and garage sales, and involve the exchange of untaxed goods and services.

    You've been programmed by society to think that only criminals participate in black market activities, and only criminal activities are "black market."

    That isn't true. Exchanges of organic produce and hay for a calf or a dozen Spanish Goats are "black market" transactions. Urban versions of the same occur daily.

    For matters of ethics, see the comments on my post about Why You Need Occult Authors to Tell you Right and Wrong.

    I like to think my audience has transcended the illusion of good and evil, and have attained the freedom afforded by love. If they have understood Love, their actions will be ethical.

    "The more you are motivated by Love, the more Fearless & Free your action will be." - Dalai Lama XIV

  4. I don't think this word debrouillard applies just to magicians, though it's an excellent word for workers who use arcane information (not just occult or esoteric, but unusual, in this case) to perform feats of wondrous thaumaturgy. It seems like a debrouillard could do his/her work without even knowing that magic exists.

    That said, I definitely feel like my own practice is now riding on umbrae considerably more than it used to. I used to practice only for myself; increasingly I do work for others.

    Thanks for the link to the article, and thanks for the new conception of the Work.

  5. If you think that you, I, or your audience has transcended good and bad on a level where all our actions are guided by love you are delusional.

  6. @Fuckery v. Black Market v. "Off The Books": the nomenclature is significant. Until very recently, débrouillard was a polite way of calling someone thieving pirate scum, comparable to calling a drug dealer a independent pharmaceutical entrepreneur. Usage evolved a bit to include people selling knock-offs and legit products off the back of trucks and now it's being used for covering business outside the usual licensing and regulatory structures.

    I don't mind working off the books and being responsible for my self - I actually kind of like it. When it starts intersecting with the more historical uses of débrouillard, that's where we have problems. That's where I'm calling for discernment: it breaks with the fuckery of others who don't understand that "honor among thieves" occasionally requires sharp knives and the wherewithal to use them effectively.

    The nomenclature is significant. It must be treated as such, or the whole runs the risk of being fueled only by the bad-boy machismo imagery. Or derailed or hijacked by it...

  7. @Jason, When you transcend an illusion, does it cease to exist, or do you simply learn to work with it?

  8. @EKB, I find it liberating to my mind to think a bit more like a pirate. I find it harmonizes with my Work nicely, using resources all humans have by birthright that they do not necessarily use to accomplish my goals.

    When it starts intersecting with historic usage of the term, well, how is that any different than when magic starts intersecting with demons, historically evil fellows up to no good in this life and beyond?

    The same things that happen to magicians in the occult who get into the evil shit will happen to those in System D who get into evil shit. There's what you do, and the consequences. And whether you're happy with it or not.

    There's no system, D or otherwise, that you go into without discernment.

  9. You need to understand the difference between a state and a stage.

    You can reach a state that is fully transcendent - beyond all duality and fully immersed mind body soul and spirit in the Love. That doesn't mean that you live there. In otherwords, reaching that state of mind, does not mean that you have reached that stage of development.

    If you ever make decisions out of laziness, greed, envy or revenge than you are not at a STAGE where you can be said to be beyond good and bad or ethics.

    Reifying the State into a Stage is the work of a lifetime.

    In the case of the Dalai Lama quote he is referring to people who make incredible sacrifices for others at their own expense. The freedom of their action is the freedom from self-interest, not freedom from laws or morals.

    Saying that ethics and morals are irrelevant because one has the potential to live out of love or relationship with god or true will or whatever is putting the cart WAY before the horse. It is the equivalent of "if everyone would just agree on peace there would be peace".

    Its a Tautology. If people acted out of love, people would act out of love. Its a nice utopian thought but not relevant to the day to day experience of most people, and while it is occasionally relevant to mystics like you and I - more often than not, its not the case.

    Ultimate truth does not invalidate relative truth.

  10. @The Dread Pirate RO: and that's where we're talking about different things...

    A) There's thinking like a pirate. Fine. Not my thing to have theft by force be an option except at very far extremes of situation, and very definitely not as a desirable option when others exist. But if it works for you, so be it.

    B) There's hacking the system and thinking outside the box and shifting paradigms and all sorts of other ways of saying "be cunning." Which is where I'm going with the M2k and game theory references. It's also what I think you're trying to say, but using other terms that have quite a bit of problematic (for me at least) baggage attached. Again, as usual, I could be wrong and you mean point A in all seriousness...

    C) Then there's the romantic images and appeal of the trangressive. It's the rebelliousness of calling on demons or wanting to fly the black because it's damn cool to do that sort of thing. It's the idea of being as badass as Fairbanks in Captain Blood, without the very messy reality of what a pirate actually is. Stepping back, however, it's clearly just a script/play used for the entertainment of others.

    It may be fun to tweak the nose of Ol' Mr. Greyface with C... but it should never be confused with A. B seems boring (and very likely is) compared to C or A, but it likely keeps your ass out of jail. While B is very definitely playing into the systems of control established, it's still possible to do something completely different than what the rules intend while still doing what the rules say...

  11. Frack. I got my Fairbanks in my Flynn and my Flynn in my Fairbanks for a minute there with Captain Blood. Point still stands, however.

  12. @Jason, I'm pretty sure I've consistently said that acting out of love results in the irrelevancy of ethical codes, and that should be the goal, the aim.

    Ideal principles are ideal, and practical application of ideal principles is what we work out, I'm with you a hundred percent there. I don't think we all are operating at the state at any stage in the flesh.

    I was talking ideally though, "as if" my audience had transcended the illusion of good and evil.

    It's like the illusion of cash. Cash is a marker, it's not valuable, it's only a relevant medium of exchange because we think it is. I've seen through that illusion. I still use it in my practical life. I haven't quit my job and said, "Universe support me!" (lately).

    But seeing through the illusion of cash freed me to get what I really wanted, instead of trying to get cash to get what I really wanted. It helped me aim my sorcerous intents more accurately and effectively. I still do magic for money because it's necessary, but that's the extent I do money magic. For necessary wealth. I use the money to accomplish my will, making it my bitch like you teach people to do. I was paying attention at that lesson.

    I try to do the same with good and evil, and ethics. Seeing through the illusion of good and evil, seeing that the universe simply "is" without being inherently one or the other put me in control. Realizing it is me who puts the flavor in the vinegar frees me to work with it however I want, as a purgative, a flavoring, or a pickling agent.

    When I stopped seeing situations as inherently good or evil, all situations became opportunities with consequences. I'm always able to turn a bad situation into a good one now.

    That doesn't mean I have no morals or ethics because I'm not stuck in the constraints of interpreting things as "good" or "evil." It doesn't mean I will choose to do evil all the time, raping, murdering, killing, selling children on the global black market. I've spent the last five years in the presence of the Seven Flames that stand before the Throne of God. I'm not going to go be evil for fun and profit. I've seen things that have changed me, and I don't do evil shit because I don't want to. I don't like the consequences, for others, or by extension, for myself.

    That doesn't make me good, or the things I choose to do "good" things. It simply makes them things I do with consequences I like. They are neither good nor evil, they simply are what they are.

    It is tautological because it is tautological. What's wrong with that? It's the alchemical breakdown into the primal nature of a thing, to the point where it is what it is and nothing else. Then you can make it into other things, understand how it manifests in different proportions when you see it in the wild.

    The ultimate truth doesn't invalidate good and evil, it simply exposes them as what they are, descriptors of things you like or don't like. The ultimate truth does make strict codes of ethics, rigid records of the Law for example, irrelevant. Not invalid, but not the final arbiter of "right" or "wrong" either.

  13. A) Am I talking about theft by force when I'm talking Débrouillard Magic? I don't think so. You've managed to turn this into a conversation that it's not about at all.

    I'm talking about ignoring the corporate sponsored, government approved lines of business to get what you need for your daily life when you can't get it in the corporate sponsored government approved channels.

    You're talking about human trafficking and theft by force. If you think the two are the same because they both happen in System D, you're missing the point.

    Also, if you think those things only happen in System D, and not in corporate sponsored, government approved situations, think again. There's a huge trade in imported Eastern European indentured servants on the East Coast in tourist towns. Banks have been forcibly thieving from people for years. I'm automatically a part of a class action law suit with BoA for their fees, because someone sued them for forcibly, legally taking money.

    So I don't see what I'm advocating as being anywhere near as extreme as you're warping it to be, and if you think society's game's rules provide a more desirabe option, we're operating at very different parts of the system in our daily lives.

    B) I'm glad we might be communicating. :D

    When you talk game theory and doing something "completely different than what the rules intend while still doing what the rules say," you're still only working with a subset of possible "rules." You're playing a game within a game. There's the planet. There's the elemental forces on the planet. There's the water and the land on the planet. Resources and things that consume resources.

    Then on top of that there's the tribal customs of species. Birds of a feather flock together, and primates play at economies within economies within economies.

    Humans are gathering resources and trading them with one another for mutual benefit. That's the game. Now SOME humans are trading "legally," following one subset of rules that apply in some conditions, that are specifically written to benefit 1% while screwing the other 99% and keeping them stupid.

    Meanwhile, another humans are trading "illegally" following another set of rules based on merit, value, and need.

    The tribe with the most guns gets to decide which rules are being followed publicly, but privately the game rule is only "trading what I've got that someone else wants for something I want."

    You're just playing by the rules of a subgame within the game. If you want to, go ahead. You can play by their rules and use them to your own benefit.

    Or you can play by rules that also apply that will get you what you want.

    C) I think you're trying to put it in a box where you don't have to think about it on this one. Débrouillard may have meant pirate, but I think I've been more than clear in providing the working definition as I intend it in the post, quoting specifically the definition at the outset of the whole thing, providing pretty clearly up front the framework I'm using the language in. You've had to define the word outside of the context I've used it to make these points. So you changed the framework of the game, and exchanged information, goods and services, to accomplish your personal aims.

  14. RO, You just wrote that "I was talking ideally though, "as if" my audience had transcended the illusion of good and evil."

    Except what you wrote in the post that originally responded to was:

    "I like to think my audience has transcended the illusion of good and evil, and have attained the freedom afforded by love."

    You then proceeded to quote the Dalai Lama completely out of context, which is fine. That is how he is quoted most of the time.

    As we agreed in the Ethics post, acting out of Love IS an ethical code.

    I agree completely about Love and Gnosis being the goal, but not as some "get out of ethical decisions" free card. Reaching those states of mind does indeed change the way you view reality all the time,but it does not eliminate self-interest and delusion and confusion, and ignorance, etc.

    Stated Laws and Ethical Codes may not be perfect, and there are reasons that Ethics may demand the breaking of a code from time to time. They also need to be updated as our understanding evolves.

    Having some kind of decision about ethical codes though gives a bedrock against which to weigh decisions. Ethics is NOT just about what I like or don't like. Its about what a society likes and doesnt like.

    I would LIKE to beat people with a stick every time they dont go when the light turns green, cut in front of me just to stop dead and make a left, or drive 20 mph below the limit. That is what I would like. My ethical code however forbids it and I weigh the situation against that.

    Ultimate truth does not invalidate the relative truth. The truth is not determined by which law you follow. It is the mind that apprehends reality. If you can operate 24/7 out of a state of Gnosis or Rigpa than FINE. You still have consequences to your actions, but you will know and accept those. No one I know, yourself and myself included, operates from that state even a majority of the time however. We make decisions based on all kinds of factors OTHER than Love and Wisdom. Thus you can know and even occasionally experience ultimate truth, but that does not invalidate relative truth. I can know that reality is an illusion and indeed have seen how it filters from Ain to Malkuth, but I still get out of the way of a car.

    Now as for System D...

    The thing about System D is that the laws of a particular country are there for a REASON. Taxes are there for a reason. regulations are there for a reason.

    I lived for 6 months in a country where pretty much everything operated under System D and you know what? It fucking sucks.

    The guys making tons of money in Africa out of System D may solve a problem or two, but they are part of the reason for those problems to begin with.

    Don't get me wrong, the black market has its place. Many great companies and business ventures start out using black market tactics. (Look at the origin of Van Huson Clothes that you can now buy at JC Penny).

    But lets not forget rule One of System D: NOT to talk about System D.

    "The more you are motivated by Love, the more Fearless & Free your action will be." - Dalai Lama XIV

  15. Yeah, when I said "I like to think my audience is all perfect ascended masters" I meant "I'm talking ideally."

    Next time I'll say "I'm talking ideally here."

    What I'm trying to do here is point out that there are ways and means to get the things we want and need other than the canned economy. And the reason I'm doing this is because the economy is hurting big time.

    I'm seeing reading after reading for people who are looking for wealth that shows they're not going to get the oodles of money they want because their strategy for wealth accumulation is based entirely on the canned economy working fairly for all who participate.

    And it doesn't.

    The digital age forced me to adapt to the existence of torrents in the marketplace, and I've found a way to use it to my advantage, turning a bad situation into something that benefits me personally. Copyright laws are being broken, and so my business model turns that potential revenue leak into an advertising expense, putting it to work for me.

    I'm trying to draw attention to other opportunities, applying occult principles to practical situations. You adapt to the world you live in to accomplish your goals. It's like money magic, you do a bunch of magic for a bunch of money, and you get very little to show for it. If you turn your intent away from the money and to what you actually want, you get better results.

    System D is a way to get the things you need from sources people don't think about. It's taking advantage of a shadow economy that exists for times like this, to meet the needs of those whose needs are not met by the official powers that be.

    I'm not talking about selling stolen children into prostitution here, I'm talking about working with your neighbors to buy in bulk and portion it out like in a Co-Op. I'm talking about getting your car fixed in exchange for helping re-roof your neighbor's garage. I'm talking about buying your kids' winter coats out of the back of a station wagon in the ghetto at half the price because the unemployment check only goes so far. I'm talking about selling carpet store remnants at the flea market, dumpster diving corporations when you hear that their IT department just rolled out all new hardware, breaking down the components and selling the pieces on craigslist.

    Scavenging, re-purposing, networking, and taking advantage of opportunities that are available, but hidden. Looking for and finding opportunities to thrive economically in a bad economy.

    It's unregulated. It's got a lot of money flowing through it. It's not immoral or even necessarily illegal, it's just not obvious, in your face, or advertised on news networks and banner ads.


Thanks for your comments, your opinions are valued, even if I disagree with them. Please feel free to criticize my ideas and arguments, question my observations, and push back if you disagree.