ML186: Gary Lachman on Lost Knowledge of the Imagination, Meme Magic in Politics and Life as a Rockstar

Learn about the lost knowledge of the imagination, the rise of meme magic in politics and the experiences of a rockstar in one of the most successful bands of the 1970s.

ML186: Gary Lachman on Lost Knowledge of the Imagination, Meme Magic in Politics and Life as a Rockstar

Gary Lachman is a writer and philosopher, whose work focuses on human imagination and the history of occult ideas.

The ability to imagine is at the heart of what makes us human. Through imagination you can experience the world more fully and understand yourself and others better and it’s at the root of great music and art, business and technology.

Until the seventeenth century, the human imagination was celebrated but since then, with the emergence of science as the dominant worldview, imagination has been marginalised. We’ve dismissed it as a way of escaping reality, rather than understanding it more profoundly.

In a complex, messy world full of tough problems, the need to regain this lost knowledge of the imagination is vital and Gary is the ideal guide for the task. In this episode we discuss:

- Moving between the rational and imaginative modes of consciousness in everyday life
- The rise of meme magic in politics & how Trump, Putin and others have used it to their advantage
- How to make sense of a world dominated by philosophies of nihilism

We also discuss Gary’s experience in the rock band Blondie in the mid 70s, how the internet shapes reality and the history of some of the most important ideas about consciousness. This was a wide ranging, mind expanding conversation that will get your imagination firing.

Show Notes

  • Introducing Gary [00:46]
  • How did Gary realise that he was particularly good with words? [02:02]
  • Who were the people who inspired Gary to pursue writing? [04:02]
  • When did music start to become a part of Gary’s life? [06:49]
  • How did becoming a musician further developed Gary’s writing? [09:25]
  • Did being famous live up to Gary’s expectations as a teenager playing in a rock band? [12:04]
  • Why did Gary make the radical decision to quit rock and start exploring philosophy in writing? [13:37]
  • How did writing about the revival of occult ideas in the 60s differ from Gary’s experience living through that period? [18:58]
  • What were the factors that caused people to lose touch with their magical consciousness or their knowledge of the imagination? [24:54]
  • On a practical level, how do we strike a balance between our rational consciousness and our imaginative consciousness? [34:06]
  • What role does language, as interpreted by Owen Barfield as a history of our own ideas, play in accessing the lost knowledge of imagination within us? [43:53]
  • Writing about the undercurrents of the occult and seeing them actualise in society, what has the experience been like for Gary? [54:17]
  • How does the occult affect reality, as demonstrated by recent political events? [55:46]
  • What is the idea behind Eurasia? How is the West losing its stronghold of world power? [58:09]
  • In what ways can we regain our sense of the ‘big picture’? Is religion necessary for that development? [01:06:21]
  • Are scientists finally detaching from the materialist basis of society? [01:14:42]
  • Closing remarks [01:16:14]


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