Too Much to Dream

Aleister Crowley gets mentioned in an interview with Peter Bebergal about his book Too Much to Dream: A Psychedelic American Boyhood at “Memoir Recounts Youthful Quest for Meaning in D&D, Comics, Zeppelin“. You may be interested in the rest of the interview and the book as well.


“Gilsdorf: What do you think makes some people look for meaning so desperately they are driven to the point of madness?

Bebergal: It starts with what is a fundamental part of the human experience. Religion and myth are attempts to contain this pursuit, to give it some symbols and ritual, to give it language. But for some people, the more structure you try to impose, the more they see it as an empty gesture, that God or whatever you want to call it cannot be contained by any hierarchy or imposed regulations. Occult or esoteric traditions are attempts to get beyond conventional wisdom to something more experiential, but in the modern world, they have become bound up with every kind of paranormal and fringe idea. Go into any New Age bookstore and conspiracy theories about Freemasons are on the shelf below Aleister Crowley, right next to the books on UFOs. Of course it can weigh you down. I have come to love this stuff with a bit more critical distance these days.”


“Gilsdorf: What lessons do we learn from geek culture?

Bebergal: I think the best recent example of this is the comic Hellboy, a devil spawn struggling to maintain his humanity and his goodness. His is the great lesson that we are more than our genes, more than our destiny even, be it familial, cultural, political. Most recently he had to sacrifice himself to save the earth. Prosports and American Idol cannot tell this story. Only a comic book on cheap newsprint somehow has access to the deepest layers of myth and can make them modern and relevant.”