When Alex Kazemi sends out emails, his signature includes this note: “ALEX KAZEMI HAS NO SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS,” it declares, “AND NEVER WILL.” It’s a bold stance for anyone in this age of nonstop personal branding and 24/7 connectivity, but given the age of the pop artist and creative director — 26 — it seems like a fabulous rebellion.
“The decision to avoid it came from studying and watching my peers and watching the anxiety build in their lives around likes and instant gratification. The scroll is infinite,” says Kazemi. “And I saw that as being the opposite of what it takes to be a professional writer, or professional of any sort. I saw friends becoming so focused on building their brand and not focusing on building their craft. I want to dedicate my energy to honing it. I bet we’ll soon see a 12 step for Instagram.”
It’s a sentiment more people are sharing recently, especially as documentaries like “The Social Dilemma” have helped expose just how addictive and insidious social media can be — and that it was built that way on purpose.
Energy and focus are two things that fascinate Kazemi, as they’re at the heart of his book, “Pop Magick: A Simple Guide to Bending Your Reality,” with a foreword by Rose McGowan.
He explains magick — not to be confused with magic — as “the art in bending reality in accordance with your true will. Seeing reality as an opportunity to bend or change it … Directing your energy and focus towards a goal.” (It’s kind of like “The Secret,” except without the judgmental aspect that many criticized it for.)
Secular spirituality has been growing in popularity in recent years, along with an interest in astrology, witchcraft, the occult, and assorted other New Age interests; according to the Pew Research Center, 6 in 10 Americans share at least one “New Age” belief. The “psychic services” industry exceeded $2 billion in revenue in 2018, topping five years of consistent growth, according to market research conducted by IBISWorld. These things are especially popular with millennials and Gen Z.
“As a collective, we feel quite powerless right now. Growing up, we were sold so many illusions about what the world was. All these reality shows, and then the social-media era, which told us to be products,” says Kazemi. “There was no sense of spiritual energy. There was a real spiritual poverty. Magick offers a non-dogmatic spiritual sense, without there being rules imposed on people, and I think that’s why they like it.”
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