The Chaos Gods of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 fascinate millions of players and readers. From Tzeentch and his infinite lies to Slaanesh and his/her explorations of all pleasures and perfections, chaos players align themselves to one god or another as they battle the Corpse Emperor and create hell in the galaxy in their gods’ names.
According to one of the many new age belief systems going around, these gods are real.
Founded in 1978 as a chaos magic “organization” in England, chaos magic runs on the basic principle that belief creates reality. Basically, the gods and magic of all religions are real simply because people believe in them.
Despite this belief system being only five years older than the guy writing this article, chaos magic has had a huge influence on writers, especially in England but also in the United States.
Fans of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 know the universe of Warhammer and 40K work exactly the same way as chaos magic as described by its founders. The Chaos Gods exist because of the beliefs and/or emotions of human beings. This is exactly why The Emperor attempted to eradicate religion when he was alive: with only atheists in the universe, these gods would have lost much of their power (though may not have died completely because they also draw power from emotions.)
But the influence of Chaos Magic goes deeper than artistic inspiration. Many writers use their platforms to harness the emotions of the readers in attempts to actually use chaos magic.
Grant Morrison, writer for several titles with DC Entertainment, frequently included a character based on himself who has a lot of sex. Morrison said he was attempting to cast a spell with these comics that would get him laid in real life.
- Does he have that much trouble filling his bed?
More famously, Alan Moore claims to have had conversations with his characters.
Moore, for his part, also has a history of writing attractive female characters who have sex with hairy old men.
- Ok, I get why he’d grasp at straws.
During the “Promethea” series, Alan Moore used his platform to explain his beliefs on magic. During her journey through the magic realms, Sophie Bangs encounters a vision and breaks down in tears for Jesus Christ. When she asked her guide if he literally existed, the guide told her she didn’t know but it didn’t matter. If people believed, he was real enough.
Bangs later encountered the Greek God, Hermes, who implied real gods exist, living within the pages of fiction.
- Looking at you, reader.
Other writers have loose definitions of reality its self. What does it mean to exist? “I think, therefore I am” proves the existence of the self, but what about everyone else? And what about when a thinking person has died and can no longer think? Are we mystical souls that exist after death or are we the memories we leave behind and our impacts on the world?
If we are the latter, it’s fair to say that Batman is more real than the majority of people who exist, or once existed, in flesh and blood.
As for the more literal believers in Chaos, a belief system of emotions and beliefs changing reality is not completely without justification. Scientists have proved that subatomic particles behave differently when they’re being directly observed than they do when being indirectly observed. As best they can tell, these subatomic particles behave in different ways for no other reason than because someone is watching them.
While subatomic particles are certainly not the same as a God of Lust and Depravity that devoured most of the Eldar race, it’s proof of concept that the mind truly does effect reality in a tangible way.
So next time you’re watching an ecchi, feeling depressed, angry or ambitious, shield yourself in the armor of contempt, lest ye surly fall to the predations of Chaos.