Science and Magic?
- Real magic falls into three categories: mental influence of the physical world, perception of events distant in space or time, and interactions with nonphysical entities. The first type I'll call force of will; it's associated with spell-casting and other techniques meant to intentionally influence events or actions. The second is divination; it's associated with practices such as reading Tarot cards and mirror-gazing. The third is theurgy, from the Greek meaning "god-work"; it involves methods for evoking and communicating with spirits.
- Reality viewed through the lens of science is an exceedingly thin slice of the whole shebang. Science is tightly focused on the objective, measurable, physical world. That focus excludes the one and only thing you can ever know for sure-your consciousness, that inner spark of sentience that you call "me."
- The study of the psychophysical nature of reality, that mysterious, interstitial space shimmering between mind and matter, may become a new scientific discipline.
- Prayer is a form of intentional magic, a mental act intended to affect the world in some way.
- Magic doesn't mean "no cause." It just means that we haven't yet developed scientifically acceptable theories to explain these effects.
Origins of Magic
- Parapsychology studies Psi experiences which have been labeled:
- Telepathy: images or emotions shared between minds separated by distance
- Clairvoyance: perception of distant events or images
- Precognition: perception of distant events or images through time
- Psychokinesis: influence of distant systems via mental intention
- Scientists are quick to dismiss magical thinking as nonsense. Fortunately, a growing consensus among psychologists suggests that magical thinking may not be so bad after all. It can help us cope with difficult times and decisions. And positive thinking-even if superstitious-can be good for your mental and physical health.
Practice of Magic
- One difference between religion and magic is that the former is essentially a faith-based theory about the nature of reality, while the latter involves testable applications of that theory.
- Supernatural magic was eventually adopted by religion, and natural magic split into two branches, the exoteric (outer, physical world) and the esoteric (inner, mental world). The exoteric branch evolved into today's science. The esoteric branch is where magic has been hiding.
- Gnosis is a type of deep intuition, a means of knowing that transcends the ordinary senses and rational thought, like knowing "from the heart."
- Gnosis being non-rational does not mean it's irrational
- Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed.
- Paracelsus stressed that exercise of the imagination was the beginning of all magical operations.
- The concept of a living or "vital force" permeates the esoteric traditions.
- Magic was always about pragmatics, so as language and scientific concepts became more sophisticated, so did theories of magic.
- Important developments in the history of esotericism during the twentieth century include:
- British magician Aleister Crowley
- Violet Mary Firth better known: Dion Fortune.
- Austrian philosopher and mystic Rudolf Steiner
- Greek-Armenian spiritual teacher George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff
- Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung
- British magician Peter Carroll
- The basic idea: if you have very clear goals, concentrate on them, and unquestionably believe that the goals will manifest, then they will. That is, "You create your own reality". This is the very core of magical practice.
- The essence of magic boils down to the application of two ordinary mental skills: attention and intention. The strength of the magical outcome is modulated by four factors: belief, imagination, emotion, and clarity.
- The single most important aide to developing magical skills is to learn how to enter the state of consciousness known as gnosis. The time-honored and safest way to do this is through meditation.
- The basic practice of meditation is straightforward. Sit in a comfortable position. Relax your body. Close your eyes. Then quiet your mind and stop thinking.
- A result of this practice "clarity and equanimity are slowly but surely trickling down into the subconscious. They rewire us at the most fundamental levels."
- Within the path of yoga, the goal of meditation is transcendence, or personal liberation. In that tradition the siddhis, or powers, that are gained are strongly deemphasized. In the magical tradition, gaining those powers is the goal.
- Indian sage Patanjali assures us that these powers have nothing to do with faith, religious doctrine, divine intervention, spirituality, or the supernatural. These powers are just another aspect of the natural world.
- If you want to perform magic effectively, maintain a disciplined meditation practice. Learn to quiet your mind. See the world as it is, not as it appears to be when viewed through multiple layers of cultural conditioning.
- Two variations for exercising your force of will: Affirmations and Sigils.
- Affirmations: Force-of-will magic involves the application of focused attention, intention, imagination, and belief.
- Know what you want. The clearer the intended goal, the more likely it will manifest. Believe that the goal will be achieved. Imagine that it has already been achieved in the future and it is inexorably headed your way.
- Review what you want. Review your goal daily. Between reviews do not dwell on it.
- Maintain secrecy. Don't share your goal with others; they may inject doubt,
- When it works, accept the outcome with gratitude and use it to strengthen your belief.
- Sigils: are simply a symbol for a desired goal. The magician traditionally "charges" and then "releases" it. The charging is meant to forcefully concentrate emotion, intention, and belief on the goal; the releasing is intended to push the goal from the conscious mind into the unconscious.
- A Spell means an action where symbols are combined to form larger symbols, which in turn refer to objects, actions, or concepts. If one manipulates those abstract relationships, then one manipulates the physical world. That's the idea of a sigil (and of force-of-will magic in general).
- In life, the desired outcome usually manifests in the form of a meaningful synchronicity. In a laboratory study, it manifests as a statistically significant test of a hypothesis.
- The single greatest inhibitor of remote viewing ability is the analytic mind, which gets in the way. Consistently demonstrated high-level psi performance use:
- Stabilize the mind
- Direct the mind
- Wait with expectation
- Look for a feeling of conviction
- So far scientific evidence that such experiences involve intelligent, independent, nonphysical entities, as opposed to a mixture of human-centric psi and psychological effects, has not been established in such a way that people who are intimately familiar with the evidence, and even sympathetic to the idea of entities, will reach the same conclusion.
- The practice of Theurgy involves the act of evoking spirits. The esoteric literature on theurgy suggests that if you don't know what you're doing, don't do it.
Toward a Science of Magic
- Resonance is a mental strategy that produces the best outcomes. It involves a subjective sense of resonance or "feeling at one" with the RNG was the key factor. Another was the paradoxical concept of "effortless striving." This means you must absolutely want the desired outcome more than anything you've ever desired-a passionate, obsessive, overwhelming desire-but at exactly the same time you must also maintain zero anxiety about it.
- The most successful in terms of their actual performance were, in decreasing order, resonance, then asking entities (spirits or angels) for assistance, using emotion to help "power" the will, one-pointed concentration, physical relaxation, visual imagery, and finally, talking to the RNG as though it was a sentient creature.
- Laboratory observations and experiments indicate that experiences described as resonance, absorption, and effortless striving are all associated with improved performance in intentional tasks. These experiences are in alignment with a key goal in magical practice, especially for spell-casting and other intentional acts, of working from a state of consciousness that sees through the illusion of separateness.
- Consuming blessed food is conventionally explained as due to the placebo effect. But there is another possibility. Blessing food may be regarded as a magical expression of the force of will.
- Force of will has produced objectively measurable changes in plant growth.
- Experiments suggest that intention influences RNG outputs not by "pushing" the RNG by force but rather through a goal-oriented or teleological effect.
- Retrocausation suggest that time behaves in enigmatic ways at the everyday, human scale, and in particular that goals pulling from the future might be associated with our intentions.
- Authors conclude that innate psi ability alone cannot explain why some subjects perform better. Belief in psi is required.
- Tests are consistent with the idea that belief modulates magical efficacy. The placebo-controlled comparison indicated that the blessing modestly improved people's mood who drank the treated tea, the nocebo-controlled comparison showed no effect, and the placebo-enhanced comparison demonstrated that the effect of the blessing was strongly modulated by what the participants believed.
- Psi effects observed in most laboratory studies are small in magnitude because of the artificial nature of experimental designs, the requirement to "be psychic" on demand, and the use of unselected participants who may not have any psi talent.
- Some experiments suggest that precognitive perceptions are influenced by the probable future. It still doesn't tell us unequivocally if future events are flexible or fated, or if we have free will.
- In the context of magic, what this and other field consciousness studies suggest is that rituals designed to draw and focus the attention of a group may accomplish more than simply produce a psychological sense of group coherence. They may also, as the magical traditions suggest, literally distort the fabric of reality.
- The Law of Correspondences: this law proposes that inner and outer experience, or mind and matter, intermingle and interact - based on the assumption of an interconnected reality. Same as Law of Attraction.
- Experiments with Voodoo indicate that a person's intention successfully influence another's physiology. A modest rise in electrodermal activity was unexpected. Normally when a person relaxes, electrodermal activity progressively declines - a kind of relaxed arousal state.
- Theurgy involves communication with disembodied entities, also known as spirits, angels, fairies, phantoms, shades, and ghosts.
- Another type of traditional magical entity is a servitor, a thought-form created to serve (hence the name) a specific purpose. In Tibetan lore, such creatures are known as tulpas. In Jewish lore, a similar mind-made creature is called a golem. These creatures apparently have a penchant for making up their own minds after a while, so they're not always benign or trustworthy.
- There are few phenomena amenable to scientific study that suggest the independent existence of disembodied entities. One involves near-death experiences, the other mediumship.
- Research into NDE found evidence indicating that the brain is not completely quiescent during cardiac arrest. Maybe experiences about seeing the light are due to brain-generated hallucinations. But hallucinations do not cover the full phenomenology of NDEs. Some experiences also include perceptions from outside the body.
- NDE memories are also significantly different from imagined events.
- It may be that some of the strikingly vivid aspects of NDEs arise because clearer forms of psi perception are suppressed by a normally functioning brain.
- Studies show that some mediums can gain accurate information about the deceased under conditions that strictly exclude all conventional explanations.
- Experiments have found that mediums could statistically discern who was alive or dead based on a fast glance at a photograph, but a mediums' performance was much more accurate with the "newly deceased". Mediums sometimes report that a person who passed away long ago no longer "feels" dead, presumably because that person (or some aspect of that person's spirit) has gone on to another incarnation.
- Records of mediums' brain electrical activity showed that brain activity while they were performing a mediumship reading was significantly different than during the other three states of recollection, perception, or fabrication.
- Six conclusions may be drawn:
- We have the capacity to gain information unbound by the everyday limitations of space or time, and without the use of the ordinary senses.
- Psi capacities are widely distributed among the general population.
- These effects arise from the unconscious.
- Psi effects are stronger during non-ordinary states of consciousness,
- We have the capacity to mentally influence the physical world by perhaps affecting the probabilities of events or "warp" the fabric of space-time.
- We can gain information from sources purported to be nonphysical entities.
- The Western Scientific Worldview can be summarised:
From those three core assumptions and you end up with four principles:
- Realism: The physical world consists of objects with real properties that are completely independent of observation.
- Locality: Objects are completely separate. "Action at a distance" is impossible.
- Causality: The arrow of time is a consequence of the second law of thermodynamics, so it's against the law to try to get information from the future.
- Mechanism says that events unfold forward in time in a strictly orderly, tit-for-tat, cause-and-effect fashion.
- Physicalism says that everything can be described with real properties that exist in ordinary space and time.
- Materialism says that everything, including mind and consciousness, consists of matter and energy.
- Reductionism says that everything is made up of a hierarchy of ever-smaller objects, with subatomic particles at the bottom.
- Magic and Esotericism has three simple ideas:
- Consciousness is fundamental, meaning it is primary over the physical world.
- Everything is interconnected.
- There is only one Consciousness.
- We have no idea how to take awareness apart. Philosophers would call such an attempt a "category mistake," like trying to take the square root of an orange.
- Idealism is the idea that reality is fundamentally of, and in, the mind. Panpsychism is the idea that matter at all levels, including fundamental particles, has an inherent property of sentience, or mind. Neutral monism is the idea that mind and matter are actually complementary aspects of the same "stuff," like two sides of the same coin.
- If we assume that the esoteric traditions are correct and that personal consciousness [c] and Universal Consciousness [C] are made out of the same "stuff." Personal consciousness [c] may be thought of not as a tiny piece of [C] that has been broken off and is separate from the rest of the universe, but rather as the tip of an extremely large "iceberg" of consciousness. With this idea in mind, then:
- Divination works because [C] is more fundamental than the physical concepts of time and space, so [c] too can perceive what is ordinarily experienced as past, present, and future.
- What [c] can express about [C] is severely limited because [C] is inconceivably "larger" than everyday reality. As such, [C] is also beyond ordinary concepts and language.
- Force of will works because the physical world emerges from and is modulated by [C].
- [c] can also create and modulate physical reality, but not to a great extent; this may be due to what might be called "reality inertia."
- Theurgy works because the human physical form is just one of a potentially infinite number of ways that consciousness can be embodied.
- Patrick Dunn, a magician specializing in semiotics (signs and symbols), wrote: Information does everything we claim energy or spirits do: it is nonphysical yet interacts with matter; it is manipulated with the human mind and stored in symbols; it can be copied, transported, and transformed instantly;.
- Max Tegmark, says there's something very mathematical about our Universe. The abstract structures provided by mathematics seem to have a life of their own. They don't just describe it; in some sense, the purely symbolic language of mathematics literally is the universe.
- Despite the appeal of symbolic and informational models of reality, there's a big problem: Gödel's incompleteness theorems. Mathematician Kurt Gödel proved that no system of mathematics can be considered complete. Therefore the universe cannot be completely modeled with mathematics. A symbolic language by itself can describe physical reality amazingly well, but something will always be left out.
- Vlatko Vedral says that information (and not matter or energy or love) is the building block on which everything is constructed. Information is far more fundamental than matter or energy ... Information is the only concept that we currently have that can explain its own origin.
- Throughout science and scholarship a basic principle of the Perennial Philosophy - that consciousness is fundamental - is slowly becoming acceptable to talk about.
These notes were taken from Dean's book www.realmagicbook.com
- There are three factors usually working against a novice magician: reality inertia, lack of talent, and the unconscious.
- In principle a robot would have much better control over the psychological and brain-oriented factors (like the hyperanalytical frontal lobes) that seem to be particularly effective in blocking psychic awareness in humans.
- Imagine what society would do with machine-enhanced sorcery or even simple, reliable telepathy. It is in the interests of the survival of the species that occultists continue to ridicule and discredit their own arts in the eyes of orthodox science.
- As personal consciousness draws closer to Universal Consciousness the sense of separateness begins to decrease and incidents of psychic perception, synchronicities, and manifested intentions begin to increase. These powers can be intoxicating and seductive, which is why in most meditation traditions the student is advised to just regard these phenomena as yardsticks along the path to enlightenment. Don't dwell on them. By contrast, within the magical traditions these powers are exactly what you're attempting to achieve.
See more of this work online at www.deanradin.com
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