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Magic and Psychokinesis

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.paranormal.spells.hexes.magic,alt.magick.folk,alt.magick,alt.pagan.magick
From: "Joe Cosby" 
Subject: Re: Magic and Psychokinesis (was Crowley's Failure as a Magician/Mystic...)
Date: Sat, 29 Jul 2000 00:43:59 -0700

This has gotten long enough, I just print it out and read it at my
leisure, I hope you're doing the same.

I thought of splitting it into sub-subjects, but printed out it's not
too hard to follow yet.

nagasiva yronwode  wrote in message
> 50000728 Vom
> nagasiva:
> >>>> I find it more convincing that some kind of expression of will
> >>>> through symbolic ritual might enable an indirect effect.
> "Joe Cosby" :
> >>> Yes, essentially. But it is also an experiential observation:
> >>> how can we 'exert will'? We don't 'exert will' on matter, we
> >>> exert will on our mental image of matter.
> nagasiva:
> >> to exert will upon images is called 'imagination'.
> >>
> >>> ...a world of matter presents itself to
> >>> us, and in order to interact normally with that world we find we
> >>> to learn it's laws.  If you want to pour water from a pitcher
into a
> >>> glass, you must learn to reach out your hand, tilt the pitcher,
> >>> at glass, etc.
> ...
> >>> As soon as we say 'matter', as I see it, we are evoking this
> >>> set of laws.
> >>
> >> true, and I don't see that magic need take place outside these
> here you seem to be talking about the 'laws of matter'.
> "Joe Cosby" :
> > I don't think it 'needs' to. I think magick, through history, has
> > been a characteristic way of doing things, of making things
> agreed, making things happen in a particular fashion.
> > That the laws of magick, throughout history, have been reflective
> > the laws of the subconscious mind (association, symbolism,
> > value, etc.) seems very clear.
> yes, and we can take from this comparable structure or composition
> a number of possible conclusions. I'm trying to bring them all out
> onto the table for discussion.
> > Certainly, any action we take can be defined in terms of magick
> > magickal will.
> yes, but this trivializes or so generalizes 'magic' that it becomes
> useless as a meaningful term.
> > Any action we take is a magickal act, if one isn't a
> > robot this will always be true.
> your dogma. I agree that it is a *deliberate* act (where so
> but magic requires a bit more than action. even Crowley admitted

I agree completely.

I think it can, at times, be useful to see the relation of magic to
our normal actions, but I think this misses the point.  Magic is
magic.  Thus the name  :^)

> > Certainly, one can define one's worldview in terms of 'World as
> > and Idea', in which case magickal will becomes the primary aspect
> > reality, and the perceived external world becomes secondary.
> >
> > But the fact remains that there are two different sets of rules.
> I don't know to which "sets of rules" you are referring. perhaps you
> are referring to the "world rules" of matter and the "mind rules"
> of the subconscious mind/magic? my impression is that these really
> are not "two sets of rules" at all, and that they must be seen as
> two perspectives on the cosmos (much as large-scale and small-scale
> physics has different principles it has observed operating between
> Newtonian and Einsteinian physics which, as you say below,
> constitute a more specific case of the generality, respectively).

Yes, I agree.

> > This is not to deny that the ultimate reality of the secondary set
> > might be nothing but a special case of the primary set;
> if 'secondary set' refers to laws (principles) of magic, and
> 'primary set' refers to laws (principles) of nature, then I
> agree and strongly.

Yes, what you say here is what I'm trying to say above.

> > the world as a whole might be nothing but 'will' in different
> > In fact, something like this strikes me as likely, but I don't
> > want to go down that philosophical road.
> why not? this strikes me as a VERY important philosophic perspective
> to consider. it has been given a good deal of thought by such
> respected minds as Schopenhauer, Fichte and others, and is much more
> relevant to studies of Thelema and magic than many of Crowley's
> writings (who receives much more attention than he deserves in the
> occult community because of his notoriety and the cult which
> followed in his wake and much less attention than he deserves in
> the academic and larger world for similar reasons).

I have a great interest in the philosophical issue ultimately;  I
"don't want to go down that road" just because I want to keep an
already complex thread relatively simple.

One thing at a time.

> > All I'm saying is that we do perceive two sets of 'rules', and
> > they are different.
> >
> > If there weren't, there would be no use for a concept of 'magick'.
> > It would have no meaning, and no use.
> I don't know, they seem to have similarities, so they are not
> ENTIRELY DIFFERENT. the 'cause-effect' mentality seems to
> completely encompass both of these paradigms. materialism is
> based in inertial/momentum/force dynamics which one could
> very easily compare with that of most magical 'isms'. when
> one wishes to effect change (affect the material world), then
> a *cause* is necessary in both (a stimulus of change), some
> leverage or connection between the stimulus and the target
> area must be constructed or put into place, and then effort
> must be expended in order for the catalysis to occur. this is
> true for BOTH 'sets of rules', as you call them.

Yes, but there are characteristic differences.  As you say, these
might well be differences of level, 'ontological hierarchy', but ...

You see I'm starting from the world of 'them', of the 'normals'.
Within that world, there is a difference between magickal activity and
physical activity.  That's all I'm describing, really.  I am not
arguing that this is the rule of some 'absolute reality'.

I do think though, that within that context, there are characteristic
differences.  Magical effects are characterized, especially, by
'action at a distance' and 'sympathy'.

"Magic calls itself the Other Method of knowing apace and effecting

> > But what are you doing when you manipulate a symbolic
> > representative of a situation which you wish to change?
> here we really get into the metaphysics of magic. first,
> you seem to be presupposing that what we create is a
> "representation". that is only one way to interpret it.
> another is that it is the actuality in miniature by virtue of
> some mystical circumstances (Hermetic). another is that the
> constituents of the cosmos have direct effects which can be
> discovered and utilized not just in SYMBOLIC ways but as
> actual (magical) tools. an example is Graveyard Dirt, which
> may be used to negatively influence another person simply
> by casting it about their house or in their shoes. there
> is no "symbolism" here, it is a magical act with direct and
> specific repercussions.
> > You're creating a mental copy of the situation, then altering
> > the copy in order to effect the original.
> that's one way to do magic, but there are others, and one need
> not see the copy as strictly mental (cf. voodoo doll) or just
> representative (it can become microcosmically IDENTICAL).

OK but again I'm not really talking about 'psychism' here.  I'm not
saying "we have to visualize the situation, that's the only -real- way
to do it".  I am saying though, if you look at the techniques of
magic, you will find that -in every case- this relationship of
symbolic sympathy exists.

This is not to say that visualization, in a formal sense, is
necessary, but whether you think of it as a relationship between the
microcosm and the macrocosm or consider it a relationship between a
'mental world' and a 'physical world', the effective approach is the

And I think that 'will' will be applied to the object which sustains
this relationship.  The passion, will, of the magician might be
applied to a visualized mental 'alternate reality', which is more like
my practice, or to a talismanic 'microcosmic representative'.

> > Trial and error through the centuries has found that vivid
> > representation is more effective than simply visualizing the
> > as it presents itself to us.  This is especially true where a
> > is 'passed down';  i.e., where the person attempting to obtain the
> > effect can be assumed to have either less practice or less natural
> > ability to 'visualize'.
> here be the classic controversy about whether magical tools
> *themselves* are powerful, or if they are "made" so by some kind
> of mystical or traditional liturgy, prestidigitation, or mana
> empowerment. I maintain that too many people are convinced of
> one perspective or the other and dismiss one of them based on
> their bias. I enjoy both of them and have supported each over
> the years in response to Believers.
> in the case you have outlined above, I think you may have
> over-emphasized the valuable skill of visualization with
> respect to world magical tradition. certainly this is an
> important element of magicK (ceremonial magic especially
> that of Crowley), but otherwise it seems to me that a great
> deal less emphasis is placed upon it in folk magic tradition,
> where knowing the magical connections between items found in
> one's environment is more important overall.

Agreed.  As I say above, I think that in both cases a symbolic
relation exists, and this is predictable, and therefore useful.

I agree visualization -as such- is not necessarily the only 'valid'
technique, but in either case this relation exists, and exists on some
plane outside of visible cause-and-effect.  That the relation seems to
always carry a symbolic relation I think shows 'where' the link

It's not that I'm saying that the object might not have some virtue
which is inherent to it, but the magician's -bridge between- the power
of the object and the desired effect remains basically 'of the
internal world'.

> > Vivid, emotional symbolism bypasses the conscious mind.  The
> > mind is constantly being fed a stream of data which reflects the
> > secondary set of rules, so bypassing it allows the mind to act
> > within the Other set.
> >
> > That we tend to find magick associated with an 'underworld' is a
> > reflection of this.
> I don't know what you mean about vivid emotional symbolism
> "bypassing" the conscious mind. I'd agree that it occupies
> and/or distracts the conscious mind, but I'm not sure it
> bypasses it. how an underworld is related to magic or might
> be a reflection of the bypassing of the conscious mind I'd
> like to hear more about, since I didn't understand this.

Well again we see this set of 'immediate' rules of the 'external
world' (subject to the stuff earlier) and also find this 'Other' set
of rules, magical rules, which are part of a world which is also
'real', but comes -second-, in terms of how our minds and brains
perceive things.

So, we consider the 'second world' to be 'under' the first.

> >However, both cases are found, symbolic representation and direct
> >visualization.  The latter is normally only found among very
> >magicians, or very advanced monks.
> there is a prejudice amongst Hermetic (and a number of other
> mystical) magicians that mysticism is a necessary and
> inherent indicator regarding 'progress' where magic is
> concerned. I must protest that this is very far from the
> truth as I understand it. magic has never depended upon
> mysticism for its operation, though it has certainly been
> combined with it, acted as a focus for it, or a byproduct
> of it, as seen by its particular practioners.
> it is too commonly presumed that visualization and some
> kind of spiritual discipline are necessary elements of
> magic (in usenet this seems to result from the over-
> emphasis of the magicK of Crowley and Goldawnianism).

Perhaps.  True, this is my attitude.

I have tried to find -why- magic works sometimes and doesn't others,
and that is my best conclusion.

The magician's 'self', the relation between the magician's mind and
the perceived 'outside world', seems to be the key.  This is my

> >>> That's what will -does-.  It holds together mental structures.
> >>> Taking that approach has really changed things for me.
> >>
> >> my impression is that holding mental structures together is a
> >> good description of *meditation*, which does take willpower
> >> to maintain, but carrying this through to action is a product
> >> of our direction of will outside of merely mental realms.
> >
> > Then why learn meditation?
> that's a rather ambiguous question, unfortunately, and I can only
> respond using the definitions that I prefer. if I err, I hope that
> you will correct me as to your original meaning.
> meditation, the active focus of attention over periods of time,
> is of benefit to magicians on account of its resolvative effect
> upon the mind and spirit of the student who practices it.
> focussing attention is a very good means of refining, honing
> the personal will. it is a kind of discipline which enables the
> individual to persist in selected tasks and overcome apparent
> obstacles in the way of one's deliberate works. it empowers
> the magician to be able to handle greater tasks and makes the
> enterprise of mysticism more approachable as it separates the
> mystic from hir conceptions.

Well as I say in the previous response, I think it is integral.  We
might be in disagreement on this.

> > By using symbolism, visualization, meditation, etc. one creates a
> > mental copy of the object of intent.  One alters it in a way
> > positive to one's intent.
> >
> > Physical action creates the link between the created mental world
> > and the object of intent.
> that is a very important way of analyzing magic, yes. there are
> others, and I'm trying to lend a voice in defense of these here.
> typically a spell includes some physical connector between the
> magical object and the target or recipient of the magic. there
> may be no mental 'world' at all aside from the idea which one
> wishes to manifest ("bring me money", for example).

Well yes, I don't feel otherwise.  I'm not saying "imagining a visual
image of the world" is the be-all and end-all, but any way you go
about it, the magician's -intent- is being impressed on the world in a
way which bypasses the 'normal rules'.

I mean, that's all I'm saying when I say "applying will to a mental
world":  the 'mental world' is the magician's intent, and the
'applying will' is the act of magic.

I'm sorry, but I don't see how any 'act of magic' could be which
doesn't fit this.

> also, some magical instructors emphasize the eventual
> DISconnection between one's mental world and the intended
> results. that is, they teach that one must visualize the
> result, set the magic to effect the change in motion, and
> then FORGET the spell. this also appears in the sigilization
> techniques popularized by people like Spare and Grant, who
> advise the creation of a glyph made of conscious symbols or
> words manipulated into a 'nonsensical' symbol which one may
> use in one's ritual.

Yes, this is what I mean by 'bypassing the conscious mind'.

The conscious mind is closer to the rules of the perceived 'external

The mind itself though is where the magic occurs, so being able to set
the mind in action without falling into the conditioned pattern of
these rules is one way to improve your practice.

> this last is more along the lines of 'bypassing the conscious
> mind' which you mentioned above. I'm not sure how you may be
> reconciling this "link" and "bypassing the conscious mind".
> perhaps 'mental' is intended to encompass the subconscious
> mind and therefore no conflict truly exists.
> thanks for extending the conversation somewhat beyond the
> personality-feuds brought by others in this thread. ;>


Again, I don't think we have as much of a point of disagreement as you
seem to see.

I really want to emphasize, I'm not talking about "picturing a world
and sending energy into it", sort of like a monk meditating.

Any way you go about it, magic is a magician impressing his intent,
his will, directly upon the world.  So we have two 'realities':  the
magician's 'intent', which is a mental world existing only to the
magician initially, and the world upon which he wishes to impress this
will, which is what I am calling 'the external world' or 'perceived
external world'.

As far as I can see, we are basically talking about the same things,
but I think I'm creating a different idea to you.
Joe Cosby

Here at Microsoft, drive head contention is more than just our promise
to you.

It's a way of life.

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