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Magick and Science

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.pagan.magick
From: (nigris (333))
Subject: Magick and Science

[technical difficulties enforced delay -- apologies for outdatedness]

49970415 AA1  Hail Satan 

#> one no more achieves Truth through consensus
#> of external peer review than through an interior 'peer' of one's
#> informed skepticism.  some of it of course depends on how exacting
#> our observation skills and bullshit detectors (esp. concerning
#> our*selves*) have become.

[person quoted wishes to remain anonymous]:
#Just how exacting are our observation skills and bullshit detectors?

this differs with each individual, of course.  it is the reason that the
exhortation to DOUBT DOUBT DOUBT becomes the watchword of the serious in
the field.  a critical self-analysis is an absolute requirement for those
who would achieve anything in the fields of mysticism or magick.  it is
as much true that a balancing self-acceptance and affirmation plays an
equally important part. 


I think the emphasis on watching out for expectation and self-delusion
is extremely important.  I don't think that this is resolved by ignoring
the self or the data which may be obtained through self-observation, tho.

#It is generally considered poor practice to have the
#"hypothesis developer" also do the testing.  

here we enter into an important and unexamined element of the magical
discussion.  is there an 'hypothesis' which is necessarily developed
through magical enterprise?  how shall we really marry science *and*
art?  I suggest that while there is a 'scientific approach' to magick
in that a variety of knowledge-systems are created and refined within
the discipline, that this is NOT MAGICK ITSELF until and unless there
is a distinct expression of it to others (in which case it enters
into deliberate acts like publishing, which Crowley described, and is
evermore difficult to ferret out its scientific and artistic elements).

in rite I notice that it isn't always some sort of intellectual
hypothesis which is being 'tested' for 'repeatability' but a kind
of QUALITATIVE VALUE which may be repeated.  the rite is analyzed
for elements necessary and obstructury, and then either the same
or another rite involving similar elements is attempted.  

the process of refinement seeks its confirmation in the nature of 
the results (internal, external change).  for this it is imperative
that the individual doing the work also engage the refinement.  
as I've said elsewhere, however, this *can* be subjected to a kind
of 'double-blind' (or at least single-blind) examination.

#That's why so much
#research is conducted using experimenters who are blind to the purpose
#and hypothesis of the experiment.  A non-blind experiementer can very
#easily fall into the trap of "seeing what he expects to see."  

I agree this is a problem, both in the laboratory (a serious danger)
as well as in one's magical practice (the Self-Delusory Power Ascent
is well known in occult circles, though not generally acknowledge as
such amidst popular sources as it preserves booksales and memberships).  

my point about blindness is to examine its PURPOSE.  the double-blind
is an objective-science tool which works well, but for the purposes
of mystical or magical pursuits I think that the peer review amongst
the skeptical (where a comparison exists between third-party results
and the results perceived by the mage -- "reality check" -- occurs)
should suffice if those who are doing the review really *are* peers.

this requires a level of skepticism (in its literal sense, really
looking closely, possibly requiring a great degree of intimacy) and 
honesty (which occult organizations may sway due to political pressure)
that may not develop outside a working group dedicated to this 
purpose, and may explain why there are so many charlatans afoot.

#I guess in the end, it doesn't really matter.  *Our* goal is 
#spiritual attainment anyway, 

is it?  I've heard this many times from 'magicians'.  I question the
value of any type of 'magick' which doesn't include the real develop-
ment of an ability to cause change in the world external to us.  this
'spiritual attainment' paradigm is too often co-opted into a social
enslavement mechanism, based on who is more capable of licking boot.

#so personal results, at least to me, are what's important.   

do what you please.  discerning the personal results is the real
issue, as we appear to have agreed.  how this is effected is an
issue which is seldom discussed and brings delusionary 
confidence-game schemes (or at least the real potential for them) 
under scrutiny.  

social organizations like 'occult orders' can be severely upset but 
such examinations, since we may call into question their ability to 
assist in the process of development whose results ("spiritual") 
they often tout as being uniquely qualified to offer.

nigris (333) -- --
see  and  call: 408/2-666-SLUG!!!
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 * * * Asphalta Cementia Metallica Polymera Coyote La Cucaracha Humana * * * 

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