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Magick and Science

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,talk.religion.misc
From: (nigris (333))
Subject: Re: Magick and Science (was! Re: thelemic christianity)
Date: 3 May 1997 03:28:41 -0700

[technical difficulties enforced delay -- apologies for outdatedness]

49970413 AA1  Hail Satan!  


Paul Hume :
#> #...The scientific method presupposes that the operator is irrelevant 
#> #to the operation, whereas the Great Work is founded on a diametrically 
#> #opposed dynamic in which the operator is central to the operation, 
#> #indeed in which the division between operator and operation becomes 
#> #negligible. 

#> it may be applied equally concisely within the subjective realm, as has
#> been demonstrated by countless mystical disciplines (some batches of
#> Buddhism being prime examples).

[person quoted wishes to remain anonymous]:
#Can you give some basic examples of the methods used?

self-observation, development of expression in response to key terms,
and, upon proclaimed readiness for assessment, the comparison of
consciousness states (zen koans); inscriptions of reflections and
analyses of practices in Workbooks or through artwork of other sorts,
reviewed and assessed by peers or social superiors (the Magical 
Record) are two examples of methods.

my point was really about how the mystical disciplines focussed in a
very important way upon the operator and enabled the development of
knowledge-systems incorporating or comprised entirely of subjective

this has been true in the history of Western philosophy (e.g. 
Berkeley, Hume, Sartre, possibly Schopenhauer and/or Heidegger),
developing into more abstract process-oriented mystical paradigms
such as may be found in Whitehead and others.  it is also true of 
various Buddhist metaphysics, full of transitory elements of 'the
Mind', of personal consciousness, scrutinized in intense detail and
expressed in terminology over which modern Psychologists should drool.

#pointing more towards the direction that what we "see" may be 
#unreliable, and therefore not very valid in this instance.  

it is all we have.  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.

#Now, if we could just construct a few double-blind controlled 
#magickal studies...

the only way to do this would be to live with a mage for a period
of time and discern, perhaps with the assistance of other skeptics,
the consistent manifestation of the will of the mage in conformity
to applied intention.  

this is in part the main division between magick and mysticism --
in that with magick (esp. interpreted in a particular fashion as
you appear to imply here) the intentionality precludes being
'blind' to the result.  

however, OTHERS involved with the event could be, if sufficiently 
knowledgeable as regards flimflam, and the occult artsciences, 
'blind observers' for one's testing.  Crowley uses the example of
the procurement of a magical book which he is desiring in _Moonchild_.

if one's lusts predisposes one toward repeated procurements, and 
these are effected through spell or medallion as he argued, then I
suppose one could seal a written expression of one's intention and 
mail it off to one's compatriots with an instruction not to open it 
until the time agreed.  after a pre-arranged time-period one would 
contact the friends and verify the success or failure of the experiment.

I was struck by how similar this was to the Staged Magic Act (as
discussed in groups like Usenet's alt.magic).  in reflecting on what
else Crowley said within the same work, such that being *directed by*

someone else might not facilitate proof of efficacy on account of
magick's connection to one's *own* will (desire, lust, whatever),
I saw that this was precisely the problem in the attempt to set up
a 'double-blind', especially if we DEFINE magick as the ability to
manifest one's desires.

for this reason a 'double-blind' is a specific type of restriction
effective only within the realm of *objective* science, being
designed to preclude the expectations of the analysands from
interfering in the obtainment of unbiased experimental results.

for subjective science, a variety of steps may be taken to prevent
this interference, inclusive of the blind I mention above as well
as an external and relative comparison between 'guru' and 'chela'
in the assessment of the latter's transformation.  often the student
or disciple is completely blind until transformation occurs as to
the nature of transformation for which the guru watches.

nigris (333) -- --
see  and  call: 408/2-666-SLUG!!!
 ----  (emailed replies may be posted)  ----  CC public replies to author ---- 
 * * * Asphalta Cementia Metallica Polymera Coyote La Cucaracha Humana * * * 

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