Practical Information Magic
In the comments to my last post, Ater asks how I would go about doing practical information magic. What, in other words, makes it different from energy work. Ater writes:
What I’m really interested in is how one would go about doing direct/mental magic in the Information model? Why do you consider this model more useful than the others? For example, if I wanted a new camera I would sit down, relax and raise energy. I’d form this energy into a ball between my hands and I would visualize the camera I wanted inside the ball and so on. Then I would just tell the energy ball (or thoughtform) to go on its merry way and get me that camera. That’s pretty simple and straightforward. How would you go about casting this spell using the Info model?
The glib answer to your question is, you just did. What did you imagine you were doing when you “told” the ball to do something?
The longer answer is, you have a point: my first book is not so specific about how the information model works out in practicalities. My second book is better at that.
To see how it works, imagine that your spell failed. You didn’t get the camera you wanted? From an energy model perspective, the failure may have been in not raising “enough energy.” That’s where you’d be inclined to look, if you were trained in the energy model.
From the information model perspective, you’d be more inclined to look at how you conveyed the desire. Were you clear? Was the channel clear?
The energy model cannot explain why we must be in a certain state of consciousness, or why we must use symbols. But the information model can. The state of consciousness is our channel of communication; it must be clear. The symbols are our language; they must be shared. Moreover, the Communicant is very good at reading us: if we don’t fully and completely want what we’re asking for, we’re less likely to get it. None of that can be explained with the energy model.
Another place the energy model totally falls down is explaining divination. The closest people come is talk about cards “absorbing energy” and “vibrating,” all of which strikes me as rather contrived when the obvious nature of the cards is that they’re symbols interacting in a symbol system to communicate information (well, more accurately, meaning — but that’s my next book).
The symbol of energy is a fine and dandy one. If I wanted a camera, I’d probably do something rather similar to what you did. But I’d think of it very, very differently. The important bits would not be the ball of energy for me, but the symbol I used to describe the camera and my actual, real need or desire for the camera. And if the spell didn’t work, I’d treat it as a failure in communication, not as a failure in mechanics. (And if the spell did work, I’d say “thank you,” as one does when someone gives you something you want)
I don’t want to replace energy work or argue that those who use it are somehow not doing real magic. I just want to point out that the information model shifts our focus to other areas of our work that we too often ignore, and it includes the energy paradigm as well.
You also mentioned that “everything is a symbol” is pretty obvious to you. After all, you said, Aphrodite is clearly a symbol of love. But the point I’m making is, you’re a symbol too. Not just gods, but people, life situations, cars, music, and socks — all are symbols. They’re all information we understand by placing into symbolic frameworks of meaning, and they all can be affected by a greater or lesser degree by magic therefore. I don’t deny the existence of an external world: but we experience it only through symbols. For all intents and purposes, our experience of reality is one of symbol.
I hope that clarified. My second book goes into a bit more depth, I think, on the symbolic nature of things and stuff. And I’m really glad that you read my book and disagreed with me. One of my main goals is to get people talking and thinking critically about magic, not just rehashing the same old ideas.