Fluid Condensers

Jason asks,

A simpler question though. What gets gathered in a fluid condensor? If it is a symbol, than why bother with ingredients like gold and chamomile?

Fluid. Which is Bardon’s metaphor for power. Power is an abstract idea, and lots of symbols could point to it: fluid and energy among them. I don’t understand the second question: you seem to be implying that symbols are somehow less real than matter, and you know I think otherwise, so that must not be what you mean. Obviously the gold and the chamomile are both kinds of matter that express the idea of Bardon’s “power.” So it makes sense that you’d want them as allies to express that idea to the Nous. You put together three symbols, two of them expressed by pieces of matter, one by the magician, and you get an object of power.

I think you have a misapprehension that I think anyone who talks about energy is stupid. I don’t. Energy is a valid metaphor for power. But it’s not power. It’s not literally true that there is a magical energy and many, many people who practice magic think that there is. This misapprehension limits them. “Energy” as a symbol for power works fine, until and unless you start thinking it offers:
1. Explanatory force for why or how magic works;
2. A one-for-one metaphoric analog to power (complete with slots from the energy domain including “scarcity” and so on, that don’t apply to magical power.)
3. A literal, physical reality to magic, which reduces magic to another kind of materialism.
Magical power is more accurately understood as a kind of communication, not a kind of electrical charge. It’s the authority to get your idea across to the Nous, so as to change reality. If we have to visualize that authority as a fluid we breathe with our pores, or an electrical charge we get from the heavens, or a light that gathers in our chakras, or whatever, so be it. Just know that’s a visualization of an abstract idea, a metaphor and not the thing in itself.

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3 Responses to “Fluid Condensers”

  1. While I fully understand your desire to avoid reducing magic to materialism, it seems to me that by insisting that magic is completely and totally separate from matter you are falling into another trap: that of Descartes-style dualism. You say you want to find a model for magic that has explanatory power. If you’re ever going to do that, you’ll have to find some way to explain how it affects matter.

    You’ve stated before that all of reality is contained with in the Nous, and that the material objects with which we interact are particular symbols, ideas, or informational constructs within that Nous. Doesn’t that mean that the material is ultimately spiritual? That matter is in fact magical? Why then do we have to avoid using terms that imply that magic has a material component? How else are we to make sense of the fact that it is capable of affecting the actual behavior of actual material things?

    I would also like to note that “energy” is not as rigid and precise of a term as you seem to think, even within the domain of the physical sciences. If you strip away all the jargon, the definition of energy is basically “that which makes stuff happen”. This is the common-speech translation of “the capacity to perform work”. You state that energy is a kind of matter–this is sort of true, although in fact it would be more accurate to say that matter is a form of energy, which is the great insight of Einstein’s e=mc2. Energy can be active (“kinetic”) or static (“potential”), and it can also be vibrational which is somewhere between the previous two. It can be carried by material particles such as photons or electrons but it is not identical with those particles–we can speak of higher- and lower- energy electrons, and energy can be transmitted from one such object to another which it contacts. Energy has the attributes of particles but also of waves and fields; it can be local or nonlocal. And it tends to move from high-energy “sources” to low-energy “destinations”.

    This description sounds remarkably similar to the way magical “energy” is supposed to work. The main difference is that magical energy includes elements of consciousness, which is absent in physical science. I would suggest that this is in fact the central failing of physical science, and the reason that we need a separate domain of “magic” to explain some of the phenomena we can observe in the world. I would further suggest that a lot of these discrepancies could be cleared up by assuming that energy is conscious, or indeed consciousness–that all changes to material reality involve an awareness. This would explain why we perceive our consciousness to be a causal agent, capable of affecting the world, and also why science has such difficulty in finding the “free will” responsible for deciding our course of action–the action is the decision, there is no separation between the two. Thought certainly requires energy, as far as we can tell; the brain sure burns a lot of calories, about 40% of everything we digest.

    Viewed through this lens, magical “energy” is simply one particular form of consciousness-energy which at this point cannot be detected by our instruments. This could probably someday be corrected, once science starts actually looking for it instead of assuming that consciousness is fully explainable in terms of energies we already understand such as electricity.

  2. inominandum Says:

    I guess that what I am arguing is that while I agree that there is a process whereby these symbols are expressing intent to the nous, there is a reflection of that further down the chain that is not quite material, but which is not all that far from it. There is something etheric going on in a fluid condensor and Bardon is not wrong to talk in terms of conductivity.

    I would also comment that while you may not want the one on one metaphor for many things, it holds pretty true for some processes. For instance in Taoist Alchemy and Tantric Practice the idea of not wasting generative power (jing in Chinese) is an issue that is analogous to a scarcity problem.

  3. Greetings, mr. Dunn.

    First of all, I’d like to say that I am a fan of your writtings.

    I have a question relating to the semi-otic model interpretation of a common phenomena… sometimes the begginner uses material symbols that she/he doesn’t take time to make it her/his… certain chacra meditation… or a bought herbal bath… and yet achieve results…. or experience phenomena they didn’t willed but that is considered common among more advanced practioners of those systems… how can it be?

    Thank you very much in advance.

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