What I Do Believe (2/3): Magic (the Occult)

When I say “I believe in magic,” what does that mean?

First, what do I mean by “magic”?  I believe that magic is the causing events to occur through occult means.  By occult, here, I mean hidden.  In other words, you can’t trace back the chain of cause-and-effect as you can with mundane actions.  If I am playing pool and I hit the cue ball to knock the eight ball into the corner pocket, we can trace back the physical forces back through the chain of cause-and-effect.  We can draw force vectors and account for everything by clear phenomena (literally, in the original Greek, “things which appear”).  But if I make a gesture with intent and proper visualization when my opponent is lining up his shot at the eight ball, and he scratches as I intended, we cannot trace back the phenomenal lines of force.  They are hidden, or occult.  This, I believe, is magic (and also the only way I ever manage to win at pool).

So I believe that these occult forces are real.  In other words, the chains of cause-and-effect that govern our lives are not entirely phenomenal — are not entirely visible or physical.  This is the cause of free will, in fact: it’s the indeterminacy that gives rise to our sense of self-agency.  When the addict puts down the crack pipe for the last time and turns his life around, or the middle aged school teacher suddenly decides she’d like to write a novel, that’s magic.  Assuming, of course, that they do it.

Now, I believe there’s a technology to harness these invisible chains of force.  This technology is magic: by manipulating symbols and whatever the underlying stuff of reality is, we can direct these changes.  Because these things are occult, I don’t think we can ever really understand how or why they work.  Our theories are just theories, and while I love mine and can spend long hours polishing it — theory, I’m talking about theory — they’re visible images of invisible things.

That’s why I like the word “occult.”  It’s very precise: “hidden.”  Unfortunately, silly people think it’s the same as “cult,” and look nervous when you say you study it, so I tend to use “esoteric” instead.  But what I mean is “occult.”



4 Responses to “What I Do Believe (2/3): Magic (the Occult)”

  1. Elegant definition, explanation, and examples.

  2. trallala Says:

    Love the part about pool-biliard; sometimes it seems that the best and most reliable appliance of magic is in cheating at games.

  3. […] What I Do Believe (2/3): Magic (the Occult) (pomomagic.wordpress.com) […]

  4. The way you blend some personal experiences with your ideas and given examples is very refined. I especially like this part ‘(and also the only way I ever manage to win at pool).’ and the video at the end.

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