Have you all stopped reading my blog yet? No? Really? On hiatus for a year or so, and then a long string of posts about theory? Okay. Well. You’re in for it.
Have you read this book? Advanced Magick for Beginners.
Well, why the hell not? Do it. I’ll wait.
Okay, so what Chapman points out is that magic can be reduced down to a fairly simple procedure. To summarize, and not do it justice:
- Select a desire.
- Select an experience.
- Decide that experience means the same as the desire.
- Experience the experience.
This seems too simple, and I resisted it the first time I read this book. I recently read it more closely, and more carefully, and conducted some experiments.
One hundred percent correct, at least about this.
And the thing that gets me is that the experience doesn’t matter. I’ve been deliberately selecting absolutely nonsensical experiences. Not sigils. Not words of power. No spirits. Just things like squeezing my finger and carefully arranging cue-tips into geometrical shapes. And it works. In fact, it seems to work best if I pick a completely different arbitrary act each time, but I’m still gathering experience there.
There are so many theoretical issues about this, and that’s another long string of posts that’ll drive readers away, until I can finally kill this blog. So look forward to that.
Notice there’s nothing here about mystical energy, or goetia, or the information model. It’s just experience. So why would that work?
Because the index of the actual world among the infinite configuration space of possible worlds is determined by our experiences of that configuration. Moreover, I suspect that we do not all dwell in the same possible world, or inhabit a single point in configuration space, but exist in a cloud of loosely linked actual worlds. Tying an experience to a possible world and experiencing that experience drags our index closer to that world.
Note that it’s absolutely impossible, not just theoretically or practically, but logically, for the scientific method to ever confirm magic. The scientific method only investigates the actual world, the indexical possibility currently selected. It’s going to see a narratively consistent smooth contour of cause-and-effect, because that’s the result of moving the index in configuration space.
It’s clear to me now that possible worlds exist. They are arranged in a continuous configuration space as an abstract object. We call the actual world a world selected by a deictic index (or maybe cluster of indices — we may each have our own). We move that index through our own mundane efforts, but also through magic. It is the selection of experience and the process of choice that impels the index. All other trappings of magic are culture, useful for empowering experience and for aesthetic effect, but none of them are absolutely necessary, which is not to say they’re not valuable, as culture itself is valuable.
That’s my conclusion. I’d be happy to hear your reasoned arguments or reactions. If I’ve made an error in my logic, correct me. If you want to help me come up with some implications and experiments suggested by this way of thinking, I’d love to hear that too.