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Mages sometimes say that “energy can neither be created or destroyed,” applying a principal of physics::energy to magick::energy.
That’s a computer science notation to make it clear when I’m talking about physics energy vs magickal energy.
There’s a term for this logical fallacy. Something like “arguing by terms,” where you called something energy, and then assume it has the properties of other things called energy.
I’m writing an article on reprogramming ethereal software, and I’m trying to make it clear that I first discovered you could reprogram it, then decided to call it software as a metaphor. That, even if you call it an egregore, or The Universe, or Cthulhu, it would still have all the same properties. Because the external world doesn’t care what you call it.
But words have power. They influence how we think about problems, how we use our tools, and how we explore the world.
When someone explains the properties of a thing based on “what it is” (which really means the metaphor they’ve picked for it), they’re probably arguing from terms. If they tell you “You can’t reprogram Cthulhu,” tell them “You shouldn’t name something Cthulhu if it can be reprogrammed.”
That’s why I often ask commenters, “What have you seen that makes you believe that’s true?”
The hard part is asking that of yourself. Because it’s just as easy to pick a metaphor yourself, then build on the metaphor, without doing the actual testing. In my first decade practicing magick, before learning proper sensory connections, I’d propose un-tested metaphors constantly. It really held me back.
As with most things, the key isn’t to never reason from a metaphor. The key is to realize when you’re doing it, go back, and do the testing.If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.