Why We Also Need Engineering

by Mike Sententia on November 6, 2013

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Science is when you measure the world and build a theory or model. Engineering is when you use that model to create a new technology. Magick needs both.

Those definitions are drawn from this presentation at MIT. It’s the first 30 seconds of the video. Worth watching.

Science is how we build a model into a theory. Sure, you can dream up a dozen models any way you want, just like you can sit in your room and draw a map of Paris. But without walking the streets, your map won’t match the city. And without measuring the world, our model won’t be accurate enough to guide the engineering.

But we also need engineering. Because computers and medicine and transportation and everything else have made enormous advances in the past 100-or-so years, and magick hasn’t. Sure, we’ve dreamed up new models, new things to focus on and rituals to perform as we do magick, but we haven’t engineered the equivalent of a laptop, or an antibiotic, or an airplane. And I’m not just talking about everyone else — I haven’t either, not yet.

So, we need both. Because we won’t get those advances by simply trying magick techniques until something works. The only way to engineer those kind of advances is to first do the science to build a proper theory and model of magick’s underlying mechanics.

There’s an added benefit: Every time we use a model to engineer a new technique, we’re testing the model. If the technique works, that adds weight to the model, especially if other models wouldn’t have lead you to that successful technique. And if the technique fails, that suggests the model is inaccurate, or at least incomplete. Engineering is a great way to test the science.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Simon November 9, 2013 at 1:18 PM

I really wonder about all this – is that really why magick hasn’t produced its own ‘laptops’ or ‘airplanes’?

I’ve just been learning about the Huaxia Zhineng Qigong Clinic in China. Over 130 thousand people came through its doors in 10 years- most with serious illness which had refused to respond to conventional treatment. The clinic uses no medicine – only qigong (chi kung) excercises. This large scale use of ‘chi’ or whatever you want to call it has a very highly developed model and advanced ‘engineering’ of techniques developed over the past few thousand years- with the further refinement of western scientific observations over the past 100 years. 100 years ago there was no such thing as a large medicine-less hospital treating hundreds of thousands of people without medicine. Only small communities practicing their ‘folk qigongs’. This is qigong with a thorough model and a precise method of engineering techniques – with a global community of people developing them.

This is mostly unknown in the west. it always makes me wonder if effective marketing or peoples’ ability to even get their head around this isn’t as much of an issue.

Maybe the main reason why we haven’t shipped out ‘magick’ products like they were shiny new laptops is because it requires active use of the mind. I don’t mean magck is ‘all in the mind’ and that whole baloney. I mean magick requires training and application of the mind to use the very real forces it works with.

Not all- but many of the products you’re referring to that are touted as symptoms of our great progress over the last 100 years are all passive. Drugs airplanes and TV are the ultimate expression of this – a massive effort of production and skill on one side and a passive consumption on the other. Yes Google loves to tel us how creative we are all sitting on our laptops doing cool stuff with image editing software etc. But really its still a fundamentally passive enterprise at heart. Personally I know the amount of active effort to use Photoshop is practically like falling asleep compared to really trying to do magick…

Maybe we will get the chair you sit in which re-balances the body’s ‘etheric field’ and repairs are the damages you’ve done to yourself by eating hotdogs and watching trash TV all day. And then you won’t have to do your qigong exercises or tai chi.

Maybe you will one day get that etheric software to connect to a 100% newbie without them doing anything other than looking at the sigil.

In this sense the measure of success here is that something needs to be able to be used passively. That almost ends up being the holy grail you’re after…passive consumption of magick – then it will become widespread.

That raises a lot of questions for me.. of course we could do things like they did in China. When the economy collapsed there and there was not much of a healthcare system to speak of the Government forced everyone to learn tai chi. if someone didn’t have their card stamped by the tai chi teacher for 3 full months they could not get an appointment with the doctor in a hospital…it was instituted across the country and is part of the reason tai chi is a global export now…a ‘product’ of sorts.

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Mike Sententia November 11, 2013 at 3:05 PM

Thanks, Simon. I hadn’t thought about passive consumption vs active participation. I think you’re onto something here. Let me mull this over and maybe post about it coming up.

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