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Like most scientists, I’m a materialist. That means I believe everything can be broken down into smaller parts, and that thought and consciousness are the result of nerves firing.
I think its interesting that you’ve recently come out and explicitly called yourself a ‘materialist’. I wonder if you could expand on your take on this a bit more. You must be one of the very few people writing who call themselves a materialist who also engages in spirit communication! Do you consider spirits are physical matter -just of an unfamiliar kind?
Let’s start with what materialism is, then discuss how we get to spirits and magick.
From wikipedia: In philosophy, the theory of materialism holds that all things are composed of material, and that all emergent phenomena (including consciousness) are the result of material properties and interactions. In other words, the theory claims that our reality consists entirely of physical matter that is the sole cause of every possible occurrence, including human thought, feeling, and action.
This is roughly what I mean. Consciousness and though are not things unto themselves, but rather emerge from the firing of nerves, hormones, and other physical matter.
Keep in mind, no serious thinker limits “physical matter” to “things we can touch.” We all believe in magnetism, gravity, and dark matter. There are many types of physical matter, and some of them interact in ways that are unintuitive to out brains, which evolved to understand how to throw stones, rather than how dark matter works. To me, magickal structures are just unusual physical substances that, like dark matter, interact in unusual ways.
But the important part is, all physical matter can be broken down into smaller parts. The brain is made of nerves, which are made of molecules, then atoms, and so on. The complex behaviors emerge from a great many simple interactions, similar to how complex computer programs emerge from the simple interactions of many transistors. And we can understand how the complex thing works by understanding how all the parts work, and how they interact. Then we can improve it.
(That’s part of why materialism is so common among scientists.)
Good series on materialism, I agree with most of it: http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Reductionism_(sequence) (Scroll down to “Main Sequence”)
But what about spirits? Aren’t those free-floating minds?
Well, they’re minds made up of magickal structures. Kind of like artificial intelligence is a mind made of transistors. Assemble connections, energy, and similar magickal structures in the right way, and you get a conscious mind.
(Same goes for ethereal software.)
And, just like some AI researchers want to upload our minds into computers, I could see us uploading our minds into magickal structures to become spirits some day.
What About Thoughtforms?
I don’t talk about thoughtforms, but people I respect do. What’s up?
When I say “thought,” I mean the standard definition: Ideas in your brain. It’s not an external object, but rather the subjective experience of nerves firing.
But many systems of magick describe thought as an external thing, as something that can go out, cause change, and become solid (“thoughtform” or “egregore”). Are they wrong?
I think we’re both describing some of the same external phenomena, using different explanations. Egregore and ethereal software both point to the same external force, and when you “send out your thought,” I’d say you’re sending a message to some ethereal software. It’s not that they’re wrong, it’s that we’re explaining the same phenomena in different ways.
So why not just use the standard terms? Because saying, “I’m sending out my thought” sounds so simple, it becomes easy to skip over a lot of really important steps. I want us to explore those steps, because understanding them lets us understand magick, which lets us do it better and build it into a science.If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.