Wishes…

by Mike Sententia on April 28, 2014

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“I wish magick was easy.”

No, you don’t. Because if it were easy, someone else would have already done it.

You wish it was easy for you, but still hard for everyone else.

Sorry, that only exists in movies.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Synchronicity April 29, 2014 at 2:42 AM

Hi Mike,
mother nature, despite her blindness, solved so many hard problems, like how to fly. The ability to influence the world by magickal means seems a compelling survival advantage… so, why billion years of random mutations and natural selection have not produced something more substantial, by an evolutionary magickal arms race?
Energy costs too high…?
Pre-neocortex brains not yet ready…?

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Mike Sententia April 29, 2014 at 9:12 AM

Everything humans can do, evolution produced. Not that it made cars and airplanes, but it gave us the mental capabilities to figure that out.

Evolution gave us a body with energy, and a mind capable of manipulating that energy. But it turns out, doing much more than that is very complicated. That’s why we have to use our evolution-produced brains to figure it out.

More on evolution: https://magickofthought.com/2010/02/the-evolution-of-magick/

And complexity: https://magickofthought.com/2012/02/the-computational-complexity-of-manifesting/

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George April 29, 2014 at 9:25 AM

I’m not sure nature is blind. Perhaps nature could be viewed as moving ‘all at once’, evolving and flowing as a single entity, in line with the constituent intentions that have taken place in the past. Then: as individuals our intention does have an effect, is taken into account, but the strength of intervention required to go dramatically against the cumulative intention of billions of years would be pretty hard for one ‘fragment’ to muster.

Our magick tends to be accommodated within the parameters of the general flow (sometimes as ‘passive’ magick) while obvious discontinuities are rare – the results we do obtain tend to take a lot of more focus the more ‘against the stream’ they are, of humans as a collective and the direction of the universe as a whole.

We are actually ‘doing magick’ all the time, but usually we don’t notice because the results fall within the realm of everyday experiences: moving our bodies, coming up with creative solutions to daily problems, having convenient coincidences, etc. So what we really mean by “magick being hard” is that it is hard to obtain unusual results – but that is always going to be the case, by definition!

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Mike Sententia April 29, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Hi George, just to help you and other readers follow my writing: I don’t include moving our bodies, writing resumes, or other ordinary actions as part of magick. Defining magick as “any act of will” has a nice ring to it, but it also causes problems. When I talk about magick, I really mean the actions of magickal connections, magickal energy, ethereal software, and other similar things.

More here: https://magickofthought.com/2010/06/what-crowley-got-wrong-about-magick/

Also in my book intro: https://magickofthought.com/books/an-initiation-into-direct-magick-book-1/

And bonus, a good series on evolution: http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Evolution_as_alien_god

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George April 29, 2014 at 4:24 PM

Yeah, I was being a bit casual! It’s just a definition thing, perhaps to do with ‘path specification’. Would you agree with:

‘Passive Magick’ would be whatever happens spontaneously if you don’t interfere. One chooses neither the overall aim nor the mechanism. This might be considered one’s ‘True Will’ in Crowley-speak.

The general form of ‘Active Magick’, meanwhile, would be more like “interrupting where things were going if you hadn’t interrupted” – by any indirect method, but again with the route not specified.

‘Direct Magick’, then, I see as doing magick via a deliberately chosen, particular specified path, where that particular path involves the creation or re-use of certain specific mental forms – namely connections, energy and ethereal software. Because one is constraining and reusing a defined ‘manifestation route’ in this way, one can refine and improve the path and its components in a manner not available to a more casual or open form. It’s not more ‘fundamental’, but it does aim to be more stable and repeatable, and therefore more available to study and confirmation.

On evolution: Evolution is surely just a longer-term version of short-term tendencies. It’s not “intelligent” or “person-like” or “supervised”, of course, but if medium-term intentions have noticeable world effects, it seems reasonable to suggest that there is a cumulative effect on the unfolding of the world as a whole – change over an extended period. All those little fish who years ago desperately wanted to have a run about on the beach one day, unwittingly firing their intentions all over the place! ;-)

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George April 29, 2014 at 5:04 AM

Heh. Hmm, can’t I have two wishes? I’ll still wish for magick to be easy – but also for everyone else to have my personal happiness as their priority. Maximum benefit!

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Ananael Qaa April 29, 2014 at 6:05 PM

I don’t know about anybody else, but I would be perfectly happy to see the principles of magick all worked out in usable scientific fashion, like any other technology. Unraveling a portion of that has been a goal of mine for a long time, and I know it’s been one of yours as well. But really, I would much rather be in a situation where somebody else already did it and set up repeatable principles for its use than having to spend a lot of time figuring it out in the first place, even if I do eventually turn out to get some credit for it.

I honestly don’t care that much about credit. In a field like occultism it certainly wouldn’t lead to much real advantage in my life because the subject is so marginal. I want to hack my life and the probabilities that surround it the same way I hack a computer. But we’re not at the point yet where there’s even an established, verified “programming language.” To strain the analogy a bit, I would much rather be somebody who writes software that performs real-world operations efficiently and effectively (in my context of my life) than one of the poor machine-coders stuck trying to write the compiler.

It’s not that there’s anything wrong with wanting to work on the compiler – I’ve known developers who were totally into that sort of thing and not much else. My point is just that for me personally, I would love it if magick were easy – because then somebody else would have the grunt work already and I could concentrate on getting things done. The fact that others could do the same wouldn’t dissuade me one bit.

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George April 30, 2014 at 5:00 AM

A good point about the “language” aspect. At the very least, we lack concepts that can be independently verified. It’s like studying physical objects without having yet discovered the notion of atom. The problem is, there may be no corresponding ‘fundamental building block’ for magick. What are thoughts made of, after all? And there seems to be no requirement for physically proximate chains of events, etc, unless we restrict ourselves to it. Thoughts don’t seem to be “made from parts”.

In fact, it turned out that even everyday objects are not “made from” atoms and particles. It’s more accurate to say that atoms are temporary forms arising from, as shapes of, a background field – i.e. not “made from parts” either.

So, it might be that we have to invent a new building block, and create a more reliable magick based on that, if we want to have a more ‘scientific’ subject. The people who do that would be “working on the compiler”. Once that was “debugged”, then your everyday person could use it as a reliable, repeatable, verifiable process. (This does sound similar to the creation of a globally accessible thought-form by another name, but the aim would be different to the aim of, say, a Chaos Magick approach.)

Another way would be to view it as some people creating particular “manifestation pathways” which, once established, can then be used easily by others. There would tend to be a mix of ‘discovered’ structures repurposed and customised ones involved, as I imagine it.

(This is how I tend to see Mike’s Direct Magick as working in effect. Mike can correct me if that’s not how it is!)

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George April 30, 2014 at 5:20 AM

One possible model for this working, might incorporate something along the lines of Rupert Sheldrake’s somewhat controversial “morphic resonance” theory. Relevant quote:

“New systems should show an increasing tendency to come into being the more often they are repeated. They should become increasingly probable; they should happen more easily as time goes on. For example, when a new chemical compound is synthesized by research chemists and crystallized, it may take a long time for the crystal to form for the first time. There is no pre-existing morphic field for the lattice structure. But when the first crystals form, they will make it easier for similar crystals to appear anywhere in the world. The more often the compound is crystallized, the easier it should be to crystallise.”

http://www.noetic.org/noetic/issue-four-november-2010/morphic-fields-and-morphic-resonance/

The sounds quite similar to the idea of establishing “manifestation pathways” I think. If we could get to the bottom of how such pathways are created, and so do it efficiently, that would be powerful.

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Mike Sententia April 30, 2014 at 2:10 PM

@Ananael Great way to put it, working on the compiler vs higher-level programming languages.

@George I’m going to respond to all your comments here.

It’s fascinating, seeing how someone would view Direct Magick through a Chaos Magick lens. When you ask if you got something right, I keep wanting to go back to the Thought post (https://magickofthought.com/2014/04/magick-thought-and-transistors) — it’s not that I disagree with any particular thing you said, it’s that the way you’re organizing the world reveals some differences in our fundamental assumptions about what’s going on.

On passive vs active magick: Will, intent, and thought do not feature in Direct Magick. All of those are just the subjective experience of nerves firing. And, yes, it’s important to think as you do magick, just like it’s important to think as you play music or write stories or do anything else, but thought isn’t an external thing that directly affects the world. If your system of magick uses “thought” as an external thing, then when I write, just replace my word “thought” with “nerves firing in the brain,” and I think you’ll see what I mean.

(Let’s assume there is a specific external thing that you’re pointing to when you say “thought.” This will have a different term in Direct Magick. At first brush, your “thought” seems to refer to a combination of my techniques for sending instructions to ethereal software, plus the ethereal software’s actions to fulfill those instructions. Could be wrong, though.)

On mental forms: Most systems of magick focus on things to think about to get our intent to the unconscious mind. You focus on an image, or do a ritual, or temporarily adopt a belief, then your unconscious picks up on that and does its thing to fulfill that request. So I can see why you think of connections and energy and ethereal software as mental forms — ways to signal intent to the unconscious.

But Direct Magick is different in this regard. In Direct Magick, we take our ethereal muscles (that’s our term for the normally-unconscious parts of the mind responsible for magick), and we make them conscous. Similar idea as bio-feedback. Then, we see what they do to fulfill our intents, and take those basic operations and build new techniques from them. It turns out, connections and energy describe most of what our ethereal muscles do. Then you have ethereal software, which refers to the same external objects as Chaos Magick’s egregores, but with different connotations to the term.

In other words, in Direct Magick, we say that these things are actually out there. You could even call connections and energy the atoms of magick, though I don’t think we’re quite there yet.

But, if you want to view Direct Magick from a Chaos Magick perspective, then I suppose it would make sense to call this a belief that happens to produce particularly effective healing, and a few other things. You might then ask why. (My answer: Because it describes useful features of the external world in particularly accurate ways.)

On manifestation pathways: This is the first time I’ve seen this term, and google doesn’t turn anything up, but I’m going to assume you mean, “You ask for money, and one pathway is inheritance, another is winning the lottery, and a third pathway is a better job.”

You can do that with Direct Magick, by using more precise commands with your manifesting ethereal software, but this really isn’t my focus. The “Direct” part of Direct Magick is about how you interact with your ethereal muscles (consciously and directly, rather than with visualizations) and your ethereal software (by consciously sending instructions, rather than leaving everything unconscious). It’s also that we often do healings and other magick without ethereal software, by instead directly connecting to the person and manipulating their energy and connections and other structures.

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George May 1, 2014 at 4:21 AM

Thanks for that.

“Manifestation Pathway” – Something like introducing a new ‘way things work’ that can be reused. Probably corresponds to something like using one piece of “ethereal software” verses another in your model now I think about it, although one isn’t necessarily creating it explicitly like an object.

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