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Actually, what are spirits, from a Direct Magick point of view? Not the old-god-like interpretation from other traditions? Or just body-free, “mental-only” beings in general?
In a move that will surprise no one, I’m going to reach for a computer metaphor.
Spirits are like artificial intelligences.
I realize, I may have a different view of AIs than many people. I’m friends with AI researchers, read articles on the subject, am somewhat up on the research. So let me walk you through my thinking.
(Note: I’m assuming reductionist materialism in this post. It’s my default worldview. I’m going to assume that’s an accurate worldview for this post. If we start debating materialism, we’ll never get to my views on spirits.)
Intelligence is about information processing. Thoughts, emotions, free will, all that other stuff, that’s our subjective experience of the information processing that happens in our brains.
There’s nothing special about nerves — if you can get the same information processing in transistors or another material, you will have the same intelligence.
Implement that intelligence with nerves and living tissue, and you have a human. Implement it with transistors and silicon, and you have an AI. Implement it with ethereal structures like magickal connections, and you have a spirit.
Who does that implementing? Where do spirits come from? I’m not sure. Maybe some skilled mages upload their brain to ethereal structures and become spirits, like in scifi books where dying people upload their brain to a computer. Maybe spirits make new spirits, then let them learn over time. Both are common templates for artificial intelligence in science fiction, and both make sense for spirits.
There are other possibilities, too. But I find that I get the most traction with those questions when I think of spirits as ethereal artificial intelligences. That’s why I’ve adopted that metaphor.If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.