The Adjacent Possible

by Mike Sententia on November 29, 2015

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In my 20s, I learned a lesson about learning magick, but didn’t have the words to articulate it. Today I learned the term: The adjacent possible.

The term comes from theoretical biologist Stuart Kauffman, who uses it when discussing evolution, to explain how evolution can only find solutions which are exactly one change away from what has already evolved. (The article is challenging but fascinating, by the way.)

The adjacent possible applies to energy healing and magick, too. In my 20s, I developed sensory connections, a connection that absorbs a bit of biofield energy, letting you feel the signature of whatever you connect to. With sensory connections, I found new adjacent possibilities, such as techniques to awaken my ethereal muscles. Then each ethereal muscle I awakened made some aspect of magick a little easier, adding new techniques with energy, connections, communication, and more to the adjacent. Some of those newly-adjacent techniques let me use whole networks of sensory connections, giving a clearer view of the biofield, which in turn added new healing techniques to the adjacent possible. Those better healing techniques enabled new ways to connect to my own brain, which gave me clearer communication with spirits and ethereal software, which added even more to the adjacent possible…

Each technique connects to others in un-anticipate-able ways. Sensory connections don’t just lead to better sensory connections, they lead to awakening ethereal muscles. And healing techniques don’t just lead to more healing techniques, they leads to better communication. But I couldn’t anticipate those connections beforehand.

Which brings us back to my 20s. A decade into exploring magick, I was finally getting the hang of consciously guiding my ethereal muscles through new techniques, new motions they might not perform naturally. And I tried to develop practical applications like manifesting and energy healing, each requiring several building blocks I didn’t yet know. That is, they weren’t adjacent yet. And I couldn’t even see all the steps, since we can often only see what’s adjacent. So I didn’t get anywhere with those techniques.

(Later, after exploring more, I’d return to those techniques and solve them. Because I’d learned more, added more building blocks, and expanded the set of solutions that were adjacent to what I already knew.)

In my 20s, I said I was following my curiosity. But I knew there was more. So I’m excited to be able to articulate the real lesson now: Explore what’s adjacently possible, even if the only reason is curiosity. Each success will add to the adjacent possible. Eventually, practical applications will become adjacent. That’s when to explore them, not before.

(Also, there’s no real way to steer this boat. You can’t head toward manifesting or energy healing, because we simply cannot reliably see non-adjacent steps. So just explore, and the application you seek will become adjacent eventually.)

That’s why I talk about “exploring magick.” Because I rarely know where a technique leads, and my only answer is to explore.

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