Posts Tagged ‘Accuracy’

Is Your Idea a ‘Might Be’ or an ‘Is’?

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit

How to tell the difference between an accurate understanding, and an idea that might be.

Most people live at “might be” when they model magick: Belief might alter reality. Your unconscious might instinctively know how magick works. Magick might operate by altering quantum probabilities.

A “might be” is a plausible story that lets your mind stop being curious. But it doesn’t let you do anything. Either it’s so vague it doesn’t suggest any new techniques (which quantum probabilities does magick alter?), or you just avoid thinking through the implications (if belief alters reality, why aren’t schizophrenics powerful mages?). Either way, a “might be” doesn’t open up new insights. It just lets you keep doing what you’re already doing without being nagged by “why.”

The other pole is “is.” If your model predicts behaviors, and you test them, that’s an “is.” If you use sensory connections to directly observe each step as you do magick, that’s an “is” too. “Is” covers anything you know because, if it weren’t true, that would contradict your own experiences.

When I say that psychic intuitions come from a system, that’s not something I heard somewhere. I know it because I’ve worked with psychics, followed the connections from the systems, and seen the information coming in. I know it’s true because I’ve seen it for myself.

Don’t confuse “seen it for myself” with “that’s what I visualize when I do magick.” Your mind creates visualizations based on what you already believe is true. They’re projections, not observations.

So how do you tell the difference between “might be” and “is”?

You can’t rely on a person’s words. I’d say “Psychic intuitions come from systems,” and someone else would say “Magick works by altering quantum probabilities.” Everyone phrases their model as “is” instead of “might be.”

I actually use “might be” for ideas I haven’t tested yet. So maybe it’s a reverse-indicator: If someone says “might be,” it means that the rest of the time, their “is” really means it. But I wouldn’t rely on that.

You also can’t tell by what a person says. You could say “psychic information comes from systems,” and be thinking about all the times you’ve seen the connection and followed the information. Someone else could repeat your words, but if they don’t have those experiences, it’s just a “might be” for them. The “is”-ness lies in the reason behind the belief, not the belief itself.

So, how to tell the difference? Ask what their next question is.

A person living at “might be” won’t have one. The whole point of the explanation is to quiet their curiosity — to avoid having a next question.

But a person living at “is” tries to see the holes in their model so they can ask questions, develop a better understanding and better techniques. That’s the whole point of the model.

A few examples of my next questions:

  • Energy Healing: Energy signatures seem to affect how cells behave over time. I’d love to test this with some cultures in petri dishes.
  • Communication: When I draw signatures from my mind, how do I adjust them so that, when I place them in someone else’s mind, they produce the same thoughts?
  • Systems: How does the underlying operating system that drives the system’s logic work?

But the real point of this isn’t to categorize the person you’re talking to. It’s to figure out whether your own ideas are “might be” or “is.”

So, what’s your next question?

Related Ideas

I drew some of these ideas from the Less Wrong blog. See semantic stopsigns and mysterious answers for more.

If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at