Does Magick Work?

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Anonymous

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Originally posted by JerryB
Far be it from me to come to Crowley's defence, but I don't think he's done that at all. ... In that quote of his that you've used, he seems to be making the assertion that the Will can produce an effect in nature. This isn't the same as just what we would ordinarily call 'willpower'.
OK. Let's have a look at the rest of Crowley's passage (so to speak):
We must not exclude potato-growing or banking from our definition. Let us take a very simple example of a Magical Act: that of a man blowing his nose.
Mundane actions with the label "Magical Act" applied.

Now, if I remember correctly, a few posts ago you and I were in agreement that mundane acts such as drinking a G&T weren't magick. Potato-growing, banking, and blowing one's nose all fall into the same category of mundane acts. Have you changed your position?
 
A

Anonymous

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Originally posted by JerryB
If you mean Persinger's work, then I'd argue that he's only pointed at the possibility of some phenomena being (a) caused by certain influences via an exterior force, and (b) what this affects in the brain. I wouldn't say his proven it all in a wider sense to be wholly a matter of brain function, but instead hinted at what may be going on in some situations.
I do think you're minimising Persinger's work there. He has done more than pointed at a possibility; he has produced the actuality. He has done more than hint; he has detailed a method.

Yes, his work has studied only a finite number of situations. That's the nature of experimentation, given finite time, energy, funding, and subjects. One studies what one can and generalises from there. You do the same when you conclude from your own finite experiences that the rest of the world must be a particular way.

Persinger's generalisation from the finite trials he's conducted is that brainwaves are sufficient to produce the phenomenon. As I said earlier, you can add whatever subjective meaning you like on top of it, seasoning to taste. But it's unnecessary.
 
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Anonymous

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Originally posted by AndroMan
I have a radio. If I switch it on and place it next to a device which produces a powerful electromagnetic field, it hums and buzzes very loudly.

Based on that demonstration, tell me what the radio is for. :D
(Sorry, AndroMan, didn't mean to ignore your post! I just didn't see it there. My goof.)

Based on your demonstration, I would say the radio is for the interception of electromagnetic waves and their conversion into electricity and, eventually, sound. All of which it does very well.

Further, I can tell you that the device producing the electromagnetic field is running on AC voltage, which is necessary for the production of radio waves.

Sorry, I don't see your point.

Originally posted by AndroMan
Nice to see the bio-electrical mechanics of mind and brain are all so well understood, nowadays. It would be nice to see a scientific explanation of why the brain works that way.
The short version is that neurons produce electro-chemical impulses.
 

Jerry_B

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Dr X - no, I'm not backtracking on the whole 'G&T drinking=magick' etc. thing. As far as Crowley is concerned, sometimes he seems to be 'on the ball' and at other times he seems to not make much sense (if one takes into account his work in general and what he seemed to want to do with his ideas).

As for Persinger's work, when has he produced an actuality along the same lines as the sort of things I've described as the 'high gear'? And has he been able to invoke such a thing without the use of strong EM fields in close proximity to the brain? I think, as I've said, that he's shown how some of the wiring may work, but I don't think he's defined the whole thing down to mechanisms.

Aside from that, one has to ask why the 'high gear' state arises or exists - is it illusory, or does it perhaps point to some higher brain function? I mention this as, when it kicks off, it doesn't seem to make the experiencer 'spaced out' but (for some as yet unknown reason) provides extreme amounts of clarity on a variety of levels. From my own personal experience, it doesn't seem to be like the sort of 'revelatory' experiences one can have under the influence of certain drugs, so it's not 'trippy' in any sense.
 

Jerry_B

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Re: It's Getting Worse

FraterLibre said:
Maybe it's the weather but there is a strong strain of CSICOP style debunkery cropping up lately, as well as disengenuous "deconstructionism" that would do Derrida and his sick coterie proud.

Stealing art from the artist is tres chic in stateside academia these days. Fascism's corollary no doubt.
You may have to explain what you mean...
 

bringerofbroom

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first rule of discussion... dont try to have a logical discussion with a believer - of any kind.

( steps back to avoid the flame )





...if i ever win the lottery, i plan to go to the top of a mountain wearing copper armour in a thunderstorm and shout 'all gods are [email protected]!...
 

Jerry_B

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Then what's the point of making any posts here, Frater Libre...? :rolleyes:

Being an artist myself, I wouldn't say it was a 'rule' to not explain what you mean.
 
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Read Back

I've explained over and over.

Not my job to start over for ever neo or debunker.

As for belief, not I. I don't want to have to believe. I want to know.

And by the way, the example of passing the salt has been used, disengenuously, when all it stood for was a simple example. Try a more comlex one, such as willing one's self to become President, say.

Gee, suddenly it's not so mundane, or EVERYbody could do it, hm?
 

bringerofbroom

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i think an analogy that works for me for what is being discussed here is a computer one :


What is actually happening ( the underlying real physics ) is equivalent of machine code.

Science is a programming language.

Magic is a pretty front-end. its own internal logic might not mesh with the underlying physics, but it is there to be easy for the user to understand interactions with the underlying physics.

so really, magic is the equivalent of MAC OS, Religion is Windows in its many versions, and science is Linux, put together by a group of peers constantly arguing over which is the best way to use a particular bit of underlying structure, but generally doing a good job of describing that underlying structure.
 

Jerry_B

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Magic and religion haven't been very far removed from each other, historically speaking. It's only through the lens of christianity that certain areas have become heretical or excluded - but christianity is only one religion out of very many, and has it's own particular foibles. Magic and religion sit together much more comfortably elsewhere.
 
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Anonymous

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bringerofbroom said:
so really, magic is the equivalent of MAC OS, Religion is Windows in its many versions, and science is Linux, put together by a group of peers constantly arguing over which is the best way to use a particular bit of underlying structure, but generally doing a good job of describing that underlying structure.
If religion is Windows, XP Service Pack 2 is the Anti-Christ.
 
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Anonymous

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Originally posted by AndroMan
I hazard to say that I could have predicted that. :)
No, really, I didn't understand your question. I would have a shot at answering it if you would clarify it.
 
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Anonymous

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Dr X said:
No, really, I didn't understand your question. I would have a shot at answering it if you would clarify it.
That's alright, the question was meant rhetorically. :)
 
A

Anonymous

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Originally posted by JerryB
As far as Crowley is concerned, sometimes he seems to be 'on the ball' and at other times he seems to not make much sense (if one takes into account his work in general and what he seemed to want to do with his ideas).
Amen to that.

Originally posted by JerryB
As for Persinger's work, when has he produced an actuality along the same lines as the sort of things I've described as the 'high gear'?
That's a fair question.

In his paper "Religious and mystical experiences as artifacts of temporal lobe function: a general hypothesis", Persinger describes experiences that:
...exist along a continuum that ranges from "early morning highs" to recurrent bouts of conversion and dominating religiosity.
In particular he mentions: "intense meaningfulness", "peak experiences", "altered body perceptions", "out-of-body experiences", "the voice of a god or a spirit creature giving instructions", "peacefulness", "waves of energy permeating the body", "the special personal significance of chance events", "the conviction that something meaningful and intensely personal has happened", and "convictions of cosmic communion".

He also mentions that "Stimuli that are not typically detected by the person may be registered during [these events]", i.e. greater-than-usual clarity.

One aspect of "higher consciousness" that's been mentioned more than once in this thread (and elsewhere) is an encounter with an Other. Persinger routinely induces in subjects the experience of the presence of an apparently sentient being, as noted by his various papers, e.g. his paper "Experimental elicitation of the experience of a sentient being...". Subjects have variously described the experience as mystical, or a ghost, or even an alien abductor. The description varies across subjects' cultural context and personal history.

In one particular paper, "Experiences of spiritual visitation...", Persinger studied a subject's nightly visitations in their bedroom by an apparently sentient presence which the subject named "the Holy Spirit". The visitations included sensations of the bed vibrating, penetration of the subject's body by the presence, inner bodily sensations, and a sense of an invisible child superimposed on the subject's left shoulder. The experiences correlated with the EM fields leaking from the subject's bedside alarm clock.


Originally posted by JerryB
And has he been able to invoke such a thing without the use of strong EM fields in close proximity to the brain?
He has reported the invocation of such experiences without the use of strong EM. His paper "Experiences attributed to Christ and Mary at Marmora, Ontario" reports on religious experiences of individuals and groups on a particular hilltop over a period of years. The experiences correlated with changes in local weak natural magnetic fields.

Persinger's general hypothesis is:
...that religious and mystical experiences are normal consequences of spontaneous biogenic stimulation of temporal lobe structures.
He notes "A range of precipitating factors exist", including: fatigue, social isolation, peaks or shifts in circadian rhythms, music, smells, rocking, fasting, hypoxia, certain psychedelic drugs, intense pain, direct stimulation of nerves by yoga positions, and two particular life-crises: the anticipation of one's own death, and the loss of a loved one.

He also lists techniques that facilitate the controlled occurrence of the events he's discussing: mantras, repetition of sounds, relaxation, certain dietary changes, nonsense words, foreign languages, special phrases, group camaraderie, and in particular, metaphorical language.

So, not just EM. :)

Persinger also notes that the experiences he describes can be conditioned, i.e. learned.

Originally posted by JerryB
I think, as I've said, that he's shown how some of the wiring may work, but I don't think he's defined the whole thing down to mechanisms.
With all respect and goodwill, I don't think you can say that without reading his papers. Which I suggest you do if you're interested. I've done all the Persinger explication I care to for the moment. :snore:
 
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Zen

A Zen answer that would make any sensei smile.

Has anyone willed themselves into a million dollars yet, or the Presidency, (such as it remains), or other wonderments, such as becoming a better, more awake and aware -- cognizant -- person?

Questions, not answers.
 
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Anonymous

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Re: And the answer is... All This still has very little to d

Dr X said:
Q: Does magick work?
A: (blows nose)
Dr X, don't you see any concurrence between Persinger's work on the brain, as described by yourself above, and the 'radio in an electromagnetic field' analogy?

(not a rhetorical question)
 
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Anonymous

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Re: Zen

Originally posted by FraterLibre
Has anyone willed themselves into a million dollars yet, or the Presidency, (such as it remains), or other wonderments, such as becoming a better, more awake and aware -- cognizant -- person?
Have you?
 
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Anonymous

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Re: Re: And the answer is... All This still has very little

Originally posted by AndroMan
Dr X, don't you see any concurrence between Persinger's work on the brain, as described by yourself above, and the 'radio in an electromagnetic field' analogy?

(not a rhetorical question)
(glad to hear it)

They both involve EM induction. Other than that, the radio is carrying out the functions that humans designed it do. Humans didn't design humans, however, so you're comparing a purposive device with a natural organism, which is a bit of a category error.

Why don't you just tell me what it is you see in your analogy.
 
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Anonymous

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Re: Re: Re: And the answer is... All This still has very lit

Dr X said:
(glad to hear it)

They both involve EM induction. Other than that, the radio is carrying out the functions that humans designed it do. Humans didn't design humans, however, so you're comparing a purposive device with a natural organism, which is a bit of a category error.

Why don't you just tell me what it is you see in your analogy.
It's evolution which "designs" humans (unless you're willing to countenance some modified form of Lamarkism), so there's a possibilty that the brain's sensitivity to electromagnetic fields also has a function, which has evolved over time.
 
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Anonymous

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We're getting tangled up in reification here. Yes, EM fields can affect brain functions. Yes, it's (logically) possible (but unsupported) that the brain's responsiveness to EM may have spread throughout the population of our ancestors because it promoted survival. (I'd ask how.) It's just as likely to be the result of some mutation that didn't diminish our ancestors' chances at survival (i.e. a neutral mutation).

It's just as just as likely that the brain responds to EM induction simply because the brain itself conducts EM. A simple wire will respond to EM induction.
 
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Anonymous

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Dr X said:
We're getting tangled up in reification here. Yes, EM fields can affect brain functions. Yes, it's (logically) possible (but unsupported) that the brain's responsiveness to EM may have spread throughout the population of our ancestors because it promoted survival. (I'd ask how.) It's just as likely to be the result of some mutation that didn't diminish our ancestors' chances at survival (i.e. a neutral mutation).

It's just as just as likely that the brain responds to EM induction simply because the brain itself conducts EM. A simple wire will respond to EM induction.
More, or less, how I expected you to reply.
 
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Mating

Parts of this discussion are the conversational equivalent of a monkey attempting to mate with a great ape. Or maybe a lemur trying to make a baby with a rhinoceros.

Something like that.
 
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Anonymous

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Originally posted by AndroMan
More, or less, how I expected you to reply.
If you can predict me so well, maybe next time you'll proffer the details up front and save my fingers all that typing. :cool:
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Re: Mating

FraterLibre said:
Parts of this discussion are the conversational equivalent of a monkey attempting to mate with a great ape. Or maybe a lemur trying to make a baby with a rhinoceros.

Something like that.
Now that I'd pay to see!!

Now as interesting as Persinger's work is I really can't see what it has to do with magic(k).

I suppose we may have stumbled into this territory because the debate seems to have gone around and around and really we aren't much further on from when lizard23 gave their overview here:

http://www.forteantimes.com/forum/newreply.php?s=&action=newreply&postid=84941

I'm not sure why but I suspect that is because its not really clear what is being discussed - I don't think we have even agreed on what we are talking about when we refer to magic(k) and until that happens everyone will be arguing past each other or disproving things that no one believes.

So in less than 50 words complete this sentence:

"I think magic(k) is......"

I'll start:

I think magic(k) is a ritualised system for (re)configuring an individual's concepts of causality into a less impersonal world view, a tool for empowerment and means to channel one's energies towards goals.

(28 words but that shoiuld do for now).
 
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Anonymous

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Re: Re: Mating

Originally posted by Emperor
Now as interesting as Persinger's work is I really can't see what it has to do with magic(k).
It's a scientific means to access the "higher consciousness" to which magick claims access. That much has been stated in the thread.
 
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