Does Magick Work?

Mighty_Emperor

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Re: Re: Re: Mating

Dr X said:
It's a scientific means to access the "higher consciousness" to which magick claims access. That much has been stated in the thread.
Yep I understood that and there are different ways to access this "higher consciousness" I'm unsure what it has to do with the question of "does magic(k) work?".

I think its fascinating subject that potentially touches on a lot of areas of Forteana I'm just unsure this is the best thread to be discussing it as it misses the point and seems to be an example of people arguing past each other.
 
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Mating

Originally posted by Emperor
...I'm unsure what it has to do with the question of "does magic(k) work?"
The relevance is: It's been proposed in-thread that if magick does work, it should be able to demonstrate extraordinary effects, verifiable scientifically. The instances of magick proffered in-thread, however, seem to be mundane actions. Persinger's work is the counter-example: the extraordinary effects expected of magick, verifiable scientifically, but generated non-magickally. The implication is that magick (in the sense the posters were using when the proposition was put forward) does not work, but that science does.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Mating

Dr X said:
The relevance is: It's been proposed in-thread that if magick does work, it should be able to demonstrate extraordinary effects, verifiable scientifically. The instances of magick proffered in-thread, however, seem to be mundane actions. Persinger's work is the counter-example: the extraordinary effects expected of magick, verifiable scientifically, but generated non-magickally. The implication is that magick (in the sense the posters were using when the proposition was put forward) does not work, but that science does.
I would suggest this actually comes back to a lack of a defintion of magic(k).

If we define it as:

I think magic(k) is a ritualised means of achieving higher conciousness.

The we can say that it works. The fact that Persinger's studies (as well as DMT, drilling holes in your head, sensory deprivation, starvation, etc.) can achieve the same effect is the by the by.

Possibly if we went with:

I think magic(k) is a means to access an eternal 'power' which can raise my conciousness (make things happen in my favour that wouldn't usually, etc.).

Then we could argue that a similar effect can be achieved through a variety of different means but does that mean magic(k) doesn't work as it is defined?
 
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Anonymous

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We already had a sense in which we were using the term in the discussion. Redefine it to validate or invalidate whatever theory floats your boat.

I think it's time I bid this thread goodbye. I don't think there's much more I can add. It's been fun. Thanks to one and all for the exercise! :)

Do as thou wilt.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Dr X said:
We already had a sense in which we were using the term in the discussion. Redefine it to validate or invalidate whatever theory floats your boat.
You make some interesting assumptions - I don't have a theory with which to float my boat as I've said I don't think I'm in a positon to formulate a theory. You talk of Persinger's work only addresses JerryB's comments about magic(k) by a way to access a different state of conciousness. Demonstrating other ways of getting their doesn't mean that magic(k) doesn't work - in some ways its like disproving that a car works by showing that a bicycle can get you from A to B.

Also if you'll look back through the thread various people give numerous different interpretations of what they think magic(k) is. In some of those defintions the actually question in the subject of this thread becomes irrelevant because (in some definitons along the lines of: magic(k) allows people to focus their energies on specific goals) if people think it is working then it is.

In fact unless someone is prepared to say they believe that magic(k) can produce actual quantifiable physic(k)al changes then the thread is really:

Q: Does magic(k) work?

A: Well it works for me.

Then again I'm sure my focusing on such things "evidence" is just my scientific coattails poking out ;)
 

FraterLibre

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Metaphysics

If magick is metaphysics, evidence is inapplicable.

If magick is physics, evidence is automatic.

Choose wisely.
 

Alexius4

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I thought the definition of magic was quite clear: to bring about change without recourse to conventional physical, or mechanical means, usually throught the intermediary of some supernatural agency.
If such a definition holds, the matter is physical.

Crowley's refining of this to 'To cause change in accordance with Will' renders the issue philosophical, and encompasses the tradition definition by leaving the range of possibilities for action upon the world open.

Nothing metaphysical about it - either it can be shown to work, or it can't.
 

Twin_Star

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Mating

Dr X said:
The relevance is: It's been proposed in-thread that if magick does work, it should be able to demonstrate extraordinary effects, verifiable scientifically. The instances of magick proffered in-thread, however, seem to be mundane actions. Persinger's work is the counter-example: the extraordinary effects expected of magick, verifiable scientifically, but generated non-magickally. The implication is that magick (in the sense the posters were using when the proposition was put forward) does not work, but that science does.
Just to bring a different focus onto this thread, i am sure everyone here has heard of the old "witch doctor curse", wherein the practitioner "curses" his target, who after a very short time drops down dead.

The most prolific people that practice these types of curses currently are the Australian Aboriginies (sp?). Google for some female tribe members cursing Aussie Premier Howard by pointing Kangaroo bones at him.

Just so that i can produce one piece of collateral, here's a link to The Guardian, that actually goes into one such case, with related timescales, names and i presume referencable locations and the like:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/life/farout/story/0,13028,1305155,00.html

Now Dr X, i am sure you will see this as lamentable savages, so backward in their scientific world-view, that they allow the power of suggestion to claim their lives. Science even has a name for this structure: psychoneuroimmunity.

I, however, have no such preconceptions. I am perfectly happy to accept that whilst Persinger may have conducted many impirically flawless experiments, i put to you his belief that all religio-magical psychological processes stem from manipulation, or exposure to, EM fields is at best flawed, and at worst wildly innacurate and smacking of the typically dismissive scientific hubris that permeates some sections of the field.

Secondly, and this is for my personal edification only, what the hell kind of alarm clock has a powerful enough EM field to affect the human brain?!?

Bottom line is that sometimes magic does produce results, and in some cases these are "lethal actions at a distance"

over and out...
 

Jerry_B

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Persinger's work still relies on EM to make his theory work, whether it be EM fields created in his lab or (theoretically) by EM fields on the ground. IMHO this still doesn't explain all situations within which the 'higher gear' can be experienced. As such experiences seem similar (and perhaps related to) to Maslow's 'Peak Experiences', it seems to point to such things being something that can be invoked due to some effort. You don't necessarily have to expose yourself to an EM field (knowingly or unknowlingly) for it to occur.
 

FraterLibre

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Still A Choice

If the cursed person dies the atheistic materialists will say it was "suggestion" and the magical thinkers will say "magic".

Alexius wrote: "I thought the definition of magic was quite clear: to bring about change without recourse to conventional physical, or mechanical means, usually throught the intermediary of some supernatural agency. If such a definition holds, the matter is physical."

Uh, no. This definition is squarely metaphysical. Note the word "supernatural". That places it outside physics.

Now, what if the "intermediary" is simply the fact that All is One, No Separation?

Oh, drat, there's that pesky philosophy thing again.

It'd be amusing if it weren't tiresome. Why not, instead of talking, simply choose the method that most appeals to you, and TRY it?

Then decide what happened if and when you get to the point where something "works" for you. Nothing will change, you know. The materialists will still say one thing, the magical thinkers will still say another.

This can't be parsed, folks. It's exactly the same as all else: It happens, then we must subjectively decide how to think about it. And it's there that we all fail.
 

Alexius4

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Uh, no. This definition is squarely metaphysical. Note the word "supernatural". That places it outside physics.


'Metaphysics', as I understand it, is concerned with the question of origins, and by extention purpose. Where do we come from, where are we & where are we going? The only reason the word 'Physics' is part of the compound is that the scholatic philosophers noted that Aristotle's discussion of this issue followed his treatment of physics in the canon.

If I say 'magic is x, y & z', I am making an ontological assertion; such a thing exists, and furthermore possesses these characteristics. Such an assertion is testable, even if it be in terms of an examination of how the concept has been formed and applied.

Not much metaphysical about any of that.

It'd be amusing if it weren't tiresome. Why not, instead of talking, simply choose the method that most appeals to you, and TRY it?


Quite. What we cannot resolve through discourse, we can only resolve through experience. Amused you seem to believe you are the only one to have taken such a line, or that those who disagree are all talk without action. I'm also amused by sarcasm - but then aren't clowns always amusing?

Tiresome. Indeed.
 

FraterLibre

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Disassembling the Dissembling: Plaid Alert!

Originally posted by Alexius

'Metaphysics', as I understand it, is concerned with the question of origins, and by extention purpose. Where do we come from, where are we & where are we going? The only reason the word 'Physics' is part of the compound is that the scholatic philosophers noted that Aristotle's discussion of this issue followed his treatment of physics in the canon.

If I say 'magic is x, y & z', I am making an ontological assertion; such a thing exists, and furthermore possesses these characteristics. Such an assertion is testable, even if it be in terms of an examination of how the concept has been formed and applied.

Not much metaphysical about any of that.

--Except in your original formulation you said: "I thought the definition of magic was quite clear: to bring about change without recourse to conventional physical, or mechanical means, usually throught the intermediary of some supernatural agency. If such a definition holds, the matter is physical."

--Again, do we not see that pesky word "supernatural" in your formulation? Or that lovely phrase "intermediary of some supernatural agency" to be even more precisely metaphysical. Beyond physics. Outside the realm of physics. Supernatural. You see?


What we cannot resolve through discourse, we can only resolve through experience. Amused you seem to believe you are the only one to have taken such a line,

--Who ever said that? Who would ever be so absurd as to assert such a specious bit of nonsense? I cite predecessors all the time and defer to others' experiences all the time. Wishful thinking is interfering with the plain old ordinary kind of thinking, it seems.

or that those who disagree are all talk without action.

--Feeling paranoid? lol I never said or even hinted any such thing. Straw men are such fun to knock down, though, aren't they?

I'm also amused by sarcasm - but then aren't clowns always amusing?

--I don't know, not being a clown. You tell us. I thought they were scary and, in point of fact, linked to Sufi otherworldliness, but hey, that's research, not another sad attempt to ridicule an opposing view by smearing it with unwarranted ad hominem attacks.

--Rather reminds me of the Bush-Cheney debate tactics and subsequent shell-game cover-ups. lol Plaid Alert!
 

FraterLibre

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Small Thought

"The supernatural is a failure of the human imagination and an insult to the majesty of the real."
--Edward Abbey
 

FraterLibre

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Lots of Editing

Wow, lots of posts vanishing.

Emperor wrote: "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."

That's damned good. I shall digest this but it's a very good summation. The only quibble so far is "ritualized" as, of course, there are more kinds of magick than just ritual or ceremonial, but that's minor.

May I quote this by the way, Emperor?
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Re: Lots of Editing

FraterLibre said:
Emperor wrote: "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."

That's damned good. I shall digest this but it's a very good summation. The only quibble so far is "ritualized" as, of course, there are more kinds of magick than just ritual or ceremonial, but that's minor.

May I quote this by the way, Emperor?
You just have (but feel free to have my retroactive permission ;) ). It was just one defintion amongst many but it was how I felt a number of people were defining magic(k) (and is pretty much my understanding of such things as "The Satanic Bible"). I am curious though: without a ritual/ceremonial aspect what makes this magic(k)al? It would then be little more than a form of fancy self help guidance which is available from a number of sources.

The personal vs impersonal worldview is interesting as I do feel that people are more interested in magic(k) as defined above, various New Age therapies, etc. as a reaction to the the impersonal worldview that science brings with it and those kinds of things are a way some people wrestle back some kind of semblance of control over events (hence the bit about causality). I have an interesting quote I found the other day along these lines but that will have to wait until I can scan it in.

Alexius said:
I thought the definition of magic was quite clear: to bring about change without recourse to conventional physical, or mechanical means, usually throught the intermediary of some supernatural agency.
This would be what I would have defined as magic(k) before reading this thread but is certainly not how a number of people define it here. I suppose there are probably as many definitions of magic(k) as there are practioners (probably more so). unfortunately that doesn't get us much further on.

TMS said:
Just to bring a different focus onto this thread, i am sure everyone here has heard of the old "witch doctor curse", wherein the practitioner "curses" his target, who after a very short time drops down dead.

The most prolific people that practice these types of curses currently are the Australian Aboriginies (sp?). Google for some female tribe members cursing Aussie Premier Howard by pointing Kangaroo bones at him.

Just so that i can produce one piece of collateral, here's a link to The Guardian, that actually goes into one such case, with related timescales, names and i presume referencable locations and the like:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/life/farout/story/0,13028,1305155,00.html
If people are interested it this is discussed in this thread:

http://www.forteantimes.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=17761

and this does show a previous answer - "magic(k) works if people think it does" (at least under some of the definitions here).
 

FraterLibre

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Eek

Oh please, I beg thee, not The Satanic Bible, it's entirely plagiarism pilfered from equal parts John Dee and Ayn Rand and LaVey was a charlatan out for a hedonist's free ride.

I quibble at ceremony because ceremonial magick is different from sympathetic magick is different from evocative magick is different from Crowleyan magick, (some types), is different from Alchemical magick is differnt from...

As I said, small quibble.

One aspect that touches upon the supernatural is the fact that magick often leads one into experiences one cannot easily decide upon or parse. In other words, was it supernatural? Did it just seem that way? Was it illusion or real? What is meant by real? etc.

Synchronicity is an example. When a mage studies a given topic often needed or related research items will appear as needed, unbidden. Yes, could just be selective perception at times but at other times entirely unexpected things happen that fit perfectly into what one is doing. It's unnerving at times.

Crowley did this when he contacted Aiwass and also when he channeled the Book of the Law. He never thereafter could decide whether it was his subconcious, an actual Other, or what. He died not knowing.

This may or may not argue that it was, or was not, a genuine touch beyond what most of us ever experience or know. Or not. lol

And that's magick. Isn't it?

Perhaps that's also why so much of it is couched in seeming gibberish -- it is ineffable, rather like beauty, or poetry, or any ideal.
 
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Re: Eek

FraterLibre said:
...

And that's magick. Isn't it?

Perhaps that's also why so much of it is couched in seeming gibberish -- it is ineffable, rather like beauty, or poetry, or any ideal.
Ineffable poetry?

Such stuff exists, of course. :rofl:
 

FraterLibre

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True

LOL - true, but it's the execrable stuff we tend to be stuck with these days, especially when it comes to rock lyrics and, far worse, Wiccan redes...

Talk about barking doggerel.
 

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Re: Eh?

FraterLibre said:
McCartney?

Saint?

Prudhomme?

Who is this mysterious Paul?
Daniels. Dimunitive British magician whose torturously uttered catchphrases include: "You'll like this... not a lot..." and (at the fianle) [And/Now] "That's magic".
 
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Re: Re: Eh?

The Yithian said:
Daniels. Dimunitive British magician whose torturously uttered catchphrases include: "You'll like this... not a lot..." and (at the fianle) [And/Now] "That's magic".
Unfortunately, 'The Fianle', once Dublin's premiere magic theatre, closed down several years ago.

It's thought that Orson Welles learned something of his remarkable prestidigious skill there, as a young man.

'Fianle': 'trickery' was anglicised into 'finagle' sometime in the 19th century.

;)
 
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Anonymous

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I think perhaps there is real magic, or can be, but it's risky to meddle with.
A more common and obtainable power is 'magic' consisting of hypnosis (that kind of thing)-illusiory stuff, and herbalism (well, homeopathy in general)-remedies and healing.
 

FraterLibre

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Fear Unfounded

This cringing attitude toward magick presupposes there is a "force" of some kind "out there" that will "fly out of control" -- Sorceror's Apprentice style -- if we "meddle with what we don't understand".

This is of course just malarkey intended to ward off the mildly and idly curious, who make a hash of things.

All is one, no separation. There is no Out There. If it is anywhere, it is everywhere. Including in each of us.

What ever it may be in one's individual lexicon.

Fearing "it" is fearing one's self.

And given human nature, that's not a bad idea.

Consider Faust.
 
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Anonymous

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ive always thought that bad things happen to bad people
personally ive found if i do somthing, that i know is wrong,it always comes back to haunt me eventually
for me this balancing of right/wrong points to possibly the scorce of magic.
ive no idea why theres seems to be a balance but there is,sugesting its either some kind of collective subconciousness or possibly nature itself if such a thing can be...
 

FraterLibre

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Culture Relativism

consider, though, that what you consider bad another may consider perfectly okay, and this varies widely culture to culture. Negative energy, though, such as guilt, may well attract like energy, or program our subconscious minds to sabotage us, etc.

Accidents happen, but much more rarely than we think, and coincidence is simply another word for lesson.
 
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