Of Weights and Measures, and the S Word

The History of Astrophysics

I’ve been reading up on the history of astrophysics. Astrophysics is pretty interesting, to me at least, because just 100 years ago it really wasn’t a science. It was just a bunch of guys taking readings and speculating about how the universe worked. Some of that speculation was genius. Some turned out to be completely wrong.

Back then, to be an astrophysicist, you didn’t really need to be a scientist. Some of the pioneers had university degrees and were well learned, but others weren’t. All you really needed to be an astrophysicist was a nice telescope, or you had to work for someone that had one.

To these early pioneers it must have seemed impossible for astrophysics to ever be a real science. We hadn’t yet breached outerspace, and these early astrophysicists were trying to figure out the science behind systems that were sometimes millions of light years away.

But there were some really smart people. They found the right measurements to take, sometimes because they were looking for it, and sometimes by accident. They were able to infer data from those measurements, match up a model of the universe that is consistent with how we understand the natural forces of physics, and by and by astrophysics became a scientific discipline. It’s now a complicated subject with a variety of specialties and various university degrees. Almost all of the great contributions in the field from the current generation have been made by those with a degree in astrophysics or a related field, usually a doctorate degree.

Nearly all sciences seem to have started out this way. They weren’t initially a science, at least not as we know them today. They started out, pretty much, as a sort of philosophy, and it’s no coincidence that the earliest recorded Western scientists were the Greek philosophers. Science always begins with a bunch of guys doing experiments and making observations to help them understand how things work, the practice, and then formulating various hypotheses and theories to put their understanding into words, the theory. As the theory and practice builds, empirical evidence starts top present itself, and these philosophies start drifting more and more into being sciences, until eventually they turn into the current complicated messes requiring special degrees.

The reason why I’m talking about astrophysics is because that early stage it was at 100 years ago, where it wasn’t really a science but more a philosophy, is where I see magic today. Right now we’re a bunch of guys trying to piece together a philosophy that works through personal practice and theory. As practicing magicians, it’s a pretty neat time to be involved with magic, because right now anyone that is practicing magic and contributing to the collective theory may end up being a major contributor to a future branch of science. And I don’t mean a major contributor in the sense of Hawkings, or someone else of Hawkings caliber who maybe isn’t so famous. I mean a contributor at the caliber of Newton or Aristotle.

Weights and Measures

With astrophysics, the transition from philosophy to science happened because of a convergence of different things. Better technology, in terms of telescopes, and a better general understanding of physics were key components, but they weren’t necessary. Even if the improvements on the telescope had stalled at some point, and even if physics were not as well developed, astrophysics may still have made that leap. With every philosophy turned science though there is one key component that is so vital that the field cannot evolve without it, measurement. Every field has been developed into a science only after there is something to measure, a means to measure it, and a unit to express that measurement in.

Once these things are established, we then have some empirical evidence that we can chart and graph and feed into equations. It allows us to develop the field mathematically, to discover previously unknown relationships, to better explore the field through a comparison of what we expect to see and what we actually see, and it also allows for laboratory conditions, independent verification, and repeatable experiments.

So far this lack of measurement has been the biggest stumbling block in the evolution of magic as a scientific field. The advent of a measurement system is the key event that will catapult magic into the realm of science. Anyone wanting to make waves into the study of magic should seriously consider attempting to develop a system of measurement. That will be the single most important contribution to the field in the history of the world.

A lot of people have already realized this, and this has led to two schools of thought on the development of a measurement system, neither of which has shown any progress.

The first school of thought involves measurements of correlation. This is very big among the paranormal investigators/parapsychologists/ghostbusters schools. Basically we take something we can already measure, and see how those measurements vary when taken during a magical working or paranormal event. Things like temperature and EMPs are commonly measured.

So far the best these measurements of correlation have been able to achieve are abnormal measurements. These are measurements that are different than what is expected. However they’re not different in any expected way. Ergo the room doesn’t automatically drop between five and eight degrees when a ghost enters. It doesn’t automatically drop even, some experiments have it increasing in temperature. The data varies so wildly that we can’t peg a difference in measurement to any sort of paranormal activity.

These are really just stabs in the dark. Usually the practitioner isn’t sure exactly what is being measured, or even if, say, a ghost were really in the room, or if the magical operation were successful and not pure hokum. Theories as to how and why a metaphysical event would affect what is being measured are usually purely speculative hypotheses which are rarely predictive when put into practice.

We’re taking measurements, and hoping, like the astrophysicists of yore, that we’ll happen upon a measurement that will finally tie something together, and give us the first step towards empirical evidence and actual science. Unfortunately it’s a crap shoot, and thus far we’ve failed miserably to come up with anything of any use. The technology to take these measurements is getting cheaper, and as more and more magicians start taking measurements, there’s a better chance that someone will stumble upon something and win that lottery. However there’s no guarantee that there’s anything to find, or that we’re taking the right measurements. The continued lack of any success is making me believe that this is most likely a fool’s errand.

The second school of thought is waiting for a new invention that will accurately measure something we couldn’t measure before. Of course the most important thing to measure would be magical energy. Once we can measure energy, assuming even the most common theories are correct, measuring magic will be a cinch.

Unfortunately this will never happen, not like they thing anyways. No one is going to serendipitously figure out a way to measure magical energy. Even if they did accidentally invent a device that could do that, they wouldn’t know what they were measuring, or that they were measuring anything at all.

Imagine that our bodies completely adapted to the temperature of the room, and we had no sense of heat. One day some fellow notices that putting mercury into a glass tube causes it to rise and fall sporadically. Through observation he may be able to determine some things. It’s always lower during the night than during the day. In winter, it’s usually lower, and in summer it’s usually higher. When it rains, it tends to get lower. For every theory he can develop about why the mercury rises, there’s going to be contrary evidence. An unseasonably warm spring may cause the mercury to rise more than it does during the summer, so it’s not activated by the cycle of the seasons. Maybe he notices that it rises a lot when he sticks it in the fire, so he assumes it measures light. But it still goes up in the darkness. In fact, in an enclosed space with no circulation, it may go up more than it does when exposed to the light of the sun or moon. He may notice that if he puts it into food as it cooks, it will tell him when the food is done. But after the food stops cooking, the mercury will go down, even though the food is still cooked.

Without understanding what it is he’s measuring, the thermometer becomes a novelty item, so misunderstood it’s useless for anything other than being a fun toy, or an always mysterious object of scientific inquiry. Coming across an object that can measure energy poses the same difficulties. Even if it does come to fruition, we may never figure out what it is that the object is doing.

The Units Come First

We can’t just go around measuring crap, then making up units. First we have to figure out what we’re measuring, then we make up the units to measure it with. Only after we have all this can we start constructively developing a way to measure it.

We could start with a basic unit of measurement that we’ll call a Crowley (because everyone seems to like Crowley). As with all American units of measurement, we’ll have other units that match up with Crowleys in a manner so convoluted only the initiated can understand the reasoning. So 1 Crowley = 2.5 Grants = 20 Regardies = 1340 Duquettes = 100,000,000,000,000 Levays. Likewise there will be 666 Crowleys in a Super Crowley. The Brits will develop their own unit of measurement, the Waite, with 1 Crowley being equal to 2.145 Kilowaites.

That’s all good and fine, but now that we have our unit of measurement, the Crowley, we need to apply it to something that can be measured.

Measuring Something

We don’t need a measuring device in order to apply our measurement to something. The best part about a Crowley being a made up measurement is that we can say a Crowley equals whatever we want. All we have to do to make a Crowley a valid point of measurement is to apply it to something, then we can use that something as a baseline for measuring other things.

For instance a BTU is equal to the amount of energy needed to heat one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. It is sometimes equated to the amount of energy released by one match. Sure, comparing it to a match is a rough estimation, and not all matches are the same, but if we could do just that with energy, we’d have a starting point.

Some care has to be taken in choosing what to measure. As I see it, there are three core concepts we need to keep in mind when choosing what to use as the baseline for our measurement system.

First we need to keep the act simple. In fact it should be as simple as we can possibly make it. The more complicated the magical operation becomes, or what we’re trying to do with the magical operation, the more we open ourselves up to unforeseen variables and outside influences.    This will only lead to the wild discrepancies we get when we try to measure temperature changes or EMPs. A simple act makes it easier to achieve laboratory conditions. Even if laboratory conditions aren’t completely met, by keeping the act simple we come closer to achieving laboratory conditions than we otherwise would have, and our approximations, though still approximations, are more exact and fluctuate less widely.

Second we need to do something that is observable and measurable. This allows us to both verify that an observation was successful and correlate our measurement of magical energy to other measurements. This means we can’t do something that is, as of today, unmeasurable, such as raise energy, or make someone fall in love with us, or astrally project. Unfortunately these are the sorts of magic that magicians tend to be good at.

What we need to measure is something like moving a chair half an inch through telekinesis, or causing a candle to spontaneously ignite. These tricks are a bit more difficult to do, and even magicians who have succeeded at them have difficulty reproducing the event with any regularity.

Third we need to stay away from probability magic. Percentage shifts are too difficult to measure when we don’t yet possess a verified method of measuring energy. The issue with percentages is regardless of the percentages, the outcome of a successful operation still can’t be determined because an instance of success or failure has no bearing on the outcome future attempts.

For instance, suppose I have a completely unbiased coin that has a true 50/50 chance of coming up heads and tails. If I flip the coin 100 times, there’s no guarantee that the coin will come up heads 50 times, or even about 50 times. Although unlikely, the coin may never come up heads and always come up tails. Even if I use probability shift magic to make that coin come up heads 99% of the time, out of 100 flips, or even ten million flips, it may still come up tails every single time. Under these circumstances it’s impossible to measure the effects of magical influence versus pure luck (although with ten million flips we could, arguably, establish a case for magical influence, but it would be too physically difficult to continue repeating the feat to prove the likelihood of the argument).

The Problems With Magical Energy

Even once we tackle the normal issues with measurement, energy poses new issues when we try to measure it. For one, at least how we understand it today, not all energy is the same. There exists thousands of identified forms of energy. It’s not unlikely that there are millions or even more forms of energy existing in the universe. Each form of energy has its own peculiarities, and would most likely have to be measured differently.

One of the easiest issues to explain is negative versus positive energies. Negative energies, like fear and rage energy, tend to be more wild and more difficult to control. That means that when using these energies to perform a magical act, more energy is lost, therefore more energy must be expended to do the same act. Much less joy energy is needed to light the candle or move the chair than rage energy, since more of the rage energy will be misdirected and lost by the practitioner.

Another issue deals with higher energy versus lower energy. For the most part, positive energy is higher energy, and negative energy is lower energy. These types of energy behave differently. Lower energy has a dissipating affect. It naturally moves towards the lower planes. The affect, as felt, is that it works itself up, it exerts itself, it totally expands its stored power, and then it fades out. Positive energy, on the other hand, draws more of itself into itself. So when there’s some of it, it tends to snowball. So when rage energy leaves your hand, by the time it reaches the chair to move it, it may have died out, and there’s much less energy acting on the chair. In contrast, once joy energy leaves your hand, it should start drawing more joy energy into it from on high, so a larger amount of energy will actually be acting on the chair by the time it moves it.

However energy doesn’t always behave like this. If you build up enough of a negative energy, and are well enough connected to the lower planes, the energy may start snowballing as if it were positive energy, and may even have an adversarial affect on the snowballing effect of positive energy.

None of this should matter though. Whether or not an energy snowballs, or there’s lost energy, the actual energy needed to perform the act should still be a constant, ergo the same amount of energy is being used. The efficiency of the machine (in this case the practitioner), or the energy itself is inconsequential to the measurement being taken. In practice though, energy sensing and manipulation is entirely subjective, and this subjectiveness needs to be taken into account in order to move all aspects of energy manipulation into an objectively verifiable state.

The third issue deals with the somewhat sentient nature of energy. Different energies are better at different things. We can make an energy do whatever we want it to, but it’s always far easier to get an energy to do what it naturally does. This is why, for instance, having the wood of a wand match its purpose is helpful. By their nature, rage energy is destructful, fear energy scatters and inhibits, joy energy is blissful, and love energy is powerful. Making Joy energy destructive is possible, but it’s far more difficult than when using rage energy for the same task, and more than likely it’s going to require a lot more energy.

Solutions, Sort Of.

These issues with energy measurement can be sidestepped by using a specific type of energy. We set the measurement to a specific type of energy, and then we chart variations between the different types of energy. Again though we reach a few problems.

One is that we don’t have a good system of classifying energy. We’re largely dependent on broad approximations. Calling something joy energy should give a competent magician an idea of what I’m referring to. However the energy that I associate as joy energy may not be the same energy they associate as joy energy. In some instances, they can be very different kinds of energy.

The best classification system magicians have ever come up with is a color based classification system. Exact shades of colors should tie to specific energies. Unfortunately with the limited spectrum seen by most humans, a large number of energies are not represented. Also, in order for the color system to work, the shades need to be exact, otherwise we’re still working with broad approximations. In the past this was impossible, but technology has made accurate recreations possible. Still differences in human vision and lighting conditions may still make these classifications approximations.

Secondly we have to take into account the fact that different people are better equipped to deal with different energies. This again adds an element of subjectivity to any experiment, since the practitioners own efficiencies and preferences need to be taken into account.

Special Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, and Magic

One other method to possibly move magic into the realm of science is by using it to fix a major hole in the modern model of physics. Accordingly there are four known forces in the universe, and possibly other unknown forces. These forces are Electromagnetism, Weak Nuclear Force, Strong Nuclear Force, and Gravity. The first three forces are codified and covered under the theories of quantum physics. Gravity, as of today, has not yet been codified with the other three forces, and instead is covered under the theories of special relativity. This hole is the biggest mystery of modern physics.

What’s clear is, even with special relativity in place, gravity isn’t fully understood. Gravity deals with the fact that, for some reason, objects containing mass tend to be attracted towards each other. For ages magicians have been stating in various ways the law of attraction, simplified as like attracts like. The fact that objects containing mass tend to be attracted towards each other, to me anyways, seems like the law of attraction in action. Like is attracting like.

Magical theory could provide the missing link needed to codify Special Relativity with Quantum Mechanics. It would solve a good deal of modern physics’ issues.

The best part of special relativity and quantum mechanics is that a lot of people have already put a lot of work into figuring those things out. A good portion of it has been proven through experimentation, and there’s a good deal more data that has been inferred through observation. Although there are still missing pieces, a lot of that jigsaw puzzle has already been put together. If magic is fitted into modern physics, it will no doubt offer up, nearly instantly, methods of quantification and wholly new theories based on the current information of the sciences.

The problem is, despite using the law of attraction to explain magic, the law isn’t very well understood. There’s never been a concrete reason given as to how or why like attracts like. It’s not common sense. The universe could have just have easily been built upon the premise that opposites attract, or that like things repel each other. If we could unlock and fully understand the law of attraction, it may unlock some of the mysteries of modern physics, and in doing so elevate magic to a science in its own right.

Secret Information and Oaths of Secrecy

I’m going to touch upon this subject ever so briefly. For the most part, I don’t think it’s relevant to the discussion. It’s also something that needs a much bigger explanation than I can give in a handful of paragraphs. I hope to do a much larger post discussing secret information in the near future.

I will say that science is not a game of secrets. It’s dependent on open information and peer review. Furthermore the sciences thrive on working off of the collective knowledge of the human race. From time to time we’ve found it prudent to keep certain technological advancements under wraps, mainly for the purposes of empowering ourselves over others. However, by and large, science has always been based on the fact that we achieve more by everyone working together with the same base of information.

This has been one of the major obstacles with magic. By not sharing data and results, and not encouraging peer review and dissension, magic has remained a philosophy, and it has yet to reach the potential that physics and chemistry has.

The idea of secrecy is already falling apart, and as a result magic is moving closer to becoming a field of science. The more we move towards becoming a science, the more we’re going to throw away the notion of secrecy, and many other worthless superstitions that plague the practice of magic. The more we eliminate secrecy now, the quicker we’ll come to realize the potential of the field.

22 Responses to Of Weights and Measures, and the S Word

  1. “The fact that objects containing mass tend to be attracted towards each other, to me anyways, seems like the law of attraction in action. Like is attracting like.”

    Hah! That right there is worth the price of admission. Excellent observation. It needs some serious thinking about.

  2. michelle says:

    This Blog is absolutely incredible and this particular post sums up many of the reasons. Clear, direct honest communication about Magic with a direct and intelligent purpose. To share information, thoughts, observations and learnings with all who are interested.
    I recently had a very similar discussion with another practitioner regarding the illumination of much of magical workings as the law of attraction and how that law, not fully understood yet, will be tomorrows natural science. I do not think we as humans, even as magical practitioners will ever know the totality of the mystery- but there is so much more yet we can and will discover and develop. Thanks for this Post- and let the measuring, thinking, intuiting and understanding continue!

    • Rob says:

      Thank you for all the kind words.

      I’m thinking that any belief system that acknowledges that both science and magic are, at least partially, valid attempts to discover the truth of the universe has to realize that eventually these two disciplines will merge. To see these as two mutually exclusive avenues of inquiry is to admit that one, or the other, is nothing more than make-believe crap. Both definitely have some room for expansion right now, but if we believe both hold pieces of actual truth, then bereft the influence of each other both will eventually hit a wall where they can longer expand, and afterwards become a stagnant and incomplete field of study.

  3. Alan says:

    Subjectivity and magic seem closely tied; it’s probably an inherent characteristic of magic. Given its subjective nature, this alone kills any chance of magic becoming future science as it offers no avenue for empirical proof. Even when sharing notes on a successful spell/ritual for ‘results magic’ (e.g. manifesting money, some concrete material gain, etc.) it’s no guarantee that another following the exact notes and procedure would get the intended result.

    Imo until there’s some way to observe and measure empirically the inner development of an individual magic and science cannot meet. And given that the inner landscapes vary wildly among individuals and its importance as a key factor in contributing to the success or lack thereof of any given spell … it seems like a long if not impossible road.

    Regarding magic and secrecy: I’ve also felt that this was a silly superstition of the past, but usually there were little to no explanation for exactly why a magician should keep their workings a secret. More recently I’ve come across one theory that made me reconsider, basically by telling others of your working you taint its original intended purpose so it becomes diverted into fulfilling ego related needs (i.e. how you want to be perceived by others) rather than bringing about its original purpose. How this would work in the case where one has already done a successful working is a bit trickier but the concept would still apply in that future magical efforts would become diluted if the magician becomes attached to ego based needs (wanting to appear to others as a powerful magician).

    Of course the above becomes less of an influence the more self-aware and honest a magician is in regards to personal motives and intention, but most people are not hence the axiom of keeping silent. (This part also relates directly to the importance of honest self-reflection and de-shielding you covered in your ebook — it personally rang true to my meager experience and I loved what you’ve written there.)

    I hope I didn’t come off dogmatic — not my intention. Just writing my thoughts regarding the issue. I’m always open to reconsidering depending on feedback. (Btw I love your blog thus far; wealth of useful information and sorry for the long comment.)

    • Rob says:

      Thank you for the compliments. Long comments are fine. Considering my blog posts, I really can’t judge anyone else. I also used to have a habit of making three or more comments in a row on blogger because there is a character limit. One of the things I like about wordpress is that it allows for however long a comment someone wants to make.

      Magic is only inherently subjective if someone chooses to see it that way. Magic can have a very real, and even physical, affect on the world outside the practitioner, which is anything but subjective. Granted there are currently a lot of subjective elements of magic, but these are more due to the current state of the field and its lack of measurements and study. If someone choose to see this as all magic will ever be, than it will probably never be anything but subjective for then. Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.

      Your examples are also of magic that, although physical, would be hard to measure, at least in these early stages. The examples I gave were empirically measurable forms of magic. Things like small feats of telekinesis and pyrokinesis. These acts are very possible through magical study. They’d need to be repeatable acts, and that is difficult to do, but not impossible.

      We don’t have to develop the inner development of a person either. You’re confusing the act of spiritual attainment with the entirety of magic. It’s like saying that all baseball is is physical fitness. I don’t need to measure the inner-biological workings of a major league pitcher in order to find out how fast he can throw a ball. In the same way, I don’t need anything more than a cursory knowledge of human biology to learn how to pitch a ball well.

      Magical secrecy has largely been associated with magical groups. If you want to argue that magical groups, full of hierarchies which place certain individuals over others, not to mention the drama, are somehow less egocentric than anything else imaginable, I don’t see you winning that argument. At least in the tell everything model status is based on ability, which isn’t the case in groups.

      To defeat this you don’t even need a great deal of self-reflection. You just have to not be that egocentric of a person. And most people aren’t. The people who cling to secrecy, and who usually end up rising to the top of these groups, end up doing that because they’re already of that egocentric mindset. Ego issues have not been a hot topic among magical groups because of an inherent trait all people have. It’s because magical groups, especially their upper echelon, tend to attract people who have these issues.

      • Alan says:

        I realise I’m now getting off topic but it’s been often said that magical proficiency is a direct result of the inner development of a person, or “spiritual attainment.” I’m not saying this encompasses the entire field of magic but wouldn’t you say it’s a fundamental driving force to almost all acts of magic? (I personally steer away from calling it a spiritual attainment as it could have misleading connotations of moral superiority, inaccurate religious overtones, etc.)

        By your baseball analogy I take it you mean that a developing magician doesn’t need to go so in-depth to become an effective practitioner, but aren’t practices like de-shielding through self-reflection/exposure really aimed at progressively strengthening and perhaps bringing to the surface ones’ inner true nature?

        One thing I’ve noticed is my results and their consistency raised dramatically after going through a period of personal trouble during which I did some serious self-reflection on what I wanted out of life while looking at my failures and weaknesses as they are. Prior to this I’d been in rut where attempts at magic were met with failure after failure. Why is this? I’m not certain, but I tend to think it has to do with your concept of de-shielding through self-reflection, which I think is really a development of our inner/authentic (higher?) self — or bringing it closer to the surface in alignment with our mundane self.

        As for magical secrecy, I was thinking more in relation to one’s own personal practice rather than secrecy within a magical group. Within a group hierarchy there will inevitably be politics involved with jockeying for power and positioning — no arguments here.

        • Rob says:

          The point being I’m not talking about trying to gauge spiritual attainment. I’m talking about taking real world measurements. If a chair moves a half foot, something happened. A force acted upon that chair, and that force can then be quantified. I don’t have to understand anything about the magician that did this to measure the results. I can take the weight of the chair and the distance it moved, and extrapolate from there.

          In the same way I don’t need to understand the biological workings of a pitcher’s body to measure the speed of his fastball, which was the main point I was making with the pitcher analogy. My other point was that I don’t need to understand how to measure spiritual attainment in order to have it, but that is admittedly off subject.

          You could be experiencing some improvement through self-reflection, deshielding, ect. It’s just as possible that you’re rut was caused by a spiritual imbalance between your higher and lower connections, since you were spending too much time working on your higher self, and the negative feelings, properly dealt with, helped you balance and push through that stumbling block.

  4. carlos says:

    the physical (SI) measuring system works in the way that it takes some of the observable constants of the universe and defines the measurement units with them. for example length is defined by light speed, time is defined by c-133 atoms, etc.
    The energy measurement system thus needs constants that are always observable in any dimension and by any observer behaving the same way.
    i just guess but that’ll be some kind of divine energy, or something super neutral.

    • Rob says:

      Fortunately early measurements don’t need to be perfect. First we need to be able to measure something. After that we can start working on perfecting the methodology.

  5. lobfro says:

    On the law of attraction, I don’t think it will ever be accepted as you put it since magnetic poles are attracted to their opposites.

    It already has been said that that mechanistic science is based upon the observable and comparing the correlations inside that observable world through an AGREED (more on this later) measurements so I won’t go further than that. Indeed quantum mechanics would be far more palpable to magick compared to measurements of physical changes on/in the body or the surrounding area IMO. it would not mean very much in the end to lame stream science…

    Now, this is where the secrecy and the agreements fits in, in order for the matrix to get the most out of the whole system is to tend towards efficiency, to maintain it, it seems perfectly probable that it works through the agreements between the programmed “programmers (in potency, slaves in actuality)” in a way self sustaining the preconceived mathematical limitations, the programmed, i.e. organic beings helps in this endless iteration of the matrix. The agreements would be the rules made by the beings inhabiting inside the matrix, the matrix passes those rules (bendable rules at the end) and the beings further give more rigidity to the programs already in place. Enter Castañeda’s assembly point (or is it assemblage point?), in my mind there’s no way to measure it since the very act of trying to penetrate a less accessible or less “walked upon” assembly point (other than the matrix already has put) would collapse it to what the matrix has already put since it has a hell of a lot more gravity thanks to all the minds that already made the agreement on how “reality” is through the matrix.

    Either way, your’s is a thought provoking blog post, I hope my reply can spark something within, I hope bc I know it’s a mess not to mention English is not my native language.

    Oh yea, when I say the matrix I don’t literally mean a computer… But who knows if it isn’t one….

    • Rob says:

      This assumes that opposite poles are actually opposites of each other. An argument could be made that, in some ways, they are alike (they are both magnets after all). It also assumes that the Law of Attraction, stated in its most simplest form, most be an absolute truth for it to hold any validity. Perhaps amendments need to be made to the law in order to codify it with the theories of magnetism. It’s an area of science I’m not too fond of, because it very quickly starts to confuse me, so I’m not about to claim to have the answers, at least not right now. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t some way to explain how the Law of Attraction works in regards to magnetism. I also think that the law of attraction is a very complicated thing with many nuances, and a lot of it still isn’t completely understood.

      The idea that collective will is the basis for the form and structure of the universe doesn’t hold up under observation.

      For starters, the world is very human-centric, despite the fact that we are not the dominant species, when measured through population or even mass. We are far outnumbered by insects, who have a much more limited mental capacity. I would expect a much less complicated universe if it was truly developed by collective will, and one that was far more insect-centric.

      Of course this collective will could only apply to humans. But then, in the modern era of science, magic shouldn’t really exist. And spirituality and spiritual truth should, at the very least, not be too expansive beyond the major world religions, like Christianity and Buddhism. Yet, from a magician’s perspective, spiritual truth often runs counter to the most popular religions of today.

      The only possible reason for the current state of the universe, under a collective will model, is that there are some other unseen entities, possibly spiritual in nature, that have a good deal of influence over the structure of the universe. So much influence that they almost completely negate the human contribution. If that’s the case, then the idea of a collective will really doesn’t matter.

      The other solution to the riddle is that the universe is not based off of a collective will.

      Personally I’ll admit that the collective will does have some, and I mean some, influence over the state of a world, but it doesn’t completely control the world, let alone the structure of the universe.

  6. lobfro says:

    Perhaps I got way out of hand with my last post, lets apply the blog post to sigil magick, in order to measure the change on the “outside world” it would be essential from science to find a way to correctly and exactly measure the butterfly effect, otherwise there will always be the black swan argument to explain the change thus violating magick, there’s a blog posts at rune soup that succinctly talks about it.

    • Rob says:

      For a lot reasons, sigil magic is really complicated. It can probably be measured, but we need to start with smaller, easier things, and work our way up to that as our understanding develops. This is why I suggested things like moving a chair a small distance or having a candle ignite. If a practitioner could develop themselves to the point that they could do these acts consistently, there would be no basis for a black swan argument.

  7. modnar says:

    Yes, unless I see concrete truth such as a person lighting a candle or moving a chair with their mind out in ‘public’ (meaning not a dark room where the ‘magician’ can use all sorts of contraptions to fool my eyes) without any tricks (and knowing I’m not on any sort of hallucinogen), I won’t buy any of this. But I keenly await the day I do, if I do.

    It’s pointless asking Rob here if he ever performed such magical acts, because if he said yes, I would have no reason to believe him. I’m not calling him a liar or anything, but dealing with such a topic like magic – something that if I discover to be true would flip my life forever, I have to operate on a level of pure honesty. And in all honesty, to me he’s just one random guy on the internet. The point is, I’m really waiting to see the concrete evidence, any blog (no matter how convincing it sounds) or internet video just can’t be enough to convince me of magic.

    • Rob says:

      I think the post, or conversations, may have confused you. No one cares what you believe in, or about your uneducated thoughts on metaphysics. It’s no concern to me, and I doubt anyone else here cares. The point of gathering empirical data has nothing to do with proving a metaphysical phenomena exists. If you want proof, there’s more than enough if you look for it. It’s not something that can be shown to you, it’s something you have to seek out. If you choose to remain ignorant, that’s fine. No one here is proselytizing.

      • modnar says:

        Haha now that I re-read my comment a week later, I think I sounded like a jackass. Haha ‘confused’ doesn’t even begin to describe my state. After reading some of your other entries, I’m just so stunned such knowledge exists. I think I’ll be here for a while.

  8. Amonjin says:

    Hey Rob,

    I was mulling this over. What if measurement started with time to actuate physical manipulation of reality?

    We don’t know how to measure energy itself but we can measure how long it takes an individual to get enough energy to manifest change.

    For example, we can measure how long it takes a practitioner to light a single candle. For some it might take 10 minutes of meditation and for others it might take several seconds.

    With enough participants an average baseline can be found with standard deviations. We can then say that on average it takes a person one “Rob” to ignite a flame through magic (Rob being a distinction of time).

    Yes/no?

  9. Amonjin says:

    Also, I think standardizing means of creating physical manipulation of reality with magic needs to be written.

    For instance, my practice has pretty much boiled down to lighting candles or newspaper on fire. I’ve been researching the topic and testing it different methods I’ve created. So far no results (could be I’m crap at magic but I have great success in other areas so… yeah)

    Thus far I’ve not found a single piece of literature that standardizes the process (well scratch that. One piece of literature that is actually somewhat scholarly.)

    I’ve heard to many times people say that we all approach magic differently, and it’s impossible to create standardize procedures for such things. I disagree. Many times magic is compared to an art rather then a science, but even artists learn basic to advanced techniques to master their trade.

    Have you seen any literature on the subject of lighting candles? Or can you blog on it?

    Finally, I’m believe in empirical research and have been looking for others who are like minded. If you are interested, I would like to set up a couple of projects to test efficacy of specific operations to measuring results and blogging about it. Could use a partner in crime.

  10. Rebecca says:

    Hi,
    I stumbled across this site and I am fascinated by this discussion though I realize I’m quite late to the topic. Personally, I’m not sure that I believe in magic (though I don’t see any reason why it couldn’t exist) but I am “lame stream scientist” as one person here put it. Anyway, it seems to me that you’re looking at this in terms of particle physics, when perhaps you should be thinking in terms of physiology. The biggest problem you have is that magic requires human manipulation to manifest (or so I assume) but natural variability and the amount and area of previous training among practitioners means that the “magical output” required for any one task will not be consistent. You can’t eliminate variability arising from natural aptitude but you can get rid of training-related variability by only studying people with absolutely no training or background in magic whatsoever. I have no idea if it would be possible but I suggest that you try to find a simple task which can be objectively quantified (e.g. pass/fail) and easily taught to a group of people who have never tried magic (but who aren’t total non-believers either), and then “teach” a nonsense task to another group of similarly minded people. Again, I don’t know if there’s anything that is obvious to an outside observer and can be easily taught to someone with no training but that approach would definitely reduce your variability. Also, people who have never tried magic before don’t have any vested interest in the results which would lend credence to the study. Finally, just being able to show that these random people can perform a task with nothing but their brains would be a HUGE step.

    If you manage to successfully do the first experiment, then you could repeat the experiment while measuring the average amount of …. expended to do the task in the two groups. As for what you should measure…. I have no clue. Time to learn the task would be one measure it but that has a lot of confounding factors. You can’t watch people 24 hrs a day and there are a lot of differences in the way people learn in general (non magical stuff included) that could affect the results. Alternatively, I don’t know if magic is ever physically tiring to perform, but if so, another measure would be effort expended by the test subjects. Any task that is physically tiring will, almost by definition, require an increase in metabolism to complete. Increased metabolism can be measured in terms of CO2 output and change in body temperature. This approach appeals to me because we already have ways of quantifying metabolic demand and there is a really well established body of research in mainstream science that your results could be compared to. I’m not saying you couldn’t also measure energy output at some point but why not start with a system that already exists if you can?

    As a “lame stream scientist” I think if you could find a task that can be objectively observed, easily taught to non magical folks, and which will manifest significantly more often among people who have been taught a real task vs those taught a nonsense task, that would go a really, really long way towards proving that magic exists. If you also measured an increase in metabolism for members of the group that was given the real task but not for the control group, that would be damn near ironclad. I’m not saying everyone would believe you right away but it would be a heck of a good start and I have no doubt it would get some attention.

  11. rusty says:

    rob, thanks for the awesome blog
    good inspiration to expand my ranges of what i can perceive/do
    i’ve been meditating for awhile and i guess practicing energy manipulation and very basic magic since i was young, but never really researched the concept of magic. everything has been and i guess still is grounded in the subjective realities of my existence… in the sense that… all my perceptions are based on my own experiences. it has been mind-opening intellectually to read your blog though and i am extremely excited to try to implement some of these practices into my life. it is strange how mediation, spiritual awakening, magic, and science all seem to be heading in the same direction. or at least i don’t find any of them to be mutually exclusive.

    of particular interest to me are, how to find certain energies/emotions. like you wrote, there are so many. i don’t know how to use an energy i’ve never felt before. i’d be interested in ways to explore unfamiliar shades of energy… i think i’ve been stumbling upon these my whole life and only recently been conscious of just how many shades there are, or must be, for every nuance… well, wordless trying to describe all the shades but for example “sexual” energy could be one kind of energy but there are probably thousands of shades of sexual energy, and also many nuanced shades and emotions and colors, which can’t be properly named but just felt. i really wanna explore as many colors and nuanced emotions as possible. i guess just being aware and present is a start.

    thanks for the inspiration

  12. rusty says:

    also my gf is naturally very gifted at energy perception, though not manipulation (yet) except she’s always been good at shielding. shields i make are tiny and hers can be gigantic and just full of energy.

    she believes there is bad juju from energy manipulation… i believe we are energy, so we are energy manipulating in some form all the time. i guess the conflict I’m trying to bring up is light magic vs. dark magic and benign magic vs. bad juju magic.

    every act has consequences, repercussions, ripples, effects…. but, how do you know the consequences of something until you do it?

    i try to live consciously but am not always sure what the effect of my actions will be. i guess this is an intellectual battle; the energies themselves certainly feel a certain way, maybe there is some intuition there on what the effects will be that i’m not quite picking up on fully. hope i do. i don’t want to look like the Emperor from Star Wars because I’m evilllllllllll. but oh the pleasures of attacking people w/ pain & fear when you’re road raging….. hahah just kidding…. good thing i’m scared of looking like the Emperor though :O

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