magickal constructs

posted by lvx23 in occulture on 2/2/2006 12:00:00 AM

What is the subtle and sublime mechanism that underlies magick? In whatever system or technique, by some process we manifest mind into reality. Internally we can call it self improvement yet we know there's so much more. By some arcane, digitally feral technologies our thoughts are often heard by the chaotic web of life, which responds in kind giving us that one sideways glance and cocked smile at just the right fucking moment to be beyond a doubt a sudden mind-blowing manifestation of magick. It's as if there is a great presence existing in some very real yet abstracted layer of reality that interpenetrates everything, leading from the backs of our minds right to the central servers of the Akashic Record.

We humans so often consider ourselves alone and isolated. Possibly comforted by a loving other but inevitably, in those very very late hours of a sleepless night, we are, standing at the edge of a gaping black grave, alone. The centimeter or so of our bony skull is apparently enough to completely contain the raging torrents of a millions years or so of cognitive evolution. Undeniably we all have atomic furnaces burning inside our heads, incomprehensibly complex and capable, so powerful that incredibly complex tasks like linguistic communication and symbolic representation are basic sub-routines requiring very little actual effort on the part of the human operator.

The simple fact that, by culture, we generally share the same language, the same core values, the same basic ontologies, and the same educational backgrounds is evidence that we are, in fact, very connected and far more similar than different from one another. In short, we all share the same basic cognitive scaffolding on which we hang our individuality. While this acculturation is certainly acquired through peers and seniors, there's a certain point during childhood when one learns things without ever being told. It's as if the child is able to tap into the cultural record resident in all minds yet simultaneously external and independent.

Most magickal grimoires consist of a collection of symbols that represent certain aspects of physical experience. It may be the inner experience of psychological daemons personified into Goetic characatures. Or it may be the sudden apprehension of presence emanating from a ring of redwood trees, a desert mesa, or an isolated rock pile - the genius loci or spirit of the place. Even yet the thing perceived may be the sublime interplay of chaos and order divined from watching a large flock of birds or the gradual blurring of self lost in the trance of a peaking house party. All of these experiences are initially removed from language. They are the visage of G_d, a witnessing of the Absolute at play in the Kingdom.

But the human mind wants to create a container for the experience that can be grasped by the logical mind, applied to other aspects of experience, and - most importantly - communicated and shared with fellow human minds. Words provide structure as a symbolic framework for the representation of experience. Language allows us to share our individual experience of existence, spreading the field of perception like lilly pads overlapping each other in a pond. Communicating experience makes copies of the original data and passes it out across the network. Each copy amplifies the original while also providing more source material for further processing. “That flock of birds does appear to have a certain wild grace”. “Yes, you're right. Perhaps I could make a model of the flock and gain some insight into the calm calculus of their reason”. And on and on as human experience relentlessly shares itself and upgrades its models of existence.

One could imagine the mind of G_d looking at creation through the myriad eyes of it's creatures - feeling, hearing, tasting, smelling, and contemplating that creation. The field of mind is alive with the collective human thought of however many millions of years we've been walking this planet. Some thoughts and experiences have long since faded from the Akashic record, too weak and uncompelling to command enough mindshare. Yet others, such as the Old Testament, have been so commanding and penetrating that hardly a mind among the classically civilized would not know at least the basic outline and primary characters of that supremely mythic thought complex.

Ideas are alive. Thoughts are woven into language, stored and shared, remixed and evolved. There IS a magickal entity called “dog” because when I think of “dog” I'm accessing the collective global pool of the “dog” data type. I'm thinking of basically the same “dog” form as everyone else. When I'm not thinking of “dog” that thought structure still exists. It's part of the human record, the distributed database of experience and ideation, and anyone can access it at any time.

Magick acknowledges that language is not the best descriptor for the ephemeral experiences of mystical consciousness. It's lossy and easily corrupted. Once when I was a child, “dog” was a miraculous amazing experience of bubbling vibrant energy, musky fur soft and warm, sloppy tongue licks, and wanton frolicking. Simply indescribable and so be it cause at that age I had no words. Alas, now “dog” is little more than just that: a dog. The magick of that experience is subdued into a simple categorizing and an instinctual regard for the creature's immediate ability to provide food, service, or pain. Of course, most of us are still capable of communing with such magickal creatures but probably only allow these experiences with the few that we take into our homes and allow into our hearts. Day in and day out, any random dog is little more than any other. The magick is stripped by language and routine.

Humans are highly visual creatures. Language, especially english, rarely provides any sort of truly evocative vision. It gets too caught up in the logic centers and must always shed some of the unspeakable emotional content of actually being alive. A bit closer to the sensual experience of witnessing creation is the domain of the symbol. It can be a better code for such representation, capable of containing more numinous information than language. That Goetic beasty who governs jealousy has a name and a symbol by which we can both invoke and banish it's presence in our lives. The symbol contains more than just the name. It's a magickal representation of its nature.

The best code would probably include language, symbolism, sound, taste, smell, and touch. Such a code might very closely approximate the actual experience it seeks to represent. Hence, magickal ritual employs as much sensory stimuli as possible to wrap the incantations and invocations in a thick layer of humanity, lending a much higher degree of reality to the process. Enflame thyself, spake the Great Beast and this is what he was talking about. Theatrics imbue the play with realism and belief. They give it life.

The ritual accesses ancient god forms, archetypes and myths that have great weight in the field of mind. Each time these are invoked they gain more strength. We are, to continue with the computer analogies, downloading magickal constructs from the distributed network of consciousness and running them locally in our own heads. To use the voodoun analogy, the godforms are allowed to mount us. By engaging the word, the symbol, the sense of the deity, we're tapping in to the shared field of mind in which such myths and memes exist and interact.

The field of mind can also be understood as the astral plane. The astral is traditionally a supra-internal shared representation of magickal space. Although it's accessed through our imagination, it's always been regarded as a real and persistent place. Ritual orders are based on the notion that new aspirants, if they follow the correct steps and exhibit the expected aptitude, will enter the astral plane and experience the same characters, colors, and words as all adepts have since the order's inception. Ritual can thus be seen as a means of sharing and reproducing mystical experiences and magickal data structures across the field of mind.

Real first-hand magickal practice yields plenty of evidence suggesting that the realm of imagination is not so distinct from the material world. There's a tremendous amount of interplay between the two. While countless personal accounts can attest to this, perhaps the most convincing evidence is simply that I'm typing this right now and you're reading it right now. Both were born from the initial, sourceless and sudden intention to do so. I can move my finger just by thinking about it. Who is the mover? Where does that very first nanosecond decision come from? There is no identifiable source beyond Will.

Really what we're suggesting here is that magick is a highly advanced information technology. It can be used to program creation through the collective distribution of shared thought. This underlies the suggestion that meditating for compassion and global peace in great ernest really does help nudge the system in that direction. This technology is predicated on the high degree of connection between us - touching, talking, shared thoughts and emotions, deep looks into the eyes, the contagion of sudden friends and long lovers. We are all connected. When we sleep, we share that dream space. When we imagine, we step into the astral. I'm touching you right now. You're not alone.

As hyperculture advances towards the looming singularity, mind continues to spill out into the world at greater and greater rates. Our technologies are so often engaged to help us share ourselves, whether via blog, cell phone, email, sequencer and synthesizer, pen and ink, or or by the simple yet extraordinarily advanced act of talking. Magick and ritual are a set of technologies for accessing mystical experiences, cataloging and symbolically representing them, then transmitting them on to others. Magick and ritual are tools to interface with the field of mind and modify it's properties, hacking the collective brain. Magick and ritual keep us in touch through the astral plane and the shared mythic and magickal constructs within.

We feed the web, nurture the memepool, tend the light. Always pushing forward, hacking the collective. Never give up. Never surrender.


I like this piece very much. It speaks from experience, not theory.

Language is reality.

posted by: Fiat Lux on 2006-02-02 Very well put!! Especially like your summation of Goetia, the idea of “caricatures” is a very interesting way to look at it.

posted by: Jason Louv on 2006-02-05 brilliant post lvx.

i've been going home and preparing a set of electronic music in my spare time for a party which will be populated by quite a few of the occult-leaning people of pittsburgh.

i can't work on the music w/o imagining their reaction in these flashes of thought. your article speaks to this very well. “When we sleep, we share that dream space. When we imagine, we step into the astral.” beautiful

posted by: nickb on 2006-02-06 As per usual, I'm going to have to read this about five more times before I even begin to understand it. A pleasure as always to read. I've been anticipating this for months- ask Brendan.

posted by: Luciferos Benwayos on 2006-02-07 yes! this parallels a lot of the thoughts I've been having lately - I just finished reading a few books, all of them rolling around similar topics - a new kind of science by s. wolfram, the singularity is near by r. kurzweil, S/TM by teriel, emergence by um.. some dude, and the lucifer principle by howard bloom. more and more I'm of the opinion that the more complex a single individual is, the fewer of these individuals are necessary to produce a group mind and manifest emergent properties. that's only part of it - as we progress closer and closer to the singularity* we will be manifesting reality more and more through linguistic interfaces. (and we'll be feeling the ripples as they flow back to us from the future.) Once foglets (swarms of nanites providing virtual interfaces) and smart paper & smart dust become prominent, we're not goinng to be able to differentiate between physical reality and virtual reality. We might as well be in Hogwarts at that point. Once our bodies are teeming with nanites mind to mind communication and transmission of knowledge will become commonplace. personality constructs will maintain existence in the very atoms of our solar system within a few hundred years. Even more important, the denser our minds are networked together, the quicker these emergent properties will exhibit themselves, and the more self-aware the group mind becomes, until eventually there will be a collected self-aware consciousness that exists non-locally, yet which is accessable to any one individual - a real godform, created from the body politic. well, probably. There's always the possiblity of an extinction level event.

Magic has been a training ground for producing affects in the physical world through observation. the observer is the observed once the layers of perception are cleared.. one theory holds that our reality is actually being imagined into being - that we're discovering exactly what we expected to find simply by being clever in how we go about looking for events.

Crap, I'm rambling. Mainly I'm just fascinated with the emergent behaviors of simple & complex systems and the nature of language, and this article inspired me. great bit here chris!

(*I see 2012 as the beginning of human 2.0, in deference to the prophecy of the 'end of restoration' that Rev. Moon declares… let alone the end of novelty and etc. - and that is the first big ripple of the singularity come '45 as R. Kurzweil describes)

posted by: wu on 2006-02-13 thanks wes!

Part of me feels like I'm trying to explain magick as an information science, and another part feels like I'm trying to write a future where the fantasy of magick is made real through some biological symbiosis with technology. I'll drop the obligatory A. E. Clarke quote here: “Any technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic”.

In either case, I suspect that there's a lot more to magick than we realize and it has to do with inducing the mind to interface with the fluid of hyperreality and gain access to the machinery of creation. This magick must be extended by the web. Maybe personality complexes will emerge once the global brain is mature enough. Maybe a planetary ego and self-awareness might ultimately be the unifying field that could save us from self-destruction. Think of a bunch of random bees gathering together until there's just enough of them that a hive breaks out. The hive has a purpose greater than the bees themselves. The hive has self-awareness and the determination and single-mindedness of survival. Humans seem to lack these traits as a unified species.

posted by: lvx23 on 2006-02-16