So, now that we’ve described a rather large space, wherein a fairly universal process proceeds in pretty much everyone, how do we narrow that down? How do we go from infants munching the carpet, to practitioners of science in the ‘deep’ sense?

What we’re really asking here is what makes a ‘magician’ what they are? What are the quintessential features that distinguish them from all the other natural scientists plugging away at their inbuilt learning algorithms? What’s the difference between blind process that can stagnate ( and in most people eventually does just that ) and an intelligent process that yields all the phenomena we’re concerned with?

In this matter it helps to cut away some of the historical detritus and go back to the original template for those who practice deep science, science in the ‘big’ sense. I am , of course talking about the shamans.

Now bearing in mind there is a certain amount of controversy when you try to fit all shamanism into some template, but the preponderance of the research yields enough commonalities for our purpose.

Essentially the shaman is master of a set of techniques which allow them to transit into higher and lower ‘worlds’ and gather experiences from them, which are then deployed for the benefit of the community, both culturally and materially.

So lets break that down into a four cornered structure which we can then use as the basis of our current project.

The first corner is, above all, the central importance of depth experience. We are talking about ecstasy here, in the strictest sense of the word. Not as in pleasure, or as in pills that you drop down your neck and dance till you dry up all your spinal fluid, but ec-stasis, the literal act of standing-outside.

99.99% of the human race treats this ability to reach ecstatic states, to transcend the normal boundaries of the world as we know it, as an unpredictable episode. It’s something we all seek, we all want, we all build our lives around, but rarely does anyone develop a sophisticated understanding of how achieve depth experiences, of how to make ecstasy into a vocation, not a episode. Even the most debased chaos kiddie whacking off over sigils is still supposed to achieve what’s called gnosis or the magical trance, which is really just two more names for the same thing, so there’s really no getting away from it. Swinging a hammer does not make you a carpenter.

Without this understanding our experience is going to be limited to transiting the surfaces of things, poring over the minutiae of the world as we know it, and waiting for our next unpredictable episode of depth experience to kick us in the ass. Nothing in the world has every been discovered or created without a depth experience on someone’s part. One need look no further than Rene Descartes and his angelic vision, or Einstein and his imaginative riding of light beams. And historically, the only people who have ever developed a sophisticated understanding of how to do that, at will, are people who are usually known as magicians. Yes science proceeds through injunction, but where do the injunctions come from in the first place? It’s a bit of a chicken and the egg thing but the overall trend is for humans to probe the edges of understanding very cautiously, very tentatively. And why?

Because no one wants to fall off the edge of the world, and only a madman would jump. This is the normal understanding of things, anyway, but we do things a bit differently round here…

next time: corner number two

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6 thoughts on “Building a Better Brand: The Great Leap Forward

  1. I am trying to do this. I am trying to be in the state you talked about all the time. Its starting to seem possible. Its a big responsibility knowing I could be in ecstasy all the time. Not that its a burden, what I mean is its overwhelming to realize that and take responsibility for the consequences of knowing I could be in an ecstatic state all the time.

    I am a pretty right brained type person. I am not naturally inclined to use a lot of math and tinker around with gadgets that measure things. Its hard for me to set measurable goals with strict, sterile isolated variables.

    But I am fairly good at journaling my experiences and internal processes in a fairly detailed way.

    Another thing I have going for me is that I am really determined. But I have been having some pretty dramatic results with sigil magic as a means to personal transformation. I have also been expirimenting with the eight circuit of consciousness model and seeking to reprogram my nervous system.

    I think my goals are kind of carnal, really. I think they are easier to measure than really lofty ones though. I’ll be able to tell if I am built like Conan the Barbarian and I will be able to tell if I am making money as an illustrator. If I were midway through bringing peace and harmony to the world, how would I know?

    I’d be interested in your opinion on my expiriments and how to make them more scientific. Just click on my name if you are interested.

    It would be nice if I do things that end up being repeatable later for others.

  2. I ought to wait, of course, until you take this further – but what the heck!

    Just a couple of thoughts: you’re using Wilber to integrate science and magic. In the video clip, it sounds like Wilber’s aiming to integrate science and subjectivity rather than anything occult. The Wilbernator himself would frown on this. He’s not up with magic; he thinks it’s all childish wish-fulfilment à la Freud (although Freud’s ideas on the occult are more complicated than many people assume). Odd, because all the magicians I know who seem worth listening to pay a lot of notice to Wilber.

    Also, it’s not unheard of to come across people who call themselves magicians, and who practice magic, yet they do the same old stuff, over and over, not without results, but in a more conservative, traditionalist, repetitive style that suggests they regard what they’re doing very differently from the way your model of magic seems to be leading. Are they really doing ‘magic’?

  3. well wilber may be a genius but i don’t feel the need to bother myself too much with his prejudices in certain areas. he does seem to forget where his science and his spirituality both came from. he reduces the whole field to superstitious action at a distance in the frazier golden bough sense.

    as for the repetitive traditionalists: sure they’re doing magick. they did the experiments, verified them and they’re getting their results.

    all i would say is that it’s become ritualised. if you perform a whole sequence of actions everytime you do a working and you’re not able to seperate the parts that have effect from the ones that are just flourish, you’re laying the groundwork for an epistemic trainwreck, which might go a ways to explain why they don’t expiriment much beyond what they already know: they haven’t dismantled their own process to find the injunction that brings forth the experience, let alone new injunctions.

    it’s the difference between treating ‘western ceremonial’ , or whatever, as a paradigm, which is the faulty meaning, and finding the actual cause and effect trigger that brings forth the data which is really what paradgim really means.

  4. although i realised maybe i didn’t answer your question, because this is a distinction I haven’t really made: yes they are doing magick in the old sense, and yes they are doing science in a limited way because it satisfies the three strands, but no they aren’t achieving new depth experiences on an ongoing basis, only revisting the place the lets them do the same thing over and over. so they’ve got skills, but not much else. but a lot fo folks don’t even have the skills, so you can’t fault them for that. it’s sort of moved from depth science, to depth technolgy which is important, but limited.

  5. Zac: not to over-simplify, but it sounds to me as if you are, at least in part, aiming for a new term for/ definition of the ‘next step’ up the ladder, as it were… depth science, depth technology, depth… spirituality? magick? ala ‘magick v2.0’? An integrated theory, so to speak?

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