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