Monday, 2 June 2014

On Magic as Techne ...

"While the black magician at the time of signing his pact with the elemental demon may be fully convinced that he is strong enough to control indefinitely the powers placed at his disposal, he is speedily undeceived. Before many years elapse he must turn all his energies to the problem of self-preservation. A world of horrors to which he has attuned himself by his own covetousness looms nearer every day, until he exists upon the edge of a seething maelstrom, expecting momentarily to to be sucked down into its turbid depths. Afraid to die -- because he will become the servant of his own demon -- the magician commits crime after crime to prolong his wretched earthly existence. Realizing that life is maintained by the aid of a mysterious universal life force which is the common property of all creatures, the black magician often becomes an occult vampire, stealing this energy from others. According to mediaeval superstition, black magicians turned themselves into werewolves and roamed the earth at night, attacking defenseless victims for the life force contained in their blood." (Quoted by Manly P. Hall, 1928)

The matter of magic (not conjuring but something more complex) requires some questions to be laid out before the sceptic (the mind that sees nothing before it but incomplete fact without possibility) and the small believer or dabbler (the mind that thinks that mastering codes, words, numbers, habits, lineages, transmissions or initiations are sufficient to be a magical scientist):-

1. Is it possible that the discoveries of physics indicate dimensions which have properties of mind, either intrinsic or in the form of 'inhabitants'?

2. Is it possible that, if such mental dimensions or inhabitants of such dimensions exist (and these are two very different concepts), human beings can make contact or use of them?

3. Is it possible, if such contact can be made, that human will can master such forces or would such forces master human will?

4. If human will can master such forces, how are such forces to be used responsibly?

In short, we are speaking, if magic exists as more than fantasy of which we are still doubtful, of the complexity of magical thought and its many barriers to safe and responsible use as technique.

To be 'real' to us, it must be known in scientific terms. Its origins must be contactable or its methods usable - either as as a relationship with alien forces or as a technology.

It must also be used or contacted on human terms if it is not to be either an expression of the death instinct in us or a mere animal acquisition of power in the short term that is destructive in the long term - that which may turn a man into a vampiric werewolf and a woman into a lamia.

Magic is just undiscovered science and, as we know, science in the wrong hands is destructive of soul, body, society and even the ability to exist as a species.

It might, therefore, be advisable to know before using ... and to know yourself before knowing anything else. But what is it that we have to guard against?
  • The use of technique to command the minds of others. The use of technique by others to command our minds.
  • The dragging up of the mores of the dead, of custom and of habit to drag down the living.
  • The sucking of the life force of one person to sustain some vampiric other.
  • The willing of power to harm others.
  • The binding of others to you. You being bound to others without choice.
  • The re-creation of yourself to suit society or another and not yourself. Complicity in the social construction of others
  • The loss of self into technique normalising or socialising demands by others.
  • Selling what people do not need or want. Having sold to oneself what one does not need or want.
Yes, these contain choices for conventional good and evil. Magic in this sense of the fantastic exertion of alien powers on our own being is real and all around us. The alien or the demon is not in another dimension but in the most alien of worlds, the social.

It is the social against which we are alienated and it is only by mastering the social, the core of the magical, of the claimed and the fantastic, that we can hope to master our alienation.

Where unknown dimensions are most likely to come into contact with us as humans (without stating finally and incontrovertibly that such dimensions cannot exist in the world independently of the social) is where our mind, embedded in matter, meets other dimensions of matter.

This is within our complex brains, dimensions that may or may not extend beyond us in space and in time, zones of the unknown that might be dark or light or dawn or twilight. Our mental representations of others, of the social, are the sources of both the angelic and the demonic.

Magical technique, extended from this unknown sub-conscious, exists wherever one mind uses the past or personality to crush the soul of another and where the social construction of reality crushes the spirit of the one person in favour of the habits and prejudices of the many or another.

Politics and ideology are always prone to magical technique. Somewhere in minds are dimensions of instinct involving power and desire, fear and hate, which are scientifically ill-understood but whose laws permit mastery by some at the expense of others and so techniques of oppression and control.

Whether sub-conscious dimensions exist as aspects of being human or of being-in-the-world or the dimensions speak as inhabiting gods, or whether these are all just our fantastic attempts to explain the phenomena, it takes a 'true will' to choose to understand them and wisdom to remain their master.

Only the greatest magicians can do this and the choice of good or evil then becomes something beyond good and evil at the moment of mastery. The choice is beyond the technique, the magic, the technique, a mere tool for the good or the evil that comes from the will behind the choice.