Here is my theory for how magic works.
You need to think in terms of evolution to figure out the logic of magic, otherwise you will hold naïve and inaccurate views. At the beginning of the
process, for instance, in the bacterial cells embodiment of external nutrients in the environment such as glucose, the environment has become
'internalized' in the organism, so that when a faint electromagnetic glimmer of the nutrient is detected by the CAM's on the membrane, the cell will
spontaneously move in that direction.
We can see in this the beginnings of what we will call "instinct". It is, it appears, a "gestalt" process whereby an external point (the nutrient)
activates an internal point (the gene-protein network) and a 'dance' occurs.
Many different "point-counterpoints" emerge over evolution, and indeed, this is the fundamental thing to be understood if you want to understand
magic, because like the bacteria which is activated by the counterpoint of an external molecule, the human being is activated by external cues in
relation to the complex unconscious brain-activity that seamlessly integrates homeostatic and personal meanings into a 'singular system'.
In magic, the power to effect change has everything to do with the degree of your affective activation in relation to a counterpoint - either a real
natural object, or an internalized object that has been 'built up' over developmental history.
In evolution, metabolic surplus is the source of the emergence of play. A cichlid fish, for instance, after eating and usually during its peak
activity time, will begin playing with bubbles. This behavior spontaneously emerges only when everything is 'in order'. Such activity emerges only
when the system is properly cared after.
PLAY, CARE and AWE are three 'connecting affects' which mediate self-self relation, self-other relations, and self-universe relation.
Care is a far more existentially functional process, and yet it is able to produce "dyadic states of expanded consciousness" (Tronick, 2010) and so
mediate neurological growth in regulation of consciousness; this well demonstrated developmental fact of infant studies probably has to do with a well
known phenomenon of physics: when two waves in phase hit one another they result in a larger wave than the two which made it up. This is called
constructive interference. In the social interactive sense, to be 'in phase', is for the parent to properly recognize the affective need of the
infant, and act in a way that either promotes good states when the infant is eager for interaction, or relaxes negative states when they are cranky.
In short to act in complementarity.
I take this developmental aside because the "magician" has this naïve view that "all things have to be experienced", as if some things weren't in
themselves fundamentally wrong and therefore unnecessary to be experienced. Do I need to screw a sheep to bestiality is wrong? Or, can I simply note
the wrongness of it in a relaxed way, and let it go?
“The expression, “to become one with the universe,” although trite, suggests euphoria, and, almost by definition, euphoria would mark the
successful practice of magic. After all, the magicians goals were as lofty as we can imagine.” – Dan Burton, David Grandy; Magic, Mystery, and
Science: The Occult in Western Civilization; pg. 47, 2004, Indiana press
The euphoria felt by the person who identifies with the universe, but still doesn't know much about how and why he acts in the ways he does, is like a
person who builds a house on swampy ground. It is fundamentally weak, and therefore, to interface with archetypes will necessarily cause you to lose
your bearings - and/or take that extremely abusive and self-permissive "journey" of doing "everything" to learn what can be learned - and should be
learned - at the level of logic and science.
People influenced by Jung need to understand that the universe is very much in the shape of its own nature - and we cannot know it in its totality,
with "omniscience", even if we pretend that we do. Again, Euphoria - that emotionality - drives consciousness into a hyper selectional process
(because the brain is governed by TNGS or theory of neuronal group selection) and the mind, being so enlivned by that feeling, careless imagines that
feeling something means everything you think is necessarily a coherent representation.
Jung was wrong about 'where' archetypes come from. They do not pre-exist the organism, but are literally embodied in the organism as its teleodynamic
functioning - literally a 'singularity' which collapses into a single function the "meaning" of the external cue into the valuation produced by the
organisms biodynamical history; the 'horizon' on the outside activates the 'past' within me. Roads long used get reused. My development is not done -
but ongoing. My brain never ceases in its geometrodynamic differentiations of external situations, and these relations move to the logic of symmetry.
This figure explains how 'teleodynamic attractors' are in a certain sense beyond space time, since they are 'convergent' points between selves in
This figure tries to capture how we are composed of distinct forms of loops. There is the basic loop we can call 'metabolism', or homeostasis. It is
basically the body physically regenerating itself. Then, there is an 'affective loop', which is phenomenological (happening as mental process), and
links up the mind to the environment in various different ways, the most prominent being the social emotions. Atop this lies our 'existential'
consciousness; which is looped just like the rest of them. It builds off from the affective experiences and produces, via language, a symbolic
representation of its experience. Our minds, our feelings, and our body.
But there is one more loop, isn't there? Since magic invokes the feelings of awe and euphoria, it does so by identifying with the 'universe at large'.
This identification is legitimate, but is the knowledge produced - or the claims to 'what is true and happening', real? It is debatable whether the
top loop, being the most elaborate expression of human functionality, can produce true material in a "fallen" social world - a world where people have
unresolved traumas, and produce - or are mutually controlled by various forms of the same sorts of defensive "demonic" attractors - material that is
too quick and powerful for the mind to contain.
The problem, then, with touching magic, is that the intensity of the feeling it produces overwhelms consciousness and threatens it with insanity if it
fails to integrate the experiences it is having into a coherent self-narrative. The laws of nature ARE STILL WORKING; the history - the past - is that
which selects, and therefore, that which compels perceptions within consciousness.
“The mind is the brain. The mind is not just brain function, as if function could be separated from structure. Rather, it is the very substance
of the brain. As the mind operates, it reflects the ongoing neurodevelopmental process, continuing the self-organization of neural connections that
began in the embryonic differentiation of the neural tube and that continues throughout life.” – Donald Tucker, Phan Luu, Cognition and Neural
Development, pg. v, Oxford, 2012
“Just as biology cannot be understood except in the light of evolution, psychology cannot be understood except in the light of brain development.
Psychology is, indeed, in each moment, brain development.” – Donald Tucker, Phan Luu, Cognition and Neural Development, pg. v, Oxford, 2012
It's a very intelligent admonition: if you don't want to suffer or lose your consciousness and experience as a self - don't do it.
The problem with western magic is its dualism: it doesn't accept that the mind is the brain, and that the capacities of the self with magic has to do
with the psychodynamic attractors that have been formed during social existence: it is embodying meanings that only make sense when considered in
their instantiations in real life.
Ignorance of self leads to monstrous transformations of self-material into archetypes that are vast and confused symbols of the self. The magician
thinks its a spirit or an entity; but it is merely the other - its own self, animating the atoms in the surrounding space in pursuit, it would seem,
of growing its force.
Magic is strange, but it is not beyond scientific investigation. The most plausible theory is that described in this thread: that the observe pole of
consciousness and the archetype, or 'mode of being' expressed in your functioning, constitutes a sort of 'duet' between one part of myself and another
part of myself.
It is a pyramid - with the basic biomechanical rhythms of movement providing the biosemiotic basis of social and existential reflection. The higher
levels depend on the coherency of the lower levels, so that if confusion occurs at the social interpersonal level, then the higher existential level
will transform in accord with the evolving narrative carried out by the mind.
edit on 21-5-2018 by Astrocyte because: (no reason