Click on the link to read a quick chat about Magic, Art, Politics, and Leonard Cohen.
Brooklyn has a wizard for hire. His website offers occult consulting. His name is Devin Person and he has gone full wizard. I first became aware of this Person who one newspaper calls the “Weed-smoking Brooklyn wizard” after noticing his work featured over at Tarot Society. He seemed to be coming from a place that was paradoxically quite funny and yet serious about magic at the same time. That really piqued my curiosity. I reached out in this interview with Devin to find out—what does it mean to be a modern day wizard?
Did you gradually turn into a wizard or did it just happen one day — like you woke up and realized holy shit I AM a wizard!
There’s a concept in thermodynamics that Ilya Prigogine put forward that thinking of things in terms of “being” is really misleading, since everything is actually in a continuous process of “becoming” something else. Hot coffee is becoming cold coffee, a baby is becoming a toddler, and I am becoming a wizard. This is literally true since the archetypal wizard tends to be wizened, and I’m only 30. So while I most certainly AM a wizard, I’m also still in the process of becoming one. The span of time that process takes was also chosen intentionally since I’m a bit of a slacker and I like the idea of having until I’m 80 to “become what I want to be when I grow up.”
That being said, I was exposed to magic when Grant Morrison’s Arthur magazine interview blew off the back of my head at age 18. I started exploring esoteric eccentricity, reading half of Donald Michael Kraig’s Modern Magick and trying to do daily lesser banishings of the pentagram in my garage, which amused my roommates to no end. Eventually my magic became more or less a private practice until I moved to New York and took a moment to marinate on the question, “What’s the most ME thing I can be?”
Well, I’ve got a tattoo of a wizard on my arm, I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating the paradoxical nature of magic in a modern context, and New York is a city where you can be whatever you badger people into accepting you as, so I decided, “Okay let’s do it. Hey everyone, I’m a wizard now.”
Of course, being a wizard, I used ritual magic to summon a more wizardly version of myself, and that transformation into an actual, semi-factual wizard took about a year. It’s all detailed in this Pecha Kucha presentation I gave a few months ago.
Nope! Wizard operate outside the normal perspective of the community they’re in, which worked in the past when boundaries and belief systems were more rigid and defined. These days, no one knows which way is up but I’m a wizard, not a guru or spiritual teacher, so no one needs to believe anything I say.
In fact, if I was going to give anyone advice about listening to what a wizard says, I’d say don’t take things too seriously and keep an open mind about what resonates with you. Art doesn’t have to be logical and narratively structured to convey meaning and emotion; wizardry works best when you keep things light and fun, avoiding the snares of dogma and self-seriousness.
What are some of your favorite resources for the budding? wizard (books, albums, movies, websites, strains of weed etc.)
Prometheus Rising by Robert Anton Wilson was the first thing I read after I picked my brain off the floor from reading that Grant Morrison interview. Wilson is fantastic and that’s a great place to start for the newly curious. Early on, I read a lot of psychedelic comic books, so Morrison’s The Invisibles is a really fun way to explore magic principles in the context of a compelling narrative. Alan Moore was hugely influential, and he continues to be so to this day since I read his essay “Fossil Angels” two months ago and had my mind blown all over again.
In terms of movies, we live in a culture saturated with the influence of Joseph Campbell and generations of screenwriters striving to emulate the hero’s journey, so I suggest listening to Campbell’s incredible lectures (they’re on Spotify!) and then applying that lens to whatever media resonates for you personally in the larger cultural landscape.
Seriously, how seriously do you take yourself, seriously?
When I’m considering new projects, I strive to only do what makes me crack up. If I’m not laughing out loud, if I’m not giddy with anticipation for others to encounter my work, I take that as a sign I’m doing something wrong. Then I work to figure out why things stopped feeling fun and started feeling like work.
For example, I was getting stressed about my Kickstarter to publish my book until I had the idea to just do a campaign to raise $420. That idea was so stupid it kept me laughing through all the work required to actually do a Kickstarter, and in the end I raised four times as much and now my book is getting published.
There seems to be a renewed interested in magic and the occult. Why do you think that is?
I’ll quote Q-Tip of Tribe Called Quest here who said, “well daddy don’t you know that things go in cycles / Way that Bobby Brown is just amping like Michael.”
I think that’s true, this interest in the occult goes in cycles. Renewed interest from when? The 1960s and 1970s when Led Zeppelin was buying Crowley’s old possessions and single men were running the pickup line, “What’s your sign?” into the ground? Or renewed from the turn of the century when Theosophy, spiritualism, and seances were all the rage
We’ve always been fascinated by magic and the occult. Like religion, art, and science, magic is a way of looking at the world. I think magic is interesting because it embraces paradox, is comfortable with confusion, and tends to be holistic and subjective rather than empirical and objective. So, in a world where there is no “default perspective,” the idea of embracing that uncertainty has significant appeal.
Do you think that the internet and technology are totally compatible with wizarding? Aren’t wizards supposed to be like, living off the grid, in a forest, in a straw thatched hut?
Arthur C. Clarke said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Lately, I’ve been thinking of magic as a mystery box of new technology that we don’t fully grasp yet, or is only understood by specialists. Back in the day, alchemy was a weird mix of arcane philosophy, proto-chemistry, and nonsense. We’ve pulled a lot of that proto-chemistry out of the mystery box and explained it with science, so if I throw flash powder on the ground, people will say, “Well that’s just how those chemicals react. That’s not magic.”
But if you didn’t know chemistry, my ability to produce smoke and light from a powder might astound you. That could be easily categorized as “magic.” So I think internet and technology are absolutely the best place a wizard can be. If we think of magic as crystals, candles, and old spells invented by Gerald Gardner and the Golden Dawn, what does that do for us? Does this affect reality in a way the ancients understood but modern science is blind to? Maybe, but that strikes me as a bizarre stance to take seriously. Magic does itself a disservice by trying to operate under the guise of science while failing to live up to its standards.
A marketer, on the other hand, is able to use images, words, and a Twitter account to get people excited about a new movie. How did they convince a large number of people to care about watching Seth Rogen get high with some new CGI creation? There’s the old marketing quote attributed to John Wanamaker, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
We don’t know why advertising works! It’s just that some of it does, and some of it doesn’t, which to me sounds like the state alchemy used to be in. So while I love the old-time aesthetics of magic, mysticism, and the occult, I care far more about the visions of the future I see in my computer screen than fighting to prove dowsing rods are a legitimate technology.
How important is the weed wizard connection? What about other psychedelics? Is it possible to be a stone-cold-sober wizard?
While I enjoy smoking pot, I think blunts make about as much sense as buttering bread with a broadsword. You want real insights, use weed like a scalpel. If you want to actually get something out of the marijuana experience, smoke a small amount, like one hit, then close your eyes and just chill. Let your mind wander. Listen to ambient music and zone out.
This provokes anxiety in a lot of people. Good. This meditative approach to marijuana is like going into the basement of your mind with a flashlight. If the light reveals there’s a bunch of old junk down there, you’d do well to clear it out! Shutting off the flashlight and ignoring the junk isn’t the solution.
So I say make repeated trips, get used to those anxieties, and slowly make some progress clearing things out until you can get a little bit high without that sense of unease. Marijuana isn’t making you anxious; it’s making you aware that you are already anxious.
Of course, pot is fun in other situations and psychedelics are useful too, but the important aspect I’ve found, which I think is often ignored, is acting on what you’ve learned. I equate psychedelic experiences to a tarot card reading. A good tarot card reading can produce some spookily accurate insights. But if instead of taking those hints and acting on them, you just shuffle the cards and go again, well now you’ve got mixed results. The first pull said this was a good time to be alone, and that felt true. The second pull says see your friends more, so now you’re not sure. Either way, sitting around doing tarot readings will never solve any of your problems.
This is all my personal opinion and should be regarded as the rantings of a known eccentric, but I say the same concept should be applied to the psychedelic experience. Do drugs sparingly, but hold their lessons for a long time. Take mushrooms with your friends on a camping trip, then return to civilization full of inspiration. Let the ideas you encountered in that psychedelic state take time to actually affect your life before you go for another round.
It’s appropriate that we call these experiences “trips,” because like a good vacation, they help you examine your life from a new place, a new perspective. But after a vacation, you have to come home and get your house back in order.
“Include the knower in the known.”
— a voice heard by Julian Jaynes
One of the things that got me kicked off writing about magic was a talk I gave several years ago entitled: Bigfoot, UFO’s and Ghosts. My theory in this lecture, in a nutshell was that most varieties of paranormal experience are probably manifestations of the same basic phenomenon. This phenomena seems to present differently based on the culture and beliefs of the perceiver.
That’s right. I am arguing that Bigfoot.
Little green men from mars.
Are actually, basically the same thing. And always have been (not to mention stories from legends and fairy tales about goblins, genies, elves etc) Which, yes, I know that sounds batshit crazy. It is saying “let’s take this weird stuff that most people already don’t believe in and make it even crazier!” Ha ha!
(This idea is easier to grasp if you let go of that idea of these phenomena being sentient—attributing sentience to something we don’t really understand confuses the matter, because then we try to understand motivation and then we are already barking up the wrong tree e.g. “well, why do the UFO’s want to mutilate cows in New Mexico?”. Instead it seems to mimic sentience (when interacting with us), and we should remember that at one point trees, wind, streams, etc. were all accorded sentience. The point is we humans tend to anthropomorphize dynamic forces beyond our comprehension. I’m not saying the phenomena isn’t sentient either, I’m saying that is currently beyond the scope of our knowledge. What is needed is a sort of metaphysical Turing test.)
However just because something is weird doesn’t mean it isn’t true. The fact is that all of the knowledge we have today, that we know got it’s start as a weird, laughable theory that only a few people believed. All science starts as fringe science.
For example if you tried to explain Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity to people in the Medieval ages you’d probably be burned at the stake. If you tried to explain Einstein’s theory of relativity to the same scientists who accepted Newton’s theory you would be a laughingstock. And yet now Einstein’s theories look tame when we are told of quarks, and super-string theory, and how physics seems to be pointing towards the existence of an infinite amount of real universes simultaneously existing within the multi-verse.
Wha!? The truth is cutting edge science is a lot weirder than anything believed by students of the paranormal.
One of the most fascinating developments in modern science is the idea that observing something can affect the outcome of that phenomena. We see this demonstrated in the double-slit experiment. it is also expressed in Schrodinger’s’s famous thought experiment involving the dead/undead cat. Observing an elementary particles affects how it behaves. Let me repeat that: science has shown that observing a phenomenon can affect how it behaves. Nothing is being done to the phenomenon except observing it. According to everything rationality and science has been built upon this should not be!
And of course once the act of observing reality has been shown to affect reality, well, that raises some very serious questions about the possibility of being able to authentically observe the truth about reality in the first place! In our search for the truth we might be tampering with the evidence, influencing the witness, just by asking the question!
It reminds me of an essay I once read about how nobody really knows what panthers are really like in the wild. Because to observe the animal affects it. You simply can’t get that close to a panther in the wild. It will smell you from a mile off and go hide. Sure you might catch a glimpse of it here and there, slinking through the trees, eyes glowing in the bushes, and loping away into the night etc. But that is not really the same as observing it in nature, when it knows nobody is around. Of course you can observe a panther in a the zoo, but that is likely to change it’s behavior too. My guess is that most panthers in zoos are like most people in prison: depressed. In other words panthers are a bit like elementary particles they change their behavior when being watched by a human.
What if the paranormal phenomena behaves in this same way—what if its behavior is affected by it being observed? Sure, this may raise as many questions as it answers. But thinking in these terms addresses many of the difficulties that have long plagued research into the paranormal. It greatly simplifies our model of the situation: which is what a good model should do. After all, it always seems that definite “proof” eludes researchers—the film of Bigfoot doesn’t develop properly, the ghost only visits when there are no witnesses, the UFO’s are always blurry in the video etc.
Science and skeptics scoff at that. And yet they tell us the exact same property is a tenet of modern physics (the backbone of all science). We can know the velocity of the particle or the direction but not both. This is a phenomena which limits what can be observed about itself. My point is that we seem to have the same property at play in observation of paranormal phenomena: it limits what can be observed about itself.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that it is sentient! Just as it would be a mistake to attribute sentience to the elementary particle. The limitation of what can be observed is a property not a desire of the phenomena in question (alternately it is perhaps a property of the nature of observation.) I’m afraid this theory does not provide us with any new answers. Instead it directs us towards new questions. What if the phenomena in question can, by definition, not be “scientifically” observed? What if that is the wrong modality through which to observe it?
What then is the right modality? I would say magic. If we are talking of something that is affected by perception then magic is the right tool for the job. As I discuss in DIY Magic: changing your perception changes your reality. Magic is the study of how to use this tenet. It is the practice of tweaking, bending, changing, ones reality by tweaking, bending, changing ones perception. It is as simple as that. What I am suggesting in regards to the study of the paranormal is that, if this phenomena is affected by perception, it is not enough to study it naively at its face value. Oh, what is Bigfoot up to in the woods? What are those little green men up to now? Don’t be silly!
We must study how our perception interacts with this phenomena. In other words magically not scientifically. We must include the knower in the known.
This is our final entry in the History of Magic series. If you just got here, you may want to read them in order:
Foolish me, originally I thought I could get this written down in post. And it all started because I was thinking about Chaos magic and the comic book artist Grant Morrison. Perhaps it says something about the way my mind works that before jotting down my thoughts on Chaos Magic I first had to start with ancient shamanism and Neolithic cave art!
So where have we been? We began by imagining a college level class that taught the history of magic, we are pretending these are the cliff notes to that class. We took a look at the roots of magic in prehistoric shamanism. And then how the role of the Shaman was sublimated into the role of the priest as civilization evolved and become more complex. Then we saw how beginning in the Age of Reason the study of magic, as well as religion itself, was attacked by science, reason, logic. I posited that this split, and this hostility of science/materialism/reason/etc. is the defining paradigm of the modern age. The essence of the current age is one of reason and science being valued above all that was one considered magic.
Which brings us to now. The pendulum begins to swing back . . .
It’s the beginning of a New Age
We can trace a resurgence in interest to the spirit and to magic to the 60’s and 70’s (thanks in no small part to LSD and Pot) . A lot of different values and ideas are tied together in this swinging pendulum. Set against the banners of progress, of science, of rationalism, there has been a renewed interest in Spirituality, collectively it has been called New Age.
New Age to my ears is a pejorative term. You never hear anybody say “Yeah , I’m getting into lot’s of New Age stuff.” It is sort of like the term hipster — everyone knows what it is, and there is lots of it, but hardly anyone actually identifies as being a hipster. It’s not a friendly label, you might have hipster-y inclinations, you like certain clothes, music etc. but most people don’t think of themselves as hipsters, because there is always someone else out there who is a bigger hipster. New Age is the same way, nobody thinks “I am SUCH a new age-y freak. Far-out.”
However, if there is one catch-all term to identify the new-stew potpourri of beliefs that are now available we can call it New Age. There are three paradigms vying for dominance 1. the scientific, purely mechanistic world view. 2. a religious world view. 3. New Age ( the hodgepodge catch-all of everything else).
New Age has a bad reputation of being kinda flakey, hokey, all fluff and no substance. It encompasses a wide spectrum, and depending on where you stand in that spectrum New Age-y stuff will strike you as really out there and ludicrous . . . or pretty reasonable depending on your leanings. Personally, I like being somewhere in the middle, mixing a wide-open mind and heart with a healthy amount of skepticism, because frankly there are a lot of wackos, nut jobs, and charlatans out there.
Just the other day I was talking with a friend, and I began rhapsodizing about a new understanding I had reached regarding Jungian archetypes, and some self-hypnotism work I had been doing. I know that to a lot of people this would sound way New Agey and hokey, but to me it is stuff that I had been working on not only by intuition but also very logically and analytically. Even scientifically. My friend then told me about his new “guru” that he had been grokking lately. Santos Bonacci, so later I watched a few minutes of the guy’s youtube channel and immediately concluded . . . ‘whoah this dude is a total fucking nutjob!”
In short, there is a balance to be struck between the side of magic and rationality . . . but where to strike that balance?
What are the Options?
New Age itself is a wide assortment of stuff, a lot of which has its roots in the “rediscovery” of the east by the west. In other words us rational American folks got turned on to Yoga and the I-Ching in the 60s and it really got us thinking.
A lot of people would complain that is the main problem with the New Age mode of thinking — it is a just a giant grab bag of beliefs with zero central structure, no stable center. (It does have a set of recurring motifs such as a pro-feminist, pro-nature stance, that seem mainly aligned that way because it is in reaction to the dominant paradigm of a patriarchal capitalist society that sees nature solely as a resource etc.)
So we have Yoga, Meditation, Dream Interpretation, Depth Psychology, hypnosis, breathwork, crystals, UFO’s, cryptozoology, runes, reincarnation, Shamanism, Wiccan, Chaos Magic, play music for your plants, lucid dreaming, acupuncture, numerology, angelology, demonology, ancient astronauts, astrology, indigo children . . . well you get the picture.
Like, I got the above pic. from a site called Yoga Freedom. I know it’s well intentioned but . . . Just that phrase “Yoga Freedom” kinda makes me wince. And I like yoga and I like Freedom. But jeez! I mean, just look at this picture, just look at it!
Ugh . . . where to begin with all of this, it’s quite a tangle. (Of course as the New Age stew becomes a little more commonly accepted, things that were once seen as “out-there” like Yoga are now accepted as no big deal. That is why I say the pendulum seems to be swinging back.)
I just want to draw your attention to two examples. The Neo-shaman and the Chaos Magician, who I see as illustrating the two opposite poles of modern magical thought. I know that anyone who identifies as a modern-day shaman or a chaos magician will bristle at me lumping them together as New Age. Oh well.
The neo-shaman (And to a large extent I would say the exact same thing about Wicca, and so on) embraces the idea that the old ways, original ways of doing magic are the best, and are still accessible. The idea is to basically study all of the old “primitive” ways of doing magic, and learn how to recreate them today. The place to start if your interested in this way of doing things is probably with the works of Carlos Castenada or Patrick Harner.
While I admire the idea behind Neo-Shamanism, I think it is naive to think that we can just go back to the old ways of doing things completely, without taking into account the 5,000 years of human history that have occurred since then. We need our own myths, rituals, and beliefs, not the stolen myths and beliefs of older cultures. That said I think we can still learn a hell of a lot by learning from the old ways.
Chaos Magic came out of Yorkshire in the 70s. I love being able to say that with precision. When I think of Chaos Magic I think of Grant Morrison and Alan Moore, two practicing magicians whose brains and erudition I respect a great deal. I find it interesting that the most notable Chaos Magicians both happen to be groundbreaking comic book writers, that’s a pretty specific niche! (I think this says more about comics than anything, because comics are “pulp” and not “literature” as a medium they were ripe for the trippy, out there, mind-bending, magical thinking induced head fuckery that Mr. Morrison and Mr. Moore specialize in.)
If The Neo-shaman is too backwards looking, the Chaos Mage pretends to be too forward looking. The central idea behind chaos magic is that “belief is a tool”. It doesn’t matter so much what you believe, you can change your beliefs like changing your socks, to get the desired effect. The idea is that the Chaos Mage could practice Tibetan Shamanism in the morning and then do a Native American ritual in the evening, that sort of thing. While I agree with that in theory ( in a rational sense) I feel like this misses the point drastically of why beliefs matter. If your beliefs are just something that you can swap out on a whim . . . well, then they are not really beliefs are they?
It feels a bit like say you have invented a style of relationships called “Chaos Love” where you can just fall in love with anybody at whim, and constantly be changing who you are in love with every 24 hours, wouldn’t that be convenient, eh? Uh . . .yeah I guess . . . no, wait that would suck.
The Chaos Magus wants to have his cake and eat it to, to be chameleon like, making use of all beliefs but never truly committing to any, in this way he is secretly in agreement with the dominant paradigm of the scientist, the rationalist, “it is all bull shit anyways, so pick and choose whatever you like” It is too clever for it’s own good.
Alan Moore worships a sock puppet snake god. The idea being gods are the invention of man, so why not invent your own. Too clever by half, if it is a god you invented yourself than it is not a god. Real beliefs are not ones that we CHOOSE, a genuine belief is one that CHOOSES us.
(At least that is what I choose to believe.)
In Conclusion – a 4th way
These extremes map out the choice that we are faced with when looking at the grab bag of “new age” of modern magic. Like Odysseus navigating between Scylla and Charybdis we are caught between twin dangers; that of being too gullible, too naive, a sucker, versus the danger of being too worldly, too decadent, too secretly-still-rational.
Earlier I suggested that there are only 3 available paradigms in the modern age. The scientific, the religious, and the new age. In writing DIY Magic it is my hope to begin to explore a sort of 4th way, one that balances these warring factions of the Mind, the Spirit, and the soul. A paradigm that allows someone to be analytical, to be able to be spiritual, or to seek the enchantment of soul in every day life, without having to turn off the brain, the intellect, or say goodbye to reason and common sense.
What is DIY Magic? It’s simply an attitude of seeking balance. Of saying that relying solely on reason and logic has not solved all of our problems, in fact it has caused a lot of trouble and grief (Capitalism for example). On the other hand we can see that blindly following intuition, and dream, and magic, at the sacrifice of reason leads to a bunch of baloney like Cults and dippity-doo soft core spirituality with no substance. The Practical practice of DIY Magic seeks to move past these old ways and find a new balance. A way of being in the world that takes the best of both the left and right, the yin and the yang, the known and the unknown.
“That which lives on reason lives against the spirit.”
Ok, I feel kinda of irresponsible doing this next step, because I am basically going to skip about 5,000 of human history and development and jump from Ancient Sumeria to the 18th century! (That’s why it is a very brief history.) I am just going to assume that you already know the basics of world history. i.e. you finished high school.
If we had the time and space to do a quick sweep of the part that magic has played during all this time, I would point out the following (which you can see for yourself quite easily).
And then all of that changed, in the Age of Reason (17th-18th century) . While some might disagree and say that the fundamental shift towards the modern non-magical way of man inhabiting the world began in the Renaissance (14th-17th century) I would disagree. While the Renaissance does mark the beginning of a flourishing of logic, thought, rhetoric, and science and medicine in Europe it was not a time of strong opposition to the old ways such as we see in the Age of Reason.
We do see during the Renaissance a development of underground magical thought. Through out history whenever you have a sort of official widely accepted religion, a sort of underground current of secret teachings and doctrines is sure to develop. Thus there is the Orthodox Judaism and there is the more arcane study of the Kabbalah. There is the history of the Muslim faith, and intwined in that is the more mystical strain of the Sufis. There is the history of Christianity and then there is the secret teachings of the Gnostics. Sooner or later you have a majority accepted set of beliefs, and then you have the sets of beliefs that don’t go along with the widely accepted teachings. These invariably have to be taught in secret because they are seen as heretical, as being against the belief that is in power.
(This ends up causing a lot of knowledge having to be passed along in secret, and it is why the occult is called “the occult” which means hidden, and obscured. Because it is basically all of the theories and ideas that if you got caught thinking them out loud in front of the wrong person you would find yourself being used as a stick of kindling for a bonfire.)
During the Age of Reason the dichotomy between the orthodox teaching, and the secret teachings (what Aldous Huxley called the Perennial Philosophy) become less as important, because the big battle was between the old Orthodox teaching—Christianity— and reason. You could think of it as a battle between the left and right hemisphere of the collective human. I will let wikipedia sum it up here:
The Age of Enlightenment was a cultural movement of intellectuals beginning in the late 17th- and 18th-century Europe emphasizing reason and individualism rather than tradition. Its purpose was to reform society using reason, challenge ideas grounded in tradition and faith, and advance knowledge through the scientific method. It promoted scientific thought, skepticism, and intellectual interchange. It opposed superstition and intolerance, with the Catholic Church as a favorite target. Some Enlightenment philosophescollaborated with Enlightened despots, who were absolute rulers who tried out some of the new governmental ideas in practice . . . it was sparked by philosophers Baruch Spinoza, John Locke, Voltaire and physicist Isaac Newton.
This is the worldview, or paradigm that we inhabit now. This is the back drop in which modern magic exists, forgotten and largely relegated to the dustbins of history. (And, for the modern magician I insist that it is actually a terrific place to be! When the powers that be don’t take you seriously enough to be watching and monitoring you, that means you can grow and develop and do whatever you want! Without worrying about interference from the powers that be.)Reason, logic, and science dominate. The common gestalt is that the world can be understood as mechanistic. That is there is no room for the spirit, or God, or the soul, or mysticism etc. Everything can be understood in purely scientific terms. Every human emotion and impulse can be broken down, eventually to a molecular level, and be understood as a purely chemical occurrence. God and the soul are hallucination and a misguided old superstition , there is no inherent meaning in life, and magic is for fools. The reasoning is that we should only believe in what can be proved, it what can replicated in a lab, in what can be scientifically measured and analyzed and broken down and put on a graph, or modeled with an algorithm, or dissected and distilled in a test tube.
And I ask you where has that gotten us?
Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-science. I am not anti-reason. On the contrary. But I do think that science is inherently reductive. Again, here we see the dichotomy of the Left and Right hemisphere. One side wants to analyze, to break down into smaller and smaller parts. It is our Right side that wants to do the opposite, to intuit, and to look for the bigger picture, to break things down to smaller and smaller parts. This process of breaking a being down to it’s muscles and connective tissues, the bones and so forth and then smaller, that the thoughts and emotions of a person can be reduced to a handful or electric sparks, a chemical analysis of neuro-transmitters and cells. While there is nothing Not-True about these scientific theories they are certainly not he best way to understand what is going on in a persons head when they listen to a symphony, or kiss their beloved, or dance at a party! The scientific world view is misguided in thinking that it’s reductive paradigm is going to give us the best, clearest picture of how the microcosm of the human works, it is also misguided in thinking that it can provided a clear understanding of the macrocosm, of the world we humans exist in. I believe that both are neccessary. That it is time to rebalance the dichotomy that has swung out of balance, to balance the scales of reductive/synthesis, of science/humanities, of reason/intuition, left-brain/right brain. I believe that a new and modern concept of magic can play a pivotal role in re-balancing the scales.
The argument between that which can be seen and that which is not seen is as old as philosophy itself. Some say that Science is actually just a small branch of philosophy. And it has been said that all Philosophy is really just a footnote to Plato. I will leave you with a quote from Plato’s Phaedo.
I might compare him to a person that began by maintaining the mind is the cause of the actions . . . but who when he endeavored to explain the causes of my actions in detail went on to say that I sit here because my body is made up of bones and muscles . . . as the bones are lifted at their joints by the contraction or relaxation of the muscles, I am able to bend my limbs, and that is why I am sitting here in a curved posture…and he would have a similar explanation of my talking to you, which he would attribute to sound, and air, and hearing…forgetting to mention the true cause.