Re: virus: Is there room for mysticism?

David McFadzean (
Thu, 11 Jan 1996 17:03:58 -0700

At 02:29 AM 08/01/96 -0500, John E.Mayer wrote:

>David McFadzean wrote:
>>Perhaps you could elaborate a bit on what it means to be
>>involved in magick. I'm a bit unclear on whether practitioners
>>believe their rituals invoke actual mystical powers or if
>>the rituals are just supposed to induce certain positive
>>mind states and attitudes.
>You're not alone in being unclear about that. Holy wars are fought
>in magical circles over the truth about this question. The more

It seems to me that it wouldn't be too difficult to test the
claims and resolve the question. For instance, if it turns out
that the magick rituals work only on people that know that
the ritual was performed, then that would indicate that there
are no mystical forces involved.

> "the belief that direct knowledge of God or ultimate reality
> is attainable through immediate intuition or insight."
>Yeah, that'll work. Toss out "God or", as per original agreement, and
>mysticism approaches ultimate reality thru intuition.
>Is intuition in doubt? Being a non-logical process, it might be suspect,
>but I don't think we can actually deny it.

Actually I don't think intuition is a non-logical process, rather
it is a non-consciously-rational process. No-one doubts there is
plenty of cognitive processing going on below consciousness,
from pattern matching (recognition) down to physiological process
regulation. Say you recognize you are in a dangerous situation
and that causes adrenaline to be pumped into your bloodstream so you
are ready for an immediate fight or flight response. That is a
perfectly logical reaction, though none of it depended on
consciously following any rules of logic. I think intuition works
in a similar way, except the effect rises to the conscious level
so that the idea or hunch seems to appear for nowhere.

>That oughta catch me as much flak as I can type through for now.
>A couple of observations:
> 1)logic covers reasoning processes. Logic can neither
> confirm nor deny intuition, since the two processes
> involve different human faculties.

Doesn't the above logical analysis confirm intuition?

> 2)expertise in one area of study does not predicate
> similar expertise in another. A medical doctor may
> know a bit more about the mind than an engineer, but
> if he goes head-to-head with a psychiatrist, he loses.

Engineers may be in a better position than you might think.

> 3)without exact definition in terms, argument is
> futile and counterproductive. We have used several
> nebulous terms without pinning them down, making it
> truly difficult to discuss these terms rationally.

I agree it is important and useful to discuss semantics but
exact definitions are unattainable outside pure math (maybe
even in mathematics?).

>Examples: creative--does this faculty exist, and if so, is it
>separate from the rational faculty? Intuition--same query.

I think I've already expressed my views in this and a previous

>Does spirit (as separate from body and mind) exist? What does
>"spiritual" mean? How about love?

I'm inclined to say that their is insufficient evidence for
the existence of spirits as separate from body and mind in
the "real world", however spirits do exists in the realm
of imagination (the ideosphere), therefore 'spirit' is
certainly not a meaningless term. If that's true then
'spiritual' is used to describe things pertaining to these
particular memes. Love is simply a biological mechanism
useful for pair-bonding and, ipso facto, perpetuating the
species :).

>The human organism embraces many more functions than just the
>logical. Logic is a most useful tool, but if we give ourselves
>up exclusively to logic and skepticism, then we are merely
>rationalists with a new coat. To arrogate ourselves a church

What is wrong with being rationalists with a new coat? Isn't
everything new "merely" something old with a new coat?

>on that basis is a bit grandiose. The function, I believe, of

By using "arrogate" you are already assuming that we are creating
a church without justification. I guess that is grandiose
by definition.

>any church is to cater to the spiritual needs of mankind, or
>a representative slice thereof. We must investigate what these

That is one of the functions of a religion, but not the only one.

>needs are, and if we cannot meet them, then we need to go and
>sit among the materialists. It takes a pretty sharp sword to
>do battle with the major religions. En garde!

I thought we were materialists. Or does equating the spiritual
realm with the memetic realm make us idealists with a new coat?

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Merak Projects Ltd.