virus: Magic/Science

Eva-Lise Carlstrom (
Mon, 2 Dec 1996 21:08:50 -0800 (PST)

On Mon, 2 Dec 1996, Schneider John wrote:

> David Leeper wrote:
> > 1] Science is a subset of Magick. It changes ignorance into
> > knowledge. I'm saying this to point out that Magickians
> > are not "anti-science".
> Since I don't know anything about Magick, I cannot argue.
> > 2] Cohesive Math itself can be seen simply as a formalization
> > of techniques mathematicians have used for centuries. The
> > little letters that are used to represent the quality in a
> > formula are simply the base numbers of Cohesive Math.
> > Example:
> > e=mc^2
> > e=1
> > m=2
> > e=mc^2 = 1=2*0^c^2
> >
> > 3] From 2] you can see that my new system of Magick will
> > include all of science. However, it will not be limited
> > to science.
> When I think of Science, I think of the scientific method and
> its implicit realm of applicability, which is: all observable
> phenomena. If Magick is not to be subject to the limits of
> Science, then one or the other of these should be different.
> If you can write down the 'magickal method' and its realm of
> applicability, we might better determine exactly where it
> differs from Science... So far, it appears to me that you've
> changed the syntactics around a bit, but that does not consti-
> tute a fundamental change of any sort.
> - JPS
> -

Well, I don't know about David L.'s pet math system, but his inclusion of
magic within science is in line with a goodly number of writers on the
topic (magic). Aleister Crowley defines magic as the art of causing
change in accordance with Will, and thus subsumes under its heading all
conscious action, but not habitual, random, instinctive, or otherwise
unconscious action. I have been doing a lot of thinking about magic
recently, which is how I ended up on this list, as well as how I ended up
in the UU church and reading books on myth, satire, and mental illness (my
idea of studying magic is only getting broader as I go). I have concluded
that a successful magician is a person whose conscious and unconscious
desires are in tune with one another, so that eir(*) efforts are directed
toward eir goals, rather than engaged in intrapersonal conflict. I think
this may be the same thing as being Level 3.

On the other hand, most writers treat magic as a kind of activity or
belief system, usually distinct from religion but analogous to it in some
important ways, such as involving 'the supernatural'. Frazer (_Golden
Bough_) set up the canonical distinction, which I've now seen quoted
elsewhere several times: in Religion, the individual is petitioning a
deity for something; in Magic, e is attempting to make it happen emself by
effectively using materials and forces available. Writers attempting to
define what magic is generally get bogged down in distinguishing it not
only from religion, but also from Science, which similarly works with
forces at hand in the individual and the universe, disregarding divine
intervention. Another mode of thought/activity that crops up in such
discussions is Art. Different writers define them all differently with
regard to one another. Perhaps the major difficulty is that each of the
four is not one thing itself--each is a cluster of attitudes, beliefs,
behaviours, and produced works, and an individual object, procedure, or
text may have aspects of all four.


(*) I use the Spivak system of gender-neutral personal pronouns in my
writing. The forms 'E, em, eir, eirs, emself' correspond to the forms
'They, them, their, theirs, themselves', but are singular. If you think
this is silly or a lost linguistic cause, you should hear me speak