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Anonymous
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08/09/2014 12:28 am  

Anyway I'm, "backing off" from these tired disagreements for now as I'm looking forward to how threefold31 addresses the latest questions from Los.


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Los
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08/09/2014 12:40 am  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
Thelema is about following your true will and not about scientifically accepted proof of supernatural powers

Christ, how many times are people going to have to explain it to you before it sinks in?

Nobody – absolutely nobody – has ever claimed that Thelema is “about” “scientifically accepted proof of supernatural powers.” I’m not even sure that makes sense as an English sentence. Nobody’s ever even come close to implying it.

What people have claimed is that Thelema is fundamentally skeptical. And while Crowley created Thelema, it would appear that he didn’t do the greatest job of living up to the skepticism that’s fundamental to the system…at least it doesn’t seem that he applied skepticism consistently across the spectrum of his beliefs.

That doesn’t mean that Crowley is a “moron,” nor does it mean that everything he wrote is wrong, nor does it mean that those Thelemites who happen to be interested in discussing the flaws of supernatural claims are somehow declaring that “Thelema is about scientifically accepted proofs of supernatural powers.”

All of these points have been explained to you several times over many years by a few different posters. The fact that you continue to make the same claims – as if no one had ever bothered explaining it to you – suggests to me that you have some kind of massive problem with reading comprehension.


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the_real_simon_iff
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08/09/2014 10:42 am  

93, Los!

"Los" wrote:
blah, blah, blah

Why don't you keep your condescending tone to yourself? Do you think that makes your lecturing somewhat more convincing? It's not me who comes running to the keyboard drooling as soon as the word (or concept of) "supernatural" appears in a thread and starts the usual "discussion" of the "flaws of supernatural claims". And yes, it occurred to me that there are "Thelemites who happen to be interested in discussing the flaws of supernatural claims" - that's their hobby-horse and nothing more as I pointed out.

While you and your "followers" (for lack of a better word) may indeed not explitely state that "Thelema is about scientifically accepted proof of supernatural powers" (sorry for not being an english native speaker) it might interest you (it should if you want to be taken seriously) that you give the impression that Thelema and the belief in the supernatural are incompatible. This is clearly not so and it makes your constant interest "in discussing the flaws of supernatural claims" so superfluous and annoying. To me, at least, but it seems to others also.

Anyway, I was talking to David whose ridiculous generalizations about "occultists" only ooze stupid prejudices and none of his - and your - beloved scepticism. When alluded to this discrepance all one gets are hilarious claims like "Thelema has no false theories of Nature" or condescending advice to look up certain selective quotes by a famous occultist.

"david" wrote:
It's absurd it's anarchic and most of all it's downright silly. Anyone who took the wacky statements seriously was being laughed at, by Crowley imo.

While you add an "imo" you behave like your opinions are facts. But on the contrary it is evident that Crowley took a lot of his wacky statements very serious indeed and believed that he had scientific evidence for them. While you have all the right to do so you should be aware that your interpretation of Crowley is just that - an interpretation. If you really would employ a scientific and sceptical approach to Crowley's work you would realize that. But you seem to think that your interpretations are facts. They are not. The concept of True Will, Thelema, Magick and so on has not very much basis in any science without stretching, bending and interpreting it according to one's liking. "Real" science will never recognize any pathetic efforts to claim a scientific basis in the philosophical meanderings of an infamous last century occultist.

That's why there is no generally accepted "right" or "wrong" concerning Thelema.

The law is for all.

If it comforts you just ignore the "wacko bits" in Crowley's work. But that doesn't make them go away.

Love=Law
Lutz


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jamie barter
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08/09/2014 1:03 pm  

Talking about making it rain in a desert, in his cloudbu[r]sting experiments Wilhelm Reich pointed a set of hollow metal tubes up at the sky in desert areas in Arizona which hadn’t experienced rain for some considerable time and produced precipitation and grass which according to his observation “was a foot high on land that had been barren in living memory”.  (I’m not sure if he danced around or chanted at the same time, but as he was more or less a ‘conventional’ scientist it seems probable that he didn’t).

By similar methods but with reverse effect, he also deflected Hurricane Edna from trashing the eastern seaboard of the United States, particularly New York and with Boston Radio reporting: “Almost the impossible has happened – the storm is gong to move off.”  (for further information, see David Boadella, Wilhelm Reich: The Evolution of His Work [1973]; Chapter 12: "Climate and Landscape").

Should these (and other comparable events on record) be interpreted as synchronistic coincidence,  oogity-boogity, or some [super]natural but unknown chain of cause-and-effect?  (Or doesn’t this example “count” in terms of the evaluation of avant-garde weather-causing trends?

"Los" wrote:
oints have been explained to you several times over many years by a few different posters. The fact that you continue to make the same claims – as if no one had ever bothered explaining it to you – suggests to me that you have some kind of massive problem with reading comprehension.

Ah, now I’ve come across this before!  This is the phenomenon surely known as the "pot calling the kettle black” ?!?

N Joy


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Anonymous
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08/09/2014 3:32 pm  
"arthuremerson" wrote:
It seems self-evident that David has read very little of Crowley, not without viewing it through the lens of Hessle and Los anyway.

Y'know it continually amazes me that people think that Los and Hessle are the only two people who ever challenged the supernatural aspect of magick.  This is from a statement of intent from the 80s the temple of psychick youth which involved thousands of people

Involvement in thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth requires an active individual, dedicated towards thee establishment ov a functional system ov magick and a modern pagan philosophy without recourse to mystification, gods or demons; but recognising thee implicit powers ov thee human brain (neuromancy) linked with guiltless sexuality focused through Will Structure (Sigils).


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Los
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08/09/2014 4:19 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
you give the impression that Thelema and the belief in the supernatural are incompatible.

We’ve been over this. It depends on what is meant, exactly, by “incompatible” and “supernatural.”

I saw Erwin once give you a good analogy: saying “Thelema and the belief in the supernatural are incompatible” is like saying “Running a marathon and having a disability are incompatible.” It depends on what exactly we’re talking about. For example, having a speech impediment or missing a finger on one hand is perfectly compatible with running a marathon, but missing most of the left side of your body generally isn’t compatible.

Similarly, holding one minor unsupported belief that has little relation with one’s other beliefs (for example, believing in reincarnation) probably won’t impede an individual’s ability to discover and follow his true will very much in any practical way. In that case, we can say that Thelema and “belief in the supernatural” in this sense are compatible. But holding a wide array of beliefs that diverge substantially from the actual state of things will make it significantly *more difficult* for a person to discover and perform his True Will.

Now, is that “incompatible” with Thelema? Depends on what we mean again. Obviously, any person is free to call himself a Thelemite, so in that sense, nothing is necessarily “incompatible” with Thelema. Additionally, setting up obstacles that hamper one’s ability to discover the True Will doesn’t necessarily logically contradict anything about Thelema either, so we also wouldn’t have to call it “incompatible” in that sense. But if we’re using “incompatible with X” to mean “doing something that makes X unnecessarily more difficult,” then yes, certain kinds of supernatural belief are incompatible with Thelema.

In the same way that we might say that periodically closing one’s eyes for ten-second increments is “incompatible” with driving, we can say that some types of supernatural beliefs are “incompatible” with Thelema.

It makes no sense to try to object by saying, “But Los! Car-driving is all about putting your foot down on the pedal and steering! A person can still perform those physical actions while closing his eyes, so closing one’s eyes is irrelevant!!!! You just have a prejudice against closing the eyes!!!”

You’ve had all of this explained to you, over and over again. It would actually advance the conversation if you would *reply* to some of these points, but based on your past behavior, it looks like in six months, you’ll be back on here saying the same exact things as if I had never said anything to you at all.


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08/09/2014 4:38 pm  

I highly recommend Mysticism, initiation and dream by Andrew Chumbley which also deals with the creation of myths, for instance the reception of the quran.

Dreams as omens and initiations. 

Here's an example of a dream as an omen: https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=no&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=no&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.side2.no%2Flykkespill%2Fdrmte-seg-til-milliongevinst%2F8478060.html&edit-text=&act=url


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gurugeorge
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08/09/2014 5:40 pm  
"Los" wrote:
"gurugeorge" wrote:
Yeah, but that's not to say there isn't a mongoose in the basket, it's just to say that it ain't any "more real" than the snakes his brother sees.

You're confusing the content of the parable with what the parable is being used to mean.

Within the world of the parable, the guy clearly does not have a mongoose.

Again, review what AC says before and after the joke, in the context of MiTaP where he calls it a "perfect parable of Magick":-

"It [the astral body] is of course not "real"; but then no more is the other body!"

"It is quite useless (except as a temporary expedient) to set up one class of ideas against another as being "more real". "

Now, on the hypothesis that the guy doesn't have a mongoose in his basket, what would have been the point of AC saying these things?


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the_real_simon_iff
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08/09/2014 5:53 pm  

93, Los!

I think your drive to explain Thelema to me is the biggest problem. At least it annoys me.

You are on record saying that

"The method of Thelema DOES NOT require believe in anything supernatural."

You once said that you have the feeling that interested parties could be held away from Thelema because they might think they have to accept Crowley's wacky claims. It's fair and correct to tell those people that this is not the case.

I think it is equally fair and correct to not forget that

"The method of Thelema DOES NOT require to be an atheist."
"The method of Thelema DOES NOT require to be a 100% sceptic."
"The method of Thelema DOES NOT require to consider supernaturalism as wacky."

One can believe in prater-human intelligence without having a "fancy picture" of himself. One can claim to be a strict sceptic and still have "fancy pictures" of himself. These things happen and since a true will cannot be measured, cannot be detected, cannot even be proven to exist at all, we have to rely on ourselves alone, on our belief that it exists, which is as un-scientific as it gets.

But thanks for allowing Thelemites a few harmless supernatural beliefs.

Love=Law
Lutz


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gurugeorge
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08/09/2014 6:12 pm  
"david" wrote:
"arthuremerson" wrote:
It seems self-evident that David has read very little of Crowley, not without viewing it through the lens of Hessle and Los anyway.

Y'know it continually amazes me that people think that Los and Hessle are the only two people who ever challenged the supernatural aspect of magick. 

And it constantly amazes me that people still think that "supernatural" has any meaning at all in relation to Magick.

If someone concentrates very hard, mumbles some words, thinks some things, and circumambulates in a circle, and rain happens as a result of it, and if that is repeatable, then that's not "supernatural", that's natural.  No laws of nature were broken.  The hypothesis would simply be that there are causal factors presently unknown.

i.e. if such things happened, they would be unusual, but not supernatural.

Whether or not such things are possible, Magick is always to do with what's natural.

Are such things possible?  No controlled experiments have yet been done to test it.  All we have, at the moment, is a heap of anecdotal evidence, a fair proportion of it dubious (but still leaving a whole heap undecidable), and the beginnings of some controlled experiments in parapsychology.

And despite Sean Carroll's clear demonstration that the causal factors we now know about (in physics) account sufficiently for the world of ordinary, everyday experience we see around us, that says nothing about non-ordinary, non-everyday experiences that people very rarely, and anectotally, claim to have.

It's the old story about the guy looking for his lost keys at night under the lamppost.  We've gotten to the stage where stuff that usually happens (stars, flowers, tears, chairs, etc.) is very well explained, because it's amenable to repeatable, controlled experiments (precisely because it's what usually happens).

But from the fact that some things that exist and are real, are amenable to repeatable, controlled experiments, it does not follow that ONLY things that are amenable to repeatable, controlled experiments exist, or are real.

It may be that in an evocation of Bartzabel, the entity one seems to perceive in the fog of incense is an independent being with its own attributes; it may be that in an evocation of Bartzabel, the entity one seems to perceive in the fog of incense is a figment of one's imagination, or a psychological externalization of something in the deep structure of the mind, or something of that nature.  And maybe one day we'll be able to say for sure which is the case.

But today, we don't actually know enough to be sure. 

We know enough to make a fairly good guess at the probability that all that stuff is just a figment of the imagination, but it's still just a probability estimate based on what we know, and since we don't know that we know all there is to know (except wrt to the field of everyday stuff, which physics explains sufficiently), we can't yet be sure.

Therefore, it is still open for someone to go on the "these things are independent beings with their own ecology" hypothesis.  It is not at all irrational to do so, it's simply an experimental stance.


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Anonymous
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08/09/2014 8:03 pm  
"gurugeorge" wrote:
If someone concentrates very hard, mumbles some words, thinks some things, and circumambulates in a circle, and rain happens as a result of it, and if that is repeatable, then that's not "supernatural", that's natural

but these unusual things have never really be done consistently therefore there is no causality involved.  Your point is fallacious as it is  Post hoc ergo propter hoc Latin for "after this, therefore because of this" (faulty cause/effect, coincidental correlation, correlation without causation) e.g. the Loch Ness Monster has been seen in this loch. Something tipped our boat over; it's obviously the Loch Ness Monster.

Your taking a typical faith-based stance in trying to claim that supernatural phenomena isn’t supernatural so there’s no  grounds for attacking it and calling it out for what it is, namely phoney.

"gurugeorge" wrote:
Whether or not such things are possible, Magick is always to do with what's natural.

Magick the art of causing change to occur in conformity with our true will is natural yeah (i.e. making changes/adjustments in our perceptions to connect with our true will)  but thinking that we , “make things happen” via rituals hasn’t been demonstrated to be likely to be true.........yet.  Don’t you think by now parapsychologists would’ve come up with something to prove wrong what we deem to be wacky fantasies?

"gurugeorge" wrote:
But from the fact that some things that exist and are real, are amenable to repeatable, controlled experiments, it does not follow that ONLY things that are amenable to repeatable, controlled experiments exist, or are real.
.

What? ??

That is a completely irrational statement.  Just because we can test true claims  repeatedly as being true it does not follow that claims that we can’t test as being true are false?  Haha  jesus I’m going have to make a note of your name. 

"gurugeorge" wrote:
It may be that in an evocation of Bartzabel, the entity one seems to perceive in the fog of incense is an independent being with its own attributes; it may be that in an evocation of Bartzabel, the entity one seems to perceive in the fog of incense is a figment of one's imagination, or a psychological externalization of something in the deep structure of the mind, or something of that nature.  And maybe one day we'll be able to say for sure which is the case.

But today, we don't actually know enough to be sure. 

I think we do know don’t we?  Like I said, a 1000 times, take your mobile phone into your temple and film a spirit being evoked and then so my friends and  I can have a good long laugh, upload it to youtube.


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arthuremerson
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08/09/2014 10:04 pm  

David, you have once again demonstrated your uncommon grasp of informal logic and your outstanding ability to read and respond critically. Well done.


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Los
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08/09/2014 10:11 pm  
"gurugeorge" wrote:
Now, on the hypothesis that the guy doesn't have a mongoose in his basket, what would have been the point of AC saying these things?

The point is to explain one symbolic meaning of the parable. In the world of the parable, the guy doesn't have a real mongoose in the bag. Another way to say this is to say that he has a "not real" mongoose in the bag. Yet that "not real" mongoose -- the absence of a mongoose in the bag -- can have practical effects.

That's the parable.

What Crowley *uses* the parable to illustrate is a different question entirely. And one of his points is that the astral body is not real, just like the mongoose is not real. Yet lo and behold, just as the not real mongoose can yield practical results in a certain context, so too can the not real astral body.


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Los
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08/09/2014 10:19 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
I think it is equally fair and correct to not forget that

"The method of Thelema DOES NOT require to be an atheist."
"The method of Thelema DOES NOT require to be a 100% sceptic."
"The method of Thelema DOES NOT require to consider supernaturalism as wacky."

But Thelema *does* require one to practice skepticism, and the proper practice of skepticism leads to atheism and naturalism.

So while it's technically true that Thelema does not "require" atheism, it requires skepticism and *that* "requires" atheism if it's practiced correctly.

One can believe in prater-human intelligence without having a "fancy picture" of himself.

Sure, but one will then have a very "fancy" -- i.e. fantastic, make-believe -- picture of the universe. Performing the True Will is not just about discovering one's inclinations -- just as driving is not just about putting one's foot down on a pedal. Performing the True Will requires a clear navigation of the environment, which is more difficult when one has a faulty picture of the environment. In some cases -- again, depending on the severity of the superstition -- it might be extremely difficult or even impossible for the individual to navigate successfully.

One can claim to be a strict sceptic and still have "fancy pictures" of himself.

Sure. No one's disputing that. But we've been talking about one specific means by which individuals obscure their perception of reality -- a very common one in some circles.

since a true will cannot be measured, cannot be detected, cannot even be proven to exist at all

I've specifically addressed this point in posts directed at you several times over several years. Are you seriously telling me that you haven't comprehended any of my responses in all of that time?


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Los
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08/09/2014 10:25 pm  
"gurugeorge" wrote:
if such things happened, they would be unusual, but not supernatural.

Whether or not such things are possible, Magick is always to do with what's natural.

Obviously, if something actually happens, then it's natural. But the term "supernatural" is a term that is commonly used to describe phenomena for which there is scant evidence and thus a lot of doubt about whether it is real. The word typically designates claims about phenomena such as ESP, "psychic" powers, ghosts, goblins, gods, "divine" beings, intelligences not connected to brains, and orcs.

Now, if any of those things exists, then it's natural, sure. But "supernatural" is a blanket term for these kinds of dubious claims. When any supernatural item is demonstrated to exist, people will stop using "supernatural" to describe it and start using "natural."

Until such time, I'm perfectly happy to use "supernatural" to describe such phenomena. For one thing, it appears to be accurate, since "supernatural" literally means "outside of nature," that is, not in existence. That's appropriate, since none of those supernatural things appears to exist. For another thing, the word "supernatural" reminds people of how stupid most of these claims are.


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Los
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08/09/2014 10:42 pm  
"david" wrote:
"gurugeorge" wrote:
But from the fact that some things that exist and are real, are amenable to repeatable, controlled experiments, it does not follow that ONLY things that are amenable to repeatable, controlled experiments exist, or are real.
.

What? ??

That is a completely irrational statement.  Just because we can test true claims  repeatedly as being true it does not follow that claims that we can’t test as being true are false?

Gurugeorge might be technically correct here, depending on exactly what we're talking about. For example, I can't repeatedly test that I had a certain dream last night, but the dream still happened.

Of course, if that's the kind of thing he means, then that's deeply disingenuous because we've been talking about claims of supernatural powers that -- if they're true -- would have actual, detectable, measurable effects on the world. And even if we couldn't directly detect the supernatural *mechanism* by which those effects were produced, we would definitely be able to detect the *effects.*

But even when talking about things that affect the world, it's very possible to invent hypothetical scenarios in which something is "real" but undetectable. For example, it is theoretically possible that a god exists but only exists on some other dimension and *only* interacts with our universe by sending dreams to people (dreams that do not contain any information that the individual didn't already know or dreams that "predict" events but can only be confirmed *after* the events). Let's say, for the sake of argument, that this god actually exists. In such a case, the god would indeed be "real," but -- from our perspective -- this god would be completely indistinguishable from nothing. So no one would have any good reason to think the god exists.

Another example, one relevant to the making-it-rain power: it's theoretically possible that I have a supernatural power that makes coins I flip land heads up. *But* the catch is that the power only works some of the time, and I have no way of telling when it's operating or when it's going to work. I could flip a coin a bunch of times in a row, but the power might only work on a few of the flips, and I have no way of knowing in advance which ones of the flips will be affected by the power. But every time the power is working, the coin *will* land heads up, so every time the coin lands heads up, I can look back and confirm that my power *was* working for *that* flip.

Again, if this were the case, my power would be real, but *nobody* -- including me -- would have any reason to think that the power actually was real.

And that's the problem here. What's the difference between (1) a superpower that's real but can't be detected and (2) a superpower that doesn't exist?


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gurugeorge
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08/09/2014 11:25 pm  
"Los" wrote:
"gurugeorge" wrote:
Now, on the hypothesis that the guy doesn't have a mongoose in his basket, what would have been the point of AC saying these things?

The point is to explain one symbolic meaning of the parable. In the world of the parable, the guy doesn't have a real mongoose in the bag. Another way to say this is to say that he has a "not real" mongoose in the bag. Yet that "not real" mongoose -- the absence of a mongoose in the bag -- can have practical effects.

And of course this would be nonsense, since not-real things can have no effects.

That's the parable.

What Crowley *uses* the parable to illustrate is a different question entirely. And one of his points is that the astral body is not real, just like the mongoose is not real. Yet lo and behold, just as the not real mongoose can yield practical results in a certain context, so too can the not real astral body.

I think the "parable" has gone almost completely over your head Los, sorry to say. 

Again, I quote what comes before the telling of the joke:-

"It [the astral body] is of course not "real"; but then no more is the other body!"

The astral body is like the snakes; the "other body", our physical body, is like the mongoose in the basket.

The profane reading is as you say, there's no mongoose in the basket - the joke is light and superficial, the lesson rationalistic and sensible.

But if that were the reading AC wanted you to take, there would have been no need for him to preface it with the above sentence - there would be no juxtaposition intended between a thing we suppose real and a thing we suppose not-real, since on the superficial reading, neither the snake nor the mongoose is real.

The initiated reading - which is much, much funnier - is that there actually is a mongoose in the basket, but it's essentially (philosophically/mystically/magickally) no more "real" than the guy's brother's snakes.

IOW, AC is flipping the joke on its head and humourously making the guy with the basket an enlightened master who sees the "not-real" in the mongoose, just as clearly as his brother sees "real" in his snakes.

Try it on for size - indulge me and picture, for the sake of the argument, that there is an ordinary, physical mongoose in the basket:- 

"But say, them ain't real snakes."

"Sure, but this mongoose ain't real either". 

This kind of sting in the tale is typical of Crowley - there's often a profane reading and an initiated reading of things he says - like a hidden time bomb that may or may not explode in your head one day.


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gurugeorge
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08/09/2014 11:34 pm  
"david" wrote:
"gurugeorge" wrote:
If someone concentrates very hard, mumbles some words, thinks some things, and circumambulates in a circle, and rain happens as a result of it, and if that is repeatable, then that's not "supernatural", that's natural

but these unusual things have never really be done consistently therefore there is no causality involved. 

How do you know these things have never "really" (where the hell did that come from? 🙂 ) been done consistently?

"gurugeorge" wrote:
But from the fact that some things that exist and are real, are amenable to repeatable, controlled experiments, it does not follow that ONLY things that are amenable to repeatable, controlled experiments exist, or are real.
.

What? ??

That is a completely irrational statement.  Just because we can test true claims  repeatedly as being true it does not follow that claims that we can’t test as being true are false?  Haha  jesus I’m going have to make a note of your name. 

I think, rather, that you'd do better to take a course in logic and read things more carefully - and not auto-paraphrase things people say into what you think they ought to be saying given your prejudice about what you think they're like 😉


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gurugeorge
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08/09/2014 11:42 pm  
"Los" wrote:
"david" wrote:
"gurugeorge" wrote:
But from the fact that some things that exist and are real, are amenable to repeatable, controlled experiments, it does not follow that ONLY things that are amenable to repeatable, controlled experiments exist, or are real.
.

What? ??

That is a completely irrational statement.  Just because we can test true claims  repeatedly as being true it does not follow that claims that we can’t test as being true are false?

Gurugeorge might be technically correct here, depending on exactly what we're talking about. For example, I can't repeatedly test that I had a certain dream last night, but the dream still happened.

Of course, if that's the kind of thing he means, then that's deeply disingenuous because we've been talking about claims of supernatural powers that -- if they're true -- would have actual, detectable, measurable effects on the world. And even if we couldn't directly detect the supernatural *mechanism* by which those effects were produced, we would definitely be able to detect the *effects.*

But even when talking about things that affect the world, it's very possible to invent hypothetical scenarios in which something is "real" but undetectable. For example, it is theoretically possible that a god exists but only exists on some other dimension and *only* interacts with our universe by sending dreams to people (dreams that do not contain any information that the individual didn't already know or dreams that "predict" events but can only be confirmed *after* the events). Let's say, for the sake of argument, that this god actually exists. In such a case, the god would indeed be "real," but -- from our perspective -- this god would be completely indistinguishable from nothing. So no one would have any good reason to think the god exists.

Another example, one relevant to the making-it-rain power: it's theoretically possible that I have a supernatural power that makes coins I flip land heads up. *But* the catch is that the power only works some of the time, and I have no way of telling when it's operating or when it's going to work. I could flip a coin a bunch of times in a row, but the power might only work on a few of the flips, and I have no way of knowing in advance which ones of the flips will be affected by the power. But every time the power is working, the coin *will* land heads up, so every time the coin lands heads up, I can look back and confirm that my power *was* working for *that* flip.

Again, if this were the case, my power would be real, but *nobody* -- including me -- would have any reason to think that the power actually was real.

And that's the problem here. What's the difference between (1) a superpower that's real but can't be detected and (2) a superpower that doesn't exist?

Exactly 🙂

And (pace David) "saving appearances" isn't a fault of magicians and failed Randi Challenge candidates only, scientists do and have done it too, many times in the past. 

Anyway, I'm glad you see my point: it may be the case, and we are not yet in a position to know for certain that it isn't, that there are some things that are real that aren't amenable to normal scientific investigation (although it may be possible that a scientific approach in some sense is possible, which is what Crowley hoped).

Which is why, as I said, it's not actually irrational for someone to work on the hypothesis that Bartzabel is an objective entity with his own life and attributes that go on whether we're perceiving him or not.  It's still (for all we know) a possibility.  Maybe.


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NKB
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09/09/2014 12:04 am  
"Los" wrote:
"gurugeorge" wrote:
if such things happened, they would be unusual, but not supernatural.

Whether or not such things are possible, Magick is always to do with what's natural.

Obviously, if something actually happens, then it's natural. But the term "supernatural" is a term that is commonly used to describe phenomena for which there is scant evidence and thus a lot of doubt about whether it is real. The word typically designates claims about phenomena such as ESP, "psychic" powers, ghosts, goblins, gods, "divine" beings, intelligences not connected to brains, and orcs.

Now, if any of those things exists, then it's natural, sure. But "supernatural" is a blanket term for these kinds of dubious claims. When any supernatural item is demonstrated to exist, people will stop using "supernatural" to describe it and start using "natural."

Until such time, I'm perfectly happy to use "supernatural" to describe such phenomena. For one thing, it appears to be accurate, since "supernatural" literally means "outside of nature," that is, not in existence. That's appropriate, since none of those supernatural things appears to exist. For another thing, the word "supernatural" reminds people of how stupid most of these claims are.

You might try the more modern clinical term "anomalous experience" to describe such things. For one thing, it takes the dubious term "nature" out of the equation and puts human experience into it. For a detailed look at how these kinds of "anomalous experiences" are viewed and approached by the psychiatric community see the latest edition of Varieties of Anomalous Experience: Examining the Scientific Evidence.

And by the way, skepticism does not lead one to atheism. If one practices skepticism the outcome would probably be closer to the kind of model-agnosticism advocated by most free-thinking scientists. A model-agnostic will probably be as skeptical of an atheistic perspective as a theistic perspective and would claim that both may have relative uses,


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Anonymous
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09/09/2014 12:13 am  
"gurugeorge" wrote:

How do you know these things have never "really" (where the hell did that come from? 🙂 ) been done consistently?.

I wasn't being dismissive.  I watch the news I read books and I am aware that no parapsychological experiments have produced anything worthy of real conclusive evidence....yet.  However I stand corrected and see your point about the complexities of scientific investigation particularly after Los explained using the coin flip example.   


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Los
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09/09/2014 1:16 am  

George,

There’s only so many times I can say the bleeding obvious before I get tired.

Do you know what a parable is? In part, a parable has to make sense as a story on its own. In addition to making sense on its own, the parable has to be able to have metaphorical application. In other words, it works on two levels at once.

Let’s say that we were discussing Christ’s parable of the good shepherd. It would be moronic to argue that within the story the shepherd is actually herding humans (but calling them "sheep") because the sheep represent human Christians. Within the story, he clearly herds sheep. Outside of the story, we can apply parts of the story as metaphor. It has to make sense within the story first and foremost.

Are you actually suggesting that within the world of the mongoose-snake parable there is a guy who brings an actual, honest-to-goodness mongoose onto a train and then tells another guy that it’s “not real”? Why in the world would somebody do that? And, judging by the “hick” American accents Crowley puts in the guy’s mouth, we can infer that he probably isn’t the kind of guy who’s deeply immersed in philosophy.

Nothing about your reading makes sense of the parable on its own terms.


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Los
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09/09/2014 1:21 am  
"gurugeorge" wrote:
"Los" wrote:
"gurugeorge" wrote:
Now, on the hypothesis that the guy doesn't have a mongoose in his basket, what would have been the point of AC saying these things?

The point is to explain one symbolic meaning of the parable. In the world of the parable, the guy doesn't have a real mongoose in the bag. Another way to say this is to say that he has a "not real" mongoose in the bag. Yet that "not real" mongoose -- the absence of a mongoose in the bag -- can have practical effects.

And of course this would be nonsense, since not-real things can have no effects.

No. There mostly certainly *are* non-real things that have real effects. Or, rather, there are concepts that do not correspond to anything in the real world that nevertheless can prove useful when dealing with other concepts. As an obvious example, see imaginary numbers.

In a similar way, the "spirits" and "gods" spoken of in ceremonial magick are not real. But then again, neither is this self-image or "ego" that possesses most people. Plug in "mongoose" for "gods" and "snakes" for "self-image," and you'll see one potentially valid application of "non-real" things.


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Los
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09/09/2014 1:27 am  
"gurugeorge" wrote:
Anyway, I'm glad you see my point: it may be the case, and we are not yet in a position to know for certain that it isn't, that there are some things that are real that aren't amenable to normal scientific investigation (although it may be possible that a scientific approach in some sense is possible, which is what Crowley hoped).

Which is why, as I said, it's not actually irrational for someone to work on the hypothesis that Bartzabel is an objective entity with his own life and attributes that go on whether we're perceiving him or not.

Well, I would disagree with the second part. If we agree -- as we appear to do -- that it's possible that Bartzabel is an "objective" entity that manifests in ways that make it indistinguishable from nothing, then it does *not* follow that "it's not actually irrational for someone to work on the hypothesis that Bartzabel is an objective entity with his own life and attributes that go on whether we're perceiving him or not."

In fact, I think it most definitely *is* irrational to accept X as a working hypothesis without any good grounds for thinking the hypothesis might be true.

Scientists don't just pluck hypotheses out of a hat, you know. They have reasons -- rooted in evidence -- for thinking that their hypotheses *might* be true.  You, on the other hand, have exactly zero reasons to think that "Bartzabel" exists independently of human minds.

No, if it's actually the case that X exists but is totally indistinguishable from not existing, then the only rational position is not to accept that X exists until such time as evidence *enables* someone to distinguish X from not existing.


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Los
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09/09/2014 1:37 am  
"NKB" wrote:
You might try the more modern clinical term "anomalous experience" to describe such things.

I might, if I were talking in a clinical context where I was trying to come to some reasonable conclusions about case studies.

In the context of chatting on a website with people who not just *have* "anomalous experiences" but in many cases believe that these experiences are sufficient grounds for thinking that they can bend reality to their wills...I'm more than happy to stick with "supernatural." I don't want to give any of these beliefs any more dignity than they deserve.

And by the way, skepticism does not lead one to atheism.

It does if practiced correctly. You might be using a different definition of "atheism" than I am, though. By "atheism," I mean the lack of belief in gods -- not necessarily the *belief* that there are no gods (though nothing would stop an atheist from holding that belief as well).

If one practices skepticism the outcome would probably be closer to the kind of model-agnosticism advocated by most free-thinking scientists.

Nope. Practical skepticism is a mode of thought used to analyze claims in everyday life. Claims for which there exists insufficient evidence should not be accepted as true. The so-called "evidence" presented for the existence of gods is woefully insufficient, and therefore the rational position is not to accept the existence of any gods (atheism).

Again, this does *not* mean that one must believe that no gods exist, though I personally think there are many contexts in which believing that specific gods do not exist is justified.

skeptical of an atheistic perspective

Atheism isn't a "perspective." It's a position on a single question (whether one thinks that there are gods or not). It's a binary proposition. Either one accepts that some god or gods exist or one does not. There's no middle ground, in the same way that one either is or is not pregnant.

Properly applying skepticism reveals that moving from the default position of "not accepting the existence of gods" to the position of "accepting the existence of at least one god" is not justified by evidence. Now, I admit that what I just said is open to argument, and I'd be delighted to have someone actually present evidence that demonstrates that I'm not correct on this issue. If I'm wrong about something, I want to know it.


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NKB
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09/09/2014 3:44 am  

I personally don't subscribe to that Aristotelian-like position you're advocating there nor do I care about anything being "true" or not. And atheism, like any -ism, does fall into the category of "perspective" or model or belief system. And models can only be weighed on their relative usefulness. The "truth" of them tends to be totally irrelevant regardless of how many wars people continue to fight over that matter.


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Los
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09/09/2014 4:28 am  
"NKB" wrote:
nor do I care about anything being "true" or not.

Sure, you do. If a mechanic tells you that there's a problem with your brakes, I'm willing to bet you care very much whether that's true or not. You're just being selective about which claims' truth you care about. And that's fine -- but what you've got there is a mechanism for guarding some of your beliefs from rational scrutiny. It would be to your benefit to see through the means by which your own mind is leading you astray here.

And atheism, like any -ism, does fall into the category of "perspective" or model or belief system.

You're paying attention to labels, not to the point I'm making. I just explained that atheism, as I'm using the term in this context, isn't a belief (and, in fact, isn't an -ism in the sense of a set of beliefs). It's the absence of a particular belief, an absence dictated by the proper application of skepticism.


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Tao
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09/09/2014 6:04 am  
"Los" wrote:
Scientists don't just pluck hypotheses out of a hat, you know. They have reasons -- rooted in evidence -- for thinking that their hypotheses *might* be true.

Just to throw a mini-wrench into the works (only a very small one, I promise), I spent last week at a meditation retreat where I chatted up a physicist from Australia who is working at the bleeding edge of black hole theory. He admitted to me bluntly that this is exactly what they are currently doing: making up hypotheses from whole cloth and then devising ways to test them. According to him, they do this because none of the maths currently make any sense so there is no foothold from which to start a guided ascent. He said he currently has about 50 bats#%t crazy ideas working their way through his cadre of grad students as they crunch the numbers to see if any of them stick.


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the_real_simon_iff
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09/09/2014 10:51 am  

Los, 93!

"Los" wrote:
I've specifically addressed this point in posts directed at you several times over several years. Are you seriously telling me that you haven't comprehended any of my responses in all of that time?

This claim was not about my comprehension or non-comprehension of your responses - I sincerely admire some of your very enlightening essays on your blog on the True Will and what is meant by it for a Thelemite and I share a lot of your conclusions and interpretations of Crowley (what I obviously don't share is what you consider to be prerequisites of the Thelemic method) - but that doesn't change the fact that Thelemic theories of the self and the will require a kind of "faith/belief" in their existence - you yourself say that otherwise it wouldn't make any sense to follow this course (or try to follow it). Scepticism and retro-/introspection (as far as they go together) might indeed indicate the existence of some kind of true will to oneself but there is no ultimate test for that - apart from when the totality of mankind is following their wills and then checking if indeed no stars collide, which is a lot more improbable than the existence of discarnate intelligence. As far as I know there are no psychological or behaviourist or whatever scientific strands that employ the Thelemic method, although there are surely isolate correspondences with diverse scientific fields on consciousness, self-awareness and what-not (where also many disagreements exist). The elasticity of the theory is its great advantage but also its disadvantage. A lot of thelemic magical methods haven't been scientifically studied yet, introspection and retrospection are known to be not very reliable, so far Crowley is universally regarded as a nut by science. The concept of the one true will - even if everchanging - can be as outrageous to many as the concept of destiny or secret chiefs. And many might say why not become a buddhist in the first place? The correct interpretation of Thelemic philosophy does not equal the verification of its correctness.

So please don't tell me the true will has been proven to exist.

Sorry for being off-topic.

Love=Law
Lutz


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NKB
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09/09/2014 3:27 pm  
"Los" wrote:
"NKB" wrote:
nor do I care about anything being "true" or not.

Sure, you do. If a mechanic tells you that there's a problem with your brakes, I'm willing to bet you care very much whether that's true or not. You're just being selective about which claims' truth you care about. And that's fine -- but what you've got there is a mechanism for guarding some of your beliefs from rational scrutiny. It would be to your benefit to see through the means by which your own mind is leading you astray here.

And atheism, like any -ism, does fall into the category of "perspective" or model or belief system.

You're paying attention to labels, not to the point I'm making. I just explained that atheism, as I'm using the term in this context, isn't a belief (and, in fact, isn't an -ism in the sense of a set of beliefs). It's the absence of a particular belief, an absence dictated by the proper application of skepticism.

Yes, you are right. Sorry for being so ignorant in my approach. Thank you for turning me to the light.


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Los
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09/09/2014 10:33 pm  
"Tao" wrote:
"Los" wrote:
Scientists don't just pluck hypotheses out of a hat, you know. They have reasons -- rooted in evidence -- for thinking that their hypotheses *might* be true.

Just to throw a mini-wrench into the works (only a very small one, I promise), I spent last week at a meditation retreat where I chatted up a physicist from Australia who is working at the bleeding edge of black hole theory. He admitted to me bluntly that this is exactly what they are currently doing: making up hypotheses from whole cloth and then devising ways to test them. According to him, they do this because none of the maths currently make any sense so there is no foothold from which to start a guided ascent. He said he currently has about 50 bats#%t crazy ideas working their way through his cadre of grad students as they crunch the numbers to see if any of them stick.

Well, even assuming that this one guy you met is representative of everyone working in that particular field, super theoretical physics is an entirely different subject than the production of practical effects. Even if *one theoretical kind of science* employs the rough equivalent of guesswork-until-it's-verified, that doesn't make it rational for *all other avenues of inquiry* to follow a similar method.

For example, if I told you that I have a hypothesis that beating your head against a wall will cause money to rain down from the sky, you would understandably ask me why I think that. After all, you're not going to try to "test" my "hypothesis" without hearing what evidence leads me to formulate that hypothesis.

Imagine if I said, "Oh, I'm just randomly guessing...but that's okay, because theoretical physicists are just guessing, and I declare that all avenues of investigation are entirely identical! Therefore, I don't need evidence either! Now start beating your head against the wall...for science!"

Most of these magical claims fall squarely in the realm of practical effects that can be studied (again, it's the *effects* that can be studied and verified, not necessarily the supernatural cause). If there really is some kind of magick that really yields effects, then either (1) the effects can be detected and distinguished from nothing or (2) they can't. If they can't, then for all practical purposes, the magick doesn't exist from the perspective of human beings. If they can, then people only have rational grounds on which to accept these claims or hypothesize about them once sufficient data has been collected.

Take your pick. There are many ways for belief in these claims to be irrational.


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Los
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09/09/2014 10:51 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
Thelemic theories of the self and the will require a kind of "faith/belief" in their existence

No faith is required.

you yourself say that otherwise it wouldn't make any sense to follow this course (or try to follow it).

I don't know what you're trying to say or exactly what claim you're trying to attribute to me.

Scepticism and retro-/introspection (as far as they go together) might indeed indicate the existence of some kind of true will to oneself but there is no ultimate test for that

What the hell does "ultimate test" mean? An individual's True Will specifically can only be demonstrated to the individual in question, just like an individual's feeling of hunger can only be demonstrated to the individual in question.

As far as I know there are no psychological or behaviourist or whatever scientific strands that employ the Thelemic method

So what? There's no psychological test that employs my method of watching Netflix marathons, either. Your whole post is loaded with non-sequiturs.

A lot of thelemic magical methods haven't been scientifically studied yet

Again, my method of marathoning shows on Netflix hasn't been "scientifically studied" yet, either. What in the world is your point?

So please don't tell me the true will has been proven to exist.

What a wonderfully amusing ending to your string of non-sequiturs, confused premises, tangled logic, and vague wording. You've taken absurdism in strange new directions, and I await your future pieces of nonsensical art. Bravo!


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Los
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09/09/2014 10:54 pm  
"NKB" wrote:
Yes, you are right. Sorry for being so ignorant in my approach.

That's alright. We can't all be perfect.

Thank you for turning me to the light.

One of life's amusing ironies: Lutz tries to be serious, but he doesn't realize how much his post is a joke. You're trying to joke, but you don't seem to realize how serious your post is.


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NKB
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09/09/2014 11:13 pm  
"Los" wrote:
"NKB" wrote:
Yes, you are right. Sorry for being so ignorant in my approach.

That's alright. We can't all be perfect.

Thank you for turning me to the light.

One of life's amusing ironies: Lutz tries to be serious, but he doesn't realize how much his post is a joke. You're trying to joke, but you don't seem to realize how serious your post is.

Do you really think I was joking?


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Tao
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09/09/2014 11:18 pm  
"Los" wrote:
Well, even assuming that this one guy you met is representative of everyone working in that particular field, super theoretical physics is an entirely different subject than the production of practical effects. Even if *one theoretical kind of science* employs the rough equivalent of guesswork-until-it's-verified, that doesn't make it rational for *all other avenues of inquiry* to follow a similar method.

Well put... and exactly the fork in the road were the two of us must diverge. You seem to be interested in only the practical, day-to-day, mundane aspects of magick and/or thelema and/or life. The "practical skepticism" with which you evaluate your auto mechanic. The "practical purposes" about which you judge all magical workings.

I, on the other hand, aspire to the theoretical, the bleeding-edge, the Tao. The mechanisms that go into trusting my mechanic to correctly evaluate my brakes matter not one jot when I focus my mind, body, and soul on plumbing the inner workings of reality. When current mainstream scientific hypotheses of the Universe posit that we may all be 3D holographic projections of an 11D multi-verse, how in heaven's name would consensus-reality common sense (in all of its notorious faultiness) be of any use in seeking the Truth?

I wish you well in your practical skepticism. Forgive me if I choose to follow the lead of my Australian and embrace the model-agnosticism mentioned above which is typically utilized by all right-thinking seekers on the front-lines of research.


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Anonymous
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10/09/2014 12:43 am  
"Tao" wrote:
I, on the other hand, aspire to the theoretical, the bleeding-edge, the Tao. The mechanisms that go into trusting my mechanic to correctly evaluate my brakes matter not one jot when I focus my mind, body, and soul on plumbing the inner workings of reality. When current mainstream scientific hypotheses of the Universe posit that we may all be 3D holographic projections of an 11D multi-verse, how in heaven's name would consensus-reality common sense (in all of its notorious faultiness) be of any use in seeking the Truth?

"in all of its notorious faultiness"?

I think your wrongly trying to equate practical scepticism with your own definition of, " consensus-reality common sense" here. You seem to be equating it with peasant superstition when in reality,  practical scepticism is not at all dismissive and is based on being open to evidence as science also is. 

"When current mainstream scientific hypotheses of the Universe posit that we may all be 3D holographic projections of an 11D multi-verse"?  There is no evidence for a mumbo-jumbo, "11D multi-verse" though is there......yet? 

Besides model agnosticism appears to be  a fringe approach.  Nevertheless it seems to be a typically hippy, spaced out, pie in the sky philosophical position that asserts that, "ultimately we know nothing".  It's impractical to continually pre- fix every assertion of fact with, "we seem to" know" e.g. "we seem to know" that the Moon orbits the earth etc .


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Tao
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10/09/2014 2:03 am  
"david" wrote:
There is no evidence for a mumbo-jumbo, "11D multi-verse" though is there......yet?

Actually... yes, there is. And apparently gravity makes more sense there than it does in our 3D projection.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/universe-really-is-a-holo/

But I guess what you're really saying is that the sun continued to circle the earth even after Copernicus posited the opposite because he had no solid, common sense, "even an auto mechanic could understand it" evidence to back up his claim. Hell, even his maths didn't provide better predictions than Ptolemy's. It wasn't until Galileo's telescope that suddenly the solar system reorganized itself to fit the new paradigm, right? ::)

"david" wrote:
Besides model agnosticism appears to be  a fringe approach.  Nevertheless it seems to be a typically hippy, spaced out, pie in the sky philosophical position that asserts that, "ultimately we know nothing".  It's impractical to continually pre- fix every assertion of fact with, "we seem to" know" e.g. "we seem to know" that the Moon orbits the earth etc .

Model agnosticism is Heisenberg uncertainty, a core tenet of scientific theory for nearly a century. What kind of anti-intellectual Kool-Ade are you drinking?


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the_real_simon_iff
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10/09/2014 11:46 am  

93, Los!

I'm glad I could make you laugh. Joy is a very important thing.

"Los" wrote:

you yourself say that otherwise it wouldn't make any sense to follow this course (or try to follow it).

I don't know what you're trying to say or exactly what claim you're trying to attribute to me.

Okay, so I had to thumb through your blog and I found that:

"why [...] would [Thelemites] ever choose to adopt a position that they don’t think can be demonstrated to be true[?]"

Yes, why would you do that, if you wouldn't have the faith/belief that it can be demonstrated to be true? That's what I meant. Maybe it is the language barrier, but I am quite confident that it is your snootiness and ignorance to try to understand me. I don't bother because that is a common trend among "super-sceptic" or "anti-supernatural" Thelemites.

Anyway, there are actual people in my life (I admit some of them are quite young) who don't know anything about Crowley, who ask this question. Who can prove that there is indeed ONE actual designated course of action for everyone at every given moment, even if this course is elastic and ever-changing? When Crowley says deviation from this course brings suffering it follows logically that there is one course only and not, say, twenty other courses, because then we won't need to follow one true will, we only would need to identify untrue wills. Which every other counseling book recommends anyhow.

"Los" wrote:
What the hell does "ultimate test" mean? An individual's True Will specifically can only be demonstrated to the individual in question, just like an individual's feeling of hunger can only be demonstrated to the individual in question.

I am and others are quite sceptical of the reliability of hunger feelings or any other feelings, how can some occult/buddhist/wacko methods of concentration/meditation/ritual increase the accurateness of my self-observation? Not to speak about how these methods prove a bit about the uniqueness and true-ness of that deeper will one allegedly can observe.

"Los" wrote:
There's no psychological test that employs my method of watching Netflix marathons, either. Your whole post is loaded with non-sequiturs.

But it isn't a non-sequitur claiming "following false will brings suffering" because "there is only one true will"?

"Los" wrote:
Again, my method of marathoning shows on Netflix hasn't been "scientifically studied" yet, either. What in the world is your point?

Haha, you're so funny! What a convincing comparison! Claiming that a scientific and sceptical method of introspection, retrospection, meditation and environment observation will surely lead you to an allegedly really existing one true will indeed is SO comparable to a study of your leisure behaviour. It's as convincing as your true will story (or Erwin's, I forget) not to drink coffee (very unfortunate true will btw) or the kindergarden fable of the unhappy doctor who should have been a sailor. Where do you see any prove for a true will?

"Los" wrote:

So please don't tell me the true will has been proven to exist.

What a wonderfully amusing ending to your string of non-sequiturs, confused premises, tangled logic, and vague wording. You've taken absurdism in strange new directions, and I await your future pieces of nonsensical art. Bravo!

Thanks. But these are actual questions I have heard and I am humane enough not to recommend good friends to your blog (even annoying colleagues are spared). But it's okay, you have proven for yourself that the true will exists, others can also if they adopt the concept beforehand. Cool!

Before you get hilarious again: do you know what the difference is between "find out what you really want and do it and don't do what you don't really want!" and Thelema? The difference is that Thelema claims that there is ONE course only and deviating from it causes suffering. I am only asking if you have prove for that claim. Or maybe it's just a very personal fetish for some and as long as it doesn't any harm it's an okay reality-tunnel? Or is it even a cult? By the way, that's why I said the only proof I can imagine is the whole world population (or an isolated society) adopting Thelema, finding and following their wills and then check for the duration of a few centuries or so if there is any suffering caused by clashing paths of will among individuals.

As to scientific study of Thelemic (occult/buddhist) methods: I thought there already might have been some experiments on braincell activity or electric change or whatever indicating that something different happens in your body as when simply thinking or whatever. And that these states are found to be more "true" so to speak. Hey, when you are lucky they someday find a "thelemic gen" just like with the "force" in your beloved Star Wars crap. Or was that something in the blood?

Love=Law
Lutz

Oh, I forgot:

"Los" wrote:
Lutz tries to be serious, but he doesn't realize how much his post is a joke.

What an arrogant ass you are! Amazingly pathetic. But as I told you for years and years over and over again, this can happen when you follow the philosophy of a wacky occultist and at the same time despise wacky occultists. Every psychology student can predict the results.

And one thing more, if you are so silly to have wondered: I have never claimed or stated anything about my personal relationship with Thelema or with anything supernatural or about my acceptance or declining of anything Crowley wrote. And I will try to keep it that way. I only see your claims on your blog and all over the place here (even when addressing other people's claims) and I try to ask the questions that I see arising when you are trying to sell what you call facts. That's all. Maybe you should be more sceptical about your crystal-clearness or your convincing-qualities.


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Los
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10/09/2014 2:18 pm  
"NKB" wrote:
Do you really think I was joking?

Oh, I suspected you were being facetious -- mostly because I very, very rarely see people change their minds so quickly without protest. That, and the phrasing struck me as excessively self-deprecating ("Sorry for being so ignorant") and gently poking fun at me ("Thank you for showing me the light").

If you were being serious, then I applaud your intellectual honesty and your healthy ability to take criticism.


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Los
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10/09/2014 2:27 pm  
"Tao" wrote:
You seem to be interested in only the practical, day-to-day, mundane aspects of magick and/or thelema and/or life.

Well, when I'm having a conversation about practical effects claimed for magick, then yeah, I'm interested in talking about practical aspects. Remember, that's what we were talking about on this thread.

The mechanisms that go into trusting my mechanic to correctly evaluate my brakes matter not one jot when I focus my mind, body, and soul on plumbing the inner workings of reality.

It depends on exactly what the claim is. If we're talking about the supposed ability of magick to produce practical effects (for example, summoning up storms), then one most definitely *can* evaluate that claim in the same way that one can evaluate the claim that the brakes need to be fixed (again, we can detect and verify the *effects* of the magick, not necessarily the supernatural causes).

But if you're talking about some metaphysical claim about the "inner workings of reality" (?) -- a claim that, by definition, cannot be falsified or verified -- then you're right that we can't use our usual methods of evaluating claims to examine it.

But I would pose a different question, then: if you're making some metaphysical claim that cannot be verified, then on what grounds could you ever think that it's true? It's all well and good to pretend that you're doing some kind of "research" or "investigation," but if there's no way to verify it, then you're not really investigating anything.


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Los
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10/09/2014 2:36 pm  
"Tao" wrote:
Actually... yes, there is [evidence for 11D multi-whatever].

Okay, so if there is evidence for some of these claims about the "inner workings of reality" -- evidence that can be collected, examined, discussed, debated, etc. -- then it is possible to evaluate these claims in much the same way that we can evaluate claims about the brakes on a car.

But I guess what you're really saying is that the sun continued to circle the earth even after Copernicus posited the opposite because he had no solid, common sense, "even an auto mechanic could understand it" evidence to back up his claim.

You seem to be missing the point. I didn't invoke an auto mechanic to claim that evidence only counts if it can be understood by a mechanic (what a silly claim that would be). I invoked an auto mechanic because NKB had made the rather ridiculous claim that he doesn't care about the truth of any claim. I pointed out that he does...he would care very much, I guessed, about the claim that his car's brakes needed to be fixed.

The issue is whether there is evidence to support a claim or not. If there is sufficient evidence, then one has rational grounds to accept them claim. If there is not sufficient evidence, then no one has rational grounds to accept the claim (at least not yet).

As far as this "11D multiverse" stuff goes, I don't have enough information to make an informed decision as to whether I accept the claim. As far as I can tell, it's not a settled matter among the experts who gather evidence and analyze it, and it seems like a highly speculative area of science at any rate. For these reasons, I think the most rational position a layman can take is not to accept any claims about it just yet, but to read up on it if it strikes one's fancy.


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Los
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10/09/2014 3:30 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
93, Los!

I'm glad I could make you laugh. Joy is a very important thing.

Indeed, it is. Without further ado, I’ve used your post to make a number of points about Thelema.

What a convincing comparison! Claiming that a scientific and sceptical method of introspection, retrospection, meditation and environment observation will surely lead you to an allegedly really existing one true will indeed is SO comparable to a study of your leisure behavior [i.e. methods of watching Netflix]

Let’s not kid ourselves: this magick/Thelema/spirituality/self-development stuff (whatever we want to call it) IS a leisure activity. It’s engaged in as a luxury by people who are lucky enough to have the free time to think about this stuff and practice it.

In fact, it’s *having* free time that gives rise to the idea of “True Will” in the first place. Back in the state of nature, creatures were concerned with survival 24/7 and didn’t have time for anything else. Nowadays, humans have so much time on our hands – and so much that we could potentially be doing with all of that free time – that questions of whether we should do X or Y or Z with our time become the big philosophical questions. Thelema exists – in theory – to help individuals decide how to spend their time.

Who can prove that there is indeed ONE actual designated course of action for everyone at every given moment, even if this course is elastic and ever-changing?

There are a couple of problems with your thinking, and I’m going to address them below.

One of the problems is your consistent use of the word "proof," and another is your insistence on "scientific" testing to verify the existence of the True Will -- as if to imply that you think I'm somehow being inconsistent or contradictory if I accept the existence of a True Will without some kind of "scientific test."

My guess is that your train of thought runs something like this: “Oh, Los is a skeptic, eh? He needs scientific evidence before he’ll accept that there are magick powers and goblin men?? But he accepts that there’s a True Will, and there’s no scientific evidence of a True Will!!! Contradiction!!!!!!!”

But such a train of thought is incorrect on multiple points.

First, the word "proof" pertains to mathematics and it suggests some kind of certainty. I prefer to speak of "demonstrating" claims -- using evidence to demonstrate that they are likely to be true.

The way that we demonstrate claims is through evidence-based inquiry: gathering evidence and applying reason to it.
Science is just a formalized, codified kind of evidence-based inquiry.

Different kinds of claims require different kinds (and different levels) of evidence. Science exists, in part, to investigate large-scale claims about reality and extraordinary claims that would revolutionize the mental models we use to navigate reality. But we don’t use “science” to verify 99.999999999% of the claims we investigate and accept on the basis of evidence every single day. We just use a less rigorous, informal evidence-based inquiry.

For example, I didn’t conduct a “science experiment” to determine that I wanted coffee this morning. I didn’t conduct a “science experiment” to determine that the dog needed to go out first thing in the morning. And I didn’t conduct a “science experiment” to determine that I needed to charge my cell phone.

And I yet I drew each of those conclusions – validly – on the basis of evidence. I demonstrated each of them to my satisfaction before I accepted each claim as true and acted on the basis of those claims being true.

The fact that I don’t use science to demonstrate that I need to let the dog out – but I *would* insist that humans use science to verify claims that challenge our understanding of evolution – is in no way a contradiction.

Now, do I think I can demonstrate that the True Will exists? Yes.

Assuming that you agree with me above about how I characterize science and informal evidence-based inquiry, then one way to frame our disagreement is to say that you and I seem to be approaching True Will in different ways – or rather, you and I seem to be talking about two different things and using the label “True Will” to discuss them.

I contend that True Will falls into that category of claims that we confirm by means of informal evidence-based inquiry. Thus, in the same way that I don’t need a “science experiment” to demonstrate that my cell phone needs to be charged, I don’t need a “science experiment” to demonstrate that there is a True Will.

You seem to be saying that you think “True Will” is some kind of grand claim about reality that challenges our usual understanding of mental models of reality. I very much disagree with that characterization, and I disagree with a number of different points you make about True Will.

I’ve explained my thoughts on the True Will – and how to demonstrate that it exists – in multiple places. For example: http://thelema-and-skepticism.blogspot.com/2011/06/skeptical-of-true-will.html

Now, we could have a conversation about True Will if you want, but I'm somewhat reluctant because I’m not convinced that you are speaking to me in good faith. In part, this is because you and I have had very similar conversations to this before, and you don't seem to show any signs of having seriously read or considered anything I've said to you on the subject.

If you're actually serious about having a conversation about True Will, then I'd be willing to do so.


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the_real_simon_iff
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10/09/2014 5:05 pm  

Los, 93!

"Los" wrote:
You seem to be saying that you think “True Will” is some kind of grand claim about reality that challenges our usual understanding of mental models of reality. I very much disagree with that characterization, and I disagree with a number of different points you make about True Will.

First, I did not make any points about the True Will, I was asking questions. Second, I don't think I seem to be saying that "“True Will” is some kind of grand claim about reality that challenges our usual understanding of mental models of reality", that's what you like to think I am saying.

It baffles me that you don't seem to be willing to answer my question, which was asked more than once in the last post. Thelema asserts there is ONE true will for each and everyone. Thelema endorses the usage of methods that help to not deviate from that ONE true will and to discover what the ONE true will is. And from your blog: "This deviation results in suffering, inner conflict, and unhappiness, and these consequences can easily be observed by virtually anyone who pays attention to the events of his or her life." While it is comparatively easy to identify these "false" wills what makes you think that there is only ONE alternative for each and everyone: ONE true will? All you can demonstrate to yourself is that a certain number of actions or ideas about yourself caused suffering, and one other action or idea did not - one of many other possible actions and ideas. What makes you think you found that ONE true action and idea (for simplification please let's pass the fact that the true will is also ever-changing and adapting) other than your trust in Crowley's claim that "Every man and every woman has a course, depending partly on the self, and partly on the environment which is natural and necessary for each." To use Crowley's silly fable again: It's easy to detect that you are unhappy as a doctor, what's makes you think that there is only one alternative: the sailor!?

Wouldn't only DON'T DO WHAT THOU NOT WILT be reliably demonstrable to oneself?

What would you answer?

"Los" wrote:
If you're actually serious about having a conversation about True Will, then I'd be willing to do so.

If you don't like my questions, okay.

"Los" wrote:
One of the problems is your consistent use of the word "proof," and another is your insistence on "scientific" testing to verify the existence of the True Will

Okay, this is language barrier. I intended to speak of a "scientific method" and I gladly learn that you "prefer to speak of "demonstrating" claims -- using evidence to demonstrate that they are likely to be true." So how do you demonstrate to yourself that while certain actions did make you suffer and this action makes you happy, there aren't numerous other actions that would make you even happier - and happier - and even happier than those? Why should there be only ONE true action?

I was really interested if any experiments have been undertaken regarding some methods that usually are regarded as occult. But that's another thread. I am sorry to be so off-topic already with this little conversation.

"Los" wrote:
I contend that True Will falls into that category of claims that we confirm by means of informal evidence-based inquiry. Thus, in the same way that I don’t need a “science experiment” to demonstrate that my cell phone needs to be charged, I don’t need a “science experiment” to demonstrate that there is a True Will.

And I say all you can demonstrate is that there are "false wills".

"Los" wrote:
My guess is that your train of thought runs something like this: “Oh, Los is a skeptic, eh? He needs scientific evidence before he’ll accept that there are magick powers and goblin men?? But he accepts that there’s a True Will, and there’s no scientific evidence of a True Will!!! Contradiction!!!!!!!”

Well, guess what? You are so wrong!

Love=Law
Lutz


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Los
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10/09/2014 5:35 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
I did not make any points about the True Will [...] Thelema asserts there is ONE true will for each and everyone.

That's one of the points you made about the True Will. Depending on exactly what you mean, I'm not sure I agree with it.

To the extent that we can consider the "True Will" to be an individual's set of authentic preferences/inclinations, I think it's arguable that in a given situation there might be several courses of action that could be in alignment with the True Will. It might make more sense to speak of actions on a scale, some "closer" than others to the True Will.

From the perspective of the individual, we might say that "True Will" is just whatever the person does when he or she manages to get rid of as much mental restriction as he or she can. In this context, "True Will" isn't ONE thing that's waiting out there to be discovered. It's just the individual's nature, which the individual can get better and better at expressing (or, rather, allowing that nature to express itself).


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Los
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10/09/2014 5:44 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
Wouldn't only DON'T DO WHAT THOU NOT WILT be reliably demonstrable to oneself?

What would you answer?

I would say that "Don't do what thou not wilt" is functionally equivalent to "Do what thou wilt."

In practice, "Don't do what thou not wilt" comes closer to describing the method. Since the True Will isn't rational, the reason cannot figure out the True Will. In order to discover it (dis-cover, to remove the covering from) it is only necessary to identify those inclinations that arise in the mind, rather than the Self, and to shift attention away from them.

As one gradually gets better at paying attention to the Will, instead of the mind, the Will makes itself known all by itself. This is, by the way, the actual meaning of "transcending the reason" and the "curse" upon "Because": one learns to stop doing those things that the mind says one *should* be doing *because* they are good.


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10/09/2014 6:06 pm  
"Los" wrote:
I would say that "Don't do what thou not wilt" is functionally equivalent to "Do what thou wilt."

How should one work out the whole rest 'Love is the law, love under will' -deal in a same fashion? Sincerely curious and slightly amused.


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Los
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10/09/2014 6:47 pm  
"ayino" wrote:
How should one work out the whole rest 'Love is the law, love under will' -deal in a same fashion?

What do you mean by "in the same fashion"?

Briefly, Crowley defines "love" as the uniting of a point-of-view with an aspect of possibility (Hadit + Nuit). In other words, "love" means experience. Every experience is an act of "love" in Thelemic terms.

That being the case, everything that we do is "love," but The Book of the Law instructs us not to love indiscriminately but to put love under the control of "will." That is, our acts of love must not be restricted by the mental straightjackets we create for ourselves: instead, our acts of love should be allowed to be directed by the True Will. By putting love under will, we fulfill our natures by uniting with all those parts of Nuit that are appropriate to us. Ultimately, we lose ourselves in Nuit this way.

As I was explaining above, the only practical way to do this is to figure out how your mind gets in the way of your Will and train it to get out of the way, essentially. Otherwise, your mind will impede your Will by encouraging you to pursue those courses of action that it arbitrarily labels "good" and to avoid those courses of action that it arbitrarily labels "bad." Following those mental categories, without reference to your actual nature, is restriction.


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Tao
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10/09/2014 6:49 pm  
"Los" wrote:
I contend that True Will falls into that category of claims that we confirm by means of informal evidence-based inquiry. Thus, in the same way that I don’t need a “science experiment” to demonstrate that my cell phone needs to be charged, I don’t need a “science experiment” to demonstrate that there is a True Will.

Not to toss in another of my little wrenches but...

It seems to me, based on your own definitions, that this is a false analogy. Knowing that your mobile needs to be charged is indeed knowable by informal inquiry. However, it rests on the underlying theory of electricity that powers the battery which did, in fact, require rigorous scientific inquiry to discover, prove, and develop to a state usable by your phone.

To correct the analogy, still sticking with your preferred model: Knowing whether something is or is not in line with your True Will may indeed be possible through informal inquiry, as trustworthy as your hunger pangs. But the underlying theory of True Will is not. So the question stands: Why do you believe that there is such a thing as True Will?


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Los
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10/09/2014 7:12 pm  
"Tao" wrote:
It seems to me, based on your own definitions, that this is a false analogy. Knowing that your mobile needs to be charged is indeed knowable by informal inquiry. However, it rests on the underlying theory of electricity that powers the battery which did, in fact, require rigorous scientific inquiry to discover, prove, and develop to a state usable by your phone.

Depends on what you mean by "rests." Knowing that a mobile phone needs to be charged and knowing how to charge it -- that is, having those pieces of functional and procedural knowledge -- do not in the least depend on understanding a theory of electricity. And it's a good thing, too -- plenty of undereducated people, who know very, very little about electricity and technology, manage to charge their phones every day. In a similar way, one doesn't need to know where the water is coming from to know how to operate a faucet.

What a person needs to perform a task is a practical model of how the task works, not necessarily a model that ultimately explains what the thing "is" and how it fits into the universe.

To correct the analogy, still sticking with your preferred model: Knowing whether something is or is not in line with your True Will may indeed be possible through informal inquiry, as trustworthy as your hunger pangs. But the underlying theory of True Will is not. So the question stands: Why do you believe that there is such a thing as True Will?

Well, I dispute that you've "corrected" anything because in my post I wasn't comparing charging a phone to discovering the True Will. I was comparing the process of drawing a conclusion about the phone to the process of drawing other kinds of factual conclusions.

But on to your point:

From a purely practical, functional standpoint, a person simply needs to know how to recognize True Will, how to distinguish it from mental phenomena, and how to ameliorate the influence of mental phenomena over time. Those are all relatively complicated points that would take some time to discuss, but it is easy for an individual to demonstrate to himself that the thing we're calling "True Will" exists. As an example -- and I think I mention it in the blog post I linked to above -- all an individual needs to do is turn off his or her conscious thoughts with meditation and observe that the individual still has preferences that can be observed without the thoughts.

For practical purposes, that is all the individual needs -- not a model about what the will "is." Once an individual is able to recognize the True Will, it is possible to construct a host of practices whose purpose is to allow the individual to "access" the will during day-to-day life rather than simply during quiet meditation.

If you want to talk about what the True Will "is," then we can talk about that, and I would say that I see no reason to think that an individual's authentic inclinations are anything other than the products of brain chemistry, but I'd be interested to hear some speculation as to what else they might be and what evidence there is to think that they might be something other than the products of brain chemistry.


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Tao
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10/09/2014 11:41 pm  
"Los" wrote:
Well, when I'm having a conversation about practical effects claimed for magick, then yeah, I'm interested in talking about practical aspects. Remember, that's what we were talking about on this thread.

Odd... I thought we were meant to be talking about whether or not AC defined Magick as an example of mythopoeia. But I'll defer to you on this one. Let's talk about practical aspects.

"Los" wrote:

The mechanisms that go into trusting my mechanic to correctly evaluate my brakes matter not one jot when I focus my mind, body, and soul on plumbing the inner workings of reality.

It depends on exactly what the claim is. If we're talking about the supposed ability of magick to produce practical effects (for example, summoning up storms), then one most definitely *can* evaluate that claim in the same way that one can evaluate the claim that the brakes need to be fixed (again, we can detect and verify the *effects* of the magick, not necessarily the supernatural causes).

Very true. But you seem to have reasoned yourself into a corner here. 'Tis the downside of binary thinking. We can indeed verify the *effects* of the magick (the statistically unlikely storm in the desert, for example). We cannot currently verify whether there definitely is or definitely is not a causal connection between the practice of the magician and the recorded result. We can certainly fall back on common sense and "most likely" explanations to get us through our day-to-day existence, and it is your Nuit-given right to do so. But those who have determined to evaluate those claims and search for ways to test them outside of the current common sense paradigm are following the path of my Australian physicist. You choose to reduce the possibilities down to the Aristotelian A therefore B. It seems to me that those truly engaging in magical research are searching for something more along the lines of A dfn%sal B. And, since Aristotelian either/or logic has, by and large, been discarded in the realms of scientific research (thanks, Heisenberg), why should this particular branch be any different.

"Los" wrote:
But if you're talking about some metaphysical claim about the "inner workings of reality" (?) -- a claim that, by definition, cannot be falsified or verified -- then you're right that we can't use our usual methods of evaluating claims to examine it.

We seem to be almost on the same page here. The only emendation I'd offer is: "...a claim that cannot be falsified or verified using current methods..."

"Los" wrote:
But I would pose a different question, then: if you're making some metaphysical claim that cannot be verified, then on what grounds could you ever think that it's true? It's all well and good to pretend that you're doing some kind of "research" or "investigation," but if there's no way to verify it, then you're not really investigating anything.

You seem to be hanging yourself up on this term, "claim". I -- and I believe others -- are positing hypotheses, not necessarily making claims, none of which can be verified using current methods.  In our day-to-day lives, we might promote one or more of these hypotheses to the class of "working hypothesis" in order to test out its effects on our perception of reality. Robert Anton Wilson, among others, was a big proponent of taking on various contradictory beliefs at various times in order to test the effects those beliefs have on one's own psyche. We do this as a step in the process towards discovering methods by which to test these hypotheses, none of which, by definition, can be tested using current methods.

So, on what grounds could I ever think it's true? On the grounds of some method of proof as yet undiscovered. Much in the same way black holes may eventually be understood by some method as yet unknown. Much in the same way our perception of reality may eventually be proven to be a holographic projection by some method as yet unknown.

These hypothetical models have been posited by physicists to attempt to explain outliers from what one would expect based on our current model of reality. This is very like the hypothetical models created by working magicians to explain the outliers that they themselves have experienced. If all you're interested in is getting through your day-to-day existence based on what is most likely to be true given current consensus reality paradigms, then by all means, have at it. But this constant raging against those who have found interest in exploring the supra-mundane and seeking new methods of measuring it echoes the cry of the Luddite.


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