Meaningfulness is a human concept. Like tealfulness. If you like the color teal, which is kind of rare in nature and society, you would probably complain: “My life isn’t tealful enough.” But it’s just another metric – irrelevant to nature. You have to put the teal in yourself.
Category: Mind & magic
Thoughts on the mind, magic, consciousness, extranousics, psychology, neuroscience, ideaspace and the reality of realities beyond actual reality.
The ego is a construction that grows more and more rigid with time until it becomes a prison that stops you from exploring and growing. Like a house full of valuables that you can never leave because you have to guard it against thieves.
Ego death, in a magical sense, is a transformation, a temporarily transcendence from self-centeredness, a way of cleaning out bad habits, misconceptions, etc, that bog down the mind, before the inevitable resurrection as a (hopefully) better person follows.
With magic I change reality. But it’s my model of reality that changes, and maybe yours, not actual reality itself. Actual reality may change though, through actions we make as a result of our changes in those inner models of reality.
Selves, Snakes and Sticks
Our selves do not end in our bodies. We reach out, especially to other humans, but ultimately to the whole planet. This intertwining makes egoism impossible. The neurons in our brains are wired from how we were raised and what culture we were exposed to. By purpose and coincidence. We got our parents, our friends and our enemies reaching deep into our physical brains.
Based on past experience the brain, in every moment anew, predicts a model of reality. Senses are mostly used as error correction. The brain considers the state of your body and predicts the best course of action to survive and thrive. It predicts thoughts and emotions. It predicts what we experience as our selves. The self is a non-physical concept. Like a projection. Our brain is a prism and our self is the rainbow.
There is no innate self stored somewhere inside us. A newborn have no experience, no self. We are only born with tools and possibilities. With that the self is constructed by interaction and circumstance. Sometimes it is built by chance and habit. Sometimes it becomes a facade that we believe ourselves. But what may feel as different selves are facets of the same thing – your brain trying to make sense of the world to survive.
Modern neuroscience dispels the myth of our human side having to subdue our animal side in a struggle between the reptilian brain versus the neocortex. In fact it is all one unit, one network, developed all at the same time. Emotions are not uncontrollable beasts that live inside your head and your logic is not a shepherd trying to keep them in check. We have more control than we think.
Our brains are so tuned to predict all the time that they predict things that are not real. It predicts that the stick on the ground is a poisonous snake. Because that is better than to mistake a snake for a stick. The downside is when you get anxiety, which is the brain wanting to get away from a potentially dangerous situation, from having to much to do at work, which is rarely life-threatening.
Anxiety and depression could (at least in part) be results of prediction error. The brain shuts down attention and interest in the world to save resources for anticipated action. Comfort eating works because the brain gets satisfied by stocking up on energy that it expects to release, any minute now, as response to an imminent catastrophe. Which mostly never comes.
But, and here the beauty of it finally comes, prediction can be harnessed for many amazing things. We humans have, on top of physical reality, created a new social reality where intangible things exist. Concepts like Sundays, tickets, red means stop, chess, Osiris, social classes, the Cuba crisis. Many wonderful and horrible things that are not real but still affect us and thereby in extension also affect reality. Dreams, fantasy and fiction are predictions without error correction from reality.
Our lives are predictions. We are predictions. We love predictions. We love taking part in prediction-fiction. The fiction of who we are, the fiction of culture, of religion, of stories, songs and paintings. The arts are predictions which from a safe distance gives us the thrill of trying to figure out whether what we see are snakes or sticks.
The Magic Selves
Our selves don’t exist. We don’t have an I when we are born. I am not something unique or predestined we are born with. It is something we continuously create in the now our entire lives.
We build concepts that we call I from all we experience, or learn, about our bodies, our environment and our social reality. It is not constant, it changes with new knowledge, experience and ideas.
Our selves are inseparable from our bodies. The self is our body. The self change when the body change. Influenced by the self, or other persons selves, the body can in turn also change.
We have one self, but that self has many instances. Created by many networks in the brain it becomes an overlapping palette of personalities that are granted dominance in different situations.
All these concepts we create are what makes up our concept of reality. What we think is real is just a model of reality. The concepts change which causes our perception of reality to change
Working actively with trying to change the self, an by extension changing other peoples selves, by transforming concepts is what I in many previous posts on this website have referred to as magic.
It is however important to remember that magic doesn’t exist, even if it’s real. Because magic is also a concept that we create. Much like our selves. So we use one concept to change another concept.
We are all conceptions.
A human is not one individual being. Inside us all there are many separate systems that negotiates with each other all the time. If you take a Jungian stance the mind consists of the conscious, subconscious and unconscious, all with separate values and goals, that together make up what we think of as our selves.
But the mind does not exist ex nihilo. It all arises from physical processes in our bodies. Our brains contain a multitude of overlapping networks that create many different instances of prediction, conceptualization and decision that compete for dominance.
Add to that the influence of both neurons and bacteria in the gut system, the reflex arcs of the spinal chord and many other autonomic regulatory processes. Then we start to see the complexity of the conglomerate that is a human being. We think with our whole bodies.
And it it does not stop within our bodies. There are numerous external connections that are impossible to omit when considering who we are and how we act. Cultural conventions, social interaction, political discourse, access to resources, different environments, and even the daily change in weather – it all greatly affects us, our behavior and our self-image.
Our minds are inextricably intertwined with the whole body. Our bodies are likewise inextricably interconnected with the whole outside world. We are not isolated individuals. We are highly connected networks. From our innermost thoughts to the utmost edges of the universe.
Our selves never end.
I just had an interesting experience. I was awakedreaming reality. I was incredibly tired this afternoon and laid down in my sofa to rest a bit. Closed my eyes but didn’t fall asleep. I went into that state of mind where you are aware of the surroundings and the sound, but your connection to the body is getting fluid. I thought about various things and then started to dream while still conscious.
I was dreaming that I saw exactly what I should see if I opened my eyes. I felt my eyes being closed but yet I saw my living room in front of me, clearly and vividly, as if my eyes had been open. After a few seconds the phenomena disappeared and I opened my eyes. The angle, field of view and the light in the room was slightly different but it was no difference in how real what I had dreamt and what I now saw with my eyes was. The dream and reality was equally real.
The brain is constantly creating its perception of actual reality in our minds whether the impressions are gathered externally, from our senses, or internally, from our dreams and imagination. This creation of the world doesn’t stop when we are sleeping, the brain never shut down, only our selves. We are always the same corporeal entity, whether we are sleeping or awake, as the conscious or unconscious I is only one of many parts that is us.
Our brains perception of actual reality, what we call existence, is one single continuous dream, as long as the span of our lives.
Schematic over influences
About Actual Reality
In the light of deeper insight I need to nuance my earlier writing about the percieved unrealness of reality and how the existence of alternative realities really works.
There is only one reality: The actual reality that is everywhere. The phenomenal world where actions take place, where matter and energy interact, where there are distances and passing time.
Any perceived variations and alternatives to actual reality are just different interpretations in our creative minds due to perspective, relativity, lack of or erroneous information, state of mind, substances, art, culture, etc. What we experience are models – the brains best guess of what is going on.
These variations manifest as multitudes of sub-realities, like bubbles, overlapping or separate layers of perception, inside actual reality. They are readily created wherever there are one or more consciousnesses present and can be personal, shared or both. Actual reality is a frothing foam of sub-bubbles.
However, no matter how real, alternative or separate these sub-realities seem, our minds, which is where they exist, are still a part of the one fundamental, all-encompassing actual reality. Like any fictitious scene performed on a stage, it is still done in reality, inside a real theater building. Fiction is as real as reality.
Naked reality is unreachable to us. We’re prodding and probing it, measuring and calculating it’s features, and from these results we know that it’s actually there. But to our conscious minds it’s hidden behind a veil of math and language. To us it appears uncertain, abstruse and ineffable, like a god.
And if reality itself is the creating force rather than the created: How do we raise our eyes from the details we study? How do we connect the pieces to see the entire countenance? How can we see the actual reality behind the veil and fathom it’s all encompassing splendor?
There is only one reality. But within it – a myriad of perspectives.
Learn, forget, explore, remember.
The Unpredictable is Frightening
Why is the chanting of children’s rhymes so suggestive and frequently used in horror movies? The innocence of the often mundane words, repeated mechanically, is a magical chant that appears to possess the children. They become something else, they look like children but are controlled by unseen forces through the recital of the rhyme. Through this external influence they become unpredictable and therefore frightening.
Spelling: Names and Mirroring
You don’t really have a name. It isn’t inherent in the essence of a human. It’s just arbitrary sounds your parents made up as a reference to you and to get your attention. Names define things and summons people when spoken – and are as such a kind of spell.
There is a lot of truth in that you have power over someone if you know their name. How much power does your name hold over you? Is it possible to take control over the spelling of your name and thus change yourself? Or to shed that influence entirely by becoming nameless?
Names can be used as spells to inflict discomfort and pain. Mispronounced, distorted on purpose, or a name or epithet you find wrong or degrading. And you can literally destroy someone by using their deadname (name from before a gender transition).
The power of names can of course also be harnessed for benign purposes. By taking control of what you are called you can influence both how others and yourself perceive who you are. A magician could find many uses for magical aliases as they sets your mind and the minds of others in a certain, chosen state. A well constructed alias or epithet is similar to a mask changing your persona. You become different.
A way of intentionally causing change in yourself is if you very subtly but constantly refer to yourself as for example “The Author”. Everyone around you will come to adapt that eventually and you’ll be known in their minds as “The Author”. I call this effect “mirroring yourself” since you create a desired image of yourself in the minds of others and when they reflect this upon you it will reificate the change in yourself that you strive for.
So in essence: If we name something it is instantly changed, it’s made real or changed in some way. An alteration of reality. Names are a strong magical tool that can be used for creative and destructive purposes. Be careful how you name people.
The Languages of Magic
Why do the calls of the Aethyrs work better in Enochian?
Scientists believed for a long time that the Akkadians had invented a secret cipher to write about magic and religion since those texts were not written in the Akkadian language. Then they realized that it was written in the much older, and up until then unknown, Sumerian language. For some reason the older language had been preserved for ritual and magic purposes.
Many years later the Christian church used Latin in their bibles and masses for a long time even though the use of languages changed and ordinary people didn’t understand a word of it. Even now, long after it finally was translated, everyone still prefers the archaic language in the old bible translations over the later, more modern translations. And of course popular media still uses Latin to depict spells and magic. Sigils could maybe be seen as an extreme of this as it is writing that becomes unintelligible on purpose.
Much of the occult currents from the last centuries used the Hebrew letters language a basis for many magical systems, for instance Hermetic Kabbalah and Tarot, although none of the practitioners spoke it as first language, in fact it was near extinct until it was revived in the 19th century. Inherent in the Hebrew letters are the numbers used in Gematria and the endless mathematical computations, often very abstruse, are abundant in occult literature.
I write both fiction and these essays in English despite my native language being Swedish. Why? Well, the simple reason is that it sets my mind in another state. It forces me to think in another way and kind of elevates me into a heightened state of writing. More focused, somehow. Using a different language distances me from the feeling of the banal and mundane that my first language gives when I try to write about magic. It makes me into another writer than I am when writing in Swedish.
The same phenomena is found in music. Sweden has a lot of musicians that sing in English instead of Swedish. Not to get an international career, but just because they think it suits the music better singing in English. I also do this with my band. I tried to write Swedish lyrics with the same topics as usual, but then it felt like it was written for a different band and I eventually made it a solo-album.
Writing in different languages have inherent differences that makes you think in different ways. To the Germans the Sun is feminine and the Moon masculine. That affects what you think they symbolize and how you describe them in writing. There is an African language that don’t describe directions as left or right. They use south of, or north of, etc, for everything. That makes them subconsciously very aware of the orientation of directions at all times. And so on.
So, there are several parts to this: The language itself, how it makes you think and feel and a distancing from the ordinary may be some key elements to why we as humans appear to use older language for our magic, spells and our beliefs.
Chanting the calls of the Aethyrs in Enochian is a more effective way of putting yourself in the right state of mind to work your magic.
Elastic times are here again
The memory of time will be compressed if nothing special has happened. This has for a long time been my idea, my understanding, of what happens when you experience and remember time. You have a sense of time passing when you are in the middle of doing something. And if what you are doing is something special you will remember this as a moment in time.
But if you only do ordinary, mundane things, several in a row, and nothing out of the ordinary happens, all those moments will be stacked together in your memory. Those unlabeled chunks of time contract to a diffuse unit of nothing special, a kind of void, and get counted as one single event in time.
So only if something out of the ordinary happens it gets its own spot in memory. Several noteworthy experiences will give the feeling of longer time occupied. Two weeks on an exotic holiday will feel longer than four months at a repetitive work when you remember it. And it turns out this is actually what really happens physically in the brain.
Recent research in neuroscience by Nobel laureates confirms my idea almost exactly. So this is why time seem to move so fast these days: We’re never doing something out of the ordinary. I wanna change that, right now.
The physical reality is not the only reality. There is another, less thought of, reality that is equally real. It is created by our culture, our social paradigms and it is as real as our physical existence. We all live in multiple realities. This non-physical reality exists in our collective minds, in our culture and makes manifest in action, words, writing and so on. Ideas are intangible but very much real things and they affect the physical world constantly.
The same way thoughts shape who we are. We are not merely biological lumps of flesh – we are the sum of both the physical and the extra physical realities that makes up our world. That is how we in our psyche can be another person than we are physically. And it is no less real just because the difference is not visible to the eye. You have to look deeper to see that dimension of someone. You have to gain insight into that person to see who they really are. And by who I mean that in plural.
Because no one is just one person. I am a conglomerate of several personalities, impulses, hidden feelings and hardwired responses. I got several creative strains, curious and bold bits and pieces as well as the bad sides, as doubt and spleen (in the sense poets used to use the word). Sometimes rambling, sometimes taciturn. Sometimes the wise man, sometimes the trickster.
And I’m fluctuating – both internally and in contact with others externally. For instance, I can’t easily explain who I am. My identity is diverse but singular at every moment. Mind you, this is no weakness, it gives me strength. But as I said, it’s fluctuating. It all depends on who I am with. This range of identities doesn’t show to people, they meet the same one, and I keep a solid facade, can’t break conventions, society wants labels, clear cut and unambiguous people that are easily understood. Gradients are effectively repressed so that there is only two official colors. Who’d want a complicated society where everyone is different?
So I act very differently towards different people. I also act different when alone depending on mood and I don’t know what – I’m fluid and unpredictable. The thing that is supposed to be me, my self, I, is in fact only a control center trying to make sense of all the parts conflicting and warring. I am not one person – I am many. As we all are.
Or are we all? I’ve met so many people that never seem to change. They are very solid and unmutable. One-dimensional. They oppose change, they get upset by non-binary possibilities. I have heard a person actually say that he had done what he wanted and now only wanted every day to be the same. Someone really said that. Yes, really. So maybe we are different. Maybe some people are just one person while others are an entire menagerie. Nothing wrong with that. Celebrate diversity! Life would be simpler but rather boring if my inner crowd dispersed.
Added later: Career-wise I am constantly moving through different expressions, albeit of the same core profession. I have successfully worked as film director, director of photography, editor, photographer, graphic designer, author and lately as copywriter. I’ve won awards for both writing and directing. And people have payed me good money to work with these different expressions. I enjoy it all but tend to drift between them which makes it difficult to convince people that I am rather good at all those things. Because you can apparently be good at only one thing, just look at mr DaVinci. Irony intended. In the end it all comes down to different aspects of storytelling for me. That is my core profession. I’ve thought about calling myself a pan-medial storyteller. But no one will understand what I mean by that so maybe multidisciplinary storyteller would be better. Except for the discipline part. I defy discipline but rather enjoy to enforce it in others. But that is another story.
What is magic?
While I agree with the modern definition of magic as “to intentionally cause an effect” I would like to add my own statements about what magic is to me.
- Magic is the effect/outcome/product of thinking.
- Magic is the transference of thoughts.
- Magic is metacognition. Getting aware of yourself and to some extent affect that self.
- Magic is connection – to other minds, entities, currents, realities.
- Magic is to shape and create layers of realities by changing your state of consciousness.
- Magic is finding, unlocking and accessing previously unavailable unconscious parts of yourself.
- Magic is to take control over your mind and not be controlled by urges or impulses, to make conscious choices. Doing things not because you have to, but because you want to.
- Magic is reaching a higher vantage point; to observe our mundane selves, to understand, evolve, and appreciate those selves and their beauty.
- Magic is taking part in the [entirety] before the wave breaks. To reach existence beyond actual reality, to take part of the world larger than physical life while still a human, before we die and become something else than the one we are in this waveform.
- Magic is (or at least was) tuning in to patterns, currents, culture, collective subconscious, ideaspace, the zeitgeist, etc, to form a understanding of things to come (which looks similar to but is not the same as precognition).
So, just to be clear, there is nothing magical about magic – it’s all in our heads. However, it’s no less real, and things in our heads have a tendency to move out into reality. And when they do it is magic – manifest of thought, in action or artifact, or as another state of mind.
How to be a magician
Exercise your mind. Let it wander, let it wonder. Make it afraid, make it reel. Force it to work, make it relax. Excite it, please it, direct it, restrict it and rest it. Dissolve all borders. Focus and collapse, again and again!
Humor is the key
Love isn’t all you need; it’s laughter you need. Horrible things are made by lovers in the name of love (love of people and gods). But laughter disarms. Those who share a laugh also share common ground. It eases fear and creates meaning where there might be none. It strips power from unjust power. It enlightens a heavy world. Humor is the key.
The Value of Nothing
We get to borrow one life out of nothing. But then, after a limited time, we’ll have to hand it back and return to nothing.
While we are something we can use that existence as best as we can, by giving values to anything we feel should have value. To assign value to things and then appreciating that value may bring us comfort, happiness, motivation, etc. But as soon as we’re gone, that value we imbued in things is also gone.
Sometimes a value can be carried a bit further by those that are still alive. But that is only a postponing of the dissolving value. They will die too and as soon as no one cares or remember anymore, it is gone again.
This is because not only we, but also the value itself, is borrowed from nothing. However valuable to us – it is really nothing.
Even the entire Universe itself is energy borrowed out of the true vacuum of nothing. It is a Sea of Frequencies with rising and declining waves. Matter is rising from (sub-)quantum fields and from matter our cells, bacteria and bodies emerge as a chemical conglomerate of molecules.
In the end we are all but the aggregated coagulations of matter, of waves, of nothing.
To enjoy nothing, to give value to nothing, accepting that it is only temporary, is, at least to me, a kind of positive nihilism. It calms my chaotic self and gives me solace from the burden of imposed purpose. It truly liberates my will.
It’s an invaluable marvel – cherish it, value it, make the most of it while you are something.
There is no God, only The Sea.