Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Time Experiments, Ethics part 2

On Friday, my group and I did some work with time magic. The first two experiments we did were based off of Jean Houston's book The Possible Human. We did one experiment, where we would experience our consciousness as a unit of time, such as a second, minute, year, 100 years etc. Eventually you lose track of the units of time and enter into a non-linear state of experience with time. Each of us who did this exercise experienced a very similar state of mind.

The second experiment was one where we worked with three segments of time on a yardstick, as it were, but altered which segment of time (past, present, or future) was more prevalent during the meditation. It was an interesting experiment, again because of the state of mind it put us in, moving us out of a linear state of mind and into a non-linear state of mind.

Both of these exercises are useful ones to do, to put you into a very receptive state of mind for doing time magic. They don't take very long to do, but they condition your mind to push itself outside of the constraints of linear time.

The final exercise was done with the Goetic Daimon Purson. In the mythology I've created around my own use of time magic, Purson is a guide on the silver strands of time. I introduced him to my group last night, partially as a way of thanking him for his services and patronage and partially as a way of helping the people I work with learn a bit more about my own approaches to time magic. We used the tesseract board to evoke him and my experience with was of two trees twisted together. I thought that rather odd until late that evening, I came across Ipos, another Goetic Daemon of time...so I'll be contacting him soon.

So an update on the Ethics book. I've started working on chapter one and it's coming together nicely. I got some responses on the first post, both from commenters on this blog and from a blog entry by Augogeides along the lines of arguing that magic is a technology and puzzlement that there's a need to write about ethics as it pertains to occult culture. It was also argued that ethics as they applied to magic boiled down to being able to determine if an action was ethical or not, regardless of whether it was a magical action or a non-magical action. That's the gist of it, or at least what I got from what was said.

When I talk about ethics and magic, I'm talking about taking a proactive approach to ethics, which incorporates practical magical techniques into how one approaches ethics in his/her life. However, I don't think merely determining if an action is ethical or non-ethical, and then making your choice to follow through on that action or not, is really ethics...or rather I think of that as reactive or cover your ass ethics, ethics utilized as a way of making sure you aren't doing anything wrong (or aren't getting caught). I don't really think of that as a useful approach to integrating ethics into one's life because it doesn't make ethics part of your life process and growth. Instead it's just a convenient code to check on occasionally to make sure you are in the clear. I have a lot more to say about this, but I'll save it for the book. Suffice to say my and Vince's approach and outlook on ethics and their role/integration in magic is decidely different from what I've usually encountered in the occult community.

Book Review: The Evolving Self by Mihayli Csikzentmihayli

I wish I could say this book really represented an evolution in psychology or how we conceive of the self, but the truth is, it really doesn't. If you read this author's other works, then this work can be thought of as half a step beyond those works. At times the author is judgmental, condescending, and whiny, and he doesn't offer much in the way of a concrete definition of self. The final few chapters predictably focus on flow, but don't  provide anything significantly new to the theory that he hasn't offered anywhere else.

Two out of five


Interview and two book reviews

I was interviewed by Steve O of the Occult Broadcasting network in November. He just sent me the interview yesterday, so here it is! Review of Toward a Psychology of Awakening by John Welwood

I found this book to be very insightful about the blend of Eastern Mysticism with Western Psychology. At times, it seemed liked every page offered a new insight or perspective that not only helped me understand this blend, but also helped me make sense of myself. This was a fairly dense read. I definitely needed to take breaks and process what I read, as well as meditate on it, but it proved really useful for helping me navigate through some interpersonal issues, as as proving useful for examining how identity is approached by Eastern mysticism and Western Psychology. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone and would in fact suggest that anyone using meditation to work through personal issues should read this book, as it could prove helpful for navigating through some of those issues.

5 out of 5

Review of Finding Flow by Mihayli Czikszentmihayli

If you've read his first book on Flow, this book isn't going to offer anything substantially different from the first one. It's a rehash of what he already wrote, albeit a more concisely written rehash. What I don't see is anything substantially new or different. It's a good book to read if you want to familiarize yourself with the concept of Flow, but if you have already read his previous works, save yourself your money and time on this one.

2 out of 5

An experiment in Magical Economic Activism

As you might recall, I'd written a post a little while back on here about economic activism. For a good definition of economic activism, see my article here. Of course, being me, I also wanted to turn this into a magical experiment, and so I have, along with some other people I work with on a regular basis. The working isn't fully finished, but tonight was a major step. Several weeks ago we agreed we'd focus on creating an entity that helps people with networking.  We then took sometime to list what the entity does and what it doesn't do.

Tonight, Bill W took over for the part of the experiment where we'd determine the name of the entity. We also spent a lot of time figuring out the elevator speech, essential for networking purposes. Once we'd done that, I invoked Purson, the goetic demon of divination to help with the working, while Cobalt and M also did their own workings to feed energy into the creation of the entity. Purson had me shuffling a tarot deck a lot of the time and ended up creating a divinatory enchantment for the networking entity that emphasized it's focus on making connections, providing a balance of power in the networking and other essential skills for successful networking.

While all that was happening, M did some I-Ching readings, and Bill W used a pendulum with mercury to first determine the number of syllables and names for the entity we were creating. Then he used the pendulum to determine the letters for the name. It was an interesting process to observe, and a bit different from how I've created entities, so I definitely felt like I learned quite a bit from watching him, but also want to actually learn how to do the technique, by doing it.

We did come up with a name for the entity, but we still have some more work to do in the creation process. Look for future updates here!

Review: Flow: The psychology of optimal experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

This book explains what optimal experiences are and how they relate to the psychology of happiness. This book also provides some intriguing definitions for consciousness, attention, and intention, which I think are useful in reconsidering how to purposely use such elements of our behavior to prompt flow. It's a good book overall, with the author providing some excellent examples of how people have used flow states to overcome adversity as well as create works of genius. It also presents some psychological theory which isn't rooted in Freud, Jung, or the eight circuit model, which is refreshing to read, and much needed in order to better appreciate psychology as a discipline and how that discipline can be related to one's spirituality.

If there's one area where this book suffers, it's that the author is sometimes too wordy and overly repetitious. While I enjoyed this book, there were times, I felt the author was repeating himself too much, in order to get a point across. That said, it's definitely worth picking up, to broaden your understanding of psychology and optimal states of experience. 4 out of 5 psychologists