I've just set up my own youtube channel for magical experiments. I'm posting the first video here, and I'll be posting more as I continue to develop them.
I just got God of War 3 for the playstation. I haven't played it yet. I've been busy watching the two commentary films about god of war. Why? Because what always interests me about a game, book, experiment, etc., is what goes into the creation of it. God of War is so fascinating to me, because it's a modern retelling and reinvention of Greek myth, but it's also the technology and the explanations for the game design and why certain features were chosen that also interests me. I like understanding the process that informs the result, and feel that you can't really appreciate the result or understand it, if you don't understand the process that achieved the result. So I'm curious about process, and that's what motivates not only my interest in a game, but also my interest in magic. It's not enough to get a result. You have to understand the process, and to do that you have to be curious about the process and the elements that comprise it. I love learning about so many seemingly unrelated topics, because I realize they all do connect together inevitably. To only explore one topic or focus only on the result is to ignore the fundamental connection that informs the process and evolution of any discipline or practice.
Curiosity motivates my approach to magic, because I want to learn everything I can. I know I won't learn everything, but learning and connecting what I do, does provide new ways of thinking about life, magic, and manifestation. It provides inspiration and consideration, and thus new angles reveal themselves, new patterns unfold, and I understand magic and life in a new way.
Book Review: The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene
This is an excellent book on contemporary physics. It is written for a popular audience, but even with that, it is a dense book. However Greene does an excellent job of making the material easier to approach. He uses some pop culture references such as the Simpsons to illustrate and explain the concepts involved in the physics he's discussing. What I enjoyed most, however, is the evident enthusiasm in Greene's work. His enthusiasm consistently made the book more enjoyable and the concepts easier to understand.
I highly recommend picking this book if you want to learn more about physics, or if you're interested in how science can inform your spiritual practices. I found it useful in helping me understanding some of the finer details involved in quantum mechanics and how time and space work from a physics perspective.
5 out 5.
I've started reading Confucius: The Analects. Vince Stevens recommended I check his work out, especially given some of my interests in looking at occultism from different angles outside of the rebel archetype. So far, I've just been reading the introduction, but the passages already stand out to me:
Behind Confucious' pursuit of the ideal moral character lies the unspoken, and therefore, unquestioned, assumption that the only purpose a man can have and also the only worthwhile thing a man can do is to become as good a man as possible. This is something that has to be pursued for its own sake and with complete indifference to success or failure.
Love for people outside one's family is looked upon as an extension of the love for members of one's own family. One consequence of this view is that the love, and so the obligation to love, decreases by degrees as it extends outwards...our obligations towards others should be in proportion to the benefit we have received from them.
I left some of the examples in the second quote, but reading both passages was interesting because while I found myself in agreement with the first passage, I had a definite knee jerk reaction to the second. nonetheless on further reflection about the second passage I could certainly see the point of the author and agree with it as well, mainly because I see this particualr pattern demonstrated in this culture all the time.
The first passage speaks a lot to my current spiritual journey, with the focus being on a process of change with no definite result in mind, so much as a desire to become what and who I can become as a result of going through that process. If it seems odd that I don't have a specific result nailed down, it's because I realize that having a specific result would necessarily diminish the opportunities and possibilities I can experience as I undergo this journey. In fact, that speaks to the weakness of result oriented magic...The focus is so heavily on the result that the process isn't fully explored or experimented with. But what could that process tell you if you did explore it? So no specific result...I'm involved in a process of change, with indifference to success or failure in any traditional sense of the words. Perhaps the lack of concern about success or failure is what makes all of this efficacious. There's no external standard or bar to compare myself to, no definite end of the journey or a sense of completion. It just is...and so am I and the only constant in that is change...it's a process of change, and whatever results arise out of that change ultimately feed right back into the process, and so have meaning only as a context to the process.
The second quote, in reflecting on it...I see it in the cliques, family structures, etc. The degree of separation definitely impacts how people treat each other and/or the willingness of said people to help (and harm) each other. I can see how the benefit cycle influences how people treat each other...It goes back to the concept of give to get. You give, in order to get benefits. It's an eminently practical method of handling social relationships. The idealist in me cringes, and yet I see the same behavior repeated in myself and others. If you belong to x subculture and so do I, the chances of us helping each other is increased because of that connection. Granted, that increase may be minor, but it is still present. Obviously as you get to know people better, and incorporate them into a friend, tribe, or family structure what you are willing to do for those people increases as well. I see this behavior in everyone. I don't think I know anyone who falls outside of it. And I recognize it as a survival strategy, something which has worked really well for humans for who knows how long. Is there a way to get past that survival pattern? Do we really want to? I'm not sure...I had my kneejerk reaction, but as I think about it more, it makes a lot more sense. I'll be curious to see what further reading yields and I'll be sure to share it with the rest of you.
I read a post recently in another journal about short-lived magic. The poster was understandably a bit frustrated and even perhaps a little disillusioned because a desired result hadn't lasted as long as s/he wanted it to. Admirably enough the poster pointed to the simple fact that examining the process of how the magic worked could indicate a lot about why the results weren't as long lasting as hoped for. I've always felt that magic is a process and not a result. While results are important as indicators of the process working, they nonetheless are not the process of magic. I see a result as a sign. It indicates what direction you are going in and can indicate if the process is or isn't working. It may even indicate what specifically is not working in the process, though usually this requires some digging on the part of the magician. That digging can involve looking at what's going on in your internal landscape, or it can involve testing each part of your process and determining if you left something out of it that could be essential to it.
I've certainly had my share of magical workings that didn't quite result in what I wanted, or where it seemed like I was successful only to realize later that my success wasn't quite what I wanted. Magic is a process of trial and error, of experimenting to determine what works, while also learning what doesn't work. Mistakes are made, inevitably. What we do with those with mistakes determines if they become failures or if we learn from them.
Magic treated as a process allows one to examine it as an iterative cycle, with improvements occuring every cycle as more is learned about how to refine the process. The magician is part of the process and so inevitably the work of improvement necessarily changes the magician so that s/he becomes the person s/he wants to be. Like any process, the changes are rarely instanteous or dramatic, but they are important and tend to have a long lasting effect on the magician. Magic as a process isn't nearly as glamorous as when results are focused on, but while the results may not always be flashy, the process itself continues to hold true even as it is refined and tested by the magician.