Thursday, May 26, 2011

How does one come to believe that magic is real?

How can a supposedly rational human being, who believes in the efficacy of the scientific method hold the belief that magic is real?

This is a question that I have pondered the answer to for many years with regard to myself.  I grew up loving science.  In high school, I took every physical science class that I could cram into my schedule.  I waited until the literal last possible minute at a scholarship recipient dinner to decide whether I was going to major in physics or geography at college.  I seemed destined for a life of rationality, as many would define it.

But the problem with this apparent course, is that throughout my life, I’ve had first hand experiences that seem to defy the very rational world that pure science posits that I live in.  I have personally been involved with a number of situations throughout my life which transcend logic and reason. One of these incidents directly led to my not dying in a plane crash as an infant.  My intent is not to list all of these bizarre occurrences that have accumulated throughout my life, but suffice it to say, there have been enough that I could not explain through the laws of any of the sciences that I have studied.

This put me in a difficult place.  My education and inclination told me that these things could not have happened, and yet they did.  So I assumed the position that there must be some sort of hidden mechanism or medium through which these phenomenon occurred.  So I began researching the occult.  As a science library student assistant, I had many long hours sitting at a check-in terminal, so I used my down time to scour the main library collection on the occult.  I even discovered that the rare books department had been bequeathed limited edition volumes written by someone named Frater ACHAD, whose identity and affiliations I immediately pursued and learned.

So even as I was studying physical geography, GIS technology, and computer science, I was spending all of my available time reading books by Crowley, Hall, Blavatsky, Cavendish, ACHAD, and Mathers.  There was so much material that I eventually reached the conclusion that at some point, someone with a serious interest in the occult must have worked in acquisitions.

In the course of this research, I learned that the boundary between science and magic was not as firmly defined as I had thought, and that the difference between the two was often merely a matter of elapsed time and perspective.  As science advanced, it encompassed many concepts that had been labeled as magic scant generations before.  I learned that what I had considered to be a rational world view was too narrow.  I had put on blinders in the name of science that science itself would never have tried to impose upon me.

I decided that I could only learn so much in the books that I had at my disposal, so I began to actually practice ritual magic when I was 18.  Over the years, my interest has waxed and waned, and I have experimented with various forms of ritual and religious practice, never finding one that resonated with me for long.  They all had too many rules. As I continued my search for a system that fit, I discovered chaos magic.  It was in this non-system that I found my system.

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