Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Magical Energy

On the previous thread, Gordon_Finn and I got into a discussion of using energy of various sorts to power paranormal phenomena such as the physical manifestations of spirits. He suggested using the electricity from a stun gun as an energy source for the following reasons:

Electricity is very efficient and it's very abundent. It's a common type used by spirits. Cold spots show up because the spirits are drawing on the ambient heat (both kinetic and em/infrared forms), so the area around them is colder. They're trying to maintain a material existence, while there, so they gotta get it from somewhere.

I guess I've never heard of spirits drawing on electricity so I don't know how common it is. There was one haunting that I heard about where the electric meter seemed to run unusually fast that I heard about, but for the most part I don't think spirits generally consume power in that way. Furthermore, the meter could just have been broken in that one case and might not have had anything to do with the haunting. Gordon's description of how spirits seem to use ambient heat is to my knowledge basically correct, but electricity and electromagnetic radiation (including heat) are two completely different things - electromagnetic radiation made up of photons while electricity is made up of electrons. How this difference affects spirits is hard to say.

The EM fields, including heat, put off by electrical circuits are the incidental result of transmission inefficiencies in the wiring. A stun gun will put out a nice burst of EM energy and heat because air is a poor conductor of electricity, but it seems to me that in many cases manifestations need sustained heat or radiation to draw upon. You might do better with a space heater or a device more like a radio transmitter than creates waves of a specific frequency. That's probably one of the functions of the pot of incense in evocations - in addition to smoke it produces a lot of heat. I also have experimented with powered orgone generators that create a pulsed magnetic field around a crystal embedded in a mixture of epoxy and metal filings (aka "orgonite"), and those devices do seem to put off something that feels like the "energy" that accompanies spirit conjurations. I've never really considered trying to get a spirit to convert that energy into psychokinetic phemonema, but I may give it a try one of these days. I'll be sure to keep you all posted.

But this speculation brings us to the larger question of the mechnism used by spirits to influence the physical world. In The Spiritist Fallacy, Rene Guinon makes a convincing argument that for spirits to have any sort of influence on the physical world at least some portion of them must be physical. Modern parapsychologists pretty much agree with this assertion, and thus use various implements such as EM meters when investigating the sites of alleged hauntings and other spirit-related phenomena. As magicians, I believe that it behooves us to understand what the physical portion of a spiritual entity is composed of and how it can interact with material objects. A precise understanding of this relationship should allow us to construct spells much more effectively and understand the physical limitations of magical operations.

A couple of weeks ago I was chatting with the proprietor of my favorite occult bookstore here in the Twin Cities and he commented that he had met someone who was trying to find people working evocations who did not use any sort of "energy" metaphors. Apparently this individual believed that the "power" of the magician had nothing to do with evocations and that the effects that resulted were solely the work of the spirits conjured. I can't say that this model is wrong, but I will say that as I've gotten better at working magick my spells have gotten better too, and also that energy work techniques like Qigong really seem to help manifestations along if you incorporate them into ritual. It is possible that all they really do is serve to get the spirits' attention or something like that, but for whatever reason different practitioners do seem to get different results even when they follow the same procedures.

It is unfortunately true that a lot of magicians talk about "magical energy" in an vague way and the term can mean a lot of different things depending on the speaker's perspective on magical operations. To adherents of the psychological model of magick, the term is used in a similar way to how it is applied in psychoanalysis and describes an emotional rather than a physical quality. A "powerful" spell according to this model is one that produces a strong and distinct shift in consciousness or calls up strong emotions. This is not a particularly useful thing to try and quantify for anyone other than yourself simply because it is so subjective. It could perhaps be evaluated with large-scale surveys subjected to statistical analysis, but even so I suspect it would prove hard to pin down. I also don't find it all that useful to treat "powerful" as a synonym for "moving" as it is certainly possible for a ritual to call up an emotional response and accomplish little else.

One of the challenges in putting together the operant field model of magick was devising a scale by which the strength of magical spells could be evaluated. The solution I arrived at was to conceptualize the strength of a spell based on the probability shift that it produces, much as Peter Carroll outlines in Liber Kaos but with some additional variables. This yields a simple numerical formula by which different spells can be compared and analyzed. On my scale a value of 1 represents pure chance, which is the result that would be expected without any magical effect, and the scale can increase arbitrarily as the probability shift increases. A spell that causes an event with a probability of .10 (10%) is rated at 10, a spell that causes an event with a probability of .01 (1%) is rated at 100, and so forth. With this scale the vagueries of "magical power" can be calculated using two variables, the likelihood of the event in question and whether or not the spell succeeded or failed.

Still, the actual mechanism behind these probability shifts remains hard to pin down. Some of this is due to the uncertainty of quantum reality and the lack of tools that can measure things like wavefunctions, and some is due to consciousness being one of the key variables in any magical operation. We don't have tools that can measure the mind directly, and while neuroscience has gotten closer in recent years it is only helpful up to a point. My working hypothesis is that consciousness can produce small shifts in spacetime that can manipulate the probability gradients of quantum wavefunctions without collapsing them, like low-intensity quantum gravity, but whether or not that hypothesis will stand up to modern physics once we begin to explore the subquantum level is anyone's guess. Perhaps some of the results from the new Large Hadron Collider will prove useful in working out the relationship between magick and quantum physics, or maybe they'll throw it all out the window and I'll have to start from scratch.

So here's my question for readers - what are your thoughts on "magical energy?" What is it, how does it work, and have any of you done experiments that might shed some light on its nature? I look forward to hearing from you.

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10 comments:

Gordon_Finn said...

>>electromagnetic radiation made up of photons while electricity is made up of electrons. How this difference affects spirits is hard to say.

A photon is a guage boson, a thing that transmits electromagnetism. An electron is a fermion that's associated with solid matter. The energy it gives off is the resistence to being able to go through each other when 2 pieces of solid matter come in contact, like a hand and a table. Both are abundent in the atmosphere and both can be used for manifestation. Dust, smoke particles, etc. can also be used.

>>A precise understanding of this relationship should allow us to construct spells much more effectively and understand the physical limitations of magical operations.

This would depend on your perspective, if things can cross between different planes or if things from higher levels influence things on lower levels by interacting with the higher level counterpart. Tangentially, it brings up the question of 'if there's no cross plane transition, how could all the planes beneath the ultimate one/causal sphere exist or should 'higher' really mean weaker, as in a continued subdivision, instead of existing in a higher intensity level of vibration?' That itself is another discussion.

However, let's stick with them using ambient energy fields and particles, since that'd be the path of least resistence, kinda like when you use a pendulum and there's the back swing and gravity making it look like you're doing more work than you really are. Hell, put a magnet under the thing with the repulsing end up and make the thing on the pendulum metal and it'd move with more effort.

>>It is unfortunately true that a lot of magicians talk about "magical energy" in an vague way and the term can mean a lot of different things depending on the speaker's perspective on magical operations.

It's par for the course. Occult definitions are really more extensive than the material counterpart. Yes, love is being patient and understanding, but when taken out of the context of good and evil (into a broader occult context), love means the same thing as evil. Letting the thing in question exhaust the energy it's using now, so you are in a better position to manipulate it, regardless of the reason.

>>It could perhaps be evaluated with large-scale surveys subjected to statistical analysis, but even so I suspect it would prove hard to pin down.

If nothing else, there is medical equipment to register the readings from the brain and what areas have more activity.

>>Still, the actual mechanism behind these probability shifts remains hard to pin down.

There is also the ambient fields that are present. No 2 situations are gonna be the same, since some magick works by using what's in the environment and not bulldozing its way through. The resistence by self-reenforcing structures (solid matter) all have different variables to their aspects in the higher realms. Even when a thing is machined, you still have different things. They aren't cloned. There are also things that happen to them that come in contact with them as they continue to exist. Stray thoughts and stuff that attach.

>>What is it, how does it work, and have any of you done experiments that might shed some light on its nature?

I've looked into it myself before, even seeing if something could click in an altered form that's taken from fiction and myth and relate it to actual magick and I haven't found a definitive answer yet.

Ananael Qaa said...

A photon is a guage boson, a thing that transmits electromagnetism. An electron is a fermion that's associated with solid matter.

I'm wondering if it's significant that photons are essentially massless while electrons have a small amount of mass. If you look at hauntings, effects like cold spots are just about universal while issues with electrical circuits and psychokinetic phenomena are much rarer. Perhaps because photons are massless they are easier for spirits to move.

This would depend on your perspective, if things can cross between different planes or if things from higher levels influence things on lower levels by interacting with the higher level counterpart.

I'm not really sure what you're talking about here. Do you mean that it depends on whether or not you think "spiritual" things can influence "material" things? If magick can accomplish anything besides personal illumination, it seems to me that spirits and spells must have some sort of overlap into the physical world. And I know that I can accomplish material goals with spells.

Hell, put a magnet under the thing with the repulsing end up and make the thing on the pendulum metal and it'd move with more effort.

So you think a metal pendulum would swing more with a magnet underneath it? That would be an interesting test, since the magnet should attract the metal based on the usual physical laws. If it moves more because the magnet is supplying some sort of energy to the spirit that would pretty definitively prove that something out of the ordinary was going on.

It's par for the course. Occult definitions are really more extensive than the material counterpart.

It's fine to have definitions that are more extensive than their material equivalents. I just want those definitions to be precise.

If nothing else, there is medical equipment to register the readings from the brain and what areas have more activity.

Right, and I've followed that research closely. The problem that we run into with that approach, though, is working out the causality. I think that if we automatically assume that the mind is an epiphenomenon of the brain we are possibly making a big mistake. Don't get me wrong - it's still useful to investigate the brain states that correlate with peak experiences, but without a measuring instrument for the mind we can't be completely sure of how the whole mind/brain system works.

Gordon_Finn said...

>>I'm not really sure what you're talking about here.

I've heard 2 sides with this. 1, the vibrations of the higher level 'stuff' slows down and it materializes. It won't necessarily appear as 'stuff' known to science. It won't necessarily be composed on electrons, protons, neutrinos, gravity, etc. It *can* be made of electrons, protons, etc., but it doesn't necessarily have to be.

The other side is that the idea of the vibrations slowing down is an illusion. What is actually happening is that the desire to materialize something from a higher level makes the stuff of the lower level(s) get drawn together and turn into the thing desired. When it's drawn together, the new stuff just made is connected to the higher level 'stuff' that initiated the creation.

One transitions, the other purely dictates.

>>So you think a metal pendulum would swing more with a magnet underneath it? That would be an interesting test, since the magnet should attract the metal based on the usual physical laws. If it moves more because the magnet is supplying some sort of energy to the spirit that would pretty definitively prove that something out of the ordinary was going on.

No, the opposing end. When you take 2 magnets, one end of it will be repelled by one end of the other magnet and be attracted by the other end. The point is to have the 2 ends that come near each other be the ends that repel each other.

>I just want those definitions to be precise.

The level of precision usually becomes more and more general.

Gordon_Finn said...

>>One transitions, the other purely dictates.

While I'm open to the possibilty that either is true, I've heard in physics, specifically when it comes to virtual energy, that the possible types of energy that could exist isn't just limited to the forces and particle types currently known.

Before this, I was fully fine with the idea that when you start with the infinite, even the limited subsets of said infinte can have an infinte way to appear. So, I'm fine with both being true, the transition and the dictation.

However, I think it is just easier (and quicker with some situations) for higher level stuff to dictate than to transition.

Ananael Qaa said...

No, the opposing end. When you take 2 magnets, one end of it will be repelled by one end of the other magnet and be attracted by the other end.

Oh, okay, so you want the pendulum to be a magnet too. I get what you're saying now.

the possible types of energy that could exist isn't just limited to the forces and particle types currently known.

Certainly. There's always more to discover in the sciences. I do think, though, that if there is a physical effect it must at some point manifest as conventional energy. For example, if something slides across a table the kinetic energy has to come from somewhere.

However, I think it is just easier (and quicker with some situations) for higher level stuff to dictate than to transition.

I guess I'm still not clear on the distinction you're making. Here's a little more detail on the model that I've been using for awhile. How does it fit into your classification system?

The idea that I have is that consciousness can manipulate space on the micro level. That's how, for example, you can alter a probability wave without collapsing it. When a particle passes through a gravitation field, the gravitation does not collapse the wavefunction, but if you collapse the wavefunction by bouncing a photon off of it the resulting position/momentum will be different in a strong gravitational field than it would be in a weak one.

So when you cast a spell what you do is create a pattern in the fabric of spacetime that alters the probabilities around the target of the spell. If physical energy is required, the pattern can be structured in such a way that the heat in a room flows into the space occupied by the pattern where it can be transformed into kinetic energy. This can cause various paranormal effects, from cold spots to breezes to psychokinesis.

Where spirits enter into the picture is that they can create these patterns as well, and in fact the physical forms they take are mostly made up of these "ripples" in the fabric of spacetime that fill with energy/heat when they manifest. They can make magical effects happen the same way that you can, by casting one of these patterns around a target and in effect changing their overall luck along a vector appropriate to the spell.

In evaluating this model I suppose you could treat spacetime as "higher" and particles as "lower" in that the spacetime folds tell the particles where to move, but I think it's important to also understand that since particles with mass create their own microgravitation the relationship between particles and spacetime is reciprocal rather than top-down. As above so below?

Gordon_Finn said...

>>Oh, okay, so you want the pendulum to be a magnet too. I get what you're saying now.

Yeah, like when you throw something at a rapidly spinning wheel. That type of thing.

>>For example, if something slides across a table the kinetic energy has to come from somewhere.

If it's some weird/funky/new kind of energy, what is known would probably show up as a side effect of whatever it is that they do.

>>How does it fit into your classification system?

Okay, the way you're describing the perspective, it is what I'm calling the 'dictation' way to do things. The transition is something different.

Okay, for conversation sake, let's say everything known in material science, regardless of how 'concrete' it's believed by everyone or how fringe the subject might be, let's call it 'classical physics'. This is everything known to date, as of 12:40 PM on Friday, May 8, 2009 A.D.

Technically, this is not classical physics. This is more than classical physics. For this discussion, I'm combining both classical and modern physics into one lump category and calling it classical, since for the 'transition' part of what I'm discussing it's gonna not be included into this. Let us also assume that everything that we are putting into the category 'classical physics' for this discussion is everything that the universe would manifest before you bring in the 'transition' part of what I'm talking about.

Assume that everything that is within 'classical physics' is what should be 'naturally' within the universe. Assume that there really is no other form of energy. All the other possible forms matter and energy could appear as would require 'proactive actions'. All the matter and energy types in 'classical physics' are from 'reactive actions'. For example, electrons are made from a reactive action in our universe. If there was a type of energy that changes the body hair of a cat into pudding with no midway stage, that would come about as a 'proactive action', either through technology or magick, okay?

The proactive action is what brings about the transition in this example of transitioning something from a higher plane to a lower one (in this case, from above the material realm to the material realm). And there are also a multitude of ways the proactive action can be done. We'll call what manifests from the transition act as 'other'. Other is a catch all word for anything not in classical physics that comes about from reactive action.

With our new definition of 'classical physics', there is a limited number of types you can classify energies and forces that come from reactive actions. Gravitons, photons, electrons, protons, sound, etc. When I speak of transition, I'm talking of spirit matter appearing from a higher level realm and manifesting as a substance composed of 'energy' that isn't the particle and/or wave form of anything that comes from reactive actions, which are known from how we are defining 'classical physics' for this discussion.

It's something else. It might not have particles or waves. It can have subunits, bu then again, it might not, if one uses the definitions of particles/waves from 'classical physics'. This new type of 'energy' would require its own definition that is nothing like the definition of particles/waves from 'classical physics'.

Now, the characteristics of this new energy might exhibit energy forms, as they're being defined in the definition we're using for 'classical physics', but only as a side effect of the presence this particular energy has on the surrounding space-time. For instance, it might give off heat, but it might not. It could distort gravity, but it might not.

It might even not register on our scientific equipment. If it is visible, it can be picked up by visible light sensors, but not all forms. Matter/energy that appears because of this transition isn't guaranteed to show up on our instruments because it isn't guaranteed to appear as matter or energy that is defined in 'classical physics' from reactive actions, as we're defining it.

An instrument is only gonna detect what it's designed to detect. An off the shelf astronomy telescope is not gonna detect gamma rays because it isn't designed to detect it. That's why there is more than one type of telescope. An electron microscope is not the same as a regular microscope. It's designed to do more.

And whatever this new type of matter/energy is, it isn't what's defined as energy/matter within 'classical physics'. In some cases, they won't have the same density or even temperature. It might take the form of someone else that is living, but they have no weight, no discernable mass. They have color and 'apparent' texture. They reflect light because you can see them and they are not semi-transparent, but there is still no discernable mass. If they move around, they can cause friction/kinetic energy, but then again, light particles might be the only thing that touches them. Atmosphere might pass through them, like they weren't there. What they are could be any number of things that isn't in 'classical physics'. It's something else.

Ananael Qaa said...

What they are could be any number of things that isn't in 'classical physics'. It's something else.

Right, but my feeling is that once you reach that level of abstraction there's so little that you can say about what might be going on that the speculation stops being useful. It could be negative energy or dark energy or brane interpenetration or superstring dynamics or all sorts of other things that are far enough removed from anything testable that it's impossible to say with any degree of confidence what might be going on.

I believe that one should have a working hypothesis and test it constantly. So far, mine is the "quantum gravity" idea that I explained in my last comment. I can't say that it's "really" what's going on, but so far it fits with the data I've amassed over my years of magical practice. The reality may be very different, and once I see data that contradicts the hypothesis I'll revise it to fit the new data, just as if I were working in the physical sciences.

As I alluded to in the original article, the Large Hadron Collider may finally detect the Higgs Boson, the particle that confers mass. If this happens it should lead to a better understanding of how quantum gravity could work, and this new understanding might very well disprove my hypothesis. At that point I'll select what seems to be the most likely possibility based on the new data and go from there.

Gordon_Finn said...

>>Right, but my feeling is that once you reach that level of abstraction there's so little that you can say about what might be going on that the speculation stops being useful.

There does come a point where you have to just stop intellectualizing magick. As much as we might figure out the physics of what happens. If we dictate too much of the material realm physics, we keep ourselves from using the more advanced aspects to get things sooner.

>>It could be negative energy or dark energy or brane interpenetration or superstring dynamics or all sorts of other things that are far enough removed from anything testable that it's impossible to say with any degree of confidence what might be going on.

You can start with something general, like the philosophical sense of a thing or an analogy of it.

>>I believe that one should have a working hypothesis and test it constantly. So far, mine is the "quantum gravity" idea that I explained in my last comment. I can't say that it's "really" what's going on, but so far it fits with the data I've amassed over my years of magical practice.

And that's what I mean. There is debate on just what would be the components of quantum gravity, but you at least have some general idea of what it encompasses. It's the same with me and 'transitioning' from a higher plane. It starts with the idea that it can appear in ways not known to modern science. And the specifics can from what the indirect effects speak of. When you go deep enough the specifics of the end result for material changing become many.

Dacia Pacea said...

I don't know where to begin to answer your question. The first thing that popped into my mind were Yoda's words in describing the Force to Luke in Episode V, but that's just my idealistic nature talking.

I'm not good with sciency stuff and that's not my field of interest, yet I do have some understanding of quantum and string theories.

I'd say that the mind is that magical energy and it streches for infinity, shaping the univers(es) in a fractal pattern.

I view the brain as an antena that picks up multiple frequencies of that infinite field, but only a few, considering the scale. The brain would have to be upgraded then, to receive more complex frequencies. By that I mean that through certain practices, more neural pathways could be opened in different zones of the brain, just like reading helps develop memory and vocabulary.

I was always amazed by deja-by and tried to explain it, because i've had alot of them over the years.I couldn't explain it until it came to me that the mind is infinite and is found even above and beyond time and space. So the mind knows exactly what has, is and will happen. So dena-vu would be the realisation that at some point in the past, one has received vision of the future, so briefly that he/she didn't even acknowledge it, yet alone remember it. This was to reinforce my view of the mind being infinite and in all planes.

And to add to Yoda's quote, life supports it, but i think it's life only in the material world.

Hope you can make something of this :)

Dacia Pacea said...

*it's Not life only in the material world