Monday, November 7, 2016

Regarding Magical Models - Part Ten

This is Part Ten, the final part in a series. Part One can be found here, Part Two can be found here, Part Three can be found here, Part Four can be found here, Part Five can be found here, Part Six can be found here, Part Seven can be found here, Part Eight can be found here, and Part Nine can be found here.

To wrap up my series on magical models, this week I will be going over the basics of the quantum information model of magick. Hopefully the installments leading up to this week's article provide enough background that it will make sense why I did what I did in putting this model together. If you haven't read them and some of this article doesn't make sense, I recommend going back and reviewing the previous parts for clarification.

To recap, here is a basic breakdown of the various preceding magical models and why they do or don't work, based on my empirical observations over the years.

1. Psychological-Only - Magick is entirely "in your head." In effect, the entire discipline is a form of psychology and nothing more. Excluded by the existence of operant magical effects.

2. Psychological-Plus - Magick is psychological in nature, but can produce operant effects by tapping some sort of psychic ability that is latent in most people. Possibly compatible with energy models, but excluded by the increased effectiveness of operations calling upon spirits.

3. Individual Energy - Magick is energetic in nature, producing operant effects solely by applying subtle energies of some sort that originate with the practitioner to real-world targets and situations. Possibly compatible with the Psychological-Plus model, but excluded by the increased effectiveness of operations calling upon spirits. Also, parapsychology has never been able to identify the nature of this energy, despite many experiments along those lines.

4. Collective Energy - Magick is energetic in nature, as in the Individual Energy model. However, the collective model proposes that not all of this energy originates with the individual practitioner. Compatible with Psychological-Plus and also Spirit-Plus, if spirits are treated as external energy sources. Still, parapsychology has never been able to identify the nature of this energy, despite many experiments along those lines.

5. Spirit-Only - Magick is entirely accomplished by the actions of spirits called upon by the magician. That is, the only power held by an individual practitioner is some sort of authority recognized by those spirits, who accomplish all operant effects. Excluded by the effectiveness of energy work and daily magical practice.

6. Spirit-Plus - Magick may involve spirits, but the magician also is viewed as having a role in producing effects. Likewise, the magician has some ability to produce operant effects, which is substantially improved by working with spirits. This model is compatible with both energy models, as both the magician and the spirit can be viewed as sources of energy, at least in a metaphoric sense, whether that energy is viewed as collective, indivdual, or both.

7. Information Model - Magick is fundamentally viewed as a form of communication. The determining factor for magical effectiveness is the precision with which intent can be rendered in semiotic terms. Neither energy or spirits have a role in the strict version of this model, which is why it is excluded by the effectiveness of both energy work and calling upon spirits. It may be compatible with Psychological-Plus if some unconscious mental faculty is viewed as acting upon communicated intents.


Even though the strict information model has some obvious problems, when I first encountered it I could see that Patrick Dunn, its creator, was on to something. His model is fundamentally different than those that came before, and reflects genuine insight and innovation. The problems with the information model are twofold. First, it excludes both energy and spirits, which have been found to be effective by many magical practitioners. Second, it models communication in linguistic terms.

This is a big problem for one simple reason. Consciousness is not "made of language," and neither is the universe. Language is a communication medium, not communication itself. So the full process is that in order to speak to someone, you have to translate your thoughts into the language that you and the other party share, speak them in that language, and then the other party has to perform the same operation in reverse, translating the language heard back into thoughts.

For whatever reason, many linguists I have encountered over the years tend to downplay this whole process, operating on the assumption that thought and language are in some fundamental way tied together. But as a person who does not natively think in language, I know from my own experience that this just isn't true. The translation back and forth may happen effortlessly when both parties have fluency, but that does not mean it isn't happening.

So a linguistic communication model for magick is fundamentally one-sided. The magician formulates an intent, translates it into symbolic information, and communicates it... to what? Maybe if "the universe" in general is seen as speaking the language of the practitioner, but that's problematic as well because apparently, this communication doesn't depend on the language in which the intent is formed.

However, as a software engineer I am familiar with a more general concept of communication called information theory. Information theory proposes that a communication has two components - the message, and the carrier. The carrier is generally a wave, since communications like radio transmissions involve portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. The content of the message and the carrier are independent of each other, just as the same message can be transmitted by a ten-watt transmitter or a thousand-watt transmitter.

Bringing in information theory immediately solves the issue of integrating energy work into the information model. Energy work determines the strength of the carrier, and the construction of the message determines its precision. So Dunn was right to propose that a precise message is part of the equation, it's just not the only part. The point of a precise message is that is focuses the thoughts of the magician entirely upon the task at hand.

In the quantum information model, that is what the precise language is for, not to transmit the information itself. Even for someone like myself who doesn't naturally think in language, creating a precise linguistic description of an intent is useful to "tune" my field of awareness to exactly the intent that I wish to project. This is why magical statements of intent should be lawyerly and exact, including both injunctions and limitations.

The actual transmissions, though, consist of the exchange of quantum information between quantum information fields. Hence the "quantum information" moniker. According to the model, consciousness itself is a quantum information structure, and the key to creating a magical effect is as follows:
  1. Formulate within your field of awareness the outcome that you wish to produce, as precisely as possible, and fix your thoughts upon that intent.
  2. Create a magical link between your field of awareness and a quantum information field corresponding to the target.
  3. Employ energy work to increase the power of your "carrier."
  4. Using that strengthened carrier, transmit the intent to the target.
  5. The new information combines with the information already present to shift the potential nature of the target field to match the new intent.
As this will always be a quantum effect, it is statistical in nature. The stronger the carrier, and the more precise your intent, the better the whole process will work. This is also where mundane actions towards your goal enter the picture. The more of those actions you take, the more likely your intent is to manifest. Since limitations exist to how far magick can adjust probability, you succeed by doing two things.
  1. Perform as many mundane actions as you can to bring the probability of success within the "range" of what your magical power can accomplish.
  2. Perform your magical operation as effectively as you can in order to close the final probability gap, or get as close to it as you possibly can.
The model is easily generalizable because everything including consecrated tools, talismans, other magicians, and spirits may all be treated as manifestations of consciousness and therefore quantum information fields of their own. Basically, a field is a field is a field. Combine the possible interactions of all these potential fields upon the target, and you can see how the full range of possible magical effects can be produced.

Divination can likewise be modeled as the process that produces operant effects in reverse. Instead of transmitting information to a target field, you are setting up a magical link over which you receive information from it. As this information is effectively transmitted as the equivalent of pure thought - a shift in the "shape" of your field of awareness - it must be translated back into something more tangible - which is where the various divinatory tools enter the equation.

Spirits and additional magicians involved in an operation behave exactly the same way. The effective probability shifts created by all participants are added together to get the final result. It should be noted that the real effect seems to be additive, not multiplicative as I have heard some practitioners insist. Based on my own testing, such individuals probably are just not measuring initial probabilities correctly, because I've seen no evidence that the power of casters and/or spirits can combine to that extent.

The implications for magical work according to the quantum information model, then, are as follows - and they should not be unfamiliar to what most experienced practitioners divine from their own experiences.
  1. While the Psychological-Only model is probably wrong based on the observation of operant effects, psychological work should never be neglected by magicians. The mind - that is, the field of awareness - is the magician's first and most important tool for directing the forces of nature.
  2. Likewise, daily practices should in no way be neglected. Models that ascribe all power to spirits, or those that devalue energy work, are probably wrong, and as a result it is necessary for the magician to work on him or herself to stay in "magical shape" for whenever operant rituals are required
  3. Magicians should study some form of energy work and incorporate it into their daily practice. Such work builds up the "transmitter" that the magician uses in order to connect with both targets and spirits.
  4. Magicians should work to develop relationships with spirits, and involve them in appropriate operations. Models based on the non-existence of spirits are probably wrong, as empirically, the use of spirits improves the results of magical operations that call upon them.
  5. As coherence is the basis of mental clarity, the magician should strive for shared understanding between him or herself and the spirits. Violently ordering spirits around like slaves may still get some results, but a willing spirit will do so with increased coherence - and therefore should produce a better probability shift.
We are not currently at the point in our technology where magick and magical effects can be measured directly, and it probably will be a long time before we get to that point - barring some unforeseen development that suddenly makes it easy to do. At the same time, I believe that it will eventually be done, and most likely be solved by researchers working along the lines of quantum information field dynamics and the so-called "hard problem" of consciousness.

Such discoveries could lead us to a whole new level of physics, that doesn't replace what has gone before but rather expands upon it. Depending on how this work pans out, the potential exists for breakthroughs in areas ranging from faster-than-light communication to unraveling the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy that prompt our cosmos to behave in unpredictable ways. And if the discipline of magick can contribute something to those conversations, that would be a truly remarkable outcome.



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