Magic refers to the power of perception

(Edit: It occurs to me that this is pretty obvious stuff. But maybe some of my tangents will be interesting.)

Inspired more or less by this Skype conversation with Podrag. Here is the scene in question:

[18:05:31] Aeoli Pera: ‘Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right!’ <- this is true in some circumstances, and not in others.
[18:05:44] Aeoli Pera: When it comes to social, people stuff, it's true.
[18:05:54] Aeoli Pera: When it comes to material stuff, it's false.
[18:05:56] Podrag: It’s true for the kind of stuff you’re dealing with now
[18:06:05] Aeoli Pera: Everything in the middle, like economics, is a gray area.
[18:06:20] Podrag: It’s untrue if you want to bend a spoon with the power of your mind
[18:06:42] Podrag: but bending spoons is just melon power talk anyway and you know that
[18:07:07] Aeoli Pera: I never really understood that part of the Matrix.
[18:07:16] Podrag: No. You did.
[18:07:48] Aeoli Pera: Lemme pull up the scene and see if you're right.
[18:07:58] Podrag: You know you did. It’s just for TTs it’s too much all at once. The Matrix is very much an MT film.
[18:08:16] Podrag: For TTs it’s a bit of a system overload.
[18:09:35] Aeoli Pera: "The Matrix is very much an MT film." Good point.
[18:09:48] Aeoli Pera: The outfits make a lot of sense that way.
[18:10:07] Podrag: If you watch it properly and mindfully you will know what it’s saying. But you’re right in that you probably have to watch it 10 times to ‘grock’ it
[18:10:38] Podrag: I had to watch it like 4 or 5 times to properly ground it in reality

Okay, we have the perception part. In a pliable world like politics or the Matrix, perception rules over reality. Mind over matter, as they say. Where does magic come in?

I mentioned that I got this idea from the scene in Chrono Trigger where the Gnostic Holy Spirit grants Chrono and the party a spirit guide (Spekkio), who unlocks their latent ability to use magic. (This scene may be a subversion of the Pentecost.) Aside from the name (spec-ion), the fact that this character tests the party’s magical abilities at intervals, mirroring their strength level, leads me to suspect that this character is meant to represent some kind of subconscious psychological mirror personality. (Probably analogous to Jung’s “shadow”.)

This business of spirit guides will be familiar to anyone with exposure to occult ideas about enlightenment. My ignorant impression is that the spirit guides the acolyte to use techniques of introspection and mental discipline to unlock higher forms of perception. Two side effects of this path of enlightenment are 1) insight into the way things really are in the world (red pill understanding, so to speak), and 2) the ability to effect changes in the material world by imposing the will onto one’s perception of the world. Now, I’d wager a guess that these powerful side effects are considered pleasant rewards (who doesn’t enjoy power and understanding?), but the pursuit of enlightenment is supposed to be the acolyte’s real business.

(Christians typically believe that the second, such as the telekinetic ability to levitate objects i.e. bend spoons by bending one’s own mind, is merely a trick where a demon moves the object to convince the magician that he has real powers, thus further entrapping him within the lie. I’m agnostic on the subject.)

We see intimations of this in Christianity as well. Jesus talks a great deal about people having eyes but not being able to see, and ears but not being able to hear. This comes up a lot in the prophetic books as well, where either God or the prophet is lamenting the blindness of the Israelites. Paul expands upon this:

…17That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,…

(Contrary to popular opinion, I believe Paul’s struggle was to control his tendency to run-on sentences. Sheesh, everything has to be sex with these prudes.)

“Discernment” is considered a spiritual gift granted by the indwelling Holy Ghost, which some Christians manifest far more than others (like the other spiritual gifts). I figure the psychological mechanism used by the occult spirit familiars and the Holy Spirit to unlock this ability is the same one, because why not? The serpent in the Garden of Eden used this bait to tempt Eve, which is less encouraging: “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

And now, in the modern day, we seem to be rediscovering this theme with a vengeance. Heartiste calls it “frame”. Scott Adams calls the masters of frame “wizards”. Stage magicians just call it what it is. Marketers, propagandists, educators, and drill sergeants have spent the last century polishing the science of brainwashing to a mirror shine. Dialectic, rhetoric, dolorectic- it all comes down to influence (i.e. power over others via their perceptions), and we live in a world where people think this is all a jolly state of affairs.

If you complain, it’s just because you’re a butt-hurt loser who wishes they were better at lying. Man, now I need a drink. Here’s something to end on a bit of a lighter note:

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15 Responses to Magic refers to the power of perception

  1. ESR believes magic, but that it is just brain stuff:

  2. Whacky thread about Christian magic, not sure if accurate:

    “My wife and I are actively using creation or what is known as formology on a daily basis. LOA is a rip off from occult fraternaties and meant to be perfected under close moral scrutiny although it will work for anyone that wants to learn and try. Here is the problem. Most people screw up their lives chasing after the wrong things. It is either white or black magic based on the thought and reason. Jesus made use of advanced formology. It is the biblical ‘use of the talents’ “

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      While I’ll read out of general interest, I wouldn’t trust this shit for a moment, or these people, and practicing it is out of the question. God is very clear about this sort of thing.

  3. podrag says:

    Magic is what happens in between the perception of the ‘spoon’ and the greater reality inferred by it. That ‘greater reality’ could be termed a spirit guide. It’s a nice way to put it. Because it has a very juicy personality of its own.

    Influence becomes a game of poker as to how deep one can venture into the ‘void’. This is why Blaine does all his crazy living in a box/holding breath stuff.

    Magic is sort of what happens outside the realms of day to day reality. And magicians are capable of ‘going’ where mere mortals can’t. ‘Holding frame’ is just one not very good example. ‘Holding frame’ is just having the confidence to believe in what you know: which is typically more than the other side. This is why drill sergeants look ridiculous to us now but would have looked terrifying at age 17: stronger frame.


    • podrag says:

      This is a very good example of black magic:

      The whole thing is basically Beyonce boasting at how strongly she can ‘hold frame’ and no one is ever going to do anything about it. There is so much black yin invested in the whole thing that yeah she is able to call this a ‘something’.

      I respect it in a very Calusewitzian post-modern sort of a way.


      “CALIGULA: I’m the only true artist Rome has known – the only one, believe me – to match his inspiration with his deeds.

      CHEREA: That’s only a matter of having the power.

      CALIGULA: Quite true. Other artists create to compensate for their lack of power. I don’t need to make a work of art; I live it.”
      ― Albert Camus, Caligula

      • podrag says:

        Also… The Matrix is a film about mass-influence. Lots of Hollywood films are. Dark City is the same. They all mostly follow several levels of understanding of the nature of creative power and the burden of existing creative power keeping them ‘asleep’. Realising the slumber is a ‘partial’ awakening but the full awakening is only realised by battling the Nietzsche’s ‘Minotaur of Conscience’ on their super hero’s journey.

        Then they complete their hero’s journey, which in the Matrix turned out to be part of the Machinations of the Oracle trying to control her stray son Agent Smith from destroying the whole party.

        MTs: the cosmic quarterbacks.

        • Aeoli Pera says:

          >Also… The Matrix is a film about mass-influence.

          Okay, I get it now. It’s obvious once you say it.

          >Lots of Hollywood films are.

          I wonder how much of that is on purpose.

          >They all mostly follow several levels of understanding of the nature of creative power and the burden of existing creative power keeping them ‘asleep’.

          You lost me here.

          >Then they complete their hero’s journey, which in the Matrix turned out to be part of the Machinations of the Oracle trying to control her stray son Agent Smith from destroying the whole party.

          So…maybe the architect is the letter of the law of the system, and the oracle is the spirit? And Agent Smith is some kind of cancer infecting the system’s enforcement…hrmm. This might take some doing.

      • Aeoli Pera says:

        >This is a very good example of black magic:

        It’s very odd. So I guess this is a sort of dominance-based status whoring where the social hierarchy is strengthened by ritual humiliation. Kinda like henpecking.

        I feel like I could write a Beyonce song now, where she flaunts her body but the words are outright taunting, to the effect that no one watching the video would have a chance to have sex with her. Basically her whole thing is about channeling sexual frustration into grrrlpower.

      • podrag says:

        “>They all mostly follow several levels of understanding of the nature of creative power and the burden of existing creative power keeping them ‘asleep’.

        You lost me here.”

        In the dark age we are always born into a pre-existing reality that is ex-post justified by some prevailing political theory. And then breaking from that causes a degree of psychosis and re-adjustment. Not only must the mind heal but the learning must be passed to the DNA to provide future immunity… the mind might accidentally go into a legacy reboot mode… ‘Red-pilled’ has become the ‘catch-all’ term for even a very minor degree of awakening into an independent reality. And then living in that independent reality allows one to create magic, because if you understand everything from first pricinples you can fool those who don’t. In India they call it development of the ‘Siddhas’.

        The Assassins even went to great lengths of spiritual training to cultivate this independence, as did the Samurai, the Ninjas, the Marathon Monks… at some point it requires a venturing into the ‘void’… a psychotic break which yields superhuman abilities. Because, as James Jeans said…

        ‘The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine.’

        For it to have existed someone had to have dreamt it up… so we live in a progressively more gross ‘dream’ or ‘illusion’ of someone else. And illusion is, of course, suffering, and imposed suffering is control. And this is Satanism, of which Beyonce is a readily accessible version. Satanism in 2-dimensions, if you will.

  4. podrag says:

    I think this is closer to the truth of the Matrix

    My own experience is too hard to explain. It sounds too crazy and I’m not finished yet.

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