He thinks chaos magic offers a better explanation than science. Of course, he’s right |309|

#21
No offense, but ...
Uh-oh! Offence incoming...

You know those situtations where you overhear one or two words from a conversation and you interject something that is totally out of place and goofy?
Yep that's the effect of what you just wrote :eek::D
Heh... You know I'm always happy to play the village idiot. What do you see as the distinction between 'illusion' and 'magic'?
 
#23
My initial reaction to the interview was: Wow, I can’t un-hear, what I just heard! The material just makes sense.

Also, I noticed some similarities between this interview and interview 302 with Dan Cohen on Family Constellations. One is restoring lost history within a family lineage, the other within the human race.

Both, the founder of Family Constellations (Bert Hellinger) and Gordon White have had significant exposure to native/ethnic cultures, which influenced their work. Bert’s model was inspired by the Zulu people and their attitudes toward family; Gordon’s family roots go back to Oceania.

Coincidence?
 
#24
How do you define those terms?
Essentially, that's the question I'm asking.

Of course, when physicalists invoke 'illusion', I don't really think that they mean 'consciousness is an illusion'... Rather the illusion is that we feel like more than a collection of physical processes. We feel a separateness. Just because we feel like 'more' it doesn't necessarily mean that we are. Even if the notion feels preposterous (as Alex rightly points
out, it does)

Of course, currently we can't be sure how that works, physically or otherwise.... So we're left with illusion or magic. If you can't see how the illusion works, they both look the same - magical.

Look, I'm not trying to persuade anyone here... But I am interested how one copes with the notion that if the illusion is good enough, it is indistinguishable from magic.

(Additionally, I suspect that there is, by any definition, 'magic' in physical processes.)
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#25
Essentially, that's the question I'm asking.

Of course, when physicalists invoke 'illusion', I don't really think that they mean 'consciousness is an illusion'... Rather the illusion is that we feel like more than a collection of physical processes. We feel a separateness. Just because we feel like 'more' it doesn't necessarily mean that we are. Even if the notion feels preposterous (as Alex rightly points
out, it does)
Well the genuine eliminativists at least, seem to think everything is an illusion. I've mentioned Alex Rosenberg before saying we don't have thoughts, but he isn't the only one. The group does seem small, though it's hard to gauge that kind of thing on the internet.

Of course, currently we can't be sure how that works, physically or otherwise.... So we're left with illusion or magic. If you can't see how the illusion works, they both look the same - magical.

Look, I'm not trying to persuade anyone here... But I am interested how one copes with the notion that if the illusion is good enough, it is indistinguishable from magic.
I don't think this is what Gordon White means when he talks about a magical worldview....though it does get confusing in the large ecosystem of ideas as philosophers refer to any immaterial prospect as an "enchanted" worldview.

Magic here seems to be about utilizing the self to manipulate events in spacetime. I've even seen at least one materialist attempt to explain how this works (more if you count the varied materialist explanations for Psi).

As to the illusion being "good enough" I think this just takes us back to the old question - "If consciousness is an illusion, who precisely is being fooled?"

(Additionally, I suspect that there is, by any definition, 'magic' in physical processes.)
This is why I think the eliminative materialists are the only ones following the implications all the way through, as they are cashing out "magic" like "oh the correct computer program has the right structure to be conscious". In the end, if materialism were true, it would have to go the other way around - "the computer program shows thoughts are not necessary or real".

Now I think this is more a proof via absurdity that materialism isn't possible (one of several), and that slowly academia is waking up to this side of the argument, but as you say I don't know if anyone who's been around Skeptiko for awhile can be persuaded.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#26
White's other recent book, The Chaos Protocols, is out in a few places apparently.

Just wanted to note that he's seeing magic as a potential path through the dystopian future as I suggested in my first post in this thread.

From his intro:

Magic is always the tactic of of last resort for those who refuse to give up hope. You do not summon Cthulhu to help you find the TV remote. You only visit the witch at the edge of the village when all other options have been explored, for she is the loan shark of the gods. It is only a certain kind of person who is willing to take the road we are about to walk. This book is written for that person. For the person who, when life gives them lemons, offers those lemons at the crossroads and go buys themselves a gin and lemonade simply because it is Tuesday...

...The above attitude notwithstanding, there really is no way to sugar-coat this. We do live in a "last resort" world. A biosphere in crisis, a wealth gap not seen since the age of empires, levels of youth unemployment that have previously triggered revolutions, total surveillance and the erosion of civil liberties, robots competing for middle class jobs that were once safe for life, an unelected overclass rigging the game at our expense, a global economy built on criminal banking and continuous war.
I do wonder if mediumship, Tarot, herbalism, and other little bits of magic are going more mainstream and will continue to do so as people seek guidance/power/comfort in a world where they may be increasingly powerless to act or even entertain themselves via conventional means.

I already see some of this, and expect to see more.
 
#27
I do wonder if mediumship, Tarot, herbalism, and other little bits of magic are going more mainstream and will continue to do so as people seek guidance/power/comfort in a world where they may be increasingly powerless to act or even entertain themselves via conventional means.

I already see some of this, and expect to see more.
I am not keen with herbs being described as magic and lumped in with mediumship and tarot. They have been the traditional medicine in much of human history, although you could make the argument that there is no exact science regarding their effectiveness and a certain amount of intuition or ’magic’ is required to choose the right herb for a given condition.

What has grabbed my attention over the last couple of years is how many women of all ages are walking around with dyed hair in all colors under the rainbow. Not just some highlights as in previous years, but a full set of hair in pink, purple or green, etc. Along with this young adults are wearing backpacks with butterfly wings and other examples that bring a certain whimsical or fairy quality into the mainstream. Also, what’s up with the man-bun?
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#28
I am not keen with herbs being described as magic and lumped in with mediumship and tarot. They have been the traditional medicine in much of human history, although you could make the argument that there is no exact science regarding their effectiveness and a certain amount of intuition or ’magic’ is required to choose the right herb for a given condition.

What has grabbed my attention over the last couple of years is how many women of all ages are walking around with dyed hair in all colors under the rainbow. Not just some highlights as in previous years, but a full set of hair in pink, purple or green, etc. Along with this young adults are wearing backpacks with butterfly wings and other examples that bring a certain whimsical or fairy quality into the mainstream. Also, what’s up with the man-bun?
Herbalism seems to occupy a middle ground, at least in my experience? Partly it's just medicine, but there does seem to be an immaterialist strain to it?

The man bun is a mystery greater than anything this show has ever covered. ;)
 
#29
Herbalism seems to occupy a middle ground, at least in my experience? Partly it's just medicine, but there does seem to be an immaterialist strain to it?
Generally the effects of herbs are quite subtle and a different mindset is required to work with them. Engaging with the ‘energy’ of the herb is essential for best results in my opinion, which probably qualifies as ‘magic’.

And yet when you grow up being treated with herbs first and only go to the doctor when the home remedies are not effective enough, nothing seems magical about them.

The man bun is a mystery greater than anything this show has ever covered. ;)
That just made my day, thanks for the laugh!
 
#30
Of course, currently we can't be sure how that works, physically or otherwise.... So we're left with illusion or magic. If you can't see how the illusion works, they both look the same - magical.

Look, I'm not trying to persuade anyone here... But I am interested how one copes with the notion that if the illusion is good enough, it is indistinguishable from magic.

(Additionally, I suspect that there is, by any definition, 'magic' in physical processes.)
From my humble world-view we have a very good grasp on how magical illusion works. Pragmatically, the scientific method is to proceed so that physical processes and informational processes are expressed in complementary fashion and require units of measure that are appropriate to each system's level. This how science is practiced.

When an electronic piece of equipment fails - the electronic functions are one level of system checks and the software is another. Conflating bits and logic with forces and extension/shape are the tools of the entertainer. Sorting the physical processes from the informational processes is the rational person's problem solving mechanism.

The logic of the interface in the physical equipment and the informational "mechanisms" are seen as part of the software and is a "usual suspect" for failure modes.

With an orientation toward empirical science; how can this subject matter of magic be any different?? Magic, as planned illusions, is physical action with focus on weaknesses in the information processing of living things. The mind's software that correlates meaning with bits -- is given physical signals that are misread by the interface of the perceptual system. Magic has a firm basis in understanding how the mind is a separate system from the senses. Since Kant, this is well understood. The "thing in itself" is not seen by the mind. The "thing in itself" is the source of reflected light or sound. The mind reads its perceptual clues and not the actual meaning at the source of the physical action and hence - the conflation begins.

All the drama about this comes from feelings that informational processes are not real and must be "magic". Just like the feelings, which are associated with the idea that the earth is flat.

I think that the feelings about Psi as being magical is just a lack of accepting the evidence about how mind and information processing enables the ability of living things to understand and plan in their environments.
 
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#31
I think that the feelings about Psi as being magical is just a lack of accepting the evidence about how mind and information processing enables the ability of living things to understand and plan in their environments.
I don't understand what you mean. how would this work with precognition? i.e. the psi implication is we are creating our environment.

also, how would it work with after death communication?
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#33
I don't understand what you mean. how would this work with precognition? i.e. the psi implication is we are creating our environment.

also, how would it work with after death communication?
There's also the fact "information processing" presumes a mind, since "information" isn't anything found in a purely materialist environment....though not sure what Stephen is saying is meant to be materialist.
 
#34
I don't understand what you mean. how would this work with precognition? i.e. the psi implication is we are creating our environment.

also, how would it work with after death communication?
I agree we create and detect our informational environments - like we physically create objects our natural environments.

I would be working with the idea that information objects are - as real - as material objects. In this world-view, nothing is lost from the mathematical descriptions of physical objects and their relations, however at a different level of abstraction the math/logical rules describe "objects" and "substances" that are structured information. They are constructed by mind manipulating "real-world" probabilities for manifestation. A plan is an information object constructed of structured information. The plan - when enacted - becomes the special state of P=1. However, when the plan is P= .5 - the structured information is still real and actual.

This is really hard to communicate because it is way too simple an answer to the hard problem. Precognition has meaning, as a term, because of the (stupid) idea that information objects that are only partly probable and have a just chance of happening --- are not real. Cognition is cognition and living things recognize objects in the past and future , which are real only as information. I am simply asserting that minds can detect, through direct perception, information objects and their meaning that are P= < 1. Is it precognition to reason and bet on the outcome of a basketball game correctly? Or is it a real process to use the functional process of understanding to estimate probability. Information objects are 'fuzzy" until they are not -- and a special state of manifest (P=1) is reached or not.

Some folk's ability to directly perceive information objects, (not fully formed as physical objects) is heretical to modern science's metaphysical physicalism. It has not always been this way. Plato (who was brilliant in his time) was seriously wrong about "Forms" being eternal - IMHO. They evolve and recombine like all other things, except for a preciious few that appear as universals. While inspiring math and logic Plato's mistake sent science away from embracing information science for more than 2000 years.

How do we understanding anything at all -- from only what the 5 senses detect? in the manifest here and now???
 
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#35
I agree we create and detect our informational environments - like we physically create objects our natural environments...

Some folk's ability to directly perceive information objects, (not fully formed as physical objects) is heretical to modern science's metaphysical physicalism. It has not always been this way. Plato (who was brilliant in his time) was seriously wrong about "Forms" being eternal - IMHO. They evolve and recombine like all other things, except for a preciious few that appear as universals. While inspiring math and logic Plato's mistake sent science away from embracing information science for more than 2000 years.

How do we understanding anything at all -- from only what the 5 senses detect? in the manifest here and now???
What your'e describing seems like a magical reality - especially if we accept that we can manipulate those probabilities...at which point it's basically Chaos Magic as description of reality?

Curious - What's your critique of Tompkins view of reality? If you agree with him, even partially, it seems you'd be talking about a reality that's actually magical rather than one that merely feels magical?

What the hell is a dream? It’s a (for most of us) muddied and confused continuation of the consciousness that we at all points are, that we never lose even at the deepest and most (seemingly) unconscious levels of sleep. “Consciousness” is another one of those totally trampled words. Yet, like “heaven,” it’s a word we need. Everyone knows what it is to be conscious, but of course no one can define it. The Eastern traditions tell us (I’m generalizing of course) that consciousness is eternal and indestructible, that it is our ever-present connection with Divinity, the place where we overlap with God, Brahma, whatever you want to call it. The Western traditions say the same thing, though they tend to do so in a more underground fashion, and with a greater focus on the durability and reality of individual, personal consciousness. (More generalizing, of course.) NDEs are dreams, but so is physical life, and so is the life that waits beyond the death of the body, if we take “dream” to mean a situation of consciousness in which the experiencer is partially experiencing, and partially creating, what he or she experiences. Typically, when someone objects that NDEs are “just” dreams, what they are really saying is that dreams, like ordinary daily consciousness, are both (here’s another over-used word) epiphenomenal in nature. Waking and dreaming consciousness is just steam rising off the physical brain – something evanescent and basically unreal. But what if our inner conscious awareness is actually the real thing, and physical reality, that dull business we encounter when our eyes flutter open in the morning, is in essence no less “dream-like,” no less insubstantial, than the crazy stuff we were experiencing just before our eyes opened? I’m saying nothing new here. You could hear Alan Watts or Aldous Huxley rattle off that same basic argument. But I think it’s the best way to respond to the materialistically minded person who might choose to proclaim the fantastically vivid descriptions of higher (and lower) regions of existence brought back by NDE-ers as “just” dreams. It’s a non-argument.
 
#36
What your'e describing seems like a magical reality - especially if we accept thafeelings for mysteryt we can manipulate those probabilities...at which point it's basically Chaos Magic as description of reality?

Curious - What's your critique of Tompkins view of reality? If you agree with him, even partially, it seems you'd be talking about a reality that's actually magical rather than one that merely feels magical?
First, let me say that I loved Alex's intro to this podcast. I have just seen "The Big Short" and Alex points to the iconic moment of deep-meaning in the movie. Further, I enjoyed White's commentary very much, and empathize with his world-view, while having a different perspective. Identifying process variables and measuring them is important to me. From well-formed data - meaningful analysis can probe reality. Magic is something else and not as classy as is "mystery".

I have read a little P. Tompkins, unlike just being introduced to G. White on Skeptiko. Ptolemy Thopmkins is an excellent commentator. Anyone who appreciates Tomas Tranströmer is ok with me.
Owen Barfield’s Unancestral Voice. Valentin Tomberg’s Meditations on the Tarot. Certain poems by the Swedish Poet Tomas Tranströmer….Passages by these authors haven’t taken me up and beyond, but they’ve momentarily unlocked those certainties that I carry, deep within me, of the reality of that larger landscape and my place within it. I realize: Jesus, I KNOW this stuff already. Then – boom! – I shut the book, get up to do the Sunday chores, and it’s gone. The gates swing closed again. - P. Thompkins in the above link
On the other hand, the sophistication of U. Eco and his send-ups of "magic" keep me from fully embracing White, Thompkins and Wargo's magical bent. I am intimidated by Eco's work - both in semiotics and in literature. I am not sophisticate enough to even say - I understand him - but his view is a powerful standard of the current world culture. Foucault's Pendulum is a wicked, wicked mocking of anything magical and the weakness of mind of those that are sucked into occult. I have thought that Umberto may be mocking his own feelings for mystery.

Personally, I appreciate mystery as a direct perception of deep-meaning. Eco may or may not. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/12/2/416076/-

What has magic been over the centuries, and what is it still today, allbeit in disguise? The assumption that it is possible to go from cause to effect without taking intermediate steps. I stick a pin in the effigy of an enemy, and he dies. I utter a formula and transform iron into gold.

Magic is indifferent to the long chain of causes and effects, and above all it does not trouble itself to establish by constant experiment that there is a replicable relation between cause and effect. Hence its appeal, from primitive cultures to the Renaissance to the myriad occult sects to be found all over the internet. - U. Eco
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#37
Hmmm...to put it nicely Eco doesn't understand what he's talking about when it comes to magic or causation. [At least based on that link.]

Materialism is "magic" by his definition, as it posits a variety of "just because" brute facts. There are no violations of the Principle of Sufficient Reason in the Occult based on my reading, or at the least there are equal or fewer than the materialist needs to invoke.
 
#38
Great podcast. The term “magic” tends to have a pejorative sense, as in trickery or something that only an uneducated person would believe. Gordon White forces people to reexamine their relationship to magic and hopefully see its pervasiveness in their lives.

I liked the idea that the cathedral predates the city, which rejects the concept that the Enlightenment has given us all the answers. People living in earlier periods of civilization had to work hard to survive, but undoubtedly had opportunities to look up at the stars and at nature and to ponder life, rather than spending a lot of time watching TV and being entertained. Is there any data that really shows that we moderns have a better grasp on the meaning of life than they did?
 
#39
On the other hand, the sophistication of U. Eco and his send-ups of "magic" keep me from fully embracing White, Thompkins and Wargo's magical bent.
thx for this great post and the compliment about the intro :)

one of the take-aways for me was Gordon's reframing of "magic" as non-materialistic. I think this has legs... and I think our attachment to materialistic direct cause-and-effect thinking is very deep-seated. fully embracing the idea that consciousness is fundamental means that nothing works in the old-fashioned cause-and-effect way we were taught.
 
#40
I liked the idea that the cathedral predates the city, which rejects the concept that the Enlightenment has given us all the answers.
Hi Ben... yes, I liked this point too... amazing how our education system has managed to slip this silly meme into our head.
 
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