Process instead of results

Posted on April 4, 2010
Filed Under Experiments, Magic, Taylor Ellwood | 8 Comments

For many magicians, my work still falls into the category of chaos magic, and so to them I am a chaote. I, on the other hand, disagree, because while there are certainly elements of chaos magic I draw on, I also utilize a wide variety of other systems. To which one might say, “Wait a minute Taylor isn’t chaos magic all about taking different systems of magic and mashing them together and using what works to get achievable and demonstrative results?” Yes it is, and there’s a very distinct difference from my own approach, because while I acknowledge that results are important, my focus is on process, specifically understanding how what I’m doing works and how to refine and improve it. Process is key to truly understanding magic. Results are just road signs showing you the way, but process is how you get there. Without understanding process all you have is push-button magic. You may get results, but just achieving results isn’t enough. Process is how you refine and define those results. Process is how you experiment, instead of just doing magic. When you know your process you can change it, test it, develop it further. So while my work may seem similar to chaos magic, it’s really not, because it’s mainly about process, and less about results.

Comments

8 comments
TaylorEllwood
TaylorEllwood

Thank you very much. I enjoy sharing information. I'm also enjoying getting back into doing classes again with people.

Py
Py

Your approach to magic has interested me since the first article of yours I read.

The more I work with magic and learn about the relationship I have with magic, I have to admit that I am moving away from the Chaos regimen and towards your "experimental" approach.

Thank you for continuing with this cyber medium that allows us to learn with you. It is very appreciated.

TaylorEllwood
TaylorEllwood

No need to apologize. I welcome comments and it never hurts to ask.

Gordon
Gordon

I see what you mean now. In a classic chaos magic approach, process is just the wrapper on the candy. You can fling it away once you have your result.

You're talking about an 'ongoing optimization' approach. And that would be the difference between a 'path' and a 'technology', I suppose.

Very good. I get it now. Carry on. Sorry for the interruption. :)

TaylorEllwood
TaylorEllwood

It always bothers me when people repetitively do a process without examining what is or isn't working. You are more than welcome to talk process with me anytime.

Sybelle Darling
Sybelle Darling

This is the main thing that serves to alienate me from the only practitioners who understand how I can mix and match and completely make up religious and spiritual information, and still get results. Chaos magicians, along with everyone else, also tend to avoid discussions with me because instead of discussing the results, I focus on the processes. It is the work that changes me and the world around me, so that's where I spend the most energy.
I also find it funny, after having read many books on sigil magick including AOS, which stress the importance of letting go of the attachment to the outcome for any spell or magick to work. The person I learned sigil magick from in the first place could never get anything he did to work very well, but he would spend hours in meditation focused on making the results appear. It didn't work for him, and it doesn't work for me, but the difference is I recognized it as a non-working method.

TaylorEllwood
TaylorEllwood

Actually results based magic such as chaos magic isn't about refining the process. You get a result and you're done. In fact, the focus is on getting a result as opposed to understanding the process.

Process based magic, or experimental magic, as I prefer to call it, acknowledges that results are useful as a metric for indicating how the process is working as well as what can be changed about the process. however, just getting a result isn't enough, because the process oriented magician wants to refine and develop the process as far as s/he can take it, so a result is really just an indicator that the process is or isn't working,, and can also provide you some ideas for how you can refine the process to achieve a better result and optimize what you are doing.

The problem with chaos magic as a system is the focus on getting results. The result is all that matters to chaos magicians, whereas for my own approach I prefer to understand how the result was achieved, and what can be done to improve that process. After all, just because you got a result once doesn't mean you'll get it again, unless you understand the process that got you that result.

Gordon
Gordon

I'm still confused by how you're separating these out. I like what you're saying, but as I interpret it:

1) Results-based magic (chaos magic in this instance) actually is about refining the process.
2) Results aren't the area of study, they're just the metric.

Isn't that the same as what you are talking about? How else do you understand how your process if you don't use results as the metric? Am I missing a trick, here? (It's likely.)