Posted on October 13, 2011
Filed Under Culture, Magic |
I’ve written before about the tendency for some occultists to value science over magic and their attempts to apply the scientific method to magic, to the point, where they end up disillusioned with magic, because it doesn’t really conform to science (nor was it ever meant to). This passage, I think explains part of the problem as well:
An all too common perception of science is that it deals in authoritative facts – truths that are immutably recorded in peer-reviewed journals and blessed by academia. In actuality, science is a method of inquiry that generates theories. Theories are forms of metaphors that explain a body of data, although scientists often may shy away from admitting the metaphoric quality. Metaphors are rarely perfect and almost always leave a lot of room for interpretation. theories are updated, hopefully on a regular basis, to best fit the map of the world we operate from.
From Brain Magick (Affiliate link) by Phil Farber
There is a perception that science deals in authoritative facts, because of how the scientific method works, but what people forget is that the method accepts that there is no fact…it’s all theory, which means it could be changed down the line with new discoveries. As Farber puts it theories are used to explain and interpret data. And that’s really what science boils down to…a way to explain data based on repeated practices that seem to verify a consistent outcome.
Magic doesn’t work that way. I can give you a technique I’ve done and you can do it and get consistent results, but you can also modify that technique to get better results that fit your personality, nature, etc. Magic is personalized, and that’s what makes it work. We have techniques, we have foundational principles, but when it comes down to it, magic is much more of a personal experience.
Trying to fit magic into science doesn’t work so well because of that personalization. I favor the opposite. Take scientific principles and concepts and fit them into your magical work, without trying to make magic fit those scientific principles and concepts. Science is about laws, rules, and until proven otherwise those laws and rules are what people rely upon to understand the world. Magic is about breaking and bending rules. It’s about making possibilities happen even if those possibilities don’t exactly align with scientific principles.
There’s nothing wrong with drawing inspiration from scientific principles and practices, but the magician should never allow those principles and practices to dictate how s/he practices magic. Keep yourself open to the possibilities and use that to create opportunities!