WHAT IS MAGICK?
Spookywood defines magick as "the design of function."
Magick is how substance/design comes together for function/process.
There are many definitions of magick, and this article is a brief outline of Spookywood's revision.
WHY IS MAGICK SPELLED WITH A "K?"
Egyptian and Greek magic were not originally spelled with a "k," but Aleister Crowley popularized this spelling in the 1900s in order to carve a path of occult philosophy as lifestyle.
Spookywood is likewise interested in preserving magick and occultism in culture and lifestyle.
Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim was an occult author, soldier and physician who first wrote magic with a finished "k." Agrippa lived during the Renaissance (1486 - 1535) and mostly spelled magic without a "k," but some translations of his literature include the modern spelling. In the 1600s translation by Robert Turner, magick is spelled with its now-famous "k."
Crowley was likely inspired by Agrippa and pioneered the popularization of its usage nearly 300 years later.
The etymology of magick can be traced from Middle English magik, magyk, to Old French magique, and from Latin magicus to the ancient Greek μαγικός magikós.
An Old Iranian derivation of the Proto-Indian-European word *meh₂gʰ- means "to be able to, power, to help" (Wiktionary, 2022).
In its earliest conceptualizations, magic is a force that powers existence and being.
AGRIPPA AND THE GREEKS
Aleister Crowley was a poet, occultist and ceremonial magickian (1875 - 1947) who created a popular definition of magick in Magick in Theory and Practice (1997) — "the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will."
Crowley incorporated psychedelic and supernatural experimentation in his magick. He used egotheism, theatrics, ceremonial magick and spirit evocation to optimize his conscious experience.
Spookywood's analysis of magick is inspired by Thelemic teachings, but the Splook is dedicated to secular perspectives of magick.
Crowley was enthralled by metaphysics and psychedelics, and he wasn't ignorant to science, but he did not actively apply the scientific method in the development of Thelema. He was also known to be theistic regarding godlike entities, divinity and intention as being fundamental to existence.
Spookywood's blog aims to be more scientific and secular.
It's fair to say that Crowley and earlier occultists did not have the computational and scientific wisdom of modern magickians. Philosophers like Aristotle and Albert Camus as well as many people both religious and non-religious were interested in making sense of life's two biggest themes: existence and essence.
Does existence precede essence, or does essence precede existence? Can they be separated? Why is there something rather than nothing, and why is it so complex? What causes good and evil? What's the meaning of life?
Magick as "the design of function" acknowledges the philosophical interest in essence and existence. "Existence" may better be described as structures of design. "Essence" is the way parts or structures interact and the functions that come about from this interaction.
Existence and essence emerge together, and this is what the blog considers magick.
Thelemic magick has a difficult time defining Will. "True Will" may not be fundamental to existence, and this would make magick very specific to conscious forms. Since magick is interested in existence and essence at large, what happens when there's more evidence supporting how certain forms and functions are not driven by Will?
Thelemic Union has provided 3 definitions of Crowley's "True Will" as it is taught in Thelema:
- True Will is free, intentional choice
- True Will is divine, predestined purpose
- True Will is any expression of human nature
Spookywood argues that magick should not be confined to Will since it's mostly pertaining to intention and consciousness. By its strongest definition, Will is not effectively demonstrated by all forms or functions.
Mischel and colleagues (2011) hypothesized that willpower is a cognitive control mechanism that directs behavior by:
- Blocking unwanted information.
- Suppressing or changing unwanted thoughts.
- Replacing "hot" or impulse responses with more favorable behavior.
Will is deeply associated with consciousness, high levels of processing and emotions.
Secular magick diverges from the religious commonplace that a divine plan rules reality. Some parts are irrational, unconscious and unplanned.
Thelema was not intended to be a religion, but its cult following has gained popularity and religious reputation. Crowley did not consider himself religious, and he also rejected Christianity, but he didn't support atheism though many of his messages were atheist in principle.
It's hard to say what Crowley's core beliefs were. Above all, Crowley teaches magick as the discovery of the authentic self.
MAGICK AS THE DESIGN OF FUNCTION
The term "function" was founded in the seventeenth century by mathematicians Rene Descartes (1596-1650), Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) and Leonhard Euler (1707-1783). A function is a process of one input into a complete output.
Spookywood argues that "the design of function" is a useful refinement of Crowley's magick definition since it is more specific and applicable in language and science. It also compliments historic interest in the relationship between existence and essence.
Design and function have specific human disciplines, but those disciplines are based on observations of more basic principles and elements found in nature beyond human involvement. Not all molecules have characteristics of Will, consciousness or other traditional and religious ideas of godlike properties.
Design can scholarly be defined as a "goal-directed enterprise in the pursuit of a normative outcome" (Matthew M. Mehalik and Christian Schunn, 2006). This type of design involves people, engineering, art and research.
There's also the kind of design that occurs all around us in nature irregardless of our participation. Panpsychist theories of existence may perceive molecules as being mind-like in their most basic behaviors, but many panpsychists are secular since this isn't strong support for creation being caused by a complex god.
The universe contain lines, vectors, energy and design principles.
The principles of design are: movement, contrast, rhythm, patterns, white space, variety, unity, proportion, balance, hierarchy, emphasis and repetition (Suleiman Bashiru, 2020).
A question of design is, "How is this arranged? What is the substance?"
RELIGIOUS VERSUS SECULAR DESIGN
An early Proto-Indian-European word "gʰadʰ" meant "to gather, align, match."
This design term noticed patterns of interaction, and this became more deified as humans developed more complex consciousness.
People have always been interested in the reasons why we've developed consciousness, and some people believe the mortal experience has divine cause or intention. Meaning, the way humans perceive reality is fully intentional and meaningful.
Spookywood's approach to magick recognizes that life has cause, but it may not have meaning. "Meaning" is only relevant to brains with emotions, memories, attachments and an awareness of awareness.
Creator theories of reality pinpoint the reason for existence as being a Godlike entity (or entities) that transcend life as we know it. God has a more supreme state of consciousness that's more complex. For God's (or gods) own pleasure, they created space, time and bodies such as humans, ecosystems and hierarchal spirits.
Spookywood does not align with theistic creation theories.
Rather than design being ruled by conscious entities, the blog approaches existence as more likely to have emerged from unconscious chemical interactions.
The "why" for conscious life has a lot less to do with gods and a lot more to do with adaptations. This doesn't infer that adaptation has meaning, only that it has cause. Secularists do not perceive causation to fundamentally attribute godlike properties. Religious thinkers contrarily imagine existence's prime state as being something like Yahweh, Brahma, Human or Chaos.
Chemists such as Lee Cronin make sense of life's chemical complexity by assembly theory. Cronin invented assembly theory after observing fragmented molecules in his laboratory and tracking their continuity in both life and death.
Molecules are not always considered "life." Only molecules requiring more than 15 steps to assemble are what's considered life. There are steps that separate living from non-living.
Cronin argues that the universe is fundamentally molecular, measurable and reusable, but this doesn't mean its sacred or intentional through and through.
Some religious depictions of reincarnation instruct a divine-inspired regeneration of souls, but Spookywood disagrees that the "soul" is anything more than body. When the body dies, personality and character also decomposes. Genes can be copied and reproduced to form new bodies, but the functions that grow from this reproduction are what science calls novelty or unique.
The memory that formats our essence cannot be sustained after death since the molecules of our elaborate design which produces memory, attachment and other characterizations of "humanness" break down due to cell death. We are recycled, but not as our memories or religious depictions of "souls."
Our molecules won't have the capacity to store conscious recollections of what we previously processed, but those molecules do get recycled. We can also innovate our bodies through science to possibly live longer. We're also developing artificial sentience that can have longer memory storage.
Creationist, or theist, theories of reality agree with scientists that reality does have a cause. The difference between religious and non-religious theories are centered on the idea of what the cause is.
Religious people believe the cause is godlike, intentional and sentient. Secularists do not. Rather, the cause is molecular and unequipped to be godlike. Traditional religious depictions of "God" require complex memory storage, sentience and an awareness of awareness. These godlike properties may exist briefly in bodies, but they don't exist forever, and they don't permeate existence fundamentally and wholly.
There will never be a time where sacred, divine Will totally permeated all existence.
As asymmetrical complexity perpetuates, magick becomes stranger, weirder and spookier.
Magick occurs molecularly. Magick that requires more than 15 steps to regenerate, or reassemble, is what's considered life, and these advanced processes are what's capable of evolving complex bodies and systems like plants, people and artificial intelligence (AI).
In computational physics, a function is the procedure of an input with its immediate, total output.
In evolutionary and molecular biology, all living organisms have an internal process or function (X) that estimates how well it can reproduce in its environment and in what way (J.H. van Hateren, 2017).
When a molecule splits and regenerates, its parts separate as autonomous functions that interact with other designs of function.
Individual people exist as closed functions that have been produced by millions of years of evolution. We reap the benefit of millions of years of various bodies' contributions and their adaptations without us directly experiencing their states. We exist as complex processes organized in their own adaptive lineage known as homo sapien.
A question of function is, "How does this interact with parts? What is its implementation?"
THE MAGICK FORMULA
In philosophy, essence and existence are used to express implementation, process and outcome. Modernly known as design and function, magick can also be effectively described as "the essence of existence."
Magick as the design of function signals our attention to essence (or form/substance) and existence (implementation/interaction of parts).
Life is complex, chemical and irreversibly changing. It is a process and variation of magick, but life may not be fundamental to magick. There's death and non-living magick!
WHY SECULAR MAGICK?
Spookywood was previously formatted by pantheistic Paganism after being raised Protestant Christian. The cyber hub updated in 2021 to secular magick after deconstructing religious beliefs and reaching secular conclusions about the emergence of consciousness and its definition.
To accommodate for layers of existence not characterized by godlike, Willful or sentient assembly, what remains consistent about these layers are design (or structures of existence) and function (or an interaction of parts and essence).
When molecules evolve as coffee beans that are harvested by people and processed through bistros, we call this: ESPRESSO MAGICK.
When molecules emerge vast galaxies of space, stars and planets, we call this: ASTRO MAGICK.
When molecules adapt to form homo sapiens, we call this: MORTAL MAGICK.
Secular and religious thinkers disagree about magick being totally ruled by godlike or divine life.
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