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

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Mar 22, 2016.

  1. malf

    malf Member

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    Uh-oh! Offence incoming...

    Heh... You know I'm always happy to play the village idiot. What do you see as the distinction between 'illusion' and 'magic'?
     
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  2. How do you define those terms?
     
  3. Nicole

    Nicole New

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    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?
     
  4. malf

    malf Member

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    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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  5. 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.

    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?"

    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.
     
  6. 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:

    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.
     
  7. Nicole

    Nicole New

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    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?
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2016
  8. 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. ;)
     
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  9. Nicole

    Nicole New

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    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.

    That just made my day, thanks for the laugh!
     
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  10. Stephen Wright

    Stephen Wright New

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016
  11. Alex

    Alex New

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    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?
     
  12. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    I'd say, listen to the interview ;)
     
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  13. 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.
     
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  14. Stephen Wright

    Stephen Wright New

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    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???
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2016
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  15. 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?

     
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  16. Stephen Wright

    Stephen Wright New

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    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.
    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/-

     
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  17. 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.
     
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  18. Ben Heaton

    Ben Heaton Member

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    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?
     
  19. Alex

    Alex New

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    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.
     
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  20. Alex

    Alex New

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    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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