Phillip J. Watt, on Tony Robbins, Chaos Magic, and Backdoor Materialism |380|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, May 15, 2018.

  1. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I think it is important to remember that there was no a-priori reason to assume that certain chemicals - the elements - were going to be unchanged in chemical reactions. If chemistry was ever to develop as a science, it absolutely had to go through a floundering about stage first! Whether alchemy did more than that, I don't know, but people should not scoff at the alchemy practised before chemistry was well established.

    More generally, after much discussion of the subject, I'd love to have a clear example of Chaos Magick and what it can do!

    David
     
  2. Wormwood

    Wormwood Member

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    Ah yes, the myth of “progress.” I think there’s a Skeptiko podcast on that very topic if I remember correctly. One of my favorite authors, GK Chesterton, wrote extensively on it. Before I read a couple of his works, I believed, along with most, that an increase in scicetific knowledge automatically equates with an automatic increase in overall societal progress.
     
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  3. KindaGamey

    KindaGamey Member

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    I had a big long draft I was going to type in response to this thread and luckily for you all it vanished. Instead I'll leave you with this -- if we do live in a conscious universe where the potentialities are unlimited (and we just happen to have collectively navigated ourselves to a causal simulation of material processes in order to experience separation from god/source and fully exercise our free will without undue influence), then perhaps instead of us continually prodding the universe to investigate "how it is" and then ascribing our belief systems to the results, we should instead determine what belief systems produce the most beneficial behavioral changes within ourselves? (Imagine how impractical it would be for you to be a dream scientist in your own dreams ~ probing the dream world trying to discover how it works. How it works is how you think it works! You could run yourself in circles. You could split atoms till the cows came home and always find something new ~ because you have the expectation of finding something you create something new for yourself to discover.)

    In contrast to my original thoughts, this actually supports Alex's Tony Robbins ideas - do, don't just hope. (And hoping/wanting is really placing yourself firmly in a position of lacking. It's built-in to the concept.)

    [I was thinking this morning that even if Radin's .03% external influence (at least with regards to dice rolls) is true and we can mildly influence external reality, as far as the law of free will is concerned we are doing a disservice to the free will of those dice in a panpsychic kind of way. However, the cells of our body and mind have already agreed to collaborate on this project called us so we probably can and should influence them. I'm going through some anxiety issues lately and I was thinking that instead of trying to change the universe I should meditate each day and just pray/set my intention for the universe and myself to rewrite my brain. I'm not a neurosurgeon so do I really know how to program a brain? No, and I don't need to be -- the intention (and the consent to being changed) should be enough. Perhaps our ability to internally change is exponentially larger than our ability to influence the external, through magic, beliefs, excitement, or whatever. I'm going to try it anyway. Even if I'm just indulging myself in imaginative thoughts the practical result will be becoming the person I want to be.]

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  4. Wormwood

    Wormwood Member

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    Of course I do not know, but I think our mental affect on everyday events is bigger than it would be on a dice roll. If I want a new job in 3 months, my mentality can affect a WHOLE RANGE of factors which play into the potential for the new job. Maybe, in this case, it's .03% X 36....or something of that sort. I don't know of course. And I gotta cringe when I watch the secret. My wife loves The Secret. And thats fine by me. But it drives me CRAZY when she says that ALL I NEED to do is think a certain way about something to generate anything I want. It sometimes reaches a point where I am told that something which I wanted or want did not or will not happen because I'm not thinking about it a certain way. Or, when I try to explain that there are other conscious minds who are also at play, and how can I simply over-ride all of their wills to get what I want? What if 50 people are using the secret to get this job? I am then simply told, "no, youre doing it wrong, self-fullfilling negative prophecy. It gets annoying sometimes. Love ya babe! lol.
     
  5. Baccarat

    Baccarat New

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    You can be or do anything you want is new-age mumbo jumbo, but to an extent. Who is to say you had a specific purpose or purposes opposed to doing what you think you wanted to do. A amputee can have a dream of playing in the NBA, but it will never happen. Why we ask? Maybe that person has karmic lessons from past he has to clear up. This soul might have a mission to complete in this life a twist of destiny and fate.
     
  6. Dan_LastName

    Dan_LastName Member

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    I don't practice magic, but I have been an observer of the field. I think most of the contemporary writers and teachers of magick point out that you have to do the practical work and the magical work in order to get the results that you want. I don't think Gordon White advocates doing a couple spells or rituals and then lying down on the couch and waiting for your millions to show up on the door step. I see Tony Robbins listed in the bibliography of The Chaos Protocols along a few other non-magical books on navigating a career, maximizing potential, etc. And the book itself is full of practical advice.

    Here's another example. It's not from a chaos magician, per se, but this is illustrative of most of the writing on magic that I come across:

    "There is no instant-fix, wave-of-a-wand spell to solve your problems. You can’t do a prosperity spell to get a new job, then sit on your arse, not updating your resume, or networking. Well you can, but it’s probably not going to actually work."

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tempest/2017/06/magick-not-band-aid-fix.html

    So,a hypothetical lab test could be set up to test the Tony Robbins/Stephen Covey work alone or the Tony Robbins/Stephen Covey work in conjunction with magic. Instead of just Tony Robbins versus magic alone.

    Another point about lab testing magic comes down to the place of will. Many contemporary writers and teachers use Crowley's definition of magic: "the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will." This is a broader use of will than Radin mentions, as Radin equates this with telekinesis. The question becomes, do any of the test subjects really give a crap about the outcome of the random number generator? I believe contemporary practitioners and teachers tend to believe that magic works better when the magic is about something you care about, something you are willing to happen.

    Obviously, as was discussed in the Radin episode, there is some aspects of the rituals that are missing from his research. However, I wonder if he's also missing the importance of will in the studies.
     
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  7. Dan_LastName

    Dan_LastName Member

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    In this episode, I was interested in Alex's comments about back-door materialism.

    In the model I like to play around with, mysticism, psi, etc are grounded in materialism, just a less familiar "location" within the material.

    The model is not an argument against extended consciousness or against the reality of some spiritual realm, but it expands the realm of the material to include everything that's known and everything that's experienced. David Bohm had a special word for that: experience-knowledge. And the reason I assume a material ground for experience-knowledge, is because I want to see the question from the perspective of those parts of Western governance, law and psychiatry that resist idealism. (The cracks in the materialist paradigm are fairly well understood in the sciences, but the materialist paradigm is powerfully ingrained in other institutions and aspects of culture, too.)

    I also liked Alex's comment on magic, specifically that he's leery of the spiritual architecture that magic presupposes. My model (not something I'd argue is absolute truth, of course, just a model) looks at the question of deities the same way. There may be deities in some realm beyond the material, but then again, there may not be. The experience of deities or creatures may happen in some relatively uncharted backwater of the material realm.

    Certainly the stories of mystical experiences could be argued to be grounded in the material. The Lakoff/Turner material breaks all language down to six fundamental metaphors, all of which are based on physical location relationships.

    Whether you're into Lakoff or not, I believe it's well understood that language itself is metaphor. And in order for metaphor to work, the item being described has to be compared to something that is known. So the unknown is related to the known in order for any sense to be made of the unknown. So if a person manages to somehow break out of the cage of the material/the known and get some glimpse of the beyond/the unknown, the only way they can talk about it is to put the experience back in terms of the known, so you're back to the material. That's why I was interested in Alex's comments about back-door materialism. That's why in the model I like to play around with, everything that claims to be about the non-material has to be looped into the material or else it couldn't be talked about. I think that's what Wittgenstein was getting at: "Whereof one cannot speak thereof one must remain silent."

    In this model, even if our experience is defined by the immaterial, shot through with the immaterial, some core part of our biology and culture could have such a grip that just opening to the experience of the immaterial is nearly impossible. We've had thousands of years of stories, but still the grip holds. I think that's what Raymond Moody was trying to get at. Stories alone will not bring about the paradigm shift.
     
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  8. Michael Patterson

    Michael Patterson New

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    I missed out on Chaos magic(k). I quit before I became aware of it (which was way way much later). But I get where it was coming from - magic is real but the GD stuff is BS - so what is it all about? Let's experiment and find out. Perfectly sensible. But to me it is more pick n' mix than Chaos - and therein lies the difficulty. If the focus is on magic and not on what should be its foundations the what you end up with is technique without purpose.

    My introduction to magic was via the GD tradition, and Crowley - and that was not really a good place to start. The old traditions established a rationale and a need before teaching method. Modern and Post Modern approaches start from a different place - more egotistical and knowledge/power centred. Future magic needs to be not that and not the past.
     
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  9. KindaGamey

    KindaGamey Member

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    We know many lottery winners go through some horrible uprooting of their lives and it often destroys their relationships or sends them into a self-indulgence binge until it's all gone. Even if your lower self says, "I want a million dollars" your higher self might look at your probability field and say, "oh no you really don't." The Secret rubbed me the wrong way too. It was so materialist (the capitalism kind) and ugly how it catered to greed.

    --
    I often feel compelled to share things that 'sync' and yesterday I encountered two videos that struck me, Robert Lanza: The Theory of Biocentrism (whenever I find something new-to-me I always do a google search for that thing + skeptiko to see if it's already been covered here and usually it has. Alex offered a free peek at his documentary with interviews about consciousness, but hasn't done an interview with him -- that could be a good one? He wrote Beyond Biocentrism covering space time in 2016, me thinks it's about time for him to release another book) and the other thing was this Ted animation How to Stay Calm Under Pressure. Not only did it cover anxiety, but it shows how athletes that focus on the prize (e.g. landing on the green with your chip shot) instead of the mechanics of what they are doing fare far better. I've experienced the same thing when I think too hard about a pool shot. I'm sure that lesson can be extrapolated. Jeffrey Mishlove posted "Thoughts As Spiritual Entities" today and though I haven't listened to it yet, but I'm sure it will be relevant too.
     
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  10. AryaS

    AryaS Member

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    Agree that "magick" is not just a setting of intention -- but involves doing the practical work. I took a year-long Kabbalah course that involved a lot of ritual and intention-setting. But we were taught that intention setting alone is not enough to manifest. Corresponding to the 4 worlds of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, when one wants to manifest reality (i.e., channel the archetypal Magician of the Tarot), the manifestation process would need to go through four stages: 1. Thoughts; 2. Ideas; 3. Plans 4. Action.

    To me, there's a lot of overlap between what Tony Robbins is selling/teaching -- and a fruitful magical practice.

    I will add, however, that even before taking this course or becoming interested in the study of magick/spiritual practices, I have always had an innate ability to make things happen that I have wanted to happen (e.g., a particular relationship, a particular job, achieving some goal, etc.). I think I was simply instinctively practicing these four steps, without any overlay of a magical practice. I think we all have this ability -- regardless of the the use of "ritual" to further energize the field, but perhaps the ritual simply adds a surge of energy to the initial intention.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2018
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  11. Baccarat

    Baccarat New

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    Exactly.... Crowley and the lot did help bring magick back to the mainstream, but it also showed how magick can back fire and implode on person or a group of people.
    I had a Falling out with my magick people over politics, lies and half truth. Most of them are extremely leftists and feminist. Although they would probably roll their eyes on the latter. They turned on me when they noticed me speaking out more and jealousy brewed. Mind you I can get abrasive like passio lol, my passion is intense! Now I'm a rogue magician, which I always wanted to be a lone Mystic not entangled with others egos. The GD is a bad place to start for most anyone. Although I have a soft spot for Crowley
     
  12. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I read his first book, and I did feel rather underwhelmed. It didn't seem that he was making any definite proposal - just trying to see things from a different perspective. Part of the problem may be that academics often try to avoid being as radical as they might like - for the sake of their career!

    David
     
  13. Wormwood

    Wormwood Member

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    I read a book of his also. (I dont know if it was his first or second, third?) I felt pretty underwhelmed by it. I don't want to knock it because he's clearly a bright guy and maybe he has a few good revolutionary ideas,and maybe I just wasnt in the right frame of mind when I read it, I just know that none of it "stuck" with me. I am glad though that people like him are proposing differing ideas which are at odds with strict materialism however, so I won't say that I dont appreciate him.
     
  14. Michael Patterson

    Michael Patterson New

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    The more I read the posts on this forum, and especially this one, the more I think that our notion of magic is informed by a culture that is not inherently magical - so we think magic is something other than what we do - rather than doing what we do better. Also we tend to see ourselves as individuals in a sense that leads to the notion that we are separate - standalone beings. This isn't so. I am reading John Gray's Seven Types of Atheism, which is focusing my mind on this issue. I am struggling to put together a blog on the question as to whether individualism is a redundant notion.

    Like AryaS I have grown up being able to make stuff happen without necessarily applying any particular magic method. That stuff has happened in conformity with will/desire/imagination. But the idea that it is all my own work is never a delusion I have permitted myself. Ina spirit filled conscious reality other wills have to come together as well.

    The fact that the making stuff happen business is not routine or consistent suggests to me that 'spirit' cooperates when it is good for me to succeed, and does not when it is good for me to fail. However I cannot recall a time when I made something happen by sheer effort of my own individual determination. Sometimes I have thought that a favourable outcome has served only to remind me of the possibility of things happening in conformity with desire - but no so often as to generate a sense entitlement. That's a growth experience.

    These past few years I have been having astrological consultations on the year ahead because the department I work for has been on a radial reform path for almost 3 years and, because I have age and disability as risk factors for ensuring an ongoing career, I have been concerned to act in the best way to secure continued employment.

    So I have been supporting my team members to transition into alternative careers, while saying I am not afraid of my destiny and not actually applying for any jobs. At the end of April I get a call out of the blue offering me a job that had just been created. It is essentially project based research, analysis and writing in the location I wanted (actually better than that but it takes too long to tell that). Pretty much the ideal job for me. Now here's the interesting bit, relevant to this discussion in 3 parts:
    1. I had done the intention setting - saying what would be ideal for me.
    2. I see the unfolding in conformity with my astrological forecast.
    3. I can be specific about what actions I have taken in the world that have specifically led to the outcome.

    I should add a 4th element - that I have had a genuine sense of assured calm that I would get a situation that suited my needs. The offer came the day before the final step-downs in staffing number were announced - so the resolution really came pretty much at the end.

    This is what interests me. This whole business has stretched out over 3 years. I had a sense from the outset that things would be fine and I need not panic. Foreknowledge matched with astrology, and with the progressive expression of focused intent. My outer actions that added a Robbins type effect were not predicted, yet were so radical (and yet conformed with the astrology).

    Friends who wanted to celebrate my good fortune wanted me to gloat. I could not get beyond gratitude. Gloating would be rude. I am grateful and humbled that what seemed to have been forecast actually came about in astonishing ways.

    I did my inner (magical) bit and my outer (Robbins style) bit, and I got a lot of assistance from spirit - and the energies seemed to have been also aligned. A number of influences came together, and I am not uncomfortable attributing my good fortune to a higher order of being, with whom I was in harmony.

    I think Radin's sense of minor individual magical influence points us toward to the proposition that we can, in our individual status, have minor impact on human reality. But beyond that we need to see ourselves as a component/member of a community of lives functioning within a hierarchy of spirit.

    My introduction to Kabbalah was the highlight of my excursion into magic, even though it was a bastardised version suited to the Western Magical Tradition and missing the deeper spiritual vision. I didn't see Kabbalah back then as the spirit drenched system it really is. Nothing is in isolation. No-one is alone or acts alone.

    Magical acts are performed in the ecology of spirit and not mechanism, so other agents must assent and support and participate before we can claim success.
     
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  15. AryaS

    AryaS Member

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    I would tend to agree with this in theory. Generally, when I have put an "intention" out there -- I have simply called it "putting it out to the Universe." In return, I have always felt some kind of "hit" that some external energy/force was receiving this intent and working with me to help bring it to fruition (assuming that I was willing to take care of the other steps to manifest). Although it differs slightly, I tend to feel a similar (and very pleasant) energetic download/communication whenever I deeply engage in the creative process (e.g., creative writing).

    On the other hand, I don't fully understand what this energetic force/communication is, as it lacks a face/physical body and feels more like a direct energetic communication/download rather than a particular "spirit." I also took a "bastardized version" of Kabbalah suited to the Western Magical Tradition, which as you know, is a hierarchical system that involves praying to/communicating with formally named archangels and specific spirits/forces, etc. But this formal hierarchy of spirit beings and need to call upon particular angels/archangels for particular needs/desires didn't seem all that necessary to me (of course, maybe I'd get an even better response if I did utilize such a "spirit drenched" process).

    Moreover, even though I've always felt this communicative external "hit" when I've put out my intentions to the Universe, I sometimes wonder why it would be so. Are there desires that are too petty/small for these forces/spirits to get involved with? I have personally only engaged in this process for what I consider the "big things" (i.e., ability to earn a living, serious relationship, important creative project) -- but others utilize a similar process more regularly and for "smaller" things, and also claim success. For example, someone I know (practicing Christian) believes that "God" helped her to find her knock-off handbags and purses, and I've heard NFL footfall players enthusiastically claim that "God" helped them win their game, etc... Is there a cadre of spirit beings who just like to be put to work -- but only some people take advantage of this readily available support system? Or is there an impersonal energetic force that can be tapped into -- with enough intention/Will to manifest? Or are these the same thing?
     
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  16. Baccarat

    Baccarat New

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    When you use your will/desire/imagination that is magick.....at least how I am being taught. And the 2nd half I agree very much that their are other factors in play (Ancestors, spirits, past life and present life karma and contracts)
     
  17. Baccarat

    Baccarat New

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    It was drilled in my head that not all of your ancestors will like you
     
  18. Michael Patterson

    Michael Patterson New

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    I don’t know the answers to the questions, and I struggle to make sense of my own experiences. I can assume, self-referentially, that things that happen to me, arising from desire or intent, happen entirely because of my formulation of intent. But I do not believe that. Sometimes I think that formulating intent is no more than good manners.

    My life has been a combination of me getting what I want, sometimes in ludicrously spectacular fashion, and being impelled, sometimes compelled, into situations that turn out to be profoundly influential upon me – usually through suffering.

    The idea that I am a sole agent, or even a major agent, seems more and more ridiculous to me. Rather, I participate in an event that is the coming together of multiple agents. I had a role to play – but so did other human agents. But there was way more than that at work.

    This is a problem of breaking out of the materialist mental mold. The forces that came together to create the outcome that has a benefit to me are not the agents of material physics, but the agents of consciousness. So there is an intentionality beyond my own. And a sense of benefit too.

    My self-focus makes me think that getting this highly desired job is all about me. But I could be actually no more than a minor player in a far bigger plan. Magic is not like building a car. It’s more like negotiating a treaty. You succeed because others agree that what you are doing should be allowed to succeed. Your skill and virtue are still critical elements – they are just not the causative elements.

    One of the things I took from Kabbalah was idea of the integration of influences – no essential idea could be defined entirely of itself, but only in relation to other essential ideas. But because my exposure to Kabbalah came via the rationalistic magical tradition I did not appreciate it as a proper wisdom tradition – but as a knowledge tradition.

    It was really only when I came across the Sirach that the penny dropped about wisdom. Wisdom is about awareness of the relational interplay of agents and intentionalities in the construction of a reality – and sometimes it can be only intuited or rendered as poetry or mystical imagery.

    Tom Peters, the almost archetypal management guru of the 1980s described reality as ‘sloppy’and ‘messy’. He was talking about business, but that insight applied everywhere. Ideas were not Lego blocks but torn off bits of marshmallow that mashed together in an intimacy of association and connection. Rationalism and reason were hopeless alone. You needed good instincts (intuition). Now I see that what Peters meant was that you needed wisdom.

    Wisdom is associated with age for good reason. If you are stupid, but well meaning, time and experience will knock the crap out of you. But you can have wisdom earlier with intuition, compassion, empathy and an openness to magic. I grew up stupid, despite having a ridiculous advantage of having metaphysical agents who were always messing with me.

    You reminded me of the athletes who credit God with their success. It is nice that they do not take more credit than doing their bit of incredible hard work. It's a kind of humility that is a refreshing contrast to those with the penile champagne bottle ejaculating over an adulating fan crowd. But God also caused the water in my kettle to boil this morning.

    There is a difference between being humble and gracious, acknowledging that God played a part in your victory as an affirmation of your faith – and thinking that victory so unlikely that God’s intervention alone made it seem plausible. I get the affirmation of faith thing. It's a sense of gratitude that affirms no action is by self alone.

    But it’s not the miraculous. It’s not an outcome that is so unexpected that the normal pathways of causation are insufficient to deliver what happened.

    You will know, I suspect, that when things happen beyond the normal range of chance repeatedly you are forced to wonder if you have a special power or whether you are getting unusual assistance. When that becomes your normal then attributing success to God takes on a whole different dimension of meaning.

    I think ‘accidental’or ‘natural’magicians always wonder why them. And you can come up with any number of bullshit explanations to ‘explain’your ‘gift’. I am not a decent ‘psychic’so I struggle when I ask what is going on. I write with a strong sense of guidance – to the degree that I am often reluctant to claim authorship – a mere scribe. But when I try to write in a way that might bring insight to my experiences I get the same message – you have to think this through yourself. Bugger that!

    This isn’t an intellect challenge. It's a wisdom challenge. That’s all I know with certainty.
     
  19. AryaS

    AryaS Member

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    Thank you for the thoughtful post. And as an "accidental magician," I know I have a long way to go in my quest for wisdom (awareness of the relational interplay of agents and intentionalities in the construction of a reality).
     
  20. Skeptiko001

    Skeptiko001 Member

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    Sorry LetsEat, you missed the boat when you said "They reduce everything down to willpower and the beliefs necessary to direct the will, therefore the many ancient and venerable wisdom traditions become unreal" but it's a common trap many fall into, so I don't blame you. I can unpackage it like this: there are traditions of Shamans, Chaos Magick and the like over millennia doing spiritual rituals that are used primarily to shape "forming intent". In Chinese Shamanism they call this "Yìtú" in their Shamanic/magick culture and Tibetans and indigenous Africans I work with have done the same. There are elements of chaos magick akin to old Shamanic traditions in the world. Both have produced real hard objectives outcomes, which plenty I've witnessed from their version of remote viewing or accurately describing where undiagnosed tumors are growing in patients, etc. But they ALL use some traditions and are based on traditions, many which overlap. There is no "con" in directing willpower when it produces verifiable results.

    Alex has done TONS of excellent interviews with sophisticated practitioners, including some former military, using Shamanism or occult "Magick" which have certainly all the ancient traditions behind them, but they are used in a context which seems to allow to let others learn the same shaping of self-willpower in cultivating and materializing results. I hate to play the "Dad" correcting people on Skeptiko but sometimes I can't help myself because I hate for people to miss major take-home points.

    As a side, you are correct in that many modern day "Shamans", "Druids", "remote viewers", "Chaos Magick" are all full of shit. For sure. Either con artists or simply very unskilled (including some popular names in the US). But that does not discount those across time and the world embracing and doing this work with incredible skill and master the game authentically, often quietly without any show to the public.

    -John
     

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