Thursday, January 25, 2018

The 231 Gates Project 2018 - Thought Experiments

In Spain, the dead are more alive than any other country in the world.

Federico Garcia Lorca

Anti-realism in theatre was a movement that sought to recapture some of the essence of the art that had been lost to the overwhelming dominance of Stanislavsky and realist/naturalist playwrights like Ibsen and Chekhov.  It sought to restore verse, poetry, imagination and above all else magic to a form that was increasingly dominated by an obsession with the real.  Rather than face ''reality'' head on as was increasingly the trend it wanted to return a sense of wonder and escapism.  It recognised a weakness in itself as although it was anti-that it hadn't clearly laid out what it was for.  When asking itself what it was instead of what is was against Anti-realism ended up transforming into a variety of powerful different movements in theatre from the Epic Theatre of Brecht to the Theatre of the Absurd of Pinter, Stoppard, Albee and many others that continue to influence art and civilisation to this day.

Anti-materialists in the esoteric sciences find themselves in a similar position - full of spleen and rhetoric against mainstream materialism but they seem full of fluff and wool when it comes to defining what they are actually for.  Spirituality is such a nebulous term that it is effectively meaningless. The vast majority of the work on the Hermetic Lessons are about transferring the gains of material science particularly Biochemistry and Genetics into a mind-only model i.e. not throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  In Running and Returning I recount various thought exercises that allowed me to run into a mind-only point of view and then return to a materialist point of view, increasing the length of time that I was able to stay in the mind only state for longer and longer.  Changing the foundation of my state of mind in this way allowed my intuition to provide different food for thought.

As we explore anti-time throughout 2018 I should apply the same kind of exercises in order to allow my mind to harness ideas in similar ways explore what it is as well as what it is not.  We need to explore exactly what Raziel means by Anti time: a physical/material retrocausal flow of time or ''reversiverse''; combined with the ideas of consciousness being a time traveller producing ''anti-time'' when it imagines the future and remembers the past; or only in that self-same imagination?  We're aiming for a unity, in the sense of the Hermetic One Thing (where the apparent opposite is the same thing reversed) but we might not get one as our final answer.  If consciousness itself is seen as anti-time in this way then the work will be in refining the raw material of that consciousness that produces poor predictions and hazy recollections into the refined stone which allows astral passage to different actual positions in time for observation and experiments, crystal clear prophecy and perhaps the ability to impede or alter the (apparent) flow of time itself - with the mind only.  If not, then bring on the moldavite...

Just like we had to induce a sort of Alice in Wonderland syndrome through our exercises in order to escape delusional materialism by imagining for instance that there is no movement or size and otherwise reversing the relationship of matter with the self (i.e. to see the world as ''flowing'' through us instead of us as objects moving through the world) now we have to reverse and distort our ''natural'' yet probably mistaken relationship to time.  In order to challenge the assumptions of philosophical presentism, and the way in which those assumptions dominate the current view of magick I need to ask myself much more frequently whether the events I am experiencing have happened before or not.  So far I have found museums and tram tracks to be useful tools in these thought experiments - as I walk the various paths of this life, I reflect on whether what I am seeing is an exhibition and how free I actually am to choose what I see.   Looking more closely at my experiences with the Museum Thought experiment for a moment I have found that two things happen, firstly you can induce de ja vu for extended periods of time, as opposed to mere flashes, and secondly that everything begins to become extremely ''ghostly'' or ''spectral'' - maybe a kind of ''hollowing''.  More largely as I consider my basal sense of freedom, I feel that although there is some freedom of movement within museums (like first person RPGs) I am being guided, in one way or the other, that exhibits are signposted and there are restricted signs over all kinds of paths - effectively that the museum I walk through has invisible tram tracks.

You must not count too much on your reality as you feel it today, since like yesterday, it may prove an illusion for you tomorrow.

Luigi Pirandello

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