Objective Validity of "Magick"?
Showing (IMO) precisely the right attitude toward claims of "the spiritual," "the supernatural" and "Magick," entropy156 poses (in a reply to the last "AJ's Mailbag" thread) an excellent question, the core of which is this: << Can you personally produce any objectively verifiable, unambiguous effect by magical means that has no other possible explanation? >>
(1) I don't believe in "the supernatural," either: something either occurs in nature, or it doesn't. I'm not certain (absent results that so far occur only in fairy tales) that any experience allegedly wrought by "Magick" can be said to have "no other possible explanation." (2) "Spiritual" experience is a fuzzier concept: I think of the young Richard Strout standing on the deck of a destroyer on D-Day and watching the waves of Allied warplanes soaring across the channel to attack the Nazis with "a feeling like prayer." In movies and reading, in life and love, I think most have felt something like that, which I am as happy to call "spiritual" as anything else. (3) I thoroughly dislike superstition, and think "faith" and "belief," in most senses, are serious pitfalls in a "magical" career. Indeed, my skepticism goes further than that, and might best be summarized by scientist Stephen Jay Gould's definition of "fact" (in a scientific sense): "Science does not deal in certainty, so 'fact' can only mean a proposition affirmed to such a high degree that it would be perverse to withhold one's provisional assent." (Time Magazine, 8/23/99 EV).
With all of those caveats, my answer to Entropy's question would be "Yes"...in the specific, limited sense that after twenty-seven years of testing the proposition that we live (at the least) in a thought-responsive universe, I am persuaded that it would be perverse for me to withhold my provisional assent. I am persuaded that, for whatever reason -- in the phrase I coined back in 1982 -- "Thought Determines Experience" TM.*
If my being persuaded of this helps to persuade anyone else, they have thoroughly missed the point of the comments so far. My experience should mean exactly nothing to anyone else.
The notion that thought determines experience is a testable hypothesis, even if it's not strictly "falsifiable" in the scientific sense (i.e., one can always say that an event, however impressively unlikely, "would have happened anyway" without the intervention of "Magick"). If you like, I can post a simple test for it here in the next few days, to let folks try it for themselves.
Hope that answers the question some (as well as helps to satisfy intralimina's curiosity about my magical paradigm), and -- anybody -- please feel free to follow up. :)
93 93/93 -- AJ
*The lawyers make me add that. Don'tcha just love 'em?