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                                  Where do we go from here? 
                                      By Pete Carroll 
           Occult revivals occur when the social, economic or intellectual 
           status quo is disturbed by the unexpected. Affluence combined 
           with the collapse of the Roman state religion caused one revival. 
           The rediscovery of classical knowledge in the Renaissance brought 
           about another. Dissatisfaction with catholic hellfire 
           christianity spawned spiritualism, theosophy, the Golden Dawn and 
           Crowley. In our own time anti-semitism, affluence, drugs and 
           oriental ideas spawned another outburst. 
           Occult revivals are stimulated by economics and by the availability, 
           rather than the creation of ideas. Roman culture was subject to a 
           huge influx of ideas, cults and philosophies from conquered peoples. 
           Written material surviving from this synthesis appeared again 
           as hermetics in the Renaissance. The revivals of the late 
           nineteenth century and the nineteen-sixties owe much to the 
           availability of scientific ideas and oriental philosophies. It is 
           probably more useful then, to look for impending changes in the 
           general situation rather than within the occult itself if we want 
           to second guess the next revival. The period between one revival 
           and the next is shortening rapidly and we are probably due for 
           another around the turn of the century, give or take a decade. 
           I`d like to try and identify some of the factors which may help 
           shape it. 
           Firstly the millennium. Christianity is unfortunately not yet 
           completely extinguished and humanity will have to cope with a 
           rising tide of apocalypse mania as the calendrical millennium draws 
           closer. Right wing christian fundamentalists in America may even be 
           in a political position to inaugurate a real Armageddon by then. 
           I hope that whatever courage and imagination there is in the occult 
           is put to good use in undermining this sort od idiocy. Those 
           occultists who do jump on the millennial bandwagon have only 
           disaster or ridicule to look forward to. 
           Economics has a powerful effect on the occult climate. A fairly 
           rapid increase in affluence will often provoke a revival as leisure 
           time becomes available and some minds turn to higher things. 
           Conversely, a decline in living conditions will sometimes make 
           people seek what they have lost, or a substitute, by occult means. 
           Boom propelled revivals are usually much more fun than slump 
           propelled upsurges. In this country, any increment in occultism 
           arising from socio-economic desperation, is likely to be some 
           species of neo-nazi mystic nationalism. As with millennium madness, 
           the greater honour will, in the long run, go to those occultists who 
           oppose such nonsense. However, the metaphysical fallout from the 
           sixties may yet carry us through to the next boom revival and these 
           problems may not yet arise. 
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
           It seems unlikely that anthropology or archaeology will be able to 
           make fresh ideas available for cannibalization by the occult in the 
           next revival. Computerized libraries, satellite photography and 
           global communication systems leave few stones unturned. There seems 
           little chance lost ancient manuscripts, magical tribes or forgotten 
           occult civilizations coming to light nowadays. So it is to science 
           itself that I think we should turn for fresh ammunition. 
           There are already discernable strains of space mysticism in some 
           quarters of the occult. Questions about the reality or otherwise of 
           supposed visits by aliens should not distract us from recognizing 
           that UFO-mania itself is a mystico-religious phenomena. The 
           UFO-ologist wants to personally receive wisdom for the whole of 
           humanity from some superhuman being. Seeking angels in space suits 
           is to repeat humanity`s perennial mistake, pretending to look 
           outside for what is really inside ourselves. 
           Quantum physics has been quietly undermining the whole basis of 
           mechanistic cause and effect type science for nearly sixty years. It 
           has been said that if you are not shocked by the implications of 
           quantum physics then you have not understood it. This may be 
           perfectly true for the scientist but for the magician, quantum 
           physics provides elegant confirmation of many of his theories. A 
           quantitative approach to quantum physics is beyond all but the best 
           mathematician. Many of the principles are enshrined in equations for 
           which we have few verbal or visual analogies. Because of this very 
           few laymen or philosophers have been able to appreciate what has 
           been going on. 
           Briefly in qualitative terms, we now have hard experimental evidence 
           which strongly implies that physical process are, at root, acausal; 
           they just happen out of themselves and that consciousness, or at 
           least the decisions of the observer, can modify or control what 
           happens. Secondly it would seem that pure information can travel 
           anywhere instantaneously and perhaps persists indefinitely, 
           providing there is some sort of affinity, or magical link as we 
           would call it, between that which emits and that which receives. 
           Very few liberties need to be taken with quantum physics to fit in 
           virtually the whole of parapsychology. It remains to be seen if 
           quantum physics can be presented in sufficiently accessible form to 
           provoke another occult revival. 
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
           A quantum based revival would effectively demolish the spirit 
           hypothesis. A "spirit" would have to be recognized as nothing more 
           than the information that a phenomenon emitted about itself when it 
           existed physically. Anything else would have to be put down to the 
           creativity of the observer`s subconsciousness. Thus the "tree-ness" 
           of a tree or the quality of a thought is just an extension of the 
           object itself on the plane of non-local information. If you talk to 
           Egyptian gods your subconsciousness is, at best, simply animating 
           the general personality characteristics of the gods projected by 
           their worshippers millennia ago. Spirits cannot be gaseous 
           vertebrates with powers of independent discursive thought. On the 
           practical level quantum physics implies that the medium of magic is 
           not some sort of nebulous psychic energy or force, it is simply a 
           transfer of information. Magical healing or attack is accomplished 
           by long range telepathic suggestion not by astral bandages or 
           thunderbolts. The quantum paradigm forces a re-examination of 
           reincarnation. There is no reason why anybody should not be able to 
           tap the memories of any historical person. Conversely we can all 
           look forward to fragments of our ideas and personalities manifesting 
           in other people in the future. 
           Telekinesis and related phenomena can be accommodated within the 
           quantum paradigm if we allow intent to expand upon the small degree 
           of fundamental uncertainty, or more properly indeterminacy, in the 
           position and momentum of any object. Prophecy is always the most 
           doubtful of the magical arts although short term prediction or 
           precognition can often be impressive. The quantum model allows for 
           this providing the operator later observes the precognised event. 
           Such apparent nonsense as astrology and homeopathy begin to make 
           more sense in a quantum paradigm which suggests that expectation can 
           have real effects via what one might call a magical level. This is 
           quite over and above the purely psychological effects of expectation 
           that materialists usually invoke to explain away these things. 
           I`ve heard the quantum occult paradigm described as Big Bang 
           Mysticism and Electro Gnosis. I rather like this, for it implies 
           that the universe is being viewed as a self-created magical organism 
           and that magic itself is a technology we can potentially master 
           because it is a part of the nature of ordinary reality. Of course, 
           what is missing in this scheme are the pseudo certainties of belief 
           in gods and higher powers or even a benign cosmic mind. It throws us 
           back on our own powers and ingenuities, but isn`t this what the best 
           occultism has always been about anyway ? 
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

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