Author Topic: Naturalistic Occultism Moving Foreward  (Read 145 times)

Km Anu

Naturalistic Occultism Moving Foreward
« on: June 17, 2020, 07:42:49 am »
Hello All,

  I wanted to send out some feelers and see if any of you use the Methods of Scientific Illuminism in your practice. I'm still pretty early in IAO131's book but the Society of Scientific Illuminism's website is inactive, and there is a spattering of New-age looking search results when you search them. I wonder how imbedded these practices are in LHP disciplines, and I especially wonder about Chaotes. The author contrasted his methods against those of three categories of esoteric traditions (which he states are over-simplifications provided to elucidate his point) to include New Age, Hermeticism, and Chaos Magick.

  Chaotes were stated to be pragmatic but overly materialistic, and IAO131 thinks this materialistic focus prevents individual spiritual goal. I would argue that not all practitioners are the same, and that even if materialistic acquisition is the goal, the means of attaining that goal lead to personal development, and the increased availability of metaphysical tool.

 He also holds a deep aversion for charlatans and promoters of spiritual consumerism (Self-help books, homeopathy, expensive and dogmatic metaphysical book courses, ect) and it reflects in his disdain for materialistic pursuits, implying that most practitioners focusing on material goals are unable to see past "Attainment," and are more likely to succumb to desires that distract from personal development. His solution is to insert an anti-money making axiom into his definition of Scientific Illuminist. I see this action as highly hypocritical considering I had to buy his book to read that. Anyway, he says,


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As Scientific Illuminists, we are wary of commodifying our purposes and methods. Capitalism is so embedded in all of our brains by virtue of the fact of our having been brought up in modern society that the desire to turn a profit from what we are doing is a continual threat.

Which would be fine on its own. Be wary of your own greed. I get that. But then he goes on to say,

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We must always reorient ourselves in the direction of progress, both internally (What is often ambiguously called "spiritual progress") and externally (the progress of our theories & methods of occultism as well as the growth of our community). Even if we do turn our attention to the effecting of material ends it must be done in the spirit of exploration and the pursuit of understanding rather than the material ends in and of themselves.


Sounds very solar and selfless IMO. What do you think? And what are your thoughts on Illuminism?



Beleren777

Re: Naturalistic Occultism Moving Foreward
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2020, 05:28:54 pm »
Chaotes were stated to be pragmatic but overly materialistic, and IAO131 thinks this materialistic focus prevents individual spiritual goal. I would argue that not all practitioners are the same, and that even if materialistic acquisition is the goal, the means of attaining that goal lead to personal development, and the increased availability of metaphysical tool.

I think putting Chaotes into any sort of definition is a slippery task. And while this may be an anecdotal point without naming names, I know a handful of long-term Chaotes that have found a spiritual nature to their practice after many years. It reminds me of how some describe their experience with the COS in that once you have rebelled against the system, practitioners have a sense of "now what?"

I don't use the term "Scientific Illuminism" in my practice, but perhaps this implies a bit of gnosis as received via a scientific method. If that is an inappropriate paraphrase by all means correct me on the definition. I am reminded of how even Crowley applied a sense of fact checking to practice when a summoned Goetic spirit didn't match the written description. He thought he may have performed the operation incorrectly. A general sense of experimenting, testing, adjusting, and repeating magical works seems to have gone back many years. Speaking for myself, this appears to be a good way to apply the basics of the scientific method inside of a magical framework.

Liu

Re: Naturalistic Occultism Moving Foreward
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2020, 06:49:40 pm »
I think I heard the term Scientific Illuminism before, but I wasn't very familiar with its meaning (and still don't know much more than what you wrote)
He also holds a deep aversion for charlatans and promoters of spiritual consumerism (Self-help books, homeopathy, expensive and dogmatic metaphysical book courses, ect) and it reflects in his disdain for materialistic pursuits, implying that most practitioners focusing on material goals are unable to see past "Attainment," and are more likely to succumb to desires that distract from personal development. His solution is to insert an anti-money making axiom into his definition of Scientific Illuminist.
That quite depends on what he means by materialistic goals.
Is focusing on developing habits that improve my emotional well-being, my physical health and my (mainly worldly) knowledge a materialistic pursuit? Or an aspect of personal development? I would use self-help books for mainly these purposes.

Homeopathy does seem like quakery to me, but if it works then by placebo, which if done intentionally could be considered a form of magick (depending on the definition). And I don't know what kinds of book courses he's referring to, but consuming spiritual literature, even if I don't literally subscribe to the metaphysics presented, can be quite invigorating if I have a connection to the spirits/deities involved, so I'm not sure what's materialistic about that.

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As Scientific Illuminists, we are wary of commodifying our purposes and methods. Capitalism is so embedded in all of our brains by virtue of the fact of our having been brought up in modern society that the desire to turn a profit from what we are doing is a continual threat.
I find it difficult if someone claims that some specific bias is part of everyone's mindset just because it's a part of the general culture.
And again, what does he mean by profit? Making money? Growing as a person? Based on the next quote, he likely means the former, but that's not something usually on my mind.

Quote
Quote
We must always reorient ourselves in the direction of progress, both internally (What is often ambiguously called "spiritual progress") and externally (the progress of our theories & methods of occultism as well as the growth of our community). Even if we do turn our attention to the effecting of material ends it must be done in the spirit of exploration and the pursuit of understanding rather than the material ends in and of themselves.

Sounds very solar and selfless IMO. What do you think? And what are your thoughts on Illuminism?
Could be interpreted as selfless, could also be interpreted to be advocating for long-term benefit over quick money. Yet if it's the latter it feels a bit like a strawman argument if he claims that this would be special about his approach.

I think putting Chaotes into any sort of definition is a slippery task.
This.

Km Anu

Re: Naturalistic Occultism Moving Foreward
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2020, 11:37:05 am »
Please excuse the lack of quotations, I'm short on time at the moment.

Liu: The tone set by the author is more anti-capitalistic in relation to the production of marketable metaphysical content. Like publishing a self-help book or selling a 200 dollar course. Its both "Knowledge should be free," and "Seeking wealth inhibits understanding." So far as I can tell he doesn't condemn the consumption of said materials. This is in line with his goal to standardize and formalize spiritual study & theory. I think that formalization is what sets apart the self-identified Illuminist. In essence, he wants the term Illuminist to apply to spirituality and magic as the term scientist applies to naturalism.

His definition of "Materialistic aim" is more classic. He's talking about the pursuit of riches. Money and stuff. I posit that material gain enables greater spiritual development, especially if esoteric practice is employed to 'secure the bag' so to speak.

Beleren: You're correct about Noetic attainment via scientific methodology. As I mentioned, the approach was built around "The methods of science, the aim of religion." The author attempts to build a methodical standardized approach for recording and studying esoteric practice while simultaneously establishing a culture of studious integrity and rigor mirroring that of contemporary science.

The "4-step method of naturalistic occultism" Which I have decided to re-term as the "Illuministic method," because I'm not typing that again goes as follows:


1: Formulation of the practice via Pragmatism

2:Performance of the practice itself

3: Recording the practice via Phenomenology

4:Interpretation and explanation of practice and results via Natrualism

After the work is complete, the author suggests submitting material for peer-review. Simplified, find a practice meant to produce measurable phenomena with practical use, do the thing, record EXACTLY WHAT YOU EXPERIENCED AS YOU EXPERIENCED IT free of bias, summary, hypothosis, ect, then use canonical scientific data to form hypothetical conclusions to explain what was recorded.

Chaos magic is typically defined by whoever is practicing it, and you're right. They're by nature the most difficult practitioners to generalize. I took his attempt to summarize the practice of these individuals and subsequent condemnation of their practice as "materialistic," as a massive cultural over-sight.

All aside, he's right. Standardizing study will develop the field. I just think the culture he's trying to push relies to heavily upon the practitioner re-defining their practice. The culture isn't a big deal, the method is.

Liu

Re: Naturalistic Occultism Moving Foreward
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2020, 04:44:38 pm »
Liu: The tone set by the author is more anti-capitalistic in relation to the production of marketable metaphysical content. Like publishing a self-help book or selling a 200 dollar course. Its both "Knowledge should be free," and "Seeking wealth inhibits understanding." So far as I can tell he doesn't condemn the consumption of said materials. This is in line with his goal to standardize and formalize spiritual study & theory. I think that formalization is what sets apart the self-identified Illuminist. In essence, he wants the term Illuminist to apply to spirituality and magic as the term scientist applies to naturalism.

Well I'd agree with that first part in principle - at my workplace, I actually have to publish everything open access (or at least upload the preprint somewhere) that I publish in the context of my work there, and pretty much none of my colleagues bothers about copyrights when they want to access a paper or some data, a scientific institute is basically a file sharing group.

Yet magicians are not usually funded for their spiritual work by a public, tax-funded institution like a university, so I do understand if they also want to earn money with what they study. So I wouldn't blame anyone if they try and sell some book or something. They put in work after all (if they did), and they gotta live from something, so asking for money for that is justified in that sense.

An exception are of course frauds who really are only in it for the money and don't actually write anything noteworthy in their books.


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His definition of "Materialistic aim" is more classic. He's talking about the pursuit of riches. Money and stuff. I posit that material gain enables greater spiritual development, especially if esoteric practice is employed to 'secure the bag' so to speak.
At least it's not really a hindrance, unless one is convinced that one can only develop character by living in poverty. But usually, abundance on some level breeds abundance on several levels.

Quote
The "4-step method of naturalistic occultism" Which I have decided to re-term as the "Illuministic method," because I'm not typing that again goes as follows:


1: Formulation of the practice via Pragmatism

2:Performance of the practice itself

3: Recording the practice via Phenomenology

4:Interpretation and explanation of practice and results via Natrualism

After the work is complete, the author suggests submitting material for peer-review. Simplified, find a practice meant to produce measurable phenomena with practical use, do the thing, record EXACTLY WHAT YOU EXPERIENCED AS YOU EXPERIENCED IT free of bias, summary, hypothosis, ect, then use canonical scientific data to form hypothetical conclusions to explain what was recorded.

[...]

All aside, he's right. Standardizing study will develop the field. I just think the culture he's trying to push relies to heavily upon the practitioner re-defining their practice. The culture isn't a big deal, the method is.

So he wants to turn magick practice from home cooking to nutrition studies, but with everyone using their own kitchen.

Well, as you said, I don't think that's really feasable for the average practitioner, even though it's a nice goal.

And there already is parapsychology which basically does what he proposes or what you are describing.

Km Anu

Re: Naturalistic Occultism Moving Foreward
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2020, 01:55:09 am »
Agreed. I actually think that this ita a necessity. There are a lot of separate disciplines of parapsychology that are inaccessible to your everyday occultist and many that are flat insane. This standardization allows phenomenon to be compared without having to change your practice or vocabulary, just how it's recorded and shared. I can dig the method like I said,  just not the culture.

Beleren777

Re: Naturalistic Occultism Moving Foreward
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2020, 04:05:24 pm »
After the work is complete, the author suggests submitting material for peer-review. Simplified, find a practice meant to produce measurable phenomena with practical use, do the thing, record EXACTLY WHAT YOU EXPERIENCED AS YOU EXPERIENCED IT free of bias, summary, hypothosis, ect, then use canonical scientific data to form hypothetical conclusions to explain what was recorded.

I find this a wonderful proposition. I am personally of the belief that magic works, but the mechanism fails a universal definition. Is it psychological, spiritual, or a combination of the two? I think this peer review concept would do great to minimize personal bias and subjectivity, as long as the reviewer is aware of her own bias as well. Are you planning on conducting a group experiment to test this process you've laid out?
« Last Edit: June 30, 2020, 07:29:46 pm by Beleren777 »

Km Anu

Re: Naturalistic Occultism Moving Foreward
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2020, 01:04:53 am »
After the work is complete, the author suggests submitting material for peer-review. Simplified, find a practice meant to produce measurable phenomena with practical use, do the thing, record EXACTLY WHAT YOU EXPERIENCED AS YOU EXPERIENCED IT free of bias, summary, hypothosis, ect, then use canonical scientific data to form hypothetical conclusions to explain what was recorded.

I personally find this a wonderful proposition. I am personally of the belief that magic works, but the mechanism fails a universal definition. Is it psychological, spiritual, or a combination of the two? I think this peer review concept would do great to minimize personal bias and subjectivity, as long as the reviewer is aware of her own bias as well. Are you planning on conducting a group experiment to test this process you've laid out?

Absolutely,  I'm trying to tie some loose ends with another project first though.