Magic for the 21st Century
Magic is the Highest, most Absolute, and most Divine Knowledge of Natural Philosophy, advanced in its works and wonderful operations by a right understanding of the inward and occult virtue of things; so that true Agents being applied to proper Patients, 3 strange and admirable effects will thereby be produced. Whence magicians are profound and diligent searchers into Nature; they, because of their skill, know how to anticipate an effort, the which to the vulgar shall seem to be a miracle.
The famed passage above represents a learned conception of magic during the Renaissance period. It continues to serve to this day, as a useful organizing principle in pursuit of magic-related skills. A key to decoding the passage for 21st Century use is in the concept of “right understanding.” This site is dedicated to clarifying that very concept, not as an intellectual artifact passed from one to another by description, but as an experiential process that renders the nature of things evermore apparent. So what is the measure of truth? In a word, effectiveness. It’s a practical and a personal matter. If a technique works as intended, you’ve found a measure of truth.
Why "Neuro" Magick?
While magic itself cannot be explained by Psychology and Neuroscience, those who would practice magic certainly have a psychological nature. We think and feel, we sense and perceive, we develop preferences and biases, we learn, we acquire and perfect skills, etc. And for all such things, there are certainly generalities, a fundamental nature around which each individual varies. And underneath it all is a nervous system mediating the various processes that lead to those effects, the thoughts, feelings, sensations, perceptions, biases, skills, etc. .
A preliminary assumption of the current project is that magic is essentially an interaction between human nature, individual nature, and the general nature of things. Science is nothing if not a careful examination of nature. It therefore stands to reason that some subset of various science are relevant to magic, not the least of which being the sciences focused on human nature, like psychology and neuroscience.
As it happens, my graduate study was Psychology with a concentration in Cognitive Neuroscience, and I initiated neuromagic.com about a year out of my PhD program. It’s fair to say I was all about that science at that time. I’ve continued to evolve since then, but the science continues to inspire and inform the various practices detailed here. The current iteration of neuromagick.com is focused on the practice of magic. Where science is discussed, it’s usually an optional addon for interested parties only, and is always clearly labeled. Uninterested parties can skip it without missing anything important.
Let the practices be judged by their effects, in keeping with the site motto: Effectiveness is the Measure of Truth.
R. Eugene Laughlin