Luke, D. P. (2007). The science of magic: A parapsychological model of psychic ability in
the context of magical will. Journal for the Academic Study of Magic, 4, 90-119.
Forthcoming Talks:August 2009:
Paranormal Phenomena and Psychoactive Drugs:
Parapsychology: Magic and Science:
Luck as a Euphemism for Psi?Testing for Precognition
You Never Know Your Luck: The Psychology of Superstition
This paper describes a parapsychological model of psychic ability in terms of its intrinsically magical undercurrent, thereby providing a bridge, hitherto largely unconnected, between science and magic. Initially proposed by Rex Stanford in the 1970’s, the model seeks to explain the unconscious everyday use of ‘psi’ (precognition, telepathy, clairvoyance, or psychokinesis) as a means of serving the needs and desires of the organism. The model, termed ‘psi-mediated instrumental response’ (PMIR), is based on the principles and research of cognitive, behaviourist, and para- psychology from an evolutionary perspective. Yet it is shown that, by extrapolating the inferences of this model and by subtly re-orientating it to a magical perspective, it can serve as a useful psychology of magical operation.
By drawing comparisons between Stanford’s model and the occult psychology of the chaos magic current, and with particular regard to the work of Austin Osman Spare, the essay highlights the parallels between these bodies of thought. While this demonstrates some synonymous mechanics for the manifestation of the magical desire it also offers a heuristic model for the functioning of magic that is compatible with mainstream cognitive science and which can be, and has been, tested empirically. Furthermore some consideration is given to scientific research’s magical nature, which has been unearthed in the process of searching for a science of magic. Despite objections from both magicians and scientists, by cross-pollinating the flowers of these two fields in this way possibilities emerge for the utilisation of empirical research to augment magical belief systems for those with a scientific leaning, whilst simultaneously illuminating new regions for growth in the formation of occult science.
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