I think perhaps I have always believed that science, religion and philosophy as well as alchemy and magic, are all branches of the same tree. They are all looking for the same truths, they are all seeking to understand and perhaps manipulate the nature of the universe. More surprisingly perhaps, I think the answers to some of the big questions are tantalizingly close, in front of our eyes even, and we just can’t quite see them.
I enjoyed science at school and was quite good at it. I enjoyed maths less, perhaps because of the way it was taught, but always respected it and I still believe it to be the language of the universe. My problem with science however was it’s emphasis on proof through experimentation and it’s lack of ability to see beyond what can be proved. Thus I was more drawn to the spiritual realms and magic where much more depends on instinct and feeling. (Instincts and feelings that many scientists scoff at because they can’t prove every aspect of them by experimentation).
I think I was about 12 when the idea of Info-D came to me in a flash, without warning or any pre-thought or experimentation. One day as I was walking home from school with my head in the clouds, the way the universe hangs together just popped into my head. “There is another dimension,” I thought, “Which is not made of energy or physical matter, but is just information. And everything in our universe has a counterpart in that Information Dimension. So the Info-D is like an account book, keeping a record of where every planet, person, atom and particle is. However, the Info-D is outside of time so it might look pretty strange, like a psychedelic storm because all the points that are now in me were once somewhere else, inside stars and stuff.
I suppose my calling to witchcraft was clear even before I knew it, because once Info-D was established in my head my next thought was “Hmm, what if you could interact with the Info-D and manipulate the information so as to change things in the physical universe? Since that time I have never doubted the existence of Info-D but I have come to know it by many other names. And I am pleased to hear that science is catching up, because many of the latest theories in quantum physics and beyond seem to include an Info-D of one sort or another.
I didn’t see the matrix till years later, but that story depends on the same idea. It’s not new anymore. It never was, but I do think writers artists, musicians, magicians and creative minds have been throwing this idea up in the air for people to see for centuries. The scientific community are late-comers to the party.
There were three things in the religion and philosophy I grew up with that always stuck with me. I think they are linked and profound and just as eloquent as any of the more modern scientific theories about the nature of the universe. I am sure these ideas exist in many other religious and spiritual traditions too but I am speaking from the perspective of being brought up in the Christianized world. Therefore I want to speak a bit about Plato, Jesus and St John.
The author of St John’s gospel starts with the suspiciously gnostic sounding phrase “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In the original Greek however “Word” is “Logos” (λόγος) which can also be translated as “Reason” “Cause” or “Idea”. So John might be saying that God existed as something else before it became physical; perhaps it’s not much of a stretch to speculate that cause or reason could also be “information”. Perhaps even that information was the cause or reason for God’s existence. (When I speak about God here I am not limiting myself to the Christian understanding of God but more to a Universal Substance, a Prime Mover as philosophers used to say). Even if word just means word it might be worth noting the power of words themselves to create; a power that witches have always employed in spells. Anyhow, John goes on to say; “He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” Okay, this is John’s way of stating that Jesus was part of the original “idea”, plan A; but I could easily get carried away with all the connotations and connections with magic and quantum physics in that text!
We’ll come back to Jesus and his recipe for magic in the next paragraph but first lets look at Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and his theory of “forms” or “ideas”. Plato compares our world to that seen by some prisoners who are trapped and tied up in a cave in such a way that all they can see are the shadows cast on the opposite wall. They imagine the shadows to be real and have no conception of the fact that what they are really seeing is just shadows projected by a fire that they are unaware of. Plato really seems to me to be grappling with the idea of unseen dimensions long before science or mathematics had developed those ideas. In his Theory of Forms he asserts that all that we see in the material world is but a pale reflection or projection of the original “Form” or “Idea”. If he’d been writing today he might just as well say that the material universe is just an emanation of the realm of ideas, forms or information.
And so we come to Jesus and his famous quote that if Man had faith as big as a mustard seed he could move a mountain. As well as this piece of advice Jesus is famous for miracles in which he healed the sick, changed the substance of things and seemed to alter fundamental laws of the universe. He was a magician and alchemist par excellence! And perhaps faith is the key. The question is, what is faith? I don’t know the definitive answer but I think it has something to do with knowing (not just believing) that it is possible to manipulate the nature of things;- possibly through the use of language and will alone.
Do these ideas seem to wonder and meander? Perhaps, but I am writing them down because to me they are like stars in the sky and my pattern recognition circuits are directing me to join the dots and see constellations.
I think Plato grasped the very same thing that people at the cutting edge of physics today are trying to describe and quantify. They are all looking for a theory of everything; a theory which ties up the way the universe works at every level. I believe the answer is in front of our noses. I think poets, artists, writers, musicians and creative minds of all sorts have been dancing around the same ideas for centuries and expressing them however they could. Moreover I think the barriers between science and magic are illusions based on perspective and prejudice.
Some of us have been playing around with the Info-D or the akashic records or the quantum dimensions or whatever you want to call it, for quite a while already. I am excited to see what progress we might make in understanding the universe when we let go of our prejudices and pool our knowledge.