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Internet Book of Shadows, (Various Authors), [1999], at

                        Chaoism & Chaos Magic, A Personal View 
                                   by Pete Carroll

          As there are as many Chaos Magicians as there are Chaoists

          practising magic, I cannot speak for the subject in general but only

          for my own Chaoism and Chaos Magic.

          However, if you want a one-line definition with which most Chaoists

          would probably not disagree, then I offer the following. Chaoists

          usually accept the meta-belief that belief is a tool for achieving

          effects; it is not an end in itself.

          It is easy to see how other people and cultures are the victims of

          their own beliefs. The horrors of Islam and the ghasty state of

          politics in sub-Saharan Africa, are obvious examples, but we rarely

          pause to consider the extent to which we are the victims of our own

          beliefs, and the ability we have to modify them if we wish.

          It is perhaps worth considering the recent history of belief in

          Western cultures before mounting an attack on the very foundations

          of the contemporary world view. For about a millenia and a half the

          existence of "God" was an incontrovertible fact of life in

          Christendom. It was never questioned or thought to be questionable.

          Hideous wars and persecutions were conducted to support one

          interpretation of deity against another. Learned men wrote thousands

          of books of theoology debating points which seem utterly tedious and

          idiotic to us now, but the central question of the existence of

          "God" was never considered. Yet now, the belief in "God" as the

          author of most of what goes on in the world has been almost

          competely abandoned, and belief in even the existence of an absentee

          "God" is in most places fading. Satanism as an anti-religious

          gesture is now a waste of iconoclastic talent. The alchemists,


          sorcerers and scientists of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance

          won a stupendous posthumous victory. Their questioning of the

          medieval world view started a rot that brought the whole edifice

          down eventually.

          We can laugh looking back on it now, but I assert that we now live

          under a collective obsession which is even more powerful and will

          appear equally limiting and ridiculous to future historians.

          Since the eighteenth century European enlightment, a belief has grown

          to the point where it is now so all-pervasive, and so fundamental a

          part of the Western world view, that one is generally considered mad

          if one questions it. This is a belief that has proved so powerful

          and useful that virtually everyone in the Western world accept it

          without question. Even those who try to maintain a belief in "God"

          tend to place more actual faith in this new belief for most

          practical purposes.

               I  am about to  reveal what this  fundamental contemporary belief

          is.  Most  of you  will think it  is so  obvious a fact  that it  can,

          hardly be called a belief. That, however, is a meassure of its extror-

          dinary power over us.  Most of you will think me a madman or a fool to

          even question it. Few of you will be able to imagine what it would be

          like not to believe it, or that it would be possible to replace it

          with something else. Here it is: the dominant belief in all Western

          Cultures is that this universe runs on material causality and is

          thus comprehensible to reason. Virtually everyone also maintains a

          secondary belief that contradicts this - the belief that they have

          something called free will, although they are unable to specify what

          this is - but I will deal with that later.


          We spend billions every year indoctrinating our young with the

          primary belief in material causality in our schools. Our language,

          our logic, and most of our machines, are built largely upon this

          belief. We regard it as more reliable than "God".

          Now, it has been one of the functions of the Magician to try and

          break through to something beyond the normal. My own magical quest

          has always had a strongly antinomian and iconoclastic element, and I

          long ago decided to go for broke and attack the primary beliefs of

          our culture. Religion is too easy a target as it is already fatally

          disabled by our ancestors, the Renaissance sorcerers and scientists.

          Contemporary Satanists are waisting their efforts.

          Ideology is thankfully beeing gradually replaced with economics. The

          main thrust of my Chaoism is against the doctrine of material

          causality and secondarily against most of the nonsense that passes

          for modern psychology.

          Anyway, now I have to firstly try and convince you that there is

          something seriously wrong with material causality, and that there is

          something that could supersede it as a belief. These are vitally

          important questions for magicians, for since the demise of

          essentially spiritual descriptions of magic, the belief in material

          causality has been increasingly used in a haphazard fashion to form

          various ill-conceived metaphors such as "magical energy" or "magical

          force" which are tactily presumed to be something analogous to

          static electricity or radio waves. This is, I think, complete

          bullshit. Magic can sometimes be induced to behave a bit like this,

          but it is not a very effective description.

          Before attempting a frontal assault on material causality I shall


          backtrack a little to gather ammunition. Few people noticed that in

          the 1930`s a serious crack was discovered in the fabric of material

          causality which, on the grounds of faith alone, was supposed to

          cover everything. This crack was called Quantum Physics, and it was

          pre-eminently Niels Bohr who, with his Copenhagen Interpretation,

          poked a finger into the crack and prised open a wrap to reveal a

          different reality.

               Basically Bohr showed that this reality is better modelled by a

          description of non-material causality operating probabilistically

          not deterministically. This may sound tame at first, but the

          implications for our everyday view of the world and for our theories

          of magic are awesome. It brought to an end the era of the clockwork

          universe paradigm which began over two hundred years ago and which

          almost everyone still believes in their guts, even if they cannot

          formulate it precisely. I urge magicians everywhere to give thanks

          by drinking what is probably the best lager in the world, for it was

          the Carlsberg Brewery in Copenhagen that supported Bohr and his

          colleagues while they did the physics.

               The majority of straight scientists find quantum physics as

          distasteful as a priest would find witch-craft. If they have to use

          it they prefer not to think about the implications. Even Einstein,

          who started quantum physics going but made his major contribution in

          Relativity, felt repelled by its implications, on ground of

          scientific faith and residual Judaic belief, and wasted much of his

          later life campaining fruitlessly against it.


               Quantum physics says to me that not only is magic possible in a

          world that is infinitely Chaotic than we thought, but that magic is

          central to the functioning of this universe. This is a magical

          universe not a clockwork one. Causal materialist beliefs were a

          liberating and refreshing breath of fresh air after a millenia and a

          half of monotheism, but now, at their zenith, they have become

          tyranny. Relativity and the fundamental physics associated with it

          are probably close to a final refinement of the causal materialist

          paradigm, and as such they now seem a terrible prison. For all

          practical purposes they confine us to this planet forever and rule

          out magic from our lives. Quantum physics, which I believe currently

          to be basically an investigation of the magical phenomena underlying

          the reality most people have perceived as non-magical for the last

          two hundred years, shows us a way out.

               It may be some time before any significant portion of humanity

          learns to believe the new paradigm in their guts and live accordingly,

          but eventually they will. Until then it is bound to sound like discom-

          bobulating gobbledgegook or tarted-up intellectualism to most people.

               I would like to mention my other favourite iconoclasm in passing

          without  explanation. I  reject  the conventional  view of  post-mono-

          theistic  Western psychology  that  we are  individual unitary  beings

          possessing  free will. I prefer  the description that  we are colonial

          beings composed of  multiple personalities;  although generally  unaf-

          flicted  with  the selective  amnesia which  is  the hallmark  of this

          otherwise  omnipresent condition. And  that secondly there  is no such

          thing as free will; although we  have the capacity to act randomly, or

          perhaps one should say more precisely stochastically, and the  propen-

          sity to identify with whatever we find ourselves doing as a result.


          All the gods and goddesses are within us and non-materially about us

          as well, in the form of non-local information.

               I consider that all events occur basically by magic; the apparent

          causality investigated by classical science is merely the more

          statistically reliable end of a spectrum whose other end is complete

          Chaos. However, I would like to end with a few words about how my

          Chaoism affects my personal activity in what is ordinaryly called


               There are for me two main aspects of magic; the parapsychological

          and the psychological. In enchantment and divination I believe that

          the magician is attempting to interact with nature via non-material

          causality. He is basically exchanging information with his environment

          without  using his  physical faculties.  Austin Osman  Spare precisely

          identified the mental manoeuvres necessary to allow this to occur. The

          manoeuvres are startlingly  simple and once  you have understood  them

          you can invent an unlimited number of spells and  forms of divination.

          The  manoeuvres are  sacred  but the  forms  of their  expression  are

          arbitrary; you  can use anything at random.  Bohr and Spare are for me

          Saints of the Church of Chaos.


               I consider that when a magician interacts with those apparently

          sentient sources of knowledge, inspiration and parapsychological

          ability that used to be called spirits, gods, demons and elementals,

          he is tapping into the extraordinary resources that each of us

          already contains. When activated they may also receive some input

          via non-material causality from outside. Yet since we all contain

          such a rich multitude within our own unconscious or subconscious and

          can also receive congruent information from the collective

          unconsciousness as it were, then the possibilities are practically

          limitless. Given the correct technique one can invoke or evoke

          anything, even things which did not exist before one thought of

          calling them. This may sound like complete Chaos, and I have to

          report that my own researches confirm that it is !

               Chaos Magic for me means a handful of basic techniques which must

          be adhered to strictly to get results, but beyond that it offers a

          freedom of expression and intent undreamt of in all previous forms

          of magic.


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