Booster: Magic, Art, Science and Religion - A compass-rose

This has been on my mind a lot. I covered Magic from my own perspective last Sunday, and I’ll tackle the other three this month as well. Where do you think you fall, and in which direction would you like to explore more? Let me know in the comments.

“A simple act, such as the lighting of a fire under difficult conditions, could be performed in the same skilful way, but according to quite different mental processes. In two of those ways, the Magical and the Scientific, the outcome might appear to hold more practical importance and yet the reasoning is different.

The Scientific thinker would take trouble to choose dry kindling because, for example, he knows that the latent heat of evaporation of absorbed water would hinder ignition; but the Magical thinker would make the same decision because he knows that the elements Fire and Water are antipathetic.

In the case of the fire ignited as a Religious act, or an Artistic act, the motivation appears less practical and more a result of inner prompting. Although the Religious thinker is more inclined to choose dry wood because tradition demands it, thus disguising logic, he is also likely to make full use of the Scientist’s reasoning as long as it is recognised as a God-given ability.

On the other hand, the Artistic thinker would choose dry wood because it ‘feels right’, a reasoning closer to that of the Magician.

In distinguishing the modes of thought, we come to a similar conclusion to that of C. G. Jung: that thought is compounded of four elements which I call intuition, observation, logic and feeling.

Two of those are ways in which impressions reach us. In observation they come via the senses, in intuition, they do not; instead they come via memory or as a sudden ‘inspiration’ — this is not to say that intuition might not be triggered by the senses.

The other two are methods by which the impressions are linked, or manipulated. Logic is well enough understood, but feeling is less easy to describe because it is a way of associating ideas using the brain’s pattern-recognition faculties rather than conscious logic.

As such it is perhaps best understood inductively by considering various examples in the course of this essay — this inductive learning itself indicates something of the nature of feeling.”

Dukes, Ramsey. SSOTBME Revised – an essay on magic (pp. 1-2). The Mouse That Spins. Kindle Edition.