Gordon White wrestles looks at morality from a Magical perspective.
photo by: Skeptiko
Gordon White’s new book Pieces of Eight: Chaos Magic Essays and Enchantments
stirred up a lot of questions that I posed in part 1
; now here are the answers:
Alex Tsakiris: …for example, the evidence from the near death experience science that I’m so fond of because it gives us a pretty clean set of data to look at… I hear love and light being what it’s really about. I hear it being moralistic, and being hierarchical, and that materialism, even spiritual materialism of trying to get something out of an enchantment or a spell is really, at the very least, treading water. It’s not moving you towards this spiritual growth that ultimately it is what it’s all about. What do you make of that as a general idea?
Gordon White: I think I know exactly what you mean… the question is philosophical in the human sense, which is, is morality an objective category of the universe like spin or something in physics?
…Is morality an inherent category in the universe? And as a result, should that shape your actions in this life? Probably… but it’s an eternal question.
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In the last episode of Skeptiko, I played a clip from the excellent interview you did with Miguel Conner
, where you talk about materialism and consciousness research basically, that we talk so much about on this show. I think people will be a little bit off when they hear this guy’s talking about chaos magic and then what’s this clip we heard about on consciousness research? So your understanding of a magical world view and how that intersects with science and how that intersects with culture, I think is a lot broader than most people, if they’re not familiar with your work, would appreciate.
What are some of the areas that you touch on in pieces of it?
Gordon White: Well, it certainly opens with kind of “Goldilocks-ing” our way through different models of reality, the main ones being materialism, which doesn’t work and then we start to move onto ones that I like less, but are slightly better than materialism. We have panpsychism
, which is essentially a fudge to kind of keep materialism in the game, and then we have idealism
, sort of the idea that everything is kind of one mind; that’s in there and I like that well enough. I think it describes reality certainly better than panpsychism or materialism, but it’s in that Goldilocks sense, not quite right. It bends rather than breaks a model when you come to deal with high strange phenomena, magic, UFOs and so on. And so it then explores this idea of return of animism
to what I call the philosophical big table where it… animism has been a very popular idea for the last 20 years within ecological circles or post-colonial...