Elimloth (elimloth) wrote,


It must have been a concidence that the string of yule lights came crashing to the ground moments after I tried unsuccessfully several times to link to principiadiscordia.com. That led me to amazon.com to the following page on another book. Now, I usually poo-poo these things but the review (go to the end) was quite funny.




Condensed Chaos: An Introduction to Chaos Magic (Paperback)
by Phil Hine


Review for non-practitioners, by a non-practitioner, September 15, 2004


B. Pinette (Massachusetts) - See all my reviews

You may have noted that all the other reviews of "Condensed Chaos" (at least as of this date) are by practitioners of magick, so their concern is whether the this book helps them advance the state of their art. If you are a non-practitioner, as I am, you might wonder what this book is about and whether these folks are really serious about this magick stuff or whether they are putting you on. Well, here's my take on "Condensed Chaos," from a non-practitioner's point of view.

In brief, if you took a ballpoint pen and crossed out the word "magick" on every page of the book, you would have terse but comprehensive outline about what you need to do to assert your will in world. The secret is to maintain a clear intention of what you want; when this is absolutely clear, all of your actions naturally work towards your ends.
However, maintaining a clear intention is easier said than done, since your brain, which was originally designed to help you climb down from the trees and throw rocks at small mammals, is not so good at dealing with life off the savannah. Much of the book is about the necessity to discipline your mind so that you can achieve this clarity of intention (plus some techniques for doing this). There are also techniques for tricking your mind, so that it lets you do what you want without it getting in the way.

I was surprised to find myself thinking, "Yes, this all makes sense" for most of the things he talked about. For example, he describes creating a sigil (a magical symbol) or a mantra derived from statement of purpose and then focusing on the sigil or mantra rather than the statment of purpose. My take on this is that the sigil is form of subliminal suggestion. Many times when you try to push yourself into doing something, your brain pushes back. By focusing your brain's border patrol on a sigil, however, you can subconsciously evoke a suggestion, sneaking it in through the back door.

So, where's all the spooky stuff? He doesn't spend much time talking about this, although he has one interesting story about a friend and him talking to a shadowy figure on his stairway, then just walking away from it when it couldn't give a convincing account of why it was there. I had the impression that it was not really important whether you achieved your ends through normal or paranormal channels. So, even if you don't buy into occult stuff, you could still make use of what he has to say.

What makes "chaos magick" different from other magical traditions is that it embraces all traditions---a kind of Unitarianism of the occult world. It also does not take itself too seriously; humor is an important component of its practice. For example, the magical servitor that helps you get through traffic is visualized as a cat on a skateboard. There is some tie-in with chaos theory, with he notion that brain activity turns into macroscopic effects in the world (the "butterfly effect," doncha know), but I get the impression that most of the stuff it embraces (fractals, quantum theory, etc.) is more important for its metaphorical impact than for any purported theoretical grounding.


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