Friday, September 02, 2011

I'm right, and you're wrong. And hammers.

The HGA conversation is making me think about ideas and interpretations of occult truth in general.

I'm a neoplatonist. I know that the things we experience are material reflections of the Idea. I know we are never going to experience every way the Idea can manifest in reality.

Hammers, for instance. The idea embodied by a physical hammer is not limited in manifestation to the things that I, or any person might happen to experience. A carpenter may never experience a claw hammer as a magical tool of banishing, or a magical tool used to shape a talisman the way I do, and I may never use a hammer to hang cabinets.*

I hope that's a clear analogy. I mean, I'll experience the hammer in every way that is appropriate to my context, to the situations I find myself in, and still not ever use it in every way it manifests for everyone else.

But that doesn't mean my interpretation of the manifestation of hammers is wrong. Different, not wrong. There's enough room in the universe for all the ways hammers will manifest to people in whatever situations they find themselves in. One person may never experience a hammer in exactly the same way as anyone else, not entirely. There are some hammers that I hold that make me feel like my dad. You know?

Subjective interpretations and personal experiences define the things we experience in unique ways.

But of course, all hammers are still hammers. There's an objective truth that is a hammer regardless of how it manifests in people individual lives. Hammers aren't scalpels, and brain surgery with one doesn't result in the same experience as brain surgery with the other. Even if it does get rid of the cancer either way.

When it comes to things like the HGA, or where our power as magicians come from, or how many heavens there "are," or how many teeth line the maw of Cthulhu, or how many Assistants any magician really needs, we can all be "right" in our context, in our experiences without it making anyone else "wrong" in theirs. Ultimately, we can only speak for ourselves, and even then the words barely suffice.

*If Jesus really loves me.