Positive Psychology and Memes: My Voodoo

Posted: March 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

Alright folks, just for a quick recap. Since I am about to post more stuff related to my actual practice. For example photos of my ritual altar, my magic(k)al equipment, my book of shadows, etc. I want to address exactly what the fuck I think is going on here.

I can see how people who are into magick, magic(k), or the occult in general can give themselves serious mental issues if they aren’t smart about their approach. It is important to keep a clear perspective on how you are approaching your work, and how you are going to avoid going off the deep end.

There seem to be myriad ideas of what people think makes occult practice work. Spirits living in a spirit world like the one that Jehovah lives in doing the bidding of the sorcerer. Quantum mysticism stating that the will and human desires actually create the universe around you. Psychic energies, or orgone, floating around in the universe undetected by science by totally affecting everything.

To all the above approaches and many others I am familiar with I take a sincere skeptical approach. For many of these theories scientific studies have been conducted by parapsychologists and found null. Many of these studies are cataloged in a wonderful book by the skeptical philosopher Paul Kurtz called the Transcendental Temptation.

But ultimately science is not about absolutes, so I ask for objective scientific measurements or I must remain unconvinced. Though I harbor no dogma, I always believe that there is a possibility that I am wrong.

What I do believe in is two objectively measurable phenomena, which are currently under the modern microscope of mainstream scientists in academia: memes and positive psychology.

Memes are the easier of the pair to describe. A meme is a unit of culture which propagates via Darwinistic natural selection. Memes are generally considered to be a part of a broader theory called universal Darwinism, which basically states anything that copies itself and changes a little with each copy should evolve in ways that parallel biological evolution.

Memes being units of culture that do this can be anything from the “rick roll” phenomena on the internet, to God, to communism, to schemas of a chair.

I find this perspective to be a fascinating kind of parallel life of ideas, that the very things which give our lives meaning and purpose may just be codes of information trying to copy themselves like viruses or bacterium.

For any practicing occultist my link to memes should be obvious. Rituals are memes. Occult theories are memes. I postulate that possibly even occult experiences are memes.

Positive Psychology is a far more complicated topic. One I really need to write about at length and by subcategory in this blog. In the future I plan to.

Positive psychology is a new sub field of social psychology, and humanistic psychology. Though the tools of cognitive science and neuroscience are commonly employed by positive psychologists to measure phenomena physically.

Positive psychology is essentially the taxonomy of what makes people happy, productive, psychologically healthy, etc. At present it includes scientific studies of mindfulness meditation, well being, flow, creativity, etc.

I am overwhelmingly reminded of the Crowley quote: “The aim of religion, the method of science.”

If this little quote was what Crowley was really after than positive psychology is Thelema manifest.

It is how scientists think we can be the best versions of ourselves possible. I have been experimenting at length in my own personal life with positive psychology for years. Ultimately it was the idea that I could use occult tools to facilitate my own positive psychology that inspired me to be more aggressive about my approach.

I use divination to cultivate optimism, to exercise future planning with resilience in mind.

I use ritual to cultivate creativity, inspiration, and flow.

I use mindfulness meditation and yoga to cultivate psychological resilience.

I also use aspects of meditation and ritual to encourage myself to exercise, this is part of my Dvesha Yoga practice which I am developing into my own system of yoga. Exercise is basically good for all aspects of positive psychology.

Everything I do in my own occult practice is about finding tools and techniques that inspire my own amplified use of positive psychology and/or an artistic academic study of memes.

Even if all or any of the other theories of occultism turn out to be true, they are not mutually exclusive to my humble and earthy theory. So I feel that all occultists could benefit from increasing their education of positive psychology and/or memes.

Just because you can verify something scientifically it doesn’t make it any less magic(k)al in my opinion. It just makes it down to earth. Practical. Low magic.

I am always interested in what people think about occultism, even if their perspective differs from mine, I am just throwing in my two cents.

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