How to Change the World Using Magic
Or die trying, there are some risks involved
By MARTIN REZNY
It has been recently brought to my attention that some people who have read my wizardy articles would like to learn something practical. Hm, why am I getting Skyrim mage guild flashbacks? Anyway, fair enough.
I generally try to limit myself to writing about what magic is and how it may work in theory. I don’t teach spells. In part, I don’t teach spells because I don’t do spells. The way I learned to understand magic wasn’t traditional, I didn’t memorize rituals from grimoires. I never wanted to learn or do spells.
But more than that, I always thought that approaching magic as a set of tricks to master to be able to do weird stuff is reckless at best, especially if one does so in order to feel more special or powerful. I guess I believe that if you’re supposed to master magic of some kind, you should figure it out on your own.
On the other hand, offering some guidance should help people approach and try to use magic more reasonably, whether they’re seekers who wish to learn about magic, or the chosen who have no choice but to deal with it, somehow. Either way, the first thing to understand is that doing magic is the easy part.
Magic: The Understanding
All the evidence there is, including some scientific research into psychic powers, indicates that to the extent to which doing anything psychic is possible, anyone has the capacity to learn to do it. Some people may be more naturally talented at (or rather more personally inclined toward) certain types of magical practices than others, but if magic is a thing, we can all do it.
The hard part is understanding what you’re doing. Spells are often defined as series of steps to follow, written down in some sort of magical instruction manual. Anyone who can read should be able to follow the steps and thus do any spell, but that gives no insight into what it is that the spell is doing.
The desired outcome of the spell may be clear, even potential dangers can be specified, but generally speaking, people who create spells don’t provide any insight into how they came up with the spells. Presumably, to be able to come up with a spell that works, one has to understand magic to some extent.
Of course, skeptics would tell you that it is all nonsense, and therefore nobody involved actually knows or understands what they’re doing. With the exception of illusionists, since they exclusively manipulate real things and exploit flaws in human perception. Which they shouldn’t claim is magic.
In my experience and to the best of my knowledge, there is theory to magic, and following that theory, one can absolutely explain at least some important aspects of what any given spell is trying to do in order to turn wishes into effects. It starts from high-level principles, but it also goes into specific detail.
The reasons why these principles are almost never properly explained seem to be intentional. Either the mages who possess some understanding want to keep their secrets to remain more powerful than others, or they try to protect the secrets in order to prevent dangerous powers from being released.
I’m personally a big believer in honesty and openness being the solutions to problems, rather than sources of problems, and I see the history so far as proof that the only people who prosper in darkness are assholes, so I am inclined to share at least some of my understanding of at least some magic.
First, I’m going to start with some general rules on which there appears to be a broad consensus among most adepts, and then I’ll get into some specific common kinds of magic that people may or may not want to get involved with. After that, I will address the world changing part.
The Highest of Principles
Obviously, I can’t address everything that anyone has ever claimed to be a principle of magic, there are too many of those. I will limit myself to those of which I believe I have some understanding, and which I believe do work. Or in other words, I will address principles of magic that I have never seen break.
Here are some of the really big ones:
I have written a whole article exploring how I believe karma works, so I won’t get into full analysis of it here, but there are some specific karmic implications when one is trying to do magic. The key considerations are the quality of the intent and the quality of the achieved effect, or how evil or stupid they are.
Put simply, what you were trying to do and what you have actually done will have personal consequences for you as the caster. In traditional belief, it is sometimes specified that what you intended to do will return to you three times as much, whether it was good or bad, but that may be embellishment.
Then again, the apparent disproportion may be a result of the fact that you used specifically magic. When using mundane means, it could make sense that the proportion would be 1:1, given that mundane means have inbuilt conventional ways of how an evil or stupid action can backfire.
When using magic, the target has no conventional way of knowing that they’re being a target at all, while the act of doing magic isn’t something that you can easily get caught doing or trip yourself up while doing. Therefore, the magical backfire could be 1:1, compared to your level of cheating.
In any case, using magic to do evil or stupid things is highly inadvisable, as some kind of price is magically bound to catch up with you eventually that will make the whole thing definitely not worth whatever it achieved. Although reasoning probably won’t stop people who are inclined to do it.
But I guess I’m going to try some more anyway. A common mistake that I think may be preventable after any amount of reasonable consideration is trying to do magic just for fun. Well, don’t. Perhaps a tarot reading for a silly question may be fine, but overall, magic is wired to have consequences.
The only use of magic that’s unlikely to backfire under this principle is magic that’s following a serious, honest, benevolent intention. It can still be misguided and fall into the stupid outcome category, but even then, a good intention goes a long way toward one being protected from harm.
It doesn’t really matter how that works precisely, whether there’s a god who cares, whether there are angels or spirits who watch over good people, whether it’s some kind of physics that we don’t yet understand, or some other mechanism. Following karmic principles, magic protects good people.
There’s just the whole complication of what goodness actually means. How can you be sure that what you intend is a good thing? I guess you can’t really be sure, which means that you need to be sure enough that the stakes justify the risk of being wrong. Opposing evil magic with good magic is the safest.
LAW OF CORRESPONDENCE
This is related to other terms you might have encountered like the laws of similarity or contact, synchronicity, magical thinking, or the whole notion of sympathetic magic. In the skeptical view, this is all plain nonsense, bad reasoning. And sure, it is easy to reason badly about these concepts.
What all of these ideas have in common is the notion that things are meaningfully connected across time and space in ways which seem to go against the laws of physics and information theory. Well, if you choose to ignore quantum entanglement and some newer theoretical physics.
Probably the most grounded, logical, and methodical way to grasp how these principles are supposed to apply in reality is astrology. Astrology is an attempt to chart how individual people, moments in time, and the celestial order relate to each other, how they correspond, how they’re synchronized.
Without a system like this one, sympathetic magic may get extremely arbitrary. The rule here is that like attracts like, but what do you mean by “like”? In astrology, “like” means the objective state of the heavens being objectively similar between two people or points in time. That’s clear.
This doesn’t mean that symbolic connections between people, objects, or events cannot be made intuitively in a way that’s correct enough for a spell to work, but it has to be way harder to do without any grounded system. As it turns out, people often struggle with using astrology right, and that’s easier.
The extent to which using things or objects as magical reference to places or people appears to be workable, even according to some scientific research (Project Stargate), is as markers. In remote viewing, for example, a closed envelope with encrypted GPS coordinates was enough to target locations.
According to the physicist leading the project, Russell Targ, this is compatible with one kind of solution to theoretical physics which effectively means that space and distance are illusions, that all information is immediately accessible from any point in time or space. All you need is a reference point.
Following this reasoning, a named voodoo doll (which I don’t recommend anyone should be using) should target a person in the same way that the envelope with coordinates targets a location. Perhaps that’s why knowing one’s name is considered to be such a big deal in most magical traditions.
In any case, remote viewing and astrology seem to be relatively neutral (and therefore karmically safe) magical disciplines, since seeking knowledge and understanding isn’t inherently bad. If anything, it edges toward a universal good. Until you try to apply the knowledge, then karma kicks in again.
PRINCIPLE OF ONENESS
This is more of a philosophical magical point of view on reality than a practical rule, but it is good to be aware of it before you try to do anything at all in life, let alone using magic. The basic idea here is that all of existence is fundamentally one, meaning that any distinctions are illusory.
Like the distinction between you and others, the distinction between the mundane and the magical, the distinction between mind and body, and the list goes on. The most important conclusion for the magical practice is that anything you do to others, you are in a concrete way doing to yourself.
This partially deals with karmic balance again, but it’s not just about that, not even when extended to afterlife or reincarnation. It also deals with the correspondence, but it’s also not just about things being interconnected either. It implies that thoughts are real, that everything is magic.
Within this framework, thought simply exists in various levels of condensation. Magic as a practice is about turning thoughts into reality, within the context of understanding that you yourself are magic made manifest, meaning that you automatically do magic on an existential level.
That’s partially what I meant when I said that I never wanted to do spells and that I don’t do spells. Traditionally speaking, magic in practice has levels. The lowest is that of ritual, presenting offerings, repeating words, going through motions. A higher level is thought magic, turning thoughts into realities.
A higher level still, however, is existential magic, the magic of being. Simply who you are having effects, in an area or at any distance in space or time, on specific people in specific ways, making the universe organize itself around you to reflect your state. That is unlocked through understanding.
The reason why understanding is key is that you, and everyone and everything else, already is magic. You just need to realize what that means, and to the extent that you do, you become more yourself, and therefore more magic. The danger is that if you’re an asshole, that could be a very bad thing.
Personally, I’m not sure how far that can be pushed. It seems entirely possible to manifest thoughtforms into some kind of material existence (think of the ideas of writers and thinkers and how much those can reorganize the material world). Causing coincidences and attracting people is also likely possible.
Beyond that, who knows (I don’t). There appear to be magical traditions that are very confident that one can change their physical form dramatically (like into an animal), that one can go without food (inedia), that one can expand their lifetime by centuries, and more. I’ve seen no conclusive evidence.
Then again, the issue could be that of interference. If most people believe in a tangible, physical version of reality, they’re reinforcing it. If most people changed their minds about reality, maybe the world would become substantially more re-enchanted. Maybe dramatic magic requires isolation.
School of Magicks: The Schools of Magic
Let’s move on from principles to practices. Two popular schools of magic that I won’t be addressing are illusion magic and elemental magic, since both of them are considered mundane. The former is more commonly known as illusionism, using tricks to create an illusion of the impossible, and the most modern manifestation of the latter is called science and technology.
I’ll focus on the more mystical ones, those that are considered by the skeptics to be nonsense. I’ll pay special attention to all the ways in which it would be a bad idea to try to do those kinds of magic, but I will try to explain what ”spells” can be done within them, roughly how, and to what effect.
By far the most dangerous type of magic to attempt, of those that can still be considered technically neutral, is the one that directly addresses supernatural entities. Unfortunately, it also appears to be a kind of magic that’s attempted most often, for any number of bad reasons, including just for fun.
At the most basic level, it typically involves some kind of ritual based on sacrifice, invocation, or working with an object or a device in a specific way with the goal of summoning a ghost to talk to or a demon to grant wishes or do one’s bidding. Most popular is ghost summoning using the ouija board.
Even with the ouija board “game”, which is essentially innocent, you can find any number of negative accounts online of people trying it and then allegedly being haunted by the ghost in variably unpleasant ways. It’s much harder to find accounts of any positive experiences, when the ouija board worked at all.
As for demon summoning, it’s probably as bad of an idea as it sounds at face value. While it’s probably true that “demons” as magical traditions see them aren’t the strictly evil spirits of the Christian interpretation, they can hardly be characterized as benevolent either. They seem to be temperamental at best.
Think more of the Djinn or the Fae, mythical creatures that don’t particularly want to do the bidding of humans, who are often capricious tricksters by nature, and who tend to have a vindictive streak. They may decide to be helpful to some people sometimes, but overall, the opposite is more likely.
In any case, one should definitely be respectful and polite while interacting with them, while also being extremely cautious. Traditionally speaking, one shouldn’t give them his or her name, promise them anything or directly thank them, and so on. Of course, one ideally shouldn’t be seeking them out at all.
The most benign and potentially constructive type of summoning is probably the mostly unintentional kind, which is related to terms like thoughtform or tulpa. Put simply, it’s ideas manifesting themselves in physical form or through apparent coincidence. These can still be dangerous, however.
It all depends on the nature of the idea, and the level of belief or conviction associated with it. It’s a bit like with the Zen wishing tree parable, or perhaps you’ve seen the sci-fi horror movie called Sphere. You get what you imagine. If you imagine a horror monster, like Slender Man, well, don’t be surprised.
The most common version of how this happens is when authors create compelling characters or ideologies, pour a lot of their own soul into them, and then unleash them into the world. In that way, ideas are given life, power to influence the real world. This much isn’t even considered mystical.
And yet, ask writers where they get their ideas. Most will say ideas just come to them. Ideas could easily be supernatural entities with independent existence, aiming to possess minds and thus manifest themselves, and nothing would be different about the process of “poiesis” from what we can observe.
Beyond simple, straightforward poiesis, there are more specific spells that could be cast by creators inadvertently. If you want to create a character specifically as a stand-in for yourself or a specific person you know, be careful. There are accounts of stories playing out in the real lives of their authors.
This has happened to me as well, actually. I created characters for my story universe and based them on myself and people I know, and then I created new characters to interact with them. Characters which I then met in real life in the form of real people whose personalities matched those of the characters.
Not only that, my method of character creation was based on astrological definitions of personality, and the people who seemingly randomly appeared in my life had their horoscopes matching the astrological configurations of the characters I invented, making the connection objective, undeniable.
This gave me pause, since the magical implications of that are concerning. So much so, that I now have a philosophical problem with creating characters and putting them into a story that would require them to suffer in order for the story to be interesting. It doesn’t seem as just fun to me anymore.
I guess my suggestion is to make sure that the story that you’re inventing won’t make the world worse by existing, and to be especially careful what you do with any characters that represent you and other real people. Speaking of real people, as my example shows, real people can be summoned as well.
Compared to the summoning of ghosts, demons, or mental constructs, the summoning of people is only as dangerous as the people who are being summoned. So, not really any more dangerous than calling people using a phone or finding them online. Let’s look at how it can work using magic.
At the most basic level, there’s some evidence related to the theory of morphic resonance that suggests that people may be able to form mental bonds between each other, allowing them to sense the mental state of the other instantly at any distance. Especially if they’re twins, family, or close friends.
You could trust your intuition or instinct with this, or you could use astrology to further narrow down what kinds of connections should be possible to form between specific people. The idea is that the more two people think alike, of the same things, and of each other, the stronger the bond becomes.
If you make it work, you could be able to sense when the other is in danger, to find each other, to know what to do and when to help the other, to reach out to the other when they want to talk to you, and so on. This of course presupposes that the “summoned” person is one that you know already.
If you want to magically summon a new person into your life, you could try a more formal approach by creating a character in a story and connecting them to your stand-in, but that’s not the only way. The ability to imagine the person you want to meet is still key, but your existential state matters as well.
In summoning, the “power” of the spell isn’t really derived from any physical substance or attribute, it’s derived from personal meaning. If you want to attract an entity, you have to be attractive to them. The kind of person you are, in the state in which you are, is what’s calling out to the universe.
The main catch that applies here, and whenever you’re asking the universe for anything, is that you really need to be careful what you wish for. You can think of the spell as a contract almost, especially if you write it down or word it specifically. You will meet the person as you defined them. No less, no more.
Almost as if our world was a story enjoyed by some higher beings, these wishes seem to be most easily granted when one is exceptionally deserving, or when there’s a lot of poetic irony in how the wish is bound to backfire. Or in other words, as a character, you appeal to the viewers of your life’s story.
I’m largely a creature of order, so perhaps I’m not the best person to try to explain what chaos magic is or how to practice it, but I guess I’m going to try anyway. For starters, if you try to research this type of magic online, you’ll find it’s not very easy to define. It’s a hodgepodge of all kinds of stuff.
Which is only fitting, considering that chaos isn’t supposed to be orderly or traditional. Chaos magic is constantly evolving, since any spontaneous, creative input is welcome in it, and since there’s no such thing as a true authority on it. Don’t expect any geometric rules or charts either.
The most orderly forms of magic, the magical sciences like numerology or astrology, have a way to reference chaos as part of the natural order, but that’s it. The odd numbers, especially 3 (change), 5 (strife), and 7 (failure), are associated with chaos, as well as Mercury, Uranus, gemini, and aquarius.
Like in the Marvel’s concept of chaos magic as it is wielded by the Scarlet Witch, chaos magic is about spontaneous creation. Unlike what you’ve seen in fantasy, you won’t be able to wreak havoc by throwing plasma balls everywhere. Well, probably. Chaos magic actually isn’t super dangerous.
In the sense of how it can be used to affect reality, it’s about manipulating probability. Kinda like when Wanda intuitively prevented the bomb from going off by scrambling its software. If you’re wondering what you can accomplish using chaos magic, think of all that depends on probability.
Put simply, you can try to improve your own luck, or to cause someone else to have bad luck. Karmic balancing still applies, however, so I personally believe that attempting such magic is asking for trouble. I hate gambling, so maybe I’m biased, but you should expect the luck to balance itself eventually.
How you would go about casting such a spell isn’t entirely clear to me, but I do have some experience with being affected by fluctuations of probability. In my experience, there are people who are naturally chaotic, and there are times at which chaos is stronger, marked by the planets and signs I mentioned.
For such people and during such times, one should expect that normal probabilities don’t apply. One may try to surf the related chaos wakes, so to speak, or to seek shelter from them. For a naturally chaotic person, wielding chaos magic should be less likely to have severely negative consequences.
The only non-astrological reference point for probability fluctuations that I’m aware of is the Global Consciousness Project Dot, which tracks global variance of random number generators. According to its theory, low variance (order) correlates with deep shared focus, while high variance (chaos) indicates coherence of thought and emotion, among the whole global population.
There’s also other, more qualitative research, which I think has a more accurate model, that suggests a connection between low variance and coherence and harmony, and between high variance and divergence and disharmony. Google Dr. Emoto and snowflakes, and question the results.
The most objective and uncontroversial way to demonstrate this kind of effect is by looking at the visualizations produced by harmonious (consonant) versus disharmonious (dissonant) music through sand poured on a plate placed above a sound speaker, which forms geometric patterns.
Such research of course isn’t final or uncontroversial, but it does suggest that both in magic and in physics, the key phenomena to consider may be vibration frequency, resonance, and constructive versus destructive interference. In this sense, by manipulating your mental “frequency”, you could manipulate odds.
What I’m more familiar with is how to convert randomness into inspiration, fostering creativity rather than luck. You can take any randomness generating tools, from tarot cards to computer functions, and use their output to answer questions or give you ideas. For example, consider the Library of Babel.
That’s a website where you can find all possible combinations of words. By browsing it at random, you can find new words or sentences that nobody has actually thought of yet. Most will be nonsense, but some will be genius. Or you can try to come up with a new random generator of ideas of your own.
By its very nature, chaos is the most neutral of all of the magical forces that you may try to call upon or draw from, but also the one that can produce the craziest results, so I still wouldn’t recommend most of it to most adepts. Random generators of answers or ideas should be pretty safe, though.
But even that depends on your motivation and how exactly you want to use them. Manipulating luck is obviously risky, but something like tarot could have a destructive influence on you too, just in a much more sneaky way. You must be careful not to delegate your decision making to what chaos tells you.
Tarot can be pretty useful at helping one understand things that have already happened or that exist in the present, in a safe way, but there’s always the allure of being able to manipulate your odds of success in the future. The more you will ask about your future, the more it will be shaped by the cards.
While the tarot deck is obviously inanimate, by interacting with it in meaningful ways and by investing your hopes and fears into it, you may be able to infuse it with a will of its own, creating effectively a chaos genie. Very likely one of a trickstery nature. If you mean well, it will too. If you don’t…
Overall, chaos magic, when performed with good intentions, should be more fun and less dangerous than other magics, but there’s always a danger of getting yourself, or someone else, into a highly improbable accident. In any case, crazy, poetically ironic coincidences are absolutely to be expected.
Following the rule of threes, let’s do one more core school of magic, and this one may even be generally safe to use. Seeking protection is a fundamentally constructive, benign motivation, so the main danger here is the magic not doing anything at all. On general principle, it’s useless for bad people.
Or, to be more precise, people who are in the wrong, who don’t deserve being sheltered by providence. Every magic has its cost, and in this case, it is effectively pain. Pain that’s endured unfairly or as part of a noble sacrifice. Any pain one causes to others unfairly or avoids cowardly counts against it.
Pain is a broad category, including all forms of suffering, but also endured difficulty or exerted effort. Karmic balancing is the key principle at work here, but protective spells may also try to call upon higher powers, bringing an element of summoning into the mix. Protection types also vary.
At the most fundamental level, one has to choose if they want to be protected or protect others by the power of light, or by the power of shadow. Light protection turns one into a very visible beacon, warding off malice, while shadow protection makes one unnoticed, ensuring they won’t be found.
Shadow protection is more morally gray and it may work for malevolent casters as well, with some debuffs, but it’s still ultimately neutral. Light protection doesn’t really allow one to remain neutral, given that they have to make a stand in order to be able to use it, and be judged righteous by karma.
The way to cast light protection in particular is therefore existential. You have to mean well, be in the right, and not succumb to fear. You shouldn’t be naive or stupid, or feel egotistically righteous, but you paradoxically need to make yourself vulnerable in order to deserve magical protection of this kind.
The key mindset to cultivate is that of justice, being able to feel the wrongs and genuinely desire them to be righted. Not in an angry, vengeful way, barring extreme cases, but still. If you manage to develop an intense mental state of this kind, your wards will not just deter evil, they will reflect it back.
What I mean by that is that wards generated by paragons of justice should make anyone’s evil actively attempted against them backfire, kinda like the justice field in the Red Dwarf show. If not that, you should at least be able to somehow always find out when someone is plotting against you.
One of the traditional sayings in magic is that evil magic can’t touch a good person, and this application of magic is a big part of how that’s supposed to work. The key is for the good person to reject the evil, not just when it targets them, but universally, and to not get intimidated by it. Innocence isn’t enough.
As for the shadow magic, I’m again not very familiar with spells or rituals that may be used to hide oneself from detection, but it’s not because the concept is foreign to me. As a scorpio with Pluto in scorpio right next to my Sun in scorpio, I do seem to have some natural talent for operating in the shadows.
I also have Mars and Mercury in Libra, so I consciously prefer light and justice-based magic, but invisibility always seems to be an option for me. Conventionally, shadowy people like secret agents employ many mundane techniques to achieve not being noticed. Let’s go through some of them.
You can try to maintain an average, forgettable appearance, which is naturally effortless for people with average height, weight, and features. In the most literal sense, you can wear camouflage, whenever applicable. You can try to live off the grid, or set up a fake identity. Today, most of that won’t work.
Magical stealth isn’t so much about being invisible or forgettable, it’s about not being noticed. What you’re working with is other people’s perception and attention. Conventional illusionist or mentalist techniques are definitely helpful in this regard, but ultimately, they won’t hide you in plain sight.
When shrouded in magical shadows, you could be talking with your enemy face to face and they wouldn’t realize who you are. They may send out scores of agents to find you, but by “luck”, they will always just miss you or overlook a key piece of evidence that’s right in front of them. Ideally, they will never know who you are in the first place, and they’ll never see you coming.
A key to how to make such magic work is again probably existential. However, the mental state to cultivate is nowhere near as clear cut as the one needed for light-based magic. People under the influence of scorpio and Pluto (Hades) should naturally possess it, to a variable degree. It could be karmic isolation.
What I mean by that is that a magical way to not be noticed may rest on one’s ability to not get karmically entangled with other people. To truly stand apart. As long as your actions have effects on other people, especially if the effect is negative, the chances of you colliding with negative people should be higher.
Scorpios tend to be extreme introverts and individualists, potentially to the extreme of living like a spartan hermit, or being the most alone a human being can be. From a karmic perspective, that would make them essentially not alive or fully existing, only a shadow. A shadow that others will overlook.
The turning point for a shadow mage is when they decide to get involved, stop being karmically neutral. Strategically, the best approach may always be to try shadow protection first, especially if the circumstances are extremely dangerous, and if that fails or when the situation calls for it, then make a genuine stand and start projecting a justice ward. Or attack from stealth.
The only way that I can think of in which one could remain in the shadows while not having exclusively neutral intentions would be to keep their interference with others karmically balanced, morally gray. Help others too much and you start shining, hurt others too much and your “luck” runs out.
Changing Yourself and the World
If you think about the kinds of spells that I have outlined, you may come to a conclusion that they’re pretty minor in terms of their power. To be able to change the world using magic, the fantasy books and movies would have you believe that a magical equivalent of a nuke is needed, like controlling dragons.
Even on that level, what good would dragons be against actual nukes? If you have managed to somehow conjure a dragon into our plane of existence, how would it be able to interact with our world, but at the same time be immune to nukes? Then consider that much less than that, like throwing fireballs, is still almost certainly an impossible power level for a real mage, and easily matched with technology. Which, as I said, is what real elemental magic is.
Pure magic, if it exists at all, is a subtle power. Following the principle of oneness, no single person should also be inherently more magical than any other person. Magic isn’t genetic. That’s why there’s so much emphasis in magical traditions on appealing to higher powers like gods or spirits.
Through summoning or binding schemes, human mages don’t actually get more magical power, the power still belongs to the magical beings. One can at most convince them to act on one’s account. Which is almost guaranteed to go off the rails, if it’s intentional and the intentions aren’t extremely good.
A more practical, and mundane, alternative strategy is a more serious version of “mythopoesis”, or new mythos creation. You can try to gain more magical power by inspiring belief in large numbers of people. You can try to deify yourself, if you make others believe in you, or you can channel the belief.
In some magical traditions, there’s this notion that the power level of gods, as well as the level of their “reality”, is based on the intensity and reach of the people’s belief in them. If everyone turns their back to a god, the god will disappear. In this sense, skepticism is an effective form of anti-magic.
The skeptics claiming they never see anything unusual happening around them is therefore not surprising, following the theory of magic. They’re just not realizing they’re changing the world using a powerful form of magic. But conventional or not, mass belief and disbelief are forces to be reckoned with.
You could decide to see belief as “just” belief, and consider the “powers” of charismatic speakers and wise storytellers to be conventional, mundane. These are perfectly learnable skills, much like engineering, and by pursuing them, one can most definitely have a chance at changing the world.
The downside of trying to demystify the interplay of ideas, belief, and reality is that by doubting what magic can do, you’re limiting what you can do with it. You’re also preventing yourself from fully understanding the true nature and implications of what you’re doing, risking unforeseen consequences.
It’s important to understand that your magic may have large-scale effects even if you don’t intend to affect other people. Following the most conventional example, once you think of an idea and utter it or write it down, there’s always a chance that someone who hears or reads it will run with it.
In a more abstract sense, you may become an example others will follow through your actions, or your mere existential state may be enough to achieve the same effect. Normally, most ideas, actions, or existential states of most people most of the time do nothing, because they cancel each other out.
If you think of reality as an interplay of resonating vibrations, then the difference between success and failure is a difference between coherence and decoherence, constructive versus destructive interference. A pebble can cause an avalanche, as long as it somehow sets a chain reaction into motion.
Often, what failed ideas needed to establish a foothold was just a bit of luck. Reaching a specific person, or better timing, a key opponent not paying attention, a flash of inspiration, or any number of other things that each could be accomplished using one of the apparently minor spells that I listed.
Understanding which times are opportune for which kinds of actions (using astrology), understanding the rules of karma, understanding the connection between mental states and probability, understanding the power of belief and disbelief, and so on, such things can make the needed little bit of difference.
As a certain paranormal entity said, the right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world. Which brings me finally to me. You may be wondering why you should be listening to me at all regarding these matters. All evidence points to me not having changed the world whatsoever.
Which is a fair argument. All I can say in my defense is that so far, I haven’t really tried to do that. The final issue to consider is that assuming you could use magic to change the world, why should you? Does the world really need your ideas, or your help? What is the justification for your ambition?
Personally, I consider attempting to change the world to be a last resort-type action. If somebody else can and is willing to do something that needs doing, let it be their moment to shine. As for people needing help, the most helpful thing for most people is to help them help themselves, allow them to grow.
Which is assuming they want to be helped in the first place, and that they’re not trying very hard not to deserve help. For a magical action to be truly right in the universal sense, there are many subtle factors to consider. Maybe that’s my inner true neutral talking, but power should be used reluctantly.
Following the anthropic principle, that we can live only in a universe in which our kind of life is possible, the very likely reason for why there aren’t Scarlet Witches flying around warping reality at will is that such realities wouldn’t last long. For a reality to be stable, magical power must be contained.
The key quality you want in a person who holds the nuclear launch codes is restraint. Knowing how to use magic to change the world isn’t all that different, especially considering that people who hold nuclear launch codes are susceptible to things like ideas or gods, or fluctuations of probability.
Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you have to do it, or that you should. Before you do anything, do everything you can to glean as much understanding as possible. Understand yourself, understand your beliefs and desires, understand others, understand the world, understand magic.
There’s no trick to knowing what you’re doing, mystical or mundane. It’s a matter of effort. Meaning well is a start, but just a start. A humble idiot can still do massive damage. If you want to do magic to gain power or popularity, or just to have fun, please stop. It won’t end well for anybody. Especially you.
If after reading and considering all of this, you believe that you do have a cause worth fighting for, that you understand what the problem is and how magic can help solve it, and that you’re pretty sure you won’t anger any supernatural entities or cosmic forces in the process, good luck, I guess.
Just keep in mind how it worked out for Thanos.
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Hello there, I’m Martin. Nice to meet you.WHO AM I? Oh boy, more like who aren’t I. Don’t worry, this is not an…