Peter Carroll Interview: science & magick.
I was originally introduced to the connection between magick and high science (specifically quantum physics) through the literary works of H.P. Lovecraft, as well as the poorly adapted, yet enjoyable, "B" movies that presented his work.
The idea behind it was highly fascinating. The mere suggestion that ancient magick was working its way back into modern society under the disguise of high mathematics and quantum physics was enough to bring a glimmer to my eye.
But short of Lovecraft's fictional tales, modern occult publications looked little to the scientific community for support and theoretical resources.
When Peter Carroll exploded onto the scene, he took the occult community by storm. With influence from Austin Osman Spare, and a strong foundation in occult lore Carroll not only catalyzed the notion of Chaos magick, but managed to successfully blend the disciplines of magick and science to create a new interpretation of the universe.
In our current culture, there seems to be a great divide between magick and science, yet your works: Liber Null, Psychonaut, Liber Kaos, and Psybermagick all incorporate high science into them. Why is this?
Science usually begins as magick and then dissociates itself from it. Remember how chemistry grew out of alchemy, astronomy grew out of astrology, and medicine grew out of various shamanic practices. If some form of magick can create a real effect of some kind then it will eventually end up as a science. Some of what now passes for parapsychology will become science one day. I loathe the anti-scientific attitude of many modern occultists. I do not think that any scientific understanding we may achieve of magick will diminish magick in any way, it will expand the subject, both in theory and practice.
Was this something that you just happened upon, or were you always interested in physics?
I did mainly chemistry and biology at university decades ago, and the chemistry was so boring that I spent a lot of time reading about magick instead. As my interpretations of magick developed I realized that they implied some non-standard ideas about physical reality.
Did the research from connecting magick and science lead to your conclusions of three-dimensional time, or was this something that progressed as a second train of thought?
I concluded from my studies of magick both theoretically and practically, that I could explain a lot if I assumed that time had 3 dimensions rather than just one. I then decided to see if I could find evidence of 3D time hiding in the phenomena and theories of fundamental physics. After an hideous struggle with particle physics I seemed to have found something which I originally called Spinwarp 6D. I could explain many things about quarks and electrons and all the bits that make up matter and energy if I described them as arising from spinning points in 3 dimensions of space and 3 dimensions of time. Now I am looking for further evidence of 3D time in the data of cosmology.
Give us a poor man's synopsis of your three-dimensional time theory.
3D time can perhaps explain why this universe runs on probability rather than determinism. It means that all events have many possible pasts and many possible futures and that we may be able to interact with these pasts and futures to create some of the effects traditionally regarded as magickal. On the practical level I have noticed that what I call retroactive enchantment (changing the probabilities of the past) can sometimes have interesting effects. Scientifically you can apparently do this already with delayed choice quantum experiments.
I strongly suspect that 3D time has some very controversial implications for cosmology. In particular it seems to suggest that the universe did not begin with a big bang at all. Rather it may be finite and unbounded in both space and time, it has no beginning or end or edges. In other words it is hyperspherical in both space and time. This has profound philosophical implications, and it may just mean that real starships can be made.
Where did the name Hyperwarp 6D come from?
Well, its sort of an amalgam between the idea that particle spins warp space and the idea that the universe is an hypersphere.
How similar/different is the H6D idea of a finite universe from that of the Picard topology - the funnel shaped universe?
The Picard universe is expanding, the H6D universe is not, but its positive spacetime curvature creates the optical illusion that it is.
To what purpose does a theory of three-dimensional time serve?
Just perhaps, it may provide an explanation for magick in scientific terms, and it might show us how to make starships in principle.
Why have you termed this rebel physics?
Someone once said a witch is a rebel in physics. My speculations have certainly outraged a number of conventional theorists but none has refuted them to my satisfaction yet.
What do you see as the next great "discovery" in the realm of high science?
I am not expecting much from the impending experiments in particle physics except the non-appearance of the Higgs boson, but that in itself may cause a bit of a revolution in itself. I do not expect string theory to get anywhere. I rather think that the biological sciences will make the most difference to humanity over the next few decades. Cloning, organ replacement, genetic engineering, etc.
Will science ever admit to the real world implications of magick? Or will they simply re-term it something else and claim it as their own?
If they can make it work they will never acknowledge it much more than they acknowledge alchemy or the wonders of ancient metallurgy.
Is this the magnum opus of Pete Carroll? Or will we be seeing more writings from you, on various topics, in the future?
Poincare the mathematician said that science proceeds "funeral by funeral." By this he meant that the older scientists usually have to die off before a new theory attains acceptance. Proof of 3D time may lie some way off, perhaps beyond the end of my life.
On the other hand, it could get shot down at any time. If it does then I may devote my remaining time to something completely different. However I doubt that I shall return to writing any further books on magick because I feel that I have already said everything I had to say on that subject, unless perhaps something completely new and unexpected comes up.
Carroll may be a rebel physicist, but sometimes you have to rebel in order to shed the complacency of the norm, and break the seal on new ideas and discoveries. He did it with magick. And I see no reason why he couldn't do it with physics as well?
Posted by jiva at August 5, 2004 12:55 AM
Posted to Occulture