by Peter Carroll.
In Chaos Magic, beliefs are not seen as ends in themselves, but as tools for creating desired effects. To fully realize this is to face a terrible freedom in which Nothing is True and Everything is Permitted, which is to say that everything is possible, there are no certainties, and the consequences can be ghastly. Laughter seems to be the only defence against the realisation that one does not even have a real self.
The purpose of Chaos Rituals is to create beliefs by acting as though such beliefs were true. In Chaos Rituals you Fake it till you Make it, to obtain the power that a belief can provide. Afterwards, if you have any sense, you will laugh it off, and seek the requisite beliefs for whatever you want to do next, as Chaos moves you.
Thus Chaoism proclaims the Death and Rebirth of the Gods. Our subconscious creativity and parapsychological powers are more than adequate to create or destroy any god or self or demon or other "spritual" entity that we may choose to invest or disinvest belief in, at least for ourselves and sometimes others as well. The frequently awesome results attaining by creating gods by act of ritually behaving as though they exist should not lead the Chaos magician into the abyss of attributing ultimate reality to anything. That is the transcendentalist mistake,, which leads to the narrowing of the spectrum of the self. The real awesomeness lies in the range of things we can discover ourselves capable of, even if we may temporarily have to believe the effects are due to something else, in order to be able to create them. The gods are dead. Long live the gods.
Magic appeals to those with a great deal of hubris and a fertile imagination coupled with a strong suspicion that both reality and human condition have a game like quality. The game is open ended, and plays itself for amusement. Players can make up their own rules to some extent, and cheat by using parapsychology if desired.
A magician is one who has sold his soul for the chance of participating more fully in reality. Only when nothing is true, and the idea of a true self is abandoned, does everything become permitted. There is some accuracy in the Faust myth, but he failed to take it to its logical conclusion.
It takes only the acceptance of a single belief to make someone a magician. It is the meta-belief that belief is a tool for achieving effects. This effect is often far easier to observe in others than in oneself. It is usually quite easy to see how other people, and indeed entire cultures, are both enabled and disabled by the beliefs they hold. Beliefs tend to lead to activities which tend to reconfirm belief in a circle they call virtuous rather than vicious, even if the results are not amusing. The first stage of seeing through the game can be a shocking enlightenment that leads either to a weary cynicism or Buddhism. The second stage of actually applying the insight to oneself can destroy the illusion of the soul and create a magician. The realisation that belief is a tool rather than an end in itself has immense consequences if fully accepted. Within the limits set by physical possibility, and these limits are wider and more malleable than most people believe, one can make real any beliefs one chooses, including contradictionary beliefs. The Magician is not striving for any particular limited identity goal, rather he wants the meta-identity of being able to be anything.
So welcome to the Kali Yuga of the Pandaemonaeon wherein nothing is true and everything is permissable. For in these post-absolutist days it is better to build upon the shifting sands than the rock which will confound you on the day it shatters. Philosophers have become no more than the keepers of useful sarcasms, for the secret is out that there is no secret of the universe. All is Chaos and evolution is going nowhere in particular. It is pure chance which rules the universe and thus, and only thus, is life good. We are born accidentally into a random world where only seeming causes lead to apparent effects, and very little is predetermined, thank Chaos. As everything is arbitrary and accidental then perhaps these words are too small and pejorative, rather we should perhaps say that life, the universe and everything is spontaneously creative and magical.
Relishing stochastic reality we can revel exclusively in magical definitions of existence. The roads of excess may yet lead to the place of wisdom, and many indeterminate things can happen on the way to thermodynamic equilibrium. It is vain to seek solid ground on which to stand. Solidity is an illusion, as is the foot which stands on it, and the self which thinks it owns either is the most transparent illusion of all.
The heavy vessels of faith are holed and sinking along with all lifeboats and ingenious rafts. So will you shop at the supermarket of sensation and let your consumer preferences define your true self? Or will you in a bold and lighthearted fashion, thieve from both for the fun of it? For belief is a tool for achieving whatever one chooses to consider important or pleasurable, and sensation has no other purpose than sensation. Thus help yourself to them without paying the price. Sacrifice Truth for Freedom at every opportunity. The greatest fun, freedom and achievement lies not being yourself. There is little merit in simply being whomsoever you were destined to be by accident of birth and circumstance. Hell is the condition of having no alternatives.
Reject then the obscenities of contrived uniformity, order and purpose. Turn and face the tidal wave of Chaos from which philosophers have been fleeing in terror for millennia. Leap in and come out surfing its crest, sporting amidst the limitless weirdness and mystery in all things, for those who reject false certainties. Thank Chaos we shall never exhaust it. Create, destroy, enjoy, IO CHAOS!