"On the generation of diverse animals and plants through descent with modification..."
"Of the refinement of the silicate ores and the arrangement of circuits thereon..."
"Of the splitting of the atomes to obtaineth warmth, light, and terrible destructive forces whose mere possession shall discourage all enemies from waging war upon thee..."
> At first it was thought that the uncleft was a hard thing that could be split no further; hence the name. Now we know it is made up of lesser motes.
> Some of the higher samesteads are splitly. That is, when a neitherbit strikes the kernel of one, as for a showdeal ymirstuff-235, it bursts into lesser kernels and free neitherbits; the latter can then split more ymirstuff-235. When this happens, weight shifts into work. It is not much of the whole, but nevertheless it is awesome.
> For although light oftenest behaves as a wave, it can be looked on as a mote, the lightbit.
>Tretres writes, that the Unicorn so hunts after young Virgins, that he will grow tame with them. And sometimes he will fall asleep by them, and be taken and bound. The hunters cloth some young lusty fellow in maids cloths, and strewing sweet odors on him, they set him right against the place where the Unicorn is, that the wind may carry away the smell to the wild beast. The hunters lie hid in the meantime. The beast, enticed with the sweet smell, comes to the young man. He wraps the beast's head in long and large sleeves. The hunters come running, and cut off his horn.
Some things don't change. The only big separation historically is what was allowed to be written on paper, scolls, and tablets when doing so was rare and expensive. But we still get some perspective on the human mind in the popular mystical characters and stories people invented.
> Diodorus says, that near to the city Thebais in Egypt, when Nilus overflowing is past, the Sun heating the wet ground, the chaps of the earth send forth great store of Mice in many places, which astonishes men to see, that the fore-part of the mice should live and be moved, whereas their hinder parts are not yet shaped. Pliny says, that after the swaging of Nilus, there are found little Mice begun to be made of earth and water, their fore-parts living, and their hinder parts being nothing but earth.
Out right falsehoods were not uncommonly produced as true facts of distant lands. For example, it is common knowledge that Ethiopians and natives of of the Indian subcontinent do not have heads, but rather have their face embedded directly into their chest.
Or if that is too fanciful, consider that the salamander’s natural habitat is fire.
In 1584, the magnetic compass would have been well known and understood, but the connection between electricity and magnetism was a long way off. Gilbert's De Magnete, which explained that compasses worked because the earth itself had a magnetic field, was published in 1600, not long after this book on "Magick."
Can't wait for computers to start actually understand text because reading 10 volumes where both the language and the way to think about things is - let's say - different is bloody hard.
I love reading old texts... In part because they simply aren't read
It's easy to forget how different things were. Mathematics was considered a branch of magic, possibly even by newton, and there's evidence that the romans equated magic with mathematics (I have looked before but can't find my original ref, sorry).
Astronomy grew out of astrology. Chemistry grew out of alchemy. It was thought mice were produced abiogenically from the decay of grain - literally rotting grain produced mice (found a ref, gives quite a bit of detail: https://www2.nau.edu/gaud/bio301/content/spngen.htm)
IIRC a cart ran out of control and killed someone. The cart was put on trial, found guilty and hung (edit: for murder). I think that was some medieval times. It's easy to assume one's own worldview is, was, and always will be. That's why I find some history so fascinating.
So it seems in this book it is basically knowledge about the world, with no particular distinction been "natural" and "supernatural".
Science Magick is arcane, requiring math skills and experimenation, rational and ordered
Sorcery is fel, dealing in raging infernals and sexy succubi from the Twisting Nether, emotive and chaotic
Can't ever learn too much about Pythagoras.
There is overlap, so religion has it's practical side, but here I realy mean theology.
In the early eras magic and science were essentially indistinguishable, because people had limited intellectual tools to determine what really worked and what didn't. As those tools became more codified and more reliable, science started to distinguish itself. So for example modern chemistry extricated itself from alchemy.
Nowadays we look at these questions in hindsight using the lens of modern rationalism and scientific methods, so we can distinguish between activities that were effective and reliable from those based on fanciful ideas and 'magical' thinking.
A lot of historical magic was based on a religious view of the world. So there were spells for summoning demons that could help you find treasure, or protect you from evil influences, or make someone fall in love with you. These evolved from religious practices, but then again what is a marriage ceremony or blessing if not a magical spell? They are attempts to invoke esoteric powers to make a change in the world.
Other forms of magic evolved from natural philosophy. This includes a lot of early medicine that tried to manipulate the balance of the humours in the body, or magic that invoked elemental powers or principles. The modern equivalent is crystal healing and such.
So one way to look at it is that magic is stuff based on theological or folkloric ideas, or (to not put too fine a point on it) false philosophy. That's a very modern way to slice things though. Modern occultists have also invented new and interesting ways to redefine magic, Crowley for example. And yes, I'd put him in the modern category.
... or in nay case that was a definition of magic that I was planning on basing an entire (homebrew) RPG supplement on :)
My definition of science, on the other hand is absolutely "magic that works". Modern science is achieving everything that ancient cultures tried to do with magic. Except, we found the way to understand how the world works and how to do all those things for real- the scientific method. Which doesn't always work of course- but if anything does, that's science.
So, this gives compassion to prescientific pursuits and acknowledgement of psychological forces, which we still don't understand, that govern a wide range of contemporary rituals and designs.
Because there are many things that operate through what is probably best called magic. For instance, and this is a dumb example, architectural ornamentation. It has a huge effect on the "vibe" of a building or street -- but is essentially unexplainable. Sure, we can tell ourselves stories about why the ornamentation works... But come on, it's the part of design that is just magical.
Hence why Bacon, who originated modern science by rejecting teleology and promoting math, was an occultist.
By contrast, science is bottom-up--a continuing process of experimentation and analysis. Although scientists have varying beliefs, scientific literature normally makes starting assumptions only insofar as they are helpful to the process--like the (unproven but very helpful) assumption that physical processes obey consistent physical laws that don't change between experiments, or mathematical axioms and their resulting knowledge/methods. But all knowledge obtained scientifically should be held lightly and remain subject to falsification by further experimentation.
There's nothing wrong with top-down knowledge structures built on a set of starting assumptions, as long as we don't "catch" worldviews like the cold without subjecting them to truth tests like correspondence to reality and internal consistency.
The key difference between hydrogen and helium, for instance, seems to be a matter of number.
But wouldn't you say that arithmetic, geometry and harmonics are intrinsic properties of every universe?
The discovery of these properties seems to produce almost magical effects in our world. As it would for every intelligent society discovering these properties.
In math, a wrong answer isn't so much "wrong" as it is inconsistent with established mathematical properties/rules.
The fact that it often corresponds to our experience of reality is a consequence of thousands of years of refinement with the goal of making it describe reality as closely as possible while remaining internally consistent.
But that doesn't make it any less invented... just a very helpful tool for modeling reality.
I think we can both agree that reality (the physical universe) is well-ordered, self-consistent, and eminently logical in its operation. (Side note: my own belief is that it exhibits these qualities because it reflects the character of its Creator.)
And yes, it obeys certain concepts with absolute constancy - which we have worked to discover and which our mathematical language describes.
But I still maintain that the math and physics knowledge we have is at best limited and at worst an incomplete set of poor approximations. Because they cannot (and I maintain they won’t ever) account for everything we observe, or answer every question we have about the universe, and because its axioms have led to all sorts of abstract structures that have no relation at all to anything ever observed, I still think it’s fair to call math “invented”.
That being said, the real concepts we attempt to grasp in what we observe of the universe are clearly vastly superior to our comparatively small efforts to understand and model them.
Things are true in math if we can follow the rules to derive the truth from axioms. That knowledge may then describe or predict something which should hold true in reality, which is tested via experiments.