Many of you out there are probably wondering just what the hell all of this
talk about paradigmal fluidity or random beliefs really is. A lot of you who have invested serious amounts of time,
energy, effort, and material resources engaged in one single belief or spiritual path may find the idea
that there are people belief shifting and paradigm switching to be offensive. This discussion, then, is probably not for you.
Unless you would like to know what some of us 'paradigm pirates' are up to.
The art of paradigm piracy, often called metaprogramming by those doing it for spiritual or evolutionary-sounding reasons, is today practiced most self-consciously by
Chaos Magic practitioners, Discordians, and others influenced by those streams. Many Neo-Pagans also practice a sort of paradigm piracy, though
will not admit to consciously doing so, unless they are more experienced or wise. And while there are always, fortunately, many people who are engaged in learning from spiritual paths, religions,
and/or mystical traditions other than their own, not many of those could be said to be doing so with the express purpose of gleaning all the knowledge, technique, and wisdom
that can be absorbed before moving on to the next one. You see, a paradigm pirate does this sort of thing deliberately, not because they would want to
'broaden their mind' by knowing what others are doing (though this is a useful side-effect). A paradigm pirate goes into each belief system as readily and open as the new initiate or
newly born-again believer, as a fully participating member, in order to gain for themselves a sense of what works within each particular system (and how it works), so that they
can try to get a clearer grasp on the many facets of reality in the efforts to be more magic(k)ally and psychologically successful. Another important goal is the immediate happiness that
the fluidity of such an approach causes.
Each paradigm pirate has, of course, their own personal reasons for doing such things. Many usually cite 'mind expansion' and perceptual fluidity as tangible goals. Some cite
a voracious appetite for knowledge and ways to become more effective. A few may even go so far as to say that they are looking to learn about their 'true self' or 'higher power,' though this last reason is much
derided as being a bit too 'hokey' for the rest of us. Despite the reason for engaging in such a thing, paradigm piracy is a healthy spiritual approach to the participation in life.
Paradigm pirates are eclectic, but not like the 'willy nilly' eclectics of the more New Age or fluffy-bunny Neo-Pagan sorts. Paradigm pirates care nothing for whether
or not a system or religious tradition is considered 'evil' or 'misguided' by any other group. They will explore it from within and get as much from it as the most serious and dedicated adherents of that tradition.
Unlike most 'eclectics,' paradigm pirates do not go around telling everyone what they are about. Many people won't even know when they have crossed paths with a paradigm pirate. They blend in with their 'adopted' tradition
so much that they can convince the 'true believers' and the 'adepts' that they are sincere. This sincerity is not false, as the paradigm pirate is sincerely seeking out knowledge and ways to grow. But, once they feel that they have
gotten all that they can get from the tradition or system, they move on to others. Many people who stick to one system or tradition their whole lives will often notice the paradigm pirate only by their sudden absence.
"What ever happened to so-and-so? She was doing so well walking in her faith." But then again, the absence is also often easily taken as a sign of 'falling away' from the 'one true faith' or 'the goddess' or 'magic'
or whatever other terms people use to express their spiritual-supremacist views about their own group.
There are many techniques that are useful to this approach. But before we go any further, some mention should be made about the much celebrated and hyped experimentation using entheogenic/psychedelic drugs.
Many people who experiment heavily with such drugs often fall into the error of assuming that people who don't do so can not possibly open their minds to expansion or perceptual shifts. This error can only be maintained by those who
refuse to investigate the plethora of techniques that do not involve drugs at all. Likewise, many people who avoid entheogenic drug experimentation tend to assume that those who do so can not possibly arrive at any real meaningful insights.
There are merits to each argument. Likewise, identifying too strongly with one side or the other can blind one to the deficiencies. It is best to keep an open mind to any techniques, regardless of whether you personally prefer to engage in them.
Blowing one's assumptions to pieces is the true measure of success on any path of wisdom or knowledge, and if that does not happen to you, then you are obviously going about it the wrong way.
Regardless of what techniques are used, paradigm piracy is not as interested so much in techniques themselves as it is in spiritual/mental living fluidity and magic(k)al effectiveness. A discussion about some concepts with a few examples of
actual paradigm piracy will be helpful. The following discussions are for those of you who may be interested in this sort of thing.
"You can only fully understand a belief when you know the circumstances in which that belief is wrong."
Have you ever heard of the term 'cut-up' used in experimental writing, art, or even magic(k)? (If not, you should read the following. If you are already acquainted with cut-ups, you can skip ahead to
the next paragraph.) Cut-ups are a good way of breaking one out of one's mental habits and can lead you to an infinite variety of expression. In terms of magic, cut-ups can lead you to a meta-paradigmatic understanding of
how energy and meaning can be manipulated by your usual modes of expression. An awareness of this can lead to some interesting occult applications for those of you
practicing magic(k). Cut-ups can also provide you with an endless source of divination, not only in the more traditional
occult spheres, but also in seemingly everyday and ordinary events, turns of phrases, or artwork you may come across (and get a chance to apply the technique towards).
Cut-ups have been used in many novels, such as those of Robert Anton Wilson, or William Burroughs. Many artists today use the technique, some of them without even knowing where it came from.
The basic idea is that you take something, such as a text, and you cut apart the various phrases and words, recombining them to find new potentially powerful expressions. It also gets you to
break up your habitual and lazy methods of perception. In art, the same idea is applied to various images in order to open up to new ways of seeing. With magic(k), cut-ups can use these as starting points for other things.
Which leads to the next point.
You can use the technique of cut-ups on yourself. You simply take various phrases that mean something to you, or that express your inner-most desires, or beliefs about yourself and the world, cut them up and recombine them. Or you can switch them around.
You can even do it via sound-recording devices. Or, for a different tack, photographs and video. This can provide you with some interesting insights to your own perceptual habits and how to change, expand, or leave them behind.
Another way of doing the same thing is through the practice of what Chaos Magic practitioners call 'random beliefs.'
The practice of random beliefs can give you an insight into paradigm piracy like no other technique. Using cut-ups with your most deeply cherished or preferred beliefs, or with other beliefs, even those you may find
offensive or questionable, will illustrate this to yourself more than reading anyone else's accounts or results (though they may help). You may also wish to try spending an entire day or so acting and perceiving from within belief systems
that you come across. This is a step towards paradigm piracy, though the actual paradigm pirate is able to pick any belief system that interests them and, after studying it, leap right in with all the fervor of a 'true believer.'
There are many beliefs out there for you to pick and choose from. Not only the more obvious ones that may bother you, such as the Jehova's Witnesses, or the beliefs of the local Christian Evangelical group, but also
the more obscure ones. The trick is to not get caught up into the external props and the viral-meme thoughtforms, but to intuit the underlying structure of the beliefs themselves, and be able to understand for yourself how those beliefs empower their adherents.
It is good to have as much access to as many beliefs as you can get a hold of, since they are the tools you are working with. Without getting too specific, since you need to do this yourself with whatever manifestations of belief you find expressed by those around you, here are
some types of belief you may wish to play with.
open-ended atheism: There is no god at all, though what's this I hear about paranormal shit?
strict materialism: There is certainly no god at all and all that magic(k) crap is simply superstition and irrational feed-back loops
monotheism: There is a god. The One and Only God, and S/he is your God! If you don't believe this, you are an ignorant sinner in need of salvation/enlightenment/reality, especially you polytheists
dualism: We are the good guys and the rest are the bad guys, or vice versa. Our God and Her/His power is of the light. Yours is of the devil/dark/no-good-shit. (Also applicable to other belief structures.)
polytheism: There are all sorts of gods and goddesses and spirits and powers worthy of respect, worship, and love. Those monotheists are simply stuck up
one-truth: This is the real truth. All others are lying or deluded. (Similar to monotheism, except that it needs no god. Usually people who come up with such 'truths' can be revered like a god)
many truths: There are many truths and approaches to Reality/God/The Universe. Don't be so judgmental!
sad nihilism: Nothing really matters anyway. The hammer drops on us all. Why bother?
happy nihilism: Nothing really matters anyway. Might as well have some fun
neurotic essentialism: Everything matters and has meaning. Omigods! I am so worried! What if?
relaxed essentialism: Everything matters. This is pretty damned sweet. No matter what happens, there is significance to this. But why worry? That's just how it is
zen-pretendism (a.k.a. monism): Everything is really an aspect of the one universal 'buddha, consciousness, source, whatchamicallit' so I'll eat when I eat and shit when I shit
As you can probably tell, these have been through a little cut-up process and are presented in ways that are easily mixed and matched. There are so many others, such as the beliefs that social revolutionaries adhere to, or some of the finer points
of the various spiritual or religious systems. But you can pick up those as you go along.
Paradigm pirates don't stop at the 'random belief' thing. They fully immerse themselves in each particular belief system, usually joining a particular group that espouses or practices the system. This can be dangerous as it opens one up to the real possibility of conversion. The smart paradigm pirates will leave the belief system or tradition behind once they become aware of this
possibility. With time and practice, it becomes easier. However, sometimes some downtime is needed in order to recover. Also, some very real social connections may be established, such as in some of the more cultish groups, that may have repercussions. Thus, it is easy enough to try metaprogramming oneself in the comforts of your own life, but for a real go of it, you need to get a little
'down and dirty' and actually delve a little deeper so that the insights and energies of the belief system as it really operates, as opposed to how it is presented in literature you may find, can be intuited from those who adhere to it. This is especially important in many magic(k)al traditions, or in many Neo-Pagan, New Age, or mystery groups, where the participation in ritual with others
is the core of the practice.
There is no need to be an ass-hat about it, either. Some groups, especially the Neo-Pagans, have no problem with you participating even when they know you are a paradigm pirate. (Though, you may wish to use a more diplomatic sounding term for it.) There are some groups that will give you all they can teach you right up front, and you have the freedom to leave at any time.
Other groups may be a bit more secretive about what they do and may look unkindly on you for leaving. In the end, remember that any agreements you may make with others are simply at your own discretion.
Certain groups may require more of an involvement than others. Some may have you wearing various ritual clothing, or lack of any clothing, for participation, others may simply require a knowledge of the correct gestures and/or phrases at appropriate times. Some groups
may require a more radical commitment entailing hairstyles, daily clothing, diet, and various exercise and study regimens. It is entirely up to you whether you wish to temporarily adopt such requirements for the duration of your
exploration. A lot of people may belittle such requirements, and that may be your ultimate outlook as well. However, there are many key constructions of magic(k)al power embodied in the practice of such requirements and you certainly don't want to overlook those.
Just never lose sight of the fact that you are doing it all for a reason other than the that of the 'true believers.' No one else in the group need know of your intentions, and if you play your role well, no one should suspect that you are not 'one of them.' You may wish to start practicing this
sort of thing with more open groups, such as some Neo-Pagans or some Buddhists before you attempt to try it out with one of the more hard core cultish groups.
Likewise, some religious groups, such as those practicing Santeria, may require you pass through certain rites which have the potential to profoundly affect who you are and how you go about thinking about the world. Such groups also have very clear guidelines to determine whether what you go through is genuine. So you may
need to involve yourself up to just a little bit shy of actual conversion. I don't know, though. With the Santeria groups, you have to at some point become initiated and matched to a certain Orisha, and then at some point, you are expected to be able to manifest that Orisha under full possession. So, with that example in mind, you may wish to carefully determine what it is you want out of a group
before you decide to 'join.'
Some Witchcraft covens also require the traditional 'one year and one day' of study as a dedicant before they decide to accept you into most of the rituals they practice that have real content and power. (At least the covens that haven't succumbed to the more fluffy bunny strains of Witchcraft.) The more experienced covens, or at least covens with more experienced elders, may actually be more
open to you if you lay out your real intentions beforehand. This is an avenue you should try, if only because working in covens can create a close bond with the other members, and some of them may be able to intuit your intentions. In these cases, there is no need for pretending to be a 'true believer.' Also, most covens only require participation in the rituals and a certain degree of study and practice at developing certain insights. They don't usually require
you to believe in anything.
Most non-aligned Neo-Pagan, or other open 'circles' don't really care what you are about. Though many tend to be a bit fluffy or caught up in much of the interminable talking and squabbling about the various things that concern them, such as magic(k)al themes, or the correct form of Christian-bashing that attempts to pretend to not be bashing. They are easy enough
to participate in, though you may find you have to waste some time with a few before you find one that has something for you.
Just remember that with whomever it is you wish to do whatever it is you are trying to do that you don't lose sight of your intentions. You stand a good chance of making many new and interesting friendships with people. Also remember that those connections are really the basis of any group, regardless of whatever each particular group might say.
As such, they could be a source that could draw you into actual conversion. Keep your eyes open.
Regardless of the fact that I have chosen to primarily base my own activities and perceptions on what I consider my own twin fonts of inspiration, Neo-Pagan Witchcraft and Buddhism, I am also, as some of you may know,
well identified as a Discordian. To explain to you how these three things fit seamlessly into my awareness and life more than I have, would be a bit off track for this discussion. Just keep in mind that my Discordian practice, along with my
Chaos Magic experimentation, has led me to be aware of my own paradigmal piracy. The following examples will illustrate exactly how I have gone about doing this.
But first indulge me in a short explanation of how I came about being a paradigm pirate (or at least my favorite version of what I tell myself).
When I first started getting into practicing what is known as 'High Magic(k),'
I learned much about astral projection and out of body experiences. This taught me the remarkable fluidity of this thing we call 'identity' along with the perceptual limitations and/or possibilities that various 'identities' can contain within themselves
as integral assembly points for 'knowing' and 'feeling.' This corresponded closely, though not exactly, with my Buddhist training which showed me much of what goes into how we see ourselves as 'selves.' If one can assume or take on different forms or identities when doing astral travel, or otherworld journeying, (and sometimes
these different identity-shapes are necessary when doing so), then it is no stretch to begin applying such techniques and experience to the various thought habits, lifestyle patterns, and feelings, that various ways of belief, traditions, or spiritual/magic(k)al systems exhibit in 'this world' or society.
This realization led me to conclude that paradigm piracy is what I have been doing all along, well before I was aware of the term. Ever since I was little I have enjoyed exploring other religions and talking with followers of those religions to the point where I felt like
I could join. Regardless of whether I actually went along and joined or not, I understood where their sense of potency was coming from and all the uses of the various props, rituals, and techniques used to strengthen adherents' faith and commitment. Eventually I realized that various religions and traditions have specific language styles
and thought forms, and that I could use those as well as any 'true believer' in speaking with such people in order to encourage them or discourage them from doing whatever it is they felt they should be doing. (This is actually a lot easier to accomplish among adherents of belief systems that rely on orthodoxy and dogma then it is to do among people
who are Neo-Pagans or free-thinkers of one type or another. The codes underlying dogmatic beliefs are easy enough to learn. Subsequently all one need do is spout the correct ideas and express the correct feelings.) When I discovered religions where this sort of thing was cherished and encouraged, such as Buddhism, or Neo-Pagan Witchcraft, I had found
a good base or 'home,' so to speak, from where I could express all of the results of what I was experimenting with in other various systems, some of them mutually contradictory and even antagonistic. It was only natural that once Discordianism and myself came into contact, that I would use that as a major 'home/base.'
One of the first examples of my own conscious paradigm piracy, or metaprogramming is:
When I first started practicing Neo-Pagan Witchcraft, I fell into contact with an extremely cultish group of Christian fundamentalists
who viewed me as a Christian that needed to become a 'true believer' and thus a member of their own group of congregations. I obviously kept my Pagan affiliations to myself when dealing with them.
I simply went on ahead and 'studied the bible' with them when they would call me up to do so. The thing that really bothered and vexed these knobs was that I knew so much about their own dogma, doctrines, and belief-system that they could not find one shred of scriptural evidence
that I could not counter with equally valid scriptural evidence. They could not 'bring me in.' Although I should say that they made a brilliant effort. (Being raised into
a sort of Pentecostal, evangelical, and all-around 'hard-core' version of the religion gave me a wonderful advantage as I had to study the bible meticulously. I knew the 'lingo' and the tactics for conversion, inside and out.)
Eventually, they brought me to the pastor of their local congregation since they were at a loss. Heh. I know they thought that such a 'spiritual giant' as their pastor would make quick work of me.
I wish I could say that I trounced the pastor, but he was as good at the game as I was. So we sat there together with his bible, quoting and citing scripture to each other, and me pulling my 'true-believer-but-not-going-to-join-your-group' act had them all perplexed.
It must have taken an hour or so, with the end result being that the pastor said he would pray for me. (Though from the look on his face, he was furiously pissed off that he couldn't get to me.) At that moment what I could have said was that I was now a Pagan and that his prayers wouldn't matter. But I played my paradigm part to the full by saying "No Thankyou. Pray for someone
who needs it." And then I left. Heh. With a good feeling inside. I had been sincere in my game, so at the time, I was really into the religion and argued as passionately as the pastor did. I was of course in a very real danger of re-converting since Christianity was a religion that I had known since I was
a child, but I stuck to my guns. I knew that no one belief system was enough for me, unless it was one I created for myself, and then it would have to be subject to endless change and adjustment. The rest of that spring and summer I put my piracy on hold and got into learning the whole Witchcraft thing from some very intelligent people. (Which could be seen in itself as another aspect of that piracy.)
From the above example, it is clear that my earliest experiences of paradigm piracy were with Christianity. But I have also gotten myself absorbed into various New Age groups and have done similar things with those adherents. I even stumbled across a couple of 'Druids' and shared some alcohol and ritual with them and they were impressed that I knew what I did about them and their group (which
is easy enough when people blab on and on about what they do and how it makes them special). Eventually they left because one of the Druids was training the other one and he felt that my influence and 'knowledge' might compromise whatever teacher-student relationship they had. Heh. It was a good time while it lasted.
I have also 'out-Thelemized' some practitioners of Thelema, who were under the mistaken impression (where could they have ever gotten that impression? I wonder.) that I was some sort of higher up in one of the various Thelema or pseudo-Thelema groups. That was easily enough accomplished because I do like Crowley's writings and certain of the rituals he devised. No harm there though. Since the Thelemites I ran into were at least good natured, if only just a little bit creepy, I let
the cat out of the bag before they totally made themselves look like fools. I didn't tell them that I was a 'chaos magic' practitioner or any of that sort. I told them I was a Witch, and this blew their minds because the Thelemites tend to view all the Neo-Pagan Witches with condescension. I guess they never knew any of the elder Wiccans, or Neo-Pagan Witches, back before the current rise of the fluffy bunny phenomenon.
After reading some of the Hare Krishna material given to me by one of their wandering adherents, I was fully able to engage them wherever and whenever they came across my path. The fact that I could argue for Krishna Consciousness as eloquently as they could only made them perplexed when I told them that after all, I have decided to be Buddhist. Heh. I was even able to use what I learned of both Buddhism and Krishna Consciousness to help a Buddhist friend who had become
an unwilling victim of one of their evangelists. I was able to cite both Buddhist ideas and Bhagavad Gita lines to thoroughly confuse them, thus saving my friend the bother of a wasted hour or so.
Since I am also a practitioner of Buddhism, it wasn't hard at all to make impassioned statements about Buddhist philosophy and why Buddhists would view the Krishna Heaven as simply another delusion. I believe I sorely tested their faith in their Lord Krishna that day.
(By the way, I wouldn't recommend trying to infiltrate the Krishna groups since they know right way by your hairstyle and dress if you are really an initiate or not. Unless you are willing to undergo their initiation for whatever reason.)
I have also done various things such as instruct people on how to properly genuflect when they enter Cathedrals to pray. I have taught people various 'correct' ways to do Wiccan ritual. Some of those 'ways' were mutually contradictory on purpose to see if they would get the jake. (Though I really didn't spill any beans there as some people are so convinced by a lot of the frou-frous going around with their fluffy bunny Wicca-lite that all I had to do was make a quick reading of their expectations and the literature they were studying).
I have convinced socialist revolutionaries that I was one of them. There are so many more examples. The trick is to assume a 'character,' if you will, and then act how that character would. To pull this off successfully entails a lot of research and practice within various systems.
At all of these times, I was 'truly' sincere about my involvement. You sort of have to be, to convince others. And you really can not learn anything unless you are willing to place yourself firmly into the character-role of being a 'true believer.' I enjoy my own 'homes' of Neo-Pagan Witchcraft, Buddhism, and Discordianism precisely because their practices and rituals don't
necessitate participants becoming 'true believers' in anything. You simply practice the rituals, study the materials, and find out for yourselves the insights and mysteries.
Random Rocking of the Boat
You may wish to try a few experiments in 'rocking the boat' among those around you through being shifty with their belief systems.
Why you would do this is, of course, entirely up to you. One of the benefits of doing so is to clearly expose just how beliefs and perceptions work on both others and yourself.
As a paradigm pirate, it is up to you whether to care about what people may think of your piracy.
One of the best ways to rock the boat is to argue passionately about how far someone else has fallen from their beliefs. When that person is pretty much on the edge of
remorse or at least anger, you can then puzzle them by switching tack and defending the views of either a similar belief or one that is diametrically opposed, depending on how you want to proceed.
Sometimes you may wish to 'hijack' someone else's paradigm in order to
accomplish whatever you have set out to do. Many times, especially if you are Discordian, you want to do something more far reaching than simply rocking the boat. Perhaps you are looking
to crack someone else's paradigm apart, opening them to the chance of expanding their mind, or getting them to wake up. This is what we Discordians call "enlightenment on a silver platter," though
the subjects of these exercises tend to disagree with that title.
One of the Discordian methods for hijacking another's belief system is through guerilla ontology. The Discordian learns the belief system, all the catchphrases, fnords, and emotional memes and then goes out to find
a practicing adherent of that belief system. Usually, the Discordian uses the various dogmas, gestures, and thought-modes, to prove her point that Eris, or some other deity, is really the 'One True God' of the believer.
Other points may be proven using someone else's belief system. (I once convinced a Christian who expressed very anti-Pagan sentiments that he was really a Discordian. I would have left him alone had he left me alone. Since that was not the case I figured I would
counter his attempts to correct me with a few confusing things from his own belief system. I subtly twisted them around however so that the end result was that he asked me if it was okay to be both Discordian and Christian.)
Many times Discordians will compete with the adherents of certain belief systems by subverting the beliefs and counter-evangelizing those people
who, for whatever reason, have become targets for conversion. Such activities are amusing in and of themselves and, if done well, should thoroughly confuse or anger the 'true believers' attempting the conversion.
Out of the many other things you can do, try fabricating revelations and scriptures of your own that match closely the expectations of the 'true believer.' This is patently difficult to do among those who belong to
belief systems in which the written scriptures are said to be 'complete' or 'sealed.' You have to be particularly careful here. Perhaps you can subtly modify existing scriptures. (You wouldn't be doing anything much different from
the founders and the caretakers of such religions anyway.)
You may wish to get together with one or a few other paradigm pirates to hijack or rock the boat of various belief systems. There are advantages to this. You have the safety and assurance of not being alone, and thus not an easy
target for a group of 'true believers' should they catch on. You also have the advantage of more energy and creativity than one person alone. Then there is the best reason of all: A good time shared by all.
Benefits of Paradigm Jumping
Jumping and hacking through paradigms can gain you some unique advantages.
The above cited mental fluidity is one of those advantages. People often assume that a stubborn resilience in the face of change is a virtue and a strength. However,
the ability to change one's mind and/or perceptions at a moment's notice is a better virtue. Instead of standing up and defending some apparently solid foundation underneath your feet,
which can only confuse you when it cracks apart, you should skate across the blowing sand drifts, or surf across the waves of shifting phenomena, realizing that you are also as shifty.
You have by now heard of the metaphor about the tree that bends in the wind being the tree that survives the storm. Well...you are not a tree, but a human being. You therefore have more options than just
standing straight or bending when the wind blows. All paradigms and beliefs are your playground and your set of unique tools and symbols from which you can build or grow your own Alphabet of Desire and your own Primary Arcana.
Or whatever you choose to make or get out of the whole thing.
You will find yourself able to look out and see exactly how others' beliefs limit their possibilities, and if you are wise, you will see how this insight can apply to your own life.
You may also learn how others' beliefs can limit your possibilities. The trick is to also learn how to use these tools of beliefs to not only open up your own possibilities but also to limit others' actions, if need be.
Hacking through another's paradigm can gain you insights into that person that even they themselves may not have realized. But such actions are not done for the potential for manipulation that this obviously opens. It is usually done for
the ability to empathize with another, or even to go beyond empathizing and actually delve into another's own perception.
Do you actually still believe that it is impossible to delve into another's perception - to see and experience the world as another?
If you have everything you need if you just believe, then why not have access to as many beliefs as you can find. That way, your chances are at least increased.
Beyond all that, your operational rituals (magic(k)) will be considerably more effective since you will have more mental tools (beliefs) at your disposal, along with whatever perceptions, thought-modes, and god-forms that go along with that.
Your horizons will be considerably expanded if you allow yourself the multifaceted access to many different paradigms simultaneously. You can view phenomena from the paradigm of a skeptical materialist, an adept occultist, a fanatic of God,
a shaman, and a Wiccan high-priestess to gain as many different perspectives as you can. Out of which one of these is the 'Real' Truth? Exactly none of them, of course. But if you have access to many different paradigms, you can not only gain
a meta-paradigmatic understanding, but you can also choose which paradigm is the best or most appropriate for your perception at the moment. Not all paradigms are good for everything or all times, obviously.
Meta-paradigmatic understanding can also help you towards the practice of empty-handed magic. All of your magic(k)al tools will be psychic/mental energy constructs, many of them 'supercharged'
by the various belief systems you have pulled them from. Since you will be used to changing/shifting paradigms at a moment's notice, you will also learn to be able to 'compose' such magic(k)al constructs 'on the fly,' so to speak.
(These magic(k)al constructs which bend and shape energy and information can be seen as simply small aspects/parts of the building blocks of what go into paradigms anyway. Also, many of the tools used in magic(k)al traditions are simply
the foci for such constructs.) You will find increasingly that you will need rely less and less on actual physical ingredients for any sorcery or enchantment, though there will still be times when you want to use them.
Some Sort of Conclusion
This is supposedly where I take all of the previous meander and sum it all up. Too bad I won't be doing so. I will leave you with some words of encouragement and, possibly, advice. In as much as any of that can be said. In as much as any of it may mean anything.
As much as I may have discussed some of my own experiences and ideas about paradigm piracy, I have left out the greater part. This is because it is important for you to not become prey to the idea that anything I may be doing is any better than any of your own experiments or experiences.
I can't say what my own reasons for paradigm piracy are without going into more meander (and if you are really interested in all that you can read some of my rants on this site, or you can correspond with me). We each have our own reasons and must draw our own questions from those reasons. Just remember that others around you
may choose not to understand what you are doing, for whatever reasons of their own. This should only spur you on in your endeavors. After all, YOU are the one who is living YOUR LIFE.
Those of you out there who have waded through this discussion and still object to the idea of paradigm piracy, or even of paradigm shifts, should reassess your beliefs. And regardless of what you may feel, think, or believe about paradigms, others are not beholden to your preconceptions.
The conclusions you jump to are your own.
"It is my firm belief that it is a mistake to have firm beliefs."
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