While I am not a professor or researcher in physics, I did do my undergrad in physics. I understand the basic concepts of physics and have spent many hours working away with the math in order to understand those concepts. There is nothing that riles me faster than reading some pagan or new age book that compares magic/spellcraft to quantum mechanics. IT’S NOT EVEN CLOSE TO BEING THE SAME THING!
There is this deep compulsion in our community to “justify” our practices and belief with burgeoning scientific theories. Sometimes, there are REAL connections between the research being done in many scientific fields to the practices and magic we use. The problem arises from authors who do not understand the science trying to manipulate the science to fit their magic. Let’s start to fix this.
Quantum Mechanics “is a fundamental theory in physics which describes nature at the smallest scales of energy levels of atoms and subatomic particles.” (Wikipedia is surprisingly useful when describing physics and math. . . so enjoy the rabbit hole.”
Physics is often a matter of scale. The magic that we are working in our lives and communities might be subtle, but I argue they are not at the scale of quantum mechanics. Clearly just because things are small does not mean they don’t affect our lives, but the affects of quantum mechanics is much different then the direct affects of magic and spellcraft.
Then of course, there is the cat. Witches and magical folks love their cats. Schrödinger’s cat is thought experiment from Erwin Schrodinger in 1935. Please remember that the world of quantum mechanics was really very new at this point. It was a glamorous time to be a physicist (you laugh, but like cool discoveries were happening at a pace that most couldn’t keep up with and these discoveries were getting press. . . like in newspapers and stuff in a way we hadn’t seen before). The most common thought about quantum superpositions (as a result of being linked to a random subatomic event that may or may not occur. . . again wikipedia rabbit hole) was that the state of being “alive” and “dead” at the same time until the situation was observed or acted upon. This was the Copenhagen interruption. Schrodinger thought this was absurd. He designed his experiment to show that having something be alive and dead at the same time was just ridiculous. There are many, many ways that this thought experiment has been expanded upon and used in physics today. We don’t have time for that. . .
The point is your magic and spellcraft is not an example of quantum superposition. At no point is your spell both working and not working. Your spell might be growing in power. Your will might be changing the landscape of your life. The magic of your craft might be shifting to the winds of your will. But it is not holding multiple phases/locations (my word choice fails me here) at the same time.
You can insert your “but what about the multiple world theory” call here. Just no. . . your spell is not grabbing a possible outcome in a parallel universe and dragging it into ours. Magic works in the here and now just fine.
Quantum mechanics is not really in the game of absolute values for things. More often we are talking about probabilities. Do you want to describe your magic as probability? Is your spell only 36% likely to happen in your life? No, I think our magic is much more in the realm of classical physics. We use magic to shift and change energy, often at a scale large enough to affect our whole community or family. There is a definite causality between the ritual and spellcraft we do and the outcome. Both quantum mechanics and classical physics deal with energy. We could go into the math in more detail, but the point is there are other realms of physics that can be applied to magic with more ease and less confusion. So, why do we try to shove magic in with Quantum mechanics?
Quantum mechanics is fun and sassy. There is a lot we are still learning and integrating into our understanding of the universe both on the theoretical and experimental side of things. It’s exciting to not know and to have room for uncertainty in our scientific understanding of the universe. Just because we are still learning the best way to describe magic and spellcraft does not mean that they are the same thing. Just because you can’t describe WHY quantum mechanics or magic works doesn’t mean that they have the SAME WHY.
Let’s stop selling the power of magic short. Don’t forget that the why behind our spells is our very own will, belief, and ability to connect with the energies around us.
And please, let’s do some of the math first before trying to write about physics in a new-age book.
18 thoughts on “Magic IS NOT Quantum Mechanics”
Oh Danni I love your passion. Should I, dare I, say energy?
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HAHAHA! yes, yes you should. Oh goodness do I love a good science pun!!!!
Great! Given your scientific training, I’d be interested in what you have to say about believing unfalsifiable claims …
It could be argued that QM is relevant to magic indirectly because it would seem that taking magic seriously requires a belief in free will (*real* free will, not some equivocal “compatibilist” notion of freedom). Classical Newtonian mechanics seems to leave no room for free will to operate, but QM (according to some interpretations of it) seems to leave some slack in the universe.
You’re right, “magic” is more alchemy and shamanism, but you wouldn’t have those without quantum mechanics.
Did you see this? It reminded me of your post. https://humanisticpaganism.com/2018/08/15/walking-barefoot-what-science-is-good-for-and-what-it-isnt/
I had not; thanks for sharing! It’s so great to see more Pagans talking about the whole pseudoscience thing in our community.
Absolutely brilliant post, and I also get annoyed at the misuse of science to justify spiritual practices. Not only does it lead to bad science, it also leads to bad spirituality. It’s refreshing to see pseudoscience called out in the Pagan community!
Thanks much! You are so right that it doesn’t help science or our spirituality!
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This is something I have been annoyed about for a long time, though I lack the scientific background to explain why. Thank you so much for posting this.
I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one! Thanks for the comment 😀
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I hate to say this, but I think you’re missing the point.
You didn’t touch upon Entropy (chaos), which is a fundamental concept of chaos magick. See some math here showing the relationship between entopy and quantum mechanics – http://farside.ph.utexas.edu/teaching/sm1/lectures/node46.html.
Also didn’t mention synchronicity, and it’s relation to consciousness which in turn is related to a measurable quantum field of electromagnetic energy. PEAR did a study on this you’d like: http://noosphere.princeton.edu/papers/pear/fieldreg2.pdf
I think once you do some more reading you might change your mind!
I’m wondering if you’ve ever heard of Dr. Joe Dispenza? I feel like he might have a good way to look at how magic and quantum physics are similar through the use of manifesting. It’s really interesting actually because his background is in neuroscience but he went through an experience that helped him see magic in person when he witnessed individuals freeing themselves from illnesses and creating “miracles” through focused meditation.
I have been practicing witchcraft for quite some time but I’ve felt that my true power came from my intention to manifest and spell work is essentially creating energy the same way that meditation works for quantum physics.
I would encourage you to check it out! It has changed my perception on the real energy behind our magic and how we tap into the universal/natural energy through witchcraft whereas others may use prayer, or other religious practices to tap into the same energy. Quantum physics is the best way for scientists to explain to themselves how magic works in their mind because it takes it above a level of explanation.
Hope that all makes sense! Haha
I have not heard of Dr. Joe Dispenza. However, my point in the blog post and video is that when people use Quantum Mechanics to describe magic, they show their lack of understanding the math and science behind QM. QM describes the smallest parts of our universe. It uses rules of probability to describe what will happen and what is possible. Magic is not a game of probability. Magic is about energy. This push to describe the metaphysical world through a lazy understanding of science does not help bridge the gap between the two “languages” describing the universe. It just makes the metaphysical community look like idiots to scientists.
This article is surprisingly inaccurate. Please see the Higgs-Boson Field and understand that we live in an 11th Dimensional Unus Mundus. This article sounded more like a rant against physics than it did a discussion about magick.
Source: [Whether you believe me or not matters not to me;] I am one of the 2 most adept practitioners of the High Arts alive today and am a guardian of the 2nd astral realm (Earth’s plane).
You’re %100 wrong incorrect and ignorant of the facts! Magic if true, is just focused changed consciousness attempting to change a part of our reality via forces of the universe that are all based in quantum entanglement ; where everything is connected at a small particle level throughout the universe ; you’re thoughts and intentions all effect quantum energy , vibrations in small hell-coil type proteins in special cells in your brain ; these vibrations are connected to quantum fields that can stretch throughout the universe or universes , probably outside of time and space as we know it in an instant. This can also be explained in a holographic universe too. These changes are what effects reality as we know it; want consciousness quantum proof??? just check out the old quantum double slit experiment; All the mumbo jumbo spells mediations bullshit just helps us alter our consciousness to effect change in nature; this is what a ghost is too by the way. A dead persons consciousness. Watch out though magic could come back negative on you! I believe Chaos magic is the best example of this, or a good read is: Dr Radins Real Magic book , or a book called out holographic universe .