Word is the Map; Will is the Terrain

  1st Nov 2019

Word is the Map. Will is the Terrain. Both are magical…or…No equation will ever be the taste of a strawberry.

The following is an edited and updated transcript of this video. There are some aspects of the video to which I no longer subscribe e.g. my comments on the will of Hermes.

Introduction to the Will

Clench your fist with only your index finger sticking out. Direct all your attention towards your finger. 

Think about bending it, but don’t. Consider it, but don’t do it yet. Imagine a signal traveling from your brain down your neck to your arm but still don’t do it.

Keep your concentration on your finger. Simultaneously, consider that at any time you desire you can bend your finger. However, you will only bend your finger at that moment that you desire. Tense your muscles and tendons as if on the point of bending; but don’t bend it yet.

Stare at your finger.

At some point in the next ten seconds bend your finger. 

Everything in your body and mind was ready to bend your finger. There was one thing missing. This was the spark that ignites a fire. The fuel and air  are already present but that tiny spark was needed.

If you can touch type then you will know that it feels like everything that is going on with your fingers is automatic. But if you look carefully this is under the guidance of the spark of will. This process can be started and ended at will, and it is directed by your will. Your mind is attentive to what it wants to say, and your fingers are moving without conscious effort. But Will is in overall control.

When riding a bike, the bike becomes an expression of your body and thus an extension of your will and its actions on the world. The will acts as the spark that ignites or the water that dampens the reaction set in motion. The act of bending your finger exists in potentia. The activating factor is Will. Will acts by magic.

For Crowley “Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.”

Observed externally, that is anatomically, or neurologically, or chemically, or perhaps even quantum physically; one could theoretically trace a web of causality or probabilities back to the beginning of this realm. There would be no place for a direct act of Will.

Repeat this experiment, pause the video and try it, without my instructions, and see if you can directly observe the free action of your will. 

Now that you have returned did you see the direct action of your will. What you just did was the most direct observation of the interaction of you self with the world. I suspect that you feel like that you felt that the will was acting, but you still could not quite say that it was observed. Your will is as if an illusive fairie.

My feeling is that the acts of Will are felt directly rather than observed. Observation is always somewhat indirect, even if here the veil of observation is at its lightest. This is because your will is the fundamental part of your being. In your everyday inattentive movements it is felt at a remote degree. In the finger bending exercise the veil is at is lightest but Will is still not not fully observed. This is because it is Will that observes. That Will exists, and can cause change to happen in conformity with itself is felt directly.

Perhaps you will counter by reminding me of experiments in which brain scans are performed whilst a person carries out the finger bending exercise. The results of these indicate that the conscious experience of deciding to move the finger is registered after the neurological impulse to move the finger has begun.

To understand this contemplate the following: Will is prior to the mind as it is prior to all. The mind is it’s inner expression and records the movements of Will after the fact. Both the brain and your finger are it’s outer indirect expressions. In your inner experience of the Will that willed, your finger subsequently moves and the brain subsequently records the feeling of decisions of Will. Your programming and retardation have spilt your being and you feel detached from the will, which is your self.

Will is the terrain of your life and your body, including your brain and its neurological tentacles, are the expressions of the surface of your will. Your actions are the expression of the desires of your will.

The phenomenal world is the external expression of Will.

Why on earth do heavy things fall? Some say gravity but this is just a word. To say that heavy things fall on earth because of gravity tells you nothing new. It has merely given you a word to throw in the faces of heretics. 

Some say gravity is a force. They will triumphantly direct you towards Newton, or perhaps Einstien, who represented this force universally with an equation.

Newton’s model expressed in word:

Every particle attracts every other particle in the universe with a force which is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between their centers.

Wikipedia – quote taken November 2019. I cannot find the quote on reuploading.

But how does gravity work? Some will tell you electromagnetic fields. But how do these work. Some will tell you the exchange of subatomic particles called Gravitons. But how do these work? It is turtles all the way down.

The same is true for electrical and electronic circuits. If I turn on my bedroom switch my light comes on. If I press the on switch on my computer the screen comes on. If I type on my keyboard letters appear on the screen,

I am told that the way that  electronic circuits word can be modelled by Niels Bohr’s equations. But does Bohr’s model of the electron tell you how it works? I say no. Computers, house lights, the internal combustion engine etc work by magic; they work by the actions of Will. 

On scepticism and logic.

I don’t think that scepticism and logic can produce positive knowledge. This comes from the experience of our senses and our inner observations. These provide the premises of our life. Logic and scepticism are powerful tools which can help us to understand the ramifications of the premises of our experience more clearly. They can help us understand if we are forming these premises with lucidity or retardation. 

But logic can add nothing to the original premises. If we have premises based on observation, then the conclusions are already present. The genius can see directly the ramifications from the premises. He states his insights with clarity and boldness. The herd slanders him and so he must condescend and explain the middle steps for the dull witted. 

Logic and scepticism can also defend our being from the viruses of unprofitable belief, lies and hoaxes that teem within the system we inhabit. They can give us the confidence to say to ourselves, ‘I don’t believe that,’ even if everyone else does.


In the scientific endeavour, models are often very useful for navigating the realm. This includes, but is not limited by, such goals as making predictions in specific narrowly defined events. However, scientific models, unlike in pure abstract logic, contain less information and less insight into than the phenomenological perceptions of man.

This is because the world of phenomena is vast and analogue, and any model must digitize and compartmentalize reality. In digitizing and compartmentalising the world of phenomena something is lost.

Imagine you are walking amongst the hills in a place that you know well. You have the feel of the grass underfoot, the song of the birds in the ears, and the beautiful scenery all around you. The reality of the perpetually undulating landscape, will never be fully modelled by a map on a piece of paper. If it is the elevation that you need to plan your journey,  there is a profitable map that can be used. This may include symbols for public conveniences, for bridleways and for waypoints. But this map does not contain the terrain nor does it contain the walker and the inner movements of his will. 

For the map to fully represent the phenomenological reality of the peak district, it would need to be the peak district itself and contain the man walking within and his inner life. A full quantum model of DNA will never tell you the flow of will which is externally represented by an artist’s creation.


The World is Magical

Thus this world is magical. The reason that your computer works is magic. The reason that your car works is magic. The answer to the question, “How does the internet work?” is magic. When most people ask these questions they mean, “How can we best model how the internet works.”

This answer is not just a word as in gravity. Magic is the direct actions of Will, and if you conflate it with a model such as gravity, it is because you live an inattentive life and have been literally retarded.

In the practical application of the scientific method to the world, we create specific models. If you wish to say that these models “explain how things work”, then remember that this is no more than saying that an elevation map of the Lake District explains how the hills work and the birds sing.

To return to my finger. When I bend my finger, Will is the terrain, and the terrain is magical. The muscles and tendons of my arm are the surface of my will viewed externally. The boundary of the interaction of my will with the world. My body could be modelled the surface ego of my will viewed from without.

The deeper scientific explanations via electro-chemical models or otherwise, murder this realty of Will and magic by dissecting the fullness of the experience. This is necessary for creating navigational maps and models. If this is remembered then there is no problem. Where it is forgotten you will find the map idolatry of materialism.

This is the ‘Realology Pathology’ which will be explained in due course.

What is true for the bending of my finger is true for the realm that we find ourselves in. A magical realm of the movements of Will in which the will can create utilitarian models to enable its joy of exploration.

I suspect that our own individual wills may be the disassociated wills of a singular Will.In addition to our own disassociated Will, there are other disassociated wills and the Will as it is in itself. This is why, despite the magical nature of the world, one tends to find consistency in nature and man’s desires generally not fulfilled instantaneously.

But perhaps not all have their own wills.

Magick, in the Crowleyan sense is the reconciliation of “free will and destiny.” Destiny perhaps the action of the singular Will, or its phenomenological expression ‘nature’ on man. Free will is the action of the individuated Will, man’s will, on nature. The reconciliation or practical magic is the co-working of these two.

In idolising the map, modern materialistic science works against nature, and divorces man’s true self from his destiny. The outcome is that Man becomes a slave to blind fate. Science as a noun is the materialistic idolatry of alchemy. 

Word is the map. Will is the terrain. And for a sane man, both are magical.

Or… No equation will ever be the taste of a strawberry

Original article published  1st Nov 2019

Edited, updated and re-uploaded 14 April 2020.

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