The Country of the King

The Book of Onei is an antinomian dream grimoire, providing deceptive yet true information about the art of Oneiromancy or dream magic in the form of poetry, fantasy, and intentionally ambiguous instructions.

Dora Wheeler, Fairy in Irises, 1888

When your faith descends from heaven

When you find you cannot fly

When you lose the strength to bargain

With the powers of the sky,

 

When the things they keep demanding

Seem impossible and grand

You can come into the country

Of the powers of the land.

 

They have drunk from deeper waters

And their holiness is dark.

And to them the light is precious,

So they value every spark.

 

They are not inclined to question

What you’ve done or where you’ve been-

Though you’ve wandered far from wisdom

You can always come again.

 

There is gold beneath the mountain

There is treasure in the sea,

There’s a chalice and a fountain

Granting things that cannot be.

 

There are palaces and temples

In the cities on the plain

Made of bone as smooth as marble

Where the windows run like rain.

 

There’s a grove of golden peaches,

There are apples, green and red,

There’s a hierophant who teaches

From the gospels of the dead.

 

There are kings and queens, created

To be gods before the Fall-

Though you wandered there for ages

You could never see it all.

 

And your anguished hope of heaven,

Once a parched and withered thing,

Will be branches red with berries

In the country of the king.

 

– from the Book of Onei, Part II: The Lore of Onei

 

Image by Dora Wheeler

Lore of Onei

The Book of Onei is an antinomian dream grimoire, providing deceptive yet true information about the art of Oneiromancy or dream magic in the form of poetry, fantasy, and intentionally ambiguous instructions.

Wilfred Gabriel de Glehn (1870-1951) , Night

The door to Sana Delayo is always open.

 

The Blue Pearl- a blue pearl of spiraling energy, capable of dissolving or transmuting any demonic power. Roll it in your hands to dissolve a nightmare.

 

The City- a magical city ruled by the Red Queen. The scene of many otherworld wars.

 

The Compass- an oracle owned by a king of Onei who was an ally of the Red Queen during the War of the Book. It is an old compass on a shipwreck mounted on a magnetic stone. It always predicts evil, and it makes sure that its own prophecies come to pass.

 

The Dark Tower- a gnostic prison where the Red Queen was once held prisoner. If you ever find it, you will discover that you have always been there. The bottom floor of the Dark Tower contains everything in mundane life, but merely spending time there causes you to forget where you really are. To escape the prison, do not run from wind or water. Allow the storm to destroy your dream.

 

Gnosis- true and sacred knowledge acquired from Onei.

 

The House- a vast, rambling house with countless rooms. Often attacked by malevolent forces. The attic is haunted.

 

The Kind- the fairies or elves. The folk of Onei.

 

The Naught- the other side of dream and death, a limitless soaring bliss or light. The Void. The divine darkness.

 

The Mysterium- magical power, a current of electricity or intoxication. It spins or spirals, either clockwise or counterclockwise. It can be dark or light. It can dissolve loops and knots and destroy nightmares. It can possess you, either in Onei or the waking world. It can destroy the world and break through to the other side. It can appear as rising floodwaters, tsunamis, tornadoes, waterspouts or in other symbolic and terrifying forms. The mysterium can destroy all structure, all order. When the true power of the mysterium is unleashed, it can annihilate anything and everything, revealing the Naught.

 

Night Wandering- oneiromancy, the art of mythic dreaming.

 

Onei- the dream realm. It sends its messages by chance, yet it can be courted in trance. If you want knowledge, seek out darkness and silence.

 

A Power- a significant entity in Onei, such as a god, saint, angel or demon.

 

The Prime- warriors of the Kind. A regiment in the Red Queen’s armies. The Prime has an initiation test consisting of strange riddles. If you answer perfectly, you pass. If your answers are almost correct, you fail. If your answers are completely incorrect, you have a second chance to pass by going on a quest.

 

Sana Delayo- another word for Onei.

 

The Secret Library- a library on the rim of the Valley of Shadow, containing books on any and every topic from multiple different realities. The keepers of the library were cruel men, torturers and slavers, but the slaves rebelled and killed them, then disposed of their bodies in a lake. Not all of the masters were killed in the battle, and the survivors later counterattacked. The fate of the Secret Library remains uncertain. Later glimpses suggest that at least some grim powers may still be present there.

 

The Valley of Shadow- an infinitely deep valley of total darkness into which the dead must walk, led by a faceless guide with the mannerisms of a carnival barker. Many are too terrified to step down into the darkness, so they wander along the rim of the valley, angry and confused. If you go down into the darkness you can break through to the other side. The Valley of Shadow is the womb of the Naught.

 

Dream Quest– A journey or quest that occurs within a dream or series of dreams, for the purpose of achieving some mythic task or acquiring gnosis.

 

Answer all riddles; complete all quests.

 

– from the Book of Onei, Part II: The Lore of Onei

 

Image by Wilfred Gabriel de Glehn

The Bells of Delta Epsilon

Form is the Illusion is a book about Relationship Theory, an unusual system of metaphysics developed by the late David Douglas Thompson. Relationship Theory addresses questions of ontology and epistemology in a way that is likely to be of interest to pagans and occultists.

Henry Justice Ford

Ƶ + Δ Ɛ = Ƶ¹

 

If there is any change of energy in a system, the relationships will change.

 

Zed Magic is the art of changing relationships between objects in information space. If you want to change the relationship between two billiard balls, you hit one of them with a pool cue. If you want to change any relationship in existence, you must introduce new information energy.

 

Traditional forms of occultism already work with this concept. The idea of information space is built in, a starting assumption that is never fully articulated. Consider this description of sympathy and contagion from Frazer’s Golden Bough:

 

“If we analyze the principles of thought on which magic is based, they will probably be found to resolve themselves into two: first, that like produces like, or that an effect resembles its cause; and, second, that things which have once been in contact with each other continue to act on each other at a distance after the physical contact has been severed. The former principle may be called the Law of Similarity, the latter the Law of Contact or Contagion. From the first of these principles, namely the Law of Similarity, the magician infers that he can produce any effect he desires merely by imitating it: from the second he infers that whatever he does to a material object will affect equally the person with whom the object was once in contact, whether it formed part of his body or not.”

 

Frazer’s work has a lot of issues, but this account of sympathy and contagion does accurately describe how a lot of magical practices work. Both of them assume the idea of information space. Two objects that are symbolically linked are close to each other in information space. Two objects that have once been in contact remain close in information space.

 

Magical workings are mythopoetic, relying on the occult or unseen power of mythic symbols and correspondences to affect changes in information space.

 

This is the implied logic of using symbolism and ritual in magical workings – for example, when a witch in seventeenth-century Scotland made a “picture” or clay doll of some laird in order to slowly roast it over the fire, she believed it would harm her oppressor because of the symbolic correspondence. Although she would not have used this terminology, the “picture” and the laird were close together in information space.

 

In all likelihood the target shared basically the same worldview as the witch, thus bringing them closer in information space whether he was aware that he was being targeted by witchcraft or not. If the laird held a skeptical materialist worldview, it would have pulled him away from the clay doll in information space. Not many people held a skeptical materialist worldview in seventeenth-century Scotland. Not many people believe whole-heartedly in the power of witchcraft in our society. Thus, any working based exclusively on a single mythopoetic worldview will have less leverage in information space and cannot be expected to work as well as it would in a society with only a single dominant worldview. Magic itself is no less powerful, but we need a different strategy to effectively access it.

 

The average person had access to fewer worldviews in the past, and magic gained power through total commitment to a single worldview – thus the traditional emphasis on unquestioning faith in the power of the charm. Zed Magic assumes the postmodern reality of multiple and often conflicting worldviews, and “rings the changes” on them by never operating through just one of them at a time.

 

If you want to introduce delta epsilon or “change energy” into any zed or relationship, you should ring the changes on the situation by combining as many different worldviews as possible in your approach.   If some forms of delta epsilon are more effective in a given situation than others, does that contradict “interactions are the reality; form is the illusion”? It may seem to be a contradiction, but it’s actually a confirmation of the principle. If I try to lift a heavy object and succeed, that is a successfully completed interaction – a reality. If I try and fail, it is the opposite. In our magical workings, the change we are looking for either happens or fails to happen. If it doesn’t happen, we didn’t succeed in completing the interaction so there is no reality to speak of. If it happens as planned, the specifics of how and why no longer matter. The interaction is the reality and the form is an illusion.

 

So if we need to ring the changes and apply as many different types of change energy as possible, it might be helpful to consider what types or modes of information energy are available to us. I can think of at least six. In reference to the concept of “ringing the changes,” I’m going to refer to them as “bells.” When you construct any magical working according to the principles of Zed Magic, you should try to ring as many of these bells as you can:

 

1- Physical

 

2- Political

 

3- Ideological

 

4- Aesthetic

 

5- Rational

 

6- Mythopoetic

 

Applying the six bells to the use of magic, remember this formula:

 

 

Ƶ + Δ Ɛ = Ƶ¹

 

If there is any change of energy in a system, the relationships will change.

 

The basic idea of any working is to add delta epsilon or “change energy” to an existing relationship, changing it into something new. If the relationship in question is a “zed cycle” or information loop, a repeating pattern incapable of changing on its own, then your working should break the loop and free those trapped by it.

 

Unfortunately, the Archons and ruling powers are already applying Zed Magic to create and maintain the information loops they benefit from. If you consider the current structure of our society, it becomes immediately obvious that mass media and popular culture are constantly and effectively ringing all six bells on behalf of the status quo.

 

The first bell is physical, the use of force. This can mean any sort of force at all – you need the first bell to build a house or a temple, to pick up a child or to push an object out of the way. However, physical forces can also be used to inflict violence – and it is never possible to rule other people without the threat of violence. In a military dictatorship, outright violence would be used to crush dissent. Representative democracies like the United States will try to avoid being seen to do so. However, the system uses military force almost constantly outside its borders, and relies on the violence of law enforcement to control its lower classes and maintain order within its borders.

 

The organs of the state, while theoretically democratic, are actually under the indirect control of corporate interests. This is political power – the second bell. Because this control is indirect and unacknowledged, people are encouraged to believe they can influence the system through constitutional means when in fact their political power is very limited.

 

A system based on nothing but political and physical power would be highly unstable. People must be made to believe in and support the system, even though it does not operate for their benefit but for the benefit of the ruling classes. Vast numbers of people are deeply convinced that “free market” capitalism equals Liberty itself and that even the most compromised forms of socialism are fundamentally immoral. This is the power of ideology, the third bell, constantly sounded by the news media and repeated from mouth to mouth by millions of people.

 

Ideology is very powerful, but it becomes much more powerful when it is attached to emotion. In movies and TV shows, video games and pop songs, the emotions that benefit the system are constantly evoked and encouraged – hedonistic consumption fueled by manufactured self-hatred, fear of the Other in various forms, sentimental idealization of the military. This is the power of aesthetics, the fourth bell.

 

The system is supported by the seemingly rational arguments of mainstream economists, presenting their opinions as neutral and incontrovertible facts and dismissing all opponents of capitalism as people who “don’t understand economics.” This is the power of reason, the fifth bell. (This doesn’t actually mean that the opinions in question are reasonable or even rational – only that they use reason to make their case. One could argue that a “science” based on limitless growth is irrational at its core.)

 

Finally, the system encourages adherence to certain forms of religion and spirituality – forms that encourage people to do whatever would benefit the ruling classes. The Protestant work ethic is an obvious example, but even non-mainstream forms of spirituality often serve the interests of the system. Some teach people the “Secret” of wealth while explaining why the poor are at fault for their own poverty. Others teach people how to reduce stress and be a better employee through “mindfulness.” Others teach people the “witchcraft” of entrepreneurial success. This is the mythopoetic power, the sixth bell.

 

The forces supporting the system are already using Zed Magic, and they are very good at it. In fact, the Left has been somewhat inept at this sort of thing in comparison to our antagonists. The Nazis, for instance, created a total package of social control based on an effective mix of aesthetics and ideology combined with the reckless use of physical force to seize and maintain political power. Everyone knows there was some interest in occultism within Nazi circles, but the formal practice of occultism was only one small part of their use of magic. The Nazi aesthetic captivated and hypnotized far more people than any ritual Himmler and his SS cronies ever performed.

 

Far too often, leftists become infatuated with the power of reason, a power with relatively little leverage in information space in many circumstances. Our antagonists are operating on multiple levels at the same time to make people really love and support a system that literally doesn’t care if they live or die. And what alternative do we offer them? Dense and abstract critical analysis phrased in a language you have to study for years to even understand. Leftist disdain for the irrational cedes power to the opposition.

 

All the more reason for us to get better at our magic, and to do it quickly. Magicians who rely on the mythopoetic alone have little leverage in information space. Activists who rely on the political alone cannot build up enough momentum in information space to overcome the tremendous inertia of the existing system. Intellectuals who rely on logical arguments to sway the masses might as well be trying to hold back the tide with their hands. Musicians who compose protest songs may succeed in creating aesthetic power, but never enough of it to overcome all of the aesthetic forces the other side can muster – a mindlessly patriotic war song has aesthetic power too.

 

If we try to win by ringing just one or two bells, we will never succeed. The enemy is already ringing all six of them, and has been doing so all along. We must become adept at ringing all six bells.

 

Luckily for us, we don’t have to win in one fell swoop. Remember, every change in any zed changes all the zeds:

 

An object, to all our intents and purposes, is totally defined by the “vector” sum of all its relationships. Thus, in any given system if even one Ƶ changes then all the objects are changed, i.e. become new. (Notes on Relationships; David Douglas Thompson)

 

With every small successful change, we create a change effect that ripples through the entire system, mutating every object it comes in contact with. The more effective we become at ringing the six bells of delta epsilon, the more we change the entire structure of our reality.

 

Image by Henry Justice Ford

Ghosts, Gods and Archons

Form is the Illusion is a book about Relationship Theory, an unusual system of metaphysics developed by the late David Douglas Thompson. Relationship Theory addresses questions of ontology and epistemology in a way that is likely to be of interest to pagans and occultists.

412px-Johann_Heinrich_Füssli_063

Ƶ1 Ƶ A

 

If a particular relationship is made up of the relationship between two objects, then it is possible for that relationship to also be in relationship with a third object. (Notes on Relationships; David Douglas Thompson)

 

This formula has some interesting implications for pagan theology. A relationship between two zed objects can also be treated as a zed object. In Romeo and Juliet, the Capulets have a vendetta with the Montagues. A vendetta is a type of relationship, but the existence of the vendetta has a tremendous impact on every member of both families. Romeo is a member of the Capulet family, so whether he likes it or not he has to deal with the vendetta. Therefore, the existence of the vendetta between Capulet and Montague implies that there is also a zed between Romeo and the vendetta.

 

If the vendetta can function as a zed object in its own right, then so can other relationships. The simplest way to think of this is to imagine a ghost. You can think of a ghost as the relationship between a living person and a dead person, between a place and some traumatic event that occurred in that place, or between a person and a place perceived as haunted. In each of these cases, the haunted or numinous relationship is in itself the ghost. A zed can be a zed object, so a relationship can be an entity.

 

Here’s another example. At some unimaginably ancient point in the distant past, a human being first saw a waterfall or stood in a grove of trees or on top of a hill and felt a numinous presence, a “weird awe and shuddering dread before the mysteries of the transcendent” as described by Rudolf Otto.

 

The relationship between this person and that place was numinous, haunted, spiritual – and the numen or spirit was that relationship. Over countless centuries, the behavior of human beings in relationship with the numinous power in the landscape became a body of lore and behavior – in other words, religion.

 

Because “interactions are the reality; form is the illusion,” no distinction is drawn between different types of entity. Information space includes everything, both mind and matter. The relationship between a person and an idea is not fundamentally different than the relationship between two physical objects. Both interactions are simply A Ƶ B, “an interaction between A and B.”

 

Imagine an ancient Gaul by the name of Brennos. Brennos, as an individual human being, is a zed object. Thunder is also a zed object. Brennos hears a crash of thunder nearby and touches his hand to the wagon-wheel amulet he wears around his neck, reciting a prayer to the Gaulish thunder god Taranis.

 

The Gauls (a set of zed objects of which Brennos is a part) have a particular relationship with thunder. In Gaulish mythology, thunder is the sound of Taranis rolling his thunder wheel across the heavens. Thunder is obviously a natural phenomenon, but a Roman would relate to it as a manifestation of Jupiter while a Gaul would relate to it as a manifestation of Taranis. You could say that Taranis is the relationship the Gauls have with thunder.

 

Now, if the Gauls as a whole have a relationship with thunder and that relationship can be spoken of as Taranis, then Taranis can also be in relationship with any specific Gaul. So Brennos, as an individual Gaul, can be in relationship with Taranis.

 

This relationship is not strictly identical to the relationship between Brennos and thunder considered purely as a natural phenomenon. As a natural phenomenon, thunder indicates the presence of lightning and possibly of rain, both of which can have various practical implications for Brennos such as healthy crops, the risk of fire and so on. However, when Brennos touches the wagon-wheel amulet and recites his prayer, he isn’t just thinking about rain and fire. He’s acknowledging the divine presence of the numen and holding it in religious regard. The numen, in other words, is a particular way of relating to the natural phenomenon – yet the numen itself is also a real entity. Why? Because it is something that Brennos interacts with, and “interactions are the reality; form is the illusion.”

 

Now, if the relationship between thunder and the Gauls is itself a zed object, then the relationship between Brennos and that zed object must also be a zed object. Therefore, the relationship between Brennos and Taranis is a zed object in its own right. Therefore, there is a version of Taranis that is unique to Brennos, and it is a really existing entity while also remaining a part of the larger information set that is Taranis as a whole.

 

If Brennos has a dream vision in which Taranis tells him certain things, while his neighbor has a dream vision in which Taranis tells him other things, neither is wrong and both are right. They are each relating to a different entity, yet also to the same entity from another perspective. The Taranis of any one worshiper is more specific and more individual yet very much smaller, less complex and less powerful than the full information set of Taranis. This further implies that Taranis as a whole is part of a larger yet still real zed object – the information set containing all thunder gods, which is less individualized and specific yet larger and more complex than Taranis.

 

Thus, every deity is all of the following things simultaneously:

 

1- a zed (the relationship between a people and some phenomenon or set of phenomena).

 

2- a zed object (that relationship considered as an entity in its own right).

 

3- a member of an information set (a larger and less specific deity).

 

4- an information set containing many zed objects (all of the zeds between the deity and specific individuals, recognized aspects of the deity, specific local manifestations of the deity and so on).

 

It gets still more complicated. The ancient Carthaginians worshiped a goddess known as Tanit, Tanit, like most deities, is not just one specific thing. While the name “Taranis” actually means “Thunder” in the Gaulish language, Tanit seems like a more complex entity and cannot be reduced down to one phenomenon such as the sky – although she was definitely a sky goddess. There is a large and complex information set of associations important to the Carthaginians, of which the sky and celestial objects such as the sun and moon are only a part. Tanit is the relationship between the Carthaginians and this entire set.

 

When the Romans conquered Carthage, they encouraged the people of the area to continue to worship Tanit as the Roman goddess Juno. The synthesis of Juno and Tanit was called Caelestis. Caelestis is the relationship between Juno and Tanit, and like any other relationship Caelestis is also a zed object. Thus, Caelestis is a goddess in her own right – separate from both Juno and Tanit yet not distinct from them.

 

The cult of Caelestis spread to Roman Britain, where it merged with the worship of the local Celtic goddess Brigantia. The goddess Caelestis Brigantia is the relationship between Caelestis and Brigantia, yet is also a unique and really-existing zed object – a separate goddess, simultaneously Celtic, Roman and Carthaginian.

 

Based on this analysis, the hardest of hard polytheisms is accurate from one perspective – and the softest of soft polytheisms from another perspective. This would definitely be an occasion for “ringing the changes.”

 

In polytheist religion, we normally seek to interact with more specific and localized forms of deity. What if we tried to relate to the entire universe as a single information set? Now we’re talking about monotheism, because the religious relationship between a single worshiper and the entire universe is a zed object too, and this zed object could be described as “God.” As a religious category, monotheism is that branch of religion that favors relationship with the whole, and devalues relationships with parts of the whole. Yet there is more than one monotheism, because the relationship between a Christian and the whole is different from the relationship between a Muslim and the whole.

 

What if we do not acknowledge or experience any spiritual relationship with any entity? Now we’re talking about atheism. The relationship between a person and the whole is valid for some people and the relationship between a person and some part of the whole is valid for other people, yet there will always be some people who experience no such relationship. Thus, Relationship Theory is in some sense naturally polytheistic (because it predicts the existence of an infinite number of relationships and treats them all as entities) yet it also accounts for the existence of monotheism (the preference for relating spiritually to all of reality as a single set) and atheism (the experience of reality without numinous relationships).

 

If Relationship Theory treats a spirit as a pattern in information space, does it therefore deny the agency of the gods? No, not at all. In Relationship Theory, the direct perception of any zed object is sufficient proof of its existence, since “interactions are the reality; form is the illusion.” Some patterns in information space display the signs of agency – through mystical visions and natural processes, through the actions of human beings in relationship with them, through our dreams and our deeds. Since they display the signs of agency, they do have agency as far as Relationship Theory is concerned.

 

“Information space” refers to all contexts in which information can operate, and therefore includes everything from the physical universe to the unconscious to subtle levels of reality currently unknown to science (assuming such levels exist). A pattern in information space may play out across any or all of these.

 

Thus, ghosts are patterns in information space initiated by people who were once alive, demons are patterns with malicious intent, gods are especially powerful patterns, and archons are patterns of information that distort our perception of reality and function in such a way as to prevent humanity from fulfilling its potential.

 

A single entity can fall into more than one of these categories at the same time. For instance, the information pattern of a freshwater spring could be a nature spirit, nymph or fairy – but if that pattern began as a person who drowned in that spot, it is also a ghost. A posthumously deified hero is both a ghost and a god. A dead spirit possessing a human being for harmful purposes is both a ghost and a demon. A powerful spirit seeking to manipulate and control humanity could be seen as both a god and an archon at the same time.

 

This brings us back to the strangest passage in Thompson’s notebook:

 

“We are not, as some think, the pawns in some cosmic war but the battleground itself.”

 

Our minds and our bodies are part of information space, and the patterns in information space interact within us. We are their battleground, and the prize in this war is control of reality.

 

My father drew no distinction between the archons and the gods. I don’t agree with this view, because I see no reason to assume that every numinous presence or power would want to control or abuse human beings. Some of them, however, certainly do. By introducing new information energy into looped patterns we can break the cycle, freeing people from possession by the archons – the information patterns that hold us back from our potential as a species.

 

From this perspective, Relationship Theory is a philosophy of revolutionary exorcism.

 

Image by Henry Fuseli

Notes on Relationships

Form is the Illusion is a book about Relationship Theory, an unusual system of metaphysics developed by the late David Douglas Thompson. Relationship Theory addresses questions of ontology and epistemology in a way that is likely to be of interest to pagans and occultists.

William_Blake_003

David Douglas Thompson, the creator of Relationship Theory, passed away suddenly in 2006. Most of his ideas about Relationship Theory and information physics are now lost forever, because he died without ever completely explaining them. Until 2014, the only remnant of his theory was a single sheet of notebook paper with the Ten Laws written on it, and variations developed by people he had discussed the theory with. (He always encouraged others to develop their own variations on the concept, while hinting that his original idea was somewhat different.)

 

Against all expectation, a long-forgotten notebook came to light in 2014, containing extensive if obscure notes on Relationship Theory as its creator David Douglas Thompson conceived it in 1984. This document was titled “Notes on Relationships” and had the subtitle “Omnology,” meaning “a science of everything.”

 

The original notes were not written in any logical order, and one note often refers back to an idea expressed several pages earlier rather than to the note immediately preceding it. I have rearranged the notes into a rough structure, and added explanatory text and illustrative examples. I have not included notes that involved random speculation on scientific or paranormal topics rather than Relationship Theory as such. The original text is in italics.

 

Proposition: We (humans) know only the various relationships an object has with ourselves and the rest of the universe as seen from our point of view. We cannot know the thing in and of itself, only observe its interactions with other objects.

 

The symbol Ƶ shall mean an interaction(s) between two or more objects.

 

Commentary: Relationship theory is an omnology, a method for understanding anything that exists. In relationship theory, any relationship of any kind is referred to as a “zed” (Ƶ).

 

A zed object or “object” for short, expressed as A, B, C, etc, is an ontological entity of any kind, capable of being in relationship with other such entities. An information unit. A zed object could be a living thing, inorganic matter, a concept, an energy, a meme or anything else. A zed object can also be a set of other zed objects, just as a human being is made up of many cells. Relationship Theory treats all zed objects the same way and assumes them to operate in the same relationship patterns according to the same underlying principles.

 

Kant says that the only thing we can know is the phenomenon, the thing as mediated by our senses, brain structure and so on. Relationship theory agrees that we cannot know the noumenon or “thing in itself,” but asserts that we can know the observed relationship or “zed” between two noumena. These relationships follow patterns we can analyze, understand and predict.

 

“Interactions are the reality, form is the illusion.” To understand an object, you need to understand the underlying relationship patterns, not the superficial external form. Relationship theory is concerned with how relationships change, under what circumstances and in what patterns. A change in relationship is referred to as “delta zed” (ΔƵ) or “dynamic zed.”

 

Ƶ + Δ Ɛ = Ƶ¹

 

i.e. if there is any change of energy in a system the relationships will change.

 

Commentary: This formula can be read as “A relationship plus a change in energy equals a new relationship.” Epsilon (Ɛ) represents energy, specifically “information energy,” which includes all physical forms of energy but also all conceptual analogues of physical energy. For instance, if you give someone a crucial piece of information about some situation, you have introduced new information energy into that situation. If you come into a room full of gloomy people and break the tension with a joke, you have introduced new information energy into that situation. Whenever you do anything that adds new energy to a situation you change all the relevant relationships, whether that means hitting a log with an ax to chop some firewood or constructing an amulet to protect a friend from negative spiritual forces. In the terminology of Relationship Theory, information energy that changes a relationship is known as “delta epsilon” or “change energy.”

 

Ϲ ≠ Ε, Ϲ Ƶ Ε

 

Cause does not lead effect, but the conjunction of a cause and an effect imply a relationship.

 

Commentary: the use of the words “cause and effect” is a bit misleading here, because the statement effectively denies causality as that is generally understood. It might be better phrased as “Cause does not produce effect, but the conjunction of two events implies a relationship.” Unfortunately, the statement is not fully explained or justified in the notes.

 

Cause and effect imply delta Ƶ which implies that all cause and effect situations require 3 or more participants.

 

Ε (event) = Δ ε total

 

Which implies the introduction of a “third party” to the system. 

 

Two objects can form (excepting entropy) a static relationship only. (Ƶ) Delta Ƶ implies a third object or party “in motion” (Δ Ƶ), which of course implies a 4th object to relate to the 3rd to set it in motion and so on and so on ad infinitum. 

 

Commentary: Ε (event) = Δ ε total means “any event is a total energy change.” A changing relationship between two objects implies a third object in motion. Two zed objects in relationship cannot change on their own, they can only change with the introduction of new energy to the set by a third object, which implies an infinite regress. For example, the relationship between the billiard ball and the billiard table cannot change without the introduction of new energy by the pool cue. The relationship between the pool cue and the billiard ball cannot change without the introduction of new energy by the billiard player. This implies that all cause and effect situations require three or more participants.

 

Potential energy = matter 

 

Kinetic energy = Ƶ

 

Therefore Δ Κ = Δ Ƶ

 

Kinetic energy in a static system = entropy?

 

Commentary: This formula can be read as “Kinetic energy equals relationship, therefore a change in the kinetic energy equals a change in the relationship.” A zed object (such as matter) is equivalent to potential energy; relationship is equivalent to kinetic energy. Because kinetic energy equals relationship, a change in the kinetic energy equals a change in the relationship.

 

An object, to all our intents and purposes, is totally defined by the “vector” sum of all its relationships. Thus, in any given system if even one Ƶ changes then all the objects are changed, i.e. become new.

 

Commentary: A vector is any quantity with both direction and magnitude, and a vector sum is what you get when you add up vectors. So how can a non-physical relationship have a vector?

 

If “information space” is analogous to physical space, then an “object” in information space can have both direction and magnitude. For example, when the Buddha rejected the Brahmanic concept of the atman or eternal Self in favor of anatman or “non-self,” all of the relationships in that information set had to change accordingly, and a new religion was born.

 

The concepts and beliefs that constitute Buddhism were moving away from Brahmanism (a direction) to a greater or lesser extent depending on the Buddhist sect in question (a magnitude). So if Buddhism, as a metaphysical object, is “defined by the vector sum of all its relationships” what this means is that Buddhism is definable by the sum of its differences with other belief systems, in terms of which ideas move in different directions and to what extent. According to Relationship Theory, all relationships work this way and all zed objects can be defined this way.

 

A Ƶ can be seen as an exchange of information. 

 

Ex: Energy cannot be released unless there is someplace for it to go. The receiver “learns” that the sender has energy and is changed by it, however minutely. The sender “learns” that the receiver has energy and will spend itself until a balance (static Ƶ) exists.

 

Every Ƶ is a mutation of all parties concerned.

 

Commentary: For example, the teacher learns that the student lacks knowledge, or the lover learns that the beloved lacks love. When the student knows what the teacher knows, a state of balance is attained. When the lover and the beloved are in love with each other, a state of balance is attained.

 

Every zed is a mutation of all parties concerned. The teacher transfers knowledge to the student and both are transformed; the lover kisses the beloved and both are transformed. Relationship is an exchange of information and energy that transforms both parties.

 

Α (Ø, 1,2, …) Ƶ Β (Ø, 1,2, …)

 

Α Ƶ Β (Ø, 1,2, …)

 

A Ƶ Β

 

Any set of objects will have all possible individual Ƶs with another set of objects as well as set to individual Ƶs and a hierarchical Ƶ to Ƶ set.

 

Commentary: Any set of zed objects will have three types of relationship with any other set it interacts with:

 

1- “The set of all objects that make up A exists in relationship with the set of all objects that make up B.” (All possible individual zeds.)

 

2- “Object A exists in relationship with the set of all objects that make up B.” (Set-to-individual zeds.)

 

3- “Object A exists in relationship with Object B.” (A hierarchical set-to-set zed.)

 

The third relationship is “hierarchical” in the sense that one object set gives some form of energy to the other object set.

 

Since the vector sum of an object’s Ƶs defines it, the sum of sums defines a set (i.e. molecules →  matter: cells → human body). 

 

Ƶ1 Ƶ A is possible.

 

Commentary: “If a particular relationship is made up of the relationship between two objects, then it is possible for that relationship to also be in relationship with a third object.” In effect, this means that a relationship can function as a zed object and form relationships with other zed objects.

 

An “Experience” perceived, is a dynamic Ƶ (Δ Ƶ).  

 

Δ Ƶ = Δ X / Δ Y

 

An “absolute” reference point cannot be defined therefore all references are relative and all measurements are relative. Sensory perception is a form of measurement. But what are we measuring? What is our reference no matter how arbitrary? Our eyes have millions of rods and cones sensitive to light. What does that mean? 

 

All dynamic Ƶs = Δ X / Δ Y

 

In other words, “information” about a Ƶ can only be had by noting a change in something per a change in something else. To us, 99% of the time, that second something is either time or space. Our eyes respond to the periodic changes in amplitude defined by a light wave (or quanta). The reference used to compare is the light energy of just a millibleep before. We are co-relating a rate of change to a rate of change to a rate of change. Inertia creates a time lag in the “resonation” so that in effect our eyes have memorized the last level of energy.   

 

Δ Ƶ = Δ X / Δ Y describes a slope, i.e. acceleration.

 

Since any Ƶ is a mutation of all concerned parties and information is exchanged (a form of Δ X / Δ Y) a truly static Ƶ is impossible because if no information is available an “object” cannot exist.

 

Commentary: “A relationship change equals a change in something per a change in something else.”

 

Example:

 

“It’s getting dark” = a change in light relative to the amount of light available a moment ago. Therefore, an “experience” perceived is simply a dynamic zed.

 

I = Δ Ƶ 

 

Ƶ = Δ (Δ X / Δ Y) / Δ Ƶ 

 

?

 

Information = a rate of change of a rate of change of a rate of change.?

 

Commentary: all information is some form of delta zed. The question marks seem to indicate uncertainty about the specific formulae used to express this concept.

 

If all info is described as angular velocity then all “objects” may be viewed as a series of vector quantity pairs (90 degrees apart or perpendicular) relative to the other “hypothetical” objects. 

 

Ƶ = √ (Ƶ1² + Ƶ2² + Ƶ3²… Ƶ ∞²)

 

The Serendipity Factor = X Ƶ the usually insignificant X Ƶs with the rest of the universe. However, if the vector sum comes out mostly one sign or the other… watch out! Strange things may happen.

 

Commentary: the specific formula should not be taken too literally in this case. The idea here is that any existing relationship, no matter how seemingly insignificant, is the product of all relationships in the entire universe and therefore a reflection of vast underlying relationship patterns. Incidents of serendipity reflect the presence of such a pattern.

 

A quarter wave implies all the info of a full wave. 

 

The precise alignment and position of any wave slope must be determined by the universe as a whole since there are no “insignificant” factors. Therefore any given ¼ wave implies the whole universe and all information could be extrapolated from that one slope.

 

Commentary: ΔƵ = ΔX/ΔY describes a slope, i.e. an acceleration in information speed. If you think of the slope as being a portion of wave, then you can predict the rest of the wave pattern by measuring the slope. “A quarter wave contains all the information of a full wave” implies that all the information in the universe could be extrapolated from any given delta zed.

 

“Notes on Relationships” is a short document, and was never intended as a complete or systematic statement. Relationship Theory was only preserved in fragments. Some aspects of it were never completely explained and others were never developed as originally intended. Although my father often spoke of using physics calculations to model the interactions between information-units, he never developed this “information physics” into a working system. Rather than attempting to complete this work – which I am not qualified to do – I have decided to simply present the fragments and invite any interested reader to develop the concepts further.

 

From this point on, I’ll be branching out in various directions and using Relationship Theory only as a starting point. The metaphysics of Relationship Theory has some intriguing implications for the philosophy of religion – implications that tend toward polytheism and occult philosophy.

 

Image by William Blake

The Six Axioms

Form is the Illusion is a book about Relationship Theory, an unusual system of metaphysics developed by the late David Douglas Thompson. Relationship Theory addresses questions of ontology and epistemology in a way that is likely to be of interest to pagans and occultists.

Dugald Stewart Walker, illustration for Rainbow gold poems old and new selected for boys and girls, 1922

The Ten Laws were accompanied by six axioms, which re-state the same ideas in a different form:

 

1- Perception requires contrast.

 

2- Contrast occurs through interaction.

 

3- Interaction necessitates change.

 

4- Change is bound by balance.

 

5- All paths are eventually cyclical.

 

6- Equivalent explanations must be considered simultaneously and equally valid or equivalent.

 

In Relationship Theory, explanations or models are considered equivalent if they make the same predictions. For example, science predicts that the sun will set in the evening and rise at dawn because of a particular set of physical facts about the universe. Greek mythology predicts the same thing, but uses the story of Helios driving his sun-chariot across the heavens.

 

Any number of other mythologies have their own sun-deities, but they all predict that the sun will set in the evening and rise in the morning. As all of these worldviews make the same predictions, Relationship Theory treats them all as being simultaneously true and equivalent.

 

Image by Dugald Walker

The Ten Laws

Dutch School, Allegory of Fortune, circa 1600

Form is the Illusion is a book about Relationship Theory, an unusual system of metaphysics developed by the late David Douglas Thompson. Relationship Theory addresses questions of ontology and epistemology in a way that is likely to be of interest to pagans and occultists.

Form is the Illusion: A Magical Philosophy (5)

My father often discussed his Relationship Theory at great length, but never fully explained the underlying concepts. Even the most basic ideas of the theory, such as “ringing the changes,” were never clarified and had to be interpreted based on context. (As far as I can discover, he never told anyone that he had borrowed this phrase from the bell-ringing tradition even though that fact is essential to understanding the metaphor he was using.)

 

The only written explanation he ever left of his theory was a set of somewhat whimsical aphorisms he called the “ten laws” and several pages of obscure notes. The Ten Laws on their own are mere assertions with no supporting arguments, but they make a lot more sense when compared with his notes. The Ten Laws are as follows:

 

1- Interactions are the reality; form is the illusion.

 

2- The simpler the concept, the more complex its ramifications.

 

3- The seeds of the solution are buried in the question.

 

4- Always ring the changes.

 

5- Never ignore serendipity.

 

6- Ignore all laws at least once a week on general principles.

 

7- Negative feedback is a positive idea.

 

8- Dynamic tension is required for control.

 

9- All forces are infinite.

 

10- The strongest chains have the subtlest links.

 

(In one version of this list, there was an eleventh law- perception is the ultimate base unit of reality. Note that perception does not mean opinion. This is a re-statement of the idea that interactions between information-units are the only reality. In Relationship Theory, anything you interact with is real by definition, so perception is effectively the base unit of reality.)

 

He believed that these ideas could be used to work your way through virtually any problem in life, from a broken car to a thorny philosophical question. Reality, in his view, was not an absolute thing but a constantly shifting network of relationships and perspectives in an infinitely complex pattern of interactions. The key to understanding this chaos was not to seek a better perspective on it – as he always used to say, “there is no superior rock on which to stand” – but to learn how to shift fluidly and effortlessly from one perspective to another, “ringing the changes” to get a gestaltic impression of the situation – or of the entire universe. The ten laws were his guidelines on how to do so.

 

Interactions are the reality; form is the illusion.

 

As we have already discussed, Relationship Theory defines reality as a set of relationships between information units, and does not distinguish between different forms of information – for instance, by trying to prove whether a haunted house “really” has a ghost in it or not. If your relationship with the house is haunted, that is the only relevant point. Thus, the perception that a particular grove or cave or spring is numinous would be enough reason to establish a relationship with the numen of that place.

 

The simpler the concept, the more complex its ramifications.

 

In his conversations about Relationship Theory, my father often talked about modeling the relationships between concepts or worldviews as mathematical interactions between infinite number sets. Why? Because any single thing in the universe implies the whole universe.

 

If you could see all the implications and connections, you could know everything there is to know about anything by examining a single pebble. You could do the same thing by examining a single idea.

 

The simplest and most profound descriptions of the universe are so simple and profound precisely because they succeed in implying the entire universe. Given nothing but such a statement, you would have a tool for understanding anything you could ever run into.

 

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” is a simple concept with infinitely complex ramifications. “The tao that can be spoken of is not the Tao” is a simple concept with infinitely complex ramifications. So is any other attempt to say something definitive about the world, its meaning if it has one, and our place in it.

 

Relationship Theory says that you can do this effectively no matter what the statement is. You can formulate a complete description of your reality – an infinite set of units of information – by teasing out all the implications of a single “zed” or relationship.

 

Every thing implies everything.

 

If this is true, it isn’t even necessary to start with anything particularly profound. You could understand all of reality by completely understanding how a car works or what a single line in a poem means or how ice cream tastes. Of course, we don’t actually have the ability to see all the implications of any single thing, so we don’t succeed in completely understanding the universe.

 

However, we can take any zed we want to as a starting point to examine our reality or some particular question we have about it. In Relationship Theory, this sort of starting point is called a “zed naught”. Beginning with whatever zed naught we want to play with, we look at it from every angle we can possibly think of, even when the different angles directly contradict each other. We play with its implications and relationships to get a bigger and broader picture of whatever it is we want to examine. We ring the changes on all these different perspectives and let zed naught expand into the infinite.

 

The seeds of the solution are buried in the question.

 

Interactions have patterns, and patterns can be predicted, assuming that you have enough of a sample to see what the pattern is. Any question that clearly describes a problem should contain the same relationships within it as the problem itself. Therefore, the problem can be solved by deeply examining the question, as in Tarot and other sophisticated forms of divination.

 

Always ring the changes.

 

In practical terms, Relationship Theory works by asking a question and then examining the implications of the question by looking at it from different perspectives. The question or the statement you want to examine is zed naught. The set of zeds implied by your zed naught is your answer. Rather than choosing one of these worldviews and arbitrarily adopting it, the theory encourages you to shift fluidly between all relevant worldviews.

 

Never ignore serendipity.

 

The word “serendipity” is sometimes misused as a near-synonym for “coincidence,” but it actually refers to one’s own ability or “sagacity” in spotting coincidental connections in a fortunate way, allowing one to obtain valid information from a seemingly accidental conjunction of events. This is the first known use of the term, by Horace Walpole in 1754:

 

“It was once when I read a silly fairy tale, called The Three Princes of Serendip, as their highnesses travelled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of: for instance, one of them discovered that a camel blind of the right eye had travelled the same road lately, because the grass was eaten only on the left side, where it was worse than on the right- now do you understand serendipity? One of the most remarkable instances of this accidental sagacity (for you must observe that no discovery of a thing you are looking for, comes under this description) was of my Lord Shaftsbury, who happening to dine at Lord Chancellor Clarendon’s, found out the marriage of the Duke of York and Mrs. Hyde, by the respect with which her mother treated her at table.”

 

Serendipity was defined as “the art of making an unsought finding” by Pek Van Andel, and as “the faculty of finding things we did not know we were looking for” by Glauco Ortolano. A great many scientific and technological discoveries occurred serendipitously.

 

The emphasis on this particular talent in Relationship Theory is based on the notion of underlying and complex relationship patterns. When a potentially useful piece of information is stumbled across while looking for something else entirely, Relationship Theory teaches us to habitually consider this significant, as if taking an omen.

 

Ignore all laws at least once a week on general principles.

 

No formalized system of thought or logic can ever really capture the complexity of our reality. No matter what system you use – including this one – you should periodically abandon it and look at the world from outside your system’s basic assumptions.

 

Negative feedback is a positive idea.

 

Systematically challenge your own preferred viewpoint or bias by embracing contradictory perspectives. Even if you’re looking at a problem from a particular angle, at least some of your time should be spent in looking at the same problem from a completely different angle.

 

Dynamic tension is required for control.

 

One of the basic concepts of Relationship Theory is that all forms of information behave according to similar laws. Just as energy can neither be created nor destroyed, information can neither be created nor destroyed. It can be changed into an infinite number of different forms with no net change to the universe as a whole. In Relationship Theory, this is referred to as “conservation of information,” or the “balance of perception.”

 

Imagine three parties denominated as A, B and C. The set of all three parties could be expressed as P (A, B, C). If we take the point of view of A and declare it to be the observer, then the set could be described as P (A, Not A). Or if B is the observer, then P (B, Not B). P (C, Not C) is equally possible, but in each case the set of P remains the same – although the observer shifts, and thus the point of view, the set does not change.

 

Now, if C is the observer and C observes A losing a portion of its information-value (denominated by a lower-case ‘a’) to B, then the result of this interaction would be a set described by this equation: P (A – a, B + a, C). While A has lost in value, B has gained, so there is no net change in the set as a whole. A change in one direction was balanced out by a change in the opposite direction, so from the point of view of the set, there was no net change.

 

Opposing views, perspectives and experiences exist in a constant state of dynamic tension, and even though they change in relationship to each other the set of which they are a part does not. (Note that just because there is no net change in the system as a whole does not mean that there is no local change in particular information patterns.)

 

The “balance of perception” tells us that all equally functional descriptions of a system must be considered equivalently valid. The universe as a whole doesn’t change at all no matter what perspective you take, so if my perspective A describes whatever is experienced as well as your perspective B and our friend’s perspective C then all three explanations must be considered true in some sense.

 

All forces are infinite.

 

This law is an analogy drawn from physics – if any physical force was unconstrained by another force, its effects would be infinitely powerful, and the same thing can be said of informational forces. An idea that was not balanced out by any opposing idea would be the sole existing model of reality.

 

The fact that no one idea or viewpoint is the sole existing model of reality implies that all such “informational forces” are counteracted and limited in their effects by opposing informational forces, resulting in a balanced universe of opposing perspectives. (Note that this could be taken to imply a polytheistic universe – if you think of a deity as an informational force, this concept implies that there are many deities exerting a limiting and balancing effect on each other.)

 

Because these opposing perspectives interact in patterns that can be understood and predicted, the archetypal relationship patterns found in relatively small pieces of information can be used to generalize out to much broader pieces of information.

 

The strongest chains have the subtlest links.

 

Because Relationship Theory deals with patterns of interaction that can become infinitely broad and complex, the underlying structure or architecture of the whole network will appear so subtle as to be invisible, yet will determine everything within that web.

 

Relationship Theory refers to this concept as “information physics.” Information physics simply expands on a common figure of speech – our language uses physical space as a metaphor for relationships. When two lovers have become very intimate they describe themselves as ‘one,’ but a cold and formal lover is described as ‘distant.’ A person in a state of mental abstraction is said to be ‘somewhere else’ or ‘miles away.’

 

Applying this analogy to the study of information, we find that certain pieces of information are in close relationship to other pieces – there is little information distance between them, as we would have it. By expanding on this basic concept, we can develop a method for studying the interactions between ideas – and for creating magical workings.

 

The number of elements in a relationship set is its “information mass.” When some of the elements in a relationship set change, the number of changed elements is the “information energy.” Every time such a change occurs, we have one unit of “information time.” When two relationship sets contain few or no elements in common, they are considered to be far away from each other in “information space.” When they have a number of elements in common, they are considered to be close to each other in “information space.”

 

By applying the analogy of information space, all interactions between zed objects can be studied and even predicted using physics calculations. David Douglas Thompson believed that information physics could potentially be developed into something rather similar to Isaac Asimov’s fictional psychohistory, as described in his Foundation series. Psychohistory is the imaginary science of predicting the future behavior of large masses of human beings on a probabilistic and statistical basis, thus allowing for the prediction or even manipulation of future history.

 

No such predictive system could achieve better than probabilistic and in all likelihood very broad and sweeping results, but the potential application of information physics to such a project is interesting. For example, one could compare the official doctrinal statements of the Catholic Church at fifty or one-hundred year intervals throughout its history, calculate the rate of information change, and use that to make predictions about the Church’s future developments. While it is true that some eras show much more rapid doctrinal changes than others, such spikes in information energy would average out over centuries and millennia, allowing for some degree of predictability.

 

(Next: The Six Axioms)

Image by the Dutch School of the 17th Century