This is a comment I wrote over on runesoup.
It is a blog I read; mostly I refrain from commenting, even though I consider most of what Gordon writes to be NLP and not magick. However, there is a very good review on there about the Octavo, Peter Carol's latest inkfarting. I like the book from an elemental-world chaosmagick point of view.
To read Gordon's post see link below
I have to say that from a CM perspective PJC is one of the best. (or was)
Of course, as with many things I write, there is a "But..."
In this case the but comes from Pete's constant need to place magick within a scientific framework. I do not agree for a second that Crowley was a great Western occultist, it is more like he was the first one to really try and place real experiences into a framework he could cope with and deal with.
Pete does the same thing. I'm deffinitively not saying that science is bollocks. Science is true since as Gordon points out, there are things we can know. The maximum speed of light is 299792458 m / s the weight of a proton is mp = 1.672 621 71(29) × 10−27 kg
etc. This is all nice and good.
But claiming that the only way magick works is through physics that we just don't know of yet... that to me smells very much like Pete's own little delusion he had to create in order to make sense of his own chaos. (And having partied with and hung out with him irl, no offense but I'm quite certain I'm right.)
I also need to point out that I am very good friends with several physics and maths Doctors and profs, the real kind not Americans :=), and they consider Pete's semi-science waffle worth less then the paper it is printed on.
Gordon also writes
"Now, as many of you know, incorporating scientific observation into a magical worldview isn’t unique to chaos magic. Indeed, you could argue that it is the single defining characteristic of western magic since the classical age."
(Argent's Bullshit detector goes beep beep now)
This is simply not true. It might be the single characteristic of anglo-occultism popularised during the last century but it is definitively not a permanent fixture of the field. The single defining characteristic of western magick is not even one single thing.
There are two things that define the twin currents that are the western esoteric system.
One is alchemy and the alchemical process, the other one is a kind of theophanic gnosticism. Both strands have manifested in various ways, existed almost unbroken in oral traditions and both of which fully accept miracles and view magick that does not involve miracles as part of the elemental world.
It is great that Pete is stuck in a mindset he himself would have abhorred 15 years ago. It is great that he has found a way to shield himself from pure chaos by trying to make sense of chaos' manifestation in the elemental world. But that is not all there is to magick and is definitively not what is going on in the western traditions except in their most bastardized plagiarised contemporary versions.
Again, the western esoteric transmission is more then just waving wands in masonic halls and is just as spectacular and miracle filled as in the rest of the world. Bloody anglo-occultism.
(ps: hermetic magick (alchemy, theurgy etc can, by deffinition follow the scientific method for results.)