Framed as the outpouring of insight generated by the novel Goddess 'Apophenia', Pete Carroll's new work is a real gem. Coming from a science background, this is his attempt to create a falisfiable model of why the universe looks the way it does, and just why magick can operate successfully.
In the inimitable Carrollian style we have come to know and love, our author sets out to demolish the edifices of being, consciousness, causality, the big-bang and more. In toppling these ontological Titans Pete discovers a universe of panpsychism and intense meaning. If nothing else this agrees with my own views and is therefore a Good Thing. Pursuing this process through the scientific style of exploration means that quantum physics, special relativity et al show up pretty frequently in the text. If you buy this book expecting lists of planetary correspondence and ritual-by-numbers instructions you're going to be disappointed. However this doesn't mean that this is all physics and no esoterica. Rather the point is that the reading of the universe that the author presents is suffused with magick. (Nevertheless there are some reassuring illustrations of occult entities and one explicit ritual - a rather lovely evocation of the Goddess Apophenia herself).
My reaction in reading this book was one of excitement. The suggestions that Pete advances tickle the mind delightfully. Certainly this isn't Liber Null. It's not a manual of techniques but instead concentrates on theory, yet that doesn't make for a dull read. The theorisation presented here can light the touch paper of a hundred disciplines: cosmology and magick for sure but also Fortean studies, ethnography and especially neuro-biology.
Algebra explodes across the appendices of the book scattering the non-mathematicians towards the Epilogue where things are nicely rounded off in laypersons terms. The truth may well be that we live in vorticitating hypersphere with three dimensional time that, as the author beautifully asserts, "...invites us to become apprentice gods." The very fact that I can now say 'vorticitating hypersphere' and know what that means is a testament to the authors explicatory powers.
The final and perhaps most wonderful thing about The Apophenian is how it demonstrates the development and maturation of Pete Carroll's earlier writing. If nothing else this stands as a testament to the work of an individual (or perhaps conspiracy of selves!) who's magick really does seem to work.
Since I read this book last month I have recommended it to a number of friends as it has to go down as the most useful, contextualised and informative book about applied magic across which I have ever had the good fortune to stumble. I have no formal background in the study of particle physics, and consequently my understanding of such things has been entirely dependent upon that which has been made available to me by such authors as have in the service of illustrating something profound and cosmic, made accessible to me that which might otherwise have appeared to be permanently out of my reach. I literally had no idea that so much was specifically understood about the interplay of forces on a microcosmic and macrocosmic scale which constitute the underlying structure of the universe, our experience of space-time, and the scientific viability of magic. Interdisciplinary works such as this are of particular interest to me as no matter how open minded we become, and regardless of what the more enlightened part of us may know to be the case beyond the need for proof, coming from a Western European background there will perhaps always be a part of me that is reassured to see the subtler processes of nature described in such a way as would present even the most pragmatic scientist with no alternative but to update their understanding of the subject in hand.
Peter Carroll's science is out of date. His factors are all fudged but he still can't add things up to form any image resembling the truth. Chaos Magic is dead, with only Carroll remaining from the 'old guard'. Everyone else grew up and moved on.