Matt Gemmell

TOLL is available now!

An action-thriller novel — book 2 in the KESTREL series.

★★★★★ — Amazon

Belief Creates

personal 5 min read

Whenever I find myself without access to a computer, I tend to read voraciously. My primary areas of academic interest when reading are experimental physics, metaphysics, and the points where their paths seem to meet. For relaxation when reading, however, I’ll typically re-read some H. P. Lovecraft, one of my favourite authors. This always leads to the same series of events, bringing me right back to my previously mentioned interests.

One can’t read Lovecraft for long before becoming interested in the various tomes common to so many of his stories. Before long, you find yourself Googling for Magnalia Christi Americana, or The Golden Bough, or indeed skimming those volumes if you happen to already own copies. This, in turn, always leads me to again consider the question of the reality of magic(k), and thus indeed the true nature of our existence. I hope everyone devotes at least some time to thought about these things, at least occasionally.

Before much further time has passed, I always open a file I’ve had lying around on various drives for several years, and start pecking away once more at my collected thoughts on these issues. There could be hundreds of blog posts from that material alone, though not before some very extensive organisation and clarification. For the moment, I just want to mention some current and recent readings, and the interesting similarities between them.

Within the last few months, I read Michael Talbot’s The Holographic Universe, and currently I’m reading Israel Regardie’s seemingly seminal work, The Tree of Life (the revised edition). I’m also awaiting delivery of Crowley’s Liber ABA, incidentally. Note that I’m not particularly soliciting suggestions for a reading list by this post, though feel free if you can supply sufficient justification.

It strikes me that Talbot’s “superhologram” bears much in common with the Qabalistic concept of the Ain Soph, and the Sephiroth of the Tree of Life. Indeed, when Talbot proposes a fusion of Bohm’s and Pribram’s holographic theories of the nature of the universe thusly:

Our brains mathematically construct objective reality by interpreting frequencies that are ultimately projections from another dimension, a deeper order of existence that is beyond space and time: the brain is a hologram enfolded in a holographic universe.

he seems to describe the relation of the Father and Mother Sephiroth to their children, or the Y and H of the Tetragrammaton. The same concept is found in the Four Worlds of the Tree of the Soul; Talbot’s holographic universe is the Olam Assiah as the projection of the Olam Atziluth, the Olam Briah and the Olam Yetzirah. The concept is much less accurately, but infinitely more picturesquely described by William Blake in his poem Auguries of Innocence:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

The particularly striking thing about the aggregate model of reality seemingly commonly described by these various authors is that to many it comes across as not at all unusual or hard to swallow; indeed, it seems nothing short of intuitive. As Briggs and Peat say in Looking Glass Universe, speaking of David Bohm’s theory of a holographic universe,

It is a theory which is so intuitively satisfying that many people have felt that if the universe is not the way Bohm describes it, it ought to be.

I’d have to say that I’m one of those people. The intuitiveness of the theory for me, and indeed of the logic of the synthesis between centuries-old magical doctrine and modern physicists’ experimental theories of the nature of the universe, comes largely from the fact that my own pre-existing thoughts and undeveloped writings on the subject entirely agreed with the bulk of the aforementioned material. I can’t think of a better definition of “intuitive” than that.

In keeping with this, a few months ago I briefly began coalescing my notes and assorted thoughts into an introductory post on the subject of the nature of reality. Other demands on my time, and the difficulty of synthesising so many sources and disjointed scribblings, meant that I didn’t get very far, but I’d like to post the small section I did finish, by way of a belated beginning to more discussion. The original post was titled, as this one, “Belief Creates”, and its content forms the remainder of this post.


I’ve never really clearly written down my views on the fundamental nature of reality (I say that as if everyone does so, and I’ve just been somewhat remiss), so this post is an attempt to do so - or at least to begin to do so. The title of this post is how I’ve always internally summarised my position: belief creates.

The central premise is that objective, physical reality does not inherently exist - i.e. it has no “realness” in and of itself. Rather, the physical universe is a manifestation of the accreted beliefs and thoughts of conscious things (call them what you will; “entities” perhaps). That is, everything is the product of belief. Some fundamental aspects of this viewpoint are:

  1. The universe (such as we understand it) is in some sense an illusion, of our own creation. Strength of belief or intent creates and solidifies the physical world. The mass of collected belief weighs heavily upon the developing consciousness of children, in effect stamping their own consciousness with the established universe and thus co-opting their creation ability to strengthen the existing illusion of reality. Our "reality" is self-perpetuating through our general unwillingness or inability to question its nature.
  2. There is a universal pool of belief and knowledge, which we are all capable of accessing. When a new technology is developed, for example, as more and more people become familiar with it, so too does everyone else become more capable of becoming familiar with it. We obviously do not all automatically gain the detailed knowledge of every academic, but I do believe it's possible to do so without any formal education process.
  3. The principles and findings of mainstream science are both "true" in the context of established reality, and also meaningless in the greater sense. We believed this universe into being, and now we attempt to discover the physical rules and laws which govern it - ironic, since those laws are merely emergent artefacts necessitated by our investigation. Ultimately, the physical universe is potentially as ephemeral as thought itself.
  4. Beliefs influence other beliefs, perhaps in a logarithmic fashion. It is that much more difficult to impose the will of your belief on physical reality if the beliefs of many others would tend to oppose yours. There is such a system of "anti-belief" which limits your ability to make changes. However, everything is subjective to you - and you have ultimate power over your own subjective reality. You merely require sufficient strength of belief.
  5. Belief can be cultivated deliberately. It is not a simple matter of supporting evidence, spirituality or such. It is possible to consciously choose to truly believe something, and to learn how to do this whenever required. Our power to manipulate reality with our beliefs is our second greatest power; our greatest is our ability to deliberately believe in the first place.
  6. A consequence of all this is that established physical reality is an almost sublimely perfect self-imposed trap.
  7. Everyone is at least very dimly aware of all of the above, on some level - though our "ambient awareness" is decreasing generation by generation.

Now, let me go slightly further. Some additional properties of our existence are:

  • Separateness is an illusion of limited perception. Nothing and no-one is separate from anything or anyone else.
  • Linear time is similarly an illusion. We believe we are forced to live exclusively in the present instant, that the past is set in stone and completely inaccessible, and that the future is perpetually unformed and variable. I don't believe that any of those things are true. I believe that we can roll events backwards or forwards as easily as we can change direction whilst walking along a street, and I also believe that fundamentally time does not exist. Time is an artificial measurement; an order imposed where no inherent order exists, for the sake of digestible quantification of the world we perceive. Our time is an artefact of our limited perception.
  • Death is an illusion, as is life. Death, and its necessary companion-concept Life, are properties of this created reality; they have no inherent truth. Outside of time and this physical box we believe we're in, we are all part of the same thing, and entirely without concept of age, beginning or end.
  • Magic and miracles are real in the sense of not being universally fictitious, and are merely instances of the externalisation of sufficient strength of belief.

(This post is unfinished)