In Chaos Magic we come across an idea called Belief Shifting. It basically means that you take something you don’t believe in and start to believe it. So, in an extreme example, if you are homosexual then you start to believe that homophobia is correct for a set period of time. Or if you are a Christian, you would start believing like a Satanist. Of course, these are very extreme examples used to hammer home a definition but in truth, Belief Shifting doesn’t need you to take a direct opposite stance to your current beliefs – just a different one.
Recently I started listening to music that I don’t really like. Let’s take Country and Western music, as I feel we can all agree that it is the worst genre. I would listen to Country music like a person who loved country music. I would (try at least) to get as much pleasure form it as possible. The idea was to become a fan. I actually ended up enjoying it during the belief shift. Afterwards I returned to the normal and correct human stance of hating it.
Other examples would be to read a book that you know you’d hate. Read Twillight, or a teenage romance novel. Read a technical manual for VCR repair published in the eighties. If you always read fiction, only read biographies about people you don’t like. But the idea is that you try to love doing it. It’s not a task to be endured, it’s an experience to cherish.
Entertain an Idea, with the end effect of widening your horizons and boundaries. It’s allowing a foreign idea to sit comfortably in your head. For some this will be easier than others. A way I have found to allow a lot of conflicting ideas to remain active in your sphere of thinking is to not come to a conclusion on a topic. Take UFOs, I quite like reading and hearing about them. I’m not a huge UFO nut or anything but I will quite happily watch any new documentaries that come out or listen to UFO podcasts or whatever. Now usually the first question I get when muggles find out about this is “Do you think UFOs are real?” and my answer is that I haven’t come to any conclusions. Not that I don’t know, I have enough information to have an opinion, I just haven’t formed one. I usually end up saying something like “I just find it all interesting”.
I have a lot of thoughts and ideas, but I try my best to come to as few conclusions as possible. Because of this I can come across a new idea and not try to dismiss it or try to hammer it into some shape that will fit snugly with the rest of my ideas. Of course, I don’t always do this, actually I am quite sure I don’t do this most of the time, as we can never really be sure what are ideas and what are facts. Sometimes facts are lies we all accept, like money. Who could I know what false ideas I have that I don’t even know are ideas?
An extension of this is looking at the world through the eyes of someone or something else. Pick someone, could be your mother could be someone famous, could be anyone. Now sit and spend a good deal of time, a few hours at least, thinking about how they see the world. What do they think of religion? What do they think of money? What do they think of children? What do they think of UFOs? What do they think of sex? What do they think of the price of oil? What are their hopes and dreams? When you have gone through as many ideas as possible start making decisions based on this new point of reference. Make your choice of what to eat for dinner based on how your mother views the universe. Pick a film to watch based on what the Pope thinks. Solve that difficult situation at the office based on a dolphin’s perspective. Solve Global Warming from the mind of a Nazi.