The science of magic with Dr Dean Radin
The Science of Magic with Dr Dean Radin
July 17, 2022

Recording this episode was definitely one of those imposter syndrome moments for me because Dr Dean Radin has played a transformative role in my own life.

He is the Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). He has written and co-authored so many books on the subjects of consciousness, magic and alchemy – the book which led me to him was Real Magic, which I HIGHLY recommend you grab.

I first discovered him on a podcast interview where he talked about how over 90% of the population admits to experiences paranormal or telekinesis at some point in their lives but that less then 0.3% of the academic world is dedicated to researching this space.

Just like how the Sphinx was left to collect dust for over 2000 years, the realm of magic fell under the studies of anthropology for the longest of time.

Magic is still very stigmatised, especially in academia.  His book Real Magic dives into this in great detail and was another turning point for me where I finally allowed myself to open up to the techniques of magic. Which I am incredibly grateful for because it has changed my entire life.

What is “Magic”

According to Dr Dean Radin, magic is a practice based on a worldview.

“The analogy I like to use is that our technologies today,  like the technology that is allowing us to do this webinar is a practice based on scientific worldview. Magic is a practice based on the esoteric worldview. And in that sense, it really is a very close correlation because a technology is an application of the way that we perceive the world, how we think it works well. Magic is an application of a somewhat different worldview. And as I describe in Real Magic, in many other places, the esoteric worldview in many ways is more comprehensive than the materialistic worldview, which is the one of current day science. So magic incorporates science, even though most scientists would not agree with that at all.”

He defines esoteric as meaning “hidden”,  but says this hidden world has never really been hidden, that in actuality it’s such a vast part of our everyday existence that we are blind to it right in front of us.

“Which is one of the reasons why, when you look at the entertainment world, some very large percentage, maybe 30% or 40% of entertainment, which means fiction and movies and television shows are all about esoteric concepts.  Marvel comics has huge themes. All of it, of this. Huge theme.” He goes on to say.

Why are people so afraid of magic?

I’ve personally received some strange trolling and commentary on some of my posts “coming out” with my practice of magic.  People that have never met me let alone hung around for the story compelled to either curse me back to the devil for being a spawn of satan, or sending me concerned messages from my own wellbeing, I haven’t encountered the word Jesus this many times in my life before.

But I’ll admit that less than three years ago I probably would have also rolled my eyes at magic thinking it a rabbit trick out of a hat.  When I ask Radin about this he explains that a big part of the reason people struggle to accept that telekinesis or paranormal could exist real is because of the explications of this.

“Take one example of telepathy, for example, the idea that somebody could know what you’re feeling or thinking, without the ordinary senses for most people is frightening.” Dr Dean Radin says.

Anonymous surveys show that among scientists and engineers, 99% or 94% have experienced at least one thing that they would consider to be psychic.

“And what makes it even worse is if you find somebody who has a natural talent, who can do these things, and more or less consciously, they become a threat. So it’s not too surprising that historically that people who are known for having these kinds of abilities became targets and many were wiped out.”

He shares that anonymous surveys show that among scientists and engineers, 99% or 94% have experienced at least one thing that they would consider to be psychic. And on average, 8 of 25 different kinds of psychic things.

“They don’t talk about it for exactly the, the same reasons that you are concerned about talking about it, because it’s perceived as being weird somehow. And the reason why it’s perceived as weird is because science does not yet have an explanation, but when it comes to, to people who are successful in business and entertainment and science, as well, many privately would admit that they do something they’re using these skills in one way or the other, because it works, but they have the same concerns about admitting it. I’ve heard this myself from many people who, who are very, either famous in their domain or very successful in business. So they look like a normal business person. And then when they have a difficult decision to make, they’ll get a little pendulum and go in the closet and do some kind of ritual and get an answer and more, more often than that. And it looks mad.”

He shares there is a shift happening.  Just as meditation and psychedelics were once laughed at and are now widely accepted, the same is happening with magic.

A definition of reality

According to Dr Dean Radin, whilst quantum mechanics has been the newest paradigm, an newer one has been surfacing, called quantum information where it isn’t so much as a field of energy but of information that makes up reality and that both mind and matter create each other.

Dean Radin explains: “Dualism is the idea from Descarte back in the 17 hundreds, where the idea was that clearly mind and matter are two different things. External world is matter, but we have this internal world, which is not physical. In fact, it’s the only thing that we actually know firsthand is, is our mind. So Descarte had this idea, then that you have mind and you have matter. And they’re different. They’re both fundamental, but they’re different, which raised the problem. And well, how do they interact? We have two things that are so different. There’s no way they can interact. So most scientists today do not agree with dualism. Rather we go towards monism, which is the assumption that there is one underlying “substance” from which everything arises.”

This substance appears to be patterned information.  Monoism is the idea that mind and matter both exist but as complementary “Monoism where the physical world really is a thing. Once it’s, once it’s established, it has its own laws. It works in a certain way. It is reliable, which is why we’re able to make things work physically, but it is still correlated with mind. So the difference here is that from an idealistic perspective, your mind makes things happen. It’s the causality, the error of causality is out dual aspect,” Dr Radin explains.

The connection between mind and matter is meaning, he goes on to say.  Different things are different to different people. Meaning is what creates the coincidence and magic is the process of enhances coincidences.

He cautions, however, that ultimately much of what we think or believe about reality is an inference,  The danger of some idealism. And this is solipsism that you believe that the only thing that’s real is you, everything else is an illusion.


What are three types of magic?

In Real Magic, Dr Dean Radin talks about three types of magic. Check out a recent article I published about how I define magic.

  1. Force of will – forms of enchantments, intentions into reality
  2. Divination – any form of perception that transcends space on time.
  3. Theurgy – evoking spirits


Can you explain divination?

“So the stereotype is looking into a crystal ball or reflective pool, or throwing the rooms or each or all those methods. That’s divination. The reason why that would, would work from a magical perspective is again, if we go back to idealism as a way of thinking about things, if consciousness is more fundamental than the physical world, then it means it’s before concepts of the physical world, including space, time, energy, and matter. So the time is in there, and space is in there. It means that there, the awareness comes before space and time. That allows us to essentially experience through space, which would be clear voyance or time, which is either precognition or retro cognition.”

What is theurgy?

“From a classical magical perspective theurgy is all about spirits. It’s the assumption that there are non-human or maybe once human forms that are still out there. Somehow, most people can’t see them or interact with them, but people call mediums and a lot of magical rituals were about evoking them to get them to do something on your behalf,” Dr Dean Radin explains.

Is is possible to replicate magic for research purposes and how is it measured?

Dr Radin shares how his job is to essentially replicate synchronicities in the lab and measure them.

“We’re creating a coincidence that is meaningful maybe to the subject, but definitely meaningful to us. Where we’re asking people to do something, which is somewhat non-ordinary, but they do it and, and it works. It’s one of the reasons I decided to write this book on Real Magic because my colleagues were a little dubious about it because we’re scientists and we’re not magicians until I realize one day that that, no, if you think about what, what we do in an experiment, testing, psychic phenomena of any type, it really is. It’s a, a controlled exercise and synchronicity and, and it does work well enough so that we know that certain things are real. It doesn’t work anywhere near as good as in the real world where there’s real meaning involved. Cause most, not always, but a lot of psychic events involve very strong, meaning like you can’t fake it kind of meaning that’s where you get this monstrous stuff. So we’re doing the as close as we can get in the laboratory. We know that it works.”

I can’t help to notice that the word “meaning” comes up as a strong undercurrent to how Dr Dean Radin speaks of magic.  I looked up the official definition of the word “meaning” and it is defined as to communicate something that is not directly expressed. Magic is intrinsically personal to you because it can only hold meaning for you.

Do you have a practice of magic and what are examples of practical techniques of magic?

“I don’t do rituals in the sense that if you read books on especially esoteric or ritual magic with the robes and the wands and everything, well, I have those, but at the same token, I also have a very large collection of magic tricks. It’s part, like part of what I need to know is how do you fake this stuff? So I have that as simply as part the, the equivalent of literature, I have things I have a magic wand, especially made, and I have a bunch of things like that.”

“But as I look back then, uh, over my career, I think I don’t use those. I don’t need to do rituals that I, I have ingrained something about the nature of intention so that I’ve learned if I’m very, very clear what my intention is that will happen. It’s happened again and again, in so many different circumstances, some of which are, are mind blowing synchronicities. So that tells me I don’t need the robes and the wand and everything else. I don’t need that for some reason because it, I just do it.”



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