If I tell a “rationalist” or people in the current scientific culture a good way to do vegetable gardening is to speak to the f--ries and ask them where you should put the plants—get advice, in other words, what Findhorn did, where they spoke to the devas—the response tends to be, “But there’s no such thing as f--ries, they don’t exist. You can’t do that. They don’t exist, show me them, where do they live?”
Now when I was studying maths, our maths teacher came in one day and wrote on the board, “Let I be such that I squared= -1.” And for the whole rest of the first lesson we were all saying, “But you can’t have a square root of a minus number, it doesn’t exist!” He said, “Well think of it as another dimension.” —“Okay, another dimension, which direction is it, where is it, you know, tell me this dimension”—all the sort of things people would say if you said f--ries might exist in another dimension. So basically, we refused to co-operate because the square root of -1 doesn’t exist. But the mathematics thing is, well who cares whether it is exists or not? The thing is, does it work? So you start working as if it exists, and I emphasize as if, because that’s the magical formula: you act as if something is true, you act as if the tarot pack really was the wisdom of the ancients.
And the mathematician finds that not only does it work—you can create a mathematics on what they call imaginary numbers—but, the amazing thing is, it turns out to be utterly fundamental to the way the universe works. You know, electricity and all that sort of thing depends on these “imaginary” numbers. And you realize that that has gone on throughout history, because actually numbers don’t exist any more than f--ries and yet our whole economy is built on them. So as a mathematician I wasn’t hung up on whether these things exist or not, but the question for me is, “Do they work? Do they get you somewhere?” And our mathematics master, because we did maths and higher maths, we also had to do physics in those days, and when we went off to do them he said, “Oh, you’re off to the folklore department now.” He was very scornful about these scientists with their insistence that they would only work with things that existed! He said, “That gets in the way of sheer logic.” So I see it as really quite fundamental to my magical thinking, the fact that I learned that what matters is whether something works, not whether it exists or not.