Are runes inherently magical?… I was wondering if runes are inherently magical. If not, then why do people use them instead of making their own symbols?
No, they are not. People use them because they’re told to and it’s convenient.
So from my personal understanding of magic and consciousness, something only works if you believe it works. Yet when I search this subreddit, people report greater success when using runes. Is this because people feel safer and more confident when using runes, or is it because of the reasons the person above stated?
I believe you are wrong. Did my belief against your wrongness exert an influence on you such that there was an instantaneous change in histories that define reality where you are now conforming to what I believe? No? That’s my point. Belief acts as a vector but without a magnitude to exert that change – power, there is no change or influence. People have different magnitudes of magical abilities, so their success is extrinsic to them. It wasn’t the system; it was their capabilities that made the difference. It’s like believing you’re a millionaire, going into a store, and trying to buy things. The reality of the situation is reflected in a scalar we call money and a budget, so without that amount of money, you can’t act like a millionaire in terms of buying things. People use runes because they are told that if they use them, their life will be different in some way. The truth is no magical system or system of divination can grant magical powers. It takes more than belief to make magic work. People avoid this fact via cognitive bias, intuition, and avoiding situations where magical actions can be falsified – it can be shown it isn’t working. You can easily test if runes have intrinsic divinatory powers. Things that encode information have order. There is an inverse relationship between order and entropy, so if the runes have magical potential intrinsically, then tokens of runes – like stones, will have lower amounts of entropy when perturbed by a machine than stones with no runes. Putting containers of tokens in a machine that gyrates eliminates the confounding variable of human consciousness, for gyrating machines don’t have consciousness. If the objects marked with runes don’t have a lower amount of entropy and a higher amount of redundancy, this means they are just as noisy and thus are not encoding information about anything.
Some people can influence ensembles as correlated with their consciousness. The difference is in magical potential – the degree by which change can happen among correlated things like stones, people, and the future. I use my magical powers via my consciousness; however, without a degree of potential change as correlated with other things, what I intend, will, believe, or expect is inert. Two people can believe something and one person with less conviction than the other can exert change on real things – like stones, because they have more magical or psychic potential. Everyone who can read this has consciousness; however, not everyone who reads this has the same magnitude of magical or psychic ability. There is a bad habit of saying that because the first part is true for consciousness, it is also true for magic. Nope.
I can perform divination using any system that has uncertainty. That’s why there are so many “-mancies” like cartomancy, geomancy, technomancy, etc. What -mancy you use comes down to preference. Some with real power use Pokémon cards. The art your magic takes is arbitrary and reflects the intrinsic attributes of the person. I like Math. Others like cooking. So, their magic works through cooking and mine Math. The cooking, runes, Math, and Pokémon cards are just ways people express their power. The term for this is called techne. Various forms of -mancy represent the techne of a person who uses magic.
Compulsive behavior and superstitious thinking are not magical power. The belief that rituals influence reality is a psychological attribute of those who are prone to compulsive actions, addictive behaviors, have neurosis, and have a desire to have a high locus of control even if that control is illusory. Most people use runes simply because they are attempting to get some sort of control over the world due to feeling unsafe, insecure, and anxious. Casting runes is a way to ease those tensions; however, for the psychological process to work, people must convince themselves it works. Most people in this subreddit here are mentally ill and they are attempting to self-treat. I have seen occultism make mental illness worse, so I’m strongly against substituting psychotherapy and psychiatry with mysticism and occultism because occult rituals that can include runes can feed into compulsions, addictions, and anxieties to make things worse. Also, the culture around this facilitates enabling. As a society, we saw occultism get big boom around similar events in the early 20th century with the Spanish Flu and the World Wars and the dissatisfaction with Science, so in times of distress, this isn’t surprising. While I do have the power to move things with my mind, I take great care to keep a level head. I’m more critical of things that I prefer to believe in than not because reality doesn’t reflect our beliefs that contain our hopes and fears. I’m mortal. I’m not a god. This helps avoid the cult behavior you see rampant in occultism.