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The morality of magic


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#1 Akashiel

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 11:51 PM

Well then, I've been coerced into posting a topic on my opinion that most magic is in essence "selfish". This started on the topic of curses that I said were in fact selfish in nature. After all, who does the suffering of your foe benefit other than yourself? One might argue that If you use a curse to take out a common threat it would benefit others as well. That would be an exception to the rule in my opinion. Then there is healing which would be beneficial to others. However usually one takes payment for the the cure or at least thats how it often worked in the old days. Magic in my experience usually is imposing your own will upon creation, which in itself might be considered selfish. as it changes " the divine plan". Which I dont believe in.... The point is that these changes always benefit yourself in some level, good luck, money, health etc. So how can one label them anything other than selfish, at least on some level. However I dont believe being selfish is a bad thing necessarily. Is it bad when a hunter eats his/her brave to survive? I think not though it primarily benefits the hunter in that he/she survives to live another day. Perhaps he/she even benefits the tribe eventually.... I apologize that this post is pretty much ranting and propably makes no sense :cauldron:
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#2 Abhainn

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 12:44 AM

Magic is, essentially, neutral - the morality comes from the person using it.

People can use magic for selfish reasons. There's nothing wrong with trying to make the best of your life. If existence were "fair" then I would understand not using magic. But it's not. Existence itself is neutral and gains its morality from the person living rather than from an overarching scheme of right and wrong. A genius shouldn't smother his intellect because others aren't able to think like him. A person who can manipulate energies, work with spirits, etc, shouldn't have to stop doing so because someone else sees the practice as strictly self-beneficial.

Besides, people can and probably do use magic for selfless reasons, as well.

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#3 Michele

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 01:00 AM

I agree that energy is neutral; however, magic is not. Magic is the "use" or bending of this energy, so it always serves the user. As far as morality goes: I am not a giant curser but I do believe greatly in honour, both to me and my ancestors. And there is totally no honour in being a doormat. In fact, there is shame in it. The trick, I think, is not to let the ego run amok with a temper tantrum but rather to just correct a situation only as the situation warrents and restore "honour". But it is very hard to take the ego out of it and I don't think cursing or hexing should ever be done without a lot of thought and self-knowledge. To put right, but not to wreak havoc if the situation doesn't warrant it simply to get even. As far as "contorlling" nature... I do weather magic a lot becuase of where I live. I believe in the divine and see nature as the manifestation of this divine. But much as in the fallen angel lore of the fallen bringing knowledge to the humans, so ddo I believe divinity gave the ability of the use of magic to bend ways so the human may help himself. Life may or may not be tough, but she's given us an ability to help ourselves and it's up to us whether or not we learn how to use it. So I do not feel divinity is in any way offended by the use of magic, including nature or weather magic. But it may also be individual to the belief of any one person and what divinity/ies one works with. I do thinnk divinity and/or the ancestors may well be offended by someone who doesn't do what they can to improve their lot, or who constantly asks for help when the means of improving one's lot is all around us.

So my morality regarding magic would be do what is fair, be self-reliant and take care of your own life, bring honour to your family, and don't be greedy.

M

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#4 Aloe

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:06 AM

Magic in the sense of energy is neutral. Humans however are not.


I apologize that this post is pretty much ranting and propably makes no sense :cauldron:


Ok.

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#5 sarasuperid

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:30 AM

The word selfish, I would not use in this case. In old times being a witch may have been a trade. However, I do not consider going to work everyday selfish. I help my clients a lot. And often improve their quality of life.

One could argue that most humans help others and such for hedonistic reasons that ulitimately one gains pleasure from helping others. But hedonistic and selfishness are rather different. Selfish means gaining pleasure at the cost of others not by helping them hedonistic just means pleasure seeking. But even then many people live pleasureless lives and I think there are other drives out there that cannot be reduced to pleasure. For example, for some the best they can do is avoid pain. Some ideals like raising children transcend mere pleasure and have to do with hope instead, a rather different drive.

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#6 seacow

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 07:33 AM

So my morality regarding magic would be do what is fair, be self-reliant and take care of your own life, bring honour to your family, and don't be greedy.

M


Exactly how I feel.

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#7 Forest Child

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 08:01 AM

The point is that these changes always benefit yourself in some level, good luck, money, health etc. So how can one label them anything other than selfish, at least on some level.



But surely ALL of life is, by it's very nature, self preserving and self centred to a degree. Regardless of magic, the very essence of being alive and active in the world has consequences which are ultimately self preserving or self serving. From my own personal point of view, one cannot be divorced from magic or it's impact any more than one can be conscious without being aware. It goes against the flow of life to undertake actions which do not serve our survival or growth.

When I cook a meal, it is self serving, when I go to work it is self serving, even breathing is selfish if viewed in a certain light. The distinction, however (for me), seems to be whether we acknowledge a highly specific personal advantage from using magic and whether that creates any kind of problem for our spiritual growth? (greed, avarice, fear of loss, arrogance etc).

Personally, trying to keep a 'self check' mechanism in place where I try to (don't always succeed) keep evaluating my own inner reasons, issues and potential pitfalls or attachments, really helps.

One of the reasons I love to work in a group with others is that none of us know who had any influence so the ego is allowed to relax and let go of the outcome.

My very existence is about cause and effect, my survival depends on self preservation, understanding that allows me to let go of the worry that everything I do is tainted with selfish concerns and just get on with doing whatever feels right to be done.

Does that make any sense? (sometimes I ramble . . .)

Edited by Forest Child, 23 May 2012 - 08:03 AM.

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#8 Seed

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 09:14 AM

Well then, I've been coerced into posting a topic on my opinion that most magic is in essence "selfish". This started on the topic of curses that I said were in fact selfish in nature. After all, who does the suffering of your foe benefit other than yourself? One might argue that If you use a curse to take out a common threat it would benefit others as well. That would be an exception to the rule in my opinion. Then there is healing which would be beneficial to others. However usually one takes payment for the the cure or at least thats how it often worked in the old days. Magic in my experience usually is imposing your own will upon creation, which in itself might be considered selfish. as it changes " the divine plan". Which I dont believe in.... The point is that these changes always benefit yourself in some level, good luck, money, health etc. So how can one label them anything other than selfish, at least on some level. However I dont believe being selfish is a bad thing necessarily. Is it bad when a hunter eats his/her brave to survive? I think not though it primarily benefits the hunter in that he/she survives to live another day. Perhaps he/she even benefits the tribe eventually.... I apologize that this post is pretty much ranting and propably makes no sense :cauldron:


I'm just wondering which method of Coercion was employed by another in order to persuade you to post this topic lol
Anyway, are you saying then that the use of Magic for self serving reasons is in your opinion immoral? And what about taking payment for Magical work. Is that immoral too in your opinion?

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#9 ejfinch

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 12:36 PM

Humans use whatever talents they have to survive and improve their own lives-it's called living. There is nothing selfish about that. If your particular talent happens to be working magic, why would using that talent be any different? Even when it comes to darker workings-we use what we have at our disposal to protect ourselves, even to attain revenge. I would never use magic against someone without provocation, however, to refrain from doing so to avenge yourself is, imo, the very definition of being a doormat. I'm no doormat but I do not consider what I do to be selfish, either. I have to wonder why someone who DOES consider magic to be selfish would be practicing it at all?
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#10 Akashiel

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 12:41 PM

But surely ALL of life is, by it's very nature, self preserving and self centred to a degree. Regardless of magic, the very essence of being alive and active in the world has consequences which are ultimately self preserving or self serving. From my own personal point of view, one cannot be divorced from magic or it's impact any more than one can be conscious without being aware. It goes against the flow of life to undertake actions which do not serve our survival or growth.


This was kind of my original point if I remember correctly. Bit too much of this :cheers: last night.


I'm just wondering which method of Coercion was employed by another in order to persuade you to post this topic lol
Anyway, are you saying then that the use of Magic for self serving reasons is in your opinion immoral? And what about taking payment for Magical work. Is that immoral too in your opinion?


Repeated asking in the chat was the method. I put the the title as morality of magic due to not being able to think of a better name, not sure why now.... I do not consider self-serving acts to be immoral in any way, just self-serving which is the natural way of life, in my opinion.

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#11 Whiterose

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 07:49 PM

I think we are splitting hairs when it comes to definitions again. Any term can "technically" mean what it actually means or something else all together depending on how you spin it. Like living being selfish. Ok, the things I do to live may be considered self-serving on a small scale, but isn't the act of living itself the ultimate sacrifice for others as well? We are stuck in 3D world in order to breed and bring more spirits in to this world, in order to (as some believe) evolve the enitre species in spirit so no other need come back here and we rejoin with the creative force. By walking our "paths" we are helping humanity. Its all perspective. Bottom line is that ethics and morality are a personal thing. We all have our own paths to walk. For some, using magic in a "selfish" or vengful way is no problem for them and may actually help them fill their potential by protecting what they care about, without which they may go crazy and harm people. For others, its a huge life lesson on what not to do because they may feed their ego to the point that they hurt themselves and others for no reason other than a power trip. Since we are all different and think and act differently, the ethics and morality of magic are going to be as unique as each practitioner. There is honor in walking your path the way you feel you need to. In doing this, you are using your gifts, paying attention to the realm of spirit and the greater dance. Listening and paying attention to those who wish to teach us is honorable in my opinion.
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#12 Lynn

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 01:14 AM


No worries, it made perfect sense. "Selfish" is an interesting term cause it is usually seen as something negative, but you brought up the excellent point that if one is never selfish, then one's needs are not met, even the basic need to eat. This reminds me of how a lot of women have a hard time taking care of themselves, ie always putting others first, because otherwise they would be "selfish" But you gotta be selfish in order to be able to take care of those who depend on you. So I guess there is "good" selfish and not so "good' selfish. And how all this relates to the topic you started, I have no idea . . .

Magic --is using it selfish, inherently? No more and no less than anything else one does in life.

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#13 Lynn

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 01:30 AM

I believe divinity gave the ability of the use of magic to bend ways so the human may help himself. Life may or may not be tough, but she's given us an ability to help ourselves and it's up to us whether or not we learn how to use it. So I do not feel divinity is in any way offended by the use of magic, including nature or weather magic. But it may also be individual to the belief of any one person and what divinity/ies one works with. I do thinnk divinity and/or the ancestors may well be offended by someone who doesn't do what they can to improve their lot, or who constantly asks for help when the means of improving one's lot is all around us.


yes yes yes!!!! That is so how I feel about it! I don't think we are messing with any divine plan using magic, any more than to build a house is messing with some plan.

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'When in danger, when in doubt, Run in circles, scream and shout" Robert Heinlein.
"Women and cats will do as they please, men and dogs need to relax and get used to the idea." Robert Heinlein

"In Wildness is the preservation of the World." Henry David Thoreau


#14 CelticGypsy

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 02:15 PM

Humans use whatever talents they have to survive and improve their own lives-it's called living. There is nothing selfish about that. If your particular talent happens to be working magic, why would using that talent be any different? Even when it comes to darker workings-we use what we have at our disposal to protect ourselves, even to attain revenge. I would never use magic against someone without provocation, however, to refrain from doing so to avenge yourself is, imo, the very definition of being a doormat. I'm no doormat but I do not consider what I do to be selfish, either. I have to wonder why someone who DOES consider magic to be selfish would be practicing it at all?



Here Here ! I could not agree more, and will add to what my Peer offers........... not only " Talents " but " In Born Gifts ". Both combined and applied to ones life and all around... living,.... as all Witches have these certain individual attributes ! How fortunate for a Witch to have a Gift, and is Talented enough to incorporate that to change their lives or the life of another. Depending on the ethical standard of the Witch and what thier Living Path dictates, this incorporation could be for the good or bane, regarding the individual Witch.

I personally still hold the belief that as the Witch advances on their own respected Path/Journey, the Witch becomes within that structure, united and not set apart from their Path/Journey. I have had to let go of my ponderings as to why someone who does consider magic to be selfish would be practicing it at all, as it doesn't resonate or make sense to me given the construct of that wording. ( Selfish )

I have found that there is no room for Ego in magical workings, as the workings are purposeful steps that are planned and the responsibility is already digested afore hand by the Witch.

+ 1 EJ, spoke volumes to me, thank you.


Regards,
Gypsy

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#15 Jevne

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 02:38 PM

Magic is, essentially, neutral - the morality comes from the person using it.
. . .
Besides, people can and probably do use magic for selfless reasons, as well.


For consideration:

There are no purely selfless acts of caring or justice, because from a social psychology perspective, humans are all interconnected. Even if the original intent of a spell working was meant to only benefit the recipient, once the outcome is achieved, it is impossible for the person casting the spell to not reap some kind of benefit or bane to sense of self. Even if the person chooses to 'not know' the outcome (which is silly, BTW), he or she will still have the satisfaction of trusting that the spell reached fruition, which would contribution to the development of that person's self concept.

Not picking on the lovely Abhainn ( :wavex: ). I am just curious if anyone can think of a situation in which a spell was purely selfless.

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#16 Whiterose

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 03:01 PM

For consideration:

There are no purely selfless acts of caring or justice, because from a social psychology perspective, humans are all interconnected. Even if the original intent of a spell working was meant to only benefit the recipient, once the outcome is achieved, it is impossible for the person casting the spell to not reap some kind of benefit or bane to sense of self. Even if the person chooses to 'not know' the outcome (which is silly, BTW), he or she will still have the satisfaction of trusting that the spell reached fruition, which would contribution to the development of that person's self concept.

Not picking on the lovely Abhainn ( :wavex: ). I am just curious if anyone can think of a situation in which a spell was purely selfless.



This is a good point. Nothing happens isolated. We are all connected. A positive spell could negatively impact someone and a negative spell could posititively impact someone. So, do what would you would do because there are always consequences regardless if the act is "good" or "bad". Life is dealing with consequences and outcomes birthed of ours and others actions. I don't see how a witch is different in that regard.

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#17 Michele

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 03:05 PM

For consideration:

There are no purely selfless acts of caring or justice, because from a social psychology perspective, humans are all interconnected. Even if the original intent of a spell working was meant to only benefit the recipient, once the outcome is achieved, it is impossible for the person casting the spell to not reap some kind of benefit or bane to sense of self. Even if the person chooses to 'not know' the outcome (which is silly, BTW), he or she will still have the satisfaction of trusting that the spell reached fruition, which would contribution to the development of that person's self concept.

Not picking on the lovely Abhainn ( :wavex: ). I am just curious if anyone can think of a situation in which a spell was purely selfless.


Very good point, J! Someone who does what they believe is right - even if it is not the easy thing to do or not the thing they want to do, so could be considered "selfless" - will gain the feeling of honour or pride that they didn't take the easy way out.

M

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#18 Noni Isha

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 03:10 PM

I am just curious if anyone can think of a situation in which a spell was purely selfless.


In regards to magic, and even mundane situations, I feel a truly selfless act is near impossible.

Almost every action taken, is taken for some form of self-gain. There are very few choices a person can make that does not fill any kind of emotional, mental, social, physical (etc.) need.

Even if it's just a kind of "I did right/good" feeling you get, you still gain.

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#19 Michele

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 03:17 PM

Even in stepping in front of a bus to push your child out of the way... you gain. Becuase the life of your child was worth more to you than the loss of your own life.

M

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#20 Archabyss

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 03:42 PM

1337734847[/url]' post='126420']
I am not a giant curser


Giants breathe a sigh of relief..... :)

Back to the topic on hand.. Every creature has the drive to survive, to see its DNA go on, to live another day with food in its belly and to do this it uses every advantage it has. It is only humanity that has to put good and evil into the mix.

To me there is no difference between punching someone and using a curse, I don't use magical means because I don't have the courage to something about it physically, I use magic because I'm bloody good at it and whilst I may miss with a punch I won't with my spell work.

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