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The morality of magic


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#21 Aloe

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 03:44 PM

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.


(underlining mine)

I agree and appreciate this statement.

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"The people who live in the Ozark country of Missouri and Arkansas were, until very recently, the most deliberately unprogressive people in the United States. Descended from pioneers who came West from the Southern Appalachians at the beginning of the nineteenth century, they made little contact with the outer world for more than a hundred years. They seem like foreigners to the average urban American, but nearly all of them come of British stock, and many families have lived in America since colonial days. Their material heirlooms are few, but like all isolated illiterates they have clung to the old songs and obsolete sayings and outworn customs of their ancestors." Ozark Magic and Folklore

#22 Michele

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 03:51 PM

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


lmao - yes, I only curse small people, lol.

M

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#23 Phoenix

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 04:58 PM

I guess most spells are self serving, but considering that most people are too, that makes spells self preserving. I have focused a lot on prosperity which might be selfish considering the clients that bring me money could be giving it to someone else. However, I'm still working for that money, so I don't think it's immoral for me to ask for the opportunity.
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#24 Apryl

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 04:19 AM

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.


(hee hee, giants)

Yes, I totally agree.

All living things have a survival instinct. Plants will overshadow others in attempt to get sun or water, animals... there are a thousand examples. I see everyone's point, whether I agree or not, but I only know what's true for me.

M's right, I'd happily give my life for my child. So maybe nothing is completely selfless. But is that human nature to be completely selfless? And who says so? I feel like using words like 'selfish' implies guilt. As though I should be sorry or beholding that I draw breath or take in sustenence. To whit, magic and witchcraft are an extension of who I am, not an added baubble or decoration that I wave around. I don't feel guilty for using magic as I don't feel guilty for using mundane methods or breathing. It's who I am. Can magic be self centered? Sure, I put up protections, use prosperity spells. And I don't just do it for the guise of my family. If I didn't have one, I'd do it for myself. I do what's natural for me and my survival and if I hurt someone along the way, it's because they fucking deserve it! :twisted_witch:

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#25 Archabyss

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 06:04 AM

1344572397[/url]' post='130120']
But is that human nature to be completely selfless? And who says so?


It's not even natures way to be selfless, each and every plant will attempt to thrive, pushing out other plants from its resources and the plants around it do the same. This why the demons paradox comes up regularly whether we touch the natural world, a decorative plant in its habitat maybe rare or not particularly abundant but move it to a garden where it has a an edge as the other plants and ecology of the garden is not used to it and watch it take over.

Mind you, we are protective of our young, yes I know other mammals are too but we take up a level, maybe that is society?

Edited by Archabyss, 10 August 2012 - 06:06 AM.

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#26 Apryl

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 11:01 AM

It's not even natures way to be selfless, each and every plant will attempt to thrive, pushing out other plants from its resources and the plants around it do the same. This why the demons paradox comes up regularly whether we touch the natural world, a decorative plant in its habitat maybe rare or not particularly abundant but move it to a garden where it has a an edge as the other plants and ecology of the garden is not used to it and watch it take over.

Mind you, we are protective of our young, yes I know other mammals are too but we take up a level, maybe that is society?

Exactly what I meant in the too short beginning of my post, referring very briefly to nature. I suppose I could have expanded more on that thought but I think you have done that quite well and I really like your analogy, thank you. :)
I do think it's society that could cause one to question selfish/selflessness in witchcraft. I agree it's not natural to be completely selfless. My point (and please bear with me) is... which (witch?) society? I feel like it's a dichotomy, a disunion between mundane society that we all live in that says everything we do is selfish (leftover dogma much?) and the more rarefied society of witchcraft that for me says, as we've heard already, why would you/who would practice witchcraft if you felt it was selfish? As I have dual citizenship between both societies, I separate the bullshit from the ice cream and leave the dogma and societal hang-ups at the door to more effectively engage in those things that allow me to learn and follow my path. It's not at the peril of all else, by far, but it's there. And that's ok!
That said, I'm not sure if I'm picking up what you're putting down when you wrote, "Mind you, we are protective of our young, yes I know other mammals are too but we take up a level, maybe that is society?" Are you saying that socity causes us to feel the need to up the levels of protection of our young, where other mammals wouldn't?

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#27 Jevne

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 06:37 AM

. . . I feel like it's a dichotomy, a disunion between mundane society that we all live in that says everything we do is selfish (leftover dogma much?) and the more rarefied society of witchcraft that for me says, as we've heard already, why would you/who would practice witchcraft if you felt it was selfish? . . .


I realize that it may be out of context, but this comment, especially the last part, has me thinking . . . why do some folks assume, claim or desire some loftier purpose for their Craft? I have began to wonder about this "super hero" mentality, like Witches are supposed to be ready and willing to save the world, right the wrongs, etc. Granted, some Witches are really nice people. They help. They heal. They care. They do good work.

The idea that Witches always work for or even should be working for the greater good (be more moral than others) confuses me, though. Those folks that I know and work with, who have real power, . . . well, they do good things, helpful, happy, healing things, but I don't see or sense in many of them any guilt or regret, when they remove someone or something on their way to getting what they want. I think this goes along, for example, with the image of the little, wise man/woman, as always the poor, country bumpkin, who scraped out a meager living in some shed. That is a very real picture. But, so is the image of the practitioner, who uses magical power to achieve financial, social, or personal goals. The fact is that the truly powerful tend to wield that power, giving them a much different moral compass.

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#28 Michele

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 12:55 PM

I guess most spells are self serving, but considering that most people are too, that makes spells self preserving. I have focused a lot on prosperity which might be selfish considering the clients that bring me money could be giving it to someone else. However, I'm still working for that money, so I don't think it's immoral for me to ask for the opportunity.


And by the same token, the money you get will (in its own small way) "boost" the economy because you aren't going to just burn it in a campfire, you're going to spend it (and thereby "give" it to someone else)... the whole economy depends on people getting money, then trading the money for goods or services (including a savings account where the person gets interest and the bank gets to invest). So it may seem self-serving but it also is not, becuase no one exists in a vacuum :-)

M

Edited by Michele, 25 November 2012 - 12:57 PM.

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#29 Michele

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 01:14 PM

I realize that it may be out of context, but this comment, especially the last part, has me thinking . . . why do some folks assume, claim or desire some loftier purpose for their Craft? I have began to wonder about this "super hero" mentality, like Witches are supposed to be ready and willing to save the world, right the wrongs, etc. Granted, some Witches are really nice people. They help. They heal. They care. They do good work.

The idea that Witches always work for or even should be working for the greater good (be more moral than others) confuses me, though. Those folks that I know and work with, who have real power, . . . well, they do good things, helpful, happy, healing things, but I don't see or sense in many of them any guilt or regret, when they remove someone or something on their way to getting what they want. I think this goes along, for example, with the image of the little, wise man/woman, as always the poor, country bumpkin, who scraped out a meager living in some shed. That is a very real picture. But, so is the image of the practitioner, who uses magical power to achieve financial, social, or personal goals. The fact is that the truly powerful tend to wield that power, giving them a much different moral compass.


I have often wondered if the "witch in the poor cottage" thing comes from the fact that (post-industry) most witches were "heathens" - the farmers, the ones who worked and lived on the land. So much of the craft evolved (including magic) from a relationship with the land - especially if one considers that the craft most likely had shamanic origins. Going back - way, way, way back - groups of cavemen and/or nomadic peoples lived in groups/clans - they had to. Safety in numbers from the elements and from attack. There were no police or governments. As such the "contentment" of the clan would have been paramount to survival both as an individual and as a species. And this would have been felt much more strongly than it is felt in today's "private home" society. So there most likely developed a "clan" shaman who would work the magic seen within the land itself for the good of the clan (including the bane of other threatening clans). In that respect the shaman served his or her people/clan, not just him/her self. And as the world industrialized the witch/shaman was still of the poorer class who worked the land, for the land was their connection. I, personally, believe that this changed with ceremonialism as the lifestyle of the human races changed.

So there are still some "shamanic" collective-consciousness types out there, and there are also some who want to save the world becuase it makes them feel "special" or "powerful." The true shamanic practitioner I believe is a highly skilled, highly trained, specific tradition - not something most people can just adopt through desire. And the problem with saving the world is the very in-depth psychology behind saving people. It's not always the right thing to do. It may be meant well, but it often causes more problems and greater "un-empowerment" for the person who gets saved rather than gaining maturity and knowledge and psychological growth.

I see no problem with one who chooses to use their magic to make their personal life enjoyable and safe. It does help the family of those people (usually) as well, and it keeps people from living off the government... it's just an evolution of the sociological situation from serving the clan to serving the family... and honestly is there much difference between a family and a clan/tribe?

M

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#30 Jevne

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 02:33 PM

I have often wondered if the "witch in the poor cottage" thing comes from the fact that (post-industry) most witches were "heathens" - the farmers, the ones who worked and lived on the land. So much of the craft evolved (including magic) from a relationship with the land - especially if one considers that the craft most likely had shamanic origins. . . .
M


I understand. I have a great many farmers in my ancestry, as likely do many others here, though I do not necessarily automatically associated that fact with Craft, as I also have business peoples, skilled trades people, politicians, military, artists, and even clergy. Of course, not all of those people were (or would ever outright claim) the title of Witch, they did share some common traits, like resourcefulness, adaptability, independent nature, maybe even a slightly arrogant, stubborn streak (shrugs :wink: ), etc.

I agree that having a relationship with the land is vital, not just to Craft practice, but to the long-term, sustainability of humans. Farmers, thank goodness, have a healthy respect for, and more importantly, understanding of how nature works (both physically and spiritually), which makes it possible for me to be eating this banana. I am very grateful.

Edited by Jevne, 25 November 2012 - 10:38 PM.

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#31 Guest_atropa_*

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 08:32 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:


Hello Akashiel
Being selfish is taking care of the self and there’s nothing wrong in that.

Using witchcraft or the ways of Witch to change a situation is something I wouldn’t do without considering all possible consequences, only when I am sure I can and will deal with said consequences do I go ahead and do it. There is nothing selfish about doing this, I take care of me and mine using abilities I have.

I don’t do work for anyone who asks me to unless I consider they are worthy of my help, in which case I don’t ask for payment but leave it to the individual to give back if and when they are ready.

I do use witchcrafts to heal myself and to keep myself safe. If I’m not whole or in the best possible condition I can be then I can’t help the purpose I do, again this isn’t being selfish its a way of using ability to do purpose.

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#32 Phoenix

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 06:12 PM

I'm not sure which thread this originated in, so I cannot comment on that. Like I said above, I think that most things we do are self serving, because they benefit us, but I don't think that makes curses, in general, immoral. I think there is a big difference between seeking to harm someone just because they pissed you off and cursing someone who has actually done something against you or someone else that causes real harm. I think cursing people who just piss you off is more childish than selfish. If someone harms my family, pets, or other people that I care about then I don't think cursing them is selfish, I think it's just. I think that is what they get. It's kind of like how I've heard of cases where a person robbing a home gets hurt and then tries to sue the occupants of the home for shooting them. If you go into a home with intent to rob and harm, you deserve to be shot. If you seek to harm a witch or something/someone they care about, you deserve to be cursed.
My dog mysteriously died yesterday. We have a neighbor that we suspect. Now, does it make me selfish if I curse them? I don't think so. I think it's selfish for someone to kill my dog and expect nothing to be done about it.

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#33 Mountain Witch

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 09:31 PM

My dog mysteriously died yesterday. We have a neighbor that we suspect. Now, does it make me selfish if I curse them? I don't think so. I think it's selfish for someone to kill my dog and expect nothing to be done about it.


My condolences on the death of your dog. And if your neighbor did indeed do the dirty deed, go get him!

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#34 Anara

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 02:44 AM

So sorry to read about your dog, Phoenix...and I think you are making some good points.

Edited by Anara, 27 November 2012 - 02:56 AM.

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#35 westofthemoon

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 08:44 PM

Phoenix, I'm sorry about your dog too.
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#36 Aurelian

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 10:19 AM

I guess there's a few things to address here, so I'll try my best to give it a go....

Well, if it were the case that I decided to hang out a witch shingle, and start offering my services to the public, yes I would charge for it, as my skills are worth money. I wouldn't call up a plumber with two decades of experience and expect him to do repairs for free, so why should the same be expected of me? Is that really selfish? Is caring for my own needs selfish? If I gave away everything I had of value for nothing, I would have nothing left to give, and hence wouldn't be able to help anyone at all. I suppose if using magic was messing up the damn divine plan, I wouldn't have been given the ability to do so, would I?

As for 'morality,' well I've never been given reason to regret a curse or whatnot that I've done, only the ones I haven't performed seem to bite me in the ass. That's a moral for you. If you think you're taking the high road by allowing nasty, horrible people to walk around and continue to harm others, that's certainly...interesting. I just don't agree. To each their own I guess, and if you haven't confronted your shadow to any extent and are worried that causing harm will harm you, it just might, and what you call up will nail you to the wall. Seems sensible to me to avoid creating such a problem. Just don't try to impose that particular moral structure on me or mine, and don't be surprised if I swing a full conniption if you do.

I've never claimed to be wise or anything like it, these are just my particular opinions and thoughts on the subjects at hand. Each of us has led a different life, and will end up in different places, so I don't expect everyone to agree....I'm just being honest.

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#37 RoseRed

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 11:24 PM

I understand the word selfish has negative connotations and when taken to an extreme can be quite unpleasant to encounter but...

 

 

 
Merriam Webster defines selfish as:
1: concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others
 
2: arising from concern with one's own welfare or advantage in disregard of others <a selfish act>

____________________________________________________________________________

 
 
What's wrong with being selfish?  I want what I want.  What's mine is mine.  I take care of my own.  My little corner of the world is the most important to me.  I just don't see a problem with it.

 

When it comes to taking care of our own how much regard do we really have for others? 

 

If that's selfish then I'm not embarrassed to claim that title.


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#38 Michele

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 02:09 AM

I understand the word selfish has negative connotations and when taken to an extreme can be quite unpleasant to encounter but...

 

 

 
 
 
What's wrong with being selfish? 

 

I must admit that to an extent I agree with this. Basically society views the word "selfish" negatively, but at some point in time it was (and still may be) a necessity for survival. Him or me... I think I'll go with selfish, lol.

 

M


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#39 Jevne

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 03:27 AM

Just bumping this up . . . Not sure where the convo will go, but I think it is interesting.


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#40 Roanna

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 09:59 AM

I look to do the right thing. Sometimes this is selfish, sometimes it isn't. Morality can only ever be subjective so no doubt there are many times that I believe I am doing the right thing but other people would disagree with me. I act within the confines of my own moral conscience. This embraces most aspects of magic - I'm certainly not suggesting I only look to heal and help -there are times when inflicting harm is the right thing to do. But there is always a morality governing my actions and I will consider this before acting. It isn't enough for me to say I want - I get, I need to bvelieve that using magic to bring it to me is not only what I want but morally acceptable within my own subjective viewpoint.


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