Sunday, September 30, 2012

Response to Jack

My friend Jack responded to some of my recent posts here. Read that first if you like, even though I extensively quoted here. 

Jack: This is one of those risky examples of counter-points to magickal utility that I've seen expressed by others; the first is that if any one at all has their course in life changed, or there is fall-out, the magician is principally at fault. 

As the primary infuser of the energy of change into a relatively static situation, he is certainly not irresponsible...oh wait. 

Jack: He goes on to state that many younger magicians fall prey to their “lower selves”. I consider this a dangerous example of dualistic thinking, for it presumes to understand the nature of magickal work and break everything into a “Good/Evil” dichotomy, a mind-virus that individuals in the West have a tendency to suffer from.

Allow me to back this up a bit. My presumption is that the people impacted believe in that dualistic world view. Why? Because most people do. They will perceive events in their life as good/bad. No matter how much they later grow spiritually, someone's death, job loss, bad date, etc. will be dealt with as a negative. The people so impacted will feel pain. To sit back and say well, they only feel pain because of their dualistic perceptions, while true, is lacking in compassion. 

Secondly, almost all magick assumes the good/bad paradigm. Otherwise, you wouldn't be trying to obtain anything by magick aside from that which covers your basic needs of food and shelter. It is good to have a wife and bad not to, at least that is the judgement Jack made doing the magick he admits to performing. Therefore, claiming those wounded in the fallout should adopt a non-dualistic world view is a bit philosophical rationalization.

Personally, I honestly believe and know that everything is perfect/nothing matters (non-dualistic...I think) but if you step on my toe, it will hurt and I will say, "Ouch." If you drop a sledge hammer on my toe, I will say, "$(@$)_ ouch!" Healing time will be longer too. Even if I met a new friend in the hospital that enriches my life, I am still going to be upset with you for your negligence. Twice as upset if you knew better and didn't care about me enough to stop. Three times as upset if you deny you dropped the hammer. 

Should you do that in a variety of circumstances to a variety of people, I will stand against you until I believe you have grown into something more in alignment with the principals I expect my associates to hold. It is fine if you disagree and behave differently, I just ask that you hold them over there...preferably in another state.

Frankly, as scary as Jack likes to think he is, he's a hell of a nice guy. If he ever dropped a hammer on my toe, I'd assume it slipped. I'd also expect him to buy me a New Castle. Why, because if Jack dropped a hammer on my toe, he wouldn't deny it. My response would be, "You owe me a New Castle."

First, Robert appears to be making the mistaken assumption that the young magician being led around by the nose by their “lower-self” will not be lead into circumstances that lead them to knowledge and conversation with aspects of their “higher-self.” 

No. Before I get there, let me say that old magicians can be lead by the nose by their lower selves. See my posts about my Nephesch taking over when I thought I could use it instead of it using me. Mistake! I was thoroughly led by the nose for a day or two after.

Mistakes are essential to learning. Any magician that wants to be lead to his higher self will find that path regardless of type of magick practiced or other intent, unless he gets caught in the glamour of his own magick or creates such a disaster s/he walks away from the entire process. The problem is that many, while saying they do seek the so-called higher, have no real intent to grow whatsoever. Growth tends to be more a factor of maturity than effort and while positive, not fully effective. Normally, this silly stuff is about power. Which segues nicely into his next line.

Secondarily, he's following the prototypical “it's all power!” assessment that bothers me very much. He assumes that if the magician uses “Get Laid Quick!” sigils, they'll be using it a means of power over someone else, or neglecting a desire for love. As I stated in my responses to his Sitri post, I see nothing wrong with using magick to engineer circumstances in which sex might occur. What I consider wrong is mistaking sex for love, or the desire for sex as a mistaken desire for love. If we stand by the admonition of “Know Thyself!” then we must also understood the root of our desires.

I am pretty sure we agree on everything here, except his assumption on what I assume. My objection in the Sitri post was more along these lines. If you call a beast like that seeking sex but your psychology is really looking for love or acceptance, you are in a world of hurt or will be. I stand by that. 

Jack: To tell someone that they must seek love over sex, or vice versa, is a fatal conceit. It presumes to know the desire, path, and capability of any given young magician. It is a very foolish thing to do, even if people do hurt themselves.

I never meant to imply such.  In fact, I think I cleared that up in a response to Jack earlier.

Jack: Part of living this world is learning to live with the hurtful things that happen in it. Any system of magick, spirituality, or mysticism that seeks to diminish this factor is also foolish, for we cannot live without pain. 

True: But I don't think it is our right as magicians to randomly cause pain that facilitates someone else learning that lesson. We have no idea who is ready for that lesson. To cause pain and simply say, "their fault, they don't know," demonstrates a lack of compassion and is devoid of personal responsibility.

False: As I am seeing with the MM, the lessons learned are much less painful than initiatory system while being just as effective. I did not seek that but that is what it appears to be. I am still collecting data so that may change.

Jack: First,assuming you can see all the given variables in any situation is wrong-headed. Even if that single-mother may end up without what may be the first, and easiest to seek out job, is to assume she will not within a week apply for a job that pays more money and gives her what she needs. Second, as Jason points out in his comments, you can specify not to harm others. I cannot speak for others, but almost all of my work for material items involves divination beforehand, and careful consideration of the results. I have passed over many-a-working because I drew the “Tower” card in an particularly inauspicious position, with similarly terrible cards arranged around it. My perspective has always been that “we all go to the Tower, some more than others!” but that doesn't mean I prefer to avoid intensely messy situations. Included in plenty of those divination performances were questions regarding how those around me or involved may be impacted by my actions. 

First, Jack is arguing that since we don't know if she'll get a better job than the one I take from her, taking it is just fine. By this logic, I can break into a home and steal the TV because I guess maybe possibly that they can get a better one with insurance, if they have coverage. In the woman's case, I sure hope she can feed her kids for that week or can keep the phone on so she gets that job offer.

That said, I fully recognize the reality that anyone that gets the job takes it from another that needs the job. Yes, this belies my argument. There is a third thing...I will let Jack figure out what I mean. 

Secondly, Jack is essentially conceding he does things to avoid the concerns I have while debunking said concerns. He is arguing what ought to be and then planning for the reality of what is. As long as he plans for reality. I am good. 

Jack: I have also made plenty of mistakes by failing to perform the above, normally due to my own personal conceits. Like I've said, you cannot learn without making mistakes. And sometimes those mistakes hurt both you and those who you did not wish to hurt.

Once again, Jack is arguing my point. Thanks for the help.

Jack: If you wish to perform Theurgia and seek your higher-self, and those spirits that coincide with it? I totally recommend doing that. However I do not think you have the right to suggest that course of action is best for everyone. It may be best for you, because that is your path I like plenty of Cthonic gods. Lots of people have no idea what I mean when I speak those words. That's okay.

This is one of Jack's fatal traps. He assume that a theurgist making these points is trying to argue that the way of theurgy is the only way. This is silly. In fact, I so indicated in my posts that this is not so, albeit not directly. So, I will now. Any other magickal path is valid and acceptable in my book. The fact that I have an opinion does not mean I devalue your path. It means that I have an opinion. My opinion is that some magickal practices and errors can harm others, as well as the magician, an opinion, Jack agrees with, at least from how interpret his post.

Jack: What,you can't gain the skills to stop that process or recognize what's happening? Just a suggestion: if this happens, then you need to increase your skill set to recognize manifestations for what they are and put a stop, as the person whose Will is being impact before that situation arises. You cannot blame someone for a manifestation that you failed to take into account. You could have spent time learning those skills, rather than simply doing soul-work. I don't accept ignorance as an excuse, rather ignorance is a teaching tool and demonstration on how to become a better magician, in my eyes. 

This is where Jack just got silly. Oh, that mugger hit you over the head and stole your grandmother's ring? Well, that is your fault isn't it? Had you just learned karate...

He also is assuming a few things.

The first is that the magician and the Person B are of relatively equal skill set making this attempted or accidental theft somehow acceptable. He is essentially saying, yeah, that person I mugged, no problem, she knew jujutsu. So, it is totally okay if I sneaked up and blindsided her, totally fair play.

As someone that has the wears a cringing chicken as a sign of my combat skills, I have chosen a life devoid of violence. That makes me vulnerable to thugs. It will suck if I get hit over the head and have my wallet stolen. It sucks even worse to live in such fear to make preparations for that. My life path is too busy with things I value more than catering to my fear of attack. 

Secondly, he is assuming anyone else in the equation even knows what magick is. No. All this poor man knows is his wife left him, his kids won't speak to him and alcohol takes the pain away. That's okay though right? After all, he needs to learn pain is an illusion. This dualistic thinking is his problem.

Jack: Please: feel free to critique my thoughts!

I will get right on that. 

Let it be known I love Jack. He is self-admittedly insane, a damn fine magician and has more mental faculties hungover than I sober. Jack has taught me stuff that has nothing to do directly with magick. He also owes me $5.00 for a pack of cigarettes I bought him five years ago. That said, we will mostly always have this discussion in some form or another. There is no animosity on either side.


Jack Faust said...

Hahaha. Sorry for saying you made assumptions you may not have. My bad. I did the thing I was critiquing!

Would you like me to edit that out?

Jack Faust said...

Robert: "As the primary infuser of the energy of change into a relatively static situation, he is certainly not irresponsible...oh wait."

Not quite what I mean. In the hypothetical situation you set up there are several issues:
1. What if the lady was not going to get that job, period? What if the person that was actually going to get the job was some charming bastard that used his fine speech to get it?
2. What if the woman would not have been actually better off with that job? Yes, money helps. But what if it's a job with too much stress for her to handle?
3. As I said, what if she heads off to get a better job because of that change? Should the magician take credit for the latter example?
4. Who is to say whose needs are more, the magician or the woman? What if the magician also has starving children, etc?

As to the dualism: I disagree that almost all magick assumes the good/evil perspective.

"Secondly, almost all magick assumes the good/bad paradigm. Otherwise, you wouldn't be trying to obtain anything by magick aside from that which covers your basic needs of food and shelter."

I don't know. Maybe it would help if we dropped the Higher/Lower self dichotomy altogether so older magicians don't assume they have reached a level of attainment and lose perspective? Maybe we should try embracing desire as it is, and see how that embrace impacts our lives and act accordingly?

Also: I am so not spooky. People think I'm a curly-haired teddy-bear half the time. Which is mostly true unless I'm really angry.

You totally corrected me on what you thought regarding that Sitri post. I was just referencing back to that discussion and my points there.

"... I can break into a home and steal the TV because I guess maybe possibly that they can get a better one with insurance, if they have coverage."

Not quite what I mean... What I mean is that focusing on the potential harm versus the potential positive is non-sense. It's one-sided. Should you consider it? Probably. Should you focus on the idea that all you'll do is harm if you get a better job and another does not? Absolutely not. People use a variety of options in getting jobs. Not all of them are 'fair' to all participants. Concluding that using magickal talents impacts others negatively is something I find silly. That's like saying my natural charisma leaves others at a disadvantage. Of course it does! I went to the trouble to develop that skill for a reason! Don't compare my magick or my charm to burglary!

I'm also not arguing your points. I'm admitting my own failings. Like we both agree, we all have them!

I don't quite mean that you're being a Theurgical jackass! Just that you're wording things in a way that would lead others to assume their path is invalid, because you've embraced the spiritual above the magickal. Sorry for coming off as preachy!

"Oh, that mugger hit you over the head and stole your grandmother's ring? Well, that is your fault isn't it? Had you just learned karate..."

LOL! No, I'm saying that if a mugger took you down you should sit back, and instead of focusing on the mugger and their wrong (which is obvious) consider learning karate. Or focus on being more aware of your surroundings. What happened sucks, but you can treat it as a lesson in what to change rather than lamenting how crap other people can be to one another.

I've been "cursed" a few times and taught a few lessons about how to fix that. I've also been actually cursed. And I've also been part of the mess of others. In each case, I could have focused on their wrong actions. But that's kind've pointless, isn't it? Instead I took steps to fix the issues. Did I ward? Did I lack a set of skills I now need? Etc.

As for non-magicians? 'Eh. I consider that another debate entirely.

Robert said...

smile. no. My ego is not predicated on such things. Now, disparage my toothpaste selection and we. will. have. words!

Robert said...

Mostly, we agree on most of it so it is all good.