Prudence…is the ability to discern what is and what is not conducive to the good life. This isn’t a question of balancing the short term and long term interests. It is also not precisely right to say it balances one’s own interests with those of other people. Prudence discerns what is good for humanity in general, both now and in the future, both near and far, and not just for yourself or any other particular person, except that individuals are representatives of the species. -- Brandon Myers, The Other Side of Virtue (pg 100-1)
In reading Myers, I am finding a kindred spirit regarding my belief structure. The difference being that he communicates so very well. Further, I feel like he takes my ideas and expands upon them. I am learning a great deal.
Over the years, I have been a lone voice in the wilderness saying that the magic user is responsible for ALL the fallout of his magick. If I get a job using magick, I need to be concerned with the other fellow that didn't get the job had I not used my skills. Most folks strongly disagree.
This I believe comes from the overvaluation of individualism and the rejection of collective responsibility and the mutual aid that makes societies work.
Further, it is my belief and experience that the more we do to help the other fellow the better we feel about ourselves. In my case, nothing brings me greater pleasure than learning that someone has been positively impacted by my healing, a soul reading or their work with the manifestation meditation. I believe this joy in helping is a fundamental human trait the practice of which has been watered down through the myth of American rugged individualism.
Most magicians I know seem to feel as if their power gives them a right to the job or other object of their magick and write-off the impact on others, as long as there isn't direct physical harm.
Neo-Wicca goes to the other extreme and uses the term "harm none". Frankly, I find this an impossible injunction, especially when it applies to other forms of life. Following harm none to its full extent, as some claim they do, would make it impossible to eat without going through some pretty serious spiritual gymnastics regarding the cow willingly giving up its life for my barbecue. Suddenly, we have to apply the sacred hunter wisdom of thanking the deer for its life to the industrial butcher.
When it comes to magick, it is impossible not to impact others. Trying to figure out what harm really means could send one into an ontological, moral and ethical tizzy!
Magicians give the briefest, albeit sincere, nod to such problems. We may see the injunction to follow the will of the magician so long as her loved ones are not harmed, including pets, nor any other human (she knows).
I suppose that is better than nothing.
In my magick, I am going to work under the above definition of prudence. I wish to make the 'good life' available to all. I want to help those around me as best I can, without going to Mother Theresa-like extremes. So, were I to do magick to gain a job, I would add, "open a gateway to a job wherein my work will assist in the creation of additional employment for another." Should I seek a love, "open the pathway to my love and allow me to, when the timing is right, to introduce another future couple to each other." Sure, the wording is a bit sloppy at this point but I think the intent is clear.
I do not believe it is enough not to harm. It is my belief that the good life, desired by us all, can be helped along by such wording in our works. Further, I feel that power brings with it responsibility. I will act in accordance with my virtue in this regard.