A Discussion of Modern Morality, and The Purpose of Magiq in Today's World

#1

I am a very scholarly person, as well as a social-political conscious person. As such I often ponder the purpose of magic ( or magiq as it is often written within this community). In today’s society… across the world we see that we as a species have made such little progress socially… I mean problems that have existed since the middle ages if not earlier still exist… With all this technology and social change in people you think we would see some improvement, and yet still the basic rights of folks are trampled by those that have the money, or by those who hold the religious chains, or a number of other things… Therefore I wonder… Is it our duty and obligation as ones who deal with higher energies and powers than the average individual to intervene on behalf of human society? Or is this not our responsibility, and is our power meant to be used for whatever we choose to use them for? it is a question I feel that has many in’s and outs, and I have debated it with myself at great length, but I wish to know what you all think.

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#2

I would think that we should use magiq to help people in need and not for our own personal gain.

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#3

Everyone in a position of power believes themselves to be the best example of how to serve the people. If we use our magiq to fit within a political sphere would that not merely make us one of those powers that be? What we’re talking about is essentially an overtake. Usually it happens in the case of the have vs. the have nots. The people that have the money make the rules over the people that don’t. The people with large amounts of weapons have their own persuasion over whatever land they’ve taken over through hostility. We have this ability, but I don’t think in any form that it should make us more or less worthy to enforce our ideals for fear we would create a new era of those with and those without.

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#4

I can agree with that assessment, however are we not obligated, as already being the ones that, as you put it, “have” the power, to aid those who “have not” we have magiq, does that not automatically make us responsible for using that power to aid the world? Understand this is purely philosophical and I am not sure as to my position on this myself, I just like understanding all the angles, so I am not arguing, just debating. And as I say, I agree with you, any situation in which one person has something and chooses it to create dominance over another is not a good system, but I still think by our very possession of this thing others do not have, we are obliged to use it in the service of those who do not have it, expressly because they do not.

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#5

It was not the implication necessarily that we use our powers for personal gain, more that are we only responsible so far as we feel we are, and if that means personal gain for you than so be it, but I was asking whether or not our power gives us the obligation, or if we have the freedom to choose to fulfill the duty of helping others or not.

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#6

I understand, I just personally feel like we, as a relatively small group of people scattered throughout the world, don’t have the nuance to actively help every person in the way they want or need to be helped. It’s also important to note that if we use magiq as a gateway to political force, it leads the path for others to do the same, and by then it wouldn’t matter what morals we originally had since those other people not affiliated with us as Mountaineers don’t have that same code of conduct. Due to the unusual nature of our abilities, we’d be lumped in with them regardless.

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#7

A valid point to be sure… wouldn’t it be interesting though… I mean you hear about those great spells that alter reality… if we could somehow harness that power for the improvement of our planet… Well I am a balimora through and through :joy: Ignore my chaotic ramblings, I just like to think about the big grand things… thank you for your debate though it was an enjoyable conversation. I am not certain I have a rebuttal to your point.

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#8

Even if it ends with a few cuts and bruises on our end, I think what we’d gain alone would make the journey worth taking. Modern magiq to me is the chance for people at all rungs of society to reclaim some power and control over their lives, and use that control to bring on some positive change. In a world like ours, a spark of hope like that would be monumental.

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#9

Oh I fully agree. It is a matter of keeping the balance, and a matter of restoring some of that which has been lost.

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#10

I think we have the same responsibility as anyone else–to do our best, and try to make the world a better place. Just because we can do more, or do things differently, because of magiq doesn’t really change anything
We might not always succeed. And, in the end, we probably shouldn’t make decisions for people without consulting them. But we can do what we can and work with others, magiq or not, to come to some kind of agreement on what a better world looks like.
And I’ll be honest, I personally think that the cost of any privilege is using it to help those without. But I’m also in a position where I’m able to do so safely, and not everyone is.

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#11

I like that quite a lot actually. And I agree.

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#12

Aspen

Very interesting question, I like these kinds of discussions as well.

I personally do not believe having magiqual power obligates anyone to do anything. I was born with a marvelous singing voice (ahem), but I never joined a band or became a professional singer. Having a talent or innate gift doesn’t imply obligation to use that gift. Or, in other words, just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean that you should.

Whether or not to use magiq to “help” others is a very sticky subject, precisely for the reason that I put the word help in quotes. How do you know what kind of help another person or group needs? Even they may not really know. There is enormous amount of potential to do more harm than good, and people don’t work that way. Everyone has their own path, and interfering and embroiling yourself in their problems can be, well, problematic.

Now there is always the case of someone coming to you and asking for help, and that is up to your own discretion, being aware that outcomes tend to be extremely un-foreseeable, and the person/group being helped should be made very aware of that as well, the old “be careful what you wish for” chestnut.

As far as using your gifts for personal gain, I am of the absolute opinion that that is a good, if for no other reason than doing so is an act of defiance against capitalism. “Magic is the refusal of work in action. Because what is magic, at the end of the day? It is the promise of getting something for nothing. Of a world without work, without strict rules or boundaries in the way that science strives for, and capitalism requires to organize labor. Magic is the world of the qualitative, not the quantitative. It is a technology of the Self.” - Silvia Federici via Oliver Thorn

Using magiq on yourself, for yourself, as I see it, is the best way to use it, for a great number of reasons. It may well be “selfish”, that could certainly be argued. But it can also be argued that needing to help others can not only be intrinsically selfish as well, but somewhat narcissistic. I’ll explain. If you’re helping someone, that inherently means you are in a position of power over them. You’re big, they’re small. You’re strong, they’re weak. It can be extremely infantilizing and demeaning to the person being "helped’. And it can make the helpful helper feel big and strong and powerful, which of course feels great. To them. Am i saying you should never offer to help? Of course not. Sometimes just offering, asking if you can help is more than enough. But forcing “help” on someone who didn’t ask for it ?..

An individual, however wise, powerful or well meaning, cannot possibly know what is best or right for any population or another individual, and cannot foresee unintended consequences. It’s hard enough just making your own choices and living with the consequences of your own actions…

In the end, it’s up to each of us to decide how you use our powers. They’re yours to do with as you will. But a word of advice from a salty old witch? Tread lightly, and again, as always, be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.

A bit doom and gloomy, isn’t it? Here are some otters…

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#13

Holy crap its leigha.

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#14

Holy crap its me!

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#15

Aaaaah… Someone who I can really agree with. Perchance a Comrade? Any ways I happen to fully agree with pretty much everything you said personally. I just like to know what everybody thinks as a scholar I enjoy seeing every side of an issue.

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#16

Noblesse Oblige. Privilege entails responsibility.

If having Magiq makes us powerful, it’s our duty (not as individuals! As a whole) to protect and empower those who do not have the same privilege. This, obviously, comes after personal safety, since you can’t help others without helping yourself. You must be whole and sane and have enough to live a sensible and happy life before you can give large amounts of things to many people. Money is (unfortunately) the current ruling power of the world. Those of us with Magiq still might not have money, or safety, or other things. Those people will never have a responsibility to use magiq (or, in my opinion, any of their resources) for others.

Obviously choosing to help can be done at any level, and should be encouraged, but not expected … Except when it comes to those with power in many forms. Being a powerful adept is power, yes, but if that person is struggling with funds or energy or happiness then they’re hardly powerful in the grand scheme of the world (except maybe in the world of magiq, specifically)

Basically, in my opinion, it’s just like our favourite overquoted quote: with great power comes great responsibility.
But responsibility doesn’t mean that one must help. Only that they should , if they can safely do so. Hope that made sense! It’s fun to dip into the philosophical now and then :blossom:

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#17

It absolutely made sense. And I understand the perspective. Although I am not certain I agree with it, I understand it, and think it is noble. I am not entirely sure what I believe. I like certain elements such as the last little bit, but I just don’t know that whether or not having the power really equates to being the responsibility. I think too often we see that those with the power Misuse the responsibility… it’s that where I get hesitant…

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#18

That’s because generally, those in power are twisted from birth. People born into money don’t believe in their own responsibility. People born with privelage find it hard to see that other people don’t have it. The whole concept of Noblesse Oblige was created to try and teach people who had everything that they should give something back.

I don’t think it’s possible to misuse responsibility. Responsibility is a force that acts upon a person, they can’t use it, only satisfy it or ignore it. People who work hard for power generally do satisfy the responsibility by helping others… Whereas people who start life with the power in their hands ignore their responsibility.

Magiq can be something you’re born with, but in this day and age nobody is ‘raised in power’ with magiq. People with magiq work hard to control and consider it, to protect and guard and help and heal, or to keep it to themselves. Any of these are noble. It is only once the power holds significantly large social or physical weight in the world that the concept of responsibility begins to bear down.

It’s the should rather than the must . But money corrupts in a way magiq does not. That’s my opinion! :blossom:

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#19

Some epic arguments in here. I’ll drop in my two cents as well, going back to the thesis Aspen gave us…

(I come from a yoga background so my reasoning comes from Buddhist / Zen point of view.)

The first assumption this brings to the table is that we’re all living under the veil of illusion (maya), and as such anything that we pick up with the senses or can be expressed in words is wrong knowledge (avidya) because our physical senses and language aren’t capable of perceiving or conveying ultimate truths, respectively. If we accept this, that means that the only people who have correct knowledge are those who are enlightened — and the rest of us have no capacity to deliberate on what is “right” and “wrong”. This echoes Leigha’s succinct argument, just in different language:

These enlightened people exist in the world (check out Amma, the Hugging Mother — she’s great!), and they do work to make it a better place, but they don’t “intervene”. Instead they recognise that we’re all on a path to our own liberation, whatever that means to you (psychology calls it self-actualisation, Hinduism calls it Moksha, Buddhism calls it Nirvana, etc) and make the teachings available for people wishing to pursue that goal. As the Tao Te Ching puts it, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” This can apply to unenlightened people too though — if you have higher vibrations/energies/thoughts to share “make it and they will come” (so says the film “Field of Dreams”).

Which brings me to critique one of the ideas that @SabineBean shared which is incompatible with the yogis’ thinking (sorry!).

The Bhagavad Gita — which I treat purely as a philosophical text — tells the story of a soldier who is morally conflicted on whether or not he should go to battle and potentially kill men who are fathers, brothers, teachers, and his charioteer (actually a god) who gives him advice. From my studies of the text, the moral of the story is that it’s far better to do your job poorly (in Arjuna’s case, a soldier) than to do someone else’s job extremely well. In other words, according to this school of thought, it is imperative that you carry out your purpose which is at odds with the above quote.

Lastly, and this is based on my whims as a child rather than any texts I’ve read, but I had this belief growing up that if I chose to be nice or happy, that made the world 1% happier or nicer, which made the world 1% better. So I think that no matter how much or how little magiq a person has, they always have the choice whether to contribute or take away to what positive psychology describes as the “tonnage of happiness” in the world.

TL;DR: (1) We have no capacity for knowing ultimate right from wrong, but if we have positive offerings to give we should make them available without forcing them on others. (2) If it is our caste/duty/calling to share our knowledge and gifts with the world it is imperative we do so. (3) By being 1% happier/more positive you’re contributing to a global force of happiness instead of taking away from it.

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#20

I like… I like very much claps well said.

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