good points, but if i may counter…
you wrote above that “The reason behind your quest for attempting to extinguish a living flame is to act as a god does”, but i’m actually trying to act as a god to extinguish the flame. i’ve achieved enough through magic to know that i am capable (if not necessarily entirely consistent) in attaining my desires, mundane as they may be LOL. now, though, i want to expand my abilities (as do we all).
secondly, i take the point of attachment. so far, i’ve found it’s the single most influential factor in successfl magic (i.e, an act of will without lust for results). however, i’ve discovered the point of alchemical transmutation which occurs during ritual that discharges all lust for results (or the non-attachment you speak of) which must be found during the ritual if it is to be effective. this transmutation is obvious to anyone who has experienced it, and becomes the true purpose of magic work from the very first time it’s grasped. magic is no longer the act of getting what you want, but the conscious process of forgetting about it entirely. i’m not explaining it very well (it’s later here), but i’m sure you know what i mean. the point is, non-attachment is cool with me.
third… and this may sound simplistic, but i’m a capricorn and a scientist so please excuse my pedantic ways… but i know i can survive (in the most literal sense) without spirituality. by that, i mean if i were devoid of sentience, education or language, i would not starve from a lack of spiritual practise. i would, however, starve from a lack of food (and suffer greatly from a lack of protein, no matter what vegetarians might say about that). thus, i can justify killing an animal for food, but not for spiritual progression. call me a spiritual vegetarian if you will, but i just don’t believe in the necessity of sacrifice (although i don’t condemn those who do, so long as the sacrifice itself is humane to the animal).
fourth, i actually do agree with you on the combined sacrifice/food point. i don’t keep animals for food (i.e, a farm) so i’m not in a position to regularly slaughter animals. if i were, i can assure you that i would have already seriously considered how such a practise could be incorporated into magic. that said, the death would be humane and i would use as much of the carcass for food etc as i felt appropriate. not a problem there at all. however, i keep pets for pets and i buy my meat at the supermarket, and i’m quite happy doing that. i live the modern western life and that’s how it is for most of us in this century. if times were different or if i raised my own animals, it would be perfectly acceptable to my moral standards as i would be in a position to utilise both the physical and astral substance of the sacrifice.
i’d just like to add to what you said on moral attachments… yes, morality is ultimately subjective, but without at least our own moral code, everything becomes arbitrary and loses its value to a greater or lesser extent. the social contract, for example, is meaningless in a darwinian world, but it allows us to function as an otherwise-hostile collective under the pretense of moral obligation to one’s neighbour. magically speaking, yes, it all goes out the window when the incense is lit, but we’re not solely magical beings so long as we’re trapped within this mortal coil. as such, we need to decide when and how to play the game, and having our own moral compass is a great way to start. i have my own which makes me happy, as arbitrary as it may ultimately be.
the difference (with me, at least) is that i’m far less forgiving to other, sentient and independent human beings than i am to animals and plants which simply obey their natural instincts. if a person chooses to do harm to another, it was a conscious and deliberate act, and i find that difficult enough to understand. when our own infinite stupidity (as a species) allows it to happen by accident, it absolutely boggles my mind (and enrages me no end). in either case, there’s no more social contract, and it’s back to the tooth-and-nail mentality of more primitive species. the kinds of species which do not follow moral codes:)
sonny barger once said “treat me good and i’ll treat you better. treat me bad and i’ll treat you worse”. extrapolating a little, i’d say “treat me like a gentleman and i’ll treat you like a lady. act like an animal and i’ll turn you into spam”. morals for the moral, and for the moral. that’s why i can live within my morals when it comes to decent people and non-human animals (i.e, the sacrifice issue mentioned above) but why it simply no longer applies when human beings take it upon themselves to act in an indecent manner. you’ve probably guessed i’m a hard-core eugenicist LOL.
put simply, the natural world has no morality, and therefore no “right” or “wrong” of things. it’s a human invention we need in order to get along with other people. betraying the social contract shows an intentional and premeditated desire to reject common morality. this is something that only humans can choose to do, and it therefore justifies retribution without the need for moral intervention. once an arbitrary (yes, again…) line is breached, all bets are off and the choice to act against the social contract means that punishment needn’t be socially contractual, either:P
my targets thus far have been individuals who have breached this covenant, and thus i do not employ morality in dealing with them. i am similarly bound, however, to behave in a moral fashion to those who uphold this covenant. of course, i’m only bound by my own arbitrary morality LOL!
i hope this clears up a few things about my beliefs. i appreciate the critique and your honest curiosity, though.
kind regards, james.