Morals and ethics, are they illusions

I’ve heard a lot about right, wrong… Karma and spiritual punishment and such as I’ve explored magick.

The thing is, as I learn more, the line between “Good” and “evil” fades. Are ethics and morals just different kinds of Spiritual shackles? A way to stop people from becoming too powerful? What is considered going too far with magick?

Looking at non-human primates, it appears that morals evolved from the need to not get slapped down by the biggest monkey, or mobbed by a horde of smaller moneys for hurting them, their offspring, etc.

A certain civility and self-restraint based on fear of consequences is normal in all mammals, and most other animal lifefroms.

As we evolved a different and more complex brain, we began to tend and care for our elderly or sick in a more consistent way - animals do this to some extent, but hominids developed this into primitive medical care.

Also, with the growing cranium of early humans, pregnancy and birth became more complex, with our young also having a longer period of helplessness than many species, while advances in food gathering, cultivation, and preparation meant the elderly could live longer, bringing their wisdom to our tribes.

It’s possible the changes to our brains that give us our unique consciousness also created stronger emotions of love, meaning we were personally driven to care for the weak, which would regularly include wounded males in their prime, who’d maybe had their jaw smashed in battle, or suffered broken limbs and gorings during a hunt.

As soon as you have a vested interest in the prolonged care of someone weaker than you who can’t possibly whup your ass if you violate their wellbeing, you have the basis of morals, and ethics.

And as soon as you try to protect granny, your wounded brother, or your toddler from being killed by another human in its prime, you have the basis of policing, and the motivation to create a moral code which extends outside personal choice, because you don’t want to be guarding them all day, so you need it to become more of a norm for the tribe to protect the vulnerable.

That’s my working theory on the evolution of ethics and morals, and I can guarantee you any “fuck the world” anarchist out there would feel very differently if s/he were to slip over tomorrow and spend 6 months in a full body cast, reliant on complete strangers just to be able to take a leak (no really, this happened to this girl I knew at a music festival)…

Where we take it as 21st Century black magicians (or whatever variety and self-description) is usually informed by our belief in our ability to look out for ourselves, and our loved ones, and also the staggering abuse of power by governments (reliably the most dangerous thing for any human being throughout the last century) and so on…

ETA: property, specifically grain farming which dis-incentivised the nomadic lifestyle, eventually gave people something to defend that they’d worked very hard for and could store, and that was probably also a factor, which is why many gods of “order” and civilisation (like Osiris) are connected to grain, but I have some truly eccentric theories on grains that won’t improve this thread. :slight_smile:

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[quote=“Lady Eva, post:2, topic:6177”]Looking at non-human primates, it appears that morals evolved from the need to not get slapped down by the biggest monkey, or mobbed by a horde of smaller moneys for hurting them, their offspring, etc.

A certain civility and self-restraint based on fear of consequences is normal in all mammals, and most other animal lifefroms.

As we evolved a different and more complex brain, we began to tend and care for our elderly or sick in a more consistent way - animals do this to some extent, but hominids developed this into primitive medical care.

Also, with the growing cranium of early humans, pregnancy and birth became more complex, with our young also having a longer period of helplessness than many species, while advances in food gathering, cultivation, and preparation meant the elderly could live longer, bringing their wisdom to our tribes.

It’s possible the changes to our brains that give us our unique consciousness also created stronger emotions of love, meaning we were personally driven to care for the weak, which would regularly include wounded males in their prime, who’d maybe had their jaw smashed in battle, or suffered broken limbs and gorings during a hunt.

As soon as you have a vested interest in the prolonged care of someone weaker than you who can’t possibly whup your ass if you violate their wellbeing, you have the basis of morals, and ethics.

And as soon as you try to protect granny, your wounded brother, or your toddler from being killed by another human in its prime, you have the basis of policing, and the motivation to create a moral code which extends outside personal choice, because you don’t want to be guarding them all day, so you need it to become more of a norm for the tribe to protect the vulnerable.

That’s my working theory on the evolution of ethics and morals, and I can guarantee you any “fuck the world” anarchist out there would feel very differently if s/he were to slip over tomorrow and spend 6 months in a full body cast, reliant on complete strangers just to be able to take a leak (no really, this happened to this girl I knew at a music festival)…

Where we take it as 21st Century black magicians (or whatever variety and self-description) is usually informed by our belief in our ability to look out for ourselves, and our loved ones, and also the staggering abuse of power by governments (reliably the most dangerous thing for any human being throughout the last century) and so on…

ETA: property, specifically grain farming which dis-incentivised the nomadic lifestyle, eventually gave people something to defend that they’d worked very hard for and could store, and that was probably also a factor, which is why many gods of “order” and civilisation (like Osiris) are connected to grain, but I have some truly eccentric theories on grains that won’t improve this thread. :)[/quote]

The more I learn the less I feel compelled to spend my life doing that. I care for those I personally care about. It takes a lot to earn that from me.

The rest of people I see as sleep walkers. Believing the illusions they grew up learning in church. The country girl that romanticises the manly cowboy not knowing that it’s just a media show… Or the so called thug that fights hard because life is hard.

Whereas the use of magick in the most basic forms can make life easier. Like hacking a computer… I feel like a God on the rise and it feels so amazing. The energy of it is… So beautiful. Words can’t describe the sensation.

To follow up on Lady E’s awesome post there, we can know that however maladjusted it seems when applied to the current state of humanity (growing, or dying) - morality didn’t originate accidentally, it had its reasoning insofar as the development of our species.

That said, the pendulum has just about reached its extreme of motion as far as I can tell, and these old moralities can either be held on to, taking us beneath the waves of the changing needs of humans, or replaced. That said, any new morality can only be a good replacement for the old if it fulfills the original purpose of the old, i.e. the survival, and indeed the further development of humankind. Or, at least a portion of it.

Maybe.

I don’t know.

Drop the nukes.

EDIT - The equally absurd summary to this would probably have to be that ‘there is no true law, all is permitted’ is hopefully only a phase; nihilism best encountered as a void to cross and not a pit to wallow in; pure anarchists, historically and ontologically, tend to be fertilizer.

[quote=“Claidheam, post:4, topic:6177”]To follow up on Lady E’s awesome post there, we can know that however maladjusted it seems when applied to the current state of humanity (growing, or dying) - morality didn’t originate accidentally, it had its reasoning insofar as the development of our species.

That said, the pendulum has just about reached its extreme of motion as far as I can tell, and these old moralities can either be held on to, taking us beneath the waves of the changing needs of humans, or replaced. That said, any new morality can only be a good replacement for the old if it fulfills the original purpose of the old, i.e. the survival, and indeed the further development of humankind. Or, at least a portion of it.

Maybe.

I don’t know.

Drop the nukes.

EDIT - The equally absurd summary to this would probably have to be that ‘there is no true law, all is permitted’ is hopefully only a phase; nihilism best encountered as a void to cross and not a pit to wallow in; pure anarchists, historically and ontologically, tend to be fertilizer.[/quote]

That makes sense. It also makes sense why so many Christian morals feel like the opposite. The Bible thumpers are so absurd to me. People are absurd.

I had a friend I tried to rescue again and again from abusive relationships. She just found new ones and when I tried to reveal to her some of the basic esoteric concepts of “God” she literally told me that the illusion meant more to her. (She’s Mormon)… Yet when she was scorned she was practically begging me for curses to cast. I refuse to give her that kind of knowledge for the same reason I’d never give a chimpanzee a shotgun. I love that hypocrisy. I eventually stopped fucking around and ended the friendship by trying to show her her own shadow. She didn’t like that “Devil talk”.

I never expect reason and rationality from most people. She was a lesson in bull headed, stubborn stupidity on a scale I never knew possible.

We could discuss the beginnings of morality and ethics (and the difference between them) for quite some time. There is, of course, an entire branch of philosophy dedicated to just these topics, and scholars have devoted lifetimes to understanding the topic in detail.

But the fundamental principle is really quite simple. Ethics or morals (I’ll use the terms interchangeably for simplicity’s sake) exist to persuade an individual to sacrifice his or her interests for the benefit of a group. It is, bottom line, the tool of tyranny.

Consider for just a moment the literal meaning of the word selfless. The fact that annihilating your sense is of self is considered a virtue makes me physically ill. On the contrary, I am deeply selfish, and proud of the fact. I have a self, and a strong sense of and love for that self, a fact that makes me flawed in the eyes of every ethical system I am aware of.

Every group, every collective, from the nuclear family up to the various leagues of nations, is oppressive to the individuals comprising it to some degree. One of the most valuable lessons in personal freedom is to deidentify yourself from various groups. For example, instead of saying, I am an American, say instead, I was born and spent my childhood in America. Do the same for political groups. You are not a liberal or a Republican. Free yourself from groups, and then be able to move in and out of all collectives as you desire. The man with no home has a home everywhere.

Ultimately, I think it is necessary for anyone on the LHP to, using Thomas Karlsson’s phrase, replace ethical values with aesthetic values. Instead of thinking, am I living ethically, which is just another way of saying, am I living in a way that my collective would approve of, think, is the life that I have created beautiful and pleasurable? Beautiful and pleasurable to whom, you ask? To you, the only person with the right to an opinion about how you live your life. Aesthetics is inescapably personal, which is why art has always been a target of attempted control by various authorities. Beauty separates people, which is perhaps why collectivist and national art is often so ugly.

Yes, civilizations come and go (we are in the Kali Yuga, after all). But individuals are, to some degree, immortal. We remain even when the source of ethics rot away.

In my experience, you can’t ever rescue people (I mean apart from physically, if they’re in a burning building or sinking ship) because to do so is to stop them having their own godlike right to the consequences of their choices and actions.

Even simple physical rescue gets murky when it’s (for example) an attempt to stop someone in severe and terminal pain from ending their own life.

So really, much as you meant well with her (and I know that feeling because several of my family and friends have prompted it in me) what you REALLY wanted to do was make her see things as you see them.

There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s part of the deal for parents and even friends to look out for their loved ones, but you need to be honest about it, if you’re going to succeed - it would involve some small imposition of your own value system over-writing hers.

You’re telling her “Don’t live your life and make your mistakes, live my plan for you instead.”

This is why I question the existence of pure altruism, when in reality most of our charitable acts and giving, even loving, is really about trying to shape the fate and outcomes of others to suit our own tastes and hopes for them.

And there’s nothing wrong with that, IMO - but it helps to be aware of it.

Just watch Rose on “Two And A Half Men” and how she expresses the feeling that she always knows what’s best for Charlie, including him having a mishap in Paris when he cheated on her! lol!!

In my experience, you can’t ever rescue people (I mean apart from physically, if they’re in a burning building or sinking ship) because to do so is to stop them having their own godlike right to the consequences of their choices and actions.

Even simple physical rescue gets murky when it’s (for example) an attempt to stop someone in severe and terminal pain from ending their own life.

So really, much as you meant well with her (and I know that feeling because several of my family and friends have prompted it in me) what you REALLY wanted to do was make her see things as you see them.

There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s part of the deal for parents and even friends to look out for their loved ones, but you need to be honest about it, if you’re going to succeed - it would involve some small imposition of your own value system over-writing hers.

You’re telling her “Don’t live your life and make your mistakes, live my plan for you instead.”

This is why I question the existence of pure altruism, when in reality most of our charitable acts and giving, even loving, is really about trying to shape the fate and outcomes of others to suit our own tastes and hopes for them.

And there’s nothing wrong with that, IMO - but it helps to be aware of it.

Just watch Rose on “Two And A Half Men” and how she expresses the feeling that she always knows what’s best for Charlie, including him having a mishap in Paris when he cheated on her! lol!![/quote]

Rose is perhaps the most caring person in that show!Not everyone is willing to fly all the way across the Atlantic in a wig just to stalk Charlie,lol.

But it is obvious,that almost every interaction people have,is a form of manipultion.Making someone laugh,makes them like you,to name an example.Teachers manipulate us into working,parents manipulate us into adopting their worldview and spreading it around,media manipulate us to believe things,commercials manipulate us into buying stuff etc.

Just about every interaction we have has a subtle aim at mind control.

Don’t confuse religious or cultural rules for morality or ethics. Morality is basically pretty simple: if an act hurts someone else except in self-defense, it’s wrong. That’s why child molesting, fraud, murder, rape, and stealing are wrong and should be crimes. On the other hand, drug use, gambling, and prostitution do not hurt other people, so they should not be crimes.

As Lady Eva said, morality probably developed as a practical matter - to avoid negative consequences - but it’s also practical in another sense. A community in which crime and criminals are rampant is a very unpleasant place to live.

[quote=“catmackenna, post:9, topic:6177”]Don’t confuse religious or cultural rules for morality or ethics. Morality is basically pretty simple: if an act hurts someone else except in self-defense, it’s wrong. That’s why child molesting, fraud, murder, rape, and stealing are wrong and should be crimes. On the other hand, drug use, gambling, and prostitution do not hurt other people, so they should not be crimes.

As Lady Eva said, morality probably developed as a practical matter - to avoid negative consequences - but it’s also practical in another sense. A community in which crime and criminals are rampant is a very unpleasant place to live.[/quote]

No, it’s not simple at all, unfortunately. To be sure, there are fairly cut-and-dried cases of one-sided harm, but these are rare. Most situations in the real world are complex, made more complex by the fact that there is no general agreement as to what constitutes harm. Even the examples you gave of activities doing no harm are, to say the least, quite debatable. As soon as we try to analyze these complexities and disagreements, we find ourselves thrown back onto the cultural norms that I have previously addressed.

Let me also note that there is a world of difference between ethics and laws. In an oppressive state, a community full of criminals may be the healthiest and most pleasant place to reside. So let me rewrite your final statement a bit: A community in which harmful acts and those who do them are rampant is a very unpleasant place to live. I’m not sure whether I can agree or disagree with this statement, for it seems to me that this merely describes human life as it truly is, laid bare from the usual lies our societies provide to hide that fact. The idea that any other community is even possible strikes me as deeply naïve. In a world with free will social life is inescapably a series of conflicts with others who have competing and contradictory desires. Happiness thus consists in part of the power and ability to overcome this incessant resistance to one’s efforts at making a good life for oneself. As Denning and Phillips put it: “Man makes his own world, or is crushed by the worlds of others.”

EDIT - One further point that just occurred to me as I re-read this thread - while morality may have developed to serve the needs of human civilization, that is a long ways off from saying it developed to benefit the individual human beings who submit to it, as what is good for a given society is not necessarily good for the individuals comprising that society.

I respectfully, but comprehensively, disagree.

I think the fact we have so many tens of thousands right now fleeing war zones, where factions and “might is right” have destroyed the ability to lead a normal life, disproves the idea that societies with laws are lies - they seem highly sought-after.

There is no truth in society except what we make, since societies are manfuctured things, and right now these people are voting with their feet - and their lives, the lives of their families and children - to find the manufactured existences that offer greater security, where risk of harm is far lower.

“Failed states” are usually places where there is no accepted rule of law (among other things) and people flee them every day, seeking out nations where you can go through an entire life without either experiencing or needing to inflict personal harm on another person.

The theory that society represses people and all laws are the enemy looks good on paper, however the reality of migration, asylum seeking and the quality of life of people in nations that don’t have those things tells a different story.

There’s a balance to be struck (that’s the reason “police state” isn’t a compliment, and the reason people don’t seek asylum in, for example, North Korea) but most people will travel to be in a place where the laws protect them so that they can go about their everyday lives without the imminent threat of violence - this is widely believed to be one of the ways the Roman Empire spread, for sure it was an iron fist in a velvet glove, but they ended raiding and marauding between tribes and Roman rule seems to have been welcomed for reason that in a lot of locations.

With respect, I think you have both misunderstood my argument, and offered a straw man in response.

This is a straw man. My rebuttal is simple: to say that society A is better in some way than society B does nothing to prove that society A is good. I further submit that every society, without exception, operates on a “might is right” principle, although this is cloaked by various political justifications (Social Contracts, Natural Law, Divine Mandates and so on). Hence my point about lies. Can you provide me a counter-example of a society that does not rely on force or the threat of force to maintain itself?

Also, and here is where I think you misunderstand me, I am not offering a political or social prescription, but rather pointing out that social life as such is injurious to personal freedom to a greater or lesser degree. I further think that ethical considerations increases this insult to human dignity, and can be effectively done away with, allowing individuals to manage their relationship to those around them as free agents, rather than as enslaved cogs in an uncaring machine. This is a suggestion made to individuals who are prepared to interact as outsiders to a social order where those abandoned ethical norms are taken for granted by others. In other words, pretend to play by the rules when it is convenient, without actually playing by the rules.

Roman rule, where welcomed, was welcomed by the factions out of power as a strategy to obtain rulership over their masters. It usually backfired, although I suppose going from the leader of the opposition to a puppet ruler may be considered an improvement.

More to the point, though, you seem to be using a narrow definition of harm that is restricted to physical violence. As I look around where I live, I see more subtle forms of harm all around me. The daily struggles humans have with one another causes pain and misery on an almost constant basis. Does the occasional good deed compensate for all of this? Not in the faces I see. Look at the elderly, or even the middle-aged, in any of these enlightened, orderly societies you uphold as superior, and see in their faces and bodies what decades of passive-aggressive war has wrought among those encouraged by their cultures to be meek and vulnerable to others.

Perhaps - if so, not intentionally however. :slight_smile:

I presented the situation as I see it, and that includes referring to real life situations going on in the world right now.

This is a straw man. My rebuttal is simple: to say that society A is better in some way than society B does nothing to prove that society A is good.

As there’s no definitive, objectively agreed-upon standard of good or bad, that’s why I suggest that looking at what people prefer, and what they risk their lives to leave, is a legitimate measure of a society’s value to its citizens.

I further submit that every society, without exception, operates on a "might is right" principle, although this is cloaked by various political justifications (Social Contracts, Natural Law, Divine Mandates and so on). Hence my point about lies. Can you provide me a counter-example of a society that does not rely on force or the threat of force to maintain itself?

No, but then I can’t provide you with an example of a totally non-violent and non-aggressive human psyche, and our society can only mimic the minds of the individuals it’s comprised of.

What, within us, causes us to have the urges and needs we do that bring us into contact with laws and rules anyway?

Is there a purity to the desire to smash someone’s face in when they annoy you, that’s lacking in the imposition of self-restraint - a dynamic that’s then echoed in wider society when we enact laws and attemnpt to set up mechanisms to disincentivise smashing people’s faces in, in general?

Freud and many others have come up with models of the human mind, most of which propose that we’re capable of having transient urges and desires towards dominance and aggression that don’t fit with our overall best interests - in these models, we police ourselves (in Freud’s model, the ego and super-ego policing the urges from the id).

Also, and here is where I think you misunderstand me, I am not offering a political or social prescription, but rather pointing out that social life as such is injurious to personal freedom to a greater or lesser degree.

For sure, hence, hermits.

However unless we wish to manufacture everything we eat, use, and also handle all our own eventual medical needs, care during injury, old age, etc., we are also forced to resort to dependence upon people in order to live.

Personal freedom of this type also takes a nose-dive if you ever wish to be a parent, for example a woman who’s just had a baby and decides 3 weeks in to neither be responsible for it, nor hand it over to an oppressive society, will cause the death of that baby.

To neglect the child as soon as it’s able to feed itself will also cause psychological harm, so the model of what makes a healthy human in childhood, I think, reinforces the idea that society is important to human wellbeing and generally beneficial, and that our rules and laws, conventions and norms, are attempts (which sometimes go astray) to meet the best interests of the greatest number of people in that society.

So I think your argument (as I understand it anyway) ignores the psychological and biological reality of our species.

I further think that ethical considerations increases this insult to human dignity, and can be effectively done away with, allowing individuals to manage their relationship to those around them as free agents, rather than as enslaved cogs in an uncaring machine.

There you perhaps differentiate between externally imposed ethics, and individual choices to do things that make life simpler - like not stabbing people who annoy us in the street?

A simplified example, given for illustration.

I challenge that (if you mean internal - internalised - ethics are an affront to dignity) by asking how much dignity individuals with various learning difficulties have, who are incapable of restraining their anger or any urge, and who have no internalised concept of what’s appropriate and what isn’t?

This isn’t a fine choice for them to make after due consideration, there are people who can’t stop themselves acting as the impulse moves them to do so, and yet they don’t seem to lead lives of great dignity and success.

This is a suggestion made to individuals who are prepared to interact as outsiders to a social order where those abandoned ethical norms are taken for granted by others. In other words, pretend to play by the rules when it is convenient, without actually playing by the rules.

I actually think everyone does that.

I’ll give you an example - most people don’t agree with theft, and yet tens of millions of pounds a year go missing in the form of office supplies and small items filched from employers, “I’ll just take a few of these, they won’t notice…” etc.

What people want in general and what they actually do have always been two different things, yet none of those people, returning home with their employer’s property in their bags, would consider it fair turnaround if their own house was burgled.

I don’t think anyone actually chooses to play by the rules unless they identify those rules as aligning with their own best interests, and that’s a situational assessment we all make, all the time.

More to the point, though, you seem to be using a narrow definition of harm that is restricted to physical violence.

We have the luxury of not dealing with this on a day to day basis, millions don’t though.

I think any argument that ignores this reality is too abstract, but I can understand if you disagree.

As I look around where I live, I see more subtle forms of harm all around me. The daily struggles humans have with one another causes pain and misery on an almost constant basis. Does the occasional good deed compensate for all of this? Not in the faces I see. Look at the elderly, or even the middle-aged, in any of these enlightened, orderly societies you uphold as superior, and see in their faces and bodies what decades of passive-aggressive war has wrought among those encouraged by their cultures to be meek and vulnerable to others.

That sounds suspiciously like the “noble savage” argument to me - are you saying societies without law and order of some kind are somehow free of “passive-aggressive war” and that people in them have no daily struggles of the everyday kind?

I don’t believe that, I don’t see evidence of it, and I wonder (yet again) why people flee places that don’t fall into that kind of “goldilocks-zone,” between totalitarianism and chaos.

So if you’re making the point that people can only exist in freedom absolutely outside society through physical isolation, I raise the argument that that’s all well and good unless you’re ill, or want to raise a child, or begin to go crazy from the isolation - if you’re saying people should live within society, but only adopt its rules as it suits them, I believe that’s what most people do already.

The only reason for someone to obey a law or rule even when it temporarily inconveniences them is that they identify overall support of that law with their own best interests in the long-term, and obviously some people will have thought this through more than others.

No, it's not simple at all, unfortunately. To be sure, there are fairly cut-and-dried cases of one-sided harm, but these are rare. Most situations in the real world are complex, made more complex by the fact that there is no general agreement as to what constitutes harm. Even the examples you gave of activities doing no harm are, to say the least, quite debatable.

Physical harm and theft are only debatable if you confuse religious and cultural rules with morality and ethics. Legality is not morality. Anything can be made iegal or illegal. Legality is debatable, but harm is objective. Rationalization does not change facts. It simply attempts to justify behavior.

The Noble Savage meme continues to fascinate Westerners, but it’s mostly based on a lack of information. Indigenous cultures varied widely in their norms, but war, slavery, and torture were widely practiced.

[quote=“catmackenna, post:14, topic:6177”]

No, it’s not simple at all, unfortunately. To be sure, there are fairly cut-and-dried cases of one-sided harm, but these are rare. Most situations in the real world are complex, made more complex by the fact that there is no general agreement as to what constitutes harm. Even the examples you gave of activities doing no harm are, to say the least, quite debatable.

Physical harm and theft are only debatable if you confuse religious and cultural rules with morality and ethics. Legality is not morality. Anything can be made iegal or illegal. Legality is debatable, but harm is objective. Rationalization does not change facts. It simply attempts to justify behavior.

The Noble Savage meme continues to fascinate Westerners, but it’s mostly based on a lack of information. Indigenous cultures varied widely in their norms, but war, slavery, and torture were widely practiced.[/quote]

If it’s a question of legality just remember that The Holocaust was perfectly legal. So we’re the Salem witch trials. The only real reason I would really support any kind of moral or ethical value is if it were based on common sense or logic and reason. Too many so called morals are just someone’s shallow hang up that they want to make everyone else’s like hard for the trouble. It’s so stupid to see morons bicker over petty things because someone else said it was a sin.

“If you’re going to be a sinner, be the best sinner on the block.” - Anton LaVey

This has the potential to bog people down more than it should, so I’ll just make sure first to remind that there is no one “right” answer that applies to all of us, if only we can make the others see. This is something that is either tyrannically dictated from outside the individual, or purposefully codified or chosen by the individual. So chances are, especially as magitians, we are going to vary in this, often wildly.

So to give an example of my personal view in different moralities being suited to different people, we have the example of refugees fleeing to the “just-right” middle ground of modern Europe. Yes, they have voted with their feet, seeking asylum in countries that seem “just right” (after a few notable Islamifying changes, but that’s a whole 'nother can of worms, I mean holy shit).

I would remind, though, that the only hard conclusion to be drawn is that the choice was deemed right for them, by them. As these are people I wish to have nothing in common with, their wishes should have no sway on me except where I have to defend my vision of the world from theirs. Because influencing the world is a contest, just like asserting oneself as the blandest office slave is the modern equivalent of literal violence.

And as to the ‘privelege’ of considering non-physical forms of violence, i.e. contests of will when so many others are so much less fortunate.

My opinion on the matter recalls to me Maslow’s Hierarchy again. Certainly, they are dealing with much more immediate matters, and believe me I consider it healthy for an effete westerner to at least once divorce himself from the unnatural security of an easy life and feel the very real struggle for existence that helps give value and meaning to any human endeavour (those of you who do know me, know that I’m not just talking emptily here for myself).

But that having been accomplished, it is perfectly acceptable to deal with higher and more complex matters. Is that elitist or exclusionary? Well I wouldn’t be here if I were afraid of someone calling me evil. Maybe I am.

But that’s just me. Bottom line is, this is a very personal thing that it’s ridiculous on a forum about magick to view as having one conclusive answer for all.

Just making sure we and all readers are on the same page of desperately trying to salvage meaning from the emptily roaring void of Nihil. Have a nice day! :smiley:

[quote=“Rygill-85, post:1, topic:6177”]I’ve heard a lot about right, wrong… Karma and spiritual punishment and such as I’ve explored magick.

The thing is, as I learn more, the line between “Good” and “evil” fades. Are ethics and morals just different kinds of Spiritual shackles? A way to stop people from becoming too powerful? What is considered going too far with magick?[/quote]

Well, as you move along in your journey (should you continue, of course), you’ll find that magick is just magick. No black, white or grey. It is as it is- as the source of the Divine. There are white and black in concepts but this is tool to better understand what it is you’re doing. Typically, when people start out they think of White and Black.

At some point, people get to Gray. That’s usually when they hit their late forties or fifties and those are considered phenomenal thinkers in among non-occultists. No one ever talks about the rainbow- ever.

The theory that gray is a mixture of black and white is fine only for descriptions as it is a non existent color on the spectrum of light- unless you think of what happens before light pierces darkness or perhaps as light bends across the physical world to touch darkness. Light analogies of course.

Understanding causes and effects in terms of colors are just allegories to help those who are initiates (beginners) in their chosen “field,” so to speak. When does red become green, become black and become white? Is it white or is is clarity?

Most occult orders and magickal groups fracture when they get to that level because, quite frankly, it’s an individual choice. There was a huge push a long time ago about their being “no room for authority in occultism” since it’s for the individual to actually find their “high self” to figure out what it is they need to learn in order to advance back to Divinity.

Thinking of things in terms of correct/incorrect gives better understanding than moral/immoral due to (again) ignorance- not in an insultive way either. If it’s correct for your soul, then it is white. If it’s incorrect for your soul, then it is black. Largely, most people think that the differentiation revolves around harming another person.

I haven’t been in-touch with the occult community for several years so seeing how things turn into Left/Right and where those inspirations come from are a subject of research for me. Anyone have anything? I read a few bits and pieces here and there but nothing of a real understanding beyond what Agrippa wrote. Sorry if my post seems maddening.

Actually there is a white and black literally even if you use the As Above So Below Concept. You have “light” fluffy light energy (the mainstay of white magick) and then super dense Light energy (low Black Magick). Both serve seperate agendas and yet feed into each other of a third agenda. Figuring out that agenda is your business though

The book Lords Of The Left-Hand Path by Stephen Flowers examines the modern definition of the LHP, as in striving towards personal empowerment, as opposed to the RHP, defined (broadly) as submission of self-will to an external god and/or moral imperative.

He makes it clear that LHP is not the same as “baneful magick” - magick to harm or hurt other people - it’s a very interesting book and helped me clarify my own ideas.

Here’s a short quote that covers the basic concept:

Essentially, the left-hand path is the path of non-union with the objective universe. It is the way of isolating consciousness within the subjective universe and, in a state of self-imposed psychic solitude, refining the soul or psyche to ever more perfect levels. The objective universe is then made to harmonize itself with the will of the individual psyche rather than the other way around. Where the right-hand path is [i]theocentric[/i] (or certainly alleocentric: "other centred"), the left-hand path is [i]psychecentric[/i], or soul/self-centred. Those within the left-hand path may argue over the nature of this self/ego/soul, but the idea that the individual is the epicentre of the path itself seems undisputed. An eternal seperation of the individual intelligence from the objective universe is sought in the left-hand path. This amounts to an immortality of the independent self-consciousness moving within the objective universe, and interacting with it at will.

That’s his core definition, the rest looks at Eastern traditions, the roots and history of western trad., LaVey’s “satanic cosmology,” the occult revival, and then he ends by enthusing about his personal Temple Of Set stuff, but you can tune that out and not lose the main essence of the book.

He takes a few broadsides at the RHP throughout the book, but all based in his interpretation of the perils of assigning complete authority to external moralities, and the way that tends to lead to wars, jihads, and witch-hunts, etc.

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In the end, the choice is yours no matter if you try to pin it on some external source or not. Even with the legacies that claimed to be this way, serving an external God, those people real motives were entirely based on their own desires, and many just used it to keep others dumb. Even in the East, you had the Mandate of Heaven which is responsible for so many deaths that the Crusades would look like a Care Bears movie. So while RHP paths can be seen on the surface as being “other”-centered, it really isn’t because, at the core, that God is supposed to actually be “You”. It’s certainly that way with the core teachings of RHP magick like that of Bardon, but it just gets shrouded out because Bardon insists, because of his own proclivities, on seeing that God as being something to “serve”. But if that thing is you, then you are never serving anyone but yourself, and that claiming of the “other” is explicitly an act of one’s own devising.

With that said, the LHP, in practice, is often seen serving the will of other entities just as readily as the RHP. Submission to pacts, with very little freedom to break them without some sort of backlash, is definitely serving a will that you feel cannot be changed without some fear of punishment. Even if you enter the pact of your own free will, the pact is still “binding” and supposedly in the control of something “other” than yourself.

So at their core, these paths aren’t really different, they just really like to think they are. That’s why magick, for me, is about enacting your will in this life experience, and everything else is how you choose to decorate that activity. Every moral is going to have an antecedent that, when looked at unbiasedly, is as valid as the moral itself. You have to choose what you are going to do, and if you have enough trust in that, it should turn out in your favor. Every “right” is “wrong” in another scenario, and vice versa. Moreover, what was right in a particular scenario at one point in time maybe wrong when a similar scenario happens at another time. So morals… that’s gonna be something to choose to hold to.