August 12, 2017

Alexa, perform a Satanic ritual.

Don't handicap yourself with greater magic.
via Disney's Wall-E

I read a lot of blogs. I don't agree with everything every blogger on my RSS feed writes - for that matter, I don't agree with everything that anybody writes - so I take what I like and leave the rest. As it happens, something I liked reading was a post by John Beckett who wrote a list of movies to inspire your practice of greater magic. Naturally, John being the who-knows-anymore practitioner that he is, his perspective of greater magic is filtered through a neo-Pagan lens. Incidentally, if you're looking for a list of movies then the Church of Satan has you covered (although I may yet make my own list.) If you like John's list, then you're welcome to click through and let him know in the comments. 

But me being who I am, John's list sparked some ideas of my own, and I gotta say: Wall-E is arguably a deeply Satanic movie. I'm not here to convince you to the fan theory that Wall-E is Satan from the book of Genesis, but I am here to convince you that just like technology which makes our lives easier, greater magic has a price.

The things we do with technology today are pure wizardry compared to what people knew even 100 years ago. Wind the clock back 300 years, and we've practically become an alien society. Technology seen as greater magic has warped and wended our world into one giant lament configuration, and while we've used this puzzle box to achieve an unending orgasm of consumer delight, we've also used this puzzle box to thrust ourselves into the dark, freezing depths of the abyss.

If you subscribe to the former, then you might ask, "Why shouldn't I use greater magic to make my life as easy and convenient as possible?" Go ahead! Just say, "Alexa, perform a Satanic ritual," and you can have anything you want at a moment's notice. Well, maybe not anything, but who knows? The ark of the covenant might be tucked away in one of Amazon's vast warehouses.

If you subscribe to the latter, then you might ask, "Why would I choose to live out my life in a pleasure machine?" After all, if pleasure is the highest goal of life, then what could possibly be more desirable than plugging into a machine which would provide constant satisfaction and would adapt to prevent your happiness from growing stale? If you stayed in the box, your body would become fat and weak, your mental faculties would wither, and you'd know nothing except what was presented to you by the pleasure machine. Would you choose to plug into a pleasure machine and let your body degenerate before an infinite parade of decadence? I can hear you thinking, and I think you're thinking "no."

But I also think you're still thinking about how greater magic - whether in metaphor as technology, or as actual occult forces thus far unexplained by science - can provide to you whatever it is you desire. Your words reject the pleasure machine, but your actions embrace it. Greater magic shouldn't be your pleasure machine which you turn to at a moment's notice. I'm absolutely not arguing that there's no place for greater magic, but I am arguing that when used inattentively it ultimately makes the practitioner weaker.

If you accept the definition that greater magic is "the change in situations or events in accordance with one's will, which would, using normally accepted methods, be unchangable," then the best and possibly only reason to use greater magic is when you're confronted with situations or events that are normally unchangeable. Considering how much of daily life is changeable with small to moderate application of lesser magic, then greater magic should be the exception - not the norm.

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Freedom of Expression =/= Freedom from Consequences.