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Author Topic: Ethics & The Use of Magic  (Read 25571 times)
Purplewitch
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« Reply #45: September 17, 2007, 04:17:40 pm »

Seconding that!  I put it in the category of being a nice, but far from comprehensive guideline.  It leaves a lot of room for interpretation (which usually results in loopholes you can drive a lorry/semi through) and gives very little in the way of practical advice, IMO. 

Is it my imagination or am I spinning threads off you today? Tongue

*sits on her hands cos otherwise she'll say things that belong in the spin off thread*  Embarrassed
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juniperrr
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« Reply #46: September 17, 2007, 04:18:41 pm »

I think you've hit the proverbial nail on the head here.  Uncontrolled emotional intent can result in a less effective spell (or less effective mundane solution for that matter).  Like so many things, the key is to be able to direct the emotional energies toward your goal, instead of letting the emtions direct your actions and dictate your goals.  It's a difficult balancing act, but a skill well worth mastering. Unless, of course, you perfer that smoking eyebrow look.  Grin

First- what an interesting thread. I came in late and have been reading for an hour!

I always use divination before magic for just such a reason. Magic is highly emotionally charged and there can be many underlying motivations we are not conscious. Therefore I check in to see if I am really clear and clean on what I am doing and for any other mitigating factors I am unaware of. This is also why I usually wait a day or so and take time writing/rewriting a spell to be as confident as I can be on my intent and focus. I am not ceremonial, it takes me a while to prep for a spell because there are so many factors that affect magical workings.  Magic is a skill, like any other, and takes a great deal of practice but is worth mastering.
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« Reply #47: September 17, 2007, 04:22:04 pm »

To go back to my example in the hexing thread, while I wouldn't have actually taken a baseball bat to the offending party

I, myself, would not hesitate to take a baseball bat to the offending person. We keep one behind the bedroom door for just such a purpose. I have no ethical problem with it at all.
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« Reply #48: September 17, 2007, 04:34:43 pm »

Most of your questions are somewhat "meaningless" to me as I don't see any difference in the ethics of doing something based on how you do it. The answer to the question "Is it ethical to do X?" is the same to me no matter how you choose to do X -- mundanely, magically, psychically, by prayer to a deity to do it, or whatever. There is no separate "magical ethics" in my worldview.

Agreed. I also believe there is unforeseen energy return on what you physically do, just as in magic. Ethic are ethics, magic is as normal a part of life as the physical.

I believe whatever you do you do to yourself. Simple, yet no simpler  Wink  As in the hit the intruder with a baseball bat example, the question is not "would I hit myself with a bat" but "would I allow myself to be hurt or invaded by anyone who comes by?" My non-action has a return as well.

As I prefer not to be in such a situation in the first place, I lock the doors, do not allow people I do not know well in (almost everyone is robbed by someone they know or a friend of someone they know) keep a very sweet yet loud pit bull (Fluffy) and shield the house at all times. But should all else fail, I would not hesitate to defend myself.

Apologies for the rapid in succession posts. I guess it's better than a group reply.
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« Reply #49: September 17, 2007, 04:53:55 pm »

Many ethical theories in philosophy (that is, attempts to provide methods for deciding if an action is ethical) do not depend on negative consequences to the actor for the decision). That is, the "rules" of the ethical theory provide an answer to whether the action is ethical regardless of the consequences to the actor. After all, some actions that most people would consider highly ethical could have very negative consequences for the actor (trying to save a child in a burning building, for example) so "has negative consequences for the actor" is not really a very good way to decide whether something is ethical or not.

My thoughts exactly. I was just saying that many people don't think it through to that point. As I said before, people shouldn't base their actions on fear of punishment and chance of reward. Choosing to save a child from a burning building is a truly selfless act that doesn't need the concept of karma to justify it - you do it for the child's sake, not your own.
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« Reply #50: September 17, 2007, 05:28:14 pm »

a very sweet yet loud pit bull (Fluffy)
Cheesy
I know someone who uses the name "Fluffy the Pit Bull" at SF conventions.  She, too, is very sweet but loud (in the "has many opinions and isn't afraid to express and support them" sense more than the high-volume sense).  I must remember to tell he she has a genetically-canine counterpart; I'm certain it will tickle her no end.

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« Reply #51: September 17, 2007, 06:12:40 pm »

To me, the magickal equivalent of a growling dog is extra energy I don't want to expend, b/c as I said I fail to see how threatening to or actually hurting another person is necessary.

Because some people, such as myself, are severely allergic to dogs.  And the threat of a growling dog is, in fact, a threat of hurting someone -- it just happens to covered in a soft furry coat.
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« Reply #52: September 17, 2007, 06:20:57 pm »

Is it my imagination or am I spinning threads off you today? Tongue

*sits on her hands cos otherwise she'll say things that belong in the spin off thread*  Embarrassed

I think you just might be; you're just spinning them off before I get around to it.  Nothing wrong with that!  Next we'll have to start a thread to talk about how threads lead to spin-offs... it never ends!  Cheesy
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« Reply #53: September 17, 2007, 06:39:47 pm »

I think you just might be; you're just spinning them off before I get around to it. 

I'm just saving you the trouble Wink
Actually it's because I'm still feeling too sick to do TOO much at once so I keep taking a TC break lol
(Frelling cold is going but I've coughed so much I swear it feels like a mule kicked me in the chest.)
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« Reply #54: September 17, 2007, 07:09:09 pm »

Actually it's because I'm still feeling too sick to do TOO much at once so I keep taking a TC break lol
(Frelling cold is going but I've coughed so much I swear it feels like a mule kicked me in the chest.)

TC breaks are good therapy for whatever ails you!  Hope you're feeling better soon... and that dratted mule stops kicking! No, no, bad mule!
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« Reply #55: September 17, 2007, 07:17:25 pm »

TC breaks are good therapy for whatever ails you!  Hope you're feeling better soon... and that dratted mule stops kicking! No, no, bad mule!

TC breaks sure are - and thanks - I feel WAY better than a couple of days ago - aside from that darn pesky mule Tongue
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« Reply #56: September 17, 2007, 07:43:35 pm »

If you were the teacher, would you include ethics in your lessons?

I would say that it would be important to teach that actions have consequences and to seriously consider what those consequences are before taking action, whatever that action may be.  As for actual ethics, right/wrong, good/bad, etc. that will vary from person to person.

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Do ethics even have a place in magical practice?

No more so than the medical, business or law professions...

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What ethical principles, rules, and guidelines are important in magic?

There are two that I think of off hand.  One you've already quoted:

"If you wouldn't do it without magic then why would you think it would be ok to do it with magic?" 

I wish I could take credit for that but I actually saw someone else around here post it months ago and it just stuck with me.  It really made me think about spellwork.  There is such a tendency to think that "Well, no one can see it so who'll know?"  This guideline really helps me clarify things.

Another set of guidelines that I like are attributed to Shaolin temple teachings:

“Build rather than destroy; Avoid rather than check; Check rather than hurt; Hurt rather than maim; Maim rather than kill; For all life is precious; Nor can any be replaced”

To me, it means try to leave the world a little bit better and to do the minimum necessary to achieve your goals when confronted by antagonists.  Anyone can open a walnut with a sledgehammer, doesn't mean it's a good idea though.

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What ideas are nice guidelines, but not really rules to live by, in your opinion?

Nothing comes to mind off hand.

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What should be magically taboo, if anything? Are there circumstances when a normally taboo spell might be acceptable?

Manipulation.  The actual act of taking away someone's ability to make a choice and think for themselves.  Essentially turning them into a puppet.  I, personally, don't think that binding quite fits here as it's more akin to prohibiting a particular action.  It's the magical equivalent of aversion training.  The problem that I have with any of this is that the strings by which I would puppeteer someone else bind me to them as effectively as they bind them to me.  That's just not a place I want to be.
 
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What words of wisdom would you give to a novice in helping them make decisions about what is ethical and appropriate?

Would you want someone to do that to you?  Are you building up or tearing down?

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Related but not directly about ethics, is there an appropriate escalation of action or spells when dealing with a problem?  Is there a specific sequence of steps that you take when confronted with a problem?

See the Shaolin quote above in question 3.

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If you are young and new to magic, what questions or concerns do you have about ethics as they relate to magic use?

I'm neither but thanks for asking.  If I come up with a question I'll let you know  Wink
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« Reply #57: September 17, 2007, 07:53:53 pm »

Another set of guidelines that I like are attributed to Shaolin temple teachings:

“Build rather than destroy; Avoid rather than check; Check rather than hurt; Hurt rather than maim; Maim rather than kill; For all life is precious; Nor can any be replaced”

Those are incredibly profound and wise words to live by. Thanks for sharing!
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« Reply #58: September 17, 2007, 07:55:14 pm »

Not to mention that the Rede is by no means a universal code of ethics among Pagans.

And lets not forget that this is simply a single line out of  - well, there's a couple different versions with different line counts - twenty-six lines?  I'm not Wiccan and the Rede has a lot to do with that.  I disagree strongly with many of it's points but none more so than having the entire code reduced down to a single line, or worse, two words. 
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"Then I will tell you a great secret, Captain. Perhaps the greatest of all time. The molecules of your body are the same molecules that make up this station, and the nebula outside, that burn inside the stars themselves. We are starstuff. We are the universe made manifest, trying to figure itself out. As we have both learned, sometimes the universe requires a change of perspective. " ~ Delenn, Babylon 5
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« Reply #59: September 17, 2007, 08:14:37 pm »

Agreed. I also believe there is unforeseen energy return on what you physically do, just as in magic.

I'm going to hang this off your post, juniperr, as it's tangentially related.

Remember that experiment back in high school science class where you had two tuning forks on either side of the room?  The teacher would strike one and the other one across the room would ring faintly?  That's how I view my magic.  It's not necessarily that some great being is going to step out of the clouds and smite me nor is it that I'm obsessed with having to receive payback for karmic misdeeds in a future incarnation.

I see myself as a tuning fork vibrating in the cosmos.  The frequency that I vibrate at will attract like frequencies to me.  If I choose to vibrate at a 'perceived' higher level then that is what I will attract to me.  Conversely, the same will happen if I choose to vibrate at a 'perceived' lower level.  This is the issue I have when casting hexes/curses/what-have-you.  What I have to become in order for those spells to work, i.e. the frequency I have to vibrate at in order to cast that energy out into the cosmos, is just not worth it.  Why should I become that which has harmed me?  Doesn't that mean that they have totally and completely succeeded in destroying who I am?  Why give them that kind of significance in my life?  I would much rather shift my vibration to a higher frequency and simply become invisible to those who cannot perceive it.
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"Then I will tell you a great secret, Captain. Perhaps the greatest of all time. The molecules of your body are the same molecules that make up this station, and the nebula outside, that burn inside the stars themselves. We are starstuff. We are the universe made manifest, trying to figure itself out. As we have both learned, sometimes the universe requires a change of perspective. " ~ Delenn, Babylon 5

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