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Author Topic: Morality and Chaos Magic  (Read 5226 times)
EverFool
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« Topic Start: March 02, 2007, 09:09:39 am »

One of the aphorisms used (read: stolen from elsewhere) in Chaos Magic is 'Nothing is true, everything is permitted.'  Now, there has been debate by Chaotes as to what exactly this means.  Generally it is seen as a wake-up call to the fact that there's noone judging us, and we're totally free.  It has been interpreted as a totally amoral claim (ie: do whatever you want, there's no right or wrong), while others have suggested that because nothing is true, you *can* go out on a killing spree, because nothing can stop you.  However, that only means evebn *more* that you have to think about what you are doing, and why.

However, this topic isn't about *that* consideration (although it is still worthy of a debate - if you wish to debate that, a new thread can certainly be started).  In Chaos magic belief is seen as a tool.  Hence paradigm shifting.  However, where does this leave us with morality?  If someone (for example) offers you a stack of money to kill someone with magic, it's certainly possible to adopt a paradigm or identity where you no longer object to killing someone.  So, if morality can be changed, and Chaos magic embraces experimenting with alternative points of view...  How does one decide what is right?  How do you accept the arbitrariness of opinion and morality, while still saying 'I'm sticking to *this* point of view'?

In a more simple form: Having embraced the ability to change moral guidleines and rules, what new meta-rules and meta-guidelines must you develop in order to deal with this freedom?  Is such a thing even possible?
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« Reply #1: March 02, 2007, 09:29:24 am »

In a more simple form: Having embraced the ability to change moral guidleines and rules, what new meta-rules and meta-guidelines must you develop in order to deal with this freedom?  Is such a thing even possible?

I think it comes down to, at heart, what rules don't you want to change?

No matter how flexible people's supposed morality, I've never known people to think it's "okay" to be cheated.  (to cheat, yes, to be cheated, no).  No one thinks it's "okay" to be murdered.

So I suppose the question is, is it okay to do things to other people that aren't okay to do to yourself?  Why or why not?

Are morals actually that flexible, or do the morals stay unchanged at the bottom while the structures change on top?
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« Reply #2: March 02, 2007, 09:57:14 am »

I think it comes down to, at heart, what rules don't you want to change?

Are morals actually that flexible, or do the morals stay unchanged at the bottom while the structures change on top?

I've quoted just these two points, as I think these are the issues I've been trying to grapple with.  In theory, I believe that the whole structure can be changed, including the bottom.  The question is *do* I want to?

If I say I *must not*, Im making a moral ruling, and limiting Chaos.  Or to put it another way, I'm closing off my options by not choosing not to be as boundless as I actually am.  From an ethical point of view, I think this is probably the correct thing to do.  I just find it troubling ideologically in some respects, because Chaos contains the things you dont like, as well as the things you do.  I think my compromise is to accept that I'm *capable* of X and Y, but for pragmatic reasons will only choose to embrace X.  But that drags me back to 'why is Chaos magic different from other paths, if I'm still obeying X rules'.

I dont think there *is* an answer to this one, because by its nature Chaos is inhuman, and I as a person am not.  I can have inhuman qualities that stretch the boundaries a little, but it turns out there are lines I still choose not to cross.
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« Reply #3: March 03, 2007, 01:41:28 pm »

If I say I *must not*, Im making a moral ruling, and limiting Chaos.  Or to put it another way, I'm closing off my options by not choosing not to be as boundless as I actually am.  From an ethical point of view, I think this is probably the correct thing to do.  I just find it troubling ideologically in some respects, because Chaos contains the things you dont like, as well as the things you do.  I think my compromise is to accept that I'm *capable* of X and Y, but for pragmatic reasons will only choose to embrace X.  But that drags me back to 'why is Chaos magic different from other paths, if I'm still obeying X rules'.

I dont think there *is* an answer to this one, because by its nature Chaos is inhuman, and I as a person am not.  I can have inhuman qualities that stretch the boundaries a little, but it turns out there are lines I still choose not to cross.

Is choosing repeatly to use paradigms in which you embrace X but not Y the same thing as imposing a rule system? I mean, to go at it from the other side, if you did choose to embrace Y on one occasion, would that mean you were required to do it again? 

For example, say you decided on one occasion that murder was acceptable and you went ahead and murdered someone.  Would that be imposing a permanent moral code that included murder as acceptable?  Would it define you as a murderer?  I know that most people would argue that it would, but in Chaos magic I think the answer might be no, because you aren't bound by a paradigm just because you've used it before. So why would choosing not to murder, even if you do it consistently, create any more of a boundary?

This argument feels a bit like cheating, because doing something consistently does create a pattern, but (IMO) it's you who is creating the pattern, rather than obeying a rules set.  Also, feeling obligated to do things just because you can seems to me like more of an imposition on Will than choosing what you do for your own moral reasons.

Betty  Smiley

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« Reply #4: March 03, 2007, 06:40:03 pm »

The point I'm trying to make is more like 'if I think murder is wrong, how do I respond to this.'  If I don't think murder is wrong, a paradigm shift that encompasses this is not going to present me with an ethical dilemma.

I think in honesty it's at least in part about the 'baseline' paradigm - that is, the set of beliefs one is walking around with unless actively living in an alternative.  Even if I manage to adopt a paradigm where murder is okay, if that is not my baseline, sooner or later I will return to the point where I think murder is bad.  Even though I have adopted the appropriate paradigm as a tool for the act, I will presumably return to a paradigm that is happy to judge the self retroactively.

In which case I suspect it is an issue of permanance.  That is: 'Not only am I happy to do this in X paradigm, but am I happy to live with the consequences regardless of paradigm.'  In which case perhaps that is the morality I am setting up for myself: the long term view.

You do present a good point in terms of imposition upon Will, but this is more of a philosophical issue than a 'I am planning to X' issue.  So perhaps it isn't really an issue because it's not a path I see fit to travel.  It just seems strange in a sense that a path which perhaps seeks freedom before all else, to have a boundary without having an adaptive set of rules that explain why such a boundary exists.

If that makes sense. Smiley
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« Reply #5: March 03, 2007, 08:51:44 pm »

If that makes sense. Smiley

It makes sense to me.

Betty  Smiley
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« Reply #6: March 26, 2007, 07:33:12 pm »

Pure chaos is impossible.  Pure chaos would by definition include a little bit of everything...including order.

Your call, though, as to what that little bit of order is.
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« Reply #7: April 05, 2007, 01:36:05 pm »

I've quoted just these two points, as I think these are the issues I've been trying to grapple with. 


I think if there was a place that I was doubting whether I would be willing to be stuck with the resulting personality shift - becoming temporarily a person capable of murder, and following through with it means that your core self has now committed murder, and is irrevocably shifted.  When in a situation where murder wasn't an option before, it now is should you be in the frame of mind.

Otherwise, I think one would be tempting personality disorders of the highest degree.  You would be disassociating the actions committed in the altered state.  Even though you were superimposing another reality onto your reality, you willfully, with your core self suppressed the portion of yourself that would protest.  It sounds like multiple personalities waiting to happen.  It wasn't really me, it was that other person controlling my body.

I think compromising your own sanity would be the line.  The point at which you can no longer control where the mental shift happens.  When confronted with the situation in which murder might be a possibility,(feeling threatened, feeling the potential gain held enough value) would the murder committed in the previous altered state have such a strong association as to suppress your core self without actively willing it to happen? 

Over conditioning yourself to allow the altered state to step in and act for your core self rather.
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