Lala made a post (if Twitter posts are Tweets, then are Tumblr posts Tumbles?) that reminded me about something I wanted to rant about. It’s about pagan ethics and morals, and to a large part, hubris.
For those of you who think that ‘Pagans’ and/or ‘Magically Inclined’ Folks are more important, more worthy, etc than those who are ‘Mundanes’ ‘Muggles’ Or ‘Normals’ I could point out that some might agree with you.
We’re def. more equal than others when it comes to living in a fantasy world. When it comes to believing that ‘The Craft’, ‘Harry Potter’, and ‘Charmed’ are reality based forms of entertainment. We def. have more crazy folks, and folks who think they’re direct descendants to dragons, and unicorns.
A few years ago, I wrote an essay on magical escapism which somehow seems to have avoided being published. I
shall remedy that soon have remedied that, and thus shall not address the unicorns and whatnot. But what Lala was getting at is not the whimsical nature of some magic users, or even the need to differentiate between magic users and non-users, but in the assumed superiority many magic users have over non sensitive types.
Let me digress. Hackers annoy me. Why? Not just because they mess with other people’s computers. Not just because they steal important information that can be (and often is) horribly misused. But because of the justifications that float about the hacker community for doing so. “Well, your security was weak!” “You didn’t protect yourself properly!” “I was just demonstrating the weaknesses in your system!” These all amount to the same thing: that you are at fault for not enacting intensive security measures that are needed because of the very people you are being warned by. This is like burglars robbing your house to demonstrate that your locks are not high enough quality to deter burglars. And it is demonstrating an underlying assumption that I abhor: That they have the right to do it simply because they have the power.
This is a dangerous assumption. Hackers hack your system because they can and you can’t stop them. Might makes right. A man with a gun taking the same attitude potentially kills people. And what does a magician who thinks this way do?
What happens when magic users assume that the very fact that they use magic gives them the right to eschew the moral codes of “mere mortals” simply because they can’t get caught? Whatever it is, I bet it ain’t pretty.
My own magical ethics are simple. Would I do this via non-magical means? I won’t curse someone I’m not willing to punch. If I can’t handle shooting someone, I won’t perform a spell to the same effect. I’m very cautious about using magic in politics, because if I won’t commit voter fraud, I’m not going to do spells that may have a similar effect.
There is a danger in this. Many pagans are social outcasts, and desire some sort of emotional or ego salve to make them feel better about themselves. Flipping your finger at ethics and morals and declaring them tools of oppression might feel empowering. It might be wonderful to declare yourself above such petty limitations, because you can see beyond the range or normal perception and sense things the muggles can’t. You can see how things will turn out, see the consequences! You have so much power, you can do so much more than those silly mundanes!
You know more. You know better. You are better.
Hubris lurks around every corner.
Magic is a tool. Having that tool and being able to use it does not make you superhuman, or even a better human. And you’re still human, and live in a human world, with human rules. Remember it. Because the gods don’t always take kindly to humans who step too far our of bounds.