Friday, October 31, 2008

Both/And, Not Either/Or

I came across this comment in an article on Jason Miller's blog, Strategic Sorcery.

You can use magick to aid you in gaining wealth, but it’s not the best way to get wealthy. You can use it to find love, but its not the best way to find that either. In almost every regard, whatever practical results magick can accomplish, is can be done better and surer using non magickal means.

Why bother with it then?

Miller goes on to explain why magick appeals to him, but I'm kind of surprised to see such a comment coming from a practicing magician. The statement is literally true - take two people and charge them with accomplishing some sort of practical task, and explain that one of them must accomplish it using only magical rituals and that the other may only use mundane methods. The person using mundane methods will usually get it done faster unless the task is something for which no clear mundane method exists, like controlling the weather.

However, this artificial situation represents a false dichotomy in the real world. As I've said before, there's a simple answer to the question of "what do I use magick for?" and that answer is "everything!" You still use the appropriate mundane methods to accomplish your goals, but you also use magick so that anything you can't directly control will also break your way. Put me against the "magick" and "mundane" method people above as a "both" person and I'll win every time. That's part of what makes magick so much fun. Used in this way magick can result in improbable levels of success across the board, and I'm willing to bet that the vast majority of high-performing people in the mundane world do some sort of spiritual practice that facilitates their success.

As an example, practices like yoga and meditation are reasonably popular among high achievers, and both practices can produce some pretty impressive results when combined with a high level of natural magical talent. A person who engages in such practices may not think of them as magick, but instead as practices to stay in shape and "keep their mind clear." But these practices have a magical component that naturally unfolds over time, and this component develops the will in such a way that influencing the material world through directed thought becomes easier for the practitioner. They may just figure that "positive thinking" is working for them, without realizing that some magical accomplishment is necessary before that particular method becomes very effective.

If you're not a high achiever by nature, magick can also let you be a little lazy in the mundane sphere - a skilled magician can usually accomplish as much as a non-magician with a lot less effort. If you have a co-worker who seems to not work all that hard but nonetheless do well because he or she is "just lucky," well, you might be working with a magician and not know it. Most of us are pretty quiet about our practices with co-workers. Magically-assisted success often looks like incredibly good luck to an outside observer, especially if it seems to happen for the same person over and over again.

So if you ever find yourself wondering if you should use magical methods or mundane methods to get something done, stop wondering right away. Do both!

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