Romanticism While Appealing Is Often Misleading!… Often Our Unrealistic Ideas Lead To Disappointment!… What Does This Tell Us About Magick?…
If there is one thing we are all guilty of from time to time, it’s a bit of romanticism. I know from my own life this has been something that has come up quite a few times. Last year when I visited Tombstone, Arizona to see the O.K corral and the Bird Cage Theatre. Every since I was a child I remember watching Val Kilmer and Kurt Russell in the 1993 classic film Tombstone. Throughout my years growing up I always wanted to go to there and see the history and stood where they stood. Last year I got that chance but having so many years to dream and romanticise I was ultimately disappointed to find over commercialised plastic guns and trinkets and the real feel of the old west non-existent. This disappointment was due to my high-expectation but that was because of the romanticism I had about this place.
In magick this is a common theme although not in the same context. Every single day without fail I will see a quote written by some “guru” or other figure who has romanticised things so much that the statement has become… well… simply incorrect. Here is an example:
“In order to eat, you have to be hungry. In order to learn, you have to be ignorant. Ignorance is a condition of learning. Pain is a condition of health. Passion is a condition of thought. Death is a condition of life.”
So, lets dissect this quote. “In order to eat, you have to be hungry”… I guess obesity really isn’t much of a thing then? Its pretty obvious to see where this quote is just plain wrong. Humanity has a history of overindulging and I can say from my own experience that I can and do eat when I’m not hungry. This while carries a resonant romanticism is for all intensive purposes incorrect. Let’s look at the next line. “In order to learn, you have to be ignorant” … No. ignorance is in fact the thing that prevents learning. Now my next point could be debated but I will explain as best as I can. Ignorance is to wilfully ignore necessary and present information. To say it another way, Ignorance is having the necessary information present to learn but choosing to wilfully ignore it. What the writer is trying to convey here is nescience which is not knowing something because the necessary information is absent. To quote Mark Passio, its in the word, IGNORE-ANCE.
Let’s look at the next line. “Pain is a condition of health” … well not really. Would you say that because I have back pain, nerve damage and I am painfully sick all the time that I am in good health? No, in fact quite the opposite. This line implies that Pain is a sign you are in good health which let’s face it is actually a sign something is wrong with your system. We then have, “Passion is a condition of thought” … but is it? What about thoughts of fear? My sister who has arachnophobia will not say she has a passion for spiders of the thought of them. Now you could say well she passionately doesn’t like them, yea sure. But what about random thoughts? Or thoughts planted by another? If I tell you right now to stop thinking, you will think about trying to stop thinking. That’s just a planted thought there isn’t any passion to it. We think about a lot of things that lets be honest have no meaning to us at all. Then we have lastly, “Death is a condition of life” … while most will get the sentiment here its more of a consequence than a condition, but hey, at least its not as bad as the rest.
Now I know what your thinking! Asbjorn, what the hell are you complaining about now its just a quote. You’d be partially correct. Yes, I am being nit picky to a degree, but how often does this same romanticism happen and how does that affect us? We all have a degree of susceptible to things around us. The occult, magick and spirituality has a lot of that romantic feeling just in the idea of it and we reinforce that with this “fortune cookie half-truth wisdom”- Opie Macleod. My question is does it do more harm than good? Does it drive us more into ignorance than enlightenment?
While Romanticism Is Appealing It Misleads It Is Often Picked Up As Truth!… Big Voices Can Say Anything And Have It Believed!…
One of the biggest issues with out community is the fact there are people in it who have a voice that people have learned to trust. This inherently isn’t the problem; the problem is that their voice is never questioned. Be it E.A Koetting or Frater Xavier, Be it myself or large organizations like the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. People have lost the art of questioning and dissecting information and so much of this romanticism gets taken as truth. What begins as a misleading quote can turn into a principle that another now implements into their outlook on the world and magick. I want to make it clear I am not saying that anyone with a voice has to be responsible for what their followers do with their words but rather that regardless of who is speaking, big voice or not should be questioned on the merit of what they say rather than blindly believed because of their stature.
I have often said our community has a pollution and this I would say is part of that. We are to eager to believe what appeals to us rather than what is actually true. Even in subjectivity there are still somethings that are just incorrect as we have explored. While truth can be a tricky subject our goal should be to reach it, and that means being able to set aside the romanticism and accept it for what it is. I am happy to relish in the feeling of romanticism, but I have learned to always remind myself that it is not the reality and as such it is kept separate. The lesson here is simple, do not believe everything you read especially when your only reason for doing so is because it makes you feel good. Poison is usually sweet to mask the danger, and in trendy romantic wisdom this is no different. Question everything!
Stay True & Stay Awesome