|5 The Magic of Human Action|
In the previous section, we have identified the basic attitudes of White Magic and Black Magic as two competing memes (or a family of pairs of competing memes). Now that we have studied them from the memotypical point of view , we shall proceed with the phenotypical point of view: how these attitudes translate in terms of dynamic individual behavior.
One crucial step of feedback between one’s understanding of the world and one’s actions upon the world, lies in the way that one decides what is good and what is bad, which actions to prefer and which actions to avoid, which goals to actively seek and which goals to actively shun. These questions define not just personal morality, not just personal taste, but personal life. So the first question of ethics is: is there in the world anything sacred, holy, good, or whatever the name? The second question of ethics is: how can we identify the sacredness, holiness, goodness, or whateverness, with enough precision to distinguish it from what is base, unholy, evil and unwhatever? And the third question of ethics is: having identified these worthy goals, how can we best promote them ?
The first question of ethics is answered easily enough: the very asking the question, the very breathing of the asker, supposes that life is worthwhile; we know some things are better than other things, we feel it, and that’s why we act to begin with . This dispels moral nihilism.
With the second and third questions, Black Magic and White Magic entail opposite approaches, opposite epistemologies. Black Magicians have a static view of the world; they see information as flowing unilaterally, from Authority to you, and from you to those who are further from authority. White Magicians on the other hand have a dynamic view of the world; information is not known wholly in advance, and how we interact with the world is instrumental not only in furthering good, but also in discovering what is good to begin with.
This leads to two very different structures of social organization: the ur-structure after which Black Magicians will model social interaction is the hierarchy; the ur-structure after which White Magicians will model social interaction is the enterprise.
With Black Magic, each man is an “end in himself´´, distinct from all other men and opposite to all of them. In-fighting is the natural mutual condition of men, and only an externally imposed order may keep them cooperating; and this cooperation itself may happen for only one possible common goal: fighting common external enemies, be them actual enemies (wild animals that may be predators or preys, foreign people who may either invade and enslave “us´´ or be invaded and enslaved by “us´´), or symbolic enemies (that may be invaders like unemployment, poverty, illness, or potential slaves like commercial processes, electricity, space). The externally imposed order takes the form of a command structure above men; this command structure is actuated by men who must themselves be coordinated by a command above them, and so on, in a hierarchy, until one man holds the ultimate command, and obtains his Authority directly from the official ultimate Black Magic principle of authority: The Right of Conquest, The Ruling Class, The Superior Race, The Natural Order of Things, God, Religion, The People, The Nation, The Indivisible Republic, Democracy, etc. Nature is seen as a struggle at many levels, from the Cosmic to the trivial, and social organization matches the structure of nature, by being divided in a nested hierarchy of groups with common external enemies and otherwise internal conflicts forcefully solved by an authority keeping subgroups from freely interacting. The prototypical figure of Black Magic is an administrative manager of men, who commands to people below him and receives order from above.
With White Magic, each man has ends of his own, but the ends of men are not intrinsically incompatible or opposite: men benefit from cooperation, and their ends can thus be seen as harmonic. Each man is thus a legitimate mean to the ends of each other man, with cooperation being achieved by people mutually helping to fulfill the ends of each other, both being used and using in mutually beneficial mutual exploitation . The natural condition of society is thus an emerging order of cooperation; and this cooperation happens by each man tending to his own ends, and using other freely cooperating people as means. Together, people may build, improve, replace and abandon rational structures, both mechanical or social, to master nature, to put it into motion, to react to its events, adapt to its changes, etc. We produce the satisfactions of the self-defined goals of our lives by engineering natural processes into serving these ends of ours; we implement the structures that satisfy us with the available resources . The organization of defense against aggressors is but a particular case of ensuring that the structures we create are not destroyed by external forces; and this taking into account of the adverse forces that decay and destroy the structures we create is itself an integral part of our engineering of these dynamic structures. Just like any other problem of life, the danger of aggression is to be solved through free cooperation so as to maximize output and minimize input. The organization of society is a dynamic adaptative structure of cooperating individuals, coordinating through voluntary contracts tied on free markets. To White Magicians, Life is a Creative Enterprise. The prototypical figure of White Magic is an entrepreneurial engineer, who masters a technique and seeks cooperation with other men to use it at building structures that make the most satisfactions out of the least resources .
To Black Magicians, certain knowledge flows from the Authority to the mere mortals. The ideal society of Black Magic is thus organized hierarchically around the Authority, in a caste division: At the top are the priests, wise men, brahmins, inner party members, official intellectuals, politicians, or whatever the name, from whom flows the order of society. Afterwards are the military, warriors, policemen, administration clerks, civil servants, teachers and other political commissars, who disseminate and enforce the superior order upon society. Below is the mass of producers, workers, peasants, craftsmen, technicians, engineers and other slaves, who do the grunt work; though a minority of them may have advanced skills regarding mastery of nature, they are themselves considered socially but as tools in the hands of the elite; and while these skilled laborers have to be paid more (or else they would abandon their skills and do grunt work like others), the official ideology will make them less than physical laborers. At the very bottom, barely tolerated if at all, are the traders, merchants, money-lenders, speculators, who do some despicable job, that is best understood as scavenging the leftovers of the orderly administration, profiteering from the misery of people in mysterious ways, doing dirty tasks that are below the current higher concerns of the Hierarchy.
As caricatural as it may seem, this is exactly the model of all the totalitarian utopias: it is the ideal followed by the ancient empires of Egypt, China  or Andies; it is the model proposed in Plato’s The Republic, in the theories of indian brahmins or european legists; it is the vision of communism and its softened social-democrat spin-offs. The fact that there is hardly any variation among all the many totalitarian ideals from so many different times and places, even in absence of intellectual communication with each other ought to have been a strong hint of a common evil behind: the Authoritarian Principle, Black Magic.
Also, we see why a Black Magician will both revere Power in itself, yet hate whoever is in power, if said powerholder does not follow the One True Authority as understood by said Black Magician: the world in its current state is quite a dystopia to a Black Magician who won’t fully identify with government; yet, with the pace of change in the world in general and in governments in particular, and with the variety of flavors of Black Magic, full identification of people with their government is forcibly rare. Black Magicians who identify enough with their government will seek to take hold of it, and to reform it toward a better match with their ideals. Black Magicians, horrified by too great a discrepancy between their view of Good and the current reigning authority that they reject, will seek a revolution, or, if they are too weak, an escape, or else, they will live as antisocial parasites ruining a society they abhor.
An essential myth on which rests the Authoritarian Principle is the myth of objective knowledge, whether it is justified as stemming from the “true religion´´, or, in contemporary days, from “established science´´: beliefs that must be accepted without possibility of dissent by the people who receive it from the high priests; knowledge the search of which is good if done by the official elite, evil if done by others. This objective knowledge is to be contrasted with the relativism claimed by Black Magicians of late about reality when justifying the variety in arbitrariness of the many tyrannies they defend: if reality contradicts their theories, then reality is wrong, or it is “plural´´, so that they are exempt from the rational need of logical coherence.
White Magic, on the other hand, rejects the premise of an objective knowledge about a relative reality, but is instead based on relative knowledge about an objective reality. All knowledge is conjecture, but reality provides a solid framework against which to test and enhance our knowledge; though it is more correct to reverse the direction of previous sentence: reality doesn’t exist to try our knowledge and discriminate godsend truth from devil-inspired falsity; quite on the contrary, we develop knowledge to organize our behavior within reality, to adjust this behavior so as to implement internal goals of ours.
Note that looking at the fact that all knowledge is conjecture from the static point of view of Black Magic precisely leads to the fallacy of relativism, the negation of reason, and the preeminence of brutal force as the ultimate criterion for “truth´´. On the contrary, looking at that fact from the dynamic point of view of White Magic leads us to seeing knowledge as a bet and to realizing that every act of life is an entrepreneur’s choice . In the paradigm of Black Magic, Life is Struggle, every man is a fighter for his own sake in an absurd world. In the paradigm of White Magic, Life is Entrepreneurship, every man is the entrepreneur of his own life in a world made meaningful by his own purpose.
Indeed, any knowledge we have about the future can only be obtained from past experience by induction. David Hume showed that induction could never lead to certain knowledge, but only to conjectures, for any general rule we may induce from past experience can always be invalidated by future experience . There are infinitely many ways to digest data into a set of rules. However, some of these ways are simpler, considering the background knowledge that varies with individuals and with time; and it is in a strong sense an optimal strategy to give exponentially more credit to simpler explanations than to more complex ones: such strategy minimizes the amount of time and energy being spent while leaving the least leeway for manipulation by memes attempting to parasite us by inserting themselves in explanations .
Now, though the same strategy, disregarding the initial knowledge, will ultimately lead to the same asymptotic behavior when faced with the same sequence of events (and this constitutes its weak criterion of consistency), in practice, we each start with a different initial knowledge, we each have a different intellect, we each face a different sequence of events, and our life is too short to ever get near the asymptote. Thus, in the end, knowledge is something subjective and personal: it is based on experience that cannot be wholly shared; it is adapted to each of our lives; it is unadapted to any other person’s life; it improves from the feedback of decisions taken based on it; it goes wild without proper feedback.
The social model proposed by White Magic is thus not a hierarchy, but an interaction, where each individual takes intrinsically personal decisions, with a paradigm that yields simultaneously self-improvement and respect of other people: liberty, responsibility, property.
To Black Magicians, knowledge is sacred; it is objectively gained by following the Authority. To White Magicians, the learning-living process is sacred; subjective knowledge is born out of respecting Liberty. To Black Magicians, knowledge preexists and must be followed. To White Magicians, knowledge is one kind of good among many, that may be generated, at a cost, when we bet that it will be relevant to making better decisions, for an improvement worth the cost ; knowledge is never perfect, but it doesn’t ever need be perfect, it just has to be good enough — or rather, it’s one among the many parts of our individual entrepreneurial capital.
Black Magic and White Magic have opposite approaches to knowledge. We saw how this led to two wholly different models for the organization of society. But it also implies opposite approaches to how social knowledge is achieved. Indeed, in Black Magic, those people who hold social power still need base their decisions upon some information; while in a simple rigid society, a fixed hierarchy may be enough to get orders transmitted without discussion from top to bottom, as the society being parasited by Black Magic grows in complexity, such a rigid hierarchy just cannot scale; thus, the Black Magic institutions develop tools of their own, to produce information that Black Magicians may agree upon, so as to take decisions as to how to prey upon the parasited society. By contrast, in White Magic, the freedom to acquire and use knowledge and provide knowledge-based services to other people means that various people will specialize in various forms of knowledge, so that other people may ignore them and still benefit; none of the specialist will have any a priori authority, but instead, each will have to sell his services on a free market; nonetheless, methods will be developed for specialists to acquire knowledge as well as for laymen to detect good specialists, in a competitive cooperative environment.
The Black Magic approach to understanding the world is static. It tries to describe the world in terms of parameters, the relevance of each of which is measured by the emotional resonance of a change in its value, rather than by any rational theory in terms of causation chains in events that affect these parameters (though as we saw in the case of public goods justification, an appearance of rational explanation may be given to satisfy the refrained White Magic urges of parasited people). These parameters are in turn measured, and the measures and their science, the statistics, are the heart of the Black Magic approach to knowledge; they serve to justify statist policies, where the State, considered as an entity outside of society, takes measure to magically modify parameters toward a more desirable value (as claimed to be by the statisticians).
Now, since there are infinitely many parameters that may be affected by infinitely many events, the statistical point of view always gives a partial, false, and ultimately fallacious image of the world. Given a static set of statistic measurements, you can always invent a statist intervention that will make them produce better-looking figures, by “sweeping the dirt under the rug´´: that is, those aspects that are measured will be enhanced by worsening everything that isn’t measured; and those aspects left unmeasured will comprise those preconditions indispensable for the preservation of the meaning of the measured quantities; so that a possible positive variation of the measures that would follow intervention wouldn’t even signify a partial betterment. Thus, when statistic measures are used as goals (as in “convergence criteria´´, or governmental bragging rights about the reduction or increase of some figure) the result is that governments will intervene in such a way that unmeasured things will get worse and that the measures themselves will become meaningless  .
The statistical justifications for government thus always consists in (1) focusing on a particular set of measured parameters as the “problem´´, disconnecting these parameters from other parameters required to make the measure meaningful. (2) applying an instance of the What Is Seen And What Is Not Seen Fallacy to show how some scheme could improve the measures, without regard for fact that this intervention actually worsens the unmeasured parameters to the point of being harmful (3) positing governmental coercion as the magic solution to the problem of imposing the devised scheme, since it fails to appear by itself.
The statistical attitude doesn’t require figures to be wrong: the partial focus on static parameters, the disconnection of modifications done to these parameters from the dynamic consequences of the means used to modify them, the invocation of government as a magical god that can intervene for free — all these define the statistical point of view, and explain why it is an intellectual fraud in itself. Figures are but a way to give pseudo-scientific value to the statistical attitude. They are just a ritual ornament meant to inspire awe, in the religious staging of the statist black magic religion .
Of course, the more elaborate the coverage of the statistical measures, the more complex the technocratic apparatus needed to intervene in ways that better the measured figures (to the detriment of the public at large). When statistical goals are used as a guide to develop public administrations, the weight, cost and effectivelessness of these government agencies will increase, producing more statistics and more complex interventions, up until the point when even such new measures can’t improve the figures anymore; beyond that point, the government is in a permanent atmosphere of crisis, where it works hard with no positive results, even by its own crooked standards . Statistics are the tool by excellence by which governments play the fallacy of what is seen and what is not seen. Some try to use the government’s own tool to push government intervention away from them: they will produce counter-statistics, etc. But it will cost them a lot to maintain these statistics, that will be disputed by the government, and in the end, the best they can achieve is that government will include new parameters in its statistics, leading to increased, more complex and more subtle government intervention. Counter-statistics can be an effective way to lobby for government intervention in your favor, if you manage to get your statistical measurements adopted by government, or if you manage to sell to government your remaining quiet. But counter-statistics cannot be used as a way to diminish overall government intervention.
Actually, statistics were born as a tool for fiscal accounting; in effect, it is the way for the State to track its assets. The “economic´´ calculus of Black Magic is indeed based on accounting and statistics, focusing on who possesses what riches and who exchanged what with whom, so as to tax them . Citizens are forced to declare all they own and all they earn, so that the government can take some of it away; government in turn promises reprisals and confiscation when citizens do not properly declare everything to the administration. The use of statistics as a paradigm for deception is an outgrowth of this original accounting purpose; it is an evolutionary adaptation of the State, when faced with a technical society where it is indispensable that some rationality be widespread in the people, so that raw force cannot be used without taking the deceptive appearance of reason.
White Magic is based on a completely different epistemology. It has a dynamic approach to understanding the world in terms of causation, of decisions taken based on information, of dynamic flow of information and energy, etc. It is a cybernetical approach. The basic notions it considers are decisions, events, choices, each with its dynamic implications, instead of aggregates that give static figures independently of any causal chain. In other words, the White Magic view of the world is still partial, but it focuses its study on understandable means rather than ununderstandable ends. It allows us to take decisions that are not flawed by the systematic bias (whether voluntary or involuntary) of the statistic-making process. And indeed, the information we process can eventually influence the world but through the decisions we make. Decisions are thus the basic element with which human life is built. They are the very fabric of life: not static joy and pain, but responsible decisions and their consequent feedback.
The accounting fallacies of Black Magic compare the present to the past (within the scope of a few parameters, while others are hidden); they attribute credit to ones and debit to others (in practice, the privileged get the credit, and the exploited pay); accounting is a record of property transfers; it gives information on what happened, but cannot in any way predict what will happen to adapt to the inevitable change of life. Now, when one makes a choice, one is never, ever choosing between the future and the past; time flows, whether one agrees to it or not. One is always, forever, choosing between multiple futures. Hence morality and economics (and actually, economics is the very same as morality) is never concerned about accounting costs; instead, it is always concerned about opportunity costs, that is, expected difference of outcome between the various opportunities. Accounting costs are irrelevant; the only people who ever care about accounting costs are tax officers — in other words, robbers .
Economic calculus in the White Magic paradigm is thus praxeological reasoning: It considers the opportunity cost of various decisions, rather than the irrelevant accounting costs. It compares the present to several possible futures, as indexed by the various actual choices that one faces, rather than by miraculous changes in external parameters. It tries to evaluate what are the difference between the various outcomes that each available alternative can bring (which difference is the economic cost of the alternative, also known as its opportunity cost). It gives information on what could happen, and is a tool for decision-making. It serves as a guide to allocate each resource to one project rather than one another.
Given the knowledge of the various opportunity costs, and the preferences of individuals, the praxeologist proceeds to determine which decisions will be preferred and taken. Of course, the knowledge of the various opportunity costs might be but partially known, and these costs evaluated differently by various individuals depending on their own knowledge and preferences. But this can itself be viewed as an opportunity: it means that exchange of information between people can help them take better decisions, by having better models of each other’s and their own preferences and opportunities, so as to adapt not only to what nature can do but also to what each other will do. Thus even though this information about opportunities and preferences  may depend on a lot of unknown or unmastered factors, it is possible to make useful predictions; moreover, cooperation between people allows to actually diminish risks and lessen the effects of unmastered factors, by sharing knowledge, by building elaborate strategies based on coordinated action, by distributing responsibilities about each subject to those who know better about the field, etc.
The precise prediction of the outcome of the combination of all human choices, considering all the particular conditions in which these choices happen, is out of reach of any person or combination of person — if only because the knowledge on which to base this prediction is itself not available. We can never know for sure which of two choices another person will prefer, unless we do offer him to make the choice, and see what he chooses, at which point it is too late to make a prediction. And that is for one choice only, whereas the combination of all human action is much more complex. Thus, the full understanding of human society is beyond the reach of anyone. But that doesn’t mean more partial forms of understanding are unachievable, and that no useful prescriptions are possible. Indeed, it is possible to discern immutable general laws of human behavior, that are no less laws of nature than are the laws of electromagnetism; and from the knowledge of these laws, it is possible to deduce general principles of behavior, and an art of behavioral engineering, much like there are general safety rules for the use of electromagnetic devices and an art of electrical engineering.
From the rules that people explicitly acknowledge or implicitly follow, an order emerges in society. This order is seldom if ever used as an explanation to justify the rules to follow — what matters, though, is that said order is actually an inevitable consequence of the acceptance of the rules. Cyberneticians are interested in these rules, what they are, what they can be, how they affect the emerging order, how to change them, within what limits they can be changed, what recipes can be followed to build better behavior, etc. While studying rules of behavior, cyberneticians will pay particular attention to variants and invariants: which potentials and which information are being conserved by which kind of events, and which are irreversibly spent; which phenomena are the locus of positive feedback, and are conducive to evolutionary forces; which phenomena are the locus of negative feedback, and are conducive to partial equilibria; which events modify available opportunities, etc. With such an analysis, it becomes possible to systematically weed out such fallacies as that which is seen and that which is unseen that defy basic natural laws of conservation, and to focus energy and attention on plans that may actually work.
White Magic and Black Magic differ not only in the way they encourage us to gather information and determine what is good, but also in the way they have us act toward what we think is good. Whereas the static thinking of Black Magic implies an ends-oriented theory of moral action, the dynamic thinking of White Magic implies a means-oriented theory of justice.
The Authoritarian Principle argues that some people know what is good, that they have the authority to determine what is good. Consequently, for authoritarians, people who go against opinions expressed by this authority are acting in evil ways, and should be prevented from doing it; coercion is thus considered as a legitimate way to enforce against dissenters the opinions of authority upon its acknowledged domain.
On the contrary, the Libertarian Principle argues that goodness in general and useful knowledge in particular emerge from each person being free of choosing and responsible for one’s choices within the limits of the property one creates and acquires. To paraphrase Hayek, we libertarians do not deny that there are superior people, better choices, moral and immoral deeds, etc. What we deny is that anyone would have the authority to decide who these superior people are, what these better choices are, which deeds are moral or immoral, etc. 
Indeed, assuming that some people know better, how do we establish who these people are? Authority does not solve the problem of the knowledge of what’s good; it only pushes this problem back, to be swept under the rug of irrationality. Ultimately, each individual, so as to determine which authority to heed, will still have to use one’s own reason, one’s own experience, one’s own traditions (that are but experience accumulated for centuries). One’s own mind is irreducibly the ultimate criterion for one’s own choices, even if one chooses to delegate; some personal liberty and responsibility cannot be negated, even by the most authoritarian setting.
For even if you accept some authority, even if God speaks directly to you and you know it, other people might not know it. They have no means to ascertain your claims, and thus they have no reason to believe you a priori, to follow the exact same authority, etc. There’s no way they can reasonably trust your word for it. And even if they agree with you in a formal way, agreeing to your opinion, using the very same words as come from the very same authority, they might actually have a different interpretation of these words, they might understand them with a different meaning, with subtle but essential differences. So even with a formal agreement on a common authority, there remains the question of how one can communicate one’s actual ideas of what Good is, and have them prevail against opposing ideas. Supposing one knows what good is, how can one have other people also know what good is? Assuming that one’s notion of good has a potential meaning to other people that one wishes to transmit, what are the legitimate or efficient ways to achieve this transmission?
This is another way by which the Authoritarian Principle cannot evade the practical necessity of having to convince people through peaceful ways: every would-be authority doesn’t have the direct individual resources to coerce at most but a few other people into doing one’s bidding; it is only by acquiring the cooperation of minions, henchmen, followers and accomplices that one can extend one’s grip on unconsenting individuals. And all these servants and accomplices have to be convinced, seduced, or otherwise persuaded, not out of a preexisting authority, but out of non-authoritarian means. Now, in the case of Black Magic, these non-authoritarian ways include fraud and deception, the culture of superstition and irrationality, as well as gangs of consenting mobsters victimizing unconsenting third parties.
On the contrary, the Libertarian Principle, since it bars authority, coercion, fraud, deception and any kind of victimization, induces the development of very particular means to acquire the cooperation of other people: rational discussion, or at least seduction in a way compatible with rational criticism. It can even be said that rational or otherwise logical reasoning in general are born out of the liberty to negociate under what terms to cooperate, and to ultimately choose whether to cooperate or not. And therefore it is no surprise that axiomatic mathematics was born in the freest cities of Greece. Indeed, when free people have to gain the voluntary acceptance of other free people, including foreigners from other cities, so as to cooperate, one has to convince other people that it is their interest to cooperate, and at the same time one must avoid being foolishly convinced against one’s own interest. Thus, in a society of mutually free individuals, everyone develops to some degree skills in both communication (rhetorics, dialectics) and analysis of communication (logic, politics). And these skills are only developed in such societies of free and responsible people: for there is no interest to invest in reason when one is not going to decide or when one is not going to suffer the consequences of one’s own decisions, whereas one has to decide well when one is free and accountable. Hence coercion makes people irresponsible and irrational, whereas freedom makes people responsible and reasonable. That irrational seduction develops and prospers is a sure sign that the principles of freedom and accountability are not being respected.
Let us now investigate the quintessential legacy of the Authoritarian Principle: coercion made a legitimate means of action. Coercion does not convince — it cannot. Its very principle is to eschew conviction and the means to achieve it. It can make people do what you desire — but only if you’re the strongest — and only for a moment, after which things are even worse than before. For not only will people have remained unconvinced, they will also have abandoned the now unnecessary mental tools of rationality and responsibility necessary to develop deep conviction. This is why coercion can never be used to make people moral, according to anyone’s idea of morality: they will remain as immoral as before, just more so for accepting the rule of their masters, while the masters themselves become monsters. It makes the subjects hypocrites and the masters haughty. In one case, they are under the power of other people’s will, and lose all sense of responsibility. In the other case, they are unaccountable of their decisions as long as they remain in power, and become prisoner of their violent means of living. In both cases, they end up being both unfree and irresponsible.
The eventual vanity of coercion as a principle of action has been nicely summarized by discordians. Discordianism is some kind of “ha ha, only serious´´ religion made up by a particular kind of libertarians: the funny kind. In one remarkable discordian website, Hyperdiscordia, you can find the divine “Law of Eristic Escalation´´, originally from the Principia Discordia, thusly commented (bold emphasis is mine):
This Law (originally found in the Honest Book of the Truth, Gospel According to Fred, 1:6) pertains to any arbitrary or coercive imposition of order. It is:
Imposition of Order = Escalation of Chaos
Fenderson’s Amendment adds that the tighter the order in question is maintained, the longer the consequent chaos takes to escalate, BUT the more it does when it does!
[The Thudthwacker Addendum to Fenderson’s Amendment goes on to prove that the presence of a nonlinear term which crops up in Fenderson’s calculations serves to cause the escalation of chaos to be completely unpredictable in terms of the original imposition of order — Ed.]
Armed with the Law of Eristic Escalation and Fenderson’s Amendment [And Thudthwacker’s Addendum — Ed.] any imbecile — not just a sociologist — can understand politics.
|6 Black Magic At Work|
Now that we saw the static and dynamic principles of Black Magic, we can examine the effects of Black Magic in real-life, and relate its modern expressions to their traditional archetypes.
Human sacrifices: Black Magicians invoke sacrifice as good in itself, something that pleases the gods, with the ultimate sacrifice being human sacrifice. They will thus justify killing for the good of the people: for instance, Aztec priests used to sacrifice humans everyday, so that sun would rise again tomorrow. Nowadays, the primitive form of human sacrifices is not so frequent, but such sacrifices still exist in disguised forms: wars, embargoes and other governmental operations cause many direct deaths, collateral damages and other “inevitable casualties´´ that serve to satisfy the power trip of political managers, under the pretense of domestic security, the defense of democracy, national interest, the indivisible union of the republic, etc. directors of intelligence agencies may even let the people they are meant to protect get killed so as to promote their agenda of stricter “security measures´´ toward the public opinion. To Black Magicians, individual human lives are “expandable´´ before the superior motives of the collectivist entity they claim to dictate.
Zombies: Black Magicians create beings that are more dead than live. For that, they typically hypnotize and drug their victims, that they then use as slaves until they die; such people might not be very productive, but the magicians don’t care since they get to benefit, even though the operation is a greater loss to the victims, and a net loss for global welfare. The chosen victims were often first drugged into faking death, so that the Black Magician could pass as its resurrecter and savior. Nowadays, workers are forced to surrender the four fifth of their lives; citizens are deprived from the responsible choices that are the very stuff life is made of. They are not so much of living beings, though they aren’t completely dead either. Yet, the Black Magicians of government claim being their saviors, and their owing the little life they have left to government intervention. And indeed, since the official statistics don’t make the difference between a living man and a zombie, they will serve as a justification to whatever policy will “enhance´´ the visible official statistics at the invisible cost of transforming humans into zombies.
Material Sacrifices: Black Magicians will require destructions meant to appease the gods: valuable goods are destroyed in the hope of a magic reaction from the gods, outside of any rational mechanism of natural causation that will link the sacrifices to any positive effect. Of course, Black Magicians will insist on the importance that a properly anointed priest should control the sacrifice (and be paid for his office, obviously). Non-ritual sacrifices will be recognized for the murder, vandalism, robbery and fraud that they are; whereas ritualized sacrifices under control of Black Magic priesthood will be presented as valid and working invocations. For instance, private forging of money somehow will be decried as robbery and decreasing total wealth, whereas government-backed inflation, which amounts to the same forging of money, will be boasted as somehow increasing wealth. Governments will build great public monuments at great expenses; they will build roads, plan up massive economic intervention, etc.; for that, they will demand the public to consent to new taxes as a sacrifice necessary for the Godvernment to grant them its divine benefits. When faced with the shortage and failure of government supplied goods and services, they will invoke the civic duty to reduce their consumption and expectations. They will invoke the reduction in work time, so as to diminish unemployment . Though material sacrifices do not end human lives, they spend the human life that was necessary to build the sacrificed material. Just like zombifying people is enslavement — the partial murder of one’s future, — material sacrifices are robbery — the partial murder of one’s past .
Sacrifices have many effects that reinforce the power of Black Magic: they benefit the priests of Black Magic who levy their share of the loot; they thus create a class of powerful citizens interested in maintaining the belief. Properly directed, sacrifices will destroy the enemies of Black Magic, and deprive them of the resources through which they could grow. Sacrifices commit all those who participate in such abominations; these people, to preserve respect for themselves, will refuse to acknowledge their own foolishness, their own sins, their own crimes; to relieve their own guilt, they will happily reject the blame on the sacrificial lambs, the victims of ritual sacrifices, or some other symbolic enemies. Sacrifices divert the attention of the public away from the real causes of their sorrow, the real grieves, the real culprits, toward the accomplishment of the ritual. Sacrifices give hope to the believers, that since the sacrifice was made, now their lives will get better; with this hope, believers will continue to get the system going. Sacrifices give fear to the believers, that if the sacrifice were not made, their lives would get worse; with this fear, believers will prevent changes from toppling the system.
In Black Magic, the priests cast spells: they recite formulas, conduct rituals, make magic items. The goal of these spells is manifold: they divert the attention of followers from topics where reasoning could show the absurdity of Black Magic; they focus this attention on some activities that the Black Magicians control; they give an opportunity for the Black Magicians to get paid for these activities; they cultivate habits of dependency among the followers; they turn the intensity of cult worship into a means of social signalling among the followers, with followers competing to be more prominent worshippers, and excluding the lesser worshippers (or worse, non-worshippers) from high-profile social activities (or from society at all, when the power of Black Magicians is great enough).
Black Magicians brew magic potions and recite formulas that they promise will have various beneficial effects if followers drink the potions and follow the rituals. The modern Black Magic forms of these potions and formulas are legislative jaculations, political platforms, demonstrators’ demands, strikers’ requests. If you should back the projects of politicians, then things will improve for you, — or so they say. The laws being voted, the regulations being issued are as many magic formulas meant to dispel evil. People, those who enforce as well as those who endure, don’t have to understand the mechanisms of these laws, the reasons why they are meant to bring prosperity; they have to be smitten by the magic of these laws, by their superficial appearance of goodness, by their official purpose full of good intentions, by the congruence of their rituals with other accepted rituals. Oftentimes, the people who participate in these rituals will recognize how absurd and destructive they are, but they will nevertheless abide by the prescriptions of Black Magic, and accept the belief that these obvious failures are but part of a beneficial big picture, and maybe even the consequence of a lack of respect for Black Magic principles, to be solved by appeals to more Black Magic.
Black Magicians use voodoo dolls as symbols of enemies and phenomena that they claim to master through symbolic intervention. They use these symbolic interventions to claim as their success any progress visible against enemies or in the phenomena, whereas any regress will be the fault of people not complying to their precepts, or otherwise of a lack of Black Magic power and intervention. Modern Black Magicians use statistical models for this very same purpose. Expert statisticians will build models tailored to justify any desired intervention by the government, and to explain how it is thanks to government intervention that the economy is going better.
Black Magicians regularly call for massive religious gatherings, so as to build up cosmic forces, so as to summon good spirits. These grand masses have none of their proclaimed magic effects on the external world; their real purpose is their effect upon the members of the cult themselves: they are the opportunity to demonstrate the strength of the movement in face of opposite odds; they serve to assess the loyalty of members to the movement, and to force people into committing to the movement; they rouse tribal feelings of belonging to the group, and other crowd reactions; they strengthen the members’ view of the world as “us against them´´; they confirm the Black Magicians as the leaders of the mob. Votes, polls, referendums, mass demonstrations, etc., are to a great extent such Black Magic masses: they don’t have much effect on the outcome of events, but serve to give a mantle of legitimacy to those who rule in the name of the Common Cause.
Black Magic is a tool to confer power to a class of priests, higher and lower. The modern form of Black Magic serves its own class of politicians, big and small. They interpret the “will of the people´´ or whatever the official ruling principle is. The religious class is organized in a hierarchy of actual rulers. Aside this hierarchy is also a large class of theologians who will invent intellectual justifications for the regime and its interventions, as well as provide a reserve of potential rulers. The modern form of this class of men is the intelligentsia, made of “experts´´, statisticians, statist “economists´´, etc. Most of them will be paid by government or otherwise receive various privileges as university professors, directors of various administrations, journalists, political consultants, etc. These alleged brainiacs will provide alibis to Black Magic; they give it the apparent authority of reason. The apparatus of State-controlled intellectual activities will offer to intellectuals the choice between two opportunities: they may live well as servants of the Minotaur , gaining in social status as they spread the official ways of thinking; or they may be officially discredited and be excluded from controlled means of communication should they prefer to be dissidents.
Black Magic, being based on wishful thinking rather than reason, always insists on intents rather than causal connections. In popular literature, a pure heart, — according to the Black Magicians’ morality, — rather than patiently developed skills, — as adapted to mastering nature, — is the key to all blessings. In modern Black Magic, this focus on intents is still prominent. Political measures are backed not with an explanation of their effects, but as serving the just cause of the people, of the workers, etc. Leaders will display how touchy-feely they are, they will cultivate feelings and sentiments; anyone trying to analyze rationally and debunk their justifications will be dismissed as having dark intents, as being an “enemy of class´´, a servant of Evil, of foreign enemy forces. As marxists used to explicitly say, to Black Magicians, it doesn’t matter what you say, it only matters “where you speak from´´.
Black Magic is based on a manichean view of the world, where the Black Magicians assume the role of Good, White, etc., whereas anything that stands up against their aims is considered as Evil, Black, etc. In this manichean cosmic struggle, everyone is forced to take one of two sides. This is the quintessence of political polarization. Of course, among Black Magicians themselves, factions that compete for power will each claim to be White, whereas the opposite faction is Black, or at least manipulated by evil forces, or allied to them, or at best “objectively allied´´ to them. In democracies, this competition for the claim of being good against evil takes paradoxical form, as the political life is polarized in two poles (left and right), each identified by its radicals, but at the same time, each competing for the marginal voters around the median opinion, far from the professed radical ideals used for intellectual justification of the parties. People in democracies, are thus led to constantly choose between the “Lesser of two evils´´, away from either of the two main branches of Black Magic ideals. Democrats are both aware of this limitation of democracy as the means to advance their Black Magic ideals , and at the same time, fanatically attached to democracy as part of the consensual doctrine accepted by the two main branches of democratic Black Magic.
Another paradox of Black Magicians is their relationship with money. They will institute a precise accounting of private and public activities in terms of money, so as to be able to tax the ones and fund the others; they will thus express everything in terms of money; they will see money everywhere. Money is a magic thing to them; when any emergency happens, all the government has to do is to “unblock money´´ so as to fund a budget for whatever emergency measures have to be taken. Black Magicians worship, admire, envy, desire the power conferred by money. They love to generously spend other people’s money, with laws, subventions, feasts, institutions, constructions, etc. However, doing so, they spend not just people’s money, but also their lives: for the utility of money comes from its use as an intermediate for the adaptive cooperation of individuals who are free to choose how to cooperate or not. The power of money is ultimately tied to the freedom and creation of White Magic; people only accept government-controlled money as a compulsory legal tender because they expect that despite the inconvenience, they will be able to use it as a practical universal intermediate in free trade. So Black Magicians are ambivalent about this. They hate the Free Market and all it represents, because it is a negation of their basic premises. At the same time, they recognize that a Free Market economy is inevitable, and indispensable, if they have to have anything to prey upon. Black Magicians will thus learn to have a double hypocritical attitude regarding money: they will openly claim it as good when it is confiscated and spent by the Godvernment, and as an instrument of vice to be despised when it is in private hands; yet they will do whatever they can so that the money flows, sacrificing their ideals to the private lobbyists who promise prosperity; finally, they will personally indulge to the power of this great “corrupter´´ that is money, although by identifying themselves with the Great Cause, they will easily pardon this vice in regard to the services that they render to the Nation (or whichever the Great Cause is).
Black Magic leads to many such paradoxes, and Black Magicians must thus train themselves and their followers into techniques of double-think, whereby they will be able to manipulate concepts from two or more logically contradictory points of view, depending on the context, while actively avoiding any situation where the contradictions become too obvious. The ultimate spell of Black Magic is thus to confer its followers some kind of schizophrenia allowing them to survive despite the contradictions upon which their beliefs are founded .
Black Magic is a cult that must be kept alive by constantly occupying the minds of people. And the best way to occupy their minds is to also occupy their bodies. The Godvernment will seek to intervene in any and every aspect of social life. It will even intervene in so very personal things as intimate relations between people in love, by regulating marriage, giving it an important place in fiscal and civil regulations, etc. Any domain that is not subject to heavy regulations is disconsidered as lawless savagery, a wild anarchy, a lack of legislation, to be promptly remedied by new legislation. At the same time, all this intervention must be accompanied by constant rhetorics, by appeal to the citizens’ spirits, and ultimately by actual concern of anxious citizens, so that the Godvernment will appear positively rather than negatively. This is why Black Magicians will resort to a series of tricks so as to stage the public worship of Black Magic.
War is the grandest way in which the Godvernment is presented as the savior of the People. War may be an actual war against a foreign country, if possible led by an obvious tyrant. It may also be war against unofficial governments reigning over areas abandonned by official legal governments: the mafia, drug trafficking organizations, terrorists, guerillas, etc. In a more rhetorical way, it may be war against some official vice: drug consumption, smoking, prostitution, drinking, unofficial religions, etc. Politicians will resort to the vocabulary of war even as they claim to fight poverty, fight unemployment, fight any “social disease´´ or misery. All these wars serve as a justification to the State impersonating the role of Good in a cosmic struggle between Good and Evil. Their ultimate goal is not external, it is internal: the important effect and strong incentive for Black Magicians to wage war is not to fight the claimed enemy, but to tighten the subjection of the allegedly protected citizens . The “exceptional´´ situation of war will serve as an excuse for whatever crimes and attempts to the rule of law that godvernmental forces may commit, as well as a diversion from whatever misachievements they may make on “secondary´´ fronts. This situation of exception is so beneficial to Black Magicians that they will make it become permanent: indeed, once they have spread the idea that they are the solution rather than the problem, they will use the very failures of their policies as a pretense for ever increasing their interventions. An initially small temporary intervention will thus eventually turn into a permanent war to struggle against the permanent fiasco caused by the very intervention of the State.
Throughout all their staging of life as a cosmic struggle, Black Magicians will cultivate among their followers a feeling of righteousness. According to Black Magicians, the world is “us´´ against “them´´, it is friends versus foes — and you better be among friends. Friends are to be identified by their intents, their community of interests, their belonging to a nation or a race or a social class or any other category proposed by the Black Magicians’ ideology. Black Magicians thus propose an easy, undemanding, relaxing, and false grid for understanding the universe . This simple grid offers followers the immediate benefit of saving the need for sustained enquiry, indulging their intellectual sloth . According to this grid, bad guys will be equated with people with bad intents, and the other way round, while similarly good guys will be equated both ways with people with officially good intents . Enemies who claim to have good intents will be classified as hypocrits, or as deeply misguided pawns manipulated by a greater Evil. Friends who have bad intents are to be justified, pardonned, or excommunicated. This polarization of life in its extreme forms can lead to Conspiracy theory, where some people want to see a common intent, a common will, concerted interests, a central organization behind any Great Evil in the world. Anything wrong must have been meant as wrongdoing . The dual form of Conspiracy Theory is much scarier: Totalitarianism. It is the belief that, at some scale, there can be any Good in the world only if behind it there is a common intent, a common will, concerted interests, a central organization. All in all, this Black Magic polarization of people’s vision of the world is Animism: the want to see willful intent everywhere.
Our claim all throughout this essay is that Black Magic, the Authoritarian Principle, is an intellectual fraud; it is a mental illness; it is a parasite meme that makes people insane; it is a profoundly erroneous view of reality. There is a fundamental inadequacy between the discourse of Black Magic and the very actions of Black Magicians, that ultimately take place in the real world, the reality of which doesn’t match the expectations provided by Black Magic. Black Magicians may choose to be ignorant of nature and to revolt against it, but by very definition, neither their whims nor their actions will ever change the laws of nature . Furthermore, we affirm that White Magic, the Libertarian Principle, is a correct paradigm for apprehending Life; it is mental sanity, a valid way of understanding the universe as we may live in it.
Yet at the same time, we take note that Black Magic, though it may bring sorrow, distress, failure, suffering and death to its followers and their victims, is itself surviving and prospering: It is a Memetic success. It is another proof case where memetic fitness for a meme to survive is not the same as the fitness to survive for those who adopt it, or as the propensity of said meme to pass the test of rational criticism. Black Magic somehow “works´´, but it doesn’t work as advertised. This is why we must examine the real reasons for its success. We must ask ourselves, what makes Black Magic so successful? What are the memetic forces that lead to Black Magic? What are the memetic forces that may help to resist and dispel Black Magic? On the long run, is Black Magic going to grow or to dim away? And what can we do about it?
Black Magic spreads based on faith and fear and other basic emotions, on animal reflexes, on intellectual sloth, on a primitive way of thinking through emotional associations, symmetrical binary relations. It appeals to the primitive parts of man’s mind and develops the pride of keeping one’s mind in a primitive state. Indeed, Black Magic consists precisely of withholding rational thinking, and letting someone else — the Authority — decide on one’s behalf. This Authority may be a past tradition, a present ruler, or a future power accepted in advance as a ruler (as with political elections). Black Magic is essentially the promise that a friendly superior force will solve your problems if you abandon your fate with faith in its hands. It is the faithful abandon of responsibility. It is the sweet bliss of ignorance. The ignorance that it spreads is itself the protection against the realization of the misery that the same ignorance causes. Black Magicians worship the holy warranty that the Godvernment promises to them about the difficulties of their lives; Goverment as the ultimate fallback plan; Security out thin air, if only you have faith. As with all kinds of faith, people believe because “it would be so nice if it were true.´´ Those who deny the value of the promise are seen as enemies who try to destroy this value, assumed to exist.
Black magicians hate the Free Market, because it is not a personal god that they can bribe. But at the same time, they find it easy to blame the Free Market because it has no authoritative spokesman that can defend it: the common interest incarnate in Free Market is not any particular lobby’s interest, and will find few people to actually defend it (as opposed to claiming to defend it while demanding protectionist measures for a special interest group). So Black Magic can survive through the distortion of reality by which it promotes the special interest of a focused group of organized predators who exploit a widespread group of disorganized preys, while making believe that it promotes the general welfare. People are born ignorant, and Black Magicians will cultivate and grow this ignorance among people as long as they can, so as to victimize them.
Now, ignorance is not a stable state . Once someone is taught the principles of White Magic, and shown the nocivity of Black Magic, it becomes much more difficult to attract one’s active support in participating to the cult of Black Magic, helping to victimize oneself and other people. And knowledge is irreversible: once someone knows such a simple principle as White Magic, one knows it until one dies. That is why Black Magicians must spend efforts at trying to prevent people from thinking, and from ever being put in tight contact with the paradigm of White Magic. But these efforts will increase as methods are developed for spreading knowledge of the reality behind Black Magic. Ultimately, it hopefully will become so hard to remain ignorant, and so expensive to maintain other people in ignorance, that investing in Black Magic will be no more marginally profitable.
|7 Conclusion: The Real Enemy|
Government lives on Black Magic. Government produces Black Magic. But Government is not Black Magic. More precisely, the Principle of Government is the main instance of Black Magic; however the body of people and activities known as “Government´´ is not. Though they are historically, emotionally and semantically related, these two meanings of the word “Government´´ must be distinguished, if we are to apply White Magic rational thinking to the underlying concepts, instead of merely Black Magic emotional feeling of them.
On the one hand Government — its Authoritarian Principle — will monopolize, absorb and corrupt the production or delivery of goods and services actually produced through White Magic, and now made part of Government — the Administrative body. Government — the Principle embraced by the rulers of the Administration — will latter use these monopolies as justifications for its existence: “public goods´´ that only It (the body) provides, because It prohibits competition or regulates it away. However, the goods and services being monopolized by Government, the productive parts of the Administration, are in fact creations of White Magic. Hence, these parts of Government — the Administrative body — we do not seek to destroy, but verily to free and regenerate: we wish to remove the chains that subject these services, their producers and their consumers to the Authoritarian Principle of Government.
Now not only is Government (the body) not made of pure Black Magic (since it absorbs White Magic components), but Black Magic is also very much present outside Government (the body) and even to some degree outside of Government (the openly claimed Principle). There are plenty of accomplices to the activities of Governments as such, who albeit having a status of “private´´ people and organizations, end up benefitting from public privileges; these accomplices serve to “privatize´´ the rent captured by those who hold power. There are also plenty of candidates who wish to replace current governments with new governments of their own, based on even more retrograde forms of Black Magic than currently rule: this includes all the religious fundamentalist movements, the worst among them being the socialist revolutionaries, etc. Then there are plenty of bandits and frauds who feed on the weakness, credulity and superstition of other people, though on a much pettier scale than instituted governments. Finally, Black Magic exists as part of the activities of many people who otherwise live through White Magic: political activists who do their best to get some party elected, trade unionists who demonstrate in the streets for their corporate interests, businessmen who pay lobbyists to court politicians, all these people have both this Black Magic activity of political manipulation, and (usually) a main White Magic activity of production. The latter kind of people constitute the major body of Black Magicians; most of them are victims of Black Magic as well as servants of it, suffering from the consequences of the mental illness that they wilfully propagate.
Thus, Government, as an instituted body, is not the main Enemy, it is but the manifestation of the Enemy. Should we manage to destroy the current government, evil as it may be, if we didn’t dispel the belief in Black Magic, then Black Magic will spurt off a new government, just as evil as the preceding one; and any violent means we used to destroy the previous government will only have resulted in pain and destruction while evicting the old government, and pain and destruction again as a new government struggles to establish its new power over people. Our main Enemy is more elusive, it resides in people’s minds: it is the very belief in Black Magic, it is a disease from which we want to cure people. It is not Government as a body, it is Government as an idea; it is not the State, it is Statism; it is not the political militants, it is politics. Our Enemy is a mental illness, not the victims it infects. Our Enemy is a view of the world where the interests of people are antagonistic instead of harmonic. Our Enemy is the principle behind Enmity itself .
Let us not overestimate the Enemy: it is not a devil endowed with a personal will; it is not capable of any coherent synchronized overall action; it cannot design concerted plans of action. Black Magicians may be animists, we are not; we know that some phenomena emerge without any wilful intent nor any concerted action. On the other hand, let us not underestimate the enemy: it is not susceptible to be destroyed by a focused, narrow action, whereby we’d neutralize a few key people. Of course, such surgical actions may be necessary as a small but important part of an overall treatment, to inhibit the catalyzers of Black Magic; but the treatment cannot be narrow, for the meme of Black Magic is widespread in the human population, and is active even inside those of us who are conscious of its nefarious nature. The treatment will involve some form of education, to build some awareness of the Evil in those who currently think in political terms, and to build some healthy reflexes in everyone.
Among the most potent obstacles that we will face, the more dangerous and evil people will not be the victims completely infected by Black Magic, those mindless superstitious people who abandonned their lives into the hands of Authority; these people are incapable of initiating rational, efficient action; though they may act in evil ways, their mechanisms of thought can be well understood; their actions can be foreseen; remedies can be found for them. Our most dangerous enemies will be those who use White Magic to efficiently cultivate Black Magic in other people, so as to unilaterally exploit them. Our most dangerous obstacles are Grey Magicians, who master enough of both forms of Magic so as to delude other people into serving them. These people understand the issues at hand; they can use White Magic techniques of rational design to lead and move the masses infected by Black Magic; and their interest is in preserving some form of Black Magic in other people. We must learn how these Grey Magicians think, how we can counter their work of evil, how we can turn some of them to our side, how we can use them to neutralize each other, how we can subvert their activity against Black Magic itself. Now, these Grey Magicians will adapt to our action; they will design new plans; they too will try to neutralize us, or to subvert our actions to their profit.
If we want our actions to be efficient, we must eradicate the source of the evil that destroys our freedom. It may be expedient to fight the visible manifestations of Evil, and indeed it is sometimes even necessary to do it. But the only useful fight on the long run is the fight against Evil itself. And it is the fight in which fewest people actually participate. As Henry D. Thoreau put it:
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root .
Compromising on results is a necessity of life: the moral choice of the best of available opportunities is constrained by the set of available opportunities. Fighting the manifestations of evil is thus an everyday endeavour, that will always exist, that can never fully succeed. It is a part of life. But it is not the cause that we are specifically defending. Any results achieved while fighting the manifestations of evil are short-lived when the original evil is untouched and keeps spawning ever more subtle new manifestations. The cause we are defending, the cause of Freedom, requires us to dissipate evil at its very source. This is why we cannot compromise on our goals, on our discourse. Compromission about principles, compromission about means of action, is yielding to the Evil of Black Magic; it is abandoning the very cause of freedom that we ought to defend .
We must learn to fight Black Magic itself, not its manifestations. So as to eradicate this parasite, so as to open the eyes of its ignorant victims, we must design a cure for this disease; and so as to design such a cure, we must understand enough of this illness and its mechanisms. We must understand how it works, and what efficient countermeasures there are. We must understand how it spreads, and how we can best prevent contamination. In other words, we must approach this problems with the White Magic attitude of engineering solutions, which supposes that we first develop a science of the mental mechanisms involved, call it “political psychology´´, “chromothaumaturgics´´ or “power memetics´´.
Our endeavour is Memetic Engineering for Liberty. It is not so much “Fighting For Freedom´´ (against oppression) as it is “Building Freedom´´ (where it can thrive). We must engineer memes of White Magic that will successfully compete with the memes of Black Magic; this engineering includes successfully marketing the engineered memes. We must identify the psychological resources that Black Magic feeds upon, compete for those resources, and starve Black Magic from these resources. We must find and attack the weak defenses of Black Magic: the memes with least negative feedback for Black Magic and most positive feedback for White Magic. We must discover by which chains of control Grey Magicians maintain the belief in Black Magic among the population, and disorganize, cut or subvert the longest of these chains.
My speech may sound melodramatic. It is meant to. I plead guilty as charged of trying to raise emotion about the Evil that lies beneath government. Actually, I would have failed in my attempt, if I didn’t sound melodramatic enough. Yet, there is hope. And hope is very important for raising emotion, too. Without hope, there is no need to worry; whereas with a great hope, the greatest difficulties will be happily faced.
In his 1860 article, Panarchy, P. E. de Puydt suggested that someday, people would cease to consider violence as a legitimate way to impose political opinions, just like they don’t consider violence anymore as a legitimate way to impose religious opinions. This is our hope: someday, in civilized countries, governmental oppression will be remembered as a nightmare of ancient barbarian times, something unthinkable to civilized people, just like Wars of Religion now seem a barbarous thing of the past to inhabitants of most civilized countries.
And indeed, this utter delegitimation of aggressive violence will be but the final achievement of a long process of individualization of society. It is the same process by which religion was individualized , with the recognition that each individual has to seek his salvation independently from the collective, and much later with the official separation of Church from State. This process will be complete when people commonly accept the separation of Morality from Justice .
And there are good reasons to be optimistic in the long run. First, remember that Black Magic can exist but as a parasite to White Magic. Black Magic may always appear to be winning, dominating, etc. But deep down inside, White Magic is always the strongest. It is up to us to make this strength prevail in the open. One way to see Black Magic is as a parasite meme; we may say, to paraphrase Einstein, that like the measles, it is an infantile illness of mankind. We may then hope that we’ll find good medication to cure this polymorphous evil. Then again, looking at things on a grand scale, we may actually consider that Black Magic is a relic of the past, a gangue of mud out of which Mankind is quickly emerging — quickly in evolutionary timescales.
Indeed, at evolutionary scales, social interaction has long been limited to coordinating common interests against predators and preys, and otherwise managing the intrinsic conflicts of interests between tribal group members. What the conscious mechanisms of thought were used for was recognizing friends and foes, preys and predators. Nature took care of all the engineering, through innate mechanical reflexes, internal biochemical processes, etc. Black Magic was the only kind of thought. The design of dynamic strategies of social interaction for hunting, escaping predators, reproducing, warring, is novel in evolutionary times. And modern man is unique in using conscious design of dynamic strategies to domesticate nature, to build new structures, to invent tools. This ability of dynamic thinking, of conscious engineering , is the distinctive trait of Mankind: It is the criterion to distinguish the human being from his animal ancestors. It is the criterion by which we are superior to them, and by which our descendants will hopefully be superior to us. It is also the very principle of White Magic. White Magic is thus as a great but relatively novel thing.
Black Magic is a remnant trace of primitive animality, of wild savagery, of ignorant barbarianism in man. White Magic is the principle of Mankind, a principle that has been tremendously successful at accelerating an evolution of Life toward new limits previously unconceivable and unconceived .