Saving the World one Wizard at a time: Selfishness, Morality, Universal Love and the Occult community




If you want to get at the plain truth, 

Forget about right and wrong.

 For the conflict between right and wrong, 

Is the sickness of the human mind.


It is most revealing how differently people react to the above passage in the occult world! Some declare it beautiful, wonderful, profoundly wise and most helpful. Others declare it horrible, evil, psychopathic and most destructive. The moment you say anything about “transcending morality” the hero comes riding in on his big white horse screaming shame, shame on you for not trying to save the downtrodden, the dispossessed and those poor (fill in the blank here) people. Call me evil, or bent if you like, but I tend to feel that morality itself— “principles of morality”, that is—was a major cause of suffering, since it only weakened that natural goodness in us which would spontaneously manifest itself if not interfered with or commanded by moral principles or moral law. There has been much talk in the occult community as of late about Fascism, Racism, Morals and Ethics when it comes to an occult practitioner and who he or she associates with.  One day, Lao tse chided Confucius for “bringing great confusion” (should I say “confucian”?) to the human race by his moralistic teachings. He said “Stop going around advertising goodness and duty, and people will regain love of their fellows”. I have to agree with the Old man,There is, perhaps, a vital difference between transcending morality and denying or rejecting it. To reject morality is, in a way, to be involved with it. the Taoist ideal is not so much to feel that we shouldn’t be moral (which is, of course, a kind of morality of its own), but rather to be independent, free, unentangled with moral “principles”


-In the age when life on earth was full, no one paid any special attention
to worthy men, nor did they single out the man of ability. Rulers were simply the highest branches of the tree, and the people were like deer in the woods. They were honest and righteous without realizing they were “doing
their duty”. They loved each other and did not know that this was “love of neighbor”. They deceived no one, yet they did not know they were “men to be trusted”. They were reliable and did not know that this was “good faith”.
They lived freely together giving and taking, and did not know that they were generous. For this reason their deeds have not been narrated. They made no history. -Chuangtse


The moment we puff out our chests and start judging others for being less moral then ourselves, we create a History that we must strive to write at all costs, “Look at me, I’m so much better then you, I fight for Good, Morality and the World at large, look how shiny my cape is!” This becomes unsustainable, and once you add the huge Ego of your garden variety Occult practitioner, things go down hill very quickly. The Taoist Yang Chu was reputed to have said, “I would not sacrifice one single hair of my head even to save the entire human race!”


Just think of it! Not a single hair to save the entire human race! I find this statement absolutely beautiful! I cannot tell you with what joy, satisfaction, and utter relief I read it. I once expressed this sentiment to a fellow magician who asked in genuine astonishment, “Why? Do you believe the world would be better off if everyone acted selfishly rather than unselfishly?” Of course I don’t believe this. Of course I prefer universal love to total selfishness. Who in his right mind wouldn’t? Then why do I love Yang Chu’s statement so much? Sounds pretty inconsistent, doesn’t it?


Well, it isn’t. Let me explain.


In the first place there is a vast difference between loving a proposition and believing it. What I love is Yang Chu’s beautifully honest expression of this sentiment (in contrast to the usual hypocritical moralizing about unselfishness).  The fact is that the loss of a single hair is not even painful and represents absolutely no sacrifice whatever.I don’t think that Yang Chu was literally worried by the thought of losing a hair. He went to this extreme in order to express a principle. What is this principle? Is it really that one should be selfish? If I thought this, I
would consider it just as ridiculous as the idea that one shouldn’t be selfish. I believe that what he was really objecting to was the idea that we should apply moral criteria to the question of selfishness.  I believe that the statement of Yang Chu will do far more good in this world from the actual point of view of helping us liberate our natural unselfishness than the opposite course of preaching universal love.


This is quite hard for most RHP magi to swallow, but lives deeply in the bowels of the LHP and is being debated heartily to this day.The point is this. If I should feel like being helpful to others, then I might indeed sacrifice considerably more than a hair of my head. I would then do so of my own accord without being told by others that I should do so. And if I should not feel disposed to being helpful, then no amount of reason or morality or being told that I should will in any way increase my desire to be helpful and will not in effect lead me to sacrifice even one hair of my head. In other words, there is absolutely no point in telling another person what he should do. If he already wants to, it is superfluous (nay, maybe even harmful), and if he doesn’t, it is useless. I think this is what Yang Chu was really saying. His statement sounds more like a simple declaration of independence then an ethical plea for selfishness, and I enjoy using it to make other occultists cry ( see my other posts in this blog, I often refer to myself as an asshole, there is good reason for this, so please try to keep up. ).


There are those Occultists who believe that selfishness is the natural state of man and that it is social influences such as religion and education which “train” a man into the superior state of unselfishness. But there are those who believe the very opposite and would say that at birth our natures contain as much (if not more) unselfishness as selfishness and that the very process of trying to educate unselfishness only serves to cripple it and prevent it from growing, which it would naturally do if let alone. It seems that this is also part of Yang Chu’s message, and this was made quite explicit by later Taoists in such statements as “Give up advertising things like goodness and duty, and people will regain love of their fellows.”


there is a difference between morality and moral fanaticism, a distinction should be made between selfishness and what might aptly be called selfish fanaticism. Repugnance to Violence might be called a moral principle, but pushing this to the extreme of all Violence is wrong in any circumstance would certainly be called fanaticism even by most moralists.There is a form of Taoist ethical philosophy that I try to follow ( and sometimes fail horribly at) which might be characterized as “letting things go their own way, not interfering, not imposing one’s will on nature, letting things happen of their own accord, not trying to reform the world, not trying to “improve” the world, but simply accepting things as they come.” This philosophy is intensely irritating to many Magicians, as well as “activists” who believe this is the worse course possible and is in fact responsible for most of the evils in the world. They would say that the last thing we should do is to let things go their own way; if we do that, things will go terribly! It is up to us to prevent the bad things in the world from happening! I cannot think of any philosophy more irritating to someone on a moral crusade than some good old Taoism! Indeed, many will say that Taoism is the perfect philosophy for the “purely selfish individual who has everything he wants in life and to hell with the others!”
In opposition to the activists, the Taoist quietly points out (or sometimes loudly points out) that the trouble with activism is that people who go forth trying to “improve” the world—even those with the best intentions (at least on a conscious level!) —usually “fuck up” matters, and only succeed in making things even worse than they already are. The Taoist sage reminds us, for example, that revolutions often establish even worse tyrannies than they overthrow.  I tend to live and let live rather than interfere with the world’s affairs. I am not fanatically committed to any doctrine of noninterference; it’s just that I usually don’t like to interfere. As for Magi who love to busy and bustle and meddle
about and who constantly interfere in other folks ways and paths, I don’t interfere with them either—I also let them go their own way, doff my hat and wish him the best of luck….


Stay Gold everyone…..


Saving the World one Wizard at a time: Selfishness, Morality, Universal Love and the Occult community was originally published on The Hidden Left Hand