8/30/06

An argument with Carla O'Harris (3)

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Originally Posted by Carla O'Harris View Post
Ginzburg found parallel structures to the Benandanti all over Europe. And all over Europe were found structures for prosecuting maleficia.

Please, present the evidence supporting this statement. Until I see it, I will not beable to agree.

Also, please define "Maleficia" as I am not familiar with this term in this context. I would like to know what definition you are using, this way I understand precicely what you are expressing.

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As far as Gardner's work, let us quote :
[snipped quotes of Gardner]
I think that's pretty self-explanatory. Not only is the Coven to debate situations that may involve harm, but every witch is enjoined to strongly work against any ill-workings.

Ms. O'Harris, you are aware of what precicely Gardner's sources were for his work? You are familiar with the vast amounts of material that he reinterpreted from the Order of the Golden Dawn and the associated occult organizations? And I also presume that you recognize that a large percentage of what he presented as "historical" evidence for his works were flawed due to the sources being third and fourth hand sources, filled with a great deal of speculation on the parts of the previous authors and bias.

If you're not aware of this, I would be happy to direct you to the information supporting this. As I know that most people are not aware of this fact, much like they are not aware that the works of Ms. Murray (the God of the Witches and the Witchcult of Europe) were primarially unsupported conjecture on the part of the author. I can not, in good conscience, say that Gerald Gardner's work can be upheld as evidence of historical witchcraft. The last ten years that I've been researching this work, I've been unable to find any conclusive evidence supporting this. It would be irresponsible of me to do so, as an author and researcher of academic integrity.

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I am advising community self-policing and against an "anything goes" mentality that allows the worst and lowest of human impulses to wield dangerous technologies.

The only part of this statement which I agree with is the clause stating "I am advising community self-policing and against an 'anything goes' mentality" as the subsequent portion of your statement assumes that we are all familiar with what you view as the dangers and agree with your assumption of certian behaviors and thought patters as the "worst and lowest of human impulses."

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While I have no intention of legally educating you, here is a beginning :

[snipped links to definitions]

Please note that the burden of proof is upon the person having committed the force to prove that it was justified on grounds of self-defense.

Out of respect, I refrained from expressing the initial sarcasm I had to the first portion of your statement here. The burden of proof is not uppon the person who had comitted the act of force to prove that it was justified self-defense. The burden of proof rests upon the prosecutor's office to prove that said action was committed with the intent to cause assault or attempted homicide. Thus the innocent until presumed guilty as supported within the 5th, 6th, and 14th amendments of the Constitution.

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These are good questions for the community to explore.

I believe that you can agree with me, Ms. O'Harris, that until these questions are adressed we will be unable to obtain a satisfactory answer to what must be the mode by which the community may self-monitor, establish limits, and establish a punitive system to deal with those who exceed the limits of undesired activities.

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Well, in our society, the hiring of mercenaries and assassins is regulated and illegal. Such things happen, but they are not legal. And they can be prosecuted. If there were a situation of completely unregulated mercenaries and assassins, the level of mayhem would be far greater than it is.

Your assumptions about what I usually think about or do not think about are inaccurate and irrelevant.

I contend that this is not, as it is part of a parallel which was initally being drawn by yourself. Within our society (I presume that you are also a resident of the United States of America), it is agreed within the implied social contract that the hiring of mercenaries and assassins is not an activity to be supported. In recognition of the necessity of persons performing such socially frowned upon activities, we have regulated them and made unregulated activity an illegal act.

The boundries of the social contract within our society have been defined to state that these acts are unacceptable. This is then supported by the government that functions to support and protect our society, which establishes regulations and laws that are aligned with the socially defined peramiters. Within the community of witchcraft and other occult practitioners, there is no such defined stance. Also, there is no form of government, theocracy, or other central organization to support the agreed points of the social contract with legislation, dogma, or other decree.

In short, there is no Pope in witchcraft. There is no Council of Elders. There is no President, Senate, Congress, and Judiciary. As a result of this, there is no institution to uphold the boundries agreed upon within the social contract of the community. To engage in self policing with out such a degree of organization across a community as broad and varied as the one which we are a part of, Ms. O'Harris, would require a monumental amount of agreement, effort, and tolerance. It would also demand very liberal interpretation of the agreed upon points that allows for all ideological and theological stantpoints to be accomodated.

The end result of such a thing, Ms. O'Harris, unfortunately, is that such self-policing is highly ineffective. Thus, you must work within the sub-groups of such an organization and then you have a remote chance of seeing some form of success. Even then, however, it is doubtful. Logic dictates, madam, that success in this venture (which is a most noblely minded one and well intentioned) is not a likely outcome.

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What libertarian sarcasm! But the fact of the matter is that courts do form such rules of thumb to regulate such matters. If you'd like to learn those distinctions, I suggest you study case law. As far as the idea that the application of force must be regulated, most people feel that not everyone should have access to rocket launchers, tanks, surface-to-air missiles, etc. And a society that lives by the rule of law in general agrees to the regulation of force.

Ms. O'Harris, something you will notice is that I am a woman who frequently uses sarcasm. It is a part of my personality that is rather deeply ingrained. Seeing that it offends you, I shall endevor to restrain this. This said, the idea that the application of force must be regulated is ... is a point that I must state I find objectionable. It is a blanket statement and is opposed to the values that I hold highly. The application of force, in my opinion, must be applied in accordance with necessity and only when all other options have been exhausted.

I believe that if the citizenry of our nation (the United States of America) had access to advanced military technology we would not live in a nation that was so quick to strip us of our rights. We have the right to own and bear arms not for the sake of providing for ourselves via hunting, as many people like to state was the intention of the Founding Fathers. Nor is it for the intention of having a ready military, but for the expressed purpose of defending the people from the government. Just as we have a right to defend ourselves from assault by another person, we have the right to defend ourselves from assault by the government.

This, however, has no longer been taught to the people of our nation, and the view of our right to defend ourselves in any fashion necessary has become abridged. You speak of understanding principles. I ask you, Ms. O'Harris, what of the principles upon which our nation was founded? What of the principles that prompted the Revolutionary war? These principles are also at play within the community of witches and occultists, if anything, within our country.

Those principles state that a person has a right to live, engage in commerce, persue happiness, and otherwise carry on their personal business unmolested by others, including the government. They also state that a person has the right to defend themselves, their families, associates, and interests from said molestation. We agree to limit our activities and to support the government for the sake of securing our right to these things.

You mention that there were laws in Europe on the matter of your ascribed maleficia. Have you reviewed these laws, Ms. O'Harris? I have, as part of my research into the history of witchcraft. I must say, madam, you must have incomplete information if you are stating that such laws must be ressurrected. I give below one such law:
'Not only celebrating feasts in the abominable places of the heathen and offering food there, but also consuming it. Serving this hidden idolatry, having relinquished Christ. If anyone at the kalends of January goes about as a stag or a bull; that is, making himself into a wild animal and dressing in the skin of a herd animal, and putting on the heads of beasts; those who in such wise transform themselves into the appearance of a wild animal, penance for three years because this is devilish.'
Looking at this law, one asks the following questions:
What is the objective of this law?
Why is this law in place?
What actions are objectionable in the light of this law?
How would this law be applied today?
Does this law serve to prevent said maleficia?
The objective of this law is to prevent the worship of heathen idols and devils. It is in place because said worship is a mode by which actions of harm and malevolence were perpetuated within the nation of question. The actions objectionable within this law are: frequenting locations associated with said worship; engaging in and consuming feasts at said location; engaging in the rites of said worship; relenquishing Christian belief; and engaging in ritual dress of animal skins, primarially of herd animals.

The application of this law today would be: engaging in association with/worship of objectionable supernatural powers (devils/demons/beings malevolent towards humanity and human interests); celebrating said beings and their interests, including but not limited to feasting; engaging in rites of worship or magical ritual that is associated with said beings and their stated malevolence; and engaging in the ritual dress of animal skins that are obtained as a result of the graphic abuse of said animals, including but not limited to blood and flesh sacrifice to said beings.

Does this law and it's proposed modern adaption prevent maleficia? I am not sure. Your statements seem to imply that maleficia is a general endevour to cause suffering, misery and angst at large to others with out regard for their well being and for the purpose of sowing discord within the community at large. As I do not know what your definition is, I can not be certian. If I am correct, however, in what I've determined, then this law can be argued to have accomplished this goal.

This law, however, can be abused greviously and result in the oppression of all witches and occultists. There is no master codex of beings that are malevolent unto humanity and humanity's interests. We can not state with certianty that all of the spiritual beings that are traditionally ascribed to have such malevolence truly are of that mindset. After all, much of what is traditionally presented is within the tinted scope of faiths and social groups that are engaged in a propaganda war against other faiths and social groups. Look at the Romans and the Gauls, it's a great example of just this situation. The Romans stated that the Gauls, more specifically the Druids, regularly engaged in ritual human sacrifice of a rather horrific nature, burning people alive to be precise.

I don't know about you, Ms. O'Harris, but my research has shown that the ritual human sacrifice via burning was not as frequent as Julius Ceaser stated in his Gallic Wars. Indeed, from what I've been able to peice together from the evidence that I've studied from the anthropological studies and the various second hand sources from the Greeks and other Roman writers aside from Ceaser, it appears that what Ceaser witnessed was a rare event and was committed possibly to appease a deity and punish criminals. Much like some of the gladitorial combats that Rome engaged in at roughly the same period in history.


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Please observe that I am concerned with maleficia. I like the night and I like darkness. Those things have nothing to do with the deliberate intention to cause harm to another. One can be quite peaceful and loving in the dark. Additionally, healthy, appropriate, consensual psychodrama engaging shadow portions of the human psyche, so long as within boundaries that do not harm, does not in any way encroach upon maleficia.

I have not invoked "dire risk of playing with forces of evil that will consume us". I have prudently cautioned against bringing more harm into a world already replete with suffering.


Ms. O'Harris, while it is kind of you to state that you do not wish to bring more harm into the world, and most kind of you to caution others against doing so as well, I do not believe it is within your ability or that of others, to do so. Harm, pain, and suffering are a part of being alive.

I find your sentiment that engaging the shadow portions of the human psyche must be within certian "boundries that do not harm" to be offensive. We must suffer a certian degree of harm to grow. In some situations, suffering is a part of the process of healing and becoming a better person. If I, for example, chose not to walk a path that exposed me to suffering, I would still be inclined to flinch when my husband stood quickly or a man raised their hand above shoulder height.

Instead, I faced a great deal of suffering and worked to reverse the psychological conditioning of fear and submission that was beaten into me by a man that I was repeatedly raped, choked, and psychologically abused by for roughly two years. In other instances, I was forced to cause harm to another for the sake of protecting myself and associates of mine who were unable to defend themselves. My actions resulted in the loss of a job, social standing, and a great deal of emotional suffering for the person in question.

At a different time, I was forced to take physical action and cause grevious bodily harm to another person to prevent harm coming to myself. If I had to, I would do so again with out blinking an eye. And there have been instances where I did not cause harm. As a result of with holding my hand, I came to grevious harm. I am still recovering from the psychological effects of this, while my body has long since healed the physical harm. I look back on it and I say that I truly should have killed the man, as he then proceeded to assault and rape a 16 yr old girl a few weeks later.

Ms. O'Harris, you may find my standpoint offensive. I will not apologize for this. Given the choice between causing harm and being harmed myself, I will cause harm. I can always work to rectify the damage I do and pay reparations. My actions are such that I am reluctant to cause harm, for I recognize that I must be responsible for the results. Everything I do will come back to me, it's a simple fact. I'm left to decide, is the action I'm taking worth the consequences.

My biggest objection to the activities of other witches and occultists is to those who do not consider the consequences of their actions. My next objection is to those who propose to tell me that the decisions I make based upon my conscience and good judgement are incorrect due to their experties. In all places, I decide what is best for myself and my interests. I have the most intimate knowledge of my needs and goals. No other person can tell me what is good for me, they can advise but they can not dictate to me anything on that front.

And that, Ms. O'Harris, is what you appear to be doing.

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