8/30/06

An argument with Carla O'Harris (4)

(Written by Carla O'Harris)
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Originally Posted by cydira View Post
Please, present the evidence supporting this statement. Until I see it, I will not beable to agree.

Carlo Ginzburg, The Night Battles. (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/080...081658?ie=UTF8, ISBN: 0801843863)
Carlo Ginzburg, Ecstasies. (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/022...e=UTF8&s=books,ISBN: 0226296938)

Please pick up these books and we will recommence this part of the discussion.

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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.

Start here : http://perseus.uchicago.edu/hopper/t...ma^le^fi^ci^um

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maleficium ī, n

1 maleficus, an evil deed, misdeed, wickedness, offence, crime: conscientia maleficiorum: admittere, commit: in maleficio deprehensus: convictus malefici.—Mischief, hurt, harm, injury, wrong: Pro maleficio beneficium reddere, T: sine ullo maleficio, Cs.: malefici occasione amissā, L.—Enchantment, sorcery, Ta.



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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.

You're using outdated ideas about Gardner. Gardner received his rituals, initiation, and ideas about the cult from the coven that initiated him that predated him. He had all kinds of ideas about witchcraft from wide reading, but the ideas about not causing harm came from the actual witches with whom he was in contact who initiated him. He was not arguing from other sources here. He was speaking from the tradition into which he was initiated.





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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.

The works of Ms. Murray were not primarily "unsupported conjecture", but fairly good conjecture at the time, and productive hypotheses that inspired important work such as Ginzburg's. What you may not be aware of is that I am working on a book which will champion the Neo-Murrayite viewpoint, which is a modification of Murray's work, demonstrating the important core of validity within it.

I am sorry that ten years of research has been so unfruitful for you. The research I have done over a smaller period of time has proven far more fruitful, and demonstrates that there is indeed a powerful historical precedent for the tradition into which Gardner was initiated. That tradition predates Gardner, and while we do not yet know how far back it stretched, there are precedents in the record for practices and ideas very similar which were practiced in Europe.


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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."

I have already stated some of those : malice, resentment, envy, psychopathy, and vengeance.



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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.

If someone is harmed and they file complaint under law against an assault and press charges, the burden of proof of self-defense as defense against the charge of assault, etc., is upon the defendant once the facts of the case have been established. As a procedure of evidence, indeed one is innocent until proven guilty ; however, that was not my point. Once the facts of the crime are established, the burden of proof is upon the person who committed the act of force.





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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.

I think this is a ridiculously stated position. It already exists. It is called "the legal system". It exists as a set of institutions which may quite readily be drawn upon.


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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.

These points are completely irrelevant. Maleficia was a crime in Germanic, Roman, and then later Christian law, when it was still believed to be an effective use of force. If it is not an effective use of force and only psychodrama, it is irrelevant to regulate it. But to the degree that it is accepted as an effective use of force, it is logical to regulate it.

Citizens have both a right and a duty to defend other citizens from harm. Such a legal place can be served by the old Anglo-Saxon custom of "hue and cry".

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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.

As successful as the maleficia in the first place. But there are all kinds of ways of discouraging anti-social acts, the most important of which begin in the social rather than legal realm. When everyday people discourage each other from anti-social acts, engaging in fierce reasoning, shaming, ostracizing, and even blocking, it becomes much more effective. That is why it is logical for a witch community to engage in such actions, and move on to magical-legal actions if necessary.



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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 is an extremist libertarian position that will never be held by the majority of this country or likely any other country. Why don't you go supply gangs with nukes while you're at it?

The idea that violence should be regulated is at the heart of any social community.

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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.

Freedom is not the freedom to violate, or engage in violence. Someone who refuses to abide by principles of law can be made an outlaw and live with the wolves. I am absolutely for wide and spacious freedom. But freedom is not freedom to violate.

If you claim that witches (and occultists, who I do not consider the same thing at all) are operating under the same common law principles that were behind the Revolutionary War, then it makes sense to have juries of witches to investigate and prosecute violations of rights.



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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.

Ummmmm .... maleficia by definition is molesting the business of others. The right to self-defense is not the right to self-prosecute. I have made it clear that binding -- ie., limiting spells that are purely for self-defense and which preclude any harm to the object of the spell -- are fine forms of self-defense encouraged by Gardner in the appropriate circumstances. But people becoming judge, jury, and executioner and setting out on punitive actions is not a right held within the principles just stated. In fact, part of the limitations of our activities that you mention are limiting ourselves from punitive action, said action only allowed within the limits of due process of law.

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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.

I didn't say that Christian laws about maleficia should be enacted. I referred mainly to Roman and Germanic laws against maleficia, which were strictly defined as acts of harm, not the Christian expansion and distortion which used this as laws of religious persecution. As a supporter of religious freedom and paganism especially, I am obviously not suggesting laws against the practice of paganism -- within the law, of course.



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This law, however, can be abused greviously and result in the oppression of all witches and occultists.

Let self-policing occur on the social level according to the principle of preventing maleficia, and this won't become an issue.



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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.

I am not concerned with spiritual beings per se, but the ethics of the actions of human beings. Someone can love the most malevolent character in the history of villainry, and as long as their actions (and I include magical actions) cause no harm to others, I could care less what they do. It is when they cause harm that it becomes an issue.

Gardner's phrasing of his witch tradition's feelings about this is extremely libertarian : An' ye harm none, do what ye will. Do what you want, and the libertarian ethic applies, so long as none are harmed. Step over that line, and there's trouble.



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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.

Opinion about this is divided. There is evidence for some sacrifice. How prevalent it was is a matter of debate. That the Druids provided solidarity for Gaulish resistance to Roman invasion was the key issue, just as the Imams providing solidarity for Iraqi resistance to American invasion has been of some concern. Of course, the Romans, like the Americans, were engaged in imperialistic adventures, but generally speaking, as long as a religion didn't oppose Roman supremacy, the Romans were surprisingly tolerant.



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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.


And minimizing the violation of other beings is part of the social contract of being part of a community. While it may not be possible to eliminate all harm, that is a far cry from those who deliberately set out to cause harm in a punitive, malefic way, declaring themselves gods able to be judge, jury, and executioner.

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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.

I consider anyone who cannot keep within non-injury of others, especially when it comes to dealing with the Shadow, to be riding a psychopathic edge that is very dangerous. Psychodrama is one thing. Illegal, intentional infliction of harm is imposing upon others and violating them.


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We must suffer a certian degree of harm to grow.

I don't. But maybe I'm a little sharp on the learning curve.

But even if you meant that sometimes suffering is a part of the equation of growth, "suffering" is a completely different category than "intentional harm". There is an overabundance of suffering in the world without human beings having to add to that equation.

I am glad that you were able to learn from and rise above oppressive situations that caused you suffering.




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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.

I am very sorry to hear about this. You were subject to violation of your rights in the most egregious way. Pursuing compensation and proportionate justice under due process of law is most certainly your right, and binding the perpetrator(s) from causing further harm is certainly a logical action.

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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.

Acts of self-defense are legitimate justifications for the appropriate use of force proportional to warding off the threat. I never disagreed with the right of self-defense ; my point is that it, too, is regulated by law and the principle of proportionality.

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My actions resulted in the loss of a job, social standing, and a great deal of emotional suffering for the person in question.

I do not know what you did, but assuming it was entirely within a reasonable limitation of self-defense, if the other suffered consequences of their own criminal actions and your reasonable defense against them, the responsibility is theirs.

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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.

And you are legally responsible for those actions. You are answerable to a community for them. And if your actions were reasonable and within the limits of law, you will have no reason to worry. But making a decision to harm someone in self defense in an emergency is a different thing altogether than an intentional invocation of magic, which can most certainly be more imaginative than someone caught in a moment of attack.

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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.

I am invoking important legal principles to provide perspective in this debate, and to demonstrate why the Gardnerian "harm none" doctrine is extremely important.

In fact, you are responsible to the community and the law for your actions.

I am truly sorry for the violations you have suffered, and without declaring you a victim in the larger connotation of the word, I recognize, at least according to the description you have given, that you were the victim of a series of violations, which, as a member of the human community, I am very sorry for, and embarassed by the actions of my fellow humans who have treated you so horrendously. I applaud your character and ability to rise above this history. (Not that you need any of that -- I'm not attempting to be patronizing -- but you did mention these incidents and I do not want to be cold to your history, as your rights have been violated.)

If you are engaging in actions governed by conscience, good judgement, and a consideration of principles of proportional justice, respect of rights, and self-defense, then you are engaging in ethical action. But this is a different thing altogether than perpetrating injurious actions upon others.

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