I got a fascinating message on facebook this week. A young man (younger than me, anyway) wrote me to ask about using magic to address Fox News' policy of witholding information to influence public opinion, and the FDA and the poisoned meat and dairy they're killing us with, and generally taking a socially responsible magical stance against the things that are documented to be against our best interests as a society (as opposed to the crackpot conspiracy theories of things that are against our best interests as a society; he's not a flake or a nut).
Long time readers know this is right up my alley when it comes to doing magic. I love politically and socially motivated planned strategic tactical strikes that result in the world being made a better place for everyone. I did magic in the Obama-McCain election that had some fascinating results in my own life, that revealed there were spiritual players in the game in high places pulling strings and manipulating events according to a plan that kicked off before the time an angel was set to guard the gates of Eden, and hasn't missed a single milestone yet. Even my own naive attempts at influencing events were part of their plan. I was so intrigued, and humbled.
So, I found myself telling him to be careful, and that he was being duped by the system into reinforcing the system.
At the same time, I advised him to go ahead and do what he thought was right, because it's fun and probably necessary. I warned him to keep in mind, however, that the world seems to exist at a constant level of "suck," and that while you may remove an instance of suck from one aspect of the world, things will settle back into the overall suck equilibrium eventually regardless.
Political and social magic is effective, and useful, and if you're into being a Secret Chief or the Invisible Hand or a Shadow Governor, it's a valid and useful path to follow. Magic will empower those who seek this kind of control over the world. The system has a place for Shadow Governors, it's like a job position that you can earn, claim, and take on for yourself. You get all the responsibilities and consequences of taking the role, of course, and that can be more than most people bargain for, but it's possible to do that using magic if that's your thing.
But the System exists almost entirely to maintain the System. It's a huge old tar baby. The more you take swings at it, the more stuck to it you get. The System is designed to take all energy devoted to destroying it and then using that energy to sustain itself. Become the Destroyer of Worlds, and you'll find you've managed to become the Creator of Worlds without intending to at all. And the inverse is also true, those who become Creators also become adept Destroyers. It's the push-pull effect. Samsara, I think the Buddhists call it, though I am by no means sure that I understand everything that word represents.
But while you can change some aspects of the System and how it might be manifesting at any given place and time, change itself is part of the System. You can't get OUT of the game while you're still playing the game. It's a lot like money. I used to be hell bent on getting more money so I could leave the game, go on permanent vacation and have no need to worry about providing food shelter clothing for me and my family anymore. I wanted the benefits of the System without having to work to maintain it. Or at least to greatly reduce the time spent performing the work maintaining my place in the System. To me, money was the key to that, because money is the grease that keeps the system running, the fuel it burns, and the output it produces. Or so I thought.
But I realized something. The real fuel, grease, and output the System uses and produces is attention. Awareness. The money is a marker, but it really measures how much attention you've given the System.
So anyway, social justice, consumer protections, and issues like piracy, or net neutrality, or impartially presented information from the press (ha!), or the quality of our meats and/or grains are all important issues, things that can be addressed with magic, and probably should be addressed with magic. At the same time, it needs to be remembered that every swing at the tar baby gets another of your noodly appendages stuck to the tar baby. Don't swing an appendage you're fond of, or that you won't mind having to clean up later.