Monday, September 20, 2010

Sorting things out

I have a couple of different perspectives on life that I get wound up in at different times.

From the life perspective of the human being going through the processes of existence, I tend to take things very personally. My family, my job, my magic, my books, my students, my health, my impact on the world around me, and its impact on me. I am motivated, inspired, wounded, offended, angered and amused by the things that I experience. I react to it as if it were real, because it matters to me.

But I also recognize that these things, the things I do and feel and experience and know and learn and conjure and all that, they all are meaningful only within the context of my life, and they aren't nearly as meaningful to you. Some things we experience in the world are equally meaningful for both of us, but most of what happens to you doesn't mean anything to me, and vice versa. So I try to remember that at a social level, the things that are meaningful to me are not necessarily going to be meaningful to you.

Furthermore, I've stood at the apex of the hierarchy of spiritual beings and looked out at the universe as it unfolds. I've climbed Jacob's Ladder with the other Angels, and seen that the things I worry most about personally are not that important in the grand scheme of things, even though they are part of it all. At a universal level, the cramp I get in my shoulders when I slouch as I type is not a world-ending event.

And speaking of the end of the world, I've also seen that. It all ends. Sooner or later. Personally, it ends with death. Socially, it ends with the collapse of civilization. Universally it ends when everything collapses back in on itself or expands to the point that it no longer interacts, or if it's all just random shit popping up with no plan, it could all just collapse back into the probability soup that spawned it at any second. The conditions that allow life on the Earth are cosmically temporary and will pass, and there's always a possibility that a singularity might just come into being in my cube and suck the Earth and Sun and Milky way into an event horizon at any second anyway. If the Earth is still around in 4 billion years, life and the conditions to maintain it will be long gone.

So, knowing that it doesn't really matter in the long run, I've got this perspective on life that allows me to take it less than seriously. And the things I take seriously, I don't take all that seriously. I hold opinions because I like to, not because they are particularly right or wrong. I know I see things from a very selfish perspective most of the time, and knowing that mitigates my attachment to them. I value opinions primarily based on the entertainment content.

Let's take the issue of piracy as an example, because it's been on my mind lately. I care a great deal about people stealing from me. I don't like it.

That said, I know it's going to happen. I found out this weekend someone is printing and binding copies of my stuff and selling it from a van at Pagan Pride events in Massachusetts, and probably elsewhere as well. In addition, someone posted the Modern Goetic Grimoire on yet another file sharing site. The file sharing site removed the content at my request, kudos to them for that. I've contacted the pagan pride organizers and sent out some specific entities to address the other problem as well.

But dude, free advertising! I don't know how many of the recent additions to my followers came from that file sharing site, nor do I particularly care. I just like that over the weekend, my followers grew. When I do come out with my next books, I'll make a couple more sales. Jason's outlook on piracy has greatly impacted my own, and while I don't like it much, I adapt and integrate the inevitable theft of my work into my business model.

And it gives me a chance to hone some skills hunting down and extracting just retribution from those who steal from me. Being a Christian Magician, I rarely get a chance to curse people as much as I'd like to, so I appreciate this kind of opportunity. And the issue of piracy gives me something to rant about in public, and ranting is therapeutic. It's like weeding a garden, you get to kill plants but you don't have to feel bad about it. It's a win-win.

But really, in the long run, I don't really give a shit about piracy. It happens, life goes on. Why would I sacrifice a moment of fun over something as ephemeral as a few lost sales? If it's not fun, or interesting, I don't think it's really worth my time.

And for the record, I don't do death curses over pirated works. That would be rather extreme. Branding the aura with "Do not trust this thief" is sufficient. They won't get jobs, they won't get laid, they won't get anything in life that requires trust, or anything that requires them to obey the rules of society. People will just know they can't trust the person.

And the demons will eat their souls.