Tuesday, April 12, 2011

More on that Saturn Magic Thing

I think Jason recently recommended a Christian book called the Prayer of Jabez. It's based on an obscure scripture reference in the Bible, and it's a good example of the kind of result I was talking about in that post. Here's the scripture:
Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that you would bless me indeed, and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from evil, that it not be to my sorrow! God granted him that which he requested. - 1 Chronicles 4:9-10
See that "enlarge my border" part? That's what I'm talking about, but in terms of ... well, it's not about time management, necessarily. That's a side effect, a secondary result of what we're doing primarily. I know I said it was a result, but it misrepresents what is going on.

Taking this rite as a method of simply increasing a skill you already have, "time management," is off a bit, and it's my fault for rushing through that part of the post. That's still working within the same borders, the same limits. If you look at time management, it's still sacrificing something to be able to do more with the same limitations. This is about moving the boundaries of your limitations, and the result is what looks like better time management.

It's about having the capacity to do more. The overwhelming stress comes from having as much or more to do as you possibly can. You're maxed out. Enlarging the borders doesn't change the amount of things you have to do, it just lessens the degree of impact. If you're running at 110% of your capacity, you're going to blow out the systems. If you upgrade the system, the same amount of work or responsibility goes down from 110% to maybe 85% or 60% of your total capacity.

It's leveling up. In video games or role playing games, you might start out with a character who has 50 health points. An enemy doing 25 points of damage can hit you twice and you die. You upgrade the character a few times, and your total health points go up to 200. Now the percentage of damage that same enemy can do to you has shrunk from 50% of your total health to 12.5%. It's doing the same damage, but you can take more.

As Simon Tomasi says, this happens incrementally as people adapt in normal situations. Game functionality is modeled on real life, after all. The Saturn/Venus rite is like finding a health capacity upgrade in a video game that you don't have to spend any experience points on.

Only you are spending experience points, it's just magic experience instead of mundane experience. You're taking advantage of the short cuts we have access to as magicians.


  1. To be honest, getting an "upgrade" is rarely if ever necessary. Most people are functioning so far below their potential due to fear, or lack of self-confidence, that the best thing that could happen to them is a little character-building trial. Don't you ALWAYS surprise yourself in those situations where you can't freeze up, but are forced to act?

    Really - how often is it that we only THINK we don't have time, or that something is too difficult, as opposed to it actually being so? And when you do push yourself to your actual limit, like a muscle, it grows in response. So rather than spending time getting upgrades, why not just push as hard as you can let the upgrading happen as a result?

  2. Astrophel, if that works for you, great. I don't think people are as weak of character as you do though. Most people I know in person are trying their hardest to get by in life, and a lot of us are facing more than we can handle.

    Basically, what you're saying is that people who feel overwhelmed just aren't trying hard enough, because they're stupid, and fucked up. I guess you're trying to motivate people to try harder to get by with what they've already got, right? What are you offering to help, other than a guilt trip?

    I'm trying to show that there are really times in your life when you are overwhelmed, and it's not because you're a fuckup. Sometimes it's because you've reached the max point, and it's time for an upgrade.

    And really, why do we do magic if we can solve all our problems if we only would try harder? That guy who killed all those people in that sweat lodge using the "techniques" of The Secret peddled similar bullshit. It ain't true, man. That kind of philosophy leaves you burnt out and blaming yourself.

    What I've found in Hermetic Magic is that you can upgrade. It helps more than telling people they should just be doing better with what they've got.

  3. That's not what I just said at all. On the contrary, you're not stupid OR fucked up, so when you think you've hit your breaking point you'll probably surprise yourself. Realizing that you are actually a lot stronger than you thought you were is the best thing that could happen to most people.

    Right now I'm fighting a chronic illness and my grandmother is dying, so yeah, I feel pretty fucking overwhelmed and out of control. Magic helps keep the normal shit in line. I get paid on commission, so I HAVE to keep it together, and last week was actually my best week in over two years. I also found a more peaceful apartment with literally everything I wanted for the same price that I pay now. All this thanks to magic. I'm not blowing smoke up anybody's ass.

    So yes, you should try harder with what you've got, because what WE'VE got is magic! What else do you need? Increasing your time management/coping ability/etc. is something that happens automatically when you're genuinely giving it all you can. Spending precious time and effort upgrading is unnecessary, because it's going to happen on its own anyway, and you'll probably find you had the strength you needed all along.

    That's the opposite of a guilt trip, RO: you don't have to make yourself better first because YOU AREN'T DEFICIENT. You ARE good enough, so even if you find yourself in over your head you'll come out on top.

  4. Well, I'm glad I misunderstood.


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