... with a strong urge to fuck."
I was thinking about the human condition and the economy of consciousness* the other day, and the method and process of the Great Work in general. As I considered that ancient cosmic question, "what's it all about, man" it occurred to me that the motivations of your average human can be understood completely when you recognize that humans are an extremely successful ambulatory digestive tract that spends most of its time terrified, and the rest of the time trying to get laid.
Take Maslow's hierarchy of needs, for example. The bottom three layers are all about eating, living and fucking. If you don't eat, you'll die! If you're not safe, you could get hurt, or die! If you're not fucking, you won't pass on your genetic code when you die!
Arguably the fourth layer, esteem, can also be understood as an expression of the terror of existence. We are social because packs of monkeys are more successful than lone monkeys. We're afraid to die, so we built society as a tool to subjugate wild nature and to protect us from other less-successful ambulatory digestive tracts.
The four (and sometimes five) part model of the soul I like to work with from the Qabala identifies the two "souls" closest to matter as the Guf and the Nephesh. The Guf is the actual body, and all its physiological requirements, and the Nephesh is the animal-soul, the autonomous consciousness of the body that keeps us breathing when we aren't thinking about it, and the part the feels the primal emotions of terror, lust, rage, and loneliness.
Together they are the terrified digestive tract with a strong urge to fuck.
Most of the time the deciding factor in where we pay our attention is the command of the wants and needs of the Guf and the Nephesh. These two lower souls are in control of most people's consciousness most of the time.
But Hermetics teaches us to do it differently. From Agrippa to Crowley, there's a process of education and practice that leads to the point where your Neshemah is the source of direction, with the other parts providing appropriate input in the decision-making process.
The point is the gradual shift in the seat of your perspective. A complete change of view. The end-state magician is made of the same parts as the beginning-state mafician, with the same potntial in each moment of pursuing the things that bring them true happiness.
The difference is that the end-state magician has gone through a indoctrination process that not only tells them who and what they are in the grand scheme of things, it gives them examples as they go along to prove the value and effectiveness of the system. You learn the things, you conure the things, and you learn from the things. It's a self-reinforcing system of expanding awareness and ability.
The end-state magician is a consciousness seated in the eternal part of the self, and focuses the attention of the complete incarnated entity on the things it wants to experience in its particular instance. It knows it's a part of everything, and is intently focused on doing what it wants to do, the reason it particpiates in everything as an individuated instance in the first place.
Here in the mundane world it manifests as you being at ease in your situations, aware of what's happening behind the scenes, why it's happening, and how you can turn the situation to your own pleasure. You look confident, and seem to live a charmed life. Things just happen to go your way, and you accept that and move forward.
It doesn't make everything perfect, and there's always some new mystery to examine and process, so you don't really get bored.
You just get to have fun, no matter what's going on.
* For an interesting ride down similar trails, with many of the same roadside attractions, check out Ryan Valentines' post on the Economy of Desire.