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I want to talk about energy. Not magickal energy, but the kind of energy you spend exercising.
I’m moving to San Francisco, apartment hunting this week. I probably walked 10 miles between yesterday and today. That’s after walking roughly 0 miles for the past… rest of my life. I’m exhausted.
And I’m realizing how much magick is a luxury of modern times. Because it’s only in the past couple hundred years that you could come home from work and not be exhausted. Before that, it would only have been the upper classes who would even have the leftover energy to study any of this.
The Internet is awesome. I wouldn’t be talking with any of you without it. But at its heart, what magick study takes is leftover physical energy. And that, I think, really is a luxury of modern times.
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Short post today. Because I’m exhausted. If you want more to read, you should all check out Jason’s great response about magick for enlightenment. I’ll reply to it soon. And to those of you that emailed me, it was great to hear from you, and I’ll reply tomorrow.
I am really enjoying your blog on magickal experimentation, mainly because you write so clearly and methodically. You seem to have a sincere and balanced perspective, and while scientific in your approach you are not especially dogmatic about your conclusions. It is a pleasure to learn from your work.
Anyway, I was wondering if you think that because of modernity, magickal study is now less physically demanding (most of us don’t crawl home from the fields or factories, our bodies aching) AND less mentally demanding (we have computers that calculate for us, mnemonics is a lost craft), what kind of “energy” do you think is needed most in order to gain magickal competence, let alone mastery? (this is a great question for students and teachers.:-)
Yvonne, wow, thank you! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog.
That’s a really good question. I’m going to write a post in response. I know, that’s like the 3rd time I’ve said that, but they’ll all be coming out in the next couple of weeks, now that this article I’m writing for an upcoming book is done.
[…] posted a thought provoking entry recently on the luxury of energy, noting that the fact that so many people can study magic is a […]
I have to preface this by saying I also think your blog is great and consider myself to now be training in begining ‘direct magick’. Consider this part of the open minded debate:
I would have to disagree with a lot of this post. For a start in our modern world various forms of tiredness and fatigue, not to mention the related issue of depression are at epidemic levels. Really not sure that this post isn’t a rather rosy picture of our ‘leisure rich’ culture we supposedly live in. Many people I know are chained to their jobs and come home too exhausted to even play with their children let alone do ‘magick’. And these are the ‘middle class’ ones….
Secondly the key part of your post was 10 miles after 0 miles. You’re not used to working in a very physical way (neither am I and nor are many westerners). As a student I did a job riding a rickshaw (pedal bike). I cycled overweight tourists round around London UK for 8 to 10 hours at a time. For the first week I would sleep for 12-15 hours to recover and was absolutely mentally and physically exhausted. I got up, did the work, ate and slept. Nothing else.
After a couple of months of doing this I had built up tolerance and it was no big deal. I could go out with friends, do other work in between shifts, read etc. My calf muscles were also like tree trunks!
I can’t back this up with much but my suspicion is that the average Jivaro shaman has a fair bit of physical grunt work to do in their daily lives. Leaving aside arguments of how effective their more intuitive method of magic is- Doesn’t seem to stop them actually getting on with it?
I think maybe you have in mind a rather limited time frame – i.e backbreaking western peasant agriculture transitioning into industrial factory culture? Compared to those periods we SHOULD have an advantage…
Thanks Simon, you’re probably correct there. Really, this was an offhand post that I could write quickly while I was tired, about something that occurred to me that day. I haven’t thought too hard about whether the important part is the absolute amount of labor, the change in labor, or both. Thanks for replying.