This eloquent essay by François-René Rideau is truly fascinating; it deals with the distinctions between white and black magic and with where both types of magic can be found in society.
[The main] principle of black magic [is as follows]: to expect miracles, happiness, success, redemption from failures, etc., from external and superior entities that feed from the humiliation of those who voluntarily make sacrifices to them and who reduce unbelievers to subjection, from spirits that rejoice from one's destruction of oneself and other people, from gods that demand one's contempt for oneself and other people, from supernatural beings with unlimited powers and arbitrary desires that are not bound by any law knowable by reason but are meant to be influenced by a show of feelings from their humiliated followers. In short, this black magic consists in the irresponsible tying of one's hope of future satisfactions to the whim of external and superior intervening powers.
Now, divinities that could be corrupted by such sacrifices do not deserve being sacrificed anything whatsoever. They are abject beings against which any self-respecting human being can but revolt. Those that grovel at the feet of such divinities are slaves, swine, creatures lacking the dignity of their own free will, and who are prompt to forsake it indeed.
( But such is not the only way magic can be conceived...Collapse )