Author Topic: Black Magic, Addiction, and Becoming a Warlock  (Read 1800 times)

Offline Mira

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Black Magic, Addiction, and Becoming a Warlock
« on: July 12, 2018, 12:15:12 PM »


    I realize that this bleeds heavily into two other current threads, but I think it is different enough that it deserves it's own thread at the risk of hijacking the other two. 

So here is the basic question, why is it that some can have a brush with black magic and be rehabbed and others go full warlock?  We've discussed what constitutes "gray areas" of the Seven Laws, what is breaking them and what isn't...  However other than perhaps the ultimate punishment for what is seen as breaking them, what if that is beside the point?

What if the real answer comes down to a matter of addiction?  We know in the case of alcohol and even drugs to some extent, some people can take a drink, even on rare occasions get drunk, but they do not develop a craving or addiction to it..  While others have no tolerance at all for alcohol, they "feel" one drink..  Some find pleasure in this feeling, some get a "high," others don't find the experience pleasant at all... 

So what if black magic has a similar affect on the wielder of it?  Like teenagers everywhere young people experiment with alcohol, even drugs.. Some get by with it for whatever reason, for others it ends tragically...  Let's add that most know before hand some of the affects of these things, but being kids do it anyway..  Young kids with talent, without a wizard mentor have no clue, but they do know the sense of power over others it gives them.. That is the high they become addicted to, if they are too far gone, they cannot recover from it..  Some can dance in the gray areas of it without lasting affects, but the more susceptible may not.. So simple act of making a love potion may be a mere exercise for some, with others it signals a  slippage into that craving for power..







Offline Fcrate

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Re: Black Magic, Addiction, and Becoming a Warlock
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2018, 02:07:19 PM »
Yes, this indeed merits a topic on its own.
Personally, I think it comes down to strength of character. Morals - beliefs matter, but at the core of each of us is a human. Whether the temptation is food, sex, drugs, alcohol, theft or even black magic, a temptation is a temptation. A strong willed individual, who focuses their will on not falling to temptation, can resist it, with varying degrees of ease.
Of course, some are weaker towards certain temptations than others, but  the concept remains the same. As you said, those prone to addiction, will probably end up as warlocks.
هل أخذت الغاب مثلي منزلاً دون القصور
فتتبعت السواقي وتسلقت الصخور
هل تحممت بعطره وتنشفت بنور
وشربت الفجر خمراً من كؤوس من أثير

Offline Arjan

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Re: Black Magic, Addiction, and Becoming a Warlock
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2018, 03:21:18 PM »
There are a few other things to consider. First is what are your main talents? Some talents are more prone to black magic than others. Also what problems do you encounter as a teenager and what are the obvious solutions to those problems. If that solution is black you get a different start.

Morals are obviously important but young teenagers are not as good with morals as older people, they have a lot to learn yet. However morals are based on the human social instincts and these are just better developed with some people than with others.

A strong person can resist temptation however he or she needs to know that it is necessary to do so, motivation is important.

The main attraction of black magic is probably power, power over others to make them do what you want or leave you alone. The thirst for power is not equally developed in everyone either. Your nature is important.
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Offline groinkick

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Re: Black Magic, Addiction, and Becoming a Warlock
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2018, 04:52:18 PM »
My opinion is it comes down almost entirely on your intentions.  If you kill someone in self defense, or by accident you will still be in some ways affected by dark magic corruption.  But it will not be the nearly to the extent as killing someone for fun.  Doing so just a single time may cause the person to become a warlock with no hope of rehabilitation.

Molly wanting to help her boyfriend damaged her, and him but not to the extent if she had been acting in a malicious way.  So it really comes down to why you are using that kind of magic.  Are you using necromancy to raise a loved one you miss or a bunch of zombies to command?  One will corrupt you more than the other.


The potions in my opinion are an entirely different discussion.  Harry in Storm Front just needed magical energies to activate the ingredients in his potions.  It didn't require a deep desire to create the love potion.  When you go into someone's mind on the other hand requires a real belief, and desire to be there.  It will change you.  The potions that he made at least didn't require that, just some magical energy and concentration.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2018, 04:55:08 PM by groinkick »
Stole this from Reginald because it was so well put, and is true for me as well.

"I love this place. It was a beacon in the dark and I couldn't have made it through some of the most maddening years of my life without some great people here."  Thank you Griff and others who took up the torch.

Offline Mira

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Re: Black Magic, Addiction, and Becoming a Warlock
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2018, 06:50:50 PM »
Yes, this indeed merits a topic on its own.
Personally, I think it comes down to strength of character. Morals - beliefs matter, but at the core of each of us is a human. Whether the temptation is food, sex, drugs, alcohol, theft or even black magic, a temptation is a temptation. A strong willed individual, who focuses their will on not falling to temptation, can resist it, with varying degrees of ease.
Of course, some are weaker towards certain temptations than others, but  the concept remains the same. As you said, those prone to addiction, will probably end up as warlocks.

Yes, but we know now that addiction is a lot more complicated than mere strength of character.  There are real genetic and brain chemistry factors that play an even larger role.   I am wondering if a person of talent can be predisposed by the above to become a warlock?

Offline vultur

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Re: Black Magic, Addiction, and Becoming a Warlock
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2018, 01:06:52 AM »
IMO, the White Council is subtly but significantly wrong about the whole thing.

Now, there's pretty clear evidence that doing actual black magic* really does change you. But the effect doesn't seem to be as dramatic in practice as characters talk about it being. We really rarely see Harry's internal monologue/thoughts showing signs of it (when he considers burning down Sells' house in SF is a clear case, and there's a good argument to be made for his rage in GP when he burns down Bianca's party without really thinking about the vampires' victims... but after book 3 we really don't see much evidence of it, and Harry's moral struggles are focused on Lasciel's coin and later the Winter Mantle).

And we hear in TC about how old wizards get set in their ways. It seems very plausible to me that this is actually the same effect as the black magic corruption, for the same reason  - using magic creates a much more direct connection between intent/will and results than doing the same thing by mundane means, so it forms habits much more dramatically.

And it's not at all clear to me that Cowl, Kumori, etc are "corrupted" in the same sense that someone like Victor Sells or the FBI Hexenwolves were. Cowl doesn't seem to be doing the  "downward spiral" into basic urges, personal vendetta violence and lust, etc. - he continues to act for a large-scale goal. His methods are clearly evil, and his goal likely is, too - but that doesn't mean he was warped to it by black magic. Cowl seems to be a rational, planning villain, not a ranting maniac like the "corruption" effect seems to create.

I think it's only vaguely analogous to addiction, however, not the same mechanic.

*not necessarily the same as what the Wardens will execute you for - the Council's Laws seem to be based on what is corrupting, but imperfect human understanding and political factors play a role...

Offline Warbird

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Re: Black Magic, Addiction, and Becoming a Warlock
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2018, 02:02:35 AM »
ETA: Sorry this kind of rambles, it tough to write all this out while I'm having to get up ever few mins to deal with a fussy baby.

Interesting topic.  Personally, I having Black Magic create some sort of actual corruption was a mistake storywise.  From what I remember, the books only make this point with respect to the Blackstaff (and I think this was a poor story choice).  I kind of hope later books fix this (either make it like Dumbo's feather or it actually blanks the person using it like it creates emotional/mental distance from the act)

From other places in the books, it did seem like using magic in violation of the laws only corrupted because of its addictive nature.  Not necessarily like drug addiction, but more being addicted to these quick fixes/easy increases in power. 

I feel the proof here is with Molly.  She performed what the books deemed black magic to try and help fix her friends.  This was obviously taking the easy way and not really helping them.  Subsequently (after becoming Harry's student) one of her impulses is now to use mind magic to solve other problems.  And while it might work, the White Counsel has a pretty good point about why messing with people's heads in a permanent fashion is bad.  Harry is also guilty of this.  He generally resorts to brute forcing his way through problems (typically with fire).  Is this because he used magic to kill Justin or is it simply the nature of Wizards to solve things in terms of the type of power they have?  I'm not sure there's a clear answer here but it does tie into my next paragraph.

So getting back to Molly, I think the reason she could be redeemed with others, like Victor Sales, could not is pretty simply.  Molly thought she was helping.  She did what she did out of good intentions.  As such, when it was pointed out to her what she actually was doing, she stopped.  Harry coached her in better, less bad uses of her powers and so since she was still open to change, she did.  Others like Victor were only interested in getting power.  So, the power became an addiction.  They always needed more.  Which is why they crossed the line so many times. They didn't care what they were doing, as long as they felt strong.  This types of people obviously can't be saved.  That said, I think the "corruption" aspect would then have little to do with magic itself and more to do with the user's personality.  It's like blaming the alcohol for the making an alcoholic when it's underlying issues with the person that causes the problem (other people can drink fine without being "corrupted").

So, tldr, I think the "corruption" aspect of dark magic is silly and the real issue is the people using it (and their underlying issues/reasons for using magic) which explains why some can be redeemed and others can't.

Offline Mira

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Re: Black Magic, Addiction, and Becoming a Warlock
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2018, 11:16:43 AM »
Quote
From other places in the books, it did seem like using magic in violation of the laws only corrupted because of its addictive nature.  Not necessarily like drug addiction, but more being addicted to these quick fixes/easy increases in power.

This is part of what I am trying to get at..  However those easy fixes etc, some are more prone to it
than others.  Addiction is complicated,  some can drink alcohol and never feel they need it to cope with life etc.  In other words they enjoy a glass of wine or a drink, but they don't feel they need it to cope with life, in most cases these people do not become alcoholics.  Then there are the changes to the brain etc and it becomes a physical addiction as well.

Harry has danced on the edge of black magic for years, but doesn't seem to get addicted... Molly on the other hand shows little qualms about reaching for it, she continues to be in danger.   The Korean Kid was so far over the cliff that there was no retrieving him.  And it doesn't just happen to the young and ignorant,  we have example of older established wizards going warlock.

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Re: Black Magic, Addiction, and Becoming a Warlock
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2018, 04:02:12 PM »
The addiction thing though... we know natural drugs actually weaken the will and allow possessions from spiritual beings... if Black Magic is so addictive it automatically weakens said willpower derived protection then, yea? I've always considered the actual addiction part of why they get possessed/exchanged by inhuman beings. So it would likely be a double whammy, they get weakened in subtle ways and open a way for something to get in at that weakness.

Offline Mira

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Re: Black Magic, Addiction, and Becoming a Warlock
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2018, 02:30:39 PM »
The addiction thing though... we know natural drugs actually weaken the will and allow possessions from spiritual beings... if Black Magic is so addictive it automatically weakens said willpower derived protection then, yea? I've always considered the actual addiction part of why they get possessed/exchanged by inhuman beings. So it would likely be a double whammy, they get weakened in subtle ways and open a way for something to get in at that weakness.

   There is a difference in who uses it, it is like who get a "high" off of either drugs or alcohol and are more prone to get addicted than those who either feel nothing or really dislike the effects on themselves, so less likely..    Maybe in the case of Black magic it is the power rush a wizard gets from using it?  Harry describes the sense he gets from it as "nasty greasy feel," he also gets off of someone who uses it, not very pleasant...  I wonder if a warlock feels or senses something different?

Offline Arjan

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Re: Black Magic, Addiction, and Becoming a Warlock
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2018, 04:47:27 PM »
   There is a difference in who uses it, it is like who get a "high" off of either drugs or alcohol and are more prone to get addicted than those who either feel nothing or really dislike the effects on themselves, so less likely..    Maybe in the case of Black magic it is the power rush a wizard gets from using it?  Harry describes the sense he gets from it as "nasty greasy feel," he also gets off of someone who uses it, not very pleasant...  I wonder if a warlock feels or senses something different?
I think every wizard sees, feels, hears or smells it different depending on his own nature. Just lie a soul gaze it is a highly personal interpretation.

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Offline groinkick

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Re: Black Magic, Addiction, and Becoming a Warlock
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2018, 04:59:11 PM »
   There is a difference in who uses it, it is like who get a "high" off of either drugs or alcohol and are more prone to get addicted than those who either feel nothing or really dislike the effects on themselves, so less likely..    Maybe in the case of Black magic it is the power rush a wizard gets from using it?  Harry describes the sense he gets from it as "nasty greasy feel," he also gets off of someone who uses it, not very pleasant...  I wonder if a warlock feels or senses something different?

I don't think it's like a drug, or high.  I think it's just like someone who commits an act of violence for the first time, the second time it's easier, and before long it's just second nature.  It's not like a drug, it's just they lose more and more of what you would consider their humanity, or morality or whatever.  The warlocks also become insane with more usage.  I think black magic is tied to the Outside which is why warlocks go nuts if they use it too much.

I watched a documentary on the history channel where passages from a nazi journal were read.  He spoke of how physically sick it made him feel to execute people and his commanding officer told him it gets easier with time.  Later passages he spoke of how it had become easy to do and he no longer felt bad about it.

That to me describes a warlock.
Stole this from Reginald because it was so well put, and is true for me as well.

"I love this place. It was a beacon in the dark and I couldn't have made it through some of the most maddening years of my life without some great people here."  Thank you Griff and others who took up the torch.

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Re: Black Magic, Addiction, and Becoming a Warlock
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2018, 05:34:21 PM »
I don't think it's like a drug, or high.  I think it's just like someone who commits an act of violence for the first time, the second time it's easier, and before long it's just second nature.  It's not like a drug, it's just they lose more and more of what you would consider their humanity, or morality or whatever.  The warlocks also become insane with more usage.  I think black magic is tied to the Outside which is why warlocks go nuts if they use it too much.

I watched a documentary on the history channel where passages from a nazi journal were read.  He spoke of how physically sick it made him feel to execute people and his commanding officer told him it gets easier with time.  Later passages he spoke of how it had become easy to do and he no longer felt bad about it.

That to me describes a warlock.
Now those two things are not mutually exclusive. Tim Robbins the self help guru mentions part of the reason violence and humanity will continue to be mutual things is because it fulfills enough of our basic needs. Iirc need for control, need for certainty(knowing what the gun in their face will do) AND uncertainty(how will it end?) and maybe a few other things. By his model anything that gives us at least 3 needs is liable to become an addiction.

Offline Mira

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Re: Black Magic, Addiction, and Becoming a Warlock
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2018, 07:04:20 PM »
I think every wizard sees, feels, hears or smells it different depending on his own nature. Just lie a soul gaze it is a highly personal interpretation.

Which is the point, a brush with black magic affects everyone differently..  Some suffer no lasting effects if they manage to keep their head after one or two experimental encounters as kids are prone to do.. While others are well on their way to warlockhood..
« Last Edit: July 15, 2018, 10:25:40 AM by Mira »

Offline groinkick

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Re: Black Magic, Addiction, and Becoming a Warlock
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2018, 03:55:27 AM »
Now those two things are not mutually exclusive. Tim Robbins the self help guru mentions part of the reason violence and humanity will continue to be mutual things is because it fulfills enough of our basic needs. Iirc need for control, need for certainty(knowing what the gun in their face will do) AND uncertainty(how will it end?) and maybe a few other things. By his model anything that gives us at least 3 needs is liable to become an addiction.

Think you're talking about Tony Robbins.  Yes I have listened to that talk of his.  (His example was robbing someone at gun point) It brings uncertainty (action/variety/excitement), and, significance (you are really significant to that other person right now), fulfilling 2 of life's essential things.  If memory serves he has 6 things?  Certainty/security, uncertainty/variety, connection/love, significance, growth, and contribution.

Well to me an addiction is a type of high that a person gets and feels that they need to do or they feel horrible.  So I don't see warlocks and black magic like that.  I just see them twisting into someone who gets more and more comfortable with doing horrible things.
Stole this from Reginald because it was so well put, and is true for me as well.

"I love this place. It was a beacon in the dark and I couldn't have made it through some of the most maddening years of my life without some great people here."  Thank you Griff and others who took up the torch.