Is magic inherently moral?


The other day I got into a conversation about magic and morality. I mentioned that one of the systems of magic I'd learned was chaos magic and the person mentioned that s/he had heard that chaos magic didn't have a system of morals attached to it, which is accurate, but as I pointed out to her, it's how a person chooses to use magic that matters. I don't think there's a given moral force that polices magic, nor do I think a person gets 3 times the outcome of what s/he chooses to do.

Magic isn't an inherently moral force. It is something that anyone can work with, and there are limitations to what a person can do with it, but those limitations have more to do with the laws of this universe than any moral polarity. Any such moral polarity is human made, derived more as a statement of the values of the person as well as his/her culture. Each person must decide what his/her own morals are, both in terms of magical work, and mundane actions.

When we ascribe morality to a system or practice, we need to do it carefully and question the underlying values. Even if it seems like a "good" morality, there is always human agency behind the assumption of that morality and its application to other people's actions. When we recognize this we can look carefully at whether or not we should take on the morals of a given spirituality and/or determine if we should apply our own instead.

Naturally there are consequences for what a person chooses to do. Each person has to decide if the consequences are worth the desired result, but just as importantly we need to decide if the moral codes we ascribe to are ones we really agree with or ones we hold to reflexively because others have told us to. The latter choice is a disservice to ourselves, and ironically an amoral choice, for we are ducking out of our responsibility to determine for ourselves what our morality really should be, as well as how it should inform our actions.