Author Topic: Thor, Loki, LBM  (Read 76 times)

Hapu

Thor, Loki, LBM
« on: December 04, 2019, 11:57:04 am »
Did you know Thor and Loki, in their youth, were traveling companions? Consider that as you consider this.

Some definitions:
Power is the ability to shape reality.
The LHP is exploration of the will to power.
LBM is shaping the reality of oneself as presented to others so as to shape the larger reality in accordance with one’s will.

This next definition is plucked from the thought of Michael Kelly, author of numerous books, particularly The Apophis Lectures which I’m currently reading. The specific words are my own but the idea was presented by Michael Kelly.

MBM (“Medial Black Magic”) is spellcasting to unearth, perfect, and focus one’s LBM.

Two old Norse words:
Utgard (“outside the enclosure”) is the domain outside the boundaries of whatever social unit one identifies with at the moment.
Innangard (“inside the enclosure”) is the domain inside the boundaries of whatever social unit one identifies with at the moment.

Now:
In my opinion, LBM as studied and taught in the LHP is too much Loki and not enough Thor.

Loki is the trickster. Thor is the strength of the people. LBM can certainly be used to good effect by the trickster. But it can also be used to good effect by the strength of the people.

In my opinion, Loki-LBM is best used as an Utgard tactic. Tricking enemies and strangers does not threaten the social fabric of Innangard. Tricking family, friends, and allies does. The social fabric is of high utility so preserving it is to everyone’s advantage.

Thor-LBM, by contrast, can be used to good effect as either an Utgard tactic or an Innangard one. Outside the enclosure, the strength of the people is a terror to enemies and even strangers. Inside the enclosure, the strength of the people is a comfort and an inspiration. The social fabric is preserved and is even made more resilient.

Here’s another old Norse word, which I’m defining as Michael Kelly would, which is not necessarily the way you’ll find the word defined on the many and varied pagan web pages.

Hamr is the shape of the reality of oneself as presented to others. It is actually viewed, even by Michael Kelly, as a part of one’s very being. To be alive is to cast a hamr. It is also, by definition, the very thing LBM focuses on. LBM is casting the hamr with deliberate intent. MBM, then, by definition, is spellcasting to unearth, perfect, and focus one’s talent in casting the hamr.

There’s a pun begging to be made here, and oddly enough, it actually works in old Norse. The word hammar meant mallet in old Norse. Mjolnir was the hammar of Thor. What I’m proposing here is that we study and teach how to cast the hamr of Thor. The hamr of the strength of the people. To the terror of enemies and strangers and the comfort and inspiration of family, friends, and allies.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2019, 12:00:14 pm by Hapu »

Peace is a lie, for by opposition I evolve.
Comfort is a lie, for by hardship I evolve.
Mercy is a lie, for by severity I evolve.
Purity is a lie, for by defilement I evolve.
Obedience is a lie, for by rebellion I evolve.
Order is a lie, for by chaos I evolve.
Continuity is a lie, for by death I evolve.
I am the Demon in the Flesh.

Hapu

Re: Thor, Loki, LBM
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2019, 09:27:13 pm »
My concept of Thor-LBM connects with two other concepts:
1. The will to power is beyond good and evil.
2. Power is an end in itself.

Saying the will to power is beyond good and evil does not imply an equivalence between the will to power and the will to do evil. Quite the contrary. The dichotomy of good and evil is for cattle. I who pursue power may one moment do what the herd considers evil and then the very next moment do what the herd considers good. I will do this because power is an end in itself. Good and evil are means to that end.

Now bring in the Seven Infernal Weapons: money, influence, allies, position, opportunity, knowledge, and joy. These are the supreme implements for taking power. Can I get them by doing what the herd considers evil? Yes! Can I get them by doing what the herd considers good? Yes!

Consider a people's champion. A hero. Consider the good will of the people such a one could lay claim to. Could this good will be parlayed into a mechanism for getting or increasing some or all of the Seven Infernal Weapons? Yes! And then could I use my newly obtained implements to do more of what the herd considers good? Yes! Could I then lay claim to additional good will of the people? Yes! Could I parlay that additional good will into a mechanism for getting or increasing some or all of the Seven Infernal Weapons? Yes! Around and around it goes. The Ouroboros eats its tail. Never once do I do a single thing the herd would consider evil. Yet my power shoots through the roof!

This all works because power is sought for its own sake. Not to get laid. Not to get revenge on some addled miscreant. Not to crush someone for no other reason than because I can. Not to lord it over the less triumphant and bask in their futile envy. These things are the tawdry talismans of banal bumpkins. No, power is being sought for its own sake, and once obtained, it is parlayed to get still more power for its own sake. Along the way, this power, if sufficient, could be used to save thousands, even millions of lives. But that will never be the ultimate purpose. Heroism, in this scenario, is the means to an end, and that end is power.

Does Thor-LBM start to make more sense now?


Peace is a lie, for by opposition I evolve.
Comfort is a lie, for by hardship I evolve.
Mercy is a lie, for by severity I evolve.
Purity is a lie, for by defilement I evolve.
Obedience is a lie, for by rebellion I evolve.
Order is a lie, for by chaos I evolve.
Continuity is a lie, for by death I evolve.
I am the Demon in the Flesh.

idgo

Re: Thor, Loki, LBM
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2019, 07:16:23 am »
My vocabulary is much improved by those words' addition; thank you for correctly identifying them as worth sharing here.

I'll sketch the shape of a speculation in answer to whether Thor-LBM makes sense, though I wouldn't be surprised if I don't dissect it cleanly enough to be easily followed:

There's the "thor good / loki evil" oversimplification. However, there's a more fundamental "good honest / evil dishonest" pattern. Then there's the "selfish / selfless" dichotomy: selfish glossing roughly to "motivated by the wellbeing of oneself", selfless approximately "motivated by the wellbeing of others".

This breaks down, of course, in how many actions benefit *both* oneself and others. But those are often irrelevant to moralizing, because it's those edge cases in which someone would have to choose between their or others' wellbeing that society, as the collection of "others", really cares what will happen in. I think the disproportionate importance placed on those zero-sum cases when judging character might be pretty central to this speculation.

In most definitions I've met, LHP ideals say to choose one's own needs when things are zero-sum. In other words, LHP teachings coincide pretty tidily with the archetypical notion of "selfishness".

Now I'd contend that the Thor archetype I've picked up from existing in society, without much study into what the actual mythos "really" says, is that of the deity who puts the needs of the populace before their own: in other words, kind of a selflessness avatar. Willing to risk their own life to protect the innocent, whatever. Similarly, I have picked up an archetype of Loki as a "selfishness" sort of avatar: no qualms about acting to the detriment of another for their personal gain.

With that framework in place, I might be able to convey the speculation itself: Loki and LHP, as archetypes or egregores or whatever you want to call their big fuzzy cultural definitions, because their combination is fundamentally kinda on the honest side of the spectrum: You might not like their flavor, but you get what it says on the tin.

Juxtaposing the Thor archetype with that of LHP, on the other hand, invokes a certain dissonance: You have to really pick at the bones of at least one of their definitions, possibly both, to get something that doesn't have a dishonest or misleading or incompatible sort of feel to it.

Sure, that's where you get by keeping the defaults of caring most about behavior in zero-sum cases. One attribute of "good" LHP might be to use one's Power to turn games from zero-sum to positive-sum -- I win more, but so does everyone else. That'd be a "Thor LHP" kind of outcome, making stuff better for others... but changing the rules of the game to get the desired outcome? That's way over ion the law-breaker's, not the law-maker's, side of the court.

I think a similar argument would run for the "lawful" vs "chaotic" axis of character alignment: people are relatively often forced to choose between power and lawfulness, power and selflessness, etc. So the Thor-adjacent values of classical heroism work ok with LHP values until that  dichotomy is encountered, but moving past it you get one or the other. Part of the whole heroism ideal is about sacrifice, about losing some amount of power (stereotypically loss of one's life) when there's a good enough reason to do so, and that doesn't seem compatible with the whole "power is the ultimate end" thing to me.

Try inverting the lawful/chaotic argument I just made: "people are relatively often forced to choose beween power and chaos, power and selfishness, etc." Nah, that's not a counterargument against myself that I could even start.

Anyways, I think about 2 sentences of that wall were actually useful, and while I have a speculation about which two they were, I cannot tell whether you'll view it the same way... so I'll leave the cruft around them in case its context is contributing to their utility.

Hapu

Re: Thor, Loki, LBM
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2019, 04:04:52 pm »
...There's the "thor good / loki evil" oversimplification. However, there's a more fundamental "good honest / evil dishonest" pattern. Then there's the "selfish / selfless" dichotomy: selfish glossing roughly to "motivated by the wellbeing of oneself", selfless approximately "motivated by the wellbeing of others".

Useful topics to raise.
 
First I'll clarify that anything I propose in any context is always amoral. So if I talk about good and evil it's always in the context of what the herd considers those words to mean, and the significance the herd chooses to place on the dichotomy.

I recently undertook an exercise (much of it publicly on this very forum) to determine if Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Reasoning apply to me. This went on for a ridiculous length of time because I resisted what proved to be the obvious answer, namely, no, Kohlberg's theory doesn't apply to me. It almost does. It sits adjacent to me. It has points of intersection with me. But my moral stance is enlightened self-interest, and that stance doesn't fit Kohlberg's theory.

I consider the social fabric to be of high utility to just about everyone, which means it's to the advantage of just about everyone to preserve that fabric. This is an enlightened self-interest perspective.

Loki-LBM, if openly acknowledged as the norm in any society, will unravel the social fabric. Try this thought experiment. On Thursday morning, everyone on this forum comes to the realization that we're all doing nothing but Loki-LBM on one another. Thursday afternoon is spent in various paroxysms of social gyration. Friday morning... nothing. The forum is a ghost town. No one visits. Saturday the same. Sunday the founders decide this barren wasteland of sand and tumbleweed is not worth preserving and they take action to make it disappear. Doesn't that sound about right?

What does sustainable LBM among allied magicians look like? I say it looks like Thor-LBM.
 


This breaks down, of course, in how many actions benefit *both* oneself and others. But those are often irrelevant to moralizing, because it's those edge cases in which someone would have to choose between their or others' wellbeing that society, as the collection of "others", really cares what will happen in. I think the disproportionate importance placed on those zero-sum cases when judging character might be pretty central to this speculation.

In most definitions I've met, LHP ideals say to choose one's own needs when things are zero-sum. In other words, LHP teachings coincide pretty tidily with the archetypical notion of "selfishness".

This is where I bring in my concept of power as an end in itself. Power is also the means to many ends, of course. It's both things.

When I talk about power as an end in itself, I'm talking about the will to power.

The will to power is NOT:
1. The will to pleasure
2. The will to comfort
3. The will to safety
4. The will to community
5. The will to intimacy
6. The will to glory

When I put one of the other wills at the top of my priority list, power is relegated to being the means to an end. But when the will to power is at the top of my list, all of the other wills get relegated to being means to an end, that end being power. Pleasure, comfort, safety, community, intimacy, and glory, any and all of them, become subservient to power. This means I will sacrifice any of them if it will make me more powerful. But it also means I will find ways to leverage any and all of them, and also to reshape any and all of them. For example, it gives me pleasure to read fiction. When I put the will to power at the top of my priority list, I still read fiction, but I only read fiction that inspires me to become more powerful or teaches me how to do so.

So what, then, is in my self-interest? It is, first and foremost, whatever I have placed at the top of my priority list. If power is at the top, then all of the other things are NOT at the top.

 
Now I'd contend that the Thor archetype I've picked up from existing in society, without much study into what the actual mythos "really" says, is that of the deity who puts the needs of the populace before their own: in other words, kind of a selflessness avatar. Willing to risk their own life to protect the innocent, whatever. Similarly, I have picked up an archetype of Loki as a "selfishness" sort of avatar: no qualms about acting to the detriment of another for their personal gain.

Oversimplified, of course, but you knew that already.

First, consider enlightened self-interest. A common comic book trope is the plot line where a transcendently dangerous villain attacks the city, and all of a sudden the local bad guys are fighting on the same side with the local good guys, because it's to everyone's advantage to overcome and dispense with the transcendently dangerous villain. Now take that to the next level. Imagine a scenario where transcendent evil is always around and is never fully beatable. Some local bad guys may align themselves with this evil, but others won't. I would argue the smarter ones won't. Cthulhu can't be trusted. Some local bad guys will grasp this, and for all practical purposes will become good guys.

Second, consider power as an end in itself and as the top priority. Everything else becomes a means to the end of gaining power. If stopping a bank robber will somehow increase my power in the world, then I will stop the bank robber, at my own risk and with no thought of banal reward. If running into a burning buildiing to save someone will somehow increase my power in the world, then I will run into the burning building. If carrying medical supplies into a war zone will increase my power in the world... you get the idea. 


With that framework in place, I might be able to convey the speculation itself: Loki and LHP, as archetypes or egregores or whatever you want to call their big fuzzy cultural definitions, because their combination is fundamentally kinda on the honest side of the spectrum: You might not like their flavor, but you get what it says on the tin.

Juxtaposing the Thor archetype with that of LHP, on the other hand, invokes a certain dissonance: You have to really pick at the bones of at least one of their definitions, possibly both, to get something that doesn't have a dishonest or misleading or incompatible sort of feel to it.

This just occurred to me: Every politician alive is doing Thor-LBM.


Sure, that's where you get by keeping the defaults of caring most about behavior in zero-sum cases. One attribute of "good" LHP might be to use one's Power to turn games from zero-sum to positive-sum -- I win more, but so does everyone else. That'd be a "Thor LHP" kind of outcome, making stuff better for others... but changing the rules of the game to get the desired outcome? That's way over ion the law-breaker's, not the law-maker's, side of the court.

I like that a lot. There's no greater expression of the will to power than to change the rules of the game. And once you've done this, you've made allies and gained influence, two of the Seven Infernal Weapons. You may also have gained position and opportunities for yourself, two more Infernal Weapons.

I wish I could remember the name of this sci-fi novel I read as a kid. Or it may have been fantasy. In any case, there was a city, and in that city lived the protagonist, who was a bit of a vagabond, though not at all destitute. What struck me was his regular habit of doing favors for anyone he could, whenever he could. Altruistic, right? But it soon became apparent that he was practicing what I would now call Thor-LBM. Every single time the protagonist got in trouble - which was often - someone from the city took great risks to help him. Not begrudgingly either. With passionate loyalty and gratitude.


I think a similar argument would run for the "lawful" vs "chaotic" axis of character alignment: people are relatively often forced to choose between power and lawfulness, power and selflessness, etc. So the Thor-adjacent values of classical heroism work ok with LHP values until that  dichotomy is encountered, but moving past it you get one or the other. Part of the whole heroism ideal is about sacrifice, about losing some amount of power (stereotypically loss of one's life) when there's a good enough reason to do so, and that doesn't seem compatible with the whole "power is the ultimate end" thing to me.

Do you remember the first sentence I wrote in the OP of this thread? It was this: "Did you know Thor and Loki, in their youth, were traveling companions?"

The magician will practice Thor-LBM unless and until Loki-LBM is the better alternative.

Anything I propose is always amoral.


Try inverting the lawful/chaotic argument I just made: "people are relatively often forced to choose beween power and chaos, power and selfishness, etc." Nah, that's not a counterargument against myself that I could even start.

Actually what you said there is very insightful. Consider the politician. It's entirely plausible that a politician might choose between power and chaos or power and selfishness, since a politician's power typically exists in the context of lawfulness and altruism.


Anyways, I think about 2 sentences of that wall were actually useful, and while I have a speculation about which two they were, I cannot tell whether you'll view it the same way... so I'll leave the cruft around them in case its context is contributing to their utility.

A great TV series to watch as one thinks about these concepts is The Blacklist.

Peace is a lie, for by opposition I evolve.
Comfort is a lie, for by hardship I evolve.
Mercy is a lie, for by severity I evolve.
Purity is a lie, for by defilement I evolve.
Obedience is a lie, for by rebellion I evolve.
Order is a lie, for by chaos I evolve.
Continuity is a lie, for by death I evolve.
I am the Demon in the Flesh.

idgo

Re: Thor, Loki, LBM
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2019, 06:16:42 pm »
Quote
The magician will practice Thor-LBM unless and until Loki-LBM is the better alternative.

Now that is an entirely feasible proposal. However, I don't think switching at will really works with the archetype of "heroism" at all, in that heroic archetypes have this cultural thing about trustworthiness, which is deeply tangled up in notions of consistency. No matter how many of the enemy a soldier shoots, no matter how many allies he rescues, the minute he turns around and shoots just one commanding officer or ally on purpose, he's getting court-martialed instead of commended. The Thor archetype is characterized by a consistency of action which, once broken, tends to remove the possibility of using it again upon the same audience.

In fact, I think it might paint a more accurate picture of the thor/selflesness/heroism axis of societal notions to describe it less by what people on it do, and more by what they don't: there's a whole thing where consistent good behavior seems to be considered a lot more desirable than inconsistent, mixed good/bad behavior, even if the net results of the latter bring more benefit.

In other words, one might say that someone embodying the Thor archetype has to do the (selfless/heroic/right) thing, and their choice is between whether to do that thing or to cease embodying the archetype. While there's sort of a "rule" against the hero being tricky if they want to remain a hero, there's no similar rule against the trickster being heroic from time to time when it suits them.

From this perspective, one could say that the Thor archetype is less popular among those fond of choice because Thor has one fundamental choice: Do the right thing (or you're not Thor any more? aka you can be destroyed by your own actions?). Similarly, from here the Loki archetype looks tempting because Loki has at least 3 true-to-character choices in any scenario: Follow the rules, break the rules, or rewrite the rules. Loki can help others or hurt others, depending on what suits him -- no action is truly out of character or off limits to a trickster, while so many actions are off limits to a hero. And perhaps importantly, a trickster can't really be socially un-made in the way that a hero can be un-made.

If it was possible to just switch between heroism and tricksterness without any cost, then I agree that would be the ideal path... but I'd say that with how social capital and trust and rumors and all those other ephemera of human-groups work, the cost to such switches is quite high. If one takes the Thor path for awhile,and then uses the powers gained therein to do something on the Loki path, it becomes rather off-limits to step back onto that Thor path in the same way ever again.

Basically, if one is 90% Thor and 10% Loki, once society sees both those sides, one will be painted as 100% Loki having deceitfully pretended to be Thor. People will go so far as rewriting their own pasts to get hurt over this perceived deceit, even those who would have suffered no discernible detriment if they had never found out about the Loki parts.


Hapu

Re: Thor, Loki, LBM
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2019, 11:56:28 pm »
Quote
The magician will practice Thor-LBM unless and until Loki-LBM is the better alternative.

Now that is an entirely feasible proposal. However, I don't think switching at will really works with the archetype of "heroism" at all, in that heroic archetypes have this cultural thing about trustworthiness, which is deeply tangled up in notions of consistency. No matter how many of the enemy a soldier shoots, no matter how many allies he rescues, the minute he turns around and shoots just one commanding officer or ally on purpose, he's getting court-martialed instead of commended. The Thor archetype is characterized by a consistency of action which, once broken, tends to remove the possibility of using it again upon the same audience.

True. The cost of switching from Thor to Loki is potentially high. For example, if a politician switches from Thor to Loki and gets caught, the politician may need to resign.

But note the phrase, "and gets caught." Getting caught as a trickster is bad no matter what. Loki in his youth was able to have allies among the gods. Once his true nature became public knowledge, I'm sure his alliances dissolved, since no one could trust him.


In fact, I think it might paint a more accurate picture of the thor/selflesness/heroism axis of societal notions to describe it less by what people on it do, and more by what they don't: there's a whole thing where consistent good behavior seems to be considered a lot more desirable than inconsistent, mixed good/bad behavior, even if the net results of the latter bring more benefit.

Getting caught as a trickster is bad no matter what. It really is encumbent on Loki to not get caught. Meanwhile, Thor can operate in plain view at all times. That's an advantage to being Thor.


In other words, one might say that someone embodying the Thor archetype has to do the (selfless/heroic/right) thing, and their choice is between whether to do that thing or to cease embodying the archetype. While there's sort of a "rule" against the hero being tricky if they want to remain a hero, there's no similar rule against the trickster being heroic from time to time when it suits them.

But when Loki does something Thor-like, everyone will assume it's a trick. Loki won't derive any benefit.

From this perspective, one could say that the Thor archetype is less popular among those fond of choice because Thor has one fundamental choice: Do the right thing (or you're not Thor any more? aka you can be destroyed by your own actions?). Similarly, from here the Loki archetype looks tempting because Loki has at least 3 true-to-character choices in any scenario: Follow the rules, break the rules, or rewrite the rules. Loki can help others or hurt others, depending on what suits him -- no action is truly out of character or off limits to a trickster, while so many actions are off limits to a hero. And perhaps importantly, a trickster can't really be socially un-made in the way that a hero can be un-made.

But that's only because a trickster is unmade at the outset. Loki is already at the very bottom of the social ladder.

Basically, if one is 90% Thor and 10% Loki, once society sees both those sides, one will be painted as 100% Loki having deceitfully pretended to be Thor. People will go so far as rewriting their own pasts to get hurt over this perceived deceit, even those who would have suffered no discernible detriment if they had never found out about the Loki parts.

The moral of this story is, Don't get caught.

Peace is a lie, for by opposition I evolve.
Comfort is a lie, for by hardship I evolve.
Mercy is a lie, for by severity I evolve.
Purity is a lie, for by defilement I evolve.
Obedience is a lie, for by rebellion I evolve.
Order is a lie, for by chaos I evolve.
Continuity is a lie, for by death I evolve.
I am the Demon in the Flesh.