Are you reading this?
Today is May 21, 2011. According to Harold Egbert Camping, a 90-year-old media mogul (his company owns over 150 radio stations in the U.S.) focused on a version of Christianity, today is the day of the Rapture.
If you’re still reading this, you weren’t raptured.
Sorry about that.
Of course, you may have missed his previous prediction of the Rapture for September 1994, so if you’re still reading this and over 17 years old, you’re doubly unlucky.
According to Camping, after those Christians God has chosen are “raptured” away to heaven (God determined this at the beginning of time, and neither belief nor good works can effect this), the world will be destroyed on October 21, 2011. All of the remaining people will not go to Hell, but will be annihilated.
You would think that after his failed 1994 prediction, his success would have decreased. That would be the logical thing to assume. Strangely, that’s not what happens. The classic book, When Prophecy Fails by Festinger, Riecken and Schachter reveals that just the opposite occurs. The book is a study of a group focused on UFOs and what happens when a prediction for the end of the world by the leaders takes place. Instead of abandoning the group and the leaders when the prediction (thankfully!) fails, the followers end up believing even more strongly in the group.
Why is this? The more emotion you put into something, the more of yourself you put into that belief. If the belief turns out to be false, you’re confronted with a psychological choice: abandon everything you believe about yourself along with the false belief, or rationalize away the failure of the belief. Most people simply will not abandon their beliefs about themselves, so they adopt the second option.
Magick is For All?
In the introduction to Magic in Theory and Practice, Aleister Crowley stated that “MAGICK is for ALL.” This comes not long after a paragraph written completely in Greek. Some people have claimed that Crowley had a bit of an inferiority complex (which he overcompensated for) and thought that everyone had an education like his which included the study of Greek. Few people then, or now, study that language (well, except for the Greeks who still use it!). If you continue studying his book, it becomes clear that magick is not for all, but only for those who are willing to do a great deal of work and study.
Of the things to study, in the words of Alexander Pope:
Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;
The proper study of Mankind is Man.
Even more simply, the words over the entrance to the Oracle at Delphi were GnĹŤthi Seauton: “know thyself.” And knowing oneselfâ€”fearlessly examining your psychological make-up and the inner motivations for your behaviorâ€”is one of the most important tasks for the person who wants to master magick.
To master magick, one should also master oneself.
This is difficult work. It is challenging. Most people don’t want to do it. Thus, I would respectfully disagree with Crowley’s claim that “MAGICK is for ALL.” I would say that magick is for every woman and man who has the courage and endurance to do the work.
If you analyze yourselfâ€”even if you followed someone like Mr. Campingâ€”when you first experienced his failed prediction you would search to discover why you would want to continue to follow him. Your path, based on truth and personal understanding would lead away from a failed leader. That’s why real magicians may accidentally become a part of a cult, but don’t stay part of it. And certainly, if its leader made false claims you wouldn’t stick with him or her. That’s a difference between a magician and a cultist.
Recently, on a small blog, a friend who is a well-known author and spiritual leader was attacked by a nobody seeking glory by totally misrepresenting what my friend had written, making bizarre, grandiose claims, dodging issues, making himself out to be a victim, etc. I am sadly sure that cultists will continue to follow this strange person; real magicians won’t.
Are you still reading this?
Did you miss the Rapture?
Do you know you have longer than five months to live?
Sounds like you’re a real magician.
NOTE: It appears that someone hijacked Mr. Camping’s entry in Wikipedia. Although it may be changed by the time you read it, I have a copy of his page where someone added,
Harold Camping died Saturday, May 21, 2011, after realizing that his latest end-world prophecy was not going to be fulfilled. He committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest. His suicide note read, “I knew I was leaving this world today one way or another. If you are reading this, the prophecy wasn’t fulfilled and Plan B was put into action.”
To the best of my knowledge, Mr. Camping is actually alive and quite well. I wish him continued good health, but hope his next prediction is no more accurate than his previous ones.