For the crucial point of my exposition was that Magick is not a matter extraneous to the main current of your life, as music, gardening, or collection jade might be. No, every act of your life is a magical act; whenever from ignorance, carelessness, clumsiness or what not, you come short of perfect artistic success, you inevitably register failure, discomfort, frustration. Luckily for all of us, most of the acts essential to continued life are involuntary; the “unconscious” has become so used to doing its “True Will” that there is no need of interference; when such need arises, we call it disease, and seek to restore the machine to free spontaneous fulfillment of its function.
But this is only part of the story. As things are, we have all adventured into an Universe of immeasurable, of incalculable, possibilities, of situations never contemplated by the trend of Evolution. Man is a marine monster; when he decided that it would be better for him somehow to live on land, he had to grow lungs instead of gills. When we want to travel over soft snow, we have to invent ski; when we wish to exchange thoughts, we must arrange a conventional code of sounds, of knots in string, of carved or written characters—in a word—embark upon the boundless ocean of hieroglyphics or symbols of one sort or another. (Presently I shall have to explain the supreme importance of such systems; in fact, the Universe itself is not, and cannot be, anything but an arrangement of symbolic characters!)
Here we are, then, caught in a net of circumstances; if we are to do anything at all beyond automatic vegetative living, we must consciously apply ourselves to Magick, “the Science and Art” (let me remind you!) “of causing change to occur in conformity with the Will.” Observe that the least slackness or error means that things happen which do not thus conform; when this is so despite our efforts, we are (temporarily) baffled; when it is our own ignorance of what we ought to will, or lack of skill in adapting our means to the right end, then we set up a conflict in our own Nature: our act is suicidal. Such interior struggle is at the base of nearly all neuroses, as Freud recently “discovered”—as if this had not been taught, and taught without his massed errors, by the great teachers of the past! The Taoist doctrine, in particular, is most precise and most emphatic on this point; indeed, it may seem to some of us to overshoot the mark; for nothing is permissible in that scheme but frictionless adjustment and adaptation to circumstance. “Benevolence and righteousness” are actually deprecated! That any such ideas should ever have existed (says Lao-tse) is merely evidence of the universal disorder.
Taoist sectaries appear to assume that Perfection consists in the absence of any disturbance of the Stream of Nescience; and this is very much like the Buddhist idea of Nibbana.
Why should you study and practice Magick? Because you can't help doing it, and you had better do it well than badly.
(Aleister Crowley - Magick Without Tears)