4 Ways Magic Affects Morality

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

Magic can affect the world in many ways and today I want to talk about morality.

How does magic affect society’s moral compass and values? How is the individual affected by a magic-dominated world?

These questions and more is what I hope to answer for worldbuilders and magic lovers.

I wrote this with magic in mind but it can work with other power systems.

Lack of Equality (Both Opportunity and Outcome)

Even if everyone magic, there will still be winners and losers. Unlike on our planet, it would be much worse. The gap between the weak and strong would be ridiculous.

There’s goes equality of outcome.

Opportunity depends more on your specific story. If magic is like science then opportunity can work if society lets it. Otherwise, magic works like talent. Not everyone will have the same opportunity to improve.

The gifted and chosen will go on to succeed while the rest linger in failure. It’s worse if you get specific magic at birth.

An example is a mage who wants to summon but can only use elemental magic. The old story of someone talented in something they don’t like.

Equal opportunity wasn’t stolen by society but by of chance.

There goes equality of opportunity.

It gets worse for those at the bottom.

Power First

Money and status already have a strong influence on society. They aren’t gods but they still command power like one.

Now imagine a world where these same people had magical powers. If you’ve read the rest of my posts, you can see how this can get out of hand.

You can fix this a bit if magic works like science. But instead of corrupt celebrities and politicians, we’ll have crazy scientists. Which is worse is up to you.

Either way, the only to succeed in a world with magic is to become powerful. This will lead to a few powerful people controlling the fate of the world.

“Might controls everything and without strength, you can not protect anything. Let alone yourself.” — Vergil (Devil May Cry)

No world proves that right than magic-dominated worlds. It’s worse for worlds where magic is not gifted to everyone.

When everyone is looking to protect themselves, it’s harder to find someone to trust.

Decrease of Trust

If your story uses illusion, erotic, or invisibility magic, then trust is rare.

Erotic magic can destroy any idea of love or romance. You can just take it whenever.

Illusion lets you lie about reality and alter perception. The problems are impossible to list here.

Invisibility is too easy to abuse. Remember the movie Hollow Man?

This is one time where women are the most affected.

If anti-magic isn’t developed then everyone would become paranoid.

Let’s say your story doesn’t have those magic types. It would still be hard to trust people when everyone is power-hungry.

The world of business is cutthroat and this wouldn’t be any different. In a world like that, the only moral thing is to defend yourself.

Those that don’t want to play this cruel game will leave society and live in isolation. Think of magical hermits in the forests, done with the society of magic.

Okay, I think that’s enough of the dark and depressing effects, how about something hopeful?

Greater Chance for Change/Heroes are Born

You might be thinking:

“Wow, having magic in the world sounds like a terrible idea.”

It would be, but there’s one thing that makes it worth it. In our world, it takes millions of people to make just an inch of change, if that. In a world of magic, it only takes a small group or 1 person.

Magic gives the voice and power to people who otherwise wouldn’t have it. If that person also happens to have strong morals then they can change the world for the better.

They would still have to deal with the last 3 effects but there are bound to be at least a few people that succeed. That’s all the world needs, a few heroes to right the wrongs.

All they need is willpower, strong morals, and a pinch of luck. Because of this, the chance for meaningful change increases. You don’t need connections if you have a big enough fireball.

There’s only one problem.

If there’s a hero, a villain is not far behind. So the cycle of violence continues.

But overall, it depends on how dark your story is.

Conclusion

Sorry if this was a bit depressing but looking at the situation realistically, this would be the effects of magic.

Morality would degrade and only survival would be important. Magic can allow heroes to bring it back from the brink but it’s a never-ending fight.

With effects like this, no wonder the world of magic is hidden a lot. Either that or a demon kings/monsters are attacking so no time to screw each other over.

All of this only affects your writing if you want to focus on it. Many stories ignore the effects of magic on society. You can too, depending on what your story needs.

Now I have a question for you. If you could wish for everyone to have magic, would you?

What about a select few people? Who would deserves this power?

With that, I’m done.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store