From J. G. Bennett, Concerning Subud (1960)


Magic is a real power, and so far from belonging to a dead past, it has never been as widely practiced as at the present time, although it is called by other names.


Magic is the use of forces that act upon man through the lower parts of his nature.  They are material, from attraction exerted upon man by the energies of the material world.  They are properly called “Satanic forces” and those who employ them are black magicians;  vegetative forces, which are instincts and natural forces, and are associated with the color red;  animal, which are emotions and passions, associated with yellow;  and human, those which act through the nature of man himself, the white magicians.


In all magic without exception the action is by one man upon other men.  The human will is the directive influence, and the power to use it in this way depends upon special training and special knowledge.  This knowledge is not ‘occult’ or ‘transcendental’, for the lower forces are within range of our ordinary human understanding, and their laws can be discovered by observation and experience.


Magic always requires a surrender of freedom.  The magician acquires a special influence over his clients.  If he is a ‘white’ magician, his influence can be beneficial – upon the human level.  If he is a black magician, the soul of his client is brought under the dominion of Satanic forces, and any benefits he may receive are only on the level of material things.


To understand magic, we do not need to study the customs of savage tribes with their ‘medicine men’ and ‘witch doctors.’  Magic is practiced currently in all civilized countries.  It must be said – without any wish to cause offence – that nearly all form of advertisement is a form of black magic.  It acts upon people to take away their own judgment and initiative and induce them to act under the dictates of the magician – that is, the advertising expert.  Advertising makes use of the suggestibility inherent in all people that arises from their attachment to material possessions and all that belongs to this earthly life.  The essence of black magic is that it promises ‘something for nothing’ – usually in the form of ‘happiness.’  True happiness can only be achieved by the purification of our nature, i.e., through suffering.  But people are made to believe that they will be happier if they have one or more material possessions, or if they can be saved effort or trouble by the use of some ‘labor-saving’ device, or that they can have health by using some remedy that will make it unnecessary to change their own bad habits.


When objectively analyzed, all such means to influence people correspond exactly to the definition of black magic.  The same is true of all political and other propaganda that relies upon the desire of people to have more money, an easier life, and more personal security.  All political parties in all countries rely upon black magic to secure the support of the electorate.  Even those who sense and become sincerely aware that such methods of influencing people are satanical, cannot easily free themselves from their toils, because we are living in an age when black magic is the greatest force in the life of man.