I've mellowed out a lot in my old age. I look back at some of the shit I used to rant about, and I smile indulgently or roll my eyes. Who was that girl? So angry! So intent on dispelling misinformation! So determined to prove that she was right, goddammit! Yes, young!me was one of those poor fools who engaged in arguments on the internet, about paganism and magic no less, and who honestly thought you could win.
I'm older now, and I've come to realise that 90% of the time if you meet someone happy in their ignorance? They're not going to listen to a goddamn thing you say if it contradicts their preconceived notions. Facts will be paid attention to only if supports their idealised reality. (This is of course not limited to the occult community. Durr.) So in general I try not to engage with people who are borderline trolling, making dumbshit statements that are supposed to make them look intelligent and formidable.
But every so often... there comes a person who just makes you stop and go...
Look, I'm not here to educate the whole world on HOLY TRUTHS OMFG(tm) or to piss all over somebody else's belief system. You think the whole world was shat out of the Cosmic Gila Monster's asshole? More power to ya. Hell, it might explain a few things. But when you engage other people in debate on a forum or in the real world, you can't expect that stating ideas as fact instead of theory will go over terribly well. And you cannot realistically expect people to believe a fucking word you say when you keep claiming knowledge while you display that, in fact, you don't know shit.
I may have been a mouthy little bitch when I was younger, but at least I knew when to shut the fuck up and say, "yo, I really don't know what I'm talking about."
In occult circles, you always find at least one person who refuses to do that. There's always one guy or gal who will doggedly brag about their SPOOKY POWERZ that 90% of the time have to do with raising and binding nasty entities (demons, 'dark fae', djinn, fallen angels... whatever sounds cool, really) while at the same time displaying an almost magnificent lack of understanding of what any semi-proficient magical practitioner would consider occult basics.
The motivation for pulling this sort of stunt tends to be pure ego. The sort of person who does this shit (and I have known some personally) is the sort who wants desperately to be considered highly intelligent and powerful. Whether the root cause is poor self esteem, parents who didn't hug them enough, or whatever, the end result is always annoying, and sometimes frustrating to the point of causing perfectly decent human beings to start swearing at their computer monitors.
So, I suppose if your goal is to make people lose their cool? Good job! You did it, you won! GO YOU.
But, ultimately, the only thing you prove when you persist in insisting you're an adept when you clearly couldn't magic your way out of a paper bag soaked in hobo urine is that you're a moron.
Not much of a victory, that.
When I was younger, I would try to tease the truth out of the tangled web of over-inflated claims. I would argue tirelessly, convinced that deep down everyone wants to learn and grow. These days I find that yes, I'll still engage, but only up to a point.
Because sometimes, you gotta figure the only appropriate response to stupidity is bitchface.