Beware the BORG!!!
You can trace a constant pattern in the development of human belief. The beginnings of a new thread are always fresh, and evolutionary, and grow out of a dead stagnation, like a sapling sprouting from a dead tree trunk. They are willing to grow and accept new paths and learn new things. After a while, the sapling reaches its peak, the highest it will ever be. Then the decline begins. Disease sets in, the tree dies and eventually falls over. New trees take fertlizer from the rotting wood.
Religions, magical paths and other belief/knowledge systems are exactly like this. Let's use neopaganism as an example. The neopagan community as it is today basically started in the late 19th and early 20th century with the classicist revival and all the "secret" societies that arose from it. Then came Wicca with Gerald Gardner in the 1940's. Once that jumped the pond to the states it started a further explosion on BOTH sides of the Atlantic and eventually spread round the world as a common phenomenon.
You can look at each and every group as an individual, or you can see the entire modern magical movement as a whole--and with both you can see this exact same pattern. Early on, there's that novelty, that escape from the same old shit, that causes experimentation and striking out in new directions. But no one escapes the eventual stagnation. Look at the present state of the Caliphate OTO. (Anyone who knows the tale of the demise of the former Whiskey Rebellion camp in Pittsburgh, or at least the lurid rumors surrounding it, knows what I'm talking about). Look at where neopaganism is going. We have people trying to form churches with litanies and hierarchies. (OTOH, not every pagan church is that way--Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary being a good example of organization with flexibility.) We have dogma--look at how many people act as if the Threefold Law and Wiccan rede and the modern bastardized version of Karma are practically holy writ. We have people saying, "Well, you CAN'T do magic THIS way--it's WRONG!" or "That's IMPOSSIBLE because no one else has EVER done it that way!" or "Only OLD mythologies are REAL mythologies."
Which is complete bullshit.
Evolution of the Universe, the species and the individual ALL thrive on experimentation and novelty. That is the nature of evolution--expansion into previously uncharted territory. A species that doesn't evolve eventually dies out. Adaptablity is the key to survival. That is why wolves are endangered and coyotes have expanded their traditional territory--one survives better on human grounds than the other.
There will always be the majority of people who take a movement, suck it dry of all meaning and potential growth, preserve it and thereby kill it. Doesn't matter if it's magick, art, music, whatever. I knew Punk had run its course when I went to Hell-Mart and saw a t-shirt with "PUNK ROCK" printed on it. Sure there are still punks out there, but the movement as it was has been assimilated by the mainstream. And so it happens with magic. Wicca's getting there. It's becoming a standard set of rules and ideas, to be constantly rehashed with a different flavor by various authors looking to make a quick buck. We have Wicca for Women, Wicca for Men, Wicca for Lover, Wicca for Gays, Wicca for Teenagers--the list goes on. Nobody's saying anything that hasn't been said before, though--take away the flavorings and you just have the same stuff. It's like the infamous DJ Conway who wrote the same book three times and just plugged in different cultural references into each.
This is why magical experimentation is so important. This is why it is vital that practicing magicians--the ones who are actually enthused about *Magic*, not just socialization or religion--be open to new ideas and try new ideas. Because once you stop growing and experimenting the BORG of mainstream society is gonna get ya--and one day you'll wake up and wonder what the fuck happened to you.
OK, so it's not humour, but it's still good.