Atoms and molecules, cells, -all matter- minerals, plants, and of course what we normally recognize as sentient life, is imbued with chitta (mind-stuff), in varying degrees. There is nothing that is truly "dead" in this sense, in all of Creation. Do you recall my relating how higher Will is found maintaining the force that is flowing into and sustaining every anu in existence? Simply put, Life exists in all things. The Force is real; it was real, long, long, time ago, well before it recently became a mere Hollywood cliché. That is the source of this "mind", which, though it may be termed consciousness, it is not consciousness in the same way that Man is conscious. It is not a functional consciousness.
Atoms do not think deep thoughts. When freed from an "uncomfortable" or awkward bonding arrangement, an atom might give a tiny sigh of relief, sort of like saying, "whew." But it lacks will of its own; it is far further on the evolutionary path of Life's progress that Will appears. Instead, atoms behave "instinctively" (to stretch the term). The "instinct" which they perfectly obey is what we call the natural laws of physics. There is no willful action in any of this, on their part. Yet the life force is within them, they have a form of consciousness.
Well, of course, the ORMEs are preoccupied, and a bit irritated, by a strong magnetic field. As I have elaborated, anything above Hc2 cuts off their interatomic conversations, it encroaches on their space. Is there any wonder then, that their attention is riveted to it when a magnet is brought near? So; does that make it unethical to bring a magnet near ORMEs? No, it certainly does not.
Deep within the earth, where the ORMEs were created and remained for ages, the magnetic field is far, far more intense than it is here on the surface. They were immersed in that field for eons, much stronger than for a tiny Radio Shack special. It is all just part of the job description that come with being an atom, like "fish must live in the water". It is about the same as the atmosphere is to us. It can be calm, or there can be wind. We notice the wind. We like it calm better. But wind is not unethical, imposing itself upon us. If it is too windy to talk, we will just have to wait until it is calm again to resume conversing.
Your & J's sensitivity to the consciousness of elements is very laudable, but J need not worry about trapping souls, or you of disturbing atomic ecology. In general, *any* dealing that less evolved life or matter has with Man, aids in its evolutionary progress, whether the interaction be positive or negative (as we might judge it). It *all* creates an impetus, propelling their development forward that much faster. The same is true when applied to us, when we experience contact from more advanced life --which is, for us too, often unawares. (This is to be understood, as the Big Picture is viewed, and not from the standpoint of isolated incidents.)
In order to grow, you must *experience*. You (or the ORMEs in a flowing stream) do not grow, have no realization of the potential to grow, unless there is some stimulus to react to. It is the delta, the difference between Shiva and Shakti, Yin and Yang, that makes the Universe work. When there is no gradient, no potential difference, it is all linear. Nothing interesting happens. Nothing grows. It is all Status Quo. A non-accelerating system; only random collisions.
To the little ORMEs, feeling a magnetic field changing in ways they've never seen in millions of years, certainly will be "confusing" ! It is something new. If you consider your actual reactions while riding on a roller coaster, they may include fear, uncertainty, a primal threat to your well being, and various forms of physical discomfort. Is this bad? No! It is FUN! Believe me... afterwards, those little ORMEs wouldn't trade a ride through one of J's traps for a chance to get blown 3 miles high, out a volcano!
Remember, I keep telling you to lighten up. Things are not as serious as you think. The Universe really *DOES* enjoy itself.
In lieu of "irritated", I would suggest the word is "tickled". When someone is tickling you, giving you the old hand buzzer joke, or when you are experiencing an orgasm, would you say you are "preoccupied" by the sensation? You may reflexively want to jump, to leap away from the stimulus, if too intense. (Did a bell ring?) You may call it irritating, but it makes you laugh, doesn't it? An orgasm is kind of hard to do without something like a tickle in the right spot. Don't worry about the ORMEs. They'll get even, when its their turn to tickle you.