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Aleister Crowley and 'magical fascism'  

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 Anonymous
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07/06/2011 10:06 pm  
"Los" wrote:
"Keith418" wrote:
Given Crowley's remarkable prescience in this passage, can we then safely suggest that, were he alive today, he would be a True Liberal, that he would advocate for "drug free zones" and "safe sex" and Affirmative Action and the rigorous enforcement of ADA laws; that he would love home, NPR, and egalitarianism; that he would believe in environmentalism, "Green consumerism" (and that he would conscientiously drive a hybrid), believe in socially conscious investing, "National Service" legislation, The New York Times, progress, and therapy, and that he would dote on Maya Angelou, democracy, and multiculturalism, that he would demand adherence to the Patriot Act, Civil Rights legislation, and stricter gun control laws; that he would bend his head to all authorities, his back to labour (and labour unions), etc.?

Keith, you seem to be suggesting that in order to be a Thelemite, one cannot support or like any of those things. Is this the case?

If it is, how do you reconcile that belief with the fact that Thelema is an entirely individual philosophy that is unconnected to politics?

This should read, "how do you reconcile that belief with the belief that Thelema is an entirely individual philosophy that is unconnected to politics?" Crowley did not agree, nor do a large number of others.

Sounds like an excuse to retain personal political beliefs despite the fact that they contradict the principles of the Law of Thelema, while continuing to self-identify as a Thelemite.


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Michael Staley
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08/06/2011 12:14 am  
"Camlion" wrote:
Sounds like an excuse to retain personal political beliefs despite the fact that they contradict the principles of the Law of Thelema, while continuing to self-identify as a Thelemite.

What principles do you have in mind, Camlion? I'd always supposed that the Law of Thelema was enshrined in the phrases "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" and "Love is the law, love under will", though doubtless you and your friend Keith will correct my misapprehension.


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 Anonymous
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08/06/2011 12:58 am  
"MichaelStaley" wrote:
"Camlion" wrote:
Sounds like an excuse to retain personal political beliefs despite the fact that they contradict the principles of the Law of Thelema, while continuing to self-identify as a Thelemite.

What principles do you have in mind, Camlion? I'd always supposed that the Law of Thelema was enshrined in the phrases "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" and "Love is the law, love under will", though doubtless you and your friend Keith will correct my misapprehension.

It must, by necessity, be a bit more complicated than that, I'm afraid, Michael. If, for example, "Do what thou wilt" is interpreted as "Do what you want," it changes AC's interpretation of true Will... if fact, it nullifies it. So, you see, things are not so simple in practical application as saying that they are "enshrined" in those phrases.


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Michael Staley
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08/06/2011 1:11 am  
"Camlion" wrote:
It must, by necessity, be a bit more complicated than that, I'm afraid, Michael. If, for example, "Do what thou wilt" is interpreted as "Do what you want," it changes AC's interpretation of true Will... if fact, it nullifies it. So, you see, things are not so simple in practical application as saying that they are "enshrined" in those phrases.

However, we're not interpreting "do what thou wilt" as "do what you want". So what else do you and your friend Keith have in mind?


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 Anonymous
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08/06/2011 1:28 am  
"MichaelStaley" wrote:
"Camlion" wrote:
It must, by necessity, be a bit more complicated than that, I'm afraid, Michael. If, for example, "Do what thou wilt" is interpreted as "Do what you want," it changes AC's interpretation of true Will... if fact, it nullifies it. So, you see, things are not so simple in practical application as saying that they are "enshrined" in those phrases.

However, we're not interpreting "do what thou wilt" as "do what you want". So what else do you and your friend Keith have in mind?

Well, I can't speak for Keith, I hardly know him, but what I have in mind is that government's role in our lives should be to assure the optimum level of freedom and independence to each individual, and thereafter to provide for the general security of the population with minimal invasion of privacy. In general, the antithesis of freedom and independence are to be considered the natural enemies of the state, etc, etc, etc.

Now, you say that we're not interpreting "do what thou wilt" as "do what you want," but how can I be sure how you're interpreting that phrase? It's really quite an assumption, if you think about it.

Anyway, would you agree or disagree with the opening paragraph of my post?


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Los
 Los
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08/06/2011 3:28 am  

The Book is pretty explicit: "There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt." It doesn't say, "There is no law beyod Do what thou wilt, oh, except for the law that says you shouldn't support Civil Rights legislation or gun control laws or a universal health care system."

Only an utter and complete fool would interpret "Do what thou wilt" to mean "everybody has to have the same political opinions that I do."


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Falcon
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08/06/2011 8:28 am  

There is a place for the wolf and the sheep, the strong and the weak, masters and slaves in the balance of the natural order, just as we cannot comprehend light without darkness.

The OTO (UK) have recommended I read the book 'Aleister Crowley and the Temptation of Politics' by Marco Pasi, which documents the Great Beast's views on fascism. Have any Lashtal members read it?


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Patriarch156
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08/06/2011 8:50 am  
"Los" wrote:
The Book is pretty explicit: "There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt." It doesn't say, "There is no law beyod Do what thou wilt, oh, except for the law that says you shouldn't support Civil Rights legislation or gun control laws or a universal health care system."

Only an utter and complete fool would interpret "Do what thou wilt" to mean "everybody has to have the same political opinions that I do."

While I appreciate and accept that this is your particular take on the Book of the Law, Crowley certainly was of a different point of view as far as politics and the Law of Thelema were concerned. To him the book was supremely political. As he notes in a letter from July 31st 1936:

"I wanted to go into the question of the Book of the Law very thoroughly. It is a great mistake to associate the book with anything like what is usually called ‘Occultism’.

The main point is to reflect that everything is going to smash all over the world for lack of a universally accepted principle as a basis of conduct and government."

After going into how the Law of Thelema gives one such a principle since it is "infinitely adaptable to all conditions, and independent of all errors in the factual terms to which it may be applied."

In a letter dated november 6th 1942 he notes concerning the practical applications of the Law which addresses your own quote:

“Law: ‘thou hast no right but to do thy will’. In our system offence is reduced to a single idea: it is ‘wrong’ to deprive another of what is his."

In his writings he outlines the importance of educational reform, support of expecting Mothers and Children, and legislation reform on the basis of the Law of Thelema (including the right to bear arms, tyrannicide, free market, a night watchman state and yes as Keith has pointed out not only to Nietzsche and Gobineau but also thinkers such as Ludovici.

While you might disagree with his conclusions, it is rather clear that Crowley himself was one of these fools that you refer to (it was the mainstay and increasingly so of much of his thoughts and activities after 1916 e.v.). After all in a letter dated February 9th 1943 he notes concerning the importance of writing and distributing several new pamphlets for distribution which would address the relation to education, Fascism and Communism, the various levels of society from the individual to the societal level and a criticism of Christianity:

"1) The Law of Thelema is the golden mean between the two opposing totalitarian methods.
2) The Law of Thelema as the responsible means of government.
3) Desuetude of the old sanctions over parochialism. Thelema is based on facts equally true for all men, and is the only convincing excuse for government at all. The man himself answers the question “Why should I?”
4) Thelema is each man’s guide in life, his righteousness, his root of confidence.
5) Education. To depend on the will of the child whuch guided by skilled observation.
6) The master-slave dichotomy.
7) Why Christianity is useless."

In short I don't think your categorical assertion concerning the Law of Thelema being purely related to the individual and that it has no relation to politics holds up under the scrutiny of light. I certainly think that such ideas has a lot more foundation in Crowley's writings and principles for the Law of Thelema as he understood it than your own socalled skeptical (naive materialism and anti-occult) take on it.

Not that I would deny you the right to disagree with Crowley (after all I do that a lot myself), but that would be a far different question to answer than whether or not one can apply the Law of Thelema to education and politics.


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Patriarch156
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08/06/2011 8:55 am  
"Falcon" wrote:
There is a place for the wolf and the sheep, the strong and the weak, masters and slaves in the balance of the natural order, just as we cannot comprehend light without darkness.

The OTO (UK) have recommended I read the book 'Aleister Crowley and the Temptation of Politics' by Marco Pasi, which documents the Great Beast's views on fascism. Have any Lashtal members read it?

It is a reworked translation from his original book in Italian. I have read the german translation which is very good. It details Crowley's attempts at politics, including his clashes with traditionalists such as Rene Guenon and gives historical context to Crowley's opportunism in attempting to attract the favorable attention of both Fascists and Communists, despite maintaining at the same time that both, along with that of popular Democracy, were incompatible with the Law of Thelema. I certainly recomend everyone who are interested in these issues to read it.


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the_real_simon_iff
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08/06/2011 9:06 am  
"Falcon" wrote:
The OTO (UK) have recommended I read the book 'Aleister Crowley and the Temptation of Politics' by Marco Pasi, which documents the Great Beast's views on fascism. Have any Lashtal members read it?

93!

It is highly recommended. Especially for your interests. I - not an native English speaker - wrote some kind of "review" for it myself: http://www.lashtal.com/nuke/Reviews-req-showcontent-id-50.phtml

The book is written in German and although I thought it has been recently published in an English translation, Amazon says it will be only available on December 31, 2011.

Love=Law
Lutz


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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08/06/2011 9:58 am  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
"Falcon" wrote:
The OTO (UK) have recommended I read the book 'Aleister Crowley and the Temptation of Politics' by Marco Pasi, which documents the Great Beast's views on fascism. Have any Lashtal members read it?

93!

It is highly recommended. Especially for your interests. I - not an native English speaker - wrote some kind of "review" for it myself: http://www.lashtal.com/nuke/Reviews-req-showcontent-id-50.phtml

The book is written in German and although I thought it has been recently published in an English translation, Amazon says it will be only available on December 31, 2011.

Love=Law
Lutz

If by any chance you have Italian as a language, the book was originally published by FrancoAngeli as 'Aleister Crowley e la Tentazione della Politica'. And yes, I heartily recommend it, especially if you're interested, as it seems you are, in his relationship with political discourse and political exponents he met during his lifetime. Extremely well researched and, although rigorously academic, a clear and tantalizing read.


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Falcon
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08/06/2011 11:58 am  

Many thanks.

I will certainly pre- order the English language version more nearer the publication date. I have been to Italy a few times; Venice, Grado and Asiago, I picked up a bit of the language from reading local newspapers, but I am not fluent.


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Los
 Los
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08/06/2011 1:16 pm  
"Patriarch156" wrote:
it is rather clear that Crowley himself was one of these fools that you refer to

I have no problem accepting this. That Crowley could be a fool would be denied by no one, least of all by Crowley himself.

In short I don't think your categorical assertion concerning the Law of Thelema being purely related to the individual and that it has no relation to politics holds up under the scrutiny of light. I certainly think that such ideas has a lot more foundation in Crowley's writings and principles for the Law of Thelema as he understood it than your own socalled skeptical (naive materialism and anti-occult) take on it.

I agree that the policital ideas under discussion have more foundations in Crowley's writings, but not in Thelema itself, the central text of which asserts, "There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt."

Now, you -- and anyone else -- is welcome to go on record here and say that you think that there are some laws beyond Do what thou wilt that you think Thelemites need to follow in order to be considered Thelemites. Of course, Keith has already strongly implied that such laws exist, hence my jumping back into this thread.

I don't know about anyone else reading this thread, but I would sure be interested in seeing a list of the laws you think a Thelemite is supposed to follow -- perhaps a ten commandments for a new aeon -- in order to be considered a Thelemite (or a "sincere Thelemite" or a "true Thelemite" or whatever term you want to use).

From where I sit, the position that some people on this thread are advocating sounds suspiciously like an insistence that individuals have to follow certain laws, subscribe to certain beliefs, and support particular causes -- or at least not support certain other causes -- in order to be considered Thelemites. And that's just about as ass-backward as a person could possibly get from a system whose sole principle is Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. "Whole." That's the entirety of the Law. It's not, "Do what thou wilt shall be the law, as long as what you will is in step with the political beliefs of your Thelemic mystical masters."

Now I've got no probem with people adopting Crowley's politics if they want, but if you're going to insist that everybody who calls themselves a Thelemite -- oh, sorry, that's "sincere Thelemite," isn't it? -- needs to adopt his politics, then I have to question how "sincerely" you accept that There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.


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Keith418
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08/06/2011 3:30 pm  
"Camlion" wrote:
As for from quoting Liber I, especially a single paragraph out of context - or really at all in a general discussion such as this one, it is good to remember that this is very specialized sort of Holy Book, as are several of the others, imo.

I think it's important to put the quote in context. So how do we do that? What context for it do we find for it?

The first question, of course, would be to see whether or not Crowley describes Jews as "servile" elsewhere. He does in at least two places I can find immediately:

"The Jew has been persecuted so relentlessly that his survival has depended on the development of his worst qualities; avarice, servility, falseness, cunning and the rest."

This is from "Confessions" chapter 54.

"The Jew, living so long on sufferance, by subterfuge, servility, and self-effacement, has taught his tricks to the whole world. "

This is from "The Jewish Problem Re-Stated."

This sort of "context" is going to put people in a difficult position. They can hardly assert the primacy of the "Class A" Holy Books and dismiss just "one paragraph" or "one line" when it offends them. If they start picking and choosing, then they can get rid of whole chapters, like the third chapter of Liber Al or whole books. Where will it end? All the picking and choosing will look as if Thelema is being tailored to fit liberal, egalitarian values. If that's the dominant set of values, the set of values that dictates the picking and the choosing, then people's highest values and loyalties are revealed in the process. How could they not be?

On the other hand, it's also going to be hard for people to attack Crowley when he says these kinds of things in non Class A texts, but simultaneously assert that they "believe" them when he says the same thing in a "Class A" text. Can anyone have it both ways? I'm sure they can try, but we will have to forgive honest people for being skeptical about their efforts.

You can either try to make Thelema fit the world, or you can try to make the world acquiesce to Thelema, but can you do both? Are people seeking to reconcile themselves to Thelema, or are they seeking to make Thelema fit their pre-existing values and beliefs?


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Patriarch156
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08/06/2011 4:59 pm  
"Los" wrote:
I have no problem accepting this. That Crowley could be a fool would be denied by no one, least of all by Crowley himself.

Naturally, but he would deny that his ideas of politics as founded on the Law of Thelema would be him being a fool (in the pejorative sense). Your assertion of his concurment are because of this essentially irrelevant, unless you are attempting to knock down a straw-man by attempting to declare that even Crowley can be wrong (i.e. foolish) and hence we should be allowed to disagree with him. But that was something I already went to great lengths to assert in my initial response.

That being said, I think you are drawing a false dilemma when declaring that since there is no Law beyond do what thou wilt, there can be no other things that one should adhere to. While it is true that there are no other Law, this Law may have an application to several different domains, including legislation which would decree a lesser law. Moreover that very Book directs us to Crowley's commetary, as he makes perfectly clear in the Comment called D:

"666 to comment on AL to guard against false interpretations. I comment on this Book, lest there be folly; for many are the Secret Sayings and obscure in the text thereof. It would be easy for the clever and the crafty to distort the true meaning of Aiwass so as to suit their own conceits, as hath been seen of old time in the cases of the Words of the Masters, the Q'uran, and the so-called Scriptures of the Christians."

While I am not so orthodox that I would want to shun people (as Crowley would have us do) who would disagree with the above and prefer to peddle their own interpretations of the Book of the Law, I think it is more than a little disingenious to claim ownership of what constitutes Thelema the way you do, when in actual fact all you are doing is using Thelema as a platform to peddle your own ideas.

You are attempting to interpret the Book of the Law in ways that I do not really understand why that should hold any particular relevance for me at all. I am not sure who gives you the authority to interpret the a book that not only is regarded by Thelema (though obviously not you) as the utterance of Praterhuman Intelligence, but more importantly express itself through allegory, symbol and poetry, in a way that would determine conclusively its meaning for anyone but yourself.

If it is the utterance of a Praeterhuman Intelligence that Crowley was in contact with, then obviously he is the best one suited to discern its meanings to the extent that this was allowed for. If it was the utterance of himself either through fraudulent work or delusion, then again he is the best one suited to discern its meanings.

If you decide to treat it as a work of art, whose meaning is essentially inspirational, then noone but the one reading it is the best one suited to discern its meanings.

It seems to me that you want to have it both ways when you insist on that Thelema has a specific meaning, and then conveniently chose to adopt your own extremely particular and not at all representative (not even as evaluated by Crowley's own writings) take on it, when there really is absolutely no reason as to why we should accept your conclusions as to the actual meaning of the Book of the Law.

Now I've got no probem with people adopting Crowley's politics if they want, but if you're going to insist that everybody who calls themselves a Thelemite -- oh, sorry, that's "sincere Thelemite," isn't it? -- needs to adopt his politics, then I have to question how "sincerely" you accept that There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.

I am not aware of having ever declared that someone needs to do anything in order to be called a Thelemite, sincere or not, in this discussion, be it its obvious occult, educational, psychological applications and certainly not that anyone has to adopt the politics that Crowley outlined when applying the Law to this domain of knowledge.

As far as I am concerned a Thelemite is someone who has accepted the Book of the Law, neither more nor less, a definition Crowley himself advocated and has the benefit of being open enough of an category to include everyone who approach the Book of the Law, be it people who are into self-development of the occult type (most people) or the secular type (which you and Erwin remains vocal exponents of at this forum), or neither. Be they teachers, scientists, artists, politicians, philosophers and so on. The Law is after all supposedly for All.


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 Anonymous
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08/06/2011 7:48 pm  
"Los" wrote:
Now I've got no probem with people adopting Crowley's politics if they want, but if you're going to insist that everybody who calls themselves a Thelemite -- oh, sorry, that's "sincere Thelemite," isn't it? -- needs to adopt his politics, then I have to question how "sincerely" you accept that There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.

I can't imagine that we need adopt particulars of his political beliefs, but it does seem that Thelema does lead logically to certain political ideas. But if we believe "Do what thou wilt", then wouldn't that lead us to a belief in the supremacy of the individual Will? If so, then wouldn't that lead us away from any political beliefs that demand the subordination of the individual to the group? Wouldn't that then preclude egalitarianism?


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 Anonymous
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08/06/2011 8:29 pm  
"jmiller" wrote:
I can't imagine that we need adopt particulars of his political beliefs, but it does seem that Thelema does lead logically to certain political ideas. But if we believe "Do what thou wilt", then wouldn't that lead us to a belief in the supremacy of the individual Will? If so, then wouldn't that lead us away from any political beliefs that demand the subordination of the individual to the group?

This a clear, logical, obvious extension of the Law of Thelema into the realm of practical application.

I'm sure that this fact contradicts the "pretty picture" that some of us have of ourselves and the world, but this Law is based on the irrefutable facts of nature and the Universe, and there is no sense at all in clinging to one's "pretty pictures," especially when we harshly criticize others for doing the same thing in other contexts.


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Los
 Los
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08/06/2011 9:28 pm  
"Patriarch156" wrote:
I am not sure who gives you the authority to interpret the a book [...] in a way that would determine conclusively its meaning for anyone but yourself.

I give myself that authority, by virtue of my ability to read.

Any time that any person interprets any text -- that is, when a person tries to discover what's actually written in the text and what it means -- that person is making a claim about what the text is actually saying. You can disagree with the interpretation. You can try to find textual evidence that contradicts that interpretation, or you can try to find logical flaws in that interpretation, but the one thing you cannot do -- if you don't want to contradict yourself -- is say that every person can interpret the text only for himself or herself.

If you try to argue that a person can interpret a text only for himself or herself, then -- by your own logic -- your own interpretation of the Book of the Law is only for yourself, and you have no grounds for telling me that my interpretation -- which includes the idea that I'm interpreting what the book is actually saying -- is wrong.

Further, if someone wants to create a political philosophy around the law of Thelema, then that person must believe that it is possible for an interpreter to discover what the Law of Thelema actually is. If the law of Thelema means something different for everyone -- and no interpreter can claim to know what it actually is -- then it's impossible for someone to develop a political application of that law.

That being said, I think you are drawing a false dilemma when declaring that since there is no Law beyond do what thou wilt, there can be no other things that one should adhere to.

If you are saying "Do what thou wilt....except that you should do X, Y, and Z," then you're saying one of two things:

1) You're saying that X, Y, and Z are necessarily part of the true will of every individual on earth, which seems exceedingly unlikely when we're talking about something like political preferences (and not, say, the need to eat and breathe). And not only does it seem unlikely, it presumes to know the will of everyone else.

or

2) You're saying that a person should do X, Y, or Z no matter what his or her true will actually is, which would be a direct contradiction of the Law of Thelema, which holds that There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.

So take your pick -- you can be wrong either way.


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Los
 Los
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08/06/2011 9:31 pm  
"jmiller" wrote:
I can't imagine that we need adopt particulars of his political beliefs, but it does seem that Thelema does lead logically to certain political ideas. But if we believe "Do what thou wilt", then wouldn't that lead us to a belief in the supremacy of the individual Will? If so, then wouldn't that lead us away from any political beliefs that demand the subordination of the individual to the group? Wouldn't that then preclude egalitarianism?

No, it wouldn't.

If you believe "Do what thou wilt," then you believe in doing your will and not giving a rat's ass about anything else, including the idea that certain laws are inherently a bad thing.

For example, let's say that we have a Thelemite who has a racial background that qualifies him, under certain liberal legislation, to receive a great deal of government assistance to obtain an education and that he decides it is extremely likely that receiving this assistance will 1) make it more likely for him to be able to attain the educational level he desires and, 2) upon attaining the eductional level he desires, make it more likely for him to obtain a job that he wants.

Such an individual would probably very much want to elect politicians who are going to support this liberal legislation because it would be an extremely practical way for him to accomplish his will, and he would in no way be required to give a flying fuck about whether the law is "Thelemic" or whether or not he would be "restricting the wills" of others (oh boo hoo, play me the world's smallest violin).

Similarly, any Thelemite who prefers living in a society where, for example, the market is regulated so as to try to prevent corporate ripoff artists from flushing the world's economy down the sewer again is entitled to vote however he likes and simply not care what anybody else thinks about it or whose precious "will" might encounter difficulties in the process.

Believing that "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" means exactly that -- that the entirety of the law is to do your will and not to care about the will of anyone else. It isn't a belief that "everyone's individual will is supreme." It's the belief that the individual in question should be guided by his will and only his will.


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Los
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08/06/2011 9:44 pm  
"jmiller" wrote:
then wouldn't that lead us away from any political beliefs that demand the subordination of the individual to the group? Wouldn't that then preclude egalitarianism?

While I'm on the subject, a Thelemite might judge that it would be easiest to carry out his will if most people in society were sheep who were kept busy with the task of trying to "fit it" and thus didn't get in the Thelemite's way.

Such a Thelemite could support social policies that, in his estimation, reduced people to sheep as part of a practical strategy for making it easier to do his own will.

The idea that certain political preferences must necessarily follow from Thelema is wrong. The only thing that follows from Thelema is an adherence to one's own will.


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 Anonymous
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08/06/2011 10:02 pm  
"Los" wrote:
The idea that certain political preferences must necessarily follow from Thelema is wrong. The only thing that follows from Thelema is an adherence to one's own will.

It's not as if someone were saying, "According to the Law of Thelema, it's okay to keep cats but not dogs." The principles of individual freedom and independence guaranty one's right to do, and the power to do, one's true Will, just as slavery and dependence deny those rights and powers. This is really very elementary.


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Patriarch156
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08/06/2011 10:41 pm  
"Los" wrote:
Any time that any person interprets any text -- that is, when a person tries to discover what's actually written in the text and what it means -- that person is making a claim about what the text is actually saying. You can disagree with the interpretation. You can try to find textual evidence that contradicts that interpretation, or you can try to find logical flaws in that interpretation, but the one thing you cannot do -- if you don't want to contradict yourself -- is say that every person can interpret the text only for himself or herself.

If you try to argue that a person can interpret a text only for himself or herself, then -- by your own logic -- your own interpretation of the Book of the Law is only for yourself, and you have no grounds for telling me that my interpretation -- which includes the idea that I'm interpreting what the book is actually saying -- is wrong.

Further, if someone wants to create a political philosophy around the law of Thelema, then that person must believe that it is possible for an interpreter to discover what the Law of Thelema actually is. If the law of Thelema means something different for everyone -- and no interpreter can claim to know what it actually is -- then it's impossible for someone to develop a political application of that law.

You are engaging in the fallacy of knocking down a straw-man again. While this must be very pleasing to your Khu as you would perhaps put it, it does not really reflect reality.

I haven't really said that noone can know what the Law of Thelema means. I certainly would agree that one could derive nothing but idiosyncratic principles (like your secular approach to it) from it of one approached it as inspirational art. Nor have I claimed that you trying to interpret the Book of the Law for others is wrong. I certainly haven't interpreted the Book of the Law for you, but rather Crowley's own commentary to the Book.

My point was that you are trying to have it both ways, not that you can't have it neither way.

If you are saying "Do what thou wilt....except that you should do X, Y, and Z," then you're saying one of two things:

1) You're saying that X, Y, and Z are necessarily part of the true will of every individual on earth, which seems exceedingly unlikely when we're talking about something like political preferences (and not, say, the need to eat and breathe). And not only does it seem unlikely, it presumes to know the will of everyone else.

or

2) You're saying that a person should do X, Y, or Z no matter what his or her true will actually is, which would be a direct contradiction of the Law of Thelema, which holds that There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.

So take your pick -- you can be wrong either way.

You are engaging in the fallacy of a false dilemma again. The above only holds true if I accept your extremely particular and non-representative reading of the Book of the Law, which I don't. This particular reading certainly doesn't reflect that of Crowley. It isn't even all that reflective of the general view on the Law of Thelema (which seems to be IME more directed towards the occult self-development vein which you seem to despise).

I do realize that you claim authoriative ability as far as interpreting a piece of work that expresses itself through poetry, symbols and allegories, what I am saying is that you really have no grounds to make such authoriative claims as to its meaning for anyone but yourself the way you are going about it.

As I pointed out, if Crowley was right and AL was dictated to him by a Praeterhuman Intelligence, something that you have declared as being highly unlikely and leaning more towards fraud, then Crowley as being in contact with him would be the best authoriative source as to the meaning of the words (an argument he himself put forth in the Equinox of the Gods and which additionally has as I pointed out above basis in the text of AL itself as Crowley interpreted it).

If however he was engaging, as you have suggested, in fraud, or for that matter he was delusional (ie he believed erroneously that he was in communication with this Praeterhuman Intelligences that controlled the spiritual destinies of the world and was capable of creating world wars), then he would still be the best authoriative source as to the meaning of the words of AL.

If however it is merely an inspirational text, then anyone's reading of the Book is as good as the other one for themselves, since then there would be no actual meaning inherent in the text but rather something we put in there ourselves. This would then jive more (as in the case with the occult self-development views on the text as represented by what seems to be the majority of the people that are active here) or less (as in the case of your own decidedly secular take on it all) with that of Crowley. There is however no right or wrong about it and it certainly is silly to start arguing percentages (but if you were then you would loose to the occultists here).

As far as I can see you are basically using Thelema as a platform to peddle your own ideas, retrofitting Thelema and apropriating its terms to fit your own particular point of view of Man and his place in nature. While there is nothing inherently wrong with that according to my point of view (though Crowley would have us shun you for this rejection of his authority to interpret the Book of the Law), this undercuts the very same authoriative claims you are trying to make in so far as Thelema being purely an individual thing with no relation to politics.

So to summarize: you can't have it both ways.


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Los
 Los
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09/06/2011 4:20 pm  
"Patriarch156" wrote:

If however it is merely an inspirational text, then anyone's reading of the Book is as good as the other one for themselves, since then there would be no actual meaning inherent in the text but rather something we put in there ourselves.

I don't know where you're getting this idea that "inspirational" texts, in the sense of symbolic or poetic texts, have "no actual meaning inherent in the text" while other kinds of texts do have such an "actual meaning."

Let's take Paradise Lost, for example. It's a poem and thus "inspirational," and it has a number of elements that could be considered symbolic.

But you can't say that Paradise Lost has "no actual meaning inherent in the text." It clearly does -- it has a discernable plot, discernable epic allusions, speeches that have a discernable function in its narrative, clear structure, etc. If someone came along and said, "Well, Paradise Lost means, to me, an allegory for man landing on the moon," they could demonstrated to be wrong by reference to the text.

Now this isn't to say that there can't be legitimate disagreements about what parts of the poem mean. There's an ongoing debate about Satan in the poem: some say he represents Cromwell, and others say he represents King Charles. Some argue that his rhetoric deliberately undermines the Christian narrative of the text (successfully critiquing it from within), and others argue that his rhetoric is meant to bolster the Christian narrative by revealing Satan to be a honey-tongued sophist.

But every one of those distinct arguments is an argument about what the "actual inherent meaning" of the text is, and people who make those arguments make them by pointing to actual evidence from the text, often bolstered by contextual historical data, where relevant.

We could do the same with any poem or novel. For all of its confusing nature and the fact that it's filled with symbols, Joyce's Ulysses absolutely has a definite structure and meaning, and while we can debate what some things in the novel mean, the debate would be about what the actual meaning of the text is, supported by evidence from the text, from the historical context, from Joyce's letters, etc.

So it's absolutely false to say that a text can't have an "actual meaning" if it's poetic or symbolic.

The Book of the Law, for example, most definitely has an actual meaning. It absolutely does not tell the reader to go out and organize society in any particular way. It says that the reader should do his or her will and nothing besides. The Book is not particularly cryptic on that point.

As I've demonstrated two posts ago, if a person decides that his will would best be served by living in a liberal or egalitarian society -- whether it greatly aids him in doing his will or whether he thinks it helps in keeping others out of his way -- then the Book of the Law commands him to live in such a society and to "care not at all" about what other people, including those who call themselves "Thelemites," think about it.


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Patriarch156
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09/06/2011 5:52 pm  
"Los" wrote:
"Patriarch156" wrote:

If however it is merely an inspirational text, then anyone's reading of the Book is as good as the other one for themselves, since then there would be no actual meaning inherent in the text but rather something we put in there ourselves.

I don't know where you're getting this idea that "inspirational" texts, in the sense of symbolic or poetic texts, have "no actual meaning inherent in the text" while other kinds of texts do have such an "actual meaning."

Let's take Paradise Lost, for example. It's a poem and thus "inspirational," and it has a number of elements that could be considered symbolic.

But you can't say that Paradise Lost has "no actual meaning inherent in the text." It clearly does -- it has a discernable plot, discernable epic allusions, speeches that have a discernable function in its narrative, clear structure, etc. If someone came along and said, "Well, Paradise Lost means, to me, an allegory for man landing on the moon," they could demonstrated to be wrong by reference to the text.

Now this isn't to say that there can't be legitimate disagreements about what parts of the poem mean. There's an ongoing debate about Satan in the poem: some say he represents Cromwell, and others say he represents King Charles. Some argue that his rhetoric deliberately undermines the Christian narrative of the text (successfully critiquing it from within), and others argue that his rhetoric is meant to bolster the Christian narrative by revealing Satan to be a honey-tongued sophist.

But every one of those distinct arguments is an argument about what the "actual inherent meaning" of the text is, and people who make those arguments make them by pointing to actual evidence from the text, often bolstered by contextual historical data, where relevant.

We could do the same with any poem or novel. For all of its confusing nature and the fact that it's filled with symbols, Joyce's Ulysses absolutely has a definite structure and meaning, and while we can debate what some things in the novel mean, the debate would be about what the actual meaning of the text is, supported by evidence from the text, from the historical context, from Joyce's letters, etc.

So it's absolutely false to say that a text can't have an "actual meaning" if it's poetic or symbolic.

The Book of the Law, for example, most definitely has an actual meaning. It absolutely does not tell the reader to go out and organize society in any particular way. It says that the reader should do his or her will and nothing besides. The Book is not particularly cryptic on that point.

As I've demonstrated two posts ago, if a person decides that his will would best be served by living in a liberal or egalitarian society -- whether it greatly aids him in doing his will or whether he thinks it helps in keeping others out of his way -- then the Book of the Law commands him to live in such a society and to "care not at all" about what other people, including those who call themselves "Thelemites," think about it.

Yes and as I have pointed out to you if you think it has an actual meaning inherent in the text, then the one writing it would be the best authority as to its meaning. As it turns out your own take on the Book contradicts the meaning of the text as the author divined it (with the assistance of Praterhuman Intelligences as he claimed or not), so we are back to the fact that you want to have it both ways.

Moreover the Book of the Law specifically directs us to do a great many deal of things. As Crowley himself points out concerning the Law of Thelema after summarizing it as DO WHAT THOU WILT, the rest is commentary. One is of course free to interpret it in a certain way as you do, but your claims to authority is void and null for anyone but yourself since you are denying the interpretation of the only one who could give it such authority in an inter-individual sense.

In consequence it does direct us to our Will and nothing besides, but it is rather clear that you have a far different reading of what this Will constitutes than that of Crowley, which is readily apparent from the vastly different conclusions you have reached as to its import and implications in the realms of politics and education.

My reference to inspirational text devoid of the meaning of the author and only containing your own, is taken from modern hermeneutical analysis of lierature, that you can find among postmodernist school. While I don't really care for postmodernist analysis of things as far as one can't really know what the meaning of a text is, I certainly accept that someone can approach a text that way and that is a legitimate way to approach it.

In fact there are plenty of art that has been specifically created with that particular intent, such as that of David Lynch who has been more than a little outspoken concerning this and listing that this is one of the reasons why he refuse to do a director's commentary on the meaning of his images.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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09/06/2011 7:04 pm  
"Los" wrote:
Believing that "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" means exactly that -- that the entirety of the law is to do your will and not to care about the will of anyone else. It isn't a belief that "everyone's individual will is supreme." It's the belief that the individual in question should be guided by his will and only his will.

Unless, of course, doing your Will happens to involve enabling others to do their Wills, in which case it is your Duty to expand the scope of your concerns to include the accomplishment of the Wills of others. In the fields of education, political science, law, sociology, psychology, etc, etc, etc, the well-being of others is a legitimate concern, and I'm sure that no Thelemite would seriously advocate for the abandonment of undertakings in these fields, provided that the people involved in them were doing their Wills.

And what model would Thelemites whose Wills dictate their involvement in such fields employ? It would be the Thelemic model of knowing and doing true Will, and would employ any methodology which enhances or enables the knowing and doing of true Will among the general population.

Again, this is the most elementary level stuff, I really can't believe anyone sees cause to debate it.


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amadan-De
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09/06/2011 7:20 pm  
"Camlion" wrote:
... this is the most elementary level stuff, I really can't believe anyone sees cause to debate it.

I am rapidly forming the sad opinion that some 'Wills' are more elementary than others. We may all be 'stars' but some have a greater number of points (vectors) to their 'light'.

Or, "We are all of us in the gutter, Some of us are looking at the stars" to quote the Pretenders paraphrase of Wilde.


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Falcon
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09/06/2011 11:58 pm  

Was Crowley a patriotic-nationalist? It would seem so:

"I remember being amazed in later years when my patriotism was doubted. I am perfectly aware that I am irrational. The traditions of England are intertwined inextricably with a million abuses and deformities, which I am only too eager to destroy. Shakespeare's patriotism in John of Gaunt's dying speech in Henry V appeals directly to my poetic sense. I am quite prepared to die for England in that brutal, unthinking way. 'Rule Britannia' gets me going as if I were the most ordinary music hall audience. This sentiment is not interfered with by my detestation of the moral and religious humbug which one is expected to produce at moments of national crisis. My patriotism is of the blatant, unintelligent variety, popularized by Kipling. I like the old rime: Two skinny Frenchmen, one Portugee. One jolly Englishman lick 'em all three."

-Crowley 'Confessions' page 107


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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10/06/2011 12:14 am  
"Falcon" wrote:
Was Crowley a patriotic-nationalist? It would seem so:

"I remember being amazed in later years when my patriotism was doubted. I am perfectly aware that I am irrational. The traditions of England are intertwined inextricably with a million abuses and deformities, which I am only too eager to destroy. Shakespeare's patriotism in John of Gaunt's dying speech in Henry V appeals directly to my poetic sense. I am quite prepared to die for England in that brutal, unthinking way. 'Rule Britannia' gets me going as if I were the most ordinary music hall audience. This sentiment is not interfered with by my detestation of the moral and religious humbug which one is expected to produce at moments of national crisis. My patriotism is of the blatant, unintelligent variety, popularized by Kipling. I like the old rime: Two skinny Frenchmen, one Portugee. One jolly Englishman lick 'em all three."

-Crowley 'Confessions' page 107

In spite of himself, as he says there.


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 Anonymous
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16/06/2011 2:14 pm  

Crowley's essay The Black Messiah shows just how deeply ingrained were AC's views on race. In this piece he was trying to replace the Theosophical Society's aim of Krishnamurti becoming the second coming of Christ, as the star in the east. AC was trying to organise as the Star in the West. Krishnamurti however walked out from the Theosophists, renouncing the role which they wanted him to play.

"There is one salient fact of today to which Europe and America can not shut their eyes. It is the surreptitious agitation of the inferior races, those whom evolution left behind- the negro and the negroid types. This menace grows with every year. Their own problems are so different that the white races, save for the few individuals who have studied the situation, have been prevented from grasping the full impact of the threat...An immense multitude of blacks and kindred races, from every corner of the Globe, took part in the greatest shock of modern times- witnessed, in other words a mortal blow to the prestige of the white races, by destroying the legend of their solidarity; and the point of conflict was the very heart of European civilisation. For whole years these blacks looked on at the life of a country which they did not know, and could not understand. They aquired, to some extent, even the habits of the Aryan; and, when, they returned to their own countries, carried with them a smouldering hate, a secret and deep-seated envy...This is only one crude illustration of a gigantic movement which is actively in progress- a far more serious menace than the old terror of the 'Yellow Peril'...The grotesque theatricalities of the renegade Annie Besant, the Barnum of the buck Messiah Krishnamurti, must serve to sharpen the will of the white race; not only to defend itself, but to sally forth once more as in the spacious days of Good Queen Bess, and reconquer our foregone prestige and mastery...The con game of Besant's n****r is thus not only an insult, it is a usurpation and a fraud...The white champion has apppeared, He, who with the aegis of the Spiritual Masters of the planet, has proclaimed the Law of Thelema, the Law of Love, comprehended and directed by Will: the Law which bids each man pursue the proper orbit of his destiny, and develop himself around his own true centre of Light, will bring back welfare to his own race, and establish Peace with Victory upon the Earth."

(Excerpts from The Black Messiah by Crowley)


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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16/06/2011 6:07 pm  
"Mocata_Karswell" wrote:
Crowley's essay The Black Messiah shows just how deeply ingrained were AC's views on race. In this piece he was trying to replace the Theosophical Society's aim of Krishnamurti becoming the second coming of Christ, as the star in the east. AC was trying to organise as the Star in the West. Krishnamurti however walked out from the Theosophists, renouncing the role which they wanted him to play.

"There is one salient fact of today to which Europe and America can not shut their eyes. It is the surreptitious agitation of the inferior races, those whom evolution left behind- the negro and the negroid types. This menace grows with every year. Their own problems are so different that the white races, save for the few individuals who have studied the situation, have been prevented from grasping the full impact of the threat...An immense multitude of blacks and kindred races, from every corner of the Globe, took part in the greatest shock of modern times- witnessed, in other words a mortal blow to the prestige of the white races, by destroying the legend of their solidarity; and the point of conflict was the very heart of European civilisation. For whole years these blacks looked on at the life of a country which they did not know, and could not understand. They aquired, to some extent, even the habits of the Aryan; and, when, they returned to their own countries, carried with them a smouldering hate, a secret and deep-seated envy...This is only one crude illustration of a gigantic movement which is actively in progress- a far more serious menace than the old terror of the 'Yellow Peril'...The grotesque theatricalities of the renegade Annie Besant, the Barnum of the buck Messiah Krishnamurti, must serve to sharpen the will of the white race; not only to defend itself, but to sally forth once more as in the spacious days of Good Queen Bess, and reconquer our foregone prestige and mastery...The con game of Besant's n****r is thus not only an insult, it is a usurpation and a fraud...The white champion has apppeared, He, who with the aegis of the Spiritual Masters of the planet, has proclaimed the Law of Thelema, the Law of Love, comprehended and directed by Will: the Law which bids each man pursue the proper orbit of his destiny, and develop himself around his own true centre of Light, will bring back welfare to his own race, and establish Peace with Victory upon the Earth."

(Excerpts from The Black Messiah by Crowley)

Crowley dishing dirt on a perceived rival for the 'World Teacher" title, a title that he longed for rather naively but very intensely.


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Azidonis
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16/06/2011 8:15 pm  

93,

"Los" wrote:
While I'm on the subject, a Thelemite might judge that it would be easiest to carry out his will if most people in society were sheep who were kept busy with the task of trying to "fit it" and thus didn't get in the Thelemite's way.

Such a Thelemite could support social policies that, in his estimation, reduced people to sheep as part of a practical strategy for making it easier to do his own will.

I don't like sheep. More often than not, they just get in the way. :/

Liars, thieves, stupid drivers, inconsiderate people, nosy people, people who walk slow across the crosswalks on major public streets, people who leave their kids in the car on hot summer days, people who generally exhibit no common decency or courtesy, people who don't use their blinkers, who don't turn on their headlights in the rain, etc. ad nauseum.

I could really do without them. As sheep, they just get in the way. The world is overpopulated with them. Every time I leave the house I have to step over and onto many sheep just to get where I am going. Why would anyone want to wade through bile?

Either enlighten them, or let them die.

Then of course, there are many people who are inherently "good" people.

There is a difference between the sheep that are considerate of others and go about their business, and the sheep that all clump up in the middle of the pen by the food going "baaah", only trying to move another sheep out of the way so they can eat, not thinking that the one they are moving has fought for days just to get close to the trough.

I do what I can to help these sheep, but some are simply not self-conscious. They are world-conscious, ego-conscious. They have the "mine mine mine" complex that is both annoying and disturbing. I try not to associate with these types of people.

"They are the slaves of because."

Just two pennies as I read the actual debate going on.

93 93/93


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lashtal
(@lashtal)
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16/06/2011 8:59 pm  
"Mocata_Karswell" wrote:
(Excerpts from The Black Messiah by Crowley)

Hmmm… This essay seems to be referred to regularly, despite it being unpublished: http://www.lashtal.com/nuke/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&p=50558#50558

I'm aware that it is quoted (briefly) in Starr's 'The Unknown God' and that it appears in the Yorke microfilm, but is it actually available elsewhere? Otherwise, we can all just "make stuff up" and ascribe it to Crowley (cf. 'Satanic Extracts').

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


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OKontrair
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Posts: 501
17/06/2011 12:16 am  

Through the generosity of another member I have seen and read The Black Messiah. The excerpt above is from it and the introductory remarks about the Theosophical society and Krishnamurti are Yorke's.

I strongly disagree with Mocata_Karswell's input to the effect that this piece "shows just how deeply ingrained were AC's views on race." Quite the reverse. AC did not publish this piece, nor sign it - he used the pseudonym Gerard Aumont - not one of his crazy W.C.Fields style pseudonyms but a plausible subterfuge. It is intended to deceive.

As Camlion points out this was part of the World Teacher Campaign and as such a political document and ploy. Hypocrisy in a political document is the norm. This is an appeal to the attitudes that might be in the recipient. It apparently was neither sent nor used. Perhaps in the morning after Crowley awoke to the fact that the Theosophical Society membership had no aversion to Indians.

In the broader context of Crowley's life's work this is trivial. Crowley could be a grouchy Patrician snob, he's often at his most amusing when he is, and 'racism' is just a form of snobbery that can be enjoyed by even the least accomplished.

OK


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
18/06/2011 7:52 pm  

LIBERTY: 1. The state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life.

2. An instance of this; a right or privilege, esp. a statutory one

These definitions of Liberty are about as anti-racist and anti-fascist as you can get.

Aleister Crowley was an enthusiastic and inspired advocate for Liberty.

The idea that Crowley was fascist or racist seems pretty ridiculous after reading this:

Liber DCCCXXXVII
{Book 837}
THE LAW OF LIBERTY

http://hermetic.com/crowley/libers/lib837.html

Some anti-fascist, anti-racist highlites from it:

II. I write this for those who have not read our Sacred
Book, the Book of the Law, or for those who, reading it, have
somehow failed to understand its perfection. For there are many
matters in this Book, and the Glad Tidings are now here, now
there, scattered throughout the Book as the Stars are scattered
through the field of Night.

Rejoice with me, all ye people! At
the very head of the Book stands the great charter of our
godhead: "Every man and every woman is a star." We are all free,
all independent, all shining gloriously, each one a radiant
world. Is not that good tidings?

...

Then comes the first call of the Great Goddess Nuit, Lady of
the Starry Heaven, who is also Matter in its deepest
metaphysical sense, who is the infinite in whom all we live and
move and have our being. Hear Her first summons to us men and
women: "Come forth, O children, under the stars, and take your
fill of love! I am above you and in you. My ecstasy is in yours.

My joy is to see your joy."

...

Again She speaks: "Love is the law, love under will." Keep
pure your highest ideal; strive ever toward it without allowing
aught to stop you or turn you aside, even as a star sweeps upon
its incalculable and infinite course of glory, and all is Love.
The Law of your being becomes Light, Life, Love and Liberty.

...

III. In the next chapter of our book is given the word of
Hadit, who is the complement of Nuit. He is eternal energy, the
Infinite Motion of Things, the central core of all being. The
manifested Universe comes from the marriage of Nuit and Hadit;
without this could no thing be. This eternal, this perpetual
marriage-feast is then the nature of things themselves; and
therefore everything that is, is a crystallization of divine
ecstasy.
Hadit tells us of Himself: "I am the flame that burns in the
heart of every man, and in the core of every star."

...

Lift yourselves up, my brothers and sisters of the earth! Put
beneath your feet all fears, all qualms, all hesitancies! Lift
yourselves up! Come forth, free and joyous, by night and day, to
do your will; for "There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt."
Lift yourlseves up! Walk forth with us in Light and Life and
Love and Liberty, taking our pleasure as Kings and Queens in
Heaven and on Earth.
The sun is arisen; the spectre of the ages has been put to
flight. "The word of Sin is Restriction," or as it has been
otherwise said on this text: That is Sin, to hold thine holy
spirit in!
Go on, go on in thy might; and let no man make thee afraid.

Love is the law, love under will.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
18/06/2011 8:09 pm  
"zardoz" wrote:
Aleister Crowley was an enthusiastic and inspired advocate for Liberty.

So, Z, I should put away my jackboots now that I've dug them out and dusted them off? 😉

Seriously though, Liberty has two components which balance one another, personal Freedom (a sort of "Leftist" idea) and personal Independence (a sort of "Rightist" idea). See Jack Parson's 'Freedom is a Two Edged Sword,' which injects personal responsibility for oneself into the equation. The idea that these two concepts can, and should, coexist in Thelema elevates it politically above this tired old "Left-Right" fray.


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Keith418
(@keith418)
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Posts: 127
19/06/2011 6:24 pm  

I think reading this piece now might provoke a sort of crisis - as many appear to be in varying stages of denial as to the true extent of AC's racist, antisemitic, and sexist views. But coming through this crisis might be healthier in the long run than staying stuck in denial and carefully tended ignorance - a preserved "faux naivete," if you will.

Why would the "secret chiefs" pick someone with such grievous flaws to be their prophet? Does it occur to people to wonder whether or not AC's "problems" in this area are really not all that important in the cosmic scheme of things? To think this, of course, contradicts the current concerns about the extreme importance of PC issues in general. If these concerns aren't that essential and all-important, why do we care so much about them?

Are we judging Crowley, or are we judging ourselves and our society's preoccupations with this kind of equality and the anxieties that get produced when it is threatened? If you're the kind of person who doesn't have a crisis when confronted with AC's politically incorrect lapses, what does that say about you? Only a "bad person" would fail to be outraged and upset, right? If you do not think that these thoughts diminish his stature as a leader, magician, and thinker, then obviously you are an "evil" person. The more we denounce Crowley, the better we can feel about ourselves.

It is, after all, quite possible to dismiss Crowley's racism, but retain his beliefs in hierarchy, aristocracy, individualism, as well as to share his disdain for herd morality, groups (any groups), and "group think" in general. You don't have to be a racist to agree with him about democracy's failings, or the stupidity of egalitarianism and socialism. I always wonder why people don't disagree with Crowley about the racism, but decide to agree with him about everything else. Do their commitments to equality and democracy run even deeper than antipathy to racism? Or do people assume that once anyone abandons a commitment to equality and democracy, a racist outcome is assured? This latter POV seems to suggest that the only thing preventing racist nightmares is a commitment to democratic and egalitarian principles. So, are people opposed to racism because they are deeply committed to equality and democracy? Or are they supporters of democracy and equality because they are opposed to racism? Either way, Thelema is no help.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
19/06/2011 7:05 pm  
"Keith418" wrote:
I think reading this piece now might provoke a sort of crisis - as many appear to be in varying stages of denial as to the true extent of AC's racist, antisemitic, and sexist views. But coming through this crisis might be healthier in the long run than staying stuck in denial and carefully tended ignorance - a preserved "faux naivete," if you will.

I don't know why The Law of Liberty should provoke a crisis except for those too entrenched in their beliefs to accept the fact that Crowley's highest ideals were anti-racist and anti-fascist. It's right there in plain English. One would have to have an extreme "faux cynicism" to imagine that he was lying or didn't really mean it. Talk about denial!

Crowley did not ever espouse racist and/or fascist ideologies the way he promoted Life, Love, Liberty, and Light. That's just a fact.

Thelema is anti-racist and anti-fascist. The Law is for All.


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Keith418
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Posts: 127
19/06/2011 7:51 pm  

It is certainly possible to oppose fascism from any number of perspectives. Sadly or not, every anti-fascist perspective doesn't not agree with every other one. For example, one could argue that fascism, being a mass movement, is dependent on herds, group morality, and "group think" - an inherently anti-aristocratic kind of leveling, in which the masses are upraised over the individual, or in which the aristocratic individual is forced to serve and exalt the masses. An aristocratic anti-fascist might have just as much disdain for a fascist group as they might have for an anti-fascist, democratic, anti-racist, and/or egalitarian group.

You can be critical of fascism without being a believer in democracy, equality, or even being anti-racist. The fascist government in Italy, for example, considered Evola a threat and kept him and his activities under surveillance. No one would ever accuse Evola of being a believer in equality and democracy, nor was he a committed anti-racist either.

I wonder if people suspect that any firm and committed anti-equality position leads, inexorably, to genocide. If that's the case, then they will have a hard time with Thelema. Whatever it is, it's not about equality and democracy.


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Keith418
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19/06/2011 8:05 pm  

Sorry, that should have read: "Sadly or not, every anti-fascist perspective doesn't necessarily agree with every other one."


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Michael Staley
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19/06/2011 9:27 pm  
"Keith418" wrote:
I wonder if people suspect that any firm and committed anti-equality position leads, inexorably, to genocide.

I doubt that this is a suspicion widely entertained.


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amadan-De
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19/06/2011 9:32 pm  
"Keith418" wrote:
Whatever it is...(Thelema is)... not about equality and democracy.

Nor is it about heirarchy and tyranny.

One could argue that Thelema deals with "inequality and autocracy" but only in as much as all 'stars' are unique, and therefore while not necessarily "equal" in all respects they are also incapable of being ranked by value in any absolute sense, and that each 'star' is intended to be it's own ultimate authority.


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Keith418
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19/06/2011 9:35 pm  
"MichaelStaley" wrote:
I doubt that this is a suspicion widely entertained.

Strange as it may seem, I have heard it put just that way at least once, and I think anxiety about it perhaps being true are one of the things that can inhibit an exploration of what, say, Crowley and the thinkers of the "conservative revolution" might have in common - or what the people associated with that movement might have to teach us.

As a friend notes, PC "hate speech" laws are often the result of this kind of fear of what thinking and speech that goes outside what everyone else believes is correct and just... could lead to.


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Keith418
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19/06/2011 9:45 pm  
"amadan-De" wrote:
"Keith418" wrote:
Whatever it is...(Thelema is)... not about equality and democracy.

Nor is it about heirarchy and tyranny..

"The Book announces a new dichotomy in human society; there is the master and there is the slave; the noble and the serf; the 'lone wolf' and the herd."

Either Crowley is wrong here, in how he describes Liber Al and what it "announces," or he is right. If he is right, away goes democracy, equality, etc. If he's wrong, then we need to understand why he's wrong, and why we should abandon his POV for some other.

This may not be about tyranny, but it is about hierarchy - as the rest of the section clearly explains.

I wonder how people can read this passage in MWT and not see it as being very threatening to the basic, founding postulates of Western, liberal democracies. If these passages weren't so profoundly oppositional, why would Crowley have told us that these morals were "difficult to accept"? If people reject it, do they reject it because they don't "want" it to be true? Or do they reject it because they genuinely think it's false? Being more PC than Crowley doesn't make you smarter than he was, better educated, or a greater initiate.

"No deliberation about remedies for our ills can be of any value if it is not preceded by an honest diagnosis - by a diagnosis falsified neither by unfounded hopes nor by fear of the powers that be."

- Leo Strauss


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Azidonis
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19/06/2011 9:49 pm  

I really don't care if Crowley was a racist, bigot, cannibal, leftist, rightist, or any other -ist. It doesn't effect me any, really.

I suppose a "Crowleyite" might be afraid of being placed in the same categories as their "all great and wise master", but I doubt it has any real effect on people that Do their own Work.


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amadan-De
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19/06/2011 10:18 pm  
"Keith418" wrote:
"The Book announces a new dichotomy in human society; there is the master and there is the slave; the noble and the serf; the 'lone wolf' and the herd."

Either Crowley is wrong here, in how he describes Liber Al and what it "announces," or he is right. If he is right, away goes democracy, equality, etc. If he's wrong, then we need to understand why he's wrong, and why we should abandon his POV for some other.

Your keeness to have your opinion validated by the 'authority' of AC might suggest to some that you fall into the 'slave' category...

Not that I subscribe to such broadstroke dualism myself. Nor do I care if AC did.


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 Anonymous
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19/06/2011 11:18 pm  
"Keith418" wrote:
Either Crowley is wrong here, in how he describes Liber Al and what it "announces," or he is right. If he is right, away goes democracy, equality, etc.

Equality, yes, because it does not exist anywhere in nature. Among humanity, as amadan-De put it so well, "One could argue that Thelema deals with "inequality and autocracy" but only in as much as all 'stars' are unique, and therefore while not necessarily "equal" in all respects they are also incapable of being ranked by value in any absolute sense, and that each 'star' is intended to be it's own ultimate authority."

As for democracy, and this is important, democracy requires an informed electorate to work properly, which is why not everyone should vote, and this is one of just a few simple reasons that democracy does not work, presently. Voting should require study and testing (like driving a car) and, yes, this would make the informed electorate a ruling class, of sorts, but one that would be accessible to anyone, theoretically, through education and qualification. As it is, most eligible voters don't vote, and many people just aren't interested.

So you see, Crowley was right in condemning democracy, but he was wrong in rejecting it wholesale rather than contemplating reforming it. His alternatives are unrealistic, which left him nowhere politically. It is very likely that he was simply unqualified in the field of political science, but that was then and this now.

As for race, there is no race on the planet that has not been been, collectively, an indefensible embarrassment to itself. There is no pride to be held in any of them. Globalization, thanks to one hundred years or so (our new Aeon) of unprecedented advances in technology, has guaranteed racial mixing. There is no stopping it and, unless you can refute the objection to racial pride given above, there no reason to preserve any given race or culture - and plenty of reason not to. Crowley was rightfully as critical of his own race and culture and he was any other. Racial and cultural pride obscures individuality and individualism is the hallmark of Thelema on this plane of manifestation.

I see no reason to apologize for Crowley's condemnation of races and cultures, except that they were so random, and let us not forget his opinion of his own white Anglo Judeo-Christian roots. I also see no reason to rationalize his criticisms of democracy, except that they fell short of realistic reform.


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 Anonymous
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19/06/2011 11:29 pm  
"Azidonis" wrote:
I suppose a "Crowleyite" might be afraid of being placed in the same categories as their "all great and wise master", but I doubt it has any real effect on people that Do their own Work.

Yes, and times have changed. Crowley's limited scope of expertise (or that of anyone else) prevented him from having all the answers. Today, with a broader selection of Thelemites available to contribute, advances are possible that were not during Crowley's lifetime. The fundamentalist "Crowleyite" is as worthless as any other fundamentalist.


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Keith418
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20/06/2011 3:40 am  

I think the message we are getting is that if you agree with Crowley about the evils of democracy, the stupidity of egalitarianism, etc. you're a "fundamentalist," a "slave," and - perhaps worst of all - a "conformist." But if you join with nearly everyone living in Western, liberal democracies in criticizing him for these affronts to their basic beliefs, you're somehow "independent," "free," and in no way a "conformist" at all.

Sure, that makes a lot of sense.

The people who suspect that AC was right about what worries and upsets most people are always the dangerous "fundamentalists"... But few stop to consider whether or not their own marked and vehement antipathy to his teachings in this regard stem from their very own "fundamentalist" beliefs. If I go to the movies, I can expect to see trailers for films that do nothing but extol liberal-left tropes like humanitarianism, equality, and democracy. There are almost no films that tell any other story, or make any other point. TV is no different. If you conform to the same moral messages the media and the larger society is always feeding you, and abuse Crowley when he deviates from them, then how aren't you a "conformist" too? Why is adhering to the baseline of what the larger society values considered anything but "conformist" in its most essential sense?


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Azidonis
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20/06/2011 6:40 am  

93,

"Keith418" wrote:
I think the message we are getting is that if you agree with Crowley about the evils of democracy, the stupidity of egalitarianism, etc. you're a "fundamentalist," a "slave," and - perhaps worst of all - a "conformist." But if you join with nearly everyone living in Western, liberal democracies in criticizing him for these affronts to their basic beliefs, you're somehow "independent," "free," and in no way a "conformist" at all.

No.

If you agree with Crowley because you naturally agree with his views, then you naturally agree with his views. If you agree with Crowley just because he's Crowley, then you are a slave.

The whole point of Thelema is to create your own views. If those views happen to be in accordance with those of anyone else, that's fine and dandy. That you arrived at the views on your own is the important part, whatever those views may be.

"Keith418" wrote:
Sure, that makes a lot of sense.

Maybe it makes more sense now?

"Keith418" wrote:
The people who suspect that AC was right about what worries and upsets most people are always the dangerous "fundamentalists"... But few stop to consider whether or not their own marked and vehement antipathy to his teachings in this regard stem from their very own "fundamentalist" beliefs.

There is no fundamentalism inherent in Thelema. That doesn't mean people won't attempt it (again slaves). If you conclude that Crowley was a racist on your own, and I conclude that he was not on my own, then we are both, in a sense, correct, especially since he isn't around to confirm or deny the assertion. It may seem like a large bunch of subjectivity, but the point is to create your own views. Those views do not have to necessarily agree or disagree with any views of other people.

The realm of subjectivity folds when we get to science, but of course were are not speaking of strict science when on the subject of world views.

"Keith418" wrote:
If I go to the movies, I can expect to see trailers for films that do nothing but extol liberal-left tropes like humanitarianism, equality, and democracy. There are almost no films that tell any other story, or make any other point. TV is no different. If you conform to the same moral messages the media and the larger society is always feeding you, and abuse Crowley when he deviates from them, then how aren't you a "conformist" too? Why is adhering to the baseline of what the larger society values considered anything but "conformist" in its most essential sense?

Using labels to describe labels. Again, the focus is not on being a conformist or non-conformist, but an original-ist.

It's about the being the best that you can be, regardless of what anyone else says, thinks, or does. If you agree with someone else that is also doing the same, then good. If you don't that's fine too.

Crowley could have been a racist. Who cares? Why treat him like some sort of celebrity and meddle in the remnants of his life, trying to determine which reality show to place him in? It's quite simply gossip, in my opinion.

If he was racist, it was his prerogative to be racist. If he was sexist, whatever. That doesn't mean that anyone else should be racist just because Crowley was, nor does it mean that anyone should write off the bulk of his work as "racist". Either way shows a very narrow scope, akin to taking a photo and showing someone a tiny corner of the photo, then having them declare they don't want to see or accept the rest of the photo because of one tiny snippet.

Those that accept Crowley, accept him as he was. It's not as big of a deal as this thread makes it out to be. I personally think he was 1) a subject of his own particular era, and 2) quite possibly did and said a lot of things just for shock value, in part to assert that he was indeed not afraid to create and share his own views.

93 93/93


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Keith418
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20/06/2011 3:13 pm  

Is the skepticism about the origins of people's beliefs being equally applied? When people disagree with Crowley on democracy, are they questioned as to whether or not they have really come to their conclusions via free and independent means, or whether or not the years of conditioning they have received from the society around them has made their decisions for them? Because if the status quo position isn't given the same, and even greater skepticism and scrutiny (as befitting its wider dissemination and stronger support), then it looks like things are being weighed against those who agree with Crowley.

This kind of double standard might seem unusual or ironic, here on a Crowley forum, but it is - as I have seen over the years - extremely common. Ironic? It may be, but I think it points to the central conflict that keeps the Thelemic community marginalized. People are attracted to Crowley, Thelema, and occultism. But their opposition to so much of what he taught and stood for gravely limits their progress and their abilities to use his teachings fruitfully.


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