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Aleister Crowley and 'magical fascism'

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Patriarch156
(@patriarch156)
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"Los" wrote:
See, here’s the problem, Camlion. All you can do is point to stuff that Crowley writes and then say silly things like, “Oh, you probably won't understand this," the implication being that you *do* understand it, which is something you have yet to demonstrate.

And yet you continue to demonstrate your own lack of understanding by taking Crowley's quotes from One Star in Sight out of its context by ascribing functions of those who have attained certain formal Grades in the A.'.A.'. with that of the Order of Thelema. Given that the Grades also correlate with the three triads of the O.T.O. you might as well use that to corroborrate the opposite point of view of what you are making, since the member of the Lovers Triad are sworn to assist the Order in promulgating and establishing the Law of Thelema.

You cand find the same correlation to Crowley's defunct Order of Thelemites where the Lover were supposed to assist mankind to come to Liberty through political means and reform of education etc.

The Order of Thelema was a mystery Crowley struggled with throughout his whole life. In a letter to J.F.C. Fuller, Crowley is clear on how the grades in the Order of Thelema (which was what Camlion referred to) is not the same as that of the A.'.A.'.:

"There is a hell of a lot of mystery about these Orders; it seems as if there were two, an outer & an inner; nut humming cocurrently. E.g. it looks as if one cold be a 7*=4- of the A.'.A.'. and yet only a 'Man of Earth' of [Thelema]; or a 1*=10- A.'.A.'. and a 'Hermit' of [Thelema]. But what is the real difference?"

Within a month of this question he receives the final explanation in the Vision and the Voice which defines them as the Adherent, the one who gives of ones life and the one who gives of ones light only.

That he kept the distinction of this Order from that of the A.'.A.'. is testified in his numerous investigations into these three Grades, where he seems to have connected the three Grades of the Order of Thelema with that of ones natural place in Thelema rather than any specific poisition in any of his Orders.

This seperation of the A.'.A.'. from that of the Order of Thelema is further stressed in the Comment called D:

"We who accept this Law may rightly be called Thelemites, if this word be defined in terms of its secret values, as in the case of the word Thelema itself. There are three real Grades in the Order, as distinct from the formal Grades of the A∴A∴, and these Three Grades are described in my Book called The Vision and the Voice, and elsewhere."

Crowley seems to have regarded the three grades as follows. The Adherent is someone who accepts the Book of the Law but has no capacity to follow it as a Way of Life (the Lover) or Attainment (the Hermit). Hence the ideas expressed in Confessions about the Devotee (of Ra Hoor Khuit), the Magician (of Hadit) and the Mystic (of Nuit).

Though these three grades do correlate with the threepart structure of all of his three Orders, they are not identical, but rather analogous and has as a result different functions in each of them.

I’ve never seen you actually explain anything or demonstrate any command of any of this material whatsoever.

While Camlion's condescending comments about your understanding might be irritating, you do yourself no favor by demonstrating his claims about you as true.

To name another example. In the very same document you quote from, One Star in Sight, it is declared that every member of the A.'.A.'., irrespective of his Grade, is pledged to establish the Kingdom of Ra-Hoor-Khuit. The Order's chief instruction for this is Liber CCC, which among other things outlines educational and political reform along with spreading the word of the Law of Thelema.

Crowley, as demonstrated in Duty, thought it was the duty of each Thelemite to promulgate and establish the Law of Thelema in secular society. It is rather obvious that you do not, which is fine, but that does not mean that you can use Crowley as an alibi for your fancy ideas about how things "really" connects, when they are demonstrably wrong.


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 Anonymous
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"Los" wrote:
In the first place, even if your interpretation of the passage from Liber 418 is correct (which it’s not), this would only mean that some Thelemites (the “lovers”) have as part of their will helping others realize their will. Thus, according to this interpretation, it is not a requirement for all Thelemites to help others realize their wills, and you would still have failed to meet the challenge I issued you: “I'd like to see you produce one -- just one -- quotation from The Book of the Law that says, or even implies, that a Thelemite must work to help others realize their true wills.”

Los, that was a great deal of wasted effort on your part. You have added several new specialized levels to the list of your un-qualifications, when you should really limit those to Thelema in general. 🙂

I was not referring, as you damn well know, to the applications of the verse to either Order, A.'.A.'. or OTO, both of which have their own particular and peculiar perspectives on the verse in question. We are dealing here with the general meaning of the verse, and that only because you asked for the applicable verse from Liber AL. There is one, and I gave to you.

By the way, I rarely quote Crowley, as a rule. I am quite familiar with the material. You asked me for a quote from Liber AL relevant to the topic, I supplied the quote in question and when pressed on interpretation I backed it up with a quote from the New Comment, which contained a quote from Liber 418. And then you criticize me for quoting Crowley too much. Don't you know that anyone can search all of your posts by clicking on your member name to see how much you have quoted Crowley in these forums, when it suited you, especially on the subject of the HGA? Now of course, you are distancing yourself from the old sorcerer and social revolutionary, so quoting Crowley is suddenly a weakness. 🙂

I never said that all Thelemites must help others realize their true Wills. That would be ridicules, and it is just a strawman of your own making. I said that some Thelemites must, because it is their true Will to do so. Full stop. You started off by denying this, saying that no one must do so, (even if it is their Will - one assumes,) and now you are saying that only some must do it. I accept your concession, that only those whose Will is to help others realize their true Wills must do so. Thank you for that. That was my only point in the first place.

And, I repeat, those Thelemites whose sphere of influence includes the fields of education, political science, law, sociology, psychology, etc, are particularly well suited to do so.

It has taken you way too many posts to acknowledge what I was saying in the first place, but I will accept that. So long as it is okay with Los that everyone does their true Will, even if doing so implies creating a better environment for each individual to do their Will.


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HG
 HG
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"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
But I will leave him with Los tapping their shoulders. It must be so hard for you both that Thelema was "invented" by one bloody great black magician.

Would a modern-day, materialistic, atheist physicist find it hard to accept that Isaac Newton put great effort into studying alchemy, occultism and theology?


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HG
 HG
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"Camlion" wrote:
I never said that all Thelemites must help others realize their true Wills. That would be ridicules, and it is just a strawman of your own making. I said that some Thelemites must, because it is their true Will to do so. Full stop. You started off by denying this, saying that no one must do so, (even if it is their Will - one assumes,)

You know, I've been following this conversation and I have never seen any post by Los, in which he would claim that no Thelemite should ever assist someone else in doing their Will.

Either your reading of his posts is in grave error, or my reading is.

Care to settle the issue by pointing the exact post where Los makes this alledged strange claim?


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Patriarch156
(@patriarch156)
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"HG" wrote:
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
But I will leave him with Los tapping their shoulders. It must be so hard for you both that Thelema was "invented" by one bloody great black magician.

Would a modern-day, materialistic, atheist physicist find it hard to accept that Isaac Newton put great effort into studying alchemy, occultism and theology?

Actually they have found this hard to accept, but I suspect that hey would have found it harder still if Newton had based his ideas on revelatory ideas and argued by way of quotations from a book that he claimed were given unto him by godlike beings he claimed not only controlled the spiritual destiny of mankind, but who also were capable of instigating wars through means that these same atheists would regard as supernatural, rather than through experiments and rational and cogent arguments. Add to this fact that attainment of high position within this system depended on occult practices and I think we would have a similar situation and which serves to explain the constant barrage of insults hurled in this direction from the distinct minority whose most vocal members on this forum is Los and Erwin.


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the_real_simon_iff
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"HG" wrote:
Would a modern-day, materialistic, atheist physicist find it hard to accept that Isaac Newton put great effort into studying alchemy, occultism and theology?

93!

I get the impression that certain members would say that his hocus-pocus interests had nothing to do with his scientific accomplishments and probably would deny any interconnectivities between these fields. Let's say a hypothetic member named Alwin would meet Newton before his publications on certain scientific laws, seeing him walking around magic circles and trying to find the Stone of the Wise (or whatever). Alwin would insult him, ridicule him and tell him to stop this or he will never make things actually happen in this world. In hindsight it probably would have been just a weird hobby of Newton. Much to Alwin's unliking Aleister Crowley (whose philosophy he adores) had just the same weird wand-waving hobby, probably even more weird. Alwin then would probably rationalize away all this nonsense and would not even realize that thus he might be missing vital parts of the philosophy.

To answer your question, I think it happens all the time that modern-day, materialistic, atheist physicists pick from Newton and others just what they like or what fits their world-views and would not accept the whole story. IMHO. And of course there are also people who would just pick the wand-waving stuff and overlook the scientific part.

But that's all pretty off-topic.

Love=Law
Lutz


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the_real_simon_iff
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93, Kjetil.

You said it much better. Thanks.

Love=Law
Lutz


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HG
 HG
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"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
Much to Alwin's unliking Aleister Crowley (whose philosophy he adores) had just the same weird wand-waving hobby, probably even more weird. Alwin then would probably rationalize away all this nonsense and would not even realize that thus he might be missing vital parts of the philosophy.

But what exactly are these vital parts of the philosophy, in your opinion?

To continue my analogy, Catholic scientists and engineers who use Newton's equations are not pestered by people claiming: "If you want to use Newton's equations, you must reject the doctrine of the Holy Trinity! It is a vital part of the philosophy!"
But when Erwin tries the same with Crowley's Thelema, there is no end to the wailing and the gnashing of teeth.

So what makes, in your opinion, Crowley's Thelema different from Newton's physics in this matter? What is the vital part that he's missing?


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the_real_simon_iff
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"HG" wrote:
But when Erwin tries the same with Crowley's Thelema, there is no end to the wailing and the gnashing of teeth.

93, HG!

First of all, most of the wailing and gnashing of teeth is not because of what he says but because how he says it. Coming back after months only to bring goblins, the whole grown-men-and-women-dressing-up-as-wizards thing, Harry Potter and what not into the discussion, seems rather unpolite to me. But who really cares? Second of all, what's wrong with a little wailing and gnashing of teeth? Since he won't give up his world-views and others also won't, this is predictable, and there is also much to learn from that. He's pretty good at explaining certain things, but he also got his limits, and when these limits are crossed he's just throwing goblins and wands around, which is rather boring. He can pick from Crowley what he wants, but it is rather unscientific to ignore the enormous rest he doesn't like while claiming that what he has picked is the essential part.

"HG" wrote:
What is the vital part that he's missing?

Please note that I wrote "he MIGHT miss the vital parts". But he has to find out for himself, because the experiences of others are irrelevant to him. As long as it is not finally and beyound any doubt proven that Crowley wrapped his scientific theories in occult words to attract more illumination-seeking followers OR wrapped his occult theories in scientific terms to attract the more rationalistic followers OR if the two things make up the whole of his theory OR if he was just fooling everybody, nobody can be sure. I enjoy listening to the arguments but when they are too predicatble these arguments contain zero information.

And of course Patriarch156 also said a lot about it.

Love=Law
Lutz


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Patriarch156
(@patriarch156)
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"HG" wrote:
To continue my analogy, Catholic scientists and engineers who use Newton's equations are not pestered by people claiming: "If you want to use Newton's equations, you must reject the doctrine of the Holy Trinity! It is a vital part of the philosophy!"
But when Erwin tries the same with Crowley's Thelema, there is no end to the wailing and the gnashing of teeth.

So what makes, in your opinion, Crowley's Thelema different from Newton's physics in this matter? What is the vital part that he's missing?

Unfortunately your analogy remains flawed. As far as I know there is very little concern over what Erwin and Los rejects. There is even a little support of their ideas in this forum judging from some of the comments they garner from what Erwin calls the Harry Potter wannabes. Hell,there have even been some support from, assuming I understood his namecalling accurately, the socalled Death Eaters.

In sharp distinction from this is the whining from Erwin and Los about what the rest of the community thinks or believes. Both of them, judging from their constant belittling and attacks seems terribly concerned with what others thinks on this forum. Los even started a blog largely dedicated to this project.

I think it is more than a little disingenious to present it as if people at LAShTAL.com are concerned with what one has to accept or reject, when the only concern seems to be coming from Los and Erwin.

Having said that, personally I couldn't care less about their tone, or whether or not Erwin or Los happens to view me as a Harry Potter wannabe or a Death Eater. I am mostly involved on this site to explore the ideas and legacy of Aleister Crowley and historical accuracy rather than promoting ideological purity, so that kind of silly stuff doesn't really bother me.

To be frank I rather find it refreshingly honest when people calls a spade for a spade rather than hide under a false formality, at least as long as it does not become endlessly repetetive and all we get is this constant whining rather than actual discussions with actual content rather than histronic wailing.


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Los
 Los
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"Camlion" wrote:
You asked me for a quote from Liber AL relevant to the topic

No. I didn’t ask you for a quote “relevant to the topic.” I asked you for a quote from the foundational document of Thelema that would support your claim that Thelemites must assist others in realizing their true wills (don’t worry – we’ll get to your protests that this is a “strawman” in a second).

You failed. When I pointed out that the verse you quoted didn’t support your claim, you offered – not a careful explanation of its meaning – but another Crowley quote “relevant” to that verse but that still does not support your initial claim.

Noticing a pattern?

And then you criticize me for quoting Crowley too much.

No. I criticize you for quoting lines that don’t support your claim and for your inability to explain what those quotes mean.

I never said that all Thelemites must help others realize their true Wills. That would be ridicules, and it is just a strawman of your own making.

You said that all Thelemites who have a will to work in education, politics, sociology, psychology, et al, must work to create an environment that “best suits everyone doing their own Will at the same time and in the same place.”

This is the whole crux of the disagreement in this particular sub-thread. You are claiming that all Thelemites drawn to these fields must – of necessity – work to help others realize their wills.

Such sweeping claims about true wills are hardly unprecedented, of course. As Patriarch156 pointed out above, Crowley, “as demonstrated in Duty, thought it was the duty of each Thelemite to promulgate and establish the Law of Thelema in secular society.”

Do you also feel that this idea of Crowley’s is “ridicules”? Or do you think that this sweeping claim about true wills is correct, while another sweeping claim about true wills is “ridicules, and it is just a strawman”?

You started off by denying this, saying that no one must do so, (even if it is their Will - one assumes,)

As HG pointed out, I’ve never said that “no one must do so.” In fact, I’ve never said that a Thelemite should *not* adhere to any particular kind of behavior, as that would be completely contradictory to the very essence of Thelema.

I would ask you quote something I’ve said to back up your claim, but given your track record in supporting your claims, I’m not going to hold my breath.


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Los
 Los
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I want to go back to this point that got lost in the shuffle of the thread:

"Patriarch156" wrote:
Where exactly did Crowley ever note [that he was the first an “therefore worst Thelemite”]?

I searched for such a citation – which I was sure that I had read somewhere – but was unable to find it, though I have discovered other references to it.

A google search for the phrase reveals this website on which it is claimed that the OTO’s Ebony Anpu (now deceased) used to mention this quote in conversation. http://reocities.com/Athens/Sparta/4604/stories.ht m"> http://reocities.com/Athens/Sparta/4604/stories.htm “Ebony would quote Crowley as saying "I'm the first Thelemite and therefore the worst Thelemite."

Further, there are two threads – an old lashtal thread and a thread on Temple of Thelema, where the member Solitarius (probably the same individual on both forums) references the same quote.

So I’m not the only one who thinks this is actually a Crowley quote. But if I’m wrong and it is, in fact, apocryphal, I will admit my mistake and withdraw the quote. Does anyone reading this happen to know?

At any rate, there’s a note on the Old and New Commentary to Liber AL at hermetic.com in which the OTO’s Bill Heidrick reports: “Crowley himself once remarked to Grady McMurtry that he (Crowley) had been born before the age of Thelema and that it would take someone born in the age to fully comprehend the age.”

Now, granted he’s not talking about the Book of the Law specifically here, but this is an instance in which Crowley admits that those who come after him will have a better idea about things than he does, suggesting he would probably be receptive to the idea that people who come after him will know better than he.

And even if Crowley wasn’t receptive to that idea, so what? It’s trivially true that people who found fields of study don’t know as much about those fields as people who come later.

Though these three grades do correlate with the threepart structure of all of his three Orders, they are not identical, but rather analogous and has as a result different functions in each of them.

Yes, I agree with this, which is why I said that we could “roughly” relate them to the attainments associated with those degrees of the AA.

As I said, these are the three grades of the “Order” of nature and represent progressive acquiescence into the “Order” of things.

In the very same document you quote from, One Star in Sight, it is declared that every member of the A.'.A.'., irrespective of his Grade, is pledged to establish the Kingdom of Ra-Hoor-Khuit. The Order's chief instruction for this is Liber CCC, which among other things outlines educational and political reform along with spreading the word of the Law of Thelema.

Sure, members of one particular earthly manifestation of the Great Order are pledged to do this. But these members are also ordered to “be armed at all points, and expert with every weapon.” Further, members of this order are supposed to do all kinds of other silly things like, “poising on his head a cup filled with water to the brim.”

Come on, now. None of that has any necessary connection with attainment and acquiescing in the Order of things.

Members of the Great Order – the real one of which earthly orders are mere reflections – who have achieved 5=6 are not bound to anything other than the fulfillment of their true wills. They follow nothing more than the Order of things.

Crowley, as demonstrated in Duty, thought it was the duty of each Thelemite to promulgate and establish the Law of Thelema in secular society.

He was wrong on this point. It is the “duty” only of those Thelemites whose true will is to promulgate and establish the Law. Thelemites whose true will is to do something else have no such duty.


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Patriarch156
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Los, just a brief note as that is all I have time for right now. I am well aware of its usage, it is just that noone in the 20 years I have been involved has been capable of providing a citation.

As for whether or not it matters if he said this or not it depends. Obviously it matters in terms of accurately presenting Crowley's ideas. Also it matters if someone borrows Crowley's authority to lend credence to ones own. Whether not it matters for the individual Thelemite will vary for reasons that are probably entirely individual and devoid of generalisation.

Heidrick's recalling is accurate and supported by others who knew him. Moreover it echoes statements Crowley made elsewhere. The meaning of those words however are entirely different than what you and others have attributed to Crowley.

Either way thank you for giving me your sources. I will attempt to return to the rest of your post later in the week if my schedule allows it.


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 Anonymous
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"Los" wrote:

Crowley, as demonstrated in Duty, thought it was the duty of each Thelemite to promulgate and establish the Law of Thelema in secular society.

He was wrong on this point. It is the “duty” only of those Thelemites whose true will is to promulgate and establish the Law. Thelemites whose true will is to do something else have no such duty.

🙄

"The administration of the Law should be simplified by training men of uprightness and discretion whose will is to fulfill this function in the community to decide all complaints by the abstract principle of the Law of Thelema, and to award judgement on the basis of the actual restriction caused by the offense." [Emphasis added.] -AC, Duty

It is always expressed or implied, by anyone who knows anything about Thelema, that involvement in the practice of law, for example, applies only to those whose Will is to be involved in law. Were it not so, were other people compelled against their Will to do so, they would be lacking in interest and aptitude and thus be inept in the practice. The same is true of politics, or any field at all, really.

Much of this debate is obfuscation, best kept to Los' blog, but I'm glad that it's okay now for Thelemites to involve themselves in politics or law, if they Will, and since the results of politics and law effect the entire community whether they like it not, these things being held in common, it is good to have the Law of Thelema as the consistent standard in law and politics - which the goal, after all. 🙂


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 Anonymous
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"Erwin" wrote:
"Keith418" wrote:
How isn't this going to be problematic and, in the end, make Thelema superficial and silly?

"Make Thelema superficial and silly"? And you don't think the whole grown-men-and-women-dressing-up-as-wizards thing accomplishes that by itself already? Not to mention the arduous search for extra-terrestrial saviours who will finally permit "mankind to advance as a whole"?

You seem to be acting as if you're talking about a group of at least potentially serious and effective people. If Thelema, as it's currently "practiced", is "marginalized", it's not because of anything you've been going on about lately. No, it's the goblins, and the aliens, and the magic wands, all the way down. If it were any less "marginalized", all it would accomplish is making Thelema a bigger laughing stock than the Scientologists are right now - nobody is going to take you seriously enough to listen to your politics, so you might as well forget about changing the world until you sort that end of things out. The "fact" that "Aiwass ... can say: 'But I'm not arguing. I'm telling you'" might be sufficient for you, but everyone else is just going to point and laugh, and rightly so.

If we ever do end up with this "Master/Slave Dichotomy" you seem to want so much, I predict that all these wand-waving, fantasy-mongering goons won't end up in the category that you seem to think they will, so I'd be careful what you wish for, if I were you. If the "masters" start ruling the "slaves", the first people who are going to suffer are the same kooky religious believers who are calling for that to happen in the first place. If it wasn't for the "liberal left status quo" that seems to offend you so much, you'd likely be fortunate to avoid being burned at the stake by people who actually can make things happen in the world, so you might want to come back to reality and start changing your tune on that one. If the revolution ever comes, the odds of you finding yourself on the side with the powerful friends are vanishingly small.

All this talk is just going to remain idle jibber-jabber until you face up to that reality. It would be easier to take talk of revolutionary politics more seriously if it came from people who don't make a habit of prancing around a circle and casting ineffectual magic spells in their bedrooms, and pretending that they're being "transgressive" by doing it, when all they're really doing is pretending to be Harry Potter and his loyal band of chums. Oh, except for the loons who like pretending to be Death-Eaters, of course. Either way, that's where your real problem lies, not in all this distractionary silliness that you've been going on about.

This senseless rant, apparently brought to you from an outdated branch of the Church of Scientific Materialism, more closely resembles the story of the 3 Little Pigs ( I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house down) than it does a rational argument. Not one shred of evidence is provided to support any of the author's ridiculous contentions.

The unconscious assumption that this myopic subjective view represents objective reality belongs more in the pre-XXth Century world of Newtonian physics than modern scientific thought.

In short, the perception that Thelema is superficial and silly reveals more about the subjective limitations of the perceiver than it does about Thelema as a cultural, or counter-cultural movement.


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Los
 Los
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"zardoz" wrote:
In short, the perception that Thelema is superficial and silly [...]

Since Erwin's comment echoes and amplifies a point I made much earlier in the thread, I'm going to chime in here.

For clarity's sake, the point is not that Thelema itself is "superficial and silly." The point is that the way people practice (what they seem to think is) Thelema is superficial and silly.

The silliness of such practices is the source of Thelema's "marginality," not the influence of so-called Liberal politics and "middle class values."

In other words, if someone could wave a wand and make it so that all people calling themselves Thelemites immediately dropped all liberal politics and "middle class values" -- and adopted whatever position that Keith wants them to adopt -- Thelema would still be extremely marginal. The reason is that its marginality has nothing to do with the politics of people calling themselves Thelemites -- it has everything to do with the nutty practices they engage in.

The evidence for this is the fact that virtually nobody is ever going to take seriously a group of people who dress up in robes, shout "barbarous names," snack on cakes made of bodily fluids, pretend to talk to angels and demons and aliens, and make believe that they have the power to levitate objects or really travel to physical places in the "body of light."

In other words, if one is concerned about Thelema's marginality, one should not be looking at politics as the cause of that marginality, but at a much more obvious source of marginality.

Now, of course, one could simply not care that Thelema is marginal and go right on ahead with whatever practices he wants, which is probably the best option. But people who insist on making Thelema a political morality are not going to do that, and when they insist on harping on politics as the source of Thelema's marginality, they're barking up the wrong tree.


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 Anonymous
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Just a thought, but aren't there 1 billion god-eating Catholics led by a guy in a funny hat, 1.5 billion Muslims facing to Mecca 5 times a day to prey, well you get the idea. Silly seeming practices do necessarily marginalize any group.


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Los
 Los
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"Camlion" wrote:
Just a thought, but aren't there 1 billion god-eating Catholics led by a guy in a funny hat, 1.5 billion Muslims facing to Mecca 5 times a day to prey, well you get the idea. Silly seeming practices do necessarily marginalize any group.

*sigh* Yes. That's precisely the argument zardoz made a few pages back on this thread when I first brought this point up.

Zardoz writes:

"Again, it sounds like this biased and narrow viewpoint is marginal, not Thelema itself. All of the world's major religions are presented, far more than Thelema, as being yoked to and bound up with "kooky occultism" and superstition, and they are not marginal."

My reply to him on this point began:

"Yeah, but there’s a difference between, on the one hand, something kooky that has become, over thousands of years, normative and acceptable and, on the other hand, something kooky that is perceived as being kooky."

And that's the crux of the matter. We're talking about how people perceive things, because that's going to determine whether or not they'll be receptive to its ideas.

Of course, objectively speaking, it's just as stupid to think a guy in a funny hat can make "infallible" proclamations and to pretend to eat a god's body and blood, but it doesn't get perceived that way because it's become a part of the culture.

But the point is that the bizarre things done by people who call themselves Thelemites really stand out as bizarre, and really, if someone wants Thelema to be anything other than marginal, that person is going to have to come to terms with the fact that people are going to perceive its kooky practices as kooky practices and close their minds to its ideas.

But like I said, there's no requirement for Thelema to be anything but marginal. This only becomes an issue when someone wants to turn Thelema into a political morality.


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 Anonymous
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"Los" wrote:
The point is that the way people practice (what they seem to think is) Thelema is superficial and silly.

🙄

I still feel like this is a fairy-tale debate. What a joke to imply that the exercises Aleister Crowley gives are unThelemic. It boggles the mind.

"Los" wrote:
The silliness of such practices is the source of Thelema's "marginality," not the influence of so-called Liberal politics and "middle class values."

This communicates nothing except the writer's narrow bias. What, exactly, is meant by "silly" and how do the practices that Aleister Crowley gives fit that description? Could we possibly come up with a more unscientific term? Was Aleister Crowley silly? He certainly engaged in what's being denigrated as "silly practices." Should we try to pretend that this silly man had nothing to do with Thelema?

The margin that Thelema lives and grows in is called the cutting edge. This is proven by all the cutting edge cultural figures who have been influenced by Thelema and have passed that influence on in their works.
The cutting edge is always marginal. Why anyone wishes Thelema to no longer stay at the cutting edge and join the mainstream herd is beyond me.

"Los" wrote:
The evidence for this is the fact that virtually nobody is ever going to take seriously ....

Yes, virtually no one will take it seriously, except possibly as a threat, in the sleeping herd that constitutes the majority of our planet's human inhabitants. A quite large number of people involved in the counter-culture take it very seriously, and with a great deal of intelligent levity.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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"Los" wrote:
"Camlion" wrote:
Just a thought, but aren't there 1 billion god-eating Catholics led by a guy in a funny hat, 1.5 billion Muslims facing to Mecca 5 times a day to prey, well you get the idea. Silly seeming practices do necessarily marginalize any group.

*sigh* Yes. That's precisely the argument zardoz made a few pages back on this thread when I first brought this point up.

Zardoz writes:

"Again, it sounds like this biased and narrow viewpoint is marginal, not Thelema itself. All of the world's major religions are presented, far more than Thelema, as being yoked to and bound up with "kooky occultism" and superstition, and they are not marginal."

My reply to him on this point began:

"Yeah, but there’s a difference between, on the one hand, something kooky that has become, over thousands of years, normative and acceptable and, on the other hand, something kooky that is perceived as being kooky."

And that's the crux of the matter. We're talking about how people perceive things, because that's going to determine whether or not they'll be receptive to its ideas.

Of course, objectively speaking, it's just as stupid to think a guy in a funny hat can make "infallible" proclamations and to pretend to eat a god's body and blood, but it doesn't get perceived that way because it's become a part of the culture.

But the point is that the bizarre things done by people who call themselves Thelemites really stand out as bizarre, and really, if someone wants Thelema to be anything other than marginal, that person is going to have to come to terms with the fact that people are going to perceive its kooky practices as kooky practices and close their minds to its ideas.

But like I said, there's no requirement for Thelema to be anything but marginal. This only becomes an issue when someone wants to turn Thelema into a political morality.

I don't know, Los. People do not really mind kooky religious practices so long as they're on the right side of God. There are exorcisms being sanctioned by the Rome, and in the American South people routinely go into fits and talk in tongues. So long as it's on the right side of God, it's pretty much okay. I suspect that Thelema being on the wrong side of God is really the problem.


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Azidonis
(@azidonis)
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93,

"zardoz" wrote:
Should we try to pretend that this silly man had nothing to do with Thelema?

The more people "they" get to believe that, the more success "they" will have. It's just another mechanism of division.

I think cowboy hats, boots, spurs, chaps, and plaid shirts is silly, especially in this day and age. It works for some people though, so who am I to judge their values?

I think politicians are silly, with their constant ramblings and nonsense. They seem to think it is relevant though, so again, who am I to judge?

I think kilts are silly. I won't wear a kilt, but some men wear kilts. Who am I to judge?

I think that God Names, Archangels, astral travel, and what-not are mnemonic tools that can assist in self-discovery. Los thinks they are silly. Who is he to judge?

I think that people running around streaming 'science' out of their ass cracks stand a chance to miss out on some beautiful Art in nature. They do not think so. Who am I to judge?

93 93/93


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 Anonymous
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"zardoz" wrote:
Yes, virtually no one will take it seriously, except possibly as a threat, in the sleeping herd that constitutes the majority of our planet's human inhabitants. A quite large number of people involved in the counter-culture take it very seriously, and with a great deal of intelligent levity.

That number seems to growing, too, according my latest poll. 🙂


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Los
 Los
(@los)
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"Azidonis" wrote:
I think that God Names, Archangels, astral travel, and what-not are mnemonic tools that can assist in self-discovery. Los thinks they are silly. Who is he to judge?

Again, the point of this particular sub-thread isn't that *I* think occult practices are silly. The point is that most people think that occult practices typically connected with Thelema are silly. That being the case, it's no wonder that Thelema is so marginal.

Again, the question of this particular sub-thread is "what is it that makes Thelema marginal?"

Is it the fact that many Thelemites subscribe to liberal politics and middle class values? Or is it the fact that many Thelemites dress up in robes, roar "barbarous names," and think that they are in possession of special powers that enable them to levitate objects?

Which of those two options do you think is more likely the cause of Thelema being "marginal"?


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 Anonymous
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"Los" wrote:
Again, the point of this particular sub-thread isn't that *I* think occult practices are silly. The point is that most people think that occult practices typically connected with Thelema are silly. That being the case, it's no wonder that Thelema is so marginal.

Again, most people don't think those things are silly, as long as they're on the right side of God. I haven't even considered the Buddhists and Hindus yet. The practice of magic is commonplace on this planet, and is perfectly acceptable so long as it is understood as being on right side of God. In fact, whole societies are built around such practices, and allow for such things as days off from work and school for their observance. They can easily be said to be the foundation of modern society in the world, and always have been going back through recorded time.


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 Anonymous
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"Azidonis" wrote:
93

I think that people running around streaming 'science' out of their ass cracks stand a chance to miss out on some beautiful Art in nature. They do not think so. Who am I to judge?

93 93/93

93 Azidonis,

Just to add one more to your list:

People can go unwashed for days and stink up the place. They might not be aware of it. Who am I to judge?

93 93/93


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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Los,

I think this quote from Plotinus (which I think is great and submitted for inclusion as a random quote years ago) will do you some good:

"Since all men from their birth employ sense prior to intellect, and are necessarily first conversant with sensible things: Some, proceeding no farther, pass through life considering these as first and last; and apprehending what is painful to be evil, what is pleasant to be good, they deem it sufficient to shun the one and pursue the other. Some pretending to greater reason than the rest, esteem this wisdom; like earth-bound birds, though they have wings are unable to fly. The secret souls of others would recall them from pleasure to worthier pursuits; but they cannot soar: they choose the lower way and strive in vain. Thirdly, there are those divine men whose eyes pierce through clouds and darkness to supernal vision, where they abide as in their own lawful country
-- Plotinus"

I can pick your personality type out in there, can you?


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Azidonis
(@azidonis)
Member
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93,

"zardoz" wrote:
"Azidonis" wrote:
93

I think that people running around streaming 'science' out of their ass cracks stand a chance to miss out on some beautiful Art in nature. They do not think so. Who am I to judge?

93 93/93

93 Azidonis,

Just to add one more to your list:

People can go unwashed for days and stink up the place. They might not be aware of it. Who am I to judge?

93 93/93

Ooh this is a good one. If someone stinks up the place like that, and they don't appear to be aware of it, I may bring it up, generally by leading a conversation to a point where they bring it up themselves, and more often then not, they know they stink, but are maybe embarrassed.

But if they just stink, and know it, and don't care, it's their prerogative. It would then be my prerogative to keep a certain distance from them. 🙂

On the sub-thread of marginal Thelema... I'll get back to it Los, promise. I know what I want to say, but time constraints, will try to get it typed up in the morning.

93 93/93


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Azidonis
(@azidonis)
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On the idea of "marginal", it seems that the O.T.O. (c) grew by 5% last year...

http://www.oto-usa.org/usgl_annual_report_IVxviii.pdf


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amadan-De
(@amadan-de)
Member
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Posts: 686
 
"Azidonis" wrote:
On the idea of "marginal", it seems that the O.T.O. (c) grew by 5% last year...

http://www.oto-usa.org/usgl_annual_report_IVxviii.pdf

*O/T* 5% of membership of "the most populous and active national section" = 60 individuals.....'marginal' might be overstating the case.

On an aesthetic side note - what have they done to that poor lamen on the cover? 😯


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Keith418
(@keith418)
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When one of the "Heaven's Gate" people turned up here awhile, before killing himself, he attracted a lot of media attention and some of the "skeptics" showed up too - to mock him and other UFO believers. I asked them why they never appeared at local Catholic Cathedrals to mock the idea of the transubstantiation, or why they never seemed to go down to the local Orthodox synagogue to mock the people there for their beliefs in the "supernatural" - Moses parting the Red Sea, etc. Instead, they only seemed to pick on the most powerless people they could find for their "irrational" beliefs.

Do the people going after magicians for performing ceremonial magick direct the same kind of ire and invective at the people wearing Jewish prayer shawls? Or the uniform of Protestant ministers? If a "magical robe" is silly, isn't a shofar? I think they know if they attack these people, they won't get the same response they will if they go after people performing ceremonial magick like Crowley did. They don't see, most of the time, how they bow down to the status quo. They pick the same targets the status quo would pick, and avoid the targets the "powers that be" want them to avoid.

Is this kind of selection that impressive? I don't think so. It's not that I don't value skepticism. It's that the skepticism I often see is so limited, and so much a tool of larger powers, that it never seems like inspiring and brave thinking.


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Azidonis
(@azidonis)
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"Keith418" wrote:
When one of the "Heaven's Gate" people turned up here awhile, before killing himself, he attracted a lot of media attention and some of the "skeptics" showed up too - to mock him and other UFO believers. I asked them why they never appeared at local Catholic Cathedrals to mock the idea of the transubstantiation, or why they never seemed to go down to the local Orthodox synagogue to mock the people there for their beliefs in the "supernatural" - Moses parting the Red Sea, etc. Instead, they only seemed to pick on the most powerless people they could find for their "irrational" beliefs.

Do the people going after magicians for performing ceremonial magick direct the same kind of ire and invective at the people wearing Jewish prayer shawls? Or the uniform of Protestant ministers? If a "magical robe" is silly, isn't a shofar? I think they know if they attack these people, they won't get the same response they will if they go after people performing ceremonial magick like Crowley did. They don't see, most of the time, how they bow down to the status quo. They pick the same targets the status quo would pick, and avoid the targets the "powers that be" want them to avoid.

Is this kind of selection that impressive? I don't think so. It's not that I don't value skepticism. It's that the skepticism I often see is so limited, and so much a tool of larger powers, that it never seems like inspiring and brave thinking.

Part of the selections have to do with leftover aspects of the church of the Dying God, where angeliciation and demonization, both forms of separation (we are right, they are wrong), reigned supreme in the Dying God's quest for, well, death.

In their case, if you aren't with them, you must be against them, and thus accuse-able and punishable of anything they can thing of that they decide is foul, unjust, or otherwise obscene.

For examples: The Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692, The Trial of Joan of Arc, Crusades, ad nausuem.

See also the evolution of deities throughout time. Ishtar is a good starting point.


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Keith418
(@keith418)
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But my point is that the people being "skeptical" now often don't see how they refuse to challenge the real "Dying God" forces still around. I mean, why go after Crowley and ceremonial magick and give all these other people a pass? They are just as irrational at their core. This is a point that's been raised about a few of the modern "atheists." They aren't like Nietzsche in that he criticized more than just "belief." Nietzsche attacked beliefs but he also criticized Judeo-Christian values. The majority of atheists now want to get rid of the "beliefs" and keep the "values." Their reasons for attacking Judeo-Christianity are very different from Nietzsche's and Crowley's reasons. Their antagonism comes from a different place and carries with it a different agenda.


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Shiva
(@shiva)
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"Keith418" wrote:
I mean, why go after Crowley and ceremonial magick and give all these other people a pass?

Because we are scarier to them. "Let my servants be few and secret" is a simple suggestion (or maybe an universal principle); break this rule (of secrecy) and suffer, because "Ye are against the people" and "the people are against you."

Change-agents always seem to attract the flak.


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 Anonymous
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"Keith418" wrote:
Do the people going after magicians for performing ceremonial magick direct the same kind of ire and invective at the people wearing Jewish prayer shawls? Or the uniform of Protestant ministers? If a "magical robe" is silly, isn't a shofar?

Seriously, Keith?

"In the Bullshit Department, a businessman can't hold a candle to a clergyman. 'Cause I gotta tell you the truth, folks. When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major league bullshit, you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims, religion. No contest. No contest. Religion. Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there's an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever 'til the end of time!

"But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He's all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can't handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit!"

- George Carlin

"Judaism: originally a tribal cult of a single fiercely unpleasant God, morbidly obsessed with sexual restrictions, with the smell of charred flesh, with his own superiority over rival gods and with the exclusiveness of his chosen desert tribe."

- Richard Dawkins

"The notion that religion is a proper field, in which one might claim expertise, is one that should not go unquestioned. That clergymen presumably would not have deferred to the expertise of a claimed 'fairyologist' on the exact shape and colour of fairy wings."

- Richard Dawkins

"How much effort it takes to affirm the incredible! The Aztecs had to tear open a human chest cavity every day just to make sure that the sun would rise. Monotheists are supposed to pester their deity more times than that, lest he be deaf. How much vanity must be concealed - not too effectively at that - in order to pretend that one is the personal object of a divine plan? How much self-respect must be sacrificed in order that one may squirm continually in an awareness of one's own sin? How many needless assumptions must be made, and how much contortion is required, to receive every new insight and science and manipulate it so as to 'fit' with the revealed words of ancient man-made deities? How many saints and miracles and councils and conclaves are required in order first to be able to establish a dogma and then - after infinite pain and loss and absurdity and cruelty - to be forced to rescind one of those dogmas?"

- Christopher Hitchens

"You see, Stan, there's a reason for people feeling sad and depressed. [leans in] An alien reason. It all began 75 million years ago. Back then, there was a galactic federation of planets which was ruled over by the evil Lord Xenu. Xenu thought this galaxy was overpopulated, and so he rounded up countless aliens from all different planets. The frozen alien bodies were loaded onto Xenu's galactic cruisers, which looked like DC-8s, except with rocket engines. [Subtitle: THIS IS WHAT SCIENTOLOGISTS ACTUALLY BELIEVE.] The cruisers then took the frozen alien bodies to our planet, to Earth, and dumped them in the volcanoes of Hawaii. The aliens were no longer frozen, they were dead. The souls of those aliens, however, lived on, and all floated up towards the sky.

"But the evil Lord Xenu had prepared for this. Xenu didn't want their souls to return! And so he built giant soul-catchers in the sky! The souls were taken to a huge soul brainwashing facility, which Xenu had also built on Earth. There the souls were forced to watch days of brainwashing material which tricked them into believing a false reality. Xenu then released the alien souls, which roamed the Earth aimlessly in a fog of confusion. At the Dawn of Man, the souls finally found bodies which they can grab onto. They attached themselves to all mankind, which still to this day causes all our fears, our confusions, and our problems. L. Ron Hubbard did an amazing thing telling the world this incredible truth. Now, all we're asking you to do...is pick up where he left off."

- South Park

Are you seriously trying to tell me that you've never come across the same people mocking all the other religious lunacy out there? You've never come across people laughing at Protestant ministers for "wearing dresses", the Pope for wearing a silly hat, the Mormons for their magical disappearing golden tablets, the Muslims for the 72 virgins they think they're going to get in Paradise, the Wiccans for believing whatever it was they heard over breakfast that morning, and all the rest? If so, then you've been going around with a bucket on your head. I know the hallmark of the occultist is a stubborn refusal to acknowledge reality, but this one is outlandish even for you. For goodness' sake, occultists themselves are amongst the most egregious culprits for mocking the "Xtians", and you try to tell me they always get off with a free pass? You'll be trying to tell me pretending to cast spells in your bedroom is "transgressive", next.

"Keith418" wrote:
When one of the "Heaven's Gate" people turned up here awhile, before killing himself, he attracted a lot of media attention and some of the "skeptics" showed up too - to mock him and other UFO believers. I asked them why they never appeared at local Catholic Cathedrals to mock the idea of the transubstantiation, or why they never seemed to go down to the local Orthodox synagogue to mock the people there for their beliefs in the "supernatural" - Moses parting the Red Sea, etc. Instead, they only seemed to pick on the most powerless people they could find for their "irrational" beliefs....

I think they know if they attack these people, they won't get the same response they will if they go after people performing ceremonial magick like Crowley did....They pick the same targets the status quo would pick, and avoid the targets the "powers that be" want them to avoid.

So, let me paraphrase:

"There are plenty of other people out there who believe and do things just as 'silly' as us 'magicians' do, but who aren't as weak and 'powerless' as we are. Why don't you leave us alone and go and pick on someone your own size, instead?"

Did you actually purposefully mean to write the words "inspiring and brave thinking" in the same post as that?

You spend all this time telling us how we should let ourselves be "challenged" by Crowley's political writings (which are weak, juvenile, and not even remotely challenging to anyone with a mental age above five, by the way), and then, when your own beliefs and practices are "challenged", this is all you can come up with? This is the attitude with which you think you're going to "challenge the 'status quo'"?

Ha! Good luck with that!


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Keith418
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"Modern rationalism rejected biblical theology and replaced it by such things as deism, pantheism, atheism. But in this process, biblical morality was in a way preserved. Goodness was still believed to consist in something like justice, benevolence, love, or charity; and modern rationalism has a tendency to believe that this biblical morality is better preserved if it is divorced from biblical theology. Now this was, of course, more visible in the nineteenth century than it is today; it is no longer so visible today because one crucial event happened around 1870-1880: the appearance of Nietzsche. Nietzsche’s criticism can be reduced to one proposition: modern man has been trying to preserve biblical morality while abandoning biblical faith. That is impossible. If the biblical faith goes, biblical morality must go too, and a radically different morality must be accepted."

- Leo Strauss

I think Crowley saw this too, which leads him away from most modern atheists who are intent on doing just what Strauss says they are doing here - seeking to preserve biblical morality while rejecting biblical faith.

"Even the atheist is compelled to base his whole position upon the teaching of Christ. That and no other is the standard by which he measures his work. He evidently differs from St. Paul only by advancing this reason as a ground for disbelief and disagreement instead of faith and adherence. "

- Crowley

It doesn't work. But rejecting biblical values and morality leads us back to considering Nietzsche and Crowley's values. This process characterizes the great crisis we are passing through.


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Shiva
(@shiva)
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"Erwin" wrote:
"In the Bullshit Department, a businessman can't hold a candle to a clergyman. 'Cause I gotta tell you the truth, folks. When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major league bullshit, you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims, religion. No contest. No contest. Religion. Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told..."

Say, that rings a bell:

"And now after making allowance for evils that are natural and cannot be avoided ... I will point out the greatest, the chief cause of nearly two-thirds of the evils that pursue humanity ever since that cause became a power. It is religion under whatever form and in whatever nation. It is the sacerdotal caste, the priesthood and the Churches ; it is in those illusions that man looks upon as sacred, that he has to search out the source of that multitude of evils which is the great curse of humanity, and that almost overwhelms mankind."

- Koot Hoomi in The Mahatma Letters.


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Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
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"Keith418" wrote:
I think Crowley saw this too, which leads him away from most modern atheists who are intent on doing just what Strauss says they are doing here - seeking to preserve biblical morality while rejecting biblical faith.

I take your point, Keith, but it's also a case of not throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Many of the edicts passed down as religious requirements and laws happen to be useful codes of conduct from the point of view of maintaining social cohesion - "thou shalt not kill", "honour thy father and thy mother", "thou shalt not bear false witness", etc. A society based on atheism would still wish to retain some of these standards because they maintain social cohesion.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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 Anonymous
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"Erwin" wrote:
I know the hallmark of the occultist is a stubborn refusal to acknowledge reality

Which one?


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Keith418
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"MichaelStaley" wrote:
I take your point, Keith, but it's also a case of not throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Many of the edicts passed down as religious requirements and laws happen to be useful codes of conduct from the point of view of maintaining social cohesion

But this "social conscience" is itself inimical to Thelema - and AC himself rejects it when he points out that for Thelemites: "The family, the clan, the state count for nothing; the Individual is the Autarch." The fact that so many people try to pull the "social issue" back into the discussion, I think, betrays the way they are still grounded in essentially Judeo-Christian values and approaches.

The message we keep getting from both the leaders and the followers in the Thelemic community is that the individual must indeed take a back seat to these pressing "social concerns." Maybe the message isn't always explicit - it is very explicit from some leaders - but it's clear nonetheless. Nary a soul in the Thelemic community echoes or reinforces Crowley and Nietzsche's attacks on the subordination of the individual to the herd with any great vigor or consistency. I think this is extremely significant.

Is it really only a "practical" matter? Crowley insisted that the "social aspect" was being ill-served by democracy, egalitarianism, and other secularized Judeo-Christian values. So did Nietzsche. Why are we so unwilling to explore why they might have been right? Are we that happy and content with the status quo? If we are, doesn't that provoke a judgment on us - rather than on merely Crowley and Nietzsche?

Like I said, the "skeptics" never turn their skepticism on the status quo and the values insisted on by modern, liberal-democratic societies. Is it genuine skepticism then? Or just a way to reinforce what we already have from the secular society around us? If Thelemic values and the values of liberal-left democrats in modern Western societies are the same, then we really do not need Thelema at all - it is reduced down to a mere fashion statement or harmless posture. In order to be really meaningful it has to challenge and attack conventional values. If Thelema isn't "oppositional" in some serious manner, then what's the point?


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Azidonis
(@azidonis)
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"Keith418" wrote:
If Thelema isn't "oppositional" in some serious manner, then what's the point?

I see what you are saying, but my mind conjured an image of a bunch of people running around with torches finding things to oppose in the name of Thelema.

I think humanity has been there before.

And now, levity... funny random picture


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Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 4132
 
"Keith418" wrote:
But this "social conscience" is itself inimical to Thelema - and AC himself rejects it when he points out that for Thelemites: "The family, the clan, the state count for nothing; the Individual is the Autarch."

It's not as straightforward as you present it. Take for instance the star, an entity which is referenced in, for instance "every man and every woman is a star".

However, what we see are not a multiplicity of stars being "individuals", eschewing "social conscience", etc. They are not a bunch of bodies hanging out in space, wandering around aimlessly. On the contrary, they move in orbits, as components of solar systems, galaxies, etc. This isn't the negation of their individuality, but rather the fulfilment of it.

After all, the individual is transient rather than enduring, apparent rather than real. We're born, have our day, and then die; our constituent parts are drawn into other configurations which too flourish and then decay.

Like most things in life, it's a question of balance between individual and group. You appear unimpressed by such considerations; so why don't you put your money where your mouth is, and retreat into some remote desert fastness, where you can be as individual as you like, untrammelled by the herd? Then you'd be happy.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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 Anonymous
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"Keith418" wrote:
"modern man has been trying to preserve biblical morality while abandoning biblical faith. That is impossible. If the biblical faith goes, biblical morality must go too, and a radically different morality must be accepted."

- Leo Strauss

I think Crowley saw this too, which leads him away from most modern atheists who are intent on doing just what Strauss says they are doing here - seeking to preserve biblical morality while rejecting biblical faith.

There are two glaringly obvious and fatal flaws with this silly idea of yours.

The first is that you are being enormously selective with what you describe as "biblical morality", just cherry-picking the occasional little snippet that you personally find objectionable. For instance, quote me three of these "most modern atheists" you mention who have "been trying to preserve":

- stoning people for adultery
- slaughtering a neighbouring tribe because you want their land
- sacrificing your male children
- executing magicians and sorcerors (there's a lucky one for you, eh? Another reason for you to be thankful of the "status quo")
- visiting ten types of deadly plague upon your political masters and their first-born children

to name but a few things which are morally sanctioned in the Bible. I don't know who this "egalitarian" Judeo-Christian God you've been harping on about is, but it's not the same one in the Bible that everyone else reads.

"The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully."

- Richard Dawkins

In addition, you can quite clearly see Christian morality right now being challenged by atheists everywhere. Again, find me three of these "most modern atheists" of yours who support:

- encouraging the spread of HIV via religious sanctions against condom usage
- legally enshrining the right of hotel owners and adoption agencies to discriminate against homosexuals
- outlawing divorce

all of which have been positions argued for, within the last 24 months, by the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations, and which have been strenuously resisted by atheists and moderates of all stripes. Christians everywhere are forever harping on about the decline of morality in today's society, and a return to "traditional (Christian) values".

If you want to legitimately accuse people of trying to "preserve bibical morality", you can't just select the odd snippet that you personally disapprove of; you either have to demonstrate they're trying to preserve the largest part of it, or you have to withdraw your claim.

"Is this kind of selection that impressive? I don't think so ... it never seems like inspiring and brave thinking."

- You

This idea you support that "most modern atheists ... are intent on ... seeking to preserve biblical morality" is laughably, outrageously, and palpably false. You are quite simply not living in the real world, or not paying attention to it, or both.

Secondly, this "biblical morality" of yours isn't even biblical. We've already seen that these ideas of "justice, benevolence, love, or charity" are flatly ignored in 95% of the Bible, usually by God himself. Once we get onto Jesus, we see that his morality is essentially an elaboration of the Golden Rule, which is found is practically every ethical tradition ever conceived, religious or otherwise. The Golden Rule, the principle of avoiding causing suffering, and the idea of turning the other cheek, regardless of what mistreatment you might have received from others, are all found in the moral philosophy of the pre-Christian Ancient Greeks, for instance, of whom your pal Nietzsche was so fond. These ethical principles crop up all over the world, so millions of people throughout history and up to the present day appear to have no problem at all subscribing to this form of morality whilst simultaneously "abandoning biblical faith", even if that morality were "biblical", which it isn't.

Biologists and game-theorists have managed to show how the development of a system of ethics based on reciprocity is not only perfectly consistent with a gene-centred view of evolution, but favoured by it, for instance. Your assertion that this type of morality is "impossible" to support without "biblical faith" is demonstrably nonsensical. You need to keep up with the times, and stop getting all your information from dead philosophers who never paid any attention to any actual evidence in the first place.

What we really have here with this position of yours is the good old argument from personal incredulity. The creationist says "I am personally unable to conceive of a way in which the universe could have come into existence other than being created by God, therefore, God created it", and you and your pal Strauss say "I am personally unable to conceive of a way in which this type of morality can exist without 'biblical faith', therefore 'that is impossible'." Well, as we've seen, it demonstrably is not impossible, and the idea that it is is nothing but a personal failure of your own limited imagination to conceive of an alternative, a failure made particularly significant by the breathtaking ease with which it's possible to observe evidence to the contrary. Millions of other people don't have anything like the amount of difficulty with it that you seem to suffer from. If you stopped simply believing in dead philosophers, challenged your views and your own "status quo" like you continually exhort everyone else to do, and actually looked at the evidence in the real world instead of wallowing in all this self-absorbent outdated philosophy, you'd be able to see this.

You really don't appear to have thought any of this through at all, or bothered to look at any actual evidence for or against your wild and specious claims. This probably explains why you find Crowley's facile political ramblings so "challenging".

"Keith418" wrote:
This process characterizes the great crisis we are passing through.

Sorry to hear you're going through a great crisis. Hope you get over it soon, and rejoin the rest of us. The commentary above should help.


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Keith418
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Posts: 127
 
"MichaelStaley" wrote:
[
It's not as straightforward as you present it. Take for instance the star, an entity which is referenced in, for instance "every man and every woman is a star".

But AC says nothing about balance in his original writing in MWT. Instead, he says that the individual is all, and the clan, family, etc. is nothing. No one rooted in Judeo-Christianity, and its secularized social values, can accept this so they must moderate and adulterate Crowley's emphasis on the individual with terms like "social cohesion" and "balance." Thelema isn't a new values system that has been tried and found wanting. Instead, it's a new values system that has been found difficult... and not tried. Instead of trying it we tell ourselves it's "unbalanced," or not practical, etc. I have been hearing variations of these rationalizations ever since I joined the Thelemic community in 1987 e.v.

Part of my biggest problem with your caveats is that the people advancing them do not challenge me or make me look at the AC texts differently. Instead, they seem to sound exactly what I get from the many adherents of liberal-egalitarianism and democracy that I have all around me in the secular world to begin with. When people echo your beliefs, it seems like their agenda isn't to make the world more Thelemic - but to make Thelema more like the rest of the world around us. That world I already have, since I live among liberal-left, democratic believers in secularized Judeo-Christian values, and can have all of that without Thelema at all. This is why the people advancing your position don't seem stimulating or important to me. Instead, they sound like people who are nervous about the implications of what Crowley taught and are seeking to ally their fears and worries. Is that really the best we can do? I think not.

Among Thelemites, the debate often rages about whether the community suffers from too little of Crowley's teachings, or from too much of them. I don't think we can tell if Crowley was right or wrong about many of these things, because they get rejected before they are even considered carefully or tried. Was he right about the importance of abandoning a commitment to human equality? Was he right about the need to be selfish? I think these challenges to the status quo are as vital and essential as they ever were. Anything else feels like an embrace of the way things already are.

Crowley would argue, and did argue, that the human community was going to be better served by his approaches and positions. I think we've tried other approaches and they haven't worked. I'm invested in Thelema because i want to try it a new way - not just go through more of the same with a new name attached to it.


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Keith418
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"My dislike to Atheism is principally founded on the fact that so many of its exponents are always boring me about ethics."

- Crowley

Does this wonderful observation reinforce the way that Strauss & Crowley were correct - and that most "atheists" are just Judeo-Christians in a new disguise?


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Keith418
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Posts: 127
 
"Keith418" wrote:
Instead, they sound like people who are nervous about the implications of what Crowley taught and are seeking to ally their fears and worries.

That should have been "allay"...


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
 
"Keith418" wrote:
"My dislike to Atheism is principally founded on the fact that so many of its exponents are always boring me about ethics."

- Crowley

Does this wonderful observation reinforce the way that Strauss & Crowley were correct - and that most "atheists" are just Judeo-Christians in a new disguise?

No, it does not.

You keep making the same point about atheists without giving evidence that there's anything Judeo-Christian about them. The fact that atheists bored Crowley is NOT evidence of anything Judeo-Christian. Seems like you're grasping desperately for straws to prop up a weak argument.

Erwin made some very good points which you seem to have ignored.


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Keith418
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Posts: 127
 
"Azidonis" wrote:
"Keith418" wrote:
If Thelema isn't "oppositional" in some serious manner, then what's the point?

I see what you are saying, but my mind conjured an image of a bunch of people running around with torches finding things to oppose in the name of Thelema.

I think humanity has been there before.

But this means that the status quo wins. Did any of us really get involved in Thelema because we like the way things are? Or are we ready to cave in because oppositional thinking itself has become so hard to do? The fact that many people don''t want to rock the boat, and wish to silently acquiesce to the dominant mind set, interests me. Was it always like this? I don't think it was.

Back in the 1980s and part of the '90s there was more of a movement towards transgression and challenging boundaries. If it wasn't always appreciated, it was permitted and expected. One of the things I've noticed, since then, is a real reluctance coming from people to shake things up or question and take on the status quo and its normative values and beliefs. That "permission to transgress" has been withdrawn. We know this because anyone who significantly deviates from the consensus is immediately labeled dangerous or a "fascist" - no matter how poor a label for their beliefs that might be. The fear of a resurgent Nazism (less of communism) seems to enforce a kind of complacency - in which people seem to possess an unshakeable and instinctual worry regarding where a questioning of contemporary root values and beliefs might lead to.

This fear of grand projects and of belief systems that are different from the dominant hegemony... is it helping us? Or does it let a bad situation get worse because we are too worried about the alternatives to think about anything else or consider any other possibilities? The counter culture of the 60s didn't happen, after all, because people were worried about upsetting the status quo. Why then, are so many people worried now - even the people who see the cultural revolution of the 60s as some kind of important benchmark?

Crowley was very critical of the status quo of his day. When people are critical of the status quo now, especially in the Thelemic community, they are critical of it with its own terms - and their attacks seem more like a self-correcting measure than a true and different opposition. Things are bad because there's not enough equality - not that equality itself is a bad value to have. Things need to be improved because people are too selfish - not that they aren't truly selfish enough or that being selfish is itself a good thing and a virtue. The "good" that people want to see is a "good" as defined by secularized Judeo-Christianity - not a "good" as defined by someone like Nietzsche or Crowley.

Crowley's real teachings appeal to the people who, maybe in the back of their minds, are tired of the status quo and fed up with its guilt trips about political correctness and egalitarianism - and who maybe think Crowley was more right than he was wrong, and that today's society - even at its "best" - is more wrong than it is right.

Is where "humanity" is now so wonderful? If we want to do better, it won't be by doing the same things we are doing now, nor by insisting on the virtue of the same values that brought us here. If Crowley wanted to overturn the status quo, why are today's Thelemites so intent on preserving it? Have they stopped being able to imagine any other alternative? How exactly did they arrive at that point?


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Keith418
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Posts: 127
 

"We may remark that the temper of the modern atheists may have been spoiled not by their contemptuous incredulity, but by the systematic torture to which as children they were subjected in the name of Jesus."

- Crowley

Many of the people I have met in the Thelemic community - over the years - fit this bill. Their parents were Catholics or Fundamentalist (or Evangelical) Christians and this is what they are struggling with. I often see them as seeking to use either atheism or Thelema to "deprogram" themselves from their earlier experiences. Given what they have been through, this is certainly understandable. It's not sufficient.

Many of these people seem to be groping, not towards Crowley and Nietzsche, but towards liberal, mainstream secularism and the "enlightened" versions of the Judeo-Christian project wrapped in new disguises and taught at exclusive universities and colleges. They betray their origins in the "old school" in any number of ways, but mainly in the way that AC points out - they are like Christians in their new "atheism." But the biggest problem I can see about them is that they don't realize that what they are struggling against is a dead religion. People, even in America, are leaving the Evangelical community in droves. What's worse, new members aren't coming in. Those invested in pursuing this can read "The Fall of the Evangelical Nation: The Surprising Crisis Inside the Church" by Christine Wicker. The Catholic church is also in terrible shape.

But the larger point is that these people mostly become the tools of secular Christianity - socialists, liberals, leftists of every stripe and persuasion. Crowley may have had the same upbringing they did, but he didn't go to the left. Instead, he - like Nietzsche - judged Christianity beyond the limited criticisms of mere rationalist atheists. He didn't limit himself to attack "irrational" religious beliefs, but the values of good and evil those religions taught. The people coming from these benighted religious backgrounds seldom are able to make the leap that Crowley did. Instead, as Strauss describes, they give up on "religion" and retain its basic moral values. They join variations of the left-democratic social project. This is a more educated version of Judeo-Christianity and it purports to be "rational" and "scientific." No matter what it says about itself, it's the same old thing in a new, "upscale" disguise.

But some of us were not raised in these kinds of environs. Hence, while we can look with some degree of pity at the children of Catholics and Fundamentalists, we cannot stoop down to share their accompanying resentments and brutal limitations. They may see Thelema as a tool to help them become like a liberal, well educated non-believer, but if you already start out in that milieu, you can immediately see that Thelema is really much more than a way to counter what mommy and daddy and Father Ted taught you about God. Thelema is just as big a threat to the well-educated liberal-left - the same people that the ex-Fundies and Catholics usually aspire to join, because it is just as inimical to the Judeo-Christian morality inherent in the liberal-left project as it is to Pat Robertson and the Pope.

I am not surprised that the children of Fundies and Catholics resist looking at these facts and trajectories. This doesn't mean that Crowley was wrong about them and their issues.


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 Anonymous
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"Erwin" wrote:
"Keith418" wrote:
This process characterizes the great crisis we are passing through.

Sorry to hear you're going through a great crisis. Hope you get over it soon, and rejoin the rest of us. The commentary above should help.

If you put your monumental arrogance aside - no, let me do that for you, on your behalf, seeing as you are incapable of doing it - for one minute, you might entertain the notion that Keith was talking about our society as a global whole. Crowley himself referred to it many times.

I "hope that helps".


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Azidonis
(@azidonis)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2964
 
"Keith418" wrote:
"Azidonis" wrote:
"Keith418" wrote:
If Thelema isn't "oppositional" in some serious manner, then what's the point?

I see what you are saying, but my mind conjured an image of a bunch of people running around with torches finding things to oppose in the name of Thelema.

I think humanity has been there before.

"Keith418" wrote:
But this means that the status quo wins.

No it doesn't. Besides, I was unaware that Thelema was in direct competition with the so-called "status quo".

"Keith418" wrote:
Did any of us really get involved in Thelema because we like the way things are?

I assume this is a rhetorical question.

"Keith418" wrote:
Or are we ready to cave in because oppositional thinking itself has become so hard to do?

Another rhetorical question.

"Keith418" wrote:
The fact that many people don''t want to rock the boat, and wish to silently acquiesce to the dominant mind set, interests me. Was it always like this? I don't think it was.

That you seem privy to personal phantoms about what other people are doing says more about you than it does them. You seem to forget there are quite larger issues than whether or not Liber AL becomes a best-seller.

"Keith418" wrote:
Back in the 1980s and part of the '90s there was more of a movement towards transgression and challenging boundaries. If it wasn't always appreciated, it was permitted and expected. One of the things I've noticed, since then, is a real reluctance coming from people to shake things up or question and take on the status quo and its normative values and beliefs. That "permission to transgress" has been withdrawn.

You seem to be missing that the wheels set in motion in the '80s, and '90s are still turning, only now they are running on slave labor.

"Keith418" wrote:
We know this because anyone who significantly deviates from the consensus is immediately labeled dangerous or a "fascist" - no matter how poor a label for their beliefs that might be. The fear of a resurgent Nazism (less of communism) seems to enforce a kind of complacency - in which people seem to possess an unshakeable and instinctual worry regarding where a questioning of contemporary root values and beliefs might lead to.

"Lurk. Wirthdraw..."

"Keith418" wrote:
This fear of grand projects and of belief systems that are different from the dominant hegemony... is it helping us?

Who is it that has this fear? What are you projecting?

"Keith418" wrote:
Or does it let a bad situation get worse because we are too worried about the alternatives to think about anything else or consider any other possibilities? The counter culture of the 60s didn't happen, after all, because people were worried about upsetting the status quo. Why then, are so many people worried now - even the people who see the cultural revolution of the 60s as some kind of important benchmark?

Seems like you could use a vacation.

"Keith418" wrote:
Crowley was very critical of the status quo of his day. When people are critical of the status quo now, especially in the Thelemic community, they are critical of it with its own terms - and their attacks seem more like a self-correcting measure than a true and different opposition. Things are bad because there's not enough equality - not that equality itself is a bad value to have. Things need to be improved because people are too selfish - not that they aren't truly selfish enough or that being selfish is itself a good thing and a virtue. The "good" that people want to see is a "good" as defined by secularized Judeo-Christianity - not a "good" as defined by someone like Nietzsche or Crowley.

What?

"Keith418" wrote:
Crowley's real teachings appeal to the people who, maybe in the back of their minds, are tired of the status quo and fed up with its guilt trips about political correctness and egalitarianism - and who maybe think Crowley was more right than he was wrong, and that today's society - even at its "best" - is more wrong than it is right.

According to you. That's why Crowley's teachings appeal to you.

"Keith418" wrote:
Is where "humanity" is now so wonderful? If we want to do better, it won't be by doing the same things we are doing now, nor by insisting on the virtue of the same values that brought us here. If Crowley wanted to overturn the status quo, why are today's Thelemites so intent on preserving it? Have they stopped being able to imagine any other alternative? How exactly did they arrive at that point?

Humanity is not, nor has it ever been, wonderful in the sense that you are using the term. It has its good points and bad, like anything else. If we want to improve on that, instead of gathering our cloaks and torches and setting fire to certain steeple-crested buildings, we should first work on the issues within.

Currently, I'm willing to bet there are many more people calling themselves Thelemites than there are actual Thelemites. I'm also willing to bet that there is a fairly large portion of those same "Crowleyites" that are no more than slaves themselves.

In my opinion, the voice has been heard. People have spoken out, and the world knows it is on the brink of a massive change, through whatever lens individuals may be seeing it. But, when the shit hits the fan, you certainly don't want a bunch of breakfast club fan boys to run out and do "x" in the name of Thelema.

In my opinion, this is a prime period for development both spiritually and physically, both within ourselves and the "Thelemic community". If this period goes to waste, the amount of people actually able to carry torches when the time comes will be so very small they won't actually matter.

I would suggest education. That is, stop worrying about what Crowley said, what Nietzche said, what anyone else said, and work towards accomplishing your Will within the boundaries and limitations you are able to. From there, focus on helping others do the same.


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