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Can one be a Thelemite and not a Tory?  

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ianrons
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04/05/2010 1:13 am  

I believe that at least some of this Act will be covered by the "Great Repeal Bill" that the Conservatives intend to put before Parliament immediately after the election, but I am not going to write to my local MP to confirm because I know he's very busy at the moment. Guess who voted against this Bill when it was in Parliament?
http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2003-07-15&number=291

I think the point of this side-issue is that Crowley was right to oppose the encroachment of state power. This issue is completely about individual liberty – a reasonable standard of individual liberty – which tends to be in the interests of government to abolish. Unless, that is, the people in government recognise the dangers of state power.

It also serves as a definite example of why Thelema is more compatible with some political viewpoints than with others – and not just with "any form of politics".


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 Anonymous
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04/05/2010 3:06 am  
"Camlion" wrote:

It might be interesting to note something, in a light of a couple of the more 'transcendent' seeming posts above. The general goals of Thelemites tend fall into two categories:

a) Knowing and doing true Will.

b) Discovering the true nature and powers of one's own being.

It is often said that there are "two Veils," "two Ordeals" and so on. The first would be (a) above, and the next is (b). The notion that one can transcend (a) in favor of (b) is faulty, because only (a) can direct one to (b), and not everyone is directed by (a) to (b), in fact, most people are not. Most people's true Will is something else entirely, at least at present.

So true! Brilliant way of putting it, Camlion


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Los
 Los
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04/05/2010 4:04 am  
"ianrons" wrote:
And many people want government handouts, at the expense of every other member of society.

Oh noes! We can't have the dreaded "government handouts" in the form of any kind of safety net for society. No, no -- far better to give handouts to the wealthy, who frequently do very little to earn their wealth, and to not call them handouts. Maybe call those handouts something like "tax cuts for all," and then don't point out that the middle class gets a few pennies while the fat cats get a huge, giant check. Yeah, that's the ticket....

Now, in all seriousness, my personal opinion is that the best economic system is capitalism, but capitalism tempered by aspects of socialism: safety nets, regulations, and balances to make sure that the rich don't run off with all the money. For example, it's obvious, after the last financial meltdown here in the US, that we need much stricter regulations on corporations to make sure that they never again can pull the bullshit they've been getting away with.

None of this is directly related to Thelema or derived from Thelema. You might disagree, but your disagreement would also not be derived from Thelema; it would be derived from your own set of values.

It also serves as a definite example of why Thelema is more compatible with some political viewpoints than with others – and not just with "any form of politics".

It really doesn't.

Thelema is perfectly compatible with an absolute totalitarian state, the kind that Crowley dreamed about in "The Scientific Solution to the Problem of Government." All you'd need is some loon who claimed to be able to determine the "True Will" of each citizen, and you'd have it: a government with absolute power that grants its citizens only one right: do your will (i.e. whatever the government tells you that your will is).

In such a Thelemic society, the individual would have no right to do anything but the task that the government told him that his true will was. And if the individual disagreed, he would just be plain wrong about his true will, because his "masters" -- the weirdos in power -- know best.

To look at it from a different angle, in the kinds of societies that we have now -- societies that afford their citizens a great deal of personal freedom -- a Thelemite (a real Thelemite, that is) isn't going to be hindered in the least by some stupid law that prohibits kissing, any more than a Thelemite is hindered by laws against drugs, or murder, or jaywalking. The laws of the land are just part of the environment that one has to take into consideration when carrying out the will.

For example, when you drive your car, the speed limit imposed on you by a government is just as much something you have to take into consideration as any obstacles in the road. On rare occasions, you just have to run over an obstacle (or break the speed limit), but most of the time, it's easier to adjust your course slightly to save yourself a headache in the long run. It's the same with any other law.

If you're really motivated to get involved politically, then go for it, but laws really aren't much of an obstacle to the will of people who know what they're doing.


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 Anonymous
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04/05/2010 4:26 am  

yes los, that is true.

But what is better a government system that sets up a social environment with customs, norms and resource distribution than aids each class of individual so they can accomplish their WILL in a way that contributes to the whole.

Or lets say a system that imposes steep taxes, fines, obligations, and customs than make it nearly impossible for most people to survive on the wages of a useful application of labor, while creating a black market for drugs and a media system than makes those drugs seem taboo and enticing, such that turning to a life of running a criminal drug dealing gang has a much higher chance of getting one the social respect and money one needs to buy all the stuff the big corporations beat into out heads than we need to be worth anything as human beings. (of course half of those corporation get kickbacks from the third world drug cartels, whom they owe for suppressing governments that would grant decent wages to the slave labor workers that produce American goods.)

See the first system promotes civil laws and social behavior, while the second promotes war, crime, injustice, poverty, economic strain, all at the behest of the black brothers who run big business.


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the_real_simon_iff
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04/05/2010 8:59 am  

93!

Somehow this is an interesting thread - but only from a historical point of view. In my opinion most of the political terms Crowley used have totally lost their meaning today. The political parties seem to have become nothing more than tools of various corporate groups, and neither left or right wing will bring forth anything that could be in any way of real interest to a "Thelemite".

Although I agree that Crowley had a definite vision of Thelemic Ideals as the conduct for government, in my opinion he preferred whatever political orientation showed the best prospect to install the Law of Thelema, thus making itself absolutely obsolete, which of course would have never worked out.

It seems logical that to install a new religion he would have preferred that political orientation that seems to have more bonds with religion, which would rule out left-wing parties who seemed more atheistic. On the other hand atheism could have been a better nourishing ground for "his" religion, which explains his "flirtation" with communism or fascim.

His ideas of "councils of the acutest minds of the world ... [that are] ... able to help man discover the work for which he is really best fitted, the work which will satisfy his spiritual as well as material needs" and that "help every man to discover in himself that insatiable Spirit, independent of Space, Time, and the prejudices of other men, which is the mark of the genius" and make man "see life as a sacred trust, a well-designed machine for a particular purpose independent of all praise and blame, one whose fulfillment is the only, as the most admirable, reward, with abundance of joy!" - as good as they might be - do not find the slightest agreement with any political party I am aware of.

But what I see in Crowley's political statements as a leitmotif is definitely an anti-capitalistic approach, which would be probably more left-wing, but with such little advance to right-wing that it is merely neglectible.

I would suggest to ban everything economic from election campaigns (since no party around has any real control over that) and reduce election programs to foreign, environmental and educational policy only (or something alike). But I am afraid most people's voting decisions are based on personal attraction.

And Ian, if you can find anything like this in the Tory program (not that I think you will find it in the Labour program), go on and vote for them:

"The final form of the work will be a system of Education in which each child will receive the individual attention necessary to the full development of its particular genius, instead of consisting, as now, of an attempt to crush out every spark of personality, and to produce a standardized product on a pattern as impossible as it is ultimately undesirable."

Good luck!

Love=Law
Lutz


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 Anonymous
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04/05/2010 11:18 am  
"ianrons" wrote:
Crowley's great desire to have his religion taken up by governments is key: he did not believe Thelema was a matter for personal conscience, but ought to be imposed from above.

He obviously hadn't read

"aiwass" wrote:
to each man and woman that thou meetest, were it but to dine or to drink at them, it is the Law to give. Then they shall chance to abide in this bliss or no; it is no odds.

I think Crowley's idea about experts determining other people's True Wills is nonsense. No-one would take seriously a letter from HMRC saying "we have decided that your True Will is ........." and over the page "if you wish to appeal this decision write, within 14 days to...."
😯


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 Anonymous
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04/05/2010 2:30 pm  

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

I'm a bit worried this is turning into a ‘what would Jesus vote for’, for Thelemites. Liber AL itself is in my opinion beyond politics. That said it has an equal advocating of both left and right wing political views, just as it does left and right hand path magickal bias (or rather un-bias).
Often enough left wing political theories have been extrapolated by what were previously thought of as right wing. A perfect example of this is the French Communists love of Nietzsche. For people to assume Crowley’s interpretation of Thelema to mean that Thelema is on the whole right wing is to me to miss the point entirely. Thelema is for the individual to decide both how they interpret Liber AL but how the vote.
It is true Crowley was a Tory voting, Royalist, believing in the divine right of kings over democracy. This was the stance that Germany took against the rest of Europe in the 1st World War and though he did tell on all the Germans in America once the US joined the war. It could be said that he was playing double agent for a while due to his politics. The rest of the Golden Dawn were worse though and all were into some sort of divine rule by kingship just they couldn’t always agree how to put that into action.

I myself am a left wing Thelemite. I’m not sure how to make a government of such a thing tough and if I did I think I would have to instantly oppose it just in case. I suggest if you can’t decide do what I did, vote by dice. It makes it a much more entertaining half an hour and it doesn’t half piss off the policemen at the polling station.

Love is the law, love under will.

Alex


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ianrons
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04/05/2010 3:32 pm  

Los,

"Los" wrote:
Oh noes! We can't have the dreaded "government handouts" in the form of any kind of safety net for society. No, no -- far better to give handouts to the wealthy, who frequently do very little to earn their wealth, and to not call them handouts. Maybe call those handouts something like "tax cuts for all," and then don't point out that the middle class gets a few pennies while the fat cats get a huge, giant check. Yeah, that's the ticket....

Given that most people do want their government to provide "handouts" or "social security", this creates a situation where government no longer serves the basic needs of national security, but increasingly becomes the master, and gradually takes more of an interest in the daily life of each member of society, to the detriment of individual "will". This is the point I was making; and whilst I don't want to get into a discussion about taxation, as an aside I think your suggestion that tax cuts are like the government giving those who benefit from it a "huge, giant" cheque is ridiculous – as if the government owns all of people's earnings and then decides who should be allowed to keep them. Actually, the reverse is true: tax cuts are when the government decides it doesn't want to receive a cheque from those it taxes, so your analogy is a distortion.

"Los" wrote:
Thelema is perfectly compatible with an absolute totalitarian state, the kind that Crowley dreamed about in "The Scientific Solution to the Problem of Government." All you'd need is some loon who claimed to be able to determine the "True Will" of each citizen, and you'd have it: a government with absolute power that grants its citizens only one right: do your will (i.e. whatever the government tells you that your will is).

In such a Thelemic society, the individual would have no right to do anything but the task that the government told him that his true will was. And if the individual disagreed, he would just be plain wrong about his true will, because his "masters" -- the weirdos in power -- know best.

You've misunderstood what Crowley was saying. He wasn't proposing that governments give people "tasks" or decide every aspect of their life, merely that there would be a sort of religious kritarchy (rule by judges) to make judgements "when the need arises" and only "in the case of apparently conflicting claims" between two parties (see the final paragraph here). A private person living in such a state would (so the theory goes) not be interfered with unless there were a conflict. You are obviously exaggerating for rhetorical effect, so as to make the case that present systems of government are actually wonderful, and that legislation forbidding perfectly natural things like kissing is really a trivial irrelevance. Perhaps (to paraphrase Crowley in that same article) the men in power have "played on your fears and prejudices until you have acquiesced in repressive legislation against your obvious interests"?

You cite laws against jaywalking, for instance. We don't have such laws in the UK, and consequently we don't have occurrences like bespectacled academics being physically restrained and arrested for harmlessly crossing the road. Your notion that Thelemites aren't "going to be hindered in the least" by such laws is contradicted by the statement in your next sentence where you say "one has to take into consideration [such laws] when carrying out the will". Laws do matter, obviously – and if you break them (perhaps because it's your "will" to cross the road quickly, or take drugs, or whatever) – then in those societies the state becomes your enemy. The argument that the state is not a serious enemy and that you can find ways to do your "will" anyway is as fatuous as it is potentially criminal; and I find it bewildering that anyone supposedly espousing a viewpoint such as Thelema would take such a view, though I am not terribly surprised: it is symptomatic of a general political disconnect. It is to assert the weakness of individual will in the face of state power, whereas Thelema fundamentally asserts the opposite.

Coming back to the topic, my point about Crowley is that he was very politically involved, and had specific ideas about how Thelema would have to work out in practice; yet "Thelemites" seem almost totally uninterested in taking Thelema as anything other than a personal philosophy, allowing them to adopt whatever political viewpoint suits them. This is not a problem in my view, because Thelema is rather bonkers, and the few people who come out trying to recruit for Thelema seem like neo-fascists; but my wider point, from a historical perspective, is that what people call "Thelema" has morphed from a radical right-wing ideology into a rather passive and safe counter-cultural meme which bears no obvious relation to the "Thelema" that Crowley espoused. Similar points have been made before – for instance by John Crow and Keith418 – but they bear repeating.

Lutz,

"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
Somehow this is an interesting thread - but only from a historical point of view. In my opinion most of the political terms Crowley used have totally lost their meaning today. The political parties seem to have become nothing more than tools of various corporate groups, and neither left or right wing will bring forth anything that could be in any way of real interest to a "Thelemite".

It's certainly true that this is mostly a historical point I'm making, and that politics has altered dramatically since Crowley's day. However, for myself, as someone who takes an interest in politics, there are (in fact) strong links between the ideas Crowley was talking about and what the modern-day Tories are proposing (anti-centralism, minarchism and a robust foreign policy; fewer laws and a focus on personal responsibility – though how seriously one takes them is another matter). It was principally because I noticed this Tory tendency in myself that I went back and looked a bit more closely at Crowley's own beliefs, and concluded that the reason I became interested in Thelema – back in the day – was because I was always a Tory. I think something similar could be said about him – i.e., that Thelema is a blend of his political as well as religious thinking – although obviously his religious views shaped his political views more than the other way around.

"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
Although I agree that Crowley had a definite vision of Thelemic Ideals as the conduct for government, in my opinion he preferred whatever political orientation showed the best prospect to install the Law of Thelema, thus making itself absolutely obsolete, which of course would have never worked out.

His support for Hitler and Stalin does seem to have been entirely cynical, hoping to use their political structures simply to install a completely different type of structure. But there were also hidden aspects to his work there, perhaps supported to some extent by the British.

"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
His ideas of "councils of the acutest minds of the world ... [that are] ... able to help man discover the work for which he is really best fitted, the work which will satisfy his spiritual as well as material needs" and that "help every man to discover in himself that insatiable Spirit, independent of Space, Time, and the prejudices of other men, which is the mark of the genius" and make man "see life as a sacred trust, a well-designed machine for a particular purpose independent of all praise and blame, one whose fulfillment is the only, as the most admirable, reward, with abundance of joy!" - as good as they might be - do not find the slightest agreement with any political party I am aware of.

Indeed, this is the province of religion, and I think you will see similar ideas expressed by people who do see religion and politics as essentially part of the same process.

"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
But what I see in Crowley's political statements as a leitmotif is definitely an anti-capitalistic approach, which would be probably more left-wing, but with such little advance to right-wing that it is merely neglectible.

I really don't see this at all.

Ian


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the_real_simon_iff
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04/05/2010 4:05 pm  

93, Ian!

Well, maybe "capitalistic" is not strictly the right word, since capitalism is not "evil" per se. I am probably meaning "capital-fetishistic" - which is unfortunately what I think has superseded the "original" capitalism. When Crowley says that "the greatest curse [...] is the obsession of the lust of riches. Wealth is too commonly regarded as a goal, not as a means; or if as a means, then only to pander pleasure, vanity, or unjust power" or "We have two classes whose existence threatens the very structure of society: the crook whose sole gospel is "get rich quick," and the robber and murderer" or "Economic pressure is destroying the ideal of the family; and the craze for pleasure is both eating away the health of the individual and mortgaging the future of the state" I think he is very up-to-date. In this sense he is really a very conversative man (not in other areas as we know). It is just that I don't see anything in the conversative parties of today that would do anything against what Crowley describes (maybe aside from the "robber and murderer" problem). In my view conservatives today only want to strengthen the freedom of the ruling class and the wealthy, they do not give a shit about the freedom of the individual. They probably would prefer to reinstall Victorian conditions - not really Thelemic, is it?

And just as a reminder, I am not anti-conservative or anti-Tory, I also do not see anything in left-winged parties that woud make them "more Thelema-compatible". Politics seem to me simply a matter of personal preferrence.

Love=Law
Lutz


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ianrons
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04/05/2010 4:22 pm  

Lutz,

True, AC was frequently scathing about the accumulation of wealth (obviously he saw the suit of Coins as just one aspect of life, not the most important); but he also felt that there should be a class of people (including himself) who would be freed from the dependence on money by having everyone else pay for it – an "aristocracy of the spirit", but grounded in political and financial reality. In this sense, perhaps the difference between AC and modern day right wing financial elites is that AC wanted to set up an additional top layer of power to replace the old (now defunct) aristocracy, rather than have the political/financial elites at the top (where they take advantage of the "socialization of risk", as in the case of the bank bailouts, or very generous "consultancy" jobs as with the politicos).

This is where labels become difficult, but I would suggest that there is no contradiction between this position of AC and some of the religious right of the Conservative Party (i.e., proper Tories) such as Daniel Hannan, who is always banging on about corrupt politicians who favour their own, and was against the bank bailouts, for example. But there are always arguments going on in political groups, and I'm sure there are elements on the left who might have some views that could be correlated with Thelema – though only in a very limited sense, I think; and I don't think anyone so far has even attempted to make that argument, which would be interesting to hear: a counter-proposition to my identification of Thelema with traditional Toryism.

Regards,

Ian


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ianrons
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04/05/2010 6:14 pm  

P.S. Incidentally, it occurs to me that Crowley's theological kritarchy is very similar to Velayat-e Faqih, the much-reviled political system of Iran. Of course, under a Thelemic version, instead of promiscuous women being accused of earthquake-mongering, non-promiscuous women would be ostracised.


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 Anonymous
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04/05/2010 9:03 pm  

It seems that no political party will achieve much for Thelema, at this time anyway. What is a required is to rebuild the whole social order, including the customs, beliefs, values, etc. that the individuals themselves hold. That is the proper role of religion, where as controlling policy and economic conditions is the role of politics.

It would seem that a private community outside the social order of the host nation is necessary. A hierarchy with a very loose caste system would be best. It seems that the experimental nature of Walden 2 fits perfectly with scientific Illuminism.

In Walden 2 the community voted as a unite, based on what policy in the host nation would be most favorable to the community, This would be a more organized an efficient means to achieve political ends, also sending Emissaries to be mayors, congressmen, even governors would help to ensure Thelemic ideals are represented in politics.

In the same way that corporations use the political system to support their ends, (covertly) so too might Thelema infiltrate and use the political system to it's advantage.


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 Anonymous
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04/05/2010 9:11 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
You cite laws against jaywalking, for instance. We don't have such laws in the UK, and consequently we don't have occurrences like bespectacled academics being physically restrained and arrested for harmlessly crossing the road. Your notion that Thelemites aren't "going to be hindered in the least" by such laws is contradicted by the statement in your next sentence where you say "one has to take into consideration [such laws] when carrying out the will". Laws do matter, obviously – and if you break them (perhaps because it's your "will" to cross the road quickly, or take drugs, or whatever) – then in those societies the state becomes your enemy. The argument that the state is not a serious enemy and that you can find ways to do your "will" anyway is as fatuous as it is potentially criminal; and I find it bewildering that anyone supposedly espousing a viewpoint such as Thelema would take such a view, though I am not terribly surprised: it is symptomatic of a general political disconnect. It is to assert the weakness of individual will in the face of state power, whereas Thelema fundamentally asserts the opposite.

Yes, the optimal society of Thelemites would be one that discourages, as a matter of general policy, as many unnecessary obstacles to the individual doing true Will as is possible within reason, and encourages alternative solutions to genuine problems. For example, the solution to "the drug problem" is education, not demonization and criminalization; spending a few million on unmanipulated science-based education rather than billions wasted in a futile attempt to curb this consensual "crime." With sufficient education, the individual will be able to make an informed decision regarding his or her own behavior, a decision made in accord with his or her own true Will.

As for the silly examples of traffic law violations and such, these are red herrings used to trivialize genuine government hindrance of civil liberties.

Concerning this government welfare safety-net issue, another red herring used in this context, no one in their right mind advocates that there be no safety-nets in place to catch citizens when all hell breaks loose in their lives. However, safety-nets are not healthy places for permanent residence, they are meant only to break one's fall until they get back on their own feet. This is a matter of common sense, nothing more. The worst thing about people living permanently in welfare safety-nets is what it does to those people. It weakens them to the point that they can no longer stand on their own at all, they become permanently dependent, and this sort of atrophy to personal independence does no one any real favor at all.

"ianrons" wrote:
Coming back to the topic, my point about Crowley is that he was very politically involved, and had specific ideas about how Thelema would have to work out in practice; yet "Thelemites" seem almost totally uninterested in taking Thelema as anything other than a personal philosophy, allowing them to adopt whatever political viewpoint suits them.

Yes, Crowley was committed to social and political reform in line with the Law of Thelema, just as he was committed to his esoteric pursuits, and it seems that the same few people posting to these forums strongly object to both, and seek to extract these subjects from Crowley's legacy. A very odd mix of objections to Crowley's ideas, I must say.

Anyway, the fact is that Crowley had no aptitude for political science or economics, even as they were in his day, and they have totally changed since then. His impatience to hitch Thelema to any political wagon that showed momentum during his lifetime was just that, impatience, impatience to see the Law of Thelema established and benefiting the world. Both fascism and socialism are anathema to Thelema, regardless of whether Crowley flirted with the idea of using them as a vehicle. Nor was he adept at political or social promulgation. For example, the last item in the rights of man of Liber OZ was unnecessary and self-defeating.

No, it is not going to be as easy as a dispensation from a 'High Council of Thelema' telling us what our true Will is, or our simply taking a 'true Will pill.' If Crowley's political and social goals were to be realized, it would require modern innovations that he could not have imagined or understood during his life and times, ones that continue to adhere to the primary criteria of the Law of Thelema while remaining realistic, practical and effective.


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 Anonymous
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04/05/2010 9:14 pm  
"name538" wrote:
In the same way that corporations use the political system to support their ends, (covertly) so too might Thelema infiltrate and use the political system to it's advantage.

You think? 😉


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Anonymous
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04/05/2010 9:23 pm  
"name538" wrote:
In the same way that corporations use the political system to support their ends, (covertly) so too might Thelema infiltrate and use the political system to it's advantage.

Corruption works in two opposite ways. The corrupter exchanges his corruption with the corrupted, and vice versa.


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the_real_simon_iff
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05/05/2010 8:04 am  

Ian, 93.

Frankly, I don't know very much about traditional Toryism, so I cannot agree or disagree with you. It would seem that it is easier here in Germany where all Conversative parties (except for the extreme right-wing) have a "C" in their name, which doesn't stand for "Conversative" but for "Christian". I agree that Crowley had a vision of politics that included a ruling elite, a council of experts, which rule as little as possible in a very responsible and wise manner and have all the dirty work done by "slaves" - much like the Rabelaisian Utopia. And that's how I see it, very Utopian. I am not able to say that Toryism is closest to this but I dare say that - concerning the thread title - it seems possible to me that Thelemites don't necessarily need to identify themselves with Toryism - at least there seem to be some around here who do not. But as you said even the label "Thelemite" is debatable and so far you only brought personal proof that Ex-Thelemites are pro-Tory!

Isn't there some "society simulation" software around with which someone could simulate a Thelemic Nation - based on Crowley's political "instructions" - for us?

When I have the time I will wikipede a little through Toryism to find some arguments.

Love=Law
Lutz


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Michael Staley
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MANIO - it's all in the egg
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05/05/2010 11:13 am  
"ianrons" wrote:
No Michael, you are ignorant of the situation, and presumptuous. See sections 9(1)(b), 13(1) and 78 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Yes, I had overlooked this, and you were quite right to upbraid me in such unequivocal terms. My apologies.

"ianrons" wrote:
. . . and I'm sure there are elements on the left who might have some views that could be correlated with Thelema – though only in a very limited sense, I think; and I don't think anyone so far has even attempted to make that argument, which would be interesting to hear: a counter-proposition to my identification of Thelema with traditional Toryism.

Your case for identification of Thelema with Toryism hasn't in my opinion stood up, and neither would a case for identification of Thelema with left-wing views. The Book of the Law does contain strands - such as 'Every man and every woman is a star' - which could be pressed into service to make such a case, but like your own case it would have to ignore strands to the contrary, which would hardly be convincing.

By the way, Camlion, I don't agree with you on the redundancy of socialism. During the 1970s I lived for several years on a kibbutz in Israel which operated on the basis of egalitarianism, and there was no doubt that it worked. The socialist ideal of "to each according to his need, from each according to his ability" is a noble one, and I believe that it's time will come. This clearly works best in small communities who share a common goal, such as religious institutions.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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 Anonymous
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05/05/2010 4:36 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
I don't think anyone so far has even attempted to make that argument, which would be interesting to hear: a counter-proposition to my identification of Thelema with traditional Toryism.

Q.
What does "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law"

have to do with "for God, King and Country" ?

A.
Realise that each individual is all three simultaneously.

P.S.
Note the presence of Liberal (cough, Liber Al) principle in the result.

Regards,
N.


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 Anonymous
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05/05/2010 6:17 pm  
"MichaelStaley" wrote:
By the way, Camlion, I don't agree with you on the redundancy of socialism. During the 1970s I lived for several years on a kibbutz in Israel which operated on the basis of egalitarianism, and there was no doubt that it worked. The socialist ideal of "to each according to his need, from each according to his ability" is a noble one, and I believe that it's time will come. This clearly works best in small communities who share a common goal, such as religious institutions.

I've certainly had similar experiences, Michael, those being of a specifically Thelemic nature, on the smaller scale that you note, but that is not the scale being discussed here, unless I am mistaken. Similarly, the OTO of Crowley's redesign is intended to be a Thelemic model that is still in its experimental stages, but this model will not work for very large and diverse populations, either, imo. This is what Crowley was talking about with his social and political aims, government of very large and diverse populations in a manner conducive to Thelema. Beyond his rather naive notions of how to accomplish this, already noted elsewhere in this thread, he really had no practical idea of how these goals might be accomplished. So, he left all his eggs in that OTO basket and died, and I don't believe that the OTO can hold the collective eggs of humanity, or even of the broad spectrum of Thelemites, not that it isn't a fine organization in itself for those suited to it.

As for the Tory party, and as an American, I might benefit from Ian drawing a more universal outline of the Thelemic values he sees in that political program, one that a simple Yank can better appreciate. We do not have a monarchy here, of course, nor an aristocracy beyond those of relatively new wealth or pop culture. We really have no history or tradition here at all in the sense that England does, so the word "Conservative" certainly has different meanings here.


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ianrons
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05/05/2010 7:20 pm  

Lutz,

"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
Frankly, I don't know very much about traditional Toryism, so I cannot agree or disagree with you.

Essentially, leaving aside its Jacobite and Catholic roots for a moment, Toryism has always been reactionary and resistant to changing the old (aristocratic) order, hence by nature supporting precedent and privilege, and by extension land (country), capital and the rights of the individual. However, it is not dogmatic or ideological in any other particular way, hence has been able to adapt to changing circumstances rather well. An example of this is during the 19th century when the Tories fought (and lost) the batlle for Protectionism – but now the Conservatives are the party of the free market, having broadly adopted classic liberalism (the "robust foreign policy" being intended to open up foreign markets). In fact, modern Conservatives are more easily classified as descendents of the Whig tradition, but there are many strands within it, and it's a broad church. The success of "toryism" (with a small 't') has been largely due to its adaptability and its broadly non-ideological nature, yet at the same time its enemy is the creeping change of the Fabians and their ilk.

However, my argument is really only based on the notion of "God, King and Country" which has always informed Toryism and Conservatism (even though current proposals include the scrapping of the Royal Prerogative and transfer of powers to Parliament). I have argued that whilst Crowley's notions of God, and King, and Country were different to the Tory notions of the same (in a revolutionary way), nevertheless these fundamentally inform his concept of Thelema, and are utterly alien to the socialist, and largely atheist and internationalist approach of left-of-centre movements right up to the present day.

1. God.
It cannot be doubted that Thelema (as expressed in The Book of the Law) includes at its heart a notion of God. Specifically, a trinitarian notion of God (very similar to the [Anglo-]Catholicism at the heart of Old Toryism). The similarity of some of the sacraments (cakes and wine), particularly as represented in the "Gnostic Mass", show a very clear Christian heritage (although it's also informed by the "Black Mass").

2. King.
It cannot be doubted that Thelema also includes a notion of earthly kings, as the next level of authority below God(s) and the prophet. "The kings of the earth shall be Kings for ever." There is also the idea that a new but morally justified king should arise as part of the new Aeon (III:34), similar to the Jacobitism that Crowley espoused and which was also at the heart of Toryism. As noted, previously, there is also the concept of a tripartite spiritual aristocracy supporting the monarchy (whereas the English aristocracy has – or rather, had – five levels; but obviously this bit derives from the Jacobite G.D.).

3. Country.
The Book of the Law includes the concept of nation states ("the nations of the earth") ruled by kings, and Crowley himself reinforced this idea in his own writings, where for instance he talks about a person having to accept the "karma" of the nation in which they are born. Although he believed that the nation who first accepted Thelema would rule the earth, this is not an internationalist idea, rather the ostensibly internationalist nature of Thelema is subordinated to the notion of "country".

Add to all this the fact that Crowley called himself a Tory and a Jacobite, and it's pretty easy to recognise Tory values within Thelema. Thelema came from the brain of a Tory.

"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
it seems possible to me that Thelemites don't necessarily need to identify themselves with Toryism - at least there seem to be some around here who do not. But as you said even the label "Thelemite" is debatable

I'm not arguing that one ought to adopt any particular political viewpoint: my point is merely that Thelema is essentially a Tory religion at heart. Those who call themselves Thelemites today seem willing to pick and choose from Thelema as it suits them, even discarding essential elements such as that Crowley identified himself as a "prophet", so of course I don't expect they will be willing to acknowledge the clear political connotations. Self-identified Thelemites seem more than happy to hold contradictory ideas, such as espousing socialism (where of course the individual will is subordinated to a group).

Michael,

"MichaelStaley" wrote:
Your case for identification of Thelema with Toryism hasn't in my opinion stood up, and neither would a case for identification of Thelema with left-wing views. The Book of the Law does contain strands - such as 'Every man and every woman is a star' - which could be pressed into service to make such a case, but like your own case it would have to ignore strands to the contrary, which would hardly be convincing.

Well, firstly I don't think anyone has come up with anything specific to counter my proposition that Thelema is a Tory religion, so I'm not sure on what you base your opinion that the identification "hasn't ... stood up".

Secondly, I don't accept that I am ignoring any supposedly contrary strands in Thelema. With "every man and every woman is a star", I have argued that this is not equivalent to political egalitarianism, and even the simple concept of "kings" and "slaves" within Thelema is enough to counter it, although there is much else in Crowley's writings (e.g., Liber LXV V:20 and the grade structure of A.'.A.'.) to show that his personal opinion was that whilst we may all be – ultimately – "infinite", nevertheless on the physical plane we do not have equal powers, and therefore we would not have equal privileges in a Thelemic political system. That this is not merely indicative of a meritocracy is clearly shown by Crowley's belief in reincarnation and (consequently) inherited characteristics, including spiritual superiority. What you seem to be doing is removing the context from AL I:3 (why not cite I:17?) to assert egalitarianism in Thelema because that's what you want Thelema to be.

"MichaelStaley" wrote:
By the way, Camlion, I don't agree with you on the redundancy of socialism. During the 1970s I lived for several years on a kibbutz in Israel which operated on the basis of egalitarianism, and there was no doubt that it worked. The socialist ideal of "to each according to his need, from each according to his ability" is a noble one, and I believe that it's time will come. This clearly works best in small communities who share a common goal, such as religious institutions.

But this is not socialism, which would involve the political enforcement of these ideas on the individual.

Noctifer,

"Noctifer" wrote:
What does "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law [sic]" have to do with "for God, King and Country"?

Again this is cherry-picking, but inasfar as it "shall be" a "Law", it implies someone or something to administer justice. The "Law" doesn't stand on its own – it is part of a tripartite structure of ordeals, rituals and law – and that this administration was not intended to be solely spiritual is inherent in The Book of the Law, where administration of the ordeals was apportioned to the prophet himself; whilst the "half concealed" rituals were presumably intended to be administered by some religious structure (A.'.A.'., perhaps); and the "Law" – being "for all" was again, presumably, intended to be administered in a public manner, as part of a political structure involving king and country as elsewhere indicated. This concept of a visible judiciary is clearly "orthodox" and valid in that Crowley (to whom Thelemites are required to refer in such cases) took this approach in Scientific Solution....

Camlion,

"Camlion" wrote:
As for the Tory party, and as an American, I might benefit from Ian drawing a more universal outline of the Thelemic values he sees in that political program, one that a simple Yank can better appreciate. We do not have a monarchy here, of course, nor an aristocracy beyond those of relatively new wealth or pop culture. We really have no history or tradition here at all in the sense that England does, so the word "Conservative" certainly has different meanings here.

I don't think Toryism necessarily has Thelemic values as such, but vice versa. And I don't think Toryism could be called a "political program" in any sense – certainly its modern offshoots are non-ideological – and in fact it rather had a "non-programme" in its reactionism. But anyway, I've outlined some of the ideas in a few points supra, although I'm not sure if it comes across clearly enough; but anyway the history of Toryism is rather complex, so I think I would probably end up confusing everyone (including myself) if I started to get into it in detail, which actually I'm rather sketchy on (although I have studied it partly in the past). It's also rather disheartening to have gone into enough detail to make the point only to have some others say, without going into any detail whatsoever, "well, in my opinion it's not a good identification...", so at this stage I'd rather leave it up for discussion on the rather simple basis of "God, King and Country".

Nevertheless, if it helps for simple Yanks, and although I know next to nothing about the history of Republicanism, there is some similarity between Old Toryism and modern Christian Republicans; but for "King" read "President" and for the Tory Hell-Fire Club read Skull & Bones – not sure who really won the Revolution there! As for the concept that Toryism/Conservatism is essentially non-ideological, this is parodied brilliantly by Stephen Colbert's "truthiness", and his jokes about being told things by his "gut", and believing the same thing on Wednesday as he does on Monday – no matter what happens on Tuesday! It's solid, rather belligerent and deriving its support from traditionalist, hierarchical social structures -- and implacably opposed to all forms of "progressive" politics, socialism, etc. Of course, in Thelema the moral system of the religious part of Toryism/Republicanism is fundamentally reversed, which is why it seems like a kind of Satanic Toryism (and then we're back to the Hell-Fire Club).

Ian


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 Anonymous
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05/05/2010 7:48 pm  

Ian,

I'd rather pick cherries than nits any day.

N.


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ianrons
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05/05/2010 8:27 pm  

If you don't like talking about Crowley and his ideas then go somewhere else.


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spike418
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05/05/2010 8:28 pm  

The real problem with threads like this is the complete absence of universal agreement on what constitutes both a Thelemite and a Tory. Even more so is the reliance on Crowley's words to define Thelema. Liber Al remains for me as a rather enigmatic grimoire and I personally place little worth on the words of the vessel.

Ian's view of Torydom seems stuck as the "twilight of the Empire" brigade whilst I doubt that anyone could seriously describe the Labour party as socialist in this day and age.

But hey, broad church etc and all that, room for all including keyboard warriors from all sides. I will be voting Labour tomorrow as a tactical move. My excuse is that I was traumatised by growing up in Jeffrey Archers constituency!


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ianrons
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05/05/2010 8:44 pm  

spike,

"spike418" wrote:
The real problem with threads like this is the complete absence of universal agreement on what constitutes both a Thelemite and a Tory. Even more so is the reliance on Crowley's words to define Thelema. Liber Al remains for me as a rather enigmatic grimoire and I personally place little worth on the words of the vessel.

Even in Liber AL there are definite injunctions to Crowley to interpret the book for others. This is the orthodox position, but of course (and as I have said) there are those who prefer to distance Thelema from any context, including the author/scribe and even certain portions of the central holy book. This is what happens in religion when there are ideas that don't suit the beliefs of the reader, and I am fully aware of it, but the purpose of this discussion is to attempt to situate Thelema within a historical context. In that sense it is perhaps a more-than-usually academic discussion, but one that (I think) is useful to have, approaching Crowley as it does from an unusual angle; though perhaps it is simply not possible to have this discussion with self-identified Thelemites who have a personal stake in how Thelema is understood and interpreted. But of course, if Thelemites don't have this discussion themselves then others will do it for them.

"spike418" wrote:
Ian's view of Torydom seems stuck as the "twilight of the Empire" brigade whilst I doubt that anyone could seriously describe the Labour party as socialist in this day and age.

Although Crowley was not a typical Tory, I am specifically talking about 1900s Toryism during the period of "splendid isolation", which was pretty much at the height of Empire, at least in terms of geographical extent, although the rot had already set in. The situation is similar to present-day America and hence the connection with the modern-day Republicans is not totally preposterous.

Sorry to hear you had Jeffrey Archer as an MP. I get on well with my local MP and think he's a solid bloke – he's the one who revealed that the MI6 source for the 45-minute claim was an Iraqi taxi driver, and he travelled around Afghanistan on his own before Rory Stewart 😉 Our local Labour candidate is currently on bail pending an investigation into a recent crash where she was breathalysed and had a subsequent blood-test. The Lib Dem candidate is (or was) a porn film director, who Nick Clegg says (without a hint of irony) "cares passionately about her area". Who says politics is dull?

Ian


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 Anonymous
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05/05/2010 9:34 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
If you don't like talking about Crowley and his ideas then go somewhere else.

Oh no, I'm quite happy doing so, that's why I joined Lashtal.com.

The only thing I think I object to is misunderstandings, whether between people, or about people and ideas. I think you utterly misunderstand Crowley, and (especially) Thelema, and the relationship between the two distinct terms. That's all.

And particularly the Tory thing - it's got nothing to do with Thelema at all. Whether or not Crowley was a Tory has nothing to do with the matter. He himself acknowledged that his own Thelemic initiation was flawed by having been born in the old Aeon, and if anything is symbolic of that Patriarchal aeon, it's the Tories.

But each to their own, I always say, being a libertarian. You know, as in, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law".

But "whole" appears not to be a word you're that familiar with, so the absolute twisting and convolution you need to get from Thelema to Tory is forgiven, for what it is.

regards
N.


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ianrons
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05/05/2010 9:44 pm  

Noctifer,

"Noctifer" wrote:
the Tory thing - it's got nothing to do with Thelema at all. Whether or not Crowley was a Tory has nothing to do with the matter. He himself acknowledged that his own Thelemic initiation was flawed by having been born in the old Aeon, and if anything is symbolic of that Patriarchal aeon, it's the Tories.

So the whole of your argument – the reason you accuse me of "absolute twisting and convolution" – is that since Thelema regards everything that happened before the Equinox in 1904 as "old Aeon", anything that happened before that date cannot have informed Thelema in a positive way at all? What utter tosh. Presumably you believe, then, that Rabelais didn't inform Thelema? 😉 I suggest you read "The Antecedents of Thelema" by Crowley. Also, the notion that Thelema is not "Patriarchal" is highly dubious, at best; and at worst, entirely misleading and wrong. But Crowley said it...

Now, please don't drag this thread into the gutter: there have been some interesting comments so far, but if you simply refuse to engage with anything before 1904, and if you base your views on vague opinion and cherry-pick statements by Crowley as grounds for indulging in invective then you are not helping any. I would prefer you stop posting in this manner.


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lashtal
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05/05/2010 10:13 pm  
"Noctifer" wrote:
But "whole" appears not to be a word you're that familiar with, so the absolute twisting and convolution you need to get from Thelema to Tory is forgiven, for what it is.

That's not a helpful tone to introduce into what has, generally, been a very interesting thread.

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


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 Anonymous
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05/05/2010 10:18 pm  

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law,

Ian,
I disagree with you on one point. The idea of "God" is not inherent in Thelema imo. Liber OZ clarifies this. "There is no god but man." I am a Thelemite, and I don't believe in one 'god', as you reference above.

Now, having said that, I agree with Paul: This is a very interesting thread!

love is the law, love under will.


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ianrons
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05/05/2010 10:28 pm  

piscean93,

You raise a very important point: in Thelema, "there is no God but Man". So Man is God. Ergo, there is a God in Thelema. As I've noted elsewhere, I think this derives largely from the Miltonian Satan: a refusal to recognise the authority of an universal God over the authority of an individual soul (being that of an angel, or in this case that of every man and woman).

I am not equating the Tory God with the Thelemic God: in fact, I see the Thelemic position as a reversal of this concept, but it is nevertheless based on this concept and is situated within a Christian frame of reference, even though technically it revolutionizes it.

Ian


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 Anonymous
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05/05/2010 11:20 pm  

It might be worth pointing out that the Tory Party of Crowley's day was a lot more "right wing" in most people's books than the "Turquoise" Tory Party of today....


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Michael Staley
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06/05/2010 1:41 am  
"ianrons" wrote:
Well, firstly I don't think anyone has come up with anything specific to counter my proposition that Thelema is a Tory religion, so I'm not sure on what you base your opinion that the identification "hasn't ... stood up"

Well, it's quite simple, and I'm surprised you can't see it. Doubtless you have proposed something, but you have not substantiated that proposition. The Book of the Law contains a variety of strands, some of which may be interpreted superficially as supporting your proposition, others as contrary to it.

Debate does not generally consist of merely advancing a proposition and then asserting that proposition to be correct because it hasn't been refuted to your satisfaction. You have not substantiated your proposition.


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ianrons
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06/05/2010 2:08 am  

Michael,

"MichaelStaley" wrote:
Doubtless you have proposed something, but you have not substantiated that proposition.

I've laid out the argument in fairly detailed terms, itemizing a series of clear similarities between Toryism (Crowley's chosen politics) and Thelema (Crowley's chosen religion). For instance, in my previous post I talked about {1} God, {2} King and {3} Country; but you have simply issued denials in a fact-free zone.

"MichaelStaley" wrote:
The Book of the Law contains a variety of strands, some of which may be interpreted superficially as supporting your proposition, others as contrary to it.

Like what, precisely? During this entire topic, all you've done is quoted "Every man and every woman is a star" twice, and ignored what I and Camlion have said to you in response. Seriously, what is the problem with addressing the topic?

"MichaelStaley" wrote:
Debate does not generally consist of merely advancing a proposition and then asserting that proposition to be correct because it hasn't been refuted to your satisfaction. You have not substantiated your proposition.

Right back at ya, Michael. You obviously believe that Crowley's politics had no impact on his religious views – a fairly unlikely proposition, it would seem – but you have done practically nothing to address the issue. It is as though you think you are some kind of authority on Crowley and Thelema, and all you have to do is waft an opinion in my direction.

Could it be that (as a leftie) you personally dislike Crowley's politics, and that you (as a self-identified "Thelemite") don't wish Thelema to be identified with Toryism? Are you still calling yourself a "Supreme and {1} Holy {2} King of {3} Ireland, Iona and all Britain" as authorized by Aleister Crowley, Baphomet XI°? 😉

Ian


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 Anonymous
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06/05/2010 4:04 am  

Paul,

My emphasis on the word "whole" was in the context of the phrase "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" , the key doctrine of Thelema, which Ian has not displayed any understanding of at all. This is the essential word in the phrase, to me, and it makes the statement incompatible with a Tory outlook, being essentially libertarian.

Ian,

The twisting and convolution of argument which you strain so terribly hard to sustain in this thread stems from this same absence of understanding of the meaning of a very simple phrase in your native language such as "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law". You can keep introducing irrelevant details as much as you may feel necessary, but as long as you ignore this core statement of Thelema, you're just pissing in the wind, if you'll pardon the vernacular (or even if you don't, actually, it's still how it seems from here).

I don't assert that nothing before 1904 can have informed Thelema in any way at all, (twist, twits) - what I said was that Crowley himself admitted that, being born before that year, he was liable to retain old aeon tendencies. I agree with him here, and I suggest that one of these Old Aeon tendencies was an identification of his ego as a Tory one (although I doubt whether any Tories at the time would have supported this identification - most of them were probably vilifying him for his clear, forward-looking, progressive libertarianism, ie. Thelema).

If your only response is to keep saying that you'd prefer I stop posting, when all I've done is made directly relevant observations to show how pointless and uncomprehending your initial question is, it makes your position appear quite insecure.

N.


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 Anonymous
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06/05/2010 4:11 am  

Oh, sorry, the word "twits" was an honest-to-god typo- it should have said "twist". Apologies!


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 Anonymous
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06/05/2010 6:40 am  

You do realize that "Do what thou wilt" is mean to be taken as the law of fitness. Which is to say, everything in nature is FIT for a certain purpose and function. That when you put anything to use, it is wise to use a thing for what it is fitted, rather than to abuse it's qualities by using for some purpose alien to it's intrinsic nature.

Thelema pertains than your mind, body, emotions, and soul, the whole being that is oneself is a thing in nature and like all other things it has certain qualities and properties that makes it FIT to be used for a certain purpose. That that purpose is intrinsic to what it is (which extends to include all things that exist since all thing are continuous and what a thing is, results from the determined cause and effect of all other things.) The individual thing is an expression of the whole, and thus has it's proper place in the whole. This is similar to what Darwin calls the niche that an animal species fills.

"Do want thou Wilt shall be the whole of the law" means than the totality of all law (physical, spiritual, ethical, legal, etc) is that each an every thing in nature is used according to it's proper purpose and not abused for alien purposes.

You can verify this against Crowely's own words in "Duty" , "The Method of Thelema" and "The structure of the O.T.O." I can find others if necessary.


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spike418
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06/05/2010 7:26 am  

Ian

"ianrons" wrote:
Our local Labour candidate is currently on bail pending an investigation into a recent crash where she was breathalysed and had a subsequent blood-test. The Lib Dem candidate is (or was) a porn film director, who Nick Clegg says (without a hint of irony) "cares passionately about her area". Who says politics is dull?

If thou drink, drink by the eight and ninety rules of art: if thou love, exceed by delicacy; and if thou do aught joyous, let there be subtlety therein!

I would probably vote for a porn director, there is something honest there.

The fateful day is upon us and we must undergo the Ordeal X, marks the spot! Pencils at the ready...............

I find it ironic that my local polling station is set in a cattle market 😉

Heres hoping we get something for the future and that a hung parliament can be proven to work well.

Spike


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the_real_simon_iff
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06/05/2010 10:31 am  

93, Ian!

Thanks for sparing me wikipedia! I would agree with you that - at least if one accepts a similar interpretation of the Book of the Law like you - someone who is in a Tory "mindframe" might be more "ready" to become a "Thelemite". But as usual when I have to use so many double quote marks, it seems to me that there are too many preconditions and agreements on definitions that have to be fulfilled.

Most importantly: the concept of "God" might be important for the Thelemite as well as for the Tory, but since the meaning of "God" (apart from the concept of "God") is - as you say quite right - so totally opposed for both parties, I think it is appropriate to answer your initial question Can one be a Thelemite and not a Tory? with "Yes!"

Thelemites and Tories should apparently both be prepared to be ruled by a King. I can agree with that.

The country thing: I think again that the concept and the meaning of "country" is so ambivalent for both (and probably of so minor importance for the Thelemite) that your initial question can be answered with "Yes!"

It's probably easiest for me to agree with you that Thelemic and Tory politics are similar in their concept and overall scheme or framework, but so totally conflictive in their meaning, that it renders the initial question meaningless. It's like asking why are Roman Catholics not Thelemites? They have God (God), King (Pope) and Country (the Vatican). Or why don't all Freemasons join the OTO? The concepts are similar.

And applied to modern day-to-day living I would say that there are enough reasons for Thelemites to vote left-wing (maybe not pure communism). Because most people (at least I) don't vote for or against the concept of God, King and Country, but for very specific other reasons. We still have about 1900 years to live in this Aeon, so I would like to see the environment preserved. This seems to be a more important issue for left wing parties, so who gives a damn if they have some socialist roots?

I cannot imagine what Crowley would vote for if he would be living these days.

Love=Law
Lutz


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 Anonymous
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06/05/2010 4:45 pm  

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law,

Ian,
And you raise a very interesting perspective as well. Scientifically speaking, if something is true, then its converse is also true. Ergo, you could amend "God, King, and Country", to "Man, King, and Country", and it would be equally valid. If "Man, King, and Country" is not valid, then the theorem is not valid. Your thoughts?

love is the law, love under will.


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 Anonymous
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06/05/2010 5:22 pm  

God, King and Country? Not in Thelema, not really. Liber OZ deals directly with two of these three, each with a single simple stroke of Crowley's pen.

"There is no god but man." The 'gods' of Liber AL are but the components of our individual experiential mechanism, Had and Nu, self and not-self, whereby the fabric of our illusory duality is Willingly woven, that we may experience our every possibility serially, etc, etc, etc.

"Man has the right to move as he will on the face of the earth" belies nationalism. The Thelemite is a citizen of the world, as convenience to his Will dictates. 'Do what thou wilt' is not "Rule, Britannia!" 😉

As for the 'kings' of Liber AL, if memory fails, spend a few minutes with your Concordance reviewing the use of the word in that Book.

And as for Thelema as religion, again, Crowley was a religious Thelemite, and a secular Thelemite, and a theurgic Thelemite. Although the Thelemites to come after Crowley tend to be categorized as one of these over the others, a comprehensive grasp of Thelema must encompass each of these respective groupings. These are, in fact, not the incompatible elements that some would have them be, and each is legitimately derived from Crowley himself.


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Azidonis
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06/05/2010 6:08 pm  

93,

"Can one be a Thelemite and not a Tory?" I agree with Lutz and say yes.

As for interpretations of Liber AL, it will really boils down to hermeneutics. That is to say, each man and woman is to invite a personal interpretation of Liber AL. It is only by this anyway that we are able to formulate our own decisions with regards to the Book, which inevitably results in... a set of hermeneutics. "Thus ye have star and star, system and system." There is a definite set of people who agree that Crowley was the sole authority on Liber AL. They would most likely contend that anything in Liber AL has to be interpreted by Crowley first, and then put into a modern, more personal context. There is still another group of people that see Crowley's interpretations as being his own, and make their own interpretations, "each for himself". There is still another group of people that will contend that Crowley's interpretations are from an "Old Aeon" perspective, in which case he would be trying to make a Ford Mustang with Model T parts, as it were. In any and all of these cases, a form of hermeneutics is present and readily apparent. It is this same type of thing that has created political parties in the first place.

My personal take on politics where voting is concerned, is to vote for the issues, not the politicians. If politician A is able to woo the crowd and win them over with sweet words, but has no stable or viable plans for assisting the people which he is to rule, then he will be none other than a political figurehead, and will most likely only create more of a mess for the next person to try and clean up. Politician B, on the other hand, may not be a good speaker at all, and completely unable to win the crowd. His ideas for his country may be sound though, and could quite simply help to create positive change in accordance with the will of the people. In such a case, one could argue it would be Thelemically disruptive to vote for politician A just because one happens to be a member of the same political party.

As another example, who would you vote for in times of war, Odysseus, or Achilles, and why? Which of the two men would you vote for in times of peace?

I think the political party stuff is hogwash. It's about the issues. As a Thelemite, I cannot do my Will if the conditions of the country in which I live hinder it to a certain degree. I end up fighting the establishment just to get anything accomplished. For example, one who's Will is to be a fisherman in the Gulf is unable to do his Will at the moment, due to conditions unforeseen and disastrous. He may indeed blame the politicians in the Obama camp, in which case he would quite possibly vote Republican or Libertarian in the next U.S. election, whether either candidate is able to move the country in such a manner congruent with him being able to do his Will or not. It's all very touchy, but again, just to vote Tory because you consider yourself a Tory 1) means that you are possibly viewing all political notions through a biased lens, and 2) you may or may not end up voting for one who would in other terms hinder your Will or the common Will even without knowing it, simply because you voted for your familiar side of the fence.

George Washington warned the American people against creating political parties, and yet we did so anyway. We see where this has gotten us, over 200 years down the road. Thelema is still a very young movement, and for it to suffer division so early with the death of Germer can end up being a very positive thing, or a negative one. Likewise if all the Thelemites suddenly considered themselves Tories, and decided to vote Tory no matter what the actual Tory representative is or is not able to do in order to assist the country and promulgation of the Law of Thelema, then we may end up with nothing more than a bunch of pissed off Thelemites in the case of them being effected negatively by the policies of the elected Tory.

93 93/93


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 Anonymous
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06/05/2010 6:45 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
The similarity of some of the sacraments (cakes and wine), particularly as represented in the "Gnostic Mass", show a very clear Christian heritage (although it's also informed by the "Black Mass").

The Gnostic Mass is not informed by the Black Mass. Crowley himself said somewhere the Black Mass is characterized by desecration of the host. Its power lies in being a blasphemous act against the transubstantiated body of Christ. The usage of menstrual blood in the cakes of light, on the other hand, comes from the gnosis that sexual and religious instincts are the same life-force, the consumption of which “breeds lust & the power of lust”. It would be correct to say the Gnostic Mass was inspired by Russian Orthodox rituals, but it is not a rebellion against established religion. Rather, it restores the eternal gnosis behind these Old Aeon rituals – the mystery of Incarnation etc. Horus avenges Osiris. Keep that in mind when pondering the "Jacobite" nature of Thelema and meaning of "kingship".

Now while Crowley may have tried to establish Thelema as a religious or social-political order, I do not consider Thelema to be Crowley’s invention. If you think about it, Crowley never came up with anything particularly original, but merely brought together ideas and strands from different systems. Traces of Thelema can easily be detected in various philosophies – cf. Kant’s categorical imperative or Heidegger’s notion of Sorge. So trying to limit Thelema to the Tory mindset of Crowley is not accurate.


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 Anonymous
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06/05/2010 10:20 pm  

"In both individual and collective life the economic factor is today the most important, real, and decisive one. … An economic era is by definition fundamentally anarchic and anti-hierarchical; it represents a subversion of the normal order. … This subversive character is present in both Marxism and in its apparent antagonist, modern capitalism. The worst absurdity is for those who today claim to represent a political ‘Right’ to remain in the dark, overcast circle drawn by the demonic power of the economy—a circle inhabited by both Marxism and capitalism, along with a whole series of intermediate stages. Those today who line up against the forces of the Left should insist on this. Nothing is more evident than that modern capitalism is just as subversive as Marxism. The materialistic vision of life which is the basis of both systems is identical." (Julius Evola, Man among Ruins)

Thelema is certainly part of this line of thinking.


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 Anonymous
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06/05/2010 10:44 pm  

see the full article

http://www.alternativeright.com/main/the-magazine/julius-evola-radical-traditionalism/

"Evola saw his mission as finding men who could be initiated into a real aristocracy, the Hindu kshatriya, to carry out Bismarck’s “Revolution from above,” what Joseph de Maistre called “not a counterrevolution, but the opposite of a revolution.” This was not a mass movement and did not depend on the support of the masses, by their nature incapable of great accomplishments. His plans have been called utopian, but Evola knew the political science of his day. The study of élites and their role in every society, especially liberal democracies, was an Italian cottage industry in the first half of the 20th century, carried on by Roberto Michels, Gaetano Mosca and Vilfredo Pareto. Every society has leaders. The modern world needs a true élite to rescue it from its involution into materialism, egalitarianism, and economism and to restore a healthy regime of order, hierarchy and spiritual vitality. When that elite is educated and initiated, then (and only then) they will create a true state and bring the Dark Age to an end."

Evola rejected the catholic church as the initiatory system to create new aristocrats with a link to the transcendent (read spiritual). One can draw a close parallel between Evola's initiated Kings and the Prophets spoken of in "the cloud upon the sanctuary" of which was the model for what Crowley called the A.'.A.'. and which he claimed to be a Prophet of.

Which is to say Crowley claimed he was the Prince priest (read undertones of Maciavelli as well as the priests which administer the rites and sacraments under the laws given by the prophets) and he is also the Prophet. Thus Crowley spoke with the authority of what Evola called he Kashatrya, who create the customs, social order and law under which the common people are tied (Re-lieged) to the transcendent plane. That is the people lost their true Aristocrots the warrior-priests than linked them to the transcendent, the integrity of the Aeon of Horus, the Catholic church had been hollowed out by the black brother hood. Thus Crowely established a new law, a new covenant if you will. Established a temple of Horus to replace the ruins of the Osiris church, that has become corrupted with liberalism, nihlism and materialist economic classes. It was up to Crowley to construct an ediface on which to found the new Temple.

To that end he re-constructed and established the O.T.O, which since the time of his death continues to slip more and more into egalitarianism, bleeding heart liberalism, and it's transcendent values displaced by economic concerns with dues and book sales. (look close at the letters between Crowley and McMurty, you will see Crowley was a quality over quanity concerned with establishing the order, not with preserving the unfit, not with equal rights etc, Crowely supported an return to farming lives, was against modern city life, and opposed big business, while H.A. was politically the exact opposite, and it was under H.A. than the O.T.O. was re-constructed from the embers, in his ideal more so than Crowely's.
But the book of the law still exists, and the writings of the beast still exist and with those there is hope, that the black brotherhoods forces will not drag Thelema down into the mire of materialism, but champions of the Kashatrya values can draw the sword from the stone and lead the people back on the path to the Transcendent.


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 Anonymous
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06/05/2010 11:34 pm  
"Azidonis" wrote:
It's about the issues. As a Thelemite, I cannot do my Will if the conditions of the country in which I live hinder it to a certain degree. I end up fighting the establishment just to get anything accomplished.

Agreed, and since political parties are the rule, the positions taken on the issues of any party being considered must be reviewed by the voter, in relation to the voter doing his or her true Will. If no suitable party exists, a new one might be called for. Also, if the country in which the voter lives fails economically, that country will no longer be able to provide the services it has promised to the voter, so long term fiscal viability must be considered in advance. There is trouble in Greece and elsewhere currently.


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Los
 Los
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06/05/2010 11:38 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
You've misunderstood what Crowley was saying. He wasn't proposing that governments give people "tasks" or decide every aspect of their life, merely that there would be a sort of religious kritarchy (rule by judges) to make judgements "when the need arises"

I might be misreading him. Let's go to the text:

"Let this formula be accepted by every government. Experts will immediately be appointed to work out, when need arises, the details of the True Will of every individual, and even that of every corporate body whether social or commercial, while a judiciary will arise to determine the equity in the case of apparently conflicting claims. (Such cases will become
progressively more rare as adjustment is attained.)"

In this passage, the judiciary is clearly presented as something other than the experts who will be appointed to work out "the details of the True Will of every individual." Now, Crowley does qualify the task of these experts with the phrase "when need arises," but I don't think it's 100% clear what that "need" is or whether the "need" coincides with "the case of apparently conflicting claims." Crowley's presentation of the "experts" and the "judiciary" in two separate clauses leads me to read these as two separate bodies in two separate sets of circumstances.

Regardless of the exact meaning that Crowley intends, I submit that it would still be possible to have a Thelemic government that ran itself along the lines of assigning true wills to citizens, and I further submit that any government that tried to implement such a plan would very quickly become a totalitarian nightmare.

My point is that it is not true that Thelema is more consistent with a weak government that intrudes minimally in the lives of its citizens; Thelema is just as consistent with an absolute totalitarian state that micro-manages its citizens' lives in accordance to the "true will" it assigns to them. Now I, like you, personally value a society with a great deal of individual freedom, but that personal value is separate from Thelema itself and what Thelema is or is not consistent with.

Laws do matter, obviously – and if you break them (perhaps because it's your "will" to cross the road quickly, or take drugs, or whatever) – then in those societies the state becomes your enemy.

It's not that they don't matter -- I'd personally prefer that some of the stupider laws didn't exist as well -- it's that in terms of Thelema, in terms of accomplishing your will -- at least where "will" is defined as "the way you naturally act in a given environment" -- nothing is capable of restraining the will. If your will is weak enough to be constrained by some dumb law, then your will becomes something else. If your will is such that you seek to violate and/or attempt to change that law, then you violate and/or attempt to change that law.

At any rate, I don't buy the whole "big bad government" stuff, especially when the governments that actually do exist in the US and the UK generally afford their citizens an incredible amount of personal freedom and use tax money to provide useful and good things for their citizens, like public libraries, public schools, and public parks.

Out of curiosity, can you name something that you personally would like to do that you are literally unable to do because of your government?

It cannot be doubted that Thelema (as expressed in The Book of the Law) includes at its heart a notion of God.

Really. I seem to recall "There is no god where I am," among other anti-deity passages. Even Crowley was very clear that the "gods" of the Book are, at best, metaphors.

As for "country" and "kings," sure, the Book of the Law most definitely talks about kings who strongly rule over slaves, so in that sense you could say that aristocratic values inform the Book -- or at least that some aristocratic terms are used in the symbolism of the Book -- and this very well might be the justification for setting up a Thelemic totalitarian state.

But the philosophy of Thelema, largely developed by Crowley based on his interpretation of the Book of the Law, regards each individual as "king" in a metaphorical way. Some of the symbolism in the Book derives from things that Tories would approve of, and Crowley himself espoused some Tory ideas -- but that's a far cry from claiming that Thelema itself (assuming that we mean the philosophy of personal conduct based on the Book of the Law -- and not Crowley's personal set of values) is somehow Tory.

I get the feeling that you're again conflating Crowley's personal values with Thelema, which is in fact consistent with a wide array of different values.

It's similar to the way that some people claim that "Thelema necessitates belief in the supernatural" simply because Crowley professed belief in some supernatural things. There's a difference -- a significant one -- between Crowley's values and Thelema itself.


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 Anonymous
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07/05/2010 12:11 am  

Why would it be that a "totalitarian" system would have to assign True Will's to the people.
Let us think about a farm. You do not assign seeds to the task of growing fruit which is no of the kind of seed they belong. It would be pointless to demand that potato seeds grow into Corn. Likewise potatoes require different growing conditions, different soil, different water, etc. If you treated the potato in the way you would a cactus, the potato will not yield good results. like wise if you water the cactus as you would a potato. Thus a good farmer, provides to each type of plant what it needs and as a result each plant grows in it's own unique way to be the strongest, healthiest and highest yielding plant that it can be. The farmer then get's the highest quality products which feed his family, provide this raw materials and produce an excess that can be shared with other people, and non-farming classes.

Thus we see that it is in the best interest of the Farmer as absolute ruler over the farm, to provide for each and every element of his farm, according to it's natural needs and inclinations, not to crush the life out of his plants in violent rages demanding more production or else he will cut water supplies or salt the land.

Likewise the best farming techniques to provide healthy products, reduce toll on the envirionment by minimizing use of fossil fuels and industrial products, is Permaculture. Where each plant, animal, soil, waste product, etc is used in an efficient way so that the waste of one feeds the other. This promotes the health of the soil, the air, each type of plant, and once the balance is set up, it requires little effort on the farmers part to maintain it. The system is self supporting, self watering, self fertilizing, is mostly perennial and/or self seeding.

When the need arises the farmer may address an issue where say the chicken shit turns out to be poor fertilizer for the turnips and so the chickens are moved to the tomatoes. So the Details about how to best incorporate each element according to it's True WILL are worked out only when a problem arises. Most of the time everything will work well, and over time less and less major adjustments are necessary and only minor points of fine tuning are to increase efficiency become necessary.

This Permiculture is very good example of Thelema applied to Agriculture methods. (See Duty, for a link to Crowley)
Their is no reason than we can not extend this system to the social rule of communities and to the inter-action between communities. As well as to business models outside the field of agriculture.


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Los
 Los
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07/05/2010 5:54 am  

Their is no reason than we can not extend this system to the social rule of communities and to the inter-action between communities.

Except, of course, that it is impossible to determine the True Will of another human being, so there is absolutely no way to implement such a system in reality. What you're talking about exists as a utopian ideal, a fancy picture that exists only in the mind. We who live in the world have to work with what we have.

And human nature being what it is, I predict that any system that tries to run itself along those lines will very quickly descend into a corrupt, totalitarian state, like all other attempted utopias.

"An absolute monarch would be absolutely wise and good.
But no man is strong enough to have no interest. Therefore the best king would be Pure Chance.
It is Pure Chance that rules the Universe; therefore, and only therefore, life is good." (Liber 333, cap 22)


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 Anonymous
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07/05/2010 6:37 am  

you claim that one can not know the WILL of others, first than is no really necessary, an the farmer does not know the WILL of the plant and the plant might know it, the farmer looks at how the plant behaves, what it does. and figures out what inputs get the kind of out put that is beneficial and he fits the inputs and out puts of all the plants and animals together.

Whatever happens in the "black box" of the mind, is irrelevant, we can observe what people do an determine what their WILL is, even if we do not know WHY they do what they do. You don't have to know anything about the quantum level internal working of your computer in order to networks many different computers and devices together.


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 Anonymous
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07/05/2010 6:44 am  

human beings are not this bazaar phenomena than makes on sense. We act on causal determination like everything else.
All we do is eat, shit, sleep, fuck, move things from place to place and die.

Basically a human is nothing but stuff moving around, that is ALL anything and everything is, bits of chemicals moving about here and there as the currents of time blow them. A human is not qualitatively different from anything else and so we can determine where the birds go in the winter, which way the wind blows, and what John Doe will eat for break fast next weak by the same methods, with a great degree of accuracy, if we collect enough data on their behavior over time.


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 Anonymous
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07/05/2010 10:12 am  
"name538" wrote:
All we do is eat, shit, sleep, fuck, move things from place to place and die.

Come on now. That's a bit mean. What about: love, cry, dream, connect, interpret, express, share, wish, plan, forget, remember, notice, observe, sing, design, persuade, agree, analyse, produce, discover, and, (my favourite) abstruct?


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