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Nomad
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29/03/2012 5:02 am  

Ah, Scott...

Crowley did write disparagingly about women, yes. But he also wrote disparagingly about men, blacks, whites, jews, catholics, protestants, the irish, the english, the rich, the poor, etc - even Brothers of the OTO and A:.A:. - even *gasp* himself! So he must be labelled a hater of all those goups as well? And a self-hater too!...

Good grief...  To misinterpret his artistic Vitriol against women as misogyny is really quite ridiculous. Get over yourself.

Crowley was not a messiah, and he was not infallible - that much is true. But it is clear you understand so very little else about Crowley (as indicated by your exceedingly simplistic interpretations of his subtle genius, interpretations that you keep insisting on trotting out as if they make any point at all) I'm not going to get into an argument here. You're welcome to your opinion. And I really couldn't care less what it is anyway.

(Oooh, and how very surprising: you chuck in some disparaging remarks about Gunther even though he's nothing to do with this thread. I guess your next post will be dragging Bill Breeze in somehow? We all wait with baited breath... Both men have contributed infinitely more to Thelema then you ever will in a hundred lifetimes, so your constant slagging on them really makes you look like no more than a sour-faced surly schoolboy. I'd give it a rest if I were you. For all our differences of opinion I know you're a lot better than that, so stop embarrassing yourself.)

I guess you'll feel it necessary to launch one more barbed response at me... so go on, get it all out of your system. But then please don't ever respond to my posts again. I have much better things to do with my time.


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Los
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29/03/2012 5:16 am  
"Nomad" wrote:
Los: I didn't use the words 'spirit', 'spook', or 'soul'. I used the word 'star', as per the Book of the Law.

Except that you used the word "star" not to mean "Every man and every woman" -- as The Book of the Law states -- but to mean instead something much more akin to a spirit, soul, or "spook": that is, something that "wills itself" to enter a fetus.

There's no such thing. At the very best, "star" is a metaphor that represents a person, who has a trajectory and "orbit" (i.e. will) by virtue of having preferences in conjunction with the environment. As I said, it's an awfully big stretch to think of a fetus as a "star" with a "will," but even if one were to bend over backwards to make that connection, one would still not be justified in making a "moral argument" against abortion on Thelemic grounds.

You cannot say that the use of such a term is incorrect, and then use the Book of the Law against my argument.

I certainly can if you use the term in a way not sanctioned by the Book of the Law: and using it as if it were a spook that inhabits a fetus -- thus allowing you to treat said fetus as part of some "moral argument" against abortion -- is so far outside the scope of the Book of the Law and Thelema that I hardly even know how to represent the magnitude of that mistake. "Incorrect" seems like far too mild a word. 


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Nomad
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29/03/2012 5:22 am  

Los, 'khabs' means 'star'. And the khabs is in the khu... etc. It's not 'spooky' to talk about a human being's inner light.

You may not believe in reincarnation, fair enough. I'm just saying that was the point Crowley - who did believe in reincarnation - was making.


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einDoppelganger
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29/03/2012 5:30 am  
"Nomad" wrote:
I guess you'll feel it necessary to launch one more barbed response at me... so go on, get it all out of your system. But then please don't ever respond to my posts again. I have much better things to do with my time.

[glow=red,2,300]awwww... you [/glow]

"Nomad" wrote:
Good grief...  To misinterpret his artistic Vitriol against women as misogyny is really quite ridiculous. Get over yourself.

artistic Vitriol?!? Are you serious?
What would you all it then if it isn't misogynistic? Seriously I have no idea how the hell you strung that sentence together with a straight face...

artistic Vitriol????

How can we take you seriously when you warp logic in service to your own absurd notions in the desperate bid to claim Crowley was not a misogynist.

"Crowley made racist comments but he isn't a racist "
"Crowley made demeaning statements about women  but he was a feminist"

...

Please... next are you going to tell me some of his best friends were black/gay/jewish/women etc so its like, OK man?
Its entirely possible to think you "celebrate" and use women and still be very much a misogynist.
In any case you  don;t even address the points I make, you woudl rater just say

"Crowley wasn't a misogynist because...

subtle genius!!"

ugh..


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Los
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29/03/2012 5:42 am  
"Nomad" wrote:
Los, 'khabs' means 'star'. And the khabs is in the khu... etc. It's not 'spooky' to talk about a human being's inner light.

No, it's not "spooky" -- and indeed not supernatural at all -- to talk about an individual's natural inclinations (as opposed to that individual's imagined inclinations).

When you boil it down to its basics, that's all that "Khabs"/"star" means in a Thelemic context: an individual's "True Self," which is to say that individual's natural inclinations, which are "inside" what that individual normally calls the "self" (i.e. the self-image constructed by the mind).

Not a single bit of it is supernatural or deals with anything "willing itself" inside a fetus at all.

I'm just saying that was the point Crowley - who did believe in reincarnation - was making.

Well, you have to be careful with that word "believe" because Crowley's also on record -- in quite a few places -- as saying that it's totally irrelevant whether reincarnation is really true or not because it's the experience of past life memories that's what's important. He goes so far as to compare, in MiTP, reincarnation to Aesop's fables, which are useful despite their falsity.

But putting aside the question of whether Crowley really "believed" in reincarnation, we encounter the much more pressing question of whether reincarnation is actually true or not -- and the very much more pressing question of whether Crowley was *correct* on this point from a Thelemic point of view. And upon investigating these questions, we discover 1) that there's no compelling evidence that would make anyone think that reincarnation is true (or that souls of any kind exist), 2) Thelema -- and in particular its concept of "star" -- does not in any way depend upon reincarnation or spirits existing, and 3) Even if they did exist, Thelema can't support a "moral argument" against abortion, both because Thelema is an amoral philosophy and because The Book of the Law is explicit that an individual's only duty is to his or her own True Will (meaning that the Will of a mother would trump the "will" of a fetus, even if we want to take the very questionable step of declaring a fetus capable of having a will).

I don't see any avenues left for someone trying to make a "Thelemic pro-life arugment."


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einDoppelganger
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29/03/2012 6:00 am  
"Los" wrote:
I don't see any avenues left for someone trying to make a "Thelemic pro-life arugment."

Agreed Los,

I dont know what Tim's point is here other than to tell us all how we need to stop thinking Crowley could have ever held an ignorant opinion influenced by his race, class, sex, or institutionalized ideas about all of the above contemporary to his era. That level of deliberate obscurantism calls into question a posters sincerity or at least critical thinking.


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Nomad
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29/03/2012 6:06 am  

Los - "compelling evidence"? What compelling evidence is there for anything? One's beliefs about how the world is are shaped by one's experience, and that's that. (Just as long as one doesn't go mistaking these beliefs for hard facts, so we all go on, a little comfortably, in our collective ignorance, as it has always been.)

However, Crowley had a lot more experience to base his beliefs on than you or I, and from that experience he believed in reincarnation. He didn't say "this is the truth" about it. (As he says somewhere in MWT: the best we can say about anything is that we are reasonably sure. And he was pretty bloody reasonable sure about reincarnation because he recovered a number of past lives, and also reclaimed magical memories from between human incarnation.)

Anyway; I'm not saying Thelema is necessarily pro-life (I'm not saying it's necessarily anything). When it comes to pregnancy, at the end of the day, the decision of the pregnant woman in regards keeping the child should, of course, be hers to make. What I am saying though is that I think Crowley's comments on this matter deserve far deeper consideration and than most people here seem to be willing - or capable - to do.


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einDoppelganger
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29/03/2012 7:02 am  

So basically Tim here is saying nothing at all other than anyone who would criticism Crowley for his ignorance is incapable of understanding him. Spoken like a true cultist. Really after reading this reply he has said as much.

"

"Nomad" wrote:
I'm not saying Thelema is necessarily pro-life (I'm not saying it's necessarily anything).

I swear, shit like this is sad and makes me thankful Thelemites are not a "religion" or movement that even registers on the world stage much less a force capable of enacting any kind of change. I have no idea how they would expect to accomplish anything with leaders who are so busy not saying "necessarily anything."


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Azidonis
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29/03/2012 7:27 am  

Human Animal Functions: Survival, Reproduction.

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


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Azidonis
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29/03/2012 8:52 am  

Source.

"Q: Human relationships have become a kind of commercial exchange - in the sense of "If you give me something, I will give you something". Could we go into that a bit?

UG: Yes. That's a fact. We do not want to accept it because it destroys the myth that human relationships are something marvelous or extraordinary. We are not honest, decorous and decent enough to admit that all relationships are built on the foundation of "What do I get out of this relationship?". It is nothing but mutual gratification.

If that is absent, no relationship is possible. You keep the relationship going for social reasons, or for reasons of children, property, and security. All this is part and parcel of the relationship business. But when it fails and does not give us what we really want, we superimpose on it what we call "love". So, it is just not possible to have any relationship on any basis except on the level of mutual gratification. The whole culture has created, for its own reasons, this situation for us through its value system. The value system demands that relationships be based on love. But the most important element is security and then possessiveness. You want to possess the other individual. When your hold on the other becomes weaker for various reasons, your relationship wears out. You cannot maintain this "lovey-dovey" relationship all the time.

The relationship between a man and a woman is based on the images that the two create for themselves of each other. So, the actual relationship between the two individuals is a relationship between the two images. But your image keeps changing, and so does the other person's. To keep the image constant is just not possible. So, when everything else fails, we use this final, last card in the pack, "love", with all the marvelous and romantic ideations around it.

To me, love implies two [persons]. Wherever there is a division, whether it is within you or without you, there is conflict. That relationship cannot last long. As far as I am concerned, relationships are formed and then they are dissolved immediately. Both these things happen in the same frame, if I may use that word. That is really the problem.

You may think that I am a very crude man, but if anybody talks to me about love, to me it is a `fourletter word'. That is the only basic relationship between man and woman. But it is a social problem for us as to what kind of a relationship you should have. Even in the days of my youth it was not possible amongst the Brahmins to marry unless the couple belonged to the same sub-caste. It was worse than the racial stuff in other countries. They had a strange idea of maintaining family traditions. What is tradition after all? It is the unwillingness to change with the changing times. We change a little when we are forced to by conditions. But the fact is that change is not in the interests of the mechanism of our thinking.

Unfortunately, we have blown this business of sex out of proportion. It is just a simple biological need of the living organism. The body is interested in only two things - to survive, and to reproduce one like itself. It is not interested in anything else. But sex has become a tremendous problem for us, because we have turned the basic biological functioning of the body into a pleasure movement. You see, if there is no thought, there is no sex at all.

The second problem is that it is not just the sex act that is important [to us], but the build-up that is there, the romantic structure that we have built around the love play. If you look at a beautiful woman, for example, the moment you say that it is a woman, you have already created a problem - "A beautiful woman!" Then it is more pleasurable to hold her hands than just to look at her. It is more pleasurable to embrace her, even more pleasurable to kiss her, and so on. It is the build-up that is really the problem. The moment you say that she is a beautiful woman, culture comes into the picture.

Here [pointing to himself] the build-up is totally absent because there is no way that these [pointing to his eyes] can be focused on any particular object continuously. For all you know, when that beautiful woman opens her mouth, she might have the ugliest teeth that a woman could have. So, you see, that [the eyes] has moved from there to here and again from here to something else, as perhaps, to her movements. It is [the eyes are] constantly changing its focus and there is no way that you can maintain this build-up. What is there is only the physical attraction. That you can never be free from, never. All those people - these saints - are tortured with the idea controlling that natural attraction. But that natural attraction is something which should not be condemned. You don't tell yourself that you are a god man, a realized man, an enlightened man or a saint, and that you should not think these thoughts. That [telling yourself] is really the problem. They are not honest enough to admit that.

So whenever a saint comes to me, or one who practices celibacy, I am very ruthless with him. I ask him, "Do you really mean to say that you never have wet dreams?" I tell him, "To practice celibacy in the name of your spiritual pursuit is a crime against nature." If the man is impotent or if for some reason the woman happens to be barren, then it is a different story. Why the religious thinking of man has emphasized denial of sex as a means to his spiritual attainment is something that I cannot understand. Maybe because that is the way you can control people. Sex is the most powerful drive."


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Los
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29/03/2012 2:26 pm  
"Nomad" wrote:
"compelling evidence"? What compelling evidence is there for anything?

There’s compelling evidence for lots and lots of things. To name a few trivial examples, there’s compelling evidence that there is one sun in our solar system, that the current president of the United States is named Barack Obama, that regularly getting a good night’s sleep tends to be optimal for the health of human beings, that humans are capable of constructing computers, that computers are capable of sending messages across great distances very rapidly, etc., etc., etc.

There are millions and billions of claims for which there is compelling evidence. There are other claims, however, for which there is not compelling evidence – and, in fact, nothing that would qualify as evidence at all. These claims include the existence of Bigfoot, alien abductions, the Loch Ness Monster, souls, and the occurrence of “reincarnation.”

One's beliefs about how the world is are shaped by one's experience, and that's that.

It’s a huge mistake to think 1) that evidence has to be limited simply to one’s own subjective experience and 2) that one’s own subjective experience is necessarily a good pathway to truth.

For example, my “experience” informs me that the sun orbits the earth, but I know that the truth is the contrary, based on evidence. Now sure, ultimately, I can only ascertain evidence through “experience,” but the evidence that I take into account can – and indeed must – be broader than simply my subjective impressions of things.

Just as long as one doesn't go mistaking these beliefs for hard facts, so we all go on, a little comfortably, in our collective ignorance, as it has always been

Sorry, but there are facts. Just because you want to remain in “collective ignorance” doesn’t meant that the rest of us have to.

However, Crowley had a lot more experience to base his beliefs on than you or I, and from that experience he believed in reincarnation.

I’ll freely admit that Crowley seemed to have had a lot more experience than I in labeling some of his day dreams as “past life experiences.” But that’s a lot different – a *lot* different – than Crowley having sufficient evidence to say that reincarnation is true.

And indeed, he was aware that this was the case, as the ending to Letter XLVII (about “Reincarnation”) expresses:

“Now, dear sister, I don’t like this letter at all, and I am sorry that I had to write it. For most of these statements are insusceptible of proof.

“And yet I feel their truth much more strongly than I have ventured to express. How many times have I warned you against ‘feelings?’”

Here, we see Crowley saying that he “doesn’t like” this letter because he has been unable to demonstrate that reincarnation exists but that he “feels” the truth of reincarnation, so he closes by reminding his reader to be suspicious of “feelings” like this.

We can find skeptical statements about reincarnation throughout Crowley’s writing, particularly in this interesting section of Magick in Theory and Practice:

“Far be it from any apologist for Magick to insist upon the objective validity of these concatenations [i.e. his discussion of remembering past lives]! It would be childish to cling to the belief that Marius de Aquila [one of Crowley’s remembered past lives] actually existed; it matters no more that it matters to the mathematician whether the use of the symbol X to the 22 power involves the "reality" of 22 dimension of space. The Master Therion does not care a scrap of yesterday's newspaper whether he was Marius de Aquila, or whether there ever was such a person, or whether the Universe itself is anything more than a nightmare created by his own imprudence in the matter of rum and water. His memory of Marius de Aquila, of the adventures of that person in Rome and the Black Forest, matters nothing, either to him or to anybody else. What matters is this: True or false, he has found a symbolic form which has enabled him to govern himself to the best advantage. "Quantum nobis prodest hec fabula Christi!" The "falsity" of Aesop's Fables does not diminish their value to mankind.”

Here, we have Crowley explicitly saying that what’s important is the experience of past life memories and not attributing “truth” to them. In fact, he goes out of his way to say that even though reincarnation may be false – like Aesop’s Fables are false – the experience can still have value.

This doesn’t sound like someone who “believes” in reincarnation (in the sense of "believe" as "accepting a proposition as true"). It sounds like someone who likes the idea of it and elects to hold it as true, even though he recognizes that it’s probably as “true” as Aesop’s Fables are.

But quite apart from the question of whether Crowley believed in reincarnation is the question of whether there’s any justification for believing in it (which there isn’t). And quite apart from that question is the question of whether there could be such a thing as a valid Thelemic pro-life argument.

I’m not merely arguing against the claim that “Thelema is a necessarily pro-life position,” which is obviously false. I’m arguing against the idea that Thelema could be (validly) used to justify a pro-life position, period.

You haven’t really addressed anything I’ve said on that score: you just continually state that Crowley believed in reincarnation (which is both highly questionable and irrelevant) and made the weird claim that there’s no compelling evidence for any claim and that we therefore live in “collective ignorance.”


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Los
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29/03/2012 2:33 pm  
"Nomad" wrote:
What I am saying though is that I think Crowley's comments on this matter deserve far deeper consideration and than most people here seem to be willing - or capable - to do.

What exactly -- specifically -- does it mean to give "far deeper consideration" to the idea that a fetus is inhabited by an incorporeal spook that has a super-duper-pixie-dust-driven-magical-will that we have to "respect" and not "interfere with" if we want to avoid a "sin against the Holy Ghost"?

Where I come from, stupid ideas are called supid ideas and not given "far deeper consideration" than sensible ideas based on fact.

Could you explain what you mean by giving this idea "far deeper consideration"? Do you think we ought to think it more likely to be true just cause some guy you like implied it?


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kidneyhawk
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29/03/2012 4:25 pm  

Los-

I would like to ask you: what "compelling evidence" is there that there is a True Will? This thread addresses a complex and controversial topic with consideration of Crowley's views. I am with those who feel that certain areas of comment were not Crowley's forte and one needs to sift through his words (and those of everyone else) with their own best judgment. Despite this, we DO tend to agree that "Thelema" is a verity and weigh many of perspectives against some of the "fundamentals" of this philosophy and outlook.

It's my observation that a fetus DOES have a Will-and it is clearly a Will to Grow. There is no more a Will to be aborted than a Tree has a Will to be cut down. Even if I lay an axe repeatedly into some great oak, should I fail in my task, it will still follow its Will. It never stops even as I'm chopping away.

Now this evokes the consideration of Wills in Conflict. Should I go about never cutting my lawn because grass has the "Will to Grow?" All of our actions exist in relationships to other vast fields of action. If the "Law" is simply to do your own thing and fuck everything else, we are essentially operating as self-centered children. Hence, Crowley's work, based on this idea of Will, extends into various states of enlightenment and "larger consciousness." The human individual is an aggregate of Wills-as is the World-and there is a relationship between the two which is continuously in motion. Movement into these "areas" brings about changes in perspective and value.

What I'm questioning here is the presumption that an unborn life-form has no spooky star-dust Will but that "we" do. The issue here is the nature of the WILL. In various posts you've made, your view on this seems inconsistent and adapted to your view on something else. This, by the way, is not a criticism (in this particular post) but an asking for clarification as to your view, from which other voiced opinions extend.

1) What is "True Will?"
2) How do you assert that it has any existence beyond that of a "fancy picture" in your mind (i.e. the IDEA in your MIND that you've got this thing called "True Will"-which is what you're somehow left with when you stop following the fancies of the same mind which engender the concept)?

Some people seem to approach Thelema as if it sets up a total relativity of values justified by appeal to "MY WILL." But that whole issue of Will is troublesome as it can't be assessed outside of the mind of the individual claiming to operate in conjunction with it. We can agree that the tree sure seems to "Will to Live" but who are YOU to say it wasn't a true expression of my Will to torture my dog in the garage, a real expression of my "nature." Then there's the flip: sure, Kyle, it could be-but Thelema is also all about "personal responsibility" so when you are charged with a crime, that's something you must accept. But these human laws are also arbitrary, yeah? Therefore, if my life of killing canines is artfully hidden from those who would halt me...well, that's called "adaptation" and is a "Thelemic Virtue."

I think there's a lot more to life than some of the simplifications Crowley set down. This includes his simplification of the idea of "True Will." Still, I call myself a "Thelemite." But I think some of his simplifications open into wider fields of consideration.


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obscurus
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29/03/2012 4:40 pm  

93

What a woman chooses to do or not do with her body, is none of my business.
What a woman chooses to do or not do with the life she carries inside her is none of my business.
There are consequences for all actions. While these actions do affect others in some ways, utimately, the individual is the one to live with them.
I have my opinions and try for the most part, to keep them to myself. In these discussions, there always comes a time where we reach the point of diminished returns, for many are unable to see beyond their current scope of analysis. If I cannot see it, feel it, smell it, taste it or touch it, does that necessarily mean that it cannot exist or be true?

I have within my mind memories of past lives. These memories are just as real to me as the memory of what I ate for dinner last week or the memory of that truly beautiful sunset I watched last week. I can't prove any of which exist today, yet it makes them no less real to me. Somewhere out there in this world is physical proof of the life I lived previous to the last. I've spent decades in search of it. I believe it is out there. And when and if I find it...then what? Some will say it is coincidence. It does not matter. The only thing that matters is what is inside my own skull.

For anyone to try to infer what went on inside the mind of someone like Aleister Crowley? Cmon. While he left alot of written words behind, any conclusions are stricly ones own.
Best wishes.

93/93


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Walterfive
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29/03/2012 4:46 pm  
"kidneyhawk" wrote:
It's my observation that a fetus DOES have a Will-and it is clearly a Will to Grow. There is no more a Will to be aborted than a Tree has a Will to be cut down.

I have to disagree here, dogmatically. The Tibetan Book of the Dead makes it clear that the reincarnating soul *chooses* the vessel of its incarnation, and the color of the vessel chosen indicates wether the child will be born, still-born, miscarriage (or presumably aborted, naturally *or* induced). Not all souls choose to be healthy-born babies. This is why the Book of the Dead warns the travelling soul to avoid the black and red spheres (for example). We cannot presume to know the Will of those reincarnating.


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kidneyhawk
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29/03/2012 4:59 pm  

Walter-

Thank you for this post. I would be curious however to hear what Los has to say in response to this post as well as my own-as either view makes observation of a Will at work-and his view is that there IS no Will at work in the unborn life form. Before we can entertain the idea that every fetus wills to grow-or that some will just the opposite-we must determine (at least for ourselves) if a fetus HAS a "Will" in the first place. I'm trying to take things down to the basic level here so that we aren't simply justifying views based on appeal to an idea whose foundations may be negligible.


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Los
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29/03/2012 5:09 pm  
"kidneyhawk" wrote:
I would like to ask you: what "compelling evidence" is there that there is a True Will?

"True Will" is a label that some people (namely Thelemites) put on the course of action that comes naturally to an individual in a given situation (i.e. in contrast to that individual's ideas about how he or she "should" be acting). If you've ever paid attention to yourself and found that in a given situation you authentically want to act in such-and-such a way, then you've demonstrated to yourself that there absolutely is something that we are labeling "True Will."

It's my observation that a fetus DOES have a Will-and it is clearly a Will to Grow. There is no more a Will to be aborted than a Tree has a Will to be cut down. Even if I lay an axe repeatedly into some great oak, should I fail in my task, it will still follow its Will. It never stops even as I'm chopping away.

Well, while there's nothing stopping you from declaring that fetuses, trees, chairs, rocks, animals, and various other non-human things have "True Wills," I find it pretty darn silly and spectacularly unhelpful to do so. The whole point of adopting "True Will" as a model is to enable the individual to better guide his or her actions. When you start attributing True Will to non-human things, the whole thing starts to approach the ridiculous, which is a good sign that it's a bad idea.

If the "Law" is simply to do your own thing and fuck everything else, we are essentially operating as self-centered children.

Except that "do your own thing" necessitates having to work together with other people, in the vast majority of cases. For example, I'm going to find it pretty hard to do my will if I don't have regular and easy access to clean drinking water and safe food. So I band together with others into a "society" and I cooperate with them in order to get those things necessary to do my will.

It's still an entirely self-centered philosophy, but in order to be self-centered intelligently, one has to keep others in mind. Note: this is NOT some kind of wishy-washy crap like, "other people are really my Self -- capital S! Huzzah!" When I talk about "expanding consciousness," I mean perceiving from broader perspectives. When you talk about "expanding consciousness," I get the impression that you're talking about some kind of daydream.

What I'm questioning here is the presumption that an unborn life-form has no spooky star-dust Will but that "we" do.

We don't. True Will isn't ooky-spooky, and it has nothing to do with spirits of any kind (since spirits don't exist).

True Will is a model that we adopt for convenience and apply to persons. Applying it to other things, like fetuses -- which is what some people do when they mistakenly think that True Will has something to do with spooks -- results in a bunch of nonsense.

I'll answer your questions in a subsequent post.


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Los
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29/03/2012 5:30 pm  
"kidneyhawk" wrote:
1) What is "True Will?"

Crowley defines it as, "a course, depending partly on the self, and partly on the environment which is natural and necessary for each."

It is one's natural inclinations in a given situation, defined in contrast to those courses of action presented by one's mind as "inherently good" or "inherently better" than any other modes of action. As an elementary illustration, someone who gets it in his head that he "ought" to work hard and become a doctor -- when, in fact, his natural inclination is to do something else entirely -- will cause himself to suffer. He could have avoided this suffering by paying attention to his actual being and doing what comes naturally to him, instead of paying attention to the idea he has that he "should" do some "inherently good" thing.

2) How do you assert that it has any existence beyond that of a "fancy picture" in your mind (i.e. the IDEA in your MIND that you've got this thing called "True Will"-which is what you're somehow left with when you stop following the fancies of the same mind which engender the concept)?

This is where experience and "doing the work" comes in. We can only talk about this stuff so much: there comes a point when an individual has to just buckle down and do the work. And by "do the work," I don't mean engage in inane rituals or have make believe conversations with spacemen or delude oneself into thinking that "We're, like, all one, man. Groovy."

There's a place for all of that, but it comes pretty darn close to being a downright distraction in most cases.

What Crowley calls "True Will" -- that is, the thing that the term actually corresponds to -- is not a mental representation. It's of a different order of thing from a mental representation entirely, in the same way that the computer in front of me is of a different order than a mental representation.

Now I know you're the type who likes to say silly things like, "But how do you know??? You perceive that computer with your MIND, don't you??? So it actually IS a mental representation!!!!!!" but you're just tying yourself up in circles and confusing yourself with philosophy when you do so. We all know that the word "computer" -- and the mental picture "computer" -- isn't the same thing as the computer sitting there on the table. The same distinction exists between the idea "True Will" and the thing that I'm labeling "True Will." This is abundently clear the second a person sits down and starts doing the work.

The fact that you can even ask a question like number (2) above demonstrates an unfamiliarity with the subject and suggests very strongly that you haven't done the work. If you had, you'd have some practical experience against which to measure my words, and the question wouldn't even occur to you, most likely.

But that whole issue of Will is troublesome as it can't be assessed outside of the mind of the individual claiming to operate in conjunction with it.

That's not a problem because from the perspective of Thelema, True Will only matters to the individual: whether someone else is operating in accordance with his True Will is both unknowable and irrelevant to an individual.

We can agree that the tree sure seems to "Will to Live" but who are YOU to say it wasn't a true expression of my Will to torture my dog in the garage, a real expression of my "nature."

I wouldn't say that. I'd say that I'm going to call animal protective services on your Michael-Vick-wannabe ass, and I could care less whether you're doing your True Will or not.

But these human laws are also arbitrary, yeah? Therefore, if my life of killing canines is artfully hidden from those who would halt me...well, that's called "adaptation" and is a "Thelemic Virtue."

Certainly, if you really were convinced that it's your True Will to be the doggy equivalent of Dexter, and if you concealed your activities from others as well as the fictional character Dexter does, you could continue doing so indefinitely. Until someone does catch you and turns you in.

So what?


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obscurus
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29/03/2012 5:31 pm  

93

There are somethings that defy the written description by word. If one demands placing it upon a glass slide and viewing under a microscope, there may be no use in going on. Within the flesh resides the divine spark and when that flesh falls away that divine spark which is you continues on. Where it exists after that cannot be known here...not until it makes the return journey in that vehicle we call the spermatozoon. As it swims in the womb of space, it clearly has a will. To fall upon that fertile plain and to begin the process of building a new coat of flesh.
Infinitely small/infinitely great. A chain which stretches off into eternity. That is my only way of understanding.
Best wishes.

93/93


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Los
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29/03/2012 6:08 pm  

Since it's relevant, I'll post a link to my blog where I discuss the subject of "True Will" -- and the evidence for it -- in some depth: http://thelema-and-skepticism.blogspot.com/2011/06/skeptical-of-true-will.html . Note that this link explicates the argument I'm making here and, as such, is not simply a shameless plug of my writing, though I suppose it is partially that.


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 Anonymous
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29/03/2012 6:24 pm  
"obscuruspaintus" wrote:
93

There are somethings that defy the written description by word. If one demands placing it upon a glass slide and viewing under a microscope, there may be no use in going on. Within the flesh resides the divine spark and when that flesh falls away that divine spark which is you continues on. Where it exists after that cannot be known here...not until it makes the return journey in that vehicle we call the spermatozoon. As it swims in the womb of space, it clearly has a will. To fall upon that fertile plain and to begin the process of building a new coat of flesh.
Infinitely small/infinitely great. A chain which stretches off into eternity. That is my only way of understanding.
Best wishes.

93/93

The problem with "your way of understanding", is that it is a bizarre imaginary fantasy that you've decided you rather like the sound of. If you actually embarked upon a systematic rational enquiry of "what's going on" you might see that in many cases we can ascertain in quite some detail what's going on. We don't have to rely on imaginary and fanciful inanities, thankfully.


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HG
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29/03/2012 7:24 pm  
"Nomad" wrote:
However, Crowley had a lot more experience to base his beliefs on than you or I,

What I am saying though is that I think Crowley's comments on this matter deserve far deeper consideration and than most people here seem to be willing - or capable - to do.

It's worth considering that even someone as extraordinarily brilliant as Albert Einstein has said stupid things.

It's also worth considering that there are a lot of people in the world who have carefully studied what Einstein said, consider some of the things he said stupid, but still have the highest regard for him and his work.

It is quite possible that a person saying: "I think this thing Crowley said is stupid" has actually been both willing and capable of deeply considering the matter, and have done so.
Just because someone disagrees with you does not mean they haven't done their homework.


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Azidonis
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29/03/2012 7:46 pm  
"Los" wrote:
Note: this is NOT some kind of wishy-washy crap like, "other people are really my Self -- capital S! Huzzah!"

I couldn't help but laugh at this. Thanks for the laugh, Los. 🙂

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” - Albert Einstein


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Azidonis
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29/03/2012 8:19 pm  

It would seem that some confusion arises when interpreting "True Will" as "Divine Will" (or "God's Plan"). What do you all think?


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Walterfive
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29/03/2012 8:24 pm  
"Azidonis" wrote:
It would seem that some confusion arises when interpreting "True Will" as "Divine Will" (or "God's Plan"). What do you all think?

Such confusion goes back to the beginning: When St. Augustine speaks of Thelema, he is talking about the "Will" of God.

But we are speaking of To Mega Therion: If 'There is no God but Man' (however it is capitalized) does not the Will of Man equate to the Will of God?


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Shiva
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29/03/2012 9:07 pm  
"Nomad" wrote:
However, Crowley had a lot more experience to base his beliefs on than you or I,

Oh, really?


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obscurus
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29/03/2012 9:16 pm  

93

Thank you for setting me straight selfseeker.
Best wishes.

93/93


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Nomad
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30/03/2012 12:29 am  

Los - You say Crowley didn't believe in reincarnation? Really?... From the Magick Without Tears letter, entitled 'Reincarnation':

Do I believe in it?

Yes.

Why?

(1) Because I remember a dozen or so of my previous lives on earth.  (See Magick, Chapter VI.)

(2) Because no other theory satisfies my feeling for "justesse," for equilibrium, for Newton's Third Law of Motion.

(3) Because every religion asserts, or at least implies, it in some sense of other.

Even the Judaism—Christianity—Islam line of thought contains some such element.  The Jews were always expecting Elias to return; the disciples of Christ constantly asked questions involving it; and I feel that the Mohammedan doctrine of Antichrist and the Judgment at least toys with the idea.  Were I not so ignorant, I could dig up all sorts of support for this thesis.  But it doesn't matter so much in any case; we do not trouble to find "authority;" we put our shirts on Experience.

[emphasis added]

And yes, we do live in collective ignorance in the sense that all our so-called 'facts' are merely assumptions, plain and simple.


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 Anonymous
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30/03/2012 1:01 am  
"Nomad" wrote:
Los - You say Crowley didn't believe in reincarnation? Really?... From the Magick Without Tears letter, entitled 'Reincarnation':

Do I believe in it?

Yes.

Why?

(1) Because I remember a dozen or so of my previous lives on earth.  (See Magick, Chapter VI.)

(2) Because no other theory satisfies my feeling for "justesse," for equilibrium, for Newton's Third Law of Motion.

(3) Because every religion asserts, or at least implies, it in some sense of other.

Even the Judaism—Christianity—Islam line of thought contains some such element.  The Jews were always expecting Elias to return; the disciples of Christ constantly asked questions involving it; and I feel that the Mohammedan doctrine of Antichrist and the Judgment at least toys with the idea.  Were I not so ignorant, I could dig up all sorts of support for this thesis.  But it doesn't matter so much in any case; we do not trouble to find "authority;" we put our shirts on Experience.

[emphasis added]

And yes, we do live in collective ignorance in the sense that all our so-called 'facts' are merely assumptions, plain and simple.

The sense Crowley said he 'believed' in things can be quite to different to the way we commonly think about the term. He said he believed in all sorts of things, but really it may just have been that allowing himself to hold certain beliefs was useful to him. Think about the way NLP focuses on 'installing new beliefs', and you'll get my drift. It's not at all necessary under that system to believe in the new 'belief' (in the sense of proving it to oneself objectively) for it to 'work'. These PUA types are always on about this principle, especially Ross Jeffries, and I think it's quite similar to the way Crowley believed in reincarnation, or that he was the Beast etc etc.

And as for your objections about knowledge and facts, I really don't know what I can say to possibly help you that Los has not already said...


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Azidonis
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30/03/2012 1:18 am  
"Nomad" wrote:
From the Magick Without Tears letter, entitled 'Reincarnation':

Do I believe in it?

Yes.

Why?

(1) Because I remember a dozen or so of my previous lives on earth.  (See Magick, Chapter VI.)

(2) Because no other theory satisfies my feeling for "justesse," for equilibrium, for Newton's Third Law of Motion.

(3) Because every religion asserts, or at least implies, it in some sense of other.

Even the Judaism—Christianity—Islam line of thought contains some such element.  The Jews were always expecting Elias to return; the disciples of Christ constantly asked questions involving it; and I feel that the Mohammedan doctrine of Antichrist and the Judgment at least toys with the idea.  Were I not so ignorant, I could dig up all sorts of support for this thesis.  But it doesn't matter so much in any case; we do not trouble to find "authority;" we put our shirts on Experience.

[emphasis added]

In response to Crowley's words,

And this brings us to Liberation (Moksha). You know, the whole burning up of karma, being free from the wheel, etc.

In my opinion, it brings one outside the Wheel that is "God" (Man is God, etc.). "Man is God", is based on at least three assumptions:

1. "God" - philosophically, "Ultimate Reality" - exists.
2. The Image humans hold of God exists.
3. Direct knowledge of God exists.
4. Nirvana is the Liberation from that knowledge.

Now...

"Neti, neti" (neither this, nor that). It's the Cosmic Joke, and if it is anything at all, is is most certain not really God. Since as long as "existing God" exists, "non-existing God" will exist also. Therefore, the question of the existence in God will always end up with that division.

From this comes the Buddhist perspective that it's not important to even ask the question about God. Direct knowledge of God is impossible.

As soon as anything becomes anything at all, it becomes knowable. Once it is knowable, it fits in somewhere, and somehow within the rest of the "realm of knowable things", the wheel of samsara, in which existence and non-existence reside. It is the creation of duality. The entirety of "knowable reality" is included in the "existence of God".

One only has to recall, once more, "neti neti", and take a look at the 3 Veils of Negative Existence. And the closer you look, more burns away. More of "everything" burns away. And closer still, until...

... and that's it. At best, you have a wonderful vision or ten, but Ain Soph Aur is roughly, "Limitless Light". Ain Soph is "Limitlessness", and "Ain" is "Nothing, no-thing). Feel free to debate various spellings and traditional interpretations of the concepts.

But, in order for any experience to occur, some sort of definite focus must be placed onto that experience. That is, when you go sky diving (or fall in your dreams even), you are falling before you recognize that you are falling. The mind links events together so tightly that, "falling" can even be experienced. That is, one perceives "I am going to jump/fall", "I have fallen x amount in relation to y position, and continue to fall at a rate measurable by physics". That's it. From that, you say to yourself, "I am falling". But, there was a tiny gap, however small, between the event and the cognition of the event.

The sentence, "I am falling (or flying, if you prefer to think of it that way)", consists of 3 parts. The "I", that is, the body, and everything that comes along with it, to include the mind's notions and experiences on whether or not it thinks there is a God.

The "am" is a being verb. That is, the mind is currently perceiving X. The senses are doing their respective jobs, sending X information to the brain. The brain takes this information, and interprets it to Y. And this continually happens as long as the mind is "focused" on the state of falling, which is X.

So all this exists, for the individual, at once. And it is so, as the observer and the observed cannot exist without each other.

In considering Ain Soph Aur, the concept of Limitless Light is simply unfathomable. Any attempt to place the concept of "Limitless" anything, implies the existence of a Limit, one which Limitlessness exceeds, which is a duality. So it cannot be done. The mind can do naught but place such ideas into it's scope of "knowledge", and then whatever occurred is lost. Thus, the doctrine of impermanence. That all of this occurs simultaneously in order for consciousness to occur at all, is pratityasamutpada, "co-dependent arising".

To be Liberated from that, is the burning up of karma. To be Liberated even from Liberation, is the passage into Nirvana.

Terminal existence focuses on the beginning and the ending of each moment (life and death), as two sides of a coin, that flips one good time. One is alive and then dead.

Reincarnation focuses on the cyclic existence of samsara, that is, the constant creation of subjective existence by the mind-body process.

Neither of these matter for the Arhat, Ipssisimus, Jivanmukti, Buddha, [insert Liberated title here].


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einDoppelganger
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30/03/2012 4:02 am  

Last time I am going to say this. I don't think it registers anyway...

but does *anyone* see the grotesque irony of a bunch of people without a uterus swinging their intellectual dicks around
discussing abortion and the spooky soul inhabitation of the fetuses that these uterus-less people will never carry?
When you are all done trying to fuck each other with your knowledge cocks be sure to wipe up the puddles.

And Walter?

Who cares what the Tibetan book of the Dead has to say on the subject?
Why not replace "Tibetan book of the Dead" with The Old Testament, The New Testament, The Koran, The book of Dianetics?
Seriously, I would laugh if this were not such a disturbing microcosmic window into the same dynamic this discussion takes on in the world at large.


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Azidonis
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30/03/2012 4:25 am  
"einDoppelganger" wrote:
but does *anyone* see the grotesque irony of a bunch of people without a uterus swinging their intellectual dicks around
discussing abortion and the spooky soul inhabitation of the fetuses that these uterus-less people will never carry?

This reminds me of the reaction to the recent law by Congress on contraception. People found it absurd that men would be the ones making such laws, forming conclusions after objectifying the feminine perspective.


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kidneyhawk
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30/03/2012 7:30 am  

I don't know that this thread is an issue of swinging our collective dicks about. For myself, the interest is very ontological. I don't have a uterus but I emerged into space-time from one...and I have also played my part in bringing children, who I love very much, into the world. I don't see the "abortion issue" as black and white at all. From my personal standpoint, I give great honor to "unborn life" but (as contradictory as it may seem) I also can see where termination of pregnancy is a right course of action. The present views in America from the conservative camps I find to be fascist and horrifying. Well, such are my views...and everyone has their own opinion.

I find in this topic an opening into some basic questions and considerations which I raised in response to Los. These are the basic concerns as to what life is and what it means, what its value is. These concerns arise from the fact that we become self-conscious creatures who have to reconcile ourselves to what we observe of the nature of life. It’s very Siddhartha at the “four gates.” Some will retreat back to the palace but for the “hungry soul,” it’s into the Mystery that we go. Along this path, we form our views and find ourselves disagreeing with both our former selves and each other. Knowing that I once held thus and such a view, only to break through it into a different perspective, I have to look at my present vision and question where IT will break.

Los makes flat out statements such as “there are no spirits” and I see a mind attempting complete and total closure on an open question. Such a statement is a proposition and I will again quote Wittgenstein who said that the truth of any proposition depends upon its determinants. What does one mean, exactly, by “spirits”-and what determinants are used to settle the matter?

Here is an example. Los might say “There is no God.” This is an almost meaningless statement. We need to first clarify what we mean by “God” and then look at our determinants. If Los says that “God” is a frowning Santa in a nightgown who lives in a cloud, I would agree…this guy doesn’t exist. But when I use the word “God,” I have an altogether different idea. So I need to define that. And then I need to look at the determinants by which I accept the truth or falsehood of this picture. Not only do I look at the determinants but I look at what gives rise to those determinants.

In the never-ending Lashtal “debates,” there seems to be an appeal to “reason” and then the default to the yappery of “some things just can’t be explained…do the work and you’ll find out for yourself.” The latter is like a refuge once there’s nothing left to say in response. I could easily say “Los, Los…there ARE spirits and reincarnating souls and aliens who communicate with us telepathically” and so forth. “You want evidence? Stop your silly “reasoning” and do the work, kiddo!”

Because if he’d only “do the work,” he’d see that I’m RIGHT.

What work? Pentagrams and meditations and observing what one “really likes” and and and…

Bollocks.

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink, yes?

All I can say is that humans tend to be conceited creatures who think they embody the best and highest perspective on things in the universe. We measure observed forms of consciousness “below” us by the standard of our capabilities.

Crowley was one of those who (rationally) looked towards beings beyond our limits and even saw our contact with such as being the one hope for advancement as a species. Our desire to meet such beings on our own limited terms is akin to a dog expecting that a human would bestow human knowledge on a canine level.

“Tell me all about color…but tell me in black and white.”

It doesn’t work that way. Fortunately, the human being has what we might call “unlocked potential,” may rise up to a transhuman way of perceiving and begin a communion with beings who can offer help in the same way that a parent helps a child.

When Walter speaks of the TBD, he is appealing to something that will not fit the “compelling evidence” criteria of the materialist-but still appeals to experience.

Definitions and Determinants can bind us. Cutting into these can provide a stepping stone to the next level of understanding.

Here’s where debate stops. If your criteria for understanding is not the same as mine, we are playing the same game by two different sets of rules.

So how do we have a productive communication?

Crowley (for all his faults and foibles) wrote:

“Each one of us has thus an universe of his own, but it is the same universe for each one as soon as it includes all possible experiences. This implies the extension of consciousness to include all other consciousness.”

This was from the Intro to AL. Some “Thelemites” treat AL as a “Thus Saith The Lord” and every word is perfect. I’m not one of those. And I think in his Intro, AC hit a tremendously profound point here, simply writing as himself.

In this “New Aeon,” I don’t think the debate mechanism is going to carry us to our Will. This is an “Old Aeon” either/or mentality which yearns for certainty. There is a craving for some solid foundation from which all else may spring.

Wittgenstein once remarked that Philosophy consists in finding connections. Between this view and that there is some relationship, some reconciliation, some synthesis. Crowley is aiming at this with his vision of the “same universe.”

We can’t rightly speak of the abortion "issue" if we don’t have a view towards the value and meaning of life in any of its forms.

In the original citation from AC, he seems to be examining the decision to terminate an unborn life based on shame for conceiving it and social/economic situations which obstruct it. When these factors are dissolved, the decision is made under a wholly different light. Crowley, for all his being a “product of his times,” is still a man for the future. The combined force of ignorance and power we are operating beneath is flabbergasting.

Perhaps we'll make some progress towards chopping it down as we follow out our own Paths during this lifetime.

And, referring to Ein D's post, do you not find it interesting that the majority of posters on these threads are (or seem to be) male? Yes, we've had Dar and Mika and a SMALL handful of others-but this whole Crowley/Thelema forum tends to be dominated by males.

Why do we think this is?

           


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einDoppelganger
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30/03/2012 8:14 am  
"Azidonis" wrote:
"einDoppelganger" wrote:
but does *anyone* see the grotesque irony of a bunch of people without a uterus swinging their intellectual dicks around
discussing abortion and the spooky soul inhabitation of the fetuses that these uterus-less people will never carry?

This reminds me of the reaction to the recent law by Congress on contraception. People found it absurd that men would be the ones making such laws, forming conclusions after objectifying the feminine perspective.

Indeed. It seems to me that those who have no biological say in the equation, other than perhaps sperm donation, are being pretty damn presumptuous in trying to quantify the ethics of it.

And, referring to Ein D's post, do you not find it interesting that the majority of posters on these threads are (or seem to be) male? Yes, we've had Dar and Mika and a SMALL handful of others-but this whole Crowley/Thelema forum tends to be dominated by males.

ooooof, theres a couple good threads (one locked) on that topic. I think its probably outside the scope of this thread which is already quite unwieldy but it is a question Thelemites might want to consider.

I'd also say - and the dads wont like this. Being  born, raising kids - that really does not give you a right to objectify and formulate opinions on an experience which is not yours (ie carrying a fetus to term). Fatherhood seems awesome and all - but it does not entitle anyone to an opinion on what a woman does with her body and the fetus she may or may not decide to allow to grow within it.  Even if its your baby if you cant take it out and incubate it in your own body (or maybe a couple milk crates and a heat lamp) then you have no right to exert that dominion over someone else's destiny.

and lastly

While I am all for experience of the numinous, spirit work, and such. I never EVER allow my conceptions to ever impact my social or logical reasoning. They are and remain internal psychodrama which may or may not have objective reality. Its for me alone and my idea on transplutonic aliens, spirits, reincarnation should have no impact whatsoever on the bodies, life, and freedom of others. That is criminal. 

As soon as you start using mystical woo woo[sup:3fftp2th]tm[/sup:3fftp2th] to support your social decisions you end up with albelist bullshit like "Handicaped people are noble souls who incarnated for a challenge.." or "the soul willed itself to the fetus at x weeks cuz the Tibetan book of the Woo Woo said so" or some such garbage.

I will take a cult of Reason over this debacle any day and if we were in a "Thelemic" state, anything like this. I would be in armed resistance against it. This is no better than any number of other societies with laws derived from religious fantasy.

Its oppressive.

Its dangerous. 

And people get so precious with their pet worldviews they fail to see how their personal fantasies are infringing on the bodies and rights of others.


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Walterfive
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30/03/2012 7:40 pm  
"einDoppelganger" wrote:
And Walter?

Who cares what the Tibetan book of the Dead has to say on the subject?

I do, and thought it relevant to the conversation.  How inconsiderately rude for you to ask! But, since we've gone way over the rude line already, feel free to blow it out your ass if it causes you discomfort.  I certainly wouldn't want it 'impact' on your 'body, life, freedom' or anal retention. But "if thine eye offends thee," by ALL MEANS, go ahead and "pluck it out" as St. Paul said, and see if I give a tin shit in a gold mine.

The Tibetan Buddhists are IMHO, experts on the subject of coming back through the cycle of incarnation and remembering how to get through-- *how* many times has the Dalai Lama reincarnated now? I think they must be doing something right. You disagree? Who gives a shit? I don't see your attitude or your snark adding anything insightful or productive to this conversation. You attempt to point out that it's mostly men involved in this conversation, well, DUH! It's mostly men involved in *every* conversation on this board!

By the way, when's the last time someone approached *you* as a spiritual advisor on their miscarriage? On their loved and wanted baby that they carried for six months, and which died a few minutes after he was born? That happened to *me* a few months ago. Real life. Known the Mamma for almost 20 years. Sat with her two hours a day for the 4 days she was hospitalized after the incident. Seen the denial, the tears, the anger. She regards me as her Priest and an Elder in her community. Fortunately, I am willing and able to show a lot more sensitivity and caring to those who need it than I am a over-intellectualizingly rude douche-bag like you. So have a nice day. 🙂


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Los
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30/03/2012 7:42 pm  
"kidneyhawk" wrote:
In the never-ending Lashtal “debates,” there seems to be an appeal to “reason” and then the default to the yappery of “some things just can’t be explained…do the work and you’ll find out for yourself.” The latter is like a refuge once there’s nothing left to say in response. I could easily say “Los, Los…there ARE spirits and reincarnating souls and aliens who communicate with us telepathically” and so forth. “You want evidence? Stop your silly “reasoning” and do the work, kiddo!”

Except that what I'm talking about is the process of observing oneself (and the existence of preferences) and what you're talking about are disembodied spooks who cavort around us unseen.

The claims aren't remotely alike, so trying to assert an equivalency between them is absurd.

When I say that there's a limit to how much we can talk about and that at some point we have to buckle down and do the work, I am categorically *not* talking about verifying claims about the external world-- I'm talking about the practical, everyday fact that procedural knowledge can only really effectively be learned by doing, not by talking.

For example, I could explain in great detail how to fix a car or how to write a good essay. But if my audience had never even seen an engine or tried to write an essay on their own, my explanation would be largely wasted because the audience doesn't have practical experience to connect to the concepts. The way we teach subjects like those is to get the students' hands dirty, so that speak: get them fixing and writing, get them experiencing, because without the experience, they have nothing to go on but the words (and what the words appear to mean). That's why we get people on these forums like that guy who claimed that "Do what thou wilt" means "Do what you want" – on the basis of dictionary entries! – because he probably had never had the experience of what Crowley means by "Will" and had nothing to go on.

It's likely for the same reason that you're asking me about how I can claim Will is defined in contrast to "mental constructs" and also distinguish Will itself from a mental construct: the very question arises out of interrogating the terminology and the terminology alone, which you probably wouldn't do if you had some experience of the things I'm using those words to label.

Now, in the hypothetical example that you’re clumsily trying to compare to mine (i.e. "Do the work, and you'll see that there are spirits!") you’re advancing an extraordinary and outlandish explanation for the results of a procedure. That's totally and completely different than what I’m doing when I explain how to observe the self, which is explaining a procedure that relies upon ordinary and simple experiences that just about everyone is familiar with.

It's one thing to say, "Do X, and Y follows" (such as, "observe yourself free from the distorting influences of the mind, and you will perceive a course of action that reduces inner tension") -- particularly when X and Y are ordinary and completely uncontroversial claims. It's quite another things entirely to say, "Do X, and Y follows because Z," especially when Z is extraordinary and flies in the face of everything we've discovered about the universe. (Such as, "Perform a certain ritual/meditation, and you will be able to have the experience of talking to a spirit, because spirits exist independently of the human mind") Indeed, a person is very capable of generating the feeling that one is talking to spirits – I would go so far as to argue that it is downright easy to do – but to confuse this feeling for evidence of the veracity of an extraordinary claim associated with the practice is to get the issue totally wrong.

If you really think that there are spirits, then define what you mean by spirits – including how these “spirits” are distinguishable from nothing at all (for if they do not manifest in some detectable way that enables us to distinguish them from nothing, then no one -- including you -- has any basis for saying that they exist). After defining what you mean by spirits, present the evidence that leads you to the conclusion that they exist. Note that the evidence should be consistent with your definition and consistent with the means of distinguishing the beings in question from nothing.


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Los
 Los
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30/03/2012 7:51 pm  
"Walterfive" wrote:
"einDoppelganger" wrote:
And Walter?

Who cares what the Tibetan book of the Dead has to say on the subject?

I do, and thought it relevant to the conversation.

EinD's point was that it's not relevant to the conversation because it's just some old book that no one has any reason to think acurately describes the world. As he noted, you could plug in any old text (such as, for instance, the Old Testament), try to draw conclusions from it, and come to conclusions that are just as irrelevant as your point.

feel free to blow it out your ass if it causes you discomfort.

Again, the point is not "discomfort." I'm sure I speak for EinD here as well as myself when I say I don't feel any discomfort when someone quotes some old book as if it were some kind of accurate description of the world around us, but I do kind of facepalm a little bit.

The Tibetan Buddhists are IMHO, experts on the subject of coming back through the cycle of incarnation and remembering how to get through--

Says who? The Tibetan Buddhists?

Jeez Louise, if this is how you evaluate claims, I've got some magical swampland that I can sell to you for a low, low price.

*how* many times has the Dalai Lama reincarnated now? I think they must be doing something right.

It's hard to compose an adequate reply to this with a straight face. The closest analogy I can think of is a Catholic saying, "I think the Catholic Church is the authority on receiving spiritual information from God. After all, *how* many times have Popes received infallible decrees from God? They must be doing something right."

I mean, if you're not swayed by that argument, you shouldn't be swayed by the argument you just made about the Dalai Lama. At least not if you want to be consistent.

You disagree? Who gives a shit?

People who care about whether their beliefs are true or not.


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ignant666
(@ignant666)
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30/03/2012 9:59 pm  
"Walterfive" wrote:
[...] see if I give a tin shit in a gold mine. [...]

Thank you for expanding my vocabulary of invective.
Is there some Thelemite corollary to Godwin's Law that requires every discussion to degenerate into this tit-for-tat nonsense (in which I reserve the right to gleefully participate in the future)?


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the_real_simon_iff
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30/03/2012 11:46 pm  

93!

Just a few thoughts on this mad thread:

We don't make laws. We don't decide anything here. But we can discuss abortion pros and cons as long as we want. Every female and every male is invited to join the discussion. And to say that the male is not part of the equation is just plain wrong - last time I checked a uterus is not enough to bear a child.

Los, I can't follow your "there is no pro-life argument in Thelema"-theory. Normally you say that Thelema is all about life and nature and not much more. Now let's say a woman gets pregnant. There is no argument for her that is not a "mental construct" to not carry the child (aside from medical arguments). If you think so, then ALL your cherished preferences are nothing but mental constructs - which they probably are anyway. Taking Crowley seriously, I guess this is where you end up thinking about it. "If it's not your will to get pregnant, than don't." So please give me an example for a non-medical reason to terminate a pregnancy that is not a mental or a social construct. Please let me add that I am not at all favouring Crowley's or anbody's view. It's just a discussion. Maybe it is important for some, maybe not.

Or is this a case where "Doe what thou wilt" really means "Do what you want"?

Love=Law
Lutz


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 Anonymous
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31/03/2012 2:50 am  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
"If it's not your will to get pregnant, than don't." So please give me an example for a non-medical reason to terminate a pregnancy that is not a mental or a social construct.

We all do irresponsible things sometimes. Are you saying that we should always be forced to accept the full consequences of our actions, even when it is possible to mitigate consequences? Seems rather harsh, don't you think? And, since we can not know the Will of another, and being as the Will is dynamic, and can legitimately change in line with environment and circumstances, clearly termination can be in line with a woman's Will, even if it was her Will to get pregnant initially.


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Los
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31/03/2012 5:59 am  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
Normally you say that Thelema is all about life and nature and not much more. Now let's say a woman gets pregnant. There is no argument for her that is not a "mental construct" to not carry the child (aside from medical arguments). If you think so, then ALL your cherished preferences are nothing but mental constructs - which they probably are anyway. Taking Crowley seriously, I guess this is where you end up thinking about it. "If it's not your will to get pregnant, than don't."

If I'm reading you correctly, I think you’re implying that one’s True Will necessarily entails allowing every aspect of one’s biology to do its thing unimpeded, but this isn’t the case at all.

Remember, the Thelemic model of self holds that the True Self (Khabs) manifests through the body and mind (Khu) – and remember, this is all figurative speech: we’re not talking about disembodied spooks here. The idea is simply that the True Self (and thus the True Will, its dynamic aspect) cannot be identified with either body or mind.

So for example, I know I said it was absurd to attribute a will to non-human things, but let’s be absurd for a moment and say that it’s the “will” of the fingernails to grow (remember, this is just a model we’re using for descriptive convenience – no metaphysical claims of any kind are being made here. I’m simply labeling the tendency of fingernails to grow as their “will” for the purposes of demonstration).

So it’s the will of the fingernails to grow, but we know that if we allow this body part to fulfill its natural biological function (and keep growing and growing), it will eventually frustrate the Self. So we trim the nails – thus impeding the will of this body part – in order to serve the Will of the Self.

As another trivial example, we might say that it’s the will of the digestive system to prompt the individual to eat as much food as possible. This is, of course, because our ancestors evolved in food-scarce environments, and the biological urge to eat as much food as possible, when the food is available, was hardwired into our genes. However, now that we live in environments that aren’t food-scarce, the “will” of this part of the body can frustrate the will of the Self if we allow it to perform its function unimpeded (i.e. if we actually just ate as much as our bodies prompted us to, most of us would get very fat, and this would be highly displeasing to the Self…well, for a lot of us, anyway). So we regulate our diets – thus impeding the will of this body part – in order to serve the Will of the Self.

Do you see where I’m going with this? We might argue that it’s the “will” of the uterus to conceive a child – or, more precisely, it’s the will of a uterus that contains a fertilized egg to enable that egg to grow into a human being. But in the same way that one might trim the nails or regulate the diet – impeding the will of the body in service to the Self – so too might one abort a fetus – impeding the will of that part of the body – in service to the Self.

Evolution has equipped us all with a body that is programmed to survive and pass on its genes -- not necessarily to be happy. It may be that to be "happy" or "fulfilled" or whatever, we may have to actively thwart the "will" of the body we've been equipped with so that we can do things that we actually enjoy.

So please give me an example for a non-medical reason to terminate a pregnancy that is not a mental or a social construct.

I'm not sure what you're asking me for. The Book of the Law is explicit -- with its curse on "because" -- that a person acting in accordance with Will doesn't need a "reason" for action. For a Thelemite, an act is justified by it being in line with that individual's preferences. No "reason" required.

A woman whose sincere preference is not to have a child and who gets pregant, say by accident, would be acting in accordance with the Law of Thelema when she aborts the fetus. Indeed, according to a strict reading of the Book of the Law, the Law of Thelema demands that she abort the fetus, for she has "no right" but to do her will.


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the_real_simon_iff
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31/03/2012 2:06 pm  

Los, 93!

First I want to state that I am not discussing MY views on that matter. This thread showed that some think Thelema is a pro-life philosphy and against abortion, some think it is impossible to construct a pro-life argument in Thelema. Apart from Thelema there are myriads of reasons to terminate a pregnancy, and there are myriads of reasons why this shouldn't be done after a certain point in pregnancy, and there are myriads of very special and personal and exceptional reasons why to do this or that.

I of course see where you are going with your examples. You are calling them absurd yourself. But even if we accept this absurdity and assign a Will to fingernails, digestive systems and uteruses, it is a fact that the uterus doesn't "produce" just a hardened type of skin, it doesn't "produce" stuff to digest food, it "produces" a human being, a unique star in Thelemic thinking. Fact. When you also accept the fact that not everybody here blindly follows your theory of "True Will = a combination of preferences to not frustrate the Self" but might think that the "True Will very often frustrates the Self" or that these preferences are nothing but constructs of the rational mind and therefore have absolutely nothing to do with the "true" part of the will but only with the "desire" part of the will and that others even might say that the prophet Crowley has the last word on everything, an equally strict reading of the Book of the Law might demand to bear every child whose will it was to manifest in the woman's body. So why did Crowley wrote about abortion the way he did? Just because he was a woman-hater and wanted to "keep her in the kitchen"? Because he believed in reincarnation and thought it wrong to destroy the soul's vessel? Did he just had the best intentions for the woman because of the medical dangers of abortion in his times? Would he wrote differently in our times about it?

I myself am just a lucky guy who never had to face this decision, and whose partner never had to. I encountered quite a few whose "sincere preference" it was not to have a child, but for some reason or another they went through with it and are now full of joy. I encountered very few whose "sincere preference" it was not to have a child, had it aborted and later deeply regretted their decision. I know very very few who had an abortion and lived happily with it, just out of rational thinking and worldly desires, but never because it was their "sincere preference".

Personally, if I would ever face such a decision, I probably would keep Thelema out of it all. But it is a worthy discussion because everyone might face this situation one day. Is it a question of the True Will then, or will it be a question of rational or social constructs?

Love=Law
Lutz


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 Anonymous
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31/03/2012 4:16 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:

Personally, if I would ever face such a decision, I probably would keep Thelema out of it all. But it is a worthy discussion because everyone might face this situation one day. Is it a question of the True Will then, or will it be a question of rational or social constructs?

Love=Law
Lutz

What kind of Thelemite does that make you then? If we can't apply the doctrine of Thelema to the most challenging episodes in our lives, of what use is it to us?


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Azidonis
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31/03/2012 6:15 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
Personally, if I would ever face such a decision, I probably would keep Thelema out of it all.

Great idea.


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Nomad
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01/04/2012 7:29 am  

As the-real-simon-iff says, everyone is entitled to an opinion on this topic - just as everyone is entitled to an opinion on any topic. And they are also entitled to speak that opinion as they will.

To think people should not have opinions, or not be be able to express them, is slave-god mentality.

Of course - around the issue of abortion, as in any issue, a woman must ultimately choose for herself. Do what thou wilt. I don't see how anyone could think Crowley believed a woman should do anything but her own will regarding a pregancy. However, he is entitled to his opinion on the matter generally, and he gave it. (Even though some people think him terribly pompous for daring to hold opinions different to the views of today. [Views that are more driven by low-iq mass-media than they ever were back in his day, btw.])

But he also knew his opinions - whether they be on abortion, reincarnation, or anything else - are just beliefs. They are all based on experiences, either directly or indirectly (eg through accounts of other people's experiences). And no matter how many times he had those beliefs validated by his own experiences (or the experiences of others), and no matter how much more he felt convinced of those beliefs through repeated validation, he had the good sense never to say 'this is the truth'. For in the recording - mentally or otherwise - of any experience, even scientifically-speaking, assumptions are made, every single time.

Even the most scientifically-verified 'truth' may, one day, be overturned by a new set of experimental experiences.

What does that have to do with this thread? This: every opinion shared on here is just a person's belief. No sense anyone getting their knickers in a twist about what anyone else is saying; just as long as the person whose saying it isn't being a dick about it.

Chances are all the opinions expressed in this thread are in some way at least, utterly wrong anyway.


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Azidonis
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01/04/2012 8:58 am  
"selfseeker" wrote:
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:

Personally, if I would ever face such a decision, I probably would keep Thelema out of it all. But it is a worthy discussion because everyone might face this situation one day. Is it a question of the True Will then, or will it be a question of rational or social constructs?

Love=Law
Lutz

What kind of Thelemite does that make you then? If we can't apply the doctrine of Thelema to the most challenging episodes in our lives, of what use is it to us?

You can use doctrine to help you make life decisions such as whether or not to go ahead with an abortion if you want to. Some may choose not to, and to use their own judgment in the matter, regardless of what the "good book" says.

"Do what thou wilt," and all that.


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 Anonymous
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01/04/2012 10:37 am  
"Azidonis" wrote:

You can use doctrine to help you make life decisions such as whether or not to go ahead with an abortion if you want to. Some may choose not to, and to use their own judgment in the matter, regardless of what the "good book" says.

"Do what thou wilt," and all that.

It's actually a fairly simple one chaps, this abortion conundrum, despite the consternation it's caused here, which is indeed surprising as I'm guessing most of here you here would describe yourself as Thelemites. Azidonis, it's not about what the 'good book' says, and I resent your implication that I have some kind of religious devotion to an arbitrary code of conduct that a book such as the Bible might present. Shows you don't understand Thelema at all. The book explicates the manner in which we may come to know our True Will (ie. it must be observed, not worked out). Using your own 'judgement' may well entail all the dangers presented by the 'dogs of reason'! Ironically, to quote 'Do what thou wilt' at the end of your nonsensical statement means that you have indeed based your ill thought-out approach to the issue using (an albeit erroneus) interpretation of Liber Al.


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Los
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01/04/2012 5:09 pm  
"Nomad" wrote:
I don't see how anyone could think Crowley believed a woman should do anything but her own will regarding a pregancy.

But Crowley's position seems to have been that a woman's will is always -- or at least almost always -- to carry a child to term, and that all (or most) women would happily fulfill their "function" if we only removed the social factors that shame women into having abortions.

While I agree that a woman's decision regarding an abortion should not be dictated by arbitrary social conventions, I object to the notion that a woman's will -- or indeed anyone's will -- can be reduced simply to the fulfillment of biological functions (as I argued above with the example of the fingernails).

every opinion shared on here is just a person's belief.

Which, by your own logic, means that the opinion that "every opinion shared on here is just a person's belief" is just a person's belief, and not the truth, and so -- again, by your own logic -- no one (including you!) has any reason to think that what you've said is true.

What you're expressing is a really silly, relativistic position that defeats itself. It's commonly held (especially by people in "magical" or "New Age" circles), but if you spend even five minutes thinking about it, you'll realize that it's untenable.

All opinions are most definitely not created equal: those opinions supported by evidence are more likely to be true. This remains the case even though all knowledge is tentative and open to being modified when new evidence is discovered.

Chances are all the opinions expressed in this thread are in some way at least, utterly wrong anyway.

And again, if we use your logic, this is an opinion that is "just a person's belief," not the truth, so no one has any reason to think you're right.

Your clumsy argument that we all live in "collective ignorance" is absurd because even if it were true, we could never know that that was the case -- since, by the logic of the argument, knowledge is impossible. You're just spinning around in circles when you make arguments like this, and it's a neat example of the dangers of "reason," as expressed in the Book of the Law and elsewhere.

[Edited for clarity]


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Azidonis
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01/04/2012 7:11 pm  
"selfseeker" wrote:
It's actually a fairly simple one chaps, this abortion conundrum, despite the consternation it's caused here, which is indeed surprising as I'm guessing most of here you here would describe yourself as Thelemites.

Ho hum.

"selfseeker" wrote:
Azidonis, it's not about what the 'good book' says, and I resent your implication that I have some kind of religious devotion to an arbitrary code of conduct that a book such as the Bible might present.
"selfseeker" wrote:
What kind of Thelemite does that make you then? If we can't apply the doctrine of Thelema to the most challenging episodes in our lives, of what use is it to us?

Actually, that's exactly what you implied.

"selfseeker" wrote:
Shows you don't understand Thelema at all.

ad hominem

"selfseeker" wrote:
The book explicates the manner in which we may come to know our True Will (ie. it must be observed, not worked out). Using your own 'judgement' may well entail all the dangers presented by the 'dogs of reason'! Ironically, to quote 'Do what thou wilt' at the end of your nonsensical statement means that you have indeed based your ill thought-out approach to the issue using (an albeit erroneus) interpretation of Liber Al.

You are trying to make it so there is some random code of conduct that each individual has to follow, and that code is called True Will. And it is false.


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 Anonymous
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01/04/2012 7:15 pm  

Azidonis, I just find it astonishing, frankly, that you would say something like 'best to leave Thelema out of this'.

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

Or perhaps you prefer reason? As it would seem is the case.


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