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Reading Circle: Beelzebub and the Beast  

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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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04/12/2012 9:52 pm  

I just received mine in today, and I must say the dustjacket is beautiful!  Due to the subject matter, I would think a number of Lashtalians would get this book.  So, I thought starting a "Reading Circle" thread like we had with Perdurabo would be a good idea.  Perhaps we all could have a very interesting discussion! 


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Michael Staley
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MANIO - it's all in the egg
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Posts: 4054
11/01/2013 11:15 am  

This fascinating and substantial book by David Hall explores the affinities between the work of Crowley and that of Gurdjieff. It examines in particular the affinities between on the one hand awakening to True Will; on the other, emerging from the web of social conditioning, habit-patterns, day-dreams and abstractions in which we spend the vast majority of our "waking" time. The comparison is not exact in my view - True Will has a cosmic dimension which I have yet to find in Gurdjieff's work - but it is a very rich area for investigation.

Crowley was interested in Gurdjieff's work, going to his Institute at Fontainebleau at least twice. The first of these, whilst Gurdjieff was away in America, was recorded by Crowley in his diary. The second, accounts of which vary, was not. We also have an account by Gerald Yorke (via Gerald Suster) of a meeting between the two men in Paris.

I've been asked by several people to recommend a good introduction to Gurdjieff and his work, and in my opinion a great place to start is The War Against Sleep by Colin Wilson.

A few weeks ago I sent a copy of Beelzebub and the Beast to Paul B. Taylor, a prominent Gurdjieff student who has written several books about Gurdjieff and members of his Circle, and who as a young man was taken by his mother - a friend and student of Gurdjieff - to the Institute at Fontainebleau. Paul was very enthusiastic, emailing me the following preliminary assessment:

Hall's work is the best reading of Gurdjieff's ideas I know. I am sorry he did not have access to recent works, but I cannot fault anything he relies upon, as much as I have found a lot of Bennett's recollections of Gurdjieff questionable. (By the way, it was Jessie Orage, not A. R. who was a "squirming idiot." Orage was "superidiot"). I will carry this book to the A&E Converence in Canterbury in April. I will also send a notice of it right away to Jacob Needleman in San Francisco (he is, as you must know, a professor of Religious Studies and a prominent  Gurdjieffian). Hall brings more pertinent religious ideas to a look at Gurdjieff than anyone else. I follow easily his citations of Medieval and Classical texts, but his extraordinary grasp of Middle Eastern religious history gives me much to reflect upon.

Subsequently, Paul sent me a more detailed appreciation which I recently made available on the Starfire Publishing website. The appreciation can be accessed directly via the following link:

http://www.starfirepublishing.co.uk/Beelzebub_review.htm


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Markus
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11/01/2013 7:08 pm  

Taylor's review on Starfire is very good indeed. Thanks for posting it, Michael. In one of the final paragraphs he writes:

I do not know the source of Hall’s assertion that the name Parzifal means “fool.”

The spelling "Parsifal" (with an s and an f) is Wagnerian. Eschenbach has "Parzival" and in French it's "Perceval". Wagner gives the wrong etymology, that the name derives from Persian fal parsi: fool pure (törichter Reiner) which he turns into parsi fal: pure fool (reiner Tor). This is probably where Hall got it from.

Markus


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 Anonymous
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11/01/2013 7:15 pm  
"Markus" wrote:
Wagner gives the wrong etymology

Well, what is the correct one?


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Michael Staley
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MANIO - it's all in the egg
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Posts: 4054
11/01/2013 7:42 pm  
"Markus" wrote:
The spelling "Parsifal" (with an s and an f) is Wagnerian. Eschenbach has "Parzival" and in French it's "Perceval". Wagner gives the wrong etymology, that the name derives from Persian fal parsi: fool pure (törichter Reiner) which he turns into parsi fal: pure fool (reiner Tor). This is probably where Hall got it from.

Many thanks for that elucidation, Markus. I had thought that David was simply drawing on Crowley's correspondences between Parsifal and Atu O, and I had overlooked the etymology.


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jamie barter
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25/02/2013 5:25 pm  

I noticed that about half of the previous thread in this rather bare of subjects Reading Circle about Perdurabo was about the arrival, or non-arrival or anticipated arrival, by FedEx or similar, of the book in question.  Could I possibly make a personal plea that this one will not follow suit in some similar form?!  I am not sure how the Reading Circle is supposed to work as there are not many clues in the precedent, but what I thought might be useful would be to put down my own thoughts on four main themes in 2 sections, as if for a review, any of which (or any aspect of which) might be an appropriate setting-off point for further debate?

(Bookish) Wormingly yours,
Norma N. Joy

***  *****  ***[/align:19456m4q]

“BEELZEBUB & The BEAST” by DAVID HALL[/align:19456m4q]

Broad parallels & differences between the 2 systems uncovered by David:[/align:19456m4q]

As David implicitly suggests, the key difficulty between the 2 systems of Beelzebub (George Gurdjieff) and The Beast (Aleister Crowley) is that Gurdjieff’s linguistic complexity, together with his perverse desire to as he puts it “bury the dog deeper”, contrasts diametrically against Crowley’s (by comparison, apart from his leg-pulls and deliberate intentionality) sublime simplicity wherever possible & avowed intent to do the opposite, i.e., render it highly transparent, coherent and intelligible as far as possible to his readership. 

The Crowley material is a doddle by comparison with the Gurdjieff, even to those not aware of the central tenets of Thelemic philosophy (e.g., the 2=0 equation and an explanation of the (KC)HGA phenomenon).  However the book is of more valuable actual use as an introductory primer for Thelemites into the main commonalities and differences with the Gurdjieffian system, other than vice versa.  Although the Precession of the Equinoxes is explained at some length (p.16ff) and the basics of which are reasonably well known, unfortunately this same exact thoroughness of detail which is illustrated here is not duplicated with regard to the more complex matters which may not be so familiar to the “lay” reader e.g., most of Gurdjieff’s conceptions along with his concomitant unorthodox terminology.  (The Enneagram, for example, which I personally consider to be one of Gurdjieff’s more fascinating and enduring developments, is given a disappointingly short section between pages 148 & 151.)

One of the odder contrasts with Crowley’s system is that whereas the Moon is venerated, nay adored therein and A.C. styled himself Ankh-af-na-khonsu, or “Life of the Moon”, it appears that in Gurdjieff’s system the Moon is no good thing and at the bottom of his ‘evolutionary’ ladder in terms of its density: as David explains on page 223,

“…the seventh world, numbered XCVI and called ‘The Moon’, is a kind of outer darkness under 96 orders of laws”

and is reminiscent of the Qlipoth ‘beneath’ the Earth, Malkuth.  He also observes that:

“Earth is in a relatively bad position in the Ray, being under 48 orders of mechanical laws” (p.139). 

The Moon is even viewed by one of Gurdjieff’s main acolytes, A.R. Orage, as “a synonym for the malefic organ Kundabuffer” and David states that

“Gurdjieff had definitely acquired from somewhere the notion that the Moon is somehow responsible for the unsatisfactory conditions prevailing on Earth and is ‘the enemy of Man’.” (p.240).  

Poor Luna, far from being adored as Crowley recommends we all greet hir light, under Gurdjieff’s system this appears to be actively maligned!

There appears to be a further unrecognised strong parallel with Western Qabalah and its conception of Ain Soph Aur and Kether :

“In the beginning, when nothing yet existed and when the whole of our Universe was empty endless space with the presence of only the prime-source cosmic substance ‘Etherokrilno’, our present Most Great and Most Most Holy Sun Absolute existed alone in all this empty space and it was on this then sole cosmic concentration…” (p.170 – my emphasis),

which point David surprisingly omits to indicate.

David does not also aid the cause of clarity by perpetuating on pages 154 and 269, without identifying any exact sources, the idea that Sirius is also identified as the external One Star in Sight “above” and is indicated as such as the A.A.; also that the kalas are materially evident “according to some authorities…” (but apart from Kenneth Grant, nothing else is listed on page 79 where he states: “there exist as many as sixteen, only two or three of which are known to western medical science.”  Which two or three might these be, therefore?  However to complicate matters further the number of these secretions ‘known to western science’ then switches to “only” fourteen on page 206.)  Since David was a member of the Typhonian “OTO” who also helped to produce the excellent precursor to Starfire, Sothis, it is unfortunate that he does not or cannot address these matters specifically, although perhaps the fault may be Kenneth’s in not dealing with these matters more fully himself.

Stylistically, there is a mildly irritating use of the traditional/ archaic masculine ‘he’ form for the gender-neutral ‘it’ (or even Leary/ Wilson’s ‘hir’) instead to describe the impersonal (or rather gender-transcending) godhead where appropriate.

David’s review of Gurdjieff’s Use of terminology:[/align:19456m4q]

Whatever merits there may be in Gurdjieff’s own ‘world-view’ (and there are indeed several), he rather shot himself in the foot by using outlandish descriptive terminology to come to terms with these fascinating concepts & contrived a more obscure literary style attempting by doing so to in effect out-Joyce Joyce:

CHIK.  One of the more ‘atmospheric’ items of vocabulary is Gurdjieff’s use of chik and David makes a parallel between it – “I must make the old world chik or else it will make me chik” (p.274) – and the phrase from the Book of the Law: “abrogate are all rituals, all ordeals, all words and signs” (I.49); or as David says,

“the phrase ‘to make chik’ means to destroy completely something that has to be removed, and implies a radical break with the past, the introduction of a new attitude to the world and human life”.

This is followed immediately afterwards by a rather martial (Heruvian) Knights Templar-ish / OTO-ish (even evangelical Xian [!]) call-to-arms from Gurdjieff:

“From now on, I need soldiers who will fight for me for the new world.” (p.258). 

David describes someone whom Gurdjieff calls a “HASNAMUSS individual” as

“a being without Objective Conscience, which is the voice of the divine in man.  In Thelemic terms he is a “Black Brother”, working against the True Will which is of necessity a particle of the One Will.” (p.147)

In contrast, and equivalent to possibly an Initiate or even an Adept in Thelemic terms, is

“…the man who lives according to what Gurdjieff calls the Foolasnitamnian principle.  This type of man is to some degree truly conscious and is in the process of transformation.” (pp. 146-7)

Then what would also be described as Masters in Thelemic terms are described as “Sacred Individuals actualized from Above.”

PIEANDJOEHARY.  David describes this succinctly on page 188 as creative visualization involving a type of pranayama, also requiring the development of the various subtle bodies (physical, astral, mental, divine).  There is a variation Exioëhary which involves the libido of sexual energy (or Si 12 on Gurdjieff’s esoteric DoReMi octave harmonic scale), part of an obscure process described as “Trnvla” on page 205: 

“a term nowhere else used and nowhere explained, and which is sufficiently like Tantra to make us wonder” 

and called by him (Gurdjieff) as “our most sacred possession”, and which David offers may parallel certain more ‘conventional’ Tantric practices.  He also speculates whether “the Fire of Kundalini” might also be the second kind of ‘shock’ in Gurdjieff’s system “ that transforms Si12 or Exioëhary” (p. 204), and on page 229 also comments:

“The dyad of the Divided Self gives rise to a force that has been called the libido, the urge of the subconscious, the animal passions, etc.  In Beelzebub’s Tales [to his Grandson], Gurdjieff called it pieandjoehary, the dangerous, double-edged sword of the powers of the imagination…”

KUNDABUFFER.  In some ways there are echoes of L. Ron Hubbard’s origins of the Reactive Mind in David’s description: “…Gurdjieff paints a picture of some kind of cosmic disaster taking place in the past history of the human race, as the result of which an organ called “Kundabuffer” was placed in the human psyche” (p.37), together with “the implantation in the human psyche of the ‘organ Kundabuffer’ which prevented humankind from seeing reality’.” (p.257). “Placed” and “implanted” by whom or what, though? (It is safe to presume it is not Xenu, I think.)  It does not sound like a spontaneous evolutionary development, but further details are unfortunately lacking.  The following should also be considered:

“The purpose and result [of Ashiata Shiemash *] was to eliminate from the psyche of men the maleficent effects of the Organ Kundabuffer.” (p.166) [My emphasis throughout this section.]
{* “This uncertainty/ equivalence of terms relates to people also – “at one level, our now Common Cosmic Most Very Saintly Ashiata Shiemash… is the prophet Zoroaster; at another, he is Gurdjieff himself; and finally most importantly, he is the prophet of the New Epoch.” (pp.164-5).}

Interestingly, however,

“A direct connection of Kundalini with the organ Kundabuffer is admitted in Chapter XXI of Beelzebub’s Tales, where the word Kundalina is explained as a misnomer through misunderstanding of the proper term Kundabuffer.” (p.204)

David makes the connection:

“When referring Gurdjieff’s ideas to their origins, it becomes apparent that ‘[Our ALL-COMMON MASTER, THE] MERCILESS HEROPASS is ZURVAN, the Iranian God of Time.” (p.170).

Furthermore,

“Zurvan, in his all-encompassing Infinite aspect, corresponds to what Gurdjieff calls the Trogautoegocrat…[which a]t the same time is the law of reciprocal maintenance, the Iraniranumange; in other words, it is both the Being and the Becoming of God.” (pp.171-2).

Originating from nothingness, this would parallel the Crowleyan/ Thelemic LAShTAL process of creation.

David summarises the actual RECIPROCAL MAINTENANCE of EVERYTHING EXISTING as the transformation of energies expressed in the phrase “the higher blends with the lower to actualise the middle”, which appears to be the basis of the increasingly-complex and harder-to-follow “Diagram of Everything Living” (fig. 3) The idea involved, that “God feeds on his Creation and the Creation feeds on God”, appears to be also identified as the Trogoautoegocrat-ic process which is additionally described on page 144 as “the Being and Becoming of a loving God manifested in Creation” and on page 148, that

“Man fulfils the true rôle of his essence-class by aiding the Creator in the maintenance of an expanding Creation.  His responsibility is carried out by way of ‘conscious labour and intentional suffering’, which is the means not only of man’s own transformation, but of the maintenance and evolution of Creation itself”;

also, that

“Man as an essence-class, stands between Demi-Urge and the Animal.” (p.146). 

However the dog eventually becomes as well buried here as with Gurdjieff’s similarly obscure Ladder of the Hydrogens and the Octave system involved in it, to which not even David’s customary precise powers of summary and exposition are able to rise and do justice.

The OMNIPRESENT OKIDANOKH or “Omnipresent Active Element” (p132) is involved with the Rays of Creation and where the One Will becomes a 3-fold Triamonia or Triamazikamno “immanent and the source of multiplicity” (p.134), or as David puts it on page 256: “the divine Unity that is also a divine plurality.”  However he also says reassuringly:

“…despite the bizarre nomenclature and the peculiarities of its presentation, Gurdjieff’s cosmology is totally orthodox, in the sense that it does not depart from the cosmology that underlies traditional revelations.” (p.222)

{PART 1 of 2}[/align:19456m4q]


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Michael Staley
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26/02/2013 9:06 am  

Many thanks, Jamie, for your interesting review thus far of David's book. I agree that the sections dealing with Crowley and Thelema are  more straighforward than those which burrow into Gurdjieff's cosmology, doubtless reflecting the author's immersion in Gurdjieff and related fields over many years.

When first reading the typescript of this work I had little knowledge of Gurdjieff, and found some of the terminology employed in Beelzebub's Tales obscure and unwieldly; I still do. It makes the reading of this work something of a parallel with his approach to prescribing that menial tasks such as chopping wood, digging ditches etc are performed with attention, rather than on autopilot.

Despite all the obscurities, what strikes me as the core of Gurdjieff's work is the need to wake up from the fog of day-dream and habit-patterns in which we are immersed for the majority of our daily lives.

I look forward to the second part of your review.


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jamie barter
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01/03/2013 5:52 pm  

Thanks for your comments, Michael.  Hopefully some more feedback will be generated from other posters, otherwise despite NOX's efforts this particular Reading Circle is going to look a little on the threadbare side!...

Please find the 2nd and concluding part of my 'review' below:

David’s discussion of Time & time-related issues:[/align:byh9b431]

In addition to David’s assessment of Gurdjieff and Crowley, he is also very good on Zoroastranism as a sidebar, and raises interesting parallels with Philip K. Dick’s idea of ‘arrested time’ in the sense of his (Dick’s) ‘Black Iron Prison’ of the Roman rule of 70 e.v. & which in an unconventional sense persisted ever since until countered by VALIS (his Vast Active Living Information System) [see The Exegesis, The Divine Invasion, etc. inter alia].

One of the most gripping themes in David’s exploration is his contention that given Time is other than the straightforward linear progression from A to Z (say from the big bang to the big crunch) it seems to the general consensus; that the past is in some way ‘alterable’ and that in its nature it is as fluid as the apparent future.  As he remarks on page 272:

“the past and future…exist as Now, in an act of Will that comprehends them both in an enlarged Present Moment.  This Now is the Bindu or Atman of Hindu metaphysics [and] is the point (Hadit) through which all forms (Heru-Ra-Ha) of manifestation (Nuit) emerge and through which they are eventually withdrawn.” 

The perception is of a seamless whole, but one in which the moment can be both structured and arbitrary:

“The future, like the past, is not one single pre-determined sequence of material events wholly conditioned by the line of causal Time, but is a spectrum that at one end is wholly determined whilst at the other is wholly undetermined, wholly free” (p.253).

This has a bearing on the Kali Yuga regarding which (at 5,000 out of 432,000 years) we are apparently only beginning to enter the end of the beginning, concerning which he remarks:

“Thus, the acceleration in the flow of time toward the end [sic] of the Yuga is seen by Bennett as accelerated progress, a working toward the Destiny of mankind as an ‘Intelligent entity’.  Progress is a matter of stages that occupy progressively shorter intervals of time” (p.258).

Also,

“The increased pace of modern life is…itself the result of the acceleration in the flow of time” (pp. 239-40)

and again,

“…primitive man fulfils his role as helpmate of the creative powers and produces those transformations of energy necessary for the maintenance of the world.” (p.245).

David further remarks:

“In his last years, mostly as a result of using the Sufi method of repetition, zikr, Bennett came to see that “the ‘Higher Powers’ cannot work except through man.  They can do nothing without human instruments.  Synergy is not cooperation with the Demiurgic Essence, but becoming oneself a demiurgic intelligence.” (p.262) 

But the mechanics of exactly how this can best be done as the Next Step is the vital question, of course!

David gives a succinct exposition of what the Present Moment means on page 249, that it is:

“The maximum content and duration of experience that constitutes the ‘Now’ for any experiencing subject.  The quality and extent of awareness of this ‘Now’ is determined by the integrative power of the Will of that subject.” 

There is an interesting discussion regarding the viewpoint of physicist Ludwig Boltzmann:

“…
erfect order is infinitely improbable.  In other words, randomness or disorder arises spontaneously, whereas order requires effort or Will.  The Present Moment as the realm of a personal Will is a particular fragment of the total Will, in which Life, Intelligence and Purpose, on the side of order, strive against the contrary powers of disorder, represented by time, entropy, probability and causality.” (p.250)
 

The discussion hereafter becomes a little more technical and although he then asserts:

“it is obvious that the degree to which the present can influence the past, and the future can influence the present, is limited […]” (p.253)

it is obviously not zero, but again the mechanism/ process whereby this may be achieved is not indicated; although there is future tangentially-relevant discussion relating to ‘Time’s Arrow’, the Iranian deity Zurvan, and his diagram “Extent of the Present Moment” unfortunately it is not further developed but instead (nicely) subsumed into the discussion on the co-creation of the universe mentioned above.

David writes further about Profane Time and Eternal Time (and related Orthogonal, Exoteric, Epochal, Synergetic Epochal, Parousia, etc.,) but the main & most interesting facet is that the “past, under certain circumstances, is not fixed but can be changed in and accordance with will”, and one of David’s most curious and speculative statements appears on page 170:

“The idea that time can affect God himself, to the extent that he is forced to create the world in order to preserve his existence, is very strange and raises all kinds of theological niceties”,

which indeed although very interesting he unfortunately does not then go on to develop as promised in the final chapter very far and which is also detailed on page 26:

“the idea that it is possible to change the past.”

Further discussion around the personal ‘legacies’
of Beelzebub, The Beast & David Hall
:
[/align:byh9b431]

There is clearly scope for further elaboration on the parallels between the Gurdjieffian and Crowleyan (Thelemic) world-views, and David’s work suggests several profitable lines along which this might follow.  The problem, if that is the right word, lies in the apparent ‘simplicity’ of Crowley’s A.A. model of attainment versus the (unnecessary) complexity of Gurdjieff’s language and more difficult-to-transmit intricacies of his sufi/ dervish-related movement system of ‘dance’ and prana/ breath control.  This will be the prime reason why, irrespective of any other qualitative merits, over time Crowley’s system will gain far more adherents while it is equally possible that the number of Gurdjieff’s followers will follow a reducing pattern.  There was a trend to view Gurdjieff as ‘squeaky clean’ as compared to the ‘diabolical’ public persona of Aleister Crowley, but too this will slow and possibly even reverse with the onward passage of the Aeon (and especially if incidents similar to e.g., Gurdjieff’s mind-boggling bathroom ablutions only (darkly!) hinted at by his ‘valet’ Fritz Peters on pp. 109-10 are gone into in greater detail!)

In his way Gurdjieff appears to be just as ‘rascally’, wily and separating-money-away-from-his-followers form of Guru as Crowley, and to possibly have less control over his emotional vehicle (if his documented displays of rage and irritation are to be taken at face value as impulsively sincere rather than some sort of a theatrical public display.)  There is no definitive account of what happened when the two met up & the encounter(s) come across a bit like tentatively introducing mr. nitro into the presence of mr. glycerine.  Gerald Suster in his biography/ assessment of Crowley The Legacy of The Beast has another variation on this theme, when he was personally informed about the tête-à-tête by Gerald Yorke (young follower & posthumous archivist of Crowley, who was allegedly present on the occasion in Paris), who confided to him with a reminiscent chuckle that: “they sniffed around one another like dogs, y’know.” (p. 93).  There is obviously more detail hidden than revealed about these meetings of remarkable men but it seems unlikely that at this advanced stage much more information of significance will emerge. And what facts there actually are may be adulterated further by legend in due course of course…

It must be rather reassuring for browsers of the book otherwise unfamiliar with the workings and/ or membership of the TOTO and with only having Kenneth Grant’s books to go by, to see that what might otherwise be construed to be (literally) ‘sinister’ black magicians worshipping Set/ Shaitan/ Satan/ Set-An, Lovecratian god-forms and delving into what KG termed the ‘slime’ of the Qlipoth, etc., are in fact perfectly ordinary, pleasant-looking human beings who can more or less sacrifice their own social life in the interests of semi-reclusively selflessly helping others (in David’s case, his own mother.)  The other photographs are similarly candid & revealing and show David as a well-dressed hippie-about-town of the nineteen seventies before evolving into a more next-door-neighbour type of later years.  I was amused to see the one of ‘David, with his Enochian altar in the background’ was no formal, posed photograph à la Crowley with all his regalia, but a relaxed laid-back snapshot of the same along with what looks like an empty bottle of booze and sundry items of a knick-knack nature in his abode.  As a piece of P.R., it can do the Typhonian Order no harm at all & it may even bring them an increase in applications from a certain otherwise more naturally wary sort of an applicant. 

The tributes to David although touching did not offer much detail about his early life and what brought & attracted him to magick in the first place.  Nor is it stated at what age he died but although omitted one can reckon it out to be 64 or 65.  According to David Tibet in the Afterwords, David apparently yearned to have a reasoning-transcending “certainty for faith” and envied what he saw as the peace unutterable & ecstatic rest from the concerns of the mind associated therewith.  At his best he has a highly readable, clear and cogent style which makes one wish there were more nuggets, ‘unpublished manuscripts’, of this calibre tucked away, although it appears if there are so they might be concentrated upon more esoteric aspects of Islam rather than Thelema per se.  Also, I am not so sure myself about the choice of a gravestone being ‘Every man and every woman is a star’ (a photograph of that might have been nice though, not to mention the referred-to paintings of the Tarot major arcana he created along with his Golden Dawn regalia including his Enochian double altar); but it seems just a little too all-purpose and universal to me (if I had to select one myself, a more applicable candidate might be “Think not, o king, upon that lie: That Thou Must Die!” - adding: “verily thou shalt not die, but live” providing there was enough granite to do so…- or, in terms of expressing a similar joie de vivre, how about one of my personal favourites: “As they pulled you out of the oxygen tent, you asked for the latest party” [D. Bowie]?)

Three things which I have not gone into in greater depth & which might be examined further in the course of the Circle were:

“The essence of Tantra also forms the essence of the teachings of Aleister Crowley and George Gurdjieff, though neither man spelt out such a connection.” (p.208)

Also, the 2 crisis nodes or evolutionary shocks in Gurdjieff’s system, regarding which:

“Gurdjieff’s method of awakening pupils by shocks, and forcing them to participate in activities in which they had to confront their mechanicalness and habitual attitude, is essentially the same as that carried out by the Aghoris and recommended by Crowley” (p.208)

And thirdly, the importance placed upon Will as the dynamic 3rd element accompanying manifested duality.

N. Joy


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jamie barter
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12/03/2013 1:26 pm  

In view of the fact that no one else has joined in the Circle - surely others must have read this fine book? - and although I know it only has tangential (although still relevant) reference to the work under discussion, I just thought I’d add something to my earlier observation regarding the nature of “arrested” time:

In addition to David’s assessment of Gurdjieff and Crowley, he is also very good on Zoroastranism as a sidebar, and raises interesting parallels with Philip K. Dick’s idea of ‘arrested time’ in the sense of his (Dick’s) ‘Black Iron Prison’ of the Roman rule of 70 e.v. & which in an unconventional sense persisted ever since until countered by VALIS (his Vast Active Living Information System) [see The Exegesis, The Divine Invasion, etc. inter alia].

It is an intriguing synchronicity that the Age or ‘Aeon’ of Dick’s quasi-Gnostic ‘Roman’ Black Iron Prison which ‘locked’ into place in Jersualem in 70 C.E. was meant to have come to an end 1904 years later in 1974 C.E.  Curiously this was the same year in which Sr. Nema (or Sr. Andahadna, as was) received Liber Pennae Praenumbra which “preshadowed” the Maatian current, which was itself ‘three score and ten’ years after A.C.’s (alleged!) reception of The Book of the Law in alleged Cairo…

Could 1974 also be another contender for the real astronomical timeline of the beginning of the Age of Aquarius-Leo, I wonder?  I am no astrologer of any note and have not examined the transits for the dates in question, but it is possible there may be something significant.

Dick’s postulations may also have a bearing on the notion referred to that it may be possible in some apparently paradoxical manner to influence (i.e., change) the past.

The ‘case’ of Philip K Dick is a most curious and intriguing phenomenon which space & issues of relevancy prevent going into more detail here, and in my view is as worthy of study and further examination just as much as any H.P. Lovecraft phenomena.  I don’t know if the matter has been referenced in other earlier threads although I would urge any interested though unaware readers to dig deeper into the matter by detective work using the usual well-known google resources as starting points… I don’t think you will consider your “time wasted”.

[Please excuse all my “quotation marks” which are more evident in this posting than usual – I find these and ‘this sort’ or some other form of drawing attention can add a further dimension to written expression which can be lacking in terms of someone only reading the words, but I am also advised that I can ‘overdo’ these at times, “if you see what I mean”…]

Happy (Felix) Day,
N. Joy


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jamie barter
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13/03/2013 12:52 pm  

Another unusual synchronicity; in connection with the previous posting:

"MichaelStaley" wrote:
"Markus" wrote:
The spelling "Parsifal" (with an s and an f) is Wagnerian. Eschenbach has "Parzival" and in French it's "Perceval". Wagner gives the wrong etymology, that the name derives from Persian fal parsi: fool pure (törichter Reiner) which he turns into parsi fal: pure fool (reiner Tor). This is probably where Hall got it from.

Many thanks for that elucidation, Markus. I had thought that David was simply drawing on Crowley's correspondences between Parsifal and Atu O, and I had overlooked the etymology.

Yesterday I was leafing through VALIS and came across the following entries which have some bearing upon the discussion.  I think I may be veering towards my limit of “fair use of quote”, but as this is not even on the public part of the website & within the context of the Reading Circle, it should hopefully be alright (and I’m sure Phil himself wouldn’t have minded, as he also did the same sort of thing himself - as can be discovered below: )

…Fat, like Parsifal, was a complete fool.  That’s what the word “Parsifal” is supposed to mean in Arabic; it’s supposed to have been derived from “Falparsi," an Arabic word meaning “pure fool”.  This of course isn’t the actual case, although in the opera Parsifal, Kundry addresses Parsifal this way.  The name “Parsifal” is in fact derived from “Perceval”, which is just a name.  However, one point of interest remains: via Persia the Grail is identified with the pre-Christian “lapis exilix”, which is a magical stone.  This stone shows up later in Hermetic alchemy as the agent by which human metamorphosis is achieved.” [etc.]  (Chapter VIII)

(From Chapter II:)
If you deny the possibility of a divine entity, you cannot deny it the power of self-disclosure; obviously any entity or being worthy of the name “god” would possess, without effort, that ability.  The real question (as I see it) is not, Why theophanies? But, Why aren’t there more?  The key concept to account for this is the idea of deus absconditus, the hidden, concealed, secret or unknown god.[*1] For some reason, Jung regards this as a notorious idea.  But if God exists, he must be a deus absconditus- with the exception of his rare theophanies, or else he does not exist at all.  The latter view makes more sense, except for the theophanies, rare though they be. 

All that is required is one absolutely verified theophany and the latter view is voided.
The vividness of the impression which a supposed theophany makes on the percipient is no proof of authenticity.  Nor, really, is group perception (as Spinoza supposed, the entire universe may be one theophany, but then, again, the universe may not exist at all, as the Buddhist idealists decided).  Any given alleged theophany may be a fake because anything may be a fake, from stamps to fossil skulls to black holes in space.

That the entire universe – as we experience it – could be a forgery is an idea best expressed by Heraclitus. [*2] Once you have taken his notion, or doubt into your head, you are ready to deal with the issue of God.

“It is necessary to have understanding (noös) in order to be able to interpret the evidence of our eyes and ears.  The step from the obvious to the latent truth is like the translation of utterances in a language which is foreign to most men.  Heraclitus…in Fragment 56 says that men, in regard to knowledge of perceptible things, ‘are the victims of illusion much as Homer was.’  To reach the truth from the appearances, it is necessary to interpret, to guess the riddle…but though this seems to be within the capacity of men, it is something most men never do.  Heraclitus is very vehement in his attacks on the foolishness of ordinary men, and of what passes for knowledge among them.  They are compared to sleepers in private worlds of their own.” [*3]

Thus says Edward Hussey, Lecturer in Ancient Philosophy at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of All Souls College, in his book The Presocratics, published by Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1972, pages 37-38.  In all my reading I have – I mean, Horselover Fat has – never found anything more significant as an insight into the nature of reality.  In Fragment 123, Heraclitus says, “The nature of things is in the habit of concealing itself.”  And in Fragment 54 he says, “Latent structure is master of obvious structure,” to which Edward Hussey adds, “Consequently, he (Heraclitus) necessarily agreed… that reality was to some extent ‘hidden’.”  So if reality “[is] to some extent ‘hidden’,” then what is meant by “theophany”?  Because a theophany is an in-breaking of God, [*4] and in-breaking which amounts to an invasion of our world; and yet our world is only seeming; it is only “obvious structure”, which is under the mastery of unseen “latent structure”.  Horselover Fat would like you to consider this above all other things.  Because if Heraclitus is correct, there is in fact no reality but that of theophanies; the rest is illusion; in which case Fat alone among us comprehends the truth, and Fat, starting with Gloria’s phonecall, is insane.

[…] In other words, the universe itself – and the Mind behind it – is insane.  Therefore someone in touch with reality is, by definition, in touch with the insane; infused by the irrational. [*5] In essence, Fat monitored his own mind and found it defective.  He then, by the use of that mind, monitored outer reality, that which is called the macrocosm.  He found it defective as well.  As the Hermetic philosophers stipulated, the macrocosm and the microcosm mirror each other faithfully.  Fat, using a defective instrument, swept out a defective subject, and from this sweep got back the report that everything was wrong.

And in addition, there was no way out.  The interlocking between the defective instrument and the defective subject produced another perfect Chinese finger-trap.  Caught in his own maze, like Daedalus, who built the labyrinth for King Minos of Crete and then fell into it and couldn’t get out.  Presumably Daedalus is still there, and so are we.  The only difference between us and Horselover Fat is that Fat knows his situation and we do not; therefore Fat is insane and we are normal.  “They are compared to sleepers in private worlds of their own”, as Hussey put it, and he would know; he is the foremost living authority on ancient Greek thought, with the possible exception of Francis Cornford.  And it is Cornford who says that Plato believed that there was an element of the irrational in the World Soul.

There is no route out of the maze.  The maze shifts as you move through it, because it is alive.

PARSIFAL:  I move only a little, yet already I seem to have gone far.
GURNEMANZ:  You see, my son, here time turns into space.

(The whole landscape becomes indistinct.  A forest ebbs and a wall of rough rock ebbs in, through which can be seen a gateway.  The two men pass through the gateway.  What happened to the forest?  The two men did not really move; they did not go anywhere, and yet they are not now where they originally were.  Here time turns into space.  Wagner began Parsifal in 1845.  He died in 1873, long before Hermann Minkowski postulated four-dimensional space-time (1908).  The source-basis for Parsifal consisted of Celtic legends, and Wagner’s research into Buddhism for his never-written opera about the Buddha to be called The Victors (Die Sieger).  Where did Richard Wagner get the notion that time could turn into space?
And if time can turn into space, can space turn into time?

In Marcia Eliade’s book Myth and Reality one chapter is titled “Time Can be Overcome”.  It is a basic purpose of mythic ritual and sacrament to overcome time.  Horselover Fat found himself thinking in a language used two thousand years ago, the language in which St. Paul wrote.  Here time turns into space.  Fat told me another feature of his encounter with God: all of a sudden the landscape of California, USA, 1974 ebbed out and the landscape of Rome of the first century C.E. ebbed in.  He experienced a superimposition of the two for a while, like techniques familiar in movies.  In photography.  Why?  How?  God explained many things to Fat but he never explained that, except for this cryptic statement: it is journal listing 3.  He causes things to look different so it would appear time had passed.  Who is “he”?  Are we to infer that time has not in fact passed?  And did it ever pass?  Was there once a real time, and for that matter a real world, and now there is counterfeit time and a counterfeit world, like a sort of bubble growing and looking different but actually static?

Horselover Fat saw fit to list this statement early in his journal or exegesis or whatever he calls it.  Journal listing 4, the next entry, goes:
Matter is plastic in the Face of Mind.
Is any world out there at all?  For all intents and purposes Gurnemanz and Parsifal stand still, and the landscape changes; so they become located in another space – a space which formerly had been experienced as time. […]

[*1]  Another minor but noticeable synchronicity is that Starfire’s next work in its publication programme is a reissue of KG’s Aleister Crowley and the Hidden God.

[*2]  This bears some resemblance to the “All is a big con” school of thought as propounded by our learned contributor, Azidonis…

[*3]  This again accords to some degree with Gurdjieff’s own ‘sleeper/ robot’ theory of the level of consciousness of most ‘unawakened’ men and women.

[*4]  The reception of The Book of the Law might of course be considered one such theophany. 

[*5]  This premise in turn again accords to some degree with Joseph Heller’s theory of the ‘Catch-22’, enlarged upon and popularised in his novel of the same name.

N. Joy


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jamie barter
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14/03/2013 12:39 pm  

I don’t want to begin to labour this association any further than I may have done, but I noticed in my transcription that for some bizarre reason I substituted “deny” for “grant” in the second paragraph, which would drastically alter the meaning & make it contradictory within the sentence.  Since it appeared that less than 20 readers were likely to read it and maybe not many of those particularly closely I was not particularly inclined to be assiduous in my proof reading – in fact I didn’t do any – with the result that I discovered about a dozen of a less critical nature (punctuation and the odd spelling mistake) some of which at the beginning & end, to satisfy my anal nature, I correct below.  However I omit the half dozen ones in the middle as minor, taking into consideration it might take up too much space.  (All amendments are underlined.)

"jamie barter" wrote:
…Fat, who like Parsifal, was a complete fool.  That’s what the word “parsifal” is supposed to mean in Arabic; it’s supposed to have been derived from “Falparsi," an Arabic word meaning “pure fool”.  This of course isn’t the actual case, although in the opera Parsifal, Kundry addresses Parsifal this way.  The name “Parsifal” is in fact derived from “Perceval”, which is just a name.  However, one point of interest remains: via Persia the Grail is identified with the pre-Christian “lapis exilix”, which is a magical stone.  This stone shows up in later Hermetic alchemy as the agent by which human metamorphosis is achieved.” [etc.]  (Chapter VIII)

(From Chapter III: )
If you grant the possibility of a divine entity, you cannot deny it the power of self-disclosure; obviously any entity or being worthy of the term “god” would possess, without effort, that ability.  The real question (as I see it) is not, Why theophanies? but, Why aren’t there more?  The key concept to account for this is the idea of the deus absconditus, the hidden, concealed, secret or unknown god.[*1] For some reason Jung regards this as a notorious idea.  But if God exists, he must be a deus absconditus- with the exception of his rare theophanies, or else he does not exist at all.  The latter view makes more sense, except for the theophanies, rare though they be.  All that is required is one absolutely verified theophany and the latter view is voided.

The vividness of the impression which a supposed theophany makes on the percipient is no proof of authenticity.  Nor, really, is group perception (as Spinoza supposed, the entire universe may be one theophany, but then, again, the universe may not exist at all, as the Buddhist idealists decided).  Any given alleged theophany may be a fake because anything may be a fake, from stamps to fossil skulls to black holes in space.

That the entire universe – as we experience it – could be a forgery is an idea best expressed by Heraclitus. [*2] Once you have taken his notion, or doubt into your head, you are ready to deal with the issue of God.

[...]

PARSIFAL:  I move only a little, yet already I seem to have gone far.
GURNEMANZ:  You see, my son, here time turns into space.

(The whole landscape becomes indistinct.  A forest ebbs out and a wall of rough rock ebbs in, through which can be seen a gateway.  The two men pass through the gateway.  What happened to the forest?  The two men did not really move; they did not go anywhere, and yet they are not now where they originally were.  Here time turns into space.  Wagner began Parsifal in 1845.  He died in 1873, long before Hermann Minkowski postulated four-dimensional space-time (1908).  The source-basis for Parsifal consisted of Celtic legends, and Wagner’s research into Buddhism for his never-written opera about the Buddha to be called The Victors (Die Sieger).  Where did Richard Wagner get the notion that time could turn into space?)

And if time can turn into space, can space turn into time?

In Mircea Eliade’s book Myth and Reality one chapter is titled “Time Can Be Overcome”.  It is a basic purpose of mythic ritual and sacrament to overcome time.  Horselover Fat found himself thinking in a language used two thousand years ago, the language in which St. Paul wrote.  Here time turns into space.  Fat told me another feature of his encounter with God: all of a sudden the landscape of California, USA, 1974 ebbed out and the landscape of Rome of the first century C.E. ebbed in.  He experienced a superimposition of the two for a while, like techniques familiar in movies.  In photography.  Why?  How?  God explained many things to Fat but he never explained that, except for this cryptic statement: it is journal listing 3.  He causes things to look different so it would appear time had passed.  Who is “he”?  Are we to infer that time has not in fact passed?  And did it ever pass?  Was there once a real time, and for that matter a real world, and now there is counterfeit time and a counterfeit world, like a sort of bubble growing and looking different but actually static?

Horselover Fat saw fit to list this statement early in his journal or exegesis or whatever he calls it.  Journal listing 4, the next entry, goes:
Matter is plastic in the face of Mind.
Is any world out there at all?  For all intents and purposes Gurnemanz and Parsifal stand still, and the landscape changes; so they become located in another space – a space which formerly had been experienced as time. […]

[*1]  Another minor but noticeable synchronicity is that Starfire’s next work in its publication programme is a reissue of KG’s Aleister Crowley and the Hidden God.  Also, The Book of the Law is “written and concealed.”

[*2]  This bears some resemblance to the “All is a big con” school of thought as propounded by our learned contributor, Azidonis… There is also sort-of mention of a, if not the, “Two Truths” doctrine, though manifest here as “latent” truth and “obvious” truth…

Apologies to those few readers who may have seen, read & been confused by it!

For those possibly even fewer who may be interested in pursuing this to my mind unconventional, strange & fascinating world-view of PKD’s involving the associated matters of ‘arrested time’ and alternative/ Demiurgic realities, these are gone into most effectively and readably in the following texts, which in my opinion are also coincidentally among his finest works.  Apart from the specifically non-fictional Exegesis, and the eponymous VALIS * from which the excerpt appeared, they are:

Ubik® (in which among other things a regenerating ‘Holy Spirit’ under the trade name for ‘Ubiquity’ is found to be dispensed by means of an aerosol can)
The Penultimate Truth (my personal favourite for the ‘slippery’ nature of ‘reality’!)
ValiSystem A (sometimes called Radio Free Albemuth)
The Man In The High Castle (in which Japan and Germany won WW2 in an alternative reality stream, which was also one of the first works of fiction in 1962 to involve the I Ching)
Counter Clock World (in which time flows backwards…)

There are others, but those are among the very best & should be quite enough for anyone to get one with… Then there are the films based on his stories “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep” (Blade Runner), in which the nature of what it is to be a ‘human’ being as opposed to a ‘replicant’ is queried; Minority Report (in which criminals are arrested ‘in time’ before they actually commit their crimes in the future); “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” (Total Recall) which deals with memory implants and therefore also what constitutes ‘reality’, & others…

But that’s probably enough from me and certainly on PKD for the moment, I think – time to hear from someone else, please.  And of course, we need to get back to David…!

N. Joy

*An acronym of Vast Active Living Intelligence System: defined by Dick as “a perturbation in the reality field in which a spontaneous self-monitoring negentropic vortex is formed, tending progressively to subsume and incorporate its environment into arrangements of information.  Characterized by quasi-consciousness, purpose, intelligence, growth and an armillary coherence.”


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Shiva
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Joined: 13 years ago
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14/03/2013 10:49 pm  

"In view of the fact that no one else has joined in the Circle ..."

Four lengthy posts in a row by JB, without response, may indicate that most posters don't want to interact with him. The handwriting is on the wall, er, forum.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
14/03/2013 11:25 pm  

Shiva,
I wouldn't go so far as to say that (that was rather uncharacteristically rude of you to say, by the way).  I have grown rather fond of "JB", his posts, and posting style.  The lack of response might just indicate that, like myself, others haven't finished the book, yet.  I apologize for not contributing to this thread that I started.  I do plan to rectify that once I finish the book, and become a bit less busy.  For now though, please don't soil my thread any further with your negativity.

James,
Thanks for posting your review.  It is quite interesting and thought provoking.  Oh, there is one more PKD inspired film that you didn't mention...A Scanner Darkly.  I thoroughly enjoyed it....I only wish that the method of refining cocaine from Novocaine spray were true!  😉


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jamie barter
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Posts: 1688
15/03/2013 6:04 pm  
"Shiva" wrote:
"In view of the fact that no one else has joined in the Circle ..."

Four lengthy posts in a row by JB, without response, may indicate that most posters don't want to interact with him. The handwriting is on the wall, er, forum.

My right to reply to  your somewhat bellicose posting is as follows. “May indicate that most posters don’t want to interact”?  On what possible evidence can you base this extraordinary assumption other than your own transference skills?

I have corresponded pleasantly with several posters on Lashtal on and off public forum, however Shiva is the only one (to my knowledge) who is actively shunning me, or trying to covertly encourage a campaign of enshunning or shundom, which I find immensely amusing.  (The matter could be considered, for those who may be interested, an example of the phenomenon of "blue magick" in action).  Fortunately his is the exception rather than the rule and the majority of Lashtalians I’ve encountered on the whole seem to display a most acceptable tolerance and broad-mindedness not to mention a high level of intelligence & good humour.

It is rather revealing that Shiva didn’t seem to object to any of my postings which I made until it seemed that I had the audacity to appear to criticise him and/ or quite mildly hold him to account for his actions.  He quite cordially welcomed me to the forums in his Reply #60 to my Introduction piece on 4th December, and made some sort of remark about my misunderstanding yugas in my pun about the end of the year/ yuga/ season/ world coming up, etc - still quite affably in Reply #65 on 14th December - but by Reply #67 four days later his tone had altered drastically just after I considerately put him right on that.  But just immediately before then he’d also been conducting some quite agreeable & jovial badinage about such curiosities as tin foil hats & ‘The Three Gurus’, etc…

However I also seem to have had the temerity to correct him on the date of the Trinity testing in his own back garden (geographically relatively speaking) being 1945 not 1944, and very slightly but still in a jocular spirit took the piss over his own little repeated would-be witticism/s about "atmic [sic] bombs".  It was only then that he appeared to get in high dudgeon & his knickers in a twist about my daring to discuss and comment on a few verses in Liber AL, as if this was some startling new development when I’d clearly stated that was my purpose in my Introduction right from the off.  This behaviour culminated in bizarre accusations and insinuations that I had some nefarious purpose in assuming my avatar name under false pretences, & was somehow trying to put some con-trick over on every Lashatlian…

Talking of (non-)responses, though, it is notable that after I withdrew my vivifying oxygen of involvement from a discussion of Shiva’s book Treatise On Naught, that thread immediately shrivelled on the vine & its energy has dissipated.  I also made some harmless little ribbing concerning whether, if Shiva’s work of wisdom and mastery (to use Azidonis’ description) was in effect a treatise about nowt/ zip/ nada/ nuttin’ doin’, was it therefore in fact worthwhile the effort involved reading the actual book?

Can it be that Shiva is one of that class of ‘Thelemites’ who is quite happy with the idea of everybody doing their will providing that they do not clash with his own thoughts on what is proper and seemly in doing so, and are therefore in accord with his own views on the matter?  Can he also imagine himself to some degree to be what used to be called an éminence grise, a figure to be shown worthy of due respect?  In fact I was originally prepared to do so to a certain extent, for being a veteran from those very interesting times the 60s in California, if nothing else.  But if both of these turn out to be the case, the only appropriate response under such circumstances would be to blow such an imposter that grand old British rejoinder, the raspberry; however until then in the meantime I will just bide my time & softly remark:

Ars gratia artis to you,
N. Joy

"N.O.X" wrote:
Jamie,
Thanks for posting your review.  It is quite interesting and thought provoking.  Oh, there is one more PKD inspired film that you didn't mention...A Scanner Darkly.  I thoroughly enjoyed it....I only wish that the method of refining cocaine from Novocaine spray were true!  😉

Thank you for the support, N.O.X., & I look forward to reading your further contributions in turn.  Yes, I agree: tho' I think there are now quite a number of Dickian (Dickesque?!) films out or in the process of preparation. 

It may not be known that N.O.X. asked me just before the end of last yuga (joke) if I would be interested in contributing something towards his new thread on the Reading Circle.  I had not previously considered doing so, but as I’d read and enjoyed the book in question and appreciated the initiative, I wrote back to him and said I’d like to contribute as invited although was unsure regarding the format.  Eventually we agreed that I would put something in 2 instalments as one on its own would be a bit too long.

With regard to my doing 4 posts in a row, for one thing it was over a 2 week period.  For another, nobody else was contributing which seemed a shame & so I thought I’d try to keep things moving along.  For yet another, I have yet to equal the record of Azidonis’ quintuple effort, which although not consecutively carried out was still done by him within the space of a twenty-four hour period; fortunately though for everybody participating I am not feeling at all competitive with regard to it!


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Azidonis
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16/03/2013 12:55 am  
"jamie barter" wrote:
Talking of (non-)responses, though, it is notable that after I withdrew my vivifying oxygen of involvement from a discussion of Shiva’s book Treatise On Naught, that thread immediately shrivelled on the vine & its energy has dissipated.  I also made some harmless little ribbing concerning whether, if Shiva’s work of wisdom and mastery (to use Azidonis’ description) was in effect a treatise about nowt/ zip/ nada/ nuttin’ doin’, was it therefore in fact worthwhile the effort involved reading the actual book?

Have you read it?


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jamie barter
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18/03/2013 5:03 pm  
"Azidonis" wrote:
"jamie barter" wrote:
Talking of (non-)responses, though, it is notable that after I withdrew my vivifying oxygen of involvement from a discussion of Shiva’s book Treatise On Naught, that thread immediately shrivelled on the vine & its energy has dissipated.  I also made some harmless little ribbing concerning whether, if Shiva’s work of wisdom and mastery (to use Azidonis’ description) was in effect a treatise about nowt/ zip/ nada/ nuttin’ doin’, was it therefore in fact worthwhile the effort involved reading the actual book?

Have you read it?

I have not read it, but nor am I averse to the idea of reading it.  I have many more books on my "to do" list at the moment, so Treatise On Naught will have to wait until whenever.  Unless someone is willing to send me a gratis copy, of course...

At the risk of maybe tiring (although hopefully not alienating) readers on the subject of dealing with the ‘illusory’ nature of reality, etc., Stansilas Lem is also excellent (especially notably in his The Futurological Congress).  In terms of dealing with “arrested” time, etc., I would also recommend the works of that brilliant writer good old Kurt Vonnegut [whom I did my English Lit. dissertation on ‘the nightmare of history’ at uni, trivia fans, and who was kind to me], who deals with these matters in several places.  His last book, Timequake, is about how time suddenly “reverts” ten years backwards, as if on a sudden disc rewind, and everyone has to go through the same thing(s) all over again.  There is also his Slaughterhouse 5, which deals with its central character becoming “unstuck” in time (I know the feeling!  I’ve always known the feeling!)... the film of the same name is also very well done, considering, and also pre-dates Tarantino’s “time-jump” technique/ effects by some years. There is an interesting passage which has some (again tangential) bearing on the discussion, as follows:

“… There was a lot that Billy said that was gibberish to the Tralfamadorians, too.  They couldn’t imagine what time looked like to him.  Billy had given up on explaining that.  The guide outside had to explain as best he could.
The guide invited the crowd to imagine that they were looking across a desert at a mountain range on a day that was twinkling bright and clear,  They could look at a peak or a bird or a cloud, at a stone right in front of them, or even down into a canyon behind them.  But among them was this poor Earthling, and his head was encased in a steel sphere which he could never take off.  There was only one eyehole through which he could look, and welded to that eyehole were six feet of pipe.
This was only the beginning of Billy’s miseries in the metaphor.  He was also strapped to a steel lattice which was bolted to a flatcar on rails, and there was no way he could turn his head or touch the pipe.  The far end of the pipe rested on a bi-pod which was also bolted to the flatcar.  All Billy could see was the little dot at the end of the pipe.  He didn’t even know he was on a flatcar, didn’t even know there was anything peculiar about his situation.
The flatcar often crept, sometimes went extremely fast, often stopped – went uphill, downhill, around curves, along straightaways.  Whatever poor Billy saw through the pipe, he had no choice but to say to himself, “That’s life.”

Billy expected the Tralfamadorians to be baffled and alarmed by all the wars and other forms of murder on Earth.  He expected them to fear that the Earthling combination of ferocity and spectacular weaponry might eventually destroy part or maybe all of the innocent universe.  Science fiction had led him to expect that.
But the subject of war never came up until Billy brought it up himself.  Somebody in the zoo crowd asked him through the lecturer what the most valuable thing he had learned on Tralfamadore was so far, and Billy replied, “How the inhabitants of a whole planet can live in peace!  As you know, I am from a planet that has been engaged in senseless slaughter since the beginning of time.  I myself have seen the bodies of schoolgirls who were boiled alive in a water tower by my own countrymen, who were proud of fighting pure evil at the time.”  This was true.  Billy saw the boiled bodies in Dresden.  “And I have lit my way in a prison at night with candles from the fat of human beings who were butchered by the brothers and fathers of those schoolgirls who were boiled.  Earthlings must be the terrors of the Universe!  If other planets aren’t now in danger from the Earth, they soon will be.  So tell me the secret so I can take it back to Earth and save us all: How can a planet live at peace?”
Billy felt that he had spoken soaringly.  He was baffled when he saw the Tralfamadorians close their little hands on their eyes.  He knew from past experience what this meant: He was being stupid.

“Would – would you mind telling me –“ he said to the guide, much deflated, “what was so stupid about that?”
“We know how the Universe ends –“ said the guide, “and Earth has nothing to do with it, except that it gets wiped out, too.”
“How – how does the Universe end?” said Billy.
“We blow it up, experimenting with new fuels for our flying saucers.  A
Tralfamadorian test pilot presses a starter button, and the whole Universe disappears.” So it goes. [Possibly by monkeying around and causing a chain reaction with the Higgs boson?! – JB]
“If you know this,” said Billy, “isn’t there some way you can prevent it?  Can’t you keep the pilot from pressing the button?”
“He has always pressed it, and he always will.  We always let him and we always will let him.  The moment is structured that way.” [My bold for emphasis; Kurt’s italics.]"

I suppose the question I am asking is: how far is it then possible to 'play' around with the (latent) structure (which is in itself lila?)

Although I have been dealing with one-quarter (the 3rd one) of my review pieces, maybe someone else can now bring other things back to David's fine book as well?! 

Btw, Seven (because I like 7, in the same way that I like 3 and 11) possible threads I am minded to bring up and discuss & will do so, as determined by public opinion on which one/s may be the most popular (subject to, and dependent upon Paul’s continued good graciousness, of course) are:

A.C.’s Liber Resh – Just what is it about the Adorations that better than anything else is supposed to create a direct link with the solar intelligence/ being/ ‘deity’?

A.C.’s Amrita/ IT/ Elixir Of Life Pills – an old favourite: but should I breathe new life into it?

H. P. Lovecraft – Another fine writer.  But is the Necronomicon etc. for those who never got over their growing up & missing Scooby Doo, Where Are You?
[But maybe I might introduce that one on Michael’s new Typhonian site?!  Where I was also toying with the idea of suggesting a poll about which one of Kenneth Grant’s books has the most slime in it… (At the moment, it’s a toss-up between Nightside Of Eden and Outside the Circles of Time in my view).]

The key concept to account for this is the idea of the deus absconditus, the hidden, concealed, secret or unknown god.  For some reason Jung regards this as a notorious idea.  But if God exists, he must be a deus absconditus - with the exception of his rare theophanies, or else he does not exist at all.  [Also, The Book of the Law is “written and concealed.”]

Hence the ‘key of the rituals’ being in the secret word reveal (as in The Stele of Revealing), or more correctly REVE-AL, as mentioned in AL I.20 - or so I think, anyway.  Would anyone like me to expand more upon this?

The Ipsissimus – is THAT the top of the Tree?  What about access to the Negative Veils and beyond? (the direction would be straight “up” of course – or maybe “in” would be more accurate – but naturally without any distracting polarities.)

We should all follow the path of balance of the ‘Middle Way’.” – but isn’t the Middle Way, by virtue of its non-oscillating structure, static and unchanging?

Or how about for a laugh, just for a change, my ‘sequel’ to Ulysses? (That might have to go under ‘Stuff’, though…)

Sorry, N.O.X.y – I promise not to clutter up your beautiful thread any further!  But all the best with it!

Yours living by The Smoking Dog & losing Vitamin C,
N. Joy


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michaelclarke18
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18/03/2013 7:45 pm  

I have not read it, but nor am I averse to the idea of reading it.

Call me old fashion, but isn't it a little strange to be contributing a number of [overlong] posts to a thread, specifically dedicated to a reading circle for a specific book?


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Shiva
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18/03/2013 9:11 pm  
"michaelclarke18" wrote:
Call me old fashion, but isn't it a little strange to be contributing a number of [overlong] posts to a thread, specifically dedicated to a reading circle for a specific book?

You are old fashion(ed).  😀
You are also observant and correct.  😮

Now ... back to B & the B, please?


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jamie barter
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19/03/2013 1:14 pm  
"michaelclarke18" wrote:

I have not read it, but nor am I averse to the idea of reading it.

Call me old fashion, but isn't it a little strange to be contributing a number of [overlong] posts to a thread, specifically dedicated to a reading circle for a specific book?

But I am a little strange (or so some of my good friends tell me!) – so that’s alright, then.
Also N.O.X. doesn’t seem to object & it’s his thread – he’s a reel gent though.

Yes, all back to the B & B – or rather, B & the B…

Incidentally, before I read Treatise On Naught I want to read Inside Solar Lodge first.  I was, and am, very conscious that there was very little in the first edition of Secret Rituals of the OTO with regard to the interval between the closure of Agape Lodge by Germer in the 50s to when the book originally came out in '73, apart from detailing some activities of the ‘Swiss’ OTO under Metzger.  I think the activities of Solar Lodge have been undeservedly neglected in the past, and the fact that it tried to make a go of things under extra-ordinary circumstances does a great deal to offset any quibbles anyone should have about it being ‘irregular’.  My God, if you look into the history of the OTO as a whole, when on earth is there something which might be described as regular?!?

Yours without the usual smartass signoff,
N. Joy


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 Anonymous
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21/03/2013 9:57 pm  
"jamie barter" wrote:
Also N.O.X. doesn’t seem to object & it’s his thread – he’s a reel gent though.

I've made a conscious effort to be less of a dick lately.  Yes, no objections here!  Post away, friend!


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jamie barter
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29/04/2013 5:50 pm  

Come on, shame on you Lastalians for not supporting N.O.X. more in his endeavour to get a reading circle thread going!  At the risk of appearing to monopolise it, however, I append my further two cents worth.  It is not directly related to the book, but tangentially related to the issues discussed within it under the third part of my four-part review of "Time related matters".

I often feel that the present world monetary situation is unsatisfactory from a thelemic point of view.  People are more “slaves” to money in the world, than anything else (apart from possibly television & their technogizmo whatchamacallits!) – unless they happen to be in the fortunate position of being relatively very rich & don’t have to work for a living and worry about the bills, etc.  The cover of Nirvana’s album “Nevermind” sums up this scenario better than a thousand of mine or anyone’s words.

I sometimes feel that the Wall Street Crash of 1929 should have initiated in a new heruvian world in which money has been transcended in view of something better, more efficient & conducive to the common weal.  It is my understanding that The Book of the Law / Aiwass declared that money as such, in the larger form of a medium of exchange and in its smaller form as usury (interest), should really be sacrificed and done away with in the interests of the greater good & in the name of Ra Hoor Khuit.  After the ordained purging by fire of that "war to end wars" World War I, the only reason World War II then had to happen was because the untidy and unresolved ‘loose ends’ of the First were not properly tied up, leaving economic hyperinflation and chaos in its wake in the 20s which then itself gave rise to the Nazi party, Emergency Situations (in America, which have never been rescinded), the collapse of the British Empire (I joke here), the 'cold war' of armaments expenditure as World War III, etc. 

Then, the “Warrior” Lord of the Forties could well have been the period of maximum chaotic transition of the socio-economic conflict involved in the necessary adjustment to the reality of doing without dosh.  However, instead of that we appear to have got the period of maximum ‘abasement’ of capitalism in the Eighties with its rampant consumerism, yuppie materialistic outlook & supremacy of the pillar of capitalism over communism at the end (echoes of which are still with us now, in a certain sense of “arrested time”, q.v.).  At the beginning of the 1980s, it was estimated that 7% of the world’s population owned 84% of its material wealth; we are now beginning to approach the point of “critical mass” in which 1% only of the world’s population will own 99% of its material wealth, which is when I predict there will be further fireworks.

“Somewhere” there is a ‘Universe A’ where all of the necessary fast-track evolution injunctions of Liber AL were carried out in a timely not to mention fast fashion by A.C., where, in this best-of-all-possible-worlds, we are now living joyfully in a moneyless society, having emerged blinking into the sunlight from any traumatic birth pains.  The Universe we are actually in (let’s call it ‘M33’ for the sake of a label, nothing else) is in a sort of slightly above middle position in infinity (if that makes sense – probably does not), our and A.C. having advanced some aspects of Thelema "in time" but not others.  What we are therefore needing to do is bring in line/ synchronise/ overlay ‘M33’ with ‘A’ so that “heaven on earth” (i.e., the best possible outcome in a state of Malkuth of all possible worlds) is achievable.  The mere fact that such a thing can be conceived at all is a good thing, as in some of the lower alternates that would not even be a possibility. 

The techniques for achieving this have been obscurely hinted at by David in his book (just in case anyone was beginning to wonder whenever I might be going to reference that again!), although unfortunately he did not spell them out in detail other than repeat that they were, again, possible.  (I have given some of the most relevant quotes, supra).  My feeling on the matter is, that once the correct mental alignment has been achieved by this relevant 1% (the so called “Hundredth Monkey phenomenon”, or perhaps, more precisely, the Hundred and First as the one which establishes the “new seed”) strange and marvellous things will happen.

Any further thoughts, anyone, in terms of chewing the cud on this one?

(Not mad really),
N. Joy.


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jamie barter
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06/06/2013 4:57 pm  

This is beginning to seem as if it is my personal ‘blog’ but in the absence of anyone appearing to object (particularly N.O.X. and Paul, particularly excluding Shiva however!) and the laziness or disinclination of nearly all Lashtalians to participate (or maybe just haven’t got around to reading David’s excellent book yet – a shame if so, as I unreservedly recommend it for A.C. enthusiasts as an introductory primer to Gurdjieff among other things, as previously stated) I was going to discuss more upon (un)certain matters related to the issue of “arrested time” and the panaeonic implications for the Aeon of Horus/ Horus-Maat, but for various reasons I think it might be best to wait a bit longer before proceeding.

What I also wanted to do, though, (and have for some ‘time’) relates to ongoing research for a project I would like to get around to writing up one day, regarding what I briefly pointed out earlier regarding the Enneagram, and which I echo again here.
 
Relevant remarks by David between pages 148 and 151 are as follows [bold emphasis mine]:

"The Enneagram – a symbol compared of a triangle, a heptagon and a circle, indicating the numbers 3, 7 and 10 – is a glyph of the secret of renewal.  Although it was used in parts of Asia as an instrument of divination, the Enneagram was totally unknown in the West until revealed as a key factor in Gurdjieff’s system.  According to Gurdjieff it contains the essential idea which is missing from the western esoteric tradition.  As it has come down to us, the numerical significance of the symbol involves the use of Zero and the decimal system, which indicates that its present form is a revision of the basic idea probably devised by the guardians of the tradition in Bokhara in the fifteenth century.
"The basic Enneagram number is the number recurring decimal 142857, which results from the division of 1 by 7.  This number has some unusual properties [some of which David then goes on to list] […]

"According to Gurdjieff, the Enneagram is a universal symbol in which all knowledge can be included.  Only what a man is able to put into the symbol does he actually know – that is, understand.  The explanations and examples of the use of the Enneagram which have been published in numerous books are elementary, incomplete and  theoretical.  It is above all to be remembered that the Enneagram is a symbol of perpetual motion; it is a moving symbol.  For this reason it was painted on the floor like magic circle; pupils stood on the points numbered 1 to 9 and then moved in the direction of the numbers of the period, turning round one another at the points of meeting. In this way the significance of the symbol dawned on students intuitively and they understood meanings that could not be conveyed by any kind of intellectual exposition.
"It is not only by taking part in the movements that the symbol of the Enneagram can come to life.  J.G. Bennett describes [in The Enneagram, p.39 (Coombe Springs Press, Sherbourne: 1974] how, when in 1924 Ouspensky asked him to draw the familiar figure on the background:"

“I felt myself going out of myself and enter the diagram.  I noticed that I was facing myself and grasped for the first time the essential difference between the two sides of our bodies.  How long this lasted I don’t know, but from that evening I was convinced that the Enneagram is a living diagram and that we can experience ourselves as Enneagrams.”

But does anyone know

(i)  if A.C. was familiar with the concept of Gurdjieff’s Enneagram, or
(ii)  if not, at least with the esoteric (oriental) principles upon which Beelzebub based it;
and if either are so, then
(iii)  what A.C. may have thought/ written about it.  To my knowledge he did not write or otherwise remark upon the Enneagram, although I get the feeling as eclectic as his learning was he must probably have been aware of it.  It fits in with 9:3 in some respects, but any further assistance on this point would be much appreciated.

Peace, Tolerance, Truth, Salutation on all points of the Triangle/ Enneagram...
N. Joy


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 Anonymous
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07/06/2013 11:18 pm  

Jamie,
I have no objections to you, or anyone else for that matter, posting in this thread!  I still haven't finished the book (yeah I know it's been MONTHS!) but I've been busy with life and gradework, or the Great Work, I should say!  I've not read any books lately, and barely have been able to keep up with the goings on here at lashtal! 

Anyway, these are very interesting observations and questions, my friend!  Feel free to continue!

In the Night of Pan,
FOXY NOX-Y


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amadan-De
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08/06/2013 11:02 am  
"jamie barter" wrote:
Relevant remarks by David between pages 148 and 151 are as follows [bold emphasis mine]:

"The Enneagram – a symbol compared of a triangle, a heptagon and a circle, indicating the numbers 3, 7 and 10 – is a glyph of the secret of renewal.  Although it was used in parts of Asia as an instrument of divination, the Enneagram was totally unknown in the West until revealed as a key factor in Gurdjieff’s system.  According to Gurdjieff it contains the essential idea which is missing from the western esoteric tradition.  As it has come down to us, the numerical significance of the symbol involves the use of Zero and the decimal system, which indicates that its present form is a revision of the basic idea probably devised by the guardians of the tradition in Bokhara in the fifteenth century."

Not read the book so can't comment but felt that I had to point out a glaring inaccuracy above.
The enneagram is not composed of "a triangle, a heptagon and a circle" (see a randomly googled one here : ).  It's made up of a triangle, a circle and what could be described as an extremely irregular _hex_agon (6 points/sides - count them) but is even called simply an "irregular six-sided figure" on a Gurdjieff legacy website ( http://www.gurdjieff-legacy.org/70links/enneagram.htm ).
This makes the claimed number symbolism completely wrong - we have 3, 6, 9 not 3, 7, 10 (again count the points in the figure).  Really, really basic error, hope the rest of the book has more attention paid to detail. *looks for facepalm smilie*

Incidentally I would be very interested in seeing a securely dated use of the Enneagram in the East in a pre-Gurdjieff context.  There are similar things in some yantras but I've not seen anything the same.  15th century at least is claimed above - show me an image.

PS. see this wikipedia page for a regular enneagram - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enneagram_%28geometry%29  Note the name even means "a nine-sided star polygon" (emphasis added).


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Michael Staley
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08/06/2013 12:14 pm  
"amadan-De" wrote:
15th century at least is claimed above - show me an image.
"David Hall" wrote:
which indicates that its present form is a revision of the basic idea probably devised by the guardians of the tradition in Bokhara in the fifteenth century."

The use of the words "indicate" and "probably" suggest that the author was here speculating, not claiming.


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amadan-De
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08/06/2013 9:51 pm  

You are of course correct that that is a somewhat speculative comment Mr Staley.  It does read as if the speculation is more over when exactly the present form was arrived at through the "revision of the basic idea" and not the existence of the symbol prior to Gurdjieff's promotion of it though.  There is a pretty large span between his work and "the fifteenth century" after all.

The earlier line:

Although it was used in parts of Asia as an instrument of divination, the Enneagram was totally unknown in the West until revealed as a key factor in Gurdjieff’s system.

sounds much more definitive ("was used", "was totally unknown", with no qualifiers).  It seems to be saying that the symbol used by Gurdjieff had prior provenance in Asia.  If true there should be one example at least that can be pointed at as illustration.  I should say that this question is more ethnographic that esoteric critique for me. 

The numerical misreading of the diagram and subsequent theory based on this is far more problematic in that area. (ie. do we lose "the number recurring decimal 142857, which results from the division of 1 by 7" and its unusual properties, if there is no heptagon to derive the 7 from?  Genuine question.)


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jamie barter
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10/06/2013 12:55 pm  

Yes I noticed the heptagon as being possibly out of place too.  But since David had also been discussing octaves, I had (possibly wrongly) taken it that this paradigm brought that in in some respect.  Less apparent is why the Gurdjieffian website itself should refer to it as “an irregular six-sided figure”.

There appears to be no evidence so far, then, that Crowley was familiar at least with the idea & conception if not the practical application of the Enneagram?

Counting the angles,
N. Joy


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amadan-De
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10/06/2013 3:51 pm  
"jamie barter" wrote:
Less apparent is why the Gurdjieffian website itself should refer to it as “an irregular six-sided figure”.

Um, because that is exactly what it is perhaps?
There is no heptagon present in the construction of the figure at all.  Simple schoolboy deconstruction will demonstrate this.  Can't comment on "octaves", that sounds more like 'theory' rather than geometric description.


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jamie barter
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11/06/2013 2:53 pm  
"amadan-De" wrote:
"jamie barter" wrote:
Less apparent is why the Gurdjieffian website itself should refer to it as “an irregular six-sided figure”.

Um, because that is exactly what it is perhaps?
There is no heptagon present in the construction of the figure at all. ...

Quite so, aman-De, and your perspicacity does you credit.  I meant to say "only" after "should" (bearing in mind also that it referred to the circle and the triangle.)  What I intended to mean was that I thought, for a (the?) Gurdjieffian website, it would have gone into matters a bit more as the entry seemed a little on the short side.

For what it's worth, most of the Enneagrams I have come across are all 'joined up', i.e., regular, but it is interesting to see the irregular, open one illustrated in David's book.  A shame that he didn't go more into it though, I felt.  However rather than get bogged down with geometric description differences & the like, I would be more interested in exploring the Crowleyan connection, if there is any.

N. Joy


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