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Compassion and all that


gurugeorge
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"Gordan" wrote:
"gurugeorge" wrote:
Re. compassion: it's a vice, but we know what Liber AL says about vices. Metaphysically it's actually an idea that doesn't even fit in with Buddhism (compassion for non-existent entities? What's that all about?) but nevertheless it is felt (if you're a strong, decent human being) - it's the natural result of an overflowing abundance of energy, a sort of leakage or defect arising therefrom.

I was surprised a bit with the above satement by gurugeorge, whose posts are habitually very mature and informed about good academic writing.

(Thought I'd split this off from the Lineages topic as it's definitely straying too far off topic.)

LOL, I guess I was feeling a bit grumpy at the time. Rather than the Gelugpa interpretation you outline so well I was thinking more of the sort of "illusory compassion for illusory entities" sayings that you find more in the Dzogchen and Mahamudra lineages. I have to say I've never really gotten down with that idea, but it could be my limitations showing.

Compassion, if there is such a thing, has to be for real entities separate from oneself. However, if dependent arising entities are real, and if separation can be understood as relative (separate enough for jazz), then there can be real compassion. (I guess the problem lies with the penchant in a lot of Eastern thought, and some Western too, for thinking of "real" as implying eternal, unchanging, etc. - it's a problem in Advaita too, I think. Whereas, science is quite happy with real things that change.)

Again, the idea that when one understands that there's nobody here but One Chicken, that translates as compassion in the sense of a kind of care for the components of that Big Self, I don't really get that either - that would seem to be mere self-interest on the part of the One!

Frankly, I don't even pretend to understand what Liber AL is saying about compassion. It's pretty clear that it's understood as a vice, yet vices are service; yet we're not veil our vices in virtuous words, nor to deem too eagerly to catch the promises or fear to undergo the curses. So where does that leave us? (Well, for a start, we don't have to "obey" any of it - unless, as I think always needs stressing, we are soldiers in the Thelemic heirarchy.)

I think we can start, as I said in the post before this one, with this simple fact, or observation of nature: kingly people, really kingly, really strong , really fearless people, naturally overflow with compassion. You can tell when people are weak by the amount of rage and ill-feeling they have for the world. Nietzsche spotted it. (As I'm sure you're aware, something like this as a subtext is even part of the Tonglen training in Mahayana Buddhism - i.e. initially one perhaps thinks "ooh I can't take all that negativity in, it would hurt me and I'd have nothing to give out"; then at some point one laughingly realises one is infinitely capable of absorbing evil, and also infinitely a fountain of goodwill.) This understanding that strength actually results in compassion as a byproduct is a rare understanding in human thought, but it does have some precedents.

So can we build on this naturalistic fact and somehow meet what Liber AL is saying and make sense of it?

An idea I always keep coming back to and toying with is this: every holy book this world has ever seen has tried to make people behave nicely by ordering them to behave nicely. (I'm bracketing the nasty parts of past religions, let's just work with this idea: let's agree that on the whole, most holy books have had commands to be or do good.) The trouble is, the human spirit is rebellious and ornery - no matter what the command, we will break it.

You can see where this is going can't you? What would a holy book look like that tried to get people to do good by ordering them to be evil? What if that holy book utilised our natural rebelliousness in a kind of spiritual judo move?

Does that make any kind of sense? I mean, when I read Liber AL, I feel an inner sense of revolt against the "nasty" passages. I'm damn well not going to obey any of that nonsense! Moreover, I would think of anybody who did "obey" it and ran around like a fifth-rate Nazi as weak.

So is part of the idea to have some sort of marker for people who are genuinely weak, something to separate the men from the boys, as it were?

Another off-the-wall thought: what if the purpose of Liber AL is to create a "sump" of weak people? One can imagine a future in which self-proclaimed Thelemites who are rude, heartless and bellicose are in fact pitied and looked down on. Could the purpose have been all along to put a sort of "dye marker" on them? (The Comment seems almost to hint at that.) Could the function of this holy book be wholly "negative", in that it's precisely people who do obey it who are not the chosen ones? Almost a kind of huge joke?

And here's a counterpart to that thought: what about the "nice" bits in AL ("promises"? - as opposed to the "curses" of the nasty bits?) - are they equally a "trap" of some kind?


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 Anonymous
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"gurugeorge" wrote:
What would a holy book look like that tried to get people to do good by ordering them to be evil? What if that holy book utilised our natural rebelliousness in a kind of spiritual judo move?

Hee! There are dozens of suggestions out there that this is what the Tunis Comment was designed to do, but this is the first time I've seen the idea applied to AL itself. I'll have to keep this in mind the next time I do an out-loud recitation (which is usually the only time I go through the Book verse by verse without diversion).

Could the function of this holy book be wholly "negative", in that it's precisely people who do obey it who are not the chosen ones?

Well... it depends which Chapters one is obeying, I think. Your fifth-rate Nazis aren't likely to be going around doing Liber NV and quoting Chapter 1, are they?

But hmm, maybe the neo-pagans... 😯

Thought provoking post.

Steve


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Palamedes
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Two things (by the way, great post gurugeorge): There is no universal, common solution to the 'runes' of Liber AL. But we all know that. Therefore "Do what thou wilt .." My Thelema may not be your Thelema, but that's just what's great about it: no external measure of truth.

Another thing is (to repeat myself): compassion (seems to me at least) is replaced by love. Now this can be understood as broadly as possible: neoplatonic Eros that keeps universe bound together. Agape, a symbol for samadhi, etc. Again, individual interpretation. But: Love is the law. This seems to me both significant and straightforward. To my mind there is a difference and meaning in the fact that compassion is vice and love is the law. My equation is: compassion = old aeon; love = new aeon. (However, this love needs qualification; what I mean is love as the quality or nature of 'will.')

Please take with a grain of salt and don't quote me on that one 'cause I might change my mind about it tomorrow.


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 Anonymous
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Great post GG.

Did Crowley's comments on compassion as a 'vice' mask his true intent and apply a reverse psychology to the reader? It's an interesting question.

One way of considering an answer is to ask the question 'Is there any evidence to suggest Crowley was a compassionate man?' I am defining compassion here in a traditional sense, ie. 'to suffer with' on many levels on interpretation. I haven't seen any such evidence, although a more erudite AC scholar than I may produce something that could give us an answer. I have, however, seen plenty of evidence that he fell in 'love' frequently, if not enduringly.

Our experiences of 'love' and 'compassion' are unique to each of us, but I might table the suggestion that one difference between the two is that there is no expectation of reward from simple 'compassion.' I think perhaps it is this freedom which gives it strength and defines it as a quality of the 'kingly man.'

bazelek


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 Anonymous
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I've always liked the idea of being a King, and I've always liked vice. A far as I'm concerned, trampling upon the weak can as easily be seen as a guide to mediation, squashing the whimpering parts of the child-mind that tries to interrupt as Samadhi approaches. I will occasionally give money to a beggar because I can, and at other times I won't because I don't have to.
And perhaps "Do What Thou Wilt shall be the whole of the Law" is not so much command as prophecy......

Steve W


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 Anonymous
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"sethur666" wrote:
I've always liked the idea of being a King, and I've always liked vice. A far as I'm concerned, trampling upon the weak can as easily be seen as a guide to mediation, squashing the whimpering parts of the child-mind that tries to interrupt as Samadhi approaches. I will occasionally give money to a beggar because I can, and at other times I won't because I don't have to.
And perhaps "Do What Thou Wilt shall be the whole of the Law" is not so much command as prophecy......

Steve W

This is the first time I've risked becoming a 'center of pestilence' but that is exactly how I received that part of Liber Al. Not just in relation to deep meditation or advanced operations but in all negative thoughts that separate me from the dynamic universe. From 'Oh do I have to get out of bed and do Resh again??" to Samhadi (and beyond?)

'The King and the Land are One' The secret of the Grail as Excalibur had it.

The Tao Te Ching talked often of the mystic/magician as a King organising his land and his forces to work harmoniously in yoke to the will.

The trampling and compassion mirrors the relationship between the King and his kingdom of qlipthotic, discordant and semi aware forces that constantly are in rebellion.

One gets nothing but greater problems by causing a war in heaven, leaving the land unguarded and unprofitable.
If I'm actually drawn into a war I have already lost in a very real sense.

I find understanding and therefore compassion of these forces allows me me to place them in their rightful place in service to the will.If you have a bad tempered dog it's almost alway the owners fault. Train it with compassion for its nature and and you can have an excellent tool for your own will, be it guarding the house or out hunting with you.
I hope that makes sense.


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 Anonymous
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"AtuIX" wrote:
I find understanding and therefore compassion of these forces allows me me to place them in their rightful place in service to the will.If you have a bad tempered dog it's almost alway the owners fault. Train it with compassion for its nature and and you can have an excellent tool for your own will, be it guarding the house or out hunting with you.
I hope that makes sense.

I like your reference to the Tao Te Ching, but I am somewhat confused by the possible differing interpretations of the word 'compassion' in this thread. For example, understanding and compassion are surely two different things? To experience compassion is to experience the suffering of another individual, etymologically Com (with) Pati (to suffer).

As is well known, compassion was one of the foundations of Christ's teachings. Might we not consider that in defining compassion as a 'vice' Crowley was commenting on Christianity? Or perhaps specifically the religion of his parents? Sometimes a pipe IS a pipe... just a thought.

bazelek


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 Anonymous
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"bazelek" wrote:
I like your reference to the Tao Te Ching, but I am somewhat confused by the possible differing interpretations of the word 'compassion' in this thread. For example, understanding and compassion are surely two different things? To experience compassion is to experience the suffering of another individual, etymologically Com (with) Pati (to suffer).

Yes I was unclear on that. I was referring to an experience I had with certain forces. After a light of understanding was given to me that explained their apparently hostile nature,a wave of compassion was the immediate result.
Maybe there is a QBL link to this concept?

"bazelek" wrote:
As is well known, compassion was one of the foundations of Christ's teachings. Might we not consider that in defining compassion as a 'vice' Crowley was commenting on Christianity? Or perhaps specifically the religion of his parents? Sometimes a pipe IS a pipe... just a thought.

bazelek

Certainly. Just at my level of understanding and receptivity that's how that verse 'speaks' to me at this time.


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 Anonymous
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"AtuIX" wrote:
Yes I was unclear on that. I was referring to an experience I had with certain forces. After a light of understanding was given to me that explained their apparently hostile nature,a wave of compassion was the immediate result.

Ah, thanks for clarifying, am completely with you on that... πŸ˜‰

bazelek


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 Anonymous
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"bazelek" wrote:
I like your reference to the Tao Te Ching, but I am somewhat confused by the possible differing interpretations of the word 'compassion' in this thread. For example, understanding and compassion are surely two different things?

It is my opinion that understanding is a pre-requisite to compassion. As I see it as a deep understanding or awareness of the suffering of another (or others).

Though, perhaps a good question to ask before talking about compassion is : What is a King? Furthermore, what is the purpose of a King?

The King serves his people, just as his people serve him. So part of compassion, I see, as recognizing and coming to terms with our interdependence. As, how many of you could say you would still be alive without the help of someone else? How many of you farm your own food, sew your own cloths, sheer your own sheep - did any of you build the computer you are using?

Sure, you could go around crushing everyone else - but then that would just kill your self in the end.

An interesting note: Under most definitions of compassion (that I could find), there is nothing about having to do it for free.


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"Uni_Verse" wrote:
It is my opinion that understanding is a pre-requisite to compassion. As I see it as a deep understanding or awareness of the suffering of another (or others).

I can see your point, but I am not so sure. Without wishing this to become political, there can be few people who watched the live coverage of 9/11 that could truly understand the enormity of the loss, or understand the ways in which the lives of those left behind might be affected, because mercifully, for most of us, such an understanding is far outside of our personal experience. I did, however, see many people weeping as they watched the terrible events unfold, sensing through some deep connection the pain of the victims and their familes. For me, this is compassion. And in times such as this, we seem united in a deeply profound way...

"Uni_Verse" wrote:
Sure, you could go around crushing everyone else - but then that would just kill your self in the end.

I agree, and even applied as a metaphor, such a notion says more about a man than his goal...

bazelek


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 Anonymous
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Great Thread!

In Liber 31, Crowley goes on to say;

"If the body [compassion] of the King dissolve [higher trances], he shall remain in pure ecstasy for ever [sunyata]. Nuit! Hadit! Ra-Hoor-Khuit! The Sun, Strength & Sight, Light; these are for the servants of the Star & the Snake.

In this respect, compassion can be seen to become a vice.

However, compassion can only be dissolved or sublimated when the adept has gone through sufficient karmic rounds, and has 'perfected compassion' as a discreet experience. When compassion has become perfected, the adept can then alchemically harness this quality of experience and apply it to produce the higher trances i.e. samadhi and sunyata (emptyness).

The references to Nuit, Hadit, Ra-Hoor-Khuit etc. are his chosen symbolic components or tattwas, which enabled him to understand the nature of the magickal universe. In the sense that they allegorically refered to him, the processes and functions of the subtle occult power zones within the adept. Outwardly, they are archetypal fetishes, symbolising an abstract metaphysic. However, inwardly, this experience is obliquely reflected as an initiation into the colouring of the astral light; gnosis of natures finer forces. Through their use, the adept is able to correctly align their stars (chakras) to the nature of the firesnake. The use of egyptian godforms most probably arose from his previous connection to the western occult tradition i.e. Golden Dawn.

Best Wishes

Charles

P.S. This is just a spontaneous rambling!


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 Anonymous
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"magispiegel" wrote:
In this respect, compassion can be seen to become a vice.

Ye Gods and little fishes Charles! Ramble away... πŸ˜‰

Well, given that historically 'compassion' has long been regarded as indicative of the highest spiritual attainment, may I offer the suggestion that it was simply Crowley's 'vice'? πŸ™‚

bazelek


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 Anonymous
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Rob!

Exactly...'compassion' is an extremely high spiritual attainment.

Your question is tough to answer?! In regard to Crowley, it leaves me with ambivalent ponderings...

Best Wishes

Charles


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Azidonis
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93,

Quite an enjoyable thread... great posts everyone. One thing that has stood out most prominently thus far is the mention of one's infinite ability to absorb both 'good' and 'evil'.

It is my belief that you have possibly quite hit the nail on the head, gurugeorge. As any reader of the Simon Iff series would know, with a special example coming directly from Moonchild, Mr. Iff had a very remarkable ability. For reference simply read the Chapter "The Thing in the Garden". I won't go quoting it here.

Following gurugeorge's notion (if I may), essentially we as human beings only have so much control over our own perceived worlds. As such, how I am able to act and react to any given situation is a direct correlation to my own personal understanding of the Universe both Within and Without. It's a measurement of my own self-growth. This doesn't necessarily indicate understanding of the situation, but only of one'self and perceived reality.

Positive events are very easy to take in and 'infinitely absorb'. It almost seems quite natural, and people do it all of the time. Negative events on the other hand, seem much harder to absorb. In fact, there is some part of one's being which naturally rejects those things, just like the body would reject any sort of dis-ease.

Compassion then, would it be the ability to absorb and adapt to any situation without regards to the self or one's current understanding of the situation? This would not require one to be active or passive, but basically capable of acceptance. The reaction doesn't so much matter in this light except in that it reflects the measure of acceptance for the given situation.

Another possible analogy would be a puppet and puppetteer (sp). The puppetteer holds hte puppet by the strings, and makes it do its little dance in the world. What happens to the puppet isn't always controlled by the puppetter however, and is sometimes caused by external influences. The puppet being inanimate, doesn't really care "no whence, no whither" what happens to it. It absorbs the tender care and attentions given to it by the puppetteer, and also endures any other external influences which may be brought upon it. In essence, it is able to absorb all things according to its own nature, and doesn't reject any, unless through simple flaws of design (a metal puppet would obviously reject to being soaked in water and rusted, for instance).

What we are taught in Occult circles abroad is that the mind, body, and spirit are indeed one, yet separate. They are separate phases of awareness within the confines of one vehicle. Thus, one works to separate the "wheat from the chaff", and allow awareness of each phase to grow on its own accord while keeping the general relationship in mind. It is completely plausible for one to drive quite well and become "lost in thought" at the same time. The Will works upon our minds and bodies constantly in many various ways, even when we know it not. Of this, there is no measure of compassion. The interaction is simply, under will. But of the things we know, the various positive and negative stimuli present both Within and Without of the complete human organism... those things are that which we must learn this measure of "compassion" for. It is a matter of learning the true ebb and flow of one's own nature in relation to the Universe both Within and Without, and learning one's best possible reaction thereto.

Some people amaze me by their ability to seem completely indifferent and impervious to both positive and negative situations. It's as if they somehow have it all figured out within themselves. However, on further analysis I've realized that some of those people don't catch the subtleties or just are too weak or dullminded to react (Please do not confine my examples to these specific traits. There are many other personality traits, both positive and negative, which exhibit this behavior, though beyond the scope of this writing.). Thelema and The Book of the Law chellenges us to act. The challenge is to live your life as fully as possible, and to be able to Dare, to take in every and all things, to be as complete of a vehicle as you can be, and at the same time still be able to function properly both Within and Without.

To be able to acheive that Balance, I believe, is true compassion. It is the ability to accept and interact with both positive and negative stimuli both Within and Without in the manner which best suits the Will at all times. This definitely would require a true strength and, at times, a true indifference.

Sorry, I tried to make this short lol

93 93/93


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priestofal
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93

I think it is important to distinguish compassion from sentimentality. Sentimentality could be said to be the vice of those who are not kings, whereas compassion involves a kind of distance. One is suffering with a person but as one distinct and somehow above the suffering -- compassion suggests a kind of seeing, a kind of objectivity to my mind, which, I suppose, is what makes it kingly. Sentimentality, on the other hand (at least as I define it), is either heir to all the woes of the world or the perpetrator of those woes.

I'll show you broadly the distinction, something from my own experience. Sentimentality is something that for years, by the lightest of chains, can keep one tied to something that causes suffering and all in the name of avoiding suffering. The common argument against violating such a thing would be "But you have no compassion!" Absolutely wrong! Compassion is what allows one to break free and it involves a kind of distance, something on the par of being firm but polite and having a strong grasp of the factors involved.

How, then, is compassion a possible vice? I do not think of it as a vice even as I do not think of alcohol as a vice. Alcohol is simply something that can become a vice -- if one loses one's distance. To have compassion as a vice is a way of saying, I think, that sentimentality is not a virtue.

Compassion is the vice of kings.
Sentimentality is the virtue of slaves.

That's how I've come to perceive it.

93 93/93


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 Anonymous
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Hmm, enjoying thread greatly. What do people think about this in light of the Bodhisattva vow?

93/93

Steve W


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priestofal
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Well, I find myself agreeing with what Gordan said in another thread where he suggests that love under will and compassion may refer to the same thing. In this scenario, I believe, love under will needs to be love under will precisely because the love (so-called) in question is sentimentality. Compassion, in this sense, and as provided by the true or pure Will, is true Love.

Now, when I speak of sentimentality I am speaking of it in very broad terms. It can take many forms and the sweetness of it, in some of its forms, cannot be denied. Sentimentality is, in a sense, the play-thing or the play-ground of Will and it will often have its toys. But the danger comes in that this sweetness may also act as a clog. It's residence in one's heart may, in fact, keep one's heart from opening, from being seen. Sentimentality is a substance and a self-created substance that is then put up on a pedestal much too often as "love."

In terms of the Bodhisattva vow, it seems to me almost as if the vow is inherent in incarnation itself or at least in those who seek to uncover (excavate?) their True Wills -- except on the assumption that there are those who arrive who needn't go through this process. In any event, I doubt that one can accomplish one's True Will without affecting others toward their own.


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Tiger
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Awesome thread !
gurugeorge
magispiegel
everybody

The Bodhisattva vow could be seen perhaps as a Thelemic warrior
remaining on the battle ground .

I draw my sword, and offer my steed, perhaps foolishly, in sentiment .
and sometimes turn horrific πŸ™‚


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gurugeorge
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Wow, some great posts from everybody.

Re. Crowley's compassion: it's hard to tell sometimes, but I'd say that to look at what happened to his students wouldn't be a fair guide to his general level of compassion. The teacher is supposed to torment the students and make their lives miserable - if they can't stand the heat, they should get out of the kitchen. Crowley thought of Magick as an immensely serious business, and I think the thought that anybody else who wished to be his students would think the same way, in which case he "pulled no punches". As to where one would look for his general level of compassion, he does seem to show a lot of sympathy for "suffering humanity" generally in his writings. And let's not forget that the A:.A:. itself is a school in which participants are supposed to be selflessly dedicated to human progress (hence all the severe testing of the ego). (And yet on the other hand, he does say, or maybe I'm mixed up and it's Motta who says, that the purpose of this is to improve the overall stock of humankind so that one has better vehicles for incarnation in the future. πŸ™‚ )

The other thing I'd add is that I've been reading an amazing book recently, called I Am A Strange Loop by Douglas Hofstadter (author of the famous Godel Escher Bach).

One of Hofstadter's main themes in that book is about how we all have a sort of vague scale (or rather "cone") of "how much consciousness" things have - e.g. at the bottom we'd have inanimate matter, then single celled creatures, then things like mosquitoes, then fish and birds, mammals (and a lot of gradation in mammals) and finally us - we are the "biggest souled" creatures we know. And then even within human beings we have a tacit "scale" of "how big souled" people are - at the lowest levels you have your psychotic criminals, then people who are just basically stupidly selfish, and at the higher end you have the usual suspects - e.g. Gandhi, Einstein, etc. One might quibble about who's placed where, but that we do have such a scale of "size of soul" or "degree of being conscious" seems to me undeniable.

Now the point is, Hofstadter's theory of consciousness (which like most modern theories of consciousness coming from the interdisciplinary field of modern cognitive science) is surpsiringly (or not so surprisingly, if you're a Buddhist πŸ™‚ ) close to Buddhism. The "I" is a hallucination perceived by a hallucination - hence the "strange loop". However, although it sounds mystical and magical, Hofstadter is a pure materialist, and he explains it all in purely materialist terms (you really have to read the book). But one of the things that comes out about this business of "strange loops" is that it's possible for a mind to take on other viewpoints, and that is indeed how consciousness grows - and hence, that is indeed one of the measures of "great-souledness", i.e., how and to what degree one is capable of seeing things from others' points of view.


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 Anonymous
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The fuss over compassion appears to stem from what I see as an ill-conceived notion of complete detachment.

A more 'Thelemic' idea would be that of de-attachment or the ability to de-attach.

A King, having the vice of compassion because he can do this. Investing himself in a show of compassion to his people, but also possessing the ability to de-attach from them in order to accomplish the greater good of the Kingdom .


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Baxian
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Nice Post GuruGeorge.
you say-

Compassion, if there is such a thing, has to be for real entities separate from oneself.

Why not inner aspects/entities also?
Compassion can usefully be developed for aspects of the self, somewhat as a microcosmic/macrocosmic healing. And I feel this to be a central buddhist expression.(please excuse my picking up your conversation here. I haven't been on lashtal in a while. But I saw the thread name and couldnt resist, I might have missed some of your essential point somewhere.)

Again, the idea that when one understands that there's nobody here but One Chicken, that translates as compassion in the sense of a kind of care for the components of that Big Self, I don't really get that either - that would seem to be mere self-interest on the part of the One!

But isn't that great?
I think self interest is very important these days, self love. Theres seems a bit of a lack of the right kinds. Great compassion for the self seems vital. And the "one Chicken" may be a ticket to some of this "right thinking" compassion.
Also, the idea of the "one chicken" might be a Buddhist trick! to get a person to develope compassion for others, I would think. As humans tend to care about themselves a lot, (but not always in every way of course).

You can tell when people are weak by the amount of rage and ill-feeling they have for the world.

I dont want to nitpick but I respectfully must disagree.
I dont see a direct link between these two expressions(rage and ill-feeling about the world), and weakness really.

You can see where this is going can't you? What would a holy book look like that tried to get people to do good by ordering them to be evil? What if that holy book utilised our natural rebelliousness in a kind of spiritual judo move?

It's an interesting thought yes.
I suspect Hyatt has done this hmmm haha. Fnord.

Compassion(the ability to understand a bit, through some feeling, someones pain) does to me indicate Leary's idea of I squared, the ability of humans to see the world from other views, which tend to make people smarter. I agree.
But compassion can maybe also be a vice it seems. Not a bad one though, could be worse haha.


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

wow - this is a Really intense, excellent thread!

(general caveat - this is just what i think)

i'll toss my two cents in on compassion before replying to the replies....

it seems to me that the phrase "compassion is the vice of kings" is just a statement of fact. if you're not a king, you're not even capable of compassion. i'm sure you've all at least heard the stories of rapes occuring with passive onlookers and so on. i notice myself that when something shitty happens to somebody i'm often the only person to help out. this tells me two things - one, that i'm a king, which i already knew, and Two, most of the other people around me act as slaves.

they need someone to tell them what to do. they might feel something, but they're powerless to act on it and compassion is Action.

the whole verse in question reads thusly...

21. We have nothing with the outcast and the unfit: let them die in their misery. For they feel not. Compassion is the vice of kings: stamp down the wretched & the weak: this is the law of the strong: this is our law and the joy of the world. Think not, o king, upon that lie: That Thou Must Die: verily thou shalt not die, but live. Now let it be understood: If the body of the King dissolve, he shall remain in pure ecstasy for ever. Nuit! Hadit! Ra-Hoor-Khuit! The Sun, Strength & Sight, Light; these are for the servants of the Star & the Snake.

this is pretty intense stuff, to say the least. to understand the part about compassion you need to look at the sentence that comes before - For they feel not. on the literal plane, the relation between not feeling and compassion is quite obvious, but that's not the only plane this verse works on.

"we have nothing with the outcast and the unfit" - yes! we do! we have nothing with them - nothing being nuit! "outcast" is a very specific word - one who is Cast Out. black brothers and so on. she'll force them to cross the abyss eventually, will they nil they. the unfit (according to motta) experience her as nature and all women.

now, compassion isn't pity, and it isn't consoling. the master of the temple is being compassionate when he or she pours acid on the leaves of the flowers. absolutely so.

the next little phrase, stamp down the wretched and the weak, is also necessary to comprehend the phrase before it. you've got to define your values - what's strength, what's weakness - without, of course, becoming attatched to them and Making Difference, which will just make You weak.

for the rest of this verse, i highly recommend crowley's new comment to Liber AL vel legis - he goes on at great length and it's Awesome. πŸ™‚

"gurugeorge" wrote:
Compassion, if there is such a thing, has to be for real entities separate from oneself.

YES! YES! YES! you can only feel compassion if you comprehend yourself and the other as separate stars!

"gurugeorge" wrote:
Frankly, I don't even pretend to understand what Liber AL is saying about compassion. It's pretty clear that it's understood as a vice, yet vices are service; yet we're not veil our vices in virtuous words, nor to deem too eagerly to catch the promises or fear to undergo the curses. So where does that leave us?

well, hang on now. it's a vice because it can make you feel good, like marijuana or video games or whatever. you've got to Recognize it as a vice, and keep it under will.

"gurugeorge" wrote:
You can tell when people are weak by the amount of rage and ill-feeling they have for the world.

yes - sort of. i'd amend that to read "by the amount of rage and ill-feeling that they have for the world which dominates them," that and the vicarious joy they take in the suffering of others (also as something that dominates.) take that christist bitch mother teresa - did you know she didn't give her patients painkillers? for ANYTHING? she was all into the suffering - said it help save them from their sins or whatever. now THAT'S veiling your vices in virtuous words, if ya ask me. she's an extreme example, of course.

ever been to a boxing match? have you seen the look in some people's eyes when the blood begins to flow? creepy!

really, anything that dominates you - emotions that you can't control the expression thereof and so on - makes you weak, and a slave.

"gurugeorge" wrote:
Does that make any kind of sense? I mean, when I read Liber AL, I feel an inner sense of revolt against the "nasty" passages.

so did crowley. he never got over some of it. there's a Major reaction in most of us - the vast majority of us share an old aeon, christist upbringing, culturally if not in the home - against asserting ourselves in any way at all ever. it's like when people say "i don't like to toot my own horn..."

kids don't have a problem with that. they'll toot their horn all effing day until some idiot "adult" stomps them. we can take a lot of our cues in the aeon of the crowned and conquering child from watching the behavior of children. the caveat to that, of course, is that children often aren't in control of themselves - their behavior isn't under will. so you gotta watch out and stuff.

me, i Love that stuff. all that war and blood and vengeance? right up my alley! i like chapter one, too, don't get me wrong,

"gurugeorge" wrote:
Moreover, I would think of anybody who did "obey" it and ran around like a fifth-rate Nazi as weak.

well, all i gotta say to that is "27. There is great danger in me; for who doth not understand these runes shall make a great miss. He shall fall down into the pit called Because, and there he shall perish with the dogs of Reason."

8)

seriously (not that i wasn't serious with the quote), if it's really somebody's will to run around like a fifth-rate nazi, well, what the hey? none of my business, really. that's not in harmony with -=my=- will, though, so you won't catch me making the Goose Steps, but if they're really acting in harmony with their will they're not going to collide with me so it's not my problem.

now, if they're not acting in harmony with their will (weakness!), they might attempt collision with me, in which case i'll stamp the living daylights outta them. strike hard and low! and if i'm wrong, and they're not really colliding with me at all i've got nothing to worry about - "If he be a King, thou canst not hurt him."

"gurugeorge" wrote:
And here's a counterpart to that thought: what about the "nice" bits in AL ("promises"? - as opposed to the "curses" of the nasty bits?) - are they equally a "trap" of some kind?

i don't think that at all, myself. it's just a bit alien to us given our upbringing, is all. most of us - including crowley himself! - have a tough time breaking our osirian/christist conditioning and seeing this stuff for what it really is. "well, that's not what i think of as good, so it must be evil!" that's the whole Difference thing, and the concepts need to be annihilated.

fantastic post, gurugeorge, really first rate.

"gordon" wrote:
Another thing is (to repeat myself): compassion (seems to me at least) is replaced by love. Now this can be understood as broadly as possible: neoplatonic Eros that keeps universe bound together. Agape, a symbol for samadhi, etc. Again, individual interpretation. But: Love is the law. This seems to me both significant and straightforward. To my mind there is a difference and meaning in the fact that compassion is vice and love is the law. My equation is: compassion = old aeon; love = new aeon. (However, this love needs qualification; what I mean is love as the quality or nature of 'will.')

i kind of agree and i kind of don't. compassion isn't necessarily replaced by love - love is the act of union of opposites. compassion is giving another star a temporary leg up. it's not the greatest thing in the world to do, i don't think - a vice, if you will. at the same time, however, it's the nature of kings to indulge in it. we just need to be Very much aware of what we're doing when we do it. compassion does have a place in the new aeon, unlike pity and consolation, we just need to understand that place is the place of vice.

there's nothing inherently wrong with vice, of course, we just have to recognize it and not fool ourselves by veiling it with virtuous words.

"sethur666" wrote:
And perhaps "Do What Thou Wilt shall be the whole of the Law" is not so much command as prophecy......

on a certain plane, sure. i'd say "natural law" rather than prophecy, but in pratice it kind of works the same way.

"uni_verse" wrote:
Sure, you could go around crushing everyone else - but then that would just kill your self in the end.

actually, i don't think you could go around crushing everyone else. eventually, you'd collide with a star on their course and get trampled yourself. just do your will - that's the best policy in my book.

"magispiegel" wrote:
Exactly...'compassion' is an extremely high spiritual attainment.

sure - you've got to be a king to even be capable of it in any meaningful way.

"azidonis" wrote:
Positive events are very easy to take in and 'infinitely absorb'.

well, yes and no. haven't you ever met someone who can't take a compliment? we've all got our ordeals to get through.

"azidonis" wrote:
Negative events on the other hand, seem much harder to absorb.

the same again - me, i'm Extremely negative on some planes. it helps me out, honestly, and keeps me from getting very attatched to any one thing.

"azidonis" wrote:
Compassion then, would it be the ability to absorb and adapt to any situation without regards to the self or one's current understanding of the situation?

here, i disagree. compassion is the ability to act by giving a star what it needs to be on it's course. this is very dangerous stuff, and a vice. it's only natural, though - we just need to avoid getting obsessed by it.

we HAVE to regard the self. otherwise we're operating on an osirian formula and will fail in the end.

"gurugeorge" wrote:
Some people amaze me by their ability to seem completely indifferent and impervious to both positive and negative situations. It's as if they somehow have it all figured out within themselves. However, on further analysis I've realized that some of those people don't catch the subtleties or just are too weak or dullminded to react

right on!

"A King may choose his garment as he will: there is no certain test: but a beggar cannot hide his poverty."

"priestofal" wrote:
Sentimentality is something that for years, by the lightest of chains, can keep one tied to something that causes suffering and all in the name of avoiding suffering.

yes! yes! yes! this is the famous "make ye no difference" effect! the "holding back!" restriction! absolutely!

"priestofal" wrote:
Compassion is the vice of kings.
Sentimentality is the virtue of slaves.

i'd modify that thought slighty by saying "sentimentality is A virtue of slaves." not that i'm sure what you mean by virture, but nevertheless.

Love is the law, love under will

sr. LIHF


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
 

It is also very interesting to note that qabalistically, Verse 21, is 777 (7+7+7=21). From my experience, Crowley, a great qabalist, was extremely aware and conscientious about what occult secret(s) he was trying to convey. The use of number or letter of each chapter or verse is no accident, but provides an extension to grasping the 'overall theme' of his particular teaching e.g. The Book of Lies, Liber Aleph and of course Liber 31 all are qabalistically determined and referenced.

In this respect, any direct literal analysis of his work becomes a somewhat exasperating and redundant theme...

Best Wishes
keep up The Great Work
Charles

P.S. Just something which came to mind whilst reading this thread...


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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The meaning of the word is in the number.

The meaning of the number is in the word.


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Palamedes
(@palamedes)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 450
 
"luxinhominefactum" wrote:
compassion isn't necessarily replaced by love

I apologize for being imprecise. What I intended to state was that - in my opinion - in the New Aeon the compassion, understood as a positive virtue, is replaced by love (as the law, in fact). My understanding is that every new teaching is attempting to put into words something that is ultimately ineffable. Thus compassion, pity, love, sympathy, charity, loving-kindness, etc. etc. etc. are all floating signifiers attempting to pin down the elusive signified. Wineskins get old and need replacement but the wine is the same.

Of course, this is just an idea, the way it appears to me at this point.


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priestofal
(@priestofal)
Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 147
 

Hi, Luxy (for short!). I've enjoyed your posts.

"luxinhominefactum" wrote:
"priestofal" wrote:
Compassion is the vice of kings.
Sentimentality is the virtue of slaves.

i'd modify that thought slighty by saying "sentimentality is A virtue of slaves." not that i'm sure what you mean by virture, but nevertheless...

I see a double-meaning in my last line. Sentimentality is the "virtue" of slaves because what a slave holds to be a virtue is most likely an attachment, via sentimentality, to some presumed point of view. It can also, from the actual point of view (I'll call it) of a king, be called the virtue of slaves because it is what allows a slave to be manipulated, where necessary.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

ahhh yes i see what you mean now! i didn't quite get you before - i Really like that!

Love is the law, love under will


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priestofal
(@priestofal)
Member
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Posts: 147
 

πŸ™‚ Yeah, the virtue of slaves is the virtue of slaves... it's a good one.


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