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The madness of crowds


gurugeorge
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This started as a response to Shiva on the "attributing validity to the Tree of Life" thread, but I started getting into it and I think it's probably worth a topic.

Posted by: @shiva

I felt Achad to be less affected by self-proclamation than most. Crowley put all the "magical childe" stuff on him. To my knowledge, which gets limited daily, he only flipped-out that one time when he declared himself Ipsissimus and started giving orders to Therion, a mere vMagus. This high drama at higher levels is highly hilarious, but at least it reinforces the "fact" that the 8=3 or 9=2 or 10=1 part of our being is on a remote level. Down below, in the world of men, the vehicles (which are supposed to be under yama - "control") do the craziest things.

This is something I've gone back and forth on over the years.  I mean, it sometimes seems like Satori, (Dhyana, the foot in the door, whatever it is the Neophyte gets) doesn't really change the lower vehicles much.  If you're a bastard you just become an enlightened bastard.  (Well, at least a bastard who's had a "glimpse.")  It's even perfectly compatible with all sorts of political positions now considered disreputable (cf. Zen at War).

But I think it's sort of the other way round from what people think (well, at least I at one time thought) - there's a vague idea that getting "it" will "sort you out," everything will be sunshine and roses, and you'll be the pot-bellied merry fellow bestowing gifts in the village (the old Zen image).  One imagines a drop of detergent "clarifying" an oily surface, that type of image.

The desire for a "magic button" - not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself (after all, we do want these things to go as quickly and smoothly as possible, and any aids or adjuncts are welcome - but sometimes that slides into looking for some "trick").

Rather, the point of the traditional systems is that all that "sorting out" is done before you get your "glimpse," with your Yama and Niyama.  You need it to build an integrated momentum to carry you through the fear/madness phase anyway.  Then if you're a "good person" before your glimpse (integrated around the GW, but certainly also wearing the country's clothes), you'll be a "good person" after your glimpse, and maybe stay fairly sane after that, if you don't fall back in some way.

I think this was always the danger the orthodox, established systems saw in "prateykabudhas" and "sudden enlightenment."  What such a person is seeing is true and valid, no doubt, but it can go any number of ways - it can be fine, it give them a taste and motivate them to go deeper; or it can even be pretty much complete, straight to the tippy-top then and there (Stephen Jourdain is an excellent example - there's an interview in English with him on YT that's absolutely stunning), or it can totally derange a person.  Especially if it happens to someone who hasn't a clue from literature or tradition or anything, what it is they're experiencing, how to categorize it - I suspect a lot of what's clinically called "depersonalization" is glimpses gone awry like that.  (The semi-famous Suzanne Segal would be an example there, at first it was a terrifying thing, but she got some decent advice, it stabilized, and it was fine - until the poor woman got a brain aneurism or something. 🙁 )

That's for the lower level, the beginner's level.  Since I've never gone beyond that, I have no idea what the pressures are at the higher/deeper levels.  Clearly at some point (presumably the the Crossing of the Abyss, the MT, which I guess is what Eastern systems would call "enlightenment proper") it flips, and (so far as I understand it) instead of being a human being having episodes of being God, what's there is God having an episode of being a human being.  I should think there are a whole bunch of other problems there that might lead to subtler forms of going awry and madness (again the Eastern systems like Dzogchen and such do talk about that too), but I have no idea what they might be.

One clear distinction I think should be made between the "OMG I'm dying/going mad" phase you go through on the way to a glimpse experience, which is temporary (well, hopefully - again, if you've done your Yama and Niyama, you're minimizing the risk as much as humanly possble), on the one hand, and an overt or subtle bejiggering of the whole system on a long-term basis (which could be a result of the previous process prolonged, gone awry, or even the result of shrinking back from it, trying to seek refuge in old comforts, old neuroses, maybe).


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David Dom Lemieux
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 Merrily bestowing gifts whilst wacking students with sticks more like.  What was that quote about a Zen master,before he chop wood and when he is a master he chop wood?

https://www.lashtal.com/wiki/Aleister_Crowley_Timeline


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Michael Staley
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Posted by: @david-dom-lemieux

Merrily bestowing gifts whilst wacking students with sticks more like.  What was that quote about a Zen master,before he chop wood and when he is a master he chop wood?

I thought thaz gurugearge's post was a very interesting one, and I can't see how your remark relates to it. Could you expand please so that the relevance is plainer?


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gurugeorge
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Posted by: @david-dom-lemieux

Merrily bestowing gifts whilst wacking students with sticks more like. 

It was an offhand reference to the last in the sequence of "Oxherding" pictures (roughly analogous to going up the Grades in our system).

But that reminds me of another angle - some of those old Chinese masters were fierce.  I'm thinking of Gutei's finger in particular, but there are lots of examples from the general thwacking you mention to that extreme.  (There's also the "tapasya," still practiced in India, which is probably one of the oldest methods - do something stupid that's going to screw up your life and cost you normal physical functionality, but will take an extreme amount of commitment and dedication, like holding your arm up in the air vertically till you attain enlightenment.  You'll be the most enlightened guy with a horribly withered arm 🙂 )

Gutei's finger:

Gutei raised his finger whenever he was asked a question about Zen. A boy attendant began to imitate him in this way. When anyone asked the boy what his master had preached about, the boy would raise his finger.

Gutei heard about the boy's mischief. He seized him and cut off his finger. The boy cried and ran away. Gutei called and stopped him. When the boy turned his head to Gutei, Gutei raised up his own finger. In that instant the boy was enlightened.

(And note: something like Gutei's finger also crosses over with the other thread where we were discussing the potential for abuse in the close relationship between teacher and student.  But some would say Gutei's kindness was grandmotherly - after all, the boy "got it," and anyone who's been there knows it's a pearl beyond price. Gutei would presumably only have done such a drastic thing if he was certain the boy was on the way, in a condition where a "turning word" would get him over the hump.)

But what price enlightenment?  They were made of sterner stuff in those days 🙂


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hadgigegenraum
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'madness of crowds' or so lonely at the top....or is it the bottom...


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David Dom Lemieux
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Posted by: @gurugeorge

," still practiced in India, which is probably one of the oldest methods - do something stupid that's going to screw up your life and cost you normal physical functionality, but will take an extreme amount of commitment and dedication, like holding your arm up in the air vertically till you attain enlightenment.  You'll be the most enlightened guy with a horribly withered arm 🙂 )

"Oldest methods" yes, Old Aeon unnecessary asceticism, to put it politely. India is very much still there in the evil Old Aeon in so many ways.

https://www.lashtal.com/wiki/Aleister_Crowley_Timeline


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fraterihsan
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Posted by: @david-dom-lemieux
Posted by: @gurugeorge

," still practiced in India, which is probably one of the oldest methods - do something stupid that's going to screw up your life and cost you normal physical functionality, but will take an extreme amount of commitment and dedication, like holding your arm up in the air vertically till you attain enlightenment.  You'll be the most enlightened guy with a horribly withered arm 🙂 )

"Oldest methods" yes, Old Aeon unnecessary asceticism, to put it politely. India is very much still there in the evil Old Aeon in so many ways.

"Abrogate are all rituals, all ordeals, all words and signs" 

A verse from Liber Legis that I think Crowley deliberately avoided almost all his life. There were instances were he made headway there but he didn't really abrogate anything himself, he kept doing and teaching what he had already been doing, only adjusting it to what he liked (as opposed to what scared him) from the revelation of Aiwass. As great as the AA and OTO are, and how big accomplishments they were for their time, they are very much a thing of the past because they're not based upon the New Aeon even if they utilize it's cosmology and holy book. 

 

As for India, I'm still surprise how little media attention goes to how fucked up it is over there. 

"There is none that shall be cast down or lifted up: all is ever as it was." - Liber Legis 2:58
"To Me do ye reverence! to me come ye through tribulation of ordeal, which is bliss." - Liber Legis 3:62


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gurugeorge
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Posted by: @fraterihsan

"Abrogate are all rituals, all ordeals, all words and signs" 

I don't think those are the same thing as practices and methods of practice though (which is what we were talking about in that instance), they're to do with ritual magick, including the ritual of your initiation, your life or whatever.


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David Dom Lemieux
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Posted by: @fraterihsan
 

As for India, I'm still surprise how little media attention goes to how fucked up it is over there. 

It depends which news channel you watch but anyway, add Pakistan to that list, in fact the entire Middle East, the continents of Africa and South America and add Russia.  Was it Ramakrishna who said,  on entering an American airport, "They live in paradise but don't know it"?

https://www.lashtal.com/wiki/Aleister_Crowley_Timeline


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christibrany
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@david-dom-lemieux 

 

I don't believe Sri Ramakrishna ever visited the States, but his disciple Vivekananda did. 


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