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sonofthestar
(@sonofthestar)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
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Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Let's remove "metaphorical sacrifice" from the discussion, for the sake of answering some questions that nag me.
By metaphorical, I mean using the term sacrifice as applying to any thing such as "ours"--be it blood, ideas, addictions etc--that are to be sacrificed for any particular reason, and having no thing to do with killing an actual living thing.

Let us take the word sacrifice to mean--the killing of another sentient being, be it human or some other.
Then lets remove the idea of it being a sacrifice brought forth by religious conceptions dealing with killing an animal for food by any sort of ritual process whatsoever. Lets take the need for appeasing appetite out of the equation. We have not removed the equation of "eating" all or part of the sacrifice, only the idea that something that bleeds blood, had to die for the sacrificers to live. You can eat something and not be hungry or starving.

Now lets remove the elemental idea of killing a living thing to appease some god, or any god for that matter; be it as some act of worship, or to receive something in return from said god after the sacrifice.

We seem to be left with the possibility of sacrificing something for the sake of fulfilling --a desire to Kill.
How many sacrifices have been preformed in the name of religion--( using some or all of the examples we just removed) as an excuse to simply kill something?
This meaning that the one doing the sacrifice justifies the act appeasing his/her own innate desire to kill --using a belief in a god demanding such a thing. And if not demanding such a thing, than configuring the killing of a living thing into an act of "worship" to appease such desires.

Does anyone here think there is some inner urge, within "man"---to kill, for no particular reason other than "blood lust"? That he sometimes (throughout history) justices this blood lust using his religions as his means of achieving that objective? using "a god" to sanction the action.
If life is holy, or sacred (and I believe it is)-- then it would certainly be easier for many to kill if they subscribe to the notion that the act of slaying can be an holy and sacred act. (It of course can be, but what truly constitutes a "sacred slaying" beckons an whole other twist that might not necessarily imply sacrifice at all).

I am not saying that this is the overwhelming cause of the sacrifices that have taken place on Earth throughout our stay here, only that it is a notion to be considered when discussing "sacrifice".
Would anyone care to elaborate specifically on these things I've brought up in the context of magickal practice that does not involve the god or gods of any given religion, and how the magician is the "divinity" or god-- willing to sacrifice a living thing by killing it after he himself defines the very purpose for its living; that purpose being to be a worthy candidate for his sacrifice-- according to his will? Is such a concept "Thelemic". And under what circumstances, if any?
Would he/she need to justify an act of sacrifice in order to engage in it--for objectives known only to him/her using traditional methods of thinking or not? Who or what, Wills to kill with no reason or justification? Then it would be the "nature" of such a being to kill? Beast? Man? Both?

If we explore the belief of gods as beings existing outside of-- or other and/or more powerful than ourselves, --than what would prompt them to require sacrifice from us? Does it imply that these gods, if real (define real as you will)--have a blood lust that must be satisfied? And for what purpose? How is it that such a thing would be chosen by such a god as a satisfying method for being worshiped? Or, is it required to "feed" the god in some way?
Would a true god (define true as you will) or a god worthy of worship (be he/she real or not) debase a man by demanding he kill another living entity if it was not a man's original intent or will to do so?

For the sake of analysis, let us pretend that the story of Abraham is true. He was told to sacrifice his own son. If it was not his will to do so, and he nevertheless decided to go with it, and obey his god---then would he not indeed sacrifice something of his self by deciding to kill his son by his
compliance to obey such a dictate, even though he was stayed from the act by his testing god at the last moment. What then did he really sacrifice in place of his son? His own will, or divinity? His dignity?

Yet it appears his "eager" compliance means his will/love was sacrificed long before he was so at the ready to kill his own son.
And metaphorically, let us see son as implying that which is manifested through a willful act of procreation--.meaning he could not see himself as a divine creator (his willingness to sacrifice that power to another{especially over that which he, Abraham created, meaning his own son}to the one he believed created him.
Naturally he could only consider himself "created"--a man, but nevertheless "a creature" quite devoid of that divinity needed to be a realized star.
He had no concept of his son having a will to live, or rights to live. If he did, he was quite about to sacrifice his son's life to carry out the orders of his god. He could not choose to refuse, being that he had no will to defend. If he could be said to possess a will, it was to will what his god willed, or that he willed what his god willed. Which brings us to realize importantly--that his god, was truly outside of himself. He could not say "There is no part of me that is not of the Gods"! Such would be a declaration of an experience of that which he could have no realization of.
A slave cannot will.

Though I can see a God, demanding that man defend himself, or his freedom by sacrificing the enemies of that freedom on the battlefield. That I can understand.

Nor have I forgotten primitive man sacrificing to the gods in order to grow crops etc. But did he belive that if his gods were not appeased/worshiped-- by a sacrifice that the god would curse the crop, or that if he performed the sacrifice the god would bless the crop? Does one really necessitate the other? Sometimes, not always I would think.

So now we bring into the picture the element of fear and loss as a motivation for sacrificing, and this naturally brings up the idea-- that we must sacrifice something to show our love, and/or-- to receive love from another.
And all this does not even begin to dissect the concept of sacrifice in its entirety!

Love is the law, love under will.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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"sonofthestar@Gmail.com" wrote:
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Let's remove "metaphorical sacrifice" from the discussion, for the sake of answering some questions that nag me.
By metaphorical, I mean using the term sacrifice as applying to any thing such as "ours"--be it blood, ideas, addictions etc--that are to be sacrificed for any particular reason, and having no thing to do with killing an actual living thing.

Let us take the word sacrifice to mean--the killing of another sentient being, be it human or some other.
Then lets remove the idea of it being a sacrifice brought forth by religious conceptions dealing with killing an animal for food by any sort of ritual process whatsoever. Lets take the need for appeasing appetite out of the equation. We have not removed the equation of "eating" all or part of the sacrifice, only the idea that something that bleeds blood, had to die for the sacrificers to live. You can eat something and not be hungry or starving.

Now lets remove the elemental idea of killing a living thing to appease some god, or any god for that matter; be it as some act of worship, or to receive something in return from said god after the sacrifice.

We seem to be left with the possibility of sacrificing something for the sake of fulfilling --a desire to Kill.
How many sacrifices have been preformed in the name of religion--( using some or all of the examples we just removed) as an excuse to simply kill something?
This meaning that the one doing the sacrifice justifies the act appeasing his/her own innate desire to kill --using a belief in a god demanding such a thing. And if not demanding such a thing, than configuring the killing of a living thing into an act of "worship" to appease such desires.

Does anyone here think there is some inner urge, within "man"---to kill, for no particular reason other than "blood lust"? That he sometimes (throughout history) justices this blood lust using his religions as his means of achieving that objective? using "a god" to sanction the action.
If life is holy, or sacred (and I believe it is)-- then it would certainly be easier for many to kill if they subscribe to the notion that the act of slaying can be an holy and sacred act. (It of course can be, but what truly constitutes a "sacred slaying" beckons an whole other twist that might not necessarily imply sacrifice at all).

I am not saying that this is the overwhelming cause of the sacrifices that have taken place on Earth throughout our stay here, only that it is a notion to be considered when discussing "sacrifice".
Would anyone care to elaborate specifically on these things I've brought up in the context of magickal practice that does not involve the god or gods of any given religion, and how the magician is the "divinity" or god-- willing to sacrifice a living thing by killing it after he himself defines the very purpose for its living; that purpose being to be a worthy candidate for his sacrifice-- according to his will? Is such a concept "Thelemic". And under what circumstances, if any?
Would he/she need to justify an act of sacrifice in order to engage in it--for objectives known only to him/her using traditional methods of thinking or not? Who or what, Wills to kill with no reason or justification? Then it would be the "nature" of such a being to kill? Beast? Man? Both?

If we explore the belief of gods as beings existing outside of-- or other and/or more powerful than ourselves, --than what would prompt them to require sacrifice from us? Does it imply that these gods, if real (define real as you will)--have a blood lust that must be satisfied? And for what purpose? How is it that such a thing would be chosen by such a god as a satisfying method for being worshiped? Or, is it required to "feed" the god in some way?
Would a true god (define true as you will) or a god worthy of worship (be he/she real or not) debase a man by demanding he kill another living entity if it was not a man's original intent or will to do so?

For the sake of analysis, let us pretend that the story of Abraham is true. He was told to sacrifice his own son. If it was not his will to do so, and he nevertheless decided to go with it, and obey his god---then would he not indeed sacrifice something of his self by deciding to kill his son by his
compliance to obey such a dictate, even though he was stayed from the act by his testing god at the last moment. What then did he really sacrifice in place of his son? His own will, or divinity? His dignity?

Yet it appears his "eager" compliance means his will/love was sacrificed long before he was so at the ready to kill his own son.
And metaphorically, let us see son as implying that which is manifested through a willful act of procreation--.meaning he could not see himself as a divine creator (his willingness to sacrifice that power to another{especially over that which he, Abraham created, meaning his own son}to the one he believed created him.
Naturally he could only consider himself "created"--a man, but nevertheless "a creature" quite devoid of that divinity needed to be a realized star.
He had no concept of his son having a will to live, or rights to live. If he did, he was quite about to sacrifice his son's life to carry out the orders of his god. He could not choose to refuse, being that he had no will to defend. If he could be said to possess a will, it was to will what his god willed, or that he willed what his god willed. Which brings us to realize importantly--that his god, was truly outside of himself. He could not say "There is no part of me that is not of the Gods"! Such would be a declaration of an experience of that which he could have no realization of.
A slave cannot will.

Though I can see a God, demanding that man defend himself, or his freedom by sacrificing the enemies of that freedom on the battlefield. That I can understand.

Nor have I forgotten primitive man sacrificing to the gods in order to grow crops etc. But did he belive that if his gods were not appeased/worshiped-- by a sacrifice that the god would curse the crop, or that if he performed the sacrifice the god would bless the crop? Does one really necessitate the other? Sometimes, not always I would think.

So now we bring into the picture the element of fear and loss as a motivation for sacrificing, and this naturally brings up the idea-- that we must sacrifice something to show our love, and/or-- to receive love from another.
And all this does not even begin to dissect the concept of sacrifice in its entirety!

Love is the law, love under will.

Although it has been a while since I read it (and it is rather orthodox) I think the classic study by E. O. James Sacrifice and Sacrament gives an interesting perspective towards many of the questions you have tabled, except that is those relating to Thelema specifically.

bazelek


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1126
 

hawthornrussell,

"hawthornrussell" wrote:
To put in context, if someone is aligned with the 93 current and they are a vessel for Agape/Thelema"

Your idea of Thelema is evidently as some kind of soup.

You seem to be suggesting that Agape is subjective.

So when I used AC's example of love, "such as when hydrogen unites with chlorine", that's somehow subjective? Grrr!

One example of AC talking about HCl:

"Crowley" wrote:
By "love under will" one refers to the fact that the method in every case is love, by which is meant the uniting of opposites [...] such as hydrogen and chlorine
"hawthornrussell" wrote:
i dont believe Agape includes the killing of creatures for indulgent "spiritual" purposes. I dont recognise that killing for ritual purposes could ever be an expression of Agape. [...] Nah dont see it.

OK, fine, that's your opinion; but this is a debate, not a survey of opinions.

"hawthornrussell" wrote:
The second point over the Law is for All. I dont believe i have taken it out of context in the sense of Do What Thou Wilt applies to all things not just humanity.

Again -- belief, opinion.

"hawthornrussell" wrote:
going out of your way to lure, trap and kill a toad just for personal gratification in the hope of getting "spiritual/magickal powers" doesnt meet the consent or choice given under the principle of Do What Thou Wilt

This is one of the more bizarre points you keep making. Where did Aiwass or AC say that we need to get objects to sign a form before we can "do things" to them? Do you realise how ridiculous that is?

"hawthornrussell" wrote:
Thirdly the issue over killing a toad is not a "meaningless question" Ian.

You take me absurdly out of context. Read what I said. What is meaningless is trying to relate the term "Thelemic" to it without any context.

"hawthornrussell" wrote:
And probably one or two of them will read this thread thinking that their bloodlust can be sanctioned under "Thelema". So to me its important that these issues are debated fully so that something like ritual killing doesnt end up motivating a horse mutilator or a cat strangler. I hope you agree with me on this.

As far as I'm concerned, what I'm clearly saying in my posts is that killing toads is neither Thelemic nor un-Thelemic per se, but I agree that some people reading my posts wouldn't understand... ๐Ÿ™„


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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"Aleisterion" wrote:
And - in the third chapter - the cannibalism of verse 11 of chapter 3. And the "miraculous colour" of the Stele. And of course the fresh blood of a child. These literalists are obviously fools.

I like to explain to the literalists that since Crowley didn't fulfill the direct order to rob the Stele from the Boulak, the entire Aeon is aborted.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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"ianrons" wrote:
Hi Rob,

"bazelek" wrote:
Let us say that as part of his discipline this mystic undertakes the sacrifice of a 'lower' life form. If you can see no reason why he shouldn't do it once, then I presume you would have no objection if it became a daily practise? Now pretty soon this chap has run out of toads, so imagine then the neighbours cat goes missing. The neighbour suspects something, calls the RSPCA and our hypothetical mystic gets busted.

All moral issues, of course. But what do you think a mental health professional would say to our enlightened mystic? How do you think it sounds when he is told that the 'consciousness' of these animals is not worth protecting and that 'suffering is not to be guarded against'? Do you think it might qualify as 'bizarre behaviour' and that the professional might feel the individual has 'lost contact with reality' and has 'delusion beliefs'? Is animal sacrifice a normal social functioning? No, of course not. Such behaviour could easily be classed as psychotic.

Of course one can always come up with a hypothetical example that shows psychotic behaviour (killing the Queen's corgis?); but that doesn't make all torturous animal sacrificers psychotic (actually, Mick used the word "psychopath"). Animal testing is still done in this country -- would you say the scientists doing so are all psychopaths? Or doesn't that count? Why not?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopathy#Hare.27s_Checklist

Aside from the example I gave of an exalted mystic who sees beyond suffering, an average human could hardly be labelled a psychopath for sacrificing an animal in a cruel way if they didn't show callousness, and had to deal with remorse, and took responsibility for the death. The toad ritual doesn't imply callousness.

You see, Mick's argument rests on (amongst other things) the assumption that no-one who has ever killed a frog or a toad in that way has ever felt remorse afterwards (not to imply that one would be a psychopath if one didn't feel remorse for "this sort of thing").

However, you can certainly make an argument for psychopathy based on size and frequency of killing -- cruelly despatching larger animals (esp. primates) one a daily basis is clearly more significant than foully having murdered an amoeba at the Christmas party. That said, quite a lot of warfare is cruel and inhuman (e.g., napalm), yet it seems that a good number of people doing it are clearly *not* psychopaths (because of their feelings of guilt, terror, etc., later). The point here, of course, is that society condones warfare, so it's easier for non-psychopaths to engage in it (and I refer back to the Milgram experiment). Killing a toad -- even cruelly -- isn't actually terribly transgressive in our society (as evidenced by the fact that we're talking about it openly), so by the same token I think it impossibly unlikely that everyone engaged in such practices is psychopathic (or even psychotic).

In a similar way, you bring it down to a question of "Is animal sacrifice a normal social functioning?" Are you suggesting that anything that is "abnormal" is "psychotic"? I take a diametrically opposite view; but even if I didn't, cruel killing of animals is quite normal in our society -- lobsters & foxes. That doesn't make it alright, and nor would the absence of such examples condemn it.

Ah, forgive me. Reading back I can see it was you who introduced the term 'psychotic' when commenting on Mick's position and this clearly misled me.

I don't think I have suggested that anything "abnormal" is "psychotic", merely that it seems to be one of the criteria used by professionals in assessing possible cases of psychotic behaviour. I mention it because I feel it has relevance to the way we regard the moral issues discussed in this topic.

You cite many cases that seem to support killing as a non-psychotic behaviour based on society condoning the action. I think this is true, but I might go further. Broadly speaking, society supports any action that is deemed to be for the 'greater good' - by which I mean, to the advantage of all. In this regard, killing living creatures, be they mice or men, is supported if it seems to provide a necessary benefit for us all. What is interesting for me is that as society becomes increasing self aware, 'necessity' itself is coming under greater scrutiny.

There are many examples of this. At one end we see the extraordinary lengths governments have gone to in seeking to persuade us that a war in Iraq is for the 'greater good' - for what does it become if it is not? How does society regard men who start wars for less noble reasons? Equally, we can see how over the last 50 years certain kinds of killing have been brought into question if they are not deemed necessary. The rise of vegetarianism, boycotting of fur goods and fox-hunting bans come to mind. Could you have bought a 'humane' mouse trap 40 years ago? Without doubt, no. You raise animal testing, but has not public opinion changed on this over the last 25 years? Perhaps this reflects a trend of increasing species self-awareness and it raises many interesting questions as to how society develops, how we are connected to each other, and more broadly, to our place in the natural world.

Back to our toad. I think it would be difficult to find support for an argument that suggests an individual inflicting pain, suffering and death on another living creature as a means of personal spiritual enlightenment is doing so for the 'greater good.' Yes, it is possible to construct an abstract argument that seems to support such behaviour, but our society (in a subjective and highly instinctual sense) rejects it. I think if you polled a thousand people in the street the results would clearly show this, regardless of how remorseful the perpetrator might be after his rite.

In my view, cruel animal sacrifice would almost certianly be regarded by society at large as 'abnormal social functioning' and thus, perhaps, psychotic. Of course, labels are not helpful, but I would suggest that societal disapproval actually gives this rite it's power. When you start to construct an argument to validate it, it doesn't amount to much - except of course, for the toad. ๐Ÿ™‚

bazelek


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1126
 
"bazelek" wrote:
Ah, forgive me. Reading back I can see it was you who introduced the term 'psychotic' when commenting on Mick's position and this clearly misled me.

Mea culpa! Thanks for pointing that out.

"bazelek" wrote:
I don't think I have suggested that anything "abnormal" is "psychotic", merely that it seems to be one of the criteria used by professionals in assessing possible cases of psychotic behaviour. I mention it because I feel it has relevance to the way we regard the moral issues discussed in this topic.

You cite many cases that seem to support killing as a non-psychotic behaviour based on society condoning the action. I think this is true, but I might go further. Broadly speaking, society supports any action that is deemed to be for the 'greater good' - by which I mean, to the advantage of all. In this regard, killing living creatures, be they mice or men, is supported if it seems to provide a necessary benefit for us all. What is interesting for me is that as society becomes increasing self aware, 'necessity' itself is coming under greater scrutiny.

There are many examples of this. At one end we see the extraordinary lengths governments have gone to in seeking to persuade us that a war in Iraq is for the 'greater good' - for what does it become if it is not? How does society regard men who start wars for less noble reasons? Equally, we can see how over the last 50 years certain kinds of killing have been brought into question if they are not deemed necessary. The rise of vegetarianism, boycotting of fur goods and fox-hunting bans come to mind. Could you have bought a 'humane' mouse trap 40 years ago? Without doubt, no. You raise animal testing, but has not public opinion changed on this over the last 25 years? Perhaps this reflects a trend of increasing species self-awareness and it raises many interesting questions as to how society develops, how we are connected to each other, and more broadly, to our place in the natural world.

Back to our toad. I think it would be difficult to find support for an argument that suggests an individual inflicting pain, suffering and death on another living creature as a means of personal spiritual enlightenment is doing so for the 'greater good.' Yes, it is possible to construct an abstract argument that seems to support such behaviour, but our society (in a subjective and highly instinctual sense) rejects it. I think if you polled a thousand people in the street the results would clearly show this, regardless of how remorseful the perpetrator might be after his rite.

In my view, cruel animal sacrifice would almost certianly be regarded by society at large as 'abnormal social functioning' and thus, perhaps, psychotic. Of course, labels are not helpful, but I would suggest that societal disapproval actually gives this rite it's power. When you start to construct an argument to validate it, it doesn't amount to much - except of course, for the toad. Smile

I am puzzled by what you say about "abnormality" being a symptom of psychosis. Neither of us are health professionals; but I would nevertheless think it fairly obvious that abnormal behaviour can be symptomatic of many different states of mind, the vast majority of which would not be labelled "psychotic" in a clinical sense (e.g., every member of a minority religion that does "weird" ritual, every creative person). Whilst you seem to appreciate this, nevertheless you don't seem to think this an important criticism, and you don't say why. You therefore veer dangeorously close to a definition of the psychotic as "anyone that does not conform to societal norms". You can probably find support for this if you go back several decades in the field of psychology, but I don't think anyone is going to be sectioned for it today.

You go on to make an argument for psychosis as manifesting in (amongst other things, presumably) actions that have no obvious benefit for society, and seem to argue that society would view toad-sacrifice as psychotic, but don't tell us why the view of "society" should be important in a definition of psychosis. Again, it is dangeorously close to a definition of the psychotic as "anyone that does not conform to societal norms".

I find this a very troubling vision of mental illness; but let me remind you of what I said three pages up in this topic:

The problem here, with this discussion, is that we seem to be starting from within the framework of a civil society, where torturing animals is -- with good reason -- frowned upon at the very least; but I would argue that, taking a broader view, there can be no such presumption that animal sacrifice is always in some sense "wrong".

In other words, I'm trying to consider this from the point of view of individual human behaviour.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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"ianrons" wrote:
"bazelek" wrote:
Ah, forgive me. Reading back I can see it was you who introduced the term 'psychotic' when commenting on Mick's position and this clearly misled me.

Mea culpa! Thanks for pointing that out.

"bazelek" wrote:
I don't think I have suggested that anything "abnormal" is "psychotic", merely that it seems to be one of the criteria used by professionals in assessing possible cases of psychotic behaviour. I mention it because I feel it has relevance to the way we regard the moral issues discussed in this topic.

You cite many cases that seem to support killing as a non-psychotic behaviour based on society condoning the action. I think this is true, but I might go further. Broadly speaking, society supports any action that is deemed to be for the 'greater good' - by which I mean, to the advantage of all. In this regard, killing living creatures, be they mice or men, is supported if it seems to provide a necessary benefit for us all. What is interesting for me is that as society becomes increasing self aware, 'necessity' itself is coming under greater scrutiny.

There are many examples of this. At one end we see the extraordinary lengths governments have gone to in seeking to persuade us that a war in Iraq is for the 'greater good' - for what does it become if it is not? How does society regard men who start wars for less noble reasons? Equally, we can see how over the last 50 years certain kinds of killing have been brought into question if they are not deemed necessary. The rise of vegetarianism, boycotting of fur goods and fox-hunting bans come to mind. Could you have bought a 'humane' mouse trap 40 years ago? Without doubt, no. You raise animal testing, but has not public opinion changed on this over the last 25 years? Perhaps this reflects a trend of increasing species self-awareness and it raises many interesting questions as to how society develops, how we are connected to each other, and more broadly, to our place in the natural world.

Back to our toad. I think it would be difficult to find support for an argument that suggests an individual inflicting pain, suffering and death on another living creature as a means of personal spiritual enlightenment is doing so for the 'greater good.' Yes, it is possible to construct an abstract argument that seems to support such behaviour, but our society (in a subjective and highly instinctual sense) rejects it. I think if you polled a thousand people in the street the results would clearly show this, regardless of how remorseful the perpetrator might be after his rite.

In my view, cruel animal sacrifice would almost certianly be regarded by society at large as 'abnormal social functioning' and thus, perhaps, psychotic. Of course, labels are not helpful, but I would suggest that societal disapproval actually gives this rite it's power. When you start to construct an argument to validate it, it doesn't amount to much - except of course, for the toad. Smile

I am puzzled by what you say about "abnormality" being a symptom of psychosis. Neither of us are health professionals; but I would nevertheless think it fairly obvious that abnormal behaviour can be symptomatic of many different states of mind, the vast majority of which would not be labelled "psychotic" in a clinical sense (e.g., every member of a minority religion that does "weird" ritual, every creative person). Whilst you seem to appreciate this, nevertheless you don't seem to think this an important criticism, and you don't say why. You therefore veer dangeorously close to a definition of the psychotic as "anyone that does not conform to societal norms". You can probably find support for this if you go back several decades in the field of psychology, but I don't think anyone is going to be sectioned for it today.

You go on to make an argument for psychosis as manifesting in (amongst other things, presumably) actions that have no obvious benefit for society, and seem to argue that society would view toad-sacrifice as psychotic, but don't tell us why the view of "society" should be important in a definition of psychosis. Again, it is dangeorously close to a definition of the psychotic as "anyone that does not conform to societal norms".

I find this a very troubling vision of mental illness; but let me remind you of what I said three pages up in this topic:

The problem here, with this discussion, is that we seem to be starting from within the framework of a civil society, where torturing animals is -- with good reason -- frowned upon at the very least; but I would argue that, taking a broader view, there can be no such presumption that animal sacrifice is always in some sense "wrong".

In other words, I'm trying to consider this from the point of view of individual human behaviour.

Thanks for your response Ian.

I agree the definition you cite is a very troubling vision of mental illness, but at no point have I suggested it. What I have tabled is that mental health professionals look for evidence of abnormal behaviour in an individual and then make an assessment. If you can cite a diagnosed psychotic that exhibits entirely normal behaviour, I'd be interested to hear about it.

Fortunately, we delegated responsibility for assessing abnormal behaviours to professionals long ago, but I might observe that one of the key elements in any diagnosis is whether an individual case is, or could become, a threat to society. I am no professional, but I would hope that individuals who torture and kill living animals would not get a gold star. I don't think them protesting they were doing it to get closer to God would help either. It must be difficult to assess the possible threat from such an individual, or indeed, how they may develop, but it is unlikely that those who torture and kill the innocent for obscure personal reasons will be regarded as entirely 'safe' regardless of any possible clinical diagnosis.

I am curious about this 'broader view' you speak of, because it seems an irrelevant theoretical abstraction. Surely every mortal on earth is born into a society? Most of us live our lives surrounded by society. Those that choose the life of a hermit carry within themselves the memories of a society. Can you cite an individual who is not the product of a society? For this reason societal values are important, not just to society as a whole, but to each of us as individuals. Is it therefore possible for an individual to undertake this rite free of the context of his or her societal values? I am fairly sure when Crowley was writing such material he was working within the context of the societal values of his time. It seems to me that to regard this rite beyond societal values is robbing it of the defining context?

bazelek


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Baxian
(@baxian)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 74
 

Hi ianrons
I agree with your point that "there can be no such presumption that animal sacrifice is always in some sense "wrong"."
I doubt "universe" has the same moral patterns(or any for that matter) as another human.

Considering the magical abuse of animals from a individual level- I think that a human being who can empathize with another animal, (not wishing to torture them for any amount of supposed power), has achieved something of a magical awareness of another species, and has moved away from a totally selfish world view (that could be likened to the sometimes biblical view, which suggest that everything in the animal kindom is here for our use-that that is their purpose.) Muck!
I would also suggest that on the individual level the idea "do unto others ..etc" (unless your Darmer ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) is quite useful.
This is not a universal truth, but rather a pragmatic, compassionate individual philosophy. That seems good for society as a whole also.
Seems fair to me.
The Transgressive side of the debate is interesting also. But I think there perhaps should be a point where it stops. Otherwise, why stop at toads why not move onto cats and maybe humans.
For me Transgression is personal and partly for the purpose of challenging conditioning as a magical act of liberation no toads neccessary I find.
Baxian.


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
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Rob,

"bazelek" wrote:
I agree the definition you cite is a very troubling vision of mental illness, but at no point have I suggested it.

Clearly you're implying that this is the "correct" view of psychosis: the accepted professional view, etc. It's an appeal to authority, the validity of which I have questioned. I find it a little unsettling that you now try to distance yourself from that.

suggest, v., "to call to mind by thought or association"

"bazelek" wrote:
What I have tabled is that mental health professionals look for evidence of abnormal behaviour in an individual and then make an assessment.

(I'll give you the benefit of the doubt again in your appeal to authority.) As I've indicated before, abnormal behaviour may well present in every diagnosed case of psychosis, but so is breathing. Abnormality does not prove psychosis (psychosis being an abnormality of mind and not of behaviour). It seems you're not willing to engage with this.

For example, when someone wanders the streets in a dressing gown, they are perhaps psychotic; but it's possible that it could be a perfectly sane person who has chosen quite rationally and with full knowledge of their actions to do something that goes against societal norms. You imply that a health professional couldn't tell the difference.

Furthermore, the law and the medical establishment don't seem to regard every murderer as psychotic (much less a psychopath), and that is clearly more transgressive/abnormal than killing a toad (no matter how cruelly), so I think your citation of "health professionals" is highly misleading. We do have one or two psychologists here on the forum who might be able to clear this up.

"bazelek" wrote:
If you can cite a diagnosed psychotic that exhibits entirely normal behaviour, I'd be interested to hear about it.

Ah, I like it! The way you've turned it around like that... but no, I'm not arguing that psychotics behave normally, nor does my argument depend upon it. ๐Ÿ˜› I'm arguing that the abnormal behaviour of cruelly killing a toad does not prove psychopathy (or even psychosis).

(However, for a laugh, I might point out that psychopaths can apparently be extremely good at fooling people, inc. health professionals, by behaving absolutely normally -- in fact, it's part of the strategy of a successful psychopath; hence psychopath-murderers are often not regarded as dangerous by their neighbours until they're arrested. Of course, psychotics or psychopaths must have done something abnormal for anyone to notice them to diagnose them in the first place, but that's pretty obvious, isn't it? Interestingly, if we can agree that corporations show many of the symptoms of psychopathy, perhaps many corporate executives are actually just really successful undiagnosed psychopaths? It's important to make the distinction between psychosis and psychopathy though.)

"bazelek" wrote:
Fortunately, we delegated responsibility for assessing abnormal behaviours to professionals long ago, but I might observe that one of the key elements in any diagnosis is whether an individual case is, or could become, a threat to society. I am no professional, but I would hope that individuals who torture and kill living animals would not get a gold star. I don't think them protesting they were doing it to get closer to God would help either. It must be difficult to assess the possible threat from such an individual, or indeed, how they may develop, but generally speaking, those that kill for abstract reasons are not regarded kindly.

I note the use of litotes, but I don't accept the inferences. Again, you're putting the cart before the horse: dangerous behaviour may be symptomatic of psychosis, but it's a signpost and not the place. You can cite the rationale behind toad-killing as being unusual (only slightly -- ritual killing is part of mainstream religion), but in a real diagnosis the clinician would ask the subject why they did it, and if they could provide rational answers to justify their actions (e.g., discussing the ritual in the context of the grimoire tradition, etc.) then they would be diagnosed as not psychotic. Suggesting that our ritualist would say they were "doing it to get closer to God" is not only disingenuous but absurd -- no-one using this toad ritual would actually say that, would they? They would say they were doing it to get a girlfriend through sympathetic magic. They might talk about ideas in modern physics. They might even be a scientist or a health professional themselves.

Actually, this is all ridiculous, because killing a toad is so utterly trivial a matter than I doubt very much that anyone who could do a diagnosis would give a damn. Why not go to your doctor and tell him you're worried you might be a psychotic because you want to kill a toad in a ritual? I think you'd just get reassurance that you're not mad. Prove me wrong...

"bazelek" wrote:
I am curious about this 'broader view' you speak of, because I think it an irrelevant theoretical abstraction. Every mortal on earth is born into a society. Most of us live our lives surrounded by society. Those that choose the life of a hermit carry within themselves the memories of a society. Can you cite an individual who is not the product of a society? For this reason societal values are important, not just to society as a whole, but to each of us as individuals. If you can cite an example of a modern society where the ritual torture and execution of living animals is regarded as 'normal' behaviour, I'd be interested to know.

So a defence of behaviour that doesn't fit with societal norms is irrelevant? What a ghastly provincial attitude! I'm afraid I don't agree.

You assert that society finds toad-killing so abnormal that it would be diagnosed as psychotic; but I think the examples you give are highly theoretical and dubious... a hypothetical health professional, a rather unlikely ritualist and a poll of 1000 hypothetical people, who bear little relation to the reality of which I'm aware, as I've explained above. The toad ritual was even re-enacted on Richard & Judy, for goodness sake (though we assume without harming any actual toads)!

However, since we're talking "theoretical abstractions"... as it happens, yes, there is an important example of ritual torture and execution of animals which is seen as normal in the Middle East: kosher/halal slaughter. Draining the blood of an animal whilst still alive is cruel. At least, western society seems to think so, but it is the norm in the Middle East. Anyone who says the animal doesn't suffer is either lying or hasn't seen it done. One has to restrain the animal and cut into the animal, thereby inflicting pain.

I really don't think there are any grounds to say that toad-killers would be diagnosed as psychotic in England. Perhaps someone here can find out from a real health professional?


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 Anonymous
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Ian Rons said ..because killing a toad is so utterly a trivial matter..

.

Ian there is no other way i can say this .. but i find that statement a bit disturbing. Also the fact you seem to be using medical diagnosis to defend it. Whats the difference between the toad and a neighbours cat? Or a dog? Or a horse? You seem to be placing less value on a living creature that has much right to be here has you.

So in the context of your argument Ian you have no quarrel with someone going out to find and kill animals & pets because it is "trivial" in your eyes. Whatever point you were trying to make Ian has been lost in this very very strange debate.


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ianrons
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hawthornrussell,

No, I'm not saying that, as I think you probably realise. I did murder several million amoebas in writing this post, though, so obviously I can't be trusted.


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OKontrair
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Halal slaughter is not cruel, I'm not lying and I have seen it done. The animal is not restrained in any brutal way - they are used to being handled and show no alarm at being rolled over and gently held down. The cut with a sharp knife seems to pass unnoticed - as do cuts to ourselves, with for instance a hobby knife, and which we only notice later when we see the blood. The creatures concerned quietly lose conciousness. Happy children gather round and help by catching the blood in a bowl. This is a normal everyday scene in probably a sixth of the world. This was done on my doorstep in Libya and the meat (goat) was amongst the best I've tasted despite the preferred diet of that particular animal being discarded cement bags.

Last year I ate some dog in Vietnam. I didn't choose it and I only deduced what it was when my companions repeatedly looked at me, laughed and asked how I liked it. It was nothing special to taste although I couldn't resist horrifying some English people who asked me with "Well, it's a bit like cat."

On the subject of cats, especially one's neighbour's. Anyone who shoots their neighbour's cat is saving thereby countless song-birds, mice and even frogs and toads. Even if the furry monster is exclusively fed indoors you would be saving fish, chicken and rabbit. It's almost cruel not to.

Still, the general consensus of this thread is that sacrifice is widely disapproved of and seldom practised hereabouts. Therefore what we are talking about is what other people do (which is none of our business), what we think other people do (which is coloured by our own prior attitudes) or what other people say they do (quite possibly fantasy or bombast).

Personally I do not sacrifice, torture or harm animals of any sort, nor kill my own food so I'm as unqualified as any one else. However any one who does must do so because they think that it is necessary - otherwise it could not count as sacrifice and would have to be something else. That makes it a matter of judgement and that judgement is theirs not ours.

OK


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ianrons
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Halal slaughter is not cruel, I'm not lying and I have seen it done

Well... it was the struggling of the animal that told me it didn't like it much. The link I gave has an interesting comment about "ballooning". I noticed myself that very little blood seems to drain, but I didn't know that this can mean the animal is still conscious for quite some time after the incision is made (i.e., after the butcher starts treating it as if it were dead). It's especially difficult in mass-production environments, it seems, and there are less painful methods that aren't used, so the comparison is a good one I think.


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OKontrair
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I did not look at the link until now. It seems someone there has an axe to grind. When it's nice and sharp thing will go much better. My goat yielded about half a washing-up bowl.

OK


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 Anonymous
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Golly, I am sitting here wondering if I shouldn't be doing something more creative, but hell, having come this far... ๐Ÿ˜‰

"ianrons" wrote:
Clearly you're implying that this is the "correct" view of psychosis: the accepted professional view, etc. It's an appeal to authority, the validity of which I have questioned. I find it a little unsettling that you now try to distance yourself from that.

Apologies if it wasn't clear, but I was implying that a professional view is the way society assesses these matters.

"ianrons" wrote:
Abnormality does not prove psychosis (psychosis being an abnormality of mind and not of behaviour). It seems you're not willing to engage with this.

I don't think I have ever said this.

"ianrons" wrote:
You imply that a health professional couldn't tell the difference.

Did I? I thought I said health professionals would undertake an assessment?

"ianrons" wrote:
Furthermore, the law and the medical establishment don't seem to regard every murderer as psychotic (much less a psychopath), and that is clearly more transgressive/abnormal than killing a toad (no matter how cruelly), so I think your citation of "health professionals" is highly misleading. We do have one or two psychologists here on the forum who might be able to clear this up.

I agree not all murders are psychotic, but we are discussing ritual torture and murder. I think that might be regarded slightly differently. Fred West springs to mind.

"ianrons" wrote:
Suggesting that our ritualist would say they were "doing it to get closer to God" is not only disingenuous but absurd -- no-one using this toad ritual would actually say that, would they? They would say they were doing it to get a girlfriend through sympathetic magic.

Oh Ian, my humour is lost on you: for some of us women are God...

"ianrons" wrote:
So a defence of behaviour that doesn't fit with societal norms is irrelevant? What a ghastly provincial attitude! I'm afraid I don't agree.

Forgive me, but I am not saying that. I am, however, suggesting you might have made a better job of it... ๐Ÿ™‚

"ianrons" wrote:
You assert that society finds toad-killing so abnormal that it would be diagnosed as psychotic; but I think the examples you give are highly theoretical and dubious... a hypothetical health professional, a rather unlikely ritualist and a poll of 1000 hypothetical people, who bear little relation to the reality of which I'm aware, as I've explained above. The toad ritual was even re-enacted on Richard & Judy, for goodness sake (though we assume without harming any actual toads)!

Again, forgive me if the use of hypothetical examples doesn't find favour, but actually I was following your lead.

"ianrons" wrote:
However, since we're talking "theoretical abstractions"... as it happens, yes, there is an important example of ritual torture and execution of animals which is seen as normal in the Middle East: kosher/halal slaughter. Draining the blood of an animal whilst still alive is cruel. At least, western society seems to think so, but it is the norm in the Middle East. Anyone who says the animal doesn't suffer is either lying or hasn't seen it done. One has to restrain the animal and cut into the animal, thereby inflicting pain.

Thanks for this. It's an excellent example of my proposition that killing is acceptable when seen as necessary benefit to society. I can't see it supports your position at all.

"ianrons" wrote:
I really don't think there are any grounds to say that toad-killers would be diagnosed as psychotic in England. Perhaps someone here can find out from a real health professional?

Oooh, is this an appeal to authority? Just checking... ๐Ÿ™‚

Of course, the real danger with this line of thinking is the notion that perhaps Crowley was psychotic? God forbid anyone would suggest that! Heresy, heresy!! I might observe though, that certain segments of society certainly regarded him as a danger...

bazelek


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 Anonymous
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"ianrons" wrote:
perhaps many corporate executives are actually just really successful undiagnosed psychopaths?

It is my understanding that studies relating to this have been done and that a full 1% (yes, a huge number) of the population fit the medical definition of 'psychopath'. That is, they are functionally unable to empathise with others. However, almost all of these individuals learn to fake empathic behaviour for social expediency and there seems to be some evidence for their being actually more successful because of their ability to be ruthless. Very very few of them become classical 'psychopaths' who injure others for pleasure.

(I haven't time to chase up the full primary studies, but a good google search on "psychopath" and "general population" will give you loads of material).

John


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 Anonymous
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You seem to be placing less value on a living creature that has much right to be here has you

Not to be a smart aleck, but how much "right" is that ?

People are punished by the state for killing a person not because it's "wrong", but because through social contract, nobody wanting live in a state where people kill each other, the state reacts. Societies may have come up with religious or ethical reasons why this is so, but it is truly because it is detrimental to the order of things.

If I go hiking in the woods, and get attacked by a wild boar and die (this has actually happened to me, minus the dying) Nobody is going to say that it was wasn't "right" that I died, people would say that it was unfortunate (depending which people you ask):wink:.


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ianrons
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Rob,

I don't intend to go over what you implied but did not say (rather like what you previously "tabled" but did not "suggest"). It's not a very serious form of debate. I've solely been interested in defending the view that toad-killing is not necessarily psychotic or psychopathic. You've been trying to imply that society would always regard it as psychotic, without actually saying it definitely. However, you agree that murder is not necessarily psychotic:

"bazelek" wrote:
I agree not all murders are psychotic, but we are discussing ritual torture and murder. I think that might be regarded slightly differently. Fred West springs to mind.

So toad-killing could easily be regarded as psychotic (read "always is"), but murder isn't? And no, we're not discussing "ritual torture and murder", we're discussing cruelly but legally killing a toad. There's still a difference between "murder" and killing an animal.

The implication, which ought to scream out loud and clear to every rational observer, is that if murder is not necessarily regarded by these "health professionals" as psychotic, neither is something as trivial as toad-killing. I don't believe you had a straight face when you suggested, tabled, and implied (but not said!) that putting a toad in a sealed box (gasp!) would be regarded by a psychologist as akin to the crimes of Fred West. You're clearly enjoying this debate too much to want it to end...

"bazelek" wrote:
Thanks for this. It's an excellent example of my proposition that killing is acceptable when seen as necessary benefit to society. I can't see it supports your position at all.

Except, my dear boy, that halal killing is a good example of non-psychotic people who ritually kill animals in cruel and unusual ways. An example you clearly didn't think existed...


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OKontrair
(@okontrair)
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There is a world of difference between cruel and callous and something cannot be unusual if it is also a custom. Fred West was never convicted, except by the press. His guilt, let alone his mental state, remains supposition. Other than that I agree.

I wonder if Crowley knew the essay by T H Huxley 'Has a Frog a soul?' It's hilarious and, in case you can't find it, the answer's 0 or 2.

OK


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ianrons
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"OKontrair" wrote:
There is a world of difference between cruel and callous and something cannot be unusual if it is also a custom.

Re: "cruel and unusual", I was making a flippant reference to an absurd definition.


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OKontrair
(@okontrair)
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I know. They denied a guy a last cigarette on health and safety grounds. They are thinking of shooting people with lead-free bullets to help the environment. Meanwhile there's a war on and every time I leave the bathroom light on someone drowns far away.

So sometimes I play.


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 Anonymous
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Hey Ian,

"ianrons" wrote:
I've solely been interested in defending the view that toad-killing is not necessarily psychotic or psychopathic. You've been trying to imply that society would always regard it as psychotic, without actually saying it definitely.

Actually, I have never said (or implied, suggested or tabled) that toad killing is necessarily psychotic. Please read my posts carefully.

What I have said is this:

1. I think that the majority of Western society would regard 'torturous animal sacrifice' as abnormal behaviour.

2. Torturous animal sacrifice as an abnormal behaviour could perhaps be regarded as psychotic, but I have never said all abnormal behaviour is symptomatic of psychosis.

3. I have always maintained that such a diagnosis should only be made by a mental health professional.

These points I have made repeatedly, in various ways, in response to your criticisms, but I have never waivered.

Yes, I have had a lot of fun, but I regret we have focused on something that you have implied from what I have written, because if you read my posts again you will see I have tried to bring more profound topics into the discussion, and perhaps also some humour.

Ah yes, Fred West, the notorious serial killer who tortured his victims and buried them under his house. Did you know he started as a poacher before moving on to work in a slaughterhouse? Now, I might be implying something there... ๐Ÿ˜‰

bazelek

"ianrons" wrote:
Except, my dear boy, that halal killing is a good example of non-psychotic people who ritually kill animals in cruel and unusual ways. An example you clearly didn't think existed...

Oh, I wouldn't presume... what about bull-fighting? I actually deleted that part of my previous post because I didn't think it added anything of value to the debate. All examples I could think of were deemed for the 'benefit of the society' in some regard.


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
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Rob,

"ianrons" wrote:
I've solely been interested in defending the view that toad-killing is not necessarily psychotic or psychopathic. You've been trying to imply that society would always regard it as psychotic, without actually saying it definitely.
"bazelek" wrote:
Please read my posts carefully.

In your posts, the act of cruel sacrifice is always seen in a bad light vis-a-vis psychosis, although you admit the perpetrator might get "off the hook", as it were.

"bazelek" wrote:
But what do you think a mental health professional would say to our enlightened mystic?

...in the tone of a disapproving elder...

"bazelek" wrote:
Do you think it might qualify as 'bizarre behaviour' and that the professional might feel the individual has 'lost contact with reality' and has 'delusion beliefs'?

...satirically...

"bazelek" wrote:
Such behaviour could easily be classed as psychotic.

...so it's easily within the bounds of psychotic behaviour, but not "always" psychotic? To coin your phrase, you "didn't say that". You only implied it...

(You might wish to quote back a comment you made about "society at large", but I'm talking about that society where clinical diagnosis is delegated to professionals. I'm not trying to argue you implied all taxi drivers think it's psychotic behaviour.)

In other words, toad killing is presented, in your clinical diagnosis of psychosis, always in a negative light; or, put simply, for you it's always evidence of psychosis; hence, ultimately, you're implying that toad killing is psychotic by society's values (though you do admit a person wouldn't necessarily be diagnosed as psychotic on that alone).

This becomes a more personal matter here, though the use of litotes:

"bazelek" wrote:
I am no professional, but I would hope that individuals who torture and kill living animals would not get a gold star [in diagnosis].

Sure, you didn't actually say you think it's psychotic behaviour, but you clearly imply it. So you're not being entirely fair when you say "I have never said (or implied, suggested or tabled) that toad killing is necessarily psychotic". Your hypothetical society may not condemn the person doing it, but you do condemn the act.

It's perfectly possible to compose an utterly vitriolic speech about a thing but use rhetorical devices to avoid being "caught out" by making any positive statements that can be definitely identified. I believe the BNP have gotten quite good at this, and of course the Labour Party have realised that popularity can best be maintained by making as few definite statements as possible. It is, however, a very tiresome thing to try to use that in intelligent debate.

Let's take a look at the few positive statements you claim to have made:

"bazelek" wrote:
What I have said is this:

1. I think that the majority of Western society would regard 'torturous animal sacrifice' as abnormal behaviour.

I don't think anyone on this thread has suggested otherwise.

"bazelek" wrote:
2. Torturous animal sacrifice as an abnormal behaviour could perhaps be regarded as psychotic, but I have never said all abnormal behaviour is symptomatic of psychosis.

I don't believe I claimed you did say "all abnormal behaviour is symptomatic of psychosis", did I? I know you've certainly implied that I have, but it's just not true. You have, certainly, implied that torturous animal sacrifice should be regarded as psychotic, which is where we differ. This is how it came up:

"ianrons" wrote:
Of course one can always come up with a hypothetical example that shows psychotic behaviour (killing the Queen's corgis?); but that doesn't make all torturous animal sacrificers psychotic

To which you replied by saying:

"bazelek" wrote:
However, I don't think I have suggested that anything "abnormal" is "psychotic", merely that it seems to be one of the criteria used by professionals in assessing possible cases of psychotic behaviour.

You see the problem? You're misrepresenting what I said to make it sound like I'm not being careful, whilst ignoring the point I'm making. And as for your statement that abnormality is a criterion in diagnosis, it's fair enough as far as it goes, but what I have argued is that it goes nowhere. I dispute the line of reasoning which implies that societal norms are a kind of ultimate reality, and I also dispute the value in this debate of relying upon societal norms as a gauge of sane conduct, since it begs the very question.

Furthermore, I would argue that the problem inherent in diagnosing psychosis through evidence of deviation from societal norms is apparently recognised as a problem within the profession itself (see the Wikipedia article, for instance); but you have avoided engaging with this criticism yourself, saying that whilst you agree it's a "troubling vision" of mental illness, you nevertheless "haven't suggested it" (though see your point 3, where you apparently do suggest it). You're happily propounding this government-standard model of psychosis, whilst being unwilling to engage with any criticism of it.

Let's see this again:

"ianrons" wrote:
Abnormality does not prove psychosis (psychosis being an abnormality of mind and not of behaviour). It seems you're not willing to engage with this.
"bazelek" wrote:
I don't think I have ever said this.

You see the problem again? I wasn't saying you had said abnormality proves psychosis, but this was a way for you to avoid engaging. However, abnormality as proof of psychosis is implicit in your appeal to government psychologist authority coupled with your frequent stressing of the importance of "abnormal" behaviour. One half of your argument (abnormality) doesn't connect with the other half (psychosis), and in some ways you seem to realise this, but you don't seem to appreciate it has critical import. For you, what the government says about psychosis, goes. I'm asking you to seriously engage with this point, as it relates to my mystic and so forth; but all you do is dismiss it as an "irrelevant theoretical abstraction". There is doubtless scads of literature discussing that question. Our time would better be spent reading it than debating about it from a position of ignorance, I think.

"bazelek" wrote:
3. I have always maintained that such a diagnosis should only be made by a mental health professional.

You do seem to support this view, though a little vaguely, since of course you've actually tried to distance yourself from approving of the method of diagnosis reliant on deviation from societal norms (as quoted above). You can't have it both ways. Let's look at the exchange that happened when I tried to pin you down on this:

"ianrons" wrote:
it is dangeorously close to a definition of the psychotic as "anyone that does not conform to societal norms".
"bazelek" wrote:
I agree the definition you cite is a very troubling vision of mental illness, but at no point have I suggested it. What I have tabled is that mental health professionals look for evidence of abnormal behaviour in an individual [...]
"ianrons" wrote:
Clearly you're implying that this is the "correct" view of psychosis: the accepted professional view, etc. It's an appeal to authority, the validity of which I have questioned. I find it a little unsettling that you now try to distance yourself from that.

(my emphasis)

"bazelek" wrote:
Apologies if it wasn't clear, but I was implying that a professional view is the way society assesses these matters.

... which just goes nowhere.

What you have plainly done is appeal to an authority figure whom you believe supports your view of animal sacrifice, whilst ignoring any evidence to suggest that this figure might not be too reliable (or might have doubts) by trying to distance yourself from the silliness inherent in that authority figure. The fact that you're now trying to say that you believe society should use the method of "diagnosis by abnormality" is evidence either that you believe in things that you also believe to be wrong ("troubling vision"), or that you're about to say that you never said any of this. I wonder which.

"bazelek" wrote:
These points I have made repeatedly, in various ways, in response to your criticisms, but I have never waivered.

Apart from point (3), I agree with that. You have repeatedly asserted your points in response to my criticisms; but you haven't engaged with the criticisms. That would distract from putting forward your hypothesis that Crowley was psychotic, which you base on societal values:

"bazelek" wrote:
I am fairly sure when Crowley was writing such material he was working within the context of the societal values of his time. It seems to me that to regard this rite beyond societal values is robbing it of the defining context?

You wouldn't want us to assess it outside of the societal context of Edwardian England, I suppose, because you believe you can argue on those grounds that he was psychotic. Of course, my defence of animal sacrifice by showing the schizophrenia of society and its values is an "irrelevant hypothetical abstraction". Societal values! Societal values! Atten-shun!

"bazelek" wrote:
Of course, the real danger with this line of thinking is the notion that perhaps Crowley was psychotic? God forbid anyone would suggest that! Heresy, heresy!! I might observe though, that certain segments of society certainly regarded him as a danger...

But haven't you "always maintained that such a diagnosis should only be made by a mental health professional"? The idea that Crowley was psychotic is hardly original. Might I refer you to the Fine Madness Society's recent edition of "Seer or Psycho", as advertised on national television?

"bazelek" wrote:
When it comes to the sacrifice of living creatures I feel this kind of approach is better interpreted as a metaphor for personal transgression and should not be taken literally. Andrew Chumbley knew this [...]

Of course, Andrew Chumbley never sacrificed anything... or what was that toad bone I saw in the envelope? Far be it from me to suggest you have your own agenda (heresy! squeak?)...

"bazelek" wrote:
Yes, I have had a lot of fun, but I regret we have focused on something that you have implied from what I have written, because if you read my posts again you will see I have tried to bring more profound topics into the discussion, and perhaps also some humour.

Well, I don't know how profound Crowley-bashing is, or taking a philosophical debate about moral values and bringing in Inspector Knacker ("m'lud, the court does not recognise the existence of the categorical imperative!"). You took my lovely mystic and made him a cat thief. And your argument about society approving of stuff that seems to be, erm, beneficial to society? Yes, society would do that, wouldn't it? I didn't engage with that because I thought it would be impolite to draw attention to the fact that to all intents and purposes it's a tautology.

I confess I did miss the God joke, though.

My point remains: A person who sacrifices an animal for a ritual purpose, even when causing pain to the animal in the process, is not necessarily psychopathic (or even psychotic).


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 Anonymous
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"ianrons" wrote:
Rob,

"ianrons" wrote:
I've solely been interested in defending the view that toad-killing is not necessarily psychotic or psychopathic. You've been trying to imply that society would always regard it as psychotic, without actually saying it definitely.
"bazelek" wrote:
Please read my posts carefully.

In your posts, the act of cruel sacrifice is always seen in a bad light vis-a-vis psychosis, although you admit the perpetrator might get "off the hook", as it were.

"bazelek" wrote:
But what do you think a mental health professional would say to our enlightened mystic?

...in the tone of a disapproving elder...

"bazelek" wrote:
Do you think it might qualify as 'bizarre behaviour' and that the professional might feel the individual has 'lost contact with reality' and has 'delusion beliefs'?

...satirically...

"bazelek" wrote:
Such behaviour could easily be classed as psychotic.

...so it's easily within the bounds of psychotic behaviour, but not "always" psychotic? To coin your phrase, you "didn't say that". You only implied it...

(You might wish to quote back a comment you made about "society at large", but I'm talking about that society where clinical diagnosis is delegated to professionals. I'm not trying to argue you implied all taxi drivers think it's psychotic behaviour.)

In other words, toad killing is presented, in your clinical diagnosis of psychosis, always in a negative light; or, put simply, for you it's always evidence of psychosis; hence, ultimately, you're implying that toad killing is psychotic by society's values (though you do admit a person wouldn't necessarily be diagnosed as psychotic on that alone).

This becomes a more personal matter here, though the use of litotes:

"bazelek" wrote:
I am no professional, but I would hope that individuals who torture and kill living animals would not get a gold star [in diagnosis].

Sure, you didn't actually say you think it's psychotic behaviour, but you clearly imply it. So you're not being entirely fair when you say "I have never said (or implied, suggested or tabled) that toad killing is necessarily psychotic". Your hypothetical society may not condemn the person doing it, but you do condemn the act.

It's perfectly possible to compose an utterly vitriolic speech about a thing but use rhetorical devices to avoid being "caught out" by making any positive statements that can be definitely identified. I believe the BNP have gotten quite good at this, and of course the Labour Party have realised that popularity can best be maintained by making as few definite statements as possible. It is, however, a very tiresome thing to try to use that in intelligent debate.

Let's take a look at the few positive statements you claim to have made:

"bazelek" wrote:
What I have said is this:

1. I think that the majority of Western society would regard 'torturous animal sacrifice' as abnormal behaviour.

I don't think anyone on this thread has suggested otherwise.

"bazelek" wrote:
2. Torturous animal sacrifice as an abnormal behaviour could perhaps be regarded as psychotic, but I have never said all abnormal behaviour is symptomatic of psychosis.

I don't believe I claimed you did say "all abnormal behaviour is symptomatic of psychosis", did I? I know you've certainly implied that I have, but it's just not true. You have, certainly, implied that torturous animal sacrifice should be regarded as psychotic, which is where we differ. This is how it came up:

"ianrons" wrote:
Of course one can always come up with a hypothetical example that shows psychotic behaviour (killing the Queen's corgis?); but that doesn't make all torturous animal sacrificers psychotic

To which you replied by saying:

"bazelek" wrote:
However, I don't think I have suggested that anything "abnormal" is "psychotic", merely that it seems to be one of the criteria used by professionals in assessing possible cases of psychotic behaviour.

You see the problem? You're misrepresenting what I said to make it sound like I'm not being careful, whilst ignoring the point I'm making. And as for your statement that abnormality is a criterion in diagnosis, it's fair enough as far as it goes, but what I have argued is that it goes nowhere. I dispute the line of reasoning which implies that societal norms are a kind of ultimate reality, and I also dispute the value in this debate of relying upon societal norms as a gauge of sane conduct, since it begs the very question.

Furthermore, I would argue that the problem inherent in diagnosing psychosis through evidence of deviation from societal norms is apparently recognised as a problem within the profession itself (see the Wikipedia article, for instance); but you have avoided engaging with this criticism yourself, saying that whilst you agree it's a "troubling vision" of mental illness, you nevertheless "haven't suggested it" (though see your point 3, where you apparently do suggest it). You're happily propounding this government-standard model of psychosis, whilst being unwilling to engage with any criticism of it.

Let's see this again:

"ianrons" wrote:
Abnormality does not prove psychosis (psychosis being an abnormality of mind and not of behaviour). It seems you're not willing to engage with this.
"bazelek" wrote:
I don't think I have ever said this.

You see the problem again? I wasn't saying you had said abnormality proves psychosis, but this was a way for you to avoid engaging. However, abnormality as proof of psychosis is implicit in your appeal to government psychologist authority coupled with your frequent stressing of the importance of "abnormal" behaviour. One half of your argument (abnormality) doesn't connect with the other half (psychosis), and in some ways you seem to realise this, but you don't seem to appreciate it has critical import. For you, what the government says about psychosis, goes. I'm asking you to seriously engage with this point, as it relates to my mystic and so forth; but all you do is dismiss it as an "irrelevant theoretical abstraction". There is doubtless scads of literature discussing that question. Our time would better be spent reading it than debating about it from a position of ignorance, I think.

"bazelek" wrote:
3. I have always maintained that such a diagnosis should only be made by a mental health professional.

You do seem to support this view, though a little vaguely, since of course you've actually tried to distance yourself from approving of the method of diagnosis reliant on deviation from societal norms (as quoted above). You can't have it both ways. Let's look at the exchange that happened when I tried to pin you down on this:

"ianrons" wrote:
it is dangeorously close to a definition of the psychotic as "anyone that does not conform to societal norms".
"bazelek" wrote:
I agree the definition you cite is a very troubling vision of mental illness, but at no point have I suggested it. What I have tabled is that mental health professionals look for evidence of abnormal behaviour in an individual [...]
"ianrons" wrote:
Clearly you're implying that this is the "correct" view of psychosis: the accepted professional view, etc. It's an appeal to authority, the validity of which I have questioned. I find it a little unsettling that you now try to distance yourself from that.

(my emphasis)

"bazelek" wrote:
Apologies if it wasn't clear, but I was implying that a professional view is the way society assesses these matters.

... which just goes nowhere.

What you have plainly done is appeal to an authority figure whom you believe supports your view of animal sacrifice, whilst ignoring any evidence to suggest that this figure might not be too reliable (or might have doubts) by trying to distance yourself from the silliness inherent in that authority figure. The fact that you're now trying to say that you believe society should use the method of "diagnosis by abnormality" is evidence either that you believe in things that you also believe to be wrong ("troubling vision"), or that you're about to say that you never said any of this. I wonder which.

"bazelek" wrote:
These points I have made repeatedly, in various ways, in response to your criticisms, but I have never waivered.

Apart from point (3), I agree with that. You have repeatedly asserted your points in response to my criticisms; but you haven't engaged with the criticisms. That would distract from putting forward your hypothesis that Crowley was psychotic, which you base on societal values:

"bazelek" wrote:
I am fairly sure when Crowley was writing such material he was working within the context of the societal values of his time. It seems to me that to regard this rite beyond societal values is robbing it of the defining context?

You wouldn't want us to assess it outside of the societal context of Edwardian England, I suppose, because you believe you can argue on those grounds that he was psychotic. Of course, my defence of animal sacrifice by showing the schizophrenia of society and its values is an "irrelevant hypothetical abstraction". Societal values! Societal values! Atten-shun!

"bazelek" wrote:
Of course, the real danger with this line of thinking is the notion that perhaps Crowley was psychotic? God forbid anyone would suggest that! Heresy, heresy!! I might observe though, that certain segments of society certainly regarded him as a danger...

But haven't you "always maintained that such a diagnosis should only be made by a mental health professional"? The idea that Crowley was psychotic is hardly original. Might I refer you to the Fine Madness Society's recent edition of "Seer or Psycho", as advertised on national television?

"bazelek" wrote:
When it comes to the sacrifice of living creatures I feel this kind of approach is better interpreted as a metaphor for personal transgression and should not be taken literally. Andrew Chumbley knew this [...]

Of course, Andrew Chumbley never sacrificed anything... or what was that toad bone I saw in the envelope? Far be it from me to suggest you have your own agenda (heresy! squeak?)...

"bazelek" wrote:
Yes, I have had a lot of fun, but I regret we have focused on something that you have implied from what I have written, because if you read my posts again you will see I have tried to bring more profound topics into the discussion, and perhaps also some humour.

Well, I don't know how profound Crowley-bashing is, or taking a philosophical debate about moral values and bringing in Inspector Knacker ("m'lud, the court does not recognise the existence of the categorical imperative!"). You took my lovely mystic and made him a cat thief. And your argument about society approving of stuff that seems to be, erm, beneficial to society? Yes, society would do that, wouldn't it? I didn't engage with that because I thought it would be impolite to draw attention to the fact that to all intents and purposes it's a tautology.

I confess I did miss the God joke, though.

My point remains: A person who sacrifices an animal for a ritual purpose, even when causing pain to the animal in the process, is not necessarily psychopathic (or even psychotic).

Ah Ian, that is the difference between you and I. You are a dog with an old bone and I am a dog with a squeaky toy... ๐Ÿ˜‰

Seriously though, I am reluctant to respond in detail to this post because fundamentally I like you and we have many friends in common.

There is, however, just one thing I cannot resist.

"ianrons" wrote:
It's perfectly possible to compose an utterly vitriolic speech about a thing but use rhetorical devices to avoid being "caught out" by making any positive statements that can be definitely identified. I believe the BNP have gotten quite good at this, and of course the Labour Party have realised that popularity can best be maintained by making as few definite statements as possible. It is, however, a very tiresome thing to try to use that in intelligent debate.

When you suggest (v. "to call to mind by thought or association") that I use a form of rhetoric employed by the British neo-Nazi movement it does seem that you are implying my position in this debate has something in common with extreme right wing views. Of course, you never make any โ€˜positive statementโ€™ that I am a neo-Nazi because that would veer dangerously over forum guidelines, but I must say, I found the irony of your comment absolutely hilarious!

After contributing to this genre for more than 20 years I donโ€™t think my reputation needs defending, but it is quite possible that friends and people who know me well are reading this post slack-jawed, wondering how such a viewpoint can have any basis in reality. I will make no comment on that, but if you feel your position has been distorted by an argument based on supposition, then welcome my friend!

bazelek


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
 

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

Dear 'fans' of this topic,

if someone is interested to see the so-called 'torturous animal sacrifice' open the 'Galeries - Miscellanea' (on page 1).

Pain in my eyes still prevent me to write convenient/adequate/proper answers but... maybe 'tomorrow'...

Anyway, the 'ritual' was performed at given date on photo (7.6.1998e.v.), 'URH' is the name in slovenian laguage for this species of frogs (URH as HRU the Great Angel set over the operation of TARO working, Mercurial nature?).

We were three operators: each one rapresented 'one school of Magic' - black, white and yellow: three Magi for adoration of 'historical' Jesus of Nazaret (we were all initiated in Aleister Crowley 'magickal Order'). As rapresentant of 'yellow school of Magic' I performed the 'ritual killing' of 'Jezus of Nazaret' (historical perversion of Christ).

Today (ten years after) our 'trio' is still alive and well without any remorse for what we done.

I will post all technical and ethical questions/answers... tomorrow...

"Love is the law, love under will."

Best wishes and best regards,

Apostates.


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Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 4132
Topic starter  
"APOSTATES" wrote:
Today (ten years after) our 'trio' is still alive and well without any remorse for what we done.

Why doesn't that surprise me, I wonder?


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
 

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

Dear mr. Staley,

as I already pointed out to you in a 'private message' you did start this topic: as I already indicated: with a 'little help' of 'moderator' (I saw the beginning of topic before sending you a message...).

'Moderator wrote:
[Moderator note: This post was originally part of the Andrew Chumbley topic, here.]

You quoted:
"Pierce a metal pot with a number of holes, put a live frog into it and seal the top, then bury it at a crossroads under an ants nest for 9 days."

Mr. Staley wrote:
"I know it's somewhat off-topic. but I loathe sadistic acts like this, and I think that people who engage in them are psychopaths."

So in my view you are responsable for the rest of topic becouse you did not protested when someone else started 'new topic' in your name.

And now I am really interested to read your opinion about mr. Crowley's "Liber LXX" (and in my opinion there is big difference between "Stauros Batrachou" ritual and 'cunning's people' doing...).

Please, do it without any remorse for my (momentarily) 'painfull eyes'.

"Law is the law, love under will."

With anticipated pleasure to read your answer,
best wishes and regards,
Apostates.


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1126
 

Apostates,

It was my decision to split a previous topic into this one, starting with Mick's comment, which I found provocative enough to want to comment upon. I don't think Mick is responsible for what other people say about it.

Also, I don't think you'll get much out of MIck vis-a-vis rational argument. I've already tried, but I get the impression he feels that killing animals in this way cannot be justified on rational grounds, and it probably won't help to wind him up! But seriously... let's not get too confrontational.

I would be interested to hear your experiences of doing this ritual, as I think would many other people here.


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Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 4132
Topic starter  

I thought I'd already made plain my view that Crowley's torture of an amphibian was revolting; if not, I have now. I've no wish to go into the ins and outs of the ritual.

As I made clear in our exchange of PMs, and as you made clear in your post above, the splitting of the thread was done by Ian. This is because the thread had deviated so much from the its original subject. It was a sound decision: why should I have protested? As a moderator it's Ian's job to take such decisions.

Shame about your eyes. Let's hope it's not the amphibian striking back, eh?

๐Ÿ˜ฏ


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Palamedes
(@palamedes)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 450
 

I might be wrong, but it appears to me that there are two issues debated here that are not necessarily related. My understanding is that Michael, in both his initial and above post, objects against the torture of animals for ritual purposes. Many respondents are engaging in the discussion of the morality involved in the killing of other creatures, principally animals. Now, as far as the latter is concerned, although my personal preference is against killing, on the one hand it is impossible to totally evade it (life feeds on life), while on the other hand, there are major religious traditions where the ritual sacrifice of an animal is an established practice. For example, one of the two most important festivals in Islam is Eid ul-Adha (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eid_ul-Adha under 'Traditions and Practices'). Let me quote from the Wiki article: "Muslims who can afford to do so sacrifice their best domestic animals (usually sheep, but also camels, cows, and goats) as a symbol of Ibrahim's (Abraham's) sacrifice." Similarly in Judaism, part of the kosher observances includes the ritual slaughter of an animal. The list could go on and on. On the other hand, if the intention is to focus on the ethical dimension involved in the torture of an animal in the context of ritual (and this thread is about 'torturous animal sacrifice'), it is a rather different issue. In that sense, I would concur with Michael's stance. Not because I think that this reflects some universal moral code, but because this is how I understand what is ethical for me.


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lashtal
(@lashtal)
Owner and Editor Admin
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5330
 

Moderator's Note

I have received a number of complaints by email about both this thread and the "Stauros Batrachou" image that was placed in the Galleries. Several members appear to be genuinely distressed by some of the posts - to the extent of threatening to report the site to the UK agency responsible for the enforcement of animal welfare legislation. As I've noted several times previously, LAShTAL.COM has no legal fund to combat such an action.

As owner and editor, I personally find it difficult to understand the fascination that some hold for the moral ambiguities of such activities. As a long-time supporter of animal welfare charities, my own opinions would not be impartial.

I have therefore taken the rare step of bowing to pressure - removing the photograph and locking this thread. Some will doubtless complain that I am censoring the free discussion of these issues, and they'd be right...

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


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