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Azidonis
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20/11/2011 5:31 pm  
"linda93" wrote:
I think I am agreeing with you. As I understand it, once intuition or divine inspiration is processed by the objective mind there is bound to be breakdown due to the illusion ego.

Not necessarily.


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the_real_simon_iff
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20/11/2011 9:38 pm  
"gurugeorge" wrote:
OTOH, maybe the evidence, for Crowley, of all the mumbo-jumbo stuff was strong enough to make it reasonable for him to believe in it.

93, gurugeorge!

That is exactly my point. In the end it is totally irrelevant if the super-natural "really" "exists" in the way Los defines "existence" or "reality". My point is that a) Crowley really believed in it - he might have been quite ambivalent about angels (of the Holy Guardian kind or others) or demons, maybe even about Aiwass (he was always a sceptic) - but he left no doubt that the Book of the Law was dictated to him by super-natural forces, or so he believed. And b) even if there exists nothing super-natural, the belief in it doesn't make you a better or worse Thelemite or hinders you in finding and following your True Will. But of course - and I guess I here agree with Los - if you do something the super-natural tells you *just because* it has been told to you by the super-natural giving it thereby superior authority, you are probably doing something wrong, but only in the same way you would be wrong doing something Los (or any other natural entity) told you *just because* you assume Los (or any other natural entity) has superior authority. Crowley for example seldomly did what he thought the super-natural powers told him to do, only to find out later that listening to the super-natural would have been right - most of the time.

Unfortunately Los thinks that believing in something higher than yourself is the same as making yourself a slave to this higher intelligence just because it is superior. I don't think many "occultists" think or act this way, he thinks all "occultists" do so. And that's just annoying...

Love=Law
Lutz


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Azidonis
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21/11/2011 2:33 am  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
even if there exists nothing super-natural, the belief in it doesn't make you a better or worse Thelemite or hinders you in finding and following your True Will.

This is a very valid point, the fulfillment of the Will being the main issue of application. Can it be fulfilled? If so, then it really doesn't matter.

"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
if you do something the super-natural tells you *just because* it has been told to you by the super-natural giving it thereby superior authority

Pathworking 101.

"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
Unfortunately Los thinks that believing in something higher than yourself is the same as making yourself a slave to this higher intelligence just because it is superior. I don't think many "occultists" think or act this way, he thinks all "occultists" do so. And that's just annoying...

It's just annoying when he chimes into every single thread with it.

As for "what Los thinks", I personally could care less. Accomplish the Great Work.


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Los
 Los
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21/11/2011 5:30 am  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
Unfortunately Los thinks that believing in something higher than yourself is the same as making yourself a slave to this higher intelligence just because it is superior.

No. Obviously, merely believing that there is a supernatural intelligence doesn't mean one necessarily thinks that one has to do what it says. Such an idea would be, of course, a form of restriction, but I do not think it is the only – or even the most common – kind of restriction that can come from a belief in the supernatural. Misperceiving the environment is a much, much more common restriction.

Again, in my hypothetical example, if there is buried treasure under a man’s house, it may be his will to unearth it. However, if in fact there is no buried treasure there – and he just thinks that there is, for whatever reason – he’s going to be wasting his energy.

In an analogous way, if it were possible for a Thelemite to be reincarnated as a woman, then it may be his will to promote women’s rights to secure himself more opportunities in a future incarnation. But if in fact, no one has any reason to think that reincarnation is true – and he just thinks that he has such a reason – he’s going to be wasting his energy, not because he is a “slave to a higher intelligence,” but because he incorrectly perceives the environment he’s in.


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Los
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21/11/2011 5:42 am  

Well, since everyone’s so eager to talk about the positions Crowley held – and obviously, the people who can’t make a valid case in terms of the initial argument of the thread are going to be very eager to switch the subject – I’ll address it now.

One of the fundamental points expressed earlier in the thread is tai’s argument that Neschamah can “directly apprehend” some information about the world, such that it can make or evaluate factual claims (such as, for example, whether reincarnation is true). Not only do I challenge that argument, the way I read Crowley is that he also would not agree with tai's argument, and it’s the intention of this post to demonstrate this claim with reference to Crowley’s writing.

Let’s be clear, though: we’re now switching subjects, and our topic is now what Crowley thought, not necessarily what is true in terms of evaluating claims (which is what we were talking about earlier). Even if a person could demonstrate that Crowley agreed with tai's argument, it wouldn’t make the argument true or even useful from a Thelemic point of view: it would just be one area in which Crowley was mistaken. As we shall see, however, Crowley did not agree that Neschamah can reveal factual claims about the world.

Before I demonstrate this, I need to address a sub-topic on this thread in which I have been accused of “taking the plums that please me” out of the Crowley pie. Gurugeorge is the most recent accuser, invoking this phrase – the same one he used a while back on Erwin’s blog to accuse him of the same thing. You can read his exchange with Erwin in the comments section of this post here: http://www.erwinhessle.com/blog/?p=21 5"> http://www.erwinhessle.com/blog/?p=215

I’m not terribly interested in rehearsing that debate on this thread because 1) Erwin conclusively won the debate linked to above, based on gurugeorge’s complete inability to satisfactorily address any of the points Erwin made and 2) I’m more interested in talking about Crowley’s position on the “intuitive mind” on this thread.

For now, I want to turn my attention to Crowley’s thoughts about the Neschamah’s relation to claims about the world. I’m going to claim that Crowley did not think that the Neschamah could make or evaluate factual claims about the world. The function of Neschamah, for Crowley, is to Understand (a faculty that is different than the mind and pertains to something different than knowledge, which is a term we use for claims made about the world).

We have to make a distinction, by the way, between Crowley’s system – such as, for example, his consistent emphasis on skepticism, like his statement “Scepticism, absolute in every dimension, is the sole possible basis of true Attainment” – and the extent to which he followed some of the things he recommended in his system. I’m talking about Crowley’s system here, not necessarily the extent to which he followed the advice given by his own writings. So if we conclude that Crowley consistently recommended skepticism, but that he himself failed to consistently apply skepticism, that second observation in no way undermines the importance of skepticism for Crowley’s system: it merely demonstrates that Crowley didn’t always follow his own advice (and his advice, of course, has to be evaluated on its own merits).

In the first place, it’s very important to note that Crowley nearly always emphasized skepticism and especially not drawing factual claims on the basis of “spiritual experience.”

We see it all the way back in “The Soldier and the Hunchback”: “I claim nothing absolute from my Samadhi – I know only too well the worthlessness of single-handed observations, even on so simple a matter as a boiling-point determination.”

It extends to that famous quote from Liber O, the instructions on ceremonial magick, which for a period of time was displayed on the home page of Lashtal.com: “In this book it is spoken of the Sephiroth and the Paths; of Spirits and Conjurations; of Gods, Spheres, Planes, and many other things which may or may not exist.

“It is immaterial whether these exist or not. By doing certain things certain results will follow; students are most earnestly warned against attributing objective reality or philosophic validity to any of them.”

It extends through the period in which he was writing Magick in Theory and Practice, which is emphatic on the irrelevance of the “reality” of any of these magical claims.

It proceeds through Little Essays Toward Truth, where he writes that “Scepticism, absolute in every dimension, is the sole possible basis of true Attainment,” and it goes all the way up to the end of his life, in Magick Without Tears, where we get passages such as the one where Crowley scolds his correspondent for thinking that the Archangels and Elemental Lords “are watching”: he responds, revealingly, “Did you invent these beings for no better purpose than to spy on you?”

So I think it should be easy enough to agree that Crowley insisted upon not drawing factual claims from “spiritual experience,” whether he always followed his own advice on this score or not.

Whenever he speaks of the Neschamah, it’s never in the context of making factual claims about the world, and when he discusses supernatural claims, he never says “Oh, you can confirm that this is true by directly apprehending it with your Neschamah.” In point of fact, he frequently indicates exactly the opposite:

Let’s take, for example, letter XLVII from Magick Without Tears in which Crowley explains why he believes in reincarnation (http://hermetic.com/crowley/magick-without-tears/mwt_47.htm l"> http://hermetic.com/crowley/magick-without-tears/mwt_47.html ). Importantly, he does not say, “Well, I just directly perceive it with my Neschamah, so I know it’s true. One day, when you advance to a higher level of attainment, you’ll be able to perceive it, too.” No, instead he gives reasons that lead him to believe it is true, and he explains them with rational argument.

These reasons are, of course, woefully inadequate to demonstrate the claim, as Crowley himself notes at the end of the letter in a rather telling passage:

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

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

What Crowley is saying here is that his own “feeling” that reincarnation is true is insufficient to demonstrate that it is.

And incidentally, although Crowley claimed to “believe” in reincarnation, he very rarely speaks of it in terms of accepting it as an accurate fact about the world. More often than not, he depicts it as something he’s elected to hold as true but that may very well not be true:

“What do I mean when I say that I think I was Eliphaz Lévi? No more than that I possess some of his most essential characteristics, and that some of the incidents in his life are remembered by me as my own. There doesn’t seem any impossibility about these bundles of Sankhara being shared by two or more persons. We certainly do not know enough of what actually takes place to speak positively on any such point. Don’t lose any sleep over it.” (Magick Without Tears)

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

Crowley doesn’t come off like someone who “believes” in reincarnation – in the sense of accepting that it is factually true – and he certainly doesn’t come off like someone who thinks he has a faculty that can directly perceive the truth of this claim.

And indeed, everywhere in Crowley’s writings, he presents factual claims as something other than the “Understanding” that Neschamah provides.

Take, for example, his letter on “certainty” in Magick Without Tears, where he draws upon the Emerald Tablet to assert three “degrees” of truth: True, Certain without error, and Of all truth.

The first two of these classes pertain to factual claims about the universe, just in different degrees of precision. The third is utterly different than the first two, pertaining not to claims made in reference to other arbitrary measurements (such as we have when making factual claims), but to the Neschamah, to a category of Images that are of-all-truth (which sounds curiously similar to Plato’s Ideals).

Claims about the world – claims like the existence of reincarnation, claims about magick “working” – are claims that pertain to the first two “degrees” of truth he indicates here.

What is Neschamah, then? In Book 4, part 2 (“The Cup”), Crowley explains understanding as “the structuralizaiton of knowledge,” which is what it is on the mundane plane.(understanding how the pieces of knowledge one acquires fit together, have meanings as a whole, i.e. understanding the disparate pieces of knowledge as a unity). In terms of the Qabalah, Understanding (capital U) is the Understanding that the disparate pieces that make up human Knowledge – which includes claims about the universe and knowledge as the disparate experiences of the human person – have a Unity (which is, ultimately, a non-entity, a dissolution, 2=0).

As Crowley puts it in Book 4 part 2: “But it is God who is all and not any part; and every "dealing" [“of God with my soul,” as in the Master of the Temple Oath] must thus be an expansion of the soul, a destruction of its separateness.”

In short, Neschamah is the faculty, higher than the mind, of Understanding the illusion of separateness. But Knowledge consists of claims about the relations of illusions – which, while ultimately “illusory,” are perfectly “true” on their own plane.

In other words, Understanding isn’t something that allows one to perceive and assess factual claims about the world. Understanding is the direct perception that the “world,” as commonly understood, is a dualistic illusion – but for all that, the world is still here, and we can still assess claims made about it.

This idea is everywhere in Crowley’s writings. To cite one of the funnier ones from The Soldier and the Hunchback:

A boot is an Illusion.
A hat is an illusion.
"Therefore," a boot is a hat.
So argue my friends, not distributing the middle term.
But this argue I.
"Therefore" (though it is not a syllogism), all boots and hats are illusions.
I add:
To the man in Kether no illusions matter.
"Therefore:" To the man in Kether neither boots nor hats matter.
In fact, the man in Kether is out of all relation to these boots and hats.
You, they say, claim to be a man in Kether (I don't). Why then, do you not wear boots on your head and hats on your feet?
I can only answer that I the man in Kether ('tis but an argument) am out of all relation as much with feet and heads as with boots and hats. But why should I (from my exalted pinnacle) stoop down and worry the headed and footed gentleman in Malkuth, who after all doesn't exist for me, by these drastic alterations in his toilet? There is no distinction whatever; I might easily put the boots on his shoulders, with his head on one foot and the hat on the other.

And this division between factual claims and Understanding is precisely what Crowley expounds in Little Essays Toward Truth. Take, for example, this passage from his essay on Knowledge:

“The common Mystic affects to despise Science as "illusion": this is the most fatal of all errors. For the instruments with which he works are all of this very order of "illusory things." We know that lenses distort images; but for all that, we can acquire information about distant objects which proves correct when the lens is constructed according to certain "illusory" principles and not by arbitrary caprice. The Mystic of this kind is generally recognized by men as a proud fool; he knows the fact, and is hardened in his presumption and arrogance. One finds him goaded by his subconscious shame to active attacks on Science; he gloats upon the apparent errors of calculation which constantly occur, not at all understanding the self-imposed limitations of validity of statement which are always implied; in short, he comes at last to abandon his own postulates, and takes refuge in the hermit-crab-carapace of the theologian.”

In reading this passage, one thinks immediately of those idiots who say things like, “Science is just another religion! After all, it doesn’t have all the answers – science is always being proven wrong!” These fools don’t understand the “self-imposed limitations” that are always implied in factual statements: they don’t understand that all knowledge is always implicitly “so far as we can determine, based on the best possible evidence we currently have.”

Crowley continues:
“But, on the other hand, to him who has firmly founded his rational thinking on sound principles, who has acquired deep comprehension of one fundamental science, and made proper paths between it and its germans which he understands only in general, who has, finally, secured the whole of this structure by penetrating through the appropriate Trances to the Neschamic Truths of which it is the rightly-ordered projection in the Ruach, to him the field of Knowledge, thus well-ploughed, well-sown, well fertilized, well left to ripen; is ready for him to reap. The man who truly understands the underlying formulae of one root-subject can easily extend his apprehension to the boughs, leaves, flowers, and fruit; and it is in this sense that the mediaeval masters of Magick were justified in claiming that by the evocation of a given Daimon the worthy Octinomos might acquire the perfect knowledge of all sciences, speak with all tongues, command the love of all, or otherwise deal with all Nature as from the standpoint of its Maker. Crude are those credulous or critical who thought of the Evocation as the work of an hour or a week!”

Here, he’s saying that a person who has acquired a knowledge of the whole of science – by studying one branch and by rationally extrapolating through other branches – can “secure the whole of this structre [of knowledge]” by Understanding – via the Neschamah – not by acquiring more facts about the world, but perceiving the Unity underlying this knowledge and, ultimately, the non-existence underlying all of this illusion.

This perception of Truth -- i.e. that claims about the world are "illusion" from one point of view -- does not in any way change the fact that we can still assess those claims and determine whether or not we have any reason to accept them (from another point of view).

This division is echoed throughout the essays, particularly in the essay on Understanding:

“The only correct and adequate mode of the Attainment of Understanding is to shut off and to inhibit the rational mind altogether, thus leaving a Tabula rasa upon which the entirely alien faculty—de novo and sui generis—can write its first word […]this formless, even delirious Ecstasy which sweeps away all shapes of thought […] the new Law of the Mind has "come not to destroy but to fulfil" the old. The Understanding takes full cognizance of all that vast material which the Reason was unable to build into any coherent structure. The contradictions have disappeared by absorption; they have been accepted as essential factors in the nature of Truth, which without them were a mere congeries of Facts.”

Having thus established that Understanding “fulfills” rather than “destroys” the mind (and its rational perception of “fact”), Crowley then proceeds to a clear conclusion:
It will be clear from all these considerations that there need be no surprise at this primordial paradox: that Scepticism, absolute in every dimension, is the sole possible basis of true Attainment. All attempts to shirk the issue by appeals to "faith," by mystic transcendental sophistries, or any other spiritual varieties of the Three-Card-Trick, are devoted to the most abject destruction.

And this is why tai is so utterly and completely wrong: Crowley isn’t saying that the Understanding is capable of perceiving factual claims. He’s saying that the Understanding is something utterly Other than factual claims. “Mystic transcendental sophistries” – i.e. making fact claims on the basis of “spiritual experience” – simply won’t do here. Understanding simply refers to something else.

Now again, it’s up for debate how well Crowley followed his own advice to be a skeptic and how seriously he may or may not have taken the supernatural claims that he said he believed in. But the evidence is incontrovertible with regards to the fact that Crowley did not think that the Neschamah’s function is to make or evaluate claims about the world.


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the_real_simon_iff
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21/11/2011 8:57 am  
"Los" wrote:
... in my hypothetical example, if ... blah, blah ... he’s going to be wasting his energy. In an analogous way, if ... blah, blah ... he incorrectly perceives the environment he’s in.

Los, 93!

I am not sure what you want to transport with these platitudes.

A person who buys estate because someone promises him there is a treasure buried and he believes it, is acting stupid. There is no difference in the degree of stupidity if the treasure promise comes from a super-natural or a natural source (although I think it would show even more stupidity if you believe the real-estate agent). So why even think about someone like that?

As to your second example. I think it safe to say that there exist way more "naturalist" people who treat women (or men) nicely, *just because* they think that people then will hold them in higher esteem and find them more attractive. You would call this a "fancy picture" of himself. Again, where is the qualitative difference between this person and another one who believes in re-incarnation? Both their habits of how to treat women (men) are motivated by "false" reasons.

It seems logical that the only reason you bring up these poor examples is your "fancy picture" that people who believe in the existence of the super-natural automatically act foolishly. I agree that there are some people who are just plain idiots but I can confidently tell you that over the years I saw way more idiots in "Thelemic" or "occult" circles (or in this forum) whose idiocy was in no way connected to their belief or non-belief in the super-natural.

Now you are free to go on and talk about Neschamah or quote Crowley as much as you like, the fact remains that this discussion will be fruitless because there is no common ground of definition of all the terms involved.

And another fact remains: You can not "prove" your claim that belief in the super-natural is in any way an impediment to Thelemic practice. All you do is saying that stupidity based on such a belief is "worse" than stupidity based on naturalistic belief-systems. Do I really have to point out the stupidity in making such a difference?

"Crowley" wrote:
“I claim nothing absolute from my Samadhi – I know only too well the worthlessness of single-handed observations, even on so simple a matter as a boiling-point determination.”

This is about claiming something, not about what that something is.

"Crowley" wrote:
“It is immaterial whether these exist or not. By doing certain things certain results will follow; students are most earnestly warned against attributing objective reality or philosophic validity to any of them.”

This is about the irrelevance of "objective reality" of something, and not a statement about its existence or non-existence.

"Los" wrote:
So I think it should be easy enough to agree that Crowley insisted upon not drawing factual claims from “spiritual experience,” whether he always followed his own advice on this score or not.

And since he claimed that the book of the law was dictated by superior intelligences throughout his life, you have three possibilities:
1) AC was wrong. I am right.
2) AC was right. I am wrong.
3) It doesn't matter at all if this issue is settled or not.

All the rest you wrote is based on your contempt of the "occultist", and you are probably as convinced that you are "winning" these discussions as you are convinced that Erwin "won" the discussion. But: These discussions are always coming to an end because you only accept your rules and definitions of terms, and then the discussions become lecturing and lamenting and tend to bore everyone to death.

Love=Law
Lutz


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Azidonis
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21/11/2011 6:17 pm  
"Los" wrote:
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
Unfortunately Los thinks that believing in something higher than yourself is the same as making yourself a slave to this higher intelligence just because it is superior.

No. Obviously, merely believing that there is a supernatural intelligence doesn't mean one necessarily thinks that one has to do what it says. Such an idea would be, of course, a form of restriction, but I do not think it is the only – or even the most common – kind of restriction that can come from a belief in the supernatural. Misperceiving the environment is a much, much more common restriction.

Oh tell us, great Los, about misconceptions of the environment! Surely, those who believe in anything "otherworldly" (such as a soul, ego, or that any of this perceived "universe" is even real) are much more prone to make misconceptions of the environment than... who, exactly? Where is your data?

"Los" wrote:
Again, in my hypothetical example, if there is buried treasure under a man’s house, it may be his will to unearth it. However, if in fact there is no buried treasure there – and he just thinks that there is, for whatever reason – he’s going to be wasting his energy.

Are you really saying that it might be a part of someone's Will to dig underneath a house for some treasure that is not even there? Are you saying that his Will is "wrong because there is no treasure"?

Back to those "otherworldly" things, such as the soul, or ego, or even True Will (aha!). Wait, True Will is "otherworldly"? Show me your True Will. In fact, prove to me that your True Will (or even your HGA), fulfills these three conditions:

1. That it has "own being" (Svabhava)
2. That it is the Self
3. That it is Permanent

According to the Buddha, if an object does not have all three qualities, it is not real.

And while we are playing this silly forum game, name me one thing that is real, according to the above criteria.

"Los" wrote:
In an analogous way, if it were possible for a Thelemite to be reincarnated as a woman, then it may be his will to promote women’s rights to secure himself more opportunities in a future incarnation. But if in fact, no one has any reason to think that reincarnation is true – and he just thinks that he has such a reason – he’s going to be wasting his energy, not because he is a “slave to a higher intelligence,” but because he incorrectly perceives the environment he’s in.

Again, you are saying that a man perceives his Will to be concerned with "X" (women's rights in this case) for what ever reason.

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

If it is his Will to be concerned with women's rights, does his reason for doing so really matter?

Watching you try and base your entire platform on defense of the "reason" and "reality", neither of which are actually "real", is comical.

Really, you have to do better than this. But I don't guess you will, as you've been barking up the same tree for years, with little to no "results" (ie. you still haven't convinced many of the more active posters on these forums to validate your ideas), so I just have to ask: Are you sure you aren't chasing a phantom, Los? If you are, in any way, at any time, by your definition then, you are wrong, and need to seek serious help from yourself.

That's what you want to be able to tell many of us, right? That we are somehow "wrong" and that you know the "truth", and if we will just listen and agree with you then we will be okay? Are you trying to save us from the maya, Los?

Laughable.


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the_real_simon_iff
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21/11/2011 6:57 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
there is no common ground of definition of all the terms involved.

93!

Just to clarify: I don't mean a common ground of definitions of all the terms involved among the participants of that forum, I mean among scientists, philosophers, occultists, probably even naturalists. Most of the terms are rooted in subjective experience.

I mean, even a super-scepticist (let's take Crowley) would be somewhat baffled by the experience, when his partner (let's take Rose) suddenly speaks of things (let's take Egyptian god-forms and qabalistic analogies) he or she never even heard of much less could have had access to - and unfortunately there are no honorable witnesses at hand. What would this super-scepticist do? Knowing that he can convince nobody by rational means of this occurence? Would this super-scepticist build his entire philosophy on this event or would he just shut up about it? Would he even go on and record dozens of events over the next years where similar things happened to similar un-prepared partners?

See, it's easy to filter out what you need of Crowley's opus...

Love=Law
Lutz


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 Anonymous
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21/11/2011 7:16 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
See, it's easy to filter out what you need of Crowley's opus...

It's called selective cherry-picking, and in the case of an opus with the scope and complexity of Crowley's, almost any point can be demonstrated by this method - and so can the opposing point.


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the_real_simon_iff
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21/11/2011 9:28 pm  

93!

"Aleister Crowley in 1923" wrote:
I learnt a good deal personally from J.W.N. Sullivan, who does the mathematical and scientific criticism for the Times. He was profoundly impressed by my demonstration of the praeter-human knowledge and power of the Author of the Book of the Law, as are all other intelligent people to whom I explain the facts. These facts, indeed, are so convincing that people get annoyed. They are afraid that they will have to give up their belief that homo sapiens is the highest type of intelligence. (You surely see that it would be too absurd if a tail-less ape on a petty planet should have developed the biggest brain power in the Universe.) All religion has presupposed the existence of some mind higher than man's, but hitherto, there has been no proof. We know of many forces too subtle for our gross senses to perceive directly. All that has happened is that an Intelligence of some higher kind chose me to demonstrate its existence. I am a savagely skeptical man. [... quote from The Book Of Lies inserted here...] I fought fiercely for years against accepting the claims of the Book of the Law, but I was forced into obedience by sheer superior strength and skill.

Love=Law
Lutz


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Los
 Los
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21/11/2011 10:58 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
I think it safe to say that there exist way more "naturalist" people who treat women (or men) nicely, *just because* they think that people then will hold them in higher esteem and find them more attractive. You would call this a "fancy picture" of himself. Again, where is the qualitative difference between this person and another one who believes in re-incarnation? Both their habits of how to treat women (men) are motivated by "false" reasons.

Indeed. Nowhere was I attempting to argue that giving up supernatural beliefs will automatically remove all error or possibility of error.

Of those two errors you speak of, I'm talking about one on this thread (because it's relevant to this thread). I talk about the other error in other places, where it's relevant.

And since he claimed that the book of the law was dictated by superior intelligences [...]

You know, I went out of my way in that long post above to specify that I was talking about Crowley's system and the role of Neschamah in relation to factual claims as he depicts that role in his writings. I most emphatically am not talking about various claims that Crowley said that he accepted.

Even in the example of the Book of the Law's "praeterhuman" origins, Crowley never says, "I knew it was from a praeterhuman source because I could perceive it directly via Neschamah." He develops these elaborate "proofs" (using reason) that you mentioned above. Whether or not these "proofs" are convincing isn't the issue: the original conversation on this thread explored whether or not the Neschamah could "directly perceive" factual information about reality, and I argued that not only can it not, Crowley also did not think that it could.

What Crowley personally believed -- or said he believed -- about the supernatural (that he reached through an application of his reason) isn't relevant to that particular argument.

Camlion

It's called selective cherry-picking, and in the case of an opus with the scope and complexity of Crowley's, almost any point can be demonstrated by this method - and so can the opposing point.

I don't think it's "selective cherry-picking" when I point out -- with quotes -- an idea that runs through all of Crowley's mature works.

If you'd like to make an opposing case, show us some examples of Crowley explicitly saying that the Neschamah can reveal factual information about the world (instead of treating knowledge and understanding as two separate and entirely different things, as he always did). It would help if you could give us a handful of examples spanning Crowley's entire career.


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 Anonymous
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21/11/2011 11:44 pm  
"Los" wrote:
If you'd like to make an opposing case, show us some examples of Crowley explicitly saying that the Neschamah can reveal factual information about the world (instead of treating knowledge and understanding as two separate and entirely different things, as he always did). It would help if you could give us a handful of examples spanning Crowley's entire career.

Of course you see him as treating knowledge and Understanding as two separate things, they are two separate things until each has been attained to, and only one of them can be grasped entirely intellectually.

And no, I don't have time to waste playing at cherry-picking with you. If I did, I might start with Eight Lectures on Yoga - off the top of my head, but that can be cherry-picked from both ways, as well, I would think.

The point is that Crowley's teachings are often incorrectly grasped in one of two ways, either entirely intellectually or entirely experientially (you being an example of the former), and it is impossible to really 'get' Crowley without both of these perspectives under your belt.


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the_real_simon_iff
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22/11/2011 9:23 am  
"Los" wrote:
What Crowley personally believed -- or said he believed -- about the supernatural (that he reached through an application of his reason) isn't relevant to that particular argument.

Los, 93!

Okay, I see, you don't want to talk about that but instead want to play word games about what Crowley said about Neschamah. And of course you are free to do that. I am damned sure you will feel that you will "win" the discussion (I personally am not interested about this particular point because to me there is no world-view falling apart in the case of Crowley writing this and claiming that or doing this while teaching that).

After that it is up to you what you want to make with your victory. Because although you will think you are correct about "the role of Neschamah in relation to factual claims as he depicts that role in his writings" and you will have provided many clues for your claim, you are then left with what he wrote about the role of Neschamah and what he wrote about (among other curious things) the reception of the Book of the Law, the events that lead to the reception, the authorship of the Book of the Law, the various persons that played seer or medium throughout his life, his connection to what he called "The Sceret Chiefs" etc.

Then it would be nice if you can tell us

a) if Crowley was wrong and you got it right
b) if he did not mean what he wrote for over 40 years
c) he wanted to pull our legs instead of writing what he really knew

So please wake me up when you have done Neschamah successfully and are ready to answer the questions you think are irrelevant to this thread.

Thanks.

Love=Law
Lutz

P.S.

"Los" wrote:
Nowhere was I attempting to argue that giving up supernatural beliefs will automatically remove all error or possibility of error.

I was just showing you that the "errors" of your unfortunate sample Thelemite have nothing to do with his belief in the super-natural. So why mention them? Did I tell you about the guy who started killing people because it was scientifically proven to him without a doubt that there are way too much people on earth and who met the guy who had started killing people because a giant squid from Sirius told him so? They worked fine together but at mealtime they really had silly discussions and often went to bed quite angry....


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the_real_simon_iff
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22/11/2011 10:07 am  

93!

An Addendum: Of course there are other options what to do with contradictory or inconsistent claims by Crowley. One option would be that it is indeed neccessary to always apply the rational skeptic method - until things happen where this is impossible. And then it is simply futile to try to prove or dis-prove anything to anyone, and that's why it is futile to make the determination of what is "right" or "wrong" just because there is no scientific method to back up your claim. If you are not ready to accept those claims on such a basis you will have to accept the fact that either you or Crowley are wrong - and this will lead to the question if you have the authority to do so.

Love=Law
Lutz


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Azidonis
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22/11/2011 3:46 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
you will feel that you will "win" the discussion

In Los' world-view reason reigns supreme.

There is a world-view Crowley describes that fits along quite well with this idea, and they "heareth the Word not".

If he wants to call that winning, he is certainly able to, but he isn't fooling anyone that knows better.

Hey Los, before you go yappin' about those above three statements (or ignore them as you did my previous post), how about telling the "peanut gallery" (as you so called us) what you think about Liber O, and its inclusion in the A:.A:. Curriculum?


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amadan-De
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22/11/2011 8:45 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
Did I tell you about the guy who started killing people because it was scientifically proven to him without a doubt that there are way too much people on earth and who met the guy who had started killing people because a giant squid from Sirius told him so? They worked fine together but at mealtime they really had silly discussions and often went to bed quite angry....

[OT - I think but the thread is now quite far from the original opening post]
Lutz, you really should pitch this idea as a film - a 'bad-buddy movie' no less - it has serious potential for humour and viloence both of which sell well these days. It would also be nice to see someone get something concrete out of this thread 😉
[OT/]


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Los
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22/11/2011 10:54 pm  
"Camlion" wrote:
Of course you see him as treating knowledge and Understanding as two separate things, they are two separate things until each has been attained to, and only one of them can be grasped entirely intellectually.

But again, that’s not the issue. I agree completely that knowledge and understanding are two separate things and that only one of them can be grasped entirely intellectually (I would prefer to phrase it as “one of them [knowledge] is a rational construct, while the other is an experience”).

But the important part for the argument that I was making is that Crowley does not say that Understanding can “directly apprehend” factual claims about the universe. He doesn’t say it, because – as we’ve been saying – factual claims pertain to knowledge, not to understanding.

And no, I don't have time to waste playing at cherry-picking with you.

Uh huh. Can’t say I’m terribly surprised.


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Los
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22/11/2011 10:58 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
After that it is up to you what you want to make with your victory. Because although you will think you are correct about "the role of Neschamah in relation to factual claims as he depicts that role in his writings" and you will have provided many clues for your claim, you are then left with what he wrote about the role of Neschamah and what he wrote about (among other curious things) the reception of the Book of the Law, the events that lead to the reception, the authorship of the Book of the Law, the various persons that played seer or medium throughout his life, his connection to what he called "The Sceret Chiefs" etc.

As I’ve been indicating, Crowley never says that any of those supernatural claims were confirmed by his Neschamah. He never says, “I just turned on my Neschamah and saw that the Book of the Law was dictated by a praeternatural intelligence.”

Instead, he offers a bunch of (rational) proofs and he even appears to struggle with these questions, putting up at least the appearance of being skeptical about them at first until he claims to have been “convined,” rationally, by some piece of data, such as the number games he played with Liber AL.

My point is that Crowley uses reason applied to evidence – or evidence-based inquiry, as I call it – to verify these supernatural claims. He does not appeal to Neschamah to “directly perceive” the truth of these claims (and even if he did, he would be wrong to do so, as I argued in the first half of this thread).

So since he uses reason to arrive at his claims, we’re more than justified to examine his reasoning and see if we think his reasoning is correct in those cases. I don’t think his reasoning is correct at all, and I don’t think anyone is justified in accepting the supernatural claims that Crowley made. (Whether Crowley was just spectacularly mistaken or was deliberately overstating his case is something that is both unknown and irrelevant to the present conversation)

But there’s a broader point I’m making here, beyond just Crowley: factual claims are the result of reason applied to evidence, and as such, we’re justified in examining the rational justification for any factual claim, including supernatural claims.

Tai tried to dodge this point earlier in the thread by using special pleading to place a few factual claims, arbitrarily, in the realm of Neschamah. But he was, as we have established, incorrect in doing so: factual claims and their evaluation is the job of the reason. Understanding is something else entirely.

You, Lutz, seem to agree that all factual claims – including supernatural ones – are produced by reason operating on evidence, but I don’t recall if you’ve said it explicitly. Could you confirm that this is your position? If it is, what do you think it the strongest piece of evidence that would rationally convince someone of a supernatural claim?

I was just showing you that the "errors" of your unfortunate sample Thelemite have nothing to do with his belief in the super-natural.

In the example given, his error has everything to do with his belief that reincarnation happens: assuming that it’s not part of his nature to go around supporting one activist group over another, he would have no reason to support women’s rights absent his belief in the reincarnation claim.

Again, I’m not saying that giving up supernatural beliefs will make him magically immune to making all other errors. I’m just saying it will reduce the chances of him making one particular kind of error.


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Los
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22/11/2011 11:03 pm  
"Azidonis" wrote:
In Los' world-view reason reigns supreme.

I’ve specifically gone out of my way – repeatedly on this very thread, even – to say that reason is limited. It’s limited to those things that fall into its sphere of concern, such as making and evaluating factual claims about the world.

Are you even reading what I write?

what you think about Liber O, and its inclusion in the A:.A:. Curriculum?

What in the world does this question have to do with what we’re talking about on this thread? Nothing in Liber O involves supernatural beliefs in any way – it even goes out of its way to say that students should not attribute “objective reality or philosophic validity” to anything they may experience as a result of the practices (i.e. that students should not leap to conclusions, using their reason, about experiences that they have). I even quoted Liber O earlier in the thread as an example of Crowley saying not to mistakenly use reason to leap to false conclusions…I mean, are you even reading what I say, or are you just skimming my posts, making assumptions about my position, and then posting up any old thing whatsoever?

What do you think I think of Liber O? I think it’s a concise, useful guide to magical practices. I studied and practiced it a lot when I was beginning, and I still do some of those practices (though I’m really partial to the Star Ruby these days). The actual practices themselves have pretty much got squat to do with what we’ve been talking about on this thread.


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Azidonis
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22/11/2011 11:52 pm  

You want to know what I read...

"Los" wrote:
And my entire point this thread has been to point out that someone who accepts a factual claim about the universe (including the claim that reincarnation happens) has used reason to conclude that claim. Perhaps he has reasoned on the basis of his intuitive sense, or perhaps he has reasoned on the basis of some other piece of data. He needs to articulate his train of thought so that we can be sure.

There are facts that transcend reason. Samadhi, for instance, is a fact that directly transcends reason.

To use reason to describe samadhi is futile. See, for instance, every single attempt at describing samadhi in human history.

"Los" wrote:
I have further argued that reasoning out such a conclusion solely on the basis of an intuitive sense is insufficient to support the claim because the first premise -- which you stated above that you accept ("The Intuition, a faculty that is higher than the mind, is capable of directly apprehending some information") -- is undemonstrated as true, rendering the entire chain of thought unsound.

This claim about the intuition has most certainly been demonstrated as true, by the simple fact that intuition can bypass reason. Reason cannot bypass the intuition. Reason can attempt to ignore the intuition, but it cannot bypass it. (See, Pathworking.)

"Los" wrote:
His last post just reiterated his assertion that there is a “higher faculty than the mind that can apprehend some information” without addressing my argument at all (and my argument, to repeat, is that his assertion hasn’t been demonstrated as true).

It has been demonstrated, but as you are trying to use reason in order to understand it, you aren't getting it. Have you even looked at the Tree of Life lately? If you have, I suppose Binah was placed above the Ruach (and the Abyss) just because it looked pretty?

"Los" wrote:
Again, conclusions are formed through reason operating on evidence.

And again, not necessarily. Sometimes what you are calling conclusions are just simply given. In the effort to understand them one may use reason, but that doesn't change the fact that the intuition can bypass reason.

"Los" wrote:
Are you even reading what I write?

Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. Your long diatribe about Crowley, for instance, I didn't bother to read. I am aware what Crowley wrote, and he is not actively participating in this debate. I am also aware that Crowley is dead, and part of being dead is that one cannot continue to elucidate, and update, one's positions according to the various understandings of them that future generations have generated.

That does not mean Crowley's words are invalid by any means. What it means is that, as Cam said with his "cherry-picking" term, one can take bits and pieces of Crowley's work, sometimes even out of context, and use them to support one's position, without knowledge or consideration of Crowley's complete view of the subject at the time period in his life which he wrote all the different snippets of information being jumbled together.

Aside from that, I don't like to read babblings. You have been saying the same crap for years. It's almost like my intuition is telling me what you wrote before I read it, thereby saving my reasoning faculty the nuisance of having to continually point out the limitations of your claims.


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the_real_simon_iff
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23/11/2011 12:22 am  

Los, 93!

First let me state this: I am in no way claiming that the super-natural exists or doesn't exist. I have my suspicions, but that's all so far. This is not about the "really real objective and provable existence of the super-natural!"

"Los" wrote:
You, Lutz, seem to agree that all factual claims – including supernatural ones – are produced by reason operating on evidence, but I don’t recall if you’ve said it explicitly.

Yes, I agree. By definition all claims are made by reason and a "factual" claim (meaning to say: This is so!) therefore also. I have to insert here that it has to be defined what "factual" exactly means: There are at least two possibilities: 1) I am claiming a fact which can be checked by everyone or 2) I am claiming a fact of which I am convinced (I know) that it is a fact, but knowing that I have no way to have someone other check it.

"Los" wrote:
If it is, what do you think it the strongest piece of evidence that would rationally convince someone of a supernatural claim?

That is the crucial point (I think) of the discussion here: You (probably) think I want to rationally convince someone of a supernatural claim. Firstly, I don't want to do that. But I think there is undeniable evidence that Aleister Crowley was himself convinced of the existence of the supernatural. And that's what I want to discuss. He repeatedly claimed in his published as well as in his unpublished writings or private conversations and correspondences (which by the way have much stronger evidence than official publications because there is no issue of public reputation involved) that the events that led to and formed the reception of The Book of the Law were of a supernatural nature. You can't discuss this fact away. There is no chance that these claims can ever be proven "scientifically true", but there they are and they belong to his legacy. Now, and I think that was the really genial mind of Crowley, these claims don't have any influence on his philosophy. It works both ways. He gets both kinds of thinkers. People who had similar experiences go on and work the system without even bothering to think about it and people like you (if I might say so) who think that all that supernatural stuff is bullshit can rationalize it all away and work the system. And it works. But while I enjoy the system as it is, it seems from your utterances here on LAShTAL that you think people who "believe" in the supernatural are sincerely wrong in their minds. Which makes Crowley wrong in his mind and which makes your claim of correctly interpreting him just a claim, but not a "factual claim", although you behave as this would be the case. And that's my only objection. Not only is it irrelevant to the important part of his legacy, Thelema, it is only your interpretation of what Crowley thought. I guess the facts tell otherwise - but you may even be right. But then it is really questionable what to think of a "prophet" who for the main part of his life was so wrong about what happened to him.

I am not fluent in English so I hope you got me right. When Richard T. Cole in the newly uploaded article so correctly writes "Only by plucking Crowley from the murky realms of praeter-human entities and occult rites will we begin to glimpse the true value of his legacy" I think he doesn't mean that these realms are non-existent or Crowley's or the public's invention, but he means that his message is independent from that, and you don't get the message if you a) think this is all crap or b) think this is the really cool part. You seem to think this is all crap and you waste so much energy in convincing others of your opinion. Crowley's message is not important because it comes from supernatural sources but because it is right.

Love=Law
Lutz

P.S. Let's not talk about your poor Thelemite example any more. yes, he is a moron, but he is just a very simplistic example. It just sounds like you think this would be a common thinking of "believers in the supernatural", to wait for stupid orders. Let's just assume that giant squids from Sirius told me to back up all my claims with rational evidence and I believe them unhesitatingly.


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Los
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23/11/2011 12:24 am  
"Azidonis" wrote:
It's almost like my intuition is telling me what you wrote before I read it, thereby saving my reasoning faculty the nuisance of having to continually point out the limitations of your claims.

Hmm. I didn’t think you were going to admit it, but there we go. You really do think that that spiffy “intuiton” of yours can “bypass reason” and directly apprehend factual information. As a result of beginning from that false premise, you’re okay trusting your vague sense of what you think I’m probably saying instead of actually reading what I say and responding to it.

That perfectly explains your posts – it perfectly explains why your posts so often read as if you haven’t been following the conversation or haven’t read the words the person you’re “conversing” with actually wrote. It’s because you’re not really attending to the conversation: you’re reacting to what you imagine the other person is probably saying, rather than what the other person is actually saying.

This explains, for example, why you brought up Liber O, which makes no sense in the context of the conversation (and was even brought up by me just a few posts ago to support my case). One can only assume that you thought my being opposed to supernatural claims means that I must be “against” ceremonial magick or that I’ve never practiced ceremonial magick (and both parts of that conclusion – reached through fallacious reasoning – are false). That spiffy ol’ “intuiton” of yours must be on the fritz because it reported a false factual conclusion to you.

Until you learn the humility of admitting to yourself that you don’t already know everything before you look at it – and until you actually deign to read arguments you don’t agree with – your posts are going to continue to sound like the monologue that they currently do, and you’re going to remain trapped in the kingdom of your own mind, where your “intuition” (which is really the intellect masquerading as Understanding) is going to lead you to think you’re “king of the world.”

If you sat down and tried, you couldn’t have written a better summary of everything that’s wrong with your position than that last post of yours. I suppose that is an attainment of some kind.


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amadan-De
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23/11/2011 12:34 am  
"Azidonis" wrote:
In Los' world-view reason reigns supreme.
"Los" wrote:
I’ve specifically gone out of my way...to say that reason is limited. It’s limited to those things that fall into its sphere of concern, such as making and evaluating factual claims about the world.

*cough* But since you seem to see everything and anything said by anyone about anything as identically susceptible to 'factual' evaluation this means that reason's "sphere of concern" is effectively limitless in your world-view.
QED.

Unless perhaps you'd care to clearly define (or even vaguely acknowledge) that which falls safely outside these spherical limits for you so others know what they can talk about without fear of the Rational Inquisition.

*wafts back to the cashew gallery - peanuts are so déclassé*


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Los
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23/11/2011 12:45 am  

Lutz,

At the outset, I want to thank you for actually taking the time to construct an argument. You may not be a native English speaker, but you've done far, far more than these other people in the way of actually making an argument. Thank you.

"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
Yes, I agree. By definition all claims are made by reason and a "factual" claim (meaning to say: This is so!) therefore also.

Agreed.

I have to insert here that it has to be defined what "factual" exactly means: There are at least two possibilities: 1) I am claiming a fact which can be checked by everyone or 2) I am claiming a fact of which I am convinced (I know) that it is a fact, but knowing that I have no way to have someone other check it.

I accept that there are some claims -- claims pertaining to the self, for example -- that can only be confirmed by one person (that very self).

For example, the claim "I am hungry now." That is a factual claim about which only one person in the universe can ever be expected to acquire sufficient evidence for.

But a claim about reinarnation or about telekenesis of about the existence of non-physical intelligences...these are not the sorts of claims that we would expect can only be confirmed by a single person. I trust you have no problem agreeing with this?

I think there is undeniable evidence that Aleister Crowley was himself convinced of the existence of the supernatural.

I don't have any problem accepting that he was.

There is no chance that these claims [about the supernatural origins of the Book of the Law] can ever be proven "scientifically true", but there they are and they belong to his legacy.

I agree with this. I have not denied that he made the claims or that they are part of his legacy. I don't accept that the claims are necessarily a part of Thelema (which is a philosophy of individual action and not the totality of Aleister Crowley's legacy)

But while I enjoy the system as it is, it seems from your utterances here on LAShTAL that you think people who "believe" in the supernatural are sincerely wrong in their minds. Which makes Crowley wrong in his mind and which makes your claim of correctly interpreting him just a claim, but not a "factual claim", although you behave as this would be the case.

I'm having a little trouble parsing this, but it sounds like what you're trying to say is that my "interpretation of Crowley" isn't right because I deny that he believed in the supernatural.

If that's what you're saying, you're wrong. I don't deny that he believed in the supernatural.

I said it above, but I'll say it again in case you missed it: Crowley claimed to believe in the supernatural. I just don't think his claims are justified.

Now, I have no way of telling to what extent he really believed every one of the supernatural claims he made, but that's a separate point. It's very possible he sincerely believed in all of the supernatural claims he made. I don't know.

But then it is really questionable what to think of a "prophet" who for the main part of his life was so wrong about what happened to him.

Is it? I have no problem accepting the Book of the Law as written, without any need for it to have come from a superbeing or even from a guy who was correct about its origins (or at least not lying about them).

his message is independent from [all the supernatural stuff]

Exactly.

you don't get the message if you a) think this is all crap or b) think this is the really cool part.

This isn't a correct conclusion. If the message is independent of the supernatural stuff, then the message is still the message (and still stands or falls on its own merits) whether or not the supernatural stuff is true or not.

One can think the supernatural stuff is crap -- or, conversely, one can think it "totally rad and cool, man" -- and still get (or not get) the message. To say that the message is independent means that it is independent, which means that the investigation of the supernatural stuff is a separate issue entirely.

It just sounds like you think this would be a common thinking of "believers in the supernatural", to wait for stupid orders.

Again, you're failing to grasp the point of the example: my objection is not that the individual in the example is "taking orders" (he's not) -- my objection is that he is acting on a false idea of the environment and (if true will is the individual's most natural path through the environment) having a false idea of the environment will interfere with the person's true will.


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23/11/2011 12:47 am  

Los,

"Los" wrote:
Tai tried to dodge this point earlier in the thread by using special pleading to place a few factual claims, arbitrarily, in the realm of Neschamah. But he was, as we have established, incorrect in doing so: factual claims and their evaluation is the job of the reason.

No, I addressed this very point when I wrote:

Crowley uses the term “mind” to refer to the machine-like Ruach and distinguishes aspects of consciousness beyond Ruach. Therefore the precise formulation would be to say that there are “higher faculties THAN the mind” rather than “higher faculties OF the mind”. This may seem like a minor point, but explains his comments on the "dogs of Reason" and why reason should not transgress its limits.

Second, I would not say that Neschamah is “better at making/evaluating” claims - that would be projecting the mental activity of the Ruach onto Neschamah. Rather Neschamah directly apprehends information that Ruach subsequently analyzes and examines. Neschamah is a “higher” faculty insofar as it apprehends data in a direct, wholistic and unfiltered manner – uninfluenced by self and others.

I stopped engaging you because you have problems understanding what I write and the discussion became repetitive and pointless. Your above extended mischaracterization of my position is proof. Never mind "challenging" non-existent opposing positions, much less "demonstrating" what Crowley meant. Your problems are a little more basic.

I'll be more than happy to resume if you demonstrate that you can read properly.


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Los
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23/11/2011 12:53 am  
"amadan-De" wrote:
perhaps you'd care to clearly define (or even vaguely acknowledge) that which falls safely outside these spherical limits [of reason]

All direct experience falls outside of the limits of reason.

The enjoyment I feel on a sunny day, for example, can't properly be put into words at all: "reasoning" about it is perfectly useless and bound to fail. Similarly, the experience of listening to music at a concert is utterly beyond the reason. The direct experience of art of all kinds supercedes the reason.

Further, direct experience of trances and altered states of consciousness are utterly beyond the reason. The feelings and chanages of consciousness induced by performing ritual -- or even the change of consciousness induced by having a few glasses of wine, running a marathon, or going out for a walk on the first warm day of the year -- are utterly beyond reason.

Reason can't be used to appreciate the direct experience of nature, it can't be used to admire the immediate feelings that strike one from viewing a painting, and reason can't be used to analyze or even convey the dizzy rapture one gets from reading a truly first-rate poem. One can analyze the *poem* (its words, its composition), but the actual feeling that one gets is beyond rational analysis.

Reason can't be used to analyze the feeling of falling in love, of making up a song, of exercising creativity of any kind.

Now, of course, once one wants to *talk* about any of these things, one necessarily descends into the realm of reason and is forced to quantify, limit, and (to a degree) falsify these experiences in order to talk about them. That's one of the downsides of reason, but the upside is that we are capable of conceptualizing and talking about our experiences by means of reason.


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Los
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23/11/2011 12:59 am  
"tai" wrote:
Second, I would not say that Neschamah is “better at making/evaluating” claims - that would be projecting the mental activity of the Ruach onto Neschamah. Rather Neschamah directly apprehends information that Ruach subsequently analyzes and examines. Neschamah is a “higher” faculty insofar as it apprehends data in a direct, wholistic and unfiltered manner – uninfluenced by self and others.

Well, perhaps you can clarify what you say here. Are you saying that the Neschamah consists of experience and that the mind can use this experience as part of the evidence it uses to reach factual claims?

If that's what you mean, then that's exactly what I mean. If that's not what you mean, then you should try putting it into different words and see if we can reach an agreement.

EDIT: Here's a practical example. Take the claim "Reincarnation happens." This is a factual claim about the world.

Are you saying that a) The Neschamah can "directly apprehend" that this claim is true/false or b) The Neschamah enables one to have an experience that the mind can take into consideration and use as evidence for constructing the factual claim "Reincarnation happens"?


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Los
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23/11/2011 1:11 am  
"Los" wrote:
All direct experience falls outside of the limits of reason.

Oh, and -- it should go without saying -- lots of other things fall outside the realm of reason: instincts, dreams, exercises of the imagination, desires, bodily sensations, and -- perhaps most important for a Thelemite -- the True Will (i.e. the natural inclinations of the self) is utterly beyond reason.

Just a short list of things that are outside of the scope of reason. But again, *conceptualizing* or *talking* about any of those things necessitates descending into the realms of reason and limiting ourselves in order to be able to think and talk.


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amadan-De
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23/11/2011 1:45 am  

Excellent.
I agree with both your posts completely,
apart from your final diminuendo of the 'descent' into reason. I keep mine sideways not down, that way its always handy when you willingly suspend it in order to interact with all that other stuff. The dogs of reason dont sleep, they sit quietly in the corner in case one of your clouds of thought actually contains a sheep.


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the_real_simon_iff
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23/11/2011 10:12 am  

Los, 93!

"Los" wrote:
But a claim about reinarnation or about telekenesis of about the existence of non-physical intelligences...these are not the sorts of claims that we would expect can only be confirmed by a single person. I trust you have no problem agreeing with this?

Now, first of all, these are not claims made by Crowley alone. Since this sort of claims cannot be proven by simply repeating the experience, the acceptance of those claims depends on internal evidence in the claim (including all that we know about the person), the degree of trust we put into the person claiming, the degree of accordance of the claims with one's own experiences and so forth.

"Los" wrote:
Crowley claimed to believe in the supernatural. I just don't think his claims are justified.

And I think his claims are justified and are consistent with not only his other writings but also with other persons claiming similar things. It woud be useless to expect a justification of a "hard evidence" kind (recordings, photos etc.).

"Los" wrote:
If the message is independent of the supernatural stuff, then the message is still the message (and still stands or falls on its own merits) whether or not the supernatural stuff is true or not.

I was under the impression that you hold the opinion that anyone who believes in the supernatural stuff is getting most of Crowley totally wrong since he is ...

"Los" wrote:
... acting on a false idea of the environment and (if true will is the individual's most natural path through the environment) having a false idea of the environment will interfere with the person's true will.

This "false idea" is just "false" for some, for others it is not only "correct", but maybe even essential. Sorry, but even to talk about "correct" perceptions of anyone's environment or compare them with the ideas of others, is impossible.

In short you are claiming here that Aleister Crowley had false ideas of his environment which necessarily interfered with his True Will. It is impossible (by definition) for you to back up your claim with evidence or to prove or dis-prove this point. And that's why I say I don't think you have the "authority" to claim that your interpretation of the legacy of Crowley is the correct one. I am not discussing the different ways of how people come to conclusions.

Although this all seems a little off-topic, I think the on-topic part of it is that your claim that "real" magic doesn't exist because it has not been "scientifically" proven is just a small part of your claim that all the supernatural stuff connected to Crowley doesn't exist.

Others (including Crowley himself) do not agree with you and it is a fancy picture of you to permanently try to correct others (including Crowley himself), which of course you are entitled to, but so far your claims did not convince many others (and I doubt they would have convinced Crowley himself).

Love=Law
Lutz


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Los
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23/11/2011 1:57 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
I was under the impression that you hold the opinion that anyone who believes in the supernatural stuff is getting most of Crowley totally wrong since he is ... [“acting on a false idea of the environment”]

No, I do not hold that opinion.

Whether one believes in the supernatural or not is a separate issue from interpreting Crowley. I’m perfectly capable of not believing in the supernatural and still identifying (and properly interpreting) those moments in Crowley’s writings where he makes supernatural claims.

That another person might believe in the supernatural in no way invalidates his ability to interpret Crowley…we can only judge a person’s ability to interpret Crowley by looking at their interpretations and comparing them to Crowley’s text.

Further, the act of properly reading Crowley means acknowledging that he advanced supernatural claims. One does not have to accept those supernatural claims to acknowledge that he advanced them. It would be an improper and false reading of Crowley if one tried to argue that Crowley advanced no supernatural claims or that Crowley was a scientific materialist, in the modern, accepted sense of the term. I’ve never, ever argued any of those points, and anyone who did argue those points would be demonstrably wrong.

Does that make things clearer?


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Los
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23/11/2011 2:01 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
Now, first of all, these are not claims made by Crowley alone. Since this sort of claims cannot be proven by simply repeating the experience, the acceptance of those claims depends on internal evidence in the claim (including all that we know about the person), the degree of trust we put into the person claiming, the degree of accordance of the claims with one's own experiences and so forth.

I picked those example claims (reincarnation, praeterhuman intelligences, and telekinesis) because they – if true, and not just something people were imagining – should be detectable in some way.

Before a person can say that they accept a claim, they need to come up with a way to distinguish the claim from something people are just imagining.

Let’s be very clear. In our daily lives, we develop a heuristic that we use to evaluate claims because we simply don’t have time to subject every claim we hear to extreme scrutiny. So we divide claims up between claims that are ordinary (consistent with what we know about reality) and extraordinary (claims that fly in the face of what we know about reality, outside of all current knowledge, seemingly impossible based on what we know now, etc.).

Generally, when we hear ordinary claims, we are usually happy to accept them on nothing else than the trust that the other party has earned. If a friend tells me that he got a dog, I’d be happy to accept the claim merely on his word because it’s so ordinary. In fact, that’s such an ordinary claim, I’d be happy to take a stranger’s word for it. Could the person be wrong or lying? Sure, but even if he were, it wouldn’t make very much of a practical difference.

However, if my close friend told me that he just bought a dog that breathes fire, I wouldn’t believe him, no matter how sincere and trustworthy he was. That claim is just so far outside of human knowledge that I’m not going to accept it based merely on somebody’s say-so. And in this case, unlike in the ordinary example above, it makes a huge practical difference whether or not there exist dogs that can breathe fire – it would completely transform the way we understand the world.

So no, I don’t accept extraordinary claims based merely on someone’s say-so.

I *would* accept the claim if someone could demonstrate it to be true by means of evidence. Let’s use telekinesis as a practical example. If someone could actually move objects with his mind, this would be a demonstrable talent that we can detect, even if we didn’t know exactly how the guy did it.

Similarly, if praeterhuman intelligences were real – and if they were possessed of superior knowledge – then one could demonstrably obtain new and superior knowledge from them (and not just number puzzles, poetry, and the kinds of things we would expect would result from imagination exercises).

If reincarnation were real, then at the very least, we would have some evidence that consciousness could exist without a brain. Further (since that would be necessary but not sufficient to confirm reincarnation), there would be some kind of energy that we could detect entering and leaving bodies, and some mechanism by which it did so.

The fact that no one can produce this evidence doesn’t automatically mean that we have to accept the negation (“There is no such thing as telekinesis, praeterhuman intelligences, and reincarnation”), but the proper default position with regards to these claims is not to accept them until there is sufficient evidence. That is, I’m a non-believer with regard to these claims, and I will remain in the default position of non-belief until there is some good evidence for these claims.

And after century upon century of people making these kinds of claims – with no supporting evidence in sight – one is more than a little justified in mocking these claims and the people who insist on them.

I think [Crowley’s] claims are justified and are consistent with not only his other writings but also with other persons claiming similar things.

A claim isn’t justified merely by being consistent with a person’s other writings and with other people claiming similar things.

To dust off an old chestnut, a religious enthusiast’s claim that Jesus is the Lord and Messiah is not justified merely because it’s consistent with what that enthusiast says elsewhere and consistent with what other people claiming similar things report.

But anyway, I’m a little hesitant to go down this road with you, Lutz – which was the reason I was hesitant to begin engaging with you in the first place – because I feel we’re just treading over old ground that has been covered a million times on these forums before.

I’m more interested in talking about the potentially new avenue that has appeared on this thread: that some posters here appear to think that they have a faculty that can “directly apprehend” conclusions, which is a contradiction in terms. (You, to your credit, Lutz, at least admit that claims and conclusions come from reason applied to evidence)


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23/11/2011 2:26 pm  
"Los" wrote:
Similarly, if praeterhuman intelligences were real – and if they were possessed of superior knowledge – then one could demonstrably obtain new and superior knowledge from them (and not just number puzzles, poetry, and the kinds of things we would expect would result from imagination exercises).

How do you figure that? 🙂


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Los
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23/11/2011 2:38 pm  
"Dar" wrote:
How do you figure that? 🙂

Because if these things are distinguishable from the imagination, they would be able to produce things that one couldn't get just from using the imagination.

If we have no grounds for distinguishing the "effects" of these beings from an act of the imagination, then no one -- including people who "interact" with these supposed "beings" -- have any basis for claiming that they are anything other than acts of the imagination.


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 Anonymous
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23/11/2011 3:50 pm  

Los,

Lets get to the core of the problem. You stated:

Similarly, if praeterhuman intelligences were real – and if they were possessed of superior knowledge – then one could demonstrably obtain new and superior knowledge from them (and not just number puzzles, poetry, and the kinds of things we would expect would result from imagination exercises).

Let's explore your assertion.

Crowley claimed that Aiwass, a praeterhuman intelligence, dictated the following words:

Liber Al 2:27:
There is great danger in me; for who doth not understand these runes shall make a great miss. He shall fall down into the pit called Because, and there he shall perish with the dogs of Reason.

Now if Aiwass is real and a praeterhuman intelligence, his intelligence would be superior to yours and the "dogs of Reason" passage might shed on light on something you've been (doggedly) struggling with.

Put your reading glasses on and ask yourself:

What does the term "dogs" tell you?


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Los
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23/11/2011 3:58 pm  
"tai" wrote:
Lets get to the core of the problem.

I'll answer your question if you answer mine.


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mika
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23/11/2011 6:47 pm  
"tai" wrote:
Los,

Lets get to the core of the problem. You stated:

Similarly, if praeterhuman intelligences were real – and if they were possessed of superior knowledge – then one could demonstrably obtain new and superior knowledge from them (and not just number puzzles, poetry, and the kinds of things we would expect would result from imagination exercises).

Let's explore your assertion.

Crowley claimed that Aiwass, a praeterhuman intelligence, dictated the following words:

Liber Al 2:27:
There is great danger in me; for who doth not understand these runes shall make a great miss. He shall fall down into the pit called Because, and there he shall perish with the dogs of Reason.

Now if Aiwass is real and a praeterhuman intelligence, his intelligence would be superior to yours and the "dogs of Reason" passage might shed on light on something you've been (doggedly) struggling with.

Put your reading glasses on and ask yourself:

What does the term "dogs" tell you?

The noun "Reason" has two definitions:
reason |ˈrēzən|
1 a cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event
2 the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic

Los is discussing the second meaning of the word Reason. Aiwass is discussing the first meaning of the word Reason.

This isn't complicated.


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 Anonymous
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23/11/2011 7:38 pm  
"mika" wrote:
"tai" wrote:
Los,

Lets get to the core of the problem. You stated:

Similarly, if praeterhuman intelligences were real – and if they were possessed of superior knowledge – then one could demonstrably obtain new and superior knowledge from them (and not just number puzzles, poetry, and the kinds of things we would expect would result from imagination exercises).

Let's explore your assertion.

Crowley claimed that Aiwass, a praeterhuman intelligence, dictated the following words:

Liber Al 2:27:
There is great danger in me; for who doth not understand these runes shall make a great miss. He shall fall down into the pit called Because, and there he shall perish with the dogs of Reason.

Now if Aiwass is real and a praeterhuman intelligence, his intelligence would be superior to yours and the "dogs of Reason" passage might shed on light on something you've been (doggedly) struggling with.

Put your reading glasses on and ask yourself:

What does the term "dogs" tell you?

The noun "Reason" has two definitions:
reason |ˈrēzən|
1 a cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event
2 the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic

Los is discussing the second meaning of the word Reason. Aiwass is discussing the first meaning of the word Reason.

This isn't complicated.

These are old (dog) bones of contention, but these are the verses with AC's Commentary:

AL II,27: "There is great danger in me; for who doth not understand these runes shall make a great miss. He shall fall down into the pit called Because, and there he shall perish with the dogs of Reason."

THE OLD COMMENT.

27. The importance of failing to interpret these verses. Unspirituality leads to the bird-lime of Intellect. The Hawk must not perch on any earthly bough, but remain poised on the ether.

THE NEW COMMENT.

Humanity errs terribly when it gets 'education', in the sense of ability to read newspapers. Reason is rubbish; race-instinct is the true guide. Experience is the great Teacher; and each one of us possesses millions of years of experience, the very quintessence of it, stored automatically in our subconscious minds. The Intellectuals are worse than the bourgeoisie themselves; a la lanterne! Give us Men!
Understanding is the attribute of the Master of the Temple, who has crossed the Abyss (or "Pit") that divides the true Self from its conscious instrument. (See Liber 418, "Aha"! and Book 4, Part III). We must meditate the meaning of this attack upon the idea of "Because." I quote from my diary the demonstration that Reason is the Absolute, whereof all Truths soever art merely particular cases. The theorem may be stated roughly as follows.
The universe must be expressible either as +/- n, or as Zero. That is, it is either unbalanced or balanced. The former theory (Theism) is unthinkable; but Zero, when examined, proves to contain the possibility of being expressed as n-n, and this possibility must in its turn be considered as +/- p.
This thesis appears to me a reductio ad absurdum of the very basis of our mathematical thinking.
We knew before, of course, that all reasoning is bound to end in some mystery or some absurdity; the above is only one more antimony, a little deeper than Kant's, perhaps, but of the same character. Mathematicians would doubtless agree that all signs are arbitrary, elaboration of an abacus, and that all 'truth' is merely our name for statements that content our reason; so that it is lower than reason, and within it; not higher and beyond, as transcendentalists argue. I seem never to have seen this point before, though "men of sense" instinctively affirm it, I suppose. The pragmatists are mere tradesmen with their definition of Truth as 'the useful to be thought; ' but why not 'the necessary to be thought?' There is a sort of Berkeleyan subjectivity in this view; we might put it: "All that we can know of Truth is 'that which we are bound to think.' " The search for Truth amounts, then, to the result of the analysis of the Mind; and here let us remember my fear of the result of that analysis as I expressed them a month ago.
This analysis is the right method after all.
Now, are we justified in assuming, as we always do, that our reason is either correct or incorrect? That if any proposition can be shown to be congruous with 'A is A' it is 'true,' and so on? Does the 'reason' of the oyster comply with the same canon as man's? We assume it. We make the necessity in our thought the standard of the laws of Nature; and thus implicitly declare Reason to be the Absolute. This has nothing to do with the weakness of error in any one mind, or in all minds; all that we rely on is the existence of some purely mental standard by which we could always correct our thinking, if we knew how. It is then this power which constrains our thought, to which our minds owe fealty, that we call 'Truth;' and this 'Truth' is not a proposition at all, but a 'Law!" We cannot think what it is, obviously, as it is a final condition of philosophical thought in the same way as Space and Time are conditions of phenomenal thought. But, can there be some third type of thought which can escape the bonds of that as that can of this? "Samadhic realization," one is tempted to rush in and answer --- while angels hesitate. All my 'philosophic' thought, as above, is direct reflection upon the meaning of Samadhic experience. Is it simply that the reflections are distorted and dim? I have shown the impossibility of any true Zero, and thus destroyed every axiom, blown up the foundations of my mind. In failing to distinguish between None and Two, I cannot even cling to the straw of 'phrases,' since Time and Space are long since perished. None "is" Two, without conditions; and therefore it is a positive idea, and we are just as right to enquire how it came to be as in the case of Haeckel's monad, or one's aunt's umbrella. We are, however, this one small step advanced by our initiations, that we can be quite sure this 'None-Two' is, since all possible theories of Ontology simplify out to it.
Nevertheless, with whatever we try to identify this Absolute, we cannot escape from the fact that it is in reality merely the formula of our own Reason. The idea of Space arises from reflection upon the relations of our bodily gestures with the various objects of our senses. (Poincare - I note after reading him, months later, as I revise this note - explains this fully). So that a 'yard' is not a thing in itself, but a term in the equations which express the Laws according to which we move our muscles. My knowledge consists exclusively of the mechanics of my own mind. All that I know is the nature of its norm. The judgments of the Reason are arbitrary, and can never be verified. Truth and Reality are simply the Substance of the Reason itself. My demonstration that "None-Two is the formula of the Universe" should then preferably be re-stated thus: "The mind of the Beast 666 is so constituted that it is compelled to conceive of an Universe whose formula is None-Two."
I note that Laotze makes no attempt to announce a Tao which is truly free from Teh. Teh is the necessary quality of Tao, even though Tao, withdrawing Teh into itself, seems to ignore the fact. The only pause I make is this, that mine own Holy Guardian Angel, Aiwaz, whose crown is Thelema, whose robe Agape, whose body the Lost Word that He declared to me, spake in Book Seven and Twenty, saying: "Here is Nothing under its three forms." Can there then be not only Nothing Manifested, Teh or Two, a Nothing Unmanifested, Tao or Naught, but also a Nothing Absolute?
But there is nothing incompatible with the terms of this verse. The idea of "Because" makes everything dependent on everything else, contrary to the conception of the Universe which this Book has formulated. It is true that the concatenation exists; but the chain does not fetter our limbs. The actions and reactions of illusion are only appearances; we are not affected. No series of images matters to the mirror. What then is the danger of making 'a great miss?' We are immune - that is the very essence of the doctrine. But error exists in this sense, that we may imagine it; and when a lunatic believes that Mankind is conspiring to poison him, it is no consolation that others know his delusion for what it is. Thus, we must 'understand these runes;" we must become aware of our True Selves; if we abdicate our authority as absolute individuals, we are liable to submit to Law, to feel ourselves the puppets of Determinism, and to suffer the agonies of impotence which have afflicted the thinker, from Gautama to James Thomson.
Now then, "there is great danger in me" -- we have seen what it is; but why should it lie in Hadit? Because the process of self-analysis involves certain risks. The profane are protected against those subtle spiritual perils which lie in ambush for the priest. A Bushman never has a nervous breakdown. (See Cap.I,v.31). When the Aspirant takes his first Oath, the most trivial things turn into transcendental terrors, tortures, and temptations. (Parts II and III of Book 4 Elaborate this thesis at length.) We are so caked with dirt that the germs of disease cannot reach us. If we decide to wash, we must do it well; or we may have awakened some sleeping dogs, and set them on defenceless areas. Initiation stirs up the mud. It creates unstable equilibrium. It exposes our elements to unfamiliar conditions. The France of Louis XVI had to pass through the Terror before Napoleon could teach it to find itself. Similarly, any error in reaching the realization of Hadit may abandon the Aspirant to the ambitions of every frenzied faction of his character, the masterless dogs of the Augean kennel of his mind.

AL II,28: "Now a curse upon Because and his kin!"

THE OLD COMMENT.

28. The great Curse pronounced by the Supernals against the Inferiors who arise against them.
Our reasoning faculties are the toils of the Labyrinth within which we are all caught. Cf. Liber LXV, v.59.

THE NEW COMMENT.

This is against these Intellectuals aforesaid. There are no "standards of Right." Ethics is balderdash. Each Star must go on its orbit. To hell with 'moral Principle;' there is no such thing; that is a herd-delusion, and makes men cattle. Do not listen to the rational explanation of How Right It All Is, in the newspapers.
We may moreover consider "Because" as involving the idea of causality, and therefore of duality. If cause and effect are really inseparable, as they must be by definition, it is mere clumsiness to regard them as separate; they are two aspects of one single idea, conceived as consecutive for the sake of (apparent) convenience, or for the general purpose previously indicated of understanding and expressing ourselves in finite terms.
Shallow indeed is the obvious objection to this passage that the Book of the Law itself is full of phrases which imply causality. Nobody denies that causality is a category of the mind, a form of condition of thought which, if not quite a theoretical necessity, is yet inevitable in practice. The very idea of any relation between any two things appears as causal. Even should we declare it to be causal, our minds would still insist that causality itself was the effect of some cause. Our daily experience hammers home this conviction; and a man's mental excellence seems to be measurable almost entirely in terms of the strength and depth of his appreciation thereof as the soul of the structure of the Universe. It is the spine of Science which has vertebrated human Knowledge above the slimy mollusc whose principle was Faith.
We must not suppose for an instant that the Book of the Law is opposed to reason. On the contrary, its own claim to authority rests upon reason, and nothing else. It disdains the arts of the orator. It makes reason the autocrat of the mind. But that very fact emphasizes that the mind should attend to its own business. It should not transgress its limits. It should be a perfect machine, an apparatus for representing the universe accurately and impartially to its master. The Self, its Will, and its Apprehension, should be utterly beyond it. Its individual peculiarities are its imperfections. If we identify ourselves with our thoughts or our bodily instincts, we are evidently pledged to partake of their partiality. We make ourselves items of the interaction of our own illusions.
In the following verses we shall find the practical application of this theorem.

AL II,29: "May Because be accursed for ever!"

THE NEW COMMENT.

Distrust any explanation whatever. Disraeli said: Never ask any one to dinner who has to be explained. All explanations are intended to cover up lies, injustices, or shames. The Truth is radiantly simple.

AL II,30: "If Will stops and cries Why, invoking Because, then Will stops & does nought."

THE NEW COMMENT.

There is no 'reason' why a Star should continue in its orbit. Let her rip! Every time the conscious acts, it interferes with the Subconscious, which is Hadit. It is the voice of Man, and not of a God. Any man who 'listens to reason' ceases to be a revolutionary. The newspapers are Past Masters in the Lodge of Sophistry Number 333. They can always prove to you that it is necessary, and patriotic, and all the rest of it, that you should suffer intolerable wrongs.
The Qabalists represent the mind as a complex of six elements, whereas the Will is single, the direct expression as "The Word" of the Self. The mind must inform the Understanding, which then presents a simple idea to the Will. This issues its orders accordingly for unquestioning execution. If the Will should appeal to the mind, it must confuse itself with incomplete and uncoordinated ideas. The clamour of these cries crowns Anarchy, and action becomes impossible.

AL II,31: "If Power asks why, then is Power weakness."

THE NEW COMMENT.

It is ridiculous to ask a dog why it barks. One must fulfil one's true Nature, one must do one's Will. To question this is to destroy confidence, and so to create an inhibition. If a woman asks a man who wishes to kiss her why he wants to do so, and he tries to explain, he becomes impotent. His proper course is to choke her into compliance, which is what she wants, anyhow.
Power acts: the nature of the action depends on the information received by the Will; but once the decision is taken, reflection is out of place. Power should indeed be absolutely unconscious. Every athlete is aware that his skill, strength, and endurance depend on forbidding mind to meddle with muscle. Here is a simple experiment. Hold out a weight at arm's length. If you fix your attention firmly on other matters, you can support the strain many times longer than if you allow yourself to think of what your body is doing.

AL II,32: "Also reason is a lie; for there is a factor infinite & unknown; & all their words are skew-wise."

THE OLD COMMENT.

32. We have insufficient data on which to reason. This passage only allies to 'rational' criticism of the Things Beyond.

THE NEW COMMENT.

The 'factor infinite and unknown' is the subconscious Will. 'On with the revel!" 'Their words' -- the plausible humbug of the newspapers and the churches. Forget it! Allons! Marchons!
It has been explained at length in a previous note that 'reason is a lie' by nature. We may here add certain confirmations suggested by the 'factor.' A and a (not-A) together make up the Universe. As a is evidently 'infinite and unknown,' its equal and opposite A must be so no less. Again, from any proposition S is P, reason deduces "S is not p;" thus the apparent finitude and knowability of S is deceptive, since it is in direct relation with p.
No matter what n may be, {?infinity?}, the number of the inductive numbers, is unaltered by adding or subtracting it. There are just as many odd numbers as there are numbers altogether. Our knowledge is confined to statements of the relations between certain sets of our own sensory impressions; and we are convinced by our limitations that 'a factor infinite and unknown' must be concealed within the sphere of which we see but one minute part of the surface. As to reason itself, what is more certain than that its laws are only the conscious expression of the limits imposed upon us by our animal nature, and that to attribute universal validity, or even significance, to them is a logical folly, the raving of our megalomania? Experiment proves nothing; it is surely obvious that we are obliged to correlate all observations with the physical and mental structure whose truth we are trying to test. Indeed, we can assume an 'unreasonable' axiom, and translate the whole of our knowledge into its terms, without fear of stumbling over any obstacle. Reason is no more than a set or rules developed by the race; it takes no account of anything beyond sensory impressions and their reactions to various parts of our being. There is no possible escape from the vicious circle that we can register only the behaviour of our own instrument. We conclude from the fact that it behaves at all, that there must be 'a factor infinite and unknown' at work upon it. This being the case, we may be sure that our apparatus is inherently incapable of discovering the truth about anything, even in part.
Let me illustrate. I see a drop of water. Distrusting my eyes, I put it under the microscope. Still in doubt, I photograph and enlarge the slide. I compare my results with those of others. I check them by cultivating the germs in the water, and injecting them into paupers. But I have learnt nothing at all about 'the infinite and unknown,' merely producing all sorts of different impressions according to the conditions in which one observes it!
More yet, all the instruments used have been tested and declared "true" on the evidence of those very eyes distrust of which drove me to the research.
Modern Science has at last grown out of the very-young-man cocksureness of the 19th century. It is now admitted that axioms themselves depend on definitions, and that Intuitive Certainty is simply one trait of "homo sapiens", like the ears of the ass or the slime of the slug. That we reason as we do merely proves that we cannot reason otherwise. We cannot move the upper jaw; it does not follow that the idea of motion is ridiculous. The limitation hints rather that there may be an infinite variety of structures which the jaw cannot imagine. The metric system is not the necessary mode of measurement. It is the mark of a mind untrained to take its own processes as valid for all men, and its own judgments for absolute truth. Our two eyes see an object in two aspects, and present to our consciousness a third which agrees with neither, is indeed, strictly speaking, not sensible to sight, but to touch! Our senses declare some things at rest and others in motion; our reason corrects the error, firstly by denying that anything can exist unless it is in motion, secondly by denying that absolute motion possesses any meaning at all.
At the time when this Book was written, official Science angrily scouted the 'factor infinite and unknown,' and clung with pathetic faith to the idea that reason was the touchstone of truth. In a single sentence, Aiwaz anticipates the discoveries by which the greatest minds now incarnate have made the last ten years memorable.

AL II,33: "Enough of Because! Be he damned for a dog!"

THE OLD COMMENT.

33. We pass from the wandering in the jungle of Reason to -- the Awakening. (see next verse).

THE NEW COMMENT.

This is the only way to deal with reason. Reason is like a woman; if you listen, you are lost; with a thick stick, you have some sort of sporting chance. Reason leads the philosopher to self-contradiction, the statesman to doctrinaire follies; it makes the warrior lay down his arms, and the lover cease to rave. What is so unreasonable as man? The only Because in the lover's litany is Because I love you. We want no skeleton syllogisms at our symposium of souls.
Philosophically, 'Because is absurd.' There is no answer to the question "Why." The greatest thinkers have been sceptics or agnostics: "omnia exeunt in mysterium"," and "summa scientia nihil scire" are old commonplaces. In my essays 'Truth' (in Konx Om Pax), 'The Soldier and the Hunchback,' 'Eleusis' and others, I have offered a detailed demonstration of the self-contradictory nature of Reason. The crux of the whole proof may be summarized by saying that any possible proposition must be equally true with its contradictory, as, if not, the universe would no longer be in equilibrium. It is no objection that to accept this is to destroy conventional Logic, for that is exactly what it is intended to do. I may also mention briefly one line of analysis.
I ask "What is (e.g.) a tree?" The dictionary defines this simple idea by means of many complex ideas; obviously one gets in deeper with every stroke one takes. The same applies to any "Why" that may be posed. The one existing mystery disappears as a consequence of innumerable antecedents, each equally mysterious.
To ask questions is thus evidently worse than a waste of time, so far as one is looking for an answer.
There is also the point that any proposition S is P merely includes P in the connotation of S, and is therefore not really a statement of relation between two things, but an amendment of the definition of one of them. "Some cats are black" only means that our idea of a cat involves the liability to appear black, and that blackness is consistent with those sets of impressions which we recognize as characteristic of cats. All ratiocination may be reduced to syllogistic form; hence, the sole effect of the process is to make each term more complex. Reason does not add to our knowledge; a filing system does not increase one's correspondence directly, though by arranging it one gets a better grasp of one's business. Thus coordination of our impressions should help us to control them; but to allow reason to rule us is as abject as to expect the exactitude of our ledgers to enable us to dispense with initiative on the one hand and actual transactions on the other.


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mika
 mika
(@mika)
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23/11/2011 8:57 pm  
"Camlion" wrote:
These are old (dog) bones of contention, but these are the verses with AC's Commentary:

What's your point? How do the quoted verses contradict, support, or otherwise relate to my post?


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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23/11/2011 9:14 pm  
"mika" wrote:
"Camlion" wrote:
These are old (dog) bones of contention, but these are the verses with AC's Commentary:

What's your point? How do the quoted verses contradict, support, or otherwise relate to my post?

That remains to be seen. I've seen both sides in this tired old debate take comfort in these verses and AC's comments. But, "this isn't complicated," so you tell us how it "contradicts or supports" your point; and then someone else might see the opposite in it, as is usually the case.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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24/11/2011 3:51 am  
"mika" wrote:
The noun "Reason" has two definitions:
reason |ˈrēzən|
1 a cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event
2 the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic

Los is discussing the second meaning of the word Reason. Aiwass is discussing the first meaning of the word Reason.

This isn't complicated.

Mika,

Camlion is a wise old man and you should listen to his advice.

No, it isn't complicated, but you got it wrong: Los seems to be using Reason according to definition number 2:

the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic

(or in Los' own words: Reason is the faculty by which the mind produces conclusions from evidence).

but in fact he ultimately applies Reason according to definition number 1. This is evidenced by his belief that there is a "rational" explanation for claims about praeterhuman intelligences. In other words he uses reason to arrive at causal explanations for claims that go beyond ordinary knowledge.

His usage of Reason according to definition number 1 is demonstrated by the central premise on which he bases his arguments:

“All claims about the workings of the universe are rational constructs”

For me the very idea that all claims about the workings of the universe are "rational constructs" is absurd. It contradicts what we know about psychology and human nature - we are not rational at subconscious and unconscious levels and only barely at the conscious level. Los' phrase "rational constructs" might be justified in the sense of "grounds" on which people base their arguments. But there is nothing rational about such grounds.

The irrationality of such grounds was illustrated when I asked Los on what "evidence" he reached the conclusion that "All claims about the workings of the universe are rational constructs." His answer? He believes it to be so and accepts data that supports this belief while ignoring data that does not support it.

That's not a very rational or convincing answer, is it? Essentially, there is no difference between Los' position and a Christian's belief in God or a 5-year old's belief in Santa Claus.

So what's going on here?

What Los really means by "rational construct" is a belief that simulates or pretends to be "rational," and the same applies to himself. Of course there are number of possibilities why he might use “All claims about the workings of the universe are rational constructs” as an operating premise. None of them have to do with being reasonable or rational and all of them relate to using Reason in the service of Power. No doubt Los believes this "power" to be his True Will...

Now lets get back to the dogs of Reason.

What is the difference between "dogs" and "God"?


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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24/11/2011 6:25 am  
"Los" wrote:
"Dar" wrote:
How do you figure that? 🙂

Because if these things are distinguishable from the imagination, they would be able to produce things that one couldn't get just from using the imagination.

If we have no grounds for distinguishing the "effects" of these beings from an act of the imagination, then no one -- including people who "interact" with these supposed "beings" -- have any basis for claiming that they are anything other than acts of the imagination.

That's an imaginative hypothesis, but it's not factually based enough to qualify as a rational claim.

There is no a priori reason to suppose that: "If praeterhuman intelligences were real – and if they were possessed of superior knowledge – then one could demonstrably obtain new and superior knowledge from them."

On what fact does your supposition that "one could demonstrably obtain new and superior knowledge from them" rest upon?

As your second supposition rested upon the validity of the first then it's non substantiated until you provide an a priori reason.

Isn't logic fun? 🙂


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Los
 Los
(@los)
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24/11/2011 6:23 pm  
"Camlion" wrote:
these are the verses with AC's Commentary

I’ve never seen you – even once – demonstrate any ability to explain the subject that you are sure to let everybody know you have a lot of “experience” in. Anybody can quote a text and then say, “Oh just do the work, and you’ll see!” If this is all your “work” has given you the ability to do in these conversations, then I have to question how effective that “work” actually was.

tai:

For me the very idea that all claims about the workings of the universe are "rational constructs" is absurd. It contradicts what we know about psychology and human nature - we are not rational at subconscious and unconscious levels and only barely at the conscious level.

You return to this thread simply to re-assert a point that I’ve already addressed.

Why don’t you want to answer the question I asked you? To repeat: are you saying that intuition is a faculty that directly apprehends whether factual claims are true/false? Or are you saying that intuition provides more data that the reason can operate on to reach conclusions?

I’ve already argued that Understanding isn’t a faculty that makes or evaluates factual claims. Understanding is a faculty that “directly apprehends” the illusory nature of duality (which is the arena in which we make and evaluate factual claims).

If you’re not able to address my points, then you should have stayed out of the thread.

Dar:

There is no a priori reason to suppose that: "If praeterhuman intelligences were real – and if they were possessed of superior knowledge – then one could demonstrably obtain new and superior knowledge from them."

Well, I was making the implicit assumption – typically claimed by people who think they can interact with these supposed creatures – that humans are capable of contacting these creatures to receive some of this superior knowledge.

If you insist on me spelling it all out: if praeterhuman intelligences were real, and if they were possessed of superior knowledge, and if humans have the ability to get in touch with them and bring back messages containing this superior knowledge, then one could demonstrably obtain new and superior knowledge from them.

Of course, it’s possible that these creautres do exist but simply choose – for reasons known presumably only to them – to act in ways that are completely and totally indistinguishable from being figments of people’s imaginations. In that case, though, they would be completely indistinguishable from being figments of imagination and no one – including the people who supposed “interact” with them – would have any reason to think that they were anything more than figments of the imagination.


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Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 4021
24/11/2011 7:22 pm  
"Los" wrote:
If you’re not able to address my points, then you should have stayed out of the thread.

I think you've lost sight of the fact that the thread is open to anyone who wishes to post something relevant to the topic, and they are free to respond to any of the points raised which they choose.


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Azidonis
(@azidonis)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2964
24/11/2011 7:42 pm  
"Los" wrote:
"Azidonis" wrote:
It's almost like my intuition is telling me what you wrote before I read it, thereby saving my reasoning faculty the nuisance of having to continually point out the limitations of your claims.

Hmm. I didn’t think you were going to admit it, but there we go. You really do think that that spiffy “intuiton” of yours can “bypass reason” and directly apprehend factual information.

And you wonder why I don't read a lot of your writings.

You don't have to "believe" that intuition can bypass reason. It's true. It's also a waste of time going any further reading what you say about it, because you are obviously quite clueless on that point.

For someone who is always complaining about "seeing reality as it is", you sure do place a ton of limitations on yourself, that inevitably hamper you from seeing one or more aspects of the truth in many situations. I hope you are proud of your prison.


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Azidonis
(@azidonis)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2964
24/11/2011 7:59 pm  

It's apt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=zwoqzb5R6vw#!

Title: Everything is Offensive.
Change to: Everything is [Insert Adjective Here].


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
24/11/2011 9:00 pm  
"Los" wrote:
Why don’t you want to answer the question I asked you? To repeat: are you saying that intuition is a faculty that directly apprehends whether factual claims are true/false?

I am saying intuition is a faculty that directly apprehends. That’s it - full stop. Do not add “whether factual claims are true/false”. Its a simple observation but you continue to project the activity of Ruach on to Neschamah, even after this point was clarified twice (this is the third time, btw, and I am counting).

"Los" wrote:
Or are you saying that intuition provides more data that the reason can operate on to reach conclusions?

Intuitions can provide valuable data, especially when the data conflicts with what the subject consciously thinks. But as to whether reason can use this data to reach conclusions depends on how you understand “reason”.

I use “reason” in the limited sense of the mind's ability to analyze and deduce; in other words, to analyze a general proposition and deduce a conclusion from its parts. The conclusion may not be self-evident from the general proposition, but it is always contained within the proposition. You, on the other hand, use “reason” in a different sense and reach conclusions that dictate the reality of the general proposition itself. It would have been more intellectually honest if you just stated your conclusion at the beginning, leaving out the arguments, because you “believe it to be true”.

"Los" wrote:
I’ve already argued that Understanding isn’t a faculty that makes or evaluates factual claims. Understanding is a faculty that “directly apprehends” the illusory nature of duality (which is the arena in which we make and evaluate factual claims).

Great, that's a good start.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
24/11/2011 11:09 pm  
"Los" wrote:
However, if my close friend told me that he just bought a dog that breathes fire, I wouldn’t believe him, no matter how sincere and trustworthy he was.

How about a dog that hypnotizes people?


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
25/11/2011 2:48 am  
"Los" wrote:
Dar:

There is no a priori reason to suppose that: "If praeterhuman intelligences were real – and if they were possessed of superior knowledge – then one could demonstrably obtain new and superior knowledge from them."

Well, I was making the implicit assumption – typically claimed by people who think they can interact with these supposed creatures – that humans are capable of contacting these creatures to receive some of this superior knowledge.

If you insist on me spelling it all out: if praeterhuman intelligences were real, and if they were possessed of superior knowledge, and if humans have the ability to get in touch with them and bring back messages containing this superior knowledge, then one could demonstrably obtain new and superior knowledge from them.

Of course, it’s possible that these creautres do exist but simply choose – for reasons known presumably only to them – to act in ways that are completely and totally indistinguishable from being figments of people’s imaginations. In that case, though, they would be completely indistinguishable from being figments of imagination and no one – including the people who supposed “interact” with them – would have any reason to think that they were anything more than figments of the imagination.

So you're taking a pseudo-skeptic position?

If we want to be completely rational about this then: you cannot draw a hypothesis and attempt to justify it's claim to be valid by another hypothesis without any factual evidence being introduced as the basis of the claim. It's just... daisy chaining! The rational mind (part of the Self) is left spinning it's wheels, with no contact with the actual terrain. Reason concerns itself with precise limits or it goes knocking on the door of Zeno's paradox.

What do you think of this mark II version of your original proposition?:

1) All rational claims made about the universe can ultimately and rationally be seen to rest upon an absurdity.

2) Some claims about the universe are rational claims.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
25/11/2011 7:30 pm  

Los, you are right, but you can't fuck Lashtal.
Why?


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