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the_real_simon_iff
(@the_real_simon_iff)
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30/11/2011 8:41 am  
"Los" wrote:
My interest isn’t in those supernatural claims. My interest is in Thelema, which is separate from those claims.

93!

You also seem to have an interest in claiming that people who don't agree with your view about the super-natural are wackaloos. In fact, it seems that is your real mission.

"Los" wrote:
A hundred years later, we aren’t any closer to any of these claims being verified.

I think scientific investigations in the last hundred years showed that there are ways of communication that are (at least in theory) not restricted by time, by cause-and-effect or by the mind, but one of science's main finding is that the scientist is part of the subject he is observing. Maybe we need to wait another 230 years, who knows. This "scientific provability" thing is the real red herring here.

Love=Law
Lutz


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 Anonymous
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30/11/2011 9:41 am  
"Los" wrote:
The fact that a handful of people on some thread somewhere want to reverse the meaning of the word or abolish it altogether doesn’t change the fact that the word supernatural is used by English speakers to denote claims such as ESP, magic, ghosts, demons, psychic powers, etc., and similar claims that appear to violate a naturalistic understanding of the world

For me qi energy is part of the “naturalistic understanding” of the world. For you it would fall under the “supernatural” (psychic powers):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G28NzvwuND8


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Patriarch156
(@patriarch156)
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30/11/2011 4:06 pm  

I will probably regret sticking my head into this nest of hornet, but here goes anyway...

Los has proposed that Thelema is a code of individual action and only that. This is demonstrably wrong according to Crowley. In a letter to Grady McMurtry Crowley is clear that the Law of Thelema is not merely a code of individual action (what he called a way of life).

In fact he declares as part of the Clear Crowley's Name Campaign that "the Law of Thelema would be presented as":

i. a philosophy "for highbrows";
ii. a "way of life for those who can understand it using the O.T.O. as the outer vehicle";
iii. a "interlocking but seperate Lodge" for the masonically minded;
iv. a "Church of Light, Life, Love and Liberty" (using the Gnostic Catholic Church) for the adherents;
v. a youth organization organized along the lines of the boy scouts.

He remarks at the end of this summary that it "is necessary to broaden the scope of presentation of the Law of Thelema so that people of all types may be able to appreciate that particular part which they can understand."

In the above and other writings it is clear that he identifies that Thelema as a Way of Life (what he would also refer to as "accepting the Book of the Law as the Supreme Rule of Life") was codified by him in the instructions, oaths and rituals of the O.T.O.

In letters to W.B. Crow from the same period and Norman Mudd two decades earlier, as well as in his diaries, he also makes it clear that the Law of Thelema contains a political system where according to his unpublished Notes on an Open Letter to Labour, legislation will be reformed on the basis of the Law of Thelema. The principle he outlines is that every action will be legal provided that it does not hinder others equal rights to choose their own action.

Hence according to his examples you can have sex with whomever you want provided that they consent, otherwise you are infringing on their liberty. You can gamble or drink or take drugs, but if you steal or hurt others as a result of your own indulgement of these actions then you will be punished more severely than if you had not involved yourself in this action. Similarly he ascertains the rights of the State over those of the parents, if children are being abused physically or mentally (through threats, particularly if these are of a supernatural nature).

As such the Law of Thelema is clearly more than a code of individual conduct (ethics within philosophy), it also contains the four other traditional parts of philosophy, politics, metaphysics, epistemology and aesthetics. As we will see, the Law of Thelema also contains Magick.

In De Lege Libellum, he declares that the Law of Thelema has four rays and one of these, Life, specifically involves two preferred modes for fixing this conception of Life. One is the acquisition of magical memory, the other to travel freely in the Body of Light. Both are distinctly magical practices and involves the certainty of AL I:58: "The certainty concerning death is conferred by the Magical Memory, and various Experiences without which Life is unintelligible."

Moreover as defined in the Book of the Law as understood by Crowley the Law of Thelema is threefold: Ordeal, Ritual and Law.

These ordeals are according to Crowley (cf. New Comment on AL I:34) defined as "being carried out unknown to the Candidate by the secret Magick Power of The Beast." He then demonstrates with reference to the rituals that "the Magical Formulae have been published" referencing Energized Enthusiasm, The Rites of Eleusis, Liber ABA part III and so on.

While it is true that one does not need to practice Magick in order to be a Thelemite according to Crowley, Magick very much is part and parcel of the Law of Thelema of AL as understood by Crowley.

While one does not have to agree with Crowley, Magick for him was about getting in touch with praterhuman intelligences and thereby proving the central thesis of religion. If Crowley himself did not buy into this, then it is likely that we would see reports of this from friends, acolytes, letters, diaries and so on. Instead all of them unamimously prove that Crowley very much believed in all of this. In fact in a letter to one Greville Gascoigne in 1938, he chastise him for trying to be practical and ignore the dictums of the Secret Chiefs:

"You write as if the whole of our proposals constituted a fraud, as if it was simply a matter of our convenience as to what we should do. That is plain nonsense. The forces behind the Book [of the Law] determine the time and place of wars; and if you are in a position to put a spoke in the wheel of such people, I certainly am not.  I fought against these forces with the whole of my power for may years, and I came out at the little end of the horn."

This does not sound like a man who is merely putting up a pretense at someone else's expense, particularly when all his letters are filled with similar tales and his diaries describe in detail his dealings with these forces. Whatever you may believe about these forces, it is rather clear that the historical evidence shows that Crowley does not agree.

Finally the Book of the Law itself (III:39) asks Crowley to produce a book that explains how he "didst come hither." According to Crowley this was fulfilled with the production of The Equinox of the Gods, which contains the origin of the Book of the Law (genesis libri al). This document clearly refers to praterhuman intelligences, magick and miraculous occurrences.

Clearly supernatural claims were very much part of the Law of Thelema as expressed in the Book of the Law as Crowley understood it.

That being said I do think that many of the members on the forum are unnecessarily hostile towards you.  I get the feeling that sometimes double standards are being used when you are condemned for voicing your own point of view. I certainly do not think that your contributions can accurately be labelled as spamming or trolling.

When the spectre of understanding Crowley correctly is being drummed up, I think it becomes a rather troublesome affair, considering how much of what goes on in the Thelemic part of this forum is not really restricted to Crowley's point of view on Thelema.

You certainly are one of the more well versed people (even if I think you suffer from tunnel vision at times, mistaking your own limited take on it for the whole) as far as Crowleyan Thelema goes. You always try to back up your claims with direct quotes from Crowley and overall I think your contributions makes LAShTAL.com a richer place.


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Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
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30/11/2011 5:59 pm  
"Patriarch156" wrote:
That being said I do think that many of the members on the forum are unnecessarily hostile towards you.  I get the feeling that sometimes double standards are being used when you are condemned for voicing your own point of view. I certainly do not think that your contributions can accurately be labelled as spamming or trolling.

In my opinion it's true that there is hostility to Los on these boards. However, it is nothing to do with him voicing his point of view. It has everything to do with his incessant sneering and condescension.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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30/11/2011 6:49 pm  

magick in theory in practice says,page 108,that a man blowing his nose is a simple magick-al act.just sayin.(but unless the link is made by the use of his nerves and muscles in accordance with psychological,physiological,and physical law,the nose will remain unblown through all eternity).damm,thats a long time.


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Azidonis
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30/11/2011 6:53 pm  
"Los" wrote:
When I say, “supernatural claims,” what I’m talking about are his claims to be able to do supernatural things, like guess birthdays nine times out of ten, turn invisible, talk to non-corporeal creatures, summon up real honest-to-goodness-no-fooling demons, levitate, etc.

1. Guessing birthdays - Someone familiar with the zodiac can guess sun signs all day, and it becomes even easier if you only try to guess the element. Nice little ice breaker, I suppose. His guessing of birthdays could have been a continuance of the "clairvoyance" practices and tests he prescribed for the A:.A:. I don't think there is much "supernatural" about this. I think the acts require a certain attunement, and can be quite impressive, but are in the end no different than any other siddhi.

2. I do recall him mentioning in detail how he would "turn invisible", and not one time did he mention the overall effect being that of hopping into Harry Potter's little cloak. There are methods of so-called invisibility which are mainly aura/energy based, and have nothing to do with whether or not one's physical body actually fades from existence.

On another note: I've witnessed true invisibility first hand, and there is nothing "supernatural" about it. But it's pretty damn cool to look right at someone and not see them.

3. Non-corporeal creatures - Ya, what a hoot. Interestingly enough, evocations properly done are designed to yield new information, especially information that the magician did not or could not have access to. Whether said information is obtained through some as yet unknown psychic channels or whatever is something we may one day figure out. But the fact remains that one can use the process to obtain such information.

4. Summoning demons... Not entirely a subjective experience, but not entirely an objective one. I've never seen an "entity" appear in 100% physical form, but I have seen "entities" manifest in various ways, usually astrally or as some other thought-form. While seemingly entirely subjective, I say not so due to the fact that others have at times interacted with said "entities" quite independent of myself and vice versa. It's definitely odd to have a 3-way conversation with your friend and some "thing" in the aethyr, but I digress.

5. Levitation... look up "Yogic Flying". There are some YouTube videos and such, even one in which a doctor describes the changes in brainwaves which assist the phenomenon, it being a precursor to actual yogic levitation. While I do not see the point in it myself other than as a siddhi, or byproduct, some people really enjoy it and it is the light of their day.

But, did Crowley really walk in on Bennett only to see him upsidedown in a corner during Asana due to levitation? Possibly. It's also possible he just made it up.


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Azidonis
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30/11/2011 6:57 pm  
"Dar" wrote:
"Azidonis" wrote:
It began on page 1 of this very long thread (and in fact was introduced by Los in the quoted post), and has been going on for quite some time (even before this thread)... perhaps a resolution of some sort will eventually play out.

Actually - when you think about it, this is really a marvellous new thing in human history that such a long running, deep and broad dialogue can take place on a forum over a matter of years like this.  It's quite a refined thing when viewed against the aeons of insularity and disconnectedness.  So; even though it may be frustrating at times when people get stuck on their positions and no movement or insight happens for a while - it's went on long enough that people also know things will change.  People do grow.  People will grow.  Insights and new ways of sharing our perspectives emerge.  And we, the internet generation, can appreciate this like never before, because we witness it happening.  And we can learn from that.

On Paul's site, and maybe this is hitting close to his vision of the grail of Lashtal too?  🙂

This process all seems to be in order and seems quite magical to me as well. 

93's everybody!  🙂

 

Interesting you say that. Just the other day I was thinking about how wild it would have been if say Socrates/Plato, Aristotle, and Buddha were able to post back and forth to each other on forums like these.

GMTA? 🙂


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Los
 Los
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01/12/2011 12:32 am  

Hi Patriarch156,

Your post refreshingly contains actual evidence – this is the kind of evidence I would have expected gurugeorge to produce if he had ever taken me up on my challenge, so I will take your post as an opportunity to continue that particular conversation.

Thank you for the very thoughtful post and for your kind words at the end. Your thoughtful post deserves a thoughtful and full reply, so I have taken the time to compose a response that is of adequate length for the task.

In order to make my reply clear, I’m going to break it up into three different sections, covering different topics. The first is “Published Writings” which addresses the evidence you offered about references to magick in Crowley’s published prose descriptions of what Thelema actually is.

The second is entitled “Private Correspondence,” which addresses the evidence you posted about what Crowley said that Thelema is privately, in his letters and diary entries (not intended to be published to the world as an explanation of what Thelema is).

The third section is entitled “Crowley’s personal supernatural beliefs,” which concerns the personal beliefs of one man and is outside the scope of whether Thelema itself entails supernatural beliefs.

I will address each in turn.

Published Writings

I consider this section to be the most important for addressing my argument because I have been arguing about Thelema as presented by Crowley to the world in his published prose writings on the subject. If it could be demonstrated that Crowley’s published writings on Thelema explicitly say that Thelema requires belief in the supernatural, then my claim will have to be overturned.

The strongest evidence you present is that concerning De Lege Libellum:

In De Lege Libellum, he declares that the Law of Thelema has four rays and one of these, Life, specifically involves two preferred modes for fixing this conception of Life. One is the acquisition of magical memory, the other to travel freely in the Body of Light. Both are distinctly magical practices and involves the certainty of AL I:58: "The certainty concerning death is conferred by the Magical Memory, and various Experiences without which Life is unintelligible."

I was wondering when someone was going to bring this up. There’s an even more (apparently) damning quote from Liber II – apparently more damning for my position because it concerns the discovery of the true will:

“The obvious practical task of the magician is then to discover what his will really is, so that he may do it in this manner, and he can best accomplish this by the practices of Liber Thisarb (see Equinox I(7), p. 105) or such others as may from one time to another be appointed.”

Indeed, both of these quotations suggest that magical practices can be used in the service of discovering the true will (in the latter) and of living one’s Life (realizing the Self that is separable from the facts of one’s life, in the former): but the question that concerns us is not whether magical practices can be used in the service of Thelema – which they obviously can – but whether supernatural beliefs are necessarily part of Thelema.

Nowhere does Crowley say that literally believing in reincarnation is required to practice Thelema, and nowhere does he say that it is the acquiring of past life memories that enables one to discover the True Will. The practice of Liber Thisharb can be used to help enable one to discover the True Will, but he never says that it’s the acquiring of past life memories that does the trick. He doesn’t say exactly what it is about Thisharb that will help: is it the memories themselves? Is it the concentration involved? Is it the self discipline learned by engaging in the practice?

He doesn’t say, and it would be a mistake to read into his words the idea that one has to discover one’s past lives in order to discover the True Will – although such sloppy misreadings are probably where this idea came from in the first place.

His claims that the magical memory affords “certainty” about death is part of his claim that he personally accepts reincarnation as true – not as part of a claim about the necessity of belief in reincarnation for Thelema – and he’s on record in other places (such as Magick Without Tears) expressing doubts about reincarnation that we wouldn’t expect from someone who actually thought his experience really did enable him to have “certainty” on the subject. Elsewhere (MiTP), he makes clear that the “truth” of past life memories isn’t of any concern to him, so we can be fairly sure, taking all of this together, that he didn’t consider holding supernatural beliefs a necessary part of Thelema.

And, just for the sake of completeness, to look at the relevant quote from De Lege Libellum:

“Let then the aspirant to the sacred Wisdom consider his Self no more as one segment of the Serpent, but as the whole. […]To fix the mind in this apprehension of Life, two modes are preferred”

He’s not saying that one has to accept any supernatural theories behind any of this or accept that reincarnation is real or that astral travel is real: he’s saying that these are two modes (“preferred” modes…preferred by whom, we might ask) to “fix” in the mind the understanding of Life as something greater than the changes one undergoes, the understanding of the Self as something other than the changes through which one’s body and mind go. In other words, one is capable of using these practices in service to attainment without having to accept any theories about them.

The other major “published” claim you make is about the Book of the Law itself:

Moreover as defined in the Book of the Law as understood by Crowley the Law of Thelema is threefold: Ordeal, Ritual and Law.

These ordeals are according to Crowley (cf. New Comment on AL I:34) defined as "being carried out unknown to the Candidate by the secret Magick Power of The Beast." He then demonstrates with reference to the rituals that "the Magical Formulae have been published" referencing Energized Enthusiasm, The Rites of Eleusis, Liber ABA part III and so on.

As I noted earlier in the thread, the text of the Book of the Law refers to ordeals, rituals, and laws, but ordeals, rituals, and laws are not necessarily supernatural: there are psychological, secular, personal rituals, ordeals, and laws.

Crowley’s comment talks about one kind of “ordeals” being carried out at that particular time, “at present carried out.” It doesn’t say that all ordeals are carried out by the “Magick Power of The Beast.”

He also writes, that these “initiations” “are not, like the traditional ordeals, formal, or identical for all; the Candidate finds himself in circumstances which afford a real test of conduct, and compel him to discover his own nature, to become aware of himself by bringing his secret motives to the surface.”

It sounds as if he’s saying that currently, Crowley is setting up these “ordeals” for his disciples in one way or another, not strictly in formal ceremonies, but in ways that involve the formulae given in some of Crowley’s other works. [It brings to mind the kinds of ordeals he subjected Neuberg to]

On the surface of it, there’s nothing here that’s supernatural at all. After all, Magick,” in its highest sense, is merely the Science and Art of causing Change in accordance with Will.” In that sense – in the sense where every act, including writing this post, is an act of “magick” – then “magick” is nothing more than the accomplishment of the True Will, even (and especially) through mundane means.
In this sense “magick” is absolutely a part of Thelema, but not supernatural magick.

Finally, you attempt to implicate the Book of the Law in supernatural beliefs when you write:

the Book of the Law itself (III:39) asks Crowley to produce a book that explains how he "didst come hither." According to Crowley this was fulfilled with the production of The Equinox of the Gods, which contains the origin of the Book of the Law (genesis libri al). This document clearly refers to praterhuman intelligences, magick and miraculous occurrences.

The Book of the Law isn’t making a supernatural claim here: it’s instructing Crowley to write a book about the events surrounding the writing, which he did. There’s nothing supernatural about that. The Book doesn’t say we have to blindly accept everything claimed in Crowley’s book, and it doesn’t even say that the book Crowley writes needs to be the (unexaggerated) truth: all it’s saying is “write a book,” which is about as unsupernatural a command as any I can think of.

Thus, to summarize this section of my response, Crowley does not say in any of these published quotes that supernatural claims are a necessary part of Thelema. I am well within the scope of Thelema – as defined and explained by Crowley in his published writings on the subject – to take a non-supernatural approach and to develop Thelema by exploring ideas (skepticism, atheism, and moral nihilism) in the context of Thelema that are consistent with and conducive to it.


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Los
 Los
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01/12/2011 12:36 am  

Private Letters

You mention several pieces of private correspondence in which Crowley defines Thelema as something other than a code of conduct. For clarity’s sake, I do not consider these pieces of evidence to be challenges to my position on this thread for two reasons:

1) In none of the quotes I am about to address does Crowley make reference to supernatural claims.

2) Even if these quotes did entail supernatural claims, I am focused on how Crowley presented Thelema to the world in his published writings. In private correspondence or in journal entries, people often jot down thoughts out of context or ideas that they are experimenting or playing with. It is published writings that one turns to when one wishes to get a thinker’s fullest statement of position on an issue.

You write:

[Crowley] declares as part of the Clear Crowley's Name Campaign that "the Law of Thelema would be presented as":

i. a philosophy "for highbrows";
ii. a "way of life for those who can understand it using the O.T.O. as the outer vehicle";
iii. a "interlocking but seperate Lodge" for the masonically minded;
iv. a "Church of Light, Life, Love and Liberty" (using the Gnostic Catholic Church) for the adherents;
v. a youth organization organized along the lines of the boy scouts.

Just a note here: wasn’t it McMurtry who wrote “Clear Crowley’s Name”?

I’d need to read the piece to see the exact phrasing and context, but the basic issue here is that he’s talking about how to present Thelema, as opposed to what Thelema actually is.

This may seem like a semantic quibble, but it’s not: it’s one thing to present Thelema as a Church, but it’s another thing entirely for Thelema to be a “Church of Light, Life, Love and Liberty.” If Thelema is this Church (i.e. the EGC), then how is it that the EGC existed before the reception of the Book of the Law?

If Thelema is a “youth organization organized along the lines of the boy scouts” – a plan that was never carried through – then how is it that Thelema exists and this organization does not?

My point – and I won’t go through each one of those bullet points, to save time – is that Crowley (or whoever authored the piece) isn’t saying that Thelema is any of those things…he’s offering hypothetical ways to present Thelema and make it appealing to the masses.

In letters to W.B. Crow from the same period and Norman Mudd two decades earlier, as well as in his diaries, he also makes it clear that the Law of Thelema contains a political system where according to his unpublished Notes on an Open Letter to Labour, legislation will be reformed on the basis of the Law of Thelema. The principle he outlines is that every action will be legal provided that it does not hinder others equal rights to choose their own action.

I’d have to look to see how this is precisely phrased, but it sounds as if Crowley is talking about a political system based on the Law of Thelema, not something intrinsic to Thelema itself. There’s more to say here, but since the topic of the thread is the supernatural, I’ll table this for another time in the name of brevity.

Crowley’s Personal Supernatural Beliefs

The issue I’ve been addressing is whether or not Thelema, as presented by Crowley, necessitates supernatural beliefs. A separate issue is Crowley’s own acceptance (or not) of supernatural claims.

As I said earlier in this thread, rather than make blanket statements, it might be more useful to put Crowley’s claims on a continuum from claims that he made but probably didn’t accept (like the claim that he could really turn invisible) to claims that he may have accepted (the Secret Chiefs stuff).

You write:

In fact in a letter to one Greville Gascoigne in 1938, he chastise him for trying to be practical and ignore the dictums of the Secret Chiefs:

"You write as if the whole of our proposals constituted a fraud, as if it was simply a matter of our convenience as to what we should do. That is plain nonsense. The forces behind the Book [of the Law] determine the time and place of wars; and if you are in a position to put a spoke in the wheel of such people, I certainly am not. I fought against these forces with the whole of my power for may years, and I came out at the little end of the horn."

I think we’d need a little more context to make some sense of this. I mean, Crowley’s purpose in this letter seems to be to encourage Gascoigne to fall in line with what Crowley wants…er, excuse me, what the Secret Chiefs want.

I mean, there’s not too much to say here. It’s outside the scope of whether or not Thelema entails supernatural beliefs, and the most we can really say is that if Crowley seriously thought that the publication of the Book of the Law literally caused wars to happen, then he was living in la-la land on that particular point.


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Los
 Los
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01/12/2011 12:41 am  
"Los" wrote:
After all, Magick,” in its highest sense, is merely the Science and Art of causing Change in accordance with Will.”

That's "the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will."

Accurate quotation matters.


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Patriarch156
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01/12/2011 1:08 am  

I will respond later to the rest of your posts, but I thought I would clarify some things you wondered about.

No Crowley drafted the Clear Crowley's name campaign and my quotations are from his unpublished letter. What you are thinking of is I believe McMurtry's attempt to flesh out these plans, which has been published in the Thelema Lodge Calendar.

The church of light, life, love and liberty is a reference to the creed of the Gnostic Mass. The E.G.C. was reorganized by Crowley in much the same way that he reorganized the O.T.O., another organization that had non-thelemic origins.

Going from Crowley's letters in the last decade of his life, he became increasingly more adamant that this Church would provide the public interaction and the lowest level of interaction with Thelema.


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Azidonis
(@azidonis)
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01/12/2011 1:17 am  
"Los" wrote:
I am well within the scope of Thelema – as defined and explained by Crowley in his published writings on the subject – to take a non-supernatural approach and to develop Thelema by exploring ideas (skepticism, atheism, and moral nihilism) in the context of Thelema that are consistent with and conducive to it.

Indeed you are...

Are you "well within the scope of Thelema" when you continually toss your ideas around on the forums expecting people to agree with you on them, then calling them names when they do not?

Do you actually consider yourself and your work as "developing Thelema"?


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Los
 Los
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01/12/2011 1:46 am  
"Patriarch156" wrote:
No Crowley drafted the Clear Crowley's name campaign and my quotations are from his unpublished letter. What you are thinking of is I believe McMurtry's attempt to flesh out these plans, which has been published in the Thelema Lodge Calendar.

Yes, that's exactly what I was thinking of. Just wanted to be sure.

The church of light, life, love and liberty is a reference to the creed of the Gnostic Mass. The E.G.C. was reorganized by Crowley in much the same way that he reorganized the O.T.O., another organization that had non-thelemic origins.

Precisely. And that was the point I was making there: Thelema can't be the EGC or the OTO because both of them existed before Thelema. Now, Thelema might be presented through such an organization or religion, but for Thelema to be a thing presented through those other things, it needs to be distinct from them.


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Anonymous
 Anonymous
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01/12/2011 3:31 am  

i feel that the supernatural may also be described at natural super.


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 Anonymous
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01/12/2011 4:55 am  

Hi, I have very much enjoyed reading this thread. I must say reading Los' posts has been a real pleasure, and has brought a lot of my fuzzy thinking on these matters into a sharper focus. Los - I look forward to reading your blog.


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 Anonymous
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01/12/2011 6:05 am  

ps. Los - You have the patience of a Gnostic Saint arguing with these dudes! Thnak you for taking the time to articulate your thoughts, I'm inspired and I think you are a highly *thelemic* thinker, lol.  I'm going to enjoy reading your posts. I'm intrigued to get to grips with your interpretation of True Will, Liber Legis, rituals you find beneficial and your views on Crowley, OTO and a range of other matters. Truly refreshing.


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Azidonis
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01/12/2011 7:08 am  
"selfseeker" wrote:
Hi, I have very much enjoyed reading this thread. I must say reading Los' posts has been a real pleasure, and has brought a lot of my fuzzy thinking on these matters into a sharper focus. Los - I look forward to reading your blog.

How cute, a fan!
___________

Paul: Many of us are "Member", and this new person is "Regular Member". How does that system work, or how do you mean for it to work?


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the_real_simon_iff
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01/12/2011 10:11 am  

Los, 93!

I think you start turning the whole issue upside down.

If I remember correctly nobody here ever said that the belief in the supernatural (or praeterhuman) is a *necessary* part of Thelema, in fact, most people were saying that you are free to believe or interpret this issue as you will. It is you who is on record that finding/following the True Will (= practicing Thelema) *must* be aided by a proper understanding of the universe, clearly implying that if this understanding contains a belief in the supernatural (= is contrary to your understanding) there is something seriously wrong with this person and he gets called a "Would-Be Thelemite", an "occultist" and even more condescending names. The issue is therefore not that anyone claims you *have to* believe in the supernatural, the issue is your claim that belief in the supernatural and "correct" Thelema don't go together - as well as your claim that you are *correctly interpreting* Crowley and believers in the supernatural do not.

Then we came to the point that you finally admitted that "It’s obvious that Crowley claimed to believe in supernatural things." and "what I say about occultism and objective reality are not Crowley’s claims. They’re my claims." But you claimed that what you say about Thelema *is* Crowley's viewpoint. Patriarch156 - in my view - showed that even this is not totally correct, because the Thelema Crowley envisioned was not a code of individual action *and only that*, so it seems that even this claim of yours cannot be substantiated. This is not to say that your thoughts about the True Will are "false", but that Crowley had a bigger picture in his mind and you are simply distilling from his ouevre what in your eyes is the most important part. You might be even right about this being the most important aspect, but then again it is not the total of "Crowley's Thelema".

I asked you this before but you did not answer. The issue was never "whether or not Thelema, as presented by Crowley, necessitates supernatural beliefs", but "whether or not Thelema, as presented by Crowley, necessitates the abscence of supernatural beliefs." Which is what you implicate all the time. I guess when we clear this up, all that is left is that you don't believe in the supernatural, but others do, and that there is no argument that one of the two viewpoints is "better" for the Thelemite than the other. Both is possible, even when you rigidly apply skepticism.

What you say about unpublished or private writings is in my view extremely naive. I would contend that the opposite is true. As an example please compare official writings by diplomats and politicians and what Wikileaks published. It is obvious that Crowley had to be much more diplomatic in his official writings (not at least to make all those fundamentalist naturalists bite into it) than in his diaries and letters (depending of who the recipient is of course). Then there are also those official writings which for monetary or other reasons were never published like the unabridged edition of his "Confessions" for example with its chapter on "The Claim of The Book of the Law to Open up Communications with Discarnate Inteligence".

Of course you wouldn't lose the right to the titles "Captain Skepticism" and "Highly Thelemic Thinker".

Love=Law
Lutz


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
01/12/2011 11:08 am  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
Of course you wouldn't lose the right to the titles "Captain Skepticism"

Let’s clarify something about skepticism.

Its true the rationalist interpretation of Thelema put forward by Los and Erwin organizes the oft-confusing range of works by Crowley into sharp focus, but I have never found much insight in their interpretation. The reason being my experience differs from theirs. The same would hold true, I imagine, for those not persuaded by Los’ arguments. The point of initiation is to discover the nature of one’s being - it is not a self-evident given. That line from Liber Oz “There is no god but man” does not mean gods are non-existent; on the contrary it implies the nature of humanity is a mystery. That science cannot determine the nature of consciousness demonstrates this.

My own research into Egyptian mortuary texts, the writings of Molinos and Dalai Lama and Hadit chapter of Liber Legis led to the conclusion that the nature of consciousness is identical to what is called negative theology

We will never know what consciousness is, but only what it is not

Liber Legis II:
3. In the sphere I am everywhere the centre, as she, the circumference, is nowhere found.
4. Yet she shall be known & I never.
15. For I am perfect, being Not

Skepticism is a useful approach in that it mirrors the negative nature of consciousness. A skeptic can question claims about how things allegedly “are”, but can never assert what “is” via skepticism. This is where the line between knowledge and experience is drawn. The discovery and doing of True Will transforms reliance on second-hand information into direct experience which, in turn, lead to the realization that people are at different stages of individuation and awareness - to think otherwise is narcissistic and foolish. I have found skepticism to be useful in not becoming too-obssessed or paranoid when currents do materialize - that is, skepticism is a useful tool for personal advancement.

What I don’t see the point of is using skepticism to “challenge” claims of others. If anything this kind of behavior attests to a failure to discover True Will and lack of success in performing magick. Skepticism is not a license to be passive and do nothing. Nor is it a license to demand hard-earned truths from others to be served up on a silver plate. Thelema is a dynamic system of ongoing personal evolution. Now doubt Los is convinced that he sees reality in a clear-headed way and those who disagree cannot accept challenges to their delusional thinking. But reality does not conform to the fancy pictures we hold of ourselves. The nature of ordeals and initiation is that they rectify these fancy pictures, sooner or later.

If Los’ experience leads him to the conclusion that the so-called “supernatural” does not exist, then fine. Its not a problem. But it is a problem when he repeatedly imposes his skepticism on others whose experience inform them otherwise. People can "agree to disagree." Or change their minds. But no one is being persuaded one way or another and, if so, the reasons for that should be examined. 


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 Anonymous
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01/12/2011 1:47 pm  

Is it correct to say Los employs a rationalist interpretation of Thelema? He is saying quite clearly that reason is the instrument we use to judge objective reality, whilst here in Malkuth, the leady sphere where we currently reside.  We must necessarily use our reason use to 'intuit' the nature of our being, our environment and the interaction of the two. He specifically isn't saying we should use reason to fathom our True Will. Belief in the supernatural is tantamount to superstition, belief in something which it (at the moment anyhow) seems will never satisfy the burden of proof required for a modern skeptical, scientific mind. We must adhere to the methods science on science's own terms, if we wish to claim to be within the remits of science. No special pleading may be tolerated. No amount of saying how intuition is higher on the Tree of Life than reason will do the job. Scientists need objective evidence for their claims to be accepted. It seems very much like Los also has the necessary Crowleyan scriptural authority to back up his assertions. Clearly very much a Thelemite. Shame on you who called him a troll. I have very much respect for Crowley, but perhaps if he hadn't abused his faculties to such an extant with drugs and other mind-bending practices... Crowley diud after all say he 'didn't want to come across as any more eccemtric than he needed yo' (I paraphrase). He didn't do a very good there!


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Azidonis
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01/12/2011 4:15 pm  
"selfseeker" wrote:
Is it correct to say Los employs a rationalist interpretation of Thelema?

Does it matter what Los employs? What do you employ?

"selfseeker" wrote:
He is saying quite clearly that reason is the instrument we use to judge objective reality, whilst here in Malkuth, the leady sphere where we currently reside.  We must necessarily use our reason use to 'intuit' the nature of our being, our environment and the interaction of the two.

Reason cannot tell you the "nature of our being".

"selfseeker" wrote:
He specifically isn't saying we should use reason to fathom our True Will.

Did you not just say that, "We must necessarily use our reason use to 'intuit' the nature of our being"? Do you think the 'nature of [your] being' is not expressed by True Will?

"selfseeker" wrote:
Belief in the supernatural is tantamount to superstition, belief in something which it (at the moment anyhow) seems will never satisfy the burden of proof required for a modern skeptical, scientific mind.

Not necessarily superstition. The realm of "belief" holds an interesting quality - two or more people can believe the same thing, or complete opposite things, and ultimately it makes no difference.

"selfseeker" wrote:
We must adhere to the methods science on science's own terms, if we wish to claim to be within the remits of science. No special pleading may be tolerated.

Oh, but of course...

"selfseeker" wrote:
No amount of saying how intuition is higher on the Tree of Life than reason will do the job.

I suppose you don't really understand what the Tree of Life is, then?

It wasn't organized in such a way just for shits and giggles. If you are referring to the intuition/reason thing, it is readily apparent that intuition is a "higher faculty" than reason, and this much has been pointed out and beaten down throughout these 18 pages.

"selfseeker" wrote:
Scientists need objective evidence for their claims to be accepted.

No they don't. How many of them accept the Big Bang Theory? Or any other scientific theory, which has not become a law? How about the theory that the universe is constantly expanding, or that dark matter distorts light?

No scientist has ever and will ever witness the big bang, let alone be able to measure it. No scientist is hanging out on the edge of the universe taking measurements of its waistline, and no scientist has gotten far enough away from our own planet to get any data on dark matter that doesn't come through a series of mirrors and reflections, only to see something that "might have been the case thousands of years ago".

No scientist has actually ever seen any of the humanoids they claim to be our ancestors, yet they agree we must have been very much alike according to the similarities they have with us, but do they really know? Absolutely not. They just accept the reasoning because it fits their paradigm. They won't ever be able to prove it. And no, all the computer generated bs about "this is how they must have walked" is still bs, because no one has seen them walk, or eat, and no one will be able to.

Would every scientists like objective evidence? Sure! Do they always get it? Absolutely not.

"selfseeker" wrote:
It seems very much like Los also has the necessary Crowleyan scriptural authority to back up his assertions.

It doesn't take much to walk over to a shelf full of Crowley books, or go over to the Hermetic Library, and pull out a bunch of quotes to support what you think. If Los likes to to it, that's his business. Not everyone has to, nor does everyone have the desire to.

Here's some Crowley for you: Crowley said, somewhere or another, that 'it can be mathematically proven that it is impossible to hit a golfball'. Take that one to the science lab.

"selfseeker" wrote:
Clearly very much a Thelemite. Shame on you who called him a troll.

Eh, you have been here for how long? This is your fourth day? And you are already making such judgements about him and the community? Shame on you for making snappy judgements without knowing the full scope of what you have hopped into.

"selfseeker" wrote:
I have very much respect for Crowley, but perhaps if he hadn't abused his faculties to such an extant with drugs and other mind-bending practices... Crowley diud after all say he 'didn't want to come across as any more eccemtric than he needed yo' (I paraphrase). He didn't do a very good there!

Regardless of what you have said here about Crowley...

The Great Work is more than just a science experiment. It's more than just the gathering of data, performing the scientific methods, etc. For anyone to attempt to reduce the Great Work to include only those measurable phenomenon is to create a division in one's own Work, which ultimately leads to confusion. This world, the people in it, and their viewpoints, cannot be taken part and parcel, keeping something here and throwing something else out like someone working at a recycling center. It's an all or nothing deal. One has to take the good with the bad, the true with the false, the religion with the science, and everything else to boot. And this is so, especially if Thelema will do as Crowley perceived it as doing, which is to "reconcile all existing schools of philosophy".


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Los
 Los
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01/12/2011 4:37 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
I asked you this before but you did not answer. The issue was never "whether or not Thelema, as presented by Crowley, necessitates supernatural beliefs", but "whether or not Thelema, as presented by Crowley, necessitates the abscence of supernatural beliefs."

OK, this is a fair enough question. [And sorry if I missed your question…there have been a lot of posts here, and it’s difficult for me to read and respond to every single word]

Thelema, as presented by Crowley, is a philosophy of individual action and not a set of supernatural beliefs.  Discovery of the true will, as theorized under the Thelemic model of self proposed by Crowley, is best aided by attempting to believe as many true things as possible and as few false things as possible.

Here ends the Crowley portion of this post.

Now, fast-forward to the modern day, when we know lots more about the universe than was known in Crowley’s day, when yet another hundred years has gone by since Crowley’s day revealing not so much as a shred of evidence that anything supernatural is real, when all of the discoveries we’ve made about the universe are entirely consistent with a completely natural worldview and do not admit any violations of the completely blind and mechanical forces of the universe.

In practice, today, regardless of what Crowley may have personally believed, we can say that based on the best evidence we have today, believing as many true things as possible and as few false things as possible means not accepting supernatural claims. [at least not until there’s sufficient evidence for them]

In other words, Thelema, as presented by Crowley, necessitates skepticism. That Crowley himself (apparently) failed to properly practice skepticism (personally) is irrelevant to the necessity of skepticism for his system. And my claim is that the proper practice of skepticism -- which is fundamental to Crowley's Thelema -- necessarily leads one to a position of not accepting supernatural claims, regardless of whether Crowley personally agreed on that particular point or not.

Now, you may not agree that not accepting supernatural claims is the inevitable outcome of attempting to believe as many true things and as few false things as possible. But the way we discuss that is by talking about the evidence for those supernatural claims, not appealing to “But Crowley believed in that stuff!”

As I said before, in all real subjects of knowledge, the subject evolves as people practice it and learn more about reality: to use an example I used earlier, our modern understanding of evolution is significantly different than Darwin’s. But it’s still clearly evolution, the concept that he came up with and laid out all of the fundamental principles for.

That we today who practice Crowley’s Thelema come to conclusions that he may not have is practically a given, assuming that we’re dealing with a real subject. What would be more surprising is if we today held Crowley’s positions entirely, without seriously differing from him at all – that would be a sign of danger, an indication that people are just blindly (and religiously) repeating Crowley’s ideas without there being any actual discovery, any actual growth.

I would contend that the opposite is true. As an example please compare official writings by diplomats and politicians and what Wikileaks published. It is obvious that Crowley had to be much more diplomatic in his official writings (not at least to make all those fundamentalist naturalists bite into it) than in his diaries and letters (depending of who the recipient is of course).

While I appreciate that private letters and journals might lend themselves to honest confessions, my interest is in how Crowley presented Thelema to the world, as a system for people to use. When one is interested in an academic’s official position on a subject, one consults his or her published writings – writings polished up and edited specifically for presentation to the world – and not his or her private journals.


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Los
 Los
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01/12/2011 4:48 pm  
"tai" wrote:
Its true the rationalist interpretation of Thelema put forward by Los and Erwin organizes the oft-confusing range of works by Crowley into sharp focus

As selfseeker pointed out, I don’t know if you can call our interpretation of Thelema “rationalist” – all interpretations are rational (insofar as interpretation is a rational activity), and our interpretations of Thelema specifically do not accord an absolute or “supreme” place to reason, so I’m puzzled as to how you would come to that designation.

What I don’t see the point of is using skepticism to “challenge” claims of others.

The point of skepticism is to challenge all claims, especially claims accepted by one’s own self.

Challenging others’ claims in public might be something that’s  intellectually stimulating, good mental exercise, conducive to creating an environment where ideas are openly questioned and the truth is sought, something that’s just fun to do, any combination of the above, etc. In and of itself, there’s nothing in challenging others’ claims that “attests to a failure to discover True Will and lack of success in performing magick,” as you put it. I would be curious how your reason has led you to that conclusion.

If Los’ experience leads him to the conclusion that the so-called “supernatural” does not exist, then fine.

To be extra clear, it’s not “my experience” that leads me to this conclusion: reason leads me to this conclusion – in the same way that it leads all people to all conclusions about the world – on the basis not just of the evidence of my personal experiences, but of a vast amount of evidence about the physical world acquired by mankind. I’m not merely saying that “my personal experience doesn’t reveal this” – I’m arguing on this thread that no one has sufficient evidence for making supernatural claims, not even “to them”…especially not “to them.”

See here: http://thelema-and-skepticism.blogspot.com/2011/06/believers-say-darndest-things-2-hey-it.html


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
01/12/2011 5:04 pm  

@ Azidonis.

True I've only been here a short while, but I can already see Los is the one here who makes valid, reasoned points supported by relevant quotations (as we in the pedagogic teaching profession these days call 'P.E.E.' - Point, Evidence, Explanation) You should listen to him. As you clearly don't. And, yes it does matter what Los thinks, as that's what we're talking about. He's taught me more in a few posts than listening to, and reading, other Thelemites over several years.

Deductive reasoning tells us much about the nature of our being. Have you read Descartes? I guess not.

True Will was a concept invented by Crowley. Does it have objective reality? It's a concept which one can choose to accept in order to facilitate the path in life for you which leads to the least friction, the most fulfillment, and peace of mind.

Seems you have not taken the warning at the start of Liber 0 to heart. And you were warned earnestly!

If Thelema wishes to be taken seriously, and emerge from the fringe world of the occult it needs more clear thinkers like Los. Real philosophers, who know what they're doing. Have the sense to know one when you see one, and learn from him, rather than childishly persevering in your diatribes, which frankly ain't gonna fool or impress anyone of any real intelligence.


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Los
 Los
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01/12/2011 5:28 pm  
"Azidonis" wrote:
No [scientists] don't [need objective evidence]. How many of them accept the Big Bang Theory? Or any other scientific theory, which has not become a law?

Just a quick note for the scientifically illiterate out there (including Azidonis): a “theory” in science does not mean what a “theory” means in colloquial speech: a “theory” in science is an explanation for observed facts that is supported by evidence. A “theory” is the highest level in science, and a theory needs quite a bit of evidentiary support before it is accepted.

The “Big Bang Theory” for example was confirmed because it made predictions about the universe (such as the presence of cosmic background radiation, for example) that were later confirmed, long after the theory was initially made. If I remember correctly, when the theory was first proposed, it wasn’t even possible yet to measure background radiation…it was only much later, when we developed the ability to do so, that we could verify that the model made accurate predictions and that there was reason to accept it.

No scientist has actually ever seen any of the humanoids they claim to be our ancestors, yet they agree we must have been very much alike according to the similarities they have with us, but do they really know? Absolutely not. They just accept the reasoning because it fits their paradigm. They won't ever be able to prove it.

Here’s another example: evolution. The evidence for evolution is vast, spanning multiple scientific disciplines (including comparative anatomy, DNA, archaeology, immunology, etc.) and all cohering to support the theory of descent from common ancestry.

Before we were able to study DNA, evolution made several predictions about the genetic code – how we would expect the genetic code to look if evolution were true – that later were confirmed when we finally were able to study that code.

Francis Collins, the former head of the human genome project (and, interestingly, an evangelical Christian) is on record as saying that even without fossils, the evidence from DNA, by itself, is sufficient to confirm evolution.

It doesn't take much to walk over to a shelf full of Crowley books, or go over to the Hermetic Library, and pull out a bunch of quotes to support what you think.

Obviously not. But it does take quite a bit to use Crowley’s quotations – and not just isolated quotations, but extracts from works spanning his entire mature career – to adequately support a particular interpretation (and to be able to explain the quotations in the context of that interpretation).

One thing that it takes – hold on to your hats – is having read and comprehended all of that material, which is no small task. It was over a decade ago when I began my project of reading all of Crowley’s works that I could find, and it took several years just to do all of the necessary collecting and reading. It took many more years of thinking about the material and practicing the material to come to good, solid conclusions about it, conclusions that I can support with evidence.

Now, obviously, I can’t “prove” to anyone that I’ve “done the reading” or “done the work” (ugh, what a stupid phrase) – the only way that someone can judge my claim is the extent to which I’m capable of discussing and explaining this stuff.

So the long and short of all of this is that I’ve been at this for a relatively long time – though not as long as Erwin has been – and I feel as though I’ve got a pretty good grasp on the material. This is as it should be: anyone who has spent over a decade studying and practicing a subject and isn’t getting any better at comprehending it is doing something wrong.

A big problem in the “Thelemic community,” if you will, is the fact that there seem to be an awful lot of people who just don’t know what they’re talking about, people woefully unequipped to seriously discuss Crowley or ideas found in Crowley’s texts, and people who just make unhelpful suggestions like droning on and on about “doing the work” without clearly being able to explain what the goal is and why the “work” would help in the first place. Then there are the people who want to say everything is a “mystery” (even though mystery is supposedly the enemy of truth) and that there’s no such thing as knowledge, so therefore, everyone is equally totally clueless and any old belief is as good as any other, so long as one’s spiffy intuition tells one that it’s true.

There are a ton of people who do what you say: stroll over to the bookcase and select Crowley quotes – seemingly at random, sometimes – and read all sorts of things into them without ever bothering to figure out 1) if Crowley is actually saying what they think he’s saying and 2) even more important, if Crowley is right.

Now, it’s more than a little ridiculous to expect everyone to have read as much Crowley as I have – or as often as I have, at least back in the day – so part of what I do is try to distill all of that vast material into what I’ve found to be essential to the theory and practice of Thelema. Anyone is free to disagree if they like – or free to ignore my arguments and instead just throw sneering comments at them, as Michael Staley always does – but those who disagree should only expect to be taken seriously if they are actually capable of responding with evidence and reasoned argument (as Patriarch156 did, which is why he got a long and careful reply).

Thanks, selfseeker, for the kind words. Glad you’ve been enjoying the discussion.


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the_real_simon_iff
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01/12/2011 5:35 pm  

Los, 93!

Thanks for answering. Your position is clear and it is in itself logical, yet I don't think you are right. And let me first state that this is not about believing in something because Crowley believed it. The two main problems I see in your claims are the following: 1) There is not a shred of evidence that the hundreds or thousands of Thelemites believing in the supernatural (or in praeterhuman intelligence) are in any way unable to find/follow their True Wills. And 2) what you call truth is nothing more than a set of conventions which are only true inside their limited fields. A lot of scientific laws are not much more theories which so far cannot be tested but are convenient enough to explain certain phenomena (for example at the moment there seems to be some confusion about the speed of light). I think you are exaggerating massively to claim that what you say is the valid consensus among scientists about truth, consciousness, information, mind etc. - this is a transitional area of science and philosophy and other fields. But because we are members of the Aleister Crowley Society, we can see what he said about that (and I don't think that these thoughts have lost anything of their significance during the years):

"It has apparently not occurred to him [the average man of science] that his position in doubting the existence of consciousness except in connection with certain types of anatomical structure, is really identical with that of the narrowest geocentric and anthropocentric Evangelicals. It is comic to limit consciousness. [...] The arguments against the existence of spiritual intelligence stink of false analogy; on the top of being attempts to prove an universal negative, and à priori fallacies full of ignoratio elechi, non distributio medii, non sequitur ["ignorance of the point in dispute", "undistributed middle", "it does not follow"]. [...] Nature is continuous, and it is therefore absurd to suppose that any special group of phenomena and no other shpuld exhibit unique qualities. [...] I merely add that all matter is to some extent conscious; and so that there may be, all over the Universe, individuals of many orders - only the shallowest salvationists would sneer "why don't we see them?" The Unknown - from "Australia before it was discovered" (as the child's riddle says), to bacilli. Hertz rays and electrons - had the impudence to exist without our formal recognition."

This discussion among scientist and philosophers is going on for centuries and it is simply not okay that you pretend that the "issue is settled".

So it's your special brand of "Thelema without occultism" and why not? The main concept remains the same and if it convinces more people, all the better.

Love=Law
Lutz


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Azidonis
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01/12/2011 5:44 pm  
"selfseeker" wrote:
True I've only been here a short while, but I can already see Los is the one here who makes valid, reasoned points supported by relevant quotations (as we in the pedagogic teaching profession these days call 'P.E.E.' - Point, Evidence, Explanation) You should listen to him. As you clearly don't. And, yes it does matter what Los thinks, as that's what we're talking about. He's taught me more in a few posts than listening to, and reading, other Thelemites over several years.

I'd like to know what "Thelemites" have been "teaching" you... All Los has been saying is, "ghosts aren't real, and we don't have to believe in them in order to uncover our True Wills". You haven't seen a counterclaim to that argument because no one really disagrees with him. They have pointed out what Crowley thought, how he presented it in his practice, and left it at that. The only thing people have really been disagreeing with is Los' presentation, insistence, and bull-headedness on the subject, as if it were only possible to discover one's True Will through the methods Los has prescribed, which compared with Crowley's own work and beliefs on the subject, is false.

"selfseeker" wrote:
Deductive reasoning tells us much about the nature of our being. Have you read Descartes? I guess not.

I don't need to read Descartes. I didn't agree with him when introduced to his work, and did not endeavor to read further. His "cogito ergo sum" (I think, therefore I am"), in my opinion, is completely ass backwards. If we didn't exist, we couldn't think. We didn't think before we existed. We existed before we thought. Enjoy your meditation on the fetus and the corpse.

"selfseeker" wrote:
True Will was a concept invented by Crowley. Does it have objective reality? It's a concept which one can choose to accept in order to facilitate the path in life for you which leads to the least friction, the most fulfillment, and peace of mind.

True Will was a word coined by Crowley, not a concept invented by him. 

"selfseeker" wrote:
Seems you have not taken the warning at the start of Liber 0 to heart. And you were warned earnestly!

It seems you are quite clueless as to what I have or have not done. If you do not Understand the Work, then please do not bother trying to poke your nose in my business.

The foundations of the System are designed to create the very set of checks and balances required to properly perform the Work in Liber O, and the Work in Liber O helps to reinforce those same checks and balances. Without them, one can quite easily so astray. This is so very elementary I find it abhorrent to have to say it to someone in the teaching profession.

"selfseeker" wrote:
If Thelema wishes to be taken seriously, and emerge from the fringe world of the occult it needs more clear thinkers like Los. Real philosophers, who know what they're doing. Have the sense to know one when you see one, and learn from him, rather than childishly persevering in your diatribes, which frankly ain't gonna fool or impress anyone of any real intelligence.

"If Thelema wishes to be taken seriously", it must do as Crowley said it does, and "reconcile all existing schools of philosophy". It must also be a science and an art, as in the motto "The Method of Science; the Aim of Religion."

Los' rants do far less for the overall "development of Thelema" than you may think. He hasn't proven anything. All he keeps saying is that "belief in the supernatural is not required for success in the Great Work". Again, no one has disagreed with him on this point because they don't disagree.

Sure, one can very easily make the Great Work into some mechanical process. They can drain all the sense of "spirituality" all sense of "enflaming thyself with prayer" and all sense of "sacred" out of it, and guess what - we'll be right back to where Patanjali left off, thousands of years ago. Call this "development" if you want to.

I personally don't believe in ghost, superstitions, angels, etc. It's not my thing. I do have plenty of my own evidence to believe in reincarnation, but I also understand that what verifies it for me does not necessarily verify it for anyone else, especially with a lack of empirical proof. But I'm okay with that. I've used my own set of "checks and balances" to manage that, and I don't need someone to tell me over and over again that there is no proof of reincarnation. It's a moot point to me, a dead horse, and it is better off dead.

As for Los' "wonderful paradigm", I'll tell you that it's not originally his paradigm, but a work in progress by Erwin that Los found suitable for him and he has run with it. If you want proof of that, view all of Los' post history, as well as Erwin's, and even that of AUM418 and IAO131. Frankly, I see said paradigm as reaching the "6=5 area" at the very most. It does not hold true at 7=4, and holds even less water in the Abyss and beyond.

People clamoring for the idea of "True Will" like it's the latest greatest thing in philosophy or self development is simply asinine. You say read Descartes, when one could go back even to Socrates in the West, and Patanjali in the East, and find examples of True Will in every nook and cranny. But surely you should know all of this, being that you are part of the "pedagogic teaching profession".


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Azidonis
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01/12/2011 5:45 pm  
"Los" wrote:
"Azidonis" wrote:
No [scientists] don't [need objective evidence]. How many of them accept the Big Bang Theory? Or any other scientific theory, which has not become a law?

Just a quick note for the scientifically illiterate out there (including Azidonis): a “theory” in science does not mean what a “theory” means in colloquial speech: a “theory” in science is an explanation for observed facts that is supported by evidence. A “theory” is the highest level in science, and a theory needs quite a bit of evidentiary support before it is accepted.

A theory is not the highest level in science, a law is. Great job at painting me as "scientifically illiterate".


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Patriarch156
(@patriarch156)
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Posts: 486
01/12/2011 6:29 pm  
"Los" wrote:
Thank you for the very thoughtful post and for your kind words at the end.

No problem, I just call it as I see it and try to be as fair as possible when dealing with other people.

I consider this section to be the most important for addressing my argument because I have been arguing about Thelema as presented by Crowley to the world in his published prose writings on the subject. If it could be demonstrated that Crowley’s published writings on Thelema explicitly say that Thelema requires belief in the supernatural, then my claim will have to be overturned.

I think you are jumping to conclusions that are not really supported. Historians generally use unpublished writings, including informal writings such as diaries and letters in order to piece together the life and views of an individual and with good reasons.

First of all, I would like to note that unpublished writings may be unpublished due to circumstances such as poverty or loss of the original materials. With Crowley both of these things was frequently the case and it stopped many of his publication plans dead in the tracks. Many of his writings that were intended for publication were irretrievably lost or circumstances made it impossible for him to publish them during his life. That Crowley frequently in his later works cited unpublished writings serves to underscore the importance of this.

Second of all, unpublished writings that were never meant for publication frequently gives explanations and a more in depth interpretations and context of the published writings. They add context and gives a guide to how Crowley likely intended his public writings to be understood. Moreover, since a life per definition is dynamic rather than static as a book, it may give him occasion to address issues that has arisen due to his new experiences that were not contemplated during his writing of a book.

Thirdly, many of Crowley's unpublished writings such as initiation rituals and instructions (both for the A.'.A.'. and the O.T.O.) gives a more in depth explanation of many of his ideas that are only briefly touched on in his material intended for the public. That these were intended to train and instruct Thelemites in the deeper mysteries of the Law of Thelema and as a way of life strengthens the importance of this even more.

Fineally I think that you are overstating your case slightly when you declare that his published writings were how he presented the Law of Thelema to the public. In actual fact, due to financial circumstances, Crowley went through years without publishing anything at all and I would argue that how he presented the Law of Thelema to the public was primarily through his own interaction with the public, either as an individual or through the many organizations he founded or reformed in order to present Thelema to mankind.

To discount unpublished writings when we are talking about how Crowley interpreted and approached the Law of Thelema is a mistake and one I feel safe to believe that most historians would agree with me on. Having addressed what I consider to be an incredibly important issue of methodology, I would like to address some of your more important points.

Liber II as an example was as witnessed in Crowley's letters to Charles S. Jones and his diary at the time of writing specifically meant as an advertisement for the Law of Thelema, not an in depth instruction in it. It was as he wrote to Jones his first act as a Magus in promulgating his Law to the world at large. It was according to him meant, as was all the brief instructional promulgationary pamphlets that were later collected in III:1, meant to entice the public and make them join the O.T.O., where they would receive further instructions on how to live the Law of Thelema as a way of life.

Your comments about my quotation from Liber CL seems to be laboring under the impression that I think you have to buy into supernatural ideas if you are a Thelemite. I realize that I was perhaps not as clear as I would have liked when I wrote that one did not have to practice Magick in order to be a Thelemite, but my point was really that you did not have to involve yourself into anything supernatural at all. I hope I now has made myself clear on this.

Crowley specifically described the document as a "further explanation of the Book of the Law, with special reference to the Powers and Privileges conferred by its acceptance" (cf. the curricullum of the A.'.A.'. in the Equinox III:1). As such it is clear that travelling in the Body of Light and acquiring the Magical Memory, both distinctly magical practices, are part of Thelema as Crowley viewed it. I am not saying that you have to engage in them according to him (though this was admittedly a later stance as witnessed in the letter I quoted from McMurtry) if you are a Thelemite. But originally that was very much the case.

As such your conclusion that they are not part of Thelema, but only exists in service to it, rests solely on your own and fairly unique interpretation of what Thelema consists of (a code for individual conduct). It would be akin to declaring, as amusingly some people have (including one fairly liberal Priest in the Norwegian State Church), that Christianity is only concerned with the golden rule and the message of unconditional love and as such the story about Jesus dying for our sins are non-essential and a later addition due to superstition. No doubt there can be constructed such an atheist and secular Christianity, but to deny that original sin and vicarious atonement is very much part of Christianity is more than a little silly.

Thelema contains a mythological component (the Cairo Working and Crowley's further dealings with the Secret Chiefs), a philosophical component (it's metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics and aesthetics) as well as a technical component (Magick). All these things are very much part of the Law of Thelema and Crowley presented the Law as all of these things throughout his life. In fact his code of individual conduct (way of life) came only later, but I will deal with that in my response to your second response.

Regarding the threefold nature of the Book of the Law, my point was not that you had to agree that supernatural powers existed. Crowley however, as evidenced in this writing (and concurred in Magick Without Tears where he further elaborates on the mysterious workings of the Secret Chiefs in giving these ordeals). Given Crowley's frequent (and public I might add) declaration of the workings of the Secret Chiefs, I think a rationalist reading of his words here is more than a little bit silly. His ordeals given to Neuburg were part of the Ordeals, as ordained by the A.'.A.'. in internal and unpublished instructions, if you are thinking about his Neophyte Initiation.

Either way my point was that evidently the Book of the Law contains a multitude of references to ordeals, rituals and law and as such all three, two of which specifically are magical in nature according to Crowley, are very much part of Thelema and not just a code of individual conduct. The fact that for Crowley Magick was much more supernatural than it was for you is a matter of historical record. His analogies to writing aside, it is perfectly clear in Magick Without Tears that he is speaking of something slightly more supernatural than you. This is particularly the case if we take the Book in context as part III of IV of a larger book, where the first book declares the central premise of the religious hypothesis and where part IV is the proof in the pudding so to speak (according to Crowley that is) that there are supernatural agencies at work that he calls praterhuman intelligences. While one may rationalize praterhuman as something else, it is clear from Genesis Libri AL that A.C. is advocating a miraculous event and a history governed by Secret Chiefs. Publically he also presented this fourth part of the Book  as part of his central attempt to prove that the Secret Chiefs were causing wars upon its publication.

So, while I agree that you do not have to agree with Crowley on the supernatural parts of Thelema, it is clear that the Book of the Law asks him to write a book on how to come hither and that Crowley interpreted this as being fulfilled by the publicatoin of the Equinox of the Gods, wherein he very much advocates a supernatural point of view as having been established by the Book of the Law. As such the Book of the Law, as explicitely interpreted by Crowley, contains supernatural claims. While I agree with you that it is silly to believe that this book constitutes proof of any such thing, it is just as silly to believe that Crowley did not think so. It is in short a matter of historical record.


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Patriarch156
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01/12/2011 7:33 pm  
"Los" wrote:
You mention several pieces of private correspondence in which Crowley defines Thelema as something other than a code of conduct. For clarity’s sake, I do not consider these pieces of evidence to be challenges to my position on this thread for two reasons: 1) In none of the quotes I am about to address does Crowley make reference to supernatural claims.  2) Even if these quotes did entail supernatural claims, I am focused on how Crowley presented Thelema to the world in his published writings. In private correspondence or in journal entries, people often jot down thoughts out of context or ideas that they are experimenting or playing with. It is published writings that one turns to when one wishes to get a thinker’s fullest statement of position on an issue.

No, but my argument was not that the draft for his campaign to clear his name contained supernatural claims. My point was that it showed that the Law of Thelema was to be presented as something more than a code of conduct. As such your objection remains irrelevant to my point. The supernatural part was demonstrated in my post referencing published writings.

The letter to Gascoigne was additionally not meant to indicate yet another proof that Thelema contains supernatural claims as that had already been estalbished by references to his published writings. But if you are still in doubt, his (published) The Master Therion: a biographical note" (originally written as part of his World-Teacher campaign which had the goal to promulgate and establish the Law of Thelema in the world) specifically addresses the supernatural claims of Thelema as well:

"Now the Masters, the Secret Chiefs of the Order to which he owed his first initiation, are the directors of the spiritual destinies of this planet. These men chose this woman (of all women) to carry Their Will to the Aspirant who had renounced his aspiration."

In short supernatural claims remained very much what Crowley chose to present Thelema as to the planet. But I digress, the letter to Gascoigne was simply to indicate that Crowley very much believed in these claims and that they were not meant as humorous put-ons in order to impress other people as you seemed to claim initially. His diaries, letters and his public writings does not betray such an attitude. For all intents and purposes, if it was a masque, Crowley kept it admirably against all adversity. He suffered as pointed out by Churton greatly for doggedly sticking by his original "wonder-tale" about the Book of the Law.

I will now indulge you the context of the letter to Gascoigne. Gascoigne attempted (sensibly I think from the point of view of someone who was very much secular) to make Crowley drop the Book of the Law. He argued that his teachings stood much more sensibly and more importantly had the possibility to be influential if he dropped the Book of the Law and its many claims. This was not a view that Gascoigne was alone with, it was one shared with many of Crowley's acolytes. Crowley, instead chose to suffer and chose the hard way, referencing the disasters that had befell him (and which were chronicled in his diaries and letters) which he interpreted as the punishment of these Secret Chiefs. In fact in the aforementioned biographical note he notes about this:

"The next few years saw him engaged in this desperate struggle against Them. Little by little they broke his false will. Many were the tortures by which They compelled him to renew his allegiance: many were the signs by which They manifested Their vigilance and Their virtue. He fought every yard of ground with desperate tenacity; it was no sudden surrender of his, but the steady compulsion of Their might, that brought him back to the True Path."

Among these tortures were those he considered to have been prophesied by AL and the other holy books, such as the death of his child, betrayal of students and ostracised from all the wordly respectability that he craved. In short, the letter amply demonstrates that instead of choosing what would be a more sensible route (declaring your ideas and philosophy without relying on poetic and claimed scripture is after all more likely to get them accepted provided that one do not buy into the "romance-story" of the Cairo-Working), he chose to stick by the Book of the Law, at great personal cost and against the advice of many of his most trusted friends. He lost influence, money, friends and allies over this book. Whether one believes in the supernatural parts of it is one thing, but it is clear that Crowley did, he attested to this himself both privately and publically and there is no evidence of him ever recanting the tale. It also explains why he would go to such lengths and endure what he did.

As such, yes Crowley did very much claim that the publishing of AL caused wars. While this may make him seem nutty in the eyes of many, for him, according to his diaries, private correspondences, reported conversations and published writings it was the proof of the praterhuman origin of the Book itself.

Your comment about the E.G.C. existing before the reception and your response to my point that he reformed it, that it was then conceived as such after the reception of the Book of the Law, similarly fails to understand my point. Thelema was a great deal of things to Crowley and he evolved his interpretaton of it along with his own mundane experiences in attempting to put it over and his attainments in the A.'.A.'. A great many things, such as the concept of True Will was a development many years AFTER the reception of the Book of the Law. Similarly his concept about the Khabs and the Khu underwent similar progression in meaning, crowning itself after his Magus Initiation. Does this mean that these things as well are not part of Thelema?

How about Thelema as a code for individual conduct or way of life? This was not something Crowley contemplated at all when receiving the Book of the Law. His diaries and writings treated the book as a book of Magick. A key to attainment. The first notion of Crowley treating Thelema as a code of individual conduct appears to not have been contemplated until 1912 with the publication of the socalled Old Comment (which retains largely the aforementioned magical approach to the book) and did not receive a concrete expression until 1913 in the unpublished document "O.T.O. Obligations" where he notes that the Law of Thelema gives a perfect moral code and then outlines how this is expressed in the system of the O.T.O.

What happens in 1911-1912? The disastrous Looking Glass Trial which resulted in Crowley loosing his two main co-conspirators in the A.'.A.'. and many members of the Order abandoning ship due to the poor press the Order was receiving. Crowley surmised in letters to Jones that the reason for this was that members of the Order socialized and that he had to change tactics and start treating them as a social group. Since the A.'.A.'. forbade any such socializing, he regarded according to a letter to Jones that the O.T.O. was sent to him by the Secret Chiefs and that this was his reason for turning to teaching a code of individual conduct using the O.T.O. as a preliminary training Order for the A.'.A.'. (which he still by then considered as the sole work that was of any worth).

Does this mean that Thelema also is not a code of conduct, since Crowley did not develop it as such until many years after the reception of the Book of the Law? Rather it means that Thelema came to mean many things to Crowley as he evolved in his relationship with and understanding of the Book of the Law. He was not a static but a dynamic individual and his understanding of what Thelema constituted of likewise.

Hence originally in 1904 we see him ambivalently dismissive towards the book, with no proof of him paying much attention specifically to its contents. Then with the reception of the other Holy Books in 1907 it provided a source of authority from the Secret Chiefs and the initiatory formula of attaining the religious experience to destroy and succeed the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn with his own Order, the A.'.A.'. In 1911-1913 he sees the necessity of a code of individual conduct and starts using the O.T.O. for this use. Then upon achieving the Grade of Magus, he fineally comes to terms with his status as a Prophet and sees the necessity in Promulgating the Law of Thelema, noting in a letter to Jones where he first gives Liber II:

"I have got my A.'.A.'. grade [Magus, 9=2]... and that too, exactly at the time prophesied... I must do my duty (vide Liber I) and that is to preach my Law. Therefore this is the Word of Baphomet to all the members of the O.T.O.: THELEMA ...One must take some very simple, very deep word which cuts at the heart of things... I say THELEMA. Go on, therefore, preaching this and nothing else in season and out of season. You won’t have to wait long for results."

Then in the 1920s he increasingly became preoccupied with the political aspects of Thelema, noting in his diary on May 24th, 1920 e.v. where the promulgation of his new religion is specifically tied to Aiwaz and the political form adopted in the 2nd degree of the O.T.O. (as published in the Blue Equinox III:1):

"But somewhere in this there seems to have come the answer from Aiwaz, with a profound impression, that my Way is to promulgate the 'New Religion' by scattering the Word of Thelema in that practical political form adopted for 2[nd Degree] O.T.O."

Later still in the 1940s as witnessed in his correspondence with W.B. Crow and McMurtry he would come to accept that there would be those who accepted the Law of Thelema who had no capability of understanding it as a way of life, let alone as a way of attainment, referring to these people as adherents/devotees. During this same period he also explicitely made a differentiation between Magick and accepting the Law of Thelema as a Way of Life and the devotees. In short Thelema was presented here as three things, not merely as a individual code of conduct. When additionally we see that Thelema also contains a mythology with distinctly supernatural claims as declared in the Book of the Law itself as understood by Crowley (though admittedly not yourself), as well as a political ideology and so on.

That you personally choose to focus on merely one aspect of Thelema is entirely within your own rights, but to claim that this is the sum total of it according to Crowley is a grave misrepresentation of his point of view.


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mika
 mika
(@mika)
Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 360
02/12/2011 12:34 am  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
Maybe you personally never said that you are correctly interpreting Crowley (though I seem to remember that quite a lot of times you corrected people who in your view interpreted him incorrectly, so what's the difference?).

Do you really not understand the difference between questioning another person's interpretation, and claiming that one's own interpretation is the only correct one?

Wow.

"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
I was "in a discussion" with Los when you jumped in and to simplify things a bit I composited you and him and Los to one entity. Did that hurt your feelings?

Wow again.  If you wanted to have a private discussion with Los, you could have sent him a private message.  I also don't see you complaining about other people "jumping in", apparently because they are not poking holes in your statements.  And no, it did not hurt my feelings to be "composited" with Los, in fact, it made me laugh.  Your inability or unwillingness to respond to each of our statements individually demonstrates that you are not actually thinking, you're just reacting.

"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
Why not try the new "report to moderator" function?
"He said I have said something which I never said!"
Boo-hoo-hoo

Wait, now you're criticizing me for pointing out that I never said a quote that was attributed to me?  So you won't have a problem with me posting that the_real_simon_iff said "the only interpretation of Crowley's work that's correct is the literal interpretation.  Yes, he killed small children for fun!"  the_real_simon_iff said that, for real! 

What, that bothers you?  "boo hoo hoo"

The lack of critical thinking in this thread is as bad as trying to have a conversation with a religious zealot. 


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the_real_simon_iff
(@the_real_simon_iff)
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Posts: 1836
02/12/2011 9:05 am  

93, mika!

"mika" wrote:
it did not hurt my feelings to be "composited" with Los, in fact, it made me laugh.

That's good, laughter is very important.

You are by the way the only one who did not respond to anything I wrote except whining about being connected with one statement you did not make. And if you think that "If something exists, it's natural, therefore nothing supernatural exists" or your kindergarten babble about me allegedly complaining about your jumping into the discussion surmounts to "critical thinking", you are welcome to do so.

Too bad for me that it is so complicated to yawn and laugh at the same time.

Love=Law
Lutz


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
02/12/2011 1:59 pm  
"Los" wrote:
As selfseeker pointed out, I don’t know if you can call our interpretation of Thelema “rationalist” – all interpretations are rational (insofar as interpretation is a rational activity), and our interpretations of Thelema specifically do not accord an absolute or “supreme” place to reason, so I’m puzzled as to how you would come to that designation.

By “rationalist interpretation” I mean your and Erwin’s attempts to eliminate all things from Crowley not conforming to a rational worldview – magick, astral realm, praeterhuman intelligences, etc. As others have pointed out, acceptance or belief in the so-called “supernatural” (I use this superstitious term for your benefit) is not required for performing True Will. But I assert the nature of True Will is such that it is capable of experiencing the so-called supernatural. What restricts us is the misuse of intellect and reason. You admit that True Will is “outside” of reason, but your reason nonetheless dictates the options for your True Will when it concludes the so-called supernatural does not exist. The honest answer would be to say – you don’t know or have not experienced anything to prove the existence of the so-called supernatural.

You claim to have a “pretty good grasp” of Crowley’s writings, but, in fact, you’ve managed to commit the only Thelemic sin… Well done Los!

"Los" wrote:
The point of skepticism is to challenge all claims, especially claims accepted by one’s own self.

Really? You do not strike me as someone who applies skepticism to your own premises and claims. Reread the thread.

"Los" wrote:
Challenging others’ claims in public might be something that’s  intellectually stimulating, good mental exercise, conducive to creating an environment where ideas are openly questioned and the truth is sought, something that’s just fun to do, any combination of the above, etc. In and of itself, there’s nothing in challenging others’ claims that “attests to a failure to discover True Will and lack of success in performing magick,” as you put it.

Challenging others’ claims can be a sign of a healthy and alert intellect. But when the same arguments appear in different forms pages after pages, year after year, energy dissipated on endless and pointless discourse and nothing changes, you should question what is really going on here. A good start would be examining the nature of Choronzon in Vision and Voice

"Los" wrote:
I would be curious how your reason has led you to that conclusion.

Even if each person's True Will is unique, there are signs by which you can discern if someone is following their True Will - the most obvious one being Liber Legis I:43. 

"Los" wrote:
To be extra clear, it’s not “my experience” that leads me to this conclusion: reason leads me to this conclusion – in the same way that it leads all people to all conclusions about the world – on the basis not just of the evidence of my personal experiences, but of a vast amount of evidence about the physical world acquired by mankind. I’m not merely saying that “my personal experience doesn’t reveal this” – I’m arguing on this thread that no one has sufficient evidence for making supernatural claims, not even “to them”…especially not “to them.”

So you're basically admitting that you have no experience on what you claim authority on. Moreover you speak on behalf of everyone else. How is that "pretty good grasp" of Crowley holding up?


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
02/12/2011 3:17 pm  

Tai... "By “rationalist interpretation” I mean your and Erwin’s attempts to eliminate all things from Crowley not conforming to a rational worldview – magick, astral realm, praeterhuman intelligences, etc."

Two things. You mean, 'eliminate' from 'Thelema', not 'Crowley'. I don't think we would ever wish to try and distance Crowley from some of the more outlandish things he postulated. And by 'things not conforming to a rational worldview', you really mean 'things for which there is not one jot of evidence, nor ever will be'. Yes we should seek to separate Thelema from these things.

It is silly, pointless, and also practically impossible to be skeptical about things for which there is an abundance of valid evidence. Could you in all seriousness be skeptical of the Earth being round? Skepticism needs to be practiced apropos of things for which there is yet no extant valid evidence. Like claims about the supernatural.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
02/12/2011 3:20 pm  

Sorry I'm not quite clear on how to use the 'quote' button. Bear with me...


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
02/12/2011 3:42 pm  

In all seriousness, I feel the need to thank Los and Erwin here, publicly, for restoring my faculties of critical thought and rational judgement. I say 'restoring' but I'm not sure I've actually ever truly possessed these faculties, so I've really gained something here and I'm truly grateful. It's like a mist has been clearing in front of my eyes, and a great weight has begun to fall from my shoulders. I've been reading their posts and blogs non-stop for what feels like 48 hours (and it may well have been). Thanks to everyone else for contributing here too, without you much of this would not have been written on this forum, I suppose, and I may have continued to wallow in the mire of superstitious, supernatural, unprovable and irrelevant musings, tormenting myself for... who knows? The rest of my life? Up to now I have been doing just that, in various different ways. And why? For what reason? No good discernible reason whatsoever, it turns out. I've been, I must confess, 'a bit of a muggy twat'. And that is no thing for a self-respecting Thelemite to be! No sir!

Perhaps I can now start to get on and actually do some real Work, whatever that turns out to be (land a suitable job for one thing!) Unhindered by all the crap I have been consciously and unconsciously hoarding for so many years in the vain hope that it might, somehow, be of some use to me...


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Azidonis
(@azidonis)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2964
02/12/2011 4:17 pm  
"selfseeker" wrote:
Sorry I'm not quite clear on how to use the 'quote' button. Bear with me...

No problem. I got you covered...

"tai" wrote:
By “rationalist interpretation” I mean your and Erwin’s attempts to eliminate all things from Crowley not conforming to a rational worldview – magick, astral realm, praeterhuman intelligences, etc
"selfseeker" wrote:
Two things. You mean, 'eliminate' from 'Thelema', not 'Crowley'. I don't think we would ever wish to try and distance Crowley from some of the more outlandish things he postulated. And by 'things not conforming to a rational worldview', you really mean 'things for which there is not one jot of evidence, nor ever will be'. Yes we should seek to separate Thelema from these things.

I do agree that Crowley's words have been at an end since 1947 (as in, he hasn't said anything new). What he said, did, and thought has been left for us in numerous volumes of books and such, but there is no separating Crowley from his Work.

It's hard to see how it is even possible to eliminate anything from Thelema, as Thelema itself, Will, is a complete inclusion of all possibilities with those applicable to humans able to be comprehended, applied, and utilized without any filters. The exclusion of any possibility is indeed a restriction in one way or another, and as tai said, is the only "sin" in Thelema.

I'm not saying that each individual has to include all these possibilities, but as Crowley said in the Introduction to Liber AL, "Each one of us has thus an universe of his own, but it is the same universe for each one as soon as it includes all possible experience. This implies the extension of consciousness to include all other consciousness."

In short, there are no omissions, and "The word of sin is restriction".

"selfseeker" wrote:
It is silly, pointless, and also practically impossible to be skeptical about things for which there is an abundance of valid evidence. Could you in all seriousness be skeptical of the Earth being round? Skepticism needs to be practiced apropos of things for which there is yet no extant valid evidence. Like claims about the supernatural.

Actually...

"The actual shape of the Earth is actually an oblate spheroid – a sphere with a bulge around the equator. The Earth is bulged at its equator because it’s rapidly rotating on its axis. The centripetal force of the rotation causes the regions at the equator to bulge outward. And it actually makes a pretty big difference. The diameter of the Earth, measured across the equator is 43 km more than when you measure the diameter of the Earth from pole to pole."

Source: Universe Today.

I would also like to point out that the ancient Hindus (before they were called such) held the fire god Agni in very high reverence, as did many other early civilizations who thought that the ability to use fire was a gift from the "god of fire" (Agni in this case), and in order for those people to have fire, they believed that sacrifices and offering to their fire god was mandatory.

Today we know that is simply not true, as anyone familiar with the fire triangle can attest to. But for the ancients, it was very much "true" that their fire gods were responsible for allowing them to heat their dwellings through winter nights.

The more science advances, more myths are "busted", more ideas are measured, tested, and so forth, and the universe is perceived as less "magical" (yes, without a k here) than our ancient brethren first believed.

It is arrogant and narcissistic, not to mention a complete spoke in the wheel of science (!!!) to hold the belief that anything that has not been proven yet will not be proven. Science's business is the unknown. All the little scientists work daily with the unknown, in an effort to try and put every element in this universe into the same place as Agni, a myth busted by scientific evidence indicating that offerings and sacrifices to Agni are not what causes fire, but the beloved "new god of fire", the fire triangle.

This is just one example, but it is very clear that science, and scientists, are simply not done yet. Humanity has come very far, but still has very far to go. And if every scientist simply stopped at "we have no measurable scientific proof of this", there would be no such thing as science.

Do I think that science will eventually prove something like ghosts and angels to be real? Who knows? Only time will tell, but simply dismissing the ideas without actually exploring them is completely contrary to the idea of Thelema, in that the Work of Thelema is designed to allow us to "includes all possible experience".

Does that mean everyone has to work with "ghosts and angels" in order to accomplish the Great Work? Not in the least. Just as some scientists specialize in Geology and some specialize in Astronomy, so too does each individual approach the Great Work through their own lenses, with their own Wills (initially), and they work within their specializations. A Geologist doesn't call an Astronomer a quack, just by virtue of him being an Astronomer. They are both scientists. It would be quite interesting to see a Geologist working with the tides to not consider the work of Astronomers who have studied the moon, especially since it has been proven that the moon has some relation with the tides.

So, if one wants to focus on only those things proven by science in order to help develop those established sets of ideas even further, that is just fine, and is a part of Thelema. If one does not want to work with the unknown, I daresay that is not a part of Thelema, as Thelema is about inclusion, not exclusion. Sure, the fire triangle excludes many things that aren't a part of it, like water, but it does not deny that water exists. At the same time, in order for our minds to "includes all possible experience" we must, at some point, deal with the unknown, the unproven, and even the superstitious. How each person deals with that is something for the individual alone to decide, according to his or her Will.

Remember the Powers of the Sphinx: To know, to Will, to Dare, to remain Silent... Not to sit and nitpick at others because of their approaches of choice.
___________

P.S. The quote feature:

When you hit the "Quote" button, the replay screen comes up, with the message in it. It will contain 3 elements (at the least), a header, body, and closer.

The header is the
[.quote author=selfseeker link=topic=5368.msg67021#msg67021 date=1322839206] (without the . before the word 'quote').

The body of course is the message you are quoting.

The closer is simply [./quote] again, without the .

It is easiest to just hit "quote", then add a [.quote] after whatever section you are desiring to quote, then type in your response. When you want to continue with the rest of the message, simply copy and paste the header before the body of writing you wish to quote, slap a closer after it, and type. Rinse and repeat. Hope this helps.

Also...

"selfseeker" wrote:
I suppose, and I may have continued to wallow in the mire of superstitious, supernatural, unprovable and irrelevant musings, tormenting myself for... who knows? The rest of my life? Up to now I have been doing just that, in various different ways. And why? For what reason? No good discernible reason whatsoever, it turns out. I've been, I must confess, 'a bit of a muggy twat'. And that is no thing for a self-respecting Thelemite to be! No sir!

I agree that it is not. But you are describing an extreme view. The various practices laid out by Crowley are designed to help create a set of checks and balances against any such swinging, or wallowing, or whatever. They are designed to help the aspirant remain balanced, no matter what their views are, or which hermeneutic lens they see the world through. Not only are these checks and balances helpful, they are an absolute necessity in the Great Work. They help prevent "lunacy" and well, "sciencacy" (ugly made-up word, I know), or any other extreme view or unbalance that can eventually lead one straight into the bondage of confusion.


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the_real_simon_iff
(@the_real_simon_iff)
Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1836
02/12/2011 5:49 pm  

93, selfseeker

"selfseeker" wrote:
In all seriousness, I feel the need to thank Los and Erwin here, publicly,

In all seriousness, I agree. I enjoyed their blogs also (though I never tried a 48-hour-Los-binge), in fact they encouraged me to reread and rethink and re-evaluate a lot of Crowley stuff. Alas, I don't agree with all they write.

"selfseeker" wrote:
I may have continued to wallow in the mire of superstitious, supernatural, unprovable and irrelevant musings

The main point I don't agree with, is exactly that black&white viewpoint. It's not only either "their" rational view on Thelema or "our" superstitious, supernatural, unprovable and irrelevant view on Thelema. There are myriads of other viewpoints. So don't jump too fast to any final conclusions, the rest of your life is probably quite a while...

Love=Law
Lutz


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
02/12/2011 6:34 pm  

There has been some interesting things said over the course of this very long, very boring discussion.  But aren't you all getting a bit tired of this now?  I think I can say something that we all can agree on and that cuts to the heart of the matter: "The Law is for all, but Magick is for the few with an aptitude for it" now how 'bout we move on....


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Azidonis
(@azidonis)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2964
02/12/2011 7:23 pm  
"N.O.X" wrote:
There has been some interesting things said over the course of this very long, very boring discussion.  But aren't you all getting a bit tired of this now?  I think I can say something that we all can agree on and that cuts to the heart of the matter: "The Law is for all, but Magick is for the few with an aptitude for it" now how 'bout we move on....

I've been "tired" of this discussion since before it even began in this thread. Regardless of that, I would rather it all come out in one thread, even if it takes another 50 pages, than to see it dispersed amongst all threads intermittently as it has been over the years.

Get it out, and get it over with, in my opinion.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
02/12/2011 7:26 pm  
"selfseeker" wrote:
In all seriousness, I feel the need to thank Los and Erwin here, publicly, for restoring my faculties of critical thought and rational judgement. I say 'restoring' but I'm not sure I've actually ever truly possessed these faculties, so I've really gained something here and I'm truly grateful. It's like a mist has been clearing in front of my eyes, and a great weight has begun to fall from my shoulders. I've been reading their posts and blogs non-stop for what feels like 48 hours (and it may well have been). Thanks to everyone else for contributing here too, without you much of this would not have been written on this forum, I suppose, and I may have continued to wallow in the mire of superstitious, supernatural, unprovable and irrelevant musings, tormenting myself for... who knows? The rest of my life? Up to now I have been doing just that, in various different ways. And why? For what reason? No good discernible reason whatsoever, it turns out. I've been, I must confess, 'a bit of a muggy twat'. And that is no thing for a self-respecting Thelemite to be! No sir!

Perhaps I can now start to get on and actually do some real Work, whatever that turns out to be (land a suitable job for one thing!) Unhindered by all the crap I have been consciously and unconsciously hoarding for so many years in the vain hope that it might, somehow, be of some use to me...

I always enjoy the implied "can I get a witness?!" parts of these sermons. 🙂


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Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
02/12/2011 7:34 pm  

Hi Patriarch156,

Thanks again for the thorough reply. Before I take the time to sit down and compose a reply to each of your points – which is going to take me a lot longer than it’s going to take me to dash off a reply to the messages of other posters – I thought I’d inquire about the significant point of difference between our position.

You say that supernatural claims are a “part” of Thelema. In what sense are they a part?

You’ve presented evidence that Crowley consistently claimed that people can use magical practices (not necessarily supernatural beliefs) in the service to the goal of the Thelemic system and that Crowley consistently claimed that the origin of Thelema was supernatural in nature, sticking to his supernatural story even when urged otherwise.

Further – unless I’ve misread you – you’ve said that Crowley’s position was that one could be a Thelemite without accepting supernatural claims.
So in what sense are these supernatural claims “part” of Thelema?

To use one of your examples as an analogy, let’s say that there’s a new branch of Christianity where the leader says, “A Christian must do two things: 1) Thou must accept the Golden Rule, and 2) Thou must follow the Golden rule with detachment and peace.” The leader further explains that the teachings come from Jesus, whom he (the leader) believes was a god and rose from the dead, but the leader also says that there are Christians who don’t believe that and that one doesn’t have to believe it to be a Christian.

If, on the basis of that description, someone asked me to describe this new branch of Christianity, I would describe it as entirely non-supernatural, entailing only following the Golden Rule. The supernatural claims about the origin of the system aren’t part of the system, if one can still practice the system without the claims.

So before I sit down and spend an hour very carefully going over your points and writing and polishing a response, can you just clear up how you’re using “part”? It may turn out that our disagreement here hinges on a semantic difference.


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Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
02/12/2011 7:39 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
There is not a shred of evidence that the hundreds or thousands of Thelemites believing in the supernatural (or in praeterhuman intelligence) are in any way unable to find/follow their True Wills.

You keep saying this, and I keep answering it. I’ll try it again with an example:

If it’s the case that accepting as many true claims as possible and as few false claims as possible is most conducive to discovering and following one’s True Will, then it follows that accepting false claims will make it increasingly likely that one is led astray from the True Will.

To use an example: if it’s the case that paying attention to the road as much as possible and paying as little attention to distractions as possible is most conducive to driving to a destination, then it follows that paying attention to distractions will make it increasingly likely that one will not reach the destination.

I mean, what evidence do you want me to produce that demonstrates that the more one takes one’s eyes off the road, the more likely it is that one will run into trouble and fail to meet the goal while driving? The situation is analogous to the task of discovering and following the true will: the more false claims one accepts, the more likely it becomes that one will not reach the goal.

tai:

As others have pointed out, acceptance or belief in the so-called “supernatural” (I use this superstitious term for your benefit) is not required for performing True Will. But I assert the nature of True Will is such that it is capable of experiencing the so-called supernatural.

The True Will is a path of action: it doesn’t “experience” anything. Individuals experience things.

You admit that True Will is “outside” of reason, but your reason nonetheless dictates the options for your True Will when it concludes the so-called supernatural does not exist.

One of the roles of reason is to provide the (True) Self with options for activity. This is why one of the earliest practices needs to be a rational education of the mind in as many disciplines as possible. If, to pick an example randomly, one’s True Will is to be a painter, one will never be able to do it unless one (rationally) learns a number of facts, including 1) that painting exists, 2) the various methods and techniques of painting, 3) various ways that painters exhibit their works to the public, etc., etc., etc.

If one somehow comes to the conclusions (through an improper use of reason) that one creates paintings by doing a rain dance, one will likely end up thwarting one’s True Will because the reason provides an inaccurate picture of reality. This is analogous to taking one’s eyes off the road, in the example I gave to Lutz.

Unless the reason has as full and as accurate a picture of reality as possible, the True Self and its dynamic aspect (the True Will) won’t know of as many possible options upon which to operate.

Challenging others’ claims can be a sign of a healthy and alert intellect. But when the same arguments appear in different forms pages after pages, year after year, energy dissipated on endless and pointless discourse and nothing changes, you should question what is really going on here.

Pretend we’re talking about any other activity here: “Going jogging in the morning can be a sign of a healthy body. But when one runs the same paths, with only slight variations, day after day, year after year, energy dissipated on endless and pointless running in circles and nothing changes, you should question what is really going on here.”

Maybe I just ought to stop jogging then, eh?

My point is: you would never make this argument about any other form of activity: it’s only because the activity in question happens to be the deliberate exercise of reason that you take issue with it. You're employing a double standard.

Even if each person's True Will is unique, there are signs by which you can discern if someone is following their True Will

Not really. I mean, if someone gives their honest motivation for an action, and it’s obviously based on some kind of idealism or some overwhelmingly false belief or something like that, we’d be able to tell then, but that’s about it.

So you're basically admitting that you have no experience on what you claim authority on.

Um, no. The opposite: I’m saying that I have a lot of experience working with magick, evaluating supernatural claims, and examining evidence (both from my experiences and, more important, the sum total of evidence gathered by humans about the supernatural). I was saying that the evidence doesn’t come just from my personal experience.

I’m not merely affirming “I don’t have any personal experience of the supernatural.” My position is that nobody has any sufficient evidence for supernatural claims.


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Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
02/12/2011 7:47 pm  
"selfseeker" wrote:
In all seriousness, I feel the need to thank Los and Erwin here, publicly, for restoring my faculties of critical thought and rational judgement. I say 'restoring' but I'm not sure I've actually ever truly possessed these faculties, so I've really gained something here and I'm truly grateful.

You’re very welcome. I’m glad you’ve found all of the material enlightening and interesting.

Lutz:

I never tried a 48-hour-Los-binge

Well, you can’t say you’ve lived, then.

Camlion:

I always enjoy […]

You know what I always enjoy? Reading posts from people who support their claims – especially their really bold and unsubstantiated claims – with evidence.

Speaking of which, it’s been a couple of pages now since I asked you for evidence to support your very bold claim that I am “pretending to accept the Book of the Law.”

So I repeat: evidence? You can either support your claim with evidence, withdraw your claim, or ignore the whole thing and hope everyone forgets you said it.


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christibrany
(@christibrany)
Yuggothian
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 2581
02/12/2011 8:12 pm  

Just because something is scientific or 'rational' in current belief doesn't make it right. There will always be the Unexplained because things are always getting revised. Who's to say the God Science won't discover a scientific basis for what we now term the Supernatural? They are not mutually exclusive.  And magick does not have to be proven scientifically for it to be effective. I too tire of these 'debates'
Why can't we say some people prefer to believe in the existence of the 'Supernatural' while others prefer to believe in the Rational (as if they were exclusive either but some people seem to like to think so) and leave it at that?  I don't think any one here is convincing anyone else it just seems like egoistic posturing and or debating for the sake of enjoying debate.  Debate which has been done many times.


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Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
02/12/2011 8:25 pm  
"christibrany" wrote:
Why can't we say some people prefer to believe in the existence of the 'Supernatural' while others prefer to believe in the Rational (as if they were exclusive either but some people seem to like to think so) and leave it at that?

Because truth isn't a matter of preference. And if the conversation turns to a discussion of the facts of reality, then we can't just leave it up to individuals' preferences (if we care about having an accurate picture of reality, of course).

I don't think any one here is convincing anyone else

Well, we've apparently got at least one person here who has been convinced of my position by the weight of my arguments. I think it's reasonable to suspect that there are others who are similarly swayed to one side or another and choose to remain silent about it (or are lurkers).

And, more broadly, all of us have arrived at positions that we hold after years of discussion, experience, and thinking. Speaking for myself, I can say that the considerable time I spent reading and listening to debates between atheists and theists is a huge part of why I'm an atheist.

So it's not true, I think, that debates can be dismissed merely as "egoic posturing" or "debating for the sake of enjoying the debate" -- though I see nothing wrong with either of those things and a debate can be those things as well as something practical and fruitful. Indeed, I would argue that debates serve a very practical function, even if they don't yield results instantly.


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Azidonis
(@azidonis)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2964
02/12/2011 8:51 pm  
"Los" wrote:
Well, we've apparently got at least one person here who has been convinced of my position by the weight of my arguments. I think it's reasonable to suspect that there are others who are similarly swayed to one side or another and choose to remain silent about it (or are lurkers).

Well I suppose if you badger a point for enough years, someone is bound to hear you out...


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
02/12/2011 8:52 pm  
"Los" wrote:
Speaking of which, it’s been a couple of pages now since I asked you for evidence to support your very bold claim that I am “pretending to accept the Book of the Law.”

So I repeat: evidence? You can either support your claim with evidence, withdraw your claim, or ignore the whole thing and hope everyone forgets you said it.

My statement was not a claim, Los, it was an observation from an experienced observer. Discussion is not really composed exclusively of claims and evidence, more claims and evidence, and so on. So no, I will not withdraw my observation unless I see some indication that you are not pretending to accept Liber AL in order to appeal to Thelemites, which I believe to be your somewhat foolish objective here.

You see, you could probably really sell your program of you called it something other than "Thelema." If you continue to call it "Thelema," and try sell it to people new to the word, they will eventually find the connection to Crowley and the "supernatural." On the other hand, if you try sell it to people already familiar with Thelema,  you will have to attack "occultism," as you are here. I wish you luck, either way, but I suggest that you change the name. (I say this from having some experience with similar matters, which I cannot elaborate upon further here.)


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Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 4021
02/12/2011 10:51 pm  
"Camlion" wrote:
My statement was not a claim, Los, it was an observation from an experienced observer. Discussion is not really composed exclusively of claims and evidence, more claims and evidence, and so on.

It's surely apparent that Los is not interested in discussion - an exchange of views from which all parties may benefit - but in debate as a branch of pugilism, where the object is simply to win and - more to the point - be seen to have won; it's all just a wearisome, tedious game.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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the_real_simon_iff
(@the_real_simon_iff)
Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1836
03/12/2011 12:42 am  

Los, 93!

"Los" wrote:
I mean, what evidence do you want me to produce that demonstrates that the more one takes one’s eyes off the road, the more likely it is that one will run into trouble and fail to meet the goal while driving? The situation is analogous to the task of discovering and following the true will: the more false claims one accepts, the more likely it becomes that one will not reach the goal.

I would like to see evidence where the result is not already inherent in the test arrangement. For once, you claim that it is a known and accepted fact that the supernatural does not exist. I don't think that I have to point out that such an agreement among scientists or philosophers is not the case, although it is clear that you have made up your mind about it. And secondly, let's say a Thelemite simply believes Crowley's story about the reception of the Book of the Law. Maybe he is convinced by the proof Crowley gives, or maybe he had similar experiences with mediums or praeterhuman messages, or maybe he has other evidence. You seem to argue that if one does so, he will base every decision he makes on "messages from the supernatural". But no, he simply goes on driving with his eyes on the road just like you do, and in fact he can live his entire life (including finding/following his True Will) just like you do. The existence of intelligence seperate from regular brains has nothing - absolutely nothing - to do with this. It is just in your imagination that all occultists who believe in supernatural claims necessarily constantly claim to be in contact or guided or chosen by these supernatural intelligences for some selfish reasons. But you are just preconceiving your fancy picture of "how all occultists are". So I am sorry, I think you will have to find other evidence to convince me - if you really think it is important to convince all Thelemites from your theory. Why don't you try for a given time to believe Crowley's claim that praeterhuman intelligences dictated him the Book of the Law? Would it change anything for you? You could still claim that unicorns, spooks, telekinesis don't exist until you find evidence for their existence. You could still follow/find your True Will. You can be Captain Skeptical throughout your life. Again, I don't want to convince you from the existence of the supernatural, I am just argueing that it has nothing to do with doing the Great Work, well, one could argue it would make some things easier, but not necessarily. The stubborn exclusion of the supernatural doesn't change your Work, although it sounds appealing for all those who for some reason need to be assured of everything.

Love=Law
Lutz


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