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Paulo Coelho on the OTO


the_real_simon_iff
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93, all.

This appears today in the weekly supplement to the "Sueddeutsche Zeitung" (one of the biggest German newspapers from Bavaria), the "Sueddeutsche Zeitung Magazin", in an interview with Paulo Coelho (somewhat stiffly translated by myself):

SZ: The most bizarre phase in your life began in 1969. You became engaged in occultism, sorcery and satanism and devoured huge tomes on UFOs, vampires, pentagrams and astrological systems. You wrote in your diary: "Immersing myself into black magic is the only way out from desperation and depression for me."

PC: I remember writing this but I am not the same person any more that wrote it. The reason that lead me to black magic are encapsulated in my past.

SZ: In 1972 you became the member named Luz Eterna of the satanic sect of OTO, the order of the oriental templars, of which the Britain Aleister Crowley was the chief theorist. One of the followers of the "Great Beast", as Crowley called himself, was Charles Manson, who ordered the killing by gunfire, knifing and clubbing of four people in movie director Roman Polanski's house.

PC: The dictums of this organization are bordering on spiritual fascism. It's all about the experience of power to the most extreme. When you are a member of the chosen few, you are freed of all ethical codes and can do whatever you want - even if you want to be a monster. When I realized that the OTO will lead me into the abyss, I quit and severed every contact. I was nearly dead spiritually, but I had understood that one needs to have an ethical code to live.

SZ: You say that the OTO is "worse than Satanism". Can you attest any specific practices?

PC: I don't like the word Satansim. It sounds like a cheap Hollywood horror movie to me. In the OTO there were no babies sacrificed, but we practiced black magic and worked with  powers that I will not disclose. I have no interest to to excite curiosity for this organization because this could be mistaken for promotion. That's why I declined to speak of the OTO by its official name publicly for so many years, and have always referred to "the Society for the advent of the Apocalypse".

SZ: You told your biographer Fernando Morais that four days after you joined the OTO you encountered Satan. Morais writes: "Coelho noticed the smell of death in his apartment and dark fog, as if the sun suddenly had gone under."

PC: Stop it! I don' want to talk about this any longer.

SZ: Is it true that you have written a 600 page manuscript about your experiences?

PC: This is true, but my present wife advised me to destroy it, and I have done so.

An with this rather optimistic point ends the "OTO part" of the interview.

For your information.

Love= Law
Lutz


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William Thirteen
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Thanks Lutz! Looks like the interview isn't yet online.  And here I am traveling in the US this week...


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 Anonymous
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HAHA!  Damn, that Lodge was having some fun!  ;D


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Palamedes
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Thanks for the trouble Lutz, but aside from that, what a bunch of nonsense and disinformation. Yeah right, Coelho met Satan in the OTO. He is not only there but at every corner in the world, drinking espresso and smoking cigars. He is a bit chubby and has a habit of pissing in the phone booths. The black cat told me while the Moon was full, so you should trust my every word. Honest!


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michaelclarke18
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I think that interview can safely be ignored - it's rubbish, like books of said author.


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lashtal
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Coelho certainly can't be accused of false modesty. See, for example, his comments on Joyce:

Coelho said the reason for his own popularity was that he is "a modern writer, despite what the critics say". This doesn't mean his books are experimental, he added – rather, "I'm modern because I make the difficult seem easy, and so I can communicate with the whole world."

"One of the books that caused great harm was James Joyce's Ulysses, which is pure style. There is nothing there. Stripped down, Ulysses is a twit."

--- http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/aug/06/paulo-coelho-james-joyce-ulysses

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LAShTAL


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Markus
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A while ago, I did the walk of St. James, upon which Coelho based his book The Pilgrimage. Coelho has an incredibly bad reputation amongst the pilgrims and hospitaleros, who say that the guy only ever went by bus, stayed in plushty hotels and only walked the beautiful stretches, i.e. he dodged all the hardships! He is generally considered to be a tosser, a sentiment I can connect with.
None the less, his books do contain esoteric wisdom. Unfortunately it is of the quality of bic razors: you use 'em once and then throw 'em away.

Markus


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Los
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"lashtal" wrote:
Coelho certainly can't be accused of false modesty. See, for example, his comments on Joyce:

[...]

"One of the books that caused great harm was James Joyce's Ulysses, which is pure style. There is nothing there. Stripped down, Ulysses is a twit."

Spoken like someone who's never studied Ulysses.

"It would have diverted, if ever seen, the shuddersome spectacle of this semidemented zany amid the inspissated grime of his glaucous den making believe to read his usylessly unreadable Blue Book of Eccles, édition de ténèbres"
--Finnegans Wake

You also really have to wonder about the weirdness of the whole, "I did black magick in the OTO and used such dark forces that I can't, like, even speak of them, man!"


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 Anonymous
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Dear all,

93

Wasn't Coelho connected to Marcelo Motta's O.T.O.?
With all regards to Frater Adjuvo that could explain "spiritual fascism" thing.

93 93/93
Krzysztof


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 Anonymous
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He even went so far as to create a Thelemic commune named Sociedade Alternativa.
Talk about spitting on your past. Here is a snippet of Coelho signing the anthem of the commune with fellow thelemite and rock star Raul Seixas
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbBu_3HRBHU


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 Anonymous
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Coelho was a probationer under Frater Thor, never member of any OTO. Zarathustra (thor) was put in "stand by" by Motta for five years in 76. Coelho never resigned his status.

93.


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Azidonis
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Sensationalist garbage. Thanks for sharing though, Lutz.


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 Anonymous
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"Worse than satanism" -- great stuff, I think we shall use it as our tag line 😉


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 Anonymous
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"When I realized that the OTO will lead me into the abyss, I quit and severed every contact."

hahaahaaaa!
Bless him! I couldn't stop laughing!!

😀


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Nomad
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Yes indeed Hecate, I too lol'd!

On a side-note, it reminds me of a comment Gunther made at one of his lectures, one that really stuck with me... To paraphrase: the reason many people get the heebie-jeebies when they hear the word Thelema is that deep down they realise that the end-game of this Path is the Abyss; thus their ego revolts against the concept of Thelema with all its might, fearful as it is of its own destruction.


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Azidonis
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"Nomad" wrote:
Yes indeed Hecate, I too lol'd!

On a side-note, it reminds me of a comment Gunther made at one of his lectures, one that really stuck with me... To paraphrase: the reason many people get the heebie-jeebies when they hear the word Thelema is that deep down they realise that the end-game of this Path is the Abyss; thus their ego revolts against the concept of Thelema with all its might, fearful as it is of its own destruction.

I agree with his statement.

The word "Abyss" can sound very ominous and spooky. There are other words for it, which I think convey the same message using different terms, but not as ominous. For instance, U.G. Krishnamurti uses the term, "thought sphere", while being clear that it is not an actual "sphere" of course, just a terminology.


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eol
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Here is the whole interview: http://sz-magazin.sueddeutsche.de/texte/anzeigen/38005 Mentioned text is on Seite 2. at the bottom. 🙂


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herupakraath
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"Nomad" wrote:
Yes indeed Hecate, I too lol'd!

On a side-note, it reminds me of a comment Gunther made at one of his lectures, one that really stuck with me... To paraphrase: the reason many people get the heebie-jeebies when they hear the word Thelema is that deep down they realise that the end-game of this Path is the Abyss; thus their ego revolts against the concept of Thelema with all its might, fearful as it is of its own destruction.

The quote is interesting coming from someone who proclaims himself a world teacher.

Noted is the absence of the term ego from the Book of the Law, and that attitudes and actions encouraged by the book are typically associated with the ego, such as being proud and mighty, and well as being unique and being a conqueror.


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ptoner
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An article from the Guardian indicates just how massive his ego is.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/aug/06/paulo-coelho-james-joyce-ulysses


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Azidonis
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"herupakraath" wrote:
"Nomad" wrote:
Yes indeed Hecate, I too lol'd!

On a side-note, it reminds me of a comment Gunther made at one of his lectures, one that really stuck with me... To paraphrase: the reason many people get the heebie-jeebies when they hear the word Thelema is that deep down they realise that the end-game of this Path is the Abyss; thus their ego revolts against the concept of Thelema with all its might, fearful as it is of its own destruction.

The quote is interesting coming from someone who proclaims himself a world teacher.

Noted is the absence of the term ego from the Book of the Law, and that attitudes and actions encouraged by the book are typically associated with the ego, such as being proud and mighty, and well as being unique and being a conqueror.

I don't buy the "world teacher" thing, but have had my own share of "heebie-jeebies", and seen it in others where it relates to the Abyss. Crowley certainly had his share, and I might be so bold as to say anyone who hasn't gotten their share of heebie-jeebies about it might have been fooling themselves.

It's just a reaction from the protection mechanism. /shrug

As for as Liber AL... no comment.


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Palamedes
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"herupakraath" wrote:
"Nomad" wrote:
Yes indeed Hecate, I too lol'd!

On a side-note, it reminds me of a comment Gunther made at one of his lectures, one that really stuck with me... To paraphrase: the reason many people get the heebie-jeebies when they hear the word Thelema is that deep down they realise that the end-game of this Path is the Abyss; thus their ego revolts against the concept of Thelema with all its might, fearful as it is of its own destruction.

The quote is interesting coming from someone who proclaims himself a world teacher.

Herupakraath, you are of course able to substantiate your assertion that Gunther proclaims himself a world teacher, right? I have my doubts so I don't think you can, but I will hold my breath.

Be that as it may, and while I agree that the annihilation of the ego is an affair that frightens the ego, I do not think that this particular scenario applies to either Coehlo or to people's fear of Thelema in general. For one thing, every genuine spiritual tradition implies this same prospect and people do not seem to be freaked out by Zen, for example. No, I think that what we have is the typical Christian fear of the Beast 666 and associate legion of misunderstandings and spiritual literalism and superstition.

I have already argued, long time ago, that not much can be gained by arguing negatively with respect to the vocabulary of Liber AL. No, there is no word ego there, but there is also no sex, and no chicken, and no magick, and no whiskey, and no rock'n roll, there is no mention of New York, not a word about soccer, no reference to disco, and not a hint of allusion to internet forums - let us then agree that none of these either exist or matter and be done with all that nonsense!

Finally, herupakraath, I find it rather problematic that you consider Hadit's self-definition as 'unique and conqueror' as an attitude that is 'typically associated with the ego.' The same applies to 'proud and mighty.' Is this really a statement asserting the ego? You are quoting selectively and out of context. Contextually, to be proud and mighty is a proclamation addressed to the Prophet, you might say in this instance that this refers to the one who professes Hadit, who is able to express one's innermost nature, and I do not think that this refers to the ego. Not at all.     


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Los
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"Palamedes" wrote:
Finally, herupakraath, I find it rather problematic that you consider Hadit's self-definition as 'unique and conqueror' as an attitude that is 'typically associated with the ego.' The same applies to 'proud and mighty.' Is this really a statement asserting the ego? You are quoting selectively and out of context. Contextually, to be proud and mighty is a proclamation addressed to the Prophet, you might say in this instance that this refers to the one who professes Hadit, who is able to express one's innermost nature, and I do not think that this refers to the ego. Not at all.     

"It is a lie, this folly against self." -- AL II:22

As ever when discussing The Book of the Law, we need to be careful about our terms. "Ego" can means at least three different things: 1) self-consciousness itself, 2) the "distorting influences of the mind" (for example, one's mind talking oneself into thinking one wants to be a doctor when one's actual inclinations are to do something else), and 3) actions that people can label "selfish" or "bad" (for example, doing something you authentically want to do, even if it might hurt someone else [or someone else's feelings]).

Liber AL is clearly in favor of ego in the third sense (or, at least, it supports an individual's right to be as egotistic or as selfish as that individual wishes). It is clearly against ego in the second sense (those mental forms that cause the mind to make a difference [see AL I:22] between things).

You can read a longer analysis here: http://thelema-and-skepticism.blogspot.com/2012/07/gems-from-forums-ii-leggo-my-ego.html


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Azidonis
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"Palamedes" wrote:
Herupakraath, you are of course able to substantiate your assertion that Gunther proclaims himself a world teacher, right? I have my doubts so I don't think you can, but I will hold my breath.

To my knowledge, Gunther did not proclaim himself "world teacher". It was HB, I believe, who made the remark about him being "world teacher" on the back of the dust jacket for Gunther's book, which was published as "A:.A:. Class B".


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Palamedes
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"Los" wrote:
"Palamedes" wrote:
Finally, herupakraath, I find it rather problematic that you consider Hadit's self-definition as 'unique and conqueror' as an attitude that is 'typically associated with the ego.' The same applies to 'proud and mighty.' Is this really a statement asserting the ego? You are quoting selectively and out of context. Contextually, to be proud and mighty is a proclamation addressed to the Prophet, you might say in this instance that this refers to the one who professes Hadit, who is able to express one's innermost nature, and I do not think that this refers to the ego. Not at all.     

"It is a lie, this folly against self." -- AL II:22

As ever when discussing The Book of the Law, we need to be careful about our terms. "Ego" can means at least three different things: 1) self-consciousness itself, 2) the "distorting influences of the mind" (for example, one's mind talking oneself into thinking one wants to be a doctor when one's actual inclinations are to do something else), and 3) actions that people can label "selfish" or "bad" (for example, doing something you authentically want to do, even if it might hurt someone else [or someone else's feelings]).

Liber AL is clearly in favor of ego in the third sense (or, at least, it supports an individual's right to be as egotistic or as selfish as that individual wishes). It is clearly against ego in the second sense (those mental forms that cause the mind to make a difference [see AL I:22] between things).

You can read a longer analysis here: http://thelema-and-skepticism.blogspot.com/2012/07/gems-from-forums-ii-leggo-my-ego.html

Los: agreed when it comes to being careful about terminology in discussing Liber AL, as anything else for that matter. Strongly disagreed re your choice of the motto to preface your response (AL II: 22), for the implication here is that self and the ego are the same thing. This is highly debatable. To give one example, in Jung's system, the self is the final goal of individuation, and ego is a much more restricted and convoluted aspect of the same, and Crowley arguably used comparatively similar distinction in the bulk of his writings. I also strongly disagree re your assertion that Liber AL supports the type of egotism you suggest by your number 3 type, but you are of course free to interpret the book according to your will and understanding and success is your proof. 


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Palamedes
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"Azidonis" wrote:
"Palamedes" wrote:
Herupakraath, you are of course able to substantiate your assertion that Gunther proclaims himself a world teacher, right? I have my doubts so I don't think you can, but I will hold my breath.

To my knowledge, Gunther did not proclaim himself "world teacher". It was HB, I believe, who made the remark about him being "world teacher" on the back of the dust jacket for Gunther's book, which was published as "A:.A:. Class B".

Azidonis, you are wrong. The back of the dust jacket written by H.B. states: "This book was written from the standpoint of an experienced teacher." No mention of "world teacher" at all.


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Los
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"Palamedes" wrote:
Strongly disagreed re your choice of the motto to preface your response (AL II: 22), for the implication here is that self and the ego are the same thing. This is highly debatable.

It depends upon the definition of "ego" under use, exactly like I said.

A Thelemite who pursues his actual inclinations -- "car[ing] not at all" for others or their delicate feelings in the process -- may very well be called "egotistical" or "selfish" by others. In this context, pursuing the goals of the self *is* a manifestation of ego and (obviously) self-ishness.

I also strongly disagree re your assertion that Liber AL supports the type of egotism you suggest by your number 3 type, but you are of course free to interpret the book according to your will and understanding and success is your proof. 

No, the "proof" of interpretation is the degree to which the interpretation is supported by the text.

Liber AL explicitly says that individuals are free to pursue their own wills, and the text goes out of its way to tell Thelemites that they have the right to "care not at all" for others, to "stamp down" and "trample" on those who get in their way, etc., etc.

Any fair reading of the text supports the conclusion that Thelema is about an individual doing his or her will and not having any responsibility to care about anyone else (and indeed, the text tells the individual that he or she has the right to streamroll right over anyone who gets in his or her way).

That's "selfish" and "egotistical" and even "evil" in the minds of many folks. Oh well. Fuck'em.


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Azidonis
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"Palamedes" wrote:
"Azidonis" wrote:
"Palamedes" wrote:
Herupakraath, you are of course able to substantiate your assertion that Gunther proclaims himself a world teacher, right? I have my doubts so I don't think you can, but I will hold my breath.

To my knowledge, Gunther did not proclaim himself "world teacher". It was HB, I believe, who made the remark about him being "world teacher" on the back of the dust jacket for Gunther's book, which was published as "A:.A:. Class B".

Azidonis, you are wrong. The back of the dust jacket written by H.B. states: "This book was written from the standpoint of an experienced teacher." No mention of "world teacher" at all.

Faulty memory. It was the press release. Anyway, we already went over this ad nauseum in this thread.

Of course, the argument about the press release advertisement for the book ended up in, "Blame it on his press secretary". Yes, blame the secretary, then claim you had nothing to do with it...


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herupakraath
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Palamedes:

Herupakraath, you are of course able to substantiate your assertion that Gunther proclaims himself a world teacher, right? I have my doubts so I don't think you can, but I will hold my breath.

The claim was made in a news announcement on Lashtal for one of Gunther's lectures--I believe it was a lecture in Australia if memory serves me correctly. There was some discussion on the forum about the title "world teacher," as it raised several eyebrows. Be aware that I have not attended one of Gunther's lectures, nor have I read any of his writings. It struck me as contradictory and amusing that someone could suggest having insight into the ego of others while being advertised as a world teacher. A similar reaction was invoked in me after reading criticisms generated by Crowley about the ego of others, yet he was able to write a statement like, "I am Thelema."

Finally, herupakraath, I find it rather problematic that you consider Hadit's self-definition as 'unique and conqueror' as an attitude that is 'typically associated with the ego.' The same applies to 'proud and mighty.' Is this really a statement asserting the ego? You are quoting selectively and out of context. Contextually, to be proud and mighty is a proclamation addressed to the Prophet, you might say in this instance that this refers to the one who professes Hadit, who is able to express one's innermost nature, and I do not think that this refers to the ego. Not at all. 

I can argue equally well that verse II:22 of TBOTL is sometimes quoted out of context as an excuse for criticizing the ego, as Crowley does in Liber Aleph. To appreciate verse II:22, one must also weigh it against verse II:23--they appear to be related.

A critical view of the ego is a holdover from Golden Dawn teachings, where the process of initiation as depicted on the Tree of Life requires "crossing the abyss" in order to arrive at Kether, the first station on the tree, the station associated with godhead, or divine consciousness. As you are aware, and according to the program outlined, the ego must be annihilated in order to cross the abyss and arrive at the position on the tree that symbolizes God. The reader is advised in verse II:22 of TBOTL to enjoy all things of sense and rapture, and that no god shall deny someone for such choices, a statement that is at odds with the idea that self must be annihilated in order to achieve union with God.

Verse III:23 is even more profound in regard to the concept of the annihilation of self or ego, for Hadit proclaims that there is no God where he is, a statement that suggests it is God who has been annihilated, not the ego. Remarkably, 23 is the enumeration of Ego using the English gematria system of the Tahuti Key.

As Los pointed out in his excellent blog entry, defining ego or self is a complicated business. It is exceedingly difficult to identify ego in others; no one has a window into the soul or ego of another person. Something perceived as ego in someone else may well be the stirrings of true purpose in an individual--no one can really say one way or another except perhaps in retrospect.

I agree with Los that the demonization of the ego is essentially Christianity masked as initiation. The idea that we are essentially flawed, and that the ego must be annihilated in order to achieve union with god is akin to the concept of original sin featured in Christian doctrines. 


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Los
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"herupakraath" wrote:
The reader is advised in verse II:22 of TBOTL to enjoy all things of sense and rapture, and that no god shall deny someone for such choices, a statement that is at odds with the idea that self must be annihilated in order to achieve union with God.

It's not necessarily at odds with the idea of self-annihilation, depending on how we conceive of "annihilation."

Remember, "annihilation" literally means "to reduce to nothing." This presents a vexing problem: how does one go about reducing something that exists to *nothing*? After all, I can take apart a desk, but I haven't reduced anything to nothing: I've actually just created more parts. But what I *have* done is annihilate the *identity* of the desk as a single, cohesive thing.

Something similar happens when one "annihilates the self" when crossing the abyss. Just as annihilating the desk leaves all the pieces that used to comprise the desk, so too does annihilating the self leave all of the pieces that used to comprise that self: it's just that the underlying sense of unity has been eradicated.

So someone who has crossed the abyss and has "annihilated" the self is still going to act like a regular ol' person. If that person was a jerk before crossing, he'll still be a jerk afterward. If that person was kind before crossing, he'll still be kind. What's changed is his perception: the "pieces" of his personality still exist and still function -- such that no outside observer is likely to detect any change -- but the Master of the Temple is no longer under the delusion that there is a cohesive identity binding those qualities together.

So in other words, it's perfectly possible for someone to "annihilate the self" and still indulge in a materialistic enjoyment of all things of sense and rapture.

I agree with Los that the demonization of the ego is essentially Christianity masked as initiation. The idea that we are essentially flawed, and that the ego must be annihilated in order to achieve union with god is akin to the concept of original sin featured in Christian doctrines. 

Yes, one definitely does not have to "deny the self" in order to attain in the Thelemic system. Thelemic attainment is all about fulfilling the natural inclinations of that self (and, ultimately, across the abyss, realizing that those inclinations aren't held together by anything permanent).

The actions of a Thelemite are very likely to be labeled "selfish," and that's fine.


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 Anonymous
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You can read more of Coelho's version of his time associated with the OTO in his biography.  To avoid buying it just do a search on Crowley in the look inside option.
http://www.amazon.com/Paulo-Coelho-Warriors-Authorized-Biography/dp/0061718882


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