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Crowley's mass appeal  

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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
08/01/2009 8:49 pm  

Dear All,

I'm afraid I'm gonna be cheeky and ask for your help. I'm writing my 3rd year History dissertation on 'The Appeal of Aleister Crowley' and I thought who better to ask than those to belong to the LAShTAL site. I've read his books for years so I have my own opinions, unfortunately I can't use them! So I'm throwing myself on your mercy and hoping you'll take the time you answer a couple of questions;

1) What about AC appeals to you? i.e. his personal beliefs, his practices etc

2) What is it, in your opinion which appeals to others about AC then and now, making him even more popular today?

Thank you in advance for your answers, please be gentle with me as although I've been a member of the site for a while now this is the first time I've posted anything!

Best wishes 😆


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kidneyhawk
(@kidneyhawk)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1827
09/01/2009 3:56 am  

It's my perspective that the immediate appeal of Crowley is one of attraction to the lurid and half-mythological self-created "Demon Crowley." A superficial encounter via some general book on the "occult" leaves us with the impression of a quite sinister and extreme personality: drugs, sex, demons. And to set him aside from other "diabolical" characters, we learn that he is also a specimen of human genius. He was an impeccable writer, a philosopher and wit, a man of "refinement" as much as a "depraved Beast." This makes the alluring aspects of his perceived perversities somehow a bit more mind-boggling. We can't quite toss him out as a "whacko" if and when he offends or challenges our sensibilities.

It's often been observed that, for Crowley, ANY press was "good press." And some have lamented his bad choices in this self-publicity. Never the less, it has served to carry a poverty stricken old man into the future as a type of "icon" whose mythology still causes a stir. This is a bit amazing, I think, and I once addressed this in one of our threads. AC hardly tips the scales of (ahem) "depravity" by modern measures and yet he remains "set apart" and unusually condemned. I believe this is because his vision WAS, in fact, "Aeonic." He was not a man 50 years behind his time. He was looking ahead two MILLENIA. He still upsets the deeply entrenched status quo of herd mentality.

The thing is: those who are sufficiently drawn to his "cult of personality" will find their deepest selves confronting an unanticipated abyss of experience as they travel past the Time-Life Books account of the "Great Beast" and enter the world of his writing, whereby his vision glows and grows far beyond the "shocking spectre" of the imagined character.

LOL-as I type, Oliver Stone's movie The Doors is on. There is that scene where Jim Morrisson is on the plane and lamenting how people don't "believe" in anything...how they crave something "sacred." I think if there is a rising "popularity" of Crowley, it reflects something of this. I see many people who are troubled by throwing the baby out with the bathwater: the old moralities and standards no longer apply but with the jettison goes the heart of "spirituality." "Recovering Catholics" become "Atheists." And along comes AC with the Gnostic Mass. Life liberating from dour moral bonds finds an expression of religious devotion grappling on the edge of honest and fearless examination and exploration of the universe in Crowley's work. And should he prove to be a "man of his time," his sharpness of wit remains equiped to deal with our "post-Crowleyan" world at large.

I personally have issues with various aspects of both Crowley's life and philosophy and am not writing as some starry-eyed devotee. Still, I find that, in general, the great value and profundity of his work remains unappreciated by the majority who have some vague impression of the one human being who most effectively appropriated the number "666."

Good luck with the dissertation!!! 🙂

Kyle


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
09/01/2009 11:29 am  

Crowley was a profound explorer of the Unknown, He also had an unique gift for communicating his researches intelligently. People who are interested in this type of thing can recognize that once they get past his infamy and notoriety.


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IAO131
(@iao131)
Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 461
09/01/2009 4:40 pm  
"Slmjacs" wrote:
Dear All,

I'm afraid I'm gonna be cheeky and ask for your help. I'm writing my 3rd year History dissertation on 'The Appeal of Aleister Crowley' and I thought who better to ask than those to belong to the LAShTAL site. I've read his books for years so I have my own opinions, unfortunately I can't use them! So I'm throwing myself on your mercy and hoping you'll take the time you answer a couple of questions;

1) What about AC appeals to you? i.e. his personal beliefs, his practices etc

2) What is it, in your opinion which appeals to others about AC then and now, making him even more popular today?

Thank you in advance for your answers, please be gentle with me as although I've been a member of the site for a while now this is the first time I've posted anything!

Best wishes 😆

Do History programs allow anecdotal evidence and claims from a particularly biased source (The Aleister Crowley Society?) as legitimate for a dissertation?

IAO131


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the_real_simon_iff
(@the_real_simon_iff)
Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1836
09/01/2009 5:49 pm  
"IAO131" wrote:
Do History programs allow anecdotal evidence and claims from a particularly biased source (The Aleister Crowley Society?) as legitimate for a dissertation?

Are you in a bad mood today? Who else would you ask "What about AC appeals to you?" than those who were/are appealed by him? Besides, there is no indication that Slmjacs will use "our" answers solely.

Must be a bad mood...

Love=Law
Lutz


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wulfram
(@wulfram)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 137
09/01/2009 6:20 pm  

Kyle has hit the nail on the proverbial head. The mythic Crowley gives way to the larger than life personality that strutted through a civilization in chaos and offered a semblance of personal accountability in the shaping of one's world. He wrested the reins from the powers that be and returned them to the individual, declaring once and for all that it was one's Will that solely mattered, that to find one's true purpose was paramount. He is an unbridled icon of freedom and all that entails, warts and all.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
09/01/2009 6:53 pm  

IAO131 - I had no intention of using the answers as a legitimate source, I just thought perhaps others with similar interests wouldn't mind giving me an insight into what they find so fascinating about AC. If you didn't have anything positive to contribute then I would have preferred you keep your snide comments to yourself.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
09/01/2009 7:24 pm  

I would echo the beautifully expressed posts of both Kyle and Wulfram, adding only that Crowley's 'mass appeal' would be far greater by now had he not strictly prohibited the forced indoctrination of young children and the mass conversion of adults under penalty of death that were employed in the past by figures of his stature and significance. He insisted that his Work be approached voluntarily by each individual according to their own innate inclination, or Will, once that Work had been brought to their attention by whatever means.


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lashtal
(@lashtal)
Owner and Editor Admin
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 5304
09/01/2009 7:32 pm  

Kidneyhawk: That's an extraordinary post. Thank you.

IAO131: Yours is an entirely predictable post given your previous contributions here. One day you'll begin to realise that dressing yourself in the clothes of a scholar does not make your posts either scholarly or interesting.

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


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IAO131
(@iao131)
Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 461
10/01/2009 8:01 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
"IAO131" wrote:
Do History programs allow anecdotal evidence and claims from a particularly biased source (The Aleister Crowley Society?) as legitimate for a dissertation?

Are you in a bad mood today? Who else would you ask "What about AC appeals to you?" than those who were/are appealed by him? Besides, there is no indication that Slmjacs will use "our" answers solely.

Must be a bad mood...

Love=Law
Lutz

It was a legitimate question - specifically regarding the accuracy or meaningfulness of asking people from this site about their anecdotal thoughts (sort of like how jlcrow's survey for Thelemites was not methodologically accurate).

Are you in a bad mood today?

IAO131 - I had no intention of using the answers as a legitimate source, I just thought perhaps others with similar interests wouldn't mind giving me an insight into what they find so fascinating about AC. If you didn't have anything positive to contribute then I would have preferred you keep your snide comments to yourself.

In that case, good luck - you gave the impression that you were writing a piece on the appeal of A.C. and then asked for people's opinions becuase you couldn't use your own in the dissertation. Hey, you're 'cheeky' and I'm 'snide' - so it goes.

IAO131: Yours is an entirely predictable post given your previous contributions here. One day you'll begin to realise that dressing yourself in the clothes of a scholar does not make your posts either scholarly or interesting.

Predictable that I would question the accuracy of certain methods for academic intentions? Guilty. I never 'dress myself in the clothes of a scholar' - I never flaunt education or titles or grades or anything like that. That doesnt mean I dont care about academic integrity when the subject comes up (i.e. I hope he doesnt rely on anecdotal evidence from a biased source as a legitimate argument in a historical dissertation... but that's his choice). Hey, at least I'm consistent.

IAO131


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lashtal
(@lashtal)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 5304
10/01/2009 8:38 pm  
"IAO131" wrote:
I never 'dress myself in the clothes of a scholar'

Really? I'll leave others to read your posts here to form their own opinions. However, how about this from your shameless self-promotion on Wikipedia (in a piece by you that quotes from another piece by you):

[My] journal's contents include a mix of academic articles... Articles have appeared by ... IAO131... [It is] the first academic journal to collect the work of various modern Thelemites into one place...

This page makes for interesting reading, by the way: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Journal_of_Thelemic_Studies

Your summary on LiveJournal of things that made 2007 "a significant year in Thelema" include that your Journal "arose", no less, as "the first non-partisan academic journal completely un-affiliated with the OTO to bring together the most modern thought in the Thelemic community - and released its first issue..."

http://iao131.livejournal.com/21794.html

Slmjacs simply sought information about 'The Appeal of Aleister Crowley' through the site that is home of the Society whose members are surely best placed to provide that information, anecdotal or otherwise. Kyle's post above indicates just why this was a sensible route for his research to take.

I recall your response to John Crowe's survey on these Forums where a similar route was taken, and where you were similarly dismissive: "Seeing as how this is a highly unscientific poll with an incredible amount of confounds I hope you or anyone else doesnt look too far into the results."

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


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IAO131
(@iao131)
Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 461
10/01/2009 8:43 pm  
"lashtal" wrote:
"IAO131" wrote:
I never 'dress myself in the clothes of a scholar'

Really? I'll leave others to read your posts here to form their own opinions. However, how about this from your shameless self-promotion on Wikipedia (in a piece by you that quotes from another piece by you):

[My] journal's contents include a mix of academic articles... Articles have appeared by ... IAO131... [It is] the first academic journal to collect the work of various modern Thelemites into one place...

This page makes for interesting reading, by the way: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia: ... ic_Studies

Your summary on LiveJournal of things that made 2007 "a significant year in Thelema" include that your Journal "arose", no less, as "the first non-partisan academic journal completely un-affiliated with the OTO to bring together the most modern thought in the Thelemic community - and released its first issue..."

http://iao131.livejournal.com/21794.html

Slmjacs simply sought information about 'The Appeal of Aleister Crowley' through the site that is home of the Society whose members are surely best placed to provide that information, anecdotal or otherwise. Kyle's post above indicates just why this was a sensible route for his research to take.

I recall your response to John Crowe's survey on these Forums where a similar route was taken, and where you were similarly dismissive: "Seeing as how this is a highly unscientific poll with an incredible amount of confounds I hope you or anyone else doesnt look too far into the results."

Thats the journal, not me, of course! Im glad people are so thoroughly investigating the Journal, too... (Surely I would see my own accomplishments as 'significant'... 😛 )

I think Kyle's post is great as is everyone else's. They are insightful and interesting. Dont get me wrong. But I would be careful about using any of this as any kind of evidence of Crowley's appeal to society or culture as a whole - that's all, really. Perhaps they serve as good indications of what to look for, but I doubt anyone reading a History dissertation and seeing 'Crowley appeals to people because X from a Crowley site said Y and Z' would take this as a legitimate, historically accurate claim. My intention was to ask whether this would be done and the author claims that these wont be used in that fashion, so that is that... perhaps. Its unfortunate that criticism of an academic attempt is taken so aversely - academia of all types thrives on criticism and antitheses - its only through an antithesis of a thesis (or dissertation...) that a synthesis can be made.

IAO131


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
11/01/2009 5:38 pm  

Its unfortunate that criticism of an academic attempt is taken so aversely - academia of all types thrives on criticism and antitheses - its only through an antithesis of a thesis (or dissertation...) that a synthesis can be made.

IAO131 - Thank you but I have a dissertation supervisor to do this and I'm a 3rd year student I know how to use legitmate and illegimate sources I wouldn't have even passed my first semester if not.

To everyone else, thank you so much for your comments, you've been a great help and given me lots to think about.

Sarah x


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Nomad
(@nomad)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 85
17/01/2009 2:46 am  

Crowley was the Logos of the Aeon.

Not to mention delightfully eccentric. And very fucken funny.


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lashtal
(@lashtal)
Owner and Editor Admin
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 5304
17/01/2009 12:40 pm  
"Nomad" wrote:
And very fucken funny.

Thanks for that considered, detailed and insightful analysis.

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


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phthah
(@phthah)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 210
17/01/2009 8:22 pm  

93,

"lashtal" wrote:
Thanks for that considered, detailed and insightful analysis...

Now that's funny! 😆 😉

93 93/93
phthah


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
17/01/2009 11:33 pm  

93, For me, and this really is a great question, Crowley's appeal seems to flow from his ferocious love of life! He perused his interests with such ferocity...sometimes at a great risk....allway to the utmost extreme....I have often thought if this kind of "Energised Enthusiasm" was bottled and sold, what a World it would be! 93 93/93


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
10/03/2009 6:17 pm  

Just a note of appreciation here. Kidneyhawk's post is astoundingly perceptive and quite beautifully written. One of the most striking aspects of this site is the consistently high aggregated intelligence and educational level of the people who participate in the discussion threads.

I'm honored and delighted to be in such company. And no - I have no ulterior motive for saying this - I'm simply and genuinely delighted to spend time here.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
11/03/2009 12:55 pm  

Great post kidneyhawk!

For me Crowley is best seen from various angles and from various perspectives. On an academic level Crowley has afforded me a great subject of research. He was/is a pain in the ass for some institutions and for some people. I love looking at the Beast from a Jungian perspective and see Crowley as a great subject for that approach. He is the collective shadow made manifest. He's a great example of mass projection. He was totally dedicated to self development (even if we may not agree with the goals he set up he had the balls to follow through!). Poet, philosopher, psychologist, anti-everything, Crowley is a rich subject.

On a personal level, his writings offer an interesting path to follow. He insists on strength and perseverance but also lust and joy. He insists on individuality but not at the sacrifice of community building. Most important Crowley, and his writing, offer each of us an enigma. A mystery that can never be solved. Of course he also offers us dire warnings of the cost of the path.

While I was writing my MA thesis on Jung and Crowley I used to hear Crowley's voice when I read his work and I heard Jung when I read Jung's work My advisor (prof and analyst) said that was fine 🙂 but Crowley is interesting as a voice in your head. A strange fellow to have share that space but a welcome one all the same.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
12/03/2009 12:00 am  

I do not often post but I could not help but offer my simple perspective.
Having lived with Crowley as part of my life since my teen years now into my early 50's. Here goes.
So many people both devotees and detractors refer to Crowley as the Beast as he did himself, but if you recall the complete verse from Revelation, 666 the Beast is the number of Man. So for me the appeal as always been that he represents the very best and at times the very worst of all mankind. He has reached the heights and touch the depths of what it means to be man, seaching, seeking, rejoicing, crying, angry, I could go on and on. In his life we observe a true priest, prophet, king and from who we can learn much.

In short, He's the MAN..........


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