Robert Anton Wilson on Crowley
what exactly is the difference in the two trilogies of books by him, "The Illuminatus Trilogy" vs "The Cosmic Trigger" trilogy?
I saw only book 2 of each one at the book shop the other day and i must admit based on the cover descriptions of "acid trip occult inspired" blabla text they seemed exactly the same. Which one is better for someone who is an A Crowley fan?
The Illuminatus trilogy books are satirical fiction, whereas the Cosmic trigger books are "factual" dealing with all the stuff that Wilson is well known for, blended with lots of interesting autobiographical material, a lot of which details his experiments with Crowley's Magick. I've only read the first two Cosmic trigger books but found them entertaining and informative. I will add a couple of caveats; a lot of the predictions that Wilson makes with regards to longevity, Cryonics, etc, were way off. Similarly The material on Geller and Castenada should, in my view be taken with more than a pinch of salt.
If you've not read it I can heartily recommend his novel "Masks of the Illuminati". I think it'd be right up your street, Chris.
thanks maldoror! have a good 'un ^^
Maldoror is correct. The Illuminatus trilogy is a satire and has a lot to do with Discordianism. It's also readily available in a one-volume edition so you don't have to track down all the individual (and now out-of-print) books. Any good bookstore should have it or should be able to order for you (or there's Amazon). In addition to Masks of the Illuminati that Maldoror suggests, you may also like his Schroedinger's Cat trilogy.
Wilson's non-fiction is always interesting, but as Maldoror suggests, you should always keep your own sense of skepticism intact while reading it. Of course, this would apply to everything, including the works of Crowley. The Cosmic Trigger books are great, but Wilson, who was capable of exhibiting an otherwise wonderfully skeptical mind, seems far too eager to believe certain bits of nonsense. That said, the Cosmic Trigger books give you a great insight into a particular place and time and a feeling of great optimism. In retrospect, they're overly optimistic, but the feeling is still nice. And there's still good information in there.
Wilson was a great voice in this sort of community. He was unusually rational, had a great sense of humor, was an advocate of personal liberty, and wasn't above acknowledging the possibility that the universe might be playing jokes on him. He influenced countless people, but I don't know anyone else who's currently writing who can come close to filling his shoes.
Cosmic Trigger Vol. I is the best book for Wilson's direct take on Crowley and magick. Although fictional and dealing with various conspiracy theories, Illuminatus also has some good but brief info on magick. For instance, there's a discussion on what, Do what thou wilt might mean, and another on the K and C of the HGA. Wilson also said Illuminatus was intended as a guide to Qabala. In my opinion, it's not a beginner's guide. To research Crowley, I would start with Cosmic Trigger Volume I, then read Masks of the Illuminati (Crowley is a character in it and gives initiations) before reading Illuminatus.
PS. Also some good info on Kenneth Grant and Grady McMurtry in Cosmic Trigger Vol. I
The first two minutes of this interview consist of a bundle of falsities about Crowley. It's a shame RAW wasn't as perspicacious as his draaaaaawl is enticing.
I think RAW was suggesting people have not been very perspicacious about Crowley, what with the degrading myths that came to pass.
Wilson commented in his humorous fashion about his own propheises in question :- I've learned since then, to be a good prophet, you should'nt be to specific.
He certainly does say that biographers have been biased, but I see a great deal of bias in his own attitude, subconscious or otherwise.
Can you give us a couple of examples, Ian? My browser keeps crashing every time I try to listen to the bloody thing. 😆
Well, firstly Wilson comes out with the line that Crowley said "Don't believe me!", whereas of course he made many statements about (e.g.) his own status, for instance that Aiwass was the HGA of the whole human race, and similar statements repeated in many places, that give the lie to this.
Wilson says that AC studied yoga with the Hindus and the Buddhists; but this is simply not the case, in fact it seems that AC only read translations of yogic texts and did some private work with another Westerner (Bennett), and made some very simple mistakes (such as with asana, as I have pointed out before, but also he showed no knowledge of techniques of pranayama and so on) that render such claims ridiculous. Wilson also says, completely without foundation, that Crowley studied a variety of schools/subsets of yoga, esp. Tantra, which has absolutely no foundation.
Wilson then says that AC "learned a lot about Taoism in China, and became an I Ching expert long before there were any others in the Western world who knew anything about I Ching... did his own translation of the Tao Teh King", neither statement being true. AC got some book knowledge from others (Legge and the Max Muller series) that he recycled without ever going any further, and the idea that AC "translated" the Tao Teh King (rather than providing his interpretation based on English translations) is, frankly, silly: Wilson must surely have known this.
Wilson also says that AC studied a little Sufism in North Africa ("evidently", he says); but again, this is not the case, at least not in a real sense: AC once more recycled book knowledge for a Western audience, based on previous translations by Burton, Fitzgerald and the bloke who did Hafiz i-Shiraz.
In all of these cases, other Westerners went before and really *did* the things that AC merely claimed to have done (Woodroffe being a prime example). Crowley turned up late to the party, wasn't prepared to put in the time to learn languages or really spend any time with the locals, and at the same time made varying degrees of claims about his knowledge of (e.g.) Arabic and Hindustani that he couldn't substantiate, as well as claiming to be "Sri", "Khan", and dressing up in silly costumes (e.g., the photo in an American mag of him dressed up and attempting to adopt a facial expression like a Chinese, which just sums him up in many ways). I'm sorry to have to be so harsh towards Crowley on the AC Soc forum, but the fact is that he was a poseur; but Wilson got sucked into the myth, and so I can't take what he says at all seriously.
The fact is that Crowley attempted to take on the characteristics of mystical teachers in various ways throughout his life; but, just like his supposed learning in all areas including the Qabalah, it was fake. Some of it is more obvious than others, but after long study and patient practice (in some very simple areas going beyond what Crowley was aware of magickally) this is my conclusion. He was very good at creating a magickal fantasy world, sucking in myself and others in their youth, but there is no solidity to it. I should probably resign from the AC Soc, but there it is... and I'm sorry I wasted so much time believing his bull**it.
BTW, if you save the mp3 file rather than listen to it in your browser you will probably be able to hear all this.
An interesting post, as always, Ian.
Well, he quotes Mary Desti to that effect.
Crowley started to investigate the I Ching as part of the Augoeides operations in China back in 1906, after Legge's publication but still well ahead of its popularity in the west. It's rather overstating things to suggest that he "recycled without going further," as a glance at his own rendition and comments in the diaries makes clear.
Fair enough! 😉 However, as he wrote: "Whatever Lao-tzu said or meant, this is what I say and mean."
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Yes, you're right about D'Esti being the originator of the "Don't believe me!" remark, as Wilson correctly states... but D'Esti claims that's what AC said, and AC reprinted it, so presumably Crowley did say it; and it does contradict other statements made by AC. Wilson is *very* generous to AC in this regard.
Whilst AC obviously studied the English translation of the I Ching, when I said he didn't go further, I meant that he wasn't a Sinologist and didn't integrate the various interpretations of the I Ching in his version. In fact, his understanding of the I Ching seems to have been very limited, certainly in respect of his interpretation of the moving lines (one only). It is this superficiality which I find particularly frustrating, and unfortunately it hasn't stopped him from being treated as an expert by Wilson and others. In essence, I am arguing for both a broader and a deeper approach in relation to his contribution, and I would characterize him as a "Jack of All Trades" in respect of religion.
P.S. For the benefit of those reading, I added some extra stuff to my previous post, probably after you saw it, and perhaps a little bitterly...
Again, Ian, you make some good points, although describing Crowley's work as "bull**it" is perhaps excessively dismissive of a huge and diverse corpus. Was he a "poseur"? Yes, I think that's fair.
AC would've been the first to acknowledge this, of course. Actually, he was the first to acknowledge it:
If any Sinologist objects to anything in this translation, let him go absorb his Yang in his own Yin, as the Americans say, and give me credit for an original Masterpiece.
Owner and Editor
If any Sinologist objects to anything in this translation, let him go absorb his Yang in his own Yin, as the Americans say, and give me credit for an original Masterpiece.
Well, he's saying "go f**k yourself", so I'm not sure that helps! I appreciate that he didn't claim to be translating from Chinese in this case, but of course he *did* claim something like that in the case of the Bagh i-Muattar. However, the point I was making was that AC wasn't really an "expert" on China/Taoism in any appreciable sense, and the same goes for Qabalah, Sufism, Yoga, and all the others; yet in each case he claimed deep understanding. This is all very troublesome, especially when people who should probably know better (Robert Anton Wilson, for instance) go around touting his deep knowledge of Taoism, Yoga, etc.
To balance things a bit, I really do *get* Crowley when it comes to his brilliant interpretations of other traditions, and was in love with him for many years; but in my case there has been a parting of the ways after I discovered he was secretly having it off with his own ego all along.
Why are you talking about resigning? It sounds like you are finally getting the hang of this place! 😉 A.C. the man was far from perfect and we all know that. He was capable of being a poseur as you call it. However, he was also brilliant in many ways. I think once you get past your feelings of being deceived you will realize that the relationship actually wasn't only one sided. Remember what is written at the bottom of my posts!
What are these simple areas you speak of?
Is this your interpretation or are you privy to some unpublished documents - e.g. something proving Liber Legis was an elaborate joke?
I'm not (actually) angry at Crowley or anyone for my own mistakes, nor do I tie up emotional reactions with intellectual concepts, however deeply held. For instance, I might be annoyed if another bloke in my rifle club did something wrong, but I don't blame the club; nor would I cease my friendship with others in the club if it turned out that rifle shooting was horribly unethical. I am merely sorry that I wasted so many years with a teacher who, it turns out, wasn't really a "Master" in any sense, so it is a case of personal regret more than any irritation over being deceived.
BTW, you refer to DWTW, but that's just an anti-Christian slogan. Whilst I "get" Crowley in many respects, I never understood his stance on being "for the Devil's party", and so on. Why would anyone want to be on the losing side?
By "simple areas" I didn't wish to be specific, deliberately, but anyone who has engaged with magick and/or yoga with any degree of success will be able to see where AC is quite lacking in an important and interesting respect. It doesn't require flashes of light or vast cosmic experiences either: AC genuinely seems to have been almost completely unaware of something really very important, and even fundamental. In this sense I would urge folks to actually *do* the practices, particularly purification exercises like pranayama. I have no problem with Crowley's recommendations to do work like this, though obviously neither he (nor anyone) could ever reach the 16h per day that he recommended.
Yes, but this is the ACS forum, dedicated to critical and rigorous assessment of the legacy of the Great Beast 666. Anyone who makes a claim is expected to back it up with sources, namely the identity of "important and interesting respect" and "something really very important, and even fundamental". Otherwise this forum degenerates into mere opinion.
In criticizing my unwillingness to get into the specifics of why I think Crowley didn't know s**t from shine-on, you neglect the fact that Crowley made his career by making statements about religious experiences which could not be verified.
For myself, having unwisely made a statement about religious experiences, I see that there is simply no point me talking about that stuff, which 99% of the readership will have no experience of, nor any ability to verify. End of discussion.
Oh well, that's that, then.
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I can assure you that Crowley's description of attainment to his HGA can be directly verified and repeated by others.
Oh, well, we were all just waiting for your personal assurance.
Oh well, that's that, then.
OK, if you insist, I was actually talking about being able to see the future. I get this repeatedly, and on a day-to-day basis, so much so that it bores me to tears. Nothing beyond some vague comments in Liber 111 leads me to believe that this effect was ever experienced by AC, as it has been by many others who practice magick/yoga. It's not a big deal, and it sounds somewhat laughable, which is why I didn't want to specify it. There are other related effects that are actually more interesting, but I really don't wish to expose myself to more public ridicule than I would by asserting something as ludicrous as I have just done. You see why I didn't want to say anything?
Well, I wasn't, really. It was your apparent dismissal of the experience of "99% of the readership" that I found, erm, surprising.
I knew you were going to say that!
Anyway, back to the topic: Robert Anton Wilson on Crowley…
Owner and Editor
Oh, well, we were all just waiting for your personal assurance.
Crowley described his encounter with the HGA as:
For over three weeks I bore the stigmata of my Operation physically. I visibly radiated light. People used to turn in the street to look at me; they did not know what it was, but the impression must have been irresistible.
Now I know at least some members on this forum will recognize what Crowley is talking about, which disproves your comment that “Crowley made his career by making statements about religious experiences which could not be verified”.
This thread is about RAW and his opinions on AC, and I don't want to distract from that anymore; but even you would not accept that the AC statement you quoted was independently verified. It was written and published by Crowley. You need to be sceptical: Crowley is not an independent witness of himself.
Now I know at least some members on this forum will recognize what Crowley is talking about ...
I recognize exactly what Crowley was talking about. I can even add: Strangers would walk up to me on the street where I was engaged in conversation with a small circle of people, and they would rave about my spiritual emanation. Public speakers would single me out as a newly-created adept. All without me doing anything to promote this sort of reaction. I walked about, most of the day, inside a visible golden radiation that was just like a Sun. Yeah - it lasted a few weeks.
What we are discussing here is called by some the Beatific ["beautiful"] Vision - It is that wonderful state wherein the inner and the outer are perfectly balanced and harmonized. Other people see or sense the light.
But, as we are told, - It comes, it stays, and then it fades away - it usually lasts for a few weeks to a few months.
(':D')<span style="font-size:9px]Technically, 5=6 =
Yes, in this case, Crowley was describing an experience that I recognize, and anyone who has passed through that 5.5 flipover ecstasy will probably have a similar tale to tell - except for that guy who did his 5.5 while walled up in an isolated cave in Tibet for 3 years.(':roll:')
Oh goodness, we've only addressed ONE comment (Crowley's 3-week "stigmata"), and if we could only get 11 more people to legitimize the experience, we could "carve it in stone."
But, maybe Ian has other examples. This ONE comment, which I agree is a true, definable mystical/magickal state, does not "disprove" Ian's generalized statement about Crowley's career.
Though must admit that I never read anything by Robert Anton Wilson, I think he's not the most reliable source if you wish to know more accurate biographical information regarding Crowley, also John Symonds wasn't the most valuable source for information regarding Crowley and still more otherones aren't as well, for those facts there luckily nowadays are most finer authors as are there Richard Kaczynski, Martin Booth, and others, that said I think Robert Anton Wilson's merits lie at other places in his works!
Well, regardless of whether RAW had a few incorrect or presumptous ideas about AC, he seems to have enjoyed the ride and there is something to be said for that. Personally, I think RAW would love to be around to view this discussion: Cosmic Trigger III delves into the world of art forgery and Orson Welles' reality bending camera techniques among many other things. He had an avid interest in that special place where reality and fiction grind and blur. So... Calling Crowley a poseur on the Aleister Crowley Society website is probably quite fitting to the topic, in its way.
There are quite a few books by Wilson that I would recommend, typically the New Falcon paperbacks which are fairly numerous. I particularly enjoy his autobiographical moments closely followed by his ideas about "is" being a dangerous word (True Monty Python fan right here.)
In the end, what good do those mystical experiences do for a person? They're really just a temporary escape from the insanity of the world. I know. I've had them. And it really hasn't changed a thing.
IOW, people are still a*holes, and the Earth still revolves around the Sun. 😉
Mystical experiences are "inner" happenings. They can-should-might-ought to lead to understanding. Now, do you mean "hasn't changed a thing" in terms of inner being or outer manifestations (or both)?
It seems like a True mystical experience (yoga-union at Tiphereth or above) should change one's inner perception, or belief, or understanding, or hope, etc. (If not, then perhaps the "experience" was power-plant-induced and not really absorbed, or perhaps the "experience" did not take place above-beyond-through-across-on the other side of the Veil of Paroketh - in which case(s) it [the experience] is all contained within the persona or ego and nothing can change - because nothing new has been appreciated).
A True mystical experience (yoga-union at Tiphereth or above) could also change one's outer situation, IF one applied some lesson learned in this mystical experience to causing change in the outer world - but then this is Magick, and it takes a special application [that's what magicians do]. (If not, then perhaps one never applied the inner experience magically to the outer world).
Let's remember: One of the sought-after mystical "powers" is to be able to enter Samadhi at will. With practice, the "temporary escapes" become "at will retreats" and then perhaps even the mundane day-to-day awareness will take on a different viewpoint.
There are rumors of sainted yogis and mysterious illuminati who are in Samadhi 24-hours a day. But they are in their light bodies all that time - as well as operating a physical vehicle with mental apparatus and emotional baggage attached. Well, that apparatus and baggage have probably been reduced to zero or close to it.
But for everyone, including the illumined yogi and you and me, the principle that is often overlooked is: "An adept is not an Adept, unless he/she is operating in his/her light body." Otherwise, even the greatest adept is just a human like all the rest, and subject to the laws of the various lower planes. Yet, anytime one ascends into the light body (even if you still retain some awareness of the physical), then, amazingly, some of those laws that govern the higher planes can leak through and a change actually does occur on the dense planes!
So, what you're saying is that other people really have no free will and thus I have the power to destroy it and them and basically do anything I please without repercussion? Hmm... sounds like Manson-thinking to me, and simply one more layer of dream.
As you awaken from one dream you fall asleep into another.
Something must have changed for you (or for me) because I simply cannot find anything in Shiva's response that would justify your conclusion. But enlighten me: Other people have no free will - You have the power to destroy them thus - Do anything you please. In which part of his post can I find that?
Just curious - oh well, not really...
But when one is in an exalted state [which is perhaps one of our goals - it's the same as 'doing one's Will'], those *holes are transformed. Everyone within your orbit is acting harmoniously with you and each other. Negative people are unable to penetrate your expanded energy field. There actually are states of being wherein this takes place, and it can take place on the physical plane. But, as you observed, it does not last. Of course not - life is governed by yin-yang cycles. Everyone gets an uplift and a letdown, over and over, (until they don't care any more and such things drop below the threshold of consciousness).
But that higher, harmonious state can be recreated, or re-induced, until it starts to influence "reality."
In terms of the Earth and the Sun, I would advise you to be careful what you say. Take note of this entry from http://world-history-202.angelfire.com/vad32-mod.ht m"> http://world-history-202.angelfire.com/vad32-mod.htm :
"After 1610, when Galileo began publicly supporting the view that placed the Sun at the center of the universe, he met with bitter opposition from some philosophers, and certain clerics denounced him to the Roman Inquisition in 1615. Although he was cleared at that time, the following year, the Catholic Church formally condemned heliocentrism as "false and contrary to Scripture," and Galileo was warned to abandon his support for it - which he promised to do. When he later defended his views in 1632, he was tried by the Roman Inquisition in 1633, found "vehemently suspect of heresy," forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest."
This same webpage also includes Horus vs Set, the story of AC and Liber AL, and the occult lineage of Adolph the despised. It is the last page of the first book of the Star Saga trilogy, entitled "Modern Times." If you don't have time to read the whole book (about 10 hours online), you should at least peruse this page as it sums up the whole book.
After that, if one still feels that nothing ever changes and that all those other people are lower abdominal anatomical structures, perhaps one could at least change one's approach (like it's true that people can behave terribly, but if you can't somehow overcome that, then perhaps the Law is not for All?) to psychiatry, gardening, chinchilla-raising, or politics?
And don't forget: The Sun revolves around Sirius, even if the church does say that ALL those twinkling, shining stars and suns and things revolve around Rome.
Nobody has any "free will" - Thus have the philosopher's of old debated.
But, there is some kind of a definition of "violent exemption from Karma" in the above quote, but I can't relate it to anything previously said, or to why it pops up here.
One of the definitions of illumination, or enlightenment is called "being awake."
Being awake is pain... at least in this moronic hellhole.
Personally RAW's "Prometheus Rising" is my favorite by him and references AC, Gurdjieff, Timothy Leary and a whole bunch of other great stuff in his highly amusing, easy to understand way.
For anyone interested this is where his ashes are spread at the end of this wharf in Santa Cruz, CA about 75 miles south of San Fransisco. There is a great Crab Restaurant called the Blue Dolphin that I eat at a lot which is amusing knowing RAW's fondness for the animal. A fitting tribute...
I could not agree more with you. Labeled as "a very dangerous book," this text gives the "secrets" of imprinting, programming and change. I found that the information regarding the eight neurocircuits of Leary, as expounded by Wilson, brought an amazing amount of correlation and insight (like, try correlating the 8 circuits with the Tree of Life - it can be done. 8=10? Well, something's got to include more than one sephiroth).
I was in attendance with Wilson on two occasions: The second one was just a lecture in a simple room and left me with no memories.
But the first one, obviously at the height of his exuberance. hosted by Falcon Press in Santa Monica, CA, was a knockout. In a big room, filled to standing-room only with hippies and normals, it started with a Discordian priest moving about the room, tracing sigils and absolving everyone with the words, "You know absolutely nothing!"
It went on for two hours with more priests and an absolutely hilarious lecture by Robert Anton: "People say this country was founded by Christians! ... (long pause) ... To which I say: 'B***S**t!' "
He was not a Crowley devotee per se, he was a card-carrying clown who was a Discordian, which means he'd twist you around every chance he got. But, you know what? He made some slippery pieces of information available and he filled in a lot of the cracks in the continuity of knowledge.
He may have made some mistakes in citing Crowley's pedigree, but I've always been so busy laughing that I never really noticed. Hey! Is it all a game, or do you wanna be serious?
Ian, I totally understand and I was for awhile in the same shoes as you seem to be now. But you have to appreciate the context. To start with, and as an analogy, Brian Gysin told William Burroughs that literature always lags 50 years behind visual arts (so that, for example, the deconstruction of the medium starts much earlier in painting than it does in writing). Now, Crowley's context was the occult, post-Golden Dawn environment. Who in that world in the West knew anything substantial about yoga, tantra, Buddhism, or any other non-Western schools of religion/magic/mysticism? Hardly anyone. Contextually, Crowley was far ahead and he raised the bar significantly higher. So yes, he did not get many things right, did not study languages, but he was not an academic. He was not trying to get a tenure at Harvard or Cambridge, and if he was making mistakes his disciples and followers - if they are worthy their salt - should correct those and move things ahead in accordance with the basic, essential ideas he put forward in his writings. At least to my mind, I see a greater fault in adopting and perpetuating slavishly his specific instructions - let's say on the subject of pranayama and let's assume that they are imperfect - than in his own program of work. I think what he laid down as a system is valid but the adjustments are necessary and at the same time and as such do not invalidate the system itself. (By this I mean: a Neophyte should master astral; Zelator should master asana and pranayama, etc. I think that is totally fine. The specific means of achieving this may be done in accordance with his instructions OR they need to be adjusted. We do disservice to Crowley if we insist on following his specific instructions in each and every instance, because that goes totally against the spirit of his teaching, the spirit of Thelema, and the spirit of Scientific Illuminism. And if he himself was sometimes or often or always rigid in this regard, well, that's his problem and we do not need to copy him where he was wrong. He was human, after all.) I hope I was clear.
As for RAW being sucked into the myth, I think that's totally fine. Crowley's job was to be a myth-maker, to be a myth. He was a Prophet, not a scientist or a philosopher or even a poet. What's a Prophet without a myth, don't you think?
Just one more thing. A friend remarked once when I was bitching against Crowley a few years ago that there was something Oedipal in my reaction. I gave it some thought and realized the friend was right. Not that Crowley did not deserve to be bitched about, but we all have or had a tendency to treat him as some sort of a father figure (whatever the particular form that this manifests) and although this may be fine in some religious forms, Thelema is not quite like that (speaking for myself, of course). So yeah, Crowley was a nobodaddy, he did many silly things, but ultimately who cares? The basic three things are valid. Every man and every woman is a star. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law. The rest - in my opinion - is a cherry on top: fine but not essential.
I see a greater fault in adopting and perpetuating slavishly his specific instructions...The specific means of achieving this may be done in accordance with his instructions OR they need to be adjusted...
Firstly, you are of course correct that not many people studied yoga (etc.) at the time; but that doesn't excuse AC's misleading writings on the subject, and especially the statements on asana that have wasted so much time for so many of his students. In this, I think he served his own interests first -- a need for fame -- which is the same fault that leads people to write awful books on the occult today; and he didn't raise the bar, although he did introduce new ideas to occultism. In point of fact, I've noted lately that the worst criticisms I've levelled against my contemporaries could (and should) be levelled at him: ignorance, superficiality and downright plagiarism. Phthah recommended I look at his sig: "There is no grace: there is no guilt: This is the Law: DO WHAT THOU WILT!" but this is paraphrased from Burton ("There is no Heaven; there is no Hell") and Rabelais, and unfortunately this is typical. The point is *not* that AC was or wasn't an academic, but that he simply didn't have either the intellectual (or spiritual) clout to make the claims he repeatedly did: he simply provided a summation of popular 19th century ideas, including in his artistic expression in poetry (*not* 50 years ahead!). I keep stumbling upon bits from poets like Coleridge, and others like David and Mohammed, that inspired some of his supposedly "exalted" writings. But respecting his religious claims (esp. re: Aiwass), I think he deceived himself as much (or more) than his readers -- and I think that cuts, and is the essence of my criticism.
You bring up the A.'.A.'. grade system, but really this was just his way (subconsciously, perhaps) of setting himself up above others, making himself a gatekeeper and demanding that people jump through hoops: as noted previously here, it's "make-work". It actually works contrary to his ostensible aim: to make things easier. Also his instructions and methods re: the HGA are totally wrong, but that's a discussion for another day: I would simply refer you to the basis of that tradition, recently edited by Georg Dehn (although I have some secondary criticisms of that book which I will present in due course).
AC's myth: religions grow in these grounds. It props up a bastion of imbecility. Wilson talked about AC saying "Don't believe me!", but is this really so hard? The myth is actually the problem, akin to the idealism of National Socialism or the Bolshevism which AC would have been happy to co-opt; but it's a subtler spiritual Führer-worship. You suggest that a myth is necessary for a prophet: I just wonder about those who would be willing to follow what they acknowledge to be false. I suppose it requires the belief that the originator of the myth created it for noble reasons, or was unconscious of his acts, or that it's a useful lie; but this belief (irrational, in AC's case) is actually the root of the problem that AC claimed to be fighting against: there is an inherent contradiction. In terms of everyday life, I think it fundamental to question one's own beliefs, and more so the beliefs (or myths) of others, or else one cannot analyse any situation objectively. The quote by Bennett about "Control your own mind, or someone else will do it for you!" is apposite here.
Re: the Oedipus complex, given that Crowley's already dead, there's not much more for me to do. However, in terms of the life of his ideas, I don't feel strongly enough about them to particularly want to attack them except in casual ways, to pass the time. I'm not sure that my criticisms are entirely welcome, but I hope I'm not being completely boring.
Not at all Ian, another cloud evapourates. Nice to see.
Fair enough Ian. Appreciated.
Crowley's extravagant statements don't come with the insistence to believe or have faith in them. Crowley championed skepticism. He deliberately makes ridiculous statements (balancing a saucer full of acid on one's head to test asana, for instance) to help avoid blind acceptance.
Bennett was about as Buddhist as anyone can be. Crowley studied with him. Wilson does have a foundation for those statements, Crowley's own words. For example, he writes in the Confessions,
Perhaps you don't agree with Wilson's interpretation that he studied yoga with Hindus and Buddhists but it's not hard to see how he could reach that interpretation from these and other statements by Crowley.
The fact is that Crowley wrote his own version of the Tao Teh King. Nitpicking over the word "translation" as opposed to "interpretation" is silly, in my opinion. Wilson doesn't claim that Crowley translated it from another language. There are other uses of the word "translation" that make Wilson's statement true, ie he translated it through his own nervous system.
Yes, he was a deliberate poseur, it was part of his technique. He makes this clear in a letter written to Jane Wolfe published in the Red Flame books on Jane Wolfe. Wilson examines this aspect of Crowley's career in Cosmic Trigger Volume I and elsewhere. It might also have provided the inspiration for the title Masks of the Illuminati.
Now there's a statement with absolutely no foundation. Wilson cautiously says on one tape that he suspects the account of the reception of the Book of the Law to be an elaborate hoax.
Sorry, that's the lamest interpretation of Do what thou wilt... that I've ever seen. There is nothing anti-Christian about it, though born agains might disagree.
I don't know the context that "for the Devil's party" was taken from but I doubt Crowley meant it literally as you imply. Crowley contends in Magick in Theory and Practice that the devil is a metaphysical impossibility.
I've never met or heard from anyone who knows of Crowley that didn't display some bias toward him one way or another. I prefer the bias of someone skeptical who has had success with his techniques over a bitter and disillusioned ex-student.
So, have a thought too, at times I think should we not all hope that religion(s) one day should all cease together . . .
This is perhaps the biggest of all the myths created by Crowley. He stated, in terms that supposedly defy rational criticism, that he was the head honcho to be worshipped by all. In fact, he required belief in order to be a member of his A.'.A.'.: belief in the supposedly "supra-rational" A.'.A.'. grade claims and his prophethood.
I'm not sure what you wish to add to the discussion by quoting Crowley's own statements about having met some bloke who took him to a temple. Heck, I've been to some temples. Do you want to worship me? You quote Crowley saying that "I spent a good deal of time in its courts meditating on the mystery of phallic worship." So what?
All I can say is that you have incredibly low standards: what you are talking about is tourism. This is not a serious argument for Crowley's knowledge of yoga, Buddhism, etc.
I find people often wish to redefine the language of their own statements when they find their conceptions challenged. Obviously "translation" implies knowledge of a foreign language by any reasonable standard. I'm not really sure what you're arguing about here: AC obviously wished to give that impression, and even used a Chinese pseudonym.
Re: DWTW being anti-Christian, you have to consider it within (esp.) the Miltonian and Rabelaisian interpretation that Crowley himself used (spec. re: that Man is God, "I am for man" -- I paraphrase) and his frequent invocation of the Devil and his idea that he was with the Devil's party, happy in hell (in the Collected Works, not MTP so much, though his later philosophy developed the notion of devil as a kind of god). The conception was (in the contemporary context) that freedom -- real freedom I mean -- was only possible free from priests, and God. But AC is (again) a bit late to the party, and quite extreme: I don't know anyone else who recommends banishing priests in public like he did (and I have done this myself, often in inconvenient places, like at some traffic lights once). A lot of people like to take all this as being secondary (rather than primary, as in e.g. his adaptation of the Black Mass into the Gnostic Mass), and of course you can rationalize all these things away; but the gist is absolutely clear, and there is much more that could be adduced in support of this, though actually I don't really want to get into all that now: this thread is about RAW.
So which am I? 😉