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Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 4021
23/04/2010 10:58 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
I'm not really sure what you're arguing about here: AC obviously wished to give that impression, and even used a Chinese pseudonym.

With respect, Ian, I think you are mistaken here. Chinese pseudonym or otherwise, Crowley made it clear - both in the Confessions and in the foreword or introduction to his Tao Teh Ching - that this was a reworking of Legge's translation.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
23/04/2010 10:58 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
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?

"zardoz" wrote:
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.

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.

Wasn't making a serious argument about Crowley's knowledge. I was successfully disputing your claim that Wilson had no foundation for saying he studied with Buddhists and Hindus.

Tourists don't spend a great deal of time in a Hindu temple meditating on phallic worship. Meditating is hardly a tourist activity. Characterizing Crowley as a spiritual tourist seems as inaccurate as characterizing him as a devil worshipper.

"ianrons" wrote:
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.

Noone is redefining anything. The word translate has several definitions in any dictionary one of which is:

To put into simpler terms; explain or interpret.

You choose to define Wilson's statement to mean translating from one language to another and make him wrong. It's your choice to interpret him as wrong. With a more general definition of the word, he is correct.

"ianrons" wrote:
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).

I've researched Crowley for years and haven't seen where he invokes the Devil. The only thing I recall re the Devil is him saying it's a metaphysical impossibility or something to that effect. But then again I'm not a Christian and don't view things through that filter. Where does he invoke the devil?

"ianrons" wrote:
"zardoz" wrote:
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 which am I? 😉

Someone with an axe to grind isn't the most accurate source of information on the subject they're grinding their axe on. Which is why I consider RAW a far more reliable and dispassionate source on Crowley, at this time, than you.


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phthah
(@phthah)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 210
23/04/2010 11:38 pm  

93,

"zardoz" wrote:
I've researched Crowley for years and haven't seen where he invokes the Devil. The only thing I recall re the Devil is him saying it's a metaphysical impossibility or something to that effect. But then again I'm not a Christian and don't view things through that filter. Where does he invoke the devil?

I don't think he did. A.C. of course no more believed in the Christist "devil" than he did in "Jesus", however he did recall a story in MTP of one Frater I.A. invoking the "devil" by reciting the "Lord's Prayer" backwards! "The Devil appeared, and almost scared him out of his life." Could it have been A.C. in his favorite disguise? 😆

93 93/93
phthah


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1126
23/04/2010 11:47 pm  

Thanks all -- will get back to this tomorrow, hopefully. I am currently about to indulge in some Thelemic pornography (or, performance art -- what you will) courtesy of shiva777. Break a... leg?


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
23/04/2010 11:50 pm  

I thought I'd already explained that "Satan" is the amygdala. Oh well, no matter, think as you like... you will anyway. 😉


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kidneyhawk
(@kidneyhawk)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1846
24/04/2010 4:06 am  

This is a very interesting thread...I have to say that Ian makes some very good points. I also have to say that Shiva's posts become increasingly interesting and I'm grateful for his time in participating on Lashtal.com.

Personally, RAW's "errors" regarding Crowley are, to my mind, eclipsed by the overall scope of his work. I read RAW before I knew who Lon Milo DuQuette was and he was, therefore, the first author I encountered who seemed to enter the "World of Crowley" with a really open and positive way of working with it (the exercises, the infamy, the "whole nine"). Not that AC hadn't impacted people in such a fashion but, with Wilson, the "dark mystique" gave way to a daring spirit, a laughing face and an open heart.

I thought "Everything is Under Control" (what could have been the RAW "Magnum Opus") was disappointing with numerous errors and misrepresentations-but it only takes a jaunt through CT, PR or The Historical Illuminatus books to find me in awe of his creative genius and brilliant spirit.


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Shiva
(@shiva)
Not a Rajah
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 4954
24/04/2010 5:26 pm  

Greetings: [no quote from anyone for this post, but thank you for your input and ongoing attention].

ADDENDUM

0. Poseur is a pejorative term, often used in the punk, heavy metal, hip hop, goth [and Thelemic?] subcultures to describe a person who adopts the dress, speech, and/or mannerisms of a group or subculture, generally for attaining acceptability within the group, yet who is deemed to not share or understand the values or philosophy of the subculture. While this perceived inauthenticity is viewed with scorn and contempt by members of the subculture, the definition of the term and to whom it should be applied is subjective. While the term is most associated with the 1970s- and 1980s-era punk and hardcore subculture, English use of the term originates in the late 19th century. - Wikipedia

1. From 1972 on - up 'til now - I spent the major part of my intellectual esoteric studies in synthesizing or correlating other streams of initiatory activity with my knowledge of Crowley's works.
Oh yes, a "student" grade is devoted to the foundational study of other systems (by reading a lot of books), but I had to get a way up the beanstalk before I started sensing that AC's works lacked certain details, or explanations, or symbols that other systems/teachers were making perfectly clear. So I started by filling in the gaps with facts from those other systems. see examples (*) below
Then I found it was necessary to correlate these entire streams with each other, in their presentation from the first step to the highest attainment.
Even though I began to suspect that AC displayed a rather serious personality disorder, I always held fast to his primary structure and the essence of Thelema - that is, I never condemned Crowley just because he was a pr**k!
Ian is absolutely correct in what he is saying, and if he seems bitter or agitated or disappointed, then it can only be because at one time [in his youth, if we understand his explanation] he gave his heart and soul and all that to AC or the Beast or some such icon. Then it turned out different.
I certainly experienced some of that, but I was saved from that despair for two reasons (see further below); and so I can view Crowley's works with joy, because I can fill in the cracks, and I can thank our Stars that I missed incarnation with him in person.
(*)For examples of these gaps, see: http://mystic-history.angelfire.com/20revel.ht m"> http://mystic-history.angelfire.com/20revel.htm .

2. Two Reasons (Reason #1): Soror Capricornus, the Grand Master of Solar Lodge, my own holy guru, used to say (quite frequently): "Crowley is pulling everyone's leg!" or "I can't believe that Crowley is such a put-on!" This was a rather strange position to take when one was the head of a Thelemic order, and although it irritated me to hear such statements (I had some hero-worship going on), it certainly prevented me from total-bhakti-hero-worship. In retrospect, she knew all about (at least some of) the things that Ian has brought up.

3. Two Reasons (Reason #1): I suppose it was at one of those 1965 meetings where the higher planes superimpose themselves upon the dense physical plane courtesy of the Invocation of Thoth and other magickal efforts. Here we were, sitting around in the temple with various astral experiences taking place. I ended up in a dynamic dharana on the developing Vietnam war, which was a big ticket item in the mass consciousness. I experienced a lot of agony, and after a lengthy, analytical struggle, I finally gave in: I took personal responsibility for the Vienam War; There was a dhyanic flash of light, and I was ecstatic. The principle here is: If you can perceive it, it's your responsibility! This experience was simply Act I of Reason #1.
Act II: So I turned to look at Soror Capricornus, my guru, to say something about this war-revelation. I was looking directly into her eyes when she disappeared. The chair she had been sitting in was still there, and it could be seen clearly where it had been visually-blocked by her body. And then the whole, true picture became clear to me: I was responsible for everything: the war, the temple, and even the guru was nothing more than a projection of my consciousness. This experience was undertaken consciously, and it stuck with me thereafter - so it became impossible thereafter to surrender my heart to any external hero or guru.

4. Of course, since those days I have made the acquaintance of some interesting internal guys ...

This has been a public-service statement of deep and lofty experiences. Please do not believe me. Go and prove these things to yourself. If you suspect illusion or fraud in my presentation, then you may send assistance for my psychiatric treatment program.

Otherwise, what's the moral of the story? Oh, how about:
Every man and every woman is a star. Self-created, self-sustaining, Self-responsible for everything that can be perceived. Period!

P.S. Capricornus re-appeared after a short period of time, but the lesson had been taught.


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1126
24/04/2010 8:03 pm  

Michael,

"MichaelStaley" wrote:
With respect, Ian, I think you are mistaken here. Chinese pseudonym or otherwise, Crowley made it clear - both in the Confessions and in the foreword or introduction to his Tao Teh Ching - that this was a reworking of Legge's translation.

My point was that Crowley gave the impression that he knew Chinese, not that he didn't acknowledge Legge's translation, so you're perhaps attacking a straw man here. Let's look at what AC said in the introduction to the Tao Teh King. Firstly, he establishes his credentials:

"Crowley" wrote:
I also studied all varieties of Asiatic philosophy, especially with regard to the practical question of spiritual development, the Sufi doctrines, the Upanishads, the Sankhya, Vedanta, the Bagavad Gita and Purana, the Dhammapada, and many other classics, together with numerous writings on the Tantra and Yoga of such men as Patanjali, Vivekananda, etc. etc. Not a few of these teachings are as yet wholly unknown to scholars. [emphasis mine]

The impression is that AC had been studying the original foreign-language versions (how else could he read foreign books that are "wholly unknown to scholars"?), though obviously modern readers probably won't take that impression from it, knowing Crowley. He also criticizes Legge's translation:

"Crowley" wrote:
He [Legge] had translated the Chinese with singular fidelity, yet in almost every verse the interpretation was altogether misleading.

Hmmm.... he does seem to be strongly implying that he knows Chinese. The dictionaries of the time were quite limited, and could only tell you some other person's interpretation of a word, not the actual concept of a word that comes from knowing a language thoroughly like the brilliant Prof. James Legge, so at the very least it's staggeringly pretentious – along with the rest of the introduction, where he implies deep familiarity with a whole range of traditions – e.g. the Jewish tradition, which he actually got from an incomplete translation-of-a-translation of the Zohar (the man probably never stepped into a synagogue in his life, and later decided they yearly enact a ritual of the Black Brothers). As for his claim to know the Celtic traditions, he adopted the name "MacGregor", then called himself the Laird of Boleskine and Abertarff, and (apparently on behalf of the British) claimed to be Irish – even a freedom-fighter – but nowhere is there a glimmer of anything more than play-acting or the donning of a mask (which of course he literally did on one occasion when he was pretending to be a Scotsman). He then lightly skips around the issue of "translation":

"Crowley" wrote:
There was no need to refer to the text from the point of view of scholarship. I had merely to paraphrase his [Legge's] translation in the light of actual knowledge of the true significance of the terms employed.

Crowley is saying (in context) that he didn't need to do a fresh translation because he's verified Legge's and is happy to work from that, rather than applying his implicitly excellent "scholarship" in the area. He omits to mention that he couldn't have applied any "scholarship" if he had wanted to. An honest person would say: I don't know Chinese, but I think I can create something much more readable using Legge's text.

Let me quickly refer back to what I said which prompted your response:

"ianrons" wrote:
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.

I think this stands. His work is not a translation but an adaptation, but Robert Anton Wilson gives him credit for doing a translation, and for other things that give totally the wrong impression of the man – the impression that Crowley wanted to convey.

zardoz,

"zardoz" wrote:
Wasn't making a serious argument about Crowley's knowledge. I was successfully disputing your claim that Wilson had no foundation for saying he studied with Buddhists and Hindus.

If you are happy to consider AC's statement that he met a random bloke one afternoon who apparently mentioned Swami Sabha-Pati to him and gave him a tour of a temple as being equivalent to studying yoga with Hindus and Buddhists, then all I can say is that we have entirely different concepts of what study is (besides other things). Who was this nameless bloke? It doesn't sound like he was a monk or sadhu of any kind: just some bloke who was apparently "a great authority on Yoga" (how convenient). An analogue to your quote would be if I were to claim that I studied prayer with Christians because one day I sat outside a cathedral visibly praying until someone said hello to me and suggested I read a book on how to pray (Perhaps because I wasn't doing it right? I mean, why did he interrupt my prayer?), and then acceded to my request (or possibly offered, we don't know) to introduce me to the arch-deacon. Of course, the bloke would probably have seemed like a great authority on Christianity, if I were a foreigner who had only read a couple of books on the subject.

Crowley, in that quote, was really boasting about how the pukka Oriental types recognised he was an "expert" in yoga (which of course they didn't) thus misleading people into thinking his writings on the subject (written as "Sri Paramahansa Shivaji") were somehow valid. They aren't valid, because he didn't study yoga with any Hindus or Buddhists. If he had studied with them, they would (for one thing) have corrected his crazy version of siddhasana, and they wouldn't have called him "Sri" – in fact, as a member of the "untouchable" class, I think this would have been impossible. He does (on p.276 of Confessions) list some Orientals with whom he claims to have discussed religion (though not yoga), but even here we find the list includes a Prince (whom IIRC was an old university chum) whose name is given in order to impress, and Allan Bennett's old teacher, Sri Parananda Ramanathan, whose views Crowley only seems to have been aware of from what Bennett said about him (judging from the way he uses quotes by Bennett to talk about him). And these men top the list. It's all absolutely desperate.

And surely you're noticing a pattern developing here? Each time this rich guy takes a holiday, he swaggers around giving himself all sorts of airs (and titles), then writes a book effectively boasting about his adventures and (in one way or another) claiming to be an expert on their culture and to know the deepest mysteries of their secret religious traditions.

"zardoz" wrote:
I've researched Crowley for years and haven't seen where he invokes the Devil. [...] Where does he invoke the devil?

Also phthah has said something similar. OK, I'm going to keep this brief and to the point. The principle examples of this are in Liber Samekh (which contains frequent use of the name "Satan" – see for yourself) and Magick in Theory and Practice, esp. chapter 21. Crowley identified Hadit with Satan, thus he was really saying that we are all little Satans. He especially identified Aiwass with Satan, and he memorably saw himself as Satan falling from heaven in his "attainment" described in Liber 418. A couple of quotes from MTP:

"Crowley" wrote:
The Devil does not exist. It is a false name invented by the Black Brothers to imply a Unity in their ignorant muddle of dispersions. A devil who had unity would be a God

So he makes Satan God. In a footnote to the foregoing:

"Crowley" wrote:
"The Devil" is, historically, the God of any people that one personally dislikes. This has led to so much confusion of thought that THE BEAST 666 has preferred to let names stand as they are, and to proclaim simply that AIWAZ –- the solar-phallic-hermetic "Lucifer" is His own Holy Guardian Angel, and "The Devil" SATAN or HADIT of our particular unit of the Starry Universe. This serpent, SATAN, is not the enemy of Man, but He who made Gods of our race, knowing Good and Evil; He bade "Know Thyself!" and taught Initiation. He is "the Devil" of the Book of Thoth, and His emblem is BAPHOMET, the Androgyne who is the hieroglyph of arcane perfection.

All this sounds, to someone who trusts Crowley and believes in him, as though he is talking abstract philosophy and solving some kind of riddle, whereas I think it is actually quite old-fashioned Satanism. He isn't saying "it's an impossible idea so let's ignore it", rather he is making it central, for reasons he simply glosses over. I think it comes down to the fac that AC had a conversion in his youth where he rebelled against Christianity and decided to do "evil for its own sake" (I forget the exact phrase), and then identified with the Miltonian Satan and created an anti-Christianity (the "Beast 666"). See p.81 of Confessions for how he transmuted the idea of "evil" into "good", and that he used Milton's Devil as a model for his own efforts at heroism. I could elaborate on this quite a lot, but suffice to say that it is a thread that runs through all of his writing and his life, to the point where it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees and it seems like there's some profound philosophical reasoning going on.

This point is fundamental to any understanding of Crowley, in my opinion. Obviously I don't take a Christian view on this, but nor do I think it irrelevant. My feeling is that Crowley ended up creating some kind of psychological projection of his idea of self/Satan (a rebel self, you might say) in the Cairo "revelation": a kind of demon: dregs from his personality and the nightmare of his youth. It wasn't some supernatural – or "praeternatural"! – genius, but a muddle resulting from an attempt to turn anti-God into God, evil into good. In looking at Crowley I think one must be careful to avoid the notion that he was a deep thinker and had worked out all these problems in some way: he really seems to have been confused: in fact, his supposed spiritual profundity (and skill) seems to be just as much a front as is his supposed expertness in other matters.

"zardoz" wrote:
Someone with an axe to grind isn't the most accurate source of information on the subject they're grinding their axe on. Which is why I consider RAW a far more reliable and dispassionate source on Crowley, at this time, than you.

Sounds like you're making a judgment based on emotion rather than factual content. I'm not asking you to trust me on anything, I'm simply pointing out that RAW's statements describe a mythical character created by Crowley, and not the person Crowley actually was. You're welcome to disagree if you think you think my analysis weak in some way, but it's not really enough to dismiss what I say because you suspect I may be bearing some kind of grudge, especially when it is clear that RAW is highly enamoured of Crowley.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
24/04/2010 8:13 pm  

Greetings Shiva,

A less pejorative definition of poseur:

a person who strikes an attitude or assumes a pose in order to impress others
[from French, from poser to pose1]

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/poseur

If we are able to remove the pejorative emotionalism from the definition, it simply means to pose.

"Shiva" wrote:
Ian is absolutely correct in what he is saying,

Absolutely correct?? Seems we've left the realm of science and verifiability. Try as they might, scientists, so far, haven't found any absolutes in nature.

What do you think he's correct about? That Crowley was a spiritual tourist, a devil worshiper, a fake, and it was all about his ego? That Wilson is a liar who got sucked into Crowley's myth? Or something else?

Looks like we have a burgeoning anti-Crowley fan club here at Lashtal, which is great, it can make for healthy debate if emotions don't run too high.

Is there no middle ground, do we either worship AC as a perfect guru or condemn him as a worthless charlatan?


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
24/04/2010 8:22 pm  
"kidneyhawk" wrote:
I also have to say that Shiva's posts become increasingly interesting and I'm grateful for his time in participating on Lashtal.com.

I second that, definitely, and not just as a fellow old-fuck Southern California Thelemite, but in general. 🙂


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
24/04/2010 8:30 pm  

Ian, had your guru, Crowley, not taken such pains to record his every thought, word and deed in detail, you might never have recovered from your initial unrealistic idol-worship of him. You owe him for that. He left the veneer of his guru disguise almost transparently thin, after all, and you're better off for it.


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1126
24/04/2010 8:43 pm  

Camlion,

"Camlion" wrote:
Ian, had your guru, Crowley, not taken such pains to record his every thought, word and deed in detail, you might never have recovered from your initial unrealistic idol-worship of him. You owe him for that. He left the veneer of his guru disguise almost transparently thin, after all, and you're better off for it.

My guru? LOL. He certainly wrote a lot about himself, so yes there is a lot to work with, and with a degree of objectivity there's enough to be able to reach the conclusion that a lot of it is deeply misleading (if not entirely fictional, like re: going to Oxford to see the "Enochian record"), and that his guruship was, as you put it, a "disguise".


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Shiva
(@shiva)
Not a Rajah
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 4954
24/04/2010 9:24 pm  
"zardoz" wrote:
Absolutely correct?

Overindulgence in adjectives on my part. Watta ya think? Will three Hail Babalons and a single Our Therion be sufficient for redemption ? - or do I have to take another pilgrimmage?
Correction: Ian is correct in what he is saying from my viewpoint, but he has addressed so many details that to prove or disprove each one of them might take a while. And if he can be forced to give ground on any detail, then he is not absolutely correct and so we can continue our discussion.

I already expressed where I found areas of deficiency and how I filled them in.

"zardoz" wrote:
Is there no middle ground, do we either worship AC as a perfect guru or condemn him as a worthless charlatan?

Just before the absolutely absurd "absolutely correct" paragraph, I said, "Even though I began to suspect that AC displayed a rather serious personality disorder, I always held fast to his primary structure and the essence of Thelema - that is, I never condemned Crowley just because he was a pr**k!" Behold the middle ground.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
24/04/2010 9:54 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:

zardoz,

"zardoz" wrote:
Wasn't making a serious argument about Crowley's knowledge. I was successfully disputing your claim that Wilson had no foundation for saying he studied with Buddhists and Hindus.

If you are happy to consider AC's statement that he met a random bloke one afternoon who apparently mentioned Swami Sabha-Pati to him and gave him a tour of a temple as being equivalent to studying yoga with Hindus and Buddhists, then all I can say is that we have entirely different concepts of what study is (besides other things).

With the occlusion of selective perception, you missed the point. In the one quote Crowley poses as a sadhu (acknowledging Burton for the idea) meets someone he considers an authority on yoga who shows him some religious writings which he read and applied. That person, it's irrelevant to this point ( foundation for Wilson's comments re studying yoga with Hindus and Buddhists) who he was, introduces him to the authorities at a nearby temple who allow him into their sanctuary to work.

In the other quote, he mentions spending considerable time at a well known temple meditating. And you don't think this could count as studying yoga with Hindus and Buddhists? .... well maybe not Buddhists, but we've already established that he studied with Bennett who was a Buddhist.

"ianrons" wrote:
An analogue to your quote would be if I were to claim that I studied prayer with Christians because one day I sat outside a cathedral visibly praying until someone said hello to me and suggested I read a book on how to pray (Perhaps because I wasn't doing it right? I mean, why did he interrupt my prayer?), and then acceded to my request (or possibly offered, we don't know) to introduce me to the arch-deacon. Of course, the bloke would probably have seemed like a great authority on Christianity, if I were a foreigner who had only read a couple of books on the subject.

Quite an imaginative analogue. Crowley claims to have read far more than a couple of books on the subject and there's no evidence to suggest he was lying.

"ianrons" wrote:
He does (on p.276 of Confessions) list some Orientals with whom he claims to have discussed religion (though not yoga), but even here we find the list includes a Prince (whom IIRC was an old university chum) whose name is given in order to impress, and Allan Bennett's old teacher, Sri Parananda Ramanathan, whose views Crowley only seems to have been aware of from what Bennett said about him (judging from the way he uses quotes by Bennett to talk about him). And these men top the list. It's all absolutely desperate.

The quote on p.276 does support Wilson's claim, thank-you. Again, no rational evidence to suggest Crowley lied.

"ianrons" wrote:
And surely you're noticing a pattern developing here? Each time this rich guy takes a holiday, he swaggers around giving himself all sorts of airs (and titles), then writes a book effectively boasting about his adventures and (in one way or another) claiming to be an expert on their culture and to know the deepest mysteries of their secret religious traditions.

AC did come to know some deep mysteries of secret religious traditions. I can appreciate that this might not be so obvious, but one piece of evidence to support this is Reuss' visit to him regarding the "secret" he published in the Book of Lies.

"Crowley" wrote:
The Devil does not exist. It is a false name invented by the Black Brothers to imply a Unity in their ignorant muddle of dispersions. A devil who had unity would be a God

So he makes Satan God. In a footnote to the foregoing:

"Crowley" wrote:
"The Devil" is, historically, the God of any people that one personally dislikes. This has led to so much confusion of thought that THE BEAST 666 has preferred to let names stand as they are, and to proclaim simply that AIWAZ –- the solar-phallic-hermetic "Lucifer" is His own Holy Guardian Angel, and "The Devil" SATAN or HADIT of our particular unit of the Starry Universe. This serpent, SATAN, is not the enemy of Man, but He who made Gods of our race, knowing Good and Evil; He bade "Know Thyself!" and taught Initiation. He is "the Devil" of the Book of Thoth, and His emblem is BAPHOMET, the Androgyne who is the hieroglyph of arcane perfection.

Interesting quotes from Crowley. In the first he says the Devil does not exist, and the Devil is not in quotations. In the second quote, the Devil, always appears in quotation marks, meaning he's referring to a more common definition of the Devil, a definition which he doesn't agree with.

"ianrons" wrote:
This point is fundamental to any understanding of Crowley, in my opinion. Obviously I don't take a Christian view on this, but nor do I think it irrelevant.

Satan is identified as the Devil only in the fairly recent Christian and Islamic traditions. Crowley doesn't identify Satan as the Devil. It would contradict his anti-Christian stance to do so.

"ianrons" wrote:
My feeling is that Crowley ended up creating some kind of psychological projection of his idea of self/Satan (a rebel self, you might say) in the Cairo "revelation": a kind of demon: dregs from his personality and the nightmare of his youth. It wasn't some supernatural – or "praeternatural"! – genius, but a muddle resulting from an attempt to turn anti-God into God, evil into good. In looking at Crowley I think one must be careful to avoid the notion that he was a deep thinker and had worked out all these problems in some way: he really seems to have been confused: in fact, his supposed spiritual profundity (and skill) seems to be just as much a front as is his supposed expertness in other matters.

Interesting opinion. So you think the Book of the Law was "a muddle resulting from an attempt to turn anti-God into God, evil into good?"

"ianrons" wrote:
Sounds like you're making a judgment based on emotion rather than factual content.

I was making an observation based upon highly charged emotional responses.

"ianrons" wrote:
I'm not asking you to trust me on anything, I'm simply pointing out that RAW's statements describe a mythical character created by Crowley, and not the person Crowley actually was.

You sound like you believe yourself a more knowledgeable authority on Crowley than Wilson. You know who "Crowley actually was," a claim that Wilson would never make. A review of Wilson's writings on Crowley would show that RAW was far more interested in the Crowley's work and methods than the man himself.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
24/04/2010 10:14 pm  
"Shiva" wrote:
"zardoz" wrote:
Absolutely correct?

Overindulgence in adjectives on my part. Watta ya think? Will three Hail Babalons and a single Our Therion be sufficient for redemption ? - or do I have to take another pilgrimmage?

Admitting the possibility that you might be wrong, is sufficient. This isn't the Catholic Church.

"Shiva" wrote:
Correction: Ian is correct in what he is saying from my viewpoint, but he has addressed so many details that to prove or disprove each one of them might take a while.

Maybe you could pick one point that you agree with him on with no need for proof?

"Shiva" wrote:
I already expressed where I found areas of deficiency and how I filled them in.

Not on this thread, that I can tell. The only statement I see you made supporting Ian's contentions:

"Shiva" wrote:
This ONE comment, which I agree is a true, definable mystical/magickal state, does not "disprove" Ian's generalized statement about Crowley's career.
"Shiva" wrote:
"Even though I began to suspect that AC displayed a rather serious personality disorder, I always held fast to his primary structure and the essence of Thelema - that is, I never condemned Crowley just because he was a pr**k!" Behold the middle ground.

😆 That's the middle ground by a similar logic that declared George W. Bush a compassionate conservative.


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1126
24/04/2010 11:48 pm  
"zardoz" wrote:
With the occlusion of selective perception, you missed the point. In the one quote Crowley poses as a sadhu (acknowledging Burton for the idea) meets someone he considers an authority on yoga who shows him some religious writings which he read and applied. That person, it's irrelevant to this point ( foundation for Wilson's comments re studying yoga with Hindus and Buddhists) who he was, introduces him to the authorities at a nearby temple who allow him into their sanctuary to work.

Even in the most generous assessment, if that bloke actually handed him a book rather than just recommended the author, obviously he wouldn't have read it there and then and had an on-the-spot tutorial with the bloke: i.e., he wouldn't have studied with/under this geezer. And Crowley didn't claim that he did, so you're really making too much of this. And anyway neither of us have any idea, for one thing, whether this Swami whose books were recommended actually wrote anything about yoga, or whether the random bloke was even a Hindu or a Buddhist. There is simply no basis for the claim that Crowley studied yoga with Hindus and Buddhists: it's totally misleading, as even you must surely recognise. And the fact remains that AC's hatha yoga is just wrong. The truth is pretty clear, I think.

By the way, when he was in the temple he said he sacrificed a goat, he didn't do any "work" as such, not yoga anyway. And he almost certainly would have paid for the privilege: it's not likely that they were so impressed with his yogic positions that they just couldn't resist letting him.

You have to remember almost none of the people he met whilst travelling (inc. in that temple) would have spoken English, so it would hardly have been possible for him to have studied with any of them anyway. In China he talks about staying overnight in a Buddhist monastery just after he had his incident with the mule, but there's no mention of any yoga, nor would there be, because obviously he wouldn't have understood a word any of them said. He was just a tourist: in those days you really did have to learn the language to have any chance of doing the sort of studies that RAW claimed he did.

"zardoz" wrote:
In the other quote, he mentions spending considerable time at a well known temple meditating. And you don't think this could count as studying yoga with Hindus and Buddhists? .... well maybe not Buddhists, but we've already established that he studied with Bennett who was a Buddhist.

I'm sorry but you are really clutching at straws now. He sat on his own in a temple open to the public, so it would seem, and thought about phalluses. That's not studying yoga with Hindus and Buddhists. Come on. As for Bennett, he was a Westerner and not someone who knew anything more about hatha yoga than what he read in books either, although he was apparently given religious instruction of some sort from Ramanathan, but apparently not stuff like asana or pranayama. If you want to count a lay Buddhist from England (remember he wasn't a monk at the time) who apparently didn't know what siddhasana was, then you may technically be able to count one, but then technically RAW talked in the plural 😉

"zardoz" wrote:
Crowley claims to have read far more than a couple of books on the subject and there's no evidence to suggest he was lying.

I didn't claim Crowley only read two books on the subject, actually. If we're talking strict yoga (involving hatha) then maybe he read four. You might want to count stuff like the Dhammapada if you're being generous. The point is that he was really in no better position than anyone else in the West, and his claims to "expert" status really don't hold water. In fact, given that Woodroffe was publishing seriously on the subject around the same time, and in fact before "Eight Lectures on Yoga", your average Westerner was in fact in a better position than Crowley, it seems, because Woodroffe published correct photos of asanas, didn't make up the stuff on pranayama and understood the bhandas, etc.

"zardoz" wrote:
The quote on p.276 does support Wilson's claim, thank-you. Again, no rational evidence to suggest Crowley lied.

Wilson didn't claim that Crowley had some chats with some Indians and Sri Lankans on the subject of religion, did he? He said Crowley studied yoga with Hindus and Buddhists, and Crowley claimed to be an expert at something that he demonstrably was not expert at. You do recognise that Crowley's asana instructions are wrong, don't you? You really are being quite obtuse.

I'll deal with the rest in brief. The "secret" (i.e., sex-magick) was already published by that time, and was apparently widely known esp. in German circles. Also it didn't really work, at least not appreciably so: AC didn't become rich as you would expect if all his operations for money are to be taken at all seriously. As for Satan, is that in quotes or is it actually in capital letters? You're just trying to raise a lot of trivial objections, and it's boring. You say that Crowley doesn't identify Satan as the Devil, but obviously he did, as is blatantly obvious from that quote from MTP that I gave you -- you're getting a little weird now, trying to make a distinction between Satan and the Devil.

Yes, I do think "the Book of the Law was 'a muddle resulting from an attempt to turn anti-God into God, evil into good?'" -- or at least that's the gist of it, although I have a feeling you'll be complaining that anti-God isn't Satan, which isn't the same as "SATAN" when written in capitals, or that it's not quite identical with Milton's Satan, or something.

"zardoz" wrote:
You sound like you believe yourself a more knowledgeable authority on Crowley than Wilson. You know who "Crowley actually was," a claim that Wilson would never make. A review of Wilson's writings on Crowley would show that RAW was far more interested in the Crowley's work and methods than the man himself.

I'm not really sure there's any point getting into this -- my beliefs about how many pieces of information I have in my head about Crowley (very few when compared with the real living authorities on him) are unimportant, and I don't think there's any need to turn this into some sort of Top Trumps competition, although I do think I'm more careful about what I say on the subject than he was. I make a distinction between the myth that Crowley presented and what "Crowley actually was", which is a valid historiographical distinction to make, and in fact a necessary one. It doesn't mean I think I have x-ray historical vision or something.


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Shiva
(@shiva)
Not a Rajah
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 4954
25/04/2010 3:50 pm  

😕 "There must have been a time in the life of every student of the Mysteries when he has paused whilst reading the work or the life of some well-known Mystic, a moment of perplexity in which, bewildered, he has turned to himself and asked the question: "Is this one telling me the truth?" - Paragraph #1, Preface, The Temple of Solomon the King.

Here (above), are the very first words that Crowley recorded as he related this version of the Tale of the Path, even here before he encounters the Black Watchtower, and he expressed one of the themes that has arisen within this thread.

In the case of this particular, foundational paragraph, I detect neither fraud nor posing. In fact, he takes exactly the position of some posters on this Wilson thread as they subject him to his own questioning.

Ultimately, each of us must decide whether or not we are telling ourselves the truth, and the position, opinion, fame, infamy, and truthfulness of other mystics, authors and charlatans doesn't really matter. Therefore, your honor, and you ladies and knights in the jury box, upon this statement I rest my case.


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1126
25/04/2010 4:06 pm  
"Shiva" wrote:
Ultimately, each of us must decide whether or not we are telling ourselves the truth

Indeed. I think this gets to the heart of the question. But for Crowley, was he telling himself the truth? He was able to rationalize the deception of others (i.e., in espionage), but was he able to rationalize self-deception (as in "Aiwass")? I think the two are quite closely connected.

That rationalization process is not a mere flight from reason, but a selective examination, inherently biased. Even if he wrote about himself in the style "Is this one telling me the truth?", that doesn't necessarily show full self-awareness rather than a clever rationalization strategy. However, I believe actually J.F.C. Fuller wrote that... 😉


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
25/04/2010 10:22 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
so you're really making too much of this.

I agree, this is a silly and trivial argument. I see it as a problem in communication. Your definition of study sounds strictly academic. Spending considerable time meditating in a temple doesn't count as study to you. This makes sense from the academic reality tunnel in which information can only be received through the intellectual apparatus. The academic reality tunnel doesn't accept meditation as a source of information. It seems no more than a fancy way of thinking. Also, apparently you think it impossible for Crowley to have studied with Hindus and Buddhists without knowing their native tongue, another academic conceit. So, I will concede the point, that, by strictly academic standards, Wilson wasn't correct in stating that AC studied with Hindus and Buddhists or that he made a translation of the tao te ching

Using more general definitions of the word "study:"
(from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/study)

b. The pursuit of knowledge, as by reading, observation, or research.

2. Attentive scrutiny

7. A state of mental absorption

It's entirely reasonable to assert that AC studied with Buddhists and Hindus.

Same thing applies with using a more general, non-academic definition of "translation."

"ianrons" wrote:
And he almost certainly would have paid for the privilege: it's not likely that they were so impressed with his yogic positions that they just couldn't resist letting him.

"Almost certainly" = uncertain. Unless one has alternate ways for getting information, everything Crowley did beyond what he wrote or was observed doing, becomes pure speculation.

"ianrons" wrote:
You have to remember almost none of the people he met whilst traveling (inc. in that temple) would have spoken English, so it would hardly have been possible for him to have studied with any of them anyway. In China he talks about staying overnight in a Buddhist monastery just after he had his incident with the mule, but there's no mention of any yoga, nor would there be, because obviously he wouldn't have understood a word any of them said. He was just a tourist: in those days you really did have to learn the language to have any chance of doing the sort of studies that RAW claimed he did.

Yeah, he was a tourist just like every other tourist who walked across China at the turn of the 20th Century. Somehow he was able to communicate enough to gain entrance into a Buddhist monastery which, I guess, would be slightly more difficult than checking into a hotel.

"ianrons" wrote:
He said Crowley studied yoga with Hindus and Buddhists, and Crowley claimed to be an expert at something that he demonstrably was not expert at. You do recognise that Crowley's asana instructions are wrong, don't you? You really are being quite obtuse.

I lived in the Sivananda yoga center in New York for over a year when I was going to school. I practiced and (non-academically) studied yoga almost every day I lived there. Also, was exposed to various other yoga schools, Satchitanada's, Muktananda's, Rajneesh's etc. I learned the Sivananda method of doing asanas which I took to be largely traditional. The particular postures Crowley chose weren't for me, I've never tried them. However, I was able to benefit from and apply his asana instructions to my own practice. His asana instructions were not wrong for me.

At that time, I also learned various pranayama techniques. The one that stayed with me, the only one I've practiced for years, is Crowley's alternate nostril method which uses the second hand of a clock to measure the cycle. Maybe it's wrong by traditional fundamental standards, but it sure does the job for me. Ch.71 from the Book of Lies, accurately describes my enthusiasm for the benefits of Crowley's pranayama technique.

Shiva said something wise a couple of posts ago, something to the effect that Crowley's system is incomplete and that things can be learned about Thelema by examining different systems of attainment altogether. Crowley's teachings on yoga aren't complete but do make a valuable contribution to the oeuvre.

"ianrons" wrote:
Also it didn't really work, at least not appreciably so: AC didn't become rich as you would expect if all his operations for money are to be taken at all seriously.

The expectation that Crowley should have become rich from sex magick operations fails to take into account the fact that he was completely devoted to the Great Work or the Way of Service. He always received enough money, despite almost never having a paying job or making money from book sales, to continue working and writing brilliant books of magick until he died. Crowley seems to have experienced his sex magick operations working, or why would he continue? And why would he be so concerned with passing this "secret" on as is documented in J. Cornelius' bio of McMurtry?

But why believe Crowley that it worked? People who have experimented with his techniques report that it works just fine. However, in science, not every experiment is successful, actually most aren't but even the failures give data on how to increase the probability that future efforts will succeed ... or suckegg. 😉

"ianrons" wrote:
As for Satan, is that in quotes or is it actually in capital letters? You're just trying to raise a lot of trivial objections, and it's boring.

Sorry your bored easily. Maybe you should become the Chairman? 🙂
Objecting to the absurd view that Crowley and Thelemites are devil worshipers isn't trivial. The first quote you gave starts with:

"The devil does not exist...

In the second quote:

"The Devil" is, historically, the God of any people that one personally dislikes. This has led to so much confusion of thought that THE BEAST 666 has preferred to let names stand as they are, and to proclaim simply that AIWAZ –- the solar-phallic-hermetic "Lucifer" is His own Holy Guardian Angel, and "The Devil" SATAN or HADIT of our particular unit of the Starry Universe. "

he defines the Devil, as something different from the Christian point of view. He refers to "The Devil" in quotes, meaning it's someone else's conception, not his. He has already stated the devil does not exist but that he will "let names stand as they are." SATAN's identity as "The Devil," by AC's words, simply means a God that the Christians don't like.

"ianrons" wrote:
You say that Crowley doesn't identify Satan as the Devil, but obviously he did, as is blatantly obvious from that quote from MTP that I gave you -- you're getting a little weird now, trying to make a distinction between Satan and the Devil.

I think it's weird to try and impose a Christian reality tunnel on the Thelemic cosmology. The devil only exists in the Christian or Islamic belief systems. Thelema has no use for this medieval, primitive, fear and guilt based belief in a being of absolute evil, which the Church probably introduced to help CONTROL the unwashed, and even the washed, masses.

Hadit = Set = Satan= the true Self =the serpent which symbolizes kundalini ie sex energy. Sex is evil to the uptight, repressed hardcore members of the Christian cult. Sex, kundalini, Satan, Set, Hadit bears no resemblance to "evil" to a Thelemite. One can examine Liber Had to support this argument.

"ianrons" wrote:
I'm not really sure there's any point getting into this -- my beliefs about how many pieces of information I have in my head about Crowley (very few when compared with the real living authorities on him) are unimportant, and I don't think there's any need to turn this into some sort of Top Trumps competition, although I do think I'm more careful about what I say on the subject than he was.

You obviously think you know more about AC than Wilson or you wouldn't use a trivial objection to take on the karma of attempting to put people off reading RAW to learn about Crowley.

"ianrons" wrote:
I make a distinction between the myth that Crowley presented and what "Crowley actually was",

Your ideas about what "Crowley actually was" displayed here recently by wild speculations on what Crowley "really meant" in the quotes from The Confessions, and the insistence of always interpreting him in the worst possible light with great certainty, shows deep resentment and says more about yourself than it does Crowley.

EDIT: small coincidence - I jokingly refer to ch. 69 Book of Lies on this, the 69th post of this thread.


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1126
26/04/2010 1:44 am  

zardoz,

Re: paying to sacrifice a goat. All the temples I went to in that part of the world wanted some kind of donation, either for entry or as a dedication to a particular god, frequently both. I remember deliberately scandalizing some other tourists once in Jammu by pinning hundred rupee notes to statues, then asked the bloke looking after the shrine for change. That's exactly what the locals do, but it really upsets Westerners. It still gives me a chuckle.

"zardoz" wrote:
Somehow he was able to communicate enough to gain entrance into a Buddhist monastery which, I guess, would be slightly more difficult than checking into a hotel.

He had servants to do that for him of course. Again, a "donation" would have been made.

"zardoz" wrote:
At that time, I also learned various pranayama techniques. The one that stayed with me, the only one I've practiced for years, is Crowley's alternate nostril method which uses the second hand of a clock to measure the cycle. Maybe it's wrong by traditional fundamental standards, but it sure does the job for me. Ch.71 from the Book of Lies, accurately describes my enthusiasm for the benefits of Crowley's pranayama technique.

The use of a stopwatch was a good innovation.

"zardoz" wrote:
The expectation that Crowley should have become rich from sex magick operations fails to take into account the fact that he was completely devoted to the Great Work or the Way of Service.

Crowley frittered away his inheritance travelling all over the world in luxury and at great expense, financing mountaineering expeditions and indulging in vanity publishing. You can argue that a few books were worthwhile, but mostly he loved to live in luxury, and whenever he had money (usually "honestly" from his disciples, but occasionally through swindlery) he would spend it on indulgences, including of course his drug habit. That was his "philosophy". He obviously did a lot of sex-magick specifically in order to get money. That he could convince people it was all for the "Great Work" is testament to his power of fascination.

"zardoz" wrote:
But why believe Crowley that it worked? People who have experimented with his techniques report that it works just fine.

What you are saying is "Why believe Crowley? Believe these other people!" But actually when I say the "secret" of the OTO "didn't work", really I was talking about Crowley's use of it. I've done all that stuff and actually sex-magick isn't unhelpful in focusing the mind – but it's just a "trick" to make magick easier, it's not actually magick itself. Magick works on a slightly deeper level by belief, faith, or will (depending on what you want to call it), and AC doesn't seem to have *actually* been very good at that (I think mostly because of his underlying psychological issues). At least I can't think of any great successes: all his prophecies turned out wrong, and I can't think of anything off-hand that he could actually do. I mean, he never did anything as scientific as saying "I'm going to produce this effect" and then went ahead and did it. What about his books that were being held by that printer or publisher in a warehouse that he couldn't get back? Where was his magick then? And we are meant to believe he was the "Magus of the Aeon"?

If he was doing what he claimed – looking after the planet – then he did a fucking crap job of it, and certainly the British – to whom he claimed to be devoted – can't have been best pleased. At the start of his life, the Empire was the largest the world had ever seen, and by the end of his life the Empire was effectively finished, with the loss of India/Pakistan a few short months before his death. During that time, Fascism and Communism had risen to become warring heads in the consciousness and politics of the whole human race, the very antithesis of the unity he claimed to represent. But of course *anything* can be explained as a small part of a much bigger, inscrutable plan – that's actually how Crowley rationalized it to himself – and I'm quite sure he did believe, right until the end (which the "Elixir of Life" couldn't put off, apparently), that he was the Big Cheese. But it's always excuses, excuses...

"zardoz" wrote:
He has already stated the devil does not exist but that he will "let names stand as they are." SATAN's identity as "The Devil," by AC's words, simply means a God that the Christians don't like.

Yes, exactly, he was using the concept of "God" that the Christians don't like: their anti-God. He also adopted for himself the name of the Christian anti-Christ. You can't get around it by saying that it "simply means" the Christians don't or won't like it: in fact, that's exactly the point. Let's not forget that not only did he use the same nomenclature, he actually modelled himself (as he says) on Milton's Satan. I realise he tried to "explain" it as a the solution of a philosophical or historical problem, but I personally was never convinced by this, and nobody else I've spoken to has ever had a clear explanation for it. They tend to say, "Oh, it's just duality, innit? They're both the same." Well, no. White is not, in fact, black; at least not on their own "plane". But AC did manage to convince people that white was black. Let's just change the nomenclature for something more general and see if AC makes sense: in the following quote, I have replaced all the Satan synonyms – "Devil"/"Lucifer"/"Hadit"/"Satan"/"His [AC's] own Holy Guardian Angel" – with "unacceptable worship", and the term "God" with the opposite: "acceptable worship". You could probably replace "THE BEAST 666" with "The Unacceptable Human" too, but I wanted to keep it simple.

"Crowley" wrote:
Unacceptable worship is, historically, the acceptable worship of any people that one personally dislikes. This has led to so much confusion of thought that THE BEAST 666 has preferred to let names stand as they are, and to proclaim simply that UNACCEPTABLE WORSHIP –- the solar-phallic-hermetic "Unacceptable Worship" is Unacceptable Worship, and "The Unacceptable Worship" UNACCEPTABLE WORSHIP or UNACCEPTABLE WORSHIP of our particular unit of the Starry Universe.

As you can see, if you remove the mass of terminology and strip it down, it's simply a sleight of hand. But that's Crowley all over.

"zardoz" wrote:
I think it's weird to try and impose a Christian reality tunnel on the Thelemic cosmology. The devil only exists in the Christian or Islamic belief systems. Thelema has no use for this medieval, primitive, fear and guilt based belief in a being of absolute evil, which the Church probably introduced to help CONTROL the unwashed, and even the washed, masses.

I'm not the one who imposed a Christian reality tunnel on Thelema: it always had it, right from the first Beast and Scarlet Woman, right from the motto taken directly from a famous anti-Christian satire. He is asking people to be rebels, to worship the Christian Devil, and in other ways to be wild, such as by doing the opposite of what Christians would think of as being ethical behaviour (esp. re: sex, drinking and doing drugs, accumulating treasure and a harem, etc., etc.). It's not a generic breaking of rules, but a specific Christian rule-breaking, in the same way that other traditions have their own sects who break rules (e.g., Shah talks about the "method of opprobrium", and obviously there's the fucking in graveyards and all that, which is tailored to another faith). It's no accident that it fits quite neatly into the Christian conception of Satanism, and it's no accident that he's constantly been accused of being a Satanist.

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that by following Thelema, one isn't being nearly as rebellious, nor as philosophically astute, as one might think. The more I talk to people about this subject, the more I realise how brilliant Crowley's rationalization of this was: he developed a pretty convincing philosophy around it, based on ideas in vogue at the time, and all you have to do is blink and you miss the trick. Great piece of Devilry, bravo!

"zardoz" wrote:
Hadit = Set = Satan= the true Self =the serpent which symbolizes kundalini ie sex energy. Sex is evil to the uptight, repressed hardcore members of the Christian cult. Sex, kundalini, Satan, Set, Hadit bears no resemblance to "evil" to a Thelemite.

I can see this might seem like a very appealing rationale: redefine Satan as something good, criticise some of the teachings of those who think it's bad, and you're away. And yes, Christian views on sex were quite obnoxious both then and at some earlier times in history – most memorably in Egypt when they chiselled off the genitalia of statues – however, the "Thelemic" attitude towards sex develops in opposition to Christianity, in the same way that some of the practices are deliberately blasphmeous, such as the Black Mass dressed up as "the Gnostic Mass" and the requirement to "banish" Christian priests (but not other kinds of priests). And his followers seem totally in the dark, believing it's a step forward in the philosophy of religion. Bravo, Monsieur, bravo!

"zardoz" wrote:
Your ideas about what "Crowley actually was" displayed here recently by wild speculations on what Crowley "really meant" in the quotes from The Confessions, and the insistence of always interpreting him in the worst possible light with great certainty, shows deep resentment and says more about yourself than it does Crowley.

I don't interpret him in the "worst possible light" – I think if you take his claims at face value, he was a failure; but if you see it as a direct attack on Christianity then it's absolutely amazing. I am not resentful at all towards Crowley (he's dead – it would be like being resentful at an ironing-board), and in many ways he probably did a very good, or indeed an essential, service by opposing Christianity; however I don't feel the need to be one of his acolytes anymore. Actually, I feel that his use of "Satan", given that you can't separate the name from its associations, is a kind of short-circuit for magick, so I actively reject it too; but that's my personal view.


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Horemakhet
(@horemakhet)
Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 526
26/04/2010 2:56 am  

. . It seems a dilemna for you Ian. Obviously, those in the ACS respect AC, while you no longer do; yet you have invested much of your time here, & continue to do so (though not in the same capacity as before).~~~ I have read the Cosmic Trigger trilogy, & recommend it heartily! The first book is the 'essential' for an AC fan. (which is perhaps what you still are, Ian?)


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
26/04/2010 6:25 am  

I think it is all good stuff to talk about. In fact, about ten years ago I was going to compile a similar list of AC's "failures", mistakes, shortcomings, idiocies, etc. because it suddenly dawned on me that there was a lot that didn't quite add up. It's good to criticise AC, especially in the AC Society - it's the perfect place for it, as it is within the context of general appreciation and admiration, and among those who have full pictures of his life and work, as opposed to the old-school ignorant mud-slinging which he got during his life. My own criticisms of Crowley in no way detract from my admiration of his work or character (flawed as it is, it's still utterly jaw-droppingly amazing, fortune or no fortune). The same goes for RAW and Kenneth Grant and everyone else. Nothing, but nothing, is beyond criticism, sacred cows are the first obstacle to truth, as long as you are aware of the inherent limits of criticism as a value-generating tool; through intelligent criticism can often come better understanding and truer appreciation.

For me, the essential thing is, as long as the criticism is coming from the right place, it is usually a good thing.

A mountain is still a mountain, even if it contains yawning caverns within...

I've been profoundly disillusioned with AC in the past as well. Then I realised it was mostly because of my own expectations and fantasies about what or who I thought he should be (though yes many of these were at his own instigation - but that I now think is part of the value). Once you let him be who he was, and nothing else, he's amazing again. I'm continually stunned when I re-visit his works. I can pick them apart too, but these days I'd rather spend my time trying to generate something new myself, or make some sort of contribution in a positive sense. Imagine if they had the web in the '70s and Peter Carroll spent all his time on internet forums bashing Crowley instead of writing Liber Null & Psychonaut (a book which I grew out of a long time ago as well . . . - just shows, doesn't it?).

cheers
N


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
26/04/2010 7:48 am  

Greetings!

Life is funny! My own approach to AC’s work started from feelings of fear and rejection (well, mostly based on disinformation) and ended in a rather profound love and acceptance of him on the balance. As I see it, AC’s paradigm (more than anyone else’s) taught me to accept someone with no reprehension at all.

I do agree that Ian’s criticism is welcomed and I enjoy his posts of late. Strangely enough though, today I noticed that the result is always to make my fondness for Mr. Crowley bigger -and I have no explanation for that! 😀

(this's not the right topic to discuss it though….)

Regards
Hecate


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Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 4021
26/04/2010 8:45 am  

I've never read any of the Robert Anton Wilson books, but this thread has whetted my appetite.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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OKontrair
(@okontrair)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 501
26/04/2010 9:48 am  

Go for The Illuminatus Trilogy which he co-wrote with Robert Shea; it is a fabulous lampoon on everything 'New Age'. In it he ridicules the ridiculous and gently bashes the barmy. This is done so well that you won't mind even when he prods your favourite foible. Craving more I bought The Cosmic trigger. This is more personal and more serious - he'd recently lost a daughter - and, being serious, it opens up the option to agree or disagree which last I did. I read and enjoyed a few more of his humourous novels later but I forget which, Einstein and Schrodinger's cat ring a bell. Wilson is a very productive writer and enormously well read; I think you won't be disappointed especially if you go for the funny stuff.

OK


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Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 4021
26/04/2010 10:06 am  

OK,

Many thanks for th recommendations.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
26/04/2010 10:22 am  

I would recommend Cosmic Trigger, a great book. Surprised you've never read any of his works Michael, A lot you may have in common, both being Sirius men. Would like to know what you make of Cosmic Trigger. If you ever read it, PM your thoughts or start a thread.

Check out the link below for his Secrets Of Power talk in London, this shows his more humorous side.

http://www.rawilsonfans.com/downloads.html


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Lucius
(@lucius)
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26/04/2010 10:49 am  

There certainly seems to be a whiff of guerilla ontology in the air…
Today, by pure synchronicity, a dear friend of mine gifted me with “Masks of the Illuminati” which I’ve never previously read. I’m really looking forward to it, especially since I’ve been following this thread.
Although I have occasionally enjoyed the pros vs. cons of Aleister Crowley here, the irony is starting to wear thin for me on a thread about a man who stated, emphatically, “I do not believe anything” (page i, Preface to the New Edition, Cosmic Trigger I) and personally, that is also my choice. The sooner one can break out of the belief-centered mindset, the better, and if it doesn’t ever happen then… my condolences.
I look forward to seeing our evolution past the argumentative states which Thelema seems to continually endure. It’s like the suit of Swords: Endless reason grinding against itself. There is more to life, and to the Tarot, than that, my friends.
What is Aleister Crowley to me? I consider him foremost as a gateway: Without his influence I wouldn’t have been exposed to yoga, the I Ching, any knowledge whatsoever of poetry (amazingly enough, some of them had quite remarkable things to say. Imagine that.) or the Qabalah. I wouldn’t have read any of Alan Moore’s comics (except for those episodes of Swamp Thing back in the 80s, but that was another synchronicity for me, and another topic entirely).
I do not possess a litmus test which will allow me to determine if a long dead Englishman was in fact a Magus 9=2, and yes, he does contradict himself in writing just as anyone writing as voluminously as he did would. Were his yogic asana instructions incorrect? Don’t care: I live in the 21st century and whether he was a tourist snapping photos in a Hawaiian shirt in Burma 1903 who later claimed yogic training in temples he never even went to, or if he was completely on the level with us, the fact remains that I can seek out yogic training and learn from people who aren’t books.
What Robert Anton Wilson is doing with Crowley takes a few different forms. In “Cosmic Trigger” he is looking at Crowley as a mystery figure: What is this guy trying to tell me? It seems an honest sort of interest that evolves into some very amusing and some very bizarre adventures for Mr. Wilson.
“Masks of the Illuminati”, it seems, uses Crowley as what he has become: the symbol or archetype of the Magician or the Initiator.
In the words of the immortal Bard “This above all-To thine own self be true” and if you don’t like Crowley anymore, well then “De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum.”
93 Lu


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 Anonymous
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26/04/2010 10:35 pm  

Have always been a huge fan of Robert Anton Wilson he is a very worthy read.

A figment of memory tells me of a tale, one of many of a late bibliophile friend from Oldham way. I`m sure he wouldn`t mind me passing it on. He told me someone he used to drink with was a Typhonian member in the 70`s and used to drink with KG. Apparently Grant had read Cosmic Trigger and liked it very much.

Many thanks to Shiva for the posts, much magickal common sense. Spurned some great insights for me.

93


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 Anonymous
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13/02/2011 5:02 pm  

Robert Anton Wilson Talks About Allistier Crowley
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2C-u-F10v8

That i don't get. I can't see this humor (apart from his obvious witty observations). Except imagining AC's entire literature was intented to be spoofing everyone.


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 Anonymous
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11/08/2011 4:48 pm  
"Maldoror" wrote:
Similarly The material on Geller and Castenada should, in my view be taken with more than a pinch of salt.

And the Dogon hoax. And he likes Leary way too much who was questionable to say the least.
But RAW is always so much fun to read, especially when he poses as "the scientiest" where he only confirms what he liked before. 😀

I enjoyed his stuff a lot.


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 Anonymous
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11/08/2011 5:23 pm  
"lashtal" wrote:
"ianrons" wrote:
AC got some book knowledge [about the I Ching] from others (Legge and the Max Muller series) that he recycled without ever going any further

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.

Crowley may well have not been the first, but he is certainly the first westerner we have record of, to have used the I Ching for divination on a regular basis. That in and of itself is a significant thing.


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 Anonymous
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11/08/2011 7:03 pm  
"FraDiavolo" wrote:
"Maldoror" wrote:
Similarly The material on Geller and Castenada should, in my view be taken with more than a pinch of salt.

And the Dogon hoax. And he likes Leary way too much who was questionable to say the least.
But RAW is always so much fun to read, especially when he poses as "the scientiest" where he only confirms what he liked before. 😀

I enjoyed his stuff a lot.

I like RAW because he manages to restrain himself from asserting unproven opinionated statements as if they were absolutely true.


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 Anonymous
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11/08/2011 7:11 pm  
"zardoz" wrote:
I like RAW because he manages to restrain himself from asserting unproven opinionated statements as if they were absolutely true.

😆 He can write, though, and his books are great fun!


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 Anonymous
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Posts: 0
11/08/2011 7:15 pm  
"FraDiavolo" wrote:
"zardoz" wrote:
I like RAW because he manages to restrain himself from asserting unproven opinionated statements as if they were absolutely true.

😆 He can write, though, and his books are great fun!

Indeed! Provable by reading them. The evidence is there.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
11/08/2011 7:43 pm  
"zardoz" wrote:
"FraDiavolo" wrote:
"zardoz" wrote:
I like RAW because he manages to restrain himself from asserting unproven opinionated statements as if they were absolutely true.

😆 He can write, though, and his books are great fun!

Indeed! Provable by reading them. The evidence is there.

HOW did you know that? 😯


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
11/08/2011 8:01 pm  
"FraDiavolo" wrote:
"zardoz" wrote:
"FraDiavolo" wrote:
"zardoz" wrote:
I like RAW because he manages to restrain himself from asserting unproven opinionated statements as if they were absolutely true.

😆 He can write, though, and his books are great fun!

Indeed! Provable by reading them. The evidence is there.

HOW did you know that? 😯

Sincere disingenuity. 😉


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
12/08/2011 2:02 am  
"zardoz" wrote:
"FraDiavolo" wrote:
"Maldoror" wrote:
Similarly The material on Geller and Castenada should, in my view be taken with more than a pinch of salt.

And the Dogon hoax. And he likes Leary way too much who was questionable to say the least.
But RAW is always so much fun to read, especially when he poses as "the scientiest" where he only confirms what he liked before. 😀

I enjoyed his stuff a lot.

I like RAW because he manages to restrain himself from asserting unproven opinionated statements as if they were absolutely true.

...like the "High Adept" stuff he wrote in order to compliment Regardie on passively endorsing his own reformulation of Kenneth Grant's opinion on Aiwass without admitting as much, yes...


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