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ianrons
(@ianrons)
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04/02/2010 4:51 pm  

I've tried both. They aren't the same. At least, not in my experience, which is admittedly rather limited. For one thing, non-drug induced mystical experiences have permanent effects which alter one's perception of the world entirely, whilst DMT is very temporary. Secondarily, in my (limited) experience any euphoric feelings produced by mystical experiences happen after the climax itself, a bit like oxytocin after orgasm (and last for several days). If DMT is produced in the brain at those times, I think it would be of secondary importance.

I seem to recall similar claims being made about adrenochrome in the past. It's not a simple matter IMO.


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 Anonymous
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04/02/2010 5:21 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
I've tried both. They aren't the same. At least, not in my experience, which is admittedly rather limited.

Their is a difference between smoking, injecting, and orally imbibing with MAOI's. They all have a very different effect. The difference in the route of administration may have a lot to do with these differences.

"ianrons" wrote:
For one thing, non-drug induced mystical experiences have permanent effects which alter one's perception of the world entirely, whilst DMT is very temporary

While usually the rule, their are exceptions. My view of the universe was profoundly altered by an LSD experience when I was only 17. The tribes in South America who use the DMT containing Ayahausca in their Shamanic ceremonies appear to have allowed it to change their entire tribes perceptions of the world.
However, this is really the best argument against the notion that DMT is the main antagonist for a molecular correlation in religious experience. One that Rick Strassman frets over repeatedly in his book.

"ianrons" wrote:
. Secondarily, in my (limited) experience any euphoric feelings produced by mystical experiences happen after the climax itself, a bit like oxytocin after orgasm (and last for several days). If DMT is produced in the brain at those times, I think it would be of secondary importance.

Possibly, but it could also be of utmost importance. The possible chemical analogues of DMT (their are numerous) that could just as easily be produced may also play a role.

I think its fertile grounds for research, and I haven't seen a better candidate for this function in a while. I can't wait to see how it pans out.


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
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04/02/2010 5:24 pm  

The underlying assumption is that religious experience isn't "real"; or, to put it another way, that God is actually a chemical. I don't subscribe to that view.


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 Anonymous
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04/02/2010 5:44 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
The underlying assumption is that religious experience isn't "real"; or, to put it another way, that God is actually a chemical. I don't subscribe to that view.

93,

This, in a nutshell, is why I end up having such mixed feelings about entheogenic theories. On the one hand, the history of drug use as a part of mysticism (and the use of biological processes in general, like extremes of sensation, fasting, etc) gives us a lot of reasons to think there is something to it. On the other hand, I think a lot of the modern interest in it is an attempt to "explain away" things rather than explore them. I feel the same tension about occultists who get into quantum theory and psychological explanations of things. It's not that I don't think there are things worth exploring in all of these, I just don't think they work as satisfactory explanatory theories for magick and mysticism.

I also feel the attempt to synthesize such an explanatory theory sometimes interferes with the actual activities of magick and mysticism, although of course that is some people's trip...they want to explain enlightenment, with or without the getting enlightened. It's just not mine.

93, 93/93


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Walterfive
(@walterfive)
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04/02/2010 6:12 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
The underlying assumption is that religious experience isn't "real"; or, to put it another way, that God is actually a chemical. I don't subscribe to that view.

There is no God but Man. However, I can find merit in the opinions of those theorists who believe that "human" intelligence began when our ape-man ancestors first encountered entheogenic fungoids

"thePuck" wrote:
93,

This, in a nutshell, is why I end up having such mixed feelings about entheogenic theories. On the one hand, the history of drug use as a part of mysticism (and the use of biological processes in general, like extremes of sensation, fasting, etc) gives us a lot of reasons to think there is something to it. On the other hand, I think a lot of the modern interest in it is an attempt to "explain away" things rather than explore them. I feel the same tension about occultists who get into quantum theory and psychological explanations of things. It's not that I don't think there are things worth exploring in all of these, I just don't think they work as satisfactory explanatory theories for magick and mysticism.

I don't know; I thought Robert Anton Wilson and Timothy Leary (for example) had quite satisfactory theories for magick that utuilized all of the above, and not in an attempt to "explain away" anything.


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 Anonymous
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04/02/2010 6:20 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
The underlying assumption is that religious experience isn't "real"; or, to put it another way, that God is actually a chemical. I don't subscribe to that view.

I emphatically disagree! That is not my "underlying assumption" nor was that Rick Strassman's. If you want to know my "beliefs" (for lack of a better word) they would fall somewhere in the category of Neo-Platonic Emanationist. Rick Strassman is a devout Buddhist.

There is no need to make the jump from knowing whats going on in the brain while people are experiencing a mystical experience to the conclusion that their is no god. Surely something of an unusual kind is going on in the brain at the moment. Their must be some physical correspondence to what is being experienced. To quote the revered Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford, " Everything in Heaven and Earth is connected to Everything in Heaven and Earth"


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 Anonymous
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04/02/2010 6:28 pm  
"Walterfive" wrote:
"ianrons" wrote:
The underlying assumption is that religious experience isn't "real"; or, to put it another way, that God is actually a chemical. I don't subscribe to that view.

There is no God but Man. However, I can find merit in the opinions of those theorists who believe that "human" intelligence began when our ape-man ancestors first encountered entheogenic fungoids

"thePuck" wrote:
93,

This, in a nutshell, is why I end up having such mixed feelings about entheogenic theories. On the one hand, the history of drug use as a part of mysticism (and the use of biological processes in general, like extremes of sensation, fasting, etc) gives us a lot of reasons to think there is something to it. On the other hand, I think a lot of the modern interest in it is an attempt to "explain away" things rather than explore them. I feel the same tension about occultists who get into quantum theory and psychological explanations of things. It's not that I don't think there are things worth exploring in all of these, I just don't think they work as satisfactory explanatory theories for magick and mysticism.

I don't know; I thought Robert Anton Wilson and Timothy Leary (for example) had quite satisfactory theories for magick that utuilized all of the above, and not in an attempt to "explain away" anything.

93,

I am in no way claiming that's what everyone who uses those models or explores the psychological or biological sides of things are doing this. I look at those sides of things as well, I just reverse the contexts of explanation...my magickal/mystical worldview explains the psychological/biological/physical, not the other way around.

Especially with those two I agree with you. They seemed to be motivated to try to find an operative theory, a quasi-new way to approach magick and mysticism using the tools of drugs and psychology, with some paradigmatic nods to quantum theory. I would say the same of some of some of the modern chaos mages who work in similar veins.

The problem I have is with the notion of an attempt to explain mystical experiences in terms of biology...I think the assumption of philosophical physicalism is my issue. I feel like it gets things backwards and mixes the planes, and is sometimes used as an emotional palliative for those who feel essentially embarrassed about their magickal and mystical activities. So long as they can place it all in the context of science they feel better about it.

I see this not so much among the writers, though, but among the practitioners. Almost every writer I have ever read on these subjects was presenting operative techniques and using the physicalist ideas as part and parcel of their larger metaphysical views.

93, 93/93


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 Anonymous
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04/02/2010 6:48 pm  
"thePuck" wrote:
I see this not so much among the writers, though, but among the practitioners. .

93, 93/93

Such writers could not possibly be practitioners...


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 Anonymous
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04/02/2010 6:49 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
"MichaelStaley" wrote:
Unhelpful to what, Ian?

I'd rather not go into detail, suffice to say that there is a lot besides the brain (or a small part of it) involved in spiritual attainment. Coming back to Crowley (since this is LAShTAL.com), in many ways it seems Crowley's notion of magick was that it was underpinned by yoga, and in particular dharana (after Eckartshausen, the source of that section in Liber E; but see the account in TOSK.). However, the two are really quite different, and mastery of the one in no way implies mastery of the other. I would characterise magick as a kind of dynamic form of dharana, but principally it is not cerebral in the way dharana is; that is, it requires total engagement with the real world, not just engagement with an imaginary construct. One of the lasting misapprehensions that students of Crowley seem to have is that they don't realise there is a difference, for instance between an imaginary visualisation of an angel and an angel. I could extend this to a critique of magick too, but as I say I'd rather not go into detail save to say (and I'm sure I'll regret even this) that anyone using (e.g.) Liber Samekh in the Abramelin practice has completely missed the point and failed to understand what Abraham said, which is completely plain and simple.

Just in passing, one thing that I've noticed over the years with many, many people is that there is a very high percentage that will find, consciously or otherwise, a way to avoid practicing Dharana. It so common, in fact, that it cannot help but raise an eyebrow. It is almost as if the mind will go to any length to avoid that wrestling match, to avoid being pinned and finally silenced for even a moment. I would have no way of knowing if this is necessarily the case with you, Ian, but I have seen some very interesting rationalizations employed to avoid practicing Dharana, again, consciously or otherwise.


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 Anonymous
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04/02/2010 6:58 pm  
"thePuck" wrote:
The problem I have is with the notion of an attempt to explain mystical experiences in terms of biology...I think the assumption of philosophical physicalism is my issue. I feel like it gets things backwards and mixes the planes, and is sometimes used as an emotional palliative for those who feel essentially embarrassed about their magickal and mystical activities. So long as they can place it all in the context of science they feel better about it.

But on the other hand, thePuck, other people will cling desperately to the 'mystery and romance' associated with things magical and mystical as if to protect them, as if the clear light of science will somehow devaluate them. I'm sure that there is a balance point between the two extremes that is best.


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 Anonymous
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04/02/2010 6:59 pm  
"SSS" wrote:
"thePuck" wrote:
I see this not so much among the writers, though, but among the practitioners. .

93, 93/93

Such writers could not possibly be practitioners...

93,

I'm afraid I don't understand. The writers I am referring to are people like Leary, McKenna, RAW, etc. They are/were practitioners. The practitioners I refer to seeing using physicalism as the explanation for mysticism and magick are generally the ones who read these writers and focus on entheogenic, quantum theoretical, and psychological models for their practice.

93, 93/93


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Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
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04/02/2010 7:04 pm  
"Camlion" wrote:
Just in passing, one thing that I've noticed over the years with many, many people is that there is a very high percentage that will find, consciously or otherwise, a way to avoid practicing Dharana. It so common, in fact, that it cannot help but raise an eyebrow. It is almost as if the mind will go to any length to avoid that wrestling match, to avoid being pinned and finally silenced for even a moment. I would have no way of knowing if this is necessarily the case with you, Ian, but I have seen some very interesting rationalizations employed to avoid practicing Dharana, again, consciously or otherwise.

I can't imagine why. The ability to visualise and to maintain the visualisation is in my experience essential to magic, whether at individual or at group level.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
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04/02/2010 7:14 pm  
"Camlion" wrote:
Just in passing, one thing that I've noticed over the years with many, many people is that there is a very high percentage that will find, consciously or otherwise, a way to avoid practicing Dharana. It so common, in fact, that it cannot help but raise an eyebrow. It is almost as if the mind will go to any length to avoid that wrestling match, to avoid being pinned and finally silenced for even a moment. I would have no way of knowing if this is necessarily the case with you, Ian, but I have seen some very interesting rationalizations employed to avoid practicing Dharana, again, consciously or otherwise.

First off, I didn't say that dharana is unhelpful. What I said was: "Well, mantra isn't a very effective method IMO; but then I could be critical of dharana in other ways, in that its overly cerebral nature is unhelpful."

And it is unhelpful if that's all you ever do; but in particular it's unhelpful if you think it underlies magick, which Crowley students generally do. In fact, my point is really that the work of dharana is a bit like playing with imaginary friends (albeit in a very intense way) when there's a whole universe out there to play with. I don't think I'm the one avoiding the issue... and once again in this thread I would point out that the difficulty or otherwise of a practice in no way bears upon its usefulness or advisability, at least in my eyes.


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 Anonymous
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04/02/2010 7:15 pm  
"Camlion" wrote:
"thePuck" wrote:
The problem I have is with the notion of an attempt to explain mystical experiences in terms of biology...I think the assumption of philosophical physicalism is my issue. I feel like it gets things backwards and mixes the planes, and is sometimes used as an emotional palliative for those who feel essentially embarrassed about their magickal and mystical activities. So long as they can place it all in the context of science they feel better about it.

But on the other hand, thePuck, other people will cling desperately to the 'mystery and romance' associated with things magical and mystical as if to protect them, as if the clear light of science will somehow devaluate them. I'm sure that there is a balance point between the two extremes that is best.

93,

Agreed.

However, I do think there are many people who collapse scientific method, which is a methodology, and various philosophical stances like physicalism and empiricism, into one view. Science doesn't, as a method, say "physical things are all there are" or "observation via the senses is the root of all knowledge", it just says "I can only use empiricism to observe, and empiricism works on physical things". There is only one metaphysical assumption at the root of the scientific method: that the rules of the universe are at all times and places the same (though in philosophy of science this is sometimes disputed), and even this can be though of instrumentally...we have to assume it's true to make predictions, but we don't have to commit to it; even naturalism can simply be viewed methodologically and does not need to be committed to as a metaphysical position. This point of view is what I am criticizing, not analysis.

93, 93/93


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
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04/02/2010 7:21 pm  
"MichaelStaley" wrote:
The ability to visualise and to maintain the visualisation is in my experience essential to magic, whether at individual or at group level.

I think it's actually something underlying visualisation that's key. Consider the methods of Abraham the Jew or Ignatius Loyola: imagination, or (as it is otherwise called), "faith" is the force behind them. It isn't even necessarily a "strain on the ether" or anything that requires practice at all – a child can do it.

This is actually the central issue that I am attempting to convey vis-a-vis dharana. It's one thing to visualise a rose-cross, quite another to have faith in the existence of the rose cross, and the distinction is vital.


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 Anonymous
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04/02/2010 7:35 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
"Camlion" wrote:
Just in passing, one thing that I've noticed over the years with many, many people is that there is a very high percentage that will find, consciously or otherwise, a way to avoid practicing Dharana. It so common, in fact, that it cannot help but raise an eyebrow. It is almost as if the mind will go to any length to avoid that wrestling match, to avoid being pinned and finally silenced for even a moment. I would have no way of knowing if this is necessarily the case with you, Ian, but I have seen some very interesting rationalizations employed to avoid practicing Dharana, again, consciously or otherwise.

First off, I didn't say that dharana is unhelpful. What I said was: "Well, mantra isn't a very effective method IMO; but then I could be critical of dharana in other ways, in that its overly cerebral nature is unhelpful."

And it is unhelpful if that's all you ever do; but in particular it's unhelpful if you think it underlies magick, which Crowley students generally do. In fact, my point is really that the work of dharana is a bit like playing with imaginary friends (albeit in a very intense way) when there's a whole universe out there to play with. I don't think I'm the one avoiding the issue... and once again in this thread I would point out that the difficulty or otherwise of a practice in no way bears upon its usefulness or advisability, at least in my eyes.

Yes, well, the point is that you have not done the practice, and have managed not to do it for many years, for whatever reasons. By the way, it has been my experience that many "Crowley students" manage to avoid it, as well. It is an aversion, conscious or otherwise, that defies rational explanation. After all, it is just another practice, what harm could it possibly do? πŸ˜‰


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
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04/02/2010 7:38 pm  
"Camlion" wrote:
Yes, well, the point is that you have not done the practice, and have managed not to do it for many years, for whatever reasons.

😯

What makes you say that?

I think you're presuming a great deal. In fact I might say you're inventing stuff to rationalise away the points I'm raising as laziness. Otherwise I don't know what could possibly have given you the misapprehension under which you are currently labouring...

By the way, I think what you're saying about dharana (aversion) is true for any magickal practice -- why single that out? I feel like I daren't say anything critical of any practice now...


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 Anonymous
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04/02/2010 8:10 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
"Camlion" wrote:
Yes, well, the point is that you have not done the practice, and have managed not to do it for many years, for whatever reasons.

😯

What makes you say that?

I think you're presuming a great deal. In fact I might say you're inventing stuff to rationalise away the points I'm raising as laziness. Otherwise I don't know what could possibly have given you the misapprehension under which you are currently labouring...

Please don't get a hostile on me, Ian. I asked you earlier if you had done Dharana and you said that you had not, unless mantra were to be included in that category. So, I conclude that you have not done this practice.

What difference does it make? None, unless one is following Crowley's advisories, such as the one below (bottom paragraph - emphasis mine) from the introduction to Liber O, which you apparently are not and were not when you first read it. This is fine, and it is truly none of my business, either way. I am merely providing an observation that I have made over many years that may, indeed, not apply to you. Perhaps it will benefit others reading this thread. Do what thou wilt.

I.

1. This book is very easy to misunderstand; readers are asked to use the most minute critical care in the study of it, even as we have done in its preparation.

2. In this book it is spoken of the Sephiroth and the Paths; of Spirits and Conjurations; of Gods, Spheres, Planes, and many other things which may or may not exist.

It is immaterial whether these exist or not. By doing certain things certain results will follow; students are most earnestly warned against attributing objective reality or philosophic validity to any of them.

3. The advantages to be gained from them are chiefly these:
("a") A widening of the horizon of the mind.
("b") An improvement of the control of the mind.

4. The student, if he attains any success in the following practices, will find himself confronted by things (ideas or {13} beings) too glorious or too dreadful to be described. It is essential that he remain the master of all that he beholds, hears or conceives; otherwise he will be the slave of illusion, and the prey of madness.

Before entering upon any of these practices, the student should be in good health, and have attained a fair mastery of Asana, Pranayama and Dharana.


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 Anonymous
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04/02/2010 8:20 pm  

I just am very thankful that my yoga teacher never taught me any names for what I learnt. It's hard to form a narrative reflection without a vocabulary but it sure saves time in the getting to it! πŸ™‚


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 Anonymous
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04/02/2010 8:21 pm  

My own experience in working with Liber O will attest to the accuracy of Crowley's following warning:

4. The student, if he attains any success in the following practices, will find himself confronted by things (ideas or {13} beings) too glorious or too dreadful to be described. It is essential that he remain the master of all that he beholds, hears or conceives; otherwise he will be the slave of illusion, and the prey of madness.


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
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04/02/2010 8:22 pm  
"Camlion" wrote:
I asked you earlier if you had done Dharana and you said that you had not, unless mantra were to be included in that category. So, I conclude that you have not done this practice.

No, you asked me if I had done asana, pranayama and dharana all together, which is an odd combination and a different question entirely. Let me quote:

"Camlion" wrote:
Have you worked with Asana, Pranayama and Dharana in conjunction, Ian?

See what I mean? But even then I actually replied in the affirmative, so I'm not sure what your point was or is.

"Camlion" wrote:
What difference does it make? None, unless one is following Crowley's advisories, such as the one below (bottom paragraph) from the introduction to Liber O, which you apparently are not and were not when you first read it. This is fine, and it is truly none of my business, either way. I am merely providing an observation that I have made over many years that may, indeed, not apply to you. Perhaps it will benefit others reading this thread. Do what thou wilt.

I just wrote a few posts pointing out that Crowley thought yoga (principally dharana) underlay the practice of magick, and stated my disagreement. The quote you have highlighted actually supports what I was saying about Crowley's attitude (although obviously I take a contrary view) so I'm not sure what it's meant to prove except that you haven't been reading what I've been saying. I would ask you to go back and re-read my posts (as well as your own) before responding to this one.

The simple fact of criticising (from experience) a practice recommended by Crowley seems to have provoked accusations of laziness for the second time in one thread... how amusing. And by the way, anyone who doesn't do as much kundalini yoga as me is a mangy cur. πŸ˜†


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 Anonymous
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04/02/2010 8:36 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
The simple fact of disagreeing with a practice recommended by Crowley seems to have provoked accusations of laziness for the second time in one thread... how amusing.

Crowley seems to be a bit like Marmite.

Not the first time the comparisons ever been made. πŸ™‚


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 Anonymous
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04/02/2010 9:52 pm  

Point taken, Ian, I was indeed inquiring about Asana, Pranayama and Dharana practiced in conjunction, which, in my experience, best produces the results predicted by Crowley and insures a "fair mastery" over each of the three disciplines. I would suggest that anyone who has not yet tried this "odd" combination do so, in the sequence of admixture given above.

"ianrons" wrote:
I just wrote a few posts pointing out that Crowley thought yoga (principally dharana) underlay the practice of magick, and stated my disagreement.

Actually, I believe that Crowley thought that the results of the successful practice of Dharana underlay the practice of Magick, and I believe that the combination of Dharana with Asana and Pranayama tends to insure this success.

"ianrons" wrote:
The simple fact of criticising (from experience) a practice recommended by Crowley seems to have provoked accusations of laziness for the second time in one thread...

I did not, of course, accuse you of being lazy. In fact, I defended you against that suggestion when it was initially made or, rather, mistaken by you as having been made when it was actually directed at someone else.

I do find it quite common among critics of Crowley's mystical and magical instructions that they either have not done them at all or have not done them with sufficient effort and ingenuity to accomplish them but, again, that is not necessarily you. I do not know you well enough to venture an opinion on this, obviously. However, I have been reading your posts in these forums for a long time and I am curious about their recent change in tone.


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
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04/02/2010 11:28 pm  
"Camlion" wrote:
I do find it quite common among critics of Crowley's mystical and magical instructions that they either have not done them at all or have not done them with sufficient effort and ingenuity to accomplish them but, again, that is not necessarily you. I do not know you well enough to venture an opinion on this, obviously. However, I have been reading your posts in these forums for a long time and I am curious about their recent change in tone.

What this discussion reminds me of is the Rosenhan experiment. In essence, it's irrelevant what one's statements are, how carefully one relays one's thoughts or how valid one's experience is: there's a suspicion which is apparently worth repeating over and over, despite the fact that our discussion was almost entirely based on a massive misunderstanding on your part...


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Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
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05/02/2010 1:36 am  

I think, Ian, that Camlion's earlier remarks in the extract you have highlighted may ramble a bit, but perhaps it is the last sentence which is the thrust.

As the wotsit said to the wotsit.

As ever,

Michael.


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Proteus
(@proteus)
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05/02/2010 2:33 am  

I just am very thankful that my yoga teacher never taught me any names for what I learnt.

I definitely agree with your point, alrah. Crowley's knowledge of yoga seems superficial and pedantic at best - yet admittedly well ahead of his time for a Westerner in the early 20th century. Focusing on the specific names and details of any particular pose has some merit as there's some meaning to the names and details of the positions. However, attention to such detail can easily negate the whole practice and allow the yogi(ni) to miss the big picture. And that's just the preliminary stages of yoga. I'd say most practitioners would be perplexed by Crowley's focus on such blinds.

I would guess that for the simple sake of completeness in his compendium of 'magickal' techniques, Crowley felt the need to include an exposition of yoga. But, it seems quite clear he wasn't particularly well versed in its objectives or its practice. There's nothing wrong with that. There's no reason to think that the methods that may have worked well for Crowley will work equally well for me. There's no reason to think that Crowley's adoption of the Egyptian pantheon in his personal work would resonate with me in the same way it did for him. There's no reason to think that "yogic" methods that work so well for me and others would be equally effective for Crowley.

My practice for the past three years or so is now soley yoga-based. It's been with me for several years (before my exposure to Crowley) and have determined it is most effective for me as it synthesizes all of the other methods I've worked with. I'll admit my practice has been influenced by my knowledge and use of methods promulgated by Crowley et al; e.g, an invocation ritual with Vedic and Hindu godforms at the four quarters. I don't see why it wouldn't be influenced in that way. It's the same path, after all.

John


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 Anonymous
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05/02/2010 4:18 am  
"Proteus" wrote:
Crowley felt the need to include an exposition of yoga.
But, it seems quite clear he wasn't particularly well versed in its objectives or its practice.

Do you think he was lying about his practice?

Many experienced yogis I knew in the '80s consider 8 Lectures On Yoga a classic, as do I. I suggest you give it another try?

One of Crowley's more genius moves was combining yogic techniques with magick. It makes magick far more effective, in my experience

"Proteus" wrote:
There's no reason to think that the methods that may have worked well for Crowley will work equally well for me. There's no reason to think that Crowley's adoption of the Egyptian pantheon in his personal work would resonate with me in the same way it did for him. There's no reason to think that "yogic" methods that work so well for me and others would be equally effective for Crowley.

Very well put, although, it seems to me, that yogic techniques were very effective for Crowley. He had a lot of significant visions as a result of them.


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 Anonymous
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05/02/2010 8:30 am  

"However, I have been reading your posts in these forums for a long time and I am curious about their recent change in tone."

It may be advisable not to attempt this MRI scanning at home...


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 Anonymous
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05/02/2010 9:57 am  
"Proteus" wrote:

I just am very thankful that my yoga teacher never taught me any names for what I learnt.

I definitely agree with your point, alrah. Crowley's knowledge of yoga seems superficial and pedantic at best - yet admittedly well ahead of his time for a Westerner in the early 20th century. Focusing on the specific names and details of any particular pose has some merit as there's some meaning to the names and details of the positions. However, attention to such detail can easily negate the whole practice and allow the yogi(ni) to miss the big picture. And that's just the preliminary stages of yoga. I'd say most practitioners would be perplexed by Crowley's focus on such blinds.

Yes - that's it, Proteus. When there's too much emphasis on achieving postures (that are of little or no benefit to the meditator) - it only serves to give the student a false sense of achievement and feed the ego's attachment to the work. The same problem arises with certain meditative states - the whole idea isn't about ticking off a fancy checklist someone's compiled, or returning from your daily practise to congratulate yourself on 'attaining' such and such a state.

While there may be some medical benefit to some of these postures - (increasing blood flow to certain internal organs for instance) in the main they aren't especially useful to meditative practise. Any position that can be adopted compfortably and encourages a straight spine will do. Some of the more colourful positions could be useful if you're engaged in exploring how body position affects mood, and could be usefully explored alongside the forms of dance, but that's a different area of study.

My practice for the past three years or so is now soley yoga-based. It's been with me for several years (before my exposure to Crowley) and have determined it is most effective for me as it synthesizes all of the other methods I've worked with. I'll admit my practice has been influenced by my knowledge and use of methods promulgated by Crowley et al; e.g, an invocation ritual with Vedic and Hindu godforms at the four quarters. I don't see why it wouldn't be influenced in that way. It's the same path, after all.

It it works - great! πŸ™‚

And that's the bottom line really, isn't it? There are all sort's of weird and wonderful yogic practises that have arisen in this very rich tradition, but the task of the modern practitioner is to find what's actually useful. My yoga teacher told me of practise where yogi's used to ingest long bit's of cloth and pull them out the other end to clean up the intestines etc. and while this feat may be an extrodinary demonstration of control over intestinal muscles and the gag reflex, I doubt it will open the gates to Nirvana. πŸ˜€


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 Anonymous
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05/02/2010 5:56 pm  

In my experience it has seemed to me that mystical and magical experiences were very physiological rather than metaphysical, on every level. And thus all occult abilities build off of the natural abilities inherent in human beings, our "divine power and authority" if you would. All men and women are each a special kind of artist, and born magicians, though we seem to have forgotten.
Further it has always seemed to me that many of the higher mystical experiences had their physiological basis in some of the more primitive brain and bodily functions. For instance Samadhi is likely the result of many of the brains more conscious functions shutting down allowing more primal brain functions and states of consciousness to come into the spotlight of awareness. Likewise, the chemicals introduced into the brain by DMT and MOAI's are chemicals that naturally occur in the brain, which are believed to be released in larger doses when the body is near death.
That mystical experiences and magical phenomena are perfectly natural and physiological does not, in my opinion, "explain them away" and make them somehow less significant or somehow irrelevant or less sacred somehow but the opposite.

Consider imagination, the image making faculty, it allows us to "play with imaginary friends" as one poster put it. This image making faculty is a natural faculty, and like any other natural ability, it can be developed and strengthened, clearly a function of the brain. Does this explain away spiritual or mystical visions, astral projection and similar activities? That lies in whether or not you believe the imagination to be an image MAKING faculty, or an image RECEIVING faculty, or functional as BOTH.

Starting out, it is rather easy to see how keeping a record of these activities would help one keep track of their progress.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
05/02/2010 6:12 pm  

Crowley put together a system that combined the practices of Raja Yoga and Ceremonial Magic. Liber E and Liber O present the most basic skills one would need develop to be successful in either one of these activities, and can be viewed as rough guidlines. Some may be more inclined toward one or the other method, but in this case some experience with one or the other may be helpful. Those inclined more toward Ceremonial Magic won't find the practices of Raja Yoga altogether appealing or necessary, but the ability to quietly meditate, relax, and concentrate will be extreme importance to the magician, likewise the Yoga practitioner may find that simple ceremonies and rituals may assist in projecting the thoughts and faculties like through a funnel.
Of course the systems presented by Crowley aren't the only systems available and individuals may find other systems and practices more to their liking, but they should develop the mystical and magical faculties in much the same way, such as various Shamanic practices would etc.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
05/02/2010 6:24 pm  
"AEternitas" wrote:
In my experience it has seemed to me that mystical and magical experiences were very physiological rather than metaphysical, on every level. And thus all occult abilities build off of the natural abilities inherent in human beings, our "divine power and authority" if you would. All men and women are each a special kind of artist, and born magicians, though we seem to have forgotten.
Further it has always seemed to me that many of the higher mystical experiences had their physiological basis in some of the more primitive brain and bodily functions. For instance Samadhi is likely the result of many of the brains more conscious functions shutting down allowing more primal brain functions and states of consciousness to come into the spotlight of awareness. Likewise, the chemicals introduced into the brain by DMT and MOAI's are chemicals that naturally occur in the brain, which are believed to be released in larger doses when the body is near death.
That mystical experiences and magical phenomena are perfectly natural and physiological does not, in my opinion, "explain them away" and make them somehow less significant or somehow irrelevant or less sacred somehow but the opposite.

Consider imagination, the image making faculty, it allows us to "play with imaginary friends" as one poster put it. This image making faculty is a natural faculty, and like any other natural ability, it can be developed and strengthened, clearly a function of the brain. Does this explain away spiritual or mystical visions, astral projection and similar activities? That lies in whether or not you believe the imagination to be an image MAKING faculty, or an image RECEIVING faculty, or functional as BOTH.

93,

It's a question of explanatory contexts. You are using the physicalist model to explain the mystical experiences. I think they should be put the other way around, because without positing something Divine or some true insight into the nature of reality, all we have is meat interacting with meat, and there is no reason to be any more interested in mystical experiences than watching TV except the intensity of experience. If you use the physicalist model to explain mystical experiences, if you say they are the result of just neurons firing, then what is the justification for saying they are insights of any kind?

If you are simply saying that our meat does stuff as a mechanism for mystical experiences, then I agree. If you are placing mysticism and magick within a completely physicalist model, then there is no more reason to consider a mystical experience a real insight than an itch. It's all a question of what the explanatory framework is...a purely physicalist model will allow for mystical experiences that are of the same order as any other physical process, but they will only contain real insight accidentally. You might have true belief but it won't be justified. In order for a mystical experience to be any kind of real insight, not a piece of glorified self-therapy or a seizure, then the mystical experience has to be predicated on a mystical reality, not on a physical reality.

So it all comes down to...what do you think is causing it? If it's just physical then you have mystical experiences (and thoughts, for that matter) the way you have an itch; it's not a real insight into anything. Having a thought or a mystical experience would be equivalent to a property about you, like hair color. If you wish for anything going on in your psyche to be a real insight into reality, you must predicate it on something else that both allows it to have an insight and something for that insight to be about. It all comes down to what is ontologically prior...the content of the experience or the bodily mechanism which allows for the experience? This is true of physical realities as much as mystical realities...we must posit both external realities to perceive and their effects upon the senses to be real to say our awareness of the physical world is a real insight into reality. I am just saying you have to have it the same way to make mystical and magickal perceptions real insights, as well.

Essentially, if mystical experiences are just interesting states of consciousness that come about due to manipulating our brain chemistry, then they are not insights into any kind of truth except by accident. If this is the case, then it makes more sense to play with drugs than pursue magick or mysticism...it's easier and (in opportunity costs if nothing else) cheaper. It's only if these experiences give us a true insight into the nature of reality and our place in it that all of this becomes justified.

Of course, just my opinions.

93, 93/93


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
05/02/2010 6:31 pm  
"thePuck" wrote:
"AEternitas" wrote:
In my experience it has seemed to me that mystical and magical experiences were very physiological rather than metaphysical, on every level. And thus all occult abilities build off of the natural abilities inherent in human beings, our "divine power and authority" if you would. All men and women are each a special kind of artist, and born magicians, though we seem to have forgotten.
Further it has always seemed to me that many of the higher mystical experiences had their physiological basis in some of the more primitive brain and bodily functions. For instance Samadhi is likely the result of many of the brains more conscious functions shutting down allowing more primal brain functions and states of consciousness to come into the spotlight of awareness. Likewise, the chemicals introduced into the brain by DMT and MOAI's are chemicals that naturally occur in the brain, which are believed to be released in larger doses when the body is near death.
That mystical experiences and magical phenomena are perfectly natural and physiological does not, in my opinion, "explain them away" and make them somehow less significant or somehow irrelevant or less sacred somehow but the opposite.

Consider imagination, the image making faculty, it allows us to "play with imaginary friends" as one poster put it. This image making faculty is a natural faculty, and like any other natural ability, it can be developed and strengthened, clearly a function of the brain. Does this explain away spiritual or mystical visions, astral projection and similar activities? That lies in whether or not you believe the imagination to be an image MAKING faculty, or an image RECEIVING faculty, or functional as BOTH.

93,

It's a question of explanatory contexts. You are using the physicalist model to explain the mystical experiences. I think they should be put the other way around, because without positing something Divine or some true insight into the nature of reality, all we have is meat interacting with meat, and there is no reason to be any more interested in mystical experiences than watching TV except the intensity of experience. If you use the physicalist model to explain mystical experiences, if you say they are the result of just neurons firing, then what is the justification for saying they are insights of any kind?

If you are simply saying that our meat does stuff as a mechanism for mystical experiences, then I agree. If you are placing mysticism and magick within a completely physicalist model, then there is no more reason to consider a mystical experience a real insight than an itch. It's all a question of what the explanatory framework is...a purely physicalist model will allow for mystical experiences that are of the same order as any other physical process, but they will only contain real insight accidentally. You might have true belief but it won't be justified. In order for a mystical experience to be any kind of real insight, not a piece of glorified self-therapy or a seizure, then the mystical experience has to be predicated on a mystical reality, not on a physical reality.

So it all comes down to...what do you think is causing it? If it's just physical than you have mystical experiences (and thoughts, for that matter) the way you have an itch; it's not a real insight into anything. Having a thought or a mystical experience would be equivalent to a property about you, like hair color. If you wish for anything going on in your psyche to be a real insight into reality, you must predicate it on something else that both allows it to have an insight and something for that insight to be about. It all comes down to what is ontologically prior...the content of the experience or the bodily mechanism which allows for the experience? This is true of physical realities as much as mystical realities...we must posit both external realities to perceive and their effects upon the senses to be real to say our awareness of the physical world is a real insight into reality. I am just saying you have to have it the same way to make mystical and magickal perceptions real insights, as well.

Essentially, if mystical experiences are just interesting states of consciousness that come about due to manipulating our brain chemistry, then they are not insights into any kind of truth except by accident. If this is the case, then it makes more sense to play with drugs than pursue magick or mysticism...it's easier and (in opportunity costs if nothing else) cheaper. It's only if these experiences give us a true insight into the nature of reality and our place in it that all of this becomes justified.

Of course, just my opinions.

93, 93/93

Yes I am saying that our "meat" is the mechanism. I am not saying that is all their is to it, the universe is a strange and amazing place and I can't ossibly try to explain how it all works. But I think the attitude that the body is just "meat", that the physical and natural world are somehow inferior to some mystical spiritual distant world is a bit outmoded. Nature is an expression of the Divine and spiritual.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
05/02/2010 6:33 pm  
"AEternitas" wrote:
"thePuck" wrote:
"AEternitas" wrote:
In my experience it has seemed to me that mystical and magical experiences were very physiological rather than metaphysical, on every level. And thus all occult abilities build off of the natural abilities inherent in human beings, our "divine power and authority" if you would. All men and women are each a special kind of artist, and born magicians, though we seem to have forgotten.
Further it has always seemed to me that many of the higher mystical experiences had their physiological basis in some of the more primitive brain and bodily functions. For instance Samadhi is likely the result of many of the brains more conscious functions shutting down allowing more primal brain functions and states of consciousness to come into the spotlight of awareness. Likewise, the chemicals introduced into the brain by DMT and MOAI's are chemicals that naturally occur in the brain, which are believed to be released in larger doses when the body is near death.
That mystical experiences and magical phenomena are perfectly natural and physiological does not, in my opinion, "explain them away" and make them somehow less significant or somehow irrelevant or less sacred somehow but the opposite.

Consider imagination, the image making faculty, it allows us to "play with imaginary friends" as one poster put it. This image making faculty is a natural faculty, and like any other natural ability, it can be developed and strengthened, clearly a function of the brain. Does this explain away spiritual or mystical visions, astral projection and similar activities? That lies in whether or not you believe the imagination to be an image MAKING faculty, or an image RECEIVING faculty, or functional as BOTH.

93,

It's a question of explanatory contexts. You are using the physicalist model to explain the mystical experiences. I think they should be put the other way around, because without positing something Divine or some true insight into the nature of reality, all we have is meat interacting with meat, and there is no reason to be any more interested in mystical experiences than watching TV except the intensity of experience. If you use the physicalist model to explain mystical experiences, if you say they are the result of just neurons firing, then what is the justification for saying they are insights of any kind?

If you are simply saying that our meat does stuff as a mechanism for mystical experiences, then I agree. If you are placing mysticism and magick within a completely physicalist model, then there is no more reason to consider a mystical experience a real insight than an itch. It's all a question of what the explanatory framework is...a purely physicalist model will allow for mystical experiences that are of the same order as any other physical process, but they will only contain real insight accidentally. You might have true belief but it won't be justified. In order for a mystical experience to be any kind of real insight, not a piece of glorified self-therapy or a seizure, then the mystical experience has to be predicated on a mystical reality, not on a physical reality.

So it all comes down to...what do you think is causing it? If it's just physical than you have mystical experiences (and thoughts, for that matter) the way you have an itch; it's not a real insight into anything. Having a thought or a mystical experience would be equivalent to a property about you, like hair color. If you wish for anything going on in your psyche to be a real insight into reality, you must predicate it on something else that both allows it to have an insight and something for that insight to be about. It all comes down to what is ontologically prior...the content of the experience or the bodily mechanism which allows for the experience? This is true of physical realities as much as mystical realities...we must posit both external realities to perceive and their effects upon the senses to be real to say our awareness of the physical world is a real insight into reality. I am just saying you have to have it the same way to make mystical and magickal perceptions real insights, as well.

Essentially, if mystical experiences are just interesting states of consciousness that come about due to manipulating our brain chemistry, then they are not insights into any kind of truth except by accident. If this is the case, then it makes more sense to play with drugs than pursue magick or mysticism...it's easier and (in opportunity costs if nothing else) cheaper. It's only if these experiences give us a true insight into the nature of reality and our place in it that all of this becomes justified.

Of course, just my opinions.

93, 93/93

Yes I am saying that our "meat" is the mechanism. I am not saying that is all their is to it, the universe is a strange and amazing place and I can't ossibly try to explain how it all works. But I think the attitude that the body is just "meat", that the physical and natural world are somehow inferior to some mystical spiritual distant world is a bit outmoded. Nature is an expression of the Divine and spiritual.

93,

Then we are in complete agreement. I am not trying to claim the meat is lower...I am claiming that in order for mystical experiences to be real insights there has be a mystical reality for them to refer to, just like for physical reality.

93, 93/93


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
05/02/2010 7:20 pm  
"thePuck" wrote:
It's a question of explanatory contexts. You are using the physicalist model to explain the mystical experiences. I think they should be put the other way around, because without positing something Divine or some true insight into the nature of reality, all we have is meat interacting with meat, and there is no reason to be any more interested in mystical experiences than watching TV except the intensity of experience. If you use the physicalist model to explain mystical experiences, if you say they are the result of just neurons firing, then what is the justification for saying they are insights of any kind?

Well, you might gain more insight into the nature of your own true Will by better use of your "meat" than just watching TV with it. If true Will is just a "meaty" matter, it really doesn't change things, true Will still remains to be known and done. πŸ™‚


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 Anonymous
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05/02/2010 7:22 pm  

Instead of the word "meat", how about the word secretion.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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05/02/2010 7:27 pm  
"Camlion" wrote:
"thePuck" wrote:
It's a question of explanatory contexts. You are using the physicalist model to explain the mystical experiences. I think they should be put the other way around, because without positing something Divine or some true insight into the nature of reality, all we have is meat interacting with meat, and there is no reason to be any more interested in mystical experiences than watching TV except the intensity of experience. If you use the physicalist model to explain mystical experiences, if you say they are the result of just neurons firing, then what is the justification for saying they are insights of any kind?

Well, you might gain more insight into the nature of your own true Will by better use of your "meat" than just watching TV with it. If true Will is just a "meaty" matter, it really doesn't change things, true Will still remains to be known and done. πŸ™‚

93,

But it seems that if True Will is purely a "meaty matter" then there is no reason to privilege it over any other impulse.

93, 93/93


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
05/02/2010 7:51 pm  
"thePuck" wrote:
"Camlion" wrote:
"thePuck" wrote:
It's a question of explanatory contexts. You are using the physicalist model to explain the mystical experiences. I think they should be put the other way around, because without positing something Divine or some true insight into the nature of reality, all we have is meat interacting with meat, and there is no reason to be any more interested in mystical experiences than watching TV except the intensity of experience. If you use the physicalist model to explain mystical experiences, if you say they are the result of just neurons firing, then what is the justification for saying they are insights of any kind?

Well, you might gain more insight into the nature of your own true Will by better use of your "meat" than just watching TV with it. If true Will is just a "meaty" matter, it really doesn't change things, true Will still remains to be known and done. πŸ™‚

93,

But it seems that if True Will is purely a "meaty matter" then there is no reason to privilege it over any other impulse.

93, 93/93

On the contrary, true Will should have the highest priority because, even if merely a "matter of meat," it is the primary function of the organism in question, ourselves in this case. The facts that our primary functions vary so greatly from one individual to another and that some of us have lost track of those primary functions (mostly by way of distraction) only complicates matters more, but true Will remains the priority regardless of whether we choose to see it as 'organic' or as 'divine' or even if we find a way of identifying the one with the other.


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Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
05/02/2010 7:52 pm  

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

"thePuck" wrote:
without positing something Divine or some true insight into the nature of reality, all we have is meat interacting with meat, and there is no reason to be any more interested in mystical experiences than watching TV except the intensity of experience.

And except, of course, for one's Will. It may be one person's will to watch TV, another's to meditate, and another's to play golf. Each activity is equally a manifestation of Nuit and equally offers the possibility for insight.

If it's just physical then you have mystical experiences (and thoughts, for that matter) the way you have an itch; it's not a real insight into anything.

That's more or less correct. Of course, enlightenment consists of more than just generating trances. Meditation is largely training in concentration, and it enables one to pay more attention to reality. There might be some interesting bumps on the road -- or itches, if you will -- but those experiences are all in the nature of "breaks."


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Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 4060
05/02/2010 7:52 pm  
"AEternitas" wrote:
. . . That lies in whether or not you believe the imagination to be an image MAKING faculty, or an image RECEIVING faculty, or functional as BOTH.

Quick, cuts to the.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
05/02/2010 7:55 pm  
"Camlion" wrote:
On the contrary, true Will should have the highest priority because, even if merely a "matter of meat," it is the primary function of the organism in question, ourselves in this case.

Precisely right. You can't help but do your true will, so you might as well do it better. Whether it's "meat" -- i.e. rooted in the physical world, as everything seems to be -- or magic fairy dust is irrelevant.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
05/02/2010 7:57 pm  
"Camlion" wrote:
Well, you might gain more insight into the nature of your own true Will by better use of your "meat" than just watching TV with it. If true Will is just a "meaty" matter, it really doesn't change things, true Will still remains to be known and done. πŸ™‚

Well - why judge anothers Will in this way Camlion? It might be his/her future to be a publicist, spin doctor, or politician - in which case watching TV closely and with attention may be entirely in league with his/her true will.

Nemo?


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
05/02/2010 8:18 pm  
"alrah" wrote:
"Camlion" wrote:
Well, you might gain more insight into the nature of your own true Will by better use of your "meat" than just watching TV with it. If true Will is just a "meaty" matter, it really doesn't change things, true Will still remains to be known and done. πŸ™‚

Well - why judge anothers Will in this way Camlion? It might be his/her future to be a publicist, spin doctor, or politician - in which case watching TV closely and with attention may be entirely in league with his/her true will.

Nemo?

Pardon the generality, Alrah. (I was following an example provided thePuck.) Of course, any activity required in support of true Will is necessary, including recreation. I was not judging another's Will. πŸ™„


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 Anonymous
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05/02/2010 8:22 pm  

I wan't judging your true will on whether you were judging mine and various echo's of that loosly related to the puck as the matter entered the event horizon. πŸ˜‰


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 Anonymous
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05/02/2010 8:59 pm  

93,

Without the notion that the meat can have a true insight into the nature of reality, there is no reason to think there is a Will for the meat to have, or that if it does there is anything particularly important about it. You can try for some sort of functionalism, but it doesn't get you what you want...you need something in the psyche to have a principled basis for saying the Will is privileged over whim or the will of the many or whatever. Without a true insight into reality, there is nothing to predicate this on at all.

Put another way: if physicalism is true, then what you perceive as your thoughts, opinions, reasonings, and Will are simply the result of a series of mechanical processes, the same as your genes or your physical circumstances, and thus your Will is no more a real "reason" to do something, nor your reasoning a reason to believe something, than your hair color is. The proper response when you make a proposition about something, whether it be what your Will is or what 2+2 equals, would be "Oh, have you?" just like if you said you had a headache.

Thus, if we say that the reasonings about True Will existing, being desirable, having justificatory power for actions, being the core principle for behavior, etc. are "true", then we need something to base that truth on, a true insight into a state of affairs in the world that has the possibility of stating that "the propositions of the worldview called 'Thelema' are correct". Only if we can make that contention can we then say the Will is privileged over other impulses, say towards herd-conformity, etc.

Essentially, the concept of the True Will is only valid under some sort of idealism; physicalism doesn't let us have a "True" anything, and it gives us no principled reason to claims the Will is privileged over any other impulse, and generally makes your Will on a matter epiphenomenal. You can say the "True Will" is equivalent to instinct, but I think if you analyze all of your instincts you will find they don't go very far, and certainly don't far enough to explain most decisions you will need an appeal to "True Will" to decide. You can say the True Will is equivalent to our intuitions, but then it must be pointed out that under a physicalist model there is no reason to believe our intuitions give us true insights either. The same thing applies to our reason and our ability to see that things "follow". There is no reason to expect evolution to create "truth detectors" just because the idea makes us comfortable...evolution only cares about survival and reproduction, thus if it were adaptive to believe false things we would have evolved to believe false things.

93, 93/93


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 Anonymous
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Posts: 0
05/02/2010 9:40 pm  

I do know where you're coming from, thePuck, and you are not alone among Thelemites. If I may paraphrase from what I've said here before with regard to religion, there is 'physicalism' in Thelema for those that require it; and there is also freedom from 'physicalism' in Thelema for those that require it. In either case, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." Thelemites do vary in how the structure of concepts resonate with them, which is a fact that is not well tolerated by some, but it's perfectly fine with me.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
06/02/2010 4:34 am  

"Quick, cuts to the."

I'm afraid that went right over my daft skull.


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 Anonymous
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06/02/2010 4:56 am  
"thePuck" wrote:
If you use the physicalist model to explain mystical experiences, if you say they are the result of just neurons firing, then what is the justification for saying they are insights of any kind?

I don't believe in any sort of physicalist model, but realize that mystical experiences involve physiological processes. I also don't see mystical experiences as just being some sort of "truthful insight," as they can easily lead to obsession and megalomania.

"thePuck" wrote:
It's all a question of what the explanatory framework is...a purely physicalist model will allow for mystical experiences that are of the same order as any other physical process, but they will only contain real insight accidentally. You might have true belief but it won't be justified. In order for a mystical experience to be any kind of real insight, not a piece of glorified self-therapy or a seizure, then the mystical experience has to be predicated on a mystical reality, not on a physical reality.

I have always found even the most physical levels of reality to be quite mystical.

"thePuck" wrote:
Essentially, if mystical experiences are just interesting states of consciousness that come about due to manipulating our brain chemistry, then they are not insights into any kind of truth except by accident. If this is the case, then it makes more sense to play with drugs than pursue magick or mysticism...it's easier and (in opportunity costs if nothing else) cheaper. It's only if these experiences give us a true insight into the nature of reality and our place in it that all of this becomes justified.

Changes in our "brain chemistry" have a drastic affect on our state of consciousness, whether through drugs, intense emotional states or the practices of magick and mysticism. Such states can give us much more to offer than being interesting. Aside from leading to new insights and understandings, non ordinary states of consciousness also provide us with non ordinary abilities, such as astral projection, the ability to perceive and interact with "spirits" of various kinds, and super human feats of strength. It matters very little if you do this by the controlled intake of "drugs" or through mystical training exercises. Experiences are worth having for experience sake, and I can think of few experiences that don't lead to some degree of new insight.

After reading over this thread, I suddenly want a cheese burger.


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Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
06/02/2010 8:38 pm  
"thePuck" wrote:
Without the notion that the meat can have a true insight into the nature of reality, there is no reason to think there is a Will for the meat to have, or that if it does there is anything particularly important about it.

Well, Will isn't "important" -- it's what you are and what you do, so you might as well do it better and better, which is what Thelema is about. The reason we privilege it over "whim" is that whim isn't you -- it's what your mind fancies that you are or should be.

To do the will better, we do need an insight into reality, but that insight involves perceiving the ways that our beliefs, assumptions, emotions, and thoughts veil reality from us. That's enlightenment, not the generation of trances. If all you do is generate trances, and you don't improve your perception of reality in day to day life, then you might as well be watching TV.

Just because our minds are rooted in our physical brains doesn't mean that there's no such thing as paying attention and distinguishing reality from our false ideas about it.


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Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 4060
06/02/2010 9:45 pm  
"AEternitas" wrote:
"Quick, cuts to the."

I'm afraid that went right over my daft skull.

I was expressing my appreciation of your remark, which I thought particularly succinct. Sorry to have been a bit obscure.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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