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 Anonymous
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25/03/2010 6:18 am  

Well, I just a discussion on this very point with an 8=3 in the A.A. lineage of the ToT.


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 Anonymous
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25/03/2010 6:25 am  

I'm sorry, what are you saying? That the AA does actually require candidates to bind Demonic Princes? Because I'm rather certain that is factually incorrect. Perhaps some task or experience may be analogous to this action, but the specific ritual that you mentioned is not required.


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 Anonymous
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25/03/2010 6:30 am  

And where are all these Magister Templi's coming from anyway?

What is the ToT?


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the_real_simon_iff
(@the_real_simon_iff)
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25/03/2010 7:19 am  
"Petros" wrote:
i am curious as to where the above quote comes from?

The Confessions, Chapter 68: http://hermetic.com/crowley/confessions/chapter68.html

Love=Law
Lutz


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the_real_simon_iff
(@the_real_simon_iff)
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25/03/2010 7:24 am  
"AEternitas" wrote:
What is the ToT?

Temple of Thelema: http://www.thelema.org/temple_of_thelema/index.html

Love=Law
Lutz


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 Anonymous
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25/03/2010 8:49 am  
"AEternitas" wrote:
And where are all these Magister Templi's coming from anyway?

Do you acknowledge that adepts can arise from different systems, or from outside a system? 🙂


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
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25/03/2010 1:53 pm  

Erwin,

"Erwin" wrote:
As I have pointed out I think it is very misleading to describe this type of "knowledge" - i.e. "absolute" knowledge or "ultimate" knowledge - as "real", or "true", when you acknowledge that it is the type of knowledge that nobody has. I am of the opinion that one should only apply terms such as "real" and "true" to things that actually exist, and if we apply them to things which we believe we have philosophically proven to not exist, then we are misusing language.
[and earlier on:]
if you're talking about a type of knowledge which you freely admit that nobody has, then "false knowledge" - or "imaginary knowledge" if you prefer - is a much better term for it than "true knowledge"

This false syllogism:
“True knowledge cannot exist [in the “real world”], therefore true knowledge is false knowledge.”
is of exactly the same form as:
“An imaginary number cannot exist [on the number scale], therefore imaginary numbers are real numbers.”

Of course, if you equate “existence” with “truth”, as you do (“in [your] opinion”), then it works because you can rewrite it like this:
“True knowledge cannot be true, therefore true knowledge is false knowledge.”
But it is based, fundamentally, only on an assertion of “real world”=truth (i.e., a glyph for materialism). And it is an assertion of this sort that (necessarily) underpins your central argument.

Now, whilst the knowledge paradox shows that we cannot conceive of the universe in terms of rational ideas (no “true [rational] knowledge”), it doesn’t rule out the existence of some other form of awareness (i.e., something non-rational and hence not covered by the knowledge paradox) that is different and possibly more (or less) absolute than knowledge. And of course you are asserting something of this sort when you talk about the “real world” truth of simple cognitions; and this is precisely what mystics do, with precisely the same level of rational justification (i.e., none).

As for the flawless blue diamond, I could indeed speak of a real flawless blue diamond because that is not by any means a thing that can’t exist, it’s just extremely unlikely that one will ever be found on this earth (at least, if I understand my jeweller friend’s comments correctly). However, that is not the point.

Now (to move on to the central area of disagreement), what you say in your remaining paragraphs and in your follow-up post is that the very question “what is a cat?” (the question which begins the knowledge paradox), implies in our very understanding and interpretation of that question a notion of absolute knowledge that is not inherent in the original cognition of a cat, and that therefore something fantastical is being added to the mix which then requires answering and which did not previously require answering, such as in the simple cognition of a cat. In that sense, you say, the cognition of a cat tells us something about the “real world”, whereas the follow-up question “what is a cat?” only tells us about our own ideas. Or, in a slightly different and more general formulation, “impression-->idea1” is “real-worldly” whereas “idea1-->idea2” is not.

Firstly, whilst I wouldn’t object to the idea of “absolute knowledge” being inherent in the question “what is a cat?”, I don’t think this is actually the case, because the question fundamentally only talks about rational (i.e., non-absolute) knowledge; and then, finding rational knowledge cannot answer any of our questions about the universe, we infer the lack of an “absolute [rational] knowledge” (saying nothing about other forms of awareness).

So, bearing this in mind, I think a better formulation of your objection would be to state that the question “what is a cat?” simply deals with the mentally recalled idea of “cat”, rather than the original idea “cat”, which (you assert) still represents the “real world” despite what the knowledge paradox says about ideas. To put it another way, “cat” when arising as a result of an external impression, is a first-order idea, whereas any attempt to think about it (i.e., to recall its image) and relate it to other ideas makes it a second-order idea (and thus, in your book, a fantasy). (At this stage we risk nullifying the Hume-esque terminology I have employed to distinguish impressions from ideas, but I will skip over that for the sake of simplicity.)

To put it another way, you are saying that the new-born idea is a virgin, but ravished when she becomes the plaything of the mind. Maybe you are taking this view because perhaps you think this is the 8°=3□ viewpoint: the virgin Malkuth raised above reason to Binah and so on. Unfortunately, as you must realise, you cannot do aught but assert her virginity, since any argument about her virginity involves the kind of ravishment, or idea-manipulation, you so despise. This is a very fundamental point.

But the deeper problem I have with your position is that there is no real justification for asserting that the original idea “cat” is qualitatively better as a representation of the “real world” than a second-order idea. It arose by an act of the mind, which (I have been arguing) resolves impressions from the senses in a similar way to the conscious mind, and thus fundamentally rationalizes the “real world”, boxing the virgin universe into a nice little package which does not represent her in a necessarily better way than so-called “second-order ideas”. The only justification for your position is if you make a distinction between unconscious processes and conscious ones, and this is the root of your contention and why I have chosen this basis to attack it.

To put it another way, it seems reasonable from the standpoint of cognitive science to say that the formation of the original idea “cat” involves manipulation of ideas, even if subconscious; so your objection to ideas only arises when we begin to consciously perform analysis. Therefore it seems you regard the sin to be with consciousness. My view is that, whilst non-interference from the conscious mind may indeed provide a more immediately grounded snapshot of the universe than conscious idea-manipulation, your emphasis on the unconscious seems profoundly anti-intellectual, since it is also clearly the case that the greatest achievements of mankind have come from just such “idea-manipulation” that do relate back to the “real world”, thus providing a posteriori validation for idea-manipulation being “real-worldly” too.

Also, in dismissing idea-manipulation as fantastical, or saying that it only tells us about our own ideas, you tend towards dismissing the possibility of any higher-order functions of the mind (which you elsewhere make explicit), including those not covered by the knowledge paradox. However, in saying that your original idea “cat” isn’t covered by the knowledge paradox, you consequently open the door to the possibility of there being other functions of the mind that are more “real-worldly” than the conscious mind (as I would argue, though in a different way); however you dismiss these as fantastical with the same arbitrariness that you assert the virginity of your idea "cat", apparently because you haven’t been able to validate them yourself, in the same way you can when looking at a cat and noticing the sharpness of her claws. I regard this as a highly dogmatic and pedagogical position too.


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 Anonymous
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25/03/2010 1:57 pm  

tai - this is getting beyond absurd.

If you come to the home of the Aleister Crowley Society, repeatedly claim that your bizarre and barking mad inventions have anything to do with Crowley, repeatedly get demonstrated to be false, then go scuttling off to Jim Eschelman's forums to try to remedy your confusion there, and then come back here as if you have any of your own ideas, then the kind of thing that's about to happen to you is exactly what you can expect.

"tai" wrote:
That’s why Crowley writes many people may go through the “ordeals and attain the degrees” of the A.'. A.'. without ever hearing that such an Order exists. “Ordeals and degrees” means the hierarchy of the inner planes are the same for anyone who works through them, regardless of whether they are in the A.A. or attaining naturally. Crowley never stated these planes do not exist. Anyone who starts to work through the inner planes will encounter Yetzirah. Otherwise one must conclude that the person never moved beyond Assiah.

We've already established that you have pretty much no familiarity with Magick in Theory and Practice - not to mention his other works - by your hilarious claim that one of Crowley's own footnotes was written by "some insane commentator", despite your ridiculous and hamfisted later attempt to claim that really you meant it was Crowley because "all things in the Abyss are appearances that are Insane Delusions."

You presume to try and lecture me to "Read up on the A.A. gradework" but if you actually took your own advice, and went to One Star in Sight which is the primary document concerning that "A.A. gradework" in Crowley's most popular and well-known published work, then you'd find this:

"Any neophyte of the Order (or, as some say, any person soever) possesses the right to claim the Grade of Master of the Temple by taking the Oath of the Grade."

Bill Breeze, in his introduction to Liber Aleph, also states that:

"A.'.A.'. tradition holds that any aspirant may take the Oath of the Abyss"

a tradition which you, evidently, are completely unaware of.

Further, if you had even the slightest of passing familiarities with Crowley's work and with the history of Crowley's A.'.A.'. then you'd be aware of what just about everyone else here knows, which is that C.S. Jones did exactly that, leaping all the way up from Neophyte to Magister Templi simply by taking the Oath, and that Crowley accepted his claim. In a 1925 letter Crowley wrote to Jones that:

"I can only repeat once again my very serious warning that unless you kill out that inflamed ego, go back and steadily work through the grades you jumped so gaily, and adopt an attitude of probity and brotherhood with your fellow-workers, you will come to the most almighty everlasting smash in the history of - Chicago!"

showing that he did indeed accept that Jones had "jumped" the intervening grades. Further, in his commentary to AL II, 76, he refers to Jones as "Fra. A.'.A.'. 8=3, Actaeon". It is true that Crowley later seems to have concluded that Jones claimed the grade presumptuously, echoing his comments in One Star in Sight that "It is hardly necessary to observe that to do so is the most sublime and awful responsibility which it is possible to assume, and an unworthy person who does so incurs the most terrific penalties by his presumption", but this does not change the fact that Jones did jump straight from Neophyte to Magister Templi, that Crowley did accept his claim, and that he was an 8=3 in Crowley's A.'.A.'. for years.

Thus, you talk about the "A.'.A.'. gradework" as "all this is long before attempting the unthinkable of crossing the Abyss to claim 8=3. Mind you, this is what Crowley wrote", but as anyone can plainly see, and as you would be able to see if you'd taken your own advice and actually read Crowley on this subject, it is not what he said at all. This is nothing but a whacked out story that you have invented.

With regards to your idea in general that "anyone who starts to work through the inner planes will encounter Yetzirah. Otherwise one must conclude that the person never moved beyond Assiah" is also flatly contradicted by Crowley in One Star in Sight which, I must point out again, appears in his most popular and well-known work, and is the primary reference for the "A.'.A.'. gradework" which you falsely claim to be so well-read on (emphasis added):

"The outline given of the several successive steps is exact; the two crises - the Angel and the Abyss - are necessary features in every career. The other tasks are not always accomplished in the order given here." The purpose of having a rigorous curriculum - in Crowley's theory - is not because it is necessary to attain, but because "in no case is it safe for a man to neglect to master any single detail, however dreary and distasteful it may seem...Worse, one were shamed for ever if one's inferior should happen to ask for advice and aid on that subject and one were to fail in service to him! His failure --- one's own failure also! No step, however well won for oneself, till he is ready for his own advance!" which he says in the same work, and also because as he says in the Confessions (emphasis added):

"I had got to learn that all roads lead to Rome. It is proper, more, it is prudent, more yet, it is educative, for the aspirant to pursue all possible Ways to Wisdom. Thus he broadens the base of his Pyramid, thus he diminishes the probability of missing the method which happens to suit him best"

showing Crowley acknowledging that the idea one must follow the entirety of the instructions of the A.'.A.'. in order to "attain", and that those instructions or the theory behind them represent the only way to attain, is absolutely absurd.

The point I have been repeatedly trying to make here is that you are absolutely clueless about any of this. For someone coming here, to the home of the Aleister Crowley Society, trying to lay down the law about what the A.'.A.'. is, or what Crowley thought on the matter, you show an absolutely shocking lack of familiarity with either of them. What you are doing is simply inventing a lot of barking mad and silly shit and pretending that it has anything to do with Crowley, and when you come to a place like this to try and lecture people who know vastly more than you do on the subject, this is the kind of thing that's going to happen to you. You are a rank beginner trying to lecture others on matters which you clearly have practically no conception of whatsoever, and it's absolutely ridiculous.

Of course, you're at liberty to go scuttling back to Eshelman to see if you can get a response to this latest demonstration of your woeful ignorance that you can claim is your own, but for the love of Thor, if you've been getting your information from a guy who is prepared to publicly come out and claim that victims of racism, Jews gassed in concentration camps, and paedophile victims "pick the essential elements of [their] lives in advance and enter into them as an act of choice" and then to claim that spouting this outrageous nonsense is "instructing [people] in how the universe works" then you've only got yourself to blame for the abject confusion you end up in.

For goodness' sake, just take a step back and try to objectively look at what you're doing here, because I predict you're going to be heading for the classic occultist nervous meltdown if you keep going in this direction. Stop pretending - and particularly stop trying to convince yourself - that you have knowledge which you obviously don't.


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 Anonymous
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25/03/2010 2:04 pm  

Ian - thanks for your response. I'll reply to it later today.


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 Anonymous
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25/03/2010 3:02 pm  
"Erwin" wrote:
"Any neophyte of the Order (or, as some say, any person soever) possesses the right to claim the Grade of Master of the Temple by taking the Oath of the Grade."

Great example of Crowley's clever use of English. Who are those who say any person soever can claim the grade in question? Should we take them seriously?

"Erwin" wrote:
Bill Breeze, in his introduction to Liber Aleph, also states that:

"A.'.A.'. tradition holds that any aspirant may take the Oath of the Abyss"

What is the definition of an aspirant in the context of the A.'.A.'.?


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
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25/03/2010 3:24 pm  

Los,

"Los" wrote:
I've been away for a little while (celebrating the Equinox), and I've been delighted to see the development of the conversation between Erwin and Ian.

Glad to hear it's been productive for you. I've also found it to be a worthwhile exercise.

"Los" wrote:
"ianrons" wrote:
it shows us that knowledge cannot be absolute. We cannot draw too many conclusions from this, except that it opens the possibility that there may be other modes of apprehension

Absolute knowledge may in fact be impossible because absolute knowledge probably doesn't exist. If we can all agree that there's no such thing as absolute knowledge, then it's pointless to talk about it; demonstrating that something that doesn't exist is impossible doesn't actually demonstrate anything at all, and it doesn't tell us anything about what does exist.

I don't think the knowledge paradox is a waste of time, or that it demonstrates nothing. If we didn't know it, we might be tempted to become arrogant about what we can know, or to think that knowledge is all there is. Proving that something doesn't exist is a form of information, and increases our – ahem! – knowledge.

"Los" wrote:
And certainly, I accept that there may be "other modes of apprehension," but in order to claim that such modes of apprehension reveal something that is true, it would be necessary to demonstrate this through reason and evidence.

Well, I don't think this is actually possible through reason, but there is evidence for such modes of apprehension, even if these rely (when presented to other people) on anecdotal evidence.

An experience of what I think was a type of awareness a bit closer to an “absolute awareness” provides a “real world” example: I don’t remember the experience, but I know there’s a gap in my memory during which time it presumably took place (maybe just a second or so), and rationally I can only infer that something happened because of the striking absence of rational awareness in that waking moment, and secondarily because of the afterglow which lasted a few days and because of the enhanced perception of, and ability to interact with, the “real world” that seemed to result. In other words, I cannot explain it to myself rationally, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen or that a type of awareness closer to the absolute isn’t possible in these moments. The trouble is, this is nothing more than prima facie evidence of something, although nothing we know about the universe or our own minds (including through the knowledge paradox) would seem to preclude it as a possibility.


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 Anonymous
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25/03/2010 4:33 pm  
"nashimiron" wrote:
Great example of Crowley's clever use of English. Who are those who say any person soever can claim the grade in question?

Crowley. We've already been through this in a previous post.

"nashimiron" wrote:
Should we take them seriously?

If you don't want to take Crowley seriously in a discussion about what Crowley said on this matter, then you go right on ahead and be my guest, sunshine.


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 Anonymous
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25/03/2010 4:57 pm  

"Any neophyte of the Order (or, as some say, any person soever) possesses the right to claim the Grade of Master of the Temple by taking the Oath of the Grade."

There's nothing in that quote to suggest that the "some" referred to is Crowley. The "some" could equally be Hidden Masters / commentators outside the Order / Masters of the Temple / wannabe's who are not willing to put in the Work.

Crowley could have made that statement to filter out the unfit by giving them some rope to hang themselves with. Certainly makes for an amusing spectacle for the rest of us. 😉


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 Anonymous
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25/03/2010 5:07 pm  
"nashimiron" wrote:
Certainly makes for an amusing spectacle for the rest of us. 😉

If you find the spectacle of rampant egotism funny then you must never stop laughing.


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 Anonymous
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25/03/2010 5:31 pm  
"nashimiron" wrote:
"Any neophyte of the Order (or, as some say, any person soever) possesses the right to claim the Grade of Master of the Temple by taking the Oath of the Grade."

There's nothing in that quote to suggest that the "some" referred to is Crowley.

Pay attention to what I just said to you.

"nashimiron" wrote:
The "some" could equally be Hidden Masters / commentators outside the Order / Masters of the Temple / wannabe's who are not willing to put in the Work.

Crowley could have made that statement to filter out the unfit by giving them some rope to hang themselves with. Certainly makes for an amusing spectacle for the rest of us. 😉

"Suggest", "could equally be", "could have".

If you want to talk about what Crowley actually said, then go ahead. If you just want to tell stories you've invented that make you feel better on the back of what Crowley didn't say, then you needn't feel the need to address them to me, because I'm really not interested in the contents of your fevered imagination.


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 Anonymous
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25/03/2010 6:11 pm  

May I humbly refer all parties to chapter eight of little essays toward Truth, no not merely to confirm the title but to read the chapter.


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 Anonymous
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25/03/2010 7:37 pm  

The nature of Knowledge, the culmination and stasis of the Intellectual faculties, has been discussed in the previous essay. It implies a contradiction in terms. Understanding is the resolution of this antinomy. It is the chief quality of Neschamah, the Intelligence -- an idea insusceptible of true definition because suprarational, and only appreciable by direct experience. One can say, at most, that it is independent of any of the normal modes of motion of the mind.

(It is a significant illustration of the truth of this Qabalistic theory, that women often possess most excellent Intelligence, while totally incapable of the Knowledge and Reason on which, logically, it is founded.)

Samadhi, at first onset productive of bewildering Ecstasy, ultimates in this Understanding; one may say, therefore, that Understanding implies a certain Samadhic quality of apprehension. Duality is (perhaps) not absolutely abolished save in the superstructure of the state; but it assumes a form which it would be absurd to call dualistic.

(It will be noticed that violation of logic is essential to every true effort to convey the conception.)

This fact lies at the root of all Trinitarian symbolism; the scheme is geometrical in idea, and even arithmetical, as shewn by the attribution of Binah to the number 3. But the solution of every dyad in a Triune Triad is misleading, in so far as it purports to interpret the phenomenon in terms of intellect, and only useful as it may train the reasoning faculties to supersede themselves in a sublime suicide upon the Altar of the Mystic Intuition -- though this, after all, is a mean imitation of the proper process. For it is, firstly, unscientific in method; and secondly, illegitimate in its denial of its own validity.

The only correct and adequate mode of the Attainment of Understanding is to shut off and to inhibit the rational mind altogether, thus leaving a Tabula rasa upon which the entirely alien faculty -- de novo and sui generis -- can write its first word.

But then (it will surely be said) what is more unintelligent than this supposed Intelligence? than this formless, even delirious Ecstasy which sweeps away all shapes of thought? No sane man would deny this premiss: but the explanation is that this Ecstasy is (so to say) the throe of Birth of the new faculty. It is surely natural for an observer to be startled, for the moment, by the discovery of a new Universe. Ananda must be mastered manfully, not indulged as a vice in the manner of the Mystic! Samadhi must be clarified by Sila, by the stern virtue of constraint: and then appears the paradox that the new Law of the Mind has "come not to destroy but to fulfil" the old. The Understanding takes full cognizance of all that vast material which the Reason was unable to build into any coherent structure. The contradictions have disappeared by absorption; they have been accepted as essential factors in the nature of Truth, which without them were a mere congeries of Facts.

It will be clear from all these considerations that there need be no surprise at this primordial paradox: that Scepticism, absolute in every dimension, is the sole possible basis of true Attainment. All attempts to shirk the issue by appeals to "faith," by mystic transcendental sophistries, or any other spiritual varieties of the Three-Card-Trick, are devoted to the most abject destruction.

One cannot "find the Lady" by any other way than that of the Knight-Errant, of the Great Fool -- the Way of the Eagle in the Air -- whose Sacred Number is the Sacred Zero. Yea also, Naught being All, and All being Pan, the only due address to Godhead is in the dual form

[GRK WRDS (all-devourer, all-begetter)] PAMPHAGE PAGGENETOR.

For all must be destroyed that All may be begotten.


This one? 🙂


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 Anonymous
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25/03/2010 10:03 pm  

"But then (it will surely be said) what is more unintelligent than this supposed Intelligence? than this formless, even delirious Ecstasy which sweeps away all shapes of thought? No sane man would deny this premiss: but the explanation is that this Ecstasy is (so to say) the throe of Birth of the new faculty. It is surely natural for an observer to be startled, for the moment, by the discovery of a new Universe."

Nota - in the birth on one faculty there is a death of another faculty, as suggested by the last "For all must be destroyed that All may be begotten", and this may appear both instantly as as part of the process of natural and dynamic change over the longer term. The reflection of it, if percieved at all is apprehended as vice versa.


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 Anonymous
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25/03/2010 10:40 pm  
"Erwin" wrote:
If you want to talk about what Crowley actually said, then go ahead.

You'll have to provide us with a link to the statement that shows Crowley was referring to himself in the quote in question. On it's own there is no reason to think your interpretation of Crowley's words has any more validity than any of the alternatives I offered, so if you could at least point me to the relevant page in this discussion I will gladly read it. Unfortunately I don't have time to plow through all of your input for it is the curse of my Grade that I must labour under the yoke of gainful employment and time is precious. 😥


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 Anonymous
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25/03/2010 10:54 pm  
"nashimiron" wrote:
Unfortunately I don't have time to plow through all of your input

Then I don't have time to pander to your idleness and lack of motivation.


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 Anonymous
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26/03/2010 12:23 am  

Ian,

For convenience, I've again summarised the main points - as far as they relate to the foregoing discussion - at the end.

"ianrons" wrote:
This false syllogism:
“True knowledge cannot exist [in the “real world”], therefore true knowledge is false knowledge.”

It's not a "false syllogism" - as I've been saying, even you admit nobody has that type of knowledge. It's not whether it "cannot exist" which is really important, but whether it actually does.

"ianrons" wrote:
is of exactly the same form as:
“An imaginary number cannot exist [on the number scale], therefore imaginary numbers are real numbers.”

Well, it's not. As an aside, this is a pet peeve of mine. If the guy who invented the term "imaginary number" was still alive, he ought to be shot. There's nothing "imaginary" about them, as I'm sure you know. Once you put them on a two-dimensional axis they make perfect sense. It's only when you try to press them into "the (one-dimensional) number scale" that you get problems, and have to start talking about things like "the square root of -1". But Crowley's idea that "imaginary numbers are useful" directly implies that "other imaginary things are useful" fails, since there turns out to be nothing imaginary about "imaginary numbers" at all.

"ianrons" wrote:
But it is based, fundamentally, only on an assertion of “real world”=truth (i.e., a glyph for materialism). And it is an assertion of this sort that (necessarily) underpins your central argument.

Well, yes, it is. And for good reason. I'm not sure how you could begin to sensibly argue that some kind of "unreal world" is "truth", on account of it being, well, "unreal" and all. As far as "materialism" goes, if it could be demonstrated that "non-material" things, whatever they might be, existed, then they would fall within the definition of "real world". However, I'll start worrying about that once someone actually demonstrates it.

"ianrons" wrote:
Now, whilst the knowledge paradox shows that we cannot conceive of the universe in terms of rational ideas (no “true [rational] knowledge”), it doesn’t rule out the existence of some other form of awareness (i.e., something non-rational and hence not covered by the knowledge paradox) that is different and possibly more (or less) absolute than knowledge. And of course you are asserting something of this sort when you talk about the “real world” truth of simple cognitions; and this is precisely what mystics do, with precisely the same level of rational justification (i.e., none).

OK, I think you're confusing a few things here, so it'll be worthwhile focusing on this for a moment.

When I talk about what you call "the 'real world' truth of simple cognitions", the implication is that we can reliably identify the difference between "real" things and "imaginary" things. That is to say, it is easy for us to tell the difference between an apple that we perceive, and an apple that we imagine. Hence why I talk about the irrelevance of an endless "chain of inferences" down to some type of "ultimate reality", because the word "real" in this sense doesn't imply any such thing - it merely implies "not imaginary". Whatever the "underlying reality" is I assert to not only be irrelevant, but absolutely meaningless.

So there is no "rational justification" for this, obviously, because it isn't a "rational" process in the strict sense of the word. But we "know" - in the knowledge of sense, rather than the knowledge that sense - the difference between a real perception, and an imagination, and that's important. So although there's not a "rational justification" for it, there is a justification for it, and its not a trivial justification. Ultimately, if we do go down to the bottom of the chain of knowledge, what we really begin with is our practical ability to distinguish "real" things from imaginary things. Sure, you can argue that "actually perceived" does not necessarily equate with "true", but that's what you have, and if you were to argue that then you'd be denying your whole "other form of awareness" idea, so I doubt you would.

But this is wholly separate from rational knowledge in the strict sense, which works - ultimately - on those foundational things.

With regards to the account you gave to Los, which is relevant here to your usage of "awareness", of course there are other states of consciousness, and nobody is disputing that. Anyone can apply themselves to a few weeks of simple sitting-still-and-keeping-quiet type meditation and demonstrate to themselves that not only do such states of consciousness exist, but that they really aren't that difficult to generate. But such states don't create knowledge. What they do, and this is the root of your "enhanced perception of, and ability to interact with, the 'real world' that seemed to result" idea, is give you a different way of looking at things. In other words, they give you more perspective, and they may enhance your ability to interact with the real world in the same sense that switching to a solar-centric model of the solar system makes your calculations a hell of a lot easier than using a geocentric model. But switching to a solar-centric model doesn't somehow "bring you closer to the absolute", and there is absolutely no reason in the world to suppose that alternate states of conscious do, either - they just give you another way of looking at the same stuff. Any this may indeed be useful, but any knowledge in the propositional sense comes after that experience when the reason starts kicking back in.

The idea of people going off on a complete tangent after having a religious experience of some kind, and the idea of occultists driving themselves loopy for the same reason, is almost a cliche, and that should be enough in itself to reveal that these "other modes of apprehension", these states of consciousness, do not bring you any closer to "truth", or at least they historically haven't. What stops people going nuts is keeping the experience in a rational perspective after the event. The point, obviously, is that the experience itself doesn't give you propositional knowledge, and it is the tendency to think it does which causes people to draw false rational conclusions - for they always are rational conclusions - and then fail to question them, because their perception in their alternate state of consciousness was so strong (more properly, so different to the state they are used to).

In other words, whatever state of consciousness you're currently in, you're still perceiving the same old stuff that is out there. You're not getting any "closer to truth", you're just looking at the same stuff in a different way. Of course such experiences give you knowledge that such states of consciousness are possible, and this is of no mean benefit, but it's an uninteresting point that hardly bears pointing out.

To get back to where we were, these alternate modes of consciousness do indeed give you input in the same sense that my "'real world' truth of simple cognitions" do, but this is not where the type of knowledge we are talking about is created. That type of knowledge is created by classifying these inputs, whether in a "loosely rational" or a "strictly rational" way. With regards to the question at hand, then, I don't find this idea of yours to do anything other than to assert that we have different ways of looking at the same stuff - which of course we do - and it certainly doesn't get remotely near to demonstrating, or even suggesting, that there may be some "other kind of reality" out there.

"ianrons" wrote:
As for the flawless blue diamond, I could indeed speak of a real flawless blue diamond because that is not by any means a thing that can’t exist, it’s just extremely unlikely that one will ever be found on this earth (at least, if I understand my jeweller friend’s comments correctly). However, that is not the point.

Well, I thought you were making the point that it is precisely the "flaws" in the blue diamond which makes them blue, but I agree it's "not the point".

"ianrons" wrote:
Now (to move on to the central area of disagreement), what you say in your remaining paragraphs and in your follow-up post is that the very question “what is a cat?” (the question which begins the knowledge paradox), implies in our very understanding and interpretation of that question a notion of absolute knowledge that is not inherent in the original cognition of a cat, and that therefore something fantastical is being added to the mix which then requires answering and which did not previously require answering, such as in the simple cognition of a cat.

Not quite. There is something analagous in "my" idea of a cat which also "requires answering" in the same way, since we need an understanding of what we mean by "know" to analyse either idea. The difference is that this something in "my" idea can be reduced - to simplify - down to "matches up with actual observation, as opposed to imagined ideas", or to "predictive ability" of some kind, and although it "requires answering" I think to "know" in that sense doesn't really require much justification, since that's the patently very basis upon which we interact with the world. In "your" idea, however, that something is this notion of "absolute reality" or "absolute knowledge", and that's what I assert is a creation of the imagination that can't even been defined, let alone evaluated.

In other words, it seems self-evident to me that our brains - again, to simplify - can predict and classify sensations in a manner which enables us to interact with the world, and that therefore this is an "idea which corresponds with reality". It is not self-evident that any such thing as what you are calling "absolute knowledge" exists, and that the brain does not appear to work on or to require such a notion, and it is on this basis that I assert the chain of reasoning which leads to "knowledge is impossible" is meaningless.

"ianrons" wrote:
In that sense, you say, the cognition of a cat tells us something about the “real world”, whereas the follow-up question “what is a cat?” only tells us about our own ideas. Or, in a slightly different and more general formulation, “impression-->idea1” is “real-worldly” whereas “idea1-->idea2” is not.

Again, it's really the idea of knowledge that I was challenging, rather than the idea of the cat, so the "real-worldliness" doesn't follow from that "cognition of a cat", but from the observation of the brain appearing to work in a particular way.

"ianrons" wrote:
Firstly, whilst I wouldn’t object to the idea of “absolute knowledge” being inherent in the question “what is a cat?”, I don’t think this is actually the case, because the question fundamentally only talks about rational (i.e., non-absolute) knowledge; and then, finding rational knowledge cannot answer any of our questions about the universe, we infer the lack of an “absolute [rational] knowledge” (saying nothing about other forms of awareness).

I'd give the same answer, because I don't see that "absolute [rational] knowledge" exists any more than "absolute knowledge" does. The reason must have input to work on. If we can identify "cat thing" from "simple cognition", and we can identify "nasty scratchy pain thing" from simple cognition, then those two ideas can go up a pretty short chain to the conclusion "cats scratch" which can said to be true without having to prove anything purely in terms of the reason. The fact that we cannot have "absolute [rational] knowledge" therefore has no bearing at all on this type of knowledge, and it is this type of knowledge which is the only type I assert to exist.

Thus, to embark on the search for "absolute [rational] knowledge" is to take a concept that nobody thinks they have, and nobody ever observes, and then to knock it down.

It is my assertion that all actual knowledge, all "real world" knowledge, arises basically from the kind of process described in the first paragraph above, and not from the second. Hence, when you prove the second type of "knowledge" to be impossible, you're not commenting at all on "real world" knowledge.

"ianrons" wrote:
So, bearing this in mind, I think a better formulation of your objection would be to state that the question “what is a cat?” simply deals with the mentally recalled idea of “cat”, rather than the original idea “cat”, which (you assert) still represents the “real world” despite what the knowledge paradox says about ideas. To put it another way, “cat” when arising as a result of an external impression, is a first-order idea, whereas any attempt to think about it (i.e., to recall its image) and relate it to other ideas makes it a second-order idea (and thus, in your book, a fantasy).

Perhaps I wasn't stating this idea clearly enough. I'm not suggesting that all ideas are fantasies - just ideas which do not match up with reality. To go back to the beginning, we are easily capable (in most normal circumstances, at least) of distinguishing actual perceptions from imaginations, and this is what is at the core of our ability to distinguish ideas which do match up with reality from ideas which do not.

Thus, it's not the mere fact that we're dealing with ideas that is problematic, here; the issue hinges on which ideas we're dealing with.

"ianrons" wrote:
But the deeper problem I have with your position is that there is no real justification for asserting that the original idea “cat” is qualitatively better as a representation of the “real world” than a second-order idea.

Again, both ideas are of the same "order". The question is whether each idea matches up well with reality, or whether it does not. The rest of your response seems to address this same misconception, such as when you suggest I am "dismissing idea-manipulation as fantastical". I am not. I am saying we possess an ability to distinguish ideas which correspond to reality (and again, I am using "reality" in its "not imaginary" sense) from those ideas which do not.

To address an expected but very tedious objection to this, of course perceptions sometimes mislead. But over time, repeated observations can highlight such misleading perceptions. If we do a rain-dance and it rains, this might be a "misleading perception", but repeated attempts will show that there is not a correlation between rain-dancing and rain. Alternatively, our perceptions seem to indicate that "solid" things really are solid, but a much more in-depth application of reason indicates that they are not. Of course, there are people who are genuinely delusional and no amount of repeated observations can, for them, identify the error, but you can't use people whose perceptive faculties are broken as evidence against the fundamental soundness of the idea, because it actually affirms it. "Reality" is, therefore, to simplify, merely that which our perceptions indicate to be consistent, and a strictly rational investigation of those perceptions - as opposed to imaginations - give us fields such as astrophysics and biology. That is to say, such fields have at their very foundation the requirement that we ultimately analyse those things which we really do perceive, and not those things which we merely imagine.

Thus, to summarise: the two "ideas" are of the same order, and "idea manipulation" is not the issue. The issue is distinguishing ideas which match up with the world - as I assert "my" idea of "real world knowledge" does - from ideas which do not - as I assert "your" idea of "absolute knowledge" to not do.

You've several times suggested that I am implying some kind of difference in process, or, alternately, that since the same process applies to both cases that we do have a genuine paradox. If you were looking for the point in the big picture where I am saying your analysis is going wrong, then I'd say it lies somewhere between "simple cognition" and "idea". Specifically, somewhere between those two points, as well as having a faculty for classifying etc sensations, we also have a faculty for creating stuff, and it is this faculty for creation which is where things can start to go wrong. Specifically, we can take "real world simple cognition" and create from that ideas which do not correspond with anything those cognitions actually indicate. I assert that we have a natural ability to distinguish real perceptions from imaginations, and that this ability enables us to distinguish ideas which do match up with the real world from ideas which do not. Further, by doing this I assert we can distinguish between an idea of knowledge which appears to match up well with things that actually go on in the world, and an idea of knowledge which has just been invented for the purpose of knocking down. Finally, I assert that the fact that our analyses of those two different ideas does not - precisely because they are two different ideas - create a "paradox" at all, since we're analysing two completely different things; one idea which matches up with reality, and one idea which matches up with a pure imagination.


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sonofthestar
(@sonofthestar)
Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 375
26/03/2010 12:41 am  

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

“- that is apparently only available to ineffectual mystics and to lunatics who like to dress up as wizards -”

Lost in the bulk of the thread it was posted in,
the words above, would seem to be no more than some innocuous,
though frequently made swipe at those the poster considers a problem for Thelema.

When compared to the words of The Master Therion as written in part II
of my copy of Book 4 published by Weiser which I quote from below,
I’ve enough to prove my point.

Chapter XII THE ROBE

The Robe of the Magician may be varied according to his grade
and the nature of his working.
There are two principle Robes, the white and the black; of these the
Black is more important than the white, for the white has no hood.
these Robes may be varied by the addition of various symbols, but in
any case the shape of the Robe is a Tau.
The general symbolism which we have adopted leads us, however, to
prefer the description of a Robe which few dare wear. This Robe is of
a rich silk of deep pure blue, the blue of the night sky: it is embroidered
with golden stars, and with roses and lilies. Around the hem, its tail in
its mouth, is the great serpent, while upon the front from the neck to hem
falls the Arrow described in the Vision of the Fifth Aethyr. This Robe
is lined with purple silk on which is embroidered a green serpent coiled
from neck to hem. The symbolism of this Robe treats of high mysteries
which must be studied in Liber CCXX and Liber CDXVIII; but
having thus dealt with special Robes, let us consider the use of the
Robe in general.
The Robe is that which conceals, and which protects the
Magician from the elements; it is the silence and secrecy
with which he works; the hiding of himself in the occult
life of Magick and Meditation. This is the “going away into the
wilderness” which we find in the lives of all men of the highest types
of greatness. And it is also the withdrawing of one’s self from life as
such.
In another sense it is the “Aura” of the Magician, that invisible egg
or sheath which surrounds him. This “Aura” must be shining, elastic,
impenetrable, even by the light, that is, by any partial light that comes
from one side.
The only light of the Magician is from the Lamp which hangs above
his head, as he stands in the centre of the Circle, and the Robe, being
open at the neck, opposes no obstacles to the passage of this light.
And being open, and very wide open, at the bottom, it permits that
light to pass and illumine them that sit in darkness and in the shadow
of death.

Who would deny that the man who wrote that chapter above,
is describing real tangible Robes, “as well as” symbolic meanings
pertinent to----the donning thereof?

What kind of rationality would lead to the concluding knowledge,
that the Robe described by The Beast, is “Only” to be taken symbolically?
Could anyone reason so?
A very certain kind of rationality and knowledge, surely does exist,
for an error of such magnitude to occur.
This very thread, is indeed---
a perfect place for discussing what that kind of knowledge might be called.

When we thoroughly ponder what the big picture really means…
the--as usual innocuous swipe, lost in the bulk of that original posting,
is exposed for what contemptuous drivel it really is,
when compared to the words
of the man who actually wore such robes.

Just picture him Erwin!
If you could go back in time and peak in on him,
on any number of many such occasions,
You might mistake him for a lunatic:
All dressed up like a wizard,
Robed and wearing a Crown,
with Wand in hand.

Love is the law, love under will.


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 Anonymous
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26/03/2010 6:46 pm  
"Erwin" wrote:
The idea of people going off on a complete tangent after having a religious experience of some kind, and the idea of occultists driving themselves loopy for the same reason, is almost a cliche, and that should be enough in itself to reveal that these "other modes of apprehension", these states of consciousness, do not bring you any closer to "truth", or at least they historically haven't. What stops people going nuts is keeping the experience in a rational perspective after the event. The point, obviously, is that the experience itself doesn't give you propositional knowledge, and it is the tendency to think it does which causes people to draw false rational conclusions - for they always are rational conclusions - and then fail to question them, because their perception in their alternate state of consciousness was so strong (more properly, so different to the state they are used to).

Certain other modes of aprehension are regarded after the fact (squarely in the realms of virgin knowledge then) as monisms. Can rational conclusions be reached about a monism in the absense of definition - bearing in mind that all definitions rely on a dualism?

In other words, whatever state of consciousness you're currently in, you're still perceiving the same old stuff that is out there.

When all sensory feedback, including that of breathing is isolated, and the mind is utterly still - so that no 'same old stuff out there' is being percieved - there remains no possibility that the world can be apprehended.

You're not getting any "closer to truth", you're just looking at the same stuff in a different way.

See above. In that mode of apprehension you're not looking at anything in any way - ergo the aprehension is unlimited. That's why they call it 'ultimate truth'.

If you want to sensibly argue about this then you have to find an external explanation for the state - such as 'I hypothesize all the Neurons fired at once when the brain was fooled into thinking it was dying' - or some other such explanation.

Of course such experiences give you knowledge that such states of consciousness are possible, and this is of no mean benefit, but it's an uninteresting point that hardly bears pointing out.

They are interesting by the observable fact that they transform the subconscious. 'You' will consciously continue to rationalise and (hopefully) keep your balance and perspective, but you can't seriously expect those parts of your subconscious that are now working from a monistic perspective to settle down and become dualistic again. Furthermore - what would be the point?

I empathise with your desire to protect people from going nuts however. I don't think the transformation of the subconscious is responsible for that. I agree with you that it's almost always a result of the conscious mind drawing hasty and unwaranted conclusions about the experience - and therefore expanding the ego until it goes 'pop' and leaves an aweful mess on the carpet.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
26/03/2010 11:25 pm  

Alrah,

In other words, whatever state of consciousness you're currently in, you're still perceiving the same old stuff that is out there.

When all sensory feedback, including that of breathing is isolated, and the mind is utterly still - so that no 'same old stuff out there' is being percieved - there remains no possibility that the world can be apprehended.

I think Erwin simply means that whatever the state of consciousness you are in, this state is created by the same brain you use for perceiving outside world. As such, this brain will only recreate past input it received from the senses - the same old stuff that is out there. Even the angels are just shiny human figures with pair of wings pasted on their backs - a recombination of items you perceived previously.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
26/03/2010 11:56 pm  

Alrah,
Re your previous posting no not that one. Chapter eight is Mastery not Understanding.
Regards,


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
27/03/2010 2:33 am  
"matus.simkovic" wrote:
Alrah,

In other words, whatever state of consciousness you're currently in, you're still perceiving the same old stuff that is out there.

When all sensory feedback, including that of breathing is isolated, and the mind is utterly still - so that no 'same old stuff out there' is being percieved - there remains no possibility that the world can be apprehended.

I think Erwin simply means that whatever the state of consciousness you are in, this state is created by the same brain you use for perceiving outside world. As such, this brain will only recreate past input it received from the senses - the same old stuff that is out there. Even the angels are just shiny human figures with pair of wings pasted on their backs - a recombination of items you perceived previously.

Yes - I understand Erwins positions, although it appears you have not understood mine.

If the mind is 'recreating past input' from 'out there' then it is not 'utterly still' , and it's aprehension at that time can show us nothing whatsoever about 'ultimate truth'.

Are you read or experienced in the highest states of dhyana?


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
27/03/2010 2:36 am  
"RemeaviThantos" wrote:
Alrah,
Re your previous posting no not that one. Chapter eight is Mastery not Understanding.
Regards,

Yes, I realise that now, but I think it was nevertheless appropriate to the topic, and so - a happy accident. 🙂


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
27/03/2010 9:37 am  

MASTERY.

The aim of him who would be Master is single; men call it Personal Ambition. That is, he wants his Universe to be as vast, and his control of it as perfect, as possible.

Few fail to understand this aim; but many fail in the formulation of their campaign to attain it. Some, for instance, fill their purse with fairy gold, which, when they try to use it, is found to be dead leaves. Others attempt to rule the universe of another, not seeing that they cannot even take true cognizance thereof.

The proper method of extending one's universe, besides the conventional apparatus of material Science, is tripartite: evocation, invocation, and vision. Control is a matter of theoretical and practical acquaintance with Magical Formulae, but notably also of Self-Discipline. The ground is to be consolidated, and all contradictions resolved in higher harmonies, by various Trances.

So much indeed is obvious to superficial consideration; strange, then, that so few Magicians take the further step of enquiry as to the availability of the Instrument. Shortsighted selfishness, good sooth, to take for granted that one's Self is sure to find its proper medium to hand for its next adventure.

Here the Magical Memory is of virtue marvellous to correct perspective; for, how often in the past has one's life been all but sheer failure from the mere lack of proper means of self-expression? And who among us can be seriously satisfied (to-day, knowing what we do) with even the most perfect human instrument?

It is then no more than simple good sense for the Magus to formulate his general political aim in some such terms as these:

To secure the greatest possible freedom of self-expression for the greatest possible number of Points-of-View.

Of which issue the practical aspect may be phrased as follows:

To improve the human race in every conceivable way, so as to have available for service the greatest possible variety of the best Instruments imaginable.

And this is the rational justification of the apparently imbecile and too often sentimental-hypocritical aphorism:

Love all Beings! Serve Mankind!

That is, upon the political plane; for also these two phrases contain (1) the Magical Formula which is the Key alike of Invocation and of Trance (2) the implicit injunction to make clear the Way of the Magician through the Heavens by right ordering of every Star. The word "serve" is indeed misleading and objectionable: it implies a false and despicable attitude. The relation between men should be the brotherly respect which obtains between noble strangers. The idea of service is either true, and humiliating; or false, and arrogant.

The most common and fatal pitfall which menaces the man who has begun to extend his Universe beyond the world of sense-perception is called Confusion of the Planes. To him who realises the All-One, and knows that to distinguish between any two things is the basic error, it must seem natural and even right to perform what seem perforce Acts of Love between incongruous ideas. He has the Key of Languages: why then should not he the Englishman avail himself of it to speak in Hebrew without learning it? The same problem offers itself daily in a myriad subtle shapes. "Command these stones to become bread." "Throw thyself down from the pinnacle of the Temple: as it is written ~`He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways'" -- These last four words throw light upon the fog of Choronzon -- Restriction be unto him in the Name of BABALON! For "his ways" are the ways of Nature, who hath appointed between the planes a well-ordered relation; to deform this device is not, and cannot be, "thy way." The Act of Love, so-seeming, is a false gesture; for such love is not "love under will." Be thou well aware, O thou who seekest to attain to Mastery, of doing aught "miraculous": the surest sign of the Master is this, that he is a man of like passions with his fellows. He does indeed transcend them all, and turn them all to perfections: but he does this without suppression (for `Everything that lives is holy') or distortion (for `Every Form is a true symbol of Substance') or confusion (for `Admixture is hatred as Union is love'). Initiation means the Journey Inwards: nothing is changed or can be changed; but all is trulier understood with every step. The Magus of the Gods, with His one Word that seems to overturn the chariot of Mankind in ruin, does not in fact destroy or even alter anything; He simply furnishes a new mode of applying existing Energy to established Forms.

The invention of electric machines has in no way interfered with Matter or Motion; it has only helped us to get rid of certain aspects of the Illusion of Time and Space, and so brought the most intelligent minds to the threshold of the Magical and Mystical Doctrine: they have been forced to imagine the possibility of the perception of the Universe as it is, freed of conditions. That is, they have been given a glimpse of the nature of the Attainment of Mastery. And it is surely but a little step to take for the leaders of natural Science, Mathematics their guiding Star, that they should understand the compelling necessity of the Great Work, and apply themselves to its achievement.

Here the great obstacles are these; firstly, the misunderstanding of Self; and secondly, the resistance of the rational mind against its own conclusions. Men must cast off these two restrictions; they must begin to realise that Self is hidden behind, and independent of, the mental and material instrument in which they apprehend their Point-of-View; and they must seek an instrument other than that which insists (with every single observation) on impressing on them what is merely its own most hateful flaw and error, the idea of duality.

The Aeon of Horus is here: and its first flower may well be this: that, freed of the obsession of the doom of the Ego in Death, and of the limitation of the Mind by Reason, the best men again set out with eager eyes upon the Path of the Wise, the mountain track of the goat, and then the untrodden Ridge, that leads to the ice-gleaming pinnacles of Mastery!


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 Anonymous
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27/03/2010 11:14 am  

If the mind is 'recreating past input' from 'out there' then it is not 'utterly still' , and it's aprehension at that time can show us nothing whatsoever about 'ultimate truth'.

Allright, but if you consider it in this way, the mind woun't ever be still, because there is the brain working in the background (firing neurons etc.). If your brain stops working, you are dead.
There might be a state of mind, which subjectivelly feels like 'utterly still' or even there might be subjetive feeling that 'you don't perceive anything' . But again I would pressume that this state is more generally available. I understand the feeling of utter stillnes as some kind of phenomenal output, that is triggered by some previous input. But this output has always been available in our brain and as such it is the same old stuff. You can't say this about a situation when you first learn how cat looks. In this case a new 'memory file' is created in your brain.
Does that make sense?


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 Anonymous
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Posts: 0
27/03/2010 11:20 am  

Or, perhaps mind and matter are different points of view. 😉


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gurugeorge
(@gurugeorge)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 456
27/03/2010 12:53 pm  

Consider two cases:

A. I see a cat. I'm hallucinating. But at the same time as I am hallucinating a cat, there actually happens to be a cat there. I say "there's a cat".

My utterance is true DESPITE there being no causal link between the real cat and my perception of a cat.

B. I see a cat. I'm not hallucinating. There's a cat there. I say "there's a cat". But nobody else sees it. They say I'm hallucinating, but actually they are hallucinating absence-of-cat.

My utterance is true DESPITE there actually being a causal link between the real cat and my perception of a cat.

i.e. in both cases, truths are true or not, knowledge is knowledge or not, based on two conditions: the public rules that give words their meaning, and the way the world happens to be. Both these conditions cross out of the subjective sphere and already live in the objective/real world themselves - i.e. the rules are whatever they are, the world is the way it is, quite independently of any individual subjective apprehension of mine.

But any subjective apprehension of mine can happen to latch onto the truth.

(Of course looking at it like this in isolation, it all seems up in the air, ungrounded - but that's just the way it is if you look at it in isolation. In fact, however, we know that we have evolved such that our perceptual machinery usually sees cats when cats are there.)

So, compare with mystical experience. Consider this quote of Crowley's from MWT:-

How do we judge the "reality" of an ordinary impression upon conscious-
ness? Chiefly by its intensity, but its persistence, by the fact that
nobody can argue us out of our belief in it. As people said of Berkeley's
'Idealism' - "his arguments are irrefutable but they fail to carry con-
viction." No sceptical, no idealist queries can persuade us that a kick
in the pants is not 'real' in any reasonable sense of the word. More-
over memory reassures us. However vivid a dream may be at the time,
however it may persist throughout the years (though it is rare for any
dream, unless frequently repeated, or linked to waking impressions by
some happy conjunction of circumstances, to remain long in the mind with
any clear-cut vision) it is hardly ever mistaken for an event of actual
life. Good: then, as waking life is to dream, so --- yes, more so! --- is
Religious Experience as above described to that life common to all of
us. It is not merely easy, it is natural, not merely natural, but inevi-
table, for anyone who has experienced "Samadhi" (this word conveniently
groups the higher types of vision) to regard normal life as "illusion"
by comparison with this state in which all problems are resolved, all
doubts driven out, all limitations abolished.

This is of a piece with the idea of the genius being in the vanguard, perceiving things others don't perceive, and of the idea that Samadhi is a kind of advanced perception (and things settling down after a few goes, as per Alrah's discussion above).

IOW, Crowley is saying that mystical experience is (as I would put it) a case of B above. The mystic is indeed perceiving something true, getting knowledge, etc., it's just that others don't see it yet (they haven't trained to use the microscope yet - cf. the discussion in Konx Om Pax).

But from my discussion above, you can see where AC goes wrong - where most philosophy has gone wrong (the bizarre idea of knowledge as "justified true belief"). (It's really the later Wittgenstein who broke the back of this, although this isn't going to be thoroughly absorbed for a while yet.)

IOW, mystical experience certainly can reveal truth, and the failure of the mystic to rationally justify it has nothing to do with the matter whatsoever. But at the same time, no individual experience or perception or apprehension, in and of itself, guarantees truth - but that's true for both ordinary apprehension and mystical apprehension. The truth is guaranteed solely by (as above) the rules of language and the way the world happens to be. Both of those are fixed RELATIVE TO the individual's perception, and they are what ultimately "judge" the validity of the perception.

(However, that's not to say that individual perceptions can't contribute to knowledge - of course, if something is "triangulated" by enough individual perceptions, no matter how odd they may seem, eventually everyone comes round to accepting that those perceptions must, after all, be representing objective reality, must be cases of knowing. There's always a chance that they still might not be - but we go with it because we've got nothing better - or, if we are scientifically inclined, because no proposition has been tested to destruction better.)


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 Anonymous
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27/03/2010 2:15 pm  
"matus.simkovic" wrote:

If the mind is 'recreating past input' from 'out there' then it is not 'utterly still' , and it's aprehension at that time can show us nothing whatsoever about 'ultimate truth'.

Allright, but if you consider it in this way, the mind woun't ever be still, because there is the brain working in the background (firing neurons etc.). If your brain stops working, you are dead.

I agree with the statement that the brain continues to work - (firing neurons etc.) but I assert that there is a state where the brain ceases to organise either external input from the senses or previously stored input from memory and it is in this state that the mind is 'utterly still'.

There might be a state of mind, which subjectivelly feels like 'utterly still' or even there might be subjetive feeling that 'you don't perceive anything'.

It would be fundementally incorrect to assert that when the mind ceases to organise external or stored sense data that 'you don't perceive anything'. As you've already pointed out - the brain continues to fire neurons, the fundemental structure of the brain is still in place, the core components such as 'spacial awareness' continue to operate in the vaccum of data and without sensory boundaries or a 'sense of self' or any organisational pattern. So - you experience nothing more or less that the tabla rasa of the working brain.

But again I would pressume that this state is more generally available. I understand the feeling of utter stillnes as some kind of phenomenal output, that is triggered by some previous input. But this output has always been available in our brain and as such it is the same old stuff.

Well - whatever state you're talking about now, is not the one that Erwin, occultists and mystics generally try and talk about, that often sends people nuts, and affects such a profound psychological transformation upon the individual.

You can't say this about a situation when you first learn how cat looks. In this case a new 'memory file' is created in your brain.

Agreed.


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 Anonymous
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27/03/2010 7:05 pm  
"gurugeorge" wrote:
IOW, mystical experience certainly can reveal truth, and the failure of the mystic to rationally justify it has nothing to do with the matter whatsoever. But at the same time, no individual experience or perception or apprehension, in and of itself, guarantees truth - but that's true for both ordinary apprehension and mystical apprehension. The truth is guaranteed solely by (as above) the rules of language and the way the world happens to be. Both of those are fixed RELATIVE TO the individual's perception, and they are what ultimately "judge" the validity of the perception

Hi Gurugeorge,
I always appreciate your common sense in reasoning. The way I see it, Daath is what connects everyone in a collective mind-set, but the fact its very nature is grounded in duality means it cannot grasp the individual’s non-dual perception. Notwithstanding the mechanics of language and it's impossibility to directly confirm non-dual perception, I do think we can look at what someone is saying and assess and ascertain the truth of "where" they are at.


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 Anonymous
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27/03/2010 8:20 pm  

Erwin

Your objection to Jim Eshelman’s comment it is curious since taking the Oath of the Abyss is precisely about this realization. This does not mean innocent victims should be blamed, but rather, means recognizing True Will is grounded in the Supernals and therefore the fate of the individual affects the whole and vice versa, for better or worse.

"Erwin" wrote:
I predict you're going to be heading for the classic occultist nervous meltdown if you keep going in this direction.

No I don't think so. I advocate a sound step-by-step approach to the inner planes. I seriously doubt you’re in danger of a meltdown either. Think about it.


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 Anonymous
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27/03/2010 10:22 pm  

The following articulates the dichotomy implicit in the above discourse on knowledge:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXi_ldNRNt M"> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXi_ldNRNtM


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 Anonymous
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27/03/2010 10:38 pm  

And, putting our Knowledge into context...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17jymDn0W6U&feature=player_embedded

...we ought consider its' meaning:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1RQmnSJoRg&feature=related


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gurugeorge
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28/03/2010 12:34 am  
"tai" wrote:
"gurugeorge" wrote:
IOW, mystical experience certainly can reveal truth, and the failure of the mystic to rationally justify it has nothing to do with the matter whatsoever. But at the same time, no individual experience or perception or apprehension, in and of itself, guarantees truth - but that's true for both ordinary apprehension and mystical apprehension. The truth is guaranteed solely by (as above) the rules of language and the way the world happens to be. Both of those are fixed RELATIVE TO the individual's perception, and they are what ultimately "judge" the validity of the perception

Hi Gurugeorge,
I always appreciate your common sense in reasoning. The way I see it, Daath is what connects everyone in a collective mind-set, but the fact its very nature is grounded in duality means it cannot grasp the individual’s non-dual perception. Notwithstanding the mechanics of language and it's impossibility to directly confirm non-dual perception, I do think we can look at what someone is saying and assess and ascertain the truth of "where" they are at.

I like the way you connect Daath with language as a collective construct! (I'm sure AC must have said it somewhere too though 🙂 ).

The only thing I would quibble with is "the individual's non-dual perception". There is no real (intrinsically identifiable, intrinsically existent) individual, there is only the Universe perceiving itself, that's the non-dual perception, that's what the Universe "realises" when it "wakes up" "in" you or I.

I'd put it like this: AT THE SAME TIME as an act of perception is a mere animal's sensory act of perception (layered over, in us, by a culturally conditioned bundle of expectations induced by language), it is also, metaphysically, the Universe perceiving itself. Always, all the time, here and now, everywhere. The only difference is that some mind-streams have the thought "Aha, I'm actually the Universe perceiving itself", and some don't; plus also, some have a mind sufficiently quiet so that the metaphysical fact of the Universe's self-perception is laid bare, so to speak, in consciousness (the "standing-out" and "being in its own glory" mentioned at the beginning of Patanjali).

Where I think Erwin would agree with me, is in the fact that for this situation to obtain, there doesn't need to be something special or mysterious about consciousness - it's the same consciousness (again, remember the thing Alrah mentions above - how at first the mystic gets bowled over but eventually sees the continuity), and it doesn't need to be "cosmic" in any specially causal way (i.e. it doesn't need to have any special properties, and can be quite happily a temporal, causally conditioned consciousness). The metaphysical quality of any act of perception's being the Universe's act of perception sits happily side-by-side with the ordinary act of perception's being ordinary - being relative, temporal, temporary, etc. (This is where, I think, people sometimes go wrong - they attribute something special to consciousness, turn it into Consciousness with a big 'C', so to speak, and fancy themselves immortal in some way - actually it's just the Universe itself that's immortal, and that little perspective will die at some point, even though it was the Universe's emissary.)


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 Anonymous
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28/03/2010 11:51 am  

Well said GuruGeorge! 🙂


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 Anonymous
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28/03/2010 12:05 pm  

I agree, that was a very well put post.


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
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29/03/2010 9:33 am  

Erwin,

I’m pleased to see that you have accepted the point I was making in my central argument, as stated in my first post and elsewhere. You said:

"Erwin" wrote:
When I talk about what you call "the 'real world' truth of simple cognitions", the implication is that we can reliably identify the difference between "real" things and "imaginary" things. […] there is no "rational justification" for this, obviously, because it isn't a "rational" process in the strict sense of the word.

Even though we may disagree slightly on the reasoning, the general point that there is no rational justification for your assertions about there being a difference between simple cognitions (e.g., generating the idea “cat”) and other ideas (however fantastical) is the one that I wanted to get across. This is directly applicable to the “demonstrations” you use, that I quoted in my first post and one of which I shall quote again for reference:

"Erwin" wrote:
I can put two photographs in front of you, one a photograph of a cat, and one a photograph of the space shuttle. Now you will - I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt - be able to reliably identify which is which. That is, you can correctly identify a photograph of a cat as a photograph of a cat, and you can correctly identify a photograph of the space shuttle as a photograph of the space shuttle.

Do you need to know what a cat "really is" to have this knowledge? Do you need to know what a space shuttle "really is"? No, you don't. All you have to be able to do is to reliably assemble a collection of various impressions into a composite that legitimately goes along with the label "cat". You don't have to know everything in order to know something. You don't have to have knowledge of some "fundamental essence of a cat" in order to be able to correctly identify a cat, and to have confidence that you have, in fact, correctly identified it.

Having accepted there is no rational justification for this distinction, you do nevertheless re-assert several times that there is a key difference between simple cognitions and other ideas in a rather vague way, talking about some aspect of mind – “I'd say it lies somewhere between ‘simple cognition’ and ‘idea’. Specifically, somewhere between those two points” – which is not very specific. You then invite me to help you with your argument by “looking for [this] point in the big picture where I am saying your analysis is going wrong” – an invitation I feel I must decline.

On another tack, you still argue that the knowledge paradox isn’t valid, because (you claim) it talks about a different type of “knowledge” to the one you mean when you talk about simple cognitions: you say that it talks about “absolute knowledge”, whereas, as I have repeatedly pointed out, this is simply not the case. I refer you back to my previous comments to the effect that the proof of the knowledge paradox talks only about knowledge in the ordinary sense, and later draws inferences about the properties of knowledge (i.e., that it is non-absolute). But in any case, we agree there is no such thing as absolute knowledge: it’s just that you reject it a priori (“[my] type of knowledge [...] is the only type I assert to exist”), whereas I don’t begin with this assumption but infer it by rational means.

Whilst I could go back and pick over other parts of your last post, I would just like to add that although you seem intent on maintaining your materialist position, you have apparently accepted that this relies on an assertion or belief (“Well, yes, it is.”). From your previous posts – in particular the one where you refer to somebody apparently talking about your beliefs – it seems that this belief has attained the status of a religious conviction, and therefore (having made the point I wanted to make about the knowledge paradox) I do not believe that it is worth continuing this thread further down that alley.

To summarise, then, I see no reason to resile from my position, which states that the knowledge paradox appears to be valid, has "real world" implications and applies to all ideas including those generated by "real world" observation.

Ian


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 Anonymous
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29/03/2010 12:05 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
Erwin,

I’m pleased to see that you have accepted the point I was making in my central argument, as stated in my first post and elsewhere. You said:

"Erwin" wrote:
When I talk about what you call "the 'real world' truth of simple cognitions", the implication is that we can reliably identify the difference between "real" things and "imaginary" things. […] there is no "rational justification" for this, obviously, because it isn't a "rational" process in the strict sense of the word.

Talk about egregiously misreading what I said for the purposes of bringing the discussion to a convenient close!

I said there was no justification for distinguishing between real things and imaginary things in the strict sense of the word. I've been saying since the Go-go-Godel thread, two years ago on these very forums, that knowledge is not a strictly rational and logical process, but a "loosely rational" one based on observation and classification as I described in my recent post. This is, to repeat, precisely what invalidates your so-called "knowledge paradox" - if you attack an idea of knowledge which is not strictly rational using a line of reasoning which presumes that it is, then any such attack fails.

I'm not sure how you can describe re-asserting the same position I've been asserting on these very forums for two years "accepting the point you were making".

"ianrons" wrote:
Even though we may disagree slightly on the reasoning, the general point that there is no rational justification for your assertions about there being a difference between simple cognitions (e.g., generating the idea “cat”) and other ideas (however fantastical) is the one that I wanted to get across.

Whoa there, cowboy. I said there was "no rational justification" in the knowledge generating faculty that distinguishes between those types of real and imaginary sensations. I never said there was "no rational justification" for me or anyone else later asserting that there is a difference. In fact, it is that very ability which provides the basis of the justification, i.e. that those observations feed into the strictly rational process which later enables us to draw conclusions over it. Again, I've been saying this consistently for some time, now.

I guess maybe this is what happens when I try to accommodate myself to your terminology for convenience, despite being at pains to qualify that terminology with familiar phrases such as "in the strict sense of the word".

"ianrons" wrote:
This is directly applicable to the “demonstrations” you use,

As you can now see, it isn't remotely applicable to them.

"ianrons" wrote:
Having accepted there is no rational justification for this distinction, you do nevertheless re-assert several times that there is a key difference between simple cognitions and other ideas in a rather vague way, talking about some aspect of mind

There is nothing "vague" about understanding our faculty to invent ideas. If you're seriously disputing the existence of this faculty then I do indeed think we're done here.

"ianrons" wrote:
On another tack, you still argue that the knowledge paradox isn’t valid, because (you claim) it talks about a different type of “knowledge” to the one you mean when you talk about simple cognitions: you say that it talks about “absolute knowledge”, whereas, as I have repeatedly pointed out, this is simply not the case.

You've just admitted it is. You have just now agreed with my position that the knowledge generating faculty does not generate knowledge through a process of "strict rational justification".

"ianrons" wrote:
I refer you back to my previous comments to the effect that the proof of the knowledge paradox talks only about knowledge in the ordinary sense,

And I refer you back to my multiple demonstrations that it does not.

"ianrons" wrote:
and later draws inferences about the properties of knowledge (i.e., that it is non-absolute). But in any case, we agree there is no such thing as absolute knowledge: it’s just that you reject it a priori (“[my] type of knowledge [...] is the only type I assert to exist”), whereas I don’t begin with this assumption but infer it by rational means.

Falsely infer it by rational means, yes, as I have demonstrated several times now.

"ianrons" wrote:
I do not believe that it is worth continuing this thread further down that alley.

I'm inclined to agree. What a disappointing turn of events.

"ianrons" wrote:
To summarise, then, I see no reason to resile from my position, which states that the knowledge paradox appears to be valid, has "real world" implications and applies to all ideas including those generated by "real world" observation.

I'd again refer you back to my previous demonstrations in light of your complete misapprehension of my most recent reply.


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 Anonymous
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29/03/2010 12:07 pm  
"tai" wrote:
Your objection to Jim Eshelman’s comment it is curious since taking the Oath of the Abyss is precisely about this realization.

So the "Oath of the Abyss" is about "realizing" that reincarnation is true and that that children and Jews are abused because they chose to be abused before they were even born, now?

You've really outdone yourself with this one.

"tai" wrote:
No I don't think so.

Well, don't say I didn't warn you, then.


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 Anonymous
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29/03/2010 12:13 pm  
"gurugeorge" wrote:
Consider two cases:

You can't argue anything about the "truth" of perception by arguing that hallucinations may be true. If that were the case, they wouldn't be hallucinations. You can't argue that "truth is subjective" by referencing people who see things that aren't there.

"gurugeorge" wrote:
IOW, Crowley is saying that mystical experience is (as I would put it) a case of B above. The mystic is indeed perceiving something true, getting knowledge, etc., it's just that others don't see it yet (they haven't trained to use the microscope yet - cf. the discussion in Konx Om Pax).

You - and Crowley - are confusing "knowledge" with "perception". He often talks about "truth" and "understanding" to refer to non-rational processes, but this is a mere misuse of language, and serves to confuse many, many people, as we can see.

"gurugeorge" wrote:
IOW, mystical experience certainly can reveal truth, and the failure of the mystic to rationally justify it has nothing to do with the matter whatsoever.

It has nothing to do with the perception of the mystic, certainly, since such perception is entirely unrelated to either "truth" or "knowledge". It does have everything to do with "truth" and "knowledge", however. As I've said before, neither mystical experience nor any other kind of experience can convey knowledge - it's rational analysis after the experience which does that.


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ianrons
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29/03/2010 4:39 pm  

Erwin,

Interesting effort. I am not going to respond point by point, but I simply note (as an example), that replacing the word “demonstrated”/“demonstration” with “asserted”/“assertions” improves (a little) the accuracy of your response.

Just to be clear about the central area of contention, it has been quite clear from the beginning that you do regard the simple cognition (e.g., "cat") to be a magical phenomenon, generated differently to other ideas, and possessing special qualities. You have, and do, accept that there is no rational way to distinguish these ideas from mentally-recalled ideas or ideas conjured by the mind, again in your last post:

"Erwin" wrote:
I said there was no justification for distinguishing between real things and imaginary things in the strict sense of the word.

But you say that this doesn’t matter, because simple cognitions are so wonderfully “loosely rational” that they have a special force of their own which will always trump any rational considerations of their meaning (except your considerations), and you seem to regard yourself as their Master, which apparently gives you the ability to invoke their power whenever you want to make an a priori assertion:

"Erwin" wrote:
I never said there was "no rational justification" for me or anyone else later asserting that there is a difference [between “cat” and other ideas]. In fact, it is that [“loosely rational”] ability which provides the basis of the justification

How very convenient, although I still don’t see what makes this a “justification” (or “demonstration”) and not... erm... an “assertion”. But perhaps this assertion really did arise magically in your mind as a simple cognitions of the universe, giving it super powers and making it a “justification”? Wait... I’ve just had a simple cognition too... your argument is totally circular.

But anyways, good luck with that 😉

Ian


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 Anonymous
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29/03/2010 5:10 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
Just to be clear about the central area of contention, it has been quite clear from the beginning that you do regard the simple cognition (e.g., "cat") to be a magical phenomenon,

Wow. And you talk about me being "off [my] face"!

"ianrons" wrote:
You have, and do, accept that there is no rational way to distinguish these ideas from mentally-recalled ideas or ideas conjured by the mind,

No strictly rational way, as I've repeatedly stated. Knowledge is, ultimately, based on real world observations, and not an infinite chain of reasoning. This is why your "knowledge paradox" is an utter fantasy. As I told you, I've been saying this - to you, personally - for the last two years. Why you've suddenly decided that what I've been saying all along is somehow fatal to my argument - other than the very foundation of it, which it actually is - is a question that presumably only you can answer, and that's being generous.

"ianrons" wrote:
But you say that this doesn’t matter, because simple cognitions are so wonderfully “loosely rational” that they have a special force of their own which will always trump any rational considerations of their meaning (except your considerations),

So, you are asserting that you, personally, cannot distinguish between a perception of a cat, and an imagination of a cat, except by some kind of "magical" process? I think that just about sums up your bizarre approach to this subject.

It's a shame, because you were doing so well for the last few posts. You'd actually started to pay attention to what I was telling you, to the point where we were actually able to identify the differences in our positions. Yet, for the third time in recent history on this subject, once the groundwork is complete and you're actually confronted with those differences, you quickly retreat from actually dealing with them, return to your habitual method of attacking the messenger instead of the message, and descend into this ridiculous nonsense about "magic".

I'm not sure whether it's this particular idea you're having problems with, or whether you just have a problem confronting unfamiliar ideas in general, but I'm rapidly losing patience with your inability to engage with the actual arguments I put in front of you. It's been fun, but I have little interest in continuing to take time explaining simple ideas clearly to you, only to have you repeatedly shy away from dealing with them when I finally succeed.

In the event you develop an interest in intelligent debate, then you know where to find me. Until then, good luck with those religious beliefs of yours.


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 Anonymous
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29/03/2010 6:16 pm  

Are we discussing knowledge as mundane observations and rationalizations of phenomena or are we discussing knowledge as the gnosis, that inner knowing that can't be so simply rationalized or explained through words and language? Is there a distinction made between the two here or is the reality of the latter form of knowledge being denied outright?


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Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
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29/03/2010 6:32 pm  
"AEternitas" wrote:
Are we discussing knowledge as mundane observations and rationalizations of phenomena or are we discussing knowledge as the gnosis, that inner knowing that can't be so simply rationalized or explained through words and language? Is there a distinction made between the two here or is the reality of the latter form of knowledge being denied outright?

Yes and no.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
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29/03/2010 6:35 pm  

Erwin,

"Erwin" wrote:
Why you've suddenly decided that what I've been saying all along is somehow fatal to my argument - other than the very foundation of it, which it actually is - is a question that presumably only you can answer [emphasis mine]

OK, I will answer that. I've been pointing out the fundamental flaw in your argument from the beginning. It's taken you this long to accept it. I do take issue with the rest of what you've been saying, and have done so at length in this thread; but given that the foundation is rotten, there isn't any point repeatedly going over dependent matters. Essentially, the knowledge paradox survives unscathed, and Crowley was (in fact) correct on that point.

I rest my case, your honour.


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 Anonymous
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29/03/2010 9:07 pm  
"AEternitas" wrote:
Are we discussing knowledge as mundane observations and rationalizations of phenomena or are we discussing knowledge as the gnosis, that inner knowing that can't be so simply rationalized or explained through words and language?

The former, although I wouldn't word it in the way you have. The type of "gnosis" of which you speak is nothing to do with the first type of knowledge; people just get confused because the two concepts happen, unfortunately, to share the same label. Your "gnosis" is knowledge of something, in the Biblical sense, like knowledge of the taste of strawberries - it's not the type of knowledge which conveys factual information about the universe, which is the type of knowledge we've been discussing here.

"AEternitas" wrote:
Is there a distinction made between the two here or is the reality of the latter form of knowledge being denied outright?

The "latter form of knowledge" is simply outside of the scope of this entire discussion.


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 Anonymous
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29/03/2010 9:14 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
I've been pointing out the fundamental flaw in your argument from the beginning.

No, you've been asserting that it's a "fundamental flaw" it in the short amount of time that has passed since I dragged you kicking and screaming into understanding what my argument actually is, which was about two posts ago. Before that, you were absolutely all over the shop, and that's to where you have just gone right back.

"ianrons" wrote:
It's taken you this long to accept it.

That's quite the imagination you have there. Well, at least it would be, if you didn't think that "magic" was necessary to identify imaginary things as being imaginary. No wonder you struggle so much with ideas like this if that's what you think.

"ianrons" wrote:
Essentially, the knowledge paradox survives unscathed

Of course it "survives unscathed" if you shy away from challenging it. All religious belief possesses this property.

"ianrons" wrote:
I rest my case, your honour.

Probably your most optimal course of action, at this point. Pressing your case seems destined to lead you to heartache and meltdown, based on this and previous exchanges.


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