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 Anonymous
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30/05/2009 9:47 am  

After reading this thread,( http://www.lashtal.com/nuke/PNphpBB2-viewtopic-t-3390.phtml) I was surprised how Thelema is like all the other religions around.

If you say something that exists can't be studied or proven-then how do you know it exists? Maybe you're crazy, maybe I'm crazy, so how do we know we aren't? A crazy person just can't conclude they aren't crazy, we use evidence demonstrate it.

A subjective experience is a dime a dozen and proves nothing. Maybe I have a subjective experience that I can fly. So what? It proves nothing, it's just a hallucination.

Reading these posts gives me the impression that Thelema is like thousands of other religions; belief is based on nothing more than subjective experiences, or the belief in another person's experiences and the belief that you will soon have your own. When asked to prove these beliefs objectively, there are all sorts of reasons why it can't be. Every religion wants their belief to somehow be beyond study and evidence because it lets them justify their lack of it.

If Thelema uses the same system to justify its beliefs as any other religion, then how is it anything different? If we put the actual beliefs of Thelema aside, how is it not exactly the same as (insert any religion here)?


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michaelclarke18
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30/05/2009 10:37 am  

I don't think that members of any conventional religion are actively encouraged to develop their own link with 'the gods'...if anything, they are actively discouraged. In conventional religion, one merely abides by the word of the prophet...nothing is questioned and ones own behaviour is actively policed. That is part of my understanding of Thelema.

Of course, I do not feel that this applies to the Caphilate OTO; as this organisation - sadly - seems to have greater similarities with the usual power structures and hierarchies of the mainstream church.


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 Anonymous
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30/05/2009 11:44 am  
"michaelclarke18" wrote:
Of course, I do not feel that this applies to the Caphilate OTO; as this organisation - sadly - seems to have greater similarities with the usual power structures and hierarchies of the mainstream church.

oh really? you know what?
I had my reservations about joining the OTO for years, mainly because of blindly following things i read by people like you who have no idea of what the OTO is actually like....well, instead of blindly bashing the OTO i decided to see for myself...at least then if all i had been led to believe by alll the naysayers was true I could speak from experience.....guess what? people dont know what they are talking about...no suprise there eh?
joining the OTO UK Grand Lodge was one of the best things ive ever done. I dont see any proof that the OTO UKGL is like a mainstream church. The EGC does provide a religous arm of the OTO, but even that form of ecclesiatic training can hardly be considered mainstream!
Its frustrating that so many people just regurgitate the same old crap, without once having the balls to experience the OTO for themselves.
Of course the OTO is not for everyone. The hierarchy of OTO has similarities to freemasonry, (which is IMO not religous) but shares little the "mainsteam church" as you put it.

The OTO first and foremost provides a very real oppurtunity for Thelemtes to engage in a fraternal environment, that encourages a true sense of community, chivalry and growth.


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 Anonymous
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30/05/2009 12:41 pm  

Interesting question. I would say most religions encourage obeidience to a dogma. But then most religions are in fact the misunderstanding and so the misapplication of mystical* observances of consciousness. *(that which is not translatable to the mundane intellect which is itself is only a partial awareness, just as a frog might think it is all there is, so the intellect is a fairly restricted creature which continually insists it is the King and there is no other). Thelema and occult practices in general on the other hand, encourage the individual to experiment with their 'mysterious' being with methods such as meditation, sexual alchemy, Qabalah, dream control etc. The dogmatic religions reinforce the individuals ego identity but in the negative, i.e as a restricted cell in a much larger body of beliefs that only serve to limit possible experience.

It would be fair to say that most religions don't encourage experimentation in the greatest laboratory of all...the human body/mind complex. If the followers of Islam and Christianity for example actually did what their prophets espoused and actually went into the desert and learnt to still their chattering minds they would if their wills were one pointed learn to see the light in all beings (even if it is buried beneath) rather than continually separating and condeming those who don't fit into their narrow ways of thinking.

I was going to say...'unfortunately Thelema is subject to being dogmatised'...but ultimately it is neither fortunate or unfortunate. It is the nature of dual consciousness. That which is essentially a principle of mental and spiritual freedom must be subject to degeneration into a system of control. It is down to the individuals will. If he or she attempts to transcend the dual nature of consciousness then so be it. The proof is in the pudding. The key to getting beyond the notion of 'religion' is to 'be smart.'..read the works and Do the work. It will be a religion if you let it. It will be liberation if you let it.

The word Thelema has become an entity unrelated to its meaning. Let us not forget that Thelema simply means Will. It would be interesting to see how Thelema has encoraged its practitioners to discover their true wills..Perhaps another thread. A few posts on how an individual has found their wills fulfilled in cooking for example...perhaps some good recipes? 'Thelema' as Crowley continually points out, is a call for the individual to Do what Thou Wilt...and if all really did what it was theirs hearts desired even on the mundane level then their would be harmony rather than manipulation. Better to fail at something you enjoy doing than to succed in something you hate.

What is the great awakening that Thelema promises as do other true systems?...it is to be awake..to recognise self, to recognise that that which appears without, i.e the phenomenal universe, is in fact within and yes, the recognition that 'All' IS a 'subjective' experience. To say something is unprovable, not logical, posits the question, 'has the individual stoppped enquiring? Are the tools of observation lacking? Is the scientist lazy? Easier to agree with current thinking than to test for oneself?' Quantum Physics recognises the absolute necessity/immanence of the observer in observation. To say because you haven't experienced something and therefore anyone who does says they have is wrong, is limiting the principles of chaos and possibility. It is a narrow perspective based on lack of experience. Better to say..'I have not experienced it, but I am not closed to possibilty considering the phenomenal universe is nothing in extension and a mystery to me.'

Consciousness works on a system of laws so allowing itself to experience itself. The fact that I cannot put my physical hand through a wall is because the boundless nature of light/consciousness is in the mode of restriction within this frequency of light. The illusion of stability is recognised through the law/equation/principle of the 'receptive I' and that which is chaotic is given the illusion of order albeit breifly. We think our lives are long but they are not. The manipulation of light into the principle of gravity is only so as long as the word/formula remains. 70 odd years stuck within the realm of restriction is ultimately meaningless, but we have tricked ourselves into giving ' ultimate reality' to something with its root is choas and ultimately nothing. This is the price we pay for becoming restricted. 'Religious ' experience is a reuniting with that unrestricted aspect of self..The return to this realisation completes the circuit of creation and we become whole. This is the what the story of Adam and Eve, and Christ is a symbol of. The fall into restricted matter and the return to unrestricted light, all together as one. This drama is happening right now, always in the moment. Adam and Eve are here as is Christ... It is a story of our consciousness right now. Religions restrict this return and vamparise those with a genuine desire to understand, slowly transforming them into vampires also.

As I understand IT, our lifes are words, restricted by their organisation and meaning and we continually believe them and suffer as a result. Light in extension. Thelema/will encorages the individual to discover that light within recognise that all essentially the play of light that has never begun or ended and is essentially nothing in extension. The universe is then unveiled and we relise ourselves as the alpha and the omega..the beginning and the end all contained within the omnipotent moment that has never moved ..that which was, is and shall always be.
There is only one true book(which is not). That is the living book we are all in. The page is the moment. the letters and words are the page dreaming itself endlessly. How so?..because IT is unconditioned and therefore all potent and capable of anything.

Relating all occult, religious texts etc to the experience of concsiousness which expresses itself as the BODY..that which you are experiencing right now, not something that happened in the past or something that might happen in the future, will reveal new ways of seeing. The practices encoraged by 'Thelema' help us to recognise the body as consciousness.,thought manifested through the principles of concepts.This is an actual experience and quite beyond the shadowy realms of the chattering mind. Awareness flowers!

Religion is the chatter of the mind..the constant repetition of projected fantasies on to past events in an attempt to justify narrow vampiric thinking.. Thelema and like schools encorage the awakening to the One moment in all its endless manifestations that never moves. Aumgn x


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kidneyhawk
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30/05/2009 5:03 pm  

A subjective experience is a dime a dozen and proves nothing. Maybe I have a subjective experience that I can fly. So what? It proves nothing, it's just a hallucination

Victim,

If I understand your post correctly, you are taking issue with the perception that Thelema is just another group of beliefs, justified and reinforced by subjective experiences which tend towards validating those insubstantial notions we've found appealing. I think that for some, this is quite true (and I've observed people thinking and behaving, in a "Thelemic" context, with the same psychology underlying many diverse religious convictions which might be described as above).

The issue of our "subjective" experience, however, is one that I think is important here. ALL of our experience is "subjective." It is understood and categorized and processed by our individual minds. Even our perception of others (from looking at the lunatic who thinks he can fly and thus evokes his two broken legs to the validation and reinforcement of our own perceptions of "objective reality" by cataloguing group consensus and repeated experience) REMAINS an individual perceptive field. It's YOUR "world" as it were, very different from the world of a gnat, bird or "God."

From this standpoint, we inquire into the NATURE of our experience and perception, the nature of the mind, its relationship to the body and so on. Where we came from, where we're going and what exactly is going on here forms the basic of existential and occult inquiry. These are things Crowley addressed in tremendous detail. But for as much as he laid out a philosophy expressing the unique angle of Thelema via its particular symbols, words and so on, he developed a sprawling system of practical, technical approaches which was devised to assist the individual in "going beyond themselves" into a larger apprehension of existence. The aim of this is highly energetic, the continued momentum and unfolding of what is called the "93 Current." From this angle, the tapping of the Current is not stasis through solidifying beliefs but continual movement and growth, which is immediately embodied in your experience. Assessing that experiencing and working with it is part of the discipline of "Magick." AC's work is just LOADED with constant notes meant to keep the "explorer" from falling into Will-sapping oubliettes of ego-gratifying "belief." Thus the Law which is for All is also the Law of Liberty.

I think, in this regard, michaelclarke18's comment is interesting:

I don't think that members of any conventional religion are actively encouraged to develop their own link with 'the gods'...

In Kenneth Grant's Cults of the Shadow, he writes:

"It is necessary to an understanding of Crowley's Cult to grasp the occult implications of the Aeons...." He distinguishes the Aeons as follows:

The Aeon of Isis is where herd mentality dominates the race and a multiplicity of gods and goddesses are worshipped. In the Aeon of Osiris, this shifts to a single god. Grant observes: "This was an "advance" on the previous aeon in that religious consciousness involved not a multiplicity-men AND gods-but a duality of MAN and GOD....it was therefore a religion of duality, the duality of the god and the worshipper, of Subject and its Object."

This leads to his description of the Aeon of Horus:

"This dualistic approach to religion (i.e. union) will be transcended through the abolition of god and the establishment of Unity. Man will no longer worship god as an external factor-as in Paganism-or as an internal state of consciousness-as in Christianity-but will realize his identiy with "god." Hence the slogan of the Crowley Cult: There is no god but man."

Belief here gives way to Being...or the better term, Going, which is one of those terms and ideas embodied in Thelema as declared by Crowley. To Go has very little to do with belief or dogma or doors closing on a continuing advancing and expanding perceptive field. I think this is one reason why the "Crowley Programme," as it were, tends to give birth to so much varied and unique creative endeavor and action.

Ultimately, the "Thelemite" is not a "believer in Thelema" but one who is Going, embodying the Law, howsoever it is expressed or described, and liberated from the what Grant describes as "union" into the Gnosis and Action of "Unity."


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kidneyhawk
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30/05/2009 5:06 pm  

I was going to say...'unfortunately Thelema is subject to being dogmatised'...but ultimately it is neither fortunate or unfortunate. It is the nature of dual consciousness. That which is essentially a principle of mental and spiritual freedom must be subject to degeneration into a system of control. It is down to the individuals will. If he or she attempts to transcend the dual nature of consciousness then so be it. The proof is in the pudding. The key to getting beyond the notion of 'religion' is to 'be smart.'..read the works and Do the work. It will be a religion if you let it. It will be liberation if you let it.

Right on. 🙂


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michaelclarke18
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30/05/2009 5:19 pm  

oh really? you know what?
I had my reservations about joining the OTO for years, mainly because of blindly following things i read by people like you who have no idea of

Not getting angry about it or anything.......

I have come across so many who have been ''expelled'' from the OTO for various reasons, I suppose the Catholic equivalent would be 'excommunication''. In that respect - at least - it is like mainstream Christian Church, surely?


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Los
 Los
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30/05/2009 6:58 pm  

93, VictimofChanges,

I responded in the thread you cited in your OP, but I will make a few points here in response to this question.

I'm a Thelemite who is both an atheist and anti-supernatural. I have no problem acknowledging that there is a world outside of myself and that my beliefs about that world have no effect on what it actually is. Hence, as you note, subjective experience is extremely fallible -- it can lead us astray, but it can also be tested against the objective world.

In fact, such testing is absolutely necessary if we're going to be in touch with reality and not fool ourselves.

Thelema, I would say, is unique among "religions" or "spiritual" systems in that it does not require faith-based beliefs; instead, it actively encourages doubt and skepticism. "Do what thou wilt" isn't a dogmatic command, but a fact of nature. Magick and mysticism are two ways (among many) that enable one to better do that will, by helping to remove the "restriction" and the "lust for result" from the process of willing. As far as we can tell, they do not work by supernatural means.

Nothing about Thelema requires belief in the supernatural in any way, shape, or form. That's part of what makes it such an excellent system for the modern world.

93, 93/93


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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30/05/2009 7:05 pm  

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

"VictimofChanges" wrote:
If Thelema uses the same system to justify its beliefs as any other religion, then how is it anything different? If we put the actual beliefs of Thelema aside, how is it not exactly the same as (insert any religion here)?

You're taking by granted so much things about Thelema. First of all, that it's a religion, a thing that many would find wrong. Second, that all Thelemites BELIEVE in the same things, when Thelema is not (at least for me) about BELIEVING in something, but ACCEPTING the Law of Thelema.

"Success is thy proof: argue not; convert not; talk not over much!" AL III:42

It's about oneself, about knowing oneself and knowing your Will. If the experiences of others are useful, why not learn from them? If they're not, just simply put them aside. Why not learn from anything that you find useful?

If it doesn't fits with you now, there is no need for struggle, maybe later, maybe never.

"Love is the law, love under will."


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Michael Staley
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MANIO - it's all in the egg
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30/05/2009 7:48 pm  
"VictimofChanges" wrote:
If Thelema uses the same system to justify its beliefs as any other religion, then how is it anything different? If we put the actual beliefs of Thelema aside, how is it not exactly the same as (insert any religion here)?

You seem to regards all religions as alike. Yet, how can atheist religions such as Taoism and Buddhism be classed with the likes of, for instance, Christianity and Islam?

Like some previous posters, I do not consider Thelema a religion, though I have no quarrel with those - including Crowley, perhaps - who think otherwise. Similarly, I have crossed swords with Los on a number of occasions on these boards, specifically about the value of conclusions drawn from subjective experience. However, I do in consequence regard Los as any less of a Thelemite than myself; we just have different interests and emphases, that's all.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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Michael Staley
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MANIO - it's all in the egg
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30/05/2009 7:53 pm  

I meant, of course, "I do not in consequence, regard Los as any less of a Thelemite than myself ... ". I accidentally pressed the submit instead of the preview button.

😳

In cringing contrition,

MS


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Los
 Los
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30/05/2009 9:44 pm  
"MichaelStaley" wrote:
I meant, of course, "I do not in consequence, regard Los as any less of a Thelemite than myself ... ". I accidentally pressed the submit instead of the preview button.

Ah, Michael, I knew your true feelings would come out sooner or later. 😛 No, I'm just kidding -- I appreciate the "shout out."

In all seriousness, I make errors like that all the time (and I usually could have *sworn* I pressed the right button). It reminds me that my perception often does not match up perfectly with reality.


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IAO131
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30/05/2009 10:12 pm  
"michaelclarke18" wrote:
I don't think that members of any conventional religion are actively encouraged to develop their own link with 'the gods'...if anything, they are actively discouraged.

The angels in Roman Catholicism? The devas in Hinduism? Et cetera...?

Thelema is similar to religions in many ways. Thelema is different to religions in many ways. To take a black and white approach will necessarily lead you to contradiction and frustration.

Thelema does not encourage adherence or faith to articles of belief. If there are articles of belief, they are reinforced by direct experience. The difference between exoteric vs. esoteric religions in general is that the exoteric is adherence to a Creed based on faith and the esoteric is the adherence to a Creed based on direct experience of 'spiritual truth' (for lack of a better phrase). This latter aspect, some call it 'gnosis' to differentiate from normal knowledge and other terms, is common across a lot of 'religions' and esoteric systems and spiritualities, etc.

The thing that Crowley often says is that he is the first prophet who doesnt say 'believe me' but 'question me' and 'try our what im saying and see for yourself.' Theres a nice quote in the beginning of Liber ABA to that effect (I wont do my normal practice of quoting Crowley here!).

This can potentially get into the issue of how one verifies anything and the possibility of Truth, etc. which seems to be the subtle undercurrent of this thread anyhow. The basic difference is certainty vs. faith, personal experience over acceptance of things heard from others, etc. Im guessing most posts will take this stance in some form or another.

IAO131


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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30/05/2009 10:42 pm  
"michaelclarke18" wrote:

oh really? you know what?
I had my reservations about joining the OTO for years, mainly because of blindly following things i read by people like you who have no idea of

Not getting angry about it or anything.......

I have come across so many who have been ''expelled'' from the OTO for various reasons, I suppose the Catholic equivalent would be 'excommunication''. In that respect - at least - it is like mainstream Christian Church, surely?

People get expelled from school too.


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alysa
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30/05/2009 11:22 pm  

JackSratch wrote "People get expelled from school too" I don't see the comparison between a normal school and an organisation like the OTO or the Roman Christian Church.


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 Anonymous
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31/05/2009 6:16 am  
"JackScratch" wrote:
"michaelclarke18" wrote:

oh really? you know what?
I had my reservations about joining the OTO for years, mainly because of blindly following things i read by people like you who have no idea of

Not getting angry about it or anything.......

I have come across so many who have been ''expelled'' from the OTO for various reasons, I suppose the Catholic equivalent would be 'excommunication''. In that respect - at least - it is like mainstream Christian Church, surely?

People get expelled from school too.

And perhaps we go into anymore conclusions about being expelled we do not know the reasons for why they were expelled. hmm could it be for a good reason?


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 Anonymous
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31/05/2009 8:38 am  
"FraterNepios" wrote:
And perhaps we go into anymore conclusions about being expelled we do not know the reasons for why they were expelled. hmm could it be for a good reason?

Unlike school, the Caliphate doesn't assign homework. Sure, one must memorize the passwords, but there aren't any formal Magick or occult studies. There aren't any courses that one must pass, or fail and be expelled. In the Caliphate, the person merely participates in an Initiation ceremony every year or two, and is thereby advanced to the next Degree.

The Caliphate expulsions that we hear about are the high profile ones, and these revolve around persons who are expelled because they express the opinion that the Caliphate leadership is substandard. Is is Thelemic to expel a high ranking member for expressing his honest opinion, which in the high-profile cases is based on years of close experience with the order and its leadership? Can any organization really permit its membership to live according to the Law of Thelema?

What does Thelema mean, in practical terms of Caliphate membership? To an outsider, it appears that criticism of the leadership results in quick expulsion. Even in the Roman Catholic Church a certain amount of dissent is tolerated. Does the Caliphate encourage diversity. Does belonging to the Caliphate mean that one has to constantly watch out for some gestapo operating in the name of Thelema? Does it mean trading Ten Commandments that one is required to follow, for a bunch of other ones?

Is a Caliphate member supposed to be a Thelemite everywhere -- except inside the Caliphate itself?

Does a Caliphate Thelemite really have more freedom than an atheist who has never heard of Thelema; does he have even as much?

FIAOF


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 Anonymous
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31/05/2009 9:16 am  
"MichaelStaley" wrote:
"VictimofChanges" wrote:
If Thelema uses the same system to justify its beliefs as any other religion, then how is it anything different? If we put the actual beliefs of Thelema aside, how is it not exactly the same as (insert any religion here)?

You seem to regards all religions as alike. Yet, how can atheist religions such as Taoism and Buddhism be classed with the likes of, for instance, Christianity and Islam?

Like some previous posters, I do not consider Thelema a religion, though I have no quarrel with those - including Crowley, perhaps - who think otherwise. Similarly, I have crossed swords with Los on a number of occasions on these boards, specifically about the value of conclusions drawn from subjective experience. However, I do in consequence regard Los as any less of a Thelemite than myself; we just have different interests and emphases, that's all.

Best wishes,

Michael.

Thelema is proposed as a sharp breakaway from other religions, but it requires you to assume faith and personal experiences over demonstrable objective scrutiny. What I'm being especially critical of is how Thelema can claim to be somehow superior, but still works inside the framework of every other religion.

From what I've seen, if you have a Thelemite and a Christian and ask them why they believe their religion is true, they have the same answers. If you're a Thelemite and you and a Christian answer the question exactly the same, then how can you claim intellectual superiority?

If Thelema offers the same answers like-well I had this experience, or this guy I knew had this experience, or the prophet was a real neato guy and I like him a lot etc; Thelema is just another religion and religions don't have a good track record of being true or leading to a so much better life.

I don't know about Taoism, but Buddhism is not really atheistic. Buddhism has picked up lots of deities over the years and this wild assertion of the Primordial Buddha. Did Buddha set out with an atheistic religion? Maybe, I don't know.


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 Anonymous
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31/05/2009 9:18 am  
"VictimofChanges" wrote:
"MichaelStaley" wrote:
"VictimofChanges" wrote:
If Thelema uses the same system to justify its beliefs as any other religion, then how is it anything different? If we put the actual beliefs of Thelema aside, how is it not exactly the same as (insert any religion here)?

You seem to regards all religions as alike. Yet, how can atheist religions such as Taoism and Buddhism be classed with the likes of, for instance, Christianity and Islam?

Like some previous posters, I do not consider Thelema a religion, though I have no quarrel with those - including Crowley, perhaps - who think otherwise. Similarly, I have crossed swords with Los on a number of occasions on these boards, specifically about the value of conclusions drawn from subjective experience. However, I do in consequence regard Los as any less of a Thelemite than myself; we just have different interests and emphases, that's all.

Best wishes,

Michael.

Thelema is proposed as a sharp breakaway from other religions, but it requires you to assume faith and personal experiences over demonstrable objective scrutiny. What I'm being especially critical of is how Thelema can claim to be somehow superior, but still works inside the framework of every other religion.

From what I've seen, if you have a Thelemite and a Christian and ask them why they believe their religion is true, they have the same answers. If you're a Thelemite and you and a Christian answer the question exactly the same, then how can you claim intellectual superiority?

If Thelema offers the same answers like-well I had this experience, or this guy I knew had this experience, or the prophet was a real neato guy and I like him a lot etc; Thelema is just another religion and religions don't have a good track record of being true or leading to a so much better life or doing any particular good.

I don't know about Taoism, but Buddhism is not really atheistic. Buddhism has picked up lots of deities over the years and this wild assertion of the Primordial Buddha. Did Buddha set out with an atheistic religion? Maybe, I don't know.


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 Anonymous
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31/05/2009 10:17 am  

VictimofChanges why do you think Aiwass went to the trouble of giving the symbolism for Liber Al Vel Legis Ch 3 V 51, 52, 53?

Its not exactly supportive of having tea with the vicar is it?! 🙂


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Michael Staley
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31/05/2009 11:04 am  
"VictimofChanges" wrote:
Thelema ... requires you to assume faith and personal experiences over demonstrable objective scrutiny.

What is this "demonstrable objective scrutiny" you speak of? Accepting for the sake of argument that there is an objective reality, you experience it through your senses; your knowledge of "objective reality" is through your subjective experience. So if you discount subjective experience as any guide to objective reality, what are you left with? Not a lot.

You might point to "consensus reality", but this changes across time and space. It was probably "consensus reality" amongst certain communities at one time that the sun, planets and stars revolved around the earth. Today's "consensus reality" may appear deluded tomorrow.

This is not to suggest that we take everything on trust, no matter how wild or absurd it may appear, on the grounds that we cannot rule it out. We each have our own measures of discrimination, a shifting amalgam perhaps of "consensus reality", subjective experience, intuition, aspiration etc which changes with experience.

Thelema doesn't claim to be superior; it's a natural law. Some of its proponents might make claim it as the basis of a religion that is superior to all others, but that's another matter about which I find it difficult to be concerned.

You asked in an earlier post how you might know that you were not crazy. The short answer is that you don't; these are shifting sands.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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 Anonymous
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31/05/2009 12:33 pm  

If the Caliphate expell a member for being insuffiently attuned to thier school, then it may be in the best interests of everyone. The person so expelled may have enough talent to develop thier own school, appealing to students they can be most benefit to. At the end of the day all that's really important to anyone is the enlightenment of others, and in this sense - all true masters are servants to all true schools.

Love under Will.


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 Anonymous
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31/05/2009 1:45 pm  

If Thelema uses the same system to justify its beliefs as any other religion, then how is it anything different? If we put the actual beliefs of Thelema aside, how is it not exactly the same as (insert any religion here)?

First of all,the very idea of justification of anything is ,from my point of view, in odds with common sense,and not very practical one,may I add.
Second, I do agree that Thelema can be viewed as some other religions or systems of belief; no arguments on that part,as far as I'm concerned.

As Crowley states in Liber ABA ,we can argue that (for example) experience of Dhyana is actually caused by some sort of brain spasm,or "possibly even breaking of a small vessel"; if that would be so,you can interpret your experience as such - from physiological point of view.If that would be your choice ,that shouldn't stop you from enjoying psychological or any other benefits,if there are any, of Dhyana experience;or that your physiological explanation of Dhyana should deny practical value(again,if there is any) of non physical phenomena that is a result physiological,therefore,physical occurrence.

… but it requires you to assume faith and personal experiences over demonstrable objective scrutiny.

Now,this simply isn't true.Choose as ye will,Thelema doesn’t have that kind of preferences.
There is only one “lawful” course of action in any given situation,and that is the only criteria on what is preferable.Besides,”demonstrable objective scrutiny”?Michael Staley already elaborated on that part…

By the way,this is my first post here,93 and greetings all 🙂


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 Anonymous
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31/05/2009 2:19 pm  
"michaelclarke18" wrote:
I have come across so many who have been ''expelled'' from the [Order] for various reasons, I suppose the Catholic equivalent would be 'excommunication''. In that respect - at least - it is like mainstream Christian Church, surely?

It sure is interesting that anyone can be "expelled" from an Order whose first degree rite clearly states:
"Therefore, I pause, and declare; up to now, nothing has been done which would make it impossible for you to withdraw. But if you still persist, then NOTHING will ever enable you to sever the ties which you are now about to form with us and our Order."

Well, one can always argue that the statement says "... nothing will ever enable YOU to sever the ties ...", but that the initiators (WE) reserve the right to sever those ties.

So, if the ties REALLY cannot be severed, then "expelling" is a joke and the member continues his/her inherent ["etheric"] membership regardless of what the "people in charge" do, and the Order is really something special.

Or, on the other hand, if the ties REALLY can be severed, and "expelling" is for real and the member loses his/her inherent ["etheric"] membership because the "people in charge" have so decided, then the Order is really nothing special - it's just another temporary group.

So which is it? Can the ties be severed or not?


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IAO131
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31/05/2009 6:16 pm  
"Sphynx" wrote:
"michaelclarke18" wrote:
I have come across so many who have been ''expelled'' from the [Order] for various reasons, I suppose the Catholic equivalent would be 'excommunication''. In that respect - at least - it is like mainstream Christian Church, surely?

It sure is interesting that anyone can be "expelled" from an Order whose first degree rite clearly states:
"Therefore, I pause, and declare; up to now, nothing has been done which would make it impossible for you to withdraw. But if you still persist, then NOTHING will ever enable you to sever the ties which you are now about to form with us and our Order."

Well, one can always argue that the statement says "... nothing will ever enable YOU to sever the ties ...", but that the initiators (WE) reserve the right to sever those ties.

So, if the ties REALLY cannot be severed, then "expelling" is a joke and the member continues his/her inherent ["etheric"] membership regardless of what the "people in charge" do, and the Order is really something special.

Or, on the other hand, if the ties REALLY can be severed, and "expelling" is for real and the member loses his/her inherent ["etheric"] membership because the "people in charge" have so decided, then the Order is really nothing special - it's just another temporary group.

So which is it? Can the ties be severed or not?

The ties are 'magical' and 'occult' - one is symbolically 'born' into the Order. How about you read the basic documents on the OTO website fi you dont know about the simple things?

OTO doesnt kick people out for expressing the opinion that leadership is substandard. You have to do a little more than that. Im aware of many high level members who routinely criticize OTO but they do so in a legitimate way. There are systems set up in the OTO for arbitration of disputes. Its not perfect but its there. To say that OTO expels people for disagreeing or expressing frustrating with leadership is just plain wrong - I wonder what kind of motive you (not you Sphynx, the other fellow) for saying these things?

Formally, bonds with the OTO can be severed. You wont be asked for dues, you wont be allowed at functions/initiations, etc... but you will still have a symbolic-magical connection to the Order. I think the latter bit is just as big hocus-pocus as the GD's threat that a magical current will strike you down... but thats me!

Either way, all this seems rather off-topic.

The difference between Thelema and Christianity if you ask why they believe would normally give diametrically opposite answers. CHristian: I have faith, I believe in the Bible, the Bible is the Word of God, the Word of God is infallible, it says so in the Bible, Jesus loves me and died for my sins, etc. It is faith in systems given to you from others. Thelemites will most likely answer: Success is your proof. Thelema isnt inherently superior in some kin of Cosmic Justice Scale, it just works better, it takes away a lot of the dross of old systems, leaves the gold, and adds a unique emotional-aesthetic-symbolic relation to the universe with ourselves as Stars (the starry heaven was said to obey the divine laws, but if we are all stars we too obey that divine law, etc.). Either way, saying "I have faith" and "I know it works" are very different truth-value statements. When you get into tricky territory is direct experience - there ARE some people who say "I had a powerful experiecne where Jesus visited me, God gave me his love, the HOly Spirit came up within me, etc." whereas a Thelemite might say "I attained K&C of HGA, Crossed the Abyss, etc." Really, this is a very sketchy territory as it goes into the validity of visions (defined broadly as altered states), the interference of the mind (its culture/prejudices) on interpreting visions, etc. The thing is that I realize that people have experiences that 'justify' their current belief system - because I study psychology it seems the obvious answer is that their psyche colors the experience. This same idea appears in Crowley's writings (Liber Causae, Liber Porta Lucis, line 2 of chapter 1 of Liber LXV, etc.) In a large way its personal-aesthetic preference. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law, after all. I think the thing I am getting at is that people dont accept Thelema because it is necessarily more metaphysically superior/true.

IAO131


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Tiger
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31/05/2009 6:16 pm  

It is only natural that as soon as a powerful organization becomes a legal entity Secret Gestapo Stasi CIA agents will infiltrate it. That is why codes are changed. The Old Aeonic Lodge system with its patriarchal influence symbolized by Solomon and the like are riddled with such clap trap.

That is why freedom to find and do your will creatively opens up new approaches to modify traditional concepts beyond the institutional fraternal initiation indoctrination techniques.

Most Buddhist systems get around attachment with the phrase "Not that there is God Not that there isn't"
It is considered the middle path between Eternalism and Nihilism.

Crowley I believe mentions in one of the Equinoxes that by using the Tree of Life he created something out of nothing.


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IAO131
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31/05/2009 6:18 pm  
"Tiger" wrote:
It is only natural that as soon as a powerful organization becomes a legal entity Secret Gestapo Stasi CIA agents will infiltrate it. That is why codes are changed. The Old Aeonic Lodge system with its patriarchal influence symbolized by Solomon and the like are riddled with such clap trap.

That is why freedom to find and do your will creatively opens up new approaches to modify traditional concepts beyond the institutional fraternal initiation indoctrination techniques.

Most Buddhist systems get around attachment with the phrase "Not that there is God Not that there isn't"
It is considered the middle path between Eternalism and Nihilism.

Crowley I believe mentions in one of the Equinoxes that by using the Tree of Life he created something out of nothing.

In all due respect: This is a load of gibberish to me, if I may say so.

IAO131


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michaelclarke18
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31/05/2009 6:58 pm  

I think many organisations have 'conservative' elements; those who benefit most from the status quo and who seek to perpetuate their own enrichment. This is usually manifest by control through a combination of means.


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 Anonymous
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31/05/2009 7:04 pm  
"IAO131" wrote:
OTO doesnt kick people out for expressing the opinion that leadership is substandard. You have to do a little more than that. Im aware of many high level members who routinely criticize OTO but they do so in a legitimate way. There are systems set up in the OTO for arbitration of disputes. Its not perfect but its there. To say that OTO expels people for disagreeing or expressing frustrating with leadership is just plain wrong - I wonder what kind of motive you (not you Sphynx, the other fellow) for saying these things?

I'm not a member of the Caliphate and have to rely on published sources as to why these people were expelled from the Caliphate. Numerous Web sites explain the expulsions in words similar to this:

----
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread452346/pg1

"The governing body of the Caliphate has been operating under questionable ethics. It appears, at least on the surface, that the current policy is to expel anyone who publicly disagrees with, or questions, the current Frater Superior of the Order, and many of the O.T.O.'s biggest talents have been dealt with in this manner. This goes against the Crowley policy of complete freedom of conscience (see Liber OZ). I would suggest perusing John Crowe's podcasts at www.thelemacoasttocoast.com and his blog at www.thelema.nu

Crowe is by no means not the only high ranking member of O.T.O. to be kicked out because he upset the current leader, but is one of the most outspoken ones."

----

Do you have information -- that you can document and post here -- that proves all of these sources are wrong?

FIAOF


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Los
 Los
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31/05/2009 7:09 pm  
"IAO131" wrote:
If there are articles of belief, they are reinforced by direct experience.

But what VictimofChanges appears to be saying, basically, is that a great deal of religious people claim similar "direct experience" of the supernatural. The Hindu believes himself to be in touch with Shiva; the Christian claims to talk to Jesus; the Muslim claims to feel the presence of his god; the Zoroastrian claims to speak with his god.

Each has equally had a direct experience. Yet clearly they cannot all be correct. "I had an experience" is a bad standard of evidence for accepting a claim.

VictimofChanges is asking whether the Thelemite who (for example) has a "direct experience" of past lives, preterhuman intelligences, or the astral plane and concludes that they are real is -- putting the actual claim itself aside for a moment -- any different than the Christian who has a "direct experience" of god and concludes that gay marriage is evil.

The answer is no, he would be no different. A Thelemite who accepts claims on the basis that "I experienced it" would be using the same bad standard of evidence as the average religionist who "experiences" god and concludes that gay marriage is evil.

But, as I explained in my previous post, it's not necessary to accept any of those supernatural claims to be a Thelemite.Thelema does not require you to "assume faith and personal experiences over demonstrable objective scrutiny." The main concept of Thelema, the will, is not supernatural in the slightest.

"Demonstrable objective scrutiny" not only exists, it has a very simple meaning -- measuring claims (and experience) against reality. While it's true that our sensory input is subjective, the senses are consantly confirming one another (the hands can feel what the eyes tell us are there, etc.) and confirming the senses of others (I can investigate the table in front of me with other people).

Though our senses are fallible, we have managed to build up a picture of objective reality that is accurate enough to yield results (science and technology that have actually improved lives).

While we might never know anything with 100% certainty, we can use the clear picture of objective reality that we've built up to help determine which claims are likely to be true or likely to be false.

There is simply no good evidence for supernatural claims -- given what we know now, they are very, very likely to be false.

[P.S. All this OTO stuff is rather irrelevant to the thread topic...before any more of the initiation rituals get posted -- which might cause the thread to be closed -- could you guys please take your little fight somewhere else?]


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lashtal
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31/05/2009 7:40 pm  
"Fr_FIAOF" wrote:
Crowe is by no means...

The source you use can't even spell his name right, which probably says all you need to know.

Mr Crow - a member of this site - has described the circumstances of his expulsion in rather more nuanced terms, by the way.

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lashtal
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31/05/2009 7:43 pm  
"Los" wrote:
All this OTO stuff is rather irrelevant to the thread topic...before any more of the initiation rituals get posted -- which might cause the thread to be closed -- could you guys please take your little fight somewhere else?]

Well said.

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


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Proteus
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31/05/2009 10:22 pm  

Thelema, whatever we may personally consider it to be, certainly doesn't require us to justify it to others. I don't believe Thelema is a religion and I feel no need to convince others to agree with me. Proselytization is antithetical to Thelema, IMO.

If you don't agree with a particular organization's methods and beliefs, then simply don't join it. It's really not that complex of a problem.

If someone's Work consists of participating in some lame debate club against imagined enemies, they are truly missing the point and wasting their time.

John


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kidneyhawk
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31/05/2009 10:22 pm  

All this OTO stuff is rather irrelevant to the thread topic...

Well, bickering and name calling and trolling and so on are far beyond tiresome, but OTO was clearly viewed by Crowley as a very important vehicle for the promotion and development of the "Religion of Thelema," yes? Thelema Itself may be a "Force of Nature" but around this central idea, Crowley developed a mythos, a series of rites and practices, observations (The Gnostic Mass, Resh and so on) and essentially left behind a type of "religious culture" which was embodied in OTO. If we consider this "culture" to be a type of "Religion of Thelema" then an examination of how it stands up to other religions which have been found "wanting" is a fair topic for discussion, I would think.


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Los
 Los
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31/05/2009 10:53 pm  
"kidneyhawk" wrote:
If we consider this "culture" to be a type of "Religion of Thelema" then an examination of how it stands up to other religions which have been found "wanting" is a fair topic for discussion, I would think.

Fair enough -- if we take it in that direction, it would be relevant.

All of the childish squabbling aside -- for what it's worth, Crowley does say in the Confessions that he wrote the Gnostic Mass so that it would not contain a line that would not be endorsed wholeheartedly by the most materialistic man of science (that's a pretty close paraphrase). Now whether Crowley succeeded or not could be an interesting topic for discussion, but the intent was surely there.

It seems clear that Crowley intended what we might reluctantly call Thelema's "religious culture" not to function along the lines of "faith" or belief without evidence.

Even his Liber O makes it clear that practitioners should not attribute truth to their experiences. It's an explicit statement that just because you have an experience doesn't mean that your explanation for the experience is true.

The thing that has been "wanting" about the world's (supernatural) religions is the fact that they make false claims; that they take beliefs on faith; that their followers have experiences and immediately attribute truth to those experiences ("angels *do* exist!").

In theory, Thelemites should be less likely to make those mistakes and should be *more* in tune with reality.


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 Anonymous
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01/06/2009 12:59 am  
"Los" wrote:
"IAO131" wrote:
If there are articles of belief, they are reinforced by direct experience.

But what VictimofChanges appears to be saying, basically, is that a great deal of religious people claim similar "direct experience" of the supernatural. The Hindu believes himself to be in touch with Shiva; the Christian claims to talk to Jesus; the Muslim claims to feel the presence of his god; the Zoroastrian claims to speak with his god.

Each has equally had a direct experience. Yet clearly they cannot all be correct. "I had an experience" is a bad standard of evidence for accepting a claim.

VictimofChanges is asking whether the Thelemite who (for example) has a "direct experience" of past lives, preterhuman intelligences, or the astral plane and concludes that they are real is -- putting the actual claim itself aside for a moment -- any different than the Christian who has a "direct experience" of god and concludes that gay marriage is evil.

The answer is no, he would be no different. A Thelemite who accepts claims on the basis that "I experienced it" would be using the same bad standard of evidence as the average religionist who "experiences" god and concludes that gay marriage is evil.

But, as I explained in my previous post, it's not necessary to accept any of those supernatural claims to be a Thelemite.Thelema does not require you to "assume faith and personal experiences over demonstrable objective scrutiny." The main concept of Thelema, the will, is not supernatural in the slightest.

"Demonstrable objective scrutiny" not only exists, it has a very simple meaning -- measuring claims (and experience) against reality. While it's true that our sensory input is subjective, the senses are consantly confirming one another (the hands can feel what the eyes tell us are there, etc.) and confirming the senses of others (I can investigate the table in front of me with other people).

Though our senses are fallible, we have managed to build up a picture of objective reality that is accurate enough to yield results (science and technology that have actually improved lives).

While we might never know anything with 100% certainty, we can use the clear picture of objective reality that we've built up to help determine which claims are likely to be true or likely to be false.

There is simply no good evidence for supernatural claims -- given what we know now, they are very, very likely to be false.

[P.S. All this OTO stuff is rather irrelevant to the thread topic...before any more of the initiation rituals get posted -- which might cause the thread to be closed -- could you guys please take your little fight somewhere else?]

Yes, that's right.

I think it's really getting out there to assert that reality is so malleable and plastic.

If a man has a personal experience that he can fly, he can come in direct contact with reality when he jumps off a tall building and becomes one with the pavement. You can claim anything, but reality is reality and that's the test.

A rock is a rock whether you think it's a toaster or anything else. Just because you think it is a toaster, through your own personal experience, doesn't make it so.

It's also a claimed that these are very mystical intangible things Thelema is concerned with and that somehow raises it beyond evidence. Before Einstein, gravity was a very mystical and hardly understood force and that's all the more reason to study it; form theories and test those theories.

I remember is took Einstein 9 years to prove his theory, I'm sure he would have rather said, "Well gravity is very mystical and reality is malleable, therefore, I have no reason to prove anything." But Einstein did prove it and that's why he's Einstein.


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IAO131
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01/06/2009 2:25 am  
"Los" wrote:
"IAO131" wrote:
If there are articles of belief, they are reinforced by direct experience.

But what VictimofChanges appears to be saying, basically, is that a great deal of religious people claim similar "direct experience" of the supernatural. The Hindu believes himself to be in touch with Shiva; the Christian claims to talk to Jesus; the Muslim claims to feel the presence of his god; the Zoroastrian claims to speak with his god.

Each has equally had a direct experience. Yet clearly they cannot all be correct. "I had an experience" is a bad standard of evidence for accepting a claim.

VictimofChanges is asking whether the Thelemite who (for example) has a "direct experience" of past lives, preterhuman intelligences, or the astral plane and concludes that they are real is -- putting the actual claim itself aside for a moment -- any different than the Christian who has a "direct experience" of god and concludes that gay marriage is evil.

The answer is no, he would be no different. A Thelemite who accepts claims on the basis that "I experienced it" would be using the same bad standard of evidence as the average religionist who "experiences" god and concludes that gay marriage is evil.

But, as I explained in my previous post, it's not necessary to accept any of those supernatural claims to be a Thelemite.Thelema does not require you to "assume faith and personal experiences over demonstrable objective scrutiny." The main concept of Thelema, the will, is not supernatural in the slightest.

"Demonstrable objective scrutiny" not only exists, it has a very simple meaning -- measuring claims (and experience) against reality. While it's true that our sensory input is subjective, the senses are consantly confirming one another (the hands can feel what the eyes tell us are there, etc.) and confirming the senses of others (I can investigate the table in front of me with other people).

Though our senses are fallible, we have managed to build up a picture of objective reality that is accurate enough to yield results (science and technology that have actually improved lives).

While we might never know anything with 100% certainty, we can use the clear picture of objective reality that we've built up to help determine which claims are likely to be true or likely to be false.

There is simply no good evidence for supernatural claims -- given what we know now, they are very, very likely to be false.

[P.S. All this OTO stuff is rather irrelevant to the thread topic...before any more of the initiation rituals get posted -- which might cause the thread to be closed -- could you guys please take your little fight somewhere else?]

93,

I feel like it largely comes down to personal preference, especially since people largely project their own ideals in to theri supposedly adhered-to system/religion. For example, you claim that hte Will is not super-natural and that Thelema doesnt even need the supernatural whereas others (including AC himself at certain times) puts the entire context of magick within the scope of contacting such entities. That is, someone could easily say Thelema embraces the supernatural - I know quite a few people who readily think this.

So the Hindu has an experience that he is united with Shiva, the Christian with Christ, the Buddhist with Buddha, etc. ... perhaps Thelema is the first to have a prophet who recognized openly/publicly this unity behind system (Liber Causae/Porta Lucis)??

If you want to "justify" Thelema being superior in any way, youll have to give something based on proof. Its either going to be based on emotional cues (i.e. I scare you into believing), based on reasonable arguments, or based on direct experience. You ain't gonna get something else (except, of course, Divine Revelation/Intervention if you believe in that).

"The answer is no, he would be no different. A Thelemite who accepts claims on the basis that "I experienced it" would be using the same bad standard of evidence as the average religionist who "experiences" god and concludes that gay marriage is evil. "

What standard does the Thelemite give for believing in the possibility of K&C of HGA? Of Crossing the Abyss? Of the existence of a 'Will' at all? Hmmm...?

IAO131


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Proteus
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01/06/2009 2:42 am  

perhaps Thelema is the first to have a prophet who recognized openly/publicly this unity behind system (Liber Causae/Porta Lucis)??

Hinduism had acknowledged this unity for thousands of years before Crowley. Not that Hinduism has 'prophets' in the traditional sense...

Crowley introduced the West to what the East had known for a long, long time. That said, Thelema did not begin in 1904. I suspect Crowley would agree.

John


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 Anonymous
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01/06/2009 3:10 am  

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

"Proteus" wrote:
Crowley introduced the West to what the East had known for a long, long time.

Well, but isn't that the idea behind Liber 777 and things like "The Method of Science, the Aim of Religion." (between others)? To take what is useful and works from any source... Seeing the pros and the cons so you can complement it with other forms of knowledge, religions, philosophies, practices, etc.

"Proteus" wrote:
I suspect Crowley would agree.

Indeed, I find that affirmation rather unnecessary

"Love is the law, love under will."


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kidneyhawk
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01/06/2009 4:07 am  

Thelema did not begin in 1904

This is a very interesting point. Yes, it's been brought up umpteen times on the forums from several different perspectives. However, we are asking the question "How is Thelema, as a "Religion," different from the rest?" If I remember correctly, it has been IAO131 who has noted many of the prophetic declarations in Liber AL being drawn from previous sources. This calling of attention to such material begins to make Liber AL appear to be a bit of "cobble job," knit together with a Crowleyan slant. I personally don't think AL was disingenuous as to its "revelatory" nature and I am presently convinced that its reception was under very unusual and atypical conditions, as related by AC. However, as we investigate its content, from such a critical standpoint, we find that it does stand as a very unique and particular "Holy Book" which purports its context to be an "Aeonic Birth."

I am thinking that the "arrival," if you will, of the "New Aeon" naturally draws upon all of these preceding doctrines and traditions, methods and modes, recontextualizing them in the formula I referred to above, quoting Grant. A formula of "Unity."

It may very well be that Crowley was not the only human being around this timeframe who received an influx from this shift. But in as much as he was a tremendously unique personality, he transmitted it according to his nature and, from this space, he explored and developed his "Cult." During the course of this lifetime of Work, he encountered and took the reins of OTO as one vehicle for realizing this vision of evolving consciousness in the human race. However, there are many of us who are very steeped in AC's work outside of this particular organizational context. Issues of politics, conformity and so on thus do not apply. But we're left with the system AC developed. How do we understand this?

I see this particular "Cultus" as representing a natural upgrading of what has gone before it. If all the elements have already been present in human religious experience, Crowley alchemized them and developed from the Gold his "Map," which included OTO, A.A., etc. It's language, even when "borrowing," is unique and expresses the essence of that "Gold" which he both found and wished to assist the human race in attaining.

I had also referred to the progression of Aeons in my above post. On one hand, we find within this model a simplification of tendencies within our history on this planet. But on the other hand, we find very specific states of awareness which we shift in and out of all the time. I am reminded very much of the Tibetan Buddhist "Worlds" in which may locate ourselves by cultivating awareness. The Subject/Object vantage point, for example, is something VERY present in the perceptive fields of most people I observe. We can glibly talk of how "All is one" and so on but there is a vast difference between how we intellectualize our experience and how we actually experience. I am thinking that "Unity" is something which has been realized many times by many sages in the past Aeons. That it would become a characteristic of the common human experience still seems very much a vision for the future. Never the less, we might observe the "Progression of the Equinoxes" within ourselves and, instead of taking it on "faith" that the cool "Aeon of Horus" is here and we're down with it, we might try to work towards realizing it in our lives. I would venture to say that the corresponding Gnosis will place everything else into context.

93,

Kyle


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Proteus
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01/06/2009 4:39 am  

93 Kyle!

Hope all is well. Forgive the 'machine-gun' responses that follow.

I personally don't think AL was disingenuous as to its "revelatory" nature

AL is unique and revelatory, and Crowley was indeed a prophet.

I see this particular "Cultus" as representing a natural upgrading of what has gone before it.

I suppose I consider it an extended synthesis that reconciles systems before it - as foreshadowed by Hinduism, IMO.

It's language, even when "borrowing," is unique

Agreed

That it would become a characteristic of the common human experience still seems very much a vision for the future.

I guess I'm more optimistic - hehehe! (or should I say heh heh heh?)

Never the less, we might observe the "Progression of the Equinoxes" within ourselves

Couldn't agree more - the progression has much more to do with our own attainment than it has to do with temporal governments or society in general.

John


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Los
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01/06/2009 5:01 am  
"IAO131" wrote:
What standard does the Thelemite give for believing in the possibility of K&C of HGA? Of Crossing the Abyss? Of the existence of a 'Will' at all? Hmmm...?

The standard that a Thelemite gives for those beliefs is that they are in accord with reality.

Let's start with the existence of a will at all. Crowley writes of the True Will that it is "to bid Stars to shine, Vines to bear grapes, Water to seek its level." Elsewhere, he describes it as "the purpose for which [man] is fitted by heredity, environment, experience, and self-development."

The will, simply put, is the natural course of action for an individual given nature, nurture, and environment. It's the orbit of one's star, to use another Crowley metaphor.

There is nothing even remotely supernatural about the will.

So the existence of such a course of action is most definitely not a supernatural claim. To me, it seems self-evident that different people will have natural inclinations towards different courses of action (it's practically a tautology). There are several corollaries that follow from this, the primary one being that accepting an external code of behavior is likely to cause internal conflict ("one law for the Lion and the Ox is tyranny," as William Blake says).

Now, I fully admit that this is a philosophical position I take that is open for debate, and I'm always happy to discuss it, but it's rooted entirely in reality and what actually is.

Regarding the K&C of the HGA, we had a thread on here not long ago (the infamous "preterhuman intelligence" thread) in which Erwin assembled a large number of quotes from Crowley over a period of a few decades, all affirming that the HGA is a metaphor for a part of the self or the discovery of the True Will.

In fact, Crowley is very explicit about the fact that he picked the name "Holy Guardian Angel" because it's such an absurd idea. A metaphor, you know, consists of two parts -- the image and the idea that the image conveys. By selecting an absurd image, Crowley hoped that people would be able to look past the image and see the idea being conveyed (hint: this is why you should burn your copies of Liber AL).

And finally, "Crossing the Abyss" is a term for a concept that has existed in several cultures and philosophies, notably Buddhism. There's nothing supernatural at all about realizing that the ego is a fiction...Nietzsche saw that idea very clearly. If you study cognitive science, you'll find that all that you consider "you" is likely just a fleeting manifestation of brain chemistry, which is itself just a fleeting manifestation of the flux of the universe.

So, to sum up: all of the above is firmly rooted in reality and that which actually exists.

VictimofChanges actually put it best:

You can claim anything, but reality is reality and that's the test.

That indeed is the test.


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IAO131
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01/06/2009 6:16 pm  
"Proteus" wrote:

perhaps Thelema is the first to have a prophet who recognized openly/publicly this unity behind system (Liber Causae/Porta Lucis)??

Hinduism had acknowledged this unity for thousands of years before Crowley. Not that Hinduism has 'prophets' in the traditional sense...

Crowley introduced the West to what the East had known for a long, long time. That said, Thelema did not begin in 1904. I suspect Crowley would agree.

John

93,

Really? What are your sources for saying that Hindus thought there was a unity behind religions for thousands of years? I know Ramakrishna certainly expounded this idea in relation to Islam & X-tianity but thats definitely not thousands of years ago...

Thelema didnt begin in 1904 and it did begin in 1904. To say one and not the other is to leave out some pertinent information. To be honest, if Thelema had NO relation to other systems I doubt anyone would understnad or appreciate it. If it had absolutely nothing new, I doubt anyone would understand or appreciate it.

"Los" wrote:
"IAO131" wrote:
What standard does the Thelemite give for believing in the possibility of K&C of HGA? Of Crossing the Abyss? Of the existence of a 'Will' at all? Hmmm...?

The standard that a Thelemite gives for those beliefs is that they are in accord with reality.

That is a tautology and Im surprised you didnt notice... Thelemites give the standard that X is in accord with reality for believing X is real...

Let's start with the existence of a will at all. Crowley writes of the True Will that it is "to bid Stars to shine, Vines to bear grapes, Water to seek its level." Elsewhere, he describes it as "the purpose for which [man] is fitted by heredity, environment, experience, and self-development."

Those are actually debatably different but I wont get into the nuance.

The will, simply put, is the natural course of action for an individual given nature, nurture, and environment. It's the orbit of one's star, to use another Crowley metaphor.

Its also your destiny that you incarnated here to do according to him in other places. Its also the dynamic aspect of Kether which is not a natural conception. Its also all these other things that Crowley says.

The real point Im making though: Is that if it is the natural course and simply a name for what you are doing there is absolutely zero sense in "finding your will" or "doing your will" since you are already doing it no matter what. How do you justify anything if you simply label whats happening as some metaphysical concept of Will?

There is nothing even remotely supernatural about the will.

No, and theres nothing remotely supernatural about the idea that we are performing the Will of God if we take God to not refer to anything supernatural, but what justification do we have that we are doing the Will of God or Nature at all?

So the existence of such a course of action is most definitely not a supernatural claim.

I never said it was but I asked how you justify it. You justify it in an identical way to a Christian: you go to some kind of authority (science, reason, revelation, direct experience).

To me, it seems self-evident that different people will have natural inclinations towards different courses of action (it's practically a tautology). There are several corollaries that follow from this, the primary one being that accepting an external code of behavior is likely to cause internal conflict ("one law for the Lion and the Ox is tyranny," as William Blake says).

Thats debatable.

Now, I fully admit that this is a philosophical position I take that is open for debate, and I'm always happy to discuss it, but it's rooted entirely in reality and what actually is.

Right, but what I asked you is what kind of justification does a Thelemite have for believing in Will or HGA over, say, the Tao or the concept of dharma or Nrivana? None of those are supernatural in the same way Abrahamic faiths tend to be... And yet Thelema rests on an identical justification as those, especially the esoteric forms: faith in articles given to one from outside which are reinforced and 'affirmed' through direct experience.

Regarding the K&C of the HGA, we had a thread on here not long ago (the infamous "preterhuman intelligence" thread) in which Erwin assembled a large number of quotes from Crowley over a period of a few decades, all affirming that the HGA is a metaphor for a part of the self or the discovery of the True Will.

I could assemble an equally large set where he says the HGA is praeter human, where he says he is most certainly an Objective Individual, where he says his HGA could very well be a physical human being, how his HGA once was a human, how you must "abandon your HGA" (which makes zero sense if you take it to be a metaphor for the True Will), etc. My point isnt that Crowley thought of things naturalistically vs. supernaturalistically (sorry, thats probably not a word) but rather that even if the concepts of Will, HGA, etc are naturalistic they require a simialr if not identical justification as Buddhist/Taoist concepts (for example).

In fact, Crowley is very explicit about the fact that he picked the name "Holy Guardian Angel" because it's such an absurd idea. A metaphor, you know, consists of two parts -- the image and the idea that the image conveys. By selecting an absurd image, Crowley hoped that people would be able to look past the image and see the idea being conveyed (hint: this is why you should burn your copies of Liber AL).

Hint, Im very familiar with these ideas but you are telling me this is why I should burn it? You think you understand exactly why the Comment was written and it has to do with his conscious choice to pick an absurd name, the HGA? That isnt very convincing... Either way you missed the point of my post: Its not that Thelema is supernatural, I know it can be described in terms of a materialistic science - it can also be described in terms of Divine Wills, Currents of 93, Praeter human intelligences not bound by nervous structures like our own, contacting entities in subtle realities separate from the physical, reincarnation after death, belief in some kind of guiding deities The Secret Chiefs, etc. Just because youve created a naturalistic Thelema does not mean (a) Crowley's idea of Thelema was consistently naturalistic and (b) Other's idea of Thelema is naturalistic. The whole point - natural or supernatural - is that Thelema rests on the same faith/experience as every. other. religion.

And finally, "Crossing the Abyss" is a term for a concept that has existed in several cultures and philosophies, notably Buddhism. There's nothing supernatural at all about realizing that the ego is a fiction...

Again: Who cares if its supernatural, why should I believe it exists?

Nietzsche saw that idea very clearly. If you study cognitive science, you'll find that all that you consider "you" is likely just a fleeting manifestation of brain chemistry, which is itself just a fleeting manifestation of the flux of the universe.

So, to sum up: all of the above is firmly rooted in reality and that which actually exists. Just because Buddhists or whoever had an idea doesnt validate it in the least.

VictimofChanges actually put it best:

You can claim anything, but reality is reality and that's the test.

That indeed is the test.

Reality is reality and thats the test is a boring, unhelpful tautology just like the sentence you opened with.

I put it to you in clearer form so you dont waste a whole post arguing against a straw man: How is justification of beliefs in things like HGA, Will, Crossing the Abyss - even if considered 'natural' and not 'supernatural' phenomena - in Thelema any different from justification of concepts of dharma, Divine Will, God Him/Herself, Jesus, moral laws, etc. ? Does Thelema somehow obtain a truth value above direct experience, reason, hearsay, authority, and emotion?

IAO131
IAO131


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Los
 Los
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01/06/2009 8:10 pm  
"IAO131" wrote:
How is justification of beliefs in things like HGA, Will, Crossing the Abyss - even if considered 'natural' and not 'supernatural' phenomena - in Thelema any different from justification of concepts of dharma, Divine Will, God Him/Herself, Jesus, moral laws, etc. ? Does Thelema somehow obtain a truth value above direct experience, reason, hearsay, authority, and emotion?

In the course of replying to this post, I came up with what I think is a more satisfying answer to this question, so I will state it up front: Thelema doesn't make scientifically testable claims, but instead proposes a philosophical framework. As a framework, it is a convenient model that cannot be "proven" to be true in the same way that we can prove the existence of black holes, for example -- but it can be shown to be more or less consistent with what we know about reality (and useful).

In other words, I don't claim that Thelema is *the* truth that all must accept; I claim it is a convenient model that is consistent with the real world. If you could demonstrate that a part of it is not consistent with realty, I would modify or discard it.

With that preamble out of the way, a few specific points:

The real point Im making though: Is that if it is the natural course and simply a name for what you are doing there is absolutely zero sense in "finding your will" or "doing your will" since you are already doing it no matter what. How do you justify anything if you simply label whats happening as some metaphysical concept of Will?

You are always doing your will, but you can always do it *better.* Doing it better involves removing "lust of result" from the process and other forms of "restriction."

Now those ideas of will aren't scientific...I suppose they're more of a philosophical framework than anything else. The main difference between my use of "will" and a religionist's belief in "Divine Will," for example, is that my framework does not rest on supernatural assertions and that I do not use my framework to justify supernatural claims.

Now granted, just because I don't include supernatural assumptions into my framework doesn't automatically mean that my framework is true -- and in fact, my framework may be false (that's what I mean when I say that my philosophical position is open for debate).

However, I return to my initial point about the self-evident nature of the claim that different people have different natural inclinations towards different paths. I'll point also to the near-ubiquitous accounts of people thinking they want something and later discovering that they did not actually want it (i.e. they have been misled by what we might term "restriction" or "lust of result").

It certainly appears to be the case that people can misunderstand themselves and act in ways not conducive to their own true nature; I'm not asserting that as dogma or some absolute truth that everyone on earth must accept: I'm saying that based on all the evidence available to me, that claim seems likely to be true and something I'm willing to tentatively accept.

Notice that I'm not drawing conclusions from a single experience, but abstracting a framework from the totality of what we know about human behavior.

Even still, this doesn't "prove" that the theory of the will is true, but it suggests that there's something to this idea of the will and that --importantly -- it's not something that exists solely in the imagination, but reflects reality.

Just because youve created a naturalistic Thelema does not mean (a) Crowley's idea of Thelema was consistently naturalistic and (b) Other's idea of Thelema is naturalistic. The whole point - natural or supernatural - is that Thelema rests on the same faith/experience as every. other. religion.

I'm certainly aware that Crowley was a supernaturalist and that others' interpretations of Thelema are supernatural.

But again, I'm going to claim that Thelema is a philosophical framework that 1) does not (have to) rest on supernatural assertions and 2) does not (have to be used to) justify supernatural claims.

And I would further say that those interpretations of Thelema that do rest on supernatural assertions should be challenged.

It's no use replying -- to anticipate an objection -- that supernatural claims are just a framework that hasn't been justified yet or that they're based on "abstracting from the experience" of millions of believers.

Supernatural claims fly in the face of what we know about reality. For example, the existence of a "soul" is in direct contradiction of the fact that consciousness is dependent on brain chemistry. It doesn't matter how many people "experience" the soul; they're wrong.

I wouldn't say that belief in the will is "faith" -- at least not in the same manner that belief in the soul is. The belief in the will I accept as a tentative model to explain human behavior, always welcome to critique by means of evidence; religionists believe in a soul as a matter of dogma, confirmed by experiences that they do not critically examine.

I could assemble an equally large set where he says [...]

Go for it. If you'd like to, start a new thread on the HGA, and let's see how many quotes, over what period of time, and what the quotes actually say.

Just because Buddhists or whoever had an idea doesnt validate it in the least.

No, of course not. I intended that to be a side note. The main point I was making was that the assertion that the ego does not exist could be justified by cognitive science.

I actually wonder about the extent to which behavioral studies could confirm or deny claims about the True Will. Do you know of any such studies? I'd be interested in reading up on that.


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Los
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01/06/2009 9:20 pm  

Actually, let me make it simpler: when I speak about "the will" and "restriction," I'm using a model to explain the way the mind works. A person might legitimately take issue with the model I use and prefer, for example, Freud's model of the id, ego, and superego. Someone else might feel Freud's model is compatible with Thelema; someone else might not.

We could argue the point, but we would be arguing about ways to label, describe, and conceptualize reality. The thing we're talking about (the human mind and human behavior) is real and exists.

This is entirely different than claiming that fantasy entities exist.


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IAO131
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02/06/2009 1:52 am  
"Los" wrote:
"IAO131" wrote:
How is justification of beliefs in things like HGA, Will, Crossing the Abyss - even if considered 'natural' and not 'supernatural' phenomena - in Thelema any different from justification of concepts of dharma, Divine Will, God Him/Herself, Jesus, moral laws, etc. ? Does Thelema somehow obtain a truth value above direct experience, reason, hearsay, authority, and emotion?

In the course of replying to this post, I came up with what I think is a more satisfying answer to this question, so I will state it up front: Thelema doesn't make scientifically testable claims, but instead proposes a philosophical framework. As a framework, it is a convenient model that cannot be "proven" to be true in the same way that we can prove the existence of black holes, for example -- but it can be shown to be more or less consistent with what we know about reality (and useful).

Therefore, in relation to the OP, Thelema is not more valid or justified than other forms of philosophy/religion/spirituality except insofar as (as you explain) they are consistent with "what we know about reality" (which I assume you are referring to our current understanding of the universe based on empirical studies i.e. science). Im sure youre aware there are a few books justifying Biblical creation in terms of modern cosmology ("it obviously describes the Big Bang in detail!"). I feel the same is no different with Thelema - people will take what fits and discard what doesnt fit basde on their notions of 'fitting.' And Thelema doesnt really offer any higher authority or "better" authority than previous religions.

In other words, I don't claim that Thelema is *the* truth that all must accept; I claim it is a convenient model that is consistent with the real world. If you could demonstrate that a part of it is not consistent with realty, I would modify or discard it.

Right, and I agree, but the OP was about (I think!) whether Thelema is any different from other systems based on its claims of legitimacy/truth, etc.

The real point Im making though: Is that if it is the natural course and simply a name for what you are doing there is absolutely zero sense in "finding your will" or "doing your will" since you are already doing it no matter what. How do you justify anything if you simply label whats happening as some metaphysical concept of Will?

You are always doing your will, but you can always do it *better.* Doing it better involves removing "lust of result" from the process and other forms of "restriction."

How is this "better"? To whom? Based on what standard of "better"/"worse"?

Now those ideas of will aren't scientific...I suppose they're more of a philosophical framework than anything else. The main difference between my use of "will" and a religionist's belief in "Divine Will," for example, is that my framework does not rest on supernatural assertions and that I do not use my framework to justify supernatural claims.

Yet, what if you are Spinoza (or follow his model) of 'Deus sive Natura'? The Will of God becomes coterminous with the events in Nature. The problem is that Will is almost ALWAYS a metaphysical concept (except when you reduce it to "its what you are already doing right now" where it simply becomes a descriptive term for wahtever is happening and therefore not useful/pragmatic). A metaphysical concept (i.e. we each have a True Will that can be found and followed) is always justified by something... Most Thelemites probably take the idea that a True Will exists for them on faith - Im guessing that not all Thelemites who speak and believe in "Will" believe also they have found their True Will... and therefore a certain faith in something unseen/unknown, whether a philosophical proposition or a supernatural entity/force, seems to be the case.

Now granted, just because I don't include supernatural assumptions into my framework doesn't automatically mean that my framework is true -- and in fact, my framework may be false (that's what I mean when I say that my philosophical position is open for debate).

However, I return to my initial point about the self-evident nature of the claim that different people have different natural inclinations towards different paths. I'll point also to the near-ubiquitous accounts of people thinking they want something and later discovering that they did not actually want it (i.e. they have been misled by what we might term "restriction" or "lust of result").

Yet how are any of these arguments for or against a type of Will? People learn through mistakes, does that mean they shouldnt have made them? People have natural inclinations but are we just following our 'nature'? What is our 'nature'? Isnt 'just following natural inclinations' exactly what Crowley says Will is not in many places? What would the purpose of self-discipline and such be if Will is simply following "natural inclinations." And how to we distinguish "natural" from "unnatural inclinations"? A feeling of suffering, duality, or disappointment? All of these can be argued against in turn.

It certainly appears to be the case that people can misunderstand themselves and act in ways not conducive to their own true nature

What does that look like (the not-following one's true nature)? What does the true nature care if the human doesnt act in accordance with it? EVen if people did supposedly not "act in accordance with their true nature" (true nature getting dangerously close to a metaphysical notion), waht does that matter? Arent they always doing their will anyway as you say?

; I'm not asserting that as dogma or some absolute truth that everyone on earth must accept: I'm saying that based on all the evidence available to me, that claim seems likely to be true and something I'm willing to tentatively accept.

What exactly is 'true' here? That people have 'true natures' that they sometimes act at variance with?

Notice that I'm not drawing conclusions from a single experience, but abstracting a framework from the totality of what we know about human behavior.

Even still, this doesn't "prove" that the theory of the will is true, but it suggests that there's something to this idea of the will and that --importantly -- it's not something that exists solely in the imagination, but reflects reality.

Nor does it show why its any more useful than any other philosophical framework. In fact, I could argue that hte framework leads to a lot of pitfalls (For example, people think of Will as something found and therefore Look outside themselves for it; people think of Will as some kind of vocation and therefore strive endlessly to be a doctor or wahtever; people think of Will as something that just refers to what they are already doing and so requires no work or understanding, etc.)

Just because youve created a naturalistic Thelema does not mean (a) Crowley's idea of Thelema was consistently naturalistic and (b) Other's idea of Thelema is naturalistic. The whole point - natural or supernatural - is that Thelema rests on the same faith/experience as every. other. religion.

I'm certainly aware that Crowley was a supernaturalist and that others' interpretations of Thelema are supernatural.

But again, I'm going to claim that Thelema is a philosophical framework that 1) does not (have to) rest on supernatural assertions and 2) does not (have to be used to) justify supernatural claims.

No but it has to be justified by natural ones. Authority can be natural, in most cases it is. Yet hte OP wonders whether Thelema is any different in claiming authority from others. Lots of non-Abrahamic take their authority from 'Tradition' 'Antiquity' 'Personal experience' 'Divine revelation' 'Nature spoke to my heart' etc. Those arent necessarily supernatural at all.

And I would further say that those interpretations of Thelema that do rest on supernatural assertions should be challenged.

It's no use replying -- to anticipate an objection -- that supernatural claims are just a framework that hasn't been justified yet or that they're based on "abstracting from the experience" of millions of believers.

Supernatural claims fly in the face of what we know about reality. For example, the existence of a "soul" is in direct contradiction of the fact that consciousness is dependent on brain chemistry. It doesn't matter how many people "experience" the soul; they're wrong.

So basically experience is faulty in the face of scientific knowledge whcih is the final authority in your view?

I wouldn't say that belief in the will is "faith" -- at least not in the same manner that belief in the soul is. The belief in the will I accept as a tentative model to explain human behavior, always welcome to critique by means of evidence; religionists believe in a soul as a matter of dogma, confirmed by experiences that they do not critically examine.

Perhaps you do but most people think of Will as something to be found, a True Will lurking somewhere inside of them waiting to be released, etc. This amounts to a faith that there really is a True Way, a Destiny, etc. that one has and can potentially follow. Im not sure why no one realizes this amounts to the same kind of faith as many other religions. IF you reduce Will to 'that which you are doing' then it just becomes a pragmatic question. It cant be 'true' vs 'false' will but 'less or more effective '... yet towards what end?

I could assemble an equally large set where he says [...]

Go for it. If you'd like to, start a new thread on the HGA, and let's see how many quotes, over what period of time, and what the quotes actually say.

I'd rather not start a new thread on it.

Just because Buddhists or whoever had an idea doesnt validate it in the least.

No, of course not. I intended that to be a side note. The main point I was making was that the assertion that the ego does not exist could be justified by cognitive science.

I actually wonder about the extent to which behavioral studies could confirm or deny claims about the True Will. Do you know of any such studies? I'd be interested in reading up on that.

What would that look like? What exactly would they be testing? (note: your answer will show what your view of will is in the first place and what justifies it as 'true' vs 'false').

Fun conversation, by the way.

IAO131


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IAO131
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02/06/2009 1:55 am  
"Los" wrote:
Actually, let me make it simpler: when I speak about "the will" and "restriction," I'm using a model to explain the way the mind works. A person might legitimately take issue with the model I use and prefer, for example, Freud's model of the id, ego, and superego. Someone else might feel Freud's model is compatible with Thelema; someone else might not.

We could argue the point, but we would be arguing about ways to label, describe, and conceptualize reality. The thing we're talking about (the human mind and human behavior) is real and exists.

This is entirely different than claiming that fantasy entities exist.

I could claim that Freud's 'ego' is a fantasy entity of the same fantasy-quality as the gaseous vertebrate God. I could also claim they are both (ego, God) useful concepts for various ends. Im not sure why I see your Will-model as inherently more effective (or at all) - I would love to understand though so please explain.

I guess the problem is that I dont understand your model of Will: what exactly is it and how is it a model of the psyche/the way the mind works?

IAO131


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 Anonymous
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02/06/2009 6:34 am  

Getting a little (a lot) off topic.

Is there anyone interested in showing me where my thinking of Thelema has gone wrong?

Quoting this or that book or this or that Crowley quote makes this look like a Christian debating another Christian with the Bible and quotes from Jesus. You guys are reinforcing my argument!


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Los
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02/06/2009 7:14 am  
"VictimofChanges" wrote:
Is there anyone interested in showing me where my thinking of Thelema has gone wrong?

Well, you did respond approvingly to a post of mine earlier in this thread in which I said the following:

"Los" wrote:
But, as I explained in my previous post, it's not necessary to accept any of those supernatural claims to be a Thelemite.Thelema does not require you to "assume faith and personal experiences over demonstrable objective scrutiny." The main concept of Thelema, the will, is not supernatural in the slightest.

That's as good as I can do to tell you where your thinking has gone wrong. You seem to have it in your head that Thelema necessitates the acceptance of the supernatural. Regardless of whatever others here may tell you -- and putting aside all the silly claims about reality being malleable -- Thelema does not require the acceptance of the supernatural.

What I've been attempting to do in my last few posts is to explain how the ideas of Thelema (mostly the will) are not dependent on faith, but on reality.

You seem like you are actually level-headed, rooted in reality, and have a low tolerance level for B.S. -- that's all good. I'm claiming that the main idea of Thelema (the true will) is also rooted in reality. If you're not persuaded to accept that claim, then I guess there's nothing for you to do other than to give up on Thelema and go do something more productive with your time.


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 Anonymous
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02/06/2009 7:52 am  

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

Thelema is Law not Faith. The word 'Religion' does not occur in the 'Book of the Law'; it never asks of you to 'believe'. There is no Original Sin. There are no intercessors for the Gods. All are to interpret the Law for themselves. Oneness is coupled with Noneness. Its scope is truly Catholic, in the sense of Universal, and not especially bound to one region, race, etc. Many facts about the Universe as we understand it are affirmed in the Book, superstition is absent from it. As has been written before the most materialistic man of science should not find anything in the Book disagreeable with his views; nor should the most atheistic.

The religious instinct in Man must be exercised. The trappings of religion are necessary; it is only a matter of changing our religious affirmations to be in accord with the facts of the universe as we understand them. In Thelema we have all this along with a much more manly approach to Godhead than has ever been received. Hopefully this leads you to a right understanding of just how different Thelema is than all others, and yet also how it has stayed the same.

Love is the law, love under will.


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