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Los
 Los
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21/06/2009 7:41 pm  
"IAO131" wrote:
What exactly does this have to do with the OP?

Well, these conversations go where they go. A large part of the thread had become about the imagination, and Camlion had indicated that the imagination -- or some "faculty" that could be called the imagination -- is necessary to help one attain the "aim of religion." I'm just trying to figure out what he means by getting him to define his terms.

You also ask for definitions of phrases but gave, yourself, many non-answers that ended in an end-of-conversation because you talked in circles.

I made my position as clear as I possibly could. As before, I invite you to tell us your definition of and ideas about the will.

Do you really not see the worth of imagination? [...] the faculty that lets us try out possibilities without suffering their physical consequences, and it lets us see things in different ways.

Yeah, of course I agree with that, and of course I think that that particular faculty has great worth. Certainly, one has to conceive of possibilities in order to "test" them; certainly, one has to consider how others might react to one's actions. But these kinds of applications of the imagination are secondary to the task of actually engaging with those possibilities and investigating the nature of the self. If you get caught up in imagining all the possibilities or in imagining how others might see things -- to the point of overlooking reality -- you risk losing yourself in your imagination.

What I'm proposing isn't "imbalanced," to return briefly to one of Camlion's points -- it's not an "imbalance" to privilege reality over make believe. Rather, make believe is balanced by a constant process of comparing it to reality and making sure that it doesn't lead us astray.

To use one of your examples, maybe someone did find the molecular structure of benzene in a dream, but the only way to know that the dream is correct is to go out into the world, examine benzene, and compare it to the dream. One cannot simply trust a dream -- the only way to know that a dream provides truth is to compare it to something outside of the mind.

Similarly, you cannot imagine yourself in all manner of possibilities and select as "the will" the one that gives you the tingliest feeling. You have to go out and engage in that possibility. Imagining possibilities helps in giving you a range of options, but the thing that enables you to discover your will -- which is the whole point of what we've been talking about -- is not imaginative.


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Michael Staley
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MANIO - it's all in the egg
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21/06/2009 10:05 pm  

Los,

I think you've satisfactorily answered IAO131's question "do you really not see the worth of imagination" in the negative. Then again, what would one expect of someone who extols the frankly cretinous formulation "reality is reality, and that's the ultimate test" as some sort of succinct touchstone?

😯

Best wishes,

Michael.


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Walterfive
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22/06/2009 2:12 pm  
"Patriarch156" wrote:
"MichaelStaley" wrote:
"Patriarch156" wrote:
Add to this fact that there also exists no evidence that Crowley connected the eleventh degree to homosexuality (while he did work it with men, he worked it even more with women as can be seen in his diaries) and you have come full circle.

I'm happy to stand corrected, but I've always thought that Crowley saw the XIth degree as spcifically homosexual, whilst anal sex with women he still regarded as part of the IXth degree.

Then stand corrected, several years ago I went and actually counted this, and found that out of a majority of operations that were specifically denoted as the eleventh degree, it was done with women, including the one where he remarks ""I am inclined to believe that the XIth degree is better than the IXth degree" on August 26. 1916 e.v. which was done with Anna K. Miller, dubbed "The Dog" using IXth degree but then later the same day noting at having remedied this with per vas nefandum with the same assistant.

Between 3. september 1914 e.v. to 2. september 1918 e.v. Crowley denoted 8 "works" as specifically XIth degree. Out of these 8 only two were with men, while 2 were with unrecorded partners and 4 with women.

If you however open up to other collorful denotions commonly associated with the eleventh degree you get the following picture. For "works" denoted as Tau, noted by Crowley himself that details prohibited by "Section XI" we find 9 workings, which of which five are recorded as being with men and four with women. This still gives 8 eleventh degree workings with women as opposed to 7 with men.

The fact remains that Crowley performed with more women than men when it came to denote something the XIth degree, this holds true also for the other published diary as well as in the unpublished ones. Obviously this means that there was something else going on than sexual orientation. This is corroborated with the fact that not once did Crowley in writing connect the eleventh degree specifically with homosexuality.

Papered Rite of Shiraz & Mitylene XIth Degree Bonnie Cabal told me much the same thing in 1990.

Don't take any wooden nickels on the XIth Degree...


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 Anonymous
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23/06/2009 8:45 pm  
"Los" wrote:
Similarly, you cannot imagine yourself in all manner of possibilities and select as "the will" the one that gives you the tingliest feeling. You have to go out and engage in that possibility. Imagining possibilities helps in giving you a range of options, but the thing that enables you to discover your will -- which is the whole point of what we've been talking about -- is not imaginative.

Los - to equate imagination with make-believe and escapism begs the question of what is reality, the nature of which is ironic and cannot be grasped by reason alone. As someone once wrote: What if Truth is a Woman - what then?

The link between imagination and True Will can be seen when placed within the context of time. Think of a child growing up in a repressive, unhappy and strict religious environment, who dreams of having a different identity, living a different, more fulfilling life. The child imagines a different world from the one that has been handed to him. At this stage his psychic activity is identical to escapism and engaging in make-believe, but the kernel of his True Will lies within the very symptom of his consciousness that resists conforming to his external circumstances. It's the part of him that does not "fit in" to his environment that eventually causes him to rebel and strike out on his own, to seek out answers that satisfy him and to discovery of his genius and True Will as Prophet of the New Aeon.

Thelema provides a general framework for this natural process to unfold within. But unlike other systems, it cannot tell you what your True Will is. Only you can discover that answer.


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 Anonymous
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23/06/2009 9:01 pm  

If you do not understand what I wrote above, perhaps I can help you discover your True Will. Note you will need to wire 12,000 dollars to my bank account as a one-off fee.


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 Anonymous
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23/06/2009 11:32 pm  
"tai" wrote:
"Los" wrote:
Similarly, you cannot imagine yourself in all manner of possibilities and select as "the will" the one that gives you the tingliest feeling. You have to go out and engage in that possibility. Imagining possibilities helps in giving you a range of options, but the thing that enables you to discover your will -- which is the whole point of what we've been talking about -- is not imaginative.

Los - to equate imagination with make-believe and escapism begs the question of what is reality, the nature of which is ironic and cannot be grasped by reason alone. As someone once wrote: What if Truth is a Woman - what then?

The link between imagination and True Will can be seen when placed within the context of time. Think of a child growing up in a repressive, unhappy and strict religious environment, who dreams of having a different identity, living a different, more fulfilling life. The child imagines a different world from the one that has been handed to him. At this stage his psychic activity is identical to escapism and engaging in make-believe, but the kernel of his True Will lies within the very symptom of his consciousness that resists conforming to his external circumstances. It's the part of him that does not "fit in" to his environment that eventually causes him to rebel and strike out on his own, to seek out answers that satisfy him and to discovery of his genius and True Will as Prophet of the New Aeon.

Thelema provides a general framework for this natural process to unfold within. But unlike other systems, it cannot tell you what your True Will is. Only you can discover that answer.

This is one of the best posts I've read on Lashtal to date Tai. Please continue mate. After the young person has used his imagination to reject the unhappy and repressive regeim in which he finds himself - what then? Many people simply opt to try and live out models that they find opposite to what they initially encountered in life, but by rejecting everything in wholesale rebellian they can find the opposite extreme to also be unhapiness making. Clearly then - a certain balance must be sought - and old issues addressed in order to free up our psyche for the discovery of the true will. But how would you suggest someone does that in a practical sense? Do you think in 'finding the balance' the imagination also comes into play - perhaps starting with the awareness already learned that different perspectives are there to be found... and a certain perseverence to find them? 🙂

When we train ourselves to recognise the habitual thinking framed in the self image and desires of the ego consciousness - do you think it's still neccessary to dig around and discover the origin of these unnatural states, particularly if they stem from childhood abuse or repression of some sort? Some would argue no, it's not at all neccessary - but others would say that by leaving issues unaddressed then people are vulnerable to their internalised repression mechanisms - basically - those behaviours which they have been trained to ignore or screen off within themselves and are largely unconscious.

For instance - people with issues with repressed anger will say "Oh - I never get angry", for instance. Now when someone is in practise and has this problem - when he does get angry he can recognise it as some sort of defensive mechanism as let it pass by. And with practice he may become skilled at recognising the defence mechanism and it may slowly be weeded out of his psyche - like a gardener that keeps chopping away at a weed - allowing it no nourishment - until eventually it cannot sustain itself. But the other view says that we should address our issues, our weeds directly and cut to the root - find out what caused the repressed anger - which sounds logical enough but the investigation itself could cause more unhappiness and retraumatise someone doing the investigation.

I'd quite like to hear peoples views on this - their perspectives gained through their own practise of the Thelemite way.


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 Anonymous
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24/06/2009 1:24 am  
"tai" wrote:
"Los" wrote:
Similarly, you cannot imagine yourself in all manner of possibilities and select as "the will" the one that gives you the tingliest feeling. You have to go out and engage in that possibility. Imagining possibilities helps in giving you a range of options, but the thing that enables you to discover your will -- which is the whole point of what we've been talking about -- is not imaginative.

Los - to equate imagination with make-believe and escapism begs the question of what is reality, the nature of which is ironic and cannot be grasped by reason alone. As someone once wrote: What if Truth is a Woman - what then?

The link between imagination and True Will can be seen when placed within the context of time. Think of a child growing up in a repressive, unhappy and strict religious environment, who dreams of having a different identity, living a different, more fulfilling life. The child imagines a different world from the one that has been handed to him. At this stage his psychic activity is identical to escapism and engaging in make-believe, but the kernel of his True Will lies within the very symptom of his consciousness that resists conforming to his external circumstances. It's the part of him that does not "fit in" to his environment that eventually causes him to rebel and strike out on his own, to seek out answers that satisfy him and to discovery of his genius and True Will as Prophet of the New Aeon.

Thelema provides a general framework for this natural process to unfold within. But unlike other systems, it cannot tell you what your True Will is. Only you can discover that answer.

Yes, the 'irrational' component so often precedes the rational evaluation. It is the imagination, then the inspiration that tend to ignite the aspiration. To call the 'irrational' component "secondary" represents an imbalanced perspective, deliberately biased in this case. Balance is everything in this matter.


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Los
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24/06/2009 1:25 am  

93 Tai,

Thanks for presenting a good example -- this particular example highlights very well people's confusion about this "imagination" issue.

You write:

"tai" wrote:
The child imagines a different world from the one that has been handed to him.

Right, and I agree that using the imagination in this way can be an important first step in discovering the will. However, my point is that this kind of imagination cannot, all by itself, enable one to discover the true will.

This child cannot find his true will only by sitting around and dreaming of doing something different with his life. He needs to actually go out into the world and explore the different choices available to him and then evaluate his reaction to those different paths (*not* to his fantasies of those paths, which may have been useful in giving him possible directions to pursue but cannot substitute for investigation of the self while in the process of doing those things).

This is very, very important. A child raised in such circumstances might dream of growing up to be a wild rock star. However, upon attempting to pursue that path -- and paying attention to the self while, for example, playing a guitar -- he may realize that he's not inclined to do that sort of thing at all. Maybe he's mostly interested in the rock and roll image and fashion, and he's really cut out to be a fashion designer for rock stars. Maybe he's mostly interested in some different aspect of the business.

Or maybe the whole thing is just a childish, rebellious fantasy that has nothing to do with his actual inclinations.

The only way to discover the truth of the matter is to observe himself in those situations.

What I'm saying is that the imagination is involved, but it is -- as I wrote above -- "secondary to the task of actually engaging with those possibilities and investigating the nature of the self."

The hardest fantasies to escape from are the ones that you've convinced yourself make you "different" or "unique." You'll think, "This has got to be my will because I never fit in with my family, so I'm gonna do something they hate! Yeah! That's me, a badass rock n roll star that would make my parents shudder! Woo!" It's a pretty childish attitude, and its reactive nature demonstrates that it's coming from without, not from within your natural inclinations.

The problem is that most people don't articulate their ideas about themselves in as comic a manner as I presented above (at least not intentionally); they really just think of themselves as a "rock star" or whatever, and they never question their deeply felt fantasies.

While we're on the subject, just because the child discovers that he's not inclined to be a rock star doesn't mean that he'll instantly stop fantasizing about being one. He will probably still day dream about it and absolutely *love* those fantasies. Over time, however, the fantasies will probably lose much of their hold over him.

Or does everyone here interpret Thelema as just another way of saying "follow your dreams"?

93, 93/93


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kidneyhawk
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24/06/2009 1:53 am  

The only way to discover the truth of the matter is to observe himself in those situations

Really? To invoke one of your favorite words, "maybe" such introspection and self-evaluation will only lead to an embrace of some other "fantasy image" of himself, one more palatable to the mindset at hand. "I'm not unique" seems to me to be no more virtuous than "I'm unique." Either one may represent some pitfall and obstruction of the Will.

But speaking of this elusive critter we call the "Will," how exactly do you recognize it? Do you just "know it when you see it?" How would you distinguish between this "recognition" and simply perceiving and giving credence to yet another layer of subtle fantasizing?

How do you know when you're done with the Onion Peelings?


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 Anonymous
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24/06/2009 2:22 am  
"Los" wrote:
However, my point is that this kind of imagination cannot, all by itself, enable one to discover the true will.

Can you identify exactly who is taking this position that you faulting? Or is it the same old straw man. I do not recall anyone in these forums taking this imbalanced position that you seek to correct. Perhaps you saw it elsewhere?


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Los
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24/06/2009 3:33 am  
"kidneyhawk" wrote:
To invoke one of your favorite words, "maybe" such introspection and self-evaluation will only lead to an embrace of some other "fantasy image" of himself, one more palatable to the mindset at hand.

Yeah, that's a good point. I'd wager that in a lot of cases, people who engage in "self-evaluation" really just affirm what they already think about themselves or what they would like to be true about themselves. You hear silly stuff like that all the time: "I found this strength in me, that I have all this potential, and now I'm a stronger, wiser, more self-aware person who knows his limitations and blah blah blah."

The other problem is that it's really easy to talk yourself into thinking that you're enjoying an activity. If you're playing a guitar and the whole time you're focused on the thought, "This is it! I'm living my dream! Rock and roll legend to the max!! Take that, repressive childhood!!!!" you're gonna totally love the experience regardless of your actual inclinations.

Of course, if you stop lusting after a particular result of the activity and instead focus on the here and now -- the experience of playing the guitar, your actual reactions to that moment -- you'll at least stand a chance of telling if you've just been fooling yourself or not.

I'm not saying that that approach is foolproof or that it'll always be simple and easy -- but I am saying it's the kind of thing that you can get better at. After a while you'll be able to catch yourself spinning these fantasies, and you'll be able to recognize in yourself -- to an increasingly correct extent -- the distinction between fantasy and reality in a similar way to the distinction between my imagined table and my actual table.

I'm not making claims about being certain that you're right about yourself, and I'm not making claims about "knowing" the will -- because it's not an object to be known, it's a doing, a going (see earlier in this thread).

So again, imagination can be something that starts the process or spurs you along a path, but the thing that makes the process work is the observation of the self in reality.


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Los
 Los
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24/06/2009 7:37 am  
"Camlion" wrote:
"Los" wrote:
However, my point is that this kind of imagination cannot, all by itself, enable one to discover the true will.

Can you identify exactly who is taking this position that you faulting?

Actually, I don't think anyone on this thread has presented a clear alternative to the process of discovering the will that I've been articulating.

My sentence that you quote above was specifically in reference to Tai's account of the repressed child, which I thought was vague enough to give the impression that simply following one's youthful dreams is anything close to the true will. I don't think that that was necessarily his intended point, but I wanted to clear up the potential misconception in any readers.

Speaking of which, let's talk about alternatives. I've presented a lot of ideas about the true will and reality in this thread. Does anyone have an alternate method of discovering the will? An alternate definition of true will? An alternate definition of reality?

I'll note again that no one has presented any, even after I've called for such alternatives.

Surely, if you think I'm wrong, you must also think there is a better way of discovering one's true will. I'd like to hear it. I'd also like to hear why you think that your method is better.


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 Anonymous
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24/06/2009 3:33 pm  
"Los" wrote:
"Camlion" wrote:
"Los" wrote:
However, my point is that this kind of imagination cannot, all by itself, enable one to discover the true will.

Can you identify exactly who is taking this position that you faulting?

Actually, I don't think anyone on this thread has presented a clear alternative to the process of discovering the will that I've been articulating.

My sentence that you quote above was specifically in reference to Tai's account of the repressed child, which I thought was vague enough to give the impression that simply following one's youthful dreams is anything close to the true will. I don't think that that was necessarily his intended point, but I wanted to clear up the potential misconception in any readers.

Speaking of which, let's talk about alternatives. I've presented a lot of ideas about the true will and reality in this thread. Does anyone have an alternate method of discovering the will? An alternate definition of true will? An alternate definition of reality?

I'll note again that no one has presented any, even after I've called for such alternatives.

Surely, if you think I'm wrong, you must also think there is a better way of discovering one's true will. I'd like to hear it. I'd also like to hear why you think that your method is better.

Bullshit. This ceaseless campaign that you and your uncle are engaged in to save 'occultists' from themselves is boring and trite to most of the people reading this website and forums, IMO. As I noted before, I don't believe that the majority of the membership of The Aleister Crowley Society are prone to the sort of self-delusion that you offensively assume them to be, owing in general to the balanced nature of the teachings of Aleister Crowley himself. These, are, for the most part, intelligent and sincere people who are rich in the sort of direct personal experience and deep inner exploration that is at the core of Crowley's teachings, as well as being grounded in the method of science to be applied thereto. The few true flakes that one sees come and go through participation in these forums are to be expected in any such gathering and usually don't very last long at all.

Nor are the membership here likely to be ceaselessly compelled to engage in your circular rhetoric, as IAO131 puts it, or in your windmill chasing, as Patriarch156 puts it. Your points regarding the tendency of human beings to be self-deluding have been more than adequately made and acknowledged, although I would advise that you shine some of that same light upon yourselves more honestly.

In your quest to redress the perceived imbalance toward fantasy in esotericism
you have overcompensated, creating an equally imbalanced and absurd alternative in strict and self-limiting rationalism. Neither of these two extremes were acceptable to Aleister Crowley and, frankly, I don't believe that either of them exemplify Thelema in any truly or fully useful way.


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 Anonymous
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24/06/2009 8:48 pm  

The whole point of Liber O and other practises is any self-delusions manifest via ordeals. There is no theorizing, rational discussion, self-conscious observation of the self - intense life experience is the greatest teacher. Goethe's Faust is a great morality tale in this regard - worth reading carefully. Note the famous paraphrase Faust utters which sets his adventures in motion, In the Beginning was the Deed.

Kidneyhawk's remark of "Onion Peelings" hints discovery of True Will is an ongoing process which is destined to change one's sense of identity and perception of reality. An artist or poet would probably be more in tune with this process, the nature of which arises from one's personal daemon and requires no validation or justification from others. The force of the path is hinted in Crowley's warning in Liber Cheth, "Wherefore I charge you that ye come unto me in the Beginning; for if ye take but one step in this Path, ye must arrive inevitably at the end thereof." Rather than the New Age sentiment of "follow your dreams", Nietzsche's dictum of "become who you are" would be far more appropriate.


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Proteus
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25/06/2009 12:18 am  

Actually, I don't think anyone on this thread has presented a clear alternative to the process of discovering the will that I've been articulating.

Yoga.

John


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Los
 Los
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25/06/2009 1:35 am  
"Camlion" wrote:
Bullshit.

I don't think I've said anything terribly radical or offensive, but if you find my posts to be such, you are certainly free not to read them. I'm sorry you feel that way.

"tai" wrote:
There is no theorizing, rational discussion, self-conscious observation of the self - intense life experience is the greatest teacher.

What you're doing here is saying that "life experience" teaches you and not reason. Yet "teaching" and "learning" are rational processes. Knowledge is a rational construct. The way we learn things is by rationally interpreting experience.

An experience can only tell you, at most, that you had an experience of some kind. For that experience to teach you anything, it needs to be interpreted properly. Emphasis on the word properly. If you disregard reason, you're more likely to use it anyway, but use it incorrectly.

I mean, let's say a kid has the experience of a sudden and really strong desire to be a wild rock star. He then says, "It's my true will to be a rock star." The statement is a rational interpretation of the experience -- it may be right, or it may be wrong. We don't have enough evidence to say, although we could hazard a guess (if he's just violently reacting to his family, for example, it's likely that it's just a misleading fantasy, etc.).

But if the kid says, "Well, reason is B.S. and I've found my will, so I'm not gonna waste any time thinking about it -- bring on the groupies!!! Take that, mom and dad!!!!!!" then the chances of self-deception increase a great deal.

Rather than the New Age sentiment of "follow your dreams", Nietzsche's dictum of "become who you are" would be far more appropriate.

Yes, this is an excellent comment. I strongly agree. And that's the whole point: become who you are, not who you'd like to be.

As a side note, I've always found Ecce Homo to be an insightful and entertaining read.

"Proteus" wrote:
Yoga.

Thanks -- unfortunately, I can't remember where on this thread yoga was discussed (unless I am mixing it up with another thread in my mind). Could you quote from the post you're thinking of or at least summarize the idea here?

It's tough to tell from a single word exactly what you mean and how you think it works. Could you explain that? How do you define the true will, anyway?

"alrah" wrote:
When we train ourselves to recognise the habitual thinking framed in the self image and desires of the ego consciousness - do you think it's still neccessary to dig around and discover the origin of these unnatural states, particularly if they stem from childhood abuse or repression of some sort?

I'm inclined to say no because knowing the exact origins of such patterns of delusion and repression isn't always necessary to combat them as they arise. Of course, it might be the case that getting to the root of them -- in therapy, for example -- could make them go away more quickly...but since therapy appears to take a very long time (and be very expensive), someone without the time, money, or inclination won't realistically have that as an option.


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Proteus
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25/06/2009 1:53 am  

Hi Los,

I can't remember where on this thread yoga was discussed (unless I am mixing it up with another thread in my mind). Could you quote from the post you're thinking of or at least summarize the idea here?

It's tough to tell from a single word exactly what you mean and how you think it works. Could you explain that? How do you define the true will, anyway?

Re yoga, I can't add anything that hasn't been widely exposed over the past few thousand years. I'm not sure it can be classified as 'occult' at this time. That's a good thing.

To your point, I don't think yoga was discussed on this thread so far. Will is dharma, to me.

John


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 Anonymous
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25/06/2009 2:28 am  

Los: I know that you believe that a lot of people are "on the fence" between the rational and the 'irrational,' and that it's your mission to help them choose one side or the other. Actually, such a point of balanced perspective is exactly where people ought to be, so as to retain the equilibrium to decide for themselves what is of value and what is not and any particular time in their lives. One cannot abandon either side of that "fence." I am not expressing a preference for the 'irrational' over the rational, as you well know, I'm just making the obvious allowance for the role it has in our lives.

By the way, have you ever actually known anyone who did become a rock star?


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the_real_simon_iff
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25/06/2009 8:06 am  
"Los" wrote:
The way we learn things is by rationally interpreting experience.

93!

I am kind of "enjoying" this thread only as an observer, but here I think I have to tell you that this above sentence is pretty false - in the scientific sense. Although we indeed learn some things by rationally interpreting experience, we learn a lot of other things - maybe even more things - in an unrational, unconscious, unmeasurable way: by simply experiencing (minus interpreting), by imitating, by shock, by memorizing, even by our DNA and other ways we do not comprehend fully. The world you mostly speak about seems endlessly boring to me, extincting every creative impulse at the very start (like the Van Goghs telling their son Vincent: "Are you sure you want to be a painter? Think rationally about it! How do you want to make a living? Maybe you are just too stupid to do something "real"?)* and most of all without any humour - and that is essentially un-Thelemic.

If you go on reasoning out all the mysteries of magic (just to satisfy some naggers) you might end up like Mr.Spock: pretty sad with the knowledge of having lived a lie...

Love=Law
Lutz

*You can fill in here any rock star, TV producer, Thelemic prophet of your liking.


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Tiger
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25/06/2009 1:48 pm  

Hi Los,
You got that care taker personality down packed!
Can't wait to see the the ring switched to the other hand.
When you hear the off beat and get lost in the harmonics between the intervals don't worry the ground will find you.


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 Anonymous
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25/06/2009 2:56 pm  

93 Lutz. It is always a question of balance from the individual perspective, in general, and it is an error to rule out the more subtle elements of human existence, certainly. On the other had, the general criticisms of self-delusion cannot be dismissed either. Self-delusion is, indeed, an enemy of Thelema. I suppose it is really the brute-minded, heavy-handed approach that is being taken to attack self-delusion that is most objectionable to me. It is like a violent purge that is generally beneficial but is also likely to sweep away some of the precious commodity that is being sought after in the first place. It is an impatient attempt to isolate the true Will all at once and, seemingly, en masse.


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the_real_simon_iff
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25/06/2009 3:28 pm  

93, Cam!

You are right, in critisizing this black/white approach I was a little black/white too. I just wanted to comment that "we learn by rational analysis" is simply wrong. We have learned that the hotplate is dangerous to touch long before we rationally think about the conceptional designs of a hotplate. It is this undercurrent of contempt for "all occultists" (which in itself is far more self-delusioning than the occasional over-interpretation of imagination) that annoys me.

Love=Law
Lutz


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 Anonymous
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25/06/2009 4:03 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
93, Cam!

You are right, in critisizing this black/white approach I was a little black/white too. I just wanted to comment that "we learn by rational analysis" is simply wrong. We have learned that the hotplate is dangerous to touch long before we rationally think about the conceptional designs of a hotplate. It is this undercurrent of contempt for "all occultists" (which in itself is far more self-delusioning than the occasional over-interpretation of imagination) that annoys me.

Love=Law
Lutz

Agreed, and I think that there may even be a motive of well-meaning intent behind some the sweeping attack, as with 'tough-love,' but it lacks the sensitivity, the thoroughness, the patience and the insight required of the subject. It is like the analogy to the alchemical process (more damned occultism!). There are violent parts to that process, as well as very subtle ones and ones that require great patience. It is called the Great Work not only because its results are Great, but also because there is a great deal of Work involved, delicate and exacting Work. Again, I have never disputed the fact that self-delusion (the actual target of attack here) is a very dangerous enemy of Thelema, but so are some of the sweeping generalities that are being used to combat it here.


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Los
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26/06/2009 9:32 pm  
"Proteus" wrote:
Will is dharma, to me.

Thanks for answering my question, Proteus. That is as close to an alternate definition as we have. I'm not sure, however, exactly what you mean by "dharma" and in what way it's an alternate definition to mine.

Do you just mean the teachings of Buddhism? I agree that a lot of Buddhist ideas and practices are compatible with Thelema, but I'd be hesitant to say that "dharma" is a definition of True Will.

"Camlion" wrote:
By the way, have you ever actually known anyone who did become a rock star?

I've known people who wanted to be. It wouldn't have worked, though -- they were way too "straight edge."

"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
Although we indeed learn some things by rationally interpreting experience, we learn a lot of other things - maybe even more things - in an unrational, unconscious, unmeasurable way: by simply experiencing (minus interpreting), by imitating, by shock, by memorizing, even by our DNA and other ways we do not comprehend fully [...] We have learned that the hotplate is dangerous to touch long before we rationally think about the conceptional designs of a hotplate.

Ok, let's go through this epic catalogue. First of all, memorization is entirely a rational, conscious process and is unrelated to what we're talking about here; the "DNA" idea you bring up -- presumably that we "know" how to do certain things by instinct -- isn't "knowledge" in the sense that we're using it here. If you're naturally good at drawing, for example, it isn't something you "know" how to do (in the sense that we're using "know"). But if you try your hand at drawing and reason out, "Oh, drawing is something I'm naturally good at," then *that* statement is knowledge that you've abstracted rationally from experience.

This leaves us with "simply experiencing," "imitating," and "shock." Imitation isn't knowlegde -- it's imitating. If I closely copy an artist's painting, I don't "know" how to paint. Perhaps I could learn if I rationally puzzle out -- from the act of copying -- the way in which one goes about creating certain appearances (generalizing from the particular...see below).

Now, I must say that I have no idea how you can come to know something simply by experience without interpretation or by being shocked by something. I guess the example you would use is the "hot plate" example, so I will explain why you're wrong.

The statement "a hot plate is dangerous to touch" is a rational statement that we have obtained by applying reason to experience, even if it is not a fully conscious application of reason. You can tell because that statment is a generalization from a particular fact, a logical induction. We start with bare experience, but that experience tells us nothing other than "owie!" Why did it hurt? It didn't hurt us other times we touched it. What's different about this time? Well, it's on the stove. Oh, the stove heats things. So when something gets hot, it's likely that it's going to produce that same feeling of pain when we touch it. Hot things hurt the hand.

See what happened there? Your brain moves so quickly that you don't notice all the steps you go through to puzzle out "hot things hurt the hand" -- a general statement -- from the particular experience. Of course, before you accepted that general statement, you'd want to get a little more evidence to support it (and unless you're a masochist, this time you'd presumably get your evidence by asking other people or reading about what we have learned about the effects of heat).

If you don't realize what you're doing, you're likely to just start "trusting experience" -- which doesn't mean that you stop using reason but that you open yourself up to being misled by the reason you use to figure things out.

Let's say you put a cactus in the fridge (sake of argument...) and, once it's cool, you try to touch it. Owie! Well, you say, my experience tells me that slightly cool things hurt the hand. And you'd be wrong because you'd be incorrectly interpreting the experience. You'd be likely to correct this mistake if you gather more evidence and use reason to generate a better conclusion -- but if you just trust that experience, you're probably not going to do that.

The world you mostly speak about seems endlessly boring to me, extincting every creative impulse at the very start (like the Van Goghs telling their son Vincent: "Are you sure you want to be a painter? Think rationally about it! How do you want to make a living? Maybe you are just too stupid to do something "real"?)* and most of all without any humour - and that is essentially un-Thelemic.

That you could conclude that this is my point from reading my posts indicates that you entirely misread me. It might very well be that you're reacting not to what I'm typing but what you *imagine* my point is. I would suggest that it's a kneejerk reaction to the word "reason," which I would also suggest is a hindrance.

The statement you attribute to the Van Goghs is anathema to my points about discovering the will. I have been explicit that discovering the will means *not* acting on the basis of imaginary values projected onto the world. The idea that one should choose one's activities based on the amount of money they will produce is an imaginary idea. There are no "shoulds" in nature (read Hume on this). There is your nature and then there is the dumb stuff that you dream up for yourself (such as deciding to be a rock star because it will piss off your folk).

I don't know how you could further misread me than to think that I am discouraging anyone from being an artist. If you'd like, dig out the Finnegans Wake thread, in which I gladly participated in dissecting Joyce's brilliant sense-in-nonsense. Or my comments about Blake in this thread. Or, more personally, the fact that I intend to spend much of today reading poetry. Or that some of my favorite types of humor are absurdist.

I'm not arguing that reason should govern everything we ever do. Obviously I don't think it should because I accept that Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. You can't reason out what your true will is. But you *can* use reason to combat the rational mistakes that lead you to confuse the fancy pictures of your imagination for reality -- and, by so doing, more fully manifest your will in the world.

What I'm arguing is that reason is the only way we can know anything about the world around us -- and that if we actually wish to do our wills, then we had better start reacting to the world around us and not the world in our heads.

And, by the way, as much as I love art and poetry, the world around us is so much more amazing and wonderful than anything humans can possibily conceive. If you think that the world around us is boring...I don't know what to say. Watch Cosmos sometime.


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Michael Staley
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26/06/2009 10:12 pm  
"Los" wrote:
And, by the way, as much as I love art and poetry, the world around us is so much more amazing and wonderful than anything humans can possibily conceive. If you think that the world around us is boring...I don't know what to say. Watch Cosmos sometime.

Nobody said that the world around us is boring. This one instance epitomises the dishonesty of your debating technique. You caricature the views of others, the more readily to "knock 'em down".

Best wishes,

Michael.


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Los
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26/06/2009 10:19 pm  
"MichaelStaley" wrote:
Nobody said that the world around us is boring.
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
The world you mostly speak about seems endlessly boring to me

If you'll notice, I had quoted that sentence, it was specifically this point that I was addressing.


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Michael Staley
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27/06/2009 9:40 am  

Yes, I had noticed, thanks all the same.

You're being somewhat disingenuous. It was clear from the context of the post that by "world", Lutz meant your world-view, philosophy, outlook, etc.

🙄

Best wishes,

Michael.


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Los
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27/06/2009 6:16 pm  
"MichaelStaley" wrote:
It was clear from the context of the post that by "world", Lutz meant your world-view

Yeah, I see what you're saying. But my "world view," as I've been "describing" it, has involved emphasizing the world as it is over the world as we'd like it to be. To suggest that my world view is "boring" is, to me, tantamount to suggesting that the world as it is is boring.

But I may have misinterpreted the the_real_simon_iff's point, and I'm sorry if I did.

So, back to the main point: do you have any critiques of the ideas I've been presenting? Alternate definitions, alternate ways of discovering the will?


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michaelclarke18
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27/06/2009 6:23 pm  

I think most threads I have read on the internet tend to end in disagreement. More so than in real life.........I wonder if people's will's conflict more if the method of communication is more limited...


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Tiger
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27/06/2009 8:54 pm  

Hi Los,

any critiques of the ideas I've been presenting?

ones presentation and understanding can always be improved.

my "world view," as I've been "describing" it, has involved emphasizing the world as it is over the world as we'd like it to be. To suggest that my world view is "boring" is, to me, tantamount to suggesting that the world as it is is boring.

I have been explicit that discovering the will means *not* acting on the basis of imaginary values projected onto the
world.

the world around us is so much more amazing and wonderful than anything humans can possibily conceive.

Which world system are you talking about?
This one?
Or yours?
Does it include humans and what they possibly conceive?
Or do the artist, musician and poet beings substantiated in your sensible region only create to piss off parents and because they find the world boring and not inspiring.

should the painter put down the brush and use a camera?
should the photographer only shoot for factual purposes?
should the musician put down the instrument and just record?
should the poet put down the pen and let the Cosmos do the talking?

".... a dancing girl of sleep. It was the art of this girl to weave such subtle movements that the sense, watching her, swooned; and as she swayed she sang, ever lower and lower as she moved slower and slower, until the looker-listener was dissolved in bliss of sleep and delicate dream.

Then as as he slept she would bend over him even as Nuit the Lady of the Stars that bendeth over the black earth, and in his ears she would whisper strange rhythms, secret utterances, whereby his spirit would be rapt into the realms of Hathor or some other golden goddess, there in one night to reap an harvest of refreshment such as the fields of mortal sleep yield never.

....with a soft kiss she waked me, for in this Art there is a right moment to sleep, and another to waken: which she was well skilled to divine."

The Equinox Volume 1 Number 7 pg 327, 328 Aleister Crowley


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27/06/2009 10:08 pm  
"michaelclarke18" wrote:
I think most threads I have read on the internet tend to end in disagreement. More so than in real life.........I wonder if people's will's conflict more if the method of communication is more limited...

From my perspective - conversations and debates end more often in conflict on the net because they cut straight to matters of ego consciouness that peeps will defend. Like a person will say "I'm a caring person and will defend this point of view because I think it's good, and I want the world to be more peopled with people that share this view." Something like that multiplied - and...hardly thelemic either. 🙂


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Los
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28/06/2009 9:03 am  

Hi Tiger,

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Or do the artist, musician and poet beings substantiated in your sensible region only create to piss off parents and because they find the world boring and not inspiring.

No. There are people whose true will is to create art. The only way that they would discover this, I'm saying, is to pay attention to what they're doing while they're in the act of creating. If they pay attention to their fantasies about themselves and lust for that result (like wanting to do something *because* of a specific *reason*, such as pissing off the folks), they will be led astray. Note the use of "because" and "reason" in that parenthetical clause. These are the enemies of the true will -- when the imaginary, fancy pictures of yourself become your *reason* for acting. (Do not confuse this with "reason," the faculty that helps to come to conclusions about reality, which helps us to distinguish between reality and fantasy)

The only way to defeat these enemies -- the only way that's been presented on this thread, anyway -- is to learn to distinguish between reality and fantasy. If you refuse to draw a distinction between fantasy and reality and just trust whatever you experience or "deeply feel," then you are likely to be misled.

Do you disagree? Well, then, let's discuss it. Please present an alternate definition of will and/or an alternate method of discovering it (with appropriate explanations).

No one else has done that. The closest we've come is "will is dharma" and "meditation" can help you discover the will. Let's discuss this...how does it work?

should the photographer only shoot for factual purposes?

No. No to all of those "shoulds" -- there are no "shoulds." If it's your will to produce art, then produce art.

What we're talking about is how you discover that will.

"alrah" wrote:
"I'm a caring person and will defend this point of view because I think it's good, and I want the world to be more peopled with people that share this view."

I'm not having this discussion because I'm a caring person. I'm having this discussion because this is a discussion board, and it's here for us to discuss things, not agree with each other all the time.

It's only by contraries that we progress...what happened to all the Blakeans here?


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soz
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28/06/2009 10:20 am  

I dunno. I see a lot of people making assumptions about the intentions of what other people say, in what one might gently refer to as "ego involvement". Reading back to the beginning of the discussion, Patriarch156 asked in what way is Thelema different from other religious philosophies, or religions, as they all make or appear to make an essentially identical special claim as to some sort of numinous, transcendental epiphany which is 1). not describable in words, and 2). represents a change in consciousness, and 3). is of primary importance. I wonder if its possible to cast aside all preconceptions and honestly and fully enter into various religious states, to experience at first hand various sorts of these experiences, and then to record them as dispassionately as possible into bulletins, peer-reviewed journals if you will, and by using the faculty of reason to objectively compare these various states, so as to discover the shared truth of these religions, in such as way as perhaps not to discover one's own true will, but to make it easier for others to discover theirs, a happy joyous land of discovery, if you will.


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Tiger
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28/06/2009 6:35 pm  

"If you refuse to draw a distinction between fantasy and reality and just trust whatever you experience or "deeply feel," then you are likely to be misled."

"That which stirs in you now is not madness, is not sin, is not folly, but is life, new life, and joy and fire that will beget a new race, and create a new heaven and a new earth.
When you were a child, did not the wind speak to you and the sun? Did you not hear the mountain's voice, the voices of the river and the storm? Have you not heard the tidings of the stars, and the voices in the silence, ineffable?
...These things are the covenant, and in them is the truth that is forever.
...Be joyous and unafraid. For within you is the song that shall shatter the silence, the flame that will burn away the dross."

VI. The Woman Girt With A Sword. Freedom is a Two-Edged Sword John Whiteside Parsons Oriflamme 1


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Proteus
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28/06/2009 9:43 pm  

Hi, Los. Congratulations on your 40th post (on this thread)!

...what happened to all the Blakeans here?

They're a pretty smart bunch, those Blakeans. I'm guessing they got your point a few dozen posts ago and have since retired to bed.

John


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the_real_simon_iff
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29/06/2009 8:20 am  

93, Los!

Thanks for your answer to my "epic" five-liner. I see that it is possible to read the sentence "The world you mostly speak about seems endlessly boring to me" in two ways, well, at least if one likes to. I spoke about the world YOU are SEEMINGLY talking about, i.e. how I GET IT from what you write here. The world I see is simply (but radically) different from the one you describe - well, that is of course no surprise. All I wanted to say is that your statement "THE way we learn things is by rationally interpreting experience" should read "ONE way we learn things is by rationally interpreting experience" to be correct. You are of course free to believe that memorizing is entirely rational (it isn't it), or that the cats and dogs and parrots who avoid my hotplate are thinking rationally about it or that knowledge is the knowledge "we are talking about here". But since the the world you are "describing" is the "world as it is", there is not really much to discuss, or is it? And that bores me.

Love=Law
Lutz


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gurugeorge
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29/06/2009 10:35 am  
"alrah" wrote:
Like a person will say "I'm a caring person and will defend this point of view because I think it's good, and I want the world to be more peopled with people that share this view." Something like that multiplied - and...hardly thelemic either. 🙂

Good observation. Actually, often it's more like "I don't really care about this, but I'll defend it because I want to be seen to be on the right side".

A lot of argument is actually people throwing camouflage or "squid ink", to cover their true feelings, which are often fear and rage.


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Michael Staley
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30/06/2009 10:55 pm  
"Los" wrote:
So, back to the main point: do you have any critiques of the ideas I've been presenting? Alternate definitions, alternate ways of discovering the will?

I don't regard True Will as something static, waiting to be discovered; but something dynamic and transformative to be expressed, to be lived; not being, but becoming, going. Crowley once remarked that 'do what thou wilt' was to bid stars to shine, vines to bear fruit, water to seek its own level, etc.

It's my opinion that True Will is not something possessed by an individual, but rather something cosmic which is expressed through the individual, just as the life-force expresses itself through the stars that shine, the vine that bears fruit, the water that seeks its own level.

Thus I don't attempt to discern True Will through introspection, but rather by gaining an understanding of the tides and currents which throw up phenomena. This I do through magical and mystical work, determined by following my intuition as to where and how I will work. From this pont of view, we may undertake a series of different workings, but they are in reality one working in a sequence of guises.

Imagination is the fulcrum of magic, whether it be a simple ritual such as the Lesser Banishing, Liber Samekh, or elaborate group rituals. In this way, imagination is not fantasy or make-believe, but a necessary tool. For instance, for the purposes of a specific working I might align myself with the seven principal stars of the constellation Draco, raising the Dragon of the Deep until it assimilates the constellation. I don't spend a lot of time worrying my pretty little head as to whether this working is "real" or not; it is taking place firstly because there has been an impetus to my magical working over the years that has brought me to this point; secondly because I feel that it is the right way to go.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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gurugeorge
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01/07/2009 2:09 am  
"MichaelStaley" wrote:
"Los" wrote:
So, back to the main point: do you have any critiques of the ideas I've been presenting? Alternate definitions, alternate ways of discovering the will?

I don't regard True Will as something static, waiting to be discovered; but something dynamic and transformative to be expressed, to be lived; not being, but becoming, going. Crowley once remarked that 'do what thou wilt' was to bid stars to shine, vines to bear fruit, water to seek its own level, etc.

It's my opinion that True Will is not something possessed by an individual, but rather something cosmic which is expressed through the individual, just as the life-force expresses itself through the stars that shine, the vine that bears fruit, the water that seeks its own level.

Thus I don't attempt to discern True Will through introspection, but rather by gaining an understanding of the tides and currents which throw up phenomena. This I do through magical and mystical work, determined by following my intuition as to where and how I will work. From this pont of view, we may undertake a series of different workings, but they are in reality one working in a sequence of guises.

Imagination is the fulcrum of magic, whether it be a simple ritual such as the Lesser Banishing, Liber Samekh, or elaborate group rituals. In this way, imagination is not fantasy or make-believe, but a necessary tool. For instance, for the purposes of a specific working I might align myself with the seven principal stars of the constellation Draco, raising the Dragon of the Deep until it assimilates the constellation. I don't spend a lot of time worrying my pretty little head as to whether this working is "real" or not; it is taking place firstly because there has been an impetus to my magical working over the years that has brought me to this point; secondly because I feel that it is the right way to go.

I agree with a ton of what you are saying Michael, but at the same time AC did instruct his disciples to do some introspective work. It's different for different people, sometimes it's appropriate and necessary, at other times not, but it is overall helpful to have a rational appreciation of one's biography (Magickal Memory), a clear idea of one's proclivities, aptitudes, potential.

I agree very much that it's a cosmic thing. The vine bearing fruit, the water flowing, etc., is all one "holomovement", it's the whole thing shifting when even one little thing shifts. And that is as true of one's own little unique expression or wavelet or dance as it is of the largest cosmic movements.

Also, I think the admonition "to dare" is helpful. Daring, trying, helps growth and discovery.

Addressing the OP: Thelema is as like any other religion to the extent that it's like any other set of beliefs, and I don't think it could be any other way. All belief systems will ask you "suck it and see". Most belief systems are genuine and empirical in this way (e.g. science, broadly). But some are insincere, some don't know what they are talking about, some are parroting or giving lip-service to the concept of empiricism just to gain credibility, or for cultural camouflage, some are dishonest (political machination), etc., etc.

The question is one of economy (or as AC loved to spell it "oeconomy" 🙂 ) ) - what do you commit your precious, limited time and energy to? Nothing gets done in this world, or at least done well, without a ton of energy and commitment - what do you put it into?

Because of this necessity to economise time and energy, we have to filter out a whole bunch of options in quite a rough and ready way (we might miss out on some good stuff that way, but in most circumstances we have to choose, on scant evidence).

I filter out most religions on the basis that they are totalistic. On epistemological grounds, I am sceptical that totalistic systems can be any good, simply because there are so many of them, and, being totalistic, they can't all be right.

Better to build up a picture gradually, like science - be somewhat humble about it, don't think everything can be solved from the armchair or the meditation cushion. That's why I like the agnosticism and scepticism that are openly part of Crowley's system. It's not that he doesn't have a set of beliefs he's committed to and proposes we should try - of course he does - but he keeps a proper, canny distance from it, or at least tries his best to keep that distance, and recommends that we do too. That's appropriate humility in the face of this Vastness, and it's extremely rare in religion.

In having a healthy agnosticism and scepticism at its foundation, Thelema truly is a modern religion. (I don't think you could really say it's post-modern, but since most other religions seem so terribly out of date, being at least modern is a vast improvement! 😉 )


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kidneyhawk
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01/07/2009 3:25 am  

GG-

Although Michael can speak for himself, I think his statement

I don't attempt to discern True Will through introspection

can be read in context of this now exhaustive debate as indicating a refusal to allow the dynamic activity of the moment to be yoked to a perpetually present "standard" of rational analysis. I certainly agree with you that AC encouraged a very rigorous self-observation in his curriculum of Magick. However, as the Intro to MTP is quite clear on, the whole point of this endeavor to cut through the crap which has accumulated around us and unveil our "True Nature." That "True Nature" may be very well inclined towards the type of psychonautical ventures that Michael describes in terms of his own pursuits. To impose some ideology upon the expression of Will is counter to both Liber AL and Crowley's standpoint with regards to the issue. This can include an ideology which would like all activity to conform to certain "standards" of "rational" assessment.

AC wrote: "Man is ignorant of the nature of his own being and powers. Even his idea of his limitations is based on experience of the past, and every step in his progress extends his empire. There is therefore no reason to assign theoretical limits to what he may be, or to what he may do." (MTP, Theorem 12)

Examples and analogies are quite helpful. AC loads his "Theorems" with appropriate illustrations. But there is a difference between using a hypothetical example to bring the point home and inventing the same to back up an ideology which is "assigning theoretical limits."

Thelema must entail more than a simple philosophy of "Hey, most people are misled in how they're tackling life. They should evaluate themselves, figure out what they really like and go for it." And it should certainly entail more than cramping this self-help agenda into a box fashioned from preconceptions about what is real, what is possible and what can and can't work for the realization and expression of the True Will.

Theorem 14: "Man is capable of being, and using, anything which he perceives, for everything that he perceives is in a certain sense a part of his being. He may thus subjugate the whole Universe of which he is conscious to his individual Will."

Crowley never settles for sloppy thinking, for slipshod effort. But he also hauls diligence to the periphery of experience to extend the nature of the individual beyond its present bounds. I don't see this as some "shove" but a perpetual encouragement of the growth potential contained within each being, according to its nature.

We like to take down others, demonstrate our "supremacy" and enjoy the sweetness of our scorn. We build up a self-image created from how we've cast others in an inferior context. "So glad I'm not like those morons..." But the True Will only evaluates the actions of others in relation to itself in action. True Will doesn't care if it's "right" or "wrong." It's about what it IS. The obligation is to Itself, not the regard of others.

I see the proclamation of the True Will as foundational in AC's work but his total vision his much larger than this. He could have been quite simple and concise and done up this theme in a single pamphlet. The scope of "Thelema" entails a much larger vision of the progressive unfolding of consciousness in a Cosmic sense which entails the expansion of our experiential field as a species. And thus we can trace his lifetime labor as being more than promoting some sloganeering "See Yourself and Be Yourself" schtick. And hence all those "Theorems" give way to his treatise on Magick for the Modern Man, a cumbersome superfluity if regarded from the viewpoint of certain "critics" who have appeared from time to time on these threads.

93,

Kyle


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Los
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01/07/2009 8:04 am  

Hi, Michael. Thanks for taking the time to write a response.

"MichaelStaley" wrote:
I don't regard True Will as something static, waiting to be discovered; but something dynamic and transformative to be expressed, to be lived; not being, but becoming, going.

Agreed. It's not an object of knowledge, but a doing, a becoming, etc.

It's my opinion that True Will is not something possessed by an individual, but rather something cosmic which is expressed through the individual, just as the life-force expresses itself through the stars that shine, the vine that bears fruit, the water that seeks its own level.

Here, I think, is our fundamental disagreement. As far as I can tell, the "life force" is a term we can sometimes use to describe similar biological functions common to all life...it's an abstraction -- an idea and a label -- that we use to group specific examples that we observe; it's not a "thing" that exists "out there" and manifests in the world. There's no Platonic, metaphysical "life force" that floats around manifesting as living creatures...at least as far as anyone can tell.

The thing we're interested in isn't in the abstraction...it's in the, well, "minute particulars," to invoke a phrase from a great poet that's become popular around here lately. Crowley, at least, certainly spoke of the will as something possessed by an individual.

I guess my question would be "what makes you think that the True Will is 'something cosmic'?" And if your answer is "personal experience" or some variation on it, then that takes us right back to the OP, who was asking if Thelema is grounded in something other than the "personal experience" that every crackpot religion is grounded in.

Thus I don't attempt to discern True Will through introspection, but rather by gaining an understanding of the tides and currents which throw up phenomena.

But surely this process of "discern[ing]" and "gaining an understanding" involves distinguishing "will" from "not will" (or at least "more in line with my will" from "less in line with my will"). On what grounds do you distinguish one from the other? That's what I'm interested in: the basis on which you discard a course of action as "not in line with my true will."

Imagination is the fulcrum of magic, whether it be a simple ritual such as the Lesser Banishing, Liber Samekh, or elaborate group rituals.

Agreed. Strong visualization skills are very useful for rituals.

But...how do these rituals help you understand or "discern" the True Will? It's all well and good to imagine that you're "aligned" with the stars, but how does that actually translate into action -- the "doing" that we both agree the true will is?

Thanks again for the response.


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Los
 Los
(@los)
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01/07/2009 8:07 am  

That "True Nature" may be very well inclined towards the type of psychonautical ventures that Michael describes in terms of his own pursuits. [...] This can include an ideology which would like all activity to conform to certain "standards" of "rational" assessment.

You have entirely misread me. I agree that one's true nature may be inclined to pursue "psychonautical ventures." I have not been arguing that all of one's activities should conform to the "standards of rational assessment." In fact, I've said the opposite several times: you don't reason out your true will. You don't "pick" your true will or choose it *because* of some *reason* (this is "reason" in the sense of "having a reason" not "reason" in the sense of the faculty associated with judgments).

But you *do* use reason (the faculty) to help identify your false ideas about yourself so that you can eliminate them, so that the will can manifest more freely.

What's at issue here is not what your will is but rather how you go about figuring out that it's your true will to begin with.

It could be your true will to run around in circles, for all I care. It could be your true will to pretend you're talking to departed souls through your radio, for all I care. I haven't been discussing "expression of Will" -- I'm talking about how you discover that will in the first place.

Thelema must entail more than [...]

Why "must" it?

Crowley, for one, obviously intended Thelema to be widely spread to people with zero interest in playing dress up games or aligning themselves with the stars or contacting unicorns in their dreams or whatever.

If you want to do those things, if it's your will to do those things, then fine. But let's not pretend that Thelema "must entail" them.


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Patriarch156
(@patriarch156)
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01/07/2009 12:37 pm  
"Los" wrote:
Crowley, for one, obviously intended Thelema to be widely spread to people with zero interest in playing dress up games or aligning themselves with the stars or contacting unicorns in their dreams or whatever.

Though he would not refer them to as "playing dress up games" etc. the above is true, but you are largely misconstruing Crowley's intentions with it.

While it is true that Crowley in later life (increasingly from post-Magus period) suggested that Thelema be spread to everyone and increasingly in a non-technical manner, this is not because he thought everyone could find and express their true Will.

Once he received the command to promulgate the Law in accordance with what he called the Curse of his Grade, his focus naturally reoriented itself towards that as expressed in a letter to Jones in 1915: "I have got my A.'.A.'. grade [...] and that too, exactly at the time prophesied. [...] I must do my duty (vide Liber I) and that is to preach my Law."

However this preaching of the Law was in actual effect to preach the sociopolitical programme of the O.T.O., that is its method of organizing society and its system of self-discipline and ethics:

"But somewhere in this there seems to have come the answer from Aiwaz, with a profound impression, that my Way is to promulgate the 'New Religion' by scattering the Word of Thelema in that practical political form adopted for 2[nd Degree] O.T.O."

In other words he had shifted from a metaphysical concern of the A.'.A.'., where the O.T.O. were a preliminary training ground for it since he did not manage as he notes in another letter to Jones to keep people away from getting together and interacting socially, to the temporal concern of spreading his Law of Liberty:

"It was my original idea that the O.T.O. would be a sort of training ground for the A.'.A.'. It was still in my mind that the A.'.A.'. represented, so to speak, the only thing worth doing. But recent initiations have changed my views considerably. But the O.T.O. has a perfectly definite function in connection with the New Aeon. At a time like the present, when individual liberty is threatened in a way to which history offers no parallel, a strong and vigorous order is required to guard humanity. The A.A. does this, it is true, but in a manner so beyond even your present conceptions, that I think it only fair to give even the most commonplace of men a chance to co-operate actually."

The temporal nature and accessability of this is emphasied in another letter:

"What we have to do is to conquer the world and the way we have to do it is to talk in a language that everybody can understand; ethics, education, and the labour problem are our strong cards. If we concentrate on those we should certainly get a following of sorts which may lead to bigger things later on. We can keep the technical training in Magick for specially prepared people who want to understand the inner secrets of life, but if we talk Qabalah and such things to the profane vulgar we are no more likely to get support than if we had worked out some novel theorems in pure mathematics."

As he notes to McMurtry in a letter from 1945, describing his plans for a social community where the Law of Thelema had been accepted:

"It is necessary to broaden the scope of presentation of the Law of Thelema so that people of all types may be able to appreciate that particular part which they can understand. In this manner the thought processes of the majority will be so directed that all those who can Understand the Law will be given the opportunity to do so while at the same time providing a guide for those whose Understanding is incomplete."

In the same letter he emphasize the religious training of Children and ordinary people who will be organized through conventional religious means of the Gnostic Catholic Church and a subsidiary scoutlike organization. This Church would effectively provide a guide for those whose understanding was incomplete and be run by those who can understand the Law, or as he notes in his diary from the same period, the leaders are the unification of the Abbott and the Prince.

All those who wanted to know their Will however were directed to attain through the methods given in the A.'.A.'. That is by actual ritual.

If you want a naturalistic reason for why ritual may help you know your Will it is because ecstatic ritual or invoking often and increasingly more ecstatically as Crowley writes results as Newberg and others have found in an area in your brain shutting down and producing a specific metaphysical experience which has as also demonstrated well in empirical studies the power to realign your personality considerably and transform your actions the same way.

This was what Crowley associated with finding ones True Will in his own system and though one can debate whether or not this conform to some sort of abstract notion of True Will, that largely depends on what one defines as the True Will. If you use Crowley's concepts which serparates between a finite Will (sociobiological circumstance, which is what he thought at best ordinary people could be made aware of and at the end of his life not even that) and a infinite Will (that which follows a larger trajectory across incarnarnations or cosmic as MS declared it) Crowley's methods follows exactly from that.

Even if you go all transpersonal on us and insists on that it must be exactly the Unconscious, a term which Crowley attempted to convey it through when he had read Jung's book The Psychology of the Unconscious, the method of finding and expressing it is largely intuitive and nonrational (which is not an antonym to an rigid approach and nonsloppiness).

You might of course declare Crowley's views of True Will as superstitious and nondemonstrated and you would be of course correct with the latter. But then so again can be claimed for any claims to there existing a True Will, a metaphysical proposition that remains so even if rooted in psychobiological materialism. You have consistently as IAO131 has pointed out failed to demonstrate that such a thing actually exists, let alone that your idea of it conforms in essence with that of Crowley.

And even if we ignored the problem of being remaining undemonstrated and note that your conception of True Will follows largely logically from your own ideas concerning it, the same could be said for Michael Staley or anyone else as well, including that of Crowley.

In the end it all is beginning to remind me of the Humpty Dumpty logic of Alice, where you insist on treating a chair as a car and then proceed to logically evaluate all those who insists on sitting still on that chair as being irrational because clearly in your mind a chair was made to be driven.


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gurugeorge
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01/07/2009 3:31 pm  

Yes, so we have this broad picture: the general idea of "Thelema", of discovering and enacting one's True Will, is for everybody, and that is already Magick in the most abstract sense.

Magick in its traditional sense, with the traditional paraphernalia, isn't absolutely necessary to that.

But (according to AC) it also just so happens that the best and most efficient way of discovering and enacting the True Will is to use the traditional "occult" tools.

An analogy might be to riding a bicycle vs. competing in the Tour de France. Learning to ride a bike enriches one's life, and insofar as "should"s are valid, everyone "should" learn to ride a bike; but not everyone is called to compete in the Tour de France. Magick can be compared here to the special training a professional cyclist would undertake for high-level competition.

Everyone ought to hear about the True Will, and we should make available to everyone the basic tools to ken it and enact it, but it's not everyone's True Will will to help mankind by being a GREAT True-Will-Doer.

However, if your True Will is the latter, then (AC tells us) Magick (traditional sense) is the recommended tool. (Note: and all this presupposes that you're already pretty "good at life", or at least not a total wreck - i.e. you've already done a fair bit of work and are well attuned, well aligned, with Nature.)


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Patriarch156
(@patriarch156)
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01/07/2009 3:58 pm  
"gurugeorge" wrote:
Yes, so we have this broad picture: the general idea of "Thelema", of discovering and enacting one's True Will, is for everybody, and that is already Magick in the most abstract sense.

Actually the broad picture was to promote the general idea of "Thelema" as a conventional religion with a Prophet and received text on the one hand and it's Law of Liberty (what Crowley calls in his essay "On Thelema" as a practical political program) on the other. Though discovering and enacting ones True Will is important to this broad picture, what is promoted is far more than just that.

[quote[Magick in its traditional sense, with the traditional paraphernalia, isn't absolutely necessary to that.

No, you also have yoga or any program that sufficiently conforms with the naturalistic underpinnings of what creates this religious experience. One thing is for certain if you are talking about Crowley's idea of knowing and doing ones True Will in the spiritual sense of it, thinking about it is not going to make this possible.

But (according to AC) it also just so happens that the best and most efficient way of discovering and enacting the True Will is to use the traditional "occult" tools.

Yes Crowley maintained that his specific system of attainment as expressed specifically in the A.'.A.'. was the most effective way of doing this. The jury is still out however as it certainly hasn't had much success yet as opposed to ecstatic prayer among Franciscian Nuns or meditatingBuddhist Monks as an example or for that matter the popular cult of glossolalia resulting in born again experiences, all of which has been confirmed are effective and measurable by objective devices.

Then again that the jury is still out is hardly surprising since very few seems to actually follow A.C.'s particular synthesis of spiritual attainment in his own brand of Magick. We will see in a few generations perhaps if it is more or less efficient than the others at which point we also need to take into account if his system also manage to avoid bigots as he wanted.

An analogy might be to riding a bicycle vs. competing in the Tour de France. Learning to ride a bike enriches one's life, and insofar as "should"s are valid, everyone "should" learn to ride a bike; but not everyone is called to compete in the Tour de France. Magick can be compared here to the special training a professional cyclist would undertake for high-level competition.

Everyone ought to hear about the True Will, and we should make available to everyone the basic tools to ken it and enact it, but it's not everyone's True Will will to help mankind by being a GREAT True-Will-Doer.

Yes I think this is a good analogy. Each should reach their own level.

However, if your True Will is the latter, then (AC tells us) Magick (traditional sense) is the recommended tool. (Note: and all this presupposes that you're already pretty "good at life", or at least not a total wreck - i.e. you've already done a fair bit of work and are well attuned, well aligned, with Nature.)

Yes this is why Crowley started paying so much attention to the O.T.O. which was supposed to give this sort of training and why he insisted that Yama and Niyama are necessary preliminaries to Magick.

In order to attain or become something more than you are so to speak, you need to first become all that you are. This is what makes New Aeon initiation so exciting, it starts where the other systems in theory left off.


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 Anonymous
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01/07/2009 4:44 pm  
"Patriarch156" wrote:
"gurugeorge" wrote:

An analogy might be to riding a bicycle vs. competing in the Tour de France. Learning to ride a bike enriches one's life, and insofar as "should"s are valid, everyone "should" learn to ride a bike; but not everyone is called to compete in the Tour de France. Magick can be compared here to the special training a professional cyclist would undertake for high-level competition.

Everyone ought to hear about the True Will, and we should make available to everyone the basic tools to ken it and enact it, but it's not everyone's True Will will to help mankind by being a GREAT True-Will-Doer.

Yes I think this is a good analogy. Each should reach their own level.

I agree, and I believe that this is the problem here. Some, such as Los and his uncle before him, would posit a strict unified theory and practice of knowing and doing true Will. This would be ideal, of course, as all neat and tidy things are, but this is not at all realistic. My own perspective on Thelema, for example, contains strong elements expressed in this thread by both Michael recently and by Los earlier (principally, the dangers of self-deception) but could not stand alone with either one of them. Further, I strongly embrace Crowley's vision of a sociopolitical program based on Thelema, but I disagree with him that that the OTO with its 'Thelemic religion' is the ideal vehicle for this. The Law is for all, but religion is certainly not. I do not see this as a practical means of mainstreaming Thelema either, which I believe is what Los is all about, in his own way.

In any case, this quest for a strict unified theory and practice of knowing and doing true Will is unrealistic, as it ignores the variations that are found in human nature. Even Liber AL demonstrated this need for different approaches to the same general goal:

AL I:50. There is a word to say about the Hierophantic task. Behold! there are three ordeals in one, and it may be given in three ways. The gross must pass through fire; let the fine be tried in intellect, and the lofty chosen ones in the highest. Thus ye have star & star, system & system; let not one know well the other!


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Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3948
01/07/2009 7:37 pm  
"Patriarch156" wrote:
In order to attain or become something more than you are so to speak, you need to first become all that you are. This is what makes New Aeon initiation so exciting, it starts where the other systems in theory left off.

This reminds me of one of the aphorisms from Spare's Logomachy, that a mystic is someone who is aware of more of himself than he can articulate.

Mind you, that applies to most of us I expect.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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Los
 Los
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02/07/2009 3:31 am  
"Patriarch156" wrote:
Though he would not refer them to as "playing dress up games" etc. the above is true, but you are largely misconstruing Crowley's intentions with it.

Possibly so. I don't claim to speak for Crowley's intentions; I was only pointing out that he wished to promulgate Thelema widely to communities that do not include occcultists and that it is not true that Thelema "must entail" the practice of "traditional magick."

It's the "must entail" that I'm taking issue with. Crowley's opinions are his own.

If you want a naturalistic reason for why ritual may help you know your Will it is because ecstatic ritual or invoking often and increasingly more ecstatically as Crowley writes results as Newberg and others have found in an area in your brain shutting down and producing a specific metaphysical experience which has as also demonstrated well in empirical studies the power to realign your personality considerably and transform your actions the same way.

Ok, but if we define True Will as a "course of action depending partly on self and partly on environment" that one can be misled from by means of one's "fancy pictures" of oneself -- see Magick in Theory and Practice -- how do we know that this particular kind of "realigning personality" or "transforming actions" necessarily brings you in line with that will?

There are lots of ways to realign personality or transform actions. If you were involved in a traumatic experience, for example, that experience might also very well realign your personality and transform your actions.

How do you determine which set of personality realignments or action transformations reflect the true will?

Let me put it another way: magical practices may indeed bring you in line with your true will. They may also lead you astray. Going through a tough life experience may indeed bring you in line with your true will. It may also lead you astray.

How do you tell? That's the question. Don't you still need to observe yourself in the midst of activity, as I've been describing on here? Or do you just simply trust that "oh well, my action is transformed, so I must be doing my true will now...."?

the method of finding and expressing it is largely intuitive and nonrational (which is not an antonym to an rigid approach and nonsloppiness).

And what method is that?

You have consistently as IAO131 has pointed out failed to demonstrate that such a thing actually exists

We've been over this. I think it's obvious that different people are inclined towards different kinds of behaviors. It's equally obvious that people are good at fooling themselves.

"Camlion" wrote:
Some, such as Los and his uncle before him, would posit a strict unified theory and practice of knowing and doing true Will.

Well, I can at least explain how my method works.

We have yet to hear how "realigning the personality" or "transforming action" or "aligning oneself with the stars" or anything else that's been hinted at actually works to help one discover and accomplish the true will.

If there are other ways to discover the true will, then it shouldn't be a tremendous task to explain how these ways work.

Of course, if you can't explain how your method works, then it is all just "personal experience" and "faith," and the OP was justified in making the comments that he did.


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gurugeorge
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02/07/2009 11:50 am  
"Camlion" wrote:
Further, I strongly embrace Crowley's vision of a sociopolitical program based on Thelema, but I disagree with him that that the OTO with its 'Thelemic religion' is the ideal vehicle for this. The Law is for all, but religion is certainly not. I do not see this as a practical means of mainstreaming Thelema either, which I believe is what Los is all about, in his own way.

Yes - it may turn out, in the end, that the Prophet of this religion was still an "Old Aeon" guy at heart with regard to his understanding of his own message, and with regard to the methods he thought of to propagate his "religion".

"Secret societies" are so old-fashioned and uncool nowadays. "Open source", networking, neural-net-like structures, some future mix of anarchism and capitalism, these seem to be the way to go.

But anyway, I think the "New Age" is itself the mass religious movement AC was looking for. Although we might mock it (there are after all lots of con-artists involved), there are still many very genuine seekers around, who are enabled by the contemporary (and unprecedented, and amazing, if you think about it) openness of information about all this stuff, to try things out; and there are also lots of genuine teachers to be found.

Here's an idea to play with: what if AC and Thelema were meant as a distraction (in the military sense) to "draw the fire" of the Black Brothers, while the real action by the Secret Chiefs was to get behind the enemy lines and propagate all the highest-level non-dual mystical teachings of the Orient finally to the West, in full?

Or haven't we noticed that the highest level non-dual mystical teachings of the East (Zen, Daoism, Dzogchen, Advaita), which were sometimes even considered socially dangerous in their native context, can now be bought off the shelf for the cost of a day's labour? 😀

Again, consider what goes on at the average music festival these days - already far in advance of what has gone on in history ever before, until you get to really archaic times. People are thinking free, wild thoughts, experimenting, altering their minds, escaping rigid social roles, etc. No previous society could have tolerated the amount of drugs swishing around in Western culture now and the culture still keep going. That we now have a situation where people can freely work normally in a social context AND also experiment with boundary-dissolving psychotropic drugs, or ancient Eastern methods of loosening the girders of their souls in their spare time, is no mean feat of civilisation-building.

Yet, even if you take my wild theory as above, you can still say that Liber AL happens to have the best prophesy of these events and the best, most apt encapsulation of the philosophy behind it all. i.e., even if it was meant as a bit of sociol-religio-political prestidigitation on the part of the Secret Chiefs, ironically (with the irony intentional) it's also a valid book of prophecy and religious philosophy, apt for the coming age, for those who can tune into it.


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the_real_simon_iff
(@the_real_simon_iff)
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02/07/2009 6:55 pm  
"Los" wrote:
Well, I can at least explain how my method works.

93, Los!

Don't feel offended, but I have re-read the whole thread now and I couldn't find any explanations of your "method" to discover one's will - at least anything that goes beyond a Dale Carnegie book. I have read that the will is a real thing, that it is Erwin's what's-left-when-all-is-stripped-away and that the supernatural is not necessary - mostly that, to be exact. But where is a method? You sound like someone who is thinking pretty hard about something, but I can see no method, no proof, not more than thinking about it - not more than stating what the will-discovering method is not in your opinion. I would really appreciate if you can repeat briefly your theory and method for me, even if you think you did it already (I am not a native English speaker, I might have overseen something). Wouldn't it be a shame when I am left thinking that you are not doing any more than this "occultist-bashing" here?

"Los" wrote:
people are good at fooling themselves.

Yep, do you think you're beyond that?

Love=Law
Lutz


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