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the_real_simon_iff
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26/03/2014 9:19 pm  

Los, 93!

I hope your kindergarden blacklist is just a temporary list born in the heat of the moment and that you will take the time to answer me this question. It might help to sort out some of the annoying "duels" that are going on between us. I hope that I can find in your answer what is really bothering me concerning this entity calling itself Los.

There is a lot more connected to this question but - contrary to you - I will make it short:

"Los" wrote:
The default position is not to accept a claim until there is sufficient evidence for that claim.

You claim that a "True Will" exists. HAS existence. Is TRUE. A CONSECRATED path for each and everyone of us. Do you know of any hard scientific proof - apart from your own reasoning - that this claim is based on scientifically documented evidence, might even be traced, observed or the realisation of it artificially induced? Do you know of any studies that actually confirm the existence of a TRUE will for EVERYONE? And please, do not talk about "preferences" - did you ever come across a TRUE WILL in science?

I would be delighted if you would graciously answer this question and will then ask the next question in an effort to "fight as brothers".

Love=Law
Lutz

P.S. No, I am not compelled to read your posts - I read all the posts, no blacklist... So don't be too excited about the title of the thread, "Los" is a synonyme for quite a bunch of people here...


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Los
 Los
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26/03/2014 9:36 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
I hope your kindergarden blacklist is just a temporary list born in the heat of the moment and that you will take the time to answer me this question.

I don't believe I ever said that I'm ignoring you. Aside from that Jamie guy, there's nobody on these forums whom I make it a policy not to respond to, although I can think of about three or four posters who so consistently contribute crap that I hardly ever bother to respond to them. I read all the posts, though. I even occasionally skim some of Jamie's, just to make sure I'm not missing anything.

"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
"Los" wrote:
The default position is not to accept a claim until there is sufficient evidence for that claim.

You claim that a "True Will" exists. HAS existence. Is TRUE. A CONSECRATED path for each and everyone of us. Do you know of any hard scientific proof - apart from your own reasoning - that this claim is based on scientifically documented evidence, might even be traced, observed or the realisation of it artificially induced? Do you know of any studies that actually confirm the existence of a TRUE will for EVERYONE? And please, do not talk about "preferences" - did you ever come across a TRUE WILL in science?

There's a post on my blog where I address the question of skeptically examining the claim "I have a true will." The blog post is called, appropriately enough, "Skeptical of the True Will": http://thelema-and-skepticism.blogspot.com/2011/06/skeptical-of-true-will.html

The short answer is that I don't consider the claim "I have a true will" to be a scientific claim in the sense of being something that we need the formal processes of scientific investigation to confirm. In the same way that I can verify the claim "I am hungry" without conducting a formal scientific experiment, I can also verify the claim "I have a true will" without conducting a formal scientific experiment.


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 Anonymous
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26/03/2014 9:47 pm  

93 Simon,

You claim that a "True Will" exists. HAS existence. Is TRUE. A CONSECRATED path for each and everyone of us. Do you know of any hard scientific proof - apart from your own reasoning - that this claim is based on scientifically documented evidence, might even be traced, observed or the realisation of it artificially induced? Do you know of any studies that actually confirm the existence of a TRUE will for EVERYONE? And please, do not talk about "preferences" - did you ever come across a TRUE WILL in science?

Great question! I had brought this up a long time ago with him. Without a spiritual aspect to the True Will, it is reduced to just some "biological tendency", and the question arises, why should we just follow some inherent set of preferences? What purpose does it serve? Does this random set of preferences somehow guarantee happiness? Without the True Will being something of a higher order, this idea we MUST discover and live by these "authentic preferences" just fails to make much sense.

I think all he will say is he needs no proof, that not making mistakes is this "True Will", and everyone knows they do not prefer certain foods like onions, and that's all the proof you need. In his mind, if we can just live "authentically", and see through "illusion" and not get "scammed", we the world will be a better place. He fails to realize the progress gained accidentally, and the value of the mistake. There is worth in just being human sometimes, and a dreamer. We have came a long way by way of these "imperfections".

93
J


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Los
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26/03/2014 9:54 pm  
"Jason Resh" wrote:
Without a spiritual aspect to the True Will, it is reduced to just some "biological tendency", and the question arises, why should we just follow some inherent set of preferences?

"Should" doesn't enter the picture. The True Will is just what you naturally do when you manage to ameliorate the influence of restriction on yourself. There's no ultimate "should" requiring you to ameliorate the influence of restriction on yourself. But if you want to, there are ways to do it.

What purpose does it serve?

It doesn't serve any purpose at all. It just is what it is.

Does this random set of preferences somehow guarantee happiness?

By definition, doing what you prefer feels better than doing things you don't prefer. It doesn't "guarantee happiness" in the sense that you probably mean it, but I strongly suspect that the kind of "happiness" you probably mean is an illusion generated by your mind.

Without the True Will being something of a higher order, this idea we MUST discover and live by these "authentic preferences" just fails to make much sense.

Which is why there's no MUST about it (see above).

In his mind, if we can just live "authentically", and see through "illusion" and not get "scammed", we the world will be a better place.

No, the world won't be a "better" place. If you live authentically, then you'll be more satisfied than if you live inauthentically, that's all. There's no requirement for you to do this. Do whatever you like.

He fails to realize the progress gained accidentally, and the value of the mistake.

"A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals to discovery." -- James Joyce


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the_real_simon_iff
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26/03/2014 10:05 pm  

93, Los!

Well, there were a few posts of mine you kind of ignored - which you have all the right to do - and I possibly fancied you did that on purpose. Anyway...

"Los" wrote:
I can also verify the claim "I have a true will" without conducting a formal scientific experiment.

How do you verify that? I mean apart from "I will something"?

Is Thelema just about "I have the will to carry on - somehow"? Because then, I am missing the TRUE, I am missing the CONSECRATED, I am missing the HIGHER SELF thingie (and if you have a problem with the "higher self" just stay with the "true" and the "consecrated"). Sorry, but I can't read through your blog right now, I have enormously much work to do so I have to keep it simple. Hope you can help.

But in short: There actually is NO scientific proof that your TRUE will is qualitively any different from the Pope's will or Justin Bieber's will? It's just some random will?

Thanks for your patience.

Love=Law
Lutz


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the_real_simon_iff
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26/03/2014 10:40 pm  

Los, 93!

To be more specific:

"Los" wrote:
I can also verify the claim "I have a true will" without conducting a formal scientific experiment.

Do you mean you have discovered a scientific method of distinguishing between "will" and "true will"? Sounds a bit like a "need" to me - which brings us in dangerous terrain...

Thanks again...

Love=Law
Lutz


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Los
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26/03/2014 11:15 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
Well, there were a few posts of mine you kind of ignored

*shrugs* I don't remember. It's possible that I thought your posts weren't worth responding to, or it's possible that I just overlooked them. If you ever make a point that I don't address -- and you really want an answer -- feel free to draw my attention to it.

"Los" wrote:
I can also verify the claim "I have a true will" without conducting a formal scientific experiment.

How do you verify that? I mean apart from "I will something"?

It's in the blog post. Basically, you can demonstrate to yourself that the True Will exists right now: if you shut off your mind, you will discover that you still have inclinations, quite apart from your thoughts about what you "should" be doing and what the "right thing" to do is and what a "good person" would do in this situation or what would be "noble" to do, etc. Those inclinations -- defined in contradistinction to the desires of the mind -- are what I'm calling True Will.

"True Will" isn't some kind of metaphysical "thing." It's part of model that we can use to label real stuff. You can detect this real stuff right now, if you like, as I explained above.

The problem -- the problem that the model exists to diagnose and help solve -- is that most of us get distracted by those desires of the mind and fail to perceive and act on the True Will. Thelemic training consists of getting better at perceiving those distorting influences of the mind, detecting them in real time, and preventing them from getting in the way of perceiving the True Will.

That's it in a super nut shell, but I had to leave a lot out and vastly oversimplify. If you really want a detailed response, you're going to have to buckle down and read the blog post I linked to, along with the post "That's What He Said: Crowley on the Distorting Influences of the Mind."

Is Thelema just about "I have the will to carry on - somehow"?

No, an individual's True Will is much more specific than that.

Because then, I am missing the TRUE, I am missing the CONSECRATED, I am missing the HIGHER SELF thingie (and if you have a problem with the "higher self" just stay with the "true" and the "consecrated").

The "True" in "True Will" just distinguishes what you truly are inclined to do from what you imagine that you are inclined to do. "Consecrated" is just a flowery, poetic way to kind of describe the feeling that goes with KCHGA. There is no higher self.

Sorry, but I can't read through your blog right now

Well, it would probably be more productive to have this conversation after you have the time to read my article and think about it for a while. I'll wait.

But in short: There actually is NO scientific proof that your TRUE will is qualitively any different from the Pope's will or Justin Bieber's will?

I don't know what you mean by this. I'm not sure that's a coherent question. If I'm not mistaken, English is your second language, correct? Please rephrase this question if you want an answer.

It's just some random will?

I don't know what you mean by this, either.

Thanks for your patience.

You're welcome.


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Los
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26/03/2014 11:19 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
"Los" wrote:
I can also verify the claim "I have a true will" without conducting a formal scientific experiment.

Do you mean you have discovered a scientific method of distinguishing between "will" and "true will"?

No. I mean that I have a reliable way of identifying my True Will and distinguishing it from the mental content that masks it. This "reliable way" is not "scientific" in the sense of a formal body of experiments done in a lab and publishable in journal articles.

To give you a point of comparison, I also have a reliable way of identifying when I'm hungry, and this "reliable way" is not "scientific" in the sense of a formal body of experiments done in a lab and publishable in journal articles.


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 Anonymous
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26/03/2014 11:25 pm  

Without a spiritual aspect to the True Will, it is reduced to just some "biological tendency", and the question arises, why should we just follow some inherent set of preferences?

"Should" doesn't enter the picture. The True Will is just what you naturally do when you manage to ameliorate the influence of restriction on yourself. There's no ultimate "should" requiring you to ameliorate the influence of restriction on yourself. But if you want to, there are ways to do it.

Why do you compare the amelioration of the influence of restriction to the TW? In terms of the TW being something non spiritual of course. Why do you think it is important to live without restrictions on the self? Are you saying that most, if not all restrictions, or influences we impose on ourselves are always unbeneficial? Is the reason someone should want to do this simply to enjoy doing what they like to do?

Does this random set of preferences somehow guarantee happiness?

By definition, doing what you prefer feels better than doing things you don't prefer. It doesn't "guarantee happiness" in the sense that you probably mean it, but I strongly suspect that the kind of "happiness" you probably mean is an illusion generated by your mind.

Would you agree there are those who may have inherent or natural preferences that are dangerous to follow? It may feel better to them to follow these preferences, however what if these preferences should bring unhealthy consequences? Do you suggest these restrictions be free in spite of the rules of society? Or do you include a larger picture of how this all fits together in a broader sense? How do you know these preferences are truly authentic, and not "illusions of the mind" themselves?

Without the True Will being something of a higher order, this idea we MUST discover and live by these "authentic preferences" just fails to make much sense.

Which is why there's no MUST about it (see above).

Whether we say should or must, the point is you're suggesting we would be better off. Obviously you believe it is important, or you wouldn't be here trying so hard to convince us. Right? Why is it preferable?

In his mind, if we can just live "authentically", and see through "illusion" and not get "scammed", we the world will be a better place.

No, the world won't be a "better" place. If you live authentically, then you'll be more satisfied than if you live inauthentically, that's all. There's no requirement for you to do this. Do whatever you like.

How do you know that we will be more satisfied if we live authentically? What grounds do you have for believing this? I see there are plenty of people out there who do not live authentically, and believe a lot of silly things, and many of them have fulfilling lives. How do you know if this idea applies to everyone?

He fails to realize the progress gained accidentally, and the value of the mistake.

"A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals to discovery." -- James Joyce

So you know how to do things accidentally on purpose I suppose Mr. Genius?

"I've put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that's the only way of insuring one's immortality."--James Joyce

The best part of this quote is the last, which confirms my point.

"Mistakes are the portals of discovery." --James Joyce

93


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the_real_simon_iff
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26/03/2014 11:52 pm  

Los, 93!

Okay, I will go through your blog tomorrow. But I think I can ask this before: When you say

"Los" wrote:
The "True" in "True Will" just distinguishes what you truly are inclined to do from what you imagine that you are inclined to do.

you more or less say that the "true will" is what you truly will, while the "will" is just what you think you will - or better: the "true will" has the word "true" at the beginning. Unless you can direct me to new scientific findings on "truth" I see little difference between your "true" will and instinct.

Since science doesn't know the term "true will" would you agree that it is just another word for "instinct"?

Love=Law
Lutz


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Los
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27/03/2014 1:00 am  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
Okay, I will go through your blog tomorrow.

Sure. Or whenever. Take your time.

Read the post I linked to above and supplement it with this post:  http://thelema-and-skepticism.blogspot.com/2012/05/thats-what-he-said-ii-distorting.html

That should give you enough of a grounding in my position for productive conversation to proceed.

Unless you can direct me to new scientific findings on "truth" I see little difference between your "true" will and instinct.

Since science doesn't know the term "true will" would you agree that it is just another word for "instinct"?

I'm not sure what science has to do with this at all. As I already said, I don't treat "True Will" as a scientific claim (see above for details).

I wouldn't call the True Will "instinct," simply because to me the word "instinct" narrowly suggests immediate bodily impulses. "True Will," on the other hand, encompasses some bodily impulses -- for example, it's obviously a part of each person's True Will to breathe and to eat nourishing food that tastes good -- but it also includes "higher" activities, such as studying art, performing music, posting to websites, writing blog posts, learning how to drive a car, putting up Christmas trees, and a host of other activities that I personally would not group under "instinct."

We have to be careful with language because there is a way to use the word "instinct" loosely, as in, "He has a real instinct for playing the violin." In that sense of the word "instinct," maybe we can equate True Will to "instinct," but that's not the sense of "instinct" I usually mean.

We also have to be careful not to equate the True Will with simple bodily impulse. For example, it's a natural bodily function for my nails to grow, but that doesn't mean that cutting my nails is somehow in violation of my True Will.

Examples like these are part of why I said above that I was "oversimplifying" the concept of True Will in my post above. A full explanation of Will needs to examine how the True Will cannot be identified with either the mind or the bodily impulses yet must necessarily manifest through the body and be assisted by the mind.

I'm willing to have these kinds of conversations, but I really would prefer to wait until you read a little more and reflect on the material for a bit.


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Los
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27/03/2014 1:45 am  
"Jason Resh" wrote:
Why do you compare the amelioration of the influence of restriction to the TW?

I’m not comparing them. I’m defining True Will: True Will is – to oversimplify, as I said – what a person does when restriction is removed. The kind of "restriction" I'm talking about is internal restriction, imposed on the individual by his own body/mind complex.

Why do you think it is important to live without restrictions on the self?

It’s not important. Do it or don’t do it. The universe doesn’t care.

Are you saying that most, if not all restrictions, or influences we impose on ourselves are always unbeneficial?

I’m using “restriction” in the sense of those mental phenomena and bodily impulses that get in the way of the True Will, such as, for example, a kid who actually would be happier being a painter but who talks himself into becoming a lawyer because he thinks that it’s better to have money and be secure. Or because his parents drummed the idea into his head, and he grows up thinking it was his idea all along.

Those sorts of thoughts are restriction.

Or restriction could be, for example, feeling that it would be “bad” to be mean to someone, even though you really do want to be mean in that situation. Holding back – for the sole reason that you think it would be “bad” to do it – is another example of restriction.

Restrictions always restrict the True Will (by definition). Restricting the True Will always impedes one from following one's authentic preferences (by definition). Failing to follow one's authentic preferences always creates some kind of dissatisfaction (again, by definition).

Whether one considers that "unbeneficial" or not depends on the context one is using to judge "beneficial." I would wager that in most contexts -- such as, for example, the context in which one considers it beneficial to be satisfied with one's life -- it would indeed by unbeneficial, in that sense, to restrict the True Will.

Is the reason someone should want to do this simply to enjoy doing what they like to do?

There’s no “should” about it. The fact is that not following your True Will produces some kind of dissatisfaction. The reason people seek to discover the True Will is that they want to decrease or eliminate that dissatisfaction. There’s no “should,” it’s not “important,” it’s not something “required.” Do it or don’t. The universe doesn't care.

And if you’re not dissatisfied at all with your life, then you’ve got no reason to go looking for your True Will.

Would you agree there are those who may have inherent or natural preferences that are dangerous to follow? It may feel better to them to follow these preferences, however what if these preferences should bring unhealthy consequences?

That’s a decent question.

I’ve been describing True Will so far on this thread as inclination, but really it’s inclination in conjunction with a particular environment. Obviously, it has to be, since the environment is the thing you’re navigating through.

So, let’s say it’s my True Will to go on a run this morning around my block. But on my run, I see that there’s construction and there’s now a big pit where part of the sidewalk used to be. Once I learn that the environment has changed, my Will changes: now it’s my Will to take some kind of detour instead of running around the block.

It’s the same for other kinds of obstacles. Maybe it’s my True Will to go to the beach today, but if it starts to storm, then my Will probably changes and becomes something else.

Society’s laws are an obvious obstacle to navigate around. For example, when I drive, I typically obey the speed limit. Why? Because my understanding that I risk getting a ticket influences my Will.

Or let’s say it’s someone’s True Will to kill someone else, but then that person learns that the laws of the land will cause him to be locked up for life if he actually does it. The person’s Will might change in that situation, and it might become his Will to get some other kind of revenge or to do something else entirely.

Do you suggest these restrictions be free in spite of the rules of society? Or do you include a larger picture of how this all fits together in a broader sense?

I kind of answered this above. Basically, there’s nothing stopping people from getting together and forming social contracts with other people and outlawing certain behaviors they don’t like. Navigating through these laws is part of following the True Will.

How do you know these preferences are truly authentic, and not "illusions of the mind" themselves?

One learns how to distinguish mental phenomena from the Will and then slowly gets better and better at detecting these mental phenomena and ameliorating their influence.

You never “know” that you’ve finally “found my True Will, at last!” It’s just a process you try to do better and better until you die.

I go into a lot more detail on my blog and in some other places.

"Jason R" wrote:
"Los" wrote:
"Jason R" wrote:
Without the True Will being something of a higher order, this idea we MUST discover and live by these "authentic preferences" just fails to make much sense.

Which is why there's no MUST about it (see above).

Whether we say should or must, the point is you're suggesting we would be better off.

No, I’m not. “Better” requires a context to judge it. It won’t necessarily be “better” to follow your True Will. It depends on the context. If you’re speaking about in the context of reducing dissatisfaction, yeah, following you True Will is “better” at reducing dissatisfaction than following the stuff in your mind.

But it's not ultimately "better." If you don't care about reducing dissatisfaction, then don't do it.

Obviously you believe it is important, or you wouldn't be here trying so hard to convince us.

It’s not important, and I’m not trying to convince you of anything. I enjoy having these conversations, so I do. That’s seriously all there is to it. I could care less about what you’re “convinced” of.

Why is it preferable?

Did you just ask why it’s preferable to follow one’s preferences?

What’s next? Are you going to ask why it’s fun to do things you consider fun?

How do you know that we will be more satisfied if we live authentically? What grounds do you have for believing this?

Well, since I define True Will as a person’s actual preferences – as opposed to those things the person just thinks are his preferences – it is true, by definition, that discovering and following his actual preferences will be preferable – and thus more satisfying – to the self.

You can disagree with the definition, but if we accept the definition, then the conclusion necessarily follows.

Now, I personally think that I can defend my definition as extractable from Crowley's writings, in accord with reality, and the key to the practical task of discovering the True Will, but that's going to be a longer conversation.

I see there are plenty of people out there who do not live authentically, and believe a lot of silly things, and many of them have fulfilling lives.

How do you know they’re not “living authentically” and that their lives actually are "fulfilling"?

But either way, as I said, if someone is fully satisfied with their lives, they’ve got no reason to go looking for their True Will, and they can forget all about this Thelema stuff.


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Azidonis
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27/03/2014 4:02 am  
"Los" wrote:
There's a post on my blog

I laughed so hard at this shameless advertisement that I almost spit out my drink.


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jamie barter
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27/03/2014 12:44 pm  
"Los" wrote:
I don't believe I ever said that I'm ignoring you. Aside from that Jamie guy, there's nobody on these forums whom I make it a policy not to respond to, although I can think of about three or four posters who so consistently contribute crap that I hardly ever bother to respond to them.

I suppose that I should feel flattered, that I am the only person on the whole forum whom Los makes it an “active policy” not to engage with.  (The reasons for doing that are not so hard to discern though, I feel.)

"Los" wrote:
I even occasionally skim some of Jamie's, just to make sure I'm not missing anything.

Too kind, sir, too kind!

"Los" wrote:
There's a post on my blog where I address the question of skeptically examining the claim "I have a true will." The blog post is called, appropriately enough, "Skeptical of the True Will": http://thelema-and-skepticism.blogspot.com/2011/06/skeptical-of-true-will.html

I notice there’s that “skeptic” in the title again!  It seems to be a bit of a coincidence?!  😀

"Los" wrote:
That's it in a super nut shell, but I had to leave a lot out and vastly oversimplify. If you really want a detailed response, you're going to have to buckle down and read the blog post I linked to, along with the post "That's What He Said: Crowley on the Distorting Influences of the Mind."

All this extra-curricular reading!  It looks like there's a real treat in store for somebody! (?)

"Los" wrote:
We have to be careful with language because

Well at last, something with which it is surely possible for all of us to wholeheartedly agree!

Norma N Joy Conquest


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the_real_simon_iff
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27/03/2014 6:33 pm  

93!

I did not find the time to read your blog post yet, I just skimmed through it - another one where you can't refrain from calling other people "wackos" or "fruitcakes" or whatever - and I just see that when you define the terms you will use in your "essay" you presuppose that the "True Will" actually exists. Yet I see nothing but a quasi-religious belief in the existence of this "true" will, maybe inspired by the writings of an infamous British occultist of the last century, maybe by presuming that when someone applies the exercises you call "Thelemic" then the perception of this "true" will follows logically. But in any case, you postulate beforehand what the result will be: the perception of the "true" will. Why is this so? A psychiatrist friend of mine says that there are numerous things that might occur after these practices, some of them as deluding as what you seek to overcome.

Why do you think this "true" will exists? Or doesn't it exist in the way "real things" exist?

Maybe tomorrow...

Love=Law
Lutz


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Los
 Los
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27/03/2014 7:01 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
I just see that when you define the terms you will use in your "essay" you presuppose that the "True Will" actually exists.

No, that's not the case. I'm not presupposing that True Will exists.

“True Will” is, basically, a label that I’m putting on something. The “something” in question can be detected by each individual – this "something" is the “what’s left over” -- perhaps we might even say "that which remains" -- when the individual shuts down his or her conscious thoughts.

In order to detect this “something,” you need some proficiency in quieting your thoughts, which can be a little tricky at first because thought is really subtle (by “thoughts,” I’m designating a lot of mental phenomena, including emotions, assumptions, intuitions). But with a little application, you can get yourself into a state in which you’re not experiencing any conscious thoughts but in which you are still aware and still aware of preferences.

That’s the something that I call “True Will.” I’m not presupposing that there is a True Will. I’m detecting something that actually exists, and I’m slapping the label “True Will” on it.

Now I contend that there is a lot of justification for thinking that the thing I'm putting the label "True Will" on is pretty much what Aleister Crowley was putting the label on, but I recognize that you and I might have a disagreement about that, and I would be prepared to discuss that disagreement and make a reasoned case for my claim. But making that case is going to involve a careful examination of all of Crowley's writings from a "bird's eye" position – not just pulling out one sentence and hanging everything on a single word like “consecrated” – and we need to be able to understand what I’m talking about and where I’m coming from before we have that part of the conversation.

That’s about as well as I can explain it in a nutshell.


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Los
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27/03/2014 7:09 pm  

Can I also add that I keep getting the feeling that you have a tendency to see significance in the “true” part of “True Will” that is not there?

“True Will” does not assert any kind of metaphysical “Truth” (capital T or otherwise). What I call “True Will” is categorically different from the idea of “truth,” which is nothing more than a concept in the mind. "Truth" is an idea contained in the mind, but “True Will” is underneath or masked by the mind.

The “True” part of “True Will” just means that it’s the stuff you actually prefer, not the stuff you think you prefer (but don’t). It’s not an assertion of ultimate truth…it just means that this action is more consistent with one part of a person’s being than another action. That’s it.

Feel free to call it something other than “True Will” if the words are throwing you. Call it “Woozle Wuzzle” for all I care.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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27/03/2014 8:58 pm  

Why do you compare the amelioration of the influence of restriction to the TW?

I’m not comparing them. I’m defining True Will: True Will is – to oversimplify, as I said – what a person does when restriction is removed. The kind of "restriction" I'm talking about is internal restriction, imposed on the individual by his own body/mind complex.

So you're shutting out the world in terms of your definition of True Will. You seem to ignore the fact these "internal restrictions" are part of an individual as much as anything else. Imperfection is what makes us each unique. How do you think these internal restrictions got there?

I believe it is this mass of individuality born from this sea of imperfection and internal formula that creates the personality that is the spice of life. These "mistakes" of nature, as it were, being the very fabric of the Will. There seems to be a disconnect in your theory between the individual and his environment.

Why do you think it is important to live without restrictions on the self?

It’s not important. Do it or don’t do it. The universe doesn’t care.

Sure it does. Everything matters, as each individual is interconnected to his surroundings, and the universe. Even in a mundane way this is true.

Are you saying that most, if not all restrictions, or influences we impose on ourselves are always unbeneficial?

I’m using “restriction” in the sense of those mental phenomena and bodily impulses that get in the way of the True Will, such as, for example, a kid who actually would be happier being a painter but who talks himself into becoming a lawyer because he thinks that it’s better to have money and be secure. Or because his parents drummed the idea into his head, and he grows up thinking it was his idea all along.

I see this sort of internal "restriction" as part of the process of the development of an individual. In other words, some of the beauty of life is the unexpected, or otherwise forced paths. AC uses this example you're sort of parroting, but how about the reverse? What if one THINKS he wants to be a painter, when he is forced to become a Dr., and finds he enjoys it? You are assuming that all these internal preferences are magically the "right" choices. It may simply be they think this is their preference, as they may have never been a painter, or a doctor in order to know.

Or restriction could be, for example, feeling that it would be “bad” to be mean to someone, even though you really do want to be mean in that situation. Holding back – for the sole reason that you think it would be “bad” to do it – is another example of restriction.

Again, we come up with consequences. We then have the problem with your theory that it is never truly "free", only modifiable. If we are in a courthouse in front of a judge, it wouldn't be wise to follow your True Will would it? If you would rather be "mean" I mean.

Restrictions always restrict the True Will (by definition). Restricting the True Will always impedes one from following one's authentic preferences (by definition). Failing to follow one's authentic preferences always creates some kind of dissatisfaction (again, by definition).

Whether one considers that "unbeneficial" or not depends on the context one is using to judge "beneficial." I would wager that in most contexts -- such as, for example, the context in which one considers it beneficial to be satisfied with one's life -- it would indeed by unbeneficial, in that sense, to restrict the True Will.

I am still not sure exactly what you mean by "authentic preferences". You say "restrictions always restrict the True Will (by definition)", but I highly doubt this as any way a correct definition. For example, one may have the preference to be lazy, and not workout, and or eat fast food all day. They of course realize what consequences this will lead to, and so they impose restrictions on their preferences in order to stay healthy. Likewise, one may enjoy having a job, and restrict themselves from acting out how they may prefer in order to keep the peace. Another place where one's True Will then must be restricted or modified. If one has to constantly temper this TW according to their environment, these "authentic preferences", one is never truly following them. We are then constantly restricted based on all sorts of factors in life, outside of our control.

Is the reason someone should want to do this simply to enjoy doing what they like to do?

There’s no “should” about it. The fact is that not following your True Will produces some kind of dissatisfaction. The reason people seek to discover the True Will is that they want to decrease or eliminate that dissatisfaction. There’s no “should,” it’s not “important,” it’s not something “required.” Do it or don’t. The universe doesn't care.

And if you’re not dissatisfied at all with your life, then you’ve got no reason to go looking for your True Will.

So you think following these preferences uninhibited, will give one a more satisfactory life? Preferences that seem to always be tempered by outside influences, such as construction, or laws, or social norms? I highly doubt someone with the authentic preference to run around nude would go over so well in most places. Lot of restrictions there with this theory. How about the idea people find satisfaction by self acceptance in EVERYTHING they do, regardless, and finding themselves fulfilled by being who they are on purpose? Accepting one's choices and mistakes as part of who they are, and going from their? No regrets. If the True Will is simply who we are, and who we want to become, then there is always success, just not recognized. No where then are there those (like yourself) making judgments and imposing restrictions by defining what is "right" and "wrong" to do.

Would you agree there are those who may have inherent or natural preferences that are dangerous to follow? It may feel better to them to follow these preferences, however what if these preferences should bring unhealthy consequences?

That’s a decent question.

I’ve been describing True Will so far on this thread as inclination, but really it’s inclination in conjunction with a particular environment. Obviously, it has to be, since the environment is the thing you’re navigating through.

And of course, even on a basic scientific level of seeing things, we are a part of this environment. We play a role within it, we are a part of a larger whole. This immediately puts us at odds with this whole, when we define TW as you are. One's preferences are in no way chosen then, or in alignment with this environment, we must always change it accordingly, which is not one's "Will". This idea is not at all, even close to the Thelemic idea, as in doing what "Thou Wilt".

So, let’s say it’s my True Will to go on a run this morning around my block. But on my run, I see that there’s construction and there’s now a big pit where part of the sidewalk used to be. Once I learn that the environment has changed, my Will changes: now it’s my Will to take some kind of detour instead of running around the block.

It’s the same for other kinds of obstacles. Maybe it’s my True Will to go to the beach today, but if it starts to storm, then my Will probably changes and becomes something else.

Again, same as above. Your idea of True Will then becomes rather meaningless, as it simply must always be subjugated to outside influences outside one's control. You can "imagine" you're changing your Will to this or that, but isn't this simply a point of view? You STILL have the "authentic preference" to run through that park, but now you HAVE to go around.

Society’s laws are an obvious obstacle to navigate around. For example, when I drive, I typically obey the speed limit. Why? Because my understanding that I risk getting a ticket influences my Will.

So these internal preferences are influenced? What do you mean the ticket will influence your will? What if one has the preference for speed? I thought we shouldn't make restrictions on things seen as "good" or "bad"? "Navigate around" is something I don't think one is looking for in a definition of how to DO ones Will. Now, if this Will is not some fancy "picture" of someone acting out vague preferences, and just being one's self is the True Will, then no problem, this is easy to do. it is just the actual realizing (discovering) this, and "knowing" this that is the problem.

Or let’s say it’s someone’s True Will to kill someone else, but then that person learns that the laws of the land will cause him to be locked up for life if he actually does it. The person’s Will might change in that situation, and it might become his Will to get some other kind of revenge or to do something else entirely.

Lol really? Damn! Foiled again! I really had the authentic preference to slit that guy ear to ear! Damn restrictive laws! I'll just slash his tires instead, that should do in a pinch. Following one's True Will is tricky eh?

How do you know these preferences are truly authentic, and not "illusions of the mind" themselves?

One learns how to distinguish mental phenomena from the Will and then slowly gets better and better at detecting these mental phenomena and ameliorating their influence.

You never “know” that you’ve finally “found my True Will, at last!” It’s just a process you try to do better and better until you die.

How does one learn this? Also, how do you know you're right? Couldn't you simply be fooling yourself? is there some sort of way to determine you are right? Maybe the act of following some formula, and fooling themselves into thinking they are following one's True Will, gives them a feeling of satisfaction?

No, I’m not. “Better” requires a context to judge it. It won’t necessarily be “better” to follow your True Will. It depends on the context. If you’re speaking about in the context of reducing dissatisfaction, yeah, following you True Will is “better” at reducing dissatisfaction than following the stuff in your mind.

But it's not ultimately "better." If you don't care about reducing dissatisfaction, then don't do it.

I doubt we can ever judge anything as "better" or "worse" to be honest. Like the moves in a Chess game, who knows what the end result will be? Of course we may call a move "bad" in the context of that move, and current position, but ultimately some "mistakes" win the game. "Mistakes are the portals to discovery", think that was James Joyce. 🙂

I don't think you can claim that following one's authentic preferences is "better" at reducing dissatisfaction. I mean, what are you actually talking about in terms of dissatisfaction, one's life in general? One's pleasure for the moment? Again, we may follow some preference and end up murdering someone (according to you). And I am not saying that murder couldn't be part of someones True Will, as in someone being themselves, as in Nero, or Jack the Ripper. So to broadly make this statement is unfounded, because there are some pretty wacko people out there who can follow some pretty wacko preferences agreed?

I mean if we are defining True Will as some sort of inherent and natural biological type of preference, what is to prevent these from being completely outrageous and unlivable? There may be some of these "True Wills" that are simply impossible to accomplish! Transgender people pop into mind. A man who is born wanting to be a women, may never be able to actually accomplish this goal right? At least not satisfactorily I would assume. Likewise, how about mentally ill people in general? There are all sorts of preferences out there, that people have, that are simply nuts.

Why is it preferable?

Did you just ask why it’s preferable to follow one’s preferences?

Yes. That just happened.

What’s next? Are you going to ask why it’s fun to do things you consider fun?

Why is it fun to do things we consider fun? Well, my point was, how do you know that simply doing something you prefer is the right choice? You seem to be on this kick that we shouldn't make mistakes, right? What if these preferences are dealing with things that are obviously not good for them, and going to lead to many bad choices, or perhaps if indulged make them susceptible to being fooled?

For example, it may be someones authentic preference to trust others, and so if they follow this inclination, they are scammed. Why then, as I asked, do you feel it is possible to claim it is preferable to follow these tendencies? You see, you run into all sorts of problems with this idea. It simply doesn't hold water, it doesn't make sense.

How do you know that we will be more satisfied if we live authentically? What grounds do you have for believing this?

Well, since I define True Will as a person’s actual preferences – as opposed to those things the person just thinks are his preferences – it is true, by definition, that discovering and following his actual preferences will be preferable – and thus more satisfying – to the self.

"As opposed to things the person just thinks are his preferences", here is the catch. How do we realize this difference? We just get better at it as we live I suppose, and hope for the best? Again, I doubt this claim that following some authentic preference is backed up by any evidence whatsoever. Life isn't so easy, and if you are basing you assumption on examples where someone says "I wish I wasn't forced to become a painter", its flimsy stuff. That example doesn't take into account countless other factors that may have occurred to them, and given time to truly reflect may have actually changed their mind!

For example, ask almost ANY parent if they would do it all over again to have their children, the answer is almost always yes. No matter how terrible the father or mother was, after the fact, they realize it all happened for a reason (of course now they love their children etc), but the fact remains, we are cherry picking one choice one regrets, out of a sea of other events that happened in relation to that one regretful act. How do we know for example we would have been happier as a doctor if we were never one in the first place? Or what various events would have transpired in that scenario? We can't. All speculation. We should simply accept what life we have, and let go of this silly idea we somehow can blow it, or be thrown off course, or otherwise foiled. THAT'S the illusion, that we have some sort of magical tendencies that "show us the way" to a more satisfying life.

But either way, as I said, if someone is fully satisfied with their lives, they’ve got no reason to go looking for their True Will, and they can forget all about this Thelema stuff.

Wow, I actually agree with you here! Hmmm not sure about your grammar here, "they've got no"? Tisk tisk.

Anyway, many do not, and I don't think it is their True Will to do so. Those here, or who do, it is, because they are simply following where they lead themselves, and do what they themselves (with all their imperfections) would do. That is the point.

You simply can't escape doing your True Will, one can however fail to realize this, and not go along for the ride consciously.

93
J


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Los
 Los
(@los)
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28/03/2014 4:08 am  
"Jason Resh" wrote:
You seem to ignore the fact these "internal restrictions" are part of an individual as much as anything else. Imperfection is what makes us each unique. How do you think these internal restrictions got there?

Well of course the restrictions are part of the individual, but they’re the part that gets in the way of authentic preferences.

How these restrictions “got there” is a kind of long story, but the quickest way to summarize it is to point out that we are the products of biological evolution, which produced us to survive, not necessarily to be happy or satisfied with our lives. As a result, our perceptive faculties consistently misperceive our environment – jumping to conclusions and such – because that’s what was conducive to the survival of our ancestors. That’s all well and good in a state of nature, but here in civilization, those same evolutionary tendencies can create problems (namely, misperceiving our authentic inclinations).

The practice of Thelema helps us undo the restriction that our body/mind complex inflicts on us.

I believe it is this mass of individuality born from this sea of imperfection and internal formula that creates the personality that is the spice of life.

Sure. Nobody’s perfect and everybody makes mistakes and that’s what makes life interesting. That observation is unrelated to what I’ve been talking about. I think you and I are using some of the same words to mean different things, and it’s impeding communication.

I see this sort of internal "restriction" as part of the process of the development of an individual. In other words, some of the beauty of life is the unexpected, or otherwise forced paths. AC uses this example you're sort of parroting, but how about the reverse? What if one THINKS he wants to be a painter, when he is forced to become a Dr., and finds he enjoys it? You are assuming that all these internal preferences are magically the "right" choices. It may simply be they think this is their preference, as they may have never been a painter, or a doctor in order to know.

No, I’m not assuming that an internal preference is magically “right.” Part of the practice is testing the Will by consistently observing the reactions of the self in real time doing real things. For example, someone might think he wants to be a painter but when he actually tries it, it turns out that he hates it. If that’s what happens – if he discovers he hates it – then he was wrong about it being his authentic inclination to be a painter, and now he's got more information about his self.

Maybe this will help: “True Will” isn’t some static, fixed thing. For a while, it might be your True Will to paint, but then maybe a few years later, painting is no longer a part of your True Will. The only way to know is to keep paying attention to it and keep testing it by paying attention to the reactions of your self in real time.

If we are in a courthouse in front of a judge, it wouldn't be wise to follow your True Will would it? If you would rather be "mean" I mean.

Well, a knowledge of consequences can modify one’s True Will in a situation, in exactly the way that my knowledge that there’s a big pit in the sidewalk modifies my True Will when I’m on my run.

Again, True Will isn’t some static thing. It’s not correct to think, “It was my True Will to be mean, but then I ran into the judge, and then I thought I shouldn’t follow my True Will….”

“True Will” is a term for authentic inclination conjoined with a particular situation, or – to put it another way – one’s authentic inclination in a given situation. In different situations, you’re going to have different inclinations, so when you learn more information about a situation, that’s going to affect your inclination, obviously.

For example, in the situation where the sidewalk around my block is perfectly intact, it might be my Will to run on it. In a different situation -- such as one where part of the sidewalk is ripped up -- it might be my Will to run a different route. If I get up in the morning and assume that the sidewalk is fine, I might make plans to run around the block. But as soon as I learn more information -- and, say, discover that part of the sidewalk is missing -- I realize that I'm in a different situation, and my Will in that different situation might be very different.

one may have the preference to be lazy, and not workout, and or eat fast food all day. They of course realize what cnsequences this will lead to, and so they impose restrictions on their preferences in order to stay healthy.

Right. In the situation you're describing, it sounds like the “restriction” might be the bodily impulse to, for example, eat junk food. But the authentic inclination might be the inclination not to become a fat piece of shit. Or it could be the other way around. It depends on the person and the situation. Only that person can judge.

Remember, the body was produced by evolution in order to help us survive, not to make us happy. Because our ancestors evolved in food scarce environments, evolution has programmed us with a desire to eat as much food as we can. But blindly following this bodily impulse can be a kind of restriction (*if* your authentic inclination is not to be a fat piece of shit, that is....).

In a similar way, it’s totally natural for my nails to grow, but it can be my will to trim them. And it’s totally natural for me to want to eat lots of candy, but it can be my will to resist that impulse.

Another place where one's True Will then must be restricted or modified. If one has to constantly temper this TW according to their environment, these "authentic preferences", one is never truly following them. We are then constantly restricted based on all sorts of factors in life, outside of our control.

You’re misunderstanding the idea of “restriction,” which is, of course, understandable since I haven’t rigorously defined it yet on this thread.

As you correctly point out, we’re always constrained in lots of ways. As an obvious example, we’re constrained by the force of gravity. We’re constrained by the fact that we can’t breathe underwater unaided, by the fact that we can’t fly under our own power, etc.

We face lots of other constraints: laws around us, the expectations of others in society, our own ideas of good and bad behavior, social decorum, etc.

Of course, not all of these contraints restrict the will. It's silly to say that gravity could restrict my True Will. Gravity is just a brute fact about the world that I have to navigate. Many situations are similarly just stuff for me to navigate around, like the hole in the sidewalk. In that example, the environment (the hole in the sidewalk) doesn’t restrict my will…it helps to define it in that situation.

In fact, preference itself is a kind of constraint. I didn’t choose what I prefer, after all. If I’m given a choice between reading a poem or going to a ball game, my choice (if it’s not just some random coin-flip decision) is going to be based on my preference, which is outside of my control and constrains me in a particular direction. That constraint helps define what the will is.

One way to describe the process of discovering the true will is learning to distinguish between “restricting constraints” and “defining constraints.” Every situation has constraints…but which constraints, in this particular situation, are restricting the will, and which are defining it? That’s the question an aspirant is faced with.

How about the idea people find satisfaction by self acceptance in EVERYTHING they do, regardless, and finding themselves fulfilled by being who they are on purpose?

I have no idea why you think this is opposed to what I’ve been saying. Discovering your True Will involves investigating everything about yourself and accepting everything you find without judging it as good or bad. Some of the inclinations you find, when you act on them, will satisfy you more than the other inclinations, so you find yourself wanting to follow the former inclinations more than the latter. You keep testing it, and you keep accepting it, mistakes and all -- hopefully learning from the mistakes by trying to avoid them -- doing it better and better. Eventually, you die. That's it.

Accepting one's choices and mistakes as part of who they are, and going from their? No regrets

Again, discovering the True Will involves doing this. If you’re regretting your past actions, you’re caught up in mental muck and not attending to the Will in the present.

Why would you think that this is opposed to what I've been saying?

If the True Will is simply who we are, and who we want to become, then there is always success, just not recognized.

Well, True Will isn't who you want to become. That's just mental gunk.

"Yea! deem not of change: ye shall be as ye are, & not other." -- AL II:58

Now, from a certain point of view, it's true that everything we do is the True Will. But from another point of view, you can always stand to do your True Will better (with less and less restriction).  I mean, we’re having a conversation in the context of wanting to practice Thelema. If you’re saying that you don’t think there’s anything you can do to help you do your True Will better, then you’ve got no need to study Thelema.

No where then are there those (like yourself) making judgments and imposing restrictions by defining what is "right" and "wrong" to do.

I really don’t think you’re following what I’ve been saying. Nowhere do I say that restriction is “wrong.” It’s just that following the restricting phantasms of the mind/body complex will produce less satisfying outcomes. There's nothing wrong or right about that. Do it or don’t do it. The universe doesn’t care.

One's preferences are in no way chosen then, or in alignment with this environment, we must always change it accordingly, which is not one's "Will". This idea is not at all, even close to the Thelemic idea, as in doing what "Thou Wilt".

I do not understand what these sentences are trying to say.

How does one learn this [i.e. "learn how to distinguish mental phenomena from the Will and then slowly gets better and better at detecting these mental phenomena and ameliorating their influence"] ? Also, how do you know you're right?

There’s a whole training method for it. This guy named Aleister Crowley had a bunch of good suggestions for doing it. But before we can talk about the method, we have to talk about the definition. If we can’t agree on what we’re trying to do, it would be awfully silly to start talking about how to do it.

This is getting longer than I have time for right now, and you repeat a lot of similar points throughout your post. I trimmed out as many repetitious examples as I could above, and I'm cutting off my response here.

If you really want a response to a point that I didn't address, then draw my attention to it, and I’ll respond. Again, I will gladly discuss any question or subject connected to these ideas.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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31/03/2014 5:36 pm  

Los,

I had a busy weekend, sorry for the late reply. In addition I don't want to create a long winded response to what turns out to be many repeated arguments etc., so I picked out what I think is the main part of the disagreement.

No, I’m not assuming that an internal preference is magically “right.” Part of the practice is testing the Will by consistently observing the reactions of the self in real time doing real things. For example, someone might think he wants to be a painter but when he actually tries it, it turns out that he hates it. If that’s what happens – if he discovers he hates it – then he was wrong about it being his authentic inclination to be a painter, and now he's got more information about his self.

Maybe this will help: “True Will” isn’t some static, fixed thing. For a while, it might be your True Will to paint, but then maybe a few years later, painting is no longer a part of your True Will. The only way to know is to keep paying attention to it and keep testing it by paying attention to the reactions of your self in real time.

I can see from this that your idea of True Will is actually rather simple. It is what you feel what we "really" want. The True Will to you, is whatever we wish to do at any given moment, and this is of course subject to change. Now, the problem with this is it is subject to miscalculation, and bad decisions like everything else. It changes. It is often (if not always) simply based upon what a person guesses he wants to do rather than anything concrete (like anything else).

For example, take the painter vs doctor analogy. You say if he wants to become a doctor, he should, that is his True Will. Then you say, IF he realizes he doesn't like it after all, now it magically ISN'T his True Will. So the True Will are not truly these "authentic preferences", they are simply anything one thinks they want (but aren't truly sure). This then brings us back to the main problem everyone has before even worrying about Thelema. What is it they SHOULD be doing?

If following the True Will, and working so hard to "discover" it, leads on simply back to rethinking the whole True Will again, what worth is it? Perhaps the now dissatisfied painter becomes a Dr. after all and is happy. Now he thinks "wow, if I had JUST listened to my father who made all those great points, and made the suggestion before, I would have been much happier all this time". Guess what happens now? He may listen to good advice next time, even when it goes against his "authentic preferences".

Haven't we ALL done this though? Thought we knew best, and followed what we honestly thought would be the right thing to do, and what would make us happy? Your argument seems to say most people are filled with these internal restrictions, but I am not at all sure this is the case! Believe me, I have two teenagers, and they both follow their "authentic preferences" all the time! They must be fantastic Thelemites, because they have follow their True Will then most the time. Yet, always do they return to me to apologize for their MISTAKES. Bad judgement, and their IDEA of what it was they would experience, instead of what they actually got.

In other words, good old trial and error wins, and many times we need to follow another's advice (why we have parents and grandparents! lol). Mistakes taught us a lesson, and dispelled the illusion. Ever here the expression "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence"? So then, the True Will you propose is simply another form of illusion. One we cannot possibly trust to be "real" any more than following dad's advice. One could possibly say following dad's or mom's advice is the True Will then. What difference is there if it leads to a satisfying life? Indeed, what IF someone's "True Will" (authentic preferences) were to follow others advice and be a follower? What then? What if these internal tugs lead constantly to problems? I think most of us actually try to do what we really want. I don't believe that most people are stopped dead in their tracks by some internal restriction. How many are truly "forced" to become painters instead of doctors? These days, not everyone CAN become a painter and make a good living even if they DID want to! So then again, we are foiled in following our True Will (by your definition) by simple circumstances in life.

Your definition must constantly change and be reconfigured, and reanalyzed, until it simply is just another life. No difference at all really. The difference between what I am saying and you is, I cut out this nonsense about any "authentic preferences" and their need to be let loose, and simply say be yourself and do not regret making choices (HOWEVER you come by them). In other words, I eliminate the ordeal of choosing between what dad says and what I want, and simply see whatever arises as part of where my True Will is leading me. Doing my True Will, is simply living my life the best I can at every moment, and always trying to become better. No where do I suppose, or assume that what I want is hidden away within myself somehow restricted. Perhaps some or all of these apparent "restrictions" are illusions, and I am completely FREE when I see them as such! Restriction is the word of sin, not sin itself. Perhaps the idea of their BEING a restriction, is the sin.

If we all simply live, and "go" according to what moves each of us, with the idea of simply improving ourselves, and trying the best we can, we are performing our True Will. Then, at the end of the day, when we are on our deathbeds, we can look back and see a life lived well, and with purpose no matter what happens. "That" life, whatever form it takes, was a valid experience, and offering to Nuit, another aggregate of experienced into the Cup. This is the "pearl", a blending of joy and sorrow. Not some task of picking out some genuine article of choice, not some fancy idea of a particular "right" choice at any given moment, but the "right" choice IS every moment. There is success (period).

93
J


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Los
 Los
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31/03/2014 8:57 pm  
"Jason Resh" wrote:
I had a busy weekend, sorry for the late reply.

Sure, not a problem. Take as much time as you like between replies. I would prefer to have thoughtful conversations that take as long as they take.

I can see from this that your idea of True Will is actually rather simple. It is what you feel what we "really" want. […]It is often (if not always) simply based upon what a person guesses he wants to do rather than anything concrete (like anything else).

This isn’t quite right. It’s true that I define True Will as what an individual “really” wants – but an important qualifier is that the word “really,” in this context, simply marks that which is in contradistinction to what the individual *thinks* he wants or thinks he *ought* to want.

Some routine self-examination should reveal times in your life when you thought you wanted X but then you later discovered that X is not what you wanted at all. If you’ve never experienced such times, then good for you, I suppose, but I would be inclined to think that someone who has never experienced this has insufficient insight into his being.

I do not agree at all that discovery of the True Will is “simply based upon what a person guesses he wants to do rather than anything concrete.” It’s not based on guesswork, as if one were pulling one’s decisions out of a hat. The process of discovering the True Will is an evidence-based one.

First, an individual learns how to distinguish reality from the mental content that we are always overlaying on top of reality. Then the individual directly observes his inclinations in a particular situation – i.e. by watching the way he actually acts and reacts when he’s able to overlook that mental content. Based on that evidence, he can start to draw tentative conclusions about his True Will, conclusions that he can constantly refine by means of more evidence.

Those tentative conclusions become the basis for a mental representation of the Will, which is used not to decide action but to assist the Will in manifesting.

Discovering the True Will is an evidence-based procedure, the entire way. Now sure, only one person can ever gather the evidence in this case, but that’s irrelevant because it’s an operation done for the benefit of that one person.

As for the rest of your post, I’m having a difficult time discerning what your objection is or even what your argument is. I have a strong suspicion that a big part of your confusion stems from the very real possibility that you do not have experience with the elementary concepts that I’m discussing. For example, do you have experience in learning how to distinguish mental content from reality?

I consider that to be basic magical experience. If we want to doll it up in flowery language, it’s the experience of learning to distinguish Yesod (one’s inner image of the universe) from Malkuth (one’s direct experience). Learning how to distinguish between them is what really constitutes mastery of the “astral plane.”

I strongly suspect that you don’t have this experience, on the grounds that your posts reflect confusion about the difference between mental content and reality (“It’s all in the O’l Noggin!”), that you seem unfamiliar with some of the very basic things you’d discover from the experience (“Your argument seems to say most people are filled with these internal restrictions, but I am not at all sure this is the case!”), and that you treat as “assumption” things that are readily discoverable by gaining this experience (“No where do I suppose, or assume that what I want is hidden away within myself somehow restricted”).

The fact that you likely don’t have this experience makes conversation between us difficult, in the same way that I’d have difficulty having a conversation about how to fix a car engine with someone who’s never seen one. I’m not trying to be mean to you or “put you down” or anything – but I am explaining why you seem to be having such a hard time understanding what I’m saying and why your objections are so murky and kind of incoherent: all you have to go on is words, so all you can do to respond is to pick apart those words while trying to guess what I might mean by them.

Aside from this obstacle, I find the idea of “True Will” that you seem to be promoting to be facile and almost entirely useless in any practical sense. You seem to think that following one’s True Will means something like, “do whatever, it’s all good, brah.” You’ve reduced Thelema to a feel good platitude that’s devoid of content.

You’re welcome to it if you like, but it’s not Thelema, it’s not what Aleister Crowley taught, and I struggle to see why you'd want to call it "Thelema" or have these conversations on a website dedicated to the life and legacy of a guy who spent a lot of his career explicating how to ameliorate the influence of various kinds of internal restriction.


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jamie barter
(@jamie-barter)
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Posts: 1688
01/04/2014 5:27 pm  
"Los" wrote:
"Jason Resh" wrote:
You seem to ignore the fact these "internal restrictions" are part of an individual as much as anything else. Imperfection is what makes us each unique. How do you think these internal restrictions got there?

Well of course the restrictions are part of the individual, but they’re the part that gets in the way of authentic preferences.

How these restrictions “got there” is a kind of long story, but the quickest way to summarize it is to point out that we are the products of biological evolution, which produced us to survive, not necessarily to be happy or satisfied with our lives. As a result, our perceptive faculties consistently misperceive our environment – jumping to conclusions and such – because that’s what was conducive to the survival of our ancestors. That’s all well and good in a state of nature, but here in civilization, those same evolutionary tendencies can create problems (namely, misperceiving our authentic inclinations).

The practice of Thelema helps us undo the restriction that our body/mind complex inflicts on us.

I agree with this and regard it as a factor of some considerable importance to the matter under discussion.  The significant question Los would need to answer further is – what exactly is beyond the “body/mind complex”?  Or in another form, Nephesh-Ruach?  And then, can the Neshamah be said to scientifically at all “inflict on us”?

"Los" wrote:
One way to describe the process of discovering the true will is learning to distinguish between “restricting constraints” and “defining constraints.” Every situation has constraints…but which constraints, in this particular situation, are restricting the will, and which are defining it? That’s the question an aspirant is faced with.

In a similar way, this, one way or another, is the defining (or at least certainly ‘one of the main defining’) question of this thread and can be related back to the tri-partite one first raised in the OP.):

OP by the_real_simon_iff on: March 26, 2014 at 09:19:11 pm:

Do you know of any hard scientific proof - apart from your own reasoning - that this claim is based on scientifically documented evidence, might even be traced, observed or the realisation of it artificially induced?
Do you know of any studies that actually confirm the existence of a TRUE will for EVERYONE?
And please, do not talk about "preferences" - did you ever come across a TRUE WILL in science?

"Los" wrote:
"One's preferences are in no way chosen then, or in alignment with this environment, we must always change it accordingly, which is not one's "Will". This idea is not at all, even close to the Thelemic idea, as in doing what "Thou Wilt"."

I do not understand what these sentences are trying to say.

I do.  I think it relates to the imbecility of the attitude expressed by Los in:

"Jason Resh" wrote:
"Or let’s say it’s someone’s True Will to kill someone else, but then that person learns that the laws of the land will cause him to be locked up for life if he actually does it. The person’s Will might change in that situation, and it might become his Will to get some other kind of revenge or to do something else entirely."

Lol really? Damn! Foiled again! I really had the authentic preference to slit that guy ear to ear! Damn restrictive laws! I'll just slash his tires instead, that should do in a pinch. Following one's True Will is tricky eh?

Ha, ha!

"Jason Resh" wrote:
Lot of restrictions there with this theory. How about the idea people find satisfaction by self acceptance in EVERYTHING they do, regardless, and finding themselves fulfilled by being who they are on purpose? Accepting one's choices and mistakes as part of who they are, and going from their? No regrets. If the True Will is simply who we are, and who we want to become, then there is always success, just not recognized.

This is echoed by the point made in the quote immediately below:

"Jason Resh" wrote:
If we all simply live, and "go" according to what moves each of us, with the idea of simply improving ourselves, and trying the best we can, we are performing our True Will. Then, at the end of the day, when we are on our deathbeds, we can look back and see a life lived well, and with purpose no matter what happens. "That" life, whatever form it takes, was a valid experience, and offering to Nuit, another aggregate of experienced into the Cup. This is the "pearl", a blending of joy and sorrow. Not some task of picking out some genuine article of choice, not some fancy idea of a particular "right" choice at any given moment, but the "right" choice IS every moment. There is success (period).

The question, though, is: according to what criteria?  Would it then be broadly the same for everyone, like some sort of a moral code?

"Jason Resh" wrote:
And I am not saying that murder couldn't be part of someones True Will, as in someone being themselves, as in Nero, or Jack the Ripper.

But what about the idea of ‘holy’ or in some transpersonal way ‘sanctioned’ assassination here? (This was previously discussed [and addressed by me in Replies #66, 84 and 93] but abandoned in the thread about “LIBER OZ – still relevant after all these years?” on the Thelema board.)

"Los" wrote:
This is getting longer than I have time for right now, and you repeat a lot of similar points throughout your post. I trimmed out as many repetitious examples as I could above, and I'm cutting off my response here.

This could be another of those “Et Tu!” or "Deja Vu!" moments!(?) [- or ?(!)]

"Jason Resh" wrote:
Restriction is the word of sin, not sin itself. Perhaps the idea of their BEING a restriction, is the sin.

A different way of looking at it is that it is the “word” itself which is “sinful” and restrictive – i.e., to paraphrase the section of the verse from Liber AL in question: The word itself, being of a sinful essence, is of a restrictive nature.  “Word” here being the attempt to conceptualise the “difference” between one thing and any other, a notion regarding which William Burroughs has some pertinent ideas, relating it to a “virus” of mental thought processes and alienating us from experiencing life directly as it truly is, and instead “boxing” it in.

"Los" wrote:
You’re misunderstanding the idea of “restriction,” which is, of course, understandable since I haven’t rigorously defined it yet on this thread.

Of course, “the” would be much improved by being substituted with “my”, here.

"Los" wrote:
Feel free to call it something other than “True Will” if the words are throwing you. Call it “Woozle Wuzzle” for all I care.

However this not exactly a helpful statement in trying to move this particular question onwards and forwards, or answering the central one/s posed by the thread.  If the “words” or “word” is throwing one, it merely highlights the point I just raised previously.

But if the central difficulty is indeed the word itself then we have a Catch-22 dilemma; the Oroboros-serpent eating its own tail; trying to get Hadit to “know” itself when it is itself “the knower”.  Yet, some do persist in this.  Unto, as ever, an uncertain end.

"Los" wrote:
[...] I’m not trying to be mean to you or “put you down” or anything – but I am explaining why you seem to be having such a hard time understanding what I’m saying and why your objections are so murky and kind of incoherent: all you have to go on is words, so all you can do to respond is to pick apart those words while trying to guess what I might mean by them.

“Words, words, words…” (Hamlet).  What else have any of us got to go on here, might one ask?  This seems rather a specious objection, to say the least. 

I also love the “I’m not trying to be mean or ‘put you down’, or anything" prior to doing what could quite clearly be interpreted as just the same! – could this disingenuousity be meant to spike the other debater’s artillery, I wonder?!  And --- Who’s up next?  (as the company captain said to his gallant lads before going over the top of the trenches in WW1…)

Waiting for Ariadne?? (sort of)
NJoy.


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 Anonymous
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02/04/2014 1:37 am  

93 Jamie!

Ha ha, great post! Brilliant, and you hit a few of the point I was TRYING to make. I'm not of course as good with words, I admit.

I was going to reply, but alas, I didn't have the internal fortitude to start. I ran out of energy this weekend, and seeing the job ahead in trying to be succinct and witty drained me just thinking about it lol. 

I will muster up my energy soon, and digest a bit more and try and formulate my response. Thanks for the post, I want to address a bit of it as well!

93
J


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jamie barter
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Posts: 1688
02/04/2014 12:19 pm  

93 Jason

You mentioned before something about not being very good with words, or debating: I would like to reassure you that, speaking for myself, I haven’t noticed anything of the kind at all and if anything the standard of your communications is on the whole above average for LAShTAL, which itself is considerably better than many other comparable forums.  You must take care that you do not apply (to use New Age jargon for a second) “reinforcement to your negative affirmations” so that your (apparent) lack of facility becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophesy.  Also, there are no prizes on offer for who can grab the most debating points or sock it to ‘em hardest (to use a boxing rather than chess metaphor!); we all do the best we can (I would like to assume) under the circumstances, and just by the way of things some will be better with putting concepts and words together than others. 

It may be that some such folk might actually have the better conceptions themselves, but unfortunately not be blessed with a comparable ability to then translate these into the best arguments.  Again from my own POV, I take no notice of whether a poster is highly literate & blessed with the art of putting sentences together or not (as long as they are in  the end understandable!), as surely the important thing is to try to see through to what they are attempting to get at & say behind that.  I am far harsher if instead a poster is trying to bullshit in some fashion or evade the question – and particularly if s/he invited conversation with all other particpants on a forum in the first place! (no names, no pack drill!)

I continue to look forward to reading your further contributions and the answers of Los and whoever else may be applicable to the points already raised.  Although we are going over at least some of the terrain already covered many times before on the Lash even amongst the repetition there is always room for a new perspective to percolate somewhere, and is surely one of the main reasons why all of us continue to cerebrally engage with it as we do, rather than e.g. watching a load of brain-deadening cobblers on the old gogglebox instead.

93 93/93
N Joy


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
02/04/2014 7:41 pm  

93 Jamie,

Thank for your compliments and encouragement! One of my weaknesses, I hate to admit is low self esteem. I hate it! I struggled with it most of my life, and I simply view this as a challenge in my life to simply try to improve and be better. Of course, as luck would have it, I wasn't able to get the college education I would have loved. So, I struggle with a lot of the ability many have here with being succinct and clear. I stumble around a bit, and am not always familiar with various terms of argument etc. I have learned a lot since I have been reading the Thelemic forums. Like I said, I admire those who can express themselves so well, i think this is a very important "power" in and of itself. I appreciate your words more than you know, as I at times force myself to try, in the face of fear of looking "stupid" lol. As I said before, Los is good at what he does, (as are you, and many others), but what I mean by that is he is slick and tricky and slippery. He uses a lot of verbal sleight of hand (in my opinion).

This is GREAT practice with becoming more potent at argument, and saying what you mean exactly. This is part of why I wish, he would engage you, as I think there are others (like me) would would gain something, learn something, from reading such debates between those who have skill. Understanding the subtle nuances of argument, and debate, I think is critical in these areas in discussing the occult. It is a subtle subject, not easy to talk in concrete easy to understand terms I think.

I never claimed to be an expert, and so I still learn, by forcing myself to try and defend my point of view. Although, I think it's important to always be open for change of that view, and learn. A lot of the time I go with my gut, my intuition and own feeling of the BOL and AC. However, I am still learning and evaluating these ideas, so this is a great way to test those ideas. My frustration is in trying to accurately express these slippery ideas with the right words and phrases!

Anyway, thanks again! I really appreciate the feedback!

93 93/93
J


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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02/04/2014 8:56 pm  

93 Los,

It’s true that I define True Will as what an individual “really” wants – but an important qualifier is that the word “really,” in this context, simply marks that which is in contradistinction to what the individual *thinks* he wants or thinks he *ought* to want.

However, the problem with this is one is constantly growing and changing as a person. In addition many of these preferences are based on complete guesswork (as more often than not, one has never truly did these things to truly know). In other words, one "thinking" he wants to be a painter, and one that "should" be a painter are separated by the gulf of direct experience. In order to "follow one's True Will" then, is reduced to guesswork (for the most part anyway) as much of these preferences (evidence based or not, and I'm not sure exactly what constitutes "evidence" either) are not directly realized to know.

What evidence is their for the preference to be a painter? Artistic ability? The fact he wants to paint all day? Should they consider the bigger picture, such as can they truly make a living at this career choice (what if they have a family)? Ever hear of the "starving artist"? Are you suggesting a Thelemite throw out these other concerns in favor of simply "following their True Will"? "Sorry, my authentic preference is to become a painter and so screw the well paid lifestyle of the Doctor." I can think of all sorts of problems with this sort of True Will.

I think the BOL gives us a huge clue in the verse 42. "Let it be that state of many-hood bound and loathing. So with thy all; thou hast no right but to do thy will." and then 43."Do that, and no other shall say nay."

To me what you are talking about with your definition of TW is this "many-hood bound and loathing", you divide yourself, you loath something as "wrong" as "imperfect" or in some way lacking. You see yourself as having aspects that need to be weeded. When instead this is the "beast" upon which we ride. It is to be accepted under will, and used to live. "So with thy all", to me, seems to mean with every aspect of yourself, your personality, who you are, and what environment and conditions you find yourself (these are all one). "Do that", which is whatever life you find yourself in, and how this life moves you, where that beast you ride upon takes you. "That", an undefinable "thing" a collage of experiences, unfettered by the IDEA of their being restrictions, or useless tid bits. All is acceptable. Then, "no other shall say nay", Nuit shall never refuse any, because she is all possibility, all probability.

Some routine self-examination should reveal times in your life when you thought you wanted X but then you later discovered that X is not what you wanted at all. If you’ve never experienced such times, then good for you, I suppose, but I would be inclined to think that someone who has never experienced this has insufficient insight into his being.

This is exactly what point I was trying to make! You cannot call something that is subject to change, that you can not fully realize as True Will, because you have no way of knowing if you truly even like it! If I walk into a restaurant and feel I may like a certain item on the menu, but I have never actually tried it, I can "call it my True Will" to try it sure. Yet, when I taste it, bam, I know I hate it. I can examine until the cows come home, what does this change? I know after the fact it isn't my True Will now. Now this thing I thought was TW isn't anymore. It may be in 10 years from now my tastes change (same goes for other subjects with circumstances) and now the old thing I hated looks pretty good. It's so fluid, this thing of preferences, and never really pinned down.

I do not agree at all that discovery of the True Will is “simply based upon what a person guesses he wants to do rather than anything concrete.” It’s not based on guesswork, as if one were pulling one’s decisions out of a hat. The process of discovering the True Will is an evidence-based one.

Evidence based on what exactly? Do you mean paying attention and meditating upon what I feel I really want to do? Before you used the analogy of wanting to kill someone as possibly their True Will. What evidence is there for that? Or wanting to jog, and then changing the route because of road construction? I suppose the evidence would be what the detectives find and collect at the scene of the murder? or the street cones around the park that your True Will had only suggested?

First, an individual learns how to distinguish reality from the mental content that we are always overlaying on top of reality. Then the individual directly observes his inclinations in a particular situation – i.e. by watching the way he actually acts and reacts when he’s able to overlook that mental content. Based on that evidence, he can start to draw tentative conclusions about his True Will, conclusions that he can constantly refine by means of more evidence.

What "reality" are you really talking about though? Everything is subject to the mind. You brought up optical illusions before, and this is a perfect example of how the mind has a hold over even the most rudimentary aspects of our lives. How much more of a strangle hold does the mind play on the more subtle aspects involving our opinions, beliefs, and feelings? We overlay all SORTS of stuff everyday on top of reality! Language alone proves this! Words, words, words, it's all we have to go on! My analogy (and I have been working on it lol) is watching a TV show. I think the analogy is that one can think it's all about "proving" the show is fake; pointing out the poor special effects, and that a certain location is not really there etc. When in fact the "show" is the whole point (the plot), and not the fact it's fake.

It may seem, on the surface that my idea is useless. That if we simply say "everything's good bra, just do whatever", we would get nowhere. This is because you're looking at it from a limited perspective of "we need to be doing something this way". Life, like you said "doesn't care either way", we are ALREADY moving and evolving according to my idea lol. Right? Useless as Thelema? No, that's simply the natural way people "go". The point though is that by UNDERSTANDING the flow of the universe, and what it is "doing" we consciously take up the job of going along with it. Look, guess what, you're here, in this forum right? Did you not get here, as well as everyone else simply by being WHO YOU ARE? Their personalities forged through all sorts of experiences have formed to MOTIVATE them to change, to try and become better, to seek it out.

To me the work of Thelema isn't weeding out "restrictions", it is first of all self acceptance, loss of regret, and learning tolerance. One then, uses MAGIC to open themselves to further depths of mind, and of spirit in order to unite with the greater world around them, this thing called the HGA? In order to realize more about themselves they may want to pursue. However, the difference is, they do so according to who they are naturally, mistakes and all, as this raw motion IS their True Will. If they (like you) want to run around second guessing themselves, so be it, "the universe doesn't care". That is still part of their True Will.

Or they can free themselves of all these conflicting ideas about "authentic preferences", and do what LIFE, which is an extension of themselves moves them to do. Circumstances themselves are a big part of the picture, you're sort of discounting as a part of this True Will. If we are part of a greater whole (Nuit), then these outer obstacles you "work around" are part of you just as much as any of your authentic preferences. Your environment is Nuit's "authentic preferences" for you.

"Love under Will."

93

J


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Los
 Los
(@los)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
04/04/2014 5:31 am  
"Jason Resh" wrote:
"Los" wrote:
It’s true that I define True Will as what an individual “really” wants – but an important qualifier is that the word “really,” in this context, simply marks that which is in contradistinction to what the individual *thinks* he wants or thinks he *ought* to want.

However, the problem with this is one is constantly growing and changing as a person.

Everything changes, all the time. How is that a problem?

You cannot call something that is subject to change, that you can not fully realize as True Will, because you have no way of knowing if you truly even like it!

I do not know what you are trying to say with this sentence. That I may one day no longer prefer to go on a run in the morning is irrelevant if I prefer it now.

If I walk into a restaurant and feel I may like a certain item on the menu, but I have never actually tried it, I can "call it my True Will" to try it sure. Yet, when I taste it, bam, I know I hate it. I can examine until the cows come home, what does this change?

I’m not sure what your critique is. If you prefer to try something new on the menu, then try it. If you hate it, now you’ve got more information about the self. If at some point in the future you feel like giving the food another try – supposing that either your tastes might have changed or that you might better like how another chef prepares it – then go for it.

I get the sense that you’re still thinking of this stuff in terms that are far too static. “True Will” isn’t some thing that’s out there. It’s an idea, a tool that is only useful in helping you figure out the next thing you’re going to do.  Once you act, it no longer makes sense to tell yourself, “Here I am doing my True Will! I sure hope it doesn’t change!” As soon as you act, things have changed, and you’re in a new place. That’s why you’re supposed to pay attention to your Will and not that mental stuff surrounding it.

"Jason Resh" wrote:

I do not agree at all that discovery of the True Will is “simply based upon what a person guesses he wants to do rather than anything concrete.” It’s not based on guesswork, as if one were pulling one’s decisions out of a hat. The process of discovering the True Will is an evidence-based one.

Evidence based on what exactly?

Evidence based on observing the True Will. You train yourself to get better at observing, and then you observe it. That’s the evidence.
You can form little mental representations of the Will to assist it in manifesting (such as statements like, “It’s my Will to be a painter!”) but those representations need to be refined by continually paying attention to the actual Will itself, not by paying attention to the representations.

To me what you are talking about with your definition of TW is this "many-hood bound and loathing", you divide yourself, you loath something as "wrong" as "imperfect" or in some way lacking.

No, I’m not “loathing” something or considering anything “wrong.” Haven’t I said that already on this thread?

When I talk about “restriction,” I mean the very idea that any course of action could be “wrong”…or “right.”

The very idea that a course of action could be “wrong” or “right” is not, itself, wrong or right. It just is what it is. It is the kind of idea that one has to learn to look past if one wants to do one’s True Will. That it’s the kind of idea that one has to learn to look past if one wants to do one’s True Will is not, itself, wrong or right. It just is.

What evidence is their for the preference to be a painter? Artistic ability? The fact he wants to paint all day? Should they consider the bigger picture, such as can they truly make a living at this career choice (what if they have a family)? Ever hear of the "starving artist"? Are you suggesting a Thelemite throw out these other concerns in favor of simply "following their True Will"? "Sorry, my authentic preference is to become a painter and so screw the well paid lifestyle of the Doctor."

The evidence comes from paying attention to the Will, and the answers to the questions you ask will be very different for each person, depending on the particulars of the Will.

I can imagine someone whose Will is to be a starving artist, and I can definitely imagine someone whose Will is to give up the family that he perhaps had wanted -- or thought he wanted -- at one point in order to go off and devote himself to painting full time. I can also imagine someone very different whose Will involves spending time with his family and finding a way to build his inclinations to paint into that family dynamic (say, as a hobby on the weekends).

The kinds of questions you’re asking (“Should he think about the big picture? Should he throw out other concerns? What if he’s got a family? What if he’s got a sick parent? What if he gets food poisoning?” Etc.) are questions that can only be addressed by the specifics of that individual’s True Will, and only one person can ever observe the True Will and determine what it is.

What "reality" are you really talking about though? Everything is subject to the mind.

No, it’s not. Here’s where the conversation gets difficult because you obviously do not have experience with what I’m talking about. If you did, you could never make statements like this because you would have seen for yourself how wrong they are.

Reality is starkly different from your ideas about reality, and learning to perceive this difference – and getting better and better at that perception – is a fundamental part of Thelema. And like it or not, Crowley – you know, the guy who invented Thelema – makes the same point, repeatedly, over many decades.

To me the work of Thelema isn't weeding out "restrictions"

Well, this points to another one of the fundamental problems we’re having in this discussion. You seem to be talking about something other than the thing Aleister Crowley called “Thelema,” but you insist on using the label “Thelema” to describe it.

If you wanted to talk about this philosophy of yours – call it “Go-with-the-flow-ism” or “Jason-Resh-ism” or “Understand-how-you’re-going-with-the-flow-ism” – then more power to you. But you choose to do so here at the home of the Aleister Crowley society, and you choose to call this philosophy of yours “Thelema.”

Why in the world would you do that?

Crowley’s writings about Thelema clearly indicate that True Will is internal to the individual, hidden under layers of restriction or “opaque veils,” to dress it up in symbolic language. The task of Thelema, Crowley says in many places, is to discover that True Will, which he presents as something relatively definitive and specific, not as a vague sense of “just do whatever, brah.” Remember where he says in Magick Without Tears, “About 90% of Thelema, at a guess, is nothing but self-discipline”? Remember that bit in Liber II where he says that Thelema is “the apotheosis of Freedom; but it is also the strictest possible bond.”

I'm not sure what makes you think that you're talking about Thelema.


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jamie barter
(@jamie-barter)
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Posts: 1688
04/04/2014 11:59 am  
"Los" wrote:
"I do not agree at all that discovery of the True Will is “simply based upon what a person guesses he wants to do rather than anything concrete.” It’s not based on guesswork, as if one were pulling one’s decisions out of a hat. The process of discovering the True Will is an evidence-based one."

[Jason:] - Evidence based on what exactly?

Evidence based on observing the True Will. You train yourself to get better at observing, and then you observe it. That’s the evidence.  You can form little mental representations of the Will to assist it in manifesting (such as statements like, “It’s my Will to be a painter!”) but those representations need to be refined by continually paying attention to the actual Will itself, not by paying attention to the representations.

Hang about, are we still talking about Woozle Wuzzle here?  Just wanted to get my perception of these terms right… Words are so important!!

"Los" wrote:
[Jason:] - To me what you are talking about with your definition of TW is this "many-hood bound and loathing", you divide yourself, you loath something as "wrong" as "imperfect" or in some way lacking.

No, I’m not “loathing” something or considering anything “wrong.” Haven’t I said that already on this thread?

As in, “no, I don’t consider anything wrong”, at least on this thread – i.o.w., that my viewpoint here is infallible?!

"Los" wrote:
[Jason:] - What "reality" are you really talking about though? Everything is subject to the mind.

No, it’s not. Here’s where the conversation gets difficult because you obviously do not have experience with what I’m talking about. [...]

Obviously!  (But who does have such experience, though?  We are “obviously” talking about degrees of acquaintance, here.

"Los" wrote:
[...] If you did, you could never make statements like this because you would have seen for yourself how wrong they are.

I should give up, go home and consider yourself a lost cause, Jason!  (Would you like to borrow my razor blade?)

"Los" wrote:
Reality is starkly different from your ideas about reality, and learning to perceive this difference – and getting better and better at that perception – is a fundamental part of Thelema. And like it or not, Crowley – you know, the guy who invented Thelema – makes the same point, repeatedly, over many decades.

“Invented” Thelema?  Or maybe “discovered” it might be more accurate?  Either way, Los appears to be able to speak both for A.C. and “on behalf of” Thelema itself, for other than his own experience.  As also in:

You seem to be talking about something other than the thing Aleister Crowley called “Thelema,” […]

As if it is precisely known what A.C. “called”, or thought about, or understood Thelema to be in any case (other than what he wrote about it of course, in which case subjective opinion and interpretation applies and is sovereign, “each” to “their own.”)

"Los" wrote:
I'm not sure what makes you think that you're talking about Thelema.

The fact that Jason is talking about it, duh?  Also, where exactly does Jason state that Thelema is, quote in Los' words, “just do whatever bra[h]” unquote?

N Joy


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jamie barter
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05/04/2014 12:37 pm  
"jamie barter" wrote:
"Los" wrote:
Reality is starkly different from your ideas about reality, and learning to perceive this difference – and getting better and better at that perception – is a fundamental part of Thelema. And like it or not, Crowley – you know, the guy who invented Thelema – makes the same point, repeatedly, over many decades.

“Invented” Thelema?  Or maybe “discovered” it might be more accurate?  Either way, Los appears to be able to speak both for A.C. and “on behalf of” Thelema itself, for other than his own experience.

*EDIT*  Or thinking about it, maybe ‘re-discovered’ would be even more appropriate, as even if we do go with the other word (“invented”), arguably Rabelais as A.C.’s precursor might have done both (invented and discovered the concept of Thelema) with his “Abbey of the Thelemites”, etc – see his Gargantua.  (I do not have time to retype or at least copy-and-paste the relevant passage, but I am quite certain it would be on LAShTAL somewhere if someone wishes to do a ‘Search’ for it.)

Back to The Question peeps?!
N Joy


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 Anonymous
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08/04/2014 8:29 pm  

93 Los,

It's been hard to get the time to sit down and focus on replying, sorry. Let me try and be more succinct here.

Your definition of TW is a non static set of choices based upon the unfettered preferences at any one moment (my simplified paraphrase). This is subject to modification according to one's circumstances. Am I correct?

Your definition also suggests that there is no "higher" plan involved, that the universe has no spiritual component, and this TW you define, is simply a by-product of nature/nurture.

I agree, to an extent. I agree we should follow "who we are", yet the mess of sorting out what is authentic and what is not, only clogs up the process. Yes, the BOL says "deem ye not of change", but choices based upon the concept of change doesn't mean we truly are "lifted up" or "cast down" per se, it simply defines the nature of ones life experience. I can "win" a battle, and I can "conquer that is enough", and these would IMPLY changes and being lifted up. The point is, the guiding principle is to "strive ever to more!' correct? The BOL does use many such phrases that imply "change".

The question remains, that by using your definition of TW we are left scratching our heads to what does this truly accomplish that is different? In the end of the day, it changes with your experiences, and is thwarted by circumstance, so how is it of value? Simply because it is what we "authentically want"?

My question I have been trying to ask is, why do you think unauthentic preferences are of no value, and play no role in ones life? The friction often produced by making mistakes, being forced to undergo routes in life that challenge us, seem to be of the greatest value in self discovery. You seem to dismiss the environments role in this process of self discovery, and the role Nuit plays in our TW.

It's as if you want people to go through life with blinders on, and only consider decisions based upon some "random" set of biological authentic preferences in the face of external factors that may be contrary, yet just as authentic to us yet unrealized.

Your definition only includes half the picture, which is the TW being not only what YOU authentically feel you want at any one moment, but a mixture, a blend of both what is internal and where we find ourselves. The only way to truly appreciate what it is I am saying is to NOT look at it from a purely material POV, but as a spiritual whole. A "higher order" that you are a part of.

Nuit, Hadit, and Ra Hoor Khuit.

What is your commentary upon this verse BTW?

II:32 "Also reason is a lie; for there is a factor infinite & unknown; & all their words are skew-wise."

I think it strikes at the heart of your definition of TW, and pov.

93
J


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 Anonymous
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08/04/2014 8:37 pm  
"jamie barter" wrote:
"jamie barter" wrote:
"Los" wrote:
Reality is starkly different from your ideas about reality, and learning to perceive this difference – and getting better and better at that perception – is a fundamental part of Thelema. And like it or not, Crowley – you know, the guy who invented Thelema – makes the same point, repeatedly, over many decades.

“Invented” Thelema?  Or maybe “discovered” it might be more accurate?  Either way, Los appears to be able to speak both for A.C. and “on behalf of” Thelema itself, for other than his own experience.

*EDIT*  Or thinking about it, maybe ‘re-discovered’ would be even more appropriate, as even if we do go with the other word (“invented”), arguably Rabelais as A.C.’s precursor might have done both (invented and discovered the concept of Thelema) with his “Abbey of the Thelemites”, etc – see his Gargantua.  (I do not have time to retype or at least copy-and-paste the relevant passage, but I am quite certain it would be on LAShTAL somewhere if someone wishes to do a ‘Search’ for it.)

Back to The Question peeps?!
N Joy

You make great points. Of course, it has always been obvious that Los cannot speak to what "Thelema" really is or is not, as he is not AC, nor does the BOL even say we can! We are told not to "convert not, talk not over much", and now I see why this is wise! We can get lost, and those who have their own ideas, personal between the BOL and themselves, can be further confused and frustrated into second guessing this natural process of understanding.

I think the main problem is that Los is arguing from a perspective of materialism, a non spiritual pov. I on the other hand, see it from the pov of something "higher" at work, and this environment itself is "alive" (Nuit) and part of the picture of all of us, a living aspect of our TW. Thats how I see it anyway, and of course I make no claims of knowing the absolute truth, but this seems to "fit" when I read the BOL.


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 Anonymous
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08/04/2014 9:25 pm  

I wanted to also comment upon the "logical" position of Los, and this especially in connection to understanding the True Will.

You tell us that you know and preach AC's "Thelema", as you deny the spiritual aspects, and reduce TW down to authentic preferences, of which we are to continually judge based upon "evidence".

Compare this way of looking at Thelema, and the Will to the BOL, and especially AC's commentary.

II:27 There is a great danger in me; for who doth not understand these runes shall make a great miss. He shall fall down into the pit called Because, and there he shall perish with the dogs of Reason.

Comment:

"The importance of failing to interpret these verses. Unspirituality leads us to the bird-lime of intellect. The Hawk must not perch on any earthly bough, but remain poised in the ether." - AC

II:28 Now a curse upon Because and his kin!

Comment on II:28-31 

"The great Curse pronounced by the Supernals against the inferiors who arise against them. Our reasoning faculties are the toils of the labyrinth within which we are all caught." -AC

II:33 Enough of Because! Be he damned for a dog!

Comment:

"We pass from the wandering in the jungle of Reason to"

II:34 But ye, o my people, rise up & awake!

"The Awakening." - AC

I think this is pretty obvious where AC stood with the materialistic pov and deductive reasoning being applied. As he states clearly there is a danger in misunderstanding the BOL using unspirituality.

93
J


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William Thirteen
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08/04/2014 11:03 pm  

i think there may be some confusion here among different uses of the word 'reason'.  as a proponent of "the Method of Science, the Aim of Religion" i believe that AC fully supported using one's reasoning faculties to understand the nature of the universe around us. these faculties may also serve us as we seek to follow our Will in our day to day life. As i have understood Los' position, he argues that this True Will is what remains after the programming of society, our community and in fact, the programming of our own minds (the veils) are cast off.  afterwards only Will - these impersonal 'preferences' - remain.  i believe this is what AC refers to as 'The Hawk' - as it is a motion, a going. This motion doesn't rely on 'any earthly bough' - that is, on any reasoned position to justify its existence. there is no 'why?' to be asked - as a 'why?' invokes Because.

i also came across this short piece in Medium which i think throws light upon this differentiation between the programming we encounter as we emerge from the womb and the voice which seem to come from within.

Should is how others want us to show up in the world — how we’re supposed to think, what we ought to say, what we should or shouldn’t do. It’s the vast array of expectations that others layer upon us. When we choose Should the journey is smooth, the risk is small.

Must is different—there aren’t options and we don’t have a choice.

The Crossroads of Should and Must

https://medium.com/medium-long/90c75eb7c5b0


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 Anonymous
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08/04/2014 11:11 pm  
"WilliamThirteen" wrote:
i think there may be some confusion here among different uses of the word 'reason'.  as a proponent of "the Method of Science, the Aim of Religion" i believe that AC fully supported using one's reasoning faculties to understand the nature of the universe around us. these faculties may also serve us as we seek to follow our Will in our day to day life. As i have understood Los' position, he argues that this True Will is what remains after the programming of society, our community and in fact, the programming of our own minds (the veils) are cast off.  afterwards only Will - these impersonal 'preferences' - remain.  i believe this is what AC refers to as 'The Hawk' - as it is a motion, a going. This motion doesn't rely on 'any earthly bough' - that is, on any reasoned position to justify its existence. there is no 'why?' to be asked - as a 'why?' invokes Because.

i also came across this short piece in Medium which i think throws light upon this differentiation between the programming we encounter as we emerge from the womb and the voice which seem to come from within.

Should is how others want us to show up in the world — how we’re supposed to think, what we ought to say, what we should or shouldn’t do. It’s the vast array of expectations that others layer upon us. When we choose Should the journey is smooth, the risk is small.

Must is different—there aren’t options and we don’t have a choice.

The Crossroads of Should and Must

https://medium.com/medium-long/90c75eb7c5b0

93 William,

Thank you for pointing this out. I think this brings up a valid point. I will chew on it a bit and see what I get from it.

What is your take on the comment mentioning unspirituality? I think this seems to point to the spiritual idea behind Thelema however, and note a fully rational pov of materialism. Am I wrong? Although I'll admit the place of reason in the "method of science", the "aim of religion" speaks to the more spiritual aspect as well, which is to unite with the HGA.


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Los
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08/04/2014 11:24 pm  
"Jason Resh" wrote:
Your definition of TW is a non static set of choices based upon the unfettered preferences at any one moment (my simplified paraphrase). This is subject to modification according to one's circumstances. Am I correct?

Yes, you’re more or less correct.

Your definition also suggests that there is no "higher" plan involved, that the universe has no spiritual component, and this TW you define, is simply a by-product of nature/nurture.

Correct, though it should be noted that my definition does not specifically deny the existence of the supernatural or cosmic plans -- it simply does not define True Will in terms of the supernatural or in terms of cosmic plans. Whether or not supernatural things exist is an entirely different question, as is the question of whether there are (supernatural?) beings who have “cosmic plans” for us.

I agree, to an extent. I agree we should follow "who we are", yet the mess of sorting out what is authentic and what is not, only clogs up the process.

Then how do you intend to discover who you are without sorting out what is authentic and what is not?

Look, Thelema is a real subject that involves making real, practical changes to one’s life. Discovering the True Will – if it’s actually a “discovery” – has to reveal things that one didn’t start out knowing about oneself, and if that’s the case, then it has to involve some kind of sorting out of the “True Will” from the stuff that's not True Will.

This is all clearly outlined in Crowley’s writings.

If you don’t want to do it, then fine. Nobody’s forcing you to practice Thelema.

The question remains, that by using your definition of TW we are left scratching our heads to what does this truly accomplish that is different? In the end of the day, it changes with your experiences, and is thwarted by circumstance, so how is it of value? Simply because it is what we "authentically want"?

True Will is valuable because it’s what we authentically want and because – as a little experimentation will demonstrate – it’s a practically useful concept.

Remember, the whole point of True Will – and discovering it – is to help one act (in the moment) and make decisions about the future. The True Will is influenced by situations, sure, but let’s not go overboard here and assume that one can never draw tentative conclusions about the Will. One definitely can, and it’s immensely useful have this kind of self-knowledge. And I mean “useful” in a practical, everyday sense.

The basic point here is that doing things that the self prefers to do will satisfy the self more than doing things that the self has just talked itself into thinking it prefers (but actually does not prefer).

I would assume that such a point would be self-evident and entirely uncontroversial, but you seem to take issue with it, and the nature of your objection is still quite murky.

My question I have been trying to ask is, why do you think unauthentic preferences are of no value, and play no role in ones life? The friction often produced by making mistakes […]seem to be of the greatest value in self discovery

I don’t think that inauthentic preferences “are of no value, and play no role in ones life.” I think that Thelema is about learning to distinguish them from authentic preferences and using the ability to distinguish them to implement practical changes in one’s life.

In order to learn how to do that you first have to make mistakes by following the inauthentic preferences. Making those mistakes leads you to feel dissatisfied with your life, and that feeling of dissatisfaction leads you to try to discover your True Will. If you never felt dissatisfied, then you'd have no reason to go looking for your True Will. Trying to discover your True Will involves trying to stop making those mistakes, and – whether you like it or not, Jason – it actually is possible to detect and to substantially reduce the number of mistakes one makes in this area.

Do it if you like. If you don’t want to practice Thelema, then fine. No one’s making you. There’s no cosmic importance to it.


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Los
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08/04/2014 11:29 pm  
"Jason Resh" wrote:
What is your commentary upon this verse BTW?
II:32 "Also reason is a lie; for there is a factor infinite & unknown; & all their words are skew-wise."

My comment is that we have to read it in context

27. There is great danger in me; for who doth not understand these runes shall make a great miss. He shall fall down into the pit called Because, and there he shall perish with the dogs of Reason.
28. Now a curse upon Because and his kin!
29. May Because be accursed for ever!
30. If Will stops and cries Why, invoking Because, then Will stops & does nought.
31. If Power asks why, then is Power weakness.
32. Also reason is a lie; for there is a factor infinite & unknown; & all their words are skew-wise.

These are pretty strong – and pretty commonly misunderstood – verses. The common misinterpretation is that these verses condemn reason as a tool to evaluate claims. And certainly, one can yank one of these verses out of context (like, just quoting “reason is a lie,” for example) to make it seem as if these verses are a blanket condemnation of reason. But these verses, taken in context, aren’t about evaluating claims: they’re about discovering and performing the will.

These verses are saying, quite strongly, that the True Will is not a rational thing and that reason can’t be used to “figure out” what a person’s true will is – in fact, a person following the course of action suggested by his conscious mind (i.e. that he “should” do certain things “because” he believes such-and-such actions are inherently good, not because they are in line with his nature) will end up being led astray into restriction and delusion.

In other words, these verses are saying that reason is limited: it has a particular role – i.e. evaluating claims about the world – and that when it steps outside that role – i.e. when it tries to tell the self what to do – it’s overstepping its boundaries and must be kept in its place.

To give a practical example, if a guy decided to pursue a career because he thinks it’s a “noble calling” or because it will make other people look up to him or because it will make mom and dad proud, then he’s basing his actions not on his actual inclinations, but on “because” statements dreamt up by the conscious mind, which rationally (and fallaciously) concludes that he should act in such ways, regardless of his inclinations.

One’s actual inclinations, though, aren’t rational: one doesn’t have a preference for any particular reason, other than that’s just the way one is.

Crowley says as much in his commentary to these verses: “It is ridiculous to ask a dog why it barks. One must fulfil one's true Nature, one must do one's Will. To question this is to destroy confidence, and so to create an inhibition.”

Just as a dog barks because it is the nature of a dog to bark, so too does a person act in such-and-such a way because it is the nature of a person to act in such a way. To question it, to think that one should be doing otherwise because any number of reasons, is precisely what is meant by falling into the pit of Because and perishing with the dogs of Reason.

But, as I’ve been saying, those verses don’t at all condemn reason as a tool for evaluating claims. As Crowley himself puts it:

“We must not suppose for an instant that the Book of the Law is opposed to reason. On the contrary, its own claim to authority rests upon reason, and nothing else. It disdains the arts of the orator. It makes reason the autocrat of the mind. But that very fact emphasizes that the mind should attend to its own business. It should not transgress its limits. It should be a perfect machine, an apparatus for representing the universe accurately and impartially to its master. The Self, its Will, and its Apprehension, should be utterly beyond it.” (emphasis added)

The role of reason is to represent the world clearly to the individual by helping to evaluate claims about it. Its role is not to tell the individual what to do…that job belongs to the True Will, which isn’t rational and can’t be reached by thinking. That’s why I emphasize the need for an individual to observe the True Will, free from the distorting lenses of the mind.

Further reading: http://thelema-and-skepticism.blogspot.com/2011/09/profiles-in-ignorance-2-misinterpreting_10.html


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Los
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08/04/2014 11:37 pm  
"WilliamThirteen" wrote:
i think there may be some confusion here among different uses of the word 'reason'.  as a proponent of "the Method of Science, the Aim of Religion" i believe that AC fully supported using one's reasoning faculties to understand the nature of the universe around us.

Yes, as we can see from that quote I produced above from the New Comment, and in other places in Crowley's writing.

these faculties may also serve us as we seek to follow our Will in our day to day life. As i have understood Los' position, he argues that this True Will is what remains after the programming of society, our community and in fact, the programming of our own minds (the veils) are cast off.  afterwards only Will - these impersonal 'preferences' - remain.  i believe this is what AC refers to as 'The Hawk' - as it is a motion, a going. This motion doesn't rely on 'any earthly bough' - that is, on any reasoned position to justify its existence. there is no 'why?' to be asked - as a 'why?' invokes Because.

Yep, that's right.

Keep in mind also that "spiritual" is not necessarily the same thing as "supernatural" or "paranormal." The word "spiritual" can mean "of or relating to the human spirit," in a poetic kind of way, without having to imply the literal existence of non-corporeal beings. I know atheists who describe themselves as "spiritual," and I'm sure plenty of people would call me a spiritual atheist.

i also came across this short piece in Medium which i think throws light upon this differentiation between the programming we encounter as we emerge from the womb and the voice which seem to come from within.

Thanks for this. As always, William, your posts are perceptive and refreshing. Happy First Day of the Writing!


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William Thirteen
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08/04/2014 11:57 pm  

yes, the Good News is upon us once more - Happy Second Day of the Writing from Germany!


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 Anonymous
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09/04/2014 4:29 am  

93,

Alright.

I am seeing more clearly what you are saying, yet my objection is that these natural preferences as being the end all of True Will. What is the HGA to you? How do you explain the obvious paranormal aspects of the BOL (i.e. the riddles etc)? For example, to see the True Will as something so mundane, you dismiss the (for want of a better term) paranormal part of it. The whole thing is based upon these spiritual (not the poetic term) aspects, and it seems to sidestep the idea of the whole.


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Los
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09/04/2014 5:21 am  
"Jason Resh" wrote:
Alright.

I am seeing more clearly what you are saying, yet my objection is that these natural preferences as being the end all of True Will.

Well, what more do you think the True Will is, specifically? And why do you think that?

What is the HGA to you?

A metaphor for the True Self, whose dynamic aspect (preferences in specific situations) is the True Will.

Incidentally, Crowley is very clear that the term is meant as a metaphor. From Magick in Theory and Practice:

“He who became the Master Therion was once confronted by this very difficulty [i.e. the difficulty of “avoid[ing] the clouding of the mind by doubt and metaphysical speculation”] […] He therefore said: `Let me declare this work under this title: “The obtaining of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel"', because the theory implied in these words is so patently absurd that only simpletons would waste much time in analysing it. It would be accepted as a convention, and no one would incur the grave danger of building a philosophical system upon it.”

Anyway, the phrase “Holy Guardian Angel” doesn’t even appear in the Book of the Law. Crowley took the term from Abramelin and used it as a label for what he was talking about…and he specifically says that he chose *this* term (HGA) because it implies an “absurd” theory of the universe. Thus, the student would never lose sight of the fact that it’s just a convention.

Crowley’s writings are swimming in the idea that the HGA is a symbol of the True Self.

“It is curious that this verse [AL I:65] should be numbered 65, suggesting L.V.X., and Adonai, the Holy Guardian Angel. It seems that He is Hadit. I have never liked the term `Higher Self'; True Self is more the idea.” – New Comment

"The True Self is the meaning of the True Will: know Thyself through Thy Way!” – Book of Thoth

“We know from Frank Bennett's diary what Crowley said to him on this occasion [of Bennett’s attainment]. `Progradior [Bennett’s motto], I want to explain to you fully, and in a few words, what initiation means, and what is meant when we talk of the Real Self, and what the Real Self is.' And there and then Crowley told him that it was all a matter of getting the subconscious mind to work; and when this subconscious mind was allowed full sway, without interference from the conscious mind, then illumination could be said to have begun; for the subconscious mind was our Holy Guardian Angel.” – Confessions (Grant and Symonds footnote)

“Our minds and bodies are veils of the Light within [i.e. the HGA, as per above]. The uninitiate is a `dark star,' and the Great Work for him is to make his veils transparent by `purifying' them [i.e. seeing through the inauthentic preferences]. This `purication' is really `simplication'; it is not that the veil is dirty, but that the complexity of its folds make it opaque [i.e. it’s not that inauthentic preferences are “bad” – it’s just that they obscure the light within by distracting the individual’s attention]. The Great Work therefore consists principally in the solution of complexes. Everything in itself is perfect, but when things are muddled they become `evil'.” – New Comment

The basic idea of all of the above quotations -- that the True Self/True Will/HGA/subconscious/whatever is something within an individual that is obscured by the "conscious mind" and its inauthentic preferences and that can be released by "purifying" these "veils" -- is an idea that runs through Crowley's writings on Thelema.

How do you explain the obvious paranormal aspects of the BOL (i.e. the riddles etc)?

Riddles aren’t paranormal. For example, they print perfectly mundane puzzles, riddles, and word games in newspapers all the time.

For example, to see the True Will as something so mundane, you dismiss the (for want of a better term) paranormal part of it.

Again, what “part” of the True Will is paranormal, and what makes you think this? Be as specific as you can.


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 Anonymous
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09/04/2014 11:38 pm  

"How do you explain the obvious paranormal aspects of the BOL (i.e. the riddles etc)?"

Riddles aren’t paranormal. For example, they print perfectly mundane puzzles, riddles, and word games in newspapers all the time.

You know what I mean. Of course I didn't mean simply "puzzles" goofball. I'm talking about the obvious reference to the "predictions" within the BOL. It constantly talks about things to come, as if it were making predictions about the future, and also "hidden mysteries" within the BOL, of which AC often mentions as a "proof" of the validity the "paranormal" aspect of it.

"For example, to see the True Will as something so mundane, you dismiss the (for want of a better term) paranormal part of it."

Again, what “part” of the True Will is paranormal, and what makes you think this? Be as specific as you can.

I liked the commentary you gave upon the BOL verses, and the True Will. I think I am getting a much better idea of what you are saying. I agree with it to an extent (I mean it does make sense). I feel it is true for the most part, and the only thing I disagree with then, would be these "authentic preferences" as being "random". What I mean by random is that there is not a greater "plan" behind it. I feel the True Will is part of a larger whole, a living (for want of a better word) aspect to the universe. By paranormal (and I know that probably isn't the best word) is the "higher" more spiritual aspect of the connection of the individual with the greater world. It would seem that your idea would put one at odds with their environment, and the "force of the universe" working with them wouldn't necessarily follow in this way. Am I making sense? AC said that when one does their True Will, they have the force of the universe behind them, as if they were falling in step with their niche in the greater whole. I feel there is no guiding principle behind simply following these "authentic preferences", because without True Will being "divinely inspired" (if you will) it is reduced to a random set of some biological mix. The True Will then could not be relied upon to "make their lives" any "better" or "worse" than NOT following it. I know you are saying it doesn't matter, and that it is obviously better to do what you "authentically want" rather than follow imposed ideas (and I agree to a certain extent), yet random authentic preferences may lead one down all sorts of negative roads, correct? Are these somehow worthy (just because they are authentic) the correct ones?

All I am trying to say is, when you take the divine/spiritual aspect behind the True Will out, you're left with simply "doing what you want" basically. True Will, seems to be much bigger and deeper than this, it seems to be not only who you are authentically, but your destiny (the complete picture of your life and choices). The clarity comes from understanding your choices, and yourself, and accepting the circumstances of life itself as part of the picture.


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Los
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10/04/2014 6:49 pm  
"Jason Resh" wrote:
I feel the True Will is part of a larger whole, a living (for want of a better word) aspect to the universe.

I accept that you feel that way. But you feeling any particular way tells us nothing about what the True Will actually is.

Aside from the fact that your feelings can’t tell us anything about what the True Will is, another problem with what you’re saying is that the terms you’re using here are vague: “’higher’ more spiritual aspect of the connection of the individual with the greater world.” It’s terribly unclear what you mean by that. “Spiritual” is a woefully fuzzy word, and it can mean anything from belief in literal gods, at one end of the spectrum, to a vague sense of wonder at the universe, at the other (with a whole lot of other meanings in between). Meanwhile, the “connection of the individual with the greater world” can mean anything from each person literally being “one with everything,” at one end of the spectrum, to a kind of metaphor for the way that each thing is made out of atoms or the way that each thing has a causal impact on each other thing, at the other end.

What exactly do you mean, and do you have any reason for thinking that it’s true aside from the way you feel?

It would seem that your idea would put one at odds with their environment, and the "force of the universe" working with them wouldn't necessarily follow in this way. Am I making sense?

I don’t think you’re correct in saying that my idea of True Will would “put one at odds with their environment.” As I’ve been explaining, we’re a part of the environment and the environment influences our Will (since Will consists of preferences meeting environment). When I see a hole in the ground and jog around it, I’m not at odds with the environment: my True Will is the product of my inclination meeting the environment.

This is why I said you have too static an idea of Will. The Will is not some “thing” that can be thwarted by external circumstances. The restrictions on the Will exist more or less entirely between an individual’s ears, in the form of those “Because” statements I indicated above (hence, the whole curse on Because stuff in the Book).

AC said that when one does their True Will, they have the force of the universe behind them, as if they were falling in step with their niche in the greater whole.

They have the “force of the universe behind them” because their Will *is* the conjunction of their authentic preferences and the environment/universe. So naturally they have the force of the universe behind them because they’re going *with* nature instead of trying to fight it.

This idea can be studied in connection to the Tao Teh Ching and the concept of Wu Wei (non-action), doing by “not doing.” This “not doing” doesn’t mean inactivity – it means refraining from getting in the way of the True Will, which is fitted to the environment by definition (being the conjunction of authentic inclination and environment).

without True Will being "divinely inspired" (if you will) it is reduced to a random set of some biological mix. The True Will then could not be relied upon to "make their lives" any "better" or "worse" than NOT following it. I know you are saying it doesn't matter, and that it is obviously better to do what you "authentically want" rather than follow imposed ideas (and I agree to a certain extent), yet random authentic preferences may lead one down all sorts of negative roads, correct? Are these somehow worthy (just because they are authentic) the correct ones?

You’re throwing around a lot of terms here (better, worse, negative, correct) that have no meaning outside of a specific context. For example: is it “better” for a guy to keep his job or lose it? Without a context – without some standard by which to judge – we can’t say. A guy who hates his job and wants to quit might think that losing his job is very good. A guy desperate to keep his job might regard losing it as bad. Some other guy who wants to take the first guy’s job would think it good for the first guy to lose it, etc.

But ultimately, from the perspective of the universe, it’s not “better” or “worse” for any outcome to happen. Things just are what they are. We’re the ones who insist on labeling things good or bad, according to arbitrary standards created by our minds.

That labeling mechanism of our minds is part of what creates restriction on the Will. We start thinking that it’s “better” to have that job or to go to the beach today or to date that person or whatever – and we get it in our heads that doing certain things would be “better” than doing others, regardless of what our actual inclinations are.

There’s a reason that the Book of the Law instructs us to "Let there be no difference made among you between any one thing & any other thing" (AL I:22).

This is another line that’s frequently misread. The common misreading is thinking that the Book is calling upon us to see everything as identical to everything else or to wander around in some mystical trance where we pretend that “all is one.”

In fact, the Book is not claiming that everything is identical. It’s claiming that each thing is unique, such that we can never conclude that one thing is objectively “better” than another. After all, we can tell the difference between five and three because we have a context (the number line). But what’s the difference between bread and Thursday? We can’t “make a difference” there because there’s no basis of comparison: each is unique. Each is just what it is. We could, of course, create a context: in the context of nourishing our bodies, bread is far better than Thursday. But ultimately – outside of any context – no difference can be made. Neither one is better than the other: each one just might be more useful in different contexts.

The Book of the Law is telling us that there ultimately is no basis of comparison. There is no ultimate context for judging things to be good or bad. Things just are what things are. Getting that job is not ultimately “better” than losing it, regardless of what your mind tells you. Dating that girl is not ultimately “better” than getting rejected, regardless of what your mind tells you. Being nice is not some kind of “objectively good” thing. Being macho is not objectively good. There’s nothing that is ultimately better or worse than anything else. Nothing’s objectively good or bad, outside of a context. Things just are what they are.

Your inclinations, too, just are what they are. Without the idea that “I should act in such-and-such a way Because it’s the objectively good thing to do!” the only thing I have to act on are my inclinations. And sure, it’s not ultimately “good” or “better” to act on them, but it’s also not ultimately “bad” or “worse” to act on them either, and since I’m inclined to act that way, I do. I have no reason to get in the way of my Will. Things just are what they are. I’m the kind of person I am.

When I define True Will in distinction to “restriction,” the kind of restriction I’m talking about is largely the tendency to “make a difference” in this sense. Thelemic training, basically, is about learning how to see the ways that your mind/reason “makes a difference” in everyday life, detecting your mind doing this in everyday life, and preventing this tendency from obscuring your perception of your Will.


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mika
 mika
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11/04/2014 10:53 pm  
"Jason Resh" wrote:
Of course I didn't mean simply "puzzles" goofball. I'm talking about the obvious reference to the "predictions" within the BOL. It constantly talks about things to come, as if it were making predictions about the future, and also "hidden mysteries" within the BOL, of which AC often mentions as a "proof" of the validity the "paranormal" aspect of it.

"It's a trap!"

"Jason Resh" wrote:
All I am trying to say is, when you take the divine/spiritual aspect behind the True Will out, you're left with simply "doing what you want" basically. True Will, seems to be much bigger and deeper than this, it seems to be not only who you are authentically, but your destiny (the complete picture of your life and choices).

"True Will" isn't "who you are", it's what you choose to do.  It's a verb, not a noun. "True Will" doesn't exist in the past or the future, it is a condition of the present.  It can't be determined or identified once and for all time, it is recognized and accessed in the moment, every moment, so that one can act accordingly, in response to both one's natural inclinations and one's environment and circumstances.

Acting according to one's "True Will" is only equivalent to "simply doing what you want" if one has practiced enough that stripping the mind of delusions, illusions and shoulds has become a simple process. Otherwise, you're simply doing what you *think* you want, which is an entirely different action.

"Jason Resh" wrote:
The clarity comes from understanding your choices, and yourself, and accepting the circumstances of life itself as part of the picture.

Sure.  So then the question is how do you obtain that clarity?  One one hand, a person can spin stories about greater purpose, angelic assistance, hidden riddles, proof of attainment and such things. On the other hand, a person can learn to distinguish between their actual lived experiences, and the stories they tell themselves about those experiences, and thus learn to see through the filters to find and recognize their essential nature. 

If one has clarity, acting according to one's will is as effortless as breathing.  Achieving that clarity is where the work/magick is.


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Michael Staley
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MANIO - it's all in the egg
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11/04/2014 11:38 pm  
"mika" wrote:
"Jason Resh" wrote:
Of course I didn't mean simply "puzzles" goofball. I'm talking about the obvious reference to the "predictions" within the BOL. It constantly talks about things to come, as if it were making predictions about the future, and also "hidden mysteries" within the BOL, of which AC often mentions as a "proof" of the validity the "paranormal" aspect of it.

"It's a trap!"

"Jason Resh" wrote:
All I am trying to say is, when you take the divine/spiritual aspect behind the True Will out, you're left with simply "doing what you want" basically. True Will, seems to be much bigger and deeper than this, it seems to be not only who you are authentically, but your destiny (the complete picture of your life and choices).

"True Will" isn't "who you are", it's what you choose to do.  It's a verb, not a noun. "True Will" doesn't exist in the past or the future, it is a condition of the present.  It can't be determined or identified once and for all time, it is recognized and accessed in the moment, every moment, so that one can act accordingly, in response to both one's natural inclinations and one's environment and circumstances.

Acting according to one's "True Will" is only equivalent to "simply doing what you want" if one has practiced enough that stripping the mind of delusions, illusions and shoulds has become a simple process. Otherwise, you're simply doing what you *think* you want, which is an entirely different action.

"Jason Resh" wrote:
The clarity comes from understanding your choices, and yourself, and accepting the circumstances of life itself as part of the picture.

Sure.  So then the question is how do you obtain that clarity?  One one hand, a person can spin stories about greater purpose, angelic assistance, hidden riddles, proof of attainment and such things. On the other hand, a person can learn to distinguish between their actual lived experiences, and the stories they tell themselves about those experiences, and thus learn to see through the filters to find and recognize their essential nature. 

If one has clarity, acting according to one's will is as effortless as breathing.  Achieving that clarity is where the work/magick is.

So how did you obtain that clarity, mika?


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arthuremerson
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12/04/2014 12:20 am  

Come now, Michael, isn't it obvious?


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Los
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12/04/2014 8:16 am  
"mika" wrote:
"Jason Resh" wrote:
Of course I didn't mean simply "puzzles" goofball. I'm talking about the obvious reference to the "predictions" within the BOL. It constantly talks about things to come, as if it were making predictions about the future, and also "hidden mysteries" within the BOL, of which AC often mentions as a "proof" of the validity the "paranormal" aspect of it.

"It's a trap!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRvQKnsjYzM

"True Will" isn't "who you are", it's what you choose to do.  It's a verb, not a noun. "True Will" doesn't exist in the past or the future, it is a condition of the present.  It can't be determined or identified once and for all time, it is recognized and accessed in the moment, every moment, so that one can act accordingly, in response to both one's natural inclinations and one's environment and circumstances.

Yep. "Who you are" is just a collection of stories your mind tells you.

Now, of course, as I was indicating earlier in the thread, inferring a tentative idea of the Will can be useful in some situations (namely, when you're planning for the future), but even these potentially useful stories can become obstacles if one pays attention to the stories and not to the Will in the moment.

Incidentally, I'm going to be away from the internet for a week or so. I'll be glad to pick up the conversation then.


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Michael Staley
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MANIO - it's all in the egg
Joined: 16 years ago
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13/04/2014 8:54 pm  
"Jason Resh" wrote:
I feel the True Will is part of a larger whole, a living (for want of a better word) aspect to the universe . . .AC said that when one does their True Will, they have the force of the universe behind them, as if they were falling in step with their niche in the greater whole.

I largely agree with you here, Jason. It's my opinion that True Will is not something buried at the core of the individual, but operates through the individual. Indeed, I think that individuals are transient configurations of a greater whole, which is undivided. Analogous perhaps would be waves as transient forms thrown up upon the surface of a body of water by underlying currents. Thus I believe True Will to be cosmic rather than individual.


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William Thirteen
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14/04/2014 7:17 am  

"For I am divided for love's sake, for the chance of union." I, 29

my feeling is that this True Will is a surface where the Cosmic & the Individual make contact. The difference seems a matter of perspective, as beneath/below/within the Individual there are these 'authentic preferences' but as the Individual (defined as the narrative structure in our minds) has disappeared there is left only the movement of the Cosmos happening through us.

an analogy might be light - which has both the properties of both a particle and a wave.


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Los
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23/04/2014 4:45 pm  
"Michael Staley" wrote:
It's my opinion that True Will is not something buried at the core of the individual

See, that's weird because the guy who invented the meaning of the term "True Will" -- Aleister Crowley -- disagrees with you here. Repeatedly, over the course of many decades of his writing.

A small sampling of examples:

"Now initiation is, by etymology, the journeying inwards; it is the Voyage of Discovery (oh Wonder-World!) of one's own Soul...Each of us, as he grows, learns Repression of himself and his true Will. 'It is a lie, this folly against self.': these Words are written in The Book of the Law. So therefore those Passions in ourselves which we understand to be Hindrances are not part of our True Will, but diseased Appetites, manifested in us through false early Training...Give Ear, give Ear attentively; the Will is not lost; though it be buried beneath a life-old midden of Repressions, for it persisteth vital within thee (is it not the true Motion of thine inmost Being?)...For that Will, being always present, albeit (it may be) latent, discovereth himself when no longer inhibited by that conscious Control which is determined by Environment, and therefore of times contrary to himself." - Liber Aleph

"But the 'Small Person' of Hindu mysticism, the Dwarf insane yet crafty of many legends in many lands, is also this same 'Holy Ghost', or Silent Self of a man, or his Holy Guardian Angel. He is almost the 'Unconscious' of Freud, unknown, unaccountable, the silent Spirit, blowing 'whither it listeth, but thou canst not tell which it cometh or whither it goeth'....So also our own Silent Self, helpless and witless, hidden within us, will spring forth, if we have craft to loose him to the Light, spring lustily forward with his cry of Battle, the Word of our True Wills. This is the Task of the Adept, to have the Knowledge and Conversation of His Holy Guardian Angel, to become aware of his nature and his purpose, fulfilling them." - New Comment to AL I, 7

"Our minds and bodies are veils of the Light within. The uninitiate is a 'dark star,' and the Great Work for him is to make his veils transparent by 'purifying' them. This 'purification' is really 'simplification'; it is not that the veil is dirty, but that the complexity of its folds make it opaque. The Great Work therefore consists principally in the solution of complexes." - New Comment to AL I, 8

"The sincere student will discover, behind the symbolic technicalities of this book, a practical method of making himself a Magician. The processes described will enable him to discriminate between what he actually is, and what he has fondly imagined himself to be. He must behold his soul in all its awful nakedness, he must not fear to look on that appalling actuality. He must discard the gaudy garments with which his shame has screened him; he must accept the fact that nothing can make him anything but what he is. He may lie to himself, drug himself, hide himself; but he is always there. Magick will teach him that his mind is playing him traitor." - Magick in Theory and Practice

"This being so, the Adept will be free to concentrate his deepest self, that part of him which unconsciously orders his true Will, upon the realization of his Holy Guardian Angel. The absence of his bodily, mental and astral consciousness is indeed cardinal to success, for it is their usurpation of his attention which has made him deaf to his Soul, and his preoccupation with their affairs that has prevented him from perceiving that Soul." - Liber Samekh

"Genius - or Initiation, which implies the liberation and development of the genius latent in us all (is not one of the names of the "Holy Guardian Angel" the Genius?)" - Magick Without Tears

There are many, many more examples in Crowley's writing, if one cares to look. My point is that Crowley presents the True Will entirely as something internal to the individual, something "buried" in an individual, something that can be repressed by various kinds of restrictions (the mind playing one traitor, repression, etc.). In other words, everything I've been saying on this thread.

I don't expect Michael to respond to this because I have in the past posted similar lists of Crowley quotes spanning many decades and advancing a consistent position that completely contradicts Michael's position, and Michael has just ignored it.


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Los
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23/04/2014 4:52 pm  
"WilliamThirteen" wrote:
my feeling is that this True Will is a surface where the Cosmic & the Individual make contact. The difference seems a matter of perspective, as beneath/below/within the Individual there are these 'authentic preferences' but as the Individual (defined as the narrative structure in our minds) has disappeared there is left only the movement of the Cosmos happening through us.

an analogy might be light - which has both the properties of both a particle and a wave.

Well, from the perspective of the universe, there is indeed no such thing as a self -- and indeed no such thing as a "True Will," which is a concept created by minds within the context of a particular discursive framework. But from the perspective in which there is a True Will -- i.e. from the very practical perspective of me detecting right now that I have an authentic inclination to be writing this post -- there's nothing "cosmic" about the True Will any more than there's something "cosmic" about my kitchen table.

I suppose, in a sense, we could say that my kitchen table was caused by things which were caused by other things stretching all the way back to the Big Bang. In that sense, I guess I have a "cosmic" kitchen table, but if we say that, then everything is equally "cosmic" and the word has no meaning.

In a similar way, I guess my True Will is "cosmic" in that I can theoretically trace it back to the Big Bang, but so what? The term "cosmic" here is at best a useless designation, and it's at worst an excuse that some people give to justify their ideas that pretending to talk to space aliens has something to do with the True Will.


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