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Azidonis
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12/11/2012 6:51 pm  
"Los" wrote:
The main benefit, however, is that it reveals to the student, at the outset of training, the nature of the task before him/her: it impresses upon the student the fact that the mind and body (the “Khu”) have “wills” of their own, so to speak, wills that are not identical to the Self.

You note "mind and body (the "Khu"), and Self. You are lumping mind and body into one thing, calling it "Khu", and something else completely, a third thing, as a Self, as though there is a Self or 'soul' completely separable from the mind-body complex you call Khu, and then calling that separate thing or Self Khabs. (Of course, the semantic note that you didn't actually say the word 'Khabs', but it was implied.)

Is this intentional?

Some context for the casual reader:

"Khabs wrote:
Khabs according to Budge's dictionary translates into "Star". When compared to Liber Al Vel Legis (1:3) "Every man and every woman is a star." This would define Khabs as the identity of our physical self.

Liber Al Vel Legis (1:8 ) "The Khabs is in the Khu, not the Khu in the Khabs." Perhaps this is suggesting that the body is of the soul, not that the soul is of the body. Although the body is generally seen as the vehicle of the soul, this statement would be suggesting that the soul is the vehicle of the body.

Liber Al Vel Legis (1:9)"Worship then the Khabs, and behold my light shed over you!"


Khu

Khu is generally associated as the combination of the Ka (Spirit) and Ba (Soul). The Ba being what makes a person unique similar to personality and the Ka being the "life force" (for a lack of better words). The Ka is what distinguishes those alive from those dead. The understanding that the individual is not an individual at all but rather a “boundary” (for lack of better words) of totality is what is often referred to as the Khu, soul or spirit.

Aleister Crowley wrote in "The Law is for All": This 'star' or 'Inmost Light' is the original, individual, eternal essence. The Khu is the magical garment which it weaves for itself, a 'form' for its Being Beyond Form, by use of which it can gain experience through self-consciousness, as explained in the note to verses 2 and 3. This Khu is the first veil, far subtler than mind or body, and truer; for its symbolic shape depends on the nature of its Star.

AL I,8: "The Khabs is in the Khu, not the Khu in the Khabs."

The Old Comment

8. Here beings the text.

Khabs is the secret Light or L.V.X.; the Khu is the magical entity of a man.

I find later (Sun in Virgo, An VII) that Khabs means star. In which chase cf. v.5.

The doctrine here taught is that that Light is innermost, essential man. Intra (not Extra) Nobis Regnum Dei.

The New Comment

We are not to regard ourselves as base beings, without whose sphere is Light or "God". 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 makes it opaque. The Great Work therefore consists principally in the solution of complexes. Everything in itself is perfect, but when things are muddled, they become 'evil'. (This will be understood better in the Light of "The Hermit of Esopus Island", q.v.) The Doctrine is evidently of supreme importance, from its position as the first 'revelation' of Aiwass.

This 'star' or 'Inmost Light' is the original, individual, eternal essence. The Khu is the magical garment which it weaves for itself, a 'form' for its Being Beyond Form, by use of which it can gain experience through self-consciousness, as explained in the note to verses 2 and 3. This Khu is the first veil, far subtler than mind or body, and truer; for its symbolic shape depends on the nature of its Star.

Why are we told that the Khabs is in the Khu, not the Khu in the Khabs? Did we then suppose the converse? I think that we are warned against the idea of a Pleroma, a flame of which we are Sparks, and to which we return when we 'attain'. That would indeed be to make the whole curse of separate existence ridiculous, a senseless and inexcusable folly. It would throw us back on the dilemma of Manichaeism. The idea of incarnations "perfecting" a thing originally perfect by definition is imbecile. The only sane solution is as given previously, to suppose that the Perfect enjoys experience of (apparent) Imperfection. (There are deeper resolutions of this problem appropriate to the highest grades of initiation; but the above should suffice the average intelligence.)

AL I,9: "Worship then the Khabs, and behold my light shed over you!"

The Old Comment

9. That Khabs is declared to be the light of Nu. It being worshipped in the centre, the light also fills the circumference, so that all is light.

The New Comment

We are to pay attention to this Inmost Light; then comes the answering Light of Infinite Space. Note that the Light of Space is what men call Darkness; its nature is utterly incomprehensible to our uninitiated minds. It is the 'veils' mentioned previously in this comment that obstruct the relation between Nuit and Hadit.

We are not to worship the Khu, to fall in love with our Magical Image. To do this -- we have all done it -- is to forget our Truth. If we adore Form, it becomes opaque to Being, and may soon prove false to itself. The Khu in each of us includes the Cosmos as he knows it. To me, even another Khabs is only part of my Khu. Our own Khabs is our one sole Truth.


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Los
 Los
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14/11/2012 8:58 pm  

A Practice Based on Jugorum: Having observed the mind for some time, the student should begin to have an idea of the specific ways in which his or her mind distorts impressions. Perhaps the student’s mind too frequently imagines the worst-case-scenario as the most likely possibility in a situation; perhaps the mind always assumes that others have the worst intentions (or the best intentions); etc. To practice this technique, students make a list of the ways that the mind misleads them most frequently. Students carry this list with them and, upon catching the mind engaging in these tricks, place a check mark next to each item.

How it works: Carrying the list around and making observation into a task with concrete markers causes one to observe more carefully. Wiser to the ways that the mind distorts impressions, one can more easily see through these distortions and, over time, will more easily be able to observe the True Will.

How one can tell it is working: Success here is measured by an increased number of checks as one becomes more attentive. One may notice the number of distorting influences diminishing over time, but it is more likely that they will always persist in some form. The difference is that they will increasingly hold less sway over an individual’s actions.


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jamie barter
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17/09/2013 5:44 pm  

By an odd synchronicity my first post on joining Lashtal (Nov 15th) was the very next day after the last post on this thread appeared, so I never got round to reading it.  It appears to have petered out in that although you started it Los, you appear not to have wanted to respond fully to the feedback which you requested. 
For purposes of brevity, I have concentrated on the remarks made by Los, or his in response to another poster’s: it would length this reply further if I were to respond to everyone’s (although as usual I have taken notes, should this ever be required!)  For ease of possible future reference/ discussion, I will give each point a letter of the alphabet.

A.

Original Post from Los on: September 22, 2012, 05:04:06 pm:
For that reason, having clear criteria for success is all the more important for a Thelemite. I submit that it is impossible to discover the True Will without having a crystal clear understanding of one’s goals, how one’s practices enable one to achieve these goals, why one would think that such practices *would* enable one to achieve these goals, and the criteria by which one judges success in these practices.

I do not like this word ‘impossible’ here, nor do I like the three-fold repetition of “goals”: it sounds too much like a strived-for end-result, negating in part the element of “the journey” or “the way”.

B.

Original Post from Los on: September 22, 2012, 05:04:06 pm:
As a result, it is in the interest of every practitioner to interrogate his or her methods of working with a sharp critical eye.
It is in the interest of opening a serious Thelemic dialogue about goals and practices that I start this thread. We cannot claim to adopt “the method of science” if we are uninterested in objectively evaluating our practices and subjecting them to the closest possible scrutiny. To the contrary, we should welcome the opportunity to do so and rejoice if someone is able to demonstrate to us a flaw in our thinking, to demolish an illusion we hold dear.
I propose we use this thread as a space to present various practices and our answers to the critical questions about them that we have determined for ourselves. The purpose will not be to simply talk “at” each other in some nebulous vacuum where the only purpose is to hear one another speak and to nod our heads approvingly in one giant group hug of the “everybody’s great” variety. The purpose will be to present critical arguments – in the spirit of the method of science – for our practices and (importantly) to talk “to” each other. To challenge, affirm, query, and dissect our answers with the goal of locating as many flaws as we can in others’ thinking and, ultimately, our own.

Yes, can’t find anything to disagree with here.  Noble sentiments, i’fact!

C.

Reply #1 from Los on: September 22, 2012, 05:06:32 pm: 
In short, Thelema defines the True Self (“Khabs”) as distinct from the mind/body complex (henceforth referred to as the “Khu”). This distinction is merely a model for labeling aspects of self that one can observe: the distinction is not an assertion of the existence of metaphysical realities. According to Thelema, the Khabs can possess inclinations that can be thwarted by the Khu, which has been produced by evolution to ensure survival, not necessarily happiness or “satisfaction” (the fulfillment of the individual’s true nature). Thus, the Khu tends to misperceive the universe (and the Khabs): these misperceptions are “distorting tendencies.” By distorting perceptions and thwarting the True Will, the Khu produces discomfort and suffering.

No, no, no, and once again, no.  Although “merely a model”, where do you get this particular idea from?  The mind-body complex is the Nephesch and trhe Ruach.  The Khu element would fit in with the Yechidah, possibly overlapping into the Chiah but which I prefer to supernally sum up as/in the Neschamah.  The same applies later to:

"Los" wrote:
The main benefit, however, is that it reveals to the student, at the outset of training, the nature of the task before him/her: it impresses upon the student the fact that the mind and body (the “Khu”) have “wills” of their own, so to speak, wills that are not identical to the Self.
Its primary benefit, then, is giving the student direct experience of the sort of problem that the practice of Thelema strives to correct. In one sense, we might say that all conflicts in a student’s life are variations on the problem that Liber Jugorum allows him/her to apprehend directly (i.e. the tendency of the mind and body to try to run the show).

In relation to “lightening the girders of the soul” (AL III.61), or flooding them with light, I can foresee a time (long into) the future when this subject will be taught academically in the same way as the subject of anatomy is now & will be dissected and lectured about as keenly as the circulation of the blood supply or workings of the synapses today.  The ironic thing is, it is nothing new but rediscovered knowledge buried from the time of the Ancients.  (This form of Light affecting the girders (the khu, the khabs, the akh, the aakhu, the ka, ba & ha, the ren, the ib, the sheut, sahu & sekhem, etc., etc.) may come from either outer or inner space, or both, or neither-neither...)

D.

Reply #1 from Los on: September 22, 2012, 05:06:32 pm: 
The goal of Thelema is to transfer the individual’s attention *away* from the Khu (and its thoughts of how the individual “should” act) and onto the Khabs (and the authentic inclinations of the individual).

If it is to draw attention *away* and onto the Khabs, why then should the active form of the solar intelligence be known as Ra Hoor Khu-it? (a more efficient rendering for our times than its original Ra-Herukhty or similar, Lord of the Twin Horizon).

E.

Reply #1 from Los on: September 22, 2012, 05:06:32 pm:
How do the practices work to achieve this goal? The only way to accomplish this goal – by the definitions advanced above – is to train the mind to become aware of the ways that the Khu distorts impressions, particularly its impressions of the Khabs. After doing so, the individual can gradually become better at perceiving the Khabs/True Will in real time – free from the distorting tendencies of the mind – and adjust his or her behavior in real time.
“In real time” is an important phrase because, by definition, imagining one’s reactions to situations are part and parcel of the Khu, and the goal is to shift attention *away* from the Khu. One cannot, by definition, discover the True Will by thinking about it because the True Will comprises the natural inclinations of an individual in a given situation. An individual must, therefore, pay attention to his or her natural inclinations while in that given situation.

I’m not sure what this “real time” is to which you refer.  You do not mention it previously, or define it later.  There must presumably be an “unreal” time as a corollary – what is this, also?

F. 

Reply #1 from Los on: September 22, 2012, 05:06:32 pm: 
Meditation: The individual stills his or her mind and grows accustomed to perceiving reality without the influences of the conscious-mind overlay of the Khu.

There is something I don’t like about this explanation, although I can’t put my finger on it exactly.  Maybe it will come back to me later on…

G. 

Reply #1 from Los on: September 22, 2012, 05:06:32 pm:
Many practitioners report trance states achieved by this practice, but such trances are side effects, not goals or indications of success.

Explain further (briefly) please.

H. 

Reply #1 from Los on: September 22, 2012, 05:06:32 pm:
Divination: The individual uses a completely random set of symbols – such as a tarot spread – to “read” events of his or her life.
How it works: By applying a randomly-generated set of symbols (with more or less objective meanings) to one’s life-situations, one can realize other ways of looking at one’s situation. Frequently, one tends to view situations in set ways, dictated by the mind’s thought patterns (overlays of the Khu). By exposing oneself to different ways of interpreting the situation – inspired by a random symbol-set – one can learn the limitations of one’s mind and begin to cultivate broader ways of thinking about situations.

How so?  And exactly how “random” is random?

I. 

Reply #1 from Los on: September 22, 2012, 05:06:32 pm:
Resh: The individual acknowledges the sun’s cycles at various points in the day.

To what end? (In your own view).

J. 

Reply #1 from Los on: September 22, 2012, 05:06:32 pm:
Further, the ritual [Resh] impresses upon the individual the permanence of the sun beneath the illusions of the earth’s cycle (and thus impresses upon his mind the analogy of the permanence of the Self beneath the illusions of the mind’s cycles).
How one can tell that it works: One finds the thoughts turning with greater frequency toward the Sun – aware of where it is in the sky, how long until the next performance of Resh, of the permanence of this heavenly body. One should also find one’s thoughts getting broader, perceiving so-called “problems” from “The Point of View of the Sun” (i.e. recognizing that the mind has problems but that from the perspective of the Sun and the Universe – not to mention the True Self – these “problems” are really just instances of the mind labeling aspects of reality and getting fooled by attributing “reality” to its labels).

I do not understand this contrast between the permanency of solar versus the illusion of terrestrial, cycles. The sun is not permanent.  It is middle-aged, and around about 5 billion years – maybe slightly less - into its life cycle.

K. 

Reply #1 from Los on: September 22, 2012, 05:06:32 pm:
How one can tell that it works: Successful performances of the LBRP are typically marked by a feeling of “cleanliness,” both in the area in which the ritual is performed and (more important) in the “aura” of the magician (i.e. one’s sense of self in daily life).

This “i.e.” does not necessarily follow on.  Please would you clarify.  How far would you say that the “aura” is “ooky” sort of stuff?

L. 

Reply #1 from Los on: September 22, 2012, 05:06:32 pm:
Keeping in mind the Great Work constantly reminds the individual of the task and can help “lift” the individual out of the prison of his or her mind during daily life.

Yes I agree with you here.

M. 

Reply #8 from Los on: September 23, 2012, 11:27:05 pm:
I’m not really sure where you were getting your ideas about Thelema, but “self-control” – in the sense of wanting to eat less Ijunk food, for example – isn’t at all specific to Thelema, and the idea of seeking “finer aspects” of oneself (as if some parts of the self are “better” or “higher” than others) is downright antithetical to Thelema.

I’m not really sure where you were getting your ideas about Thelema from, either.  How so might it be antithetical, not just, say, irrelevant?  Or can you be saying no parts of one’s “self” are any worse, or any better, than any other?  The tempestuous unresolved repository of the id, for example?

N. 

Reply #8 from Los on: September 23, 2012, 11:27:05 pm:
That was the best part of your post because it was specific and direct. But you never say why you think doing that would aid a person. It’s not at all clear why sitting still and watching yourself would lead you to have better control over yourself or to discover your “finer aspects” – even if those two goals *were* the goals of Thelema, which they are not. And further, since your "result" came in the midst of doing some other activity, it's difficult to see why you think such practice is connected to the "result."

Ditto to this.

O. 

Reply #8 from Los on: September 23, 2012, 11:27:05 pm:
Despite your incredulity at my request to know the criteria for success, you do apparently provide such criteria: “A state of passive attention, perfectly at rest yet able to react instantly.” That seems like it is the criteria you hold up for “success” in these practices. If it is, I’m at a loss to say what you think this has to do with True Will.
I understand that this is a state of mind that you like – and that’s perfectly fine – but discovering the True Will, as defined in Thelema, is about adjusting one’s behavior, not simply existing in a “state of passive attention.”

Possibly you may have been a little harsh here, Los.  Isn’t “adjusting” in this sense the same thing as elastically being “able to react instantly”, adapting to one’s environment.  And what is paying attention to the Tao but a form of “passive attention”?

P. 

Reply #8 from Los on: September 23, 2012, 11:27:05 pm:
Please understand, I’m not trying to say there’s anything “wrong” with this, but it’s simply not at all what we mean when we say “Thelema.” I don’t think you’re by any means alone on this point, either: I’m starting to suspect that perhaps most people who practice Thelema have very murky understanding of the goals and an even dimmer understanding of how to judge their own success at attaining these goals.

This is of course your subjective appraisal here.  You appear to be using the royal ”we” in the same way that Motta was fond of doing, sometimes.

Q.

Reply #11 from Los on: September 24, 2012, 02:36:58 pm:
Quote:
There are statements in the Book of the Law not only contradict your insistence on asking why, but also define doing so as weakness and an obstacle of Will
Those verses are, in context, talking about actions prompted by the Will as distinguished from actions prompted by the mind (which tells the self to do things “because” such-and-such an action is “right,” irrespective of the self’s actual inclinations). The True Will is what it is. It is a set of dynamic inclinations that doesn’t have a “purpose” for its existence beyond being there.

Please explain what you mean here.  Why are “inclinations” incompatible with “purpose”?

R. 

Reply #11 from Los on: September 24, 2012, 02:36:58 pm:
I strongly suspect that your ideas about this method are deeply muddled and flawed, and I think it would be a productive conversation to have you attempt to give some more detail here: why you think that “mystical states” actually do allow for this result to happen, and the specific criteria by which you personally tell that they do allow it to happen.

Ever wondered whether this might apply to some of your own statements, here?

S. 

Reply #13 from Los on: September 24, 2012, 07:46:13 pm:
What it *does* mean is that practitioners need to start thinking critically about the practices, and that's sort of the theme of this thread. What does one expect to accomplish by means of these practices? Why does one think that these practices will do this? How does one tell that these practices have, in fact, done this?
That's the way one really innovates a system, by developing better and more nuanced ways of applying it, in addition to developing one's own system of practices. That's what I would consider "creative occultism."

I can’t disagree with the sentiments here, though, as also:

Reply #13 from Los on: September 24, 2012, 02:36:13 pm:
I'm in agreement with you here. I'm an advocate of the notion that literature has a lot to teach us (see my last blog post for a reading of William Blake's "To Autumn" just in time for the Equinox).

[To be Concluded; overlength posting][/align:2hot4yis]


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jamie barter
(@jamie-barter)
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Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 1688
17/09/2013 5:58 pm  

[/contd...]

T. 

Reply #20 from Los on: September 25, 2012, 10:22:29 pm:
From another point of view, though – i.e. from the perspective of Thelema, desiring to discover and execute the True Will – meditation is a means to an end: the function of it is to familiarize the aspirant with a state relatively free of thought so that he or she can more easily identify the mental overlay in everyday life and therefore correct behavior more easily.

Please clarify what you mean by ‘overlay’ here.  What, by omission, might constitute the underlay?

U. 

Reply #20 from Los on: September 25, 2012, 10:22:29 pm:
The “goal” of the LBRP, in a real sense, is just to do it. When performing it, that's how you have to act, at least: you have to throw yourself into it and (temporarily) abandon all of this "thought" stuff. But again, seen from a different context (i.e. from the persepctive of the heart of Thelema, which is discovering and carrying out the True Will by distinguishing what one is from what one fondly imagines oneself to be), it’s a means to an end: a preparation of the mind.

Is this not possibly putting the cart prior to the horse?  In other words, wouldn’t distinguishing what one is from what one fondly imagines oneself to be gives rise to “discovering and carrying out the True Will”, & that the former is not in fact a by-product of the latter?

V. 

Reply #20 from Los on: September 25, 2012, 10:22:29 pm:
We all know that a person doesn’t need to know *how* exactly a car works in order to drive. We just need a rudimentary mental model about how the whole thing works (car full of gas plus turned ignition key = car start; right pedal = go; left pedal = stop; stick thing = put car into drive mode). That model -- which we can test and build up -- is really all we need.

How so?  Especially when the observer is part of the observed?

W. 

Reply #22 from Los on: September 26, 2012, 01:40:24 pm:
It’s all well and good to say “Stop thinking,” but you notice that that’s not all Crowley had to say on the subject. For one thing, one needs to explain exactly what’s meant by “stop thinking” and why someone would want to “stop thinking” or “restrain thought” in the first place. There are plenty of people – very educated people at that – who would scoff at the idea that restraining thought could be a good thing, so it’s important to explain that the phrase doesn’t mean “to reason ineptly” or “to jump to foolish conclusions,” even though (in practice) a lot of folks do seem to interpret it that way.

Do they really? (I’m not necessarily disagreeing, just expressing surprise that you regard it in this way.  And I’m not sure how often “folks” think about/ interpret these things, anyway.

X. 

Reply #30 from Los on: September 26, 2012, 10:03:05 pm:
However, in the same way that a carpenter is obligated to be capable of explaining his craft if he wants to successfully build a desk, so too is a Thelemic practitioner obligated to be capable of explaining his craft if he wants to successfully discover his True Will

This does not necessarily follow on.  That is, it is not a universal supposition.  Being able to explain the “crafty” involved is not a necessary pre-requisite to “successfully discovering” the T.W.

Y. 

Reply #31 from Los on: September 26, 2012, 10:26:47 pm:
Ok. Now this is a good post. You actually proposed an alternate way to use tarot cards and made an argument for why this method would be better. Good job.
Everybody else, take notes on the way Lutz just acted on this thread. Bravo.

Jawohl!

Z. 

Reply #31 from Los on: September 26, 2012, 10:26:47 pm:
While I agree it might be a fun and interesting experiment to temporarily put one's actions completely in the control of something random, I see a few potential problems, the chief problem being that if one's goal is to discover the True Will -- and if the True Will can only be discovered by paying attention to it in the moment and adjusting behavior accordingly -- then just blindly following some randomly-generated "reading" isn't going to allow the individual to achieve that. It's just "bad practice," as it were (or, to put it another way, it sets a bad precedent for the mind).

Random: see note H above, also.

AA. 

Reply #31 from Los on: September 26, 2012, 10:26:47 pm:
Further, I think it carries the risk that someone could start thinking that the Tarot is "tapping into the essence of the moment" and "revealing mine own True Will to me," which it obviously isn't, any more than throwing a coin is. Whatever the tarot is actually doing, it's important to keep in mind that it's not giving one "a glimpse of the consecrated path [one is] destined to follow."

Why is it “obviously isn’t”?  And when you say “Whatever”, this term distinctly lacks any scientific precision.

BB. 

Reply #31 from Los on: September 26, 2012, 10:26:47 pm:
The purpose of such wide exposure of the Self is to acquire as much data as possible about the Self and what it likes or doesn't like.

“Like” and “doesn’t like” are not the best words here.  What was wrong with love?

CC. 

Reply #31 from Los on: September 26, 2012, 10:26:47 pm:
I also agree that measuring the mind's reaction to some of the things generated by the readings could prove very useful in revealing things about the way one's mind works. And while that won't in and of itself reveal the True Will, a thorough knowledge of the mind and the way it distorts impressions is absolutely a prerequisite of the Work.

For whom?  The shamen (I am not referencing the excellent band of the same name here) – medicine wo/men, “witch doctors” and the like - would not necessarily have a thorough scientific knowledge such as you describe, though the way their mind works is not structurally different from the way yours or mine, or anyone else’s, does at the present stage of evolution. N’est-ce pas?
Also, I don’t like “absolutely” any more than I did “never” and “impossible” earlier.  They are all restrictions to broader ‘thinking’, as accursèd kin of Because (imo).

DD. 

Reply #32 from Azidonis on: September 26, 2012, 11:36:57 pm:
A valid question: What do you think is doing the perceiving of the Khabs and the Khu?
Quote from: Los on September 22, 2012, 05:06:32 pm
“In real time” is an important phrase because, by definition, imagining one’s reactions to situations are part and parcel of the Khu, and the goal is to shift attention *away* from the Khu. One cannot, by definition, discover the True Will by thinking about it because the True Will comprises the natural inclinations of an individual in a given situation. An individual must, therefore, pay attention to his or her natural inclinations while in that given situation."

Again, what do you think is perceiving the 'inclinations of the individual'?

A valid (and unanswered) question here from Azidonis.  Personally, I would prefer use of the word ‘tendencies’ (in order to bring it in in line with A.C.’s terminology, if nothing else) to ‘inclinations’.  Ditto with his:

EE. 

Reply #32 from Azidonis on: September 26, 2012, 11:36:57 pm:
Quote from: Los on September 22, 2012, 05:06:32 pm
"How one can tell that it works: The primary criteria for determining that one has discovered the True Will is that, over time, one’s sense of internal resistance and discomfort diminishes."
Resistance, to what?

FF. 

Reply #42 from Los on: September 27, 2012, 06:34:29 pm:
It was proposed, earlier in the thread, that Crowley’s methods work by inducing individuals to attain “mystical states allowing the subconscious to take over for brief periods of time.” I said that this was brief and vague, and I think it’s potentially very misleading. Someone could easily get the idea that merely attaining trances is the equivalent of discovering the True Will and then go out into the world and get fooled by their thoughts again.

Why is this the case specifically?  Also, the last sentence does not necessarily follow on.  There appears to be rather a trace of “wooliness” in this discussion of aspects of trance states.

GG. 

Reply #42 from Los on: September 27, 2012, 06:34:29 pm:
There are, after all, two methods of attaining: magical and mystical. Crowley, of course, identifies them at the end of that extract from MiTP I quoted in the Invocation post. But they are two different approaches to the same stuff. In meditation, we still (or “smooth out”) the veils to allow the Light to shine through. In magick, we intensify the Light so that it comes bursting out of the veils. Both methods add up to the same thing and can be – and should be – used in tandem.

“Still” could fit in with discussion of the Light in Liber AL III.38 here, if one also looks on your “bursting out” as an aspect of “stir”, and both their associated ramifications with “fill” and “kill”.

HH. 

Reply #42 from Los on: September 27, 2012, 06:34:29 pm:
One fruitful practice is to expose oneself continually to those things that exalt the consciousness and “intensify” the Light. This does not have to be in a formal “ritual” setting at all, and for most people it will be by far more beneficial outside of a “ritual” context. As Crowley says, no one knows the rite that will work for someone else. It may be a walk in the woods, it may be while writing, it may be while playing Jazz music, etc., etc. Certain kinds of literature from the Western Canon did it for me.

What exactly do you have in mind as a “ritual” here?  At its broadest application, you must mean at the least any repetitive activity – in which case, is their more value in not doing this than doing so?

II. 

Reply #42 from Los on: September 27, 2012, 06:34:29 pm:
The method is simple: invoke often. As often as possible, strive to exalt your consciousness to ecstasy and beyond. You’re deliberately trying to “shake” the mind out of its normal routines, so impressing this new and powerful state of consciousness upon it is going to loosen things up.

And then…? (as Mr Crowley, Senior, was fond of quizzing the terrorised (concerning eternal damnation) members of his flock).

JJ. 

Reply #44 from Los on: September 27, 2012, 08:02:30 pm:
All of us spend a large amount of our time paying attention to our mental representations of reality, rather than reality itself.

Whither the dividing line?

KK. 

Reply #44 from Los on: September 27, 2012, 08:02:30 pm:
That's how evolution designed our brains: we navigate environments by building up patterns and then largely attending to the patterns, not reality. This allows the brain to filter out the majority of the information it takes in -- it only has to notice enough of the environment to confirm that the pattern is still broadly correct -- so as to free up more processing power to think about other stuff.

This looked like it may have been going somewhere interesting for a moment. I am fairly sure that the key lies in what I call a form of “background” concentration/ meditation.  I cannot see ”the pattern” and “the reality” as exclusive of each other, though: they at least intersect like a Venn diagram.  Or possibly one lies within the concentric circle of the other.

LL. 

Reply #44 from Los on: September 27, 2012, 08:02:30 pm:
The only drawback is that we inhabit worlds of imagination. We live in those patterns, largely, and they're not all useful patterns.

Are you therefore saying here that the worlds of imagination correspond to the patterns – disregarding for the moment (unless you care to define) what these patterns may be?

MM. 

Reply #44 from Los on: September 27, 2012, 08:02:30 pm:
Getting into a car accident is an extreme example, but having something unusual happen breaks one out of the pattern. This is why things like poetry, the study of science, meditation, art of all kinds -- anything that snaps the mind out of its complacency and gets it to look at the world from a different angle or just pay more attention to what's going on -- are very useful for attainment.

This “attainment” being what? (In view of your other remarks in different threads along the lines of the self needing to automatically/ instantaneously realise itself free of veils, i.e., complexes)

I think this covers the main points – some of the later threads repeat earlier material to a degree or are otherwise irrelevant, so I will stop there.  Hope this is the sort of feedback you were looking for, & that you have something worthwhile to chew over –

Remain in Light,
Norma N. Joy Conquest


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jamie barter
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24/09/2013 5:11 pm  

Ping! (sort of sonar sound)

Before this totally sinks below the visible waves upon the merry Lash, away from sentient awareness & into the very bowels of the machine, I thought I would just mention that a week has rolled by & no reply yet!  No hint of a sausage even.  Seven diurnal suns…

No pressure, though (Some say “a week is a long time” – but that’s in politics.)  Maybe, Los, you’re perchance on holiday? I don’t really care if there is a dialogue here or not, to be quite honest…though alternatively, please take your while!  There were rather a number of points; but don’t feel obliged to answer all of them... some are more flirtatious than others.  I just thought I’d make a little ripple or maybe an Echo to help pass the time from where ---

“everything is green and sub-marine”
N’Joy


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lashtal
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24/09/2013 8:24 pm  
"jamie barter" wrote:
I thought I would just mention that a week has rolled by & no reply yet!  No hint of a sausage even.  Seven diurnal suns…

Can't speak for anyone else, but I gave up by Line 100...

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


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Shiva
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24/09/2013 9:06 pm  
"jamie barter" wrote:
I thought I would just mention that a week has rolled by & no reply yet!

Three posts in a row ... and no reply? Common sense (whatever that is) indicates that there is no interest in replying. Also, please note, two really long posts in a row, followed by an attempt to "bump" the thread into activity is often considered to be poor posting protocol.


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Hamal
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24/09/2013 9:17 pm  
"lashtal" wrote:
Can't speak for anyone else, but I gave up by Line 100...

You reached line 100!  😛 My left eye-ball fell asleep at line 30!  😮

:-
93
Hamal


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OKontrair
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24/09/2013 9:24 pm  

I got as far as Z or was it ZZZZ.


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ptoner
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24/09/2013 9:46 pm  

No offence Jamie but your posts are so long that people simply give up reading them I think.  I did as well.


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Los
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25/09/2013 6:15 am  
"jamie barter" wrote:
Maybe, Los, you’re perchance on holiday?

Or maybe I think it's a waste of my time to answer your tedious posts, especially when they're even longer and more tedious than ever. I might have considered responding if your post consisted of one -- maybe two -- points that you're actually interested in having a substantive discussion about, but even then, I honestly have some serious doubts about your ability to discuss anything in a substantive way.

Ending with a quirky sign-off in a transparently desperate bid for attention,
L.


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jamie barter
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25/09/2013 12:06 pm  

There’s nothing like a polite acknowledgement.  And this is nothing like a polite acknowledgement.  I had thought you were somewhat more gracious than that, but I will obviously have to revise my opinion.  If you weren’t so keen on being critical of other people’s thought processes and maybe paid a bit more attention to your own, you would yourself be better off & perhaps achieve more effective & rewarding conversations with fellow posters?  You asked for feedback in the other thread & this one – more or less bleated for it in fact – and when I gave it to you, in full, you ducked & did a frit (as Maggie Thatcher put it, I believe). 

I find your thinking is, despite appearances which you appear to wish to give to the contrary, in some respects incredibly muddled, as instanced in the fact that you cannot even answer the one basic point behind my reply, that you have fundamentally confused what you term the Khu with the mind-body complex – a fairly basic error.

And if you don’t like my sign-offs, tough bananas.
N JoY
////// 


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Hamal
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25/09/2013 3:34 pm  

I would like to clarify that my one eye-ball falling asleep comment was not directed at any one individuals posts, more the cumulative effect on my sleepy eye.

Smoke me a kipper I'll be back for breakfast!

93
Hamal


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Los
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25/09/2013 3:56 pm  
"jamie barter" wrote:
the one basic point behind my reply, that you have fundamentally confused what you term the Khu with the mind-body complex – a fairly basic error.

Well, you'll forgive me for not reading your mind and seeing that this was supposed to be the "one basic point" behind two huge rambling posts.

If you'd like to talk about the Khabs and the Khu, then make your case briefly, and I'll respond.


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Los
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25/09/2013 4:04 pm  
"Los" wrote:
and I'll respond.

Come to think of it, I might as well lead off with the relevant quote. In his New Comment to Al I:8 ("The Khabs is in the Khu, not the Khu in the Khabs") Crowley writes:

"We are not to regard ourselves as base beings, without whose sphere is Light or "God". Our minds and bodies are veils of the Light within."

Now true, he shortly thereafter says that "This Khu is the first veil, far subtler than mind or body, and truer; for its symbolic shape depends on the nature of its Star," implying that Khu is something other than mind and body, but I would argue that the Khu is best understood as not the mind by itself nor the body by itself, but the entire psychological-physical structures built by evolution, whose union gives rise to what we might call the "self image" of the individual (and with it that individual's impression of the world around him, a "world image," if you will).

That's the thing that produces the illusions that Thelemic practice seeks to smooth out.

EDIT: It might be more precise to describe the Khu as the "illusion-making faculty" or "individuality-making faculty" (i.e. that which causes the individual to think it "has" a body and mind separate from the universe). As such, this faculty gives rise to the perception of individuality and with it a distinct body and mind and personality. But from a practical point of view, we are more than justified in conflating the faculty with its products because in Thelemic practice the "veil" that one is "smoothing out" absolutely does consist of products of the mind and impulses of the body.


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jamie barter
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25/09/2013 4:38 pm  
"ptoner" wrote:
No offence Jamie but your posts are so long that people simply give up reading them I think.  I did as well.

No worries here, Paul, Hamal, or anyone else.  I will attempt to be a little more concise in the future.  I am really only thinking aloud, and will try not to be too mortified if nobody ever wants to reply to my little pearls.

"Shiva" wrote:
"jamie barter" wrote:
I thought I would just mention that a week has rolled by & no reply yet!

Three posts in a row ... and no reply? Common sense (whatever that is) indicates that there is no interest in replying. Also, please note, two really long posts in a row, followed by an attempt to "bump" the thread into activity is often considered to be poor posting protocol.

Shiva, the reason for a double post is that they wouldn’t all fit in the original one.  Not that that’s much of an excuse, I would imagine!  And the third was simply to ask if I’d been wasting my time.  Which it looks as if I have been, largely…

"Los" wrote:
Now true, he shortly thereafter says that "This Khu is the first veil, far subtler than mind or body, and truer; for its symbolic shape depends on the nature of its Star," implying that Khu is something other than mind and body, but I would argue that the Khu is best understood as not the mind by itself nor the body by itself, but the entire psychological-physical structures built by evolution, whose union gives rise to what we might call the "self image" of the individual (and with it that individual's impression of the world around him, a "world image," if you will).

That's the thing that produces the illusions that Thelemic practice seeks to smooth out.

Even though you acknowledge A.C. implied that the Khu was “something other”, I’m not sure I altogether agree with your big but here, although you are entitled as always to your subjective opinion, so long as you recognise it as a personal opinion and not a universal law.  I was particularly unclear as to why the “union” should give rise to these specific images.  Also, with regard to the last sentence, if it was the “first veil”, there cannot be that many images to “smooth out” in comparison with the denser veils?

See, it wasn’t so difficult to respond was it now?

I was going to point out for your benefit, and that of others whose attention span is too short (do not try reading Finnegans Wake would be my advice!), that the “Khu” question related to my points C, D & F specifically.  "But", you might also answer points P, II and JJ also, to amuse me, if a further three won’t fag you out, although I will not be able to respond for another 24 hours (approx!)

Eschewing my usual hilarious witticisms at the end,
N. joy

PS I have just seen the added "EDIT" - I am not sure it is particularly "more precise", since it doesn't make things crystal clear...


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Los
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26/09/2013 5:58 am  
"jamie barter" wrote:
you are entitled as always to your subjective opinion

And I'm entitled to demonstrate that my particular opinion on this subject is the correct one.

A study of Crowley's works reveals the consistent idea that the True Self (from which flows the True Will) is buried "underneath" the body and mind and that the work of the Thelemite is to shift attention away from these "illusions" (from one perspective) onto the True Self.

"Men [...]  must begin to realise that Self is hidden behind, and independent of, the mental and material instrument in which they apprehend their Point-of-View" -- Little Essays

“The Angel [is] the True Self of [the Adept’s] subconscious self, the hidden Life of his physical life [...] the Adept will be free to concentrate on 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

"The main idea is that the Infinite, the Absolute God, the Oversoul, or whatever you may prefer to call it [including "True Will" or "HGA"] is always present; but veiled or masked by the thoughts of the mind, just as one cannot hear a heart-beat in a noisy city." -- Book 4

"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 [i.e. the thoughts and impulses built by evolution], and therefore of times contrary to himself." - Liber Aleph

"it is that self confidence which only comes when self is forgotten [that is, when one is able to see past the self-image]. It is the 'Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel' [i.e. discovery of the True Will] which confers this faith." - Book 4

"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 by 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

I mean, seriously, Crowley's writing is drenched in this sort of stuff: the mind and its illusions (along with the impulses of the body) veil the True Will from the individual. The idea maps exceedingly well to the concepts of Khu-Khabs, given that these terms and their position (the Khabs being in the Khu) indicate that the goal of the Thelemic system is actually inside what we normally call "self" (the thoughts, feelings, and personality), turning typical ideas of "attainment" on their head. In Old Aeonic systems, the goal was "out there," some ideal that we had to live up to, that we had to shape the self to resemble. In Thelema, the goal is something closer to "de-attainment," getting rid of all the nonsense that we use to cover the inclinations that comprise the True Self.

Everything I've been saying is exceedingly obvious, to someone with sufficient grounding in the source material and sufficient experience, but it's only too easy to get bogged down in pulling apart the minutiae of language in this or that passage, speculating about some minor inconsistencies in the symbolic language from different passages, getting hung up on exact and precise definitions of everything....

And, in part, that's what's so annoying about your posts. This thread is called Thelemic practice, and from the perspective of the practice, it's the paying attention to illusions of the mind and body (and learning to identify them as such) that counts. Discussing the exact labels we put on these ideas (making hair-splitting distinctions) and the precise definitions of this or that piece of Thelemic cosmogony, while perhaps interesting to some, is akin to arguing over how many angels can fit on the head of a pin: useless, idle philosophical speculation that has no real bearing on practice.

Frankly, you'd know that if you had any practical experience.

others whose attention span is too short (do not try reading Finnegans Wake would be my advice!

http://thelema-and-skepticism.blogspot.com/2011/06/happy-bloomsday-2011-but-really.html

Some people write nonsense that's worth reading. Other people just write nonsense.


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Sothoth
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26/09/2013 9:04 am  

Morning,
Waking up to Force and Fire..As Brothers fight ye! Los...
I commend your exposition on self within Thelema. Excellently put. I wish I had you in my group.
It's worth recalling that emails and postings omit most of the signals we need to avoid misunderstanding one another.
But one must plod on.


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jamie barter
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26/09/2013 4:56 pm  

Los, you appear to have lost none of your robust & prickly charm.  And in a way, that is partly what I like about you, your sheer brass neck…

"Los" wrote:
I mean, seriously, Crowley's writing is drenched in this sort of stuff: the mind and its illusions (along with the impulses of the body) veil the True Will from the individual. The idea maps exceedingly well to the concepts of Khu-Khabs, given that these terms and their position (the Khabs being in the Khu) indicate that the goal of the Thelemic system is actually inside what we normally call "self" (the thoughts, feelings, and personality), turning typical ideas of "attainment" on their head. In Old Aeonic systems, the goal was "out there," some ideal that we had to live up to, that we had to shape the self to resemble. In Thelema, the goal is something closer to "de-attainment," getting rid of all the nonsense that we use to cover the inclinations that comprise the True Self.

You also seem to have a particularly fine mind in certain respects, if you’ll take a compliment.  I have also not completely dismissed the nagging feeling that you may be taking the godalmighty monumental piss – a greater practitioner, it would seem, than Kenneth Grant, Frank Zappa, Gerald Suster or even yours truly.  I do doff my cap off to you, if that is so the case.  The alternative, however, is that you might be a somewhat entrenched & blinkered individual who for whatever reason does not wanting to engage & take on with new experiences/perceptions or dismisses them without seeing the matter from all sides involved, and that you may yourself be incorrect?

"Los" wrote:
Everything I've been saying is exceedingly obvious, to someone with sufficient grounding in the source material and sufficient experience, but it's only too easy to get bogged down in pulling apart the minutiae of language in this or that passage, speculating about some minor inconsistencies in the symbolic language from different passages, getting hung up on exact and precise definitions of everything....

And, in part, that's what's so annoying about your posts. This thread is called Thelemic practice, and from the perspective of the practice, it's the paying attention to illusions of the mind and body (and learning to identify them as such) that counts. Discussing the exact labels we put on these ideas (making hair-splitting distinctions) and the precise definitions of this or that piece of Thelemic cosmogony, while perhaps interesting to some, is akin to arguing over how many angels can fit on the head of a pin: useless, idle philosophical speculation that has no real bearing on practice.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that what you do in the posts to which you contribute the majority of the time?  And although I agree with you ‘up to a point’ here, without any “labels” - of whatever degree of precision - where are you? (And by “you”, although I was referring to ‘you’ specifically here, I mean everyone, all of us). That was also partly what I was driving at in my point JJ:

Reply #44 from Los on: September 27, 2012, 08:02:30 pm:
All of us spend a large amount of our time paying attention to our mental representations of reality, rather than reality itself.  Whither the dividing line?

which you don’t appear to have wanted to directly address, along with the other two (and there was another, an important fourth, if you might indulge me – I):

From Los in reply #1 on: September 22, 2012, 05:06:32 pm:
"Resh:  The individual acknowledges the sun's cycles at various points in the day."
- To what end?  (In your  own view.)

More relatively trivial matters remaining:

"Los" wrote:

others whose attention span is too short (do not try reading Finnegans Wake would be my advice!

Some people write nonsense that's worth reading. Other people just write nonsense.

I wouldn’t agree that FW is nonsense. (“Assuming” you were actually referring to that, and me by extension.)

"Los" wrote:
... Frankly, you'd know that if you had any practical experience.

As above, this is rather a cheap shot & unworthy of your intellect there, Los.  You can have no idea of my practical experience, only a supposition which may be incorrect.

Btw everybody, thinking back, I have been making an effort to be more concise over the past few months, if nobody has noticed that!  Apart from where lengthy quoting is involved or I am in replying in depth to someone else’s point, I usually manage to get what I have to say across in two or three paragraphs these days.  So there! 😛

However, to now put something myself on the table in just a few words (as requested!), rather than cavilling or taking further issue with your definition/s, I'd state that the Khu is the revelation and self-realisation of & to oneself of the first (act of) creative action to becoming & self-actualisation: that which makes Hadit as ‘Self-conscious’ in the first sense as a universal's Point-of-View in a particular “time” and “place” (using these terms whilst being well aware the reference here is to the noumenal & that these do not technically exist above the Abyss.)  Therefore the need is to annihilate this ‘in the end’ as the ultimate ordeal or illusion, in exorcising this very realisation reveals that there is, purely, any difference in terms of the continuity of Nuit.  At all.

This self-realization by Hadit has nothing to do with the mind-body symbiosis at this stage – even such an act of self-becoming is beyond intellectual comprehension except in the broadest way using analogies.  From what I understand of your “mind-body” explanation, Los, the Khu to which you are referring would appear to have its apex in Chesed, or certainly Daath, and not in the Nescahamah at all.

I think Azidonis had it very close in the other (AA Black Lodge) thread when he said he thought that the Khu was the Individuality at the deepest level: “You as you know yourself… the identity, not the material body…”, but then further explanation sullied its original purity.  Los himself was also as clear when he described it as “the ‘self image’ of the individual”.  In fact, I think it’s about the one point everyone does agree on here, that the Khu represents the first realising & expression of an individual entity which is brought into existence by its desire to experience itself: this “I Am that I Am” would definitely relate it directly to Kether, and in reverse would involve the destruction of the individual self at a higher level than even that involved in crossing the passage to Binah, since it would involve the annihilation of the HGA itself also.

“A great philosopher once wrote: Noughty, Noughty, Very Noaughty!”
(What A Carry On!  Ha ha ha haha )
N-Joy


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Hamal
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26/09/2013 6:53 pm  

[rings the half time bell..] DING! DING!

Lovin' It!

😀
93
Hamal


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Los
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26/09/2013 10:57 pm  

Look, I'm not going back through those lengthy two posts. If you want to discuss specific points, we discuss them one at a time.

All of us spend a large amount of our time paying attention to our mental representations of reality, rather than reality itself.  Whither the dividing line?

The dividing line between what?

Obviously, all of us pay attention to mental representations of reality in order to negotiate reality (and those mental representations are a prime example of the illusions generated by the Khu, whatever jibber jabber you insist on attributing to that term). The difference is that some people are aware of those images as just images that point to reality, while others get caught up in mistaking the images for reality.

So, to give you a concrete example, there are people who are so caught up in what other people think about them -- that is, their own thoughts about what others think about them -- that they mistake these thoughts for reality and act so as to please these thoughts, rather than paying attention to their nature in the moment.

Or people who are so beguiled by their sense of outrage over (say) the practice of abortion that they talk themselves into thinking that they have some sort of "duty" to do something about it. They become "activists," concerning themselves with problems that often have no relation to their lives or practical interests.

Initiation isn't about stopping thought permanently or anything like that: it's about learning to recognize it as a representation that, at the best of times, is merely convenient (and at the worst of times is downright wrong). In other words, it's the process of learning to stop believing in the world that thought creates.

Resh:  The individual acknowledges the sun's cycles at various points in the day."
- To what end?  (In your  own view.)

Read what I say about Resh above: it's a means of shifting attention onto something real, rather than thoughts about real things.

I'd state that the Khu is the revelation and self-realisation of & to oneself of the first (act of) creative action to becoming & self-actualisation

Okie doke. No wonder you like Kenneth Grant so much. When you're done talking jibber jabber, the question still remains: what does one practically do to practice Thelema, and the answer is that one must recognize the mind and body, along with the self-image and the world-image, as veils that obstruct an individual's perception of his True Self and actual inclinations so long as he believes in the world his mind creates.

This isn't some abstract idea that you can do while you sit cross-legged humming merrily away and getting new inspiration to write stories. One has to specifically, in the midst of everyday life, be able to pinpoint the illusions of thought and the way that thought specifically diverges from reality.


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Sothoth
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27/09/2013 12:17 am  

Hi again,
Sword thrust, clash, parry...stab...oops missed..
Pardon chaps... Once again my compliments to you Los...I find you direct and concise... Sorry Jamie but I find you tricky to follow. Yes...I abmit I may be a little dense...
So here goes...
I find rattling up and down the Tree of Life worse than the simplicity of the Yule Tree.. So I find it easier to try being as simple as possible with interpretation and viewpoint. I find any disciplined method which irons out the complexes and conditions imposed on the prefect original self meritorious. We are explorers carving new ways to complete the Great Work whilst giving great praise and acknowledgment to those wise ones that went before.
Now, damn the elements of upbringing and socialization which only serve to squeeze out model citizenship. Ours is a delicate operation worthy of the finest surgeons skill. To harken to the voice of spirit...yet more, cultivate the recovery of the patient completely. Stick to solid practise and work hard.
This is outlined clearly enough by Los. Thank you once again.


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Shiva
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27/09/2013 12:39 am  
"Sothoth" wrote:
Stick to solid practise/practice and work hard.

Right on!
Simple enough!
Just do it!


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jamie barter
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27/09/2013 12:27 pm  
"Los" wrote:
Look, I'm not going back through those lengthy two posts. If you want to discuss specific points, we discuss them one at a time.

Fair enough, since you appear to tire so easily.

"Los" wrote:

Resh:  The individual acknowledges the sun's cycles at various points in the day."
- To what end?  (In your  own view.)

Read what I say about Resh above: it's a means of shifting attention onto something real, rather than thoughts about real things.

OK, what is this “something real” which YOU are meant to adore four times a day?
You appear to have previously in other threads already dismissed the idea of some sort of a quasi-gaseous extra-terrestrial independent sentient intelligence.

"Los" wrote:
Okie doke. No wonder you like Kenneth Grant so much. ...

I don’t believe I have ever made such a remark about Kenneth Grant.  Possibly you are confusing me with someone else?  His writings comprise of a most curious mixture of fact and sheer fantasy.  Some of his stuff makes sense more than others; if you’re really interested in what I think about the matter, please read my Reply #38 to the “Introduction to Liber AL Date” thread on the Thelema board before making further assumptions (sorry I don’t know how to direct link this.)

"Los" wrote:
... When you're done talking jibber jabber,

I am not sure of this “jibber jabber” of which you speak.  Is that a scientific assessment?  Or is it just that you cannot understand relatively uncomplicated English?  As a matter of fact, with the exception of yourself I think I am probably about the most sceptical person on this website.  The main difference between us is that I do not altogether allow the power of scepticism to blind me to other possibilities which in the end transcend the power of the mind; I have gone beyond that.  Maybe one day you might too?

"Los" wrote:
... the question still remains: what does one practically do to practice Thelema, and the answer is that one must recognize the mind and body, along with the self-image and the world-image, as veils that obstruct an individual's perception of his True Self and actual inclinations so long as he believes in the world his mind creates.

Why would they necessarily obstruct if they are in alignment with one another?  Sounds like you are automatically creating effort for yourself there: that there has to be some sort of an ordeal or obstacle.  Why yes, if you really want there to be one, I am some the universe will provide that for you…

"Los" wrote:
This isn't some abstract idea that you can do while you sit cross-legged humming merrily away and getting new inspiration to write stories. One has to specifically, in the midst of everyday life, be able to pinpoint the illusions of thought and the way that thought specifically diverges from reality.

This was what I was getting at with my question of whither the dividing line between reality and your “mental representation” of it.  Without getting all Berkeley & Kant (that’s not rhyming slang by the way) about it, what you think you see is what is real for you, and that was why I would be interested in reading your view of the “ultimate reality” which lies beyond your own mental conceptions of it, as previously quoted above:

"Los" wrote:

"All of us spend a large amount of our time paying attention to our mental representations of reality, rather than reality itself." 
- Whither the dividing line?

"The dividing line between what?"

"Sothoth" wrote:
Sword thrust, clash, parry...stab...oops missed..
Pardon chaps... Once again my compliments to you Los...I find you direct and concise... Sorry Jamie but I find you tricky to follow. Yes...I abmit I may be a little dense...

I don’t think you’re dense, Sothoth, even though you appear to be awarding some sort of fencing contest in favour of Los.  Yes Los can be “direct and concise” - up to a point, and I have always stated & made no secret that I admire that about Los’s writing where it is appropriate.  I try to make myself as clear as possible, but since what I am trying to deal with as well is less tangible & harder to express, allowances also should be made on that account, I think.  Also, if I was writing what is in these posts for an article or something I would go over it and hone it so the meaning is quite clear, but with these postings which are of an ephemeral nature there is not the proper time to do this.

Re your agreeable little honeymoon with Los, just you wait until you start debating “ooky stuff” like H.P. Lovecraft with him – I shall look forward to reading & scoring that myself!

My time is yours
N. Joy


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Sothoth
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27/09/2013 1:53 pm  

Hi Jamie,
I've just finished my sandwiches and checked in...you've got me smiling...actually chuckling. It is good to have a mention in your post.
I'm not a massive fan of usernames, but dear old H.P. maybe tickled me to pick Sothoth. I subsequently found how hilarious it is kabbalistically depending on how one spells it...daft...
Anyway providence had the last laugh on me when my first name was pinned to me....Christain..I never use it, but just put C down as my first name...
Actually it was this that set me on the Occult Path. So Truth will out so they say.
Well met again
😉


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Los
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27/09/2013 8:32 pm  
"jamie barter" wrote:
OK, what is this “something real” which YOU are meant to adore four times a day?

The sun. The literal, physical, giant ball of plasma that is in the sky and that really moves (or, rather, really seems to move) position during the course of the day.

That's something real. Most people spend their day occupied with their thoughts. Taking a break from those thoughts a few times a day to direct one's attention outside of one's self onto something real out there (like, say, that big ol' ball o' plasma moving across the sky) gradually impresses on the individual that there is a real world outside of his thoughts, a qualitatively different world from the world of thought.

It's in that real world (outside of thoughts) that the True Will resides, so the more often the individual learns to see through his thoughts as (comparatively) illusory, the less hold they'll have on him in the long run.

Why would they [the mind, self-image, world-image?] necessarily obstruct if they are in alignment with one another?  Sounds like you are automatically creating effort for yourself there: that there has to be some sort of an ordeal or obstacle.

The self-image (and the world-image) are always falsifications of reality. Always. They can sometimes be useful falsifications, but they always get a lot of stuff wrong, which is why a person doesn't discover the True Will by paying attention to them.

Think of the thoughts as a little electronic map and GPS that shows you where you are on the road. It might be useful to have a marker to point the way -- those times when it's kind of accurate -- but you don't drive the car by staring entirely at the electronic map, no matter how accurate it is. You keep your eyes on the road.

Walking through life following your thoughts is like driving a car by keeping your eyes glued on the little GPS map: something bad is bound to happen.

By the way, I'm not saying there has to be an obstacle (as if it were something I want): I'm pointing out, based on a great deal of evidence, that there is an obstacle. Like it or not, our minds evolved as a tool to help us survive, not to make us happy. If it aids our survival to be jittery, jumping-too-quickly-to-conclusions, miserable creatures, then evolution will make us jittery, jumping-too-quickly-to-conclusions, miserable creatures. The whole reason we need to study a subject like Thelema is that our inborn, evolutionary tools don't really make us happy: now that survival from day-to-day isn't too much of a concern for a lot of us (in the first world, at least) we notice that those evolutionary tools that helped our ancestors stay alive can actually be kind of detrimental in a lot of situations. So the work of Thelema is, in a way, to become aware of how the natural functioning of our minds and bodies can actually thwart our fulfillment (and then take steps to stop it from thwarting our fulfillment).

whither the dividing line between reality and your “mental representation” of it.  Without getting all Berkeley & Kant (that’s not rhyming slang by the way) about it, what you think you see is what is real for you, and that was why I would be interested in reading your view of the “ultimate reality” which lies beyond your own mental conceptions of it

Put your hand out and touch the screen of whatever device you're reading this message on. Turn your thoughts off and just focus on the sensation of the screen against your hand. That right there -- that sensation. That's real. Now turn your thoughts back on and pay attention to the thoughts you're having, including the thought "That's a screen" or "This screen is cracked" or "I should really get a new device...look how old it is!" All of those thoughts are illusion in comparison to the sensation.

The situation I just described is parallel to someone with, say, a Will to do X but held back by thoughts like, "My friends will think I'm a bad person if I do this."

The more a person trains himself to see thoughts as thoughts (as the illusion cast by the mind over real experience) the easier it will be to recognize these thoughts in real time and "course correct" in the moment, gradually lessening the hold that these thoughts have over his behavior.


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Sothoth
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28/09/2013 10:39 am  

Thought provoking effort Los,
Can't say too much in case Jamie gets more excited about our 'honeymoon'  fnar fnar 😉


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 Anonymous
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28/09/2013 1:27 pm  

You got me laughing too, I have been reading the various threads. Very interesting.
Los it is such a refreshing thing to see your outline for this thread. Here's hoping.


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Sothoth
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30/09/2013 12:21 pm  

Hi,
Just a thought for people with more time than me to elaborate through postings...
It may be helpful to share on how the aspirant may monitor thoughts and opinions, having not yet achieved Union with the HGA/The Sooth/Voice of the Pure Heart...fulfilling the 0=2 equation in the Thelemic discipline.

Think what you Will can be a free license for the grossest strata of Self.

Liber Al says: Strive ever to more; exceed, exceed! is surely encouragement to change and develop rather than succumb to the intertia ofappetites; however you feel on any given day.

The tendency of The Authentic Self is to transcend.

Of course, it is always possible to embrace higher states of consciousness rationally/intellectually well in advance of the spiritual attainment. And as such ought we to act?


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jamie barter
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30/09/2013 4:12 pm  
"Los" wrote:
"jamie barter" wrote:
OK, what is this “something real” which YOU are meant to adore four times a day?

The sun. The literal, physical, giant ball of plasma that is in the sky and that really moves (or, rather, really seems to move) position during the course of the day.

I thought you may respond in this manner, Los.  “the sun” – why yes of course, durr why didn’t I think of that (!?!)  You do take on board my reference to its quasi-gaseous nature with your allusion to plasmatics, but omit the rest (I'll be dealing with that in the next couple of responses, though.)

"Los" wrote:
That's something real. Most people spend their day occupied with their thoughts. Taking a break from those thoughts a few times a day to direct one's attention outside of one's self onto something real out there (like, say, that big ol' ball o' plasma moving across the sky) ...

So you say the sun is “something real”.  But under those terms, it is no more or less real than anything else we perceive – the moon, the computer screen you are reading this from at the moment – whatever.  Under those terms, there is nothing different to make the “sun” out to have any greater reality, or validity, or speciality in itself than anything else.  Fair enough (I suppose), although we were discussing Thelemic Practice with special relation to Liber Resh.

"Los" wrote:
... gradually impresses on the individual that there is a real world outside of his thoughts, a qualitatively different world from the world of thought.
It's in that real world (outside of thoughts) that the True Will resides, so the more often the individual learns to see through his thoughts as (comparatively) illusory, the less hold they'll have on him in the long run.

Ditto with this “real world”.  But if, as I mentioned, if it is simply any example of something "like" that which could be the object of Resh, one’s attention could be focussed on any other similar object – the moon, even, as I instanced.  Why then would Resh supposedly work the same using such criteria?  It would defeat the whole ongoping purpose of Resh being specifically to adore the Sun four times daily.

The reason, if I might suggest, and which you seem to be coyly skating over, is, as I mentioned in the rest of my sentence mentioned: that it is an extra-terrestrial independent sentient intelligence.  More than that, it is the source of Life, Light and Love for every creature on earth, without which nothing would be able to survive.  That “thanks for my survival” is partly the “end” of the Adorations so far as I am concerned in my practice; there is also the aspect of greeting – hello again, old friend.  However that is not the entire story either: after one has practiced it a while (and I would have thought you might be aware of this?) the practitioner becomes aware of a most intimate direct connection which is hard to specify in words; an identification and feeling of one-ness with the “source” of things, which although not directly the Sun in its furthest origin, Sol/ Ra functions as a suitable intermediary or “Vice-regent” in the absence of the ineffable itself.  What I see as the value of the practice of the repeated use of the Adorations serves the function of strengthening this connection, and one increasingly grows to intimately ‘know’ and real-ise the solar orb as an aware intelligence, a being in its own right although of a vastly different order from other forms of life on Earth itself.

"Los" wrote:

Why would they [the mind, self-image, world-image?] necessarily obstruct if they are in alignment with one another?  Sounds like you are automatically creating effort for yourself there: that there has to be some sort of an ordeal or obstacle.

The self-image (and the world-image) are always falsifications of reality. Always. They can sometimes be useful falsifications, but they always get a lot of stuff wrong, which is why a person doesn't discover the True Will by paying attention to them.

Again you are paying too much subservience to the kin of Be cause here (as you often seem to, if you will allow me to so remark) – viz. the triple whammy of always, Always, always.  Again as I keep saying, you may perhaps find such is indeed the case in your own experience.  It may indeed the case with 99%+ of humanity which you have yourself encountered.  But it is not an absolute rule for all time and in all places with all people (cf. Mark Twain’s remark: “you cannot fool all the people all of the time”).

"Los" wrote:
Think of the thoughts as a little electronic map and GPS that shows you where you are on the road. It might be useful to have a marker to point the way -- those times when it's kind of accurate -- but you don't drive the car by staring entirely at the electronic map, no matter how accurate it is. You keep your eyes on the road.
Walking through life following your thoughts is like driving a car by keeping your eyes glued on the little GPS map: something bad is bound to happen.

Again, I accept most of what you are saying as sensible in itself, but as always with the caveat “up to a point”.  It is this point which is similar across all of your remarks and postings, as it seems to be symptomatic & expressive of your whole world-view and way of thinking (unless, as I remarked earlier, you are taking the piss out of the whole thing).

"Los" wrote:
By the way, I'm not saying there has to be an obstacle (as if it were something I want): I'm pointing out, based on a great deal of evidence, that there is an obstacle. ...

I understand; and obviously you would not desire there to be obstacles unless you were maybe a mental masochist - but the end result, albeit based on your acceptance of “a great deal of evidence”, is no different: the obstacle has still nonetheless presented itself to your way of thinking and you have to deal with it.

Try looking at it “ the other way round” – instead of the lowly and thought-befuddled magician aspiring to have eliminated the veils & complexes which separate him/her from “The True Self” (whatever that may turn out in the end to be is irrelevant to the discussion here at this point); view it from the True Self attempting to make of the personality a near-as-perfect instrument in which to carry out its Will in the world of dense matter.  It is in its own interests (to the end of having a healthy, efficient machine of flesh and blood and bioelectrical synapses) to make things as direct and streamlined as possible by therefore eliminating or at least minimising such obstacles (but arguably not completely, as otherwise the “game” or lîla of life could not be undertaken). 

The new servant of our conscious minds is rather apt at this stage of the game to create more obstacles for certain reasons than there really are, though - including how terribly difficult attainment of/or self-realization is - and can refuse to believe that satori-like reality is much simpler & more immediate than it has apparently been led to believe it is.

"Los" wrote:
... Like it or not, our minds evolved as a tool to help us survive, not to make us happy. If it aids our survival to be jittery, jumping-too-quickly-to-conclusions, miserable creatures, then evolution will make us jittery, jumping-too-quickly-to-conclusions, miserable creatures. The whole reason we need to study a subject like Thelema is that our inborn, evolutionary tools don't really make us happy: now that survival from day-to-day isn't too much of a concern for a lot of us (in the first world, at least) we notice that those evolutionary tools that helped our ancestors stay alive can actually be kind of detrimental in a lot of situations. So the work of Thelema is, in a way, to become aware of how the natural functioning of our minds and bodies can actually thwart our fulfillment (and then take steps to stop it from thwarting our fulfillment).

Yes, I like this summation of yours on the whole here.  The trouble is that the mind is a relatively new organ in evolutionary terms and we are still only coming to grips with it since it ‘sapientised’ in the Stone Age.  Along with Israel Regardie, I personally view it as more or less if not essential, then certainly at the very least extremely useful & beneficial, for aspiring magicians to undertake some sort of therapy (ideally of a (neo-)Reichian slant) in terms of “knowing thyself”.  This e.g. vegetotherapy and easing of what he (Reich) terms the ‘character armour’ would serve to extremely effectively supplement all of the otherwise more orthodox “Thelemic practice” which you have mentioned.

"Los" wrote:

whither the dividing line between reality and your “mental representation” of it.  Without getting all Berkeley & Kant (that’s not rhyming slang by the way) about it, what you think you see is what is real for you, and that was why I would be interested in reading your view of the “ultimate reality” which lies beyond your own mental conceptions of it

Put your hand out and touch the screen of whatever device you're reading this message on. Turn your thoughts off and just focus on the sensation of the screen against your hand. That right there -- that sensation. That's real. Now turn your thoughts back on and pay attention to the thoughts you're having, including the thought "That's a screen" or "This screen is cracked" or "I should really get a new device...look how old it is!" All of those thoughts are illusion in comparison to the sensation.

Not sure I agree here, it comes back to the eternal question again of “how real is real”, and varying degrees of the realness of “reality” which we touched on with “the sun” earlier.

"Los" wrote:
The situation I just described is parallel to someone with, say, a Will to do X but held back by thoughts like, "My friends will think I'm a bad person if I do this."

I’m not sure I see it as quite parallel.  This is a slightly different consideration here.

"Los" wrote:
The more a person trains himself to see thoughts as thoughts (as the illusion cast by the mind over real experience) the easier it will be to recognize these thoughts in real time and "course correct" in the moment, gradually lessening the hold that these thoughts have over his behavior.

“Course correct in the moment” – sounds very simple, although I could go on to write another two or three paragraphs just semantically going over what exactly you mean by ‘the moment’, as I am pretty sure it would not be quite what I would define it as.  Perhaps we might miss that one out?!

You still don’t seem to have answered or clarified why your (mind-body) conception of the Khu appears to accordingly stop short at Chesed or at least Daath.

I’ll allow you and others slower on the uptake to catch your breath before introducing another point from my ”two lengthy posts” – as you requested:

"Los" wrote:
Look, I'm not going back through those lengthy two posts. If you want to discuss specific points, we discuss them one at a time.

If there’s any from among them – maybe one which deals the more directly with the main issue of “Thelemic practice” - which you might like to deal with first, though, please be my guest.

Incidentally, in the interests of further clarification I would like to just slightly amend a couple of curious typos which found its way into my earlier reply and which would have affected the meaning.  ( I wouldn’t want anyone saying it’s even more obscure than it should be!)  They were…

"jamie barter" wrote:
... Therefore the need is to annihilate this ‘in the end’ as the ultimate ordeal or illusion, in exorcising this very realisation reveals that there isn't, purely, any difference in terms of the continuity of Nuit.  At all.

Or alternatively even:

"jamie barter" wrote:
  ... Therefore the need is to annihilate this ‘in the end’ as the ultimate ordeal or illusion, in exorcising this very realisation reveals that there is, purely, no difference in terms of the continuity of Nuit.  At all.

The other one was:

"jamie barter" wrote:
Why would they necessarily obstruct if they are in alignment with one another?  Sounds like you are automatically creating effort for yourself there: that there has to be some sort of an ordeal or obstacle.  Why yes, if you really want there to be one, I am sure the universe will provide that for you…

And as for my sign-off which you seem to (not!) like very much, I am perplexed at this second & can't think of an appropriate one for you which you might like.  So sorry!  😉
N~Joy


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jamie barter
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01/10/2013 5:42 pm  

I was checking through the New Comment to Liber AL last night & thought perhaps a few relevant words from the Master might be in order to set things a little more in perspective regarding the conversation relating to the mind, Resh/ the Sun & related issues?  (I am sure people will have had enough of mine for the time being here!!  Apologies to those more experienced readers who are probably already familiar with these.  The bold emphases are mine.)

Had is Adad, Set, S*tan, Sat (equals ‘Being’ in Sanskrit), South.  He is then the Sun, one point concentrating Space, as is also any other star. … Nu is also reflected in Naus, Ship, etc, and the whole symbolism of Hollow Space which is familiar to all.  There is also a question of identifying Nu with On, Noah, Oannes, Jonah, John, Dionus, Diana, and so on.  But these identifications are all partial only, different facets of the Diamond Truth.  We may neglect all these questions, and remain in the simplicity of this her own Book. … 

Therion: New Comment to Liber AL, I:1[/align:3d5b111z]

We are not to regard ourselves as base beings, without whose sphere is Light or “God”.  Our minds and bodies are veils of the Light within.  The uninitiated is a “Dark Star”, and the Great Work is for him 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 makes it opaque.  The Great Work therefore consists principally in the solution of complexes.  Everything in itself is perfect, but when things are muddled, they become ‘evil’.

Therion: New Comment to Liber AL, I:8[/align:3d5b111z]

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.  Its individual peculiarities are its imperfections.  If we identify ourselves with our thoughts or our bodily instincts, we are evidently pledged to partake of their partiality.  We make ourselves items of the interaction of our own illusions.

Therion: New Comment to Liber AL, II:28[/align:3d5b111z]

N Joy


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Los
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02/10/2013 5:47 am  
"jamie barter" wrote:
So you say the sun is “something real”.  But under those terms, it is no more or less real than anything else we perceive – the moon, the computer screen you are reading this from at the moment – whatever.

It's real in the sense of "real" as "not just thoughts about reality." The sun isn't a thought (which represents reality) -- it's something that's actually out there.

By directing your attention at something real (i.e. away from your thoughts) at regular intervals, you train the mind to start looking outside the mind. Which is really useful because the True Will is located outside the mind (or, rather, "beneath" it).

if [the sun] is simply any example of something "like" that which could be the object of Resh, one’s attention could be focussed on any other similar object – the moon, even, as I instanced.

Of course. A person could design an alternate version of Resh where he focused his attention on his couch a few times a day. I daresay it would be just as effective as Resh. 

Why then [...] adore the Sun four times daily[?]

Because (1) the sun is a convenient symbol of the True Self (always shining on the other side of the world just as the True Self is always "speaking" beneath our thoughts) and (2) since the sun moves at regular cycles, focusing on it makes the mind more attention to the natural world and encourages the mind to continually look outside of it.

Those are the reasons for adoring the sun specifically. I still think it would work just as well with a couch, a book, or a coffee table.

The reason, if I might suggest, and which you seem to be coyly skating over, is, [jibber-jabber redacted]

That's nice.

Try looking at it “ the other way round” – instead of the lowly and thought-befuddled magician aspiring to have eliminated the veils & complexes which separate him/her from “The True Self” (whatever that may turn out in the end to be is irrelevant to the discussion here at this point); view it from the True Self attempting to make of the personality a near-as-perfect instrument in which to carry out its Will in the world of dense matter.

Sure. From the perspective of the True Self, thought is a tool. And a really useful one, too: good luck choosing a career path, getting your daily work done, or planning for retirement without thinking!

But most people mistake the world of thought for reality. The thought that their taxes are due at the end of the month flitters through their mind and then their perception of the whole world is colored by their perception of worry. They spend their time absorbed in an imaginary world where taxes are due, where people have expectations of them, where others are judging them, where the burned out lightbulb needs to be replaced as soon as possible, the car is making this weird noise better take it to the mechanic, and....yikes...no wonder so many people view life negatively.

But those are thoughts. Just outside of your skull is a huge, bright world filled with possibilities and discoveries, so much wider and more interesting than anything the mind could cook up.

By the way, it sure seems like most "magician types" live in a nutshell kingdom of their own creation between their ears. Their solution to the "problem" of the imaginary world in their heads is to replace is with a new imaginary world, one where they command demons and are climbing up an imaginary tree and can communicate with preternatural whazzamacullits and where Sirius is some kind of cosmic talking dog and where they can "connect to the source of everything" by muttering a bunch of goofy-sounding Egyptian phrases to the sun and etc., etc.

However, these magician types are looking in exactly the wrong direction. The only solution to the "problem" is to drop the very idea that there is a problem at all to begin with. Sounds a lot easier than it is. Hence, the practices. The trick is being able to practice without getting sucked into a make believe world of supernatural beliefs.

You still don’t seem to have answered or clarified why [nonsense question referring to imaginary tree redacted]

That's nice.


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jamie barter
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02/10/2013 12:09 pm  
"Los" wrote:
It's real in the sense of "real" as "not just thoughts about reality." The sun isn't a thought (which represents reality) -- it's something that's actually out there.

Out there – so is everything else, as I said.  You have written nothing which indicates the Sun as being especially worthy of attention, as per Liber Resh.

"Los" wrote:
By directing your attention at something real (i.e. away from your thoughts) at regular intervals, you train the mind to start looking outside the mind. Which is really useful because the True Will is located outside the mind (or, rather, "beneath" it).

if [the sun] is simply any example of something "like" that which could be the object of Resh, one’s attention could be focussed on any other similar object – the moon, even, as I instanced.

Of course. A person could design an alternate version of Resh where he focused his attention on his couch a few times a day. I daresay it would be just as effective as Resh. 

Why then [...] adore the Sun four times daily[?]

Because (1) the sun is a convenient symbol of the True Self (always shining on the other side of the world just as the True Self is always "speaking" beneath our thoughts) and (2) since the sun moves at regular cycles, focusing on it makes the mind more attention to the natural world and encourages the mind to continually look outside of it.

Those are the reasons for adoring the sun specifically. I still think it would work just as well with a couch, a book, or a coffee table.

A “couch” could be just as effective?  You have got to be kidding!!  Say, are you puttin' me on??

You know, Los, I find it extraordinary that you should dismiss the Solar being in this way, given your own atavar on this website and your sign-off which states, I quote (with my emphasis): “"Then Los appeard in all his power/ In the Sun he appeard descending before/ My face in fierce flames in my double sight/ Twas outward a Sun: inward Los in his might."(--William Blake.  My emphases.)

Some (I wouldn’t dare dream so myself, being a peaceable sort of chap) would call you a damnable Hypocrite! —Hypocrite lecteur,—mon semblable,—mon frère!

"Los" wrote:
Sure. From the perspective of the True Self, thought is a tool. And a really useful one, too: good luck choosing a career path, getting your daily work done, or planning for retirement without thinking!
But most people mistake the world of thought for reality. The thought that their taxes are due at the end of the month flitters through their mind and then their perception of the whole world is colored by their perception of worry. They spend their time absorbed in an imaginary world where taxes are due, where people have expectations of them, where others are judging them, where the burned out lightbulb needs to be replaced as soon as possible, the car is making this weird noise better take it to the mechanic, and....yikes...no wonder so many people view life negatively.
But those are thoughts. Just outside of your skull is a huge, bright world filled with possibilities and discoveries, so much wider and more interesting than anything the mind could cook up.

Yes, I agree with these three paragraphs here, my old china!  (Isn’t it nice to agree for a change?!)

"Los" wrote:
By the way, it sure seems like most "magician types" live in a nutshell kingdom of their own creation between their ears. Their solution to the "problem" of the imaginary world in their heads is to replace is with a new imaginary world, one where they command demons and are climbing up an imaginary tree and can communicate with preternatural whazzamacullits and where Sirius is some kind of cosmic talking dog and where they can "connect to the source of everything" by muttering a bunch of goofy-sounding Egyptian phrases to the sun and etc., etc.

You are very funny here, Los. Ever thought you’ve lost your way and should have become a comedian of the Woody Allen ilk?

I (don’t) like this dismissal of “magician types” here.  You would presumably be including Aleister Crowley himself & a fair proportion of the users of the website – but not yourself?  What then is your definition of magic/ magician?  (In a sentence, if you please!)  If it is not somebody who attempts to create change in their environment in accordance with their will, I would be interested to know what it is (as, in a sense, every single person does this with every single intentional action).

However, these magician types are looking in exactly the wrong direction. The only solution to the "problem" is to drop the very idea that there is a problem at all to begin with. Sounds a lot easier than it is. Hence, the practices. The trick is being able to practice without getting sucked into a make believe world of supernatural beliefs.

I think I know what you are talking about here – and more or less agree.  But supernatural does not mean ooky or jibber jabber jubber.  It means that which is beyond what is recognized as the natural, known at the present time.  Doesn’t it??!  High-def films in 3-D would have been regarded as the last word in whatchamacallit -  or should that be "whazzamacullit" - a hundred years ago, for example…

"Los" wrote:

The reason, if I might suggest, and which you seem to be coyly skating over, is, [jibber-jabber redacted]

That's nice.

You still don’t seem to have answered or clarified why [nonsense question referring to imaginary tree redacted]

That's nice.

Very nice – but not for you.  You seem to be trailing on points in my estimation here, Los (as other people appear to have in mind this as a boxing match or fencing duel) by not giving proper answers to my questions (viz. this Khu/ Chesed aspect; why your mind has a tendency to create obstacles for itself; etc).  As can be found by a cursory inspection of this website, I ‘always’ try to answer people’s questions – as far as I can do so anyway, & ‘never’ “duck” them unless I have a specific tactical reason for doing so.  You prefer to dismiss concepts you don’t want to deal with as metaphysical rubbish.  This reveals a closed mind more than anything else.

Now, what would you like to talk about, I mean dismiss next?

As a sign-off, here’s maybe something you will like.  I am sure you will recognize it??:

‘All things begin and end in Albion’s ancient Druid rocky shore.
But now the starry Heavens are fled from the mighty limbs of Albion. …’

The fields from Islington to Marybone,
  To Primrose Hill and Saint John’s Wood,
Were builded over with pillars of gold;
  And there Jerusalem’s pillars stood. …

Jerusalem fell from Lambeth’s vale,
  Down thro’ Poplar and Old Bow,
Thro’ Malden, and across the sea,
  In war and howling, death and woe. …

Spectre of Albion! warlike Fiend!
  In clouds of blood and ruin roll’d,
I here reclaim thee as my own,        
  My Selfhood—Satan arm’d in gold! … [&c.]

N-Joy!


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
03/10/2013 2:36 am  

I hope you guys don't mind me jumping in on the conversation, to pounce on a few interesting tid-bits.

"Los" wrote:
Put your hand out and touch the screen of whatever device you're reading this message on. Turn your thoughts off and just focus on the sensation of the screen against your hand. That right there -- that sensation. That's real. Now turn your thoughts back on and pay attention to the thoughts you're having, including the thought "That's a screen" or "This screen is cracked" or "I should really get a new device...look how old it is!" All of those thoughts are illusion in comparison to the sensation.

But your example fails to produce a real encounter with anything more concrete than that thought. If I touch the screen before me, the accepted theory of science of what happens is that a signal gets sent from the finger to brain, where it gets displayed/interpreted to me as a sense impression. Very much like a thought - say of the screen before me - gets displayed on the "screen" of my brain. In neither case am I really dealing with the screen, but rather the contents of my mind.

Now, the screen probably exists, that's conventionally assumed to be true (and I would tend to agree for most purposes), but neither the thought or the feeling of touch is that truth in themselves.

"Los" wrote:
By the way, it sure seems like most "magician types" live in a nutshell kingdom of their own creation between their ears. Their solution to the "problem" of the imaginary world in their heads is to replace is with a new imaginary world, one where they command demons and are climbing up an imaginary tree and can communicate with preternatural whazzamacullits and where Sirius is some kind of cosmic talking dog and where they can "connect to the source of everything" by muttering a bunch of goofy-sounding Egyptian phrases to the sun and etc., etc.

However, these magician types are looking in exactly the wrong direction. The only solution to the "problem" is to drop the very idea that there is a problem at all to begin with. Sounds a lot easier than it is. Hence, the practices. The trick is being able to practice without getting sucked into a make believe world of supernatural beliefs.

You know, I agree that magicians live in worlds of their own creation. In fact, I would argue that is very much the point of this kind of magic.

I believe at least a large part of the practice is the creation of a "user interface for reality". Just as in the example I quoted above, real experiences with unadulterated truth are rare (perhaps non-existent) and we navigate through life with our minds.

Now, everybody has such a "user interface" already, so it isn't like a magician is creating it out of nothing. To a large degree, it's about how that stuff in our mind is compartmentalized and manages. Partly it is dictated by our biology, for sure. The precise workings of it are dictated by much else though: our education, environment, experiences, etc. So, how it actually ends up working for everyone is largely up to chance.

Magic is playing is around with that. The empirism part of the Thelemic method comes in testing out how changing that works out for us. Surely you can imagine an example when a blind belief in something can make something possible that would not be possibly where no such belief existed. That means sometimes we have to adopt a point of view that might be "untrue" for everyone else just to get our way. That's magic in practice.


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jamie barter
(@jamie-barter)
Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 1688
03/10/2013 5:13 pm  
"Deus Ex Machina" wrote:
I hope you guys don't mind me jumping in on the conversation, to pounce on a few interesting tid-bits. ...

No, feel free Deus Ex Machina!  Particularly as it appears that Los must be giving careful thought & consideration as to what to say next!?!  I hope you manage to get a worthwhile response from him to your interesting feedback.  Meanwhile, in view of his hypothesis that

"Los" wrote:
A person could design an alternate version of Resh where he focused his attention on his couch a few times a day. I daresay it would be just as effective as Resh. ... it would work just as well with a couch, a book, or a coffee table. ...

Allow me to therefore present my idea of:

The Alternate Version of Liber Resh, According To Los:

Hail unto Thee who art Couch in thy Rising,
Even unto Thee who art Set-Tee in thy Strength,
Who travellest across the Sitting-room in thy Sofa
At the Uprising of the day;
A Pouffe standeth in its splendour at the Prow,
and A Cushion abideth at the Helm:
Hail unto Thee from the abodes of Night…

N JoY


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Los
 Los
(@los)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
04/10/2013 5:17 am  
"Deus Ex Machina" wrote:
But your example fails to produce a real encounter with anything more concrete than that thought. If I touch the screen before me, the accepted theory of science of what happens is that a signal gets sent from the finger to brain, where it gets displayed/interpreted to me as a sense impression. Very much like a thought - say of the screen before me - gets displayed on the "screen" of my brain. In neither case am I really dealing with the screen, but rather the contents of my mind.

While it's technically true that everything we experience is "in the mind," in the sense that we're necessarily forced to perceive the world through the mind, the very fact that we can label all experience in this way makes the label useless.

We might be able to label all experience as "subjective" in this sense, but within that subjective experience, there's a huge, detectable difference between the experience of touching the screen and the experience of thinking about the screen. What you're doing here, Deus Ex Machina, is playing a word game to your detriment. The distinction I'm pointing out is a practical one that anybody can detect right now, and you can actually use it to achieve results with Thelemic practice. To try to play some weird game with labels does absolutely nothing to help anybody.

You know, I agree that magicians live in worlds of their own creation. In fact, I would argue that is very much the point of this kind of magic.

I believe at least a large part of the practice is the creation of a "user interface for reality". Just as in the example I quoted above, real experiences with unadulterated truth are rare (perhaps non-existent) and we navigate through life with our minds.

You're doing it again. Of course "real experience with unadulterated truth," in the sense that you mean, "are [...] non-existent" -- because you've defined "real experience with unadulterated truth" in such a way that it's impossible to experience. Don't you see what you're doing? You're trying to define stuff into existence and then trying to build a system on these definitions: it's a good illustration of what I mean by living in a world of your own creation (and not in a good sense).

Now, everybody has such a "user interface" already, so it isn't like a magician is creating it out of nothing. To a large degree, it's about how that stuff in our mind is compartmentalized and manages. Partly it is dictated by our biology, for sure. The precise workings of it are dictated by much else though: our education, environment, experiences, etc. So, how it actually ends up working for everyone is largely up to chance.

Eh, this is so vague that it's hard to respond to. It sort of sounds like you're talking about how every magician has to "build up his own universe" in the sense of creating his own Qabalah, using systems of classification to conceptualize -- to order and organize -- the real world of his experiences (like the experience of touching the screen).

That's one kind of "your own universe." But the kind of "your own universe" I was talking about -- the detrimental kind -- was the kind where people talk themselves into thinking that they're uber-powerful wizards who just stepped out of an anime, ready to do battle with some rad demon lords to give them the mystical powers necessary to somehow find enough money in the street to pay for rent this month.

It's one thing to say, "I'm going to use this imaginary tree as a classification system to group experiences and think about them, and when I run into trouble, I'll meditate on the tarot card associated with the part of the system that's also associated with my problem, and then I'll journal and reflect on it, and maybe that will give me insight."

That's one thing. How useful it might be is debatable, but it's one thing.

It's another thing entirely to say, "Well, humans don't know everything about the universe, so there probably are mystical intelligences without bodies out there. After all, lots of nutters claim to be in contact with them, and how could so many people be wrong? Besides, materialism isn't so much fun. So I'll just believe there are incorporeal intelligences and that I can summon them up with a book I bought from Barnes & Noble to do my bidding and cause me to find money in the street because...uh, Quantum Mechanics."

Here, I'll let you in on a little secret. The human mind comes prepackaged with storytelling software because it helped our ancestors survive. What you commonly call "you" is a story that the mind is telling, all day every day. It's that internal narrator that's creating a story out of your life. One of the main reasons to study magick is to figure out how that storytelling software works so that you can detect it working and obscuring your experience from you, in real time.

Your experience of your True Will is just as much an unmediated experience as touching the screen. Your True Will is always trying to speak to you through the veil of your thoughts, narratives, stories, "you." The sooner you learn to beat the storyteller at its own game, the sooner you can see through the story, and the sooner "you" can give way to You.


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jamie barter
(@jamie-barter)
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Posts: 1688
04/10/2013 12:08 pm  
"Los" wrote:
What you're doing here, Deus Ex Machina, is playing a word game to your detriment. The distinction I'm pointing out is a practical one that anybody can detect right now, and you can actually use it to achieve results with Thelemic practice. To try to play some weird game with labels does absolutely nothing to help anybody. ... You're doing it again. ... Don't you see what you're doing? ... Eh, this is so vague that it's hard to respond to. It sort of sounds like you're talking about [jibba jubba]

As you may have gathered, Deus Ex Machina, (attempting to) correspond with Los is one big bag o’ laughs!!!  I wish you well with it! (Ditto, Sothoth & whomsoever...)
(I wonder, are him & I in injury time --- Fresh towels, please!)

Not forgetting the Life that abideth in Light, Los, yea, and the Light that abideth in Life…?
N J∞y


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
04/10/2013 2:18 pm  
"Los" wrote:
While it's technically true that everything we experience is "in the mind," in the sense that we're necessarily forced to perceive the world through the mind, the very fact that we can label all experience in this way makes the label useless.

Realizing an apparent truth is hardly useless, I would say.

"Los" wrote:
We might be able to label all experience as "subjective" in this sense, but within that subjective experience, there's a huge, detectable difference between the experience of touching the screen and the experience of thinking about the screen. What you're doing here, Deus Ex Machina, is playing a word game to your detriment. The distinction I'm pointing out is a practical one that anybody can detect right now, and you can actually use it to achieve results with Thelemic practice. To try to play some weird game with labels does absolutely nothing to help anybody.

You create the difference between those in your mind. How you define them changes how you interact with your environment. I'm not arguing we should interpret all sensory experience as chaff, but I am arguing that the meanings are constructed by us. By building them in different ways, we can experience different types of realities.

Yes, I guess after a fashion they are just "word games", but you say those words as if they had no value. I would say a large part of magic is playing word games, but it comes out of realizing that words have tremendous power. They pretty much order everything we experience (as is being discussed) as well as providing a means to effect other minds. One might call that near limitless power.

Nor are you somehow strangely exempt from this behavior of creation and ordering. You admit - in the first sentence I quoted - that we can choose to look at experiences as simply being in the mind, but that you choose to interpret them differently. Abrahadabra! You're doing magic!

"Los" wrote:
You're doing it again. Of course "real experience with unadulterated truth," in the sense that you mean, "are [...] non-existent" -- because you've defined "real experience with unadulterated truth" in such a way that it's impossible to experience. Don't you see what you're doing? You're trying to define stuff into existence and then trying to build a system on these definitions: it's a good illustration of what I mean by living in a world of your own creation (and not in a good sense).

Well, I'm glad you noticed! However, it is all we do. You do it as well. Realizing it is all we do, taking conscious control of what it is in this sense separates the magician from the non-magician.

"Los" wrote:
That's one kind of "your own universe." But the kind of "your own universe" I was talking about -- the detrimental kind -- was the kind where people talk themselves into thinking that they're uber-powerful wizards who just stepped out of an anime, ready to do battle with some rad demon lords to give them the mystical powers necessary to somehow find enough money in the street to pay for rent this month.

It's one thing to say, "I'm going to use this imaginary tree as a classification system to group experiences and think about them, and when I run into trouble, I'll meditate on the tarot card associated with the part of the system that's also associated with my problem, and then I'll journal and reflect on it, and maybe that will give me insight."

That's one thing. How useful it might be is debatable, but it's one thing.

It's another thing entirely to say, "Well, humans don't know everything about the universe, so there probably are mystical intelligences without bodies out there. After all, lots of nutters claim to be in contact with them, and how could so many people be wrong? Besides, materialism isn't so much fun. So I'll just believe there are incorporeal intelligences and that I can summon them up with a book I bought from Barnes & Noble to do my bidding and cause me to find money in the street because...uh, Quantum Mechanics."

Well, I agree to a large extent. They are not built the same (which to me is the beauty of the thing). I'll repeat what I wrote earlier, though. Sometimes a belief in what seems irrational can motivate someone to perform in a far better way than they could have done without such a belief. That's just one example of what can be accomplished with some creative re-ordering. The point being that what is the optimal worldview in this sense is not just some one world as defined by Los. For someone in some situation that worldview might be crushing and self-defeating. I think the key being here that as magicians we can keep changing it to suit us.

"Los" wrote:
Here, I'll let you in on a little secret. The human mind comes prepackaged with storytelling software because it helped our ancestors survive. What you commonly call "you" is a story that the mind is telling, all day every day. It's that internal narrator that's creating a story out of your life. One of the main reasons to study magick is to figure out how that storytelling software works so that you can detect it working and obscuring your experience from you, in real time.

Your experience of your True Will is just as much an unmediated experience as touching the screen. Your True Will is always trying to speak to you through the veil of your thoughts, narratives, stories, "you." The sooner you learn to beat the storyteller at its own game, the sooner you can see through the story, and the sooner "you" can give way to You.

Well thank you for letting me in the club, but the secret is well known! I agree that is a core pat of being human and definitely a part (if not the part) being utilized in what's called magic(k). I don't think we disagree here. In fact, for a second I thought I wrote that paragraph because it is such a nice capstone for what I'm talking about here.

And there you go with the mumbojumbo about the True Will. Pushing your fantasy stuff on others, shame on you!  😉


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
04/10/2013 9:09 pm  

Los, you refer to storytelling "software..." the point I was trying to make in the LBRP thread is how do you know what is "software" and what is "hardware?" when Crowley says: "The goetia spirits are part of your brain" that is a vague statement...did he mean they are a part of the human brain in general, that everyone shares to a degree, "hardwired" in a Jungian symbolic archtype sense, or a part of the brain "software" of the individual who employs the goetia system, exclusively? This was never explained. An interpretation of the Astral is that even if it is subjective, shared experiences reinforced over time lead to a structure in which different individuals can have similar experiences. Sentient entities are "connected" by this shared experience "pool"...nonhuman ? praeterhuman "entities," whether they have been built by humans or not, may take on what appears to be sentience and actually interact with humans, is the theory. Its not just a bunch of paranoid losers who have experienced this, its ancient lineages of shamans and people who do yoga for 50 years straight in mountains and forests ; these people are not idiots.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
04/10/2013 10:44 pm  
"sumerian131" wrote:
Los, you refer to storytelling "software..." the point I was trying to make in the LBRP thread is how do you know what is "software" and what is "hardware?" when Crowley says: "The goetia spirits are part of your brain" that is a vague statement...did he mean they are a part of the human brain in general, that everyone shares to a degree, "hardwired" in a Jungian symbolic archtype sense, or a part of the brain "software" of the individual who employs the goetia system, exclusively? This was never explained. An interpretation of the Astral is that even if it is subjective, shared experiences reinforced over time lead to a structure in which different individuals can have similar experiences. Sentient entities are "connected" by this shared experience "pool"...nonhuman ? praeterhuman "entities," whether they have been built by humans or not, may take on what appears to be sentience and actually interact with humans, is the theory. Its not just a bunch of paranoid losers who have experienced this, its ancient lineages of shamans and people who do yoga for 50 years straight in mountains and forests ; these people are not idiots.

The question in regards to hardware vs software is a good one. It gets further muddied up because of the hot trending findings in neuroplasticity and epigenetics research, where we now know that our software can fundamentally change our hardware. Then there is the matter of hardware and software working in conjunction, meaning that even if we share the same hardware, we don't necessarily share the same experiences unless we also run the same software (which comes back to my point of tweaking the software, as outlined in earlier posts).

Certainly, looking at shamanic - as an example, since they are so comparatively well documented and researched - practices the world over certain very clear similarities occur in cultures which we presume had no contact. That seems to imply that there is something in the hardware that causes those phenomena. DNA and double helix structures are just one oddity that pops up.

Or it could be there is some astral level that has no material component that we have been able to measure as of yet. Did you folks know that DNA emits light and no one really knows why and to what purpose? I find that very interesting. The parallel to a "body of light" is intriguing, but science has no answers for now.


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Los
 Los
(@los)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
05/10/2013 12:18 am  
"Deus Ex Machina" wrote:
"Los" wrote:
While it's technically true that everything we experience is "in the mind," in the sense that we're necessarily forced to perceive the world through the mind, the very fact that we can label all experience in this way makes the label useless.

Realizing an apparent truth is hardly useless, I would say.

It’s useless in the sense that labeling all things X makes the label meaningless.

It’s like saying “Everything is a computer simulation,” as if we live in the Matrix. If everything were a computer simulation, then it would be functionally equivalent to nothing being a computer simulation. If it applied to everything we experience, then we would have nothing to compare it to in order to determine that it was a simulation in the first place.

Or it would be like saying, as some religious believers sometimes claim, “Everything is designed by a god.” Well, if that’s true, then it would be functionally equivalent to nothing being designed by a god: we’d have nothing to compare it to in order to determine that it was designed in the first place. [Amusingly, this is precisely why Paley’s Watch argument defeats itself]

"Los" wrote:
We might be able to label all experience as "subjective" in this sense, but within that subjective experience, there's a huge, detectable difference between the experience of touching the screen and the experience of thinking about the screen. What you're doing here, Deus Ex Machina, is playing a word game to your detriment. The distinction I'm pointing out is a practical one that anybody can detect right now, and you can actually use it to achieve results with Thelemic practice. To try to play some weird game with labels does absolutely nothing to help anybody.

You create the difference between those in your mind.

I’m not creating any such difference. I’m detecting an actual difference that’s there between the experience of touching the phone and the thoughts I have about the phone.

It doesn’t matter what labels we put on those two very different things: the difference is there, and it’s very detectable, and it is unaffected by how we choose to think about it.

The difference between your position and mine on this point seems to be that I’m using language to label real stuff: that is, I’m starting from experience and using labels to talk about the experience more precisely. That’s not defining anything into existence. That’s labeling stuff that’s really there.

You apparently do the opposite: you seem to start from the labels and pretend that how we define the labels affects what’s really out there. It doesn’t.

Sometimes a belief in what seems irrational can motivate someone to perform in a far better way than they could have done without such a belief.

This seems to be the crux of why you’re performing all of these silly mental gymnastics. Your train of thought seems to be something like, “If I call everything thought, then reality is nothing more than how I choose to think about it, and then I’ll be justified in accepting irrational beliefs simply because I choose to think that these beliefs allow me to perform in a way that I choose to think is far better than I could have done without it.”

In one sense, the part about “performance” is redundant because if reality is, as you suggest, largely a function of how we choose to think about it, then the quality of a performance, too, would be a function of how we choose to think about it.

In other words, that whole step of your argument is unnecessary under the very terms of your own argument. You could just make the same exact argument by saying, “Reality is how we choose to think about it, so this argument is how I choose to think about it, so there.” Problem is, if you actually just came out and said that, it would be abundantly obvious how circular and silly it is.

So you feel compelled to claim that irrational beliefs could make someone perform “far better,” to try to give your argument something that sounds like a leg to stand on – even though, under your argument, there would be no way to tell whether someone really is performing better (since “performing better” would be just how we choose to think about it).

But anyway, even if we overlook that problem with what you’re saying: sure, you can always think of an example where believing something irrational might have some limited usefulness (though I’m not quite sure if you can demonstrate that it wouldn’t be possible for something else – like a rational position – to motivate that same person just as well). But even granting that there could be some occasional benefits to accepting irrational claims, the fact remains that, on the whole, having as clear an understanding of the world as it actually is – in distinction to the world as you imagine it or think about it – is vastly helpful in navigating the world, in the same way that having as clear a view of the road as possible (in distinction to staring at your GPS) is vastly helpful in navigating the road.

The point being that what is the optimal worldview in this sense is not just some one world as defined by Los.

I’m not “defining” a world into existence. See above. Your experience of touching is screen is categorically different than your experience of thinking about the screen, and that difference is still there regardless of how you want to label stuff.


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Los
 Los
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Posts: 2195
05/10/2013 12:26 am  
"sumerian131" wrote:
Los, you refer to storytelling "software..." the point I was trying to make in the LBRP thread is how do you know what is "software" and what is "hardware?"

Alright, faulty metaphor on my part: I wasn't trying to distinguish between different types of storytelling functions. I just mean that the human brain naturally looks for patterns and naturally creates stories (even when those patterns aren't out there in reality and even when those stories are woefully false).

All storytelling functions of the brain are mechanisms that could potentially distract the individual from reality if he's not carefully employing these functions. Magick is one way to gain greater awareness of these functions and master them, rather than being duped by them. Well, it's supposed to be.

Its not just a bunch of paranoid losers who have experienced this, its ancient lineages of shamans and people who do yoga for 50 years straight in mountains and forests

Eh, I'm not even gonna touch this one. Too good a setup.


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Shiva
(@shiva)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 4493
05/10/2013 1:57 am  
"sumerian131" wrote:
... ancient lineages of shamans and people who do yoga for 50 years straight in mountains and forests; these people are not idiots.

Like everything else, this is a matter of one's personal opinion


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
05/10/2013 2:34 am  
"Los" wrote:
The difference between your position and mine on this point seems to be that I’m using language to label real stuff: that is, I’m starting from experience and using labels to talk about the experience more precisely. That’s not defining anything into existence. That’s labeling stuff that’s really there.

You apparently do the opposite: you seem to start from the labels and pretend that how we define the labels affects what’s really out there. It doesn’t.

* * *

This seems to be the crux of why you’re performing all of these silly mental gymnastics. Your train of thought seems to be something like, “If I call everything thought, then reality is nothing more than how I choose to think about it, and then I’ll be justified in accepting irrational beliefs simply because I choose to think that these beliefs allow me to perform in a way that I choose to think is far better than I could have done without it.”

I am not saying there is no external reality. I am simply emphasizing the value of our subjective experience, which is that layer between us and that probable external reality.

I write probable because it may be the case that there is no external reality. We'll have to leave some room for doubt. However, let's not go down that fairly pointless rabbit hole. Suffice it to say that we need two legs to stand on, one set firmly on the objective ground and the other placed on the subjective.

But yes, in simple terms, I do believe the labels we choose to adopt and use to describe reality mean a great deal. They may not change the external reality directly per se, but they will fundamentally change people's experience of it. It would be absurd to say that is not important.

"Los" wrote:
I’m not “defining” a world into existence. See above. Your experience of touching is screen is categorically different than your experience of thinking about the screen, and that difference is still there regardless of how you want to label stuff.

For the most part, and certainly in the case of choosing to recognize that there is some appreciable difference between touching or thinking about a screen, there is hardly any sense in arguing for a different interpretation. However, there is a great deal about the world that we don't know yet and that possibly we will never know. We can all be called in fill in the blanks. You brought up some nonsense about a True Will. You're defining something into existence that isn't part of the scientific canon right there. I'm sure you'll provide the mental gymnastics to somehow make it fit, though. I might even agree with you.


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Los
 Los
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05/10/2013 3:56 am  
"Deus Ex Machina" wrote:
certainly in the case of choosing to recognize that there is some appreciable difference between touching or thinking about a screen, there is hardly any sense in arguing for a different interpretation.

Right. And no matter what we call the experience of touching a screen and thoughts about the screen, the fact remains that there is a difference between them.

You brought up some nonsense about a True Will. You're defining something into existence

No, I'm not. I'm putting a label on something that's really there, in the exact same way that we can label the difference between touching the screen and thinking about the screen. The difference is really there and can be labeled. In the same way, the distinction between the True Will and thought is really there and can be labeled.

Here's another exercise: turn off your thoughts and just sit, experiencing the world. Do this every day for a period of time. It will quickly become evident that even when you're not thinking you have preferences, distinct from your thoughts and feelings about things. That distinction is just as real as the distinction between touching the screen and thinking about the screen.

The label that I put on those preferences is "True Will." I'm not defining something first and then pretending that it exists or looking for something that might fit the definition. I'm directly experiencing something and then using a label to classify the experience so as to make it easier to navigate the world and to communicate with others about the experience.

In the case of Thelema, the goal is to navigate the world in accord with the preferences, instead of being at the whim of the thoughts, feelings, opinions, and all the other mental stuff.


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HG
 HG
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05/10/2013 10:11 am  
"Deus Ex Machina" wrote:
[You brought up some nonsense about a True Will. You're defining something into existence that isn't part of the scientific canon right there. I'm sure you'll provide the mental gymnastics to somehow make it fit, though. I might even agree with you.

If it were scientific canon, we'd be talking about it in a scientific website, not at The Aleister Crowley Society, wouldn't we? 🙂

True Will is very real. I'll give you a trivial example:

I absolutely hate the taste of mushrooms.  There's no way I'd ever eat them voluntarily, unless I'm starving to death.

You can give me all kinds of arguments, like "Eating mushrooms is good for you!" or "You're wrong, mushrooms are delicious!" but they won't change the fact that I loathe mushrooms.

You can ask me for a reason I hate mushrooms - I can't give you one.  There's no rational explanation.

Not eating mushrooms is a preference that exists, no matter what my toughts are.  I could think: "it's morally wrong not to eat mushrooms, since children are starving in Africa" - it won't change that preference one bit. "All my friends are eating mushrooms," doesn't help.  I can force myself to eat mushrooms, I'll do it and feel miserable.  The preference is still there, unchanged.

It's a thing that exists, a preference, it's not rational, it doesn't care about thoughts and labels at all.  A small part of my True Will.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
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05/10/2013 2:18 pm  
"HG" wrote:
"Deus Ex Machina" wrote:
[You brought up some nonsense about a True Will. You're defining something into existence that isn't part of the scientific canon right there. I'm sure you'll provide the mental gymnastics to somehow make it fit, though. I might even agree with you.

If it were scientific canon, we'd be talking about it in a scientific website, not at The Aleister Crowley Society, wouldn't we? 🙂

True Will is very real.

I wasn't really arguing for whether it is real or not by calling it nonsense. I was using the term in the context of the discussion that has been on-going. I was simply drawing attention to the fact that it's a label that he has placed on a subjective experience of his which he has used to build his world view. That's of course something we all do, but Los has a habit of dismissing everyone else's opinion when it is grounded on such subjective experience.

See below for a potential discussion of the True Will.

"Los" wrote:

You brought up some nonsense about a True Will. You're defining something into existence

No, I'm not. I'm putting a label on something that's really there, in the exact same way that we can label the difference between touching the screen and thinking about the screen. The difference is really there and can be labeled. In the same way, the distinction between the True Will and thought is really there and can be labeled.

Here's another exercise: turn off your thoughts and just sit, experiencing the world. Do this every day for a period of time. It will quickly become evident that even when you're not thinking you have preferences, distinct from your thoughts and feelings about things. That distinction is just as real as the distinction between touching the screen and thinking about the screen.

The label that I put on those preferences is "True Will." I'm not defining something first and then pretending that it exists or looking for something that might fit the definition. I'm directly experiencing something and then using a label to classify the experience so as to make it easier to navigate the world and to communicate with others about the experience.

In the case of Thelema, the goal is to navigate the world in accord with the preferences, instead of being at the whim of the thoughts, feelings, opinions, and all the other mental stuff.

I'm sure the difference between your normal thoughts and feelings in contrast to this experience of the True Will is "actual" and "detectable". Just like a conjured goblin is actual and detectable to someone who has managed to bring one up. I believe this is the point where you'd ask yourself to provide evidence of this thing really being out there (or in there).

Of course, I'm being partly facetious, because as I've been saying we all have to create such labels that attach themselves to subjective phenomenon (and even have gone so far to suggest they are useful).

* * *

It seems we're moving towards a discussion of this definition of True Will, which is outside the context of what has been discussed. I do have an interest in it and some commentary, but let it be said that I do not have a working definition of the True Will that I have accepted as the whole truth. I do have fair experience in meditation, however. In that spirit, I'm offering questions and critique, not talking differences in doctrine.

On the one hand, it sounds to me that you are talking about subconscious preferences. On the other, what you say reminds me of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the shift from dealing with gross thoughts to subtle thoughts (see here for a general overview of the process and here for dealing with the subtle). I do believe the label of "subconscious" in modern thought and "subtle" in the yogic tradition refer to the same type of phenomena.

The following is from the Kulârnava Tantra (as reproduced from Introduction to Magic where it was translated by the UR Group):

"Kulârnava Tantra" wrote:
111. There are two paths: one leads to servitude, the other to liberation. Its principles are "I am this" and "I am not this." Man is bonded by the former and liberated by the latter.

112. This is the action that does not lead to servitude; this is the knowledge that leads to liberation. Every different action is only mania, any other kind of knowledge is mere exercise and a mechanical thing.

My own instinct at the point of encountering these subconscious or subtle thoughts is to say "I am not this", instead of calling their direction the True Will. I'm interested to hear your views on this.


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Los
 Los
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05/10/2013 3:33 pm  
"Deus Ex Machina" wrote:
I'm sure the difference between your normal thoughts and feelings in contrast to this experience of the True Will is "actual" and "detectable". Just like a conjured goblin is actual and detectable to someone who has managed to bring one up. I believe this is the point where you'd ask yourself to provide evidence of this thing really being out there (or in there).

The difference is that I'm not claiming True Will is some external being that has independent physical effects on the world around me, which is what people claim about the goblins they summon up. If these magician types were just saying that "goblin" is a label for a certain type of purely internal experience, one that has as little independent effect on the physical world as any other thought or imagination in their heads, then I wouldn't raise an issue at all.

But they don't just say that -- they make outlandish claims about these experiences that, if true, would yield demonstrable results.

To try to pretend that "goblin" and "True Will" are the same kind of claim -- or that they could be validly demonstrated by the same kind of evidence -- is ridiculous.

My own instinct at the point of encountering these subconscious or subtle thoughts is to say "I am not this", instead of calling their direction the True Will. I'm interested to hear your views on this.

I don't know. My initial reaction is that I don't think this kind of terminology is particularly helpful for what we're doing. When one discovers a preference -- like HG's revulsion towards mushrooms -- I don't find it particularly useful to say "I am this" or "I am not this," both of which are stories. Regardless of any stories, a revulsion towards mushrooms still exists, and it is practically useful to be aware of this revulsion (say, when ordering off a menu).

Now obviously, a preference for food is pretty trivial, but it's a good illustration of the point. The ability to clearly perceive preference in distinction to one's judgments about those preferences is critical when the subject is, say, sexual preferences, relationship preferences, and other preferences that can be easily mixed up with the narrative that the mind is telling about this thing it calls "you."


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
05/10/2013 4:16 pm  
"Los" wrote:
"Deus Ex Machina" wrote:
My own instinct at the point of encountering these subconscious or subtle thoughts is to say "I am not this", instead of calling their direction the True Will. I'm interested to hear your views on this.

I don't know. My initial reaction is that I don't think this kind of terminology is particularly helpful for what we're doing. When one discovers a preference -- like HG's revulsion towards mushrooms -- I don't find it particularly useful to say "I am this" or "I am not this," both of which are stories. Regardless of any stories, a revulsion towards mushrooms still exists, and it is practically useful to be aware of this revulsion (say, when ordering off a menu).

Now obviously, a preference for food is pretty trivial, but it's a good illustration of the point. The ability to clearly perceive preference in distinction to one's judgments about those preferences is critical when the subject is, say, sexual preferences, relationship preferences, and other preferences that can be easily mixed up with the narrative that the mind is telling about this thing it calls "you."

But the preferences are stories as well, just more deeply rooted, so that you have more difficulty realizing the narrative being told. It does beg the question why change from this one set of stories (conscious) to another (subconscious)? Why is the latter preferable to the former?

As for "I am not this" being a part of that storytelling mechanism, I don't think so, as it rests on empty space. Of course, when we bandy about it on a forum like this, it is just a word pointing towards something, but we're talking about the basic concept of non-attachment in meditation, which is the same way we weed out the thoughts in the first place. What the sutras are advising us to do is to keep being in the same mode of non-attachment when the deeper rooted tendencies - these preferences - appear.


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Los
 Los
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05/10/2013 8:06 pm  
"Deus Ex Machina" wrote:
But the preferences are stories as well, just more deeply rooted

Sigh. You're doing it again. You're starting from the definitions, and you're so busy trying to squeeze what I'm saying into these definitions that you're not really listening to what I'm saying.

Listen again. A person can turn off the thoughts and there will still be preferences left over. It doesn't matter whether you can choose to label these preferences as a (deeper) kind of thought. The distinction that's important is the distinction between these preferences -- whatever they may ultimately be or whatever we may ultimately label them -- and conscious thought (particularly the judgments your mind makes about its own preferences, thinking them "good" or "bad").

That's the distinction that's important for Thelema. It's the distinction between, say, an authentic preference to be a writer and the thought that being a writer is "useless" or "unproductive" or "doesn't pay enough for you to live comfortably" and that you therefore shouldn't do it. It's the distinction between, say, an authentic preference for homosexuality and the thought that it's "unmanly" to be gay and therefore something you should be ashamed of and shouldn't do.

Those are the sorts of problems that Thelema exists to address. Now, I'm sure there are people who will read the above and think to themselves, "That's it? That's what he says Thelema's all about? Pssh, that stuff's easy, any fool knows what he wants." But anyone who thinks that hasn't done it -- at least not sufficiently.

We're running into a real problem in our conversation, which is that I'm basing what I say on direct experience of the stuff that I'm talking about, and you at least seem to be arguing from the perspective of someone who's still deciding which definitions he likes best before he starts trying to squeeze his experience into those boxes (as you say above, "I do not have a working definition of the True Will that I have accepted as the whole truth," implying that you're toying around with some definitions that, you think, might convey at least part of the truth).

I mean, you say you have some experience in meditation, so I'm assuming you're familiar that there are preferences that remain when thought is gone. Do you also have experience trying to detect these preferences in the midst of situations in daily life and attempting to adjust your actions to bring them into accord with these preferences (regardless of your conscious judgments about those preferences)?

It does beg the question why change from this one set of stories (conscious) to another (subconscious)? Why is the latter preferable to the former?

Again, I don't think your terminology is useful here: we're talking about the distinction between thought and the preferences that are left over when you set thought aside.

In these terms, preferences are preferable...well, it's in the word, almost by definition. "Preferences" -- the authentic inclinations of the Self that are masked by thought -- are what your Self actually prefers, what actually satisfies your Self. The more you spend your time fulfilling those preferences, rather than chasing after phantasms generated by your mind, the more satisfied you'll feel in life.

That's the whole point of discovering the True Will. If someone were completely and totally satisfied by his life, he wouldn't have any need to seek after his True Will.


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