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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
26/05/2010 1:51 pm  

This is a belated reply to Camlion - in the thread "What are the Thelema-like qualities of Thelema?", we were having an exchange to which, due to a recent deficit of leisure moments of a sufficiently solitary nature to be appropriate to the task, I was temporarily obliged to suspend contribution. Being freshly reunited with a serviceable supply of these now, here is my reply.

Seeing that the original thread was locked during my absence, and that the replacement thread "What is the essential quality of Thelema?" was designed to elicit only positive personal declarations of "what Thelema's essential quality is", and not prolonged discussion, I thought I'd share it here instead.

"Noctifer" wrote:
I didn't realise that asking "in your experience, how does/has Crowley's concept of "True Will" work/ed for you on a practical level" was that general or vague, it seems pretty specific to me and I would have thought reasonably simple to answer.
"Camlion" wrote:
My fault, Noc, no doubt, so let's try to get it focused so that I understand the actual nature of your inquiry in the first place, which I am not sure that I do. You wrote: "The question of this thread is: "What is it is about Thelema that gives it the “Thelema-like” qualities? "
"Noctifer" wrote:
The most important type of response to this question would seem to me to be of a practical/evidential nature, ie. real, rather than conjecture etc.. Hence my interest in Camlion's response to my statement about Crowley's notion of True Will being additional and separate to the contents of The Book of the Law. ("I go with what works best", "it's a practical thing", etc. ). Crowley made many inspired remarks about this idea (none of them Class A) but it was largely basically conjecture and Romantic wishful thinking, to me, in many ways. That's why I'm interested in how, if at all, the practical application of the idea might be seen to work, firstly; and secondly, how it applies to Thelema.

"Camlion" wrote:
Anecdotal evidence abounds in my own personal experience, but I'm not sure that sharing it will address your question, simply because I'm note sure exactly what it is that you are questioning. You write that "Crowley made many inspired remarks about this idea [true Will] (none of them Class A) but it was largely basically conjecture and Romantic wishful thinking, to me, in many ways."

Is it merely the absence of that term from Liber AL or the other Class A writings?

Do you mean : “is it merely the absence of that term [True Will] from AL and other class A writings which you are (ie. I am) questioning?” If so, then no. What I do question is the degree to which the language used for the discussion of Thelema and the Book of the Law should be seen necessarily to hinge around interpretations of this term “True Will”, which is separate and additional to both - - in the context of this thread's opening question. Putting it like this, now, I realise how seemingly pedantic, and silly it might seem, especially if you define or equate “Thelema” as Crowley's exposition of True Will (in, for example, the beginning of Magick part III), instead of seeing the latter as a secondary extrapolation or interpretation of the former. If however you see his (admittedly clever and occasionally sublime) exposition of this idea as simply one interpretation, then the point might perhaps be worth chewing on for a bit to see where the endeavour leads us, in terms of liberation from some of the problems of rhetoric which continue to surround Thelemic discourse.

Crowley's exposition of the doctrine of “True Will” is, for me, linguistically problematic, and this is borne out by the confusion surrounding the doctrine for which evidence abounds not only in his own writing, but especially in the interpretations to be found expressed on this site. Poetic, sure, but in no way a simple "scientific" deterministic type of thing as some rationalistic types of Thelemite wish to believe (of which I make mention as an aside, I do not say this to imply Camlion is one such).

Despite my occasional critical references to Crowley's Romantic inclinations as being the basis of certain aspects under scrutiny, my aim is not to disenchant, but simply to examine (I am a natural Romantic at heart myself, so I may be doing this as an unconscious exercise in balancing things out. If this is the case, please humour me for what it's worth).

Take this notion of “will”, for example.

In the days around which our initial exchange occurred on this subject, people on this site who would appear to me to be fellow sincere practitioners of Thelema (as they find it) have used the expression “Will” in an ostensibly Crowleyan sense to mean two precisely contrary things : we have one extreme being the superman “Will conquers all” angle (ie. contra Nature); the other extreme being the “Your Will is an intrinsic part of your nature ” angle (ie. pre-determined, and aligned with Nature). Crowley's commentaries to AL delve into this paradox but to my mind do not resolve it particularly well. I think the ultimate idea is supposed to be an Alchemical doctrine of the renewal of nature, the redemption of the gross matter, etc., so it is through consciousness that Nature is perfected through self-participation (whatever that means below the abyss!).

We have the “achieving things through WILL” angle of our fellow Lashtalian, Horamakhet (after Neitzche). And in another thread, in response to my statement 'You can have violin lessons with god himself for all eternity, but if you ain't got it, you ain't got it' (which, despite happy admission of the reality of miracles, I stand by, as a generalisation, and only as such - pigs don't grow on trees, though they might feed on acorns), you yourself scoffed ' Yeah, hence the capitalization of the word "Will" in "MAGICK is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will” --- which I read as meaning an active imposition of one's preferences upon one's environment: you were in other words suggesting a refutation of my assertion, in preference of a model where literally anything is possible if only your WILL is up to the task, and Nature be damned if it stands in the way.

I know this is not Crowley's doctrine of True Will, which is precisely my point. He never really nailed the idea properly for himself, did he (in practise, let alone theory), so it's no wonder there are dramatically conflicting interpretations of what these two words signify in the context of his teaching.

I have witnessed miracles enough to understand and sympathise with the view that “literally anything is possible”, and I view the world of waking consciousness as being far more akin to the world which is “dreamed”, than social consensus tends to encourage us to think. That said, as a Thelemite, I'm less interested in conquering Nature than aiding and understanding and reuniting with Her, the whole of which I am a part, in ecstatic union and identity. And to me, trying to force blood from a stone through an effort of Will may be conjecturally possible, but hardly what could be considered a particularly Thelemic approach.

Both of these angles (Camlion's, Horemakhet's) as expressed in their place in the original thread emphasise just one dimension of what I have understood of this Crowleyan concept of True Will, that dimension of (apparently) “conquering” Nature (making it conform to one's own limited idea or fantasy about it, an ultimately procrustean activity), rather than that of aiding it and partaking in its Natural unfoldment, which, to me, is much truer to the spirit (and indeed possibly the letter too) of the Book of the Law, and therefore of “Thelema” as the Word of the Law of the Aeon of Horus.

To re-state my position from another thread: “imho - I think it's important to realise that Thelema permits, and demands, the exercise of any means necessary to the realisation and fulfilment of one's nature - and nothing else. Far be it from me to say what may or may not be appropriate for another individual's realisation.”

And, to re-state that trees do not grow if pulled, but will flourish if nurtured by their environment, but the right sort of seed must be there to start with. The seed is where the will begins ... I know it's a bit chicken/egg but there we are.

"Camlion" wrote:
I'm sure you're aware that much of the actual text of Liber AL & Co. supports Crowley's use of the term 'true Will,' without using the term itself exactly, but coming close with "pure will." If you need citations, just let me know, I can copy and paste as required, but pissing contests over scriptural interpretations are easy to arrange if someone wants to have one, regardless of how clear and simple the citation might seem.

Thanks, I'll pass on the “pissing competition over scripture” for now – in fact, none is necessary, the phrase we're discussing could be said to be part of not the “scripture” itself, but of its commentary.

The term "pure will" was never seized by Crowley, and that's probably just as well. "Thelema" and "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" are fine by themselves, I think.

Or, is it the veracity of the concept of true Will that you question? Crowley employed the qualifier "true" to "Will" (and also the capitalization of the word) to distinguish innate predisposition from want, whim, caprice, desire, fancy, etc.

I question the concept in the way presented above. I need not deny its “veracity” (insofar as any words or concepts can be said to have veracity: veracity is only in your mind, after all) as a potentially useful expression, but firstly would like to indicate that it is in fact entirely additional to The Book of the Law, and therefore additional, not primary, to Thelema (although it can be seen as included within the latter as one expression) – and secondly, I would like to state a friendly personal objection to the term True Will being equated with Thelema when it is interpreted in the macho, Neitzchean Will-Power sense which has been quoted above, which to me is the opposite of the essence of Thelema, as I see it, personally.

I also think rather poorly of Crowley's typically “Victorian Protestant” fear of “want, whim, caprice, desire” etc. all of which are in fact part of the will, whether you spell it in capitals because you're coked to the hilt (as Crowley was when he dictated Book Four), or call it “True” – this fear is more a feature of his personal psychology, and the (overtly fascist) popular spirit of the times in which he wrote, and less a matter of Thelema. Discourse around will-power was central not only to the Third Reich in all its stress, tragedy and failure, but also to society in general in the Anglosphere of his time. It remained firmly so until the sixties.

"Camlion" wrote:
name538 provided this:
name538 wrote: › Select ›‹ Expand
Crowely's notion of TRUE Will, rests on acceptance of a soft essentialism, which is to say the belief that all things possess an essence that makes them what they are, that provides the purpose for which they had been manifest in the physical world. Both Aristotle and Plato were Essentialists, though their metaphysics differed. Plato believing the essence to exist in the world of forms and it's material manifestation to be accidental to the pure form. Where as Aristotle believed that the essence of a material object was inherent in it's necessary properties. Both of these are examples of Hard essentialists.

The non-essentialist would include Satre with his maxim "Existence precedes essence" which is to say things have no essence other than what is created for them, they simply exist and only when put to use do they have any kind of essence or purpose. The existentialist view is that one is totally free to do anything whatsoever and one is doomed to that freedom, were one has no guiding principles at all. Essence is created freely and without limits of any kind.

Then you have the soft essence of Crowley.
For Crowley we can act in any way we like, however the order of nature puts limits on us. That is we have an essence, because we are part of the essential nature of the whole universe. The Essence is the relative interaction between the self and the world, one is not free to create any essence on wants, rather one is free to discover one's essence. To discover one's essence and essential purpose, one must interact with the world and discern via the results, what one's proper relation and course happens to be. If you withdraw from life, you can not refine your purpose, if you do not learn from your interactions you will keep making the same mistakes and will never discover your essence. This is soft essentialism because it can be bent, you can acts outside your nature but the universe will set you back in your place. Thus there is a true essence but it is maintained by a homeostasis, rather than a hard strict adherence to an unwavering course.

"Camlion" wrote:
It's really that simple: 'Do what thou wilt' does not equal 'Do as you please,' unless it happens to please one to act as closely in accord with their innate predispositions as is possible in any given circumstance. Why would it please us to act only in accord with our innate predispositions? Because joy in the success of our endeavors is best assured thereby, the alternative being sorrow in the failure of our endeavors. "Yea! deem not of change: ye shall be as ye are, & not other." AL II:58.

Do you disagree with this thesis, Noc?

I'm not sure what the thesis is – are you saying that one's innate predispositions are, or are not, part of what you call the True Will? Because if you say that they are indeed part of it, then you're agreeing with my position on violin lessons with god above.

I say that innate predispositions (of which whim, caprice, and fancy are all indicators) are an essential part of True Will, as I understand Crowley's term (despite his conflicting statements), and that therefore all expressions of this will, including desires, fancy, caprice, whims (especially all of these, actually) are sacred to it, insofar as the term may be said to have any meaning at all. If you say that they are not part of True Will (ie. whim, caprice, etc. are not related to True Will according to your stated position), then your qualifier “unless it happens to please one ...” above does not fall in with your objection to these things.

Therefore, no, I do NOT agree with the thesis that “Do what thou wilt” does not equal “do as you please”. They both mean pretty much the same thing to me, and always have, unless one wants to inflict contortionism upon semantics to try to bend the former statement round into a meaning entirely unrelated to the words being used to express it.

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law - I have never understood the particular ink-cloud which that old arch-squid, Uncle Al, insisted on squirting in the faces of his readers to mask the simplicity of this utterly sublime statement, and less have I understood the clinging by others to this Victorian Protestant fear of desire which he has espoused (if not practised 🙂 ). It is this very desire (or will, or whim, or caprice, or fancy) writ large, pursued and developed into manifested existence, which has produced all great art and the ultimate expressions of individual genius. I have never understood the academic distinction between desire and will or purpose. To me, will, desire, and intention are pretty much the same thing, except graphically. In pursuing this desire, will, and intention, you manifest your raison d'être.

If you don't desire something, how can it possibly be considered your “will” (whether “True”, written all in capitals, or otherwise?). That's what I would like to know.


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 Anonymous
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26/05/2010 6:53 pm  

Thank you for the belated reply, Noc. I hope that you were not literally in jail. 😉 I will get back to you.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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27/05/2010 2:11 am  

No, they haven't caught me yet, Camlion.

In fact, I doubt they ever will . . .

I was, however, on a little red boat for a while, which I suppose is more or less the same. Nicer people though.


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 Anonymous
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27/05/2010 5:30 am  

Noctifer,

Will, Desire, and Belief is a magickal formulae. A.O.S first wrote about it and then Chumbley did as part of Sabbatic Craft.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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27/05/2010 9:45 am  
"N.O.X" wrote:
Noctifer, Will, Desire, and Belief is a magickal formula. A.O.S first wrote about it and then Chumbley did as part of Sabbatic Craft.

Thanks for this N.O.X.. I am not familiar with Chumbley's work apart from pokings about on the web. Do you see a link between Spare's formula and Thelema?


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mika
 mika
(@mika)
Member
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Posts: 360
27/05/2010 6:48 pm  
"Noctifer" wrote:
I have never understood the academic distinction between desire and will or purpose.

Desire and will may on occasion be one and the same, but there is a practical reason to distinguish between the two (even if only semantically, or "academically" as you say). In plain terms, desire can be influenced by, or a result of, imagination, fantasies and/or delusions about the world. Will, on the other hand, is a pure, direct result of one's apprehension of actual reality.

An easy example: if I practice yoga because I have a natural affinity for that discipline, it may be considered my will. If I practice yoga because Crowley said I should and other people I like and respect do it and it's supposed to make me healthy and fit (or whatever other "because"), it may be a mere desire that is not based on my actual essential nature but based on what I imagine I "should do".

So, on the surface, desire and will may seem to be the same thing. The only way to distinguish between the two, in practice, is to learn to distinguish between your imagination, fantasy and delusions, and actual reality. The more you live according to your apprehension of actual reality, the more your "desires" become indistinguishable from your "will".

This is one of the reasons why "because be damned for a dog". Will needs no justification or explanation. The only explanation for your actions is "it is my nature". If you find yourself attempting to justify your actions, either before or after, to motivate yourself or to explain why to yourself or others, you are most likely not paying attention to reality and instead are paying attention to fantasies about what you "should" do and how life "should" be.

"Noctifer" wrote:
To me, will, desire, and intention are pretty much the same thing, except graphically. In pursuing this desire, will, and intention, you manifest your raison d'être.

If you don't desire something, how can it possibly be considered your “will” (whether “True”, written all in capitals, or otherwise?). That's what I would like to know.

It's harder to imagine not desiring something that is your will than to imagine desiring something that is not your will. But here are two simple examples:

A man who was raised in a fundamentalist christian environment, but whose nature is to be homosexual, may not desire to live a non-traditional life even though it is his will to be partnered with another man.

A woman who was raised in a modern, egalitarian family and was taught to be self-sufficient and independent may not desire to live a traditional life as a stay-at-home mom, even if it is her actual will to put her career on hold and become completely financially dependent on her husband.

Once you think about it, it's very very easy to come up with examples of people convincing themselves they do or don't desire something, due to their 'programming' (what they imagine about reality).


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 Anonymous
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27/05/2010 10:07 pm  

Noc, Mika is off to a great start in explaining the difference between true Will and other notions to the contrary, the idea being that one's own actual nature should determine one's actions; that one should, in relation to all other people, things and ideas, always be oneself and behave accordingly.

This is not a new idea, of course, but it is contradicted by so much of what we see when we look realistically at ourselves and others that putting it into practice will likely have results on a very dramatic scale.

As Mika notes, it is likely that desire and true Will do at times coincide, but the idea is that this should be the rule rather than the exception. Most people today are motivated by all manner of things other than true Will, to their great detriment.

As to why bother with this at all, the idea is that personal success and self-fulfillment will follow, and also that Crowley tied it into Magick as a prerequisite for success, which is of particular interest to those interested in Magick. He also credited Magick as being a means of both knowing and doing true Will.

I suspect that none of the above is at all new to you, but it seems a good place to start.


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 Anonymous
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28/05/2010 2:37 am  

Thanks. These sorts of explanations are not new, as you say. But it still seems like an artifice created solely for the purpose of justifying a particular jargonesque usage of English.

To me, if something is not my will, purpose, or intention, I would not call it a desire either.

I simply can't remember ever having a desire that I wouldn't also call my will, intention or purpose. And I do understand the difference between deep desire and superficial desire, short-term purpose and overall purpose, etc.

The typical sort of example is that of a child and candy. The model goes: it desires candy, but candy is not part of its will; nourishment is. The idea is that desire is short-term, will is long-term; desire is "want", will is "need" (on a deeper level than just physical"). Fine. But it's hardly a new idea. And it is flawed as well.

To address mika's examples:

"mika" wrote:
The only way to distinguish between the two, in practice, is to learn to distinguish between your imagination, fantasy and delusions, and actual reality.

Speaking of which, this doesn't hold water.

As a digression, the Greek word Thelema incorporates both the translations "will" and "to make a wish", or have a desire. It is fundamentally connected with both ideas, hence its magical importance.

Distinguishing between desire and will is not related to distinguishing between fantasy and reality at all, normally speaking, but it's a neat dualism, so it's probably to be expected that someone would line it up, and insist it is a truth, due to its neatness as a conceptual pattern. But it is wrong. Right now, I desire a cappucino. It is my will to have a cappucino, I intend to have one, so, to fulfil this purpose, I am going to switch on my espresso machine and make one. There - desire and reality all in one.

If I was to insist upon a distinction between desire and will, I'd say something closer to the opposite - that desire is most often based upon an external object of some kind and is therefore non-essential, whereas will's source could be seen as more essential as being of internal source (although of course this is not completely true either, to be "will" it implies an execution of some sort, which implies externalisation of some kind).

A man who was raised in a fundamentalist christian environment, but whose nature is to be homosexual, may not desire to live a non-traditional life even though it is his will to be partnered with another man.

This doesn't make sense at all. If he doesn't desire to partner another man, how can it possibly be called his will to do this? Will and desire are the same thing.

To me, Thelema, as Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law, is about doing literally whatever you wish , will, or desire - it is connected to magick, to fantasy, to "making dreams come true" or "realising the inherent dream" as Spare would say.

In this example, that of an individual whose nature is suppressed by the society around them, it is, I would imagine, simultaneously their desire, wish and will to express and fulfil their nature as completely as possible. Thelema says : do so.

But cannot be a "reality" for them until they are actually able to do it, so the model of fantasy versus reality breaks down here. One could argue that because the man had not "partnered" another man in an unconventional relationship, it couldn't be said to be "true" will or to be reality, but only desire, or fantasy, if we stick to your above dichotomy, until he does so, at which point it becomes real, or "true". But then he might find that it isn't what he'd imagined, after all. So it's not necessarily a happily-ever-after scenario.

A woman who was raised in a modern, egalitarian family and was taught to be self-sufficient and independent may not desire [read: will, intend] to live a traditional life as a stay-at-home mom, even if it is her actual will [read: desire] to put her career on hold and become completely financially dependent on her husband.

One can easily swap the words "will" and "desire" here and no meaning is lost or altered, except if one wishes to rigidly uphold the jargonistic use of the term "will" as used by Crowley to somehow distinguish it from desire.

Time for another cappuccino.


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 Anonymous
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28/05/2010 3:24 am  

(I changed my mind. I felt like a smoothie instead).

"Camlion" wrote:
Noc, Mika is off to a great start in explaining the difference between true Will and other notions to the contrary, the idea being that one's own actual nature should determine one's actions; that one should, in relation to all other people, things and ideas, always be oneself and behave accordingly.

As in, Do what thou (the reader of the passage, not anyone else) wilt shall be the whole of the law. Yes.

So, (for the record) you agree that Nature, not "WILL", or perhaps will as nature, is in fact the presiding force, as I implied in my violin lesson analogy (which I mentioned at the time, because I know violinists who simply can't play, but who were forced by their parents to learn from an early age, studying with the best teachers alive because they are rich, and as a result they hate music and life and sound terrible to boot! ).

As Mika notes, it is likely that desire and true Will do at times coincide, but the idea is that this should be the rule rather than the exception. Most people today are motivated by all manner of things other than true Will, to their great detriment.

Agreed - I wouldn't call these other motivations "desire" though. I'd call them social pressures, secular laws, familial expectations, and so on. Other people's desires, in other words, not personal desire. Personal "desire", as wish or fantasy, is usually corrosive to these structures until they accommodate it appropriately, hence the importance of fantasy and desire to Thelema, and magic(k), as liberating forces. As Terence McKenna said, "all truth which springs from the individual is subversive".

Using the term "True Will" does not make will or desire any truer, though.

As to why bother with this at all, the idea is that personal success and self-fulfillment will follow, and also that Crowley tied it into Magick as a prerequisite for success, which is of particular interest to those interested in Magick. He also credited Magick as being a means of both knowing and doing true Will.

Magick is and has always been about desire and fantasy at least as much or perhaps more than it has ever been about Victorian protestant notions of Will and stoic Neitzchean machismo contra Nature. The fantasy is the improvement upon nature, the alchemical gold, and so on -- the human imagination is a bootstrap by which Nature improves or becomes conscious of itself in novel forms.

But perhaps there is a perfect paradox built into this. The idea of overcoming circumstantial limitations through an effort of will relates to magic(k) (I put the k in brackets because I include non-Crowleyan magical traditions in the term as well because they work) and to that extent, Thelema as well.

But this very same will can only be fueled by desire or fantasy at the outset.

Will is wish before it becomes True.


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 Anonymous
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28/05/2010 3:54 am  

Thelema as wish, dream or fantasy (ie. as will) is also imho pertinent to the fact that it is the word of the "aeon of the Child".

The child is simultaneously more prone to wishing, and fantasising, irrespective of what cranky types keep telling them is "REALITY". The child says, "for you, perhaps. But this is what I want." And that's what humanity has done, or tried to do, with increasing success since the Renaissance, particularly during the last century.


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 Anonymous
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28/05/2010 4:21 am  

...discovering more about "reality" in the process than the dictators ever knew.


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 Anonymous
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28/05/2010 5:03 pm  

Hey, Noc. Real quick, because I've got a deadline to meet this morning: Your example with the 'violinists who simply can't play - no matter what' is EXACTLY what I mean by true Will vs 'false Will,' which is a term that I'd like to introduce to the discussion at this point.

As for Mica's use of the term "reality," please note that I do not use this term in this context at all. This is from Hessle and it has bitten Mika in the ass by her trying to use it on you, 'cause you know better. But her intent, I still believe, was to distinguish true Will from 'false Will.'

Just trying to get the semantics sorted, which is always a good start.


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 Anonymous
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28/05/2010 5:55 pm  

Oh, by the way, whether the person whose true Will is to play the violin has a smoothie rather than a cappuccino today is relatively inconsequential to that endeavor, except insofar as one choice might better support that overall endeavor than the other. 😉


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mika
 mika
(@mika)
Member
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Posts: 360
28/05/2010 8:13 pm  
"Noctifer" wrote:
I simply can't remember ever having a desire that I wouldn't also call my will, intention or purpose. And I do understand the difference between deep desire and superficial desire, short-term purpose and overall purpose, etc.

The typical sort of example is that of a child and candy. The model goes: it desires candy, but candy is not part of its will; nourishment is. The idea is that desire is short-term, will is long-term; desire is "want", will is "need" (on a deeper level than just physical").

What model? Certainly not mine, because what you describe above is a perfect example of paying attention to your imagination instead of dismissing the internal chatter for what it is - artificial restriction of one's will. Why do you assume that consuming candy can not be a reflection of will, that will only includes "nourishment", that "nourishment" only includes foods that are not candy, that certain actions only have short-term effects, and such actions can not be a reflection of will, that certain actions only have physical effects, and such actions insufficiently "deep" to be a reflection of will... That's a whole lot of arbitrary judgments that have no foundation other than in what one imagines will should or must be.

Rather than by paying attention to all that unnecessary and meaningless restriction, it's precisely the opposite - one acts according to one's will by dismissing the chatter and paying attention to what remains. If what remains is "I'm going to eat that piece of candy", then that is one's will in that moment.

"Noctifer" wrote:
If I was to insist upon a distinction between desire and will, I'd say something closer to the opposite - that desire is most often based upon an external object of some kind and is therefore non-essential, whereas will's source could be seen as more essential as being of internal source (although of course this is not completely true either, to be "will" it implies an execution of some sort, which implies externalisation of some kind).

There are those pesky assumptions again - you are presuming to know which motivations are essential or non-essential, and further, that these so-called "non-essential" motivations must not be a reflection of one's will.

All these criteria are figments of the imagination, arbitrary and unnecessary restrictions you are placing on your own will.

"Noctifer" wrote:
To me, Thelema, as Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law, is about doing literally whatever you wish , will, or desire - it is connected to magick, to fantasy, to "making dreams come true" or "realising the inherent dream" as Spare would say.

Oh, well, never mind then.


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Horemakhet
(@horemakhet)
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Posts: 526
29/05/2010 5:25 am  

Noctifer: I noticed that you brought up my name. When I used the example of Van Gogh, I did so having been a student of Art for 20 years. To me, this man refutes many of the things you have said. He was Thelema to me. You can say I follow a certain German philosopher, & you are right. I did not realise before I joined this Society, that such a thing was frowned upon.


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Horemakhet
(@horemakhet)
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29/05/2010 5:26 am  

Noctifer: I noticed that you brought up my name. When I used the example of Van Gogh, I did so having been a student of Art for 20 years. To me, this man refutes many of the things you have said. He was Thelema to me. You can say I follow a certain German philosopher, & you are right. I did not realise before I joined this Society, that such a thing was frowned upon.


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Horemakhet
(@horemakhet)
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29/05/2010 5:26 am  

Noctifer: I noticed that you brought up my name. When I used the example of Van Gogh, I did so having been a student of Art for 20 years. To me, this man refutes many of the things you have said. He was Thelema to me. You can say I follow a certain German philosopher, & you are right. I did not realise before I joined this Society, that such a thing was frowned upon.


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Horemakhet
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29/05/2010 5:27 am  

Noctifer: I noticed that you brought up my name. When I used the example of Van Gogh, I did so having been a student of Art for 20 years. To me, this man refutes many of the things you have said. He was Thelema to me. You can say I follow a certain German philosopher, & you are right. I did not realise before I joined this Society, that such a thing was frowned upon.


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Los
 Los
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29/05/2010 6:51 am  
"Noctifer" wrote:
As a digression, the Greek word Thelema incorporates both the translations "will" and "to make a wish", or have a desire. It is fundamentally connected with both ideas, hence its magical importance.

See, here's a big problem. Crowley created Thelema, so the terms we use come from him and the way that he defines them. You can't go back to the Greek and use that as the basis for coming up with your own super special definition and then still call what you're doing "Thelema."

Well, technically you can, but you shouldn't do that *if* you actually want to converse with people and not just have them shake their heads at you in confusion.

Distinguishing between desire and will is not related to distinguishing between fantasy and reality at all

Well, it does according to Crowley, and that's all that counts in this context.

Look, it's right at the beginning of Magick in Theory and Practice, for crying out loud:

"Every man and every woman has a course, depending partly on the self, and partly on the environment which is natural and necessary for each. Anyone who is forced from his own course, either through not understanding himself, or through external opposition, comes into conflict with the order of the Universe, and suffers accordingly.

"(Illustration: A man may think it is his duty to act in a certain way, through having made a fancy picture of himself, instead of investigating his actual nature."

Further, towards the end of the introduction (emphasis added):
"The sincere student will discover, behind the symbolic technicalities of his 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.

Further:"he must accept the fact that nothing can make him anything but what he is. He may lie to himself, drug himself, hide himself; but he is always there. Magick will teach him that his mind is playing him traitor."

So here we have Crowley, in the introduction to his most famous work on magick, directly stating that the process of magick enables a discrimination between actuality and imagination. He directly states that the mind can be a "traitor" to oneself and that it is possible for one to form a "fancy picture" of oneself that will mislead.

I could really go on and on and on producing quotes to further support this position from Crowley, but I think it is quite clear that the task is to determine what a person "actually is" versus what that person has "fondly imagined" himself or herself to be.

The terms Crowley assigns to those states are "True Will" and "desire" or in some places "false will."

This is all clear as day to anyone who has taken any time to actually read Crowley. To ignore what the man actually said and take one of the original Greek meanings of the word Thelema and attribute entirely different meanings to it and then still go around calling it Thelema is beyond absurd.

Right now, I desire a cappucino. It is my will to have a cappucino, I intend to have one, so, to fulfil this purpose, I am going to switch on my espresso machine and make one. There - desire and reality all in one.

Go back to what Mika was saying because she's right on the money. If you want a cappucino because you just feel like a cappucino, then I'd be happy to call that your True Will in this moment. But if you want a cappucino because you think there's some sort of magical virtue in it or because your scrying session this morning told you to do it or because you think sophisticated and refined people drink cappucinos and you should be sophisticated and refined too, or any other *because*...then I would say it's not your True Will.

Let's put it another way. The desires that you have can be roughly divided into two types: desires that you actually want to do, and desires that you think that you *should* do for some particular *reason*

[It is in *this* sense that "reason" is a "lie," by the way]

In practical life, it can be difficult to distinguish between the two because most people never take any time at all to pay attention to themselves or their desires. A desire that comes from a "should" statement (from the reason or the conscious mind) can feel a lot like the other kind of desire if you're not paying attention.

If you're actually interested in Thelema, this is something you're going to have to do. If you just want to have a bunch of cool daydreams and call it Thelema, then...well, ok, but I have no idea why on earth you would do that.

But cannot be a "reality" for them until they are actually able to do it, so the model of fantasy versus reality breaks down here.

You are confused about terminology. "Reality" here means the reality of a person's inclinations when the conscious mind stops interfering.

A tiny bit of experience in meditation will reveal that there is indeed a world outside of one's conscious mind, a world that includes inclinations.

The True Will consists of the inclinations of a person's actual nature, and the method of achieving it is getting the mind -- the "traitor," in Crowley's words -- to shut the hell up and stop imposing its ideas on the will.

It seems to me that if you are this confused on the basics of Thelema, then you have a great deal of work ahead of you to begin acquiring the knowledge and experience necessary.

But again, if you just want to have a bunch of cool daydreams and call it Thelema, then knock yourself out.


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 Anonymous
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29/05/2010 9:20 am  
"Camlion" wrote:
Oh, by the way, whether the person whose true Will is to play the violin has a smoothie rather than a cappuccino today is relatively inconsequential to that endeavor, except insofar as one choice might better support that overall endeavor than the other. 😉

Thanks Cam- but to be clear, I'm not a violinist at all 😉 (not even a bad or failed one! )... My running beverage commentary was frivolous extension of the example given (making a cappuccino as being both desire and reality, that desire is not "delusion" like Mika said)...

"Camlion" wrote:
Your example with the 'violinists who simply can't play - no matter what' is EXACTLY what I mean by true Will vs 'false Will,'

1.
So you have in fact come round then to agree with my point, my original statement about someone who "didn't have it and never would" as a violinist, because you have remembered that the situation has a Crowleyan name (or excuse), and that name (or excuse) is "False will". I wondered when this would be brandished eventually...which brings me to

2."False will", with all respect, sounds and always has sounded silly to me, perhaps even sillier than "True Will". It appears to me as a contradiction in terms, and, paradoxically perhaps, a tautological one at that ( if there can ever be such a thing as a tautological paradox!)

English was around a long time, as I am sure you know, before Mr. Crowley came along. We have words for this stuff already, and so did he, but he wanted attention, and the early 20th century was full of new scientific-sounding labels for similar half-baked ideas, especially in psychotherapy and so on. My point is that these terms - True Will, false will - are not finished products of complete or ratified scientific or philosophical thought like they are often pretentiously brandished as (not that I suggest you do this, but others do, notably the rationalist types). They are poetic glosses, nothing more. Nobody has ever demonstrated "true will" to be a term which means anything at all which is in any way something that cannot be covered with any of these: desire, intention, purpose, wish, or just plain old will!

The terms which we could quite easily substitute for "true will" and "false will" are "voluntary acts", and "involuntary acts". "False Will" = involuntary, "True Will" = voluntary.

You don't voluntarily submit (and I mean really freely, completely at your liberty and in full knowledge) submit to years of something you hate which can in any possible sense be called "will" (or desire). If you do, it's your will. If you don't, it isn't your will. Calling it "false will" is like calling a love a "false hate", or calling a fridge a false bicycle. Use the word to mean what it's for, don't attach it to a negative and then expect it to mean anything.

And this is my point here - "false will" is a ridiculous term, because anything you call "false will" should not be called "will" at all to start with.

Hence, as I maintain, desire = will, again. And as desire, it is also love, which, as the Children of Isis have said, "is all you need".

As for Mica's use of the term "reality," please note that I do not use this term in this context at all. This is from Hessle ...

Noted. I was raving on a bit and sort of addressing various related stuff at that point without really meaning it was your word usage. Sorry. There was ambient lectures on True Really Real Reality by various people at the time and it did my head in.
n


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 Anonymous
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29/05/2010 10:48 am  
"Horemakhet" wrote:
Van Gogh ... this man refutes many of the things you have said. He was Thelema to me.

Thanks for mentioning it Horemakhet, your own angle on "True Will" is an important part of the point I'm making. There are not only different but diametrically opposed views of what this term True Will means, here, now, a century after its coining, espoused by people who have studied and applied his entire teachings sincerely for decades. This to me indicates that someone, somewhere, has made a mistake, and to me, that person is Aleister Crowley.

There are two opposing views of True Will which their adherents equally believe is not only meaningful, and "true", it is actually the correct one, and by extension (being a philosophical/cosmological/ontological/spiritual doctrine) the best way of viewing not just their own existence, but the entire universe and its behaviour. It does not fill me with confidence to accept this term, True Will, apart from my demonstration that it is, as a term, meaningless in itself, because even if I ignored this, I can't figure out whose definition to follow, because both positions find support from Crowley's writings. Therefore, it can hardly be considered a useful term.

View 1.
One view, implied by spike418 in the thread linked to below, is that True Will is inherent, ie. that one is a "natural" at something which is then called part of one's True Will, one follows one's intrinsic nature and is thereby successful, and won't be successful at things that aren't somehow endemic or intrinsic, etc. though work and development is involved, it shouldn't be "contrary to one's nature", which sort of hedges your bet. My own example with the god/violin lessons metaphor falls under this viewpoint (though I don't call anything "True Will", so it's another thing too). Crowley's writings are full of this interpretation of his term True Will, which implies an essential, natural, universal sort of thing which must be intrinsic to the individual to begin with. This may be called the Divine Destiny model.

View 2.
The other view, what you suggest by bringing up Van Gogh, is that True Will is not natural or endemic at all : you say VG was not a natural at painting - I disagree, for what it's worth, and explain below - you suggest thereby that as in your view of his case, True Will is extra to the inborn natural disposition and gifts of the individual, and that moreover this is what Thelema is, too. Unlike in view 1, this second discourse has in place of a sublime Cosmic unfoldment where everything is effortless, instead we have a massive, heroic Struggle (German: Kampf) against one's own nature, resulting, hopefully, if it is "True", in a Triumph of the Will. Van Gogh is the example you use for this, and you say that he "was Thelema to you", simply because he got round to painting at 30 and had to practise a bit first but then was good at it (before shooting himself in the chest at 37 - a typical sign of perfect harmony with the universe and one's existence therein?).

Camlion, as we see in the thread linked-to below, also suggests an interpretation of "Will" which lines up with this second one in response to my suggestion "You can have violin lessons with god himself for all eternity, but if you ain't got it, you ain't got it", as he dislikes suggestions of limitation upon human potential. He demonstrates this second viewpoint with his scoffing reply "yeah, hence the capitalization of the word "Will" in "MAGICK is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will," perhaps?". But now, and just now, Camlion has raised the term " False Will " as the escape clause to this doctrine of WILL. This may be called the Heroic Free Will model.

So - for him, as for you, WILL (of the "True" type) is something which you see evidence for as being the overcoming of a naturally unlikely scenario, and he goes further, in suggesting that if you don't eventually succeed in your Herculean Kampf (playing violin, let's say, if you're untalented at it), then it is conveniently (if somewhat belatedly) labelled a "False Will", and this is not only supposed to make sense, but actually be a useful idea, philosophically, spiritually, etc. etc. ect. or magically.

Rather than repeat the initial exchange in full, the thread where you mention van Gogh in the context of True Will is here http://www.lashtal.com/nuke/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&t=4307 See that contrary to "van Gogh refuting many of the things I say", I have in fact addressed everything you have to say about him in the context of True Will in that thread, and shown where it is not as conclusive as you seem to believe.

Conveniently for the gentle readers, the thread above is also where Camlion's initial response lies (which I then dragged into the other, locked thread mentioned in the opening post to this thread).

You can say I follow a certain German philosopher, & you are right. I did not realise before I joined this Society, that such a thing was frowned upon.

Sorry. Neitzche bores me pale these days.


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Horemakhet
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29/05/2010 5:12 pm  

Noctifer: You did not display anything in the prior thread to me but a lack of knowledge in regards to this artist. Whatever you could grab from the Net. As for the philosopher: over the course of my youth I read all of his books, & loved them. If you are bored by him, that is your business. Why should I care?


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Horemakhet
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29/05/2010 5:23 pm  

P.S. your deliberate placement of that one german word, I find to be very insulting. You put it there with purpose, & I know what you are linking to. I am not thrilled.


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 Anonymous
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29/05/2010 5:51 pm  
"Los" wrote:

Distinguishing between desire and will is not related to distinguishing between fantasy and reality at all

Well, it does according to Crowley, and that's all that counts in this context.

Look, it's right at the beginning of Magick in Theory and Practice, for crying out loud:

"Every man and every woman has a course, depending partly on the self, and partly on the environment which is natural and necessary for each. Anyone who is forced from his own course, either through not understanding himself, or through external opposition, comes into conflict with the order of the Universe, and suffers accordingly.

"(Illustration: A man may think it is his duty to act in a certain way, through having made a fancy picture of himself, instead of investigating his actual nature."

Further, towards the end of the introduction (emphasis added):
"The sincere student will discover, behind the symbolic technicalities of his 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.

Thanks, Los, for saving me ten minutes that I was planning to spend quoting from the intro to MTP this morning. Now I a have a few extra minutes to spend on a further step in the same direction. 🙂


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lashtal
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29/05/2010 8:29 pm  
"Noctifer" wrote:
Sorry. Neitzche bores me pale these days.

[Sarcasm]Oh I DO know what you mean. The other, better known philosopher, Nietzsche is far more interesting. [/Sarcasm]

The "Struggle = Kampf" reference was a little unnecessary, don't you think?

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 Anonymous
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29/05/2010 9:46 pm  
"Noctifer" wrote:
"Camlion" wrote:
Oh, by the way, whether the person whose true Will is to play the violin has a smoothie rather than a cappuccino today is relatively inconsequential to that endeavor, except insofar as one choice might better support that overall endeavor than the other. 😉

Thanks Cam- but to be clear, I'm not a violinist at all 😉 (not even a bad or failed one! )

No, I didn't think you were a violinist, but, if you don't mind, I'm going to seize upon that example for illustration purposes. I lived with a 'natural born violinist' for a time years ago. She was brilliant at it, 'found herself in it' by 'losing herself in it,' knew it was for her since being exposed to it inadvertently as a child and made a very good living at it as an adult, still does. This last bit is important because it illustrates how someone, if they know their true Will from a young enough age, can often do the things necessary to arrange for it to be their principal vocation in life and they don't need the distraction of a day job to pay the bills.

"Noctifer" wrote:
... My running beverage commentary was frivolous extension of the example given (making a cappuccino as being both desire and reality, that desire is not "delusion" like Mika said)...

No, it was actually a valid point, because, as the theory goes, everything we do should be in the best interest of our true Will, and even our choices in terms of nourishment and recreation should be made in right relation to that purpose, so as to maximize our advantage in accomplishing it. It might be a very bad idea to have a whiskey before walking a tight-rope, but a very good idea to have one afterward. 🙂

"Noctifer" wrote:
"Camlion" wrote:
Your example with the 'violinists who simply can't play - no matter what' is EXACTLY what I mean by true Will vs 'false Will,'

1.
So you have in fact come round then to agree with my point, my original statement about someone who "didn't have it and never would" as a violinist, because you have remembered that the situation has a Crowleyan name (or excuse), and that name (or excuse) is "False will". I wondered when this would be brandished eventually...which brings me to

Yes... you knew it was coming. 😉

If I may elaborate briefly before we get into your preoccupation with the semantics:

The example of the 'natural born violinist' is useful because this sort natural genius is often considered remarkable, literally, by others. This is a form of entertainment and when other people witness it they take notice, they enjoy it and may give acclaim to the violinist; they may even be likely to pay money in return for their enjoyment of the performance. Some degree of noteriety and even fame may follow in certain circles, and so on. These elements attract aspirants to violin playing who are not, in fact, 'natural born violinists' themselves. They are probably not truly brilliant at it, do not 'find themselves in it' by 'losing themselves in it.' They were attracted to playing the violin for reasons other than having this 'natural genius' for it. Some may be indentified outright as "bad or failed" violinists, to use your terms, while others may get by at doing it, without any of the wonderous sense of self fulfillment and joy of the 'natural born violinist,' but they may get by. This would be an example of what I know as false Will.

However, I can assure you from my personal experience that the 'natural born violinists' will devote themselves utterly to playing the violin, without considerstion for any of the 'perks' noted above. This is what I know as true Will.

"Noctifer" wrote:
2."False will", with all respect, sounds and always has sounded silly to me, perhaps even sillier than "True Will". It appears to me as a contradiction in terms, and, paradoxically perhaps, a tautological one at that ( if there can ever be such a thing as a tautological paradox!)

English was around a long time, as I am sure you know, before Mr. Crowley came along. We have words for this stuff already, and so did he, but he wanted attention, and the early 20th century was full of new scientific-sounding labels for similar half-baked ideas, especially in psychotherapy and so on. My point is that these terms - True Will, false will - are not finished products of complete or ratified scientific or philosophical thought like they are often pretentiously brandished as (not that I suggest you do this, but others do, notably the rationalist types). They are poetic glosses, nothing more. Nobody has ever demonstrated "true will" to be a term which means anything at all which is in any way something that cannot be covered with any of these: desire, intention, purpose, wish, or just plain old will!

The terms which we could quite easily substitute for "true will" and "false will" are "voluntary acts", and "involuntary acts". "False Will" = involuntary, "True Will" = voluntary.

As Los pointed out above, Mr. Crowley was moved (by whatever inspirations and for whatever reasons - I won't go there now) to reformulate various existing ideas (along with some new ones) into a synthesis which is today still growing in popularity and which employs a specific set of terminology, as such systems will do, to distinguish itself from other systems, to identify itself. This is the Thelema of Aleister Crowley, the one that Paul has included in the stated subject matter of this website (he will correct me if I'm mistaken, of course) and is the Thelema from which all legitimately related tangents are derived, no matter how seemingly far removed, including that of Mr. Grant, or so he writes in telling of his relationship as a student of Crowley.

I do not personally believe that Crowley's work with Thelema was either completely correct in every detail or anywhere near complete at the time of his death, but I do certainly do recognize Crowley's central role in it. On the other hand, Thelema can be explained to anyone of reasonable intelligence without any mention of Crowley, Liber AL or even the word Thelema, if necessary.

The value in this system, to me, is that it has proven itself to my own satisfaction and that of many others over many years to be effective toward the end that Crowley claimed for it: "that every man and woman may take hold of life in the proper manner." That each may share the wondrous sense of self fulfillment and joy of the 'natural born violinist,' in knowing and doing their own true Will.

"Noctifer" wrote:
You don't voluntarily submit (and I mean really freely, completely at your liberty and in full knowledge) submit to years of something you hate which can in any possible sense be called "will" (or desire). If you do, it's your will. If you don't, it isn't your will. Calling it "false will" is like calling a love a "false hate", or calling a fridge a false bicycle. Use the word to mean what it's for, don't attach it to a negative and then expect it to mean anything.

It is my opinion that billions of people on this planet are presently in voluntary submission to false Will. As I noted above in relation to the false pretenders to being 'natural born violinists,' we as people are often our own worst enemies when it comes to knowing and doing our own true Will. Of course, we can hardly be blamed, we are taught nothing about having true Will as children, nothing at all. Instead, we are surrounded by the influences of countless other inadvertent 'enemies of knowing true Will,' from the moment of our births onwards. Our parents, families, friends, communities, schools, churches, media, societies, governments, etc, are all likely to influence us in directions contrary to knowing and doing our own true Will. It happens to most young people every day in every conceivable way. What they 'want to be when they grow up' is likely to have no resemblance to their own true Will whatsoever.

"Noctifer" wrote:

As for Mica's use of the term "reality," please note that I do not use this term in this context at all. This is from Hessle ...

Noted. I was raving on a bit and sort of addressing various related stuff at that point without really meaning it was your word usage. Sorry. There was ambient lectures on True Really Real Reality by various people at the time and it did my head in.
n

Understood and agreed. Where I differ with those folks, well, one of them, is in the need to definitively declare the nature of reality prematurely, before even science is finished with the task. It is not necessary to define reality to explain true Will, and it is divisive among Thelemites, often deliberately so.


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 Anonymous
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29/05/2010 10:34 pm  
"Noctifer" wrote:
Camlion, as we see in the thread linked-to below, also suggests an interpretation of "Will" which lines up with this second one in response to my suggestion "You can have violin lessons with god himself for all eternity, but if you ain't got it, you ain't got it", as he dislikes suggestions of limitation upon human potential. He demonstrates this second viewpoint with his scoffing reply "yeah, hence the capitalization of the word "Will" in "MAGICK is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will," perhaps?". But now, and just now, Camlion has raised the term " False Will " as the escape clause to this doctrine of WILL. This may be called the Heroic Free Will model.

lol Sorry for the misunderstanding, if I played any actual part in it, but I do not subscribe to the second view listed. My point, actually, was that in capitalizing the word "Will" Crowley was denoting 'true Will' as the only viable goal of his 'Science and Art of Magick.'

As for VG, if I were to hazard a guess at someone else's true Will (not a good idea), I would agree with you Noc that it may have been his true Will to paint, judging strictly from the results, but that he was a man of significant internal conflict between that true Will and other elements of his makeup, judging from what else we know of him.

This one is more important, I think: Concerning placing limits on human potential in general, this is not at all the same thing as the present potential of any specific human being among us, imo. This is why I would consider it rather silly to declare that it is presently the true Will of everyone on earth to fully realize the true and ultimate nature of themselves and the Universe. I do not believe that this is the case. I do believe, however, that this 'ultimate journey' is the true Will of some people. The rest have other true Wills to do, things of equal importance to them personally. All of these are goals are equally true Will, and are thus equally relevant to Thelema, to Crowley's Thelema.

By the way, can someone explain to me how the second view listed by Noc, the one that says (presumably) that anyone can do anything at all if they put their mind to it, is derived from the same source as the first view listed, from the Thelema of Crowley?


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 Anonymous
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30/05/2010 2:34 am  
"Horemakhet" wrote:
P.S. your deliberate placement of that one german word, I find to be very insulting. You put it there with purpose, & I know what you are linking to. I am not thrilled.

The purpose was not to insult you (I am not suggesting even remotely that you or AC are a Nazi!!), and I'm genuinely surprised you have ignored everything else that I wrote and chosen, like Paul, to get upset about this single reference, in context, to Mein Kampf ("My Struggle", Hitler's book of 1925), which is part of my point (mentioned previously) about struggle etc., the Neitszchean Herculean idea, as being a dominant part of the spirit of the times, and one side of the True Will interpretation. There is a connection between the fact that Crowley published Magick within a few years with all this chest-thumping similar Neitzschean WILL business as Hitler's book. Those ideas (the macho WILL thing) were big everywhere around the turn of the century, and up until the sixties.

You did not display anything in the prior thread to me but a lack of knowledge in regards to this artist. Whatever you could grab from the Net.

I still have presented more information about him in the thread linked to than you did, whatever you might think (btw, for the little it's worth, I have a fine art major Bachelor from 1997), and regardless -- with that basic information I have quite clearly shown the problems in your conclusions about him, reasonings regarding "True Will".

It's not personal, Horemakhet - Camlion understands the spirit of my debating, (although he's still failed to engage with what I've said about the terminology (not semantics, just clumsy or weasel English) of True Will and False Will etc.)

"lashtal" wrote:
The "Struggle = Kampf" reference was a little unnecessary, don't you think?

After due reflection, publication, and subsequent review, no, not at all.

"Horemakhet" wrote:
As for the philosopher: over the course of my youth I read all of his books, & loved them. If you are bored by him, that is your business. Why should I care?

I didn't suggest that you should care. Neither should I care that you like him. We're talking about Crowley's jargon "True Will". I am pointing out how two directly conflicting interpretations of True Will have been touted as Crowley's, of which yours, the Neitzschean one, is one. The Neitzchean Kampf element is, to me, in conflict with the "seamless Universal flow experience" element. This dichotomy remains unresolved.


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 Anonymous
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30/05/2010 2:59 am  

I should also point out the other utterly relevant reference I made (in the context of a discourse about Will, Neitzsche, Romantic struggles, etc. )to The Triumph of the Will, while we're at it.


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 Anonymous
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30/05/2010 4:18 am  

If i may intrude, if one questions what is "true Will", he must already have an idea of the opposite; therefore, the conflict is resolved in reality ALREADY, because both are illusion. My take on it is that AC could have used the term "False Will" and went on to its curses, but proved the same thing:
The Will, in purest form does not justify, make reason, condemn nor does it even require much of an understanding beyond that of a child's. Why do i love thee? Why do i argue and bicker and make a row in this great disguise? My true Will is to be inside, yet i paint myself a myriad of colors and wear many masks and strike out in anger (love disappointed) while the reality is i am already here! Is not choice itself delusion? O Great Knowers, Forget Thyselves!
"Love is The Law".


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 Anonymous
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30/05/2010 5:55 am  

Indeed you may, blood, and thank you, that's a really beautiful way of cutting straight to (what I feel to be) the essential quality of will, and therefore of Thelema, its driving force: Love (of life, of one's fellows, of oneself, of one's activities, nature, situation, etc.).

The term "True Will", in my view, does not bring anything genuinely useful to the field of spirituality or philosophy, as can be seen by the conflicting ideas expressed about what the term actually means not only within Crowley's words but here as well by practitioners of Thelema (1. natural endowment, flow experience and 2. "extra" to natural endowment, struggle against /conquering of nature).

For the record, I don't ask the question "what is True Will?", as that would imply validation of the term as meaning something, and additional to what is already covered by the terms "will, desire, wish, want, intend, purpose" and so on, which it doesn't.

The term True Will also doesn't occur anywhere in the Book of the Law, or indeed any Class A text. To me this situation (quite apart from the fact that we can all do as we like, that's what Do what thou wilt means) indicates that this phrase is, according to the very tradition which it is part of, not essential to Thelema, or anything else.

The Book of the Law, the founding document of Thelema, does not once instruct anybody to "look for" or "follow" anything except the love of Nu (ie. the universe, ie. everything) in the star-lit heaven.

True Will is, in my view, not a "thing", it isn't even a clear semantic concept - compared with Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law; Love is the law, love under will; and there is no law beyond do what thou wilt , which subsumes Thelema perfectly, and does not (imho) require any further commentary, by Crowley, me, or anyone else.

True will is nothing more than just plain old will, which is equal to wish, intention, desire, purpose, want, resolution, etc. Thelema is about doing these things. It's not about "looking for", or discovering, anything. The discovery, if any, comes in the doing. But it is already there in potentia, like everything else.

"False will" is just an abuse of the English language - the things to which it refers, being ultimately involuntary, should not have been called "will" at all, to start with.


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Los
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30/05/2010 6:39 am  
"Noctifer" wrote:
The term "True Will", in my view, does not bring anything genuinely useful to the field of spirituality or philosophy

So not a single response to my words and/or Crowley's words, quoted in my post?

Ok, so long as we all know that you're avoiding obvious challenges to your ridiculous position.

as can be seen by the conflicting ideas expressed about what the term actually means not only within Crowley's words but here as well by practitioners of Thelema (1. natural endowment, flow experience and 2. "extra" to natural endowment, struggle against /conquering of nature).

Crowley clearly defines True Will as a person's nature.

If it is your nature to rise above other inclinations that you have, then so be it. An ascetic fulfills his will by "conquering" his "lower instincts." I doubt that the rest of us would describe them as "lower instincts," but again, so be it.


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 Anonymous
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30/05/2010 8:46 am  
"Noctifer" wrote:
The term "True Will", in my view, does not bring anything genuinely useful to the field of spirituality or philosophy
"Los" wrote:
Crowley clearly defines True Will as a person's nature.

How is calling one's nature "True Will", as opposed to "one's nature", useful?


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 Anonymous
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30/05/2010 9:08 am  

Los, kindly observe that I have been busy with other things which I found more relevant, written by people who made fewer patronising, inaccurate assumptions about what I have / haven't read / done, and who chose instead to address my points according to their content.

To address your first point you say :

"Crowley created Thelema, so the terms we use come from him and the way that he defines them. You can't go back to the Greek and use that as the basis for coming up with your own super special definition and then still call what you're doing "Thelema." "

According to his own words, Crowley did not create the contents of the Book of the Law, which is the source document for Thelema, but wrote down what he was told by a being entirely separate from himself. So he did not create the contents of the source document of Thelema.

Crowley also, additionally, did not create the idea of "Thelema", in terms of the essential tenets (Do what thou wilt, love is the law, the metaphysics), or in choosing the word "Thelema"; these were around for ages in many instances before him, and most of what is presented under the umbrella of Thelema pre-existed Crowley by centuries under other labbels, as he himself attests.

The only thing which Crowley did "create" is this term "True Will", and that is the term which I find, after quite extensive reading, meditation and practise over a long period of time, to be the least useful or valuable aspect of his contribution, great though that contribution is.

The Greek word Thelema, plus the rest of the Book of the Law (which he denies authorship of) is where Crowley started as well, in his presentation of Thelema.

So for me to "go back to the original Greek" is perfectly legitimate - especially seeing that doing whatever I like is, in fact, the law, according to Thelema, quite on top of the fact that I don't buy into everything he said, and find his thought lacking in some respects. The Greek is where he started, if it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me.

You see, if your apparently uncritical belief in this jargon "True Will" actually has any meaning, it is that one should, as you say, be true to one's nature. That is precisely what I'm doing here, being true to mine.

"True Will" is essentially a meaningless term, and I find much of Crowley's rationalisations of the idea pretentious posturing and sophistry, and his writings about it are fascinating, but, to me, far less worth the effort except as entertainment, than some of his other work.

Will is desire (ie. love) and it is purpose, and it is always "True", if it is, in fact, will.

If it isn't "true", it's not "will".


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Los
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31/05/2010 4:40 am  
"Noctifer" wrote:
According to his own words, Crowley did not create the contents of the Book of the Law, which is the source document for Thelema, but wrote down what he was told by a being entirely separate from himself. So he did not create the contents of the source document of Thelema.

The thing that we call "Thelema" comes largely from Crowley's writings on Thelema, which come from his interpretations of the Book of the Law. Now granted, Crowley may have been off base in some of his interpretations, and if we can identify places where Crowley's interpretations are at odds with facts about the world, we can make some adjustments, but we can also safely state that any "interpretation" of the Book that is wildly opposed to Crowley's -- and certainly any interpretation that chucks out the entire concept of will that Crowley developed is at odds with him -- is not Thelema at all.

The Comment to the Book explicitly states that "all questions of the Law" are to be decided by reference to Crowley's writings, so let's look at those writings already.

You have ignored all of the quotes from the introduction to Magick in Theory and Practice, all of which neatly undercut what you say, but I'll try one more time in good faith.

Will is desire (ie. love) and it is purpose, and it is always "True", if it is, in fact, will.

You seem to be having trouble with the "True" qualifier, so let's discuss it.

Most people at some point in their lives discover that the things that they want -- or, rather, that they thought they wanted -- do not, in fact, bring them the satisfaction that they thought. They discover that decisions they make on the basis of who they *think* that they are lead them into situations that create an internal resistance.

Perhaps you have never experienced this phenomenon. In that case, then there is absolutely no problem that you need to address, and you can safely forget all about this "Thelema" stuff.

Most people, though, find that their ideas about themselves and their desires occasionally lead them into difficulties, and the model of True Will vs. "false will" is a model of self developed to explain the cause of this problem and a potential solution to it.

The model is essentially this: the nature of an individual is partially veiled from that individual by the conscious mind (i.e. the part of the mind that has thoughts, emotions, feelings, imagination, etc). The purpose of this veiling, according to Thelemic metaphysics, is to produce the illusion of individuality so that experience becomes possible (cf. AL I:28-30)

Thus veiled from his nature, the individual will begin to make decisions on the basis of the desires that arise from the conscious mind -- from "should" statements, from the reason, from Because -- and accordingly, the individual will suffer.

The solution to this problem is for the individual to identify which of those desires come from the conscious mind, so as to rule them out, and to pay attention to his own nature. Slowly, the individual identifies with his nature and not with the images presented to him by his mind.

Again, if you do not have this problem -- which, incidentally, just about everyone with the slightest bit of self-awareness reports having -- there is no need for you to adopt this framework, and you can continue happily along your way, ignoring Thelema.

The "true" part of "True Will," then, isn't about some kind of metaphysical "truth" -- it's about *consistency* -- it's about the path of "least resistance" (the way of the Tao), the choices that produce the least amount of internal conflict. "Truth" -- in the sense you're thinking of -- doesn't enter the picture.

Your choices either increase internal conflict, or they lessen that conflict. The "True" will is nothing more than the path that lessens that conflict, regardless of whatver metaphysical ideas you might hold about "Truth."


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Michael Staley
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31/05/2010 11:17 am  
"Los" wrote:
"Noctifer" wrote:
According to his own words, Crowley did not create the contents of the Book of the Law, which is the source document for Thelema, but wrote down what he was told by a being entirely separate from himself. So he did not create the contents of the source document of Thelema.

The thing that we call "Thelema" comes largely from Crowley's writings on Thelema, which come from his interpretations of the Book of the Law.

I appreciate what you say, Los, but I'm with Noctifer on this particular point in that the source document for Thelema is The Book of the Law and Crowley's writings - including the commentaries and the Comment - are secondary.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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Los
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31/05/2010 3:51 pm  
"MichaelStaley" wrote:
I appreciate what you say, Los, but I'm with Noctifer on this particular point in that the source document for Thelema is The Book of the Law and Crowley's writings - including the commentaries and the Comment - are secondary.

Well, I am in agreement that The Book of the Law trumps Crowley's words when we can show that he is obviously at odds with the text (or with reality, for that matter). There is, for example, his whole idea about stars "not clashing" when they follow their True Will, which isn't anywhere in the Book, is contradicted frequently in the Book, and doesn't really make any sense in the context of what we know about the way the world works.

As another example, we had a discussion not too long ago about Crowley's political ideas where I also dismissed his ridiculous notions of a political Thelema on the grounds that the idea was unsound (based on the false notion that it is possible to discover another person's True Will).

That's all well and good for the details, but when it comes to the big picture, we can't forget that the thing that we put the label Thelema on doesn't come solely from the Book of the Law -- it was largely developed by Crowley based on the Book of the Law. As such, if your interpretation of the Book completely ignores Crowley's interpretation of its central concept and embraces the exact opposite idea that Crowley explicitly said is *not* Thelema (i.e. "Do what thou wilt" does not mean "do what you want"), then I would say that you are not practicing Thelema at all.

It would be sort of like being an atheist, believing you should hate your enemies, believing that you should be as selfish as possible, and then calling yourself a Christian.


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the_real_simon_iff
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31/05/2010 5:04 pm  
"Los" wrote:
It would be sort of like being an atheist, believing you should hate your enemies, believing that you should be as selfish as possible, and then calling yourself a Christian.

93!

That's an unfair comparison in my view. I think it would be like believing (accepting) the bible, hating the non-believers but not caring what the Pope says. Which is totally possible and in fact being done frequently.

I have the feeling many Thelemites act this way (although not all hate the non-believers) also.

There is no Aleister Crowley mentioned in the Book of the Law and the "Prophet" can mean a lot of things.

Love=Law
Lutz


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Los
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31/05/2010 7:33 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
I think it would be like believing (accepting) the bible, hating the non-believers but not caring what the Pope says.

The pope didn't come up with the idea of "love your enemies." We're talking about *central concepts* here. Someone who doesn't accept the *central concepts* of a religion or philosophy and still uses the name of that religion or philosophy is doing something exceedingly foolish.

The thing that defines Thelema is the concept of will -- that is *the* central concept of Thelema...hence the name.

If you're seriously contending that absolutely any interpretation of will -- including those completely at odds with Crowley's extensive writings on what the will is -- can equally be called Thelema, then there's really no point in even having a discussion: randomly reversing the meaning of words that have accepted meanings makes communication impossible.


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Los
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31/05/2010 7:48 pm  

Actually, let me approach this in a different way: the model of True Will that I presented earlier in this thread (that is, Crowley's model) is *useful* in the context of individuals desiring to to make choices that reduce internal resistance.

The model of "will" that Noctifer has presented -- i.e. just doing whatever it is that you want -- isn't anything at all. People generally do act on the basis of what they (think that they) want. This model is utterly useless.

It doesn't matter where it came from. One model is useful, and the other is not.


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the_real_simon_iff
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31/05/2010 9:40 pm  

Los, 93!

You're becoming quite a Crowleyite!

I said your comparison is unfair, and it is at least a very weak one in my view. I am not talking about Noctifer (I haven't read the whole thread), I am talking about your answer to Michael saying that he thinks Crowley's writing secondary in importance. Of course one can accept the Book of the Law and have differences with Crowley. That's why your "smart" comparison with the "Christian atheist" was so weak. Michael did not say that he rejects The Book of the Law, the idea of Will and all that Crowley wrote, but still calls himself a Thelemite, or did he? Even Noctifer didn't, I am sure.

You are of course free to think that Thelema is all about individuals desiring to to make choices that reduce internal resistance. And of course you can decide for yourself what is useful and what not (for you). You can even desperately try to imitate Crowley's condescending tone when people disagree with you. But still - your comparison was weak. Your idol would have done better...

Love=Law
Lutz

P.S. Do you really think that the central concept of the Bible is "Love Your Enemies?"


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Los
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31/05/2010 10:21 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
I said your comparison is unfair, and it is at least a very weak one in my view.

Ok, then forget the comparison. I dashed it off as an afterthought, and it's not important to the point I'm making.

The point I'm making is that the central, defining aspects of Thelema is -- as the name implies -- will. And not just the idea of willing stuff: specifically, the idea of True Will (as opposed to regular ol' desire).

You can disagree with Crowley about the finer points of True Will, but to reject the concept wholesale -- as Noctifer does -- is to give up the right to call what you're doing Thelema (*if* you want to be able to communicate with other people, who will be using the word Thelema to mean something entirely different).


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Patriarch156
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01/06/2010 7:06 am  

Los, I find your "orthodoxy" to be quite perplexing. It seems to me that you are insisting on certain arbitrary rules that you have deemed essential (as opposed to non-essentialities) in order to call it Thelema. Take the following as an example:

"Los" wrote:
You can disagree with Crowley about the finer points of True Will, but to reject the concept wholesale -- as Noctifer does -- is to give up the right to call what you're doing Thelema (*if* you want to be able to communicate with other people, who will be using the word Thelema to mean something entirely different).

Clearly Thelema as a Law (as expressed in the Book of the Law and understood by Crowley) is what you are referencing, i.e. the concept of True Will (though in a sense that is far broader than I have seen you advocate and which would differentiate it from most other systems in a way that yours can not, since you, unless I have misunderstood you, seem to only be focusing on the finite Will that Crowley discuss in Liber CL), but such a concept has been a mainstay among a lot of philosophical and religious expressions (including the now invalidated teleology of Aristotle, which should give an indication of how little regarded the concept of biological purpose that you and others have advocated are in modern materialistic biological science).

Moreover Crowley's point was as I understand him that the whole Book is a commentary on this Law and as such we, in his eyes, gets a whole system or body of doctrine that includes as I believe you have yourself pointed out his absolute authority in explaining the Book in order to avoid folly. But it does not stop there, this body of doctrine also includes (to Crowley) genuine messages from Praterhuman Intelligences, his role as a Prophet and usherer of a New Aeon and any number of other things, like certain rituals and ordeals, concepts of punishment if one disobey these Secret Chiefs (leading Crowley from 1930s and on with a fatalist view that remained to his death: while we may disagree with the Secret Chiefs, this is no use since these are beings with an unprecedented power and knowledge that is behind Wars and who will have no compunction against punishing those who goes against their plans), a political system (though not one founded fundamentally on as you believe on the notion of calculating peoples True Will) and even metempsychosis. One could of course choose to read the above poetically, but that would not be how Crowley viewed it.

Consequently when you choose to ignore yourself other defining facets of Thelema as understood by Crowley, including the praeterhuman origins, which to Crowley were the most important and for him heralded the dawn of Scientific Religion (i.e. religion that were able to prove contact with praterhuman intelligences), it seems more than a little arbitrary to set yourself up as a pseudo-Patriarch (pun intended) that decrees the lawfulness of using the word Thelema for what you are referencing. To me it looks more like you are trying to saw off the branch of the Tree you are sitting, invalidating your own concepts by appealing to Crowley as a supreme authority.

Discussions of essentiality might go two directions, one being essence in the sense of what is it that Thelema has in common with all other "legitimate" (in its own eyes) movements that preach a doctrine about the nature of Man and the other being what is the essential thing that makes it distinguishable from any other movement that preach such a doctrine and as such gives a purpose to its name.

While I sympathize with your wish to keep things a bit more strictly defined that is usually the case among people who call themselves Thelemites, I fail to see what makes your Thelema more essential (in both the meanings of the above) than any of the other people here (including Noctifer), at least when viewed through a Crowleyan lense which you seem to be advocating. To me it seems that you are all (and that includes me as well) in agreement in degrees with Crowley's view of Thelema and to argue over degrees of righteousness when none really are righteous seems a bit silly.

Since this is the home of the Aleister Crowley Society, an argument might be made that what constitutes Thelema is what Crowley decreed it to be, even if we take a pragmatic as opposed to ideological point of view in order to assist communication.

However after over 100 years in existence, Thelema, has mutated and there exist many variants that has made their lasting print on the movement as a whole (including many of those that would have probably been deemed by Crowley as heretical), movements of a much greater significance than the strict naturalistic approach that you have chosen to take, which has as far as I know produced no significant manifestation in terms of books and/or followers or any other readily identifiable sociological variable. As such I fail to see why someone should not be allowed to call it Thelema if they refer to any of these significant (heretical or otherwise) contributions to our historical and philosophical legacy or even if they merely are referencing their own idiosyncratic take on it all as you yourself are wont to be with your strict naturalistic approach.

Wouldn't it be easier to just make a point out of that though Crowley disagreed, this is what I think and this is why, instead of invoking wooly concepts of orthodox usage of the word Thelema which would limit nearly everyones take on it including yours.


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 Anonymous
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01/06/2010 8:07 am  

Seeing as Thelema is has little regard for Faith and even suggests we question claims made by authority against actual experience, I do not think Crowley would demand that we accept these Praeter-human intelligences based on his claims and evidence alone. He would ask that we call them and meet them ourselves or that we perhaps with-hold disbelief to the degree that we are impressed by the superior content of their revelations. Crowley may have believed in these secret chiefs, but I at least for most of his life, he suspended the belief that they were actually autonomous beings and held it may be possible that they were parts of his own sub-conscious mind.

It is not until Magick without tears that, we see him adamant that the HGA is a totally separate being. This may have been a result of his age, either senility or more likely he was just tired. It is very stressful to have no solid explanation for an experience that you find very meaningful. Since he did not know a good explanation, and it was easier to believe take the experience as if what seemed to happen is what did happen. It was easier to explain it that way to students, they had greater success when they used the real entity model, and he personally preferred that version because he felt it validated his life's ambition from the start of his career in the occult world.


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Patriarch156
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01/06/2010 8:24 am  
"name538" wrote:
Seeing as Thelema is has little regard for Faith and even suggests we question claims made by authority against actual experience, I do not think Crowley would demand that we accept these Praeter-human intelligences based on his claims and evidence alone. He would ask that we call them and meet them ourselves or that we perhaps with-hold disbelief to the degree that we are impressed by the superior content of their revelations. Crowley may have believed in these secret chiefs, but I at least for most of his life, he suspended the belief that they were actually autonomous beings and held it may be possible that they were parts of his own sub-conscious mind.

It is not until Magick without tears that, we see him adamant that the HGA is a totally separate being. This may have been a result of his age, either senility or more likely he was just tired. It is very stressful to have no solid explanation for an experience that you find very meaningful. Since he did not know a good explanation, and it was easier to believe take the experience as if what seemed to happen is what did happen. It was easier to explain it that way to students, they had greater success when they used the real entity model, and he personally preferred that version because he felt it validated his life's ambition from the start of his career in the occult world.

Actually he was quite adamant that they (the Secret Chiefs) were autonomous beings throughout his life (and of a character far different than demons or spirits as he liked to call them, though even these he declares in Confessions that his original reductionist approach was erroneous in light of his experiences). He even went on strike against them at one point in his life in order to force them to sort out his destitution, so clearly we are not talking about an individual who behaved as if these were internal structures. His view of the Holy Guardian Angel is seperate from this question, though it is equally true that at the end of his life he seemingly insisted that this too were an wholly external entity.

That being said you are right in that Crowley believed no faith were involved. But he was not talking about personal validation through direct interaction with these entities. Rather he thought that the Book of the Law's internal (qabalistic puzles) and external (prophecies) validated his claim. This was, or so he believed, the birth of Scientific Religion, one that had proved that Praterhuman Intelligences existed.

It goes without saying of course that both Crowley's internal or external proofs were so vague that they can not be regarded as scientific in any real sense. It certainly will not as he claimed convince the most ardent skeptic as he claimed.

Despite this he certainly demanded this of all his followers, going so far once to note the following in a letter to Jane Wolfe on march 20. 1942 e.v. concerning the proper attitude that members of his movement should have: "Does she really understand the Law and feel that the only thing worth while doing is to get it accepted everywhere as the basis of the 'New Order'? Does she believe in Magick, in the Masters, in the Plan of the New Aeon?"

It might surprise some that Crowley used the word scientific so carelessly and was so naive as to what constitutes proof. Then again this was a person who once signed a letter as "scientific essayist" so his uncritical usage of the term should perhaps not be regarded as surprising after all.

That being said Ipse Dixit is a fallacy so it should not really matter one way or the other whether or not you happen to agree with Crowley on the existence of something beyond naive materialism.


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 Anonymous
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01/06/2010 9:08 am  

To be truly scientific we can look at Crowley's claims and Data in the light of newer scientific discoveries, and propose new theories than Crowley's day he would not have devised due to lack of evidence.

Crowley claims the fact that the Kabbalistic codes in the book of the law are beyond his or anyone's ability, proves they are of praeter-natural origin. They may well be of Pareter-normal origin, that is outside of the average experience or ability, but we have seen autistics who have praeter-normal mathematical ability. They use their brains in different ways, where they claim to see mathematical equations as shapes and colors even personalities, which interact in strange ways than relate to non-linear operations, such that they can solve complex cyphers and equations in seconds, some than even computers can not solve. So the fact that Crowley might have had a unique brain or he might have found methods to unlock or train a unique potential in his brain, is an alternative possibility to the information flowing from non-physically incarnate intelligenecs than possessed his mind.

Further we have now an understanding of how the brain creates the sense of self and of how state dependent memories are available only while drunk or high on drugs, etc. We know that Schizophrenics have internal dialogs which they will claim are from discarnate voices, which is merely thought they don't want to accept as arising from themselves, because they create a self image based on what others want them to be, and repress thoughts contrary until they seem alien to them. Even cases of dissociative identity, where people have full self images, that much like state dependent memory, is not shared from one ego and the next.

A combination of these factors, can explain the types of experiences and the results than Crowley, while not detracting from the praeter-ordinary and superior quality of those "revelations". If the autistic solves some major mathematical paradox, it is not any less a solution, just because the man who solved it can't tie his own shoes.


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Patriarch156
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01/06/2010 1:34 pm  
"name538" wrote:
To be truly scientific we can look at Crowley's claims and Data in the light of newer scientific discoveries, and propose new theories than Crowley's day he would not have devised due to lack of evidence.

Crowley claims the fact that the Kabbalistic codes in the book of the law are beyond his or anyone's ability, proves they are of praeter-natural origin. They may well be of Pareter-normal origin, that is outside of the average experience or ability, but we have seen autistics who have praeter-normal mathematical ability. They use their brains in different ways, where they claim to see mathematical equations as shapes and colors even personalities, which interact in strange ways than relate to non-linear operations, such that they can solve complex cyphers and equations in seconds, some than even computers can not solve. So the fact that Crowley might have had a unique brain or he might have found methods to unlock or train a unique potential in his brain, is an alternative possibility to the information flowing from non-physically incarnate intelligenecs than possessed his mind.

Further we have now an understanding of how the brain creates the sense of self and of how state dependent memories are available only while drunk or high on drugs, etc. We know that Schizophrenics have internal dialogs which they will claim are from discarnate voices, which is merely thought they don't want to accept as arising from themselves, because they create a self image based on what others want them to be, and repress thoughts contrary until they seem alien to them. Even cases of dissociative identity, where people have full self images, that much like state dependent memory, is not shared from one ego and the next.

A combination of these factors, can explain the types of experiences and the results than Crowley, while not detracting from the praeter-ordinary and superior quality of those "revelations". If the autistic solves some major mathematical paradox, it is not any less a solution, just because the man who solved it can't tie his own shoes.

Yes all this is quite reasonable as far as having an interpreting what went on in Crowley's mind, but it is rather clear that this was not a view he shared. For him his Praterhuman encounters were of an entirely different order. No one, least of all me, are claiming however that you have to accept Crowley's take on it, merely clarifying what he himself seems to have meant 🙂

P.S. I will respond to your intriguing pm as soon as I have the time to do so in the apropriate detail that such an pm demands, but it likely will not be today.


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 Anonymous
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01/06/2010 6:53 pm  

One wonders if Crowley's understanding of his term "Praeter-human" might be stretched to mean "Praeter-EGO" as we might think of the ego as a bubble of self-image and self-referential consciousness. This tiny bubble of sense, awareness, and what the active agent or soul in seems able to control. Where as for most people things like the heart rate and changes in hormones and emotional reactions are not normally inside that bubble of conscious control. So that in the inner world, one represents this fact as if one's whole conscious awareness is a tinny safe place wrecked by chaos and the unknown entities knocking at the barriers.

In this way one might say that the aspect of the heart rate control being autonomic and outside the awareness of the self, seems as if a demon or spirit, when it is represented in the conscious terms the Self can understand. Where as more complex unconscious activity may be so complex as to take the form of personalities in the minds eye.

These unconscious phenomena that manifest as personas in the the mind's eye, would be in a since autonomous external entities, than act outside the direct control of the conscious intentions, though like persons in the world they might respond to communication and other non-direct influence. The Ego is generally the work of the frontal Cortex which is the brains logical thinking an intent generating center. If the extra-ego or Other-Ego activity takes the form of a control center in the other lobes, say the temporal lobe. This would be a sort of SELF or entity that would act on our deepest sense of Meaning, Value and importance, the types of visceral values that we associate with different events could be changed by the interaction between these two ego. (Which is much like the idea behind RAW, Tim Leary and John Lilly's, metaprograming circuit in the brain, which they claim can be activated by LSD and Mescaline, and Lilly claims it's control can be refined by dissociative anesthetics and sensory deprivation tanks).

It seems scientific to me, that if we want to know more about these secret chiefs and praeter-human entities, we should employ controlled research experiments, that study the effects of rituals, Isolation and various drugs on the brain seeing if we can replicate the kind of experiences that Crowley had. While examining with a PET scan or MRI.


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Horemakhet
(@horemakhet)
Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 526
01/06/2010 6:55 pm  

The way I understand it, AC only used "Science" in the way most people now think of it, to illustrate his teaching, based on his own amateur enthusiasm. He came up with a novel approach for teaching the 'Occult Sciences' of the past, & reintroducing them with a fresh skin. The motto of his periodical was nothing more than a fancy way of saying "Hermeticism"- or -"Here be the Occultists". Thus, I find that some go too far in either direction (Science/Religion) due to his creatively innovative dressing of an old body, & his challengingly clever disposition as a writer.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
01/06/2010 7:48 pm  
"Patriarch156" wrote:
While I sympathize with your wish to keep things a bit more strictly defined that is usually the case among people who call themselves Thelemites, I fail to see what makes your Thelema more essential (in both the meanings of the above) than any of the other people here (including Noctifer), at least when viewed through a Crowleyan lense which you seem to be advocating. To me it seems that you are all (and that includes me as well) in agreement in degrees with Crowley's view of Thelema and to argue over degrees of righteousness when none really are righteous seems a bit silly.

Hello Patriarch156. Are you saying that a more 'holistic' view of Crowley and Thelema is less silly? 🙂


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