The Practice of the Magical Diary  

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kidneyhawk
(@kidneyhawk)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1779
31/01/2010 4:43 pm  

Well, it isn't sitting around defining vague terms on internet forums

Well, thankfully we have the practice of the Magickal Diary to help us get a distanced and detailed view of what we've done, where we've been and how we saw it-with an eye to the most needful Change According To Will we can participate in as we hone in on

The universe

Good luck and Godspeed,

๐Ÿ™‚

Kyle


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
31/01/2010 6:00 pm  
"alrah" wrote:
"ianrons" wrote:
"kidneyhawk" wrote:
"ianrons" wrote:
I would like to describe the universe

I wish to ask: what, precisely, do you hope to find in your goal of "describing"

The universe ๐Ÿ™‚

"kidneyhawk" wrote:
So, I have to ask, what do you think The Great Work really IS?

Well, it isn't sitting around defining vague terms on internet forums.

๐Ÿ˜›

Lol. Yeah - knowledge of good and correct terminology is rather an indicator of ego attachment than proper use of the abilities and talents that the words are meant to define. Thelema is choking on it!

Yoga and all forms of the esoteric arts - students should be taught them without any reference to the narrative forms that the narrative ego can latch onto and reference/possess to itself. This isn't hard, but it just can't be reproduced over the internet. It has to be taught (experiencially) and without the intellectual ego reassurance some men are attached to in 6th form and later university.

RAAAR! Knowledge BAAAAAADDDD!

Must be why Crowley sucked so much and failed mystically...too much studying.

๐Ÿ˜‰


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
31/01/2010 6:02 pm  
"kidneyhawk" wrote:
Obviously, if I was in the emergency room, with severe pain in my chest, I wouldn't want to see a "poet" come through the curtains.

LMAO!

As for this topic, I've kept journals since my early teens. Indispensable in discerning otherwise elusive underlying patterns within and without me, imo.

"kidneyhawk" wrote:
So, I have to ask, what do you think The Great Work really IS? You get to be born, enter the fray of your personal grappling with life and you get to die. I can truly appreciate your inclinations as a "math man" and have no need to "win you over" to the "other side." But what are you shooting for as a Magician? This is an important point and it has bearing on the value of the diary AC was so insistent that we all keep.

This question is probably key to the present 'debate,' and the answer varies from one Thelemite to another. The primary goal for most people ought to be "Do what thou wilt," no doubt, but for some this implies a deeper and more elaborate journey than for most.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
31/01/2010 6:53 pm  
"thePuck" wrote:
"alrah" wrote:
"ianrons" wrote:
"kidneyhawk" wrote:
"ianrons" wrote:
I would like to describe the universe

I wish to ask: what, precisely, do you hope to find in your goal of "describing"

The universe ๐Ÿ™‚

"kidneyhawk" wrote:
So, I have to ask, what do you think The Great Work really IS?

Well, it isn't sitting around defining vague terms on internet forums.

๐Ÿ˜›

Lol. Yeah - knowledge of good and correct terminology is rather an indicator of ego attachment than proper use of the abilities and talents that the words are meant to define. Thelema is choking on it!

Yoga and all forms of the esoteric arts - students should be taught them without any reference to the narrative forms that the narrative ego can latch onto and reference/possess to itself. This isn't hard, but it just can't be reproduced over the internet. It has to be taught (experiencially) and without the intellectual ego reassurance some men are attached to in 6th form and later university.

RAAAR! Knowledge BAAAAAADDDD!

Must be why Crowley sucked so much and failed mystically...too much studying.

๐Ÿ˜‰

Lol. To get down and dirty and positively medievel with you Frater Puck... although... best not... Crowley didn't suck -he invented which required him letting go of labels and definitions first, and only writing about them afterwards when they really didn't matter and when only students who were smelly sock people (see choice of women (lit) - moonchild) for further mending and devaluing and even, discarding of obscure integers.

There's nothing more crucial to math and naples than a decimal stop, after all. Your hairdresser obviously knows about that! ๐Ÿ™‚


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
31/01/2010 7:39 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
The human body and mind are still the same, so in the broader sense (the spirit in which my comment was made) there are no new ways of approaching the mysteries; however, re: LSD and sensory deprivation, there are plenty of previous examples of entheogenic drugs and also numerous techniques of sensory deprivation (ranging from ascetic practices of mortification to more direct parallels like the "witches' cradle").

Yes, you're right, in a very broad sense. The human body and mind hasn't fundamentally changed for millions of years, as far as we know. However, since Crowley's time what we know about how they function has dramatically increased and given us new technologies, from cracking the dna code (which was aided by Crick using very small, precise dosages of LSD to 'spur creativity') to the personal computer and the World Wide Web.

"ianrons" wrote:
But to go back to the broader point, my attitude is that of the mathematician rather than the poet: that is, I would like to describe the universe in the simplest and most inclusive fashion, rather than in as many ill-defined (or "poetic") ways as possible.

And presumably you'd like to see if your description or model of universe correlates with the existential universe. A good way of doing so is to make experiments, observe what happens and record the results.

As regards to epistemophobia - fear of knowledge.... Crowley's definitions of magick are found in his book Magick in Theory and Practice. If one takes him up on it and practices magick and yoga alongside studying the theory, then the ability to detach from ego games shouldn't be that difficult, imero (in my extremely righteous opinion :D)


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
31/01/2010 8:40 pm  
"alrah" wrote:
"thePuck" wrote:
"alrah" wrote:
"ianrons" wrote:
"kidneyhawk" wrote:
"ianrons" wrote:
I would like to describe the universe

I wish to ask: what, precisely, do you hope to find in your goal of "describing"

The universe ๐Ÿ™‚

"kidneyhawk" wrote:
So, I have to ask, what do you think The Great Work really IS?

Well, it isn't sitting around defining vague terms on internet forums.

๐Ÿ˜›

Lol. Yeah - knowledge of good and correct terminology is rather an indicator of ego attachment than proper use of the abilities and talents that the words are meant to define. Thelema is choking on it!

Yoga and all forms of the esoteric arts - students should be taught them without any reference to the narrative forms that the narrative ego can latch onto and reference/possess to itself. This isn't hard, but it just can't be reproduced over the internet. It has to be taught (experiencially) and without the intellectual ego reassurance some men are attached to in 6th form and later university.

RAAAR! Knowledge BAAAAAADDDD!

Must be why Crowley sucked so much and failed mystically...too much studying.

๐Ÿ˜‰

Lol. To get down and dirty and positively medievel with you Frater Puck... although... best not... Crowley didn't suck -he invented which required him letting go of labels and definitions first, and only writing about them afterwards when they really didn't matter and when only students who were smelly sock people (see choice of women (lit) - moonchild) for further mending and devaluing and even, discarding of obscure integers.

There's nothing more crucial to math and naples than a decimal stop, after all. Your hairdresser obviously knows about that! ๐Ÿ™‚

93,

Best not to call me Frater Puck...it's not my motto, just a nickname, and there is a Frater Puck.

In order to make these claims you have to ignore both Crowley's well-known history, his writings, and his general contempt for the uneducated. He didn't invent first, he studied first. He got an education first. He did the work. Which is why half the Thelemites I know can't understand most of what he wrote...he took the notion that people would be educated for granted. In Liber O the first operative piece of magickal instruction is:

1. The student must FIRST obtain a thorough knowledge of "Book 777", especially of columns i., ii., iii., v., vi., vii., ix., xi., xii., xiv., xv., xvi., xvii., xviii., xix., xxxiv., xxxv., xxxviii., {14} xxxix., xl., xli., xlii., xlv., liv., lv., lix., lx., lxi., lxiii., lxx., lxxv., lxxvii., lxviii., lxxix., lxxx., lxxxi., lxxxiii., xcvii., xcviii., xcix., c., ci., cxvii., cxviii., cxxxvii., cxxxviii., cxxxix., clxxv., clxxvi., clxxvii., clxxxii.

When these are committed to memory, he will begin to understand the nature of these correspondences. ("See" Illustrations "The Temple of Solomon the King" in this number. Cross references are given.)

You're mixing the planes. Labels, names, definitions, etc are necessary on the intellectual plane, where analysis and discussion take place. Kind of hard to have "scientific illuminism" with no science.

Also, as an aside: isn't it funny how all of these lines of logic end with having to do less work? Oh no, you don't have to keep the record...it's only the single most consistent instruction, no need to pay attention to that; after all, if you did you would be a "mindless follower". You don't have to study the works of the past or learn anything...that's how you would pursue something "real" like playing an instrument or fixing a computer, not magick or spirituality, where you can just make it up as you go along, with none the wiser. It's funny how that's where all these "interpretations" end up...they never end up stricter, always looser, never with MORE work, always less. Funny thing, innit? Might lead one to think there is an underlying motivation...

Nah...must just be my dogmatic/follower complex.

Toolbox without blueprint/plan = useless.
Blueprint/plan without toolbox = useless.
Too lazy to look at the blueprint or use the toolbox = worse than useless.

As always, just my opinion. ๐Ÿ˜‰

93, 93/93


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
31/01/2010 9:04 pm  

How would you pursue anything "real" like playing an instrument?

Well - when it comes to magick, 'you'aren't playing anything. But if you'd like some practical inspiration about how to learn then I suggest you listen to this bloke:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kwjDLHX92w

...and when you're done - put your hat back on hatstand with the rest of the magick formula's you've imbibed from the occult community over the last few years.

Love under Will.


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Palamedes
(@palamedes)
Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 452
31/01/2010 9:23 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
I look upon Grant's suggested alterations to the Qabalah, e.g. adding the false sephirah Daath to the tree, in the same way that I would a supposed mathematician if he suggested adding a new number to the integers between 3 and 4.

Ian, I disagree with this, although I see your point. However, I don't think that the primary purpose of the Qabalah lies within its correlation to the decimal system. There are many possible ways of analyzing the universe through numerical and symbolical systems: as Zero (e.g. Shunyata, etc.), as One (e.g. Brahman; Tao, etc.), as Two (Shiva-Shakti; Emptiness-Form, etc.), as Three (Body, Spirit, Soul; Father, Son, Spirit; IAO, etc.), as Four (YHWH, Fire, Water, Air, Earth, etc.); as Five (YHShWH, etc.); as Six (Hexagram, etc.), as Seven (Planets; chakras; etc.), as Eight (Ogdoad), as Nine (in Egyptian mythology?), as Ten, as Twelve; as 22; as 32; as 36 (in some forms of Samkhya and Tantra) etc. etc. etc.

We also perhaps need to keep in mind that these classifications are primarily heuristic methods designed to help us make sense of the reality that does not necessarily need to neatly correlate to these models. As somebody said with respect to the Christian Trinity: it appears as such to us, not that it is in actuality a trinity or what not.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
31/01/2010 9:38 pm  
"alrah" wrote:
How would you pursue anything "real" like playing an instrument?

Well - when it comes to magick, 'you'aren't playing anything. But if you'd like some practical inspiration about how to learn then I suggest you listen to this bloke:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kwjDLHX92w

...and when you're done - put your hat back on hatstand with the rest of the magick formula's you've imbibed from the occult community over the last few years.

Love under Will.

93,

So you're saying we should all be autistic savants? Clever! You really showed me up!

Tell you what: I'll keep using the methods that actually worked for anyone, ever. You keep reinventing the wheel while others are flying jets. We can compare notes later.

93, 93/93


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Tiger
(@tiger)
Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 1307
31/01/2010 9:52 pm  

"Learn the rules before you break them."

In Jazz you let the Scientist types figure out the rules and explain what your doing and let them explain to others whats goin on.

and if you play over some peoples heads like Crowley's "ill-defined poetry" you can hire a mathematician.

and yes rules can be fun too.

alrah did you get a hair cut or something ?


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1134
01/02/2010 9:06 am  
"zardoz" wrote:
And presumably you'd like to see if your description or model of universe correlates with the existential universe. A good way of doing so is to make experiments, observe what happens and record the results.

The fundamental problem with the supposedly "scientific" nature of the record-keeping practice of Liber E is that it bears no comparison to empirical science. There is no separation between experimenter and experiment, or between system (the test-tube, so to speak) and environment, nor is there any serious notion of hypothesis-formation and hypothesis-checking (quite fundamental!), or of doing experiments systematically (e.g., altering one variable at a time to see what happens); nor is there any real notion of what the variables are, or of measuring them seriously (except self-recorded psycho-babble, times of "experiments", and similar irrelevancies).

If it were scientific in any meaningful sense, Crowley's followers would be working in teams (or at least pairs) and using basic stuff like thermometers, ECGs, EEGs, etc. Make the diary "more scientific", Crowley says! As if science could be pickled in aspic and smeared onto the pages. It's just a diary, and doesn't mean u iz doin religion scientifickly any more than rock-climbing after noting your mood in a daily diary makes it "Scientific Mountainism".

"thePuck" wrote:
"Crowley" wrote:
When these are committed to memory, he will begin to understand the nature of these correspondences.

[...] Kind of hard to have "scientific illuminism" with no science.

I fail to see what learning these "tables of correspondences" -- which could be out of the pages of Pliny the Elder, and in fact *are* in some cases -- has to do with science, any more than a Hafiz is a scientist because he has memorized part of the Qur'an.

"thePuck" wrote:
Also, as an aside: isn't it funny how all of these lines of logic end with having to do less work? Oh no, you don't have to keep the record...it's only the single most consistent instruction, no need to pay attention to that; after all, if you did you would be a "mindless follower".

It amuses me that you think the opinion that it's not worth recording every detail of one's work in a diary is laziness... after all, nobody's suggesting you do less magickal work, are they? In fact, if this is a zero-sum game (if we have a limited amount of time and energy for the work each day) then doing less diary-recording would result in more magickal work, not less (and I think this is probably true). But Crowley also said "neglect not the dawn meditation", which presumably you do every day.

Nonetheless, you really are being a mindless follower if you respond in this way to any criticism of Crowley's often frankly rather silly diary suggestions, and I think you've hit the nail on the nail when you refer to the record-keeping as an "instruction" -- a religious instruction that is an article of Crowleyan faith, not something that is done for any serious scientific reasons.

"thePuck" wrote:
You don't have to study the works of the past or learn anything...that's how you would pursue something "real" like playing an instrument or fixing a computer, not magick or spirituality, where you can just make it up as you go along, with none the wiser. It's funny how that's where all these "interpretations" end up...they never end up stricter, always looser, never with MORE work, always less. Funny thing, innit? Might lead one to think there is an underlying motivation...

You are being hysterical. Imagine I'm pouring a bucket of water over you.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
01/02/2010 9:50 am  
"ianrons" wrote:
"zardoz" wrote:
And presumably you'd like to see if your description or model of universe correlates with the existential universe. A good way of doing so is to make experiments, observe what happens and record the results.

The fundamental problem with the supposedly "scientific" nature of the record-keeping practice of Liber E is that it bears no comparison to empirical science. There is no separation between experimenter and experiment, or between system (the test-tube, so to speak) and environment, nor is there any serious notion of hypothesis-formation and hypothesis-checking (quite fundamental!), or of doing experiments systematically (e.g., altering one variable at a time to see what happens); nor is there any real notion of what the variables are, or of measuring them seriously (except self-recorded psycho-babble, times of "experiments", and similar irrelevancies).

If it were scientific in any meaningful sense, Crowley's followers would be working in teams (or at least pairs) and using basic stuff like thermometers, ECGs, EEGs, etc. Make the diary "more scientific", Crowley says! As if science could be pickled in aspic and smeared onto the pages. It's just a diary, and doesn't mean u iz doin religion scientifickly any more than rock-climbing after noting your mood in a daily diary makes it "Scientific Mountainism".

"thePuck" wrote:
"Crowley" wrote:
When these are committed to memory, he will begin to understand the nature of these correspondences.

[...] Kind of hard to have "scientific illuminism" with no science.

I fail to see what learning these "tables of correspondences" -- which could be out of the pages of Pliny the Elder, and in fact *are* in some cases -- has to do with science, any more than a Hafiz is a scientist because he has memorized part of the Qur'an.

"thePuck" wrote:
Also, as an aside: isn't it funny how all of these lines of logic end with having to do less work? Oh no, you don't have to keep the record...it's only the single most consistent instruction, no need to pay attention to that; after all, if you did you would be a "mindless follower".

It amuses me that you think the opinion that it's not worth recording every detail of one's work in a diary is laziness... after all, nobody's suggesting you do less magickal work, are they? In fact, if this is a zero-sum game (if we have a limited amount of time and energy for the work each day) then doing less diary-recording would result in more magickal work, not less (and I think this is probably true). But Crowley also said "neglect not the dawn meditation", which presumably you do every day.

Nonetheless, you really are being a mindless follower if you respond in this way to any criticism of Crowley's often frankly rather silly diary suggestions, and I think you've hit the nail on the nail when you refer to the record-keeping as an "instruction" -- a religious instruction that is an article of Crowleyan faith, not something that is done for any serious scientific reasons.

"thePuck" wrote:
You don't have to study the works of the past or learn anything...that's how you would pursue something "real" like playing an instrument or fixing a computer, not magick or spirituality, where you can just make it up as you go along, with none the wiser. It's funny how that's where all these "interpretations" end up...they never end up stricter, always looser, never with MORE work, always less. Funny thing, innit? Might lead one to think there is an underlying motivation...

You are being hysterical. Imagine I'm pouring a bucket of water over you.

93,

Yup, I'm hysterical, and you are oh so coooooooool. ๐Ÿ™„

93, 93/93


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1134
01/02/2010 10:03 am  

You seem to have got off at the wrong stop. I've responded to two of your posts with a lot of detail supporting my view -- formed over many years of record-keeping, but formally (in A.'.A.'.) and informally -- about the magickal diary; yet what I've had in response are indirect accusations of laziness, and of having underhand motivations of an anti-intellectual or anti-scientific kind, prompting a light-hearted remark from me, and now I get this in response. I assumed you were a well-balanced sort of bloke when you came along, and thought your first post on this topic was very good, but if you are unable to engage with the points being made in response (which I assume is the case) then at least try to avoid lowering the tone.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
01/02/2010 10:51 am  
"ianrons" wrote:
You seem to have got off at the wrong stop. I've responded to two of your posts with a lot of detail supporting my view -- formed over many years -- about the magickal diary; yet what I've had in response are indirect accusations of laziness, and of having underhand motivations of an anti-intellectual or anti-scientific kind, prompting a light-hearted remark from me, and now I get this in response. I assumed you were a well-balanced sort of bloke when you came along, and thought your first post on this topic was very good, but if you can't engage with the points being made in response then at least try to avoid lowering the tone.

93,

I made my arguments for the diary. You made them against. Both of us have our reasons for thinking what we do. Both of us are coming at it from the point of view of experience, as we have both been at it for a while. That was the end of my comments on the diary.

Then I wrote a response to Alrah. You apparently took it as aimed at you. I don't think my remarks are hysterical at all. I have heard this intellectual masturbation for years from occultists across the spectrum...long lines of logic and "on the other hands" that ALWAYS end at the same result...less commitment, less accountability, and less work. I have even, to my ongoing chagrin, made and acted on many of them myself.

Maybe you are the exception, and your decision to forsake the diary is not motivated by laziness or the unwillingness to be accountable, even to yourself, for your claims and activities without the rose-tinted lenses of memory getting in the way. Maybe not. I don't particularly care, because your reasons for keeping the diary were apparently never co-extensive with mine at all, therefore neither of our arguments one way or the other have any strength for either of us.

However, I will maintain my position against the "I don't have to study" line. I will maintain my position of "the Great Work is WORK, not make-believe". And I will maintain my stance that my position is consistent with magick and spiritual practice of every tradition and every age before modernity, or rather postmodernity, graced us with its dubious gifts of constant authority-issues and perpetual adolescence. Wonder of wonders...other people might know things I don't. I don't have all the answers. If I want to do something, I might have listen to those who have actually done it and actually obey what they say, rather than thinking I know better already. Oh, the horror!

And I am speaking from experience...I tried the "all on my own terms", chaos magick, "everyone is equally either perfect or equally screwed, thus no one can tell me anything" worldview. And it doesn't work. I don't see any attainment outside organized and committed systems where people actually did and do the work.

There is a whole lot of negative connotation in modern America at being a "follower". I submit that this is not because we are "oh so much smarter now", and submit instead that it is the result of the cultural values of America...which have led to some pretty sad, destructive, and stupid ways of existing, and thus are at the least questionable, if not simply wrong. The thing is, when I look at the history and at various available data in the present, I don't see any attainment coming from all of this...I just see more over-intellectualized babbling or feel-good newage (rhymes with sewage). No wisdom, just wise-ass remarks. No enlightenment, just people reinventing the equivalent of "Chaos Magick 101" (because, of course, there isn't enough material for a 202) and living like pragmatic secular humanists in a democratic republic.

Now, I have not attained, but I know there are those that have attained, and not a single one of them did it by "just kicking it" or "doing their own thing". All of them had teachers, studied systems, and did the work. So...given my goals, what should I do? Allow my culture-created fear of "being a follower" to prevent me attaining? Allow my worries about making positive claims and commitments to certain ideas (thus opening me up to the possibility of being wrong and suffering the narcissistic injury thereof) to stop me from doing much of anything other than spinning my wheels and playing connect the dots with endless books, endless theory, endless debate about crap that doesn't matter? Sorry. If being a Crowley follower--Hell, if being a Ronald McDonald follower--will get me just ONE STEP FURTHER then so be it. All spiritual literature of every tradition warns about the ego's resistance to the Work, and I think that the entirety of the "reinvent the wheel" stream of thought so prevalent in modern occultism is just a new and more insidious form of this ego defense. I refuse to let it stop me.

However, while I stand strongly by my rant, this is all a bit beside the point. You quoted me "getting hysterical" in response to a post that wasn't even yours. You made points in your post, gave your reasons. I have my points and my reasons. Both were valid, neither of us are going to change our practices based on the other's arguments. That's why I didn't respond...there was nothing to debate. The short story version is you don't think the diary is useful for you, and you have reasons to think so, while I think the opposite and also have reasons...there is really nothing to debate there. I was responding to Alrah, you took it as aimed at you and insulted me.

So before you lecture me on "lowering the tone", how about you lecture yourself on "looking at the names in posts"?

93, 93/93


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1134
01/02/2010 11:55 am  
"thePuck" wrote:
Then I wrote a response to Alrah. You apparently took it as aimed at you.

No: you made comments about what you think is the motivation behind the same arguments which I've been making and supporting, hence my remark: "indirect accusations of laziness". If I say "I like ice cream" and then you say "I think anyone who likes ice cream is a complete [insert insult]" then how do you imagine I'll respond? Your attempt to suggest it can't possibly relate to me seems a tad autistic, frankly.

"thePuck" wrote:
I have heard this intellectual masturbation for years from occultists across the spectrum...long lines of logic and "on the other hands" that ALWAYS end at the same result...less commitment, less accountability, and less work. I have even, to my ongoing chagrin, made and acted on many of them myself.

Maybe you are the exception, and your decision to forsake the diary is not motivated by laziness or the unwillingness to be accountable, even to yourself, for your claims and activities without the rose-tinted lenses of memory getting in the way. Maybe not. I don't particularly care, because your reasons for keeping the diary were apparently never co-extensive with mine at all, therefore neither of our arguments one way or the other have any strength for either of us.

You are under a couple of misconceptions: firstly, that what is being suggested is to do away with the diary entirely. Read over the previous comments on this thread, and try to take a more nuanced view.

Your second misconception here is that you regard it as self-evident that Crowley's instructions about the diary must be followed, or else we are required to justify why we don't do so, in that you assert here (e.g.) that to "forsake the diary" requires a positive "motivation" (rather than not keeping a diary being the default position); which seems to beg the very question of the importance of the diary.

The only "masturbation" going on here is the amount of time you're spending in discussing the possible venality of those on the other side of the debate (which is by the way an argumentum ad hominem) whilst ignoring any details.

You follow that up with an extremely verbose argumentum ad verecundiam that even you describe as a "rant" which is "beside the point".

"thePuck" wrote:
However, while I stand strongly by my rant, this is all a bit beside the point. You quoted me "getting hysterical" in response to a post that wasn't even yours. You made points in your post, gave your reasons. I have my points and my reasons. Both were valid, neither of us are going to change our practices based on the other's arguments. That's why I didn't respond...there was nothing to debate. The short story version is you don't think the diary is useful for you, and you have reasons to think so, while I think the opposite and also have reasons...there is really nothing to debate there. I was responding to Alrah, you took it as aimed at you and insulted me.

So before you lecture me on "lowering the tone", how about you lecture yourself on "looking at the names in posts"?

As noted above, if you had read my reply carefully you would see that I was, and am, aware of who said what. However, that is not the point -- I can comment on your posts just like anyone else.

As to your comment that you regard my position as valid, I don't see how that can really be true whilst you are absolutely vitriolic about the mentality of people who refuse to keep diaries in as detailed a manner as you'd like. Or, to put it another way, I don't see how you can regard what I say as valid for me specifically whilst at the same time denying its general validity. That is an apparent contradiction.

Anyway, enough of this -- as you say yourself, you have nothing further of substance to say about the topic at hand.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
01/02/2010 1:47 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
"thePuck" wrote:
Then I wrote a response to Alrah. You apparently took it as aimed at you.

No: you made comments about what you think is the motivation behind the arguments which I've been making and supporting, hence my remark: "indirect accusations of laziness".

"thePuck" wrote:
I have heard this intellectual masturbation for years from occultists across the spectrum...long lines of logic and "on the other hands" that ALWAYS end at the same result...less commitment, less accountability, and less work. I have even, to my ongoing chagrin, made and acted on many of them myself.

Maybe you are the exception, and your decision to forsake the diary is not motivated by laziness or the unwillingness to be accountable, even to yourself, for your claims and activities without the rose-tinted lenses of memory getting in the way. Maybe not. I don't particularly care, because your reasons for keeping the diary were apparently never co-extensive with mine at all, therefore neither of our arguments one way or the other have any strength for either of us.

You are under a couple of misconceptions: firstly, that what is being suggested is to completely do away with the diary entirely. Read over the previous comments on this thread, and try to take a more nuanced view.

Your second misconception here is that you regard it as self-evident that Crowley's instructions about the diary must be followed, or else we are required to justify why we don't do so, in that you assert here (e.g.) that to "forsake the diary" requires a positive "motivation" (rather than not keeping a diary being the default position); which seems to beg the very question of the importance of the diary.

The only "masturbation" going on here is the amount of time you're spending in discussing the possible venality of those on the other side of the debate (which is by the way an argumentum ad hominem) whilst ignoring any details.

You follow that up with an extremely verbose argumentum ad verecundiam that even you describe as a "rant" which is "beside the point"...

"thePuck" wrote:
However, while I stand strongly by my rant, this is all a bit beside the point. You quoted me "getting hysterical" in response to a post that wasn't even yours. You made points in your post, gave your reasons. I have my points and my reasons. Both were valid, neither of us are going to change our practices based on the other's arguments. That's why I didn't respond...there was nothing to debate. The short story version is you don't think the diary is useful for you, and you have reasons to think so, while I think the opposite and also have reasons...there is really nothing to debate there. I was responding to Alrah, you took it as aimed at you and insulted me.

So before you lecture me on "lowering the tone", how about you lecture yourself on "looking at the names in posts"?

As noted above, if you had read my reply carefully you would see that I was, and am, aware of who said what. However, that is not the point. When you characterize persons who make arguments similar to the one that I was making as lazy, and when you question their motivations and describe their arguments as wank, it hardly matters whether you name names.

As to your comment that you regard my position as valid, I don't see how that can really be true whilst you are absolutely vitriolic about the mentality of people who refuse to keep diaries in as detailed a manner as you'd like. Or, to put it another way, I don't see how you can regard what I say as valid for me specifically whilst at the same time denying its general validity. That is an apparent contradiction.

93,

My disdain is for an attitude, not a particular action. Keep a diary or not, do or do not do any practice. The attitude I think is ridiculous is "I don't wanna do anything, so I will come up with some argument by which I don't have to and then claim superiority about it".

You said you kept the diary. You now think it is pointless. Your position is valid because I accept your statement...keeping YOUR diary was pointless. Or at least you say it was pointless, which is good enough for me. I say only do things that have a point to them, which is why I say obviously our respective reasons for keeping the diary were not co-extensive. My reasons for keeping the diary are completely justified because my diary has a point, and the point is fulfilled. I get exactly the use out of it I originally claimed. You don't get any use out of it, then don't do it.

Now, I really didn't want to get into this. I didn't respond to your first post back to me for a reason...I have no desire to debate with you. But, since you seem to want to get into it, while I think you deciding not to keep the diary is a perfectly valid position, the reason I think so has nothing to do with the diary and everything to do with you.

With regard to the things said in point (1), what you are describing is observation and self-awareness, which is for the most part independent of a written record. In other words, I think that in the cases you cite (such as the sleep disorder and asana work, etc.), one wouldn't need to display any prodigious feats of memory in order to link cause and effect. However, if something odd is happening (such as with the asana practice) then of course having pen and paper to do some rough working is no bad thing. What this sort of thing provides is a kind of feedback loop, in the same way that friends, internet forums and EEG machines can be, but there's a law of diminishing returns with all those things.

Maybe you apparently have perfect memory and self-awareness, I don't. I also don't have perfect knowledge of what details might turn out to be salient after; a failing, I know, but I don't always know what's going to be important in the future so I can make sure to pay attention to it in the present. The best I have is writing it all down and essentially doing longitudinal studies and making hypotheses about why certain things occurred, then test them by changing elements, deriving correlations, and then applying what I learn.

Re: point (2), you strike a chord there when you note how silly one's ramblings and speculations can appear on re-reading a few months later. I am not sure this is a good argument for keeping a diary! The problem is that it's an open-ended and completely self-involved (if not self-indulgent) practice. One might argue that writing a blog or autobiographical fiction for public consumption is actually more productive and beneficial, then at least if no-one reads it you know it's a waste of time. Partly my attitude towards diaries is because of the realisation of the uselessness of materialising one's transient views, after many years of doing so. That sort of work is much better done inside one's own head, and in fact writing it down prevents in many cases trains of thought from developing, and prevents one dropping bad ideas sooner. Added to which, there are often much better outlets for any truly interesting ideas than a personal diary.

Apparently you are also too busy doing productive and beneficial things while having useless transient views to need (or have time for) a diary. I try to find the time to do productive and beneficial things and keep the diary because, as I said, it's not useless for me. I have gotten use out of it. Now, maybe you somehow have solved the problem of the incorrigibility of mind and know that I haven't really gotten use out of it, but I would need some better evidence of that (what number am I thinking of?). Until I get that, can we just assume that I know, at least to some degree of accuracy, whether I have gotten a use out of something?

With point (3), I don't agree that a diary "creates integrity". In fact, I think diaries don't change one's personality at all -- magickal practices can and do, by changing one's brain seemingly quite directly; but the idea that one's instinctual reactions to people and events are affected by the transitory emotions generated whilst reading over a diary is a little far-fetched. Working on one's tendencies is much harder than that. I think it's also worth bearing in mind that a record of events in a diary is, actually, a superficial thing in a few words which in no way replaces memory, but is just a peg for it and a means to recall it later, in the same way that a wedding photo would tell a stranger practically nothing about the social interactions going on. So, in order to feel (say) elation at one's actions at a certain point in the past, one is almost certain to have felt that emotion at the time; and therefore it's hard to tell what one is gaining a second time around. "Integrity" (whatever that is), like any other trait, comes either from nature or from layers of emotional memory based on life experience, not from experience of reading diary entries; though, like looking through old photos or taking a bath, it can be a rewarding experience.

I guess that means integrity doesn't exist. There goes all those years I wasted studying ethics...oh well.

So you see, you don't need the diary. You're perfect. You have perfect self-observation, total recall, continuous awareness of your inner states, and don't need integrity because it apparently doesn't exist. You have replaced the time and energy you would use on the diary for productive and beneficial things that don't involve your useless transient views.

But you see, I am not perfect. I don't know everything, don't have absolute self-awareness in any kind of fashion continuously available to introspection, and while I am capable of many feats of memory, details sometimes do escape me. You're just too cool for school, and I am lame. So I DO need to keep the diary, and I argue all the other imperfect people lacking in absolute self-awareness and continuous eidetic memory probably should too...not as a default position, but a most likely useful one for accomplishing the Great Work.

But hey, you're probably right and I'm probably wrong. That's the way these things usually work out, not being perfect and all.

As for taking a "nuanced view"...what nuance is there to it? You either keep a magickal diary or you don't. You can keep a more or less complete diary, but whether you do or not is pretty much a bivalent proposition. You said:

I hear this statement being made frequently, yet I fail to see how the recording of practices like asana actually helps anyone. Sure, it's a good idea to record (e.g.) visions and so on, since obviously they contain information, but quite frankly the other stuff (including what one has had for lunch) is pointless drudgery. I don't think Moses, Buddha, St. John, Abraham of Worms, San Juan de la Cruz, et al. really suffered for not having kept such diaries.

(By the way, I kept a very detailed diary for many years -- I have stacks of A4 diary books in a cupboard -- before coming to this conclusion.)

Writing down an account of a vision is not a diary. It's a transcript or an account of a perceived event. A diary is a record of your activities, thoughts, experiences and practices kept regularly over time. You can write it all up at once, but that's an autobiography. You can also write an account of an event in your diary, but a written account is not, in itself, a diary. A diary is a diary. You said you don't see the point in keeping one. You also stated you kept one for years. I have acknowledge exactly those points exactly as they were raised. Perhaps you didn't mean what you said, and you meant that you do still keep a diary, you just keep different things in it, but that is not what you said.

As for your "indirect accusations of laziness"...I rant about this issue all over. Even if you had never posted, I would have said exactly the same things in response to Alrah. This is one of my pet peeves, and when given a reason to vent my spleen, it is a favorite topic. Notice the majority of it has nothing to do with the diary, it has to do with studying. You are not the first person to come up with an argument for why keeping the diary was pointless or even a bad idea...you aren't even the first one to use those exact word (self-indulgent, transient views, "insert list of people who attained where we have no records of a similar diary") in my experience. My "indirect accusation of laziness" is meant for an entire class of occultist, and I really and truly wasn't thinking of you at all. I didn't even remember who you were until after I had already responded to the "hysterical" remark, you had responded to me again (coincidentally, while I was doing my daily practice and writing it up like a good little follower). Then I went back through the posts. I am sorry you specifically felt insulted, but that wasn't my goal. I displayed a general garment. It's hardly my fault if you find it cut to your fit.

Now...I believe I have addressed all your points. I will go back to mostly lurking on this thread. For what it's worth, having gone back through the posts, I agree with you about Grant.

93, 93/93


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kidneyhawk
(@kidneyhawk)
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01/02/2010 2:18 pm  

Puck-

I would simply like to add, at this point in the discussion, that I think your posts have been wonderful and, far from "lowering the tone," they are also inspiring to "keep at it" with renewed energy.

This thread began with reference to James Wasserman's edition of AC & The Practice of the Magical Diary which, in my opinion, remains a really great book for anyone starting this approach. Wasserman's comments and essay, AC's John St John and Frater Achad's M of the T all give perspectives on how to diary in a way that shoots for the goal productively and usefully. We all tweak the practice and find it changing over time but I'm of the opinion that it is an indispensible tool-and you've stated in a very detailed manner many of the reasons why.

Another thing: one of the points Ian criticized at the get-go here was the idea that "it's got to hurt to do you good." This sort of thinking can set people back and work against the goal (which is not to say there isn't discipline and struggle and outright pain in the process at times). On the flip, your straightforward honesty and frankness ("I'm not perfect-I can benefit from these things-I won't pretend to be other than what I am-let's go!") creates a mind-field where the type of sludge Ian speaks of is done away with in short order.

Far from the "anti-study" view, there is great merit in being the "eternal student" wherever we find ourselves.

Great posts and welcome to Lashtal.com! I will absolutely look forward to reading more of what you have to say in the future! ๐Ÿ™‚

93,

Kyle


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1134
01/02/2010 4:36 pm  

thePuck,

"thePuck" wrote:
You said you kept the diary. You now think it is pointless.

No, that's not what I said. I said I don't see the point in recording a lot of stuff, and gave the example of asana. Later on I said "I wouldn't even bother with recording rituals in detail", which is not the same as not keeping a diary.

"thePuck" wrote:
Maybe you apparently have perfect memory and self-awareness, I don't. I also don't have perfect knowledge of what details might turn out to be salient after; a failing, I know, but I don't always know what's going to be important in the future so I can make sure to pay attention to it in the present. The best I have is writing it all down and essentially doing longitudinal studies and making hypotheses about why certain things occurred, then test them by changing elements, deriving correlations, and then applying what I learn.

The trouble here is that you're selectively editing out bits from your diary already. You may record sleep times, meal times, sex and toilet breaks, but (assuming you do this, which Crowley doesn't actually suggest) then what about afternoon strolls, conversations, or meetings with people (later on, AC only really recorded correspondence and meetings, even though he was doing magickal work at the time, though obviously un-Mao-like he expected more of his students)? Or do you simply record "magickal" work such as rituals? The point is, you have to make a judgment about what's worth recording and what isn't, and quite frankly I think it's (for instance) much more beneficial to record dreams, even though the record gets quite voluminous; but even then one selects what dreams to write down, because some merely relate to the events of the previous day. In fact, inasmuch as rituals give rise to more lucid dreams, to record the ritual and not the dream is going about it completely the wrong way! So I'm not suggesting we should just remember stuff, but principally Crowley's instructions for (a) what is written down, and (b) why, are entirely mistaken IMO. It's totally unhelpful to record things like "Samekh. 35m. Good." which is the sort of thing AC did.

"thePuck" wrote:
what number am I thinking of?

37

"thePuck" wrote:
Until I get that, can we just assume that I know, at least to some degree of accuracy, whether I have gotten a use out of something?

I don't see why I should just trust you on this. You see, many people say how wonderful the diary is, but actual evidence seems hard to come by; and when it boils down to "trust me" (whilst declaiming on its scientific value), I really wonder whether people don't keep diaries in the same way that some Christians use worry-beads to count mantras, or whether (in fact) it isn't actually a religious practice in itself, rather like prayer. Having had this discussion (following on from a recent, more general discussion about whether Thelema is a religion), I am now tending towards the latter view. Thelemites are told to begin a diary as their first and principal magickal practice, whilst the equivalent in Christianity or Islam is to pray and attend mass/masjid. So you see I am bravely rooting out cant and dogma, not being lazy ๐Ÿ˜‰ However, Thelemites are (despite claims to the contrary) just as superstitious and dogmatic as members of any other religion, so obviously I won't get anywhere with this.

"thePuck" wrote:
I guess that means integrity doesn't exist. There goes all those years I wasted studying ethics...oh well.

I'm not sure how you get to this, and in fact the remark seems disingenuous. What I said was that reading over one's diary doesn't have such a profound effect as to "create integrity" in a person, not that integrity doesn't exist...

"thePuck" wrote:
So you see, you don't need the diary. You're perfect. You have perfect self-observation, total recall, continuous awareness of your inner states, and don't need integrity because it apparently doesn't exist. You have replaced the time and energy you would use on the diary for productive and beneficial things that don't involve your useless transient views.

Erm... this is just crazy. I suppose you're intending to do a reductio ad absurdum, but really you will have to do the intermediate steps, because there's nothing in what I said that could lead you to this nonsense.

"thePuck" wrote:
But you see, I am not perfect. I don't know everything, don't have absolute self-awareness in any kind of fashion continuously available to introspection, and while I am capable of many feats of memory, details sometimes do escape me. You're just too cool for school, and I am lame. So I DO need to keep the diary, and I argue all the other imperfect people lacking in absolute self-awareness and continuous eidetic memory probably should too...not as a default position, but a most likely useful one for accomplishing the Great Work.

This really doesn't have anything to do with the discussion at hand. You may as well be talking about why you need to take confession from a priest.

"thePuck" wrote:
As for taking a "nuanced view"...what nuance is there to it? You either keep a magickal diary or you don't. You can keep a more or less complete diary, but whether you do or not is pretty much a bivalent proposition.

No, see above concerning what sort of things to record. It is far from a bivalent proposition, after all what do you mean by "complete"?

"thePuck" wrote:
Writing down an account of a vision is not a diary.

I disagree entirely: take John Dee's spiritual diaries for example. In fact, this sort of thing is precisely what seems to be meant in Liber E, whilst the things you talk about aren't mentioned.

"thePuck" wrote:
A diary is a diary. You said you don't see the point in keeping one.

I really didn't say that, and if you want to insist that I did then you're welcome to hunt for the quote which you didn't find this time, although actually I don't really think it much matters. To repeat, I think it's a good idea to record particular key insights or important events, but not day-to-day stuff like an hour of pranayama and that sort of thing. In practice, at the moment I write something in my diary every few days or so, and as a result my diary is far more useful to me that if I filled it with useless verbiage. That's what LAShTAL.com is... ahem... sorry Paul ๐Ÿ˜‰

"thePuck" wrote:
As for your "indirect accusations of laziness"...I rant about this issue all over. Even if you had never posted, I would have said exactly the same things in response to Alrah. This is one of my pet peeves, and when given a reason to vent my spleen, it is a favorite topic. Notice the majority of it has nothing to do with the diary, it has to do with studying. You are not the first person to come up with an argument for why keeping the diary was pointless or even a bad idea...you aren't even the first one to use those exact word (self-indulgent, transient views, "insert list of people who attained where we have no records of a similar diary") in my experience. My "indirect accusation of laziness" is meant for an entire class of occultist, and I really and truly wasn't thinking of you at all. I didn't even remember who you were until after I had already responded to the "hysterical" remark, you had responded to me again (coincidentally, while I was doing my daily practice and writing it up like a good little follower). Then I went back through the posts. I am sorry you specifically felt insulted, but that wasn't my goal. I displayed a general garment. It's hardly my fault if you find it cut to your fit.

Ah, the "if the cap fits" argument -- another logical fallacy. No, my irritation was because I don't recognise that criticism, though obviously modesty forbids...

"thePuck" wrote:
For what it's worth, having gone back through the posts, I agree with you about Grant.

Glad we agree on something ๐Ÿ™‚


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 Anonymous
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01/02/2010 5:01 pm  
"thePuck" wrote:
Then I wrote a response to Alrah. You apparently took it as aimed at you.

I noticed this, too. thePuck's remarks on a diminishing work ethic were not directed at Ian, but at another person and another sort of person, and were quite valid with regard to a certain segment of the Thelemic population, one that would not include Ian, imo. Nevertheless, these remarks are accurate and important.

As for Ian's comments regarding the lack of true scientific veracity in Thelemic methodology, I agree as well. What we do have, however, is a certain emphasis on scientific principle which filters out the grossest forms of ignorance from our system, or attempts to do so. It is not true scientific method, as it does not prove anything to anyone other than the operator himself or herself, but it is definitely an improvement upon systems with no regard for facts or for scientific principle whatsoever. Progress is progress, as far as I am concerned, and Crowley pioneered progress in this regard.


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 Anonymous
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01/02/2010 5:40 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
I really wonder whether people don't keep diaries in the same way that some Christians use worry-beads to count mantras, or whether (in fact) it isn't actually a religious practice in itself, rather like prayer. Having had this discussion (following on from a recent, more general discussion about whether Thelema is a religion), I am now tending towards the latter view. Thelemites are told to begin a diary as their first and principal magickal practice, whilst the equivalent in Christianity or Islam is to pray and attend mass/masjid.

The difference being that in 'Judeo-Christian-Islam' such observances are kept in reverence to a nonexistent divinity, whilst in a religion of Thelema they would acknowledge a divinity within oneself alone, and in other stars secondarily, each of whom, presumably, do actually exist. Again, an example of progress.


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
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01/02/2010 5:47 pm  

I think the key word there is "presumably"!

Seriously, though, in the way it's described and practiced, Thelemic diary-keeping is a religious practice with a very thin veneer of "science", and is hardly an innovation.


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kidneyhawk
(@kidneyhawk)
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Posts: 1779
01/02/2010 5:51 pm  

Ian and Cam-

I don't know too many Christians (or any sort of mainstream religion types) who keep any sort of record of their practices along the lines of a "Magickal Diary." However, Ian's statement

I really wonder

whether (in fact) it isn't actually a religious practice in itself, rather like prayer.

is a very interesting perspective. I think AC took something of this approach in John St John. His entries come from a variety of mindsets. Sometimes he notes his walks and talks, other times the quality of and conditions surrounding his daily practices, other times projecting his feelings directly into words-and, being Crowley, this becomes a poetic work, "on the spot," an "inspirational writing" in conjunction with his overall work. I also like how this particular diary is given a context of a pre-determined period of working, with a set goal. Instead of "endless verbiage," it hones in on 2 weeks of escalating evocation and-as Ian suggests-it becomes PART OF THE PRACTICE-as much as a record of it. I think either angle has its own potential (noting the details of the work as objectively as possible and/or doing the work via the recording itself). I also think AC brings it all into play in what he hoped would be a good guide to students following his footsteps with this approach.


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 Anonymous
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01/02/2010 6:17 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
Seriously, though, in the way it's described and practiced, Thelemic diary-keeping is a religious practice with a very thin veneer of "science", and is hardly an innovation.

As I noted in an earlier post, the practice has proven itself to be of actual value to me personally. Keeping a record of observations as they occur aids in retrospection and in introspection, certainly, and that is enough to justify the practice to me. I agree that if it were to become merely going through meaningless motions it would be of little practical value.


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 Anonymous
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01/02/2010 6:30 pm  

I have enjoyed reading this back and forth between ThePuck and Ianron. While I have to respectfully disagree with Ian on his position, I find his post's logical and valid, though generally not sound. Ian is dead on that ThePuck commits logical fallacy after logical fallacy in his arguments and does a rather poor job picking quotes that fairly represent the views Ian has expressed.

For Ian,

How do you think one could improve on the diary to make it "as scientific as possible". As scientific as possible seems to imply an evolving work, does it not? =)


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
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Posts: 1134
01/02/2010 7:13 pm  

SSS,

"SSS" wrote:
I have enjoyed reading this back and forth between ThePuck and Ianron. While I have to respectfully disagree with Ian on his position, I find his post's logical and valid, though generally not sound.

Well, I have been playing Devil's Advocate ever so slightly...

"SSS" wrote:
How do you think one could improve on the diary to make it "as scientific as possible". As scientific as possible seems to imply an evolving work, does it not? =)

To be frank, the problem is not that diaries are "scientific" or "unscientific", but that there is no convenient way to measure basic phenomena whilst going about one's daily business, but also the really important phenomena are totally incapable of representation in a diary; indeed, there are many states of consciousness and experiences that are difficult if not impossible to perceive in human consciousness (or, if perceived, not remembered as such), let alone measure by instruments or describe in prose. These might easily include those experienced during even quite "average" ritual practices. Frankly, self-reporting is pretty limited.

And this is the problem. In the end, a person's diary will only ever be anecdotal evidence, and hence carries little weight "scientifically". For instance, John St. John could easily have been completely faked. I think, therefore, it would be better to regard the diary less as a scientific instrument, and more as a feedback loop as described by Puck, or even an inspirational device as Kyle characterizes John St. John.

But this is partly to dodge the question. I suppose the practical answer is to ask you to ask yourself: "What is the hypothesis?", "What variables are necessary to record for the purpose of testing this hypothesis?", "To whom should I apply for a research grant?", etc., and then the answers should present themselves, but really you ought to consider studying experimental psychology first because the only way forward is with the use of proper instrumentation -- anything else is just playing at science. (I actually got myself an EEG machine from these people to do this sort of thing myself. It's hard to argue with an EEG reading, limited though they are. However, you need proper kit to do it well, and that I don't have.)


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Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
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Posts: 3756
01/02/2010 7:45 pm  

I keep a magical diary, and have been doing so for years, on and off. I've no illusions about accumulating scientific proofs of magical states of consciousness, but simply find it useful to keep track of what I do. I do largely agree with Ian about the huge number of variables that would need to be measured for any scientific analysis to be made; fortunately I'm not keeping it with that in mind.

Ian mentioned recording dreams, and I do this too, and there's a parallel here in that dream recall can be so fleeting that just a second or two after waking the memory of the dream can dissipate. I record details of my magical work for a similar reason, in that magical work can distil fleeting states of consciousness or insights the memory of which recedes quite quickly.

It's just my personal preference. I know many occultists who don't keep magical diaries, and appear none the worse for that.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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 Anonymous
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01/02/2010 8:04 pm  

I loved AC and the Practice of the Magical Diary, I thought it was an excellent example of how to maintain a record and the contents of these records were inspiring as well.
As far as how I go about keeping my diary, there have been long stretches where I'll simply put something like "performed dragon asana with comfortable breathing rhythm, 35 minutes, very painful." Or simply "performed LBRP," and these entries just make a record of the fact that I did these exercises. But at other times, when I find that some significant thing has happened, for instance "performing dragon asana, felt like five minutes, when i opened my eyes 40 minutes had passed!" or "performed LRP, manifestation of the visualizations was intense, QBL Cross came with vibrant tingling sensations down my body as I drew the light down from my Kether, Archangels didn't appear in the usual way I visualize them but appeared as if on their own, vibrant, animated and alive," I record the experiences in much greater detail, even noting any lasting effects on myself teh experience may have had. At one point I noticed that after experiments performing the Lesser INVOKING Banishing Ritual of teh Pentagram, I would get slightly ill in the days that followed if I forgot to BANISH in the evenings. Other entries may involve my feelings on my progress, how my practices and my attitudes are changing the way I interact socially and how I interact with the world at large in general, as well some of the more personal insights, ups and downs I am going through in relation to my practices and exercises, making it at times more of a personal journal.
And of course when I practice scrying of any kind, the visions are written down in the utmost detail, for obvious reasons.

Another important reason for keeping the magical diary, is because one may begin to recognize where seemingly disconnected experiences and practices begin to connect at strange points, an excellent example of this can be seen in Roger Williamson's Lucifer Diaries.


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 Anonymous
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01/02/2010 8:34 pm  

Greetings

I find this topic very interesting and I would like to share my understanding about the use of a โ€œmagical diaryโ€, as a person that is not involved (I think!) in Thelema and Magick. ๐Ÿ™‚

So, there was a time about 6 years ago that I had the idea to start concentrating my energies in order to achieve some sort of communication with what the new agers call โ€œthe other side of the veilโ€. After a few months of conscious and insisted efforts, I started getting my first results. I started hearing things that were coherent enough to make me pay some attention and even seeing a few things now and then.

As soon as it started happening, I was clearly guided to start writing down everything I was experiencing. I neglected it for a couple of days but they insisted! So I got a nice notebook and started writing every inner experience I had, every relevant thought, feeling or synchronicity, day by day. Things were flowing smoothly in the beginning. Of course I kept wondering why I should do all this writing, but a latter observation helped me to gain some understanding.

After a few weeks I got lazy. I was tired and thought โ€œOK, Iโ€™ll do it tomorrowโ€. And the other day I said again โ€œnever mind, I can do it tomorrowโ€. After a week or so I realized that the established communication and the flow of the energy were waning, although I didnโ€™t stop the work itself.
I was shocked as I felt I had failed. I asked again and again what I had done wrong and the answer came finally pretty clear โ€œWRITE!โ€.

This was enough to put me back on track again and yes, the communication was restored immediately. Asking for an explanation, I was shown (rather through some sort of image/thought package than clear words) that writing helped me to ground the energy I was dealing with. The energy could be also grounded if I would share my experiences with others, but at that time I wouldnโ€™t even think of talking about this to anyone. At this point I also realized that the job was done better by handwriting than by typewriting.

At some point, I had the feeling that while I was writing, someone was reading over my shoulder and this helped โ€œthemโ€ get a clear idea of the way I was experiencing things, before they take the work any further. However I thought this was a totally absurd idea. โ€œTheyโ€ can read my thoughts, why should they need to read my diary? Much later, I realized that this process of verbalizing my inner experiences and laying down my observations, thoughts and feelings about them, helped my own Self to realize the effect of the work that was done and, therefore, open the way for some new awareness.

Now I donโ€™t keep a diary anymore except for certain works but I keep verbalizing and laying down everything that falls in my perception and sharing it with others, thus allowing the energy to flow. However, every time I feel disconnected and out of my centre, my guidance urges me to write again and after the first sentences everything will fall in place. And the same happens to several people who ask for help and decide to follow the suggestion to start writing down and articulating their inner truth in order to start gaining a greater awareness of the inner dimensions.

Regards
Hecate


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 Anonymous
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01/02/2010 8:38 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
The fundamental problem with the supposedly "scientific" nature of the record-keeping practice of Liber E is that it bears no comparison to empirical science.

There is nothing in Liber E that says it should be like empirical science. It only says:

"The more scientific the record is, the better. Yet the emotions should be noted, as being some of the conditions."

It suggests an attitude and approach and doesn't claim to be hard science. The word "Yet" following the one mention of science implies that this won't be a strict scientific record.

As to whether this be science or religion, Liber E says:

"It is not necessary at this stage for us to declare fully the ultimate end of our researches; nor indeed would it be understood by those who have not become proficient in these elementary courses."

Sounds like it's occult, unknown, neither science or religion as we know them.

In this Liber, Crowley pretty quickly writes contradictory instructions to either entrap or liberate blind followers. The opening line sounds direly dogmatic:

"It is absolutely necessary ..."

Then a few paragraphs later:

"The experimenter is encouraged to use his own intelligence, and not to rely upon any other person or persons, however distinguished, even among ourselves."

That includes Crowley and the instructions/suggestions/guidelines he just gave.

"To do magick without a record is like trying to run a business without book-
keeping." - Crowley

I think the 'running a business' metaphor more accurate than either
comparison with science or religion.

Don't know the origin of this quote. I found it in Cornelius' excellent
Aleister Crowley and the Ouija Board.


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 Anonymous
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01/02/2010 8:49 pm  
"zardoz" wrote:
Sounds like it's occult, unknown, neither science or religion as we know them.

As we knew them. ๐Ÿ˜‰


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
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01/02/2010 9:14 pm  
"zardoz" wrote:
There is nothing in Liber E that says it should be like empirical science.

Perhaps I should explain that "empirical science" = "modern science"; i.e., science in the sense we know it, and the sense in which Crowley and Aristotle meant it: that is, knowledge based on observation, rather than knowledge based on internal cogitation, rumination and digestion a la Plato and Loyd Grossman.

So yes, there is plenty "in Liber E that says it should be like empirical science", dammit! And it is science, but not in a rigorous sense. I mean, it'd definitely be accepted by the IPCC ๐Ÿ˜›

To put it bluntly, Thelema does things better than other religions, but it doesn't do to get too cocky ๐Ÿ˜‰


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 Anonymous
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01/02/2010 10:00 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
To be frank, the problem is not that diaries are "scientific" or "unscientific", but that there is no convenient way to measure basic phenomena whilst going about one's daily business, but also the really important phenomena are totally incapable of representation in a diary; indeed, there are many states of consciousness and experiences that are difficult if not impossible to perceive in human consciousness (or, if perceived, not remembered as such), let alone measure by instruments or describe in prose. These might easily include those experienced during even quite "average" ritual practices. Frankly, self-reporting is pretty limited.

And this is the problem. In the end, a person's diary will only ever be anecdotal evidence, and hence carries little weight "scientifically". For instance, John St. John could easily have been completely faked. I think, therefore, it would be better to regard the diary less as a scientific instrument, and more as a feedback loop as described by Puck, or even an inspirational device as Kyle characterizes John St. John.

But this is partly to dodge the question. I suppose the practical answer is to ask you to ask yourself: "What is the hypothesis?", "What variables are necessary to record for the purpose of testing this hypothesis?", "To whom should I apply for a research grant?", etc., and then the answers should present themselves, but really you ought to consider studying experimental psychology first because the only way forward is with the use of proper instrumentation -- anything else is just playing at science. (I actually got myself an EEG machine from these people to do this sort of thing myself. It's hard to argue with an EEG reading, limited though they are. However, you need proper kit to do it well, and that I don't have.)

Ian

All this talk about applying the scientific method and limitations of record-taking sounds like splitting hairs. Itโ€™s not that complicated โ€“ that is, unless you want to make it complicated and, if so, the question arises why?

The value of the diary is in being as honest as possible, not in trying to paint oneself in a flattering light. Ego can get in the way of recording oneself in an honest manner, but even if the person lies in the diary, the underlying fantasy supporting the lie can reveal an insightful truth. On the other hand if a person is unconsciously deluded, the record remains so that years later that person can read it and find instructive insight. Whether we realize it or not, the mind is always disclosing its state. As such the diary is a useful tool toward discovery of True Will. Yes Crowley may have faked John St. John, but I donโ€™t think so. Why? Because he reveals flaws that he never seems to recognize.

The details of John St. John are insightful โ€“ the image of the jockey, the thought of weighing himself, his extreme aspiration and self-loathing, the perception of himself as a pig, eating a pork sandwich and cursing Allah in frustration, eating oysters, having sex with various random womenโ€ฆ What does that tell you?

The object of his retirement was to attain KCHGA, but its obvious this meant full-blown kundalini arousal based on his description. Presumably he was eating oysters to build sperm count. Unless he refrained from ejaculation, he should not have been having sex. Itโ€™s not clear whether he knew this fact but indulged nonetheless or whether he had sex out of ignorance on how to achieve his goal. Reading this record, its evident to me his one of his biggest flaws was not laziness (Tamas) as he often claimed, but rather an over-developed and over-stimulated Ruach (note that out of the wand, cup, sword and disk in the Thoth deck, the swords are depicted broken more than any of the other three).

What makes John St. John a hilarious read is the fact Crowley thought his goal should be attained through sheer willpower, aspiration and magick โ€“ reading like so much Ruach masturbation - when he should have been more grounded, treated his body like a laboratory, built up the sperm count through diet, purified his body with teas, meditated on raising the energy up the chakras, and the goal would have been attained far more easily and with less agonizing. He attained in the end in spite of himself. I would suggest there is nothing super-extraordinary about his achievement and that under the right physical conditions it could happen to anybody โ€“ as in fact it does (Iโ€™ve known two acquaintances who experienced accidental kundalini awakening without trying). Kundalini awakening is not that common, but it is not impossible to achieve either.

So, in fact, John St. John could be read as a historical record of a European attempting to achieve kundalini arousal when little was known about this phenomena at the time - hence described in mystical and magickal language.

Now if Crowley did not leave a record behind, we would not be able to assess his achievements in this manner.


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
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01/02/2010 10:06 pm  
"tai" wrote:
Now if Crowley did not leave a record behind, we would not be able to assess his achievements in this manner.

And it would be a tragic loss to humanity if we couldn't discuss Crowley's sperm count like adults ๐Ÿ˜›


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 Anonymous
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01/02/2010 10:30 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
"zardoz" wrote:
There is nothing in Liber E that says it should be like empirical science.

Perhaps I should explain that "empirical science" = "modern science"; i.e., science in the sense we know it, and the sense in which Crowley and Aristotle meant it: that is, knowledge based on observation, rather than knowledge based on internal cogitation, rumination and digestion a la Plato and Loyd Grossman.

So yes, there is plenty "in Liber E that says it should be like empirical science", dammit! And it is science, but not in a rigorous sense. I mean, it'd definitely be accepted by the IPCC ๐Ÿ˜›

To put it bluntly, Thelema does things better than other religions, but it doesn't do to get too cocky ๐Ÿ˜‰

You're right, I worded it wrong. There's nothing in Liber E that it says it needs to be accepted by, or strictly adhere to and judged against all the criteria of modern science.

Thelema does things better than other religions because it's much more than a religion. And because there is no external authority.


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 Anonymous
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01/02/2010 10:31 pm  

This is one of the things I hate about forums, a thread about a particular book turns into a thread about the importance and relevancy of keeping a diary, a debate that appearantly can be pretty heated.


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OKontrair
(@okontrair)
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01/02/2010 11:06 pm  

I once kept 'magical' diaries then after some years decided not to and got rid of them. When I kept them I sometimes failed and this was due to laziness. When I decided to stop it was for completely different reasons altogether.

I enjoy and appreciate post from thePuck except when he does thiiiiiiis; right now he's into work ethic and hear hear. He can't possibly have been referring to Ianrons because Ianrons is transparently one of the most diligent, industrious and productive fellows you could hope to meet if he weren't too busy.

It seems to me that there is an unjustified assumption in Tai's post viz. that Crowley is attempting a 'full-blown kundalini arousal'. Having made that assumption it folllows reasonably enough that he is therefore doing it wrongly. I disagree.

I haven't read J.St.J in years and had forgotten all about the oysters. I remember best that Garibaldi biscuits cure headaches which, for me, they did. Did you really mean 'sperm count'? I would have thought that the point of eating live oysters was to gain immediate energy. Oysters are also famed for improving libidinal stamina and I just about suppose that they might affect semen volume but sperm count? I don't think that right at that moment he was hoping for a baby. If there were some such benefit to be had It would probably not be immediate.

OK


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lashtal
(@lashtal)
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01/02/2010 11:15 pm  
"OKontrair" wrote:
Ianrons is transparently one of the most diligent, industrious and productive fellows you could hope to meet if he weren't too busy.

I'll second that remark.

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


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 Anonymous
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01/02/2010 11:34 pm  
"OKontrair" wrote:
It seems to me that there is an unjustified assumption in Tai's post viz. that Crowley is attempting a 'full-blown kundalini arousal'. Having made that assumption it folllows reasonably enough that he is therefore doing it wrongly. I disagree.

Relevant lines from John St. John are highlighted:

9th Day

1.30. After five minutes rest (to the body, that is), John St. John was too exhausted on resuming his pose, which, by the way, happens to be the Sign of the Grade 7ยฐ = 4รธ, to strive consciously. But his nature itself, forced through these days into the one channel of Will towards Adonai, went on struggling on its own account. Later, the conscious man took heart and strove, though not so fiercely as before. He passed through the Lightnings of Ajna, whose two petals now spread out like wings above his head, and the awful Corona of the Interior Sun with its flashing fires appeared, and declared itself to be his Self. This he rejected; and the Formless Ocean of White Brilliance absorbed him, overcame him; for he could not pass therethrough. This went on repeating itself, the man transformed (as it were) into a mighty Battering Ram hurling itself again and again against the Walls of the City of God to breach them. --- And as yet he has failed. Failed. Failed. Physical and mental exhaustion are fairly complete.
Adonai, look with favour upon Thy slave!

4.53. One ought to remark that all this sleep is full extravagant dreams; rarely irrational and never (of course) unpleasant, or one would be up and working with a circle every night. But O.M. thinks that they show an excited and unbalanced condition of John St. John's brain, though he is almost too cowed to express an opinion at all, even were the question, Is grass green?
Every small snatch of sleep, without exception, in the last three or four days, has these images.
The ideal condition seems likely to be perfect oblivion --- or (in the Adept) is the Tamo-Guna, the Power of elemental Darkness, broken once and for ever, so that His sleep is vivid and rational as another man's waking; His waking another man's Samadhi; His Samadhi --- to which He ever strives ---- ?????
At least this later view is suggested by the Rosicrucian formula of Reception:
May thy mind be open unto the Higher!
May thy heart be the Centre of Light!
May thy body be the Temple of the Rosy Cross!
and by the Hindu statement that in the attained Yogin the Kundalini sleeps in the Svadistthana, no more in the Muladhara Cakkramโ€ฆ.

12th day

11.17. At 10.0 arrived at Brenner's studio, and took the pose. At once, automatically, the interior trembling began again, and again the subtle brilliance flowed through me.
The consciousness again died and was reborn as the divine, always without shock or stress
.
How easy is magic, once the way is found! ...

1.32. And now the Rapture of it takes me! ...

1.27. My soul is singing ... my soul is singing! โ€ฆ

1.30. It matters nothing what I do ... everything goes infinitely, incredibly right!
"The Lord Adonai is about me as a Thunderbolt and as a Pylon and as a Serpent and as a Phallus." ...


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OKontrair
(@okontrair)
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01/02/2010 11:51 pm  

Thank you Tai. I'll go away and reread the book.

OK


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 Anonymous
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01/02/2010 11:59 pm  

You're welcome.

I found John St. John to be one of Crowley's most amusing works - pure comedy!


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Horemakhet
(@horemakhet)
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Posts: 526
03/02/2010 1:42 am  

I also enjoyed the playoff between Ianrons & Puck. Intellectualy stimulating. I have often thought that it would be a wonderful addition if, when the argument becomes heated, the interested parties could carry over into a Chess match. Just a wish of mine. Always wanted to play chess here. . .


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 Anonymous
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Posts: 0
03/02/2010 11:13 am  
"thePuck" wrote:
"alrah" wrote:
How would you pursue anything "real" like playing an instrument?

Well - when it comes to magick, 'you'aren't playing anything. But if you'd like some practical inspiration about how to learn then I suggest you listen to this bloke:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kwjDLHX92w

...and when you're done - put your hat back on hatstand with the rest of the magick formula's you've imbibed from the occult community over the last few years.

Love under Will.

93,

So you're saying we should all be autistic savants? Clever! You really showed me up!

Tell you what: I'll keep using the methods that actually worked for anyone, ever. You keep reinventing the wheel while others are flying jets. We can compare notes later.

93, 93/93

I'm a bit dissapointed that I need to spell out the point I was trying to make to you with the example of Derek Paravicini. I had hoped you would grasp it intuitively.

Derek had to practise like every other musician, but he's using learning skills that are innate to every human being, rather than rely on artificial forms of learning taught at school. Without the former innate ability to learn naturally then formal learning techniques are pretty useless. You can send a person with no ear to music lessons until they turn grey, and perhaps you'll end up with a person who can play by rote in a mechanical manner, but they won't be musicians.

Even scientists with thier projects to some extent 'groove' with it before they get into hard and heavy scientific method. See Pirsig for more details on that! ๐Ÿ™‚


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
03/02/2010 11:43 am  
"ianrons" wrote:
"tai" wrote:
Now if Crowley did not leave a record behind, we would not be able to assess his achievements in this manner.

And it would be a tragic loss to humanity if we couldn't discuss Crowley's sperm count like adults ๐Ÿ˜›

Lol. I wonder if Crowley was about these days he would bother with a diary. I rather think he would be a blogger.

You mentioned earlier in the thread the indirect accusation of laziness, and I'm rather interested in this theme. What can seem like laziness (ie - the person who doesn't keep a diary may also never bother revising for exams) may look incredibly lazy to someone with the usual faulty memory, but to a person endowed with a good or excellent memory, these matters are entirely redundant or perhaps even antagonistic against his work and his nature.

Early schooling insists on this type of useless 'make work' for everyone (homework is 90% memory work), ignoring whether it's appropriate or not and I believe it can form some psychological barriers and blocks for people, causing repressed resentment and (ironically) learning difficulties.

And then there are people who may think primarily in visual terms - to whom narrative is somewhat like a second language. For these people, in respect of thier own learning styles and systems, it maybe far more useful for them to keep a visual record.

In short - I completely agree with you that this matter needs a more nuanced appreciation, but I completely disagree with you that ThePuck displays any signs of autistic thinking. That's rather a shame really. ๐Ÿ™‚

Love under Will,

Alrah. (with aspergers syndrome).


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
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03/02/2010 3:16 pm  
"alrah" wrote:
I wonder if Crowley was about these days he would bother with a diary. I rather think he would be a blogger.

I rather think his diaries were always, like little Cecily's diary, "a young [beast]โ€™s record of [his] own thoughts and impressions, and consequently meant for publication."

"alrah" wrote:
Early schooling insists on this type of useless 'make work' for everyone

In AC's case, I think what we see with the A.'.A.'. syllabus is that a lot of work is required without it ever being justified in terms of the HGA retirement, of which Abraham the Jew states "no great skill, effort or intelligence are necessary" (Dehn edn., Prologue to Book Three; omitted in the Mathers edn.). I can't help but think that AC simply thought of all the most difficult practices he could, assigned them to the paths on the Tree of Life and threw them at his students as an impressive-seeming (and unnecessary) mountain to climb, without ever requiring the same of himself. In effect, this has done more to create a false barrier to attainment than it has helped anyone (so far as I can see).

Liber E is a good example: "Test your endurance with various gymnastic exercises, club swinging, and so on." Anyone who seriously believes this isn't just a waste of time is going to have to spend a lot of time finding that out. This is not to say that some of the practices aren't useful; however, what we see in reality is a hotch-potch of badly thought-out or inaccurate exercises, based frequently on Crowley's assumptions or embellishments, for example memorization of 777, which AC clearly did not so much write from memory ("Egyptian names of Asc. Decans", anyone?) as compile from the obvious reference books with many on-the-spot placements based on superficial knowledge. The image of Cyril Grey spending an hour each evening with Rosenroth โ€“ after saving his girlfriend from the clutches of the Black Lodge โ€“ is utter fantasy, and I believe Gershom Scholem has the last word on Perdurabo, saying that he "had an infinitesimal knowledge of Kabbalah that did not prevent [him] from drawing freely on [his] imagination instead".

Other useless parts of Liber E are the instructions on asana, which as far as I can tell, having spent many, many hours practicing (and having surveyed other opinions on this) are complete tosh. The pain which he describes was probably, in his case, simply muscle ache which he wouldn't have got if he were more flexible; and I am not aware of anyone having been able to replicate the "automatic rigidity", ten minutes of which is as restorative to the body as a night's sleep. What this means is that people (like myself) will waste a long time trying to achieve something that is, in fact, unattainable; and this, when they could be doing something much more useful.

However, articles like Liber E (and, e.g., the extraordinarily difficult exercises like Libri Had and Nu) encouraged people to believe in AC's magistry, and in the reputation of A.'.A.'. This is "cashed in" in the final part of Liber E (and frequently elsewhere), where readers are earnestly advised to purchase a number of AC's books and to "seek out and attach himself to, a master, one competent to correct him and advise him. Nor should he be discouraged by the difficulty of finding such a person." (Hint: It's Crowley.)

Crowley's glamour was intense: the Holy Books are absolutely superb, but sadly the more I find out about Crowley, the more inclined I am to think that the Holy Books were simply religious propaganda pieces, that his actions were politically motivated and that his religious instructions were recycled from other sources dishonestly and without thought. For instance, he claimed to have examined the "Enochian record" in its original form in Oxford, despite it being in London and despite showing no knowledge of it. I realise now that the worst criticisms I have of people like Kenneth Grant or David Rankine are equally if not much more forcefully applicable to Crowley, the Wizard of Oz, whose lies and deceptions are frequently written about but assumed by his followers (including until recently myself) not to extend to his accounts of his magickal practices. I don't think he invented his experiences ex nihilo โ€“ in fact I think he probably believed his own hype โ€“ but he allowed himself to exaggerate greatly, and this has created the sort of reflexive thinking which puts any deviation from the practices he set down as based on some kind of degeneracy or moral turpitude.


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
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Posts: 1134
03/02/2010 3:46 pm  
"alrah" wrote:
I wonder if Crowley was about these days he would bother with a diary. I rather think he would be a blogger.

I rather think his diaries were always, like little Cecily's diary, "simply a young manโ€™s record of his own thoughts and impressions, and consequently meant for publication."

"alrah" wrote:
Early schooling insists on this type of useless 'make work' for everyone

In AC's case, I think what we see with the A.'.A.'. syllabus is that a lot of work is required without it ever being justified in terms of the HGA retirement, of which Abraham the Jew states "no great skill, effort or intelligence are necessary" (Dehn edn., Prologue to Book Three; omitted in the Mathers edn.). I can't help but think that AC simply thought of all the most difficult practices he could, assigned them to the paths on the Tree of Life and threw them at his students as an impressive-seeming (and unnecessary) mountain to climb, without ever requiring the same of himself. In effect, this has done more to create a false barrier to attainment than it has helped anyone (so far as I can see).

Liber E is a good example: "Test your endurance with various gymnastic exercises, club swinging, and so on." Anyone who seriously believes this isn't just a waste of time is going to have to spend a lot of time finding that out. This is not to say that some of the practices aren't useful; however, what we see in reality is a hotch-potch of badly thought-out or inaccurate exercises, based frequently on Crowley's assumptions or embellishments, for example memorization of 777, which AC clearly did not so much write from memory ("Egyptian names of Asc. Decans", anyone?) as compile from the obvious reference books with many on-the-spot placements based on superficial knowledge. The image of Cyril Grey spending an hour each evening with Rosenroth โ€“ after saving his girlfriend from the clutches of the Black Lodge โ€“ is utter fantasy, and I believe Gershom Scholem has the last word on Perdurabo, saying that he "had an infinitesimal knowledge of Kabbalah that did not prevent [him] from drawing freely on [his] imagination instead".

Other useless parts of Liber E are the instructions on asana, which as far as I can tell, having spent many, many hours practicing (and having surveyed other opinions on this) are complete tosh. The pain which he describes was probably, in his case, simply muscle ache which he wouldn't have got if he were more flexible; and I am not aware of anyone having been able to replicate the "automatic rigidity", ten minutes of which is as restorative to the body as a night's sleep. What this means is that people (like myself) will waste a long time trying to achieve something that is, in fact, unattainable; and this, when they could be doing something much more useful.

However, articles like Liber E (and, e.g., the extraordinarily difficult exercises like Libri Had and Nu, or Liber HHH) encouraged people to believe in AC's magistry and in the reputation of A.'.A.'. precisely because of the exaggerated difficulty of the practices. This is "cashed in" in the final part of Liber E (and frequently elsewhere), where readers are earnestly advised to purchase a number of AC's books and to "seek out and attach himself to, a master, one competent to correct him and advise him. Nor should he be discouraged by the difficulty of finding such a person." (Hint: It's Crowley.)

Crowley's glamour was intense: the Holy Books are absolutely superb, but sadly these days I'm inclined to think that the Holy Books were simply religious propaganda pieces, that his actions were largely motivated by his own ego and that his religious instructions were recycled from other sources dishonestly and without thought. For instance, he claimed to have examined the "Enochian record" in its original form in Oxford, despite it being in London and despite showing no knowledge of it... yet on this, as on any other subject, he always talks about himself as though he were the perfect master, setting the syllabus for others. He reminds me these days of one of the useless teachers described by Abraham the Jew, not of an Abramelin character.

So, coming back to an earlier point, I think it's a shame when criticism of the A.'.A.'. syllabus is equated with laziness, and IMO this is just a way to rationalise dissenting views. After all, chipping away at the Class 'B' publications is pretty close to questioning the A.'.A.'. itself; but the A.'.A.'. is only Crowley.


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kidneyhawk
(@kidneyhawk)
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Posts: 1779
03/02/2010 4:35 pm  

He reminds me these days of one of the useless teachers described by Abraham the Jew, not of an Abramelin character.

Sounds like the unmasking of the "Demon Crowley!" ๐Ÿ˜‰


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 Anonymous
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03/02/2010 4:51 pm  
"alrah" wrote:
Derek had to practise like every other musician, but he's using learning skills that are innate to every human being, rather than rely on artificial forms of learning taught at school. Without the former innate ability to learn naturally then formal learning techniques are pretty useless. You can send a person with no ear to music lessons until they turn grey, and perhaps you'll end up with a person who can play by rote in a mechanical manner, but they won't be musicians.

I've always suspected that this a legitimate point, and a rather Thelemic one, as well. One wonders whether children ought to forced to learn music in school, even though they show no aptitude for or interest in it at all. The same is true of a number of other arts and sciences, the basics required to function in the world excepted. I suppose that exposure to a variety of stimuli is right but, in the absence of any positive response, is a waste of resources and is bound to stifle the child's actual Will, whatever that happens to be. What do you think, Alrah?


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 Anonymous
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03/02/2010 5:26 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
Other useless parts of Liber E are the instructions on asana, which as far as I can tell, having spent many, many hours practicing (and having surveyed other opinions on this) are complete tosh. The pain which he describes was probably, in his case, simply muscle ache which he wouldn't have got if he were more flexible; and I am not aware of anyone having been able to replicate the "automatic rigidity", ten minutes of which is as restorative to the body as a night's sleep. What this means is that people (like myself) will waste a long time trying to achieve something that is, in fact, unattainable; and this, when they could be doing something much more useful.

Interesting, Ian. Personally, what I recall (it was a long time ago now) coming away from these instructions with was that I should identify an Asana wherein I could remain upright and motionless for a prolonged period of time and then proceed to combining Pranayama with this and then move into combining the mental parts of the process. I suppose that I was just too stupid to become distracted by the rest, but the results were very impressive before very long at all. ๐Ÿ™‚


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
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03/02/2010 5:29 pm  

I agree with a lot of your points Ian. ๐Ÿ™‚

It looks more like a teacher training course at times, rather than something that is specifically geared and taylor made towards the individual student. I'm sure this needs to come into the curriculum somewhere at the end, but only for those who have the will and the ability to teach. Otherwise it just results in a socialism of education that is more exoteric in it's outward form that esoteric. ๐Ÿ™‚


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ianrons
(@ianrons)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1134
03/02/2010 5:39 pm  
"Camlion" wrote:
Interesting, Ian. Personally, what I recall (it was a long time ago now) coming away from these instructions with was that I should identify an Asana wherein I could remain upright and motionless for a prolonged period of time and then proceed to combining Pranayama with this and then move into combining the mental parts of the process. I suppose that I was just too stupid to become distracted by the rest, but the results were very impressive before very long at all. ๐Ÿ™‚

Are you talking about asana, or about pranayama & dharana, in the last sentence here?


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