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 Anonymous
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Los,

Thus, as I continue to argue

Indeed!  Quite the "one trick pony".


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Los
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Obitus:

Regardless of one's own personal beliefs and experiences that may lead one to believe or disbelieve in the existence of the "supernatural," to claim that Crowley himself did not view many of his methods and practices as ways to achieve contact with spiritual realities is simply ignoring a vast quantity of his works and focusing on a few quotes, such as those found in his introduction to the "Goetia" or "Liber 0."

Where did I claim that Crowley's personal beliefs were that his methods and practices were not ways to achieve contact with spiritual realities? I went out of my way before to say that -- if we take Crowley at his word as to what he personally believed about the supernatural -- then he and I have different beliefs about the supernatural (but not different beliefs about what Thelema actually is).

In my last post, I was talking not about Crowley's personal beliefs but about his public presentation of his system, in which he consistently notes the importance of skepticism, not attributing supernatural explanations to phenomena, and ignoring as irrelevant (to the practice, anyway) the reality of these supernatural explanations. If you go and read my article that I linked to, I give quotes spanning Crowley's entire career that support this position: it's not a case of  "focusing on a few quotes," but of observing a pattern in Crowley's public presentation of his system.

Now, how well did Crowley himself personally live up to the skeptical ideals of his system? Depends on how seriously he actually took his supposed supernatural beliefs. If we take him at his word, then -- as I've said -- he failed to live up to the ideals of his system, on that particular point, and we can learn from his mistakes and do better.


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ignant666
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Obitus; To save Los saying this, all such methods and practices described by AC are "not Thelema", "Thelema" being a term of art employed by Los for all those parts of AC's work and practices compatible with materialism and atheism.
[we were typing simultaneously, but Los has given the answer I offered, as his views are very predictable].

Los: You rely very heavily on that Liber O quote, don't you? Can you point out the part where he says "the Sephiroth and the Paths; [...] Spirits and Conjurations; [...] Gods, Spheres, Planes, and many other things" definitely do not exist and are not "real" (what I believe to be your position)?
When"certain results [...] follow" we seem to agree that we are no longer speaking about "the supernatural", but about natural phenomena (since "nature" is a term for the sum total of phenomena).
You say that the application of the skepticism you quite rightly say AC urged as central to Thelema leads us to certainty about the nature of these phenomena, because of some new information (you have never said what) available to us since 1947.
What is the value of this certainty?


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Los
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Just a moment ago, I wrote:

Where did I claim that Crowley's personal beliefs were that his methods and practices were not ways to achieve contact with spiritual realities?

Just to be extra, extra clear, let me rephrase: I have never said that Crowley personally believed that his methods and practices were not ways to achieve contact with spiritual realities. But by the same token, I have never said that Crowley personally believed that his methods and practices were methods to achieve contact with spiritual realities.

I've steered clear of talking about his personal beliefs thus far, because what's important to me is Crowley's system: I've been talking about the way he presented Thelema (and the skepticism that is at the heart of Thelema) to the world.

It's worth noting, in this context, that he never -- not once -- presents the occult practices he used in the service of Thelema as means of "contact" with supernatural entities (he may have regarded these practices as means of "contact with spiritual realities," depending on how we define those terms...it's very possible to define that phrase in a non-supernatural way). AA work is presented entirely in terms of self-development. Even Samekh, a ritual to "invoke the Holy Guardian Angel," is explained in the notes clearly to be about distracting the body, mind, and imagination of the magician so that he is free to concentrate on his "Deepest Self."

Nothing about the supernatural in there.

Once more: I've made no arguments about Crowley's personal beliefs but have been observing how he presented his system to the world. Now, we could talk about what Crowley's beliefs might have been, but there's some degree of speculation involved in that conversation, and I feel a more fruitful discussion is about how Crowley publicly presented Thelema (what it actually is) -- not occultism, not supernatural beliefs, etc.


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ignant666
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Los: I have answered your question about how "your Thelema" differs from "AC's Thelema" repeatedly, but one more time: AC urged skepticism & an open mind; you urge certainty, which is why debating you is like debating a Jehovah's Witness or any other sort of fundamentalist- I did not refer above to your "apologetics" lightly.
As to the role of "belief" in Thelema, it has no place: 1AL 58: "I give [...]certainty, not faith, while in life..."


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Los
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ignant666 writes:

You rely very heavily on that Liber O quote, don't you?

No, I don't. It might save you some time to read through the article I linked to, where I go through quotes from Crowley's entire career.

Can you point out the part where he says "the Sephiroth and the Paths; [...] Spirits and Conjurations; [...] Gods, Spheres, Planes, and many other things" definitely do not exist and are not "real" (what I believe to be your position)?

I have never claimed that Crowley didn't believe that any of those things are real, nor have I claimed that Crowley believed them to be not real. [There's a subtle and important difference between "I don't believe X" and "I believe X is not real"]

When"certain results [...] follow" we seem to agree that we are no longer speaking about "the supernatural", but about natural phenomena (since "nature" is a term for the sum total of phenomena).

Sure, doing rituals definitely produces results (I would say purely psychological results), and it's important not to attribute any objective reality to any explanations one attaches to these results (including claims based on what the results feel like).

You say that the application of the skepticism you quite rightly say AC urged as central to Thelema leads us to certainty about the nature of these phenomena

I have never claimed any kind of certainty. Atheism, materialism/naturalism, and moral nihilism do not need to involve any kind of certainty: they are merely the positions of not believing in gods, other worlds, or the objectively-binding nature of moral claims until such evidence arises in their favor.

because of some new information (you have never said what) available to us since 1947.

I think if you glance back at what I said, my position is that the proper application of skepticism in Crowley's day would have led to naturalism/materialism as well, but that today -- when we have tons more scientific discoveries under our belts (none of which suggest any position besides naturalism) and lots more time has passed in which there has been zero evidence of the supernatural at all -- the conclusion of naturalism/materialism is even more compelling for people today.

I feel like you're slipping back into that "jump to conclusions and adopt an aggressive tone" that we started with, ignant. Take a deep breath, and read what I'm saying, not what you think I'm saying.

And if you get a chance, I really would like an answer to the question of how you think Crowley's idea of what Thelema is differs from what I've been saying Thelema is (and again, we're talking about Thelema -- not occultism or supernatural beliefs, etc.). Look, I'll be totally straight with you: I don't think you can do it because (obviously) I think I'm right. If you can't do it, then just say so...that won't "prove that I'm absolutely right" or anything, but it will be some evidence for my position, which it is.


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Los
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I have answered your question about how "your Thelema" differs from "AC's Thelema" repeatedly, but one more time: AC urged skepticism & an open mind; you urge certainty

Well, you've never said that before, but as I just addressed above, it's false: I have never urged certainty of any kind.

Beliefs -- and by "belief," I mean "accepting a claim as true" -- are always tentative, always based on the best evidence we have at a given time and subject to change when better evidence comes along.


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ignant666
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As the AL quote I posted above indicates, Thelma does not involve "belief", because it is gnostic; I agree that AC says we should be skeptical even about gnosis, but would urge you to be open to the possibility that gnosis might be part of "the evidence we have at a given time".
I have much better evidence of the existence of the gods than I have that you (Los) exist.


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Los
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As the AL quote I posted above indicates, Thelma does not involve "belief", because it is gnostic

The AL quote is specifically talking about death, not believing in gods or anything else. Plus, regarding gods specifically, Crowley says (in the introduction to AL, no less) that the gods of Thelema are philosophical concepts symbolized as gods for "literary convenience."


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ignant666
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Quite right, Los, but the question is, whose convenience? Their own or the scribe's?
Sure they are personified philosophical concepts, but they are personified philosophical concepts that do stuff, ie create phenomena like this AL you are so impressed by.
Most atheists don't have the burden you have assumed in carrying the banner of an ostensibly quite theist entity like Thelema, what with the having gods and so on.
As to your response to my AL quote, no, the part about "upon death" comes after, the part I cited is as direct a Thelemic answer to the question of belief as we have.


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Palamedes
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When Los writes: "Once more, this is not a conclusion to which Thelema itself "leads" anyone, but I would argue that it is the natural conclusion of skepticism, and since skepticism is so fundamental to the practice of Thelema, the philosophy of Thelema is best practiced today in the context of atheism, materialism, and moral nihilism" I cannot but feel that Thelema has been confused with and/or reduced to Ayn Rand's Objectivism. My position is that this is fine as a personal interpretation and nothing more. To imply that this is a reading supported by Crowley's writings is from my point of view preposterous. Los seems to subscribe to a literalist approach to science, religion, and the occult, as if these were ontologically different and his privileging of science appears as uninformed of differing views in contemporary cultural studies (to stay with this-worldly examples). I suggest, among wealth of sources, taking a peek at Jeffrey Kripal's Mutants and Mystics and its bibliographical references, which plays with world-views of superhero comics (and films), popular science, the occult, religious studies, and futurology in a manner that displays the conceptual depth and complexity that are evident in alternative engagements with the nature reality and that are much more welcoming of and aligned with the "occultist" position than Los seems to be. Finally, to argue that Thelema promotes moral nihilism is an extremely weak reading of Crowley's opus and Holy Books of Thelema. "Humanity first!" argued Crowley, and if this is a moral nihilism, than truly two and two make five.


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Los
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I cannot but feel that Thelema has been confused with and/or reduced to Ayn Rand's Objectivism.

I can't stand Rand, or Objectivism, for that matter.

To imply that this is a reading supported by Crowley's writings is from my point of view preposterous.

Once more, I'm not claiming that Crowley's views are identical to all of mine. I'm claiming that his Thelema has skepticism at its heart and that a proper application of skepticism leads inevitably to the conclusions of atheism, materialism, and moral nihilism. Crowley may have failed to live up to the standards of skepticism advocated by his system.

Finally, to argue that Thelema promotes moral nihilism is an extremely weak reading of Crowley's opus

Really, now.

“There are no "standards of Right." Ethics is balderdash. Each Star must go on its orbit. To hell with 'moral Principle;' there is no such thing; that is a herd-delusion, and makes men cattle.” – New Comment to AL II:28

“murder of a faithless partner is ethically excusable, in a certain sense; for there may be some stars whose Nature is extreme violence. The collision of galaxies is a magnificent spectacle, after all. But there is nothing inspiring in a visit to one's lawyer. Of course this is merely my personal view; a star who happened to be a lawyer might see things otherwise!” – New Comment to AL I:41

“Until the Great Work has been performed, it is presumptuous for the magician to pretend to understand the universe, and dictate its policy. Only the Master of the Temple can say whether any given act is a crime. "Slay that innocent child?" (I hear the ignorant say) "What a horror!" "Ah!" replies the Knower, with foresight of history, "but that child will become Nero. Hasten to strangle him!"

“There is a third, above these, who understands that Nero was as necessary as Julius Caesar.” – MiTP XXI

“There is no grace, there is no guilt
This is the law: Do what thou wilt.” – Liber 333

“One can never be sure what is right and what is wrong, until one appreciates that "wrong" is equally "right."” – MWT, XVI

“For until we become innocent, we are certain to try to judge our Will by some Canon of what seems ‘right’ or ‘wrong’; in other words, we are apt to criticise our Will from the outside, whereas True Will should spring, a fountain of Light, from within, and flow unchecked, seething with Love, into the Ocean of Life.” – Little Essays
______

And that's just a tiny handful of the ones I recall from memory.

Sorry for the extensive quotation, but I wanted to head off the objection that I’m “cherry picking” Crowley. Moral nihilism is a serious undercurrent in Thelemic thought. According to Thelema, morality is entirely imaginary, a collection of claims that delude the mind into thinking that certain actions are “better” or "worse" than others (i.e. it makes a difference between one thing and any other thing).

When one stops drawing these kinds of distinctions, the only basis for action left is the natural inclinations of the individual, what Crowley calls the True Will.


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Markus
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Los wrote:

... a proper application of skepticism leads inevitably to the conclusions of atheism, materialism, and moral nihilism.

No it does not: Los, you're clearly confusing skepticism with cynicism.

Markus


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Azidonis
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"James A. Eshelman. The Mystical and Magical System of the A:.A:. P. 154" wrote:
Much of the foregoing remains theoretical. It also may be entirely moot; for every 7=4 of which we have a clear record is known to have taken the vow of a bodhisattva. That is, they have sworn to incarnate repeatedly, with little pause between lives, that the may continue to serve humanity in its spiritual progress. We do not at all say that this obligation is necessary for the 7=4 Grade - indeed, were it obligatory, then it could not be offered freely! - only that it is commonplace to those Exempt Adepts for whom we have an adequate magical record.

There are those who hold that the Oath of a Neophyte - "to observe zeal to the Probationers under me, and to deny myself utterly on their behalf" - is inherently a bodhisattva's vow. We would not care to interpret this oath (and the half dozen others which resemble it) for any other person. The meaning of a magical obligation in a reasonable world depends upon its conventional interpretation in the light of reason; but for the highest matters affecting a Being's spiritual destiny, the meaning depends on the soul in question and how it unites with the Oath of its Grade, in the context of its own inherent nature, the threads of its karma, and the purpose it lives to serve.


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ignant666
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Los: I don't think anyone would quarrel with you if you said that Thelema is fully compatible with atheism and materialism; there clearly is much textual support in AC's work for such an approach, despite the fact that it was not the approach taken by AC himself, or any of his students.
I think that the issue I take, & I believe others here take, with your approach is that you don't say this, but rather that the only acceptable way to read AC's work or to practice Thelema is as you do, and that the only reason one would not do so is that one is prey to superstitious beliefs or is not very smart.
Is it possible that the widespread hostility & derision towards "your Thelema" is rooted in this?
As to moral nihilism, again there is much support for such a reading, just as there is for a very different view of the nature of wills. How would the Star Sponge vision fit into "your Thelema", for example?


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Los
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I think that the issue I take, & I believe others here take, with your approach is that you don't say this, but rather that the only acceptable way to read AC's work or to practice Thelema is as you do

Could you point me to a single instance of my saying this?

I believe the language I've been using is that Thelema is "best practiced" in context of atheism, naturalism/materialism, and moral nihilism (which is hardly the same thing as saying it can *only* be practiced in that context). Further, I've never said that the "only acceptable way" to practice Thelema is the way that I do.

As to moral nihilism, again there is much support for such a reading, just as there is for a very different view of the nature of wills. How would the Star Sponge vision fit into "your Thelema", for example?

How exactly do you think the Star Sponge Vision contradicts moral nihilism? I don't see it.


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Obitus
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"Los" wrote:

I think that the issue I take, & I believe others here take, with your approach is that you don't say this, but rather that the only acceptable way to read AC's work or to practice Thelema is as you do

Could you point me to a single instance of my saying this?

I believe the language I've been using is that Thelema is "best practiced" in context of atheism, naturalism/materialism, and moral nihilism (which is hardly the same thing as saying it can *only* be practiced in that context). Further, I've never said that the "only acceptable way" to practice Thelema is the way that I do.

It's not that you said it word for word, but the overall gist of what you're getting at, as implied by the general tone and focus of what you've been saying, heavily implies that you're contemptuous of Thelemites who claim to have actual reasons to assert for themselves that the "supernatural" is real, whether that be spirits, magical effects on the objective world around us, or Gods. Once again, of course you didn't say this word for word, but it seems to me that it is implied.


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ignant666
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Los: As to how I think The Star Sponge Vision contradicts moral nihilism, surely you are disingenuous here, as we (both in the sense of the Lashtal community and you and I individually) have discussed this often in the past, in the threads "Thelema and World Peace", "Thelema & The Brotherhood of Man", and "On Fear", & I believe elsewhere as well.
This thread began with something at least vaguely overlapping with the question of whether Thelema demands atheism & materialism. Whether it demands moral nihilism seems so OT as to need a new thread, though I can't think of what i at least could usefully add to what I've said before.
As to your demand that I point to a single instance of your saying that the only way to practice Thelema is as you do, well, of course I'm not able to do so- you have truncated my sentence (as you so often do in debate, in order to create more easily attackable straw-men) & left out the key bit.
You have never said that the only way to practice Thelema is as you do, and have always acknowledged that Thelema is perfectly compatible with alternative approaches, provided one is prey to superstitious beliefs, or not very smart.
Obitus has beaten me to part of my point as i typed this.


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Los
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Obitus:

It's not that you said it word for word

Correct...

  but the overall gist of what you're getting at, as implied by the general tone and focus of what you've been saying, heavily implies that you're contemptuous of Thelemites who claim to have actual reasons to assert for themselves thatthe "supernatural" is real, whether that be spirits, magical effects on the objective world around us, or Gods.

Well, I certainly do think that in today's day and age belief in spirits and gods is contemptible. But the question was whether I think the "only acceptable reading of AC's work" is non-supernatural. And not only have I never said that, I've gone out of my way, time and again, to say that "AC's work" -- if we take him at his word -- involves supernatural beliefs.

Thelema, however -- as opposed to the entirety of AC's works -- doesn't involve supernatural beliefs and is consistently presented by Crowley as an individual philosophy of conduct.

I do think the only correct reading of Thelema is as non-supernatural because Crowley -- the guy who invented Thelema -- presents it that way. [And again, I'm talking about Thelema, not practices used in the service of Thelema. However, as I've noted, he presents these practices -- like Samekh - - in entirely non-supernatural ways as well]

ignant666:

whether Thelema demands atheism & materialism.

It doesn't. Thelema demands skepticism. Skepticism -- properly applied -- inevitably leads to the conclusions of atheism, materialism, and moral nihilism.

You can't summarize that as "Thelema demands atheism & materialism." For example, if some very compelling evidence of gods appeared tomorrow, then the proper skeptical conclusion would be to believe in gods and then Thelema would be best practiced in the context of theism since -- in that situation -- the proper practice of skepticism would reveal theism most likely to be true.

As to how I think The Star Sponge Vision contradicts moral nihilism, surely you are disingenuous here, as we (both in the sense of the Lashtal community and you and I individually) have discussed this often in the past, in the threads "Thelema and World Peace", "Thelema & The Brotherhood of Man", and "On Fear", & I believe elsewhere as well.

Well, I don't remember what you said about it on those threads, but my own reflections on it do not in any way support the idea of morality.

In brief, Crowley's Star Sponge Vision is a vision of the cosmos (and humanity, with each star representing a person) as simultaneously distinct and interdependent. It doesn't in any way carry impetus for specific action or moral rules.

To give you an example, in the wilderness we might say that predators and their prey are "interdepenent" upon one another, but that doesn't mean there's some rule that they ought not to hunt and kill each other. They simply act according to their natures. Similarly, the suggestion that people are interdependent doesn't carry with it the implication that people ought not harm each other  or be "mean" to each other (or any other "thou shalt"). People simply act according to their natures (which we call "True Will" in the case of people capable of distinguishing their natures from their faulty ideas about those natures).

Finally -- it should go without saying -- that a vision isn't the same as reality. Just because some dude had a vision doesn't mean the vision is necessarily true or in any way binding on the rest of us.


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ignant666
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The thing you don't seem to consider in all your occasional donnish condescension (which you've toned down considerably in this thread), Los, is that I used to think pretty much everything you think about Thelema; probably many of those you debate with here may fall into the same category. Had there been an internet 30 years ago, i might well have been the one posting the things you are.
This is not to suggest that you necessarily must be following the same developmental scheme & with the wisdom of age will necessarily come to agree with me, but to say that my disagreements with you are not rooted in not understanding your arguments, or in my thinking that your arguments are not well-supported by AC's work.
My trajectory with regard to Thelema and AC's work is probably a not-uncommon one, at least for those who encounter AC very early in life: an initial period of credulous belief in the literal truth of all he wrote and wrote of (always with nagging doubts that this could be so), followed by a pendulum swing in the opposite direction ending up in a position very similar to yours, with regard to what-would-be-supernatural-events-except-that-they-happened (and supernatural interpretations of natural phenomena in this latter category). My perception that Thelema advocates or demands what you term "moral nihilism" was a constant across both phases.
My current interpretation is more that AC never had supernatural beliefs per se- he wanted very badly to believe and through diligent charlatanry (a la your favorite Liber O quote, evoking demons one does not believe in to visible appearance) had experiences-amenable-to-spiritual-explanations that led him to a theist atheism, or atheist theism.
Through pursuing an ethics of selfishness, he came to an ethics of altruism. Thelemic ethics, it turns out, is "all mouth and no trousers", superficially advocating violence, rapine, pillage, and war ("existence is the price of eternal war", BoL; ch 3 of AL), but in the end coming to an ethics not a million miles away from Buddhism or Taoism, though for very different reasons. The Star Sponge Vison is among other things a vision of the harmony of apparent conflict. As to whether a vison "some dude" had is necessarily true or binding, if you pursue the ideas/system of AC, perhaps something he describes as the "radix of my whole philosophical outlook" and central to his "apprehension of the universe" (both on p. 810 of Confessions in the edition I have) afterwards is worthy of somewhat more respectful consideration?
The overall issue I would take with your approach is the one I have raised before: your lack of attention to paradox, contradiction and "lies" (not to mention those famous lurking "blinds') as a key to understanding Thelema and AC. You often say that such-and-such is consistent in AC's work; the problem with this argument is that there is very little that is consistent across that body of work other than spiritual yearning, advocacy of sexual liberty verging on license, and insistence that AC personally always behaved as an English gentleman while being the baddest-assed dude ever.
Yes, i know that all that is not consistent with your views is "not Thelema"; that "true Scotsman" must be as worn out as the quote function by all his rhetorical deployemnt of late.


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ignant666
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Further, have you ever considered that the reason AC tells you not to believe in the objective existence of any spiritual entity might be to render gnosis all the more powerful ("certainty, not faith") when it happens?
The student is then left to struggle with integrating, interpreting and understanding an experience that is both absolutely "real" (because experienced), and impossible, which is arguably more useful than simply confirming one's expectation that spiritual entities exist & interact with us.


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Azidonis
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"Los" wrote:
"Liber O" wrote:
In this book it is spoken of the Sephiroth and the Paths; of Spirits and Conjurations; of Gods, Spheres, Planes, and many other things which may or may not exist.
It is immaterial whether these exist or not. By doing certain things certain results will follow; students are most earnestly warned against attributing objective reality or philosophic validity to any of them.

But we can also turn our attention to the very beginning of Book IV, Part I, where Crowley argues that many of the great “religious leaders” in the world were really people who had a certain kind of experience (what Crowley calls Dhyana) and insisted on (mistakenly) attaching supernatural explanations to the experience.

For example:

"Book 4" wrote:
By [Dhyana’s] light all other events of life are as darkness. Owing to this, people have utterly failed to analyse it or to estimate it. They are accurate enough in saying that, compared with this, all human life is absolutely dross; but they go further, and go wrong. They argue that "since this is that which transcends the terrestrial, it must be celestial." One of the tendencies in their minds has been the hope of a heaven such as their parents and teachers have described, or such as they have themselves pictured; and, without the slightest grounds for saying so, they make the assumption "This is That."

We are now in a position to say what happened to Mohammed. Somehow or another his phenomenon happened in his mind. […] he connected it with the story of the "Annunciation," which he had undoubtedly heard in his boyhood, and said "Gabriel appeared to me." But in spite of his ignorance, his total misconception of the truth, the power of the vision was such that he was enabled to persist through the usual persecution

    […]

    The history of Christianity shows precisely the same remarkable fact. Jesus Christ was brought up on the fables of the "Old Testament," and so was compelled to ascribe his experiences to "Jehovah"

According to Crowley, the individuals he uses as examples – such as Mohammed and Christ – didn’t go wrong because they “believed someone else” instead of “finding out for themselves”: according to Crowley, these men went wrong precisely because they believed their own (false!) supernatural interpretations of their experience.

This sort of thing really can’t be stressed enough. What Crowley is explaining in Book IV, Part I is a practical application of the injunction in Liber O [...]

A lot of people get confused on this point, so it’s necessary to slow down here: when people claim to have “seen God” or “had a mystical experience where they talked to Jesus” or “were granted a vision of Lord Shiva” or “experienced union with the Star Goddess” or “evoked a demon to visible appearance” or “did a ritual to attract money and then found some cash in the street later that week” etc., etc., etc. – nobody is denying that the person in question had an experience.

Obviously the person had an experience. Nobody questions that.

What skeptics doubt – and, like it or not, what Crowley is saying that one should doubt – are the supernatural explanations advanced for those experiences.

One may very well have had an experience that felt like “talking to God,” but that in no way means that there is a God or that one was actually talking to him. It’s the same down the line with all of those other claims: nobody is disputing that people have had experiences that felt like those things, but having an experience that feels like X is vastly different from demonstrating that X is true.

I think this gets to the meat of what I always debate with Los about.

I don't deny that the spiritual experiences seem to occur, as an experience, either.
I also don't deny that these experiences are totally subjective.
I also know for a fact that modern science is making 'progress in leaps and bounds' concerning these experiences, their chemistry within the brain, and so forth.

However, I think that to simply say, "Oh, those are just subjective experiences. You really didn't experience a "Union with the Star Goddess", is in one sense true and in one sense false. For within the framework of the person's mind, they really may have experienced a Star Goddess, and Dhyana on the Star Goddess may have resulted in a Samadhi granting an understanding of the cosmos at-large. So when they say they experienced Union with the Star Goddess, that really did happen.

Yet, it also really did not happen. For the Union, any Union, carries past elements at best. The Union itself is unaccounted for, except a remembrance of a gap in time, in sense of being, in awareness, etc. So the Union really cannot be experienced at all, and therefore it is false that a Union occurred.

Then, if they take said Union, and continually apply it in various ways, and on various ideas (such as the idea of a Star Goddess), they may come to realize the futility of the entire set of episodes.

However, if they take said Union, write a book about it, and run around telling people in the streets that the Star Goddess told them X,Y, and Z, they are essentially clinging to a memory of an experience that both did and did not occur, which is silly nonsense.

In Crowley's discussion of Dhyana, he mentions the framework of Jesus and Mohammed. He says that when these similar experiences occurred, they interpreted them through the frameworks they knew of, and ran with them.

Even Buddha said this was an erroneous approach:

"Surangama Sutra" wrote:
“As to the notion of Nirvāṇa as held by disciples and masters who still cling to the notion of an ego-self, and who try to find it by going off by themselves into solitude: their notion of Nirvāṇa is an eternity of bliss like the bliss of the Samadhis – for themselves. They recognize that the world is only a manifestation of mind and that all discriminations are of the mind, and so they forsake social relations and practice various spiritual disciplines and in solitude seek self-realization of Noble Wisdom by self-effort. They follow the stages to the sixth and attain the bliss of the Samadhis, but as they are still clinging to egoism they do not attain the “turning-about” at the deepest seat of consciousness and, therefore, they are not free from the thinking-mind and the accumulation of its habit-energy. Clinging to the bliss of the Samadhis, they pass to their Nirvāṇa, but it is not the Nirvāṇa of the Tathāgatas. They are of those who have “entered the stream”; they must return to this world of life and death.”

In context with the current discussion, "cling to the notion of an ego-self" is akin to seeing one's own framework as a real, necessary, and permanent framework. When the Samadhis occur, they are then related to that framework. Then, of course, when one decides to expound some literature or teaching, and does it from the standpoint of that framework, they are really doing humanity a disservice, for they have not gone through the full gamut, including the necessity of destroying the framework.

By framework I am not meaning "point of view". Subjectivity is a given. It is the instrument of thought, tied into a specific body, and carries specific connotations. Every "star" has its own point of view. But, two or more stars may use the same framework (the Hebrew Qabalah, for example) as a means to understand their own individual points of view. And, within the context of both Crowley's and Buddha's words, the frameworks themselves are only useful up to a certain point.

In The Urn, Crowley still read the Buddha, and Jung, to see if their frameworks could help him understand what is happened to him. That is, upon his entry into Magus [at the least], he was still using the frameworks.

U.G. called the use of such frameworks "the spiritual con", emphasized that they all have to go, and even included Buddha along with Jesus and Mohammed.

"The Mind is a Myth" wrote:
Q: I think I am beginning to understand you intellectually ...

U.G.: Isn't it a joke to tell me that you understand what I am telling you? You say that you at least understand me intellectually, as if there were some other way of understanding. Your intellectual understanding, in which you have a tremendous investment, has not done one damn thing for you so far. You persist in the cultivation of this intellectual understanding, knowing all the while that it has never helped you at all. THIS IS AMAZING. When hoping and attempting to understand is not there, then life becomes meaningful. Life, your existence, has a tremendous living quality about it. All your notions about love, beatitude, infinite bliss, and peace only block this natural energy of existence. How can I make you understand that what I am describing has absolutely nothing to do with all that religious stuff? You see hundreds of bodies carried off in the van after death, and yet you can't possibly imagine your own death. It is impossible, for your own death cannot be experienced by you. It is really something. It is no good throwing all this junk at me. Whatever hits this is immediately burnt--that is the nature of the energy here.

The spiritual people are the most dishonest people. I am emphasizing that foundation upon which the whole of spirituality is built. I am emphasizing that. If there is no spirit, then the whole talk of spirituality is bosh and nonsense. You can't come into your own being until you are free from the whole thing surrounding the concept of "self". To be really on your own, the whole basis of spiritual life, which is erroneous, has to be destroyed. It does not mean that you become fanatical or violent, burning down temples, tearing down the idols, destroying the holy books, like a bunch of drunks. It is not that at all. It is a bonfire inside of you. Everything that mankind has thought and experienced must go. The incredible violence in the world today has been created by the Jesuses and Buddhas.

What I constantly debate is not "anti-skepticism" - it is "anti-framework". In my view skepticism itself is but another framework. And to take one framework out only to replace it with another is an effort in futility.

This does not diminish the fact that being skeptical is useful within its designated realm, however. I think that in the long run, it might help people realize quicker that any experience is just a phantom of the mind, if they weren't completely caught up in spiritual dialect.

However, that does not mean the spiritual dialect cannot be used as an adequate framework. Eventually, whether through a materialist, skeptical approach, or through a spiritual approach, all frameworks must go. The problem may be that those who take the spiritual approach have a more difficult time renouncing their ideas of God than a skeptic would have in renouncing their ideas of "just the facts".

But eventually, it all has to go, in order to realize that 'nothing' goes.

"The Mind is a Myth" wrote:
Q: But, again, all the great teachings have stressed the importance of finding truth through practice, selflessness and renunciation.

U.G.: I renounce the only thing worth renouncing -- the idea that there is renunciation at all. There is nothing to renounce. Your mistaken ideas regarding renunciation only create more fantasies about "truth", "God", etc.


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ignant666
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A lot of the topics Los raises, and that form the subject of the ongoing debate that occurs whenever Los arises, Turing-bot-like, in response to anything woowoo-ish appearing herein, are the subject of the second half of Eight Lectures on Yoga, where there is a pretty extensive discussion of the value and limits of science, reason, atheism, and materialism, integrating gnosis with scientific knowledge, and a nice account of the Star Sponge Vision and some very strong intimations of how that Vison led AC to very Buddhistic ethics.
This is a Class B document and thus pretty definitely a "True Scotsman", and not chalk-climbing or perique-smoking. I wonder, if you, Los, are familiar with it (I assume you are)- doesn't it provide answers "straight from the horse's mouth" to some of the questions you so perpetually raise?


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ignant666
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It also contains a brief refutation of Thelema as requiring moral nihilism unless you are somehow able to distinguish "moral nihilism" & "antinomianism":

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” What is this injunction? It is a generalisation of St. Augustine’s “Love, and do what thou wilt.” But in the Book of the Law, lest the hearer should be deluded into a spasm of antinomianism, there is a further explanation: “Love is the law, love under will.” [emphasis added]

Third lecture, point 7, Eight Lectures on Yoga


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ignant666
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With apologies for posting seriatum:

Palamedes

I cannot but feel that Thelema has been confused with and/or reduced to Ayn Rand's Objectivism.

Los

I can't stand Rand, or Objectivism, for that matter.

How ironic, then, that you have, through your moral nihilism, arrived at an ethics identical to hers. In the past, you have stated (in the course of one of those discussions of the Star Sponge Vision that you don't remember) that
Los

I don't give a fuck about my fellow man...

It would be hard to imagine a purer statement of Objectivism; the mandatory cigarette-smoking and rape, and architect-worship being merely the chalk-climbing and perique of the Objectivists.


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Shiva
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I am perplexed. Maybe it's my praeterplexed memory?


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Los
 Los
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ignant666,

I was starting to write you another detailed reply, but I stopped because I feel as if our conversation (more specifically, your end of it) is just bouncing around aimlessly through a lot of very different topics without bothering to explore any of them in any depth at all.

Compounding the problem is your tendency to larely ignore responses that I give you, leading you to continue to repeat arguments as if I haven’t said a thing at all about them.

For example, you continue to insist that I’m practicing some kind of “No True Scotsman” fallacy by cherry-picking bits of Thelema that I want to call Thelema and then leaving out the rest. I responded to this point by going through core Thelemic texts and showing how a bird’s eye view of Crowley’s most important writings on the subject reveals Thelema as defined entirely in terms of Will (it’s in the name) and in terms of behavior and conduct. I even took the trouble of pointing out that The Book of the Law – the text from which the philosophy of Thelema is derived – hardly says anything at all about the occult (and I made it clear that by “hardly” I was talking about the fact that the text references a handful of rituals – which some might call “occult” – but that the Book comes with no injunction to practice said rituals, to accept supernatural explanations for them, or to treat them as literal rituals to be performed).

You didn’t pay me the courtesy of responding to this point in any specific detail, and now you continue to repeat your claim that I’m practicing a “No True Scotsman” fallacy, as if I had never said a word at all.

So here’s the deal: I will discuss any one aspect of Thelema and/or the rest of Crowley’s writing that you like. You pick. But it has to be one specific topic (the role of skepticism in Thelema? The role of gnosis in Thelema? The role of contradiction in Crowley’s writings? The usefulness of moral nihilism for a practice of Thelema? The significant differences between moral nihilism and antinomianism? Whatever you like).

We will discuss that one specific topic – and only that specific topic – without drifting to any others. When we both decide that we’re done with that one specific topic, we will move on to another one.

So, if you’d like to continue our discussion, pick one issue at stake here, and make some kind of claim about it that I can respond to. If you would not like to continue our discussion, then it’s been pleasant chatting with you.


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Obitus
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Not to be nit-picky, or abuse Liber Al by using it in an argument, but as far as the Book of the Law and occult references are concerned:

AL I:37 - Also the mantras and spells; the obeah and the wanga; the work of the wand and the work of the sword; these he shall learn and teach.


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Los
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AL I:37 - Also the mantras and spells; the obeah and the wanga; the work of the wand and the work of the sword; these he shall learn and teach.

Right, these shall Crowley (“My scribe”) learn and teach. Learning and teaching occult practices was part of his True Will. That’s not an affirmation of supernatural explanations for occult practices: it’s a simple statement of fact that Crowley will, in his life, continue to learn and teach that sort of stuff. And honestly, that's not exactly a stunning prophecy, given that Crowley was obviously into all of that stuff (even if he had temporarily given it up).

More generally, if we want to treat the line metaphorically, the “work of the wand” and the “work of the sword” refer to the “work” of the qualities that those tools symbolize: Will (the wand) and rational thought/the mind (the sword). Crowley wasn’t just going to learn and teach specific occult rituals, but a means for people to discover and accomplish their wills on earth.

His comment to this verse is instructive because it underlines the point that “magick” (of which obeah, wanga, wand, and sword -- and, more specifically, the qualities they represent -- are components) is everything that people do, not just occult rituals:

Magick is the management of all we say and do, so that the effect is to change that part of our environment which dissatisfies us, until it does so no longer. We "remould it nearer to the heart's desire."

Magick ceremonies proper are merely organized and concentrated attempts to impose our Will on certain parts of the Cosmos. They are only particular cases of the general law.

We are reminded that in MiTP he says that behind the "symbolic technicalities of this book" (i.e. the technicalities of magical ritual) the student will find concealed the means to enable him to distinguish between his true nature and that which he fondly imagines himself to be. In other words, magick (in the ceremonial sense) can be read as a metaphor for the practice of Thelema.

So, in summary, the Book tells Crowley that he’s going to learn and teach occult stuff (which shouldn’t be surprising, given Crowley’s investment in occult studies), and that occult stuff he’s going to learn and teach can be metaphorically taken to be a means of practical Thelema (which is exactly how Crowley presents the “symbolic technicalities” of magical ceremony in Magick in Theory and Practice: as metaphors for discovering and carrying out the Will).

This is an example of what I mean when I say that the Book hardly mentions anything about occultism at all: there’s a reference to it just in passing, and when we sit down to examine what it means, we find that it’s a verse directed specifically to Crowley and that – when we read Crowley’s comment – the “magick” being discussed is just a metaphor for everyday life.

Hardly about the occult at all, exactly as I’ve been saying.


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Azidonis
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"Los" wrote:
So here’s the deal: I will discuss any one aspect of Thelema and/or the rest of Crowley’s writing that you like. You pick. But it has to be one specific topic (the role of skepticism in Thelema? The role of gnosis in Thelema? The role of contradiction in Crowley’s writings? The usefulness of moral nihilism for a practice of Thelema? The significant differences between moral nihilism and antinomianism? Whatever you like).

This coming from a guy who is infamous for derailing threads.

(I know, pot meet kettle, but the irony is beautiful.)


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Obitus
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Yeah, I'm still kinda confused as to why this thread shifted so sharply from whether or not Aiwaz suffers from short-term memory issues, to whether or not Aiwaz (and related beings/concepts) is real or not.


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Obitus
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Oh, and Los, maybe it's just me, but you seem to be overly concerned with Thelemites who are mystical or spiritual to a point beyond your liking. If that's not your thing, that's cool and all, do what thou wilt and all that jazz. But it just really feels like you have a real problem with those of the Thelemic fold who are into the existence of realities outside the realms of scientific research. I don't know if you're trying to "help" them or what, but what it comes of as is rude and condescending towards those with a different approach.


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ignant666
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As to Los' pot-kettle issues, I found this rather amusing as well:
Los

Compounding the problem is your tendency to larely ignore responses that I give you, leading you to continue to repeat arguments as if I haven’t said a thing at all about them.

As to substance: first of all, once again we see your tendency to presumption in your attempt at redefining the "rules of engagement".
Second, your effort to separate out a number of very closely related-issues won't wash.
We can't engage your claim that a "birds-eye view" of AC/Thelema (the bird conveniently flying just high enough to obscure all those messy "occult" details that there are "hardly any" of) shows that AC shared your views, as demonstrated by a barrage of quotes  from "core Thelemic texts" (that term of art referring to those that support your views), without engaging my point that AC is consistently inconsistent. I'll stop pointing out your use of "no true Scotsman" arguments when you stop doing it. I think the real tragedy here is that one so engaged with AC's work and Thelema should miss so much, by your insistence on imposing this consistency on your reading of AC/Thelema, and the consequent necessity to cognitively blind yourself to much of the glorious mess that is AC/Thelema, and the centrality of paradox and contradiction to AC & Thelema. When scholarship is harnessed to apologetics, rather than inquiry, we are all the poorer.
We can't engage your point about the centrality of certainty that that "spiritual entities are only psychological manifestations" to Thelemic practice (which you call "skepticism"), without engaging the centrality of gnosis to Thelemic practice as AC described it.
Finally, to pick your last and simplest question, since it is simply a matter of definitions of English-language words, rather than interpretations of an extensive body of texts, what on earth are the  "significant differences between moral nihilism and antinomianism"?
Please note that it is very, very clear in context that AC is not using "antinomianism" in the strict sense of Christian theology of an alleged doctrine that faith in Christ is sufficient to ensure salvation, & that those who have faith may safely violate all moral laws- he is using the term in a way that is precisely cognate with your "moral nihilism" and that refers only to that latter half of the Christian theological definition, the idea that a "new dispensation" (in this case, Thelema) allows us to "not give a fuck about [our] fellow man".
In this connection, i can't help mentioning that I provided a more-than-adequate refutation of the usefulness of "moral nihilism" as a practical matter; you referred to it as a "non-sequitur", and perhaps imagine you had not answered my direct question.
I would like to say, Los, that I think your Turing-bot predictability in going after woowoo whenever it appears here provides a genuine service to the site and community, and is infinitely preferable to allowing unchallenged the sort of wooly-minded nonsense that a certain similar site chooses to tolerate.


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Los
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ignant666:

your point about the centrality of certainty that that "spiritual entities are only psychological manifestations" to Thelemic practice

Not only have I never said this, I went out of my way on this thread to say specifically that I'm not advocating certainty of any kind.

I think you and I are done here.


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Los
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Obtius:

you seem to be overly concerned with Thelemites who are mystical or spiritual to a point beyond your liking. [...] just really feels like you have a real problem with those of the Thelemic fold who are into the existence of realities outside the realms of scientific research.

I'm interested in having discussions about the definition of Thelema and practices that can be used in service to Thelema (and how they can be used in service to Thelema). As part of that discussion, I naturally have to address definitions of Thelema that I think are incorrect and practices (or theories behind practices) that are not useful to Thelema.

It doesn't concern me in the least what someone else is "into," but when someone appears in public and starts making claims, I'm often interested in discussing those claims.

I gave you a sound reading of that Liber AL verse you posted: do you have a response to my argument, or you are just interested in making the conversation about me?


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ignant666
(@ignant666)
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Los

I think you and I are done here.

Ah, I see: the old "take umbrage at rhetoric & avoid admitting you've been (as we say in NYC) 'housed'" trick!
Debating you reminds me of one of my favorite harbingers of spring in childhood- my father answering the doorbell with a hearty "Ah, the Jehovah's Witnesses! Won't you come in? Let me get my bible! Would you like a gin and tonic?"
Like you, they were quick to fold their tents and flee the field in the face of any sustained inquiry into the many contradictions in their apologetics.
The best of luck in your future endeavors, Los; perhaps we'll meet again.


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lashtal
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Anyone here remember when this topic started? RTC made an interesting point under the general title of: A praeterhuman entity with short-term memory loss! - How's that work?

Anyone have anything interesting to contribute?

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


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Azidonis
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The topic of the thread stopped for me at page 3, reply 36.

The rest of this, I don't even...

Oh, that and - if Crowley had not even had the stele translated yet, how was he supposed to know which part would be placed where in the Book. And if Crowley had not had it translated yet, how was Aiwass supposed to know where Crowley would put each part of the stele?

If there was a miscommunication, I would direct it to Crowley, not to Aiwass.

/hands Crowley a better tin foil hat, for improved reception


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Markus
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I agree with Azidonis, the fallibilty rests with Crowley, not Aiwass. In fact, I think it is safe - if heretical - to assume that Aiwass is not a praeter-human intelligence. That is just AC's take on this entity, which is more likely a part of Crowley himself.

It is worthwhile looking at Liber Legis on the most superficial level possible. Who was Crowley in 1904? What had he accomplished? What did he stand for and believe in? He was a spoilt upper-class brat, spending his time and inheritance on acting out each and every whim of his. This explains part 1 of Liber AL. Part 2 is his inner core (Hadit) and part 3 his will, coupled with his anti-Christian sentiments.

Next, Crowley's description of Aiwass simply reads like a self-description (check out the photos of the time). And, of course, Aiwass sounds uncannily like "I was" which again gives a good indication to the contents and meaning of AL.

Can Liber AL still be viewed as ushering in a new Aeon? Absolutely! AC was far ahead of his time in pretty much everything he thought or did. His Himalayan expeditions were 50 years ahead, the Rites of Eleusis anticipated the symbolic theatre of the 1970s, he was living in a commune four decades before that became hip, his sex and drugs exploits weren't topped until the Stones gave it their all, etc., etc. At the end of the day it wasn't purely Liber AL instigating a new Aeon, but rather Aleister Crowley himself. AL is just an immense condensation of Crowley, the person.

Whether these points are correct or not is another matter entirely. I do think they're worth bearing in mind though, lest we fall into the pit of "Crowleyanity".

Markus


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Azidonis
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I also think that Crowley's experiences with Aiwass provides us with information on how to approach the K&C ourselves, on an individual basis.


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ignant666
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While most of the thread might be better put in its own thread entitled "Is Thelema best practiced in the context of atheism, materialism and moral nihilism?", or something, rather than the OT, I hope it has been an interesting discussion- I found my engagement with Los useful for sharpening up exactly what I think with regard to many of the issues under discussion, even if they were a bit tangential to the objective reality of Aiwass. I'd like to thank Los for that.
If it wasn't interesting to others, I appreciate the indulgence of the forum and Paul.
As to the actual OT, I don't think i have anything useful to contribute there & will therefore shut up.


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 Anonymous
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Can Liber AL still be viewed as ushering in a new Aeon? Absolutely! AC was far ahead of his time in pretty much everything he thought or did. His Himalayan expeditions were 50 years ahead, the Rites of Eleusis anticipated the symbolic theatre of the 1970s, he was living in a commune four decades before that became hip, his sex and drugs exploits weren't topped until the Stones gave it their all, etc., etc. At the end of the day it wasn't purely Liber AL instigating a new Aeon, but rather Aleister Crowley himself. AL is just an immense condensation of Crowley, the person.

While this might be true, I still think many Thelemites still retain the view of Crowley ( and rightfully so ), that there simply could have been no other fit to declare the new Aeon. This view for ones, who view of Crowley as a prophet or magus, in the true meaning of the word. Crowley's law for them might not only be seen in the light of personal revelation but rather as universal declaration.

Yet again I quote Book 4;

Perhaps these "great" men are the failures of humanity; perhaps it would be better to say nothing; perhaps only an unbalanced mind would wish to alter anything or believe in the possibility of altering anything; but there are those who think existence even in heaven intolerable so long as there is one single being who does not share that joy


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Azidonis
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Ayino, I agree in a way.

If anyone else could have, anyone else would have... but no one else did. Crowley did.

Does that assure his role as prophet? Yes.

Does it allow him some sort of authority? Yes.

Does it put him on a pedestal? No.


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the_real_simon_iff
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93!

Here's my take: I think it would be logical to say that if Aiwass dictated earlier "verse 1 - I don't think he said ’v.1’ - of the spell called the song" he also said "verse 2 of the spell called the song", which Crowley changed to "unity etc." to save time, and then the fault is Crowley's. So no short-term memory loss on Aiwass' side.

In contrast to Los, I think the writing speed of 30 words per minute in a dictation is absolutely okay, especially more when you look at the relatively large letters Crowley made. Two seconds a word, it's okay I think. It's hard to try for yourself, because we all here know the words so well, maybe one should try to repeat this with an outsider.

I also think it is absolutely reasonable to assume that Liber AL was some kind of dictation - this of course does not mean (or even prove) that Aiwass is preaterhuman (which on the other hand doesn't mean he is an extra-terrestrial squid or whatever, like Los likes to think. If it's not human, it surely must be a fairy, a unicorn, a squid or whatnot? That's simply ridiculous. The human mind has so many sides of a coin which cannot be scientifically explained so far, so a large number of "super-natural" explanations are possible). If it was intended as a fake to give some kind of authority, it was simply the worst fake imaginable. I mean, all these inconsistencies could have been avoided easily. He had all the time in the world to make up a better and water-tight story. He even faked his suicide better. No, I am convinced that he did not know what he wrote when he wrote it.

In shorter words: it's not "A praterhuman entity with short-term memory loss" but "a scribe way to sure of his memory".

Love=Law
Lutz


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Azidonis
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"Iff" wrote:
It's hard to try for yourself, because we all here know the words so well, maybe one should try to repeat this with an outsider.

This would be a fun experiment.

Sit in a room, clear of all distractions.
Set a timer for one hour.
Have a friend read Liber AL.
Write down everything the friend says.
Compare with AL.
Repeat for all three chapters.
Count the errors, etc. (Crowley made what, 4?)

In short, replicate the event.

In fact, instead of having the friend read Liber AL, the writer should be someone who has never read Liber AL, and ideally has never heard of Thelema, and has never had a course in transcribing.

It might be better to just pick a random person off the street.


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belmurru
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I did something like this, in 1987 for the Three Days, to see what it would be like to write each chapter in an hour.

I got a blank artist's sketchbook of approximately the same size as the ms. of AL, with the right number of pages, and sat down exactly at noon and copied, as fast as I could with exactly the same length of lines (words per line) the facsimile of the manuscript.

I found that I had to write as fast as I possibly could to finish each chapter within the hour. I mean really hurrying, so that my arm hurt, wrist and fingers cramped. I had no time at all to think and read the text, just copy as fast as humanly possible what was in front of me.

It's even more impressive to realize that I did it with a ball-point pen, with the added speed it imparts.

I'll post a couple of images if anyone is interested - when I find it! (it can't be far)

I fully accept that Crowley heard a voice and transcribed it. I believe, however, that the voice was his own, inside his head, although it seems that he perceived it as being another (and this accords with his later title-page notation that it was "automatic writing"). Rose may have been listening or occasionally even present, so it could be that Crowley was speaking as he wrote. This seems to be the best way to account for her subsequent two edits of the text.

I've thought of the experiment mentioned above, getting a reader and transcriber, but I've never had the opportunity to try it. I think it would not be helpful to have someone completely ignorant of Thelema, though, since a lot of the vocabulary will be too strange otherwise. 


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Azidonis
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"belmurru" wrote:
I've thought of the experiment mentioned above, getting a reader and transcriber, but I've never had the opportunity to try it. I think it would not be helpful to have someone completely ignorant of Thelema, though, since a lot of the vocabulary will be too strange otherwise.

Quite an interesting version of the experiment you did! Did you make any mistakes?

On this last part, I think it would be best if, at the least, the scribe had never read Liber AL before. I think it runs too much of a risk of writing from memory of any kind, instead of listening and transcribing.

For instance, if I heard "Every man and every woman", but did not hear "is a star", I would be tempted to automatically fill it in. Of course, there is an integrity check, but as you know, any time thinking about anything other than just writing is time wasted.


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belmurru
(@belmurru)
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"Did you make any mistakes?"

I'm sure I did, but I'll know for sure when I find the damned thing.

I think that the intimate knowledge of Thelema that would cause you to fill in phrases from memory would be practically unimportant when transcribing from dictation. For instance, saying "is a star" takes about a second, but writing it takes more than a second - or just a second, if you're really quick - so that, practically, you'd still be writing as fast as possible with no time to jump ahead. The speech, like your foreknowledge of the text, is always faster than you can write.


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Azidonis
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"belmurru" wrote:
I think that the intimate knowledge of Thelema that would cause you to fill in phrases from memory would be practically unimportant when transcribing from dictation. For instance, saying "is a star" takes about a second, but writing it takes more than a second - or just a second, if you're really quick - so that, practically, you'd still be writing as fast as possible with no time to jump ahead. The speech, like your foreknowledge of the text, is always faster than you can write.

Yes, but is this supposed to be a double-blind experiment?

When Crowley received Liber AL, he did not know what Liber AL was, for there was no Liber AL. If we go by his accounts, he had some information of what was going on, maybe some ideas of what to expect, but surely he didn't just sit down and make it all up... or did he? Hence Iff's idea of an experiment.

I just think that if such an experiment were tried, it would be best to replicate the actual conditions as much as possible, including as few variables as possible.

I know some people that have a) memorized Liber AL and b) write really fast. That person would be a worse candidate for 'scribe' than someone who was only presented with the Book of Results (for example), in my opinion.

But to each his own. I'm not saying this to in any way diminish your own experiment. It must have been quite the experience!


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belmurru
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I'm not saying this to in any way diminish your own experiment. It must have been quite the experience!

I didn't think you were doing that at all.

But for me personally, there's no reason not to believe Crowley when he says it was written at top speed - I know it can be done, and it has to be done if it is to be written as such in an hour per chapter.

I don't see any reason to doubt that it was written this way. The surrounding circumstances might be fuzzy, but a small and important detail like the room, the time, and the hour per chapter, those don't seem open to suspicion. We know Crowley wrote that way, given some of the other Holy Books, and that he liked that "white heat" of inspiration, writing as quickly as possible.

Speaking of my own "experiment", I finally found it after TWO HOURS of searching, on the highest shelf, in the furthest corner, deep in a box, in literally the last place I could look. You know how those magical books like to hide when you're looking for them. 

Here are some scans:

I DID make errors, in reading the handwriting. See for instance II,4, where I saw the letter "G" at the beginning of the word "Yet", and overwrote it.

Again, in III,1, at the beginning I began to write "Ah..." for "Abrahadabra", and then overwrote the "h" with "b". At the end of the verse, I wrote "Khuit", and overwrote it (from memory) with "Khut".

I think you can see the fatigue in the writing at the end of Chapter III.


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