Notifications
Clear all

The expression "True Will"  

Page 4 / 6
  RSS

Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
08/10/2014 10:46 pm  
"Kharlatan" wrote:
In reality Crowley's way of thinking wasn't much different from Jesus.

I've been meaning to comment on this, and my comment is, to be fairly blunt, that this is the kind of idiotic conclusion that people are going to come to if they insist on reading whatever they want into Crowley by hanging their hat on an isolated passage and or two, interpreting terms as they wish (instead of by context), and assuming that Crowley agrees with whatever ideas they already want to think are true.

It seems that to some people, Thelema is substantially similar to Christianity and its morality -- minus Jesus himself and (usually) minus (most) of the sex-negativity.


ReplyQuote
jamie barter
(@jamie-barter)
Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 1688
09/10/2014 12:41 pm  

Reply #149 by Los on: 8th October 2014 at 10:36:25 pm:

... When someone, like, say, that “Tao” guy, says

Oh Los, you are priceless! (I also seem to remember being dismissively referred to as “that Jamie guy [or bloke]” - both of us being mistaken for the cat’s mother, of course!  Or could that have been david??  Same thing, really, I suppose!…) *Grin*

- Ever thought of going by the name “'Gentleman' Los”?!

"Los" wrote:
"Kharlatan" wrote:
In reality Crowley's way of thinking wasn't much different from Jesus.

I've been meaning to comment on this, and my comment is, to be fairly blunt, that this is the kind of idiotic conclusion that people are going to come to if they insist on reading whatever they want into Crowley by hanging their hat on an isolated passage and or two, interpreting terms as they wish (instead of by context), and assuming that Crowley agrees with whatever ideas they already want to think are true.

It seems that to some people, Thelema is substantially similar to Christianity and its morality -- minus Jesus himself and (usually) minus (most) of the sex-negativity.

While not actually disagreeing with what I believe Los is getting at here in his first paragraph, I think some further clarification would be useful; who, in the second, might these “some” people be, and what exactly is it that they believe (- anyone)? Clearly from Kharlatan’s comment some people do (believe Crowley's thinking was not a lot different from Jesus'), although I do not think they can amount to a very large proportion & A.C. was no fan of Christianised thinking throughout his adult life. 

It is in some respects hard to imagine Thelema being less anti-Christian, which I suspect was partly the point of the creator of Liber AL in its avowed intention of doing away with as “accursed” the old aeon institutions of the “slave gods”.  “Mercy let be off” for instance is in direct opposition to the meek and mild sentiments of Jesus.  The idea behind such statements, I feel, is partly to take up a position at the other swing of the pendulum in order to try to establish a more appropriate middle path of the individual’s own choosing from between the two contrasting extremes of swing.  Between them the Koran and the Old and New Testaments have, for all their supposed good intentions, caused more bloodshed and upheaval than anything approaching a more widespread considered and humanitarian outlook by all practitioners of the faith.  It would be an irony that by “preaching” the opposite, the opposite to that in fact happens yet this ‘skew-wise’ logic in the Book is not at all alien to Thelema as a system, e.g. as also manifested in The Book Of Lies.

' N Joy


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
10/10/2014 8:35 pm  

You're probably right Los! Monkeyboy Jesus probably just channeled a mean elemental, and not his higher self. But it's difficult to say for sure.


ReplyQuote
Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
11/10/2014 2:41 am  
"Kharlatan" wrote:
You're probably right Los!

Probably.

Monkeyboy Jesus probably just channeled a mean elemental, and not his higher self.

"Jesus" seems to be some kind of legend, possibly based on a real guy in the same way that "Kramer" on Seinfeld was based on a real person known to Larry David.

"Higher self" doesn't exist. There's just the actual self ("true self") and the stuff people normally mistake for the true self. Attainment in Thelema is a process of learning to see through that "stuff" and perceiving the actual self.

A smattering of the many Crowley quotations on the subject:

“I have never liked the term 'Higher Self'; True Self is more the idea.” – New Comment

“The True Self is the meaning of the True Will: know Thyself through Thy Way!” – Heart of the Master

“The Angel [is] the True Self of [the Adept’s] subconscious self, the hidden Life of his physical life." – Liber Samekh

“all conscious Opposition to thy Will, whether in Ignorance, or by Obstinacy, or through Fear of others, may in the end endanger even thy true Self, and bring thy Star into Disaster.” – Liber Aleph

“you must accept everything exactly as it is in itself, as one of the factors which go to make up your True Self.” – Duty

“Spiritual experience soon enables the aspirant to assimilate these ideas, and he can enjoy life to the full, finding his True Self alike in the contemplation of every element of existence.” – New Comment


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
11/10/2014 11:31 am  

I stole this from another ongoing thread, a quote from M. Staley: "I think there's a bit more to it than that. Firstly, I think that it's impossible to draw a line between the individual self and the cosmic self. Although I go along with the Buddhist notion that the individual self is illusory - there is a fantastic passage in the Confessions concerning I think the 14th Aethyr where Crowley enunciates the idea that there is not a self, but rather a stream of sensation from which the idea of self is aggregated - I think that in the world of maya there is a constant interplay between the individual and the cosmic, the boundaries between them shifting and fluxing. Cosmic Will plays through us and manifests as genius, but all too often the ego gets in the way and short-circuits the flow. Magick is, in my opinion, a means of facilitating and intensifying the flow."

I think Crowley as a "prophet" kind of differed from Jesus or Muhammed in the sense that he, to a greater extent, at least tried to remove himself, to make himself less subject to the laws and the time he lived in compared to the "prophets" mentioned above. To render himself as a "transparent" medium to work through ("The medium is the message", M. Mcluhan). I also believe that this self is a construct created by humans. It's almost as a faculty of the mind being represented as the self (the same happens when we dream that we fall - or at least it's the scientists hypothesis - that the biological process manifests as a fall in dream visions. The same can be said of alchemy. Changes in consciousness manifests as allegories in dreams). One can't really explain psychic phenomena if there's no flow from the the exterior world to the inner - other than delusions, or stories created by the subconsciousness. Take your pick...

The true will is then to act as a vessel - the act of directing the "self" to SELF, and oposite - to receive an undistorted message (messages from the faculty, will of the self), and to mediate (act it out) it to the world - if it's sound. Don't be so foolish that you crucify your self, please.


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
11/10/2014 12:14 pm  
"jamie barter" wrote:
It is in some respects hard to imagine Thelema being less anti-Christian, which I suspect was partly the point of the creator of Liber AL in its avowed intention of doing away with as “accursed” the old aeon institutions of the “slave gods”.  “Mercy let be off” for instance is in direct opposition to the meek and mild sentiments of Jesus.

Between them the Koran and the Old and New Testaments have, for all their supposed good intentions, caused more bloodshed and upheaval than anything approaching a more widespread considered and humanitarian outlook by all practitioners of the faith.

"Los" wrote:
"Jesus" seems to be some kind of legend, possibly based on a real guy in the same way that "Kramer" on Seinfeld was based on a real person known to Larry David.

This depends on from which point of view one interprets Christianity and it's mysteries. Exoteric church(es) and their interpretation of the Gospels differ totally for example how Qabalists view them or kabbalists who understand the esoteric meaning of messianic Judaism.

Christian mysteries and their connection to the other 'old aeon' solar god legends should be unquestionable fact for obvious reasons. But to lump the whole Gospels as a mere retelling of 'solar tragedy' is not covering the whole topic: there is a strong element of Mercury (Word, The Logos) connected to Jesus.
Fish are sacred to mercury, many of Christ's disciples were fishermen and some of his performed miracles were somehow connected with fish in the fables.
Also his relations to money-changers etc.

I even remember reading somewhere that Crowley's 5=6 motto was 'Christeos Lucifitias', which is perfectly fitting even if one practices Thelema.
Also consider interesting relations between the number '666' and Jesus/Christ
http://jesus8880.com/chapters/gematria/666-magic-square.htm

or to quote Crowley;

" Liber XCV The Wake World" wrote:
"Hush! It is a great secret, but his name is Yeheswah, and he is the Saviour of the World." And that was very funny, because the girl next me thought it was Jesus Christ, till another Fairy Prince (my Prince's brother) whispered as he kissed her: "Hush, tell nobody ever, that is Satan, and he is the Saviour of the World."

The Sun, Mercury = The Star and The Snake

666 + 222 = 888


ReplyQuote
christibrany
(@christibrany)
Yuggothian
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 2623
12/10/2014 1:15 am  

In my opinion Thelema is about practising spirituality and 'religion' as a science, therefore one should not be afraid to try out all Paths, Christian included.  there is power in all symbols.


ReplyQuote
Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
12/10/2014 3:18 am  
"ayino" wrote:
This depends on from which point of view one interprets Christianity and it's mysteries.

This is getting off topic, but just to be clear -- you and I are talking about two separate things.

I was pointing out -- in response to Kharlatan's statement that Crowley's thinking was a lot like Jesus' -- that "Jesus" probably didn't exist at all (any more than "Kramer" or "King Arthur" existed), and that the philosophy attributed to the "Jesus" character and the philosophy of Aleister Crowley (i.e. Thelema) really don't match up at all. The only way to make these philosophies match up is to read stuff into Crowley that isn't there, such as an appeal to some "higher self."

What you're talking about is something entirely different. You're talking about using Jesus as a symbol, which of course one can obviously do. I think it was Regardie who speculates that Crowley's 5=6 motto was "Heart of Jesus," and we have Crowley's own words that he invoked Jesus along with a bunch of other gods (at the abbey, I believe) because he thought it was silly not to include him.

These are two entirely different subjects.

"christibrany" wrote:
In my opinion Thelema is about practising spirituality and 'religion' as a science

Well, no. If we take Crowley's word for it, Thelema is "about" discovering one's True Will and then doing that True Will (and only that True Will).


ReplyQuote
Anonymous
 Anonymous
(@Anonymous)
Joined: 1 second ago
Posts: 0
13/10/2014 12:05 am  

xtianity took off in the eternal city amongst the disenfranchised slaves and working class whose average lifespan was 29 and who suffered grinding poverty.  The appeal of this imported cult which offered salvation in an afterlife was very strong and it went against empire building and the related praising of the gods.  In general terms it negated the material world whereas......

“We are not for the poor and the sad: the lords of the earth are our kinsfolk.”

“Is a God to live in a dog? No! but the highest are of us. They shall rejoice, our chosen: who sorroweth is not of us.”

“Beauty and strength, leaping laughter and delicious languor, force and fire, are of us.”

..........so no xtianity isn't similar to Thelema even though many xtians would contest the critique about their otherworldly escapism.  ....


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
13/10/2014 5:26 pm  
"Los" wrote:
"ayino" wrote:
This depends on from which point of view one interprets Christianity and it's mysteries.

This is getting off topic, but just to be clear -- you and I are talking about two separate things.

I was pointing out -- in response to Kharlatan's statement that Crowley's thinking was a lot like Jesus' -- that "Jesus" probably didn't exist at all (any more than "Kramer" or "King Arthur" existed), and that the philosophy attributed to the "Jesus" character and the philosophy of Aleister Crowley (i.e. Thelema) really don't match up at all. The only way to make these philosophies match up is to read stuff into Crowley that isn't there, such as an appeal to some "higher self."

What you're talking about is something entirely different. You're talking about using Jesus as a symbol, which of course one can obviously do. I think it was Regardie who speculates that Crowley's 5=6 motto was "Heart of Jesus," and we have Crowley's own words that he invoked Jesus along with a bunch of other gods (at the abbey, I believe) because he thought it was silly not to include him.

These are two entirely different subjects.

"david" wrote:
xtianity took off in the eternal city amongst the disenfranchised slaves and working class whose average lifespan was 29 and who suffered grinding poverty.  The appeal of this imported cult which offered salvation in an afterlife was very strong and it went against empire building and the related praising of the gods.  In general terms it negated the material world whereas......

“We are not for the poor and the sad: the lords of the earth are our kinsfolk.”

“Is a God to live in a dog? No! but the highest are of us. They shall rejoice, our chosen: who sorroweth is not of us.”

“Beauty and strength, leaping laughter and delicious languor, force and fire, are of us.”

..........so no xtianity isn't similar to Thelema even though many xtians would contest the critique about their otherworldly escapism.  ....

Even if this is getting a bit off-topic, I still maintain my point. Christianity and Thelema do contain the same set of symbols and even underlying tradition that is also apparent in Thelema, even though in a much less 'veiled' form so to speak.

Crowley makes good notions on this matter in MWT concerning the 'white' school in 'The Three Schools of Magick'

"Magick Without Tears Chapter VII: The Three Schools of Magick" wrote:
It appears that the Levant, from Byzantium and Athens to Damascus, Jerusalem, Alexandria and Cairo, was preoccupied with the formulation of this School in a popular religion, beginning in the days of Augustus Caesar. For there are elements of this central idea in the works of the Gnostics, in certain rituals of what Frazer conveniently calls the Asiatic God, as in the remnants of the Ancient Egyptian cult. The doctrine became abominably corrupted in committee, so to speak, and the result was Christianity, which may be regarded as a White ritual overlaid by a mountainous mass of Black doctrine, like the baby of the mother that King Solomon non-suited.

Concerning the 'black school':

Most primitive fetishistic religions may, in fact, be considered fairly faithful representatives of this philosophy. Where animism holds sway, the "medicine-man" personifies this universal evil, and seeks to propitiate it by human sacrifice. The early forms of Judaism, and that type of Christianity which we associate with the Salvation Army, Billy Sunday and the Fundamentalists of the back-blocks of America, are sufficiently simple cases of religion whose essence is the propitiation of a malignant demon

The Christian religion in its simplest essence, by that idea of overcoming evil through a Magical ceremony, the Crucifixion, seems at first sight a fair example of the White tradition; but the idea of sin and of propitiation tainted it abominably with Blackness.

'Billie Sunday' Christianity shouldn't be confused with Christianity that is apparent even in Thelema in the form of the Rosy Cross, a symbol that undeniably plays a big part in Thelemic symbolism and system as a whole.

"There is in history only one movement whose object has been to organize the isolated adepts of the White School of Magick, and this movement was totally unconnected with religion, except in so far as it lent its influence to the reformers of the Christian church. Its appeal was not at all to the people. It merely offered to open up relations with, and communicate certain practical secrets of wisdom to, isolated men of science through Europe. This movement is generally known by the name of Rosicrucianism.

To put it out bluntly: this happens naturally when you stop actually praying to a being external to you that died for your sins and comprehend Christ as something like the rosicrucians or other christian mystics viewed the matter.

Christianity was sadly tainted by the notion of 'sin' - a concept most horribly misunderstood in the Gospels.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIEfmSUQ_z4 


ReplyQuote
Shiva
(@shiva)
Not a Rajah
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 5056
13/10/2014 6:27 pm  
"ayino" wrote:
Christianity and Thelema do contain the same set of symbols and even underlying tradition that is also apparent in Thelema, even though in a much less 'veiled' form so to speak.

Yes, but isn't this to be expected? AC had Christianity drummed into him as a child, so when it came time to "channel" a new "religion," the info was naturally filtered through his early programming. Note how Liber AL uses "bible lingo" a lot (thou, thine, thinkest, etc). The inclusion of (or actual orientation toward) Egyptianism was picked up by his later studies in the G.'.D.'..

His opposition to Chistianity came about via his mistreatment by his Christian teachers. Specific phrases, like Do what thou wilt, and Abbey of Thelema, were borrowed from previous pilosophers. Thelema is a composite, garnered from pieces of other philosophies and religions - just like everything that came earlier was garnered from even more prior concepts.

Anyway, that doesn't mean Thelema isn't unique in its own right/rite, and it's probably the best thing going for our modern times. Christianity is a bit dated - and hardly any conquering king or bullying bishop bothered to adopt the "peaceful" nature of the Jesus message.


ReplyQuote
jamie barter
(@jamie-barter)
Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 1688
13/10/2014 8:38 pm  
"ayino" wrote:
'Billie Sunday' Christianity shouldn't be confused with Christianity that is apparent even in Thelema in the form of the Rosy Cross, a symbol that undeniably plays a big part in Thelemic symbolism and system as a whole.

I am not sure that “Christianity that is apparent even in Thelema in forms of the Rosy Cross” symbol is especially “Christian”, as in a particularly noticeable expression of the faith or the Church, even very broadly speaking – there may a certain amount of commonality which is slightly more than just coincidence, but no direct linkage that is apparent, I feel - can anyone suggest any especially Christian antecedents for the Rosy Cross, since replacing the crucified form of Jesus with a rose is not indicative of any influence of Christianity itself?

The Cross itself as a symbol predates the (first) coming of Jesus, for example in Celtic beliefs where it is intimately linked with the Circle.  Within this wider symbol there is a particular form of the Cross which forms the basis of the “Crucifix” – the cube in extension, known popularly as the “Calvary” Cross in token of the crucifixion.

However the use of the Rose Cross is reflective of what might be called “Esoteric Christianity”, which was the form which the old aeon Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn engaged with a lot (and explored further with their cabbalistic exegesis of The Bible, for instance, among many other similar branches of research); and it was also the basis of the type of “Gnostic Neo-Catholicism” which was embraced by the pre-Thelemic O.T.O. under Theodor Reuss. 

Regardless of whatever worth these expressions of “Esoteric” Christianity may have had at the time – and at their best they strived towards a purer expression of the then-prevalent Piscean current - all of these forms collectively became effectively Abrogate with the coming of the New Aeon of Horus.

N Joy


ReplyQuote
Anonymous
 Anonymous
(@Anonymous)
Joined: 1 second ago
Posts: 0
13/10/2014 10:16 pm  

Could I request that you guys start your own xtianity/Thelema thread?

"Los" wrote:
Look, I’m happy to have a conversation about what Aleister Crowley himself said, but we have to recognize that having such a conversation necessarily entails interpretation. When someone, like, say, that “Tao” guy, says that my reading of Crowley is correct but “doesn’t go far enough,” then he’s implicitly got in mind an interpretation of what Aleister Crowley said. Of course, it’s an incredibly murky and ill-defined interpretation, which is why I tried to get him to explain it – for example, I tried to get him to explain what he thinks Crowley means by “purpose” if not “function,” as I’ve been suggesting. He won’t answer the question because, I strongly suspect, he can’t.

Apparently "Tao" has and I quote,"stepped off the carousel for a bit (and will) return if he/she stumbles across any more pertinent data." (whatever that means.)  I'd love to hear how she/he responds to those quotes provided that relate to TW and function.


ReplyQuote
Tao
 Tao
(@tao)
Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 316
14/10/2014 1:31 am  
"belmurru" wrote:
Please keep posts relevant to Crowley's use of the expression "True Will", the etiology of the concept, and the interpretation or application of the concept.

There will be a quiz on October 12. 

I come back to check out the quiz and all I find is a dreadful infestation of the Christs. Somebody call the exterminator. Or the exorcist. This thread has been overrun.

"david" wrote:
Apparently "Tao" has and I quote,"stepped off the carousel for a bit (and will) return if he/she stumbles across any more pertinent data." (whatever that means.)

It means that, since I had no further bits of data to add to the investigation of the origin of the term "True Will", I was going to stop wasting my time with conversations about the application of someone else's interpretation of the term by removing myself from the conversation. If I do, in future, discover any more relevant data to the purpose of discovering the origins and development of the term by Aleister Crowley, I would return to share my findings here. (However, given the direction of the thread since I left, I might perhaps seek out a better outlet should I stumble across anything in future.)

"david" wrote:
I'd love to hear how she/he responds to those quotes provided that relate to TW and function.

If you'd like to point out which quotes you're referring to (granting that they relate to Aleister Crowley's coining of, development of, or understanding of the term "True Will") I'd be happy to. If, however, you're looking for my response to non-Crowley interpretations, I don't really have much to say that I haven't already. Further exegesis on practical (if somewhat simplistic) self-psychotherapy doesn't much interest me at the moment. Further, the continuing tactic of diverting discussion by arguing points that were granted for the sake of argument doesn't give me much hope that discussion would, at any rate, prove fruitful.


ReplyQuote
Anonymous
 Anonymous
(@Anonymous)
Joined: 1 second ago
Posts: 0
14/10/2014 10:54 am  
"Tao" wrote:
"david" wrote:
I'd love to hear how she/he responds to those quotes provided that relate to TW and function.

If you'd like to point out which quotes you're referring to (granting that they relate to Aleister Crowley's coining of, development of, or understanding of the term "True Will") I'd be happy to

See Los's reply# 149


ReplyQuote
jamie barter
(@jamie-barter)
Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 1688
14/10/2014 12:27 pm  

The notion of “True” Will gives the implication that there must also be a(n infinite?) number of w(/W)ills which can not be true, or at least not partaking of truth in its entirety so that it would in effect be ‘pure’?  When The Book of the Law says ‘Thou hast no right but to do thy will’ (I.42) - there is no adding of “pure” or “True” to gild the lily here – and adding these words in the next but one verse would not make the sentence any more so. 

In discussing the etiology  of the phrase, A.C.’s predilection for selecting True Will seems curious in light of the fact that he would also have been in accord with the sentiment “Nothing is true” (as in, “Nothing is true and everything is permitted”, apocryphally attributed to Hassan I Sabbah), and that he scrupulously tried to avoid saying that “anything” was true (best exemplified by the title and contents of The Book Of Lies).  There is no way that he could have failed to realise there are no, nor can be any, exceptions.  (“Pure” would likewise be open to this objection of non-relativistic language.  The explanation behind the use of such absolutist terms might contrariwise suggest a non-literal approach although it is not scientifically helpful.  But then again, in the end, not much is scientifically helpful any longer!) 🙁

A.C. is not consistent throughout his writings as to whether he favours Destiny or Chance; Determinism or non-determinism – this inconsistency translates ‘all the way down’ to our old friend intelligent design over accidental randomness, and if we are looking for any signs of consistency here, we are going to be unlucky.  But once again, maybe this is deliberate; perhaps all this ties in suggestively with a rejection of the ‘either/or’ dichotomy and the assertion of any concomitant, consequent, certainty.  One could say they are both inclusive as apparently opposite sides of an incredibly complicated coin, as I and threefold31 advanced in Reply #73 (also see Replies #91, 92 and 100) in the thread given over to “Aleister Crowley and the Argument from Design” on the Thelema board (q.v.).  (Similar to all those 50/50 hints which are given in Liber AL like e.g. “thou hast the half…” (I.47), with a remedial approach itself found in Number XV of the Two and Twenty Secret Instructions of the Master:  “With thy right Eye create all for thyself, and with/ the left accept all that be created otherwise.”

I think we should all of us beware (in the sceptical spirit of caveat emptor) this underlies whatever A.C. says when he makes an allusion to True Will – or indeed anything else, of which The BooK Of Lies is the acme - the fact may or may not be true, as always the individual (reader here) is obliged to relatively make up his/ her own mind on the matter. (This also ties in with the remarks I briefly suggested on Jesus & Thelema in Reply #151 perhaps needless to say).

Re the fruit-loving boys and the last piece of orange analogy previously used, the outcome as put forward by A.C. seems mired in the old-aeonish “either/or” dichotomy as well and doesn’t take on board in any sense any other possibility of an outside arrangement – for example, as has been said, the idea of sharing.  Disregarding Darwinism, there is no universal law which says that one boy or the other has to overcome his ‘rival’ and seize the last piece for himself.  The concept of sharing introduces another dimension previously unconsidered: the discussion has been falsely and pre-maturely limited to this fixed idea (either/or) and strikes me as being not entirely valid for this reason. The idea of conflict where one party must vanquish or ‘conquer’ the other has been raised so that it can be transcended by the application of an even purer form of reason (“Why the hell not share?”)

- So why the hell not share!
N Joy.


ReplyQuote
the_real_simon_iff
(@the_real_simon_iff)
Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1836
14/10/2014 1:33 pm  

93!

Here is an interesting quote by Crowley from 1923. Dictated to Alostrael, and while being sober and not intoxicated.

"There seems to be much misunderstanding about the True Will. In argument people are always making assumptions which imply as uncaused will. The fact of a person being a gentleman is as much an ineluctable factor as any possible spiritual experience: in fact, it is possible, even probable, that a man may be misled by the enthusiasm of an illumination, and if he should find apparent conflict between his spiritual duty and his duty to honour, it is almost sure evidence that a trap is being laid for him and he should unhesitatingly stick to the course which ordinary decency indicates. Error on such point is precisely the ’folly’ anticipated in CCXX, 1, 36, and I wish to say definitely, once and for all, that people who do not understand and accept this position have utterly failed to grasp the fundamental principles of the Law of Thelema."

What do you make of it?

Love=Law
Lutz


ReplyQuote
belmurru
(@belmurru)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1025
14/10/2014 2:22 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
93!

Here is an interesting quote by Crowley from 1923. Dictated to Alostrael, and while being sober and not intoxicated.

"There seems to be much misunderstanding about the True Will. In argument people are always making assumptions which imply as uncaused will. The fact of a person being a gentleman is as much an ineluctable factor as any possible spiritual experience: in fact, it is possible, even probable, that a man may be misled by the enthusiasm of an illumination, and if he should find apparent conflict between his spiritual duty and his duty to honour, it is almost sure evidence that a trap is being laid for him and he should unhesitatingly stick to the course which ordinary decency indicates. Error on such point is precisely the ’folly’ anticipated in CCXX, 1, 36, and I wish to say definitely, once and for all, that people who do not understand and accept this position have utterly failed to grasp the fundamental principles of the Law of Thelema."

What do you make of it?

Love=Law
Lutz

Thanks Lutz. This is from page 21 of the Skinner edition of the Magical Record, btw.

I have always taken this as Crowley's modus operandi, keeping the planes separate, and how he stayed out of trouble. It has worked for me too - keep your feet on the ground! Like he said about his "intellectual insanity" while in China, whatever is going on in your head, you still have to "play the man", and do your duty. It is a kind of secret key to behaviour.

In context though, it is hard to interpret his exact meaning. He himself said explicitly in the D Comment for II,33: "The True Will is uncaused", so this is yet another instance where we are warned to interpret Crowley with subtlety, according to specific context as well as the big picture.

I am also not sure that Skinner - or Alostrael? - got the second sentence right - "... which imply as uncaused will" doesn't make much sense without emendation or additions. It could be "... which imply an uncaused will", or it could be "... which imply as uncaused, (the) will", or something like that.


ReplyQuote
belmurru
(@belmurru)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1025
14/10/2014 3:17 pm  
"Tao" wrote:
"belmurru" wrote:
Please keep posts relevant to Crowley's use of the expression "True Will", the etiology of the concept, and the interpretation or application of the concept.

There will be a quiz on October 12. 

I come back to check out the quiz and all I find is a dreadful infestation of the Christs. Somebody call the exterminator. Or the exorcist. This thread has been overrun.

Sorry about that Tao. I seriously thought that there wasn't enough on-topic interest to justify posting such a gimmick. There probably are more people paying attention than I think, however.

There are a couple of other relevant areas to get to before a good little quiz might be justified, which I had hoped might be brought up before now, so stay tuned.

Those areas are the star metaphor for True Self (and its concomitant orbit for True Will), and the appearance of the number 93 in 1918 (although its full panoply of associations only appears later).


ReplyQuote
Tao
 Tao
(@tao)
Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 316
14/10/2014 8:33 pm  
"david" wrote:
"Tao" wrote:
"david" wrote:
I'd love to hear how she/he responds to those quotes provided that relate to TW and function.

If you'd like to point out which quotes you're referring to (granting that they relate to Aleister Crowley's coining of, development of, or understanding of the term "True Will") I'd be happy to

See Los's reply# 149

The problem with reply #149 is that it begins with the following:

"Los" wrote:
Look, I’m happy to have a conversation about what Aleister Crowley himself said, but we have to recognize that having such a conversation necessarily entails interpretation. When someone, like, say, that “Tao” guy, says that my reading of Crowley is correct but “doesn’t go far enough,” then he’s implicitly got in mind an interpretation of what Aleister Crowley said. Of course, it’s an incredibly murky and ill-defined interpretation, which is why I tried to get him to explain it – for example, I tried to get him to explain what he thinks Crowley means by “purpose” if not “function,” as I’ve been suggesting. He won’t answer the question because, I strongly suspect, he can’t.

I don't see this conversation as "necessarily" entailing anything yet. By looking at it this way, Los is rushing through the process and demanding synthesis before full analysis has occurred. A coagula prior to a completed solve. That way lie homunculi.

Data mining does not, in any way, "necessarily entail interpretation". When one does try to interpret data too early, one creates a confirmation bias. This, to my eye, is exactly what has happened in Los's interpretation. When "that 'Tao' guy"  ::) says that his reading doesn't go far enough, she is saying that his interpretation doesn't account for all of the data thus far collected. She is saying that his tactic of allowing the majority to silence the minority runs counter to true scientific and philosophic investigation. She is saying that she agrees with what belmurru wrote so eloquently in replies 84, 110, 111, and 128, and what she herself wrote in reply 82: that Los's interpretation is fine as far as it goes but, by deeming the bits of Crowley's writing that he feels to be too "ookey-spooky" (reincarnation, higher self, divine will, etc.) to be outliers and thus safely ignored, he is biasing his interpretation away from what the man actually wrote.

belmurru put this need to deal with every bit of data very well a while back. While this was specifically in response to something you (david) had written, the underlying message is exactly the problem I see with Los's argument thus far [reordered for clarity]:

"belmurru" wrote:
This is a premise that we have to deal with, one way or another. It is arguable that he didn't really believe it, but said it for a rhetorical reason; it is arguable that he really did believe it; it is arguable that one part of him believed it as suitable in one grade, and one part of him believed it was not true in another grade; it is arguable that he was right; it is arguable that he was wrong.

But in this passage it is clear that he very definitely distinguishes Man from those other natural things which you characterize as "mechanical materialistic processes of Nature."

...

As the understandably frustrated newneubergOuch2 observes, you aren't really reading Crowley; you are simply not grappling with the thought here. You are reading past him, seeing only your own assumptions.

Everything that Los presents in the quotes from reply 149 remain consistent with his interpretation. And, as I have said, I see no issue with that interpretation as an entry level, practical understanding of the technical term "True Will". However, I have presented several posts worth of quotes pulled from De Lege Libellum and The Commentaries on Liber LXV that do not jive with his interpretation. Others have done as well. They aim a little bit higher. A little bit deeper. A little bit more divine.

My only claim thus far is that the blanket definition that Los asserts can be gleaned from Crowley's entire corpus ignores a decent portion of that corpus. Los's answer thus far is that his quotes far outnumber mine and, therefore, mine can be discarded if one is searching for a useful application of True Will to one's life in the here and now. But, once again, I will defer to belmurru's well-stated counter-argument as it states my own view better than my clumsy chemistry professor analogy:

"belmurru" wrote:

So we can find implications in Crowley's writings of True Will having an influence on multiple lifetimes, or of True Will possibly even precluding conflict if followed correctly.

But when push comes to shove -- when Crowley actually talks about how one actually does discover and engage with True Will -- none of these metaphysical speculations matter one whit. In contrast to his sometimes flighty and often flowery and poetically embellished speculations on what True Will might be, Crowley discusses the actual application of True Will in concrete, practical terms, as the actual nature of individual in conjunction with the environment.

Practical considerations will always outnumber abstract or theoretical ones. Especially since much of Crowley’s writing on True Will is addressed explicitly or implicitly to somebody’s request for practical information about the subject. An engineer may build 20 bridges, but that doesn’t mean that the theory of bridge-building he explained in only one place isn’t the core guiding principle behind the various diverse constructions. In fact, understanding the abstract theory may very well provide the key to understanding the success and consistency of his designs for various diverse conditions. 

Now we can look at all that and say, "Dude was just confused," which is what someone might say if they insisted on parsing every single quotation and trying to make every single reference and every piece of terminology "fit" into some grand unified theory of the True Will.

I don’t think dude was confused. I think he had a GUT of True Will, and that included the idea that the True Self, Jechidah-Chiah-Neschamah, incarnates expressly to try to perform it.

We may disagree, we may need to disagree with this core principle, but if we do, we have to explain why we insist on riding Crowley’s coat-tails using the term “True Will” when it is not necessary if we are simply explaining a simple psychological or self-consciously ethical way to live.

Until there is some attempt made by Los to honestly deal with the data points that don't currently fit his interpretation and either adjust the interpretation to embrace them or state bluntly that he is defending the philosophy of a supernaturalist nutcase (or, just maybe, some nuanced position in between), I see no reason to follow his misguided marching orders to create an interpretation, "in exactly the way that [he has] done."


ReplyQuote
Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
14/10/2014 9:52 pm  

Tao,

Apologies for using the wrong pronoun and gendered language. I’ll endeavor to refer to you correctly from now on.

On to what you wrote:

"Tao" wrote:
Los's interpretation is fine as far as it goes but, by deeming the bits of Crowley's writing that he feels to be too "ookey-spooky" (reincarnation, higher self, divine will, etc.) to be outliers and thus safely ignored, he is biasing his interpretation away from what the man actually wrote.

Jesus Christ on a cracker, I never said that any bits of Crowley’s writing should be “ignored.” I’ve addressed the point that Crowley claimed in some places to believe in reincarnation – claims that he also peppered with hesitations and called into question elsewhere in his writing. I’ve addressed the point that Crowley believed that two True Wills can’t conflict – a belief that is also challenged by other parts of his writing and that doesn’t accord with the Book of the Law or with reality itself. I’ve addressed the point that some of Crowley’s passages sound like he’s implying that the True Will is something that persists across multiple incarnations – a reading that might be consistent with some passages, but which is called into question by those passages where Crowley subverts the idea of reincarnation.

If you produce a quote that you think I haven’t addressed, I’ll gladly address it.

My point – for those of you who seem to have trouble grasping it – is not that we should “ignore” any given point in Crowley’s writings, but that we should strive to understand any given point Crowley makes in the broader context of all of the things he says about True Will.

But speaking of “ignoring” things, I’ve noticed that my interlocutors have ignored one of my key points. I’ve advanced a reading of True Will as the natural function of an individual, and I’ve produced quite a few quotes where Crowley says exactly that, even going so far as to compare the operation of an individual’s True Will to the operation of a machine. You, Tao, keep yammering on about Crowley’s idea of “True Will” being “more” than that. Well, let’s hear it, then. What “more” is it, exactly? If you think that Crowley means something “more” by the word “purpose” than natural function – and you evidently do think that – then what is it that you think he means, and where in his writings is this explained?


ReplyQuote
Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
14/10/2014 9:59 pm  

Tao posted above something belmurru wrote in a response to david, which I had missed earlier in the thread because it wasn’t addressed to me. But I see there’s something in it that I ought to comment on.

David had said “In 1929's Book 4 part 3 Crowley writes, "'Do what thou wilt' is to bid Stars to shine, Vines to bear grapes, Water to seek its level; man is the only being in Nature that has striven to set himself at odds with himself."

Belmurru responded:

"belmurru" wrote:
In the case of this passage, Crowley grants to Man a special quality not present in any other "being in Nature" - that of being able to, even strive to, "set himself at odds with himself". Which physical law is that? What water sets itself not to find its level? What star tries to bid itself not to shine? Which vines strive not to bear grapes?

So, if you read him closely here, Crowley is saying that Man is not quite natural; alone of all beings in Nature, he has the ability to thwart his natural function. It is another way of saying that Man has "Freewill", and that he often makes the wrong choices, against his nature.

This is a premise that we have to deal with, one way or another.

The implication of belmurru’s post is that Crowley is adopting some premise that is problematic for a naturalistic interpretation of True Will, but this is an incorrect implication.

There are at least two meanings of the word “natural.” The first definition is something like “a product of the physical world.” The second definition is something like “in accordance with a thing’s appropriate function, as determined by its physical or psychological makeup.”

To illustrate the difference: I could train a dog to ride a small bicycle, and that behavior would totally not be “natural” (in the second sense) for the dog. But a dog riding a bicycle is perfectly “natural” in the first sense: in the sense that the act is happening in the physical world, in the sense that one physical creature (me) is using techniques of conditioning on another creature’s (physical) brain to get it to exercise its physical body in a way that accords with the physical laws of motion.

Humans are unique among animals because of our consciousness -- the conscious mind that lets us choose how to act (even against our authentic inclinations). We developed these minds through evolution, through natural (definition 1) means. But these natural (definition 1) minds give us the capability to do choose to do things that we otherwise wouldn’t want to do: they enable us to deviate from the path most appropriate for our function, to turn away from our nature (definition 2).

Absolutely nothing in that particular Crowley quote implies that the True Will is super-natural (definition 1). Crowley is equating the True Will with natural (definition 2) function. And he’s pointing out that humans, by virtue of having consciousness, can choose to act against their nature (definition 2).


ReplyQuote
Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
14/10/2014 10:03 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
93!

Here is an interesting quote by Crowley from 1923. Dictated to Alostrael, and while being sober and not intoxicated.

"There seems to be much misunderstanding about the True Will. In argument people are always making assumptions which imply as uncaused will. The fact of a person being a gentleman is as much an ineluctable factor as any possible spiritual experience: in fact, it is possible, even probable, that a man may be misled by the enthusiasm of an illumination, and if he should find apparent conflict between his spiritual duty and his duty to honour, it is almost sure evidence that a trap is being laid for him and he should unhesitatingly stick to the course which ordinary decency indicates. Error on such point is precisely the ’folly’ anticipated in CCXX, 1, 36, and I wish to say definitely, once and for all, that people who do not understand and accept this position have utterly failed to grasp the fundamental principles of the Law of Thelema."

What do you make of it?

I’ve always read this quote as Crowley saying – again, in a very straightforward way – that it’s almost too easy to be “misled by the enthusiasm of an illumination.” [Much in the way that he observes in Book 4, Part 1 that Christ and Mohammed had been misled by an illumination, or rather by their rational interpretations of their illuminations]

He’s specifically talking about a situation in which someone has had some kind of “spiritual experience” that leads them to think that it’s their Will to act in a way contrary to their “duty to honour” and “the course which ordinary decency indicates.”

And he’s pointing out that the Will is not uncaused – it doesn’t exist in a vacuum apart from all the factors that go into producing it. The fact that a person is a “gentleman” is just as much a factor that goes into determining the Will as the experience of far-flung spiritual trances.

In other words, ordinary, run-of-the-mill (so-called) “mundane” stuff is just as relevant to True Will as spiritual experiences. Probably even more so. Thus, if you have some spiffy spiritual experience and as a result get it in your head that it’s your “True Will” to do something that violates your normal sense of duty, honor, decency, humanity…then you’re probably being misled.

That's what Crowley is saying above. How right Crowley was could be an interesting point to discuss.


ReplyQuote
Anonymous
 Anonymous
(@Anonymous)
Joined: 1 second ago
Posts: 0
14/10/2014 11:34 pm  
"Tao" wrote:
Until there is some attempt made by Los to honestly deal with the data points that don't currently fit his interpretation and either adjust the interpretation to embrace them or state bluntly that he is defending the philosophy of a supernaturalist nutcase (or, just maybe, some nuanced position in between), I see no reason to follow his misguided marching orders to create an interpretation, "in exactly the way that [he has] done."

If you gave me (or you or any of us) some time I/we could provide a substantial amount of newagey statements that Crowley made throughout his life.  Statements of a metaphysical bent.  Likewise you or I or anyone could also provide a substantial amount of sceptical statements with regards to magick and astral planes etc  that he made throughout his life.  Here's the rub though, once someone has made a commitment to scepticism as part of their system then any metaphysical statements just appear to be strange deviations, poetic musings (after all Crowley was a poet), hoaxes or downright slip-ups. 

"Tao" wrote:
Everything that Los presents in the quotes from reply 149 remain consistent with his interpretation. And, as I have said, I see no issue with that interpretation as an entry level, practical understanding of the technical term "True Will". However, I have presented several posts worth of quotes pulled from De Lege Libellum and The Commentaries on Liber LXV that do not jive with his interpretation. Others have done as well. They aim a little bit higher. A little bit deeper. A little bit more divine.

A little bit more metaphysical?

Do you have a metaphysical agenda?  I mean I'm not trying to catch you out or prove you wrong but could you admit that you do have a metaphysical agenda?  I myself, I do have a materialist agenda insofar as I hold scepticism as being paramount and the evidence for non material forces and non material beings is lacking so far. 

"A little bit more divine".  That's laudable.  "Divine."  It's a word that needs defining though.  I watched a Duquette youtube video on the mystical cabballah the other day it was awesome I loved it. I lost myself in it.  Also a fortnight ago I was considering hexing some guy that I know.  One afternoon after work I was contemplating how I could magically send him someone to  give him a black eye.  The next day he came into work with a black eye.  He said that the night before he had pulled something out of a cupboard and it jammed and accidentally wacked him.  After analysing it after 10 minutes or so I thought "big deal".  I had to study stats in college y'know the science of collating how stuff happens.  Yeah it was an outlandish coincidence.  I'm still open to the possibility that I may've magically caused that to happen "through the aethyr."  I have many other such stories.


ReplyQuote
Tao
 Tao
(@tao)
Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 316
15/10/2014 12:52 am  
"Los" wrote:
Tao,

Apologies for using the wrong pronoun and gendered language. I’ll endeavor to refer to you correctly from now on.

No worries. It's the internet. I'm used to it.

"Los" wrote:
But speaking of “ignoring” things, I’ve noticed that my interlocutors have ignored one of my key points. I’ve advanced a reading of True Will as the natural function of an individual, and I’ve produced quite a few quotes where Crowley says exactly that, even going so far as to compare the operation of an individual’s True Will to the operation of a machine. You, Tao, keep yammering on about Crowley’s idea of “True Will” being “more” than that. Well, let’s hear it, then. What “more” is it, exactly? If you think that Crowley means something “more” by the word “purpose” than natural function – and you evidently do think that – then what is it that you think he means, and where in his writings is this explained?

The problem with this read, as I see it, is that the "natural function of an individual" is to survive long enough to reproduce. Full stop. Everything else is icing. That is the fundamental animal level instinct that one arrives at if one really digs down beneath the personality.

As you say, "Humans are unique among animals because of our consciousness." As I see it, this consciousness is what creates the fancy pictures. All of the fancy pictures. This is what I was digging at awhile back in my posts on hypnosis (self- or induced), sexuality, reprogramming, etc. and what belmurru has just touched on in the "True Will=True Nature" thread in re: arriving at the autonomic nervous system. If you do the work, really truly do the work, you will dissolve every veil that makes up what you perceive to be your personality and arrive at a heartbeat. There won't be some remaining preference for coffee that just won't go away. If there is, you haven't gone far enough.

Once one acknowledges that (and, to do so requires either a modicum of faith, the reasoning capacity to follow a chain of thought to it's first cause, or the experience of actually having done the work by dissolving all of the complexes, all of the veils, all of the personality) one is left in the very uncomfortable position of recognizing that everything once considered oneself to be is, in fact, nothing more than a fancy picture. Based on my reading of Crowley (not nearly as extensive as some members on here, I'm sure, but adequate for the moment) I'm satisfactorily convinced that he reached this point at least once in his lifetime. Having reached it, he came out the other side still advancing this notion that there is a true course, a necessary purpose for every individual that is, at times, unique to the individual and, at times, universal to all individuals. Nowhere does he suggest that this true course was simply the living out of our monkey-selves, eating and mating and diversifying the gene-pool. If one truly wants to engage with the man and what he wrote, this should give one pause.

Awhile back, you presented the following, from Little Essays Toward Truth:

Here the great obstacles are these; firstly, the misunderstanding of Self; and secondly, the resistance of the rational mind against its own conclusions. Men must cast off these two restrictions; they must begin to realise that Self is hidden behind, and independent of, the mental and material instrument in which their apprehend their Point-of-View

In your comment, you suggest that "True Will exists *beneath* the body-mind complex" but what Crowley *actually* says is that "Self is hidden behind, and independent of, the mental and material instrument." He isn't just saying that Self is other than the mind-body complex. He is saying that Self is independent of the material instrument, i.e. the brain.

Whether that is true or not, whether it's useful for a beginner in Thelema or not, whether it's honest or a joke, whether I believe it or not, that is what Crowley is saying here and, I contend, it is something along these lines that underlies all of his thinking on the matter.

To say that someone discovers that it is natural and necessary for him to become a poet sounds ridiculous. A man might want to be a poet. He might Will it very hard, even. He might even be on track to become a doctor and, through extensive psychotherapy, discover that he'd much prefer to live out his days starving in a garrett in the Latin Quarter, scraping by on the odd limerick and a handjob. But for it to be necessary to his existence? To be "founded upon universal necessity"? That's just silly. To suggest that a woman living in South Sudan might do the work and discover that, deep down, beneath it all, what is natural and necessary for her is to be a plumber is insane. To ascribe that sort of a read to a mind as brilliant as Crowley's misses his point.

These are simple metaphors used to train beginner minds toward the idea that what one thinks oneself to be might not be what one actually is. As with all metaphor it is not to be taken literally but to be used as a method of training the mind toward a new way of thinking. They might be useful at a literal level for an individual starting off on the path of self discovery but, once the initial wave of psychotherapy corrects the main course and one is no longer trapped at the E.R. for 40 hour shifts, the lesson should remain to guide further development.


ReplyQuote
Tao
 Tao
(@tao)
Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 316
15/10/2014 1:22 am  
"david" wrote:
Here's the rub though, once someone has made a commitment to scepticism as part of their system then any metaphysical statements just appear to be strange deviations, poetic musings (after all Crowley was a poet), hoaxes or downright slip-ups.

 

Your conclusion does not follow Crowley's usage. From The Soldier and The Hunchback:

"What is Scepticism? The word means looking, questioning, investigating... I do not regard mere incredulity as necessary to the idea, though credulity is incompatible with it. Incredulity implies a prejudice in favour of a negative conclusion; and the true sceptic should be perfectly unbiassed... Second, I exclude "vital scepticism... Indolence is no virtue in a questioner. Eagerness, intentness, concentration, vigilance --- all these I include in the connotation of "sceptic." Such questioning as has been called "vital scepticism" is but a device to avoid true questioning, and therefore its very antithesis, the devil disguised as an angel of light... I picture the true sceptic as a man eager and alert, his deep eyes glittering like sharp swords, his hands tense with effort as he asks, 'What does it matter?'"

Metaphysics falls squarely in the middle of "What does it matter?"

"david" wrote:
Do you have a metaphysical agenda?  I mean I'm not trying to catch you out or prove you wrong but could you admit that you do have a metaphysical agenda?

If this is anything like that dastardly gay agenda, set to corrupt our children, then yes. Colour me guilty.

But, joking aside, what do you mean by this? I am interested in metaphysics in much the same way that Crowley was. I'm interested in thinking about the central questions of existence and reality. Is that an agenda? I'd've just called it a side effect of my minor in philosophy.

On topic: It is that interest in the nature of reality that sparks my interest in this thing Crowley calls "True Will" which, when taken at face value, doesn't quite jive with a completely deterministic read of the universe.


ReplyQuote
Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
15/10/2014 1:31 am  
"Tao" wrote:
The problem with this read, as I see it, is that the "natural function of an individual" is to survive long enough to reproduce. Full stop. Everything else is icing. That is the fundamental animal level instinct that one arrives at if one really digs down beneath the personality.

As I suspected, you and I are having a communication problem. We’re talking past each other because we’re using some of the same words to mean different things. I’ll try to explain below.

As you say, "Humans are unique among animals because of our consciousness." As I see it, this consciousness is what creates the fancy pictures. All of the fancy pictures. This is what I was digging at awhile back in my posts on hypnosis (self- or induced), sexuality, reprogramming, etc. and what belmurru has just touched on in the "True Will=True Nature" thread in re: arriving at the autonomic nervous system. If you do the work, really truly do the work, you will dissolve every veil that makes up what you perceive to be your personality and arrive at a heartbeat. There won't be some remaining preference for coffee that just won't go away. If there is, you haven't gone far enough.

Yes, I agree. All preferences are “fancy pictures.” When one gets to the point where one is capable of working without attachment to any preferences at all, I would classify that as 8=3 territory. Being able to see all preferences – even the “authentic” ones – as fancy pictures is necessary (but not sufficient) for this attainment.

But down here below the abyss, there is such a thing as authentic preferences and inauthentic preferences.

The 8=3 recognizes all preferences as fancy pictures. He or she has no reason to follow the preferences that he or she previously regarded as “authentic.” But he or she equally has no reason to interfere with those preferences that he or she previously regarded as “authentic.” Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

one is left in the very uncomfortable position of recognizing that everything once considered oneself to be is, in fact, nothing more than a fancy picture

There’s nothing uncomfortable about that at all: it is, after all, just the way things are. The part of the mind that I call “the conscious mind” will probably be uncomfortable at that idea, but that idea – as well as the discomfort – are equally illusions created by the illusion-creating apparatus (“Khu,” in Thelemic terms). One of the purposes of Thelemic training is to impress upon the aspirant the illusory nature of all of the creations of this apparatus. Thus, should discomfort of this variety arise, it should not present any trouble or any obstacle. One simply notes the illusion, if it is there, and moves on. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

I'm satisfactorily convinced that [Crowley] reached this point at least once in his lifetime.

Me too. Not that it really matters.

Having reached it, he came out the other side still advancing this notion that there is a true course, a necessary purpose for every individual that is, at times, unique to the individual and, at times, universal to all individuals.

Depending on what you mean by “at times, universal to all individuals,” I might agree with you. After all, it’s part of every person’s True Will to *have* experiences of some kind….

Nowhere does he suggest that this true course was simply the living out of our monkey-selves, eating and mating and diversifying the gene-pool.

Of course he doesn’t suggest this – and neither do I.

There’s a fundamental misunderstanding happening here, perhaps because you read the phrase “natural function” as encompassing only bare survival functions. But this is not the case. By “natural function,” I mean – to oversimplify a bit, but usefully so – what an individual would do if he could get his mind to stop telling him what he “should” be doing or what “good” people would do in a given situation.

“Natural function,” in my parlance, includes behavior like writing poetry, studying literature, doing deep philosophy, building spaceships, manufacturing cell phones, driving cars. It also includes bare survival activities, like eating and sleeping. It also includes performing ceremonial magick, playing golf, putting on theater performances, playing hide-and-seek with the kids, and shopping online.

All of those behaviors are natural behaviors for humans. If you can get your mind – the part of your mind that tells you what it thinks you “ought” to be doing because that’s what “good” people do or “productive” people do or “proper” people do or whatever – if you can get that part of your mind to shut the hell up, then what’s left over is the True Will.

The fact that even this True Will is an “illusion” is a separate issue entirely. Don’t mix the planes. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.


ReplyQuote
Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
15/10/2014 1:46 am  
"Tao" wrote:
In your comment, you suggest that "True Will exists *beneath* the body-mind complex" but what Crowley *actually* says is that "Self is hidden behind, and independent of, the mental and material instrument." He isn't just saying that Self is other than the mind-body complex. He is saying that Self is independent of the material instrument, i.e. the brain.

No, "material instrument" here is the physical body, that "instrument" through which the True Self "manifests" because the True Self cannot be identified with the bodily impulses.

Crowley is *not* in that passage attempting to give an ontology of the True Will. His purpose in writing that sentence is not to declare that True Will "natural" or "supernatural." His purpose is not to assert what the True Will ultimately is or where it comes from. He's describing -- exactly as he says -- the *obstacles* to attainment, which include the mental and bodily restrictions that individuals typically mistake for their actual desires (or "True Will"). In that sentence, Crowley goes nowhere near articulating an ontology of Will, and to try to use that sentence to support your interpretation of its ontology is deeply disingenuous.

To say that someone discovers that it is natural and necessary for him to become a poet sounds ridiculous.

It sounds ridiculous to someone who hasn't discovered his or her True Will, for sure. The True Will is irresistible. Someone whose True Will is to be a poet cannot help but write poetry. If he forced himself not to write poetry, he would experience frustration. It feels like something is inside trying to get out.

To suggest that a woman living in South Sudan might do the work and discover that, deep down, beneath it all, what is natural and necessary for her is to be a plumber is insane.

Well, sure it's insane. I highly, highly doubt that the cultural and psychological factors that have gone into producing her as a person have been terribly conducive to making her cut out to be a plumber. It would also be "insane" to pluck out any other occupation at random and say "how bout this one?" You don't find your True Will by trial and error. You find it by shutting the fuck up and listening.


ReplyQuote
jamie barter
(@jamie-barter)
Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 1688
15/10/2014 11:58 am  
"Tao" wrote:
"belmurru" wrote:
Please keep posts relevant to Crowley's use of the expression "True Will", the etiology of the concept, and the interpretation or application of the concept.
There will be a quiz on October 12. 

I come back to check out the quiz and all I find is a dreadful infestation of the Christs. Somebody call the exterminator. Or the exorcist. This thread has been overrun.

A case of the Christs - oh no!  But ‘Jesus’ was a near perfect textbook example of a diversion away from the main thread topic, which veered slightly but was tidily done and dealt with, with the original route being picked up & resumed without any collateral damage following the brief detour.  The model serves as a most fitting parallel to the matter of ‘swerving’ away from the [collision] course, orbit or path of the original intentional purpose behind the True Will [thread], too!

"belmurru" wrote:
I am also not sure that Skinner - or Alostrael? - got the second sentence right - "... which imply as uncaused will" doesn't make much sense without emendation or additions. It could be "... which imply an uncaused will", or it could be "... which imply as uncaused, (the) will", or something like that.

Yes, I originally thought that may have been a typo on Lutz’s part there when I first read it through.  The sentence does make more sense as “an uncaused” rather than “is uncaused”, although A.C.’s terminology can on occasion be unexpectedly idiosyncratic.

"belmurru" wrote:
Sorry about that Tao. I seriously thought that there wasn't enough on-topic interest to justify posting such a gimmick [that There will be a quiz on October 12]. There probably are more people paying attention than I think, however.

There are a couple of other relevant areas to get to before a good little quiz might be justified, which I had hoped might be brought up before now, so stay tuned.

As in the carrot and stick of “how do you expect to get any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?” ;D
 
Why not, though?  A good idea in principle - Something to lighten the upcoming load of those drear winter months ahead (and we've got Christmas coming, too - someone added!)  However will it be an interactive quiz?  The low participation of Lashtalians in things like surveys, questionnaires, etc do not offer much encouragement that there will be a noticeable return.

"david" wrote:
Apparently "Tao" has and I quote,"stepped off the carousel for a bit (and will) return if he/she stumbles across any more pertinent data." (whatever that means.)

Tao’s meaning seemed perfectly clear straightforward English, to me though.  What was the problem with it?

"david" wrote:
Could I request that you guys start your own Xtianity/Thelema thread?

But note here, master david:

Reply #158 by david on: October 13, 2014, 12:05:42 am:

xtianity took off in the eternal city amongst the disenfranchised slaves and working class whose average lifespan was 29 and who suffered grinding poverty.  The appeal of this imported cult which offered salvation in an afterlife was very strong and it went against empire building and the related praising of the gods.  In general terms it negated the material world whereas......

..........so no xtianity isn't similar to Thelema even though many xtians would contest the critique about their otherworldly escapism.  ....

“Don't do as I do, do as I say!" as it were - or, if you be more of a Xian bent here: "Physician – heal thyself!” (Luke 4:23).

~N J0Y


ReplyQuote
belmurru
(@belmurru)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1025
15/10/2014 4:56 pm  
"Los" wrote:
Humans are unique among animals because of our consciousness -- the conscious mind that lets us choose how to act (even against our authentic inclinations).

Sorry, but your science is out of date. WAY out of date, as far as I have known, but until two years ago I would have had to assemble opinions from diverse sources; now non-human consciousness is the scientific consensus, that of cognitive neuroscientists, neuropharmacologists, neurophysiologists, neuroanatomists, and computational neuroscientists (see further below). But what you criticized wasn't the basis of my observation - the statement itself that consciousness is natural but can go against nature is either a conundrum or, more likely, an absurdity - but the current understanding of "consciousness" is too good not to share.

If this is what Crowley meant, then he may be excused, but actually even he went further, much further, into pantheism (for lack of a better term, but it is one he used – see immediately below).

However, I think his singling out Man as an exception in Nature in this passage is not an appeal to his unique possession of “consciousness”, but simply him being too lazy to argue or justify himself at that moment. He simply wanted to get on with explaining the necessity of discovering one’s True Will. People are screwed up and unhappy – here’s the solution.

He wasn’t that rigidly fixed on humans being the only thing in nature with consciousness. Of course, “nature” for him included a lot of what people called “supernatural” – he just thought science would one day demonstrate it empirically.

From On the Reception of the Book of the Law, part III, “The Claim of the Book of the Law to Open up Communications with Discarnate Intelligence” (Magick(1994/1998), Appendix IX (1st ed. Pp. 684-685; 2nd ed. 699-700); this is much fuller than the abridged version in the 1969 Confessions, pp. 397-398:

“It has apparently not occurred to [the average man of science] that his position in doubting the existence of consciousness except in connection with certain types of anatomical structure, is really identical with that of the narrowest geocentric and anthropocentric Evangelicals. It is comic to limit consciousness… The arguments against the existence of spiritual Intelligences stink of false analogy; on the top of attempts to prove an universal negative, and à priori fallacies full of ignoratio elenchi, non distribution medii, non sequitur, and sometimes sheer Hobson Jobson.
(…)
“Our actions may be unintelligible to plants; they might plausibly argue that we were unconscious. It might be that there is nothing to prove that the cells of the planet or the solar system do not subserve a consciousness very much as the cells of our body subserve ours. It must be noted, moreover, that our consciousness does not really belong to ourselves as such. Consciousness is a phenomenon which we connect with certain transitory states of certain aggregations of cells. There is absolutely no reason for supposing that some type of consciousness may not be characteristic of any and every combination. Our real reason for attributing consciousness to our fellow-men is that the similarity of our structures enables us to communicate by means of language, and as soon as we invent a language in which we can talk to anything soever, we begin to find evidence of consciousness. Professor Farr has discovered in plants a quite definite psychology as opposed to mere mechanical reaction to stimulus, and one may safely say that science in general is advancing in this direction. The dualistic Christian theology has been in fact the worst opponent of Pantheism, despite its claims to assert the existence of spirit.
“I frankly accept the most materialistic conceptions of Victorian science. I yell with unholy glee that consciousness is a function of the brain. I merely add that nature is continuous, and that it is therefore absurd to suppose that any special group of phenomena and no other should exhibit unique qualities. Science has already shown that not only radium, uranium, and a few other rare metals, are radioactive, but that all matter is so to some extent. I merely add that all matter is to some extent conscious; and so that there may be, all over the Universe, individuals of many orders. 
“I hope that the above remarks have destroyed the à priori denials of the possibility of the existence of discarnate intelligences. Nay, more, I trust that I have established a strong probability that they are everywhere.”

But if reality trumps both Crowley and the Book of the Law, then you may have to reconsider your entire answer to the question of how it is that Man can (apparently) thwart himself.

The current scientific consensus, in all the parameters of research into consciousness, is that many types of animals, including invertebrates, share it with humans. Birds are an especially striking case – “Birds appear to offer, in their behavior, neurophysiology, and neuroanatomy a striking case of parallel evolution of consciousness. Evidence of near human-like levels of consciousness has been most dramatically observed in African grey parrots. Mammalian and avian emotional networks and cognitive microcircuitries appear to be far more homologous than previously thought. Moreover, certain species of birds have been found to exhibit neural sleep patterns similar to those of mammals, including REM sleep and, as was demonstrated in zebra finches, neurophysiological patterns, previously thought to require a mammalian neocortex. Magpies in particular have been shown to exhibit striking similarities to humans, great apes, dolphins, and elephants in studies of mirror self-recognition.”

That was a point from the joint Declaration given at the end of the “Francis Crick Memorial Conference on Consciousness in Human and non-Human Animals” on 7 July 2012. The summary statement reads (my emphasis) -
“The absence of a neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affective states. Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Non-human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.”

See “The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness” –
http://fcmconference.org/img/CambridgeDeclarationOnConsciousness.pdf

Video of the Declaration (attended by Stephen Hawking) –
“Animal Consciousness Officially Recognized by Leading Panel of Neuroscientists” -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSbom5MsfNM
or http://youtu.be/RSbom5MsfNM

How tight does the circular argument for Man’s exceptionalism (otherwise called anthropocentrism) have to be – will it be something like “unless it writes poetry and creates scientific theories, it is not consciousness!”?

It appears that Crowley was right that “science in general is advancing in this direction.” Is he right in believing that science will one day prove the existence of discarnate intelligences, or life after death (Liber Aleph chapter 99)?


ReplyQuote
the_real_simon_iff
(@the_real_simon_iff)
Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1836
15/10/2014 5:48 pm  

93, belmurru!

The last time I quoted these Crowley words to Los he answered "I've gone out of my way -- repeatedly -- to say that I think Crowley was wrong in these beliefs".

Of course you prepared your case much better than me and I am looking forward to his answer this time. But I am confident he will again correct Crowley and set him aright.

Love=Law
Lutz


ReplyQuote
belmurru
(@belmurru)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1025
15/10/2014 5:49 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
Crowley -

"... and if he should find apparent conflict between his spiritual duty and his duty to honour, it is almost sure evidence that a trap is being laid for him and he should unhesitatingly stick to the course which ordinary decency indicates."

In Liber Aleph, chapter 66, he explains the nature or basis of this "duty" and "ordinary decency" by reference to one's "station" and other conditions of birth (my emphasis):

Βν
[66]

DE CONFORMITATE MAGI
[On the Conformity of the Magus]

"See to it therefore, o my Son, that thou in thy Working dost no Violence to the whole Will of the All, or to the Will common to all those Beings (or By-comings) that are of one general Nature with thee, or to thine own particular Will. For first of all thou art necessarily moved toward the One End from thine own Station, but secondly thou art moved toward the End proper to thine own Race, and Caste, and Family, as by Virtue of thy Birth. And these are, I may say it, Conditions or limits, of thine own individual Will. Thou dost laugh? What, sayest thou, of the Revolutionary Will? Err not, my Son! The Magus, even as the Poet is the Expression of the true Will of his Fellows, and his Success is his Proof, as it is written in The Book of the Law. For his Work is to free Men from the Fetters of a false or a superannuated Will, revealing to them, in Measure attuned to their Needs, their true Natures."


ReplyQuote
belmurru
(@belmurru)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1025
15/10/2014 5:59 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
93, belmurru!

The last time I quoted these Crowley words to Los he answered "I've gone out of my way -- repeatedly -- to say that I think Crowley was wrong in these beliefs".

Of course you prepared your case much better than me and I am looking forward to his answer this time. But I am confident he will again correct Crowley and set him aright.

Love=Law
Lutz

I wish we could set straight the strange transcription "imply as uncaused will". I also wish I knew what those "arguments" were. We can infer that he is alluding to someone's claim that an illumination of some aspect of their True Will told them that they must do something outside of ordinary decency, perhaps far outside. An "uncaused" will would then be absolute, and no appeal against it were possible - I must do this, because my Will pre-exists all conditions which might hinder me, such as an inflated ego or whatnot. In other words, my brain or upbringing or society didn't cause my Will, it caused itself, it is supreme, and therefore whatever it wants I must do, no matter what conditions and causes - or "because" says.

Perhaps it was a reaction to something like what he wrote in the D Comment to II,33, that "The True Will is uncaused" He might argue that, yes, it is ultimately uncaused, but the purity of this origin has no relation to the trivial conditions in which it must negotiate its best course. The Absolute cannot impose itself as such, wholly and purely, in the causal world.


ReplyQuote
ignant666
(@ignant666)
Tangin
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 3150
15/10/2014 6:02 pm  

If i may go a bit meta for a moment:
It is truly astonishing that Los remains so steadfast in his misunderstanding of AC's work as a sort of amalgam of the Amazing Randi and Oprah Winfrey, in the face of so many pointing this out to him for so many years, both here, and during his foray to "the fruitcake factory".
Tao & belmurru have very patiently and politely done so in this thread (despite Los' invariable patronizing, sneering undergraduate tone) by pointing out, with extensive reference to his writings, that AC explicitly rejects the form of skepticism espoused by Los & his junior acolytes, and defined "Will" as something rather different that a "preference" for coffee.
Los' response, as usual, has been to repeat his usual "No True Scotsman" strategy of quote-mining, while saying that all the many times AC contradicts what Los says he says don't count, because in those passages AC was: 1) joking; 2) not as clever/enlightened as Los and thus mistaken; 3) "LA-LA-LA! I CAN'T HEAR YOU!" (Los often simply ignores arguments, and interlocuters).
Years ago, before I concluded that Los failed the Turing test, I pointed out to him that his reading of AC's "overall body of work" as espousing anti-metaphysical materialism, "moral nihilism", and the "vital skepticism" AC rejected, was not shared by a single one of his students or anyone who knew AC personally.
Another data point as far as how we might best go about engaging with, and reading, AC's work is that Los' reading of AC is not shared by any serious academic scholar; see eg Pasi, Hutton, and indeed every single author included in the recent 2012 Aleister Crowley and Western Esotericism.
I apologize for the digression, and return you to Los' ongoing demonstration of the Dunning-Kruger effect, and the very interesting discussion of AC's work that others are attempting to have.


ReplyQuote
ignant666
(@ignant666)
Tangin
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 3150
15/10/2014 7:57 pm  

A further meta comment, with further apologies for digressing, and for double-posting:
It has become frankly tedious that any online discussion of AC's writings and practices invariably devolves into a discussion (by Los) of the views of "that Los guy" (I think few among us would dispute my gender-assignment here).
Los readily concedes that his views are quite different to those of AC, who, Los admits, credulously believed in his "daydreams" about "ookey-spookey" "goblins" and "spacemen" like Aiwass.
Los knows this because he is so much smarter and better-educated than AC (and any interlocutor who does not adopt "Los-ianity"), despite thusfar having so shamefully "hidden his light under a bushel" in this regard during his online interventions- we are left to take Los' asserted superiority on faith, given this lack of any evidence in his voluminous forum postings and blog, which seems most un-Losian.
Given that Los' teachings are, he says,  such a manifest improvement, on what poor old superstitious AC actually wrote and did, would it not make sense for Los to withdraw from future online discussion of the thought of poor old benighted AC, and instead promulgate his many improvements on Crowley from a forum devoted to this "revisionist Thelema", and leave those of us who wish to engage with what the man actually wrote, thought, and did to get on with it, without the inevitable derailment of any such discussion into what some uncharitable souls might term "trolling" on behalf of Los-ianity?
Of course, if my intuition that Los is in fact a Turing-bot is correct, this won't happen.
Think about it- has "Los" ever once "broken character", or "talked out of turn" by saying something you did not expect he would?
For example, has "Los" ever once in his very repetitive online postings ever conceded that someone he is arguing with has made a good point, or ever responded to any argument in any way other than repeating what he said before (which of course is not really a response)?
All this is readily pre-programmable into a well-coded bot running with minimal occasional human intervention; the only challenge from a computer science point of view is the algorithm that substitutes in the name of the current interlocutor as "that [name] guy" into the pre-composed text- quite possibly whoever programmed "Los" is not up to coding this, and relies on that occasional human intervention here.
The recent "that Tao guy" slip may be most telling in this regard- a non-bot human interlocutor would have readily understood Tao's sarcastic "that Tao chick" response some time back (after Los' first invocation of the "that Tao guy" stock-phrase in this thread) as indicating her gender, and apologized for his sexism then, rather than waiting until she clearly spelled out that she is female, rather than simply alluding to this in a sarcastic passing phrase involving use of a slang term.
Parsing and detection of slang and sarcasm are two notoriously difficult areas in programming Turing bots; again there may be some coding deficits at work here, or simply the intractability of a truly hard problem.
I don't believe "Los" is real because i am not in the habit of accepting factual claims in the absence of sufficient evidence (having learned this at the feet of a master), and neither should you.


ReplyQuote
belmurru
(@belmurru)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1025
15/10/2014 8:37 pm  

I understand, ignant666. This thread was inspired by something on the mythopoeia thread, which had again turned to Los' favorite subject. I knew this thread would attract him, and I respond when it is convenient to make a larger point, one relevant to the thread. He is sometimes a useful foil, in other words. I don't expect I will change his mind on anything, from his bread-and-butter version of True Will to an honest reading of Crowley. Of course one doesn't have to agree with Crowley, but it is my experience that very few people have read him in a systematic fashion, chronologically and thematically, with the theme - like this one on True Will - chosen and carefully mapped.

People don't want to stop at the "self likes coffee" level - no one needs this kind of shallow self-observation. That isn't even the beginning of True Will. I know he doesn't mean it to stop there, but he has to take the consequences of using such trivial concrete examples, and people have latched on to that type of down-home preaching, because, outside of his blog, it's all he does.

I don't believe he's a bot, but I think he is Hessle.

Nevertheless, onward - with sincere participation, we can keep this thread on-topic and informative. I have learned a lot, becoming very aware of Crowley's spiritual economy and the place of terms like "Silent Self", "Secret Self", "True Self" etc. I have had a lot of insights from Tao, and Lutz has given me a good bit from Moonchild and the Diary to fill in the picture. These are the kinds of things I'm looking for, so I'm happy, I hope others are too.


ReplyQuote
Tao
 Tao
(@tao)
Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 316
15/10/2014 9:17 pm  
"belmurru" wrote:
From On the Reception of the Book of the Law, part III, “The Claim of the Book of the Law to Open up Communications with Discarnate Intelligence” (Magick(1994/1998), Appendix IX (1st ed. Pp. 684-685; 2nd ed. 699-700); this is much fuller than the abridged version in the 1969 Confessions, pp. 397-398:

Damn, belmurru... just as I get one new Crowley tome sorted you go and throw another must-read at me? Will the madness never end???  😉

"belmurru" wrote:
Perhaps it was a reaction to something like what he wrote in the D Comment to II,33, that "The True Will is uncaused" He might argue that, yes, it is ultimately uncaused, but the purity of this origin has no relation to the trivial conditions in which it must negotiate its best course. The Absolute cannot impose itself as such, wholly and purely, in the causal world.

I wonder if maybe this "ultimately uncaused" relates to what he wrote in his commentary on LXV, written right around the same time as the D Comment:

The stream of souls (stars) flows ever towards Nuit; i.e., each man and woman has the same True Will - to regain its original Mother.
- Commentary to Liber LXV, 3:54

Your analysis continues to ring true when this is added in. Each star fundamentally experiences the uncaused will to reunite with the All/Not (uncaused because it is simply a function of the original creation of 2 out of 0 and the necessary ultimate reunion of those 2 into a 0 through "Love". I.e., natural law). As Los mentioned (incorrectly applied, I think, but the right term nonetheless) we mustn't confuse the planes. Ultimately, at source, anything we call "will" is a development of this uncaused natural law, the "will to reunite", the "Will" that is Chokmah, one step removed from the source. Perhaps the "True Will" that we experience is just the most pure expression possible in the mundane, physical, causal world of Malkuth. However, as with anything in Malkuth, it rests on a parent force in Yesod. And that force rests on a parent in Hod. And, on each level, we discover a more and more refined and universal "will" at work until finally, at the top of the tree, we discover that they all originate from the uncaused (because it is, in fact, the first cause) Will.


ReplyQuote
Anonymous
 Anonymous
(@Anonymous)
Joined: 1 second ago
Posts: 0
15/10/2014 9:41 pm  
"Tao" wrote:
"david" wrote:
Here's the rub though, once someone has made a commitment to scepticism as part of their system then any metaphysical statements just appear to be strange deviations, poetic musings (after all Crowley was a poet), hoaxes or downright slip-ups.

 

Your conclusion does not follow Crowley's usage. From The Soldier and The Hunchback:

"What is Scepticism? The word means looking, questioning, investigating... I do not regard mere incredulity as necessary to the idea, though credulity is incompatible with it. Incredulity implies a prejudice in favour of a negative conclusion; and the true sceptic should be perfectly unbiassed... Second, I exclude "vital scepticism... Indolence is no virtue in a questioner. Eagerness, intentness, concentration, vigilance --- all these I include in the connotation of "sceptic." Such questioning as has been called "vital scepticism" is but a device to avoid true questioning, and therefore its very antithesis, the devil disguised as an angel of light... I picture the true sceptic as a man eager and alert, his deep eyes glittering like sharp swords, his hands tense with effort as he asks, 'What does it matter?'"

Metaphysics falls squarely in the middle of "What does it matter?"

What matters in scepticism is only accepting propositions as to be likely to be true if they are based on evidence.  The eagerness and alertness is all fine but that has to be utilised into (again) acknowledging evidence or a lack off otherwise it isn't scepticism it's a fantasy poem.  So far the evidence for metaphysical realities is below being flimsy at this time..


ReplyQuote
Tao
 Tao
(@tao)
Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 316
15/10/2014 9:47 pm  
"Los" wrote:
Yes, I agree. All preferences are “fancy pictures.” When one gets to the point where one is capable of working without attachment to any preferences at all, I would classify that as 8=3 territory. Being able to see all preferences – even the “authentic” ones – as fancy pictures is necessary (but not sufficient) for this attainment.

But down here below the abyss, there is such a thing as authentic preferences and inauthentic preferences.

The 8=3 recognizes all preferences as fancy pictures. He or she has no reason to follow the preferences that he or she previously regarded as “authentic.” But he or she equally has no reason to interfere with those preferences that he or she previously regarded as “authentic.” Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

You are correct, we are talking past each other. But it is because this reads to me as a case of special pleading for your preferred terms. This reliance on "authentic" preferences does not hold water if it is possible to get past them. It paints the picture of a plateau, half-way up the mountain, that is somehow a True peak even though it is not, in fact, a peak.

From One Star in Sight [emphasis mine]:

To attain the Grade Adeptus Major, he must accomplish two tasks; the equilibration of himself, especially as to his passions, so that he has no preference for any one course of conduct over another, and the fulfilment of every action by its complement, so that whatever he does leaves him without temptation to wander from the way of his True Will.

There isn't an exception made there for some "authentic preference" that is in fact the "True Will". The "True Will" is a way that lies outside of "preference".

"Los" wrote:
There’s nothing uncomfortable about that at all: it is, after all, just the way things are. The part of the mind that I call “the conscious mind” will probably be uncomfortable at that idea, but that idea – as well as the discomfort – are equally illusions created by the illusion-creating apparatus (“Khu,” in Thelemic terms). One of the purposes of Thelemic training is to impress upon the aspirant the illusory nature of all of the creations of this apparatus. Thus, should discomfort of this variety arise, it should not present any trouble or any obstacle. One simply notes the illusion, if it is there, and moves on. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Oh, it's very uncomfortable at first. Dare I say, excruciating. No matter how much you think you've prepared for it. But yes, as you say, you get past that.

Depending on what you mean by “at times, universal to all individuals,” I might agree with you. After all, it’s part of every person’s True Will to *have* experiences of some kind….

What I mean is what I posted previously. Universal to all stars:

The stream of souls (stars) flows ever towards Nuit; i.e., each man and woman has the same True Will - to regain its original Mother.

Commentary to Liber LXV, 3:54

There’s a fundamental misunderstanding happening here

With that I would agree.


ReplyQuote
Tao
 Tao
(@tao)
Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 316
15/10/2014 10:24 pm  
"david" wrote:
What matters in scepticism is only accepting propositions as to be likely to be true if they are based on evidence.

This is not Crowley's (nor my) use of the term scepticism. In addition to what I've already provided from !&?, See: The Book of Lies, ch. 51 and, the Preface to The Temple of Solomon the King (written by Fuller, edited by Crowley) all of which put the lie to this notion of yours that Crowley believed we should accept anything because it's "likely to be true."

"david" wrote:
So far the evidence for metaphysical realities is below being flimsy at this time..

You are clouding your own understanding by searching for "metaphysical" bugbears. Metaphysics is a traditional branch of philosophy concerned with the fundamental nature of being and the world that encompasses it. It is not, as you seem to want to make it, an irrational belief in gremlins and unicorns.

A recommendation (if you are, indeed interested in engaging with these matters in a way aligned with Crowley and not just that of forwarding your own materialist agenda, as you call it): Take Fuller as an example and attempt to do what he did. It is a first step towards dissolving the veils of illusion and discovering whether or not there is "that which remains" underneath.

For ten years he [Fuller] had been a sceptic, in that sense of the word which is generally conveyed by the terms infidel, atheist, and freethinker; then suddenly, in a single moment, he withdrew all the scepticism with which he had assailed religion, and hurled it against freethought itself; and as the former had crumbled into dust, so now the latter vanished in smoke.

In this crisis there was no sickness of soul, no division of self; for he simply had turned a corner on the road along which he was travelling and suddenly became aware of the fact that the mighty range of snow-capped mountains upon which he had up to now fondly imagined he was gazing was after all but a great bank of clouds. So he passed on smiling to himself at his own childlike illusion.

- The Temple of Solomon the King, Preface


ReplyQuote
ignant666
(@ignant666)
Tangin
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 3150
15/10/2014 10:29 pm  
"belmurru" wrote:
I don't believe he's a bot, but I think he is Hessle.

Didn't Paul tell us this isn't so a while back based on posting IP addresses that showed them in different continents?
Of course, i may be hallucinating again as to Paul having said this (having failed to google it up), or there may be ISP spoofing at work.
Another data point: before reaching the conclusion that the best evidence suggests that "Los" is in fact a bot, i once PM'ed "Los" to offer to buy him a drink (despite our somewhat tendentious engagements in this forum), given that he used to list his location as NYC; he demurred. Turing-bots can't go out for a drink.
I'm sticking with the contention that "Los" is a Turing-bot until more evidence for the factual claim that he isn't emerges.
The boys (one senses that no women were involved in the programming of "Los") at the computer science lab must be laughing themselves sick.


ReplyQuote
Anonymous
 Anonymous
(@Anonymous)
Joined: 1 second ago
Posts: 0
15/10/2014 10:37 pm  
"Tao" wrote:
[
The problem with this read, as I see it, is that the "natural function of an individual" is to survive long enough to reproduce. Full stop. Everything else is icing. That is the fundamental animal level instinct that one arrives at if one really digs down beneath the personality.

As you say, "Humans are unique among animals because of our consciousness." As I see it, this consciousness is what creates the fancy pictures. All of the fancy pictures. This is what I was digging at awhile back in my posts on hypnosis (self- or induced), sexuality, reprogramming, etc. and what belmurru has just touched on in the "True Will=True Nature" thread in re: arriving at the autonomic nervous system. If you do the work, really truly do the work, you will dissolve every veil that makes up what you perceive to be your personality and arrive at a heartbeat. There won't be some remaining preference for coffee that just won't go away. If there is, you haven't gone far enough.

It isn't about some kind of atavistic devolutionary vegetative state.  I think Los has explained this before when he cited that Snooky from Jerseyshore can stop thought too but we're not talking about that kind of stopping of thought lol.

What about the "higher cybernetic" parts of the brain which are the same thing as HGA or TW?  Crowley said that goetic spirits are just "portions of the brain" so if man is also essentially metaphysical Spirit then it follows that man's alleged metaphysical Self /TW is also just a "portion of the brain" according to Crowley's reasoning that is. Brain.  Matter; grey matter. 


ReplyQuote
Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 4065
15/10/2014 10:47 pm  
"david" wrote:
What about the "higher cybernetic" parts of the brain which are the same thing as HGA or TW?  Crowley said that goetic spirits are just "portions of the brain" so if man is also essentially metaphysical Spirit then it follows that man's alleged metaphysical Self /TW is also just a "portion of the brain" according to Crowley's reasoning that is. Brain.  Matter; grey matter. 

Crowley proposed that once, in his very early years, in his introduction, foreword or preface to the Goetia. Even so, that is quite a leap even for you to declare, on that basis, that the Holy Guardian Angel and True Will are parts of the brain.


ReplyQuote
Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
15/10/2014 11:52 pm  
"belmurru" wrote:
"Los" wrote:
Humans are unique among animals because of our consciousness -- the conscious mind that lets us choose how to act (even against our authentic inclinations).

Sorry, but your science is out of date.

I must have expressed myself poorly. I didn’t intend to say that it is the possession of consciousness -- unqualified -- that distinguishes humans from other animals: I intended the emphasis of my sentence to fall on the stuff after the dash as a qualifier: humans are unique in having the *type* of consciousness that allows them to choose to act in ways that can bring them dissatisfaction.

The phrasing there is kind of clunky, and I don't have the time or energy right now to think of a more elegant single expression, so allow me to illustrate.

Obviously, many animal seem to have consciousness, and some (maybe even many) have human-like consciousness. This is, of course, exactly what we would expect to see in a world where consciousness arose through a process of biological evolution, gradually in stages. But although a gorilla, for example, might have some kind of consciousness, there aren’t any gorillas who stay up half the night because they realize that their lives are halfway over and that all of their life choices have brought them disappointment. You don’t find any young dolphins plagued by doubt about how they should choose to spend their lives. I’m pretty confident that none of those talking African parrots have expressed existential despair over the question of whether their lives ultimately have any meaning.

That’s the kind of consciousness that humans have that distinguishes them from other animals. I don’t know how to say that succinctly, but that’s what I was driving at in my response to you.

To return to the Crowley quotation that kicked off this sub-thread: "'Do what thou wilt' is to bid Stars to shine, Vines to bear grapes, Water to seek its level; man is the only being in Nature that has striven to set himself at odds with himself."

You had responded to this quote by suggesting that there was some kind of “premise” in Crowley’s words that I haven’t “dealt with.” I responded to you by demonstrating that there is absolutely nothing in Crowley’s words there that imply that True Will is “not natural” or that it is “super-natural.”

So please respond to this point: what is the “premise” that you think lies in this specific quote from Crowley that my position has to “deal with”?


ReplyQuote
Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
15/10/2014 11:55 pm  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
The last time I quoted these Crowley words to Los he answered "I've gone out of my way -- repeatedly -- to say that I think Crowley was wrong in these beliefs".

And in addition to saying again that I think Crowley was wrong to claim that there exists disembodied consciousness, I'll say that whether or not there exists disembodied consciousness is a question unrelated to the question of what True Will is.


ReplyQuote
Tao
 Tao
(@tao)
Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 316
16/10/2014 12:03 am  
"david" wrote:
It isn't about some kind of atavistic devolutionary vegetative state.

What is the "It" in this sentence?

"david" wrote:
What about the "higher cybernetic" parts of the brain which are the same thing as HGA or TW?

As the term "cybernetic" referred only to the study of civil government until it was repurposed in 1948, I predict this will be a fruitless request but, nonetheless: Can you provide a citation from Crowley wherein he proposes identity between True Will and the "higher cybernetic" parts of the brain?

"david" wrote:
Crowley said that goetic spirits are just "portions of the brain" so if man is also essentially metaphysical Spirit then it follows that man's alleged metaphysical Self /TW is also just a "portion of the brain" according to Crowley's reasoning that is. Brain.  Matter; grey matter.

He also wrote, from the same Introduction to the Lesser Key of Solomon (you really do need to get better at proper citation, david):

I have all the health, and treasure, and logic, I need; I have no time to waste. “There is a lion in the way.” For me these practices are useless; but for the benefit of others less fortunate I give them to the world, together with this explanation of, and apology for, them.

Whether his analysis of Goetic demons be correct or no, the rest of your conclusion does not follow. He dismisses this particular practice as useless to his work. To attempt to then analogise it to his work on True Will is a false equivalence.


ReplyQuote
Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
16/10/2014 12:05 am  
"belmurru" wrote:
People don't want to stop at the "self likes coffee" level - no one needs this kind of shallow self-observation.

So then let's hear your explication of True Will, belmurru. Give us a definition, based upon your reading of Crowley's writings, and provide a few hypothetical examples to illustrate your definition.

Interested readers will note that I'm the only one on this thread offering a coherent reading of True Will, a reading supported by bucketloads of quotations that span multiple Crowley works, a reading that directly addresses challenges made by others.

The thread's antagonists seem to agree that I'm right, but they also claim that I don't go "far enough." So I ask them for their definitions of True Will, based on Crowley's writings, and they throw out vague words ("purpose"!) refusing to explain how they think their vague definitions go "farther" than my definition (since, as I've explained, my definition encompasses "purpose").

So let's hear it. I look forward to reading your definition.


ReplyQuote
Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
16/10/2014 12:15 am  
"Tao" wrote:
This reliance on "authentic" preferences does not hold water if it is possible to get past them. It paints the picture of a plateau, half-way up the mountain, that is somehow a True peak even though it is not, in fact, a peak.

Look, the term "True Will" or "authentic preference" or "whuzzle wuzzle" or whatever we want to call it are labels. We're labeling this one thing because we can distinguish it from the other thing ("false will" or "thoughts about what I should be doing"). That's all the label's for. If you're objecting to the label, then you're not having a substantive conversation about what the labels refer to.

This is precisely why we're talking past each other: I'm trying to talk about what the words mean, while you seem to be hung up on the words themselves.

From One Star in Sight [emphasis mine]:

To attain the Grade Adeptus Major, he must accomplish two tasks; the equilibration of himself, especially as to his passions, so that he has no preference for any one course of conduct over another, and the fulfilment of every action by its complement, so that whatever he does leaves him without temptation to wander from the way of his True Will.

There isn't an exception made there for some "authentic preference" that is in fact the "True Will".

Again, you're hung up on the labels. You can't sensibly refute what I'm saying by hunting through Crowley's writings to find one place where he uses "preference" to refer to the preferences of the conscious mind. Incidentally, Crowley uses the word "preference" in several places in Book 4 this way. But we need to look to all of his writings to comprehend the *meaning*. His reference in this quote to "especially as to his passions" calls to mind those many places where he stresses the importance of training the aspirant's mind to behold reality without the distorting lens of the emotions, which colors the aspirant's view of reality by convincing him or her that some things are objectively "good" or "bad," irrespective of his or her natural inclinations.

You're mixing up the map for the place (that is, the attainment) because I strongly suspect you don't have firsthand knowledge of the place. You're just flailing around trying to go by the words, which is also why you seem to have an incoherent idea of True Will that you are unable to explain.

Go on and prove me wrong -- give us your definition of True Will.


ReplyQuote
Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
16/10/2014 2:46 am  
"belmurru" wrote:
Perhaps it was a reaction to something like what he wrote in the D Comment to II,33, that "The True Will is uncaused" He might argue that, yes, it is ultimately uncaused, but the purity of this origin has no relation to the trivial conditions in which it must negotiate its best course. The Absolute cannot impose itself as such, wholly and purely, in the causal world.

As ever, it’s useful to look at the context. Here’s the whole passage from the Comment Called D:

The attack [i.e. Hadit’s attack on Reason] ends with the scornful curse "Enough of Because! Be he damned for a dog!" In this book, even the style of a letter is full of import. The word "dog" has occurred before this. Firstly, the dog is used as a symbol of a form which would restrict a God who indwelt it. Again "There is death for the dogs", that is, to restrict free action ends in stopping it once and for all. Further "the dogs of Reason." The thought of the mind born of and nourished by the senses tends to restrict the self, to impose the will of the world upon it, whereas the use of the world is to provide it with objects of love through which it can fulfil itself and know itself. To become passive towards the thoughts and the senses is to accept the fetters of a slave. Now then Because is called a dog, that is, a thought that tends to restrict and hamper the Will. The True Will is uncaused, being simply the measure of the motion of the self in respect of any given object. It is an abuse of the term `cause' to apply it to this case. Men have said that the will is never free, because it is the effect of two causes conjoined between the nature of the Self and that of the moment. This is to put the cart before the horse. The symbol Dog is well chosen. It is God spelt backwards or denied. The nature of the dog is servile; dogs cannot depend on themselves, they never look at the world through their own eyes, they must needs accept some code imposed upon them from above. Further, the Magi of old took the Dog as a symbol of those base desires and fears which hunt and spring upon and pull down the soul of such men as know not how to master them.

First, let’s note that – once again – Crowley affirms that the Will is hampered when one “become[ s ] passive towards the thoughts and the senses.” These are the restrictions (the “veils”) that he speaks of elsewhere.

One becomes such a “slave” of be-cause by passively accepting these thoughts and sensations, by allowing the mind and body to “cause” one’s actions.

Instead, the True Will should spring from the interaction of Self (the authentic self, below the body and mind) with environment: by “uncaused,” Crowley means that the will is the “measure of the motion of the self in respect of any given object.” He says it’s thus an abuse of the word “cause” to say that the Will is “caused” by those objects.

To illustrate Crowley’s point by using belmurru’s favorite example, let’s say that I decide to drink coffee simply because my body is addicted to it. Or let’s say that I decide to drink coffee because I think that sophisticated people drink coffee, and I want to be sophisticated.

My action – in both of those cases – would be “caused” by the senses and/or the mind acting on me. In one sense, we couldn’t really describe that as a “willed” action at all. I’m just going through the motions dictated by my body or my ideas about how I “ought” to act. There’s really no human will behind that action whatsoever. A “dog” – that is, a god reversed – is as good a symbol as any for that.

But if I were to drink coffee because it was my authentic inclination to do so – not acting because of my bodily addiction or because of my ideas about how I should act – then my action is a free expression of my Self, the motion of my Self measured in relation to that particular object at this particular moment. The coffee isn't "causing" me to drink it (in the way that my mind and/or body were causing me to act in the other example). I'm just expressing my Self in that particular environment, an environment where coffee is available.

In *this* sense, we might say that the Will is “uncaused.” Crowley extrapolates from this to refute the idea of determinism – a philosophical idea that he advances in other places, of course – but it has to be understood in this context as a rejection of the notion that action should simply be *determined* by the veils that blind us to the Will.

I would say that in *this* sense of the word “uncaused,” Crowley always held that the will is uncaused.

But is this the sense in which he uses the word “uncaused” in that other passage? [The possibility that Crowley might, in two different places, be using the same word to mean different things suggests one of the dangers of grabbing bits of his writing out of context and trying to form syllogisms out of them, as you did earlier in the thread, belmurru]

If we jump back to that other Crowley quote:

“In argument people are always making assumptions which imply as uncaused will. The fact of a person being a gentleman is as much an ineluctable factor as any possible spiritual experience: in fact, it is possible, even probable, that a man may be misled by the enthusiasm of an illumination, and if he should find apparent conflict between his spiritual duty and his duty to honour, it is almost sure evidence that a trap is being laid for him and he should unhesitatingly stick to the course which ordinary decency indicates.”

It could be, of course, that we just have a straight-up contradiction here. Or it could be that "uncaused" is being used in a different sense in this passage.

I'll advance one possible reading. Crowley might, in this passage, mean that these people assume that the will is “uncaused” in the sense of being out of relation with all objects (or out of relation with all objects that they deem not “spiritual”). That would indeed lead someone astray because the Will is not out of relation with mundane objects (including, say, the object we might label "the fact that one is a gentleman"). The Will is – as Crowley defines it in D --  the expression of Self in relation to those objects.

Hence, experiencing some spiritual trance, drawing from it the conclusion that “It must be my Will to do such-and-such,” and proceeding to act on this conclusion – even when the action ignores the Self’s natural relation to other objects – could be a behavior that restricts the Will, rather than fulfills it.

In other words, a person making this mistake would be acting on a Will “caused” by his mind (in the sense of “caused” meant in the first passage), but believing himself to be acting on an “uncaused” Will (in the sense of “uncaused” meant in the second passage).


ReplyQuote
ignant666
(@ignant666)
Tangin
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 3150
16/10/2014 2:53 am  

A note to whomever is programming "Los":
Now that i have demonstrated (without any denial by "Los" that this is so; i think we may thus consider the case closed- Q.E.D.) that "Los" is, under the more charitable interpretation, a Turing-bot, only one in the grip of the sort of reflexive instinctual courtesy that is said to cause drunks to apologize to lampposts they've bumped into would continue to respond to his postings.
Of course, some here have already demonstrated in their posts in this thread that they understand, and guide their conduct by, what AC meant when he referred to "being a gentleman" [or lady] as "ineluctable"; they may well do so.
If so, this might be seen as the intellectual equivalent of devout Jainites who sweep the ground in front of them lest they inadvertently tread on a single insect.
The non-denial of bot-status by "Los" provides some evidence for one factual claim i made above: "Los" habitually responds to inconvenient arguments by going into "LA-LA-LA! I CAN'T HEAR YOU!" ignore mode (cue explication by Wellreadwellbred of how the "LA-LA-LA" chant, and its obvious reference to the title of a certain book, is rooted in AC's childhood experiences in the Plymouth Brethren?)
A note on rhetoric to those responsible for Los' postings: the "I am right and you are wrong because I am an Ascended Master and you are not" argument-from-authority (second paragraph of post #197) is considered weak sauce.
The topic under discussion is the evolution of AC's use of the specific phrase "True Will"- the claimed "daydreams" of posters as to their claimed "attainments" (or, for that matter, their claimed improvements upon, and corrections of errors in, AC's writings) are utterly outside the scope of this topic.


ReplyQuote
Page 4 / 6
Share: