> Certainly, we can say Thelema
> encourages freedom of thought and liberty of action -- but that's
> a positive
> assertion in itself (not a particularly perceptive or interesting one, but
> it's a start)."
> JB: I am getting the impression that you have concerns about
> people seeking
> to do their Wills in the World without firm moral guidelines.
How'd you get that impression? I'm not talking about developing "firm
moral guidelines," I'm just looking for common ground. If everyone's
definition of Thelema is an entirely private one with no common referent,
it's completely meaningless and there's no point in having a conversation
> Is it
> possible that such definitions are the causes of our problems, not the
Well, look at it this way: if we each spoke a different language, would
that solve our problems? We both speak English. That, of course, does not
mean the words we use have precisely the same meanings -- there are many
gradations of meaning that differ between people. At the same time, there's
enough common ground there that we can hash things out and come to some kind
of mutual understanding. On the other hand, if I come up with a word that
has no shared referent and say "let's have a conversation about balamosine,"
there's just no place to go from there unless I can define "balamosine" in
terms that you can understand. So yes, I think definitions are important to
communicating with one another, and I think it's pointless having
discussions about undefined terms. Being unable to communicate effectively
may solve some problems, but it creates many others.
In avoiding the taint of orthodoxy by refusing to define Thelema, I see what
you're saying as basically being equivalent to what Yahweh is supposed to
have said when he saw people building the tower of Babel. When people
understand each other and can get behind the same ideas, they can accomplish
massive things -- like building a tower or knocking one down with airplanes,
curing disease or wiping people out with envelopes filled with anthrax
spores. What I see you saying is that understanding one another ultimately
leads to oppression, slavery and fanaticism, whatever the benefits might be.
Better to just choose a nonsense word -- in this case "thelema" -- get
behind that, and since it can mean *anything*, we confuse each other enough
to keep from getting together and doing things like building bombs or
forming nation states. That's fine, but it seems like there's an unnecessary
middle step there -- after all, we already have words like "anarchy,"
"nihilism" and "solipsism." Why bother mucking around with "thelema" at all?
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