50030703 viii om Hail Satan!
> 93 all,
>> if we make the transition from the Method of Religion to the
>> Method of Science, perhaps we'd be more successful all around.
>> arguably, religion is the *problem*, not the solution.
> We need to examine what the risk of science involves....
it involves the risk of a loss of enthusiasm (as from art).
the risk of art is the loss of grounding (as from science).
> ...none [of the arguments I see about Thelema and magick;
> speculative essays ] ...[are] based on ...real Occult work,
> or reports from results involving actual praxis. Why is
> this the case?
because you're looking at arguments, not evidence-comparisons.
> ... a critique of the methodology.
'wrong ritual', 'wrong godforms', 'wrong power words'. there is
insufficient agreement as to what techniques produce what level
of reliability. the converted will agree with one another, those
who have different axioms will disagree.
'science' lacks a basis from which to proceed in establishing
knowledge without some axiomatic initial suppositions. this is
easier to obtain amongst materialists because the material is
the basis from which the rest appears to proceed (despite the
fantasy projections of mystics). Descartes laid it out for
strict materialists and Newton and others filled in the gaps.
> Ultimately, the only way to attack the study is to try to
> replicate it.
there is insufficient agreement on what constitutes replication.
in materialist science it can be agreed that while time cannot
be run backward and the un-aged materials run through precisely
the same maneuvers, we will accept materials which are roughly
similar to them in a comparably similar place (conditions haven't
sufficiently changed that we notice so as to affect results).
treating magic as science is to destroy its timing, sanctity.
replication of magical results is difficult in part because of
the differences of symbolism between magicians, in part because
of any differential of cosmological configuration with which it
may be presumed associated to achieve such success.
> At a certain point, through testing, concrete results are going to
> emerge. These will be results that everyone in science - whether
> they want to admit to them or not, for any number of reasons - will
> be forced to acknowledge. They will have to admit the facts no
> matter how upsetting to people the results might be.
nothing will do the forcing. knowledge systems are not necessarily
reconciliable. science can have 'denominations' too. as long as all
the knowledge in two different systems fits the apparent facts,
there is no reason to presume that one model is "better" than another
(possibly excepting the very popular dictum by Bishop Occam).
> This is part of the "method of science." We see so little of it in
> the Thelemic and Occult communities because people are reluctant to
> get results that will clash with their moral and ethical beliefs.
I'd say we see little at least in part because there is insufficient
agreement about what constitutes not only methodology but also results.
there is very little consistency about what results are obtained,
how these might compare with others, etc. add to this the personal
incentive to SKEW the results (drawing attention, placing one's name
and reputation in social traditions of records) and you can pretty
much forget the notion of a reliable science of mysticism.
> Most of the blah-blah we see, and the avoidance of a scientific
> approach is due to a marked disinclination to do work that might
> produce results that clash with people's values.
'a scientific approach' is not understood, let alone employed. few
understand its application outside laboratories and severely-
constrained conditions. and with good reason. the phrase is very
badly abused in service to religious conversion.
the problem is that there are few term-sets that may be reliably-
applied to magic and to mysticism. it was in part for this reason
that Frater Nigris did construct Liber Scire to resolve this matter:
which can serve as such a term-set for the interested.
> Objective science
> will produce results that are amoral in essence - they will have no
> essential moral value at all. Real occult work will do the same.
materialist science seeks to know what is and how it typically behaves.
sometimes it ventures into trying to know what was, and usually this
derives from a backwards-projection. engineering uses reliable sets of
predictions to afford a leverage on future events.
arcane sciences generate subjective knowledge, which has no basis
of consolidation with the knowledge of others other than shared
experience and common selected term-sets. there is nothing which
prevents arcane sciences from developing moral knowledge, whereas
materialist science dealing with objects and behaviour cannot ever
shift convincingly to an "ought mode".
this doesn't prevent materialist scientists from deriving such moral
principles (and they have done just that, in leagues and societies
attempting to make their ethical concerns and values apparent).
> ...real magical work, since it reveals
> the real world and not a fantasy of how the real world *should* be
> like, is threatening to these values and world views. This is why
> people prefer the "method of religion, aim of morality" to a magical
> praxis that upsets and threatens that apple cart.
outrageousness is the primary tool of attention-seekers and juveniles.
it isn't absolutely necessary to magical science or practice.
> ...Look at the nature of what
> concerns everyone - not the techniques, not the methodology of the
> praxis, but the moral interpretation of the results.
the aim of religion: ethics, orientation, empowerment.
this implies a consistent attunement to the real.
> Is it a Thelemic moral interpretation?
what could this be?: of or pertaining to the will, its typical or
conventional trajectories, and a lack of contention or dissonance
where such volition appears (efficiency).
> No, it's almost always one that is
> rooted in secular humanism and conventional morality. How could it
> not be? Until people really do the practical exercises, this is
> going to be their biggest concern, no matter how stupid they sound.
if one puts faith in the practical exercises. why do they work as you
believe that they do? analyzing them, how is it that they function?
is this knowledge about their function derived from faith in them,
or from some kind of experiment varying them and watching how
different mages turn out differently? is the character of the result
seen clearly in direct apprehension or further confused by skewed
reflections on 'how the mage turned out'? there are many variables.
> Most Thelemites and occultists are hung up on morality because they
> are over-weight, unsuccessful, not very good looking, and lack
> social skills and status and recognition. Morality is one of the
> ways they protect themselves and manipulate others and themselves....
> If our magical work isn't going to upset and challenge all our
> beliefs and ways of seeing the world, why do it at all?
again laden with presumption, this question derives from a particular
stage in human societal transition. it enshrines the revolutionary at
the expense of the establishment, takes on the outrageous despite its
corruption of the consolidated, makes ignorance out of knowledge.
at certain times in people's lives this is a very important principle
to abide. upon emerging from parental-constructs adopted in the
development during a child, for example, or in shrugging off the
limiting coccoon of middle age after ripening into multi-valence.
however, the phrase "magical work" is completely arbitrary outside
the limited mystical-development scheme accepted by Thelemists.
as an occult phrase, magical work just means something was changed
through the use of magic. this could mean anything from changing a
lightbulb (in the facile will=making-magic scenarios offered up by
theoreticians like Crowley and others) to starting convincing cults
or bringing rain.
> If all we
> want from magick is to have our run-of-the-mill secular humanism
> reinforced by astral special effects, most Hollywood films can do a
> better job of that. Doing really important magical praxis is going
> to be different, in the same way really important science is
why need theory be involved at all?
> I see people who don't do experience desperately looking at AC's
> writings and trying to twist his results into something that will
> fit their conventional morality. I understand why they do this, but
> it's much sadder to watch people who supposedly are doing real AA
> work joining them in these sad endeavors.
the problem is usually one of identification. where does the 'real
AA work' leave off and the silly ceremonialism begin?
> As people get a little
> taste of reality they see just how threatening it can be to their
> values and the identities their moral values inform and create.
it is always easy to proclaim that over which others object to are
'disruption of fantasies by the reality'. what about those who've
studied the objectionable and found it wanting? Crowley's writ may
explore ideas beyond the conventional, and as such it may contain
that over which the conservative may cringe, but this says nothing
about its reality-content. notorious artists don't have a corner on
reality or the truth, they just know how to poke at resting cats.
if you're a resting cat, you might dislike him. if you like to watch
cats jump, then you might like him quite a bit. no reality needed.
in theory terms: objectionable knowledge within one system is not
necessarily an indicator of its truth value either within the system
in which it appears or in some alternative which accepts it as some
kind of convention. writers of objectionable material may be said
to have a good sense of what is outrageous. compare humour writers
for modern sitcoms or screenplays.
> become, then, even more desperate to try to head off this
> annihilation - thus we get people telling us how "AC wasn't a good
> Thelemite", etc. This is the method of religion you see, even with
> people whose commitments and praxis should make them know better.
having some kind of standard by which 'Thelemite' might be understood
makes sense if one is going to do more than worship the Beast. if he
doesn't measure up to that standard, why defend him as some kind of
Master Cat-Poker? so he understood the foibles of fundamentalism? and?
> The "method of religion" can be made scientific -
it's not black and white after all? oh no!
> this is bhakti yoga and the way to do it is described in Liber Astarte.
LOL. Bhakti Yoga is Indian, Crowley was not its master, though he could
have got things from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras and a few discussions with
some swami or yogi or something. he never undertook an extended course
of chela disciplines of which I'm aware. Bhakti Yoga is not scientific.
in fact, Bhakti eshews science except to reinforce its theoretic bases
in excitement of enthusiasm. one look at how it is applied (e.g. in the
worship of Krishna) displays how bad it is in generating data that is
assimilatable across a range of cosmological foundations.
> The problem
> with it is that it is very personal and very intense.
the knowledge utilized for the purpose of ardent devotion is more of
an intellectual fuel than anything which must be reliable or historical.
a good deal of religion relies upon this devotional approach to history
for its method and pretends to history for the purpose of conversion.
knowledge generated within such experiences, where reliable, tends to
be symbolically-related to internal aspects of the mystic, rather
than something easily-translatable to others. sometimes, based on the
grandiosity and fluidity given to knowledge and history within the
devotional mode, the mystic will over-generalize and attempt to claim
something universal what is merely seen interior to their condition.
this usually leads to the generation of cults and religions thereafter
that have nothing to do with science. one might say this of Thelema
as it seeks to bow down to the Master Cat-Poker.
the intensity of Bhakti is in its emotional experience. suspension of
knowledge is a superior method with respect to it, where possible, as
the exercise of the Heart (emotional system) is such that it may lead
the mystic into maturation *regardless* of any intellectual supposition
that serves as precursory introduction to the devotional practice.
> The effort and
> aspiration needed can create problems and problems even arrive when
> the operations are performed successfully. But the moral threat
> remains, since at its very height it tends to produce effects that
> are disruptive to normative values.
the problem with using a moral barometer in identifying successful
spiritual results, however, is that you begin to equate destruction
of ethical and moral sense with spiritual development. this is the
weakest point in mystical assertions explaining amoral behaviour
on the part of presumed authorities, from Padmasambhava's moral
transgressions in Yeshes Tsogyal's biography to Crowley's obvious
moral lapses which he describes himself in his autobiography.
this is in part one of the weaknesses of modern Hermetic theory, and
is probably exemplified in the writings of Anton Szandor LaVey, who
correctly associated ceremonial magic and mystical results with the
deconditioning of the aspirant. however, like many who failed to
apprehend the complete process typically included in mystical
disciplines and traditions, he didn't supplement this deconditioning
methods with what might be called an 'individually-empowering
substitute paradigm'. instead, he perpetuated typical magical biases
and constructed infernal reproductions of Neopagan riteforms,
perhaps recommending individually-based activities as alternatives.
> Most great religious figures are not good and saintly people - they
> are often amoral and dangerous.
it is my contention that most 'great religious figures' are in the
past, constructed from a variety of legends, and assume mythological
appearance as they recede into that past. humans are humans, and
some humans do exhibit admirable qualities. to ignore this, or
pretend that there is no standard of values that may be used in some
overarching assessment of mystical disciplines, is to destroy the
admirable aims that religion has developed and which some seek to
use science to attain. compassion is evident to the perceptive
and ignored by those who merely seek power and license, for example.
> If I am trying to protect my nice little identity, real bhakti yoga
> is the last thing I'd want to do.
this is completely false. real Bhakti Yoga is the *easiest* thing for
a mystic who is trying to protect their identity. the reason for this
is that it is personal in its basis and maintains (at least at its
basic foundations) a distinction between the God and the worshipper.
if you mean that it requires personal abandon to a new set of values
and knowledge set(s), then I'll agree completely that it would be
very difficult to achieve for those stuck in their knowledge as
long as it is incompatible with the new competitor system.
that its results include transcendentalism (upwelling, as a result
of pouring all of the will into devotion, love, overwhelming and
intensified emotion with respect to the divine on all fronts)
is not detrimental to its overall personal method. one may see in
the first portion of Crowley's scripture the mode of the God to
the worshipper, in which we are 'The Chosen', are encouraged to
dedicate all devotions 'To Me!' etc.
> I am not opposed to religion at all - if people are approaching it
> like a bhakti/Liber Astarte way.
my memory is that that book isn't religion, it is solitary devotion
to a deity with a kind of abstract grounding supposing objectivity.
success in this method will transcend the knowledge structure of
its origin and probably disrupt any notions that the magician
might have had with respect to previously-assimilated paradigms.
the reason that I say this is that the conversion-experience is an
integral element of it, and this includes an intellectual overthrow,
a suffusing of the rational in the dense, gooey elements of new
religious knowledge. the language of the devoted is intense and
personal as you have correctly indicated, but this is NOT a
detriment except to those who wish to remain *untouched by yoga*.
the challenge is how to adapt presumed objectivity to devotion,
and this may be faked by the aspirant to appear successful or
abandoned for later refinement to better standards of
reliability than strict object-orientation.
> If it's a half-baked attempt at
> transmuting Thelema into something people with very little insight
> and courage use to prop up their middle class values and mutually
> support their fantasies about what the universe is about, then count
> me out.
what do these middle class values include? is your trajectory merely
one which leads "out of middle class values"? if so, then distancing
from them may provide you with a sense of advancement. it is comparable
to the discernment of alternative routes within mystical symbol-models:
Nigris' recasting of Crowley's Black Brother Demonization as a vision
of something AC didn't experience and generalized inexpertly, for
exmaple; or Crowley's recast of the value of Patmos John's symbolism.
you never answered my question about where you're going to draw the
line as regards 'fantasies' if the audience to whom you are speaking
has a mix of foundations. absent some resolution about what is the
real, you're likely going to be encountering Neoplatonists, as well
as Materialists, and strict Subjectivists (even enlightened
Solipsists like Raymond Smullyan!!) within the Thelemist community.
what do you identify as real and why? how did you determine that the
things others think are real are 'really fantasies about the universe'
without some kind of basis in accuracy?
the heart of these latter questions is: how will you avoid just going
about reproducing the behaviours of which you are attempting 'count
yourself' out? say you select a lower-class or upper-class set of
values instead; say you select a *different* set of fantasies about
the universe and mutually support these with your friends. how and
why is this an *improvement* over what you're criticizing?
do you think those you're criticizing think of what they're doing in
these terms? surely you know they consider what they believe to be
truth and the values they are propping up to be somehow sacrosanct. ;>