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The Self after Mass Destruction

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.pagan.magick,talk.religion.misc,alt.thelema,alt.consciousness.mysticism
From: (nigris (333))
Subject: Re: The Self after Mass Destruction
Date: 11 Apr 1997 00:20:06 -0700

49970406 AA1  Hail Satan!  NULatix!  


Paul Hume re PCarroll: 
#> He changes his view (on this as on other things) considerably in Liber
#> Kaos. It may well be expressing some deeply help concerns. The thesis,
#> as I recall, is that techniques to erase/rewrite the personality down to
#> the deepest levels exist, and in the presence of these, how can we talk
#> about the higher self/HGA or a True Will with any sense of reality?... 

higher self --  typically conflated with the 'soul' or 'spirit', sometimes
                equated rather directly with the constructed 'light body'
		of the Hermetics, popularly presumed to be some sort of
		refined and beatific New Persona aligned to all of the
		ideals of the speaker.  it can indeed be this, though how
		it is derived is usually misunderstood.

H(oly)G(uardian)Angel -- usually used colloquially relating to a folk-
			 belief that we are delegated an angel (and, at
			 times, a demon) who guides and/or guards us from
			 birth; in the Hermetic community often related
			 to an 'Unique and Important Spiritual Entity'
			 along the lines of that mentioned in _The Sacred
			 Magic of Abramelin the Mage_, after Crowley, who
			 regarded it as a tutelary guide of ambiguous
			 origin and declination; it is often presumed to
			 be wholly benevolent and knowledgeable as regards
			 the aspirant, to have its own unique name and

true will/Will -- destined or perfect concrescence of universal will in
		  the context of an individual life

none of these things depend in any way upon the personality, its depth,
or variability.  in regards the first, as Sr. Lillyth says, we may come
to comprehend more precisely its nature through such a reprogramming
(though below I shall argue strongly against the notion of any sort of
NECESSARY 'death').  the second appears completely unrelated, and the
third is potentially discovered along with the first.  typically the
unrefined surface personality is seen within Hermetic and many other 
mystical frameworks as an OBSTACLE to more lofty pursuits, though I
think this, generalized, is an error of extreme and sad proportions.

MSARKIS : is only through a massive self-destruction and self-anihilation 
#can we know what this "Higher Self" or "HGA" is ....

I agree that such a massive self-destruction *can* lead to these
discoveries, but I wish to oppose vehemently (and I hope convincingly)
the presumption that this is the ONLY way to go about it.  I have seen,
since my earliest exposure to conventional mystical writings (both East
and West), a bias toward ascetic self-effacement (whether arrived at
via restriction or through explosion), and have at first rejected it 
out of hand, only later coming to see its relative value.

#As we have seen so far on this list through various discussions,
#especially the last one on Thelemic Christianity, just because one is a
#magician/thelemite/chaote/satanist/etc. does not make one superior to the
#rest of humanity.... 

my impression is that the shakeout from the "Thelemic Christianity" thread
boils down to 'things aren't as clear-cut as we might wish to make them
out', and 'the terms "Christianity" and "Thelema" offer sufficient
diversity that generalized statements about them and their relationship
are bound to be inaccurate'.  I didn't get the sense of how superiority
to the rest of humanity factored in, especially since the bulk of the
"rest of humanity" ISN'T Christian.

#We are the products of our society/culture whether we like it or not. 

the nature/nurture debate rages on.  I see that you've stated this.  
I agree it is largely true for the majority of human beings, becoming 
more and more so as media fixes social obsession.

#We are essentially social beings (I am not a Rousseau-ian) and it is 
#that that makes us who we are.

again, I agree with this as a generalization, but in particular would
point out that, as PHume said, there ARE means of reconstructing one's
personality to one's liking.  the debate then becomes how much is fixed
from childhood and whether the reproduction is just as much a product
as that which we develop in our childhood.  surely some do merely choose
a new social framework and orient to it, facelifting for crucial elements 
and varying externally on that theme, yet there are those, who, for
whatever reason or from whatever stimulus, veer sharply, at times taking
very important and assertive steps in recreating 'who they are' (this is
nowhere more evident than the Sexual Reassignment movement, though it
may manifest in anyone who selectively changes cultures to reflect their
changing person).

#...magick a tool which allows us to break away from that. 

depending on how 'magick' is meant.  some utilize common ceremonials,
engage traditional studies, and practice types of socialization which
enable them not only to remain relatively unchanged through the
process but to entrench even further into conventional cosmological,
ethical and epistemological presumptions.  as the language and 
phenomenon of 'magick' grow popular, so too does a status quo culture
expand within it, simultaneously protecting the egos of the participants
from change and dissolving the value of the mystical traditions therein.

#One of the goals of magick is for us to engage in a critical
#self-reflection which would make us question our reality and what we hold
#as "Truth" (Rousseau-ian I am not, but a phenomenologist, I am)....

I agree, though I think that, as with clay-sculpting, timing is everything.
I will return to this clay-scheme below.

#We carry with us the garbage of our society until we actively begin to 
#question it

I'm unsure this applies to everyone, but I agree for most of us it is true.

#(that's why assholes can even be found amongst magicians because they
#didn't bother taking the time to question anything and were comfortable in
#following the herds). 

assholes aren't the only ones who have this failing.  there are many who,
for better or worse, are meek, personable, respectful, and thoroughly
programmed by their social environment.  assholeness is more complicated
than you make it out, I think, and not always a function of 'immaturity'
(that's too facile a dismissal).

#One of the ways of pursuing this critical self-reflection is through
#excess. Essentially, through the active pursuance of excess one takes hir
#beliefs and world views and pushes them to their limits until they start
#breaking down. Ultimately the question becomes "what happens when
#everything breaks down"? 

my experience is that the Path of All (rather than the Path of None,
which you appear to be equating here as regards results) does not 
necessarily lead to a complete deflation unless there was never any 
solid core from which the self manifested.  that is, if the 
personality of the individual is rather insubstantial, weakly 
constructed, or variable of structure, then the path of excess will 
blow it apart and leave only the essential (rather than merely social) 
person behind.

however, this is DIFFERENT than the Path of None, which actively
deconstructs even what may be a core personality (one of the real
difficulties of the structured paths of taking a guru or engaging quite
severe ascetic rigors or physical feats).  the Path of All both makes
possible a detour into delusion (as we do not really bite off MORE than
we can chew, but just enough to feed an inflating egotism without 
experiencing the important consequences of OVERindulgence).

in this case the query you pose will be misunderstood.  'everything'
need not break down in the Path of All, whether this be by virtue of
too slow an "excess" or some kernel of Ego (Jungian) which has begun to 
form due to previous nurturance, reflection and/or fortune.  

of course, in modern urban culture it is likely becoming more and more
the case that there are few to no structures of support for the
development of that very important Ego (core of personality), and,
especially in a television-imbued, fractionated slave-system, what is
more likely is a paper-clips-and-glue facsimile of an integrated self.

as I see it, the Path of All allows us to develop important things like
self-esteem and confidence (simultaneously exposing us to the traps of
overconfidence and ego-inflation), whereas the Path of None makes these
unnecessary in the grounding out of the fears which make them valuable.

what you seem to be suggesting here is that the Path of All *necessarily*
leads to the same result as the Path of None (destruction of the self).
what i am saying in response is that this is an extreme which not 
everyone who engages the Path of All will need or want to experience.

#To me this is analogous to pathworking on the Tree of Life.
#Pathworking is similar to peeling an onion. With each sphere that one
#"climbs to", one undoes a layer of their consciousness. So, instead of it
#being a way to harmonize the self with a particular aspect of the Tree,
#one in fact "strips it away". One looses intead of gaining....

the problem with this generalization (and I think it a beautiful one)
is that some people can be severely harmed through an attempt to 'lose
it all via excess' when some of that 'all' is quite important to their
development.  using the clay motif, if I have crafted a clump of clay
into some unrefined product and engage in excessive addition, the 
collapse of the clay model may still leave a clinging, and important,
essential element which any attempts I make to eliminate may prove 
damaging to the Work as a whole.

#if I a working on the sphere of Yesod which is the foundation, instead of
#gaining a foundation, I loose it. I become "ungrounded" in the sense that
#being grounded is actually not important anymore. When you work very hard
#on something and you loose it repeatedly, it seizes to have much
#importance, and you realize that you can live without it. This also
#happens with other spheres. They are questioned, and thus stop being
#central to one's life. One begins then to see the bigger picture. 

in the sense of rationalized particulars I think this is a very important
and meaningful process.  as regards the self I think it will vary as to its
value in release/loss/destruction.

#This is a fun (?) excercise, but where is leading to? Well, where it leads
#to is nothing. 

here is where I am differing with you.  I think it leads to nothing in
certain types of individuals.  I don't think it ALWAYS leads to nothing,
and I don't it is *valuable* to presume the aim for all to be nothing.

#...a Knowledge of the Self which would not have been possible without 
#the breakdown. 

the Knowledge (experience) of the Self (essential core) may well be
possible without a complete breakdown.  the Path of None leads to the
experience you describe, and the Path of All does too when there is
no connection to the Self constructed within the concretation process.

for those who *have* made the connection within their experience, a
complete breakdown becomes unnecessary.  this is the real opportunity 
which living, conventional and popular religious paths offer, as do
the paths of egotism such as some portions of Thelema and Satanism.

#This also facilitates the passage into/beyond Daath. 
#The passage beyond Daath can happen in two ways:  1. Either by pouring the
#last drop of blood into the chalice of Babalon (voluntarily!) or 2. The
#guardian of the Abyss - Choronzon - will take it away by force. 
#The passage can be either destructive or ecstatic.

as I hope I have explained*, this notion that the self must be divested
or totally removed or defaced is a fallacy of the Old Aeon and a tool
of social groups to encourage conformity and dependency.  it manifests
in the Rosicrucian and Crowleyan 'Crossing of the Abyss' and is 
exhibited as fallacious within the descriptions of myself, Grant, and
others in our treatment of the Abyss as something which neither treats 
the Abyss as something to be 'got over', nor considers necessarily that 
Choronzon is an adversary.

(* -- Cf. _Liber Nigris_.)

#> ...if someone reprograms me to that extent then I am dead,
#> on the level under discussion....

#Yes! Exactly! Absolutely! Death is our salvation! Not the physical death,
#but the spiritual/mental death. 

it may be YOUR salvation, it may even be mine, but some are simply not
aided or redeemed by it.  in fact some don't NEED redemption or salvation.
the Recycled metaphor of the Old Aeon (akin to the Dying God and related
to older ideas from India and/or generalized shamanism) may well work for
those who haven't been able to orient to the Wheel as it spins.  yet for
those who HAVE 'caught on', if you will, that is an unnecessary (and in
some cases, distinctly unsavory) route to follow.

#Many are horrified at the idea of dying in this sense of the word and 
#would rather just die a physical death. 

the option isn't just between these two.  there is also the option of
living through a continuously developing growth and paring, subtended by
major restructures (not obliterations), reflective of the vegetative 
process toward which even the Dying God points.  

I suggest that the horrified reaction is in some cases VERY IMPORTANT,
since for some this route would be disastrous in the extreme.  note that
I am not saying it is good or bad for all, only trying to argue against
the generalization that it works for everyone.

#Ecstasy comes from laughing in the face of death by doing what it does to
#have power over us: killing ourselves every day in one way or another
#until death seizes to become a horrific idea and instead becomes an
#ecstatic (even erotic) one. 

as regards the bulk of life this is a lovely and important wisdom.  as
regards our essential selves this is not always what an individual needs.
there are times when focussing on growth, development, even ego-inflation
and, more importantly, self-support, will gain where 'facing death' in
this manner (to extreme) will availeth not but disaster and dissolution.

nigris (333) -- --
see  and  call: 408/2-666-SLUG!!!
 ----  (emailed replies may be posted)  ----  CC public replies to author ---- 
 * * * Asphalta Cementia Metallica Polymera Coyote La Cucaracha Humana * * * 

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