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Art, Magick and Thelema

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.thelema,talk.religion.misc,alt.occult
From: (nigris (333))
Subject: Art, Magick and Thelema
Date: 28 Feb 1998 18:54:50 -0800

49971128 aa2 Hail Satan!


Andrew Spitzer  talks about a concert:
# ...Very exciting, high enrgy (especially for
# him being such an old fart!) and hence very magical.

I have often found the concerts in which I've participated (as singer, 
dancer, bodily experiencing the rite on stage, rather than being among 
the spectators or audience) were quite transformative, magical.

# I feel there is something inherently magical in well executed art/music.

agreed, and it is this element of art I'd like to attempt to analyse over
the course of the next 10 years.  your post inspires me to carry over some 
of the IRC conversation I had about it recently for seeded brainstorming.

# The performer has created a change in accord with his or her will, and 
# that has had an effect in at least the consciusness of the audience. 

in IRC (EFnet #spirituality) we were comparing our ideas (which just 
happened to be compatible and in the comportment derived of Crowley) 
about science within the general discussion about magick and 
contrasting these with art.  here is the supposition we seemed to 
agree upon at that time:

	science: the process by which, through interaction with and 
		 observation of phenomena, experiment and analysis lead 
	         we change our interior ideation patterns toward a 
		 predictive-quality matching between our knowledge-set 
		 and interpreted events

	art:     the process by which we change external phenomena  
		 toward comformity with interior ideation patterns 
	         or consonance to it and its nature (emotional,
		 intellectual, parallel, reflective, etc.).

that is, science and art appear to be working with the same elements but
in rather reverse manners.  engineering -- artistry utilizing today's
materialist science, is typically conflated with the pure scientific
process, making the matter all the more difficult to understand.

magick, by these (and, I contend, Crowley's) measures, is an exercise of
BOTH science and art to achieve change in some medium in conformity to
the Way of the cosmos, the Will of God, or, in the terminology of the
liberated, the true will of the mage.  comments/analysis/reflection 

# Some would argue that all magick is Thelemic by definition. 

this is rational if one does not require it be performed by a human
being, qualifies by virtue of arising in response to volition, and
does not require some guiding ethical standard of assessment.

# ...Thelemicity can be defined (if one chooses) as using themes or
# symbols from the idiom that we generally call Thelema. This would include
# references from or imagery relating to Liber AL, Crowley's body of 
# rituals and poetry, etc.

a very similar measuring standard as you have elsewhere suggested for the
identification of 'Christian magick' (magick using themes or symbols from
the idioom that we generally call 'Christian', of lesser or greater
specificity).  just as with the term 'Christian' we immediately enter into
the controversy over what truly qualifies as 'Thelemic': which elements
should be considered 'central', which 'grafted onto the core', etc.  for
any who attempt this assessment they may bring different criteria to bear
in making it.

your isolation of _Liber Al vel Legis_ and Crowley's work is entirely and
logically debatable.  just because Crowley seeks to enshroud his work and
scriptural Evil Book in a mantle of Thelemic character says nothing about
whether it truly serves this ideal or instead attempts to co-opt that same
ideal for the purposes of his literal diarrhea and self-aggrandizement.  

one could suggest, for example, with some persuaveness, that Crowley was
merely a writer and a visionary who, having noticed that the world culture
was bound to pay greater and greater attention to individualistic and
libertine philosophies in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, sought 
to enmesh his name and peculiar literary foci into its interior so as to 
preserve his ego, thumbing his nose at his detractors.  one might select 
other, more convincing and original, philosophers to represent the 
'Thelemic' ideal (say Berkeley, Hume, Nietzsche, Kafka, Heidegger, Sartre,
Rabelais and any number of Revolutionaries pursuing the cause or analysis
of the individual) and take their themes and preferences for character as 
symbolic of 'Thelemic' ideals.  it might not conform to the popular 
sludge that adheres to magick in the aftermath of Crowley's passage of
'Thelema', but it would be no less valuable for its Thelemic assertion.

# This would make the work at least taxonomically Thelemic,

based on linguistic usage, yes.  alternatives might be, as I have
said above, along philosophic parameters, or based on some other
criteria for which 'Thelemic' is meaningful to the evaluator.

# This other angle are those who's work relates the discovery of will 
# and the subsequent doing of said will, without using the themes 
# and symbols of the idiom that we tend to know and love as "Thelema". 
# This may be obviously show in the body of artistic works, as I feel 
# that some of the late '70s punk rockers did, or it may be more a 
# product of presentation of the work and even lifestyle of the artists.

the idea of 'will' and speculation about it would form a kind of envelope
of significance within which certain enshrining sources might be emphasized
in this type of analysis.  members of all the world's religious and
philosophic cultures who center on 'will' or 'volution' of some sort could 
be valuable compared and contrasted, forming what could be a much more 
convincing body of argument and lore than what is otherwise maintained by 
the 'Thelemic' religious cultus.

# There are many ways to skin this falcon. Any takers?

I don't really like the idea of skinning falcons, but I have been 
keeping an eye out for philosophers and religious whose text focusses 
on the *individual* will.  some of the names in the list above might 
qualify, but I'd have to do a much more thorough investigation into 
first Western and then Eastern sources before I think such a foray 
would yield valuable fruit.  Crowley would likely become little more 
than a footnote in such a compendium of ideas and themes, given his 
penchant for emulating Christianity in his lack of innovative genius.

nigris (333) 
-- (emailed replies may be posted); 408/2-666-SLUG       FUCK

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