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Centralized Authority vs Thelema

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick.order,alt.magick,talk.religion.misc,alt.thelema
From: (nigris (333))
Subject: Centralized Authority vs Thelema
Date: 23 Jul 1999 23:36:32 -0700

49990203 IIIom here we go round the mulberry bush once more. :>


#> does doing the work include promulgating the Law of the Thelema?
a correspondent writes:
# depends how it's done.   I believe the rituals of this church
# promolgate the Law.   

how, specifically, beyond the charity?

# a formal structure, such as a church, could teach a person
# freedom and responsibility and even, dare we say it,
# direct gnosis and the idea that nothing but the self is needed
# to be in direct communication with godhead.  

and that is the Law of Thelema?  what is the difference between
how this is instructed and, say, how the Pentacostals or other
decentralized religious operate?  is their instruction somehow
different?  what about quakers?  are there any studies by EGC
members of religious through the ages and what failed in their
movements (esp. those like gnostics, anabaptists, quakers)?
if so, are there any instructional papers on this?

# It's almost as though such lessons would lead one to believe 
# that no formal church is necessary.  And it's not, for the gnosis
# part.  Which brings us back to the community part....

what prevents a rigidification of spiritual authority along the
lines of organizational authority within the church?

#> wherein the point was made that the regularization could rationally
#> be objected to on the grounds that it destabilized PERSONAL power,
#> and therefore jeopardized the promulgation of the Law. 
# I can see how regularization *could* destabalize personal
# power, but not that it *has to*.     

do you see how it has time and time again?  do you think that this
was the result of some human flaw, specific temporal, genetic or
philosophic weakness, or do you think it may be possible that the
STRUCTURE of a church simply doesn't make it realizable for long?

# It has a lot to do with how a given individual interacts with 
# the Church - what they think it means to belong to a Church, 
# whether or not they empower the Church in their own minds, etc.

given the predominant instruction from the society around the
individual ("listen to organizations, they are more reliable than
your inner knowledge, seek to empower organizations and to
disempower yourselves so that they can help you"), do you think
that operating along conventional lines does anything to prevent
the wilting of the Thelemic flower in the EGC or (c)OTO?

#> charity and life-transition rites are a pretty important aspect of 
#> the Order's business, but NOT at the expense of its prime objectives.
# D'accord.  At the moment, I see no actual evidence that the prime
# objective of the Order is being backburnered or tossed aside....  

what would such evidence look like?  is the church instructing its
membership in how to look for this corruptive symptom so that it
can be eliminated in root?  if you don't study the evil before it
starts, how can you prevent it from corrupting your edifice?

# I hear people talking about feeling like this could happen - and 
# they are right, it could.  All the more reason to be awake and 
# vigilant and dare I say - thelemic in one's approach to life.

what does that include, this approach to life?  for me it has
included belonging to as few organizations as possible and
generally putting them through excruciating analysis prior to
my firm alliance.  it includes being willing to be the 'trouble-
maker' and 'gadfly' rather than merely to nod and wink at how
'good' we're doing.  what does it include for you?  what do you
think are your obligations in terms of retaining the purity of
your church, and are these instructed by its authorities so as
not to slip by a generation?

#> # Furthermore, there is nothing in the fact that EGC is a church
#> # within O.T.O. (which, btw, is exactly what Reuss and AC intended
#> # if that matters to you - it does to the O.T.O.) that precludes 
#> # individuals not interested in group membership or church 
#> # participation from studying and performing the Gnostic Mass in 
#> # their own temples, in whatever way they find most effective.
#> ah but look what happened to all those old aeon "churches" that
#> got hung up on THEIR tar baby scriptures. while I proclaim that
#> the Evul Book is an explosive VSL, 
#> Crowley has gone and made it
#> a STANDARD such that now the OTO is a _religious body_, advancing
#> some distance beyond the Freemasons in terms of its cultic
#> qualities and disempowering biblioworship.
# I'm not exactly sure how the one leads to the other, brother.
# Or how this statement answers the one I made.

my point is that churches tend to be destructive of the Law, 
by virtue of their dogmatic attachments and hierarchic structure.
if not at first, then later. what the church now "allows" can and
is likely to change based on the winds of authority that pass
through its sails.

Crowley DEstabilized the Order by rigidifying its VSL into a
scripture. by installing himself into a prophetic position.
rather than, say, establishing a precedent whereby everyone
is encouraged to write their own damn holy book, he goes and
enshrines HIS pamphlet as the be-all and end-all.  a regular
Muhammad. it's been done, and I think it may have been an error
which we ought to correct.  further standardization and
rigidification seems to me a step in exactly the wrong direction.

#> as a VSL it makes sense, but as a scripture it is hazardous,
# Okay, define your terms.  "Scripture" and "VSL".  Similarities?
# Differences?

described above. the scripture is concretized.  the VSL varies
based on the individual. you see the difference?  the power is
taken OUT of the hands of the individual on the basis of choice
of text and a pittance is returned on the basis that the text
in question contains a multiplicity of self-contradiction unseen
by previous bibliolatres.  it is a huge price to pay for what
may be turn out to be a merely *pretense* of liberty.

#> as the various cultists that spin out of the Crowleyite culture
#> have demonstrated time and time again. 
# Would you say that these cultish people have "decided for
# themselves" and come to conclusions you find repulsive, or
# are you suggesting that there is some kind of groupthink
# going on here?

I'm suggesting that the structure and mindset of the religious
is contrary to the liberating philosophy Thelema ought to be,
and that only certain forms of organization are likely to
become real standards for this Law.  I'm saying that these
individuals are examples of what COULD happen with this church
were the wrong people to get in charge, driving it off course
and perhaps onto the rocks.  that's the problem with pyramidal
authority structures where cadres or single individuals can
muck up the works.

#> it is dangerous to the
#> potential that an organized body (or movement) might contain in
#> liberating the human species from its own self-destructiveness
#> and org-centric anti-individualism.
# I've read this sentence several times and I can't make sense
# of it.  Please re-phrase.

Thelemites have the potential to liberate the human species from 
our own self-destructiveness and our propensity to place undue 
faith in organizations to the detriment of individual sovereignty.

the days of corporate identity and authority are OVER, and
this is one of the principles spearheaded by such documents
as the US Bill of Rights which protects the individual from
the abuse of such entities.

Old Aeonic structures such as hierarchies are important in
the establishment of a vanguard, but when they begin to
become rigidified and cultic, then they become dangerous to
the movement as a whole, losing sight of the principles which
made them valuable.  

cults of personality (Crowleyanity) and bibliophilia (Evul
Books) are not conducive except as obstacles to organizations
otherwise ostensibly dedicated to seeing the Law established
as the law (a long-term goal inherently making possible the
discarding of the state as a political body and freeing human
potential to its maximum application). at some point they get
in the WAY of the promulgation by virtue of the energetic
space they begin to occupy in the consciousness of the cult
and how this applies to their role in the outlying society
("damn Crowley-fanatics").

#> according to this logic, the promulgation of the Law of the Thelema
#> (an essentially individualistic and liberating principle) will just
#> have to wait while cultists who appropriate the name set about 
#> trying to "avoid being burnt at the stake for one's beliefs". 
# I don't really hear that viewpoint expressed by the group of
# individuals that the long lost and deeply missed (by me) Tim
# Maroney once referred to as my "upper management."

but individuals like Donald could become part of that upper
management.  what prevents that?  how are you going to prevent
the fanatics from taking over the church at some point?
#> the individual falls away as 'less important' as compared to the
#> group, the cult, as bonds, rules and restrictions become the idols
#> in a worship of nothing more than the Prophet (final, no doubt)
#> and the ecclesiastical monster he reassembled along Thelemic lines.
# Yuck.  When/if I perceive that is what is occurring, I hope
# that you will join me in running away very quickly.

NO! that is precisely what I am attempting to avoid.  rather than
wait until the ship is infested with rats, I am attempting to go
about studying rats in ships, asking whether this or that animal
I find in ships constitute a rat, and asking the ship-hands whether
they have been trained in the art of rat-catching, rat-killing or
at least rat-extraction.

fleeing the ship is contrary to the very principles upon which I
am here operating, and I hope you will assist me in my objective
by being vigilant against an infestation, not minding too much
if I become alarmed occasionally at your expressions which sound
something like 'that galley sure does store cheese well'. :>

# Um, I must admit that I also can make no sense of that sentence.

substitute this, then (which I haven't the faintest how it escaped):

#> ...sooner or later you will gladly accept the wisdom of the
#> 'current leadership' as they struggle to establish a legal
#> and constitutional OTO, from which weall benefit.

# the legal battle is how the (c)OTO got its name, in reflection
# of the Caliphate grappling for copyrights. it is a religious
# organization with 501c3 status and the ability to retain its
# copyrights and trademarks supported by the Ninth Circuit Court
# of Appeals.  
# as regards the constitution, which one?  Crowley's?  you like
# is Revolutionaries? or should it be 'refined' before adopted?
# the Knight of Salad Forks says that he saw visions of railroad
# cars for every member in the Order's plan.  where does the 
# "benefit" stop and the corruption begin?


E666 (nigris (333))
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