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What is 93?

To: alt.magick
From: (Tim Maroney)
Subject: Re: What is "93?"
Date: 28 Jun 94 20:01:44 GMT

Quoting: > (tyagi mordred nagasiva) 

> I think that most people just use ["93"] to justify a blatant conformism
> like when Wiccans say 'Blessed Be' or when Jesoids ask you if you 
> 'believe on the Lord Our Savior'.
>Today it may be fruitfully argued that those who use these numbers as
>conventional greetings are only helping to further the reverse of the
>Law of Thelema by putting us all to sleep and grinding out the current
>by silly gematric equivalents which have almost no meaning to the
>average individual.

Go Tyagi!  Keep speaking from the heart!

I share your concern that self-styled Thelemites are watering us down
to just another cult: that rather than transcending the dulling
influence of conformist society, the "Thelemic community" is busily
creating a new conformism.  We have all noted that one of the main
principles in the O.T.O. is "don't make waves", or "play the game":
attitudes we would find repellent if expressed by the average marketing
manager, but which are considered virtues in the Order.

However, to stop there misses some of the point.  What is the O.T.O.
supposed to be?  Is it the Abbey of Theleme from Rabelais -- a taste of
utopia, an attempt to erect a society in which that "inner spur to
virtue" is the "sole rule and guide of life"?  It is easy to jump to
this conclusion about the ideals of the group.  But that is not the
model of the Order as it actually exists.  In fact, it deliberately
mirrors the mesocosm of outside society, with all its power trips,
authoritarianism, conformity, corruption and similar soul-dulling
decadence.  So what's the point?

I think what the Order is supposed to accomplish is not to take us
outside of society and into the Thelemic paradise, but to give us the
opportunity to learn how to be Thelemites within ourselves despite
society.  Unlike the world at large, it offers initiation, instruction,
encouragement in spiritual practice, while also presenting a thoroughly
corrupt society in which one had better keep on the good side of the
leaders, mouth the proper slogans, and otherwise function as an =actor=
in order to prevent friction.

The ideal is not of a perfect society, but of individuals who have
built the Abbey in the only place it can currently exist: within the
secrecy and silence of our own souls.  This is not to say the ideal of
refuge is a bad one, only that it is not the ideal of the Order.  And
despite my reluctance and concerns, I have to admit that the Order
model does have its merits.  The skills you learn there are the skills
you need to remain a Thelemite and continue to work in society.  You
will have to be outwardly an actor while keeping your inner integrity;
people will simply reject you if you constantly speak to them from the
heart.  The defenses with which they hold back their own wills are
certain to flare out against you if you insist on showing them yours.

However, to contradict myself again, the approach also has its
dangers.  The group is skating on thin ice between being "Thelemites in
society" and being a "society of Thelemites".  I think there is very
little understanding that the Order and Thelema-as-a-cult are meant as
instructional games.  Many -- I would even say most -- people in the
Order invest far too much seriousness and self-image in these
conventions and conformities.  To return to the case at hand, they
really think there is some intrinsic religious virtue in saying "93",
rather than seeing it as a somewhat regrettable token of how it is
necessary to negotiate common values in order to function in society.
Their understanding of the conventional greetings lacks the necessary
irony.  They are missing the point, and as you say, what they are
practicing is a reversal of true Thelemic values.  But that is what
they are choosing to do -- they would do the same in society at large,
or in some other cult.  The Order provides them with tools with which
they might eventually transcend this perspective, but it cannot compel
them to become Thelemites.

People like you, who refuse to sell out their integrity by playing the
game, provide a generally useful reminder, but most people in the Order
will dismiss you as "idealistic" or "out of touch" rather than
listening to the message you are trying to convey.  Simultaneously, you
learn the consequences of not playing the game, and become hardened to
them.  This is a positive kind of conflict, and I hope you keep it
going as long as you can!
Tim Maroney, Communications and User Interface Engineer

"Skip, witches!  Hop, toads!  Take your pleasure!"
    -- Aleister Crowley, THE BOOK OF LIES

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