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Social contracts and Thelema

From: the Reverend Rob 
Subject: Social contracts and Thelema
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 1999 17:48:28 -0700

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

At 12:53 PM 11/19/99 +0100, J.M. Kleemann wrote:

Davy Jones wrote:

>> These documents are not for the most part some deep mystery.  They,
>>along with the initiations and their oaths, constitute the Social Contract
>>that members of O.T.O. make with each other and the Order.
>That's a fine remark; I would like to hear more about what you define as
>Social Contract (a illuministic-derived expression, if I don't fool myself),
>I think it's a very interesting Topic.

There are three "schools of thought" on the idea of the social contract,
each of which throws an interesting twist on what exactly constitutes a
social contract between a member and a fraternal organization such as the

The first can be found in Plato; the social contract in this sense is
between the individual and society, in which society/groups are formed to
fulfil human needs.  Since individual people are suited to a particular
task or skill, they come together to meet each other's needs.  The
interaction of people seeking to fulfil each other's needs creates society,
and the exchange of services that fulfil the needs of members constitues
the social contract in this sense.  In a member/organization context, the
member provides dues, support, free or reduced fee labor, et cetera, in the
hopes that the organization will supply things which the individual needs,
such as companionship, security (i.e. the original 101's child-care
provisions or loan on dues), and belonging.  

Hobbes also provides insight into the social contract in _Leviathan_.
Hobbes postulates that the human condition is a state of constant war (a
fascinating idea in light of the martial aspects of Thelema as expressed in
AL), and that those of a rational bent would want to establish some sort of
rules to create peace.  In doing this, ethical and moral standards are
created.  In such a system, Hobbes speculates that individuals are better
off with some sort of ethical and moral guidelines, because otherwise the
individual has no protections against the selfishness of others.
Ironically, Hobbes postulates that this same selfishness will entice
rational individuals to establish rules to protect their own interests and
property, even if it does restrict their own ability to selfishlessly take
from others.  Hobbes' social contract is ultimately of self-interest.   In
regards to a member/organizational standpoint, Hobbes' contract establishes
a system by which the order would protect the interests of the individual
first and foremost, providing them security which they could not establish
or maintain alone.  Thus, the individual would be willing to give up
freedoms, pay dues, et al, to ensure that their interests are protected.
In regards to 101 and the Sabazius revisions, this in essence makes me
wonder what an individual perceiving a Hobbes-influenced social contract
has to gain now that many of the protections and benefits have been removed.

In contrast, Rousseau's belief that mankind is naturally in a state of
freedom that fosters creativity establishes a social contract system where
the individual creates a society or organization where the guiding rule is
providing what is best for all individuals concerned.  The society in this
sense will work to provide basic levels of freedom and support for all
members, and ensure that the basic rights of each individual to live in
freedom are established.  In the context of the individual/organizational
relationship, the individual freely gives in an attempt to better society,
and in doing so, making things better for themselves.  The organization
ensures that basic rights are upheld and that all individuals are treated
in an equitable fashion.

Ironically, it appears that the constitutional documents of the O.T.O. in
particular are made up of a combination of both types of social contracts,
where benefits are provided to members that match the Hobbes-requirement of
selfish benefit as well as Rousseau's protection of freedom.
Unfortunately, the recent changes to 101 and other documents as practiced
by the organization strip out the Hobbes-influenced social contract, which
can and will be extremely distressing to individuals to whom these things
are important.  

In looking at Crowley's vision for the O.T.O. as described in these
documents, it is apparent that there is an intentional mixing of the
Rousseau and Hobbes social contract concept; it is designed to appeal to a
wide range of individuals, and I must wonder whether this universal nature
will be retained now that the contract has been at least in part broken.

Love is the Law, Love under Will.

the Reverend Rob      ICQ: 1280871          Yahoo: theReverendRob .`. .`. .`. .`.
"I prefer not to kill people, but I'd like to destroy as much
 property as possible." - Grace Slick, from the Airplane FBI file
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