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Science, Charlatanry and Thelema

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.thelema,talk.religion.misc,talk.religion.newage,alt.magick,alt.consciousness.mysticism
From: (nigris (333))
Subject: Science, Charlatanry and Thelema
Date: 23 Jul 1999 23:53:12 -0700

49990611 IVom

a correspondent wrote:
# Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

The word of Sin is Restriction.

quoting one correspondent to another:
#>#|> ...the IX* resides in "The Sanctuary of the Gnosis"....
#>#| The IXth degree is an administrative status within various
#>#| organizations. sometimes exalted esoteric spiritual conditions
#>#| are associated with these in order to make those who are doing
#>#| the admin work feel better about themselves or lead them to
#>#| believe that they are more spiritually adept in order to keep
#>#| them doing the work for a pittance of compensation otherwise.
# This is quite a statement would you mind explaining where you 
# have this information? 

there are countless books on the subject of fraudulence and the
spiritualist and occult (indeed the religiomystical) world. a 
good example of the first case is the book "Madame Blavatsky's 
Baboon", which takes apart the doings of the Theosophical society. 

a critical review of secret societies yields a sad history of 
deception, self-aggrandizement and bad science. this is not to 
say that any single organization includes it, but it is a 
hazard of which the adventurer into them ought be very aware.
indications that information like this is being impeded can be
signs of cultism and corruption.

# Are you capable of judging if a IXth degree is illuminated or 
# "just feeling well in illusilary land"?

I think I'm a pretty good judge of character, especially over
the long haul, yes. I can compare what the culture or person
says 'illumination' should look like and see if the person 
conforms to their own standards. beyond this I don't think 
there is much value in attempting to judge another person's 
"illumination", since by and large it is a matter of opinion
and fantasy.

#> in this case BSP was saying that there is a relationship between
#> "IX*" (a (c)OTO degree) and "'The Sactuary of the Gnosis'"
#> apparently in order to draw on the presumed relationship between
#> a degree and an exalted spiritual state. that is to what I
#> responded, arguing to the contrary.
# Am I getting this right? Are you claiming that if one person 
# says that there is a relation between a and b, that that 
# automatically erases possibilities of a to c or b to c?

of course not. I was saying that a nominal relation between
A and B (organizational names) does not necessitate that there
is a corresponding conditional identity B = C (that those who 
occupy the positions with these names in the organization are 
also of the spiritual state with which these positions may be 

confusing the names is a part of the confidence game that secret
societies (and general religions too) can play in order to bring 
in marks and impress so as to convert and shaft the unsuspecting.
#>#|> Unless you define "Gnosis" as something else than "the whole
#>#|> of the secret knowledge", your statement makes no sense.
#>#|> Liber 52 says: "It (i.e. the O.T.O.) embodies the whole of
#>#|> the secret knowledge of all Oriental Orders; and its chiefs
#>#|> are initiates of the highest rank ... " You'll find numerous
#>#|> other such statements in the founding papers of the Order
#>#|> and in Crowley's writings.
#>#| no doubt. these are about as valuable to those approaching the
#>#| Order from the outside as is the 'troglodyte problem'. it flies
#>#| in the face of "the method of science, the aim of religion" to
#>#| expect any truly scientific individual to accept such grandiose
#>#| claims on their face. you insult the intelligence of those who
#>#| read your claims, especially when not offering any sort of
#>#| support beyond citations to the propaganda of Crowleyites and
#>#| their Fabulous Prophet. a smear on the face of Thelema.
# ...why [are] BSPs words are a smear on the face of Thelema? 

this would be an oversimplification of my assertion but do in
fact hold if brother Pederson expects to be taken at face value 
by those who wish to use 'the method of science'.  I like quite 
a bit about what Crowley writes on the subject, and one of these 
things is that skepticism and critical inquiry are essential 
prerequisites for the student. to present the societe Theleme as 
some sort of, well, religion (requiring faith in order to adhere) 
is to do it a disservice, to take it back to the days of religion 
*masquerading* as science in an effort to convert scientists to 
# ...explain what Thelema is to you....

Thelema is a Law (principle) by which intentional action is
carried into manifestation. those who recognize and foment an 
unimpeded approximation of life and civilization according to 
this Law are rightly characterized as 'Thelemites', whether 
they adhere to any fashion of cult or culture in addition. 
Thelema is will and the repercussion of the valuation of will
and its identical complement, love.

# we dont agree on that, and neither of us has the 
# universial truth or?

the only universal truth I know is the keys upon which I am 
currently tapping and the body impelling their depression.
while I may state things in categorical ways at times, these
are the thoughts of a man without a claim to absolute authority
or a special dispensation on the truth.
#> I am not asking merely to provoke but to bring skeptical scrutiny
#> to a faith-based thought-system which tends to eshew it in favor
#> of loyalty, superstition and obedience. I hope that these queries
#> are met with seriousness, answered briefly but succinctly, and
#> from the context of our discussion.
# Well now I don4t agree that Loyalty is evil. Loyalty makes the 
# world go round. Loyalty, respekt, skeptisim (in a healthy way) 
# education and the like is building up a rather good foundation 
# for one self. One needs to learn to become full as a human 
# being before entering anything beyond. 

fidelity is paramount, loyalty secondary. this does not mean that
loyalty is evil, only that it can be misplaced and, if substituted
with superstition and obedience as faith, it can be deadly. the
(c)OTO administration agrees with me here. this is why it removes
from membership those who commit outrageous crimes (murder, the
molestation of children, etc.) rather than 'remaining loyal to
our kindred in the Order until the end'.

what kind of skepticism is 'healthy'? how can inquiry and critical
review become 'unhealthy'? is it valuable, when serious criticism
is levelled upon extraordinary claims, to immediately call into
question the authority and motive of those who ask the questions?

I think that these types of reactions are indicators of religious
befuddlement having mucked up the works of scientific scrutiny.
this may be why the occasional Thelemic philosopher throws up
their hands in dismay at the resistance to the method of science,
propaganda and faith-based thought-systems having corrupted the
foundation of a beautiful Thelemic ideal.
# Anything else would to me be suicide. I dont think BSP is 
# talking about faith in the same terms as you rather as you 
# need to have a theory before you can "experience" it. You 
# cannot always have the experience first. (Even though that 
# often also happens.) But this is ofcause my guessing.

this may be the case, but I really don't know exactly what
you are saying here about experience and theory and how this
relates to faith (as in "just have faith, don't ask difficult
questions, you'll discover it when you have achieved the
right degree").

#> I don't agree that the only way to answer those questions is by
#> experience and open-mindedness. ...
# Can you tell me why he should answer you? I wouldn4t.

you didn't even acknowledge my efforts at reconstructing the
discussion and demonstrating that there was more than one way
to respond to my queries. I don't require that anyone answer.
you can press delete if you like. it is a demonstration of
the type of response that you have to certain attitudes,
styles and types of questions (you ignore them).
# ...(Have you by chance been on #thelema?)

in many IRC networks (EFNet, Undernet primarily), yes. I usually
visit IRC when I'm working on a cyberspace project from which I
welcome some distraction due to its tediousness. since I have
been relocating, geographically, most of these projects have 
been put on hold while I restructure and reorient. 

blessed beast!
emailed replies may be posted; cc replies if response desired

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