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  The Osiris Within
Self Realization Posted by Xnoubis on October 26, 2000 @ 11:55 AM
from the here-come-de-judge dept.

Soul Without Shame
by Byron Brown
Shambhala Publications, Boston & London. 336 pages. ISBN: 1-57062-383-X

Have you ever noticed how people sometimes seem compelled to criticize circumstances, institutions, or other people? Or felt the temptation within yourself to lash out in criticism even when you suspected it might not be productive? Maybe you've experienced the voice of the inner critic, picking apart everything you do, condemning you at every turn.

These are all manifestations of what Byron Brown, in his ground breaking work, Soul Without Shame, refers to as "the judge". The judge is a pervasive force within ordinary life, but its destructive effects are rarely understood. Soul Without Shame not only provides a detailed analysis of the inner critic, but also offers the possibility of overcoming it through observation and psychological exercises.


Brown's judge is an alternative way of looking at the Freudian superego. As children, we are taught rules and are constantly subjected to the evaluations of our guardians. To some extent, this is a necessary part of growing up, although usually, much of it is excessive. In any event, we are trained to internalize these evaluations and restrictions, and they stay with us for life as the voices that whispers to us what is right and wrong. (Even for the reactive rebel, the voices are there, but compulsively disobeyed rather than compulsively obeyed.)

This also forms the core of our tendency to criticize others. The judge holds court on what is outside us, condemning and praising according to hard-coded values that may have little to do with how we actually feel. And certainly, being judged by another can be one of the fastest ways to bring out the judge in ourselves. Entire relationships are often built purely on the interactions between inner critics, with no contact made by anything more authentic.

One thing stood out for me as I read this amazing book: we have almost no appreciation of this dynamic within Thelema, and we could really use it. The whole history of the Western esoteric tradition could be seen in this light as a stampede of raging superegos. Crowley, in particular, seems to be an outstanding example of an individual who never came to terms with his judge, and we students who work within his tradition often seem more than willing to follow in his example.

It's an idea that I think could easily be worked into the Thelemic framework, however. The Aeon of Osiris was the age of authoritarianism, which we Thelemites work to overturn. What better place to begin than that voice of authority within ourselves, the force of restriction that is experienced internally as shame, and externally as the urge to criticize others?



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    Re: The Osiris Within
    by Craig on Friday October 27, @02:59AM
    i started being critical of authority at about of age of six, when i kept getting in trouble with
    my first grade teacher, for not being enougth like the other more conformist children...i remember my teacher telling the class that 'God' made people in an oven like cookies, and the ones that were made just right were the white ones, i did not know that she was teaching racism of course, but i knew something was rong because i never forgot what she said...i think i was a little horus child then; later when i got kicked out of highschool for having long hair i knew my life was not going to be easy...some years after that i resisted being drafted in the army, and almost went to prison because of it, i was given a letter by a psychologist that said i had a personality disorder and could not tolerate authority...
    ...i took a lot of psychedelics and read the 'Book on the taboo of knowing who you are' by Alan Watts, then i read 'Naked Lunch' by William S. Burroughs, after that i started reading a lot of poetry, mainly starting with Arthur Rimbaud, and moving into the surrealists, whom i commited myself to, i wanted to completely rearrange my psyche, turn myself inside out, so totaly unlearn all of my conditioning, and replace my inner censor critic with perminant poetic terrorisem, black humor, and alienate the Alien within so that my
    third eye would become a core of chaos; so that just walking down the street would be an exercise in
    surrealist subversion...perhaps spiting at the feet of priests like the surrealist poet Benjamin
    Peret...soon i was reading all the precursers of the surrealists, one book was Elphis Levi, and it was just a matter of time before i met Crowley in a dark alley of my imagination; and when i did, there was no turning back...when i met Gypsy Death
    with that OTO T-shirt on my fate was sealed...!
    ...however i still had a problem with authority
    or rather those invested with authority that abused thier power, i feel that the secret Chiefs
    have been guiding me all along, and sometimes they tought me some very hard lessons, i had to pass through some heavy initiations before even setting foot on the OTO doorstep...i became an Egyptian Pharoh or god right after experiancing christ consciousness, in a matter of moments, years before i played Sol in the Rite of Eleusis...
    ...and the humor of Alister has been with me all these years, you see one must out sarcastic the sarcastic, out critic the inner critic, defeat the old Aeon by underminding the foundation of it's
    antiquated formula, and if Horus is still a child
    we need to be child like without becoming brats..
    ...and therein lies the rub of the genie lamp, use your wishes well; Thelema is the threshold of change between two AEons...

    this has been an automatic response...

    Re: The Osiris Within
    by Tim Maroney on Friday October 27, @04:11PM
    I think your point about the role of the superego in Western esotericism is a good one. In particular, as one reads the history of the Golden Dawn one finds a great deal of it revolving around judgment of whether a person really has a degree or is worthy of a degree, and rigid assertions (particularly from the Mathers couple) of right authority to judge that in another.

    Perhaps unresolved superegoic issues are one reason that occultists tend to be more of the "you know the problem with you" school of amateur psychotherapy rather than the "sympathetic ear" school.

    Still, I'm concerned that as your present it, the superego seems to be portrayed by Brown as purely negative, and you underscore this in your final paragraph by suggesting it be "overturned." Should we be seeking to wipe out our cognitive faculties, or to enhance them? If we did overturn our superegos, would we be able to function in society? Without some reasonable expectation of what others will think of us, and a common framework for our interpretations of them, could we walk down the street without being run down? Could we even pave a street, if workers and overseers didn't share a set of judgments about project organization?

    Perhaps a better ideal would be to make the superego more conscious and less automatic. There's nothing wrong with hearing the voice whispering our ear, but there is something wrong with being possessed by it. If it is conscious, then it can enter into dialogue with the rest of the psyche, and so grow and adapt through that dialog. In addition, the rest of the psyche is able to set aside superegoic judgments, if those judgments are conscious rather than compulsive.

    One more note, a rare qabalistic observation from me. I see Geburah and Chesed as the two faces of the superego, one praising, one criticizing. I think it would be a mistake to focus only on Geburah simply because we have more problems with it, rather than to realize that the self-esteem benignly bestowed by Chesed is part and parcel of the same psychic faculty.

    --
    Tim Maroney tim@maroney.org

    • Re: The Osiris Within
      by Xnoubis on Friday October 27, @04:57PM
      Brown bases his approach to the superego on experience with groups and individual students, using, as far as I can tell, elements of traditional psychotherapy and Reichian breathwork, among other things. His stance seems to be that discernment is greatly enhanced by resolving the psychic structures which form the internal critic. It could be argued then that it's a bit misleading to identify this critic with the superego, since the superego is conventionally held to be a necessary part of our makeup. But the point that Brown attempts to make is that our discernment does not need to rely on our early conditioning, or to involve the rejection of experience as a way of bolstering the sense of self.

      Attempting to make the superego more conscious might be another way of saying the same thing, but Brown gives the impression that this is a far more challenging process than we might expect.

      The qabalistic analysis could work. I think Brown's depiction of the judge matches up quite well with the qliphoth of Tiphareth.


      • Re: The Osiris Within
        by Craig on Friday October 27, @05:31PM
        gee, i actually think Tim was refering to something i might of said...that is a development,
        that street metaphore is a bitch, is it not?


    Re: The Osiris Within
    by solidsurfer on Tuesday October 31, @07:39AM
    Hotdiggity!
    Post an exercise for fun and games plsplsprettypls, or is there a copyright issue?

    • Re: The Osiris Within
      by Xnoubis on Tuesday October 31, @01:47PM
      There sure is a copyright issue.

      The book's received fairly wide distribution, though. If you have anything like a metaphysical bookstore in your neighborhood, you could browse through a copy and see for yourself. It really is much better than I have words for.



     
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