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  Suck on Crowley
General Thelema Posted by Tim Maroney on Tuesday October 31, @08:59AM
from the way-to-suck-seed dept.

The always entertainingly obnoxious Suck.com has graced us with a piece on Aleister Crowley for Hallowe'en.

Despite some minor factual errors, the piece is an intelligent look at Crowley's fascism in the context of its time.




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    Re: Suck on Crowley
    by Xnoubis on Tuesday October 31, @05:03PM
    From the article:
    Crowley ran into that political problem that has caused many a turn toward tyranny even among those who Pharasaically mouth the praises of liberty -- subsuming liberty to some instrumental goal that ranked higher. In Crowley's case it was the True Will of the self-actualized, which is what he thought required unfettered liberty, not just any old whim. Self-actualization, it's probably not necessary to add, did not apply to the aspirations or actions of the wrong type of people, which to the class- and race-conscious Crowley was most other people.
    The author could be taken to mean that Crowley only believed that a particular class and/or race could attain True Will, but I think that the article is not so off-base as that. It points to the "Let my servants be few and secret; they shall rule the many and the known" problem.

    Crowley posits that there is a qualitative difference between Will and whim, and that Will is relatively rare. This is, on the surface, anti-democratic. On the other hand, his doctrine of Will is genuinely pluralistic, and so not fascist either. He is, perhaps, a transitional figure between modernism and post-modernism, or even a prophet of their eventual synthesis.

    But this Suck article is quite valuable in reminding us that Thelema and fascism arose from the same pond. Crowley lived to see the defeat of fascism, but too late to have it influence his philosophy. That lesson is up to us, his heirs, to apply.

    • Re: Suck on Crowley
      by Mordecai Shapiro on Tuesday October 31, @06:49PM
      > us, his heirs

      Let's not open that can of worms again. :-)


      • Re: Suck on Crowley
        by Craig on Tuesday October 31, @07:41PM
        ...would that be can of worms
        or can of the wyrm...?

        ...that's wyrd!!!

        there is; an 'abomination of desolation'
        between whim and will
        but between will and wisp
        there is a catchy twist

        trick or treat
        not the same as either/or


      • Re: Suck on Crowley
        by Xnoubis on Wednesday November 01, @12:48PM
        Cute. Okay then:

        "...up to the Thelemites of today, the inheritors of his ideas, to apply."


        • Re: Suck on Crowley
          by Craig on Thursday November 02, @02:23AM
          what's cute?

          ...that i do not play by the rules?


          • Re: Suck on Crowley
            by Mordecai Shapiro on Thursday November 02, @10:41AM
            Craig, I don't think you fully understand the system here. A reply to a particular message is slightly indented, so two replies to the same message are both indented the same. You can see from this that Michael was replying to my message, not to yours. A reply to your message, like this, is not directly under it, but slightly indented. I hope this helps you follow the threads better.


    Re: Suck on Crowley
    by Metu Tchetta on Thursday November 02, @04:10PM
    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

    Br. Maroney's title for this feature seems to allude to what I understand to have been a rotating duty at the Abbey of Thelema.

    The referenced article is a grave disappointment, in that it does not include a Terry Colon caricature of Crowley.

    Love is the law, love under will.

    Summa Scientes Nihil Scire.

    Re: Suck on Crowley
    by Jeffrey Sommer on Saturday November 04, @03:16PM
    I think it's astonishing that no one here has made a serious comment on this subject. While the article has a number of factual defects, it is nonetheless on target for pointing out the relation between Thelema and its political interpretations.
    Thelema is aimed toward the individual, at a time when movements as diverse as Communism and communitarianism, which are collectivist in nature, teach us subliminally that the individual is nothing, the herd is all.
    Fascism arose as a reaction to Socialism, at least in Germany--who knows what the theoretical basis of Italian Fascism was? I doubt even Mussolini could have told you--but it, too, was semi-collectivist in nature. Here, instead of everyone being a faceless cog in the machine, a special elite, made up of Leaders, would guide the collectivized massed according to their Will. This dichotomy was not entirely alien to Crowley, who at times regarded the masses of the unenlightened to be malleable to the Will of the Illuminated.
    Nonetheless, Crowley appears to have gotten over that by the time Grady knew him, and had a point of view that I can only regard as--dare I say it?--libertarian.
    Now, it's true that National Socialism was very moving--unless you were a Jew or otherwise undesirable--with huge rallies, snappy uniforms, and the ability to crush France in one month. Even I, Libertarian as I am, have to admit the desire to be Illuminati UeberFuehrer is a fun daydream; but reality demands a more equitable kind of Thelema, and I believe that it is in that direction we are evolving. "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" is universal.

    • Re: Suck on Crowley
      by Mordecai Shapiro on Saturday November 04, @09:38PM
      >movements as diverse as Communism and communitarianism, which are collectivist in
      >nature, teach us subliminally that the individual is nothing, the herd is all.

      I think that this is unfair to communitarianism, which is not necessarily anti-individual rights but does aver that the worship of individuals over society is making our society worse. I might not go as far as they do, but I do believe in a balance. As far as I'm concerned the best societies are those that are willing to make sacrifices to insure individual wellbeing, and the best individuals are those who are willing to make sacrifices to insure social wellbeing.

      >who knows what the theoretical basis of Italian Fascism was? I doubt even Mussolini could have >told you

      Actually the sources of Mussolini's movement are fairly clear: his earlier anarcho-syndicalistic distaste for democratic consensus processes and Sorelian exaltation of direct, even violent, action, and the influence of the Italian Futurist artistic and literary philosophy, to name a couple.

      >Now, it's true that National Socialism was very moving--unless you were a Jew or otherwise >undesirable--with huge rallies, snappy uniforms, and the ability to crush France in one month.

      Though you may wish to attribute my opinions to the fact that I am a Jew (by ethnicity if not religion) I don't find anything appealing about mass rallies, I find both satin tuxedos and corduroy overalls far snappier than Nazi uniforms (though they do beat out the original Star Trek duds), and the easy crushing of France had almost as much to do with French defeatism as it did with German military genius.

      >reality demands a more equitable kind of Thelema, and I believe that it is in that direction we are >evolving. "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" is universal.

      Finally we find ourselves in agreement :-)


      • Re: Suck on Crowley
        by Jeffrey Sommer on Monday November 06, @12:41AM
        Mordecai, thank you for pointing out the theoretical bases of Italian Fascism. I confess that my knowledge is spotty about such details. It simply looked to me like Benny the Moose had slapped together a philosophy that would hold together just long enough for him to seize power. Also, wasn't his policy more national syndicalism, running the country like a business? I don't see much anarchism in it.
        Satin tuxedos? Corduroy overalls? That may be well for a private party, but I promise you can't fight in the streets with those kind of duds! And, as someone who has put together political rallies, I have to point out that mass rallies, attended by hundreds or thousands of enthusiastic people, takes on a life of its own, and being there can be mighty intoxicating. Part of the key to modern politics is having a grasp of mass psychology, and I'm afraid the Nazis were really good at it, whether we like it or not. This is magic, and fascination is a good chunk of it. A shame most politicians seem to have no idea how to be fascinating. If we are to implement Thelema as a political philosophy, it would do us well to learn it.


        • Re: Suck on Crowley
          by Nexist on Monday November 06, @12:46PM
          While I am not an expert on Anarcho-Syndicalism, I do know that the economic system of Fascism is termed by the author of 'A History of Fascism' as Corporatism. This is described as a variation of Anarcho-Syndicalism, adapted to the political realities of Mussilini's Italy.

          Governemt & Business were intertwined. Business' were allowed to make money & compete with each other so long as the interests of the State were not conflicted. Ideally, this would mean the peopel, but like everything else the reality meant the govenrment.


        • Re: Suck on Crowley
          by Xnoubis on Tuesday November 07, @10:42AM
          > Part of the key to modern politics is having a
          > grasp of mass psychology, and I'm afraid the
          > Nazis were really good at it, whether we like
          > it or not. [...] If we are to implement Thelema > as a political philosophy, it would do us well
          > to learn it.

          1) Eeew!

          2) The challenge for the implementation of Thelema is to learn how to avoid mass psychology.


          • Re: Suck on Crowley
            by Maozim on Tuesday November 14, @08:55AM
            Isn't Thelema preparing us for responsible Anarchy? In the LONG TERM, that is?


    • Re: Suck on Crowley
      by Xnoubis on Sunday November 05, @10:41AM
      > Nonetheless, Crowley appears to have gotten over
      > that by the time Grady knew him, and had a point
      > of view that I can only regard as--dare I say
      > it?--libertarian.

      I'd be interested in your basis for that conclusion. I don't think that this passage from Liber Aleph, Chapter 33 is pointed out often enough:

      . . . thou must by Law assure to every Man a Means of satisfying his bodily and his mental Needs, leaving him free to develop any Superstructure in accordance with his Will . . .
      I read this as socialist policy with a libertarian justification.


    Re: Suck on Crowley
    by Craig on Sunday November 05, @02:16AM
    if 'Do What thou wilt is the whole of the Law'
    and i do think it really is the whole of the law,
    and it applys universaly, nevertheless if' all is ever as it was' then we certainly are living in
    interesting times(as the chinese curse goes) as
    what is universal for some does not appear to be universal for others, or rather when we are talking about the whole of the law perhaps we are talking about a more wholistic view of life on a whole, this is the universal application of seeing life in a balanced way, this is nothing new, the
    taoists knew this, and so did others, so in this way all IS ever as it was, but in the western world two thousand years of christian conditioning
    have taken thier toll on our psyches, the divided aginst yourself mentality sees the world in a fragmented compartmentalized linear fashion,
    but even when people seek to apply a kind of neo
    new age view of things there still seems to be a
    kind of schizo mind set that layers over everything, therefore there are those whom would seek to see Crowleys 'Do what thou wilt' in a negitive light and as the formula is only as good as the one whom uses it in its universal aspect, there is
    still the 'bloody well please' shadow meaning of 'Do what thou wilt'...still the schizo brain christian conditioned guilt complex part of our
    world view, and a whole slew of other psychic
    lay overs and hang overs from the old Aeon, so
    it would appear that 'Do what thou wilt' is a
    spiritual skeleton key that is still turning in the universal lock and the door is still about to be opened...

    • Re: Suck on Crowley
      by Mordecai Shapiro on Tuesday November 14, @10:50AM
      >if 'Do What thou wilt is the whole of the Law'

      But of course it isn't, though it "shall be".


    Re: Suck on Crowley
    by Craig on Tuesday November 14, @04:20PM
    oops..is; shall
    shall; is
    what is
    shall be
    what shall be, is is is

    damn words!!!

    just as long as
    we get out of
    our respective shells...

    sha all, my torrid stars !

    Re: Suck on Crowley
    by Adrian Dobbie on Wednesday March 21, @09:24AM
    Are political systems in any way equatable to Thelema? It is my feeling that "Do What Thou Wilt" is an intensely personal philosophy which applies in radically different ways to each and every individual.
    "My servants shall be few and secret" alludes to the fact that only a handful of individuals alive at any point in time will attain Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. Crowley stated that each star has an orbit which if rightly followed will be harmonious with every other, neatly sidestepping the "what about (insert heinous crime here) then?" arguments. Anyone involved in doing their True Will has no time for meddling in others' lives (or deaths). In the same way that Freemasonry continues to exist as an order within whatever political framework is extant, Thelemites engaged in their True Wills have no time for politics, Fascist or otherwise, as a system of self government is operating within the individual. It is up to every Thelemite to encourage ALL to come to this realisation, but the seed will only grow in fertile soil.

    • Re: Suck on Crowley
      by Xnoubis on Wednesday March 21, @09:23PM
      > "My servants shall be few and secret" alludes to
      > the fact that only a handful of individuals
      > alive at any point in time will attain Knowledge
      > and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.

      This sounds like something Crowley might have said, but I'm not convinced that this will always be the case.

      > Thelemites engaged in their True Wills have no
      > time for politics, Fascist or otherwise, as a
      > system of self government is operating within
      > the individual.

      A system of self government, yes. But large numbers of interacting individuals form complex systems that need more refined coordination than can be supplied by the self government of each individual.

      > It is up to every Thelemite to encourage ALL to
      > come to this realisation, but the seed will only
      > grow in fertile soil.

      Interesting point. It seems to me, though, that Thelemites can help to create the conditions for "fertility," and that this can sometimes be achieved through political action of some kind.


      • Re: Suck on Crowley
        by Adrian Dobbie on Thursday March 22, @08:37AM
        Your complex systems argument holds water as far as I am concerned, however, I don't feel that a PARTY political approach is necessarily the way forward at this point. As Thelemites, our political efforts are best dealt with by the use of memes - i.e. impregnating others with Thelemic IDEAS which will replicate and cause change without the need for forming a Thelemic Political Party which would probably be shot down in flames by the media. Imagine the headlines now…"SATANISTS STAND IN LOCAL BY ELECTIONS" etc. Politics per se is an illusionary concept used as a means of controlling the masses by perpetuating the myth that we need 'leaders'. In many ways the political system acts as a smokescreen to divert the eyes of the many from the true power exerted by the few - who may or may not actually be politicians. Otherwise I agree wholeheartedly with your comments.


        • Re: Suck on Crowley
          by Xnoubis on Thursday March 22, @10:36AM
          Yes, the conventional methods for effecting social change are pretty ineffective. Memetics probably is part of the solution. My feeling is that we are still working on the other parts.


    Re: Suck on Crowley
    by Christopher on Thursday April 26, @01:24PM
    I was wondering if there were any comments regarding Crowley's relationship with L.R.Hubbord, in response to the Scientology page linked to in the Suck on Crowley article (link being the word not). I have not found too much info. regarding this relationship and I suspect the comments on the aforementioned web page may not be accurate. My curiosity is getting the better of me!


     
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