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  Thelema and Humanistic Psychology
Scholarship Posted by matt vaughn on March 18, 2001 @ 11:15 PM
from the I-shrink-therefore-I-am dept.

This essay illustrates the remarkable similarities between Thelema and Humanistic Psychology. The author attempts to show that both are essentially expressing the same Truth about human nature (i.e., "Every man and woman is a star"). Lastly, an attempt is made to explore what the benefit would be if both schools of thought accepted this fact.

The question I pose and seek to answer in this essay is: How does the spiritual philosophy of Thelema relate to the philosophy and principles of Humanistic Psychology (hereafter referred to as HP)? Before I provide the reader with a brief introduction of the topic of my paper, I feel it is necessary to first explain why this question is of such importance to me. It is a meaningful question simply because Thelema can be said to be my religion. Crowley (the founder and prophet of Thelema) claims that "our system is a religion just so far as a religion means an enthusiastic putting-together of a series of doctrines, no one of which must in any way clash with science or Magick1" (MWT, p. 30). I take religion to mean one's personal experience of their spiritual life, as it relates to their total being. Thus to me, religion is not merely something one practices on Sunday mornings; it represents the conscious organization of reality in relation to all levels of one's being. I believe religion, contrary to the P.C. assumption held today, is the greatest part of who we are and how we view the world. Furthermore, I believe "that today's world -- which limits religion to personal beliefs that should be boxed inside, and for the sake of convenience should not interfere with professional, academic and scientific interactions -- is hypocrisy" (Ibaoglu, p. 1). This being said, it stands to reason that I should seek a profession that does not clash with my Thelemic spiritual view. I feel I have found just that in HP and, as a result, I feel the need to illustrate their many similarities.

I will now attempt to answer my question: How does the spiritual philosophy of Thelema relate to the philosophy and principles of HP? At first glance this question might seem to be rather easy to answer, since I am claiming both have many similarities. However, I feel the fact they have so many similarities is the very thing that makes answering the question so difficult. I feel that trying to compare HP and Thelema is no less than a monumental task because of the particular nature of these two schools of thought. By "particular nature" I am referring to the fact that HP was a revolutionary effort to creatively integrate the entire field of psychology and Thelema is "a system which reconciles all existing schools of philosophy" (AL, p. 8). I mention these facts only to excuse my crude attempt in this paper at comparing what is (in my opinion) the two single most important psychological and spiritual paradigms on the planet at this time.

In my attempt at demonstrating how HP and Thelema are similar, I will first briefly discuss their histories. Second, I will illustrate the similarities of basic HP principles (mainly those expressed by Maslow in his nine assumptions of human health) with the basic Thelemic principles. Next, I will compare two Humanistic Psychologists' critiques of Freud and psychoanalysis with that of Aleister Crowley's. Then, I will attempt to compare the similarities in the ways Crowley and Maslow explain the process of becoming a healthy whole individual. Fifth, I will compare the HP concept of self-actualization with the Thelemic concept of True Will. Lastly, I will attempt to briefly discuss what I think could be accomplished by combining HP and Thelema.

In my opinion the only significant difference between HP and Thelema is found in their origins. The "official" birth of HP can be said to have been in 1964 at Old Saybrook, Connecticut during the first invitational conference on HP. It was here that a group of psychologists "agreed that if Psychology were to become more than a narrow academic discipline," limited by the biases of Behaviorism and Psychoanalysis, then it had to "offer a fuller characterization of what it means to be human" (Dillon).

The origins of Thelema, on the other hand, are a little more esoteric in nature than those of HP. Thelema (Greek for "Will") can be said to have begun in the year 1904 in Cairo, Egypt, with the reception of The Book of the Law (AL for short) by Aleister Crowley. It is said "the communicating intelligence identified Itself as Aiwass, a messenger of the ruling hierarchy of our species." The reception of the book was also said to mark the beginning of a New Aeon or Age upon Earth and "is conceived to be a perfect transmission of the divine, freed from any defects of human interference" (EQ, p. 87).

I feel that the obvious similarities between HP and Thelema come into clear view in light of a comparison of the basic principles of both. The central precept of Thelemic philosophy is succinctly expressed in AL in the phrase "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" (AL I:40). The phrase at first glance appears to be a license to simply do whatever one feels like doing, but it is in actuality the exact opposite. Crowley understood the phrase might be misinterpreted and went to great lengths to explain otherwise, saying "it involves finding out Who you are, and why you came into this world, and never swerving a hair's breadth from that Will" (EQ, p. 208). The "law" spoke of is not to be viewed as a law handed down and opposed on prisoners by a warden. The Law of Thelema is simply referring to the law of nature2. Crowley said the law of nature operating in man was the same law of nature that bids "stars to shine, vines to bear grapes [and] water to seek its level" (Crowley, p. 510). The inherent divine nature of man is expressed in AL in the phrase "Every man and every woman is a star" (AL I:3). Crowley explains this basic principle by saying that "every human being is intrinsically and independent individual with his own proper motion" (Crowley, p. 127).

While reading the following explanation of Maslow''s first and second assumptions of human health, consider the above paragraph which explains the two basic Thelemic principles: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" (AL I:40) and "Every man and every woman is a star" (AL I:3). Maslow's first basic assumption is that "we have, each of us, an essential biologically based inner nature, which is to some degree 'natural,' intrinsic, given, and, in a certain sense, unchangeable, or, at least, unchanging" (Maslow, p. 3). It can now clearly be seen that "Every man and every woman is a star" (AL I:3) is merely a poetic way of noting this fact of human nature. I think this basic Thelemic principle also helps to give a better understanding of Maslow's second assumption. This assumption claims "each person's inner nature is in part unique to himself and in part species-wide" (Maslow, p. 3). All stars can be said to be alike because every star has a natural orbit. However, it can also be said that all stars can be considered to be unique because every star has a unique individual orbit.

Maslow claims in his fourth assumption of human health that this inherent inner nature in humans is not intrinsically evil but rather positively good. And he goes on to say "what we call evil behavior appears most often to be a secondary reaction to frustration of this intrinsic nature" (Maslow, p. 3). Notice how Crowley makes an identical case in explaining the nature of 'evil behavior.' He says "men of 'criminal nature' are simply at issue with their True Wills. The murder has the Will-to-Live; and his will to murder is a false will at variance with his True Will, since he risks death at the hands of Society for obeying his criminal impulse" (Crowley, p. 132).

It can be said Maslow's sixth assumption of human nature is a continuation and variation of his fourth assumption. In his sixth assumption Maslow claims that "if the essential core of the person is denied or suppressed, he gets sick sometimes in obvious ways, sometimes in subtle ways, sometimes immediately, sometimes later" (Maslow, p. 3). Once again Crowley explains the consequences of going against one's true nature in much the same way as Maslow, saying, "practically all vice springs from failure to" realize one’s True Will or true nature (Crowley, p. 708). To illustrate this fact Crowley gives his own life as an example. He maintained all the events of his life could be viewed as an illustration of the fact stated above, because every time he violated the Law he got himself "into a mess" and failed benefit himself and/or others (Crowley, p. 708).

Maslow’s fifth assumption of human health also ties into Crowley’s explanation of Thelema. The fifth assumption states that "since this inner nature is good . . . it is best to bring it out and to encourage it rather than suppress it [and] if it is permitted to guide our life, we grow healthy, fruitful, and happy" (Maslow, p. 3). Once again compare the striking similarities of Crowley’s statement to that of Maslow’s fifth assumption. He says, "the order of Nature provides an orbit for each star. A clash proves that one or the other has strayed from his course. But as to each man that keeps his true course, the more firmly he acts, the less likely are others to get in his way" (Crowley, p. 133).

Up until this point I have only compared the similarities of Thelemic doctrine with that of Humanistic Psychologist Abraham Maslow. I will now provide a viewpoint from Karen Horney who is one of the founders of Humanistic psychological theory, although she is seldom recognized and credited for her contribution to the field. The reader at this point will not be surprised to find that Horney’s views on the nature of man are also similar to Crowley’s. Horney claims "inherent in man are evolutionary constructive forces, which urge him to realize his given potentialities" (Horney, p. 14). She terms this inherent drive in man that is striving to realize his potentials the "struggle toward self-realization." I now ask the reader to pay close attention to the similarities in use of language in Horney’s quote on the inherent nature in man with that of Crowley’s because he too equates man’s true nature with evolutionary forces as does Horney. Crowley maintains that "the wise application based on observation and experience of the Law of Thelema is to work in conscious harmony with Evolution" (Duty). Crowley explains this evolutionary force inherent in man’s inner nature one step further by comparing it to other aspects and forces at work in nature. He says to "remember that the Law never fails to avenge infractions: as when wanton deforestation has ruined a climate or a soil, or as when the importation of rabbits for a cheap supply of food has created a plague3" (Duty). I believe these explanations about the negative effects that result from going against the laws of nature in the natural wold greatly illuminate the fact that going against the laws of nature inherent in man can, will and does cause psychological problems.

I think one of the most compelling cases for the similarities of HP and Thelema is found in the comparison of their criticisms of Freud’s psychoanalytic school of psychology. When explaining the philosophical implications of Thelema, Crowley claimed Freud and his psychoanalytic school had grasped only part of the truth of the nature of man4. He claimed they especially missed the importance of the statement from AL "Every man and every woman is a star" (AL I:3), which, as I stated earlier in this paper, is merely a poetic way to assert that every human is born with an inherently good nature. Crowley even went as far to claim that psychoanalysis was "committed to upholding a fraud," although its foundation as a science was built upon "the observations of the disastrous effects on the individual of being false to his Unconscious Self" (Crowley, p. 134). In a very similar manner to that of Crowley, Maslow states that "Freud’s picture of man was clearly unsuitable, leaving out as it did his aspirations, his realizable hopes, his godlike qualities." He again makes a similar statement as that of Crowley’s, concerning the positive benefit Freud’s psychoanalysis had in the science of psychology, saying that it has "supplied us with our most comprehensive systems of psychopathology" (Maslow, p. 12).

In Horney’s criticism of Freud she says "not only did Freud not have any clear vision of constructive forces in man; he had to deny their authentic character. For his system of thought there were only destructive and libidinal forces . . . creativity and love for him were sublimated forms of libidinal drives" (Horney, p. 378). Crowley also claimed Freud had failed to understand the true nature of the forces inherent in man. He asserted that "the libido of the unconscious is really the true will of the inmost self." In keeping with Crowley’s explanation, I think the libido could be thought of here as referring to the driving force in man towards realizing his true potentials. Crowley goes on to say that the sexual characteristics of the individual are merely symbolic indications of a person’s actual nature be it good or bad, "and when those are 'abnormal’ we may suspect that the self is divided against itself in some way" (Confessions, p. 72).

Before moving on, I ask the reader to contemplate once more the astonishing similarities between Thelema’s and HP’s critique of Freud’s psychoanalysis while reading the following two quotes: 1) Psychoanalysis has "misinterpreted life, and announced the absurdity that every human being is essentially an anti-social, criminal and insane animal" (Crowley, p. 134) and 2) Freud tended "to pathologize everything" and didn’t see "clearly enough the health-ward possibilities in the human being" (Maslow, p. 47).

Freud maintained that man’s unconscious impulses and desires were of a negative nature and in order for man to live peacefully in a society man had to suppress these unconscious forces. Crowley and Maslow had similar views opposing that of Freud in regards to the nature of the unconscious. Crowley asserted that the unconscious mind was the person's true self, which is innately good. The unconscious mind, according to Crowley, "does its best to persuade consciousness to act in accordance with its desires and needs" but consciousness is "inclined to ignore or repress this advice" because it is under the influence of society. Freedom, according to Crowley, "consists in learning to stop suppressing the subconscious mind, and instead, learning to do its will" (Wilson, p. 125). Maslow’s criticism of Freud only slightly differs from that of Crowley’s and perhaps the difference only comes from Crowley’s lack of formal psychological background. Maslow claims Freud was right in saying that man had a conscience but was wrong in saying that it was merely a result of early societal influences. Maslow said that all humans have an "intrinsic conscience" which is "based upon the unconscious and preconscious perception of our own nature, of our own destiny, or our own capacities, of our own 'call’ in life" (Maslow, p. 6). Further more, he claims that this "intrinsic conscience" "insists that we be true to our inner nature and that we do not deny it out of weakness" (Maslow, p. 6).

I think it is appropriate at this point to focus on the process by which a person becomes a healthy individual. The way in which both Maslow and Crowley explain and describe this process is, as is probably no surprise to the reader at this point, notably similar. Crowley clarifies that a person is made healthy "when any complex (duality) in the self is resolved (unity) the initiate [i.e. the person] becomes whole" (Confessions, p. 72). Maslow acknowledges that a person is made healthy by "resolving a dichotomy into a higher, more inclusive, unity amounts to healing a split in the person and making him more unified" (Maslow, p. 100). Both Maslow and Crowley use the analogy of a civil war to symbolize the inner turmoil that takes place in a person who is unhealthy because they are going against there true nature. Crowley illustrates this civil war analogy by saying "the morbid sexual symptoms (which are merely the complaints of a sick animal) disappear, while the moral and mental consciousness is relieved from its civil war of doubt and self obsession" (Confessions, p. 72). Maslow explains the civil war analogy in a similar manner saying since the splits . . . are within the person, they amount to a kind of civil war, a setting of one part of a person against another part" (Maslow, p. 136). Crowley states that once a person has resolved the complexes (dualities) of his self, thereby ending the civil war in his own nature, has become a "complete man" who is "harmonized" and as a result of such he "flows freely towards his natural goal" (Confessions, p. 73). Maslow asserts that once the civil war is in one’s nature has ended and all the parts of a person are once again working in agreement with one another, then man is as a result "no longer wasting effort fighting and restraining himself, muscles . . . are no longer fighting muscles -- there is no waste [and] the totality of [his] capacities can be used for action" . . . [thus making him] "like a river without dams" (Maslow, pp. 136, 100).

I shall now attempt to present the argument that the HP notion of self-actualization and the Thelemic notion of doing one’s True Will are both essentially referring to the same internal process. Indeed, even Maslow claims that terms such as "individuation . . . self-actualization . . . [and] . . . self-realization, are all crudely synonymous, designating a vaguely perceived area rather than sharply defined concept" (Maslow, p. 22). However, this being said, I still feel it necessary to provide the reader with both Maslow’s and Crowley’s definition and description of these processes. Maslow defined self-actualization as "[an] ongoing actualization of potentials, capacities and talents, as fulfillment of mission (or call, fate, destiny or vocation), as a fuller knowledge of, and acceptance of, the person’s own intrinsic nature, as an unceasing trend toward unity, integration or synergy within the person" (Maslow, p. 23). Crowley said the processes of seeking to find one’s True Will involved "finding out Who you are, and why you came into this world, and never swerving a hair’s breadth from that Will" (EQ, p. 208). He also claimed a person’s True Will could be "understood thoroughly as the dynamic aspect of his Creative Self" (Crowley, p. 526).

A common misconception of both these terms is that they represent a psychological state that is static. Maslow clearly stated otherwise, saying that because the fact that self-actualization is not a static state, the process is experienced as intrinsically pleasurable. He claimed "self-actualizing people enjoy life in general and in practically all its aspects" because they have the ability to "transform means activity into end-experience, so that even instrumental activity is enjoyed as if it were an end activity" (Maslow, p. 29). Crowley, again making a similar case, claims that doing one’s True Will is "of an eternal motion, infinite and unalterable [and] is Nirvana, only dynamic instead of static . . ." (EQ, p. 26). In addition, he said that one’s aim should be that their True Will, which is "ideally perfect as it is in itself, should enjoy itself through realizing itself in the fulfillment of all possibilities [and that] it is accordingly well worthwhile to fulfill oneself in every conceivable manner" (MWT, p. 30).

Now that I feel I have adequately shown the similarities of HP and Thelema, I think it is finally necessary to try and explain what I think could be established by combining these two schools of thought. I think a combining of these two schools would benefit both Thelemites and Humanistic Psychologists. For Thelemites, the combination would introduce them to the psychological paradigm that I think revolutionized the scientific field of psychology. In my opinion, Thelemites would most definitely find the rich knowledge base of HP, which has been accumulating for over 30 years in countless books and journals, invaluable to their study of Thelema.

In considering the benefit HP would experience from a combination with Thelema, I think it is worthwhile to turn to a quote Maslow made in reference to his nine assumptions of human health. He said "that if these assumptions are proven true, they promise a scientific ethics, a natural value system, a court of ultimate appeal for the determination of good and bad, right and wrong" (Maslow, p. 4). According to Crowley, AL did prove these assumptions. He said "I, Aleister Crowley, declare upon my honor as a gentleman that I hold this revelation a million times more important than the discovery of the Wheel, or even the Laws of Physics or Mathematics. Fire and tools made Man master of his planet; writing developed his mind; but his Soul was a guess until The Book of the Law proved this" (Crowley, p. 427). It is beyond the scope of this short essay to adequately explain all of the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the reception of AL and to argue in support of Crowely’s claim of its supreme significance to mankind. I will leave it up to the reader to investigate the matter further and will only say that Crowley claimed that "to reject this Book is to make Reason itself ridiculous and the Laws of Probabilities a caprice [and] in Its fall, it shatters the structure of science, and buries the whole hope of man’s heart in the rubble, throwing upon its heaps the skeptic, blinded, crippled, and gone melancholy mad" (Crowley, p. 443). I believe that if HP were to accept the reality of the paranormal nature of AL then it would provide them with a unifying holistic base upon which they could justify HP’s basic theories about human nature and to accomplish its original aims.

I think a combination of Thelema and HP would essentially entail an across the board acceptance from both schools that the differences in both was merely a matter of semantics and they both were expressing the same truths of human nature. This being said it again immediately brings up the question of what benefit this would serve both schools of thought. And I would again say that to answer this question is entirely beyond the scope of this short paper. I will admit that I have not answered the question sufficiently and will admit that it is probably beyond my capacity to do so. This being said, however, I do think that the following statement by Crowley’s one time student to be a somewhat sufficient hint in the right direction to answering to this question in a more sufficient manner. Kenneth Grant wrote, "The keen and persistent practice of Thelema by even a few dedicated individuals will effectually overthrow society and thereby facilitate the unhindered development of the New Aeon and the reintegration of human consciousness" (Grant, p. 200).

matt vaughn
Solve Coagula Camp
Carrollton, GA


Unpublished paper by N. B Ibaoglu (Ibaoglu)

The Book of the Law (AL)

Foundations of Humanistic Psychology class handout (Dillon)

The Equinox, Volume III, Number 10 (EQ)

Book 4 (Crowley)

Toward a Psychology of Being (Maslow)

Neurosis and Human Development (Horney)

"Duty" (Duty)

Confessions of Aleister Crowley (Confessions)

Colin Wilson's biography of Crowley, The Great Beast (Wilson)

Magick Without Tears (MWT)

Aleister Crowley & the Hidden God by Kenneth Grant (Grant)

  1. "Magick with a "k" distinguishes the western esoteric spiritual discipline from 'magic’ which denotes stage illusion or the subject of fantasy. Magick is a largely ritual-based technology for organizing and using the human mind. It derives from the ancient traditions associated with the Hebrew Kabbalah, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, and Egyptian traditions, among others, though it is a living tradition that continues to evolve" (Philip Farber’s webpage)
  2. Crowley says, "It was the voice of Nature, awakening at the dawn of the Aeon, as Aiwaz uttered the Word of the Law of Thelema." (Crowley, p. 583).
  3. "Observe that the violation of the Law of Thelema produces cumulative ills. The drain of the agricultural population to big cities, due chiefly to persuading them to abandon their natural ideals, has not only made the country less tolerable to the peasant, but debauched the town. And the error tends to increase in geometrical progression, until a remedy has become almost inconceivable and the whole structure of society is threatened with ruin." ("Duty")
  4. "when we set up a conflict in our own Nature: our act is suicidal. Such interior struggle is at the base of nearly all neuroses, as Freud recently 'discovered’-- as if this had not been taught, and taught without his massed errors, by the great teachers of the past!" (MWT, p. 30)

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  • The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them.

    Re: Thelema and Humanistic Psychology
    by Solis on Sunday March 18, @11:58PM
    The article is excellent. I simply have three questions:

    I noticed that you do not mention Rabelais in your article, and mention Crowley as the founder of Thelema. Do you find any similarities between Crowley's teachings and Rabelais' work?

    If so, doesn't it seem logical that the humanist psychology might be tied into a much deeper, and older root that anticipated?

    Wouldn't this tie the humanist movement of the 13th century to the humanist psychology of today?

    • Re: Thelema and Humanistic Psychology
      by matt vaughn on Friday March 23, @08:44AM
      >The article is excellent. I simply have three >questions:

      thank you very much.

      >I noticed that you do not mention Rabelais in your article, and mention Crowley as the founder of Thelema. Do you find any similarities between >Crowley's teachings and Rabelais' work?

      yeah, i know that rabelais said 'do what thou
      wilt' way back in the day before AL. thats about
      all i know of rabelais and that he was a
      mystical figure. Thanks for mentioning though, I may look more into it when I have time,.

      this was an essay i turned in for my 'foundations
      of humanistic psychology class' here at
      the state u. of west georgia. the only humanistic
      transpersonally orientated school on the east
      coast. maslow sent one of his students to start
      the dept.

      since this essay was sort of a mid term essay
      we were supposed to focus on Maslow and Horney, its more of
      a work in progress.

      >If so, doesn't it seem logical that the humanist psychology might be tied into a much deeper, and >older root that anticipated?

      yeah, i think it does. one proff. who teaches
      "foundation of humanistic psych" gives extensive background on the roots .

      >Wouldn't this tie the humanist movement of the >13th century to the humanist psychology of today?

      yes.Actually I believe, like the many prominent figures and academicians of hum psyc. it is a more sophisticated and conscious revival of the humanist essence. However I do not believe in a direct link; they are both attempts to recover and honor what is human in the universe,in the face of the suffocation of human soul, and ways of being. The first one was by religious dogmatism to assure the safety of the existing political and social systems and the second by scientific dogmatism for the same reason with the added weight of industrialism and fragile but essential global order. In this sense these movements are both for freedom of "being" in a greater sense, and to remove the artificial compartmentalization of the self as I mentioned briefly in the beginning of the essay.
      i may eventually add something
      about this to my paper.

      Thanks for your thoughtful suggestions.
      if any ones interested i just put together some more informal essays and interesting links on my website

    Re: Thelema and Humanistic Psychology
    by RIKB on Monday March 19, @12:23AM

    I think you've made an excellent beginning in your comparison between the thelemic worldview and that of humanistic psychology. I'd like to suggest a few other areas you might want to look into as well. Humanistic psychology isn't the only modern school that has implications for thelemic thought. As you suggest, Karen Horney, who is generally classed as an ego-psychologist, has some excellent ideas, and I recommend her books "Our Inner Conflicts" and "Self-Analysis." It reads as a bit dated now, but I can also recommend the works of Gestalt psychologist Fritz Perls.

    I also recommend existential psychologists like Victor Frankl and especially Rollo May. Rollo May's book "Love and Will" is essential reading for any thelemite IMO. I don't know whether May had any experience of Crowley, but many of his ideas -- most notably his ideas about the daemonic nature of will and love -- have the potential to add tremendous richness to thelemic practice. This may well have a lot to do with existential psychology's influence through Fichte, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, who also heavily influenced Crowley.

    Depth (i.e. Jungian) psychologists are also worth checking out -- the only caveat there being that theory and technical terminology often drowns import in their writings. James Hillman wrote a book that is very good -- and probably the best introduction to his ideas -- called "The Soul's Code." Hillman also speaks of the daimonic-- what thelemites would know as the HGA. The most useful concept in this school of psychology is the idea of "creative imagination" and its relation to wish and will. Rollo May speaks of this at some length from a slightly different perspective in his analysis of William James' chapter on will in the "Principles of Psychology." Remember too, that Crowley was much more impressed with Jung than with Freud, although at the time he expressed that opinion, he wasn't familiar with Jung's later, mature work.

    Finally, I highly recommend anything written by Thomas Szasz, who I believe is now in his 70s and still writing things like the book "Our Right to Drugs" -- one of the truly maverick thinkers in psychology, and one of the few true libertarians I can think of.

    It seems to me -- probably as a result of Christopher Hyatt's critiques of the field come to think of it -- that thelemites are somewhat averse to reading modern works on psychology, when there's a lot out there that really resonates with what I see as the core of thelema. It seems to me that thelemites are maybe a bit averse to reading anything that isn't Crowley or recommended by him. In any case, cynicism aside, there are psychological theories that fully support a thelemic point of view, and there's no reason one can't be a psychologist who is also a thelemite. Granted, there are elements in the field and within the law governing the field that are counter to the principles we generally accept as thelemites -- but I see this as true generally, so the situation for psychologists needn't be seen as any worse than for any other profession.

    93 93/93

    • Re: Thelema and Humanistic Psychology
      by Shader on Monday March 19, @02:44AM
      ...i would like to just say that i agree with everything that RIKB just said, i have not read the article yet as it is rather long, but i have been reading psycology all along, i was very much influenced by R.D. Lang, and later Hillman, who is a polythiest in thought also his work on Death and the underworld and what he terms;Soul making, is phenomenal, Victor Frankel's book about his experiance in a concentration camp, called: the Soul of Man, or something like that, can't recall title, is a truly marvelous work, he
      explains about spiritual transformation in the worst possible conditions, i am a lover of Nietzsche, and another very important philosopher
      is Herny Bergson; and his 'revolt against materialsim', creative evolution; and his Matter and Memory is wonderful..an interesting introduction to Freud is a work intitled Eros and Civlization by Herbert Marcuse, and also of course Alfred North Whitehead and his 'Adventures of Ideas' ect. and i have to recomend Gilles Deleuse's 'A thousand Plateaus'and 'Nietzsche and
      Philosophy...which has no comparision...

    • Re: Thelema and Humanistic Psychology
      by Cameron on Tuesday March 20, @04:31PM
      Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law,

      I'd be adverse to reading "Christopher S. Hyatt, Ph.D." altogether. His book "Rebels & Devils: The Psychology of Liberation" is composed of the works of authors like Burroughs, Crowley, Regardie, and a few dozen others. Hyatt doesn't contribute much of value at all, having only 'edited' the works of others, yet he has the vanity to include sinister-looking pictures of himself in magickal poses with such ominous titles as: "Christopher S. Hyatt, Ph.D. Some say he is the greatest mage who ever walked the planet. Others believe he is the most evil man who ever existed." Come on! Didn't they teach you about delusions of grandeur as an undergrad, or is it one of life's lessons you'd rather learn the hard way?

      Love is the law, love under will,

      • Re: Thelema and Humanistic Psychology
        by Shader on Tuesday March 20, @05:31PM
        ...that's easy, mister Hyatt, doesn't care about the self-conscious superior attidude of undergraduates...and learning the hard way is how
        you must needs be if you don't come from a rich family, and i would wonder at what a self-conscious undergrad would consider of value since you obviously think you are above learning anything the 'hard' way!

        that's right, i learned things the hard way, as i did not go to a university, i did not have rich parents, and it was rather hard being a freak and
        not fiting in, and i suppose that's why i do not belong to the Club OTO anymore, because we were not rich!...and i could not buy my way to the
        inner circle...oh well, that's just they way things are, for people that learn things the hard way..

        yes Dorthy there really are people that are not on a conveyer belt, that have thier own intelligence
        and live and experiance and write in our bed of working..

        and that's one of the 'hard' lessons in life
        that everything is not black and white, that
        God is not what you are told it is, that there
        is a lot of poverty in the world of all kinds, especialy spiritual, that there are a lot of delusions of grandeur in all walks of life,
        especialy privledged self-satisfied insolated bourgeois pre-programed know-it-alls...

        not that you are one of those...!

        ok bring on the flack!...oh i forgot you are above
        hard cases!!!...huministic and all

        • Re: Thelema and Humanistic Psychology
          by Mark Shekoyan on Wednesday March 21, @05:47PM
          As Brothers Fight Ye!

          Some of lifes sweetest lessons come through pain and suffering. Humanistic psychology definately doesn't have a monopoly on that idea.

          As for whether wealth "Buys You In" Socialy, educationally, politically: YES.

          Existentially, Spiritually, Philosophically, Artistically(In the true sense): NEVER.

          No one has a monoply on lived experience. No one has a monoply on ideas. We all have something to share and contribute.

          The nature of an educational discipline is to establish a series of arguments which engage and potentially build upon one another.

          Unfortunately, their is no true openess in knowledge in education. As Michelle Foucault explains, knowledge and discourse is a power game which establishes language circles(Epistemes) which are self perpetuating. They have a self organizing chaoticly attracting meme nature which roots human conscioness in a particular reality tunnel in often paradignamic/exclusionary ways.

          These language tunnels both reveal and conceal facets of the totality of experiential vectors that are the rainbow of being/becoming.

          Christopher Hyatt seems to have a chip on his shoulder in his writing. As do many that have walked the shadows edge of our ignorant pap fed culture. He is a contributor though. He has, along with others, cut a certain swath by syntesizing and integrating some of the more dynamic and marginal ideas within the fringes of pyschology into a paradigm which serves as a orienting and experiential reference point for those in magical cirlces.

          As all thinkers and synthesizers however, he is limited by his own biases and depth of knowledge, and experience.

          What it seems to come down to is what "Reading and Quoting" circle one chooses to spend time with/in. Transpersonal psychologists talk about Ken Wilbur and Roger Walsh, but rarely get together with the Reichians. Reichian's rarely spend time with Jungians, and Jungians almost never hang out with Thelemites who get naked in the desert in the Love of Nuit.

          So, We have a bunch of theories on the psych/academic side,

          and a bunch of inspired experiences/creative acts on the rogue culture/thelemic/artistic side.

          Can we tie these together? Sure.

          Can this inform our own self understanding? Sure

          Can this enrich our work and art? Sure.

          Do these theories and models strenghten our wills and our ability to express them? Not necessarily.

          The problem with all of our literature on the mind, is that it lacks concrete steps to really enrich and strengthen the will.

          One thing Nietzche had down pat is the understanding that ultimately the Will was the driving force of history ,and not the self refrential theoizing of the "Greybeards" of institutional intellectualism.

          This is not to say that Nieztche denied the intellect, far from it...He choose to align a higher intellect through art with the will as his guide.

          Thelema definately has parallels with humanstic psychology, Nietzsche, and a thousand and 1 other philosophys which have come before and layed the ground work for the revelation of TRUE WILL, as the orienting paradigm of existence.

          The question for me is how we might appropriate these various paradigms into the True Will driven commitment of Thelemic Culture which has a focus which cuts through alot of the information noise that surrounds us.

          Keep the dialogues going, this is how we build our
          fellowshiop, and quicken our spirits...

          93 93/93


          • Re: Thelema and Humanistic Psychology
            by matt vaughn on Monday March 26, @10:18AM

            " Do these theories and models strenghten our wills and our ability to express them? Not necessarily."

            well, i would say that learning about the nature
            of the true will and how and why it isnt expressed by more people is important to ones ability to
            express theirs. the one thing humanistic psych
            doesnt really do is talk about how one finds
            their true will. they only technique that i
            see them offereing is therapy. while to me
            thelema offers many techniques.

            "The problem with all of our literature on the mind, is that it lacks concrete steps to really enrich and strengthen the will."

            kind of true. the only concrete steps it provides
            are in the theraputic settings. this why i
            think humanistic psychology and thelema cna
            benifit from one another. thelema provides the
            concrete steps and humanistic psych provides
            a better understanding of the nature of true

            " The question for me is how we might appropriate these various paradigms into the True Will driven commitment of Thelemic Culture which has a
            focus which cuts through alot of the information noise that surrounds us."

            good question, very carefully i might say :)

            93 93/93


      • Re: Thelema and Humanistic Psychology
        by Nekial on Wednesday March 21, @05:39PM
        Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.

        I would hazard a guess that you're missing Dr. Hyatt's sense of humor.

        Love is the law, love under will.

        • Re: Thelema and Humanistic Psychology
          by Mark Shekoyan on Wednesday March 21, @05:57PM
          I dig his sense of humor, I was just trying to position his, and other Psychologists works relative to my understanding of the Will.


        • Re: Thelema and Humanistic Psychology
          by RIKB on Wednesday March 21, @08:31PM

          I have to plead a bit of ignorance here, as I haven't read a great deal of Chris Hyatt's work. In the bit that I have read, I've seen a lot of criticisms of modern psychology, and particularly of modern psychology as an institution, as it's found in Universities and graduate training programs. I have very little problem with this critique as such, since I agree with many of his points that I've seen. Psychology programs do very little to lead one to a deep understanding of human behavior and experience, and psychologists often put themselves in the role of thought police (more, generally, because the law has placed those obligations on them than out of any pervasive authoritarian attitude among psychologists IME). Managed care companies and HMOs have radically changed the direction of psychological theorizing, practice and study, as have pharmaceutical companies and their propaganda engines. What I take issue with is the kind of understanding someone can come away with after reading these critiques when they don't have the kind of direct experience in the field that Dr. Hyatt does. I think people tend to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

          93 93/93

        • Re: Thelema and Humanistic Psychology
          by Cameron on Wednesday March 21, @11:55PM
          Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law,

          Possibly, but I doubt it. I guess I don't think Hyatt is an entirely worthless read, but his contribution to "Rebels & Devils" made me nauseous; it seems Hyatt, like his sidekick S. Jason Black, is more interested in the glamour of magick than magick itself. However, his prescription for psychological transformation does stress experience and rebellion which I'm sympathetic too, but one can read Osho Rajneesh or Nietszche for that. The rest is fool's gold, imo.

          Love is the law, love under will,

    • Re: Thelema and Humanistic Psychology
      by matt vaughn on Monday March 26, @10:04AM

      im familiar some of rollo may's work. i actually
      have love and will, although i havent looked
      at it much yet. i would like to eventually
      add some of may's stuff into my essay.

      i am familiar with szasz. i read an interview
      with him on the net. he had some interesting things to say about the drug war. i found it very helpful, being that i am a libertarian myself.

      >"In any case, cynicism aside, >there are >psychological theories that fully >support a >thelemic point of view, and there's no >reason
      so true, and IMO, humanistic psychology has
      done just that. crowley even said that science
      would one day prove thelema and magick to be fact.

      >one can't be a psychologist who is also a >thelemite.

      true. i think being a 'humanistic psychologist'
      is essentially being a thelemite. as i tried
      to show in my essay, humanistic psychology and
      thelema essentially the same thing.

      93 93/93


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