Magick Without Tears

By Aleister Crowley

Chapter XI: Woolly Pomposities of the Pious "Teacher"

I do not think that it was any new kind of electricity. I think it was the passage itself that has given me neuralgia. It disgusts me beyond words.

To put the matter in a nutshell, tersely, concisely, succinctly, the world is being corrupted by all this—

Asthmatic ThinkingTorpid ThinkingNauseous Thinking
Bovine TUncertain T.Old-maidish T.
Chawbacon T.Venomous T.Purgative T.
Diffuse T.Whelp T.Querulous T.
Excretory TYahoo T.Rat-riddled T.
Fog-bound T.Zig-zag T.Superficial T.
Gossiping T.Ambivalent T.Tinsel T.
Higgledy-piggledy T.Broken T.Unbalanced T.
Ill-mannered T.Corked T.Viscous T.
Jibbing T.Disjointed T.Windy T.
Kneeling T.Eight-anna T.Yapping T.
Leaden T.Flibberty-gibbet T.Zymotic T.
Moulting T.Glum T.Addled T.
Neurotic T.High-falutin' T.Blear-eyed T.
Orphan T.Invertebrate T.Capsized T.
Peccable T.Jazzy T.Down-at-heel T.
Queasy T.Knavish T.Evasive T.
Rococo T.Leucorrhoeic T.Formless T.
Slavish T.Motheaten T.Guilty T.
Hypocritical T.Unsystematic T.Lachrymose T.
Ignorant T.Void T.Maudlin T.
Jerry-built T.Waggly T.Neighing T.
Knock-kneed T.Atrophied T.Odious T.
Lazy T.Bloated T.Pedestrian T.
Messy T.Cancerous T.Quavering T.
Nasty T.Dull T.Ragbag T.
Oleaginous T.Eurasian T.Sappy T.
Purulent T.Futile T.Tuberculous T.
Slattern T.Immature T.Veneered T.
Unkempt T.Beige T.Woolly T.
Over-civilized T.Emaciated T.Flat T.
Gluey T.Dislocated T.Emetic T.
Crippled T.Slushy T.Insanitary T.
Foggy T.Teaparty T.Gloomy T.
Wordy T.Negroid T.Jaundiced T.
Opportunish T.Babbling T.Pedantic T.
Muddy T.Onanistic T.Flatulent T.
Unclean T.Hybrid T.Sluttish T.
Flabby T.Nebulous T.Stale T.
Unsorted T.Hurried T.Mangy T.
Prim T.Empty T.Portentous T.
Theatrical T.Vain T.Loose T.
Vaporous T.Loose T.Wooden T.
Myopic T.Bloodless T.Soapy T.
Flimsy T.Ersatz T.Gabbling T.
Unfinished T.Pontifical T.Wishful T.
Mongrel T.Unripe T.Frock-coated T.
Irrelevant T.Glossy T.Fashionable T.
Hidebound T.Officious T.Unmanly T.
Snobbish T.Misleading T.Slippery T. *

as we find in Brunton, Besant,1 Clymer,2 Max Heindl,3 Ouspensky and in the catchpenny frauds of the secret-peddlers, the U.B., the O.H.M.,4 the A.M.O.R.C.,5 and all the other gangs of self-styled Rosicrucians; they should be hissed off the stage.

We want it dinkum! Advance Australia! Stick to your flag! March to your National Anthem:—
"Get a bloody move on! Get some bloody sense Learn the bloody art of Self-de-bloody-fence!"

So much for Buckingham!


* [Note by editor: In the original Manuscript the list of adjectives contains about 1,000 words; a small selection only has been used.]


Now that we are agreed upon the conditions to be satisfied if we are to allow that a given proposition contains a Thought at all, it is proper to turn our attention to the relative value of different kinds of thought.  This question is of the very first importance: the whole theory of Education depends upon a correct standard. There are facts and facts: one would not necessarily be much the wiser if one got the Encyclopaedia Britannica by heart, or the Tables of Logarithms. The one aim of Mathematics, in fact—Whitehead points this out in his little Shilling Arithmetic—is to make one fact do the work of thousands.

What we are looking for is a working Hierarchy of Facts.

That takes us back at once to our original "addition and subtraction" remark in my letter on Mind. Classification, the first step, proceeds by putting similar things together, and dissimilar things apart.

One asset in the Audit of a fact is the amount of knowledge which it covers.  (2 + 5)2 = 49; (3 + 4)2 = 49; (6 + 2)2 =64; (7 + 1)2 = 64; (9 + 4)2 = 169 are isolated facts, no more; worse, the coincidences of 49 and 64 might start the wildest phantasies in your head—"something mysterious about this." But if you write "The sum of the squares of any two numbers is the sum of the square of each plus twice their multiple"—(a + b)2 = a2 + b{2} + 2ab—you have got a fact which covers every possible case, and exhibits one aspect of the nature of numbers them- selves. The importance of a word increases as its rank, from the particular and concrete to the general and abstract. (It is curious that the highest values of all, the "Laws of Nature," are never exactly "true" for any two persons, for one person can never observe the identical phenomena sensible to another, since two people cannot be in exactly the same place at exactly the same time: yet it is just these facts that are equally true for all men.)

Observe, I pray, the paramount importance of memory. From one point of view (bless your heart!) you are nothing at all but a bundle of memories. When you say "this is happening now," you are a falsifier of God's sacred truth! When I say "I see a horse", the truth is that "I record in those terms my private hieroglyphic interpretation of the unknown and unknowable phenomenon (or 'point-event') which has more or less recently taken place at the other end of my system of receiving impressions."

(Is this clear? I do hope so; if not, make me go on at it until it is.)

Well, then! You realize, of course, how many millions or billions of memories there must be to compose any average well-trained mind. Those strings of adjectives all sprang spontaneously; I did not look them up in books of reference; so imagine the extent of my full vocabulary!  And words are but the half-baked bricks with which one constructs. Millions, yes: billions probably: but there is a limit.

See to it, then, that you accept no worthless material; that you select, and select again, always in proper order and proportion; organize, structuralize your thought, always with the one aim in view of accomplishing the Great Work.

Well, now, before going further into this, I must behave like an utter cad, and disgrace my family tree, and blot my 'scutcheon and my copybook by confusing you about "realism." Excuse: not my muddle; it was made centuries ago by a gang of curséd monks, headed by one Duns Scotus—so-called because he was Irish—or if not by somebody else equally objectionable. They held to the Platonic dogma of archetypes. They maintained that there was an original (divine) idea such as "greenness" or a "pig," and that a green pig, as observed in nature, was just one example of these two ideal essences. They were opposed by the "nominalists," who said, to the contrary, that "greenness" or "a pig" were nothing in themselves; they were mere names (nominalism from Lat. nomen, a name) invented for convenience of grouping. This doctrine is plain commonsense, and I shall waste no time in demolishing the realists.

All à priori thinking, the worst kind of thinking, goes with "realism" in this sense.

And now you look shocked and surprised! And no wonder! What (you exclaim) is the whole Qabalistic doctrine but the very apotheosis of this "realism"? (It was also called "idealism", apparently to cheer and comfort the student on his rough and rugged road!) Is not Atziluth the "archetypal world?" is not—

Oh, all right, all right! Keep your blouse on! I didn't go for to do it.  You're quite right: the Tree of Life is like that, in appearance. But that is the wrong way to look at it. We get our number two, for example, as "that which is common to a bird's legs, a man's ears, twins, the cube root of eight, the greater luminaries, the spikes of a pitchfork," etc. but, having got it, we must not go on to argue that the number two being possessed of this and that property, therefore there must be two of something or other which for one reason or another we cannot count on our fingers.

The trouble is that sometimes we can do so; we are very often obliged to do so, and it comes out correct. But we must not trust any such theorem; it is little more than a hint to help us in our guesses. Example: an angel appears and tells us that his name is MALIEL (MLIAL) which adds to 111, the third of the numbers of the Sun. Do we conclude that his nature is solar? In this case, yes, perhaps, because, (on the theory) he took that name for the very reason that it chimed with his nature. But a man may reside at 81 Silver Street without being a lunatic, or be born at five o'clock on the 5th of May, 1905, and make a very poor soldier.

"No, no, my dear sister, how tempted soever,
To nominalism be faithful forever!"

(If you want to be very learned indeed, read up Bertrand Russell on "Classes.")

Enough, more than enough, of this: let us return to the relative value of various types of thought.

I think you already understand the main point: you must structuralise your thinking. You must learn how to differentiate and how to integrate your thoughts. Nothing exists in isolation; it is always conditioned by its relations with other things; indeed, in one sense, a thing is no more than the sum of these relations. (For the only "reality," in the long run, is, as we have seen, a Point of View.)

Now, this task of organizing the mind, of erecting a coherent and intelligible structure, is enormously facilitated by the Qabalah.

When, in one of those curious fits of indisposition of which you periodically complain, and of which the cause appears to you so obscure, you see pink leopards on the staircase, mmmmm "Ah! the colour of the King Scale of Tiphareth—Oh! the form of Leo, probably in the Queen Scale" and thereby increase your vocabulary by these two items. Then, perhaps, someone suggests that indiscretion in the worship of Dionysus is responsible for the observed phenomena—well, there's Tiphareth again at once; the Priest, moreover, wears a leopard-skin, and the spots suggest the Sun. Also, Sol is Lord of Leo: so there you are! pink leopards are exactly what you have a right to expect!

Until you have practiced this method, all day and every day, for quite a long while, you cannot tell how amazingly your mnemonic power increases by virtue thereof. But be careful always to range the new ideas as they come along in their right order of importance.

It is not unlike the system of keys used in big establishments, such as hotels. First, a set of keys, each of which opens one door, and one door only. Then, a set which opens all the doors on one floor only. And so on, until the one responsible person who has one unique key which opens every lock in the building.

There is another point about this while System of the Qabalah. It does more than merely increase the mnemonic faculty by 10,000% or so; the habit of throwing your thoughts about, manipulating them, giving them a wash and brush-up, packing them away into their proper places in you "Crystal Cabinet," gives you immensely increased power over them.

In particular, it helps you to rid them of the emotional dirt which normally clogs them;* you become perfectly indifferent to any implication but their value in respect of the whole system; and this is of incalculable help in the acquisition of new ides. It is the difference between a man trying to pick a smut out of his wife's eye with clumsy, greasy fingers coarsened by digging drains, and an oculist furnished with a speculum and all the instruments exactly suited to the task.

Yet another point. Besides getting rid of the emotions and sensations which cloud the thought, the fact that you are constantly asking your- self "Now, in which drawer of which cabinet does this thought go?" automatically induces you to regard the system as the important factor in the operation, if only because it is common to every one of them.

So not only have you freed Sanna (perception) from the taint of Vedana (sensation) but raised it (or demolished it, if your prefer to look at it in that light!) to be merely a member of the Sankhâra (tendency) class, thus boosting you vigorously to the fourth stage, the last before the last! of the practice of Mahasatipathana.

Just one more word about the element of Vedana. The Intellect is a purely mechanical contrivance, as accurate and as careless of what it turns out as a Cash Register. It receives impressions, calculates, states the result: that is A double L, ALL!

Try never to qualify a thought in any way, to see it as it is in itself in relation to those other elements which are necessary to make it what it is.

Above all, do not "mix the planes." A dagger may be sharp or blunt, straight or crooked; it is not "wicked-looking," or even "trusty," except in so far as the quality of its steel makes it so. A cliff is not "frowning" or "menacing." A snow-covered glacier is not "treacherous:" to say so means only that Alpine Clubmen and other persons ignorant of mountain craft are unable to detect the position of covered crevasses.

All such points you must decide for yourself; the important thing is that you should challenge any such ideas.

Above all, do not avoid, or slur, unwelcome trains of thought or distressing problems. Don't say "he passed on" when you mean "he died," and don't call a spade a bloody shovel!

Thresh out such matters with Osiris' flail; on the winnowing-fan of Iacchus!

Truth in itself is beautiful, and the best bower-anchor of your ship; every truth fits all the rest of truth; and the most alluring lies will never do that.

"The toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in its head."

and the result of letting

"Two ghastly scullions concoct mess
With brimstone, pitch, vitriol, and devil's dung."

in the end repay investigation.

The vision and the Voice again, please! That frightful Curse—how every phrase turns out to be a Blessing!6

I shall break off this brief note at this point, so that you may have time to tell me if what I have so far said covers the whole ground of your enquiry.

Love is the law, love under will.

Fraternally,

666


* I hope there is no need to repeat that whether any given thought is pleasant, or undesirable, or otherwise soiled by Vedana, is totally irrelevant.

1: Annie Besant, theosophist.

2: R. Swinburne Clymer, founder of an American "Rosicrucian" group. He had denounced Crowley and the O.T.O. in print in his "Rosicrucian Fraternity in America", a work largely devoted to attacking H. Spencer Lewis and AMORC (q.v. infra) – T.S.

3: Max Heindel (1865-1919); born in Denmark, briefly involved in Theosophy; emigrated to the USA and founded the "Rosicrucian Fellowship" using material plagiarised from Rudolph Steiner – T.S.

4: Order of Hidden Masters; minor English occult fraternity operating about this time. I have little information on them – T.S.

5: Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis. Mail-order "Rosicrucian" fraternity founded by H. Spencer Lewis (1883-1939). Lewis had some kind of charter or "Gauge of Amity" from Theodor Reuss of O.T.O., and certain of his teachings were plagiarised from Crowley – T.S.

6: See in particular the ninth and second Æhytrs; the reference is to the Call of the Thirty Æthyrs – T.S.