Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Come now, is this quite fair? When I agreed to tip you off about Magick and the rest, I certainly never expected to be treated as if I were being interviewed by an American Sunday Newspaper. What do I prefer for breakfast, and my views on the future of the theatre, and is the Great White Brotherhood in favour of Eugenic Babies? No, dear sister—I nearly said sob-sister. But this I will say, you have been very artful, and led me on very cleverly—you must have been a terror to young men—for the matter of that, I dare say you are still!
And I don't see how to get out of swallowing this last sly bait; as you say, "Every man and every woman is a star." does need some attention to the definition of "man" and "woman." What is the position, you say, of "monsters"? And men of vinferior" races, like the Veddah, Hottentot and the Australian Blackfellow? There must be a line somewhere, and will I please draw it? You make me feel like Giotto!
There is one remark which I must make at the beginning. It's some poet or other, Tennyson or Kipling, I think (I forget who) that wrote: "Folks in the loomp, is baad." It is true all round. Someone wisely took note that the vilest man alive had always found someone to love him. Remember the monster that Sir Frederick Treves picked up from an East End peep-show, and had petted by princesses? (What a cunning trick!) Revolting, all the same, to read his account of it. He—the monster, not Treves!—seems to have been a most charming individual—ah! That's the word we want. Every individual has some qualities that endear him to some other. And per contra, I doubt if there is any class which is not detestable to some other class. Artists, police, the clergy, "reds," foxhunters, Freemasons, Jews, "heaven-born," women's clubwomen (especially in U.S.A.), "Methodys," golfers, dog-lovers; you can't find one body without its "natural" enemies. It's right, what's worse; every class, as a class, is almost sure to have more defects than qualities." As soon as you put men together, they somehow sink, corporatively, below the level of the worst of the individuals composing it. Collect scholars on a club committee, or men of science on a jury; all their virtues vanish, and their vices pop out, reinforced by the self-confidence which the power of numbers is bound to bestow.
It is peculiarly noticeable that when a class is a ruling minority, it acquires a detestation as well as a contempt for the surrounding "mob." In the Northern States of U.S.A., where the whites are overwhelming in number, the "nigger" can be more or less a "regular fellow;" in the South, where fear is a factor, Lynch Law prevails. (Should it? The reason for "NO" is that it is a confession of weakness.) But in the North, there is a very strong feeling about certain other classes: the Irish, the Italians, the Jews. Why? Fear again; the Irish in politics, the Italians in crime, the Jews in finance. But none of these phobias prevent friendship between individuals of hostile classes.
I think that perhaps I have already written enough—at least enough to start you thinking on the right lines. And mark well this! The submergence of the individual in his class means the end of all true human relations between men. Socialism means war. When the class moves as a class, there can be no exceptions.
This is no original thought of mine; Stalin and Hitler both saw it crystal-clear; both, the one adroitly, the other clumsily, but with equally consummate hypocrisy, acted it out. They picked individuals to rule under their autocracy, killed off those that wouldn't fit, destroyed the power of the Trades Unions or Soviets while pretending to make them powerful and prosperous, and settled down to the serious business of preparing for the war which both knew to be inevitable.
It is this fundamental fact which ensures that every democracy shall end with an upstart autocrat; the stability of peace depends upon the original idea which aggrandized America in a century from four millions to a hundred: extreme individualism with opportunity. Our own longest period of peace abroad (bar frontier skirmishes like the Crimean war) and prosperity at home coincided with Free Trade and Laissez-faire.
Now we may return, refreshed, to the main question of monsters, real (like Treves') or imaginary like Jews and niggers.
'Arf a mo! Haven't we solved the problem, ambulando? Everything would be okydoke and hunkydory if only we can prevent classes from acting as such?
I suppose so. Then, what about a spot of pithy paradox for a change?
Why should the classes want to act as classes? It's obvious; "Union is strength." The worst Fifteen can do more with a football than the best opposing team of one—excuse my Irish!
Well, what tortoise is that elephant based upon? Why, still obviously, upon the universal sense of individual weakness. We all want a big bruvver to tell of him! Hence the Gods and the Classes. It's fear at the base of the whole pyramid of skulls.
How right politicians are to look upon their constituents as cattle! Anyone who has any experience of dealing with any class as such knows the futility of appealing to intelligence, indeed to any other qualities than those of brutes.
And so, whenever we find one Man who has no fear like Ibsen's Doctor Stockmann or Mark Twain's Colonel Grainger that strolled out on his balcony with his shotgun to face the mob that had come to lynch him, he can get away with it. "An Enemy of the People" wrote Ibsen, "Ye are against the people, O my chosen!" says The Book of the Law. (AL II, 25).
Not only does it seem to me the only conceivable way of reconciling this and similar passages with "Every man and every woman is a star." to assert the sovereignty of the individual, and to deny the right-to-exist to "class-consciousness," "crowd-psychology," and so to mob-rule and Lynch-Law, but also the only practicable plan whereby we may each one of us settle down peaceably to mind his own business, to pursue his True Will, and to accomplish the Great Work.
So never lose sight for a moment of the maxim so often repeated in one context or another in these letters: that fear is at the root of every possibility of trouble, and that "Fear is failure, and the forerunner of failure. Be thou therefore without fear; for in the heart of the coward virtue abideth not."
Love is the law, love under will.
© Ordo Templi Orientis. Original key entry by W.E. Heidrick for O.T.O. HTML coding by Frater T.S. for Nu Isis Working Group.