The Hermetic Library
Archiving, Engaging and Encouraging the living Western Esoteric Tradition, Hermeticism, and Aleister Crowley's Thelema for 20 years
- “The puritan is always trying to make it impossible for those things which frighten him to exist. He does not understand that sensibility is not to be cured by protecting it from the obvious stimuli. The diseased tissue will merely begin to react to all sorts of contacts which have a merely symbolic relation with the original perils. This psychological fact is at the basis of such phenomena as fetishism. The saint hurries to the Thebaid to avoid the danger of Thais, only to find that the very stones rise up and take her place.”
- “A prominent writer calls attention to himself by the device of calling attention to the pangs of slaughtered oxen; another affirms his brotherhood with the Chicago Pig. Countless thousands turn Vegetarian, and then quarrel as to whether it is or is not True Vegetarianism to eat eggs. The war between the Fruitarians and the Nut-foodists nearly came to a cross word! I knew a ‘man’ who refused to eat bread because it was a fermented drink! A friend of mine knew an Anarchist who refused cocoa because it excited his animal passions!”
- “Everyone admits that we have reached the summit of wisdom, scaled the loftiest pinnacles of morality, put the crown of perfection upon the cranium of progress, and everyone knows perfectly well how this remarkable result has been achieved. But at the first hint that anyone proposes to take a step farther on this road, he is universally set down as a lunatic of the most dangerous type. However, the most savage Lolos are content with that diagnosis, whereas the most enlightened English add that the pioneer is not only a lunatic but a pervert, degenerate, anarchist an the rest of it—whatever terms of abuse chance to be in fashion. The abolition of slavery, humane treatment of the insane, the restriction of the death penalty to serious offences, and of indiscriminate flogging, the admission of Jews, Catholics, Dissenters and women as citizens, the introduction of the use of chloroform and antiseptics, the application of stem to travel, and of mechanical principles to such arts as spinning and printing, the systematic study of nature, the extension of the term poetry to metres other than the heroic, the recognition of painting other than voluptuous coloured photographs as art, and of music other than classical melody as art—these and a thousand similar innovations have all been denounced as chimerical, blasphemous, obscene, seditious, anti-social and what not.”
- “America is seething with anarchy on every plane, because of the constantly changing economic conditions, the conflict between creeds, casts, codes, cultures and races. Society has never had a chance to settle down. The expansion westward, the discovery of gold, coal, iron and oil, the slavery question, the secession question, the constant flux caused by the development of technical science, the religious and moral instability, the conflict between federal centralization and state sovereignty, the congestion of cities, the exploitation of the farmer by the financier, the shifting of the economic centre of gravity, these and a thousand other conditions arising from the unprecedented development of the country combine to make it impossible even to imagine stability in any plane of life. There is thus a radical distinction between Europe and her daughter. We know more or less what to expect in any set of circumstances. Heterogeneous as we are there is a common ground of thought and action. We are even able to draw reasonable conclusions about Asia and Africa. London and Tokyo are sufficiently alike in essentials to make our relations intelligible, but in spite of the community of language, customs, commercial conventions, and so on, between London and New York, the difference between us is really more radical. There are many incalculable factors in any formula which connects the United States with Europe.”
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