NOTOCON I: 15 Aug 1997 e.v. -- Akron, Ohio.
Very Excellent and Perfect Princes and Princesses,
Illustrious Sir Knights,
Noble Dame Knights, Fellow Soldiers,
[Several brief comments on the conference schedule.]
What is it that makes Thelemites different from other people? What is it that makes members of our Holy Order different than other people?
Around 1919, the Grand Master Baphomet wrote the following in Liber 101, An Open Letter to Those who may Wish to Join the Order (Duties, 7th house):
“Members of the Order are to regard those without its pale as possessing no rights of any kind, since they have not accepted the Law, and are, therefore, as it were, troglodytes, survivals of a past civilization, and to be treated accordingly. Kindness should be shown towards them, as towards any other animal, and every effort should be made to bring them into Freedom.”
Yet contrast this passage with Liber OZ:
“Man has the right to live by his own law—
to live in the way that he wills to do.”
And with this,
“Every man and every woman is a star.”
So we are instructed to treat those without the Guarded Border as having no rights of any kind, yet we are sworn to defend their right to live in what ever way they will. We are instructed to treat them as animals (kindly), and yet we are told that they are stars, just as we are.
How are we to resolve such a dilemma?
Brothers and Sisters, we are the vanguard of the New Aeon. We have been thrown into the River of Reality with a book on mountain climbing. Now, certainly, some of the skills needed to climb mountains are also useful to the swimmer; but if we are going to survive, we are simply going to have to live by our wits. Working together in harmony is essential; but we are also going to be required to think for ourselves. War has been declared, and the strategies have been roughly drafted – the tactics have been left to us.
Now, who are our real enemies? Are they the “Trogs”? The Fundamentalists? The Materialistic Skeptics? Who slander us, ridicule us, and interfere with our mail delivery? Are tyranny, superstition, and oppression to be found only outside our Holy Order? Only outside ourselves?
What is tyranny, if not the obstruction of one person's True Will by the greed of another?
What is superstition, if not the suppression of truth by blind faith in established dogma?
What is oppression, if not the subjugation of the Will of the individual to the Will of the group?
If we are to bring our fellows in incarnation into the Freedom that we enjoy as Thelemites; then let us first see to it that we respect the True Will of every individual; that we recognize every man and every woman as a star. Let us keep our own minds open and flexible; both receptive and critical, towards established teachings and towards new ideas. Let us also keep it firmly in our minds that our Order is made up of individuals; that service to the Order means service to each other; and friendship towards all men and women who value Liberty.
Let us honor and develop our venerable traditions, but let us also keep an eye to the future. All our work will have been for nothing if we cannot bequeath our Temple to the next generation. Let us construct our Temple to be dazzling in its beauty, and let it ring constantly with the sounds of solemn worship and ecstatic rejoicing; but let us also fortify and guard that beautiful Temple as a formidable Fortress; strong enough to withstand the tremors and upheavals of politics, the blasting winds of bureaucracy, and the cannonballs of public opinion.
But first, fellow Knight-Monks of Thelema, let us fortify ourselves with meat and drink.