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re: absolutely unbelievable

May 22, 2009

My friend, Jeff, commented:

There will be a day when people come into their own and realize that ALL supernatural belief systems are best left for horror films. Until that day, the educated just need to stop going to church. Stop taking kids there first, in fact.

Now, having said that, the only supernatural believing person I have ever heard amazing context out of is Aleister Crowley. “Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.” See, where religion tries to mask rightiousness inside a tenant of a book, Crowley wrote one of the absolutes. That IS the law of the universe for sentient beings. But many take it to mean they should then do EVERYTHING they want and forget the rules. The rules are forgotten, then, and consequences have a way of fucking those people over.

My response:

I’ve come to a similar conclusion myself, but at the same time I must admit that I’ve also benefited a great deal from “spiritual” thinkers and institutions throughout my life. For example, I’m quite partial to both Eastern and Western philosophy — particularly Buddhism, Stoicism and Epicureanism respectively — not to mention Western occultism. My time spent at Buddhist monasteries in meditation and reflection was invaluable, as well as my time spent studying and practicing in esoteric groups.

So while I share your sentiments to an extent, I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t acknowledge the contributions these “spiritual” thinkers and experiences have had on my ability to, if I may borrow your phrase, “come into my own.” That’s why I’m currently a big fan of Sam Harris: he has no problem being an atheist while at the same time being open to the fact that people have spiritual experiences, and is even willing to explore them in a rational and scientific way.

As for Crowley, the maxim of his Book of the Law, “There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt,” is definitely one of his greatest achievements; and I think you’re interpretation of what it’s basically saying accords with the passage: “Invoke me under my stars! Love is the law, love under will. Nor let the fools mistake love; for there are love and love. There is the dove, and there is the serpent. Choose ye well! He, my prophet, hath chosen, knowing the law of the fortress, and the great mystery of the House of God” ( AL 1.57).

In my opinion, people often mistake it to mean, “Do whatever you want,” but I’m fairly certain that it means something more along the lines of, “Do whatever is the calling of your ‘True Will’ — that enlightened aspect of yourself which ‘comes into its own’ and is not unaware of the rules of Nature — because we’re ‘the sole centre’ of our Universe.” (See Crowley, Duty.) And like you said, if the rules are forgotten, the consequences have a way of fucking you over.

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