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Aleister Crowley, Crackpot? Genius? or...

Black_HeartBlack_Heart Registered User regular
edited November 2006 in Debate and/or Discourse
I hope its okay to post this thread. I read D&D pretty often, but usually abstain from posting since I'm not very skilled in formal debate or knowledgable about worldly political affairs.

So I'm not sure if this is an actual "debate" topic but recently I've been studying Aleister Crowley and Thelema and I find it somewhat interesting.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleister_Crowley
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thelema


From what I've taken from Thelema in the last few days of reading up on it, is that it is essentially a somewhat hedonist, pacifistic religion which advocates each person possesses a "True Will". This True Will is the pure essence of a person, their connection to the universe, and their purpose in life. It seems to take influences from Buddhism and Gnosticism. The doctrine itself is pretty standard for a religion and I don't see anything wrong with it from a philosophical viewpoint.

However, Crowley himself and his inspiration for the authoring of the main text of Thelema "The Book of the Law" are somewhat dubious. Attesting that he had invoked the spirit of the Egyptian god Horus through his wife and a mytserious voice told him the words which filled his book. Crowley himself was known to experiment with psychedelic drugs in his time.


My questions are... Is Crowley another L. Ron Hubbard? Is there anything useful to take from Thelema that can't be found in other religions? Is "Do what thou wilt" a usefull philosophy?

If anyone has anymore insight on Thelema and Aleister Crowley I would love to hear it. Is he studied much in religion/philosphy courses? I took a Modern Philosophy course in college but we never really studied him.

Black_Heart on
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Posts

  • OtakuD00DOtakuD00D Too stupid to feel pain. San DiegoRegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    All I know is that he just might be Bush's grandaddy.

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  • IShallRiseAgainIShallRiseAgain Registered User
    edited November 2006
    I think all modernly formed religions are pretty silly and ridicolous. I could see way back in the old days, when people still believed it was god causing the thunderstorm and other such things, and when people needed to learn right and wrong, but in the modern world we know that more than likely there is no god, and everything can be explained by science and logic. Nowadays, if someone recieves a vision from god, its called a mental disorder.

    Not that I, unlike some atheists, believe people who are religous are foolish and stupid. I think its a good thing if a person is religous. In the end, religion just teaches you good values and to help others. there is nothing wrong with that.

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  • GolemGolem Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    In the end, religion just teaches you good values and to help others. there is nothing wrong with that.

    Except for the killing people that dont worship your god, your way part :P

    Just pointing that out, I shall return to the darkest caves from which I set forth!!

  • awesome_andyawesome_andy Registered User
    edited November 2006
    Crowley was one crazy bastard.
    Was he the devil incarnate?
    No.
    Did he enjoy orgies and opium?
    Yes.
    I remember a quote of his about him going to heaven when he dies so he can piss on god.
    That always made me laugh.

    I think he is neither awesome nor andy.
  • DreamerdownDreamerdown Registered User
    edited November 2006
    The answer to the OP is both.

    bigifre1vy.jpg

    Not all vampires suck blood.
    Not all of them die for love.
  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    I usually abstain from posting since I'm not very skilled in formal debate or knowledgable about worldly political affairs.
    omg lawl. There are like 2 people here who are skilled in formal debate and knowledgeable about worldy affairs. Not even 2. Post on.
    So I'm not sure if this is an actual "debate" topic but recently I've been studying Aleister Crowley and Thelema and I find it somewhat interesting.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleister_Crowley
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thelema

    Reminds me of Richard Garriot's Ethical Hedonism that he preaches in a book hidden in Ultima IX.

  • PodlyPodly good moleman to youRegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    ...


    ..yeah


    drugs and bullshit

    follow my music twitter soundcloud tumblr
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  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Poldy wrote:
    ...


    ..yeah


    drugs and bullshit

    you forgot bisexual orgies :winky:

  • flamebroiledchickenflamebroiledchicken Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Is this because of Lonelygirl15 or whatever?

  • saggiosaggio Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    From what I've taken from Thelema in the last few days of reading up on it, is that it is essentially a somewhat hedonist,

    It's not hedonist at all. "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" has to be taken in context. The thelemites I know prefer "Love is the law; love under will." Those two statements are saying that the supreme law is to find your True Will and manifest it.
    It seems to take influences from Buddhism and Gnosticism.

    Crowley was a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (as was W.B. Yeats) - a Rosicrucian order popular in various circles at the beginning of the 20th Century. There is a definite spiritual succession from the Cathars ("Gnostics"), John Dee, and the later Rosicrucian orders. The major Eastern influence would be Hinduism (indeed, Yoga is a fundamental practice in Thelema), not Buddhism.
    However, Crowley himself and his inspiration for the authoring of the main text of Thelema "The Book of the Law" are somewhat dubious. Attesting that he had invoked the spirit of the Egyptian god Horus

    Crowley did not invoke Horus when he wrote the Book of the Law. The incident with his wife you describe is completely separate, and has very little to do with Liber AL vel Legis. It was the entity Aiwass/Aiwaz (his Holy Guardian Angel, or HGA) that he communed with when he wrote the work.
    Crowley himself was known to experiment with psychedelic drugs in his time.

    Drug induced states have been used by magicians and shamans throughout time. Crowley, however, was perfectly lucid during the writing of Liber Al vel Legis - as a ritual magician, drugs would only be used by Crowley if he was performing a ritual.
    My questions are... Is Crowley another L. Ron Hubbard?

    That's insulting. L. Ron Hubbard is a kook and fraud who passed science fiction off as religion. Crowley is the most significant Occulist in the early twentieth century (perhaps rivaled in his time by only Austin Osman Spare in influence). Crowley never founded a religion, never claimed to be a prophet of the divine, nor ever solicited initiates or students for cash in exchange for teaching.
    Is there anything useful to take from Thelema that can't be found in other religions?

    There are two faces of Thelema, and it's very important to keep that in mind. The first is the religious side; it is syncretic, and the influences are readily apparent (and most of the underlying philosophical or theological concepts can be gleaned elsewhere). The other is the occult side - which, while now sorely out of the date, is still very influential and worth looking into if you are a student of the occult.
    Is "Do what thou wilt" a usefull philosophy?

    It's no more a philosophy than the categorical imperative is a philosophy - both, however, are very important parts of overarching philosophical systems (Kantianism and Thelema, respectively).
    If anyone has anymore insight on Thelema and Aleister Crowley I would love to hear it. Is he studied much in religion/philosphy courses? I took a Modern Philosophy course in college but we never really studied him.

    What do you want to know?

    3DS: 0232-9436-6893
  • Mai-KeroMai-Kero Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Him in ScaryGoRound was awesome.

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  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Crowley isn't studied much himself but his influence is pretty large. One could say that the entire Neo-Pagan and Wiccan movement is a direct result of Crowley. He really brought the occult into the modern world.

    Hell the Wiccan creed "and it harm none do thy will" is probably a direct modification of Thelema saying.

    It should be noted "Do thy Will" is not nearly as simple as it seems. True Will is the center of Thelema's philosophy. Basically it says that most people are distracted from thier true purpose and need ot seek it out. True Will isn't doing whatever you want it's doing what you're supposed to be doing.

  • DeathmongerDeathmonger Registered User
    edited November 2006
    A complete library of Aleister Crowley:
    http://www.hermetic.com/crowley/index.html

    I've looked through those awhile to try to understand more about Crowley and Thelema than what I could garner from Wikipedia. The only writing of his that I've found worth reading was the "Preliminary Marks" section of this page:

    http://www.hermetic.com/crowley/aba/aba1.html

    The rest of his work seems to describe meditation practices and occult rituals veiled in turgid English English.

    He allegedly performed the non-subjective act of illuminating an interior chamber of some pyramid enough to read some manuscript without any other light, presumably with his mind or "magicK" or what have you.

    If he were a genius, I wouldn't be in any position to tell. I'd bet just crazy though. Maybe he just made up the whole Thelema thing to trick young men and women into going ot his sex-drug parties?

  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    He really didn't seem interested in being a leader. An interestng quote(gathered from his wikiepdia entry but I double checked it in the source)

    "I admit that my visions can never mean to other men as much as they do to me. I do not regret this. All I ask is that my results should convince seekers after truth that there is beyond doubt something worth while seeking, attainable by methods more or less like mine. I do not want to father a flock, to be the fetish of fools and fanatics, or the founder of a faith whose followers are content to echo my opinions. I want each man to cut his own way through the jungle"

    Doesn't sound like much of a cult leader to be(which is why the L Ron Hubbard comparison is a terrible one.

  • saggiosaggio Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Maybe he just made up the whole Thelema thing to trick young men and women into going ot his sex-drug parties?

    Crowley did not found Thelema. A frenchman by the name of Francois Rabelais first formulated the philosophy. The term was seized upon by Crowley, who further developed the philosophy, and added his occult knowledge to create a system of magickal practise, and a more general 'philosophy of life' (which one could easily call a religion).

    3DS: 0232-9436-6893
  • Aroused BullAroused Bull Registered User
    edited November 2006
    Crackpot, just like all the other crackpot religious leaders throughout the ages.

  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt Damn you, eidetic memory! Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Crackpot, just like all the other crackpot religious leaders throughout the ages.
    Jesus thanks you for your contribution to this thread.

    Origin ID: Null_Cypher
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  • ZERO.ZERO. Registered User
    edited November 2006
    The dude seems like a crack pot.

    But hey at least the dude was a sexual revolutionary so you know he got his freak on once in awile.

    Man who eat jellybean fart in technicolor.
  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    crackpot or no just brwoing through his wiritngsleads me ot beleive this guy kew just about everything there was to know about the occult.

  • SnorkSnork Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
  • Aroused BullAroused Bull Registered User
    edited November 2006
    Crackpot, just like all the other crackpot religious leaders throughout the ages.
    Jesus thanks you for your contribution to this thread.
    Consider the reason that made you choose to single my response out from the many other responses of similar length and calibre in this thread. Then think whether that reason and that response was really a suitable one. Then piss off and stop trying to pick pointless fights with people - if you don't like something someone says, you are at perfect liberty to challenge it, or at least ignore it.

  • mccmcc glitch Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2006
    Crowley wasn't a nice person. I don't think I'd really trust any theology that comes out of him. However his occult books are fascinating if you just want to read some crazy incoherent Hunting of the Snark caliber babbling, or if you need material to make fun of ceremonial magicians.

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