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Discussion on Thelema: RHP or LHP? Many occultists believe that Thelema is inherently LHP, based on a faulty understanding of the Law of Thelema: Do what thou Wilt. This phrase inspires many people to believe that Thelema is advocating that people do whatever they want, which is a misunderstanding of the Law. Do what thou Wilt is generally understood by practicing Thelemites to mean that people should behave according to their True Will, rather than each whim. Various statements by Crowley imply that the True Will was individual, but followed basic rules, such as that it is no one's True Will to kill another. The acting of self in accordance with True Will is similar to the Taoist notion of people acting in accordance with ultimate nature (the Tao), or the Advaita Vedanta notion of discovering that the True Self (Atman) is just a mask for Ultimate Reality (Brahman). Because of the varied interpretations of True Will, I thought it would be productive to discuss whether Thelema is inherently RHP or LHP. I myself am a practicing Thelemite, and based on my own interpretations of my readings of Crowley, Thelema seems to be LHP, because while it frowns upon certain actions which are a part of free will, the individual is ultimately responsible for their own wellbeing, and must seek to alter the world to their productive desires.

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Xeper and Remanifest

April 05, 2017, 08:31:31 pm
Re: Discussion on Thelema: RHP or LHP?
I think that there are two inherently different yet equally valid forms of Thelema. The most common is more appropriately called Crowleyanism, because it follows Crowley and his interpretation of the Law of Thelema, rather than what AL actually says. This is obvious because Crowley brought about a very solar based religion, yet the Book of the Law goes to great lengths and imagery to show it is stellar based. Crowley, despite his imagery, very much sought do dissolve himself into the All, losing his isolate consciousness in favor of the will of Nature/God. AL, on the other hand, is an elitist text that draws heavily on the symbolism of the Pyramid Texts. The individual is elevated to godhood, the gods bow before them, the focus is on the night sky, and so forth. So while Crowley seems to have interpreted things as RHP, Thelema can equally be seen as LHP.

My issue with this analysis is that Crowley says "Every man and every woman is a star" means that every person is the center of their own universe, just as a star is the local center of orbit in the vast majority of cases. He says this in his commentary on the AL. I think this reflects that Thelema was indeed LHP, especially when the role of the Sun comes into play as the main God. If worship of the Sun is proper, and every person is their own Sun, than Thelema is very LHP.

April 17, 2017, 03:40:50 pm
Re: The Comprehensive Argument for Set This is my argument against this logic, based on the Reddit version of the argument found here. My argument against it is found here. For convience, here is the text of my comment from the Reddit post linked:
Premise 1:
 My critique of this is that it misunderstands the idea of an axiom. An axiom is something which is not provable, but is held to be self-evident. Your argument for it as an axiom is pointless, then, as it is reliant on other axioms, namely, as you argue: "I can reason, therefor I must exist." This utilizes the axiom of "I" existing already, thus your argument is a loop: "I exist, therefor I exist, therefor I exist, therefor I exist..." In order for it to be an axiom, you must simply accept it as true without proof, as something that is impossible to falsify - the issue with infalsifiable principles being that I can posit anything to be true in this manner. If my axiom is "purple flying unicorns that can breathe fire exist," then there is no way to disprove it, as you cannot exhaust all possibilities in searching for it, and thus disprove it. This is the same as the axiom "I exist," as you cannot prove that "you" do not exist, nor do you provide a denition of what "you" are, and thus you cannot possibly argue with it. This is like the traditional arguements for the existence of God, they mean nothing and are merely exercises on the level of 0+0=0.
Premise 2:
 This can be rejected simply on the principle that you cannot demonstrate that two people really "see" the same thing. Describe to me the color red, as a "thing in itself." It's impossible, they call it "qualia." Now, you can only demonstrate that people speaking the same language are prone to call something the same word. You might argue that, if they merit the same responses, they are demonstrably similar in some way. I argue in turn that this demonstrates no actual relation to what is seen - that would be like saying that, if a mouse is trained to behave a certain way to both cheese and broccoli, that cheese and broccoli are, in fact, the same thing. I could also argue that you cannot prove anything at all exists except perhaps yourself, as you can only see external things with your perception - which could be argued into the ground as a type of hallucination. Look at the traditional arguements for Solipsism if you'd like to see some of these. However, arguing that reality doesn't exist is futile, so I will accept these first two premises - I'm merely demonstrating that it's impossible to argue them, and so you must make them truly axioms - don't say "I exist because..." and then call it an axiom, just say "I exist" and then "the external world exists."
Premise 3:
 Again, Solipsism fills out the arguement against this point. A modified form of Solipsism is what I'll use to argue against this point. You cannot axiomize or demonstrate that anything but your perception exists, and thus you can't argue that your mind and the "outside world" are different, because you can't realize the outside world, you can only realize, if we accept that the outside world exists, your own version of it. Thus, the true "outside world" could be very much like your mind, made of immaterial thoughtforms, but you don't have access to that, only your own immaterial thoughtforms.
Premise 4:
 This falls flat because all "explanations" of the world are merely subjective. It is shown in Einstein's theory of relativity that all motion is dependant on a frame of reference, and there is no "objective" frame of reference for motion. Thus, when you walk past a tree and the tree "moves" in your vision, it is actually moving, in your "frame of reference." So, there are two people who speak only in terms of their frame of reference - one is sitting down, and the other is walking toward him. The first person says, "You came towards me," but the other disagrees, "No, you came towards me," and there is no objective solution to it, as objectivity selects no inherent, correct frame of reference. The same is true for all matters of perspective, one of which is the idea that the theory of forms is better in any way than another set of ideas that explain things. And, if we try to speak "objectively," forms cannot exist in and of themselves, as they are classifications of things - that is, ideas - and ideas don't exist without the mind, which makes them not objective. The idea of "objectivity" is mostly useless, though - which both does away with this last bit of argument, and also your argument of forms being superior to any other interpretation.
Premise 5:
 This can be done away with the arguments previously refuting every point.
Premise 6:
 The theory of forms all falls flat here: if the consciousness "form" is a collection of subtypes, than this can apply to "consciousness and other," and thus not only is there a "CodeReaper" consciousness form, a "rock" form, and a "Three_Scarabs" consciousness form, there is also a "CodeReaper picking up rock" form, and a "CodeReaper talking to Three_Scarabs" form, rendering all forms as insignificant among the infinite possible divisons of the one form of "all reality," which both argues against the existence of the self as an axiomatic thing (as it's made of infinite unknowably smaller forms and is also merely a part of an infinitely large single form which must then all be demonstrated) and against the separation of mind and matter (as these now are reduced to parts of a single manifested form, the Monad, which is the form of "all reality.")
Premise 7:
 Same as 5.

May 09, 2017, 06:48:42 pm
A Secular Primer on Occult Divination (or, Why Divination Isn't Bullshit) A Secular Primer on Occult Divination
Why Divination Isn't Bullshit
by Agape Therion

I: On the Nature of Thought
“Man can do as he wills, but cannot will as he wills.” - Schopenhauer
“A thought comes when it wants, and not when I wish.” - Nietzsche

   The mind, being a product of its environment and biology, and not of what is called “radical” free will, is something which must have a cause to think in order to do so. More precisely, the mind will think when we do not wish it to, and will fail to reason in the way we wish when it does not want to. This extends to all realms of thought – creative inspiration, situational insight, and all the like. The latter example is particularly something of concern for every person. If we cannot make our minds tease through all possibilities, or at least all the good ones we could potentially conceive of, we are missing out on a large portion of the potentialities we might indulge in.
   The mind thinks, then, when it is prompted with a potential. The will is enacted when the mind has a choice between several options. That is, the options are limited by our imaginations and the prompt we are presented with, and we cannot choose to simply conjure up an additional possibility of interpretation or action. The true nature of mind is as a fickle creature that withholds its best secrets until given due payment. This payment comes, always, in the form of signals. Every interaction we have with the world can be seen in terms of signals – even the very simplest interactions we have with the world are merely the symbols the mind's eye can glean from the brain's interpretation of the signified thing.
   Signals, additionally, only need to have a tangential connection with they issue they are plugged into. Take for example a man who was once close to his cousin, but who has drifted apart from her. Without considering his cousin for many years, he witnesses two boys playing near his yard. He sees the bond they have in play, and is reminded of his cousin, and gives her a call. The two brothers, as merely physical beings, in a physical situation, bear nothing on the situation of the man and his cousin. However, as symbols they are a potent reminder of the importance of friendship and familial bonds for this man. Thus, the external nature of the situation has no bearing on the decision is allows him to enact.
   Turning to a real example, the chemist August Kekule only realized the structure of the chemical benzene, which is ring or hexagon of carbon atoms, when he dreamed of Oroboros, the snake which bites its own tail. There is no external connection between the Oroboros and the benzene molecule, but the manner in which the two situations are conducive to the realization of the other allowed him this discovery.
   Thus, the mind does not operate solely as a rational apparatus, but also as an apparatus which “rhymes” situations and symbols in a non-logical manner. Either form of thought is conducive to our potential to make choices, but logical thought can only inform us of what follows from the axioms we feed into it, it does not allow us to generate new axioms. Thus, logicality is important, but inspiration, and the multiplication and increasing of inspiration, is far more important for us in our lives, as without it we would have no axioms to begin with.

II: On the Nature of Symbols of Divination

   The symbols of divination are not typical symbols, but rather each form in and of themselves a body of sub-symbols which are called upon given both the context of the questions and situations inquired about as well as the surrounding symbols and sub-symbols in a particular divination reading. This principle is best elucidated through a demonstration of the manner in which a divination reading of Tarot cards is influenced by the question, the knowledge of the questioner, and the surrounding symbols.
   Let's say that a man believes his wife is cheating on him. Asking, “Is my wife cheating on me?” would not really give answers, since as we know as secularists, Tarot is not magic. Imagine instead that he asks, “How should I approach the possibility that my wife is cheating on me?” This question can clearly be addressed by a symbolic inspiration, and thus is suited to our purposes. Supposing that he chooses three cards, representing his actions, her actions, and the result, respectively, he draws Death, the Lovers, and the Tower. The Death card represents not only literal death, but also change, loss, and the like. The Lovers card represents love, sexuality, or togetherness. The Tower represents a struggle, a failure, or a metaphorical imprisonment. Even with these small definitions for the possible interpretations of each individual card and their respective roles in the reading, we can see a possible manner of viewing the situation from a certain vantage point. We might interpret this as meaning that his changing behavior coupled with her continued love and dedication have lead her to a depression, which may have lead to cheating. The usefulness of this possibility is that we often do not view our own actions in the context of the situation, and might ignore such a potential. The man might now reflect on his actions, and realize something he would not have otherwise.
   However, the man is adamant that his actions are not to blame, and reads the cards a second time. He believes that Death may refer to a change in his position in life, since he has recently gotten a promotion. His wife desires more constant love, something he cannot provide with his new obligations at work, and thus the Lovers represents her. The outcome is ruin, the Tower, because his inability to provide adequate affection for her in his meager time will drive her away. In this interpretation, we can see not only that the man's own life influenced the reading, but also the multiple meanings of each symbol. As such, these motifs offer many different interpretations in even a single reading, all of which will lead us questioning in a new direction, a Socratic exercise of the imagination in a manner which the mind alone would not arrive at so easily. By drawing another set of cards, the man would be offered another plethora of potential actions and interpretations of his situation.
   The nature of the body of symbols in a divination reading is thus that it allows for many interpretations of a situation. Ignoring that cards have multiple meanings, and supposing that each only has one meaning for any given situation, the Tarot alone, given a typical three-card reading, would provide 78x77x76, or 456,456, different readings. Given that a Tarot reading can consistent of any number of cards, however, and further that each card can represent an infinitely different number of aspects of an infinite number of situations for an infinite number of unique minds, and furthermore that each card possesses not only a single meaning, we can see that the number of potential interpretations it can provide is far superior in both rapidity and scope than the simple employment of the imagination alone.

III: On the Nature of the Tool of Divination

   What is it that a calculator does that a human cannot? Nothing, really. Humans can learn to use their minds to do any math that a calculator can be programmed to do. After all, humans must program calculators to function, and thus must know the functions they perform well enough to write a body of encoded rules by which the calculator can reliably come to the same conclusions as a human. What the calculator is unique in is its readily available rapidity in calculation. The calculator is an outsourcing of the human capacity for mathematical logic with the benefit that it is far faster than most of us in solving the issues we take minutes to perform. While some people can do math at the same or better speeds than a calculator, such people are rare, and we do not all have these people available to us to ask about math at any given point that a tip must be calculated.
   The Tarot, and all divination forms, have an analogous functionality: to outsource the human ability to imagine. Surely there are people who could arrive at all 456,456 situations the single-meaning, three-card divination could in better time than it would take the average person to form all of these Tarot combinations, but we are typically not these gifted individuals. It would take most of us perhaps years to tease through all the potentials the Tarot might inform us of in a few days for a given situation, and we do not all have years to contemplate the immediate situations of our lives. Again like the calculator, the special purpose of divination is the rapidity through which it operates. I can glean ten interpretations of any situation from Tarot in twenty minutes, none of which naturally occurred to me before this act, and thus I can better inform the mind of where my Will can travel than I could otherwise.
   Divination is an act which informs the mind through symbolic exchange as opposed to fleshed-out rationales based on exalted axioms, much in the manner that everyday life can call to us with special significance that lies no where in the external nature of what is witnessed. Divination serves to expedite the process of inspiration in the same manner that a calculator can perform the processes of mathematical operations at a greater speed than most of us can. As such, even the secularist should hold divination as a tool which is useful for situations calling for inspiration above logic or mathematics.

September 21, 2019, 04:30:12 am
Re: A Secular Primer on Occult Divination (or, Why Divination Isn't Bullshit) I find it pertinent to point out for any readers that the line "since as we know as secularists, Tarot is not magic" is tongue-in-cheek and simply intended to align with the tone of the writing.
September 21, 2019, 04:34:06 am
Re: A Secular Primer on Occult Divination (or, Why Divination Isn't Bullshit) @Liu the difference in how we pay attention to results given by divination versus our own minds is also something which I will try to cover in the final version of this paper. Also, you are correct that this is not a typical journal, I just stuck it here since the board structure changed significantly from the last time I was active here and it seemed like the only applicable board.
September 21, 2019, 05:24:08 pm