God and the Marital Arts

Allow me to pause this narrative of high school life for a moment and reflect on what I was thinking in 1969 or so.

As a kid, I was forced to attend Sunday school and church regularly, a sanctioned form of child abuse in those days. Because of this, I developed a loathing of religion in all its aspects very early on, knowing that once I achieved my majority, I would jettison the whole slimy mess from my consciousness and think original thoughts for a change. Though he was writing of industrial capitalism, a line from Allen Ginsberg's
Howl seems equally applicable. Just replace cement and aluminum with dog collars and wafers:
What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?
The main goal became trying not to succumb to this Chinese water torture in the meanwhile. I survived, but it was a real battle of wits. Only computers should be programmed, not kids.

So, picture if you will, a fifteen year old punk watching the world, trying to work from first principles to arrive at a consistent and complete axiomatic system, free of prejudice, based upon love and fulfilling one's true potential, and at the minimum, at least doing no harm (apart from high school vice-principals and a few lavatories here and there, of course, but that goes without saying). Even though it was foreign to me at the time, that sounds strikingly like Aleister Crowley's
θέλημα, doesn't it?

I suppose it's only natural for a kid to pick up ideas from rock and roll. Indeed, any song which doesn't promote rebellion (
Snoopy and the Red Baron, anyone?) isn't real rock and roll. My particular poison was the band Steppenwolf. Most listeners are aware that the group had all manner of songs on war and peace, narcotics, environmentalism, etc. But very few remember that they also put out a barnburner of a tune concerned with sex and religion.

That song was: From Here to There Eventually.

I remarked it at once when first released in 1969. (Curious how that year has always popped up in my life). And it indeed had a powerful impact on me as I started to sketch out my own plan of attack. I just
knew that love was nobody's business but the parties involved, and further, that the opinions of society and government should have no bearing on how to love, when to love or whom to love. This is a lesson some states are still notoriously learning the hard way, and I'm speaking of way more than homosexual marriage.

It staggers me to think that jurisprudence would ever concern itself with licking.

Though meeting θέλημα was to be a number of years down the road, and though a mere high school kid, I was clearly detecting some of its themes, incorporating them into my own philosophy. Trying to state this as delicately as possible, my very first experience of physical love at age sixteen was clearly untrammeled and very different from what my friends were experiencing. Procreation was not a concern, if you take my drift. The word libertine entered my vocabulary then. Still can't get the plain brown wrapper off? Then see On Patience.

So, what's in the song that planted the seed? Mainly, this passage:

While others die up against the wall
You take the time to tell us all
'Bout how we're not supposed to ball
You really are a riot
It's got nothin' to do with Heaven or Hell
What I do in bed, I'm not gonna tell
What I'm talking about, you know damn well
You really ought to try it
For the sake of bibliographic completeness, the tune was composed by John Kay, Jerry Edmonton and Goldie McJohn. It first appeared on Steppenwolf's Monster album, and then again on Steppenwolf Live. Would you like to hear it? 

It's a marvelous rendering of some deep ideas, enwrapped in pure rock, wouldn't you agree?

A couple years later, I would discover Crowley's The Book of the Law, and it all made perfect sense, the basics having been integrated early on:
Also, take your fill and will of love as ye will, when, where and with whom ye will!
The trouble most people have with this passage, or even the entire book, is they fail to notice that the word "will" has two meanings, one active and one passive, one creative and one destructive, one positive and one negative. Refer to the installment θέλημα for details. The key point is that unconsciously the connection between love and will was gradually unfolding in me, thanks to a chance encounter with a song.

Perhaps I ended up in mathematics because I don't like rules handed down from on high. No clay tablets for me, thank-you; I'll prove my own theorems, if you please.

All that mattered (and still matters) is whether the logical underpinnings are consistent and complete--hinting at Kurt Gödel even then. Or more simply if you care not for allusions, somehow we ended up with brains quite by chance, so why not use them to think original thoughts?

Let me commend the complete lyrics of From Here to There Eventually to you. It really is a finely crafted piece and has a few other things to say on religion that profoundly affected me. You'll find them here:

Isn't it strange how religion and someone else's sex life ever got mixed up in the first place?

Next vignette: Yankee Doodle Boy

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