Part III: The Law of Thelema

I find it so amusing that Crowley, the greatest sociopath who ever walked the earth, continually writes of Law as though it were something sacred. That word gets misused all the time. For example, how often have you read of Newton's Law of Cooling or Kepler's Three Laws of Planetary Motion or the Law of Sines in trigonometry? Actually, none of these are laws in the usual sense of the word, but rather theorems--the inevitable drawing of a necessary conclusion from a consistent set of axioms. Given how rich the English language is, I find it entirely surprising there isn't a more appropriate word to employ in these cases. I mean, check out all the synonyms for the word "law"; none of them fills the bill. Let's make this more concrete. Here's a blank word, followed by its definition:
(-----), n., the incontrovertible conclusion of a logically sound argument based upon a consistent set of premises generally held to be true by all formalists in good standing at their lodge.
Now what word would you propose for the blank?

My point is, a law is part and parcel of consensus, a product of Society. Newton needed no approval of others to arrive at his result and know it was true.

Similarly, θέλημα is not so much a law, as a path. It is not for everyone (more on that in another entry when I get to the text itself--"The Law is for all" does not mean that everyone must partake of it, but only that it's available for those who find a life of television, consumerism and wheels spinning in the mud repugnant.)

In short, The Book of the Law offers an alternative to doing nothing of consequence your whole fucking life.

Call it a law if you wish, but I see it more as a gift.

But on to Crowley's introduction. He opens by quoting several important passages from the text,
Do what that wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Love is the law, love under will.
There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.
Bearing in mind what was just said about that poorly hewn word "law," another source of confusion is the word "will." I wrote in θέλημα that the word in this context is entirely active, not passive. It has nothing to do with the verb "want." In many ways, "fiat" is closer, coming from the Latin, meaning "let it be done." But what would you expect? Our word, "will" derives from the Anglo-Saxon tongue, a heritage not exactly well remembered for initiation and enlightenment.

Anyway, all three of these extracts from the Book are full of meaning for those who pause to look. It's funny how they pop up in the context of orgasm, too.

Crowley goes on to explain things a bit,
This means that each of us stars is to move on our true orbit, as marked out by the nature of our position, the law of our growth, the impulse of our past experiences.
There's that word "star" again. We really are stars, you know, every man and every woman. Some are always looking for an asterism to join; not me.

All events are equally lawful--and every one necessary, in the long run--for all of us, in theory; but in practice, only one act is lawful for each one of us at any given moment.
And here we get dangerously close to the stupid proselytizing of modern religions which has ruined lives for the past couple millennia. It would be nice if everyone followed θέλημα and sought their true wills, untrammeled by Society. I have no way of proving it, but really do believe that the orbits referred to in the above passage would coexist quite nicely and collisions be far fewer from what has previously obtained. But I sure as hell am not going to cram my belief down someone else's throat. I'll just keep plugging along in my allotted time, moving forward, waving at all others with a cheery smile, ignoring the rabble trying their best to crisscross and disrupt everyone else's orbit with a worn-out belief based upon "what would the neighbors think?". How 'bout if I plagiarize a well-known definition and apply it to a different word:
Religion: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Note to anyone thinking of starting a new faith: have you ever heard of examining prior art, as they call it in the U. S. Patent Office? 

But back to the Introduction.
Each action or motion is an act of love, the uniting with one or another part of "Nuit"; each such act must be 'under will,' chosen so as to fulfil and not to thwart the true nature of the being concerned.
Now how's that for a commingling of the esthetic with the eminently practical (which is why I've always found θέλημα so satisfying)? I really do see each event of my life as an act of love, the wingéd globe finding its natural resting spot within the heart of Nuit. It's a beautiful allusion, and as G. H. Hardy said about mathematics, "Beauty is the first test..." Same thing here. Every religion I've seen to date is ugly as sin, a most fitting comparison.

Crowley concludes this section with his usual piece of advertising. No, the technical methods are well within reach of anyone who is capable of rational thought and believes in the scientific method. Moreover, no personal instruction is required. Again, what he claims is completely contrary to the formalist nature of the Book proper. Somehow I expect the guy to pop up in his next incarnation running the ring-toss scam at the July carnival in the Madison East parking lot.

Goddamn it, I wish he wouldn't do that! As much as I love sociopaths, we're each in this mess on our own. Let the words speak for themselves.

Next installment: Part IV--The New Aeon

No comments:

Post a Comment