Me again. Tonight my literary wanderings took me to Voltaire, a writer I really should have  mentioned earlier as providing Crowley with several key ideas. In particular:
"L'homme est libre au moment qu'il veut l'être."
If your French is confined to what goes on under the blankets (don't feel bad: when I was 17, I thought Lingua Franca was something from the Kama Sutra, responsible for giving me a lisp--that was a hell of a summer date on Lake Tetonka) here's a reasonable translation:
"Man is free at the instant he wants to be."
Which is just another way of saying: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.

Anyway, everyone is pretty cognizant of how Crowley lifted ideas from Rabelais. And I've mentioned periodically how I unconsciously stumbled upon the De Sade influence very early on. Now we see Voltaire peeping 'round the curtain.

Damn! You'll forgive a brief digression, but something just occurred to me. When I was still in high school, I laid my hands on the Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana and couldn't set it down. Those were heady days, don't you know--so much to learn in a wide, wide world. I hadn't thought about that book until just now, but one thing in it has always stayed with me:
The following kinds of men are not fit to be resorted to by courtesans:

One who is consumptive; one who is sickly; one whose mouth contains worms; one whose breath smells like human excrement; one whose wife is dear to him; one who speaks harshly; one who is always suspicious; one who is avaricious; one who is pitiless; one who is a thief; one who is self-conceited; one who has a liking for sorcery; one who does not care for respect or disrespect; one who can be gained over even by his enemies by means of money; and lastly, one who is extremely bashful.
Seems like pretty fair advice. I trust none of these calumnies can be laid at my door, except possibly not caring for respect or disrespect. We can pass over the self-conceit and a liking for sorcery, I warrant. In any case, at least there's always plenty of Listerine in the lavatory, so I should be free of the most egregious fault of all.

But somehow we got sidetracked into India within this reverie, while I intended to play up the French underpinnings of the the Book of Law.  My knowledge of French literature is essentially nil unfortunately (however, I definitely...ahem...twitched when reading Zola's Thérèse Raquin), but I've got this secret hunch that quite a bit of the Book derived from prior writers of that country. Wouldn't this make a perfect Ph. D. dissertation? P. E. I. Bonewitz notwithstanding, I doubt any college would go for it. Maybe labeling the field "Hermetic Studies" would make it more palatable to modern academia which rejects the Seven Liberal Arts part and parcel. You take my drift.

Lest you think I'm unfair to old Aleister (and I really am glad he came along when he did and that he altered my path in so many ways), let me hasten to mention something which continually blows my mind: Shakespeare never invented a plot, but always drew upon well-established scenarii. And yet whose language do we remember? In much the same way, the Great Beast really did have a way with words when he put his mind to it, creating many memorable phrases, while the French antecedents are long forgotten.

Next installment: Restricted to One Syllable

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