20 maj 2010

What is the "Truth"?

I have been thinking lately on the nature of "Truth" in relation to discussions about paradigms or worldviews. I am not a massive fan of "uncle Al", though he did have some excellent points that he, occasionally, actually managed to convey.

In Liber O vel Manus Saggitae, he writes :

"In this book it is spoken of the Sephiroth and the Paths; of Spirits and Conjurations; of Gods, Spheres, Planes, and many other things which may or may not exist.

It is immaterial whether these exist or not. By doing certain things certain results will follow; students are most earnestly warned against attributing objective reality or philosophic validity to any of them."(bold added by me)

How concise. How well said. If you drop an apple, it will fall. You can exlain that by using quantum mechanics, gravity or by invisible devils putting the apple on the ground, fast. The philosophic validity is meaningless, inconsequential really.

Relativists, especially postmodern relativists claim that, in the end nothing matters because, well, surprise, all is relative.

So, is everything in our heads? Could we place orisha in the LBRP circumference and then ask the blessing of the CareBears(tm) for our rites? Of course not. What you do in a system needs to be internally coherent.

But, you say, but how can people get results, from Enochian which may or may not be a Hoax? How can people get results from Alpha Omega style pyramid enochian magick, or the Simon Necronomicon?!

How come the Chaosmagickians can get results? Shouldn't their system be bullshit, if everything is not in our heads?

My answer to that is, it depends.

You see, as people before me have pointed out, if you do certain things certain things will happen. The problem with pure chaosmagick, not this nonsense you get nowadays but the vision that Pete shared with the rest of the original Leeds cabal, was that it threw the baby out with the bathwater. In the 80s it wasn't easy go get hold of much real esoteric info. Most orders that actually have or had any real access were still hiding under the communist regime or barely recovering from the second world war cullings. The 60s and 70s added their share of bullshit to the mix in the USA and UK. Real teachings were hard to come by. The masons were dying out, and there was no internet. Who cared if a little old russian lady happened to be a Superior Inconnu, a fully reintegrated being who sees God face to face, when she was quiet in Moscow trying not to be killed because she was a Christian? No one.

What was around was what was available in public press. Regardie's oathbreaking book. By the way, he was not present on any other initiation save his own ones so of course no-one shared anything worthwhile with him. Crowleyan stuff. Wiccan stuff. Random chrystal grasping stuff.
People had all these awesome, working models, but that magickal and spiritual technology was hidden away. We only had access to the tip of the iceberg. and that iceberg seemed like the biggest mountain.

The wiccans, thelemites, New O.T.O., random occultists all felt like the world was a big empty place and did not realise they were simply the biggest fish in a tiny-tiny pond. After all, who'd ever heard of sufism, the elu cohen, martinism, brethren of the rosy cross, surviving alpha omega temples, memphis Mizraim, mizraim memphis, memphis, mizraim, scottish rite, rectified scottish rite, Gnostic churches that weren't thelemic, santeria, brujeria, vodoun, candomble, Umbanda etc etc?


You couldn't just go to any library and presto find a thousand books or google everything. We only had what we had, and we were all influenced by this horrid abomination born in the minds of academics: "Postmodernism"

Postmodernism, though useful as a critical theory notion, messes with you because it is the essence of relativism.

Remember Wittgenstein and Russels argument? No?
Check on wikipedia..

In short, one of them states that if you have a box you cannot know, for CERTAIN that there isn't a cat in it. As there is no reality aside from what you perceive. The other one states that, yes there is.

The argument is one about Objectivity versus subjectivity.

Pure, nice old fashioned Chaosmagick states that everything is subjective due to the nature of the cosmos. Therefore, you really only need to convince yourself that something is possible and presto, you can do magick. That is actually the real implication of chaosmagick, Phil's inane humor aside and ignoring Pete's musings and ramblings on providing a scientific explanation as to how magick works.

The WHY is answered by "if you truly believe then it is so because the world YOU live in is fully Subjective."

Ever wonder why Phil is now a Tantric and most founders have gone on to bigger better things?

So, fine, they found the answer to Why magick works, using a postmodern approach. (A christian mystic would say that you can do magick because you are gods image... but hey, lets not be postmodern right now)

But, there was no meaning, no end. Why is the world like this? Well, you cannot know because its subjective. The problem with postmodernism is that it is a dead end. So what did they throw out?

They threw out every spiritual and magickal technology that was not explainable by their postmodern approach. The specific technology I am thinking of, that hurt chaosmagick the most is Language.
Not ouranic-barbaric. Language as a means of communication.

That thing which we signify by a word. If you and me don't mean the same thing, then we are screwed if we are talking about measurements, for example.

By throwing out the notion of the objective real, the possibility to mean the same thing by a signifier vanishes. Because, postmodernism will always rear its uggly head. As long as you work from the point of view that there is no objective reality, we can never agree that you and me actually mean the same thing by any word we say.
My inner academic states that of course that depends which view of things you take, but that is, again the postmodern virus kicking into high gear.

To get back on track.
We know that if you do certain things, certain results follow. We also know that "Why"
this is so can be answered in different ways, and depending on how you answer it, you will end up building a philosophical understanding around it.
What was it Crowley said again?
Oh. Yes, you were warned against attributing objective reality or philosophic validity to any of them (results or experiences)

To understand why this is so, we have to return a bit to language again and postmodernism.

This is because, There IS one truth. One, single perfect Truth. Anyone and everyone who knows this Truth agrees upon it. No matter religion, culture or time, this one single truth has remained. When this truth is what we signify by our words the other knowers of this truth understand what the signified object it. Thus are all great esoteric schools united.

However, we know Chaosmagick works, to a degree. How can we reconcile my above statement, the argument about chaosmagick and this postulated one Truth?

Simple. Postmodernism will help us. It is, all about words.

Because even IF it would be true that reality is fully subjective, it is still possible to, almost accidentally, allow two or more people to share the same subjective reality. This is known as a consensus, or consensual reality.

Put in an easy way: If you and someone else "Experience Something", the nature of that experience and how you subjectively experienced it doesn't matter as long as you can reach a consensus that at a very specific moment in the timeline something did or did not happen.

Or, bluntly: If you and I drop an apple, it will end up on the ground. In both our experiences. We can agree to call this event "the falling of the apple" and as long as we consensually agree to this, I don't care what your subjective experience is of the event, it is enough that we both agree to use the same word or sentence for it because we will signify the same thing.

Following this, academically shaky, argument, it suddenly dawns on us that we actually live in a pretty consensual reality. There is gravity, we are born live and die, if you touch a cat you feel fur.
See? When you just read "touch a cat you feel fur" you knew what I meant. Your subjective experience of what that is like is irrelevant. What I signify with soft might not be the same subjective experience for both of us, but it signifies that specific sensation (whatever that is, seeing as some people see sounds and hear colours) you get when touching a dog or cat.

The result of this is that any system, except a system that claims there can never be a system, will allow you to share a consensus reality, where you end up signifying the same signified object when you speak.

This is why a system needs to be, and usually is, internally coherent and allows people to experience the same results.

Dropping apples work the same way here as in Australia, whether you're a man woman or a tree.
Archangel Michael will have the same thing to tell me as he does to a Philosophus or a spirit conjuror or a Christian monk.

This is because the system of the Christian monk, the conjurer and the G.D. philosophus share the same consensus as to what is meant by Archangel St. Michael.

And as to the annoying question:

How come, then, some people can go years doing LBRP replacing the angels with random, possible made up deities and some people get royally f**ked because they say the name of an afro-american deity?


Maybe it is because what is actually meant by the magickal idea of "intent" can be linguistically read as "signified."

Maybe, the person who uses random names isn't actually signifying those specific deities from africa but is merely using a word some other people use to signify something else with?

Or maybe, just maybe, Postmodernism is bullcrap, and there is an objective reality, in which High Tibetan tantric buddism, chaosmagick and white male middle class western ritual magick are somehow all equally true for some strange obscure reason, without the answer being because its all in your head.

Just a thought.

6 kommentarer:

  1. Just a thought?

    Well, it's an AWESOME thought. I've read this through a couple of times.

    Also: I happen to like Pete's ramblings. :)

    Or, at least, his recent ramblings. I don't think we can hold him to task for stuff he wrote in the seventies.

  2. Thanks!
    You're my first comment btw, congrats.

    The thing with Pete is, he is a good guy but a bit.. lost. He is focusing extremely much on the how, though I doubt that he actually cares, it is, in a way, him validating the 'why'.

    However it doesn't matter because he is one of the few people I respect as an extremely competent magician. However he wants to justify how his magick works is up to him.


    My honest to goodness opinion is that people should worry less about the how and more about the why. We already know that is Does work. Any explanation to how is inconseqentual.

  3. I agree that chaos magic does kind of throw the baby out of the bathwater. What I like though in chaos magic is that it does value method over symbolism. I have had good results from workings that did not try to impose any kind of external symbolism but allowed the symbolism to be something that naturally arises during the working.

    In my opinion, it is different thing though that you just change the archangels of LBRP to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - or do you create your own banishing ritual from scratch which is more "formless" and internally self consistent.

    The truth thing is a bit tricky. Right now the base of my own practice is in a Dzogchen lineage of Vajrayana Buddhism. According to that philosophy only absolute truth there is is that there is Emptiness (the primal creative potentiality, all is one etc.) and Form (what you normally see really), and they are non-dual. Everything else is just relative and does not have value in the fundamental sense - though relative thing may matter to relative people in practical level. Then the truth can only be experienced but not intellectually understood, actually quite a lot of the practice in the tradition seem to be about learning to handle a kind of a formless nonconceptuality.

    Just to be curios, because of the language I see in the blog:

    Bor du i Sverige? Hälsningar från andra sidan av Östersjön!


    - Fractal Based Life Form

  4. @F.B.L.
    I'm uncertain if I understand your comment properly, if I do, then it seems you have missunderstood my post.

    Of course it is possible to create an internally coherent ritual using no "external", or shall we say, tradition bound symbolic system. That is why I advocate drawing a circle instead of doing a LBRP unless you specifically work within the G.D. Tradition, for example. However, the spirit of the post was regarding what Truth itself is.

    I know dzogchen cam be a useful system for arriving at the Experience of the truth, but intellectually stating it is like wishing for World Peace... Doesn't quite cut the mustard.

    Nice to see more Tantrikas. be aware however that this is primarily a western systems blog and I am allergic to trying to explain one symbolic system using a different one, as that is like learniing a language using thesaurus instead of a English to X X to English dictionary.

    Though, again, I'm not sure if I am fully with you. of course nothing matters, from a buddist perspective as it is extremely monistically linked. a strong non-dual emptiness. However, we are presently here, and here we are subject to the law of cause and effect and the consensus reality. It is not wise to misstake a teaching designed to help you grasp non-dualism with a truthism.

  5. It seem that my style of having a friendly conversation does not translate well to a blog comment. It seems that my mention of Dzogchen appeared to have I kind of know-it-all feel in it, which was unintended.

    I do not find that I can very directly, precisely comment on your view of the truth though. Without finding a common language, it would be rather useless. When it comes to spiritual matters the same word may mean different things to different people.

    I am interested in western traditions, although I do not practice them. This is not to say anything against western traditions. It is just a practical statement of how my own life has unfolded.

    - Fractal Based Life Form

  6. @F.B.L.

    I'm certain that at some point we will share a coffe-pot and find a common language. Untill then, I'll try and disentangle the synonym like tangle the western traditions have become and see if we can find tools to make people feel as comfortable stating inner fire or stone of the wise and actually knowing what they mean, instead of translating it with "kundalini" without ever having done a single kundalini raising technique, which is not uncommon-

    Looking forward to future comments :D