Saturday, March 29, 2008

Where can Thelema spread?

Thelema is taken up mostly by middle-class, well-educated caucasians. 

There are large amounts of the population that may benefit from the Law of Thelema (for "the Law is for all"), including:
  • Asians
  • Hispanics
  • African-americans
Seeing as how a large majority of those adhering to Thelema were formerly Catholic or Protestant, and knowing the large amount of the above-listed categories are also mostly Catholic or Protestant... it seems feasible that Thelema could just as easily spread to these people. The middle-class, well-educated slice of the demographic would be the most efficient for targeting.

* * * * *

...But the middle-class is a small slice of the entire demographic of humanity. 

What does Thelema have to offer the poor?
  • philosophy of self-importance
  • philosophy of affirmation & persistence in the face of conflict & obstacles

What does Thelema have to offer the rich?
  • philosophy that accepts materiality - gold, jewels, clothing, drugs, etc. - if done in the proper attitude
  • philosophy that affirms & exalts the strong - in this case, the financially/economically strong, the few (aristocrats) against the many (democrats)
  • philosophy of non-attachment which is necessary in proportion to the amount of 'possesions' one maintains
It has the Way of Attainment to offer to all.

* * * * *

Further, Thelema's adherence is concentrated in the 20-40 year age group. Thelema is especially applicable to the young who are naturally full of force, fire, strength, beauty, joy, and laughter. Thelema is also applicable to the old, for it brings a view of death as fulfillment & ecstasy instead of an idea riddled with fear, punishment, uncertainties about 'heavens' and 'hells,' etc.

The young may take Thelema for its
  • justification of their natural tendency toward growth, strength, danger, power, etc.
  • symbolism for the unconscious to work with (stars, night sky, Nuit, Hadit, Horus, etc.)
  • inherent individualism
  • justification of all forms of sex & drug use if in accordance with Will
  • lessons on reason (as minister, not king) and purpose (a useful limit which must always be uprooted for it is ultimately a contrivance)

The old may take Thelema for its
  • promise of peace & ecstasy in death (I give unimaginable joys on earth... upon death; peace unutterable, rest, ecstasy)
  • practical outlook on ordering values & morality (There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt)
  • practical outlook on ordering one's life (Thou hast no right but to do thy will; All must be done well and with business way)
  • destruction of the repressions of sex morality
* * * * *

Further, Thelema is overwhelmingly characterized by well-educated adherents, i.e. a college degree of some sort. Yet Thelema is for all, even as Magick is for all, and so the exoteric and pragmatic aspects must be rooted out, understood, and employed for those who have neither the wits nor the time to understand more subtle mysteries. But also these are saved from slippery slopes of sophistry.

The O.T.O. fulfills this role nicely with a version of the Catholic mass, the Gnostic mass. This form of public gathering for a public ritual with public communion is a familiar form to most people and therefore useful... but the Gnostic Mass is riddled with absurdities, the foremost in my mind being the Creed of the Mass... as if "belief" was necessary for anything, let alone these absurd constructs of images & symbols... Chaos, Babalon, etc. Belief is not necessary; feeling and becoming the energy which underlies these arbitrary forms is what is needed to become 'religious.' The form is excessively Qabalistic in my mind, to the point of destroying naturalness at the desire for having aesthetically pleasing 4-fold, 8-fold, 11-fold, etc. schemes.

On the other hand, a degree of irrationality or suprarationality must be maintained (and is inherently so by the employment of symbols). A ritual must be practically/pragmatically effective in instilling a certain praxis to the individual, but it must also convey a sense of (a) power and (b) mystery (which are inherently two sides of the same coin). There must also be room for movement, i.e. room for individual interpretation & integration of the lessons & symbols of the ritual. 

The Gnostic Mass holds weight in another sense because it is a centralized ritual that many people of diverse locations share... all Catholics share the mass, and all OTO members share the Gnostic Mass (and initiations). They have shared ordeals and can sympathize with similar forms of worship. And this is what is necessary to for any kind of exoteric Thelema to take hold, for the exoteric want security & comfort, i.e. a ritual that is founded in many years of practice... they do not want the terrible responsibility of creating forms for themselves. Yet this itself is implicit in the philosophy of Thelema - perhaps the seed of dissension should be placed in the exoteric, more static forms... ready to blossom if it touches the right nourishment.

This leads to the question: is a sort of common-place, exoteric form of Thelema possible if individualism is inherent in Thelema? The OTO represents the most concentrating group of self-proclaimed Thelemites and has a central ritual to bind them together... but by their fruits ye shall know them, and the fruits of the OTO have been inordinately sparse. 

In the end it seems antithetical to set up any centralized organization, let alone a centralized ritual, to delineate what Thelema is... These may arise naturally, and success will be their proof. Stars of great mass (great potency & energy) tend to attract other stars so clusters of stars - galaxies - may arise... But diversity & variety is the key to strength & growth. The setting up of exoteric forms will destroy the individualist, dynamic current that underlies the philosophy of Thelema.

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