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AC's 'Duty'

To: alt.magick,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.thelema,alt.occult,talk.religion.misc
From: (nigris (333))
Subject: AC's 'Duty' (LONG Critique/Rvw)
Date: 9 Nov 1998 13:34:00 -0600

apologies for any duplication

49980302 aa2 Hail Satan!

following on a conversation between Paul Hume and I....
# [from ]

see the whole document if you want more context.
#                                  Duty
#                           by Aleister Crowley
#                  Copyright (c) Ordo Templi Orientis 1994
#      A note on the chief rules of practical conduct to be observed
#                by those who accept the Law of Thelema.

no ifs ands or buts here, comparable to the Rules of the Earth,
offered by LaVey I suppose.

[religious quotations from the Evul Book omitted throughout; 
 if you think that they are meaningful or have bearing on the 
 nature of what the other words of this essay say, then quote

 them in explanation or elaboration of the unique text here]
#                        A. YOUR DUTY TO YOURSELF
#       [A] 1. Find yourself to be the centre of your own Universe.
such a recommendation could come from any individualist.
#       [A] 2. Explore the Nature and Powers of your own Being.

[omitting some which does not specify behaviors or explain the
#      ...accept everything exactly as it is in itself, as one of
#      the factors which go to make up your True Self.... understood 
#      not as static, but as dynamic, not as a Noun but as a Verb.

again, rational recommendation from anyone concerning becoming
acquainted with reality, and could come from any individualist.

#       [A] 3. Develop in due harmony and proportion every faculty 
#              which you possess.

the 'due' here ameliorates what may have become a restriction.
#       [A] 4. Contemplate your own Nature.

an elaboration on 2. above, again not different from the precursors.
#       [A] 5. Find the formula of this purpose, or "True Will", 
#              in an expression as simple as possible.
#      Learn to understand clearly how best to manipulate the
#      energies which you control to obtain the results most
#      favourable to it from its relations with the part of the
#      Universe which you do not yet control.

an individualist credo.  so far we hear absolutely nothing which
pertains to our duty to other beings, nor should we given the
section heading.

#        [A] 6. Extend the dominion of your consciousness, and its 
#               control of all forces alien to it, to the utmost.

important both to the totalitarian dictator and thaumaturge alike.
#        [A] 7. Never permit the thought or will of any other Being 
#               to interfere with your own.

this does not appear to allow any room for 'chivalry' in any sense.

#         [A] 8. Do not repress or restrict any true instinct of 
#                your Nature; but devote all in perfection to the 
#                sole service of your one True Will.

most of the above would all appear to depend on what one discerns 
as one's 'Nature' and 'True Will'.

#   [B] 1. Unite yourself passionately with every other form of 
#          consciousness, [more or a typo?]
#      Thus destroying the sense of separateness from the Whole, and
#      creating a new baseline in the Universe from which to measure
#      it.

this would appear to be at odds with A7 above:

$     [A] 7. Never permit the thought or will of any other Being 
$	   to interfere with your own.

if it is merely the 'sense of separateness from the Whole' which
is destroyed, then the interference need not arise, of course.

#    [B] 2. "As brothers fight ye!" AL III:59
#      To bring out saliently the differences between two
#      points-of-view is useful to both in measuring the position of
#      each in the whole. Combat stimulates the virile or creative
#      energy; and, like love, of which it is one form, excites the
#      mind to an orgasm which enables it to transcend its rational
#      dullness.

this merely comments upon the value of combat.

#     [B] 3. Abstain from all interferences with other wills.

this would appear to be at odds with A6:

$     [A] 6. Extend the dominion of your consciousness, and its 
$	   control of all forces alien to it, to the utmost.

in that dominion would seem to involve interference.  of course
the metaphysics of 'will' can be used to explain that 'to the
utmost' includes in its definition a lack of interference, but
this is not at all clear.

#      The love and war in the previous injunctions are of the nature
#      of sport, where one respects, and learns from the opponent,
#      but never interferes with him, outside the actual game. To
#      seek to dominate or influence another is to seek to deform or
#      destroy him; and he is a necessary part of one's own Universe,
#      that is, of one's self.

again, this appears directly at odds with A6 above.  I'd love to 
hear an explanation of how it is not.  perhaps 'dominion' and
'domination' will be differentiated by the crafty.

#    [B] 4. Seek, if you so will, to enlighten another when need arises.

this does not describe any sort of restriction, just a suggestion
to 'enlighten' another (presumably to communicate an awareness of
the other's myopia for the benefit of either or both).

#      ...It is also lawful
#      when his ignorance has lead him to interfere with one's will.
#      All interference is in any case dangerous, and demands the
#      exercise of extreme skill and good judgement, fortified by
#      experience. To influence another is to leave one's citadel
#      unguarded; and the attempt commonly ends in losing one's own
#      self-supremacy.

it is interesting to read 'unlawful'.  we may presume that Crowley
must be speaking of the Law of Thelema, though he has not clearly
except in instances such as these, described the limitations (or
sins) of interaction beyond 'interference with another will'.

fine, then how can we tell when this interference is taking place?
would not the subjective evaluation of such an interference make
all behaviors potentially within the limitiations of one's 'True 
Will', therefore justifying all manner of action?  is this not
the very thing argued by Crowley in regards Napolean in MiTaP?
#     [B] 5. Worship all!
#      Each being is, exactly as you are, the sole centre of a
#      Universe in no wise identical with, or even assimilable to,
#      your own. 

I begin to wonder if there is not a correlation betwixt numbers
of these first two sets of injunctions and suggestions, since
A5 also speaks of 'Universe' ('the' rather than 'a'):

$  [A] 5. Find the formula of this purpose, or "True Will", in an 
$         expression as simple as possible.
$      Learn to understand clearly how best to manipulate the
$      energies which you control to obtain the results most
$      favourable to it from its relations with the part of the
$      Universe which you do not yet control.

thus it appears Crowley's usage of the term 'Universe' (why
he capitalized it in either case escapes my logic) includes 
at least two different forms: 

	1) personal sphere of consciousness
	2) the known phenomenal cosmos which includes 1) above

is his comment about the "sole centre" a throwback to Old Aeon
solar-centric cosmological models?  

his mention that the other personal "Universes" are "in no wise 
identical with, or even assimilable to, your own" flies in the
face of the injunction A3:
$ [A] 1. Unite yourself passionately with every other form of 
$    consciousness, [more?]

if we were to follow A3 out, then we would be destroying the
very cosmology he lays out here.

#      The impersonal Universe of "Nature" is only an
#      abstraction, approximately true, of the factors which it is
#      convenient to regard as common to all. 

here Crowley defines what "the Universe" means to him, a fairly
Buddhist or Vedantic perspective perhaps.

# 	The Universe of another is therefore necessarily unknown to, 
#	and unknowable by, you; but it induces currents of energy in 
#	yours by determining in part your reactions. Use men and 
#	women, therefore, with the absolute respect due to 
#	inviolable standards of measurement; verify your own 
#	observations by comparison with similar judgements made 
#	by them; and, studying the methods which determine their 
#	failure or success, acquire for yourself the wit and skill 
#	required to cope with your own problems.

here Crowley would seem to want us to "use" people as gauges in
the discernment of reality (through consensus).  as objects,
people become 'inviolable standards of measurement', not any
kind of absolute beings worthy of care (ahimsa) or obstacles
or assistants toward our own purposes (utilitarianism).  this
is apparently ONLY a statement about how to treat others (as
objects -- of 'worship'?  we are not informed what this is
aside from reference markers).

#      Pity, sympathy and like emotions are fundamentally insults to
#      the Godhead of the person exciting them, and therefore also to
#      your own. The distress of another may be relieved; but always
#      with the positive and noble idea of making manifest the
#      perfection of the Universe. Pity is the source of every mean,
#      ignoble, cowardly vice; and the essential blasphemy against
#      Truth.

if anything this is a statement AGAINST our 'duty' to others in
the way it is traditionally meant, since we are usually counselled
to pity the weak, the aged, the hungry, the sick, etc., or even to
exalt them (as in classical Christianity re the meek, children, etc.).

#                         C. YOUR DUTY TO MANKIND
#    [C] 1. Establish the Law of Thelema as the sole basis of conduct.

great, if he explains of what this 'Law' consists and how it could
not be 'established' already.  perhaps he is talking about lifting
the restrictions upon human beings so that we have only the Law to
guide and guard us.

#      The general welfare of the race being necessary in many
#      respects to your own, that well-being, like your own,
#      principally a function of the intelligent and wise observance
#      of the Law of Thelema, it is of the very first importance to
#      you that every individual should accept frankly that Law, and
#      strictly govern himself in full accordance therewith.

this is merely a restatement of and justification for C1.
#      You may regard the establishment of the Law of Thelema as an
#      essential element of your True Will, since, whatever the
#      ultimate nature of that Will, the evident condition of putting
#      it into execution is freedom from external interference.

here he comes a bit closer to saying something of value.  it seems
to me he is merely justifying everyone taking up the Banner of
Liberation on account that it will allow us to do what he has
commanded or suggested above (the 'True Will').

#      ...incumbent on every man and woman to take the proper
#      steps to cause the revisions of all existing statutes on the
#      basis of the Law of Thelema. ...  the aim of the legislature 
#      must be to secure the amplest freedom for each individual in 
#      the state, eschewing the presumptuous assumption that any 
#      given positive ideal is worthy to be obtained.

other than extending the degree of freedom, of course.  so here is
the first major injunction: 

		a) change the laws to maximize freedom

who could disagree with that?  and yet I suppose few have taken
it upon themselves to actively attempt to achieve it.

[crime defined as restriction of the due rights of another] 
#      ...the common duty to prevent crime by segregating the 
#      criminal, and by the threat of reprisals; 

here we have the first major social injunction: 

		A) define rights which may be infringed (per
		   Crowley as many as possible for each
		   individual so as to maximize liberty)

		B) prohibit infringement through both restricting
		   the criminal and threats of repercussion

this being the "common duty" we are apparently to become
aware of all the rights of others, to know when another's
'True Will' is being infringed upon, and then encouraged
to act to prevent such infringement, whether through a
police force or not we are not informed.

#      also, to teach the criminal that his acts, being
#      analyzed, are contrary to his own True Will. (This may often
#      be accomplished by taking from him the right which he has
#      denied to others; as by outlawing the thief, so that he feels
#      constant anxiety for the safety of his own possessions,
#      removed from the ward of the State.) The rule is quite simple.
#      He who violated any right declares magically that it does not
#      exist; therefore it no longer does so, for him.

here we are simultaneously told that the criminal knows not his
True Will and that we may instruct him that this is the case.
perhaps by the very fact that the repercussions of his acts are
not leading to something he likes?  after all, what if it is
the 'True Will' of a person to steal, to rape and pillage?  are
there some sort of universal laws of civility Crowley presumes?

#      Crime being a direct spiritual violation of the Law of
#      Thelema, it should not be tolerated in the community. 

very nice, except that of what "crime" consists is not at all
explained herein, and many different cultures describe a variety
of differing measures of behavior.  is society to be the arbiter
of the Law of Thelema?  if not, then, according to Crowley, who
is going to legislate this 'intolerance', including how and
against whom it is to be carried out?

what prevents me from claiming "he broke the Law of Thelema, 
infringing upon my sovereign True Will" and having someone 
I dislike blackballed?

#      Those who possess the instinct should be segregated in a 
#      settlement to build up a state of their own....

roughly the manner by which the British populated Australia.
hardly practicable in an overpopulated world.  also see the
film 'Escape from New York'.  the idea is popular.

#      All artificial crimes should be abolished. When fantastic
#      restrictions disappear, the greater freedom of the individual
#      will itself teach him to avoid acts which really restrict
#      natural rights. Thus real crime will diminish automatically.

here is the crucial distinction in the issue of 'crime'.  Crowley
divides up crime into two fairly unclear categories:

	1) "artificial" crimes (which should be abolished)
	2) "real" crimes (which will be handled through the
	   measures he has outlined)

and how are we to distinguish between these two?  he doesn't
really say.  perhaps this is the (now) relatively common idea
of 'victimless' vs. 'victim' crimes.  I have never found even
this more rational distinction easy to understand.  if anyone
can explain either of these I'd appreciate it.

#      The administration of the Law should be simplified by training
#      men of uprightness and discretion whose will is to fulfill
#      this function in the community to decide all complaints 

police, judge and jury?  who gets to wear THIS uniform?

#      by the abstract principle of the Law of Thelema, 

of which we are told fairly little, so if we who are reading
this document can't figure it out, how are those who are to
carry out the particulars of this document going to decide?

#      and to award judgement on the basis of the actual 
#      restriction caused by the offense.

all very internally-consistent language, but when two claim an
offense or it is unclear who offended who, then how is the
'restriction' to be determined and compensated?  Crowley does
not say.
#      The ultimate aim is thus to reintegrate Conscience, on true
#      scientific principles, as the warden of conduct, the monitor
#      of the people, and the guarantee of their governors.

all very lovely language, but does it really have meaning?  I don't
think it does.  it appears Crowley wants what he has described
above to be used as a means of social reconciliation, and yet he
doesn't tell us how this system of Monitors won't become a new
mafioso, what to do if "men of uprightness and discretion" can't
be found or won't do the job the way he describes.
#  [D] 1. Apply the Law of Thelema to all problems of fitness, use, and
#                              development.
#      It is a violation of the Law of Thelema to abuse the natural
#      qualities of any animal or object by diverting it from its
#      proper function, as determined by consideration of its history
#      and structure.... 

with this type of language one can justify ANYTHING, since perspectives
on history and structure vary tremendously.  one fellow says it was
created yesterday for his entertainment or for the entertainment of
his omnipotent god.  another says that its identity or structure
cannot be precisely determined due to the continually shifting nature
of the omniverse.  the 'proper function' of the universe is to serve
me and my family.  

isn't this kind of rhetoric as ambiguous and useless on a social
level as 'an it harm none, do what ye will'?  
#      Thus, to train children to perform mental oerations, 
#      or to practice tasks, for which they are unfitted,
#      is a crime against nature. 

how do we determine to what a child is "fitted"?  is this more of
the ambiguous and hopelessly futile "find out what the child's
True Will is" kind of hodgepodge?  

#      Similarly, to build houses of rotten material, to 
#      adulterate food, to destroy forests, etc., etc., is 
#      to offend.

except that to house the growing population this necessitates the
usage of resources (e.g. 'lumber').  when the competing interests
of the natural world are compared with that of the human, then
the human should take precedence, no?  isn't it the 'True Will'
of the forests to be destroyed?

the problem here is that "application" of the Law of Thelema is
so damn ambiguous that it cannot be agreed upon to implement.
if any disagree, explain to me how it would be applied in some
example cases.

#      The Law of Thelema is to be applied unflinchingly to decide
#      every question of conduct. The inherent fitness of any thing
#      for any proposed use should be the sole criterion.

utilitarianism?  so behind all his showy words and esoteric mumbo
jumbo is a biggotted utilitarianism, more Anglo-exploitation? 
and you think this, without pity, is valuable?  why?

#      Apparent, and sometimes even real, conflict between interests
#      will frequently arise. Such cases are to be decided by the
#      general value of the contending parties in the scale of
#      Nature. Thus, a tree has a right to its life; but a man being
#      more than a tree, he may cut it down for fuel or shelter when
#      need arises. 

see?  even Crowley agrees that trees are 'less than humans'.  what
pompous anthropocentrism.  now how will he justify any kind of
'limitation' on the 'use of resources'?

#      ...the Law never fails to avenge infraction: as when wanton 
#      deforestation has ruined a climate or a soil, or as when the 
#      importation of rabbits for a cheap supply of food has 
#      created a plague.

note that now the Law is a NATURAL law, with repercussions for
'infraction'.  did he just not get that the 'law' of the courts
is not the same thing as the 'law' of natural principles?  I
doubt this, and yet what could it mean to 'apply' a natural law?
is this the origin of the Three-fold Law of Return?  more karmic
krap to keep kookoos from getting out of hand (deception)?

#      Observe that the violation of the Law of Thelema produces
#      cumulative ills. The drain of the agricultural population to
#      big cities, due chiefly to persuading them to abandon their
#      natural ideals, has not only made the country less tolerable
#      to the peasant, but debauched the town. And the error tends to
#      increase in geometrical progression, until a remedy has become
#      almost inconceivable and the whole structure of society is
#      threatened with ruin.

is this persuasive to anyone?  where do "natural ideals" end and
"unnatural, persuaded ideals" begin?  isn't there some real
benefit and attraction to large cities beyond 'the loss of ideals'
which persuades people to them?  and what of the role of
TECHNOLOGY?  he doesn't even address this, or commercialism.
#      The wise application based on observation and experience of
#      the Law of Thelema is to work in conscious harmony with
#      Evolution. Experiments in creation, involving variation from
#      existing types, are lawful and necessary. Their value is to be
#      judged by their fertility as bearing witness to their harmony
#      with the course of nature towards perfection.

THIS ties it all up?  what a load of CRAP!  what does 'work in
conscious harmony with Evolution' include?  did he have some sort
of anthropomorphic idea of "Evolution" that it be 'worked with'?

and what is this 'creation/types'?  eugenics?  isn't he describing
the kind of birthing species-determination described by utopians
and monsters from many times past?  radicals like Hitler and LaVey
have described the benefits of eugenics, has this all come from an
individualist and relatively dispassionate (pitiless) tradition of

so the X-men are going to save the planet?  whoo-whee, and this
document is supposed to be central to Thelema?  I found more value
in many of the texts of Elron Hubbard! ;>

#           All material copyright 1996 by Ordo Templi Orientis
#      ____________________________________________________________

so Paul, how does ANY of this relate to Bushido or Chivalry?
blessed beast!

nigris (333) 
-- (emailed replies may be posted); cc me replies;;

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