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Evul Book Exegesis and Source

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.magick.order,talk.religion.misc,alt.thelema,alt.occult
From: (nigris (333))
Subject: Evul Book Exegesis and Source (was exegesis...)
Date: 28 Feb 1998 19:00:52 -0800

49980101 aa2 Hail Satan!


John Everall  to Bishop:
# I did say a reasonably complete exegesis was possible....

I loved this thread (having perused the exchange between you
and Jake) and wanted to thank you for engaging the discussion
in the depth you achieved and while drawing on sources of
Western literature for comparison (Joyce, Eco, etc.).  

where 'exegesis' relates to a critical analysis with respect
to known literature I don't know why a "complete" effort could
not be made for any text as long as the reviewer was learned.
where it begins to delve into qabalistic gymnastics and 
explanation I'm sure that inventive minds would be able to
find all manner of 'hidden meaning' we can presume was not
intended by whatever author we may set fit to associate with
a work (e.g. in the case of the Evul Book, Crowley or Aiwass).
several 'code revelations' concerning scripture are already
extent (e.g. _Al Quran_'s supposed orientation to the number 19).

# ...Crowley says of [the Evul Book] : "It also claims to be 
# the utterance of an illuminated mind co-extensive with the 
# ultimate ideas of which the universe is composed" 
# (Confessions P. 417). I really can't bring myself to accept 
# this statement as factual as claims of this type occur 
# frequently in the history of hermetic thought & *perhaps* 
# coincidentally in the writings of UFO contactees. 

literally, you surely accept the statement, it appears you 
have difficulty with the claim of source of utterance.  IS
there such a "co-extensive, illuminated mind"?  what does
it MEAN to suggest that "the universe is composed of the
ultimate ideas of a co-extensive mind"?  'the mind of God'?  
this appears to derive from a very particular perspective 
on the cosmos, one which may be difficult to substantiate.

unless we begin to take a less 'objective' perspective
and recognize that the personal universe is created on a
routine basis by the 'ultimate ideas' fundamental to one's
personal development, and that the claim made relates to 
a 'deep portion' of Crowley's mind with possible 
generalizations beyond him depending on how much overlap 
there may be between him and another.

that is, even though the claim appears generalized, it is
possible to understand it as a statement to the person of
Crowley, for the person of Crowley, about the text which
was directed as a prophetic revelation UNTO Crowley.  if
Crowley understands this to apply to more than just 
himself, then that is HIS problem.  if others follow in
his interpretation, then that is THEIR problem.

using this mode of categorization, I have been able to
observe a great deal more significance (subjective, as a
communication from one part of the mystic's mind to a
more conscious portion) than I would otherwise be able 
to substantiate or realistically consider valuable.  at
times there was an application within my own life, and
at others I didn't see that the communicated related.

# I am not simply saying this from a detached, sceptical 
# viewpoint as I had what I *then* considered to be be 
# contact with higher intelligences when I was in my early 
# teens. The messages I would receive via automatic writing, 
# sceances, etc were generally concerning revelations of 
# imminent global catastrophe, ideas of advanced physics & 
# mathematics so far beyond human comprehension that they 
# could only be contained in strange coded language, 
# descriptions of worlds composed of less gross matter than 
# ours, etc. In fact, all the typical elements that one gets 
# with these experiences. 

I have had similar experiences, else I would not feel so
free to comment here.  I have refused to believe in what
you call 'higher' intelligences, however, considering the
variety of communications to come from the equivalent of
'spirits', whose utterances I have been instructed to
regard with a great deal of skepticism and from a variety
of perspectives.  knowledge, within my personal world, 
is suspended for the purposes of scientific scrutiny.

the psychological interpretation of these phenomena, allowing
for what Jung called 'the collective unconscious', has always
yielded a means of accepting any communication without the
need of ascribing to it cosmic proportion or infallibility on
the basis of its 'divinity'.

# Like Crowley, I became absolutely convinced I had been 
# chosen as a communication channel for a higher 
# intelligence (I was young and more than a little naive!). 

I don't know why this should be considered naive excepting in
one's understanding of the proper response to this type of
communication.  unquestioning obedience or fanatical adulation
toward the source of these utterances or the material itself
seems to me the more naive aspect of the event in question.

if we are to presume a communication from some "alien species"
whose intelligence surpasses our own, then we still are left,
without some knowledge or presumption beyond this, to determine
the character and intent of the source.  is she trying to say
something in particular?  is she deceitful?  does she pretend
to greater maturity or knowledge than she may reasonably claim?  
is hir intent to impress upon us a particular and limited view
for some purpose?  is this purpose generally benevolent?  etc.

in my own experiences I have tried to observe but suspend
action on communications I have received from a variety of
apparently 'external' intelligent sources.  where it related
to immediate circumstances and would seem to involve a
remediable result, I sometimes followed out any instructions
I received.  when it seemed an extremity I often considered
carefully the nature of the suggestion or information (I did
not accept 'orders' or 'commands'), and sought first 
something less disrespectful of my person.  there were times
when I have simply ignored such communications, though by
and large I found them to be respectful and useful.

# My attitude began to change when I was in my late teens after 
# a protracted study of Surrealist writings & methodology. I was 
# then inclined to regard my experiences as being expressions of 
# my own subconscious mind; they were an imaginative enterprise 
# rather than the revelation of any great universal truth. 

this is more or less the attitude with which I've approached
the whole subject of 'spirit contact' and 'extraphysical 
communication', and I tried to infuse it with, or see the 
possibility within it of, a great deal of value, perhaps even 
'universal', rather than to dismiss or reject it outright based 
on the apparent fact of its being from an internal source.

# Why did Crowley only fleetingly consider this possibility? 

how can we be sure that he did?  I'm unconvinced.  I have for
some time presumed that he intended to relate to certain key
intelligences in particular ways despite his rational, logical,
and scientific bent.  he wanted, in at least the case of the
Evul Book, for example, to have an influence on human society,
even if within the microculture of Hermetic mysticism.  his
inspiration as a prophet, like that of so many others, may or
may not have been convincing to him, though he portrayed it
AS such to purpose possibly never revealed to us.

# ...he talks of proofs, conceptions of Qabalistic material 
# far beyond his knowledge (did all those years of study 
# really find him in such a lamentable state of ignorance? 
# I think not: rather he was being disingenuous, consciously 
# or otherwise).

yes, I think this is the conclusion at which many of our,
skeptical, inclination are prepared to arrive.  what is
left is the possible value and significance of 'the method
of science and the aim of religion'.  if we dismiss or
disregard the traditional elements of the latter merely on
the basis that they arrive in a package heretofore 
considered 'unreliable' to the former, then I think we are
much more likely to miss out on the tremendous experience
available to the mystic (as compared to physical engineer).

# ...despite Crowley's claims of its mind-boggling complexity 
# & originality, AL is very much part of a tradition of 
# inspired writings that utilized what Crowley disingenuously 
# describes as: "a new type of language; a literal and numerical 
# cipher involving the Greek and Hebrew Cabbalas..". Of course, 
# it is not a new type of language at all in this sense, being 
# in fact highly conventionalized in the field that Crowley 
# was working in (see Umberto Eco's _The Search For The Perfect 
# Language_ which documents many such enterprises along similar 
# lines). For these reasons I would say that a reasonably 
# complete exegesis of AL is a much less daunting task than 
# attempting the same with Ramon Llull, for instance. I am not 
# claiming I could achieve it personally, but somebody with a 
# knowledge of Kabbala co-extensive with Crowley's & an 
# awareness of his sources both magical & literary could come 
# very close to it. Some of the more obscure aspects of 
# automatic/dictated writing may be problematic, but one could 
# say the same of Coleridge's "Kubla Khan" or Blake or the 
# Surrealists (i.e. Blake & Coleridge scholars exist and 
# contribute valuable work on their subjects, yet there will 
# inevitably be disagreements amongst them).

not only could this type of analysis be accomplished by a
scholar of comparable or greater proportion than Crowley,
but it seems to me that a group of differently-educated
and interested people could arrive at similarly complex and
valuable results without having had to specialize so much
toward the character of Crowley's Western education.
# Thirdly, compared to a work of monstrous complexity like 
# Joyce's "Finnegans Wake", AL is mere child's play. Yet, 
# much valuable work has been done by Joyce scholars in terms of 
# exegetics. 

agreed.  it takes some degree of interest, and the religious
who follow the prophet are usually too interested in mimicry
and the adherence to ritual and behavioral norms established
as orthodox by said mystic to be interested in analytical
endeavors which might undermine their fanaticism.  it was
this, I assert, toward which the Comment was directed, and
served the purpose of keeping intact a shroud of mystery
surrounding the prophetic document.

# With AL much less has been done, although of course there has 
# been worthwhile work in this area. I don't go with all this 
# "centre of pestilence" nonsense at all or notions that study 
# is forbidden. Perhaps it was just a malicious joke on 
# Crowley's part or a deliberate attempt to show the childish 
# nature of such illusory fears about forbidden books. ...I 
# would quite like to see somebody like Eco get his teeth 
# into AL, but I can't imagine such a thing will occur. 

rather than waiting around for "somebody like Eco", I would
suggest merely contributing to a body of analytical writings
from our own, possibly less studied and erudite, perspectives.
I have attempted a beginning of this as example in response
to the question about the beginning of the first chapter a
while back.  I didn't expect to see much more in this line
of reflection, but eventually such a body of text will compile
in archive.

# It would be salutary to see the work interpreted from 
# numerous angles: as a work of automatic writing, as a 
# genuine communication from a higher intelligence, as a 
# monstrous fraud perpetrated by a man with a desire for 
# prophetic status, etc, etc....

I doubt that this type of evaluation would be of value
except to those excited to see the status of Crowley dropped
down a few notches in the Thelemic or general religious culture.
most won't care very much about the context of expression
unless they are religious zealots one way or another.

of course the motivation could influence the exegesis of the
text itself, especially where the 'higher intelligence' begins
to address the prophet or attempts to command the reader, and
yet this is such a small portion of the Evul Book that I find
it to be of negligible value.  sourcing the relevant factors
of contribution related in character to the text itself seems
to me of greater relevance, whether these are deemed 'similar
of style and worthy of study by the religious' or 'of 
inspiration to the text and therefore valuable in 
understanding the mammoth hoax of Crowley'.  this can and
probably has been accomplished in reference to many other 
prophetic scriptures attributed to a single and/or divine 


blessed beast
nigris (333) 
-- (emailed replies may be posted); 408/2-666-SLUG       FUCK

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