Pity Not The Fallen?

“Pity not the fallen! I never knew them. I console not: I hate the consoled & the consoler.” Of all of the statements in Crowley’s Liber Al vel Legis (Book of the Law), the above is one of the most controversial. It is also one that contradicts Christian morality and the modern political zeitgeist that emerged slowly from it. For both of these movements, the meek, the downtrodden, and the hurt are avatars of moral goodness.

What does it mean, not to pity the fallen? Isn’t it right, normal, and even noble to pity, to want to console, and to want to help those in distress? Don’t we deserve pity when things go wrong in our lives? Both Christianity and our modern secular morality would unreservedly and enthusiastically say yes. Continue reading “Pity Not The Fallen?”

Syncretism Versus Sublimation: Thoughts on Developing an Esoteric Culture

Recently, in response to my article “Creating a Tribal Culture: Principles and Pitfalls,” I was asked whether Freemasonry was syncretic. It’s a good question, though the short answer is that I do not. However, prompted by the question, I thought I’d take the opportunity to look at syncretism, and what we might call sublimation, in regard to developing a culture, a group, organization, or movement, etc.

Sublimation has occurred throughout history. Shaolin martial arts absorbed elements of Buddhism (itself of Indian origin), Taoism, and various Chi exercises (that had already been absorbed into Taoism), etc. Islamic gnosticism absorbed the philosophy of Aristotle and Plato. The Catholic Church absorbed the thought of Aristotle and was shaped by the religious imagery and festivals it encountered as it swept (not always peacefully) across Europe. Christian mysticism borrowed very significantly from Cabala and Hermeticism (the latter of which itself leaned heavily on ancient Greek imagery). Though no one would suggest that these are syncretic. Continue reading “Syncretism Versus Sublimation: Thoughts on Developing an Esoteric Culture”

Creating a Tribal Culture: Principles and Pitfalls

Increasingly, we are under siege from the inversion of those values accepted, until recently, by every culture the world over — from the classical Chinese to the Arabic, and from dharmic Asia to Europe. Instead of health, we see the promotion of unhealthy lifestyles, diets, fast food, and obesity. Instead of inner and outer strength, we are taught to respect hurt feelings and to regard them as representing inner truth. Instead of tribe, community, and strong bonds between those in the physical world, we are offered only the abstraction of identity politics, virtual communities, and the promise of one day uploading our consciousnesses.

Some groups remain, attached to a way of looking at the world that is shared by the traditions of all developed cultures, derived from such roots as the classical Buddhism of China to the trade guilds of Europe, with their rituals, ethics, religion, and way of life. However, below I have attempted to sketch out a few basic elements that I believe any non-conformist group will need to survive in the modern age, and a few threats posed to them. Continue reading “Creating a Tribal Culture: Principles and Pitfalls”