Restriction – II

Aum418:It is necessary that we stop, once for all, this ignorant meddling with other people’s business. Each individual must be left free to follow his own path…the original brand of American freedom — which really was Freedom — contained the precept to leave other people severely alone, and thus assured the possibility of expansion on his own lines to every man.

One thing I think people need to bear in mind when reading Crowley is that sometimes he deals with what he considers to be “truth”, and sometimes with things that just reflect his values, and its not always apparent which of the two it is. For instance, “Each individual must be left free to follow his own path” – I personally agree with this completely, but I do not think there is some quality inherent in the fabric of the universe which requires us to do this. I see no such quality to support any moral statement whatsoever, which is why I say such statements have no truth value.

The very first quote in the “new comment” is “The theogony of our Law is entirely scientific”. To me, what sets Thelema apart from other philosophies is exactly this, that it is based wholly in reality. To take one example, a Christian might be happy accepting a statement like “Thou shalt not kill” without further question, but if we are to construct a philosophy based in reality (which, to me, is the only kind of philosophy which can be considered “worthwhile”) then we cannot accept such a commandment unless there is a compelling reason in reality for why it must be so. My opinion is that in its ultimate interpretation, Liber AL expounds just such a philosophy.

Thus, while I can personally stand entirely behind a statement such as “Each individual must be left free to follow his own path”, I cannot go further and say that one absolutely “must” or “should” do this as a matter of dogma. So when Crowley says “It is necessary that we stop, once and for all, this ignorant meddling with other people’s business” I do not accept that “necessary” in that case is the same sense in which “Thou hast no right but to do thy will” represents a physical necessity. I interpret it as having an unspoken qualifier along the lines of “It is necessary….unless you want to be a complete and contemptible ass”, which is unashamedly a value statement.

Aum418 wrote: I think that, to one who has reached Tiphareth (or crosses the Abyys into the Supernals, really) or understands their own True Will, that the idea of meddling with others’ Wills is irrelevant and a sign of acknowledging duality in the consciousness of Self and Not-self. On the other hand, most are “Dark stars” in that the complexity of the folds of their internal veils conceals the inmost light of the Khabs – most of us have not abolished our egos by crossing the Abyss and therefore our understanding of our Will must be somewhat imperfect. In this way, it would be a good consideration to not ‘ignorantly meddle’ in another’s business as recommended in Crowley’s commentary to AL I:31. I would like to see how you reconcile this commentary with your believe in restriction of others’ Wills.

I think your use of the term “it would be a good consideration” sums up my reconciliation already.

I do not think it is “wrong” or “unthelemic” to conflict with the will of others, ignorantly or otherwise, ever. I do not think it is “wrong” to divert from your own will in order to meddle or interfere with the will of another, but I do think it is “unthelemic” to do this. I think Liber AL spells all this out very clearly.

However, as a matter of practical expediency – divorced from all considerations of morality or Law – I think people who are contemplating interfering with the will of another would benefit from thinking very carefully before they do, precisely because it is far more likely than not that such a course would be “ignorant meddling” rather than a fulfilment of that person’s will, and hence will lead to the “hurt” that comes from refusing the admonition to “bind nothing”.

Going back to the lowest definition of will as “acting in accordance with one’s nature”, determining precisely what that will is is difficult, perhaps impossible to do. Yet, I do not think one need be a Master of the Temple before one can get a glimmering of what type of “interference” is “proper” in this sense. To take some simple and obvious examples, if somebody attempts to rob me on the street, and I have the power to prevent it, I will do so without a second thought. In such a case I think I could be quite justified in assuming that it is not my will to be robbed and I would have no qualms about restricting the other guy’s will accordingly. Similarly, if I genuinely did have an overwhelming urge towards mass-murder, I would consider it perfectly proper to fulfil such urges without any ethical worries.

I have said before that adhering to one’s one will, whilst not eliminating conflict, would likely significantly reduce it. This is because it is actually quite difficult to think of many sensible examples along the above lines. If you think in terms of what it is that you want to do, it rarely involves conflict with another unless they get in your way. Even when it does, we must consider that knowing the will is only half of the task; having the practical ability to implement it is the other. Thus, if I were dedicating almost all of my time to conducting scientific experiments in my house, I might consider it perfectly in line with my will to simply dump the effluent waste thereof into the community, rather than restrict my will by spending excessive time disposing of it more carefully. However, one might assume that the other members of the community would object to this imposition on them, and strength of numbers may give them the ability to restrict these actions. The other members of the community being just another part of my environment, I may therefore not have the capability to implement my will in that simple matter, and may therefore be obliged from a sense of pure practicality to dispose of the waste in a more “responsible” manner simply to allow the continued exercise of my will towards my experiments – such an act, though it may appear to be restriction, is actually necessary for the fulfilment of my will. Again, everyone minding their own business has by itself removed a potential conflict, without having to bring morals into the equation.

However, if it is difficult to determine when interference is in accordance with one’s will, it is usually far, far easier to determine when interference is not in line with one’s will (and such cases of interference are far, far more frequent), and this is the prime reason why “it would be a good consideration to not ‘ignorantly meddle’ in another’s business”. People who campaign against gay marriage or abortion are a perfect example here. Whatever it is that you want to do, you can be 99.99% sure that a couple of guys getting married – or some woman aborting her foetus – on the other side of the country isn’t going to stop you from doing it. Hence by definition such meddling is extremely unlikely to be a result of the fulfilment of the will, and will therefore serve only to divert one from one’s own will – for that reason alone it should almost certainly not be undertaken if one accepts the Law of Thelema. Similarly, on more emotive issues, practices such as factory farming or animal experiments are also extremely unlikely to prevent you from fulfilling your will, so attempts to interfere with those should almost certainly not be undertaken if one accepts the Law of Thelema, regardless of how much one feels the wills of the animals may be being restricted. It gets more difficult when you talk about not restricting others from murdering, for instance, since it may well be inherent in your own will to create an environment where your chances of being murdered are minimal, so you may possibly consider restricting the wills of murderers to be a direct result of the fulfilment of your will in this case (too many “wills” in one paragraph!)

But, the implication is clear. If you accept the Law of Thelema, and you want to “meddle”, you would benefit from thinking long and hard about whether such meddling is going to have a concrete and significant effect on your ability to do your own will, and if you cannot find such an effect, then you should bite the bullet, accept any emotive issues it might raise within you as your own, and refrain from meddling.

If you do consider that there is such a concrete and significant effect to make interference the proper course of action, could you be mistaken? Could it still be a diversion from your will? Maybe. But what else are you going to go on? Whether you know your true will or not, you must act, regardless of how “advanced” you are. All I could suggest as a practical course of action is to act in the way that seems most fit, and to continue the investigation of your will.

So as to how I “reconcile” this – I do not think you can say “until you are illuminated, do not restrict, ever” All anybody can do is to make a concerted effort to understand will and the Law, to question each and every potential meddling with “does this action really help me to fulfil my true will, or am I just paying too much attention to the pictures in my head?”, and to act accordingly based on an honest answer to that question. If someone else gets restricted as a result of that, so be it: “If he be a King, thou canst not hurt him”. Remember, that if he is a King, this restriction that you may have been at pains to justify in your head may be completely trivial to him – if someone restricts my sidewalk with their vehicle, I just walk around it. If someone really is the embodiment of their will in the way we have been describing, short of death or physical imprisonment it will take an awful lot of restriction to significantly divert him from that, and that in itself is a good reason to not take too much time worrying about it once your decision is made. If he’s not purely concerned with his own will and gets all uppity as a result of it, that’s his problem, not yours.

Hope that explains my position adequately. For reasons of space I have not supported most of this with relevant quotes from Liber AL, but can do so fully if needed.

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