Majesty in nature

Over on, I’ve been involved in a thread dealing mainly with the question of “knowledge”. During that discussion, presumably objecting to the idea that “knowledge” – which requires effort and honesty to obtain – is helpful in any way, a flaky new-age whelp calling himself “sonofthestar” (whose immortal take on the veracity of Crowley’s account of the “reception” of The Book of the Law was “The Cairo Working – happened pretty much the way AC describes it – in spite of any so called confusion or discrepancies…If people really think about it, long and hard – How else could it have happened?” is rivaled only by that of another contributor to that thread that “If the document were a fraud, it would seem to be much more convincing to offer up a virtually flawless handwritten text, penned all at one sitting, with clear evidence of its origin in his diaries, that was then distributed to several acquaintances in a well-edited typescript. But none of that is the case here. If he were deliberately perpetrating a fraud, he doesn’t seem to have gone about it very sensibly” which boils down to “the lack of proof proves it!”) dribbled the following vapid and contemptible utterance:

It is their absolute Thelemic right to believe what they believe!
Why would/should—we believe it—should/would be otherwise,
or become upset over it—if we are doing our will?

which resulted in me having to school him that the actual “Thelemic right” – i.e. the only “Thelemic right”, since “Thou hast no right but to do thy will” – requires one to know what one’s will is, and therefore flatly prohibits one from having the “right to believe what [one] believe[s]”.

Clearly stricken by his obvious total and fundamental misunderstanding, the aforementioned flathead responded with this:

You have written voluminously,
elaborating your comprehension of Thelema,
with an above average, and technically adequate erudition:
and still, something lacks.
But it is far from a little something!
It lacks for what I can only describe as Vigorous Beauty!
It is un-dynamic, and lacks the Lustrous Light of illumination.

You present a dull and soul-less picture of Thelema,
by having stripped away all colours from it’s Starry Spectrum,
so that you, might paint some monochromatic parody,
using only a single hue from your palette of limited perspective.

The obvious observation that the response “you have written voluminously, elaborating your comprehension of Thelema, with an above average, and technically adequate erudition: and still, something lacks” translates to “No fair! No fair! You smarter than neanderthal man! Me want be right! Leave me ‘lone!” is not very interesting. What is interesting is this idea that what we may call a “materialistic” view of the universe – i.e. one in which gods, spirits, “præternatural beings”, demons, and the like neither exist nor take an interest in human affairs even if they did – is somehow “dull and soul-less”.

The utter falsity of this idea has been noted before. Carl Sagan asked in Pale Blue Dot:

How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant”? Instead they say, “No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.” A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.

and Richard Dawkins opened his wonderful The God Delusion with the following account of an event in the boyhood of one of his childhood teachers:

The boy lay prone in the grass, his chin resting on his hands. He suddenly found himself overwhelmed by a heightened awareness of the tangled stems and roots, a forest in microcosm, a transfigured world of ants and beetles and even – though he wouldn’t have known the details at the time – of soil bacteria by the billions, silently and invisibly shoring up the economy of the micro-world. Suddenly the micro-forest of the turf seemed to swell and become one with the universe, and with the rapt mind of the boy contemplating it.

The point is that anyone who thinks the material universe is “dull and soul-less”, or “stripped away [of] all colours”, or lacking in “intense majesty”, is quite simply going around the world with their eyes closed. If, in order to find “majesty”, you have to turn yourself away from all this into a darkened room where you sit and contemplate the small and paltry contents of your own imagination, then there’s something wrong with you.

If you want to see some “majesty”, then take a look up at the stars on a clear night sometime. Take a look at NASA’s gallery of images from the Hubble Space Telescope. Watch the sun set over the ocean. Go spend a few days camping out in the mountains by yourself, living continuously amongst the elements, cooking on an open fire, spending some time in nature. Go visit the Lake District, or the Grand Canyon, or the Sahara Desert. For that matter, visit Stonehenge, any of the Welsh castles, the Abbey of Westminster, or Notre Dame Cathedral. Go for a walk in the woods early in the morning after a few days of rain. Get down on the ground like Dawkins’ old teacher and see what’s down there. The possibilities are literally endless.

The richness and majesty of the natural world is far, far beyond anything that can be conjured up by the imagination, and the vast, empty, cold, heartless expanse of space is far more grand and awe-inspiring than some small, paltry little world created or governed by “gods” or “spirits” who are interested in the petty problems and foibles of mankind. It frankly takes a diseased mind for someone to claim that their measly little imaginations can reproduce even the most minute amounts of “majesty” that the material universe can. If anyone needed any evidence that the essence of occultism is concealing what is plain, instead of revealing what is hidden, then there it is.

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