Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

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Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

Post  23 on Sat Jan 10, 2009 9:21 pm

Howdy,

I thank each and everyone of you who contributed to those torrents. They have helped me on my path and will continue to do so. I now feel like I have an occult library to digest forever. I am primarily interested and presently practicing in the tradition of the Golden Dawn right now. Regardie's The Eye in the Triangle recently blew my mind. Crowley even left his mark on me, for I have a red question mark tattooed on my right calf and a blue exclamation point tattooed on my left calf. Alan Watts brought Regardie to RAW, and RAW brought me to Crowley, and before I even had a real notion of who he was, I put his Hunchback and Soldier on myself. Now I see why, and I follow that practice of questioning every answer. I look forward to learning from this forum, and perhaps contributing a tidbit or two. At least a few questions.


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Re: Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

Post  neutralrobotboy on Sun Jan 11, 2009 3:29 am

Hey, excellent. Welcome! I've been very interested recently in Regardie, RAW, and Crowley -- sounds like you and I may be treading on somewhat similar ground, interests-wise, though I have not really been putting the GD teachings to much use yet.

Also, the question mark appears before the exclamation mark in Crowley's Book of Lies... I took this to refer to the process of questioning and seeking, punctuated by revelation.

In any case, welcome aboard. I look forward to hearing more from you.

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Re: Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

Post  exib on Sun Jan 11, 2009 4:34 am

neutralrobotboy wrote:Also, the question mark appears before the exclamation mark in Crowley's Book of Lies... I took this to refer to the process of questioning and seeking, punctuated by revelation.
Here's the document 23 mentions, though there are a few typos in it: http://www.hermetic.com/crowley/libers/liber148.pdf

By my reading, Crowley is basically putting forward an argument against both hard skepticism (the hunchback) and dogma (the soldier). Naturally, he concludes in favour of his view of initiation.

It's a fun read, but I think he's got his philosophy wrong. He likes to advance a kind of Pyrrhonian skepticism toward all knowledge, whereby any possible proposition collapses into an indefinitely long chain of questions and propositions. I just don't believe that skepticism (or, for that matter, any philosophical position) can sustain itself in the long run, given the evidence from cognitive science that humans do indeed learn, revising beliefs in accordance with new data. Such learning or belief revision is heuristic and stochastic; it is based on rules of thumb that deviate statistically from the mean of epistemic success. People do not conduct their affairs with logic, but philosophers do, and this therefore introduces a fatal flaw into any philosophical doctrine (including skepticism) that purports to deal with such human characteristics as belief acquisition.

It would be interesting to see Crowley advancing the thesis of Liber 148 with the latest data from evolutionary theory, cog sci, and artificial intelligence. I think he would couch his argument not in philosophical but in economic terms.
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Re: Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

Post  neutralrobotboy on Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:46 pm

Ahh! Alright, I'll have to read that, thank you. I seem to recall reading some story about the soldier and the hunchback early on in my readings of Crowley (it's still early on for me, but I mean "almost first thing"), and the symbolism of it largely escaped me.

As to whether the fact that humans learn destroys all philosophical positions in the long run, I must confess I'm skeptical. Any given philosophical position is, in my view, almost certain to be both true and false and somewhere in between and neither true nor false -- given the appropriate evaluation criteria and overarching viewpoint.

I strongly suspect that Crowley was keenly aware of this as well. He seems to touch on it in The Book of Lies and (especially) Konx Om Pax... but this is all coming from someone who's at the beginning stages of studying Crowley, so I don't have an extremely high degree of confidence that I'm right about him. Still, that's how I've come to see it at this stage.

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Re: Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

Post  Khephra on Sun Jan 11, 2009 8:32 pm

Welcome 23! We considered making a sub-forum for all things RAW, but figured we'd give it a wait-and-see.

neutralrobotboy wrote:Also, the question mark appears before the exclamation mark in Crowley's Book of Lies... I took this to refer to the process of questioning and seeking, punctuated by revelation.

I've got a nifty post on the Soldier and Hunchback stashed away somewhere... When I get the chance, I'll see if I can't drag it out.

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Re: Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

Post  Chakravanti on Tue Jan 13, 2009 6:47 pm

Can I just call you JC? j/k! lol. Welcome.

I think crowley stated everything he said tongue in cheek just to gain infamy from people who wouldn't see past his nihilistic religious barking, become incensed and help spread the word to people who would. Perhaps I credit him with too much forethought though. That's just might two pieces o' 8.
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Re: Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

Post  agrippa777 on Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:18 am

exib wrote:
neutralrobotboy wrote:Also, the question mark appears before the exclamation mark in Crowley's Book of Lies... I took this to refer to the process of questioning and seeking, punctuated by revelation.
Here's the document 23 mentions, though there are a few typos in it: http://www.hermetic.com/crowley/libers/liber148.pdf

By my reading, Crowley is basically putting forward an argument against both hard skepticism (the hunchback) and dogma (the soldier). Naturally, he concludes in favour of his view of initiation.

It's a fun read, but I think he's got his philosophy wrong. He likes to advance a kind of Pyrrhonian skepticism toward all knowledge, whereby any possible proposition collapses into an indefinitely long chain of questions and propositions. I just don't believe that skepticism (or, for that matter, any philosophical position) can sustain itself in the long run, given the evidence from cognitive science that humans do indeed learn, revising beliefs in accordance with new data. Such learning or belief revision is heuristic and stochastic; it is based on rules of thumb that deviate statistically from the mean of epistemic success. People do not conduct their affairs with logic, but philosophers do, and this therefore introduces a fatal flaw into any philosophical doctrine (including skepticism) that purports to deal with such human characteristics as belief acquisition.

It would be interesting to see Crowley advancing the thesis of Liber 148 with the latest data from evolutionary theory, cog sci, and artificial intelligence. I think he would couch his argument not in philosophical but in economic terms.

I think AC lived in times where skepticism was more required than now. There was a significant amount of total charlatanism going on and he wanted people to analyze and think for themselves.

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Re: Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

Post  exib on Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:33 pm

agrippa777 wrote:I think AC lived in times where skepticism was more required than now. There was a significant amount of total charlatanism going on and he wanted people to analyze and think for themselves.
You're talking about ordinary incredulity. My comments, and those of Crowley, concern philosophical skepticism, which is a distinct body of argument and doctrine that has little connection to what you're talking about. You can read more about it here: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/skepticism/

If we're to talk about ordinary incredulity, though, my impressions still suggest otherwise. Crowley didn't pander to people who couldn't already think for themselves, and he was content to ridicule fools. His only concern was that his students (already smart cookies) not succumb to belief during the course of their magical work. This is clear in one of his comments to his curriculum for the AA:
The general object of this course, besides that already stated, is to assure sound education in occult matters, so that when spiritual illumination comes it may find a well built temple. Where the mind is strongly biased towards any special theory, the result of an illumination is often to inflame that portion of the mind which is thus overdeveloped, with the result that the aspirant, instead of becoming an Adept, becomes a bigot and fanatic.

(Source: http://www.the-equinox.org/vol3/eqv3n1/eq0301018.htm)
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Re: Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

Post  exib on Thu Jan 15, 2009 1:07 am

neutralrobotboy wrote:As to whether the fact that humans learn destroys all philosophical positions in the long run, I must confess I'm skeptical. Any given philosophical position is, in my view, almost certain to be both true and false and somewhere in between and neither true nor false -- given the appropriate evaluation criteria and overarching viewpoint.
I don't suggest that the fact of human learning "destroys" philosophy. I'm saying that philosophy is non-cognitive to begin with. In other words, philosophical doctrines don't have truth values, be they two-valued (true/false) or otherwise. These doctrines are simply meaningless. The apologist for mainstream western philosophy will reply that "of course" philosophy has truth value and will hasten to give a proposition that has a truth value, at least with respect to some "theory of truth" -- correspondence theory, coherence theory, deflationary theory, etc. With that, philosophy is off and running. I'm saying all this is sheer nonsense; it is just the building of logical fantasy lands.

Epistemology, for instance, never touches the ground insofar as it neglects epistemic behaviour in humans and animals. The actual structure of learning in organisms is key, and as it turns out (as I said before) organisms don't learn with reference to a logical calculus; learning is sooner statistical than logical. Philosophical theories traditionally proceed by deduction from first principles. If philosophical theories proceeded from the relevant data, they'd be indistinguishable from any other data-driven or experimental practice. In short, if philosophy pays no heed to the relevant data, then it is meaningless, and if it does pay heed, it is superfluous.

I'm hardly the first to make arguments of this sort. The most well-known begin with Hume and his thoroughgoing empiricism, though his doctrine is only anti-metaphysical, not anti-philosophical. In recent times, Hume's disposition has been taken up not only with respect to metaphysics but in every area of philosophy. The most notable effort is the program in "naturalized epistemology", including the work of its key representatives: Willard Quine, Alvin Goldman, and Phillip Kitcher, among others. The most sweeping effort is probably that of Penelope Maddy in her recent (2008) book Second Philosophy.

neutralrobotboy wrote:I strongly suspect that Crowley was keenly aware of this as well. He seems to touch on it in The Book of Lies and (especially) Konx Om Pax... but this is all coming from someone who's at the beginning stages of studying Crowley, so I don't have an extremely high degree of confidence that I'm right about him. Still, that's how I've come to see it at this stage.
Can you bring some of these passages here for us to consider? It would be a good exercise in Crowley's own recommendation to "contradict any statement soever, although it maybe apparently axiomatic" (here). I'd be happy to go over select passages with a fine-tooth comb if you're game for a collaborative effort at kickin' Crowley's ass.
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Re: Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

Post  neutralrobotboy on Thu Jan 15, 2009 6:16 am

exib: We're going down some tricky roads... Firstly, you've clearly done more research on this topic than I have. The only name I recognize from your list is Hume. I've tended to find mainstream western philosophy pretty tedious and feel that the wheat:chaff ratio is pretty low (for me), and consequently I don't spend much of my reading time on it. But let's see if we can get anywhere with discussion anyhow...

In other words, philosophical doctrines don't have truth values, be they two-valued (true/false) or otherwise. These doctrines are simply meaningless.

Here I think we need to be very careful. In order for me to make sense of this, and to make sure we have at least a basic agreed understanding of what we're discussing, I'm going to need two things: 1. A working definition of "philosophy" in this context, 2. An example of something that DOES have a truth value, true/false or otherwise.

Also, I'd be happy to provide some Crowley quotes; maybe give me a day or two. I'll probably quote Konx Om Pax and not The Book of Lies, largely because I'll have to comb over it less to find relevant passages.

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Re: Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

Post  Hadrianswall on Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:51 pm

As the topic seems to have moved on to Crowley Ive moved it here so it doesnt end up getting lost in 'Introductions'.
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Re: Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

Post  amandachen on Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:50 pm

btw, does anyone know who Thelma is? Laughing
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Re: Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

Post  Hadrianswall on Fri Jan 16, 2009 4:07 am

Yes well spotted, our bad.

It think it is meant to say Velma, worshiped within the esoteric fraternity 'Mystery Inc.' as the goddess of all things bespeckled and mini-skirted.



Somebody will correct that later.

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Re: Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

Post  Admin on Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:25 am

Sorted. Smile

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Re: Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

Post  exib on Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:22 pm

neutralrobotboy wrote:exib: We're going down some tricky roads... Firstly, you've clearly done more research on this topic than I have. The only name I recognize from your list is Hume. I've tended to find mainstream western philosophy pretty tedious and feel that the wheat:chaff ratio is pretty low (for me), and consequently I don't spend much of my reading time on it. But let's see if we can get anywhere with discussion anyhow...
I appreciate your distaste for mainstream western philosophy. The widespread logic-chopping of the analytic tradition can get tedious indeed. I suppose I'm inured to the tedium of the stuff; some philosophy interests me deeply, and that's enough to keep me going when things get really hairy.

Incidentally, if my exposition here gets too hairy, but the topic remains interesting to you, please tell me. I will alter the exposition accordingly.

neutralrobotboy wrote:
In other words, philosophical doctrines don't have truth values, be they two-valued (true/false) or otherwise. These doctrines are simply meaningless.
Here I think we need to be very careful. In order for me to make sense of this, and to make sure we have at least a basic agreed understanding of what we're discussing, I'm going to need two things: 1. A working definition of "philosophy" in this context, 2. An example of something that DOES have a truth value, true/false or otherwise.
My argument doesn't hinge on the points that you ask for, but I will answer you for the sake of clarity:

  1. Philosophy is roughly the same as a priori reasoning. (A priori means "before experience".) The archetypical a priori domains are mathematics and logic, which, in their modern forms, deduce theorems from stipulated axioms (e.g. those of Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory) and one or more inference rules (e.g. modus ponens in predicate logic). Philosophy is likewise a priori to the extent that it does not resort to experience and instead deduces its theories from "intuitive" first principles. Some people will argue that intuitions are not always a priori, and this is true to an extent. Hume's theory, for example, was empirical, or based on experience, but I take experience in this sense to be a minimal criterion, where the gold standard is experimental randomization and control.

  2. I would not give an example of something that has truth value, because "truth value" is a philosophical and logical concept, and I have no intention of admitting such a thing into my account.
neutralrobotboy wrote:Also, I'd be happy to provide some Crowley quotes; maybe give me a day or two. I'll probably quote Konx Om Pax and not The Book of Lies, largely because I'll have to comb over it less to find relevant passages.
I'll be looking forward to those Crowley quotes. I've not read Konx Om Pax, so that will be ideal. I won't bring to it any prepared replies, save what I would bring to any of Crowley's work to the extent that he is consistent in his argumentation.
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Re: Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

Post  neutralrobotboy on Sun Jan 18, 2009 2:08 am

I've not read Konx Om Pax, so that will be ideal. I won't bring to it any prepared replies, save what I would bring to any of Crowley's work to the extent that he is consistent in his argumentation.

I actually find much of Crowley pretty tedious as well, and Konx Om Pax isn't really my bag for the most part. It's divided into a few separate sections. This quote is from "Ali Sloper; or, The Forty Liars: A Christmas Diversion". The quote is from a character named "Bowley", implicitly Crowley. It's implied heavily that this is in its essentials something that really took place. Here "Bowley" is speaking about Truth:

The question of the point of view leads us naturally to a consideration of the
speech of those for whom the Master of Samadhi has radically changed the aspect of
the Universe. How shall a god answer a man?
Frater Neophyte K. asks our S. H. Frater L. 8°=3°.
“Are there such things as elemental spirits in the scientific sense?”
Now Frater L. knows that there are (just as Professor Ray Lankester would assure a
Hottentot of the reality of microscopic objects), but he also knows that there are not,
seeing that all is but an illusory veil of the Indicible Arcanum in the Adytum of Godnourished
Silence.
Frater L. will therefore reply Yes! if he thinks Frater K. in danger of scepticism.
He will reply No! if he thinks Frater K is a curiosity-monger. In neither case will he
consider the fact of the question, unless (with a secret smile) he for his own sake
wishes to affirm the illusion of all thoughts. In this event he is really nearer “untruthfulness”
than otherwise, even though his answer chance to coincide with fact.
This is called Perception of the Illusion of the Opposition of Contraries.

In the ensuing dialog, with another G.D. member (I don't know who), called "Bones" in the play, Crowley talks about Truth from the point of view of various points on the Tree of Life, with both seeming to accept the premise that Truth looks mighty different depending on where you're looking from... Anyhow, in the above quote, I think my original sense of Crowley is presented: Does he believe in elementals as "A TRUE THING"(tm)? It would appear that the answer is yes from one persepective and no from another. That is, yes, no, both yes and no (from a perspective removed from the original two which perceives them simultaneously), and neither yes nor no (from that same perspective, flipping the emphasis to the negations rather than the affirmations).

Onward to the philosophy discussion!

My argument doesn't hinge on the points that you ask for, but I will answer you for the sake of clarity:

1. Philosophy is roughly the same as a priori reasoning. (A priori means "before experience".) The archetypical a priori domains are mathematics and logic, which, in their modern forms, deduce theorems from stipulated axioms (e.g. those of Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory) and one or more inference rules (e.g. modus ponens in predicate logic). Philosophy is likewise a priori to the extent that it does not resort to experience and instead deduces its theories from "intuitive" first principles. Some people will argue that intuitions are not always a priori, and this is true to an extent. Hume's theory, for example, was empirical, or based on experience, but I take experience in this sense to be a minimal criterion, where the gold standard is experimental randomization and control.

2. I would not give an example of something that has truth value, because "truth value" is a philosophical and logical concept, and I have no intention of admitting such a thing into my account.

Both of these answers are useful to me. So, I have some more questions now... I think the big one is this: If these ideas are all meaningless, then where does the category of your conceptions themselves lie? If they have been reasoned out, they have then been derived from a meaningless frame of reference. Then, this principle of meaninglessness -- and especially justifying the proposition of meaninglessness through any kind of study (reasoned or otherwise) -- itself should evaluate as meaningless, if I understand you correctly. That is to say, your propositions would seem to be as meaningless as any others. They then should be disqualified from the group of "meaningful statements", and instead placed in a position of perfect parity with all other "meaningless statements", including those which you seem to reject.

Waddya think?

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Re: Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

Post  exib on Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:12 am

neutralrobotboy wrote:I actually find much of Crowley pretty tedious as well, and Konx Om Pax isn't really my bag for the most part.
Then why are we doing this? I'm in it only if you are, and it sounds like you might jump ship at any moment. I'd rather not set sail under those conditions.

neutralrobotboy wrote:Both of these answers are useful to me. So, I have some more questions now... I think the big one is this: If these ideas are all meaningless, then where does the category of your conceptions themselves lie? If they have been reasoned out, they have then been derived from a meaningless frame of reference. Then, this principle of meaninglessness -- and especially justifying the proposition of meaninglessness through any kind of study (reasoned or otherwise) -- itself should evaluate as meaningless, if I understand you correctly. That is to say, your propositions would seem to be as meaningless as any others. They then should be disqualified from the group of "meaningful statements", and instead placed in a position of perfect parity with all other "meaningless statements", including those which you seem to reject.

Waddya think?
What are "ideas", "category of conceptions", and "frame of reference" that they are relevant to this analysis? You might wish to specify further, but all of that seems top-down and a prioristic. In other words, your terms and phrases in some way allegedly describe the structure of cognition. Do they in fact describe, or do they just posit? I think the latter. Consider the evidence from cog sci and behavioural finance, which suggests that people tend to cast their judgments heuristically, and not from some great weight of theory. You can check it for yourself if you want. Look up stuff like "bounded rationality", "heuristics and biases", Gerd Gigerenzer, even the Nobel Prize lecture (here) by one of the two guys who inaugurated it all. This is an enormous field, and I can only offer a few suggestions. The point is that philosophers make these huge, awkward leaps away from the facts of the matter when they suppose that they know how they themselves think, and what it is they are doing when they philosophize at the highly abstract levels they favour.
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Re: Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

Post  neutralrobotboy on Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:58 am

Then why are we doing this? I'm in it only if you are, and it sounds like you might jump ship at any moment. I'd rather not set sail under those conditions.

Guess I thought we were hoping to have an interesting discussion? Hmm... This response sorta gave me the heebie-jeebies. I'm not quite sure what conclusions you've jumped to, but it seems as though there's a serious communication problem here.

What are "ideas", "category of conceptions", and "frame of reference" that they are relevant to this analysis? You might wish to specify further, but all of that seems top-down and a prioristic. In other words, your terms and phrases in some way allegedly describe the structure of cognition.

I have to be honest: It really seems to me that the thrust of my argument has been ignored, and I'm not really interested in squabbling over semantics, and I feel that your reply hinges on just that. So, I'll give it one more shot and I guess if we're getting nowhere, we might as well set this aside and hope for better luck next time.

You have stated to me that "truth value" is a "philosophical and logical concept", thus making it meaningless. What I gather from this is that all logic and a priori propositions evaluate to "meaninglessness" in your estimation. However, you are basing this estimation on the studies and interpretations of others who have necessarily made the judgement that one thing is true and not another, presumably based on some sort of system of logical evaluation of available information. This system of logical evaluation must ultimately have its own set of assumptions (i.e., accepted a priori premises): Even "analysis" of "facts" is a process which requires assumptions about what is valid "analysis" and what constitutes "fact". Whether "philosophers" do this in a sillier way than "cognitive scientists" may be a worthwhile issue to consider, but applying your own proposed outlook to itself and its foundations, it appears to me that one would have to acknowledge that it is in the same category as anything else based on a priori assumptions.

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Re: Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

Post  Khephra on Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:50 pm

For whatever dubious distinction its worth, this is our most popular thread thus far. Very Happy

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Re: Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

Post  exib on Sat Jan 24, 2009 4:01 pm

Neutralrobotboy: I'm just dropping in to say hello and to let you know I am still around. I got your message the same day that you posted it, and I've been chipping away at a reply since then. Work and a cold have slowed me, but I'm pretty close to posting. Hang in there.
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Re: Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

Post  exib on Sun Jan 25, 2009 3:36 pm

neutralrobotboy wrote:Guess I thought we were hoping to have an interesting discussion? Hmm... This response sorta gave me the heebie-jeebies. I'm not quite sure what conclusions you've jumped to, but it seems as though there's a serious communication problem here.
I was indeed hoping to have an interesting discussion. Surely you can appreciate my complete befuddlement when you introduce your quote from Konx Om Pax with the following: "I actually find much of Crowley pretty tedious as well, and Konx Om Pax isn't really my bag for the most part." You can't seriously expect me not to raise an eyebrow at this statement, given your evident enthusiasm previously. It's not exactly a vote of confidence for this exercise, so I haven't the foggiest how you would have had me take it.

Consider this a rhetorical point. If you want to reply to it, please PM me instead of continuing it here. In any event, I will take up your example from Konx Om Pax.

neutralrobotboy wrote:
The question of the point of view leads us naturally to a consideration of the speech of those for whom the Master of Samadhi has radically changed the aspect of the Universe. How shall a god answer a man?

Frater Neophyte K. asks our S. H. Frater L. 8°=3°.

“Are there such things as elemental spirits in the scientific sense?”

Now Frater L. knows that there are (just as Professor Ray Lankester would assure a Hottentot of the reality of microscopic objects), but he also knows that there are not, seeing that all is but an illusory veil of the Indicible Arcanum in the Adytum of Godnourished Silence.

Frater L. will therefore reply Yes! if he thinks Frater K. in danger of scepticism. He will reply No! if he thinks Frater K is a curiosity-monger. In neither case will he consider the fact of the question, unless (with a secret smile) he for his own sake wishes to affirm the illusion of all thoughts. In this event he is really nearer “untruthfulness” than otherwise, even though his answer chance to coincide with fact.

This is called Perception of the Illusion of the Opposition of Contraries.
In the ensuing dialog, with another G.D. member (I don't know who), called "Bones" in the play, Crowley talks about Truth from the point of view of various points on the Tree of Life, with both seeming to accept the premise that Truth looks mighty different depending on where you're looking from... Anyhow, in the above quote, I think my original sense of Crowley is presented: Does he believe in elementals as "A TRUE THING"(tm)? It would appear that the answer is yes from one persepective and no from another. That is, yes, no, both yes and no (from a perspective removed from the original two which perceives them simultaneously), and neither yes nor no (from that same perspective, flipping the emphasis to the negations rather than the affirmations).
I've cleaned up the Crowley quote to conform to the line breaks in the Celephais Press edition.

I ended up reading the whole dialogue (which was a lot of fun, by the way). Sticking mostly to your selection, though, what am I to make of it? The scenario purports to illustrate "point of view", but I think this concept can be formulated more clearly in terms of goals.

There are the goals of the master, and the goals of the student, and the goals of others not present. The goals of the student are poorly formulated; the student imagines that his concern is the existence of spirits, but he does not know enough to make this judgment. The master's goal is to see that the student not be distracted by lesser goals. The master, for his part, has deigned to teach, though he needn't have so deigned. Indeed, his deigning may (with reference to other goals) be indicative of error or pathology. Crowley makes fun of himself on this point at several places in the dialogue, e.g. as Bones (p. 32): "Who told you, Supreme Magus of our Ancient Order! [with profound sarcasm] to go about saving people pain?".

When reformulated in terms of goals, all the talk about "truth" appears to be wholly misleading. It is not a question of "yes, no, both yes and no [...], and neither yes nor no" but a question of which goals have a claim on a person. That is, more generally, a question of ethics and economics (allocation of resources), and not of a priori considerations like truth.

neutralrobotboy wrote:I have to be honest: It really seems to me that the thrust of my argument has been ignored, and I'm not really interested in squabbling over semantics, and I feel that your reply hinges on just that. So, I'll give it one more shot and I guess if we're getting nowhere, we might as well set this aside and hope for better luck next time.
I have been purposefully curtailing my arguments, for fear that this thread is getting too far off topic for a magic forum. I'll press on and hope that it remains interesting and relevant.

neutralrobotboy wrote:You have stated to me that "truth value" is a "philosophical and logical concept", thus making it meaningless. What I gather from this is that all logic and a priori propositions evaluate to "meaninglessness" in your estimation. However, you are basing this estimation on the studies and interpretations of others who have necessarily made the judgement that one thing is true and not another, presumably based on some sort of system of logical evaluation of available information. This system of logical evaluation must ultimately have its own set of assumptions (i.e., accepted a priori premises): Even "analysis" of "facts" is a process which requires assumptions about what is valid "analysis" and what constitutes "fact". Whether "philosophers" do this in a sillier way than "cognitive scientists" may be a worthwhile issue to consider, but applying your own proposed outlook to itself and its foundations, it appears to me that one would have to acknowledge that it is in the same category as anything else based on a priori assumptions.
You were accurately recounting my views until you said this: "others who have necessarily made the judgement that one thing is true and not another, presumably based on some sort of system of logical evaluation of available information". If logic is a priori, then yes, it is meaningless, but I do not think it is a priori in the first place.

Humans don't need logic to get about. The vast majority of us, all through history and prehistory, haven't had the faintest clue about first-order predicate logic (which was devised to capture arithmetic), not to mention the much humbler syllogistic of Aristotle. Formal logic is not a priori; it is a post-hoc attempt to model a fragment of a natural or formal language (cf. the proliferation of "deviant" or "non-standard" logics, each of which tries to capture a different fragment of language). Natural language is vastly richer and more complex than any given logic. Something similar can be said with respect to logical attempts to capture mathematics -- with such bemusing results as Godel's incompleteness theorems. The point is that humans -- parents, farmers, epidemiologists, and combinatorists alike -- go about their affairs. With respect to these affairs, philosophers are forever in catch-up mode. One nonetheless still finds philosophers who talk as if their own conduct somehow has a foundational claim on these other affairs, as if no one could ever get anything done without a philosopher to consult.
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Re: Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

Post  neutralrobotboy on Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:50 pm

This is just a quick note to say that I haven't totally ditched this. A reply is coming, but it might be a couple of weeks still. Sorry for the extreme delay. Sometime around then, I'll probably also be more active on this board generally... Hang tight!

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Re: Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

Post  neutralrobotboy on Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:08 am

Ok, I'm back, after a period of withdrawal from the internet amongst other things... Please accept my apologies for taking so long with this.

When reformulated in terms of goals, all the talk about "truth" appears to be wholly misleading. It is not a question of "yes, no, both yes and no [...], and neither yes nor no" but a question of which goals have a claim on a person. That is, more generally, a question of ethics and economics (allocation of resources), and not of a priori considerations like truth.

Aha! Here we're touching on something important, where we may actually come to a point of agreement. Though "truth" may be "a priori" when taken as some sort of metaphysical concept, it certainly seems that as we go through our normal lives, we make assessments about what is "real" or "really happening" on some level, regardless of overt metaphysics. My contention with this Crowley quote is that it's an example of a situation where the assessment of what is "real" in this way changes with viewpoint. From one perspective, there is the appearance of "something that really exists"; from another, there is not that appearance.

In any case, I also agree with you about the quote taking on a functional significance as well, and I think you articulate it well enough that I don't really have much to add.

With respect to our other discussion, I'll just say this for now and we'll see if we can get anywhere:
**********
NEWS BULLETIN:
ASSUMPTIONS ARE INEVITABLE.
"humans -- parents, farmers, epidemiologists, and combinatorists alike" make use of foundational assumptions about reality whether they realize it or not. Culture transmits assumptions which inform experience. These assumptions are INEXTRICABLY tangled up with our perceptions and thoughts.
**********
I think at its root, this is what I'm trying to express. And I think it's as "true" of watching a sunset as reading (or writing) a cognitive science book. We cannot do away with assumptions, not because they seem especially worth keeping, but because it is literally not possible.

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Re: Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

Post  neutralrobotboy on Sat Mar 07, 2009 6:51 pm

Sorry to post twice, but here's one more supporting Crowley quote I've just now stumbled across. It's in The Equinox Vol. 1, No. 5, page 57 (towards the end of "The training of the mind") which can be found here.

The student should remember that this is only one (illusory)
point of view. The idealistic ego-centric position is just as
true and as false. --- A.C.

This footnote appears after a description of a practice in which one is looking at one's own actions in a way that attempts to eliminate the "I" from their description:

...take care not to think, "I am doing so-and-so" but "there exists such-and-such a state of action."
...the idea arises, "I am walking," but really there is no "I" to walk or go, but only an ever-changing mass of decomposing chemical compounds.

I think this is a more definite supporting quote than the Konx Om Pax one I used.

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Re: Crowley (was: Another neophyte says hello)

Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Sun Mar 08, 2009 7:17 pm

neutralrobotboy wrote:In the ensuing dialog, with another G.D. member (I don't know who), called "Bones" in the play...

Regardie 'unmasks' "Bones" in The Eye in the Triangle.
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