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Crowley = "Titanic Original Thinker"?

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"Aleister Crowley was one of the most original and important thinkers of this era - right up there with such titans as Einstein and Joyce."

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Total Votes : 46

Crowley = "Titanic Original Thinker"? Empty Crowley = "Titanic Original Thinker"?

Post  Khephra on Fri Oct 23, 2009 11:34 pm

Crowley = "Titanic Original Thinker"? Aleistercrowley


"Aleister Crowley was one of the most original and important thinkers of this era - right up there with such titans as Einstein and Joyce." - Robert Anton Wilson, The Eye in the Trianagle: An Interpretation of Aleister Crowley

Without a doubt, Robert Anton Wilson was anything but an unbiased reporter, but do you agree with his assessment of Crowley's value, originality and impact?

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Post  amandachen on Sat Oct 24, 2009 12:37 am

To be honest, I can't think of even one innovative idea of his.
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Post  neutralrobotboy on Sat Oct 24, 2009 5:52 am

amandachen wrote:To be honest, I can't think of even one innovative idea of his.

Eh, maybe I'm being bated, but... can you think of one innovative idea at all? I ask because I'm curious about what your standards are there.

I suppose I see these things on a shifting gradient... Much as I have the highest respect for Einstein as a creative and original thinker, much of the really mind-blowing stuff about the special theory of relativity (time dilation, for example) was pretty much just a way of looking at the Lorentz transformations. I don't really know how to grade his "originality" in that context. If I was feeling so inclined, I might argue that it wasn't terribly original, it was mostly someone else's research (as he so modestly admitted).

As for Crowley, some aspects of his approach to occultism don't have any clear precedents that I'm aware of. I'm referring specifically to the idea that one should take a system or idea seriously enough to get results, and then cast it aside and take up something else. This is a different approach from that of Theosophy, for example. So I think there's some reason to suppose he had at least some degree of original thought. If your standards are high enough, this can probably be dismissed; but I would think the same is true of almost all human creativity.

Was Crowley as original and important as Einstein and Joyce? I don't know how to gauge that. He's certainly had a big influence, so if nothing else, his importance seems clear enough on that level. Do people disagree?

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Post  amandachen on Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:07 am

neutralrobotboy wrote:Eh, maybe I'm being bated, but... can you think of one innovative idea at all? I ask because I'm curious about what your standards are there.
Maybe I should give a prize to the first person to explain why Crow should be called a "Titanic Original Thinker". I know you tried to explain, botboy, but I didn't understand you.
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Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:57 am

amandachen wrote:Maybe I should give a prize to the first person to explain why Crow should be called a "Titanic Original Thinker".

This seems like a legitimate question to me. In thinking about his character, I can't really see much "original" about him. He was an extraordinary syncretist, but that's not especially "original". He was exceptionally brash and generally disreputable, but that's not especially "original". He was an amazing mountain climber, which could be viewed as something special, but is hardly "original". He traveled around the world taking advantage of people and never experienced a working class lifestyle, but this is hardly "original". So far as I know he didn't invent anything substantive. His two greatest legacies may be Thelema and the A.'.A, but founding new esoteric orders isn't anything "original". He wrote a bunch of original poetry, and a few "original" books, but most of it was rephrasing that which had already been said elsewhere. He drew connections that hadn't previously been made (publicly?), and that might be the essence of his "titanic originality"...

I dunno. I guess I'd like to hear some more views on the subject... maybe since no one has taken up Amandachen's challenge they're feeling stumped too... Suspect
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Post  neutralrobotboy on Mon Nov 02, 2009 5:49 pm

I dunno. I guess I'd like to hear some more views on the subject... maybe since no one has taken up Amandachen's challenge they're feeling stumped too...

Step 1: Name any original idea by anyone. Any kind of idea. Explain what made it original.

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Post  worlock93 on Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:57 pm

What exactly is originality? Some folks seem to believe that originality means it has to be something entirely new and never heard of before, an argument usually heard on the "Crowley was a hack" side of the argument. This, of course, brings up what Neutralbotboy is trying to explain, using the word originality so strictly will make practically nothing original.

Is the Golden Dawn original? It's symbology and practices are based off material found in the British Library and Museum, Eliphas Levi, Freemasonry, Barrett, etc. It's degree structure was lifted from Societas Rosicruciana, (which lifted it from the Gold und Rosenkreuz Orden). The idea of secret chiefs predates it. Even things such as Enochian chess are derived from other things etc etc.

By such strict standards Agrippa was not original, as he merely synthesized the the current interests in Neo-platonism, Heremeticism, etc. Nor was Pico della Mirandola or Athanasius Kirchner, etc etc. This carries on to everything, from the Bible to Shakespeare, practically everything is derivative to some greater or lesser degree.

Ankh: I doubt anyone's "stumped" by amandachen's post. She's offering a logical fallacy as no one can disprove or prove her assertion when she offers no basis or standards for her statement to begin with.
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Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:13 am

worlock93 wrote:Ankh: I doubt anyone's "stumped" by amandachen's post. She's offering a logical fallacy as no one can disprove or prove her assertion when she offers no basis or standards for her statement to begin with.
I dunno. Maybe.

I'm reminded of Hawking's On the Shoulders of Giants. If Hawking doesn't consider himself a "titanic original thinker" and notes the antecedents that led to his successes, I'd have a difficult time giving Crowley a free pass.

"Originality" can be pushed to unnecessary extremes (e.g., "There's nothing new under the sun") and obviously Crowley did plenty of "original" things, but that's a far stretch from "titanic original thinker".
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Post  MoJoe on Thu Nov 26, 2009 9:17 am

Well who knows for certain what went on in old uncle Al's head. But we do know that most any occult book you pick up that was printed in the last 30 years was influenced by his work. So respect.

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Post  ezavan on Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:17 pm

"originality" is a meaningless word, there has never been anything "new", when considering this word deeply it becomes clear that a definition is almost impossible to agree on. personally i think that the word applies to a particular kind of charisma, a special kind of belief in an idea that communicates itself readily to other people. someone "discovers" something (note that we always "discover" new technology or ideas, because they have always existed in the psychic realm, waiting to be manifested on this material plane) and with a peculiar passion inflates the idea/tool/paradigm with meaning that starts a fire of belief in other people. in this sense crowley was "original", his ideas practices and beliefs were formulated in a way that was unfamiliar to most people, and his charisma and the work that he put into distributing and educating people paid off with a strong impression.
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Post  amandachen on Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:11 am

Aleister Crowley was one of the most original and important thinkers of this era - right up there with such titans as Einstein and Joyce.
I wonder how many people voted on this poll without thinking first.
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Post  Hadrianswall on Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:20 pm

amandachen wrote:
Aleister Crowley was one of the most original and important thinkers of this era - right up there with such titans as Einstein and Joyce.
I wonder how many people voted on this poll without thinking first.

why dont you make a poll to find out?

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Post  MercvrivsDvplex on Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:31 pm

A bit of Egyptian symbology mixed with tantric ritual practice put in the context of both economicaly and moraly decaying empire. Doctrines delivered by a man whose purpose and a life goal was to be a counterpart to rigid Victorian morality and to his own background and uprising, in my oppinion, don't seem to be very usefull in spiritual growth of any kind.
Unless...you want to end up as a "very spiritualy achieved adept" who couldn't control his own bodily urges and not to speak of his well known heroin addiction.
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Post  worlock93 on Sat Aug 14, 2010 12:57 am

MercvrivsDvplex wrote:
Unless...you want to end up as a "very spiritualy achieved adept" who couldn't control his own bodily urges and not to speak of his well known heroin addiction.

Ahh, let's see:

A) The sex fiend argument. What's funny about this argument is the complete lack of understanding the individual making it has concerning Crowley and his philosophy. When, if I may ask, was Crowley interested in controlling his bodily urges. Or is this just a general condemnation of Crowley's morality (or lack thereof). If that's the case then it's your problem, not Crowley's.

B) Even better, the drug fiend argument. Yes, let us discount the drug addicts, for they have done nothing interesting, nor contributed anything useful ever. After discounting them all you can sit alone in your room listening to bad music and reading boring books.

I find the people who dislike Crowley more interesting than those that do. I will never be able the fathom the mindset of: I find this person boring and useless and completely unworthy of my time, so let me take a few minutes to tell you so in a thread that died 8 months ago."

Otherwise, welcome to digimob and all that.
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Post  MercvrivsDvplex on Sat Aug 14, 2010 9:51 pm

Sorry if I offended you personally or “Crowleyanity” in any way and I apologize for that.
My point was that if you can not master your instincts and bodily urges how are you going to master your habits and emotion building processes, or intellectual-perceptive processes of attitude structuring and not to speak of spiritual-belief system, altogether determining the way you get your ego aligned so it works towards selbst achievement and not towards affirmation of many I’s a person has. But it’s a matter for a face to face discussion as this type of exchange of ideas tends to get under influence of projection-introjection mechanism and tends to firm each party's standpoint. It's more than obvious that we do not share the same on the current topic.
Just to go away from the misunderstanding that’s currently operating, I’d like to give you a free astrology reading as a digimob colleague.

I couldn't resist peaking at your birth date by the way, hope you’re not angry Smile

Pay good attention on 23rd as you’ll get a glimpse of your need to change your oppressive and dominating nature regarding the ways you perceive others. Watch out for conflicts and power struggles, because someone is sure to get hurt. It will probably revolve around a female or a partnership of any kind.


Thanks for the welcome and best regards!
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Post  Nicky Lubu on Sat Aug 14, 2010 10:36 pm

MercvrivsDvplex wrote:Sorry if I offended you personally or “Crowleyanity” in any way and I apologize for that.
My point was that if you can not master your instincts and bodily urges how are you going to master your habits and emotion building processes, or intellectual-perceptive processes of attitude structuring and not to speak of spiritual-belief system, altogether determining the way you get your ego aligned so it works towards selbst achievement and not towards affirmation of many I’s a person has. But it’s a matter for a face to face discussion as this type of exchange of ideas tends to get under influence of projection-introjection mechanism and tends to firm each party's standpoint. It's more than obvious that we do not share the same on the current topic.
Just to go away from the misunderstanding that’s currently operating, I’d like to give you a free astrology reading as a digimob colleague.

I couldn't resist peaking at your birth date by the way, hope you’re not angry Smile

Pay good attention on 23rd as you’ll get a glimpse of your need to change your oppressive and dominating nature regarding the ways you perceive others. Watch out for conflicts and power struggles, because someone is sure to get hurt. It will probably revolve around a female or a partnership of any kind.


Thanks for the welcome and best regards!

agreed, his image is a horrible image to look up to no offense to the crowleyians out there.
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Post  worlock93 on Sun Aug 15, 2010 6:02 am

[quote="MercvrivsDvplex"]Sorry if I offended you personally or “Crowleyanity” in any way and I apologize for that.

Offend me? I'm fairly sure that would an impossible feat to pull of the internet. As far as "Crowleyanity" goes, well I don't know about anyone else, but I find it difficult to take anyone all that serious that even uses the word "Crowleyanity."

MercvrivsDvplex wrote:My point was that if you can not master your instincts and bodily urges how are you going to master your habits and emotion building processes, or intellectual-perceptive processes of attitude structuring and not to speak of spiritual-belief system, altogether determining the way you get your ego aligned so it works towards selbst achievement and not towards affirmation of many I’s a person has. But it’s a matter for a face to face discussion as this type of exchange of ideas tends to get under influence of projection-introjection mechanism and tends to firm each party's standpoint. It's more than obvious that we do not share the same on the current topic.

The primary problem you have here is turning your personal belief system into a lens for evaluating another. I would suggest evaluating separate ideas as individual wholes. Your point is noted, but I'm afraid it's still irrelevant as you're merely projecting what _you_ believe is necessary for spiritual attainment upon Crowley and his own personal system.

MercvrivsDvplex wrote:Just to go away from the misunderstanding that’s currently operating, I’d like to give you a free astrology reading as a digimob colleague.

I couldn't resist peaking at your birth date by the way, hope you’re not angry Smile

Pay good attention on 23rd as you’ll get a glimpse of your need to change your oppressive and dominating nature regarding the ways you perceive others. Watch out for conflicts and power struggles, because someone is sure to get hurt. It will probably revolve around a female or a partnership of any kind.

So I should take an umbrella when I go out then?
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Post  amandachen on Sun Aug 15, 2010 6:16 am

I owe Crowley a huge debt. I can't think of a book or (shelf of books) that beats Magick in Theory and Practice as a manual of the Western Esoteric System. Out of respect I'd love to call him a 'titanic thinker', but that's not enough of a reason.
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