Does Thelema Posit A Value? (or Who is Enforcing the Law?)

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Does Thelema Posit A Value? (or Who is Enforcing the Law?)

Postby LD330 » Sat Dec 17, 2016 12:52 pm

My questions are regarding the phrase "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law".

Why should you do your will in the first place? What does a person get out of it? (What value is being posited by doing one's will?)

Is it possible to -not- do your will? Isn't everything you do, on some level, willed?

Say I don't, or attempt not to, do my will. As this is said to be a law, who is enforcing the law and what happens if one does not follow the law?
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Re: Does Thelema Posit A Value? (or Who is Enforcing the Law?)

Postby danica » Sat Dec 17, 2016 3:54 pm

Nature - the totality of the Universe - is "enforcing" the law.
If you go against your True Will (and yes, personality and ego can do that - that's my opinion, at least, from life experience and observing people), you - as the personality - are not in accordance with your own True Nature, and simultaneously with the whole of the Universe.

It's about experience, and about Action. Intellectualizing it to the point of "it's all the same" and "why bother" leads nowhere. (If it's really all the same to you, why bother living at all?)
"Write, & find ecstasy in writing! Work, & be our bed in working! Thrill with the joy of life & death! Ah! thy death shall be lovely: whoso seeth it shall be glad. Thy death shall be the seal of the promise of our age long love. Come! lift up thine heart & rejoice! We are one; we are none."
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Re: Does Thelema Posit A Value? (or Who is Enforcing the Law?)

Postby Gnosomai Emauton » Sat Dec 17, 2016 10:14 pm

I don't have any answers, necessarily. Just a few thoughts:

LD330 wrote:Why should you do your will in the first place?

Consider that it doesn't tell you to do your will, but rather that doing Thou's will is the whole of the Law. Thou, in Hebrew, is Ateh, the first word of the Qabalistic Cross, and all that that implies.

What does a person get out of it? (What value is being posited by doing one's will?)

I don't know that there is a value attached to it. It's simply a statement that doing Thou's will is all there is and that one has no right beyond doing that.

Is it possible to -not- do your will? Isn't everything you do, on some level, willed?

I would say that it is not possible not to do Thou's will. We may not understand the correlation at the time, but I tend to agree with the idea that everything is willed and, not only that, that everything we do is necessarily part of our own particular vector of Thou's Will which we label: "My True Will". Others tend to disagree with me. I have yet to have someone follow me all the way down the rabbit hole of that discussion to really hash it out, though.

Say I don't, or attempt not to, do my will. As this is said to be a law, who is enforcing the law and what happens if one does not follow the law?

I don't see it as possible to violate the Law any more than it's possible to violate the law of gravity. I see the Law as an expression of Sanathana Dharma, the eternal Law of cosmic order, the ever-present and unbroken net of cause/effect.


danica wrote:It's about experience, and about Action. Intellectualizing it to the point of "it's all the same" and "why bother" leads nowhere. (If it's really all the same to you, why bother living at all?)

I'd say that this captures the difference between different approaches to the same ends. Experience and Action embeds one more fully in the Universe until one becomes One with it (Karma & Hatha Yoga/Ceremonial Magic & Ordeals); Intellectualizing (and I'd add real meditation) simplifies the Universe until it resolves itself into One Thing that is No Thing (Jnana & Raja Yoga/Qabalah & the Sacred Magick).

I wouldn't necessarily correlate "it's all the same" with "why bother?"
Go in all ways contrary to the world.
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Re: Does Thelema Posit A Value? (or Who is Enforcing the Law?)

Postby LD330 » Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:59 am

Gnosomai Emauton wrote:I don't know that there is a value attached to it. It's simply a statement that doing Thou's will is all there is and that one has no right beyond doing that.

I think there has been an unspoken value implied in a lot of Thelemic works that would be valuable to point out, I'm still trying to formulate it fully in my head and writing. I was kind of going all Socrates here.

I would say that it is not possible not to do Thou's will. We may not understand the correlation at the time, but I tend to agree with the idea that everything is willed and, not only that, that everything we do is necessarily part of our own particular vector of Thou's Will which we label: "My True Will". Others tend to disagree with me. I have yet to have someone follow me all the way down the rabbit hole of that discussion to really hash it out, though.

I agree that it's Not Possible to go astray from your True Will. I liked the statement Aleister Crowley made about Napoleon: if it was Napoleon's True Will to conquer Europe, he would have done so.

It's like Kant's antinomy on Free Will vs. Determinism. You get to choose what you do, so you have free will. But then, you could say that you only got to choose what you do based on past circumstances: so you don't have free will.

I think the more general argument on why it's important to follow one's True Will, Danica's argument, is that if you do not do it, you are not in harmony with nature, and bad things tend to happen. This is explicit in the Book of the Law:

43. Let the Scarlet Woman beware! If pity and compassion and tenderness visit her heart; if she leave my work to toy with old sweetnesses; then shall my vengeance be known. I will slay me her child: I will alienate her heart: I will cast her out from men: as a shrinking and despised harlot shall she crawl through dusk wet streets, and die cold and an-hungered.

44. But let her raise herself in pride! Let her follow me in my way! Let her work the work of wickedness! Let her kill her heart! Let her be loud and adulterous! Let her be covered with jewels, and rich garments, and let her be shameless before all men!

danica wrote:It's about experience, and about Action. Intellectualizing it to the point of "it's all the same" and "why bother" leads nowhere. (If it's really all the same to you, why bother living at all?)

I don't know if philosophically you can wholesale discount suicide. I think the question of "Why bother living at all?" is a very important one to ask.
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Re: Does Thelema Posit A Value? (or Who is Enforcing the Law?)

Postby Hermitas » Mon Dec 19, 2016 1:19 pm

Value: Doing one's true Will vivifies and fulfills the doer while bettering humanity. The belief is that each living their own intrinsic nature to the fullest is ultimately best for everyone.

I think the question of whether we can depart from our true Will does get into that same old seeming paradox as mentioned above. I think the main practical issue, however, is being conscious of one's true Will. It is possible to be doing your Will (or being in a preparatory stage for a fuller expression of it) yet feel confused about whether you are on the right path, doing the right thing, etc., especially if you have powerful other voices shaming you or trying to convert you to another direction in life.
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Re: Does Thelema Posit A Value? (or Who is Enforcing the Law?)

Postby Hermitas » Mon Dec 19, 2016 1:22 pm

Who enforces the Law?

A: Reality. I think it's primarily karmic - action and "lawful" reaction.

B: Your unconscious mind recognizes and embraces the Law, giving it life.

My two
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Re: Does Thelema Posit A Value? (or Who is Enforcing the Law?)

Postby Gnosomai Emauton » Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:27 pm

LD330 wrote:I think the more general argument on why it's important to follow one's True Will, Danica's argument, is that if you do not do it, you are not in harmony with nature, and bad things tend to happen.


I was just reading through the New Comment on Liber L I.51 and ran across the following. It seemed like it belonged here:

Every star must calculate its own orbit. All is Will, and yet all is Necessity. To swerve is ultimately impossible; to seek to swerve is to suffer.
Go in all ways contrary to the world.
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Re: Does Thelema Posit A Value? (or Who is Enforcing the Law?)

Postby danica » Tue Dec 20, 2016 6:29 pm

:D Yesterday I started to watch this video of Jim's lecture Thelema as a Method: Putting the "DO" in "Do What Thou Wilt" (listened to the first half of it so far), goes pretty neat with the discussion in this thread!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SX9QyvkNlEc
"Write, & find ecstasy in writing! Work, & be our bed in working! Thrill with the joy of life & death! Ah! thy death shall be lovely: whoso seeth it shall be glad. Thy death shall be the seal of the promise of our age long love. Come! lift up thine heart & rejoice! We are one; we are none."
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Re: Does Thelema Posit A Value? (or Who is Enforcing the Law?)

Postby Jim Eshelman » Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:51 am

LD330 wrote:My questions are regarding the phrase "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law".

Why should you do your will in the first place? What does a person get out of it? (What value is being posited by doing one's will?)

Is it possible to -not- do your will? Isn't everything you do, on some level, willed?

I hate to sound like I'm trying to sell a book, but I really do think you should read my Pearls of Wisdom.

That aside, you're confusing what is commonly called "will-power" (energized personality application of choice fortified by disciplined) with what is meant by Will in the mysteries (divine momentum of the universe moving through you). If there were no other reason at all, it would be sufficient reason IMO to say, "It hurts less when you're trying to flow with immeasurable force flowing through you than when you try to fight it; and you're more effective and energy-efficient doing that, too."

It's entirely possible (and even commonplace) for a person "not to do their will." As a simple example, anytime you act in a way untrue to your real nature (which most people do several time before lunch) is "against your will." Also, even in your interpretation, having "some level" of being in alignment with Will is hardly the same as "doing your will." Liber L. says you have NO RIGHT - no right at all! - but to do your Will, meaning that all the scraps and parts that are NOT in alignment are "illegal." The Book also speaks of an ideal of Will being pure, purged of all the parts that are at odds with it.

Say I don't, or attempt not to, do my will. As this is said to be a law, who is enforcing the law and what happens if one does not follow the law?

The same "whoever it is" that enforces the law of gravity. The Law of Thelema is not a law in the sense of a regulation that someone has to enforce, but of a "law of nature" that is just stating the way things are.

So, ultimately, you're right: You can't disobey it any more than you can disobey the law of gravity. The requirement is to do it mindfully, knowingly, and purely - to become able to perceive and respond to the force of the universe moving impelling you through it, and align your conscious choices with this rather than place conscious choices at odds with it.
Love is the law, love under will.
Yours in L.V.X.,
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"Success is thy proof: argue not; convert not; talk not overmuch!" - CCXX 3:42
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Re: Does Thelema Posit A Value? (or Who is Enforcing the Law?)

Postby Ankh » Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:34 am

Quote JAE: "It hurts less when you're trying to flow with immeasurable force flowing through you than when you try to fight it; and you're more effective and energy-efficient doing that, too."

O.k. but what if your True Will is lame, is that a sign that it isn't your true will?
AL III,17: “Fear not at all; fear neither men nor Fates, nor gods, nor anything. Money fear not, nor laughter of the folk folly, nor any other power in heaven or upon the earth or under the earth. Nu is your refuge as Hadit your light; and I am the strength, force, vigour, of your arms.”
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Re: Does Thelema Posit A Value? (or Who is Enforcing the Law?)

Postby Jim Eshelman » Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:57 am

Ankh wrote:
Quote JAE: "It hurts less when you're trying to flow with immeasurable force flowing through you than when you try to fight it; and you're more effective and energy-efficient doing that, too."

O.k. but what if your True Will is lame, is that a sign that it isn't your true will?

Your True Will may look tame on the outside, but every one of us has the entire force of the universe primed to stream through us in one particular direction. The nature of what flows through you is never tame, even if the behavior it sponsors looks tame
Love is the law, love under will.
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Re: Does Thelema Posit A Value? (or Who is Enforcing the Law?)

Postby Middleman » Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:03 am

To me, it's been a slow dissolving of my personal will and excruciating loss of interest in the world as something much different is beginning to happen. It's an actual shift in identity. There seems to be a termination shock where there's nothing happening at all.
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Re: Does Thelema Posit A Value? (or Who is Enforcing the Law?)

Postby LD330 » Sun Jan 29, 2017 10:36 am

Jim Eshelman wrote:That aside, you're confusing what is commonly called "will-power" (energized personality application of choice fortified by disciplined) with what is meant by Will in the mysteries (divine momentum of the universe moving through you). If there were no other reason at all, it would be sufficient reason IMO to say, "It hurts less when you're trying to flow with immeasurable force flowing through you than when you try to fight it; and you're more effective and energy-efficient doing that, too."


I ended up getting Pearls of Wisdom last night and started reading it, especially the section on brain plasticity. That was more what I was going for with this thread. If we are able to change our brains ("deconditioning" ourselves) who is to say that it is necessary or even desirable to go along with our original impulses?

A couple of the Libers online seem to support this idea.

From Liber Jugorum: "(b) By some device, such as the changing of thy ring from one finger to another, create in thyself two personalities, the thoughts of one being within entirely different limits from that of the other, the common ground being the necessities of life.

For instance, let A be a man of strong passions, skilled in the Holy Qabalah, a vegetarian, and a keen “reactionary” politician. Let B be a bloodless and ascetic thinker, occupied with business and family cares, an eater of meat, and a keen progressive politician. Let no thought proper to “A” arise when the ring is on the “B” finger, and vice versa."

From Liber Astarte: "41. Conclusions from the foregoing. It may then be suggested to the Philosophus, that although his work will be harder his reward will be greater if he choose a Deity most remote from his own nature. This method is harder and higher than that of Liber E. For a simple object as there suggested is of the same nature as the commonest things of life, while even the meanest Deity is beyond uninitiated human understanding. On the same plane, too, Venus is nearer to man than Aphrodite, Aphrodite than Isis, Isis than Babalon, Babalon than Nuit."

Granted this may be an A.'.A.'. versus Thelema conflation.

But how does the True Will relate to conditioning and deconditioning? Can the True Will itself be deconditioned?

Ankh wrote:O.k. but what if your True Will is lame, is that a sign that it isn't your true will?


Haha yeah I was thinking the same thing.
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