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Esoteric Religious Authority

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.thelema,alt.pagan.magick,talk.religion.misc
From: 333 
Subject: Esoteric Religious Authority 
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 23:45:40 GMT

50030617 VIII om 2006Piscean Age

#># [Your] point about Thelema being a product (at least partially) 
#># of Egyptomania is well-taken. But in and of itself, it doesn't 
#># decide the value or lack thereof of Thelema.
#> What decides that value?

# the individual. for themselves. the elect are self-chosen.

on the topic of the elect, here's something that I sent off to an
email list on the topic of late, for your comment/dismissal:


>>> The secret chiefs I assume?  And you can speak for them 
>>> upon what authority?  

outside a common reference frame, authority is meaningless
excepting the ability to manipulate the physical world and
convince other humans (by right of birth, position, and
skill) that we are due whatever authority we desire.

authority therefore has several levels depending upon the
common context presumed. inside systems where Secret Chiefs
obtain, authority runs in 2 main streams:

A --    * that based on convivial endurance

		social skills and duration of affiliation
                determine one's authority; 'who one knows'

		this one is inherited by most orders and
		serves as inspiration for the making of
		such societies (because in effect one is
		also making one's authority);

	establishing it amongst people who do not know
	one another is achieved by recitation of one's
	affiliations and position with respect to groups
	of which one is a member

	"I am a X' in the OTO"
	"I have ascended to the 33rd Degree of Masonry"
	"I am a Lieutenant General in the US Army";
	"I am an Adeptus Exemptus in the A.'.A.'."

B --    * that based on persuasive demeanor

		expressive skills and convincing manner
		determine one's authority; 'what one knows'

		this one is inherited by certain individuals
		and serves to underscore by deception the
		promise of affiliation with any societies
		such individuals may seek to create (i.e.
		if one affiliates one will acquire skills
		which by and large are genetic and cannot
		actually be acquired).

	amongst people who do not know one another, this
	is probably the most effective means of achieving
	the status of authority, and is a route that may
	be taken which bypasses societal submission. this
	post is an example of the adept use of language
	to persuade, using formatting, vocabulary, and the
	reflective knowledge which comes from philosophy.
	the state of consciousness from which it originates
	may be inferred by the reader within the system 
	of knowledge which she has accepted (ignoring or
	giving weight to expressive skill).

C -- are there really any more than this? Absolute Position?

>>> If we're going to leave the whole matter up to an 
>>> invisible body that only a few people can speak 
>>> with, count me the fuck out.  

that is, if one requires that you agree that the agents
with whom one is consulting, in order to secure the first
type of authority, be selective and nonphysical, then
you refuse that common agreement (meaning that you would
prefer the fallback physical authority into which we are
all born). this is very sensible as long as you are not
one of the elite who has established a connection with
said invisible body, or you have not convinced of the 
importance of a relation with individuals who have 
already done so.

>>> There is a Xtrian Catholic church right across the 
>>> street I can join if I want to get tangled up with 
>>> that nonsensical BS.

it is only nonsensical as long as you either fail to
study the matter or as you disbelieve the ontological
premises from which individuals wrapped up in that
particular drama proceed. without a stipulated system
you would prefer, you may fall back on materialism 
(which is a very rational selection without some kind of
manipulable metaphysical structure giving it substance).
>> It is the duty of every serious adept to forge his
>> or her own link with such a body, should it exist, 
>> upon the authority of his or her own experience.

adepts are those who have arrived. that is, the notion
of adeptship is that they have *already* forged that
link. rather, I would say that it is the duty of 
every serious *aspirant* to forge such a link. your
premise "should it exist" is what the poster below
ignores or overlooks in their response.
> The duty of the adept is debatable.  

typically the duty of the adept is discovered upon the
arrival of adeptship. it is, to the adept, not debatable,
even if it is not intellectually apprehensible (because
the adept is oriented with respect to power).

> The question of whether or not the body exists is 
> debatable. 

this depends entirely upon the knower apprehending the
data. it may be debatable in a forum such as an email
list like Thelema93-L or a usenet newsgroup like 
alt.magick, which it should be, but within certain social 
settings and in the resolved mentality achieved by 
certain people, the matter has already been decided.

> The authority of experience is debatable.  

not amongst those using the Method of Science. 
absent experience (and the perception of that 
sensation) there is no authority possible. the
question of the relative emphasis given over to
experience in comparison with other things (logic,
critical thinking, philosophy, etc.) seems to be
to what you are pointing, and yet in the world 
of mysticism, experience tends to be primary as a 
focal source of authority (e.g. experience of the
divine, cosmic authority, meditative depth, etc.)
especially outside social structures propping standards.

> Couldnt we cut some of this out for the sake of 
> not looking like fools ...[?]

that's what the establishment of knowledge does.
common premises from which to proceed in the
establishment of knowledge are usually the start
of societal relations in avoiding the appearance
of ignorance, even if nothing substantial actually
changes. that is, knowledge and social authority (A)
may be completely a fabrication of the mind, whereas
insight into the real world and persuasive authority (B), 
or definitive relations to ontological power (C?),
are more supportable and demonstrable.

for this reason the bulk of occultism and mysticism
may easily be disregarded as fantasy and role-playing,
while those who manipulate it ('game-masters' if you
like, or in the parlance of the esoteric, Adepti or Magi) 
could be described as rising from the plane of folly. 

where the mind is conditioned through adoption of 
knowledge without relation to the real (accepting 
mysterious invisible authorities who only contact an elite 
group and a metaphysics which displays fanciful conjecture
but cannot be tested or confirmed in any way), its
construction and usage depends upon the actual skills
of communication and manipulation of physical objects.

in this manner, those most likely to become authorities
within occult and mystical societies are those who are
particularly endowed with expressive skill, such as
writers, lecturers and actors, or those who are wealthy
and have sufficient influence so as to veil the farce.

their participation in organized bodies (enduring and
displaying their authority through accumulation of the
various passwords and badges provided to the enduring)
typically restricts their influence to the domain
of their involvement, while others with authority of
the type demonstrated by expressive skill may present
the password of skill to those susceptible to persuasion 
rather than requiring evidence of conformity.


>> ...who are the "company of the elect", 

those selected by authority to represent it. if you are
asking us to identify them for you, then there are two
rational alternatives for consideration, corresponding
to the authority structures I laid out immediately above:

	A -- organized groups surrounding themselves 
	     with the appearance of a power or 
	     authority that they obviously believe 
	     that they wield on behalf of or as
	     some kind of representative of power.

these may be occulted (secret) or visible (available to

	B -- individuals identifying with mystical
	     networks of cooperating autonomous zones
	     of power they believe they have been
	     delegated by greater authority of that
	     which they have developed themselves.

these may be humble (withdrawn or reserving identity
for those who require confirmation in order to achieve
mutual goals) or outspoken (thus open to inspection).

examining those available for inspection will require 
knowledge of the authority in question or inferences 
based thereon. it may also require involvement in the
operations of the social or personal activities with
which such individuals occupy their time.
>> what does "elect" mean, 

chosen or selected. basically a winnowing of those
who are important from those who are less so.

>> and if they are the people who went through their ordeals, 
>> and came up from their own sort of grave like that 
>> proverbial weed, did their egos get purified, or what?  

granted the reality and substance of egos such that they may 
be 'purified', ordeals are not usually the means by which such
purification is attained. typically ordeals are gateways by
which those who have already attained purity are allowed to
enter contained environments or accept social responsibilities.

>> if so, what is the deal?

granted the special case of ordeals serving this purifying
function, this would mean that they are correctly designed
for the purpose of providing both inspiration (in order to
persist and not be stopped by the barrier) and restriction
(for the purposes of discipline that facilitates purity).

> ...the "elect" are those who are engaged in the pursuit 
> of the IDEAL....

only where pursuing ideals is the criteria for selection.
this is certainly important to many occult and mystical
societies which maintain as their premise the reality of
ideals and complicated achievement methods by which the
successes may become known. for example, in India there is
a heavy emphasis placed on asceticism as a criteria for
spiritual attainment. the elect within such contexts will
only be identified as someone without apparent physical
dominion or relation (a mendicant).

other criteria for identification of the elect may include 
birthright (as with monarchs) and loyalty to Cosmically-
Important People such as the divine, the child of the 
divine, etc. (e.g. the 'Community of the Bench' who are
the kin of Muhammad).
>> suppose you're someone who has starved for community/group 
>> acceptance for a long time, yo[u] finally get there, to find 
>> that they're not upholding those ideals you "signed up" for.  

this is a very common complaint (hypocrisy).

>> what does one do?  

that depends on how rational one is. :> after all, there are
more variables here than you are describing, including the
perception of whether these ideals are being upheld, without
mentioning the perception that one 'has finally got there'.
the ideals might really be upheld, but I can't see it. there
might be still greater distances I must traverse before I
can be accurate when estimating my arrival.

>> does one risk getting kicked out for not kissing ass and 
>> going with the flow? 

if the ideals of the organization include kissing ass 
and going with the flow, then getting kicked out for not 
conforming to these ideals will benefit all concerned
if I don't want to conform. 

if hypocrisy is rampant, then the choice one is faced
with is whether compromise and an attempt to revivify
the societal structure is more important than defiant
confrontation ('calling them on their shit' regardless
of the consequences). only the individual can decide
what is the best course based on the circumstances.

>> or does one just go with the flow giving up one's will 
>> and individuality?

it might not necessarily be true that going with the
flow *means* giving up one's will and individuality.
participation in society tends to include cooperation,
but that doesn't mean losing individuality or volition
except in the most extreme interpretation of these terms.
the most obvious evidence of individuality is NONconformity,
which, when issued across the boards, is incompatible with 
most groups. that for volition is noticeable achievement, 
which may be compatible if the achievement is absorbable 
as part of the society's ideals and practices.

> ...A Thelemic IDEAL would be that to stay [ingratiated]
> a member had to be a self-reliant individual....

and capable of cooperation with any qualifying group
activities or standards. self-reliance on its own is a
valiant Thelemic ideal, but there is usually a premise
for the existence of the organization establishing
membership, as well as criteria for maintaining it
which pertains to member interaction (including such
things as cordiality, abiding agreements, etc.).

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