Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
This being election day in the US, and no less a speech-garbler than Chuck Norris having warned us all of a thousand years of darkness if Obama goes back into the White House (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ud3pK5Wa90), I feel moved to muse today on apocalyptic thoughts. In my twenties, I believed quite literally that the world would end before the end of the 20th Century, and although I abandoned that idea over time, it’s quite plain that what we have always thought of as the world – western dominated, and largely manageable (from a western perspective) – is changing with immense rapidity.
I’ve written previously about my conviction that seeing anything in The Book of the Law as literal prophecy is a bad idea. “The Book of the Law is Written and Concealed,” we’re told right at its end, and I’ve always taken that to imply its meanings are to be teased out as Qabalistic riddles that slowly reveal themselves to the sincere aspirant. But the final chapter clearly depicts a situation where there is immense upheaval on both spiritual and physical levels. A glance at the news shows the latter is happening with increasing intensity, and whoever is in the White House next year can’t do a lot to change that. And while it’s possible to shut ourselves up inside a dogma, increasingly that’s not an option either. To quote Leonard Cohen, from a prescient interview he gave all of 20 years ago, speaking of his song Closing Time, “The catastrophe has taken place. Don’t wait around for it, you know. So, what is the proper behaviour, what is the appropriate behaviour in a catastrophe when you’re holding on to your orange crate and the other guy’s floating by and you’re holding on to this broken flag staff. What do you do? You say, I’m Conservative? I’m Liberal? I’m pro-abortion? I’m against it? It seems to be completely inappropriate to the gravity of the situation.”
I have a theory – no more than that – that what I wrote about yesterday, the “something that seems to resemble the scary Freudian superego, or (modern heresy of modern heresies), a metaphysical idea,” is in fact being felt around the world, as the Aeon of Horus increasingly impinges on human consciousness. For most people, it produces either a stalwart, even desperate, rejection of the concept of a higher being, or more commonly, activation of religious feelings from within the culture in which they were raised. That is, it stimulates the foundations of the psyche without awareness of what’s occurring being clearly available to the stimulees.
Thus, Chuck and his lovely wife Gena have become Christian pitch-persons, as many people in the Middle East, Asia and Africa have taken up their ancestral Islamic beliefs with militant fervour. When I first read about Hinduism decades ago, and its sense of the unity of all things and all gods, the very notion of ‘Hindu nationalism’ would have seemed absurd, but today that’s a big movement. Russian Orthodoxy, marginalised for 70 or 80 years under the communists, has made a huge comeback in its native land.
And so on. You get the picture.
My theory posits that no-one can nor will “win” the predicted religious or cultural or Clash of Civilisations conflicts. What is being contested is not what seems to be the case, but is rather a massive inner conflict being projected out onto a world where good and bad then take on towering but delusory significance. How long it will go on, I’ve no clear idea, but I tell you, stocking up on canned goods and candles to last through it all would require an infusion of capital into your bank account equal to Mitt Romney’s tax exemptions. It’s gonna be a long haul.
Now, at the same time, there is also an increasing push occurring for the rights of the individual. Copts are pushing back against Islamist bullying in Egypt, Syrians are pushing back against brutality by their masters in Damascus and elsewhere in their country, and Chinese people are demanding more accountability from their overlords. It’s slow, spotty, and often ineffectual or counter-productive – a two steps forward, one-and-three-quarters back type of thing – but it is happening. However, formal political structures everywhere are largely incapable of adapting to the shift, and will become still more irrelevant as time goes by.
I admit I cannot positively envisage the form things will take in the decade to come, assuming I’m around to see the outcome. I don’t know what role specifically Thelemic fraternities and organisations will play in it, but on the surface, not very much. Their job is to ensure their own members are attaining to a broader and deeper consciousness, rather than to push directly for political and social changes they lack the numbers to produce. Quite how such subtle shifts in consciousness levels affect the dynamics of a body politic I can’t speculate, other than to say it’s subtle, and would rarely be outwardly acknowledged. Those helping bring about the shift will themselves be largely unaware of the effects they have.
But bit by bit, individual by individual, the Thelemic paradigm is establishing itself, and often in ways and places where it would be least suspected. We may even see less appreciation of it in western countries than elsewhere, not more, as time rolls on.
So, whatever the results of the US contest that are announced late tonight or early tomorrow, and whatever occurs when the country faces (or refuses to face) that oddly overlooked ‘fiscal cliff’ that arrives on December 31, the change continues. It will often be hard to spot, and hard even to believe in. But somehow, I think the logic of history, to borrow a Marxist phrase, is on our side, not Chuck’s.
Love is the law, love under will,