The Method of Science

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The Method of Science

Postby Gnosomai Emauton » Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:24 pm

tl;dr Los's description of losing his religion stands as a vivid example of the dangers of practicing Old Aeon-style magic without the checks and balances of Scientific Illuminism. Also... hashish.


I've debated for awhile whether or not to post the following. After all, why not just let sleeping dog-faced demons lie? But I keep coming up against the fact that, if the past year or so was indeed an experiment, then it's useless without analysis. The following is one attempt at analysis of one specific factor of the experiment, submitted for peer review (or peer ignore :D ).


As he was on his way out the door a few weeks back, Los fired off a few parting shots that highlight the importance of maintaining a scientific attitude when approaching studies of the mind, consciousness, the occult, magick, etc.

In the thread that acted as a catalyst for his departure (viewtopic.php?f=4&t=13584), he wrote:

Los wrote:One of the reasons I don’t believe in this stuff anymore is that I wised up and realized that daydreams and subjectively trusting how it all feels to me doesn’t demonstrate the actual existence of "powers" or "other worlds."

To which I responded:

Gnosomai Emauton wrote:How did you go about "wising up"? What was your process of "realization"?

I ask because, to me this reads as one of two possibilities:

a) After a long period of "believing" certain things, you were not able to manifest results and so you determined that results are not manifestable. This is logically sound but does beg the question as to your actual work. What did "believing" involve for you? What sort of training did you engage in to develop the skills necessary to manifest results? How much time did you commit? Of what quality was that time? Do you have a record of your work that shows a sustained concerted effort?

b) After a long period of "believing" certain things, nobody else was able to demonstrate results for you and so, due to a lack of outside evidence, you gave up the hunt. This is not logically sound as it relies on a negative proof. You would be supported in a turn to skepticism. It does not, however, support your position of incredulity.

I realize your response to the latter (as often stated here on the forum) is that you remain open to proof but that none has been forthcoming. The thing is, that's your burden, not ours. This is Thelema. It is the responsibility of every individual to do their own work and find their own answers. You are allowed to believe whatever you like but, if you hope to convince anybody else that your beliefs are, in fact, truths... you need experiential evidence from which to begin your argument, not logical discourse growing out of an argument from silence.

If you are unwilling to show your work and present a convincing case that you engaged fully in the practices as passed down through unbroken lines from ancient wisdom to develop your own super-normal abilities and were unable to manifest results, then there isn't really a starting place.


Shortly thereafter, I received a PM from him providing the answers that I had requested. I'm not in the habit of sharing the contents of private communication but, since he did then turn his side of the discussion into a blog post, you can check it out at (http://thelema-and-skepticism.blogspot. ... alist.html).

As you might notice, he ignores everything from "b)" onward in his reply so that he can paint my contribution to the discussion as "classic believer script 'you aren't doin' it right'", about which he conveniently already has a blog post written. Even his gloss of possibility "a)" skips over the relevant questions. It's the typical Lossian Straw Man that we've all come to expect around these parts.

His extended answer, however, highlights a deeper failing in his process of intellectual maturation that should act as a warning to anyone focusing their energies on studying the occult arts.

In answering my question, "How did you go about 'wising up'? What was your process of 'realization'?", he finally provides some insight into the Los of yore, proto-Los if you will, who once upon a time was--dare I say it--a "believer". This proto-Los appears to have tried every tool in the toolbox: Enochian scrying and invocation, charging talismans, invoking deities, banishing, consecration... He threw all the spaghetti at the wall and, contrary to my assumptions, he got results, too. He had conversations with angels that he could see and he "got a lot of the things [he] asked the angels for." At least in his imagination. Current Los isn't quite willing to admit that proto-Los actually, honestly, truly believed all of this. But he was 93% of the way there.

Despite all of this work and seeming success--several years of it to be... um... precise?--there is one major flaw that jumps out immediately: there appears to be absolutely no method to this madness. He claims that he "didn't just jump into these practices, [he] spent a substantial period of that time performing the basics," but what exactly is a substantial period of time? What are his basics? He performed the Star Ruby "a boatload" but is that a Titanic or a canoe? "Liber-E type exercises"? What are they? Liber E provides a very specific regimen of training to build a solid foundation. Did he test out on all seven chapters or was he just kinda sorta doing something like what was in there? In other words, was his Temple actually in full working order?

To the outside observer, this might seem a bit pedantic: a question of semantics. But it is exactly this sort of specificity that Aleister Crowley saw as fundamental when he began developing a workable system of Magick from the ashes of the failed traditions of the past. It is for this reason that the first part of Liber E is dedicated solely to the practice of the detailed Magical Record. It is then followed up with the above-mentioned series of training exercises in Physical Clairvoyance, Asana, Pranayama, Dharana, Physical Limitations, and Reading capped off with one more exhortation: "As at the beginning, so at the end, we here insist upon the vital importance of the written record as the only possible check upon error derived from the various qualities of the experimenter." These exercises are not focused on producing results or manifesting "supernatural mumbo jumbo". They are focused on training the body and mind to comply with the directing power of will. Without mastering these--and their sister practices in Liber O--it is not surprising that one would be unprepared to confront the phenomena produced by Enochian invocation and talisman charging with the balanced, analytical mind of the scientist.

When Los claims that he "thought they were true because [he] thought [he] was personally experiencing "results" from them," my justified response is the one that he sarcastically put in my mouth: "You aren't doin' it right." He was doin' it like a magician of the Golden Dawn. He was violating the oft mis-quoted exordium from Liber O:
The student, if he attain to success in the following practices, will find himself confronted by things (ideas or beings) too glorious or too dreadful to be described. It is essential that he remain the master of all that he beholds, hears or conceives; otherwise he will be the slave of illusion, and the prey of madness.
...
There is little danger that any student, however idle or stupid, will fail to get some result; but there is great danger that he will be led astray, obsessed and overwhelmed by his results, even though it be by those which it is necessary that he should attain. Too often, moreover, he mistaketh the first resting-place for the goal, and taketh off his armour as if he were a victor ere the fight is well begun.
It is desirable that the student should never attach to any result the importance which it at first seems to possess.
...
By doing certain things, certain results will follow; students are earnestly warned against attributing objective reality or philosophical validity to any of them.

This does not say that these results do not have objective reality or philosophical validity, merely that the student, in the early years of her practice (i.e. those spent mastering the techniques of Libri E & O) is not yet developed enough to make the distinction. If proto-Los only practiced for "several years", one wonders if he had yet mastered his machine completely enough to move beyond these safeties and start "believing". It's unfortunate that there isn't a more detailed record from the time to evaluate. His present-day description, though, all but confirms that he became the "slave of illusion": "I told myself all kinds of silly lies and platitudes to keep up the fun game playing."

This attitude provides a very clear explanation of present-day Los's driving need to go after the "looney toons" at the "Fruitcake Factory". Because his method was so slip-shod, he assumes that every so-called magician is likewise picking up the books, doing the practices, and believing in the results. The sort of plug-and-play ritual that he and some of his hangers-on decry as an epidemic amongst the magically-minded. His own failure has turned into his nemesis, a dog-faced demon that he must eradicate from the world in order to conquer his own lost past. Freud would have a field day.

The thing is, in many cases, Los is not incorrect. There certainly are a large number of magicians and occultists and new agers and dilettantes out there who believe in certain things without evidence. Those who mix up potions from some dime-store recipe or give psychic readings without tabulating results or perform ceremonial rituals by rote. In attacking these, I have no doubt that Crowley would sidle right up to Los in calling out "People who produce maudlin and hysterical gush, inane sentimentality, who are faddists, fools, drivellers, dodderers..." (The Psychology of Hashish, Equinox I.ii, p.87). Crowley, however, would do it with the intention of motivating those with the potential toward practicing a scientific method in their studies, not toward dismissing the subject altogether. Again, from The Psychology of Hashish, pp. 53-4:
[T]he masters of meditation have erred. They have attained the Mystic Vision, written long books about it, assumed that the conclusions drawn from their vision were true on other planes... never noted possible sources of error, fallen foul of sense and science, dropped into oblivion and deserved contempt.
I want to combine the methods, to check the old empirical mysticism by the precision of modern science.
...
I assert--more or less ex cathedra--that meditation will revolutionise our conception of the universe, just as the microscope has done.
Then my friend the physiologist remarks:
'But if you disturb the observing faculty with drugs and a special mental training, your results will be invalid.'
And I reply:
'But if you disturb the observing faculty with lenses and a special mental training, your results will be invalid.'
And he smiles gently:
'Patient experiment will prove to you that the microscope is reliable.'
And I smile gently:
'Patient experiment will prove to you that meditation is reliable.'
So there we are.


Temple of Thelema, as I understand it, acts as the gateway for those who are looking for guidance in applying a scientific method to their search for religion. There are a million and one ways to become interested in the subject matter but very few legitimate guides towards studying it profitably. Given that purpose, it should be expected that there will be posts on these boards that are perhaps not yet up to snuff in the areas of self-observation and evaluation. There will be those that are off-the-wall bonkers and those that are unexpectedly insightful, if not yet provable. Regardless, the guiding force that I've seen around these parts--and the reason why I stick around--is one of education and guidance towards that impartial self-observation that is fundamental for useful occult study.

Without that discipline and rigorous record-keeping, the student will one day find herself at the crossroads that proto-Los approached a decade ago. She will "[want] to be sure that these beliefs [are] actually accurate and not just some security blanket to make [her] feel better." If she had kept a detailed and accurate record, she'd have several years worth of data to peruse and compare. If that didn't answer her questions outright, it would at least give her direction towards specific experiments she could run to test her hypotheses. If she had found herself a guru in her time of study--as strongly recommended by Liber E--she would also have another set of eyes that could look over her work and point out blind spots that she had missed. She'd have the strength of the scientific method to support her conclusions.

Without a reliable record, it's very likely that she'll fall down the pit that proto-Los descended. Instead of testing the validity of his own scientific work, he chose to look at the world around him and draw conclusions from what he saw there. And what he saw--holding the mirror up to nature--was "how incredibly common self-delusion is, particularly in 'spiritual' matters." He examined the history and practice of religion and saw a plethora of contradiction and disorder. He looked at other people and took them as his metric. He ignored himself. He saw that others had "personal experience" of God, he saw those examples to be unsupported by reality and, by the transitive property of reptilian thinking, applied that stupidity to his own several years work.

In other words, he discovered what any high school student should have realized by the end of her first semesters of world history and psych 101: world religions are messed up and self-delusion is easy.

The sloppiness of his "reasoning" at the time still permeates his current description of it: "Lots of people think they can work magic... stuff that probably would have just happened on its own anyway... People attribute... nearly everyone is deluding themselves... every one of these people is accepting claims supported by insufficient evidence." No specifics. No reliable data. Just empty generalizations derived from his fears of religiosity. This naturally spun him down the maelstrom towards "Irrational beliefs lead to terrible consequences." His Pillar of Justice overbalanced his Pillar of Mercy and knocked any sort of reasoned equilibrium out from under him. He grasped onto analogy and circular logic, ignoring completely any of the actual data he had accumulated over several years of concentrated effort, likely because none of that data had been usefully recorded.

Crowley would have laughed this joker out of contention before reaching the end of his application.

So why do I bring this up now that Los has moved on to greener pastures? Why poke the hornet's nest? The one positive that was noted here and there during Los's time among us was that his constant attack on weaker positions improved the level of thinking about these matters across the board. Just because he was arguing from a place unsupported by recorded data doesn't mean that his presence didn't force us to be more on our game. Buried deep in that axe that he constantly felt the need to grind was an important truth, the source of which is finally apparent: Belief without reason is a dangerous pitfall for which one needs always to be on the lookout.

Beliefs can be chosen for certain work, beliefs can be held when one trusts their source, and beliefs can be discarded when their usefulness has passed. However, one should always have the data of work accomplished or the ability to design new experiments to test those beliefs in order to protect against the fascination and illusion that knocked proto-Los off his hobby horse. This core guideline is something that has and will continue to guide my own work.

It is also something that I hope to guide my responses to posters who start coming back out of the woodwork, making fantastical claims without rigorous testing. Unlike Los, I do not disbelieve anything outright. I do not feel the need to lash out with the Emperor's sword at any and every seeker who hasn't attained a balanced place of thinking. But the Hierophant is a useless teacher if he refrains from correction in deference to belief. If something outside of my experience is going to effect my thinking, I'll want to see the data first. If there is no data, I'm likely to suggest that data be collected. I'd like to think that others would expect the same from me.

ESP, levitation, invisibility, transmutation, goblins... these are all things with which I have no personal experience. In fact, the extent of what might be called "results" that I have personally experienced is limited to one full ceremonial ritual, one observed exorcism, one experience of spontaneous willed protection, several hands-on healings, and a growing facility for divination. I don't "believe" in any of them. I don't "disbelieve" any of them either. I did certain things. Certain results followed. I recorded both. In time, repeated success might push me toward accepting that what I'm doing is causing the results. In time, an unremarkable mixture of "success" and "failure" might push me toward accepting that what I'm doing is not causing the results. In the process of my work, there have and will be times when I willingly "believe" something for a period of time in order to test its effect on me. This is the method of science. Create a hypothesis, something that has never been tested before. Design an experiment to test that hypothesis. Run the experiment multiple times with sufficient controls in place to guard against bias. Record all results. Analyze the data. Adjust as necessary.

This is how we advance the world and assist in humankind's evolution. Not by generalizing the false to overshadow the truth but by proving the true in order to destroy the false; by rehabilitating "religion" from the uneducated tribalism of its mindless followers to the individualized pursuit of Self and Truth.

In closing, I'd like to turn the floor over once again to The Psychology of Hashish on the necessity of scientific self-observation. The "gentlemen" to whom it is directed could easily be the Los crowd of a century ago: proto-proto-Los. (I trust the illustrious Oliver Haddoo will forgive me for removing his one bit of antiquated and unnecessary misogyny):

Here, gentlemen, are a number of genuine mystic states; some home-grown, some imported. Please tell us what they are! (You are fond of telling us what things are.)

It is useless to label the whole lot as insane: nor are they unimportant.

In my view, most of the great men of the world have known them; themselves attributed their greatness to these experiences, and I really do not see why admittedly lesser men should contradict them. I hope to argue this point at greater length when I am better documented; but at the very least, these states are of the most extraordinary interest. Even as insanities, they would demand the strictest investigation from the light they throw upon the working of the brain. But as it is! All the sacred literature of the world is full of them; all the art and poetry of all time is inspired by them; and, by the Lord Harry! we know nothing about them. Nothing but what vague and troubled reflections the minds of the mystics themselves, untrained in accuracy of observation, bring back from the fountains of light; nothing but what quacks exploit, and dotards drivel of.
...
One single trained observer with five years' work, less money than would build a bakehouse, and no more help than his dozen of volunteer students could give him, would earn himself a fame loftier than the stars, and set mankind on the royal road to the solution of the One great problem. Scientific Illuminism would have deserved its name, or mysticism would have received a blow which would save another young fool like myself from wasting his whole life on so senseless a study and enable him to engage in the nobler career of cheating and duping his fellows in the accredited spheres of commerce and politics, to say nothing of the grosser knaveries of the liberal professions.

But I have no doubts. Let the investigator study his own brain on the lines I have laid down, possibly in the first place with the aid of hashish or some better physical expedient, to overcome the dull scepticism which is begotten of idleness upon ignorance; it is useless to study the no-brain of another, on the strength of a reputation for fraud, as the spiritualist investigators seem to do. Your own brain is the best; next, the trained and vigorous brains of clever and educated men, in perfect health, honest and wary.

You will get more from them than you will from some maudlin hysteric professional mountebank. All talk to the contrary is the merest froth; Mohammed was a great lawgiver and a great fighter; try your experiment with the sane, and not with the crazy!

True, you will get hallucinations more easily with the unsound; but you will never, never, never find a... degenerate who is capable of any trance of type higher than Vedana. Take my word for it!

No! take my word for nothing: try all things; hold fast that which is good!


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Re: The Method of Science

Postby Faust » Wed Jul 02, 2014 4:59 pm

Gnosomai, allow me to praise your post not only for the quality of your insight on the matter of analyses of experience but also in your ability to observe the emotional environment that breeds the wrong understanding of intellectual concepts (not only the concept of science and skepticism but also magick and religion).

This is the working of empathy, that can shed light not only through other people reactivity and defense mechanisms but also through or own.
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Re: The Method of Science

Postby Takamba » Wed Jul 02, 2014 5:16 pm

A great deal of your statement, as was the case from Los, involves the notion of "belief" and "believing." Fortunately it really seemed to me in the context of Los's presence here at the time that it was never even hinted that anyone was "doing it wrong" or even that the practices themselves where the wrong practices. Yes, there was an indication at a time that Los was going to invent knew practices as if some of the ones in the Thelemic lexicon of practices may be non-essential or misleading; but it never did quite get there in my opinion. The core of the issue was about "believing." From the very beginning issuance of "goblins" to the very end concept of "attainment," the "debate" was about the power of believing something - and from a certain point of view, in believing in something patently false.

Several times I tried pointing out that indeed it was always about the power of believing, and not important whether the thing believed be material reality or something superior and even merely convenience; if it produced the results desired, it produced the results desired and was worth repeating to test the validity of the belief. That isn't to say that the validity of the belief was to be determined for everyone, or that it would be a belief that was going to manage results for ever; but that at the time the magician found his belief in a certain goblin or spook or point of view about his cosmology, it was producing the results desired and that others would likely have some measure of success (tweaking the belief or point of view to their own ingenium as needed) and could follow.

The argument is valid that becoming too dogmatic about these "points of view" that an individual can attain to / create / devise at will is a dangerous track. I find it ironic that Los (and those who might wish to mimic him) indeed fall into that very said trap with their belief of "attainment" to what they now dogmatically hold to as "the valid result" from the "accurate belief in non-believing."

Great post. This should be an interesting thread if it stays on its rails.
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Re: The Method of Science

Postby gurugeorge » Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:41 am

To be scientific, I think one has to realize that a "result" can mean one of two things - either an objective result or a subjective result. (Side note: I agree with the OP that Crowley's admonitions earnestly warning one not to attribute objective validity are specially relevant to the beginner for whom Liber E and Liber O are designed, although it's an attitude it's important to have in one's arsenal all the time too. Remember Brother Onofrio in Moonchild, a respected Brother, Adeptus Major, who was extraordinariliy good at Magick strictly so-called, yet at the same time "ready to throw the whole thing over with a horse-laugh".)

Either you only seem to be perceiving Bartzabel, or you both seem to be and really are perceiving Bartzabel.

But this is the same for all experience - essentially it doesn't matter whether it's an experience of tying your shoelaces or an experience of Bartzabel. Philosophically speaking, what one starts with out of one's own resources is simply a bunch of seemings-to-be, a bunch of appears-to-be-s. To become objective, to be rightly-callable "is-es", they need to be triangulated with other peoples' seemings, and when different peoples' seemings fit together, then that's conventionally what's called "objective". But even then, that's no absolute guarantee of objectivity in an ideal sense, it's just the best stab we can make at it.

However, this confirmation by others, correction by others, triangulation with others (and the mirror possibility of others' correction by your experiments) is what's properly called scientific.

IOW the scientific method is a social process. For example, the Magical Record isn't just for you, it's also for your Teacher, and for other investigators to check (to see if their experiences tally with yours).

If you remain only within your own subjective sphere, and try to attain certainty out of your own resources only (i.e. take the Cartesian starting point of "what can I know for certain, purely out of my own resources?") then you're really just playing a game of solitaire, whereas science is a game played with other entities you already accept exist objectively (you don't need to prove they exist).

In fact, all you can know for certain out of your own resources is something like, "I seem to exist and I seem to be experiencing x,y,z, and the existence or occurrence of this seeming, is all I know for certain exists". Which is pretty thin gruel. But it's unsurprising that it's thin if you look at the sense in which "seeming" or "appearance" have context in ordinary language - for seemings are always potentially open to correction and to triangulation with others ("hey, do you see what I see?"), and as I said above, its the non-contradiction of one's private seemings with others' reported seemings that conventionally warrants turning propositions expressing those seemings into propositions expressing actual existence. It's in the context of that triangulation that words like "certainty", "knowledge", "perception" actually have meaning.

(In fact, ironically, if you stick purely to the Cartesian starting point, even calling what you have a "seeming" or "appearance" (or "illusion" for that matter) isn't right, because to meaningfully call it a "seeming" or "appearance" would be to take the public language meaning, but in the Cartesian fly-bottle, strictly-speaking, you can't even allow yourself that meaning. So you end up with "ungh exists", or just an inarticulate "ungh", or just silence - why bother even saying anything?)

That turned out a bit rambly, with too many italicized words, but I hope it contains a few illuminating tidbits for somebody out there. The main thing I wanted was just to emphasise the essentially social nature of scentific knowledge. It's not solitaire (and one can't believe one is playing solitaire when one is doing science).
********

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Re: The Method of Science

Postby Al-Shariyf » Thu Jul 03, 2014 7:14 am

Guru,

I got what you wrote. Very well said. It made a difference for me.

Gno,
Great catch and even greater post. I checked out his post and I had a hard time determining the intention of his training and development. Wonder how things would have turned out for him if he worked inside of the confines of a "working" order like the A.'.A.'. or T.'.O.'.T. Seems like he'd do really well. But who knows.
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Re: The Method of Science

Postby Uni_Verse » Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:39 am

...And the Madness Takes Hold (Part I)
----------------------------------------------
(may have spelling errors, did not look it up, written from memory)

Sung :
"Above the gemed azure is the naked splendor of Nuit
She bends in ecstasy to kiss the secret ardors of Hadit
The winged globe, the starry blue -
Are mine O-Ankh-Af-Na-Khon-Su"

Let it be firstly understood:
I am a servant of the One Verse
Una Noctus Ignes Veritas
Epsilon Roe Sigma Epsilon

Now,
Let it be known:
ALL GODS ARE TRUTH
All men are PROPHETS
All women the GODDESS

To HER all power is given
From HIM issues forth the WORD

And I am but a little bird
Floating on the AIR there heard
There is only one verse,
sung in infinite ways.
-
"Here!"
I come or came?
I sung!
To seeD the Way
-
God sings,
WE experience:
THE UNIVERSE!
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Re: The Method of Science

Postby Gnosomai Emauton » Thu Jul 03, 2014 12:35 pm

Thanks everyone! I was really unsure of the value in dredging up certain matters but I'm glad to see that at least this aspect of things resonates beyond just myself.

It's also interesting to note that, in his response over on his blog, Los can't quite come at the question head on but once again falls into his almost rote response of moving the goalposts in order to reframe the debate under his terms. I'm going to have to drop a quick reply to him over there since he continues to proudly fly his "de facto ban" flag but, I have to say, the more I look at his way of thinking and method of argument, the more I see the devolution from unscientific practice to rigid materialist fundamentalism.

Synchronistically, this video just flew across my Facebook feed this morning. Really great talk and right on point for what the actual "Method of Science" is and why it's important not to simply rest on the facts that are currently known.

http://reasoniamhere.com/2013/09/27/teach-ignorance/
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Re: The Method of Science

Postby Takamba » Thu Jul 03, 2014 2:17 pm

"If we are to have Beauty and Love, whether in begetting children or works of art, or what not, we must have perfect freedom to act, without fear or shame or any falsity."
"If we are to have Beauty and Love, whether in begetting children or works of art, or what not, we must have perfect freedom to act, without fear or shame or any falsity."
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Re: The Method of Science

Postby Takamba » Thu Jul 03, 2014 2:19 pm

"If we are to have Beauty and Love, whether in begetting children or works of art, or what not, we must have perfect freedom to act, without fear or shame or any falsity."
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Re: The Method of Science

Postby Jim Eshelman » Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:17 pm

Excerpt of the editorial by Aleister Crowley in The Equinox No. 2)

It is four hundred and seventy-seven years since the trouble in the Monastery. There were assembled many holy men from every part of the civilised world, learned doctors, princes of the Church, bishops, abbots, deans, all the wisdom of the world; for the Question was important – how many teeth were there in a horse’s mouth.

For many days the debate swung this way and that, as Father was quoted against Father, Gospel against Epistle, Psalm against Proverb; and the summer being hot, and the shade of the monastery gardens pleasant, a young monk wearied of the discussion, and rising presumptuously among those reverend men, impudently proposed that they should examine the mouth of a horse and settle the question.

Now, there was no precedent for so bold a method, and we are not to be surprised that those holy men arose right wrathfully and fell upon the youth and beat him sore.

Having further immured him in a solitary cell, they resumed debate; but ultimately “in the grievous dearth of theological and historical opinion” declared the problem insoluble, an everlasting mystery by the Will of God.

To-day, their successors adopt the same principles with regard to that darkest of horses, the A.'.A.'. They have not only refused to open our mouths, but have even refused to look into them when we ourselves have gone to the length of opening them wide before them.

However, there have been others. Whether we were too confident or they too easily discouraged is a question unnecessary to discuss. We hoped to sever at one blow their bonds; at least we should have loosened them. But their struggle, which should have aided our efforts, seemed to them too arduous. They have been perplexed rather than illumined by the light which we flashed upon them; and even if it showed a road, gave no sufficient reason why it should be followed.

Of such we humbly crave the pardon; and in answer to a seemingly widespread desire to know if we mean anything, and if so, What? we request those who would know the Truth of Scientific Illuminism to look into the open mouth of its doctrine, to follow its simple teachings step by step, and not to turn their backs on it and, walking in the opposite direction, declare so simple a problem to be an everlasting mystery.

We are therefore not concerned with those who have not examined our doctrine of sceptical Theurgy, or scientific illuminism, or that which lies beyond. Let them examine without prejudice.

Some, too, have raised weapons against us, thinking to hurt us. But malice is only the result of ignorance; let them examine us, and they will love us. The sword is not yet forged that can divide him whose helmet is Truth. Nor is the arrow yet fledged that will pierce the flesh of one who is clothed in the glittering armour of mirth. So here, and now, and with us; he who climbs the Mountain we point out to him, and which we have climbed; he who journeys by the chart we offer to him, and which we have followed, on his return will come in unto us as one who has authority; for he alone who has climbed the summit can speak with truth of those things that from there are to be seen, for HE KNOWS. But he who stands afar off, and jests, saying: “It is not a Mountain, it is a cloud; it is not a cloud, it is a shadow; it is not a shadow, it is an illusion; it is not an illusion, it is indeed nothing at all!” – who but a fool will heed him? for not having journeyed one step, HE KNOWS NOT concerning those things of which he speaks.
Love is the law, love under will.
Yours in L.V.X.,
Jim Eshelman
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"Success is thy proof: argue not; convert not; talk not overmuch!" - CCXX 3:42
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Re: The Method of Science

Postby Jim Eshelman » Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:21 pm

Continuing:

1. We perceive in the sensible world, Sorrow. Ultimately that is; we admit the Existence of a Problem requiring solution.

2. We accept the proofs of Hume, Kant, Herbert Spencer, Fuller, and others of this thesis:

The Ratiocinative Faculty or Reason of Man contains in its essential nature an element of self-contradiction.

3. Following on this, we say:

If any resolution there be of these two problems, the Vanity of Life and the Vanity of Thought, it must be in the attainment of a Consciousness which transcends both of them. Let us call this supernormal consciousness, or, for want of a better name, “Spiritual Experience.”

4. Faith has been proposed as a remedy. But we perceive many incompatible forms of Faith founded on Authority – The Vedas, The Qurán, The Bible; Buddha, Christ, Joseph Smith. To choose between them we must resort to reason, already shown to be a fallacious guide.

5. There is only one Rock which Scepticism cannot shake; the Rock of Experience.

6. We have therefore endeavoured to eliminate from the conditions of acquiring Spiritual Experience its dogmatic, theological, accidental, climatic and other inessential elements.

7. We require the employment of a strictly scientific method. The mind of the seeker must be unbiased; all prejudice and other sources of error must be perceived as such and extirpated.

8. We have therefore devised a Syncretic-Eclectic Method combining the essentials of all methods, rejecting all their trammels, to attack the Problem, through exact experiments and not by guesses.

9. For each pupil we recommend a different method (in detail) suited to his needs; just as a physician prescribes the medicine proper to each particular patient.

10. We further believe that the Consummation of Spiritual Experience is reflected into the spheres of intellect and action as Genius, so that by taking an ordinary man we can by training produce a Master.

This thesis requires proof: we hope to supply such proof by producing Genius to order.
Love is the law, love under will.
Yours in L.V.X.,
Jim Eshelman
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"Success is thy proof: argue not; convert not; talk not overmuch!" - CCXX 3:42
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Re: The Method of Science

Postby Jim Eshelman » Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:22 pm

Continuing further:

1. There is no hope in physical life, since death of the individual, the race, and ultimately the planet, ends all.

2. There is no hope in reason, since it contradicts itself, and is in any case no more than a reflection upon the facts of physical life.

3. What hope there may be in Investigation of the physical facts of Nature on Scientific lines is already actively sought after by a powerful and well-organized body of men of perfect probity and high capacity.

4. There is no hope in Faith, for there are many warring Faiths, all equally positive.

5. The adepts of Spiritual Experience promise us wonderful things, the Perception of Truth, and the Conquest of Sorrow, and there is enough unity in their method to make an Eclectic System possible.

6. We are determined to investigate this matter most thoroughly on Scientific lines.
Love is the law, love under will.
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Jim Eshelman
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Re: The Method of Science

Postby Jim Eshelman » Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:23 pm

Continuing No. 3

1. We are Mystics, ever eagerly seeking a solution of unpleasant facts.

2. We are Men of Science, ever eagerly acquiring pertinent facts.

3. We are Sceptics, ever eagerly examining those facts.

4. We are Philosophers, ever eagerly classifying and co-ordinating those well-criticised facts.

5. We are Epicureans, ever eagerly enjoying the unification of those facts.

6. We are Philanthropists ever eagerly transmitting our knowledge of those facts to others.

7. Further, we are Syncretists, taking truth from all systems, ancient and modern; and Eclectics, ruthlessly discarding the inessential factors in any one system, however perfect.
Love is the law, love under will.
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Jim Eshelman
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Re: The Method of Science

Postby Jim Eshelman » Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:24 pm

Continuing No. 4:

1. Faith, Life, Philosophy have failed.

2. Science is already established.

3. Mysticism, being based on pure experience, is always a vital force; but owing to the lack of trained observation, has always been a mass of error. Spiritual Experience, interpreted in the terms of Intellect, is distorted; just as sunrise shows the grass green and the sea blue. Both were invisible until sunrise; yet the diversity of colour is not in the sun, but in the objects on which its light falls, and their contradiction does not prove the sun to be an illusion.

4. We shall correct Mysticism (or Illuminism) by Science, and explain Science by Illuminism.
Love is the law, love under will.
Yours in L.V.X.,
Jim Eshelman
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"Success is thy proof: argue not; convert not; talk not overmuch!" - CCXX 3:42
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Re: The Method of Science

Postby Jim Eshelman » Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:24 pm

Continuing No. 5:

1. We have one method, that of Science.
2. We have one aim, that of Religion.
Love is the law, love under will.
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Jim Eshelman
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Re: The Method of Science

Postby Jim Eshelman » Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:25 pm

There is more. If the above isn't enough, then the rest probably wouldn't be any better. So I cut to the end:

This, then, in one language or another, is our philosophical position. But for those who are not content with this, let it be said that there is something more behind and beyond. Among us are those who have experienced things of a nature so exalted that no words ever penned could even adumbrate them faintly. The communication of such knowledge, so far as it is at all possible, must be a personal thing; and we offer it with both hands.
Love is the law, love under will.
Yours in L.V.X.,
Jim Eshelman
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Re: The Method of Science

Postby Jim Eshelman » Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:28 pm

I was going to post from Postcards to Probationers as well. It is too lengthy and others can find it.

It is quite brilliant, though.
Love is the law, love under will.
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Re: The Method of Science

Postby Gnosomai Emauton » Thu Jul 03, 2014 7:01 pm

I considered that as well and skipped it for the same reason. Equinox I.ii really is a treasure trove.

I chose to go with The Psychology of Hashish because there's so much good in there that I completely forgot about until a recent re-read. The title and the dry science of pt.I has always thrown me off. Oliver Haddoo is the same voice that wrote The Soldier and the Hunchback which gets recommended a lot. I really think PofH should get just as much attention.
Go in all ways contrary to the world.
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The Method of Science

Postby Hermitas » Fri Jul 04, 2014 2:51 am

Speaking of "portions of the human brain," has anyone considered that sometimes we are not, in fact, dealing with other whole-minded humans who are free to reason correctly? - and that instead, we are actually sometimes dealing with humans whose minds have been at least temporarily overthrown by a portion of their mind devoted to the defense of the rest of their sanity?

Just wondering if you've ever thought about those "portions of the human brain" and their functioning outside of a ritual evocation context.

Sometimes, when this is the case, the trick is to let them have the last word and not to continue to pry open their mental CPU.
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Re: The Method of Science

Postby mark0987 » Fri Jul 04, 2014 8:10 am

In fact consciousness itself is cerebral activity. We know this when brain surgeons prod brains with electrodes and rearrange consciousness and we know it when car accident, neurologically damaged people or brain tumour victims lose memory functionality. We also experience, " altered consciousness" when drugs affect our cerebral bio chemistry.

I was reading Mouni Sadhu's book, "Concentration" the other day, your comments here reminded me of something he wrote...

In mentally deficient individuals, scientists have discovered different abnormalities present in the structure of their brains. On occasions surgery is used in an attempt to rectify the deficiencies of these ailing organs. Malignant tumours can also affect a man's mental abilities, as does any damage indicted on certain important centres in the brain. There have been cases where formerly brilliant and highly intelligent men have lost their powers because of physical changes in their brains, due to disease or loss of portion of their grey matter,following accidents or unsuccessful operations. In some such unfortunate cases, the persons concerned have even become hopeless idiots, lacking every trace of their former intelligence and culture.

These are facts, and in them we can find another support for the assertion that, in the ultimate
sense, the mental and astral planes are still material (although subtle) and dependent on physical matter for their manifestation.
"Anybody who has been seriously engaged in scientific work of any kind realises that over the entrance to the gates of the temple of science are written the words: 'Ye must have faith.'"

-Max Planck
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The Method of Science

Postby Hermitas » Fri Jul 04, 2014 12:24 pm

One of the major purposes of achieving that highest state of unitary consciousness is that precisely because it is so simple, universal, and pure, it is only that which the human mind may imagine as something of the the form of consciousness held by pure energy, of which matter is also made, ...which energy is also the primal substance of our most simple, pure, and universal experience.

The possibility you have to respect enough to consider is that it may be more accurate to say that *thoughts* are an "epiphenomenon of matter," but Consciousness, which may be experienced as one in the same with Energy, just IS, whether there are thoughts or Not, even in matter.
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Re: The Method of Science

Postby Hermitas » Fri Jul 04, 2014 2:30 pm

The First "Emanation" of the Absolute. Kether is in Malkuth and Malkuth is in Kether, but after another manner, Malkuth reflects Kether, for that which is above is like that which is below, and that which is below is like that which is above. (Little Essays Towards Truth)

I mean, not to quote this as some mindless mantra, but to say, when the ancients struggled with this same matter versus spirit question, this is the weird (****) they recommended pondering: "It's the same but not." Looking in versus looking out.,,
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Re: The Method of Science

Postby gurugeorge » Fri Jul 04, 2014 7:41 pm

kasper81 wrote:In fact consciousness itself is cerebral activity.

It depends on what you mean by "consciousness". There are two (why always two? :) ) generally important uses of that word:-

1) "Consciousness" in what I'll call the public sense. In this sense, consciousness has signs that anyone can see, it's not something hidden. It is in fact a type of behaviour, or a classification of behaviour, in terms of a living thing being goal-directed, able to avoid things bad for it and cleave to things good for it. In a trope, it's like, "how many fingers am I holding up?"

2) "Consciousness" in what I'll call the private sense. In this sense, its something each person seems to have for themselves, nobody else can see your consciousness (as opposed to anybody being able to see your consciousness1 and know whether it's there or not). It seems like one is an entity peeping out from behind the eyes. One feels that this rather mysterious entity is the thing that's conscious, and that the world is either impinging on it (so to speak, i.e. everything's zooming into a notional "point of view", from which a perspective on the world is apparent), or is contained by it (i.e. one might feel that, rather than consciousness being a point, it's more like a bowl or container, or a kind of void or space, in which the phenomenal world appears like a jewel, or something like that).

Generally speaking, science finds that consciousness1, consciousness in the public sense, the consciousness that's publicly discussable and publicly checkable, is (not identical with, but rather driven by) cerebral activity; that is to say, the jury's in, the fat lady has sung, there's no debate about it. Every kind of behaviour that can be observed that's called "conscious behaviour" is driven by the brain. A kind of electro-chemical brainstorm causes the body to fulfil goals, behave rationally in relation to those goals, cleave to things and avoid them.

With consciousness2, the consciousness we seem to have "from the inside", a connection to the brain is not so clear. There's a term in philosophy for this at the moment, "The Hard Problem". Some philosophers think it's not a problem at all, and that consciousness2 can either be somehow reduced to consciousness1, or it doesn't actually exist (it only seems to exist); others think that consciousness2 is an irreducible fact that each of us experiences for ourselves and that one's own consciousness2 is hidden from others, and that it stands outside and distinct from consciousness1, though obviously connected with it in some sense.

No conclusion to this, just wanted to flag the distinction.
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The Method of Science

Postby Hermitas » Sat Jul 05, 2014 5:25 am

Well, what you have to take seriously is the period before the laws of Gravity and Electromagnetism were named and understood, or at least made predictable.

Basically what's being postulated is the existence of another such "field," which is Consciousness. A field is static and undetectable unless it is excited, but if it becomes exited, the result is a particle. In the case of a field of Consciousness, it becomes a particle of Consciousness.

Now whatever else may be said, all of the spiritual symbolism of Thelema points to the consciousness of being a particular point within Nu, which fits the model of *field/particle" precisely.

The entire system seems to be set up to aid ones journey to the conclusion that the most simple particle of one's own consciousness and the simplest particle of the material world are one in the same.

Or at least, that which lies hidden beyond the ability of perception in each direction is unified into the theory that the question of Spirit versus Matter may be resolved within a third term, Consciousness, which is equated to both, and identified as that one energy that vibrates in one manner to generate matter and vibrates in another manner to generate thought.

Some say their experience of testing this theory results in an observable and predictable model.

They have created a system for you to experiment for yourself. Now, this doesn't mean some people don't achieve anything outside of this particular experiment. It also certainly doesn't mean that people can't have an incredibly fulfilling experience of Thelema outside this particular experiment. It means that this is the given experimental procedure for this particular experiment - all the way through to the end.

So, this is the thing. It's a long experiment you perform on yourself - not others, not random samples - yourself. If you want your opinions to count, you simply have to prove you're doing the experiment. It doesn't mean we can't discuss things. But I know at the end of the day, I'm a shaman who stumbled upon truly proven and degreed Masters of this experiment. I just kinda grasped the significance of it all late in life, after I'd played most of my hand.

http://www.hermetics.org/pdf/kybalion.pdf
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Re: The Method of Science

Postby Middleman » Sat Jul 05, 2014 10:01 am

This thread just MELTED MY MIND. Thank you.
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