I Brake 4 Hermetic Jesus
I’ve made undeniable progress this past week but I’m not too hasty counting my chickens; I bet it will be years before the events of this week actually reveal their importance to me. Sometimes events and revelations just unfold in your life in a way that you know will be like ripples through the rest of your awareness, having a source in one particular place or incident but coming to and back from that place a thousand fold across the timeline.
Ain’t that some shit
Science will make your life better. It will give you the medicine you need to treat your diseases, it will tell you about the nature of the earth we share, it will mark the wheel of progress for each civilization of the Aeon. Science will undoubtedly improve the quality of your existence.
But it will not, and will never, shape a path towards the Will to Meaning.
Only the spirit can do such works as this.
Over the past few days my mentor has been giving me critiques of some of my ideas about my own practice. He kept saying one phrase in particular however in regards to how I do things. In fact, two phrases he keeps using. These are:
- The map is not the territory, and
- The Thing named is not the Thing Itself
At first I had no idea what he actually meant by these phrases until I had the (dis)pleasure of running into my bio professor today. He asked me, “how’s my favorite psychology major doing?” (I’m a philosophy major, not a psychology major.) I was a little miffed and casually (not even thinking about it) brought it up to M. “Yeah, it seems like people in the sciences really seem to forget that things like philosophy exist.”
I suddenly had a flashback to the Devil section of Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey Into Christian Hermeticism. In it, the Unknown Friend describes the science as a method of obtaining horizontal or quantifiable knowledge, and magick as a method of obtaining vertical or qualifiable knowledge. In describing the scientific method towards the beginning of the course, my instructor said, word for word, “The scientific method is how we quantify knowledge. We should all care to have the skill of quantifiability.”
"Maybe The Unknown Friend and Nietzsche have more in common than they care to admit," M told me during my pause. "After all, they both seem pretty freaked out at the idea of knowledge worship."
After all, they both seem pretty freaked out about the idea of knowledge worship.
And an image immediately formed in my mind that blew me right onto my backside. What difference is there between a black magician and an academic? Very little. Both bend their knees to the name of knowledge, clad in black robes, because they think knowledge is the summation of all there can be. The Unknown friend says directly: “The Devil is the idea that there can be knowledge without gnosis." Academics and scientists contend there can only be such knowledge.
Academics, and academia, at its very core, has committed the vital sin. They substitute knowledge for gnowledge. How many graduate students, or potential graduate students, remain so for their love of knowledge, their commitment to knowledge, in the hopes that knowledge will not necessarily simply improve their lives, (which it will to some degree) but forge their literal Will to Meaning? How many academicians have substituted analysis for creation and found themselves empty? How many philosophers, brilliant as they may be, as moral as they may be, befuddled?
They have mistaken the map for the territory.
I sat, stunned, for five minutes, muttering to myself. “My god…this was what he was trying to tell me…this was what he was trying to say…the map…is not the territory.”
The Thing Named, Is Not The Thing Itself.
Let me repeat that, The Thing Named, Is Not The Thing Itself.
I sped back to my mentor’s home in a whirlwind and I told him of everything that had happened, and he smiled, and laughed very heartily for the first time in days, and said, "Now you understand. You understand perfectly. You’ve done well.”
I haven’t had a single thought about graduate school since.
And I don’t care.
I feel at ease.
“Songs from the classics illustrated by Austin Osman Spare”
holy-mountaineering said: I think it’s also important to instill the “Silence” aspect to n00bz. Like seriously shut up if you’re not 1000% on what you’re talking about.
I think there’s a time and a place for everything. Sometimes, being challenged in a discussion is helpful. There are plenty of subjects I had to go back an learn more about after being challenged. Sometimes, the discussion won’t aid you a bit. You need to head into that place of internal Silence, rig up a ritual, ask some spirits to show you what you need to know, etc., and let the experience take over. Magic is an experiential practice. You’re not going to “get” some things just by reading more. You’ve got to Work and provide outlets for the Work to instruct you. At those times, Silence is a boon.
But sometimes, it is also a drawback…
I’ve found the best way to keep both extreme ends of the vow is to know when to say “I don’t know”