What is conspiracy? What is secrecy? What is power? What is man’s obsession?
#AleisterCrowley was a prolific and highly influential 20th c. British writer, orator, and scholar of the occult. A practitioner of black #magick, he believed himself a mystic who by working with the darkest of forces could control the outcome of not only his life but other people’s lives as well. He called on men to experience the full spectrum of taboos like sodomy, prostitution, drugs, thievery, paedophelia, power, and domination. At its most perverse, Crowley’s obsessions with sex magick prompted his further exploration into whether evil was something one would actually receive universal punishment for and concluded that the only punishment was what man ultimately decided to deal to himself. His beliefs led him to experiment with his own immortality, challenging the very limits of man’s darkest potential, like if he could invoke evil entities from another dimension. Needing to legitimize these dark dealings, Crowley founded a religion he called #Thelema which did just that.
But knowledge can be just as superficial as beauty is skin deep. Among his most egregious intellectual findings were gross misinterpretations of ancient esoteric knowledge and teachings, claiming such things like how ancient Babylonians and Egyptians worshipped the devil, which was not the case, aiming to fit such false evidence to support his own dark theory. By bringing together and distorting symbolism and mythology recorded by different cultures’ understanding of evil, he managed to construct his own powerful symbolic western interpretation of evil using it towards his own personal selfish advantage, finding ways to legitimize it in a world that still believes in god. These misunderstandings of the evidence would come to form the very philosophical building blocks of Thelema.
Nevertheless his power and influence enabled him to misguide generations. Many claim that the 60s hippie and beatnik movement were a direct result of Crowley’s philosophical school of thought, which he was simultaneously blamed and praised for. What is more precisely verifiable however is that Thelema spoke direct and powerful words to some of the most influential egos of men at that time. A lot of what he studied and preached was shrouded in secrecy and veiled writings, the satanic depths of which were known only to his select cadre of O.T.O. & Thelema ranking members who controlled and manipulated information at the very top levels of government and the economy – Jack Parsons, Robert Oppenheimer, Werhner von Braun, and Lionel Rothschild, for example, all of whom played a hand in the birth of the atom bomb. These men truly believed as Crowley had taught them that lightning would not strike down their heresy, no matter an act of good or evil, man was in control.
His was the very stuff that both Eisenhower and #JFK warned of regarding the dangers of secret society. For by putting such powers of secrecy in the hands of men who explored taboos from a cold, objective standpoint, Crowley facilitated their cultivation, intellectualization, rationalization of evil deeds thereby legitimizing them, praising greedy self-interest over empathy and love.
Can we really believe there are people who know what they are doing is wrong and don’t care and can sleep restful at night? Crowley was a man who used his privilege to cater to the whims of his own self-aggrandized ego worship and eventually manipulated large swathes of others to worship him and his ideas. He was a psychotic individual who endured a lot of struggle throughout parts of his life and in the end died a broke, twisted man, the product of his own unexamined cognitive dissonance which in the end, one surmises, wreaked havoc upon his very mind, body, and soul.
For the next month I will be exploring this and related subject matters I tackle in my upcoming show #CognitiveDissonance #WhiteWallsSF