220A2-2.ASC 13. Hadit had to overcome the silly `knower,' who thought everything was Sorro

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

220A2-2.ASC 13. Hadit had to overcome the silly `knower,' who thought everything was Sorrow. Cf. `Who am I?' -- `Thou knowest' in Chapter I. I am far from satisfied with either of the above interpretations of this verse. We shall see a little later, verses 27 - xx, a general objection to `Because' and `why.' Then how is it that Hadit does not disdain to use those terms? It must be for the sake of my mind. Then, `for why' is detestably vulgar; and no straining of grammar excuses or explains the `me.' We have two alternatives. The verse may be an insult to me. My memory tells me, however, that the tone of the voice of Aiwaz was at this point low, even, and musical. It sounded like a confidential, almost deferential, clarification of the previous verse, which had rung out with joyful crescendo. The alternative is that the verse contains some Qabalistic proof of the authority of Aiwaz to lay down the law in so autocratic a manner. Just so, one might add weight to one's quotation from Sappho, in the English, by following it up with the original Greek. The absence of all capital letters favours this theory. Such explanation, if discovered, will be given in the Appendix. However, simply enough, the solution begins with the idea that the small initial of `because' would be explained by a colon preceding it instead of a note of interrogation, which may have been due to my haste, ignorance, and carelessness. Then `for why' may be understood: `for the benefit of this Mr. Why -- to satisfy your childish clamour for a reason -- I will now repeat my remarks in an alternative form such that even your stupidity can scarcely fail to observe that I have sealed my psychological explanation in cipher.' We find accordingly that the arising `of Me in Thee' constitutes a state wherein `thou knewest not.' By `knewest' we may understand the function of Hadit, intellectually and conjugally united with Nuit. (See Book 4, Part III, for GN, the root meaning both `to know' and `to beget'). And `not' is Nuit, as in Cap. I. Now this idea explains that the arising `of Me (Hadit) in Thee (The Beast)' is the fulfilment of the Magical Formula of Hadit and Nuit. And to know Nuit is the very definition of `joy.' The next verse confirms this: `thou (the Beast) wast the knower (Hadit) and (united with) me (Nuit, as in Cap.I., verse 51 & others).' Finally, Nuit is indicated by two different symbols `not' (Gk OU) and `me' (Gk MH). Now OU MH was my Motto in the Grade of Adeptus Exemptus; Aiwaz thus subtly reminds me that I was pledged to deny the assertions of my intellectual and moral consciousness. He combines in these few words (a) a correct psychological explanation of the situation, (b) a correct magical explanation of that explanation, (c) a personal rebuke to which I had no possible reply, involving a knowledge of my own mental state which was superior to my own. These two verses are sufficient in themselves to demonstrate the praeter-human qualities of the Author of this Book. 14. The subject changes. Hadit will give an Exordium upon Himself in the next two verses. Then He will propound an ethical doctrine so terrible and strange that men will be `devoured and eaten up with blindness' because of it. 15. See Appendix. 16. See Appendix. 17. The dead and the dying, who know not Hadit, are in the Illusion of Sorrow. Not being Hadit, they are shadows, puppets, and what happens to them does not matter. If you insist upon identifying yourself with Hecuba, your tears are natural enough. There is no contradiction here, by the way, with verses 4 and 5. The words `know me' are used loosely as is natural in a stanza; or, more likely, are used (as in the English Bible) to suggest the root GN, identity in transcendental ecstasy. Possibly `not' and `me' are once more intended to apply to Nuit. With `know' itself, they may be `Nothing under its three forms' of negativity, action, and individuality. 18. This idea is confirmed. Those who sorrow are not real people at all, not `stars' -- for the time being. The fact of their being `poor and sad' proves them to be `shadows,' who `pass and are done.' The `lords of the earth' are those who are doing their Will. It does not necessarily mean people with coronets and automobiles; there are plenty of such people who are the most sorrowful slaves in the world. The sole test of one's lordship is to know what one's true Will is, and to do it. 19. A god living in a dog would be one who was prevented from fulfilling his function properly. The highest are those who have mastered and transcended accidental environment. They rejoice, because they do their Will; and if any man sorrow, it is clear evidence of something wrong with him. When machinery creaks and growls, the engineer knows that it is not fulfilling its function, doing its Will, with ease and joy. 20. As soon as one realizes one's self as Hadit, one obtains all His qualities. It is all a question of doing one's Will. A flaming harlot, with red cap and sparkling eyes, her foot on the neck of a dead king, is just as much a star as her predecessor, simpering in his arms. But one must be a flaming harlot -- one must let oneself go, whether one's star be twin with that of Shelly, or of Blake, or of Titian, or of Beethoven. Beauty and strength come from doing one's Will; you have only to look at any one who is doing it to recognize the glory of it. 21. There is a good deal of the Nietzschean standpoint in this verse. It is the evolutionary and natural view. Of what use is it to perpetuate the misery of Tuberculosis, and such diseases, as we now do? Nature's way is to weed out the weak. This is the most merciful way, too. At present all the strong are being damaged, and their progress hindered by the dead weight of the weak limbs and the missing limbs, the diseased limbs and the atrophied limbs. The Christians to the Lions! Our humanitarianism, which is the syphilis of the mind, acts on the basis of the lie that the King must die. The King is beyond death; it is merely a pool where he dips for refreshment. We must therefore go back to Spartan ideas of education; and the worst enemies of humanity are those who wish, under the pretext of compassion, to continue its ills through the generations. The Christians to the Lions! Let weak and wry productions go back into the melting-pot, as is done with flawed steel castings. Death will purge, reincarnation make whole, these errors and abortions. Nature herself may be trusted to do this, if only we will leave her alone. But what of those who, physically fitted to live, are tainted with rottenness of soul, cancerous with the sin-complex? For the third time I answer: The Christians to the Lions! Hadith calls himself the Star, the Star being the Unit of the Macrocosm; and the Snake, the Snake being the symbol of Going or Love, and the Chariot of Life. He is Harpocrates, the Dwarf- Soul, the Spermatozoon of all Life, as one may phrase it. The Sun, etc., are the external manifestations or Vestures of this Soul, as a Man is the Garment of an actual Spermatozoon, the Tree sprung of that Seed, with power to multiply and to perpetuate that particular Nature, though without necessary consciousness of what is happening. In a deeper sense, the word `Death' is meaningless apart from the presentation of the Universe as conditioned by `Time.' But what is the meaning of Time? There is great confusion of thought in the use of the word `eternal,' and the phrase `for ever.' People who want `eternal happiness' mean by that a cycle of varying events all effective in stimulating pleasant sensations; i.e., they want time to continue exactly as it does with themselves released from the contingencies of accidents such as poverty, sickness and death. An eternal state is however a possible experience, if one interprets the term sensibly. One can kindle flamman aeternae caritatis,' for instance; one can experience a love which is in truth eternal. Such love must have no relation with phenomena whose condition is time. Similarly, one's `immortal soul' is a different kind of thing altogether from one's mortal vesture. This Soul is a particular Star, with its own peculiar qualities, of course; but these qualities are all `eternal,' and part of the nature of the Soul. This Soul being a monistic consciousness, it is unable to appreciate itself and its qualities, as explainedin a previous entry; so it realizes itself by the device of duality, with the limitations of time, space and causality. The `Happiness' of Wedded Love or eating Marrons Glaces is a concrete external non-eternal expression of the corresponding abstract internal eternal idea, just as any triangle is one partial and imperfect picture of the idea of a triangle. (It does not matter whether we consider `Triangle' as an unreal thing invented for the convenience of including all actual triangles, or vice versa. Once the idea Triangle has arisen, actual triangles are related to it as above stated). One does not want even a comparatively brief extension of these `actual' states; Wedded Love though licensed for a lifetime, is usually intolerable after a month; and Marrons Glaces pall after the first five or six kilogrammes have been consumed. But the `Happiness,' eternal and formless, is not less enjoyable because these forms of it cease to give pleasure. What happens is that the Idea ceases to find its image in those particular images; it begins to notice the limitations, which are not itself and indeed deny itself, as soon as its original joy in its success at having become conscious of itself wears off. It becomes aware of the external imperfection of Marrons Glaces; they no longer represent its infinitely varied nature. It therefore rejects them, and creates a new form of itself, such as Nightgowns with pale yellow ribbons or Amber Cigarettes. In the same way a poet or painter, wishing to express Beauty, is impelled to choose a particular form; with luck, this is at first able to recompense in him what he feels; but sooner or later he finds that he has failed to include certain elements of himself, and he must needs embody these in a new poem or picture. He may know that he can never do more than present a part of the possible perfection, and that in imperfect imagery; but at least he may utter his utmost within the limits of the mental and sensory instruments of his similarly inadequate symbol of the Absolute, his vehicle of human incarnation. These suffer from the same defects as the other forms; ultimately, `Happiness' wearies itself in the effort to invent fresh images, and becomes disheartened and doubtful of itself. Only a few people have wit enough to proceed to generalization from the failure of a few familiar figures of itself, and recognize that all `actual' forms are imperfect; but such people are apt to turn with disgust from the whole procedure, and to long for the `eternal' state. This state is however incapable of realization, as we know; and the Soul understanding this, can find no good but in `Cessation' of all things, its creations no more than its own tendencies to create. It therefore sighs for Nibbana. But there is one other solution, as I have endeavoured to shew. We may accept (what after all it is absurd to accuse and oppose) the essential character of existence. We cannot extirpate or even alter in the minutest degree either the matter or manner of any element of the Universe, here each item is equally inherent and important, each aequipollent, independent, and interdependent. We may thus acquiesce in the fact that it is apodeictically implicit in the Absolute to apprehend itself by self-expression as Positive and Negative in the first place, and to combine these primary opposites in an infinite variety of finite forms. We may thus cease either (1) to seek the Absolute in any of its images, knowing that we must abstract every one of their qualities from every one of these equally if we would unveil it; or (2) to reject all images of the Absolute, knowing that attainment thereof would be the signal for the manifestation of that part of its nature which necessarily formulates itself in a new universe of images. Realizing that these two courses (the materialist's and the mystic's) are equally fatuous, we may engage in either or both of two other plans of action, based on assent to actuality. We may (1) ascertain our own particular properties as partial projections of the Absolute; we may allow every image presented to us to be of equally intrinsic and essential entity with ourselves, and its presentation to us a phenomenon necessary in Nature; and we may adjust our apprehension to the actuality that every event is an item in the account which we render to ourselves of our own estate. We dare not desire to omit any single entry, lest the balance be upset. We may react with elasticity and indifference to each occurrence, intent only on the idea that the total, intelligently appreciated, constitutes a perfect knowledge not indeed of the Absolute but of that part thereof which is ourselves. We thus adjust one imperfection accurately to another, and remain contented in the appreciation of the righteousness of the relation. This path, the `Way of the Tao,' is perfectly proper to all men. It does not attempt either to transcend or to tamper with Truth; it is loyal to its own laws,and therefore no less perfect than any other Truth. The Equation Five plus Six is Eleven is of the same order of perfection as Ten Million times Ten times Ten Thousand Million is One Billion. In the Universe fomulated by the Absolute, every point is equally the Centre; every point is equally the focus of the forces of the whole. (In any system of three points, any two may be considered solely with reference to the third, so that even in a finite universe the sum of the properties of all points is the same, though no two properties may be common to any two points. Thus a circle, BCD, may be described by the revolution of a line AB in a plane about the point A; but also from the point C, or indeed any other point, by the application of the proper analysis and construction. We calculate the motion of the solar system in heliocentric terms for no reason but simplicity and convenience; we could convert our tables to a geocentric basis by mere mechanical manipulation without affecting their truth, which is only the truth of the relations between a number of bodies. All are alike in motion, but we have arbitrarily chosen to consider one of them as stationary, so that we may more easily describe the movements of the others in regard to it, without complicating our calculations by introduction of the movements of the whole system as such. And for this purpose the Sun is a more convenient standard than the Earth). There is another Way that we may take, if we will; I say `another,' though it seems perhaps to some no more than development of the other which happens to be proper to some people. Even in the first Way, it is of all things necessary to begin by exploring one's own Nature, so as to discover what its peculiarities are; this is accomplished partly by introspection, but principally by Right Recollection of the whole phantasmagoria presented to it by experience; for since every event of life is a symbol of part of the structure of the Soul, the totality of experience must by the `Name' if the whole of that part of the Soul which has so far uttered itself. Now then, let us suppose that some Soul, having penetrated thus far, should discover in its `Name' that it is a Son truly begotten by the Spirit of Being upon the Body of Form, and that it has power to understand itself and its Father, with all that such heirship implies. Suppose further that it be come to puberty, will it not be impelled to assert itself as its Father's son? Will it not shake itself free from the Form that bore and nourished and trained it, and turn from its brothers and sisters and playmates? Will it not glow and ache with the impulse to be utterly itself, and find a Form fit to impress with its image, even as did its Father aforetime? If such a Soul be indeed its Father's son, he will not fear to show lack of filial reverence, or presumption, if he forget its family in the fervour of founding one of his own, of begetting boys not better or braver indeed than his brothers, girls not softer or sweeter indeed than his sisters, but wholly his own, with his own defects and desires evoked by enchantment of ecstasy when he dies to himself in the womb of the witch who lusts for his life, and buys it with the coin that bears his Image and Superscription. Such is the secret of the Soul of the Artist. He knows that he is a God, of the Sons of God; he has no fear or shame in showing himself of the seed of his Father. He is proud of that Father's most precious privilege, and he honours him no less than himself by using it. He accepts his family as of his own royal stock; every one is as princely as he is himself. But he were not his Father's son unless he found for himself a Form fit to express himself by multiplex reproductions of his Image. He must admire himself in many costumes, each emphatic of some elected elegance or excellence in himself which would otherwise elude his homage by being hidden and hushed in the harmony of his heart. This Form which shall serve him must be softness' self to his impress, with exact elasticity adapting itself to the strongest and subtlest salients, yet like steel to resist all other stress than his own, and to retain and reproduce surely and sharply the image that his acid bites into its surface. There must be no flaw, no irregularity, no granulation, no warp in its substance; it must be smooth and shining, pure metal of true temper. And he must love this chosen Form, love it with fearful fervour; it is the face of his Fate that craves his kiss, and in her eyes Enigma blazes and smoulders; she is his death, her body his coffin where he may rot and stink, or writhe in damned dreams, self-slain, or rise in incorruption self-renewed, immortal and identical, fulfilling himself wholly in and by her, splashing all space with sparkling stars his sons and daughters, each star an image of his own infinity made manifest, mood after mood, by her magick to mould him when his passion makes molten her metal. Thus then must every Artist work. First, he must find himself. Next, he must find the form that is fitted to express himself. Next, he must love that form, as a form, adoring it, understanding it, and mastering it, with most minute attention, until it (as it seems) adapts itself to him with eager elasticity, and answers accurately and aptly, with the unconscious automatism of an organ perfected by evolution, to his most subtlest suggestion, to his most giant gesture. Next, he must give himself utterly up to that Form; he must annihilate himself absolutely in every act of love, labouring day and night to lose himself in lust for it, so that he leave no atom unconsumed in the furnace of their frenzy, as did of old his Father that begat him. He must realize himself wholly in the integration of the infinite Pantheon of images; for if he fail to formulate one facet of himself, by lack thereof will he know himself falsely. There is of course no ultimate difference between the Artist as here delineated and him who follows the `Way of the Tao', though the latter finds perfection in his existing relation with his environment, and the former creates a private perfection of a peculiar and secondary character. We might call one the son, the other the daughter, of the Absolute. But the Artist, though his Work, the images of himself in the Form that he loves, is less perfect than the Work of his Father, since he can but express one particular point of view and that by means of one type of technique, is not to be thought useless on that account, any more than an Atlas is useless because it presents by means of certain crude conventions a fraction of the facts of geography. The Artist calls our attention away from Nature, whose immensity bewilders us so that she seems incoherent, and unintelligible, to his own interpretation of himself, and his relations with various phenomena of nature expressed in a language more or less common to us all. The smaller the Artist, the narrower his view, the more vulgar his vocabulary, the more familiar his figures, the more readily is he recognized as a guide. To be accepted and admired, he must say what we all know, but have not told each other till it is tedious, and say it in simple and clear language, a little more emphatically and eloquently than we have been accustomed to hear; and he must please and flatter us in the telling by soothing our fears and stimulating our hopes and our self- esteem. When an Artist -- whether in Astronomy, like Copernicus, Anthropology, like Ibsen, or Anatomy, like Darwin -- selects a set of facts too large, too recondite, or too `regrettable' to receive instant assent from everybody; when he presents conclusions which conflict with popular credence or prejudice; when he employs a language which is not generally intelligible to all; in such cases he must be content to appeal to the few. He must wait for the world to awake to the value of his work. The greater he is, the more individual and the less intelligible he will appear to be, although in reality he is more universal and more simple than anybody. He must be indifferent to anything but his own integrity in the realization and imagination of himself.


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank