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Re: Ad Hominem

Sep 22, 1996 02:29 PM
by Dr. A.M.Bain

In message <>,
>Alan Bain writes>
>>IMO the validity or otherwise of anyone's esoteric *ideas* is something
>>that can only be tested by considering the ideas on their own merit.
>>Now esoteric *claims* - that's another matter.
>Richard Ihle writes>
>I don't think we necessarily disagree in general.  However, in my previous
>post I tried to narrow it a little by saying, "and here I am especially
>thinking of those subjects like "magic" which have an application to or
>association with personal adeptship."  It would seem to me that the "merit"
>of at least some of the ideas--certain meditative, breathing, or
>visualization techniques, for example--would show up in the life, character,
>or abilities of the person who is passing them along.

Depends how you look at it.  Meditation (or whatever) may simply make a
thief a better thief, a liar a better liar, etc., etc.  Techniques, of
themselves, do not appear to have moral or social connotations. A live
electrical cable will have the effect appropriate to what is connected
to it.  The moral etc. aspect lies with the user, not the equipment or
the method of use.

>.  Maybe so.  However, I am more the type of
>person who would want ~someone else~ to fly in from somewhere, walk through
>my walls, and present himself or herself as a living example of someone with
>these attainments because they had read my mind and learned that I needed a
>living example.

I once "tested the spirits" so to speak, and asked for a name and
address to confirm a particular psychic experience.  I got one, and it
was a real address - I looked it up.  I was quite young, and too s...
scared to go knock on the door.  A year later I got a message left for
me a a local club asking me to get in touch with a person I had never
heard of, but stating the correct subject of my earlier interest, *and
giving the address I had received the year before.*  Scary, and I
ignored it!  Still, I did get a kind of confirmation by wanting to see
~someone else~ involved without my physical involvement. BUT - it still
had validity for me only - there ain't no control groups for this kind
of thing!
> The bench-pressing, of course, was just a
>stand-in for the general category of developed abilities which could easily
>be shown to someone else.  Asking a person how good a psychic he or she would
>usually be the type of question which represents the opposite category--i.e.,
>who can really judge this ability in others, especially when they are
>unwilling to tell you exactly where the S&P 500 will be tomorrow?

Psychic in general are unable to do this, else there would be a lot of
rich psychics around.  Experience suggests, confirms even, that psychic
abilitites cannot usually be produced at will, and those that can do not
lend themselves to such forecasts.  *Why* is a question that probably
puzzles psychics just as much as anyone else. (Which is why I haven't
won the lottery - yet!).
>Your illustration about learning astrology even from someone with a
>questionable life style was a good one.

A value judgement, all yours. I stated what his lifestyle was, and that
I did not share it.  The same would have applied if he had been a right
wing Christian fundamentalist (though I doubt one such would study
astrology).  I never regarded his lifestyle as questionable, and still
don't.  It was how he lived, and any consequences of it were his
business (or problem) - not mine.

>  I agree with it.  I certainly
>couldn't level any "ad hominem" against astrology in general because of such
>a person; rather, I might be merely tempted to taint
>astrology-in-the-way-he-knows-it-and/or-doesn't-use-it-transformatively a
>little.  In other words, I would still want to learn astrology, but just not
>in exactly the same way which produced him.

Either something is wrong with your syntax here, or you are putting the
cart before the horse.  This guy found out from his horoscope that he
was likely to be gay from birth.  He was, however, gay before he became
an astrologer.  There is no way I can think of that one could learn an
astrology which would turn me or anyone else into some kind of person
that they were not already.

>  Similarly I still want to learn
>magic, but just not in exactly the same way which produced Aleister Crowley.

Again, Crowley came first, and Crowley's use of magic second.  Hence, if
you follow me, my remarks on disposition.
>Thanks and Godspeed,
>Richard Ihle
You too,

THEOSOPHY INTERNATIONAL: Ancient Wisdom for a New Age
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