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Re: Ad Hominem

Sep 22, 1996 08:28 PM
by RIhle

Alan Bain writes>
>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.

Richard Ihle writes>
I agree that some ~"whatevers"~ may be used to make better thieves and liars.
 (A few critics may even go so far as to say that wrong breathing and
imperfect understanding of the "mechanisms" of visualization may make better
devils and schizophrenics.)

However, I am still working on some way I can agree with you on meditation.
 I suppose if one considered something like holding the image of Koot Humi in
one's mind-eye to be "meditation," one could possibly go astray here as well.
 At little ad hominem along the lines of scrutinizing those who may or may
not have self-manufactured a rigid belief in the existence of the Masters as
a result of this practice might even be advisable.  Nonetheless, it is
difficult to see how thieves and liars could be produced even by something
like this.

No, I think I am going to stand-up for meditation in general here.  To be a
thief, there has to be a ~you~ and something that is ~not-you~ to steal; to
be a liar, there has to be a ~you~ and something that is ~not-you~ to make
the lie out of.  Insofar as meditation proceeds toward the One, the "moral
aspect of the user," cannot help but be improved--or at least it seems so to

I remember that someone once asked the Maharishi whether a person who began
Transcendental Meditation but then stopped regular practice after a short
while would not have been better off if he or she had not started at all.
 The Maharishi answered ~definitely not~ and compared the situation to an
extremely dirty towel:  while it is true that the towel probably needs many,
many washings to get it completely clean, washing it once or twice and then
stopping would not leave it in worse condition than if it had never been
washed at all.

No, I do not believe meditation would be of much use to a bad person who
wanted to become even worse. . . .

>>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.

Actually, you said it with a little more verve like this:  "I liked him as a
person, but there was no way I would have wanted to share his lifestyle.  For
one thing, he was permanently homeless, and had a fancy for 17-year-olds,
which I was always amazed to note he had no trouble in making it with!"

I thought you were using this as an illustration of how ideas should be
judged for their own merit, irrespective of the personal circumstances of
those who promote them.  The illustration wouldn't work so well in this
regard, of course, if one is not willing to judge this man's lifestyle as
either good nor bad.  (Aside:  I, too, am neutral about his homelessness and
homosexuality, but willingly admit to making a negative "value judgement"
about his seductions of seventeen-year-olds; this is illegal in Wisconsin,

>>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.

You may be mostly correct in this or otherwise we would have a lot more
little Crowley's around.  Nevertheless, I also believe there may be certain
practices which can change the practitioners as well.  I have known students
who have experimented with Satanism and seemed to have become quite unlike
their former selves in very short order.  I better ask Jerry S. about this

Best wishes and Godspeed,

Richard Ihle

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