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Re: Ad Hominem

Sep 23, 1996 07:50 AM
by Dr. A.M.Bain

In message <>,
>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.

Indeed, as this would be contemplation, not meditation.

> 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.

I rather think such scrutiny has been very thoroughly undertaken on
theos-l!  But the practice you *describe* is self-indentification with
something or someone the veracity or legitimacy of which/whom could be
flawed to begin with.  There indeed could lie the seeds of megalomania,
paranoia, etc., etc. - but again, it's not meditation.

>  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.
He was a sly one!  I was initiated in his version of what *is*
meditation in 1960.  I still use it, albeit slightly adapted in the
light of the work of Ernest Wood.

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

None at all - are we talking at cross-purposes somewhere?
>>>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.

And so I was - with verve, it seems! :-)  IMO the illustration works on
its own.  If someone want to make a judgement about the man's lifestyle,
that is their business, but makes no difference either way to the value
of the ideas (in this case astrological).  I went on to study astrology
in depth myself, as I found the ideas and teaching *on the subject*
which I received from him to be sound.  I still do - he was a very good
astrologer (value judgement based upon the facts of my experience of his
astrological work and teaching - but then I *knew* him (he is long
deceased, found sitting up dead as a dodo on a park bench with a little
smile on his face - he was a lapsed catholic, maybe there was a
connection :-})

>  (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,

ANY kind of homosexuality was illegal in England in 1956!  With 17 year-
olds it still is.
>>>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

No surprise there - but again, there was possibly or probably a
predisposition to become the way they became, and "Satanism" was a
convenient hook to hang their justifications on?  Yes?
>Best wishes and Godspeed,

I have wondered before, so I will ask: "Godspeed to *where*?"
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