Re: THEOS-L digest 666 (poss. copy)
Sep 25, 1996 01:18 PM
Robert Word writes>
>By allowing an ad hominem argument of this type, we may reason as
>follows. Aleister Crowley was a man who lived a life which many
>would regard as immoral. Aleister Crowley graduated from
>Cambridge University. Therefore, we ought not ourselves to attend
>Cambridge University, nor should we allow our children to do so.
>Again, we may argue as follows. Aleister Crowley started his magical
>career in the Golden Dawn. He came to be viewed widely as an
>immoral man. Therefore, we ought not to start our magical careers
>in the Golden Dawn, nor should we allow our children to do so.
Richard Ihle writes>
Welcome to the list, Robert. Good job with the above. (This is the same
line of suspicious reasoning that is often used to keep marijuana illegal,
isn't it? That is, since marijuanna is the first drug used by most heroin
addicts, marijuana must therefore be a cause of heroin addiction, they say.)
A couple minor points, however:
1) I don't think I would venture to judge Aleister Crowley as "immoral."
Here is the extent of my misgivings about him as given in my original post:
"There were some things which I thought were valuable. However, in the back
of my mind was always this thought: 'Here is a man who reputedly knows so
much and has all these powers, but his life story, when all is said and done,
is basically that he started off with all the advantages of an inherited
fortune and ended up more-or-less bankrupt and a drug addict to boot.'
[Correct me if I am wrong in this.] Furthermore, I gradually got the
distinct feeling that he may not have been the most ~wholesome~ guy around."
By ~wholesome~ I was thinking more along the lines of "conducive to sound
health or well-being"--his own and that of those who were influenced by
him--rather than morality. To show what egregious non-logic I sometimes use
in cases like this, I must admit that this feeling really didn't start taking
hold until after I started seeing photographs of him. As Albert Camus once
said, "After a certain age, every man is responsible for his own face."
Unfair and inaccurate as it might be, I didn't like what I thought I saw in
Crowley's face at all. I had lived quite comfortably with all the iron
daggers, pentagrams, and statements about how he wanted to be the Devil's
"Chief of Staff" (or something like that) etc. for quite a while; however,
once the trappings and ideas got connected to what, rightly or wrongly,
seemed to me like a debauched face, I decided that perhaps it was time to
investigate other paths as well (including other, not-so-Crowley, Magic
But I have done this type of thing "in reverse" as well. Dare I reveal that
one of the main reasons I became interested in Transcendental Meditation was
that I liked the way the Maharishi always looked so smiley and benign? That I
read the Secret Doctrine because HPB's eyes actually appeared capable of
seeing Invisible Worlds? Gurdjieff because of his mustache and Master-like
presence? Rudolf Steiner because of his pure, dispassionate countenance?
Krishnamurti because of the inner strength and resoluteness which seemed to
radiate through his slightness?
Is this something I shouldn't be admitting? How do those seers get to be
seers without practicing their seeing, then?
And 2) Might an "analogical flaw" between your two "bad reasoning" examples
be that the first one doesn't appeal to the ~intuition~ as having much
potential as a cogent, proximate cause-and-effect relationship?
Good old generic theosophy: it can at least give the appearance of saving
you when you don't have a leg to stand on otherwise. . . .
Best wishes and Godspeed,
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