Pure signal.

Crowley’s Unique Contribution

To the 20th century study of religion was understanding that religion itself is not a mental illness. It is a coping response to a mental illness. By addressing the root illness a person can be brought beyond the need for the coping mechanism. This insight is also found in the writings of Abhinavagupta in 1000 AD, but it is not there so clearly nor completely developed.


December 7, 2007 - Posted by | People who fucking Rock


  1. Please: elaborate.

    What is this root illness you speak of? Is it the Absurd sensation of staring into the Abyss which necessitates the Kirkegaardian Leap into Religious comfort? How may one move beyond the need to Leap when faced with the Abyss? What tools are necessary to stare into It fearlessly? Are these even usefull questions?

    Comment by Chuk! | December 8, 2007 | Reply

  2. I don’t want to add too much verbiage to the delightful solutions proposed in Book IV — they are wonderfully elaborated in the Complete Edition published in (I think it was) 2001, with copious end notes. It’s all there — anything which is unpublished is unnecessary, as is any structured learning process or formal institutional approval of any kind.

    Also the recent SUNY works on Kashmir Saivism — but they are very abstract and difficult because they are framed in a completely foreign metaphysics and one spends a great deal of time learning very specific concepts so that one can then learn that those specific concepts are not important (they were commonly held at the time.)

    Comment by bootslack | December 8, 2007 | Reply

  3. Well, alright then.

    Your answer is to go read a book?

    Will this do?

    It’s free.

    So… you’re not gonna tell me what the “root illness” is?

    Fine. Be that way. I’ll figure it out for myself…

    (DANG! That was your plan all along!!!)

    Comment by Chuk! | December 8, 2007 | Reply

  4. The link you provided goes to a good introduction — there are other books mentioned in it. I believe those books (at the end of the page) are all available on as well — they are really the gist of it. The A.A. and OTO are distracting — I realize that Crowley advertises hard for both organizations. Speaking on no authority other than myself I would say that they are unnecessary. In his day both organizations were directly overseen by him — none of the several instances of either of those organizations which advertise today can make that claim. An important question to consider: An initiation is only as good as the initiating authority; who do YOU authorize as your initiating authority? Trust the reading, and your own judgment. Of course one’s own judgment is worthless without experience, and one will need courage to gain experience with such judgment as one possesses to start. Splendid! An adventure! There is an edition of the whole of Book IV — the Second Revised Edition released by Weiser — you can, of course, find everything in it on your own, piecemeal, which is an adventure in itself that will undoubtedly bring you in contact with many interesting (and even distracting) people, but it is awfully nice to have the meat of it all in one place.

    Comment by bootslack | December 9, 2007 | Reply

  5. I was thinking about my last post on this subject and realized that I came off sounding like I “knew” something which was “hidden” in the book. I am really just nervous about trying to talk about this idea, because it is delicate and is more easily obscured by language than revealed by it.

    I think that the root mental illness people have is that we think there is a particular kind of meaning in the world, when actually there isn’t. Now this isn’t saying that there is “no meaning” in the world (which is actually just another thing in our imagination right? The words “no meaning” do not actually contain the negation of meaning within them — they contain another positive idea which we use as a placeholder of the negation of meaning.)

    We perceive there as being something essential in the way that our senses come together, in the accident that we are. We believe our own stories.

    And this in itself is a story, which is why I was trying to avoid talking about it and I just wanted to say “Read the book.” — I wasn’t being coy. I’m just painfully aware of my lack of ability to say what it is that I mean. Language itself is so shot through with fiction in it’s very structure that talking about truth is self defeating.

    I know that you know basically what I’m saying already — although the nature of the mental illness is that neither one of us really believes it. Or we believe it sometimes in someways, but not across the board.

    I think the essence of what Crowley’s system is is deepening and expanding that awareness as widely as possible.

    So there are no Gods, and no powers, there is no Karma or Dharma. But neither is there any mind or ego or self or drives or needs. And through developing a relationship with one set of fictions we clarify our relationship with the other set of fictions. But it really isn’t enough just to say this, or just to comprehend the words, because the insanity is locked in our muscles and habits so we must actually engage in the practice — which is why Book IV is a manual of practice.

    Comment by bootslack | December 22, 2007 | Reply

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