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October 29th, 2004

Minimalist Proto Manifesto

WHAT KIND OF ORDER?

I have discussed this matter in response to some righteously true and long-time order members on my friends list, but everyone here doesn’t necessarily see that, and I thought I’d briefly go into where I stand and why. I joined late, at nearly forty, well over ten years into a formal magical career, but having joined no other organized body of manifestation. This was over twenty years ago, and it was, by anyone’s account, a very different body of manifestation in 1982.

For one thing, it was effectively decentralized, almost feudal in its structure. The local body master set the tone and was likely to be the only ranking OTO member you knew, and “ranking” at that time could be a III* with a Camp Charter and a primary charter to initiate. The EGC was a connected but distinct body of manifestation, and seemed for a time headed towards becoming more so. If you didn’t live in New York or San Francisco, the ambiance of the body was largely determined by the lbm. In the case of Eulis Camp, which was my affiliation, it was *very* ‘Masonic’ and mystical, intellectual and rather nakedly sexual in its tone. I liked it, but hung out doing EGC work for years before taking initiation. I had doubts about the “top heavy” structure of the organization, and still do. I saw it as a fraternal and spiritual body of manifestation, and still tend to.

Disclaimer: I go by the book. I have spoken out here and there on things I feel deeply about (mostly face to face with the high leadership), but have never had anything more than secondary advisory input into policy. I have stood by policies that I profoundly disagree with because I had sworn to do so, but also because of where I am coming from on all this.

Call me a “minimalist”. I have absolutely, positively no affinity for the “small tent, highly intellectual, extremely authoritarian and structured” opposition that has formed around D.J., Keith, and my friend John C. I call this school “The Dogs of Reason” and reason is a good tool, but a poor master in matters spiritual and fraternal, and in that sense I consider it a lie. I also feel they are so bitter in their demeanor that they will get nowhere, which is good. On the other hand, I have absolutely no sympathy with the nihilistic, superstitious non members and failed members who have created a mythical order with a fundamentalist core and a bunch of would-be gurus—what I call the “shadow order”. On the third hand (this is a magical body, so we have lots of hands), I am not in sympathy with the paper-pushing, pocket-protector wearing , rule-and-paperwork expanding, legalistic and respectability-hungering element that seems to enjoy great sympathy at the top of the top heavy structure; I designate this the “Thelemo-Rotary Club” and I fear this above all, because that’s where I see things headed. I never set out to be a Methodist or Elk or Moose Club member, and they all do this jingle better than we ever could, in any case. It’s the death of fraternity, I think, and the death of spirituality in the long run for sure.

What is an order minimalist? Unlike my good friend James, I see great advantages to a “big tent” in which all kinds of people of various races, religious backgrounds, political views and lifestyles can feel comfortable, if for no other reason than the human resource pool and material means this provides. I would exclude no interested party so long as they observe the Peace of the Temple. In fact, I would advocate a rotational high administrative leadership, and more emphasis on service than authority at the highest levels, and more emphasis on making people comfortable from day one with the order.

To me the order is this, and only this: (A) The Initiation Rituals – and whatever the individual derives from these. (B) The Gnostic Mass and related life-passage rituals, and (C) whatever minimum structure – administrative, financial and regulatory – necessary to carry out (A) and (B) with joy and beauty, with liberal room for a variety of artistic interpretations. That’s it. I also have said I accept the implicit in all this of a social structure – optional and informal, that acts as a kind of support group in a growth-oriented initiatory system. But, that’s informal, and should be viewed as such.

At some point I will give a list, if there is interest, in the decisions of consequence that have been made since I affiliated which I consider to be wrong-headed in one direction or another.

Reminder: Those things I am sworn to do, I do. I would frankly like more input into fundamental policy, but for reasons best not gone into here, don’t expect this to ever happen to me directly. Those who hear policy from me hear it as policy, and I represent the decisions of authority as I have agreed to do. There are many policies I disagree with, profoundly. None of them existed when I was first approached to build the EGC for Eulis Camp in 1982. But the initiations are profound, the Mass is beautiful, and I have met a few really wonderful men and women I am proud to call brothers, sisters, lovers and friends. That’s why I’m here, why I do my job, and that’s why I’m saying what I’ve just said.

Oh. If you want to know what I REALLY think, go to the only true on line manifestation of the inner order at

http://www.internationaljewishconspiracy.com/members/emailsignup.php
(1) Wow, what a response.
(2) See One.
(3) Don't talk about Fight Club.
(4) See Three.

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