Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

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Hierarchy Degradation
Written by Solemnus, P.M.S.L. 185, W.W.B.D.
From a an E-mail message on the Thelema93-L mailing list
May 5th, 1998 e.v.

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

 > From: "NunTzadi" <>
 > persuaded myself.  I am probably wrong, though, in assuming
 > flatly that the hierarchy, order and initiations themselves
 > are the reason for the things I've seen.  It just seems to me

Greetings, Brother-In-Spirit.

There is some validity, in my opinion, to the view that interactive heirarchy is a large component of the forces which cultivate the stagnation of an order. I have observed this trend in many organizations, both occult and mundane. The heirarchy alone does not seem to foster the problem, but when all layers of the hierarchy know each other and meet regularly, the problem eventually crops up. I can't think of a single exception.

This may be why I perceive the Brotherhood A.·.A.·. to be largely immune to the problem. One member of the order does not necessarily know the other members; in fact, he or she generally does not. The human temptation toward things political is less a factor when there is noone to affect, or protect against, politically.

Just my thoughts on the matter.

Don't get me wrong -- The O.T.O., and other orders like it, still serve many useful functions, and do many of them very well. It's just that the purity of any interactive order fades with time, and a rebirthing is generally required to refresh it. It is my personal belief that Master Therion accomplished this very task in reworking the O.T.O. to support the New Aeon. But it's been almost a century since then, and at least three generations of potential members have passed through the halls. The purity has faded somewhat, in my opinion, and not through any fault of any person. People are still people, and still have human traits -- both positive and negative. This includes those traits which maintain the spirit of the order, as well as those which draw orders like these away from their purity; an example of the latter is the political layer of behaviors.

That is not to say the O.T.O. and variants have become ineffective -- far from it. But the areas in which I perceive them to be effective are not areas which concern my Path. I cannot speak to the Paths of others. Those who join of their own volition are executing their Will; I can only respect them for that.

That I choose to not join the O.T.O. is merely the execution of my Will.

 > That I am not. If by knee-jerk you mean a trouble-maker, or a
 > gadfly, I'll accept the epithet as an honor.  I am also truly
 > interested to see how various Thelemites react to this idea.

The phrase "trouble maker" carries many connotations, some of which are, perhaps, unduly negative. The motivation modifies the meaning, as I see it. I presume you see a trouble maker, in this context, as one who is simply playing Devil's Advocate, or seeking the truth.

Far be it for me to project my view of Thelema upon others, but I feel true Thelemites will tend towards being this type of person, in some capacity or another.

 > lack leadership with very strong moral character.  The bigger
 > the claims, the greater the need for strong moral character.
 > Chakra activation, IXth deg., Knowledge and Conversation...
 > these are pretty tall claims.

Herein lies one difficulty with interactive heirarchies. The upper echelons of the order need to maintain an image of having accomplished many great things in order to effectively keep the faith of the lower Grades.

However, magick is not about getting the credit. Magick is about getting it done.

The same is true of such vital accomplishments in a star's path as the crises (the Angel and the Abyss). I once heard a great piece of wisdom -- I think it was Josh Geller, creator and maintainer of the alt.magick newsgroup -- when a troglodyte was asking someone pointedly whether or not they had attained to the KCHGA. He interceded and said, "That is a question which should neither be asked nor answered."

How true! Yet the persons who lead orders purporting to encourage the processes by which their members may attain to these crises are somehow expected to "prove", and largely to a population prepared neither to interpret nor accept proper "proof", that they have successfully undergone such crises.

Talk about a formula for social and political trouble!

I find it quite a testament to the purity of the order, and to the loving care of its masters, that any order can last more than two generations under such circumstances without degrading into little more than complete and total rabble-rousing.

 > As much as I may sound like
 > I'm attacking the caliphate, it's the only OTO that I can
 > take seriously at all.  I will never again be a member, but I

I toyed around with the idea of joining the O.T.O. for many years, and always intended to do so, but never actually got around to doing it. As time has progressed, I have come to realize that, at this point in my Path, the O.T.O. in its current form will not serve my needs, and as such I shall not be joining. My Angel appears to have provided me with the distractions necessary to get me to this stage before I joined an order where I would be honor- and oathbound to spend much time and energy on tasks not related to the execution of my Will.

That doesn't mean I consider the O.T.O. to be invalid or inappropriate; nay, I believe it still has much it can do to support the Great Work. It just won't be doing it with me. My work is elsewhere.

 > will always respect the members that can converse honestly

I personally know several members of the O.T.O., and have had much enjoyment of my discussions with them on many matters, including the O.T.O. itself. I have yet to personally meet a member of the Caliphate O.T.O. for whom I have anything less than complete respect.

I suspect that, by and large, this statement will be true of any Thelemite I meet.

 > active participant.  Thanks. It's been good to get some of
 > this out, and talk about it.  I hope that it has been useful
 > to you to know that things aren't necessarily peachy in
 > Thelemaland.

Were this a perfect world, I would be concerned that the thread of Life was unravelling below us; that the Great Cycle had been broken.

 > What am I doing here?  Just curious.  Just
 > wanting to know if there are real human beings out there who
 > are serious about magick, freedom, true friendship and
 > creativity.


Like you, I find my path to currently weave around the O.T.O.; working in conjunction with it, but not be a part of it. I am the Hermit, the Outsider, and, perhaps, someday, the Guide. This is my Will, and as a Thelemite I shall not be deprived of it.

 > that my words will help spawn a little thought among
 > Thelemites to erase some of those gulfs, schisms, hatreds,
 > envies, etc. and enjoy each other's strengths as free stars,
 > not as members of the same club set against those who are not
 > members.

Here, here!

Love is the law, love under will.

Many thanks to NunTzadi <> for the post on the Thelema93-L mailing list which precipitated this essay.

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