Since Dan Brown’s new book, there has been more interest generated in Freemasonry and I thought it would be timely to ressurect this post.

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Original Title: orders of elitism?
Original Post Date: April 29, 2006 @ 2:51 pm

I’ve been thinking about the role of elitism in terms of the OTO and freemasonry. You could say both orders are guilty of it despite principles of brotherhood and suchlike. Take Crowley’s scathing disgust with the masses and his penchant for unconstructive shit disturbing; oft cited character flaws indicating the man’s elitism which flew in the face of his assertion that “every man and woman is a star.” From an outsider’s or freemason’s point of view, as OTO members tend to hold Crowley in high regard, it may be assumed that this elitist attitude and distain for the ignorant, “unwashed masses” permeate the order. Not my opinion of course, but I can understand the perspective. However, from the OTO end, freemasonry looks totally elitist as well, with their old boys and their old money, no vaginas allowed.

But really, at the heart of the matter, elitism is not the issue. It seems to me that for many, it may appear on the surface that both orders have devised their own ways of safeguarding their secrets to keep people out. And I am no expert but I think those barriers are not really present to protect the secrets themselves, rather, their function is to protect people and to keep secrets in. Sort of like containing wild tigers in cages if you’re going to have a circus.

How bad could these secrets be? Remember Apocalypse Now (or Heart of Darkness)? Remember Kurtz, whacked out in Nam, more sane than sane and because of that, completely mad? Remember, “the… horror… the… horror?” There is always the potential, when delving deeply into the psyche and messing around with one’s cognitive order, for things to go terribly terribly wrong. So you develop ways of maintaining ego integrity to keep people basically level: meditation, ritual, discipline, symbols, initiations. If you’re exposing people to the great unknown, it’s your responsibility to protect them from harm and it should, in theory, have nothing to do with elitism. Of course, in reality, things don’t always work out that way. I think Crowley was of the haughty opinion that the masses were too stone dumb to recognize numinosity if it bit them in the arse, so it was completely safe to flaunt his esoteric knowledge, pearls before swine, that sort of thing. The GD naturally, did not find his attitude very useful to put it mildly.

A freemason once described the order as a plane that most people never see take flight. They help build and maintain the craft, tinkering about at the bottom levels and perhaps they will admire its beauty, all the while never realizing the magnitude or power of what they are constructing. I used to think (when I was like, 15) that everyone could be a pilot. Nevermind that, I used to think everyone should train to be pilots. Later, I realized how absurd this idea is. Total access to the plane is fine, but total access to using the cockpit?

A coworker of my ex, a Japanese Buddhist once said to him something along the lines of, “Look. This getting rid of ego stuff you Westerners are obsessed with, it’s silly. For most people, the most productive thing they should do is work on building a good ego.”

Magic and divination are pointless if you can’t even be a decent human being. I find a subgroup of people my age are really attracted to the idea of secret societies. Well, to this attitude, I have to support a Thelemic perspective: joining an occult order is not going to make you a more interesting or better person. YOU are going to make yourself the person you should be, and that’s more important than being interesting to others. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law; Love is the Law, Love under Will.

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