I am only sipping the second glass of that "fascinating, but subtle poison, whose ravages eat men's heart and brain" that I have ever tasted in my life; and as I am not an American anxious for quick action, I am not surprised and disappointed that I do not drop dead upon the spot. But I can taste souls without the aid of absinthe; and besides, this is magic of absinthe! The spirit of the house has entered into it; it is an elixir, the masterpiece of an old alchemist, no common wine. And so, as I talk with the patron concerning the vanity of things, I perceive the secret of the heart of God himself; this, that everything, even the vilest thing, is so unutterably lovely that it is worthy of the devotion of a God for all eternity. What other excuse could He give man for making him? In substance, that is my answer to King Solomon.
For, indeed, this is the great horror, solitude, when the soul can no longer bathe in the ever-changing mind, laugh as its sunlit ripples lap its skin, but, shut up in the castle of a few thoughts, paces its narrow prison, wearing down the stone of time, feeding on its own excrement. There is no star in the blackness of that night, no foam upon the stagnant and putrid sea. Even the glittering health that the desert brings to the body, is like a spear in the soul's throat. The passionate ache to act, to think: this eats into the soul like a cancer. It is the scorpion striking itself in its agony, save that no poison can add to the tortue of the circling fire; no superflux of anguish relieve it by annihilation. But against these paroxisms is an eightfold sedative. The ravings of madness are lost in soundless space; the struggles of the drowning man are not heeded by the sea.
This is the supreme anguish of the soul; it realizes itself as itself, as thing separate from that which is not itself, from God. In this spasm there are two ways: if fear and pride are left in the soul, it shuts itself up, like a warlock in a tower, gnashing its teeth with agony. "I am I," it cried, "I will not lose myself," and in that state damned, it is slowly torn by the claws of circumstance disintegrated bitterly, for all its struggles, throughout ages and ages, its rags to be cast piecemeal upon the dungheap without the city. But the soul that has understood the blessedness of that resignation which grasps the universe and devours it, which is without hope or fear, without faith or doubt, without hate or love, dissolves itself ineffable into the abounding bliss of God. It cries with Shelley, as the "chains of lead about its flight of fire" drop molten from its limbs: "I pant, I sink, I tremble, I expire," and in that last outbreaking is made one with the primal and final breath, the Holy Spirit of God.Such must be the climax of any retirement to the Desert on the part of any aspirant of the Mysteries who has the spark of that fire in him.
There is a good deal of the Nietzschean standpoint in this verse. It is the evolutionary and natural view. Of what use is it to perpetuate the misery of tuberculosis, and such diseases, as we now do? Nature's way is to weed out the weak. This is the most merciful way, too. At present all the strong are being damaged, and their progress hindered by the dead weight of the weak limbs and the missing limbs, the diseased limbs and the atrophied limbs. The Christians to the Lions!Our humanitarianism, which is the syphilis of the mind, acts on the basis of the lie that the King must die. The King is beyond death; it is merely a pool where he dips for refreshment. We must therefore go back to Spartan ideas of education; and the worst enemies of humanity are those who wish, under the pretext of compassion, to continue its ills through the generations. The Christians to the Lions!Let weak and wry productions go back into the melting-pot, as is done with flawed steel castings. Death will purge, reincarnation make whole, these errors and abortions. Nature herself may be trusted to do this, if only we will leave her alone. But what of those who, physically fitted to live, are tainted with rottenness of soul, cancerous with the sin-complex? For the third time I answer: The Christians to the Lions!Hadit calls himself the Star, the Star being the Unit of the Macrocosm; and the Snake, the Snake being the symbol of Going or Love, the Dwarf-Soul, the Spermatozoon of all Life, as one may phrase it. The Sun, etc., are the external manifestations or Vestures of this Soul, as a Man is the Garment of an actual Spermatozoon, the Tree sprung of that Seed, with power to multiply and to perpetuate that particular Nature, though without necessary consciousness of what is happening.(―New Comment on Liber AL vel Legis III:48)
The fact is that very few of us know what words mean; fewer still take the trouble to enquire. We calmly, we carelessly assume that our minds are identical with that of the writer, at least on that point; and then we wonder that there should be misunderstandings!The fact is (again!) that usually we don't really want to know; it is so very much easier to drift down the river of discourse, "lazily, lazily, drowsily, drowsily, In the noonday sun."Why is this so satisfactory? Because although we may not know what a word means, most words have a pleasant or unpleasant connotation, each for himself, either because of the ideas or images thus begotten, of hopes or memories stirred up, or merely for the sound of the word itself.
Shameful confession, one of my own Chelas (or so it is rather incredibly reported to me) said recently: "Self-discipline is a form of Restriction." (That, you remember, is "The word of Sin.") Of all the utter rubbish! (Anyhow, he was a "centre of pestilence" for discussing the Book at all.) About 90 percent of Thelema, at a guess, is nothing but self-discipline. One is only allowed to do anything and everything so as to have more scope for exercising that virtue.Concentrate on "Thou hast no right but to do thy will." The point is that any possible act is to be performed if it is a necessary factor in that Equation of your Will. Any act that is not such a factor, however harmless, noble, virtuous or what not, is at the best a waste of energy. But there are no artificial barriers on any type of act in general. The standard of conduct has one single touchstone. There may be—there will be—every kind of difficulty in determining whether, by this standard, any given act is 'right' or 'wrong'; but there should be no confusion. No act is righteous in itself, but only in reference to the True Will of the person who proposes to perform it. This is the Doctrine of Relativity applied to the moral sphere.
Every individual has some qualities that endear him to some other. And per contra, I doubt if there is any class which is not detestable to some other class. Artists, police, the clergy, "reds," foxhunters, Freemasons, Jews, "heaven-born," women's clubwomen (especially in U.S.A.), "Methodys," golfers, dog-lovers; you can't find one body without its "natural" enemies. It's right, what's worse; every class, as a class, is almost sure to have more defects than qualities. As soon as you put men together, they somehow sink, corporatively, below the level of the worst of the individuals composing it. Collect scholars on a club committee, or men of science on a jury; all their virtues vanish, and their vices pop out, reinforced by the self-confidence which the power of numbers is bound to bestow.
There is great danger in this Golden Mean, one of whose main objects is to steer clear of shipwreck, Scylla being as fatal as Charybdis. No, this lofty and equable attitude is worse than wrong unless it derives from striking the balance between two very distant opposites. One of the worst perils of the present time is that, in the reaction against ignorant bigotry, people no longer dare to make up their minds about anything. The very practice, which the A∴A∴ so strongly and persistently advocates, tends to make people feel that any positive attitude or gesture is certainly wrong, whatever may be right. They forget that the opposite may, within the limit of the universe of discourse, amount to nothing.[....]Of course, in no case does the Golden Mean advise hesitating, trimming, hedging, compromising; the very object of ensuring an exact balance in your weapon is that its blow may be clean and certain.
We even, at the worst, reach the state for which Buddhism, in the East presents most ably the case: as in the West, does James Thomson (B.V.) in The City of Dreadful Night ; we come to wish for—or, more truly to think that we wish for "blest Nirvana's sinless stainless Peace" (or some such twaddle—thank God I can't recall Arnold's mawkish and unmanly phrase!) and B.V.'s "Dateless oblivion and divine repose."I insist on the "think that you wish," because, if the real You did really wish the real That, you could never have come to exist at all! ("But I don't exist."—"I know—let's get on!")Note, please, how sophistically unconvincing are the Buddhist theories of how we ever got into this mess. First cause: Ignorance. Way out, then, knowledge. O.K., that implies a knower, a thing known—and so on and so forth, through all the Three Waste Paper Baskets of the Law; analysed, it turns out to be nonsense all dolled up to look like thinking. And there is no genuine explanation of the origin of the Will to be.How different, how simple, how self-evident, is the doctrine of The Book of the Law !