Posts in Philosophy
Io Saturnalia!

Anything we learn the hard way follows the same pattern: We learn of its value by NOT achieving it. We learn about the value of a skill by experiencing the discomfort when it is not available and yet dearly needed. In light of this the Saturnalia, the period we are entering each year on the 17th of December is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on power - and what we can learn about it from being powerless. 

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The Vertical Ascent - on Mysticism and Personal Growth - Part 2

(...) Herein lies the crux of vertical development: at first sight it seems like a loosing game. Any time we move forward on our vertical ascent the journey begins with us being proven wrong, with us accepting that part of the reality we had lived in is an illusion. Step by step we discover more subjective filters that ‘have us’ rather than us ‘having’ them. As anybody who has raised kids knows - growing up is a damn hard business. You bleed dreams, phantasies and imagined powers on this path more than you can care to count.

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The Vertical Ascent - on Mysticism and Personal Growth - Part 1

This essay in two chapters is exploring what in Kabbala is often referred to as the 'rainbow path'. A cryptical reference in most books only - referring to a pathway of direct mystical ascent. To begin with, and in order to ground our exploration in everyday life, we'll be looking at the contemporary field of adult learning - and a related philosophy and practice of facilitating deep personal change that emerged from it recently.

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Book Review - Michael Carroll: Fearless at Work

Fearless at Work actually isn't a book about work. It's a book about cowardice. The kind of cowardice most of us comfortably have forgotten about, and to aid that process we conveniantly began to call it everyday life. It's the cowardice that masks itself as numb acceptance or bitter withdrawal, as grudging tolerance or thick-skinned suffering. Fearless at Work is a book about the siege-mentality that most of us have come to live in these days.

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Guest Post - Walter Ogris on Being Awake

Where the neuroscientist sees neuronal networks, the gnostic Hermetical understands such electro-magnetical phenomena as physical manifestations of spirit-cells that form our inner organs (Wesenszellen) - so called ‘elementals’. It is these elementals that form one’s consciousness, mostly without any active involvement of the self. Sunday roast, sex, and other smart or stupid thoughts suppress the self. (...)

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Working the Thread. Loving the Weave.

Once we have spent a considerable amount of time at the edge of Abyss a few things become incredibly clear. They become obvious not like a truth derived from philosophical speculation or from scientific hypothesizing, testing and retetesting. They become obvious like a truth that is part of who we are, of our own being, our very own flesh. We cannot call it faith, because we have seen it with our own eyes.

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On Man's Place in Magic - or why developing character is the hardest thing.

(...) Let’s explore this hypothesis together: The biggest block to leading an ethical life is to fear failure. Actually, to be afraid of failure is a distinctly human invention. Nature never considers failure an option. Had it set out a few millenials ago to achieve evoultion and hat it been afraid of getting it wrong somewhere along that eternal path, where would that have left all of us? None of us would be here. Instead of being afraid of failure, nature embraced the idea of adaptive recovery as its secret design principle for everything it does. Failure thus turned from the worst-case scenario into a necessary trigger for any learning process.

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On Becoming an Adept. Or how QUAREIA works.

If you follow its path consider yourself in the business of turning yourself into a spiritual adult. Now, the paradox on this path is this: For many years you'll be the baby, the teenager and the adult all in one person. Life doesn't come with an instruction leaflet; all boundaries are temporary in nature. As part of your journey with the Quareia material nobody will disciplinise you, except for yourself. And nobody will praise you, except for yourself. Someone once said, 'Integrity is what you do when nobody is watching'. Without integrity you can still have a fulfilled live, believe me. You might even be able to become a magician in the traditional, sad sense. But you certainly won't get anywhere with Quareia.

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On the Nature of Work

(...) what I had misunderstood is what the term ‘work’ actually stands for. The Latin word ‘producere’ can be translated literally as to ‘bring forth’ or ‘draw out’.  So in my simple Western mind ‘work’ was something that flowed from the inside outwards. From intend to action and from action to result. I understood work as the process of achieving a state of change by means of applying ourselves to the world. May it be through the help of our hands, of our minds or words. Whatever interface between us and the world we choose to use, work was an active noun, the opposite of death almost, and altogether a pretty safe sign for being alive.

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Should magical training come for free?

Should magical training come for free? I guess that’s a question we all come across at some point. Whenever people dip their toes into anything ‘spiritual’ correlations to financial interests or dependencies can easily turn problematic. Or do they? I recall asking exactly that question to my first teacher during the early days of my own training. He looked at me quite startled and had a very straight forward view on this subject. Here is what he said.

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Across the Abyss - on dangerous names and conventions

(...) General theories about the nature of the being Choronzon are completely meaningless. By following them you are just led further away from what needs exploring. All they do is to put another label on top of an existing one - and thus seal away the actual experience even further. — I’d like to hope that for Crowley Choronzon wasn’t a label - but a living seal that expressed and summarised his personal experiences in the Abyss. It was the ‘you’ that he encountered on his journey into this darkest of places. If we really have to, then I’d encourage all of us to find our own Choronzon, our own ‘you’s as we explore the magical realm.

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Faith is the Foundation. Part 2

Here is what I think I missed to call out in the previous post on faith - and what Hanegraaf’s wonderful chapter helped me realise: As a gnostic you are faced with the essential fact that all of your faith’s ties to the past need to cease to exist - for any true experience to come to life. Walking the path of the gnostic takes courage more than anything. Because what it takes is exactly what the Neoplatonist Porphyri had suspected: Each one of us needs to ‘cut out for themselves a new kind of track in a pathless desert’.

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Faith is the foundation.

Whenever life turns truly practical and concrete all scientific knowledge and ratio begin to fade into the background. What takes the limelight instead is a Pandora’s Box: What is inside nobody will ever know. All we know is it is a box that will be eternally closed to the hands of knowledge and science. Yet, we also know the very same box will open almost effortlessly to the touch of faith. At the same time nothing can be said about the inside of this box objectively, yet it presents its content devotedly to the subjective view of our senses...

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Working in Service (Part 4): On Aggression

It’s a simple fact of life that every force manifests in power and direction. Each force might carry its individual threshold at which it converts from being stagnant to setting into motion. Yet once this level has been surpassed, the result is movement in a defined direction. Thus the two states any force within or around us can assume is either being stagnantly bound or being set free in motion.

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Working in Service (Part 3): On Self-Confidence

When I wrote the earlier parts on Working in Service I knew there needed to be at least one more. The first one is focussed on tearing down the divide between inside and outside, the second one explores the concept of creativity in relation to working in service magically. In this third post I am looking at the fundament to all of this - our ability to live in self-confidence.

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