tangyabominy: A misty, magical-looking lake hidden in deep forest. (secret gardens)
[personal profile] tangyabominy
I think the principle I mentioned in this comment:

Which, incidentally, feeds into that part of Book 4 you mentioned; which I think I'm going to have to quote more widely, after a couple of days of dwelling on it and finding that it increasingly applies to a lot of the things I do, fiction-spirituality-wise.

Crowley's not trying to say, I think, that these nursery rhymes were Really Truly Meant to be about gods and ancient principles, or even quite that they're reflective of a collective unconsciousness that causes such patterns to repeat in the universe - though I don't think that second assessment would entirely clash with what he's saying, either. But he's also not trying to say that these associations are spurious, ridiculous and meaningless: or at least, he's showing that they seem quite ridiculous but are meaningful anyway. The point is that you can do this and it works.

Whether there's any connection enshrined in spiritual law between nursery rhymes and ancient principles is mu. It's not true or false: it's beside the point. It's not the part of the picture you should be looking at. What matters is that it works, and that's not to be cast aside if it provides actual insight.

Hence Kingdom Hearts and alchemy, or Mother Hubbard and ancient Mothers. If it gets you there, it gets you there. It's not that we're saying that any of this is about this; and yet in some way, also, it is.

But I digress. I've come across the "you can get to deity through either point on the spectrum" thing before, though I don't really know enough about it to have fleshed it out. I'm curious to take a look, to fill out my knowledge and to see how it meshes with what I know of alchemy (which seems to suggest that one travels through both points out of necessity, first descending downwards and then travelling upwards).


is pretty applicable across the board: particularly when it comes to things that are Important To One yet with nebulous objective truth/proof value.

For example, it's easy to rework:

Whether there's any connection enshrined in spiritual law between nursery rhymes and ancient principles is mu. It's not true or false: it's beside the point. It's not the part of the picture you should be looking at. What matters is that it works, and that's not to be cast aside if it provides actual insight.

to:

Whether there's any connection enshrined in spiritual law between people who believe they are dragons and the concrete existence of dragons on some physical plane....

I get the feeling that Crowley chose a ridiculous topic like nursery rhymes on purpose: he may, admittedly, have been going for the thing where the most innocuous sentiments hold the greatest truths, but what strikes me about nursery rhymes in this context is not so much that they are innocuous as that they are ridiculous. They are inherently low culture, speaking of trivialities; they come with none of the resonance and feeling of a work that has been seriously meditated on, because they weren't. Yet it's possible to find genuine spiritual inspiration in them, if you're looking at things in the right way.

It's like horoscopes or tarot, in a way: what you get out of them is largely what you put in, but there's a useful framework there anyway. But people feel that things like tarot are, at least, meant to be serious. The mythology of a videogame, or the idea that a person is really a dragon in spirit: these things are patently off-kilter.

Yet Crowley seems to be saying that that doesn't matter. Not only can you work with things that seem very "silly" (or pop-cultural, or contradictory, or patently untrue, or...) and find meaning there, but what their connection is to any concrete truth is beside the point, and thus whether they are silly, or Clearly Not Meant To Have That Done With Them, or whatever, is beside the point. What matters is the insights you receive, which, if they are fit to be called insights, will be truth in some way.

The meta-insight that I'm getting out of this isn't quite "anything can be a map to anything, so find spirituality on the back of cereal boxes if you so desire" - that's true, but it's also not something I'd feel inspired to harp on about. It's a little more than that. It's "stop putting all your energy into trying to find a concrete connection between A and B, or a theory for A's existence: that is mu. It's so far beside the point that it is detracting from the point. What matters is that you get insight from A".

When we're capable of making "what matters is that you get insight from A" the centre of our spiritual world, then the value and meaning and purpose of things is judged solely by whether they can bring you insight. And so it becomes irrelevant that nursery rhymes are "silly" and dragons are "not real" and videogames are "moneymaking spiel pumped out by huge corporations" (to take things that can be and have been said about each). First begin with what brings you insight and meaning and truth, and work with that, and from that: standing around arguing for the authenticity level of your source, or standing around saying that "I know it's all just in my head because dragons aren't real, but it's meaningful", are equally distracting from the real point. Where dragons are A and the physical existence of dragons is B and insight is C, B does not matter. B needs to be thrown out of the equation. (If B is later proven, then we might want to look again at B for more C. But until B is proven, we need to ignore it.) All that matters are A and C.

(Which is not to say that things like past-life recollections are valueless. It's rather to say that whether such recollections are "real" - as in "from a concrete past life" - or "brain-produced" or something else is not just beside the point, it's mu. You have recollections; you have insight from same. These are the important things.

Or at least, that's what I think.)
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