To Be Or Not To Be

“To give advice to a man who asks what to do with his life implies something very close to egomania. To presume to point a man to the right and ultimate goal — to point with a trembling finger in the RIGHT direction is something only a fool would take upon himself.

“To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles…”

And indeed, that IS the question: whether to float with the tide, or to swim for a goal. It is a choice we must all make consciously or unconsciously at one time in our lives. So few people understand this! Think of any decision you’ve ever made which had a bearing on your future: I may be wrong, but I don’t see how it could have been anything but a choice however indirect — between the two things I’ve mentioned: the floating or the swimming.

The answer — and, in a sense, the tragedy of life — is that we seek to understand the goal and not the man. We set up a goal which demands of us certain things: and we do these things. We adjust to the demands of a concept which CANNOT be valid. When you were young, let us say that you wanted to be a fireman. I feel reasonably safe in saying that you no longer want to be a fireman. Why? Because your perspective has changed. It’s not the fireman who has changed, but you.

Every man is the sum total of his reactions to experience. As your experiences differ and multiply, you become a different man, and hence your perspective changes. This goes on and on. Every reaction is a learning process; every significant experience alters your perspective.

So it would seem foolish, would it not, to adjust our lives to the demands of a goal we see from a different angle every day? How could we ever hope to accomplish anything other than galloping neurosis?

The answer, then, must not deal with goals at all, or not with tangible goals, anyway. It would take reams of paper to develop this subject to fulfillment. God only knows how many books have been written on “the meaning of man” and that sort of thing, and god only knows how many people have pondered the subject. (I use the term “god only knows” purely as an expression.) There’s very little sense in my trying to give it up to you in the proverbial nutshell, because I’m the first to admit my absolute lack of qualifications for reducing the meaning of life to one or two paragraphs.

To put our faith in tangible goals would seem to be, at best, unwise. So we do not strive to be firemen, we do not strive to be bankers, nor policemen, nor doctors. WE STRIVE TO BE OURSELVES.

But don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean that we can’t BE firemen, bankers, or doctors—but that we must make the goal conform to the individual, rather than make the individual conform to the goal. In every man, heredity and environment have combined to produce a creature of certain abilities and desires—including a deeply ingrained need to function in such a way that his life will be MEANINGFUL. A man has to BE something; he has to matter.

As I see it then, the formula runs something like this: a man must choose a path which will let his ABILITIES function at maximum efficiency toward the gratification of his DESIRES. In doing this, he is fulfilling a need (giving himself identity by functioning in a set pattern toward a set goal) he avoids frustrating his potential (choosing a path which puts no limit on his self-development), and he avoids the terror of seeing his goal wilt or lose its charm as he draws closer to it (rather than bending himself to meet the demands of that which he seeks, he has bent his goal to conform to his own abilities and desires).

In short, he has not dedicated his life to reaching a pre-defined goal, but he has rather chosen a way of life he KNOWS he will enjoy. The goal is absolutely secondary: it is the functioning toward the goal which is important. And it seems almost ridiculous to say that a man MUST function in a pattern of his own choosing; for to let another man define your own goals is to give up one of the most meaningful aspects of life — the definitive act of will which makes a man an individual.

A man who procrastinates in his CHOOSING will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance. So if you now number yourself among the disenchanted, then you have no choice but to accept things as they are, or to seriously seek something else. But beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living WITHIN that way of life. But you say, “I don’t know where to look; I don’t know what to look for.”

And there’s the crux. Is it worth giving up what I have to look for something better? I don’t know—is it? Who can make that decision but you? But even by DECIDING TO LOOK, you go a long way toward making the choice.

I’m not trying to send you out “on the road” in search of Valhalla, but merely pointing out that it is not necessary to accept the choices handed down to you by life as you know it. There is more to it than that — no one HAS to do something he doesn’t want to do for the rest of his life.”

— Hunter S. Thompson

A Personal Excursion

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

I just wanted to take a minute to expound a bit on my love for the Law of Thelema.

I just returned from a weekend trip to Bubastis Oasis in the valley of Dallas, TX and it has just overwhelmed me with the love, fraternity, and education that I received this weekend. Thelema is a living, breathing philosophy and religion that is still in the very early stages of its manifestation. For all the great words penned by our Prophet regarding Thelema, there is still much ground to cover. Modern Thelemic thinkers are constantly traversing new ground and revealing yet more of the mysteries of the Law that is for All.

A very wise brother pointed out this weekend that the new Aeon is upon us. If the OTO ceased to exist and if there were no Thelemites, the Aeon would roll on unabated. Our place in all of this as Thelemites is to ease the transition. To be the midwife to the change in society and culture that is coming. Our place is that of service, not only to our own but to the world at large. Thelema is larger than any one of us yet we can always find a place within it.

These changes that are coming to the world at large are also happening within each and every one of us as individuals. We are the Children of the Aeon. The crowned and conquering children that have the birthright to the new kingdom for every man and every woman is a star. I so dearly love my religion, I dearly love the philosophy behind it. I am constantly learning, evolving, coming to know my Self more and more. Through gnosis comes knowledge, from knowledge comes understanding, from understanding comes wisdom. The magick is alive and well and waiting for you to grasp it with both hands and make it yours. The injunction to the magician is to GO. Constantly moving, constantly learning, constantly improving.

Thelema is the Law and it is a living and breathing source of Light, Life, Love, and Liberty for ALL. Seize the day.

Love is the law, love under will

A weekend in Dallas with the Chappells

I love my religion! Just spent the most amazing day listening to Brother Vere and Sister Lita talk about True Will and host an open discussion on the Gnostic Mass. I turned to Soror Bennu and asked when the last time she heard such and open and enlightening discussion in a Christian church, she said never, neither had I.

Thelema is so broad and deep you will always learn something new when a group of Thelemites get together to celebrate anything. I’ve been to 3 different sets of lectures in the last month and every one just blew my mind wide open. Bringing a lot of great things back to Lifted Lance to share and discuss with the brethren. Look for our September-November schedule to be posted both here and on Facebook in the coming days.

I’m also looking into an opt-in mailing list plugin for WordPress to allow people to sign up to have schedules and events to be delivered right to their inbox! Announcements forthcoming.