The Will is Supra-Rational

The Will is Supra-rational

“Our own Silent Self, helpless and witless, hidden within us, will spring forth, if we have craft to loose him to the Light, spring lustily forward with his cry of Battle, the Word of our True Wills.”
-Aleister Crowley, The Law is for All, commentary to I:7

The first question one might ask when embarking upon the quest to understand the philosophy of Thelema is “What is my Will?” or “How do I know what my Will is?” The answer to this questions might initially be presumed to be answerable in the form of a sentence such as “my Will is to be a doctor” or “my Will is to eat this sandwich,” but this is not so, for this is to restrict the Will to the trappings of language and reason. The Will is the innermost Motion of one’s being, an individual expression of the Eternal Energy of the cosmos.

“The Way that can be named is not the Eternal Way.” [1]

To confine the Will to logical expression is to inherently assert a limit. Further, it assumes that one must have a logical reason for acting such-and-such way, but to do so would make one “fall down into the pit called Because” to “perish with the dogs of Reason.” [2] As the Beast remarked, “It is ridiculous to ask a dog why it barks,” [3] for this is simply an expression of its nature, not determined by any kind of rational process.

“One must fulfil one’s true Nature, one must do one’s Will. To question this is to destroy confidence, and so to create an inhibition… There is no ‘reason’ why a Star should continue in its orbit. Let her rip! Every time the conscious acts, it interferes with the Subconscious, which is Hadit. It is the voice of Man, and not of a God. Any man who ‘listens to reason’ ceases to be a revolutionary.” [4]

Again, to express one’s Will in terms of reason is to assert a limit. This is because of the inherently dualistic nature of not only logic & reason but language & thought themselves. To do this would be to drive a cleft into one’s being, fracturing it into multiplicity.

“Thoughts are false.” [5]

To experience and manifest one’s pure Will, one must not act out of notions of purpose nor out of desire for some pre-formed result or outcome. [6] Both of these things are manifestations of the dualistic mind and restrict one unnecessarily to the trappings of logic. The Will can only be the genuine and spontaneous manifestation of one’s inmost nature, the united whole of one’s being.

Since “the word of Sin is Restriction,” [7] the Will is certainly not deduced from the workings of the mind which, by its very nature, asserts division & separation and therefore restriction. When we clear away the morass of morality and the over-contemplated categories of metaphysics, the Will may more easily spring forward uninhibited.

“In logic there is a trace of effort and pain; logic is self-conscious. So is ethics, which is the application of logic to the facts of life… Life is an art, and like perfect art it should be self-forgetting; there ought not to be any trace of effort or painful feeling. Life… ought to be lived as a bird flies through the air or as a fish swims in the water. As soon as there are signs of elaboration, a man is doomed, he is no more a free being. You are not living as you ought to live, you are suffering under the tyranny of circumstances; you are feeling a constract of some sort, and you lose your independence… Not to be bound by rules, but to be creating one’s own rules…”[8]

And this last point is important because Thelema is not illogical in that it wishes reason to be entirely abolished, but rather it wishes that it be put in its rightful place, under the governance of the Will. The mind is a harsh master and a good mistress, for once one realizes that one’s Will is not amenable to the dualisms of thought, once freed from one’s earlier bonds of logic, one may again employ reason to one’s benefit in those circumstances that call for it.

“It is not the object… to look illogical for its own sake, but to make people know that logical consistency is not final, and that there is a certain transcendental statement that cannot be attained by mere intellectual cleverness… When we say ‘yes,’ we assert, and by asserting we limit ourselves. When we say ‘no,’ we deny, and to deny is exclusion. Exclusion and limitation, which after all are the same thing, murder the soul; for is it not the life of the soul that lives in perfect freedom and in perfect unity? There is no freedom or unity… in exclusion or in limitation.” [9]

Fresh Fever From the Skies: The Collected Writings of IAO131Here – outside logical dualisms, outside notions of ethics, purpose, and metaphysics – the Will can be known. This knowledge is not that of the mind which asserts duality – a knower and a thing known – but the experiential knowledge, the gnosis, of immersion in the flow of the world. Here the Eternal Will runs through oneself, is oneself, for “…mind, never at ease, creaketh “I”. / This I persisteth not, posteth not through generations, changeth momently, finally is dead. / Therefore is man only himself when lost to himself in The Charioting.” [10] Therefore, one ‘knows’ one’s Will in doing one’s Will. The Will that is not restricted by mental formulations springs freely from one’s innermost Self, crowned & conquering.

“Life is fact and no explanation is necessary or pertinent. To explain is to apologize, and why should we apologize for living? To live – is that not enough? Let us then live!” [11]

References

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[1] Lao Tsu, Tao Teh Ching, ch.1
[2] Liber AL vel Legis, II:27
[3] Aleister Crowley, The Law is For All, commentary to II:31
[4] Aleister Crowley, The Law is For All, commentary to II:30-31
[5] Aleister Crowley, The Book of Lies, ch.5
[6] A reference to Liber AL vel Legis, I:44, “For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.”
[7] Liber AL vel Legis, I:41
[8] D.T. Suzuki, Intro to Zen Buddhism, p.34
[9] D.T. Suzuki, Intro to Zen Buddhism, p.37
[10] Aleister Crowley, The Book of Lies, ch.8
[11] D.T. Suzuki, Intro to Zen Buddhism, p.41

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23 comments

  1. IAO131 greetings and thanks.

    I am grappling with this very issue. It has been torturing me in fact. Needless to say, I just joined the email list and is very happy to receive this as my first post. Particularly because I also drew the Prince of Wands just last night in relation to this issue.

    Could you please say more about the Prince of Wands and its relation to one’s True Will?

    Regarding the post:

    My first response to the following three sentences in particular, was a frustration at the tautology of gnosis.

    1. “The Will is the innermost Motion of one’s being, an individual expression of the Eternal Energy of the cosmos.”

    2. “To experience and manifest one’s pure Will, one must not act out of notions of purpose nor out of desire for some pre-formed result or outcome.”

    3. “Thelema is not illogical in that it wishes reason to be entirely abolished, but rather it wishes that it be put in its rightful place, under the governance of the Will.”

    Then I realize that one does not REASON out one’s True Will, one simply KNOWS it.

    And in KNOWING it, one then takes the REASONable steps to accomplish it.

    This is a most natural and spontaneous process. There is no resistance, no logic, no reason that can interfere with it.

    The first step is KNOWING, everything else is a FEATHER LIGHT burden.

    My sincerest thanks.
    +Ifagbeyinmi

    Like

  2. 93 Dr. Claudette Anderson,

    The Prince of Wands is just a fiery card that I feel expresses through image the idea of the Will being supra-rational, i.e. not restricted to formulations of Reason.

    I agree that one does not Reason out one’s True Will, as you say. That being said, one does also not dictate one’s behavior through Reason alone so one could take ‘reasonable steps to accomplish it’ if it was a rational thing. Crowley says the nature of the Will is ‘To Go.’ How does one ‘take reasonable steps to accomplish’ this for example? In the end, the Will is beyond Reason in terms of understanding and enacting. I believe you grasp this as you distinguish ‘reasonable’ from ‘logic/reason/resistance’ but I can imagine someone’s Will being deemed ‘unreasonable.’

    Yes, you must know your Will, then you must do it.

    93 93/93

    Like

  3. Are you familiar with the psychologist Csikszentmihalyi’s work on flow?

    A loose definition flow is the mental state achieved by artists and musicians who are really into their creations, or rock climbers in the thrall of their climb, surgeons into their craft.

    Does this kind of experience, or mental state relate to the Will? If so how? If not, what am I failing to understand?

    Like

    1. 93 mindcore,

      I am familiar with Csikzentmihalyi’s work on flow.

      I believe this state is – in the Samyama scheme of Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi – a form of Dharana or maybe even Dhyana at times. The typical ‘the dancer becomes the dance’ is, in my mind, equated with a form of Dhyana. I personally conceptualize it thus: Dharana is when only subject and object exist (i.e. not a multitude of objects), Dhyana is when only the object exists (i.e. subject fades away into the object of concentration), and Samadhi is when neither subject nor object exists (i.e. non-duality).

      I think ‘flow’ is similar to a lot of concepts that Crowley spoke about regarding Will but I would not essentially equate the two. Similarly having a mystical experience of non-duality is not the same as doing your Will. I would say it is (a) an experience to help better understand your Will and (b) a sign of doing your Will in certain cases. One could imagine, theoretically, a person whose Will it is do be, say, a potter but attains a sense of ‘flow’ while playing basketball.

      That is, flow & Will are not necessarily related in my mind but flow is a nice metaphor for Will. Crowley’s imagery when speaking about going beyond Reason (see his commentaries to the relevant lines in chapter 2 of Liber Legis) are very similar to the explanations of flow.

      93 93/93

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  4. 93 IAO131

    As I continue to meditate on Will, I keep coming back to that little spot of Green beneath the Fiery Chariot. It seems almost to be the very source of the Fire. The Lord of The Chariot of Fire GOes by Lion Power (as opposed to Horse Power); The Chariot is “fortified by a wheel radiating flame.” The Lord “rides upon a sea of flames, both waved and salient.”

    To GO is to be a FLUID SOUL…to be in The Flow as Mindcore suggests.

    I think Green Fire, I think Venus, Venus, Venus.

    Nuit…The Ration-Less.

    “Time began again as the veil parted;
    infinity became a woman’s form…
    In one hand was the Ankh, the crux ansata,
    the sandal-strap of gods who live to Go.
    The other held a wand of woven serpents,
    the healing-rod of Thoth from long ago.”

    And so I ask myself: “What’s on your foot?”
    I must needs answer;
    “The Sandal-shoe of Gods who Live to Go.”

    And what am I living for?
    “Go”

    Love is the Law
    For those who Will to Go.

    +Ifagbeyinimi

    Like

  5. I agree that one does not Reason out one’s True Will, as you say. That being said, one does also not dictate one’s behavior through Reason alone so one could take ‘reasonable steps to accomplish it’ if it was a rational thing. Crowley says the nature of the Will is ‘To Go.’ How does one ‘take reasonable steps to accomplish’ this for example? In the end, the Will is beyond Reason in terms of understanding and enacting. I believe you grasp this as you distinguish ‘reasonable’ from ‘logic/reason/resistance’ but I can imagine someone’s Will being deemed ‘unreasonable.’
    +1

    Like

    1. 93 IAO131 and joethedead

      “This will literally be the death of you if one decides to adopt the theoretical/absolute perspective as a practical/relative philosophy…on the plane of the practical/relative, the Thelemite operates under the formula of ‘love under will,’ assimilating the experience in accordance with their unique nature.”

      Agreed…and yet Is it so that the theoretical/absolute can never fulfill but always thwart the true nature of the being concerned?

      The piece conjures up images of two trains travelling in the same direction and ‘never the twain shall meet.’ How then, or what is the effect of one upon the other. The sentence “the theoretical/absolute plane of Will is virtually useless on a practical level…” is frightening for one who has travelled the “dark night of the soul” indeed, risking death, by relying almost solely on theoretical/absolute plane.

      Perhaps it is that one must risk death via initiaion in order to arrive at one’s true Will and having done so, be endowed with the ability to truly live the dual planes of existence. In this sense, the theoretical/absolute is virtually USEFUL.

      I am thinking one can only DO Will if one KNOWS Will…i.e. who knows better, does better. And Knowledge is Experience, a certain kind of ORDEAL Xperience. In this sense, there is no fork in the road. There is only the road.

      The Law is for All,
      and Love is the Law,
      But Only if You Will

      +Ifagbeyinmi

      Like

      1. 93,

        No – the key is to keep separate the planes. To adopt the theoretical as a philosophy of practical things is to confuse the planes. For example, it is theoretically ‘perfect’ to walk in front of a bus, it is practically not very useful. There is a certain knowledge of the theoretical/absolute which might make doing some of the practical easier, e.g. knowing all is perfect when trudging through lots of horrible work for school, but one shouldn’t let the other usurp its proper role.

        93 93/93

        Like

  6. Great piece. On a mundane level, when we begin to even consider doing our Will, rather than another’s whether individual or institution, it opens up all sorts of possiblities, and I suppose responsibilities, which is why so many people assiduously avoid it.

    Like

  7. Reblogged this on OCCULT SKEPTIC and commented:
    IAO131 as an author and occult researcher has provided me regularly with a sound and logical approach to the Great Work. One of my goals is not to get carried away into lala land. Here recently I have been pondering the True Will and this post is very insightful.

    Like

  8. 93, Brother! Did you know that the word translated as ‘will’ in Crowley’s TaoTehKing – wuyu’ in chinese – more literally (and perhaps more accurately, with respect for the Chinese, who would very unlikely have generated any such concept as individual will…) translates as ‘objectless desire’? (Amos, ‘Philosophical translation’ – The Focus and its Field) – just a thought,…
    Nice site, btw. , at least someone is trying 😉 93 93/93

    Like

  9. Just to elaborate a little more on this last comment – I wrote this for my own blog, but just thought I’d copy it here because it fits neatly into the subject, I think;
    … But I don’t – dogmatically refuse to – believe. I place my bet, that’s all.
    Somehow I find it important to try and find my own words (or any other means) to deliver the same message – as it is, but also as a revision of an ages-old gesture (that, which is called belief), perhaps to set the course for a new one (that, which tells us never to forget our questions)… What must be understood is that our will to do something, even when it is perfectly conscious, is not always like having a choice, really, in the common understanding of volition. To elucidate the point via the text here under consideration: in Amos’ translation of Daodejing, for instance, the word translated by Crowley as “will” (Chinese ‘wuyu’) is interpreted as ‘objectless desire’. Where there is no objective alternative to choose from, choice is entirely contained within the matter of simple, innermost drive; something you simply want to do, without any reasonable consideration whatsoever (which is what makes it so dangerous, and why it takes years of practice to perfect; most of our ‘inner drives’ are usually just a whole lot of a mess – or you can skip the practice, and learn the hard way…). Explicit belief is thus replaced by implicit certainty – an intention, or will to do – which is never allowed to become explicit, but is continuously admonished by inner silence – and that is precisely what any such gesture (regardless of the actual nature of the deed) is to reveal.
    You placed your bet; now that’s your tender. Only time will tell whether it is accepted, and you can only do your best within your own time (Opus Minor).

    … and this:

    Hope is not my kind of god – just said NO. May sound morbid, but I am on much better terms with continuous threat and prefer to propagate the same with most people; the idea of non-being (NOTHING) is my all-time favorite, because ‘fear of god is the beginning of wisdom’. Which is not indifference – it is the opposite of indifference. It is rather an extremely vivid piece of memory: a continuous reminder of Will, as far as memory can reach – which is, of course, relative – where memory of the Will is interpreted in one’s character not only as his or her basic self-conscience, but also as their categorical duty (read Nietzsche; Genealogy of Morals). Will means a yes to being, something perfectly natural and temporal – but very carefully hidden to us, who are anything but perfectly natural, because we have been for ages and for generations modified to be able to utter an ultimate YES only in terms of (such-and such) eternity. Now this picture is reversed, we’ve turned around at the midpoint: )( . We have to switch directions on all corners, in turn or at once, the image is inside-out; eternity IS Non-being! The Khabs is in the Khu. The Sea is within.

    Like

  10. Really appreciated this post! Excellent explanation. Is it the same as the act without thinking? Like castaneda principle the art of stalking.

    Like

  11. Now this article is very interesting. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been going deep into logic spiritual thinkers who don’t accept anything unless it passes a rigorous test of pre determined criteria. At the same time, I’ve been wondering why I am not experiencing the extrasensory things I use to when I use my own mojo. This article helps

    Like

  12. 93! Iao131

    I was just called a “vulnerable narcissist” by one who was honestly demonstrating extremely narcissistic traits and I being 40 have decided that these types are not for me to waste time and genuine effort trying to date.. but still it hurts and sent me into a self checking reflection to see if I’m mistaken. My life has been given in service to the light and my Will is anything but narcissistic! I am, however, very sensitive to abandonment and rejection but these are my trials and tribulations that made me the strong person that I am…. deja vu? Well I can’t find the dream written down because I had company over when I awoke so I remember telling it out loud but didn’t follow up with writing it down. This happens a lot so I’m usually quite diligent.. all of my dreams the past couple years seem to warn of either a bad relationship or suffering a tragic death of someone I’m in love with. Perhaps I am putting forth negative appearances to ward potential partners off? I’m not afraid of experiencing deep feelings though I just get frustrated when others don’t see what to me is so blatantly obvious! It’s true once you know your Will the universe tries to test your commitment by throwing lots of apparent road blocks but these crumble away and disappear the second you decide you can’t be deterred. There’s nothing easy about doing the Work. It’s not the safe route, not when you must pour every last drop of yourself!

    Anyhow I just wanted to thank you for writing this blog so that I may find strength to persevere. Nice Work! Cheers ~

    Asraiya
    93 93/93

    Like

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