Si Vales, Valeo
Thank you for your kind letter indicating what I would consider a Dark Night of The Soul. Do not lose hope but rejoice instead that you are being pushed toward a more faithful facsimile of your True Self. Thank your Gods for engaging you in this way. I understand how ridiculous this might sound while you are feeling so bad, but you must strive as best as you can to, as The Master put it: “… interpret every phenomenon as a particular dealing of God with my soul.” It is good advice, and a lifesaver while you navigate toward the ultimate attainment. It’s not always light, love and rainbows as you are finding out.
If Thelema is supposed to be the solution to the world’s problems, why do things appear to be getting worse? If you were a simple man, and you are not, I would just tell you that things must get worse before they will get better and that you just have to ride it out and hope for the best. And there is indeed and element of truth to that. But I think you deserve better than that. I have said repeatedly that I believe that Thelema is what the world needs today, and I mean that with all of my heart. And yet I am unable to ignore your observations about the world because I see it too, and I think I may have a philosophical explanation for what appears to be the chaos we are experiencing today.
I believe it began with Nietzsche observing that God had, in his opinion died, (Gott ist tot), which is quite a statement from a self-professed atheist. So, if he didn’t believe in God, then what exactly did he mean? I think he recognized that humanity had taken a step forward in our evolution by choosing not to believe in what we could not prove. We killed God with science. It meant that we had become rational and that therefore a morality was not only possible without the existence of a God that could not be proven to exist, but was essential to our evolution. It also meant that any observable universal order was self-created.
When a person is desperate enough to pray, and their prayers are answered, it isn’t by way of a giant white hand descending from a cloud, but always due to the actions of another human being. And that is a clue. There is no god but man, but it isn’t enough to just say it. Observe it yourself, even in these turbulent times, and see how this is a universal fact.
Most people think that this revelation was a happy one for Nietzsche. I don’t believe it was, in fact he thought our entire social fabric would collapse, but he rightly pointed out that the foundation of Christianity was flawed because at its foundation there was a God whose inaction could be justified only by faith, and to Nietzsche perhaps this liberation from superstition was more important than the existential crisis it would cause or the ugly animal nature that humans without some sort of divine compass could inflict on the world. He was concerned that the philosophical assumption of a dead God would cause a lack of Will or drive, which is the antithesis of what he wanted to believe. However, without religion, philosophy could turn a page and move beyond superstition, and he may have thought that the price was worth it, for it forced us to look at the real world and give birth to the Übermensch without weighing him down with guilt or fear. But in fact, what ultimately happened to him was that he could not overcome or live with his own nihilism. In my opinion, he was a victim of his own thoughts.
I know this sounds dark, but Nietzsche offered a solution to what were the social issues of his time. He gave us the concept of the individual will, which could never be swayed by societal pressure or superstition. He felt that this Will could make humanity strong enough to not only handle the death of God, but to become God and perform the duties previously assigned to an absentee father figure.
So, what does this all mean today? In my opinion, humanity is dealing with existential dread. We are not able to investigate the future as we once could, with hopes and images of our journey in physical bodies, or the contributions that we might make as a species. I am in no way implying to be as great a thinker as Nietzsche, but I think he may have been wrong about our ability to accept responsibility for our actions, which means we are not ourselves taking on the role of Gods. In fact, some of humanity has gone the other way. No longer fearing a God, man is now generally choosing the easiest path to anything. He only chases after things which are the easiest, man may be simply devolving back to the animal which has no care for others, no fear of consequences, and is only able to see what is in front of him. He had much more faith in human nature than perhaps we deserved. Isn’t that ironic from a man who thought faith was unnecessary?
And yet, perhaps he was correct about Übermensch. Maybe only a few of us will possess the Will to take up the mantle he foresaw? Maybe this is a possible application or meaning to that famous verse from The Book of The Law: “Let my servants be few & secret: they shall rule the many & the known.”
So, the way I see it, Thelema still offers the only viable solution to the global pickle we are in today. We must step up, like Nietzsche thought we would. And assume the role of God for the sake of humanity. It isn’t some empty promise, or faith. One must come to the knowledge of his or her own divinity and true nature for the sake of all of us. Man must come to not only understand that he has a divine nature, but he must face it through prayer, adoration, and magick and eventual shake hands with it. When he does this, he will become his own God, and as Eliphas Levi has already said: “Nothing can resist the will of man when he knows what is true and wills what is good.”
We will get through this my friend. We may not see it in our lives, but if the humans are to survive, man will have to stop running from himself.
Be well, chin up, and please write again. I realize that email isn’t the best way to communicate about these things, and I apologize if I haven’t been able to lift your burden. The universe is a much warmer and friendlier place than you give it credit for. I think we will be attending the same event in a couple of months, and we can discuss this over a bottle of good mead.