Si Vales, Valeo
Thanks for your question. There are indeed people who think that a Thelemite doing his True Will should be rich. You say the person who is telling you this is a trust-fund kid. Perhaps he would have a different opinion if he had to work for a living? I am just asking, since you have not revealed his identity.
Look: You can’t use the same measuring stick for financial success and magical attainment. There is little mystery in the idea that when a Thelemite is most himself, he is happy and at peace with his life.
What is worthy of applause is that most Thelemites have learned to ignore the opinions of those “right thinking Thelemites” who believe that magical prowess (and by extension, Thelema) can be summed up in an as-of-yet unwritten book called “Crowley Shrugged.” These people see themselves as the “few and chosen,” while everyone else is a slave.
It is good to keep in mind, that Crowley began as a 1% and died a 99%. He didn’t hoard, steal or otherwise take money from people who didn’t want to give it to him, because even he had a stronger ethic and better values than today’s 1%, who are able to turn a vice like greed into something good, he chose not to.
Those that say that “greed is good” must really work at believing that at least at first, if they wish to be able to look at themselves in the mirror knowing how many people they have made homeless. But maybe I give those people too much credit. Maybe they too see themselves as entitled, better than other people who have ethics and are unwilling to cause suffering upon others. If Thelema really is about freedom, and not a bunch of mystical hyperbole; if it is truly about liberating everyone and destroying the oppressor, then in conjunction with trying to enable people to discover their True Wills, we should also be dusting off the guillotines.
Remember: The so-called “free market” has never been free. Unfortunately, many Thelemites like the term “Libertarian” because the word has its roots in Liberty, and thereby MUST be cool with Thelema. But very few really understand what a Libertarian world might look like. The 1% would own everything. Our resources, like water, air quality, and even our public lands would be at the mercy of a group of people that believe the meaning of life is to make as much money as possible, by spending as little as they can.
Thelemic Libertarians conflate “free market” with actual freedom. The fact is that any way you slice it, you are still bound by capital, and who holds that capital. That restriction is neither voluntary nor free.
Uncle Al knew what to do with money: spend it on doing the things he loved. And as foolish as that may sound, by spending his money he actually helped the economic situation for the people around him. Hoarding money increases its value, and that is what the 1%’ers do. Money is a finite resource, and by taking as much out of circulation as they can, it increases its value. It used to be that when this occurred, more money would be printed, but that would create inflation.
The other thing that most people don’t realize about money is that in of itself it contains no value other than the material that was used to create it. Today’s economy is “faith based.” Don’t get me wrong, I am not going to put on a tinfoil hat and say that we should return to the gold standard, because that will not solve the problem with the minute number of people that will own it all. But perhaps it should be treated as a magical talisman. Maybe then magicians would understand better how it works.
I think about money and its relation to Thelema all the time. I think about what the Order of Thelemic Knights could do, and the giant ripples we could make if it had a steady stream of money. To feed people and clothe them. To hire attorneys to do battle on behalf of the oppressed. To open orphanages or hospitals. I realize this will not occur in my lifetime. I have come to terms with that. But it will happen one day. But until people begin to read and understand the Holy Books and Crowley’s commentaries in a way that is different than the people who control his estate; until people learn to read not just the parts they agree with, but also the things that they find appalling; until Thelema becomes more than a fashion statement or a justification for behavior that would not be tolerated in the worst places of society, people will not see any reason to invest in it, neither with their time or their money.
I have already written about this before. Crowley is a brand. It generates cash in the form of books or exclusive membership in some club he may have been in. Most Thelemic organizations are swinger’s clubs for people who like to pretend to be rich, turn of the century occultists. They celebrate their divinity by drinking copious amounts of wine and filling their bellies with stinky cheese. If Thelema could generate as much enthusiasm and cash in the form of dues paying members as Crowley does, then maybe people would be more about the message than the messenger.
But for most people that claim to be Thelemites know more about Crowley than Thelema. In fact, people are afraid to speak of Thelema because they don’t wish to go against the goosestep they have been told to march to. So instead, they write about Crowley. Very few dare to approach the subject of Thelema in their writings, and so the same material is regurgitated in different packages by different authors. How many scholastic works have you seen dealing with Thelema as a philosophy, religion or way of life?
I’ll leave you with a great quote from the Old Man. I wish I could sit with him for a while. Don’t you?
“Money-grubbing does its best to blaspheme and destroy nature. It is useless to oppose the baseness of humanity; if one touches pitch one runs the risk of being defiled. I am perfectly content to know that the vileness of civilization is rapidly destroying itself; that it stinks in my nostrils tells me that it is rotting and my consolation is in the words of Lord Dunsany. In the meantime, the water was to be wasted in producing wealth – the most dangerous of narcotic drugs. It creates a morbid craving – which means it never satisfies after the first flush of intoxication.” –Aleister Crowley