Author Topic: Crowley exercise.  (Read 18181 times)

Bu☆ns

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Re: Crowley exercise.
« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2008, 11:08:27 pm »
i think it might be interesting to compare the versions of the expercise that start with different starting points of reference. 

Upstream Prone Palisade

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Re: Crowley exercise.
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2008, 02:58:22 am »
At some point i either read or listened to an interview where Robert Anton Wilson said he read a biography of Aleister Crowley that talked about an exercise where you would write down every single event that lead up to you sitting here doing this exercise.  (was it cosmic trigger maybe?)

Has anyone here ever try that exercise?  what were your results like?

I do a very similar exercise occasionally but it's framed through Aristotle's 4 causes or through a more comprehensive philosophy of causality. On top of that I usually impose a well defined purpose in doing the exercise.

What I got out of the fourfold version is first of all a strong sense of curiosity about banal things. It also seems to give a precision and efficacy to carrying out my will, but that's probably just because I think it does so I "see" it more. It also could be that running my mind through organized processes somehow results in more organized behavior. (NO WAI!)

Without this philosophical framework to guide the process, I can't help but think that the entire exercise can be boiled down to my mind constructing a cosmogonical narrative that is based on and driven by my mood. If I'm tense, unstable, or otherwise unbalanced when I proceed, I'm likely to only see what my emotions have framed for me. Coming from a more neutral and balanced state of mind, these insights seem to have more of a global relevance to my life.
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Upstream Prone Palisade

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Re: Crowley exercise.
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2008, 03:00:28 am »
I don't remember it being written down.  I seem to recall it as a mind exercise.

2nded.

Though, I guess there's no harm in writing it down. In fact, you could submit it as your entry to the 'write a novel in a month' spaggotry.

You might want to look into Crowley's Liber Thisarb which is about training the mind to think backwards.


Mang you suggest that writing is inconsequential with this exercise but I disagree. The written format allows a deeper form of self-scrutiny which easily can act as a barrier. It's like performing an impromptu speech that you know will be recorded and examined versus only listened to once. Before you're even aware of the directions your mind will go, different lines have been carved out for the experience to unfold through. Even for well practiced public speakers there is a shift of consciousness and physiology, which I believe psychologists call the "mere presence" effect. IMO, your writing is a kind of presence that can compel people to do things, including yourself.

In my experience, writing this out as you go will get you very different results than if you do not write until you've finished the exercise, if at all.
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Hoopla!

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Re: Crowley exercise.
« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2008, 03:29:58 pm »
I think there would be benefits to both methods... what you say is true, Net, yet there is also something to be said for the spontaneous mind free-form method, which can sometimes get weighted down by the time it takes to write everything down.

Maybe a middle ground could be achieved?  By using a hand-held tape recorder, speaking the ideas into it, then reforming and rewriting afterwards?  The best of both worlds.
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Mangrove

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Re: Crowley exercise.
« Reply #19 on: October 06, 2008, 06:31:21 pm »
I don't remember it being written down.  I seem to recall it as a mind exercise.

2nded.

Though, I guess there's no harm in writing it down. In fact, you could submit it as your entry to the 'write a novel in a month' spaggotry.

You might want to look into Crowley's Liber Thisarb which is about training the mind to think backwards.


Mang you suggest that writing is inconsequential with this exercise but I disagree. The written format allows a deeper form of self-scrutiny which easily can act as a barrier. It's like performing an impromptu speech that you know will be recorded and examined versus only listened to once. Before you're even aware of the directions your mind will go, different lines have been carved out for the experience to unfold through. Even for well practiced public speakers there is a shift of consciousness and physiology, which I believe psychologists call the "mere presence" effect. IMO, your writing is a kind of presence that can compel people to do things, including yourself.

In my experience, writing this out as you go will get you very different results than if you do not write until you've finished the exercise, if at all.

Net, I don't think I was suggesting that writing is 'inconsequential'. I was merely stating that I did not remember Crowley having mentioning anything about writing it down. However, I followed this up with 'I guess there's no harm in writing it down'.

Everyone is, of course, free to do (or not do) this exercise and employ (or not) whatever mode of information storage they see fit. I wasn't being proscriptive, I was agreeing with Hoopla.

 :)

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Upstream Prone Palisade

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Re: Crowley exercise.
« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2008, 08:39:01 pm »
I didn't mean to put you on the defensive, Mang, I just wanted to point out that writing or recording it could dramatically alter the experience. Maybe for the better, maybe not, maybe they'd be equally insightful.

Hoopla's suggestion about the middle ground does sound compelling...

Mang, or anyone who's read significant Crowley, if you had to guess how do you think he intended the exercise to be conducted? Assuming RAW didn't pull this out of his ass.
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Hoopla!

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Re: Crowley exercise.
« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2008, 08:51:58 pm »
What do you mean by how?  Like, physically?  Resting, at a desk, that sort of thing?
“Soon all of us will have special names” — Professor Brian O’Blivion

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"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes" — Walt Whitman

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Re: Crowley exercise.
« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2008, 09:45:36 pm »
What do you mean by how?  Like, physically?  Resting, at a desk, that sort of thing?

Physically or in terms of mindset. Any further context for it would be helpful, for me anyway.

But maybe the point was to avoid this scrutiny and just have people do it in whatever way they intuitively thought it should be done.
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Hoopla!

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Re: Crowley exercise.
« Reply #23 on: October 06, 2008, 09:46:56 pm »
Possibly. I will try to find that part from Prometheus Rising when I get home tonight. 

I don't recall where Crowley wrote about it, Mang' or LMNO might though.
“Soon all of us will have special names” — Professor Brian O’Blivion

"Now's not the time to get silly, so wear your big boots and jump on the garbage clowns." — Bob Dylan?

"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes" — Walt Whitman

Cramulus

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Re: Crowley exercise.
« Reply #24 on: October 06, 2008, 10:03:31 pm »
wow, I literally just opened prometheus rising right up to the right page!

 :fnord:


Anyway, it's on page 42:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/4966587/Prometheus-Rising

Bu☆ns

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Re: Crowley exercise.
« Reply #25 on: October 06, 2008, 11:13:09 pm »

As Mang pointed out Liber ThiSharb is where Crowley wrote about backwards thinking exercises.

Here's a few points as to how he wanted the excercise conducted:
Quote from: Liber ThiSharb
12. In this his brain will at first be overwhelmed by a sense of utter confusion; secondly, it will endeavour to evade the difficulty by a trick. The brain will pretend to be working backwards when it is really normal. It is difficult to describe the nature of the trick, but it will be quite obvious to anyone who has done practices (a) and (b) for a day or two. They become quite easy, and he will think that he is making progress, an illusion which close analysis will dispel.
Here's another
Quote from: Liber ThiSharb
And let him most strenuously endeavour to think each act as happening backwards. It is not enough to think: "I am seated here, and before that I was standing, and before that I entered the room," etc. That series is the trick detected in the preliminary practices. The series must not run "ghi-def-abc" but "ihgfedcba": not "horse a is this" but "esroh a si siht". To obtain this thoroughly well, practice ("c") is very useful. The brain will be found to struggle constantly to right itself, soon accustoming itself to accept "esroh" as merely another glyph for "horse." This tendency must be constantly combated.

i'd say think they support the exercise RAW was talking about.

Bebek Sincap Ratatosk

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Re: Crowley exercise.
« Reply #26 on: October 07, 2008, 01:32:49 am »
It might be very useful and interesting to try the exercise both via meditation alone and meditation/written. I have no idea what the outcome might be  :lulz:
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Mangrove

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Re: Crowley exercise.
« Reply #27 on: October 07, 2008, 05:39:39 pm »
I didn't mean to put you on the defensive, Mang

No problem  :D


I just wanted to point out that writing or recording it could dramatically alter the experience. Maybe for the better, maybe not, maybe they'd be equally insightful.


It could be! Try both, compare & contrast.




Mang, or anyone who's read significant Crowley, if you had to guess how do you think he intended the exercise to be conducted? Assuming RAW didn't pull this out of his ass.

I can't recall offhand (will have to dig through my books) whether Crowley made any suggestions as to what one should be doing physically while such an exercise is ongoing. However, he was big into getting people to practise yoga asana. Perhaps the aspirant was to assume whatever yoga posture they were working with and then do this type of reverse contemplation?

Liber ThisSharb is, as I mentioned above (and ably assisted by Burns!) is an exercise to train backwards thinking, though it's to be kept in mind that part of Crowley's rationale for this was, in part, to train an individual to recover memory of previous lives. So if you think reincarnation is a lot of horseshit, then that might be a bar to the experience. Though I will qualify that by pointing out that while Crowley insisted that the historical 'truth' (or not) of any memory recovered was not important. What was important was the insight it gave to one's current life and state of existence. He did warn others not to attach objective reality to any experiences one receives through meditation, scrying etc. Although with that said, it didn't stop him making a few outlandish claims concerning his own alleged incarnations! (Eliphas Levi, Count Cagliostro, Edward Kelly etc)

I think another aspect is that Crowley wanted the student to get a sense of interdependence and connectedness. For instance a person could buy a sword for use as part of ceremonial ritual, however if they made the sword themselves they would've had to witness a great many more processes: What metal do I use? Where do I find it? How do I extract the metal from the ore? How do I forge a blade? etc etc ad nausea.

The answer to every one of these question involves having to acquire more knowledge, skills or apparatus. In doing so, you discover that forging your own sword is a very complex task that is dependent on a multitude of other factors or variables.

At least, this is my interpretation. The bottom line is that Crowley was merely providing information and exercises for people to try and experiment with. It was up to them to decide whether to partake or not. Everyone is free to do so (or not) or make whatever variations they see fit. The essence is - do something, make a note of what happens, analyze, decide whether it's useful, move on. Crowley suggested a lot of exercises, some of them useful, some of them IMHO, exceedingly dumb.

Do as thou wilt and all...
 
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Bebek Sincap Ratatosk

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Re: Crowley exercise.
« Reply #28 on: October 07, 2008, 05:50:43 pm »
 By default, or from the curse of greyface, most humans tend to see reality as a linear system of Cause and Effect. At least, most of us translate the incoming data using the model of Cause and Effect. One of the reasons RAW recommended the exercise in one of his lectures was to force a change in this thought process. Rather that the effect (Me sitting here) having a Cause... it has many causes, a number of which were effects from other Causes which were yet effects from earlier causes (I'm here because we moved from the second floor... we moved from the second floor because our team outgrew the space, our team outgrew the space because we have several contractors, we have several contractors because...). RAW argued that Reality/The Universe/Everything wasn't a linear system of Cause and Effect, but rather a complex causal feedback loop, where causes and effects interact with each other... It's only in our mind that there is a Cause and an Effect, or where we order some of the data to support our concept of Cause and Effect.

In Crowley's slightly different version, I think he was taking a more direct approach to mental reconfiguration. As humans we perceive time as linear, even if we think back on past events, we still think of them in "forward motion". Forcing ourselves to perceive them in reverse motion might force new synaptic connections... which might be a good thing.  :fnord:
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Abramelin

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Re: Crowley exercise.
« Reply #29 on: October 07, 2008, 08:02:27 pm »
I love this exercise  :p

Even when using it simply and not too serious it drives most people nuts   :D

Isn't it exactly what sometimes children do to test their parents patience?

"why... is the sky blue... why is the ... why is that.... why.... why ... why...." - "don't ask so many question, kid. this way you never became a accepted greyface"  :evilmad: