Duty

The Master Therion

A note on the chief rules of practical conduct
to be observed by those who accept
the Law of Θελημα.

"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." AL I:40

"There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt." AL III:60

"thou hast no right but to do thy will. Do that, and no other shall say nay. For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect." AL I:42-44

"Love is the law, love under will." AL I:57

"Every man and every woman is a star." AL I:3

A. YOUR DUTY TO YOURSELF

  1. Find yourself to be the centre of your own Universe.
  2. "I am the flame that burns in every heart of man, and in the core of every star." AL II:6

  3. Explore the Nature and Powers of your own Being.
  4. This includes everything which is, or can be, for you: and you must accept everything exactly as it is in itself, as one of the factors which go to make up your True Self. This True Self thus ultimately includes all things soever; its discovery is Initiation (the travelling inwards) and as its Nature is to move continually, it must be understood not as static, but as dynamic, not as a Noun but as a Verb.

  5. Develop in due harmony and proportion every faculty which you possess.
  6. "Wisdom says: be strong!" AL II:70
    "But exceed! exceed!" AL II:71

    "Be strong, o man! lust, enjoy all things of sense and rapture: fear not that any God shall deny thee for this." AL II:22

  7. Contemplate your own Nature. Consider every element thereof both separately and in relation to all the rest as to judge accurately the true purpose of the totality of your Being.
  8. Find the formula of this purpose, or "True Will", in an expression as simple as possible.
  9. Learn to understand clearly how best to manipulate the energies which you control to obtain the results most favourable to it from its relations with the part of the Universe which you do not yet control.

  10. Extend the dominion of your consciousness, and its control of all forces alien to it, to the utmost. Do this by the ever stronger and more skillful application of your faculties to the finer, clearer, fuller, and more accurate perception, the better understanding, and the more wisely ordered government, of that external Universe.
  11. Never permit the thought or will of any other Being to interfere with your own.
  12. Be constantly vigilant to resent, and on the alert to resist, with unvanquishable ardour and vehemence of passion unquenchable, every attempt of any other Being to influence you otherwise than by contributing new facts to your experience of the Universe, or by assisting you to reach a higher synthesis of Truth by the mode of passionate fusion.

  13. Do not repress or restrict any true instinct of your Nature; but devote all in perfection to the sole service of your one True Will.
    "Be goodly therefore..." AL I:51
  14. "The word of Sin is Restriction. O man! refuse not thy wife, if she will! O lover, if thou wilt, depart! There is no bond that can unite the divided but love: all else is a curse. Accursed! Accursed be it to the aeons! Hell." AL I:41

    "So with thy all; thou hast no right but to do thy will. Do that, and no other shall say nay. For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect." AL I:42-44

    "Ye shall gather goods and store of women and spices; ye shall wear rich jewels; ye shall exceed the nations of the earth in splendour & pride; but always in the love of me, and so shall ye come to my joy."

    AL I:61

    Rejoice! "Remember all ye that existence is pure joy; that all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass & are done; but there is that which remains." AL II:9

    "But ye, o my people, rise up & awake! Let the rituals be rightly performed with joy & beauty! A feast for fire and a feast for water; a feast for life and a greater feast for death! A feast every day in your hearts in the joy of my rapture! A feast every night unto Nu, and the pleasure of uttermost delight! Aye! feast! rejoice! there is no dread hereafter. There is the dissolution, and eternal ecstasy in the kisses of Nu." AL II:34-36...41-44

    "Now rejoice! now come in our splendour & rapture! Come in our passionate peace, & write sweet words for the Kings!" AL II:64

    "Thrill with the joy of life & death! Ah! thy death shall be lovely: whoso seeth it shall be glad. Thy death shall be the seal of the promise of our agelong love. Come! lift up thine heart & rejoice!" AL II:66

    "Is a God to live in a dog? No! but the highest are of us. They shall rejoice, our chosen: who sorroweth is not of us. Beauty and strength, leaping laughter and delicious languor, force and fire, are of us." AL II:19-20

    B. YOUR DUTY TO OTHER INDIVIDUAL MEN AND WOMEN

    1. Unite yourself passionately with every other form of consciousness,
    2. Thus destroying the sense of separateness from the Whole, and creating a new baseline in the Universe from which to measure it.

      "Love is the law, love under will." AL I:57

      "Come forth, o children, under the stars, & take your fill of love!" AL I:12

    3. "As brothers fight ye!" AL III:59
    4. "If he be a King, thou canst not hurt him." AL II:59

      To bring out saliently the differences between two points-of-view is useful to both in measuring the position of each in the whole. Combat stimulates the virile or creative energy; and, like love, of which it is one form, excites the mind to an orgasm which enables it to transcend its rational dullness.

    5. Abstain from all interferences with other wills.
    6. "Beware lest any force another, King against King!" AL II:24

      The love and war in the previous injunctions are of the nature of sport, where one respects, and learns from the opponent, but never interferes with him, outside the actual game. To seek to dominate or influence another is to seek to deform or destroy him; and he is a necessary part of one's own Universe, that is, of one's self.

    7. Seek, if you so will, to enlighten another when need arises.
    8. This may be done, always with the strict respect for the attitude of the good sportsman, when he is in distress through failure to understand himself clearly, especially when he specifically demands help; for his darkness may hinder one's perception of his perfection. (Yet also his darkness may serve as a warning, or excite one's interest.) It is also lawful when his ignorance has lead him to interfere with one's will. All interference is in any case dangerous, and demands the exercise of extreme skill and good judgement, fortified by experience. To influence another is to leave one's citadel unguarded; and the attempt commonly ends in losing one's own self-supremacy.

    9. Worship all!
    10. "Every man and every woman is a star." AL I:3

      "Mercy let be off; damn them who pity!" AL III:18

      "We have nothing with the outcast and the unfit: let them die in their misery. For they feel not. Compassion is the vice of kings: stamp down the wretched & the weak: this is the law of the strong: this is our law and the joy of the world. Think not, o king, upon that lie: That Thou Must Die: verily thou shalt not die, but live. Now let it be understood: if the body of the King dissolve, he shall remain in pure ecstasy for ever. Nuit! Hadit! Ra-Hoor-Khuit! The Sun, Strength & Sight, Light; these are for the servants of the Star & the Snake." AL II:21

      Each being is, exactly as you are, the sole centre of a Universe in no wise identical with, or even assimilable to, your own. The impersonal Universe of "Nature" is only an abstraction, approximately true, of the factors which it is convenient to regard as common to all. The Universe of another is therefore necessarily unknown to, and unknowable by, you; but it induces currents of energy in yours by determining in part your reactions. Use men and women, therefore, with the absolute respect due to inviolable standards of measurement; verify your own observations by comparison with similar judgements made by them; and, studying the methods which determine their failure or success, acquire for yourself the wit and skill required to cope with your own problems.

      Pity, sympathy and like emotions are fundamentally insults to the Godhead of the person exciting them, and therefore also to your own. The distress of another may be relieved; but always with the positive and noble idea of making manifest the perfection of the Universe. Pity is the source of every mean, ignoble, cowardly vice; and the essential blasphemy against Truth.

      "To Me do ye reverence! to me come ye through tribulation of ordeal, which is bliss." AL III:62

      C. YOUR DUTY TO MANKIND

      1. Establish the Law of Θελημα as the sole basis of conduct.

      The general welfare of the race being necessary in many respects to your own, that well-being, like your own, principally a function of the intelligent and wise observance of the Law of Θελημα , it is of the very first importance to you that every individual should accept frankly that Law, and strictly govern himself in full accordance therewith.

      You may regard the establishment of the Law of Θελημα as an essential element of your True Will, since, whatever the ultimate nature of that Will, the evident condition of putting it into execution is freedom from external interference.

      Governments too often exhibit the most deplorable stupidity, however enlightened may be the men who compose and constitute them, or the people whose destinies they direct. It is therefore incumbent on every man and woman to take the proper steps to cause the revisions of all existing statutes on the basis of the Law of Θελημα . This Law being a Law of Liberty, the aim of the legislature must be to secure the amplest freedom for each individual in the state, eschewing the presumptuous assumption that any given positive ideal is worthy to be obtained.

      "The word of Sin is Restriction." AL I:41

      The essence of crime is that it restricts the freedom of the individual outraged. (Thus, murder restricts his right to live; robbery, his right to enjoy the fruits of his labour; coining, his right to the guarantee of the state that he shall barter in security; etc.) It is then the common duty to prevent crime by segregating the criminal, and by the threat of reprisals; also, to teach the criminal that his acts, being analyzed, are contrary to his own True Will. (This may often be accomplished by taking from him the right which he has denied to others; as by outlawing the thief, so that he feels constant anxiety for the safety of his own possessions, removed from the ward of the State.) The rule is quite simple. He who violated any right declares magically that it does not exist; therefore it no longer does so, for him.

      Crime being a direct spiritual violation of the Law of Θελημα , it should not be tolerated in the community. Those who possess the instinct should be segregated in a settlement to build up a state of their own, so to learn the necessity of themselves imposing and maintaining rules of justice. All artificial crimes should be abolished. When fantastic restrictions disappear, the greater freedom of the individual will itself teach him to avoid acts which really restrict natural rights. Thus real crime will diminish automatically.

      The administration of the Law should be simplified by training men of uprightness and discretion whose will is to fulfill this function in the community to decide all complaints by the abstract principle of the Law of Θελημα , and to award judgement on the basis of the actual restriction caused by the offense.

      The ultimate aim is thus to reintegrate Conscience, on true scientific principles, as the warden of conduct, the monitor of the people, and the guarantee of their governors.

      D. YOUR DUTY TO ALL OTHER BEINGS AND THINGS

      1. Apply the Law of Θελημα to all problems of fitness, use, and development.

      It is a violation of the Law of Θελημα to abuse the natural qualities of any animal or object by diverting it from its proper function, as determined by consideration of its history and structure. Thus, to train children to perform mental operations, or to practice tasks, for which they are unfitted, is a crime against nature. Similarly, to build houses of rotten material, to adulterate food, to destroy forests, etc., etc., is to offend.

      The Law of Θελημα is to be applied unflinchingly to decide every question of conduct. The inherent fitness of any thing for any proposed use should be the sole criterion.

      Apparent, and sometimes even real, conflict between interests will frequently arise. Such cases are to be decided by the general value of the contending parties in the scale of Nature. Thus, a tree has a right to its life; but a man being more than a tree, he may cut it down for fuel or shelter when need arises. Even so, let him remember that the Law never fails to avenge infraction: as when wanton deforestation has ruined a climate or a soil, or as when the importation of rabbits for a cheap supply of food has created a plague.

      Observe that the violation of the Law of Θελημα produces cumulative ills. The drain of the agricultural population to big cities, due chiefly to persuading them to abandon their natural ideals, has not only made the country less tolerable to the peasant, but debauched the town. And the error tends to increase in geometrical progression, until a remedy has become almost inconceivable and the whole structure of society is threatened with ruin.

      The wise application based on observation and experience of the Law of Θελημα is to work in conscious harmony with Evolution. Experiments in creation, involving variation from existing types, are lawful and necessary. Their value is to be judged by their fertility as bearing witness to their harmony with the course of nature towards perfection.

The Method of Θελημα

Written by the Master Therion

At the moment when the doors of human progress are creaking on their hinges, when mankind seems almost resigned to the cynical contemplation of its own agony in the hope of delaying its inevitable decay; when Europe has the aspect of a vast and insecure hospital for sick nations; when the Far East is drinking itself into madness on the arrack of Western democratic shibboleths, and when America is foundering in ceaselessly renewed and insoluble problems; - when, in a word, the whole earth seems weary and out of joint, at its critical angle, it is interesting to glance attentively at the efforts of certain men whose researches have led them to the intimacy of the most secret laws of Nature. From the beginning of history, wise men have tried to overcome error, and to help their fellow-men to find and recognize the truth. To them must we attribute the real, the deep-lying causes of all social and political revolutions. It has always been their pride to nail to the mast the standard of liberty. Mankind owes much to men of this stamp, for it is they who guide and guard it. By the development of certain faculties as superior to those of normal human intelligence as that is to the mentality of the insect, they have attained a certain comprehension and made a certain synthesis of the facts of life which enable them from time to time to announce a new fundamental principle, by the application of which humanity may take a clear-cut step in the right direction. It is only necessary to recall the names of Plato, Aristotle, Kepler, Newton, Bacon and Descartes. In each case we find an absolute challenge to all accepted principles and a complete sceptical destruction of them; followed by the formulation of a new principle which resumes in itself, while transcending the old.

At the exact moment when the futility of the formalized faiths of the world has been recognized, despite the stoutest denials; when the first principles of religion and ethics have been subconsciously rejected, so that a kind of spiritual neurasthenia broke loose in the hysteria of the world-war, there appeared a mysterious figure who is generally known as the Master Therion. Instructed by chiefs who have hitherto preferred to remain in the background, he brings to free and enlightened men a law by virtue of which mankind may arrive at a new and higher stage of advancement on every plane, from the biological to the spiritual. It is a law of liberty and of love, but also of discipline and of force. This law is already in operation under the name of the Law of Θελημα.

The formula of this law is: Do what thou wilt. Its moral aspect is simple enough in theory. Do what thou wilt does not mean Do as you please, although it implies this degree of emancipation, that it is no longer possible to say a priori that a given action is "wrong." Each man has the right - and an absolute right - to accomplish his True Will.

The more one examines the deepest implications of the Law of Θελημα, the more one understands that it constitutes a sublime synthesis, and the only one possible, of the teachings of every science, from embryology to history. It is the key of every problem which can confront the human mind; for it does not imply exactly a new religion, but rather a new philosophy, a new ethic. For the first time in history, we are able to conceive of moral science as truly a science; for our conclusions are derived from dynamic measurements without reference to absurd axioms and impudent postulates. It coordinates the several discoveries of Science in a perfectly consistent and coherent framework.

The Law of Θελημα is thus capable of accomplishing a profound revolution of the thought and action of mankind. The Master Therion furnishes (in a series of essays, which only few have hitherto been privileged to read) proofs historical, philosophical, physical and mathematical, of the justice and the accuracy of his claim that The Book of the Law contains the complete formula of the next great step in human progress, which is to set every man to the task precisely suited to his individual nature, and furnish him with the means of discovering the nature of his true Will.

It seems not unreasonable to suppose that the new generation, directing itself consciously or subconsciously by this indication, will develop human personality to its full stature. The whole of our present civilization, with its cohorts of hereditary possibilities, which until now have never been utilized to full advantage, will form itself on this new law of spiritual perfection. Nor let it be forgotten that the full blossoming of this new era is perceptible on every hand. Governments, it is true, have not yet taken official notice of the subtle evolution which is taking place under their eyes. They are bewildered and alarmed; they either break down in chaos or react savagely against the manipulations which disturb their stupidity. But they will not prevent the prodigious dawn which is taking place in the essence of man.

We have given some idea of the nature of the Law of Θελημα and the general meaning of its formula, Do what thou wilt. A theory of indestructible solidity and perfection has been presented to the world. The question then arises, How is it to be put into practice?

It is here, that appears the necessity of creating an immense and universal technique which shall permit its application in the immediate future. The first step is to constitute a sort of General Council, composed of the most intelligent men of science in the world. Their first business will be to interpret, each in the light of his own knowledge, fortified by the cross-rays of the knowledge of his colleagues, the deepest and widest sense of the Law of Θελημα. Existing sciences must be closely knitted into a harmonious pattern, of which the Law of Θελημα supplies the artistic motive. The work of formulating the plans for the administration of the Law will fall within the province of subcommittees, directed by the central Council, composed of men of the less abstract sciences, and of the professions, trades, arts and crafts, which afford constant experience of practical problems.

Apart from this general constructive scheme, the Council and the committees, in regular interplay, will tackle, seriatim, the various crises which at present threaten the planet, understanding how each in its own way represents some breach or other of the Law of Θελημα, which is the law of fitness. They will be able to remedy the evil at its source. These problems are, in their ultimation, of infinite diversity. Many have hitherto appeared impossible to resolve. There is no need to insist on the interior crises of mankind, his crises of conscience. These may conceivably be resolved by a definite education; on one side, the practices of all oriental sages, so ill-understood owing to the confusion of their science with the religions of their country; on the other, by the rituals vulgarly called magical, equally fallen into contempt, although of a very real efficacy, on account of the gross misunderstanding of their real nature which has always obscured them. By such means it may prove possible to create (rather, to develop), in man, a faculty superior to reason; immune from intellectual criticism. Such a faculty would permit man - does, indeed, already permit certain men - to contemplate the problem of the suffering and sorrow of life with a complete detachment and serenity, because it would no longer be protected by the superficiality and incompleteness of its data.

But it is not of such internal crises, of such spiritual sickness, that one need speak at present. It is of more immediate and practical importance to discuss external crises, those which devastate political and social conditions. In order to apply the Law of Θελημα, to investigate the solutions indicated by The Book of the Law, and to utilize them to remedy existing difficulties, the appeal is only to technicians. Bankers, architects, engineers, biologists, chemists, doctors, must combine their knowledge and apply it to the discovery of the general practical formula of the Law of Θελημα. The ploughman deserts his furrow to lose himself, and with himself the essence of his race, in the maw of the city. He has been tempted, by false education and visions of a phantom happiness, to violate the true law of his being.... More subtle error is to be seen in the class struggle. The Sisyphus-stone of the labour question has been poised by those radical misinterpretations of the problem of well-being, which consist in supposing that the possession of an automobile is the summum bonum. Craftsmanship is dead. The technical perfection, combined with the inventive genius, of the artisan, is no longer the pride and happiness of every village. The modern workman hides, beneath the rags of socialism and democracy, incurable indolent ulcers. Colonization once more is everywhere in a critical condition. In some cases, both the ruling and the subject nation are staggering beneath the weight of veritable crosses, because neither understands how to arrange their interrelation in such a way as to secure, for both equally, the maximum possibilities of their natural growth.

Commerce itself again -. But here we must break off. The reader will find it only too easy to think of a hundred cases where the error of unfitness, the violation of what we may call biological law in its widest philosophic sense, threatens the well-being and even the very existence of the individual; whether that individual be a crop, an idea, a person, or an institution. In their actual state of mental evolution, men have not yet been able to free their minds from the absolutely false idea that each of the troubles indicated above has its particular malignant bacillus. Opinion is still in the stage of chemistry before the discovery of the Periodic Law - we may even say of the Law of Combining Weights. In those days each chemical reaction appeared more or less an isolated, and even an arbitrary, phenomenon. It was the discovery of the uniformity of chemical action which made possible the organic branch of the science, with its synthesis of compounds whose properties were predicted, before they were ever prepared, on purely theoretical general principles. And it is to organic chemistry that mankind owes a good half of modern conveniences, dyes, medicines, high explosives, and what not. By the adoption of a similar principle of uniformity in ethics, we may not unreasonably expect a parallel development of constructive social and political science. It is sheer folly to continue to lose oneself in details; during the analysis of a problem, to neglect to keep in mind the subtle currents which connect the diverse manifestations of our complex nature.

By reconciling the most opposite points of view, the Law of Θελημα has supplied a Master Key to every strong room in the Safe Deposit of the human soul. The evils which afflict humanity have not an independent cause for each; the only possible form of 'error is the violation of the law of one's own nature. This is no more and no less true of a cripple who wants to be a wrestler, or a miser who wants to be loved for himself alone, as of a cranberry bush that should want to live in the Sahara, or an atom of gold whose dream was to combine with argon.

The application of the Law of Θελημα, which implies the development of the individual within its own proper limits, following a moral law determined by the real conditions of his deepest nature, demonstrates on the first examination how each of 'the vast mass of human errors is due to this one original mistake.

The Book of the Law says: "Every man and every woman is a star." The image is nobly suggestive: no other could show more clearly the essence of the application of the Thelemite formula. Each human being should consider himself the centre of an infinite circle; his universe is, in fact, for him different from that of every other person, and he simply leaves reality for phantasm when he tries to calculate in terms of what he has been stupidly taught to consider as the "real" universe - that objective universe, which consists merely of phenomena apparently common to all observers.

The reality of that universe, which is the universe of science, is only an abstraction; it is, no doubt, nearly true for everybody, roughly speak- ing; but it is quite true for nobody. A thousand men looking at a clock see a thousand different clocks, although we assume the unity of the object. But the man who sees the front of the clock is a great pedant if he refuses to tell the time by it, on the ground that somebody else can only see the back. Yet this stupidity is the foundation of the old morality in general, and altruism in particular.

Each man is therefore absolutely justified in regarding himself as the centre of the universe, and acting accordingly. To displace this centre, to break the harmony of a human system (which corresponds with strange precision, on the one hand, to the Sidereal Universe, and, on the other, to that of electrons) is to break the Law of Θελημα, to blaspheme oneself. And, so far as anyone can tell, there is no other self. His fellow percipients, whether God or his neighbour, are - so far as he knows them - only ideas created by the chemical and mechanical changes in his brain; and he does not really know that! But assuming he knows anything at all, he knows himself. Therefore to sin against himself is his only possible sin. If I commit this crime (whatever external form it may assume) it is not against the law of man, against an alien law that I blaspheme; it is against my own law, the cornerstone of my life, the complete development of my personality.

Consider a star, its gravitational relations with the universe! On every other mass in space it exercises a pull in accordance with the well-known law, a law unique. Every moment, as it passes on its course, the amount of that pull changes; but the Law is always the same. The parallel with human life is so accurate, so complex, and so intense, that it is rather a subject for meditation than for exposition. But the practical conclusion for each man will be the same. He must arrange his life in conformity with the universal Law, which is also his peculiar law, and which will assure him freedom from disturbance in his own well-ordered function and that of the system which immediately concerns him. The extent of the advance which the strict application of the formula, Do what thou wilt, is able to secure for humanity, surpasses the imagination to conceive. Our wretched generation, bleeding from a thousand wounds, its nerves in rags from its blind excesses and misapprehensions, cannot escape from the Law. Whether we like it or not, the Law of Θελημα is manifestly everywhere at work. It is a blind Sphinx which will devour us, unless we can read its riddle, harness it to our chariot, and drive it triumphant into Thebes. Let those who constitute the intellectual and executive corps of pioneers of humanity be the first to enroll themselves in the army of the colleagues of the Master Therion, a master designated by no alien authority but by a power against which no revolt has ever been successful: the power of logic.

The paramount question is: how to teach man to act in accordance with the facts of Nature? He must cease to try to ignore or deny them in the interest of prejudice, to transcend them by fantastic idealism based on falsehood or fatuity; just as an architect must never misunderstand, miscalculate, or misapply, the law of strains and stresses.

The Law has been proclaimed. It is for us to interpret and to establish it.

Those who understand the importance of this appeal, those (to speak the language of the Law itself) whose true Will it is to direct the destinies of the race, will begin by organizing themselves into a body whose function will be to study and realize the Law, under the aegis of the Master Therion, and to proceed to the elaboration of the method of directing the course of events intelligently and naturally, for the first time in history.

This essay is primarily addressed to bankers, captains of industry, and, generally speaking, to all those whose natural once it is to manipulate social forces. It is the first condition of their existence, to say nothing of their security and prosperity, that they should direct the stream of commerce, the life-blood of the world. They are bound to understand the Law of Θελημα, at least subconsciously, for they do not ship Brazil nuts to Brazil, or try to import corn from the Baltoro Glacier. Their only failure has been to see that the same principles of common sense which prevent them from perpetrating such absurdities can be applied, with the assistance of trained experts, to every possible problem which confronts them in their daily work. No men know better the frightful waste of "overhead" caused by unfitness in the staff, and similar errors. (I will not risk angering them by reminding them of idealistic legislation.) Such men are ready for the message of the Master Therion, for they rule the mainspring of the economic clock. They should be the first to devote themselves to the cause, to accept the idea of the Law of Θελημα, and to come forward to organize the scientific investigation which must be undertaken in order to bring the great branches of modern science, from political economy to biology and psychology, to contribute their force to swell the irresistible river of human attainment.