The following quotation from Aleister Crowley in his Confessions covers many topics in a minuscule space, including fascism, communism, democracy, religion, the role of Thelema in the political and religious landscapes of the New Aeon, and more.
I am now getting ready to write the Comment on The Book of the Law as it bade me do. I had stupidly supposed this Comment to be a scholarly exposition of the Book, an elucidation of its obscurities and a demonstration of its praeterhuman origin. I understand at last that this idea is nonsense. The Comment must be an interpretation of the Book intelligible to the simplest minds, and as practical as the Ten Commandments. For the time is at hand when the bankruptcy of all theories of religion, all systems of government, will become obvious to all. Already we see the corruption of tsarism collapsing in the chaos of communism. We see that communism is utterly unable to put its principles into practice, being in fact a desperate despotism which is bound to break down even more completely than the system which it replaced, because of the internal conflict between its principles and its performances. We see the paralysis of parliamentary government. In Italy, for instance, those very classes who naturally respect the law and the constitution have acquiesced in the usurpation of power by the chief of a gang of banditti, simply on his promise to put an end to the insecurity of exercising power because uninspired by any principle of action sufficiently rigid to contend with circumstances.
It is evident to all serious thinkers that the only hope of saving mankind from a catastrophe so complete that the very name of civilization will perish is in the appearance of a new religion.
The Law of Thelema fulfils the necessary conditions. It is not limited by ethnological, social, religious or linguistic barriers. Its metaphysical basis is strictly scientific. Its principle is single, simple and self-evident. It does not deny human nature or demand impossible virtues. It offers to every individual the fullest satisfaction of his true aspirations; and it supplies a justification for all types of political systems beyond the criticisms which have undermined all previous theories of government. There is no need for the fraud of divine right or the cant of democracy. The right of the ruler to rule depends solely upon the scientific proof of his fitness to do so, and this proof is capable of confirmation by the evidence of the experience that his measures really result in enabling each individual in his jurisdiction to fulfil his own peculiar function as freely as possible.
We really can add nothing to this beautifully written, simple, and deeply meaningful passage from Crowley’s autohagiography.
For those interested in exploring the question of whether Thelema is a religion or a philosophy, do give this essay a read.
(apart from the importance of The Law) would Crowley agree with Alexander Popes “Forms of Government let fools contest; whatever is best administered is best” ?
That quote seems very much in line with the above. The main point of difference is in that AC describes the basis on which to evaluate what’s best.
I am not a christian or follow religion in particular. I like to follow universal laws and not just believe or do something cause a book or imaginary person says so. Therefore I have left my family which believed I had Satan in me cause I didn’t believe Jesus died on a cross for my sins, I wasn’t around when he dies and therefore never met him.He’s dead I don’t think I will run into him on the street.I believe we have the right to believe what we want as long as it harms none do what thy will.
Good on you. Cheers!
Interesting, I wonder what thoughts he would have had on later movements – (Situationist, Autonomist) that seemed to be cobbling together bits and pieces of Marxist thought (without the “desperate despotism”) and other sources to advocate some form of self-governing…though these weren’t particularly seeking it in form of a “New Religion”…
Interesting comment. Thanks for contributing!
AC’s main concern seemed to be that without a guiding principle which is taken as sacrosanct, any political system may easily deteriorate into oppression and tyranny. Likewise, with the right guiding principle, any political system may be effective.
He appears to be opposed to the idea of idealizing any particular political theory, and making the political theory itself the guiding principle, because they are bankrupt where it concerns the inmost nature of individual stars.
By asserting the liberty of the individual and his or her right and duty to realize their inmost nature as the guiding principle, regardless of the particular political system, it helps to ensure the true happiness of all individuals.