Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Power is something that everyone craves in whatever form, no matter how much the white-light New-Agers deny this. It is said that “power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This is associated with money (money is power) and political power (sometimes abuse of power with megalomaniacs) and viewed in political as well as psychological terms. But it is not enough to simply desire power, much as people mindlessly daydream. Neither is it enough to interpret power in mere political terms for people seeking spiritual power; more importantly, spiritual integrity.
It is commonly thought that great people are made, not born, as they learn from trial and error how to be successful. To examine this, here is an excerpt from “Basic Human Needs”:
“People with a need for Power need to be in a position of authority and responsibility. They need to explore Power, leadership and accomplishment. People with a need for Power tend to be good organizers and accept responsibility, setting an example of leadership.”
Admittedly, I question the “need for Power.” Certainly, people want power, but what does it mean to need it? I suspect this includes situations of powerlessness, such as oppression, abusive relationships, or (more related to the above quote) subordination in a job position. That is, if you have the skills, why not put them to good use? Conversely, if you have progressed beyond the amateur grades of initiation, you might as well move forward.
On a philosophical level, there is Nietzsche’s “Will-to-power” in which humans strive to reach the highest possible position in life. De Sade, too, wrote about the will-to-power; in his Darwinian view, those people adaptive enough and with social benefits acquire power. However, whereas Nietzsche proclaimed,”God is dead,” and his concept of the ubermensch was essentially the hero’s journey ending in integration into the world, De Sade believed that the powerful used their power to dominate others just as he dominated and sexually abused women. While it is certainly correct that there are people who use their power to manipulate and dominate others, both politically and personally, there are the sincere who want their lives to have worth and substance.
We can certainly see the influences of Nietzsche as well as De Sade upon our modern times, but I disagree a great deal with De Sade and find Nietzsche to be a more worthwhile study, if rather nihilistic. Nietzsche’s Will-to-power involves humans climbing the ladder of success. In Tarot terms, it is Capricorn, the mountain goat, the Devil Atu, Pan, Baphomet, Ayin (the Eye). It is the stealth leader in the background, pulling the strings. And Capricorn is the senses and rugged individualism of the explorer eager to find new lands, and independence from God.
Now to what this has to do with spiritual integrity. The will-to-power involves “keeping oneself together.” You may interpret that as holding onto sanity. In a wider sense however, it is about responsibility and consistency. These things are connected to the idea of being “in good faith” or “doing good” on one’s word. And this consistency is a result of the state of being whole; the opposite of this being ensnared in one’s own web of lies and ruined by betrayal.
We’ve all heard of “selling your soul to the Devil,” and it is the negative aspect of the Devil Atu, over-ambitiousness and over-confidence. For today’s consumerist world, one’s word is not enough when dealing in the larger public sphere. In the personal sphere of one’s inner circle, however, the honest person does not need contracts or enforcement of promises. There’s no need to tell people what they want to hear in order to get something out of them, or recklessly or impulsively engage in an activity with a “lust of result.” Hence the burden of the promise is only upon the person making the promise to fulfill it or not. If one cannot keep promises, they should not make them.
But it would be neglectful to not mention the usefulness of lying as a survival tactic, well-employed by people living in harsh conditions. The Muslim bedouins in their practice of taqiyya cannot really distinguish between a truth and a lie; the real facts on either side of warring factions are blown away as easily as desert sand.
In order to keep up with industrial civilization, humans have devised the similar tactic of compartmentalization. It is a sociopathic tendency in order to maintain control over what would otherwise be disorder and chaos. That is, we have a different ‘face’ we put on for work, one for school, for home, etc. We divide things into neat little compartments that never overlap. Some of us even do it with people; there are “good women” who are wife material and the “bad women” who are only good for (in men’s eyes) for sexual use. Holding two conflicting views naturally results in cognitive dissonance, and compartmentalization is used to avoid feeling it. Otherwise, people resort to rationalizations.
“Any psychological analysis of an individual’s thoughts or of an ideology aims at the understanding of the psychological roots from which these thoughts or ideas spring. The first condition for such an analysis is to understand fully the logical context of an idea, and what its author consciously wants to say. However, we know that a person, even if he is subjectively sincere, may frequently be driven unconsciously by a motive that is different from the one he believes himself to be driven by; that he may use one concept which logically implies a certain meaning and which to him, unconsciously means something different from this “official” meaning. Furthermore, we know that he may attempt to harmonize certain contradictions in his own feeling by an ideological construction or to cover up an idea which he represses by a rationalization that expresses its very opposite. The understanding of the operation of unconscious elements has taught us to be skeptical towards words and not to take them at face value.” (67, Escape from Freedom)
“A cultured man lives far from nature, far from natural conditions of existence, in artificial conditions of life, developing his personality at the expense of his essence. A less cultured man, living in more normal and more natural conditions, develops his essence at the expense of his personality. A successful beginning of work on oneself requires the happy occurrence of an equal development of personality and essence. Such an occurrence will give the greatest assurance of success. If essence is very-little developed, a long preparatory period of work is required and this work will be quite fruitless if a man’s essence is rotten inside or if it develops some irreparable defects. Conditions of this kind occur fairly often. An abnormal development of personality very often arrests the development of essence at such an early stage that the essence becomes a small deformed thing. From a small deformed thing nothing else can be got. “Moreover, it happens fairly often that essence dies in a man while his personality and his body are still alive. A considerable percentage of the people we meet in the streets of a great town are people who are empty inside, that is, they are actually already dead. “It is fortunate for us that we do not see and do not know it. If we knew what a number of people are actually dead and what a number of these dead people govern our lives, we should go mad with horror. And indeed people often do go mad because they End out something of this nature without the proper preparation, that is, they see something they are not supposed to see. In order to see without danger one must be on the way. If a man who can do nothing sees the truth he will certainly go mad. Only this rarely happens. Usually everything is so arranged that a man can see nothing prematurely. Personality sees only what it likes to see and what does not interfere with its life. It never sees what it does not like. This is both good and bad at the same time. It is good if a man wants to sleep, bad if he wants to awaken.” (Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous).
To elaborate further on this: According to the feminine gender role, women are conditioned to tell a lot of white lies instead of simply saying,”No.” This politeness is a way of avoiding others’ anger; femininity is submission, acquiescence, weakness, masochism, domestication of wild and free nature. By engaging in it, we already brace ourselves for hostility. It seems dishonest, but contrary to popular belief, men have no problem reading women’s body language, facial expressions and verbal cues; they simply choose to ignore them and continue to harass them in order to obtain consent. We are also socialized to speak softly or be quiet, not take up much space, to watch what we eat and wear constrictive clothes and shoes to limit our physical mobility, in order to be kept in a perpetual state of infantilization. And our current culture still worships these perverse idealizations of youth and beauty. Men who adhere to these norms perceive criticism as a threat to their existence rather than the debunking of their privilege and illusions.
“Men need to objectify and conquer. They see what they want to see. Women, however, can see into the soul of a person.”
– Moira O’Hara, American Horror Story
Etymologically, integrity comes from the Latin word integritas, from which we also get words like integer. And we can always “count” on people who have integrity. “Every number is infinite; there is no difference.” (I:4) People who are compulsive liars tell too many lies to count. So also do we get words like integral; one of the things that is integral to being your own person is to have a part that is not given to anyone else, what we might call “virginity.”
And yet integers are a part of math, math which was invented by our use of reason. Beyond reason is the inexplicable, the wordless, the meaning and sacred we seek, the feeling of aliveness. There is no reason in nature; reason is simply a tool of human consciousness we use to better comprehend and organize our world, solve problems, and explains things (after the fact).
Having integrity entails standing on principle. Principle comes from the Latin word principium, which means first, the prefix princip- seen in words like the Spanish principe which means prince. And the Prince in Tetragrammaton (YHVH) is Vau, the nail, just one step away from materialization through Shekinah; also the Hierophant in the Tarot, represented by Taurus (a Fixed, Earth sign ruled by Venus). So one’s behavior is inwardly royal, lofty and above the din even as s/he remains unseen among the masses. A true king wears the clothing of his countrymen.
Additionally, integrity translates over to spirituality by way of prayer which is a form of invocation.
“But cannot prayer in general give objective results?” asked one of those present. “I have already said, it depends upon whose prayer,” G. replied. “One must learn to pray, just as one must learn everything else. Whoever knows how to pray and is able to concentrate in the proper way, his prayer can give results. But it must be understood that there are different prayers and that their results are different. This is known even from ordinary divine service. But when we speak of prayer or of the results of prayer we always imply only one kind of prayer—petition, or we think that petition can be united with all other kinds of prayers. This of course is not true. Most prayers have nothing in common with petitions. I speak of ancient prayers; many of them are much older than Christianity. These prayers are, so to speak, recapitulations; by repeating them aloud or to himself a man endeavors to experience what is in them, their whole content, with his mind and his feeling. And a man can always make new prayers for himself. For example a man says—’I want to be serious.’ But the whole is in how he says it. (308) If he repeats it even ten thousand times a day and is thinking of how soon he will finish and what will there be for dinner and the like, then it is not prayer but simply self-deceit. But it can become a prayer if a man recites the prayer in this way: He says ‘I’ and tries at the same time to think of everything he knows about ‘I.’ It does not exist, there is no single ‘I,’ there is a multitude of petty, clamorous, quarrelsome ‘I’s. But he wants to be one ‘I’—the master; he recalls the carriage, the horse, the driver, and the master. ‘I’ is master. ‘Want’—he thinks of the meaning of ‘I want.’ Is he able to want? With him ‘it wants’ or ‘it does not want’ all the time. But to this ‘it wants’ and ‘it does not want’ he strives to oppose his own ‘I want’ which is connected with the aims of work on himself, that is, to introduce the third force into the customary combination of the two forces, ‘it wants’ and ‘it does not want.’ ‘To be’— the man thinks of what to be, what ‘being,’ means. The being of a mechanical man with whom everything happens. The being of a man who can do. It is possible ‘to be’ in different ways. He wants ‘to be’ not merely in the sense of existence but in the sense of greatness of power. The words ‘to be’ acquire weight, a new meaning for him. ‘Serious’ —the man thinks what it means to be serious. How he answers himself is very important. If he understands what this means, if he defines correctly for himself what it means to be serious, and feels that he truly desires it, then his prayer can give a result in the sense that strength can be added to him, that he will more often notice when he is not serious, that he will overcome himself more easily, make himself be serious. In exactly the same way a man can ‘pray’—’I want to remember myself.’ ‘To remember’—what does ‘to remember’ mean? The man must think about memory. How little he remembers! How often he forgets what he has decided, what he has seen, what he knows! His whole life would be different if he could remember. All ills come because he does not remember. ‘Myself—again he returns to himself. Which self does he want to remember? Is it worth while remembering the whole of himself? How can he distinguish what he wants to remember? The idea of work! How can he connect himself with the idea of the work, and so on, and so on. (In Search of the Miraculous)
Whereas the prayer of superstitious religions is a way to petition some concept of an external deity is, prayer in this context is a regular practice of invocation aided by the imagination; one is really “praying” to his/herself and attempting to effect a new behavior with a change in perspective. The “faith healing” of the Christians, while still demonstrating the power of belief, is blind faith nonetheless. But belief is based on principles and has to be rooted in reality somewhere; namely, the mind developing strong convictions and acting upon those convictions, rather than just wishful thinking to effect change.
In the book, Ouspensky then proceeded to give an example in which someone refused to loan another money by claiming s/he would spend it all, when in actuality s/he was simply stingy and did not want to. The same can also be done with claiming s/he has no money, or various other excuses.
Dishonest people attempt to vicariously live their lives through others, making them their guinea pigs. In a similar vein we are taught that the ultimate goal or key to life is the pursuit of happiness, usually by buying things, or objectifying people as the means to an end such as servants and status symbols as signs of luxury. The key to life may not be some be-all or end-all idea of happiness – which one can be a slave to (horizontal position; the bed one makes and sleeps in) or have the power or strength to rise above challenges and tests of the soul (vertical position). It may instead be the search for meaning, with a person of integrity being someone of substance and worth.
There’s a Zen saying that,”What you resist persists, and what you allow to be, disappears.” The constructive use of power involves having integrity and the ability to control what one says and does and achieve the follow-through needed to accomplish things. Integrity shows someone as a figure of authority for themselves in regards to personal truth and ethics, as well regarding themselves to other people who intuitively sense they have integrity. Truth may be relative up to a point, but it cannot be whatever people want to hear simply because it feels good to them at the moment. If truth is always relative, then it remains as simply a tool to manipulate the gullible with the power of belief (cf. manufactured or engineered consent in the documentary “The Century of the Self”). In fact, the truth can be quite painful in dispelling illusions; this is beneficial for spiritual growth and consciousness. So it could be said that the constant search for personal truth results in integrity and the building-up of power, which extends to all areas of one’s life. Therefore in magick the practice of integrity becomes so automatic that it is spontaneous; whoever has it becomes like a force of nature.
Love is the law, love under will.
Sunday, April 20, 2014ev 1:13pm
Sol in 0 degrees Taurus
Luna in 11 degrees Capricorn
Morals & Magickal Integrity by Paul Joseph Rovelli http://www.astronargon.us/?p=464
Decompartmentalizing your life & the extinction of boundaries http://www.illuminatedmind.net/2009/11/19/de-compartmentalizing-your-life-and-the-extinction-of-boundaries/
Basic human needs
Sakinah & Sukut