15 July 2009

Non sola scriptura

The hallmark of braindead fundamentalism is literalism. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of both sides of the story, arguing with braindead Marxists is very similar to arguing with braindead Christians - only the name of the scripture has changed. Epistle to the Hebrews on one side, What is to be done? on the other. Argument by quotation is especially stupid when the source matter contradicts itself - Lenin, as I think I've said elsewhere, was a very good politician and changed his mind on a regular basis when a more convincing hypothesis came past, so anything you find him saying you can find him saying the opposite elsewhere.

You can learn neither magick nor revolutionary politics from a book, any more than you can learn to play violin or do aikido. Only by personal experience - gnosis. And the only book you can get gnosis from is a book of poetry, or other literary art - that is, something that conveys an extra message behind its surface meaning, in its very words, shape, and method of transition, that can only be experienced by the subtle and animal sense rather than the logical brain.

So - all "religious scripture", in the real sense of the term, has to include poetry. A reasonably pure example of this is the Qur'an, based on the refusal of authority to any translation, which means that there's something special about the language of the original classical Arabic. It could just be that it's excellent poetry in the sense that Robert Graves would understand, and recitation in the original brings about specific and predictable psychic events. Some Muslim scholars - operating of course on the belief that it's a direct transmission from Universe Central - have even suggested that it's like the art of the Great Houses in the fiction of Lawrence Miles, in that it is designed to change its meaning and its effect a couple of millennia down the track. Some people make similar claims for the King James version of the bible, even though its translation is crap, its poetry is pretty damn impressive - to the point where people think it's a distinct and superior revelation to the Greek and Hebrew originals. And let me put it right here that all the great Marxists were great writers in the artistic sense of the term.

If art is intimately related to gnosis, one way you can tell who the monsters are is the quality of their art, presuming of course that art is objective. Someone once suggested that the difference between Trotsky and Stalin's writings is the difference between a clear mountain stream and a sewage outfall. You can say similar things about Mein Kampf, or anything by L. Ron Hubbard. Crowley was by some regards a great poet, although your mileage might vary. And the poetry of Ezra Pound retains its power despite the fact that the author was a fascist scumbag. Trust the tale, not the teller - truth is truth whether it comes from the mouth of a saintly prophet, a drunken bum, Michael Jackson, or someone disingenously hiding behind a pseudonym. All real, useful, bone-level truth comes from the same Source, common to all of us.

1 comment:

  1. I personally really enjoy L Ron Hubbard's work when he is working as a science fiction writer. It's pulpy, but in the way that fills my desires for pulp.