"...the weird turn pro"
93!Quick points about the design of OTO
: not meant to comment on the specifics of any actual case(s), to which I am neither privy, nor would want to be; but important (I strongly believe) for the future of the Order itself.1. "Professionalism."
Many arguments have been raised of late -- often with what strikes me as an unfortunately contemptuous edge in their tone -- about the need to "professionalize" OTO by requiring folks to live up to their financial obligations to the Order (the local dues controversy). "We're moving past the old living room model, chowderhead. Grow up, get over your weak-kneed affection for the old days and get with the program. If some oldtimers don't want to play by professional rules, good riddance." For some, this extends into areas I strongly believe AC did not have in mind, and would have opposed: e.g. the purported "needs" for the Order to have specific goals, or to provide a specific body of teaching.
In any event it should, I believe, surprise nobody (particularly those discovering such additional items that, unbeknownst to Crowley, OTO "needs") if "professionalizing the Order" means a similar wakeup call in areas other
than local dues...particularly when it comes to disciplinary issues.2. Structure of OTO.
That's right, it's a monarchy: a top-down, hierarchical organization which requires increased obedience as members progress through the degrees. Indeed, this is its most essential, if least-recognized, feature: by design, the Order ties increased service to each new degree voluntarily taken
. This is not a flaw in the design, it IS the design...as we are expressly warned, beginning in public sources, from the start.
Thelemites do not like giving up freedom. This makes them resent the strictures of higher degrees, which the Order is designed to strap onto them, degree by degree. "Authority and prestige in the Order are absolute, but while the lower grades give increase of privilege, the higher give increase of service"; and, a few lines earlier, "Make power and splendour incompatible, and the social problem is solved" ("Liber CLXI").
The more one wishes individual freedom of movement in the Order, the likelier she or he is to stop in one of the earlier degrees. The more one wishes power, splendour, and advance through the degrees, the more individual freedom of movement she or he MUST be prepared to sacrifice. "[W]ith us, Government is Service, and nothing else" ("Liber CXCIV").3. Selective Institution of "Liber CXCIV." christeos_pir
raises the excellent point that some folks rely strongly on CXCIV when it serves their preferences, but are quick to discount it otherwise. With that maximum freedom accorded to a Minerval -- yet with apologies, as from guest to host -- let me reiterate my strong opinion that this is the case, and that the Order suffers for it. In the "OTO" heading of this journal's "Memories" section can be found several critiques in this regard: e.g., there should (IMO) be many, many more members admitted to the higher degrees, and the proportionate financial obligations should be reinstated (huge fees for the upper tiers), and that's just for starters.
That said, it is my status as a Minerval which allows me (as it is designed to) the freedom to make those points publicly...and even then (see #2 above), I consider myself obligated -- if only as a polite guest, though also because this is a monarchy -- to temper my criticism. Hell, as a Minerval I am not even supposed to be paying annual dues to the National body, yet I do, and monthly local dues as well. One is required, irrespective of the original design; the other seems the least I can do.4. Graduation Day.
From time to time, one way and another, a high-degree member will end up leaving the Order, most frequently because the strictures of his degree become intolerable for him. To my mind, this is a sacred moment: one has found that his Will lies elsewhere, and his Sisters and Brothers can only applaud that fact...itself a crucial part of the Order's original design
I'm enabling comments, as always, but forgive me if I decline to elaborate much on these issues; I am bound by important oaths in this regard.
93 93/93 -- AJ