Thou therefore who desirest Magical Gifts, be sure that thy soul is firm and steadfast; for it is by flattering thy weaknesses that the Weak Ones will gain power over thee. Humble thyself before thy Self, yet fear neither man nor spirit. Fear is failure, and the forerunner of failure: and courage is the beginning of virtue. — Liber Libræ sub figurâ XXX – The Book of the Balance
An imaginary conviction that this or that thing is true, even if such conviction be based upon the strongest reasons of plausibility and probability, is no real knowledge or self-recognition of truth. The truth is really known to no man until it is realized in him; but when the light of truth arises as a living power within his soul, penetrating and illuminating his understanding, causing him to enter into full harmony and become one with the truth, he may then truly say, not only “I know the truth,” but like one of old, “I [in my personal state] am the Truth.” This, however, is not to be interpreted as if to mean that we should reject all theories or treat opinions of others with contempt. Theories are means by which to arrive at practice; they are like crutches used by children before they are able to walk. They are sometimes good for discarding errors; but a knowledge of theories is not identical with the recognition of truth.
Franz Hartmann, The Correlation of Spiritual Forces
Furthermore that I will perform all practical work connected with this Order, in a place concealed … that I will keep secret this inner Rosicrucian Knowledge … that I will only perform any practical magic before the uninitiated which is of a simple and already well-known nature, and that I will show them no secret mode of working whatsoever.
Ritual of the 5○ = 6□ Grade of Adeptus Minor, the Ritual of the Order of Rosæ Rubeæ Et Aureæ Crusis at Aleister Crowley, “The Adept” in The Temple of Solomon the King, Book II, continued, serialized in The Equinox.
Men like him cannot be happy as we understand happiness, for to be happy one must delight like nature in mere profusion, in mere abundance, in making and doing things, and if one sets an image of the perfect before one it must be the image that draws her perpetually, the image of a perfect fulness of natural life, of an Earthly Paradise.
A thing is not esoteric because it is secret or kept hidden. It is esoteric because its existence is in some sense unmanifest, private, and by its very nature not available for examination from the outside: it is only available to participation, not, ultimately, merely to examination. In other words, the realm of the esoteric is, before anything else, the realm of consciousness, of experience.
Weishaupt’s concept of virtue stems from his Rousseauian influences. Jean-Jacques Rousseau equated true virtue with the purity of mankind in its infancy before it was corrupted by civilization. This virtue was still apparent in the “savage” races still being encountered by explorers in the forests and jungles of North and South America. By comparison, the despotism of western culture, with its class structures and inherent inequality, was considered inferior and contemptible.
It was a weary while before they raised him
Boy as he was, none dare disturb his grief.
And for his grief was strong, they loved and praised him
For son’s devotion to their dear dead chief.
Long, long he wept, nor brought with tears relief.
He knew the loss, the old head wise and grey
Well to assoil him of his spirit’s grief,
The twilight dangers of a boy’s dim way,
His dragons to confront, his minotaurs to slay.
Aleister Crowley, Why Jesus Wept
I want everyone watching—whether you’re on the Capitol or the rebel side—to stop for just a moment and think about what this war could mean. For human beings. We almost went extinct fighting one another before. Now our numbers are even fewer. Our conditions more tenuous. Is this really what we want to do? Kill ourselves off completely? In the hopes that—what? Some decent species will inherit the smoking remains of the earth?
These things are symptoms of political inefficiency. In a properly organized society like ours, nobody has any opportunities for being noble or heroic. Conditions have got to be thoroughly unstable before the occasion can arise.