You know, I didn't set out to be a heretic; and being a non-conformist has its own price (often unpleasant). I'm too old for this to be some sort of misplaced teenage rebellion. But I just cannot agree with "The Comment." Being a Class A document, I'm not supposed to want to change it, and I don't want to change it, I want to disregard it ... and I don't feel especially constrained against doing so.
So let's look at this thing. Let's write a comment on "The Comment." Ha-ha!
Actually to paraphrase a wise woman who was steeped in Masonic lore I once knew, let's write a "meditation" on "The Comment" - for I truly have more questions than analysis.
Let's start by setting aside the standard Thelemic greetings (but only temporarily) and examine what remains:
1. The study of this Book is forbidden. It is wise to destroy this copy after the first reading.
Okay, who out there actually obeyed this command. Have you read "The Book of the Law" more than once? Did you toss it away after you read it? Ha!
I cannot imagine a Thelemite tossing out one of his/her expensive Crowley books. By what method of sophistry can anyone justify this?
One lunatic I knew interpreted "destroy" as to "absorb totally". That was the most ludicrous and absurd example of sideways thinking I have ever encountered.
This whole clause is just plain silly.
Plus, members of the A.'.A.'. are told to study "The Book of the Law" at just about every grade. Members of the O.T.O. know about their own requirements (I say no more).
2. Whosoever disregards this does so at his own risk and peril. These are most dire.
I have been reading, studying and talking about "The Book of the Law" for 21-22 years, plus writing my own in-depth analysis of it, and I have to tell you ... life is better than it's been for a long long time! In fact, since I got involved again with all things Thelemic last May, things have really improved in my life. It's almost like I'm fulfilling an assignment.
3. Those who discuss the contents of this Book are to be shunned by all, as centres of pestilence.
Well, Society looks askance at all its eccentrics. I don't feel especially shunned. People have been more curious than anything when I discuss "The Book of the Law". In fact I get more strange looks when I discuss meditation than when I discuss The Book. (Face it, anyone who talks about anything other than Cornhusker football around here gets regarded as a freak.)
Knowing Crowley's childhood background in Biblical lore, I checked to see if there were any special references to "pestilence" in the Bible. There were several references, but none that seemed to illuminate this line.
4. All questions of the Law are to be decided only by appeal to my writings, each for himself.
This is about the most destructive thing to the spread of Thelema that Crowley could have written. It prevents the development of a Thelemic theology and positively damages the promulgation of "The Book of the Law". It is positively insane.
Plus people are positively hypocritical about this. If anyone accepts phrase four, then they should accept the first phrase above, and read the Book once and then throw it away. If they don't, then they are being total hypocrites. How can you accept the fourth phrase and not the first if you believe it's a Class A Document?
The answer to this, I believe, lies below:
5. There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.
This, I believe is the key to the whole comment (I will avoid trying to call it a loophole). People who accept what goes before it are not being bold and independent-minded. They are letting someone else tell them what their Will is (essentially). They are allowing the only sin of Thelema to be committed.
If I believe completely and wholly that it is my True Will to discuss and comment upon "The Book of the Law" then I am obeying The Book itself, I am obeying Line Five, which is a direct quote from the Book.
It means I am refusing to be a sheep and a follower and a common herd animal. And this is true for everyone who puts their emphasis on line five. Bravo!