Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Crowley is, admittedly, a complicated case. One can hardly blame people for feeling hatred and fear toward Crowley when Crowley himself so often exulted in provoking just such emotions. Indeed he tended to view those emotions as inevitable, given what he regarded as the revolutionary nature and power of his teachings and the prevailing hypocrisy of society ... Revile Christianity (but not Christ, mind you) as he might, seek its downfall as he did, Crowley desired nothing less than a full-fledged successor religion — complete with a guiding Logos that would endure for millenia, as had the teachings of Jesus. "Thelema" was the Logos Crowley proclaimed, Greek for "Will." "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" was its central credo. Let us concede that this credo — so redolent, seemingly, of license and arnarchy, dark deeds and darker dreams — terrifies on first impact, as does Crowley the man. ... Say what you will of Crowley, judge his failings as you will, there remains a man as protean, brilliant, courageous, flabbergasting, as ever you could imagine. There endure achievements that no reasoned account of his life may ignore...

~ Lawrence Sutin in Do What Thou Wilt : A Life of Aleister Crowley (2000) Introduction

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