Friday, 19 May 2017

Knowledge is not wisdom; wisdom is a product of life



At the end of each day when he goes to bed a would-be magus, as a symbolic action, should wipe his brow with the back of his hand and say to himself: "Has my brow this day been wet with mental sweat?" This little rite has value not only as a reminder of the Great Work that has been undertaken, but also as a mental and emotional catharsis, for it has been truly said that the chief temptation of any would-be magus is creation without mental toil."

 - The Elemental Ray, Charles Richard Foster Seymour



In my Lesser Mysteries training I was taught to apply Colonel Seymour's approach to the mundane life. It came with the turf and was non-negotiable. However, few occultists I’ve met seem either capable or inclined to do so. I think that’s a shame. Hard work in any field of endeavour brings its own wonderful blessings.

Sadly there is often a menial attitude toward the world and its fruits in occult circles, and this is not a virtue.

Why do some people maintain poverty of mind, emotions, body and estate instead of widening worldly contacts so that Life’s rich and varied resources can flow through? 

Those seeking the Path should look for life and more life and leadership to achieve this, not endless words and “facts” with a dank and musty library to house them all in. 

Why are so many occultists who claim to be way-showers still hiding in the graveyards of their own making, instead of leading in the field of art or science?

Why are they not striving to be the best teachers, artists, healers and healthcare professionals, ethical business leaders and truly revolutionary politicians? 

Why are so many occultists seemingly more capable of starting a fight in a graveyard with their own shadows and those of others, than applying themselves to bringing peace and healing within?

Many people seem to “take up occultism” as a hobby to provide an escape from the challenges or aridity of their everyday living. They may do this quite unconsciously. Not finding it easy to get on with family or colleagues, frustrated about some aspect of living and repelled by the sweat, toil, dirt and tears of an imperfect world, they seek an apparently readily available escape route. Such people often have a feeling that things are not as they should be and that the world could be a far better place. Indeed, I suspect few people would be able to reasonably deny this. Reacting to the often unpleasant realities of earth, they turn away and try their luck on the “higher planes” instead. Such escapism, though very easy to understand, is ultimately useless and is effective only in further reducing the ability to cope with life's problems.

Knowledge without life breeds stagnation and decay. 

Knowledge is not wisdom; wisdom is a product of life.


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“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” 

- Theodore Roosevelt in Citizenship In A Republic
delivered at the Sorbonne, 
Paris, France 
on 23 April, 1910

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