NOTE: Grady McMurtry wrote this essay on Thelema and economics in late 1943 e.v.. Its stated purpose was “To illustrate wherein the economics whereby man lives effect his aspiration to godhead and how these economics may be altered under certain conditions to encourage instead of hampering this aspiration.” This essay, about six and one-third pages of single-spaced type-script, with the byline “Hymenaeus Alpha,” was given to Aleister Crowley probably late in 1943 e.v. Approximately half of the text has been omitted here, at the point marked by a row of asterisks. The missing section consists mostly of an analysis of economic trends in the 1930s e.v
The Dynamics of Equilibrium
[circa late 1943 e.v.]
To erect the Temple of the Supernals there must be a foundation in fact. Failure to recognize this can result only in futility. It is the purpose of this paper to examine the present possibilities for the establishment of the Thelemic Order as a force. In order to do so we must first determine those potentialities and trends inherent in the present day world of economics.
Economics encompasses in broad scope all those factors of mundane existence that form the foundation of our social structures. It is the essence of utility, as Magick is the essence of dreams. In our analysis we must take note of the two basic forms of economics – these are the Economics of Scarcity and the Economics of Abundance. All phenomena relating to the manner of living of a people may be referred to one of these as criterion. As such it is necessary that these terms be defined: The Economics of Scarcity is defined as that condition wherein the human machine must perform the bulk of the work required to maintain the existence of society as a whole. The Economics of Abundance is defined as that condition wherein at least ninety per cent of the work required to maintain a social system is performed by energy extraneous to the human body. There are many gradations of working economics that will be found to be in-between states of one of these. The present day trend is from Scarcity to Abundance. I say trend because an Economics of Abundance is not at the moment a fact; nor has it ever existed. This is not to say that isolated groups have not always enjoyed the abundance available – our cultural heritage could not have been carried on without it. This trickle of limited abundance to those of privilege, however, is not to be confused with the flood tide of abundance that will shortly be available – nor are the results of the one to be confused with the possibilities of the other. We thus find ourselves faced with the necessity of examining two questions in order to clarify the dynamics by which an equilibrium of balanced forces between the mundane and the supernal may be set up and maintained. These questions are, (1) what foundation in mundane fact best supports the Supernal Hierarchy, (2) in what manner will the Supernal Hierarchy best be able to reciprocate and enlighten the mundane. Being reciprocal upon each other these two questions are at the same time one – and as the answer is the completion of the Great Work upon Earth it is also the symbol of the Universe.
What foundation in [the] mundane best supports the Supernal Hierarchy? For answer we refer to Liber AL and quote “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” The best support of the supernal by the mundane, therefore, is a condition wherein it is a natural function for the mundane to do its Will in accord with supernal law. In order that this may be true it is therefore necessary that there exist a state of economics whose every impact upon the lives of those to whom it ministers will be of such a nature as to encourage them in the fulfillment of their basic Will. In other words a social structure so designed as to produce, and give every encouragement to, the maximum number of the best instruments possible. In analogy this may be compared to that technique of American industry known as the “straight line process”. This method of producing goods combines all the operations necessary to process a product, from raw material to finished article in one machine. The impetus is thus unidirectional and the method highly efficient. The comparison is, of course, merely superficial. The object is to indicate the harmony that it is possible to attain in any given process with correct design. The question of design in economics is important because of the effect any given economic system has on the thought trends of those who live in it. In primitive society we have the first form of religion which is demon worship, or the placating of a malignant Nature. This has been brought to an advanced state of philosophy in the Oriental, and agrarian, nations. The emergence of the White School of Magick came only when the tools of agriculture had developed sufficiently to enable a limited abundance to be produced. There might still be evil spirits in Nature but at least there was something to be thankful for. The Yellow School has existed from the time it was realized that Man is merely another part of the universe – and should be regarded as such. It is dependent upon no particular set of economics because its adepts have removed themselves from the human mass. The White and the Black Schools, however, being products of mass consciousness are directly effected by economic trends. Christianity is a case in point. This religion is based upon a White doctrine – the transmuting of that which is base into that which is celestial, which should teach us that Existence is pure joy – a doctrine capable of popular support under certain ideal conditions. It has been capable of being carried on as such, however, only by Initiates. Once popularized it fell by necessity into the province of the prevailing economics of scarcity – and the unidirectional trend of scarcity is to take the joy out of existence. That which was necessary became that which was moral, that which was pure became that which was corrupt. On the other hand the unidirectional trend of abundance, as shown in those instances where a fairly large group has had access to same, is to make existence a joy. Once this root cause is established firmly the emergence of the White doctrine becomes a natural function and the pure promptings of the soul are free to express themselves. Such a foundation in mundane fact would best support the Supernal Hierarchy.
In what manner will the Supernal Hierarchy best be able to reciprocate and enlighten the mundane? Again we turn to Liber AL and this time quote “Love is the law, love under will”. The word of the Law is Thelema. Will. Let us examine the manner in which this Will is best transmitted from the supernals to the mundane. To do so we must analyze the possibilities of this abundance we have been speaking of. This, of course, is speaking only of the popular manner and is not to be construed as applying to the higher Initiation. In this we must remember the statement made earlier concerning the application of extraneous energy to the social structure. Increase in extraneous energy means a decrease in man-hours of labor in a far greater than direct ratio. This is our primary consideration. We have the alternative of a small percentage of the population being employed full time or most of the population working a small part of the time. The second is the better procedure except in emergencies such as a war. Under normal circumstances, however, the population will have the bulk of the time on their hands as leisure. Those who wish can have all their time as leisure. The reason for this may not be obvious so I will elaborate. Once an abundance is established within a specified status quo of population the system of distribution of these goods and services need make no distinction between persons. The distribution, just as the Law, is for all. It is far simpler and less wasteful of manpower to plan on providing each citizen with an abundance than to complicate the distribution with varying degrees of “worthiness”. For instance a man refuses to work. Would this deprive him of his equitable distribution? Not at all. It must be remembered that manual labor is by far the most wasteful method of doing work, from a viewpoint of energy consumption, as well as the slowest. Manual labor in industry is to be discouraged – it slows down production too much. But how will industry be maintained if no one is forced to work? The answer is a matter of initiative replacing incentive. In such a set-up there can be only two methods of achieving prominence. One is by entering into competition for those positions available in industry and government – the other is by achieving distinction as a leader in some field of thought or research such as science, literature, philosophy, religion, etc. More of this later. At the moment we are interested in the impact of leisure and abundance on the thought processes of a mass. The result is to accentuate the individualities of those who compose said “mass”.
In the Book of the Law it is said “Let my servants be few and secret”. This is so now and would continue to be so for the simple reason that few people have both the initiative and ability necessary to go into the subject deeply. This does not mean, however, that there can not be a favorable attitude to the support of same by the general population. The impetus engendered by leisure and abundance would be in this direction. Abundance frees the mind from what have been the necessities of mundane existence, “making a living”, etc., and leaves it undistorted. Leisure provides the necessary time in which to utilize this freedom. Acceptance of the Law is not necessarily automatic – it is merely the obstacles to the acceptance of same that have been removed. The ground is thus prepared. The work of presenting Thelema remains to be done. That religion which postulates “The poor will always be with us” no longer has a foundation. The concept that the Will of the Individual is the most important consideration possible has a fertile field. Under such a condition would the Supernal Hierarchy best be able to reciprocate and enlighten the mundane.
Having investigated the two basic questions it is now left to determine the feasibility of an Economy of Abundance emerging during the present aeon; also we may deal at greater length with the consequences of such an occurrence. In the Book of the Law it is written “Also reason is a lie; for there is a factor infinite & unknown; & all their words are skew-wise”. It is this factor, infinite and unknown, that places uncertainty upon any interpretation of trends. Nevertheless we shall presently see if our interpretation is justified. To gain a proper overall perspective of the present economic trend towards abundance we must briefly review economic history. This may be condensed very simply as follows – during the entire course of human history up until the time of the industrial revolution there was one basic engine for doing work – the human engine.
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Now having made an analysis of our problem it is only left to form a synthesis of that which must be done to correct it, discuss the methods by which it may be applied and determine whether or not it has the desired bearing on the topic under consideration: the erection of the Temple of the Supernals in a foundation of material fact. As previously pointed out it is the loss of purchasing power, unemployment, that brings the crisis to a head – and yet we have all the facilities necessary for the producing of an abundance. The answer is to devise a method by which this abundance may be distributed to the individual. The only equitable basis of distribution is the citizenship of the individual concerned. Such a system may be instituted by a national election. Will this have the desired result? The answer is that it will – but to complete the paper it will be necessary to determine the reasons therefore. The mechanism of government whereby a system of distribution may function must be set up along the following general outline. There must be a board of scientists whose task will be to determine the energy needs of the Nation for allotted periods of time. Election to this board must come only through the ranks of the industries which they represent. The method of doing same is the selection of candidates from immediately below a position and the appointment of one of these to fill that position by the executive immediately above. By these two tests are initiative and ability brought to their highest degree. Also government is non-political. It being possible to become a “success” only through the limited number of industrial positions available the competition will be terrific. At the same time those to whom the seeking of knowledge through science, religion, philosophy, the arts, etc., is more important are given every freedom and every encouragement. Educational facilities, unhampered by lack of funds, can be expanded to the saturation point. That great middle section which is not ambitious or talented will find their hobby or pleasure somewhere in this vast program of educating the American people for living. Through this freedom and encouragement research in all the fields of knowledge will receive an unprecedented impetus. It is true that not every potato farmer has the brains to rise to this level – but a surprisingly large number have. The kings would still be kings, and the dogs would still be dogs – but the plane of existence will have been raised far above any heights we know of today. This is the end product in the evolution of economics and government. In America it is ready to be tested. Our task is to attend this birth with skill and fortitude. Thus I proclaim the Era of Abundance in the Aeon of Horus, the Crowned and Conquering Child, whereby the glory of the stars will be brought into the hearts of men and the winged secret flame shall wed the stooping starlight.
NOTE: What Crowley thought of the style and argument can only be conjectured, but the elderly magus penned a quatrain of verse on the back of the bottom sheet, over the characteristic initials “A.C.”. It reads:
Do show me your Velasquez; I’m blinder than a bat.
My wooden leg is very stiff, so please to massage that!
The odontologist may try the best of all adventures
And cure his face-ache cleverly by polishing his dentures!!
Note: Originally published in Thelema Lodge Calendar, November 1991.