A Surprise while Reading T. H. Huxley

I have been reading an old copy of Results and Methods Essays by T. H. Huxley. Mostly because Aleister Crowley cited him once or twice. I have been interested in, and trying to understand, what Crowley has written for a long time. My thought was that perhaps Huxley could shed some light on his cryptic writing.

I knew little of T. H. Huxley other than he was an Englishman who died in 1895, about the time Crowley was 20. I was delighted to read his style and of his admiration for the works of Rene’ Descartes. It turns out that Huxley was a great thinker, an advocate of the scientific method and a Biologist.

The purpose of this post is to report that between pages 190 and 191, I found this artifact of early Los Angeles. A handbill announcing a Free Oahspean Lecture on Sunday April 1st at Blanchard Music Hall on Hill Street.

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A you can see there is no year. On the obverse there was an unintelligible word preceding the word “molecule” with a shape on the left that could be a geometrical figure like a molecule. Interestingly, next to the geometrical shape there looked to be a 7 data points bounded by a curvilinear line.

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This post is merely quaint. If there is any significance to the drawing perhaps someone will contact me for the original.

The Oahspean Bible is a huge volume of automatic writing published by the writer, John Ballou Newbrough (1828-1891) in 1882. Automatic writing has given us a whole lot of rubbish over the years. My take is that some is fraudulent, some may have been truly automatic (but as useful as one of my nightly dreams), and some may make sense to someone sometime. Neither of these assessments would be a reason to study it.

I do recommend Huxley but that is it.

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Using the word metaphysics

I recently noticed a writer using the word metaphysics in a popular way to attribute spiritual significance to a blog post on social media. Doubtfully I forged ahead expecting a look at how we might use and misuse social media in the context of the human condition: What kinds of social media are out there? Is it worth your time? What is responsible grouping, posting and commenting? What helps or hurts and why? Unfortunately the article was filler giving a few bits of worthless information in exchange for our attention. It explained how our wall is an apt world for manifestation (that’s right, both mystically and magickally) and for contacting old friends and the healing of relationships.

A noble goal of written communication is to select unambiguous words in crafting thoughts and ideas. In the interests of clarity and the publishing of useful, objective information a writer avoids ambiguity and uses words in their most specific form. Hence words used in an article should be easily defined by consulting a reputable dictionary. Similarly and more importantly, titles are an advertisement to the reader and should be ethical and honest. In this case, honesty would dictate a title such as “Selective Quips about Social Media.” In the alternative, I would suggest a well written article delivering on the title already chosen.

The usage of the term metaphysics as a vague, adaptable-to-any-subject notion is regrettable. Metaphysics is a wonderful subject encompassing epistemology and the nature of reality. Information on metaphysics as a branch of philosophy can be helpful to many. Unfortunately in discussions of grocery shopping, social media or perhaps cement mixing, we don’t learn about epistemology but rather how a writer can subvert truth at the outset.

The definition of metaphysics, as a branch of philosophy dealing with being and knowing, is clear. The popular definition of metaphysics, as the application of abstract subtlety or reason, is not clear nor does it apply in any way to the article in question.  The popular definition is not used in this case to inform but rather to lend a “spiritual” bent and glow to the work (or the author) not realized in the writing.

Spirituality is no substitute for intelligence, spirituality is a subset of intelligence. The high road then, for the writer, is to meditate on the purpose of the writing and the benefits to confer on the reader, and write it selflessly, clearly, completely and without guile.

See you on the high road……