The Aura of the O.T.O. Phenomenon
A short essay on the maelstrom of the thelemic netwar or
"A story has been thought to its conclusion when it has taken its worst possible turn." Friedrich Duerrenmatt
Introduction to online articles — Keywords
The O.T.O. functions like a piece of demo shareware, all the interesting key features disabled, it runs on a fourteen day trial period which just repeats over and over again. There is only one area in the O.T.O. phenomenon where they are still consulting tea leaves and waving dead chickens at the issues.
Peter-R. Koenig and other critics have proven dangerous to pseudo-academics and occultists, by destroying their aura: the very thing that makes them untouchable in their own eyes.
The factoids sent into orbit by occultists create a maelstrom of censorship on the internet where spin doctors turn into pilots who surf their passengers in any direction they wish. While they behave as if their ancestors hadn't so much crawled out of the primeval swamp, but simply taken a cab — they face facts that threaten their regimented happiness and carefully fenced-off security. And so they choose ignorance as a weapon of survival. They promote benightedness, prejudice, superstition and censorship to protect their 'clan' from the 'the world', and get stuck in the if-loop of their own reality.
Furnished with the strategy of 'anything goes' (in creating countless new Orders) and manipulation on the Internet (in e-groups and e-mails) they produce an imitation of real thought-processes, and new arrangements of old fantasies. Veteran spin doctors lean out of their virtual cave windows, rotating in the ruins of lust and driven by particles of supposed enlightenment in the terrain of petty bourgeoisie.
The O.T.O.'s feuilleton mainly consists of hymnal reviews of their ideologically kindred press, of the endless celebration of Crowley and his disciples, and attempts at character-assassination on critics. Pseudo-discourse happens in complete sterility on the Internet, of course in its vicious circle of censorship, spin doctoring, propaganda and blatant lies. They have recently tried to appear more scholarly in their approach — but this merely consists of inserting hypertext links from their own websites, to those of self-appointed sociologists who defend what they call "new emerging religions".
Making any change to their strictly limited repertoire of clichés is not a favourite activity among many O.T.O. groups. For them, the status quo must be preserved at all costs: unquestioning acceptance of Crowley's omniscience as a prophet, the value of their rituals (such as the daily 'Adoration of the Sun'), the routine of initiation-ceremonies and performing the Gnostic Mass every Sunday, keeping to their codes of behaviour, and submitting to the restrictions concerning what is forbidden and what is permitted. And, of course, the near-mantric repetition of the Thelemic greeting "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law".
Are the results of work in the physical world to be applied to æsthetic or aggressive uses? The occultist's images don't ask what the body wants but what he's able to do. All the concepts mentioned in the foregoing paragraphs are merely instruments that serve to distract from and suppress one vital fact: that the American version of the O.T.O., called the 'Caliphate', exists for the purpose of providing for one man's entire income, by allowing him to live off the royalties from Aleister Crowley's works. This man is the leader of the Caliphate, and is called the 'Caliph'.
Threats to this income — which is the sole basis for the Caliphate's existence — have resulted in some pretty extreme and bizarre antics. The Caliph's omnipotence represents his impotence at the same time. As dictator over his 'dethroned' membership (Thelemites as society's 'outsiders'), he drifts into being perceived as a parody of a ruler by the rest of society, with his titles like 'Supreme King'. Doubts arise about his masculinity, when at the same time he assumes the rulership of what is classified as the homosexual realm of his group (the 'Eleventh Degree'). In the end he acts like a tyrant queen whose slightest whim must be obeyed, and for whom everything must be sacrificed — including your freedom.
This structure only works so long as the 'Caliphate' is completely irrelevant in the context of society. The moment reality intrudes — in the form of a need for money to pay lawyers and the like — the members balk at the challenge. If they disobey their Order's laws, what have they to lose but their membership of the club?
Fact remains: Members up in arms, fighting the rules have nothing to fear in Society's context, but the 'Caliph' stands to lose everything: his cash-cow.
The O.T.O. has degenerated into a 'conversation piece'