From: V. H. Maroney Newsgroups: alt.magick,alt.magick.moderated,talk.religion.misc 
Subject: Choronzon, Abyss, Existential Crisis Date: 20 Aug 1996 11:37:56 -0700
In Crowley's system, Choronzon is a paradoxical figure: simultaneously oneself and not oneself, the liberator and the slave-master, the trap of reason and the gateway for manifestation of the divine. Choronzon inhabits the Abyss, that wilderness of thought in which all reasoning is circular -- relation attached to relation, twisting and releasing, with no solid noun anywhere to be found -- the Hell of Prepositions. All ideas of the I and the Universe become fluid, or rather gaseous, and so they blow away. From below, the Abyss is a curse, but from above it is a blessing. The Black Brother, remaining in the Abyss and refusing self-destruction, is the shadow or reflection of the Magus, who creates Truth though knowing it can only be perceived as lies. Neither exists without the other. The account of the Black Brothers in "The Vision and the Voice" is shot through with parody and contradiction; behind every damning denunciation is a playfully paradoxical panegyric. It is no wonder that some of Crowley's own followers or shadows have come to identify with the figure of the Black Brother even though they do not understand the Abyss: in it self and universe are annihilated together, not one sacrificed to the other; and in the aftermath, the self creates the universe, rather than being subsumed in it. All this is written in plain language in "One Star in Sight". It is no fault of Crowley's if his critics cannot read. In modern philosophy the ordeal of the Abyss is opened to all through the despair and nausea of existential crisis. The fundamental challenge of this century has been the lack of any firm foundation for belief of any kind -- the necessary consequence of evolutionary biology, which revealed all our thoughts and perceptions as the flickerings of arbitrary instruments. This crisis which Crowley wanted reserved for high adepts is today undergone by practically anyone of any insight or intelligence. Of course in this Sargasso of unmeaning many grab for any rope which seems to hold the promise of salvation. In systems there is a false security and an early release from the requirement of doubt. Crowley's own system becomes just as vapid as any other when it is used in this way. He did not foresee a world in which the gates of the Abyss swung open for all. His system of spiritual grades was set up for Victorians and has little applicability today. When liberation is so close to hand, becoming an "adept" is likely to enslave rather than set free. The world has moved on but the system has remained the same. If there are now adorers rather than revilers of Choronzon, I like to think it is because they have grasped this fact on some intuitive level, and so set out to skewer the now pompous and wooly system which seemed so radical almost a century ago.

V. H. Maroney

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