Mar 13, 2007
Greetings Students of Esoterica!
Over the years, and especially as an author myself, I’ve learned to recognize a particular pattern in some others’ writing that can serve as a “red flag” about what they have to say. I like to share this with students who feel overwhelmed by the masses of information (and misinformation) out there.
The pattern is pretty simple:
1) The author begins by alerting you to the fact that everyone else who publishes on the subject at hand is wrong.
2) The author then begins to explain *why* everyone but himself is wrong- more often than not having something to do with the personal character flaws of other authors, rather than the ideas they have actually published.
3) The author will then go on to explain exactly why he is correct, and why he is the *only* one who is correct. Most often, the author will portray the same character flaws in this section as he decried in section 2.
Sometimes the author might go on from there to provide something of value. Such as Lisiewski’s “Ceremonial Magic…” – which falls prey to the above pattern in the first half, but then provides a worthwhile outline of the Heptameron Rite in the second half. Most often, though, once you see an author resort to the above pattern, the likelihood of their presenting anything worthwhile drops dramatically.
Of course, I don’t mean that *every* author who complains about the bad scholarship in his field is a fraud! But, you can certainly look at the bulk of a person’s work and see if that pattern is a trend throughout. When I wrote my first essays, I began to fall prey to it myself! That is, until I realized that better authors didn’t waste precious word-space bitching about why everyone else is wrong. They just present their ideas and let them stand on their own. ( I believe my own writing improved a thousand percent after that realization.)
So, students, now you have that secret under your belt. 🙂 If you’re reading a book on occultism, or a website about the Golden Dawn, or even some wacky internet post, all you have to do is ask yourself: “Does this guy (or group, etc) believe his ideas can stand on their own? Or does he first have to try and knock everyone else down before he has the courage to present his own work?” The answer to that question can save you a LOT of wasted reading time… 🙂