Re: Debunking Samael Aun Weor
Date: July 08, 2011 06:51PM
I'm glad you wrote this. I got into Samael after a religious experience this past December, and am still waffling back and forth on it.
At rock bottom the way I was, Revolutionary Psychology made perfect sense. To a neurotic like me, it's pretty easy to recognize that there are a bunch of often contradictory emotional forces operating within you.
Much of the cosmology also really appealed to me. Samael's quote "Wherever we direct our attention, we expend creative energy" appealed to me because it solved a philosophical problem that had been in the back of my mind for ages. Even in my materialist atheist days I never could find a clean way to work subjective experience into my "giant 3-D billiards table" conception of the universe. The fact that we can discuss subjective experience through a physical medium implies that subjective experience itself actually has a physical effect in the universe, which to me seems that through our attention and focus we are in fact "creating" something, even if this "creation" just amounts to directing the construction of new neural systems in our brains (as when learning a new skill). This creative principle, rooted in subjectivity, could also provide the "tendency to organization" we see in the evolution of the universe and life.
Then there's stuff like astral projection. While I've never been able to do it myself, I have read enough accounts of it to be convinced that at the very least the term refers to a real thing that people can learn to do. What it actually means, then, must of course must fall somewhere between constructing an elaborate self-delusion (doubtful because of the "exploratory" nature of the accounts) to going to another plane of existence where absolute truth is revealed to those who find their way there (also doubtful because of the conflicting nature of the accounts). So I don't really know where I stand on the subject of astral projection. Samael or no Samael, I want to learn to do it, so that I can form my own independent opinion on it.
I've also had some positive experiences with meditation, self-analysis, and pranayama, but then on the other hand we didn't need Samael to tell us about this stuff.
As you can probably see by now, I'm no dummy and yet I bought into this stuff hook, line and sinker. My first suspicion that "cultish" emotions were affecting me was the fact that, after a Gnostic retreat got me really gung-ho on it all, I read some stuff online that was critical of Samael, and experienced a flare-up of the usual ugly emotions a human feels when a deeply-held idea of his is challenged.
At this point it occurred to me to what extent I was not, as I had fancied myself, an intrepid explorer of the unknown, bold seeker of the truth no matter if it hurts, but just another scared human being clinging to a belief system that for a time gave me a sense of wholeness.
It then occurred to me to what extent this stuff has actually hindered my growth toward learning to love my fellow human beings. I'll relate one example to this effect. One very positive thing I can say I got out of this experience is it utterly annihilated my addiction to pornography and masturbation. I stopped doing it (with the help of some bad dreams when I would start going back that way), and after seeing the benefits this brought me, it's not too hard now to fight the desire to go back. But I did "fall" every now and then, and on those occasions my inner mental sequence went something like this: horrifying shame at myself and begging for mercy, to a feeling of hopelessness and despair, to a vague acceptance of my hellbound fate, to solidarity with the people around me because we're all going to the same place! At this point, looking at the faces of others brought so much more of a feeling of love and compassion than I ever had while practicing properly. But isn't "falling" supposed to eliminate all the energy that makes you capable of such tender feelings?
When I realized that Samael himself said "do not follow me; I am only a signpost", I started listening to what the "ego" that was critical of the system had to say. This was very productive; I discovered many of the failed predictions you mention as well as the dogmatic and fearful attitudes and behaviors of the followers. I discovered that Samael does seem to have basically thrown together a salad composed of ideas from older occult writers. It's almost as if he took any idea that he was intuitively attracted to, mistook that intuitive attraction for clairvoyance, completely skipped the use of reason, and made it a dogma. I wonder if this is how mystical megalomania works in general. I find it interesting how often he would use words like "obviously" before asserting something that was definitely not obvious. I guess if you're clairvoyant it becomes obvious.
It's hard, though. I have another retreat scheduled, and it's too late for a refund. And there's that truth-seeking part of me that wants to give it "one more chance". But then there's an apprehensive part of me that does not want to get "suckered in" again. But I'm really not so worried about that anymore, because I've learned to recognize the warning signs of having swallowed cultish dogma (the anxiety that comes from having it challenged, and the related desire to alienate myself from most of civilization, is the big one). And part of me is wondering if maybe I will have my questions answered and discover the truth there. I'd love to sort of privately "interview" people there about their astral projection experiences. To be perfectly honest, I think a lot of whether I'm going actually hinges on how a date with a woman I'm quite interested in goes this weekend. If I start to build a genuine human connection for pretty much the first time in my life, I'll probably want no part in possibly mucking it up. If it doesn't work out, then this lost soul might continue taking such risks.
All in all there is just too much fishy about these teachings to recommend them. I have trouble accepting the fact that the universe is designed in such a way that a massive number of beings are created to suffer in life and then suffer ever more greatly in hell. Not that I'm unwilling to accept the truth; if this is the truth then so be it. I have trouble accepting it because it just strikes me as outlandish. The evolution and devolution mechanism actually sort of makes sense to me, but then the part about being "submerged in the mineral worlds" to consciously experience hell for millions of years just seems completely unrelated and shoehorned-in. The only way I might explain it is on the subjective level: as the being is devolving it's building up more and more egos, and egos can only be eliminated consciously, so the egos must be consciously experienced and eliminated in hell for the being to be free. I have to admit, there's a certain logic to it, especially if we reincarnate and constantly accrue bad baggage from life to life. But then again, how painful can it be, if our personalities, which die with our bodies, are not there to remember our misfortune? Hell, then, is just sort of depersonalized subjective pain? Was this answered in Hell, the Devil, and Karma? I never read that one all the way through.
Further, there is the fact that people exist and have existed who are productive, quite clearly capable of loving and caring about people other than themselves, and have a minimum of neurotic issues, and yet see no sense in these teachings. There are people like Carl Jung, for instance, who underwent a massive spiritual transformation without even once mentioning sexual alchemy. Heck, Jung was even interested in alchemy; he read a bunch of ancient alchemy texts, and his interpretation was that they were about the "individuation" process (a Jungian buzzword). So two different people, with two different worldviews, each reading some highly metaphorical texts, and coming out with two different interpretations? I can think of reasons this might happen. I suppose "Samael had access to the truth while Jung was a deluded fornicating Black magician" is one possibility.
But yeah, apparently everybody who's not a Gnostic is unhappy and miserable. I can easily believe this because I was not a Gnostic and was/am unhappy and miserable while giving a happy face to the world, and it's easy to believe that all so-called happy people are doing the same thing. But is it possible this is a projection? We tend to assume everybody is like ourselves. Are there really zero people who lead a fulfilling, spiritually satisfying existence and yet are not practicing "alchemy"?
I don't know. It's just a lot to take in. Ultimately, though, my whole reason for being interested in it is selfish. I don't want to be left out of the Masters' Club, and I don't want to take a dip in the lava bath. That fact in itself should be enough to give me pause.
I'm so glad I've been able to get this stuff out. Thanks for making this thread. Keeping all this stuff inside my own head was driving me insane.