Being deeply troubled by some recent unpleasantness between myself and a Brother, I consulted the Book of the Law and my finger landed on Chapter Two, Verse 58 - 60:
“58. …Yet there are masked ones my servants: it may be that yonder beggar is a King. A King may choose his garment as he will: there is no certain test: but a beggar cannot hide his poverty.
59. Beware therefore! Love all, lest perchance is a King concealed! Say you so? Fool! If he be a King, thou canst not hurt him.
60. Therefore strike hard & low, and to hell with them, master!”
(Note: In the Magickal School of Thelema, “hell” is considered the core of the Star. “Every man and every woman is a Star.” --Aleister Crowley, 1904)
It’s interesting that I remember getting this same collection of seemingly “cruel” verses in the ‘80s when I was about to divorce poor, poor little Patricia and eject the alcoholic vampire David Randolph from my life for the second time; he would eventually return begging forgiveness apparently solely in order to attempt to destroy me a THIRD time in the 90s; I was a very slow learner, and have had to repeat the Ordeal of the Vampire again & again, most recently in Nashville during the ‘Twenty-Teens. I’m way too old not to know better, but here I am again, unnecessarily explaining myself to a Vampire…
You know what Stoker made “the Authorities” say about Vampires: they cannot merely come into your home and drain your sustenance; you have to INVITE THEM.
No words at all would be best between my “Brother” and myself just now, of course, but too late, alas. I want to tie up some strings and ask a question or two of a man whom my wife and I have tried to treat as Family. In his opinion, we have apparently failed. Because, of course, we should have done so much more for him and expected far, far less.
Okay, first, I don’t care for any live, phone, or messenger drama with any living human at this time; I came South to rest in our finally peaceful condo / Temple of Ra. Let me try and make this epistle quick and Merciful…
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Errata: In my previous communique I said that my wife was contemptuous of you. This was said in hyperbolic anger and is not true. Max would never wish you anything but the best. Yet, your escalating over-the-top behaviour has slowly eroded even her deep generosity and compassion. She considers you not a bad, evil person, but definitely a selfish one who has a self-entitlement problem.
Question: In your last communique, you claimed that our policies have prevented you from ever having a woman for dinner and a movie and/or overnight/the weekend. This is like hearing a tweet from the current POTUS making some baffling complaint, because you were never told to give your key back or stay out of the condo completely. Even though I told you “We need the place back”, meaning you could no longer “officially” live there, you obviously understood that didn’t mean you couldn’t keep your key and use our place during any of the 3.5 months of nights we weren’t there. In fact, you recently messaged me and told me that you HAD had a woman at our place. I was totally cool with it. Until very recently, you still had guest rights even though you had screwed yourself out of “Permanent House Guest” status. So please do not lower yourself to such Donny-like accusations, okay? We have simply NOT cruelly tried to purposefully deprive you of Love.
In my universe, your invention of a supposed contract between us wherein you would pay me back for the expensive weed you smoked up by paying for future maintenance on the AC is a confabulation on your part. At the time I confronted you, you promised me absolutely nothing for the future, and made no statement other than “You know I’m a pothead, Curt.” Meaning that I was just supposed to accept your behaviour, i.e. that of an addict with no self-control or real regard for his “brother”. I shrugged and bit my lip; what else could I do that wouldn’t lead to even MORE stress for me during that trip? Bro, it was not so much the money as it was the incredible frustration and trouble you kept causing me. In that particular instance, I had spent 3.5 months waiting to come down and get some god damned peace, and had been looking forward to chilling on the great weed I’d been smart enough to snag just before I left the previous time. I did not hide it because though it occurred to me you might well do a hit or 2 or even 12, it never occurred to me you would smoke every last bit of it, and then basically tell me “Fuck you, you should have known I’d smoke it.”
There is no way you could then have even known that you would be paying for AC maintenance in the future, especially twice, and you definitely did not say anything about paying me back in this way at the time. This “contract” you claim existed between us on this issue is something you have utterly confabulated. Notice I call it a confabulation and not a lie, because though it may have been part of your unsaid intentions personally, the contract has no basis in reality for me, as I never heard of it or agreed to it. Also, Max has pointed out that the actual reason you paid to have the AC worked on was for your own comfort. I can’t say there’s no validity to her outlook.
We do appreciate you cleaning up the hippie piss and trying to fix the toilet, but I’m sorry to have to tell you that in doing so, you caused a major leak which destroyed the wooden floor completely and totally. We will have to put in a new bathroom floor. Ah well. As Max says even now, shit happens.
You will recall that I am a Recovering Empathetic; I suffer from excessive, even pathological empathy. For most of my adult life, I made about as much money per month as a sous chef as you do now as an Adjunct Professor, around $1,200 (which is still all I get for Disability), yet I was full of ludicrous levels of Empathy, happy to take in “friends” who were down on their luck; “friends” who would all promise to contribute to the struggling household…eventually. When they “got on their feet”, usually. But all of these people never found their feet; they were simply Vampires who sucked off me for as long as possible while not contributing jack. My first wife was also a Vampire who expected me to be a Breadwinner, Homemaker, and Caretaker simultaneously.
These people, like yourself, believed they had many valid personal reasons for not kicking in even a dime to the household. I had almost NOTHING then; you KNOW this for certain; yet I constantly gave away what I had in huge handfuls to people who didn’t appreciate or deserve it. When I finally was forced to call them on their bullshit and eject them, these Vampires had no end of bad things to say about me. Nothing I had done for them counted any longer; I was now the most evil person who had ever lived. So while your recent passive-aggressive little rant is hurtful in that it disappoints me in you for your own sake, I have been worked over far more savagely by other Vampires, including Andrew, so I take neither harm nor offense.
I began to notice a pattern with Vampires: the more I did for them, the more they seemed to resent me! Plus they expected even more from me! It has been my spiritual life’s work to find a better balance on the traitorously tippy path between Strength and Mercy, because I err grievously and constantly on the side of Mercy. Again and again the Lesson is driven home to me by folks like you or Patricia or the drunken, crazy Lisa Dilk or the even drunker and crazier David Randolph or the thieving lying Ryan Crossett or some other Vampire--that I simply must learn to stop ENABLING such people with my endless empathy and amateur compassion.
It was quite funny when I accepted The Law of Thelema in my 20s--Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law--Patricia was horrified I had “gone to the Left Hand Path”, and the suckerfish alcoholic David Randolph called me a Crowley cultist, Satanist, etc., after I kicked his trifling ass out of the apartment. Acceptance of Thelema was difficult for me, the good old bleeding heart ‘70s Taoist Peace Freak who just wanted to help everyone; I had to accept that, as The Book of the Law says, compassion is a vice for Kings, i.e. advanced Souls who can handle such dangerous habits, and I was definitely not one of those. Learning to let people live with their own karma and not trying to save them from the results of their choices has been hard, because I so badly want to help everyone.
But it’s so HARD helping you, Bro; and so frustrating and unrewarding. For instance, not long ago, I told you I was having a party where people would play music. You had every chance to decide not to come. You knew we would be playing music. Yet you did come, and afterward, you complained bitterly that you had a bad time because "everyone was playing music at the party." If you didn't want to hear music, why did you come at all? This is the sort of thing you do all the time--nothing I try to include you in or do for you is ever quite good enough, including the killer “personal best” steak sandwich I made for you once and only once, because you always have a complaint and your complaint that time was that while it was “okay”, your psycho GF made a much better one. This made me not want to bother doing that again. I mean, why bother buying filet for someone who is invariably dismissive of my efforts? Who always wants to BREAK MY BALLS?
Now you tell us with a straight face that it was UNREASONABLE of me and my incredible wife, who seriously busts her ass 12 - 16 hours a day to cover the expenses on two homes, to have expected you to make a TOKEN GESTURE of helping out with the utilities after you had already abused our hospitality by bringing in someone else with no permission and turning it into freakin’ Animal House.
I really am sort of dumbfounded that you can talk Blake and Milton all day, yet not understand the simple Magick / Poetic extremely Romantic concept of "making a Gesture."
A true Gesture doesn’t have to cause great pain, but perhaps it might require a small bit of minor discomfort. You were not willing to endure that; for instance, you did not stop smoking pointless poison nicotine in order to help pay for both your weed and your $20 Gesture. I myself gave up hideous disgusting smokeless tobacco half a year ago, so pretty much any weakling can kick nicotine if they so Will. You willed (or chose) to treat our small but serious demand as the toothless mewing of a bleeding-heart lion, good old dumbfuck Curt, who would surely never call you on your purposeful inaction.
Yet, as we see, the Lion does have a few teeth left, & Magick is quite real: sometimes when you are given an almost entirely free Magick Palace and asked to make a small but significant Gesture in return, and you choose NOT to make the Gesture, it is possible to displease the Spirits of that place, and lose your Sanctuary.
Just think: at one time, when Scott was working (Max remembers you going to get him at work once, anyway) it would have only cost each of you $2.50 each per week to make the Gesture, i.e. TWENTY DOLLARS A MONTH FOR A CONVENIENT FURNISHED CONDO AND ALL UTILITIES PLUS NETFLIX / AMAZON. Even if it was all on YOU, 5 dollars a week for pleasant and convenient shelter where I come only 4 times a year for 10 - 14 days, is just plain not punitive or extreme in any way. I am certain any Rabbi would agree it to be a damned long way from me committing the Sin of gouging a poor old Professor with savage, heartless financial demands he could not possibly meet. I am also certain that if you went to your Mom, Sister, an objective mental health professional, or even Stephen Mitchell, with a TRUE version of this story, they would roll their eyes at the choices you made. “Lao Tzu would have told you to forget the e-cigarettes and pay the twenty bucks.” I can hear Steve Mitchell saying it even now…
By the rules of Thelema, I really cannot pity you because you are poor and suffering. I lived most of my adult life in that condition. I may fall back into it for all I know. “Damn them who pity!” says the Book of the Law. You knew you would not have fame and riches teaching Milton and the Romantics, just as I knew I would certainly not have either of those things as a Poet and Magician in America. We made our choices and accepted the karma. At least, I did. I had no idea I would end up with whom and what I have. No one is more surprised or grateful.
Max and I had a wonderful whirlwind weekend together, caught an actual Imax flick and went to dinner at the Melting Pot, then she went back North and left me to soak in Solitude because she knows that’s what I need to stay sane. Did I EARN such a woman with my Karma or Will? Did I truly and really “earn” my utterly transitory self, and its equally ephemeral, temporary privileges? Who can possibly answer such a question?
This is out of the blue, but not really: I’ve been wanting to say I would have been very open to talking with you more about Scott and what happened; about your feelings on the situation; I wanted to be supportive of you in your grief, but I wasn’t going to be the one to bring the subject up first. My thought was you would share if YOU wanted to. I did keep your children’s pictures on my fridge for over a year, more pictures of your children than of my own, plus poems to honour Scott’s memory. Finally the magnets weakened, no one’s pictures could be seen and / or were falling off, so I rearranged things to reflect the Family whose home this is, the Herbert-McGuirts. No offense was intended; all your photos have been saved for you. We thought you would want them.
Other things as well; your Frankenstein pin, the figure of Pedro, who has little meaning for me, really; I never saw that film. The Friends picture if you want it--I find I cannot deal with having it here. Far too sad under the circumstances. Your bong and pipes, of course. I hit New Life on Charlotte for a decent bong today. My nephew has been very kind about providing me with a little get-by weed, and says he can check the mail. You have been liberated, Stu; you no longer have any responsibilities here.
Think about this: You were essentially given what began as a completely free Grant for a hip enough place in which to pursue your Work, basically because we believed in you. You would probably still be living here, and probably have never even been asked for a very small honorarium if you hadn’t brought another person in without permission, then refused to take responsibility for his actions.
Aren’t you even slightly amazed & retroactively grateful that you were allowed to retain your key and have frequent access here even AFTER you were “officially” no longer a Permanent House Guest?
But no, you are NOT gratefully amazed by how laid back and forgiving we actually were; you are sulking because we did not give you more, more, more, even more. Worst of all, we CALLED YOU ON YOUR BEHAVIOUR, and your pride must be even more Satanic than my own, because it seems you would rather pitch a fit and die now rather than just say “Sorry; I fucked up.” You want to have been right. Don’t we all?
I’m not saying we might not talk someday, but I really don’t care to do so during this trip down. I need to have quiet and be alone so I can restore my Temple.
Give it two weeks, and when I’m back in Canada, come collect your stuff. I will set it out for you.
The key? You can leave it and lock the door behind you, or toss it, or carry it as a luck charm. We know you would not take any anger you might feel at us out on our place; Max and I both agree you aren’t that kind of person.
In time, we might become friends again. For this coming Season, the Vernal Equinox, I consider our relationship to be in benign suspension. Such a Season of Reflection might well be good for both of us.
I would like to respectfully ask that you not respond with a quick reply to this. Not by message, mail, phone or otherwise. I would not read / hear it now in any case; I want you to spend some time in thought first. If you want to write a defense or apologia or analysis, take some time for reflection; say now up until Summer Solstice. I would read such a missive then.
But not now.
Love is the Law, Love under Will