Dogma and Constraint

I don’t shit on dogma just for the sake of doing it. I’m just offended by it in principle. Dogma is inherently limiting. Just as William Burroughs commented that you can’t discuss a thing that you don’t have a word for, and thus you are constrained by language, you are also constrained by the symbols and systems inherent to a dogma to which you profess. If you don’t accept the precepts of your system as incontrovertibly true, then you’re not a true believer, and eventually you’ll be shaken out of your framework. This may be via your own disillusionment, policing forces within your movement or tradition that seek to weed out apostates, or even via outside influences that draw you away. Even if you do buy in fully and deeply, there will always be forces and circumstances that will test your devotion.

In my previous magical and spiritual work, I have tried to adhere to various fixed paths, but in each case, I have eventually found their truths to be subjective and narrow, and for my part, I cannot stomach that for very long once the façade begins to erode. Consequently, even as I have become an instructor in the practice of sorcery, I state only that I teach techniques, not Truth. I approach my writing the same way.

Some people need the structure and safety of an established framework through which they can experience the numinous, but in order to obtain that safe haven, they must sacrifice self-determination and ultimately self-actualization for the sake of the system that they are contorting themselves to fit. I have long believed that one of the precious scarcities in the world, and perhaps even the Universe, is true novelty. Experimentation and the expansion of the limits of human experience should be the credo of every magical practitioner. To be rigidly locked into a path prescribed by a hierarchical authority is to surrender that prerogative and to allow ones flame to be dimmed in service to mediocrity.