This is in response to Shadow State’s Raniere & Crowley Were Much Alike.
Yes, Aleister Crowley and Raniere are alike insofar as both are (were) nuts.
They’re both examples of a nasty human being.
But that’s pretty much where the similarity ends. Crowley was an occultist, bisexual, a world wanderer, and a prolific author. He wrote poetry and fiction as well as his loony occult visions. He rubbed shoulders with painters, sculptors, and writers in Paris, London, and Berlin.
He lived in North Africa and the Far East. He bought an estate in Scotland, wore the kilt and passed himself off as a Scottish Laird. He considered himself a gentleman and did not believe in getting paid for teaching the mysteries of the occult.
Keith Raniere is the exact opposite. His “technology” is very much for sale. He wouldn’t know the arts if they bit him on the ass, and preferred to remain glued to the environs of upstate New York, living in a tacky suburban development in Nowheresville, NY.
Crowley was an asshole, but he was an asshole with good taste and wide-ranging interests. He ran through his fortune by the time he was forty, traveled the world, scaled mountains, and had a grand time. He inspired a Somerset Maugham novel, The Magician.
Crowley is interesting.
Raniere is not. He’s a money-grubbing little man whose vision of the good life never went beyond sleeping most of the day, eating pizza, and getting laid. He’s mercenary. He loves money but doesn’t know what to do with it, other than lose it in bad investments.
See the world? Nah, he’d rather sprawl on a dirty couch and watch reruns of Star Trek.
The man led the most uninteresting life imaginable – and the most remarkable thing about him is that he managed to screw up so spectacularly.
Hannah Arendt famously wrote of “the banality of evil”.
Raniere would be the perfect contemporary illustration of the concept except I can’t elevate his tawdry nastiness to the level of evil.
I’m no defender of Aleister Crowley. He hit his wife and sacrificed small animals. The only reason I have posted about him is in response to other posts. Just to correct the record.
In the popular imagination, Crowley is this great evil, a Satanist and the opponent of all that is good and holy. In fact, he was not a Satanist, he was a Pagan. And yes, there is a difference. The son of fanatically religious parents, he rebelled against the restrictive Victorian moralism of his youth. He was gay in both senses of the word.
He was an interesting eccentric whereas Keith Raniere is a surpassingly dull felon. Raniere is perhaps the least interesting racketeer in the history of racketeering. He ruined lives and burned through others’ money for nothing, not even for the sake of a grandiose lifestyle for himself.
The man is literally a waste of space.
Extraordinary Claims Demand Extraordinary Proof
This is in response to Fred’s J. Z. Knight Stole Her Bogus Ramtha Act
Both Jane Robert’s claim of channeling “Seth” and J.Z. Knight’s claim of channeling Ramtha are claims with no proof.
None of this is any more likely than leprechauns or unicorns, so believe in it if if you like, just don’t pretend you’re presenting any kind of rational argument.
Channeling, like reincarnation, is an old idea with deep roots in mankind’s superstitious past. People were justified in believing this stuff back when nobody knew where the sun went at night. Belief in spirits and goblins is a little harder to stomach in the 21st century.
Anyone can get up on a stage and pretend to “channel” some ancient spirit. There are two tacks to take: either come up with whatever nonsense you like (nobody can prove it either way) or do some historical research first so you sound like you were “there” (in which case there’s no way to know whether you lived it or read about it like everyone else).