Temple of Set Reading List: Category 16
Good and Evil
Reprinted from: "The Crystal Tablet of Set" (c) Temple of Set 1989 CE Weirdbase file version
by TS permission by Michael A. Aquino, Ipsissimus VI* Temple of Set
Much of human history can be explained, if not excused by the conflict between those of low intelligence (who consider good/evil objective) and those of high intelligence (who consider good/evil subjective). Certainly it begs the question to use those very terms to distinguish one extreme from the other! The Church of Satan sought freedom by attempting to reverse the good/evil norms of society; the Temple of Set seeks freedom by attempting to escape those norms - and preexisting ones - and to encourage its Initiates to construct enlightened, individualistic definitions.
This is as much an art as a science, and the quest must be undertaken and pursued with logic, caution, common sense ... and apprehension of the Agathon. 16A. "Political Ideas and Ideologies: A History of Political Thought" by Mulford Q. Sibley. NY: Harper & Row, 1970. (TS-1)
MA: "Until you've read and digested this material, you really oughtn't to talk about 'political philosophy' any more than someone who hasn't read an anatomical textbook should try to hold forth on anatomy. I teach university courses surveying the history of political theory, and this is far and away the most lucid, objective, and comprehensive survey text I've yet found. It has two conspicuous omissions - Nietzsche and ancient Egypt - and it is oriented towards the political rather than the more abstract or conceptual branches of philosophy. So you won't find Kant, Schopenhauer, Sartre, etc. here.
The author was a very distinguished and a very controversial Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota. If you wonder why something like this is TS-1, trust me. After you've absorbed the knowledge it contains, you'll wonder on what basis you held political opinions before reading it." 16B. "Nietzsche" by Karl Jaspers. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1965. (TS-4)
MA: "Trying to get a grip on Nietzsche through either his own writings or those of others is a bit like trying to get an octopus into a straitjacket. He thought at a level which the German language did not anticipate, and so there is bitter controversy concerning the proper translation of many of his terms and texts into English [to say nothing of their proper meaning in German]. After going through a number of editions, translations, texts, analyses, and criticisms, I have come to rest on #16B as the most useful for the Setian who wants to 'get at' Nietzsche as quickly and accurately as possible. Jaspers, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Basel, Switzerland, is one of the acknowledged giants of the academic community. In this book he sought to make the reader 'think Nietzsche's thoughts with him', and in my opinion he succeeded. There are sections on both Nietzsche's life and his philosophy, which must be considered together for the latter to be meaningful. 500 pages." 16C. "The Annotated Jules Verne: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" by Walter James Miller. NY: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1976. (TS-4)
MA: "English- language editions of this story prior to this edition have been appallingly distorted and shortened by incompetent editors and translators. Verne was a genius far beyond his reputation as a mere yarn-spinner, and his moral philosophy is sublimely subjective. The annotations in this edition will help to illustrate Verne's expertise in a variety of arts and sciences. Walt Disney must be given credit for bringing many direct quotes into his celebrated film: [Nemo: 'I am not what you call a civilized man! I have done with society entirely, for reasons which I alone have the right of appreciating. I do not therefore obey its laws, and I desire you never to allude to them before me again.']" 16D. "The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien. Cambridge: Houghton Mifflin, 1967 (2nd Edition). (TS-4)
MA: ""LOTR" is not on this list just because it is a stirring adventure tale, but rather because it illustrates a very significant point about good/evil: that 'evil' can be destroyed only by a greater 'evil' or by accident. Saruman attempts the former and Gandalf the latter, and Gandalf succeeds ... to the satisfaction of egalitarian readers [but who would want to hang around Middle-earth after all the excitement was gone?]. "LOTR" is thus an argument for Christian morality, which is immediately evident from "The Silmarillion", whose philosophical sections - the 'Ainulindale' and 'Valaquenta' - are transparently adapted from "Paradise Lost"." 16E. "The Marquis de Sade" by Donald Thomas. Boston: New York Graphic Society, 1976. (TS-3)
MA: "The best biographical treatment of this controversial and notorious libertine. As Thomas assesses him, he was opposed to the notion of progressive philosophy, holding the supreme power of the human race to be its self-destructive power; the extinction of the species is not to be regretted; history is not progress but helpless drifting. Compare this point of view with that of Satanism, which is similarly cynical but holds out certain hopes for the individual's transcending of the mass neurosis." 16F. "Parapolitics" by Raghavan Iyer. NY: Oxford University Press, 1979. (TS-4)
MA: "An admirable, beautifully orchestrated attempt to apply the political philosophy of Plato to the modern world. Iyer lays the groundwork with diagrams explaining the hierarchy of mental activity: Noesis ('pure vision' - apprehension of the Good [the Agathon]), Dianoia (logical 'thinking'), Pistis ('believing' - dogmatic acceptance of ideology), and Eikasia ('imagining' - the lowest form of image-simplification and instinctive behavior). These forms of activity may be applied to society in a variety of political 'dimensions', governed by various syntheses of logos (speech), will (strength), and eros (sympathy). The resultant political forces may be generated towards the attainment of various goals: self- preservation, power, stability, reason, welfare, perfectability, and ultimately the parapolitics of transcendence. This book is a pearl of thought; its sole defect is that it was cast before a world of largely egalitarian readers [it was allowed to go out of print in 1985]. Do not attempt it until you have first mastered #12C, #16A, and #16G. Iyer is Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara." 16G. "Political Thinking" by Glenn Tinder. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1986 (4th Edition). (TS-1)
MA: "This marvelous little (228 pages) paperback is composed completely of questions to the reader concerning the great political/philosophical issues of history, together with information on how major political philosophers addressed those questions. The questions are left open-ended, the expectation being that the reader must think his own answers to them. This book is thus an active mental exercise, not a textbook for passive memorization or indoctrination. Tinder is Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts." 16H. "The Social Contract" by Robert Audrey. NY: Atheneum, 1970. (CS-3) AL: "The Law of the Jungle as applied to human behavior. How the fallacy of 'all men are created equal' has created an imbalance - perhaps necessary - in man's potential. A beautifully written book guaranteed to hurt many whose only claim to fame is that they are 'higher animals'." 16I. "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" by Charles Mackay, LL.D. NY: Harmony Books, 1980 [reprint of the 1841 edition]. (TS-3)
MA: "Perhaps the most wonderful book-title since #13C's. A crazy, wonderful, informative, educational, and non-fictional tour of the major manias of Western civilization up to the time of the book's publication. As Andrew Tobias observes in his foreword: 'Once upon a time there was an emperor with no clothes. For the longest time no one noticed. As you will read in this marvelous book, there have been many naked emperors since. There will doubtless be many more.'" 16J. "Collective Search for Identity" by Orrin E. Klapp. NY: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1969. (CS-3) AL: "A useful key to the understanding and utilization of Lesser Magic." 16K. "Heroes, Villains, and Fools" by Orrin E. Klapp. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1962. (CS-3) AL: "Same comments as applied to [#16J]." 16L. "World Civilizations" by Edward McNall Burns, Philip Lee Ralph, Robert E. Lerner, and Standish Meacham. NY: W.W. Norton, 1982 [6th Edition]. (TS-2)
MA: "I am often concerned to see how little knowledge many aspiring Initiates have of exoteric human history. Unless you have a reasonably solid grounding in this subject, anything you derive from this reading list [and most other sensory-inputs] is going to be distorted in your mind. #16L is the best single- volume, collegiate-level survey I've yet found: up-to-date, readable, balanced, and comprehensive. Lavishly accented with color plates, maps, and many photographs & illustrations. It is a pleasure to read, as though one were drinking at a fountain of human adventure. 1,384 pages. See also #16M." 16M. "Western Civilizations" by Edward McNall Burns, Robert E. Lerner, and Standish Meacham. NY: W.W. Norton, 1984 [10th Edition]. (TS-2)
MA: "This is an alternative/companion volume to #16L, minus the non-Western sections [which permits greater emphasis & detail regarding the Western ones]. 1,068 pages. A wonderful literary and intellectual experience." 16N. "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" by Frank Miller. NY: Warner Books #38-505, 1986. (TS-3)
MA: "A Setian comic (?) book." Superman: "They'll kill us if they can, Bruce. Every year they grow smaller; every year they hate us more. We must not remind them that giants walk the Earth. You were the one they used against us, Bruce: the one who played it rough. When the noise started from the parents' groups, and the subcommittee called us in for questioning, you were the one who laughed - that scary laugh of yours ... 'SURE, we're criminals,' you said, 'We've ALWAYS been criminals. We HAVE to be criminals.'" Batman: "The world only makes sense when you FORCE it to."