Frazer

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Pp 144 which leads me to consider the merits of Levi Strauss style anthropology compared with J G Frazer. Is Strauss altogether an advance? Or does he, for example effect a judaisation of ancient Greek culture? Can we say that he presents the influence of Marx against Nietzsche? The cultural relativism as a way of repudiating Nietzsche. Evolution of western culture. The aristocratic principle. The life and education of the gentleman. When Adam delved and Eve span who was then the gentleman? The idea that we can do away with gentlemen and the aristocratic ideal.
Jews as capitalists and as communists opposed to this ideal. This ideal maintains a certain conception of what is the most desirable in life. In itself this acts as a guiding and inspirational principle in science and scholarship.
Frazer & Gibbon, both pay homage to this ideal. Many subsequent historians have tried to do away with it. Consequently they seek another type of explanation, one acceptable to those who practice an incompatible philosophy of life. Cultural relativism, compatible with the ultimate as ‘forms of life’.

Zz 151 I use Frazerian accounts of magic in my analysis of the attraction of certain ideas and I refuse to base my case on any such attraction. Likewise I refuse to identify my cause with any particular class of people, intending to expunge all particular sentiment and prejudice from what I regard as my rational philosophy.

Ab 215 we have what we could call democratic chaos. All kinds of ideas flourish without any proper claim to authority, in a kind of law of the jungle. Part of my purpose is to examine such ideas from a perspective partly derived from that employed by Frazer in the Golden Bough. The position from which I wish to lead, to inflame, is not one of direct competition with others. I am not playing their game, I refused to do so because the chances are of losing.

Uu 41 the thought systems involved in magic, as analysed by Frazer in the Golden Bough are most instructive and interesting and have extensive application over many fields. What I was gong to say about magick. My philosophy is one offering control in accordance with self interest.

Av 57 Graves and his thesis in King Jesus One might easily miss it amid all the pleasing heresy. Frazerian killing of the divine king in service of a matriarchal religion, despite his Gnostic misogyny, from the Gospel of the Egyptians.

Frazerian accounts of magick and ritual had an extensive literary influence in the twentieth century. He has come under sustained attack in recent years, together with some of the dichotomies like the magician/witch, magic/religion, or traditional archetypes like Magickal secrecy. It is said that scholarship has moved on from the era of Frazer and Budge. Scholarship itself, however, may sometimes involve dubious philosophy, as for instance a suspicious attempt to vindicate Marx as against Nietzsche, which would naturally undermine Crowley. There is intense opposition to the attempt to uncover universal patterns of thought. This seems to be the essence of Edmund Leach's objections to Frazer and Mircea Eliade.

I have no concern to promote Frazer as anthropologist, but he was a creative thinker and, together with Wallis Budge, a significant influence on Crowley, as modern anthropology obviously could not be. Crowley's magick was to a great extent rooted in these ideas, and they do have a clear logic of their own. While the religion/magick dichotomy is indeed not based on first hand field research, it is a useful distinction for thought. Western it may well be. Critics may call it a dogma, I would rather call it an elucidatory concept. We might think of it as nineteenth century rationalism meeting the rest of the world. It is anyway vital to Crowley's idea of magick, and to obliterate it is to move away from him and his ideas. If Crowley's magick, indeed his whole way of thinking is to be upheld, it has to be defended against modern tendencies to deconstruct it.

Az 171 Winch’s paper Understanding a Primitive Society. Actually very good, though it is not till the end that you see the point.
Extension of the concept of rationality to incorporate learning from a primitive society.
One apparent weakness could be the location of authority in normal practice. His comments on the Black Mass suggesting there is something irrational in it.
I think of Empedocles Love and Strife, with Winch as advocate of Love.
The objective constraints on birth copulation and death citing Vico.
He writes of the ‘pointlessness of much of our existence’, this being something for with a religious solution is requisite.
Unorthodox heretical and individual forms of religion.
The attack on Frazer. On the idea of magic as mistaken science or technology.
Winch talks about an extension of our concept of rationality. I would suggest we might take it further.
Wittgenstein’s attack on Frazer, on his conception of the priest.

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