"Nazi Trapezoid" debunked
The following file was found on Clifford Low's Necronomi.com site, and copied here since I felt there should be more than one copy on the Web. Clifford's copy was plain text, and I chose to do a quick HTML conversion to maybe make it more readable on peoples' browsers. The text itself is unchanged.
Note: I (Grendel Grettisson) did not write this. I am unaware of who the author is. Don't attribute this to me though.
I have not seen any of the 1990 correspondence between Tim Maroney and Dr. Aquino, nor do I have any interest in seeing it. I will try to avoid commenting on the alleged abuses or failings of language, protocol, or courtesy from either side within that correspondence.
(For those who may need help identifying this message thread, Diane has asked some specific questions concerning Tim Maroney's 11/90 "The Nazi Trapezoid" [which purports to identify leanings toward Nazi sympathy within the Temple of Set] and Dr. Aquino's response to same. This is my response, hoping to answer those questions. Both original documents have been re-posted in this echo in the past month, and both are available in the "TOS" file section of Northern Lights BBS and in file sections of various other BBS nodes.)
I'm also going to try to avoid commenting on the personal comments made by anyone concerning anyone else anywhere in this thread -- I find only two justifications for my spending so much time this week examining the documents and comments concerning same, material which is at best peripheral to my own personal Xeper:
a) You have indicated that you want to be able to present a clear argument that Satanism is not inherently fascist, and you want my assistance in proving that the Temple of Set is not fascist, so you can use it to support your argument. I think this is a worthy project.
b) If the Temple presents me with another opportunity to exercise my Toastmasters training on their behalf, and if the same sorts of questions are asked of me (as they likely will be if your activities garner publicity), I had better be prepared.
So I'm going to concentrate strictly on the question of fascism, the supposed appearance of same, and the actuality of non-fascism.
Before I start, a reminder: The following statements are my personal descriptions of the positions and points of view of Setians, each of them an individual. The Temple of Set as an organization has no opinion or point of view of its own concerning fascism -- that topic is simply outside the Temple's realm of concern. To my knowledge there has never been a formal policy made nor formal discussion concerning the issues you ask about. Any opinion, position, or point of view is that of individuals, not of the organization.
In your 1/25 post to me, you suggest that the question, "What does Aquino agree with and disagree with about Nazi ideology (repeat: Nazi ideology, not just Nazi practices)?" is a reasonable question. I would agree. You go on to wonder why Dr. Aquino "felt he had to duck this question."
I find he answered several elements of the question. However, those answers may have been too general to answer the questions you have.
In Dr. Aquino's 11/14/90 response, as quoted in part 2 of your 1/25 post to me, Dr. Aquino says, "I have always deplored its [Naziism's] premises, policies, and activities which resulted in savagery and misery to a great many people." He deplores its premises (ideology) and its policies (practices) which result in savagery and misery.
What are the specifics not covered in that statement that you need clarification on? What are the elements of Nazi ideology that concern you which did not "result in savagery and misery to a great many people"?
For those who may not know the precise definitions, my dictionary defines ideology as:
1: visionary theorizing. 2a: a systematic body of concepts, esp. about human life or culture. 2b: a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture. 2c: the integrated assertions, theories, and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program.
Each of the variations of definition 2 apply to this discussion.
My dictionary defines Naziism as,
the body of political and economic doctrines held and put into effect by the National Socialist German Workers' party in the Third German Reich including the totalitarian principle of government, state control of all industry, predominance of groups assumed to be racially superior, and supremacy of the fuhrer.
I'm not Dr. Aquino, but I've been reading his works for well over a decade now, and I've heard some of his discussions on these and related topics, and I believe I can accurately state the following:
1) Dr. Aquino disagrees with the Nazi ideology of the totalitarian principle of government. While he recognizes that there are problems in every form of democracy used to date, democracy in general results in better governments and better organizations than does totalitarianism.
In evidence of this, I point to the organization of the Temple of Set (his design), where a) there are multiple checks and balances designed to ensure that no single person wields totalitarian power, b) all members of the Priesthood have an equal vote concerning the bylaws of the organization, and c) a democratic vote of the Council of Nine is powerful enough to remove any officer from power and to expel any member from the organization, including the High Priest.
2) Dr. Aquino disagrees with the Nazi ideology of the state control of all industry. While Dr. Aquino is certainly no captain of industry (he prefers to earn his livelihood within academia), I've never heard him express any dissatisfaction with capitalism or the free market system, other than the generally recognized fact that people can be financially hurt in a non-socialist state.
Instead of arguing for a socialist state, which would be the case if he supported this Nazi ideology, Dr. Aquino instead argues that Black Magicians should be able to successfully make their own way in a capitalist society.
3) Dr. Aquino disagrees with the Nazi ideology of the predominance of groups assumed to be racially superior. I have always seen Dr. Aquino treat people of various races as comparative equals, judging people not by race, but by personal qualities under the control of the individual (their education, their application of their native intelligence, their sociability, their honor, their dedication, etc).
4) Dr. Aquino disagrees with the Nazi ideology of the supremacy of the fuhrer. There were some things that Hitler said or wrote which are worth studying, but there were also many, many things said, written, and done by Hitler which are reprehensible. Setians are fond of saying they worship none but their own higher Selves. Dr. Aquino lives that ideal.
Those are the four ideologies of Naziism listed in my dictionary. If there are other ideologies you wonder about, you'll need to ask about them specifically.
Since Naziism and fascism are so closely related, and since Dr. Aquino and the Temple of Set have been accused of being fascist, let me explore that topic also.
Fascism -- 1: a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and race above the individual, and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition. 2: a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control.
1) Dr. Aquino believes in and exalts the individual over the nation and race. This is central to the concept of Xeper and the Left Hand Path. This concept is even more important than the Temple of Set -- as High Priest he as seen many individual initiates pleasantly leave the Temple of Set for reasons of their own, and has later welcomed back several of those with open arms. Such is not the behavior of a fascist.
2) Dr. Aquino does not believe in a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader. He believes in the American form of democracy (while admitting that it has its problems), and he has designed the Temple's organization and bylaws to prevent any dictatorial leader from gaining absolute control.
3) Dr. Aquino does not believe in social regimentation nor forcible suppression of opposition. Instead he welcomes diversity within the Temple of Set, and has not only tolerated but welcomed intelligent forms of opposition within the Temple of Set.
You quote Dr. Aquino's 11/14/90 statement, "To the extent the Order is interested in Nazi Germany, it is essentially with regard to the very extensive research into occultism conducted by the Ahnenerbe and other groups & individuals during that period." You then go on to claim, "As the Order of the Trapezoid statement makes clear, there is much more to its interest in Nazism than this. Aquino does not address any of the specific issues raised in Tim's article, which I will highlight in a later message to you." (I haven't received same, as far as I know.)
Reading through the Order of the Trapezoid statement, I find that the introduction concentrates on German Romanticism, and the Order's statement doesn't even mention the Third Reich until the eighth paragraph. The Third Reich and the Nazi influence is then discussed and dismissed in six paragraphs. The Third Reich and Nazi influence occupies less than one page in the five-page document.
Reading those six paragraphs, I find myself unable to support your claim that "there is much more to its interest in Nazism than this."
I do find the 1939 quote from Herman Rauschning, which said, "This irrational element in National Socialism is the actual source of its strength. It is the reliance on it that accounts for its 'sleepwalker's immunity' in the face of one practical problem after another. It explains why it was possible for National Socialism to attain power almost without the slightest tangible idea of what it was going to do. ..."
Yes, the study of the social dynamics which are mentioned are of interest, but I fail to see the connection between those social dynamics and Naziism ... those social dynamics apply to all fanatical movements which quickly rise to power (or at least struggle for it). Do you disagree?
If you can point out to me where you find this interest in Naziism rather than German Romanticism, perhaps I'll be better able to answer your question. Until then, I just don't see the source of your concern.
In your 1/18 reply to Triple Six's 1/13 message to you, you quote his statement, "Dr. Aquino states that the 'third Reich's dynamism got out of hand, leading it to embark on irrational and destructive foreign invasions...'" and Triple Six's commentary, and you respond, "Yes, but can't you see that Aquino's statement is rather puzzling? Aquino tries to distinguish between the Third Reich's "dynamism and life-worship" on the one hand, and its racism and "crude xenophobia" on the other hand. But what else was Nazism's "dynamism and life-worship" based on, besides racism?"
As indicated in the Order of the Trapezoid's statement, that dynamism and life worship was founded in a historical philosophy of German Romanticism, which significantly predates Naziism. I believe you'll find that verified in the books listed in that reading list section (though since I haven't read them, I can't verify that from my own research -- like you I'm not interested in the topic myself). It's my impression that racism is not a significant part of the more historical German traditions, at least not any more than you'll find anywhere in the ancient world up through the 1800's.
Moving on to Tim's 11/11/90 "The Nazi Trapezoid" itself, Tim Maroney opens his discussion of the supposed Nazi sympathy within the Temple of Set with, "But unsettling questions remain concerning this organization. It harbors a subgroup, the Order of the Trapezoid, which is dedicated to Nazi occultism. Aquino is known to have participated in black magical rituals at Wewelsburg Castle, set up as a place of occult working for the SS by Heinrich Himmler. Aquino counts Nazi occultism as one of his chief interests, and the heraldry and symbolism of the SS is one of his favorite topics of discussion. These facts would seem to indicate, at least on the face of them, that Aquino is sympathetic to Nazism."
1) The Temple of Set also "harbors" a subgroup, the Order of the Vampyre. No, this group doesn't wander the streets at night and suck the blood out of homeless victims, but rather (quoting from its statement), "Members of this Order will strive to bring to Life those qualities and aspects of our potential which have long been considered to be dead, undead, or just plain latent."
It also "harbors" a subgroup, the Order of Shuti, which examines (among other things) Opposites and Extremes. In its statement (which I just uploaded to Northern Lights) I find, "One obsolete philosophy of magic was that to achieve balance, the magician has to experience and participate in the extremes (often the extremes of good and evil)." No, this group doesn't advocate the pursuit of evil and the execution of horrors, "but the Initiate of Shuti will recognize and work with any and all opposites / extremes, and with the ranges and balances between them, whenever and however appropriate."
It also "harbors" a subgroup, the Order of the Scarab. Quoting from its statement, "This Order directly addresses the question of responsible Setian magic. ... Major emphasis is placed on personal aims, wakefulness, Becoming, and the use of Lesser and Greater Black Magic with accountability."
There is a wide diversity of activity within the Temple of Set (these are but four of the eleven Orders found within the Temple of Set as of today). Many of the activities pursued within the Temple of Set are in direct opposition to Nazi ideas and policies. To indicate that there is Nazi sympathy because one group looks at the Nazi use of occultism seems to be jumping to a conclusion on insufficient information.
2) The Order of the Trapezoid is not "dedicated" to Nazi occultism. That is just one of the areas which they explore, and my impression (from reading their newsletter and talking to their members, since I myself am not a member of that Order) is that Nazi occultism is a fairly minor aspect of the Order. If the Order of the Trapezoid is "dedicated" to anything, that dedication is found in the statement,
"The O.Tr. is an Order of knighthood characterized by strict personal honor and faithfulness to the quest for the Grail. The Order is a knighthood in that its members are pledged to the traditional chivalric virtues as appropriate to each situation encountered. By honor is meant a sense of justice, ethics, and responsibility prior to personal comfort, convenience, or advantage. This honor is known by one's faithfulness to the Quest of the Grail, which is the self, soul, or psyche made perfect through conscious refinement and exercise of the Will."
Let me repeat that sentence which expands on the Order's concept of honor: "By honor is meant a sense of justice, ethics, and responsibility prior to personal comfort, convenience, or advantage."
In my opinion that statement directly and absolutely disproves Tim's expectation of fascism.
3) Aquino is known to have participated in black magical rituals at Wewelsburg Castle, set up as a place of occult working for the SS by Heinrich Himmler. As I've pointed out in other posts on this topic, simply using a site does not imply the condoning of any activity which may have occurred previously at that site. Oz Tech suggested some very good reasons for the use of that site in her 1990 post (attached to Dr. Aquino's response), as I did in my 1/20 message to you.
From recent posts I gather that Bobby Meizer and Tim Maroney disagree with me on this point. I can understand why they disagree, but on reviewing my opinions on this matter I stand by my comments.
4) "Aquino counts Nazi occultism as one of his chief interests, and the heraldry and symbolism of the SS is one of his favorite topics of discussion."
How does one determine someone's "chief interests" and "favorite topics of discussion"? Yes, Dr. Aquino knows quite a bit about these topics, as he does about many, many, many topics (is my jealousy showing, or is it camouflaged by your green terminal screen?). He writes and talks about these topics as well as he does about many other topics.
But, in over a decade of reading his writings, I have not seen any special concentration in this area. In several years of attending social and other gatherings with Dr. Aquino, I have not found him to launch into discussions about these topics in preference to other topics. I therefore offer that Tim's claims here seem to be a projection of Tim's expectations, and an exaggeration, rather than fact.
5) "These facts would seem to indicate, at least on the face of them, that Aquino is sympathetic to Nazism." I can see how someone who is overly sensitive to the possibilities of covert racism (as you suggest might be Tim's case) can make such an interpretation. But I suggest that an open minded inquirer, with a little bit of actual information (as I present above), will see that there is not sufficient information to reach that conclusion.
Indeed, I stand by my own personal knowledge of Dr. Aquino, and the definition of Naziism quoted from the dictionary above, to state simply that Dr. Aquino is not sympathetic to Naziism as an ideology, as a political party, as a governmental force, etc. He is interested in their occult studies, and he is interested in studying just how they obtained so much power so rapidly. That is not an indication of sympathy.
Let me add one more "fact" here. You mention in another post of yours how the presence of one (or I suppose even a few) black Priests would not disprove Tim's claims of apparent racism. However, I believe there is a similar example which does provide a strong proof against Tim's claim of fascism, or at least the implied claim of antisemitism.
Dr. Aquino, as High Priest, I believe in 1989, appointed a IV* Magister Templi of Jewish descent as Chairman of the Council of Nine. The Chairman of the Council of Nine is a post with a one-year term of office, and Dr. Aquino has twice reappointed this "Jew" to this highest of offices. In each case, the Council of Nine overwhelmingly ratified these appointments.
The Chairman of the Council of Nine holds the mundane office of the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Temple of Set, Inc. That individual is the one person who can start the process of deposing the High Priest from office, and the Chairman of the Council of Nine is the one person who appoints a new High Priest in the event of any vacancy in that office. The Chairman of the Council of Nine is also responsible for appointing the Treasurer, Executive Director, and all members of the Council of Nine whenever there are any vacancies.
I think you'll agree that this is not an example of "tokenism". Instead, this action proves that Dr. Aquino and the highest Initiates of the Temple of Set do not discriminate against Setians of Jewish background. (Let me point out that the initial appointment to that office predates Tim's accusations and his "The Nazi Trapezoid".)
Tim goes on to quote the Order of Trapezoid statement:
"Crucial also to German Romanticism were the concepts of dynamism and life-worship. The former term represents an urge towards constant movement and evolution, whether intellectual, artistic, or social. [...] The uncanny attraction of the Third Reich - Nazi Germany - lies in the fact that it endorsed and practiced both dynamism and life-worship without restraint and to a world-shaking degree of success."
Normally I wouldn't argue too much with the text someone feels is unimportant and therefore condenses into "[...]" -- but I feel that here Tim left out a very important paragraph. The statement actually reads,
"Crucial also to German Romanticism were the concepts of dynamism and life-worship. The former term represents an urge towards constant movement and evolution, whether intellectual, artistic, or social. [...]
"German Romantic life-worship was not love and respect for the phenomenon of life per se, but rather a compulsion to exercise one's own life -- to 'really live' rather than to simply exist. Again this is commendable, but as with dynamism it can be dangerous in excess -- when one's 'rage to live' interrupts and consumes the lives of others.
"The uncanny attraction of the Third Reich - Nazi Germany - lies in the fact that it endorsed and practiced both dynamism and life-worship without restraint and to a world-shaking degree of success."
In my opinion, the three paragraphs in succession point to Dr. Aquino's opinion that the Third Reich took the traditional German philosophies too far. That middle paragraph (which Tim chose not to quote) points to Dr. Aquino's disagreement with the excesses of German Romanticism, even without the influence of Naziism. Taking that into account, his statements disagreeing with the "excesses" of Naziism can be seen to be disagreements, not apologies as Tim seems to suggest.
Tim then goes into a rather lengthy examination of section 14 of the Temple's reading list, attempting to demonstrate Nazi sympathies through Dr. Aquino's comments concerning the books listed there. In my opinion the case is not made, and I value my time too much to go through and dispute those statements. But then I cheated -- I know the man and understand what he feels and thinks a bit better than Tim Maroney does.
You asked me to give you some feedback concerning your 1/25 3-part message to Triple Six.
You state to Triple Six, "My interest is not "feigned", as you seemed to imply on January 19, but my interest is indirect. That is, what you perceive as my "laziness" is the fact that I don't (at the present time, at least) have any deep interest in the topic of Nazi occultism itself, but only in the question of how non-Nazi sympathizers relate to it."
The problem you face in getting Setians on the echoes to discuss this topic in the detail you so obviously desire is that we don't have any deep interest in the topic either, not in Nazi occultism, nor even in how non-Nazi sympathizers relate to it. I haven't seen any members of the Order of the Trapezoid participating in any on-going discussion in any of these echoes. The brevity and shallowness of the responses you've gotten is indicative of our general lack of interest.
(I've been a member of the Temple of Set since well before the founding of the Order of the Trapezoid, and I'm interested in some of the things they do, but not enough to belong to that Order. They, apparently, are either not watching the echoes or are too busy doing whatever they're doing to respond to you.)
"It greatly helps my defense of Satanism to be able to point to ToS as an example of a prominent Satanic organization which is not fascistic (despite my philosophical disagreements with ToS on other matters).
"Unfortunately, it's a common perception among occultists that ToS too is a bunch of neo-fascists and/or Nazi sympathizers."
Yes, I've found that perception to be fairly common. However, it's a perception which I've also found fairly easy to disperse once I start talking to or corresponding with people. Of course, I have the benefit of actually being a member of the Temple, and being able to talk from personal experience. You don't have that benefit, and so I can see where you would need some more impersonal evidence. I hope this response helps.
"This idea isn't just 'Tim's paranoia'; it is a view shared by many occultists, including even some ex-ToS members. (See, for example, the brief description of the Temple of Nepthys in Satan Wants You by Arthur Lyons, Chapter IX.)"
You've just pushed a button of mine with reference to that specific ex-ToS member. At one time I considered Lynn Johnson to be a friend, and a very promising Adept of the Temple of Set. I liked her, and I was close friends with her Setian fiance, and I was looking forward to being present at their wedding.
But almost without warning, she then became a very disruptive element, very antagonistic to the Temple and to all who believe in it, apparently because no one would Recognize her to the III*. (This is my interpretation of her motivation, based on what I know of her activities, including several hours of listening to her on the telephone during that period in time while she tried to "enlist" me to her side of the "struggle".)
She worked as hard as she could to harm the Temple of Set, and then founded her own "Temple of Nepthys". She declared herself Maga, and distributed (sold) copies of our Crystal Tablet, substituting her own name for Dr. Aquino's, substituting "Red Magic" for "Black Magic", "Nepthys" for "Set", etc., but otherwise it was a word for word copy (down to entries in her inter-member communication roster -- my own entry in that roster was copied verbatim, with only the names changed).
She's continued to do what she can to harm the Temple of Set, apparently up to and including obtaining a false membership (or having someone else do it for her), apparently so she could obtain updated copies of the Crystal Tablet which she can then sell to others as her own again. (I have not seen a recently plagiarized copy, but I've heard that others have.)
I strongly suggest that anything she says about anything be disregarded.
I think I've covered all of the substantive points in this discussion. I hope I have, since other work is calling to me.
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