Excerpted from Magick by Aleister Crowley (1929)
"Magick is the Highest, most Absolute, and most Divine Knowledge of Natural Philosophy; advanced in its works and wonderful operations by a right understanding of the inward and occult virtue of things; so that true Agents being applied to proper Patients, strange and admirable effects will thereby be produced. Whence magicians are profound and diligent searchers into Nature; they, because of their skill, know how to anticipate an effect, the which to the vulgar shall seem to be a miracle."
– The Goetia of the Lemegeton of King Solomon.
"Whenever sympathetic magic occurs in its pure unadulterated form, it is assumed that in nature one event follows another necessarily and invariably without the intervention of any spiritual or personal agency. Thus its fundamental conception is identical with that of modern science; underlying the whole system is a faith, implicit but real and firm, in the order and uniformity of nature. The magician does not doubt that the same causes will always produce the same effects, that the performance of the proper ceremony accompanied by the appropriate spell, will inevitably be attended by the desired results, unless, indeed, his incantations should chance to be thwarted and foiled by the more potent charms of another sorcerer. He supplicates no higher power: he sues the favour of no fickle and wayward being: he abases himself before no awful deity. Yet his power, great as he believes it to be, is by no means arbitrary and unlimited. He can wield it only so long as he strictly conforms to the rules of his art, or to what may be called the laws of nature as conceived by him. To neglect these rules, to break these laws in the smallest particular is to incur failure, and may even expose the unskillful practitioner himself to the utmost peril. If he claims a sovereignty over nature, it is a constitutional sovereignty rigorously limited in its scope and exercised in exact conformity with ancient usage. Thus the analogy between the magical and the scientific conceptions of the world is close. In both of them the succession of events is perfectly regular and certain, being determined by immutable laws, the operation of which can be foreseen and calculated precisely; the elements of caprice, of chance, and of accident are banished from the course of nature. Both of them open up a seemingly boundless vista of possibilities to him who knows the causes of things and can touch the secret springs that set in motion the vast and intricate mechanism of the world. Hence the strong attraction which magic and science alike have exercised on the human mind; hence the powerful stimulus that both have given to the pursuit of knowledge. They lure the weary enquirer, the footsore seeker, on through the wilderness of disappointment in the present by their endless promises of the future: they take him up to the top of an exceeding high mountain and shew him, beyond the dark clouds and rolling mist at his feet, a vision of the celestial city, far off, it may be, but radiant with unearthly splendour, bathed in the light of dreams."
– Dr. J. G. FRAZER, "The Golden Bough".
"So far, therefore, as the public profession of magic has been one of the roads by which men have passed to supreme power, it has contributed to emancipate mankind from the thraldom of tradition and to elevate them into a larger, freer life, with a broader outlook on the world. This is no small service rendered to humanity. And when we remember further that in another direction magic has paved the way for science, we are forced to admit that if the black arts has done much evil, it has also been the source of much good; that if it is the child of error, it has been the mother of freedom and truth."
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good".
– St. Paul.
"Also the mantras and the spells; the obeah and the wanga; the work of the wand and the work of the sword: these he shall learn and teach.
"He must teach; but he may make severe the ordeals.
"The word of the Law is THELEMA."
– LIBER AL vel xxxi: The Book of the Law.
This book is for ALL: for every man, woman, and child.
My former work has been misunderstood, and its scope limited, by my use of technical terms. It has attracted only too many dilettanti and eccentrics, weaklings seeking in "Magic" an escape from reality. I myself was first consciously drawn to the subject in this way. And it has repelled only too many scientific and practical minds, such as I most designed to influence. But MAGICK is for ALL.
I have written this book to help the Banker, the Pugilist, the Biologist, the Poet, the Navvy, the Grocer, the Factory Girl, the Mathematician, the Stenographer, the Golfer, the Wife, the Consul–and all the rest–to fulfil themselves perfectly, each in his or her own proper function.
Let me explain in a few words how it came about that I blazoned the word MAGICK upon the Banner that I have borne before me all my life.
Before I touched my teens, I was already aware that I was The Beast whose number is 666. I did not understand in the least what that implied; it was a passionately ecstatic sense of identity.
In my third year at Cambridge, I devoted myself consciously to the Great Work, understanding thereby the Work of becoming a Spiritual Being, free from the constraints, accidents, and deceptions of material existence.
I found myself at a loss for a name to designate my work, just as H.P. Blavatsky some years earlier. "Theosophy", "Spiritualism", "Occultism", "Mysticism", all involved undesirable connotations.
I chose therefore the name "MAGICK" as essentially the most sublime, and actually the most discredited, of all the available terms.
I swore to rehabilitate MAGICK, to identify it with my own career; and to compel mankind to respect, love, and trust that which they scorned, hated and feared. I have kept my Word.
But the time is now come for me to carry my banner into the thick of the press of human life.
I must make MAGICK the essential factor in the life of ALL.
In presenting this book to the world, I must then explain and justify my position by formulating a definition of MAGICK and setting forth its main principles in such a way that ALL may understand instantly that their souls, their lives, in every relation with every other human being and every circumstance, depend upon MAGICK and the right comprehension and right application thereof.
MAGICK is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.
(Illustration: It is my Will to inform the World of certain facts within my knowledge. I therefore take "magical weapons", pen, ink, and paper; I write "incantations" –these sentences– in the "magical language" i.e. that which is understood by the people I wish to instruct; I call forth "spirits", such as printers, publishers, booksellers, and so forth, and constrain them to convey my message to those people. The composition and distribution of this book is thus an act of MAGICK by which I cause Changes to take place in conformity with my Will.) 1
ANY required Change may be effected by the application of the proper kind and degree of Force in the proper manner through the proper medium to the proper object.
(Illustration: I wish to prepare an ounce of Chloride of Gold. I must take the right kind of acid, nitro-hydrochloric and no other, in sufficient quantity and of adequate strength, and place it, in a vessel which will not break, leak, or corrode, in such a manner as will not produce undesirable results, with the necessary quantity of Gold: and so forth. Every Change has its own conditions.
In the present state of our knowledge and power some changes are not possible in practice; we cannot cause eclipses, for instance, or transform lead into tin, or create men from mushrooms. But it is theoretically possible to cause in any object any change of which that object is capable by nature; and the conditions are covered by the above postulate.)
(1) Every intentional act is a Magical Act. 2
(Illustration: See "Definition" above.)
(2) Every successful act has conformed to the postulate.
(3) Every failure proves that one or more requirements of the postulate have not been fulfilled.
(Illustrations: There may be failure to understand the case; as when a doctor makes a wrong diagnosis, and his treatment injures his patient. There may be failure to apply the right kind of force, as when a rustic tries to blow out an electric light. There may be failure to apply the right degree of force, as when a wrestler has his hold broken. There may be failure to apply the force in the right manner, as when one presents a cheque at the wrong window of the Bank. There may be failure to employ the correct medium, as when Leonardo da Vinci found his masterpiece fade away. The force may be applied to an unsuitable object, as when one tries to crack a stone, thinking it a nut.)
(4) The first requisite for causing any change is thorough qualitative and quantitative understanding of the conditions.
(Illustration: The most common cause of failure in life is ignorance of one’s own True Will, or of the means by which to fulfil that Will. A man may fancy himself a painter, and waste his life trying to become one; or he may be really a painter, and yet fail to understand and to measure the difficulties peculiar to that carrier.)
(5) The second requisite of causing any change is the practical ability to set in right motion the necessary forces.
(Illustration: A banker may have a perfect grasp of a given situation, yet lack the quality of decision, or the assets, necessary to take advantage of it.)
(6) "Every man and every woman is a star". That is to say, every human being is intrinsically an independent individual with his own proper character and proper motion.
(7) Every man and every woman has a course, depending partly on the self, and partly on the environment which is natural and necessary for each. Anyone who is forced from his own course, either through not understanding himself, or through external opposition, comes into conflict with the order of the Universe, and suffers accordingly.
(Illustration: A man may think it his duty to act in a certain way, through having made a fancy picture of himself, instead of investigating his actual nature. For example, a woman may make herself miserable for life by thinking that she prefers love to social consideration, or visa versa. One woman may stay with an unsympathetic husband when she would really be happy in an attic with a lover, while another may fool herself into a romantic elopement when her only true pleasures are those of presiding at fashionable functions. Again, a boy’s instinct may tell him to go to sea, while his parents insist on his becoming a doctor. In such a case, he will be both unsuccessful and unhappy in medicine.)
(8) A man whose conscious will is at odds with his True Will is wasting his strength. He cannot hope to influence his environment efficiently.
(Illustration: When Civil War rages in a nation, it is in no condition to undertake the invasion of other countries. A man with cancer employs his nourishment alike to his own use and to that of the enemy which is a part of himself. He soon fails to resist the pressure of his environment. In practical life, a man who is doing what his conscience tells him to be wrong will do it very clumsily. At first!)
(9) A man who is doing his True Will has the inertia of the Universe to assist him.
(Illustration: The first principle of success in evolution is that the individual should be true to his own nature, and at the same time adapt himself to his environment.)
(10) Nature is a continuous phenomenon, though we do not know in all cases how things are connected.
(Illustration: Human consciousness depends on the properties of protoplasm, the existence of which depends on innumerable physical conditions peculiar to this planet; and this planet is determined by the mechanical balance of the whole universe of matter. We may then say that our consciousness is causally connected with the remotest galaxies; yet we do not know even how it arises from–or with–the molecular changes in the brain.)
(11) Science enables us to take advantage of the continuity of Nature by the empirical application of certain principles whose interplay involves different orders of idea connected with each other in a way beyond our present comprehension.
(Illustration: We are able to light cities by rule-of-thumb methods. We do not know what consciousness is, or how it is connected with muscular action; what electricity is or how it is connected with the machines that generate it; and our methods depend on calculation involving mathematical ideas which have no correspondence in the Universe as we know it.) 3
(12) Man is ignorant of the nature of his own being and powers. Even his idea of his limitations is based on experience of the past, and every step in his progress extends his empire. There is therefore no reason to assign theoretical limits to what he may be, or to what he may do. 4
(Illustration: A generation ago it was supposed theoretically impossible that man should ever know the chemical composition of the fixed stars. It is known that our senses are adapted to receive only an infinitesimal fraction of the possible rates of vibration. Modern instruments have enabled us to detect some of these suprasensibles by indirect methods, and even to use their peculiar qualities in the service of man, as in the case of the rays of Hertz and Rontgen. As Tyndall said, man might at any moment learn to perceive and utilise vibrations of all conceivable and inconceivable kinds. The question of Magick is a question of discovering and employing hitherto unknown forces in nature. We know that they exist, and we cannot doubt the possibility of mental or physical instruments capable of bringing us into relation with them.)
(13) Every man is more or less aware that his individuality comprises several orders of existence, even when he maintains that his subtler principles are merely symptomatic of the changes in his gross vehicle. A similar order may be assumed to extend throughout nature.
(Illustration: One does not confuse the pain of toothache with the decay which causes it. Inanimate objects are sensitive to certain physical forces, such as electrical and thermal conductivity; but neither in us nor in them–so far as we know–is there any direct conscious perception of these forces. Imperceptible influences are therefore associated with all material phenomena; and there is no reason why we should not work upon matter through those subtle energies as we do through their material bases. In fact, we use magnetic force to move iron, and solar radiation to reproduce images.)
(14) Man is capable of being, and using, anything which he perceives, for everything that he perceives is in a certain sense a part of his being. He may thus subjugate the whole Universe of which he is conscious to his individual Will.
(Illustration: Man has used the idea of God to dictate his personal conduct, to obtain power over his fellows, to excuse his crimes, and for innumerable other purposes, including that of realizing himself as God. He has used the irrational and unreal conceptions of mathematics to help him in the construction of mechanical devices. He has used his moral force to influence the actions even of wild animals. He has employed poetic genius for political purposes.)
(15) Every force in the Universe is capable of being transformed into any other kind of force by using suitable means. There is thus an inexhaustible supply of any particular kind of force that we may need.
(Illustration: Heat may be transformed into light and power by sing it to drive dynamos. The vibrations of the air may be used to kill men by so ordering them in speech as to inflame war-like passions. The hallucinations connected with the mysterious energies of sex result in the perpetuation of the species.)
(16) The application of any given force affects all the orders of being which exist in the object to which it is applied, whichever of those orders is directly affected.
(Illustration: If I strike a man with a dagger, his consciousness, not his body only, is affected by my act; although the dagger, as such, has no direct relation therewith. Similarly, the power of my thought may so work on the mind of another person as to produce far-reaching physical changes in him, or in others through him.)
(17) A man may learn to use any force so as to serve any purpose, by taking advantage of the above theorems.
(Illustration: A man may use a razor to make himself vigilant over his speech, by using it to cut himself whenever he unguardedly utters a chosen word. He may serve the same purpose by resolving that every incident of his life shall remind him of a particular thing, making every impression the starting point of a connected series of thoughts ending in that thing. He might also devote his whole energies to some one particular object, by resolving to do nothing at variance therewith, and to make every act turn to the advantage of that object.)
(18) He may attract to himself any force of the Universe by making himself a fit receptacle for it, establishing a connection with it, and arranging conditions so that its nature compels it to flow toward him.
(Illustration: If I want pure water to drink, I dig a well in a place where there is underground water; I prevent it from leaking away; and I arrange to take advantage of water’s accordance with the laws of Hydrostatics to fill it.)
(19) Man’s sense of himself as separate from, and opposed to, the Universe is a bar to his conducting its currents. It insulates him.
(Illustration: A popular leader is most successful when he forgets himself, and remembers only "The Cause". Self-seeking engenders jealousies and schism. When the organs of the body assert their presence otherwise than by silent satisfaction, it is a sign that they are diseased. The single exception is the organ of reproduction. Yet even in this case its self-assertion bears witness to its dissatisfaction with itself, since it cannot fulfil its function until completed by its counterpart in another organism.)
(20) Man can only attract and employ the forces for which he is really fitted.
(Illustration: You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. A true man of science learns from every phenomenon. But Nature is dumb to the hypocrite; for in her there is nothing false.) 5
(21) There is no limit to the extent of the relations of any man with the Universe in essence; for as soon as man makes himself one with any idea the means of measurement cease to exist. But his power to utilize that force is limited by his mental power and capacity, and by the circumstances of his human environment.
(Illustration: When a man falls in love, the whole world becomes, to him, nothing but love boundless and immanent; but his mystical state is not contagious; his fellow-men are either amused or annoyed. He can only extend to others the effect which his love has had upon himself by means of his mental and physical qualities. Thus, Catullus, Dante and Swinburne made their love a mighty mover of mankind by virtue of their power to put their thoughts on the subject in musical and eloquent language. Again, Cleopatra and other people in authority moulded the fortunes of many other people by allowing love to influence their political actions. The Magician, however well he succeed in making contact with the secret sources of energy in nature, can only use them to the extent permitted by his intellectual and moral qualities. Mohammed’s intercourse with Gabriel was only effective because of his statesmanship, soldiership, and the sublimity of his command of Arabic. Hertz’s discovery of the rays which we now use for wireless telepathy was sterile until reflected through the minds and wills of people who could take his truth, and transmit it to the world of action by means of mechanical and economic instruments.)
(22) Every individual is essentially sufficient to himself. But he is unsatisfactory to himself until he has established himself in his right relation with the Universe.
(Illustration: A microscope, however perfect, is useless in the hands of savages. A poet, however sublime, must impose himself upon his generation if he is to enjoy (and even understand) himself, as theoretically should be the case.)
(23) Magick is the Science of understanding oneself and one’s conditions. It is the Art of applying that understanding in action.
(Illustration: A golf club is intended to move a special ball in a special way in special circumstances. A Niblick should rarely be used on the tee, or a Brassie under the bank of a bunker. But also, the use of any club demands skill and experience.)
(24) Every man has an indefeasible right to be what he is.
(Illustration: To insist that any one else shall comply with one’s own standards is to outrage, not only him, but oneself, since both parties are equally born of necessity.)
(25) Every man must do Magick each time he acts or even thinks, since a thought is an internal act whose influence ultimately affects action, though it may not do so at the time.
(Illustration: The least gesture causes in a man’s own body and in the air around him; it disturbs the balance of the entire Universe, and its effects continue eternally throughout all space. Every thought, however swiftly suppressed, has its effect on the mind. It stands as one of the causes of every subsequent thought, and tends to influence every subsequent action. A golfer may lose a few yards on his drive, a few more with his second and third, he may lie on the green six bare inches too far from the hole; but the net result of these trifling mishaps is the difference of a whole stroke, and so probably between halving and losing the hole.)
(26) Every man has a right, the right of self-preservation, to fulfil himself to the utmost. 6
(Illustration: A function imperfectly performed injures, not only itself, but everything associated with it. If the heart is afraid to beat for fear of disturbing the liver, the liver is starved for blood, and avenges itself on the heart by upsetting digestion, which disorders respiration, on which cardiac welfare depends.)
(27) Every man should make Magick the keynote of his life. He should learn its laws and live by them.
(Illustration: The Banker should discover the real meaning of his existence, the real motive which led him to choose that profession. He should understand banking as a necessary factor in the economic existence of mankind, instead of as merely a business whose objects are independent of the general welfare. He should learn to distinguish false values from real, and to act not on accidental fluctuations but on considerations of essential importance. Such a banker will prove himself superior to others; because he will not be an individual limited by transitory things, but a force of Nature, as impersonal, impartial and eternal as gravitation, as patient and irresistible as the tides. His system will not be subject to panic, any more than the law of Inverse Squares is disturbed by Elections. He will not be anxious about his affairs because they will not be his; and for that reason he will be able to direct them with the calm, clear-headed confidence of an onlooker, with intelligence unclouded by self-interest and power unimpaired by passion.)
(28) Every man has a right to fulfil his own will without being afraid that it may interfere with that of others; for if he is in his proper place, it is the fault of others if they interfere with him.
(Illustration: If a man like Napoleon were actually appointed by destiny to control Europe, he should not be blamed for exercising his rights. To oppose him would be an error. Any one so doing would have made a mistake as to his own destiny, except in so far as it might be necessary for him to learn the lessons of defeat. The sun moves in space without interference. The order of Nature provides an orbit for each star. A clash proves that one or the other has strayed from its course. But as to each man that keeps his true course, the more firmly he acts, the less likely are others to get in his way. His example will help them to find their own paths and pursue them. Every man that becomes a Magician helps others to do likewise. The more firmly and surely men move, and the more such action is excepted as the standard of morality, the less will conflict and confusion hamper humanity.)
I hope that the above principles will demonstrate to ALL that their welfare, their very existence, is bound up in MAGICK.
I trust that they will understand, not only the reasonableness, but the necessity of the fundamental truth which I was the means of giving to mankind:
"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law."
I trust that they will assert themselves as individually absolute, that they will grasp the fact that it is their right to assert themselves, and to accomplish the task for which their nature fits them. Yea, more, that this is their duty, and that not only to themselves but to others, a duty founded upon universal necessity, and not to be shirked on account of any casual circumstances of the moment which may seem to put such contact in the light of inconvenience or even of cruelty.
I hope that the principles outlined above will help them to understand this book, and prevent them from being deterred from its study by the more or less technical language in which it is written.
The essence of MAGICK is simple enough in all conscience. It is not otherwise with the art of government. The Aim is simply prosperity; but the theory is tangled, and the practice beset with briars.
In the same way MAGICK is merely to be and to do. I should add: "to suffer". For Magick is the verb; and it is part of the Training to use the passive voice. This is, however, a matter of Initiation rather than of Magick in its ordinary sense. It is not my fault if being is baffling, and doing desperate!
Yet, once the above principles are firmly fixed in the mind, it is easy enough to sum up the situation very shortly. One must find out for oneself, and make sure beyond doubt, WHO one is, WHAT one is, WHY one is. This done, one may put the Will which is implicit in the "Why" into words, or rather into One Word. Being thus conscious of the proper course to pursue, the next thing is to understand the conditions necessary to following it out. After that, one must eliminate from oneself every element alien or hostile to success, and develop those parts of oneself which are specially needed to control the aforesaid conditions.
Let us make an analogy. A nation must become aware of its own character before it can be said to exist. From that knowledge it must divine its destiny. It must then consider the political conditions of the world; how other countries may help it or hinder it. It must then destroy in itself any elements discordant with its destiny. Lastly, it must develop in itself those qualities which will enable it to combat successfully the external conditions which threaten to oppose its purpose. We have had a recent example in the case of the young German Empire, which, knowing itself and its will, disciplined and trained itself so that it conquered the neighbors which had oppressed it for so many centuries. But after 1866 and 1870, 1914! It mistook itself for superhuman, it willed a thing impossible, it failed to eliminate its own internal jealousies, it failed to understand the conditions of victory, it did not train itself to hold the sea, and thus, having violated every principle of MAGICK, it was pulled down and broken into pieces by provincialism and democracy, so that neither individual excellence nor civic virtue has yet availed to raise it again to that majestic unity which made so bold a bid for the mastery of the race of man. 7
The sincere student will discover, behind the symbolic technicalities of this book, a practical method of making himself a Magician. The processes described will enable him to discriminate between what he actually is, and what he has fondly imagined himself to be. 8 He must behold his soul in all its awful nakedness, he must not fear to look on that appalling actuality. He must discard the gaudy garments with which shame has screened him; he must accept the fact that nothing can make him anything but what he is. He may lie to himself, drug himself, hide himself; but he is always there. Magick will teach him that his mind is playing him a traitor. It is as if a man were told that tailors’ fashion-plates were the canon of human beauty, so that he tried to make himself formless and featureless like them, and shuddered with horror at the idea of Holbein making a portrait of him. Magick will show him the beauty and majesty of the self which he has tried to suppress and disguise.
Having discovered his identity, he will soon perceive his purpose. Another process will show him how to make that purpose pure and powerful. He may then learn how to estimate his environment, learn how to make allies, how to make himself prevail against all powers whose error has caused them to wander across his path.
In the course of this Training, he will learn to explore the Hidden-Mysteries of Nature, and to develop new senses and faculties in himself, whereby he may communicate with, and control, Beings and Forces pertaining to orders of existence which have been hitherto inaccessible to profane research, and available only to that unscientific and empirical MAGICK (of tradition) which I came to destroy in order that I might fulfil. I send this book into the world that every man and woman may take hold of life in the proper manner. It does not matter if one’s present house of flesh be the hut of a shepherd; by virtue of my MAGICK he shall be such a shepherd as David was. If it be the studio of a sculptor, he shall so chisel from himself the marble that masks his idea that he shall be no less a master than Rodin.
Witness mine hand:
TO MEGA THERION: The Beast 666; MAGUS 9=2 A.’. A.’. who is The Word of the Aeon THELEMA; whose name is called V.V.V.V.V. 8=3 A.’. A.’. in the City of the Pyramids; OU MH 7=4; OL SONUF VAORESAGI 6=5, and ….. ….. 5=6 A.’. A.’. in the Mountain of Abeignus: but FRATER PERDURABO in the Outer Order or the A.’. A.’. and in the World of men upon the Earth, Aleister Crowley of Trinity College, Cambridge.
1. By "intentional" I mean "willed". But even unintentional acts so-seeming are not truly so. Thus, breathing is an act of the Will-to-Live.
2. In one sense Magick may be defined as the name given to Science by the vulgar.
3. For instance, "irrational", "unreal", and "infinite" expressions.
4. I.e., except–possibly–in the case of logically absurd questions, such as the Schoolmen discussed in connection with "God".
5. It is no objection that the hypocrite is himself a part of Nature. He is an "endothermic" product, divided against itself, with a tendency to break up. He will see his own qualities everywhere, and thus obtain a radical misconception of phenomena. Most religions of the past have failed by expecting Nature to conform with their ideals of proper conduct.
6. Men of "criminal nature" are simply at issue with their True Wills. The murderer has the Will-to-Live; and his will to murder is a false will at variance with his true Will, since he risks death at the hands of Society by obeying his criminal impulse.
7. At least it allowed England to discover its intentions, and so to combine the world against it.
8. Professor Sigmund Freud and his school have, in recent years, discovered a part of this body of Truth, which has been taught for many centuries in the Sanctuaries of Initiation. But failure to grasp the fullness of Truth, especially that implied in my Sixth Theorem (above) and its corollaries, has led him and his followers into the error of admitting that the avowedly suicidal "Censor" is the proper arbiter of conduct. Official psycho-analysis is therefore committed to upholding a fraud, although the foundation of the science was the observation of the disastrous effects on the individual of being false to his Unconscious Self, whose "writing on the wall" in dream language is the record of the sum of the essential tendencies of the true nature of the individual. The result has been that psycho-analysts have misinterpreted life, and announced the absurdity that every human being is essentially an anti-social, criminal, and insane animal. It is evident that the errors of the Unconscious of which the psycho-analysts complain are neither more nor less than the "original sin" of the theologians whom they despise so heartily.