Aleister Crowley doesn’t need an introduction or long-winded paragraph on who he is or what he does, his reputation and legacy explains it all and anyone looking in to the occult will know at least something about him. What I want to talk about is the slogan on the cover of the Equinox which stated “The method of Science the art of religion”. What exactly did he mean by that? What was he trying to accomplish? It seems like he wanted to develop a system that used scientific values to give objectivity to the religion. I believe he wanted to take this approach for the practice of magic to survive as times were changing, science was starting to explain a lot, and this seemed to shift the balance from a strong belief in subjectivity to individuals searching for objective evidence. This era would have caused a lack of belief in magical workings so for this method to survive it would have needed to add rational and logical elements injected in to a subjective venture to provide a more stable system. To follow an old practice when faced with modern evidence would cause a certain bout of cognitive dissonance to the individual, maybe blowing holes in the system and causing the individual to doubt what it is they are doing, this is the situation I believed Crowley wanted to avoid.
The psychologisation of the techniques used in these religions coupled with certain ontological views created the efficiency of the magical workings on a psychological level, but didn’t exist on a different level of reality that was one of the main thoughts behind the process. Can this be proven by a scientific method to a whole religion? I strongly believe that is where the mistake has been made while attempting to produce a scientific method in to religion, it can’t be applied to the whole, only the individual where subjectivity is concerned.
Now this brings me to S-Theory, has this achieved what Crowley wanted? Has it given substance to the metaphysical so it can survive in modern times? For those of you who understand the S-theory concept you are probably already nodding your head, but for those of you who don’t, the answer is yes, and I will explain why.
S-theory is individual dependent, if these orders/religions used it by partaking and researching different elements from science and the metaphysical, through the overlapping theory system they are creating a personal model dependent reality using a scientific method of evaluation that applies only to them. Through using S-Theory they are retaining the original principles provided by the religion but strengthening the psychological aspect as the layered web system S-theory places over the MDR would stop any bouts of cognitive dissonance as holes would be less likely to appear in the system when confronted with evidence that goes against what their ideological aims are. To add more strength through this method, S-theory provides a way to quantify subjectivity, which is a vital aspect of any system that uses the scientific method. Obviously quantification of subjective ventures will only pertain to the individual, but again it’s only serving to strengthen the system by being able to objectively test the working. Even the invocation of entities through the religion/order make up a part of S-Theory as each overlap could represent a different part of the psyche through an archetype.
This is where i believe the answer is to the original quote “The method of Science the art of religion” not to apply the scientific method to the religion, but apply it to the individual paradigm and retain the ideological views of the religion, science and religion will always be inherently incompatible, but the method of science to quantify and strengthen a paradigm inside a religion is easily accomplished with the application of S-Theory.
Now the question remains to would these religions/orders accept S-Theory as a part of their system? Would Thelemites, OTO, individuals using hermetic orders accept a part of Satanic philosophy in to their paradigm? That choice belongs with the individual but I strongly believe the same way the concept has grown us as Rational Satanists, it could take their systems to new heights by bringing in the aspect that Crowley wanted.
(A detailed working of all aspects of S-Theory can be found in the Rational Satanism S-Theory and Rational Satanism S.A.T.A.N. )
Lee Banks, Founder