9 August 2018

Fay ce que voudras

... and call your House Thelema. I can't for the life of me recall who said and did this, but I was reminded of him some time ago now, when I saw in the window of a Quakers' Meeting House: "THOU SHALT" in big gothic capitals followed by "decide for yourself" in smaller modern cursive.

I was fairly horrified. Time was when the Quakers were thought of as a gentle folk, egalitarian and pacifist by inclination, who were regarded with affection even by those who disagreed with their distinctive dogmas. When their sect originally began, their sweet simplistic biblicism led them to talk to each other in a comic dialect, that of the Authorised Version of the Bible viewed through eyes innocent of syntax (they used thee as both Nominative and Oblique). Now, apparently, they not only treat quasi-biblical English with contempt, but have descended into the extremest form of anomia.
Even the likes of Richard Dawkins are not amoral antinomians. As far as I can understand them, 'Humanists' do adhere to the rather flabby form of the "Utilitarianism" which we were taught to discuss in General Studies essays when we were bright little Sixth Formers working for our Oxford Scholarships. But Humanist Utilitarianism is something. The Quakers, however, apparently now believe that not only are codes such as the Decalogue to be viewed with contempt; but that anybody can do whatever he decides. Murder, apparently; genocide; pedophilia; snuff movies; suicide bombing; sex slavery; the grossest forms of economic exploitation - if you decide to do them, you'll have Brother Quaker patting you on the head with kindly approval. "At least you didn't just blindly follow some rules invented by someone else", he will gently murmur.

I wonder if some sort of enquiry should be launched into what is in principle clearly a very dangerous little cult. At least Islamic and other terrorists have some sort of notion that there is right and that there is wrong, however corrupted their moral perceptions may be. Quakers, so they assure us, don't ... except for their one mighty dogma ignore rule-books and make your own decisions.

Don't  get me wrong; I'm sure many Quakers live to as high a moral standard as many Catholics or Humanists or Marxists or Moslems. I condemn nobody. It's their publicly proclaimed dogmas that terrify me.

6 comments:

Barthélemy Magdelain said...

That's Rabelais in Gargantua. It's the motto of the utopian Abbey of Thelema.

Scribe said...

Dear Father, It was nasty Aleister Crowley (1875 - 1947) who called his house the Abbey of Thelema. He was known as The Beast 666. His creed (so he said) was 'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.' A bit like your Quakers, really. He was widely regarded as a satanist, and the 'wickedest man in the world'. He was educated at Malvern, Tonbridge,and Trinity College, Cambridge. I expect that when he died, God judged him to have been a silly Billy, and let him go into heaven as a probationer.

Little Black Sambo said...

The Quakers are the spiritual equivalent of Lib Dems: enlghtened, above the vulgar masses.

Jhayes said...

devise de l’abbaye de Thélème

Toute leur vie estoit employée non par loix, statuz ou reigles : mais selon leur vouloir, et franc arbitre. Se levoient du lict, quand bon leur sembloit : beuvoient, mangeoient, travailloient, dormoient, quand le desir leur venoit. Nul ne les esveilloit, nul ne les parforçoit ny à boyre, ny à manger, ny à faire chose aultre quelconques. Ainsi l’avoit estably Gargantua. En leur reigle n’estoit que ceste clause

FAY CE QUE VOULDRAS

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Mike said...

That would be Francois Rabelais, Father. I can't forbear to tell you that at St. Mary Cathedral in Austin, Texas, U.S.A., the weekly USUS ANTIQUIOR Mass, despite being scheduled at an inconvenient time, has now outstripped all the other Sunday Masses in attendance according to official parish figures. I attend. The church is full. EXSULTATE, IUBILATE.
Michael

John Sanders said...

Father, Perhaps you are thinking of Aleister Crowley, the Beast, a.k.a. 666, who called his
"philosophy" Thelema, in his interpretation, "Do as thou wilt."