My Response to Paul Allen's "Bardon's Errors" and "Did Bardon Commit Suicide?" Articles
RE: "Bardon's Errors" --
I just received a very excited email telling me to rush to your website! ;-) This note came with the warning: "the latest addition should bring some controversy!"
THANK YOU, Paul! I truly enjoyed your excellent article about Bardon's errors, etc. I wanted to read the "bardonsend.html" but that link isn't working (I get the "That page doesn't exist!" note from Geocities).
The great secret about PME is that only the first part -- the theory section -- is worth anything at all. Yet nearly everyone buys it for the grimoire and ignores the theory section.. ;-) They also ignore everything Bardon says about how you should go out and meet the beings of the Elements and Spheres on your own, without relying on things like grimoires. Of course most who pursue PME do so without having yet completed Step 8 of IIH and haven't gained the insight to realize that they've entirely missed the point of PME.
I've often wondered and theorized as to why Bardon included the grimoire at all. Over the years I've come up with three theories:
1) Perhaps he thought that the only way the theory section would see print and remain available was to include such a hot selling item as a grimoire. This would also perhaps lead folks to IIH if they were unaware of it.
2) Perhaps he thought that the only way his theory section would fall into the hands of practicing evocationists was to include a grimoire.
3) Perhaps he meant the grimoire as a test of whether or not one had listened to, and understood, what he said in the theory section. If one had and if one had indeed completed Step 8 of IIH prior to pursuing PME, then it would be obvious that the grimoire was pointless. But if one had not listened to the theory section nor understood it, then the grimoire would be all that one focused upon and what he revealed in the theory section would be "safe".
Personally, I adhere to my third theory the most strongly. I think the Stejnar "controversy" (over nothing of importance, in my opinion) and now your "Bardon's errors" article, both support my pet theory. I think this air of uncertainty over the PME grimoire is a very good thing! Hopefully it will make people stop and think, and force them to ask, "what's really of importance in this book?"
Your criticism of Bardon's analysis of conscious vs. subconscious however, I must disagree with. At a purely anatomical and psychological level, you're absolutely correct. However, Bardon's anatomical references were to the astra-mental body, not the physical body. Furthermore, his conscious vs. subconscious model is VERY practical and effective from the magical standpoint (as opposed to the psychological perspective) and serves as a VERY accurate description of the relationship between the mental and astral bodies. Whether it would stand up to scientific scrutiny or not, is not the least bit important, since it is not used in a scientific context.
Throughout all three of Bardon's books there are what *you* would call "errors". Some of them are glaring, but most of them are subtle things that you wouldn't notice unless you've actually done the work up to that point. The glaring one's are supposed to make you stop and reconsider, such as Bardon's brain anatomy lesson. ;-) Beneath that "error" there's something else -- another perspective, vis a vis the astra-mental "physiology". The subtle ones though, are, I suspect, in line with my pet theory #3 regarding PME. I feel they are tests, because in each case they are associated with things that Bardon says the student should discover for themselves, using the abilities they've already gained, instead of relying on his list or diagram or whatever other external source one may find.
These tests, if indeed they are "tests", serve to keep the student on track since if the work is not done completely, then basing one's practice on these subtle "errors" simply won't work in the way Bardon indicates it should.
It's very much like working with an Alchemical text. If you're not in the laboratory, following things to the letter, you won't understand how something that seems misleading gibberish is actually a test to see if you've done the previous work correctly. If the experiment doesn't work the way it's supposed to, then you must back-track and try a new approach, and keep doing this until it does work the right way. Then, in retrospect, it makes perfect sense!
On the surface, Bardon's system looks fairly simple and straight-forward, but from the inside it's really a VERY complex system filled with endless subtlety. It, like all things, is imperfect, but to my mind, that's sort of the point since it demands that the student bring their own 'urge-toward-perfecting' to the process.
Thanks again, Paul! I look forward to reading your article on Bardon's death when the link is fixed.
My best to you,
:) Rawn Clark
29 Jul 2002
RE: "Did Bardon Commit Suicide?" --
This morning I found that the link to Paul's "Did Franz Bardon Commit Suicide" article worked. :) Again, I have to shout THANK YOU PAUL !!!
Other than a certain sadness for Bardon's own personal struggles, I'm left with gratitude to Paul for making a VERY, VERY important point -- Bardon was a HUMAN being.
Initiation is a process of becoming *more than human*, not *other than human*. We are HUMAN beings, even when we leave our physical bodies. But few understand the fullness of what it means to be a human being. Initiation teaches the reclaiming of this fullness that most folks have forgotten. And once one is FULLY human, initiation demands that one become more than human. This is an expansion, not a loss of one's humanity.
The relationship that an adept, such as Franz Bardon, has with karma is quite different from the norm. He or she will want to redeem every bit of karma that arises during incarnation as quickly and directly as possible, so as to leave no residual. However, that will look one way from the outside, observing the adept's mundane life, and look quite a different way from the inside -- from the adept's own perspective. This relationship to karma is an aspect of what it means to be fully human.
The adept's understanding of death is also quite different from the norm. There is no fear. There is no "unknown". For the adept, death is a fluid, fully conscious experience. This is another aspect of what it means to be fully human -- this conscious, unafraid relationship to death is our birthright, so to speak.
The adept's relationship with their own "suffering" cannot be comprehended from the outside. What may seem absolutely horrific from the outside may be nothing of the sort from the inside. The adept determines their own emotional response to external events of the mundane realm. This is our forgotten human inheritance of an Elemental Equilibrium.
Hermetic initiation does not turn us into goddesses or gods or make us other than human. It merely teaches us what it REALLY means to be a HUMAN being.
My point is that the label 'human' is not a bad thing. ;-) We humans are often despicable creatures but this has little to do with our essential humanity. We are despicable only when we are not manifesting the fullness of our humanity. Usually however, when someone points out the humanness of a respected individual it's meant to make them seem less respectable, a phony, etc. The opposite of this is to deify an individual and think of them as other than human, a perfect being, etc. Both miss the most important point that we are ALL human and that what really matters is whether or not we are good humans.
In my estimation, Franz Bardon was a VERY good HUMAN being. As a human being he lived in the service of others and left us this wonderful legacy. *HE* made no demands that anyone think of him as a god. He was simply himself to the fullest.
My best to you,
:) Rawn Clark
30 Jul 2002