Sunday, June 20, 2010

Flame War vs. The New Age-Golden Dawn Debate

By Guest Blogger
H. Frater AIT
H Soror L. of the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn wrote on the EOGD blog:
Subject: A response to David Griffin's lastest accusations. ( Golden Dawn )
"There you go again David. Time after time, year after year YOU (David Griffin the Founder of the New A.O. Golden Dawn (Not to be confused with Mathers A.O. or the Golden Dawn of 1888)) keep accusing Robert Zink of just about everything from the weather to a flat tire you had on the freeway. This kind of reasoning gets a bit absurd, but maybe it is a symptom of a deeper problem that may not only affect you, David, but those you teach.
The odd thing about it all is that the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn is a worldwide fraternity with numerous members who are encouraged to think for themselves. Thus, your recent attack on Robert is nothing more than a type of paranoia that is best left to yourself and not shared with your students and others on the Internet.
David, you make yourself look ridiculous by accusing every website, every blog, every article of being promoted by or a sock puppet of Robert. I am certain that Robert and all the others you accuse on a regular basis of attacking you have better things to do.There is more to life and magic than sitting around and devising up negative websites about David Griffin. If Robert were behind every website that you accuse him of, he would have to have a web based company about the size of Google. Believe it or not David, you are not the center of the Universe.
Now one of two things is clear:
1. David, you are paranoid. If that is the case, neither the shadow in the closet nor Robert are out to get you. It is time to get clear, you have promoted some good work with your work for Haiti, keep going with other projects. You can make a difference in our world. You are a bright person, build on it.
2. You know that neither Robert, nor Chic, nor Pat are behind these attacks but are simply other peoples opinions. However, anytime someone shares his or her thoughts about you, your work, your Order, or anything else you see it as a propaganda opportunity. So, you play victim and revert to childish behavior of smearing someone’s name over and over and over. The objective is to gain power and eliminate the competition. Sadly, you view other groups such as the EOGD or the HOGD or the G.D. as competition, when in truth they could be your partners in the GREAT WORK."
Care et H. Soror L.,

Since you posted on the official, EOGD blog, I am posting my response to you here instead of on my own Heavens Within Earth blog.

Soror, your post is a defense against an attack that never was. G.H.Frater L.E.S.' (David Griffin) recent posts contained opinion's that highlighted scholarly/philosophical differences between our two Orders. Nowhere did he personally attack G.H.Frater P.D.R., nor debate the merit or worth of your Order. He merely pointed out that anonymous published attacks on the HOGD/AO and its leaders sadly have resumed on a pro-EOGD attack blog, and that Robert Zink's refusal to condemn such anonymous attack blogs and websites amounts to tacit approval of them!

Let's not let the actual debate that started this discussion get drowned out by rhetoric. There remain real differences between our Orders that are worth discussion, and we need to be able to have these discussions like grown-ups if the modern Golden Dawn is going to have any hope at peace. Responding to scholarly debate with a lengthy screed attacking David Griffin personally adds nothing.

Why not instead engage in actual, factual debate about the relative merits of our differing ideas, if you disagree? Why set up straw-men and make comments that suggest you hardly read Mr. Griffin's posts at all?

David Griffin, as well as myself and many people in our order (and the greater Golden Dawn community), don't agree with all of Mr.Zink's basic ideas; that happens. This part of being part of a diverse Golden Dawn community with different Orders with differing ideas. So what? If you feel our reasoning is flawed, then engage in debate, instead of personally assaulting folk. You can pick apart our IDEAS all day long, and I'll never call you anything but Soror. Disagreeing with our Order on fundamental philosophies isn't a personal attack, it's a difference in opinion. If your ideas are sound, stand by them and engage. If they are not, have the stones to change them.

But there is no need to hide behind silly personal attacks; Your Order is more than the few New Age ideas many of us in the Golden Dawn community disagree with. You are reacting as if disagreeing with your ideas is assaulting you personally, and having earned the "Honored" appellation I would expect that sort of behaviour to be beneath you. I rather suspect it is.

Your blog post is obviously rooted in the same enmities and fears brought on by that ridiculous "flame war". I was excited to see David make the effort two years ago to promote harmony and nip this epidemic of stupidity in the bud. Suprisingly, it's worked fairly well....with some exceptions. We've removed all the anti-EOGD posts from our fora, and actively and publicly discouraged anonymous bloggers from posting attacks against the EOGD. And guess what? They shut up!

We have even offered to remove attacks from our respective websites together and in alliance with you, keeping only those things that discuss scholarly/practical differences between our differing approaches to the magic of the Golden Dawn. Your Order has so far unfortunately rejected this healthy proposal. Your websites remain littered with negative garbage against the HOGD/AO and attacking our leaders personally; nothing remotely scholarly that discusses practical differences, but ridiculous remarks referring to "Golden Dawn orders that subscribe to the hateful policies of Adolph Hitler".

I mean, really? This is the result of your Theurgy? This is how the EOGD respects and encourages the growth of our tradition? Your forum archives still harbor thousands of searchable posts with similar ad hominum attacks!

Robert Zink has refused David Griffin's offer to bury the hatchet. How do you accuse David of attacking you in the present with a straight face? How is this reflective of your stated desire that we all be "partners in the Great Work"? Meet us half-way, and take all the b.s. down. Should you find anything that's an outright attack and not a debate/conversation lingering on our site, I have been assured by our leaders we will do the same. Let's stop poisoning the atmosphere with all of this.

What's bizarre is that all of the folk I've interacted with from your Order on a singular basis have been resoundingly supportive of clearing away all the low-level bickering. It's only at the top that I'm hearing/seeing this nonsense. Getting rid of the garbage doesn't mean we're going to suddenly agree about everything and become BFF's. No amount of goodwill is going to make us agree on New Age notions like "The Law of Attraction," "The coming 2012 shift," and "Astral Initiation" being traditional Golden Dawn, or whichever ideas of ours make little sense to you.

We don't have to agree, we do have to debate and challenge each other. First of all, because the public has a right to know about the real differences between our orders so they can make informed decisions about which order they resonate with more. Besides, healthy debate is how good ideas are promoted and terrible one's discarded traditionally, and having a community without that sort of discourse negatively affects the evolution and growth of our Tradition. But to add more poison to a noxious atmosphere with personal and unnecessary attacks is against our shared goal.

Soror, I want to encourage you to air your disagreements, but let's do so with substance. Take GH Frater L.E.S.'s arguments apart, and dismantle them with your well thought-out and convincing arguments. Make the case for your ideas, and he will make the case for his. That is how adults--let alone Adepts and aspiring Adepts--should behave, not calling people names and attempting to demean them as you did with David Friffin in your post.

Let's have earnest Fraternal debate; we can respect each other and act fraternally without agreeing.

H. Frater A.I.T.


    H Frater AIT,
    I fully support your GOLDEN DAWN PEACE INITIATIVE!
    I therefore PUBLICLY PLEDGE to remove any remaining objectional materials from HOGD/AO websites, fora, and blogs on a RECIPROCAL, piece-for-piece basis with Robert Zink from EOGD websites, fora, and blogs!
    I remind all EOGD and HOGD/AO members of the alliance we forged to help Haiti!
    Let us now form an allliance as H Frater AIT prop-oses to CLEAN UP THE GOLDEN DAWN.
    Let us, however, not stop there. Countless delicate ecosystems are imperiled by the terrible oil spill in the Gulf.
    Let us therefore, start by cleaning up our websites together as H Frater AIT suggests, but let's not stop there.
    But let us instead ally our MAGICAL forces to CLEAN UP THE OIL SPILL IN GULF!
    TOGETHER we CAN make a difference!

    Sub Umbra Alarum Tuarum, Yeheshua
    David Griffin
    G.H. Frater Lux Ex Septentrionis
    Imperator Ordinis, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
    outer order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega
    "Ex Deo Nascimur.
    In Yeheshua Morimur.
    Per Sanctum Spiritum Reviviscimus"

  2. Care H. Fr AIT,

    thank you for this post. While I have no wish to be drawn into the mess of recriminations and petty guttersniping that infects aspects of the online GD community at present, I do wish to respond to this post.

    In it you show the same respect for people while challenging and debating ideas you showed in your responses on my own blog. This is this approach required to ensure there is ANY worth at all in online debate. :)

  3. Care H. Fra A.I.T.,

    First, I have to agree with Fra. Peregrin. However, I want to add a few words. As you know, I am not a member of any order and try to remain neutral and not to get involved in what is going on. But as I already wrote on my own blog, this whole “GD feud” or however you may call it is rather distracting and irritating. People with a general interest in the GD run into these pages and have to read attacks and personal insults instead of a serious discourse about the various GD schools/ways. Even if such a discourse would be tough, it would be fruitful, interesting and, as you say, show what the various orders stand for and where the differences between them are – what to expect as a student. People could make up their minds. I have to say that I know not only one but a few individuals which are rather disgusted – if you allow me to say this – with what they read instead. These people turn away from the GD, declaring the whole GD community as such a group of egomanic nutters, friendly speaking. The value the GD system has to offer is getting watered and finally lost over this unnecessary war. So, without taking sides and in the interest of the entire community which you in the orders are representing in this or that way (as people will not make any difference between the orders and independent lodges and even solitary practitioners working the system), stop this. The system as such is getting corrupted by this. I hope that everyone responsible within the various orders and others involved will hear you!

    In L.V.X.


  4. Care VH Fra Peregrin,

    Thank you; I completely understand your desire to avoid stomping through that muck, and appreciate your frank appraisal of what we need to make online discussion worthwhile. Let's hope we are moving in that direction!

  5. Care GH Fra LES,

    You're idea about working on the oil spill is excellent! This is definitely something we should do; that disaster is only getting worse. It can only be good to bring peoples attention and personal Practices to work on it. Well done, sir.=)

    In LVX,
    H Fra AIT

  6. Care Fra Arcad,

    Thank you kindly. GH Fra LES were discussing something similar not long ago; we've noticed that the flame war has had a terrible effect on the reputation of the entire Golden Dawn and the way we are all perceived by outsiders and potential newcomers. It's a terrible shame, and all of this mess takes away from our Tradition. I think it's unacceptable as well!

    In LVX,

    H Fra AIT

  7. Care G.H Frater LES, and H Frater AIT,
    I am a member of our prestegiouse order and am a low grade one, I have been in the order for almost a year now. I want the world to know that the theurgy and the current of this order is beautiful and has helped me to heal internally and outwardly. I sat in lectures with both of you present and really kept informed and illuminated (I would ask anyone who is interested to join us it is worth it!). I felt that the information imparted to me was beyond anything published in any book. I would like to point out that G.H Fra LES, H Fra AIT and V.H Fra SR are all very compasisionate initiates that have helped me to tread the path or enlightenment.I wish peace and prosperity for all orders in the GD community, and this attack on my order is hurtful to everyone in it, we are all looking for peace from neophyte onwards and we want to do our work. Please don't destroy this beautiful tradition that we have worked so hard to keep beautiful. After all we are all suphosed to be the guardians of something greater than ourselves. Lets make the GD something different than a crusade of distruction and live in peace with each other, look at history and war is caused over such things that have been happening lately.

    In Love and L.V.X

  8. I am a current active member of the EOGD. And I have to say, when I read my fellow sister's post (above referenced) I was saddened. My understanding of the supposed Order-wide directive over the past few years is to NOT engage in any "flaming" online. So I do not understand what that post was doing laid out for public consumption. Unless I have failed to grasp the English language, I read that posting as inflammatory and promulgating the very vitriol we are all (in every GD Order) against. How can this inundation of negativity not be detracting a large majority of talented Order members from their true duties...promoting and fostering the Great Work? It is frustrating to me to feel so torn between an Order I have grown to love filled with talented, caring people from Neophyte to Adept, and things I cannot ignore as anything other than common spiritual and self-help concepts and practices varnished with a thin veneer of GD symbolism? While I cannot fault anyone for their personal pursuits, I cannot and do not condone the use of my Order name and sacred symbols outside of the actual Temple and Order arenas. I continue to pray and meditate on this and work toward the light.

    Something we all need to remember on all sides of the situation is that you can respect the office and not the man. Just as the Pope is not what the entire Catholic faith is centered around; each of our Orders do not revolve around our Grand Imperators nor their personal statements and actions. The Golden Dawn revolves around the Great Work and that work is strengthen by each member working in Love, Truth, and Light with one another. Let us all practice what we preach and walk our talk.