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.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Scholarly Debate vs. Golden Dawn Flame War

Almost everyone that is interested in the Golden Dawn and that reads the internet is aware of the "Golden Dawn Flame War" that accompanied recent litigation. Anonymously published attack blogs and websites, falsely alleged everything from Nazi Golden Dawn connections to Golden Dawn death cults led by Satanists. Typical of these "anonymous attack blogs" is "The Golden Dawn Insider" - with a clear ties with Robert Zink's, Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn.

In March, 2008, our order, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the outer order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega, launched an initiative to end the flame war and to promote greater harmony in the Golden Dawn community. As part of this initiative, I publicly and repeatedly condemned anonymously published websites and blogs attacking ANY Golden Dawn order, and publicly appealed to those misguided individuals attacking the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn to stop. Thankfully, they did.

Robert Zink, however, refuses to do the same. Thus is is quite clear that anonymous attack blogs like "The Golden Dawn Insider," that this week resumed attacks on the HOGD/AO and its leaders, are published with the full knowledge and approval of EOGD leader, Robert Zink. This week the "Golden Dawn Insider" wrote:

"Does anyone find it odd that there has been a time of peace and quiet in the online Golden Dawn community recently, not in and of itself, but that it was broken simultaneously by David Griffin and his cohort "Frater Sincerus Renatus (S∴R∴)" AKA Tomas Stacewicz. This is just recent. Within a couple of days we have David Griffin blogging (scroll down below the video) about how Robert Zink's Golden Dawn order is nothing but new age garbage, and almost simultaneously we have Frater S.R. bashing Pat Zalewski's group. Are you guys just bored? Did you think nobody would notice?"
The Robert Zink sponsored "Insider" here conflates with "flame war" with legitimate and healthy debate in the Golden Dawn community. In truth, I do not personally even object to Robert Zink reforming his EOGD in the decidedly New Age direction he has taken it. Diversity in the Golden Dawn community is a good thing. I have come to understand that there is plenty of room in the Golden Dawn community for New Age Golden Dawn orders as well as for Thelemic Golden Dawn orders. Such diversity is how our tradition grows.

The EOGD is certainly not "garbage" either. I have met privately with a number of EOGD members. They are hard working individuals that are very dedicated to the Golden Dawn system. Moreover, I am also the first to applaud Robert Zink when he does something good. For example, Robert Zink's initiative to help Haiti deserved to transcend inter-order politics, so I jumped on his bandwagon.

All I truly
DO object to about Robert Zink - is his dishonesty in marketing. There is nothing wrong with New Age innovation. It is, however, highly dishonest to present New Age innovation as "traditional Golden Dawn" practice.

"It is highly dishonest to present New Age
innovation as 'traditional Golden Dawn' practice."

In truth, there are significant and profound differences between various Golden Dawn orders - and the public has a right to know and understand these differences. For example, on his website, Robert Zink claims that his "Astral Initiation" can make you a "full Golden Dawn initiate" without ever leaving your own living room. All you have to do is send him $185 - and for your trouble - he will even throw in a free CD on how to "Unleash Your Inner Adept!"

The HOGD/AO, on the other hand, as a classical Golden Dawn order, insists on traditional Golden Dawn initiation while physically present in real Golden Dawn temples. We honestly and openly admit that the Golden Dawn is a spiritual path demanding an enormous amount of time, energy, discipline, and dedication.

In another essential difference, Robert Zink claims on his "The Golden Dawn Blog" that the Golden Dawn is really about "the coming New Age shift in 2012" and elsewhere that the Emerald Tablet of Hermes is really about "The Law of Attraction" as popularized in New Age film, The Secret. The HOGD/AO, on the other hand, understands that the classical Golden Dawn is rooted in the Hermetic and Rosicrucian traditions, teaching the ancient Egyptian Royal Art of Alchemy, Astrology, and Theurgy (Magic) with the ultimate aim of accelerating energetic evolution in order to attain Solar Ascension and Conscious Immortality. This is diametrically opposed from Robert Zink's "instant gratification" Golden Dawn promises.

Next the Robert Zink sanctioned, "Golden Dawn Insider" sock goes on to claim that HOGD/AO's Sincerus Renatus recently "attacked Pat Zalewksi's group."

In truth, Sincerus Renatus' article is not an "attack"
at all, but rather a scholarly presentation of the very real differences between the HOGD/AO and Pat Zalewksi's "Order of the Golden Dawn." As Sincerus Renatus correctly points out, Pat Zalewksi (whose name is not even mentioned in the article!!!) believes that the Second Order of the Golden Dawn (the R.R. et A.C.) should be devoted to an intellectual study and analysis of the outer order rituals. This is extremely different from the HOGD/AO, where we teach a traditional Hermetic and Rosicrucian curriculum in advanced Hermetic and Rosicrucian magic and alchemy in our Second Order, remaining completely faithful to the classical Golden Dawn.

These clearly are essential differences between Golden Dawn orders and the public has a right to know. Such outlining of the actual differences between orders is certainly not "flame war" but rather scholarly debate.

There is one thing that I must agree with the "Insider" sock puppet on, however. He is absolutely correct that a great deal of rather unflattering and unfraternal material about the EOGD and the HOGD/AO still remain on one another's websites, fora, and blogs. There remain, for example, thousands of posts attacking our order in the archives of the EOGD forum. The EOGD websites and blogs are riddled with attacks on our order as well.

I completely agree with the "Insider" troll that it is high time to take this old "flame war" stuff down. For over two years now, I have offered to do so on a reciprocal basis with Robert Zink. The problem remains that Robert Zink completely and utterly refuses to take down any material attacking our order from the EOGD websites, blogs, etc.

Nonetheless, the HOGD/AO remains completely committed to harmony in the Golden Dawn community and against flame war.

The time is long overdue, however, for Robert Zink to renounce sock puppets, anonymous websites and blogs attacking other orders - and instead to make the same firm commitment to harmony in the Golden Dawn community that I have made - and that the HOGD/AO has championed for well over two years!

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"