UncleDark said: Nobody is ever the prophet and herald of the Spotty and Awkward Age of Humanity.
Augustine ("Love God, and do as you please") probably was riffing on Matthew 22:36-38:
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment."
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your might.
From Augustine to Crowley, it also got channelled through Rabelais and his utopian novel Gargantua and Pantagruel, in which he wrote of an Abbey of Thélème where:
All their life was spent not in laws, statutes, or rules, but according to their own free will and pleasure. They rose out of their beds when they thought good; they did eat, drink, labour, sleep, when they had a mind to it and were disposed for it. None did awake them, none did offer to constrain them to eat, drink, nor to do any other thing; for so had Gargantua established it. In all their rule and strictest tie of their order there was but this one clause to be observed, Do What Thou Wilt;because men that are free, well-born, well-bred, and conversant in honest companies, have naturally an instinct and spur that prompteth them unto virtuous actions, and withdraws them from vice, which is called honour. Those same men, when by base subjection and constraint they are brought under and kept down, turn aside from that noble disposition by which they formerly were inclined to virtue, to shake off and break that bond of servitude wherein they are so tyrannously enslaved; for it is agreeable with the nature of man to long after things forbidden and to desire what is denied us.
And, as people above have noted, Crowley often used the phrase to essentially mean "fulfill your destiny." (Or, to get modern and jargony, "Achieve self-actualization.")
And everyone else should do the same: "Every man and woman is a star."
Might as well mention what I think was another influence on Crowley and "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" -- Sir Richard Francis Burton's long fake-Sufi poem, The Kasidah of Haji Abdu El-Yezdi.
Which had the following lines:
I think it was a major (conscious or unconscious) inspiration for The Book of the Law. But I don't think I've ever seen a Crowley biographer or scholar discuss it.
T Hedge Coke said: Come to think, "if it harms nothing," as mentioned above, doesn't really work at any length or breadth of action, does it?
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