In response to Jason, who was responding to RO, who responded to Frater AIT
I can't leave this one alone.
Quick recap: Frater AIT waxes lyrical about the pivotal nature of energy work. Rufus Opus makes a very, very good case that energy work is load of crock tacked on later by Victorian busy-bodies. Jason, appropriately, tries to find an inclusive middle ground free from extremes.
Unfortunately Jason's rhetorical position is so terminally post-modern that it becomes as myopic as those he accuses of adhering slavishly to the "narrow context of tradition". A breath before this remark he says:
I am a member of several ancient and not so ancient traditions. All of them have a lot of tech in them that can be exported to other systems.
And this attitude is exactly what is wrong with Jason's position. Don't get me wrong, I think Jason is a super spiritual guy and an innovative magician with a balanced perspective usually but with regards to this he is dead wrong. Even the way he chooses phrase this statement reveals a sense of entitlement as thoroughly dangerous as it is ignorant.
And, unfortunately, it's a sense of entitlement as westerners we all share - and is ultimately the result of the driving philosophy of the colonial powers that put us in the top 5% in terms of wealth, health and resources comparable to the rest if those on the entire planet. It's an attitude that turns the spiritual dimension, and the various spiritual traditions that interface with it into a super market where we can happily free-wheel around with our shopping cart and fill it with as much goodies as we want. You know, "as long as it works".
Chogyam Trungpa called it spiritual materialism.
Jason then goes onto compare the sharing and cross-fertilisation that happened culturally over many generations - hundreds or thousands of years - between various living magical traditions to the grab and mix appropriation of small groups self-entitled westerners inventing their own stuff. Putting aside the perils of do-it-yourself spirituality, you simply can't compare these two things because they are not the same thing in the slightest.
It's not happening in a similar way, or scale (either temporal or geographical) and it not happening even for vaguely similar reasons. And it's the conflation of these two ideas that has been getting an awful lot of traction for the last hundred and fifty years or so leading to a huge amount of confusion, dilution and exploitation of traditions, including the Western Tradition.
You may call it "exporting tech", but what it is, is in fact cultural appropriation and its destructive and disrespectful to the traditions in question. Worse, it does none of the techniques in question any justice because it's all being mashed together in a half-assed way by people who have no concept of their original meaning, or true mastery thereof.
Look at Crowley who proclaimed himself a yogic master after spending all of 15 minutes practising second hand yogic techniques which he then sweepingly incorporated into his magical system. I think it is safe to say that he was no true yogic master, or that he even really grasped the basics of that tradition. Yet, there we have it ensconced in that legacy - which continues to percolate down into western magical perspectives influenced by it.
The primary reason those Victorian magicians mashed together everything they could lay their hands on was because their new magical system reflected the zeitgeist of their time, which included the political climate that they functioned in - which let us not be mistaken - was imperialist. Vast quantities of cultural wealth was being plundered and "exported" physically and symbolically from Egypt, India, the 'Orient' or anywhere else that the British empire stretched to.
The influx of all that cool exotic bling, along with the rise literary romanticism dazzled and fuelled the imaginations of the well-to-do bourgeoisie involved in that magical revival - leading to the faux Egyptian pageantry, yogic visualisations and breathing combined with theatrical masonic style grimoire magic. It wasn't because energy-work and visualisations worked so darn well and was missing from their own system, but rather that they had a bunch of old grimoires and a lot of new ideas flying at them from all over the planet and they grafted a system together using all the new loot over a masonic framework.
And for better or worse this is the true legacy behind much of that system of magic and its post-modern western magical decedents such as chaos magic and its newer NLP based spin-offs today. Additionally, its a legacy that continues to inform and distort the way far too many western magical aspirants approach foreign magical traditions they find interesting to this very day.
Once again Jason - I have great deal of respect for you bro, but this is an area that you need to look at, and probably rethink more seriously.