A trance-writing by Austin Osman Spare. The original has illustrations which are, of course, impossible to reproduce here.
It is primarily concerned with the beliefs and actions of Aaos, a wandering iconoclast not dissimilar to Zos, another of Spare's dream-selves.

The first section (the Aphorisms) is primarily the soliloquies of and dialog between several contrasting "characters": Kia of the Effigies, Zos, Ikkah, and Zod-Ka. All are representations of Spare's inner selves; they argue in order to refine his positions.

The second section is chiefly concerned with Aaos, his iconoclasm, his obsession with masturbation and rejection of procreative sex, his misogyny, and his intent to liberate humanity from the slavery of hypocrisy via the vehicle of pleasure.

The final part of the the second section reads much more like an Edgar Allan Poe and/or H.P. Lovecraft story. Aaos is no longer the aggressive nihilist, but is now witness to the horrors and cruetly of the world.

The Focus of Life makes for rather tedious reading. However, it is an interesting insight into trance-thought and automatic writing. Note the extremely repetitive vocabulary and phraseology; you can almost feel what Spare's stream of consciousness grabs onto for purchase. The high reoccurance of phonemes is entertaining as well, even though the prose doesn't exactly trip off the tounge if read aloud.

I have broken the entire work up into several parts. The first part, the Aphorisms, is reprinted below.

The other sections are:
THE SEXUALITY AND SLEEP OF AAOS
THE DEAD BODY OF AAOS
THE HEAVEN OF AAOS
THE DREAMS OF AAOS

And now...


THE FOCUS OF LIFE

by Austin Osman Spare

THE MUTTERINGS OF AAOS

APHORISM I

"The effort of remembering in the Valley of Fear."

KIA OF THE EFFIGIES SPEAKS OF ZOS IN SOLILOQUY:
I bring a sword that contains its own medicine: The sour milk that cureth the body.
Prepare to meet God, the omnifarious believing; Thyself the living truth.
Die not to spare, but that the world may perish.
Nature is more atrocious. Learning all things from Thee in the most sinister way for representation: from thy thought to become thereafter. Having suffered pleasure and pain, gladly dost thou deny the things of existence for freedom of desire-from this sorry mess of inequality-once so desired.
And is fear of desire. The addition of the 'I' of a greater illusion.
Desire is the conception I and induces Thou.
There is neither thou nor I nor a third person-loosing this consciousness by unity of I and Self; there would be no limit to consciousness in sexuality.
Isolation in ecstasy, the final inducement, is enough-But, procreate thou alone!
Speak not to serve but to scoff. Hearest thou, heaven's loud guffaw?
Directly the mouth opens; it speaks righteousness.
In the ecstatic laughter of men I hear their volition towards release.
How can I speak that for which I have necessitated silence? Salvation shall be Unsay all things: and true, as is time, that speaketh all things.
Of what use are hints or stage whispers? True wisdom cannot be expressed by articulate sounds. The language of fools-is words.
In the labyrinth of the alphabet the truth is hidden. It is one thing repeated many times. Confined within the limits of rationalism; no guess has yet answered.
O Zos, thou art fallen into the involuntary accident of birth and rebirth into the incarnating ideas of women. A partial sexuality entangled in the morass of sensual law.
On earth the circle was fabricated.
The origin of all things is the complex self. How shall it be made the end of things? Dubious of all things by this increase, and ignorance of individuality. I or Self, in conflict, separate.
This forgetfulness of symboli becomes the unexplored 'reason' of existence.
Unable to conceive the events of the present: what shall be knowledge of past and future? Verily, this creator speaks 'I know not what I do.'
And in this living nightmare, where all is cannibalism. Why dost thou deny thyself? Verily, Man resembles his creator, in that he consumes himself in much filth.
Heaven gives indiscriminately of its superabundance to make the ghastly struggle called existence.
The necessity was a deliberate serving of its own pleasure-becoming more alien. Remoteness from self is pain and precocious creation. Through this remoteness from Self-thou dost not hear thine own call to be potentially Thyself. The living self does not habitate.
There is no truth in thy wish. Pleasure wearies of thee.
Ecstatic fulfilment of ecstasy, is it asking too much? Alas, the smallness of man's desire!
Thou shalt suffer all things once again: unimagined sensations, and so consume the whole world.
O Zos, thou shalt live in millions of forms and every conceivable thing shall happen unto Thee.
Remember these senses are that which thou hast desired. What is all thought but a morality of the senses that has become sex?
What is desired of the Self is given; eventually. The desire is sufficient. The 'Self,' will pleasure in all things.
There is only one sense,-the sexual. There is only one desire,-]procreation[.
I am the cause-thou the effect.
I am all that I conceive. Not for all time but at some time.
'I multiply I' is creation: The sexual infinity.
There is no end to the details of my extreme likeness.
The more chaotic-the more complete am I.
The soul is the ancestral animals. The body their knowledge.
This omnivorous soul, how lusty: it would seem to be everlasting in its suicide.
These modified sexualities are the index of knowledge; this realized; the dualities do not obstruct with associations that involve infinite complexities and much education.
Existence is a continuation of self-realization. To create value where there is none. By all desire being one there is no overlapping nor the later necessity of undesiring. Complex desire is the further creation of different desire, not the realization of particular desire.
O Zos, Thou shall die of extreme youth! Death is a disease of fear.
All is a backward walking; realized incapacity of volition: To walk towards thyself. With thine infinite self multiplication of associations Thou knowest all things.
Among sentient creatures human birth is highly desirable, man desires emancipation; liberation to his primeval self.
Remember! Didst thou leave the high estate for worse things?
Man becomes what he relapses into. Cast into demoniacal moulds, human nature is the worst possible nature.
The degenerate need women, dispense with that part of thyself. Give unto her all thy weaknesses, it is the suffering half.
Pain awaits him, who is sentimentally desirous.
Be it thus: 'Woman, there shall be no vintage from our kisses'.
In man and woman is thy 'being.' But I say, Thou could'st create this body anew.
Awake! The time has come for the new sexualities! Then would be occasion for greater pleasures. To improve the species ye men must love one another.
This old illusion of righteousness has gained a future state wherein men labour every doubt.
Thou art that which thou dost prefer. The seer, the instrument of seeing, or the seen. Conscious desire is the negation of possession: the procrastination of reality. Make thy desire subconscious; the organic is creative impluse to will.
Beware of thy desire. Let it be something that implies nothing but itself. There are no differences-only degrees of sensation.
Provoke consciousness in touch, ecstasy in vision. Let thy highest virtue be: "Insatiety of desire, brave self-indulgence and primeval sexualism."
Realization is not by the mere utterance of the words 'I am I' nor by self-abuse, but by the living act. If the desire for realization exists in thee, sensuous objects will continually provide conveniences.
Realization of this Self, which is all pleasure at will, is by consciousness of one thing in belief. To be the same is the difficulty.
Thought is the negation of knowledge. Be thy business with action only. Purge thyself of belief: live like a tree walking! Take no thought of good or evil. Become self-active causality by Unity of thine, I and Self. Reality exists but not in consciousness of such: this phenomenal 'I' is noumenal and neither-neither.
Now thus is concentration explained: "The will, the desire, the belief; lived as inseparable, become realization."
Truth concerns exactitude of belief, not reality. He who has no law is free. In all things there is no necessity. Become weary of devising wisdom in morals. Many unseemly words have been spoken in self slander, what more painful than that? For in the mud I tread on thee. The path men take from every side is mine. There is nothing more to be said.
'I'; infinite space.

APHORISM II

"Morals of shadow, wherein the Arcana of Zos has no commandments"

ZOS SPEAKS OF IKKAH:
Leaving aside all unreal dreams, consider this world as insincere disbelief.
Lo this day salvation has come. My 'I and Self' has agreed in belief.
I would ask of thee thy suppressed self. Is it not the new thing desired? No man shall follow me. I am not thy preservation. Thou art the way. Assuredly, thy virtue is to be equally different.
Thy complaint is the calamity: The hypocrite is always at prayer. Dost thou suffer? Thou shalt again suffer, till thine I does not fear its body. Rather seek and increase by thy temptations, it is but the way to intelligence.
Transgression is wiser than prayer: Make this thy obsession. Thank only thyself and be silent. The coward's way is religion. There is no fear-but righteousness.
Let this be thy one excuse, I pleasured myself.
Brave laughter-not faith. Rewarded are the courageous for they shall pass!
Thine I is envious of satisfaction. Yet none devotes himself to reality.
Whoever learneth much, unlearneth all sentimental and small desires. This is the new atavism I would teach: Demand of God equality; usurp! The mighty are righteous for their morals are arbitrary.
Live beyond thought in courageous originality.
These hopes and fears are somnism, there is little reality. Repent not, but strive to sin in thine own way, light-heartedly: without self-reproach. One becomes the thing itself or its creature.
Judge without mercy, all this weakness is thy self-abuse.
Experience is by contract. The great experience: Seduce thyself to pleasure.
There is only one sin: suffering. There is only on virtue: the will to self-pleasure.
The greatest- the greatest non-morally.
The origin of morality is obedience to the earliest form of government. In youth, all things have to obey their parents.
O, my aged IKKAH, loose this the navel cord, that my youth may pass! The most important outcome of human effort is that we learn to become righteous thieves: To possess more easily of others for self-advantage. In this incessant glorification of work, I discover a great human secret: "Do thou the work; I my pleasure." As above so below, this is never sufficiently realized.
...Remorse? Nay, do unto thyself all things, fearlessly. Finality is reached when ye have learned to digest everything.
What is all man-slaughter but what ye have done unto yourself?
Only where there is necessity is there death. Dispense with all 'means' to an end.
There is nothing higher than joyous sensation.
Eternal Self! these millions of bodies I have outworn! Oh, sinister ecstasy. I am thy vicious self pleasure that destroyeth all things.
Distrust thy teacher, for 'divine truth' has prevented better men from wisdom. In such revelation there is no suggestion.
Do thy utmost unto others: But be surely what thou wilt: and keep thy belief free of morality.
Observe thyself by sensation: thus know the finer perturbations and vibrations.
This much shalt thou learn: To love all men, for there will be compulsion.
Serve no man, hell is democracy.
Think not the words 'I wish,' say not the words 'I will.'
Respect thy body: it will again become thy parents.
Fear nothing; strike at the highest.
Ennui is fear: Death is failure. Go where thou fearest most.
How canst thou become great among men?...Cast thyself forth! Of this event, genius is the successful effort of memory.
Break thy commandments, be lawless unto all dogma.
Revolt is the fertiliser of the new faculties. Knowledge and all evil wars react from previous existences that are now fragmentary to the body and operate as disembodied astrals. The more distant the creature that govern our functions the more unusual is our manifestation of phenomena, which are but living their physical peculiarities by a mechanism. Retrogress to the point where knowledge ceases, in that law becomes its own spontaneity and is freedom.
If my word has spoken unto fragments, pushed aside marriage beds, and brushed out old grave chambers; if I ever rejoiced in calumnies, if I have murdered, lied, adulterated, robbed; if like the weather I spit on all things-is it because I remember, that of my belief-there is a volition that willeth opposite?
For I love thee, O Self!
For I love thee, O mine I!
Oh! how could I fail to be agog for originality in self-love? Never yet has procreation with another been satisfactory.
If I have wandered into marriage with anything-there has been a conspiracy of accidents: within and without. And what willeth to self-pleasure- this out-breather of good taste, this conversion to ungodliness?
I know thee!...thou heavenly necessity that compelleth chance to supersede the sexualities!
For mine I is worthy of the Self: and alone knows what is righteousness.
Verily, I tell you good and evil are one and the same. It is but the distance thou hast reached.
Will unto self-love - the unexhausted, the procreative of ecstasy!
Where there is life there is will unto pleasure; however paradoxical the manifestation. Where living things command they risk nothing but their own law.
This Self-love does not circumscribe nor promise but gives whatsoever is taken-spontaneously.
Thus I teach thee, will unto pleasure of all things, for they must again change the tenacity to obedience. And this new name I give unto thee, for all accusations: Not sinner, but somnambulist.
For he who premeditates, acts in his sleep.
Having overcome the difficulty of obtaining a male incarnation from parents not too venereal, one's habitation should be wandering among men: Employment, devotion to Art: Bed, a hard surface: Clothes of camel hair: Diet, sour milk and roots of the earth. All morality and love of women should be ignored. To whom does not such abandonment give the unknown pleasure?
Again I say: 'In all things' pleasure Thyself, for occasion need not be.

APHORISM III

"The Chaos of the Normal"

IKKAH SPEAKS OF HIMSELF:
I would counsel closed ears, for those who contain the great Ideas, have no opinions.
Who doth know what his own subconsciousness contains? Still less his own Arcana. They are the great who allow its operation by silence.
Of two things we have choice: degeneration or immobility.
Out of the past cometh this new thing.
Becoming heaven's slaves-is some of pleasure begged again?
Man strives for increase,-the monstrous world of vague and mad Ideas is incarnating.
Come back, your goal is jail! Turn about and you arrive...
This maddest of worlds. Daily is pleasure limited by the necessity of cheapened facilities.
Onwards and ever more weary-till sleep-then backwards. There is nothing conceivable that does not exist, because the vision is feeble.
In keeping the right distance from Things, is Safety. But how much should we gain?
Experience is ignorance. The necessity of reoccurrence.
One thing is certain: we are subject to our own moral laws, whether we are or are not aware of them. The desire determines, and no later belief shall alter it one whit.
The highest creations are those that harmonize the most incongruous things.
Art is the truth we have realized or our belief. The great human factor in Life is deceit: Always the greater deceiver-self?
The wrath is revealed against all that hold the truth in righteousness.
Still are those shallownesses, who could know they hide a universe?
And tell me, what is it the obvious does not contain? Know much of life! Should death give you its secret? Self suggestion-to will, this is the great teacher: not dogma.
To those of fixed Ideas, beware of suppressed evacuation.
What the world reveres most, treat with the utmost contempt.
Consumption, evacuation, sleep: this labour suffers of no variation for to-morrow we again procreate life.
O, fool! suicide does not exist...there is no death. Death is change and for many very small change. You who stink like a butcher's shambles-what is your daily menu?
Become less carnivorous. If the food is wholesome, the body shall not suffer. The difference between man and beast is one of acquisition, not digestion.
There is no lasting peace; ye eternally fall in love with the new thing of belief.
To the mental gymnast: your somersault returns from the place where it began.
Slave! All you know for certain: you suffer.
Embrace reality by imagination.
From birth is a degeneration of function; safe is he who never leaves his mother's womb.
What is perfect does not reflect its caricature. What is true has no argument-in that it is voliton.
The workers of malignity own the Kingdom of Earth. What asses these teachers, prophets and moralists now appear! And through them what greater she-asses we have become!
You would have prophecy? First tell me your sleeping partner's name... What once evoked a mighty passion is now repulsive; lest ye forget: sleep alone.
If you yourself cannot be ungodly then nothing will convert you.
No nearer the goal for life is eternal.
Which are more unclean: they who make a profession of their morality, or they who prostitute?
Life is a viscous charity from which germinates friendships towards parasites.
The necessity of a better life is intoxication but more and greater things than strong drink intoxicate.
Thou hast become remote-I rejoice in thee!
Who invented such things as vanity and humiliation? The higher the form of creation the more it habitates earth and the more it is conscious of body.
Everything that is half realized becomes the material of dreams; man has always badly mixed the dream with the reality.
He who transcends time escapes necessity.
The living Lord speaks: 'In disciples is my satisfaction.' A weary one asked: 'Is it not written on the sandals of the prostitute-follow me?'
All undesirable things become morally fearsome.
Only the animal in man dances...
Hatred is life-the love of possession.
He who can truthfully say-I believe in nothing but myself-in all things realized.

ZOD-KA SPEAKS OF IKKAH
The abyss Self projecting from non-existence the procreatrix I, was the great change and the beginning: to extend the purpose of desire-for Time to make all existence inexact-those things kept ever vague.
Thus was the will to operate unbegotten.
One thing is nominally, everything alternatingly desirous. That which is first desired is permitted, then externalized and taken away by a circumlocution of beliefs becoming law.
No knowledge would seperate us from the virtues of non-existence but that for man; having become involved with disease, all his food is poisonous; his complete saturation is inevitable that he may become again healthy. Thus man wills by thought.
By the 'death posture' (A simulation of death by the utter negation of thought, i.e. the prevention of desire from belief and the functioning of all consciousness through the sexuality; not for subjection of mind, body or longevity nor any thing as such) the Body is allowed to manifest spontaneously and is arbitrary and impervious to reaction. Only he who is unconscious of his actions has courage beyond good and evil: and is pure in this wisdom of sound sleep.
Will to pleasure is the basic function underlying all activity whether conscious or not, and whatsoever the means. Denial of this Self-love is disease - the cause of homicide; the sufferings of part-sexualities and small things germinating.
Knowledge of necessities is desirous: Deliberation is but a sorry disatisfaction-a first cause of illusions, harnessing man to a mass of half-realized desires. Remember! O Ikkah, these present Ideas of consciousness obtaining in senses and bodies, are transitory-are destined for usage and other predeterminations-and unnecessary to wakefulness. Will is transition; the painful process of transmigration-the labour of birth of death. Volition to supersede a thing is inability to realize the living Self. For whatever is attained is but the re-awaking of an earlier experience of body.
Man should most desire a simultaneous consciousness of his separate entities. All consciousness of 'I' is a decline and vegetates good and evil afresh-the compulsion of limit and morality. From spontaneous nonexistence, germinate all significant ecstasy-that shall last in the uttermost impossibilities unconditioned to will.
Alas! what ornaments are graveyards? The pleasure ground of self is contact with the living.
The fool hastens to man with a mouth overfull of new discoveries of power subservient to will! What matters it that we have realized a little more of I? Of beyond its limits of possibility?
Note well! All things are possible even in nightmares-becoming, they are a necessity, an additional boundary to memory-the further seperate entities of consciousness.
Remember O Ikkah! Thou shall not cease to be again what is denied-unto the end of conception: thus man has constructed his seed. These sentient creatures and the beyond conceptions in the order of evolution were thou once as they?
O Ikkah, Thou art this present God - this termite and many other things not yet domesticated or associated with thought.
This focus 'I' called consciousness is unaware of its entire living embodiments but alternates and epitomizes their personalities.
What is 'I' and the extent of its conscious habitation? ...A weak desire, a memory governed by ethics and ignorant of its own bodies. Therefore that which is indeliberate is the more vital and is will: discarded knowledge is the sexuality and becomes law.
Thus entity exists in many units simultaneously without consciousness of 'Ego' as one flesh. Verily, I say-the deliberations of many exist in living animations-their consciousness split among a multitude of creatures but knowing only the more important incarnations-What greater misery than this?
Of others, their awake-consciousness is aware of more than one entity and obtain ecstasy by saturable desire.
O Ikkah! Jest viciously! Abandon this haunted mortuary in a blind turning-by significant courage. The 'I' surfeit-swelled is the end of compassion-the indrawing of sex to Self-love. Fortunate is he who absorbs his female bodies-ever projecting-for he acquires the extent of his body.
Whatever is desired, predetermines its existence in endless ramifications miserably and evanescent: Self-love is the paradox of I.
Oh Ikkah Zod-ka! Thy fiction of finality has prevented sleep and created eternity. O, invent sound sleep by the utter ruin of cosmos!
For impalpably and anterior to consciousness-all things exist...
With sensibility and name, becoming its living simulation and thus it disappears-involving its consequent necessity.
Reason has become too sensible, thus desire has become legerdemain mixed with diablerie. The soul, proud and blighted...is a civil war of desire: thereof the necessity for medicine and anesthesia. Man has made this environment: the mind is now the belly of the sexuality. Thus I suggest to thee- Self-love and its own temptation to excess.
Verily, greater courage hath none than to satisfy the unexpected desire by Self-pleasure.
For this reason, that when the desire again reacts, to operate in the ego, the suffering shall be ecstatic. How do I know? Not by farcical dialogue with Self but through contact with its undulations...are we not ever standing on our own volcano?
What is beyond man-something more dishonest or a further beast?
One thing is desired, another is thought; and a different becomes.
Everything loved obtains an obscene disease. These dream postures are ominous prophecy of thyself to become-the obscure wish. O joy and woe! which is the higher morality-to love man while being man or to reincarnate as woman to fulfil desire? Death is that degeneration, an alternation of ego in consciousness i.e., desire, its metamorphosis into separate entities for that purpose: serving its own. Man's living virtues are those unfamiliar with names. His absurd I is ever supralapsarian. Man has exhausted his courage by imaginations engendered from the damned: Never can he satisfy what follows these repressions. Thou who tremblest all over! Thy soul shudders! Thou dost perish from the poison of yesterday's armour and righteousness! O incomprehensible synonymy! O thou who art neither the vigorous kiss of my twin sexes nor its writhings of hatred and black shame. Nothing is discovered of thee until I invented it: from the ceaseless resurrection of earlier deliberations. O thou syzygy of my I and Self! Thou becomest volatile to whatsoever is sensed. Art thou the hidden wish for madness and hysteric love? O thou "untamed" within, thou shall not lose virtue-for thee I will not domesticate while generating. O idiocy! where is that path where I may wander naked in frenzy, a trespasser against all things reasonable? O time! saith good and evil: 'Come, come! Ego, I come!'

Knowledge alone is transitory, the illusion subsequent to 'I desire all things.'
Eternal, without beginning is Self; without end am I; there is no other power and substance. The ever changing modifications and diversities we see are the results of forgetfulness, misinterpretated by nightmare senses. When the Self again desires, then I only and nothing else shall remain. Permitting all things, whatsoever is imagined comes out of it. Believe what you will, it has no compassion. The connotation Self-love is applicable to all things. To it, all things are equal. The destroyer of devotees; lover of all things unique.
Giving overflow to all who are indifferent to wanglers, who jest at doctrines...of emancipation in celibacy and vituperation. I declare this Self-pleasure alone is free of Theism; the disenthralment of God and the distractions of ego in the many entities of existence I show. Ye who praise Truth thereby causing its necessity are compelled to live differently. Out of this afterthought of belief-thrives this somnambulating generation of unpleasured fools, liars and homicides-ever bewildered by good and evil. All has become inborn sex, so complex 'am I,' that a successful awakening is impossible without catastrophe. Birth is now painful, life a dire necessity and death an uncertainty-except of fearsome things. What further, O Ikkah, should a cesspool of truths contain? Nor truth, nor women, nor anything else once made objective shall satisfy. They who are committed to doctrines shall continue to move in this cycle of transmigrating belief: degenerating beyond limits they dare not face, and so allow conception to exist of itself from the imaginations 'I believe.'
What more disgusting? For I am all sex. What I am not is moral thought, simulating and separating. Imagined through forgetfulness, born asleep, whose very essence is vague, how can this world with such vapid antecedents, be anything but unthinkable! What man prohibits and then commits will certainly cause suffering, because he has willed double.
Born of complex desire, results of actions are dual: multitudinous virtue and vice. Creation is causee through this formula of reaction and is a servile believing-all this universe has come out of it. When by that unprohibiting Self-love all this cosmos is certainly familiar and pleasured, it should be practised with labour.
But who is honest enough to believe this without relapse? Having renounced both good and evil conveniently, one should engage in spasmodic madness. Renouncing everything else take shelter in that Self-love, which incites the functions into the bold, 'freedom from necessity am I': virtue and vice shall cease. Self-illumination am I; the procreatrix of this universe. Indomitable in body: born of the bastard truth I made. When the eyes are shut the world certainly does not exist. O chaos! is there no greater joy than flagellation; the ecstatic paralysis that makes holocausts of withered souls; the hideously pitiable cripples-"I fear..."? I assert this Self-love to be a most secret ritual hidden by blasphemous Ideographs: and he who calls, pronouncing the word fearlessly, the entire creation of women shall rush into him.

What are lies-but mistimed events?
What is time but a variety of one thing?
What is all folly, but will?
What are all beliefs but the possibilities of I?
What is all future but resurrection?
What is all creation but thyself?
Why is all existence? Awake! Up! up, for thine own sake - Self-love discover.

O sin, where is thy violence?
O love, where is thine incest?
O thought, where is thy courage?
O hope, where is thy faith?
O Self where is thy humility?
O truth, where is thy mispronunciation?
Verily, Self-love alone is complete!


forward to ->The Sexuality and Sleep of Aaos
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