Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.
Hello. My name is Joe Larabell. In case it’s not already obvious, you’re looking at a page from my personal blog. I first published my own static web site around 1995 and since then it’s accumulated a considerable collection of information, most of which is embarassignly out-of-date. I’ve had a number of interesting adventures during my half-century on this planet. I’ve been a member of a number of different religious groups, been married three times, and changed jobs about a dozen times. I’ve been a regular contributor to a number of special-interest forums but this blog site is my first attempt to join the relatively new world of social interaction sites.
I’ll post more about myself in the future. For now, if you’re at all curious, please visit my web site or use the Contact form to post an email message to me. Because I receive over 10,000 spam mails a day, I no longer publish my email address online. And because I have an ex-wife who has proben to be a bit on the litigious side, I have never posted my exact physical location. Nonetheless, I’m quite opinionated on a number of topics so if you want to know anything about Thelema, Scientology, Ceremonial Magick, Japan, Buddhism, Electronic Design Automation, Cross-Cultural Marriage, or even just advice on life in general, write me or leave a comment on one of my posts.
It’s hard to know what to say in this space that won’t come across as the prosaic equivalent of a “selfie” but on the off-chance someone reading this page is actually interested in who I am and where I’m coming from, I figured I should have something that answers their questions. To that end, I’ll format this more as a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) page.
Where have you been… I’ve been looking all over for you?
After graduating from Wayne State University in Detroit, I spent 15 years living in Los Angeles to get away from the snow. I was bitten by the Japan bug a little over two decades ago and decided to try my hand at living abroad. I moved to Tokyo in December of 1993 and lived there for just over two years. In early 1996 I decided to return to California for a much needed rest. This time I landed in the heart of Silicon Valley. My tenure in the San Jose area was also short-lived. Around the end of 1998 I was approached by someone I had met during my previous stay in Japan and, after a bit of soul searching and an offer I couldn’t refuse, I decided to give Tokyo a second chance. The second time seems to have stuck… I’ve been here for over 16 years now and there’s no end in sight.
I prefer to make myself difficult to find in the flesh but I am not at all difficult to reach in cyber-space. In theory, you should be able to look me up on Google+. I don’t have a Facebook page so don’t even try looking. I hesitate to publish my email address because I’ve seen the volumes of spam that resulted from publishing my address openly on the legacy site and it’s not a pretty picture. Try the Contact link at the top of the page.
What do you look like?
I pretty much try to avoid publishing private images of myself, my family, or my activities online. There are a few exceptions. You can find a series of “approved” personal images at “The Many Faces of…” on this very site. If you republish anything from this web site that’s attributed to me, please try to stick to one of the images on that page (and be sure to honor the copyright license shown at the bottom of every page).
What do you do for a living?
I develop computer software for a major Electronic Design Automation (EDA) company. I’ve been in software development of one sort or another for nearly 3 decades (except for some of the time in Japan, when I worked in customer support). My specialty is digital logic simulation… although the simulation part is more-or-less a solved problem these days and most of my work is with the tools and applications surrounding the simulator itself. If you don’t know about EDA and simulation, the basic idea is to provide a set of tools that IC chip designers can use to verify their designs before building them (because, once you’ve build an IC chip, it’s too late to fix it if you got it wrong). It’s a fairly specialized field with only a handful of major players.
Why do you keep your resume online?
Because I can. And because it annoys those who choose to ignore the fact that everyone, ultimately, is available if the situation is right. This is especially true in any sort of high-tech field. Also, it saves me the time and trouble of printing and mailing my resume to headhunters or perspective employers. In fact, the last two times I changed jobs, I didn’t need to do anything but email the URL where my resume could be found. It serves as a screening device, too. If a personnel grunt tells me they need a hard-copy resume because their company doen’t have internet access, I know that’s not any place I would enjoy working. (By the way… in case it’s not obvious… my online resume is intentionally out-of-date.)
So you’re available to look at employment opportunities?
Not really. In fact, I turned down an opportunity to interview at Google a couple years ago. Everyone, ultimately, is available and if you’re able to double my salary and guarantee a five-year contract, let’s talk. But, other than that, I have a job I enjoy (most of the time), working for a boss with whom I get along very well, I’m paid a competitive salary, and I get to work at home. Not only that but, at this point in my career, I’m better off building on my existing reputation rather than trying to establish myself in a new environment. But thanks for asking…
For the record, I delete any cold-call emails from recruiters who don’t give me some indication that they’ve read this page. In fact, these days GMail probably deletes them before I even see them. (Thanks, Google ;-).
What is your personal philosophy?
I’ll keep this as short as I can. The root of my personal philosophy is simple. It can be summed up in eleven words: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”. In essence, this is an affirmation of individual freedom. But, while it may seem simple on the surface, in practice it is hardly easy. For one, most people miss that this is not meant to excuse whatever behavior you might wish to display toward others but that it is more of an indication to the person you are addressing that you honor their chosen course through life. You see, nobody can be truly free unless everyone is equally free. This is the basis of most of my action these days. But, like I said, it’s hardly easy.
Now, those who have already heard the above quote will recognize this philosophy as Thelema. However, everyone is ultimately the product of their experiences, overlaid one upon the other like a collage. While I do subscribe personally to the tenets proposed by Thelema, my personal philosophy is made up of pieces of all of the various practices that I engagned in along the way. Among these are Catholicism, Scientology, Seth, Hermeticism, Magick, Buddhism, and (most recently) Shinto.
One of my talents this life seems to be the ability to make complex things seem simple through the use of analogy. I am also able to see the similarities between different systems of belief and I’m not so stuck to any one of them that I can’t accept what’s useful from other systems. These two talents, in combination with the unique path I happen to have followed, have given me what I think is a unique perspective on the ancient principles of hermeticism. I intend over the next few months (or years, if need be) to write a series of lectures on the subject.
I have also been thinking about how Thelema works as a political platform. That’s not to say that existing Thelemic groups are not political. On the contrary, there is often more “politics” in the typical Thelemic Order than in society in general. But what I am referring to is the concept of expanding Thelema to be more than a hobby for armchair magicians and anarchists. My first few attempts to stir the political pot never really panned out. I’m still looking for an avenue to apply the theory of Thelema to the practical matter of governing.
That’s all for now. If you have any questions or thoughts that might be interesting to publish, leave a comment below.
Love is the law, love under Will.