Saturday, 22 February 2020

LGBTMSs: Institutions (including churches) are not like persons - and even less like gods

One reason that nearly all the Christian churches are falling (or already fallen) to the (evil) secular, Left anti-Christian agenda; is that these churches usually believed (often as a matter of faith, a dogma) that their churches were (essentially) supernatural, eternal divine persons that could not be corrupted.

They believed that although individual humans who worked in the church institutions could be corrupted - the essence of the church was a supernaturally validated and defended entity that was invulnerable to corruption.

By contrast, the mainstream socio-political Left believed that institutions are human creations inhabited by humans (this including churches and also all corporations, industries, professions, sciences, societies, unions, charities, newspapers and media, schools and colleges, hospitals... all institutions of all kinds).

And as such, all institutions could (in principle) be corrupted: could be subverted, destroyed, inverted... could be 'hollowed-out and worn as a skin-suit'; could be co-opted and redirected to serve to the (anti-Christian) Left agenda; no matter what they had originally been, no matter what their original purpose.

Even when that institution had been doing some other thing for hundreds of years - like some churches and colleges and professions like Law and Medicine - the Left believed that by replacement of personnel and by new managererialism they could all be made servants of the Left agenda.

They were correct!

So we see all institutions of all kinds - including Christian churches - increasingly-completely sharing the primary Leftist goals such as equality, feminism, antiracism and diversity, the climate emergency agenda, and active promotion of the sexual revolution (coercively, aggressively, with no opposition nor opt-outs allowed).

Religious denominations were wrong, and are wrong, if they suppose that God operates to immunise certain belief-systems against Leftism.

There is zero positve evidence for that assumption and massive counter-evidence..; although any church is, of course, free to insist: "but that was them - it couldn't happen to us." - just so long as they aware that all the other churches said exactly the same thing at some point.

Yet Just Look At Them, Now!

What I am saying is that institutions are not like individual human beings, and even less like supernatural, eternal divine persons: on the contrary, an institution is (over the long term) nothing more than the people running it and the system that they follow.

Replace the people and change the system (by changing the rules, or changing the way people interpret the rules) and you get a different institution. Often a completely different institution; sharing nothing but the name and lineal continuity with what was before.

An institution may begin as a Christian church, or a college, or a science, or a news agency, or a charity to provide food to the poor... but by the time the people and the rules have been replaced; it will end-up as just another Leftist, Generic, Bureaucratic, Totalitarian, Managerial System - doing what all the other LGBTMSs are doing - including the pursuit of plans and policies motivated by strategic anti-Christian animus.

Christian evangelism of the future

Some modern Christian evangelism is working, and should be continued; but the signs are in the direction of declining effectiveness.

This may be because modern Western people are living in a secular and anti-Christian environment; plus they are also, by their innate nature, resistant to the necessary step of consciously and by free choice becoming Christians.

This modern West is a society in which evil primarily (not exclusively) takes an Ahrimanic form: meaning that it is systematic, procedural, dry, cold, bureaucratic... and aims at a totalitarian world of omni-surveillance and micro-control of human behaviour; including (it is intended) human thinking.

By my understanding; this means that Christian evangelism will Fail insofar as it approximates the bureaucratic nature of modern evil. That is, evangelism will fail, or be counter-productive, insofar as evangelical efforts are a system, a set of procedures or guidelines, based upon managerial structures, treat individuals as inter-changeable units and resources etc. 

What lies beyond the Ahrimanic tendencies of the modern age? Well, one aspect is that it is a world of acknowledged individualism, freedom and consciousness. Evangelism is therefore a matter between two individuals, an encounter of chosen mutual willingness; and an encounter of 'heart-thinking, intuition, and a knowledge which is direct and also conscious.  

In a world where manipulation of persons by subliminal messages, lust, pride, fear and resentment are the norm - these must all be eschewed. Christianity needs to be presented as what it is, in a positive and without-using-threats way - as the potential object of a positive choice... And not, therefore, a choice imposed by fear of the alternatives and the desire to escape them, nor a choice presented as the only possible coherent solution to a philosophical problem.

Some-how (and this may well be unique per person, to be known only by direct and individual human engagement) the hope is to present the Christian vision of life as-a-whole and with its wonderful possibilities... then to step back and say (in effect):

"If this is what you want, you should discover whether (or no) there is significant reason to accept that the Christian promise is both true and possible.

"If you want it and there is significant reason to believe it possible, then it is rational to choose to believe it.

"And you need to make that decision."

And the choice-to-believe then opens-up the many other possibilities; including faith - which is that loving trust a child feels for his parents in an ideal family.

Friday, 21 February 2020

What is the appeal of Christianity? Excitement and depth of living

What is the appeal of Christianity?

1. Life is a war, and...
2. Life is a quest.

(So far, the Christian life is as exciting as anything can be - as exciting as a gripping novel, movie or TV show - with all the classic plot elements. Life, my life and yours, are playing for the highest stakes; like, but more than, the most epic-catastrophe eco-disaster thriller - but with immortal souls at stake instead of just temporary bodies.)

3. Life is a destiny.

(All the above is about you, specifically. You are part of a big war and universal quest, with a family, comrades, a nation... But also within that plot you have your own unique destiny, that nobody ever had before, or will ever have again - and which only you can accomplish.)

4. Life has an extra dimension.

(Add to the above an undiscovered realm of spirit, and expansion of everyday reality, an extra depth behind everything. There is always more than meets the eye. Magic is real, supervillains are real, superpowers are real. Everything is in some way alive, in some way conscious, and part of creation. There is a secret garden, a fairy kingdom - accessible from everywhere...)

5. Life matters: it is real, serious and/because permanent.

(This is so because followers of Jesus will each live forever in an indestructible body; there is potential for our experiences in mortal life to have everlasting effects for eternity. Christians can 'take it with them' after death. And the persistence is not into something like a museum of dessicated artefacts; but is a living, growing, creating, developing kind of enduring.)

Note: And if your Christianity is Not as above, then you are probably missing the point. Because all that stuff, above, is not just available to all Christians, but is how Christians ought to be - ought to see themselves and their world... 

How does human consciousness 'evolve' (develop) through history, if there is not reincarnation?

Almost everybody who believes-in the evolution of human consciousness, also believes-in reincarnation - but not me.

While I think it probable that reincarnation was usual before the advent of Jesus Christ; I don't believe that reincarnation has been normal since then, at least among Christians - and has indeed been very exceptional (or absent). This for the simple reason that Jesus came to bring resurrected and eternal life in Heaven to his followers, and my assumption is that resurrection happens soon after biological death - which combination (as I understand it) rules-out reincarnation. (although perhaps not something like projected avatars...).

However I also believe that through history (and pre-history) the consciousness of men has developed according to a divine plan or destiny (consciousness has 'evolved' in an old sense of the word). In other words, Men at different points in history have thought and experienced differently - and this is evolutionary-development of mind is (of course) reflected in language (as documented by the work of Owen Barfield), religion, society, science, art and everything else.

But the key point is that socio-cultural change is driven by the inner change in human consciouness - and that inner change has inner causes - and not (or not primarily) the other way around (as most people suppose).

However, if for the past c. 2000 years at least, human souls have one mortal life, and if therefore we can experience only one mode of consciousness and one era of evolutionary history - then what is the value of an evolution in consciousness? Why have consciousness changing through human generations - if, for each individual person - consciousness is Not changing?

My answer is that each of us is unique, therefore each of us needs different experiences in our (one) mortal life; and the evolution of consciousness is a way that God uses to give individual human spirits the many types of experience that each needs.

Other ways of providing different experiences come from different families, different social circumstances, nations, levels and types of civilisation etc. But one of the important ways in which mortal life is tailored to the needs of individual incarnating spirits is through the phases and stages of the development of consciousness.

So that the simple hunter gatherer societies had (in important respects) a very young-child-like consciousness even among adults. Medieval Europe was essentially rooted in the developmental stage of an older child (with its fixed symbolism, hierarchies and rituals). Modern society is essentially the adolescent stage.

And there has never yet been (except among individuals and small temporary groups, perhaps) any time and place where the adult form of consciousness has prevailed - although that is the task of our stage of evolution: i.e. to become properly adult in our consciousness.

Our task (here and now, in The West) is to grow-up spiritually; to attain (and this must be an active and conscious choice, which is a reason why it has not yet happened) what Owen Barfield called Final Participation.

On Certainty

I have noticed that there is an anti-Christian dog-whistle sounding when people rail against Certainty - and advocate doubt and permanent seeking as a higher path.

As usual, there is a grain of truth and insight that enables the evil to thrive.

That grain is our innate and spontaneous desire for a life of 'ing' rather than stasis. Aside from a small minority of intellectual mystics (who crave one-ess, stasis beyond time, ego-annihilation etc); most people's idea of the Good Life and of paradise is dynamic and rooted in personal relationships.

Therefore a life of doubting and seeking sounds more alive, more real, than static certainty.

Another (different) partial truth in the criticism of certainty is that certainty leads to motivation, and when people are motivated they are capable of great courage and hard work - and courage and hard work may be used to accomplish great evil.

A group of people who are certain usually have strong cohesion, amplifying the possibilities of accomplishment - including the accomplishment of nasty things.

(Thus the National Socialist Workers Party of Germany - Nazis - were highly certain of their rightness - and they were motivated, coherent and very hard working in the evils they accomplished (as well as the good). and they are unique paradigms of evil to the modern 'mind': therefore (so it goes) Certainty must be evil... Or, at least, Certainty must be evil when it is anti-communist, because the zeal of communist fanatics is admired - whether covertly or often explicitly.)   

Therefore it is plausible to rail against certainty on moral grounds - and advocate in favour of perpetual doubt and open-ended exploring - so long at people do not think any further about the matter.

And of course, very few people nowadays are capable or willing of thinking more than one, or at most two step along an argument. So they don't notice that in vilifying Certainty they are advocating powerlessness, paralysis, demotivation, nihilism and despair...

Now, for the powers of evil this is a feature, not a bug: it is precisely why evil has been so insistent that Certainty is A Bad Thing. Because, as always with mainstream modern leftism - principles are unilaterally applied. In particular, certainty is regarded as A Bad Thing for Christians.

When mainstream modern people slam certainty, they are slamming their usual (usually covert) target of 'fundamentalist' Christians - i.e. they are vilifying real Christians, those whose faith dominates their lives and thought.

They are not attacking the certainties of The Left. The Left are absolutely 100% certain of the goodness and univeral applicability of Equality, Feminism, Abortion, Affirmative Action, the Sexual Revolution, Human Rights and many other topics.

(Just try opening a conversation on the comparative pros and cons of slavery in the United States - and you will see Certainty in Action.)

Leftist principles Must Be regarded with unexamined and unqualified approval. They must Not be doubted ever, nor even discussed in any analytic fashion. Anyone who does - who makes any remark (no matter how brief or contextual) other than unqualified and uncritical total acceptance - is vilified without restraint and (if possible) their lives will be destroyed.

The covert message is: Un-certainty is necessary for You; but as for me and mine, we know we are true...

The attack on certainty is a part of the spiritual war between God and the powers of evil; and in this war, servants and dupes of the powers of evil dominate the Global Establishment and the leadership of all large and powerful Institutions - including the mass media. 

So, while there is some partial truth in criticising Certainty (else such criticism would not be effective); its true status is as a dishonest rhetorical weapon, to be strategically deployed to undermine Christianity specifically - and flowing from that to undermine any commitment to things of which the left disapproves such as monogamous marriage and the family.

The Establishment are on 'relativists' when it comes to their enemies - and absolutists among themselves. When it comes to their own principles and policies; they are dogmatic, uncritical, blind, blinkered and one-sided. They are certain, and They insist upon certainty in others.

Thus about half of the activity of the mass media (especially its entertainment branch)  consists in seeding and encouraging 'doubts' about Christianity and the Family; in advocating that such people (and only such people) be Not certain ('dogmatic', 'blinkered'); but instead be 'open', and 'progressive'.   

Not to be open and progressive about leftism is to be blinded by ignorant zeal or consumed by evil intent...

Happy endings come to those who are certain of the virtues of Leftism; while those who are dogmatic about Christianity and Christian morality have bad outcomes...  

By such means They intend to disempower and demoralise the forces on the side of God and the Good.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Eastern meditation: An asymptotic approach towards the insensibility of extinction

I have been listening more to John Butler (JB) who seems a sincere, eloquent and expert Western (Christianised, but not Christian) exponent of Eastern meditation.

He seeks stillness and presence; he experiences what strikes him as infinity, complete inclusion, not time, no space, pure spirit.

He describes this as Love - but of course his is an extreme abstraction of love since there are no persons, nor beings and no relationship - and no change.

He describes it as God - but again this is an utterly impersonal and abstract God, pantheistically distributed throughout reality.

Over the fifty-plus years JB has been meditating, he has experienced a greater satisfaction, a larger experience, greater inclusivity - and in general a progression and expansion of experience.

He is trying to get rid of thinking - he regards thinking as perhaps the main problem of Man in the world. He is trying to get rid of the ego, the self - and equates this with spiritual progress.

My interpretation of what is happening, is that JB has approached closer and closer, without ever reaching, towards the cessation of self/ ego and consciousness/ thinking.

These can never be extinguished, or else JB would altogether lose awareness, and would not experience anything (much like deep sleep) - and would remember nothing.

As the self and thinking dwindle through techniques of disciplined and skilled meditation; there is a diminishment of the experience of time, space and all other experiences. All worries disappear, all attachments to the world - life is just here and now.

Since JB is prone to mental suffering and seems not to have loving personal relationships - he often experiences 'life' as a great trial without hope. He craves a permanence which mortal life cannot give. So for JB to dissolve-into less and less ego and consciousness is an end to all suffering, to all angst and loneliness, to all fears and the sorrow of change and loss.

JB regards this state of 'peace' as the highest goal of life - but it seems to reduce to less life, tending towards no life.

Myself - I see the highest and greatest happiness in terms of love between persons, in a marriage, family and among good friends - and it is that for which I crave permanence. Secondarily I seek to create - this has also been a deep satisfaction. Love-ing between persons and the act of create-ing are both phenomena that happen in Time, with Time, through Time; they both entail change, and depend upn the sustaining (and indeed increase) of the self/ ego/ thinking/ consciousness.

Which is why I am a Christian and hope for Heaven; and JB isn't and hopes for assimilation into an abstract aspect of God's love.

A Christian man who believed in an evil God - some malign consequences of of traditionalist metaphysics

I once met a man who believed, really believed, in an evil God.

He had been brought-up a devout traditionalist Christian, a practising Christian - with the usual metaphysics including that God created everything from nothing (ex nihilo). And he believed that this Christian God was in truth sadistic, was evil.

Why? This was his reasoning, so far as I could understand it:

"I have evil desires. These desires will not go away. I do not yield to them, but they torment me. My life is made extremely miserable, with no hope of relief.

"I acknowledge that these desires are evil. And that God made me the way that I am. Therefore God is evil.

"God could have made me otherwise, but God made me evil and made me miserable without relief. A God that makes an evil Man is evil; a God that chooses to inflict lifelong misery is a sadist."

(This was a specific man, with a specific and (to him, acknowledged) abhorrent sin. But, we are all predisposed to sin, he can be taken as a more-than-usually-insightful representative of Everyman.)

And I believe this man was logical in his inferences, based upon his assumptions. He was, nonetheless, wrong - because his assumptions were wrong (or, at least, not necessarily true). Specifically, he was wrong in assuming that God had created him wholly and from nothing.

If, instead, the man had assumed that he contained evil, but that this evil was not 'built' into him but was simply the way he happened to be, from eternity... If he had assumed that men differ, each is an individual - and that this was the way he 'happened to be'... then he would not have blamed God.

He may instead have seen that God was doing everything possible to save him.

My understanding (contrary to this man) is that we all lived before this immortal life, as spirits. And that this man's incarnation as a mortal on earth was something mutually agreed between him and God, as a 'chance' for this man to overcome the evil he had always suffered; and to be saved into eternal resurrected life in Heaven.

This, I believe, is how it is for all of us.

This man could have remained a spirit in Heaven with God, and his life would then have been happier. But instead he chose mortal incarnation, so that he might become more free free, more of an agent, more God-like; so that he might attain the fullness of spiritual development, as a participant in God's creation, as a resurrected immortal Man like Jesus Christ. 

It was a risk, a risk he (as a pre-mortal spirit) decided to take.

And in fact the plan had mostly worked. This man probably had been saved - all but.

He had acknowledged and repented his sin - despite that doing so made him miserable. All that he would need to do was, before or after he died, accept Jesus as his saviour and follow him through the trasnformation of resurrection to life eternal.

However, perhaps this man was still alive because he had not yet accepted Jesus as his Saviour; and perhaps he had not done this because he did not want to enter a Heaven made and ruled by 'the kind of God' who had 'made' him the way he was - who had (as this man understood it) implanted in him the desire for evil.

Therefore, in practice, this man's salvation was seriously endangered by his - largely undetected and unanalysed metaphysical assumptions.

Probably he was not even aware that it was possible to be a Christian on the basis of completely different metaphysical assumptions - as, for example, Mormons are.

But this man, like most Christians, believe that to be a real Christian one must believe in creation-from-nothing.

My impression was that this man was being severely tempted to regard his sin as not a sin. Maybe this wasn't really a sin after all? He was, I think, tempted to reject his model of Christianity with an evil God - the kind of God who would make fake sins just to torment people; and instead to seek the path of earthly pleasure and happiness.  

Instead of regarding his life on earth as having been made miserable when it could have been made easier, he could instead have regarded his life on earth as a great and successful chance to attain salvation despite the sin that he had borne from eternity.

This man might instead have felt gratitude and comfort at God's love in creating a world where this salvation was made possible; and gratitude to Jesus for having enabled him personally to attain the joy of life everlasting.

You might assert that all this metaphysical speculation is 'theoretical' merely, and would make no substantive difference to the daily (hourly) problem of suffering from sinful desires, known to be sinful; but you would be wrong.

I would answer that it makes all the difference whether God is responsible for our condition... or whether God is working with us to save us despite sin.

It makes all the difference between regarding oneself as a victim, living in a world designed by an evil and sadistic God... or living as a cherished son of God, in a world designed by a loving and compassionate God aiming at our ultimate salvation to joy. 

I believe that we are each individuals, from eternity; that therefore some men are/ always-have-been better than others overall, from eternity. Some men are (always have been) prone to particular abhorrent sins, or are more aware of their sins.

Therefore, salvation must be individually-tailored ('bespoke salvation).

This man was overall better than most men; however he was prone to a sin that he (and others) found particularly abhorrent.

This man just saw more clearly what we all ought to see. Yet perception of one's own sin is only half of what is needful - the other half is to be able to make sense of things in a framework where we can know that God, the creator, is good; and is working for our personal good.

The goodness of God is something each can know for himself, by direct intuitive knowledge - but for too many people this direct knowing is blocked by malign metaphysical assumptions; and Christianity is rejected because the Christian God is regarded as necessarily, logically evil - his goodness rejected as a false claim.

Right, real, true metaphysics can therefore - in some circumstances - make all the difference in the world.   

The dividing of sheep from goats - an essential part of God's work

Why is the Western world getting worse; why is materialistic-Leftism triumphant; why are we being incrementally crushed by the imposition of totalitarian bureaucracy? What meaning can such experiences have for us, in terms of God's plan of creation?

My assumption is that God's motive for creation is love, and that a major aim is to enable people to choose to join with God in the 'project' of loving creation. So, the hope is that some people will choose to learn from their experiences to make the choice of Heaven.

Since Heaven is a place of love, only those who can love can dwell there - or indeed would want to dwell there. An analogy is a loving family; because that is the ultimate basis of Heaven - God's family. For those who love the loving family, it is the best possible situation - but for those incapable of love or who reject love, the family is an abhorrent situation: oppressive and boring.   

Another assumption is that Men are free agents, and God does not know who has capacity for love or who will make the ultimate choice that love is primary. Therefore such matters can only be decided by experience. In other words, who wants and who does not want love is something that emerges as creation proceeds - creation is a situation of testing and development, during which each person's attitude to love becomes apparent.

More exactly, each person is brought to a point of decision, from which is determined whether he is a sheep - who chooses Heaven, or a goat - who rejects Heaven. Of course, such a decision can be and is often deferred, but the point of decision is at least when Heaven is chosen permanently.

It seems that resurrection into Heaven - made possible through Jesus Christ - is an eternal commitment, and the possibility that this commitment to love is eternal is a vital aspect of Heaven.

So there is a sense in which the ongoing processes of God's creation are a means to the end of self-sorting ('assortative partitioning') into sheep and goats: more exactly a means to self-sorting of sheep into Heaven eternally; and goats into some-other-destiny (not Heaven, maybe not eternal).

Let me provide an analogy based upon my thirty-something years of working in universities. The situation of universities became more evil over this time, mainly due to the progressive introduction of bureaucracy which was also the imposition of leftist-materialist (ultimately anti-Christian; thus anti Truth, Beauty and Virtue) ideology.

In this context of step-wise increase in evil, people reacted variously. Some people disagreed-with and reacted-against bureaucracy; other people saw its evil went along with it for selfish and short term reasons (e.g. careerism); others simply did not regard creeping totalitarianism (towards omni-surveillance and micro-control) as being bad or evil... They liked totalitarianism, materialism, the inversion of morality and truth... they wanted more of it.

People who perceived the evil and repented it correspond to the sheep. These are the people who comprehend and share God's values, and who want to dwell in a situation where such values prevail, which includes being a situation among others that have made an eternal commitment to God's values. Heaven is a place where Men participate with God in the work of loving creation.

The goats, in this analogy, are those who respond to experience of creeping totalitarianism with approval. They are either not capable of love or else have chosen to reject the primacy of love and put some other values in its place - for example leftist political values or the sexual revolution; and these values trend inevitably towards inversion of Christian-values.

Those who see the evil of bureaucracy but go along with it for the time being, for careerist reasons; correspond with those who are not yet sorted into sheep or goats. They have not yet decided. Their decision is being deferred.

What happened and continues to happen is that the situation continues to get worse; universities become more bureaucratic and totalitarian and evil. Their original-residual Christian values become more destroyed, subverted and inverted. And one consequence is that the unsorted are put under increasing pressure, as evil impinges upon them more and more obviously and potently.

Under this increasing evil - individuals will either repent and rebel; or else it will become revealed that they approve of bureaucratic totalitarianism: they will be self-assorted into sheep and goats.

Those sheep with loving natures will, sooner or later, come to the point of rejecting The System. Those goats who lack the capacity for love, or actively reject the primacy of love, will actively, consciously, choose to join with the strategic evil of The System... they will live to succeed in the ever-less-loving, ever-more-materialistic inverted-world of totalitarian bureaucracy. 

The above example is, therefore, a microcosm of what is going-on in God's creation. It is also an explanation of why - in some times and places - it is valuable that 'things' get worse. The most-good sheep are able to learn from 'mild' experience that they want to choose love. They don't benefit from harshening (more evil) conditions.

But there are other sheep with more mixed motivations, less naturally good, who require the kind of increasing evil, increasing pressure, increasing clarity of creeping-totalitarianism - for them to awaken, repent and rebel - and choose Heaven.

This is, therefore, a possible explanation of the meaning why 'things are coming to a point' in the modern West.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

The cape of Wakeman

An iconic image of the seventies was keyboardist Rick Wakeman, spreadeagled between banks of keyboards, wearing a long sequinned cape. Or the drummer of the Backwell Comprehensive School rock band, also wearing a cape - but smooth red, and waist length.

Or a cloak. A friend once told me that he saw a chap with long black curly hair walking the streets of Cambridge wearing a full-length black cloak; and he followed him back to a college and peeped in the window. His room had a massive portrait of King Charles II, and was indeed set-up as a shrine to that Merry Monarch.

My belief is that Wakeman's garish cape was a remote, degenerate but lineal descendent of Gandalf's cloak - and indeed the cloaks of Tolkien generally. Any impressionable adolescent who loved Tolkien nursed a secret desire to wear a cloak - and sometimes that desire became irresistible.

I personally never had the nerve; although I did make myself a Gandalf staff - from an ashplant cut from a hedgerow (I still have it) - and later discovered that Stephen Dedalus (in James Joyce's novels) also affected an ashplant staff.

My friend Nikolas Lloyd has made a pretty popular video describing exactly why 'cloaks were really good'.

Yet still I have never got any closer to wearing a cloak or cape than wearing my academic gown in degree processions (the MD version of which which is more like Wakeman than Gandalf - being satin-like, scarlet and 'Palatinate purple'*); or one of those long Antipodean waxed cotton riding coats in the daily drenchings of Glasgow, when I lived there+.

* =>


Note: Actually, the year I lived in University College, Durham (i.e. Durham Castle) I wore (as was compulsory) a plain black 'stuff' academic gown to all meals, over whatever I happened to be wearing that day. Some fellows wore the gown over T-shirts, with bare feet, or I think pajamas... Anyway, that did provide an excuse to sweep around the place with (in effect) a cloak flapping in the breeze of my progress. 

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Self-remembering - then what?

Self-remembering has seemed a very important thing to strive for, ever since I first heard of the idea (from Colin Wilson) more than forty years ago. To be aware of Me, Here, Now is to awaken from that zombie like state that afflicts/ is-chosen-by most people - most of the time.

But having become aware of ones-self - what then? What should we do?

For some, self-remembering seems to be an aim in itself, itself the goal to strive for. This corresponds to a wish to return to the passive immersive state of early childhood (at its best) - a kind of open-eyed wonder at the situation of being alive in the world.

For others, self-remembering leads to the (meditative) attempt to lose the self (lose the ego); to stop thinking, to lose 'consciousness' and return to what is regarded as the primal one-ness. To cease to be a person. 

For myself; I hope that self-remembering will lead on to an awareness of living in a world of Beings; and that I am in relations with these Beings - and an active recognition that this is an ongoing-creation: God's creation - the unfolding product of personal purpose.

Today, as I was in a public space - I 'came to myself' and attained self-remembering, and then became aware of the situation. Strangely, although I was surrounded by dozens of people; all of them were cut-off from the web of relations, gave-off no living vibes - and there was a much more significant relationship to be had with the non-human aspects of my environment - the stones and buildings, the trees and vegetation.

This seems so common as to be almost a fact of modern life. When I go to a beautiful historic city, such as Norwich or Oxford, the city itself is far more alive than the inhabitants; the city is vibrant and conscious and purposive - the inhabitants little more than ghosts of Hades, wandering aimlessly or rushing around dementedly.

And the same applies to England. I am aware of England more in rural areas - rural Northumberland, for example, is so alive and conscious and purposive that it is impossible to ignore when I am in a self-remembering state. But again most of the people are not.

It is very strange. It is as if the land itself is a conscious organism, with definite purpose; and the people merely mites crawling on its surface - convinced that this great slow-moving beast is dead and inert (dead and inert in a way that nothing truly is).

Nearly everybody has chosen to believe that this whole world is meaningless, purposeless, dead; and now this has spread to the verge of a self-belief. It is as if the nation is on the verge of a mass delusion of personal unreality: that we are all nothing more than our own delusions, and the fear is that we ourselves are as unreal as we consider the non-human world to be. 

I keep hoping that some of the crawling mites will realise where they are, and what is potential in their situation; and will join with it in a spirit of love. But so far it doesn't seem to be happening.


Forty-something years in science - a retrospective analysis

I suppose my serious engagement with science began aged 14 when I started the first of two years of O-levels and I specialised to include Physics, Chemistry and Biology - and these then became my A-levels, preparatory to studying medicine at university - which included a fair bit of science, especially in the early years. I was also reading inspiring general interest works about science in a broad sense - I recall a biography of Einstein, works by Jacob Bronowski, an essay by Julian Huxley...

But it was not until a decade later, aged 24, that I began to 'be' a scientist - when I started my (supervised and directed) doctoral research, and began reading the primary literature, doing experiments, writing papers, giving seminars and lectures... I went on to become a lecturer in science - first physiology then anatomy; and became an independent researcher - which was another step.

At this point, I had published a fair bit, spent many hours wearing a white coat in laboratories with testtubes and microscopes and the rest of it - and even begun to write the theoretical papers which later became my main focus... I was moderately successful.

But I was not really fully A Scientist in the sense that my imagination was not engaged, and my intuition was not activated. I was doing what we termed (in The Genius Famine) 'Openness' - or 'fake' - creativity (rather like someone working in advertising or fashion); which could be summarised as the application of intelligence and effort to information. I was doing science, but not being a scientist.

It was approximately another decade when I switched-on to being a scientist, living science from the inside - and thinking intuitively about science. It happened in the space of an hour or so, in May of 1994, sitting in the sunny back garden and reading an article about Evolutionary Psychology - when I realised that this was something I really wanted to do, and indeed had been unconsciously 'preparing' to do, for the previous twenty years.

From then I had a period of a bit more than twenty years during which I lived science in a participative way; after which this impulse transformed away from science; and I instead began to live Christianity, theology and philosophy (as now).

Looking back on some four decade of science - what are the satisfactions? The main one is that - from 1994 - I was doing what I most wanted to do, working on problems and fields that I had myself chosen, to the best of my ability. I did not, in other words, focus on work that attracted funding, or that was fashionable or high status. Indeed I was always pursuing my line despite advice to do otherwise, and against frequent and general discouragement, uninterest or hostility.

But this working on what most excited me was very satisfying in and of itself. It was self-justifying. It was the most important stuff I felt I could contribute towards. The texture of most daily life was creative, engaged; and took my best efforts.

But I don't much think back on the papers or books I published, nor the talks and lectures I gave... and not the other people I influenced (which was never very many). Science moves on and the earlier work is mostly forgotten or given only a cursory name check. But even worse, science has actually faded away - and been replaced by the career of professional research; which lacks the focus of Truth that characterises science.

So whatever original contribution I made to science has pretty much gone from public discourse - or is microscopic compared with the effort and time expended. I have, to a surprisingly complete extent, simply lost interest in that aspect of my work - I very seldom re-read what I wrote, and am not really bothered about whether other people remember it or have been influenced by it.

My first satisfaction was that (from 1994) the effort and time were their own reward; and I have come to believe that any genuine creativity I put into science was not wasted by remained in the realm of... well, primary reality.

Science is one area in which we can be creative, and to be creative in a genuine sense means actively (from one's real self) to participate in divine creation (possible because our contribution has been in harmony with God's motivation, and this harmony comes from mutuality of love). And that means that the 'real' science is not really being done in the domain of scientific experiments and publications - not really a matter of that level of interaction; but in the domain of 'primary thinking', intuition, or the relationships between beings. 

In other words there have been two benefits from my life in science - the first was while I was doing it, day-by-day; and was psychological - and sometimes spiritual.

The second was whatever contribution I made to the work of creation - and this happened (when it did) by means of my thinking - and mainly in terms of insights, intuitions, breakthroughs of understanding... and is, presumably, 'recorded' in a similar realm where thinking is one of the primary realities.

Note - For most of the time that I was a 'real scientist' I was not a Christian. But I was able to do real science because I believed in the objective reality and significance of Truth - even though I could not have given anything like a coherent account of why Truth was so (transcendentally) vital, nor how Truth 'worked'. This is what enabled me to see above and beyond so-called-science 'as a career'. A key mement was reading Charles Murray's book Human Accomplishment, where he states that creativity requires a genuine belief in the reality of the transcendantals such as Truth, Beauty and Virtue - in unuty; and also a belief in the significance of individual creativity (i.e. that I, personally, can make a positive difference). I recognised myself in Murray's description, and began to feel a need to explain why these were such powerful, fundamental life-convictions.

Monday, 17 February 2020

Mellophonium mania

The Mellophonium was once a pretty well-known instrument (1950s and 60s) - but I had never heard of it until today - after tracking-down a strange looking instrument I saw playing with the great cornet player (from Newbiggin by the Sea) James Shepherd (starts from 3:40):

This strange creature turned out to be a Mellophonium - which is a kind-of adaptation of a French Horn, but with three valves - it was bigly featured by the famous Stan Kenton band (one version of which was actually named the Stan Kenton Mellophonium Orchestra) - BTW this is some really superb jazz soloing:

And another mellophonium player recorded in a band with the famous alto sax player (of Take Five/ Brubeck quartet fame) Paul Desmond:

Anyway, it was clearly a remarkable instrument (despite being out of tune with itself). It had a niche filling the gap between trumpets and trombones, could play very rapidly across a large range, and with a wide range of tonal expression from smoothly-mellow to brazen-brassy.

But it never really settled down in terms of shape and construction, it was difficult to master - and for whatever reason it became all-but forgotten; and passed me by until just now. 

After mortal life: Maybe justice is that Like will be with Like?

...In this way we see the workings of perfect justice, for once we leave this physical world at 'death', we enter into those responsive realms where like will be with like absolutely, in a way which we are able to circumvent on earth. 

So it is there that what we are will catch up with us. 

We will find ourselves with surroundings and people who are of the same quality of nature as ourselves. 

For those who have troubled to be kindly and helpful to others, it is something to look forward to. For those who have caused misery to others, they will find themselves on the receiving end of their own unpleasant natures. 

Not only will they be surrounded with people of their own attitude, but the very environment will be alike to it as well. This is the hell made by man and not by God. 

But God allows it as the best means to making such people face up to themselves and know themselves for what they are. 

From God, the player friend - by William Arkle

This passage immediately reminded me of The Great Divorce by CS Lewis, where hell is described very much along these lines - although this rationale is not given.

But there hell is self-chosen, and the consequence is that its inhabitants dwell among the others who have made this choice. They are then, intermittently, given a chance to visit Heaven, to experience the contrast. Some learn from the experience, others do not - and choose to return to hell.

Although mortal life is primarily a time of learning, rather than of 'perfect justice' - there are temporary and imperfect instances where we can experience and learn-from the kind of 'law of attraction' that Arkle is talking about.

We live-in and observe groups of similar people, some better people and others worse - and we have a chance to recognise the consequences of such 'attraction'.

A small example I experienced from both sides was in science and academia - in my earlier work I lived among some groups of honest scientists and academics; and then later I also observed (and somewhat experienced) life among career and status-orientated researchers and scholars. The consequences were broadly in line with Arkle's description of justice.

Thus one aspect of divine justice is allowing the consequences of Men's choices: the tendency of virtue and sin to be (to some significant extent) self-rewarding and self-punishing. 

It is an operation of self-selection that is going on here, which naturally tends to create un-alike, unequal niches. Therefore it is significant that the post-1960s New Leftism has made self-selection more and more difficult (and indeed illegal) in one after another domain of society - by means of slander, subversion; and then inversion imposed by top-down bureaucratic takeover, monitoring and allocation of persons and transfer (by cross-subsidy and coercive extraction) of resources. This done under the fake-justification of the primacy of 'equality' - meaning sameness-of-outcome. The procedure can be seen as the active undoing of natural justice, and the deliberate removal of natural consequences from actions (good and bad) - and, on the flip-side, the active punishment of goodness and other forms of superiority, by removing their natural rewards.     

Sunday, 16 February 2020

What do I think about the Coronavirus epidemic?

In response to a query from commenter dearieme:

In my book about the corruption of science Not even trying; I try to explain that science (and by extension other kinds of objective knowledge) depend on all those involved being rigorously truth-seeking and truth-speaking.

When researchers are neither truth-seeking nor truth-speaking; then nobody knows what is going-on.

(Competence is also necessary to science; but dishonest competence not just worthless but actively harmful.)

That's the case here. At every level, I think everyone can agree, people are being dishonest; the result is that they don't know what is going-on, and nobody can know what is going-on.

And this is not about noise drowning the signal - because (as you know, professionally) there are statistical procedures for detecting signal from noise; but dishonesty is systematically-biased wrongness where we do not know the degree of bias, nor can we assume that the wrongnesses would average-out to be the same in both directions of error.

So, I don't know and nobody knows what is going-on in any precise quantitative fashion; because all the data are corrupted to degrees (and in directions) that we cannot accurately estimate.

The only exception is if somebody (some specific person) who is a real scientist - honest and competent - has done relevant work on this problem; then that data could be used.

But I don't know enough about this matter to detect such a person (ideally, I would need to have known them personally, over a period of time), and don't have any means to evaluate the honesty and competence of the people making claims to know what is going-on.

(Well, I do know enough to rule out as either dishonest or incompetent most of what I have read that were claiming knowledge on this matter - Chinese authorities, Western Mass media-approved sources, politicians etc) but I don't know enough to pick-out that one or few honest-competent persons from the great mass of liars and spinners.

In such a situation it is just a matter of waiting and seeing what happens, relying on personal observations; and making sure that I don't believe those people who claim to know, but are in no position to know.

What enables people to learn from experience? Or, Christianity brings discernment

May people, including Christians, tend to assume that becoming a Christian makes you a better person. This is not true - or at least not necessarily true. The situation is more of a double-negative; that unless you become a Christian you cannot become a better person.

What Christian faith brings is not betterment but discernment. Christianity faith brings you a basis for discerning good from evil - which is necessary for you to learn from experience.

Or, to put matters more starkly; if you are not a Christian then (as Frank Berger has explained recently) you cannot learn from experience.

Knowing real-good from real-evil is necessary for real-learning, and without real learning you cannot get better.

Whether or not the Christian actually does get observably, objectively morally better in their behaviour; will depend on several factors - including their personality, upbringing and the society they inhabit.

But that is not the essence of Christianity. As often said: Christ came to save sinners - sinners are saved even if they do not become good. What is needed is 'repentance' - and repentance requires discernment: that is, knowing the difference between good and evil and identifying which is which. Then joining allegiance to good, and rejecting evil.

Modern Man, by contrast, often does not acknowledge evil - either rejecting the concept; regarding evil as relativistic, arbitrary, and socially-dictated; or equivalent to anything that causes suffering - especially of himself or people he likes; or else, in extreme and especially in the sexual realm, he inverts them - and regards his evil as what-used-to-be called good by Christians, and his new-'good' is whatever was disapproved or prohibited by Christians or traditional society.

In sum: Modern Man cannot, does-not learn, because he lacks discernment; and discernment can only come (for Modern Man) from truth, therefore from Christianity. And under modern conditions discernment must come from within each individual (obedience to institutional discernment will not suffice, and modern institutions are nearly-always corrupt and getting worse).

Discernment does not necessarily come from Christianity; but unless it comes from Christianity, it will not be real, powerful, or motivating-enough to enable that discernment which saves.

When one-ness teachings become evil

Perennial Philosophy and New Age teachings reduce to healing. And while most people want healing (if they need it); healing is a negative goal, and thus is not a suitable basis for life motivation.

At best healing restores us to being comfortable and functional - and then what? That is the Big Question to which modernity (including its spiritualities of PP & New Age) has no satisfactory answer.

But a further problem (which good doctors know) is that there is a price to pay for healing. And the way that one-ness heals is, I believe, by a kind of ultimate nihilism about mortal life (because all is illusion and nothing really matters), which often leads to demotivation and even despair.

This is the danger of preaching one-ness. If you believe that one-ness/ PP/ NA works for you personally, then I think you should keep it to yourself - and not try to persuade others to adopt it.

After all, if you say you believe that other people's troubles are illusory, and don't really matter - because mortal life does not matter - then why do you preach at all?

It is this incoherence at the heart of any philosophy of one-ness which leads to the evil effects of one-ness teachings - evil, that is, from a Christian persepctive; where evil means taking the side that is opposed to God and to God's creation.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Getting to know your organ...

I am far from an expert - or indeed fan - of the organ; but there is some organ music of which I am fond. It may help someone else 'get into' this instrument.

Probably the most immediately appealing, and lastingly enjoyable, organ music (to my taste) are the Opus 7 Concertos by Handel - especially in this version played by Peter Hurford:

Then, if you want to try the organ as a solo instrument, I would suggest starting with the Bach Trio Sonatas - which have been wonderfully recorded by Ton Koopman.

In a sense these are untypical of the mass of organ music - both in the type of instrument used (a lighter, flutier sound than usual); and in the genre of music being played (baroque, rather than romantic).

An earlier, more austere and indeed tragic, piece is the D-minor Passacaglia by Buxtehude - which I would rank as a truly great piece of music. Note: A passacaglia is an archaic form of variations in triple time; built over a repeating sequence of bass notes (played on the organ pedals).

Friday, 14 February 2020

Greta the Human Shield

One brutal tactic the Mongols used during a siege was the kharash. When they were ready to launch an attack on a broken section of walls, the Mongols would gather local people or captured soldiers. They were pushed forward at sword point to form a human shield for the Mongols to follow behind. Any arrows shot by the city under attack would kill their own people and leave the Mongols unharmed. 

From Mongols by Rupert Matthews

The Global Establishment are doing much the same thing, while launching a totalitarian takeover on The West. But instead they have pushed forward a mentally-disturbed child to serve as their human shield.

A micro-nap (brief deep sleep) may instantly lead-to presentness and self-remembering (i.e. something of what meditation also tries to do)

Some days I can't seem to get my head clear; thoughts whirl in a rather futile manner; and in particular I cannot 'wake-up' properly; in the sense that I cannot 'self-remember': cannot get that recognition of Me. Here. Now.

In other words I am not really 'present' in my situation, my life. I am on autopilot, disengaged.

This is one condition that formal meditation training (in various schools) attempts to remedy; by learning either control of thoughts, or Not thinking, or letting thoughts fly through the mind without holding onto any. This is quite difficult, but can work; and then I can bring myself to presentness.

(Some people find that this presentness state is the experience of one-ness; but I tend to regard it psychologically rather than spiritually.) 

I don't regard presentness as an especially deep or significant state - nor is is a goal in itself; it is more like a basic pre-requisite for the 'state' of intuition: which I do regard as deep and significant. Intuition is that primary thinking or Final Participation which is the mode of Romantic Christianity. That is what I personally regard as my major life goal.

Nonetheless, presentness is, as I said, a valuable or sometimes essential pre-requisite to higher states; and I have found that it is best attained by a very short sleep - specifically when I experience the momentary absence of deep, dream-less sleep.

This works as a very effective re-boot; both clearing and opening-out my thinking; awakening me, and producing an instantaneous sense of presence: Me! Here! Now!

Of course, not everybody can take a micro-nap at will - nor can we control whether such a period of sleep will drop us into deep sleep rather than into 'REM' dreaming sleep. But I present it as a repeated observation that when it does happen that I have a micro-sleep; it can achieve in an instant what struggling to meditate has failed to do over a period of hours.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

What happens if someone seeks for the eternal and unchanging in this mortal life, on earth?

Since Ecclesiastes many people have noticed that in this mortal life on earth - all worldly things, all possessions, all relationships are subject to change, are transient - nothing can be held-onto.

My response is to say that this is a feature, not a bug, of mortal life; but others (with different metaphysical assumptions) cannot or will not give up the search for something which is permanent, unchanging, solid, perfect, complete - in this mortal life.

That pursuit leads to 'negative theology' - because the only thing that can be held onto forever without change or risk of loss; the only thing we can be sure of keeping is... nothing.

In other words, this leads to a theology of absolute abstraction - probably a deistic, impersonal life-philosophy of one-ness - as seen in so much of Eastern thinking. If one can persuade oneself that one is wholly satisfied with Nothing - then one can indeed get it, even in this mortal life.

If, one the other hand, we accept that mortal life is about change; then we can see that it is about Love; and love is not a possession to be held unchanged, nor is love a state that we want to hold-onto unchanged - but love is a commitment that we can build-around and build-from.

Christians make a commitment to love when we follow Jesus Christ through death to Heaven; and Heaven is the place of God's creating; where a commitment to love (to live, eternally, by love) is permanent...

Heavenly love is permanent - but love is alive, dynamic, changing (not static).

Contrasting Heaven with mortal life - strengths and weaknesses

Our mortal life on earth is designed (by God, the creator) for experiencing and learning. That is why all is transient, why nothing lasts.

In mortal life we are meant to have an experience, to learn its lessons; and then we are meant to have other experiences. Nothing repeats exactly. Nothing can be held-onto.

In other words, mortal life is well designed for our benefit - as would be expected from a Creator who is our loving parent.

Heaven, by contrast, is a place for eternal commitments; a place for strong, solid Love: more accurately, the work of Heaven is built-on, built-from, strong and solid Love.

Therefore, Heaven is not a place for learning.

Since Love is the most important thing in God's creation; we could say that mortal life - not Heavenly life - is the place for learning about Love.

God's creation is 'bespoke' - individually tailored to the specific needs of particular persons.

And some people, some spirits, need to learn more about love than others; before Heaven. Perhaps some do not need to learn anything at all - they are incarnated and then die. Others need to learn a lot if they are to have a chance of being capable and willing for eternal Heavenly life; so to give them the best chance, their mortal life is organised accordingly - perhaps it is prolonged, perhaps they experience a lot of certain types of experience with respect to love...

Exactly that which makes it possible for Heaven to be Heavenly, also makes Heaven a poor place for learning.

Conclusion: There is good reason for this mortal life; and for the transient nature of this mortal life!