Thursday, 2 July 2015

Beyond the Benedict option - exile, Deseret, dhimmi, mega-church, Hasidic, Amish etc.

This article is by far the most thorough and thought-provoking examination of the various future options for serious Christians in an increasingly-hostile West:

If you agree, please re-post this link elsewhere, and continue the discussion.


Why is Jesus Christ necessary to the resurrection of Men? (Why is God the Father not sufficient?)

The question can also be phrased as: why cannot Men be resurrected by God the Father; because the necessity of The Son seems to imply that The Father could not achieve the resurrection of Man.

The Father resurrected The Son, but (it seems) could not resurrect Men; or, at least, could not resurrect Men to a desirable state - for this, the work of The Son was needed.

(Here we Christians may perceive the abhorrence of some 'pure monotheists' for Christianity; the significant limitation that Christianity places-upon the power of God the Father in saying that Jesus Christ was necessary to the resurrection and salvation of man.)


It may be seen as follows:

The Father was able to resurrect The Son - because the Son was divine, as well as being a Man. This entails that The Father can resurrect the divine, but cannot resurrect the mortal.

(The problem for God the Father was therefore: how to resurrect mortal Men?)

The Son is able to resurrect Man, because he is Man (as well as divine) and has himself been resurrected. Christ has been mortal, he has died as a mortal, and Christ has been resurrected; therefore Christ can resurrect mortals.

Jesus Christ needed to be incarnated and die as a mortal, in order that he could be resurrected by The Father - and this event of Christ's resurrection by The Father  (long planned and foreseen) would create the new possibility of Christ being empowered to resurrect Men.


The main objection to the above scheme is probably the limitation placed upon God the Father - but some such limitation is intrinsic to Christianity, due to the Christian insistence on the necessity of Christ.

It is a matter of focus. There is some indication in the New Testament that the resurrection was the focus of early Christian teaching - was indeed the Good News of the Gospels.

I get a sense of there being an analogy implied, indeed stated, between the fact of Christ's death and resurrection, and the new possibility that Men who died can now be resurrected.

Therefore the main explanation for the divine Christ having died at all, was that by his going-through death; and a real death - including the helplessness and despair induced by being sundered from The Father. So that Christ entered death knowing that he could only be saved from death by the action of his Father.

All this is a precise analogy for how Men must enter death, and be saved from death; but we Men are saved from death and resurrected by The Son, not The Father - the Father cannot do this; but Jesus can, and will. 


Reader's Question: Do you think our personalities, traits, and gifts are primarily determined by spirit or genetics

My response: The two are linked.

Parental inheritance - mostly, but not entirely, from genetics - of factors such as intelligence, personality, some special abilities, plus physical attributes and diseases - is very important; and there are also ways in which 'spirit' - i.e. divine plan - is significant. However, these spiritual factors we either do not know, or cannot usually access (although personal revelation is a possibility).

This non-hereditary influence is most obvious when a child - perhaps one among siblings - is very different from his parents; but the situation applies to everyone to some extent, because each human is distinct. 

I mean that the identity of our parents is influenced by things like our pre-mortal relationships as spirits, and the fact that we were divinely 'placed' with certain parents - in certain general situations of time and place - for our own good.

By 'our own good' I do not mean our health and happiness during mortal life; but in terms of the secondary purpose of mortal life. The primary purpose is to incarnate and die: everybody achieves that purpose. The secondary purpose is the hope of what we may accomplish, spiritually, during life - what we most need in order to progress towards divinity.

So, common observation - backed up by research - tells us that heredity accounts for much of human differences, but our parents were chosen for us, they are not random - so the spiritual aspect is primary.

This dual influence is vital in binding the universe. We are first sons and daughters of God, and that relationship is literal and makes everyone part of one divine family; then secondly we are sons and daughters of our parents, which is also a real and literal relationship, and gathers our spirits into multiple specific human families.

Then, thirdly, there may be a possibility of marriage, which incrementally links the various human families; and creates further combinations and possibilities.


Reader's Question: What's your favorite meal?

My response: I am a 'morning person', so my favourite meal would be a breakfast. And the context of the meal helps.

So, one favourite would be, while staying at a good Bed and Breakfast with the family, to eat a full English breakfast with the prospect of a country walk ahead.

The full English would have bacon and two eggs, pork sausages, black pudding (a sausage made of blood), mushrooms and fried bread. Followed by toast with honey. And I would drink orange juice and (maybe) three cups of coffee.

The main danger is if I eat so much that I can't climb the hills - nearly all the blood having been sent to the gastro-intenstinal tract with not enough left over for the muscles...


Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Divine Love seems to modern perception merely simplistic, childish and sickly sweet


The Face of Love by William Arkle
Note by the painter: This is another attempt to portray the almost shocking quality of pure Divine Love, which to us who are unprepared for it appears to be both childish, and perhaps even sickly sweet.

But we must realise how diminished our sense of spiritual judgement has become and it is most important that we learn to read and respect this purity of attitude and recognise the value and strength which it contains.

We may even say that this is the quality of love we all dimly seek but have become ashamed of and have hidden away behind a substitute forms of aspiration.

From The Great Gift, by William Arkle (1977). 
William Arkle is probably indirectly responding here to some comments of Colin Wilson in the Introduction to his earlier book A Geography of Consciousness (1974). Although generally very positive about Arkle, Wilson is critical of the paintings, with comments such as:

Although it was striking... it was not, in the last analysis, a good painting... in spite of its abstract nature, it lacked real complexity. [The paintings] all revealed the kind of mysticism that Blake communicates... the feeling that the world is basically a beautiful and good place, and that man only fails to see this because he shuts his eyes to it... I still found them unconvincing. 

I hesitate to the use word naive, but that is certainly one of the artist's faults. The trouble is that we live in a complex age, and affirmation - whether in music, painting or poetry - has to take account of the discords as well as the harmonies...

The major writers, artists and musicians of the past hundred years have tended towards pessimism, and their pessimism has seemed more convincing than the optimism of the eighteenth century rationalists...

[One painting] is a tall, castle-like building in a landscape... but the colours are all too light and glowing; pinks and pale-blues and apple-greens. It is all sweetness and light... it reminded me of a Sunlight Soap advertisment...


Colin Wilson's comments are not malicious, and they do describe exactly the secular impression of many of William Arkle's paintings.

But the fact is that Arkle was a well-informed individual who had trained as an engineer, served in the military during world war two, and was indeed a tough-minded mystic  - as can be heard from a lecture, discussion and question session here recorded:

So we can assume that Arkle knew exactly what he was doing in making the painiting so simple, childish, 'soapy' clean and sweet - and that he was doing it for a reason which seemed to him more important than the obvious objections.

Arkle's paintings strike us as simple and child-like because that he precisely how he understood divine love. And, the fact that we may regard his pictures as naive, child-ish, simpl-is-tic, sickly sweet and one-sidedly optimistic in a complex and pessimistic age... well, that is because we are corrupt.

Our sophistication is decadence; sophomoric, not adult. Our demand for pessimism, complexity, ambiguity is due to our selective-blindness to hope and goodness.


If Arkle is correct; then one major reason that we live in a secular, nihilistic, alienated, pessimistic age is that we have come to regard with a mixture of disgust and disdain the purity, simplicity and child-like nature of divine love.

To us, the real truth seems too easy to be true - in our pride, we covertly want truth to be so difficult that only an expert, intellectual, aesthetic elite can perceive it (with - naturally -  ourselves, as an integral part of that elite).

In a world where actual divine love is Kitsch - we are pre-immunized against life, meaning, purpose, hope, and God.


Some (more) balanced wisdom from John C Wright


Wright reminds us that the problem of the sexual revolution is not the gravity of the sins. Other sins are far worse. That is not the problem.

Wright does not say it here, but it is the fact that sexual sins and diseases are being actively promoted and enforced as higher goods that makes the sexual revolution such a deep and damaging problem - not the unique depravity of sexual activities out-with real marriage.

And he makes the point that the problem began fifty years ago; when people began to advocate, indeed glamorize, a life of respectful serial promiscuity as superior to to 'slavery/ tyranny of marriage.

...When divorce without blame or rancour began to be advocated as morally superior to the monotony of monogamy; when the most solemn promise-breaking (and ripping up without hesitation the most carefully regulated, pondered and multiply-witnessed of all legal contracts - i.e the marriage contract) - was seen as admirable if it 'made people happy', or enabled their 'growth' (or, in actual practice, when it was what either of the parties - usually the woman - said she wanted at that time).

Over just a few decades, secular marriage became so debased as to make it almost indefensible; and we live in a secular society. For anyone not religious, what was there to defend. A piece of paper that did not even have normal everyday contractual status - less than a mortgage, a hire-purchase agreement, or a cheque.

But the real problem of the incremental legal destruction of marriage is that it was driven by - and led to the increase of - open, explicit, aggressive, enforced moral inversion: imposing the worse as the better, the pathological as healthy, the sin as a virtue.

And arguing to justify evil is the worst evil - worse by far than actually doing evil (because Men are weak, and often cannot help but do evil in particular circumstances).

All men do evil, but only the most depraved argue - strategically, and over many years - that evil is good; good is evil.

Luckily, any evil can be repented at any time. Unluckily, there seems no perceptible sign that this is about to happen - indeed, quite the opposite.


Reader's question: Kenneth Clarke's 1970's Civilisation series, what do you think?

My response: I bought this fairly recently. There is much good in it, and - compared with nowadays - the ambition, density and scope are very impressive, the style uncompromising.

However, I do feel a bit disappointed. My feeling was that overall the series does not go anywhere or point at anything.

Ultimately, Clarke comes across as 'an aesthete' albeit highly knowledgeable and sensitive to quality - and this an ultimately weak and ineffectual position; I know, in retrospect, that it was easily corrupted among those whose priority was to remain within the establishment.


Readers question: Is England as much of a draconian politically correct society as it appears in the media?

My response: Yes. Since the 1980s England has caught-up-with then overtaken the USA wrt PC. And in England, unlike the US, there is no significant opposition.

Because English people are so docile/ cowardly about such matters, and so advanced in their apostasy from Christianity (which is what makes them so docile/ cowardly) conversation of a non-PC type has simply shut-down. There is now almost nothing non-PC in the mass media of UK origin, and no Christian group of non-PC views that is other than tiny and almost powerless.

Interestingly, the main victims of PC witch-hunts nowadays are insufficiently-PC Leftists. There are so few people who are genuinely 'Right wing' in the UK (a fraction of one percent, I would guess) - and no organized powerful group that is not Left wing - so that the exemplary victims, the scapegoats, which the system needs can only be found among those among the Leftist mainstream who are showing some glimmers of residual common sense.

The idea of an 'extreme Right wing' party in Modern England is a group that is atheist, explicitly socialist in economics, and pro-sexual revolution - but exhibits some kind of minor deviation from the mainstream in the direction of patriotism or racial politics.

Yet, somehow I sense that all is not lost - a strength remains, latent. Since it is not in the people, maybe it is in the books, the buildings and the land?


Reader's Question: What do you think about the 'scientific' idea that all of our ideas are illusory and reducible to chemical reactions in our brains

My answer: This idea is metaphysics, not science. In other words, it is an assumption, not a finding. The assumption of this idea is that the assumptions of science are ultimate.

So, the assumptions of biology, of brain research, exclude all supernatural factors, exclude anything which is not detectable or measurable - and therefore, not matter how much brain research is done, none of these things will ever be found because they are not included in the methods.

Brain research has not failed to discover the soul, it has assumed the soul is not relevant.

In history, when brain research believed that the soul was potentially detectable, people would often say that they had located it - for example in the pineal gland.

In sum, if you believe (before doing any research) that chemical reactions and wiring are a complete explanation of all ideas, then that is what you will find.


Reader's question: Can anything useful to the Christian be learned from modernist literature?

Question: "Having read some Milan Kundera and his essays on modern literature and art has made me wonder the following -- Modern literature is said to go to the core of manhood or the existential experience of being a man, yet it clearly leads to (or amounts to the same thing as) what you would call, if I'm not mistaken, the demonic perspective. Can something/anything/nothing useful/beautiful/true be learned from this so called modernist world literature movement of the 20th century (Kafka, Joyce, Proust, Musil etc.)?"

My response: Yes, much that is positive can be learned from this genre of writing - so long as the metaphysical perspective of secular modernism is rejected.

The content is often profoundly insightful (e.g. Kafka, Musil, Proust), the quality of the prose may be superb (Joyce) and so on. It is also a document of the nature of the malaise, especially as it affected elites.

The main danger from this writing, and it is a very real danger, is in confirming people in their pessimistic, alienated, secular nihilism - making it seem inevitable, necessary, sophisticated...  

My angle on modernism is therefore much the same as Colin Wilson - although he was not Christian.


Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Are you an Endogenous personality (of the potential genius type)? Is someone you know?


Further reading at:

What is the meaning of synchronicity?


Reader's question: "What do you think of the relationship between personal eccentricity and genius?"

My answer: My understanding is that all true creative geniuses are eccentric; in the sense that they are substantially indifferent to "other people's" evaluations - therefore, they will not be much bothered about trying to fit their own behaviours into social norms - at least, they will not expend as much effort on this as do most people.

The reason is that creative genius is a product of what I term the Endogenous Personality - which means that the person is relatively inner-orientated, their evaluations arise from within (rather than being social) and their behaviour is inner-generated.

So eccentricity is part of a psychological package that includes creative genius.


Further reading:

Are there any more readers questions?

I am still open to writing posts based on readers' questions.

Questions could be sent as comments to this post (which will retained but not published), or emailed to me direct using the address brucedotcharltonatoutlookdotcom but using the appropriate symbols.


Bitter nuts (and seeds?) versus bland nuts - my subjective experience of malaise

A  personal observation. If I eat of lot of some types of nuts - such as almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts - and the same probably applies to seed mixtures e.g.pumpkin, sesame, sunflower) then it makes me feel generally rather 'off' - a bit queasy and down-spirited.

But this does not seem to apply to brazil nuts, nor to peanuts (which are technically not true 'nuts', but more like a bean).

I speculate that the difference might be related to whether the nuts have a bitter taste; and this may be causal, because bitterness is often the taste of plant toxins - leaves and seeds are often made toxic by plants to deter animals from eating them.

Nuts are seeds and would therefore be expected to be toxic; but they are sometimes edible when they are protected by a shell, because the shell makes a toxin unnecessary.

However,  it would not be surprising if some nuts were somewhat toxic- enough to have a subtle deleterious effect when a lot are consumed quickly - which is so easy to do nowadays, when nuts can be bought ready prepared for instant consumption.  

Has anyone else had a similar experience?


Monday, 29 June 2015

What is High Fantasy in a novel - disagreeing with Neil Gaiman about Strange and Norrrell

Tolkien's Lord of the Rings is the benchmark for adult High Fantasy, and its mark is seriousness and realism about the world depicted.

In other words, pure High Fantasy must not have the slightest hint, trace or taint of ironic detachment or allegory; certainly no parody or satire - that is absolutely fatal; nothing 'arch', no breaking the fourth wall, nothing post-modern; no nudge-nudge humour about the quaint ways or beliefs of the fantasy world...

Of course this means that many people will - and they do - hate High Fantasy, because they find it boring. And many other people read High Fantasy in the wrong spirit - they read it asif it was an allegory - they enjoy it only by subverting it.

By this test, examples of High Fantasy would include Lloyd Alexander's Prydain chronicles, Alan Garner's 'Weirdstone' and 'Gomrath' novels, and JK Rowling's Harry Potter series. It would also include Terry Pratchett's first three Tiffany Aching books.

Most of Fantasy literature is not High Fantasy by this test - for example most of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series is parodic and satirical in its humour. CS Lewis's Narnia books are not consistently High Fantasy either, because of elements of narrator commentary from a modern standpoint - for example, the mockery of Eustace Scrubb and his parents, or of progressive education. And Lewis's Space Trilogy is too allegorical to be High Fantasy.

But I suspect that this interpretation and distinction I am outlining is probably not universally accepted.

When I recently read Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, and looked at the reviews, I came across reference to S&N's endorsement by Neil Gaiman, and how he regarded S&N as the 'finest work of English fantasy' written over the previous seventy years.

I certainly agree with the Gaiman's insightful appreciation of S&N's quality

 - but I disagree with him about how to classify it.

By 'seventy' years, Gaiman was referencing a novel called Lud-in-the-mist by Hope Mirlees published in 1926. On this basis, I went to to read  Mirlees's book, and found it both enjoyable and well written.

However, it was a qualitatively-different kind of book than Strange and Norrell. Lud-in-the-mist is not in the slightest degree believable; Lud is not about world-building or alternative reality - it is rather in the genre of a fin-de-siecle 'exquisite miniature' like Oscar Wilde's stories (e.g. the Selfish Giant). It is arch, satirical, self-consciously modern.

By contrast with Gaiman, I would regard Strange and Norrell as being in essentially the same category as The Lord of the Rings; for the seriousness, depth and realism of its alternative magical and fairy world. For the 'feel' of it.

There are also differences, but this similarity is the one by which I would choose to classify Strange and Norrell.

The thing is, S&N was marketed as a mainstream novel, not a fantasy - and the reviews and publicity focused on its pastiche literary style, as if it was a postmodern take on of Jane Austen - rather like John Fowles's once highly-rated The French Lieutenant’s Woman was a Victorian pastiche (and postmodern commentary).

But I would regard Strange and Norrell as true High Fantasy both in spirit and attainment; and I would therefore prefer if it had been marketed to the fantasy niche, and reviewed as such.

As such, I think S&N would have found more readers who took it with a seriousness appropriate to the book's scope, nature and ambition.


Saturday, 27 June 2015

The destruction of the 'basic instincts', common sense and human nature - reflections on the mutational meltdown of Man

It has been a fascinating, and I must admit horrifying, three-and-a-bit years since Michael Woodley and I first discovered the first objective evidence that there has been a very substantial decline in general intelligence ('g') over the past two hundred years - the evidence was posted on this blog just a few hours after we discovered it:

Since then, Michael has taken the lead in replicating this finding in multiple other forms of data, and in a variety of paradigms; and learning more about the magnitude of change and its timescale. His industry has been astonishing!  


We currently believe that general intelligence has declined by approximately two standard deviations (which is approximately 30 IQ points) since 1800 - that is, over about 8 generations.

Such a decline is astonishing - at first sight. But its magnitude has been obscured by social and medical changes so that we underestimate intelligence in 1800 and over-estimate intelligence now.

On the other hand, magnitude and rapidity of decline in world class geniuses in the West (and of major innovations) does imply a decline of intelligence of at least 2 SDs - so from that perspective the rate and size of decline is pretty much as-expected.


Two hundred years ago, and for many decades afterwards, performance of the population in a wide range of tasks was substantially impaired by things like malnutrition and high rates of serious endemic infectious diseases. On any particular day, many or most people would have been ill, and their ability to do skilled activities (including examinations - or IQ tests, if they had been in existence) was significantly impaired.

Furthermore, two hundred years ago there was much less information around, and people had to think things through for themselves.

However, general intelligence is buffered against environmental change - it is hardly affected by disease, or even malnutrition - until these are of such severity as to result in death (under pre-modern conditions).

So even very sick and/or malnourished populations, who may be living in simple cultures at a subsistence level, or under conditions of multi-generational malnutrition and near starvation, may have high g - and this will become obvious in terms of high performance as soon as their environment becomes more favourable (for example the migrant Norsemen and the Chinese).


Wind-forward to today, and the general health and nutrition are much improved; and in a thousand ways it is easier for people to give a falsely high impression of their ability by deploying technology and 'parroting' the hard-won knowledge of other people. This does not represent g-driven intelligence, but a multitude of specialized, task-specific intelligences.

To caricature,  in 1800, the average Man (when we was not impaired by illness) had a very deep kind of abstract reasoning and problem solving ability which was spontaneous and almost independent of education - his intelligence rose-up powerfully and unstoppably from below, rather like a geyser.

By contrast, Modern Man has a much weaker subterranean spring of intelligence and instead a 'mosaic' of separate and trained abilities, superficially 'studded' onto him by culture and education.

Modern Man has relatively very poor abstract reasoning and problem solving abilities; but can be trained to learn and can quote (or parrot) the reasons and solutions across a wide range of things - but without understanding what he is saying.

(And, indeed, without even knowing that he does not understand - since he equates 'knowing the right answers' with intelligence.)


Michael and I immediately recognized that the rate of change in intelligence that we were observing was too fast to be accounted for my natural selection favouring lower intelligence; although this does have a significant role.

We soon began to recognize that the primary mechanism was likely to be mutation accumulation due to the decline in child mortality rates from more than half to about one percent - child mortality having, through human history, served as the main (but not only) selective 'sieve' to remove the spontaneous fitness-reducing mutations which occur with every generation.

We also discovered the biological concept of 'mutational meltdown' - which sometimes leads to the extinction of a species, especially when combined with a reducing population: mutational damage accumulates so fast in a population that organisms cease to reproduce and become extinct.

Michael has gone on to confirm the plausibility of this mechanism of mutation accumulation in rapidly reducing general intelligence, and to make the first steps in quantifying it.


But our story which had begun with declining general intelligence then began to take on a much larger scope.

Because if mutation accumulation was the main mechanism for declining intelligence, then this had implications for the total fitness, indeed the viability, of the human organism.

General intelligence can be regarded as an index of reproductive potential or 'fitness', because high g depend upon a highly efficient brain, which depends on multiple genes coding for multiple and complexly-interacting brain systems. Any randomly occurring mutation has a high probability of impairing brain efficiency, so intelligence will be expected to decline incrementally with accumulating mutations.

So, declining g due to mutation accumulation only represents the tip of an iceberg of genetic damage to the fitness of an organism, or a population of organisms.


In a sense, the reduction of intelligence may be one of the lesser concerns about this world of what looks increasingly like a mutational meltdown. Because mutations will also damage what might be termed the 'basic instincts' of the population or species.

In particular, mutation accumulation will be expected to affect social and sexual instincts of the kind we used to call 'common sense' and 'human nature'.

So, common sense could be considered the normal, standard behaviours which enabled humans to function in groups, and to survive; while sexual instincts refer to the basic sexual orientation and attraction of humans; and the suite of adaptations that lead to 'pair bonding', fertile matings, raising of offspring etc.

These basic instincts used to be taken for granted; but in fact they are highly complex adaptations, and represent the product of multiple generations of natural selection. Indeed, social and sexual instincts are perhaps the most sensitive of all human traits to damage of any kind - it is change in social and sexual behaviour which is most sensitive to any form of disease or disorder affecting the brain.

This applies to genetic and chromosomal disease, which always show-up in social and sexual differences; but also to trauma. For instance the residual effect of a stroke is much more evident in terms of subtle psychological changes to social and sexual behaviour (personality) than in terms of physical function. And, even small amounts of many drugs - such as alcohol; or hormones - such as testosterone or oestrogen; will observably change, and derange, social and sexual behaviour.


In conclusion, since there has been considerable mutation accumulation over the past two hundred years - enough to cause a very large reduction in general intelligence - this must also have caused considerable damage to human social and sexual adaptations.

Therefore, both common sense and sexual instincts are impaired in modern Man.

Our basic instincts have been damaged.


Once that is realized as being necessarily entailed, then the evidence for such impairment is all around us.

The most fundamental measure is fitness, i.e. reproductive potential - and it is probably the most remarkable fact about modernity that it leads to impaired reproductive success - indeed to below-replacement fertility.

The 'demographic transition', interpreted as plain biology, is therefore strong prima facie evidence of mutation accumulation; indeed it points to incipient mutational meltdown, since the (age-adjusted) post-industrial Western population has been declining for several decades.

Mutation accumulation would also be likely to lead to the lack of common sense, the lack of basic self-preservation, the lack of what would be expected as normal and adaptive social behaviours that are so striking a feature of the West.

And, even more significantly, the lack of any concern about this lack of common sense - damage to social mechanisms has been so profound that the Western population has lost the ability to notice or feel that there is damage - that our situation is pathological.

Indeed, the obvious pathology resulting from damaged instincts is vehemently denied - and to point it out is punished. This is exactly what would be expected when the lunatics have taken-over the asylum, when disease is endemic. Disease is the new health.

Look around. We live in a profoundly weird world socio-sexual , yet there is near zero response to the fact - just a kind of bland, bewildered, vague approval that socio-sexual change means 'progress'.


The same applies to sexual instincts. What is striking is not so much the high levels of disordered sexual behaviour; but the widespread loss of the ability to notice and feel that sexual behaviour is disordered.

Past generations did not need to depend on education and were immune to propaganda when it came to sexual instincts - but modern attitudes reveal that these basic instincts have been severely damaged - so that sexual attraction, evaluations, and motivations are all - very generally - disordered.

The Western populations have suffered such extremity of damage to their evolved human nature, that they have lost even the innate sense that there was any such things as human nature to begin with.

To be in the situation of arguing about the necessity of 'common sense', or the reality of sexual instincts and other attributes of human nature, is itself strong evidence that human nature has been substantially destroyed - as would be entailed by two centuries of mutation accumulation.


And more of the same is to be expected - because it is not clear that anything substantive could be done about this problem except over a multi-generational timescale - even if there were an understanding that there is a problem, and any motivation to do anything about it; neither of which is the case.


Some extra reading and references:

Friday, 26 June 2015

The good of Swedenborg - videos by Curtis Childs

I have recently said some rather negative things about Swedenborg - this is misleading and I am (already) feeling guilty about it!

The fact is that I regard Swedenborg as a true Mystical Christian, but I just cannot digest his writings.

On The Other Hand; I very much like the video reflections of a young Swedenborgian chap called Curtis Childs - which have been regularly posted on YouTube over the past year; I especially like some of these One Minute vids:

Childs is a communicator of extraordinary ability and effectiveness - and can be genuinely inspiring.

Clearly, he is a man of his generation in terms of speech style and liberal/ new age-compatible socio-politics; but in these and other videos on the Off The Left Eye site sponsored by the Swedenborg Foundation, he functions a kind of one-man-band of evangelism and engagement with modern disaffected youth which much larger Christian organizations can only regard with awe, wish-for, and perhaps learn-from.

One individual can make a significant difference.

Two problems with Mystical Christianity (e.g. Swedenborg, Blake, Whitman, Steiner) under modern conditions

Since I advocate and practice a type of Mystical Christianity, I need to point out the severe problems with this kind of spiritual life, under modern Western conditions.

The problems are specific cases of Conquest's, or Charlton's, Second Law:

Which is that - nowadays - unless an institution or organization or church is primarily Christian, it is not Christian at all, but instead some version of New Leftism, Liberalism, Progressivism or Socialism.

This applies to mystical practice, as it does to everything else from charities, through educational institutions, and science and economics, to arts and hobbies.


1. People who take the mysticism, and leave the Christianity.

In other words, they gain the partial benefits of mysticism - in feeling more alive in a living world - but stop at that point. They do not proceed to the Christianity. They never achieve or accept an understanding of the purpose of life; but live in transcendental moments that lack any discernible meaning, and which are typically (almost invariably) de facto threaded-together by mainstream secular Leftism, including the perspective of the on-going sexual revolution.

2. People who focus on the mysticism in order to be able to ignore the ethics. They use their mystical knowledge and experiences in order to discard moral constraints that are part of real traditional Christianity - especially where these liberations are validated by modern mainstream Leftism; and especially when they are motivated to take advantage of sexual liberation (various kinds of sex outwith traditional marriage) for themselves.

In effect, they use mysticism as a rationale for rejecting (they would say transcending) the basic ethical constraints of traditional Christianity.


For example,  the poet and illustrator William Blake was a mystical Christian, but the large academic industry based upon him are not Christian - but instead use Blake to validate a primarily socio-political agenda.

For example, Jacob Bronowski wrote an early and very influential book which was instrumental in the late 20th century re-discovery of Blake - William Blake: a man without a mask. Bronowski was hostile to both Christianity (becoming a very well know atheist humanist), and he was also hostile to mysticism. His book (beautifully written and very informative) yokes Blake to a radical, revolutionary political agenda.

Later Blake scholars approved Blake's mysticism, but not his Christianity - Kathleen Raine (with her eclectic 'spiritual values') would be a representative of this. Among the millions who have studied Blake at college over the past couple of generations, I would be surprised if any had been converted to Christianity since that basic of Blake's thought is relativized into insignificance, grossly de-emphasized - and generally simply disregarded.

Something similar applies to Walt Whitman - although Whitman's Christianity seems to have been less profound and foundational than was the case with Blake.


Similarly, the religious and spiritual organizations founded by Steiner are now dominated by typical Leftist concerns of a New Age type (progressive education, alternative medicine, organic horticulture and environmentalism). Steiner himself focused everything in his vastly detailed system of Spiritual Science firmly and explicitly on Christ - but that has become an optional extra, and in practice left-out.

I suspect that Swedenborgians have gone the same way - but I am not sure.

(For some Westerners, Eastern Orthodox is treated in this kind of way - because Orthodoxy minus living in an Orthodox country - with an Orthodox monarch and church-focused way of national life - can be seen as simply a de-ethicized, eclectic, pick-and-mix Christianized spiritual option. 'Celtic' Christianity would be another version.)


Mystical Christianity is - in and of itself - valid. It is just that in our modern cultural context, in practice, it is extremely prone to corruption.

Therefore, to recommend any type of Mystical Christianity is very risky.

However, I believe it is a risk that needs to be taken - because for some people this is the essential path-into Christianity. For these people, if there is no Mystical Christianity, then they will not be Christians.

So, cognisant of the risks, I want to develop a path through mysticism and into Christianity.


The apparent corruptibility of Mystical Christianity is therefore a serious problem, but one which I hope may be tackled and solved. Because (to reiterate) for many disaffected people in modern life, the main problem is alienation, feeling cut off from Life - and that is what most demands to be addressed.

This is why the likes of RW Emerson, and Jung, and Joseph Campbell have been of such interest to Westerners - because they address the most pressing problem.

In The Power Of Myth Campbell hit the nail: People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think what we're seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That's what it's all finally about. 
My position is that Campbell was dead right when he said 'that's what we're really seeking'; and dead wrong when he said 'that's what it's all finally about'. Campbell's perspective offers real and immediate spiritual benefits; but its built-in anti-Christian perspective means that the adherent then 'gets' stuck'.

The very effectiveness of mysticism - although only a partial effectiveness, indeed may serve to prevent the next step, into Christianity.


I know this from personal, lived experience. I was in that position for a long time - more than two decades, during which I pressed forward all the time towards a completing and fulfilment within this 'Romantic' Transcendentalist position but never got any further because - from this perspective - there is nowhere to go.

One is simply told to be satisfied with a life without purpose - a life of isolated epiphanies.


What is required is a spiritual discipline that starts with mysticism in a Christian frame, which presents the path as a seamless progress from mysticism into Christianity - this being set out from the beginning.

But my impression is that this path is not available in any institutional, organizational or church setting; it is therefore a path which must be traversed alone.

Therefore, my current advice (for what it is worth!) would be for would-be Mystical Christians to embark on the spiritual path, but always with the aim of a specific denomination in-view - e.g. to become a mystic en route to becoming an Evangelical, Western or Eastern Catholic, Mormon or whatever...

This may, or should, help to keep the mystic within the protections (if not on-the-rails) of real Christianity; I mean, within bounds of moral teachings and focused upon Christ - and away-from the siren seductions of New Leftism and the 'liberations' of the sexual revolution.    

The way ahead is via foolishness


I am talking about England, and I am neither being despairing nor sarcastic.


In a desperate situation, there often arises an admiration for shrewdness, cunning, calculation, strategic planning...

But when the desperate situation is self-inflicted, then all this knowingness works against you.


To allow oneself to become a fool is to trust in the unknown (call it the 'magical'); and as a way forward it has potential for both evil and good. It has also the potential for self-deception - one may simply be pretending folly.

To be a fool is not to be going anywhere in particular, certainly not anywhere that you know about - but it may be a good way to get out from where you are (when you, deep down, don't what to be there). 


Nothing can be said about where it will all end-up (nothing should be said). That is the whole point.

Somehow the magic must be let-in. And sometimes this is the only way.


See also -

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Spiritual corruption of Glastonbury

Glastonbury was one of the most spiritually significant places in Britain; now we can be sure that it is one place from which a renewal of spirit is excluded.

The town was first corrupted from a great Christian site into a seedy maelstrom of evasive, collaborative New Age mutual exploitation. Then the Festival usurped the town; and then the BBC usurped the Festival.

Glastonbury now exemplifies everything that is most wrong with Britain - the confluence of finance, bureaucracy and the mass media; wrapped in fake robes fashioned from past greatness.