Monday, 9 December 2019

Why the Mozart Clarinet Concerto (K. 622) should be played on a Basset Clarinet

This is a deservedly very well known concerto, and is usually performed on a standard orchestral B-flat clarinet - but that is sub-optimal. It ought to be done on a basset clarinet, which is somewhat longer instrument, and pitched about five semitones lower.

Why? The first answer is that Mozart composed it for basset clarinet (not the basset horn, which is a different clarinet, and even lower pitched); and from this the second reason follows: Mozart wrote for the full lower range of the instrument in some of the key passages... Including my very favourite passage - the one that is, for me, the climax of the whole (exceptionally well-integrated across-movements) concerto.

This passage is in the 'middle' section of the last movement, it is the descending 'sequence' in which the same pattern of intervals is repeated going down the scale.

Hear it first, as written, on the original basset horn - tuning in from 23:45 with the sequence starting at about 24 minutes...

But if this is performed (as has been usual practice) on a standard B-flat instrument, then it runs out of low notes after the statement of the sequence - so the player has to go up an octave for the second and third cycles of the sequence.

This performance has similar timings - you should start at about 23:55 and the sequence begins at about 24:10.

Of course, this is just a few seconds in isolation - and you should really listen to the whole movement to get the musical shape of it. But I think you will agree that (setting aside the quality of performance - neither of these being top-notch) the musical sense is far superior when the notes-as-written are performed - and there are other instances here and there though the concerto.

In conclusion, Mozart's basset clarinet concerto K. 622 is (ceteris paribus) best done on... a basset clarinet.

Can modern people passively be corrupted by unconscious absorption of ideology from the Leftist totalitarian society? No: the evil is necessarily deliberate.

The novelty of modern mainstream Leftism is that it is inverted in its values and incoherent in its ideology; this means that it cannot passively and unconsciously be absorbed; but instead those who follow it must do so by deliberate collusion with what they know to be evil.

A person growing up in the modern West may superficially seem merely to be engaged in the passive and unconscious absorption of whatever evil is propagated and imposed by The System of totalitarian evil as it is implemented through the mass media, schools and colleges, the legal system, the workplace etc. People might thus be assumed absolved from blame... But the process is in reality neither passive nor unconscious.

Every individual knows naturally and spontaneously that the mainstream values are wrong, therefore there must be a conscious choice to adopt evil - knowing its evil.

This is the case because mainstream Leftism is both un-natural and incoherent; and therefore each person has innate abilities to discern this evil simply by instinct and common sense. In other words, the inversions, untruths and incoherence of modern Leftist ideology are so stark that they require no education in order to know them.

For instance, the unbiological nature of the sexual revolution as it applies to sexual identity, sexual practice, positive valuations of behaviour etc, are (in increasingly many respects and in extremity) directly opposed to our innate biological instinctive knowledge. Thus modern sexual revolution is anti-survival, anti-reproduction, anti-child-rearing - and is instinctively known to be a path to extinction.

Therefore, Leftist sexual morality can only be adopted by a deliberate choice to invert our built-in, natural law and spontaneous evaluations. Thus, modern Leftists need to embrace childlessness, a declining and ageing population, and extinction as positive values. This cannot be a passive and unconscious process.

As another example, the grossly contradictory assertions relating to the mainstream Leftist themes of equality, feminism, antiracism is judged incoherent by the simple application of 'common sense' - that very basic and necessary use of reason and logic which all normally-developed adults posses in order to function even minimally.

To assert mutual contradictions is necessarily a choice, and therefore cannot be regarded as merely passive and unconscious absorption of values. Thus, incoherence needs positively to be adopted as an inversion of spontaneous morality (a new morality as inversion of common sense) - and indeed incoherence is increasingly a mandatory and coerced behaviour that must be cooperated-with, endorsed and celebrated.

So far, this has nothing to do with specifically Christian morality and values - I am simply talking about the basic, biological - often evolved - social equipment of Man; about 'natural' and spontaneous behaviours.

Where religion comes in, is in valuing that which is biological and common-sensical above that which is anti-biological and incoherent. That requires a divinity, outside of the social system.

In rejecting its native Christianity and not replacing it with any other religion; The West has made 'values' merely into 'whatever The System says'; and rendered itself helpless in face of the permanent revolution against biology and coherence that is modern Leftism.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Things coming to a point - Reverse engineering modern Western society to discern the spiritual function of this kind of experience

What do the social conditions in the modern West tell us of the nature of souls being incarnated in this era? These are, after all, novel conditions - unique in the history of Man.

We may potentially be able to reverse engineer our features and trends; that is, we may be able to discover the spiritual functionality, on the assumption that God has designed this world for the salvation of souls.

The features include a pervasive arrested adolescence due to a refusal to grow-up spiritually. This includes an extreme of adolescent detachment from The World, self-consciousness, solipsism, sensitivity, mood instability. Alternations between hedonistic excitement and existential despair. And the usual tradition/ parent detaching adolescent rebellion perpetuated to the point of subversion and then a satanic, systematic value-inversion.

So far, so bad - and the evidence of increasing demonic domination is undeniable; but the fact that this is allowed to continue should lead us to suspect that God is 'using' the evil with the intent of turning it to some good.

Specifically, it may be that the people (that relatively small and shrinking minority of the human race) who are born into The West include many souls for whom this is a suitable environment for them to attain salvation (paradoxical though that may, at first, seem).

Here is a guess. The Modern West takes us to an historically unprecedented extreme point of driving home harsh lessons; to the point that there is No Escape. The soul is finally stripped down to a level at which Life has nothing to offer, and then the soul looks at God... Eventually, there is nowhere else to look.

This is things coming to a point - this is the point toward which things are tending.

We live in a world of increasing incoherence, and this incoherence is increasingly coerced. What might be learned from an environment of mandatory incoherence, official insanity, moral/ aesthetic and truth inversion?

The answer: to experience these, each for himself, in the fullest possible degree; to have them strike deeper and deeper; past the many and superficial facets of personality and fakery; and in towards our true and divine selves.  This is the confrontation that God (perhaps) is engineering; the starkest possible contrast between our naked self and the literally-hellish environment of The World...

A stark contrast leading to a stark choice: affirmation of that which we know (from experience) to be incoherent and nihilistic; or affirmation of God. That is, affirmation of love.

A hammered-home knowledge of meaninglessness, purposelessness and utter isolation in a dead world of materialism; and then, a direct knowing of creation, Being, and the friendship of Jesus Christ.

Things are brought to a point where the experiential knowledge confronts our divine self, by virtue of being children of God; our true self with its innate and hereditary knowledge of the divine. And this need not be taught - it is a fact, spontaneously knowable.  

If we further assume that many or most people born into the modern West are souls who were, before incarnation and from our pre-mortal spiritual existence, exceptionally beset with sins... then this extreme harshness of experience may be necessary for there to be the best chance of salvation. These are souls so short-termist and selfish that these sins must be stripped-away by despair to leave-behind what may be a small residual core of divine goodness.

In other words, the consequences of the sins are allowed the fullest operation to provide the harshest spiritual outcomes in order that their true nature may become as obvious as may be contrived; such that at the moment of choice the starkest possible contrast with salvation will become apparent to the densest and most recalcitrant of selfish hedonic natures (such as seem to prevail here and now).

Of course, Men are free agents and there is always the possibility of denial - every Man can deny God the creator of the universe (it was his prideful intoxication by this astonishing fact that seemed to corrupt the Lucifer, and many others). Yet we can imagine that at the 'moment' of death, that 'moment' can be concertinaed-out - much as we experience in a dream - so that the full consequences of Life may be surveyed fully and the choice made.

And not just our own life is relevant, not a person's residual love; but also the love of others will (at that expansile 'moment') be known as experienced reality.

Those whom we love, those who love us; this goes into the balance at the moment of choice, and tends to draw us to choose salvation and the Heaven where such love may be sustained and increased for eternity.

Thus evil is used against itself. The worse the evil, the deeper and more considered the evil, the more sustained and systematic the evil - the greater the incoherence and despair at the last - and the more complete the stripping away to reveal the residuum of the true self in its nakedness.

So long as there is indeed love, there is a chance. But those souls that lack love have nothing to set against the evil. They have nothing to weigh in the balance; and their choice is highly likely to be for damnation, where their sins are retained, and the 'promise' is that they may be indulged without restraint. What would such people want with a Heaven that is eternal loving creation?

But God cannot see-into our divine self to know whether there is, or is not, love. The conclusion of our time of choice cannot be foreseen. And this is exactly why the earthly experiences and trails are necessary; why - in our current extreme - the situation is engineered that things are brought to a point of maximum contrast and clarity.

Our time is one by which love will be revealed no matter how small and feeble: if love is there, somewhere, hidden, buried deep and covered-over by sins... by superficial materialism, short-termism, selfishness, hedonism; no matter how distorted by value inversion and lusts for sex, power, status...

The conditions of modernity are well-suited to bring those who most need it to a clear recognition of the nature of good and evil, the distinction and difference between them - and to the making of a final choice based upon the malign experience of sin that is intense, painful; and very hard (but not impossible) to deny.

A note on the stature of pianist Lang Lang

The modern pianist Lang Lang is a 'base breaker' - i.e. among the fans of classical piano he evokes extremes of both approbation and rejection. Some regard him as - either already or potentially - one of 'the greats'; others as a hyped, shallow, flashy showman.

Here is my impression, for discussion among those who care about such matters. The range of evaluation suggests a combination of significant strengths and weaknesses, and one's attitude perhaps depends on the relative valuation of these strengths and weaknesses.

His main strengths are that, technically, he seems to be able to do almost anything; and furthermore he can play with that lyrical phrasing (musicality) that is indispensable but innate (and not teachable). 

His weakness is a musical equivalent of 'short-attention span'. He cannot sustain his concentration and grasp across the long spans of music that are a feature of classical music.

Consequently, his performances consist of (often) wonderful sections, each lasting some tens of seconds; but not joined together into the larger arcs of movements and whole works. Superficially, Lang Lang seems to get bored, and 'messes around' every few bars - in reality, he probably does not musically comprehend the structure of the work he is playing.

Lang Lang is like the sculptor of a bust who carves beautiful eyes, nose and mouth - but cannot assemble them into a face.

Those music critics who are able to apprehend and appreciate musical architecture therefore rate Lang Lang pretty low - while recognising the virtuosity; those who focus on the close-up musical detail (and perhaps can't grasp musical architecture, or who don't much value it), perceive that he can do this at a top-notch level, as well as anybody. 

(If I am right) Lang Lang's weakness is rare among the highest level of pianists - an architectural grasp is something usually to be take for granted at that level; and the disagreement about stature is concerned with which performer's interpretation is the best exemplification of the musical architecture of a particular work.

In other words, I am saying that Lang Lang is indeed a technical virtuoso rather than a great musician; but he is a virtuoso who has genuine, original musical insights at the level of musical detail.

If the Apocalyptic power grab (by totalitarian bureaucracy) really is coming soon; what should I do? Prepare spiritually...

I wrote the other day that it seems - from the rhetoric of the Global Establishment, their servants and pawns; that the Apocalypse is coming on a timescale of months.

In other words, that (apparently) there will soon be an engineered crisis that will be used to justify a power grab and a qualitative (and, it is intended, irreversible) move toward totalitarian world government operating by a single, linked-and-converged bureaucracy.

If so, then what?

Well, what must be done, must be done by individuals - specifically by me and by you - because if we wait for groups or institutions to decide to do something, nothing will be done because all are corrupted or too weak. All the strong institutions are corrupted, all the uncorrupted institutions are too weak to stop the Apocalypse - and that is why it is coming Now.

So what should we do, you and I?

The answer is very simple: prepare spiritually.

Not to prevent the Apocalypse, because we can't. They have power to collapse the world economy and developed societies; and to perform innumerable major atrocities such as war, famine, epidemic...

What we can do is decide and resolve how we personally will react when it comes - what we will do and what we will not. Because, no man is an island, and no Good action, nothing derived from love of God and Neighbour, from faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour - including our thoughts - will lack general effect.

I think this is the vital matter. 'Actions' include inner actions, include our real, active, free thinking. At the ultimate and most-real level we aren't isolated minds; but are instead all Children of God, therefore with 'a bit of god' in each of us and linked together by the Holy Ghost.

We must recognise that Apocalypse is a spiritual war, and all else is secondary; the stakes are damnation.

Even if the world-as-we-know-it is brought-to-its-knees, yet if we ourselves do not embrace damnation, then we have won.

That is one thing (The one thing) we can certainly do; and it is the basis of any other Good thing we might do; such as, by our love, helping to save one or more others from damnation.

Accusing Leftism of being 'a religion' is an incompetent, dishonest slur against religions

Leftism is not a religion, it is an anti-religion; Leftism - like all religions, like all world views of any kind - is indeed based upon metaphysical assumptions.

The slur of accusing Leftism of being 'a religion' is that being 'a religion' is A Bad Thing. The implicit (if unarticulated) contrast is with the accuser's own world view - which is covertly assumed thereby Not to be 'a religion' but to be... what? 'Based on 'evidence', or 'observation', or 'facts' or something....

What the accuser is implying here is that a world view based upon basic assumptions is a religion - and that a religion is A Bad Thing because it is possible (and better) to have a world view that is Not based on assumptions, but based on evidence/ observation/ facts or whatever. 

This is the incompetence of the slur. Because all world views are actually and always based on metaphysical assumptions.

It is these assumptions that define and validate whatever counts as evidence/ observation/ facts. Because - for the accuser of another world view 'being a religion' - some things count as evidence/ observation/ facts and other things do not.

But how to tell evidence/ observation/ facts from the other things that are not really evidence/ observation/ facts? 

The usual (incompetent) answer is that these particular evidence/ observation/ facts under discussion) are validated by another bunch of evidence/ observation/ facts... OK, but what then validates those evidence/ observation/ facts?

In the end - if we are honest and competent, it is either an infinite regress which must be 1. false - or, 2. explains nothing - or else 3. 'infinite regress' is itself the metaphysical assumption!

Either one of them; or we get down to some metaphysical assumptions that are regarded as Just True.

But few people are competent thinkers, and even fewer are honest thinkers (the two are related, since competence follows honesty) - so people do not acknowledge the necessity of assumptions; and we get the accusation that "X 'is a religion' - whereas I personal am Not religious".

Therefore Leftism is Not a religion, but it is - of course - inevitably, based-upon metaphysical assumptions... But then everything is based on metaphysical assumptions - so saying 'Leftism is a religion' is either untrue, or thoughtless-meaninglessness parading as meaning; or else (too often) a dishonest attempt at propaganda.

The lesson? we all of us, every one, actually has a world view based on metaphysical assumptions that are unsupported by evidence/ observation/ facts.

The distinction ought-to-be between those who:

1. Acknowledge that they have metaphysical assumptions, and those who (ignorantly, incompetently or dishonestly) deny that they have metaphysical assumptions.


2. Those who know their metaphysical assumptions, and those who - while they acknowledge their existence - do not know them.

For me (and this is one of my metaphysical assumptions) - our destiny (in The West, among adults who are psychologically mature enough to read this) is to first acknowledge, then become-aware-of, our own metaphysical assumptions.

By become-aware-of I do Not mean 'communicate to other people', nor do I mean even 'articulate to ourselves' - what I do mean is to become aware of, apprehend, grasp intuitively, our own metaphysical assumptions.

If so, then...

3. We need to reflect deeply upon our own actual metaphysical assumptions; and discern whether these metaphysical assumption Which We Personally Have are valid.

Or not.

Saturday, 7 December 2019

John Dowland's Folorn Hope Fancy, performed by Julian Bream

John Dowland (c1563-1626) was the greatest of Tudor lute composers - Folorn Hope Fancy is perhaps his best piece (although Lachrimae was certainly the most famous). Here it is performed by one of my favourite of all musicians Julian Bream with hair raising intensity and profundity. It repays the closest listening.

Dowland's music is nearly all 'melancholic' in that bittersweet Elizabethan-Jacobean way we know from Shakespeare. In my early twenties, I listened to my LPs of Bream's lute music (mostly Dowland) more than to any other composer-performer combination excepting the Glenn Gould - JS Bach combination.

Speaking of Shakespeare; the following sublime passage from The Merchant of Venice matches Dowland for me - since I was enchanted by during my Bream-Dowland era. The occasion was an RSC performance in 1978 - starring, as I now discover, Captain Jean-Luc Picard as Shylock.

How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here will we sit and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears: soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony.

Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold:
There’s not the smallest orb which thou behold’st
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins;

Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.

Come, ho! and wake Diana with a hymn!
With sweetest touches pierce your mistress’ ear,
And draw her home with music.

Feeling 'sorry for' our evil enemies - by Francis Berger

Some subtle and balanced reflections from Francis Berger on the business of feeling pity towards those who are on the other side.

Friday, 6 December 2019

Unhappy phases of life - what are they for?

Looking back, I have had periods of life in which I was unhappy; indeed I was unhappy for most of my post-adolescent, adult life until I married. In particular the period in my late twenties, early thirties - and overall it just kept getting worse.

I had nothing much to do in life, except do what I wanted to do; to seek happiness in whatever way suited-me - and that was pretty much my philosophy-of-life (albeit that it included quite a few traditionalist constraints that I was, apparently 'stuck with').

But I could not (except briefly) be happy, and then only on the surface - the baseline state (my deep mood) was of futility and loneliness. Underpinned, as it was, by false and self-destructive assumptions; no matter what I tried (stick, or twist), 'life' didn't work - for one reason, or another.

God was in fact doing me a big favour, in making me unhappy. I was unhappy because my life was inadequate and far away from its destined track, and aiming further away.

So, in retrospect; the worst thing that could have happened to me was that I would succeed in doing what I aimed at doing; which was to find a way of being happy in what was for me the wrong life.

In particular, it would have done me no favours to be successful at inhabiting the kind of amoral, self-gratifying, selfish-hedonic nihilist role that I so-often was aiming-at. As I said: I wasn't very successful at dropping my 'inhibitions' - they got in the way of the ideal of hedonism; but that was my covert long-term strategy. 

By contrast, when I joined the proper track for my life; I was always deeply fulfilled and happy; whatever surface miseries and sufferings might dominate.

It is nothing to do with perfection of life! It is Not about having 'found' the truth. It is - in essence - about living a life in which one is learning from experience. And these experiences are not - ultimately - cumulative. It is more like a daily, or hourly, life of attaining true insights - even if, as often happens, these insights are forgotten, or slip from my grasp. Even on the right path; we may not get noticeably better as persons, but nonetheless we are learning.

I would now conceptualise this trajectory as learning from experience; which is why we are here, in this earthly mortal life.

But learning from experience is - literally - the hardest thing in life.

The reason (and this is what I failed to grasp, for so long) is that with the wrong assumptions we have the wrong aims; plus, with wrong assumptions, we cannot learn.

It took me about a dozen years or more to begin the (daily) process of learning from adult life; because it took that length of time even to begin fixing the false (and getting ever-falser - errors feeding-off themselves) metaphysical assumptions that had been incrementally undermining my life from adolescence.

Chronic and cumulative underlying unhappiness was, I now see, the predictable outcome of year-upon-year of failing to learn from the predictable consequences of my chosen beliefs. To cure the unhappiness without curing its cause would have done me no favours at all; and I am glad that I never succeeded in doing so.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Is a baby that dies in the womb a wasted life?

Continuing on questions that Christians might consider asking themselves; what about babies that die in the womb, are born dead or die shortly after birth?

It seems likely that most of the humans who have ever existed fall into this category - but whatever the exact proportions, this group accounts for a huge number of people (billions), especially before the modern era.

So these are people who have incarnated, but never had a chance to lead an independent existence from the mother - with hardly a chance to have experience, and no possibility of making any choices.

Were all these lives then futile? If so, it seems strange that matters should be arranged thus.

Given that God is our loving Father; I think the true explanation would need to be one in which there was a purpose to all these intra-uterine deaths, a reason for such people to have lived - some benefit these billions of souls had from their short experiences.

I found an explanation that 'works for me' in Mormon theology - which has it that these people have benefited from incarnation, from 'getting a body' - and it is this mortal body, no matter how short it lives for - which enables us then to be able to become resurrected.

In other words, we need to live and die as mortal incarnates, in order that we may become immortal incarnates - it is a necessary step on the way. So, even the briefest of lives spent entirely in the womb is of tremendous potential benefit to that person.

That is my explanation based on my assumptions - the question is whether other Christian traditions have similarly coherent accounts for this phenomenon? Or is the question simply regarded as trivial?

Can a slave be a Christian?

For me this is a key question that all Christians ought to consider.

The answer, of course, is Yes (obviously): a slave can be Christian...

But we need to consider what this implies with respect to our own understanding of what 'being a Christian' means.

A slave (at least in extreme forms of slavery) can be forced to say or do any kind of evil - on pain of death (or torture). The only means of refusal is to accept death (or torture).

Therefore, a Christian can say or do any kind of evil - up to the point at which death (or torture) would be accepted.

A slave can be prevented from reading scriptures or attending church or receiving sacraments - and yet that slave can be a Christian.

So, given that the slave can be prevented from doing almost anything, and can be compelled to do almost anything; how can a slave be a Christian?

The question forces us to consider Christianity in its essence. By the Fourth Gospel account of being a Christian, we get that the essence is to love Jesus (have faith in him, trust him), hence follow Jesus through death to resurrected life everlasting.

That's it! And that is how and why a slave can be a Christian.

(Note: In practice, a slave can be compelled to do almost any evil, but cannot be prevented from recognising and repenting evil. A slave can be prevented from doing almost anything, but cannot be prevented from praying - nor from knowing and loving Jesus by his own direct personal experience of the Holy Ghost.) 

(Further Note: This argument is already (and may become extremely) relevant to Western Christians, more-or-less, sooner-or-later.)

Rejecting Romanticism - is to open-ourselves to evil

Tough words, eh? But I am becoming more convinced that Romanticism is the necessary (and necessary means necessary) response to the evil of our time - because if we reject it then we will de facto embrace the Ahrimanic evil that is dominant in our time.

Romanticism is based on the (ultimate, not sole) authority of direct knowing, of intuition - of personal experience.

In an age when totalitarian bureaucracy is the primary agent of the demonic side in spiritual warfare - when the top-down multi-national agencies of the Global Establishment are the main source of evil; personal experience is the only possible root and basis for a Christianity that can resist subversion, convergence, assimilation...

It used to be 'tough' for Christians to insist upon 'objective' laws, rule and regulations and collective institutions (churches) as the bulwark against evil; but now these have become the very conduits through-which evil has flowed into Christian life!

Paradoxically, it is the 'dreamy romantic mystical' solo-Christian (of whom William Blake might be taken as an early type) who is proving to be the strongest.

When the reality becomes 'me against the world', it is best to recognise the fact. Thus our weakness becomes our strength.    

Fear of becoming the victim of a politically correct witch hunt

'Bonald' has posted an excellent reflection on the problem of, and the fear of, becoming a victim of some kind of politically correct witch hunt, of being 'doxxed' as he terms it. This refers to the leftist method of posting somebody's personal information online along with dishonest accusations of some kind of thoughtcrime like racism, with the 'deniable' intent of provoking violence against the victim.

(Rather arrogantly, I published a massive comment there about my own experiences of this kind of thing, back in the 2000s. Sorry about that Bonald!)

My book Thought Prison (2011) was a consequence of these experiences - both in terms of being a reflection on the experience and its implications; and also because - having been sacked from one of my jobs - I now had time and energy to do daily blogging, which led to this book.

I'll just add a couple of opinions about 'what to do' if this happens to you - and how to behave in light of such things; adding to what I wrote at Throne and Altar

What to do when it happens? 

I would, in general, focus on learning from the experience. Because of my scholarly interests (evolutionary psychology and intelligence research) I have known (personally or as colleagues) many people who have suffered PC witch hunts - and the saddest thing about it is how few have learned from the experience. Most were atheist leftists before they became SJW victims; most remained atheist leftists after the experience.

(If you are the kind of person, in the kind of situation, that you want to 'fight back' - then Vox Day's books - SJWs Always Lie/ Double-down - would be helpful about what to do, and especially what Not to do - i.e. not to apologise, explain, argue etc. My books on Political Correctness and the media might help too.)

What to do if it has not happened (yet)?

'They' want us to live in fear, because chronic fear supports the demonic agenda of evil. Therefore we should strive not to fear - which means, at least - as a first step, that we should repent our fear.

The bad news is that nobody is immune from being the victim of a PC witch hunt; the good news is that nobody is immune from being the victim of a PC witch hunt...

This arbitraryness means that you 'might as well' do the right thing (the Christian thing) in your life - as indicated by faith, hope and charity; and not worry about trying to stay out of trouble. (What a relief! Such is the evil of our times that Being Good is no 'worse' than doing evil!)

Trouble can come to anyone, and many of the most famous victims of witch hunts have been lifelong 'card carrying' SJW-types. Past credentials mean absolutely nothing when the scapegoating frenzy seizes the Leftist mob.

Indeed, The Left loves nothing more than to beat-up and kill their former heroes. In destroying - sooner or later - his closest friends and most loyal servants, Stalin was the rule for leftists, not the exception.   

God is our Heavenly Father wants the children of his family to learn from their experiences of mortal life; but he does not want us to live in a situation of chronic angst, suspicion, resentment and despair. Indeed, he calls these sins.

In a world of injustice and arbitrary persecution - or, even more, in a world of inverted justice and persecution of the Good - it is most vital for Christians to cultivate as care-free and hope-full attitude as may be possible: in consequence of this mortal life being a finite and transient phase of experiencing and learning between the two eternities of pre-mortal spirit life and post-mortal resurrected life.

This mortal life is very important, but it is not everything; and ultimately (for Christians) it is secondary to what comes afterwards - when we live in God's family as participants in the continued work of creation. Such convictions can help more than any others if, or when, you become a victim of totalitarian persecution. 

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Secret Christians - The future of Christian churches in a totalitarian bureaucratic world

We can already see what must be set aside by any church, if it is to remain truly Christian rather than simply being assimilated to The Borg of mainstream, global, bureaucratic, totalitarian (and increasingly transhumanist) demonic Leftism.

Recent and increasing deplatformings and withdrawals of service, and the implementation of employment laws, codes of practice and service etc; means that all the formal organisational aspects of churches will become impossible - unless the church yields to the imperatives of leftist bureaucracy.

For example, no organisation that receives any funding or charitable status will be able to be anti-abortion; no organisation will be able to employ and pay people (e.g. as priests) without conforming to regulations about sexual and racial quotas and inclusions; training of priests will be subject to the constraints of all secular educational institutions; church offices will need to comply with the leftist agenda about hostile or exclusionary workplaces; within-church interactions must comply with the prevalent anti-Christian/ anti-white apparatus of 'hate' crimes; no organisation with accounts will be able to avoid 'quality assurance' practices that embody leftist assumptions; no buildings or rooms can be owned, used or hired if they do not conform to the codes of practice and mission statements of those who control them (including fire regulations, health and safety etc); no large or regular assembly of people will be allowed when these are regarded as contributing to the possibility of civil disorder (including by those - such as 'antifa' - threatening to invade or harass them); no groups will be allowed that can be represented as a conspiracy towards racial supremacy, patriarchy, hatred of QWERTY people or immigrants, or people of other-religions or no-religion - or to the overthrow of the present order (e.g. by working towards Zion or the Second Coming); and the Bible is already regarded as a text of hatred - and dissemination, speaking or teaching from the Bible is already restricted in public places and teaching situations - so presumably the possession of unbowdlerised-left-noncompliant scriptures will soon be forbidden...

In sum, real Christian churches as formal institutions will become impossible.

If a church remains a normal institution that employs people or uses money, gets any grants or tax exemptions, uses buildings to gather large groups, uses written or internet or social media, uses financial tools and accounting - then it will (sooner rather than later) be compelled into the demonic agenda. It will be converged: absorbed by The Borg*.

And all this will be enforced by the vastly increased mechanisms of omni-surveillance and micro-control; so that even a few people meeting may be known, and quite possibly filmed or recorded.

So Christians will need to become secret, and so will churches.

All relations among Christians, within or between churches, will need to become personal, verbal, and probably encoded (with changing codes); assemblies will be small or deniable (eg. within families - if families are permitted).

The only 'thing' that can hold-together churches under such circumstances is... Love. There will be no help from law, habit or social pressure. Churches will have to be based-upon, grow-from, pure Love - or there will be nothing.

And this, presumably, is our test - in these Latter Days, these End Times... Things are coming to a point at which the primary issue of this mortal life becomes crystal clear; and the choice for or against God becomes stark and unavoidable.

*This is why the process of evil works from the top downwards; why modern institutions (including churches) nowadays always rot starting with the head - that is, with those interacting most with the surrounding bureaucracies. This is the nature of the type of evil dominant in this era: the Ahrimanic. This is the regular pattern of corruption of which people in churches need to be aware. 

Note: In reality - this is one possible extreme which may or may not be reached - but so long as the current World Order continues, there will be incremental and irreversible movement towards this situation. 
It is well to be prepared.

What does it mean to become conscious? - Romantic Christianity notes on 'moments of clarity'

An aspect of Romantic Christianity that is given special emphasis by Rudolf Steiner and Owen Barfield is the need to become conscious of that which was previously unconscious.

(Or, this is not so much a need, but our divine destiny (at least, in The West) - it is what we are incarnated to do during our mortal lives in this era; and something which if rejected will seriously imperil our salvation, and our culture. As indeed it has.)

By my understanding, with the modern development of consciousness there is an element of returning to the spontaneous 'animism' of young childhood, a recognition that the world is 'made of' Beings - alive and conscious, with motivations - in relationships with each other; but this time the animism is one with awareness of all elements of our world view (not merely a perspective passively resulting from instincts and socialisation).

The importance of consciousness is that it enables agency, or freedom (as in the title of Steiner's 1994 Philosophy of Freedom) - because only when we are conscious of some thing, are we free to to embrace or reject that thing. Without consciousness we are 'slaves', automatic products of our environment and instincts.

That development of consciousness which is desired is a necessary step towards a full quality of divinity that may participate in creation; without consciousness we are a part-of creation, with consciousness we are participants in creation; potentially able to join with God in this work.

Thus in this current phase of culture we have separated from God; our task (if we wish for Life Eternal in Heaven) is to rejoin with God, but this time with consciousness and by personal choice - and this entails awareness of that which was previously unconscious.

But what does this becoming conscious actually mean - and what does it Not mean?

First, we need to take into account that this is mortal life, and our world is one or impermanence - of decay, disease and death. So nothing in this world is permanent for us (as mortal Beings). That recognition immediately clarifies that the attaining of consciousness aimed-at is something that may not be remembered, may not have permanent effect, may not be acted-upon...

(...At least so far as our knowledge in this world is concerned. We have faith that such temporary attainments in this world do indeed have permanent reality in the post-mortal context of resurrected life  eternal in Heaven - but not in this world.)

So in seeking consciousness, what we are seeking us something much like 'a moment of clarity'.

This is the intuitive sense of direct knowing - and typically of becoming, for a moment, clear about something we already 'knew' but unconsciously... We knew, but until this moment did not know that we knew...

The key point is that these (and there may be many, should be many such) moments of clarity, awareness and direct knowing are IT. These moments are precisely what we seek in the evolution of consciousness - and indeed, such moments are all that we can seek.

They are our maximum attainment because the moment may be forgotten, it may be distorted by memory, may be misinterpreted retrospectively... it is only in the moment, at the moment, that it is what it should-be.

We need to understand this; because otherwise (given our habits, and Men's habits for the past couple of millennia at least) we will try to seek consciousness in the form of articulated concepts, of models - that is, we will attempt to capture the direct knowing in words or symbols and to make it part of a system.

And this is an error; because these are secondary phenomena. Direct intuitive knowing cannot be reduced to a few words or a few symbols or a simple model - of course not! Nothing can be - not even such everyday matters as the appearance of a daisy, the performance of a song, the smell of a pine forest can be described accurately and completely!

Ineffability - inexpressibility, incommunicability... this is the mystical insight, but not at all specific to mystical experiences; it is just an obvious fact.

Our experience is not pre-divided into chunks that can be separated completely - no, all is interrelated to the extent of creation. And there is no end to the inner detail of anything. We are confronted by open-ended limitlessness of complexity both as we look without and also within.

So, all that we symbolise in actual words, or communicate in language or image - all such is necessarily simplified, distorted, incomplete, secondary. The direct and immediately apprehended knowing is the only primary experience; and our awareness likewise cannot be captured nor can it be communicated except as a model - which is certainly wrong!

Therefore we should avoid going down that path which was pursued by Rudolf Steiner; in which he attempted to describe, summarise and communicate his transitory experiences of direct knowing in a truly vast, intricate and interlinked system - of a form suitable for presenting in lectures and diagrams, and publishing in scores of books, and teaching to tens of thousands of 'followers' at that time and for another century, so far.

Steiner's compounded error led to the illusion that it was necessary - or at least desirable - for us to learn, understand, memorise, further communicate this systemic model of reality, as if it was a description of real-reality. Which it not only cannot be - but the gap between such a model (any such model) and directly apprehended reality is unknowable.

The vastness and complexity of Steiner's communicated model therefore misled bot Steiner and his followers into assuming that it really captured reality, better than a simple model would or could. Yet the gap between a simple model and reality and a complex model and reality are equally limitless! Complexity does not allow us to approach closer to the truth - the truth remains as far away as ever; but the potential for delusion does increase with a model's complexity and difficulty of mastery.

(We can explicitly know that a model is simplified and distorted - but not how much it is wrong, nor in what ways it is wrong. And this fact is not affected by the 'size' of the model. Typically, a more complex model is more precise. We will tend towards ever more more-precise error - precision is a false promise of accuracy. Hence the greater potential for misleading.)

This all helps explain the sorry history of Steiner's Anthroposophical Society - which has now become just-another converged secular leftist organisation that embraces the Global Totalitarian agenda; albeit one that, currently, expresses a lot of eccentric pseudo-factual beliefs.

What of coherence? Well, coherence is also a thing that needs to be directly known. The coherence, or incoherence, of our knowing is something that we already know but unconsciously - our task is to bring this knowing to awareness.

For example, we may intuit that our knowledge is incoherent still, and needs more work, more clarification - or we may realise that it is indeed coherent, and we have grasped reality - for a moment.

But we cannot take things further than that moment of clarity, nor should we seek to do so - because any such attempt will fail, and in attempting to describe direct knowing in communicable language, we may become (as Steiner apparently did) dominated-by that false model - and assertive of its rightness, true-ness; we may assert that our ridiculously simplified System is actually itself reality and truth and that to 'know' this System is necessary, or even that to understand the System and be able to expound that System is equivalent to, or better than, the momentary clarify of direct knowledge.

Such an error is likely (and very tempting) because the System made-from direct knowing is durable and discussable, it can be a part of 'objective' public discourse; while by contrast the actuality of direct knowing is evanescent and private.

Making a fake model (untrue, but presented as if true) is therefore a possible route to status and power. For instance one might found a society, a religion or a business, which purports to be based-on direct knowing - but which is inevitably only a distorted, summarised and systemised account of the experience.

Setting aside such temptations and recognising that that which we seek will be temporary and will not be articulable; we find that becoming conscious, direct knowing, Final Participation is a much more attainable life strategy than might have been supposed.

This is great news!

Our task is (merely!) to seek such momentary clarity of insights, clarity of coherence's; and to be satisfied with that quality of experience - but (the difficult thing...) to continue to keep seeking for such moments for as long as we are alive.

Because, for as long as we are alive, we have important work to do; and that is why we remain alive.

Note: All this has been clarified for me by reading Philip K Dick's Exegesis (2011), which strikes me as exactly the book I most needed at exactly this point of my life. 

Monday, 2 December 2019

Where does evil in this world come from? (given that God is wholly good)

1. I define evil as opposing God, creation and The Good - 'the good' existing only within God's creation; and God's creation being a consequence of Love (initially, the love between our Heavenly Parents, which was the motivation for creation). God created The Good - so, to oppose God and creation is to be evil. And evil is the rejection of Love.

2. All Beings, including all Men, have existed from eternity - initially as primordial Beings, later these primordial Beings were procreated as sons and daughters of God, in the form of spirits (without bodies).

3. Evil in the universe comes from Men, and was always present from eternity. It could be thought of as a disposition, a character trait: the trait of Pride, which is broadly in favour of the self and its satisfactions at the expense of others; and specifically therefore against being a part of the familial ideal of God's creation harmonised by love.

4. When we became children of God we lived initially as spirits in Heaven, with very little agency - we were immersed in God's Goodness and the life of Heaven - therefore (somewhat like young children) we had very little capacity for expressing the evil that was within us.

Probably all pre-mortal spirits (excepting Jesus) will 'contain' evil, but they will not always express evil - because all are immersed-in Goodness and without a boundary between God and himself or herself.

(Analogous to a young child immersed in the loving kindness of a perfect family - in such conditions, few young children will express evil.)

However, some pre-mortal spirits had so much evil in them - from eternity - that (even with the limited agency possible in pre-mortal spiritual life) they opposed God, creation and The Good. They chose to express this opposition in Heaven;  and so were cast-out of Heaven. These were Satan and the many other demons, now eternally active (because eternal Beings) outside of Heaven; and including this world.

5. In order to develop towards being fully divine Children of God, we had to become more and more fully agents; and part of this development is incarnation into this world.

By incarnation (getting 'solid' bodies) we became separated from God (incarnation can be seen as an increased boundary between our-self and God); and for the first time then able to express our distinctive selves, including the propensity for evil.

Thus Men (each of us) brought primordial evil into this world, and by being-incarnated enhanced our agency; and this increased agency 'unmasked' this always-present evil, and enabled it to be expressed.

6. We (here and now, in this world) each find ourselves living adult lives in a situation of evil from demons, from other men, and in our-selves; in which situation we must choose either for or against God/ Love, creation and The Good.

Those who, after this life, choose For God and wish to participate in the work of creation will (thanks to Jesus Christ) be resurrected into Heaven; as wholly-Good agents, like God.

Those who choose God and The Good but do not wish to participate in creation will be allowed non-participatory, non-agent union with deity impersonally known (approximating to the pre-mortal spirit condition); and dwell in a 'timeless', static state of abstract bliss or Nirvana - within the scope of Heaven.

Those who reject and oppose God, who are active against creation, have chosen to reject Love (this called the sin of Pride)... will thereby choose to enter one of the many cut-off personal Hells, which each will 'rule as his own supreme deity. 

7. Thus evil is only present in this world because Men bring it here; as well as because of demonic presence and activity. Evil is in all Men from eternity (but to greater or lesser degrees, and of different types and emphases); and this evil is expressed because of our agency.

Also, this agency also allows us to choose to express evil or not. Thus all expressed evil is a choice and a collusion, and the rejection of evil is a refusal of assent to collude. In sum - evil versus good is about inner choice, that is, about collusion versus repentance.

Good and evil are therefore essentially a matter of taking-sides, choosing either for or against God, his creative work and plans; and for or against the basis of creation in Love.

Note; the above is, in essence, my interpretation and extrapolation (and to an extent correction) of Mormon metaphysical theology

Sunday, 1 December 2019

No institutional escape from Wokeness. With organisation versus The System - Resistance is Futile!

Above: The Borg - from Star Trek

Above: Early adopters of the next-generation of 'smart' technology

The Borg are the deadliest threat to the universe in Star Trek — The Next Generation. Part man, part machine, with each member participating in the group consciousness; the Borg act with a single ant-like will, and when one is defeated another steps forward to take its place.

In fact, the Borg are totalitarian bureaucrats; especially those with transhumanist aspirations for omni-surveillance and micro-control. And both Borg and Bureaucrat share the same mantra (in various versions): statement — resistance is futile.

At the level of institutions, this is correct - resistance is indeed futile.

Why? Because, all human institutions, corporations, organisations, functional or formal systems... are indeed mini abstract 'systems' that are linked to 'The System' (The Borg) by laws, rules, regulations, practices, use of money, taxes, banking and accounting, use of mass media, use of electricity and other utilities... linked, therefore, to that totalitarian bureaucracy which spans the world and has penetrated deep into all of our lives.

If, for example, a church (any church) tries to resist the Borg, and to remain unassimilated, it is identified as a threat and destroyed via one or more of the systemic links with the uni-System; via media firestorm or endemic vilification; political condemnation; punitive tax auditing or accounts auditing; prosecutions by employment law, hate crime law, be found to violate 'terms of service' from media and utilities and providers of internal services ...

That is, the church will - one way or another - have costs inflicted incrementally, open-endedly, and without limit; until it is destroyed as A-system distinct-from The System. Once identified, its separate organisation will be destroyed or else assimilated: that is the choice for modern institutions.

In political terms the choice is convergence, which is absorption; or death as an institution that is effective in The World.

As long as The System - the single atheist, leftist, totalitarian bureaucracy - continues there is no escape for systems.  

In a world of Woke institutions, only the 'Woke' will continue to survive...

But the Woke institutions 'survive' only by assimilation into the leftist, converged, Woke World that is The Single System: that totalitarian, increasingly transhumanist, bureaucracy which is controlled by the demonic Establishment.

So there will be (there already is.. all-but) nothing-but the individual and the non-institutional personal and loving relationships around that individual (principally the family); and on the other hand: The System.

All the institutions, churches, professions, corporations and all of 'civil society' that once bridged the gap between individual and totality, will have been destroyed or absorbed.

Man as a divine child of God, will be confronted by demonic collective that is The Borg: the Ahrimanic Satan, the coordinated world of purposive evil. Any person who affiliates to any ostensible institution will, in fact - as bottom-line, be affiliated to The Borg.

And these are the End Times, when the Christian Churches are being (or have already been) assimilated to the System of Evil because they are systems; and only individual persons that are motivated by love of God and fellow Men will be outwith the world of system/s.

And by love I mean real love, not operational, measurable, public-discourse altruism; because all the abstract altruists - those who aspire to loss of ego, consciousness and an end to thinking; those who regard the group as higher than persons - will have long-since surrendered their 'selves' to the merged uni-mind of the Borg.

Note: This is a deeper understanding of the current observation 'Go woke, go broke' - that when an organisation converges onto mainstream politically-correct Leftism - it will 'go broke'.  This is true, but irrelevant to the management, who will simply move on to another institution, with enhanced credentials from their Go Woke activism. If a broke organisation is useful to The System, it will simply be absorbed bureaucratically; and (while The System lasts) sustained with monopolistic privileges, subsidies, destruction of rivals (by taxation, law-fare or whatever). For example, mass higher education is long-since Woke and Broke; but sustained (and expanded) by subsidies of multiple kinds: tuition grants and debt-trapping loans, 'research' grants, grants funding manadatory bureaucratic compliance, requirements for paper credentials enforced by the state, multi-pronged attacks on non-Woke alternative providers (e.g. for-profit colleges) etc. Go Broke and Go Woke are therefore, in practice, synergistic - so long as that Wokeness is subservient to The System.   

Friday, 29 November 2019

The Millennium - was it a real thing? Was it a threshold?

 Tony Blair's 'flagship' Millennium Dome - expensive, ugly, boring, unpopular and late - perfect symbol of the new era

At the time of circa 2000, I would have said no, nothing much has changed; but I have since changed my mind.

Nothing happened at the exact time of the millennium (AD 2000 or 2001), and I am not a numerologist - so I see no special significance in the number of 2000 years...

But, as many people perceived in the previous century; that approximate time was indeed a qualitative transition, the millennium was indeed a threshold that we in The West were crossing.

The millennium was the threshold at which there was a generalised inversion of values. And this was apparent in the areas of life with which I was most involved over the years preceding and following the millennium.

For example, truth disappeared as an ideal. People were Not Even Trying to seeks the truth or to speak the truth, but instead truth became a rhetorical manipulation.

Truth was was replaced first by 'hype and spin' (to use the buzz words of that era) and then increasingly by virtuality - the 'real'-reality constructed by the mass media which was being amplified and extended vastly by the nascent social media.

Functionality was replaced by management, that is bureaucracy; i.e. totalitarianism - which is the attempt at complete surveillance and control at the micro level of individual ideas and behaviours in pursuit of universal damnation. 

So, in the areas of my own public activity - medicine, scientific research, and teaching - there was at about this time a tipping point.

These all became - in parallel, but in the same way - dishonest, dysfunctional, and evil-motivated.

For the first time, increasingly and irrevocably, bureaucratic mechanisms (committees, protocols, management...) took over both power and responsibility is the actual clinical practice of medicine (face to between doctor and patient); the specific themes, methods and reporting of scientific research; and the details of in-the-classroom teaching.

All of these are now thoroughly brought into the single-bureaucracy, which has been extended nationally and indeed multi-nationally; to become minutely controlled by a linked managerial system...

A system motivated by an ideology of value-inversion - in pursuit of corruption, lies, disgust, self-hatred, slow-suicide, nihilism and despair... but all regarded as positives.

And this became first dominant and official, then ubiquitous and mandatory, with an inflexion point somewhere-around the millennium.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

What kind of 'spiritual experience' should we be aiming for? More on 'direct knowing'

While there are people who continue to have 'traditional' forms of sensory spiritual experience - seeing visions, hearing voices, experiencing answered prayers and personal miracles, synchronicities and pre-cognition (information about the future), or phenomena like channelling or conversing-with spiritual entities - I would regard these as being impossible for many/ most people nowadays (except, perhaps, in conditions of intoxication or mental illness -which cast the validity of experience into doubt)  and as being preliminary and early aspects of a 'modern-era' spiritual life.

The main value of such experiences, I think, is to convince some people of the reality of a spiritual dimension to life. This was, indeed, the case for me - with a few instances of rapid/ miraculous answering of prayers, that were very important at the very beginning of my Christian life. The experiences were a confirmation of the reality of God.

But all of these are sensory-mediated, hence indirect, means of communication between God and Men. We see something, hear a voice saying words... and then comes an evaluation of the experience... Do we remember properly, accurately; was it an hallucination, or a coincidence?

And if we decide it was real and have an accurate record of the experience - then what does it mean for us? What was God trying to communicate, and what - exactly - did he want us to do about it?

So; once we are convinced of the reality of God - what then? After we know that God is real; that is the true beginning of spiritual life. Should we then expect or want the traditional kind of spiritual experiences to continue; are they, indeed, the best way that we can communicate with God?

This is when I return to the matter of what can be called the intuition of the real self or direct knowing. Direct knowing is - I believe - the form of spiritual experience that is available to many/ most people in the modern era. And furthermore it is, in principle, superior to the traditional forms - because it requires no extra layers of understanding and translation.

Perhaps if I draw a contrast, this will be clearer. Suppose someone has the experience of hearing God's voice, speaking words aloud in the mind. He needs to hear and understand the words, he needs to remember them (perhaps by writing them); and then he needs to ponder their meaning and implications.

But if that person was to receive knowledge directly into his understanding; he will already know what that knowledge means for him, and what he should do about it - because it all comes as a package: one moment not-there, the next moment it is there.

And direct knowledge is intended for direct action - it is typically bimodal, yes-no, two-track: either we stay with what we are doing, or else we set off onto a different path which is being given.

Now, there may be problems about remembering the experience, and so forth - but if we have acted-upon direct knowing, then that doesn't matter. And there is a much bigger problem about telling other people what has happened: that requires capturing the experience in language, tailoring it for the intended audience, and that audience will then need to receive, understand and interpret that information. The situation is the same as for traditional spiritual experience.

But direct knowing is the form of spiritual experience that goes with Romantic Christianity; and the essence of Romantic Christianity is that it is based upon direct and personal experience. Since direct experience is foundational, it means that it is indispensable. So that fact that direct knowledge cannot reliably and validly be transmitted in-directly is not surprising! It is why we need (and must have) direct experience in the first place. 

Another aspect is that direct knowing is - as a generalisation, in this mortal life - simple.

And in turn this means that we can receive direct knowledge only when we have formed our question exactly and with the proper motivation; when our mind it receptive to that form of knowledge. there are an endless ('infinite') number of false questions and wrong motivations for knowledge - and only the right questions and the right motivations will lead to direct knowing.

But once the right question and attitude are 'in place' - then direct knowing arises immediately and without any effort.

However, the knowing does not force itself upon us, overwhelm us, or compel us to do something. It is knowledge of what is right and there is a further decision about whether to embrace or reject what is right; or to argue that it is Not right. This is agency, this is free will - and is a separate 'process' from that of direct knowing. 

Agency comes in in this bimodal fashion: direct knowing tells us what is true and right; agency is concerned with whether we accept or reject this knowledge. it is not a choice between alternatives; it is a choice of 'destiny', or not-destiny.

So, direct knowing itself entails no effort, no struggle; but putting oneself into the necessary 'frame of mind' to receive it is a wholly voluntary and conscious process. Indeed, direct knowing - and to know that this is direct knowing - is possible only to those with agency, with free will.

Direct knowing doesn't 'just happen' to an unconscious person, who is thinking about other things (distracted); it doesn't happen to someone whose fundamental beliefs exclude the possibility of direct knowing... e.g. they don't believe in God, or their idea of deity is impersonal - or they don't believe that knowledge can be directly known. In such situations, there will be no direct knowing - that person is self-excluded.

To put matters the other way about - direct knowledge follows naturally upon the knowledge and love of God and the desire to follow Jesus through death to resurrected Life Eternal in Heaven. And then direct knowledge will provide the specific guidance we need in life.


John Butler - Christian 'Zen' (not Zen Christianity)

I have been watching the videos and reading books by a modern English mystic called John Butler - the above is a typical example. Most striking is that Butler seems a lovely old chap, with one of the most hypnotically soothing voices I have ever heard (at the Bob Ross level!). He is also a very serious spiritual seeker; having diligently practiced meditation for fifty plus years.

Butler has travelled all over the place, been an organic gardener, done a degree in Russian in middle age and lived in Russia for a total of more than five years; nowadays he meditates twice a day, for two or three hours per session, in the CofE church in Bakewell, Derbyshire.

He reveres the Russian Orthodox tradition of ascetic monasticism and hermit life, a life of prayer and meditation. Furthermore, Butler was steeped in the Bible as a young person; quotes frequently and fluently from scripture to support his explanations; and the YouTube videos are mostly recorded in an Anglican church. Superficially, it might be assumed that John Butler is a Christian...

But is John Butler a Christian? No he isn't; and this is just a plain fact, not intended as any kind of criticism, since Butler is quite clear about his beliefs.

By his own account Christianity is - for him - merely the spiritual language he was raised-in and knows best. Christian language is - in this sense - wholly arbitrary; and he has said that it could have been any other religion without affecting the essence of his religious practise.

In other words, John Butler is an advocate of the 'perennial philosophy' - which is the Western understanding of the universal one-ness of God and Man that is found primarily in Hinduism and Buddhism and their variants and descendants.

(I say the PP is a Western version, an abstraction of Eastern religion - because it is detached from the specific ethnic communities and ways of life that characterise these religions in their Eastern actuality. In the East, these religions have numerous practices and rituals, and are also linked with 'pessimistic' and indeed threatening beliefs about reincarnation that Westerners seldom or never adopt.)

Most importantly, John Butler's spirituality is distinct from Christianity in that he explicitly seeks the total loss of ego, a state of non-thinking, a complete and permanent union with the divine. His over-riding motivations are the desire for peace, and to be free of all possibility of suffering: he wants to live free of the body as a spirit (not to be resurrected) and to live outside of time, where nothing changes - and change would not be desired because existence is a state of bliss.

As far as I can tell, JB is absolutely sincere in this wish - and indeed he assumes that everybody else also wants what he wants.

From my perspective, John Butler represents a genuine and perhaps universal human motivation; but probably one which is much rarer than he supposes. Such views have mostly been expressed by those like JB who are from intelligent and sensitive members of the upper classes - they have never been the basis for mass religions; and mass-consumption Eastern religions are a very different matter altogether.

Even the mystical tradition of Eastern Orthodoxy (which is the closest that Christianity comes to Butler's perspective) is qualitatively different from John Butler's spirituality; in that Orthodoxy does not seek loss of ego, cessation of thinking or union with God - but rather a perfect communion - and as resurrected incarnates, not as bodiless spirit.

Readers will know that I do not have any hostility to those with John Butler's views, and can indeed feel their appeal. They are the response of those who regard mortal life as ultimately negative; who regard incarnation and bodies as a limitation and who prefer spirit; who regret the development of Man's agency with its 'self' distinct from God and its subjective life of conscious thinking.

Butler's spirituality has the nature of  wanting to 'hand back his entrance ticket' to mortal life; to return to our earliest state of Being, before we were incarnated, when we were simply immersed in the Goodness of God, dwelling as spirits in Heaven. And I am confident that the subjective state of Being sought by people such as JB will be allowed and made possible by God - they will, indeed, live in the kind of unconscious union with the impersonal aspects of the divine - just as they hope for.

I do, however, wish to emphasise that they are not Christian, and the motivation is incompatible with the Life Eternal that Jesus came to make possible for us. And Perennial Philosophy becomes actively harmful if and when it is put forward as being the 'true' Christianity, or the deepest form of Christianity.

Also, it makes no sense at all to link PP with any kind of this-world morality: this is just incoherent! John Butler does not seem to realise that his convictions relating to the importance of environmentalism are sense-less in terms of his own philosophy. For example, in one video he (albeit half-heartedly) gives 'advice' on the subject of 'climate change', and he often opines regarding the desirability of unspoilt nature or organic food production...

And this nonsensical incoherence seems very hard, almost impossible, for Westerners to avoid - so that all the Western advocates of Perennial Philosophy that I have encountered are intractable hypocrites about politics; some of them very much so!

My feeling is that someone who sincerely regards unconscious union with impersonal deity as their deepest post-mortal desire, and who wish to approximate this during mortal life, should just get on with it! Perhaps it is legitimate to help other people to attain it by advising on meditative techniques (as does John Butler).

But such folk really ought to shut-up on every other subject! - especially politics and social organisation - since their views must inevitably by their own account be wrong and irrelevant; merely part of the maya (illusion) of this mortal, incarnate life...

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

How far can evil go in attacking God's creation?

The fact of Jesus Christ seems to imply a 'two phase' view of God's creation.

The first phase was the Heaven of our God (Father and Mother) among their spirit children. As unincarnated spirits, the children of God lacked the agency to become autonomous creators; they could not, therefore, participate in the ongoing work of creating.

Some of the children of God turned against the plan of loving creation, becoming the demons and being cast out. But these demons commenced their work against creation - subversion, destruction, inversion - which continues.

(Others of God's children opted-out of the whole thing - returning to non-consciousness.)

Phase two was to enable some of God's children (those who chose the path) to participate in creation, as fully as their capacities would allow. This was made possible by creating earth and mortal life - during which some who loved God and their fellow Men were able to make partial and temporary contributions to creation. But to enable this in fullness and completeness was the work of Jesus Christ.

After Jesus, mortal Men could make a commitment of love and follow Jesus through the portal death, resurrect into Heaven; and there live eternally and able to participate in creation.

By this means, God was able (open-endedly) to expand and enrich the loving and familial work of creation; and 'insulate' the process of on-going Heavenly creation from the corruption of demonic activity.

Thus the Heaven of Life Everlasting is unlimited is size and scope; and safe from evil.