Monday, 6 April 2020

The post-apocalyptic world on view - If you want to give yourself a nasty fright...

I just spent a few minutes looking at a world-wide map of webcams; showing what is going-on in hundreds of locations, all over the place.

I went from continent to continent, country to country, place to place - and it was the same everywhere: bare streets, empty roads, empty beaches, nothing moving - hardly a motor vehicle, barely any shipping.

It looks exactly as if there had-been a world-wide apocalypse that wiped-out the human species, while leaving everything else standing.

One of the most depressing sights of my life. An entire planet locked-down.

I recommend that you do not look at the link; unless you hate mankind, are feeling exceptionally robust, or are in the midst of an episode of acute manic elation.

The benefits of working Fast: Exegesis, Valis and the essays - Philip K Dick

Exegesis - a 2011 edited selection of  Philip K Dick's diary from the last eight years of his life (between 1974 and 1982) - has become a key text for me. Although I had never looked at it until last autumn, Exegesis is one of only three works that I have in threefold: as paper copy, Kindle and audiobook (the others are Hobbit/ Lord of the Rings, and Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell).

The great value for me has been stimulation: I find Exegesis to be energising and enthusing. Indeed; it helped dig me out from a spell of directionless demotivation  - so I feel gratitude toward it.

A fair bit of it is also very interesting and enlightening; although ultimately I regard most of it as wrong (after all, I live in a minority of one). Nonetheless this does not trouble me in the slightest. Exegesis is such an honest work - so raw and energetic, intelligent and exploratory in its genuine philosophising, that this is all to the good.

Consequently; I have also gone back and re-read the PKD novels that I encountered in the middle 1980s; and read several others (or else listened as audiobooks). One of his novels - Valis - was published in 1978, in the middle of the Exegesis period, and using many of the events and ideas from that book.  Indeed, most PKD fans read Exegesis through the lens of Valis.

Valis is a work of art, rather than a collection of notes - and some find it PKD's best novel. But I find Valis much less valuable than Exegesis, because it strikes me as less honest. The philosophical fireworks are presented through the screen of a skeptical, indeed cynical, narrator - and in a distanced, ironic fashion. Whereas from Exegesis I 'know' that these were of burning and urgent significance, at the time they happened; with Vlais the ideas seem (and are) secondhand.

Likewise the lectures and essays of that period - such as "How to build a universe that doesn't fall apart two days later". In making this speech/ essay for public consumption; PKD distanced himself from the daily (nightly) reality of his thinking; made it fit into a schema - which in real life, it never did.

Therefore, while I fully realise that Exegesis would not appeal at all to most people (indeed, I am surprised anybody except me finds it worth reading!) I regard it as without doubt the best thing of PKD's later years.

This is also because I find that all of PKD's very best novels - by my estimation - to have been published in a brief period of just five years between The Man in the High Castle of 1961 and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep in 1966. There were indeed seventeen novels (!) published in these years - but the best I have read (and I haven't read them all) are Dr Bloodmoney, The Three Stigmata of Palmar Eldritch, and The Penultimate Truth.

The earlier novels I have sampled are rather poorly written and did not keep my attention; the later novels are sometimes very good in parts (e.g. Ubik, Maze of death, Flow my tears) but do not satisfy as a whole.

My conclusion is that Dick's central and dominating preoccupation moved from fiction to philosophy as he got older; and the type of unsystematic philosophy he did (or rather lived) was unpublishable at that time; although in more recent years he might well have blogged it - much as I do. As a young man, therefore, PKD thought via stories; as a middle aged man he thought via philosophy.

To make a living, the older PKD repackaged his philosophy into novels, stories, speeches, essays - but these were secondary to the solitaary, self-addressed reflections that are sampled by Exegesis. And when he tried to 'use' these primary notes as source material; the need to be systematic, the need to distance himself from the embarrassing honesty and rawness of the original, the attempt to justify and persuade others... all these requirements got in the way, and diminished the quality; while at the same time creating work that admittedly some fans regard as his best.

Thus Ubik, A Scanner Darkly or Valis are often asserted to be the peak of PKD's achievement - and for some people this presumably is the case. But not for me. I regard these as hybrid works, somewhat contrived and unspontaneous, and never fully successful.

PKD worked best when he worked fast (very fast) - both as a fiction writer (staying awake for several consecutive days of solid typing, using amphetamines); and also as a philosopher: sometimes generating many thousands of words of Exegesis in marathon nocturnal sessions.

Certainly not a healthy life: and not a healthy man - but I am grateful for his achievement.

What is it like to be a resurrected immortal being?

The problem is that we must be eternal and that we must also remain our-selves.

It seems we must therefore be permanently immune to the damaging effects of change (entropy): the only possible changes in post-mortal life are good, conscious and chosen; because only these can be integrated with ongoing creation. In brief, there is no entropy in Heaven - it is a place of creation.

So what will we be like? There are two ideas I reject - one is that we become immaterial spirits, with the solidity of our bodies a kind of illusion. The other is that we will becomes something like adamantine indestructible, moving statues... These incorrect conceptualisations I regard as deriving from wrong metaphysical assumptions, especially about the nature of time, that need to be set aside.

I regard time as a-part-of ultimate reality; therefore a being exists 'in' time; indeed the necessary attributes of a being include 'life' and 'consciousness'' which happen in time; and the basis of God's creatio is Love, which entails both the reality of beings, and a relationship through time. 

So - we get to a conceptualisation of a being 'in' time, which can be imagined (symbolically) as a line through space; a line going from the past, through the present and into the future.

That line through space is what defines a being, defines the identity of a being, and distinguishes one being from another.

That line of a being is assumed to be immortal, eternal - however, the forms of the being as-it-were 'around' that line as it goes through time, may change in an open-ended fashion.

When we are resurrected; that entails that the only change will be consciously-chosen good - based-in love of God and of creation. 

Incarnation in a body entails that the line is localised primarily, will be in a place. Thus, we have a body - that body knows, perceives, acts widely; but is localised; because a distinct and agent being. And that resurrected body is immune to evil, immune to destructive change and death. 

How might such a body, such a person, appear to us here on earth - as, for example, an angel?

It may appear as if a vision. Entropy would have no effect upon it, nothing would be able to affect it, or to harm it - it would be in as 'different dimension'.

But this kind of angel would not have unlimited capability. That isn't implied by resurrection. Power would be further limited to that which was compatible with loving goodness in the context of divine creation; and this motivation might be very different from (for example) minimising suffering of specific individuals here, and now.

Then how might such angels have any effect at all here on entropic-earth, dominated by change, decay, disease, death...? Given their nature, it is hard to see how they could interact with us.

My assumption is therefore that in order to act upon this world; angels need us to meet them half-way; they need to intearct via the active thinking of a mortal Man.

Angels do not, I think, act upon us; but act with us; and the realm of interaction is thinking - specifically that kind of thinking I have termed primary, which is also intuition, or direct knowing.

It is at such times that angels may work with us.

Sunday, 5 April 2020

The Main purpose of the current crisis

If, like me, you regard the current crisis as an explosion of the spiritual war between God and the agents of evil; then we can see many ways in which the demonic forces have triumphed over recent weeks.

There are many factors at work; but I believe that there is always one main reason (among those at the top, in command) for any socio-political change; and in this instance I believe that aim is the (de facto) destruction of the Christian Churches worldwide; of which the largest denominations are the Roman Catholic (led by the Pope), Eastern Orthodoxy (led by a Patriarch in each nation) and the Anglican Communion which is 'led' by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Church of England.

This aim has been achieved: Christian churches worldwide have suffered the greatest, most catastrophic blow in their entire history, and - such is the feebleness of modern faith - have barely noticed (and barely even protested). 

There are many enforced closures and lock-downs of many institutions and buildings in England now; but there are none, I think, so severe and so absolute as the lock-down of Church of England churches.

Take a look for yourself - browse around.

The instructions make clear that nobody should enter a church building, not even the vicar (even the church yard is supposed to be locked) - except in the case of some kind of material emergency like a gas leak. And, of course: all Christian activities must cease.

This is specifically directed at the church's Christian activities. As a telling example, a funeral can be conducted in secular buildings, but the use of church buildings for a religious funeral is explicitly forbidden.

Except, wait for it... Church buildings can be used for non-Christian activities - such as blood donation, food banks or as night shelters... 

English churches are therefore - by official decree - now deconsecrated shells.

Church buildings are specifically closed for all religious activities - because these are allegedly too dangerous to allow; but at the same time churches are declared to be safe-enough, and allowed to remain open, for various 'essential' secular activities.

What could be clearer than that? 

For me; the precise specificity of the attack on Christianity is a hallmark of what is really going-on at present; and that the demonic powers of purposive evil lie behind the current global crisis.

Note: My interpretation of the fact the Church of England leadership - along with the leadership of (I think) all other large Christian denominations - has actively, supportively gone-along-with (indeed pre-empted) the official closure and suspension of only specifically-Christian activities, merely confirms what has long been obvious: that the senior Church hierarchy function as fifth columnists - paid undercover traitors dedicated to the destruction of the church as a Christian organisation, and its absorption into the generic state bureaucracy.  

Song Thrush

Although the curlew, lapwing/ peewit and lark are the most evocative of our moorland birds; for me our best songbirds are blackbird, nightingale and song thrush - we have plenty of the first two but I have neither seen nor heard a song thrush for some years.

But they're back! I saw one the other day, and we have an exceptionally 'fruity' voiced singer in our back garden; a real virtuoso - loud, sweet-toned, inventive.

Home Thoughts from Abroad, by Robert Browning

Oh, to be in England 
Now that April's there, 
And whoever wakes in England 
Sees, some morning, unaware, 
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf 
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf, 
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough 
In England—now! 

And after April, when May follows, 
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows! 
Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge 
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover 
Blossoms and dewdrops - at the bent spray's edge -
That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over, 
Lest you should think he never could recapture 
The first fine careless rapture! 
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew, 
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew 
The buttercups, the little children's dower -
Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower! 

"A bad knee is worse than no knee at all. A bad knee and an early grave."

As someone who has one, indeed two of them; I'd partly agree with that statement - and also that water on the knee is a 'bad man'. These come from a favourite passage in At Swim Two Birds, by Flann O'Brien; a passage with some of the funniest lines I have ever read. 

Having said that; O'Brien is a writer who sharply divides opinion. If you find the texture of his prose droll, you will love him; if not, he will leave you stone cold. For one thing, you need to have an appreciation of Irish English: to be able to hear the lines spoken as you read. 

Note: FO'B's best - his one great - work is The Third Policeman. But if you go ahead and read ASTB, I would advise skipping the many and lengthy passages that are a translations of the poetic Gaelic legends of Sweeney. After several readings, I cannot see that these add anything to the novel, and omitting them loses nothing substantive...   

I’ll tell you what’s hard, too, said Shanahan, a bad knee. They say a bad knee is worse than no knee at all. A bad knee and an early grave.

Water on the knee do you mean?

Yes, water on the knee is a bad man, I believe. So I’m told. But you can have a bad cap too, a split knee. Believe me that’s no joke. A split knee-cap.

Where are you if you are gone in the two knees? asked Furriskey.

I knew a man and it’s not long ago since he died, Bartley Madigan, said Shanahan. A man by the name of Bartley Madigan. A right decent skin too. You never heard a bad word about Bartley.

 I knew a Peter Madigan once, said Mrs. Furriskey, a tall well-built man from down the country. That was about ten years ago.

Well Bartley got a crack of a door-knob in the knee. . . .

Eh! Well dear knows that’s the queer place to get the knob of a door. By God he must have been a bruiser. A door-knob!—Oh, come here now. How high was he?

It’s a question I am always asked, ladies and gentlemen, and it’s a question I can never answer. But what my poor Bartley got was a blow on the crown of the cap. . . . They tell me there was trickery going on, trickery of one kind or another. Did I tell you the scene is laid in a public-house?

You did not, said Lamont.

Well what happened, asked Furriskey.

I’ll tell you what happened. When my hard Bartley got the crack, he didn’t let on he was hurt at all. Not a word out of him. On the way home in the tram he complained of a pain. The same night he was given up for dead. For goodness sake! Not a word of a lie, gentlemen. But Bartley had a kick in his foot still. A game bucko if you like. Be damned but he wouldn’t die! He wouldn’t die? Be damned but he wouldn’t die. I’ll live, says he, I’ll live if it kills me, says he. I’ll spite the lot of ye. And live he did. He lived for twenty years.

Is that a fact?

He lived for twenty years and he spent the twenty years on the flat of his back in bed. He was paralysed from the knee up. That’s a quare one.

He was better dead, said Furriskey, stern in the certainty of his statement.

Paralysis is certainly a nice cup of tea, observed Lamont. Twenty . . . bloody . . . years in bed, eh? Every Christmas he was carried out by his brother and put in a bath.

He was better dead, said Furriskey. He was better in his grave than in that bed.

Twenty years is a long time, said Mrs. Furriskey.

Well now there you are, said Shanahan. Twenty summers and twenty winters. And plenty of bedsores into the bargain. Oh, yes, bags of those playboys. The sight of his legs would turn your stomach.

Lord help us, said Furriskey with a frown of pain. That’s a blow on the knee for you. A blow on the head would leave you twice as well off, a crack on the skull and you were right.

From At Swim Two Birds, by Flann O'Brien (1939)

Saturday, 4 April 2020

The old "Put down your gun and step away!" trope

Would you trust this man to keep his word?

According to the indispensable TV Tropes:

Classic variant of the Hostage Situation. The villain has a hostage in his grasp, and a gun pointed at said hostage's head. The hero(es) barge in with guns out. Villain tells the heroes to get rid of their guns or the hostage gets it. ("Kick them towards him." "Put them down and step away." etc.) The heroes will do exactly that, and it's usually only a stroke of luck that saves them from the villain just plugging them right then and there... 

The main problem with the situation is that the hostage taker, barring the occasional ones who are willing to give their life, doesn't want to shoot the hostage much more than the heroes do. If they were to kill the hostage because the heroes refused to drop the guns, there is suddenly nothing to keep the heroes from using said guns. However, the characters almost never think this through

 ...Real-life police and military forces train their people to never put down their guns in a hostage situation, because if you do you'll just end up with a dead hostage and a dead hero.

Why do I mention this? Well, the villain is an evil-motivated liar - someone that we know-for-sure cannot be trusted. Someone like - oh, for example - politicians and the mass media.

The primary stupidity of the 'put down your gun and step away' trope is that - suddenly, for no good reason and in face of the fact that the villain is actually (here and now, currently) behaving in an obviously evil, dishonest and untrustworthy fashion - the hero disarms.

Yes, the stupid, stupid, stupid hero surrenders all his protections, gives all the power to the villain... simply because the villain says he will (from now onwards) behave with decency and integrity.

I trust you understand the point I am making? Indeed.

Modified 'terms of service'

Just to draw attention to the User Profile on the sidebar to the left - It hasn't changed much, but I've added a couple of clarifications:

Comments are moderated (rather strictly). 

Anonymous commenters, topical references and social media links are seldom/ never published. 

If commenters include a reference or link - please explain what it is and why relevant. 

If my post avoids being specific, I will not post comments that are specific. 

Personal e-mails are welcome: bruce dotch arltonatou tlookdotc om... 

Notice of The Penultimate Truth, by Philip K Dick (1964)

I've just read The Penultimate Truth by Philip K Dick (from 1964), which I had not previously bothered-with - due to having read some rather adverse/ lukewarm reviews. But it turns-out the reviews were mistaken: I thought this was an excellent novel - one of PKD's best.

It is not giving away any great plot points to reveal that the set-up is a post-world-war society where most of the human population are kept below-surface in 'ant tanks' where they live in miserable and crowded conditions, manufacturing robots which they believe are necessary for the ongoing war on the radiation-devastated planet surface (which they believe to be uninhabitable by humans).

In reality; there is an aristocracy of 'Yance-men' living on the planet surface, who use these robots as labourers and domestic servants; and whose main activity is producing the 'fake news' to convince the underground dwellers to continue their closed-in, crowded, toiling lives.

In essence this is a world (exactly like ours) that is based on a Big Lie; and there is a recurrent discussion and analysis of this idea from Goebbells. In this world, the Nazi propagandist's expertise is regarded as exemplary, and taken to a high level of 'artistry' and effectiveness.

With a Big Lie, the lie has become so big that people cannot believe it could possibly be a lie; and they will ignore all kinds of detailed discrepancies in 'the narrative' fed to them, because the idea that they are living a total lie is simply beyond belief.  This bigness is indeed vital to success - because lying always involves discrepancies and errors; so that - in the end - a Big Lie is the only kind of lie that can be permanent and compelling.

The novel is all about this matter of deliberate, calculated lies and deceptions; and the motivations/ rationalisation behind them - the strange mixtures of self-seeking (power and luxury) and self-sacrifice (loneliness and isolation) that the Yance-men life entails; the ways they are both villains and martyrs. Indeed, all the point-of-view characters are broadly sympathetic, we can identify with them - to some extent.

The title of 'penultimate' truth seems to be a reference to the fact that even when the Big Lie is penetrated, we never seem to reach an ultimate truth; the knowable truth always seems to be incomplete, and the final answers (at least) one step further away...

Anyway, I would recommend this very highly; as being absolutely relevant to our present global situation; one of the most intelligent and deep 'dystopian' novels that I've encountered - with that instant memorability and iconic quality of 1984 and Brave New World - but much better-structured, more gripping and enjoyable to read.

Friday, 3 April 2020

I think They've lost control...

Always one to discuss my groundless hunches - here's the latest...

I get the feeling that something has stalled The Plan. Now, I'm not very sure what The Plan was - in particular I am not sure how far it was meant to go: whether to total collapse of The System and mega-death; or to a point short of that, where a hi-tech elite was maintained to run a totalitarian system of omni-surveillance and micro-control.

But it all seemed to be unrolling incrementally, pretty-much everywhere at almost the same time; until a few days ago.

But now, I sense a kind of stalling; and uncertainty. Whatever The Next Step was supposed to be, it does not seem to have happened - it is a few days overdue.

It may be that there is an internal dispute among The Global Establishment - perhaps exactly about how far things are supposed to proceed. Or a fight between the Bosses and the lower-level minions (who each have different interests and motivations)... I don't know - but I think things have been derailed for a while, for some reason.

Something (bad) will certainly happen again soon; and I don't know what - but it is encouraging to believe (if it's true) that it did not happen exactly according to plan; that it is a bit later, a bit slower, less successful in some way.

After all, we know very little of the material factors at work here; and almost nothing of the spiritually causal factors; to which each and all of us are potentially able to contribute - by direct and unstoppable means.

For today's socio-political commentary - Francis Berger is your man...

If you want to explore the further consequences of this developing crisis-collapse; today's port of call should certainly be my pen-pal Frank Berger's blog - with posts on the separation of church and state; and the irrevocable and serious nature of our decisions at this time.

Here is an edited excerpt from the latter:

For the first time in a long time, it very much appears that everything within the scope of existence is being chiseled down to moments of decisiveness, unavoidability, and irrevocability. 

This shall determine that has become and will continue to become all encompassing. Everyone and everything will be forced into a veritable cascade of this shall determine that experiences - experiences in which diplomacy and compromise cease to be effective or viable options. 

Experiences in which confrontation will be the only choice. Experiences in which either one or the other or both must go

The stage is already being overrun by teams of hotheaded Romeos and Tybalts all itching to seize the moment to propel their various agendas. 

The hotheaded understand the existential nature of what is transpiring at the moment, and they are rushing forward to ensure they fill any void the inevitable this shall determine that conflicts leave in their wake...

The spiritual becomes glaringly predominant. Whatever happens in the material world is important, but the spiritual ramifications of these material events are even more so... 

I am convinced that we have already faced and will continue to face (...) moments in which we will be forced to choose and act. Moments in which we must make decisive, unavoidable, and irrevocable decisions - decisions in which the outcome may very well be reduced to three options - either we, or the challenge, or both must go

Unlike Romeo and Tybalt, we must not rush impetuously into these this shall determine that challenges when they confront us, for volatility and rashness will likely lead only to tragedy...

We will be compelled onto the stage, forced to meet challenges head on - and we must remember to meet these challenges with faith, hope, and love. 

How we may each contribute to God's creation

The Classical concept of God is one of completion and perfection - an individual such as you or me cannot add anything to complete perfection.

Therefore any human creation is constrained within already-existing divine perfection; and human creation is never substantive, never necessary - our best efforts can never (even in theory) make a real difference to already-existing perfect completion.

However, my understanding is different from this; I understand God's creation to be growing, developing through time; and with endless scope for individuals (such as us) to contribute.

The difference between this mortal life on earth, and Heavenly life, is that our creating happens in the face of the dominance of change, of 'entropy' - a tendency for what-is-created (including our-selves) to relapse towatds primal chaos.

Whereas Heaven is a creat-ing world, open-ended, continually 'under construction' - a world in which there is both new creation and permanence: a world of 'negentropy'.

How? Due to Love. Heaven in a world in which creation is harmnised by Love; possible by the eternal committment to Love that is made in resurrection.

So - there was a primal chaos; then God made from it, and in it, a Heaven of his own creation. Since Jesus, there is the Heaven in which God's creation is joined with those of his resurrected children.

We live in the world between these worlds; but although ourselves in this transient form, may create in ways that are carried through to the permanence of Heaven  

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Why world is your oyster but your future's a clam, They let you think you're king, but you're really a pawn

The Jam - When You're Young - 1979

Life is timeless, days are long when you're young
You used to fall in love with everyone
Any guitar and any bass drum
Life is a drink, and you get drunk when you're young

Life is new, and there's things to be done
You can't wait to be grown up
Acceptance into the capital world
You pull on some weed, then you pull on someone when you're young

But you find out life isn't like that
It's so hard to comprehend
Why you set up your dreams to have them smashed in the end
But you don't mind, you've got time on your side
And they're never gonna make you stand in line
You're just waiting for the right time

You're fearless and brave; you can't be stopped when you're young
You swear you're never ever gonna work for someone
No corporations for the new age sons
Tears of rage roll down your face
But still you say, "it's fun."

And you find out life isn't like that
It's so hard to understand
Why the world is your oyster but your future's a clam
It's got you in its grip before your born
It's done with the use of a dice and a board
They let you think you're king, but you're really a pawn

You're fearless and brave; you can't be stopped when you're young
You used to fall in love with everyone
Any guitar and any bass drum

This song, and this performance, has been running in my mind for the past few days. As always with this band, I tend to get fixated on Bruce Foxton's supreme bass playing; but the whole band really build-up some steam in this remarkable song.

This is from the New Wave era that came just after punk - you still get the punk ethos of angry youth, moody and unreasonable attitudes, machine-gun drumming - but there is a much greater structure, musicianship, excellent lyrics and so forth; for me, probably the greatest era in pop.

Watching this live perfomance I get a sense of that incredible glamour (in the enchanting sense) of pop music for youths and young people; a kind of aching for what is - of course - a kind of illusion.

But with this kind of pop, with this kind of quality, there is a fact of it being produced by people of the same age. The Jam were absolutely fresh: young, raw, very creative and talented - they flared briefly and intensely to light up the world; and then ended.

Churches are inessential

But don't worry - it isn't necessary

A month ago, when I realised what had happened, I wrote: "As a small but significant instance; keep a particular eye on what happens to government regulation of Christian church 'gatherings'..." In the UK churches are shut, and all their significant activities have ceased.

Meanwhile, essential institutions - such as supermarkets and hardware shops - remain open.

Ergo: Churches have been officially classified as inessential: declared so by the government; and their inessential nature is fully-agreed (without any peep of official resistance, or even reluctance, or demand for time-limit) by the church leadership.

So it is not me who is asserting that Christian churches are inessential: it is the churches themselves.

It turns-out that (according to the churches) Man can live by bread (and plant pots) alone, after all!

Or, at any rate, our essential spiritual sustenance officially does Not require a church.

Imagine: world unity to fight an alien invasion

It is reported that when US President Reagan and Soviet Premier Gorbachev met in 1985; Reagan asked informally: "What would you do if the United States were suddenly attacked by someone from outer space? Would you help us?" Gorb: "No doubt about it". Reag: "We too." Gorb: So, that's interesting" [Laughter].

Those who believe that the global establishment have a multi-generational agenda to create a (totalitarian) world government noted this some time ago; that some such crisis as an alien invasion could be the reason, rationale, excuse needed to overcome the barriers to world government.

A great deal hinges on whether one believes a world government would be A Good Thing.

An actual world government would (presumably) be like the European Union on Steroids, or the United Nations writ universal.

But some people believe that would be a great thing - 'bring it on'; while others think (like me) it would be like the USSR, Nazi Germany and Communist China combined and amplified (and - I suppose I need to add - we regard that as an undesirable form of society!).

The John Lennon song Imagine, has had a recent (and officially promoted) burst of popularity; and that can be used to describe the crux in brief.

There are those (the same people who have-faith-in the EU and the UN and boundless hope for world government) who are inspired by the lyrics of Imagine:

"Imagine there's no countries/ Nothing to kill or die for/ No religion/ All the people living life in peace/ The world will be as one/  No possessions/ No need for greed or hunger/ A brotherhood of man..."

Others (like me) regard this as a paean to nihilist tyranny, set to a nice tune with pleasing harmonies.

At root, it amounts to an individual's discernment about ultimate motivations of the global Establishment.

Some people (a large, powerful and influential majority) have a primary faith in the overall virtuous intent of the international powers of governance, media and finance - and act accordingly.

Others (a very small proportion of individuals) regard Them as primarily tools of Satan.

There isn't much middle ground between these evaluations. 

Such is the nature of our world. What some regard as a paradise so wonderful that it can only be 'imagined' - others regard as our here-and-now, actual daily reality: One world, One Black Iron Prison; all locked-down and kept-apart - but together - in peace, harmony and unity...

(Unity - or else.)

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Why should I care if the Christian Churches have committed mass suicide (and hardly anyone noticed)? But I do

The Christian churches around the world have committed mass suicide by suspending sacramental activities (such as the Mass and weddings), by ceasing all meetings and visits, by shutting their doors.

(And not merely for a fixed period, but churches are 'suspended' until further notice - and will resume only when permission comes from the secular authorities - perhaps when/if 'the crisis' is declared to be over. So far this looks like six months, others say a year - but maybe longer? Just think about that, for a moment.)

To me this event - which has already happened - is By Far the single greatest catastrophe in the entire history of Christianity.

The greatest both in scale and scope; but also because it was self-inflicted, and indeed done with virtue-signalling and moralizing zeal from the church leaderships.

Yet there seems to be near zero recognition that this has-happened (past tense: it is the situation here and now); 1800+ years of institutional history has ended; the suicide is done and dusted and we are watching the early stages of rigor mortis - soon to be followed by putrefaction.

But why, it may be asked, should I personally care about this - when I am someone who practises a largely unaffiliated Christianity - when (apparently) the devout church members themselves don't care much?

The reason I care, and that this business has greatly distressed me; is that most of the serious Christians I know-of are members of churches, and active in their churches. By my judgment, serious Christians are distributed across many different Christian denominations - but they all seems to have been affected by this mass unilaterally-imposed withdrawal of their churches.

Such people are no placed in a serious (and very sudden) dilemma: Christianity or The Church; yet such people are not accustomed to separate the two; so this is a Huge deal.

I can see that the immediate (stunned) reaction of such church Christians is to deny the significance of what has just happened; to 'pretend' that the cessation of churches is merely a sensible and temporary expedient in response to an unique and time-limited crisis.

But the situation is not necessarily any of these things - and even if it is; the churches have placed themselves firmly under the spiritual authority of the secular arm - and done so voluntarily and in advance of even the slightest degree of coercion. Church leaders have declared that when churches are most needed, other things are more important: material expediency trumps spiritual neccessity.

As this horrible reality sinks-in; it will cause the crisis of opposition between Church and Christianity - between loyalty and obedience to an authority that does nothing and has (without objection, with enthusiasm) divorced its flock; or striking out into uncharted waters to find God and develop a relations with Jesus alone. (With barely time to grieve.)

I care, therefore, that the faith of serious Christians has been - without any significant warning - attacked by their own churches at exactly the moment when such faith is most threatened and most needed.

That is why I care. Because I care about the spiritual well-being all serious Christians of all denominations (and none), and I regard their salvation as seriously imperilled at this time. And their own churches are, substantially, to blame.

The evil morality of monomania

The monomaniac used to be a type of person who had but one thing he regarded as important, who related every other matter to that one thing, who subordinated every matter to that one thing.

Such an attitude is intrinsically sinful and such a person is necessarily evil - as was always understood by traditional morality that included such virtues as Prudence; which were intended to balance priorities.

But since the middle 1960s and the advent of the New Left (later political correctness, SJWs, Woke-ness etc) - monomania has become the dominant and official public morality of The West; rotating - often with extreme rapidity - from one monomania (class, or race) to another (feminism, or trans-lib). Indeed, the New Left implicitly defines itself as the party of monomanias (aka. the 'rainbow' party).

Well, Western civilization sowed the wind and is reaping the whirlwind. The world is now gripped by a monomania - and without any balance, moderation, or overall persepctive. There is no line which will not be crossed in pursuit of this monomania - no taboo which cannot be broken, no principle of basic humanity that will not be violated, no essential of life that will not be discarded - when any-thing comes into conflict with our global monomania.

As part of this same process; Traditional and Orthodox religion has committed sudden mass suicide - and publicly, eagerly, subordinated itself to the monomaniacal authorities.

What remains is the discernment of the heart; which we all and each possess. We each have that which is divine within us (being children of God) and we each have the possibility of direct knowledge from the Holy Ghost.

None are ever left without divine guidance to navigate through the complexities of life and to achieve the correct (prudent, balanced, principled - as it were) decision in any situation - if (but only if) we discern, acknowledge and follow that guidance.

Such as discernment of the heart will tell each of us that the mass monomania is intrinsically evil - both in principle and in detail; and will inform us what ought-to-be.

Of course, it is unlikely that we will personally be able to do exactly what will be the best course of action; but by knowing-it, we can (and should) repent our failure to do-it.

And the discernment of the heart cannot persuade any other people that we are personally correct; but that isn't going to happen anyway; since monomaniacs do not acknowledge any reasonsing or evidence except what fuels their mania.

The point is that we are not all-of-us dragged down into the mire of damnation willingly-inhabited by the monomaniacs - even when there are millions, or billions, of them.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

The Antichrist fools nearly-Everybody

The current crisis and its global response of omni-surveillance and micro-control  - which I believe to be engineered by the personal powers of purposive evil, which we could term demons - is being interpreted by nearly-Everybody as A Good Thing, overall.

Each believes that the crisis is going to be of help in advancing towards his own agenda. Despite that these agendas are ostensibly pointing in all sorts of incompatible, and even opposite directions!

(So far as I can gather) Church-affiliated Christians of many denominations (and - it seems - the other big religions) believe that the world totalitarian takeover is necessary and net-beneficial; so (apparently) do all the (anti-Christian) governments (and opposition parties) of all the nations of the world; so do the (anti-Christian Leftists) in the mainstream mass Media; so do secular right-wingers (including those regarded/labelled as 'extreme' 'alt' and 'nationalist' right-wingers); so do globalist capitalists and the ultra-leftists in small revolutionary parties; so do libertarians and the strong-man centralizers; so do 'climate change' environmentalists; and (HBD) human biodiversity advocates, and feminists, and both pro- and anti-diversity folk; and... well... everybody.

In sum; I have not found any grouping of any size, power or wealth who is opposed to what has happened; all believe it to be Good - and all believe it to be likely to be moving events in a direction that will profit their cause.

That is the extraordinary thing; because (on the face of things) it cannot be true... The response to the current crisis simply cannot be advancing all of these causes, simultaneously.

Of course, all these extremely-various people could simply be making the best of a bad job (making a virtue of necessity - Pollyanna style). They believe the socio-political changes are well-motivated and effective - and pretend (for the sake of minimizing cognitive dissonance) that their own favoured wishes are therefore also 'on the side of history'.

Or they might simply be mistaken - and indeed at least some (or all) of them must be mistaken; but why are they all mistaken at the same time? This sort of thing doesn't happen; or hasn't happened before.

Unless, their 'cause' is not what it seems; unless all of these advocates of universal surveillance and control are not truly mutually-opposed, but are instead covertly united by a cause which is not detectable nor measurable by the usual materialistic criteria.

I mean that the reality is they are united but in a spiritual cause. I mean that all the apparently vehemently opposed major groupings of this world are in reality united by their membership of the same side in the ongoing spiritual war of this world; and all believe that the current crisis will benefit that side.

This has always traditionally been regarded as a feature of the Antichrist: I mean a person or entity whose actually evil-motivated schemes are interpreted by nearly-Everybody (including those who would generally have been regarded as faithful Christians) as Good.

Interesting, yes?

Meanwhile: Stay Safe, Keep Well, and... err (aha!) Be Nice.

(Remember - as Frank Burns said: It's nice to be nice... to the nice.)

The Wood Pile, by Robert Frost

Out walking in the frozen swamp one gray day,
I paused and said, "I will turn back from here.
No, I will go on farther - and we shall see."

The hard snow held me, save where now and then
One foot went through. The view was all in lines
Straight up and down of tall slim trees
Too much alike to mark or name a place by
So as to say for certain I was here
Or somewhere else: I was just far from home.

A small bird flew before me. He was careful
To put a tree between us when he lighted,
And say no word to tell me who he was
Who was so foolish as to think what he thought.
He thought that I was after him for a feather -
The white one in his tail; like one who takes
Everything said as personal to himself.
One flight out sideways would have undeceived him.

And then there was a pile of wood for which
I forgot him and let his little fear
Carry him off the way I might have gone,
Without so much as wishing him good-night.
He went behind it to make his last stand.

It was a cord of maple, cut and split
And piled - and measured, four by four by eight.
And not another like it could I see.
No runner tracks in this year's snow looped near it.
And it was older sure than this year's cutting,
Or even last year's or the year's before.
The wood was gray and the bark warping off it
And the pile somewhat sunken. Clematis
Had wound strings round and round it like a bundle.

What held it though on one side was a tree
Still growing, and on one a stake and prop,
These latter about to fall. I thought that only
Someone who lived in turning to fresh tasks
Could so forget his handiwork on which
He spent himself, the labor of his ax,
And leave it there far from a useful fireplace
To warm the frozen swamp as best it could
With the slow smokeless burning of decay.


Like so many of Frost's poems - more than those by any other poet - this one sticks in my mind and recurs.

At a simple level of accurate natural observation; I think of it whenever I encounter a wood pile; and often when an animal tries to escape by running along the path where I am heading - instead of off to one side or another.

Then there is that sense with Frost that there is a further depth to the poem; that it is also about more than what it says (as is all good poetry, of course); and usually with Frost (because he was working in the modernist era) this is about being a poet, creating, his art and craft.

I feel sure that 'small bird' was a particular someone - another poet I would guess - who had a paranoid and persecutory traits, and was "one who takes everything said as personal to himself"- but the point is universal, because we all know such people (or else are ourselves such a person). Frost recognises this in himself; and mocks it!

(It is not that the great poet rises above human pettiness, not at all - Shakespeare craved the title and official coat of arms of a 'gentleman'; the 'honour' denied his father - but instead that great poets know the petty qualities in themselves, and know both their roots and absurdities.)

And the woodpile itself... A poem, a creative work, anything upon which we once lavished effort and attention; and yet have all-but forgotten about. And how different is this from the me-me-me attitude of the small bird. How much better to be "Someone who lived in turning to fresh tasks".

Thus the poet reminds and exhorts himself - and there is the further consolation that this forgotten work (the wood pile) is not utterly wasted in the large scheme; since, as it gradually fades from memory, it nonetheless warms the frozen swamp with real but invisible influence.

Monday, 30 March 2020

Romantic Christianity across three centuries - wrong choices, lost opportunities

My understanding of Romantic Christianity is that there were several periods since the Industrial Revolution began; where events were aligned (presumably under divine influences, because this was Man's destiny) such that issue became clearer in The West.

I mean times and places when there was a significant awareness of a choice between the path of continued modernisation (based on continual growth based on increased technology, specialisation, trade etc); and a very different kind of religion, spirituality, ideology, way-of-being - that was Christian and also Romantic.

In none of these eras was that choice made. There were a few individuals, a small following of Romantic Christians - but the powerful and influential people and a large majority of the Western 'masses' chose instead to follow the path of increasing atheism, secularism, materialism, scientism, positivism and bureaucracy.

A smaller proportion adhered (in dwindling numbers, with diminishing conviction) to some form of traditional - Church-driven and externally-orientated - Christianity; or else chose an anti-or un-Christian Romanticism of (either or both) utopian politics and the secular revolution.

The first such era was the beginning of Romanticism itself in the late 1700s and early 1800s, originating in Farnce, Germany and Britain. It dissipated into the characteristic combination of atheism, leftist politics and sexual license that we see in the circle of Byron and Shelley.

At this time, the world's population was at its agrarian/ medieval level about one billion - and from a materialist point-of-view there was no problem about switching to a different and more spiritual way of life. The extra productivity/ efficiency of the agrarian/ industrial could - in principle - have been directed to alleviating absolute poverty, then reducing the quantity of drudgery and labour; and freeing more time and energy for 'higher things'.

The next Romantic era came at the end of the 19th century; but this again was dissipated into sex and politics; and creativity went-into radical experiments in the arts. There was the establishment of a 'Bohemian' lifestyle for drop-outs from the aristocrats, upper and professional classes. World population was about one and a half billion - about a quart of which was of European descent.

The next significant Romantic revival was not until the middle 60s-70s; when world population had grown to about three and half billion; and had reached the point at which an adoption of the Romantic lifestyle would have caused a very significant reduction in the standard of living people had become used to.

Nonetheless; there was among some people a clearly articulated sense that that material production had reached the point of 'more than enough'; and that it would be valuable to scale back on industialisation, trade and labour in order to have a life that was more free and more spiritual.

But, instead there was an expansion of the Bohemian lifestyle - radical politics, sex, drugs, and rock & roll - beyond the young upper-crust and to include pretty much anyone who wanted it: at first the middle classes, later everybody. There was a brief burst of creativity in the populist arts (pop music, pop art, modern dance etc); but before long, all of these were channelled into varieties of consumerism and bureaucracy.

We got to the present situation where most people are some kind of manager working for a branch of the global bureaucracy, and deploying their leisure in doing, watching, day-dreaming about whatever hedonic activity is favoured.

Since the middle 1970s there has never been any serious or large-scale attempt to move towards the Romantic Christian idea; instead the genuine problem has been lost sight of in a world of increasing diversions, short-termism and dishonesty taken to a level of ingrained habit.

Thinking has never been at a lower ebb - with high status intellectuals unable to follow a couple of steps in reasoning and unable to recognise even simple explanatory patterns behind observations.

The above is (very approximately, painted with a very broad brush) how we in The West (or the developed world) now find ourselves where we currently are; at the end of that era which began in the 1700s with the agrarian then industrial revolutions; after a sequence of chances and failures and evasions.

This end was inevitable because the situation was unsustainable - for many, many reasons; but mainly because generation upon generation of spiritual evasion, dishonesty, and outright lying has reached a point where people have decided - en masse - that things must be brought to an end.

We are observing as vast act of rejection of Life, at all the levels in which Life is manifested in this world. By the revealed preferences of hundreds of millions of people; nothing (including radical politics, sex, and hedonism generally) is valued enough to risk anything for it - all has been unceremoniously dumped.

As Thoreau accurately commented more than 150 years ago, and the situation has increased several-fold since: The mass of Men lead lives of quiet desperation; and in the past few weeks desperation has (for most of the mass) turned to despair, and an end is sought.

And perhaps (as was prophesied by various people at various times) most of those who have apparently been among the most devout of self-identified Christians are - it turns-out - as bad as everybody else.

Naturally enough - in a Godless, Christ-rejecting and repentance-denying world - this colossal act of global suicide is being dishonestly self-denied. But that is what's afoot.

Yet, because God is the creator, our loving parents and we his children - for every person at every moment there is an 'instant' solution to this suicidal despair; and the promise of everlasting, Heavenly, resurrected life to come.

(Everybody is an unique individual, but) At some level, we all know (from our pre-mortal life as spirits) the nature of this promise and that this promise is real; but the mass of Men are now so deeply corrupted that such a basic act of acknowledgement is beyond them - or else they know, but choose otherwise - choose sin, or choose annihilation of The Self.

It is better to make such choices during this mortal life; because that is what this immortal life was designed-for; but even if the choice is evaded and denied there will come a point (maybe at the moment of death, manybe sometime after) when we will be confronted with this choice.

Best be prepared. 

Catch 22 for Churches

If people are left bereft by the closure of churches, withdrawal of sacraments, withdrawal of fellowship etc. etc. - they will feel themselves to have been spiritually betrayed; and will never again trust their Church.

But if people adjust-to the coercively-imposed unilateral-withdrawal of their Church; and manage their spiritual lives satisfactorily, well, or better than when they attended Church - these people will realise that they do not need the Church.

It is Catch 22.

Either way - Churches are finished. By which I mean that, even if they survive in some form as institutional structures; for serious Christians, Church will never again be the origin and focus of their Christian life.