Tuesday, 21 January 2020

A defence of 'civilisation' from Amo Boden

In response to my recent prediction of the collapse of 'civilisation' and an end to 'politics'; Amo Boden - at Brief Outlines - has made the clarification that human civilisation need not end permanently (although our type of civilisation surely must end); and large-scale human society may re-emerge on a new basis.

I regard Amo as correct; since we cannot know what possibilities there will be for mortal life among Men who have developed in the direction I call Romantic Christianity; or consciousness has (more frequently, among more people) attained what Owen Barfield termed Final Participation.

On the other hand; what we know now seems strongly to suggest that only a small minority, and very few, people currently even see a need for this kind of development of consciousness. And such a development cannot happen without deliberate and explicit striving.

So enormous changes - i.e. some kind of large-scale collapse - looks inevitable; whatever may come afterwards. In my judgement; it would be wise to acknowledge the probability, and make spiritual preparations.
 

Why I rant on about "metaphysics"

The answer is that I regard our primary assumptions about the nature of reality (i.e. metaphysics) to be of primary importance (ultimately, in the end, in the long term).

Your metaphysics will bite you - sooner or later, one way or the other.


I don't think this was necessarily always and everywhere the case. Through most of human history, it was apparently possible for someone to have some primary beliefs; and to lead their life in a 'pragmatic' fashion, without taking much notice of those beliefs...

Or maybe it wasn't, maybe this dissociation was only temporary, and only reflected superficial 'opinions' rather than genuine deep convictions... At any rate, if it ever was true that metaphysics was ignorable, that does not apply now.


Whether they know it or not, whether they admit the fact or not, people nowadays live in accordance with their metaphysical assumptions.

And this means that the large majority of people live life 'as if' there is no real life, but asif the universe of reality is partly-determined, partly-random, with  no motivation and going nowhere in particular.

Their own life is lived on the basis that their deepest beliefs and convictions are actually superficial, temporary and of such little importance that they can and should be changed according to convenience, and on the basis of no good reason - or no reason at all - except what seems expedient, what currently makes them feel better about themselves.


The great moral education of modern life is this: that it strips our beliefs down to our basic assumptions. Modern life shows that 'If you believe this; then your world will be like that'.

When there is no real and solid reason for personal motivations, attitudes, behaviours - then we cannot defend them, cannot continue to live by them in face of opposition. Thus modern people are lacking in courage (i.e. are cowardly) to a degree which would have been astonishing to anyone in the past.

Modern people take the easy way because - why not? There is no fundamental reason for a modern person to do anything other than take the easiest way/ the way which causes least trouble or makes them feel better - here-and-now, or (for the more moral/ longtermist among us) is expected or hoped to make them feel better in the foreseeable future.

But modern life is becoming ever more short-termist and ever more self-centred for the logical reason that the happiness of me/ here/ now is much surer and more certain than other-people/ somewhere-else/ in the future. 


Even the fickleness, short attention span, shallow evanescent emotionality that is encouraged (and socially enforced) be the mass-social media is mostly an excuse for the cowardly conformism - it is that there is no reason Not to be cowardly and conformist; that modern metaphysics has it that  there is no real reality that lies behind the fake reality - and even if there was there is no deep reason why we ought to prefer real to fake... Thus people cannot even become sufficiently motivated to resist the addictiveness and brainwashing of mass-social media; because it would be unpleasant in the short term, and there is no believeable long term reason to do so.


I am saying that this is our great challenge from modern society. Modern society has taken-up the anti-Christian materialism that began to dominate the West from the early 1800s, and has made it foundational and worked-through its implications, incrementally, one generation upon another, in one area of Life after another.

Recent history in The West has, in other words, taken our characteristic modern anti-spiritual assumptions (e.g. that there is no creation, no creator, no objective morality, no life of any kind beyond biological death, no soul etc) and has worked these though all all the implications in all of our major social institutions (including most of the churches); to get the kind of society, and the kind of life, that we now have.

These assumptions include no reason for being honest and truthful, so modern society denies its own assumptions: claims it makes no assumptions but instead bases everything upon 'evidence' (despite that what counts as evidence, and what does not, is wholly determined by assumptions).

These materialist assumptions include that morality is arbitrary and changeable, and that is what we find.

The assumptions include that ultimately everything is 'dead' - is mathematics, physics, chemistry (even biology is these) - and that is how people behave... It is now quite normal for human beings to deny their own free will; to assert that their own consciousness is an irrelevant epiphenomenon; to reduce their own deepest feelings such as joy and love to the outcome of a directionless evolutionary process; to advocate their own replacement with robots and Artificial Intelligence - and so on.


Look around! The world that is spread-out for your consideration is a world in which your metaphysics is expressed, implemented, instantiated for evaluation... Yet, because of his metaphysics, modern Man has also decided that his own evaluation is worthless! 


This is why things are 'coming to a point' - because the choices are becoming clearer, starker, and with ever-greater stakes. Nowadays, you don't need to be a philosopher to be concerned by metaphysics (indeed, the philosophers, including theologians, have led the way in ridiculing and rejecting metaphysics!).  

Anybody and everybody can see for themselves (if they let themselves), from their own personal and direct experience (if they can acknowledge its validity), the consequences of their basic beliefs: our fundamental convictions are now Our World.

And that's why I rant on about metaphysics!

Monday, 20 January 2020

Francis Berger on The First Rule of Christian persecution

It is useful to be reminded (or to learn if we don't know) the scale of Christian persecution around the world over recent years; and the near total silence on the subject from the Establishment (especially the Western powers - who are primarily responsible for it); or the deployment of dishonest distraction and reframing whenever the subject comes-up in the Western media.

Frank Berger discusses this matter at his blog.

Given the prime task of modern Christians - which is to know reality - it is vital for Christians to acknowledge the fact of our systematic, deliberate, strategic persecution: it is indeed the key motivation behind the mainstream, modern, materialist Leftism that dominates the leadership of all Global and Western-national institutions. 

We don't need (as individual Christians) to go-on about this, we don't even need to mention it to others; but all Christians have an absolute responsibility to truth, and the reality of reality.

We must be honest with ourselves; and that means acknowledging evil when we perceive evil. Of course, we may be wrong in our evaluations and judgements - especially about events that are remote and our knowledge secondhand. We may need to change our mind on the basis of further information and reflection.

But uncertainty does not excuse Christians from the absolute duty of honesty with our-selves, which is the necessary basis for repentance and salvation.


What is it for Life to have 'meaning'?

The insistent demand for Life to have 'meaning' is - for some people, including myself - a primary motivation, instinct, urge.

It is also, typically (and it was for me) a fuzzy and ill-formed demand; such that it was possible for me to be fobbed-off with simplistic, partial, incoherent and unsatisfying answers - that introduced confusions and disappointments.


I guess it is the same for most people. They have a 'need' for something, call it 'meaning' in Life, but after failing to express this need, failing to find an answer, seeing the whole business parodied and mocked - they just give-up and seek to maximise pleasure and minimise suffering... The hedonic life.

The 'hope' that such inchoate yearnings as the search for meaning will be numbed and crushed by sufficiently intense and sustained gratification from sex, drugs, status, creativity, money... Will be drowned by novelty, driven-out by busy-ness... whatever gratifies us personally.

As if the answer to a philosophical question was to forget it, and instead enjoy a night out on the town. That is about the level of mainstream modern reflection on the subject of the meaning of life - albeit dressed up pretentiously and dishonestly; and this cover-up itself covered-up by impatience and aggression.


We live in a world where the 'official line' is that there is no real meaning in reality; reality is a product of physics, chemistry and biology. Stuff 'just happened'. The only escape allowable from rigid materialist determinism is 'randomness', chaos, entropy. There is no meaning in any person's life, because there is no meaning in such a world. Stuff happens.

The, and this is quite common, people are advised (with a kind of forced cheerfulness) to 'make their own meaning'. This world has no meaning, and is utterly indifferent to you gratification; 'therefore' it is up to each individual person (or maybe they could do this is groups?) to manufacture meaning.

This can be made to sound pseudo-heroic: mankind isolated in an indifferent meaningless universe, busily making meaning out of nothing; so our brief life is itself surrounded by a bubble of... well what exactly? In the end, self-manufactured meaning of this sort usually devolves to 'pleasure', gratification. People are not so much being advised to 'make meaning' as (again) to enjoy themselves and forget about meaning...


But even if we happen to be some kind of creative genius and can make a mini-world of meaning - can make a bubble of meaningfulness around our-selves and perhaps those we love - then it would not do the job.

Suppose you were a Tolkien, and could make a world and inhabit it imaginatively, and there find the meaning missing from real-life; and suppose you could also persuade others to join you in this world. This doesn't work. Why? because it is temporary and arbitrary, yet we crave that which is permanent and true.

We want the meaning to be out-there, and potentially the same meaning for everybody. We want that meaning to be solid, something that is discovered and not invented. We want it is be lasting, and not something that crumbles away beneath us.

Self-deception doesn't work. People cannot live by their own wishful thinking no matter how they try. To create and to sustain a meaningful world requires conscious effort, and we cannot suppress the awareness that that is what it is. It doesn't work if we create an illusory world, enter that creation, then try to forget that it is illusory.


So the meaning of life must be external, permanent, objective and all that kind of thing. But it must be more than that if it is to have meaning. Meaning must be experienced, and must be personal. So a meaningful life must be subjective - experienced inside us, as well as present outside.

Meaning must be relevant to us, each individual, you and me personally.  And it must be involving: so that we participate in that world (and don't merely observe it).

In sum, the meaning of life must be outside us; but it must also be inside us - otherwise it will do us no good. And it must be true, not made-up, arbitrary or merely wishful; otherwise it will not count as meaning.


So, this is what is needed, that is what is wanted; and the above is only a summary of it. Anything less, or anything that only deals with either the inner or the outer, will be grossly inadequate.

What I get from the above analysis is that we need to have meaning at every level. Our reality needs to be a Creation - it cannot be something that just happens. And that creation needs to have a direction, a purpose. And that purpose needs to encompass not just mankind, but every single individual...

And that purpose must also encompass the individuality of individuals, the innerness and subjectivity of individuals, the motivations and nature of each individual.

The purpose of 'the universe' must be directly relevant to me, here and now; and I must be involved in it.


And all this must be really-real; not just some invention or hypothesis. To Live, I need (perhaps we all need) this kind of large-scale, multi-level, multi-faceted meaning; and we need it ASAP, not just as the unlikely goal of some kind of distant and vague project.

Anything less will not suffice; so discovering the meaning of life ought to be, needs to be, a major priority for everyone capable of yearning for such answers.

Also, despite the urgency of such and enquiry, we need to resist being fobbed-off with half answers. We need whole answers - of rather, I should say, we need The whole answer. 
 

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Why is this mortal life set up such that nothing lasts?

It has often been regarded as the tragedy of this mortal life that nothing lasts, all is evanescent; change is constant and unavoidable (disease is common, and mortality ends in death).

Such is the reality - and it is usually seen in terms of failure, imperfection, and general tragedy. If that was truly the case, then mortal life is a kind of failure; and such failure tends to reflect badly upon a God who is supposed to be both the creator and Good - and whose loves us.

Why would such a God make such a world?


Yet it is also possible to regard mortal life as well designed for its purpose.

This involves us regarding it as a true fundamental assumption that God is indeed the creator, who is Good and who loves us; and therefore to go on and try and understand (by empathic, intuitive identification) why such a God would deliberately make such a world as this.

We also need to understand God's purpose.


In order to avoid getting misled by hearsay and external information (from the news, from history, from third part report generally) that may be incomplete, biased or deliberately-misleading - or misinterpreted by us; we really ought to ask such questions individually, each person for himself or herself; and based on our own direct and personal experience of mortal life.

We also need to ask this question with the proper metaphysical framework of God's purpose: God's motivations for creation: what God is aiming at by creating Men. 

My understanding is that God is aiming to raise Men to his own level - that is to enable Men to learn to become gods, co-creators within God's original creation. We have seen this happen with Jesus Christ; and the intent is that as many others as possible will follow this trajectory.

Such a plan depends on the will and consent of individual people; each must choose this path: this choice coming after our biological (mortal) death. It also depends on individual people learning from experience.


Therefore, this mortal life is a finite period during which individual Men may have experiences, from which they can learn what they need to be able to make an 'informed choice' in favour of accepting Jesus's offer of Life Eternal in Heaven. 

From such a perspective, the changeability of mortal life is a design feature; it is necessary and it is optimal that each experience be short-lived - and then we move on to another experience. Indeed, it would negate the value of life if peple were to attain a state that did not change - since they would cease to learn, would fail to take advantage of other possibilities of learning.

But imagine if you could stay 'in love', with maximum intensity and without diminution or alteration, for decades upon end - until the moment that you were struck down by death? How much could be learned from such a life, as compared with a life in which a person experiences a wide range of changing love; and hatred, fear and loss?

This is often harsh, unpleasant, horrible; because we always lose what we have gained; solid happiness remains out of reach or slips from our grasp. We suffer.

But such negative suffering is itself a temporary state. And it serves a purpose. because without the negatives - would be really understand and appreciate the positives?


When, after mortal life, we come to make a choice for love - or to reject it - it is surely helpful to know love from both sides and in several forms? That is what the changeability of mortal life does for us.

For some people; that way, and only that way, can they be brought to a proper appreciation of the value of love, and the horribleness of its rejection and exclusion.

Only thus can they make an informed choice for or against Heaven; only thus can they really know what they are doing.

   

The role of evil in mortal life

I regard evil as having been a part of primary reality. Evil is the rejection of Good; and Good is God's creation.

God has to cope-with, work-with pre-existent evil.

Some Beings are intrinsically (from eternity) incapable of love (these are the demons).

These will always and forever reject God/ Good/ Creation because that is the world of love, built with love - it is love that makes Creation coherent, harmonious. So, demons cannot be saved; they lack that which would make salvation possible (i.e. the capacity for love).

God has to work with these evil beings, incapable of love - because they are immortal and indestructible spirits.

But God's main aims and interests are those Beings who are capable of love; and God's hope is that as many as possible of these will choose Heaven. 

In mortal life - which is a finite, temporary, always-changing state of incarnation; 'designed' for experiencing and learning - evil is included. Human Beings capable of love will, during mortal life, therefore experience both Good and evil (tatstes of Heaven and hell) - and after mortal life will be offered the gift of immortal resurrected life in Heaven; which is a permanent choice.

This choice can be made on the experiences of mortal life, which are (normally, usually) tailored by God such that we will have sufficient of the right kind of experience that each specific Human Being can make this choice, can decide in favour of resurrection - which involves loving/ trusting/ having-faith in Jesus, and following through the transformation that is resurrection.

Thus evil is made-use-of by God during mortal life. Mortal life takes the form of a contest (a spiritual war) focused on those Human Beings (and perhaps other beings) that are capable of love - in relation to the choice for or against Heaven that each will make after biological death.

Friday, 17 January 2020

My goodbye to Christopher Tolkien

 My favourite of all photos of JRR Tolkien, asleep in the back garden with young Christopher

...Can be found at The Notion Club Papers blog. It was the ninth volume of Christopher Tolkien's edited The History of Middle Earth ("Sauron Defeated") that contains The Notion Club Papers, which inspired my Inklings-related blog.

What is the most important sin (and virtue) of these times?

Is there a particular sin, or class of sins, that characterise our times in The West? The most obvious is in relation to sex and sexuality; where moral inversion is most obvious and severe: what was good is now evil; what were sins are now virtues - lauded and rewarded to the skies!

Sex is a powerful human drive; but inversion is a different matter. The modern inversion is a qualitatively different thing from the 1960s style 'sexual liberation' - which was about dismantling restrictions on 'normal' sexuality. Where does inversion come from?


In an ultimate sense, in terms of the spiritual war that is mortal life; it comes from the ascendant power of demons. The primary goal of the powers of purposive evil is opposition to God, to Good, to divine creation. So, inversion is the face of opposition - inversion tells us the major targets of the enemies of God.

So much for ultimates; but that is not how matters impinge-upon the vast majority of modern Western people; who are materialists that deny the reality of the spiritual and divine. The question arises how value-inversion is propagated to the great mass of men - and especially women. Because - on average - women are much more prone to moral inversion specifically, and the maladaptive effects of modernity in general.


And the mediator of moral inversion is The System - which has developed to become a unified thing. In the past, the mass media was smaller and often in opposition to the state bureaucracy and legal system - and state institutions, professions (schools, colleges, medicine etc), trades unions, and corporations were often largely independent and with different and specific goals.

But now all of these groupings have converged, have now become aspects of a single System; are all serving the same agenda; and that agenda is secular, materialist, and Leftist - and this is the primary tool of the demonic side in the spiritual war.

Thus it is The System - in all its various aspects - that imposes value inversion on the mass of people. The System creates a self-consistent, mutually-reinforcing fake world (a virtual-reality or virtuality) which (as the mass media expands, as education expands, as bureaucracy in the workplace expands) encompasses ever more of waking life. 


People live mostly in this fake world of The System; and the virtuality is the medium by which inversion is made to seem natural and true.

Therefore, when I ask 'what is the most important sin?', a good answer is to accept the truth and reality of The System -the major sin is to regard The System as Good.

And it follows that the greatest virtue (and one upon which all other virtues depends) is to know The System as evil; to see-through The System to the truth, reality and Goodness beyond; to develop a direct and personal awareness of God and divine creation as different-from, often opposed-to, the public world we so-much inhabit.

Since The System is so large and expanding, since The System is incorporating more and more of the social groupings of The West; this needs to be an individual and personal activity; since The System controls our access-to and interpretation-of so many media - this knowing needs to be direct: Man to Divine, unmediated.


We get to the most important sin and virtue: The current situation is that anyone who believes The System is Good and real, is himself actually in service of the demonic agenda. And only those who recognise The System as evil and fake are able to become Good; are able to join with the meaning and purpose of God's creation and plan.

Thursday, 16 January 2020

If you could sing like anyone, who would it be?

Back in the sixties, on Saturday evening variety shows, there was a 'Russian' singer (actually German) called Ivan Rebroff, who seemed to me then to be the best singer I had ever heard, by far - and perhaps the only one who I would really have wanted to be able to emulate.

Well, I have heard many singers since, some greater musicians than Ivan Rebroff - but as someone possessing a pure vocal gift, with direct appeal to the emotions - probably none better. To be able to sing from darkest deep bass to sweet falsetto soprano... well that would suit me just fine.

A singer such as Rebroff would - I feel sure - make a good living and bring great pleasure among any people, in any society, at any time in history.


Jesus Christ, Giver of Life - an alternative to ICHTHYS

You probably know about the 'Jesus Fish' symbol, and how it supposedly came from the first letters (in Greek) of Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour - that spelled something that sounded like the Greek word for 'fish'.

I was reflecting on the extent to which this is a helpful summary of Christianity - as I understand it. One can see that the word Christ is of compelling importance only to ancient Jews, as referring to their anticipated Messiah, a divinely-anointed king - but that this has no meaning or validity to a modern secular person. However, 'Jesus Christ' does make clear who we are talking about - not just some Spanish footballer called Jesus... So we can keep Christ as an identifier!

Son of God? Yes, but so are we all. Jesus is divine, and he is not identical-with 'God the creator'- but this kind of subtle theological consideration is probably not an appropriate focus for a brief summary of the importance of Jesus. Better to leave-it-out.

Then there is the word Saviour... Saving from what? is the first question. And a one word answer is Sin - but by Sin is properly meant something close to what we would say by Death; rather than by what most modern people mean by Sin, which is moral transgression, the thinking and doing of evil. Because of this moral/ ethical understanding of Sin, modern people don't regard it as the kind-of-think that one can be saved-from...

Yes, there is the idea that we need saving from 'Original' Sin - but this was supposedly inflicted by God on Adam and Eve and all descendants as a form of Justice; and that kind of Justice seems (on the face of it) un-just...

And anyway, it makes for a rather strange kind of double-negative theology if Jesus's role was to save us from a punishment inflicted by his Father. It sound close-to: good-Jesus saves us from evil-Father...

In sum: If Jesus is primarily about saving us from the consequences of sin-evil, and these consequences are divine in origin; then we are (merely) being saved from God, by God. I know there are theological explanations for this - but at a common sense level it would strike a modern person to have been better, easier, quicker for God not to condemn all Men in the first place.


So, if Saviour is not a satisfactory summary-word for the work of Jesus; is there a better one?

Yes! In the Fourth Gospel we are told several times and in several ways that Jesus gave us Life Everlasting, Life Eternal. Which means that after 'biological death', instead of everybody going to the demented, ghostly half-life of 'Sheol'; Jesus has brought the gift of resurrection to a Heavenly life, as divine children of God, in Heaven.

This Gift is given to all who follow Jesus through death.

And to follow Jesus we need to love him, have faith in him, trust him - as sheep follow a Good Shepherd.

So Jesus is, mostly, the Giver of Life.


Now, any such brief summary is bound to lead to questions, to require elucidation. And Giver and Life both invite elucidation. But I think these explanations can briefly and simply be provided, along the lines expressed above.

Such obvious questions include - why can't God give Everybody this kind of Life. Why only those who love Jesus?

And the answer is that some people, perhaps most people, do not want what Jesus offers; and the reason why they do not want it, is where the more familiar idea of Sin as moral transgression comes-in.

Another obvious question is why we can't simple be born directly into Heaven? Why all this 'tedious mucking about' in mortal life?

And that answer to that has to be along the lines that this is the only way it can happen, it is the way things-work. Evidence is that Jesus himself had to attain resurrection via mortal life; and so we must do the same.

I think other questions can be given similarly brief and comprehensible answers. 


So that is my suggested alternative to ICHTHYS: Jesus Christ, Giver of Life.

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

The victory of materialism, the final judgement...

...Has been neatly described by Amo Boden at his Brief Outlines blog:


All of ethics and morality can now be reduced to a quantifiable number.

The final judgement is no longer God or a set of ideal moral principals that must be interpreted by each individual.

Whether you are a good person or a bad person, whether your contribution to the world is of value or not - all this is ultimately judged in terms of a single, quantifiable number.

Any institution or culture, no matter what its inherent goodness is, will from now on be judged in terms of this number. If this number is high, you, the institution or culture are deemed "bad". If this number is low, you, the institution or culture are deemed "good".

This number is the parts-per-million of carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere as a result of you, your institution, or your culture. There is no longer any gauge of morality that is higher than this.

This number is the final judgement. 



Which hobbit is the hero of The Lord of the Rings?

The definitive answer can be found at my Notion Club Papers blog...

The topsy-turvy future of 'marriage'

We live at an advanced state in the destruction of Christian marriage by the secular (Left) state (aided by the mass media and all the other major institutions).

At first we had 'no-fault' divorce, which meant that marriage lacked even the status of a legal contract (so that just one party could dissolve the marriage, unilaterally, and without any sanctions). This continued with unlimited serial marriage, same sex marriage, marriage of 'trans'-sex persons, multiple marriage (half-implemented - accepted legally in the UK but not yet legally initiated)...

On the horizon we have non-human marriage (e.g. Men with animals) and marriage including children - these are mainstream-mooted, and 'logically' implied by consistent application of the current minimalist concept of marriage in terms of 'principles' and trends.

What we have (from a Christian perspective) is a social system where 'legal marriage' - the 'institution' of marriage - is (already, here-and-now) both corrupt and corrupting; and becoming ever more so.

'Legal-marriage' is already a manyfold-fake - we just have not adjusted to the fact. 

Or, to put it bluntly, official-marriage is now evil: a creation of an evil-corrupt state; and 'arbitrarily' created, expanded, sustained or ended by that evil-corrupt state.


Add to this the 'convergence' of all the major, mainstream churches with the secular-Leftist state; which means that church-marriage is already just as bad as legal-marriage in most instances; and the real Christian churches that are current exceptions all display signs of being on the same path towards ever-fuller convergence as the mainstream churches.

In sum: a fake church cannot (and will not) sanctify Christian marriages.

So, the option of real-Christians having a separate system of 'church marriage' - to substitute for the legal marriage seems to be, at most, a temporary expedient.


And even if this expedient were attempted, it is clear that - while the Western state will tacitly (de facto) sustain the marriages of some religions (including allowing, and not interfering with, the operations of religious courts which may impose severe negative sanctions for marriage transgressions - including physical violence and even death); this will not apply to Christianity.

Quite the opposite. It is ever clearer (albeit only to those with eyes to see) that the unifying purpose behind the half-century of wide and expanding range of changes of law and practice in relation to marriage and the family, is precisely the destruction of Christian marriage


The consequence for real Christian marriage, as I foresee it, is pretty extraordinary.  

Christian marriage will need to become a personal commitment between a Christian man and woman. Full Stop.

Whether made in public or private, this marriage commitment will (ultimately) neither be validated nor sustained by any formal institution; neither state nor church.

Marriage will rely exclusively on the two parties - who cannot depend on help, or even encouragement, from anyone else... Who should, to the contrary, expect that institutions will continually be working towards the break-up of that marriage.

Meanwhile, 'official' marriage will go in quite the opposite direction; and more and more 'relationships' are recognised legally and socially; with the increasingly 'unorthodox' participants seeking the status, protections and sanction of an official marriage.


In the end, real marriage is the only (official) 'fake'; and only fake marriages are 'real'.

It may be that real Christians may be among the few people who do Not marry (legally).

We may soon be in an inverted-world where zero Christian men-and-women but instead nearly-everybody-else (in various combinations and numbers of men, women, other self-identified genders, animals, children, AI robots... who knows what?) will become the majority of 'married' (um...) entities.

How is theosis possible?

Theosis is the 'process' by which Men may become more divine. (Similar terms include divinisation and sanctification.)

For me, theosis is the primary purpose of mortal life - i.e of life extended beyond mere incarnation - whether that be to the stage of foetus, embryo, baby, child, adolescent, adult of into old age. In other words, I believe that God sustains our life (beyond mere incarnation) in order that we may have experiences and learn from them such tha we become more divine in this mortal life.

Albeit this 'being more divine' is (at most) a temporary experience; something we cannot 'hold-on-to during the changes of mortal life. Nonetheless, if we assume that learning has a spiritual and eternal dimension, and is not merely a matter of brain-sustained-memory, then even brief experiences of more-divine states may have a permanent effect on our-selves.


(If you ask why we cannot, in practice, hold-fast to anything in mortal life - or cannot be sure of doing so - then I would answer that this is because it is about experiences. We are not supposed-to make eternally-binding decisions in mortal life; because the proper time to do so is after death when it comes to a choice between resurrection in Heaven or other alternatives. Our experiences in mortal life are intended to aid that final, post-mortal decision which may be eternal; and eternally-binding.)


I would say that - with the qualified exception of the monastic type of Eastern Orthodoxy - theosis has never been a central goal in mainstream Christian life.

And the reason is obvious. It is that the 'gap' between Man and God is asserted to be infinite and qualitative - therefore there can be no-such-thing as movement-towards becoming 'more' divine. This because (according to mainstream, classical theology) we are creatures but God is uncreated; we are finite but God is infinite (omni-potent/-scient-/present etc.) The gulf is un-bridge-able.

This would seem to make it impossible for man to progress spiritually and become 'more divine' - whether that progression be gradual or incremental.


The description of Jesus Christ as having a dual-nature of both God and Man is of no practical help in explaining theosis; because in the first place it does not make literal sense but is a mystical formulation, while in the second place it merely kicks the can further down the road.

The dual concept of Christ has his divine nature as being the-same-as the divine nature of the Father and Holy Ghost, thus with all the infinite and omni attributes (infinitely-remote-from Man); and furthermore Men are Not part of that uncreated divine trinity, therefore Men cannot (presumably) have any share in real divinity. 


Therefore, for theosis to be comprehensible and explicable in ordinary language (without recourse to non-coherent mystical word-formulations), entails that classical and mainstream theology be rejected and Man and God (and Jesus Christ) be seen as of the same basic kind (and presumably having the same ultimate origin), such that the difference between Man and God is quantitative rather than qualitative.

If so; then Men can become God bit-by-bit; by a spiritual progression - happening through time.

And theosis can then be seen as a divinely-intended goal of our mortal (as well as pre- and post-mortal) life.

 

Metaphysics versus History in Christian evangelism


A big factor over the past fifty-plus years has been the decline in history as a solid basis for life. This has happened in two ways - first, a loss of faith in the accuracy of history and the objectivity of interpretation; so that people are much less confident about the meaning of any piece of history.

Secondly - and related - the facility with which the modern fundamentally-Leftist media apparatus (which now includes the educational and academic systems) is able to generate and propagate 'history' on demand; in order to manipulate the masses (for example the dominant and fake histories of feminism, sexuality and slavery).

Between these; history has become merely an arm of the totalitarian bureaucracy; imposed and changed at convenience, by means of incentives and sanctions. And, on such a basis, any history supportive of Christianity is excluded, because opposed to mainstream, official, Establishment-sustained history.


An effect of this general trend has been a decline (or complete loss) in the ability of historical documents such as the Gospels, to provide a solid basis for Christianity. This applies most strongly to Protestant Christianity, but has affected all types.

Historical documents nowadays seem an insecure basis for faith - with all their problems of translation, incomplete survival, insertion and deletion, unsure and contested interpretation etc...

Secular ideas and interpretations, by contrast, are uncritically sponged-up; being mostly unconsciously and implicitly imbibed due to the (unarticulated and unacknowledged) assumptions of the entirety of Western public discourse - which assumes (works on the basis of) a wholly materialist world of 'things'.


The entirety of public discourse therefore acts as 'proof' for secular materialism, and a utilitarian, hedonic morality - no argument is needed; but if asked-for, all elements of public life (politics, law, mainstream religion, economics, media, education, the military, science etc) support all other elements in their exclusion of divine and spiritual matters.

Christianity has come to seem not so much impossible or untrue, as simply meaningless - because modern reality has no place or role for God, or any kind of deity or spiritual being; it has no place or role for meaning or purpose but regards every-thing as subject to either deterministic causes or else 'random' chance.

As I said, all this is mostly assumed, unarticulated and unacknowledged - it is not 'proved'. Not proved because such metaphysical (primary) assumptions as materialism are not amenable to proof; but on the contrary they define what counts as proof.

Thus a materialistic metaphysics excludes all possible evidence in favour of the reality of the spiritual and divine; only materialistic factors are acceptable explanations. For instance; every alleged miracle (as possible 'evidence') must/ can/ will be (necessarily) explained-away in terns of error, insanity, stupidity or dishonesty.


So this is the situation in which we find ourselves. Nearly everybody who is active and competent in public discourse has (in order to attain this position) absorbed and uses exclusively the mainstream materialistic metaphysics. At the same time, this person will deny any such assumptions, but will assert that all their views are derived from 'evidence', or are merely 'pragmatic' - and directed at common-sense improvements in the well-being of people-in-general.

And in making this false statement, he will be supported by the entirety of powerful/ wealthy/ high-status organisations, and corporations; by all the acceptable nations and all the supra-national and global institutions.

Thus the modern world is trapped, and indeed traps-itself; by having false and socially-lethal assumptions that cannot be named, explained or challenged because they are understood as having derived-from objective 'evidence'.

By becoming imperceptible and implicit; modern metaphysics has become an impenetrable barrier to truth. 


Yet, the only way of correcting error, of knowing truth, of providing meaning, purpose and relatedness in life - must come via the challenge to modern metaphysics: must come via making this barrier perceptible in order that its reality and nature can be known.

The only way I can imagine doing this is by presenting an alternative and true metaphysics, in a hypothetical spirit; and inviting other people to consider it seriously. Inviting others to 'try it out' in their own lives, and observe what is the effect.

The trouble is that any genuinely and fully-alternative, non-materialistic, metaphysics will sound ridiculous, absurd and obviously wrong. It will seem to be contradicted by Everything in modern public discourse - which is, in a sense, absolutely true; because anything non-contradictory is excluded from public discourse, and all public discourse derives from the covert assumptions of materialism.


Regular readers will know that my own metaphysical assumptions (that this is a world consisting of Beings in Relationships - that everything is alive, conscious, purposive - or a part of something that is) sound absolutely foolish, like mere childishness or wilful perversity.

Such a set of assumptions will not be understood, let alone entertained; despite (or because) we all of us once held exactly such beliefs as young children, and it is believed (history again!) that all human societies originated in such beliefs - such assumptions, which apparently still survive in some parts of the world.

Thus the mass of Men ideologically imprisoned with 100% security, and zero chance of escape.

Nothing external prevents re-examination of metaphysical assumptions; nothing actively compels any individual to exclude the belief in a world of living, conscious, purposive Beings - yet, in actuality, in daily living; such assumptions are made to seem absolutely impossible - like holidaying on a distant star.  

Monday, 13 January 2020

William Wildblood on The Modern Experiment

An important post in which William suggests an almost 'god's eye view' of the modern era; what it was intended to achieve and how - and what we should do about it now:

...There was a great purpose behind what we loosely call the modern world but it was a risk that could either advance the human race and take it to new heights or else take it back to a primitive level from where it would have to effectively start again. Or even destroy it completely.

The experiment was in consciousness. Human consciousness became more focused on itself, more individual, so that it could be more creative and, once realigned to a spiritual sensibility, more godlike. From being largely passive children of God we could become gods ourselves, able to wield divine powers for the creative enlargement of the universe. 

This was always intended as the evolutionary path that humanity should follow but I believe that in the West a few hundred years ago the process was stimulated and accelerated. A gradual evolution was boosted. 

This was done by the incarnation of certain highly evolved souls who could act like leaven in flour, obvious examples Leonardo da Vinci, Shakespeare and Beethoven* but there were many others at various levels and in various fields, and also, I would conjecture, by angelic forces acting on human consciousness from within. This double process has brought about the world today.

However, sound as the principles involved were, everything depended on the reception of human beings to their new powers, as powers is what they were. Would they use them to become more aware of God or would it be to pursue their own individual ends in their immediate environment? 

We know the answer to that. Does this mean the experiment has failed? Not necessarily...


Saturday, 11 January 2020

Making an Irish sandwich

Just for your Saturday enjoyment...


What's good about this is somebody airing his private eccentricities - these are (if honest) always interesting to me: self-justifying.

It may help (in explaining some references) to know that this chap was a Gaelic Football journalist and commentator by profession.

Friday, 10 January 2020

What will be the political system of the future? A prophecy

A great deal of political commentary over the past couple of hundred years (and continuing) is directed at the question of what kind of political system we ought to have; what we could (in principle) have, and what we should be striving for. I have certainly spent a good deal of my life pondering and researching such matters.

My current understanding is not welcome to me, but it is something I can't shake. The conclusion is that I can see no future; or, at least, none that is significantly better than what we have now.

The present System is actively destroying itself, and is anyway unsustainable for multiple reasons. None of the past systems are viable from here forward; and anyway none will happen because they are not wanted/ opposed.

And knowing what we now know, I think we can see that no conceivable political system is going to be better. But more than this, I don't see any kind of System at all surviving - at least nothing on the scale of any current nations.


The ultimate reason behind this is the change in 'human consciousness'. This is not something that can be proved with evidence (indeed, nothing can ever be proved by evidence); but there is plenty of evidence compatible with my belief (coming via Rudolf Steiner and Owen Barfield, mostly) that human beings have changed through history; so that past possibilities are left behind.

We can see this in so many ways. The death of real leaders, and the absence of real and good leaders. On the other side, the lack of desire among the masses for real or good leaders. The short-termism, the petty selfishness - making survival in the long term impossible. The (really astonishing) lack of courage means that no plans get followed-through; indeed so cowardly are people that they seldom even get as far as formulating an idea of resistance.

And, most decisive of all, the lack of motivation - which underpins most of the above; and which stems from the denial of God, the denial that we live in a creation, the denial of ultimate meaning and purpose and relatedness in the world.


All of this might not be sufficient to destroy the hope of something better if it was not for the utter inability of people (both the leadership, but also en masse) to be able to acknowledge the real problems; the habitual and denied dishonesty, the inability to stick to a line of thinking for more than a single step, the absence of even the most basic discernment.

All of these stem from the denial of God; yet the denial is itself denied; and the basic consequences of the denial of God are denied... so that this situation itself seems extremely unlikely to be remedied. 

But even if all-of-the-above was remedied; and we had brave and honest Christians looking ahead; I see no conceivable way in which any kind of politics, any social organisation, can be imagined that would allow the kind of Christian world that we know we ought to have.

The Christian societies of the past are all (in their different ways) so obviously and so deeply flawed to the modern mind, so not-truly-Christian; that we cannot honestly regard them as anything other than a merely quantitative and partial improvement on what exists now.

And we know that all were riven with contradiction, and unstoppable change and decay; so even if they could be recreated (which they can't) they would begin to collapse as soon as (or before) they were remade.


So this is my best guess, my foretelling, my prophecy. That the experiment of human civilisation will come to an end.

There will be no future politics in the same sense that (as far as we know) there is no such thing as politics in small scale, nomadic, tribal societies. That whole level of things will cease to exist.

If my understanding is accurate, then this is something we cannot prevent, cannot stop, should not stop; but it is something we will each need to acknowledge and learn from. We will be severely challenged by it, each in multiple and different ways; and these challenges are an opportunity to discover things we personally need to know - for eternal life in Heaven.


Perhaps it is worth clarifying that I am not in any kind of despair about this, above and beyond the usual worrying to which we are prone. It is not a projection of some kind of inner nihilism.

I see this a just a matter of fact; which it is my duty to confront. The future of the world really is in God's hands; and I trust God.

That is to say I trust God not to make this world 'more perfect' (more comfortable, prosperous, peaceful, cheerful or whatever); but I trust God (as my loving parents) to arrange things such that my personal experience in this world will be for my ultimate eternal benefit - if I make the choice For love; For God, Goodness and Creation. If I join the side of right.


But for those who decline Jesus's offer of Life Everlasting in Heaven and adhere to the mainstream materialistic this-worldly atheism; there will be zero meaning or value in this collapse.

Presumably they will carry on living in terms directed by their aspirations - such as grabbing for more immediate pleasure, and eluding current suffering; or perpetuating their biological life for just a bit longer.

It's a choice - and we each make our own choice. 


Note added: The inevitability of collapse raises the question of whether it could have been averted. My view, expressed throughout this blog over the past few years is: yes, probably. The original (Christian) Romantic era - beginning in the late 1700s with the likes of Coleridge, Wordsworth, Blake and (in Germany) Novalis - and extending from then, with several revivals - showed clearly (and explained) the way it should have been; although, since Men's minds were Not so-transformed, we cannot Now, retrospectively, reconstruct how this would have worked-out. Instead, Christianity did not change and the residual mainstream of Romanticism became anti-Christian. Instead of Christianity being transformed and retained, retained and subjected to the best efforts of the best minds; Christianity was either un-transformed and shrank, or (more often) rejected. If the West had followed what I regard as its divine destiny; all kinds of things might have been possible. Yet as things stand, we are something between one and two centuries too-late; and have accumulated a truly colossal level of spiritual damage; such that value inversion is now mainstream, mandatory and - broadly - accepted as 'common sense'. For a few generations it might have been possible to re-grow The West from a minority of  Romantic Christians, but now the minority is minuscule and there is near zero in the way of shared assumptions. The units at issue have shrunk - over the decades - from civilisation, to nation, to denomination to the individual and his family. Well, so it goes. That is the situation. We know what we each need to do.

Three first rate novels since 2000

Although genius is almost extinct in The West, this is not yet wholly the case; and in some fields there are still first rate works emerging. One is novels (by contrast with poetry and drama). I don't read many modern novels, but have discovered three that seem to me first rate of their kind.

1. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, 2005.

I've gone-on about this wonderful book considerably on this blog already; but it is both original in concept and superb in its execution.  It is my favourite among these three, by far; and one of the very best books I have ever read.

2. Look Who's Back by Timur Vermes (translated by Jamie Bulloch), 2012.

This is a novel concerning Hitler coming back to life in modern Germany. The novel, and a film version, had immense success/ caused immense scandal in Germany. Again, the basic idea is very original, the execution masterly; and the book achieves an un-classifiable, un-pigeon-hole-able blend of humour, and several kinds of seriousness - that I have never seen adequately summarised. An unique flavour.

3. The Martian by Andy Weir, 2015.

You will all know about this one. It is the hardest of hard SciFi - so 'hard' that the science is barely fiction; and also a very enjoyable and exciting story - an instant classic of its genre.


Looking at the three books, all were first novels by unknowns, coming somewhat 'out of the blue' - and confirming that our official Western culture is moribund while life remains around the edges.

But it is very encouraging to see confirmed that the scope for creativity remains wide-open; and real originality (that is not merely novelty, subversion or inversion) remains achievable in practice... so long as there are people who have ability, motivation and character to do honest and genuine work.

In an expanding divine creation; there will always be more things to say and do; things worth saying and doing.

 

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Blood-curdling screams in the night

Here in the remote wilderness of central Newcastle (less than a mile from the city centre), this can be a disturbing time of year; since the night is often shattered, and I am started from sleep, by blood-curdling howls that sound exactly as if somebody (or some-thing) was being painfully murdered - except that it goes on and on...

It is, of course, the urban fox; and this is the mating season.

To get some idea of the sound, try these videos... But I have to say, our foxes sound a lot scarier than any of these examples.

It truly is 'the call of the wild' - and to hear this in the early hours of the morning through the open window, sounding near and loud, is suddenly to be projected mentally into a primal situation; as if I was alone in the middle of nowhere.

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

The benefits of creeping totalitarianism (in My life)

It is a general insight (and one that I have accepted) of Rudolf Steiner, Owen Barfield and William Arkle; that evil in the world can be understood as having an educative purpose. In essence this mortal life is 'for' theosis (becoming more divine); meaning for experiencing and learning aiming at an eternal resurrected life in Heaven.

Evil is tolerated because it may be necessary for this purpose. But such a general explanatory 'model' is Not understanding; understanding can only come from learning the role of evil in our own life (or, perhaps, the life of someone loved by us).

Thus it is a foolish and arrogant error to try and explain what specific role some named evil has-played or is-playing in another-person's life, or in the lives of groups of people who are strangers or known only at secondhand (from hearsay, the mass media or history books; or even from fictions and lies) - families, tribes, races, nations, or mankind as a whole.


What I will do here is simply to explain ways in which the creeping totalitarianism of the modern West has had a positive and educational role in my own life. This can be summarised briefly: the fact that totalitarianism has been increasing throughout my life has prevented me from living-out a worldly life; has prevented me from living a life dedicated to mortal life.

In different words; the ratchet of totalitarianism disrupted every accommodation and adjustment I made with The World, continually preventing me 'settling' into contentment; and thereby it pointed me in the direction of realising that my life was ultimately not 'about' my happiness in this world.


I am, by nature, someone who finds totalitarian bureaucracy extremely unpleasant. I am a natural romantic and individualist. I have no desire to be a leader, but I hate to be a cog in a machine. I am not a 'joiner' and tended to fall-out, or become disaffected, with almost any group; sooner or later (apart from my family).

Yet I began life with an idealism directed at certain institutions such as the profession of medicine (being 'a doctor') and the universities. I loved the arts of literature and music. I was a proud member of my schools, and medical school; and did well at both.

I was also dedicated to the ideals of these institutions: education, science, medicine etc. My dreams were substantially of fulfilment through success in these institutions - envisaged as as these institutions had been during the period of my youth, and earlier as I knew them through reading and the older generation. I craved the special status that comes from recognition by the peer group of those I admired.

But as I moved forward and upward through these institutions, they were always changing - getting worse overall, always in the direction of more bureaucracy, greater surveillance, tighter and more detailed control. They became more hostile to the individual, to the eccentric, to the ideals - and more merely instances of the generic bureaucracy (the Iron Cage of Weber, the Black Iron Prison of Philip K Dick).

As soon as I achieved a position to which I had aspired (and this did happen, several times); that situation would begin to collapse, would begin to be corrupted by the (universal) forces of totalitarian bureaucracy.

No sooner did I plant my feet on some ledge of firm and pleasant ground, than that ground would begin to crumble under my weight. I would very soon feel a need to seek some other niche.  


My early and immediate response to recognising the creeping evil was political. To try and 'change the world'.

My implicit assumption was that there was no other existence than this mortal world, and that the solution to The System of bureaucracy was (must be) a better system. Therefore I thought (as most people do) in terms of a political solution. I would fight the changes - on the confident assumption that something significantly better was possible.

I went through one after another 'possible' political solution, and pursued my political goals as most intellectuals do: through joining a 'party' or pressure group, conversation, writing, lecturing, and a bit of 'organising'.

My covert assumption was that institutions - society itself - could (in principle at least) be improved to the point that the major problems would be eradicated sufficiently for a worthwhile life; and that the positive rewards would be sufficiently great that life (my mortal life in particular) would be justified.

In sum: that a meaningful and purposive life would be attainable.


I can now perceive that this was a foolish, vain aspiration - that the reality, the bottom-line, the existential nature of mortal life (with its intrinsic change, decay, disease, and death understood as annihilation) does not, cannot - therefore will not - suffice.

But so long as there was some (albeit dwindling, as the years went by) worldly, political-social avenue left unexplored; so long as it looked theoretically-possible that the totalitarian bureaucracy might be halted and compelled into reverse - for so long did I fail to understand the nature of life and the perspective of real-reality.

It actually, in practice, I needed the ever-worsening, ever-greater unreality and evil of The System, The Matrix, The Establishment - to exhaust one after another and all of my false and feeble daydreams, wishful thinkings, simplified models and half-insights - before I eventually learned the necessary lessons concerning the true nature of reality and hope.


Therefore, this is an actual example of how the long-term personal effect of something evil - indeed the long-term triumph of purposive evil across the world - actually led to learning something vital; and a thing that a more gratifying, easier, more-successful life in a better world would Not have taught me.

If things had gone 'according to plan' - if I had had the kind and degree of worldly success and gratification that I envisaged for myself as a youth, and if I had found my tastes of such things to be as subjectively and sustainedly-gratifying as I expected - then I would almost certainly have lived my life in a delusory dream, and died without ever noticing that I was engaged in a demonic project of self-centred, hedonistic, short-termist, manipulative and (ultimately) nihilistic evil.


Thus if I had achieved something-like my dreams -and if these dreams had really worked; then I would have wasted my mortal life.

I would have been 'taken' by sudden death directly from a euphoric state of pleasurable self-congratulation and confronted with a Jesus to whom I regarded myself as greatly superior; and whose offer of Heavenly life everlasting would have had little attraction (involving as it does, a loving embrace of the divine project of creation).

I might well have rejected Heaven on the basis that I was existentially satisfied by living conceived as here-and-now self-gratification as the highest ideal; all I would have wanted was that this be continued until... nothingness. 


In sum, without the sustained and adverse environment of creeping totalitarianism to sabotage my tin-pot schemes of immediately pleasurable indulgence; I would very likely have stayed on the broad and pleasant road to Hell - which I had sketched-out in my youth.

And this - it seems to me, is a specific and exact instance of why (and how) we need evil in order to reach good.

Of course this instance does not in any way justify the evil in your life; let alone some other person's life (known or unknown) - nor any great masses of people who might be envisaged. That is for you to discover for yourself - each and individually.

But you can be sure that your actual life is trying to tell you what you most need to know; year-by-year, day-by-day, hour-by-hour trying to break-down your resistance to such knowledge. Even so obtuse a person as myself eventually crumbled under this pressure - but it took a great deal of such pressure, and for a long time, before I did.

For me - this is one reason why my world was adverse; and why there needed to be so much adversity and of that particular type.