Wednesday, 27 May 2020

The Silmarillion (1977) should Not be sold as a work by JRR Tolkien; because it isn't

The Silmarillion (1977) is to The History of Middle Earth, what Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare is to Shakespeare's plays. 

This describes my (elsewhere elaborated) feelings about the net effect resulting from the extensive process of selection, compression, subediting and forced-harmonisation that was imposed on JRR Tolkien's original material by the 1977 Silmarillion.

(My understanding is that Christopher Tolkien did the selection and ordering, and Guy Gavriel Kay did line-by-line editing/ ghost-writing.) 

Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare has some literary value by the critical consensus of the past, and was apparently popular with our ancestors. But there is a heavy price to pay in literary terms; as may be seen from its presentation of Portia's courtroom speech from The Merchant of Venice:

The importance of the arduous task Portia had engaged in gave this tender lady courage, and she boldly proceeded in the duty she had undertaken to perform. And first of all she addressed herself to Shylock; and allowing that he had a right by the Venetian law to have the forfeit expressed in the bond, she spoke so sweetly of the noble quality of MERCY as would have softened any heart but the unfeeling Shylock’s, saying that it dropped as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath; and how mercy was a double blessing, it blessed him that gave and him that received it; and how it became monarchs better than their crowns, being an attribute of God Himself; and that earthly power came nearest to God’s in proportion as mercy tempered justice; and she bade Shylock remember that as we all pray for mercy, that same prayer should teach us to show mercy.

Similarly; the 1977 Silmarillion is a partial, distorted and flattened 'nursery' version of JRR Tolkien's primary writing; which may be found in Unfinished Tales and the twelve volumes of The History of Middle Earth.

It is not that The Silmarillion is bad; but objectively, it is not a part of JRR Tolkien's oeuvre.

In all honesty; The Silmarillion should not be published and sold under the name of JRR Tolkien; but instead as a sort of 'condensed book' reduction and rewrite of the primary texts.

These Anti-times await the Antichrist...

An excellent encapsulation of the reality of what I have sometimes termed the value-inversion from Francis Berger - an excerpt...

The dark forces seem intent on destroying the virtual world they have erected to hide Reality... They want to bring it all down - in one fell swoop. All the idols they deified - society, economy, politics, freedom, equality, humanity - are being pulled down, one-by-one.

For decades they worked to remake society, to make it kinder, gentler, and more accepting. They raged against social constructs, against oppression, against marginalization. They fought for an open world that would include everyone and everything but the Divine and those who live by the Divine; a society that would inevitably emancipate everyone - even the oppressors.

That society is now anti-society.

For decades they argued for open borders, the free movement of goods, the mobility of labor - all for the gradual but imminent enrichment of the world. Tens of millions have been shut out of work these past few months. Debts continue to increase. The infrastructure continues to crumble. People are going hungry. Yet stock markets around the world are once again close to all-time-highs.

That economy is now anti-economy.

And politics is now anti-politics. Nations are anti-nations. Laws are anti-laws. Culture is anti-culture. Religion is anti-religion. Truth is anti-truth. Beauty is anti-beauty. Virtue is anti-virtue. Goodness is anti-goodness.

Why? Because humanity is now anti-humanity. Humanity is not aware it has become anti-humanity. Humanity is unaware of nearly all antis. The bulk of them see nothing but pros.

Anti-humanity silently longs for its anti-savior. And when the anti-savior appears, the End Times will finally arrive.

Initiation is a red herring (or red pill?) (Same with 'enlightenment'.)

One of the many aspects of Rudolf Steiner that annoy me (!) is when he harps-on about 'initiation' to a grossly excessive degree. I don't think this is helpful, and is indeed misleading - as is the related concept of 'enlightenment'.

What both of these seem to hinge-upon is the idea of a once-and-for-all breakthrough - whereby a person reaches a level of insight and understanding and from that point Is Transformed. Things are never the same again. His life is henceforward raised to a new and higher plane.

The false and misleading aspects of such ideas is that they are assumed to be permanent. The person is initiated, is enlightened - and that's that. The heavy-lifting has-been-done, from now onward he is a Different Person.


This may well have been possible and happened in the past and in other places; but I don't see anything to suggest it is possible or actually happens here-and-now.

On the contrary; those who claim (whether explicitly or implicitly) experiences of initiation and enlightenment are (it turns-out!) just like everybody else; they are not qualitatively raised, they operate in a not-significantly-different way.

We may seek special holiness, we may seek an initiate, we may seek an enlightened man in this modern world - but we will not find any such. Or, when something like this is found, it will emerge that the person has 'always been like that': in other words, innate constitution, not experiential initiation, was the cause of the difference.


I regard experiences of initiation and enlightenment as experiences like any other: that is, we need to learn-from them.

But we should not expect such experiences to 'transform' us; should not expect a life-long change in our mortal selves.

We should Not expect that such experiences will re-shape our minds and memories, change our thinking and feeling, solve our problems, raise us beyond former concerns. This will not happen - but even if it did happen, it would all be washed-away at death, or before death - by degeneration or disease.


The value of initiation and enlightenment experiences is like the value of any other experience in this, our mortal life; which is that we hope to learn from experiences such that we may benefit in our eternal (Heavenly, resurrected) life. Initiation or enlightenment may be more intense experiences than most; but they are 'just' mortal experiences - therefore transitory...

Except that 'just' experiences are potentially of ultimate, permanent and vital importance; they are, indeed, why you and I are still-alive now; rather than just incarnating and dying straight away whether in the womb or soon after birth (as have most people in human history).

In sum: initiation is something we need actively to learn-from; it is not something we are passively transformed-by. 


As such; initiation/ enlightenment is a part of the evolutionary development of human consciousness towards becoming more a matter of active choice; and where we are free to learn or not; free to acknowledge reality or to deny it.

Free to choose to see-through the false world and acknowledge the vastly larger scope of divine truth; or free to choose to live-within almost any manufactured virtuality - for example by making the choice passively to surrender to external control by external (media) inputs... 

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

More on how to fight and beat The System


More about how to fight evil, when evil is a System...

Be consciously intuitive - that is, practice bringing to awareness your innermost thoughts, the thinking of your real, true and divine self.

(This is our prime task, as Christians, in this modern era.) 

The aim is that your intellect, instinct and will should serve (not over-ride and dictate above) these deepest and true-est motivations.

This isn't easy; because you have probably spent a great deal of practice and effort in living by 'will-power' which means basing your thinking on perceptions (inputs) and memories (recorded inputs), both of which can be (are being) controlled. Controlled, that is, by The System.

Meanwhile your real-true-divine self is in-there, thinking-away... but being ignored, denied, crushed.

So, this means reliance of 'providence', not planning.

We need to walk, without fear, into the darkening, hostile world; knowing it for what it is, but always aware  

It means being like Frodo and Sam in their quest into and through Mordor. Dealing with each situation as best they could, as it arose; and constantly struggling (and from time to time succeeding) to see through and beyond the environment of demonic control, orkish cruelty, and arid vileness - to the love, beauty, creation and goodness beyond and above. (For Christians - resurrected life eternal in Heaven) 

We are all Untouchables now (and for the foreseeable)

There are no plans to remove the regulations on 'social-distancing' - the laws by which every person must (with a handful of exemptions) treat every other person as if ritually unclean.

And there is little apparent desire from people that this should change. People are self-policing at all times, including in private and outdoors.

I went on a walk in Northumberland during which I saw just six people in two hours - two of them were coming along the path towards us; and they laboriously stopped and stepped-back a couple of yards to let us pass without breaching regulations.

This was in the middle of a forest, in the middle of nowhere, with nobody else around; and the attitude of the interaction was clearly one of being polite and considerate - as if this was the proper way for human beings to interact, and as if anything else would be rude, aggressive and reckless.

You see how a Godless people are helpless putty in the claws of evil? They have (we British have) long-since embraced evil in our hearts; by our solid belief in the meaninglessness and purposelessness of life - and consequently the mass of people experience very little friction when asked to treat themselves and each other as plague rats.

As Steiner correctly said a century ago; atheism is a disease, a sickness, a disability (albeit chosen, self-inflicted) - and it is no stretch at all for a society of atheists to live by their belief that sickness is primary and disease is universal.

The lesson? There is no resistance to evil when evil is regarded as good.

If we are (personally, socially) to escape the universal self-damnation of actively preferring this demon-administered totalitarian world; awakening must come first. There can be no positive change without motivation and courage for the Good.

As I have been saying for a decade - atheism is not viable, atheism is despair and death; religion is essential, non-optional.

The primary task for everyone who has not already done it, is to

Choose Your Religion.

Note - I would add that CYR is only a beginning; and having chosen, one must strive (daily, hourly) to put it first. The birdemic crisis has revealed that merely-self-identified religion (such as that of Bishops) is merely-atheism - indistinguishable in practice and under stress. 

Monday, 25 May 2020

Rainbows and Union Jacks: The lability and shallowness of symbolism in this collapsing world

I was driving arund Newcastle and Northumberland today; and saw quite a lot of houses decorated with a combination rainbows and union jacks; and slogans in support of the National Health Service.

This is interesting as an illustration at the way symbols can be - all but instantly - re-purposed in this non-culture we inhabit. Until the-day-before-yesterday - the rainbow was a symbol of support for the agenda of sexual revolution (i.e. the global Establishment program for corruption and sexual abuse of children); while displaying the Union Jack was associated with working class skinheads specifically, and 'right wing' nationalism in general. Those who 'proudly' displayed the QWERTY rainbow would certainly not display the union jack, and would despise or hate those who did.

Yet here we are; the symbols of Left and (sort-of) Right instantly adopted with a different meaning, that apparently everybody instantly understands: solidarity behind the (if 'necessary') permanent agenda of lock-down-social-distancing.

This shows, on the one hand, that symbolism does not have the kind of objective power that it used to have; mainly because all symbolism is both weak and subjective; further, that human subjectivity is now porous to the mass of in-putting stimuli that is the mass-social media.

On the other side; it shows that the Establishment still have a use for this symbolism; not least because adopting it quickly and eagerly is a signal of obedience.

Because decorating one's home with flags and signs used to be (until very recently) regarded as an infra dig, lower class, 'blue collar' kind of thing - whereas the current rainbow-union-jackites include  the upper middle class, professionals, public sector bureaucrats... Readers of the Guardian and Independent 'newspapers'; those who regard the BBC as an impartial organisation. 

In sum; the new symbolism is of those who aspire loyally to serve the the new Global Totalitarian Dictatorship - and they don't care who knows it!


The inadequacy of consequentialist ethics - from commenter Ingemar

Imagine went back in time two years ago and told you that the government, media and bystanders forbade close human proximity, most types of business, worship and a wide number of outdoor activities. 

What would past-you think think of such an arrangement? 

My guess is that absent of any context, he would be horrified at such an arrangement. He would say "What gives those people the right to enforce such arbitrary rules?" 

But say that I did provide a context--a killer disease is on the loose. Would he change his mind? 

Sadly, I think that's the case. Such is the error of consequentialism. This is one of the prevailing errors of our times, the idea that human action has no intrinsic moral value, the result of which is that any action can be justified so long as a promised good is attained or a promise evil is avoided.

Thus Ingemar, in an e-mail that I publish with permission.

My comment:

By 'consequentialism' I understand him to mean an ethical system based on maximising the predicted consequences of current actions; these consequences being implicity defined in 'utilitarian' terms of optimising human gratification and minimising human suffering (sometimes, not always, including death).

As such, this is incoherent at many levels; but nonetheless is the dominant ethical system in modernity. Once consequentialism is accepted, everything hinges upon the predicted consequences of present actions - and these futuristic speculations are now defined as a reality by an Establishment consensus.

There are also all kinds of hidden assumptions about whose happiness/lack-of-suffering matters most, and whose does not matter at all. For example, the sufferings of those people who regard churches as an essential part of life count for absolute zero.  

But consequentialism is pretty much inevitable if God and the spiritual realm are denied. Such denial reduces all of life to materialism, and all of ethics to psychology - what is even worse, to predicted psychology, and to inferred psychology (since nobody knows for sure what is going on in the minds of others); and what is even worse to the predicted, inferred psychology of large groupings of people such as 'The Public'.

In sum, consequentialism is public policy is in the first place intrinsically tyrannical - since it is defned by the Establishment; and also necessarily meaningless - since its bottom line is the nonsense of 'predicted, inferred, group psychology'.

In other words, we must have an ethic about the good and evil of actual decisions and actions (regardless of supposed consequences); and this means - to be better than the incoherent totalitarianism we have now - we must have, at least, a God; and must acknowledge that there is more to this world than the material.

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Father Christmas is real, part III: our task in mortal life

I have previously written - a couple of times - about Father Christmas being real: more exactly of how this is true, what it means that Father Christmas is indeed real. I think this is actually a very exact explanation of the main purpose of this our mortal life - between our pre-mortal spirit life in Heaven, and the resurrected life in Heaven to come.

We came from a primal paradise as spirits, as spiritual children; and chose to become incarnated as mortals here on earth. We can sometimes recall what this life was like from that residual memory that survives into early childhood. The rest of our mortal life is about our wish to return to this (dimly recalled) Heavenly existence - but in a different and new way.

How can we get back to that?

We can't get back and stay as a final and solid state in mortal life - because mortal life is change, decay and eventually death. So all states of mortal life are intrinsically temporary - by design. But we can sometimes and briefly be there - be in Heaven again.

We get there, we are there, and we lose it; but that loss again is part of the design. We can - and should - aim to return there; again and again. And each time we overcome a different challenge to get there. And thereby we learn.

That is the main reason for this mortal life. To learn how to overcome the constraints of mortality to return, again and again, to Heaven.

This learning is temporary, so far as this mortal life is concerned (we may forget, eventually we will forget); but the point is that: we learn in mortality to benefit in eternity.

That's what it is about; we are learning in mortal life where all is temporary; but the benefits of this learning will be in our coming life everlasting.

Our major challenge is therefore to overcome The World - repeatedly, on a daily, hourly, basis.

Our task of learning is therefore to rise-back-up to that Heavenly world we once inhabited; not to sink-back-into it.


To be a parent is (potentially) to rise-back-up into childhood.

To know Father Christmas as real, as a parent, is an instance.

It is a higher state to know Father Christmas is real as an adult than as a child; because as a parent we must participate consciously in the reality of Father Christmas. We must do this by choice, and actively; freely, knowing that we do it. This is Final Participation.

By contrast, the child knows Father Christmas is real simply by unconscious, passive absorption in a social world where Father Christmas is real - this is Original Participation.

The child is immersed-in that Christmas reality; but our task in this mortal life is to rise to embrace that reality; to co-create that reality, in harmony with God.

 

How do we know God exists?

Obviously, in what follows, I am talking about how I conceptualise God. I'm perfectly aware there are other ways - here I am explaining my-self. Such a question as "How do we know God exists?" can only be answered after a series of counter-questions have been dealt with - so that the question-asker first clarifies his own assumptions about God and the world. Quite likely the asker does not know his own assumptions; or, even worse, assumes that his own assumptions are derived from 'evidence' - which is self-refuting nonsense if you think about it (but people seldom do). We can't know what counts as valid evidence, nor how to interpret it, until after we have assumptions to build-on. Until we know our own assumptions, we don't know whether our idea of evidence is one that we could genuinely endorse. So 'evidence' means nothing-at-all until after we know and endorse the assumptions behind it.


One way to approach this is to focus on the matter of creation; because (by my understanding) God is the creator. So, each person needs to consider: is there is a need to explain creation?

Do we, on the one hand, assume we live in a world with genuine, objective, purpose and meaning? Or do we believe that reality is simply some mixture of determinism (things deterministically causing other things) and randomness (things just happening, disconnected from causes)? Do we believe that creation is intentional, or that there is no creation and things Just Are.

And by 'do we assume' I mean to ask whether that specific person actually makes this assumption, for himself, or not; because this is metaphysics, which is a matter of assumptions and not of 'proof' or 'evidence'. So I am asking about your primary intuitions, your bottom-line beliefs about the nature of your life in this world and the nature of yourself and the world: do you (as a matter of actuality) assume meaning, or not?

Because only if you assume that this world has meaning can you know that God exists.

If you assume no meaning or purpose - you have already ruled-out the existence of God, and need not think about it any more.

Indeed, you have already (implicitly) assumed that your thinking is just a part of the reality of determined causes and/or randomness; so you are assuming that your thinking does not signify anything about reality: It Just Happens. 
 
You need to think - therefore - about whether you really and truly assume there is no purpose and meaning to anything; because if you do assume this, then why are you talking about things like God? In fact, why are you trying to exlain anything to anybody? You have already decided it means nothing.  


If things do have purpose and meaning, they are created; and if they are created then there is 'a creator' - but you have not yet decided what a creator may be.

The next question is whether the creator is a person or not.

This is again a matter of fact; so how can one find out such facts?


Again, there is no possibility of the question being decided by 'evidence'; so it must be a matter of intuitive assumption. You need to examine your own bottom line assumptions.

When you think deeply and clearly, do you know a personal creator? Or do you assume a creator that is impersonal - a force, tendency, some abstract principle?

At bottom: is reality (as you know it) personal, or not?


If you regard creation as personal; you are a theist - that is, you know God exists: you 'believe in God'; but you then you may feel the need to consider the nature this God.

(One could say, "I know there is a God who is creator", but I have no interest beyond that. Either you have the desire to know the nature of this God, or you don't.) 

How to discover the nature of God? Is this even possible? More assumptions...

Well, you have by now clarified that there is a personal creator; and you can then clarify whether this creator has a relationship with us, or not; whether God is indifferent to you, or interested and concerned with you?


Either you will have a positive knowledge of God's personal relationship with you, or this will be lacking. (One cannot know that God is indifferent - one can only know that one feels no interest from God).

Again, this is an intuitive kind of knowledge. Since God is creator, he is present in all of creation (including myself, to at least some extent) - so if God does have a relationship with me personally, then I can know it. A God that has a personal relationship with me, can make this known to me (if he wishes - and if I acknowledge it).


And then - finally - one will know if the personal creator God loves us, whether he loves me personally.

If he does love me, then I can know this by knowing God in-creation (in everything created around me), and by knowing God in myself - insofar as I am created.

If, therefore, I know God the creator, who loves me, exists; and I know his nature; then I can see evidence for this all around and within me.

But if God exists but does not love me, then he may not want me to know about him; he may not care whether I know his reality - his existence may be hidden. 


So it seems that the question "How do we know God exists?" can be answered; but that it can be answered only after assumptions have been clarified; and it can only be answered for some (not all) assumptions concerning the nature of reality and God, and on the basis of some of the possible assumptions concerning the nature of God.

For the assumptions that I personally have about creation, God and the nature of God; I can know that God exists. But that need not apply to you. Many modern people have already, implicitly, assumed God as creator does not exists: and it is then their assumptions that prevent them from knowing.

Before accepting any conclusion, we need to discover and clarify our own probably unconscious and unknown assumptions; because once these are made clear and explicit, it may turn out that we do not, after all, regard our unconscious assumptions as true.

Such is the value, the necessity, of thinking about metaphysics.

The Gendarmes duet - as good as G&S


Robert Tear and Benjamin Luxon were the performers I first saw doing this piece; the recording seems to have been filmed from the TV screen, some years later. Tear and Luxon were among the leading British operatic and recital singers of that era* - and revived many of the 'parlour songs' from the 19th and early 20th century.

The show depicted in the video was a long-running (30 years) and popular BBC programme called The Good Old Days, which was a pastiche Victorian-ish Music Hall filmed in an old theatre in Leeds.

The "Gendarmes Duet" is an excellent piece, with music by Offenbach (a good enough tune in its own right to become a favourite march in the USA) and the robustly witty English lyrics later added by HB Farnie. One of the few comic songs to match Gilbert and Sullivan.

We're public guardians bold, yet wary 
And of ourselves we take good care 
To risk our precious lives we're chary 
When danger looms, we're never there 
But when we meet a helpless woman 
Or little boys that do no harm 

We run them in, we run them in 
We run them in, we run them in 
We show them we're the bold [or beaux] gendarmes 
We run them in, we run them in 
We run them in, we run them in 
We show them we're the bold gendarmes. 

Sometimes our duty's extramural 
Then little butterflies we chase 
We like to gambol in things rural 
Commune with nature face to face 
Unto our beat then back returning 
Refreshed by nature's holy charm 

(Chorus) 

If gentlemen will make a riot 
And punch each other's heads at night 
We're quite disposed to keep it quiet 
Provided that they make it right 
But if they do not seem to see it 
Or give to us our proper terms 

(Chorus).

*Tear and Luxon show the strengths and weaknesses of the voice training methods - and selection processes - associated with the English choral tradition; both were part of Benjamin Britten's clique at one time. Tear, for example, has a technically robust but hard voice, excellent diction and intelligent 'pointing' of the lyrics. He was best in 'character' tenor roles, rather than the usual heroic lead parts. To my ear, both voices have overtones that blur the focus of the notes, so that one is unsure whether the intonation is a bit off, or not. This is common defect of chorally-trained English tenors (notably Peter Pears!). These qualities seem to be derived from the nature of the chorister's job - he must be able to sing difficult music, at sight, on a daily basis; and be intelligent enough (like Tear) to get a singing scholarship at one of the leading universities. All of which means that sheer beauty of vocal tone is sacrificed - since many/ most of the most beautiful singers are not good at reading music, and are of modest intelligence. 

Note added: I've come across an interesting 1982 interview with Luxon, which makes clear that his own background and abilities were very different from Robert Tear; for example he states that he does not have perfect pitch and was not a brilliant sight reader. But he says that most modern singers do and are; by contrast with earlier generations when all sorts of people became professional singers: people, at least in England in my generation or the generation before, just wandered into singing from just about every profession you could name. Hardly anyone “trained” to be a singer. It just didn’t happen. Most of my contemporaries were truck drivers or miners or engineers, architects, bank clerks, school teachers… What Luxon does not say is that there is a big price to pay for this technical expertise when it comes to solo singing - and that price is reduced beauty of tone; which is, after all, what singing is mostly about for most ordinary people.  

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Tolkien - the only 'Two Hit Wonder'?

It seems to be one of the many unique aspects of JRR Tolkien as a writer, that nearly all of the vast numbers of people who have read him, have read only The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. They have not read any of the smaller works published during his lifetime, nor have they read any of the couple of dozen books of extra material published by Christopher Tolkien after his death.

Indeed, I would guess that a very large majority of those who read, and loved, and frequently re-read the LotR; have never read the Appendices of that book (and certainly do not re-read them).

I don't find this particularly surprising (not least because I am describing my wife!) but it does demonstrate the gulf between the majority of Tolkien lovers (not 'fans') and the  minority such as myself who - from the age of 13 - read all of his fiction ASAP, and at least 'tackle' almost every scrap of writing (and drawing) he produced (including sitting down and reading the entire, in parts almost day by day, chronology of his life published in the JRRT Companion and Guide by Scull and Hammond.

(I have probably not read all his writings about the invented languages, because I can't understand them - that is, I looked at the words... but that doesn't really count as 'reading'.)

I think this is very interesting and distinctive. There are some writers - indeed most famous or influential writers - who are known for one book. (To be a 'one hit wonder' is The Norm, especially among dramatists - and nothing to be sneezed at!) There are others who are famous for several or lots of books/ works - Shakespeare and Shaw, Dickens and Austen... This applies to minor writers as well as major - either just one genre classic, or a great mass of popular works.

But to be very famous, very beloved, and very influential on the basis of two books; is perhaps unique?

Note: The only other example I can think of is RB Sheridan with two classic plays: The Rivals and School for Scandal.

Friday, 22 May 2020

Is this the most boring era in world history?

Well, no - this (here, now) is actually one of the most interesting times ever (if your purpose is to understand, if your motivation is to fight the evil); but you would never know that from what the great mass of people are saying and doing. 

All day, everyday - conversation and public discourse is about the birdemic. Work is about the birdemic (planning, responding, reacting). Leisure is about the birdemic - you can't encounter another person without being reminded, without reminding each other by word or deed.

The monomania was boring at the beginning, but after several months it has become paralysing.

Because who cares about the labile opinions of ignorant liars, dupes and cowards on the subject of respiratory viruses? Not I.  


It's not about the virus; it never was about the virus; and it is not going to be about the virus in the (totalitarian, materialistic, omni-surveillance and micro-control) future that is planned for us all.


If the birdemic is to be the sole subject of conversation, writing, living - and if all birdemic  communication is to be restricted to the lies and tyrannies of the Establishment and the media - then I'd rather not join-in - thanks very much.


Birdemic interaction is a kind of test; each person saying in effect: "I'm an controlled zombie parrotting the program - are you like me? Are you one of us?"

Social distancing will soon be redundant, since if the only permitted subject matter is the official story about the birdemic, there will be no valid purpose for society, nor reward for engaging in human interaction.


On the other hand, if we use our divine power of free thinking; then this whole thing is incredibly interesting and stunningly important.

To be living and thinking during the most successful (because largest, and largely invisible) evil coup in the history of the world - what a privilege!

So much to learn, to understand, to know! So much to do!

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Fear for others (getting rid of it)

If you are like me, you don't much (or, not for long) fear for yourself - but for those you love: essentially family.

Yet, fear is an evil; so we ought not to indulge this fear either - but should cast it out. But how?

The best idea I've come across is to focus on the knowledge that - because God the creator is our loving Father - he can and does ensure that all of us are able (at all times) to follow our divine destiny - and to prepare to follow Jesus through the transformation of death, and to life eternal in Heaven.

All means all; God never leaves anyone bereft (insofar as creating the world makes that possible) including those we love, and fear-about - so we should Not fear.

But this is a thing that each can and must only do for himself or herself - in this respect we are 'on our own' in an ultimate sense. We cannot - ultimately - protect those we love; so fear is futile.

That does not, however, mean that we are each on-our-own and unaided. As well as God in his continual work of creation, and the continual presence of the Holy Ghost (whom I believe to be the universal spirit of Jesus Christ) - love is a reality in creation.

(Love is, indeed, that which makes possible creation.)

I understand this to mean that real love (of specific persons) is a real factor in life, death and resurrection; in the sense that it is always there for those who choose to be aware of it. Those whom we love are therefore potentially able to know and benefit-from our love; they can know that they are loved by us at all times and places; in all situations.

And this is the best possible thing that we can do for them.

I find this reflection is often effective in casting-out my fear for those I love.

How to fight (and beat) The System (Ahrimanic bureaucracy)

What follows is a train of thought, of reasoning. It was stimulated by watching a fantasy TV program in which the hero fought demons, that is Luciferic evil embodied in actual personal beings that wanted to enslave, torture and murder. The fight was to contain or kill such beings.

It was difficult - for the hero; but the evil was locatable and understandable - the difficulty was in beating the demons.

Then I reflected that the evil we mostly encounter in this, our modern lives, is Ahrimanic - which means it is The System (the Matrix) - which is bureaucracy, which is impersonal, which is dispersed - behind every bureaucracy lies another. There are (it seems) "bureaucracies all-the-way-down"...


But then I realised: this is not so.

Ultimate metaphsyical reality is of beings and their relationships. The ultimate spiritual reality of modern evil is of actual Ahrimanic beings; that is persons, who have motivations and seek satisfactions in a way exactly analogous to the more familiar Luciferic demons. The Ahrimanic demons are motivated, living, conscious beings of a different kind, different nature; that is all.

So, ultimately The System, the bureaucracies are merely a mask, a disguise, a distraction from the reality of purposive evil pursuing its purposes.

What, then, can I actually do about all this? The answer became clear (or so it still seems).


I need to bear in mind - actively, deliberately - that nothing is dead, all is alive.  Consciousness is universal - motivation is everywhere.

The ultimate truth is that everything real is personal. There are no coincidences, no accidents - all has meaning - and there is no neutrality.


No neutrality means that the officials, the drones, the myrmidons, the petty agents of bureaucracy that we see all around (and our-selves very probably: aye, there's the rub!) are actually personal, purposive agents.

The minor implementors of The System - the slaves, serfs, servants - the clerks, managers, security guards, people who deliver... all of them (of us) are active participants in Ahrimanic evil - all have chosen to regard themselves as non-persons, all seek to avoid ultimate responsibility by sharing in the Ahrimanic assertion that 'nobody is to blame' - which means that in The System we are not persons - we are dead, lack consciosuness and purpose...

This is what must not be accepted - must be brought to conscious knowing, and refuted.


Primitive or psychotic paranoia - in which each person understands himself to be the centre of the universe, with life organised around-himself; is basically correct factually; but is wrong insofar as it is regarded as a passive situation - regarded as unavoidable. (The typical paranoid regards himself as a passive victim of external realities. He sees reality as outside himself.)

We are all and each actually at the centre of the universe; because we are co-creating that reality We are never passive (or, insofar as we are, then that is an evil choice: false, a pretence, a shirking of good, a service to evil).

We don't know everything here-and-now (of course!); but everything is potentially know-able - by each of us - in principle; and that 'in principle' makes All The Difference.

(About this Rudolf Steiner, in Truth and Knowledge and Philosophy of Freedom was profoundly and vitally correct).


How to fight demons? With 'magic' - obviously! But what kind of magic?

We know (from fantasy TV, movies and books) how magically to fight Luciferic demons... How then magically to fight the Ahrimanic demons that stand-behind The System; or rather hide behind The System? And use The System magically to make each of us Ahrimanic too. That is to make each of us choose to regard ourselves as material, non-personal, non-responsible - 'functional units' of that System.


The magic of fighting the Ahrimanic demons is knowing; and the effects of knowing. And victory is possible because the Ahrimanic beings assume their own passivity; that is their basic assumption, their metaphysical world picture.

When we are (or become) active and participating knowers; then They are defeated. But they do not realise how They have been defeated. Such is unknowable to Them.

The Ahrimanic magic is to induce people to regard the world passively, with detachment (as if meaning was out-there); to induce people passively to serve this machine, to deny their participation in the construction of this machine. 

Our magical challenge is therefore to see beyond the self-presentation of our world as dead, abstract, impersonal, mechanical, unconscious -- and to know the world as it really is.

The Ahrimanic magic is to make us believe the world is merely material; our counter-spell is to (our-selves) regard that world as also spiritual: more exactly the magic happens when we personally actually consciously experience the world as alive, of-beings; and embrace that experience as valid. 


This good magic will work when we know the servants of Ahriman (including our-selves) as deluded, self-suppressed, evil in avoidance of knowledge - hence respobsility for this vast structure of evil.

Good magic unmasks the beings behind the machine, unmasks the choices behind the obedience, unmasks the active promotion of evil behind the fear and despair.

A day at the office, a visit to the shops then becomes the front-line in the battlefield of spiritual warfare.

Our magic against Theirs.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

International Stockholm Syndrome

It seems possible that what we are currently witnessing - i.e. passivity, submission and indeed active support-of (in the extreme actual infatuation-with) those who entrap and terrorise us - may be conceptualised as an evolved response to extreme and inescapable fear; in other words, the world has been swept by a mass version of Stockholm Syndrome.

The plausible evolutionary basis of Stockholm Syndrome has been well described by Chris Cantor - I used to use his work in my university teaching. Here are excerpts from a popular account:

Captors cleverly cultivate psychologically hostile environments involving total domination, so as to massively dis-empower victims. Ambiguous and confusing threats will be involved which contribute to the unpredictability of the experience, unpredictability being one of the most potent inducers of chronic anxiety.

The psychology of the predicament emerges from a combination of sensory deprivation, usually induced through blindfolding and isolation, disgusting conditions, physical abuse, death threats, powerlessness, dehumanization, general humiliation and the need to avoid the further anger of captors.

Cantor and Price argue ... that we switch into appeasement as a survival mechanism when held in captivity. They suggest that this basic response may be hardwired into our brains and therefore could possibly be even beyond our control, so victims should not be condemned for exhibiting this response.

Appeasement comprises pacification, conciliation and submission. Appeasement serves a de-escalating function in dangerous situations, subordinates using appeasement suspend efforts to win conflicts, thereby decreasing the often fatal costs of losing.

After being attacked, monkeys and apes tend to turn to the attacker for comfort and safety, which is referred to as 'reverted escape', because after fleeing from the attack the attacked animal returns, or reverts, to the attacker, rather than turning to another member of the group for succour. Appeasement appears widespread in the animal kingdom

Submission is so widespread as a strategy that it probably promotes survival, so the transmission of genes for appeasement now makes evolutionary sense.

Another dimension of the peculiar psychology of slavery is that in a closed environment in which a hostage lives, there may be only dominant oppressors to turn to for comfort - a kind of reverted escape as seen in the animal kingdom. Under stress we are genetically designed to seek bonding and affiliation with others for comfort and protection.

(It is also relevant that Stockholm Syndrome is more common and severe in women - since women - on average - have a significantly lower threshold of fear and are considerably more sensitive to fear threats.)


The above description has considerable similarities with our current situation. It is perfectly possible that the recent combination of fear, physical confinement and social isolation have been calculatedly and systematically deployed (with unpredictable, ambiguous and confusing threats) to create... Exactly what we now observe, on a global scale.

And such a strategy would be expected to be far more effective where there was no possibility of existential escape - in other words where death was regarded as a final annihilation; such that there may be a subjective belief that the choice is support and appeasement or... nothingness.


The bad news is that "traumatic entrapment produces possibly the most difficult to treat form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as it involves a deeper shame in victims, blaming themselves for what happened."

Better news is that "once victims understand the appeasement reaction, they can begin better to understand psychologically what really happened, and recover from the shame."
  
However, against this is that it is notoriously difficult to get people to admit that they have been manipulated, conned and fooled; as is obvious from the immunity to experience and indifference to evidence of nearly all modern people - especially 'intellectuals'.

Nonetheless, our main spiritual task in the birdemic is understanding, as a preparation for valid discernment; and I think the Stockholm Syndrome concept adds to that. 

Death as an end, or death as transformation?

Perhaps a major element of the challenge of the birdemic is related to the fact that it has focused minds on the subject of death; and this compels people to think (perhaps for the first time) about the nature of death.

There seem to be only two possible views: either death is an end, and the moment of death is an annihilation - or death is a transformation, and the moment of death is one of transition of the self to some other state.

Death as the end is by far the commonest belief in the The West, and the official doctrine.  If this is true, the dead are gone - and there can be no connection with the dead ever again.

No more need be said of death as the end, except that it is always an intrinsically undesirable state - not least because it is irreversible; nonetheless, death may be sought as a way to end present suffering and/or the prospect of suffering stretching ahead.


Death as a transformation is by far the commonest belief in the world as a whole - and there is a great deal of disagreement about the nature of this transformation - also a great deal of difference in the confidence with which this belief is held.

Confidence in the reality of death as transformation depends partly on the existence and degree of contact between living and dead. In some societies, the dead are present to some degree - ranging from the dead (spirits) as an everyday reality; to rare contact, perhaps as a consequence of special ritual or technology.

Furthermore, the expectation of the nature of the death-transformed state of being dead ranges from the most positive extreme of Heaven (of varying descriptions); through paradise; a neutral state of non-conscious, 'mere being'; or to types of misery and suffering.

Another aspect concerns our degree of control over the transformation of death - the extent to which it is a choice compared with the extent to which it is imposed upon us.


It may be that this time is, therefore, the dawn of an era in which death becomes an unavoidable centre of cultural concern. Of course, it may be an unconscious (implicit) cultural concern; when, as now, it is simply assumed that death is the end. Nonetheless, the consequences cannot be avoided, and this assumption has (with extraordinary rapidity) ramified to affect every aspect of society and everyday life.

But if we do Not want passivley to go-along-with this prevalent and dominant assumption; we have no alternative but to make death the subject of active and conscious personal consideration - in a way that has not happened for several generations.  

Note: For example, and to get to specifics: My understanding is that the Christian Hell is a choice (that is, a preference - including the rejection of Heaven); whereas for many Christians, everybody wants Heaven and Hell is an imposed punishment.) This leads to a further aspect of control - some Christians believe (mostly implicitly) that Heaven is something that happens-to them; the transformation of the soul to Heaven is a matter of being acted-upon; entirely a matter of being done For us by Jesus Christ. Whereas I see Heaven as something that is primarily done for us by Jesus, but that secondarily we must personally and actively do ourselves: that Jesus leads, and we must follow. My point is not that You ought-to have the same attitude to death as I do, but that you need as a matter of urgency to sort-out what attitude you do have - unless you are contented to live in a world structured according to the implications that death is annihilation.   

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

An update on the Jesus Prayer

I first wrote about the Jesus Prayer some ten years ago; on the one hand, I have continued to say it; on the other hand my usage is very different.

The (usual) Jesus prayer is repetition of a prayer consisting of, at the briefest, the word Jesus - up to various lengths of the phrase: Lord Jesus Christ/ Son of God/ Have mercy on me/ A sinner.

For a while, my practice was to say this prayer as much as I could, whenever I remembered. I did not find this valuable, and stopped.

Nowadays, I use it when I am mentally blocked, my head is 'full', I cannot concentrate, I am in a depression, utterly uncreative, unmotivated, dissipated...

In sum, I say the Jesus Prayer when I am driven to it, and cannot do anything else.


What happens is that I repeat and repeat the prayers, and then suddenly I get a spiritual impression (but not in words) distinctly along the lines of:

Okay, okay! I hear you. No need to shout! Please Stop.

(I stop.)

Now... (kindly and - as it were - quietly) What is it?  How can I help?

And at that point I can engage in a proper, properly respectful, usually brief, personal 'dialogue' with Jesus/ the Holy Ghost (but not in words).


So, the Jesus Prayer has become a last resort; but remains valuable, as such.


Monday, 18 May 2020

Looking-back from generations hence: A tribal elder speaks on the self-immolation of evil

[The scene is some generations in the future, the Elder of a clan - speaking to his gathered people  - describes the extraordinary deep history of the earth; as it has been pieced-together and assembled by the wise, the bards, and the scholars.]

It will be hard for you to believe that there was once ten-times-ten alive for every Man today. What happened to them all, you are wondering?

Well, it is a sad but beautiful story.


Once upon a time the world was full of wickedness. Not just Men who had wickedness in them, like us; not just the rare bad Men whom we exile or kill; but a whole world where nearly everybody hated God, hated goodness, and celebrated that their life and this world was futile and meaningless.

But of course, Men cannot live this way. At first they became frenzied, then sad, then they despaired.

Underneath everything they spoke, they began to loathe and despise themselves; and they knew - with the last little bit of Good in their hearts - that they themselves should be eliminated.


The realisation spread over the world like a wave, like an avalanche... The decision was sudden, and almost everybody agreed.

Suddenly, everywhere, at the same time: almost everyone Just Stopped.

They stopped doing almost everything! They mostly stayed at home; but when they went-out they shunned each other - even their own family and closest friends.

You will find this the hardest to believe: they stopped seeking husbands and wives. They stopped even trying to have children and sustain families. They even ceased from their wicked sexual depravities of which I will not speak.

And, as they no doubt intended, deep in their hearts; their whole world collapsed.


Vast structures that we cannot imagine collapsed - great groupings of Men growing and making, carrying and sharing, trading and travelling... Suddenly they ceased to share pictures, plays, music and conversation. They did not dance together!

They gave-up constructiong, repairing, inventing. All of it.

And soon a whole world of Men came to an end; like a wave, like an avanlache...


We do not know how the Men reacted to what their hearts had done to them. Perhaps they were very afraid?

Perhaps they even changed their minds and at the last moment tried to save themselves?

But it was too late.


Not quite all of them died - because our great grand ancestors lived-on to make our world of clans and tribes.

Our scholars say that the the world of Men quietly accepted what was necessary and best, and quietly they expired.

Ten-times-ten for each one of us...


They were terrible, our great grand ancestors; very powerful, makers of vast and intricate things: some beautiful, most horrible.

They were very wicked indeed - but not completely wicked.

Deep, deep down inside, buried unders their sins and their despair - in their secret souls God lived. God told them the truth, God shaped their sleeping and their hidden will...


So they made their own ends; and they did so before the whole world was fully and finally damned.

And for that we are grateful.

Who fights the spiritual war? What are they fighting over?

Jesus brought life eternal in Heaven for those who want it. That's what needs to be communicated.

If we can understand that, if we want that gift, recognise that we want it, decide to accept that gift - then the rest follows, sooner or later, one way or the other.

(Thanks to the Holy Ghost  - the spirit of Jesus Christ - our guide and comforter; all this is available to anybody at any time, for the asking - sooner or later.)

The spiritual war is between those who want what Jesus offers; and those who reject it.

The battles in spiritual war are fought over the undecided souls, the waverers, the drifters, the sleepwalkers, those who Love but whose love is misdirected.

(The undecided souls' personal battles are to understand, to know, to decide, to commit.)

Those who are incapable of love are self-doomed, they are the demons and the servants of demons - they are the other side, but the battles are not 'about' them.

To try and evangelise demons is misplaced effort that might save others. We should be battling them, not arguing with them.

(Of course we may be mistaken that some specific person is demonic in desire. But we must discern, judge and act on that judgment - to the best of our ability. Once one is personally sure - by clear intuition confirmed by the Holy Ghost - then such persons become The Enemy; they are not the subject over-which we struggle.)

Sunday, 17 May 2020

An image of impending dehumanization - from Amo Boden


The above literal nightmare image of contemporary British life comes from Amo Boden; whose (Owen Barfield/ Rudolf Steiner influenced) 'Brief Outlines' blog and video channel are always worth a visit.

The above image apparently came to him in the early hours of the morning; and seems to reflect an earlier blog post where he wrote (emphasis added):

Our society views the human being in the image of the machine. Perhaps that is why so many have accepted the lock-down without much fuss. To such a view-point, locking-down the entire world until the virus burns itself out is an obvious solution. In fact, if it saves lives this is the only moral thing to do. 

Now a machine can be isolated from other machines and put on stand-by indefinitely, and then re-booted again to operate just as normal, as if nothing had happened. A human being, however, cannot. And we are about to witness the consequences of assuming otherwise. 

For the reality is that we are not machines, and to someone who sees that civilisation is fundamentally held together, not by the machinery of bureaucratic rules and armies of police forces, but by real-world relationships between individual people, all supported by a myriad of common customs, traditions and mutual agreements, will see in concepts such as social distancing and the indefinite suspension of the right to assembly something far more sinister than anything a virus could cause.

An Eastern Orthodox monk writes beautiful and wise words on a proper attitude to the birdemic

This is well worth a look (H/T commenter Joseph A); inspiring in its clarity and en-couraging about a properly spiritual attitude to the birdemic specifically - and worldly crises in general - coming from the contemplative, monastic Orthodox perspective.

Excerpt:

Ever since the Lord performed the Mystical Supper and handed down the most holy mystery of the Divine Eucharist, the world-saving Divine Liturgy has not ceased to be celebrated to this day. 

Neither Diocletian, nor the Turks, nor the communists in Russia, nor the Germans during the years of the occupation managed to stop the Divine Liturgy and the faithful from approaching Holy Communion. And now, with the fear of the virus, the churches have closed down and the faithful are deprived of the saving grace of the mysteries, of which they have so great a need. 

On the contrary, while everyone here [in Greece] remains fearfully silent, in the Orthodox Churches of Serbia, Bulgaria, and Georgia divine worship continues unhindered, the churches are open, Divine Liturgy is celebrated, and the faithful are not afraid of being affected by the virus. 

The protective measures employed by the present government are unconstitutional, unbearable, extreme, and unfair to the Greek Orthodox, while they have also created an atmosphere of terrorism, which the media aggravate. 

Yes, the virus exists and we must protect our health and the health of those around us. Fear, however, must vanish, because when man is in a state of fear he cannot think and act rationally and discreetly.