Friday, 22 February 2019

Why can't modern people believe that the soul survives biological death?

Through almost all of human history, and still in most of the world, it seems obvious that when the body dies - something survives - the 'soul'.

Beyond that basic insight, there is massive disagreement concerning what specifically happens to the post-death soul - Heaven, Paradise, Reincarnation of many kinds, Nirvana, the Underworld... but that basic belief in soul survival is all-but universal.

Except among Modern people in The West. We do not believe there is a soul; and we do believe that death is the absolute and final extinction of a human individual - indeed we believe that a person may be extinguished during life, when their brain is sufficiently or specifically damaged.

Why is this? The answer is clear: modern people cannot believe in life-after-death because they do not really believe in life. They/ we don't believe, they/ we are not really confident and sure, that anything at all is ever really alive.

Not even (or especially not) our-selves.

Modern people are very unsure whether there is any real difference between the living and the dead - or, if there is a difference, then they cannot define it. They know that 'science', technology, mathematics etc. regards everything the same way, and everything as dead.

If 'life' is about chemistry, as everybody in the mainstream of modern culture seems to think; then it is not really alive! After all, chemistry applies to everything equally - with no distinction between alive and dead. Nothing chemical and specifci happens at death, and yet biology cannot define the moment of death, the dividing line between life and death.

(Neither can biology define exactly when a specific new life arises during development; neither can biology define exactly when life arises during the presumed history of evolution.)

Even New Age spirituality agrees - because for them life is about energies, and frequencies of vibrations - which means physics, which means dead things...

In sum, because we treat everything the same, whether it is living or dead - and because that 'same' is to treat everything as dead... then modern people cannot believe in life.

(Of course, they/ we cannot either believe in consciousness or free will - it seems pretty generally agreed that these make no scientific sense, and therefore consciousness and free will don't exist, are not real.)

Since we moderns find that in practice we cannot draw an objective line between living and dead; we fall into the obvious nonsense of regarding everything as dead (including the person making that staement).

The only solution is to accept what we all came-into this world believing - that everything is alive, but in various ways and to various degrees.

And when we re-recognise that everything is alive, we will recover the obvious, commonsense, once-universal knowledge that biological death is a transition of the soul.

Death is not an extinction of the soul, not the end of the soul; but the trans-form-ation of the soul - from one form into another.

Then we can return to our proper concern and conversation - which is to discover what really does happen to the soul at death... What are the possibilities, what are the options?

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Inspiration, imagination and intuition

Human development - of the maturing individual and also throughout the evolving of the race - can be understood to follow a path from inspiration, through the transitional state of imagination, and with the ideal destination of intuition.

(I derive these terms from Rudolf Steiner - but, while valuable, I regard his sequence, analysis and treatment of them to be significantly mistaken. For example he wrongly puts Imagination as first and Inspiration as intermediate, and argues Inspiration as primarily analogous to 'hearing'.)

Inspiration - This is the state characteristic of childhood and ancient Men. It locates knowledge outside the individual in God, or the Muses etc.); acknowledges the possibility of genuinely new knowledge; and regards knowledge as actively put-into the individual - who passively receives it. The self is porous to reality.

Imagination - This is the state characteristic of adolescence and modern man. Imagination is a step forward of maturity, in the sense that it is an active process, which may be consciously pursued. However, Imagination denies the possibility of genuinely new-and-true knowledge of reality; and regards Imagination as (merely) the recombination, extrapolation and interpolation of psychological images derived (passively) from experience and inheritance. In essence, Imagination is all we can 'know' but is solipsistic; the self is cut-off, disconnected-from, reality - so Imagination is merely an internal swirling of delusory patterns.

Intuition - This is the state of direct, or primary, knowing. It is a meeting of reality half-way; it is the mind actively-grasping reality; and of reality as created such that this activity be both possible and Good. Intuition regards knowledge as outside, and also regards Imagination as (potentially) knowledge. The self and reality are re-connected; but Not by passive-porosity - instead by the self and reality meeting in the realm of intuitive thinking: which is conscious knowledge.

How to break modern materialism?

The means must be commensurate with the end - the method must suit the goal.

This is a necessity, but also (from the usual 'pragmatic' perspective) it is a difficulty; a serious constraint. It means that there is no indirect method of achieving what needs to be achieved - we need to confront it head-on. Since full (divine) consciousness is aimed-at - the process cannot be unconscious, manipulated, involunary.

So; this implies that if it is desired to convert people to Romantic Christianity, the means and methods must be both Romantic and Christian - not something partial, not attained by covert, indirect or incremental ways. What needs to be presented and chosen is the-whole-thing, in microcosm.

In sum, a person needs to understand and agree-to, apprehend and embrace, The Package of Romantic Christianity - consciously.

Why would anybody do this? Simply because it is True and they Want it. Also, negatively, such a convert may be prepared because he has exhausted all other possibilities, has realised that Nothing Else Works (or ever will work).

Therefore we need to condense and concentrate:

1. That God is our loving parent/s, and creator of this reality - and wants us to be raised to become fully-divine; full members of the divine family and co-creators.

2. This created reality consists of beings, not things; they/we are bound by inter-personal love, not abstract forces.

3. All the above is directly-knowable by each person, for himself - by personal experience; because of 1. and 2.

What is the aim? Life with purpose; life with meanings (because all is beings, and the loving relations between them); life as developmental (evolutionary, creative); life as hope-full - because eternal, loving, creative and chosen. 

Don't forget: the original purpose of The Left was to destroy Christianity

If you were in danger of forgetting, William Wildblood may help remind you.

But it is one of the most successful demonic inversions when atheist hedonists who are in reality of the Left, but who personally oppose political correctness, try to argue that Leftism is an heretical Christianity, an evolution of Protestantism, or puritanism.

This error is mostly based on false rationalisation (from people who don't want to become Christians, because it would limit their sexual options) - but also derives from a US-centric kind of ignorance; because the US had nothing to do with the origin and development of Leftism.

Leftism originated in Britain and France (in the late 18th century), where its anti-Christian animus was obvious.

The US was very slow to adopt Leftism - which it got from Europe; and only took-over world leadership of Leftism from the middle 1960s

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

From the incoherence and contradictions of political anarchism to the actuality of Romantic Christian anarchism

There was a fair spell of time when, if anyone had asked - which of course they never did! - I would have called myself an anarchist. This was a consequence of being a 'normal' left wing, socialist, Labour Party supporter in my youth, and having realised that the actuality bore no resemblance to the impulse.

It was also a consequence of my having, in my middle teens, becoming a very keen ecologist - or 'green'-advocate as it later became known: keen on a William Morris-ite medieval society, including traditional, non-mechanised forms of agriculture. This even extended to a preference (or the attempt at such) for low-tech music and simpler musical instruments - a preference for recorders over keyed flutes, for the clavichord over the piano etc.

(Unfortunately my manias for electric folk music and grand opera undermined this attempt.)

I would now perceive that I was wanting to arrest society and the arts at a particular, but neither distinct nor stable, point in a process of continual change and development. It was nothing more than a personal, and temporary, prejudice - raised up to some kind of general socio-political principle. And the same could be applied to Morris himself, and to most others who tried to describe a utopian socialistic and/or environmentalist future.

Anyway, I experienced a general collapse of belief in top-down institutions - political parties, trades unions, pressure-groups etc. - as being able to deliver the kind of changes I wanted. And so I began to think of myself as an anarchist. Yet I could not help but still seek for ideological and systematic solutions.

Anarchists are atheists (in practice if not always in theory); therefore their options are limited - somehow improvement must come from what is already there. Somehow a better society must comes from people as they are - therefore, the answer always involves some new way of organising things so that good-decisions, good-results, will emerge from situations that previously led to bad decisions and results.

Secular politics is therefore about how to create processes that will  have the intrinsic property of 'manufacturing' good outcomes. Anarchists analyse society on the basis of power; therefore they try to dispense with powerful people and institutions; therefore they hope to disperse power (without using power) and hope that societies will emerge (since they cannot be imposed) that are 'ruled' by no specific person/ institution but in which each person is autonomous.

In practice, anarchists are compelled to come up with some system by weak the weaker ally to defeat the stronger - and the usual method is some kind of 'grassrotos' or 'direct' democracy - and this is usually formalised into voting. In essence - society is intended to be ruled by mass votes on all significant decisions.

Almost immediately, and sooner rather than later, anarchists recognise that this system (where it can be implemented) does not lead to greater individual freedom; but to an extremely crude form of oppression. I had a few experiences of attending anarchist-type events (and read accounts of others - for example in accounts of the Spanish Civil War), and they were - on the one hand - always shambolic and poor quality; and on the other hand surrounded by a pall of numbingly conformist and self-righteously monolithic moralism.

They were excruciating to me, with a kind of dreadfulness of soul and spirit that I could not deny to myself. 

I think I now realise where anarchism goes wrong - which is its inbuilt anti-Christian ethos, part of which is to regard marriage and the family as institutions. Anarchists are, in practice, much keener to 'smash' marriages and families than they are to attack trades unions and large corporations.

Some anarchists even assert that the individual is an institution! At that point anarchism has reversed, and become nothing-but totalitarian group tyranny.

The causal reason is not far to seek - because anarchists are proponents of the sexual revolution; and each anarchist has a personal stake in this - since they generally are, or aspire to be, beneficiaries of the sexual revolution, in one way or another. As so often with post-sixties Leftism, the politics serves as an abstract smoke-screen for the truth of a sexual motivation.

(Sexuality being  - on average - the second-most powerful human motivation after religion; and when religion is absent, sexuality becomes the most powerful motivator; especially for the most active and aspiring people.)

Yet - properly understood - marriage and the family are precisely Not institutions; they are in fact the only forms of human living that are not-institutional. They are the only forms around-which human society can be, that are not institutions.    

(Not all individual people will get married, not all will want to marry; and perhaps a few will neither  have families nor wish to become adopted into a family - or no family will adopted them. Nonetheless, society will be families linked-by marriages.)

Therefore, by ruling-out marriage and family; anarchists rule out any real possibility of anarchism. Instead they merely replace one set of institutions with another - while simultaneously denying themselves the power actually to implement what they wish-for.

Anyway, I now find myself in the position of actually being - as my ideal - a real, live, political anarchist; precisely because I am now a Romantic Christian believer-in the primacy of marriage and the family.

Furthermore, there is no paradox in my wish for this to become actuality, real-Christian-anarchism is no Quixotic fantasy; since I see all around me that all formal, political, ideological institutions are very obviously in an advanced state of corruption and en route to self-destruction.

While by contrast, marriage and family are spontaneous phenomena because they are in accordance with primary metaphysical reality, as I understand it.

Therefore, if things continue as they are trending, we will reach a post-institutional world; organised around marriage and families. And this will happen like it or not; for worldly good or for ill.

How much of the human world will remain in this post-institutional dispensation is very uncertain; perhaps very little indeed. But that is the world I wish to be a part-of.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Leftist motivation - how resentment and self-hatred are combined, and how theoretical long-termist group-sacrifice justifies short-term selfishness

Leftist psychology is simple and extremely effective: it has to be simple, because it is almost universal; it is almost universal because it is so effective.

(In The West, almost all supposedly Right wing people, and all in the mainstream, are merely variants of Leftist - just a small minority of religious people are Not Leftist.)

There are two aspects to Leftist motivation - one is self-interested, and the other is what provides a veneer of morality. Neither would work well alone.

If Leftism was wholly self-interested, it would not be a success - the key to Leftism is that it enables people to be self-interested while also feeling good about it - feeling, indeed, altruistically superior about it. But if Leftism was genuinely altruistic, self-sacrificing at an immediate and personal level, it would not be popular.

In the first place, Leftism creates, mobilises, amplifies resentment - class war, war of the sexes, race hatred, the resentments of the sexually non-normal. Since resentment is the commonest, and most insatiable, human sin - this formalisation is very powerful. Few are immune to the blandishments of victimising one's enemy.

Resentment is the self-interest that defines the acceptable enemy, the scapegoat - he or that who is (as an individual or group) to be stripped of status, power, resources. Leftism is based on identifying such victims, asset-stripping them, and using the assets to buy and pay supporters (keeping aside a share).

Leftism makes this act of coercive violence into an act of altruism, by its various (often elaborate) theories - at bottom, these all amount to the idea that it is always good to take from the evil, and give (some of) what is extracted to the virtuous.

Over time, Leftism has varied, sometimes reversed, the definitions of evil and virtue - but those who are, by one definition or another, virtuous; can expect rewards from this extraction, and have a direct self interest in one or another version of Leftism.   

Furthermore, Leftism has developed a powerful way of justifying, morally - and in daily practice - being short termist and selfish; while justifying this in terms of displaced, remote, theoretical long-term altruism. Again, this is the doing of theory, of abstraction - which is the job of Leftist intellectuals.

Leftism is about self-hatred - and this is very important; indeed vital to its long-term success. Self-hatred is the deep morality of Leftism.

This means that the Leftist leadership can convince themselves of their own altruism by the fact that they will often argue against their own long-term, group interests.

Upper class Leftists will designate their own class as evil (almost all Leftist leaders, past and present, come from from the upper classes). Men will be feminists. White Native-born people will denigrate the white native population. Married people with families will advocate sexual revolution... and so on.

It is this self-attack, this suicidal self-hatred, which acts to reassure the Leftist of his own high moral values - and proves (to himself, at least) that he is not merely self-interested.

Yet - and here is another vital aspect - the suicidal self-hatred is displaced. The Leftist attacks his own class, sex, race - and designates the group as an evil exploiter - but not him-self. He asks his class/ sex/ race to give-up their status, power and wealth - but not himself... at least not-here and not-now.

The Leftist leader displaces the sacrifice away from himself and into the future, and often other places. So the Leftist leader's mantra is Not me, Not here, Not now... Arguing that "People like me should give up their jobs to minorities - but not me". Or, the leader argues that a working-class person, woman, an immigrant should have jobs in preference - but this does not apply to my job, here and now.

Always the sacrifice is distal while benefits are proximate - Not me! Not yet!

(The usual excuse is that "I be allowed to keep my status, power, wealth for a bit longer - until I can finish this important work of Leftist redistribution". For a Leftist leader; when-utopia-arrives, when The System is just, is the best time to yield privilege; before then it would be futile or premature... Thus all Leftist leaders are hypocrites, all are Quislings, all are traitors and sell-outs - it goes with the job description.)

So this is the psychology that has led to Leftism taking-over the world. It is selfish - which is why it is so very popular; and it is moral - which makes it even more popular.

But, crucially to Leftism's success, the selfishness is proximate, direct, immediate; while the altruistic, sacrificial morality is abstract, impersonal and remote.    

Note: All the above is necessarily and intrinsically a feature of Leftism, because it is this-worldly, and denying of God and creation. If you think about it; in a world without meaning, when death is extinction, morality can only be some variant of the above. 

Monday, 18 February 2019

Fourth Gospel, Chapter 1 - the definitive commentary by William James Tychonievich

William James Tychonievich ('WmJas') is the longest-running commenter at this blog; we have had a mutually fruitful on-line interaction for about a decade.

The reason that we both find each other valuable is probably related to shared interests combined with very different ways of thinking about them. I am a broad brush, metaphysical kind of guy; while William has the natural interest and ability to focus on extreme detail and logical coherence - and build upwards from that.

So I am delighted to report that William has turned his microscope onto that most important of all writings - The Fourth Gospel ('of John') - with a really marvellous line-by-line analysis and commentary - 10,000 words so far, and he has only covered the first chapter.

And it is all golden stuff: I read it in a single 'sitting' (half of it lying in the bath, actually), and tho' long there is no padding, nothing you'd want to skip.

Packed with revelations for the attentive reader. 

Akenfield - the book, the film

The original 2 minute 'trailer' for Akenfield

The book of Akenfield by Ronald Blythe (1969) was recommended me by my history teacher; and made a powerful impact.

It consists of two elements: a set of wide-ranging interviews with old, middling and young adults in a 'composite' Suffolk village of the middle 1960s; lovingly rendered into permanently-memorable, distinctly characterised, subtly-poetic prose by the author.

These are supplemented by a good deal of factual, including statistical, material; the relevance and interest of which has by now considerably diminished.

The movie of Akenfield was made for television and broadcast on a Sunday evening in 1974, when it was watched by more than 14 million people - and is a rare example of a great book being adapted into an equivalently great film.

A great film quite unlike any other; because it was made at the same locations as the book, with an amateur cast of (mostly) working people living in the same places. It contains some of the most beautiful, powerful, and sad scenes of anything I know - again, permanently memorable.

If you watch the film; you will be astonished to realise that such an ambitious, high quality, demanding, spiritually-ambitious work could even be made; and more astonished that it would prove such an immediate success with so many ordinary people.

At the time, this was a source of hope for me. I felt that great matters were stirring in England. As things turned-out, it marked the end of an era rather than the start of anything better. But the work remains.

This Ahrimanic age and the End Times

Rudolf Steiner's idea that evil has two faces and natures - the unconscious/ instinctive/ spiritual Luciferic, and the systematic/ bureaucratic/ materialistic Ahrimanic - is one that has lodged permanently in my mind (although I don't use the terms exactly as Steiner did).

Steiner foresaw that the Ahrimanic tendency was dominant and increasing in our age - and he was absolutely correct; including within the Anthroposophical Society which he founded. Indeed, the history of Steiner's movement is worth studying from the perspective of just how pervasive, how inevitable-seeming, the Ahrimanic tendency is in our age. here we have a movement studying, and officially opposing, the Ahrimanic tendency but using highly Ahrimanic methods!

Such is, however, almost universal in our time. Whenever any human and individual priority or problem is highlighted; the 'solution' is always to set-up institutional, bureaucratic mechanisms that are supposed to deal with it: task forces, surveys, committees, conferences, statistical reports, agenda-items, targets...

(The middle sixties is a clear example; because the 'sixties impulse' was Luciferic - but this dominated for only about one year - from the summer of 67 to the summer of 68; and everything radical/ leftist/ progressive we have seen since, has been ever-more-thoroughly Ahrimanic. Nowadays, the sparks of individualistic Luciferic instincts - especially sexual and transgressive - merely feed the Leviathan of bureaucracy.)  

These are all both tools and manifestations of Ahrimanic thinking; and implement and sustain that cold, rational, spirit-denying materialism. This is specifci totalitarianism. Then the individual Ahrimanic bureaucracies link-up to make the Single Totalitarian Bureaucracy, centrally controlled - and Ahriman is triumphant.

It matters not one whit if the 'ends' and objectives are spiritual, heartfelt, animistic - because the means by which they are approached ensures that spirit-denying materialism is the medium of discourse.

We see this everywhere, except in small family or friendship groupings; every institution is not just contaminated but corrupted and inverted by Ahrimanic thinking; and it is this which makes me ever more convinced that our future must be post-institutional - involving a return (but with a major spiritual distinction) to that world built on loving personal relationships rather than formal organisation.

However, first-time-round; this personal world was Luciferic - and therefore unconscious, instinctive, 'given', immersive, unindividual. It cannot be Luciferic again - even if some would wish for that; because history is linear and a developmental process.

So the future personal world will be conscious, self-aware, deliberately-chosen - therefore individually-based. 

This prospect ought to be welcomed; but even though it is not welcomed, and is indeed opposed vigorously (even/ especially among most Christians), it will very likely happen. It will happen because corrupt institutions cannot sustain the modern world, and the corruption runs so deep and has already done such damage that there is no possibility of institutional reform. There is grossly too-little of the true source from-which a reform might be initiated and sustained.

Our institutional corruption is terminal - the cancer of Ahrimanism has overwhelmed the host; and there is not enough healthy tissue remaining for the cancer to be cut-away. The cure will kill us - more exactly; if the cancer does not kill us first, the cure will kill the institutions.

To put it differently: cancer is dysfunctional, and will kill the host; yet the global organism is almost-all cancer tissue: so either way, there can be no cure. 

A world of seven billion people without formal institutions seems impossible - and presumably is impossible. And if the vast population cannot be sustained, then it will not be sustained.

So this will be something like the End Times - even when examined purely in a material sense; although I have no doubt that its ultimate causes are spiritual.    

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Effective prayer is an act of participation in creation (that is how it influences the future)

I think it has to be assumed that only some prayers are 'effective' - and that there are many prayers that are 'wrong', and make no difference - for example being mere habitual repetitions, or askings for bad things.

But there is no doubt that some prayers are effective: all Christians know this from experience. This probably happens because prayer can be an act of creation: more precisely in prayer we can participate in God's ongoing creation.

That is how prayer can affect the future - we personally enter-into the creation, and add to it our personal creativity.

That is how we, individually, make a difference by our prayer. Creativity is always happening; and then we pray and introduce a new element by our prayer - so that the future is changed.

Changing the future is a creative act. Prayer is, in effect, each of us working-with God.

Prayer works by love: love is that which is aligned-with God's motivation in creation. It is love that 'ensures' our prayer is aligned with the goodness of divine creation.

This happens because love is the basis of creation - it is the cohesion of creation. Love is what allows personal creativity to be real - because by real I mean that our creativity is permanently woven-into creation.

Only loving prayer is effective - because unloving prayer is incompatible with creation.

Conversely, when we pray with Love - and only then; what we pray is intrinsically creative. And loving prayer is always effective - loving prayer changes the future.

This does not mean that the effect of prayer is predictable by us, nor that praying for some specific thing always gets us just what we ask-for.

But loving prayer always makes a difference, and that difference is always positive (when seen from a God's eye view).

Life Fantasies - the pettiness of villains, the trivial motives of evil

Something that secular modern people have a lot of trouble grasping is that evil-dominated people (villains) usually have very petty motivations of a kind that strike 'normal' people as trivial.

This is just a fact; but it takes a fair bit of maturity and experience to notice and acknowledge the fact. To the adolescent mind, it seems rational that a villainous person, a person scheming to subvert and destroy Good, should have complex, deep and interesting motivations. This is perhaps the root of the fascination/ obsession with anti-heroes and ambiguity that characterises most fiction of the past fifty years and more.

I certainly used to think that way, needing to look deeper behind simple-surface motivations seemed  obvious; and my feeling was along the lines of "there must be more to it than just that!"

Yet I gradually came to recognise that my own secret motives - things I actually brooded-on but would have vehemently denied to myself and (especially) to others if pointed-out, were often extremely simple and silly - immature 'life fantasies' of a really corny and melodramatic nature; imagined scenarios of being helplessly-admired, or what 'people' would think about me 'if'...

(These life fantasies are, indeed, easier to hide from oneself than from others - sometimes they can be seen-though on very slight acquaintance, almost at a glance - when another person is attuned to such things.)

The falling-of-scales-from-the-eyes moment for me was when I suddenly realised that - in the UK - many of the most powerful and famous people really, really, more-than-anything want to be given Royal 'honours' such as medals (like the OBE or OM), to be called Sir or Dame, or to be ennobled as a Lord or Lady or something higher.

(And this craving applies to the most publicly active Leftists much more powerfully than to the religious - as is clear from the actual distribution of honours; and this is to be expected because of the innate and increasing evil of Leftism.)  

I suddenly realised that many or most of the people around me in medicine, academia and science were actually planning their lives, and indeed living their lives, so as to gain and accumulate such honours.

Honour-seeking was 'the key' to their behaviour - in particular, it was the reason for their so eagerly  going-over to the dark side in such large numbers.

This is, of course, a very silly and trivial thing around-which to organise your mortal life... It seems way too simple, too reductionistic to be a sufficient explanation. Nonetheless, it happens to be true: it happens to be how actual people actually behave - and indeed this is so blazingly-obvious that it is hard to understand why I and others routinely failed to notice and acknowledge the fact!

And the same applies to the greater, and greatest, evils of Men - they are done for the pettiest of reasons; as seems to have been the case for Satan.

In particular, when a person feels 'slighted', even in a way that is objectively trivial - this can and does sometimes grow to become a life-dominating, insatiable obsession - leading to very extreme levels of rape, torture, murder, war, genocide...

Indeed there is no limit to what a man humiliated, a woman scorned, will do when in the grip of the petty resentments of an evil Life Fantasy.

William Wildblood on the spiritual value of prehistoric monuments

From Albion Awakening...

...This is Maumbury Rings, a Neolithic henge. Here's an aerial photograph.

We have returned to the oval area enclosed by a ditch. That is to say, there would originally have been a ditch, formed by the construction of the outer banks, but that has long since been filled in. But still the basic layout of an oval demarcated by a border remains. 

Now, forgive me, but what does this remind you of? All I can say is that I have to assume it was constructed as a sacred space dedicated to the Mother Goddess. In its time it's been a Roman amphitheatre, a fort in the Civil War and even an execution ground in the 18th century during the Monmouth Rebellion, not to mention farmland and a place of assembly. But it is over 4,000 years old and its original purpose would have been religious. 

Archaeologists frequently say of ancient things when they are not sure what they are for, "used for ritual purposes" and I expect they are often right in that, but this clearly was a sacred space used by the local tribe for their most profound encounters with the numinous. When I used to go there 30 odd years ago it still had a feeling of peace and stillness, and there was also a sense of being safe and secure. 

Is it too fanciful to think of it as a kind of spiritual womb? Rites of death and rebirth are among the oldest and most widespread forms of human spiritual activity, and I think that is what Maumbury Rings would originally have been associated with...

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Francis Berger discovers William Arkle

Regular reader can imagine how delighted I was to find that Francis Berger has, like me, found reading William Arkle to be a formative experience.

FB uses his initial response of “If I had discovered William Arkle earlier, I would be so much wiser today.” as the basis for a reflection on hindsight - distinguishing bewteen when hindsight is a valuable (perhaps essential) mode of learning, and when it is little more than an unreal fantasy.

But here is the final section on William Arkle:

To conclude, I had to accept the following – I had not engaged with William Arkle because I had not been ready to do until now. As much as I would like to regret not discovering Arkle sooner, I must realize I have nothing to regret, and that engaging with him now rather than earlier in my life indicates good luck rather than bad luck. In essence, I had to understand that I have basically lost nothing and stand to gain much by not discovering William Arkle until now.

Thus, I had to recognize the fantasy contained in my original thought regarding Arkle, and reformulate the thought in the following manner:

“If I had read William Arkle earlier, I would have read William Arkle earlier.”

This is the only true hindsight 20/20 statement I can make about not discovering William Arkle earlier in my life. Notice how it lacks any description of value; and I am almost certain that is exactly what I would have received in value terms had I encountered the man’s ideas in the past.

Thankfully, I have found an amazing amount of value in reading Arkle now, which supports the notion that I was, perhaps, not meant to discover William Arkle until this moment in time.

If I have it right, this is what William Arkle himself would have referred to as The Will at work.

The regret I experienced for not reading Arkle sooner might be considered an example of my Will Power trying to exert itself in the world – on an unreal situation to create an unprovable present, no less!

Lesson learned? Renouncing Will Power and embracing the Will truly is crucial in life; even, it appears, in matters of hindsight.

Romanticism and the hungering for 'depth' in life

From the age of about fourteen I became painfully aware of the shallowness of nearly-all of life - of human interaction; of literature, music and art; and especially of human aspirations. Thus I became a spontaneous 'romantic'.

I recognised the shallowness innately, by my boredom at the triviality of nearly-everything - but also in contrast to what I sometimes encountered in my reading, listening, and experience of landscapes and architecture. The clearest example was Lord of the Rings, which I read at this time - a world of exactly the depth I craved.

But the bulk and average of human interaction was by far the most frustrating shallowness. Even people who had composed deep literature or deep music; when I saw them interviewed on television would witter-away in the most superficial and glib fashion.

I wanted to be serious and earnest most of the time; but almost everybody else hated that kind of thing, and kept interaction rigorously a matter of small talk - with a permanent, reflexive under-cutting facetiousness added, especially when 'intellectuals' were involved.

(This facetiousness is a particular sin of English people.)

There were a few people with whom I could sometimes have what I termed a 'deep' conversation; and I would travel literally the length and breadth of the country to have such conversations - so starved was I.

And this has never really gone away. Nowadays - because of my family - I do not need general human interaction with the intensity and hunger of my adolescence; but I would - now as then - much rather be alone than engaged in the kind of (as it seems to me) chit-chat that constitutes pretty much the entirety of life for almost everyone*.

*Except when interspersed with emotionally incontinent sessions of shouting and weeping. If novels/ movies and TV are any guide; the pinnacle of human desire is to have a life consisting entirely of witty banter interspersed with sexual psychodrama.

Friday, 15 February 2019

What does it mean to be 'free'? Does it emanate from original sin or virtue?

Free means self-caused - only that which is self-caused, and that which is capable of self-causation, can be free.

Free does not mean un-influenced. That which causes is often subject to external influence but free means that behaviour cannot wholly be explained by influences.

Ultimately, freedom cannot be explained - nothing self-caused can be explained.

Thus, freedom is irreducible. We cannot know what goes-on, or how freedom arises.

There is no 'natural' (analytic, rational, scientific) explanation for what leads-to freedom (or else it would not be free). Freedom stands outside cause and effect.

Indeed, freedom is divine in nature.

We can perceive only the result of freedom; and all we can do is just take it, or leave it.

We may, or may not, be aware of that which is free - but it emerges complete and ready; so all that can be done-about freedom is to accept or reject it (whether unconsciously or deliberately).  

Therefore, it is crucial to know whether that which is innately free is good, or evil.

This is the question of original sin.

Is that essential-self which is free basically evil/ sinful in nature; or is it good/ of God?

One or the other must be assumed.

Frank Berger or Berger Ferenc? What a difference a name makes

At his blog, Francis Berger makes an amusing but serious point about the importance of our names. Excerpt:

In Hungary, my father’s name was Berger Ferenc (Hungarians always place the surname first) pronounced something like Bairgair Fairains in Hungary, but in America he became Frank Berger, and I became the junior variety of that name. He chose Frank over Francis because he thought it sounded more manly. It took him a while to learn that when most Americans heard his new, Anglicized name, all they could think of were barbeque meats.

Think about it. Frank. Berger... I bloodied many noses and had my nose bloodied many times defending my name when I was growing up because whenever kids heard my name, the hamburger jokes were quick to follow...

Yeah, I pretty much heard them all. Naturally, the taunting diminished as I grew older, but even as an adult, I could tell my name still inspired mild amusement among fellow adults. No matter where I went, I was confronted with thinly veiled expressions of bemusement and lightning flash grins whenever I introduced myself...

Read the whole thing...

Demonically mind-controlled zombies as national leaders

The phenomenon of the UK Prime Minister Theresa May is very interesting, and perhaps deeply significant. Of course, I only know about her whatever the mass media chooses to put in my direction; but what that is quite extraordinary, and indeed impossible

What seems to be the situation is that someone without leadership qualities, incompetent, utterly lacking in charm and charisma - whom everybody dislikes and wants gone (I mean, all the power blocs - her party and the opposition; the mass media and the civil service; upper, middle, working and under- class: Brexiteers and Remainers; Atheists and real Christians; the EU and the US and teh Commonwealth... everybody) - yet she stays in power, month after month, year by year... 

From what I see in the media, she seems to be a literal zombie - dead-eyed, shambling, tragically miserable; shuffling around from place to place moaning and gibbering. It is a pitiful sight - until you realise that she is all the time clinging to power with unyielding tenacity, meanwhile systematically demoralising and destroying.

But the important question is: What keeps her functioning (albeit barely)?

(And She Is Not Alone among the leadership of great powers - because Hillary Clinton and Angela Merkel are copies in the essentials, and there are many others at lower levels and earlier degrees of corruption.)

How can this 'impossible' situation be sustained? So far as I can tell, with so many and such overwhelming dis-advantages, there must be some extremely powerful forces that want Theresa May to hold-onto the premier leadership position in Britain.

This is the crux of my argument: Since no powerful Theresa May supporters are visible, they must be occult, hidden, behind-the-scenes. There must be decisively powerful, forces and influences that are off-the-radar. Further, since there are no observable mechanisms by which TM is maintained in operation; I assume the methods must be suprasensory, supernatural - again 'occult'.

What I am implying is that with TM (and her like) we may be observing the actuality of rule by demonically mind-controlled zombies.

Why middle aged, mediocre, middle manager women like TM, HRC and AM? Because - I assume - these are the easiest to mind-control. Apparently, their combination of inability and ambition, and their lack of a strongly agent 'self', makes them especially willing to do a 'deal' with the demons - yielding control to attain power.

Such women are very far from ideal as puppet leaders - because they can't lead; but they are demonically the most controllable, which presumably is the decisive factor. And the demons take care of the rest of it. 

The personal cost of this channelling of evil is very horrible to behold; it takes a toll on human flesh and mind - which all can see, even though very few people realise what is going-on. The body may be nearly dead, but the remnants are externally activated and energised by the forces of evil - so that basic functionality is retained far beyond what one would have supposed possible.

At times, during the 2016 Presidential Election, HRC looked and behaved like a crude and primitive remote-controlled robot - but so corrupted are the Godless and cowardly Western populations at this point; that tens of millions of people regarded her as a suitable even wonderful, person to lead their nation - and presumably the same applies to AM.

But with TM, it seems that the humans are not fooled. So we have the bizarre spectacle of a mind-controlled zombie operating without visible means of support.

In most past societies, the demonic fingerprints would have been obvious, and remedial action taken - but with modern materialism and the elimination of better alternatives, the British are merely bewildered.

What we see makes no sense; but the real answer is ruled-out a priori, by unknown and denied metaphysical assumptions - and so the macabre charade continues...

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Failing the Brexit test - revelations of fake radicalism (example: Alan 'V for Vendetta' Moore)

For an Englishman of Romantic and/ or Christian convictions, for anyone honest and on the side of Good; supporting Brexit is as near to a no-brainer as can be imagined in this complicated and confusing world.

I can understand that people might be unaware of how strategically evil is, for example, something like the United Nations - but for a person of adult years to have lived in the UK over the past forty-something years is to have multiply-experienced the European Union in its reality as a mega-bureaucracy - hence intrinsically evil; to know its true nature (anti-Christian, dishonest, destructive of beauty and virtue), and to be aware of exactly where it is inexorably aiming: totalitarianism.

Therefore, when grown-up people actively support the European Union, and lose no opportunity publicly to pour scorn and venom onto those who wish to extricate themselves and their nation from the EU - we know them for what they really are (which may be very different from what they themselves think they are).

Over the past nearly three years, the Brexit litmus test has been a revelation of many public figures. I came across a particularly egregious example today, from Alan Moore the legendary comic author of Watchmen, V for Vendetta, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen etc. One might suppose that Alan Moore is a radical, an outsider, a man of the working class; one might suppose that the author of V was against actual totalitarianism... but no!

When it comes to the crunch, when put to the test in actuality; Alan Moore shows what he really is - an active, public, explicit supporter of the agenda for evil. And indeed, given his anti-Christian, aggressively pro-sexual revolution, his hedonism, his dark occultism - that ought not really to be a surprise. But it does go to show how widely image is dissociated from truth.

Of course, Alan Moore cannot see this, cannot see how tendentious and dishonest he is; but that is exactly the special value of Brexit - Brexit cuts-through all the pose and public relations, all the mess and fuss: it focuses everything onto a single clear moral decision which every adult Englishman is well-equipped to make.

And what has been revealed is that (almost) everyone on UK public life fails this test, spectacularly! And having made the wrong decision and stuck by it, we can also observe how rapidly and extensively they have been further corrupted.

Whatever happens from now, whatever the outcomes - Brexit has been a very valuable learning experience - perhaps the most valuable experience within living memory; at least, for those who remain capable of learning from experience.

Philosophy without God is just self-help - or self-harming... (Colin Wilson and William Arkle)

This struck me as I was considering Colin Wilson's discussion of the prevalent pessimism in philosophy - worse in the past 200 years, but always prevalent.

Most philosophy is an act of self-harm, insofar as it devalues life; insofar as it has the view that it would either be better never to have been born, or that life may be pleasant or unpleasant, but ultimately makes no difference to anything...

I have always affirmed Colin Wilson's basic optimism - but in a not-created world and absent a creator who is good and who loves us; I would have to admit that the pessimists are correct!

Because CW avoided metaphysics, his discussion operates at the level of feelings. He argues that our happiest and best, most meaningful feelings are correct about life - yet in the deepest analysis, if these are just feelings, then that basic situation is a pessimistic one.

In contrast is the Nobel prizewinning author Samuel Beckett, whose work is an act of self-harm, directed at harming others - designed to make life pessimistic, to persuade that despair is the rational response to this world. The read Beckett with seriousness is the psychological equivalent of slashing one's own wrists, or drinking poison.

Of course we want to be happy and optimistic (at least, we want this with a part of ourselves) but this happiness must be True. To mean more than just a fleeting emotion, flickering in the mind of a finite being; happiness needs to derive from Good news about Reality. Otherwise the situation would be that Beckett is describing reality correctly; and Wilson's denial of pessimism is merely a way of feeling, and perhaps functioning, better - in what is otherwise an intolerable universe. 

So philosophy is only about what we feel unless real-life really-is Good.

For William Arkle his optimism was based on his knowledge (and awareness) of the fact that this is a created reality, and the creator is our loving Father - so reality is designed-around each of us, and what we most need.

Furthermore, Arkle is convinced that we personally chose to be born into our lives. So - with these underpinning convictions - we have an essentially 'optimistic' situation, in which our life is has purpose, meaning, is specifically what we need; and this actual life (its situation) was specifically chosen by our-(pre-mortal)-selves. Therefore William Arkle's philosophy is more than just about feelings.  

What 'evidence' does Arkle have? Quite simply: intuitive conviction. Arkle asked basic questions of reality, and knew the answers directly. He asked - is there God, is this reality created - answers came yes. Then, he knew by direct apprehension that this God was Good, and loved him. Looking around at life - he recognised meaning and purpose everywhere and in everything. 

Arkle might have been happy merely because he was optimistic by nature - as was Colin Wilson. The two men were indeed good friends, and would have long conversations together, keeping in touch from the 1950s into the 1990s. And on the surface, they were saying similar things.

Implicitly, I suspect that Wilson did have similar beliefs to Arkle - but he was not aware of them, and did not state them explicitly. Therefore, Wilson's work can reduce to self-help - to advice on how to be happier and more optimistic.

But the fact that Arkle stated his fundamental assumptions meant that his happiness and optimism were linked to, and derived-from, ultimate reality by means of stated assumptions. Thus Arkle, unlike most philosophers, broke-through from self-help to metaphysics. 

"I wish it was real" - or, the Re-entry Problem

A child who has read a story, seen a TV program or movie that they liked a lot, when it ends and the 'spell begins to recede' may say something like 'I wish it was real' - this is the re-entry problem and has been evident at least since the beginning of the Novel in the middle 1700s, and probably before in the theatre.

We have been living in the world of imagination, and by comparison 'real life' seems a lesser thing. The experience of imagination may be more passive and guided or more active and inventive; it may range from simple wish fulfilment fantasy to 'world building' - when we imaginatively inhabit another reality...

Interestingly, the yearned-for imagined fantasy world may be fuller of suffering and hazard than our own life; yet is feels more real, more present, more immersive - and this is what we crave.

The gulf between imagination and reality has been the root of 'Romantic despair' as it has afflicted The West from more than two centuries - the gap between what we can imagine and actuality. And, the usual response of 'I wish it was real' leads to a kind of despair because 'it' is not real, and never can be real...

Yet, we should not stop at that point; because even if it could be real, it would not suffice - and this is the clue we need.

For example; if we read about Lothlorien in The Lord of the Rings, and say to ourselves 'I wish it was real' and are filled with a yearning to visit it; it is true that we cannot go and visit; but the deeper point is that even if Lothlorien was a place we could visit, and stay as long as we wanted; we know that the magic would fade, and we would 'get used to it' and come to take it for granted.

A real Lothlorien would not be real in the same way that the imagined Lothlorien is real. The actuality of any possible real Lothlorien would not be as good as that which we can imagine and yearn for...

This impossibility might seem to render Romanticism even more hope-less than before; but it is actually a clue to a possible answer. The traditional source of despair is the cleft between subjective imagination thinking and objective real-life - that thinking and real life are tragically regarded as two different worlds - with thinking as merely an imperfect copy or distortion of real-life.

The impossibility of replacing imagination with real, solid, objective objects; ought to lead us to the possibility of strengthening imagination - not to avoid real-life but because thinking is a necessary part of reality.

Thinking is not just 'thinking-about' - thinking can be a primary activity, a real-reality. Reality and thinking are not two things - but all reality includes thinking.

So our ideal Lothlorien is not a solid working-model of an imaginative 'picture' - but, because imaginative thinking is a reality; the ideal Lothlorien is an intensification of that which is imagined: More Thinking, instead of a solid model of what has been thought.

The principle is generally applicable. What is needed is not a copy of that which is imagined, nor is it a recognition of the unreality of imagination and replacement with 'real things'; but a recognition that we need a development of consciousness such that ever-more of our thinking - including our imagination - becomes real thinking: thinking that satisfies because it is primary; instead of the feeble, evanescent, secondhand, manipulated, passive stuff that passes as thinking for most people, most of the time.

If we know what we need to aim for, and that it is possible; then we may be able to make progress towards it. There is hope because progress has already been made - which why why Romantic despair happened in the first place. We need to continue along that same line of development: more imagination, more powerful imagination - but this time rooted in Christianity.  

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

My strange fascination with Joseph Beuys (1921-1986)

Beuys and family

On the face of it, there ought to be nothing to interest me, and much to repel me, in the avant garde artist Joseph Beuys - whose art works were worthless and pretentious; and who has had a great deal of garbage and gobbledegook written about him by people for whom I have little respect.

I first came across Beuys when I say an exhibition at a gallery in Bristol, more than thirty years ago, which left me stunned by its triviality and attitude of servile reverence - if I mention that it included his toenail clippings in a display box, I think that probably says enough.

But somehow, for some (apparently) inexplicable reason, I have felt compelled to explore the life and work of this chap over the years; and have seen a fair bit of it by now.

I have never found anything of his which I thought was good, and almost all of it I regard as very bad - I don't think he had any discernible artistic talent, or less than most ordinarily-competent art students. Indeed, Beuys as good as acknowledged this with his most famous mantra that 'everyone is an artist' - implying he had no greater ability than anyone else. Furthermore, Beuys behaved like an objectionable poseur and guru; and seems to have been surrounded by worshippers for much of his later life - which is psychologically and spiritually a bad place to be.

And yet I cannot help but like the chap! - I seem to discern in him a good heart and a real Romantic Christian spirituality. Beuys was, indeed, an Anthroposophist who (unlike most) tuned-into the deep aspects of Steiner. There is Christian symbolism throughout - and it seems that he discussed such matters with his disciples (despite that they did not share his interest or beliefs).

I find my paradoxical long-term fascination and liking of Beuys to be a phenomenon worth dwelling upon. What seems to be going-on is that all the 'information' about Beuys is against him, all the 'communications' indicate little to appeal and much to repel... But my non-visual, non-verbal, non-conceptual 'direct' discernment tells me a different story.

From a materialist perspective, this is explicable in terms of Beuys's legendary charisma - eye-witnesses say that he was someone who simply compelled attention, fascination and admiration from many people; wherever he went, whatever he did. This comes across in photographs and movies, and in the way people talk and write about him... maybe I have simply tuned-into this? 

Yet charisma usually dissipates inexorably after death. Later generations typically cannot understand why so much attention was given to the charismatic, when his works seem so mundane. Despite all of which, I am drawn - and more strongly with the years - towards the man!

There is a, widening, gap between surface and depth; between apparent and response - And therefore I tend to assume that this a spiritually significant phenomenon.

Is it then good, or bad spiritually? The basic trend of modern art is certainly evil, and Beuys seemed to do much to establish and amplify this trend. Maybe my fascination is 'demonic'?

However, in modernity, good impulse is often used for evil ends; and Beuys cannot be blamed for the fact that he never found an audience for his deepest concerns and meanings - that is, after all, the normal situation (and was also the case for Beuys's obscure artistic contemporary, William Arkle).

Could this then be an example of the presence of the dead? The idea seems fanciful - but the very dissonance between the surface and the depth; the fact that there is so little I like, so much I dislike, about what Beuys did artistically, may actually be the best evidence for it.

It's a working hypothesis...