Thursday, 23 May 2019

Herding cats? - individual evaluation and agency is the only proper opposition to totalitarianism

If Romantic Christians want to oppose totalitarianism, there is a temptation to 'organise', to create an oppositional 'army' (an 'army of liberation'); but - even if it were possible, which it is not - that would essentially be the Boromir Strategy - Hey lads, let's use the One Ring to fight Sauron!

Because the core problem is The System, and organisation involves creating a Sub-System with The System - using System features such as money, laws, media etc - then attempting to use this Sub-System to destroy The System.

It never works because it can't work.

This was brought to mind on this day when UK people are having an election for MEPs, i.e. members of the European Parliament - and there is a chance to register a vote in favour of Brexit. A Brexit 'party' (a Sub-System of The System) has been created, plus a couple of other Brexit possibilities. So this is a protest election, therefore a chance for each individual vote to be 'make a difference', perhaps?

But to make a political party, to support a party, to join an election, to vote is to participate in The System; is to become complicit - and to become a part of the controlled-opposition (spiritually to join oneself with Emmanuel Goldstein, who is The System's manufactured-fake enemy). To vote is the Boromir Strategy...

If not, then what? If I suggest that organising, voting, participating-in The System is actually making-things-worse - then what should people do instead?

('Instead', since whatever we have-been doing is clearly ineffective.)

Instead, we should beach of us become really and truly self-motivated self-evaluators, agents who thinf for our-selves, from our freedom - who believe not what we are told but what we know from personal experience understood by direct intuition, who think not as we are told but as what arises from-with; be individuals whose behaviours can neither be predicted nor manipulated en-masse.

We should behave like cats; and cats cannot be herded.

Thirty-plus years ago - government Health Service policy broke ineffectually over the barrier of General Practitioners - Family Physicians - because each was an independent agent, and spiritually each was stubbornly independent (for better and for worse - but independent).

I worked in the NHS bureaucracy for a couple of years, and the government officials often complained that that trying to control General Practice by changing policies and rules was like herding cats - their exact words - in other words it could not be done, because GPs were not predictable in their behaviour; under the same policy, each was likely to go off in his own direction, without regard for the group.

It did not much matter what you did to one GP, because most of the others regarded themselves as living in a different world. In practice, The System either had specifically to control each GP as ?50,000 separate units; or else there would not be much control.

That was then, this is now> Now there is a massive system of detailed (patient by patient) online surveillance and monitoring, a single imposed-contract for all, and the work and payments is broken up into multiple separate (monitored) units; and GPs are increasingly organised in increasingly-large groups. The GP is de facto (when not in practice) an employee of The System.

British GPs are no longer cats but instead sheep - or, increasingly, archetypal-movie-lemmings; who were, in reality, being herded off cliffs by unseen Disney technicians...

(An exact analogy for Western Man with respect to the Global Establishment.)

And what applies to GPs in microcosm applies to Western Man. This is what it is to live under a totalitarian system - no longer to be an agent, not to have one's own unique motivation, to be monitored and manipulated in large, impersonal units, by bureaucratic systems of rules, incentives and punishments. 

We need to become cats, cease being lemmings.

From 'Team building away-days' to Demonic rule of the world

It must have been two or three decades ago (depending on one's job) that Team Building, and Away Days became a part of corporate and institutional life here in Britain. These are (cynical) attempts to manufacture a kind-of temporary and transferable 'loyalty' that can then be (temporarily and transferably) be exploited by the organisation.

Another thread was the advent and increase of internal propaganda - so that public relations units came into existence, and expended considerable energy on 'advertising' to the employees of the organisation itself - magazines, newsletters, weekly 'festivals', banners, posters, meetings, TV screens... all propagandising about the organisation's mission, successes, importance, virtue etc.

There was also a great increase in the general ideological monitoring of employees - a reintroduction and inversion of the pre-modern era when all people in all groups were expected to support the state religion, attend compulsory church services, adhere to mainstream religious morality in their private lives - and where all social institutions would aim to enforce this. It again became normal for a person not to be appointed, not to be promoted and to be sacked for failing to practice the approved ideology. 

As usual, such events were misunderstood to be an expensive waste of time and resources, because they were ineffective at achieving their stated, explicit goals - distracting people from the fact they such behaviour was instead achieving unstated, implicit goals.

Thus the modern organisation was equipped with the apparatus of the typical secular totalitarian state; thus the modern organisation was made into a unit of the totalitarian society.

What this actually means is that all institutions became very similar - in their core, mandatory, ideological activities. And this means that all organisations become inessential, replaceable, disposable...

What this means is that from the individual perspective, there is no reason for loyalty to any social group - since all groups are merely versions of the same ideology, and all groups are mere expediences.

What this means is that all people with power and responsibility - I mean the managers, the chief executives and the like - have no interest in the organisations they administer. They all do a job, and that job is transferable to other organisations that ostensibly do other things - indeed, that is the normal career path. A CEO might run a cheese factory, then a charity, then a university, then a government department, then a bank, then the United Nations...

What this means is that predatory management is normal, indeed almost compulsory; and extends to the very top of society. Every Boss is exploiting the organisation for his career, and is perfectly happy when the organisation declines, goes bankrupt, or is taken-over - so long as his career trajectory continues upward.

And this, as I say, goes all the way to the top - to the Head of State - the Prime Minister, President or whatever. People seem surprised that Heads of State behave such as to destroy their 'own' political parties, but this is just normal careerism. People seem surprised that Heads of State strategically and sytematically works to destroy the nations that they ostensibly head-up, but this is just normal careerism.

The only point at which this disloyalty stops is - presumably - the Global Establishment; which I believe to be demonically controlled (and indeed possessed).  At thta leye either you are loyal to the agenda of evil, or else you are your-self incorporated as a part of it.

Thus purposive, strategic evil permeates the world, pretty much from top to bottom. Of course They don't make everything that everybody does all or the time into evil - that is much too difficult; and indeed evil can only (in principle) be partial if it is to be effective...

However They are running this world at the level of all major organisations, institutions and corporations; and it is important to acknowledge the fact. 

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Two decisive differences between Christianity and Eastern Religions (such as Buddhism)

Despite significant similarities between the lifestyles, morality, and some ritual and mystical aspects of Christianity and Buddhism, there are at least two decisive differences.

For Christians:

1. The person of Jesus Christ is absolutely necessary.

Exactly the way in which Jesus is necessary, and exactly how this 'works' has various explanations among Christians; but for all Christians Jesus Christ is not merely an optional-extra (not merely a teacher or prophet or helper) - but an unique neccessity.

2. God the creator is a personage, and stands to us as a loving Father to his children.


These differences have many and various implications, which differ among Christians; but these differences - shared among Christians of many denominations - constitute a core difference and distinction between Christianity and the Eastern religions.

Subtract them from a consideration of Christianity, and one does indeed have many shared aspects - but, once one has extracted them, the residue is no longer Christianity.

Goethe's urphaenomenon - the point at which one must stop asking questions (and why)...

Goethe said that in science, and presumably elsewhere, there comes a point where one must stop asking questions, stop analysing phenomena into smaller and smaller units and causal interactions - and this point he called the urphaenomenon - which translates as 'original phenomenon'.

One must stop questioning because the phenomenon is indeed 'original' that is it is an origin, which is also to say it is one of the primary creators of reality.

Ultimately, this might be understood as one of the 'origins' of creation - one of the phenomena that existed before divine creation - from which the divinity created; or else (by a different metaphysics) as one of the primary 'units' that were created by the divinity.

So reality began with urpheanomena; and what we perceive is a consequence of interaction between, addition of, transformation of (etc) the urphaenomena. They are the deepest attainable level of reality.

If we try to (pretend to) dissect the urphaenomena, or try to explain what causes them to be as they are - then we err; we get it wrong. Precisely because the urphaenomena are what make explanation possible, they cannot themselves be explained.

Instead of being-explained, the urphaenomena need to be understood. And we potentially understand them by an act of intuition.

How? Because by real, primary, intuitive thinking we may know directly. That is we may know by thinking ourselves that which is real - the tought is identical with the reality. We can - indeed - only know the urphaenomena directly (and not other kinds of phenomena), because urphaenomena are the only real and universal phenomena; we cannot know other kinds of things in this direct way.

Goethe was mostly concerned to define urphaenomena in relation to biology, to emphasise the livingness of living things; the way in which biology was based on a process of development, metamorphosis, transformation - and could not be understood in terms of physical structures (like DNA or brains) or physical processes (like diffusion or neurotransmission). When we do (try to do) this, we simply stop doing biology by treating the living as if it was not living - destroying the very basis of biology. Goethe also asserted that colour was ultimately an aspect of biology - and thus an urphaenomenon that cannot legitimately be redescribed in terms of combinations of wavelengths.

My opinion is that Goethe made a vitally important point - but my own understanding is that all of reality is living (or a part-of some-thing living) so there is no ultimate difference between physics-chemistry and biology - except that the difference is in the opposite direction than usually asserted (ie. all physics is ultimately biology, and indeed all biology is ultimately thinking - and all thinking is ultimately not-biological!)

I would say, more simply than Goethe, that the urphaenomena are Beings.

When we get to the level of disussing Beings we are at the level where free will or agency applies - in other worlds, the level where 'selves' are uncaused causes. We cannot understand a Self by looking inside it, nor by analysing it, nor by breaking into components - because this would be to break the Self, so that it was not being regarded as a Self. The one thing that cannot be done to a Self - qua Self - is to explain its 'inner workings'. Whatever we might suppose we have found; if is really is a Self, then we cannot have found its inner workings.

What we can do, perhaps, is to understand the process by direct knowing, by identification, which means to 'participate' in the process itself - which is at the level of ultimate reality, which is (a kind of) Thinking.

This is the way we (sometimes, briefly) understand or 'know' another person. And it entails loving that person; because love is the absolute necessity for direct knowing. Only by loving the phenomenon can a scientist know a phenomenon - thus real science is not a methodology but a product of sustained and truthful mtoivation to know reality. 

In sum, we can legitimately keep asking questions as to what-causes-what, until we get back to the origins of causes; until we get back to uncaused causes; at which point we must stop, because there is in reality no observable cause of the uncaused; because we have reached the point at which this particular chain of causes originates.

Romantic Christianity and morality (especially the sexual revolution)

I should first say that Romantic Christianity is for adults, for post-adolescents. It is, in other words, a product of the modern adult consciousness.

It is for all Western adults, because all modern Western adults are Romantic; and all may (if they want it) choose to accept the gifts of Jesus.  

But I need to say this because this means that Romantic Christianity is neither intended-as nor suitable-as a Christian way of bringing-up children - raising kids is still, essentially, pretty much the same as it was in the era of traditional Christianity. In other words, for pre-adolescents guidance must necessarily be external, and therefore a Christian environment is the key (home, school, church, books, 'media' etc).

But beyond adolescence lies the destiny of a Romantic consciousness, and the new thing needed is that this be a Christian consciousness.

One major concern about Romantic Christianity relates to morality - and in these times and this place, this means primarily sexual morality. Traditional Christianity was pretty clearly defined in relation to sexual morality; and mainstream modernity has as its (perhaps) core value the Sexual Revolution in its various dominating phases.

The Sexual Revolution is, of course, ever 'advancing' its scope (despite the contradictions) via advocating positively divorce, extramarital promiscuity, abortion, feminism, homosexuality, sadomasochism, transexualism and so on 'forward' toward paedophilia and I don't know what next - the stages of dominance of which define modern culture.

Traditional Christianity is clearly against the sexual revolution - on various grounds: for example the teachings of scripture, the authority of the church, the primacy of tradition, the rigorous implications of theology. Now, all of these grounds are 'external' - so Romantic Christianity requires that they must be validated by internal and intuitive understanding and assent.

The problem has often been that the Romantic impulse has, since the time of Lord Byron and Shelley, often been used as a reason to reject traditional sexual morality - by simply claiming that one does not find intuitive confirmation of 'conventional' morality; and that - on the contrary - inner conviction validates unfettered expression of one's own current lusts and desires.

This 'morally relativistic' way of reasoning has become 'official' over the past several years; so that the sexual revolution requires no greater validation than that claim that it would make some person or group unhappy, or simply unfulfilled (here and now) if they were prevented from doing some sexual thing that they currently very much want to do. If, that is, the 'thing' is currently approved-of by the mainstream sexual revolution at that particular point - and this has changed, and reversed, through recent history. For instance, 'Weinstein-type' promiscuous behaviour was strongly supported, positively-media-depicted, and leftist-advocated in the late 1960-70s, when 'hetero'-sex was officially regarded as merely a pleasurable type of physical exercise; not to be taken seriously.

This validation of extended sexuality began by being applied only to 'consenting adults in private' and was presented as toleration; but has swiftly been extended to public situations and to children of any age and it is now necessary that extending the sexual revolution (in officially approved direction) be actively and publicly embraced - and this positive attitude is compulsory. 

It certainly seems (to traditionalist Christians) as if Romantic Christianity is either sure to be distorted to rationalise the sexual revolution (as happens all the time among the mainstream churches, and by 'liberal' Christians'). But then, the fact is that anything can-be/ has-been/ is-being perverted to rationalise the sexual revolution - whenever the motivation to do so outweighs the desire for truth.

The way I think of it is that the intuitions of Romantic Christianity do not merely 'validate' the truth of sexual morality as it is (partially, with some distortions) represented by the various traditional Christianities (which situation would suggest that the intutions are not necessary, because we could take traditional moal codes as a short-cut to where we wanted, ultimately, to go). Instead, what happens is that by Christian intuition we are able to know for our-selves that sexual morality arises-from ultimate and universal reality.

We personally tap-into the very source of morality, in the nature-of-things - that is in God's creation. 

But this direct knowledge of ultimate sexual morality is Not in the traditional form of general laws and rules about collectives of people; instead (as Rudolf Steiner makes clear in Philosophy of Freedom).

What would be (can be) discovered is that morality is on the one hand absolutely specific to each situation, and also absolutely objective - there is always just one right thing to do, and one only.

And this we can know for-ourselves, and can only know for-ourselves - although equally the judgement of what we may say or do is open to the unique and direct evaluation on others who love us*.

*But only those who love us - because only such have the ability to know directly concerning our souls - by contrast, with other strangers and secondhand observers, they will merely be applying general principles to general situations.


What difference did Jesus make to history? How did The World change in AD 1-33?

In the Fourth Gospel, much is made of the question of whether Jesus was King of the Jews; and, if so, what this meant. The conclusion seems to be that he was indeed 'king' but not in the usual sense of the word.

Jesus was king, but not of this world. So, the advent of Christ was not, apparently, intended to usher in a new kind of politics and social organisation...

The life of Jesus himself seems to have made little or no immediate and large impact on anything in this world - it was only after several generations of growth in the Christian church that the world began to change.

From the moment he became divine (at his baptism by John); what Jesus immediately did - with permanent effect - was to change what happened after death.

The situation was immediately changed for all of humanity that had lived before Jesus and died, and all who died from that moment onwards. This is indicated, and was demonstrated, by the miraculous example of Lazarus, a man that Jesus loved who died and who Jesus resurrected to eternal life.  

This is worth remembering - since it is easy to suppose that Christianity is 'about' living in a certain kind of social or political arrangement. That is how many or most religions see things, and it is how Christianity has often seen things.

But of course Christianity is not just about ourselves as individuals, because it is about love. I think that Jesus's ministry was substantially about planting a seed of love among Mankind. What was needed was that there were people who knew that: 1. That Jesus was the Son of God and 2. Loved him.

When Jesus died, he left behind a small family of Christians. It was Not an 'organisation' - it was a group of people joined by their love of Jesus And of each other.

So The Christians formed a network of love that was joined to Jesus. This is - and always has been - the true 'church'.

How this loving family of believers relates to society and to politics is extremely varied by time and place, and the extent to which it is reflected in formal organisations is likewise extremely varied. But it is the family structure of Christianity that is primary.

In sum: Jesus had an immediate effect on the afterlife, by his offer of resurrected, eternal divine life. And he had a delayed effect on society by his founding of a family of believers, who grew through history (or not) by person to person inclusion in a 'loving web' of Christ-believers.

Monday, 20 May 2019

What does Christianity add to theism? What difference does Jesus make?

There are several theistic religions - which have a personal and creator God - but what difference does Jesus make? If God is The Creator - then why should we need to bother with Jesus?

Answer: Jesus is what enables us to share divinity. 

That is what Jesus adds to theism. Without Jesus, the gulf between God and Man is infinite and unbridgeable.

But Jesus is Man and God, and he joins the God-Man gap - showing it is not infinite.  

With Jesus Man can also be God.

Furthermore (and most important to each of us), Jesus bridges the gap between our-individual-selves and God; making it possible for you and me and everyone to share divinity.

Because Jesus offers us resurrection to life eternal - which just-is divinity. We shall, if we follow Jesus, become immortal, indestructible, participators in creation - while remaining our-selves!

With Jesus - you can/ I can become a god, as was Jesus. Jesus is 'about' our sharing of divinity - Jesus removes that measureless gulf betwixt God and Man which is left-open-forever by theism-without-Jesus.

So Jesus is important if 1. We personally wish to share in divinity; and 2. if we believe that this goal is indeed possible for us to attain personally, by the means Jesus taught.

If we don't want to become divine - or if we don't believe it is possible (or if we believe it is incoherent nonsense to want to become divine) - then there is indeed neither valid point nor purpose in Jesus.  

Note: Like CS Lewis - when converting to Christianity from atheism (in my case being an atheist from about age 6 to 49) I went through the phase of theism (believing in a personal God-creator, but in a non-denominational way) before I became Christian. Understanding the need of Jesus Christ was not something that came naturally or easily to me. And indeed I continue to find most of the explanations for why Jesus is necessary (and therefore why God the creator is insufficient) to be incoherent; inconsistent with the Fourth Gospel (the heart of scripture), and/or inconsistent with core Christian values - such as God being our loving Father and we his children. This is why I continue to seek ways of expressing the necessity of Jesus in ways that are both coherent and simple enough to be of practical value. 

Jesus saved us from sin - but what is 'sin'?

Jesus was fully in harmony with - aligned-with - God's creative purposes; but we mortal men are not.

We may partly - sometimes, but briefly, wholly - be aligned with God's creative purposes; but nobody (except Jesus) has always and in every respect been in harmony with creation.

Therefore all Men are sinners.  And Men can do nothing about this, because in mortal life we are all flawed and there is always change (and the possibility of change); there is disease, corruption, decay - and death is inevitable.

Sin is not being aligned with creation, not being in harmony with God's will.

By analogy sin is being turned away from God's creative purpose; turned in some other direction than where God wants to go.

Repentance can mean 'turning' - so repentance is to turn and face in the direction that God wants things to go; it means to be in harmony with divine creation.

Jesus saved us from sin because he made it possible for us to be aligned with God's will fully and forever - but on the other side of death; by any of us who so chooses to follow Jesus through death to eternal and divine life. That is to be saved from sin.

Meanwhile, this mortal life is intended as a time of experiencing and learning - which is why it is subject to disease, corruption and decay; and why it is not possible to be always and wholly aligned with God's creative purposes. 

Note: What people usually call The Sins are, properly, actions (including thoughts) that are observable consequences of the real sin, which is inner and motivational - which is the state of being not-aligned with (including opposed-to) divine will.  

Twentieth-century Buddhists according to Owen Barfield, discussing CS Lewis, in relation to Alan Watts

From Owen Barfield on CS Lewis (1989) ed. GB Tennyson, page 13:

Lewis had spent his early manhood striving in all sincerity to experience living what Alan Watts has called 'The Supreme Identity'. 

Lewis's very success in that endeavour - compared with the average run of idealists, who do not even make the attempt - proved to him that insofar as the experience is genuine and not merely a complacently fancied experience, it reveals itself as a theoretical truth but a pragmatical error. 

It is and can be an intellectual experience only. 

When it comes to the will, there is no identity, and the prayer must always be 'They will be done', just because my own will, if I look it squarely in the face, is a rag-bag of lusts and feeblenesses and terrors.  

Not for Lewis, therefore, are the lofty strivings of the twentieth-century Buddhist and his condescending smile as he contemplates Christianity and all other formulated religions.

This is also my conclusion. That 'twentieth-century Buddhists' - i.e. more generally Western advocates of Eastern deistic religions - are (to use another and blunter terminology) complacent hypocrites (i.e. do not rigorously practice what they preach) and self-aggrandising advocate of the dark side (because they refuse to acknowledge and repent their lusts, feeblenesses and terrors).

Harsh, I know; but that is my evaluation - on similar grounds as Barfield describes for Lewis. Here and now and for us; Buddhism and the like are not just an ineffectual spiritual dead-end; but an inducement to self-justified embrace of the dark powers - and thus associated with joining and fighting-with the wrong side in the unavoidable spiritual war. (As did Alan Watts.) 

For us; God must be personal, and our religion must be Christian. No alternative. Doing this - each of us, for his own life - is not straightforward; but the conclusion to be drawn from such difficulties to get to work on making it possible

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Video Interview with Bruce Charlton on Romantic Christianity in relation to JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis and Owen Barfield

Keri Ford has interviewed me (it lasts about 30 minutes) on the subject of cultural and spiritual importance of the Inklings; focusing on my Notion Club Papers blog and Owen Barfield blog.

Among other things; I explain the origins, meaning and significance of Romantic Christianity - and why it is the single most important matter for our time and place.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

How can we be free agents if we can't control our own thinking?

(Following a comment from 'David' yesterday...) 

There seems to be a contradiction between the idea that we are all agents - with free will, able to make up our own minds etc; with the observation that we cannot control our own thoughts. in other words, we observe that thoughts come to us unwanted, intrusive thoughts - and that we cannot hold our attention onto things for very long, but our thoughts drift away onto other subjects.

The apparent contradiction is that agency seems to require control of thinking, yet we are not able to control our thinking.

My understanding is that this apparent contradiction arises from a false and incoherent model of thinking. 'Control isn't the right word' (because if thinking is controlled, then it is not free) but in this contradiction, we are assuming that freedom of thinking requires that consciousness always has full control of what we think (else it would not be free, but just controlled).

We are falling into a false dichotomy: either thinking is controlled, in which case it is not free; or esle thinking is not controlled, in which case it is random, purposeless. Or perhaps we are saying - either thinking is controlled and unfree; or else it is just epiphenomenal mental activity that just follows chains of inner association - in which case it is hardly 'thinking' at all. 

Modern thinking allows only two options - caused/ controlled or uncaused/ random - neither of which is free.  

Can I do better? Well, first - we are not always free agents; but we may sometimes be free agents. It is pssible for the human organism to be unfree in its behaviour (and thinking); or to be free.

But what is free, agent thinking?
That which does the free thinking is the Self. That which is conscious of the content of thinking is Consciousness, and Consciousness is different from the Self. Consciousness 'observes' thinking that is 'coming-out-of' the Self.

The Self is a divine entity, a Being - in physics terms the Self it is a self-generating process. (A process that generates itself.) That process is real thinking, free thinking.

Because the Self is self-generating, thinking is Not merely a product of external influences.   

We cannot know what is going-on 'inside' the Self. If we could understand its 'inner workings', it would not be the Self, and it would not be free. Analysis must stop at the Self.

In other words, Beings are primary units of reality, ultimate units that cannot be further analysed. Reality is made-of Beings (among other things). Beings think (among other things).

Therefore the 'control' of thinking contradiction, arises from a distorted expression of our knowledge that the thinking of Beings is a primary reality, and that thinking is the primary manifestation of Beings.

Friday, 17 May 2019

High elves in Woody End - enchantment in the Shire

At the Notion Club Papers blog, I discuss one of my favourite scenes in Lord of the Rings - the point at which our heroes first encounter magic for real.

The individuality of angels and their fall

I used to find it difficult to understand the fall of angels. Living in Heaven in the presence of God, why would they rebel and become demons?

I now find it easier to comprehend, since I regard each angel as an individual, and some are evil by nature.

More exactly, I don't regard angels as a separate creation from Men - but as pre-mortal Men, as pre-mortal spirits. And all Men are agents - have free will - since each has existed from eternity, and has a part of him that is uncreated, divine, co-eternal with God.

In other words, before we became part of divine creation as children of God, we were already beings; and like all beings were alive and had consciousness and individuality.

I regard the goodness of God as a project, into which God hopes to bring as many as will willingly join. But as some men were made children of God it will sooner or later have become apparent they wanted no part of God's plan of loving creation; and of these some were actively hostile. It was these actively hostile spirits who became the demons; and whose motivation is the destruction of creation.

(I suppose that there are also pre-mortal spirits who simply opted-out of the scheme of creation - and dwell eternally alone and inactive.)

God loves all the children, including the demons; and administers creation thus. It is not possible, in principle, to summarise how this works - because every single one of God's children is an unique individual, with an unique disposition and motivations; and all are agents, able to choose.

But some choices are irrevocable (because true agency entails that we can make permanent choices). So God's creation takes all of this into account.

It is well to think of this symphony of unique and free voices - good, evil and indifferent - that constitutes creation, when we suppose that we have detected some contradiction - or unlovingness - in the world as we perceive it.

"It's not on the agenda!" (It's never on the agenda.) - How modernity becomes all-about 'implementation' and excludes assumptions

One of the tools of totalitarian bureaucracy is that fundamental decisions of principle (mission statements, aims and objective etc) arise from the Black Box that is committees voting; and after that is simply implemented through the levels of hierarchy down to the individual.

The assumptions are taken as 'given'. It is never the 'right time and place' to raise objections...

Where, for example, do the current missions, our social principles come from? I mean such principles as diversity/ inclusion, the feminist and antiracist agenda, the 'anti-carbon' agenda, the pro-sexual revolution agenda?

Just exactly by whom, where and when was it decided that these are to be primary organisational principles of our entire society? By what right were these things made social priorities?

And then, just exactly where, when and by whom is it regarded as an appropriate venue to challenge these and their like?

It is a great advantage of Globalism that such decisions are ultimately located at such remote levels as the United Nations and the European Union; so that by the time they reach you and me, they are untouchable - our job is always merely to implement them and never, ever, under any circumstances is it legitimate for us to challenge them.

We are simply required to 'trust' that - somewhere and somehow, wise and impartial and well-motivated people have established that these are morally correct and coherent ideals.

Thus the real locus of conflict in this modern world is precisely the time and place in which the vast and unitary edifice that is the Global bureaucracy meets with the individual person: where we are each told what is our role in implementing these organising principles.

Wemust obey. But our personal job is not merely to obey, but to embrace these organising-principles. We must not merely Do them but we must Love them. Our personal moral system must become these principles; if if they do not then we are some species of 'denialist'.

(Denialist is the new term for what used to be called dissident in the days of the Eastern Bloc; but while, in The West in the 1980s, it was regarded as cool and courageous to be a dissident; nowadays it is regarded as dumb and evil to be a denialist of any agenda principle of the Global bureaucracy.)

So, it is not an accident that - somehow - there never is an 'appropriate' time or place for you personally to discuss the rights and wrongs, the desirability, of the strategically-evil organising principles that dominate the world.

So there is no choice for us but to resist at that time and place where the totalitarian bureaucracy impacts upon each of us personally. We are each on our own.

We are each confronted with By-Far the largest and most powerful apparatus of evil that has ever existed.

We either resist at that point, or we capitulate. 

It is quite simple, the choices are crystal clear; although extremely difficult.

Note: Resistance is primarily, and most importantly, in thinking, not in doing. Because thinking is not isolated, but connected; and it is thinking that totalitarianism aims to control - in order that we personally actively-choose damnation. The evil of our modern world is an evil of thinking, evident as an evil of motivation - of understanding and intent. This is not reducible to action, because action is intrinsically constrained and may be compelled. Thought, however, is free; and that freedom guaranteed by the creator. That is our personal responsibility, and if we elude that responsibility - we personally will take the consequences. 

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Some understanding that the individual is ultimate, is perhaps the major spiritual superiority of Modern Man

Modern man is inferior to past Men in many, probably most, respects - and it seems likely to me that there are more evil people alive now in The West, in total and as a proportion, than in the past and elsewhere. However the news is not all bad! - and Modern Man has one important superiority that may, in the end, prove crucial to his salvation and spiritual progression towards divinity.

That superiority is his sense of being an unique individual, who bears an ultimate responsibility for himself - as contrasted with being a person defined by a social role or social group (caste, class, profession etc). .

Of course, this understanding is partial and distorted, and has been largely inverted in its significance (for example being diverted into the pseudo-identities of the hedonic sexual revolution; or diverted into the materialist and resentment politics of socialism, feminism, antiracism etc).

But (I believe) underlying such materialist distortions and inversions there is a solid but unconscious spiritual knowledge that we should only be satisfied when we are fulfilling our own and unique destiny. 

Modern Man is unaware of this underlying knowledge, because he denies the reality of the spiritual; but it is there - and indeed it can be seen in his dreams and fantasies, as well as in the perversions of Leftist socio-politcs. The result is an intractable self-contradiction: Modern man hates to be defined, even as he embraces victim definitions; wants to be free even while insisting on totalitarianism; craves depth and connection and love - even while agitating for ever more and intrusive and mechanistic bureaucracy...

What is necessary is easy to state, difficult to achieve: awareness of what is unconscious, understanding that this is spiritual (not material) in nature; and living by this in one's thinking: a transformation of our thinking to embrace intuition as primary.

But this would not have been possible for many or most people in the past - even in theory; because apparently this aspect of human consciousness - this individuality - has developed, unfolded and spread-out, throughout the history of Man.

Now - we are (in the West) in a situation where it has happened; Modern Man, Now, just is an individualist, just is intrinsically and immovably dissatisfied by anything less than an unique destiny tailored to his distinctive nature.

There are innumerable ways this can be, is being, distorted (such as the offer of fake individualism in virtual reality, or fashion, or pick and mixed from a narrow spectrum of mandatory choices...).

But this is the destiny of men, as divinely ordained, and I think Christians therefore need to accept individuality as given, and work with it, in the direction God hopes for us. 

The "evidence" trap: Why so many modern people are 'stuck' in materialism

To move beyond materialism is not easy - it is a well-constructed trap. For many (or most) people in the West; it isn't just a matter of 'opening your mind' to other realities; because what we think we want is self-contradictory...

Most people - when pressed - will say (along the lines of ) "I can't believe in the spiritual world without evidence".

By evidence they mean either a vivid personal miracle ('inexplicable' by materialism) - like hearing a voice that they believe to be God telling them something, especially when backed-up by a vision of a being that they are 100% convinced (with zero possibility of error) is an angel, or Jesus or a similar authority; accompanied by an overpowered conviction of the validity of this experience; and that one's memory and verbal expression of the experience is perfectly accurate and complete...

(Hmm, we can already see problems about asking for a miracle, can't we?)

Or else they mean something that official (government-certified, mass media disseminated) 'science' has told them, and that 'everybody' whom they respect (like primary school teachers, or wise people David Attenborough) assures them really is real and objectively true (like CO2-driven Anthropogenic Global Warming, or that one's sex is a choice...).

Yet the fact is that - unless they already have a change-of-consciousness, unless they develop a new way of thinking - these people would not be convinced of the spiritual realm either by a miracle or by science.

Because they would explain-away any miracle in materialist terms (error, coincidence, hallucination, delusion, dishonesty, manipulation etc.); and because science foundationally and by-assumption excludes the spiritual, so must inevitably fail to produce evidence for the spiritual.

Indeed if science did produce evidence for something spiritual - such as telepathy, or near death experiences - it would, by becoming science, cease to be spiritual; and would instead be explained materialistically.

What this 'circularity' of the argument tells us is that materialism is a metaphysical assumption, not the result of evidence.

In modern public (and private) discourse; we have already assumed that reality is material; and we will interpret all possible evidence in that light.

(i.e. Materialism is Not based-on-evidence; instead, materialism determines what counts as evidence.)

Therefore to demand 'evidence' before we will be convinced of the spiritual just makes no sense! It is just a mental trap. It simply ensures that you (and everyone) will remain trapped in materialism - whether it is true or not.

This means the modern person has, in reality, a choice: to remain inside the metaphysical assumption of materialism or not. And if not, he will need to assume a broader reality that includes a spiritual reality.

The one impossible thing is to be 'agnostic' - because there is no ground from-which to be agnostic about this question.

(One could of course change one's mind, back and forth, between materialism and acknowledging the spiritual realm. Indeed this is likely, across a lifespan. Such psychological fluctuations are part of the human mortal condition. But at any moment one is either a materialist or not - and to assert agnosticism as a current situation is an error or dishonest.)

How to choose, and on what grounds? There are just two main ways in which people choose their metaphysics:

1. Unconsciously and passively to absorb one's assumptions from the social environment (from 'other people'), and - because the process is passive and unconscious - to assert the objective factuality of assumptions by denying that they are assumptions, and denying that there exists any choice...

2. To become consciously aware of one's assumptions and to choose them.

One what grounds? This can only be on the basis of expilicit intuitive reflection - choosing what one intuitively knows (from the heart, at the deepest level one is capable of reaching, where knowledge is most solid) to be the truth about the reality of things.

This is another instance that modern life is becoming very simple and dichotomous, and evil is operating by trying to convince us that life is Not simple!

To win, evil simply needs to keep us confused. So far, evil is winning...

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Why do modern totalitarian dystopias induce existential despair? (Rather than courageous resistance)

The answer is simply that both the totalitarian societies and the 'rebellious' heroes are both Godless.  Genuine, rooted and cultural Godlessness is demotivating, induces despair - and cannot support courage. 

The two great dystopias are Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and 1984 by George Orwell - both induce in the reader a feeling of helpless despair. The reason is quite simple - that AH and GO were both products of the twentieth century during which Christianity was abandoned - and first of all by the upper classes.

The characteristic despair of 20th century art is not really to do with the world wars; but with the replacement of Christianity by a this-worldly, leftist ideology. It was not about the horror and pain of massive conflict, it was about the newly-narrow perspective from which any war (or poverty, disease, or any kind of suffering) was understood and evaluated.

From that perspective, when the solitary individual (or tiny group) confronts a massive, oppressive society; society can be the only winner.

Because this is a 'war' in which there is only one 'side': and that side is society. There may be various dissident individuals; but each is up-against the interlocking power and propaganda of The System, with a relatively-immense capacity to propagandise and censor, bribe and seduce, or torment and punish.

And since the assumption is that human life begins at birth (or conception) and is terminated by death - whichever side wins in this-life, wins forever. Any society that controls (nearly) all of human life therefore is capable of infliction (what is assumed to be) total suffering.

When Orwell wrote his book, he hoped that it would provide an effective warning and preventive against totalitarianism; but because his dystopia is Godless it has had the opposite effect. What we see all around us in the West is a mass population embracing totalitarianism; in the hope that it will be 'benign' and lead to a totally-happy life. This is popular transhumanism - focused around the provision of virtual realities via electronic media.

Totalitarian transhumanism is rational - within its narrow and rigid frame of understanding. If biological life is the entirety of human experience, and political 'solutions' have comprehensively failed; then our only hope is that it will be happy (or, at least, free of suffering) - and most people have reasoned that the only hope of happiness is technological and therapeutic.

People believe in a benign Global Establishment - headed by multi-billionaires and the large media and technological corporations - because they have nothing else to believe-in. If only they can believe that the globalist Elites are benign in nature and intent; then they can hope for a virtual, drugged and technologically enhanced life of pleasant feelings (with perhaps a bit of actual sex, interspersed) - which is the highest life that modern Godless Man can conceive-of.

So a 'good' totalitarianism is the highest aspiration - by contrast, an evil totalitarianism, one that exploits and torments its people, is the worst horror.

But the typical modern Man; totalitarianism is a given, indeed it is necessary - because only if a society can be totally monitored and totally controlled, would it be possible to eliminate suffering and to provide pleasurable stimulus to all. So, any extension of centralised surveillance and bureaucratic control is welcomed - so long it can semi-plausibly be presented as a step towards universal pleasure, comfort, and convenience.

This is important to (real) Christians; firstly because it explains why it is likely that (assuming we live long enough, and Western societies do not collapse) we will all be living under a hostile totalitarianism, in which most citizens will be keen to destroy Christian institutions on the basis that they interfere with transhumanist totalitarian plans.

All Christian institutions that can be detected will be destroyed; or subverted and inverted. 

And secondly because this will be a test of our faith. especially our belief in Heaven, and in Jesus's promise that any can attain to Heaven who will follow him.

Because we will very probably each be compelled to live in a vast, overwhelming, globally-interlinked Totalitarian System; without institutional support; and without realistic hope of escape or victory... in this mortal life

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Classic musical cliches

For a sob story:

For snake charmers, belly dancers or generic North African street scenes:

And (saving best for last) For any romantic situation (especially with an exotic setting):

(Mantovani, natch; stunningly arranged by the marvellous Ronald Binge.)

Monday, 13 May 2019

Charles Williams and necessary encouragement - John Fitzgerald writes

I feel we need a sense of the vast array of spiritual forces lined up on our side - the serried ranks of angels and archangels and the Communion of Saints, who watch over us and encourage us at all times.

There have been novels and films aplenty, over the years, about the demonic influences pressing against us, but little concerning the powers for good who work invisibly for the salvation and transfiguration of individuals and nations. This is precisely the kind of awareness we need at this time - a breaking open of the small, empirical self and a growing consciousness of the all-embracing pattern that holds us, nurtures us and makes us active participants in a meaningful universe.

A happy, fulfilled society should be a partnership between those here now, those gone before us, and those yet to come. But such wide-ranging vision will always feel beyond us if we cannot perceive the spiritual reality that surrounds and enfolds us. 'In my father's house are many mansions,' says Christ in St. John's Gospel. There is no-one better, for where we are now in history, at pointing the way to these mansions than Charles Williams...

By John Fitzgerald. Read the whole thing at The Notion Club Papers blog.

Andrew Baker interviewed by Keri Ford

Keri Ford has posted a delightful illustrated interview with the English composer, brooder on landscape and place, and mystical Platonist Andrew Baker.

Andrew describes the history of his creative obsessions, and the nature of his inspiring philosophy; with references to CS Lewis and Owen Barfield - among many others...

'Constraints' on intuitive knowing (or Primary Thinking)

(Note: These are not really 'constraints', because they are not externally imposed. Nor is 'limitations' the right word. I am simply talking of the nature of intuitive knowing)

I am trying to think with the heart; that is, trying to think primarily - such that my thoughts will be realities (not merely 'about' realities...). I am trying to know intuitively, by an act of direct apprehension (and not indirectly, by making and testing hypothetical models).

And I find that this is not possible for much of the stuff in my thinking. As expected; because primary thinking is self-validating, and much of what I think is not valid.

Even more: much of what I think cannot be validated because it is Abstract - hence systematically-distorted in un-knowable ways.

Much/ Most (perhaps all) of what I am fed (to 'think about') by the mass media, government officialdom, propaganda at educational institutions and workplaces... the general world of public discourse... is Abstract. It is disconnected from the reality I experience and know. It is made up of definitions, models, hypotheses, 'concepts', 'ideals' (aims and objectives, mission statements, slogans) and the like - many of these are incoherent or nonsensical.

There is no connection between my living and this content from the very beginning.

So much modern 'thinking' takes place in this realm of Abstraction! Discussions of economics, ethics, fashion... everything, pretty much. The assumption behind it all is that My Life is a subset of these Abstractions - and the Abstractions are real, and if I cannot related my life to the Abstractions, then it is my fault.

The Abstractions (Democracy, Social Justice, The Environment, The Economy, Peace, Climate...) are the real reality - it's my job to conform to this reality...

The Abstractions are real because that is what Everybody is talking about, all the time - especially powerful people. They are real because they are on the agenda, they are voted-about, they lead-to public policy, to law - to all manner of decisions...

It is the Abstractions that tell us about the future, what to love and what to fear; tell us what to think and believe and approve about the future; and then we organise our entire world because of these Abstractions.

The world is organised to encourage or discourage 'trade', nations aim at 'growth'... then Trade and Growth are destroyed to control the Climate... The the destruction of Trade and Growth are inverted by reference to Sustainability. There are phenomena like Immigration, Diversity, Human Rights... and we are told why-they-are-Good; or we try (by thinking-about 'evidence', and by reasoning) to understand whether they really are good...

But these are Abstractions. Such knowledge is based upon simplified models, and 'tested' using perceptions which we know are not true (seeing is not believing, neither is hearing - especially not when it comes to generalities) - so we can never know about such things. The questions are ill-formed, the evaluations are of unknown meaning...

In sum, intuition does not work on Abstractions - how could it? We can know intuitively (only) about that which can be grasped intuitively.

We might know the validity of some Abstraction like an aspect of mathematics, or about the coherence of a theory - but that tells us nothing about actual, real world 'applications' of such generalities...

Thus, we can intuit about Abstractions, but we cannot intuit the extent to which Abstractions apply to specifics - which is what we are very often trying to do.

In fact, I think that the low reputation of intuition partly derives from the fact that it can-not (therefore should-not) be used to evaluate the kinds of things that feature as Most Important in modern public discourse.

We cannot intuitively answer such questions as whether women are equal with men in modern society - or whether they should be - or what it would mean if they were. We cannot intuitively know what people mean by racial prejudice, what race 'is' (or is not), whether racial prejudice is responsible for racial differences - and what any such differences mean.

Almost the entirety of the content and theme of major discourse is beyond intuition, because unreal. And this has a profound effect on us. We live inside a System that is not just evil or trivial, but which is untrue, hence incoherent, hence permanently and incurably disorientating

We can (and should) be 'using' intuitive knowing to understand well-formed questions about 'concrete' (especially personal) realities such as the goodness or evil of individuals in public life, or the effect of new changes, the quality of actual buildings or landscapes, the beauty of some piece of music - and of course in dealing with the human beings (and animals, and plants) of our lives; the Creator, Jesus, spiritual beings etc...

Such questions cannot be answered by hypothesis and evidence; can only be known by direct intuition - and we need to learn to rely upon that which (potentially) works, not that which which we know for sure cannot work.

The ability to use intuition forms a kind of litmus test of reality. The great mass of modern phenomena are beyond the scope of intuition because they are not really-real - and this is why there is unbounded and intractable capacity for error in modern life.  

The conclusion is that our public world is based upon unwarranted - indeed unwarran-table - assumptions; and is unverifiable by direct intuition. We are prevented from primary thinking so long as we are engaged in this bureaucratic-media system...

But then, we knew that in our hearts already, surely?