Monday, 14 October 2019

William Wildblood's Vision of Albion

Following a meeting devoted to the subject; William discusses the concept of Albion:

Albion is first and foremost a country of the imagination. That doesn't mean it is not real. It's a spiritual counterpart to the land of Britain. In Platonic terms you might see it as an archetype though I use that term non-literally. 

We will leave the debate as to how much of Britain and Ireland Albion comprises to others. For myself, being by blood half English, a quarter Scottish and a quarter Irish, I see it as centred in England but touching, though not incorporating, Caledonia and Hibernia (and Wales I'm sure!) which have their own spiritual identities. 

But it is important to understand that on this level there is no conflict between angels of the land. Behind every real thing there is a being and I see Albion as not just the spirit of the land but also a great national angel.

Read the whole thing...

Proto-SJWs and virtue-signalling - The 'complex' characters in Anthony Trollope's Barchester Chronicles


I've been watching the 1982 BBC TV adaptation of volumes one and two of Anthony Trollope's Barchester Chronicles. These are set in a fictional idyllic English Cathedral city in the middle 1800s; and I found that I was expecting the characters to fit the usual stereotypes familiar from modern TV and movies.

But Trollope does something very interesting and unusual here. The story is about the activity of political radicals in Barchester who propose a variety of reforms to the church. The Church of England is depicted as staffed by idle, nepotistic and corrupt upper class men; who get large incomes for little or no work.

For example, the Warden gets 800 pounds income from a hospital for a dozen old men, a position that has no duties. The Canon of the Cathedral has been living the high life with his family in Italy for more than a decade.

As a result of the radicals activities, the hospital is doubled in size to include old women; and has a Sunday school added and regular church services. The Canon is made to return and work for his living.

This is exactly the kind of plot we are familiar with from countless dramas - corrupt conservatives versus idealistic leftists...

However, Trollope provides a rare - but realistic - twist; because the corrupt conservatives contain all the kindest, most sympathetic - most truly Christian characters. The Warden himself, Mr Harding, is almost a saint; the only person who is capable of loving self-sacrifice.

While by contrast the radicals are a mixed bunch of dislikable, or inconsistent, folk - as indicated by their Dickensian names. Dr Bold - a gullible idealist who betrays his wife's family to the rabble rousing London press; Mrs Proudie - the new Bishop's snobbish and tyrannical wife; and the Bishop himself - weak, vacillating, without principles. And the vastly odious Obidiah Slope - the Bishop's hypocritical and scheming Chaplain (played by Alan Rickman in his first big impact role).

The result is a state of complex ambiguity in which the 'cause' is separated from the nature of motivations of the people; in which apparently high ideals are shown to have adverse consequences, in which the pursuit of public good is a mask for a more cynical, and overall more damaging, form of corruption than that which it purports to address.

Mrs Proudie and Mr Bold can indeed be seen as proto-SJWs, engaging in early examples of what we currently term 'virtue signalling'!

In brief, Trollope succeeds in writing that rarest of stories - one in which the nice people are on the 'wrong' side, while those who hold all the 'right opinions' are shades of nasty. More importantly, Trollope has the ring of truth about it - and (broadly speaking) very probably represented the actual situation in that era.

As a real life example, reading Ralph Waldo Emerson in the pre US Civil War years, it is clear that the activist Abolitionists were a bunch of monomaniacal fanatics - either very boring, or psychopathically dangerous. The nice and kind people were nearly all on the side of the status quo. Indeed, Emerson had to overcome a strong personal repulsion against the Abolitionists before he could embrace the cause of anti-slavery. And, of course, the actual consequences of coercive abolition were, in many respects, extremely bad - not least the killing and maiming of a very high proportion of the population. Yet such realism has become intolerable to the modern mind - we must have our slavers as nasty, and our abolitionists as saints.

So we get the paradox that mainstream middlebrow Victoria story of small town, upper class life is more genuinely tough-minded and truthful than the grimy sordidness of modern productions. But then, modern people mock the up-front and principled Bowderlisations of Victorians (designed to protect the innocent), while dishonestly imposing their own censorship in favour of moral inversion and teh corruption of children.

So it's all of a piece, really. 

 
The slimy Mr Slope - low churchman and bachelor and proponent of puritanical public morality, gets rather too flirty with a married lady...

Review of The Transmigration of Timothy Archer by Philip K Dick (1982)

Although I have owned a copy of The Transmigration of Timothy Archer for nearly forty years; it was only this weekend that I actually 'read' it - that is, I listened to the audio-book version. I found it very stimulating.

The protagonist is a type that I thoroughly despise in real life: the 'trendy', leftist-radical, media-famous, apostate Christian bishop - indeed the central character was modelled on a real life example of the breed, who was apparently a friend of the author. However, such was the depth and multi-faceted nature of this book that my irritation took a second place behind my fascination at the issues and conflicts.

Although Dick was far more sympathetic to the Tim Archer character than I would have been - seeing him as a great man who did much good and whose quest was genuinely spiritual; overall the portrait is unsparing.

This includes the way that short-termist, hedonic, personal and selfish drives are retrospectively 'validated' by the intelligent and articulate (and legally trained) Archer; who fluently distorts philosophy and Christian theology into justifying whatever he currently wants to do. Also the ways in which the bishop is de facto a parasite upon the church in terms both of his status and also of lifestyle and financially.

Dick was a very smart and cerebral writer - in this respect much like Saul Bellow; there is a wide range of artistic and cultural references, and the engagement is sufficiently deep and sincere that the book comes-across as a genuine exploration (rather than a pretentious display of names). The novel doesn't merely discuss or talk-about, but actually does philosophy.

This is unsurprising given the extraordinary and frenzied nature of PKD's final years - during which he was continually grappling with spiritual and religious issues; reading, thinking, talking and staying-up through the night writing dozens of pages of exploratory philosophy - entirely for his personal reasons (not aimed at publication, although an edited selection of these writings was posthumously made available - in 2011 - as Exegesis).

Overall, this book succeeds in rendering the spiritual quest to know Jesus, to understand and practice Christianity, as a very exciting and supremely important business; a matter that grips and obsesses the characters. And this is surely a consequence of the fact that it was so for PK Dick himself - in late life.

Nobody - least of all Dick - would recommend anybody to emulate Dick's lifestyle and life choices, which were largely disastrous - but this books focus on important things. There is a relentless pursuit of truth, a sustained and repeated attention to primary questions... and these are of greater urgency now than when the book was written, since our culture has drifted so far into shallowness and despair, feeble motivation, brief-attention and gullibility.

Dick's attitude and world is only the start of wisdom for a person (a society) sunk in distraction and intoxication, but that is something we need now more than ever.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Did Jesus complete his work? Matthew and Luke say no; the Fourth Gospel (of John) says yes

One major difference between the Fourth Gospel and the Gospels of Matthew and Luke; is that the Fourth Gospel account is one of Jesus finishing his job after his resurrection and ascension.

We are told that Jesus has completed his work. Nothing more needs to be done - except for each person to choose whether or not to follow Jesus.

Whereas Matthew and Luke, with their assertion of a second coming, assert that the ascended Jesus had done only half the job.

The job would be finished only with the second coming of Christ.

Furthermore, the Acts of the Apostles (continuing Luke), and Paul's Epistles also assert that the efforts of Men - by teaching and organising, are needed in order to complete the work of Jesus.

By my understanding, both cannot be correct.

(Note: I believe that the Fourth Gospel is the correct teaching.) 


God's ethical problem: consequences of God making our primordial spirits into Children of God, without our consent

My understanding (mostly derived from Mormon theology) is that human beings began as what could be called primordial spirits - which had existed from eternity; and the first step in our development was to become Sons and Daughters of God.

That was God's most important act of creation, because it was the first step towards Men potentially becoming divine, mini-gods of the same kind as the resurrected and ascended Jesus.


The ethical problem, as I see it, is that as primrdial spirits we could not, therefore did not, consent to being made children of God. We could not consent because, until we became children of God, we were not capable of consent.

As primordial spirits we were incapable of understanding what it meant to become children of God, therefore it was something done to us.

We had first to become children of God, before we were able to consent to or choose anything; therefore it was an essential first step - nonetheless, that first step was coercive.

To put this in a nutshell; God bestowed consciousness upon us. This consciousness then made it possible for us to be agents, to have free will. Until there was consciousness, we could not choose to be conscious - therefore we were compelled, by God, to become conscious.  


There is a close analogy with raising children - here in our mortal lives. Parents have to begin by doing things to children - without the child's consent. Good parenting entails considerable compulsion.

A young child is (at least quantitatively) unable to consent; and it is not until later in development that consent becomes possible (for some, not all, people).

The factor that transcends the compulsion and 'makes it good' is love. When the parent is behaving with love, the compulsion is taken-up by the greater reality of love and seen as a means to the ends of love.

But if love is denied, or was not present, then we are left with the perception of plain compulsion of the child by the parents; with the parent merely compelling the child to follow the parent's agenda. 

Only during adolescence, does a child becomes able to consent; and an adolescent will often become (implicitly or explicitly) aware that much of their childhood entailed compulsion. They may see this as having been necessary and done with love; or they may instead conclude that they have been oppressed or exploited by their parents.

The adolescent coming-into adulthood may choose consciously to return to a loving relationship with parents; or may choose to sever all ties and reject the parents.


The fact of compulsion during development therefore necessarily (and rightly) leads to a crux, a time of decision. The parent makes a decision on behalf of the child; but for the situation to become right the mature child needs to endorse the parental decision.

This happens in an ultimate and divine sense. We must, sooner or later, decide whether we endorse the decision of God coercively to make us his children - or reject it.

I think it is the result of this choice that leads people to Heaven or not. To choose Heaven means to endorse God's decision, to be grateful for consciousness, to regard God as having been motivated by love. It means to dwell with God in divine creation, and to participate - whether passively, actively and fully - or something in-between - in that continuous work of creation.

(It can be seen how such an understanding of Heaven depends on the situation of love.)


To choose hell means that we resent God's choice, we regard it as having been made un-lovingly, for God's own purposes with which we disagree. Hell is the denial that God acted with love, or the denial that love is a sufficient reason for God to act.

This hell is what happens when a person is angry at God, at God's primal act of 'making' us his child. It is to accept the consciousness that was bestowed by God, but to reject God's purpose for which consciousness was bestowed. 

To choose hell therefore means that we choose to retain our consciousness and agency - despite its having being forced-upon us; but (motivated by hatred and resentment against God) to use this consciousness in opposition to God's purposes.

Hell is to use our powers of agency against the agenda of God - and instead for our own agenda.


There is another possibility. Some people dislike being conscious, and therefore would prefer to reverse the act of bestowing Sons and Daughters of God. This is broadly the choice of people that may be Hindus or Buddhists. They disagree with God's agenda of raising Men to a divine level of Being; and instead prefer to revert to the primordial state of Being. Being without awareness - simply being.

In principle this choice may well be made with full acknowledgement of God's loving intentions; but simply based on the conviction that 'consciousness is not for me'. God has made us his children, made us conscious - and as spiritual adolescents we say 'Thanks, but no thanks; I would rather not become divine'.

To such persons, God (I believe) offers Nirvana - which is a reversion to the primordial state of minimal consciousness, but dwelling in a situation of divine love, of 'bliss'. Simply being, moment by moment, unchanging, in a pleasant and comfortable state.

(Hence the impersonality, the foundational abstraction of 'Eastern' religions. It somes from the preference not to be persons, not to relate to God as a person - because these depend on consciousness.)


In sum, there is a moral problem at the heart of divine creation; which is the moment in our personal history when we were made children of God.

This was unavoidable; but the problem is dealt with when we each must later choose how we regard this act of bestowing consciousness, how we interpret it, what to do about it...

Then there will be (it is unavoidable) a decision - which we can now make, being agents with free will: the decison whether to accept the agenda of spiritual development towards divinity for which God made us consciousness; or to reject it.

And if we reject it; the decision whether we then consciously fight against God's agenda (since we regard God as selfishly-motivated); or simply opt-out of being Sons or Daughters of God - handing-back to God his unwanted gift of consciousness.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Eternal life - what does it entail? (considering that Beings are eternal, anyway)

Just below the surface; it is a puzzle that Jesus promises eternal life; when life is, apparently, already eternal. Souls do not die, and both Jews and pagans of Jesus's time (or leading up to that era) assumed that souls continued in a kind of underworld. What, then was so special about everlasting life?

What is being offered by Jesus is that we our-selves will live eternally - and that this includes resurrection, a permanent restoration of the body. Because - for both Jews and pagans - what of us that persisted in the underworld after we have died was no longer our-self.

The implication is that for we our-selves to live forever requires that bodies (our bodies) must also live forever.

This can't happen with our mortal bodies; they never were suitable for eternal use - from conception and birth there are problems, and through life these accumulate, and we die. So a permanent body must be another one that is (in some sense) the same as the mortal one, but not the same one.

This isn't really any mystery or paradox - because each person's identity (our identity) is based upon the linear continuity of our-selves through time. So resurrection is understandable as the continuity of our selves, souls, from eternity - going through a phase of mortal incarnation which is (for some reason that we don't understand) developmentally-necessary for the development of a resurrected body.

So, these are the necessary developmental stages of a Man. We must go-through these phases - spirit, mortal body, immortal body - if we want to become eternal selves...

But the essence of the necessity of Jesus's life (i.e. why Jesus was needed) is that the 'final' stage - of transition from mortal to immortal body - is one that requires our conscious assent; unlike earleir stages, resurrection does not 'just happen'.

We must want it, and we must want it in a particular way that includes wanting the consequences of it; which means that resurrected life eternal is not just about our-personal-selves living forever; but about the fact that to have this is to become gods - and participating in the 'ongoing work of creation'.

The two go together - resurrection and participation in creation; which is a clue to the fact that resurrection is itself an aspect of ongoing creation.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Atheism is the libertarianism of spiritual ecology

Atheists and Libertarians are both on the side of the mainstream of public discourse; that is, on the side of the Global Establishment, the mass media, and the interlinked bureaucracy - with their agenda of a single, totalitarian System of value-inversion.

Taken seriously, atheist assumptions would lead to paralysing despair - perhaps as the terminus of a brief phase of psychopathic hedonism.

But atheism never is taken seriously in public discourse; because all atheists are hypocrites - at root, because that there is no such thing as the sin of hypocrisy from an atheist perspective. In sum, there are no sincere atheists.

(Any atheist that did take atheism seriously would not participate in public discourse, would - indeed - keep his atheism secret; and would soon be dead. So we would never know about him.)

This is the same as libertarianism: there are no sincere libertarians. All libertarians are either hypocritical and self-contradicting; or else (usually, nearly always) they sell-out, as soon as it is expedient for them to do so. Why not?

(Libertarianism is just a career strategy - a bit like forming a start-up company in hope that you will become successful enough to be bought-out by one of the industry giants.)  

I think these facts are widely known - but come up against the question If Not, Then What? It seems that most modern people have pre-decided the answer must be 'Anything but Christianity' then they have painted themselves into a corner.

Until they recognise that Christianity is the answer, and set about finding out just how it is the answer; they are stuck in a hopeless trap, forever.

Note: I have been both an atheist - most of my life; and a libertarian - late 90s to mid-2000s.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Extinction Rebellion/ Climate Emergency is 'divide and rule': the Establishment trolling the masses - and what else?

The top-down organised and funded pseudo-protests (in support of the Global Establishment) called Extinction 'Rebellion' (part of the so-called Climate Emergency) represent a clear example of the modern rulers at work.

The primary effect is to create resentment and conflict among the population. And this, of course, benefits the rulers - on Machiavellian grounds of divide-and-rule. So that is one tick.

The other tick is that the protesters are asking for something which there is literally zero chance of the Establishment doing; which is to dismantle or destroy (immediately, as a matter of emergency) the entirety of the structure of the modern global economy and governance.

This would - if done, which it certainly won't be - lead, very quickly, to the deaths of several billion people.

(Hence the names: Extinction as a matter of Emergency, on the excuse of a Climate Rebellion.)  


Now giga-death would, of itself, not trouble the people that run the planet - indeed, They might well regard it as a plus.

But in destroying the world economic system They would also destroy the apparatus of totalitarian government; the escalating system of omni-surveillance and micro-control. And that, They are Not going to do.


 So why did They dream up, fund and implement this 'protest'? What do They want?

They will say -

"You beg Us to dismantle the world economy - Yes, We want to do it, We will do it! Give Us the power, please... (Ah nice...) Thanks very much...

"Now We need to monitor and control everything that has to do with Carbon Dioxide or that can tenuously be linked to heat production... Is that OK?... Yes? Thanks.

"The System is in-place. Job Done.

[Faint voices, barely discernable... something about 'the climate', murmers about 'sustainable environment'...] 

"You will all shut-up and listen, or else:

"From this moment onwards We will be telling You what to think, do, and believe..."

Full Stop. Double Underline. 
 

Brexit report: Single-issue Remaining seems to be impossible

The longer the EU-UK Establishment resistance to Brexit drags-out the process - or sabotages it (as is quite likely) - the clearer it is that the forces of totalitarian evil really have lined-up solidly in support of Britain Remaining in the EU.

The out-and-out demonic servants seem to be unable to find any way At All of being in favour of a real, hard Brexit. The best they can manage is to support one or another version of Brexit-in-name-only, or temporary-reversible Brexit.

This is valuable knowledge.

I am even beginning to think that the way that the Brexit-blockers have displayed with crystalline clarity - day after day for more than three years - their hatred for the British people, their totalitarian methods and motivations, their dishonesty and corruption - has been all-to-the-good.

The absolute vileness of the UK ruling classes is now sure and certain for those with eyes to see - whereas until 2016 they were sufficiently hidden to be deniable.  

It seems that Brexit would be a real, solid, unavoidable setback for the Establishment totalitarian plan. I don't mean they could not overcome it, but that Brexit is - it must be, from their behaviour - a genuine problem for unrolling and implementing the devil-worshipping-paedophile agenda of value inversion and self-damnation. Hmm...

I am rather surprised at this. I knew - it was obvious - that the Establishment were against Brexit; but I did not know that they were so strongly against it that - apparently - they would find no way around an actual Brexit without considerable delay and diversion.

My conclusion is that Britain (out of the EU) is - either actually, or potentially - much more important in the resistance to the triumph of Satan than would be guessed from the feebly-motivated atheism and media-addicted hedonism of the mass of the UK population.

Who would have guessed it? There must be more to us than meets the eye!

'Failing' as a Christian

It is important that Christians understand how to interpret their failures in life - or else the response to failing can wreck the purpose of life.


One way failure wrecks a life is when - instead of acknowledging the failure, and repenting it - the person tells himself that it was Not a failure; and ends-up arguing and propagandising that it is not a failure - hence, the failure is asserted to be a virtue, instead of a sin.

This is moral inversion - the reversal of Good and evil, and probably the worst of all forms of evil; and it probably afflicts more people here and now (in numbers and as a proportion) than ever before in human history.


Another way that failure wrecks a life is when it is assumed that each failure to live by the ideal standards (e.g. never to sin) or to live in the ideal way (e.g. always to be at the highest level of consciousness) invalidates the ideal.

The way it goes is that: "Since I am incapable of perfection, I am a fraud; since my life is not wholly transformed by my faith - my faith is a sham. Because Christianity cannot abolish sin in me (or him, or her) it is useless. No matter how hard I try, I always keep failing; therefore it is futile to try."

These problems arise from a wrong understanding of the nature and function of this mortal life. What has been very helpful for me to recognise is that this mortal life comes between a pre-mortal eternity in which we were spirits (without bodies) and a post-mortal eternity in which we will be (those of us to choose it) resurrected immortal incarnates (with bodies).

This life is a finite period sandwiched between two 'infinities' - it is therefore not intended to be a permanent, fixed, or perfect mode.


If that is the structure of our life - past, present and future - what then is the function of this finite mortal segment that we are living now?

It is a time of experiencing and learning. And in order to experience, we will need a range of experiences - depending on our individual needs. In order to learn we will need some repeated experiences, we will also need new experiences.

Since learning is primarily directed at the eternity of post-mortal life; the outcomes in this finite mortal life are not, therefore, of a permanent, steady kind during this life. Therefore, current mortal life is not supposed to be an ideal state - or rather, the ideal mortal life is one that offers us the experiences we most need to learn-from. And these will seldom be unvarying ideality...

Indeed, mortal life has impermanence built-into it - there are many kinds of change; there is development, degeneration, disease, and death. For each person, his own 'baseline' is constantly changing - due to such processes.


The situation of mortal life is set-up to provide learning experiences; therefore it is Not set-up to provide the possibility of a life without failure.

Indeed, a mortal life without failure would (nearly always) be a failure as a mortal life!

Therefore Christians really should not be cast-down by failures as such; by imperfection as such; by the inevitability of sin, of change (including decline), of our absolute incapacity to live life to the fullest and at the highest level...

When we understand the nature and function of this, our mortal life; these become features, not bugs.


Note added from the comments: It is because we need to learn from failing that we are alive. If we could live without failing - there would be no need to live.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Pity Me...


...is a village just off the main road between Newcastle upon Tyne and Durham City.

Unreliable Prophecy

The problem with prophecy is that - when it is made public - it never seems to come true; or - even when some would interpret it as validated; prophecy never seems to do any good.

I have read many sincere, detailed prophecies made over the past fifty years or so; and they are often completely wrong - as wrong as it is possible to be.

There were, for example, from the 1970s - 1990s (and again leading up to 2012) many channelled messages about an imminent landing of aliens on earth and the consequences, and multiple predictions of an imminent planetary breakthrough to a higher 'frequency/ vibrational' level of consciousness. Didn't happen.


The only valid prophecy I have encountered has been Rudolf Steiner's of 1918 - about which I have written extensively. Perhaps significantly this was a pessimistic prophecy - about what bad things would happen if Western man continued to reject the reality of the spiritual; if we continued to assume the truth of materialism. And even in 1918 this was an extrapolation of a century-plus trend. 

But Steiner's main prophecy - of the Second Coming of Christ in c1933, was completely wrong - at many levels. Instead of Christ we got Hitler as Chancellor - although Anthroposophists actually interpret Hitler as a demonic reaction against the Second Coming. But if the 1918 prophecy is straightforwardly true, then the Second Coming prophecy is falsified by the same common sense criteria.

Another of Steiner's main prophecies was that Ahriman (Satan, the Antichrist) would be incarnated in c2000 - so I suppose that remains a possibility, although I think we might have noticed by now?

But from Steiner we can see that being A Prophet does not mean that one is correct about most things, most of the time. And if only a small percentage of  statements are accurate - and we don't know which percent until afterwards - then this really isn't much use.


There are several ways by which, it has been suggested, God could enable prophecy. But the question is why he would want to do this.

Prophecy essentially assumes divine planning to a timetable. And why would God (at least the Christian God) want to do that? And if he did, why would he want people to know about it. And if he did want people to know about it - why choose a human prophet as the mechanism - and expect the message to be accurately disseminated and understood?


There is no doubt that - through the ages - there has been a fascination with prophecies. But public, objective, social prophecy is beginning to strike me as a wrong idea at root. It may be a fascination - one I personally feel pretty strongly; but that fascination may be idle or evil rather than good.

I can certainly see the value in personal prophecy - among family, friends and the like. This can serve a function of retrospective validation - as apparently happened among Jesus's disciples when after his resurrection, they recalled some relevant prophecies. But something goes terribly wrong when these are made public, with 'general prophecy', when prophecies are made into objective statements, applicable to 'all'; when they are supposed to affect public policy.

Indeed, the most convincing stories of prophecy are when The Public disbelieve and ignore The Prophet, but a much smaller group of the prophet's family, friends, followers do believe; and these 'believers' are able to escape some prophesied disaster.

A good example is at the beginning of the Book of Mormon, when the prophet Lehi are ignored by the authorities, but he and his family escape the destruction of Jerusalem. Or in fiction when, in Watership Down, the shaman rabbit Fiver predicts the destruction of the burrow, is ognored by teh chief rabbit, but escapes with his brother and a small group of followers.   



I am certainly guilty, many times over, of worrying about what the future holds in general terms unless... or of trying to avert one or another prophecy. But surely this is a fault? Surely I ought to be discerning what I ought to do now - and (so far as possible) setting aside what might (but probably will not) happen as a consequence?

Or, if I did recieve a real prophecy, then this would surely not be about anything large scale - but about what should happen to myself or my family; something I can directly affect: where my personal decision is significant. 


Like most people, I want to be reassured that If I do X, then Y will eventuate; but we know that it is seldom possible really to know what will happen - too many factors impinge. Most importantly, all people (all Beings) have agency, and are capable of choosing. In principle, conscious behaviour cannot be known in advance - only guessed.

And therefore what we ought to do, ought not primarily to be aimed at consequences - especially when we know what it is right to do regardless of consequences. That seems the case in real prophecy - the future is not known with any great precision; but what ought to be done is clear. 

We may, if we are sincere, come to understand the reality of our situation - and this will include what we personally should do in consequence. To get back to that broadly-fulfilled 1918 prophecy of Steiner - we may reasonably infer that the bad consequences happened for broadly the reasons Steiner stated 100 years ago. But we only knew that for sure in (perhaps) the past generation or two; many decades after the prophecy was made.

And what we do not know is the consequences that would actually eventuate from here-and-now if we (from this point) did what Steiner rrecommended and remedied the defects Steiner outlined... If we (you and me, other people) regarded the spiritual realm as real, developed a more frequent and intense awareness of the spiritual realm etc.  What effect would this have?


In sum, even if we know that the prophecy was true, and what we ought to do about it  - this does not tell us what would happen if we actually went ahead and did it. If (for example) there was a general recognition that 'Steiner was right after all!' (at least, in that particular lecture of 1918).

What then: what would be the resulting consequences?

It seems we would need yet another prophecy!


Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Collects at Evensong

From the 1549 edition of the Book of Common Prayer - two of the closing prayers:

The seconde Collecte at Evensong

O God from whom all holy desyres, all good counsayles, and all juste workes do procede: Geve unto thy servauntes that peace, which the world cannot geve, that both our hartes maye be sette to obey thy commaundementes, and also that by thee, we being defended from the feare of oure enemies, may passe oure time in rest and quietnesse; throughe the merites of Jesu Christe our saviour. Amen.


The thirde Collect for ayde agaynste all perils

LYghten our darkenes we beseche thee, O lord, & by thy great mercy defende us from all perilles and daungers of thys nyght, for the love of thy onely sonne, our saviour Jesu Christ. Amen.


These contain some of the most beautiful phrases of English prose, in their original spellings. Particularly pertinent is the plea that: "we being defended from the feare of oure enemies, may passe oure time in rest and quietnesse". It is easy to forget that such fear is a sin to which we are all prone, and it is well to pray for help in this matter. 

The God of Christians did not create everything from nothing (ex nihilo)

From Blake Ostler's essay The Doctrine Of Creation Ex Nihilo Was Created Out Of Nothing. His conclusion:

1. The Old Testament adopts the ancient Near Eastern view of creation out of a preexisting chaos or waste. This conclusion is supported by linguistic evidence of the meaning of beresit, by the structure of Genesis 1, by the textual, semantic and conceptual similarities between Genesis 1 and other creation accounts, and by the entire structure of the creation narrative. The word bara does not mean creation ex nihilo nor does it imply it. Rather, the word bara addresses creation by dividing and separating already existing realities and thereby creating something new that has never before existed.

2. The New Testament does not teach creation ex nihilo. To the contrary, 2 Peter 3:5 expressly teaches that God created out of the already existing chaotic waters, Hebrews 11:3 expressly teaches that God created the visible world from the already existing invisible world, and Romans 4:17 teaches that God created from an already existing substrate.

3. The claim made by C&C that the dogma of creation ex nihilo was already well-established in the Jewish texts about the time of Christ is simply false. None of the texts they cite for this conclusion address the doctrine of creation out of nothing. Indeed, some of the Jewish texts which they take to teach creatio ex nihilo, such as Second Enoch and Joseph and Aseneth expressly teach that God created the world by making visible those things which already existed as invisible. 

In addition, none of the Christian texts cited by C&C such as The Shepherd of Hermas and the Odes of Solomon actually teach creatio ex nihilo. Indeed, these texts are better explained by the doctrine of creatio ex materia. Further, it is clear that several Jewish texts from around the time of Christ, such as Philo Judeaus the Wisdom of Solomon, and several early Christian writers like Clement, Justin Martyr and Athenagorous, expressly teach the doctrine of creatio ex materia.

4. The doctrine of creatio ex nihilo appeared suddenly about 180 A.D. in the writings of Tatian and Theophilus in their arguments with Stoics and Middle Platonists. 

It is fairly clear that the doctrine arises as a philosophical consequence of their adoption of a Middle Platonic concept of God. What we see in all texts from about 165 A.D. and after is that Platonic philosophy, both Middle and Neo, have infiltrated Christian thought and become a basis for major innovations in doctrine. 

From the Mormon perspective, we see the apostasy in action in living color. The personal God of the Bible known through revelation and personal encounter is suddenly too far removed from the human sphere of existence to be involved in such things with humans. 

The notion that humans are created in the image and likeness of God must be reinterpreted to fit the Platonic view that God is utterly unique and entirely unlike humans. God’s mode of creation, therefore, must be completely different than any human mode of creation. 

The Middle Platonic assumption that only the absolutely immutable can be eternal is used as a background assumption to argue that matter cannot in any sense be eternal because it is subject to change. The Middle Platonic view that sees matter as necessarily entailing an eternal cycle of recurrence leads to adopting a view of God transcending altogether the material sphere. 

If one accepts the assumptions from which the Christian apologists of the late second century begin, then creatio ex nihilo becomes the only logical conclusion. It apparently never occurred to them to reject these Platonist assumptions.

 
The adoption of the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo had other far reaching implications for the history and form of “Christian” theology even to our own day. 

The doctrine of creation out of nothing led inevitably to Chalcedon where Christ was described as one person having two natures, consubstantial with the Father in his deity. This two nature theory of Christology assured that the Platonic view of natures and substance would be essential to make “sense” of the doctrine of God within the creedal tradition. 

The doctrine of creatio ex nihilo also gives rise to arguments that everything that occurs must be caused by God, for if he didn’t cause each substance to exist anew in each moment, it would cease to exist. 

Thus, a very strong form of divine determinism and predestination seems to be entailed by the doctrine...

Should Christians have spiritual experiences? What if they don't?

Over the years I have been asked - sometimes in comments, sometimes in personal e-mails - whether Christians should be having spiritual experiences; these forming the most solid basis of their faith?

I have been asked this question especially by those who do not have such experiences - on the lines of: 'Is there something defective about my Christian faith that I personally don't ever get spiritual experiences?'

The answer I would now give (as a generalisation) is that yes, modern, adult, Western Christians should be having spiritual experiences, and should base their Christian faith upon them. And that yes; anyone who does not have such experiences should indeed regard their faith as (to that extent) defective.

The reason is that the ability to have spiritual experiences in a Christian context has become necessary here-and-now; and it is the lack of such experiences - or the denial or explaining-away of such experiences as false or trivial - that is the root of Christian weakness and the problem of materialism/ positivism/ scientism/ reductionism - the Ahrimanic totalitarian bureaucracy and Leftism.

It is that important.

Spiritual experience has become vital for Christians in this modern context and era - which is why I believe that Romantic Christianity is now (it was not always) our destined way forward (via Final Participation)  to Life Eternal; and that all other paths will lead elsewhere.

So I would argue that a Christian who has not had any spiritual experience, is not having spiritual experiences, should not rest content in that situation; but should examine his metaphysical assumptions, attitudes, behaviours etc - to try and discover what is blocking the spiritual experiences that would otherwise be happening. And then try to remove those blockages.

Or else, it may be he is indeed having spiritual experiences, but is failing to recognise or denying them. That too should be remedied. In this modern era our task (as adults) is to become conscious of the spiritual realm - and the spiritual realm must be freely chosen.

Thus we should neither want nor expect to be overwhelmed by irresistible spiritual experiences, since that would be bad for us - we should want and expect to know them, and choose them. 

This will be (as usual) a very personal and distinctive matter - each must discover for himself - and only you can discover for yourself (nobody else can do it for you). Furthermore, because we live in a pervasively materialist world, there is a tendency passively to lose the ability to connect with the  spiritual realm: for spiritual experiences to become less frequent, less intense, to cease... This should be regarded as a sign of spiritual malaise.

In sum, it is no longer sufficient for a Christian to be passive and unconscious; no longer sufficient to follow external guidance, no longer sufficient to suppose that following rituals and adhering to morality is sufficient.

These are insufficient because a person who tries to be that kind of Christian will not remain any kind of Christian at all (except verbally), but will join the mass materialist apostasy - even when they self-identify as Christians. They will not choose Heaven.

Here-and-now the only secure Christians are those with direct personal conscious experience and knowledge of Jesus Christ and his offer of Life Everlasting. And if Jesus is then chosen and Heaven made our first priority, then that is indeed sufficient.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Romantic Christianity and spiritual experiences

From this blog in 2014 I find this important piece of writing by Mormon philosopher and theologian Blake Ostler (BO), about the primacy of personal spiritual experience - and the implications of this primacy.

Read the whole thing - but these excerpts give a flavour. I have added the bold emphasis:

Q: What should you conclude when your spiritual experience conflicts with logical and tangible evidence?

BO: This is a very good question. First I would suggest this, there’s nothing more immediate than your own experience. Only you know what your experience is. If it conflicts with logic? Trust me, I’m very good at logic and I know there are a lot of ways to do logic to make it conflict with just about anything I can come up with, that’s what I do for a living {laughter}. 

And tangible evidence? We don’t know what evidence is until we have all of our basic premises and axioms in place to begin with. You see, when I see through the lens of faith what counts as evidence is different than when I don’t see through the lens of faith.

In fact, I found something very interesting among people who have lost testimonies. Almost invariably they will say, “I had a testimony and then I decided, ‘I’m going to take a look at this without relying on spiritual experiences or the way that I see things when I trust the Spirit. I’m just going to see what logic or evidence provides.'”

The fact is that evidence isn’t self-interpreting, and logic is only a very useful tool for arriving – and I am very “Humean” about logic. All logic is ex post facto to prove what we already feel is true; how’s that?

Q: How can one find the truth when two people experience two opposite things while praying about the Book of Mormon? One gets the feeling it’s true, the other gets the feeling it’s wrong?

BO: Well, I say trust your experience...

Trust your Heavenly Father. What I said was that the experience that anybody else has is not evidence for us. If somebody else has a different experience, I think I have good prima facia reason for believing my own experience as opposed to theirs. What else can I do?

And it comes down to faith. Am I going to trust my heart or not? Am I going to have an open heart or am I going to close it? That’s the bottom line. 

Have there been any wise actors, musicians?

In a world where the 'thoughts' (expressed opinions) of actors and musicians are the staple of the mass media; it comes to mind that there has perhaps never been an actor or musician who was wise.

Of course nobody-at-all in the public arena is wise nowadays; but there are plenty of examples of wise representatives of most professions from the past. But of actors and musicians?...

There were and are a few intelligent As & Ms, but that intelligence always seems misplaced, foolish, actively-wicked... un-wise.

Indeed, such is the low average level, that when a reasonably smart person is among actors (e.g. like some directors) or among musicians (like some conductors, or composers) the performers express absolute astonishment at their brilliance, and accord them vastly exaggerated reputations.

And when an actor or musical performer is intelligent-merely; they are accorded a reputation for astonishing wisdom, creativity - even genius; even though they are merely spouting mainstream platitudes and secondhand conventional wisdom.

Maybe David Garrick, in the 18th century, was a tolerably wise actor - but he was a lot more than a actor. Glenn Gould was certainly a worthwhile thinker - but again he was much more than a performer. Pure performers?... I can't think of any.

When we are daily force-fed with the news and views of actors and musicians, in multi-page interviews; when biographies of performers take up yards of shelving in the new and secondhand bookshops, it comes to mind to ask - what is really going-on here?

GIGA - Garbage-in, Garbage-out... Mainstream popular discourse on sexual relationships

I used to be a professional evolutionary psychologist, researching and teaching the subject for more than 20 years. I was pretty careful to state my assumptions - which was that Ev Psych was a model of human behaviour that assumed the correctness of Natural Selection as a major influence on human psychology. It was not the only, nor necessarily the most important influence - and in many situations it was not relevant.

Yet, although careful to state these assumptions, there was a strong tendency to assume that Ev Psych was indeed the primary influence on human behaviour. In other words, discoursing on the subject tended to convert an assumption into a personal motivation.

More accurately, from a combination of habit and expertise, I tended to regard what was actually an assumption as a discovery; converting what was assumed into an apparent fact about the world.


This type of thing is rampant in the modern world - indeed defines the modern world (called positivism, scientism, reductionism, materialism...). Because I was deep into it, and came out from it (mostly...) I am perhaps able to see this with more clarity than most - I have been sensitised to it.

So, what about sex and relationships? There is a pseudo-biological, bastardised Ev Psych that dominates most discussion. I can see that there is an assumption in mainstream public discourse - and in analytic writings on the subject, that human sexuality is about having sex (especially with attractive people).

From a biological perspective this is a plain error, since Ev Psych is about having babies - and the link between having sex and having babies is so broken (by contraception and abortion) that there are plenty of people with more marriages than children; and indeed in some surveys the most children (on average) come from people who are once married, and have had one lifetime sexual partner.


There is a biological error - but the problem is much deeper than that because we should not be regarding ourselves a reproducing organisms, as if that was (or should be) our prime consideration.

The irony is that men reproduced successfully when they were primarily religious, and as soon as they began to regard themselves as 'higher animals' with biological goals, average reproduction slipped below minimum replacement levels, and such populations first began to age, and more recently become genetically degraded and move toward extinction.

Yet this discourse is still a grossly simplified,hence distorted model. It is clear by their actual behaviours ('revealed preferences') that people do not really regard themselves biologically, and show no sign ever of doing so. Indeed unnatural, non-reproductive, forms of sex and sexuality are being officially encouraged at global, national and local levels. So biology has about as little current relevance (except as an unavoidable constraint, dishonestly denied) as is imaginable.


How, then, ought people to talk about sexual relationships?

Well, first they must be clear with themselves what is their primary motivation. Someone who wants to marry one person for life and raise a family has a totally different perspective, hence attitudes and behaviours; from one who is motivated to have sex-without-strings with many attractive people; perhaps ideally a new person each week, or every few days...

The difference is spiritual, ultimately - it is the difference in a person's vision of what life should be; and this is based on an understanding of what life actually is.

If people were coherent, this would lead them straight back to First Things; to a discovery and evaluation of their own primary assumptions about 'Life, The Universe and Everything' - for example whether this world is created or accidental, whether it is personal or abstract and so forth.

But people are not coherent, indeed most people are psychotic in their denials and delusions. And this is a consequence of having chosen to live by the implicit mainstream assumption that human life, at its root/ depth/ the bottom-line, is 'about' no more than personal feelings.

It ought to be obvious that if our assumptions are that human life is a kind of emotional garbage; then we will lead our life on that basis. If we regard ourselves as disposable trash, and talk that way - to others in public and our-selves in private - we will become garbage, 'human resources'... to be burned, deployed as bio-landfill, or dismembered for salvage and recycling.


If we see life as a maximisation of pleasure and minimisation of suffering - we will regard sexual relations as an endless war of attempted manipulation and exploitation of other people to that end.

There will be a few winners, and many losers - but (because we are talking about pleasure) all 'victories' will be temporary, and habituation will mean that repeated pleasures lose effect. Everyone will be a loser sooner or later - victory is merely to be a winner now.

But everybody, without exception, loses in the end: which is death.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

The problem of residual abstraction (maths, geometry, physics) in philosophical (and theological) thinking

This is a really, really Big problem! What is more, it affects the very best and most important thinkers and writers in my pantheon of influences for Romantic Christianity - Steiner, Barfield, Arkle...

The problem is that the understandings and explanations of such people are/ remain rooted in abstract phenomena - despite that these are intending to advocate a personal, 'animistic', 'anthropomorphic' metaphysics.


Their basic idea is that reality is a matter of Beings in Relationships... That the ultimate entities are Beings (alive, conscious, purposive) and that what holds things together and provides structure is the relationships of these Beings.

Yet ni advocating a metaphysics of Being and Relations; these authors fall back, again and again, into abstraction; into the use of examples drawn from physics, geometry and mathematics.

eg. Steiner in Philosophy of Freedom develops his argument wholly abstractly, in terms of categories of percept and concept, and his example is the geometrical figure of the triangle.

Barfield uses physics as his primary mode of explanation; the rainbow is his most famous example; and he calls his new way of thinking 'polarity' which he describes relationships between beings in abstract-mathematical-physics ways - using magnetism and electricity as explanations.

Arkle's main book, A Geography of Consciousness, uses geometrical and physics graphs, tables and diagrams to explain his 'system' - despite that he explicitly asserts everything is alive and conscious.


This could be regarded as a prime example of Residual Unresolved Positivism (RUP) as described by Barfield - and the fact that Barfield himself was prone to it (as was his Master, Steiner) shows how difficult it is to shake-off. This difficulty is most apparent in Barfield's most deep and rigorous book - How Coleridge Thought - when the clash of perspectives is the source of greatest difficulty in understanding the argument. Barfield seems unaware of how his abstractly-structured schemes are so fundamentally at-odds-with what he is trying to prove using these schemes. The key term 'polarity' is mathematical and derived from magnetism (later electricty) - and as difficult to understand intuitively as most such ideas are.


The problem is so old that it can seem inevitable - it goes back to the ancient Greeks, who nearly always used (the ancient equivalent of...) physics as the basis of their metaphysics - with principles such as fire or water underlying 'everything'.

Another example is that 'form' is taken as primary (as with Plato, Aristotle and Aquinas) - and 'form' is conceptualised in geometric terms and often using geometrical examples. (A modern instance is Sheldrake's morphogenetic fields.)

Whereas the primary reality is actually A Being, not A Triangle; is a Being's motivation, not a force or principle.

This abstraction then leads on to the problem (the error) of regarding Time as... optional. The delusion that Time can be set aside, redefined etc. When a world is seen as abstract as its reality and bottom line - then Time loses its function; indeed Time becomes a nuisance!

Yet, if the world is of Beings, beings exists In Time, and only In Time. In cross-section, there are no Beings - because in a 'zero' timescale there is no Life, no Consciousness - if Life and Consciousness are primary, then there is and always must be Time...

Thus one error leads on to another,


But what this does show is the need for further work for Romantic Christianity; because Steiner, Barfield, Arkle are all in error by using maths/ geometry and physics as their models and explanations.

There us work to be done to restate their arguments in terms that are coherent with the conclusions of their arguments.

The good news is that - when thus restated - the metaphysics and theology of Romantic Christianity becomes something intuitively understandable by a child; rather than requiring advanced training in the natural sciences. 

  

Saturday, 5 October 2019

A dog is for life (Marriage is for eternity.)


Most Christians believe - or, at least their theology teaches them - that ideally Marriage is for Life; and is dissolved after death.

For modern Western people it seems like a great deal if marriage is for life - because for modern Western people life is all-that-there-is. To say that a marriage ought to last until death seems like saying Marriage is Forever...

But for a Christian who expects to live the life after biological-death everlasting, if Marriage is for Life, then that is not for very long. A human adult life is a lot less than eternity...

So 'Marriage is for Life' actually means 'Marriage is just for life'.

If we are serious about marriage on earth, in mortal life - as most real Christians claim to be; then surely the aim, the ideal, the hope should be that marriage is for eternity? 

Friday, 4 October 2019

The meaning of End Times

I don't think these are the result of any 'timetable' kind of prophecy - but are the result of the development of human consciousness such that many people (especially Westerners) have become capable of detaching themselves from the divine and denying the divine.

(In which the divine is defined in Christian terms.) 

This leads to a crux - where the assumption (from society, from institutions - even, implicitly, from most churches) is that there is no divine; that the divine is not really real... so each individual must choose the divine, if he is to know the divine.

Knowledge (here and now) depends on choice. Choice is the beginning of knowledge of the divine.


The End Times are when the assumption of the unreality of the divine is normal, propagandised, assumed, and imposed. When, in other words, the default is for people to choose their own damnation (choose to reject Heaven).

The End Times seems to refer to a state of positive-feedback when this becomes prevalent, and worsening.


Why? Why does it happen., Why is it allowed (by God) to happen?

The answer is perhaps because the End times are also the era of maximum clarity, of maximum differentiation between salvation and damnation; between choosing Good or evil - the dwelling in Heaven or the various personal hells.  For some incarnate Men, this is the best time to be born, the best chance.


What will end the End Times?

The best answer is that they end themselves. In the End Times, values are inverted - hence evil, death and spiritual destruction become the implicit objective of human motivation (albeit, motivation is itself severely weakened by the inversion and the consequent deep-confusion).


What comes after the end? Who knows ? It is not knowable - because we really are free agents.

Probably it depends... A new beginning, or the end to the experiment of mortal life... or both.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Keri Ford reviews a new book on Owen Barfield


On the one hand, it is good that people are paying attention to Owen Barfield; on the other hand, when Barfield is enlisted to support a mainstream Leftist agenda, something has gone terribly wrong... Keri Ford provides some details.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

In Heaven - can we see, hear, smell, touch, taste?

Since we are resurrected, the answer is yes.

Since we become immortal with all the sensory organs; this implies that space and time remain realities in Heaven.

Since in Heaven we participate in the ongoing work of God's creation; this suggests that creation includes space and time as realities.

This suggests that reality is perspectival - that the broad assumptions of Einstein's theory of General Relativity are correct. We know from a place in time and space.

There is no instantaneousness of anything, there is no simultaneous-eternity.

Distance also makes a difference.

In Heaven we will not become indifferent to time, we will continue to be affected by distance - so that proximity will (there as here) be superior for knowing, and for loving.

We will continue to want to see, hear and touch those we love. Close-up is best.

The sin is the 'motivation' not the 'consequences'

The sin is the lie, or intent to mislead - unaffected by the justification that it was just about a small matter...

The sin is the spite: the wanting to harm another for one's own gratification - not in the magnitude of that which is wished upon them.

The sin is in the resentment - it does not matter whether criticism is 'deserved'.

Evil is in the believed and argued inversion of virtue - not in whatever harmful consequences of this inversion.

The System is the terminus of all false assumptions - including the Alt-Right (But recognising this depends on understanding what The System wants.)

This was apparent - in a diagnostic sense - to increasing numbers of people from the end of the Second World War. In writings of the nineteen-fifties, and more so in the sixties, there is an awareness of the fact that all the usual lines of escape - whether radicalism, rebellion, revolution on the Left - or tradition, conservatism, reaction on the Right - seem to terminate in The System, 'The Matrix'.

The System captured all groups, organisations, institutions - sooner or later. People would set-up some group, on whatever radical new lines, on whatever reactionary lines - and it would be drawn into The System, assimilated.

However, the lesson was never learned, has not been learned; the mistake is made by every new generation, every new version of trying to make a new and better System, every attempt to reform and improve The System - each and all the 'realistic', 'pragmatic', 'sensible' movement of socio-politics.

Because all such attempts are actually trying to fight The System using a fragment of The System

Indeed, it is not just assimilation but a process by which each absorption strengthens the system, makes it larger and more inclusive, more powerful. For example in recent years we can see how the "Alt-Right" has become absorbed, and how this has strengthened The System.

The System is totalitarian and bureaucratic, however people lazily assume that this implies that The System aims at a stable society of docile and obedient slaves; as depicted in so many fictional dystopias.

Stable tyranny might well be the aim of human-type evil - based on gratifying the self-ishness of people. But the modern System has become, is continuing to become, more demonic than human in its nature.

This means that the goal of The System is damnation, not control. And damnation is about psychological manipulation; about inducing certain states of mind: about inducing damning assumptions, attitudes, behaviours, motivations...

And this is why assimilation of the opposition is undetected. Mainstream, modern, materialistic people assume that when a new movement leads to argument, conflict, attempted censorship and suppression etc; that this implies the movement is a threat to the system.

Not so, because The System can - and does - use any and all group-level institutional opposition, reform, take-over attempt, purge, coup... to evoke the kind of damning psychological states that are its ultimate goal.

How this happens is very simple indeed:

Anything that is institutional is Already part of The System

...Because institutions just-are systems; just are abstract and impersonal attempts to circumvent the human and the divine...

Just-are materialist in assumption and form, and therefore intrinsically and already (even before assimilation) part-of the dominant demonic scheme (which is to deny the real-reality of God, virtue, beauty, creation, the spiritual, the soul etc).

In trying to create abstract forms of power that do not depend upon individuals, do not depend upon love, faith, hope - we have already joined The System, and already joined the side of purposive evil.

As I said recently; there is a world outside The System, there is a real opposition, there is a side of God and Good - and it is in fact the real world (whereas as The System is unreal, a virtuality.

So the situation is that everything we do to attain impersonal, abstract power and influence on The System is entering the realm of virtuality. In other words, in trying to be realistic, we engage in the false; in trying to be practical and pragmatic, we have already made the assumption that the unreal is real. We have lost even before we have begun.

The only true resistance is of the individual and those who are joined by love. Any attempt to upscale this by forming abstract, impersonal institutions has already destroyed itself. If we want to join the side of God, our 'method' is that of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel - which is... no method at all.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

The romantic appeal of life as an unique quest

This is for those who find the above (The Wanderer above a sea of clouds, by Caspar David Friederich) an inspiring and energising painting, capturing a deep yearning... rather than grandiose/ cliched/ corny/ kitsch. I first saw it on the cover of a book by Nietzsche.
 
I certainly feel it, and so do many others - the appeal of my life being an unique quest; following an untrodden path, to reach a previously uninhabited destination. This is the creative life (using creative in the broadest sense with reference to life, nor restricted to the arts, sciences etc).

Since the romantic era, the yearning to live 'a creative life' has been a very common - at least at some point in a person's life. In ideal terms, people don't want to fill a slot - they want to occupy a new place, a place they have made themselves, and ideally keep on making. 

But whether this really works as a guiding idea for life depends on how one regards the world in an ultimate (metaphysical) sense.

When you know where you are going, and the only difference between the people is the route by which you arrive. If the place arrived-at stays the same; if we cannot personally aspire ever to change that place... well, the creative life would not be genuinely create-ive; it would be merely a matter or selections and rearrangements of already existing stuff. It would be like the novelty of a random number generator.

I realise most people are not troubled by such bottom-line incoherences; but i was never able even to aspire to the kind of life as a quest view without also being somewhat paralysed by the recognition that it didn't really make sense; and that I was having to blind myself to the fact. 

So, what is the fullness of creativity? Is is even possible? - Yes, as it turns-out.

The first thing needed is that we live in A Creation, a world being-created - with meaning and purpose that is of personal relevance to me. Because creativity needs context, and this is the context it needs. My creation needs the context of being linked with other creations.

Atheistic materialistic people are always saying that each of us must create his-own meaning and purpose - and stuff like that. But creating in a void isn't creation, because all such activity would be arbitrary. There would be no difference between creation and mere novelty - and indeed no yardstick by which novelty might be detected or measured... Only when creativity links-up is there meaning and purpose.

And then there needs to be permanence as well as newness. Normal metaphysics cannot actually comprehend this; but when I discovered and understood the evolutionary-developmental metaphysics sketched by Mormon theology and clarified for me by Owen Barfield's analysis of ST Coleridge's thought and his concept of Final Participation (of personally participating in the ongoing work of God's creation).

Then I could see a way that creativity could be both permanent and also genuinely transformative... Could be open-ended yet derived from the past - because all 'things' are beings (or parts of beings) and have their identity by lineal descent from eternity.

I can now see that each life can be unique in both its path and its destination and at the same time creative; I could see how things could really change (be transformed by creative activity) yet really permanent (because Beings are eternal).

Of course, this doesn't solve any problem of life; all it means is that now I can try to do it in a whole-hearted manner. It may not seem much to others, but it makes a big difference to me.

Monday, 30 September 2019

What is God?

Different people mean (very) different things; but tend to assume their own belief is self evident.

For example: “God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought. It's as simple as that.” ― Joseph Campbell.

Well, that definition has essentially nothing to do with how I define God, which on the lines of the being/s who created the ordered universe. Of course, any brief definition immediately cries out for further definitions of such terms as 'being', 'create' and 'the universe'.

But the point is that when discussing God I am focused on creation as that-which-was-created by a personal God. I am not talking about everything that is - but that which is created.

I am not talking about God being ultimately physics-y concepts such as forces, tendencies, forms or the like - nor attributes such as infinities, omnis, mysticals, transcendences etc; but I am talking about a being or beings - living, conscious, personal.

I am perfectly aware that many or most other people have a completely different way of talking about God than mine - of which "that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought" is an example. But - what can I say? That is not what I mean by God, that is not what I regard as the ultimate metaphysical assumption - the ultimate basis...

There is not much point in arguing about such ultimate assumptions. I regard God as a person, another regard this is childish and regads God as an abstraction. What could decide - except to locate one's assumptions and then tease-out the consequences of one's own assumptions, and check if these entailments also are endorsed? 

But what can reasonably be argued about by Christians is what Jesus meant by God. And what evidence we have on that subject (what we regard as evidence, and why). My primary objective evidence is the Fourth Gospel - for reasons given in the link. Others would have other primary authorities. (For Christians, primary authorities then need to be validated as genuine, solid, bottom line intuitions - by God within each of us (by virtue of us being God's children), and by revelations of the Holy Ghost.

We should probably then ask questions like: Did Jesus know God as a person, or as an abstraction? Did Jesus know God as a transcendent mystery, or as one person knows another person? Did Jesus see God as a personal creator, or that which is defined by attributes or abstractions?

And what relation does Jesus's knowing have to our knowing? Did Jesus see men as like Himself: children of God, His brothers and sisters, his friends? Or did He see Men as qualitatively different from Himself, inferior beings such that Men cannot know God in the same ways that He knew God - and for whom God can therefore only be a transcendent mystery, a negative-not-known... 

To ask is to answer - it seems to me.

The Underworld and Fiver - the 'shaman' rabbit in Watership Down (perspectives derived from Rudolf Steiner and Owen Barfield)

[Fiver:] Well, there’s another place - another country - isn’t there. We go there when we sleep: at other times too; and when we die. 

El-ahrairah [the rabbits' god] comes and goes between the two as he wants, I suppose, but I never could quite make that out, from the tales. 

Some rabbits will tell you it’s all easy there, compared with the waking dangers that they under- stand. But I think that only shows they don’t know much about it. It’s a wild place, and very unsafe. 

And where are we really - there or here?

[Hazel:] Our bodies stay here - that’s good enough for me.


I am re-reading Richard Adams's novel of genius, Watership Down, for something like the fifth time in the past decade; and it strikes me as even-better with each re-reading.

One of my favourite characters has always been the seer or 'shaman' rabbit, Fiver; whose trance states and clairvoyant visions guide the chief rabbit Hazel in the big decisions that need to be made.


(The fact that Fiver is meant to be a shaman is confirmed by the heading of chapter 26 which is a relevant quote from Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces. Adams was significantly influenced by Campbell's work on anthropology and mythology, and the two men later became acquaintances - Adams speaking ("the proudest moment of my life") at a celebration of Campbell's 80th birthday that is recorded in The Hero's Journey book and video.)


In the above passage Fiver describes the source of his visions; which is the 'underworld' or what Ancient Egyptians termed the 'dwat' - and which was redescribed in would-be scientific terms by Jung as the Collective Unconscious. The world of gods, the spirit aspect of sleeping mortals, spirits of the dead, and perhaps other beings such as angels and demons.

Rudolf Steiner and Owen Barfield had many interesting things to say about the changing, developing relationship between our conscious and waking minds in our mortal, incarnated (embodied) lives; and this underworld.

The first stage is when men (or rabbits, perhaps) were pure spirits, not incarnated. In this state there is no distinction between the Waking-world and the Underworld.


The second stage is after incarnation, when there is a distinction between the Waking-world inhabited by bodies, and the Underworld which can only be visited by the spirit part of Men (and rabbits) - while 'Our bodies stay here' - i.e. in the Waking-world - as Hazel says.

At this second stage there are 'specialists' in crossing to the Underworld, those who modern people term generically shamans - like Fiver. To do this, the spirit must be separated from the body, in a trance, sleep or some other 'altered state of consciousness'. But this crossing generally needs to be done by an act of choice, and perhaps by means of a learned skill; and is a hazardous business.

There is a personal price to pay for most shamans - in terms of such as illness, disability. alienation, social hostility and so forth. Fiver, for example, was a 'runt', smaller and weaker than average male rabbits and of a more nervous disposition.

The first stage seems to be normal when Men lived before agriculture and settled dwellings; as nomadic gatherers and hunters. When men had access to stores of food, they settled and developed specialised occupational hierarchies.

Direct contract with the gods incrementally faded, and a 'professional' priesthood (in charge of myth, ritual, sacred objects, scriptures etc.) displaced shamans.


As the second stage continued in Man's history of consciousness, it became harder and harder to cross this boundary, until (in the past few hundred years) more and more people become unable to cross the boundary, and attain the experiences of the Underworld which are the basis of knowledge of the gods, the dead and other such matters.

Religion became less spirit-experiential until it became almost wholly material-procedural. 

Thus we reach third stage, which is materialism - the assertion that there is no spirit, not Underworld, no gods, and no dead.The fact that extreme changes in consciousness are required to have even a chance of shamanic experiences; means that the content of such experiences are hard to recall accurately; and allows experiences of gods, the dead, clairvoyance etc. to be relegated to the realms of pathology - delusion, hallucination, delirium and the like.


The fourth stage if what Barfield terms Final Participation - it is when experience and knowledge of the Underworld comes directly into the Waking-world - during normal consciousness. So, knowledge of the gods, the dead, angels and demons, and so forth are woven-into the stream of conscious, awake-thinking.

An analogy with the shamanic era is that this integration of the Waking- and Underworld is an act of choice. The Underworld must be believed, regarded as significant, attended to and taken seriously - all of which stands in stark opposition to the materialism of the third stage era.

When the fourth stage happens during mortal life it is a temporary foretaste and learning experience of post-mortal resurrected, Heavenly life; when this becomes the usual nature of consciousness. But our mortal experience of the fourth stage is probably mainly intended to give us a Heavenly understanding of our mortal situation - so that we can learn the significance of our own lives, and the main phenomena in the world around us.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

How to escape The System (the Matrix)

The System is owned by Satan - I mean that the whole world of System (bureaucracy, legalism, totalitarianism, the Ahrimanic - abstraction and impersonality...) is intrinsically demonic in its ultimate nature and tendency.

Many, many have reached this insight over the past 250 years - but there is a problem...

If Not, Then What? If we recognise The System as evil, from where do we make this recognition? If we recognise The Matrix - then where might we escape to that is Not Matrix?

Is every-thing, actually, really The Matrix?


The answer depends on ultimate assumptions. Is there God? Yes is a first step: is God a God of System?

For many Christians (although not, apparently, for Jesus) Christianity is a System called Church. Yet a deep and honest analysis always leads to the conclusion that Church is also System - and not accidentally, but intrinsically.

Church is Not outside System - it is a part of it. So that really - in actuality and ultimately - Church is Not opposed-to System, is Not distinct-from System - and is Not an alternative nor an escape-from System... except in a sort-of, relative, quantitative (and therefore ultimately un-satisfactory) sense.

(Church which is merely and necessarily Not-so-bad-System is inadequate; Church which is bureaucracy, abstraction, legalism is impersonal - hence System - hence rejected by the heart as ultimately part of the demonic scheme.)
 

We can imagine an escape from System into childhood, Original Participation, the Luciferic, the Old Magic... but Childhood is innocence and un-conscious, from adolescence we are conscious and sexual beings - so that if, as such, we attempt to return to childhood, we take our sexuality and consciousness with us.

The result is as we saw in the late 1960s - a dishonest, selfish, despairing hedonism. Not the child-like; but a horribly sexualised and manipulative child-ish-ness. We are back to the demonic by another route.


So our escape from System must be into that which is distinct from System*, precedes System; is personal - is a matter of individual and unique Beings and their unique and Loving relationships.

This is not abstract nor wishful - it is there-to-be-recognised as actual personal experience; as the true-and-proper basis underlying marriage and family: deeper and realer than the institutional arrangements by which The System tries to sometimes reinforce and sustain, but nowadays capture and subvert, marriage and family.


There is therefore a real and primary world outside of System, enclosing System (below, all around and above System) - and that is of-God, and of-our-selves.

It can (in principle) be touched and inhabited by any person at any time and is the destination of those who choose to follow Jesus Christ to resurrected life eternal.

Escape from the Matrix is to dwell in this world of objectively-loving-relationships (in Heaven).


Albeit our lives in this mortal situation are about learning - therefore, it is not possible (nor desirable) for us to dwell-in Heaven now, constantly: that comes later.

The fact we may go into, and out-from, Heaven - during mortal life - is a vital exprience for our learning.We look at life 'from both sides' - and that is intentional and necessary.

What we do need to do now (in mortal life) is each to learn from our dwelling in a mortal world that pretends to be all-System, and nothing-but System; in all its mixed, but ultimately Satanic, nature. This is termed (variously) theosis, deification, sanctification and spiritual progression.

Each person's proper path of theosis is unique and bespoke-tailored. It uses The System, to teach us lessons (which we may, or may not, learn) while remaining apart from it.


* All (without exception) mainstream politics, all secular (not-religious) political theory, all actual and possible non-creator-god ideologies are ultimately just-another-Matrix. This is why nobody is sufficiently motivated to do anything substantive - high risk, long-termist, self-sacrificing, requiring-of-courage - towards a more common-sensical, more 'efficient', more peaceful and prosperous world... i.e. Why the secular Right just loses and loses and loses. Who wants to risk, probably sacrifice, themselves for a different version of the same thing? Indeed, en masse, secular populations cannot even be motivated to have enough children to replace themselves, cannot be motivated to prevent them-selves being demonised and replaced (at their own expense!) with millions upon millions - unceasing - of assorted hostile outsiders... Because, who wants to commit his life to just-another-Matrix? Nobody, really - or a mere handful of powerless, low status types. Courage comes from a genuine and better hope - which is why hope (and faith and love) is a virtue.

Friday, 27 September 2019

Christians (followers of Jesus) cannot work together if they use legalism to enforce orthodoxy

This is restating the argument of my post of a few days ago - from another angle.

There are many Christians of many types - if we take the definition of those eligible for resurrection to life eternal (1) a follower of Jesus who (2) acknowledges his divinity - which is what Jesus says, repeatedly, throughout the Fourth Gospel.

Among those who style themselves Christian in the modern world, there are many who - By My Judgement - are not Christian. This could be termed the 'Fake Christian Crisis' - it is the infiltration of all Western Christian churches by Leftists and Sexual Revolutionaries - aiming incrementally to subvert, destroy,  take-over, and invert most of real Christianity. Fake Christianity has replaced all, or nearly all, of the leadership in major Western denominations including Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbytarians and most mainstream evangelicals. 

And - also By My Judgement, and according to the Fourth Gospel definition - the real Christians are scattered across many churches denominations and no denomination-at-all.

This is 'easy' for me to assert, since I am in the no-denomination category (although associated with, supportive of, a Church of England Conservative Evangelical church); but, since Christians are in a shrinking and persecuted minority in The West, almost every real Christian wants (as I do) to be able to ally-with/ work-with other real Christians.

But... this become de facto impossible when the real Christians respond to the Fake Christian crisis by doubling-down on the legalism. In a nutshell, the strategy is to define the Leftist Sexual revolutionaries as heretics, and to exclude them on that basis.

But the real problem is not heresy but apostasy - the Fake Christians may be orthodox in narrowly defined legalistic terms, they are usually prepared to stand up and make strict oaths and promises in which they do not believe and have zero intention of living-by; but they are Obviously Not Christian in terms of not being followers of Jesus and/ or not believing in the divinity of Jesus.

This is presumably why the legalistic approach to fighting Fake Christianity has been a near-total failure. 

What can easily be seen by the truth-seeking and discerning eye (or rather heart) is typically invisible to the words of legalism. The answer is simple, but it depends on honest, informed human judgement - for which there is no substitute - nor will there ever be a substitute... so long as Goodness is required: Goodness is a personal, not abstract, attribute.

Once we have cast aside the false idea that Christianity is, or ought to be, protected by legalism - by definitions and procedures (surely an idea that would have been rejected - sharply - by Jesus?) then matters can be much clearer - clearer although not, of course, necessarily easy or simple in practice.

For this to happen each must take personal responsibility for the judgement that he or she must make about others: we must judge others, and we must also be clear that the judgement of others is, can only be, must be for each of us - a personal judgement.

That is to say, we each must discern (with the discernment of the heart - not by checklist and tickbox) who are the real, and who the fake, Christians - and act accordingly, And 'must' means must.

What is baptism in the Fourth Gospel? Divine transformation

What happened at the baptism of Jesus?

(The relevant text from the Fourth Gospel is below.)

John the Baptist was baptising many people. From John's perspective, it is implied that at each baptism he saw the Spirit descend and then depart. But when John baptised Jesus, the spirit remained.

This presumably means that all who were baptised by John were briefly touched by divinity but Jesus was transformed and became divine.

So, from John's perspective, it would seem that baptising was primarily a means of detecting, and 'making' the Messiah - the Lamb of God.

What about the people who were being baptised - first by John, then by the disciples - but not by Jesus himself; after the Messiah had been discovered? (Referenced later in the Fourth Gospel.) Presumably these baptisms were done in order to have people touched by the Spirit. Perhaps this induced a - temporary - change of heart (repentance) that could be built-upon.

The Gospel of Luke - 3:3 (presumably) quotes someone who remembered that John had been "preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins".  What does this mean, if true?

My guess is that those baptised by John were temporarily cleansed of all sin, were turned towards God - so that they could commune with the divine Spirit. When this happened to Jesus, he realised who he was, became fully divine, began his ministry. 

But Jesus did not baptise with water - but 'baptised' with the Holy Ghost. And we know (from later in the Fourth Gospel) that the Holy Ghost came only after Jesus had ascended. This seems to be using 'baptise' metaphorically (as we would term it, although at that time and place such a metaphor was literal as well as symbolic) - it is a reference to what Jesus would ultimately achieve by enabling all Men who 'followed' him to become resurrected, divine, and attain life everlasting.

Thus baptism seems to be a matter of being touched by divinity; either temporarily, or else as a permanent process - to become oneself divine.

In other words (at least when performed by John or the disciples); baptism was a temporary divine transformation; analogous to the permanent divine transformation that is resurrection to eternal life


Note: By 'transformation' to divine I mean the term literally; since we and Jesus are siblings, and the actual children of God, we have the nature and possibility to become divine in the same way (to a subordinate degree, since we dwell in God's creation) as God the creator. It is therefore a 'process' somewhat resembling the metamorphic transformation of caterpillar to butterfly. It follows that there is more than one god in addition to the creator, including - potentially - as many gods as there are Men. (Although in practice some Men - perhaps most Men - reject the gift of Christ to his followers; that of resurrection to eternal life: to god status.)


John 1: [19] And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? [20] And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. [21] And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. [22] Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? [23] He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. [24] And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. [25] And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? [26] John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; [27] He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose. [28] These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. [29] The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. [30] This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. [31] And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. [32] And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. [33] And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. [34] And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. [35] Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; [36] And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!