Thursday, 17 September 2020

Why the mass vulnerability to crude and incoherent propaganda? Interpretation is more fundamental than perception

Man has been becoming detached from his original, spontaneous, natural contact with the god/s, spirits, nature and other Men for many generations - indeed for many hundreds of years. Originally Men lived in a kind of immersive telepathic contact with all of these and with each other - but that has been dwindling for a long time - and at about the millenium the separation became complete for almost everyone, from adolescence onwards. 

Lacking such an immersive awareness, almost everyone is now utterly dependent upon external perceptions - incoming 'information' from the senses, communications, images etc. And because 'information' includes both the symbolic code and the decoder; Modern Man not only absorbs what specifically to think (ideas, beliefs, facts) - but much more significantly, how to interpret perceptions: how to think about things. 

Modern Man blots-up concepts along with data; absorbs his software as well as his inputs. 

 

Modern Man is therefore pathetic in his extreme vulnerability to external influence - and since both perception and interpretation are equally open and adrift; there is no easy answer. 

In particular, there is no way in which large-scale (mass) external influence can cure this fundamental deficiency in the ability to resist external influence!

We need and must have the ability to interpret, think and be motivated-from our inner reality - which reality is also the only possible route to the realities of the god/s, spirits, nature and other Men. 

 

Access to inner reality - which is actually the divine within us - is made difficult by the entirety of mainstream public discourse (and all kinds of institutions, including churches), by inculcated habits; and access if made impossible when our conceptual framework rejects all inner realities that contradict our imposed-programming; as meaningless, trivial or (increasingly) immoral. 

 

(For Modern Man the source of evil is the individual's soul; the path of 'salvation' is to be open to 'the right kind' of external influence; and the only disagreement between people concerns the 'right kind' of source of external influence to which we should open our-selves. But then any person's discernment between rival sources is equally open to external influences...)

 

The stark nature of our condition is that the answer lies within everyone (at least, every person or being capable of love); but the answer is almost-wholly dependent upon each person both diagnosing his continuous state of sinful passivity to the demonic; and also seeking his own cure. 

Unless or until an individual initiates the seeking of his own salvation from his own divine inner resources by means of 'intuition'; his situation is literally hope-less. 

I mean he has No Hope.

Yet, if any Man does seek salvation within; vast creative divine resources will immediately be available  to assist. The merest pinhole made by inner-divine-soul intent is all that is required as an entry point for help from the god/s, spirit, nature and other Men (including the so-called dead). 

But that initiatory intent is absolutely required.


Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Rudolf Steiner on the Sub-Nature we now inhabit

At the end of his life, Rudolf Steiner dictated a summary of the key ideas that he wished emphasise. These were not finished, but the very last things he wrote about - in a posthumously published book entitled Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts (Collected Works number 26) were some of his most insightful and prophectic statements - although difficult to understand without some background knowledge. 

These have been made much clearer by a 2020 book from Jeremy Naydler The struggle for a human future, which I recommend reading.  

The following blog post, written earlier today, is my current understanding of what Steiner is implying, but did ot live long enough to formulate and state explicitly.

Anyway, here is an edited excerpt from these final words, which can be seen in full here.

 

By far the greater part of that which works in modern civilisation through technical Science and Industry — wherein the life of man is so intensely interwoven — is not Nature at all, but Sub-Nature. 

It is a world which emancipates itself from Nature — emancipates itself in a downward direction. 

 

Entering the purely earthly element, Man strikes upon the Ahrimanic realm. With his own being he must now acquire a right relation to the Ahrimanic. 

But in the age of Technical Science hitherto, the possibility of finding a true relationship to the Ahrimanic civilisation has escaped man. He must find the strength, the inner force of knowledge, in order not to be overcome by Ahriman in this technical civilisation. 

 

He must understand Sub-Nature for what it really is. This he can only do if he rises, in spiritual knowledge, at least as far into extra-earthly Super-Nature as he has descended, in technical Sciences, into Sub-Nature. 

The age requires a knowledge transcending Nature, because in its inner life it must come to grips with a life-content which has sunk far beneath Nature — a life-content whose influence is perilous. 

 

Needless to say, there can be no question here of advocating a return to earlier states of civilisation. The point is that man shall find the way to bring the conditions of modern civilisation into their true relationship-to himself and to the Cosmos. 

There are very few as yet who even feel the greatness of the spiritual tasks approaching man in this direction. 

Electricity, for instance, celebrated since its discovery as the very soul of Nature's existence, must be recognised in its true character — in its peculiar power of leading down from Nature to Sub Nature

Only man himself must beware lest he slide downward with it. 

 

In the age when there was not yet a technical industry independent of true Nature, man found the Spirit within his view of Nature. 

But the technical processes, emancipating themselves from Nature, caused him to stare more and more fixedly at the mechanical-material, which now became for him the really scientific realm. 

In this mechanical-material domain, all the Divine-Spiritual Being connected with the origin of human evolution, is completely absent. The purely Ahrimanic dominates this sphere. 

 

In the Science of the Spirit, we now create another sphere in which there is no Ahrimanic element. It is just by receiving in Knowledge this spirituality to which the Ahrimanic powers have no access, that man is strengthened to confront Ahriman within the world. 

An end to abstraction - the problem of indirect communication

We are dying of abstraction, of the Ahrimanic - manifested as the global, totalitarian, bureaucratic-media system. The only escape from abstraction is in the personal, and in direct communication - which is that 'shared thinking' which exists in the realm of universal reality (but to say that is itself an abstraction). 

What this means is that there is here-and-now a problem with all actual and possible indirect communications, for example using language (or pictures, or other symbols - anything which entails perception, interpretation of perceptions etc) - for example This

What you are reading now is exactly the kind of problem I mean.

 

I have talked about the primacy of intuition; but I see now that intuition goes further than I had realised. Because there is no such thing as the objective. All knowledge is personal, all knowledge includes the 'subjective'... 

This means that there is no such thing as 'detachable knowledge'.  

All information is contextual, and the context is a Being - i.e. personal. So it is not possible to speak, write or otherwise indirectly-communicate knowledge to anyone; as if knowledge could be removed from subjectivity and moved-around or stored: it can't.

 

Even the most apparently objective 'fact' is not a fact; but is only a part of the unit of meaning; because the unit of meaning is in consciousnes, in thinking, entails a Being. 

The true knowledge is active, current, always-personal.

This matters acutely because we are spiralling down into a sub-human, sub-real hell of abstraction and system; and if we base our primary knowing on anything in this abstracted world, we will we taking the side against God. 

 

Thus, I may have a valid intuition, but I cannot communicate it to you or anyone else without a near certainty of falsity. This applies even to 'simple facts'; but especially seriously to fundamental truths, to living realities. 

I can have sure intuitions about here and now, what is happen-ing; but not about any detached item of knowledge concerning past or future. 

True knowledge cannot be 'stored' - for example in written words, or recordings, or pictures - because this leaves out the interpretation and understanding. 

 

I have written a great deal about metaphysics; but even metaphysics is a part of the Satanic world (the Establishment world working against God and creation, and against The Good)- because metaphysics is words, symbols... abstractions: metaphysics is just a model of reality. 

Metaphysics is not reality itself. 

 

There is perhaps a role for a different, rival metaphyiscs than mainstream materialism; and such an alternative can serve to break the 'spell' of materialism. ...Can show us that The System is wrong, or at least that alternative and more coherent systems are possible. 

Perhaps some of my earlier blog posts - and this can - can be so considered...

But any such spiritual metaphysics can only be a temporary phase en route to no-metaphysics-at-all as the basis of a person's belief. And the direct communication of simultaneous, here-and-now, shared thinking as the only valid method of interpersonal knowing.

 

This is the situation into which we are compelled by the progressively totalising corruption of The System; and by its alignment against God. 


Thursday, 10 September 2020

How can God help us?

My phraseology is intentional - 'can' is the word I mean. Although God is the creator, God cannot do everything.

(The false and incoherent idea that God is omnipotent and omniscient is not truly Christian, but was imported from pre-Christian Classical philosophy.)

In particular, this is a living 'universe' and reality is full of Beings - each of which is an agent, and each Being can (although not necessarily) generate intention: can think from himself. 

 

As usual, the analogy (which is also literal) of God as parents, and Men (and other Beings) as children makes matters clearer. A parent may compel a young child to perform certain actions, or prevent other actions - but a parent cannot compel what the child wants, cannot eradicate sin... An ideal, loving parent may teach, but cannot ensure that a specific child will learn.

God created and continues to create this world for our experience and learning; but He cannot compel us to learn from our experience - indeed we may learn the opposite of what was intended. 

(That is why this mortal world was built. If learning was not necessary, mortal life would not be necessary.)

For instance; any act of divine compassion may be (and has been) interpreted as aggression; just as happens between loving parents and an evil-motivated child. 

 

So, when it comes to God helping us in this current absolutely dire global situation of totalitarianism triumphant - where the forces of evil hold nearly all the power, and with the active consent of nearly-all ruling humans and the tacit acquiescence of the masses - what God can do (and does do) is to continue to create opportunities for learning, for each and every one of us. 

God is doing this on an individually-tailored basis. God has, in your here-and-now, created a situation from-which you (personally) are intended to learn some-thing of importance for your spiritual development and/or salvation.

...Not the general situation, but your situation; not for people in general but for you exactly. 

 

God cannot, and does not, try to 'fix' any global problems created by the evil nature of choices of great masses of Men - except or unless if to do so may be specifically helpful for specific persons. And you cannot know this, neither can I, nor can anyone - because all such outcomes depend upon the concordance of massive numbers of future choices by persons (and other Beings) who are free agents. 

 

What you need to know, and what I need to know, is related to our current circumstance; and that we can know - and we can know this directly (as-it-were mind to mind, without any 'mediation' such as language). We can know it by intuition from our true selves (i.e. that which is divine within us, being as were are children of God); and we can know it from the Holy Ghost - which is everywhere a source of guidance and comfort - in prayer/ meditation.

 

And once some-thing has been learned, then there will be some other thing to be learned. 

Life is never 'sorted-out'; there is no limit to the number of things we can learn - and one leads on to another; which is why the greatest saints were never complacent, and always aware of how much they had not learned.

What we have not learned may be termed our sins, and the process of learning can be termed repentance; which is why even the greatest of saints know themselves to be sinners. 

 

The Christian antidote to fear is trust in God, our loving Father the Creator; who can and does turn all actual events into possibilities for our personal learning; aimed at resurrection (of me, of you) to everlasting life in Heaven. We can trust that this will happen, but it is up to us - from our freedom - to make use of the opportunities God is providing.

 

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Must Christianity be a revealed religion?

When I became a Christian, I accepted that there were natural and revealed religions: and Christianity was a revealed religion. It was an 'historical' religion; which made claims about human history and 'therefore' (it was said) some history must be taught, learned and accepted.

A natural religion like the animism of hunter gatherers was the natural and spontaneous spirituality, and paganism was an elaboration and formalisation of this spontaneous animism (totemic religions being a half-way house). Hinduism was perhaps the highest development of this spontaneous paganism - yes, it is full of culturally specific detail, but something like the polytheism of Hinduism would form in all civilizations (eg Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome), by culturally inflected spontaneous developments...

But, supposedly, Christianity was not like this; it was (like Judaism, like Islam) one of the revealed religions.


In other words, the idea was that we could Not work-out Christianity for ourselves, from our spontaneous inner feelings and reactions, and natural ways of thinking about the human condition and the world in general. We needed to be told about Christianity; or brought-up in it.

The idea was that - if a bunch of young children were raised from infancy to adulthood, on an island, cut off from the world, they would Not become Christians. This was the rational basis for Christian missionary work.

To become Christians people would need to be told, or to read, about Jesus, his life and teaching - what it meant, what to do... People needed (one or more of) pastors, priests, a church organisation, access to scripture (aurally or by reading), some knowledge of the history of the church, knowledge of doctrine or theology... They may well require participation in specific (recorded, taught) rituals. That Kind Of Stuff...


But there is another way of regarding Christianity as a natural religion. I sometimes think of this as a 'cosmic' view of the work of Christ: that what Jesus did was to change the cosmos.

Jesus changed the nature of reality. He altered the structure of things - such that there were new possibilities; such that after Jesus people could be Christians - that is could follow Jesus to everlasting life in Heaven, and could become Sons and Daughters of God - entirely from their own natural, spontaneous, inner dispositions and knowledge...

Because of the cosmic changes made by Jesus; it became possible for someone to be a follower of Christ without any specific knowledge of Christ.


Is this true? I believe it is true; and I hope it is true!

Because if it is Not true, then Christianity is on its way-out; because the records and teaching of revelation, and the ways that people are interpreting it, are by now deeply tainted and corrupted.

Revealed Christianity nowadays points away-from Christ and towards the totalitarian System of this world. Revealed Christianity has it that Christianity must be changed and fitted into the mainstream, dominant, global ideology.

 

The question to ask is whether a loving God (our Father, the creator) would allow a situation to exist. Would such a God allow a situation in which his children - who wished to find it - were unable to discover and discern the truth; because the history was lies, the priests and pastors were political ideologues, the rituals were degraded, and everybody was trained to interpret the world through the lens of politics?

I do not accept such an understanding. On the contrary, I believe that God has made it so that whatever is required for Men to attain salvation and theosis is possible for any individual person, anywhere, unaided - and despite any amount of falsehood and distortion.

So, I now regard Christianity as one of the natural religions.


Note added: If you ask how? Consider that there need not be a single route to natural Christianity; indeed there very probably isn't. There may be as many routes to becoming a Christian (without 'external' revelation) as there are individuals; depending on their disposition and situation. There are innumerable possible ways that a particular person may come to know the truth - involving both innate qualities, and potential divine interventions.

Monday, 7 September 2020

Why this might be The End

(Note - I made some additions c.6 hours after this was first posted.)

About a decade ago; I wrote a post in which I speculated that the End Times - the end of human life (or life as such), and/ or the end of the planet - might happen when mortal life on earth became net-harmful to the chance of salvation.

This now strikes me as too mathematical a viewpoint, and I also failed to take into account that (presumably) God "places" different kinds of soul into different cultural phases; on the basis that the best conditions for salvation differ between souls with different dispositions.

(Note - I believe that we all lived pre-mortally as spirit children of God, and already had different dispositions before this mortal life.)

So that these modern conditions, in which the demonic powers dominate global and national politics, government and media - and this domination has been extended ever wider and deeper - is optimal for the "teaching" of some types of person.

Nonetheless, the basic point seems valid that At Some Point, the "experiment" of human life on earth may have become so spiritually hostile that it will be brought to an end, by one means or another. By God (via whatever intermediary causes He chooses) and for the good of Mankind.

And I have a strong feeling that this will happen very soon (days or weeks soon). I have no evidence for this at all, beyond that a few others have independently come to feel the same. But (having had this intuition for some months) I think the time has come to state it 'for the record'; although I don't intend to say anything more on the subject.

I don't think this has any special "lifestyle" implications except that we should not delay in clarifying our own understanding and desires concerning First Things - but given the contingencies of human mortal life, this urgency has always been an imperative, anyway.

What then? I don't know. Another world, another experimental learning environment? Or maybe the needful and beneficial possibilities of incarnate mortal life have by now been achieved?

This is not a matter for argument or persuasion: either I am right or wrong, and soon we will know. But as a generic possibility, later if not sooner, this seems a plausible end point.


Sunday, 6 September 2020

A strange world where the people are evil, but the place isn't

I had a striking insight in the Lake District recently, that this is a world in which almost-all the people are (to varying degrees) evil: by which I mean quite precisely that they have taken the side of Satan against God and Creation.

Yet, the world around me - especially the natural world of animals, plants and landscape - it not evil. The natural world is part of God's creation, and (unlike Man) nature is Not in rebellion against itself - therefore it is good.

I think this is one reason why They (the representatives of purposive evil in this world) are so keen to keep us away from nature; to put the non-natural between us and nature (barriers ranging from glass and concrete - to sheer noise and other distractions); why They were so very keen to lock us inside; why They are so keen that all interactions should be masked, distant or via electronic (symbolic, artificial) intermediaries.

I am more aware of the goodness of nature now than ever before; when the contrast with Men is so stark and extreme.

What is needed now is a return to the natural world of spirit, within which nature unconsciously dwells; and which we as children once inhabited - that realm variously and partially conceptualised as the Acient Egyptian Duat, the underworld, the dream-world, the collective unconscious...

The task is to make the unconscious conscious; to make what was spontaneous and unchosen the consequence of conscious choice. 

What does God want from us? - Reverse Engineering 2020

In general I try to stick to the individual perspective when it comes to destiny. We are meant to learn from our own experiences in mortal life - not those of the general population (and especially not when communicated by the mass media).

However, 2020 seems to teach us, generally, that we must be individually responsible agents.

Anyone who looks for external guidance, who takes his values from The World; will be adopting the perspective of Satan - will be taking the side against God - and therefore is likely to reject Christ's offer of eternal life.

Everywhere we turn for guidance, there is The Lie; a vastly complex system of millions of micro lies, built upon a few Big Lies -- that are themselves gross inversions of reality and asserted to be empirical facts. All large or powerful or wealthy or influential institutions are active followers and advocates of The Lie.

On the one hand, we have a world of evil - falsehood, false interpretation, false perspectives; and the encouragement of sins such as fear and resentment (but painted as virtue)...

And on the other hand - just our-selves.

Those who ally with God and who oppose the system may, if lucky, have support from a handful of honest folk. But this won't Just Happen. Such honest folk must be sought and selected from the mass of evil-allied corruption.

The socially-minded, the conformist, those who want to be nice and to get along, follow a career, just relax and have fun... those who accept the framework, the priorities and talking points, of the politics-mediaplex and the linked bureaucracies... All such are now working as agents of the devil.

These are, of course, a large majority.

It looks to me as if this has rapidly, and very completely, become the New Normal...

Either we make a commitment to root our worldview in our own discernment; or else we join our own life with the powers of purposive evil.

There is no neutral ground - there never has been. But now and for the first time, we are each on a solo quest through this life.

Friday, 4 September 2020

You and whose army?

This is the big question in 2020. When people say or write that 'we' will not stand for X, and if They go ahead with X then 'we' will do something or another to stop it, or punish Them, or something... This all invites the childhood response: "You and whose army?".

Who Exactly is this We, and if We are so powerful, how come We have done nothing effective about anything so far?

All this tough talk (particularly from the pseudonymous) is bluster and bluff at best, but more often an evasion of the grim reality of being beaten, of being defeated and colonised.

We are not keeping our powder dry - because there is no powder. We are not waiting to pick the right fight, defend the last bridge... There is no line in the sand (and if there was, it was overrun a long time since).

The reality is that we don't each have an army to back us, nor is there any strategy - so it makes no sense (and is deceptive) to talk tactics.

Either what we Do is individual and immediate, done without expectation of back-up and in the teeth of mass hostility; or nothing will be done.

Don't kid youself. Dishonesty is a sin. If some thing should be done but you don't; then acknowledge and repent your failure. For Christians repentance is enough, but it is mandatory.

Don't pretend that you are a secret hero and your moral failures are all part of a master plan.

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Whose fault?

Avoiding blame is a great vice, a generative crucible of sins...

In women, especially: I did what you/ they said - so it's not my fault.

In men: You/ they didn't do what I said: so it's not my fault.

The truth is that you are your fault and I am my fault. You life is your responsibility, mine is mine.

We Need Both to take and to acknowledge responsibility.I

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Modern Man is thought-by The System

We think reality into being, using the stuff of existence (which, of itself, has no meaning).

This is now obvious in the sense that facts and evidence clearly don't matter - only the power to impose ideology... which is the power to impose interpretations.

Thus reality depends on thinking. For a Christian; free will or human agency is a truth - so our thinking is chosen; for Modern Man that choice must be conscious.

If instead we choose to believe that reality is unchosen, that reality is that which is forced upon us; then we will believe that The System is reality.

Therefore, the mass majority who are passive, unchosen, unconscious; who receive reality - do not think, but are thought-by The System.

All the time.

Their thinking is a Product of ideology interpretation, applied to controlled perceptions/ manipulated emotions and memories of perceptions and emotions.

It is that first decision not to think From oneself that leads inexorably to being-thought by The System.

And The System is evil.

Monday, 31 August 2020

Can Christians be sure of salvation?

Christianity is other worldly, next worldly, in its nature.

But because Christians are resurrected into a Heaven of persons, this life is a necessary and potentially valuable prelude.

As a loose analogy: a doctor must first attend medical school. School is finite and much shorter than medical practice; but (If opportunities are grasped), that which is learned at school may have "permanent" and beneficial effects on the large future beyond.

Thus the benefits of medical school are best grasped when the student knows he is destined for a long professional practice.

Thus we are meant to be confident in our salavation, confident that we resurrect and go to Heaven after this life. Confidence is correct.

But we will go to Heaven only if we make the choice to follow Jesus, just as we will only become a doctor if we learn at medical school.

If we fall into bad habits at medical school, we will cease to want to become a doctor; and will drop out. Likewise, when our mortal life is wrong, we may choose to reject Heaven.

Otherwise, our own salvation is indeed assured.

Sunday, 30 August 2020

What was John the Baptist doing when he baptized?

John the Baptist was seeking the Lamb of God, and at the same time building a group of disciples and followers for the Lamb when he was found.

He did this by baptism; which was a 'diagnostic test', a supernatural method for discernment.

When John baptized, he could see the movement of the divine spirit. When he saw the spirit descend and touch upon a person during baptism, this person was accepted as a disciple.

These disciples would then bring other people to John for "testing".

The author of the Fourth Gospel (miscalled "John" - actually Lazarus) was one such disciple, and brought his sister's betrothed husband Jesus to John for testing.

When Jesus was baptised, the divine spirit descended and stayed with Jesus. By this, John knew that Jesus was the Lamb of God; and Jesus became fully divine - such that he could consciously participate in creation and perform miracles.

John, and also Jesus's chosen disciples, continued to recruit followers by discerning-baptism for a while; but John's essential work had been done by finding Jesus and being the agent of his divinization - thus John's ministry waned as Jesus's waxed.


Note: To evaluate the above, you might try reading the earlier chapters of the Fourth Gospel, bearing in mind this "diagnostic"/ discerning explanation of the nature of baptism.


Saturday, 29 August 2020

Why people stay in Leftism after the fun stops

Leftism gets individuals, and got our civilization, by being more fun than Christianity. 1966 and 1967 were fun years... Swinging London, the summer of love.

It retrospect it was superficial, pretentious... Sex, drugs rock and roll... It was at root a promise of hedonism, a world of guilt-free pleasure. But it was fun...

But very quickly, by 1968; Leftism took a different turn, towards angry, violent demands for pacifism, feminism, antiracism and the rest of it. Instead of "freedom" there was a growing bureaucracy of Human Rights.

The process, the bait and switch, has continued person by person ever since; liberation, followed by assimilation into The System. The System growing ever stronger, the hedonism dwindling to its recent rock bottom of lockdownsocialdistancing...

Yet, once grabbed by the hedonic promises of Leftism, it is a rare individual who steps away. And no society, no Nation has stepped away... We live in a Leftist world.

Hardly anybody seems to notice that what began as fun has ended in dullness, fear and mutual resentment.

Why? Because the process, at root, is a positive feedback cycle of leaving God, of rejecting God, of living without God - each decision a step further away; each step reinforcing the previous.

Why no learning, no noticing, no negative feedback, no rebellion against the lies and fakery? Because each step is a removal of the heart, the core, the very capacity for judgement and learning.

By now we are less than a civilization, less than Men..and each individual has walked this path, step by step, by many choices.

Friday, 28 August 2020

This dullest, seediest, most mundane of apocalypses/ revolutions

A brief further word on this striking phenomenon from WmJas Tychonievich*.

I had not been prepared for just how stupid the apocalypse would be, how obscene, how inane. 

Nothing so romantic as an Armageddon, no grand Last Battle, no stern Götterdämmerung. No, the earthy expression turns out to have been nearest the truth all along: when the shit hits the fan

And how interesting is that?


Note: My impression is that people are 'keeping cheerful' by resolutely Not-thinking; all are hope-less.

...What, after all, is there to hope for? (Materially-speaking - and that, apparently, is everything.)

Fearful of what is happening, and especially of what may happen (with full official-media support) - but nobody is excited.

Resistance is too little, too late; subversion doesn't work, because of the docility, gullibility and empty-headedness of the mass population; counter-revolution ruled-out by the lack of any substantive support.

Because we (as a civilization) are getting just precisely what we ask for: a God-less world in its fullest implications - which means There Is No Alternative to ever-fuller assimilation into the nothingness that is The Borg/ The System/ The Matrix... 

No alternative but death - which to Modern Man is just another kind of Nothing.


*Wm's title echoes the close of TS Eliot's Hollow Men poem - which seems ever more precient:

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but with a whimper.

Thursday, 27 August 2020

The medical Inkling - Robert "Humphrey" Havard

Over at The Notion Club Papers; I've republished a paper from 2009 in which I give an account of Robert Havard (aka Humphrey, the Red Admiral and UQ = Useless Quack) who was the medical Inkling (and the doctor to both JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis). In it, I examine a paper Havard published in the Journal of Physiology of 1926; comtrasting its style and methods with those prevalent some 80 years later.

Perfect moments in life - their relation to Heaven

It is fairly common for atheists to feel that Heaven solves no problems . One idea is that Heaven is merely a continuation, a perpetuation of life, and not qualitatively different. Hence they assume that Heaven is more-of-the-same; therefore no answer to anything...

Or else, atheists feel that if Heaven is indeed qualitatively different from this mortal life, then such a different state would not so much solve, as obliterate, the problems of this mortal life. For instance, if Heaven is a state of ego-less bliss, then 'I' am no longer my-self; so 'my' problems have been removed only by removing 'me'...

(This idea of Heaven as inhabited by qualitatively-changed "unrecognisable" people is somewhat like 'solving' unhappiness by extreme intoxication, anaesthesia or some kind of destructive brain surgery... Yes we get rid of misery, but only by getting rid of any aware state of being; by reducing each specific individual human to something other, or less.) 


But there is another way of framing this business...

When I was a young man, I did not believe in any life but this mortal one; and I gravitated towards a 'philosophy' whereby life was 'about' perfect moments - (somehow, to be decided - I hoped) expanded to occupy total significance.

I envisaged that I may be able to experience perfect moments such that one would expand to occupy my total consciousness in a timeless kind of way - or else that I might project my-self into this state; and that perhaps death would take me while in such a timeless state.

So, I would sometimes experience a perfect moment, and I would know at that time that I was experiencing perfection. (And it was important that I did recognise and acknowledge these moments.) My intention was that I would live primarily to experience such moments; and my 'real' life was such moments - the rest being just preparation, filler or for bodily sustenance.

Consequently; if I found myself in a perfect moment, I would try to hold and sustain it as long as possible; wring every drop from it. With predictable results.)  


This has been a fairly common strategy for living since the 1800s among non-Christian, and not-supernaturalist, Romantics - for example, Ralph Waldo Emerson articulated such a philosophy, and James Joyce with his 'epiphanies' (I discovered and was much influenced by Joyce at age 19). CS Lewis describes (and analyses) such moments with great clarity in his autobiographical Surprised by Joy as being a focus of his pre-Christian life.

I would now regard this as a genuine but partial truth.

I believe that such perfect epiphanic moments are indeed possible, they are truly important, and they can happen - although they do not always happen. For example, I had many such moments as a late teen up to age about 21; but there were long periods afterwards when I did not have any such (no matter how I tried or wanted - and, of course, trying is a problem!).


So what do I now think about perfect moments?

My understanding is (stated briefly, and partially) that Heaven consists of life lived at the level of these mortal perfect moments. 

What, then, is the difference between epiphanies in mortal life and in Heaven?

The first is that perfect moments have a different purpose. In this mortal life the perfect moments are experiences from-which we are supposed to learn; for example, I have learned from them a foretaste of the many and various joys of Heaven - a vision that, when contemplated, may fill me with hope and clarify my aims.

But for one who believes that this mortal life is everything and death is extinction; the perfect moments are sad - they lead to the emotion which the German Romantics called Sehnsucht - a bittersweet yearning, which invades even the moments themselves (rapidly eroding their perfection).

Sehnsucht derives from our knowledge that the moment is inevitably transient; it will not last; our memory of the moment and our capacity to experience that memory will weaken and extinguish.

So that the perfect moment is gone, even as it is being recognised...


Yet when they are regarded as insights into the Heavenly state, the transience of perfect moments is not a problem but related to their function. Because the ultimate concern of mortal life is not 'cashed-out' in this life but the next; not mortal memory but the permanence of recollection in an immortal resurrected Man.  

(Because immortality is immunity to the entropic processes that are inevitable and intrinsic to mortal life. Immortality is perpetually-self-renewing.) 

Perfect moments, indeed, may give insight into what it is like to be a resurrected immortal living in Heaven.

We can potentially imagine what life would be like if it was lived as one perfect moment after another... Or more exactly, lived such that perfections blend-into a continuous, fluidly-changing state of being; a process of living. 


We can also see (from our experiences in mortal life) that such a Heavenly life would entail a world constituted people who all were committed to living in such a way; people for whom this was the most important way of being; and therefore people necessarily harmonised in means and ends, in methods and purposes, by their mutual love, freely consented.

I learned this need for a loving Heaven; because I recognised that so many people had no interest in perfect moments, did not recognise or value such moments; rejected the situations and attitudes that led to such moments. People who had other ideas of what life is for or about.

I presume such people would not want Heaven, and would not be found there (but some other place or places) - and therefore such people would not in Heaven (as they so often do here on earth) continually operate to prevent, sabotage and subvert perfect moments.


We can and should enjoy perfect moments, because their joyfulness is perhaps the best part of mortal life - but that is not all; that is not the end of the matter.

The joy of perfect moments is not used-up in current pleasure, nor limited by the durability of brain-based memory - because such joy signifies potential knowledge

It is up to each-of-us to recognise and live-by that knowledge.


Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Our global descent into madness - by William Wildblood

Essential reading over at William Wildblood's blog. An excerpt:

We are living in times which are both extraordinary and just plain dull.

Nothing of any real interest is taking place even though recent events have been both dramatic and unprecedented. But none of it really means anything as nothing can mean anything in the absence of God.

Now he has been forgotten for so long that in most people's minds he has become like Odin or Zeus, merely an old tribal god we have long since outgrown. Unfortunately, this simply means that human beings have begun to lose the will to live though they are still afraid of death. Without a spiritual background to life, it becomes merely a sorry succession of moments of seeking pleasure which eventually palls and then all that matters is avoiding pain.

Our science is no longer the search for truth and understanding about the universe but a kind of technocratic support system crippled by ideology. Our art is the product of sterile minds digging into the body of the past and thinking they are making something new from the corpse.

And our religion, what there is of it, amounts to little more than warming up the leftovers of a feast most of which has long since been consumed so the nourishment has gone. As for politics, well that is all of whatever stripe quite obviously moving closer and closer to totalitarianism.

Read the whole thing...

Charles Williams taking abstraction to the max...

Over at The Notion Club Papers; I explain how Charles Williams's rigorous and honest abstracting tendency was helpful in bringing me to an opposite set of assumptions.  


This age of repentance (not faith)

Clearly this is Not an age of faith. It is common to hear someone complain that he lacks faith; and where there is faith is seems too weak to resist the assaults of life. Christians are unable to live in accordance their beliefs, in an age when these are opposed on every side.

Others say they would like to be a Christian, but cannot make themselves believe.

In sum; a gulf has opened between what might be termed conviction and achievement.

I have even heard it said that 'I cannot repent' of sin, of wrongdoing. Or 'I cannot make myself repent', 'I find that don't even want to repent'.  


Does this stuff matter? Yes, of course it matters; it is a diminution of life. But for a Christian none of this matters ultimately.

My point is that repentance is of infinite power and scope. If someone lacks faith, he can repent his lack of faith. If someone cannot live in accordance with his beliefs; this too can be repented.

And if somebody cannot repent, does not want to repent - then this too can be repented. Yes! We really can (and should, of course) repent our lack of repentance - and thus the work is done.

A Man that wants to be a Christian, but cannot make the 'leap of faith' is already a Christian.


A Christian is defined by his ultimate conviction, by what he ultimately wants; not be what he achieves. We are all sinners -what is decisive is whether this is acknowledged; and what this means is that it is our conviction that counts, and not our behaviour.

For example - that primary domain of sin in modernity: sexuality. Sexual morality is defined (for a Christian) by ultimate affirmation - not by what a person actually does. What we actually do may be a product of our specific personality - which substantially innate, inborn, inherited - and our specific social environment.

Nearly everybody can be 'broken'; can be compelled, tricked or seduced into sexual immorality given certain combinations of circumstances, sufficient severity and duration of pressure. Most people can potentially (whether with little or much pressure) be induced into denying morality, supporting immorality - by attitude, word or deed.

And the same applies to other forms of moral behaviour.


Conversely, a person may behave in accordance with approved Christian sexual morality; but only passively, perhaps because he is a plaint personality living in a moral environment. Or because he is too afraid to break some taboo, or afraid of some consequence of prescribed morality. Or because he simply has no opportunity to act immorally.

Yet that same well-behaved person may believe (in his heart, as ultimate conviction) that some or other sexual immorality is actually good - or that the whole business of sexual morality is actually nothing-but convention or social control.

We can see that what matters is ultimate not proximate; will not ability; freedom not influence; conviction not behaviour; spirit not psychology. 


The necessity is that immorality be repented - which entails inwardly affirming the truth of Christian morality.

The power of repentance for a Christian is that it renders us independent of environmental circumstance, it even renders us independent of our inborn and acquired personality.

By repentance; we rise above the proximate uncertainties of psychology, above impulse and instinct, to the ultimate clarity of the heart's desire and conviction.

By repentance; we escape the limitations of our mental and physical weakness and become rooted in the indomitable strength of our hearts.

By repentance; we live from our free agency: which is divine. 


If you desire in your heart to love God, be Christian, and follow Jesus; then all you need do is repent your failures, then you are home and safe.


Note added - clarification: Repentance is a rigorous discipline! Repentance is Now - or not at all. As previously noted: inwardly to say 'I may/ intend-to repent In Future' - is not merely an actual failure of repentance: it is the 'Sin against the Holy Ghost'. In other words, an assertion of intent to repent but not doing it is the worst kind of sin; because it means that we know sin but deny it; we know God but deny Him. This is, to say the least, an important fact; and it depends upon the distinction (above) that repentance is always free and possible now; whereas reform of action/ attitude/ behaviour (etc.) is contingent.
 

Tuesday, 25 August 2020