Tuesday 21 May 2024

Final Participation needs to aim at participation in Divine Creation, not "The World"

It has often been recognized that modern Man is alienated from life, feels cut-off by his consciousness from both the divine and from the "Spirit World". 

A desire to alleviate this alienation is behind a lot of spiritual activity, and many of the spiritual "movements" of the past couple of centuries. 

The problem was incisively analysed by Rudolf Steiner and Owen Barfield: both were clear that we should not, and indeed could not effectively, "go back" to earlier modes of unalienated consciousness.


Instead we need (and must, unless we are not to suffer spiritual death and self-chosen damnation) to move forward to a new kind of integration with the divine and the spirit world: this desired state Barfield termed Final Participation

(Named on the basis that participation-in the world is the opposite of alienation-from it.) 

Steiner believed (or, at least, asserted) that Final Participation could be attained by spiritual exercises in a new kind of meditative practice, and made schemes of such training - but after a century of near-total failure, it is reasonable to conclude that such techniques/ methods/ training don't work - or don't work well enough to make a significant difference.


I think the reason that Final Participation cannot be achieved by such procedures is partly that FP must be part of a Christian life and operate in that context. Christianity is necessary, and must come first.

(A fact sometimes apparently denied, and often backgrounded or down-played by Steiner and Barfield - certainly it was not clearly explained in terms of God's motivations.) 


And also that this kind of participating consciousness requires to be motivated by Love. And Love cannot be attained by techniques, nor can it be had simply by deciding. 

It is false to try and make ourselves love this or that (or everything). 

Therefore, Final Participation needs to begin from actual Love; and build from that.


I now strikes me that this also makes sense from the perspective of what exactly is is that Final Participation should desire to participate-in.   

We should not - as Christians - desire to participate in The World, not the entirety of reality - because this includes evil. The attempt to participate in "everything" is not Christian, but part of oneness spirituality - which has a very different aim than salvation. 

Instead; we should aim to participate in Divine Creation. That is, we should aim to participate in that of this world (and only that) which is a "product" of Love. 


Not try to participate in the whole world, but to align myself with Divine Creation... I find this insight to be clarifying! 

(Whether the insight will lead to greater success in my seeking of Final Participation remains to be seen.)


Monday 20 May 2024

When a nation becomes a rabid dog - a geopolitical overview

When a nation deliberately cultivates a reputation as a rabid dog, that might do anything at any time; in the short-term, others will try to avoid confrontation with you - and you will probably get your own way... 

In the short-term... 

So, because the rewards are up-front; rabid aggression is a tempting strategy. 


Furthermore; since a rabid dog can do anything at any time; sooner or later the insane beast will be blamed for atrocities it did not actually commit. 

And then who will believe its denials?

(A rabid reputation is much more easily gained than lost.)


But over the longer-term, a rabid dog cannot be tolerated. 

If it cannot be cured or safely-confined, sooner or later the dog will be destroyed by those it threatens.

And, no matter how ferocious and formidable it once was; a rabid dog will surely be getting weaker and weaker... 


Those who inhabit rabid nations - and there are more of these, getting more rabid - should know what to expect. 

And be unsurprised when their demise is greeted with the same general relief, as when any other destruction-crazed vermin has been eliminated.
 

Bricks and the building: You can't build real churches without real Christians

It seems futile to discuss how to improve churches by making changes, or resisting change, at the organizational level; when the underling problem is that there are not enough real Christians to make a church (at least, not a church of a size sufficient to register as significant in the modern world). 

Of course, most Church discussers would not agree with me that there were insufficient real Christians. At nearest, they might believe that the good Christians were outnumbered by bad and fake ones; or (more often) that fake pseudo-Christians had too much power within Churches, or had taken-over the bureaucracy. 

But my conviction that - in the West, in 2024 - there just aren't enough real Christians distributed such as to make a real Christian church - would be regarded as untrue; and a negativistic, despair-inducing pessimism liable to lead to the situation it asserts in a self-fulfilling way*.


This came to mind when reading discussions about whether or not it would be a good thing for the Roman Catholic Church to remove the current demand (or preference) for celibacy among its priests, and return to its more ancient practice of having married priests; and as a normal thing (rather than, as now, only as a minority of exceptions, intended to be temporary - such as the Anglican Ordinariate). 

Yet, none of this matters either way when there are not enough real Christians among Roman Catholics who might potentially become priests - plus enough real Christians already existing and in-place to make a (Christianly-valid) System for the choosing and training and regulation of a priesthood.  


If the Church is a building, and the people who make it up are bricks; then the question seems to be whether (spiritually) the building makes the bricks, or the bricks make the building? 

Can there be a valid Christian church "building" consisting of a majority of not-real-Christian "bricks", especially when the not-real-Christians dominate the leadership? 

Indeed, which seems relevant here-and-now; can there be a valid Christian church when there are probably (in significant areas of The West) no real Christians at all - none among the Priesthood, none among the laity - the Church rank-and-file, the masses?  


The answer (if the building and bricks analogy is valid, which it can be only partially, at best) depends on whether you believe that the Christians make the Church, or the Church makes the Christians - or, at least, on the nature of the relationship. 

And the question has particular relevance for an Episcopal Church that asserts its own indispensability for salvation.  

Can a silk purse be made from a sow's ear? 

The debate then moves on to the nature of the real Church, which would be said to be ultimately mystical - and non-identical with the worldly organization. 

And in the past this conceptualization seems to be been sufficiently clear and understandable that it was not a problem - but it has become a problem now. 


The problem is that while people can argue about stuff (especially about abstractions to do with how best to organize an ideal Church); and people can say or write almost anything about what they would most like to be true and real - strong and lasting human motivations are another matter altogether! 

We see all around us that when strong and lasting human motivations that are also Christian are lacking; then words/ doctrines/ laws etc. mean next-to-nothing; and Churches, Priest and the Masses fall into line with... well, they fall into line with whatever the global totalitarian System is currently asking them to believe, support, and do. 


Perhaps, the thing that lies underneath all these discussions relates to the discernment that this material mortal world (and especially The West) is currently under the leadership of those in service to supernatural and spiritual evil.

This, I believe; and I believe this is a clear and obvious fact; such that those who do not see it, or who deny it, are actually and in practice on the side of demonic evil - whether unconsciously and implicitly, or consciously and explicitly, or some point between. 

I am aware of several Roman Catholic priests, even a few Bishops, who clearly and simply and decisively perceive this fact of evil-dominance; and who are real Christians.

(And not merely megalomaniac power seekers.) 

So there are some such people.  


But that is only less than half of what is needed; because the most important factor is that real Christians (including, for an Episcopal Church, at least some Bishops) be strongly and lastingly motivated to re-make the corrupted Church in a positive fashion, into a worldly organization dominated by real Christians. 

Are there enough such people, are they in sufficient agreement about what needs to be done; and do they attract sufficient support more widely?

To me, the answer is Obviously Not; or else we would not be where we are, and we would know about it.  


There are some strong and true bricks from which, in principle, something might be built; but at present these bricks are very few, and scattered among the rotten bricks making-up a rotten building that is already collapsing. 

And these strong and true Christian "bricks" often seem to repel each other - or even try and damage or destroy each other!**

Clearly this is no basis for any kind of building, any kind of Church. 


Given the actual choice between being included in a large-but-rotten building increasingly dedicated to the Satanic agenda, or else trying to make a Good building from mutually-repellant materials; sooner or later the "bricks" - i.e. the individual Christians - will be compelled to take primary responsibility for their Christianity, and cease to rely upon being a part of any kind of building. 

+++


*Church Christians are (sadly) very prone to the "boosteristic" delusion that enthusiastic optimism about their Church is good-for Christianity - when it is actually just good-for business... a very different thing from real Christianity nowadays.


**This inability to agree, indeed propensity to disagree with (extreme) vehemence, among traditional, orthodox and conservative Christians - including within denominations such as the RCC - is a consequence partly of decades of disunity/ conflict within the churches, and the loss of a Christendom that would diffuse a coherent Christianity among a whole society. 

By my understanding; partly it is also and more fundamentally due to significant (and, ultimately, divinely-ordained) changes in the consciousness of human beings towards greater autonomy and agency; therefore away-from that spontaneous propensity to absorb religion from external sources and an innate psychology of groupishness - which prevailed in pre-modern times.

What this means is that - no matter how traditional/ orthodox/ conservative a modern Christian aspires to be; as a matter of fact he has chosen his own beliefs and loyalties - has indeed "picked-and-chosen" them from among competing alternatives - in a way that seldom happened in pre-modern times.   

Sunday 19 May 2024

Salvation and theosis are the purpose and meaning of life - indivisible; both needed

Traditional Christians are often salvation-focused; and may be hostile to ideas of theosis (regarding it as an heretical belief in salvation by works); may ignore theosis almost-entirely in their overwhelming desire for salvation at the end of life; or else may conceptualize theosis (or variant concepts such as sanctification deification, spiritual progression, exaltation) as "merely" a means to the all-important end of salvation. 


On the other side "spiritual but not religious" people (including the "anything-but-Christianity" kind of spiritual people) are often focussed upon theosis while rejecting the need-for or desirability-of salvation - their end-point is not resurrected Heavenly life, but reincarnation, or some sort of oneness-Nirvana

The basic stance is that this life is (or ought to be) about continual spiritual self-improvement; and that to introduce considerations of what happens after death is a contamination of spiritual purity by an ego-driven desire for self-gratification.   


My understanding is that salvation and theosis are indivisible - that we must both aim-at resurrected eternal life, and also live this mortal life such that we learn-from its experiences. 

This may be made clearer by regarding salvation as the purpose of life and theosis, as the meaning of life.


Distinguishing-between purpose and meaning is a perfectly valid thing to do; yet ultimately they are indivisible and we cannot have one without the other. 

The purpose of life is what makes meaning possible within that purpose; and the meaning of life is how purpose actually manifests in life. 


When not-Christians pooh-pooh the Christian demand for salvation as the purpose, they also obliterate any possibility of coherent meaning; and spirituality degenerates into merely a kind of self-therapy, which itself becomes indistinguishable from pleasure-seeking or suffering-avoidant hedonism - as can be seen with the New Age movement. 

And when Christians revile, neglect or subordinate theosis and "the spiritual" they destroy any ultimate reason for continued mortal life - mortal life becomes a negative thing - a double-negative attempt to avoid sin (which, Jesus tells us - and Paul) is impossible; and a mere waiting for death that is an implicit denial of the validity of God's creation. 


But when salvation and theosis are understood as indivisible purpose and meaning of this mortal life; then we have a solid basis for a properly aimed and fulfilling existence here on earth. 


Saturday 18 May 2024

Heaven is Not about perfect happiness - but life everlasting as resurrected Sons of God

Heaven is not a place or situation of perfect happiness, and people get terribly confused by trying to explain how it could be! 


Heaven could, in theory, be a place of perfect happiness; but only by changing people very fundamentally - including permanently destroying their individuality and freedom. 

People would need to be re-made as Beings incapable of anything but total happiness. 

Maybe this could be done (perhaps by some kind of supernatural-spiritual equivalent of genetic engineering, psychopharmacology and lobotomy?) - and if it was done then the people in Heaven would always be happy, whatever Heaven was actually like. 

After all, they couldn't Not be happy! 

Such modifications would overcome any and all possible objections of the "I couldn't be happy in Heaven, and would not want to go there, unless..." type. e.g. I would not want to be in Heaven "unless my wife was also in heaven" - or "unless my wife was not in Heaven" perhaps?

The only realistic answer (if Heaven is to be happy) is that in such a Heaven we will be re-made such that nothing could ever possibly disturb our state perfect happiness.  


In other words, if we do try to make Heaven a place of perfect and unalloyed happiness, then we have defined Heaven in terms of how people react to it; which makes Heaven all about the constitution of the people in it, their set-up, their capabilities and reactions. 

But in reality Heaven is (surely?) what it is - and therefore not how all people will react to it? 


In the Fourth Gospel, Jesus tells us that Heaven is the place of eternal life after this mortal life, or life everlasting. He describes its characteristics by means of stories and symbols - in what we might regard as "poetic" or metaphorical language. 

Heaven is the "place" where we go when resurrected. Its basis is love. When in Heaven we are fully Sons of God. 

Heaven is a choice, and Jesus assumes that some, many or most people will not choose it - will not want it. 

We get there by "following" Jesus (the Good Shepherd). 

Jesus desires that we shall be his friends, not his servants. 

And so on...


The point is that resurrection to eternal life is not described in terms of how we feel about it; but in terms of the new possibilities that Jesus has made available to Men. 

Instead of a life of this mortal life of partial and temporary gratifications, lived among evil from others and within our-selves; Heaven is a place of love, with everlasting and transcendent satisfactions. 

..As with the "living water" Jesus describes to the Samaritan woman; or the "meat which endureth into everlasting life" he contrasts with earthly food - including manna - he expounds after feeding the five thousand.


But even aside from the descriptions of the Fourth Gospel - based on the assumptions that God is the prime creator, wholly Good, and our Father (and Men His Sons); a Heaven of total happiness doesn't make sense - while a Heaven of eternal resurrected wholly-loving life can make sense. 

 

Friday 17 May 2024

The spirit world, and what to do about it?

There is the physical or material world inhabited by incarnated mortal Beings (i.e. the only world acknowledged as real by the modern mainstream ideology). This contains a mixture of good and evil, some Beings on the side of God and divine creation; other Beings opposed to this - and all mortal Beings are some mixture of these motivations. The material world is subject to entropy - subject to change, decay, disease, degeneration, and death - the irrevocable dissolution of physical forms. 

Then there is the Divine World - "inhabited" by God, the ascended Jesus Christ/ The Holy Ghost. And also - since the work of Jesus Christ, the divine world is inhabited by the denizens of Heaven - resurrected Men (and, presumably, other Beings). It is a realm entirely of Good, that is to say that all is motivated by love. It is also an eternal realm, without entropy. 


But there is another realm: the underworld/ dream-world realm of spirit Beings

The spirit world

For ancients, this was the realm of dreams, the place where souls went after death (perhaps being reincarnated from there). 

A wide range of Beings have been supposed to inhabit this "psychic" realm: gods, angels, demons, nature spirits, chthonic monsters, ghosts, non-human sentient spirits of many kinds and degrees.

Like the physical realm the "underworld" is mixed; with Beings that contain both good and evil motives - and including Beings affiliated to the agenda of evil. 

However; this realm, like the physical realm, will also be "visited" by the wholly-good denizens of the Divine Realm.  

The spirit realm is like the physical world in being also subject to entropy - in that, although spirits do not "die" in the way that physical Beings die; they are subject to destructive change - to degeneration, disease, loss of self... 


The spirit world is a fact of life. It is "all around" us, always, and wherever we happen to be; and has influences. 

This means the spirit world is (like the physical world) differentiated, heterogeneous, varied by time and place.

Thus the spirit world (whether we are aware of it or not) will affect us - somewhat like geography, climate, seasons and weather affect us. At some times and/or some situations the spirit world will be benign and helpful, maybe enjoyable. 

But in other circumstances, the spirit world will be net hostile, fear- or misery-inducing perhaps, or having evil influences - therefore hostile in specific ways.  


The striking fact of modern life for Men - including most, not all, Christians - is that we have all-but lost any spontaneous consciousness of the spirit realm. We live "in" it, but unaware, typically denying its reality. 

It is as if we wandered from the Arctic to the Sahara, while unaware of the differences, and taking no account of them in our lives. 

This is part of our alienation: modern Man is cut-off from a multitude of relationships with the world. These relationships are potentially bad and good both, as with the physical world: but most importantly they are real and unavoidable. 


The consequence is that we "miss" the spiritual realm - and (even if unconsciously) we know that our experience and knowledge of reality is incomplete. We are, to that extent, maimed. 

Further: this situation is made worse by many Christians, who regard the spirit realm as nothing but a threat, a spiritual danger, the domain of demonic temptation - that must be avoided. They regard the underworld as at best inessential, at worst a constant threat. 

More moderately, but with the same result; Christians regard the spirit world as an "optional extra" for life; something that we do not need, and is therefore best avoided because of its spiritual hazards. 

This is one way in which mainstream, orthodox, traditional Christianity has not just failed to meet the challenge of modernity; but has indeed worsened the situation. 


But suppose that we do - as a matter of fact - both need the spirit world, just as we need the physical world; and anyway cannot avoid it - even when we want to? 

We may fence ourselves in - but we cannot fence the spirit world out. We can only make ourselves unaware of it, and explain away its effects. 

What then?

Well, in my judgment there are no really good models from the past, that work for this present among Western people, no good models concerning how we ought to regard and relate-to the spirit world.  


There are, of course, plenty of people who - even nowadays - are aware of the spirit world in some way - "clairvoyants" or "psychics" of many kinds. Maybe they have visions of spirits, converse with spirits; and seek-out such contacts. 

The problem is that these are mostly Not wise or knowledgeable people. They are often silly, or motivated badly. By my evaluations; their knowledge (apparently derived from contacts with spirits) is unreliable, and often incoherent nonsense, or rather blatant self-gratifying fantasy. 

They often seem to be seeking spirits to help them gain worldly gratifications (health, sex, power status - the usual stuff). 

Or, on the other side, they seem to be seeking to surrender to the world of spirits, to be overpowered and controlled by the spirits they encounter. Self-annihilation... Not good.  


At any rate, the "fruits" are often bad - in that a majority of those who are (or claim to be) in contact with the spirit world are (to me) unimpressive, and usually have taken the side of evil in the spiritual wars. But then again, so have most self-identified "Christians", and those of other religions! 

(There is no "safe" path to salvation and theosis that can be objectively described or externally imposed - and the greatest danger is for those who believe there is.)   

To me, "the Spiritual" are mostly unimpressive... and yet not always! 


While - like all mortal Men - mixed-Beings who are prone to errors and being misled; there have been some people (and in the "modern" era) such as William Blake, Rudolf Steiner, Dion Fortune, and Gareth Knight - who seem in important ways to have benefitted from their contact with the spirit realms. These I like, respect and admire. 

Nonetheless, we cannot assume that any of these people are themselves a model for other people differently constituted, and belonging to later generations, whose consciousness is different. Nor (whatever they may have claimed) can we assume that such past-exemplars were able to describe a general model by which other people can (or should) attain a positive relation with the spirit world. 

In particular; I am increasingly convinced that past attempts (and maybe successes) in positively affecting human society (e.g. nations, or relations between nations) are not possible here-and-now - due to the change in human consciousness. 

Those same changes that have made spontaneous spirit awareness so rare, have also enhanced the potential human spiritual autonomy and individual agency. Past human consciousness was social, pooled, in ways that is no longer the case. 

Our situation is different. What was effective and good then, is often feeble and harmful now.  


As so often nowadays, external influences are overwhelmingly likely to be bad; so we need to (and should) rely on our personal judgment and take spiritual responsibility for our choices. 

My own notions are as follows:

We should be aware that there is a spirit world of Beings, that it is real and important. 

And, on general principles in this era, we should strive to become aware of whatever is real; so, in some fashion, it is good to become conscious of the spirit world as it is affecting us "here-and-now"; and where possible be prepared to act on the implications of that effect. 

(Maybe avoiding situations in which the spirit world is exerting a malign influence - or continuing a life-path that seems to be sustained by that which is good in the spirit world.)  


What about developing personal relationships with specific spirit Beings? 

Well; many spirit Beings are benign; and some of these are likely to have a positive and personal interest in ourselves. 

For instance, there may be deceased and resurrected relatives or close friends whom we loved, or willing "spiritual mentors".  And such Beings may be in spiritual-proximity ("near") to us in the spirit world, and maybe be actively-desirous of aiding us in particular ways. 

My best guess is that such potential relationships with spirit Beings, are good and perhaps necessary. 

How to develop such relationships, while avoiding deceptions and temptations, and shallow or wishful thinking; is, in principle, a problem not different from the same question about our social relations among human beings in the physical realm. 


We cannot plan a good human-social life in the physical world - and rules or blueprints for good relationships are a misguided or malign attempt to subordinate the personal soul to inhuman materialistic-bureaucratic thought processes. Same for the spirit world. 

What is needed is realistic assumptions about the nature and purpose of life, then a secure rooting in personal intuition and responsibility - with a willingness to recognize and repent our errors.

Since, as Christians; we know that we inhabit a divine creation within-which we have a personal destiny; and that we are God's children capable of valid judgment, and that the guidance of the Holy Ghost is always available when required...

Knowing all this, and if our attitudes can also be grounded in such knowledge; there is every reason to suppose that we will be able to navigate the spirit realm in such a way as will benefit us spiritually - now and in the context of eternity.  


Wednesday 15 May 2024

Richard Annand - twenty years since the death of this war hero










I like to visit the Durham Light Infantry Museum* - and always pause to re-read the display dedicated to Richard W Annand (1914-2004) who in 1939 was awarded the first Victoria Cross of World War Two.

I never fail to be moved, and deeply moved, by the words and pictures which stand in memory of this man.

Annand was something close to the Victorian English ideal of a hero and a gentleman; in that he was valiant, compassionate, and withal utterly modest: my admiration is unbounded.

1. Look at the man's face - a boyish openness of expression, almost innocent, from the earliest pictures and retained into extreme old age.

2. In the citation below, note the extreme ferocity and also the military effectiveness of his fighting. That it was not a single act done in the heat of battle but repeated acts of heroism - in despite of accumulating injuries and exhaustion.

3. Yet also the loyalty, affection and self-sacrifice returning to the battle ground - after all this - to try and save his 'Batman' (military manservant).

4. Finally, the complete absence of boastfulness, reluctance to talk about his heroism, fundamental decency of character. 

**


http://www.lightinfantry.me.uk/vcrannand.htm


Shortly after dawn on 15th May, the assault began when mortar fire hit "D" Company's position near the ruined bridge, badly wounding the Company Commander, Captain Bill Hutton. The main German attack across the river then fell on 16 Platoon and Second Lieutenant Richard Annand.


"About 11 am the enemy launched a violent attack and pushed forward a budging party into the sunken bottom of the river. Second Lieutenant Annand attacked this party but when ammunition ran out he went forward himself over open ground, with total disregard for enemy mortar and machine-gunfire. Reaching the top of the bridge he drove out the party below, inflicting over twenty casualties with hand grenades- Having been wounded he rejoined his platoon, had his wound dressed, and then carried on, in command."  

At the same time, German troops used a weir to cross the river and overran a platoon of "B" Company. After a desperate fight, this attack was halted but the Germans were not pushed back across the Dyle. The fighting continued until noon with neither side being able to overcome the other. During the afternoon, snipers, mortars and shell fire forced the Durhams to stay under cover. They all knew that the Germans would renew their attack that night.

As it grew dark, the Germans, under cover of intense machine gun and mortar fire, again attacked the ruined bridge in front of "D" Company.  

Platoon Sergeant Terry O'Neill, who lost his right arm in the battle, later explained -"Our position on the south side of the River Dyle was at the bottom of a long forward slope with a large wood [o our rear. The road leading to the bridge which had been destroyed was alongside our left hand section and the ground between the bridge and our own position was perfectly open. On the night of 15th May, Mr. Annand came to me at Platoon Headquarters and asked/or a box of grenades as they could hear Jerry trying to repair the bridge. Off he went and he sure must have given them a lovely time because it wasn't a great while before he was back for more. Just like giving an elephant strawberries." 

And Company Sergeant Major Norman Metcalfe, also of "D" Company, later wrote to Captain Button about the night attack -"In they came with a vengeance and weren't' they socked with a vengeance..... They seemed determined to get that bridge and therefore reinforcements were simply piled up with casualties..... Jerry couldn't move old 'D'! We had casualties, especially 16 Platoon, but they were wonderful. Mr. Annand, Batty, Wood, Surtees -they just went mad. Jerry got up to the other side of the bridge to their sorrow; they must have thought they had demons in front of them..... For two hours it was hell let loose, and then Jerry gave it up and withdrew." 

The Durhams continued to hold their positions, but elsewhere the Germans had broken through. Finally, at 11pm, Lieutenant Colonel Simpson gave his hungry and exhausted Companies the order to withdraw from the River Dyle. There was to be no transport. Anything that could not be carried would have to be left behind.

As Richard Annand led the few survivors of his Platoon away from their position in the early hours of 16th May, he learnt that his batman, Private Joseph Hunter of Sunderland, wounded in both his head and legs and unable to walk, had been left behind. Second Lieutenant Annand, despite his own severe wounds, immediately returned alone to the deserted trenches and found the missing soldier. Helping his wounded batman into an abandoned wheelbarrow, he set off up a forest path after the rest of his battalion.

All went well until they came to a fallen tree that completely blocked their way. Weak with exhaustion and unable to lift the wounded soldier over the obstruction, Richard Annand was forced to leave Joseph Hunter in the shelter of an empty trench by the side of the track and go on for help. When he finally reached his old Company Headquarters, it was deserted. Using his last reserves of energy, he set off again to look for help and was eventually found by one of 2 DLI's surviving Carriers commanded by Second Lieutenant Hugh Lyster-Todd.

Only then did Richard Annand collapse unconscious through loss of blood and exhaustion.


..."I don't suppose he knows the meaning of the word fear'. He never asked a man to do anything he could do himself...... He wouldn't talk much about it. He isn't that kind. It was just another job of work to him." [Platoon Sergeant Terry O'Neill]


*Reposted from 13/2/14. The DLI museum closed some eight years ago; but (apparently) there are "plans" to re-open it... 

To be positive and hope-full - but not delusionally optimistic: The challenge of these times

In this time and place, it is my understanding that people have painted-themselves-into-a-corner by their fundamental assumptions - and I include most Christians in this criticism. 

This is, in a sense, unfortunate - or at least hazardous - because it means that a good deal of negativity is required when it comes to the negativity (and indeed nihilism) which our civilization, culture, and most people has incorporated as the basis of our world view. 

So there nearly-always needs to be a good deal of demolition of despair-tending ideas and ideals - and this negativity can itself become a habit, a mind-set; whereas it ought to be merely a swiftly transcended preliminary phase, prior to embarking on a positive and hopeful life. 


We cannot live spiritually on the basis of double-negativity. Especially not modern Men who spontaneously tend towards alienation, cut-offness: the assumption that the world is purposeless, meaningless and indifferent. 

Because we cannot live spiritually in opposition, not even in opposition to evil. 

In order that we have "something to look forward to"; there is a temptation to worldly-optimism, or even to spiritual optimism - "optimism" being here defined as the belief that things Will get better - that our mortal lives will be better, that we are on a path of spiritual progression.

(Such optimism is the basis of the vast industry of self-help. And much that presents itself as self-help, as ways to a better life or world, is - in fact - a dishonest species of would-be careerism.) 

Optimism just-is delusional in this entropic and evil-ruled world - and leads not to a better world, but to systemic distortion and denial of realities.

(e.g. The distortion of being optimistic about what are actually evils - but presented as a path to Good. e.g. The denial of things going-nowhere or getting worse, by constant hyping, spinning and propaganda about minor and insignificant triumphs.)  


Yet, if optimism is excluded, but positivity demanded; then there are ways ahead; ways of approaching your actual life that focus on the spiritual and the eternal - and do not require anything resembling incremental and cumulative progress or long-term improvement. 

Indeed; I think that circumstances (as well as divine communications) tend to guide us towards exactly what is actually attainable - towards that which we our-selves can do, regardless of what other people are doing.

What has been taken-away on the one hand; is a gift on the other. 

The spiritual temptations of worldliness and expectations of increasing health, wealth, pleasure, social status are (realistically) eliminated; such that autonomous agency is is laid bare. 

That which is necessary and good is also, increasingly, the only viable possibility!


In sum: we can choose to be realistically-positive and hope-full, about a situation in which we cannot (in honesty, as Christians) be optimistic. 
  

Tuesday 14 May 2024

For Christians, mathematics cannot be the ultimate truth

Mathematics - including geometry, which was the dominant type of maths in the ancient world; and for that matter the philosophical discipline of Logic; are a type of abstract model, and as such utterly de-contextualized and without-referents. 

For mathematics to have real-world relevance entails that it is legitimate to attach particular classes or categories of objects to the mathematical symbols. Clearly, the qualitative reality of these classes/ categories must be assumed. 

Furthermore, it must be assumed that mathematical procedures (as modelled by the maths functions etc) are valid and necessary real-world processes applicable to the the assumed classes/ categories. 

Thus, mathematics as-such has zero intrinsic real-world relevance...


Unless, like Pythagoreans and Platonists (ancient, medieval and modern) one additionally makes the fundamental metaphysical assumption that the real-world relevance of mathematics is necessarily true; because reality is ultimately mathematical

On this basis, the job of science, or any other empirical investigation, is to discover the real-world entities to which refer (perhaps approximately) the ultimate mathematical realities (e.g. Platonic "ideas"). 

In other words; for some Platonists (and those in this tradition), mathematics just-is valid; and the real-world is (merely) a temporary and perhaps partial approximation of these realities. 


In sum: one can assume that maths/ geometry/ logic is the ultimate reality; and explain everything else on that basis - and, because the assumption is metaphysical, it cannot be refuted by any observations.

But - if one does assume this, then one cannot be a Christian

At least not in the was that Jesus (especially in the Fourth Gospel) spoke and taught. 

If maths/ geometry/ logic is the ultimate truth; then God cannot be a person, cannot be our Father, and does not love us. 


The unexamined life... mundane-thinking, and not-thinking

The phrase attributed to Socrates that "the unexamined life is not worth living" has usually struck me as true: true for me, at any rate. 

But from my perspective the desirable - i.e. examined - life is one in which I am aware of living while I am living: it is partly a matter of consciousness. 

And it is one in which thinking is active and inner-driven, rather than passive and responding to external inputs and demands. 

Enemies of the examined life include mundane-thinking and not-thinking. 


Mundane thinking is that modern state termed "alienation"

It is that state in which my thinking is not involved with what is thought-about - it is thinking "about" stuff, rather than thinking-stuff. 

Thinking when there there is little "participation", but the thinking is disengaged, like a free-spinning cog. 

For instance, you go for a walk in the country, or attend a musical concert or play; and spend the whole time thinking about other things; thinking mundane thoughts; so that you may suddenly realize you might as well not have been there at all

Indeed, you have not actually been there; because you didn't "be" and you weren't inhabiting the "there" situation. 


Not-thinking is just being so wrapped up in doing, that one is unaware of doing. 

It is the usual situation for many types of "work" - and indeed leisure. Social interaction is all-too-often of this kind. 

e.g. Yesterday I did some house painting, which required constant and unremitting concentration for a few hours. The job needed doing, and was done; but it was really done by a machine that I inhabited; because I was not conscious of my self while I was doing the job. 

At the end of the day it felt somewhat as if I had been switched-off for most of the time. 


The fact that so much of my life is (and always has been) spent in mundane- or not-thinking - despite that I don't regard either of these as having intrinsic value; has always suggested to me that some people (and especially those who see or feel no imperative to "the examined life") might spend all - or nearly all - of their lives in either not- or mundane-thinking, or oscillating between these, without ever at any point becoming self-aware.   

Such people probably achieve and do many and useful things: more than I do; but I agree with Socrates that that kind of life does seem futile, and is an avoidance of "what we are here for". 

Of course "the examined life" can, and does, often revert to being just more mundane-thinking; a mere matter of thinking about the examined life, rather than actually living it. 


Like the difference between studying philosophy (its history, descriptions of it) such as modern professional academic philosophers; as contrasted with doing philosophy, thinking for- and from-oneself; with participation and self-awareness - which is "the examined life", and which perhaps everybody ought to do. 

Especially here-and-now; when the external and social world is overwhelmingly corrupt, and value-inverted, and evil-motivated. 

Here-and-now: the unexamined life is just a temporary phase of living-death. 


Sunday 12 May 2024

Good only comes from good motivations - not from the negation of evil

Good only comes from good motivations - not from the negation of evil.

This ought to be obvious, but human beings are confused by the scale and abstraction of modern civilization and life; so they mistakenly come to believe that the defeat or destruction of their "enemies" is evidence of increasing good in the world. 

It is grasping at straws - when it is not an indirect preparation for self-advertisement.

I see a lot of this at present. Al lot of commentators "crowing" over the travails of the most leftist corporations, the most zealously totalitarian nations etc. Predictions that this presages a turn of the wheel of fortune, that from the self-burned ashes of The West shall (inevitably, it seems) arise the beautiful phoenix of a Christian society... 


As the self-hating self-destructiveness of modern totalitarian leftism begins to erode social functionality in ever-more-obvious ways, with the incompetence, decline and collapse of signature evil-tending institutions; it is tempting to suppose this change represents a pendulum swing back towards good. 

It doesn't - at least, not in The West, and not on any socially significant scale. 


What is happening (almost always) is that the organized, bureaucratic evil of globalist/ leftist totalitarianism; is being eaten-away from within by the short-term selfishness and/or spiteful destructiveness of its component parts. 

Yet from a Christian perspective, the infighting of evil is almost irrelevant; because no matter how many evil institutions and persons degrade and impoverish each other; unless there are sufficiently good-motivated institutions and persons that will occupy the vacated social spaces - then matters are no further forward - and indeed whatever evil emerges triumphant will be energized and strengthened.  


Our problem is far deeper than "merely" being-dominated by an evil leadership class, evil government, evil corporations, evil education, an evil mass media etc.  

Our profoundest problem is lack of good

Most of those who crow most loudly over the demise of some disfavoured grouping or person, are manifestly core-motivated by one or other evil drive: money, sex, status, power - or a cynical sneering sadistic spitefulness/ Schadenfreude

Such people do want want as primary that which Jesus Christ offered - resurrected eternal Heavenly life - even when they have constructed a pseudo-Christian System as their public-consumption objective. 


Yet such people are not necessarily "evil" - overall and in net-effect; they may simply be the normal, average kind of person with mixed motivations; but who have allowed their "base" motivations to take first-place and determine their core allegiance*. Our civilizational problem is that even such-people are statistically among the best of us - and they are Not Good Enough! Nothing like good enough. Only those mixed persons (no matter how mixed) whose primary motivation and core allegiance is to God and Jesus Christ will suffice for what is needed here-and-now - and such persons are (to all appearances) exceedingly rare. 


In sum: beware the false triumphalism that celebrates evil persons and institutions coming to an evil end for evil reasons. 

Mix it how we will; a stew of evils can yield only soul poison - unless we discern, reject and repent the whole nasty brew. 


*A sign of false allegiance (a Litmus Test, if you like) is trying to emulate (to "learn from") the effectiveness of heroes and exemplars of evil. ("Oh, why can't we be more like [fill in the name of some evil success story]?") In sum: Advocating adopting the methods of evil, on the basis that these tactics have a strong track-record of changing the world, that they work.  

This is a Litmus Test of evil allegiance because such people have failed to learn that doing evil and doing good are not symmetrical. Evil is much, much easier than good; because destruction is easier than creation. 

It requires hard, prolonged and skilled labour to make a functional machine or a beautiful artwork; but any idiot can vandalize them in a moment.

Saturday 11 May 2024

From the days when "they" could make adverts: Guinness Dancing Man

Nowadays TV adverts are woke signalling or just plain creepy; from the middle 90's here is the surrealism of Guinness's "Dancing Man".

This not only advertises the product unforgettably, achieving simultaneous artsy-ness and wit; but is very enjoyable even on first viewing. 


PS: If you haven't yet seen The Best Advert Ever (i.e. Blackcurrant Tango): now is the time to treat yourself


Children do not feel a need to propitiate their loving parents - real Christians ought Not to regard God as needing propitiation

I have often written of the un-Christian, indeed anti-Christian, idea that God want, needs and demands propitiation

I have also often written about my conviction that the spontaneous and natural "spiritual knowledge" of young children was built-into us by God, for our guidance, and as the basis of that adult knowledge we develop from properly-interpreted experiences and (usually) increasing capacity. 


I was considering my own childhood compulsion to pray (I was aged about 5-6 years), and how such prayers were almost entirely propitiatory in nature: I would beg my god (who was, I think, conceptualized as Thor) for the safety and survival of those I loved; and these prayers "needed" to be specific for each person, were desperate, and were repeated over and over again to the limit of my endurance.

These prayers were a ritual (before sleep) needed to avoid the punishment of harm being visited on those I loved. 

And, although the ritual was done to avert harm, I was very unsure of its effectiveness. Partly this was because of a sense that if I said or did anything wrong, then this would at least negate the prayer; and it might even evoke a punishment for my mistake - such that just what I prayed against, would be inflicted as the punishment.

(This seems to have been a common view of religious ritual through much of history, e.g. in the European Middle Ages - i.e. that it must be done exactly correctly or else it would do more harm than good.)


My first thought was to wonder whether this childhood experience of spontaneous propitiatory prayer was a guide to the real nature of God. I wondered if the fact I prayed in this style and spirit without being told, might be evidence that this was the real nature of God and his relationship with us. 

But then it suddenly struck me that I never felt the same way about my own mother or father

I never felt that my parents wanted, needed or demanded "propitiation". Indeed, the idea never even crossed my mind. 

The reason was obvious: I knew that my parents loved me

And I knew this - it was my solid faith

Therefore, because my parents really loved me and I knew it; propitiation was utterly alien and inappropriate - and indeed would be hurtful to loving parents. 


The God of whom Jesus speaks is spoken of as his Father and our Father, as the ideal and perfect loving Father.

Of Course a loving Father does not want propitiation - certainly He does not demand propitiation, nor does God our loving Father punish his children for failing to perform sufficient or correct propitiations...  

Jesus is saying pretty plainly that the real God, the Creator, is our loving Father*; and asking us to have the same "faith" in God's love that a child may have in the love of good parents - as I had in the love of my parents. 


By talking of and to his loving Father; Jesus is saying that a God who is regarded as wanting, needing, demanding propitiation is a false God; because the real God (the "Christian" God, the true creator) is of an absolutely different kind - God is Jesus's actual loving-Father, and our actual loving-Father; and we should have absolute confidence that He loves us as the ideal and perfect Father. 

Many, most - perhaps all? - other religions conceptualize their God or gods in ways that make propitiation of such God/s natural and needful...

And there are plenty of Beings - including human-beings, as well as various spirit-beings, including demonic - that do demand propitiation...

But these are not who Jesus meant by God.


(It very often seems to me that many self-identified Christians {and especially those who profess ultra-orthodox or traditionalist convictions} are actually - albeit implicitly - worshipping the God of Judaism, and/ or of Islam, rather than the Father of Jesus Christ.)  


What this means is that self-identified Christians who believe that their God requires propitiation are making a very serious error

(There are many, many, such Christians - often among the most "devout" - and always have been.) 

And if they persist in this error of worshipping a propitiation-demanding God; and if they (for instance) build their core theology, their articles of faith, around the necessity for propitiation; then the God that such people are advocating is Not the same God whom Jesus was addressing


In a nutshell: The Christian God is a loving Father, and Jesus asks us to have the same kind of faith in God's love that a good child has in the love of his parents. 

Genuine parental love - by Man of Men, or God of His children - has nothing to do with propitiation. 

   

*Note: I should clarify that ultimately I personally regard God as a dyad of Heavenly Father and Mother for metaphysical (and intuitive) reasons explained elsewhere; but my argument applies the same both to God understood as Father only, and to God as Heavenly Parents. So, I have presented the above argument in traditional language.   

Friday 10 May 2024

A world of tactics without strategy: Spiritual negation of the nation

Progress? Britain 2020..

And... Britain 2024...

This is no more than a small hunch or "observation" derived from my intuitive-feelings about The West now, especially the UK, especially England. 


There is an extraordinary and surprising vacuity of thought and attention. 

I would have expected that, by now, some-thing or another - something Big - would have been imposed upon us by the government-media-corporate Establishment...

I expected some kind of Big Thing like the Birdemic, MLB-type antiracism, the peck-frenzy or some other healthism, some ginned-up Climate Emergency; or a war-fever. Maybe even something new? 

(Well, no I didn't really expect anything new, because there hasn't been anything culturally new since the 1970s. But some novel spin on the old-things, perhaps?)


But, so-far - as of writing - none. 

Just the usual bunch of little, stale and distinctly half-hearted, pseudo-issues - perhaps mainly a drip-drip manipulation towards "electing" a government in which the puppets are Labour Party Tweedledums, instead of the usual Conservative Tweedledees. Yawn...

But British people have, at root, never been less interested in politics, never less enthusiastic about the positive possibilities of any allowable regime change. 

(The last residue of optimism was crushed by the vacuity - the pseudo-victory that was utter defeat - that is BRINO... Last year saw the highest {admitted} levels of UK mass immigration in history - something like 700K extra people {presumably plus those many deliberately not counted}; an extra 1% in 1 year with similar levels for more or less for 20 years; more people than a city the size of Sheffield - fifth biggest in England.)

Nothing has been learned from 2020, there is zero interest or insight concerning UK's adoption of a front-line and firing-line role in the Fire Nation war - indeed there is neither interest-in nor knowledge-of anything at all important. 


Life now is a vast and settled state of spiritual negation

The past has less and less influence, but the direction and destination future is ignored as far as possible; yet the present is (compared with 50 years ago) hedged-about with pervasive guilt, chronic resentments - potentially-overwhelming fear and despair are only a heart-beat away. 

What applies to England and the UK, applies to Western civilization - and indeed to most of the world. 

Our civilization is bored with itself, and aspires no higher than temporary distraction from a futility that is baked-into its core and deepest assumptions. 

The highest virtues in everyday life are means without ends; such as cheerfulness, niceness, sociability, and a keenness to express "concern" on matters that are encouraged - or at least allowed. Energy is admired - so long it is directed into short-termist goals like sports, pop music, charitable work, travel...  


This is a world of tactics without strategy, survival without meaning; as we see in Western attitudes to the Arrakis war, in which opinions (for what they are worth!) run high on both sides, and "peace" is the mantra; but where there is no remotely realistic long-term "goal" that does not entail annihilation of at least one side, and potentially both.  

The bottom line (when there is one, e.g. in wars) goes no further than mere survival*. Survival for what? - has become the unanswerable, hence unaskable, question. 

*Or since survival is impossible in this mortal, entropic world - what is on-offer is not so much survival as... somewhat prolonged, continued-existence...   


Our culture has defined this life as without ultimate purpose or meaning, and taking place in an accidental universe; and the mass of people now operate on that basis. 

In such a world that cannot be any real strategy; and life devolves to tactics for getting-by... 

Until getting-by is recognized as more trouble than it is worth


The only solution is in our own individual minds; but hidden so deep in our assumptions, that most people regard it as irrelevant to "real life"; or non-existent - mere wishful thinking.

Thus we make our own thought-prisons, lock ourselves inside, hide the key - then forget that it ever existed. 


Thursday 9 May 2024

Great spiritual advice from William Arkle, but very difficult to follow...

So often the case, eh? Somebody writes something, and when you read it you have a sense that it could be An Answer: that if you could go-ahead and do this, then... well, things would be a lot better, for sure.

So then you try it. You try to do what the person suggested doing. And... Well, it doesn't happen; but instead you just lapse into the usual stuff. 

Example: The following striking passage is excerpted in Jon Flint's collection of William Arkle's later writings. It comes from a letter than Flint received from Arkle in 1997 (somewhat edited by me, for clarity):


Where do the succession of thoughts arise from within oneself - thought and feelings and attention? Most of the time these are conditioned as a response to what goes on outside.

But when we are alone (in the dark, or eyes closed) and there is nothing special on our mind, and we are free for a while to do as we like with out own conscious world... What do we do with our thinking then?

Do we seek other stimulus, go to sleep, or... Do we create the "now" that we most like to be with?

If we do the latter; it spreads into the future "nows", so that (in a Godlike way) we take charge of our "nows" and call to ourselves the very best ones. 

Our present attention is in fact, I believe, a Godlike command to the ethers; and our Great Friend [God] wants us to learn to use it well, beautifully, playfully - and for Him and all other delighting. And of our own fulfilling with value, purpose and joy. 

This is the only everlasting purpose after all...


William Arkle is making a very concrete suggestion here, about how we might best use our free-est moments. It is clear enough what he means in a negative way, of what we shouldn't do - that we ought not simply to seek further external stimulation of our thinking. And we ought not to seek the oblivion of not-thinking by sleeping, or doing some kinds of meditation, or maybe seeking some kind of intoxication.

The difficulty is Arkle's positive injunction to "create the "now" that we most like to be with". 

The suggestion is that our "everlasting purpose" is best served by using our thinking creatively, like God, to create in our conscious here-and-now thinking, the best "now" of which we can conceive. he goes on to say that, if this can be done, it will have a general effect via "the ethers" - which I take to refer to the world of thinking shared by many Beings, and that shapes the world. 


I can well believe this... If we can indeed do as Arkle suggests and "create the "now" that we most like to be with". 

For me, at least, that is one of those things that sounds simply and perfectly do-able, until I actually try to do it - when my thinking reverts to its usual mundane habits of responding to external stimuli, or grinding away at dull stuff; or soon begins to switch-off towards passive and dreamlike associations, or even actual sleep. 

The deep problem seems to be that I cannot get a specific purchase on my thinking, a basis for the desired way of thinking. The instructions are too vague and general; yet any specific instructions of what to think-about and how, become merely more of the usual mundane stuff. 


I find that what I am hoping-for is a positive transformation and elevation of thinking, but that I am not properly motivated to achieve this. 

Wanting it isn't enough, and may even be (seems to be) counter-productive. 

Indeed; I do not believe there is a general answer to this problem. I don't think there is, or can be, any plan for "how to do" what we most want to be done. 


Why? Probably because we are talking about creativity; which must be motivated by love - and that isn't something that can be ordered-up on demand. 

My best suggestion - which I can but seldom actually follow myself - is to locate love in our-selves, some basis of actual love; and start thinking from that love. Not by statically stopping with that love (not just contemplating it, not clinging to it); but instead thinking "dynamically", purposively, while "holding-onto" that love.

In practice, however, I just can't seem to do it; at least, not whenever I want to.  


Wednesday 8 May 2024

Stop the Presses! the Global Establishment are censoring and punishing True statements!

The Radical Left are outraged at the way that, since the current Arrakis conflict erupted, any-thing regarded as in-any-way critical of CHOAM or supportive of the Fremen is being (officially as well as informally; and via much of the Western bureaucracy and media) multi-valently demonized, blocked, and actively-punished. 

For the PC/ Woke/ Radical Leftists, this is something absolutely new, radical, terrifying. 

Meanwhile, back in the real world, this is a minuscule incremental progression of a nearly 60 year and exponential trend of thought policing


Yet it is indeed significant that the ultimate powers of the totalitarian system have decided (because this whole thing has been contrived and managed), to drive a expanding-wedge into and through the middle-of-the-road versus the radical wings of the Establishment. 

It is a decisive step away-from the unified global Establishment that was in-power following the international coup of early 2020 - and a step in the direction of global chaos - reinforcing the multi-front world war three schemes (including, in order, Eastern Europe, Middle East, Far East) that have split the nations of the world. 


So there is a global ideological (plus fighting) war between The West and The Rest; and within the West an ideological war that is (presumably) intended to become a fighting war. 

As usual, pacifism is neither a real option nor desirable; because it would avoid two-sided war only at the price of passive genocide by one side of the other (after all, it only takes one side to make a war).  


All of this is inevitable and unstoppable in a post-religious, materialist world rooted in an ideology of negative values; a world that lacks even a theoretical belief in purpose, meaning, or transcendence of mortal life -- and which is therefore (for lack of anything else) easily-led by (because it has zero grounds from which to resist) selfish, short-termist and emotional manipulations. 


On encountering Glenn Gould playing Bach's Partitas - 1978 to 2024

 
A boxed set of Glenn Gould playing JS Bach's Partitas, obtained by mail order (uniquely for me) seared itself into memory as a key event in my life. 

This came near the beginning of my discovery of Glenn Gould, at a time when he was regarded with almost uniform hostility in Britain (insofar as he was known at all) - and most of his records were (to me) impossible to obtain (I got most of them when working or on holidays abroad - in the USA, Canada, Paris). 

The Partitas are associated with the long, hard winter of 1978-9; which I experienced in an unheated, drafty, seedy flat. But the association is a good one! It is of lying in bed cocooned inside a sleeping bag, inside another sleeping bag; with blanket and sheet below and four blankets above - listening to the first of these Partitas (and my favourite) the B-flat Major. 

And really listening - with total concentration, so that I was inside the music, following the mind of the musician note for note. 


The intensity with which I listened to my small collection (building to about eight LPs by the end of the year) Gould's Bach recordings at this time was something seldom matched throughout the rest of my life. 

What did I get from it? That's what intrigues me now. To some extent it was simply time spent sampling a higher world, and thus an enjoyably ecstatic experience in its own right. Yet the music also pointed beyond itself in a way that was partly inspiring, but partly frustrating. 

I might briefly return home at lunchtime to collects stuff for for, and listening to some Bach - maybe one of these Partitas, some of the Golberg Variations, or a prelude and fugue from "the 48" - and then I had to return to my lectures, practical classes, and dissections at medical school. 


But it wasn't just the problem of sublime aspirations versus worldly practicalities; it was much deeper - because, even with time, energy and opportunity to do whatever I wanted... Just what was it that I wanted to do, in consequence of listening to Gould play Bach? 

It was like having an answer, but not the question! 


All of this fitted with the general direction of my life; in that this was when I began reading Colin Wilson's The Outsider series and other manifestations of the 1950s movements, James Joyce's Ulysses and other works, discovering Jung; as well as performing (as a singer) and generally exploring classical music - including the late Romantics such as Wagner, Richard Strauss, and Mahler. 

It was a very "existentialist" period in my life!

I desired and sought the kind of life that I imagined Glenn Gould lived; one in which (as I supposed) intensity and ecstasy were normal and continuous.


Of course this was not really true. At least not in a qualitative sense. Gould surely lived that way more often and more completely than most people - but he did not inhabit a higher form of consciousness. 

Gould did not solve the core problem of this mortal life: nobody ever has, because it is impossible to do so! 

It took a long time, several decades, before I recognized that. 

Sometimes the obvious is the hardest thing of all to recognize - at least for modern Men. 


All of this, and more, was brought to memory in a kind of flashback, when I found the above YouTube posting of Gould's Partitas, began to listen with half-attention to the B-flat major; then found that I could not stop listening nor do anything else, until it had ended!


Tuesday 7 May 2024

Did Sauron "recycle" power from the three recovered Dwarf Rings?

Thrain II (father of Thorin), last bearer of a dwarf ring (maybe before he inherited the ring from his father; or maybe it was concealed under a gauntlet?)


Apparently, Sauron reclaimed three of the seven dwarf rings (the other four seem to have been destroyed by dragon fire).

Sauron later offered to give one to Dain II Ironfoot, King under the Mountain; as reward for helping find Baggins the Hobbit. 

But Sauron may have been lying. 


After all, the dwarf rings "didn't work" as Sauron intended. They failed to subordinate the dwarvish race to Sauron's will. 

Instead; the dwarf rings seemed to increase greed and covetousness (already archetypical dwarvish vices), while making it easier to accumulate treasure by trade. That is: If a ring-wearing dwarf traded in lead, he would become wealthy in lead; likewise for silver, gems, or gold. 

As the possessor of "the last of the seven" to be un-re-claimed by Sauron; Thorin's grandfather Thror, said to his son Thrain: the ring needed gold to "breed" gold. 


So, what did Sauron do with the three dwarf rings he re-possessed? 

I see three possible options:

1. Sauron kept and guarded the three dwarf rings, to ensure that nobody else could get hold of them; in particular so that no dwarf could become wealthy and powerful enough to threaten (or, at least, to interfere-with) Sauron's plans.   


2. Sauron intended to use the three remaining rings as bargaining chips to buy the cooperation of dwarves

This is implied by Gloin's account of Sauron's messenger offering to give Dain (King under the Mountain) one of the dwarf rings as a reward for helping to find Bilbo and the (One Ring) rings that he allegedly had "stolen". 

If Sauron's messenger was speaking the truth, then at least one of the remaining three rings was still available for this purpose. 

However, there is no reason to assume that Sauron's messenger was speaking the truth! It may have been that Sauron had zero intention of ever returning any ring. It may be that Sauron would have broken his promise...

Thus; if Dain had indeed cooperated with Sauron, and the hobbit ring-bearer had been found and the One Ring captured by Sauron; then it seems likely that Sauron would just have broken the "deal", and simply kept the dwarf ring.


3. A third possibility is that Sauron would be able to reclaim the power that he had invested in the three recovered dwarf rings, by means of destroying the three rings in some particular magical procedure.

This assumes that if Sauron knew how to put some of his innate power into a ring, he would also know how to get that power back again in process of destroying that ring. 

Presumably; because he had access to the hottest fires in Middle Earth in Mount Doom, what was technically possible to Sauron may not have been possible to anyone else.  


My best guess is that this third option was the most likely: i.e. that Sauron had, by the War of the Ring, already boosted his own power somewhat, by reclaiming much of what power he had put-into each of the three dwarf rings that Sauron had re-possessed. 


Note: The above information derives from The Lord of the Rings, especially Appendix A:III, and The History of Middle Earth Volume XII: The Peoples of Middle Earth


Monday 6 May 2024

Why are ultimate choices clearer and simpler than before - despite these End Times of totalitarian value inversion?

If it is accepted that these are the End Times (in the sense I discuss) - and if it is recognized that populations in The West are pervasively subjected to an ideology of atheist-leftist-materialism via the mass media and the totalitarian state...

Then, one might assume that the situation is hope-lessly complex and confusing; and that an individual has near-zero-chance of navigating through that ocean of untruthfulness and deception which constitutes mainstream discourse. 

Yet - I would say instead that the ultimate things of life have never been clearer and simpler to people.* 

So clear, and so simple, that all individuals are able to make the discernments they need to make, to live their lives as they need to live them - if that is they desire; and to choose salvation - if they wish for it. 

Nowadays, the deceptions, confusions, insanity etc. are all so very extreme, and their rationalizations so ridiculous, as to be self-refuting at a very deep and irresistible level. 

Whatever excuses people make to themselves; many have decided to believe that which they know, deep-down and un-ignorably, is evil nonsense. 


What we are really up-against in these End Times, is not social conditions hostile to real values... We are up-against a dawning realization that not-many people desire that which Jesus Christ offers

+++


*This, because these are times of mainstream, top-down, encouraged (and increasingly mandatory) value-inversion; and we all have knowledge of true values built-into us and available for guidance via the Holy Ghost. Inverted values are not just incoherent, which incoherence cannot be hidden; but also we know that these official values are false. 

Yes, excuses for embracing inverted values are not just available but positively socially approved and supported... But we know this too. 

In a nutshell; even though the external world propagates and "proves" value inversions near-universally; nonetheless, our inner and real selves cannot-help but understand that this is false. 

And when we choose to ignore our intuition and subordinate our souls to external influences - our intuition knows this too.

The unpalatable truth is that we Already know what we need to know, and we Just Are responsible for our choices. 

Yet, evil choices must be made and re-made, so long as we live; and can be changed. And that imposes its own kind of pressure.     

Sunday 5 May 2024

Bluebell woods in Durham City


We visited the bluebell woods in Durham City today, as we do every year. 

The weather was a bit overcast, and the camera cannot capture the great sweeping carpets of bluebells under great beeches and oaks clad in their brand-new, golden-green leaves. 

But anyway - here's a flavour of late spring in my part of the world. 


Ahem - The Empire (in Star Wars) Was evil... Obviously!

Seriously guys: these are The Goodies in Star Wars? 

Over the years and recently, I've seen several "revisionist" arguments that The Empire in the original Star Wars trilogy of movies, was actually good

This is the conclusion of evaluating Luke Skywalker and his gang of rebels to be the real baddies; broadly on the basis that they are, at root, just the usual leftist-fantasy revolutionaries, as imagined by the 1960s US counterculture.


But this is nuts! Regardless of the nature of the rebels; The Empire was clearly depicted as a totalitarian regime, ruled by "demonic" (Dark Side) affiliated and control-motivated types. 


This specific error of discernment is worth noting, because it is one instance of a general phenomenon that is an increasingly frequent and powerful: defending Ahrimanic evil, on the pragmatic basis that it is not-so-bad as the changes being proposed; to the point of actively supporting that evil.

In this instance of Original Star Wars, which is from some fifty years ago when Luciferic evil had been strong for the last time in the form of the sixties version of hedonic "freedom" - the idea is that we ought to take the side of communitarian order against the chaos ensuring from individualistic self-expression. 

Nowadays; the Ahrimanic System is mostly defended against the spitefully-destructive Sorathic spirit of encouraging war, famine and disease. 


The snare is that it is natural and good up-to-a-point to defend that which is traditional, culturally-significant, and functional - which will include much that is virtuous, beautiful and true - against that which would remove it.

But only good up-to-a-point; because these are ultimately - from an eternal and spiritual perspective - secondary matters; and we therefore must be prepared to abandon them when resistance does more harm than good.

(I should be clear. To defend any-particular-thing which is good can itself become evil - when it leads towards affiliation to evil hence rejection of salvation. No matter how specifically good some-thing may be, there may come a point that it must be set-aside. Such is the nature of our life, task, and challenge in this mortal life.)  

The snare is that we are - in practice - offered a package-deal; in which the package is the net-evil Ahrimanic System, and we can only retain the many specific "goods" by sustaining net evil totalitarianism - and when such arguments from practicality become internalized and personalized into a spiritual affiliation to the side of evil.   


For Christians; this happens with their churches. 

There are always powerfully destructive forces at work against anything that is noble, beautiful and meaningful in the churches. 

These attacks are (almost invariably for the past few generations) evil-motivated; whether the Luciferic evil of desiring permission and endorsement for one's own (often sex-related or sexual - sometimes materialist/ careerist) sins. Sometimes the attacks are motivated by sheerly spiteful pleasure of destroying that which is regarded as a source of Good. 

Yet (beyond a certain point) to pour time, energy and effort into resisting these many-pronged attacks sooner-or-later actually entails supporting an already net-evil social institution that is deeply integrated into the global totalitarian bureaucracy. 


In other words; to defend the church tends strongly to slide-into defending The Empire - which is exactly what we see with the revisionist interpretations of Star Wars. 

Because all large, powerful, ancient, mainstream Christian churches depend-upon The System for their survival; as well as because the churches are under continual attack from Luciferic and (increasingly) Sorathic forces...

Then we get the very familiar phenomenon of loyal and devout Christian church members who implicitly, covertly but decisively have abandoned their Christianity; and affiliated with Ahrimanic totalitarianism. 


"The rebels" usually are wrong and would make matters worse; however, The Empire is - by nature and intent - a machine designed for the damnation of Men; and we Must Not forget that massive fact!