Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Life as a mundane epic

It is our fate to be living in epic times; yet where the epic scale of evil is submerged beneath dreary lies and shallow incomprehension. 

We all inhabit an evil global empire that demonstrates its evil on a daily basis; even going so far as to declare its intention to eliminate most of the people of the world. Its morality, aesthetic and idea of truth is inverted from that of common sense and all traditional religion. 

There have never been so many or bigger public lies than in the recent past - and never have these lies been so uniformly endorsed and enforced by those with power, status, influence or fame. 

The evil empire monitors and controls ever more and more of everyday life and (since early 2020) does this on a global scale. 

It has already confined, separated, dehumanized much of the world population for much of the past year and a half - and is keen to do more - and forever. 

On a daily basis its officials and media propagate resentment between the sexes, classes, races and political groups; fear of the birdemic and climate. The obvious aim is that each person be isolated, and terrified into desperate and propitiatory compliance. The apparent choice is 'enthusiastically' to join the world of evil - or else dwell alone, demonized, starved of society and necessities

So, from a Christian perspective, there can be no reasonable doubt of the evil nature and intention of the powers of this world; and that these powers are waging both material and spiritual war upon the mass of people. 

These are Epic Times in which the war of evil against good has never been more extreme. 

The set-up is similar to, but more extreme than, that of any fiction. There is an evil empire that dominates everywhere, and most (nearly-all?) of the masses are either brainwashed servants or terrorized collaborators with the evil agenda. 

For anyone who opposes evil - this could hardly be more epic. Seldom can there have been more scope for genuine heroism. 

Yet, of course. that is not how it seems...

Because the evil is so mundane and the people are so corrupted, that there is a gross and stunning failure to recognize evil as evil.

Or, this failure would be stunning if the failure to recognize evil were not a predictable and rational consequence of the materialistic quasi-utilitarian ideology that prevails everywhere. 

Our experience of historical and fictional epic has led people to expect that an evil empire will focus upon physical aggression; with thugs torturing and violently killing. Clubs, knives, guns, gas and the like. 

It has led people to expect that there are a minority of baddies and a large majority who know the nature and identity of their oppressors, and are secretly desperate to support the 'goody heroes' in their fight for 'freedom'.

But here and now; the evils imposed are mostly staggeringly dull and mundane; because evils are done by subtle sabotage; at arms length, by omission, and by proxies. 

Modern mundane evil is not labelled as such, but expertly disguised, spun and buffed by public relations, advertising and the mass media. 

Modern mundane evil is designed to be deniable - indeed it is embedded in an inverted moral system that is supported by the coordinated activities of international governance, the linked corporate bureaucracies, and the media. 

So modern evil is 'officially' able to claim that it is Good - and that claim will be echoed by all major players in the public domain. 

Thus these epic times, these times of open war between Good and evil powers - whose goodness and evil are ever more clearly distinguished and further apart - are mostly experienced as dull, dreary, boring. The genuine acts of heroism are invisible, forgotten or inverted. 

But our task as Christians is see through the mundane materialistic epic to the exciting spiritual adventure beneath... 

To see-through the dull, grey clouds of lies and deceptions; and reveal the heroic exemplars of Goodness: of virtue, beauty and truth-full-ness. 

But we need to do this for ourselves, and by our-selves - because we will not (as we should) be helped by the run of poets and thinkers, artists and makers - because they have themselves (in their service to evil) become as dull, devious and mundane as the politicians, financiers, bureaucrats and journalists. 

Discerning those who serve or collaborate-with the side of Evil - it is not just what they say, it is what they don't say

It really is very striking how those - including famous/ powerful/ devout, learned 'Christians' - who have (perhaps unwittingly, but I suspect not entirely so) joined with the side of Satan, betray their true allegiances not only by failing one or more of the Litmus Tests; but also with their mode of discourse, their style of English and of argument, the incoherence of their reasoning, the value-inversions of their assumptions. 

Unless these Satan-allied fake-Christians avoid the key subject matter entirely, they betray themselves with every paragraph spoken or written. The polarization between the large majority who sustain the side of evil and that minority who are on the side of God and creation, has become so extreme that it takes very little time to know who is who.  

Even avoidance of hot button subjects is a kind of Litmus Test. That the world experienced a global totalitarian coup in early 2020, and that all the governments and major institutions are now aligned-with the Satanic globalist agenda - thus actively hostile to Christians; is one of the largest and most significant events in the history of the world. 

Knowingly to live-through and -with the consequences of, this gross change for the worst - and not to comment upon it, is inconceivable for most people, in most situations - such avoidance is either a consequence of gross spiritual insensibility, or of covert allegiance to the dominant powers. 

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Modern Man cannot be converted to Christianity - but maybe his mind can be opened to the possibility of what he most wants to be true?

'The statistics' seem to be unanimous that it has become ever more difficult to gain Christian converts among Western populations. None of the denominations are succeeding - not even those that were until the past few decades successful and growing - and all are losing more people than they gain, all are shrinking and some rapidly.

[This shrinkage may be disguised by the recruitment of recent immigrants - but this is not the point at issue which is about The West, immigrants do not replace natives in structural terms, and anyway such apparent gains are usually very temporary.] 

This decline in the effects of conversion efforts is confirmed by my social interactions and personal observations since I belatedly became a Christian (one of the exceptions!) some 13 years ago. Nowadays, people cannot or will-not believe in God, Creation or the promises of Jesus Christ.  

What can we do? We can continue flogging a dead horse - like Western missionaries and the evangelically-minded have been doing for the past generation. Using the same arguments and tactics with less and less effect...

Well, since I believe that we finally decide upon salvation only after our biological-death; we could work on that post-mortal decision, rather than on what people can or will do here-and-now? 

Rather than working-on what 'is'; we might instead discuss what someone would ideally want for himself, if it turned-out to be true. 

Something like: "Supposing Resurrection into Heaven turned-out to be true, and you discovered that it was true after you died; then would you want it?"

In other words, the person might be invited to 'rehearse' the decision he will have to make - and to think about what he might ultimately and ideally want for himself and/or those he loves (even if, at present, he regards it as false). 

More generally; he might be invited to imagine what it would be like if some Christian claims we in fact correct - how would he think about it? If there was a personal God who created this universe and loved us each as his child? 

Would such a situation of meaningfulness and purpose and eternal relationships be preferable (or not) to the prevalent idea of all reality - and our-selves - being accidental, pointless; going-nowhere but oblivion; signifying nothing and all our deepest relationships as merely an instinctive blip coming from and disappearing into a void?  

Perhaps by asking what people want, and which possibilities they would prefer to be real, minds may be opened to that ultimate and unavoidable decision for which we are all and each responsible. 

Our decades-deep problems of incoherence

Yesterday I was re-reading Owen Barfield's Saving the Appearances; which was published in 1957, more than 60 years ago. This book is not an easy read (and most readers seem not to have understood it - including most Barfield scholars), but it is tremendously rigorous and incisive to the point of being life-changing. 

Barfield reaches the conclusion - which I cannot fault - that the way of thinking and reasoning, the mainstream philosophy and ideology, of the 'modern world' of the 1950s, is utterly incoherent. In his analysis, I think Barfield goes deeper than almost anyone else I have encountered. 

[I will not engage in the futile attempt to 'summarize' StP - the 'point' of the book is to work-though the argument. But, anyway, the purpose here is simply to accept the main thrust of the book's reasoning and conclusions, and consider the implications.]

This is my first point: that by the 1950s it was already clear to any thoughtful person that mainstream and ruling ideas in the major areas of culture did not make sense. Barfield analyzed this fundamental incoherence better than anyone perhaps; but the insight was pretty general. 

At any rate, I am sure he was correct - and he was correct that the set of ideas that are foundational to the whole functioning of the modern world as it was in the 1950s was so absolutely, fundamentally, self-contradictory that... Well what? 

In 1957 Barfield assumed that such a degree and depth of incoherence could not possibly survive, and that therefore it must change. Barfield, at points, warned what kind of consequences there must be if the world view did Not change; but he clearly assumed that things would change - and that the prevailing philosophy-ideology would move decisively in the direction of recognizing the primary of the spiritual over (and before, in terms of existence in time) the material; the guideingness of 'evolution' of consciousness in the history of reality; the way that reality is necessarily co-created and shaped by the presence and interpreting consciousness... and so forth. 

But it did not happen. Although there have been intermittent recognitions of the unsatisfactory nature of mainstream 'reality', these have taken the form of attempts to return to the instinctive and unconscious; as with the 1960s counter-culture, or the 1980s New Age - both of which have remained culturally-active; in private subjectivity and in mass culture. Or else less influential attempts to return the world to the lesser, but still fundamental, incoherences of 'the past'. 

[Barfield, following Steiner, was guilty of this; insofar as both attempted to fight the incoherences of system with alternative - somewhat less-incoherent - systems; a venture that began with Goethe's attempt to make biology into a differently-systematic science incorporating a systematized version of imagination. Steiner's ideas for agriculture, education, medicine, threefold societies etc, and Barfield's advocacy (in StA) of a new 'system of imagination', are both examples of laying this false trail. Imagination just is Not systematic, and a new world view based on intuitive direct-knowing or heart-thinking cannot be systematized. Cannot means can not.)   

The incoherent world-view of public discourse did Not change; but, necessarily, continued to worsen since it developed from the same incoherent assumptions.

What happened was that instead of becoming coherent; over the past decades more-and-more cultural ways evolved (and were successfully imposed) to make that incoherence not-apparent, or to deny its significance. 

Until we reach The World Now - where incoherence is extreme, global and mandatory - but is almost completely occult; hidden by the universality of bureaucracy, micro-specialization and dishonesty - fueled by mass emotional manipulation via the mass/ social media. 

We now experience a world of astonishingly vast and increasing chaos of incoherence; in which the monolithic nature of global totalitarianism is itself regarded as The Objective Reality (objective because there is nothing else in official public discourse, and only this reality is 'shared'); and where any individuals who recognize its incoherence and strategic evil are already and increasingly labelled as merely isolated instances of cut-off (insane, idiotic and/or wicked) pure-subjectivity.

[The official consensus of world experts versus... just your personal opinion.] 

Steiner and Barfield did indeed foresee these consequences - and wrote prophetically of the nature of our current world 'if' we failed to awaken to their insights. A Steiner lecture of 1918 and remarks by Barfield in StA and his (1984 published) novella Night Operation, are instances. 

But neither Steiner nor Barfield emphasized such 'if not, then...' prophecies; because both expected that culture would correct itself - because the problems were so obvious, and were getting worse.  

I think the actual state of the world now was (and is) missed, because modern people focus upon abstract and specialized matters such as politics, science and philosophy - and the impulses which drives these; whereas the dominant impulse throughout has been purposive evil - the agenda of the devil/ Satan and the demonic spirits. Steiner and Barfield were both guilty of this - seldom discussing God and never (I think) framing their arguments in terms of God and his creative aims. 

When we are up-against supernatural evil; no amount of reform within the domains of politics/ science/ philosophy - nor any other social system such as law, education, medicine, the military or churches - can effectively oppose it. Any local improvement in a specific area of discourse is quickly outflanked by continued degeneration in many or most others. 

It is akin to trying to correct the dishonesty of the global establishment. If an official statement or line-of-argument is revealed as a gross and deliberate lie (that is a lie-rooted discourse such as the birdemic-peck, climate change, antiracism, feminism or the trans-agenda - or any of the multiple sublies within these discourses); then the lie is still operating and indeed accelerating in all the other social systems - media, corporate, legal and so forth. 

The societal assumption is that any number of proven Establishment lies are specific and encapsulated; while the validity of the total system is unchallenged because assumed. 

In other words, the actual root and motivation of that expanding incoherence which Steiner and Barfield exposed was undying evil spirits operating across many human generations; whose agenda is the destruction of God, the good and divine creation. 

The problem of incoherence was Not based in philosophical error, nor the limitations of science; nor the aims of politicians, bureaucrats or judges. 

We have - all along - been dealing-with the war between, on the one hand, God and Jesus Christ - with their aim of saving mortal Men to a resurrected life of growing more divine; and on the other hand, the many-fold powers of evil that oppose all this.

Evil is not trying to sustain any particular alternative evil reality; but to oppose The Good by whatever means seem to be effective at any particular time or place. Hence evil is protean, mutating, and cannot positively be defined in terms of what it 'wants'. 

For evil, incoherence is a feature, not a bug; and the more that actually-existing incoherence is accepted, embraced, and defended as real, true, necessary and Good - the greater is the triumph of evil. 

So here we are Now! The most extreme adverse prophecies of Steiner and Barfield have come true; evil is globally officially endorsed and imposed - and yet so extreme and pervasive is Man's corruption that he (mostly) does not even notice (and strenuously denies) that ruling-evil, and its explicit and implicit tendency.

And/but insofar as Modern Man can perceive evils - he sees No Alternative. 

After so many decades; Modern Man has incoherence baked-into his world view - which is a measure of his evil nature; and therefore sustains the only 'unity' and possibility of public that he can believe-in - which is that ever-shifting consensus of demonically-controlled, monolithic global totalitarianism.


Monday, 25 October 2021

Fighting the fear - a video

Commenter Islanti, who provides the New World Island blog aggregator, has done a short video of one of my recent blog posts; which is worth a look and listen. 


EF Schumacher - an uncompleted trajectory towards Romantic Christianity

I was very much affected by EF Schumacher's Small is Beautiful - which I bought a year or two after its publication in 1973 having seen a documentary about it on TV. I have been reviewing Schumacher recently, including the biography by his daughter (Alias Papa) and his final book Guide for the Perplexed published just before he died in 1977. 

Through his life Schumacher described a trajectory from Marxism, through socialism, then a 1960s style Buddhistic 'environmentalism' to become a traditionalist (and Thomistic) Roman Catholic in 1971. 

None of his Roman Catholicism, or even Christianity, was evident to my young self until I read Guide for the Perplexed (GftP); so I was pretty stunned by it. (I had been an atheist since about age six, and was hostile to Christianity.)

I now find Small is Beautiful to be obsolete and obviously wrong in its positive economic prescriptions. But reviewing GftP last week brought back my strongly-mixed response from 1977. 

As so often in my life; I was convinced by Schumacher's 'negative critique' of modern materialism, scientism, the shallowness, meaninglessness and purposeless of life since the industrial revolution. I strongly felt the same way. 

But I was unconvinced then, and still am, by his positive 'solution' in the form of a return to a traditional form of Christianity - one that is rooted in a categorical division of reality into four levels of the in-animate mineral, plant, animal and man (the same scheme as used by Rudolf Steiner). The whole style of Schumacher's positive argument strikes me as 'dead' and uninspiring; too systematic, too bureaucratic, too external. 

Regular readers will know that I see no valid division between living and non-living; and that regard reality as composed of beings, that are alive and conscious - and this includes the 'mineral'. Without a return to some-such 'animism'; Christians condemn themselves to alienation, and (as the neo-pagans recognized) cut-off a vital element of our human nature. 

Also, and this applied even in my youth, I see no valid division between animals and plants.

In more general terms, I would now regard Schumacher's position, at the time of death, as advocating a return to essentially the Greco-Roman-Medieval form of society; or what Steiner calls the Intellectual Soul phase of human consciousness, which is a gradually-transforming halfway between the 'Original Participation' of simple hunter gatherer societies, and the 'modern' (especially since the 1750s) 'Consciousness Soul' phase when the human mind feels cut-off from the rest of reality, and doubts even its own reality.  

Nowadays, I am sure that Man cannot go back to an earlier stage of consciousness: the project of revived traditionalism has been tried many times and failed many times; very few people truly want it; and it is harmful even to try. 

What we can and must do is 'Romantic Christianity' - and I have a strong feeling that Fritz Schumacher would have taken that further step had he lived longer than his 66 years (and with clear mind). This would have completed the implicit trajectory of his development; and I think that - having made the condensed and lucid statement of GftP he would probably have looked at it critically, tried it thoroughly, and (as he had done before) would have gone beyond it. 

More exactly; Schumacher had experienced the 'romanticism' of the 60s-style counter-culture with its 'eastern', Buddhist-Hindu-Sufi type of personally-experienced spirituality (meditation, yoga etc); he had discarded this and found Jesus Christ, again experientially but in a pre-modern-aspiring and communitarian form; and he would have wanted to combine these two deep impulses and convictions in a romantic, intuitive and experiential, Christianity. 

It did not happen - but all the ingredients were present in Schumacher: including a questing, critical and honest intelligence. 

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Choosing to believe - the changing nature of Christian conversion experience

In the pre-modern past, the usual way to become a Christian was unconsciously, by assimilation - through the normal processes of 'socialization'.  

This is nowadays possible only to children and with a particular combination of devout family and some isolation from the anti-Christian cultural mainstream. 

But this kind of Christianity usually washes-out at adolescence, because the adolescent innately becomes detached from socialization, become self-aware, and must choose. But what choice?

As of 2021; apostasy is rewarded in the short-term, and the socialized Christian is vulnerable because his Christian belief has never been an active choice and is bound-up with the unconscious passivity of childhood. His Christian beliefs and justifications are necessarily those of childhood, and unexamined.

Broadly speaking, a reliance upon socialized Christianity is no longer a viable option in the current world; because the secular world is anti-Christian, increasingly dominant, and increasingly aggressive.

It has become almost impossible to create a sufficiently Christian sub-culture that is sufficiently isolated; and sooner or later - adolescence, college, the workplace - the passive and unconscious Christian will be put in a position of absorbing a very different and opposed ideology, and will be short-term rewarded for doing so; because it is more socially functional.   

In a nutshell; when Christianity has been unconscious and passive - it naturally assimilates conscious and active evil; when that evil is prevalent  and dominant - as now.  

In more recent decades; the conversion experience has been reported in terms of an individual being suddenly overwhelmed by conviction of the truth of Christianity; and by having accepted Jesus as Lord. 

This mode of conversion seems to have faded greatly in both frequency and strength - and the results seem to be insufficiently robust in face of the continual and escalating pressure from mainstream culture.

I think this is because the sudden conversion - while ending with a conscious choice to choose Jesus, is still rooted in passivity. It is based upon a primarily receptive state, in which the convert has first been overwhelmed by the divine - before he chooses whether or not to accept this experience as life-changing. 

It seems that very large numbers of such Christians have - often un-consciously - since early 2020 become primarily secular (and Leftist) in their belief and orientation; and have taken the side of the anti-Christian, indeed demonic, global Establishment. 

That is, they have joined the side of Satan in the spiritual war. 

In the context of 2021 - at least in The West; the Christian needs to withstand continual and escalating hostility from multiple directions (including most self-identified Christian churches). 

The evil of secular culture is both implicit (covert, implied), and explicit; and explicit evil usually works by subversion, by discrediting, by attacking all types of Christian assumption. 

My feelings is that the modern Christian needs therefore to be conscious and active to an unprecedented degree. He cannot depend on an unconscious influences - because these nearly-all oppose Christianity; modern culture is pervasive, and is against Christianity, and indeed purposively evil. 

A modern person is far more likely to be 'overwhelmed' by Leftism (which is, now, an instrument of purposive evil) than by Christianity. 

The 2021 Christian cannot, in other words, depend on anything external. More-and-more of the external is in the hands of the Enemy - and this external world is more and more directed against Christianity. 

The motivations of the Christian need to be internal; the Christian needs to be as conscious as possible, and to have made an individual and active choice for all essential aspects of his faith. 

The Christian who retains real faith in 2021 will probably therefore have a faith, and a conversion-experience, of a very different kind than a convert from even a few decades ago.  

A 2021-Christian needs to be able to sustain his faith from within and consciously, and to acknowledge that his faith is his own continuing choice

Such a Christian is indomitable - even in 2021; so long as he continues to wish primarily for Resurrection into Heaven, and will follow Jesus.   

But the path to this kind of Christianity - the path to conversion - is extremely different from those of the past. Each individual must take full responsibility for his own spiritual goals and knowledge. 

He needs to find out what he most wants - not just from mortal life, but eternally; and needs to investigate Christianity actively, and guided by intuition.

And the anticipated end-point of conversion is a conscious and personal choice. 

Because; becoming a Christian is a beginning - not the end.  

Saturday, 23 October 2021

"Stay with me!" - the stupidest, commonest dramatic cliché in movies or TV

Somebody's is dying, somebody else cradles the head and pleads: "Stay with me!"

It's there in every movie or TV show that shows a hero's death. 

Because, of course, any soldier, doctor or nurse will confirm that a dying person can saved - even at the last moment - by a sufficiently persuasive and emphatic instruction to "Stay..." 

Friday, 22 October 2021

An attempted definition of Romantic Christianity

Romantic Christianity could be considered that Christianity which regards directly-intuited understanding (or heart-thinking) as our primary knowledge... 

By which I mean an experience of understanding which is clear and conscious in the mind; therefore not primarily in words, symbols, concepts, principles, abstractions or any other indirect or representational medium. 

Thus, for a Romantic Christian - the fundamental basis of his Christianity is not in the reports of other people nor any kind of history; not in tradition or words; not in any external authority or person; nor in accounts of theological or philosophical reasoning. 

Instead, the basis is the experience of a positive, affirmative grasp and knowing; and it is this which needs to be applied to the 'secondary' sources of Christian knowledge that are described above. Our true faith, that sustains courage and supplies Hope, is to be derived from that which is primary. 

For example, the primary truth of a passage of scripture (or history, or commandment, or rule...) may be apprehended and known by experience in this primary way - by a process which is distinct both from 'reading the words' and distinct from the words-meanings being imposed-upon the mind by the act of reading. 

And when such a direct apprehension and understanding is lacking, then the scriptural passage (or whatever) should not be regarded as primary. 

In sum; Romantic Christianity is rooted in active and creative thinking; and the passive and absorptive is recognized as secondary. 

It also follows that the expression of Romantic Christianity can only be in the secondary forms; because the primary and intuitive, direct-knowing of the mind cannot wholly be captured or fully-communicated by any expression of it in words or any other medium. This is what makes it primary. 

What is relatively 'new' about Romantic Christianity - that 'Romantic' impulse that seemed to emerge incrementally only from about the middle 1700s in Europe, and later in other places to become dominant now (apparently) everywhere - is that the engagement needs to be both conscious and chosen

The possibility and effectiveness of a life passively-guided by true bit unconscious tradition, has dwindled; and has by now essentially disappeared among adults. Unconscious, spontaneous instinct is likewise both enfeebled and corrupted so as to become both impossible and undesirable. 

We are active, conscious, choosing Christians - or we are not Christians. 

Modern Man is in a new and unprecedented situation deriving from both his deficits and his capacities. Either he will choose consciously to base his fundamental (metaphysical) Christianity upon Romantic and experiential foundations; or else he will become assimilated to The World - which is (in 2021) atheistic, materialistic and (most importantly) subject to global demonic strategies. 

The Romantic Christian can thus be of any denomination or none, in his practice of Christianity - according to the guidance of his experiential discernments. 

But the Romantic Christian must always be in a process of rooting his faith in the personal and experiential - and this is the fact which enables him to discern and adhere to the good and Godly among the great mass of evil and Satanic influences that increasingly permeate and dominate the world of public discourse (including all the 'Christian' churches).    

Note: The above was stimulated by brooding upon a marvelous and inspiring talk by Archbishop Vigano - where the Abp seems strongly to imply the need for individual discernment, yet does not explain or state it explicitly. My belief is that such matters require detailed discussion. In the past - there were internal mechanisms to deal with top-down problems; but now the evil is active, globally applied and enforced (with the coordinated aid of the secular powers: finance, government, corporations, media etc) and the corruption extends through a majority of middle and lower hierarchy and through the 'masses' and the RCC laity. Unless discernment is conscious and consciously regarded as primary, it will not suffice to combat the an onslaught of evil. 

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

A checklist for spiritual en-couragement in the face of resentment, fear and despair

I have often said that the big sins of these days seem to be resentment, fear and despair. 

But, although fear is the most obvious, it is not usually regarded as a sin. Similarly - resentment is frequently felt as a moral principle (social justice, entitlement), rather than an evil. And despair is mistaken for realism. So, the dominant sins of our times are too seldom noticed as such - even by Christians. 

At any rate; given the fact of accelerating spiritual war, and the global socio-political victory of the side of evil, nowadays a lot of people; undesirable negative emotions are seldom far away - and these need to be combatted.

I say combatted; because these emotions are themselves an element in the spiritual war - and as such we must but Not treat them therapeutically (to be analgesed or tranquillized); but instead need to learn from them and defeat them. 

(Therapy is this-worldly - treating sin with 'healing' is a demonic snare.) 

We need courage not therapy; we need hope not analgesia.

And since The World of Men is now substantially in the hands of the Enemy - we need to take-our-stand outside of this corrupted world. 

Therefore, when assailed by resentment, fear or despair; I find that sometimes I am able to induce myself to a wider and longer perspective; providing a bigger context for present dysphoria, and angst about the future.  

This by reminding myself of certain truths. Sometimes one works, sometimes another - depending upon my current state and mood. Here are some of them, in no particular order, which might perhaps be of value as a kind of 'checklist' when the mind is clouded or oppressed:

1. Reality is ultimately created by God - and continually being-created by God; and I participate in this creation (as a sub-creator) insofar as the world is understandable to me. I look around and remind myself of this. 

2. The world is Not dead, mechanical or random; the world is alive and conscious: this is a world of beings. Every 'thing' is actually a being, or part of a being. (These beings are (by choice) either on the side of God, or against God.) 

3. The so-called dead are actually alive, in some way and in some place; and those of 'the dead' in Heaven remain active in this mortal life: we may help them, and they may help us. This is important work for us. 

4. Sleep is a vital part of our mortal lives. Sleep is an experience from which it is intended we shall learn. It requires our attention. 

5. We need to become consciously aware of much that is currently unconscious - indeed this is a major task of these times. A false non-reality is being imposed on us when we are passive, unconscious and refuse the responsibility of choosing; therefore, we need to be conscious of reality (of truth) and actively-choosing the 'real reality'.  

6. God is the eternal (loving and creating) dyad of heavenly Father and Mother - yet I tend to neglect my Heavenly Mother. She surely deserves my attention, and I would surely be the better for giving it. 

7. There is no fixed limit to my knowledge except my capacity of knowing - and that may be developed by spiritual experience and learning; by right alignment and right choices. Anything I need to know - for salvation or theosis - I can know. If I don't yet know it, then I have not yet asked properly. 

8. My current spiritual task is related to my current situation - including bad things about Now; because my current situation is continually-being fitted to my spiritual needs by God. 

9. Whatever is my current motivation or obsession has some meaning, some lesson to impart (maybe positive, maybe negative) - so is worth attending to. 

10. Think about Heaven and the everlasting resurrected life to come for all those who choose to follow Jesus Christ. This choice is free and cannot be compelled - or excluded. Heaven is awaiting after the end of mortal life - if we want it, if we are prepared to acknowledge our sins and allow ourselves to be cleansed of all that contradicts eternal love. So - assuming we intend to accept the gift of it: think about Heaven.   

Saturday, 16 October 2021

My thirty-five year engagement with CS Lewis's Surprised by Joy

I discuss my first and subsequent experiences with this book over at The Notion Club Papers - including why it was that - despite its perfect understanding and diagnosis of my condition - I was Not converted to Christianity by reading it, back in the middle 1980s.

Why my tedious, mundane, materialistic bad-dreams?

I enjoy sleeping, and generally do plenty of it; but I do find myself irritated by the propensity of my subconscious mind to torment me with dreary dreams - so dreary that they are a significant factor in making me an 'early bird' who tends to rise a couple of hours before most people. 

Getting-up before dawn is a lot better than suffering the tedium of such mundane, materialistic and repetitive dreams as I frequently experience - particularly at the beginning and the end of the night. 

(Because, if I do go back to sleep after such a dream, I will almost invariably take up the same dreary dream much at the same point I left-off before surfacing.)

There is a resentment that I am having these experiences when I might instead (perhaps ought instead to) be experiencing magical and ecstatic - or, at least, pleasurable and interesting - dreams. 

(Note: I do sometimes, quite often, have such good dreams - but they don't seem to need explaining.)

What is the purpose of one part of my mind torturing the other part? And torture not with anything spectacular and terrible, but merely with the kind of dreariness of location and events with which CS Lewis depicts Hell in The Great Divorce.

I seemed to be standing in a bus queue by the side of a long, mean street. Evening was just closing in and it was raining. I had been wandering for hours in similar mean streets, always in the rain and always in evening twilight. Time seemed to have paused on that dismal moment when only a few shops have lit up and it is not yet dark enough for their windows to look cheering. And just as the evening never advanced to night, so my walking had never brought me to the better parts of the town. However far I went I found only dingy lodging houses, small tobacconists, hoardings from which posters hung in rags, windowless warehouses, goods stations without trains...

With me it is likely to be seedy rented flats; dirty, leaking, insecure. Loud and intrusive people crowding in. 

Tiring journeys with inevitable repeated delays; cramped, slow disintegrating vehicles; and when I wander in a state of perplexed dementia - forgetting where I am going and why, but insisting that I keeping-going anyway...

And my dream self is no better than the setting - I am peevish, petty, spiteful and dishonest. Altogether as mundane and materialistic as the places I inhabit. 

What is interesting about these dreams is that they are an exaggerated caricature of everything I have always most disliked In Real Life; living in a context where all is trivial, superficial and sordid - and yet where the people around me insist upon keeping things that way; refusing to think or speak deeply, truthfully, from the heart. Where people strive to conform to a world without purpose, meaning or love. 

My general perspective about this mortal life is that its experiences are for us to learn from; and I believe that this applies to our dreams - including those of which we remember nothing. Our dream experiences are an opportunity for us to learn lessons, and to make good choices and benefit spiritually from them - or suffer the consequences of bad choices.  

Overall; it seems likely that these tedious dreams are trying to teach me that we should choose Not to live like that - and when we do live like that should notice and repent the fact. 

These dreams are indeed a negative of Heaven (that is - Hell); and remind me what it is that I so much desire to escape from - forever - by salvation... Noting that Heaven is as much about escaping from the many bad aspects of myself, as from bad environments.  

It really is an educative shock to bemoan the miserableness of the dream that I have just had, and then to reflect that the whole thing was my doing; either coming direct from my own invention, or maybe as a consequence of my inviting dark spirits into the dream.

It is - at any rate - All My Fault. 

And, if I don't like that sort of thing - then I know what I must do.

What is Heaven like?... A place of uniqueness of nature and creativity, harmonized by love

One of the difficulties of describing Heaven in detail is that people are so different. 

Heaven is the resurrection of actual individual people - and since these people remain their original selves (but elevated to the divine) then Heaven cannot be summarized any more easily than people. 

Consider the question: What are people like? Any accurate answer you gave to that question would fail to capture the specifics of actual people, and would necessarily be very generalized indeed - and probably very abstract. 

Because all people are different - so much so, that (except with respect to specific traits - like differences between men and women, younger and older) no two people are alike

Consider the people you know best - probably your family. All my grandparents were different characters, each an individual, each distinct from each other - and add-in my mother, father, brother, sister, son and daughter and there is a collection of unique individuals. There are some family and social resemblances of course; but fundamentally and very clearly, each is absolutely unique. 

Add-in those who have been intense or close friends across my life, and consider them as well. Each friend was a distinct person - had an unique 'flavour'; and for none of them could I think of anybody else in the world who he or she was really 'like'. 

Heaven is populated by people - and people who are more themselves in Heaven than on earth - because divinity raises up the real self while discarding the passively absorbed or expediently inculcated social 'personality' aspects. 

And it is only in these 'personality' aspects - the product of socialization, environment, propaganda, fashion etc - that Men appear to be superficially similar. When we get to know somebody, we see past these temporary common traits - and that is the case in Heaven.   

So your Heaven will be different from my Heaven according to our different fundamental nature - just as your life is fundamentally different from mine, here on earth. 

Indeed, I know of nobody, have heard of nobody, who lives as I do (or thinks as I do) - even in this mortal life! How much more this will be the case in Heaven, when the necessities of mortality are gone. 

Heaven differs according to those with whom we are most associated - and/ including those whom we most love; because although Heaven is the place of love - that does not mean 'equality' of love, since love is of its nature unique between persons. 

We do not love any two people in The Same way, nor to the same degree - because love is two unique divine souls in relationship. Each love is unique in quality, as well as varying in strength. 

Your life and work in Heaven will be even-more-different from others people's lives and works than it is here on earth; because all that generic stuff about jobs, sustaining the body, dealing with bureaucracy, the effects of mass media etc will be gone. 

Presumably; in Heaven my life will be shaped, but even more so than now, by the nature of my creativity - and this is extremely different from the creativity of nearly everybody I have met or heard of (and identical with none). 

By 'my creativity' I mean what I actively want to participate in, and which is a never failing source of satisfaction: the only never failing source of satisfaction in this mortal life. 

Creativity by this meaning is a word for the distinctive engagement of our real selves with God's creation. In this sense: creativity is the only activity that never palls

Hence: creativity is the only activity fit for eternity

I know enough to see that what absolutely fascinates me in this respect is of near indifference to nearly everybody else (nearly- but not every- body else - which sharing is what makes creativity valuable). Also, what other people find endlessly (eternally) absorbing often leaves me pretty indifferent. 

In other words; in Heaven our lives will be more different from each other than they are on earth - because we will be more different, because our lives will be shaped by those who (most) love; and because we will be expressing our individual creative nature. 

In Heaven there will be no homogeneity at all! 

It is only on earth that cohesion is imposed by making people 'the same'; whereas in Heaven all coheres by love.

So in Heaven we can and shall be as different from each other, and do such different things from each other, as might be imagined to happen in the largest and most (wholly) loving extended family, village, college or workplace. 

Friday, 15 October 2021

"Nae hauf-way hoose" - life at the right extreme

I'll ha'e nae hauf-way hoose, but aye be whaur 
Extremes meet - it's the only way I ken 
To dodge the curst conceit o' bein' richt 
That damns the vast majority o' men.

From A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle (1926) by Hugh MacDiarmid

Translates as: I'll have no half-way house but always be where extremes meet - it's the only way I know to dodge the cursed conceit of "being in the right" that damns the vast majority of men.  

There is indeed a common curst conceit of being in the right, and seen to be so; which leads many people to decry 'extremism' and 'polarization' - and take a moderate half-way-house position on any public issue. 

Unfortunately, it is at one of the extremes - and the most extreme of all extremes (officially) is God, divine creation, following Jesus Christ, truth, beauty and virtue. 

The other extreme - which is that of totalitarian global governance and officialdom, the world mass media, and all large institutions - is the extremity of strategic demonic evil: the world of omni-surveillance and micro-control in pursuit of leftist materialism, comprehensive and mandatory value-inversion. 

And half-way-between these extremes lies the mass of the masses; who passively, unconsciously, self-righteously follow at a cautious and moderate distance the lead of the extremely wealthy and powerful, ultra-influential, highest-status and most-famous dedicated-servants of evil.

So the half-way hoose, that path between both extremes; that route of those sensible, sane, nice people who care-fully navigate the broad, calm waters between what it regards as the crazy, stupid, evil poles; that vast majority of Men are damned by their sensible, conscientious conformity.

Why so? Because: 

1. Half-way-between truth and lies is... lies

2. An average of the claims of truth and the claims of lies is... lies

3. A blend of lies and the truth is... lies.

The only truth is the-true. Add lies, and it is no longer true. 

Unless you are prepared to own-up (to yourself, as well as in the eyes of your neighbours) as a crazy extremist; you will surely have damned yourself by your own choices. 

But then, of course, you need to pick the right extreme, the extreme at which reality lies.

Because, contrary to Hugh Macdiarmid's assertion of a century ago; as of 2021, the extremes never do meet; but instead diverge further and further apart, faster and faster, for eternity. 

Favourite books to dip-into - but which you never read-through

"Books that I really enjoy dipping-into but never read all the way through" seems to be a definite category in my lifetime. 

I first became aware of this with Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy (published from 1621 onwards); which I used to keep by me in my twenties, but never read consecutively, and probably only a modest proportion of its total. Indeed, I would probably have named it as my desert island book for exactly the reason that I would be unlikely ever to finish it, yet enjoyed returning again and again. 

Another, albeit shorter, book of this type I engaged-with for a few years was Hugh MacDiarmid's autobiography Lucky Poet (1943); which I would similarly browse almost randomly in; and stumble across passages that I did not recognize but appreciated - and then could never find again! 

This business of going exploring then getting lost in a book, and stumbling across what seem like new treasures (but which may have been read before, in a less appreciative mood); is one of the pleasures of this kind of reading - and for this reason it is better when the book is both big and dense or complex in arrangement (and when it lacks a good index!). 

Perhaps the earliest example was our family Complete Shakespeare in a WWII economy-paper edition - with woodchips; which had been salvaged by my father from an army library being discarded in occupied Germany circa 1950. As a young child, I used to pick this up and read the titles, and passages here and there - with excited incomprehension. As a result I was far more impressed by The Phoenix and the TurtleAll's Well That Ends Well, or Love's Labours Lost - because of their intriguing names; than the lists of 'King X' plays, or the single word titles like SonnetsMacbeth or Hamlet

Nowadays; my undisputed champion dipper-in and desert island book is The History of Middle Earth (in 12 or 13 volumes according to definition) edited by Christopher Tolkien. I have read-in this book for hundreds of hours; never get sick of it, keep discovering new surprises and pleasure -  yet never seem to get any closer to completing or comprehending it.  

Not finishing favourite books is a much under-rated pastime.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

In trying to understand why God 'allows' suffering in this world - try to understand one person at a time

If you are really serious in wanting to understand why a wholly-loving God permits suffering in this mortal world (and are not merely using the questions rhetorically, as an excuse for disbelieving God and thereby enabling some sin which you greatly desire to do); then the first step is obviously to recognize that God's shaping of this mortal world is aimed at the eternal benefit of those who accept the offer of Jesus Christa and choose to become resurrected into Heaven. 

This world is 'for' the encouragement of Men to accept this offer of salvation into Heaven. Life is for the 'education' of men - so that we may learn what will benefit us eternally. 

There is no single cause for suffering - and suffering may be wholly motivated by the spite and sadism of beings (human, demonic) who are committed to evil. 

But suffering is also sometimes some kind of a 'lesson' for someone; an example of God's 'tough love' in trying to teach those who have refused to learn from more gentle lessons. 

But this cannot be known by trying to discover The Cause Of Suffering in some large (often abstract) group or classification of people (such as are beloved by the Left). 

God loves us as individual and unique persons - therefore suffering that derives from God's tough love (when it happens) will be directed at the specific circumstances of a specific person. 

To infer this cause of suffering requires specific knowledge of that person, and it probably requires that we have a genuine personal care for him; because only when we want the best for him is it likely that we can understand the motivations of a God who also wants the best for him - but to an even higher degree and across a longer timescale. 

Most of the people in this world do not seem to want eternal life in Heaven - even if they believed Heaven to be true, they would not want it. And any person is able to make that decision to reject God's will. But God desires that such rejection be a conscious and informed choice. 

A specific person may need to suffer the consequences of his choice to sustain the side against God - i.e. the side of evil; because all choices have consequences - and he may learn from these consequences. 

I seem to see a great deal of suffering nowadays which comes from the choice Not to recognize evil; the choice to go-along-with - and support - the agenda of evil. 

I seem to see many individual people who have made these choices, and who have personally suffered great misery, physical suffering, even death as a consequence... 

And yet I see that many of these people continue Not to recognize the evil motivations that have led to their suffering.

This shows how difficult it is to teach some (most?) people; and how resistant people can be to learning the lessons which life provides. 

I seem to see God providing many people with life lessons - some sweet and delightful, others tough and harsh... and yet people simply Will Not Learn from them; but will explain-away the obvious lessons by more and more convoluted and implausible scenarios that serve to sustain their earlier evil choices. 

For example - someone refuses to recognize the obvious (i.e. incoherent, changing) lies of an obvious liar (incoherent explanations, rapidly changing explanations)... That person chooses to believe the obvious lies of an obvious liar. 

That person then suffers very personally from his choice of evil - the lies lead to harming people he loves, the consequences harm himself. 

Obedience to evil always has outcomes - and a refusal to learn from these outcomes, a refusal to recognize evil, leads to more evil in the 'cover-up' and opens the possibility of greater evils to come (and the failure to recognize and learn from them).     

But there are those who do wake-up to evil when the consequences become so severe or numerous as to be undeniable. 

It can't be predicted exactly what will work for an individual - it may seem trivial, or it may seem like another consequence in a sequence; yet it is the straw that breaks the camel's back. 

So, as the consequences of evil multiply - more people do awaken and recognize the evil. ...Not so may as I would hope, and some of those I most hope-for are among the unawakened. 

And some people are astonishingly resistant to learning (some, apparently, resistant unto death). 

Yet I think I can see what God is doing in some cases. I can sometimes understand - very specifically - why God allows these kinds of suffering. 


Salvation and theosis - God's two goals in creation

I think it is necessary to assume that God had at least two goals in creation. 

The first was to create Heaven - which means to create a world ruled by love. I tend to think of Heaven as a place where all relations between beings are loving - love, not coercion, is what gives cohesion to Heaven. 

And I assume that any being can enter Heaven who is prepared to discard everything of himself which contradicts the primacy of love. 

But God wanted more than this.

As William Arkle describes it - God did not want to remain 'alone, but God wanted divine friends. 

God wants not just 'children' (immature, undeveloped sons and daughters of God, like most mortal Men) - but God wants some of these children to grow-up to become like himself: that is a fully creative being - a being able to continue and enhance ongoing divine creation.  

So divine creation makes this growing-up of men to gods a possibility. Everything is provided to enable this to happen for a Man - except the vital ingredient that a Man must want it

Overall, God wanted a Heaven in which dwelt other gods. (...As many as possible, each unique.)

That is what God is working-towards, by means of creation.

In other words, to summarize the argument; behind divine creation is God's desire for a loving Heaven that includes (but does not consist entirely of) many other gods, of the same nature and type as God-the-creator. 

To become a god, a Man must want to become a god - that is, a creator on a level with the prime creator, albeit working within God's prime creation... 

(Why must he want it? Because a god must be conscious to be free; God must be conscious to be an autonomous agent of creation. An un-conscious 'god' would simply operate as a tool for creation - he would not be a god.) 

But that is not enough. As well as desiring full divinity; a Man who wants to become a god must also want to enter Heaven

That is how God set-up reality. 

One can have Heaven without wanting to be a god - e.g. wanting to remain a child; but one cannot become a god without also wanting Heaven. 

To be a god outside of Heaven is forbidden, it was made impossible. 

Theosis is only made possible to those who want to become a god - i.e. by those who will enter Heaven. 

Salvation to escape sin and dwell forever in Heaven is available only to those who will make an eternal commitment to live by love.

Theosis and salvation are thus bound-together and made one by resurrection

It is only by resurrection that a Man is made both eligible to enter Heaven and takes a decisive step towards the eventual goal of becoming A-god, like-unto The-God. 

Therefore, salvation is primary and must come first, before full and permanent theosis is possible. But theosis is the reason for creation, the reason for Jesus Christ, and the highest desire of God. 

Notes: When I write 'God' in the above post, I mean the Christian concept of God. 

The God/s of other religions are differently motivated - and non-Christians do not intend that Man should be raised to the level of full-creator God: i.e. to that level of divinity which Christians believe was seen in Jesus Christ. This elevation of Man to god is the possibility of which Jesus offered to those who believed-on and followed him - an equivalence of status whereby Men are regarded as 'friends' of God, not as 'servants'. 

I have also deliberately left open the structural aspects of the Christian God: I personally believe (with the Mormons) that God is our Heavenly Parents - that God is a dyad of Father and Mother; but the above argument works also for the more common and 'traditional' Christian trinitarian monotheism - where the love of God originates from the triadic love of Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Also, I believe that the above scheme can be discovered from reading the Fourth Gospel ('John'); when that Gospel is assumed to be the primary and qualitatively most authoritative account of Jesus's life and teachings.  

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

We need to be able to recognize evil to resist it; but we do not need to understand it

Or, to put it the other way around: We do not need to be able to understand evil, in order to recognize and resist it. 

This is very important to bear in mind in the modern world, because mostly we do not understand much about the evil that is being done to us. 

Even when we know evil is being done in accordance with a plan - we are very unlikely to know for sure all the important aspects of this plan. There may, after all, be more than one locus of evil, and these evil people or groups may be in conflict.

But we do not need correctly to know all the specifics of evil to resist it. 

Therefore; having a false understanding (overall, or in detail) of the motivation behind and evil, or how evil is intended to work out in practice, does not invalidate resistance to that evil. 

In other words: even when an evil is being resisted under the justification of a false theory (a wrong 'conspiracy theory'); and when that false theory can be (somewhat plausibly) refuted by the evil-doers... So what?

The point is that we should recognize and resist evil: That Is What We Need To Do!

Who (who on the side of good...) really cares about the exact accuracy of understanding of evil - especially when everything possible is being done to hide relevant information from the masses, and to confuse everybody with false 'facts', false 'theories' and deliberate contradictions.  

Especially when the evil-doers themselves are not even trying to be honest or truthful - but regard communication as purely a method of manipulation. Mostly, they neither know nor care what is really going-on; but are simply trying to discredit or dispose-of all who resist them, by foul means or worse. 

Who cares precisely what They are really trying to achieve by administering the peck immediately to everybody in the world (excepting the Global Establishment Themselves)? We cannot know - and it does not matter. 

All we need to 'know' is to recognize that the peck is motivated by evil; which motivation we know for certain from its provenance (i.e. from who originated the peck and are pushing it; from those who provide 'evidence'; from their pervasively evil behaviour - their moral inversion, their gross and sustained lying on multiple topics, their support of evil causes, their venom directed against God and the Good... etc.). 

Who cares what exactly is in the minds of the various orcs, wraiths, necromancers and demons who are peck-pushing 24/7 despite that it is obviously unnecessary, ineffective and harmful. If we did not already know for sure that They are evil - this behaviour would of itself be sufficient to let us know...

That is assuming we are capable of recognizing evil At All; which apparently, most people are not. 


Harsh life lessons resisted - and yet they might so 'easily' be learned...

What a world! 

Apparently, a Lot of people, all over the world, are Now getting some very harsh and very personal life lessons as a consequence of the birdemic-peck agenda. Yet they continue to believe that whole narrative - its shape and rationalization. 

They do Not recognize the spiritual war, the global coup and that the Global Establishment are evil by their nature and intent: that all public discourse is manipulation and not-even-trying to be truthful. 

Instead these suffering people continue to maintain that this is 'business as usual'; with benign and well-meaning global, national, local and industry rulers - albeit contaminated by rather stupid, short-termist, misguided and selfish people...

It really does not matter what actually happens - because many or most people Will Not recognize evil motivations for shutting down the world, closing the churches, destroying all social institutions and most industries, separating and dehumanizing the masses; and actively harming more and more people. 

All this does not matter At All - because Nothing Has Changed. The world is as it always was. People are as they always have been. 

Or something... The slightest fabricated excuses and rationalizations are grabbed and clasped; and the excuses are used and believed in swift rotation. 

Because the underlying mass motivation is denial, the feeblest and most incoherent excuse will suffice. 

People have already been squeezed by evil in a way which - if it was predicted two years ago - would have seemed literally incredible. We are living in extraordinary times. The squeeze continues, the lies get ever bigger and more frequent, more individual people suffer more and more...

But it makes no difference At All, because the whole thing is reframed and reframed, on a daily/ hourly basis; such as to deny any qualitative implications. 

It is all either reduced to micro-discussions of minor incremental changes - or else swept up into vast and imprecise abstractions about 'freedom', 'democracy', justice' or whatever!

Sometimes it is 'nothing to see, move along' - sometimes it is a case of acknowledging extraordinary times, but attributed to a value-inverted non-cause such birdemic, rampant racism, CO2 climate change, homotransphobiastuff; or (somehow!) all these at once, in a fake-synthesis of falsity. 

All this comes down to individual persons and their experiences; and what each person makes of his own experiences - supplemented by the directly known experience of those in his immediate circle. 

All the 'information' anyone needs to know the truth - and to discern evil - can be found in this direct and personal knowledge. 

But it does require that the individual chooses to take full responsibility for his own conscious understanding of himself and reality. 

If this responsibility is surrendered to any external authority - he is finished. If he refuses to become conscious of reality - he is finished. If he refuses to choose truth - he is finished. 

And yet 'all' that is required is to be honest with himself - in the 'privacy of his own mind'. 

In these times he needs only to be Christian in his own mind, by personal decision and choice - he does not need to make a public declaration or join a church. 

He need only recognize the pervasive spiritual war inwardly - he does not need to emark on a program of political 'action'. 

He need only take the side of God and recognize and reject the devil, by thinking this... He does not need to tell anyone about the embarrassing fact that the devil is real and very active in many places, here and now.

Only these things and he will be saved, and he will find his life transformed for the better, and all kinds of things might and probably will happen as a consequence...

'Only'. It's so easy! 

Only in the privacy of his mind, his heart, his conscious thinking... 

A simple inward act - what could be more facile?

Ah! - but no. That 'only' is fatally difficult for Modern Man

Because 'only in their own heart' is far, far beyond where most people are willing to go. 

Spiritual war is the one kind of war he absolutely refuses to participate in. 

Why? Is it because Modern Man regards 'the spiritual' as not-real, hence trivial - so that he 'cannot be bothered' to think anything which he is not prepared to act-upon? 

Or, is it because of the opposite: because at a deeper level than he is prepared to acknowledge Modern Man knows that the spiritual is objectively real; so that any-thing he thinks will affect reality - will change the world... 

And then he would be known as responsible for what happens!

(i.e. The reality of 'thought-crime'.)

Therefore - better not to think in any direction tending-towards any thought which would go against the mandatory spirit-of-the-age. 

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

How to respond to squabbling orcs, and Saruman versus Sauron

From the Two Towers movie - Merry and Pippin, and Ugluk: everybody's favourite middle manager 

The mass media thrives on conflict and controversy, and they exclude the perspective of genuinely good people. Thus, two kinds of story dominate.

There are stories about the masses and the low-grade servants of evil (the bureaucrats, celebrities, managers, and 'ordinary people') - these are what I think of as squabbling orcs

That is, all the participants are on the side of evil - aiming at evil outcomes; but they are squabbling over the best means to that end. They are like the orcs in The Two Towers who have kidnapped Merry and Pippin and who fight over whether the hobbits should be taken to Isengard or Mordor, or whether they should be tortured now or later. 

It is about one-on-one conflicts, battling tribes and mobs. The denouement is that the more powerful, or devious, orcs dominate and kill the lesser. 

This basic squabbling orcs narrative accounts for much of the output of new, novels, TV soaps, movies etc. 

The Saruman versus Sauron scenario describes the accounts of leadership-level disputes; concerning strategy, policy, principles, morality...

Again, the perspectives are all on the side of evil (against God, divine creation and the Good). And the differences are again concerned with means to that end. But this kind of dispute is impersonal - at the level of battling concepts. 

In our global totalitarianism - the entirety of public discourse is corrupt. So, all the concepts on display are in service to evil; but some of the concepts have a larger admixture of declared good intentions ('lawful evil) - as when Saruman presents himself to Gandalf as the better option than Sauron. 

This scenario could be the political 'pseudo-right' (Conservative, Republican, Libertarian etc) putting themselves forward as less-bad than the explicit Left; or indeed any candidate for any major position of wealth, power, influence or status. 

Saruman v Sauron also includes all abstract discussions of idealism versus pragmatism, virtue versus sin, beauty versus ugliness, truth versus lies - in our world of value-inversion the whole discussion happens on the side where sin is virtue and virtue is excluded or demonized.

When the whole system has become as evil as ours - by far the most evil in the history of the world, as far as I know, and getting worse rapidly - we cannot hope for any betterment of things overall by the triumph of one group of orcs over another who are even-worse, or by the triumph of Saruman over Sauron. 

Neither can we console ourselves that this in-fighting weakens the enemy; as Tolkien pointed out - in these disputes the winner emerges stronger than either and free from doubt: that is, able to prosecute the spiritual war against Good with even more strength and zeal. 

Therefore, we should not support either side, nor should we hope for benefit from evil cancelling-out. 

From a Christian perspective, evil cannot correct evil; and the only opposition to evil is Good

Our way is clear for Christians. We should pay the minimum of attention to squabbling orcs and the claims of rival superpowers of evil and their ideologies. We should turn, in our own living and (especially) in our own conscious thinking - to doing good. 

First to becoming aware of the scope and nature of the spiritual war afoot in this mortal world. This explicit consciousness is, of itself, of great benefit in the spiritual realm. It is what enables effective action.  

Then to making our-selves a creative fount of good thinking and actions - relying upon God's power to amplify any small thing we may personally achieve that is in-harmony-with the divine will. 

There is some-thing of global, eternal, value for every-person to do in the spiritual war: starting here (wherever you are), and starting now

Monday, 11 October 2021

Soothing abstractions and evasive professions of ignorance

It is a bad habit of Christians (under tough questioning and the stress of pervasive modern evil) when it gets down to specifics; to take refuge in soothing abstractions and professions of ignorance. 

It is a habit that is pretty obvious to atheists (of whom I was one until 2008), and which certainly looks like evasiveness and manipulation.

It is actually worse than that - because for too-many Christians the tough questions are, even At Root, unsure and imprecise, and for unclear reasons - so that their understanding gets fuzzier and weaker the closer they get to fundamentals. 

This is no basis for a tough and real Christian faith. 

For instance - Heaven. Christianity is 'all about' going to Heaven after we die biologically; so you would assume that Christians could answer straightforward and basic questions such as: 'What is Heaven like?' 

After all, how could anyone know that he wanted to dwell in Heaven forever, unless he had a pretty clear idea of what Heaven was like? 

Who is in Heaven - what kinds of people? How is Heaven 'organized'? And what kinds of thing do resurrected people actually Do in Heaven, on a day to day basis? 

What we want and need are simple, concrete, but general answers that avoid incomprehensible abstraction and eschew evasions. Answers that explain clearly what detail is knowable and why, and what is not knowable and why. 

But Christians are much too eager to open the escape hatches, and avoid the embarrassment of properly-answering such questions (or avoid revealing, and to themselves, their own ignorance) by stating that Heaven is beyond human comprehension and too great to be expressible; or to reach for vast, soaring but uninformative abstractions about light, space, oneness, communion...

Or to take refuge in 'negative theology' by saying what Heaven is Not: such as Not angels with wings playing harps and singing hymns to old man with a beard on a golden throne... 

Yet none of this is helpful in answering the question. 

Another example concerns the two big criticisms of Christianity: the problems of free will and evil. 

The problem that if God created everything from nothing and is omnipotent, then ultimately God is and does everything; so there is no space for free will, and God is responsible for all evil as well as all good. 

Christians know that it is essential for their faith to include free will, or else nobody could choose to follow Christ; nor could evil originate from anywhere except God. But they also regard it as essential to state that God created every-thing and is omnipotent. 

If, after 2000 years, Christians still can't explain clearly (without soothing abstractions and squirming evasions) how evil happens in a good world made by one good God; or how a God that supposedly controls everything allows the most extreme evils; then this is a pretty damning indictment. 

Faced with stark contradiction, Christians often seem perceptibly uncomfortable (squirming) - and 'explain' by reaching for abstraction. Yet abstraction is usually trying to answer an easy question by introducing a difficult (perhaps impossible) answer. 

How can we suppose that we have answered a simple and honest question by pointing-at something so difficult to comprehend that it requires further and more-difficult explanation?

The psychological effect is that the answer is not given into order to clarify understanding, but with the effect of obscuring the problem by soothing it away... 

There are several of these soothing abstractions given prominence in Christianity - such as the orthodox, mainstream doctrines of the Holy Trinity.

The tough question is that if Christians claim that there is one God, how can Jesus also be fully divine? Surely that is at least two Gods? And then, what about the Holy Ghost?...

And if Jesus is God, how can he be a Man? If he is a Man, how can he be God? Such obvious questions arose very early in the history of Christianity. 

The 'answer' is a bunch of soothing abstractions or incantations, with the actual effect of hypnotizing the problem away - by restating the problem as a mystery of three in one, and one in three etc. This is an explanation that is not an explanation at all - it is to answer an easy question with an impossibly difficult answer. 

Yet, after 2000 years, this is become a creedal matter, a necessary article of faith; something that is supposed to have been a decisive and final clarification of a problem so obvious a child can see it.

There is a sense that Christians hope that the problem will go-away if they declare it solved - and for many centuries this was actually true. Christianity held-together, despite the feeble answers...

But it is not true now.   

So, most Christians (for 2000 years) have done this kind of thing all the time - resorting to abstraction and ignorance - and about some of the most fundamental matters of faith.

And this is another deep and debilitating weakness of Christianity - which I am sure has contributed to the catastrophic collapse of the past 18 months (i.e. the worst and most rapid reversal of institutional Christianity since its foundation - and if you have not noticed this, then you are in deep trouble).

It has become very obvious that most 'Christians' do not believe what they say they believe; and have actually abandoned their faith...

By contrast, these same 'Christians' are utterly credulous-of, slavishly obedient-to and defensive-concerning... whatever latest lying garbage is being spouted by government officials, advertisers and the mass media

But Christianity is true and real, and there are clear and simple answers to all the tough and simple questions. 

But none of the churches will tell you this - and certainly no other institutions will do so. 

Indeed you will need to work the answers out for your-self - because why should you - how should you - trust anybody else in such times?

In such a situation, old style Christian evangelism - pushing the same old abstractions and evasions - is pitiful; and apparently counter-productive with most people.

In these end times; conversion is a matter of sorting things out for yourself and by yourself to attain answers that satisfy yourself. 

All we can realistically do is provide an example of whatever sort can be managed; and encourage others really to think - for and from them-selves. 

And if you get it wrong, you will soon know; because your un-rooted faith will be swept-away like a bubble in the burgeoning torrent of lies and manipulations; and you will be gathered-into the thundering main-stream, heading down the steepening slope towards Hell.

But if you get it right, you will be separated and poised calmly amidst the maelstrom; realities will glow out from among the filth and be drawn to you (and you to them)... You will inwardly be sustained, energized and en-couraged. 

When you have answered the vital questions to your tested-satisfaction; you can navigate irresistibly through this bedeviled world. 

You can navigate towards a Heaven that you already understand well-enough to desire; eternally to participate in divine creative work that you yearn to join-with; following a Jesus whom you know sufficiently to love.