Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Notice of The Little House on the Prairie book series

Laura with her faithful, and vital, 'bulldog' Jack - one of my favourite minor characters

I have now read aloud, or listened-to (as an audiobook superbly performed by Cherry Jones) all of the eight lifetime-published "Little House on the Prairie" series by Laura Ingalls Wilder - except Farmer Boy (which is about Almanzo Wilder, the future husband of Laura - the protagonist; and not about the Ingalls family. Perhaps later.)  

It has taken me decades to get around to these books; because all that I 'knew' about them was that there was a schmalzy TV children's series of the same name - and this was not the kind of thing I appreciate. 

But having read a few other classics of US children's literature recently, and been hugely impressed by the quality, my wife and I decided to to give it a try - by jumping straight in at the 'On the Prairie' volume - when the series really got going (later back-tracking to the Big Woods, which is more of a 'memoir'). 

I would now place these books in the very first rank of children's literature - up with works like The Wind in the Willows, The Secret Garden, Narnia and The Hobbit. 

They are simply superb; and full of the kind of incidents and scenes that I instantly recognize will be remembered forever (and which, I presume, all American kids of a certain age will have lodged in their minds): the circle of wolves, the Indians, the prairie fire, the grasshoppers, the buggy and sled rides...

Everything about these books is excellent - even their values and morality; and especially good (as literary fictions) are those five volumes over which (apparently) Laura Ingall's Wilder's daughter Rose had the greatest editorial influence (i.e. House on the Prairie, Plum Creek, Long Winter, Town on the Prairie, and Happy Golden years).   

Like all true classics; these books are not 'like' any other books - what they do its unique. They have the clear ring of truth, and are also beautifully crafted fiction. In a child's and teenager's way: 'all human life is here' - adventure, endurance, happiness, tragedy, humour, embarrassment, hard work, joyous leisure, fights, romance; and all kinds and flavours of vivid characters... The Little House books are a complete world unto themselves. 

Implications of the question: "Is Hobbes really alive?" (in Calvin and Hobbes)

Is Hobbes alive, or is the whole thing in Calvin's imagination - and therefore a delusion? Does it matter? Or, is there another alternative - another way of framing the problem? 

In the whole of Calvin and Hobbes strips (except for the episode when Calvin is tied-up and can't escape - above; that Calvin was tied-up is later confirmed by his mystified father) everything is explicable on the basis that Hobbes is just a stuffed tiger; and that Calvin is believing a falsehood when he assumes Hobbes is alive and sentient - that is to say Calvin is deluded. 

The pseudo-sophisticated modern says that it doesn't matter - that 'the important thing' is that Calvin believes. The claim is that if Calvin treats Hobbes 'as if' he is alive, then this amounts to the same thing as Hobbes 'really' being alive. 

But that is dishonest, because to the modern spirit, 'as if' belief is in practice regarded as a falsehood - more specifically a delusion. So, for decades, Liberal Christian theologians (and Jungians, for that matter - such as Joseph Campbell) asserted that the Feeding of the Five Thousand, Jesus having been resurrected, that he was the Son of God... all that stuff didn't really matter - we could keep the Christianity (believe the symbolism) on the basis that we simply treated this 'as if' it was true. 

Indeed, 'as if' was put forward as more intelligent, more spiritual, morally better than the 'literalism' of 'fundamentalists'. 

But that isn't what happened! 'As if' turned-out to be just a step onto a slippery slope leading to atheism and anti-Christianity. 

Thus, if we try to say that it does not matter whether Hobbes is really alive; and all that matters is whether Calvin treats him 'as if' he is alive - then this is psychologically a lie. It does matter! 

On this basis I think we either have to say that Hobbes is alive, and Calvin is therefore right to love (and hate) him; or else that all this is a just a 'projection' of Calvin's wishes - excusable in an immature child (whose brain is not fully developed), but not in itself admirable, and indeed a kind of psychopathology. Or we accept that Hobbes is alive: I mean really alive. 

This would mean that Hobbes is really alive, but alive in some way and form that is not generally recognized by the simple categories of modern thought. 

 And I think this is true - indeed I think it must be true; and to deny it involves denying very deep emotional intuitions - to violate which tends to make us inhuman and evil. 

I will give an example. Supposing that Calvin and Hobbes ended by Calvin 'realizing' that Hobbes was 'just' a stuffed toy - and decapitating and mutilating Hobbes! This is a really horrible idea - but if Calvin really was previously operating on the basis of a delusion and has now come to his senses, they why does it sicken us so much? 

We can then ask whether we are right to be sickened by this scenario - and I think the answer is clearly - yes

Therefore, in practice, and at a powerful gut-level, we regard it as more-Good for Calvin to regard Hobbes as really alive, and to treat him as really alive, than the alternative. 

Why then do we abandon this conviction for adults? Ah! - now that is the real question! 

The modern adult world has, for some reason, decided that it is best for us to violate our natural and healthy and wholesome knowledge about the genuine aliveness of our loved stuffed tigers. 

Is that reason a good one? Not that I can see - on the contrary, the modern adult world's insistence that Hobbes is 'nothing but' a stuffed tiger' does truly catastrophic damage to our souls - wounds us, makes us less human, alientates us and induces that unassuageable despair which shows itself in so many aspects of contemporary life (including much religious life). 

Unless we have a world view which recognizes that Hobbes really is alive, and alive in a way and with a meaning which it is vital that we recognize, then we are lost - I mean literally lost*. 

This post - and the Note, below - is reposted and edited from 2015

Note:  So, I have argued - as a test case - that we must regard Hobbes as really alive, and that there is a profound violation by asserting the alternative. Christians who deny the aliveness of other gods, or - say - an African Fetich (who assert that these are necessarily and certainly delusional) - are therefore stepping onto that slippery slope of alienation and despair which The West has descended over the past several generations. Anthropologists who explain-away the spiritual events and entities of their subjects are likewise wounding themselves. To regard other-people's spirits and gods as (necessarily and certainly) psychological (delusions, manipulations, wishful thinking and the like) is a self-inflicted wound. 

For example, those who state that 'there is no Father Christmas' are doing perceptible violence to themselves. When I look at any such person, I see someone who is at least to that extent in a bad way, spiritually. And I mean a bad way spiritually. And this applies even if the person is a devout Christian - to the extent that they can bring themselves to assert that Santa is just made-up, they are embracing an evil falsehood. They have revealed their souls as significantly-darkened - and they further darken their souls by their skeptical pronouncements; and by any attempts to argue or defend their denials. This means that Father Christmas/ Santa Claus is really-real - and therefore that the problem is to understand the sense in which FC/ Santa is objectively, actually, independently real. 

This sense in which Hobbes and Santa are really-real can be conceptualized in various ways - none completely satisfactory, but some of them going back to Socrates and Plato. Usually, the general idea is that earthly and mortal knowledge is necessarily partial, distorted and labile - and/but is more-or-less-closely linked to a complete, clear and permanent knowledge in some other place, realm, dimension or state of existence - or residing in gods or God. (Without which there would be no possibility of knowledge at all - it is this underpinning which saves us from the nonsensical paradoxes and despair of nihilism.) And that 'eternal' reality is real, but we cannot (cannot) fully understand it. 

 We know that this must be so, that reality must be real - but we cannot describe reality with precision or completeness. Thus, we must not - for our own sakes - reject any specific piece of knowledge merely because it is partial, distorted, labile or because we cannot explain its causality or how it fits in with other stuff that (we think) we know. Because that rejection leads to the nonsensical nihilism of rejecting all earthly and imperfect knowledge by an irresistible and unstoppable slide down into to alienation.

*Reference: A metaphysical argument for the fact that everything is alive (and in some sense conscious) can be found here

Monday, 14 June 2021

The Birdemic, spiritual discernment and the Christian Churches

Francis Berger has followed-up last-week's powerful post about the Roman Catholic Church (which I discussed here), with another concerning the vital importance of spiritual discernment in a time when things have come to a point

Here are some excepts:

My overarching point was that the bishop and the [Roman Catholic] Church remain officially aligned with the birdemic narrative. As such, they continue to believe their decision to close churches and deny Mass to hundreds of millions was totally justified. 

Put another way, the Catholic Church - and practically all other Christian denominations - remain firmly convinced that they did the right thing for the right reasons. They feel no need to reflect upon or perhaps reassess their decision, and they certainly do not think they have anything to repent. 

I happen to think the opposite. I hold the opposite view because I am convinced that the birdemic is an Evil Lie. Moreover, I believe in the primacy of the spiritual - in putting God and spiritual considerations first. 

By denying Mass and other sacraments such as last rites at the behest of the secular global diktat of none are safe until all are safe, the Catholic Church (and other Christian denominations) essentially demonstrated that they believe in the primacy of the material - in putting the world and material considerations first. 

 ...At its core, the birdemic is not about science or medicine or church doctrine. At its core, the birdemic marks the epicenter of things coming to a point. More specifically, the birdemic is about being able to spiritually discern good and evil and making the right choices in light of this discernment. 

 ...As far as I'm concerned, churches the world over failed miserably when they closed their doors due to the birdemic. I will go even as far as to say most churches actively and willingly made the wrong choice. And churchgoers who passively and obediently follow their churches in this regard are also making the wrong choice. 

People can reject this as my "opinion", but I do not regard my standpoint on this issue to be mere opinion. For me, it's discernment - discernment based on my understanding of God and Creation - that is, on my understanding of the fundamental nature of reality and of our current spiritual war. 

 ...The line separating good from evil has rarely, if ever, been clearer. That doesn't mean that discernment is always easy or that our judgments are always correct, but it does mean that spiritual discernment can no longer be considered a passive, optional activity. 

Like it or not, we have all been put in the position where we must choose - and those choices are based on our ability to effectively discern. In this regard, we are all our own spiritual authorities. 

The possibility of outsourcing discernment to an external church authority is closing before us. When it comes to matters of religion and spirit, we no longer have the luxury to simply believe what we are told to believe and do what we are told to do. 

We must make our own judgments about these matters, and these judgments must emanate from our innermost selves and our active and willing alignment with God and Creation. In this sense, spiritual discernment is the most important special competence we can possess in this time and place.

Read the whole thing

Comments: Frank goes far towards clarifying matters, for those too caught-up in the daily virtual-reality to stand back and do it for themselves. 

There are at least three separable issues. 

1. Birdemic Big Lie

The birdemic is evidently a Big Lie - top to bottom, many-fold, from its beginning to now. 

Almost everything substantive we have been told about the birdemic has later been shown (by the same official/ media sources from which the first Lies came) to be not just mistaken, but calculated untruth. 

To know this, one only needs to be capable of common sense and memory. However, an aspect of the very general and extreme spiritual corruption of these times is that people are capable of neither. Even when (as in the UK) the Prime Minister (speaking on behalf of 'science' and 'the evidence') contradicts himself completely in the space of four days about whether Christmas 2020 'needs to be cancelled'; the obvious implications are missed, and the event is soon forgotten. 

Big Lies are intrinsically evil - because lying is a sin. 


2. Birdemic Evil Lie

The birdemic is an Evil Lie because of its provenance (evil refers to its motivation; the source tells us the motivation). 

The birdemic lie comes-from the Global Establishment - whose major strategies are evil; and who is explicitly anti-Christian, anti (any) God, anti-spiritual, denying of divine creation; and favouring the Big Lies of open-borders, climate emergency, antiracism and the sexual revolution including the trans agenda. They have explicitly stated their plans for transitioning the birdemic into the Great Reset - which is a atheist totalitarian dystopia. 

The purposive evil of the Big Lie is evident. 

3. Even if the birdemic was not a Big Evil Lie...

Let us assume, as a thought experiment, that the birdemic was not a Big Evil Lie - let us assume that the world Establishment was (overall) honest and Christian, therefore working for God, The Good, and divine creation (instead of against)...

Let us also assume that the birdemic really was a very lethal pandemic (the current, recent, definition of 'pandemic' only means a new and wide-spreading disease - it does Not mean a dangerous disease). Let's say its mortality rate was fifty times what it really has been, and that it significantly affected the young and healthy. 

Let's also pretend (because it is false) that lockdowns, masks and social distancing really were known to be effective in reducing the mortality rates of this disease (rather than, as IRL, at first doing nothing then making things much worse). 

Would this imaginary scenario be a reason for the Roman Catholic Church to close and deny the sacraments of baptism, Mass and last rites to its flock for months or a year? 

Well, certainly not - if these sacraments really had the significance that Catholics assert for them. 

Would it be a reason to deny spiritual healing (by laying on of hands), or exorcism, or to close shrines and pilgrimage sites such as Lourdes? 

Certainly not, if these had the efficacy that the Roman Catholic faith asserted for them. 

The list could be continued. 

This is a stark discernment here, things have already come to a point. The Roman Catholic Church has behaved in a way that - with extreme comprehensiveness and clarity - denies its own most sacred and fundamental assumptions regarding its own authority and spiritual power. 

Note: I think this situation is clearest with the RCC, not least because the RCC has for centuries striven to be clear and explicit about its own beliefs and assertion. But the same basic situation prevails with all other large Christian denominations and churches. Churches have beliefs and assertions that both explain and justify their own existence - and these have been starkly contradicted by their response to the birdemic - by their willing alignment wit the Big Evil Lie. This crisis includes all of Christendom - and indeed (I would guess) all other religions - but I shall leave that to them.

Sunday, 13 June 2021

Against spiritual methods

It seems that God wants us to strive, while mortals on earth; for higher spiritual states - for greater awareness of God, Jesus Christ, spiritual beings such as angels - and indeed for a greater sense of the aliveness and purpose of God's creation.

This; despite that we cannot (and should not) expect that our efforts will be more than partially and intermittently successful - nonetheless, by them we can know from experience the realities of Heaven. 

Strive - yes - but how? At this point, people come forward with Spiritual Methods - such as rituals, symbols, meditation, channeling, drugs - or whatever. 

The thing about such methods is that they are usually initially somewhat successful. As a person practices the method, he at first gets better results. But then all methods always fail - they lose their power to evoke spiritual states; or else the end-up by being spiritually misleading. 

Three examples. 

Rudolf Steiner prescribed detailed spiritual exercises for his followers, and vast programmes of reading and study; which were methods for learning to discipline and direct thinking into more spiritual channels, within Steiner's revealed metaphysical system. 

A century of experience has clearly demonstrated that these practices/ methods clearly don't work at 'making people more spiritual'. Anthroposophists aren't spiritual in-themselves - they just talk/write about Steiner's spiritual ideas (and meanwhile get passionate about advocating mainstream leftist causes!). 

But the Steiner methods do (unfortunately) seem to have the effect of locking-people into a permanent fixation upon Steiner the man, and every-thing he said and wrote - with a strikingly-obvious conviction of the man's literal infallibility: both as a man, and in all that he said and wrote.

One of Steiner's recent followers was Stanley Messenger; and he described a method by which one would form intense closed-groups who would communally engage in conversations with spiritual beings (e.g. Archangel Michael, the prophet Melchizedek, and Rudolf Steiner himself): not in a trance-medium way, but with a group member imagining the words of the being, and other members engaging in conversation with that member. 

This was devised as a conscious, active and creative type of channeling - as an intended development from the unconscious channeling of traditional 'mediums'. 

But the results were (to my mind) very mundane and un-spiritual - mostly the kind of psychodrama/ group dynamics/ inter-personal stuff, such as usually happens in New Age circles; from what I can tell, the participants did not show any external evidence of being more spiritual. 

Much like the earlier ideas of mediumistic channeling; the 'material' obtained was quasi-objective instruction about the world and predictions about its future, most of which was soon proved to be wrong. 

In a nutshell, much as with Steiner's practices, there were some psychological effects which created what looked like dependence on the group, as well as pleasurable interactions; but nothing to suggests that this was a method for becoming more spiritual. 

A third example is the book Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch. In the first of what became a series of such books, the author describes his 'method' for writing to God then listening for a reply which came to him by written dictation. 

Reading through the first volume is an example of what happens with methods in general. At first, the I was surprised to be somewhat impressed; the answers from seem striking and valid; and seemed plausibly divine communications. (You can read this on the free sample from Kindle books.) And for a short while this impression solidified. But only for a short while!

As soon as I got the sense of the author 'trusting the method'; there was a sense of 'God' telling the author just what the author wanted to hear! 

From trusting the method, the author transitioned to 'using' the method. All the later part of this book struck me as boilerplate New Age, progressive, lifestyle, self-realization, self-serving stuff - of exactly the kind one would expect from an aspiring professional 'guru' (rather than from our Heavenly Father, the creator of reality). 

(I note that the first book led to a series of best sellers, with all the usual business of supplementary material, interviews, lectures etc; and that the author seemingly received divine endorsement for 'open' marriage; and has himself had four - some say five - marriages.) 

My point is that there are many methods advocated for spiritual enhancement - and new variations are continually being devised. These usually work at first, but never work for long; and usually end by doing more harm than good as the practitioner learns to trust the method and believe whatever it produces. 

This may suggest that the solution is continually to be changing methods - rather like the 'spiritual seekers' who taste and try every religion, spirituality and technique in an endless series; but decades of experience has shown that this does not work either - and indeed carries exactly the same kind of hazards as trusting in method. 

So what are the implications? That we should be guided by aims, not methods. 

We should pursue our spiritual aims, from our best motivations (of love); and we should never trust the methods by which these aims are pursued; but always retain discernment concerning the effects that 'what we are doing' is actually having upon us. 

We should never let the method itself dictate what counts as true, virtuous or beautiful - but need to retain a direct apprehension of these values. 

There is an almost inevitable transition between learning to trust the method; to unconsciously using the method to generate what we desire. And these unconscious desires are nearly always self-gratifying and hedonic - which is why manipulative power-games and exploitative sexuality are so often a feature of New Age groups and techniques. 

Because methods are false Gods; what may begin well, will end badly. 

Saturday, 12 June 2021

What effect did the War of the Ring have on The Shire?

A hobbit in a library...

I have often wondered how many people read the Prologue: concerning Hobbits, which comes before Chapter 1 of The Lord of the Rings. 

This gives-away a good deal of the coming story, by implication at least - and it is surely a very strange way to approach a fiction via some 20 pages of descriptive context; before the reader has read a word of narrative! 

Yet, apparently it 'works' - for millions of people - as do so many of the strange and counter-intuitive aspects of Tolkien's narrative method.  

Anyway; there are many treasures in the Prologue, which continues to surprise me. For instance, its last section - entitled Note on the Shire Records - primarily has the function of providing a feigned historical 'frame' for the narrative. 

It states that The Lord of the Rings was edited (implicitly by Tolkien himself) from an ancient manuscript copy of the Red Book of Westmarch; which began with Bilbo's account of his adventures (The Hobbit), and was then added to by Frodo and Sam's accounts of their adventures (The Lord of the Rings). 

The Red Book proper is also stated to have contained some of the information included in the Appendices - such as the family trees; and it is said that it was boxed with Bilbo's translations from the Elvish - which we are meant to infer is the basis of what was later published (in excerpted form) as The Silmarillion. 

Indeed, Merry is also implied to have been the part-author of some parts of The Lord of the Rings as we know it - for example Appendix B, The Tale of Years, and Appendix D, which is about calendars.

But another aspect of Notes on the Shire Records, which I hadn't properly noticed, concerns the effect of the War of the Ring on subsequent life in the Shire. 

I think many people have the idea that - after the Scouring of the Shire - everything returned to normal; and life in the Shire was re-set to how it had been before the arrival of the Black Riders. But this is not the case. 

Tolkien tells us that there was an awakened interest among Shire Hobbits in their own history and traditions; and these were collected from oral sources and written for the first time. In the first century of the Fourth Age, several libraries were established in The Shire; by the Took family, the Brandybucks; and at Undertowers in the new Westmarch, where Sam's eldest child Elanor lived with her husband Fastred. 

The Buckleberry library was begun by Merry, who himself wrote books on several subjects; including Shire Herblore, Calendars, and the philology of Shire words and names compared with Rohan. So, the Brandybuck library specialized in Shire matters specifically; with a further concern with matters of Rohan. 

The library in Tuckborough was of more general scope. Pippin did not write anything himself; but collected works from Gondor concerned with Numenor, Sauron and the history of Middle Earth in general. 

This library was thus the (probable!) basis for Appendix B - The Tale of Years - with Merry's assistance. We are told that Merry returned more than once to Rivendell, to consult with the remaining High Elves, including the sons of Elrond; and (probably) Celeborn - who dwelt there for some time after the departure of Galadriel, and was a living link with the Elder Days.  

In other words; the result of the War of the Rings was to make The Shire less parochial, more outward-looking. It is implied that the hobbits were somewhat 'ennobled' and raised by their (indirect) contact with 'higher things'. 

When Pippin says to Merry (in the Houses of Healing) "We Tooks and Brandybucks, we can't live long on the heights.' Merry responds: "Not yet, at any rate. But at least, Pippin, we can now see them, and honour them... There are things deeper and higher... I am glad that I know about them, a little." 

It seems that the two hobbits took this insight back to The Shire, and put it into action. There was a raising of the intellectual level, and an increase in literacy; stemming directly from the links established by Bilbo, Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin with elves and men in Rivendell, Gondor and Rohan.

When Frodo conversed with Gildor in the Woody End at the start of the adventure; the elf said about the Shire Hobbits: 

"It is not your own Shire... The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot forever fence it out."

The Notes on the Shire Records inform us, that following the War of the Ring, and the invasion by Saruman and his ruffians; the Shire hobbits increased in wisdom, ceased to fence themselves in, and began to take notice of the wide world all about them. 

Friday, 11 June 2021

I know when I don't know... Fourth Gospel Chapter 1 verses 1-5

Chapter 1: [1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] The same was in the beginning with God. [3] All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. [4] In him was life; and the life was the light of men. [5] And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Some of the most famous words in the Bible; and the opening to the Gospel that I regard as the most authoritative for Christians - our primary and only eye-witness source of information on the person and teachings of Jesus. 

Yet I don't have a clear idea of what these early verses mean - what they add-up-to in a substantive sense. Indeed, I am not even sure that they have a substantive meaning; they may be essentially a poetic prologue - the author's impression rather than Jesus's teaching.

I have read plenty of interpretations, and considered plenty of possibilities; but the one thing of which I am sure is that I Do Not Know what 1: 1-5 mean. 

As I have mentioned before; it is this knowing when I do Not know that I regard as my primary virtue as a scholar and researcher. All the significant discoveries I made as a scientist were made because I recognized that I did not know what everybody else thought they did know - but in reality didn't. 

For instance, people thought they knew what was meant by saying a person suffered from 'depression', they thought they knew what they meant by 'antidepressant', they thought that the pharmaceutical action of antidepressants were delayed by several weeks - but in all instances this was just inattentive, sloppy thinking. 

Nobody really knew; and somebody needed to re-think. It may or may not be possible to reach an answer - but at least I could know that I did not know 

Later on I asked about the origins of life ("how did life arise?"), the nature of 'life' ("what is life?"), and the origin of distinct biological categories such as kingdom, phylum, class, order and family; the division between males and females; or the true disciplinary boundaries of Biology? 

I realized that people had not answered these questions, but had merely stopped asking them seriously. Biological researchers has simply 'changed the subject'. 

That's pretty much how I feel about the opening of the Fourth Gospel. I know I don't really understand it; and I don't think anybody whose interpretations I have come-across understands it either (not least because they nearly all proceed from assumptions I regard as false). 

So I am not asking or expecting anybody-else to tell me what these Bible versus mean; because I will almost certainly find such explanations flawed. This is something I would need to work out for myself and to my own satisfaction, but I would not be surprised if (for whatever reason) there was no satisfactory explanation of these words. 

There might be many reasons for this incomprehension - including interference from later insertions or deletions, that their original meaning is no longer relevant, problems with translation (and/or modern deficiencies in understanding of the original text), or that intended meaning was a mistake by the author. Or my own false assumptions. Or simple mental inadequacy. 

So, at present I rest content in not knowing, and knowing that I do not know, the meaning of this passage (and other passages) in the Bible. But if I need to know; and enquire in the right spirit; no doubt I will be able eventually to know. 

Fly Fishing on the Tyne


The power of television advertising for my generation can be seen by the associations it makes. 

The River Tyne (which runs just a mile and a half from where I write) is famous both for heavy industry at its estuary (coal exports from Medieval times, ship-building later); and for salmon fishing in its scenic upper reaches (before, and now after, the era of heavy industry).  

The sight of a man in waders, standing in midstream, casting a fly for salmon; is one of the most iconic country scenes hereabouts; as elsewhere. As Thoreau wrote in a favourite passage from his A Week on the Concord and Merrimack River:

I can just remember an old brown-coated man who was the Walton of this stream, who had come over from Newcastle, England, with his son,—the latter a stout and hearty man who had lifted an anchor in his day. 

A straight old man he was who took his way in silence through the meadows, having passed the period of communication with his fellows; his old experienced coat, hanging long and straight and brown as the yellow-pine bark, glittering with so much smothered sunlight, if you stood near enough, no work of art but naturalized at length. 

I often discovered him unexpectedly amid the pads and the gray willows when he moved, fishing in some old country method,—for youth and age then went a fishing together,—full of incommunicable thoughts, perchance about his own Tyne and Northumberland. 

He was always to be seen in serene afternoons haunting the river, and almost rustling with the sedge; so many sunny hours in an old man’s life, entrapping silly fish; almost grown to be the sun’s familiar; what need had he of hat or raiment any, having served out his time, and seen through such thin disguises? I have seen how his coeval fates rewarded him with the yellow perch, and yet I thought his luck was not in proportion to his years; and I have seen when, with slow steps and weighed down with aged thoughts, he disappeared with his fish under his low-roofed house on the skirts of the village. 

I think nobody else saw him; nobody else remembers him now, for he soon after died, and migrated to new Tyne streams. His fishing was not a sport, nor solely a means of subsistence, but a sort of solemn sacrament and withdrawal from the world, just as the aged read their Bibles.


However... Whenever I see a fly-fisherman, my mind returns to a TV advert from 40 years ago which became a kind of obsession, a folk-reference, in Britain for a while. 

The sweet old ham actor who played the book-seeker in these ads even earned himself national obituaries on his death.  

Thus the human mind functions. Yesterday I observed a lone figure far from shore on the Tyne near Wylam, turned to my wife, and enquired: "JR Hartley?".

CS Lewis "the man" is best found in his letters

The collected letters of CS Lewis, edited by Walter Cooper, are in three volumes - and the first two volumes - which span from Lewis's childhood to 1949 are the best. After Lewis became famous; most of his correspondence was with people he did not know well (or at all); and these later letters are therefore mostly more public and generic in tone. 

In the early letters you will find more of Jack Lewis's humour than in any other of his writings - displayed in the letters to his brother Warnie (then away as a Captain in the army, sometimes abroad), his childhood friend Arthur Greaves, and to other friends from college days. 

Indeed, it is in these letters that I find the most vivid impression of Lewis as a man - far more so than in any of his published writings. I get a distinct flavour of that man who formed and sustained The Inklings, who was (legendarily) the life and soul of the company - as well as loyal and considerate. 

I find 'Lewis the letter writer' to be a very likeable persona; more likeable than Lewis the theologian, literary critic or adult novelist - and even-more likeable than the author of Narnia

I don't know whether others will tune-into Lewis's humour in the way that I do (humour is very much a matter of taste); but I find it to be an absolute delight. In the first place - there are many parts which are laugh-out-loud funny; which is very rare among published private letters (Kingsley Amis's correspondence with Philip Larkin is another example: these letters are very funny indeed, albeit in a characteristically dark and cruel way!). 

Yet Lewis's humour is also warm and affectionate, probably because of the affection between Lewis and his correspondent - it is a generous humour; shared in order to give enjoyment to the recipient - and tailored to each recipient. 

So Lewis's funny passages sent to Warnie are different from those for Arthur Greaves, and these again from Owen Barfield and so forth. Lewis is sharing running jokes and the 'kind of thing' that provides amusement in a particular friendship; the 'kind of thing' that particular friends talk-about. 

The quality of writing is superb - the letters are as well-written as the published prose (although not so well spelled!) - which is unsurprising given that Lewis (like Samuel Johnson) composed in his ind, not on paper - and usually published his (corrected) first drafts.

The famously great powers of quotation that Lewis displayed in conversation are also on view - and it is made clear that these were based mainly on the capacity to pastiche rather than on an exact memory. 

Lewis's 'quotes' are nearly all more-or-less inaccurate, at a word-by-word basis (as Walter Hooper's footnotes make clear), but always contain the flavour, distinctiveness and pertinence of that being quoted. 

This is the same 'method' as deployed by a Scottish novelist I used to know - Alasdair Gray. He would fluently improvise 'quotations' from favourite works that cropped-up in conversation; getting the spirit exactly right while - strictly speaking - using mostly his own words. For example - he did this when we discussed funny parts of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five; and again with Flann O'Brien's At Swin Two Birds - also done in an impression of the appropriate US or Irish accent. The business was both hilarious and virtuoso.

I know that however much I recommend Lewis's collected letters; very few people are likely to read them. 

Very few people read 'secondary literature' (biography, letters, criticism) of even their very favourite authors. 

But I believe that if you have not at least dipped-into CS Lewis's letters - there is also a 'selected letters' available, and the complete letters to Arthur Greaves are published separately as They Stand Together - then you don't really know him. 

And, strictly, as writing; the best letters are Lewis at his best; equaled (in various different ways) but never surpassed by anything else he wrote. 

Thursday, 10 June 2021

For my Catholic readers - you need seriously to consider these points about the birdemic and the church

Francis Berger is himself a Roman Catholic - but his most recent post - which is a point by point response to a Bishop's call for Catholics to return to mass - would also apply to Eastern Orthodox and Anglo Catholics. 

It is a very powerful, heart-felt and angry response to his church's response to the birdemic; and what this response tells us about that church. 

(Note: This matter is important even if you are not Catholic - because together, these Catholic denominations, especially RCC and EO - represent by-far the largest group of organized Christians in the world - as of 2019, anyway.) 

Frank's piece covers the fact that the worldwide churches willingly locked their doors and suspended Mass (and other sacraments and duties), for months or more than a year. But/and now are stating that people need to 'come back', to being attending in person (and, presumably, tithing).  

Read the whole thing, and please consider it care-fully. 

What I see in the Bishop's words throughout is managerialism .

I see the works and thinking characteristic of a clever, hard-working, dutiful global bureaucrat; someone who sees himself as a loyal member of the ruling Establishment; someone who (at the bottom line, when the chips are down) says and does... whatever that Establishment requires. 

Of course the Bishop is being hypocritical - but that is not the worst of it. The worst of it is that he is lying; he is deceiving, selecting and manipulating concepts dishonestly and with intent to mislead.   

And this is a problem with all the churches with respect to the birdemic; they have lied, and they have chosen to support lies from the Establishment - and these are specific lies of habitual and systematic liars - those whose major global policies (e.g. climate change, antiracism, sexual revolution) are all Evil Lies

In a nutshell; the churches have obviously lied, and have aligned themselves with obvious, observable liars; have not repented their lying; and have (therefore) continued to lie. 

Now, the question my Catholic readers need to ask themselves is whether (as Frank argues) the events of the past 15 months have been a devastating insight into the real nature of their church - a revelation of the real attitudes and beliefs of its actually-existing leadership and bureaucracy... 

Or not. 

And the same - but mutatis mutandis (i.e. not about the Mass, but the equivalently up-to-2020-vital aspect of what their church offers) - applies to those who are members of other churches (Protestant, Mormon and others); churches who willingly closed, whose leaders eagerly supported their own suspension, who often stated officially that health was their first-priority (!), who ceased to provide any real-life help to church members (and insisted that virtual, online 'watching a monitor'-type help was a valid substitute for reality). 

These are testing times; and it seems that most devout, church-going Christians have failed the test spectacularly. 

Yet, many know in their hearts that something fundamental changed when the churches went-along-with the birdemic.

The world has changed - and it is the kind of change that is irrevocable. 

So, whatever people say, and whether or not Roman Catholics (or other Catholics) do obey their church leaders and go 'back to Mass': Mass will never be the same again

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Why lying is evil

Lying is evil. But there is an 'obvious' way that lying is pragmatically evil; and this should not be confused with an 'absolute' way that lying is spiritually evil. 

First of all - in 'lying' is included all forms of dishonesty, untruthfulness and misleading - for example misleading by partial, selective, distorted facts; and by saying something factually accurate but with the intent that it be misunderstood as meaning something else (this is SOP in legal situations and bureaucracies). 

All are evil - and the indirect and devious evils may well be the worst

Lies are (nearly always) expedient: i.e. beneficial to the liar in the short term - which is why they happen. 

But lying is pragmatically evil in human society in a strategic, long-term sense; because lies are dysfunctional in any social system. 

This ought to be obvious, it ought not to need explaining - but modern people cannot think more than one step ahead to consider the consequences; therefore even such simple logic is beyond the contemporary 'mind'. 

If you need the help of a thought experiment; consider trying to do an engineering project - something like designing, building and operating a bridge, or an airliner - when the participants are lying to each other. Or the fact that what was 'science' is dead - because it is no longer truth-seeking and truth-speaking (as it was until just a couple of generations ago). 

So a society where truth-telling is not encouraged and enforced but instead punished; where lying is encouraged, subsidized, and celebrated; is a society at best inefficient and ineffective - and ultimately (because lies feed on lies) will collapse. 

Lying will extract a price; and the more lying the greater the price; until it is socially lethal. 

But that is not evil as such. So why is lying evil as such? 

Lying is evil because it is a denial of truth, which is reality; and reality is God's creation. That is why lying is intrinsically evil.

If you do not believe in God's creation, then lying is not intrinsically evil; and if you do not take the side of God and divine creation - you will not regard lying as intrinsically evil. 

Thus, the reason that there is so much, and ever-more, lying in 2021 is that few people believe in God's creation and many people are opposed to God and divine creation. 

Either they regard everything as just pragmatics, and favour their own short-term expedience over long term functionality; or else they positively want to destroy whatever is true, real and Good: i.e. whatever is God's creation. 

Liars are troops on the front line of Satan's army; and that it true whether the liar is a politician or journalist, a philanthropist or a Christian church leader. And whatever the kind of lie: whether endorsing one of the Big Lies like the birdemic, climate change or antiracism; or one of the carefully-misleading managerial misrepresentations in public relations, mission statements and bureaucracy. And whether you are lying to 'the public', employees, employers - or to your-self. 

Note added. The reason it is important to emphasize the evilness of lying, is that people will often state some version of "there is no point in me/us being truthful"; because "me/us being truthful about this one specific things will not make any difference to what happens". 

They fail to recognize that the lie is itself evil - no matter what the probable consequences of truth-telling may - or may not - turn out be. 

Indeed; truthfulness - starting with our-selves - is perhaps the single most important act of Good an individual can accomplish in these ever-more-evil End Times (where recovery is unlikely, and all pragmatics lead to ruin); valuable in itself and in its potential spiritual consequences. 

What is the meaning of degeneration, illness, disease and ageing?

Although the specific meanings of life are specific to specific persons (each in their specific situation) - there is a metaphysical level of understanding of why there is illness, and why there is ageing - and what their functions are, in a general sense. 

At an ultimate level; this reality (incarnate mortal life on earth) illness and ageing are inevitable; because this is a reality dominated by entropy. That is: there is a tendency for creation to return to primal chaos. 

In this reality - degenerative change is inevitable; hence illness, disease, ageing (and, sooner or later, death).  

So in this sense it can reasonably be stated that there is No meaning to illness, disease, ageing. It is something that Just Happens; as a property of the world we live in...

Thus far considered; entropic change is both inevitable and anti-creation, therefore A Bad Thing. 

But in fact we are looking upon entropy from the far side of creation. We live in a created reality - our starting point is of creation in-being: creation manifested. 

This means that chaos from here is not the same a primal chaos. Primal chaos was neutral - it had no meaning; but chaos from the standpoint of creation is the destruction of exactly that creation which enables us to ask the questions. 

If primal chaos is amoral - because morality cannot exist until there is creation; then to return to chaos is a moral act - it is indeed the destruction of the possibility of morality, and therefore anti-moral

So - here we have a conceptualization of illness, ageing and death as evils; as the destruction of God's creation; as the destruction of Good and even the possibility of Good.  

Yet there is yet another perspective. This acknowledges that creation is ongoing. That God's creation is actually a create-ing. 

So that disease, ageing and death as they actually occur do so through the medium of God's creating. 

This means that we never perceive 'raw entropy' but only the combined effect of entropy with divine creation. Our world is a mixture of the spontaneous consequences of dis-integration and the continual synthesis of creation.

In yet other words; God's creation in this world operates on the raw material of entropy; so that everything we actually perceive is compounded of both... 

And therefore partakes of divine purposes and meanings

What the whole things adds-up-to is: there is always meaning and purpose in the phenomena of degeneration, illness, disease and ageing

But what that exact meaning and purpose are, is contextual on the individual life in which they occur - depending on the particular nature and circumstances of that life. 

And therefore the particular meaning and purpose of some particular instance of degeneration, illness, disease or ageing (why do I have chronic and worsening arthritis, why is my knee swollen, why does it hurt?) is knowable only to someone who has sufficient particular knowledge...

And this particular knowledge must include not only physical but also spiritual aspects; seen in an ultimate context that encompasses resurrected eternal life in Heaven. 

So, the meaning of a specific health/age-adversity in a specific person is typically knowable only by that person - and even then, only when that person is able to relate it to the needs of this mortal life in relation to immortal life. 

This can crudely be summarized in the question: "What is this trying to teach me?" or "What should I be learning from this?"

And it should not be expected that the real answer be one that we can express to other people, or even one that we can express in language - the answer might well be a word-less and direct apprehension of some-thing. 

What is vital is that we learn it - not that we can tell others, or even ourselves, precisely what it is we have learned. That is a quite different, and secondary, matter. 

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Do you want Heaven, or the other place, or nothing? Childhood - Single Adulthood - Marriage/ Parenthood

Here comes a big generalization... 

We can divide a long and archetypal human life into three phases of 1. childhood, followed by 2. single adulthood then 3. marriage and parenthood (shortly after which, in most traditional societies, came death). 

Indeed, we can divide life into just two phases - family, and not-family.  

Then we need to make an imaginative evaluation of these phases in terms of potential. This evaluation may be based on personal experience to varying degrees - but mainly on our capacity to intuit the ideal

So: which is our personal ideal as the greatest phase of potential human living? Is it family life. Or is it the phase of not family life? 

In 2021, in the mainstream modern world as we get it from the global government and the mass media; from major social institutions (such as law, economics, education, science, most churches) - there is an explicit or implicit endorsement of the ideal of not-family life. 

Most people aspire to an ideal not-family life; as providing the greatest scope for what they most want. 

The potential of human existence is based-upon some version of an idealized young, single-adult life - involving some combination of wealth, power, freedom, high status, fame and attention, travel and leisure, excitement and comfort; lots of preferred-type sex with attractive others and without guilt, strings or recriminations... 

Underpinned by our own beauty, sexuality, charm, intelligence, dominance, strength and fitness, perfect health and immunity to illness, disease and ageing. 

For many decades (since the 1960s, for sure) such an ideal of human life has been perfectly normal, general, official and counter-cultural, and unremarkable...

 It is absolutely opposed to Christianity, and what Christianity has to offer.  

Christianity is of potential appeal to those who see, at the ideal level, the highest form of human life as being in some sense (and there are many possible senses) family

Or, in other words, a life based on love (and from that love: creativity - which is the manifestation of love-through-time). 

Because Heaven is an eternal familial existence.

Our world is divided into those who regard an ideal family as their ideal life; and those who regard not-family as their ideal life.  

Therefore for mainstream, normal modern people who endorse the young/ single/ adult ideal of free and maximally-pleasurable living - Heaven is sub-optimal at best and an horrific prospect at worst.  

Our world is thus divided into those who regard Heaven as Heaven - and those who regard Heaven as Hell...

And Hell as Heaven.

Note: There is another category; those who do not want family, and do not want not-family; because they do not want to remain people/ selves/ egos. They want an end to separateness - annihilation of the personal human in themselves. They want, in other words, nothing - in one form or another. When they die they want either the (blissful?) spiritual-nothing of Nirvana-oneness; or else the total-nothing of atheism - but either way, they don't want to know anything about it.  

Monday, 7 June 2021

How does English Magic work in Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell?

Blogger "seriouslypleasedropit" has joined-together the textual clues, and came up with what seems like the true explanation (slightly edited):

The eponymous Mr. Norrell is a somewhat timid creature—a landed country squire, ever a bachelor, who likes nothing better than sitting in a corner reading a book, and is likely to describe anything that disturbs his study as “irregular.” Through years of study (and a near-limitless inheritance with which to buy books) he has reconstructed a system of magic which allows him to perform various feats. Norrell’s magic is effective, but wooden; he avoids risk, and is very concerned with magic’s reputation in Society, as it has hitherto been disreputable...

In contrast is the other protagonist of the book, Jonathan Strange, who, having devoured tales of the Old Magic, wants to duplicate (and improve upon!) those ancient feats, and is willing to consort with dangerous fairies to do so. ...

Mr. Norrell and Mr. Strange spend a good amount of dialogue... as they argue about what magic ought to be. Norrell wants it to be practical, controlled, systematic; Strange wants it to be wild, wondrous, and spirited. Norrell wants nothing to do with fairies; Strange knows that the greatest English magician ever, the “Raven King,” heavily consorted with them, and wants to follow in his footsteps.

The book is long, and much happens, but eventually Strange finds the secret of what magic is, at least within the world of the book: 

 “It is not so hard as we have supposed. Tell them to read what is written in the sky. Tell them to ask the rain! All of [the Raven King’]s old alliances are still in place. I am sending messengers to remind the stones and the sky and the rain of their ancient promises.”

The gist is: long ago, the Raven King, having learned from the fairies to speak to the stone, the trees, and water of England, made alliance with them on behalf of all English magicians. That was the source of the magic, and Norrell’s formulaic magic is akin to a child writing letters to distant servants in the hand of a long-dead father, thinking they are spells rather than messages.

Excellent! I would add that this also explains why, when the Raven King departed from Northern England about 1400, English magic faded and failed. The alliances he had made with the 'nature spirits' of England stopped being renewed and gradually lapsed. 

The reality of the birdemic was a collective choice making a collective reality

In this stage of human consciousness; we create reality by choice. The choice is inescapable - although it can be (usually is) denied. 

Thus people talk all the time (incessantly, but dishonestly) about the importance of facts ('fact-checking'), evidence (evidence-based') and objectivity ('real world') - while their (labile and incoherent) beliefs and behaviours are clearly made-up from from propaganda and feelings. 

The birdemic was and is caused by human consciousness. Its reality derives from a collective decision that it should happen. Ultimately, the birdemic is true to billions of people because the world wants it. 

The birdemic is not like any previous 'pandemic' - it could not have been possible a generation ago - it is a consequence of changed human consciousness from around the millennium; first clear evidence of which was the triumph of the trans-agenda. 

From then, we knew that anything was possible; anything could and would be believed - and collective reality would track collective choices. 

Every aspect of the birdemic was a Big Lie, and known to be such, but it makes no difference because there was a collective choice that things should be thus. 

What is this collective choice of the birdemic? 

Quite simply - a choice for Hell. It is a choice of what is most-important; choice of what-should-be; and therefore a choice of what will-not-be. 

What will not be with the birdemic-choice includes God, divine creation, The Good and the following of Jesus Christ to resurrected life eternal in Heaven. 

Collective human choice made the birdemic-reality an existential choice concerning the nature of the world. 

Consequently (unless one repents) the birdemic now is the nature of the world, for a very large proportion of mankind.  

As of 2021; Men just are Beings that make their world, by choice; and the implication is that Our world just is Our responsibility.

So, be care-full what world you inhabit - you have made it thus. If you do not like the birdemic world that most Men have chosen - if you find it evil; you can make another and better world. And if you do not make another and better; then this is the world you have chosen - and for which you are inescapably responsible. 

Sunday, 6 June 2021

We need a Western Christian Revival and a Western Christian Revival is the thing we need

Plenty of secular people on the Right can diagnose the ills of our civilization, that is - The West, but can offer nothing constructive as a response. 

Of course Leftism does not work either, but then Leftism is not intended to work - it is intended to destroy: and that is something which Leftism does extremely efficiently. It is much harder to make than to destroy, and the secular Right wants to make a more effective and efficient state - but humans just aren't set-up to care enough about that goal to make it the basis of a political movement. 

My mantra is that the modern problem is motivation-deficiency - and it really ought not to surprise anyone that we are in this situation; considering how much effort has been and is being expended on destroying all the natural motivating instincts, and subverting and dismantling all the traditional motivations. 

Effective and robust motivations are not something that can be manufactured and implanted - they must be built on solid foundations. No large scale society has ever held-together for long (more than a couple of generations) without a religion - and not just any religion, because only certain types of religion are effective. 

Since religions cannot be manufactured and implemented any more than can motivation, then our choice and task is simple: we must choose a religion from those already in existence - and if we do not, then we will certainly perish from falling-apart. 

(Of course if we do choose a religion we may perish anyway, for different reasons - and we will have to live with the religion we choose.) 

Since there are only two existing and known-to-be-viable religions to choose from, and Christianity is by far the best suited to our situation in The West - then that is the obvious choice. But

1. It is a fact that mainstream Christianity has been very thoroughly corrupted and weakened at the highest levels and throughout by secular Leftism. 

2. That corruption and weakness is something which makes the task much harder and success much less likely. However, accepting those Buts

3. Although corruption and weakness in Christianity are real and relevant; they do not change the nature of the task. The task remains the same. We still need a Western Christian revival, and only a Christian revival will give us what we need. 

And this remains true however unlikely we judge the chance of success. It is like sending the One Ring into Mordor to be destroyed in the Cracks of Doom - it was a plan with very little chance of success, but it was the only plan that could achieve the objectives - so that was what had to be done. 

We must try to do what must be done; and doing anything else is not just a waste of time but actually reduces the chance of succeeding at what must be done.

Note: The above is a repost from 31st August 2015; forgotten by me and that did not attract any interest at the time; although parts of a sentence survived as a 'meme'. In tracking down the meme I re-read it, and it seemed strikingly relevant to our current situation. 

Core-Christianity: a new implicit alliance of individual serious Christians?

It seems to me that Christian churches and denominations are getting less and less important - and individual serious self-identified Christians regard each other as allies and colleagues (at a pretty deep level) even across what were regarded as major distinctions - such as the divide between Catholic and Protestant; and the divide between Catholics and Protestants and other self-identified Christians such as  Mormons and unaffiliated Christians. 

Even across what were regarded as such major distinctions of belief and practice, that one group formerly regarded the other as not-really Christian at all - people may find themselves more trusting of basic good motivation, than among the large majority of their 'co-religionists'.  

One reason is that the former antipathy among Christians was primarily at the group level. It was a by-product of the needs of the group. Such distinctions as by doctrine, authority-structure, tradition, ritual... seem to be necessary and beneficial for groups to emerge, grow and survive. 

But now that all the major churches have become bureaucracies, and all these bureaucracies have become horizontally-linked by many ties to to the other bureaucracies (national and local government, tax, employment, law, police, media, medical, education etc)...

And now that all these bureaucracies have been brought under a single totalitarian world government with a single (but constantly evolving) materialistic and leftist ideology...

All the churches are themselves becoming converged onto the same global ideology, whose primary concern is with such issues as 'health' (officially defined), equality and human rights, antiracism, feminism, the sexual revolution, 'the environment'... 

So at the institutional level, the differences between 'Christian' churches are dissolving away as they become not-Christian, and are merely distinguished by their different modes of pursuing the same ideology. 

So the ecumenical movement of pretend-Christians are downplaying distinctions between denominations and churches - and the leaderships see themselves all all engaged in the same core activity; for example uniting in pursuit of the birdemic/ peck agenda, carbon environmentalism, antiracism and/or the 'great reset' strategy.  

Thus, among the mass majority of institutionally-affiliated secondary-Christians; past distinctions are being discarded along with Christian belief. remaining differences are merely bureaucratic distinctions, and church rivalry is just management 'empire building' and 'office politics' happening within a single mega-bureaucracy.  

While at the individual level, serious Christians have necessarily detached themselves from obedience to Church authorities that are now obviously corrupted and worldly; that no longer puts Christianity first - but merely use Christian-type language and concepts to justify the secular left agenda, as it continually develops - the "Christianity" passively following the secular fashions and imperatives. 

Therefore, serious Christians find their faith stripped down to a tough core of sustaining and motivating assumptions, which may itself be unstated and implicit. 

Yet this individual core-Christianity must be strong enough to resist The World, and enduring enough to resist the continual psychological and physical pressure to compromise, conform and be corrupted. 

Most core-Christians show this by their behaviour ('revealed preferences') rather than by their statements of belief - indeed core-Christians may be hard-line, traditionalist, orthodox and exclusive in their professions... 

While at the same time spending their time hanging-out-with and discoursing-with serious Christians of extremely different assumptions, practices and doctrines! Learning, teaching, analyzing, and discussing possible ways forward. 

It seems to me that most serious Christians are now core-Christians; but most of them are not at present prepared to acknowledge the fact!  

At present, there does not seem to be a need to be explicit; and the situation is still so new that individuals have not yet sorted out which specifically, among their many 'beliefs', are core, essential, 'saving' beliefs - and which can (and eventually should) be regarded as secondary and optional among Christians. 

Sooner of later there will need to emerge some kind of very simple, explicit statement which can be endorsed by all Core-Christians - and about-which they can explicitly unite.

Perhaps something to do with being followers of Jesus Christ, who is divine; and about the Christian hope for Heavenly, resurrected life eternal. Although any such short statement would need to be understood in a broader context of assumptions concerning the nature of God, creation and its purposes.

In the meanwhile, I think serious Christians are following their hearts, rather than their rational minds or inculcated gut-feelings; and are feeling drawn to regard other serious Christians as allies - and most of their supposed co-religionists as on the side of the enemy. 

And I think this implicit Core Christianity is both right, and hopeful. We should stick with it, and see where it takes us. 


Saturday, 5 June 2021

Who does the most accurate accents for Merry and Pippin?

I do a comparison of the movie, radio drama and audiobook versions over at the Notion Club Papers blog - and a clear winner emerges. 

Sin and antiracism

Which is worse - racism, or antiracism? 

Not a difficult question really - although almost everybody gets it wrong. 

Racism isn't a sin - not as such; although when a concept has become so wide, vague, incoherent and expediently-applied as 'racism' in 2021 - naturally it includes some attitudes and behaviours that would be sinful. 

But of itself - as the concept is actually used, here-and now* - obviously racism is not a sin. 

And indeed 'racism' is often (in real life - usually; in the media - always) descriptive of virtuous behaviour such as truthfulness. Or of net-good institutions - such as real Christianity or historical Christendom. 

What then of antiracism? Well clearly this is a sin. 

For a start it is an unnatural vice - adopted deliberately - therefore blameworthy.

Antiracism is an act of affiliation; and what it affiliates-with is the global totalitarian establishment; which is atheist, materialist, anti-Christian, and anti-God: being an advocate and implementer of value-inversion by which (in terms of the transcendent values of truth, beauty and virtue) good is regarded as evil, evil is advocated as good. 

Antiracism is a major instance of value-inversion. 

Inversion is the most extreme form of evil - the type of evil which is most prone to cause eternal damnation of souls - because inversion leads Men to fear and hate Heaven, and to desire Hell.

That antiracism is an evil is confirmed in practice by the fact that no extremity of antiracism is proscribed - antiracism is routinely applied without limit, regardless of context, void of balance. This is a hallmark of sin; because true specific virtues can (and must) be contextually-balanced with other virtues.  

Antiracism is, indeed, an evil so extreme as to have been almost incomprehensible in ancient times; or indeed until a few generations ago. That this value-inversion is now blandly accepted as normal and compulsory, is a measure of the breadth and depth of corruption we have now reached.

So there is asymmetry between racism and antiracism. 

Racism (as the term is used) usually describes virtuous and natural behaviour, or a minor wrongness that is not a sin... 

While antiracism is indicative of a person or institution having made the choice to ally with The System/ The Matrix/ the Virtual Reality; the choice to join one's efforts with the agents of Satan in this world.

That is, in the spiritual war of this world; to have taken the side working against God, divine creation and the Good. 

In 2021, to be called a racist by Power is usually indicative of some degree of virtue, and perhaps high virtue and courage. 

(Leaving-aside that many 'racists' have turned-out to be employees of the Establishment - agents provocateurs or false flags; deliberate liars of evil intent.)

At worst 'racist' is indicative of an existentially-trivial misdemeanor. 

But to adopt the stance of anti-racism is to declare ones allegiance to strategic evil. 

Antiracism is a spiritually-lethal sin. 

This is why antiracism, but not racism, is a litmus test for these times; and why antiracist 'Christian churches' are anti-Christian - are indeed active manifestations of the Antichrist spirit in these End Times.

Antiracism is serious stuff; as serious as your fate in eternity. 

*What you personally think ought to be the correct definition of racism; or how the concept used-to-be used, is irrelevant. 

Friday, 4 June 2021

Don't be silly; electric cars aren't supposed to *work*

A lot of people expend a lot of energy trying to prove that electric cars don't work and can't work as a means of mass transportation to replace the internal combustion engine... 

But of course they don't work! 

They aren't intended to replace petrol- and diesel- powered mass transportation, but to abolish it. 

Let's back-up a bit. In the middle 1970s, it became fashionable to express concern about environmental damage - and for individuals to try and consume less

A name for this was 'voluntary simplicity' - the idea was that people could and should choose to consume less stuff - especially less high-tech, highly-engineered stuff; and thereby inflict less environmental damage. 

(There was also a New Agey kind of spiritual dimension, by which it was asserted that a more emotionally-fulfilling life would result.)

So; voluntary simplicity was a bottom-up, voluntary, reduction in consumption. 

But from the middle 1980s, this individualistic strategy based on reduced consumption was replaced by 'carbon-environmentalism'. 

Since then, an 'environmentalist' is not someone who reduces his consumption; but somebody who switches, and indeed increases, consumption - by banning, and ripping-out old technologies; and by making compulsory, subsidizing and installing new technologies (which are always less effective, more expensive, and very highly-engineered). 

Carbon environmentalism is driven from above by the totalitarian world government of multinational corporations and financiers. These make unprecedented fortunes from controlling both supply and demand in manufacturing via their control of laws and regulations. 

(There is also a Transhumanist kind of spiritual dimension, by which it is asserted that humanity can be engineered into something happier, healthier, longer-lived - and less human.)

So; carbon environmentalism is a top-down, compulsory and compelled, increase in consumption. 

In recent years; carbon environmentalism has taken on the job of reshaping global human society by multiple means. Electric cars are just an example

Establishment financiers and manufacturers are currently making vast amounts of money by harvesting subsidies to make electric cars and the global infrastructure to operate them - in context of the compulsory abolition of internal combustion engine cars by 2030 (and the infrastructure of mechanical and fuel garages). 

It has been pointed out that this scheme cannot possibly work - because electric vehicles cannot possibly replaced petrol and diesel. This is perfectly true - but it is not the point. The electric car scheme is fit for its real purpose. 

Electric cars are designed to make the ruling class a vast amount of money from subsidies in the short term, and to prevent the masses from travelling in the longer term. 

The scheme is already fulfilling its first purpose; and will - no doubt - be very effective at its second. 

So 'electric cars' are not intended to replace the internal combustion engine - but to abolish it, profitably. 

And the unprecedented fortunes being amassed, the unprecedented power and wealth of the global government, the world system of omni-surveillance and micro-control... 

All these are ultimately just means to an end.

That is; they are merely battles in the spiritual war between God and those who oppose God - which is the ultimate reality of this world. 

Actively extracting knowledge (not passively absorbing it)

The idea that Christians not only can but should absorb their faith (absorb from authoritative sources, of course - which begs the question of who decides what counts as authoritative before faith has been absorbed...); the idea that (for instance) we should surrender to priestly authority, to scripture, to tradition... This general attitude by which we are passive towards the divine (and its manifestations) is becoming not just undesirable but impossible.  

I find that my residual capacity passively, submissively to absorb faith from authority, has been shaken to the roots by the capitulation of all church authorities to the birdemic/ peck agenda, antiracism and/or 'carbon environmentalism'. 

As far as I am concerned; the 'Christian' church authorities have publicly and explicitly chosen to subordinate themselves to the totalitarian, leftist, atheist, anti-Christian) worldly powers - and have therefore surrendered all spiritual authority. 

Ultimately, there can be no absorption of knowledge, because all understanding is conceptual - and we personally must bring to life the concepts by which we understand life. 

This has always been the case, but in the past our concepts were widely shared - indeed, 'telepathically' shared - in the sense that individual consciousness was not fully differentiated from group consciousness.

Well it is now - and the group consciousness has been externalized to the mass media; so instead of the spiritual community of ancient times, we now have virtual reality.

As individuals we confront this manufactured and materialist virtual reality from our selves - and (looking out from our selves) we see that what were Christian authorities are now an integrated part of this global virtual reality. 

So - as Christians (or would-be Christians) we need to approach all sources actively, bringing our explicit ultimate-basic (metaphysical) assumptions to bear upon extracting the knowledge we need. 

This sounds (to the materialistic mind) exactly like wishful thinking, an 'echo chamber', and self-confirmation bias - and therefore no better than simply surrendering our souls to the overwhelming power of the totalitarian System (which is what the materialists have done - and which is the most short-term expedient tactic). 

But the difference is motivation. This is not something we need to (or should even try to) prove to others; but something that originates from our real and divine self. 

If we are personally motivated to know reality and to align our-selves with God's creation; then, as reality gets its meaning from our ultimate goal of resurrected life in Heaven, this attitude makes possible the active process of grasping truth from a vast mass of stimuli.

Therefore, we should not be seeking-out wholly pure, wholly true, wholly reliable, wholly trust-worthy sources - because in one sense they obviously do not exist; while in another sense this goal leaves-out that half of the process which we personally must bring to understanding. 

Instead we should approach people, institutions and media in an active spirit - selecting, focusing, extracting, analyzing, understanding, and applying to our own situation. 

We might watch, read, or speak-with almost any-thing towards which we feel drawn - and no matter what its overall tendency or most obvious attributes - we may get spiritual nourishment from it...

Or we may Not - it may do us harm! 

In which case we know this by our own response, by our own intuitive sense of negative evaluations; and we recognize the evil and stop the engagement.  

And try again. 

Because we are In this mortal life on earth; and providence will (sooner or later) bring us the experiences we need. 

We must - we ought to - engage with this world; in order to learn from our time here on earth. 

Of course, worldliness comes naturally to most people - and the problem is over-engagement, indiscriminate engagement, and harm-full engagement. But the answer is not dis-engagement - even as an ideal.  

We need the world - it is there for our spiritual benefit. But not as something in which we bathe and wallow, and from-which we absorb passively whatever it supplies. Rather we approach the world (each day, each hour) in a spirit of active and selective engagement; following our motivations and in a spirit of whatever enjoyment, excitement, curiosity we have in us. 

By my understanding, God is our Heavenly Parents; and God does not want their beloved children to trudge miserably through their lives as if they were nothing but an ordeal and a test. 

Our world (i.e. the world as we personally know it) is, overall, made for our benefit; and should (where possible) by approached with an attitude appropriate to the fact that it was created for us personally, and that we chose to participate in it. 

The world-at-large is indeed a place of evil triumphant; and therefore evil permeates all social institutions, inescapably. We depend on an evil System (a system of Evil Lies) for our very existence!

But a Christian who has an active faith in God as creator, and who knows himself a beloved child of God; has no reason to fear or be oppressed by this reality - because the only reality that ultimately concerns him is the reality of his own situation. 

For as long as God has chosen to maintain the life of a Christian, we can be sure that the Christian is in a situation from which he can benefit personally in the timescale of eternal resurrected life. 

Ultimately; all that any Christian ever needs to do, is to discern and learn-from his actual situation. 

That enormous fact ought to be enough rationally to sustain a basically positive, hope-full and care-free approach to daily reality.  

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Imagination as Reality. Heaven versus Hell: Creation versus Chaos revisited

Whereas the inducements of Hell are easily appreciated - otherwise there would not be so many who choose it; the appeal of Heaven has been poorly conceptualized by Christians. 

Indeed, the way it is usually described - whether anthropomorphically or abstractly - Heaven often sound very un-appealing to someone who is not already a Christian. 

The deep truth of Heaven is that it is the place which coheres from Love; whereas Hell only coheres (to the extent it does, temporarily) from expediency and mutual exploitation. 

But 'Love' in Heaven is more of a background state, and the description does not give any idea of what resurrected people are actually doing

I have (fairly recently) clarified for myself that Heaven is the place of creation - create-ing is what people do in Heaven; and we can regard this creating as limited only by the power of imagination when it is formed in a context of Love. 

In other words, in Heaven - what can be imagined is created - so long as we realize that Men are not resurrected into Heaven until they have made a permanent and irreversible commitment to live-by-Love. 

This is what ensures that Heavenly imaginings not 'limited' nor 'constrained' by Love; but instead are formed in the context of a world of positively-loving Beings - who share God's purposes and whose love for each other forms the background for every-thing they do and think

That is why and how Heaven is wholly Good. 

Imagination in Heaven is therefore reality - because the artificial and false barrier we experience between thought and action is removed in Heaven - thoughts are real, and thoughts are permanent. 

(Just as primary creation was from God's thought.)

Whatever your earthly creativity might be, whatever good-imaginings of -making you have ever done - these will be enhanced and made enduring in Heaven. they will be added-to, woven-into God's pre-existing and on-going creation. 

Sounds great to me!


By contrast, Hell is the place of chaos and chaos tending - it is a chaotic environment, en route to total chaos and reduction to mere being without form. 

Imagination in hell is 'free' to be as evil, selfish, and short-termist as maybe - but there is no familial nor social context for this imagining - therefore it is private and un-shared. 

Imagination in Hell is much like a psychotic delusion on earth. One can believe anything is true, really believe it - can dwell In these imaginings as your reality. 

...But all this is locked in the nutshell of your own (discarnate, spirit) mind and cannot affect anything else.  

So; both in Heaven and Hell, Imagination becomes reality; and we get to live in our 'fantasies'. 

In Heaven imagination becomes real-reality, in Hell it becomes delusional-reality.

But to dwell in Heaven one must voluntarily give-up and be cleansed of all imagination that is not rooted in Love. That is the price of admission to Heaven. 

Are you prepared to pay that price?