Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Did Radagast the wizard fail in his mission?

The Wizards/ Istari were incarnated Maia (angelic spirits) who were sent to Middle Earth in about the thousandth year of the Third Age to resist Sauron. They were five in number: Gandalf the Grey, Saruman the White, Radagast the Brown and two Blue Wizards named Alatar and Pallando. 

Most of what we know of the Wizards, as a group, can be found in the (mostly unpublished during JRR Tolkien's lifetime) texts collected in the chapter The Istari in Unfinished Tales. These texts include discussions relating to Radagast, and which are somewhat undecided about whether he failed in his mission - by turning aside from engagement with Elves and Men, and becoming 'enamoured' by plants and animals. 


Recently, a further discussion of Radagast, written in 1970, was published in The Nature of Middle Earth edited by Carl F Hostetter, page 193:  

[Gandalf] differed from Radagast and Saruman in that he never turned aside from his appointed mission... and was unsparing of himself. Radagast was fond of beasts and birds, and found them easier to deal with; he did not become proud and domineering, but neglectful and easygoing, and he had very little to do with Elves and Men although obviously resistance to Sauron had to be sought chiefly in their cooperation. But since he remained of good will (though he had not much courage), his work in fact helped Gandalf at crucial moments. Though it is clear that Gandalf (with greater insight and compassion) had in fact more knowledge of birds and beasts than Radagast, and was regarded by them with more respect and affection. (This contrast is already to be seen in The Hobbit 124-5. Beorn, a lover of animals, but also of gardens and flowers, though Radagast a good enough fellow, but evidently not very effective.)

This is somewhat damning of Radagast - as he is depicted as inferior to Gandalf in even his area of special expertise!


However, taking a wider perspective; I think we can make an interpretation of Radagast that gives him a great deal more credit for his activities in resisting Sauron. 

In the first place, it seems likely that when Valar sent five emissaries, it is probable that each one (or pair in the case of the Blue Wizards who are considered as a dyad) - being angelic spirits each was of different nature and abilities; and these characteristic were no doubt chosen with the mission as priority. Even though Radagast was lesser in 'stature' among the Maia than Gandalf (as Gandalf was lesser than Saruman) - this does not preclude Radagast being better suited than Gandalf to Radagast's particular intended role. 

Furthermore, each Wizard was probably affiliated with a different Vala; according to an idea developed by Tolkien in The Istari essay - which suggests that Gandalf was representing Manwe, Sauruman was of the people of Aule, and Radagast was chosen by Yavanna - whose special care was for plants and animals, and who in Middle Earth was represented by the Ents. I think we should infer from this that Radagast - despite his preference for dealing with plants and animals, and lacking confrontational courage - was especially well-suited by his nature and abilities for the task he was sent to perform. 


In other words; although all wizards were intended to resist Sauron, each Wizard had a different specialist sub-mission. I suggest that Radagast's particular task was precisely to work with animals and plants to resist the attempts of Sauron to enlist them in his plans. 

It is - after all - clear from The Lord of the Rings that Sauron had enlisted many birds and beasts in his service; especially as spies: 

[Aragorn]: If the Riders fail to find us in the wilderness, they are likely to make for Weathertop themselves. It commands a wide view all round. Indeed, there are many birds and beasts in this country that could see us, as we stand here, from that hill-top. Not all the birds are to be trusted, and there are other spies more evil than they are... The Riders can use men and other creatures as spies... Soon I became aware that spies of many sorts, even beasts and birds, were gathered round the Shire... Regiments of black crows are flying over all the land between the Mountains and the Greyflood,' he said, `and they have passed over Hollin. They are not natives here; they are crebain out of Fangorn and Dunland. I do not know what they are about: possibly there is some trouble away south from which they are fleeing; but I think they are spying out the land

[Elrond]: Soon now his [i.e. Sauron's] spies on foot and wing will be abroad in the northern lands.  


Therefore it is clear that there was value in having a wizard who specialized in building alliances among birds and beasts - and presumably also among trees and other plants - in resistance to Sauron; and in opposition to the attempts of Sauron to enlist ever-more of the natural world in his evil schemes in hostility to Men and Elves. 

And this - I think - was Radagast's special role. 

If so, it is likely that Radagast was at-least somewhat successful; in so far as many (if not most) of the living beings in the North West of Middle earth (where Radagast operated) were Not on the side of Sauron; but cooperated with the powers for Good. The Eagles are one clear example; but most of the nature encountered by The Fellowship seems mostly-uncorrupted.  


In sum: if Radagast is regarded as an emissary of Yavanna, with a mission primarily to the plants, birds and beasts (rather than Men and Elves) - then he may well have stayed true to this mission. 

So much so, that (we are indirectly informed in The Istari essay) Radagast remained in Middle Earth after the defeat of Sauron - presumably because of his deep love for non-human 'nature'; choosing not to return over the sea to dwell in the Undying Lands. 

Maybe, therefore, he is still here!


Tuesday, 9 August 2022

When, in the past, would you like to have lived? (Being who you now are)... Understanding the evolutionary-development of Mankind

I expect that we have all day-dreamed about living in the past - and when the present is acutely miserable, or when we cannot seriously imagine a good future; then such dreams are more insistent.  

If you are like me; then these pleasant day-dreams are almost like 'snapshots' - holiday photos in reverse - whereby some particularly appealing scene is conjured and entered-into. 


For example, just before I went to sleep at night, I would sometimes imagine myself on a sultry summer's afternoon beside the Concord River or Walden Pond in the 'transcendentalist' era of Ralph Waldo Emerson. I could feel - physically - an idealized sense of repose against an implicit background of close-knit friends and associates, who shared an opening-out of ideas and possibilities.   

After becoming a Christian; I had a mental picture of Constantinople under a crystalline-blue sky; the city and its streets gleaming white, and with bright and rich colour; the music, painting, statuary, mosaics; and dignified ritual of divine liturgy under the vast dome of Hagia Sophia. 

Behind such pictures lay an imagined sense of what it was like to live, immersively, in a society where Christianity permeated the whole of life - a medium into which one was born, and through which one swam. 


This idea of 'immersion' in life; of life as unselfconscious - of living in the world as given and joyfully embraced - was at the back of most of these pleasant, yearning, day-dreams. 

This bears a more-than-coincidental relationship to similar day-dreams of early childhood; where I can remember some of what it was like to be a happy child in a happy family, in the years before I was five. For instance; Christmas day aged three or four was a total and immersive experience of being swept along in colour, warmth, joy and unfolding excitement. My life in early childhood - when it was good - was good without comparison; it was living in the best possible world. 

When, from the late 1990s, I began to read accounts of the life of 'simple', nomadic, foraging, hunter-gatherer societies; it was impossible to miss the similarity with childhood - which was indeed often pointed-out by anthropologists (before the cancer of leftism utterly destroyed their capacity to experience and think). 


Yet, although there was intense nostalgia for states of being; I could seldom whole-heartedly take the inward step of wanting actually to live in any previous state of society - in the sense that I could not imagine me-as-I-am-now, finding life better in any past society as-it-was-then. 

For the daydream to work properly, I would have to be a different person from the modern Man I had become

The problem was 'consciousness' - the problem was my modern self-awareness, my modern knowledge of possibilities and comparisons - and of what happened next. For any fantasy of the imagined past to "work" - I would need to leave-behind a lot of myself-in-the-present. 


This leads onto the next question concerning what I would need to leave-behind. Some of the 'modern' stuff about 'the way I think' that would need to be left-behind is evil - and I would be much better rid of it... not just in order to live in the past, but anyway. I have been corrupted by the evils of modernity - and, like any evil, this needs to be recognized and repented.

But... even when I could imagine being cleansed of characteristically modern corruptions of consciousness; there was a residue of 'me-here-now' compared with people of the past that was different in nature - but not evil; and this made it difficult to want to live in the past except by wanting to be a different person: a fundamentally different person. 

To live 'idyllically' as a simple hunter-gatherer in my fantasy past - or even in Byzantium, or in New England circa 1835 - I had to imagine myself as somebody-else; which really does not make sense, if you think about it...


Indeed; this wishing has the same incoherence as transhumanism - which aims to cure the ills consequent on being a human by abolishing humans!

Or, it resembles the Western oneness spiritualities - which offer a cure of the ills of Modern self-consciousness in the abolition of consciousness of the self.  

Or, it resembles the 'spiritual' strategy of intoxication - whereby consciousness is (pathologically) obliterated by (usually temporary) self-poisoning. A person escapes the miseries of self-consciousness by deliberately causing cerebral dysfunction; such that (e.g.) alertness, self-awareness and memory are rendered physically inoperative. When a drug has euphoriant properties, there may also be a state of pleasure or at least painlessness. 

In a sense; such intoxication - with its obliteration of that which causes and enables angst - implicitly aims at a simulation of earlier (or child-like) consciousness in terms of the experience of here-and-now immersion in the here-and-now. Insofar as it can be achieved, such simulation of unselfconscious immersion is necessarily achieved at the cost of significant dysfunction


It was such insights that prepared my mind for understanding the insights of Owen Barfield concerning what he terms 'the evolution of consciousness' - evolution being used in a pre-natural-selection sense of purposive change; much like the psychological aspects of development of a human from baby, through childhood and adolescence to sexual maturity (the purpose ultimately coming from God).  

To regard human history as including a change in the nature of Man's thinking, and relationship with the world - a change analogous to (and sharing similar purposes with)  that of the development of a single Man - is to find meaning in the mental differences between myself and the hunter-gatherer or resident of Constantinople in the middle hundreds AD. 

It is to recognize that for me to live in the past in the same spirit as people did then, would require fundamental changes in my consciousness; but to regard at least some of these changes as on the one hand impossible - in the same sense that an adult cannot really, in essence, become a child again; and also undesirable - in the sense that development is not meant to be reversed. 

This is to assume that when a person develops through adolescence to sexual maturity; this is what God wants - and the 'job' of the adult is to deal with the situation - not to try and reverse it. This is our divinely-appointed task - it is our destiny. 

Likewise; when God has enabled his creation of Mankind to develop from hunter gatherer, through agrarian societies into the industrial revolution - in some broad yet essential sense this is what God wants; and our job is to deal with it - starting from where we are; and not trying to reverse the fundamentals of the later situation in search of recreating the earlier situation. 


Of Course we Modern Men must recognize and repent sin; and insofar (and it is very far) that Modern Man is corrupt, and Modern society not only encourages but increasingly enforces such corruption, we are right to desire that this be changed. 

But the consciousness of Modern Man is unprecedented - and cannot lead-to, nor function-in, any previous type of society

Just as the adolescent's consciousness is unprecedented in his own experience - and the only way out is forward; no matter how corrupt an individual he has become, the same applies to Modern Society: that the only way out is forward. 


The only way out is forward; because we cannot find solutions to our unprecedented situation in our past. 

Part of this is due to an increase in sin; but part of it is also due to a change in the nature of Men through time - so that even if past social forms could be re-created, Modern men would not function in them, and they could not be sustained in the same way as they once were - they would be unsustainable, and they would not lead to Good. 

We cannot become unselfconsciously immersed in society again; and even if we could, it would be in defiance of God's expressed creative will - and would therefore lead to demonic outcomes. 


Thus, an understanding and acceptance of the development of human consciousness can make a fundamental difference in how we intend and hope to deal with the evils of modern society. 

These evils are seen, to a significant and crucial degree, as due to a failure to deal-with the development of Man's consciousness

An analogy might be when the (common) corruptions of adolescence are seen as a failure to deal with the unfolding inner changes in consciousness. That unfolding was itself a necessary, and a good (God-given) thing. 

But development leads to unavoidable challenges and choices - and if the challenges are avoided and the choices are wrong - then there is a turn towards evil that needs repentance.  


We, here, now are living at the end of innumerable failures to acknowledge challenges, and innumerable bad choices by vast numbers of people - an accumulated legacy of evil which is unrecognized and unrepented.   

But behind all this was a development of consciousness, a growing-up of Mankind, which was divinely-intended; and is irreversible. 

Therefore, although we are not supposed to leave history behind (just as we ought to remember, honour and cherish all which was good in our childhoods); nonetheless, but we ought not to seek to recreate our childhood, nor seek childrens' solutions to adolescent problems: they will not work, and they will do harm - even when well-intended. 


Instead; we must seek solutions appropriate to where we are and what we have become; and the right answers will be unprecedented in fundamental ways.

This quest will almost certainly entail trials and errors; so we need both faith and hope, together with a willingness to discern and repent when things do not work-out. 

But we each have divine guidance (of several kinds) to lead us through the maze of options and alternatives, successes and failures. 

That is the nature of our task.   


Monday, 8 August 2022

God the creator and the Holy Ghost work from opposite directions

(Where shall we seek guidance in navigating a Christian path through this mortal life? One potentially helpful way of thinking about it might be this...)
 

If we regard Goodness as living in harmony with God's creation and creative purposes: then we are able to do this because there is divinity within each of us. In other words: we are God's sons and daughters; which I understand to mean that there is a literal (procreative, not symbolic) sense in which we have been made divine, in our souls. 

We are not fully divine (as was Jesus Christ) but we each have that potential - and to have that potential we must be (and are) partly divine. 

It is this aspect of "God-within" that enables us to want Good, and also enables us each to discern and know The Good


OK. So we are each a God-containing, partly-divine being - living our mortal lives in this world. 

As such; and we need to learn from our experiences in mortal life, lessons that which will be of value in resurrected eternal life (i.e. theosis); and we also need to desire and make choices such as to reach that resurrected eternal life after our biological deaths (i.e. salvation). 

How are we enabled to discover guidance in navigating through this complex world? Especially considering that we are each unique and changing, and live in unique and changing circumstances. 

Because our guidance needs to cope with unique and changing personal and life problems - then it seems clear that generic and fixed answers will be insufficient.  


Salvation and theosis must therefore be 'bespoke' - that is, 'made to measure' for each particular human soul; because 'off-the-peg' guidance (such as that provided by generic church teaching, practices, supervision etc.) cannot take into account our unique circumstances and nature. This generic guidance is always inadequate (even though it may be helpful). 


Our personal guidance is available from both directions: from outside us, and from inside. 

From outside; God is the primary creator; and continues His work of creation - and (because we are God's children) this creating extends right down to the level of each of our lives. 

Therefore, we are guided by God by means of his creative work in arranging of the circumstances of our each of lives

This guidance may take many and various forms, starting with our nature, abilities, circumstances of birth and parents; and including what might be termed 'luck' and 'coincidence' or 'synchronicity'. 

This guidance from God ensures that we are given the necessary opportunities and choices by which we can (from our our agency and by 'free will') attain salvation, and learn valuable lessons from mortal life. 


External guidance from God is therefore from the direction of outside - by creation acting upon our lives. This is met by the guidance of the Holy Ghost which is experienced from 'inside' us. 

Led by the Fourth Gospel (called John); I regard the Holy Ghost as our (potential) relationship with the ascended Jesus Christ. Such guidance is accessible by those who (whether explicitly, or implicitly) desire Heaven and have chosen to follow Jesus Christ - i.e. be guided by Jesus Christ. 

The guidance of the Holy Ghost is therefore an inner personal relationship (which is why the Fourth Gospel uses the synonym of 'comforter') that will inform us of... whatever we need to know for salvation and theosis. 

Again, it is a matter of our chosen free agency whether we follow this guidance. 


In sum: we can envisage the scheme of guidance as coming from from outside us - as God creatively-shapes the circumstances of our specific mortal life; and also from the opposite direction: from inside us - as Jesus personally-guides-us through the unique circumstances of our unique lives. 
       

Sunday, 7 August 2022

Aquaphibian life

 

"Sorry about that - it just sorta slipped-out..."



"This low-carb diet really is working, isn't it?" 



(Thinks) I've made up my mind, I'm sick of being a puppet. 
I will audition for The Master in Doctor Who.


Saturday, 6 August 2022

How atheists can indignantly (and honestly) claim they they Do believe in the reality of purpose and meaning; truth-beauty and virtue!

Note added to my earlier post

It strikes me that the 'ultimate' pure consciousness of life in the above scheme is able to account for the fact that atheists (of which I was one for most of my life) are able honestly and indignantly to claim that they believe in truth and objective morality and beauty:

Metaphysics is the most fundamental, basic, deepest of all discourses - but also that there may, in principle, be a deeper level below metaphysics, i.e. the assumptions of pure consciousness and the pure thought; that of which 'consciousness is conscious'! Such might be expressed by analogy in a (metaphysical!) model; that we are living beings that have a kind of ultimate 'life' (with motivations) which Just Is; and this being also necessarily includes a (very variable) degree of consciousness of itself

What is happening is that the atheist is introspectively aware of his own belief in a purposeful and meaningful universe, and the reality of truth/ beauty/ virtue, at the most fundamental level of pure consciousness; but is not aware that such deeper-than-metaphysical assumptions are in stark contradiction to his explicit, expressed-in-language metaphysical discourse.  

To be aware of pure consciousness, and then to be aware of one's own metaphysical model of reality, are two different experiences; and the analytic comparison of the coherence of these two experiences is a third thing. 

Not many people have (apparently) done this third thing, and actually made this analytic comparison between metaphysical discourse and wordless intuition - and so they are not aware that their inmost intuition are actually in stark and ineradicable conflict with their expressed metaphysics. 

Once the comparison has been made; then something will 'have to give'. 

Either the metaphysics must be brought into harmony with intuition; or else some additional metaphysical assumption (or obfuscation) will need to be inserted between metaphysics and intuition - to bridge the gap. 

(Such obfuscations include 'it's a mystery', 'the human mind cannot comprehend this' and the introduction of reason-stunning abstractions and paradoxes such as infinitudes and assumptions of timelessness.) 

Saturday excitement from Barry Gray and Stingray

I've previously posted concerning the excellent TV themes of Barry Gray, especially for Gerry Anderson's shows. 

In my occasional series of 'music on Saturdays'; here's a reprise of the Stingray theme in a terrific version for concert band. It looks as if they are having a great time:


What provokes someone to start thinking about metaphysics?

Our disagreement with the World comes down to metaphysics. How does one choose a metaphysics? Rather, how does one choose between rival metaphysical assumptions? One cannot derive metaphysical beliefs from something more fundamental, because there is nothing more fundamental. One’s metaphysics must not conflict with experience, but that is a low bar; many systems provide some way of reading the observed facts. There are also internal checks. Whitehead says that a metaphysical system should be coherent, meaning not only that its parts don’t conflict, but that they all interrelate and co-depend.



Metaphysics could be defined as the public expression (i.e. in language or other symbols) of an understanding of the most fundamental nature of reality. 


This means that metaphysics is the most fundamental, basic, deepest of all discourses - but also that there may, in principle, be a deeper level below metaphysics, i.e. the assumptions of pure consciousness and the pure thought; that of which 'consciousness is conscious'! 

Such might be expressed by analogy in a (metaphysical!) model; that we are living beings that have a kind of ultimate 'life' (with motivations) which Just Is; and this being also necessarily includes a (very variable) degree of consciousness of itself



But the evaluation of our own metaphysics by (as Bonald says) 'not conflicting with experience', doesn't happen often; because metaphysics shapes what counts as experience and how we interpret it; such that apparent 'conflicts of metaphysics with experience' tend to be dealt with by denying or distorting the reality of experience - not vice versa

(This is why and how people can believe metaphysical assertions that appear to be conflicting with experienced reality; such as the mandatory current assumptions that there is 'no such thing' as race, and men can really be turned into women.)  
 
And the criterion of 'internal checks' to ensure that a metaphysics must be coherent with itself, while true, depends upon another set of metaphysical assumptions as to 'what counts as coherent'; plus both the ability and the motivation to carry out these checks with sustained concentration and rigour.  Yet it seems that neither the ability nor the rigour for such checking are very common. 



For such reasons; I would emphasize that in practice the motivation to embark on metaphysical analysis probably has different roots than the detection of incoherence. 

Insofar as we can purely (without translation into words) be conscious of our own being, then we can become aware of a discrepancy between this inner awareness, and the public expression and discourse which is metaphysics

This is a conflict between our innermost understanding of reality, and the way we talk or think about ultimate reality. 

However, I think this is primarily 'negatively' experienced as a kind of 'existential uneasiness', a nagging dissatisfaction, rather than anything as exact as a comparison between two conflicting descriptions. That is we are negatively aware of what is Not working - hence not-true, rather than of what is true. 



Perhaps a personal example will help. Up until the middle 2000s I had a metaphysical description of reality that ruled-out any possibility of a person's soul or spirit surviving after biological death. The furthest this would take me towards 'life after death' was a quasi-biological notion that the essence of a person's nature might be transmitted genetically to descendants...

So that it might be observed that a grandmother was 'reborn' in her grand-daughter - in that the grand-daughter was essentially the same nature as her grandmother. But that this genetic inheritance was Not Mendelian - so that such sameness of nature could skip several or many generations and appear in rather remote relatives.  

Another (fictional) example would be Tolkien's idea that the Numenorean nature - with its special wisdom and elvish/ magical aspects - 'ran true ' in Aragorn (and, to a somewhat lesser degree; in Denethor and Faramir) despite many intervening generations in which this was not the case. 


I still regard the above as broadly true; but I still experienced a sense of dishonesty whenever I asserted (mostly to myself) that there was no survival of a particular Man's soul or spirit after death. I became aware that - at this deepest and wordless level - I actually believed that personal survival actually happened, in some way.

In other words; I became aware that (at this deepest level) I apparently assumed that at least some people who had died biologically, were still alive in some way.

I also became aware that I - again deep down and without being put into words - apparently regarded the universe as purposive, not 'random'; and that the universe had preferences about me and what I thought, said and did. 



Why, then, did I become negatively aware of such (seemingly) life-long assumptions at this particular point in my life? 

I think it was related to the public/ social collapse of my previous metaphysics which was rooted in science and scholarship, and in particular the way that science and scholarship had all-but abandoned a belief in real truth. 

Of course, this abandonment of truth became apparent in the 1960s and was gaining ground rapidly through the 1980s; but for a while I assumed that this was just a societal 'blip'; and that it would soon become normal again for scientists and academics to believe that there was a real truth, and that it was their duty to seek and speak this truth. 

In trying to justify such assumptions to my 'colleagues', and to myself; I became aware of this serious mismatch between my innermost assumptions and awareness of them; and the public discourse into which I had formulated what was supposedly my ultimate metaphysics. 

This eventually led to my conversion to Christianity, and later to a similarly-motivated rejection of the standard/ classical/ traditional public discourse of metaphysics that was used to explain Christianity.  


The point I wish to make here is that events in the public and social world can bring-metaphysics-to-the-surface; where some kind of existential and chronic dissatisfaction and unease may become evident. 

Such unease may provide a strong motivation to embark on the difficult task of metaphysical self-examination - in search of a way of alleviating this unpleasant insecurity at the heart of one's sense of being.

And, in principle, I think this kind of motivation is sufficient for anybody to escape a metaphysics that is causing such feelings.   


To take a step further back; I would suggest that God (as creator) is behind the situations that tend to lead to awareness of dissatisfaction and unease; and the Holy Ghost is behind such feelings of existential unease - and this is a very fundamental way in which God and the Holy Ghost guide us through this mortal life.  

And, although metaphysics may seem terribly difficult (because so abstract) I think that anybody can - if motivated to address this feeling, reach a basis of positive deep metaphysical assumptions that is sufficient for his salvation and theosis. 

All systems of metaphysics will ultimately be wrong; to the extent that we cannot capture in explicit language the innate reality of our true selves; but several possible metaphysical 'systems' (some of them simple enough for a child to hold) will work well-enough for the divine and creative, yet temporary, purposes of this mortal life.

Therefore, we may at any time become negatively aware that our explicit metaphysical system is 'not working' well-enough. But we can (by personal effort and with divine help) always find something positively better-enough sufficiently to resolve the unease that we are motivated and guided enough to reach salvation (resurrection to eternal Heavenly life) and to learn from our experiences of mortal life (i.e. theosis).  

In sum; once identified, negative dissatisfaction will be helped to positive motivations. 

And this, everyone can know - in accordance with his nature and capacities - by means of the guidance provided (directly and to each individual): by God and the Holy Ghost. 


NOTE ADDED: It strikes me that the 'ultimate' pure consciousness of life in the above scheme is able to account for the fact that atheists (of which I was one for most of my life) are able honestly and indignantly to claim that they believe in truth and objective morality and beauty:

Metaphysics is the most fundamental, basic, deepest of all discourses - but also that there may, in principle, be a deeper level below metaphysics, i.e. the assumptions of pure consciousness and the pure thought; that of which 'consciousness is conscious'! Such might be expressed by analogy in a (metaphysical!) model; that we are living beings that have a kind of ultimate 'life' (with motivations) which Just Is; and this being also necessarily includes a (very variable) degree of consciousness of itself

What is happening is that the atheist is introspectively aware of his own belief in a purposeful and meaningful universe, and the reality of truth/ beauty/ virtue, at the most fundamental level of pure consciousness; but is not aware that such deeper-than-metaphysical assumptions are in stark contradiction to his explicit, expressed-in-language metaphysical discourse.  

To be aware of pure consciousness, and then to be aware of one's own metaphysical model of reality, are two different experiences; and the analytic comparison of the coherence of these two experiences is a third thing. 

Not many people have (apparently) done this third thing, and actually made this analytic comparison between metaphysical discourse and wordless intuition - and so they are not aware that their inmost intuition are actually in stark and ineradicable conflict with their expressed metaphysics. 

Once the comparison has been made; then something will 'have to give'. 

Either the metaphysics must be brought into harmony with intuition; or else some additional metaphysical assumption (or obfuscation) will need to be inserted between metaphysics and intuition - to bridge the gap. 

(Such obfuscations include 'it's a mystery', 'the human mind cannot comprehend this' and the introduction of reason-stunning abstractions and paradoxes such as infinitudes and assumptions of timelessness.) 

Friday, 5 August 2022

What did the Ents look like? Tree-ish Men (but Not Man-like trees)

 







I have never seen an accurate picture of an Ent; i.e. a picture that conforms to Tolkien's descriptions in the text of Lord of the Rings where they are depicted as large Men, much like trolls; and possible to mistake for large Men or trolls from a distance - but with tree-ish aspects. 


The problem is that this information is scattered through the text of the Two Towers; while the fact that Merry and Pippin initially suppose that Treebeard is himself a tree, seems to prejudice the reader (and illustrators) to suppose that Ents are mostly like trees (i.e. resembling Man-like trees).

This misunderstanding is then sustained by the Hourns - who are trees that (apparently) move by means of their roots coming out of the ground, and operating like many legs. 

Yet Treebeard says that - since sexual reproduction become impossible due to the 'loss' of the Ent-wives (female Ents) - Ents can become trees; and trees can become Ents implying that Huorns are part-way through this transformation.  

Nonetheless, I think we can be confident that Tolkien saw Ents as troll-like and man-shaped; as is evident in an earlier draft of the Two Towers:


As they were gazing north, they were suddenly aware of a strange figure striding south along the east bank of the stream. It went at great speed, walking stilted like a wading heron, and yet the long paces were as quick, rather, as the beat of wings; and as it approached they saw that it was very tall, a troll in height, or a young tree... 

Theoden was silent, and all the company halted, watching the strange figure with wondering eyes as it came quickly on to meet them. 

Man or troll, he was ten or twelve feet high, strong but slim, clad in glistening close-fitted grey and dappled brown, or else his smooth skin was like the rind of a fair rowan tree. 

He had no weapon, and as he came his long shapely arms and many-fingered hands were raised in sign of peace. Now he stood before them, a few paces off, and his clear eyes, deep grey with glints of green, looked solemnly from face to face of the men that were gathered round him. 

Then he spoke slowly, and his voice was resonant and musical.

From Pages 29-30, The War of the Ring; The History of Middle Earth (1997), Volume 8 - edited by Christopher Tolkien. 


Assuming that Tolkien mind-picture of Ents did not change from this earlier conception; I think we must conclude that Ents should be Man-like enough to be, initially, mistaken for some kind of large Man or Troll from a distance. 

None of the illustrations or animations of Ents that I have yet seen conform to this requirement of being mistake-able for a Man-Troll; which suggests that Tolkien's text is widely misunderstood. 

Thursday, 4 August 2022

The problem with magical 'contacts' (and, by contrast, how simple intuitions can be valid)

Two twentieth century Christian ritual magicians I like as people and whose work is valuable are Dion Fortune and Gareth Knight. Having said this; I regard them both as of-their-time, and their methods as no longer effective or valid.  

Both worked (partly) via what they termed 'contacts' - that is, spiritual beings with whom they made contact and who provided instruction, advice and conversation - using language. Such contacts were achieved by persons of suitable ability and motives, and also as the culmination of a long period of mental training that encompassed concentration and visualization. 

(I regard such magical contacts as a more active and conscious form of the varieties channeling and automatic  writing that have been a part of New Age spirituality, generally.) 

While I acknowledge that such contacts had some valuable effects and consequences up to the later parts of the twentieth century; I believe they are intrinsically prone to error - and these errors are amplified when the results are transmitted to a wider audience. 

Even assuming that the magician is well-motivated, that the spiritual contact is genuine, and that the spirit contacted is of a good and competent nature; then there are nonetheless two layers of problems about the use of language in these communications. 


Contacts work by a double-translation. In the first place; the spirit must translate from his thinking into words - in the second place the magician must understand the words, and translate into his own understanding. Thus thinking into words, then words back to thinking - before the recipient can know what is being communicated.

And the training of magicians is double-edged; because the capacity to concentrate and visualize entail a mental discipline that tends to perpetuate any distortions or errors in the magician. In particular; when the magician has not fully formulated his questions, or asks an unanswerable question (because the question contains false assumptions) - then there will nonetheless an answer will be generated - because that is how the training has made things. 

So the recurrent problem with magical contacts seems to be that of generating too-precise answers to too many and poorly formulated questions.   

 **

By contrast, what I mean by intuitions operate in a wordless sense, without language. As I have written before; almost everything hinges on the 'question' which needs to be fully, clearly and validly understood. 

It may take someone a long time to become clear about what exactly it is that he needs to know. The question needs to be clarified to the point of being wordlessly grasped as a whole and held in mind. And motivations need to be clarified - because only genuinely Christian motivations will lead to Christianly-valid intuitions. 

In practice such questions seek equally simple - binary-type - answers such as Yes-No, True-False, Good-Evil.  

And in practice - as soon as the question has been clearly and simply known - the 'intuitive' answer is immediately forthcoming. 


No media, language, technologies or symbols are involved; therefore no training in concentration, visualization, meditation etc is needed - indeed such training will do more harm than good insofar as it has become an unconscious habit. 

And any attempt to explain the reasons for the intuitive understanding will therefore necessarily misrepresent the situation - and tend to reduce the solid assurance of the intuition. Because as soon as the intuition has been reduced to words, it will be distorted and incompletely represented; and these wrong reasons may then become a target for rationalistic-public critique such that the knowledge is no longer intuitive. 

Therefore true intuitions are private, clear and simple; and cannot be captured in language, nor can their intuitive nature be communicated. In a sense, each is a personal miracle that sustains faith, and potentially guides thought and conduct.  


The point where lies take-over - but discourse continues...

My world of public discourse - or, at least large-ish sections of it - used to be mostly-honest; such that the lies could potentially be detected and worked-around. 

But from around the millennium, the lies took-over all public discourse - including those special areas that were especially supposed to be about truth: such as science, academia, education, medicine, law. 

And soon the lies took-over. What this means is that people were "not even trying" to be honest - but only, aimed not to be caught being-dishonest, and when they were caught - covering-up their lies.    

From then onward we were living in a discourse-of-lies - and yet the discourse continued...


I experienced this myself in science (especially medical science) as a scientist, editor, and teacher. 

The discourse of science continued - indeed it continued to grow very rapidly; yet the 'new' claims within the fields had zero validity since they were woven-from from material that included many lies, and woven-by people who were not primarily concerned with honesty. 

It became ever less possible to teach, research or write honestly; except using only (selected) historical or personally-validated information, and dedicated to historically important matters - utterly avoiding new work and current issues. 

And, in fact, such practice is not allowed; therefore honesty is excluded


In such a situation, truth is not discernable; because truth does not 'stand-out' when evaluations and evidence are dishonest - quite the opposite. 

Yet the discourse continues... Examples: We know that the mass media discourse is a tissue of lies; and yet people continue to take it seriously, discuss and analyze it as if the truth could be sifted-out. State and Corporate controlled research - wholly orientated towards the expediencies of the state and corporations - continues to claim special validity, and indeed increasingly demands and enforces unquestioning/ enthusiastic obedience. The law is become a weapon of leftist totalitarianism; and yet is taken to define 'justice'. 

In all the areas of public discourse - and increasingly in private, among friends and in the family - the lies have taken-over; yet the discourse continues as if the lies were rare and exceptional! 

The identification exposure of specific 'frauds' in 'science', or lies in journalism, or corruption in politics; all reinforce the assumption that these are exceptional; when in fact these whole-systems (science, media, politics - add law, military, universities etc.) are built-on lies and function dishonestly.  


The truth is that we cannot participate in dishonest discourse, without ourselves being corrupted by dishonesty - and this means that we then need to acknowledge and repent our own dishonesty, as often as it happens. 

...Which repentance rarely happens - and therefore the corruption remains and accumulates. 

This, I believe, is a major reason for the corruption of the Christian churches. By increasingly participating in the dishonest discourse of politics, economics, finance, law, the media, 'science', education etc - by therefore being dishonest but not acknowledging or repenting this dishonesty - churches have themselves become a part of the discourse of lies; the leadership lying to- and among-themselves, as well as to laity.   


Thus all institutions are corrupt; and aid in the corruption of each other, and of individual persons. 

The only possible escape from general and increasing corruption and untruthfulness, is to detach oneself to a situation which is sufficiently honest that dishonesty stands-out and can be repented; and this means either small (family-like) groupings (if we are fortunate); or else (if less fortunate) to escape to the discourse of one's own self (which is, after all, for a Christian not alone, never alone).

 

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Step one in modern Christian conversion is always... intuitive individual discernment. The only question is whether the convert acknowledges this fact

If we start from the actuality of a potential Christian confronted by "Christianity 2022"; he cannot take a single step towards conversion without making a personal discernment; and this can only be intuitive because there is nothing else it can be. 

(And, as of 2022; all real Christians are essentially converts; and need to remain perpetual converts if they are not to leave the faith.) 

Where does he look, who are the authorities, who should he take seriously? By what criteria should he judge? 


Nothing at all can happen towards conversion until some assumptions are made, and these assumptions are either made by the potential Christian or by... somebody-else - and for it to be somebody-else the potential Christian must have made assumptions about who has the authority to make those assumptions. 

Someone who ends-up as a traditionalist Christian, and who believes that his church is divinely ordained and the prime locus of spiritual truth; and this church has authority to define Christianity; and authority to define theology and doctrine, and to define ritual, and to define and interpret scripture and so on and forth... can only have-arrived at that position by many, many personal discernments that can have no foundation beyond personal intuition.


Once the convert is in the position of subscribing to a traditionalist church - he can point to that church's interlocking authority on all manner of matters to make a coherent case as to why that church is God's ordained church - but the convert cannot get to that position without a hidden history of personal intuitions.    

The traditionalist church member can then decry intuition, can then assert the primacy of His Church over all crucial matters of definition and interpretation - he can then decry 'mysticism' as dangerous, can denounce individualism as evidence of pride, can assert that nothing is more important that to worship and obey in accordance with his church's rules...

But All of this is only reached via multiple-intuitions - which may be forgotten, denied, decried and denounced - but they happened; and continue to happen...


The intuitions continue to happen because the traditionalist Christian can - as of 2020 - only become and remain a traditionalist by discerning as wrong some of what his church leaders tell him; and typically by adopting a minority view within his church. 

Such selections and rejections of the obvious majority and higher authority represent a continuing history of personal discernments, based on intuitions - because the criteria for judgment that is the basis for all such discernments is also an intuitive decision. 


In sum - as of her-and-now; the traditionalist position (whether it is really true, or not) has the structure of a logical tautology. It is a system of circular reasoning - and to enter that circle cannot, in principle, be done by means of already-knowing the validity of criteria and judgment from within the circle - because these criteria are rare and alien to modern society. 

In 2022 in the West; Nobody is be raised to adulthood regarding the within-circle criteria as unconsciously valid and knowing no other. 

This was possible in ancient, medieval and perhaps later societies - it is not possible now. Thus the circularity of traditionalism has been, can only be, entered via multiple intuitions. 


Conclusion. All modern Christian faith - including the mort traditional, orthodox and church-primary - is based-on, rooted-in intuitions - therefore Not in any kind of traditionalist Christianity itself.

This is a universal and necessary fact.

The only difference between Christians is that some are aware of the fundamental role of intuition (i.e. 'Romantic Christians); while others are unaware, have forgotten, are insane and incapable of reasoning; or dishonestly deny the fact. 


Renewal by Schism: How might Christian churches be purged of corruption and affiliation to evil, and restored to God-affiliation?

One difficult lesson of these times is that institutions are finished - in the sense that they are irreversibly corrupted, no longer what they were (what they were, in some instances, even just a few decades ago); they no longer effectively (never mind efficiently) perform the core/ mission functions that are supposed to justify their existence - and indeed, have near zero interest in performing these functions. 

Overall-corruption is the case (to different degrees, but always to a significant extent) of all large institutions that are a part of the mainstream bureaucratic system - because in order to survive, they must satisfy a great raft of bureaucratic demands; and these bureaucratic demands are purposively evil - hence deliberately function-destroying (because evil is anti-creation, and pro-chaos). 

This is true of all large, powerful, wealthy, and high status institutions - and it is increasingly true even of many small institutions such as family businesses, farms, shops, clubs and churches. 

We saw from the birdemic (and globally antiracist, and protrans) year of 2020 how many of these small institutions willingly, indeed enthusiastically, supported and assimilated-to the globalist imperatives - going beyond minimum requirements, and maintaining requirements beyond the period of compulsion. 


What this means is that the corruption is irreversible, especially for the largest/ most-powerful etc. institutions, because it is very difficult indeed (and extremely rare) to turn-around any large institutions when it has been corrupted thoroughly for a prolonged period. 

And even less likely when this corruption is almost universal - so that forces from external corruption tend to sustain, and increase, inner corruption. 

And reversing of corruption is all-but impossible when there are extremely few individual persons who do not substantially share in the ideology of corruption - and when there are essentially zero individuals in positions of power who are not active in their desire for sustained and increased corruption.  


I regard the likeliest outcome as a general civilizational collapse (the giga-death scenario, triggered by one or many possible triggers - spiritual, biological and economic-political). 

But in the mean time, unless or until that collapse, the only realistic possibility of renewal at the institutional level is likely to be by creative destruction

Insofar as there is truth in the economic doctrines of 'free markets' and of improvement in efficiency by competition; economic growth seems to work very little by corporations improving themselves in order to better compete; and much more often by creative destruction - meaning de facto deletion of the old - less effective, less efficient institutions/ technologies/ industries/ firms - and replacement by new

(As when railways replaced canals, cars replaced horses, or the internet replaced print.)

So, when there is a seriously/ extremely/ long-term corrupt factory/ school/ hospital/ police force or whatever - this is unreformable. The inertia and corrupted motivations of established personnel and dysfunctional systems will oppose and overwhelm any gradual internal attempts at improvement. 


Therefore; the best way (and in practice perhaps the Only way) to improve the situation is by creative destruction: to abolish and renew

That is; the strategy should be for the uncorrupted to leave and (if possible) shut-down the corrupt institution altogether; and make a new and better institution - rebuilding from whatever is good, uncorrupted and properly-orientated personnel that remain


This applies to the corrupted major religions and specific churches, whenever they are large/ wealthy/ powerful, and are therefore integrated with the corrupting global bureaucracies. 

These churches are unreformable as-a-whole - and therefore need to be abandoned, and their Christian functionality rebuilt from what Pope Benedict XVI called a creative minority

In other words, there needs to be schism if the corruption of major churches is to be addressed effectively, and if their Christian mission is to be renewed. 

The real Christians need to leave the evil-corrupted majority; and rebuild new institutions. And this applies to all types and denominations of Christian: Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Nonconformist, Mormon etc. - because all of these are converged to the Satanic totalitarian globalist agenda; and all are increasing in corruption: directed by top-down leadership and a majority of overall-leftist-assimilated (hence evil-affiliated) 'laity'. 


This creative destruction may or may not work - who knows the future? 

If it goes wrong, there will be an increase of destruction but without creation. It may indeed turn-out that All institutions are now inevitably corrupted to evil at this time and place in human history

In which case Christianity must revert (or rather, move forward, voluntarily) to a family-type and scale of organization.

But renewal by schism seems the only strategy with a realistic chance of achieving the goal of an institutional church that is net-Christian and affiliated with God, creation and Jesus Christ; rather than - as a present - net-anti-Christian/ pro-demonic. 

 

Monday, 1 August 2022

When you find yourself saying absurd things that you don't believe

There is a philosophical argument called the reductio ad absurdum - which is has it that when premises are rigorously pursued but lead to absurd consequences; then we should infer that the premises are faulty. 

In broad terms I have found this to be a good learning tool in my life. Sometimes, I have ignored the absurdity of the assumptions - for example when I was an atheist, and found that it destroyed the possibility of morality, art and science. 


I found myself stating deep and foundational convictions (for which I was prepared to make big sacrifices - such as truthfulness in science) yet unable coherently to defend them. And, at the opposite end, my basic assumptions about reality led me to start thinking, saying and believing things that shocked me with their repellant immorality.

Another time, I realized that the denial of the reality of 'free will' led to absurd consequences, and therefore must be rejected; such that free will must be a reality. Yet, for many years I could not understand how free will was possible; because FW seemed to be excluded as a possibility by other assumptions that I still held-to. 

It took a while before I realized that these 'other assumptions' that excluded free will should also be rejected, and that I therefore needed to seek assumptions that explained the existence of free will.


Anyway, to my mind this post-millennial era is the era of the reductio ad absurdum - in more, and yet-more, domains of our lives, and in the world at large. 


Absurd consequences and implications are the defining characteristic of mainstream public life; and the absurdity of official/ mandatory facts and theories become ever starker with each passing year. 

But instead of learning from this that the premises must be faulty - either the absurdity is denied (and to notice or comment on it forbidden) or else the inferential process linking consequences with premises is denied, ignored or dishonestly corrupted. 

Public discourse is now merely a tissue of absurd assertions, sheer insanities presented as obvious sense, and dishonest-denials. 


Yet in private/ personal life it seems increasingly characteristic of this era that the process of generating absurdity has worked down to deeper and more precise levels of inference; and the confrontations become less and less avoidable. 

For Christians, the ideas that have worked for people for years, and have worked for churches/ denominations for generations (or even many centuries), are leading to more and more obvious absurdities. 

In order to defend their assumptions; Christians are compelled to deny, accept or even celebrate and support the absurdities which these assumptions imply. 

This creates all kinds of spiritual, and psychological, problems - from the cognitive dissonances between incompatible beliefs, assertions and practices. 


The question is whether people recognize and learn-from these reductio situations - whether each Christian takes personal responsibility for his faith; or whether instead he doubles-down on the assumptions and denies the absurdities they generate. But the conflict of assumptions and outcomes, premises and consequences, is unavoidable - and the crisis is inescapable. 


Sunday, 31 July 2022

Should Christians hand-over their eternal salvation to... historians? Romantic Christianity at the cutting-edge

At the cutting-edge of experienced-life - 

The Church = What (some) Historians Say

All claims of knowledge reduce to intuition/s; but for traditionalist Christians, the baseline intuition is that The Truth is a matter of history; and history is known through the work of 'historians' - broadly conceived. 


Whenever a Christian makes a statement about the past, about what happened, and how things were (for example in the life of Jesus or The Church - whichever he adheres-to); in practice the implication is that 'history' defines truth. 

How can we know this history? 

Well, if we regard the church as primary, then in some sense we are saying that true knowledge of history lies outside our-selves. That we cannot be a Christian (or, at least, not properly) without this historical knowledge... 



Christianity is indeed an historical faith, intrinsically - based on Jesus making interventions in reality at some historical point. 

For the Christian this history is true. Yet true by what account, by what authority? 

Too often this is understood to mean that being a Christian means accepting the authority of (one or another bunch of) historians - as primary

Thus Christians put themselves in the position of being at the mercy of 'historians' (including scholars of many stripes - historical linguists, archaeologists, translators and editors, theological interpreters (the modern informing us about, and interpreting, the ancients) etc. 

According to church-primary Christianity; that which Christians are called upon to believe and the ways they are called upon to live, are rooted in historical work... yet are we really so confident about handing over our immortal souls to historians?


I Am Not! I am not at all confident about handing over my eternal salvation to the work of historians and other scholars. 


Why should I accept one selected and specifically interpreted set of historical statements, upon which to base my mortal life and resurrection - when there are so many and contradictory statements of history? 

To answer my own question: I would only accept a particular version of history when it has been validated at the deepest and most enduring level by what could be called intuition: when my deepest-possible, sustained reflection on the matter tells me that this particular history is true: even if not 100% true in every possible respect - that it is true in the ways that matter. 

What this means is that faith rests ultimately upon such intuitions - and therefore does Not rest upon any external source of knowledge. External knowledge must be checked against intuition. In different language: our faith needs to be confirmed by 'personal revelation' - as the Mormons term it. 

Such intuition is an ongoing process, which never ends in this mortal life; which is why our faith is a living and renewing thing - or else it dies. 


But having reached the insight that our faith rests upon this internal knowing - this personal revelation; then we may further recognize that this internal knowing is not restricted to confirming externally-derived information

When our personal revelations have confirmed that we are sons and daughters of God, and that the ascension of Jesus Christ made possible our communing and consultation of The Holy Ghost for knowledge and guidance...

Then we may realize that intuition (in this sense) may be a primary source of Christian knowledge and guidance - independent of external sources: independent of churches.  


And this insight and affirmation is (more-or-less) Romantic Christianity. It amounts to the personal revelation that we ought not to handover our external salvation to 'historians' and their like. 

To live (unconsciously, spontaneously) by external guidance was natural and necessary in the past, in many civilizations - but it is nowadays neither necessary: nor indeed possible.  

Modern Men cannot do what ancient Men universally did - and our choice is therefore between denial and acknowledgement of how we actually do live (when at our best): as autonomous agents, as choosing consciousnesses; guided by intuitions from our own divinity and the Holy Ghost...


We can only know such intuitions for our-selves - from our-selves - and in our actual circumstances; and these may guide us to a particular denomination and church; to particular persons and books and statements, and what we ought to think/say/do - Or Not, as the case may be. 

The aim being to bring us to affiliate with God and creation in the spiritual war; aiming after mortal death to follow Jesus Christ to resurrected life in Heaven. 

We can by such means - and at the cutting-edge of actually being-experienced life - learn those churches, teachings, 'histories' which are in-accord-with truth, and help these aims - and learn to detect and reject those which are not. 


Note added concerning Mormonism - a case study of personal revelation: 

The Book of Mormon was published in 1830. According to the scholarship of Terryl Givens; the BoM is broadly highly compatible with the Bible. Its production functioned mainly as a sign that new Christian revelations were being made by God, via a new prophet. But the BoM has one theological innovation, which is that individuals ought to seek personal revelations to confirm all significant and foundational Christian claims. 

For example the BoM itself served as an instrument of conversion. The missionary would ask an individual to read the book, then seek personal revelation as to its truth. If revelation confirmed the truth of the BoM, then this was (pretty much) sufficient for baptism - which might follow immediately or very soon. This process has striking similarities with the almost instant conversions described in the Gospels, and Acts of the Apostles - such as the Ethiopian Eunuch.     

But the explicit insistence on a need for personal revelation was new, and foundational of the new denomination.    
  
Yet, the scope of personal revelation was soon limited explicitly by top-down CJCLDS rulings; because low level church members were claiming major revelations about many and fundamental whole-church matters, and these were leading to schism and disruption. By revelation of the prophet Joseph Smith; the scope of revelation then became hierarchically limited, especially in relationship to church order, official theology, doctrine, practices etc. Only church officials were allowed valid revelations in accordance with the scope of their office; up to the church President (the prophet) who was the only person allowed fundamental and church-wide revelations. 

This meant that henceforth the Mormon church assumed primary authority over all fundamental matters, and that the church's teaching on all vital matters must be regarded as a unit; either to be accepted as a whole, or else rejected - but nobody had the right to pick and choose, modify, or add-to that unified body of mandatory beliefs. 

However necessary to the survival of the church were such hierarchical limitations on the scope of revelation; the validity of such limitation on the scope of personal revelation is itself subject to the need for confirmation by personal revelation. And that personal revelation may lead to the rejection of such limitations - and instead lead to the potential validity of personal revelations up-to and including fundamental matters of theology, doctrines, life-practices etc.

In a nutshell, if personal revelations of unlimited scope are allowed to all Mormon believers; this will lead to the destruction of top-down church authority. The Mormon Church (CJCLDS) would then become regarded in an expedient fashion, as being more or less helpful to theosis and salvation (in terms of its teachings and practices), and itself subject to the imperatives of personal revelation.  


This is my own attitude to Mormonism. I regard the BoM as true, and Joseph Smith as a real prophet, and Mormon theology and metaphysics as a major breakthrough (and revelation) in world historical terms. Yet I am not, and never have been, a CJCLDS member, nor have I ever attended services nor placed myself under church authority (indeed, I have attended selected Church of England services, and support some of these particular congregations). 

What I get from Mormonism is the ultimate validity and necessity of personal revelation - and I do not accept (for myself) the pragmatic necessity or primacy of 'official' revelations from the leadership. In other words, I see myself as having accepted, and benefitted from, Joseph Smith's original revelations concerning the primacy of personal revelations - without the later-added institutional restrictions. 

That this is a timely and correct course of action seems to be confirmed by the ongoing 'convergence' of the CJCLDS with several of the purposively-evil strategies of the global totalitarian establishment. In short, the Mormon church has already ceased to be a Christian church overall, and is engaged in its own further and further self-destruction by alliance with the demonic side in the spiritual war of this-world. 

If this is correct, then those who continue to maintain their own inability to have general, church-wide, unlimited personal revelations will be led into greater convergence, and more extreme and active alliance with Satan. 

This is one example of why the matter of personal revelation/ intuition/ direct-knowing/ heart-thinking - that is, of Romantic Christianity - is of such urgent importance. 

Saturday, 30 July 2022

Me-Here-Now versus History - what kind of Christian are you?

Christians will find themselves - sometimes again and again - at a point where there is a stark awareness and apprehension of Me-Here-Now - a situation of direct and 'intuitive' knowing; rooted in a personal and first-hand experience, and a person to person relationship - typically in relationship to Jesus Christ. 

 

This contrasts with traditional church-based knowing; which is rooted in historical discourse and 'scholarship' of various types; and is therefore second-hand (or third-/ fourth-/ fifth-hand...). 

Church-knowing is indirect knowledge-about... rather than experience-of. It is something we learn and strive to remember... rather than apprehend with instantaneous clarity and conviction. 

Because modern Men are self-aware, because we are conscious of our own consciousness; we distinguish these two 'ways of knowing' whereas at times in history these would have been regarded as aspects of a unity...  

Indeed they were not distinguished, because the individual was then immersed in the group's thinking; and often had experienced none-other; his beliefs were spontaneously and unconsciously those of the social group, and these beliefs were apparently stable, apparently 'eternal'. 

Man in the past did not distinguish even the possibility of himself having direct and personal knowledge that diverged from knowledge he absorbed insensibly and by training and education from his society. 

Therefore in the past - when Men's consciousness was different; the basis of Christianity rooted in a church was natural, inevitable, and right


But Now we experience self-validating truth for-ourselves, intermittently; in flashes, or 'epiphanies'; yet brief because we are then in a state of self-awareness that of-itself interrupts that which is being-observed

As soon as we know we are knowing - that consciousness slips-away into mere knowing that we know...

But anyone who has known by this kind of directly-apprehended, wordless intuition; is aware of its utter distinction from those vast masses of external and historical 'knowledge' which constitute 'a religion' or 'a science' or 'literature'...

The question then arises; why should we believe secondhand church-knowledge? 

Such a 'why' question would not have occurred in the past - but now it has; and it demands an answer; that is, assuming we are to give some version of church-knowledge absolute primacy* over all other contesting knowledge-claims... 


For a Christian, we see on the one hand an enormous, heavy, complex system of historical claims which constitutions a denomination or church; all of which includes the claim that this is (in some essential fashion) the unchanging truth, and our job is to worship and obey. 

Or job as a church-Christian is primarily to learn-about this body of historical material - and submit-to it. 

Therefore, Me-Here-Now and (what feels like) direct knowing; must be fitted-into - and submit-to - this mass of external stuff. 

 

For a church-Christian; Nothing we might ever possibly experience, think, say or do - past, present or future - can ever affect the directionality of that relationship

The Church - and therefore History - is absolute and primary; we our-selves are contingent and secondary. 

(And the same applies if, for instance, The Church is replaced by Scripture, or Tradition - it's all History, ultimately; all external - all given-us by a particular body of Men, all based-on historical claims.)


So, this is the crux. We have our own most intense, most real, most true and most important convictions - rooted in (what feels like) a direct-knowing of reality...

Or we have (what feels like) a secondary, second-hand, submission to (what purports to be) a vast bulk of mixed historical claims - cross-referencing the validity of authority, scriptures, traditions and practices, beliefs etc. 

These two possibilities (for many perhaps almost all) people have separated, their combination was a consequence of unconsciousness - and now we are conscious - and they have been split apart by this consciousness.

Thus Romantic Christianity became a possibility, and the decision concerning ultimate authority became a necessity. 

We can either acknowledge or deny the crux - but denial is dishonest. 


What to do we do; where place our primary loyalty, where look for salvation? By submission and obedience to History (i.e. Our Church)?

Or; do we instead start the process of re-knowing, re-learning, re-making Christianity from the basis of the primacy of intuition, direct-knowing, heart-thinking (whatever we call it)...

(Which is (for Christians) intuition of the divine within us (as we are children of God), and our apprehension of the Holy Ghost without?)

 

The crux is: Do we trust our-selves and personal-knowing primarily; or we we trust... whatever we have been told by our favoured historians concerning church-history, and organize everything else around that?   

Is Christian faith to be rooted in the Here-and-Now experience - or in curated historical claims? 

Romantic of Traditional? 


*Note: 'Primary' and Primacy' are used here to indicates which comes first and is foundational. It is not a matter of either/ or Romantic versus Historical Christianity - but which is primary and foundational; about which judges and discerns the other. Thus a Romantic Christian may be a full church member and believer - but at root he will have intuitively-discerned and evaluated the truth of the church's claims (at least; those which are of core importance to him), and consciously chosen to accept them. The Historical-Church Christian may experience intuitive direct knowing, but will accept or reject such insights in accordance with his primary obedience to the church - therefore no personal knowledge could ever (as a matter of principle) challenge or overturn the church's instruction and teaching. What a church-Christian experiences and knows here-and-now, will only be allowed validity when it supports the church's 'historically-based' understanding; and any other insights will be rejected as erroneous or evil. 

Friday, 29 July 2022

Pharaoh's Walk by Exodus (1971) a revivalist craze waiting to happen...

English-produced 'Rocksteady' Reggae with jazz flute from 1971... what's not to like? 

I don't actually remember this from the era in which it was released - despite having had a strong liking for the Jamaican Ska/ Rocksteady/ Reggae of the late 1960s. But I recently came across it in a YouTube compilation of such music that was issued in the UK by the famous Trojan Records. 

It is such a great little track that I immediately recognized it as one of those which will, sooner or later, be rediscovered and used as movie background, or a the theme for a TV show; so that sometime in the future 'everybody' will know it.  

Well, thanks to BC's Notions; you can be one of the early adopters... 

Thursday, 28 July 2022

"Daddy, what did you do in the the birdemic?" - The question that church-affiliated Christians need to ask


"What did you do in 2020 - when the churches were told they were 'inessential', ordered to close their doors without stated end-point, ceased to offer the sacraments, and forbade all gatherings of Christians - even outdoors?" 

"What did you do when people were imprisoned wherever they happened to be, were forbidden to meet, were prevented from touching, and were compelled to hide their faces?"

"How did you then explain and justify your capitulation-to and embrace-of the globalist, totalitarian, Satanic agenda?" 

"And do you now explicitly repent what you thought, said and did in relation to the birdemic-peck?"


These are the kinds of question that real-Christians need to ask of their denomination, their specific church, and their pastor/ priest.  


(...Unless, of course, they already know the answers full-well; because, for so many self-identified Christians; 2020 is, was, and always will be.)

Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Emptiness and futility, arbitrary motivations and hedonism - on re-reading CP Snow's The Light and the Dark (1947)

Although now almost forgotten as a novelist; CP Snow's work has many special qualities, and I find I return to re-read one or other of his books every few years*.

I last read The Light and the Dark when I was at school, aged about sixteen - but have appreciated it more this second time around. It is focused on the story of Roy - a brilliant scholar of lost and obscure languages, whose personality alternates light and dark moods... 

(Not to the level of psychosis - he is not a manic depressive, always keeps working, and is never hospitalized; but nonetheless the down-swings are terrible for him to suffer. The point of the book is that his gifts and his miseries are part of a package - he cannot have the bright accomplishments without the shades.)


As always with Snow; the main character is based on a real-life model - an oriental linguist called Charles Allberry; whom Snow regarded as the closest and most intimate friend of his life. 

As a teen, I was considerably put-off by the aristocratic milieu and snobbery depicted among many of the main characters (although not the narrator, who - like Snow - had impoverished lower middle class origins, but aspired to be assimilated into the rich and able ruling class. And achieved it - becoming Lord Snow of Leicester, and sending his son to Eton.)   

This time around, I was more entertained than annoyed by the class-consciousness; and instead I saw the novel as a depiction of the spiritual bankruptcy of the English ruling class on the eve of the 1939-45 war. 


In a nutshell; the characters depicted most intimately have nothing to live for - except arbitrary motivations such as cultivated snobbery, and short-termist 'amoral' (often sexual) hedonism. And then The War... 

There are political motivations - communism or pacifism for many (especially scientists), National Socialism for a few; but these are essentially negative. In the end the war is fought - bravely and effectively - but against Germany rather than for anything in particular in the world afterwards. 

Which is, of course, exactly how things turned out - but it is fascinating to realize that Snow could perceive this so clearly and explicitly even by 1947, when this book was published. 


One sub-plot is the 'Light and Dark' protagonist's unsuccessful 'search for God' - Roy sees with absolute clarity that his life (and the world) is futile without God - but cannot 'make himself believe'; therefore leads an hedonically promiscuous life (alleviated by great - and secret - kindness and generosity to many people) which ends by deniably engineering his own death. 

Most of the characters avoid acknowledging this harsh truth; and immerse themselves in little (or large) plans and schemes, to seek pleasure and 'get-on' - but all, sooner or later, realize the futility of this 'materialistic' life.  

Seventy-five years later our civilization has lost the bleak, stoic insight of Snow (via his characters); and are still trapped by a false dilemma between a traditional Christianity they cannot believe - and a despairing life of increasingly short-termist, ever-less-coherent expediencies. Snow himself - with his life of ambition and status-seeking - seemed to be caught in this trap, up to his death in 1980. 


Regular readers know that I believe there is a way-out from this crux of unacceptable nihilism versus impossible traditional religiosity (i.e Romantic Christianity) - but that it requires individuals to give their best efforts to understanding (for- and from- the depths of their natures) Man in relation to God. 

This personal quest needs to be accorded at least the same effort and application as Roy gave to his unravelling of ancient texts; or others gave to communism, fascism and the other later leftist ideologies that purported to displace and replace Christianity. 

So, here we are...


*The Masters is probably CP Snow's best book - being an extremely gripping, sustained, satisfyingly-structured work. The Search is less accomplished, but also excellent for anyone interested in 'real science' - it has stuck in my mind for several decades. Also The Affair, and The New Men are similarly memorable; encapsulating certain things incomparably well. The Physicists - a group biography of some of the greatest physicist of the early 20th century, most of whom Snow (who had degrees in chemistry and physics) knew personally to some extent - is also extremely good; as is Variety of Men, a collection of memoirs of eminent people.  

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

The Bad Faith of Traditional Christians; or; why we should acknowledge that our bottom-line convictions need to be personal, endogenous, intuitive, directly apprehended

The main difference between Romantic and Traditionalist Christians (when they are real-Christians) is that Romantics will acknowledge explicitly (to themselves, as well as others) that their bottom-line convictions are a matter of intuition... 

Whereas 'Traditionalist' Christians will claim that even their bottom-line convictions come from outside themselves; i.e. typically from The Church (i.e. whatever aspect of church or denomination they personally regard as true). 

I believe that, when the Christian is true, this claim is false. 


It is clear to me that the real Christians now (i.e. those who have survived the temptations and passed the Litmus Tests of recent years - demonstrating their are not merely Christian-flavoured apologists for totalitarian leftism, or Establishment bureaucrats) - are people whose faith is solidly founded-upon an inner, intuitive and personal discernment of truth. 


The difference is that Traditionalists claim that they are merely obeying the external and objective authority of their church; while the Romantics are clear that whatever complex superstructure rests upon these baseline discernments; and this is true however much that superstructure is derived from one or more churches/ denominations.

The foundation of a genuine and robust Christian faith in 2022 needs to be personal intuitive discernment; a direct knowledge-of, and relationship-with, the divine. Validated from-within - not obeyed from-without. 

Any external source of knowledge may be, is-being, and almost certainly already-has-been - subverted, destroyed or (worst) inverted. 

And therefore one who really did base his Christian faith on the external is no longer a Christian.  


This is why I continue to debate these matters with real Christians who regard themselves as externally-validated Traditionalists, Orthodox, Mainstream; because I believe they are living in a state of denial of both freedom and responsibility, of error, of self-dishonesty and self-deception; in a Christian version of what existentialists used to call Bad Faith

And this inauthentic, faith is 'bad' for Christians because it is genuinely self-deceptive and dishonest. This untruthfulness inevitably weakens faith; and therefore renders Traditionalists highly vulnerable to seduction by mainstream atheistic-leftist-materialism operating via general culture; and specifically through the top-down net-corruption of the leadership class in all major churches and denominations. 

In sum: I ask traditionalists for something very specific: an explicit acknowledgement that - here-and-now - the effective and resistant faith of even the most traditionalist and church-orientated of real-Christians has a personal and intuitive foundation.  

Sunday, 24 July 2022

We should trust in our own salvation

There is a convincing line of thinking that regards fear* as the greatest sin; which is opposed by the virtue of trusting in the goodness and love of God. 

This implies that we are meant to trust in our own salvation - i.e. be supremely confident that we, our-selves, will be resurrected to eternal Heavenly life; and therefore we ought Not to live in fear of damnation. 

Only if we live confidently trusting in the fact of our own salvation, can we make salvation - that is our future Heavenly destination - the basis of our mortal life. 


Surely this is what we need? I mean, to live this mortal life in the eternal context, to recognize it as a preparation for the Main Thing - which is post-mortal, resurrected life? 

If so, then we should not allow ourselves (as So Many Christians have done, and still do) to mistrust and fret over whether or not we will be saved. 

It is a very different matter to live in fear of damnation than to trust in salvation: at best, fear of damnation is merely a double-negative simulation of the positive faith which leads to following Jesus through mortal death to life-eternal


A challenge to this - which comes to mind - is that someone might have the idea that he can be sure of salvation whatever he thinks, believes or does... 

Yet that is incoherent nonsense. Someone who really believes in the salvation of Jesus Christ - in resurrection and eternal heavenly life - will naturally know that if Heaven is a real place, then it is Not something that can be fitted-around our mortal life. 

If Heaven is real to us, then we will recognize mortal life must be fitted around Heaven - that way around. If Heaven is really-real then the natural and rational question is 'how we get there'.  

Only if Heaven is un-real to us could we have the idea that we would go there whatever we thought/ believed/ did; that we would arrive there whatever direction we travelled; and would arrive there even if we not not want what Heaven actually is.


As I have often said, Christians - like almost everyone - are prone to abuse fear to gain short-term goals (e.g. threatening and scaring people with consequences); whereas what should-be aimed-at is a life without fear: 

Without fear because we know (that is, we have solid faith) that God the creator loves us, and is good. 


*By fear I mean 'existential fear' - which is a motivational state primarily, rather than an emotion.