Monday 31 March 2014

Deep sea divers - a metaphor of mortal earthy life


The Platonists have it that on Earth we have glimpses of the ideal Heavely realm of perfection, but we see it only through a glass, darkly.

Another idea is that we recall our pre-mortal existence but only through a veil of forgetfulness - the veil being translucent, not transparent - us perceiving only shapes and shadows.

But maybe our mortal life down here is most like being a deep sea diver; our light swift spirits encased inside a protective suit; slowly pushing-through a dense medium; held-down by leaden boots; peering-out through a thick, barred porthole - and the divine communications faint and distorted by having to reach us via a long, thick, rubber tube...


Mainstream Right wing journalism


Some modern Leftist lunacy is noted, described and analyzed in terms of causation - there is an implicit and unspecific appeal - demand, even - that this-time, now, 'we' do something about it (really do something about it).

Perhaps there is a momentary lift of spirits from reading robust and witty polemic; and a flicker of optimism that now 'we' know about it, and understand what is going-on - then 'we' can work together to... well... put a stop to this kind of thing, and do some other and better kind of thing... or something.

Trouble is that there is no we - just a handful of individuals who are recurrently being set-back and demoralized by the repeated recognition that there is no 'we' but only (to all intents and purposes) me.

So yes to analysis and understanding causation - but we, or should I say me - are going to stop pretending there is a we, and stop vaguely-hoping that we will do something about anything.

Witty polemic doth not make a we. 


Why are things-in-general set-up the way they are?


Christians have several kinds of explanation for why things-in-general set-up the way they are:

1. They could not be otherwise.

2. This is the best way. (Things could be otherwise, but this is the best of the alternatives.)

3. This is the best that can be managed, at the moment, given the constraints.

The third explanation sees God as working within constraints such as time, process and substance - also the existence of purposive evil (Satan and demonic activity).


The kind of answer we are looking for to this question of why things-in-general are set-up he way they are also varies.

1. A physics-type reason in terms of fundamental structures and processes. This is the view of Classical Theology.

2. A relationship-type reason in terms of the purposes, desires, affections and aversions, wishes and needs of the personages involved. This is the view of Mormonism.

3. A psychological/ therapeutic reason to do with individual well-being. This the the view of Liberal 'Christians'. 


Sunday 30 March 2014

The first day of a new era for British Christians


Alastair Roberts valuably clarifies the consequences:

Comments are closed. 

Book of Mormon - Mormon 5:

17 They were once a delightsome people, and they had Christ for their shepherd; yea, they were led even by God the Father. 18 But now, behold, they are led about by Satan, even as chaff is driven before the wind, or as a vessel is tossed about upon the waves, without sail or anchor, or without anything wherewith to steer her; and even as she is, so are they.

Reincarnation - three explanatory functions


1. Animism - reincarnation is the unending circulation and transformation of a finite number of immortal souls through multiple sentient entities - this circulation and transformation is  'life' itself.

2. Eastern Hinduism/ Buddhism/ Jainism - reincarnation is the purpose of life: reincarnation is a punishment. Life is suffering, but death is not an escape unless or until multiple lives have educated the soul to die and escape reincarnation, when individual self-hood is extinguished and reabsorbed into the primary energies.

3. Modern New Age-ism - reincarnation is the purpose of life: reincarnation is an ascent towards divinity; necessary because one life is not enough to accomplish all the learning and spiritual progression needed to bridge between the human and the divine.


Christians, I take it, believe that reincarnation simply does not happen, at least not as a norm; although I don't think Christians would regard reincarnation as absolutely impossible, if it was necessary in some way to God's purposes - which means it might have happened, but exceptionally and not as a standard part of God's basic plan of salvation. 


Saturday 29 March 2014

First Ever Group Portrait of The Inklings of Oxford - major artistic discovery...


We must become as little children - but then we may choose to grow-up

Matthew 18:3. And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 


I feel that this is the best possible advice for the jaded and corrupted modern Man - to become again as a little child; become again as you were when (as I think almost all children feel) the world was alive, the soul was immortal, everything was potentially meaningful and significant - and God was like a loving Father, and Jesus like a protecting Big Brother, and the Holy Ghost could be summoned as an invisible presence.


However it is conceptualized, a return to childlikeness is dangerous to the strategy of evil, because it reopens the possibility of a fresh start. 

In contrast with becoming a child again, evil wants us to be concerned about being cool, or hot; or sophisticated or impressive - evil is permanent adolescence and sophomoric pseudo-sophistication.  


Becoming as a child is to be equated with salvation - anyone who is as-a-child is saved; because salvation was achieved for us by Jesus, and all we need to do is accept the great gift (a gift with necessary conditions) - and no child or child-like person would be so foolish as to reject salvation (whereas a cool/ hot sophisticate is exactly the kind of person who rejects the real good and argues that evil is the real good - all the time).  


Becoming as a child may be the end of the matter - we may return to God as a child (but with experience of incarnate mortality), we may choose to stay as a child in our Heavenly relationship with God. 

Or we may embark upon the path of growing-up spiritually - the path of theosis/ sanctification/ spiritual progression towards 'adulthood' which is god-hood (not capital G Godhood - because there is One God; but a small 'g' Son of God godhood - which can be conceptualized as living as a mature adult in Heaven in terms of our relationship to deity


Our Heavenly relationship to God and to Jesus Christ - the God-Man relationship - may therefore metaphorically be imagined on a spectrum from being an adult-child relationship for those who are simply saved, to an adult-adult relationship for those who are saved and also chose to undergo theosis conceptualized as maturation - those who have reached a sufficiently advanced point in that maturing process become more like adults in their relationship with God - while presumably others are in the intermediate 'youth' phase, and probably we may choose to stop at various points on the path (some indeed remaining perpetual Heavenly youths).  


So we must become as little children - but then we may, or may not, choose to embark on the further path of theosis (which is a path of struggle against resistance); and we may choose to progress on that path to varying degrees (and we will have varying rates of progress). 

Salvation is necessary (since the alternative is horrible), but theosis is optional and multi-level.

We must first be God's children; and we don't have-to grow up; and we don't have to grow-up more than we want to - but surely God Himself wants most for us to grow-up to spiritual adulthood - to have some Men with whom He has an adult relationship.   


Friday 28 March 2014

Ultra-high IQ test scores - several pinches of salt required...


[Note - I previously accidentally posted the wrong URL, linked to an old posting - this post was written today]

If man was created by God from *nothing* - how can Man *defy* God?


Short Answer: Man could not defy God if Man was made by God from nothing (that is ex nihilo).

Man could defy God only if there was some-thing in Man which was autonomous from God - some-thing that did the defying.

Yet Man does defy God (life is full of it; the Bible is full of it).

Therefore Man was NOT made by God from nothing, and there is Some-Thing in Man which is autonomous from God.

This is the only metaphysical assumption which makes plain sense of the fact that Man does indeed - really and truly - defy God.


The key to understanding the modern Left


The key to understanding the modern Left is that it is 95% destructive, and its positive 5% is continually rotating between (for example) the primacy of equality, anti-sexism, anti-racism, promotion of sexual inversion, liberty, the environment... and others.

Which means that, in practice, the Left is 100% destructive - because its positive agendas conflict and destroy one another, as they rotate.

The modern Left is thus, over the long term, a means of wholesale destruction.


The Old Left (Marxists, Communists, Socialists) was essentially about promoting economic equality - and this took priority over everything else - including the abolition of poverty, which was done much better by 'Capitalism'.

But economic equality was (at first, anyway) sincerely-pursued by the Old Left - even when it led to economic collapse, famine, racism, sexism, and wholesale environmental destruction.


Post the mid-1960s the Left transformed into an ever-expanding 'rainbow coalition' of interest groups - feminists, assorted economically-unsuccessful minority races and ethnicities, environmentalists, Human Rights activists, promoters of first sexual liberation then inversion of traditional sexual values, criminals, illegal immigrants, the permanently-economically-dependent, and so on.

Thus the Left become democratically-overwhelming; while at the same time it became ideologically-incoherent - indeed utterly self-contradictory.

The actually-existing New Left is a loose grouping of asset-stripping interest groups, whose alliance is merely a tactical agreement to gang-up-on and exploit (or simply destroy) the diminishing minority of non-Left.


So the modern Left has no overall, cohesive, explicit strategy because all its claimed positive strategies cancel-out - its true underlying strategy is therefore implicit and denied.

Anyone who really cares about any one of the Left's supposed priorities - whether that be economic inequality, the sociopolitical situation of women, or of a particular race - can see that the New Left damages all of these groups in real terms.


The New Left actually, really, overall and significantly promotes inequality, damages the interests of women and racial minorities, damages the environment - over a timescale of decades, the Left damages everything for everybody.

All winners are temporary - today's winners (e.g. the Proletariat - the native male working class labourers) are tomorrow's demonized losers - in rotation.

Why is this not more obvious? Two words: the Mass Media - to which the population is ever-increasingly addicted, and which defines reality as whatever is expedient for Mass Media purposes. 


The Left is misunderstood.

The New Left, the modern Left of Political Correctness, is not a conspiracy of Men, it is NOT about promoting the interests of any particular group - overall and in the long term.

The Politically Correct Left is NOT about pursuing equality, fighting sexism or racism, saving the environment or anything else positive - these are merely tactical excuses.


The long-term reality is that the Left is negative, destructive; wholesale, all-round, and strategically.

And this is impossible to human agency: strategic universal destructiveness is only attributable to non-human, purposive evil.


This is why there is a fundamental and ineradicable conflict - indeed there is a war - between Christianity and the Left.

Good people, even real Christians, may for various reasons find themselves fighting on the wrong side in this war; but that does not affect the fact that they are objectively fighting on the wrong side.

At this point in history, where we are now; a Christian Leftist or a Leftist Christian is an oxymoron.

In war, everyone necessarily fights on one side, or the other: God or Satan.    


Thursday 27 March 2014

What is Working Memory? Speculations...


Marriage or Immigration? A litmus test for religious versus secular allegiance


The Political Right is divided into Religious and Secular - the Religious Right believe that society should be organized primarily on religious grounds with other aspects coordinated to that end; the Secular Right believe that some-other-grounds should be primary (economics, patriarchy, nation, race, efficiency - or whatever).

However, while everybody on the Religious Right is religious; some of the people on the Secular Right are also religious! And often the Secular Right supports religion.

But the Secular Right does not put religion as the highest priority - rather they aim primarily for a certain kind of secular order which yet leaves space for religion (I suppose the US Founding Fathers would be of this type).


If you are on the Right and are also religious, how do you know which you are - where your primary allegiance lies?

One quick way is to evaluate yourself is reflecting on the two 'hot button' issues of the day for the Right: marriage and immigration.

If your main priority is to protect and support marriage (and the family), then your are on the Religious Right; however, if your priority is immigration control, your are on the Secular Right - even if you are religious.


For the religious Right, marriage - and by extension the sexual revolution in its many facets - is the primary battleground; for the non-religious, it is immigration and by extension the economy, and in general 'capability'.


I am assuming that any sane person recognizes without need for explanation that open borders mass immigration is socio-culturally lethal - but if you are still not sure where your first loyalties lie, suppose that you could choose between strong and decisive legislation in one year's time to support marriage (and families, and to roll-back the sexual revolution) with immigration control being delayed - or the opposite.

The answer may tell you whether your priorities for society are primarily religious, or primarily secular.


The reason this test is enlightening is that the answer depends on your diagnosis of the cause of the problem.

For the Religious Right the problem is 'spiritual warfare': that our society systematically violates common sense, natural law, and the religious perspective of life - and the main assault has therefore been by using sexual 'liberation' to batter-down and invert all other spontaneous and sanctioned forms of sexuality: it is an assault on our core system of evaluation and a violation of the heart. The consequence is endemic insanity - a populace so confused and so demotivated that they are destroying themselves both neglectfully and wilfully. 

But for the Secular Right, the problem is much less existential - much more superficial, simple and straightforward: the problem is wrong policies, introduced by self-interested, power hungry people. Fix the policies and you fix the problems.

So, there is a profound difference between Religious and Secular Right - one believes we are caught up by War in Heaven - the other that it is a matter of Wars between Men; one that the problem is of the soul - the other that it is a problem of incentives.


Note Added: It might be said about uncontrolled mass immigration that "at least" if we sorted-out that problem, then...

But from a Religious Right perspective we are a psychotic society, and that is why people cannot perceive the obvious lethality of OBMI - thus, we are a society so profoundly damaged in our basic understandings and evaluations that we could not possibly implement any major reform so that it produced net benefit: we would be certain to make matters worse.

How could such evil-intending lunatics as we are now, do anything beneficial without simultaneously wrecking a lot more stuff than we fix?

First begin to cure the madness, only then will good policy have any chance.


Wednesday 26 March 2014

Medical lessons from the space program

From my 1989 book review in the British Medical Journal "Spock the Difference"

re: Survival in Space: Medical Problems of Manned Spaceflight. R. Harding. (Pp xix+227; figs; £14.95.) London: Routledge, 1989.ISBN 0-415-00253-2
Astronauts choice of the most useful drugs in space:
1. Painkillers
2. Sedatives
3. Anti-diarrhoea drugs (I can see why they might be useful in a space suit...)
4. Nasal decongestants (but maybe not used when the anti-diarrhoea pills have run-out)
Major irritations of space travel:
1. Cannot wash properly - never feel clean
2. Sense of isolation
3. Lack of movement
4. Boredom
Physiological effects of prolonged space flight include:
1. Exaggerated tendon reflexes
2. Poor balance
3. Excessive drop of blood pressure on standing
4. Loss of bone calcium
Abilities gained from a 3-day crash course in medicine and dentistry include:
1. Ophthalmoscopy (this took me 3 years)
2. Bladder catheterization (who volunteered to be practised on?)
3. Extracting teeth (!)
4. Inserting temporary fillings (!!)

The Bloomsbury Group - when a face tells you everything you need to know...


Virginia Woolf

Bertrand Russell

 Lytton Strachey

Note added - We have an expression in our house: "Now that's a face I would never tire of slapping".

What should I, personally do here-and-now? How should I find out what to do?


Many people feel they need help and guidance, but do not know where to turn - do not known whom to trust.

Many people know that they need to change, but they do not know how, or in what direction change should go.

And what should they do about it - what help, guidance and self-knowledge is, in principle, available?


There may be nobody, actual, in your life that can give the help you need - you may need to depend on what you know about other people.


If you are on the wrong track, travelling in the wrong direction - you will know, you do know.

Although the toughness of the right track may be deceptive, the difference between surface pleasure and deep joy is impossible to conceal - at most you can train yourself to focus on surface pleasure and ignore your need for deep joy - but surface pleasure will never satisfy and the need for deep joy won't go away.


IF you are alert to your need, then guidance of the kind you need will come to you, sooner or later, but in-time - somehow.

(God loves you: which means you, personally, specifically; he hears your call, he always responds to the call: he is working on it.)


And when you encounter good guidance, you will notice it; and even when it is a counterfeit or fake guidance that you notice, then you will know this too (although not necessarily instantly, but after testing and feeling, 'chewing and tasting'); because it is impossible for anybody or any-thing to sustainedly-impersonate your loving Heavenly Father if your heart is loving, warm and open - but you are free to choose whether or not to accept any guidance, you will not be compelled.


(Why not help now, instantly? Because God's purposes must be and always are achieved by indirect intermediaries and via human choices. Patience is a virtue because it is a necessity.)


Note added: How is all this possible? It is possible because each of us has the flame of God in us: we are God's children and made in His image. The flame of God is not the only thing in us, almost always there is an accumulation of sin as well - and we are weak, and prone to error as well as wickedness. So discernment (knowing Good from evil) is not easy: it is, however, always possible. It is God's flame in us, however tiny, which makes discernment possible; and which means we can never be overcome by sin - unless we choose so.

Tuesday 25 March 2014

What is the value of science for secular Leftist modernity?

Superficially, secular Leftist modernity is slavishly devoted to science, to objective 'evidence' and all the rest of it.

Yet the reality is that science has been destroyed and replaced by careerist bureaucracy.

Solid science that conflicts with Leftism is turned into a hate crime; and there is funding and vast propaganda and mandatory education to create and sustain huge schemes of dishonest and incompetent pseudo science (especially the global warming/ climate change scam).

So what is the real role of that thing called 'science'?


The real role of science for the Left is quite simple and it always has been the same - it is to create a high status and universal discourse which excludes religion (especially Christianity) by assumption; so by assumption science works on the basis of assuming the absence of divine action, of souls, of purpose and meaning; of transcendental values of beauty and virtue.


Most clearly this is seen in fanatical support for of mainstream secular Leftism for the metaphysical and empirically evidence-free assumption of 'Evolution' by Natural Selection as a mandatory and enforced explanation for The Origin of Species; while the same people regard the vast evidence of Adaptive evolution in the human species (The Descent of Man) as unmentionable, punishable, indeed illegal, hate facts.


For secular modernity, science is therefore not-at-all about the positive presence of truth and honesty - obviously not! - instead science is about the objective absence of religion, beauty and virtue.

It is not a matter of what science is - but a matter of what science IS NOT, that matters to secular Leftist modernity.

In sum, as with Marx - what is vital to modernity is scientific materialism; which has approximately nothing-at-all to do with real science; just as 99 percent of modern 'scientific' 'research' has approximately nothing-at-all to do with real science.


The nature of trial and error in mortal life


One of the confusing aspects of the Christian situation is that - although sin is a consequence of choice, of free agency - humans on earth nonetheless seem to have been set-up to fail - to sin.

Having been set-up to fall, to sin; then we have had to be saved.

But it all seems a bizarre roundabout rigmarole...


Why did God the Father not simply create a situation when we didn't sin in the first place?

(By making humans more wise and self-controlled, and setting us down in a better situation.)

Why would our Heavenly Father do such a thing to us?


Clearly we are not intended to sin - clearly the way we ought to live is the way Christ lived - which is that Christ was subject to all the temptations, but always resisted them.

That is what we would ideally do - and by feeling but not yielding to temptations, we would learn everything there is to learn from our mortal lives - but come to no harm.


So that is how we should behave - so why didn't God make us that way? 

One simple answer is that He could not make us that way.

Since we really do have free agency, we really are autonomous beings.

There is that within us which is independent in origin from God -  we are not wholly created: there is a tiny flame individual to each of us alone, which precedes our creation.


A grown-up cannot be made as such - a grown-up is the result of a process of growing-up.

The child is made: the adult is a product of 'education'. 

Therefore we must learn, must develop, must grow from here to there.


God has taken that tiny individual flame, which existed but was unaware and could do nothing, and made us his children - given us consciousness, agency and indeed given us almost everything.

But we are still simple, weak, undeveloped beings.

There is a gap to be bridged between what we are, and what God hopes we may become - but we necessarily and only become it with our own consent and desire.


Since we are not now like God, and since it is God's will (His wish, His loving yearning) that we become more like him (by theosis, by spiritual progression) this is what necessitates the roundabout rigmarole of mortal life on earth.

We need to be educated by mortal life, and we are as wise and self-controlled as God could make us at this stage in our development - which is not very wise, and poorly self-controlled.

Therefore mortal life is an education by trial and error - and the error is inevitable for creatures like us.


So we have been placed here, where we learn by temptation, however we will (by choice, but inevitably - given our weakness) fail to resist temptation and will sin.

Therefore we have provision for repentance and we have been saved by Christ's atonement.

We get the 'educational benefits' of earthly mortal life - and are saved from the consequences (on condition of repentance).


(Bear in mind also that this scheme was set-up by God - but nobody was compelled to comply with it: all mortal humans are volunteers for this life on earth.)


And there is no other way, or rather no better way,  that this could be done - no way that God to achieve the theosis, the spiritual progression which he desires for us without going through a real process of trial and error.

Education (which necessarily involves free agents) just is slow and roundabout and contains repetitions and apparent redundancies - hence the rigmarole of our lives here and now.


Monday 24 March 2014

What next for researching the apparently rapid decline of intelligence? A shopping list...


The nature of repentance


Repentance is hard for us moderns to understand - and in fact repentance is typically grossly misunderstood.

What happens is that repentance - which is primarily between one person and God - gets mixed up with emotions such as regret, and more-or-less well-meaning and perhaps helpful inter-human (or 'social') actions such as apology and restitution.

I would say that:

Repentance is the acknowledgement that I have sinned; which includes understanding that what I have done is indeed a sin; and the asking of God's forgiveness for my sins with a contrite and sorrowful heart.

In the above circumstances, this forgiveness will always be forthcoming.


What repentance is NOT includes the emotion of regret for what I have done, focused on wishing I had not done it; nor is it to apologize to someone for what I have done - nor is it to ask another person to forgive me  - nor is repentance about trying to undo what I have done, to set things right or repair the damage, nor is it to striving to make amends for what I have done.

All these may be (and often are) good things to do in and of themselves, but they are not repentance.


Repentance is essentially between myself and God; and God's forgiveness is a washing-clean, to allow a fresh start - but a spiritual fresh start; and not a fresh start in this-worldly matters, because - sin can never be undone.

God cannot ever make it as if there never had been sin.

But what God can and does do - what repentance can and does do - is to heal us from the effects of sin.


Why is Earth a better place than Heaven for theosis/ spiritual progression?


It is not necessary for us to know, but it is a legitimate question to ask why God wanted us to become exalted to divine status, why he wanted to raise us to be Sons of God? And how the conditions on earth fit with the answer.


One answer is that Heavenly Father wanted 'friends' of the same kind as Himself - in other words 'grown-up' friends - as well as child-like children.

He wanted at least some of us to be able to progress to a level where we could engage with Him at a higher conceptual level than was at first possible - God wanted some of his children to mature to spiritual adulthood. 


The plan of salvation was therefore designed to enable some Men to be raised to divine status so that Heaven became to some extent an 'adult' society, instead of purely a society of Heavenly Father and his many little children.

(To be blunt - sometimes God yearns for some adult company!) 

We can perhaps feel the basic truth in this because we each contain a divine spark from God, and may therefore partially identify with God; and introspectively can perceive this want - this need - in God.


Many Christians will not allow that God has wants or needs, and assert that God is utterly autonomous, impassive and so on. But there is a lot of scriptural evidence that He does have desires, passions and emotions. Indeed a Christian God must have (and be) love - and love is a dynamic emotion, implying change and wants.


Having decided to make a scheme of things in which Man might be educated and grow to divine status, the earth was created and Man was set upon the earth.

The nature of the earth is here assumed to be very different from Heaven - on earth the perception of time is slowed-down, and life proceeds in a manner very unlike Heaven.


In Heaven all is swift, frictionless rapidity and all is bathed in the Glory of God's presence.

In Heaven our will is powerfully shaped by God's will - not irresistibly, but it is hard to resist (and there is not much perceived time to resist) being in total harmony with God - and the relationship tends to be one of childlike loving obedience.

This environment tends to maintain spiritual immaturity - childlikeness. Which is not bad, not at all (children are wonderful!) - but for children to grow toward adult maturity is perhaps better, and what God wants - at least for some of His children.

So, this joyous Heavenly environment is poorly suited to spiritual growth. There is spiritual growth no doubt - possibility of autonomy - but the environment is not conducive to it.

The presence of God is overwhelming, and the frictionless speed leaves little space for consideration.


On earth, in mortal bodies, all is slowed-up.

For example, thought and action are distinct, so there may be first a temptation then space to decide whether or not to yield to that temptation.

There is an inspiration to do Good, create beauty, and then space to decide yea or nay; there is a point when we may choose whether to tell the truth, or not.

And God is not locally present on earth - so we are 'left on our own' with such problems - and can distinguish our will from God's will.


An analogy is that children must spend some time out of the continuous contact with their parents in order to mature - children must themselves learn to overcome temptations even when there are no immediate parental sanctions; they must be able to live well without the immediate incentive of parental approval.

This will inevitably be a matter of trial and error, success and failure; of practice, of habits.

Independent, we may develop strength and good habits or degenerate to weakness and bad habits. But the risk is intrinsic and necessary to the benefit.    

That is why God is not present with us on earth.


So earth is well designed for spiritual progression; and is a better place than Heaven for rapid theosis - due to the earthly slowness, friction, distinction of choice from action; and because we feel that we are (by and large) on our own, and must make our own decisions.


Sunday 23 March 2014

Is it immature to rate Tolkien as a great writer?


We are Boll Weevils. Question: How would we know that God is punishing us?


Answer: When we deny that we are being punished.

(And pretend that what we are getting is what we wanted all along.)


(Note: In general, God 'punishes' us simply by not intervening to save us from the consequences of our own deliberate choices.)


A person or a society has not learned its lesson when it denies there is any lesson to learn.


So the pervasive moral inversions characteristic of political correctness flow from this depth of depravity and corruption.

Everything gets turned upside down: we violate reality and bad things happen - but the bad things are not perceived to be the effects of the cause - the bad things are denied to be the effects of the cause - and at the limit the bad things are denied to be bad, and redescribed as good.


This is most evident in respect to the sexual revolution - for example divorce.

At first, divorce was bad - something to be prevented, or at least severely discouraged.

Then it was made easier, to be kind to those who were in a desperately unhappy situation; and as divorce was easier it became more common - much more common.

And this was regarded as good, because more divorce meant fewer unhappy marriages.

And when lots of divorces were regarded as positively good, there were even more of them.

An now divorce is so common, so normal; and solid marriage is so rare, and families so rare; and the scene is such a landscape of destruction, that it is regarded as simply hurtful to those implicated to talk about the subject.

It is too late now, it seems, to admit that divorce is bad and always was bad; to try and set up things to have less divorce instead of ever-more - and of course to speak out in favour of strengthening marriage and families is pretty much to don a black shirt and march to Nuremberg.


In this topsy-turvy world, to destroy the meaning of marriage, to make it a mere piece of paper and legal fiction, is regarded as if this was wanting to spread the benefits of marriage - but by 'no fault divorce' the most solemn of all human contracts (announced weeks in advance, formally reflected upon, the signing typically witnessed by dozens or even hundreds) has been declared not-a-contract-at-all - since it can unilaterally be voided on any grounds or for no reason at all.


But where is the outcry? Where is the sense that we are now far along a road to ruin? 

This is a strange and sinister situation we are in here and now - because the fact of being wounded does not normally or naturally destroy the desire to be healthy.

To have sinned oneself does not usually destroy or invert the belief in virtue - otherwise there would never have been any social concept of virtue.

And yet this is what we are doing.


We are being punished, and the reason we need to be punished is that we deny we are being punished.

We claim to enjoy our punishment - we claim our punishment is actually a reward!

De first time I seen de boll weevil,
He was a-settin' on de square.
An de next time I seen de boll weevil,
He had all of his family dere.
Jes lookin' for home
Gotta find a new home....

So de farmer took de boll weevil,
An' he put him in de ice cold ice;
An de weevil say to de farmer:
Dis is mighty cool and nice,
It'll be my home,
Dis'll be my home...

De farmer take de boll weevil,
An' he stomp him in de mud
An de weevil say to de farmer
Ain't gonna do you no good
Dis'll be my home,
Dis'll be my home...

Note: The boll weevil was an insect parasite that destroyed the cotton in Southern USA - apparently it spread fast and was difficult to eradicate.  The above is my memory of a part of the Boll Weevil song from a Wally Whyton LP.

Saturday 22 March 2014

The (failed) partial animism of aestheticism


Re-reading the mythologist Joseph Campbell (specifically A Joseph Campbell Companion 1991 - edited by Diane K Osbon - which was my favourite JC book, back in the day) it struck me that his main hope and recommendation in the post-Christian world was for all of us (not just professionals) to live The Life of the Artist - as this was understood in the High Modernist era of the early 1920s.

The particular exemplary life was James Joyce - with Finnegans Wake regarded as the pinnacle of his achievement.

(By contrast, I regard Joyce's life as sordid and uninspiring, and FW as perhaps the most aggressively boring and trivial work of art of all time - and I am someone who has read Ulysses slowly and carefully at least four times.)

In other words, aesthetics is to be regarded as real, objective, suitable to build life around - while morality is to be regarded as unreal, socially-imposed, manipulative and the rest of it.

All that aside, it is now clear that the vast, indeed total, hopes that were pinned on the idea of a world in which everyman was a creative artist, and thereby fulfilled, have utterly gone.  High modernism has fizzled into state subsidized professionalism - tenured radicalism, politically correct bureaucracy: glass bead games which are excruciatingly dull even for those who play them.

The religion of art did not survive the rise of political correctness - but it is fascinating to perceive it right up to that point - for example among the rebels of the Beats and 1950s Bohemians - they hoped, they intended, they tried to live for art and inside art.

Well, at any rate we now know for sure it is insufficient, a blind alley, road-tested to destruction - and can cross-off that 'philosophy of life' from our list.


Could anything happen to cause The West to lose faith in Political Correctness and abandon it?


1. No. Leftism/ Liberalism is capable of absorbing anything that could happen - not instantly, but over the space of not many days.

For instance it might have been expected that something as big as 9/11 would have made some difference of some kind to the trajectory of the USA - but the societal trend graph continues unabated, with only the slightest of wobbles perceptible in retrospect.

If not 9/11 - then nothing that happens could ever make any significant difference - certainly not the sheer insanity (lies, anti-truths, self-policed blindness) of everyday life in the public sphere.


2. Yes. If the Mass Media collapses for any reason - Political Correctness will collapse very quickly and very completely - because it is only the pervasive 24/7 influence of a Mass Media on a Mass Media-addicted population which enables the continuing insanity that is Left/ Liberalism.

And the Left are clearly not aware of this fact of their absolute dependence on the Mass Media - that it is actually the centre and source of modern Leftism - therefore the MM may well be destroyed (or rather, the chain-reacting process of destruction initiated) by Leftists, as a self-inflicted act.


3. Yes. Because - if such things were susceptible of quantitative measurement - it looks as if Left-Liberalism is an exponential process - and all exponential processes must stop: their very success is lethal to the prerequisites of that success.

And, when Leftism does stop expanding exponentially, Political Correctness will die; because it certainly seems to behave like the proverbial shark that must keep moving-forwards or die. 


I should point-out that while I am 100 percent certain that Leftism is unsustainable, and will collapse very fully when the Mass Media collapses - I am not at all optimistic about the short to medium term consequences of that collapse.

In fact I am very pessimistic. Leftism has by now so thoroughly destroyed our social infrastructure, that the results of the collapse of Leftism are almost sure to be social chaos, disorganization and mutual predation in most places (as with the past 25 years of chaos in Russia) - and due to the unprecedented degree of economic inter-dependence, Western society is very brittle - damage will ramify very swiftly.


So: I have some Good News and some Bad News.

The Good News is that the people will, en masse, lose faith in Leftism very swiftly, very fully, very comprehensively.

The Bad News is that the post-PC population en masse are not likely to agree and cohere on anything much better than PC, indeed are likely to disagree about almost everything and (lacking a legitimate institutional basis) be unable to cooperate.


If you merely want to see the end of PC, then you can be optimistic that this will happen - maybe this afternoon or tomorrow, maybe this summer or in a decade or two - but for sure.

But if you want to live in a society better than this one, then you probably will not live long enough; and when the better society eventually arrives, there may not be many people remaining on earth to enjoy it.


An archive of my Mormon-themed blog posts


I have extracted most of the substantial blog posts on Mormonism, and made a blog archive - in the form of a 25 thousand word mini-book intended to be copied, pasted and printed - and called Speculations of a Theoretical Mormon

This is mostly aimed-at Mormons who are interested in analysis from my current outsider-insider perspective.


Friday 21 March 2014

If (Christian) love is the primary thing; this implies an animistic (living) universe


Following from this:

if the primary reality (force) of the universe is love (specifically Christian love) then this entails that the universe - the whole universe - be alive.

The primacy of love implies an animistic universe.


Why this must be derives from the properties of love, and from the unacceptability of the alternatives (the alternatives are either that nothing in the universe is alive, or that some things in the universe are alive and the rest is not).


The nature of love seems obviously to require intentional communication, and at least the potential for reciprocity. That seems to restrict love to living things.

If love is to be primary as an explanation for reality, that means that at least the important things in the universe be alive.

(Accepting that of course, being alive is capable of many quantitative degrees and many qualitative forms - the life of a bacterium is different from a tree is different from a sheep is different from a man - and the principle would have to extent downwards to viruses, molecules, atoms and the like.)

Which leads to a choice between some-things or all-things in the universe being alive.


Historically, the earliest abandonment of animism was that only some things were alive - for example biological-things; and among them only animals, and only some-animals - perhaps only humans - could be capable of love.

The only sense that can be made of this is that the whole universe exists only for the benefit of those things capable of love - that is humans and God - plus presumably angels.

This is a fairly common Christian idea - that everything is dead - or rather non-alive - except Men and Angels and God: everything else exists 'merely' to serve these.

So we live in a life-less universe, with a 'bubble' of love between Men and with God and Angels - and the rest is darkness, meaninglessness, and has nothing to do with love.


But in such a universe love is not really primary - it is more that everything else except Man and God can (and ultimately should) be ignored.

Furthermore, it seems that to deny the aliveness of everything, and to try and draw a line around God and Man and between alive and non-alive is actually to set foot onto a slippery slope...

In doubting the importance and aliveness of everything except God and Man, we end-up by doubting the reality of God and the aliveness of Man.

So, now the standard, secular, mainstream academically prevalent view is exactly this: that God is not alive (i.e. does not exist); and Man is not really alive; in the sense that there is nothing special (or 'vital') to distinguish between the living and the non-living, or the sentient and the non-sentient...

And therefore that any feeling or belief we may have of being alive - and of loving - is just a feeling or belief; inessential, delusional; a mere epiphenomenon of lifeless mechanical processes.


Thus in practice it proved impossible to hold the line and assert that Man really is alive and capable of love - and that love matters more than anything - in a world view that asserts the non-alive nature of everything-else.

Given the unacceptability of nothing-is-alive, and the unsustainability of some-things-are alive - this leaves as the only coherent alternative that everything-is-alive.


If the universe really is alive - if we really do inhabit an animistic universe (as all children start-out believing, and many hunter gatherers and others tribes people continue to believe through adult life) - then the mainstream, secular modern view of things amounts to a denial of the basic structure of reality.


So, it seems that we are forced to conclude that pretty-much everything is more-or-less alive.

We are forced back into adopting animism as the default belief - unless, that is, we are prepared to abandon the primacy of (Christian) love.


Fate after death


The Atonement of Christ perhaps led to at least four possible fates for eternal souls after death:

1. Heaven (of several kinds and degrees), where we retain our personhood but have been resurrected and enhanced towards god-status.

2. Bliss (as with some Eastern Religions) where we choose to lose personhood and our sense of 'self', and are absorbed into the impersonal spirit of God. I presume that these souls in some sense refuse resurrection.

3. Sheol/ Hades/ the pagan underworld, which is the default state - where our spirits severed from the body at death and thereby maimed, live in an eternal present, 'demented', without memory or sense of self. Many souls were rescued from this state by Christ's atonement - and it is seldom spoken of in later Christianity - but perhaps it continues...

4. Hell - where resurrected spirits have actively and knowingly rejected the salvation offered by Christ; but retain self-hood and memory and their earthly character - so live in the endless cumulative duration of eternity.


The divine personality beyond bliss - some intuitions of William Arkle


Edited from the Conclusion of A Geography of Consciousness by William Arkle, 1974.


My own view is that God, like ourselves, is both 'personal' and 'impersonal'...

I also think that it is possible for our individual or personal Being to unite with God's Impersonal Being and that there is no limit to the sort of relationship we can take up with God.


But I truly believe that God is a sadder God if we do not realize the basis of his deepest motivation, which is not that he should ingest our Individuality into the Blissful nature of his being, but that we should, out of the simple recognition in our Heart of Hearts, realise the unspoken longing and non-willing that lies behind the blissful aspect of Divine Love... 


I believe that behind the Bliss of Divine Union resides a relationship which is deeper than Bliss; and that is the attitude which upholds and protects the Bliss. This is the attitude which has known that the Blissful qualities are 'good', and in a creative sense can be made even better...

I am sure I have offended many sincere and highly spiritual people by my remarks on these lines for they feel it is conceited of me to begin to define or explore the motive behind what is referred to as The Absolute, and not only conceited but simply impossible. 

But if the 'personal' motive is felt as I have felt it, then the problem dissolves immediately. 


Perhaps the value God seeks in us is not our perfect unalloyed Divine Being Bliss, but the humble and imperfect yearnings and sentiments that our soul feels in the crippling form of the human situation.

The compression and pain breeds a simple love that does not feed on pleasure, even Divine pleasure. It feeds on a 'craggy' determination, often beyond the hope of any rewards in the form of happiness or joy, to improve the lot of those it loves...

To my understanding, this creates a love between persons, and the souls of these persons, which teaches them something about the nature of the heart of love which is not learned in the experience of liberated divine bliss or devotion to 'perfection' as we understand it. 


The highest teachings we have ever received on earth seem to me to say: "Do not take any notice of miracles and powers - God can make these happen any time. Seek to understand the nature of the love that brought you forth."

This teaching is not interested in power or glory or even perfect behaviour, but has something to do with the response that only you can make - because there is none other like you.

Behind the God who is upon the Throne of Glory and Power, is the vulnerable, sweet, humble, beautiful love which is naturally more protected, secret and hidden....


Thursday 20 March 2014

Ingedients for understanding the Atonement of Jesus Christ


I have not reached a satisfactory understanding of the Atonement, but I think I perceive some of the necessary ingredients.

1. Jesus was Jehovah

Christ is the Jehovah of the Old Testament - which means he created the earth and everything in it - he set-up the situation which Men inhabit.

This was in accordance with his Father's plan - a plan which culminated in Christ's incarnation and entering the world he himself made, as the Man Jesus of Nazareth (presumably, temporarily handing-over the Lordship of this world to his Father); and led to the Atonement where he became our saviour - after which Christ resumed his Lordship of this world.


2. We were saved by Christ in the sense of saved from an eternity as disembodied witless spirits (in Sheol) and enabled to have eternal life, in resurrected bodies, living in Heaven with Jesus himself as His siblings (potentially also with our 'families', however that term is defined).


3. But how did the Atonement 'work'?

Christ was the scapegoat, who took our sins upon himself. He did this voluntarily, from love - and it seems to have happened (in Time) in the Garden of Gethsemane and on The Cross.

What happened?

In a once for all act, Christ accepted all the sins of the world ever.

But that was not the end of the matter. We were saved potentially, but only potentially - something more was needed from each person for the process to be completed - each person must make the choice to accept salvation.


What does this salvation entail?

We, each of us, must put-our-sins-onto Christ - analogously as sins were put-onto the scapegoat (before he was driven into the wilderness) or onto the sacrificial lamb.

This is repentance; because to put our sins onto Christ we must first acknowledge that they were indeed sins; and by the putting-upon we acknowledge and trust the Lordship and necessity of Christ - and that our salvation is only by Him.

It is His love for us which made him want this and made this process possible, and it is our love for Him which makes the process Good, when it is done with gratitude, sorrow and compassion - then joy.


What is the problem about love that needs solving?


What problem was I trying to solve here?:

Simply that the modern idea of love is an emotion felt - love as something which comes and goes. Overpowering... then gone.

Love is seen as something which starts at birth and finishes at death.

This concept of the nature and properties of love is not just sexual love or eros; but includes all kinds of love.


But this is a problem, a big problem, for Christians - who believe (and try to convince others) that love is the primary value... more than this, the primary force in the universe: that which binds real reality.


So, Christians need either/ both:

1. A strong personal metaphor of love - which is (of course) God as Father and we his children.

2. And/ or a metaphysics of love - a 'physics-like' abstract metaphor of love, which describes how love is the actual and ultimate basis of reality - of structure and change - how it operates in a manner independent of the unstable, contingent whims and moods of the human mind.


Confession and paternal authority


There is no doubt that it is vital that Christians confess their sins as a prelude to repentance.

The disagreements begin in understanding what is meant by confession - in particular the question of to-whom the confession must be made: directly to God in prayer, or via some human mediator and authority?

Should confession be to a human person? 

What light can be shed upon this by reflecting on the close analogy between human and divine Fatherhood?


What kind of confession is required of a human Father from his children and why?

Amongst other things, a Father wants to know that the child realizes what it is that is the sin.

This often need clarifying - e.g. kids think they are being punished for wreaking some trivial destruction - breaking a cup or scribbling on the wall - but actually they are being punished for concealing or lying about it.

They need to be taught that the proper behaviour is to acknowledge the accident, preferably pro-actively - and of course the parents must reward and endorse this acknowledgement (and perhaps suppress their annoyance at the destruction of a treasured possession, or the need to spend ten minutes on cleaning).


Further, the Father wants his child to acknowledge and agree that what she did is indeed a sin.

The Father doesn't just want his daughter to stop tormenting her brother as a form of amusement - but to stop because she can feel why it is wicked to destroy another person's happiness because she was bored, and nasty to provoke annoyance for fun - needs to understand that this is a recipe for family misery.


(Rant alert: In some ways this 'dog in the manger' behaviour of spoiling things for other people, of deliberately being annoying and enjoying the annoyance that is caused, is one of the very worst of sins. Not least because it so easily becomes habitual, indeed insatiable; and can so readily be justified by pseudo-moralism - 'she was being so smug/ arrogant - she needed taking down a peg - she deserved it'. (In effect: framing sarcasm, humiliation, aggression as an agent of divine retribution.) Not just families, schools, workplaces and other institutions - but much of the Mass Media, the internet and social networking is replete-with, quantitatively dominated-by, competitive dog-in-the-mangerism. Note: the term comes from a dog who insists on uncomfortably sprawling in the manger among the hay, so the cows cannot eat; the dog is prepared to put himself to considerable effort and discomfort merely to observe the cows annoyance.)


And a Father wants for the child to repent the sin and try his best not to repeat it.

But if or when the child does repeat the sin, to be proactive in confessing it.


So, there is an educational aspect to good confession, and the expected behaviour in response to repeated/ repeatable sins is different from first-time or one-off sins.

The need for education seems almost unavoidable. But the eventual ideal is to for education to be internalized, and confession to become self-policing. 


Accepting that confession to God in prayer is mandatory; unless it is also believed that a human intermediary is essential for a confession to reach God, then on this basis, the main potential value of confession to a human is educational - which seems to imply that the confessor must be both wise and loving - the confessing person must trust their confessor, must believe the confessor wiser than themselves, must believe the confessor has their interests at heart.

The endemic shortage of wise and trusted confessors who are to us asif a loving Father, is probably a major factor in the way that confession as an ideal often asserted, seems so generally to become corrupted into rote, or avoided altogether (either not done at all, or deliberately not done properly).


Thus I do not believe that confession to humans is 'a good thing' as such - I would regard confession as potentially a good thing, under certain circumstances a good thing; but equally it is a thing readily capable of harm.

Just as a bad confession experience tends to be morally distorting to a child, so it would be to us; hence bad confession is worse than no confession at all.

As when a child is punished for the unintended accident of happening to break an expensive china cup; rather than for the real sin of throwing it at his sister's head.


Wednesday 19 March 2014

"Love is continuously active." Love is a relationship, and relationships are primary, and this is possible because souls are eternal (including pre-mortal)


Since writing

a few hours ago - I have made what feels to me like a metaphysical breakthrough in a problem which has been puzzling more for a couple of years - how to conceptualize and understand the primacy of love in Christianity.

I have played with the idea of love as a force, and as a substance - but these are inadequate because a good answer must take account of the primacy of relationship in the universe: love must be the supreme aspect of a relationship between Men, or Man and God.

The answer is, of course, perfectly simple - which is that relationships are eternal - therefore love is operative in the way that it is because love is continuously active.


So: love is not a force or a substance but a continuously-active relationship - active both before and after mortal life.

And that is why the effects of love are operative over vast sweeps of time, and how God's love shapes everything.

Love is important not because it is permanent, nor because we acknowledge it - it is important because it is a part of the basic structure of reality - always continuously operative.


(This model entails the belief in eternal pre-mortal existence of some individualized, autonomous human potential, seed, essence, spirit or soul (although the origins of human souls need not be, and I think factually were not, agents with free will or consciousness - these attributes being added when we became Sons of God. Thus, we existed eternally as (mere) centres of 'intelligence' or being; but did not become Men, or aware, or capable of agency and choice, until we became Sons of God.).


Relationships (between Men, or between God and us) are permanent because they already exist - there are no new relationships; there are only changed relationships.


Relationships are thus objective; not subjective.

Their objectivity is continuous - it does not come and go according to the transient vicissitudes of the human mind.

The objectivity of love is real even when it is forever denied - such as Satan's denial of God's love for him. Satan may deny this for eternity - but this does not make the slightest difference to the eternal reality of God's love for his son, Satan.

The reality is that God's love beams-down upon Satan eternally - all that Satan does, all he can do, is shut and lock the door against it.


God's love beams-down on each of us too; as does the love of Jesus Christ, and of some men and women.

We can, each as individuals, choose whether or not to acknowledge that love (to open or close the door).

Only we can open or close the door - there is no power in earth or in heaven that can compel us either to open or shut that door. Our personal responsibility for this choice is total.


What applies to love applies to all aspects of relationship.

We just are, and always have been (since before our mortal life) and always will be (after our mortal life) embedded in an objectively real and continuously operative web of relationships.

Our awareness of those relationships and our understanding of each relationship will inevitably be partial, and may (or may not) be distorted or inverted or denied - but the actuality of the relationship is objective and as it is, whatever our personal and temporary feelings about it may be.

So I can choose to misunderstand, distort or even deny my relationship with my earthly Mother (whether she be alive or passed beyond this mortal life) - but that subjective state is just a description of an objective reality which is what it is whatever my personal choices or errors may be.

And the same, exactly, applies to my Heavenly Father.


Further independent evidence on the slowing of simple reaction times (and therefore the decline of intelligence) over recent generations - using a new method


A first and preliminary sight of the data (in preparation for publication) showing a new and entirely different methodology for measuring the (probably dysgenic) decline in simple reaction times over recent generations - extrapolated to the past century. This confirms the result of the previous study.

Note added: I do not suppose the above independently-sourced evidence means that 'the case is closed' and the substantial decline in sRT/ Intelligence has been established beyond all reasonable doubt. All studies are flawed, none are conclusive. I do, however, believe that this confirmation means the earlier study of substantial Victorian-Modern sRT slowing cannot be dismissed - and the hypothesis of substantial RT slowing/ IQ decline must now be taken seriously by honest and competent people, and therefore ought to be followed-up by further testing and evaluation.


Personality and Systematic Reality - which is primary, which is the illusion?


The great division in the world's religions (although there are intermediate positions) is between those who regard Personality as primary, and those who regard (what I am terming) Systematic Reality as primary.

Christians in general and Mormons in particular regard Personality as primary: God is person-like at least and probably better considered an actual person.

Reality is significant because God is a person - it is His individual concern for Men in general and us in particular which means that reality really does, objectively, have meaning and purpose and that we are in a relationship with reality.

Because reality is ultimately about relationship - then reality is moral.


By contrast, other (including some 'Eastern') religions regard Systematic Reality as primary - that reality actually is a set of structures and processes that goes-on whether we know about it or not, indifferent-to and unaffected-by what anybody knows about it or not.

Therefore, Personality (the self, consciousness and the rest) is an illusion, some kind of localized mistake, or illusion.  Because the universe does not really mean anything by us.

In other words, the order of Systematic Reality is utterly independent from Personality and Relationship - and there is therefore no objectively-real morality.

It is an a-moral world (morality is just another of the errors and illusions).


What is not a logical conclusion, is to assert that, because Personality is an illusion (and although it makes no difference at all to the universe what we think about ourselves or it) therefore the wise man 'ought to' acknowledge that his personality is an illusion, and should seek to correct this illusion.

This is nonsense because when life is Systematic Reality, then it makes no ultimate difference whether we live or die or what we do while we suppose we are alive.

There can be no 'ought' and there can be no 'wisdom' except if the universe is primarily Personal.


And if the universe is primarily Personal - and if the implications are assimilated; then on the one hand life is meaningful and purposeful (whether we know and acknowledge this, or whether miss and we deny it) - also many of the traditional abstract, metaphysical, philosophical and theological concerns, questions, frames and explanations relating to Systematic Reality are dissolved into secondary and subordinate status.


Tuesday 18 March 2014

If religion is the opium of the masses, the Mass Media is the cocaine of the masses


It was Karl Marx who pronounced that religion was the opium of the masses - by which I suppose he meant something that kept them docile.

A rat given the ability to self-administer an opiate like heroin will do so repeatedly and permanently, will spent much time in a state of dreamy passivity - but it will not die: it will break-off from self-stimulating to drink, eat and sleep.


Well, since Marx's time, the Mass Media has replaced religion as the primary social evaluation system - and the mass of the Western population is now addicted.

And Mass Media addiction is more like cocaine than heroin - the Mass Media hijacks the primary (dopaminergic) motivational system.

Thus the cocaine self-administering rate will dose himself again and again, and will not drink, eat or sleep adequately to survive - he will get horribly emaciated and be dead in a few weeks.


Religious societies may survive very long periods - the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) survived for 800-1000 years - despite the dream-like euphoria of its religious life.

But a society which is addicted to the Mass Media will be wholly focused on self-stimulation, will mistake self-stimulation for reality; and fail to do the essentials necessary for its own survival.

If we must be addicted - and perhaps we must - better opium than cocaine.


Monday 17 March 2014

A God's eye view of imperfect mortal life as the perfection of theosis


Imagine a Mother sitting and watching her one year old baby at play.

From the perspective of any observer other than the Mother, the actions of that child are highly imperfect - pooping, weeing, vomiting, being selfish, banging and breaking and tearing stuff...

But from the Mother's perspective that child's behaviour is perfect; because he is doing just what a child ought to do, needs to do - it is a child who is growing, developing, learning - precisely as the Mother wished and hoped and planned.

So, from the perspective of his Mother, that baby is not meant to be perfect in terms of his specific current behaviours, he is not designed to be - he cannot possibly be - perfect in that sense.

But the baby is - and is meant to be - perfect in terms of being on a trajectory of learning.

"Mother" = God
"Baby" = Mortal Men on earth
"Growing, developing and learning" = Theosis.


The metaphor derives from William Arkle - 56.00 minutes

Mere paradise versus real Heaven - the difference is theosis (Theosis as education)


Offers of paradise are merely us as we are dwelling in perfect conditions; but in real Heaven it is us as we have become, dwelling in perfect conditions: the gap between us as we are and us as we have become is called theosis - it is the process through which men become more like God.

Heaven lies on the other side of theosis. 


Theosis is the process by which Man becomes like God - God-like - specifically a Son of God. It is an essential but often neglected aspect of Christianity - essential in that it seems to be one way of describing our purpose in mortal life. 

An account of the nature, operation and scope of theosis - an understandable account of how Man becomes like God - is (or ought to be) near the heart of Christianity.

Because without theosis, Heaven does not make sense; and if Heaven does not make sense then the necessary virtue of Hope is rendered incomprehensible.

So: here we go...


Theosis can be conceptualized in various ways - but I think they can be boiled down to two:

1. Man can become like God because Man starts out with a divine potential or essence. In other words, Man shares some kind of divine nature with God, a seed of divinity within (as it were) - and theosis is a process of growth: a process of growing this tiny divine potential.

2. Man can become like God by God's action - because God is omnipotent and can transform anything into anything else. God and Man are utterly different in nature, in kind - but Jesus Christ was both in a way that is incomprehensible, and we may become both in ways that are ultimately incomprehensible.


One of the problems for theosis is that many Christian traditions see salvation as the main thing to such an extent that being saved (from death, from Hell) becomes almost the whole thing. This makes sense when damnation is regarded as the default for mortal men. The saving of souls by evangelism, mission work, conversion is then the main activity of Christian churches.


Salvation is qualitative (yes-no) while Theosis is quantitative (how much?).


Theosis can only become a focus when there is a sense that either salvation has been-achieved already, or else when theosis is considered to contribute to salvation, contribute to that bimodal outcome - but this is not really theosis, but rather a path to salvation.

At any rate, and whatever the theological justification, a real-life church focus in the practice of theosis is seen when there is a background of solid faith in salvation: the theosis of monasticism in the the Catholic ages of faith, the focus on sanctification among puritans of the 17th century (with their assurance of salvation), and now spiritual progression among Mormons (for whom salvation, of varying degrees, is the default state and happens unless will-fully rejected).


I have had some difficulty in finding a metaphor to help me understand theosis - for instance I got stuck on the idea of theosis as an evolutionary process, which didn't seem to help at all. But I think I may have found a useful metaphor in terms of (a real) education.

Theosis is like education, especially when education is considered in its fullest and truest form when education is a about attaining performance of a complex role - attaining mastery: for example the education of a real musician such as a symphony conductor (called a Maestro - master), or a traditional doctor.

Such an education uses multiple methods to attain the goal of autonomous mastery: Experience, organized practice of tasks, repetitive drills, overcoming opposition (solving 'problems given by the Master), observation of Masters at work, formal teaching of facts and principles, multiple tests and evaluations with a final examination by performance of the real job and/or production of a Master-piece...


Without wanting to be too explicit, I think that there are potentially helpful analogies between the various processes of education, and what could be inferred to be theosis; if mortal life is considered as overall having been structured by God as a potentially educational process.

And just like education there must be educable potential and will to be educated in the apprentice, and educative elements (formally structured and informally personal) in the environment; and both sides are required.

When theosis happens, and how prolonged may be the period (restricted to mortal life, or going beyond mortal life?) varies between Christian traditions; as does the potential degree of theosis (i.e. different interpretations of the meaning and implications of Son-ship in the promise that Christians may become Sons of God - just how God-like may Men become?)


Still, such differences of detailed explanation aside, theosis broadly understood could be seen as the purpose of mortal life for those who have confidence in their own salvation; and its mechanisms could perhaps be understood by analogy with education.


Sunday 16 March 2014

What is *really* happening in Ukraine and Crimea?


Don't ask me!

Ask somebody that is 1. knowledgeable on the topic and with access to independent sources of information, 2. honest, and 3. whose motives are good.

I mean, of course, ask Mark Hackard. 

Luckily, he has now explained it for us:


The lights are going out all over the internet - the decline of the Christian blogosphere


I was looking at the stats for this blog, and it seems clear that until six months ago it was expanding steadily but has since declined significantly; and something similar applies to the Orthosphere.


Specifically, this blog gets 50-plus thousand views per month, but a large and continually increasing proportion is due to having a mass of old, past posts accumulating.

In terms of genuine growth of frequent blog viewers, in terms of an 'audience', plateau means decline, therefore this blog probably started on the down-slope a year ago.

(The shark must keep moving forward, or it dies!)


What was always a very small internet presence of traditionalist real Christian (real=not-'Liberal'), Mere Christian (cross-denominational) blogs has become even smaller; and in relative terms (as the mass media expands) even more so.

This is not a surprise - all the mainstream Western Christian denominations are declining, have almost-wholly-corrupt fifth-columnist leaders, and substantially corrupt adherents; are not just weakly Christian but overall anti-Christian; and hardly anybody notices and even fewer care.


Blogging as a traditionalist Christian is a matter of trying to inspire a few, a handful of, individuals - it is not a matter of mobilizing and energizing a mass audience, a silent majority or an army of faithful: no such mass majority army exists.


Being a real Christian blogger feels something like the efforts of one small hand  pushing to resist the closure of a vast iron door propelled by the weight of multi-millions.

The Mass Media, which records and links such a lot of stuff, creates the illusion that we now know the causes of things - but we don't.

We really have no idea what is really going-on - unless by intuition, revelation or vision, and that will seldom be acceptable to others.


But what I get from intuition, revelation and vision is that the more it seems futile, the more important it becomes.

It seems to me that the vast iron door cannot fully be shut while there is even one person resisting (maybe even a tiny body or interposed hand can jam the mechanism?): and that is why so much effort is put into demoralizing us, so that we will make a mental decision to give-up, that we will choose to stop resisting the closure.

Because it is clear that to 'give-up' is really to change sides.


And that choice to give-up is made by each of us as individuals - it cannot be compelled by any external force.

No matter how much pressure is massed, the decision to give-up comes from within each of us, and we are absolutely responsible for that inner decision.


On the one hand, being crushed between the jamb and a massive iron door shoved by a billion hands doesn't sound very pleasant, it sounds like agony...

But being one of the billion hands who have given-up, changed sides, and are now pushing at that closing door and crushing the unfortunates who are being squeezed by it: now that really would be futile...

Because the effective result of our efforts to assist the mass majority is near zero (one ten millionth of a percent); while the guilt, the responsibility for making the choice to give-up, thereby joining with evil, therefore pushing the iron door towards closure... that guilt is 100 percent.


Saturday 15 March 2014

Genuine creativity might as well be invisible - it is always deniable


Creativity is, in practice, culturally invisible - although its impact may be seismic.

This is best seen in technologies - where the effects are most apparent and where the archaeological and historical record is of most value. 


The great mass of truly creative breakthroughs in history are unattributed - the men who made them are forgotten, their names were not attached to their creative acts.  This enables credit to be reassigned to 'the folk' or 'culture' - but all actually known-about breakthroughs seem to be attributable to one, or at most two, men.


Creative breakthroughs are extremely difficult and rare - as is shown by the centuries, perhaps even millennia, of stasis which are then suddenly broken by simple breakthroughs - bow and arrow, arch, stirrup, new shapes of plough.

As soon as the breakthrough has been made into an artifact, then it is obvious - many people can understand it, many people can make it, and almost everybody can use it.

Why give special credit to someone just for discovering something obvious?  

So, once the creative breakthrough has been made, by one unattributed man perhaps, its effects can rapidly spread, even across the whole world - human life may be transformed by a single anonymous breakthrough.


Anonymous creative breakthroughs are a sufficient basis for mass cultural change. The mis-match between the obscurity of the individual creator and the vast consequences of that breakthrough really cannot be exaggerated. 

Yet many or most cultures show no evidence of any creative breakthroughs at all - presumably because they utterly lacked creative people. These cultures had sufficient ability to manufacture, train and use technologies of a certain type - and to pass on that knowledge between generations in a stereotypical fashion - but no more.

That is the norm for human history. That is the situation for most people who have ever lived.


So, creative breakthroughs are almost always deniable. As soon as the breakthrough has been made, within minutes perhaps, the extraordinarily rare and special nature of its occurrence is deniable.

Indeed, creativity is deniable largely because it is so rare - few can appreciate that which they cannot do. Alternative explanations are almost-always preferred - creativity is almost always explained-away - especially by the perennial and utterly false cry: 'but it was obvious!'


Friday 14 March 2014

Violation of common sense has been the proximate cause of corruption in the West


It is not easy to corrupt people as thoroughly as the mass of people in the West have been corrupted - corrupted deep inside, by a fundamental choice and act of will.

The ultimate cause of corruption has of course been the stepwise abandonment of Christianity; and the proximate cause has been the violation of common sense: first the loss of faith in our spontaneous judgements, then its inversion advocated by the vast and omnipresent Mass Media, implemented by the full force of law and policed by the full spectrum of modern technologies.

Thus apostasy left common sense undefended and raised public opinion (the Mass Media) to become the bottom line arbiter; and once common sense was cut from its roots and opened to attack, it was demonized and inverted.


It was not and is not easy to destroy common sense - because it is our built-in knowledge: imperfect but essential for meaning, purpose and relationship with the world in which we find ourselves.

But it has more or less been accomplished. Common sense became vulnerable when the culture abandoned Christianity and cut itself adrift - to be defended only by utilitarianism and reason - which have proved pathetically weak when the population became addicted to the Mass Media.

Life was made possible, even among wholly secular people, by a mass of common sense, built-in, spontaneous human evaluations - gut feelings that were so primary that (naturally) they were not defended by other less primary arguments.


Once Christianity was out of the way - using sexuality to attack the prime targets of marriage and family - the forces of evil have challenged then inverted a world of fundamental, baseline, common sense which people (initially) know in their hearts is wrong but against which they cannot summon any arguments which are acceptable in the public sphere.

Modern British life is so absurd, so crazy - up-front and daily, and at so many levels; and this situation is so universally tolerated - that to dissent against just one of the countless and gross violations of common sense has become an act of total self-exile.


What is the essential cause of deep corruption in so many people, is that at some point they make a choice and perform an inner act of will to close their minds to common sense knowledge.

Once this has been done, corruption becomes self-sustaining and self-reinforcing: there are no ultimate values - good may be bad and bad may be good, ugliness may be beauty and lies are the highest truth.

Almost anything can happens, and all manner of evils become invisible, unrepented - our sense of purpose and will are deflected and may be reversed.


Corruption of this kind - which is so now widespread as to be the vast majority of normal adults in a place like England - is deep inside the ultimate self; at the roots of free will, our fundamental agency has turned-against the source of natural goodness.

* *

Note added: What I am describing above is a non-obvious sub-type of The Sin Against the Holy Ghost - in other words, unless this is repented, then we are self-damned; because this is a 'master sin' and repentance of sub-sins will not suffice.

Thursday 13 March 2014

The basic components of reality - the 'back story' to Mormon cosmology


I find that my compulsive philosophizing has generated a fairly complex schema to account for what I regard as the major facts of existence: the basic components of reality.

In a nutshell I am trying to explain Mormon cosmology here: I am trying to flesh-out the 'back story'.


Initially there is matter, laws of nature - including moral laws, there is God (the Father) (and perhaps a Heavenly Mother, I'm not sure: either God is the one entity without sex, or the duality and incompleteness of sex are universal facts, and the basis of all action and movement and purpose)

...and there are individual (but not personalized) essences of agency, which are differentiated by sex (i.e. male and female agents).

At this point in history, only God has agency and free will - plus many other great primordial powers and attributes.


That is the set-up. The assumptions. This is what JUST IS.


So we have an eternal pre-existence, eternal autonomy as pre-persons - but at that point we had no self-awareness, and no capacity for free will - no capacity to act.

God wanted to have children, he wanted to raise-up these children to become friends, eternal companions, allies in living...

Why? Either because he was alone and lonely; or because he was an incomplete half and eternally accompanied by a Heavenly Mother - such that the basic dynamic of the universe is to seek completeness in celestial marriage and the loving company of children, and therefore to raise these children to the same maturity as their parents.


When we became children of our Heavenly Father, our agency was additionally endowed with conscious self-awareness and the capacity to choose and act - free will.

At that point we became disembodied spirits (spirit children)


So we began as an eternally pre-existent, unaware, tiny and helpless, but autonomous, individual flame; to which (at some point in time) God added the divine flame with consciousness and the ability to act - and we embarked upon a spiritual existence.


When we chose to come to earth and live this mortal and incarnate life, we did this by earthly parents - so as we are born as mortals we have three sources of 'fire':

1. The individual eternal flame of agency. Unique to us.

(This is the reason why we have genuine and inviolable autonomy and are not merely aspects of God. This is why we are of the same kind as God - we share this basis. )

2. The divine flame - shared with God and with all God's children. This is the reason why all Men are brothers and sisters.

3. A family flame, blended from the individual flames of our earthly parents. 

To this is added personal experience, as a consequence of our choices, the choices of others, and the 'physical' constraints of earthly life.


So we are compounded of these - we are unique individuals, and we are embedded in relationships as Sons and Daughters of God, Family members, and a product of our choices and chances including friendships and broader human society (maybe Churches).

Our purpose is theosis, to become like God: starting from our shared essence with God to build upon this and to progress through incremental stages of learning and experience; we are now in the midst of this process - being incarnate mortals with avast history behind us including pre-mortal spiritual existence - and an eternity before us of post-mortal first spiritual then resurrected existence.

And this process is foundationally relational, although we are indeed individuals and intriniscally different from every other individual - we are embedded in relationships: the relationships by virtue of sharing in the status of being God's children, and also additional between-human family relationships.


More than this, the very movement, purpose and direction of reality depends upon sexual differentiation - upon there being men and women neither of whom are complete humans: the only complete human is a man and woman united, eternally sealed, but this unity is internally structured: is of its nature both dyadic and dynamic.

Sexuality and its union in marriage, and its seeking fulfilment in children and families bound by love, is what makes the universe go.