Friday 31 July 2015

The Satanic British Establishment

Just a brief comment - mainly for non-British readers - concerning the continual drip-drip media coverage of gross, systematic sexual abuse of children - mostly boys - among the British Establishment going back to the middle nineteen sixties.

The basic theme emerging over the past several years and continuing, is that Sir Jimmy Savile was not unique, but simply the most extreme example of a widespread practice - and indeed the fact of Savile surviving and thriving for decades intrinsically entailed exactly that he was merely representative of a much wider culture.

This involves senior politicians and government officials, as well as people in the media and entertainment and enforcement agencies - and indeed the picture painted is one of large scale, organized, multi-centred, strategic paedophilic abuses and toleration/ reward of abusers among hundreds of men and women (e.g. Margaret Thatcher and The Queen - both personal friends of Savile, and patrons and promoters of other abusive figures named in the media) in positions of decisive power and influence. Not one single massive conspiracy, but a significant number of large local set-ups - each protected by different modes of what might be termed Establishment Privilege

The scale of the activities is, frankly, astonishing. At the very least, considering that paedophilia is regarded by the average Briton as just about the worst of all crimes, this represents a remarkably 'tolerant' and socially-dissonant subculture among the ruling Establishment (including and involving the pinnacle of the Establishment, the most prestigious and powerful figures), since it is clear that 'everybody' (who was anybody) knew (or had heard of) what was going-on - but nothing ever was done about it. Indeed, many of the alleged abusers were rewarded with status, fame, power and money - all the rewards that the Establishment could confer.

Given the dishonesty of the mass media, and the fact that the evidence comes only from the mass media - is all this true? Did all these Establishment figure really engage in such grossly immoral (and criminal) activities, and were they really protected from exposure and prosecution?

Certainly, I have zero experience of this kind of activity in my own circles, not even the rumours of such activities. But then, I am not, nor ever have been, in this elite. If it is true, then it must have been confined to a secret and ruling elite subculture. Furthermore, the exploited children were mostly drawn from the chaotic subcultures of children's homes, runaways, the wild children, the borderline mentally handicapped, mentally ill, drug users, prostitutes, trafficked, uncared-for and so on - and again I have very little knowledge or contact with such groups.

On these grounds it is possible to deny that their was any such problem, and that the whole thing is a media invention - or at least a wild exaggeration based on just a handful of genuine cases. The question is why are such things being exposed now by the mass media and the police? It looks like some kind of inter-Establishment war, a war of evil versus evil, but this is not something I understand.

On the other hand, the current media coverage is piecemeal, presented as a series of isolated 'scandals', and does not draw general conclusions as I am doing.

Unfortunately, I have come to believe that it is true; and that there really was, probably still is, a monstrously wicked cult of child sexual abuse among the Establishment, which thrived in an environment of mutual protection of privilege. And since I think this is true, then it casts an horrific retrospective light on the British Establishment of the past half century.

This stuff is so grossly abhorrent, that comparisons with Caligula and Nero spring to mind; and in general the sense is one of Satanic influence among a group that have lost their religious faith and embraced a socio-political ideal of sexual revolution - in which one barrier after another to sexual gratification has been dismantled.

Indeed, this seems to explain the Establishment push behind the sexual revolution - the tolerance, indifference and approval of sexual adventuring and experimenting - and the fact that so many people were so easily blackmailable by the Establishment to keep quiet; with an all-seeing surveillance state and manipulable laws, backed by the irresponsible and irresistible destructive power of the mass media.

At any rate, while I do not seek to persuade others of the validity of this analysis, my working assumption is now that the British Establishment of the past couple of generations was far, far worse than anything its erstwhile (mostly Leftist) detractors ever alleged of it - its moral authority is utterly exploded, there has been a failure to recognize and enforce even the most basic level of human decency.

To a lesser or greater extent; this taints all of those who are a part of that Establishment, and who have been rewarded by the Establishment - especially the 'Honours' System of medals, knighthoods, life peerages and the like. These self-styled honours are coming to seem like badges of complicity.

I cannot allow much in the way of 'good intentions' from such people - rather, it fits with a policy of deliberate, strategic subversion of public morality, especially sexual morality. And this policy has been extremely successful - the depraved Establishment have substantially succeeded in eroding the basic decency, the traditional virtues, of the British public.

A topic worthy of George Orwell and one which Orwell would instantly have recognized; and lacking an Orwell, a story of the British people that perhaps never will be told.

Thursday 30 July 2015

Books are (mostly) bad, but necessary

A sign of cultural decline is the fetichistic valorization of 'books' - as when people praise books as a class, or say that it is good when children read books.

But most books, especially most new books, are not just not-very-good but are very-bad-indeed - not merely in terms of being badly written, but by having bad topics, promoting bad attitudes, encouraging immorality and attacking virtue.

Take a look at the display window at your local new bookshop, or on an internet supplier - take a look at the best seller lists - books as a whole are pernicious, many are indeed evil. Books do a great deal of harm.

Yet books are also everything good, and all-but indispensable to our salvation in a public sphere that is so hostile to Good-ness - except that it is a small minority of books we are talking about mostly old books - and these are books that you will usually have to find for yourselves; because good-for-you books will only seldom (and unintentionally) be thrust at you in the same aggressive way that bad-for-you books are.

The good books are there, and they are easier to get at than ever before - but even the best of books does only half the job and the other half must be done by the reader. Perhaps the main danger to Good books is being taken lightly, gulped and swallowed so fast as hardly to be noticed - and never re-read.

If a book is worth reading, it is worth reading more than once. If you read and enjoy a book, but have no wish to re-read it, don't kid yourself: you are been dissipating your time. If you have never re-read a book then you might as well have been watching TV.

There are exceptions to this rule - some people remember after one reading - but even they cannot get much from a good book - a good book, a worthwhile book, has too much in it, to be assimilated by a single reading.

Wednesday 29 July 2015

Pleasure and suffering as an essential evaluation system in life - the connection between the real self and the world

Pleasure and joy, pain and suffering - these are what link us to the world. On the one hand they should not be ignored, while on the other hand they should be treated as means not ends.

If we live without taking any notice of pleasure and suffering, if we extinguish them or cut ourselves off from them - then we cut-off our soul from life, we do not experience life as real - life becomes a theoretical exercise.

We imprison our real self and leave the false self to deal with the world.

But if we regard pleasure and suffering as the purpose of life, accept passively that we should do what gives pleasure and avoid that which gives pain - if we are drawn-through life passively by our psychological responses - if our goal becomes to act strategically to amplify pleasures and avoid suffering... then we surrender agency and become a thing which is caused; merely part of the clockwork.

By living hedonistically, maximizing that which yields happiness and minimizing sources of misery - optimizing our position on the joy-pain axis... we have identified-with our false self.

And if we succeed, we become our false self - we become a bundle of instincts and conditioned responses.

What needs to be done is recognize that pleasure and pain are senses; and senses are a means not an end.

Pleasure-suffering navigates us through life as does sight or hearing. Our purpose in life is neither to devote ourselves to sensory gratification, nor to ignore the senses, but to use the senses. The same applies with pleasure-suffering - we must use these feelings.

We need to:

1. Notice when we experience pleasure or misery
2. Reflect on the source of these feelings
3.Interpret this as evidence of what our real self wants or needs

So, when it comes to our emotional state and the world, we need to Be Aware, Contemplate, then Interpret.

Say I eat ice cream and experience pleasure. To say: I eat ice cream and experience pleasure, therefore I need to arrange my life to eat more ice cream - is error.

To say: I eat ice cream and experience pleasure, but this means nothing - is another error.

To say: my task is to find-out what the pleasure of eating ice cream means - is wisdom.

(So long as meaning is understood in the largest terms - and meaning is not merely 'explained-away' as contingency.)

To say that any source of pleasure and suffering - such as ice cream - is unreal and irrelevant is an error - because this is our connection with life. But to wallow in memories of past ice creams and indulge in fantasies of future ice creams is also error.

Wisdom is to meditate and contemplate upon the phenomena; to consider why ice cream yields happiness, what kind of ice cream, what conditions for eating it - we should introspect concerning what goes through the mind, connotations, memories triggered, people and places associated, what hopes and dreams there are.

We need to know how ice cream makes us feel good and in what way 'good'.

The eye and ear help us navigate the mundane world, but pleasure and suffering help us navigate the higher world, the spiritual world. They are our spiritual senses, essential, indispensable evaluations - despite that the evidence they provide is partial and biased, and would mislead us unless that evidence was interpreted.

Our task is to recognize the information and interpret it.

To yield to pleasure  and suffering would be like a moth flying into a flame - but to reject and ignore pleasure and pain would be to walk through life in a blindfold.

Tuesday 28 July 2015

The destruction of civil society by the Left

Going back to the early 1990s, there emerged a considerable literature and a political movement concerned with Civil Society - which was the layer of organized social life between the government and the family: churches, professions and guilds, charities and clubs and the like.

This movement came in the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union and most of its satellites and colonies in 1989, and the break up of that empire into 'democratic' nations. The idea was that totalitarianism had been characterized by the destruction of civil society (either annihilation - as with many Christian churches, or take over by the state).

By contrast, civil society was seen as a vital characteristic of a healthy and free society - the idea that Men should have forms of organization that were substantially autonomous was seen as both efficient and also morally necessary.

The idea was that civil societies should be encouraged in the emerging nations of central and Eastern Europe - and indeed elsewhere - so that they might become Free as the West was Free.

What we have seen instead has been the near-complete destruction of civil society in the West - and the process has been all but un-remarked and un-noted as a general phenomenon. Almost all forms of human association have been brought under control of the state, most are irrelevant, participation in civil society is very low and feeble, many churches, professions social hobby groups been severely weakened or become extinct.

By the criteria of 25 years ago, objectively this means The West is not free, and is instead totalitarian.

It happened by a different mechanism than under Soviet Communism - which used direct suppression, making institutions illegal, confiscating their assets. imprisoning their leaders etc. In the West the imposition of totalitarianism was a mixture of subsidy-control and strangulation by regulation.

But if its implementation has been far more successful and complete; the motivation in the West was exactly the same as it was in the USSR - the motivation of Leftist totalitarianism - that there should be one ideology, and that ideology should be imposed by the state.

But of course the modern New Leftist, politically correct ideology is a very different beast than the utopian Socialism of a century ago. Both are destructive of good - destructive of marriage, the family, churches, professions, guilds, self-education, self-organization... all forms of voluntary autonomous cooperation...

But the Soviets wanted to harness the liberated resources and energies to build utopia; whereas the modern Social Justice Warriors have no utopia in mind - they simply want to destroy that which they oppose. And they have succeeded.

At first social institutions are indeed co-opted to the New Left project, usually by subsidies in return for conformity - but sooner or later the external takeover will destroy the institution, because once made-over to fit in with regulations over membership, politically correct objectives, and working in an environment increasingly onerous in terms of regulations and restrictions - the organization all-but loses its proper function, and instead operate merely as a branch of the state civil administration, just another organization dedicated in its essence to inclusion, equality, diversity...

So clubs are closed, churches and charities dwindle or disappear, organized group hobbies are abandoned - the population uses its leisure simply on being entertained, drinking, eating, plugging into the mass media.

The population are atomized, demoralized, demotivated, unable to think or act for themselves. Which is just how Leftism want them to be: because when there is no organization with autonomy - there is no threat.

Note: It needs to be recognized that inclusion, equality and diversity are negative and destructive concepts. They do not point to any end-point - there is no conceivable state of affairs which is inclusive, equal and diverse - so a 'justice' based on such ideals is always and necessarily destructive of whatever is.

Monday 27 July 2015

What if I am wrong in my beliefs? - what if I have made a mistake?

Someone may say: "What is the point or use of making resolutions to live by truth if I am wrong about the nature of truth? I can easily imagine that I may be mistaken!"

Wrong question. The important thing to focus upon is the striving to live and striving in the right spirit. Then, when you are mistaken, you are in possession of an infallible force which will turn you away from error, will seize you, and will guide you back onto the right road.

To brood upon the theme of 'but I may be in error' is harmful, demotivating, nihilistic - it is a species of the sin of despair (a sin which will undermine any or all virtues, if given enough rope). It demonstrates lack of inner confidence in the power of the truth, and our capacity to know the truth - it represents a paucity of faith that God really loves us - since a loving God would not place us in a predicament with no way out of it.

While many or most people are prone to brood on the possibility of their own error, this is not - contra the spirit of the age - a virtue; it is not (for example) characteristic of 'a real scientist', it is not a sign of humility, it is not a sign of superiority of insight, or maturity, or sophistication,

The best that can be said about it, as with all sins, is that in the experience of overcoming it much may be learned - and one will have emerged a wiser and stronger man. But that does not excuse the sin of encouraging self-doubt in other people - as so often happens; any more than the fact that overcoming hatred leaves us wiser would make it right to encourage hatred in others.

Our path to truth is selflessly to yield ourselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit - to striving in the right spirit. Nothing else will take us to the truth, and this will do so.

We must not indulge in self-doubt or we will easily become paralysed from fear of error. Men are not meant to be infallible unerring creatures - we are made to strive in the spirit of love, and we will surely err, and we will need to repent.

But so long as we maintain the right spirit, we cannot fail to return to our path. Self-doubt will not help prevent error, on the contrary it will place us in a frame of mind in which we will err and stray and not notice (as when a failure to act is by default smugly assumed to be the safest option) -- self-doubt will only prevent us living as we should: with faith and love and courage.

Saturday 25 July 2015

When you pray for help - and no help comes...

The efficacy of prayer is not something which can be established empirically, because there is always another explanation for anything - in extremis anything, no matter how apparently miraculous, can be explained-away by mental illness, mass delusion or lying.

But the validity of prayer does need to be confirmed inwardly and personally by each person - and this is typically by a prayer being grated in such a way that we are convinced (even if, as is usual, we would not be able to convince others - that does not matter, because the prayer was of the nature of a private communication between the prayer and God).

However, not all prayers are granted. Why is this?

In a bigger picture, prayer is one way that we are helped in this life - by the interventions of divine powers. And asking for, and getting, such divine help is one of the important rocks of faith. But why do we not receive more help, since life is so difficult?

Such a question can only be answered if we understand the basic purposes of mortal living, and in particular, why life is some kind of struggle for most people most of the time. If we are able to appreciate that life is a kind of educational process, then we may realise why help is provided, and not provided, in the way it is.

When someone is learning there is a time for help - that is what teachers are supposed to do - and there is a time for solitary struggle - for practise, for grappling with problems, for try, try, try again.

So, one important reason that prayers are not answered will certainly be that we are being required to do something from our own resources, because that is the only way we can learn. In effect, in the unanswered prayer, we were asking the divine powers to 'do our homework' - when this homework was vital to our learning.

Now, this is not the only reason, nor is it always the reason, prayers are unanswered - but it is surely one of the reasons, and perhaps a neglected reason: prayers are not answered, help is not given, when it is important that we do something without help, for our own good: when we have asked for help instead of participating in the learning process that is life.

This does not mean we should not have asked for help in the first place, because we can't always know the nature of the situation (if in doubt: ask); but it does mean that when we have asked for help and received a negative answer, we then acknowledge the validity of that reply, and act accordingly.


Friday 24 July 2015

Now the RNLI is corrupt!... Charities plus Mission Creep equals Leftism

I don't go looking for these things; but not long ago I reported that the Salvation Army, which was once one of the best charities in the UK (as well as being a Low Church Protestant Christian denomination), had fallen to Leftism -

Now I have to report the same for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) - which used to fund a 24 hour volunteer sea rescue service around the coast of Britain. This charity has some particular local associations for me since the Grace Darling story of Victorian times - described to all school-children of my generation - happened nearby; and Newbiggin by the Sea - where I spent most childhood holidays - had one of the earliest lifeboats, responsible for saving many of the inshore fishermen.

But 'Conquest's Second Law' proves itself true again: which states that that any organization that is not explicitly Right Wing, will become Left Wing; and the RNLI has now become 'just another NGO', run by the usual politically correct gang of professional managers class and public relations officials.

(It is due to organizational takeover by the lethal combination of volunteer workers with career professional managers, public relations advisers, web designers, and 'Chuggers' (i.e. charity-muggers - trained and paid street collectors), plus donation-grubbing spammers and junk mailers; all sensitive to and influenced by lobbyists, single issue fanatics, Social Justice Warriers, grievance-mongers, and organized activists of every stripe...)

(Actually things are worse than Conquest hoped, since many explicitly Right Wing organizations become Leftist over time - for example this happened to Libertarians and Neo-Conservatives.)

How do I know this? - simply because I saw a blog comment then checked the RNLI website to see how they present themselves, and came across this:

It is not difficult to know when an organization of institution has become Leftist, because they are so proud of themselves that they cannot help but advertise the fact - indeed, if they did not advertise their politically correct moral posturing, there would be no reason to do it - so they can always be relied upon to out-themselves. In my experience, this method is never wrong.

The hyped-up, untrustworthy web pages delighted in describing how the RNLI are 'active' in a dozen third world countries scattered across the globe - apparently providing training in swimming, beach lifeguards and... whatever

- i.e. The usual ineffectual 'aren't I great!' stuff that Leftists like to fund themselves to do, so that they feel better about themselves and have something 'cool' to brag about at parties...

But the specifics of what the RNLI do in Africa, South America, South Asia doesn't matter to me, I am not interested - because they shouldn't be there: they are supposed to be running lifeboats around the coasts of Britain - that it what we pay them for!

We don't want the RNLI to do anything else at all!

Apparently, according to their own websites  they are now big on providing beach lifeguards... yes, that's right, the RNLI has expanded its portfolio away from the likes of oilskin clad volunteer car mechanics and shopkeepers risking their lives to haul people out of the deep sea... a slinky wet suit clad version of the Baywatch babes and hunks.

So that is it! - so far as I know there are now no honest, decent national charities in the UK. Not one. (And if you told me about one - I would be inclined to disbelieve you.)

From now on all my donations go to the small remaining number of serious Christian churches - preferably local - especially for evangelical work.

But I shall need to keep an eye on them too - because as soon as they stop explicitly proclaiming Left-taboo anti-sexual revolution doctrines (and sometimes even before that time), they will soon and surely fall to PC.


Thursday 23 July 2015

Rudolf Steiner's remarkable prophecy of modern times from a century ago

I have been reading and listening to Rudolf Steiner for a few months, as if I was searching for something but I did not know what. Today I found it! It is an astonishing, inspired and prophetic essay entitled, rather tangentially, The Work of the Angel in our Astral Body.

The months of rather desultory and aimless exploring served to prepare me so that I could understand this very difficult and concentrated and jargon filled piece - which, as is usual with Steiner, contains much that is bizarre and apparently arbitrary - but my attention was arrested initially by this astonishing passage which foresaw exactly our current situation.

The reason we are in this situation, according to Steiner, is the wrong exercise of our free will to ignore (by sleeping through - in an attempt to return to the immersive spirituality primal animism) or refuse (in the name of a scientism that disbelieves the spiritual altogether) what should have been a step forward in our human evolution: a conscious spirituality focused on Christ.

Here lies the great danger for the age of the Spiritual Soul. This is what might still happen if, before the beginning of the third millennium, men were to refuse to turn to the spiritual life. The third millennium begins with the year 2000, so it is only a short time ahead of us. It might still happen that the aim of the Angels in their work would have to be achieved by means of the sleeping bodies of men — instead of through men wide-awake. The Angels might still be compelled to withdraw their whole work from the astral body and to submerge it in the etheric body in order to bring it to fulfillment. But then, in his real being, man would have no part in it. It would have to be performed in the etheric body while man himself was not there, just because if he were there in the waking state he would obstruct it.

I have now given you a general picture of these things. But what would be the outcome if the Angels were obliged to perform this work without man himself participating, to carry it out in his etheric and physical bodies during sleep?

The outcome in the evolution of humanity would unquestionably be threefold.

Firstly, something would be engendered in the sleeping human bodies — while the ego and astral body were not within them — and man would meet with it on waking in the morning ... but then it would become instinct instead of conscious spiritual activity and therefore baleful. It is so indeed: certain instinctive knowledge that will arise in human nature, instinctive knowledge connected with the mystery of birth and conception, with sexual life as a whole, threatens to become baleful if the danger of which I have spoken takes effect. Certain Angels would then themselves undergo a change — a change of which I cannot speak, because this is a subject belonging to the higher secrets of initiation-science which may not yet be disclosed.

But this much can certainly be said: The effect in the evolution of humanity would be that certain instincts connected with the sexual life would arise in a pernicious form instead of wholesomely, in clear waking consciousness. These instincts would not be mere aberrations but would pass over into and configure the social life, would above all prevent men — through what would then enter their blood as the effect of the sexual life — from unfolding brotherhood in any form whatever on the Earth, and would rather induce them to rebel against it. This would be a matter of instinct.

So the crucial point lies ahead when either the path to the right can be taken — but that demands wakefulness — or the path to the left, which permits of sleep. But in that case instincts come on the scene — instincts of a fearful kind.
And what do you suppose the scientific experts will say when such instincts come into evidence? They will say that it is a natural and inevitable development in the evolution of humanity. Light cannot be shed on such matters by natural science, for whether men become angels or devils would be equally capable of explanation by scientific reasoning. Science will say the same in both cases: the later is the outcome of the earlier ... so grand and wise is the interpretation of nature in terms of causality!

Natural science will be totally blind to the event of which I have told you, for if men become half devils through their sexual instincts, science will as a matter of course regard this as a natural necessity. Scientifically, then, the matter is simply not capable of explanation, for whatever happens, everything can be explained by science. The fact is that such things can be understood only by spiritual, supersensible cognition. That is the one aspect.

The second aspect is that from this work which involves changes affecting the Angels themselves, still another result accrues for humanity: instinctive knowledge of certain medicaments — but knowledge of a baleful kind!

Everything connected with medicine will make a great advance in the materialistic sense. Men will acquire instinctive insights into the medicinal properties of certain substances and certain treatments — and thereby do terrible harm. But the harm will be called useful. A sick man will be called healthy, for it will be perceived that the particular treatment applied leads to something pleasing. People will actually like things that make the human being — in a certain direction — unhealthy.

Knowledge of the medicinal effects of certain processes and treatments will be enhanced, but this will lead into very baleful channels. For man will come to know through certain instincts what kind of illnesses can be induced by particular substances and treatments. And it will then be possible for him either to bring about or not to bring about illnesses, entirely as suits his egotistical purposes.

The third result will be this. Man will get to know of definite forces which, simply by means of quite easy manipulations — by bringing into accord certain vibrations — will enable him to unleash tremendous mechanical forces in the world. Instinctively he will come to realize in this way the possibility of exercising a certain spiritual guidance and control of the mechanistic principle — and the whole of technical science will sail into desolate waters. But human egoism will find these desolate waters of tremendous use and benefit.
This, my friends, is a fragment of concrete knowledge of the evolution of existence, a fragment of a conception of life which can be truly assessed only by those who realise that an unspiritual view of life can never grow clear about these things.

If a form of medicine injurious to humanity were ever to take root, if a terrible aberration of the sexual instincts were to arise, if there were baleful doings in the sphere of the purely mechanistic forces of the world, in the application of the forces of nature by means of spiritual powers, an unspiritual conception of life would see through none of these things, would not perceive how they deviate from the true path ... 

The sleeper, as long as sleep lasts, does not see the approach of a thief who is about to rob him; he is unaware of it and at most he finds out later on, when he wakes, what has been done to him.

But it would be a bad awakening for humanity! Man would pride himself upon the growth of his instinctive knowledge of certain processes and substances and would experience such satisfaction in obeying certain aberrations of the sexual impulses that he would regard them as evidence of a particularly high development of superhumanity, of freedom from convention, of broad-mindedness! In a certain respect, ugliness would be beauty and beauty, ugliness.

Nothing of this would be perceived because it would all be regarded as natural necessity. But it would denote an aberration from the path which, in the nature of humanity itself, is prescribed for man's essential being.

" If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him" - the vacuum after the Death of God

That phrase attributed to Voltaire " If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him" recognized that God served an indispensable function in the public sphere - and when Nietzsche stated, noticed and advocated that God was now dead - the reality of that death has turned-out to be primarily in the realms of discourse (rather than in the privacy of the individual mind, where God may still, often, be acknowledged).

The other famous phrase of relevance here is attributed to Dostoevsky and states that: Without God everything is permitted. This captures on the one hand the horror of a world in which evil is openly advocated and enforced under the label of Good; and on the other hand the demonic delight, and intoxication, at the endless new possibilities for transgression and destruction that this allows.

But discussion of this whole area of the post-God world has collapsed over the past forty-some years since I came to adult consciousness. When I read that old socialist atheist Bernard Shaw, I found a man who brooded on the absolute need for a 'new religion' to replace Christianity - and this was a theme of his writings for more than half a century: he even tried to launch this religion of Creative Evolution via some of his most successful plays.

So, despite his being a major figure in promoting the evils of Leftism, Shaw was not so much of a fool as to suppose that Man could live without religion.

But we are! - I mean that is the implicit conclusion of a million items per day of propaganda from the mass media, the education system, government officials and corporations. Their message is loud and clear: that God is Dead - and we do not need to reinvent him.

Shaw knew that men must have religion... or else! So did Fritz (Small is Beautiful) Schumacher - whose early works were based on the advocacy of Buddhist Economics, and whose last book was an argument for traditional Thomistic Catholicism.

When I read Robert Graves, I found another author who, like Shaw, was viscerally hostile to Christianity - but promoting his own version of Neo-Paganism (which turned out to be extraordinarily influential is establishing that new religion). Graves was a very strange man with innumerable odd ideas, but he was not such a fool as to imagine that Man could live without religion.

Anyway, here we are! In a world which has no religion, and has lost that understanding shared by Voltaire, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Shaw, Schumacher, Graves... and indeed everybody who had thought about the subject for more than five minutes: that Man must have a religion.

Is this a paradox - that Man does not have what he must have? If so, the paradox is there for all to see, in the gross incoherence, negativity and destructiveness of modern public discourse.

The answer is that "everybody who had thought about the subject for more than five minutes" knows that Man must have a religion - because we live in a world where nobody from the major leaders of public opinion, the 'intellectuals', from the Politicians to the People - including both the Mandarins and the Masses ever has thought about the subject for five minutes.

Five minutes counts as an impossibly long attention span nowadays. Nobody thinks about anything for five minutes without 'working', or doing, or engaging with the mass media. This was a revelation when I became a medical scientist - to find out that famous researchers had never thought about their subject for five consecutive minutes - and indeed stubbornly refused to do so.

(I became a theoretical biologist simply by thinking about the implications of my empirical research for a little while - although, of course, most theoretical biologists never think either, because they are too busy reading other people's papers and doing hard sums.)

So this is the situation. A few generations ago everybody - including atheists and anti-Christians - knew explicitly (and discussed endlessly) that Man cannot live without religion; now everybody 'knows' implicitly (but never discusses) that Man can, should and does live without religion - and indeed nothing else makes any sense to them!

Thus incoherent nonsense caused by not-thinking, has been take-out of Men's heads and put onto display in the world for all to see... but nobody sees it!


Tuesday 21 July 2015

Genetic disruption of optimal sexual development may underlie and facilitate the sexual revolution

If the sexual revolution can briefly be defined as the long-term and strategic legalization, toleration, equalization, and now official advocacy and approval of sexuality outwith the context of traditional and permanent marriage - then one extraordinary and neglected aspect is: that it has been able to happen.

In The West, we find ourselves in an extraordinary situation with respect to sexuality - and the single most extraordinary aspect is that a critical mass of people do not find it extraordinary at all!

Plenty of Westerners apparently regard the current situation of moral inversion with bland equanimity - a situation in which the goods and bads, rewards and punishments, official supports and persecutions of sexuality have been turned on their heads... and yet this unprecedented ethos elicits little more than a shrug or a grin from the masses.

It looks very much as if the sexual revolution has been pushing at an open door - and yet, in world historical terms we are in uncharted territory: there never has been a society like ours, now, in which sexual transgression (according to world historical consensus) has been so actively-endorsed at every level from mass media and the arts, to government policy and the workplace.

This is utterly remarkable - yet clearly it is not viscerally regarded as remarkable - it is, more or less, accepted.


Why is the extraordinary situation of the sexual revolution accepted so placidly, when it is so extraordinary? Clearly there must be unprecedented factors at work, things that have never before been operative.

I think there are two main plausible candidates: Irreligion and genetic damage.

1. Irrelegion

Irreligion refers to the unprecedented state of incremental mass apostasy from Christianity. We live in a world where religion is not just absent from, but excluded from , the public sphere - and this is something new in human history. Irreligion means that there is no reason - except personal preference, which is labile and malleable - not to do anything.

This means that instinctive feelings of approval or disapproval cannot be ordered; cannot even be rationally discussed - people feel unsure, unconfident; modern people therefore are demotivated, lack the courage of their convictions, and seem unable coherently to oppose anything being imposed from above.

2. Mutation accumulation.

But the lack of resistance to the sexual revolution seems even more profound than this. The impression is not one of a mass of passive people whose instinctive valuations are being violated but lack the clarity and courage to respond; but instead of people whose sexual instincts are absent, weak or disordered - and therefore see no reason not to go along with whatever sexual innovation is being advocated.

The impression is therefore that the mass of people are suffering from a mass of sexual pathologies - such that sexuality is - in multiple ways - weakened, labile, misdirected, futile.

Is this plausible? Yes. There are powerful theoretical grounds for assuming that since the industrial revolution, the extreme reduction in natural selection on humans (mainly, but not entirely, due to reduction of child mortality rates from more-than-half to almost none) must have led to a generation-by-generation accumulation of deleterious genetic mutations - which would be expected to damage social and sexual adaptations before anything else.


Why sexuality?

Because the development of adaptive sexuality is an extremely complex and multi-step linear sequence, with many things that can (and do) go wrong at every step - and only if every step in the sequence has gone well, will sexuality be optimally adaptive.

There is genetics; then (controlled by the genes) multiple waves of multiple hormone-induced changes - primarily in the womb during the earliest and most fundamental development, and secondarily at adolescence and the development of fertility; there are calibrations to the early environment ('life history'), critical learning experiences and adaptations to the socio-political system and others... all of which must successfully be negotiated for sexuality to be 'normal'.

This complex sequentiality of development is why sexuality is a function where genetic damage first and most sensitively shows-up.


It might be asked how sexual development could possible be so fragile, considering that - until now - the human species has not died out but has indeed grown in numbers!

The answer is that the errors in sexual development were weeded-out generation upon generation - by mortality rates being heaviest, and near total, among the most genetically damaged in the first place; then by sexual selection and assortative mating as a kind of back-stop - whereby the most genetically-healthy would choose each other and reproduce to yield (mostly) viable offspring - and the least genetically-healthy would be left-out; or mate to yield (mostly) non-viable offspring.

The harshnness and rigour of this historical selection process is hard to exaggerate. It used to be near universal, yet in the past 200 years it has been incrementally all-but eliminated from ever-more of the world.

Thereby the failures of normal sexual development would continuously be being-'purged' from the gene pool - and this was necessary because they were continually incident (mostly due to genetics, but also due to the environment).


Our current situation is merely the lag phase in which genetic damage is relatively subtle and apparent mainly in sexual and social behaviour; and it will be followed by more and more obvious and severe dysfunctionalities.

The seeming slowness of sexual and social change - operating over a decades timescale - is merely an artefact of the slow generation time of the human species. There have been only about eight generations since the industrial revolution, even in England where it began; and the increasing longevity of humans further buffers apparent change.


So it is plausible that the modern lack of concern at the sexual revolution was enabled, was facilitated, and is more-or-less accepted due to the high prevalence of greater-or-lesser types and quantities of disordered sexuality in the population at large.

In sum, it seems probable that almost everybody in the modern West, and indeed most of the rest of the world (the rapidity of change is likely to vary by population and location) is suffering from genetically-disordered sexuality of varying degrees and types; caused by the unique conditions of the post-industrial revolution on ameliorating the harshness of human selection.

And this would explain how it is that the truly extraordinary and unprecedented modern situation with respect to Western sexuality has met with so little response or resistance.

Note: these ideas were developed in conversation and collaboration with Michael A Woodley of Menie. 

Monday 20 July 2015

North East and South West - diagonal regions united by the English Civil War

My parents are from the North East of England, and that is where I have lived for most of my life; however, I spent all of my childhood in the South West - and for a long time I was not able to see a link between the two diagonally-opposite regions!

But I later discovered that they were both on the King's side during the English Civil War:

As a teenaged socialist I (of course!) sided with the Parliamentarian 'Roundheads' and Oliver Cromwell - but I soon grew to see the error of my ways, and have been a Royalist-Cavalier sympathizer for my mature adult life; and since I became a Christian I have acknowledged King Charles the First as a Holy Martyr.

Clearly, English geography has had a deep and lasting influence...


A cloudy summer

The kind of thing I have not been seeing, lately 
- a well-known landmark tree on Hadrian's Wall

I haven't seen the night sky properly in a long time - probably six weeks, could be more... I am losing track.

Partly because it does not get fully dark until about 11 pm at this time of year, and partly because it has been cloudy more-or-less the whole time.

The weather has been generally dry, we have had warm days, some sunshine, some strong winds, pretty high humidity, and quite a few evening thunderstorms - but the sky is almost never clear; or if it is, then just briefly.

I think the main reason is the wind direction - and the fact that there is wind.

I must say, I find it a bit depressing not to see the stars for so long a stretch - indeed I have hardly even seen the moon during hours of darkness; since it goes-along near to the horizon at the solstices - not getting high in the sky - and there are buildings, leafing trees or (the inevitable) clouds blocking the view for much for the time.

But I notice the difference. I miss the moon, planets, stars; and I will appreciate the night skies even more than I did before; when, eventually, I get to see them again.


Sunday 19 July 2015

The contrasting character of two modern favourite women literary geniuses

It is striking that - although men make up the great bulk of geniuses in most fields, there are plenty of women among the genius novelists and some poets (but no playwrights) - two of my current favourites are JK Rowling who wrote the Harry Potter series, and Susanna Clarke who wrote Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell - which are currently my favourite fictions by living authors.

Looking at them in terms of personality type, there is a great difference (so far as can be judged from public media - all this that follows is my opinion, inference and guesswork).

Susanna Clarke being interviewed at a public event (the, unseen, shoes are flat, comfortable 'pumps')

Susanna Clarke seems a classic bluestocking type, in terms of her rather reserved, even shy, public persona - and her non-celebrity - one might even say reclusive - lifestyle. She is a very pleasant looking lady, but - unusually nowadays - has not dyed her hair and is naturally grey, she dresses traditionally and modestly, she does not project sexuality. She is a slow and careful writer and has only published one novel and a few short stories. She seldom gives an opinion on public subjects - although everything suggests she has broadly mainstream Leftist views (with the exception of being patriotically English).

JKR in skyscraper shoes and plunge neckline at a movie premiere

Joanna Rowling is in contrast a very public celebrity - never out of the news, making pronouncements on many subjects, and allying with several fashionable Left Wing causes. She presented herself in a sexualized manner, having had plastic surgery and wearing fashionable and immodest clothing.

In both womens' great works, there is an underlying Christian ethos; although I gather that Clarke is not a Christian and Rowling is currently a very liberal Christian (or else, as I believe, apostate and not a real Christian nowadays - even though she clearly was when writing Harry Potter) - however, in my understanding, the Christian frame is essential to the excellence of both authors' best work.

My point here is that real geniuses always have the Endogenous personality type - as I have called it (see reference below) -  but the Endogenous personality includes people expressing very different behaviours - as widely different as Clarke and Rowling.

The Endogenous personality can be regarded as a destiny - and only when it is so regarded, will genius achievement (potentially) follow. The interesting distinction between these two women, is that Rowling seem to me to have betrayed her destiny, while Clarke has tried to remain faithful to it.

Why do I say Rowling has betrayed her genius - simply because she is very-obviously very-concerned with how she presents herself to the public; and that acts to sabotage genuine quality, high-level achievement... genius. (This extends to creating a distorted, and dishonest, and self-serving mythology of her own life as a writer.) Rowling is consciously, almost systematically sabotaging her own destiny as a creative person. Unless she repents this, she will certainly have destroyed her own genius.

Therefore I think it is not possible that Rowling could again write anything as good as the Harry Potter series; while it is possible that Clarke could write another thing as good as Strange and Norrell.

But the situation is not symmetrical. Whereas Rowling cannot produce anything great again, because she has eliminated an essential element of great work; Clarke will not necessarily produce another great work even if she is faithful to her destiny, because achievement may be blocked by the lack of other necessary factors - such as health, or luck.

This is, indeed, what corrupts so many artists, why the culture of celebrity (of 'success') has been lethal to so many geniuses in recent years: on the one side they have a certainty of worldly-success (money, fame, status, power) - offered them on a plate, or indeed thrust-upon them; while on the other hand there is only a possibility of doing more great works.

Here-and-now certainty versus the mere possibility at some point in the future - the public world versus personal destiny - Pleasure versus Fulfillment - Prestige versus Creativity - Man versus God... 

Note on Mormon metaphysics - at least two philosophical systems can underpin the essence of Christian revelation

The fact that Mormons are Christian, and have remained Christian over eight generations – becoming more obviously Christian with each generation – proves to me that there is scope for at least two fundamentally different metaphysical systems to underlie Christianity.

Although I personally prefer Mormon metaphysics; I acknowledge 100 percent that evidence from two thousand years demonstrates conclusively and abundantly that it is perfectly possible to be a Christian with Classical metaphysics!

(To say the least of it!)

Therefore I regard metaphysics as proven to be (to some significant degree – although obviously not in an open-ended way) a matter of preference (individual preference, denominational preference) and not of fundamental necessity – furthermore I regard different metaphysical approaches as having different advantages and disadvantages because (being human constructions and understood and implemented by humans) none of them are completely-true.

The most I will say for Mormon metaphysics (which is a lot!) is that it has several advantages over Classical metaphysics – and that these advantages correspond to particular needs of our time and circumstances.

In some other respects mainstream Classical metaphysics are superior (e.g. in making clearer the greatness of God and His qualitative difference from Men – Mormon metaphysics does not deny this, of course! - but it is less-clear).

In sum, which metaphysical system a Christian adheres to should not be used as a criterion for challenging whether or not he is a Christian. Metaphysics is secondary to Christianity, which means we ought not to insist upon any particular species of it – the essence of the Christian religion is revelation.

Friday 17 July 2015

Meditation is 'power' and therefore a means, not an end - the possibilities and purpose of Christian meditation

Among those who advocate meditation there is a strong tendency to regard the practice as 'good in itself' - but I would argue that, if you take mediation seriously, then it can be seen as a type of power, and power is only good when used for good.

So meditation is a means not an end - and if we mistakenly regard mediation as intrinsically 'a good thing' then it will do more harm than good - because then more people will use meditation for bad ends (for selfish, short-termist, self-gratifying ends) than for good.


One of the ways that people mistake meditation as intrinsically good is that they assume or assert, that it is a way of obtaining knowledge - and knowledge is good.

But this is hard to take seriously as a general statement when one considers the multitude or errors and nonsense which have arisen from meditation, or the ways that people have been influenced to do harm by the experiences of meditative states. On the face of it, there seems, very obviously, no reason to suppose that information obtained from meditation is self-validating, nor even that it is more valid than other kinds of information.


I suppose the situation easily becomes polarised, like most things do; with some people claiming that meditation is nonsense, and probably wicked nonsense - while others (perhaps in reaction to this) claim that meditation is valid, essential, intrinsically good and so on.

So, if one takes seriously - as I do - that meditation is a real and powerful means - that it enables things which would not happen in its absence -- then it becomes essential to put meditation into a Christian framework, to give it a Christian aim and purpose; otherwise meditation will very likely, and very soon, become anti-Christian.


Having said that - since it is hazardous - why bother with meditation at all?

The main reason emerges from those who believe that our standard, typical, modern 'human consciousness' is radically defective and demoralizing; and that we therefore may benefit from other modes of conscious experience.

Modern consciousness is dead and detached - the world is experienced as objective, irrelevant; our subjective minds are felt as separate from the world... This state of mind has practical uses, in terms of performing the necessary functions of modern specialized society.

But the result is the state known as alienation in which we are (solipsistically) aware only of our own consciousnesses; and consciousness becomes a curse, to be avoided either by continual distraction or by intoxication. In other words, the aim of typical modern Man (and we see this all around us) is to 'lose yourself' - to stop being self-aware.


In meditation, a different mode of consciousness may become possible - albeit under limited conditions and for relatively brief periods - a state of mind much closer to the animism of the hunter gatherer culture, in which consciousness is immersed in the experience of life - a non-self-consciousness where we are connected with nature. This is like a waking sleep - and (like a dream) while we are in it we are not aware we are in it - but we may be able to recall the state in memory, and thereby recognize and come to know it.

However, having tasted this un-alienated consciousness in recollection; the proper objective of meditation is actually a third thing; a third state of consciousness in which we participate in the world like a hunter gatherer, and at the same time retain our self-awareness like modern Man.

This higher conscious state (higher because it is more inclusive) may lead to insights, clarification and memorable experiences -- However it is, in most people, meta-stable, precariously balanced, only maintained for brief periods before veering off in one or the other direction into un-consciousness or detached consciousness.


But in and of itself, higher consciousness is not necessarily a good thing (any more than high intelligence is necessarily a good thing) - it is just another and more comprehensive state of consciousness - higher but not of itself better; it offers powers, but those powers are equally capable of being evil as doing good, of harming us as helping us, of going-against God's plan as assisting it.

So the point should not be to 'do meditation' and achieve this 'higher' state - but for already-Christian people to include meditation in their lives, if and when they want or need to do this.


Meditation is a choice, not a necessity; it is not compulsory and cannot be compelled; it is not strictly required for our survival, health or happiness -- But it does offer to Christians the possibility of gaining experience, hence knowledge, of a higher-and-deeper perspective on things, of combining the immersion in life with observation of ourselves.

When meditation (or, indeed, many other spiritual techniques or practices) is advocated in detachment from Christianity; then it can be compared to putting a machine gun into the hands of a child - often a malevolent child -- In other words, while disaster (of one sort or another) is not guaranteed, it is highly likely.

This seems to be what happened to Rudolf Steiner's 'Spiritual Science' of Anthroposophy when it became detached from Steiner's own Christian convictions; and it has become the normal situation in New Age spirituality - meditation is regarded as a necessarily-valuable activity; and the context is either neglected altogether or else is is asserted that any religion can and should be combined with meditative practices.

Meditation has become something that is usually taught in an agnostic context, or an eclectic or syncretic context; it is taught as a thing good in itself.


Meanwhile, many serious Christians are very negative about meditation - seeing it as intrinsically New Age/ Pagan; or else while powerful for good, so hazardous spiritually as to require monastic supervision - and of a kind which is nowadays essentially unavailable to the majority of the Western population who stand to benefit most from Christian meditation.

My position is different. I regard meditation as potentially very valuable for modern Christians who are motivated to practice it - it can indeed become a core aspect of strength and motivation - as well as knowledge - for a modern Christian life; and in a way that is of special value in the alienating and hostile context of the the contemporary Western World.


Thursday 16 July 2015

Analysing the problem of Mormonism for mainstream Christians

Musing on a recent posting and comments at The Orthosphere

The problem of Mormonism for mainstream Christians could be analysed as follows:

If we distinguish Mormon Fruits from Beliefs - with Fruits being the behaviour of Mormons, and Beliefs being the doctrines, theology and scriptures - then:

The basic observation is that

1. Mormon Fruits are very similar-to mainstream Christian ideals


2. Mormon Beliefs are very different-from mainstream Christianity.

So, to mainstream Christians there seems to be a large mismatch between Mormon Fruits and Beliefs.

How to explain this?


If the above is accepted as true, with similar Fruits and different Beliefs both accepted as real facts - then either:

1. Mormon Fruits are distinct from their Beliefs - the two are utterly disconnected - in effect their different Beliefs are irrelevant. (This is the typical view of mainstream Christians sympathetic to Mormons.)

2. There is an elaborate fraud going-on - Mormon Fruits are a fa├žade, a pretense, a fake - the Beliefs are the reality. And these Beliefs are 'Not Christian'. (This is the typical view of mainstream Christians hostile to Mormons.) 

3. The Fruits are a product of the Beliefs, the Beliefs support the Fruits. 


This third possibility, that Mormon Fruits and Beliefs make a mutually-reinfording unity is my understanding, and it is what makes Mormonism so revolutionary and astonishing a phenomenon.

Because it means that there is now - proven by 180 years of experience - an extremely-different way of being a Christian

The facts of Mormonism show that Christianity can be, and is, a product of an extremely-different theology, set of doctrines and set of scriptures.


National character/ average personality is buffered against dysgenic change; while intelligence is a sensitive marker of population fitness decline



Working to develop our gifts and powers may do harm, tends to do harm, in the absence of good motivations

This is William Arkle writing in the persona of God, who is writing a letter to us to explain himself:

You are in a situation where your own private world which you live in will be what you make it. If you allow it to be dominated by the wishes of your physical nature, you will feel alien to it even if you are carried along by it. If you feel like a stranger to yourself it will make you unhappy, and you will doubt your own true identity, and you will lose faith in all the higher values in life.

 You may disguise the situation to the people around you but inside yourself you will feel lost and helpless and degraded.

My work is to increase your sense of reality to yourself, and make it feel of great value to you, without it spilling over into pride and selfishness. The balance between the over-subdued nature and the over-inflated nature is not easy to keep, and is a necessary balance to be achieved before other values can be built in.

The balance between the over-subdued nature and the over-inflated nature is not easy to keep, and is a necessary balance to be achieved before other values can be built in. The foundation lessons to be taught are thus integrity and responsibility, combined with affection and sympathy, but added to an ability to feel a balanced importance in the scheme of things. 

It is not an easy thing to believe you have great value and ability, and at the same time maintain a temperament which does not try to show off and impress people, and perhaps even dominate them. 

Every new gift I give you with trepidation because I know you are more likely to misuse it before you learn to handle it correctly, so, to me, a gift can appear like an ordeal and a temptation, and I am worried when I see some of you working to achieve special powers which may well be your downfall so far as the graceful balance of your temperament is concerned. 

On the other hand, I am glad when I see you developing gifts as a result of loving aspiration and wise discrimination, for such gifts I know will surely benefit you and all those associated with you.


In our culture there is a tendency to assume that gifts and abilities ought to be developed - people should make the most of themselves -- in general, the idea is that power and capability (in persons or in our groups or nations) are 'a good thing'.

But from a divine perspective there is a big problem - and it is a problem that we can see with many geniuses - especially the most recent twentieth century geniuses.


Gifts are potential abilities to affect the world - Gifts are Power.

Is power a good thing? It depends on what you do with it: But we would agree that giving power to an evil person, or even just an irresponsible person, is a bad thing.

Bad, that is, from a divine perspective, even when the specific person with power got what they wanted. And bad from the perspective of that individual's 'graceful balance of temperament'.

(Think of Gollum and the Ring of Power - Gollum 'wanted' to possess the Ring, but it was bad for Gollum's balance of temperament, and bad from a divine perceptive that he should have it.)


I think this used to be much better understood than it is nowadays: That before someone has power, they need already to have learned the foundation lessons of integrity, responsibility, affection, sympathy, balance...

It applies to individuals, and it applies to nations and cultures. Yet not only are the foundation lessons neglected, they are not even attempted!

The situation is perilous enough when dealing with natural (divine) gifts - but the worst possible situation is when people, nations, cultures are systematically and successfully working to achieve special powers without any recognition that powers are intrinsically likely to be corrupted. And this applies to powers of all types - including medicine and healing, including art and literature, including housing and clothing... But obviously so in terms of science, technology, and bureaucratic organization.

Insofar as we fail to perceive the probability of hazards, we have chosen to misuse power - while blinding ourselves even to the possibility of misuse.


The situation is really very simple: it is a matter of motivation. From the divine perspective; gifts and powers in the hands of the badly motivated are a horror - and only in the hands of the well-motivated are they a good.

Since everybody claims to be well-motivated (even Gollum) - but nearly everybody is this requires discernment on the basis that people tend to be self-deluded and dishonest about their bad motivations - and what people say about their motivations needs to be compared with their actions; and their ability to maintain good motivations in the face of temptations needs to be evaluated: power does intrinsically tend to corrupt, and corrupted power is far worse than no power.

The divine perspective would therefore seem to be: Better no geniuses than corrupted genius; Better no breakthrough innovations than those which would be used with bad motivations; Better cultural decline and extinction than an unstoppable evil empire.


In other words, from where we are, and as we are, and what we want to be - gifts and powers, energy and determination will all do more harm than good - much more harm than good; and we cannot use the excuse that we have evil enemies and it is 'us or them' because - from a divine perspective, we may both be bad, but we may be worse because of our superior gifts and powers...


Therefore - the situation is that on the one hand, we in The West we have cultural decline (decline in power, achievement, capability, efficiency, courage and will) because we have rejected Christianity - because we no longer place religion above all other considerations; and on the other hand we should not even allow ourselves to hope that Western cultural decline is reversed until after there has been a Christian revival, a Great Awakening.

And if religious revival does not happen (as seems all-too-probable) then it is better that we do not reverse Western cultural decline.

Because - motivated as we now are - with our policy, propaganda and multiple laws and regulations systematically enforcing explicit moral inversion (a situation of depravity previously unknown in human history) - we are already and are still much-too-powerful

So enhancement of Western power, achievement, capability, efficiency, courage and will in the absence of prior religious revival would (from a divine perspective) likely be regarded as one of the worst possible outcomes.


Readers Question: What is the meaning of repentance?

Reader's Question: You mention repentance often on your blog. Could you describe your understanding of what repentance is and what it means?

Answer: Repentance is the acknowledgement that sin really is sin. (Which is the acknowledgement that we are God's children, that God is good, and our choice to take the side of good.)

Repentance is a psychological act that is effective because of the work of Jesus Christ -- If it was not for Christ, then repentance would be merely a state of mind, or a change of mind; but because of Christ it is made effectual - because of Christ, repentance saves. 

In a sense, we are here in order to repent; repentance is in one vital thing we must do, and can always do. 

By this account, pride is simply the refusal to repent - therefore pride is the worst possible sin. All the ultimate wickedness in the world can (crudely) be reduced to this - pride preventing repentance.

 So, life is an adventure with real stakes; but a safe adventure. We must do our best, but we will fail again and again to achieve what we aspire to and to avoid what we want to avoid.

However we are ultimately safe and our immortal souls and eternal happiness cannot be harmed by anything the world can throw at us - so long as we repent in a final and ultimate sense.

Minimally, that is what life is for: to try, fail, repent.


Wednesday 15 July 2015

Helen Keller and the sexual revolution

Supposing we concede, for the sake of argument (because the evidence apparently contradicts it) that the sexual revolutionaries really are correct in their assertion that there are a very large proportion of modern people who have unconventional sexual dispositions - suppose we even allow that this was a majority of people (and not merely, as seems reasonably plausible, a majority of the Western leadership class in - e.g. - the mass media, entertainment and politics)

Suppose that is that 'society' really is - on average - sexually pathological: What then?

This situation would not be implausible. Human sexuality is difficult, complex, multifactorial, multi-stage and difficult to get right - many things might disrupt its development: genetic, toxic, infective, environmental... many things. And these things might be widespread - so sexual pathologies might be widespread - indeed everybody might suffer, to some extent, from one or another sexual pathology - there might be nobody wholly healthy in this regard.

There might even be situations in which sexual pathologies were (for a while, until perhaps those people became extinct) universal.

Would that mean that - because they are common - we, as a society, should pretend that sexual pathologies are good, desirable, preferable?

For comparison -- There have been times and places when apparently 100 percent of the population was diseased and sick - for example with anaemia from some parasite infections such as bilharzia, or malaria; or impaired from some types of sublethal toxicity - perhaps lead.

Would that mean that disease became good, preferable, desirable?

We can easily perceive that unconventional sexualities statistically lead to sub-fertility (which is an objective hallmark of disease) - and to increased risk of multiple impairment and sufferings - in that respect being like other pathologies.

Even when the pathology is chosen by a person; then this could be interpreted as such choice having been (on average) the consequence of pathology - in other words a psychopathology. By analogy mental illnesses such as mania and melancholic depression often lead to maladaptive choices - such as increased death rates from risk-taking, or suicide.

Where does this get us?

Simply, we need to acknowledge pathology when it is present and identified - and even if we suffer a pathology, then we should acknowledge that health is better than pathology.

Health is better than pathology - is that really a controversial statement? I know it can be made to seem controversial - but that way madness lies...

We need not treat a pathology - after all there may be (often is) no safe or effective treatment - or the treatment may be worse than the disease! - but that does not stop pathology being pathology.

And this is not affected by the fact that many people with pathologies are better people, and/ or better functioning people than those without pathologies (or with different pathologies). Those with pathologies may do a better job, make a more significant contribution, than those without pathology: Of Course!

Which is where Helen Keller (1880-1968) comes in. She was deaf and blind from the age of two - which I think we will agree is a very significant pathology - you or I would (presumably) not want to be both deaf and blind, nor would we want our loved ones to be deaf and blind.

Yet Keller learned to communicate with touch-signs, and became an influential national figure who made a big difference. Unfortunately, that difference was mostly in moving the USA in a Leftist direction through her championship of progressive political causes... but the general point still stands: Helen Keller with/ despite her severe pathologies of blindness and deafness did more than the great majority of seeing and hearing people.

But this fact, if we accept it as a fact, does not affect the other fact that it is better not to be blind and deaf.

And by a reasonable analogy, and whatever the proportion of the population affected, it is likewise better not to have sexual pathologies - health is better than disease; even when few people, or none at all, are fully healthy.

If we deny the reality of pathology and that health is better than disease, then by a few easy steps it becomes acceptable (maybe even a duty) to try and persuade people, even children, to blind and deafen themselves; even to blind and deafen children before the age of consent, and against their parents wishes - on the basis that Helen Keller proved it was a valid lifestyle option...


Reader's Question: What makes for good poetry?

Question: "In your recent post on poetry you wrote the line: "Whether something that has regular rhythm, rhymes or alliteration is any good is another matter - most of it isn't. " What, then, in your estimation, makes for good poetry?"

Answer: Regular rhythm, rhymes or alliteration (I think that covers it!) is what defines something as poetry - but whether or not it is good poetry is a different matter.

What makes poetry good is not something than can be defined objectively - just as goodness itself cannot. The way poetry is taught or appreciated is very much dependent upon the readers response - so teaching is a matter of selecting and assembling some good examples, and then asking the aspirant to concentrate on them.

So, anthologies - whether of poems, or poets - are the basis of learning 'what is good poetry?'.

But who says what is good? There is no short answer, nor is there an arbiter. But as a generalization the best poems are those that a lot of people enjoy a lot - over a long period of time.

There is no reason why everyone should agree on everything - but the tradition will only survive if there is some significant overlap. So every English poetry appreciator does not have to think that every one of the list of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton and Wordsworth are the four major poets in the language - but if someone did not rate any of these as top-notch, then he has probably stepped outside the tradition.

(I personally do not respond strongly to Milton, except for one sonnet.)

The same thing could be achieved if poets were anonymous,. My favourite anthology is Palgrave's Golden Treasury - you could imagine that it (or something similar, some other collection whether written or learned) might serve as a basis for a poetic tradition, even all the poem's individual authors were unknown or lost - as was probably often the case in Bardic traditions.

Of course, an individual who does not respond to the canonical tradition may still enjoy poetry intensely at a personal level - but that level is individual and there is not much possibility of communication.


Tuesday 14 July 2015

Who was the best, most original, most important composer from the United States?

Scott Joplin (1867/8-1917).

There are no great US composers - no-one of the stature of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner - so we are comparing minor figures.  

Joplin was a miniaturist - but he achieved perfection, many times over, in his genre. He established Ragtime and became, without dispute, its best writer; and Ragtime led to Jazz - which was America's major contribution to world music.

This is one of Joplin's less-well-known works, but a favourite of mine: Nonpareil. I find it absolutely and completely delightful in its gentle, lyrical fluidity! -- Great all through; but wait for the fourth and final theme with its extreme syncopated arpeggios -- so wistful, so yearning - yet so easy to enjoy!...

Leave strategy to God: Attitudes to Christianity having lost the culture wars

I became aware that Christians had lost the culture wars very soon after I became a Christian convert, and wrote a book about it called Thought Prison

It seems that this situation of defeat is increasingly being recognized among Christians.

What is also being recognized is that - so comprehensive is the loss - any notions of assembling some kind of coalition army to counter-attack and retake culture is impossible - because there simply are not enough Christian people with enough power to contemplate the idea. It would be like fighting a modern army with pea-shooters, or modern mass media propaganda with hand copied notes.

Yet at the same time as it has become clear that secular Leftism has triumphed against Christianity in the culture wars, it has become equally clear that secular Leftism has lost all will to survive, has indeed destroyed its own capability to survive, and is indeed actively assaulting itself (e.g. by enforcing sustained mass immigration of people who will destroy secular Leftism).

Just as Christians have adjusted to the collapse of Goodness in culture, so Leftism has adjusted to the fact that it cannot achieve anything - that it has lost the ability to motivate, that it is drowning in self-inflicted bureaucratic red tape - that people nowadays cannot even imagine a Leftist utopia!

All that modern Leftist ideologues can offer as a lifestyle is the Social Justice Warrior, fighting ever-fewer, ever-weaker enemies, over ever-less-serious issues; an escalatingly hyped - but ever-less-convincing - dishonest rhetoric of hatred against the (almost entirely imaginary!) forces of reaction. Pathetic!

But, as these ideas sunk slowly into me - I suddenly realized what was going on - From a divine perspective we are seeing a recapitulation of the situation when God's influence is lost.

This can be understood as God withdrawing His protection, and allowing our civilization to collapse -- it can be understood as God ensuring that a deeply wicked society is not allowed to become too powerful and is reduced to impotence and ineffectuality -- or it can be understood as Modern Man turning away from God and stopping his ears against divine communications, and consequently making a comprehensive mess of everything he attempts, until he gives up attempting anything.

When we recognize that we have lost the culture war, but that the victors are killing themselves as fast as they can - there is a clarification and a liberation. Everything becomes simple - simple and difficult, true: but nonetheless simple.

We can easily see what is right and wrong, who is on the side of Good and who is evil in any particular dispute.

We can easily know what needs to be repented in our own lives - an awful lot of things, since the forces against us are so overwhelming and pervasive. But repentance is always possible and always effectual - so that should not be a worry.

In sum, acknowledged, comprehensive defeat leads to a certain lightness of spirit!

Since we know that we are in God's hands, in great and in small - and we know that we cannot know all the multitude of invisible ways in which He watches over us, cherishes us, helps us - we can afford to live much more in the here-and-now, and do what is right in the minutiae of everyday life.

And leave strategy to God.


Monday 13 July 2015

The reason and function of (my) basic (metaphysical) beliefs

What is metaphysics? In order to clarify and explain, I will use an example.

Metaphysics consists of statements about the basic structure of reality- metaphysics is the statements, it is not the reality itself.

And because it is the statements, any statement may be misunderstood - furthermore any finite statement must usually be assumed to be an incomplete and therefore biased summary of the totality of reality.

(Can we really expect to capture the fundamental nature of reality in a few sentences?)

But strictly, to assert that reality is more complex than the set of statements about reality is already doing metaphysics.

Here is one of my metaphysical beliefs: Everything in the universe is alive and to some extent conscious - all differences in consciousness are difference of degree; however, these differences in aliveness and consciousness are very great.

This exhibits many of the characteristic features of metaphysics. It is obviously a statement about the fundamental nature of reality. And, as such, it is not something which can be proven or disproven by observation or investigation.

For example, a scientist could not report that he had disproven my thesis by finding something that was not alive. If he did claim this, then the response would be that everything is alive - therefore there was something wrong with his research: either his concept of 'life' is incomplete, or else his instruments are too insensitive, or he just made a mistake... but the real problem is that the metaphysical aliveness of everything is assumed - it is not a scientific hypothesis to be tested, it is not some kind of inferential conclusion  derived from multiple observations.

So, if this metaphysical assumption is in place, then all possible science is an investigation of living things - more-or-less living things, with different types of consciousness.

The typical modern mind would tend to say, at this point, that if that is so - and science cannot prove or disprove metaphysics, then metaphysics is serving no function and does not make any difference. We could say that everything is alive, or nothing is alive - science cannot test either statement - so it makes no difference which statement we choose to believe.

However, in practice this is not true. It would be true is a single metaphysical statement such as 'everything is alive' was assumed perfectly to capture the whole of reality. But because each metaphysical statement is assumed to be an incomplete and biased statement of reality, then we can, should, in practice must evaluate metaphysics in terms of systems of metaphysical assumptions.

So, on its own, a metaphysical statement seems a pointless thing - but in real life, each statement is part of a jigsaw.  

Think of the first metaphysicians - the Ancient Greeks. Some said everything stays the same and change is an illusion, some said everything changes and stasis is an illusion - Plato said some things are eternal and changeless while other things do change. When I read about this as a teenager it seems like silly quibbling over nothing.

But the meaning of these metaphysical differences was embedded in the lives of the philosophers, and their general world view. Those who said everything stayed the same were concerned that otherwise nothing would have any identity, or meaning - all identity and meaning - all possibility of knowing anything about anything - would be swept away. Those who said everything changed were concerned about different matters: they focused on the fact that in the world as we see it, there is movement, there is birth, growth, ageing, and death - and their metaphysics puts this 'common sense' reality at its heart.

So, what about 'everything is alive and conscious? What difference does that make compared with the alternatives? Well, the difference is one in the context of life in this world - and how we actually interpret and react to life versus not-alive. Somebody might argue that 'everything is alive' amounts to the same thing as 'nothing is alive' - but that would only be true if each single statement was regarded as capturing all of reality perfectly.

However, if we assume that each metaphysical statement exists in a context of other metaphysical assumptions, then 'everything alive' is recognized as very different from 'nothing alive'.

Alive carries implications of some kind of purpose, consciousness, self-causality, relationship with other living things; but not-alive carries very different and opposite implications such as passivity, being a consequence of causes, purposelessness. For instance, an alive thing can suffer, a not-alive thing cannot.

What about the alternatives to these metaphysical statements of everything versus nothing being alive? Well, other possibilities include that some things are alive - and that things are neither alive nor not alive.

Some things are alive requires that we be able to distinguish between those things that are alive, and those that are not. This used to be regarded as straightforward, but is now regarded as so problematic as to be impossible - in the past the grey area (such as viruses or prions) between alive and not alive was regarded as not-affecting the argument - nowadays the existence of a grey area is regarded as invalidating the distinction between alive and not alive -- for moderns 'grey area' = no-difference.

That is the context of modern metaphysics - one in which any imprecision, overlap, blurring, ambiguity, problem of classification, even a hypothetical or imaginable grey area in a 'thought experiment' - is taken to invalidate distinctions.

So much so, that modern biologists have all but given up talking about 'life' and have thereby destroyed the foundations of their own subject.

(Which does not trouble modern biologists so long as they keep getting jobs, promotions and grants - the vast majority of modern biologists are not scientists engaged in discovering the truth about reality; but bureaucrats attempting to survive and grow their bureaus in competition with other bureaucrats - and so modern 'biologists' are happy to 'think', say or do whatever-it-takes to sustain their careers.)

So, the actual situation concerning the question of 'what is alive' is one in which we are forced either to say everything is alive and conscious (in different degrees and ways) - which means treating everything as purposive and in-relation on a continuum of alive/consciousnes-ness  -- Or assuming nothing is alive and treating everything (including humans!) as purposeless and fundamentally isolated entities - subject to causes but themselves unable to initiate action - which is pretty much what has happened, but implicitly.

Or else, simply not to discuss aliveness - to rule-out the subject matter, stop thinking about it - make the subject unfashionable, regard such discussions as gauche, naive, childish - which is also what has happened within the subject that used to be defined as the study of alive things.  

So, metaphysics does make a difference, and does matter in practice - despite that metaphysical statements cannot be tested by observation or investigation. Metaphysics makes a difference because it 'sets the agenda' for observation and investigation; and because each metaphysical statement exists in a context, and therefore has consequences.