Saturday 31 December 2016

Tolkien and the Inklings/ Notion Club - does fiction recall real life?

I return to re-read Tolkien's novel-fragment The Notion Club Papers every year or so; and on the current encounter it struck me that - given the NCPs history of having been read-to The Inklings, as a light entertainment initially (later ripening to an extremely ambitious conception - perhaps the most ambitious work Tolkien ever projected), the very first significant incident of the book seems likely to refer back to an actual incident in an Inklings meeting.

What happens is that Ramer (who is substantially a Tolkien alter ego, being a philologist and science fiction/ fantasy writer) has just read a story to the Notion Club.

The club responds to Ramer's story with various jovial and satirical comments, the substance of which is that they much liked the story itself - which we don't know much about, but which apparently was set on another planet; but found the 'frame' describing getting-to and back-from this planet unconvincing and contrived, while the story itself had the ring of truth.

Indeed, some of the club members intuit that the story was not entirely fictional, in the sense that it seemed as if Ramer had actually 'been there', in the world he described.

Later, Ramer reveals that this is true - he has actually visited this other planet, in reality - but in a dream.

If we suppose that Tolkien was writing this episode based-upon an actual occurrence in an Inklings meeting, which seems likely; what story of Tolkien's might it refer to?

Continued at:

Friday 30 December 2016

The truth of Imagination - from William Wildblood


We currently live in an outer world where randomness and general purposelessness are the order of the day. Imagination takes us to an inner world of meaning where beauty is truth, and myth and fantasy are bridges into that world insofar as they recognise that there is something behind the scenes of outer appearance.

None of this means there is anything intrinsically spiritual about myth or fantasy or even imagination, but they can point to the spiritual. The world of myth and fantasy is a middle ground between the material world and the spiritual world, and that is why it seems more real than the former while, in its turn, is less real than the latter.

More at:

Religious *and* spiritual: Prejudicial hostility to non-normal states of consciousness, mysticism, magic, 'the occult' etc among (real) Christians

Many modern Christians, including real Christians, have a reflexive and inflexible hostility to 'Religious Experience' - that is, to anything like mysticism, magic or what they term the occult.

Such attitudes come-out, for example, in the visceral hostility to JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, and Harry Potter as being demonically-inspired and/ or tending to lead people into evil preoccupations and practices - such as conjuring spirits.

This particular mind set is associated with Low Church, Charismatic type Protestants (especially in the USA). Such people claim to be able to draw a sharp line between Religious Experience (such as speaking in tongues or faith healings: good) and Magic (bad), usually defined on the presence of key words or practices such as wizard, witch, divination and spells. 

Similar - albeit 'less extreme' attitudes are also prevalent in a mind-set to be found among Western and Eastern Catholics of a Traditionalist type, and the more traditionalist, scriptural Protestant churches.

What this amounts-to is the belief that normal everyday consciousness is the only 'safe' way to be - and any form of altered consciousness - such as is associated with mystical, magical and occult experiences or knowledge - is to be avoided, absolutely (or rejected if it happens) as being likely to be of demonic origin.

In a nutshell, such people are real Christians - and yet they are solidly against Religious Experiences, in the modern world; because these may be evil in origin or effect. 

Such traditionalists will acknowledge that in theory Religious and mystical experiences may also be of divine or angelic origin (as is amply attested in The Bible, the early church, among Christian Saints of the past etc.). This might be taken to imply a middle path - of approving mystical experience but with caution; and indeed that is my own view of things.

But in practice, Traditionalists are prejudiced against Religious Experiences - by which I mean they pre-judge all claims of mysticism to be fraudulent or deluded unless-proven-otherwise; and in practice there never-can-be objective, public proof otherwise.

Such people will never actually be convinced of any proof of or evidence for the validity of mystical experience - at least not when mystical claims are made by people or groups they dislike - which amounts to people outwith their own denomination +/- a shortlist of other approved churches.

(Part of this is that they typically have an unexamined assumption that true Religious Experiences only happen to those of exceptional sanctity; and such people are extremely rare, especially in the modern world. Where they get this assumption, given the vast number of Biblical and real-life counter-examples - and the fact that Jesus came, and Christianity was founded, explicity for sinners - I can't imagine: but they clearly do assume it.)   

I am sure that the Fundamentalist or Traditionalist prejudices against Religious Experience/ magic and mysticism is a very major error of modern Christianity; because Christianity is essentially a mystical religion, and if mystical aspects (whether they are labelled magic, occult or whatever) are excluded; then the faith is dead - becomes a mere matter of obedience to a bureaucracy or set or rules.

(Obedience to legitimate authority is a virtue - true; but I see not the slightest sign that Jesus regarded it as the primary virtue!)

Particularly damaging is that this prejudice against Religious Experiences implicitly consigns modern Christianity to operate within Modern Consciousness - which is of its nature materialist, reductionist and positivist. Indeed Modern Consciousness is a truly horrible thing; which drains contemporary life of felt meaning and purpose; so that the Christian who lives within it can have a faith only 'in theory' - because any validating mystical experiences will be rejected as demonic.

If ever there was a playing into Satan's hands, and doing just exactly what he wants: then this is it! - A Christianity which (from a secular perspective) has all the disadvantages of an absurdly magical foundation; yet vehemently rejects all possible experiential advantages of a magical consciousness!

So we get the weird spectacle of the adherents of a magical religion, with a magically validated organisation (i.e. a church), who spend their time reading and discussing magical events (in the Bible, lives of Saints etc), and performing magical rituals such as the Eucharist and Prayer... yet living within a distinctively modern and rootedly anti-magical discourse which expends great energy in distancing itself from any people who actually experience magic in the here and now and strive to live in a more expanded and sensitive consciousness than that of a modern bureaucracy!

In sum Christianity need to be spiritual as well as religious; and must not be squeamish or prejudiced against mysticism, magic, the occult.

Yes, this is a risk; but Life is a risk: intrinsically (Christianity takes a middle-way about pretty much everything except Love, Repentance and Forgiveness) - and the opposite risk of promoting a dry, legalistic, merely doctrinal Christianity is to advocate a mere corpse of Christianity.

Mysticism is, simply, a risk we have to take.

Thursday 29 December 2016

Is Howard Shore's music the best thing about the Lord of the Rings Movies?

Maybe... Yes?

Any purposiveness in any part of biology ultimately implies the coordinated purposiveness of everything

Teleology in any part of biology (such as an organism, or species) implies purposiveness of the whole of reality: more on the metaphysics of biology

Bruce G Charlton

Continuing from:

If it is accepted that biology requires teleology, or purposiveness of evolutionary change; and that therefore ‘evolution’ is in its essence a developmental process (that is, an unfolding of changes towards a goal, analogous to the process by which a fertilised cell becomes a mature adult organism); then the ultimate implication is that all of the living world of biology is also purposive.

And, since the less-or-more-conscious living entities of biology cannot be qualitatively separated from other entities without apparently arbitrary assumptions, but rather life and consciousness are quantitative.

It follows that there is no wholly non-living world and no wholly un-conscious world. Instead the metaphysical assumption about the world must be that everything is living and everything is conscious – but with widely varying types and degrees of life and consciousness.

So a grain of sand or a drop of water are regarded as alive and conscious in some way and to some degree; but in a different way and to a lesser extent than a plant or animal. In other words, the whole of reality makes-up a web of inter-related entities.

The individual organism contains other sub-entities (for instance, and most obviously, mitochondria and chloroplasts – which have their own genes and considerable autonomy); the individual is not wholly separable from their family or group, the family merges into the species, one species into other interacting species; and the biological world with the chemical and physical worlds. Albeit that the interconnections are extremely various in nature and strength.

In such an interconnected causal web, there can be no isolated teleology; but the purposiveness of entities such as organelles, cells, multi-cellular organisms, sexes, species and ecologies must also be coordinated and unified. The teleology of any one entity or level of organisation implies the teleology of everything.

Because if one entity is regarded as unfolding in a developmental fashion towards a goal, then this implies a complementary development in the environment:

But one complementarity implies another; because the first complementarity in turn implies further complementarities; organism and environmental complementarity implying multiple changes (e.g. if an animal is purposively evolving in a long-term fashion, then the environment must accomodate this if it is not to be placed at short-term reproductive disadvantage) - since complementarity is multi-faceted with 'environment' being a complex multiplicity (e.g. an animal's environment includes members of its own species, other animals, pathogens and parasites, plants both great and small, plus the inorganic world including perhaps water, winds, and light).

So the existence of any purposiveness, anywhere in the system, entails purposiveness in order to accommodate it; with mutual adjustments branching-out into in a causal network of coordinated teleological change.

If, therefore, we regard purposiveness as an essential aspect of biology (as seems necessary in order plausibly and straightforwardly account for the major aspects of biology), it seems that have ended-up with a purposiveness that applies to everything.

If we regard development (as in the development of the individual organism through its life span) as the ‘master metaphor’ of evolutionary change and biology itself; then we are apparently compelled to regard the changes of the totality of all things as likewise an unfolding process towards a goal.

(Note: From this conclusion, it can be understood why teleology has been so stoutly and uncompromisingly resisted by the mainstream dominant conceptualisation of biology as utterly non-purposive, undirected, algorithmic in operation - the view deriving from Richard Dawkins's Selfish Genes and perhaps most uncompromisingly articulated in Daniel C Dennett's Darwin's Dangerous Idea - which has prevailed increasingly since the late 1940s and especially for the past four decades. This is the metaphysical assumption - which denies it is a metaphysical assumption! - that all biological evolution, all heritable longitudinal change both quantitative and qualitative - is caused by the undirected selection of undirected variations. From the atheist assumptions of this meta-biology, it is clear that any teleology, allowed anywhere in the system under consideration, will lead to the necessity for a teleology of the whole; which entails at least Deism - i.e. the reality of a creator deity.) 

The Matter of Britain - from Geoffrey Ashe's Camelot and the Vision of Albion (1971)

I would strongly recommend Geoffrey Ashe's 1971 book Camelot and the Vision of Albion to all who are hopeful of an awakening of Albion  - by rights, this book should be regarded as a classic of British history of ideas.

Here is a taste, which I have edited from pages 105-6:

Let us try to define the archetype which is constant throughout, the active ingredient in the spell. 

The stories vary, but they always tend the same way. There were gods before the gods, kings before the kings, Titans before Olympians, Britons before English; and their reign was a golden age. 

There was a profounder Christianity in the wave-encircled realm of the Celtic West, before the church as we know it. 

Then the glory faded. Injustice and tyranny flowed in. Zeus usurped the throne of heaven. Prometheus was bound. The sea encroached. The Round Table broke up. Arthur succumbed to Mordred. The Saxons conquered Britain. The Grail was lost and the land became waste. 

But the depths are formative. The place of apparent death is the place of life. The glory which was once real has never actually died. 

Somewhere, somehow, Cronus or Arthur is still living, enchanted or asleep through the ages. The Grail is still in safe keeping. The visionary kingdom is still invisibly 'there', latent...

This is the British myth, of which at least a large part can be shown to descend from remote antiquity. I know of no fully developed parallel myth anywhere else. 

As a poetic statement the British myth is indeed unique. But it is a statement of a broader psychological fact. It reflects a human phenomenon, a mode of thought and behaviour, that can be traced through the world in a profusion of forms: one of the strongest constituents in history, and one of the least recognised.

More at:

Wednesday 28 December 2016

The West is ruled by an evil-motivated 'conspiracy': The key, necessary insight of 2016

If there was a breakthrough in 2016 - if there was some kind of awakening, and potential turning point; it was a realisation that the major long-term problems of The West are not accidental, nor are they due to incompetence, nor a consequence of well-meaning but short-sighted and selective self-interest; but they are because The West is ultimately ruled by an evil-motivated 'conspiracy'.

In other words, at the highest or deepest level of global affairs, there is a dominant grouping that are primarily and strategically aiming to harm the world and its peoples.  

The insight that, to a substantial and significant extent bad people are in power, they have-done and are-doing bad things on purpose, and they are planning to cause many more bad things to happen. 

And therefore, if things are allowed to continue as they have been for the past decades; then (sooner or later) life will be made extremely horrible: dystopia created on Earth deliberately, and by the coordinated actions of people currently in charge.

The next insight has not (yet?) been so widely appreciated; that the whole direction and fundamental basis of our world needs to change. And it is up to us - as individual; here, and now - to do it:

Why is Lord of the Rings more real than real life? How JRR Tolkien and Owen Barfield together might have explained it (but didn't - so I did)

Excerpted from:

From Fantasy we come to appreciate the realities of our (primary, 'real life') world, but refreshed because we have come across familiar basics such as men and women, bread, stone, trees... in the magical and coherent context of a Secondary world.

The key to the value of Fantasy – here and now – is its contrast with the modern world.

Modern ‘reality’ is most deficient in the most important aspects of Life. We are alienated from the world - our Self is cut-off from experienced relationships with anything else: nihilistic solipsism is a constant threat.

And this is ever more so, because modern reality is, mostly and ever-increasingly, a mass media-generated ‘virtual’ kind of reality.

Thus modern ‘Primary’ reality is deficient in terms of lacking destiny, meaning and purpose for Life; in its ignorance, denial, or blind terror of ageing and death; in terms of regarding the Human Condition as a mixture of mechanical determinism and random chaos; in its regarding of the major virtues of Love and Courage as mere products of social-conditioning and evolution; and its understanding that Tolkien’s joyful ‘eucatastrophe’ – the unexpected ‘turn’ of events in a Fairy Story that snatches the Happy Ending from apparently-inevitable defeat – as merely statistical coincidence…

Fantasy may indeed be our only sustained experience in which these real-realities are encountered. But how is it that Fantasy may be able to supply what the Primary word so horribly lacks?

Our imaginative participation in an internally consistent world of wonders, provides us with stimuli, with perceptions, that do not automatically get plugged-into the subversive and inverting theories of modernism.

The magic and wonders of Fantasy quite naturally and spontaneously attach themselves to our built-in, universal concepts – those mythic understandings and interpretations of the ‘collective unconscious’, or our shared divine-endowments. And it is these universal concepts which enable us to apprehend and share reality.

More at:

2016 - the year of ridiculous optimism

It seems that 2016 was the real 2012 - the winter solstice of which was supposed (by many of the New Age spiritual persuasion) to mark the inflexion point predicted by an ancient Mayan Calendar.

In contrast the redoubtable David Icke predicted several years ago that 2016 would be the crucial year, the beginning of a period of about three years when the odds would be stacked in favour of those wishing to overthrow the Global Establishment.

(The 'GE' being the demonic conspiracy to monitor and control everyone into a state that DI terms fascist slavery; but which I interpret as self-hatred, willed-personal-and-national-suicide, and ultimately self-damnation.)

Well, 2016 has indeed been a crucial year - the first such since 1967 (which was 49 years ago - or 7X7 years for you Pythagorean/ Platonist numerologists) in my personal experience.

By my understanding, such calendrical predictions are very approximate, and do not unroll according to any predetermined plan; rather they reflect the developmental phases in a destined (i.e. divinely intended) evolution of human consciousness, as mediated and modified by the vast complexity of human agency and demonic destructiveness. 

So 2016 is the beginning of a period of possibility; when we are being given the clarity of vision to see what has happened to us and what is intended for us - and the chance effectively to say No: to  take another path. The nature of that alternative path has yet to be chosen - and even the outlines are unclear; but it must be (because nothing else is wanted or could work) a path initially of spiritual awakening, leading on (at some point) to Christian religious awakening.

At any rate, I have been getting intermittent intuitions of, apparently, ridiculous optimism throughout the second half of 2016; intuitions which seem to validate what many other have written about and variously interpreted; that the mass of people (a majority, albeit perhaps not an overwhelming majority) have reached the point of recognising the malign intention of the ruling elites towards them and their nations.

So far things have not gone much further than this recognition and the new understanding that this is felt by very large numbers of people (and not just an insignificant and powerless minority). There has been a strong, and still growing-daily, backlash against this incipient awareness, from the Establishment and its organs of government, education, law and the mass media; but this anti-popular onslaught has brought the repression out into the open and undeniable - so it is probably feeding the movement it is intended to crush.

2017 is therefore a moral test for The West. We will be given the chance to escape certain doom, and take another path; but that other path will involve most people in significant personal sacrifice in terms of material goods, comfort, convenience, and so forth. The moral test is whether people are prepared to pay the necessary costs for a better future, or whether by clinging to their addictions and distractions they will embrace the down-slide into despair, self-hatred and chosen damnation.

This is not yet decided, and at present all possibilities lie open before us; and the choices are becoming clearer by the day. What is coming is a test of honesty, courage and love.

If we fail it, as a culture, then we will (as a population) have no serious cause for complaint about what happens after. But if we pass the test, then The West will be reborn with a positive spiritual and religious future; a life of meaning and purpose directed at becoming more-divine - and of course this is available only at the usual price of 'blood, toil, tears and sweat', payable in-advance, up-front, here-and-now. 

A genius dies - Richard Adams, author of Watership Down

He lived to the age of 96 - a 'good innings' by any standards - and was hale and hearty until very recently.

I have read only his Watership Down, and autobiography - not fancying the other fictions; but I regard Watership Down as a truly great book, right up there at the pinnacle of the Fantasy genre: 


Tuesday 27 December 2016

Thomas Sowell retires! (Aged 86)

Thomas Sowell has retired at 86, and before there was any decline in his excellent standard of journalism.

Back in the middle 2000s - before I became a Christian, turned against economics and cast-off my residual Leftism - I probably rated Thomas Sowell more highly than any other active public intellectual; and would rather have met him than anyone else alive.

I read a lot of his books (which were all worthwhile, and some of them had a permanent effect on me); including his autobiography A Personal Odyssey which is a fascinating document in so many ways.

So, this is the end of an era.

RUL - Residual Unresolved Leftism - Any person or organisation that is anti-Christian (that is, not explicitly pro-Christian) is objectively Leftist in effect

Diagnosis is easier than treatment. A fair number of authors, even some in the mainstream, are able to diagnose the main problems of The West; but extremely few of them are able to make valuable recommendations for how to 'treat' the sick patient - and the reason is typically Residual Unresolved Leftism.

In other words, people suppose they are free of false and unfounded assumptions; but in fact there are Leftist assumptions built-into their understanding, and which negate their ability to see what needs to be done.

To put it another way: the study of fundamental assumptions about the nature of reality is metaphysics; and it is metaphysics which is most often and characteristically flawed in modern discourse.

And because there are unwarranted assumptions at the metaphysical level, then everything built upon these foundations is vulnerable to the insecurity of the foundations.

In particular, the most idealistic anti-Establishment cultural critics fail to perceive that Leftism is at the very root of that which they most deplore in modern life: the pervasive dishonesty and manipulation of public discourse; the iron cage of bureaucracy; the international global elite; the pacifist warmongers; the pseudo-egalitarianism of exploitative corporate power; state propaganda' bribery and soft-terror, the corruption of education; the systematic inculcation of fear and resentment between sexes, races, nations; anti-environment fake environmentalism, and so on.

Idealistic people who genuinely want to address these problems and who raise awareness of the problem; almost-always make matters worse in practice, because of their RUL.

And it turns out that the essence of RUL is usually very simple indeed! It is denial of the reality of a personal creator God. That is the root of Leftism, and it is the main form of RUL that subverts nearly all would-be idealism in Western politics.

The Counter-Culure may be, often is, spiritual or even deistic (allowing the philosophical possibility of an impersonal creative force or principle); but it is atheistic with respect to a personal creator God.

Specifically, since it is the only such religion of The West as a culture; anti-Christianity is the main form of RUL among political radicals, whether they self-identify as Left, Right or neither.

This large scale and pervasive failure is - probably - due to a failure to discriminate between Christianity and the Christian Churches; a failure which is, of course, encouraged by most of the Churches themselves (each of whom claim to be the only repository of true or real Christianity).

But we have reached a point in history when the difference between being a Christian and the institutional actuality of most of the large, powerful, wealthy self-identified Christian churches has become near-crystalline in clarity.

There is (in the West) an absolute and un-dodgeable necessity for effective cultural analysis to be pro-Christian - even (or especially) when it is actively anti- most of the actual Churches that self-identify as Christian. 

Because the mainstream Christian churches have been becoming weaker, smaller and more corrupt for many decades; and because their membership (and, even more so, leadership) are so comprehensively and deeply complicit in Leftism (such they they base their version of Christianity upon secular cultural-inculcated Leftist assumptions that they treat as unarguable, while supposing they are doing the opposite) - it is quite normal, almost universal, for radical cultural critics and activist to be anti-Christian.

Yet this anti-Christian RUL always-and-inevitably delivers would-be radicals (whether they imagine themselves of the Right, Left or apolitical) back into the hands of the Leftist Establishment, into indirectly supporting the status quo of an ever-more dominant elite global conspiracy of evil.

Leftism, as a mode of thinking, is behind all the distinctively self-destructive tendencies of the Left and Leftism is the creed of the global Establishment of evil - but to do anything positive to rectify this situation, we absolutely need to understand that Leftism is first-and-foremost anti-Christian: that is the foundation stone.

And there is no neutral stance possible on this matter: one is either pro- or anti-Christian. 

Therefore, the lesson of Residual Unresolved Leftism is that any person or any organisation that is not pro-Christian is anti-Christian, hence objectively Leftist.

NOTE: Being pro-Christian is the minimal necessary pre-requisite for being a good cultural critic; but it does not, of course, make somebody a good cultural critic! Most Christians are ignorant of, or uninterested by, cultural analysis; most cannot express themselves; most have been badly misled by the pervasive modern environment of Leftist deception - the totality of which is grossly underestimated by nearly everybody. But lacking a pro-Christian foundation, all cultural criticism will be objectively Leftist - even when it is trying very hard not to be. 

The idea of RUL was inspired by Owen Barfield's notion of Residual Unresolved Positivism - which I discussed here:

Book of the Year 2016 - What Coleridge Thought, by Owen Barfield (1971)

Probably the main intellectual event of 2016 was my engagement with Owen Barfield's book on the philosophy of Coleridge. This is one of those books which requires (from me, at least) a very intense engagement - because it is working at a metaphysical level; challenging fundamental assumptions regarding the 'structure; of reality.

At any rate, it took me many days of reading and note-taking - and I wasn't able to keep up the necessary level of intensity the whole way through; so I shall need to return and re-read again before too long.

I have written a number of blog posts concerning what I got from the book: 

But the main thing was the idea of polarity as a way of understanding-by-imagining the basis of reality; and the necessity of imagination as the indispensable way of understanding. In turn, this enables me to explain to myself how it is that Life changes, unfolds and (in that sense) evolves according to a divine destiny that includes the free-will or agency of Men.

This isn't something I can encapsulate here and briefly; but as always with metaphysics, there is a great liberation and excitement from knowing what are one's own (previous) assumptions and that they are not entailed but assumed. 

It was also valuable to understand that the failure of all British (and Western, generally) spiritual awakenings over the past two centuries since Coleridge is explicable in terms of the failure to fix our constraining metaphysical assumptions; this failure foredooms all attempts to escape our culture's trajectory towards ever-more complete alienation, despair and self-chosen damnation.

Sunday 25 December 2016

SO, it's Christmas

What better time - waiting to open the presents - to sit down and write a blog post?

The big event for me (in the public realm) this year was probably starting the blog Albion Awakening with John Fitzgerald and William Wildblood - here is John with a wonderful meditation on Kingship in his own life and the works of G Wilson Knight, and GWK's writings on Shakespeare:

William has an inspiring post which re-awakened that special feeling about Jesus Christ, which all Christians experience from time to time, and which we would hope to experience all of the time. William's route to understanding the centrality of Christ went through various phases which, in the end, seem to have deepened his faith:

Happy Christmas.

Saturday 24 December 2016

A Child's Christmas in Wales - by Dylan Thomas

Perhaps the very best piece of secular writing on Christmas? This is something I have been reading aloud for forty years - first to my younger brother, then with him, now with my children.

There are a few variants of this work - here is one:


One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.

All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen.

It was on the afternoon of the Christmas Eve, and I was in Mrs. Prothero's garden, waiting for cats, with her son Jim. It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers. But there were cats. Patient, cold and callous, our hands wrapped in socks, we waited to snowball the cats. Sleek and long as jaguars and horrible-whiskered, spitting and snarling, they would slink and sidle over the white back-garden walls, and the lynx-eyed hunters, Jim and I, fur-capped and moccasined trappers from Hudson Bay, off Mumbles Road, would hurl our deadly snowballs at the green of their eyes. The wise cats never appeared.

We were so still, Eskimo-footed arctic marksmen in the muffling silence of the eternal snows - eternal, ever since Wednesday - that we never heard Mrs. Prothero's first cry from her igloo at the bottom of the garden. Or, if we heard it at all, it was, to us, like the far-off challenge of our enemy and prey, the neighbor's polar cat. But soon the voice grew louder.
"Fire!" cried Mrs. Prothero, and she beat the dinner-gong.

And we ran down the garden, with the snowballs in our arms, toward the house; and smoke, indeed, was pouring out of the dining-room, and the gong was bombilating, and Mrs. Prothero was announcing ruin like a town crier in Pompeii. This was better than all the cats in Wales standing on the wall in a row. We bounded into the house, laden with snowballs, and stopped at the open door of the smoke-filled room.

Something was burning all right; perhaps it was Mr. Prothero, who always slept there after midday dinner with a newspaper over his face. But he was standing in the middle of the room, saying, "A fine Christmas!" and smacking at the smoke with a slipper.

"Call the fire brigade," cried Mrs. Prothero as she beat the gong.
"There won't be there," said Mr. Prothero, "it's Christmas."
There was no fire to be seen, only clouds of smoke and Mr. Prothero standing in the middle of them, waving his slipper as though he were conducting.
"Do something," he said. And we threw all our snowballs into the smoke - I think we missed Mr. Prothero - and ran out of the house to the telephone box.
"Let's call the police as well," Jim said. "And the ambulance." "And Ernie Jenkins, he likes fires."

But we only called the fire brigade, and soon the fire engine came and three tall men in helmets brought a hose into the house and Mr. Prothero got out just in time before they turned it on. Nobody could have had a noisier Christmas Eve. And when the firemen turned off the hose and were standing in the wet, smoky room, Jim's Aunt, Miss. Prothero, came downstairs and peered in at them. Jim and I waited, very quietly, to hear what she would say to them. She said the right thing, always. She looked at the three tall firemen in their shining helmets, standing among the smoke and cinders and dissolving snowballs, and she said, "Would you like anything to read?"

Years and years ago, when I was a boy, when there were wolves in Wales, and birds the color of red-flannel petticoats whisked past the harp-shaped hills, when we sang and wallowed all night and day in caves that smelt like Sunday afternoons in damp front farmhouse parlors, and we chased, with the jawbones of deacons, the English and the bears, before the motor car, before the wheel, before the duchess-faced horse, when we rode the daft and happy hills bareback, it snowed and it snowed. But here a small boy says: "It snowed last year, too. I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea."

"But that was not the same snow," I say. "Our snow was not only shaken from white wash buckets down the sky, it came shawling out of the ground and swam and drifted out of the arms and hands and bodies of the trees; snow grew overnight on the roofs of the houses like a pure and grandfather moss, minutely -ivied the walls and settled on the postman, opening the gate, like a dumb, numb thunder-storm of white, torn Christmas cards."

"Were there postmen then, too?"
"With sprinkling eyes and wind-cherried noses, on spread, frozen feet they crunched up to the doors and mittened on them manfully. But all that the children could hear was a ringing of bells."
"You mean that the postman went rat-a-tat-tat and the doors rang?"
"I mean that the bells the children could hear were inside them."
"I only hear thunder sometimes, never bells."
"There were church bells, too."
"Inside them?"
"No, no, no, in the bat-black, snow-white belfries, tugged by bishops and storks. And they rang their tidings over the bandaged town, over the frozen foam of the powder and ice-cream hills, over the crackling sea. It seemed that all the churches boomed for joy under my window; and the weathercocks crew for Christmas, on our fence."

"Get back to the postmen"
"They were just ordinary postmen, found of walking and dogs and Christmas and the snow. They knocked on the doors with blue knuckles ...."
"Ours has got a black knocker...."
"And then they stood on the white Welcome mat in the little, drifted porches and huffed and puffed, making ghosts with their breath, and jogged from foot to foot like small boys wanting to go out."
"And then the presents?"
"And then the Presents, after the Christmas box. And the cold postman, with a rose on his button-nose, tingled down the tea-tray-slithered run of the chilly glinting hill. He went in his ice-bound boots like a man on fishmonger's slabs. "He wagged his bag like a frozen camel's hump, dizzily turned the corner on one foot, and, by God, he was gone."

"Get back to the Presents."
"There were the Useful Presents: engulfing mufflers of the old coach days, and mittens made for giant sloths; zebra scarfs of a substance like silky gum that could be tug-o'-warred down to the galoshes; blinding tam-o'-shanters like patchwork tea cozies and bunny-suited busbies and balaclavas for victims of head-shrinking tribes; from aunts who always wore wool next to the skin there were mustached and rasping vests that made you wonder why the aunts had any skin left at all; and once I had a little crocheted nose bag from an aunt now, alas, no longer whinnying with us. And pictureless books in which small boys, though warned with quotations not to, would skate on Farmer Giles' pond and did and drowned; and books that told me everything about the wasp, except why."

"Go on the Useless Presents."
"Bags of moist and many-colored jelly babies and a folded flag and a false nose and a tram-conductor's cap and a machine that punched tickets and rang a bell; never a catapult; once, by mistake that no one could explain, a little hatchet; and a celluloid duck that made, when you pressed it, a most unducklike sound, a mewing moo that an ambitious cat might make who wished to be a cow; and a painting book in which I could make the grass, the trees, the sea and the animals any colour I pleased, and still the dazzling sky-blue sheep are grazing in the red field under the rainbow-billed and pea-green birds. Hardboileds, toffee, fudge and allsorts, crunches, cracknels, humbugs, glaciers, marzipan, and butterwelsh for the Welsh. And troops of bright tin soldiers who, if they could not fight, could always run. And Snakes-and-Families and Happy Ladders. And Easy Hobbi-Games for Little Engineers, complete with instructions. Oh, easy for Leonardo! And a whistle to make the dogs bark to wake up the old man next door to make him beat on the wall with his stick to shake our picture off the wall. And a packet of cigarettes: you put one in your mouth and you stood at the corner of the street and you waited for hours, in vain, for an old lady to scold you for smoking a cigarette, and then with a smirk you ate it. And then it was breakfast under the balloons."

"Were there Uncles like in our house?"
"There are always Uncles at Christmas. The same Uncles. And on Christmas morning, with dog-disturbing whistle and sugar fags, I would scour the swatched town for the news of the little world, and find always a dead bird by the Post Office or by the white deserted swings; perhaps a robin, all but one of his fires out. Men and women wading or scooping back from chapel, with taproom noses and wind-bussed cheeks, all albinos, huddles their stiff black jarring feathers against the irreligious snow. Mistletoe hung from the gas brackets in all the front parlors; there was sherry and walnuts and bottled beer and crackers by the dessertspoons; and cats in their fur-abouts watched the fires; and the high-heaped fire spat, all ready for the chestnuts and the mulling pokers. Some few large men sat in the front parlors, without their collars, Uncles almost certainly, trying their new cigars, holding them out judiciously at arms' length, returning them to their mouths, coughing, then holding them out again as though waiting for the explosion; and some few small aunts, not wanted in the kitchen, nor anywhere else for that matter, sat on the very edge of their chairs, poised and brittle, afraid to break, like faded cups and saucers."

Not many those mornings trod the piling streets: an old man always, fawn-bowlered, yellow-gloved and, at this time of year, with spats of snow, would take his constitutional to the white bowling green and back, as he would take it wet or fire on Christmas Day or Doomsday; sometimes two hale young men, with big pipes blazing, no overcoats and wind blown scarfs, would trudge, unspeaking, down to the forlorn sea, to work up an appetite, to blow away the fumes, who knows, to walk into the waves until nothing of them was left but the two furling smoke clouds of their inextinguishable briars. Then I would be slap-dashing home, the gravy smell of the dinners of others, the bird smell, the brandy, the pudding and mince, coiling up to my nostrils, when out of a snow-clogged side lane would come a boy the spit of myself, with a pink-tipped cigarette and the violet past of a black eye, cocky as a bullfinch, leering all to himself.

I hated him on sight and sound, and would be about to put my dog whistle to my lips and blow him off the face of Christmas when suddenly he, with a violet wink, put his whistle to his lips and blew so stridently, so high, so exquisitely loud, that gobbling faces, their cheeks bulged with goose, would press against their tinsled windows, the whole length of the white echoing street. For dinner we had turkey and blazing pudding, and after dinner the Uncles sat in front of the fire, loosened all buttons, put their large moist hands over their watch chains, groaned a little and slept. Mothers, aunts and sisters scuttled to and fro, bearing tureens. Auntie Bessie, who had already been frightened, twice, by a clock-work mouse, whimpered at the sideboard and had some elderberry wine. The dog was sick. Auntie Dosie had to have three aspirins, but Auntie Hannah, who liked port, stood in the middle of the snowbound back yard, singing like a big-bosomed thrush. I would blow up balloons to see how big they would blow up to; and, when they burst, which they all did, the Uncles jumped and rumbled. In the rich and heavy afternoon, the Uncles breathing like dolphins and the snow descending, I would sit among festoons and Chinese lanterns and nibble dates and try to make a model man-o'-war, following the Instructions for Little Engineers, and produce what might be mistaken for a sea-going tramcar.

Or I would go out, my bright new boots squeaking, into the white world, on to the seaward hill, to call on Jim and Dan and Jack and to pad through the still streets, leaving huge footprints on the hidden pavements.
"I bet people will think there's been hippos."
"What would you do if you saw a hippo coming down our street?"
"I'd go like this, bang! I'd throw him over the railings and roll him down the hill and then I'd tickle him under the ear and he'd wag his tail."
"What would you do if you saw two hippos?"

Iron-flanked and bellowing he-hippos clanked and battered through the scudding snow toward us as we passed Mr. Daniel's house.
"Let's post Mr. Daniel a snow-ball through his letter box."
"Let's write things in the snow."
"Let's write, 'Mr. Daniel looks like a spaniel' all over his lawn."
Or we walked on the white shore. "Can the fishes see it's snowing?"

The silent one-clouded heavens drifted on to the sea. Now we were snow-blind travelers lost on the north hills, and vast dewlapped dogs, with flasks round their necks, ambled and shambled up to us, baying "Excelsior." We returned home through the poor streets where only a few children fumbled with bare red fingers in the wheel-rutted snow and cat-called after us, their voices fading away, as we trudged uphill, into the cries of the dock birds and the hooting of ships out in the whirling bay. And then, at tea the recovered Uncles would be jolly; and the ice cake loomed in the center of the table like a marble grave. Auntie Hannah laced her tea with rum, because it was only once a year.

Bring out the tall tales now that we told by the fire as the gaslight bubbled like a diver. Ghosts whooed like owls in the long nights when I dared not look over my shoulder; animals lurked in the cubbyhole under the stairs and the gas meter ticked. And I remember that we went singing carols once, when there wasn't the shaving of a moon to light the flying streets. At the end of a long road was a drive that led to a large house, and we stumbled up the darkness of the drive that night, each one of us afraid, each one holding a stone in his hand in case, and all of us too brave to say a word. The wind through the trees made noises as of old and unpleasant and maybe webfooted men wheezing in caves. We reached the black bulk of the house. "What shall we give them? Hark the Herald?"
"No," Jack said, "Good King Wencelas. I'll count three." One, two three, and we began to sing, our voices high and seemingly distant in the snow-felted darkness round the house that was occupied by nobody we knew. We stood close together, near the dark door. Good King Wencelas looked out On the Feast of Stephen ... And then a small, dry voice, like the voice of someone who has not spoken for a long time, joined our singing: a small, dry, eggshell voice from the other side of the door: a small dry voice through the keyhole. And when we stopped running we were outside our house; the front room was lovely; balloons floated under the hot-water-bottle-gulping gas; everything was good again and shone over the town.
"Perhaps it was a ghost," Jim said.
"Perhaps it was trolls," Dan said, who was always reading.
"Let's go in and see if there's any jelly left," Jack said. And we did that.

Always on Christmas night there was music. An uncle played the fiddle, a cousin sang "Cherry Ripe," and another uncle sang "Drake's Drum." It was very warm in the little house. Auntie Hannah, who had got on to the parsnip wine, sang a song about Bleeding Hearts and Death, and then another in which she said her heart was like a Bird's Nest; and then everybody laughed again; and then I went to bed. Looking through my bedroom window, out into the moonlight and the unending smoke-colored snow, I could see the lights in the windows of all the other houses on our hill and hear the music rising from them up the long, steady falling night. I turned the gas down, I got into bed. I said some words to the close and holy darkness, and then I slept.

** Note: Dylan Thomas himself had the merest trace of Welsh accent, mostly in the intonation; so it is not necessary to an authentic performance.

Does Mouse Utopia lead to greater spiritual danger?

See the Mouse Utopia blog for the story so far:

If Mouse Utopian conditions lead to a reduced adaptiveness for humans - reduced intelligence, impaired instincts, damage to sexual and behavioural functionality, mass illness and premature death; then is this likely to change the spiritual condition of Man?

Mouse Utopia would be expected to lead to a collapse of the economy, and a massive (talking billions*) decline in population, and all sorts of other material disasters - but from a Christian perspective, how might things play-out?

My guess would be that spiritually things would overall improve, not decline; since Christian faith does not need high intelligence, fitness, adaptiveness, long life, or anything else. Young children, the simple minded, the crippled and sick - such persons have been and can be Christians as good as any - and better than most.

A further factor to consider is that here and now, in the West - two hundred years after the onset of the industrial revolution, and beneficiaries of decades of peace, comfort, prosperity and longevity - we have the least spiritual and most systematically evil society in the history of the world.

Here and now we dwell in a society so evil that it not only fails to recognise the reality-of, or distinguish-between, Good and evil but actually inverts them.

A society which mobilises the state, educational systems, and the mass media to advocate more and new inversions of Good; a society that creates official propaganda for inversions of truth, beauty and virtue; laws to implement inversion, which bribes and coerces the mass population into acknowledging inversion.

And this modern world was the product of genius - the genius of European peoples who discovered, devised, invented and made the theories, artifacts and systems upon which the modern anti-Good world depends. And genius depends on very high intelligence in combination with a specifically adaptive Endogenous Personality characterised by powerful inner motivation and intuition:

So Mouse Utopia will certainly bring-down modernity, and with it the expansion of the world population from one to seven billion. The magnitude of death and pain is appalling to contemplate.

But spiritually, ultimately, such a collapse might be the savour of the Western peoples - and certainly seems more hope-full than continuing on the present course towards ever-more complete and extreme moral and spiritual corruption.


Friday 23 December 2016

My favourite posthumously-published work by Tolkien was intended by the author to serve as the central part of The Silmarillion - but was excluded

(Edited from an article by Bradley J Birzer:)

In his account of the writing of The Silmarillion, Kilby focused on a discussion between an Elf and a human wise woman. The conversation deals with the possible Incarnation of Eru (God the Father) in the world. How could an author enter into his book without exploding it? How could God enter into His creation without destroying it?

Tolkien had written a note on the manuscript of the conversation stating that—in no uncertain terms—this must serve as a central part of the final, published version of The Silmarillion.

I can state without exaggeration that this conversation explains and describes the Incarnation more expertly and with more beauty than anything I’ve ever read with the important exception of T.S. Eliot’s “Little Gidding.”

And, yet, pick up your copy of The Silmarillion, thumb through it, and you’ll see no such conversation. As literary heir, Christopher chose to exclude all explicit theological and philosophical discussions, focusing instead on the mythological narrative of the story.


The discussion between and elf and a human wise woman was eventually published in 1993 as part of (and rather inconspicuous-within) Volume Ten of the History of Middle Earth ('Morgoth's Ring') where it is given various descriptive titles in Sindarin and English - In a 2008 essay on the piece I deployed the more user-friendly name of The Marring of Men:

I find The Marring of Men to be the most beautiful and moving of all Tolkien's writings which emerged after his death - and it played a very important role in my conversion to Christianity, shortly after writing the above essay.

The fact that Tolkien at one point intended this to become the centre of The Silmarillion, and the fact that it did not, is yet another clarification of my personal antipathy of the 1977 version Silmarillion - and my belief that a new version (or several versions) is needed; drawn from the History of Middle Earth volumes (unavailable in 1977) and including the Marring of Men and the 'second prophecy' of Mandos -

and preferably with much less emphasis of Turin Turambar!

New evidence of Tolkien's loathing of the changes introduced by Vatican II (the Second Vatican Council)

We already knew that the lifelong-devout Roman Catholic JRR Tolkien was extremely dismayed by the changes introduced by Vatican II; but new anecdotal evidence of the extreme intesity of his reaction was recently published:

But when Tolkien arrived next time at services and seated himself in the middle of a bench, he began to notice other changes than the language, one a diminution of genuflection. His disappointment was such that he rose up and made his way awkwardly to the aisle and there made three very low bows, then stomped out of the church.

Mythopoeia: Tolkien's great, neglected, autobiographical poem

JRR Tolkien never wrote any autobiography; but i 1932 or 1933 he did write a long poem stating his creative philosophy: Mythopoeia (meaning 'myth-making').

There is a short excerpt in the famous essay On Fairy Stories - and Humphrey Carpenter discusses the poem in his authorised biography - but it has only been published once in an out of print collection of Tree and Leaf; so it is unlikely you have read it.

Now is the time to set that right.

Wednesday 21 December 2016

A Medieval English carol introduced by William Wildblood at Albion Awakening

The Mass Media are not corrupted - they are the prime source of corruption

People continually complain about the dishonesty of the Mass Media and the way that they create and sustain a fake reality - as if the Media had been corrupted by politicians, corporations, the Mandarin intellectuals or whoever; but this interpretation is upside-down.

The Mass Media are the main source of corruption in modernity - the fact that they have created a fake and evil virtual reality to which the majority of Westerners are addicted is their core attribute.

Strictly, the Mass Media are not the origin of organised, strategic evil in this world; that would be a relatively very small number of demonic supernatural evil entities and those they possess, plus a larger but still very small number of devoted servants. But the Mass Media is the next step down, and the major means by which evil is strategically active in the modern world.

Therefore to criticise the Mass Media, to try and shame them, to call for their self-discipline, to try and create an enforce some kind of ethical code, to talk in terms of their reform - this is utterly futile and indeed a misdirection.

We need to regard the Mass Media as primarily a deliberately-evil entity - whose use of truth is only a tactical device to make untruth more powerful; and also only somewhat-Good for the reason that evil cannot ever, in principle, be complete (being a negative kind of thing, against-Good).

With the Mass Media all that we need to know is that - like any liar - we should not listen to it, because truth cannot be gleaned from dishonesty. We should therefore try to ignore what it says, and minimise contact with it - since listening to clever deceit in large volumes will almost certainly do us a lot more harm than Good. 

Even 'monitoring' the Mass Media, with the goal of pointing-out and correcting its falsehood is usually very unwise; since we ourselves very seldom know the truth about what is happening; and because we get drawn into debating according to The Media's own rules, and in fora provided by the The Media.

Our job is simple - to acknowledge ourselves as Media Addicts, and to cut down on consumption with the aim of eliminating dependency.

This creates the mental space and energetic resources which we may then direct to primary matters of our own place in the Human Condition; to ultimate metaphysical issues of our primary assumptions; and to a focus on our own common sense, personal experience, and intuitive knowing.

Midwinter Day (NOT the 'first day' of winter!); and I do NOT wish you a 'Happy New Year'

When the daily Google Doodle is pushing something, then you can be 100 percent sure it will be misleading or approved for some wrong reason - and the pernicious nonsense today is that this is the 'first day' of Winter!

What!? In fact today is the Winter Solstice, variously Mid-winter (in the same astronomical sense that the 21st of June is often Midsummer); and the end of one astronomical year - with tomorrow the first day of the true New Year.

Certainly 21 December is early in Winter, only about one month into it, in this part of the world - but if we determine to divide the year into equal seasons of three months (which most people seem inclined to do) then most of December must be included in order that March retain its place as the start of Spring and June as the beginning of Summer.

Does it matter? Pay Attention! - Of course it matters!

- Why else would they be trying to change it? The more we can be disconnected from awareness-of and contact-with the natural world; the more our beliefs and practices become arbitrary, absurd and against common sense - the better it is for the demonic agenda: the less rooted, the worse orientated, the more easily we can be swayed and redirected and inverted...


And the business of wishing people 'A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year' - don't people see that that that is about denigrating Christmas?

Do we wish people "Happy Birthday and a Good Easter" or sing "Happy Birthday to you/ Have a great summer holiday", or "Happy Birthday Jane!... but not fogetting Joan who will be having her Birthday quite soon as well".

No - our congratulations are, and must be, fixed on that which is being celebrated - not bracketting something that comes a week afterwards. Otherwise we are dealing an indirect insult to the thing we are supposed to be celebrated here-and-now.

Isn't the birth of Jesus enough? - that we have to append to it a wholly meaningless 'New Year' of the First of January - an (again) arbitrary date that is neither Christianly significant nor astronomically relevant.  And not even the most important of the arbitrary year divisions...

To celebrate New Year on the First of January is evidence of a society adrift, a society that has forgotten the most important things in life.

Yes, I know about that dreadful carol 'We wish you a Merry (yelped) Chriss-mas/ And a Happy New Year - Good Tidings we bring/ To you and your Kin(g)' etc... That is exactly what I mean - cheery meaningless drivel. 'We all like figgy pudding' indeed - a song of fake bonhomie for materialistic, grasping, greedy and atheistic carol-singers, if ever there was one.


So, a Happy Christmas to you.

(That's it.)

Tuesday 20 December 2016

Tawny Owl by Torchlight

I live in a suburb less than a mile from the centre of the city; but we have a good-sized garden with a fair bit of wildlife - fox families, bats, squirrels and Tawny Owls evident by the calling to each other Twit Twoo (female - male).

But until yesterday I had never had a good view of an owl; I had only seen a silhouette as they roosted in a tree, on top of a roof, or flew across the night sky on blunt tipped wings.

In the early evening, at about 16:30 (it being dark by then at this latitude and at Winter Solstice, almost) I heard from the front of the house a loud and nearby owl-like commotion of twitting and screeching. So I went into the back garden and extinguished the house lights, and took a Maglite torch that could be focused into a narrow, bright beam.

Once my eyes had adapted, I could see the owl silhouette on the lime tree, making all sorts of keening, and burbling sounds as well as twitting (clearly a female) - and then shot the torch beam at it to reveal two very large orange eyes caught in the light, and a beautifully varied plumage.

To my surprise, the owl seemed only mildly irritated, and consented to be looked at for a while; before flapping lazily to the oak tree, a dozen yards further away - when she suffered another couple of minutes of torch-assisted examination - albeit from about forty yards; after which she again flew (tracked by the searchlight beam) and perched a couple of gardens away.

Then another (apparently female) began shrieking from about a hundred yards in the opposite direction from which she had come; and the two of them got very excited indeed - with visible agitation and a lot of rapid calling. And 'my' owl flew off; either to greet or to intimidate this new arrival.

It was very pleasing to put a face to this inhabitant of my garden, whose activities I have so often heard but never previously observed.


As a young child I was - in equal measures - terrified and fascinated by owls; often awakening at night in terror at their 'Hoo hoo' calling from the wooded fields beyond the houses opposite; afraid that one would come right up to the window. And that, if I was - for some crazed inexplicable reason - compelled to throw open the curtains; then I would find him perched on the sill outside, staring at me.

But I always looked carefully at picture of owls in books, and at the real life owls in Bristol Zoo.

There is also a family legend about how, at our next door neighbours, I would click my way through three of those 3D View-master discs depicting birds, until I reached a particular, terrifying, long-eared owl; when I would throw the device to the floor and run screaming from the room.

This being repeated time after time on subsequent visits...


Monday 19 December 2016

William Wildblood analyses The Left

In a short but wide-ranging essay, William Wildblood brings his typically calm, focused and spiritual perspective to bear on the phenomenon that is The Left:


Obviously the left is a political attitude outwardly but I believe its true origins lie in something deeper. I think that the real roots of what manifests in the world as liberalism or the left is spiritual. Not spiritual as in coming from God but spiritual as in coming from the so called dark forces (aptly sometimes described as those of the left hand path) which have set themselves up specifically against God and all that speaks of God, particularly the good, the beautiful and the true...

Whether the ideology of the left was originally put through by forces favourable to God or satanic forces is beside the point now. It may well be the case that in the 18th century new ideas did need to come through to bring about a greater measure of social justice, but these were quickly co-opted and detached from any real spiritual framework which, if it ever existed, quickly became secondary to the material side of things. From this we can quite easily deduce that the movement was not a heavenly inspiration...

Sometimes leftism, so called, is regarded as a Christian heresy. However I think it’s more like a perversion of Christianity since heresies generally exaggerate certain aspects of truth while minimizing or neglecting others but leftism completely eviscerates Christianity of the supernatural which is its whole point so it cannot be said to have any real relationship to Christianity at all. You might say that it takes the horizontal part of Christianity while neglecting the vertical but the horizontal without the vertical is unsupported and so falls to the ground...

When we observe the left trying to dismantle traditional institutions which have evolved with a spiritual purpose (for instance, marriage) both by attacking them externally and by trying to corrupt them from within, we have another pointer to the true agenda of those behind it. Many of those involved in all this are not aware of its true purpose but consider themselves to be acting in the name of progress...

But look beneath the surface and quite a different picture takes shape. Then you see that the establishment of secondary truths is being used as an excuse to destroy primary ones, and even these secondary truths are soon discarded when they've served their purpose...

The left, or a major element of it, is fundamentally dishonest and uses lies to advance its distortion of truth or else, more subtly, it uses lesser truths to force out greater ones. At one time I thought that people on the left were mistaken but honest and no doubt many are, but it's increasingly obvious that the main drivers of the revolution have always been people of bad faith in that their motivations are not what is claimed. Resentment of others and hatred of the good are often to be seen as the real origin of their position...

Many people nowadays who have a vague and unformed sort of spirituality also embrace a left wing perspective so why, one must ask, is so much modern, as opposed to traditional, spirituality left leaning? The short answer to this is that it is human and this world centred. It does not look to God the Creator as the summum bonum of human life. Nor does it acknowledge the fact that we are fallen and in need of redemption. It sees humans as they are now as basically good and perfectible if only they are treated nicely. There's no need to repent because you as you are already good and it just needs to come out...

Everything requires balance, and you might think it is only the excesses of the left I have been talking about here. The truth is, though, that the excesses were built into it right from the very beginning. They were inevitable. It took very little time to go from seeking a degree of social justice to the rejection of God and the overturning of the natural order of being...

The best you can say about the left is that it is like a strong medicine which may be useful when the patient is sick but it does not form part of a healthy diet. Then it may turn into the poison that it now has.

Mouse Utopia gets its own 'blog'!

I decided that the Mouse Utopia idea is sufficiently interesting and important to get its own blog address. Enjoy...

The complexity of Christmas

Father Christmas in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - by CS Lewis

In which I muse on the multi-layered richness and importance of this time of year:

From why one God? to why Jesus? - some short answers to think-about

1. Why one god?

Because, if there is a single source of all creation (or, all order) then there is unity of reality. And unity of reality is necessary for real objective understanding.

In fact there does not need to be one god, but one source: God*.

2. Why God the Father?

Because this explains why God is concerned with us, as individuals - out of the whole of reality. We are God's children; and like mortal children it is the hope and destiny we grow up to become of the same 'kind' as our Heavenly Father.

3. Why a God of Love?

Because otherwise, even if we were His children, we could not assume that God's intentions were benign and there would be no reason to go along with God's intentions. It is only a Loving Father whose plans we would wish to assent to.

4.  Why mortal earthly life?

This life is mixed, full of change and decay and also love and hope. Mortal life seems insignificant in an eternal perspective, yet feels overwhelmingly significant in the here and now. There must be some benefit from mortal life, or else a loving creator Father would not have made the situation; yet death puts an end to all benefit we might gain from living, and our Father also made death...

Therefore, we infer mortal life is necessary and death is necessary; both necessary, that is, for God's hopes and plans.

5. Why Christ?

Because death is necessary - yet death is the end. We need to die; and Christ is our Saviour from death.

6. Why Jesus? 

Because Jesus is our brother; therefore he both shows us the way, and by preceding us makes that way so we can follow.

*For Mormons the unity of a single God is not that of a single being or entity; but a single, inseparably unified but eternally dyadic creative-marriage of Heavenly Father and Mother. So mono-theism (one god-personage) is not entailed - but one divine-source is.  

Sunday 18 December 2016

Dream seriously

We live in weird times in which nobody is interested by dreams, nobody remembers dreams, nobody discusses dreams with other people: this can't be healthy.

The consensus of the past and of spontaneous human life (our childhood) is that dreams are sometimes significant - and we have to be aware of them so that when a significant dream does come along, we are ready for it.

Dreams are used for all kinds of purposes - to get past our psychological defences (such as indifference, unbelief, hostility); one part of ourselves telling another part something it needs to know - as a kind of healing or for wise decisions; as a communication between people remote in time, place and state; plus of course as a way that God speaks to us - as he did to Joseph, husband of Mary.

So we need to go against the spirit of our age, and start to attend to our dreams, and those of others.

Eliot's Prufrock as the despair-inducing product of evil genius

TS Eliot's first work in his first book, and the title piece of that book, was 'Prufrock' - i.e. The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock:

Full text of the poem:

It is a brilliant piece of work, extremely powerful, full of memorable lines (in that respect unlike almost any other example of modernist poetry) - it was also revolutionary in technique and attitude, and massively influential on later writers (and scholars).

Yet it is a horrible, fiendish production; that aims to induce - and successful succeeds in this task - a mood of world-weariness and despair; an attitude that it is not worth bothering with anything, because it will inevitably fail; a perspective that the good things of the world are illusion and the underlying solid reality is of ugliness, misery, lies, incoherence, ridiculous but self-aware vanity...

(The mainstream condition of modernity that Peter Sloterdijk terms 'enlightened false consciousness'.)

Prufrock is, in sum, the modern condition of alienation and hope-less-ness achieved perfectly in a single work at the first attempt and never surpassed.

Now I am not saying that TS Eliot was an evil genius when considered as a whole - of course he later became a very influential Christian of a traditionalist type; but the damage he did as a young man with Prufrock, and later The Waste Land, was never undone by anything he (or anybody else) subsequently achieved.

Prufrock fed an attitude of cynicism and - ultimately - hedonism and conformity (because all explicit cynics sell-out and become cogs of the system - at least all the many young cynics I have known have become middle managers or Establishment commissars).

Prufrock also led to the destruction of poetry - because it looked-like poetry, used various techniques of accepted poetry; but it was not poetry. It was 'poetry' minus the lyricism that made it poetry, 'poetry' without 'song'; 'poetry' with the essence of poetry extracted and replaced with subversion of lyricism.

Future generations followed suit, and the most 'respected' and influential 'poets' since Prufrock have not been poets. 

(This was not an accident. Unlike - say - Yeats and Frost, Eliot was not a poet; and never wrote poetry (as poetry would have been understood in the previous hundreds of years). He was, of course, a prose-writer and versifier of genius - and that is why his verse is so effective; but he was not a poet, and could only pastiche real poetry. Nor did Eliot 'get' poetry, he could not detect its 'presence' or absence - which was unfortunate in the major literary critic of his age.)

(But then, neither did FR Leavis understand real poetry, nor CS Lewis, nor Empson, nor bloom... indeed real poetry is much too simple and lucid and popular to be a suitable theme for the powerful and influential critic.) 

Prufrock, although easily appreciated by anyone, also triggered the cleavage between 'serious' writers aiming at an audience of critics, academics ad students on the one hand; and the spontaneously poetry-reading public on the other - and in a century this has grown ever wider.

Of course, all this would have happened anyway without Prufrock! - maybe half a decade later. So in that sense, the poem had zero influence. The culture had changed by a kind of mass embrace of the inversion of Good; Leftism was already pervasive among the intellectuals, the Great Apostasy from Christianity was too far advanced and celebrated; the sexual revolution already had the opinion-leaders in its grip; the mass media and the labilities of fashion were already a ruling addiction...

Hence Eliot's star, and Prufrock's fame' has faded and faded over the past decades. The brilliance of the decadent culture it inspired continued to glitter into the 1970s (Tom Stoppard - the best of recent playwrights - listed Prufrock as one of his major influences; Beckett was the other) - but has long since dimmed and extinguished.

Modern culture is Prufrock without the inspiration, without the sparkling wit, without the permanently memorable phrases.

We have lost or ditched the genius; and retained only the evil.

Saturday 17 December 2016

Why has Russia/ Putin been singled-out for war-excusing demonisation (above all the many other candidates)?

The answer is quite simple: Russia, rather than anywhere else, has been singled-out for demonisation - with the aim of excusing war - because of Russia's Good qualities; and not because of what it does wrong.

Of course, Russia, like all nations, and especially all superpowers, does many wrong things - but none of them are why Russia has been chosen from all possibilities as the excuse for a war that the global elite want.

Russia is being demonised because of what Russia's does right, not what it does wrong; and primarily because Russia is (again) becoming an-ever-more explicitly Christian nation.

Christianity leads onto other consequences - such as Russia being substantially anti- Sexual Revolution, anti- Identity Politics, anti- Political Correctness and so forth; and a stand-out directness, clarity and coherence to Russian foreign policy.

Such clarity about Russian interests makes it relatively easy and convincing for Russia to explain itself to the West.

By contrast, Western foreign policy does not serve (typically harms) national interests (and is deeply-opposed to the personal interests of the mass majority of Western people) because it serves the interests of the demonic International Establishment of Evil Billionaires and Celebrities.

Western foreign policy is increasingly-obviously subversive of order and of Christianity - ie. Good-destructive - and therefore its rationalisation is necessary deceptive.

Consequently the Illuminati are getting worried about allowing Western people any access to the Russian point of view, which they currently are vilifying as 'propaganda' and 'fake news', and trying to ban...

Despite (or rather, precisely because) of the fact that Russian propaganda and news is much more honest and accurate than the tendentious lies gushing from Western governments and the mass media 24/7.

Friday 16 December 2016

Was Human Mouse Utopia inevitable? No - but it was desirable

Was Human Mouse Utopia necessary and inevitable?

No - because there are other forces at work in biology (although denied by mainstream biology) that can in principle overcome such tendencies as mutation accumulation and de-differentiation. As I explained in a paper earlier this year:

A comprehensive biology would focus on development, not natural selection, as its primary mode of explanation; and there are integrative and purposive factors at work, that explain (for example) the origins of life, major transitions of evolution, and sexual reproduction. Such purposive forces could, presumably, operate in a predictive, long-termist and group-benefiting way to overcome the cumulative genetic damage envisaged in Mouse Utopia.

But I do not believe this happened. Mouse Utopia has happened to humans, and continues to happen; and the purposive and integrative forces have not been mobilised. The purposive forces that shape biology were not, in fact, deployed - they did not choose to deploy. The 'natural' tendency to destruction was allowed...

Mouse Utopia was the choice of modern Man - Modern Man, in effect, decided to define his 'utopia' as a world much like Mouse Utopia: a world of hedonic materialism - that is a world dedicated to comfort, convenience, and pleasure.

Modern Man got what he wanted, but the consequence will be destruction of his civilisation.

Because there is a deeply sinister aspect to the modern condition, such that it must be brought to an end. In effect, I am saying that modern humans chose Mouse Utopia as its ideal back around 1800 and have stuck to that decision ever since; the led to Mouse Utopia, and Mouse Utopia leads naturally to mutation accumulation, loss of fitness, reproductive decline and extinction. All this was allowed to happen because the alternative would be much worse.

From a divine perspective, modernity has been a colossal disaster. Not so much for the mass slaughter of wars, nor even from the even greater sufferings and slaughter of the exterminations practised by materialistic, hedonic, atheistic Left wing dictatorships (Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, Kin Jong-il etc) - but from the perspective of the mass self-chosen damnation of souls.

I have said many times that we live - now, in The West - in the most evil time and place ever; and I mean this quite factually and objectively. Never before has there been (so far as we know) any human society in which The Good has been so comprehensively subverted, and indeed inverted.

To an astonishing, and ever increasing extent we regard virtue as evil; wickedness (short-termist, selfish, manipulative pleasure seeking) as virtue; we do not even attempt to be truthful but revel in deceptions, and misleading; we not not attempt to create beauty but instead mar it and claim that the disgusting and soul-destroying is true beauty.

Westerners live in a fake world of the mass media, and are addicted to this world - and this world is the focus and major source of subversion and inversion.

In sum, modern Man is very deep in evil, and wants more evil - therefore it is important that modern man be stripped of his power and capability since he will use it, overall, for ill.

In this sense, Mouse Utopia is the saving of the world from a spiritual fate worse than death: worse than most people believe or can even imagine. Because if modern Man retained the capabilities he once had, he would have deployed this creativity to monitor, manipulate, exploit and torment - his objectives would be (as they are, and have been for several decades) to spread fear, resentment, and despair - and induce an active loathing  of salvation (so that - eventually - Christianity is rejected not because it is believed to be false  - but because it is known to be true; but revolting, oppressive and immoral).

In sum, modern Man chose Mouse Utopia when he chose materialism (and rejected the challenge of of developing as Romantic, Imaginative, Intuitive Christianity as envisaged embryonically by Goethe, Blake, Coleridge and Wordsworth). The biological consequences of Mouse Utopia could have been prevented, but were not; and - unless there is a change of heart, repentance, and a new spirit in The West - Mouse Utopia will be allowed to destroy the power and capability of The West - for its own good, and the good of humanity in general; because the alternative is so utterly appalling: the Transhumanist nightmare, a living Hell.

Thursday 15 December 2016

Could JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis be considered modern Saints?

At Albion Awakening, a fascinating discussion of the effect of Tolkien and Lewis on the trajectory and nature of Christianity over the past decades - by William Wildblood:

Mouse Utopia and the dysfunction and potential extinction of modern developed societies - a summary

A microcosm of what went wrong with the industrial revolution: Calhoun’s Mouse Utopia experiment

Bruce G Charlton

The so-called ‘Mouse Utopia’ experiment was conducted from 1968 by John B Calhoun

Four healthy breeding pairs of mice were allowed to reproduce freely in a 'utopian' environment with ample food and water, no predators, no disease, comfortable temperature – a near as possible ideal conditions and space. What happened was described by the author in terms of five phases: establishment, exponential growth, growth slowing, breeding ceases and population stagnant, population decline and extinction:

Phase A - 104 days - establishment of the mice in their new environment, then the first litters were born.

Phase B - up to day 315 - exponential population growth doubling every 55 days.

Phase C - from day 315-560 population growth abruptly slowed to a doubling time of 145 days.

Phase D - days 560-920; population stagnant with births just matching deaths. Emergence of many pathological behaviours.

Terminal Phase E - population declining to zero. The last conception was about day 920, after which there were no more births, all females were menopausal, the colony aged and all of them died.

To summarise – when four breeding pairs of mice were allowed to reproduce under ideal ‘utopian’ conditions, the colony entirely ceased to breed after three years, and then went extinct.

Interpreting the demise of Mouse Utopia

The main fact about Mouse Utopia, was that despite everything possible being done to create ideal biological conditions; the mouse colony rapidly declined and became entirely extinct. This was a very surprising outcome, biologically; and implies that some very major factor about the basic requirements or behaviour of the mice was neglected.

The Mouse Utopia experiment is usually interpreted in terms of social stresses related to 'over-population'; that crowding generated pathological behaviours and a loss of the will to reproduce. But this seems, very obviously – I would have thought – an incorrect explanation; because 1. The mouse population never actually became crowded, 2. The suppression of breeding happened very quickly, and never recovered even after the population declined rapidly and crowding was reduced, and 3. the population rapidly became extinct.

Michael A Woodley suggests that what was going on was much more likely to be mutation accumulation; with deleterious (but non-fatal) genes incrementally accumulating with each generation and generating a wide range of increasingly maladaptive behavioural pathologies; this process rapidly overwhelming and destroying the population before any beneficial mutations could emerge to 'save; the colony from extinction.

So the bizarre behaviours seen especially in Phase D - such as the male 'beautiful ones' who appeared to be healthy and spent all their time self-grooming, but were actually inert, unresponsive, unintelligent and uninterested in reproduction - were plausibly maladaptive outcomes of a population sinking under the weight of mutations.

Why mutation accumulation?

The reason why mouse utopia might produce so rapid and extreme a mutation accumulation is that wild mice naturally suffer very high mortality rates from predation. Because wild mice are so short-lived, mice are not 'built to last' and have the reputation of being unusually-prone to produce new deleterious mutations (and are therefore extremely prone to cancer, and susceptible to carcinogens - which is why mice are used to test for carcinogens).

Thus mutation selection balance is in operation among wild mice, with very high mortality rates continually weeding-out the high rate of spontaneously-occurring new mutations (especially among males) - with typically only a small and relatively mutation-free proportion of the (large numbers of) offspring surviving to reproduce; and a minority of the most active and healthy (mutation free) males siring the bulk of each generation.

However, in Mouse Utopia, there is no predation and all the other causes of mortality (eg. Starvation, violence from other mice) are reduced to a minimum - so the frequent mutations just accumulate, generation upon generation - randomly producing all sorts of pathological (maladaptive) behaviours.

The danger of mutational meltdown

Extinction due to relaxed selection leading to rapid mutation accumulation is called ‘mutational meltdown’.

It happens because, in addition to the problem of mutation accumulation by relaxation of selection, when a population has begun shrinking, there is an increasing danger of extinction due to a positive feedback cycle. Deleterious mutations accumulate so rapidly that they overwhelm a population before it can evolve an escape – as the population shrinks so it becomes less and less likely to ‘randomly’ generate a compensatory beneficial mutation that might recue it from extinction.

Mutational meltdown was first described as a threat for small populations of asexual organisms; later the phenomenon was described in sexual organisms, and then fond to occur in large populations. Therefore, mutational meltdown has gone from being a specific case to probably a universal possibility. And thus a possibility in humans.

The unusual twist with modern humans is that native populations in developed countries have begun falling (rapidly) over the past several decades apparently due to chosen sub-replacement fertility, and probably before mutation accumulation had reached a level sufficient biologically to suppress fertility.

In other words psychological factors have anticipated biological factors - and presumably both psychological and biological population decline will combine to increase the degree of reduced fitness resulting from mutation accumulation.

This will probably have increased the risk of mutational meltdown, and of extinction.

Modern England as Mouse Utopia?

If we look at the Mouse Utopia experiment and try to fit the history of modern England into it

There could be an inflection point in 1921 when English population growth suddenly slowed - somewhat like the transition from Phase B to C in the mouse utopia graph (page 83)

Then the plateau Phase D - where births just replace deaths - was reached in the 1970s

Which perhaps means the next phase would be the Terminal Phase E (among the native population - disregarding immigrants) with fewer births than deaths dwindling to zero live, births and escalating median age, until eventually ‘all’ women are aged beyond the menopause at which point extinction (of the native population) is inevitable.

Well, this isn't really comparing like with like! - and the whole picture is muddied by increasing medical capability and cossetting, which has radically reduced deaths from infectious disease (the main cause of mortality); and keeps infants and the elderly alive in circumstances which would previously have been fatal - but maybe gives us clues of what to look-out-for; assuming that the demise of Mouse Utopia was indeed substantially due to mutation accumulation.

Possible timescale for human extinction

If humans are recapitulating mouse utopia, what might be the approximate timescale for extinction?

As far as I can gather, mice are fully ready to reproduce at about 4 months, so the average generation time is probably about 5 months which is about 150 days.

So, starting with 104 days as zero - when reproduction in Mouse Utopia began; we can convert the above timings into mouse generations

Phase B exponential growth doubling every 55 days lasted 201 days, = 1.3 mouse generations.

Phase C exponential growth doubling every 145 days lasted a further 245 days = 1.6 mouse generations.

So population growth phase in utopian conditions lasted only 3 mouse generations.

Phase D of population stagnation phase lasted a further 360 days = 2.4 mouse generations

Therefore, Terminal Phase E the last conception (and de facto inevitable extinction) was 816 days after breeding commenced = 5.4 mouse generations.

Human generations are conventionally 25 years, although these have slowed to about 30 years in Western countries in the past several decades - but let us therefore give two values - one for 25 year, and the other for 30 year human generations.

If we start at 1850 as the date when the Industrial Revolution seems to have become certainly established and child mortality rates began to drop rapidly (from more than 60 percent to about 1 percent), and start counting generations from that point, and if humans were made like mice (which they are not!)...

We would then predict that human population growth phase (B & C) would last three generations up to 1925-1940

And the stagnation phase (D) for another 2.4 generations - with 5.4 human generations taking us up to 1985-2012.

Well, clearly English people did not stop conceiving four years ago, because babies are still being born to native English - albeit not at a high rate!

I have guesstimated above that the English situation was that the slower growth Phase C began in about 1920 (not about 1880) and the plateau phase began in about 1970) not 1930-ish

So maybe England is lagged about 40 years (or about 1.5 generations) behind Mouse Utopia , because 1. we are not mice, and 2. our mouse utopia emerged only incrementally – moving from the upper to the lower classes; and was probably not complete until about 1950.

So we do not need to worry about mutational meltdown and de facto extinction (i.e. the final English child of English-descended parents being conceived) for, oh, another thirty or forty years!...

Longevity versus fitness

In the late phases of the mouse utopia experiment the birth rate dwindled to zero - but there was a plateau phase when the population numbers remained approximately static because the fewer mice were being born but more mice were living to an extreme old age – a lifespan of four years and longer, which is considerably older than mice would expect to live in the wild.

Yet these mice were grossly abnormal, indeed pathological, in their behaviour. - in particular suffering what might be termed psychiatric abnormalities that impaired social interaction (and reproduction) including a strange narcissism in some male mice (the 'beautiful ones') which looked like superb physical specimens but did not mate.

So we find on the one hand a combination of evidence of cumulative disease, initially manifested in the realm of behaviour - yet on the other hand an ageing population with some animals having a very long life span.

My interpretation is that an increasing average lifespan cannot be interpreted as improving fitness - indeed increasing lifespan is compatible with a severe reduction in functional behaviour; especially when functionality is defined 'biologically' in terms of reproductive success (having sufficient viable offspring to maintain population numbers, and potentially amplify the population when conditions permit).

In Britain in recent decades there has been a large increase in average lifespan (among the native population), including several-fold increases in the length of survival of many groups of ill people. For example, elderly people with moderate to severe dementia may now live for many years, whereas thirty or forty years ago such a diagnosis was regarded as being rapidly fatal within months and less than two years. (And taking into account that modern English average life expectancy is about 80 years – an age at which about 20 percent of people have measurable dementia).

There is no doubt that modern people have been, and are being, misled by the increase in lifespan - and superficial appearances of youthfulness - into assuming that population health is improving; when in biological terms what matters is the ability to survive and reproduce under given conditions. Only if modern people - in particular those of reproductive and productive age - were put into the same kind of harsh, high mortality-rate environment that people of the past lived-in, would we know whether they really do have better functionality.

For example, in hunter gatherer societies those who lack mobility will, sooner or later, necessarily be left to die. In agricultural societies, the struggle for survival was extremely severe and the shortage of food, poor housing, and high prevalence of severe infectious diseases meant that the mortality rate among the elderly was much higher.

But modern societies shelter pretty much everybody from exposure to extreme heat or cold, dehydration, starvation, epidemic infectious disease and violence; plus there are several life-extending treatments of chronic medical conditions (such as high blood pressure) which would soon cripple or kill without continued medication and management.

Therefore, many people of much-reduced functionality who would been unable to survive in historical societies, are currently kept alive for many extra decades in modern societies - with all appearances of reasonably good health... except for behavioural pathologies and sub-fertility.

My point is that modern people may be much less biologically fit than they think they are; and that if societal conditions reverted towards those of historical agrarian societies, or hunter gatherer conditions, their low fitness and inability to survive would become very obvious.

Perhaps the increasingly elderly individuals of the terminal phase of mouse utopia may have congratulated themselves on the success of the experiment, and that mice had attained a more comfortable and compassionate level of social organization than in any previous society.

And then they died out; every last one of them.

Nonetheless, I draw the following lessons.

1. Assuming the decline and extinction of mouse utopia was due to mutation accumulation leading to mutational meltdown - then it happened very quickly indeed: only 5.4 mouse generations to the final conception, with half of that being stagnation.

2. The decline in rate of population increase after only 1.3m mouse generations suggests that the effect of relaxed natural selection and mutation accumulation leads to genetic damage immediately, in the very first generation.

3. Although humans (maturing over 14 years and with a natural life expectancy about 70 years) are built to last longer than mice (maturing over 4 months and living about 2 years) - this may mean that humans are actually more vulnerable to mutation accumulation - because we have a more prolonged and multi-phasic development and depend on extremely-complex brains supporting extremely complex behaviours; which depend on many genes to create and to sustain. Complex social and sexual adaptations are, in other words, large mutational targets – susceptible to damage from many mutations.

4. In mouse utopia, the mouse environment, shelter, food, hygiene etc were all managed by humans - and did not depend on the mice doing anything much for themselves except eat, sleep, fight, groom and reproduce (until they altogether lost interest in sex) - but humans depend on other humans for survival. But when the human population is damaged from mutation accumulation, there will be no external experimenters to ‘look after’ the increasingly-dysfunctional humans – and this will tend to destroy the 'utopian' environment. In other words, there will be a combination of an increasingly dependent population with a reducingly-capable population.

If this destruction is severe enough and comes early enough- then mutational meltdown will be avoided; because harsher natural selection (from the less capable ‘caring’ population) will purge the mutationally-loaded population to prevent it from breeding (and worsening the problem). But if there is a generational lag - and utopia is maintained for sufficiently long that further mutational damage to younger generations continues to accumulate rapidly - then this will hasten the meltdown and extinction; because by the time utopia comes to an end, the younger generations will be unfit to survive the harsher conditions which are the best they can themselves manage.

That is, the younger generations will become too unfit even to care for themselves at a bare minimum level while also being able to reproduce with genetically-viable offspring, and to raise them to independence – at which point extinction is inevitable. The ‘plateau’ phase is when a generation is born that can just-about keep itself alive and functioning, but not able raise any of its (even less-fit) offspring. Eventually, a generation is born that is not even capable to sustaining itself, and the die-off will then be very rapid.

What signs should we look for in monitoring mutation accumulation?

The first signs of mutation accumulation would probably be de-differentiation/ loss of adaptations - especially in social and sexual functioning. These would affect general intelligence 'g' (because g is a fitness measure), and adaptive social and sexual functioning (because these are subtle/ advanced adaptations which are damaged by even slight illness, intoxication, and functional or structural brain impairments).

I think evidence consistent with both lowered intelligence and also impaired adaptive social functioning can be observed in the report of Mouse Utopia. The reduced fertility in Mouse Utopia is perhaps also related to impaired drive/ motivation - as well as ineffective drive/ motivation (due to loss of functional adaptations).

I general, I think loss of adaptive functionality is what should be looked-for with mutation accumulation (i.e. adaptive behaviours knocked-out or damaged or distorted) as the first and most sensitive changes; rather than weird new behaviours. Specifically:

1. The social domain - first subtle, then gross impairments of adaptive social interactions

2. The sexual domain - first subtle, then gross impairments of adaptive sexual interactions

...bearing in mind that 'adaptive' means tending to enhance reproductive success.

I suggest social and sexual functioning, since these are the areas which I think are the most sensitive to brain impairments; at least that seems to be the situation in neurological and psychiatric disease.

My observation has been that when there is almost any significant degree of neurological or psychiatric disease, even the slightest; social and sexual domain functioning can usually be detected as having been impaired, by those who best knew the patient before he suffered illness.

Psychiatric aspects of Mouse Utopia

In The Narrow Roads of Gene Land Volume 2, the great evolutionary theorist WD Hamilton partially described that world in a chapter entitled The Hospitals are coming, and that is perhaps a good starting point - the idea that everyone will be damaged and most will be sick, in one way or another; so that life will resemble a hospital in which (some of) the less-sick (or the damaged but not-yet sick) tend the more-sick, as best they may - in intervals between doing whatever it takes to stay alive.

This is not by any means an unusual or unprecedented situation for humans through much of the history of the species. For much of the time, Malthusian mechanisms have been in force, and populations have been limited by various combinations of starvation and infectious disease. Infections - in particular - have sometimes been endemic at a high prevalence, so that the majority or even all of the population might be suffering from, be affected by, some chronic parasitic disease (malaria and bilharzia are examples) - but at a relatively low degree of severity.

And with respect to the Mouse Utopia society being a Hospital, it is important to recognize that much of the pathology will be psychiatric rather than physical - this can be seen from the fact that the problems of the original Mouse Utopia were most behavioural rather than physical; and it follows from the fact that the highly complex human brain is exceptionally sensitive to random mutational damage.

Intelligence is probably damaged by mutation accumulation in an incremental and quantitative fashion - the more mutations, the more the lowering of intelligence. Therefore, decline of intelligence as mutations accumulate is likely to be relative smooth (rather than step-like). But intelligence is 'general' intelligence, and is unusual in being a general attribute of cognitive function – probably sustained by small effects of a large number of individual genes. By contrast, most psychological functions are specific; and genetic damage is likely to be more qualitative and either step-like, or all-or-nothing.

What I think would happen, is that accumulating mutation damage would most likely show-up as varieties of specific brain functional damage leading to a wide range of specific behavioural impairments of a social and sexual type (differing between individuals due to random mutations striking unpredictably at a wide range of individual genes) - in a context of progressively declining intelligence.

The kind of damage I am talking about represents a decline in ‘fitness’ – ie. a decline in the functional adaptation of the human organism to its environment (its sexual, social and surrounding environment): a loss of effective functionality. This represents a decline in absolute fitness, but not just relative fitness. It is a also a decline in group fitness - ultimately in species fitness.

If fitness is measured in terms of the capacity to raise sufficient viable offspring in a given environment; then the sexual and social changes induced by mutation accumulation will be such as to reduce the probability of doing this: partly by damage causing reduced brain processing speed and efficiency (detectable as reduced intelligence) and partly by damage causing specific functional impairments (detectable as sexual and social pathologies).

These impairments would presumably include a decline in motivation – reduced motivation to engage in effective reproductive behaviours, reduced interest in sex liable to lead to reproduction, reduced motivation to procreate, to care for and rear children etc. There is certainly abundant evidence of such changes in modern developed societies, such as England.

In sum, in a broad-brush interpretation of the evidence, it looks very much as if England specifically, and all other developed nations to a greater or lesser extent, are recapitulating the Phases of Mouse Utopia – leading towards extinction, or something close to it.


Acknowledgements: It was Michael A Woodley of Menie who informed me of the Mouse Utopia experiment, and made the interpretation of its outcome in terms of mutation accumulation.

See also: