Sunday 31 January 2016

Because human sexual selection is parental - individual sexual preferences (charming, good-looking, sexy and fun) may be compensatory

Since it seems that parental choice is dominant in choosing marriage partners in nearly all societies organised on traditional lines:

This suggests that sexual selection operates substantially via parental choice. In other words, sexually selected traits would be expected to have evolved to appeal to parent-in-law primarily - rather than to the prospective sexual partner.

This model seems to account for many of the major trait differences between men and women - and accounts for the poor choices of marriage partner made by so many modern individuals: unaided individual people often make bad partner choices because humans are not 'designed' (by natural selection) to choose their own marriage partners.

(i.e. People make bad choices because they lack the instincts to make good ones.) 

Indeed, the model may also explain the nature of the bad choices typically made.

Parental choice would be expected to give most weight to 'sensible' criteria such as a man's economic prospects, a woman's youth and health, family background and so forth; but would tend relatively to neglect individual, personal qualities such as being charming, good-looking, sexy and fun-to-be-with.

Parental choice alone would often lead to dull spouses. 

In a system of parental choice - where all individual choices of spouse operate withing a 'field' of pre-approved candidates; it might therefore be expected that the individual woman and man would tend to focus on exactly these compensatory aspects. In other words, individual choice would tend to pick the most charming, good-looking, sexy and fun of the possible, parentally-chosen, candidates.

This would work pretty well, with the parents choosing potential spouses of solid, grand-children-rearing quality; and the individual husband and wife being able to pick the one who is most enjoyable to be with.

But take away the framework of parental choice, as we have in the modern West, and leave choice purely to individuals and you get... well, exactly the kind of sexual choices which people make in the modern West; where they go for the most charming, good-looking, sexy and fun-to-be-with of available people, regardless of who is a sensible, solid choice of child-rearing partner. 

What are the main reasons so many people are now living beyond their natural biological lifespan?

These are some guesses:

1. Antibiotics

These are now used so routinely that we forget they are life-extending treatments. In the past, many people, throughout life but especially in old age, were carried off by overwhelming infections - especially pneumonia, but also things like cellulitis (skin infections), septicaemia (blood infections). These are now unthinkingly nipped in the bud by antibiotics, with the result that people survive to get the various types of dementia.

2. Starvation

Many old people lose their appetites and would not spontaneously feed themselves adequately - they would naturally waste away to the point of being easily carried off by any unusual physiological stressor. Nowadays there is a combination of ready prepared food, food brought to the elderly, and food being put in front of old people and them being encouraged to eat.

3. Warmth

Cold stress means that core temperature must be maintained by increased metabolism and shivering - further exacerbating the problem of self-starvation and rendering individuals vulnerable to any further stress like an infection. Nowadays central heating is normal, and houses are kept well above outdoor temperatures.

4. Trauma

Even nowadays, an elderly person's life is often terminated by a fall and broken hip or other bone (alternatively, they may be saved but dementia becomes evident from that point - perhaps due to anaesthetic and drug effects). In the past these would not have been treated effectively and would have accounted for more.

In nomadic hunter gatherer conditions, seventy years seems to be about the limit of lifespan for most people. In agricultural conditions this was extended in some people who were looked-after in sedentary (stationary) societies - and who were prevented from injuring themselves and protected from infections.

Nowadays, many more people in the developed countries are kept alive by the above means - plus others including resuscitation and life-support, intensive therapy, advanced vascular surgery (including heart surgery) and life-extending drugs and surgery.

It is striking that even in the early 1980s, sixty was the maximum age limit for the (cutting edge) coronary care unit which I used to cover on-call - nowadays people routinely get heart and vascular surgery up into their eighties (plus 'heroic' cancer resections and chemo/ radio-therapy), even when they already have dementia. (And such treatments themselves often induce dementia - although this is seldom admitted, noticed or remarked)

It is in this context of routine and unreflective life-extension far beyond the natural lifespan and regardless of 'quality of life' (because all this life-extension now regarded as a 'human right') that the intellectual elites of the UK are pushing and pushing for a system of humane murder by medical means.

I saw an advertisment that an example of this is going to be televised by the BBC, as part of the propaganda for... What is the catchphrase? Ah yes... dignified death.

Saturday 30 January 2016

Colin Wilson's role in preparing for publication Arkle's Geography of Consciousness

Pity and horror as weapons of evil

Any virtue become a vice when pursued in isolation - and the virtue of pity has surely been exploited to the hilt in this fashion.Likewise horror - evoked by the horrible things of the world.

These are standard weapons for the mass media, politics, government, artists, educators and those who seek to manipulate and corrupt us to their own nihilistic agenda.

Unbounded pity is evoked (usually with an implicit threat against those who fail to go along with it); horror is shown or created with the (again totalizing) intention that it cancels, makes a mockery of, any claims of goodness anywhere.

By the power of depiction, aided by the power of imgination, pity and terror are induced and enhanced to stun, transfix and thereby divert or dissipate any attempt at understanding - any attempt at the virtue of prudence which balances virtues and vices - any attempt to attain the comprehension of order and achieve the greatest Goodness.

Thus the prevalence of that special evil of despair - a sin which does no good, but merely evokes even-more pity and horror.

Friday 29 January 2016

Double-repentance and beyond...

The power of Christian repentance is unbounded.

If we sin, we should repent. If we cannot undertake not to commit that sin again, then we should repent that failure too (double-repentance).

If we sin, and we cannot resolve not to commit that sin again, and we cannot even find the resolution to want not-to commit that sin again - then we should repent that failure too (triple-repentance).

There is no limit to this - it is all possible, and indeed all necessary if we are to be clear about the nature of sin and of our personal failure.

But this is not paradoxical, complex, weird nor even difficult: the rule is that we simply repent every sin - everyone can do this, can do it now; and nobody is excluded by any personal deficiency.

It is a great gift - for by it any person can clear-the-decks, shrug-off paralysis and despair; enjoy the assured hope of salvation; and embark on the adventure of being a Chrstian as best they may.

(And with all kinds of divine helps and aids coming to awareness, that were unseen before - which may well lead to unexpected successes.)  

Why do the Left win every public dispute? Because they have an irresistible argument

It does not matter what argument Christians use to defend themselves - none of them work. Rationality is suspended, evidence deemed irrelevant, the outcome pre-determined.

The argument by which the Left win every battle is simple and single:

God is dead and everything is permitted. 


This fact was first noted by Dostoevsky, a long time ago.

The assumption in all modern public discourse is that God is dead - God is not a reason for anything.

And the, correct, inference is that therefore - in an ultimate and bottom-line sense - everything is permitted. 


Because God is dead in the West, and in particular in the public domain - the arena of general discourse; therefore everything is permitted, nothing is forbidden.

Because everything is permitted and nothing is forbidden, there is no reason to do or not do, allow or not allow, tolerate or coerce - and this is precisely the backdrop of assumptions which makes a trend to Leftism inevitable.

Even on the few and rare occasions when Christianity beats secular Leftism, it does so using secular Leftist arguments such as free speech, religious freedom, human rights, diminution of suffering, emotional manipulations, legalism and loopholes... and every such victory strengthens the principle that that is how public disputes ought to be settled. The exclusion of Christianity from the public arena is further solidified.


This brings clarity.

Tactics are doomed - so, focus on strategy.

Don't waste time finding the perfect argument - it doesn't matter, may do more harm than good.

Strength of personal faith and life, conversion of the nation - Christian priorities are the essentials, and they must also be the priority.

The Genius Famine, my new book, is now published

Edward Dutton & Bruce G Charlton. The Genius Famine: Why we need geniuses, Why they're dying out, Why we must rescue them. University of Buckingham Press: Buckingham, England. 2016
- Kindle edition £2.02:
- Paperback edition £12.99:
- Kindle edition $2.88:
- Paperback edition $15.52:

Thursday 28 January 2016

What is *especially* sinful about the sexual revolution?

Advocates of the sexual revolution often point out that most mainstream sexual sins are not all that sinful in the larger scheme of things.

They are right.

Why, then, are sexual sins (those advocated by the sexual revolution) perhaps the largest underlying problem in the West, and sexual sins are primarily responsible for the catastrophic decline and (near-) death of Western Christianity?

Firstly, because sexual sins are so popular - unlike murder, many people want to do them (or, at least, be able to take the chance of doing them, if the opportunity arises).

But secondly - and far more importantly - because sexual sins are not repented.

Sexual sins are not repented in our culture, because people have come to deny that they are sins at all. You cannot repent a sin if or when you deny it is a sin.

From arguing, correctly, that these are not necessarily very big sins, people have concluded that sexual sins are not sins at all - therefore they do not need repenting.

Indeed, many self-identified Christians have begun (usually indirectly, sometimes explicitly) promoting sexual sins - as if they were virtues; for example they criticize or punish people who recognize that sexual sins are sins.

(This pattern is altogether typical of unrepented sin - it leads on to moral inversion.)

Repentance wipes us clean of sin - that is the gift of Christ's atonement. But failure to repent is what chains us to hell, because it entails a deliberate rejection of God's order.

It is not by committing some spectacular sin, but rather clinging to a 'minor' sin that is probably the main cause of (self-) damnation.

(CS Lewis portrays this convincingly in The Great Divorce - where souls in Hell are shown Heaven, and offered the chance to dwell there - but at the price of repenting their favourite, habitual, 'minor' sin; the sin around which they have organized their lives: Most choose to stick with their sin and stay in hell.)

We are safe from sin if we know and acknowledge sin; repent and repent again. 

We may not reform our behaviour, we will very probably continue to be sinners of the same type to a greater or lesser extent; but sin cannot get a grip on us. Salvation is assured.

But unrepented sin - even one, no matter how relatively minor it may be - can, and often does, take hold and tighten its grip, until we are altogether pulled-down by it.

Wednesday 27 January 2016

Superstitious fear of nemesis thwarts joy and hope - Colin Wilson, William Arkle and optimism

The superstitious attitude assumes that there is some cunning and perverted consciousness presiding over all our acts and, if we fail to keep to the special and secret rules, this presiding entity causes unpleasant things to happen to us and our loved ones.

From 'Justice' in William Arkle's Geography of Consciousness (1974).

This above passage struck home hard with me, and I have returned to it often; since it describes a besetting problem of mine - which is that I fear to speak explicitly and honestly about my happiness and hope, or my appreciation of the goodness of things, for fear that this will be seen as arrogance (hubris) and will attract retribution form some kind of 'cunning and perverted consciousness' - that I will be punished for my presumption - I and those I love will suffer the nemesis of the gods.

This attitude runs deep: very deep.

I seem to worry that displaying a sunny and optimistic aspect will attract cosmic schadenfreude, and will get me noticed and singled-out for humiliation and degradation and torment -- that I will be like a butterfly broken on a wheel - and the wheel could be any one (or more than one) of so many hazards and horrors of the world.

Yet this fear-full, dread-full, superstitious attitude may itself be one of the major hazards in the world. If (as I believe) the world is alive and responsive to our attitudes - full of sentient entities, many benign; then this attitude of suspicion and supplication cannot fail to bring out the worst in our environment.

Of course, nobody wants to be 'taken for granted' - but on the other hand we want our good intentions to be appreciated - and if despite we are treated as cunning, perverted, hostile; if we are treated as an implacable foe looking for any excuse to inflict harm - then we are likely to be wounded and dismayed even if we are the most virtuous of entities, and be irritated and angered and proviked if we are neutral.

I have therefore come to recognize a great courage in explicit declarations of joy and hope.

Our culture tends to admire the cynic, the pessimist, the hard-boiled, slyly-corrupt hedonist - the anti-hero. But I feel that the greatest Christian hero is the one who really believes in the goodness and love of God such that full value is accorded to those moment of joy, hope, beauty and inspiration which come our way.

It was a subject that Colin Wilson worked-through over many decades: the difficulty of being an overall-and-in-the-end optimist in a culture which regards pessimism, nihilism and assertions of the meaninglessness and purposelessness of life as being deeper and truer. Wilson got himself called naive, childish, shallow, insensitive - but he was right; and he was braver than his critics.

William Arkle took this optimism even further such that he started even Wilson (the two men were friends). Arkle had been in war, he knew about the harsh, tough and terrible things of life; but he would not allow himself to be deflected from his deepest convictions that this is a benign world, set up by loving Heavenly parents; that we are surrounded by helpers; and that in the end, so long as we strive and stay true, so long as we don't succumb to bitterness and despair, we will be given a prize, a situation, a world more wonderful in its scope and nature than our sweetest dreams.

The attitude to Pride divides the Christian perspective from others

Lots of people know that for Christians Pride is the worst sin. This is distinctive to Christianity - where it has a particular meaning of rejecting the authority of God, the validity of God's creation, the Goodness of God.

If you don't understand Pride, or disagree with it being a sin, then you aren't a Christian.

(Of course, you may simply disagree about whether a particular thing is an instance of Pride and therefore a sin. But a Christian cannot deny that Pride is indeed a sin. 

But you don't need to live consistently without Pride! Christianity is about 1. acknowledging that Pride is a sin, and 2. repentance of the sin of Pride in oneself when it happens; Christianity is not conditional on the (impossible?) achievement of living entirely without Pride. (Christ came to save sinners, not perfect men.)

Some sins are almost universal, shared between religions and no religion, and seem 'natural' - but Pride is not one of these. Pride is distinctive to Christianity, and that Pride is a sin is known as a consequence of Christian revelation - it is not a product of instinct nor a result of logical analysis.

This is a living, active dispute. Many campaigns and organizations are structured around the goal of stimulating and sustaining Pride in some group of persons. Typically, they will officially define Pride in non-sinful terms such as 'self-respect', or 'love for' or loyalty; but equally typically they will sooner or later advocate sinful Pride - including the subversion, rejection or inversion of the Christian understanding of other sins.

The sin of Pride usually leads swiftly onto resentment and hatred - and this is a reliable way of detecting sinful Pride, and discriminating it from benign or neutral self-respect, love or loyalty. Non-Christians often argue that Pride is necessary - and indeed it does seem to be psychologically necessary to non-Christians, or at least mostly-so.

Most religions regard Pride as a good thing, not a sin - so long as it has the appropriate subject matter. For modern atheist/ agnostics, Pride may be the core of their being, the thing that keeps them motivated and active.

I would say that this was largely the case for my pre-Christian self: that Pride was what enabled me to stand against the social consensus, what gave me strength to do my thing. Pride was the fuel and Pride provided my direction: thus I would not have been willing to agree that Pride was a sin, and certainly not the worst sin. 

This is perfectly understandable and maybe inevitable - if you are not a Christian. 

So, the attitude to Pride is indeed a cleavage line between Christians and non-Christians. Pride can only be seen as the evil it is, when a person acknowledges that the values of the universe do not arise from himself - but are established by our Heavenly Father who is 1. the creator, 2. Good, and who 3. loves us - we being his children.

So the prevailing 'rules and laws', the order of the universe... this is not arbitrary, nor does it come from ourselves - these things are true, objective, external (even when our knowledge of them is imprecise and prone to error) - and the 'set-up' of creation is essentially benign and made for our ultimate benefit (individually and as mankind).

Because God is the creator, Good and our Father - God has legitimate authority over us. Or, to put it another way, since God created order - there is no ordered Good except within God's creation. If we reject God, then we, Pridefully, are setting ourselves up as a rival God - yet we have no created order to dwell within. Our position is therefore oppositional to the created, ordered Good.

Or else, insofar as it is not merely oppositional, in Pride we come to dwell in a microscopic subjective universe of our own self-will - perhaps trying to persuade others to subordinate themselves to our subjective micro-universe. We make ourselves God of a tiny world where nothing has created by us, but only co-opted from God's universe and subjected to our personal interpretation.

This Pride-full, micro-subjective universe situation is not impossible, it is not even irrational - but it is anti-God, anti-Christian, a self-exile outwith the bounds of Christianity.

Christians call it Hell - it is in fact plural: a group of multiple mutually-self-isolated mini Hells - but clearly some people prefer it and choose it. That choice is the consequence of ultimate Pride. 

Pride is a rejection of the basic fact that our shared reality comes from our Christian God - and the demand to define reality from within ourselves - which is why it is incompatible with Christianity. 

Tuesday 26 January 2016

Tough minded about Christian idealism

It takes a special kind of tough mindedness to be idealistically focused on spiritual priorities, when we are all vulnerable to shroud-waving of one sort or another.

When the need for Christian conversion, evangelism, revival comes up, there will pretty soon be something about dealing with the real problems, or the implication that this is all escapist stuff, some kind of luxury, which nowadays (with all our problems) we cannot afford.

Yet the reality is that when the chips are down and life is on the line, that is exactly when religion is most wanted, needed and powerful. IN the past when life was harder, in parts of the world where life is hardest, at times of life when life is realist and most existentially focused (childhood and old age)  - these are precisely the times when spiritual matters press upon us.

Then the argument switches to religion being merely a kind of desperate clinging by vulnerable people under stress - grasping at straws... Not a test of realism and hard-headedness when people are suffering - suddenly, only cool, detached comfortable people are (apparently) able to judge the importance of stuff...

Well - which is it?

The threat of disaster is a diabolical distraction - spiritual matters must come first and be the focus

The problem of modernity is spiritual; Not therefore material.

In The West we have had, for six or seven decades, unprecedented peace, prosperity, abundance, comfort, convenience, security, fun, stimulation, pain-less-ness.

The intention was that this would free us to achieve higher spiritual goals. However, we have instead used this unique opportunity utterly to reject spiritual goals - and to seek for more material stuff for ourselves - and (as a sop to our guilt at failing even to try and do what we know we ought to do) - focusing on those areas of insufficiency (whether the increasingly rare situation of absolute material deprivation, or by inventing the modern concept of relative material deprivation - aka the sin of envy).

The need, now, as for many decades, is for spiritual renewal. That is the need. That is what we ought to do.

The threat, or imminence, of material disaster - collapse or whatever - is a distraction. Even if it is 100 percent true, it is a distraction.

Past societies had war, starvation, epidemics, rampant cruelties and yet they were focused on spirituality. They often indeed, achieved astonishingly high level of spirituality; despite material sufferings beyond our experience, beyond our imaginations perhaps.

Therefore; the stupidest thing we can do now is to say and believe things like: "First secure the borders, then we can focus on spiritual matters"; "First stop the war, and then we can focus on spirit", "First feed the hungry, then spiritual development".

No, no, no! Stupid, stupid, stupid!

First sort out your desperate spiritual state (your lack of purpose, the meaning-less-ness, the alienation and existential loneliness etc.), and address the same in Western in society.

We must, must, must have Christian revival, in ourselves and enough others - and then (and only then)... we should try to do whatever is your strategic material priority.

All the material problems, the incipient disasters and credible threats of collapse, have their origin in our spiritual state - that is precisely why that have not already been sorted out.

These material problems never will be sorted out, they really won't, not until the spiritual side is first sorted out; and if the gross spiritual deficit is not filled then there will be neither purpose, motivation not insight to sort anything out - just more or the same chasing after a perfection of materialism.

That we can do the material stuff first is a delusion, a deadly snare - diabolically inspired:

That is what 'they' want you to believe!

The reality, the lesson of history, it that spiritual values should always come first - in war and peace, in poverty and prosperity, in suffering and in comfort; and only when a solid spiritual base is in place can the secondary material priorities come to the fore - and (sometimes) actually get done. 

NOTE: One major significance of the above analysis is that the secular Right, which focuses on common sense, tough-minded material solutions to urgent problems, as the priorities; is (whether deliberately, or unintentionally) sustaining and strengthening the major, dominant, lethal flaw of modern society.

Anonymous or Pseudonymous blog posting and commenting - the examples of Good religious founders versus Secret Combinations

I understand that there are many people who cannot publish blog posts and comments under their own names - for example, this may be forbidden by their terms of employment (this was traditionally the case in the British civil service).

However, this lack of personal identification does have consequences; and does place extra limitations on what can legitimately be said, advocated or urged online - especially in a context where the writer is (usually implicitly) taking a 'leadership' role.

In sum, the sub-text of much online publishing is no so much 'this is my opinion' but 'this ought to be your opinion, and you should do X about it'.

Beyond this, a fair bit of online discourse is trying to build a 'movement' - but a movement in which the identity of the leaders is unknown. 

I am struck that the example I know of good leadership from Christians in the past, by Christians who have built something good; is that their identities were not in doubt; indeed they displayed great courage in being known.

By contrast, it is characteristic of those evil persons and organizations that the Book of Mormon calls Secret Combinations - that they are, well, secret!  The organizations and their personnel are secret because it makes them more effective at their evil; secrecy enables them better to engage in work of infiltration, subversion, and destruction (and to evade responsibility for these actions).

So it is the wicked organizations that have secret identities - by and large.

And perhaps one triumph of an evil government is when good people and good organizations are channelled or compelled or intimidated into taking-on the mantle of secrecy -- because perhaps when good people do enter into Secret Combinations, the chances are that what starts-out as good will not for long remain good.

The temptations deriving from secrecy may prove too strong for them to resist.

Monday 25 January 2016

Communicating the spiritual, the mystical - Master to apprentice

The question of whether it is possible to communicate mystical (imaginative) experience is generally misunderstood.

I don't think it is any more difficult to communicate mystically-derived experiences than any other kind of deep, difficult, or unfamiliar experience - in that there are significant constraints to it, but it certainly can be done, and has been done almost as a matter of routine at some times and places.

The main constraints are motivation and time, although some minimum level of intellectual ability is also required.

If the person intending to receive a communication concerning spiritual or mystical matters is poorly motivated, and will not devote time and effort to understanding - then he will not understand.

But this equally applies to any kind of high level or difficult communication - a scientific or philosophical concept, music theory, aspects of language... mathematics even (mathematics is as objective and public as any knowledge - but very few make the effort to understand it - which includes solving strings of problems, to ensure that the understanding is real).

Of course, the communicator may also need to make considerable efforts to ensure that what he says or writes is clear accurate, well structured - and some don't have this ability - but most people can communicate what they know, given sufficient time and motivation on both sides.

It was by this means that mystical knowledge, spiritual experience, has been communicated in the past - for example by Holy Men of many types. The system is apprenticeship - that is, prolonged and close contact between Master and apprentice, in a wide range of situations - that Master knowing, and wishing to transmit that knowledge; that apprentice wishing to learn.

This works, this is effective; and has been the basis of spiritual traditions in Christianity (especially the Eastern Orthodox church, also among Western Catholics), as well as the various Buddhist Hindu traditions.

It is only since apprenticeship, and especially spiritual apprenticeship, has broken-down and all-but died-out in the West that people have developed the idea that mystical knowledge is untransmissible.

But to claim that spiritual/ mystical knowedge is incommunicable is like someone of modest intellectual ability claiming that the subject of mathematics is untransmissible; because he cannot be bothered to dedicate much time or make much effort in that direction and, anyway, he does not know of any mathematicians who might teach him.

When the apprenticeship tradition is dead or broken (as ours is), then individuals who want to learn spiritual and mystical knowledge have to make even greater efforts to find out and learn for themselves than would have been the case in the past.

It is possible, but it does take a lot of time and effort - much like learning mathematics from books but without a teacher.

Sunday 24 January 2016

Self-hatred evident in self-displacement

The truly staggering behaviours of modernity go unremarked.

That decent well-meaning people can find nothing they regard to be valuable to do with their lives in their own country and culture (which they say they favour), and their bureaucratic and mass media saturated environment (which they always end-up supporting); and so they feel compelled to travel thousands of miles in search of real poverty abroad (clearly not really believing the propaganda that the West is full of material poverty) so as to find something they regard as 'worthwhile' to do.

And all the time this supports the idea that real important poverty is material, and the spiritual famine and mass mental deaths from religious starvation in the West is not really real or significant. 

And these same people who - if they don't exactly approve, can think of no compelling reason why their own nations should not obliterate itself by mass and indiscriminate immigration. Perhaps aiming at a kind of moral leverage by which 'people' (their own people, their own families and children - if they have any) will be forced to change their ways by the tide of alien and demeaning humanity; and will be coerced to act altruistically in giving up land, housing, resources, jobs, tax money, time and effort to support this self- displacement.

Presumably they think unilateral state extraction and compulsion is and will be good for people?

How worthless do people feel, how worthless do they regard their own society as revealed by their actions and inactions! - Yet how tenaciously they cling to their ideology: their mushy, leftististic, democratic, feministic, diversitistic slop - a systemic poison - so deep, so pervasive as to be ineradicable by any external agent.

How solidly they resist their own ancestral religion - such that the only fixed cultural conviction is 'Anything - any-thing at all! But Not Christ! Anything but Him.'

People seem willing to do anything to go along with anything - but not to examine and change their fundamental beliefs - somehow, in a world of palpable change, the fundamental nonsense they base their lives on is regarded as sacred.

Sometimes there are so many bad choices that they become mutually self-reinforcing. Clear, simple opportunities and possibilities for change and repentance come along, from time to time; but are rejected using complex and tendentious arguments based on a deep and self-aggressive suspicion.

Read Tolkien's legend of the rise and downfall of Numenor, and you will see the whole thing set out, the whole process of lies built on lies; corruption feeding on corruption, evil and incoherent hopes fuelled by self hatred - and its end. The facts are different, the shape is the same.


The conclusion of all this is that people are making really massive and counter-productive errors in terms of deploying their effort - and directing everything at manipulating their external environment as if that was going to address their main problem: which is the meaninglessness, purposelessness and disconnection of their lives.

What they need to do is seek genuine connection (with people and with things) and deep motivation - and this can only come from purpose: and that purpose must be spiritual not material.

To find this requires an opening of the heart - an opening of channels of communication now kept firmly sealed; and this requires a recognition that their own most fundamental assumptions are wrong: very wrong indeed. The facts of the world can always be disputed - but the evidence of spiritual malaise ought to be clear because personally experienced.

In trying to help this situation - there must always be a positivity - an imaginative depiction of a better state - which is better in the necessary ways.

It is NO USE AT ALL to depict and promise a world that is more comfortable, convenient, safe, peaceful,  prosperous, free, exciting and so on. These have been present in gross abundance (by world historical standards) and they are the backdrop to the current spiritual collapse.

Thus any form of Leftism and Secular ideology is irrelevant - whether it be mainstream political correctness, socialism, social democracy, communism,  libertarianism, conservatism, republicanism - or whether it be New Right/ Alt-Right/ Neoreaction/ or overt Fascism.

What we absolutely must have is extremely spiritual, romantic, imaginative - something that addresses the malaise in the deepest possible way, that taps into profound wellsprings of meaning and purpose, that offers the potential of reconnection in a way that goes beyond the normal channels of communication. 

I say 'offers' - whether such offers can actually be delivered is a second problem: but if such necessities are not at least on the table, then they will not be attempted and certainly will not happen by accident.

We need, spiritually, to shoot for the stars even if we must be prepared to settle for the moon - but we must at all costs escape being earth-bound and crushed; suffocated by our own clinging to our own pathetically mundane aspirations.

Friday 22 January 2016

First Fix your Fundamental BelieFs (Or: Facts won't save us. Or: No, Not the Red Pill)

This is the priority for the Mass Majority of Modern Men.

(OK, I'll quit the above annoying alliteration...)

One of the many problems with the Red Pill meme on the secular political Right is that facts won't save us - not even hate facts; because the problems lie much deeper than that.

The problem is that the way modern people structure reality is what keeps them trapped - and not the specific facts slotted into that framework.

People can be fed fact upon fact, but it makes no difference - since the facts just slot into their pre-allocated places among the fundamental beliefs - and in the end nothing changes (or, at any rate, not those things which need to change).

While a Christian revival is the priority - it is likely that this is not possible with the current set of mainstream fundamental beliefs. (Which, indeed, is exactly the ultimate reason why people hold these mainstream fundamental beliefs.)

And these beliefs are mostly unconscious - sheltering behind our (bad) habits of though which have been inculcated, reinforced and sustained by The System - public discourse, the mass media, mass education, the bureaucratic octopus...

So long as people continue to believe - deeply, reflexly, habitually and unconsciously - that we live in a dead and unconscious universe where everything that happens is either mechanically-caused or 'randomly' undirected - and 'just happened'; a universe which is going nowhere of relevance to humans, and has no meaning of relevance to humans; in which we know nothing and cannot really communicate with anybody or anything...

So long as this remains our 'bottom line' thought structure - then even Christianity can't make much of a difference, because it will be so partial and superficial as to be really just a form of words and social practice rather than a living and transforming and motivating faith.

An ingrained, habitual culture of intellectual dishonesty among the most 'successful' in academia

The world of academia in general, and medicine and science in particular, has been, for more than twenty years, increasing rapidly in corruption and dishonesty.

One of the ways this has been enforced by the bureaucracy is by requiring people to evaluate themselves, and rewarding and assuming that this self-evaluation will be hyped and distorted to exaggerate beyond all credible bounds an individual's contribution.

It is uncontroversial that most scientists make no discernible positive impact on their subject, and are utterly disposable in terms of their personal necessity. A by 'most' , I mean nearly-all (the proportion varying by filed between varying between about 99 and 100 percent).

So if Professor A had not discovered X; then Professors B, C, D or a score of others would certainly have done so within a few days, weeks or months.

Discriminating between non-significant and disposable scientists becomes merely a matter of quantitation - who has the most and most-cited publications, who gets the most research funding, who gets to chair the most committees and so on.

In effect, an insignificant academic or scientist who attracts a lot of attention, spends a lot of money and gets a lot of prestige and power is rewarded as if they had actually done something important, useful or humanly valuable. And nowadays such folk are encouraged - almost compelled - to pretend-claim that they actually have done many things that were important, useful and humanly valuable.

Yesterday I came across the following self-evaluation on the official web pages of a top-rated university, emanating from a typical mainstream, successful, productive, generally respected yet (ultimately) utterly disposable academic in the medical research field. And I wondered: to what extent does the person who wrote this stuff actually believe it? This parody of crude advertizing copy...

This kind of bullshit-boastful self-presentation is not at all extreme - is absolutely typical, un-exceptional, normal, mainstream for successful British academics over the past thirsty-odd years (since the advent of the government Research Assessment Exercise, which was solidly supported by the most prestigious and senior UK academics and the elite universities).

I have emphasized the points of exceptional dishonesty: 

During my research training I made seminal discoveries on the mechanisms of kinaesthesia, the control of isometric contraction by muscle afferents and the role of the central command to exercise in the regulation of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems; this work is still still frequently cited 30 years after publication.

I made a biochemical and behavioural analysis of serotonin function at novel receptors in the brain and how it is modified by antidepressants and lithium: this had a lasting impact on how to screen for new antidepressants.

Translating my pharmacological interests into man, I initiated pharmacological dissection
of the processing of facial expression of emotion and memory
. This may transform our understanding of how antidepressants work at a psychological level - by correcting unconscious biases in perception that are a key component of social cognition. This work has implications for how we should screen putative antidepressants in human volunteers and so potentially facilitate drug discovery early in Phase I development.

I have made fundamental observations on the functional and structural brain changes associated with severe depression. This has implications for how we should classify the disease. The findings in very chronic depression showed loss of tissue in hippocampus that correlated with memory impairment. This has supported a shift in drug development towards an interest in neurogenesis as a mechanism underlying the action of effective antidepressants and cognition as a target for remediation in depression.

Note: All this is being claimed for an area of research which has been essentially moribund for forty years - and where there have been no significant discoveries for even longer; where clinical practice has taken great strides backwards, and where the general intellectual quality of personnel and science is, and has long been, abysmal.

But then maybe, probably... almost certainly, these are two side of the same coin...


This species of dishonesty is deniable - indeed all statements can be (must be) 'proveable' in terms of some numerical index or another - in other words it is far more pervasive, ineradicable, expanding, deeply and dangerously misleading than made-up lies. 

To what extent is it merely 'playing the game'? To what extent is it evidence of a really deep corruption and loss of judgement? Or maybe there was no judgement to corrupt? Maybe successful scientists nowadays were never anything better than what they become?


Is this important? - Yes indeed; because it is a debasement of the currency of public discourse.

It is like economic hyper-inflation, where the value of money becomes a tiny fraction of its former level - rendering the currency useless as a communication of value.

In academic communication, including science and medicine, it is now impossible (and I mean that literally) to know the value of information and knowledge claims.

A statement might mean something, or it might mean nothing at all. If you try to discount for a certain degree of hype - then you will be punishing the most honest minority, and rewarding the most successfully dishonest con-artists.


The situation is much, much worse than most people imagine - because the level of hype is so hard to estimate, and is nearly always grossly under-estimated - and it has come from the top-down so is therefore (in practice) irresistible for anyone who wants to get anywhere.

This is a world of smoke and mirrors - and the only thing we can be sure of is that there is smoke and there are mirrors, and therefore people who make the smoke and deploy the mirrors.

But is there anything at all of worth hidden behind the smoke and mirrors? We just don't know, we can't see - but very probably not; or else why so much smoke, so many mirrors?

Thursday 21 January 2016

Evolution as a process of development (the metaphysics of ontogeny)

The metaphysics of everyday life - changing names and definitions changes existential reality

Metaphysics is everywhere, including the apparently small scale matter of names, and changing them.

Back in 1974 when I was a teenager, the English counties were 'reorganized'; boundaries were changed - and also names. This affected me since I was living in the northern part of Somerset, which was re-named Avon.

'Somerset' is from an Old English (Anglo Saxon) word which derives from the settlement Somerton probably meaning summer town - Somerset therefore perhaps refers to 'summer lands' - pasture used and inhabited during the dry season. Somerton was an important administrative centre, although now more like a village.

For local people the name was a link with Alfred the Great, who hid in the marshes of Somerset (leading to the legend of 'King Alfred and the cakes') before mounting his campaign against the Danish invaders, which eventually led to his rule as the greatest of English monarchs. The new boundary also also separated my part of the county from the ancient Christian centre of Glastonbury.

Local people were never happy with the Avon neologism, and eventually the name was changed back to North Somerset.

I can remember at the time that I was strongly against the name change, but those who made or accepted the change (which was, of course, unneccessary - as its later reversal made clear) would shrug and say 'It's just a name...' and I would be made to feel as if I was 'making a fuss about nothing...'

(It is strange, is it not, that objecting to the name changes and re-definitions proposed and implemented by managers and officials is said to be petty and trivial, yet changing and re-changing names is regarded as important and necessary? Surely it can't simultaneously be both? Yet funds are always made available to change names, while restoring them is seen as too expensive, 'a waste of money'.) 

But I was right, and they were wrong, because changing the name was a metaphysical redefinition on a small scale - it changed the structure of reality, and was therefore an act of existential aggression.

The Somerset name change altered reality in two main ways:

First, and most obviously, it erased the historical link represented by the name.

But the second was more profound - which was the implicit redefinition of reality by proceeding on the basis that Names Do Not Matter - that names are arbitrarily, contingently attached to things - and that therefore the world of language, discourse, communication is un-rooted and can be reshaped at will.

(It was therefore, in effect, taking the Nominalist side in the medieval Nominalist versus Realist metaphysical dispute.)

In a nutshell, the name change was - in its local, microcosmic, yet effective way - the imposition of a new set of metaphysical assumptions on the people in my area by the state bureaucracy.  It was, indeed, part of the same process going-on in many areas of life and continuing - because since then there have been multiple such changes in British life both driven by the state bureaucracy and by innumerable private and charity managerial bureaucracies throughout national and local life.

It happens all the time; changes of name, logo, mission statements, and the steady Leftward driving of all major institutions from their traditional self-understandings and functions (often rooted in Christianity) towards secular socio-politics. Indeed, in our managerial culture, this is what managers do - they rename, reorganise: redefine - and in doing so they assert the metaphysics that none of this matters, it is all superficial, and 'means nothing', and the people who disagree are being petty and trivial.

Metaphysics is everywhere - and metaphysical disputes are characterised by being about assumptions, not evidence. Name changes are about changing people's assumptions; and assumptions structure reality so that a name change of this kind will change (in some small or large way) what counts as evidence and how evidence is interpreted.

At the very least, to live in a society where a name of more than a thousand years is discarded by a group of 'modernising' officials, is to live in a society where people behave on the basis that they are - in fact - adrift from history and the common language: it is an act of rebellion against the past and a rejection of tradition: it is a change in self-conception.

The redefinition of Somerset was part of the exact same process and a step towards the recent metaphysical revolution - by which the redefinition and renaming process has been extended to sexual identity (being a man or woman), and marriage.

Again, this is metaphysics, because it is a two-fold restructuring of reality - entailing the assertion that names and definitions are in fact arbitrary, and disconnected from reality - and the process is, again, dishonest becauseit is simultaneousy said to be vitally necessary and yet somehow trivial and a mere matter of 'administrative convenience'.

So, we in the West have implemented perhaps the most profound metaphysical restructuring of existential reality in centuries - and yet the pretence is that this is a trivial matter: a mere tidying-up of a messy situation; and that those who object to the changes are (as usual) petty, vindictive, mindless reactionaries who are (yet again) 'making a fuss about nothing'...

Wednesday 20 January 2016

What do tranquillizers do? What does 'tranquillization' mean? (And which drugs are tranquillizers?)

Leg-spin bowling - rarest and best. But if best, why rare?

It was leg-spin bowling that got me into (armchair) cricket.

Summer of 1992 I was listening to Test Match Special on a car journal and became intrigued by the references to England playing a leg-spinner (the notorious Ian Salisbury) - and the fascination this seemed to have for the commentators. A year later, Shane Warne burst onto the international scene, and everybody was talking about leg-spin.

Leg-spin is the style of a right handed, slow-bowling wrist spinner whose usual delivery bounces to the left - therefore it bounces away-from a right handed batter. The delivery involves holding the ball with a large gap between ring and middle fingers, then spinning the ball by flipping the wrist forward with the back of the hand facing forward, and making it spin using the ring finger to rotate it.

This method of bowling has two great advantages. Firstly, it makes the ball spin more rapidly than any other method - which makes the ball swerve in the air, so the batter cannot easily predict where the ball will land - then jump-off the pitch at sharp angle to the line of delivery.

Secondly it makes possible other angles of bounce and swerve by angling the wrist differently, but in a way that is difficult for the batter to see. So a leg-spin bowler can usually bowl a top-spinner that bounces sharply but without an angle to the line of delivery, and a googly that bounces in the opposite direction to that expected - towards a right handed batter instead of away.

Indeed, there are even more 'variations' than these three - especially the flipper, which Shane Warne used to such devastating effect: this one is done by a snap of the middle finger and thumb to make the ball spin backwards but travel faster and flatter, bounce closer to the batter, and skid instead of bounce.

I hope I have given some idea of the fascination of this style of bowling, and its effectiveness. Indeed, many of the very greatest bowlers in cricketing history have been leg spinners.

What puzzled me - as a new cricket fan - was: if leg spinners are perhaps the best kind of bowlers - why are they so rare?

Because they are indeed very rare - especially in England, who have never had a solidly Test Match quality leg-spinner; and the same applies to South Africa over the past several decades (although at one time they played four wrist-spinners in the same team!), New Zealand, and the West Indies.

Indeed, high quality wrist spinners - including both right handed leg-spinners and the left-handed Chinaman bowlers who do the same 'in reverse'- are pretty much confined to India, Pakistan and Australia. As if to emphasize this, England's current leg-spin hopeful - Adil Rashid - is of Pakistani descent.

But the point is - if leg-spin is so effective, why aren't there more of them? Why doesn't every team have a leg-spinner, or two of them, or three?

The fact is that bowling leg-spin is very difficult indeed. The method of getting spin by flipping the wrist is very hard to control precisely, very difficult to repeat exactly one ball after another.

In a nutshell, it is very difficult for the leg-spinner to make the ball land where he wants it to land; and there is a tendency either to make it land so far away from the batter that the ball just bounces slowly into a perfect position for hitting (a 'long hop'). Alternatively the ball doesn't bounce at all before reaching the batter (a 'full toss') and this is also easy for the batter to hit.

Either a long-hop or a full toss will usually get hit for four or six runs, and all but the best leg-spinners will bowl one of these every six to a dozen deliveries (or more often, if your name is Ian Salisbury) - making them leak so many runs, that they become essentially useless for long spells of bowling (one of the main roles of slow bowling spinners is to be able to bowl a lot of overs, typically about fifty percent more per day than a fast bowler).

So, this is the situation. Leg-spin bowling at its peak is probably the most effective style of bowling in cricket. It is a thing which, if you can do it well enough, it is the best. But if you can't do it well enough, it is worse than useless: a liability.

There is a threshold of ability which very few can cross - but if you can cross that threshold, then you will be one of the best in the world, probably one of the best of all time.

And then I thought: Life's like that...

Tuesday 19 January 2016

The Winnower - scientific publishing for the independent-minded enthusiast (not the conformist careerist)

The advantages of obscurity?

I have spent the last couple of years intensively studying an utterly obscure and deeply insightful and profound writer called William Arkle.

Arkle was pretty much unknown; and several of his books were home-published as pamphlets. He attracted a handful of disciples and admirers, he sold some paintings, he was a friend of Colin Wilson up into the 1970s (although Wilson apparently never mentioned him after the mid 70s) and was once the subject of a locally made and broadcast TV programme... but that was it.

Apparently very little to show for about fifty years of solid work.

What role did the obscurity have in this mix?

One effect may have been that in his writings he seems utterly uncorrupted - the work is uncompromising in its truth seeking and truth speaking, without any hint of hype, spin, distortion, fame-seeking or pandering.

How rare that is among modern mainstream writers! - although perhaps Arkle does not count as modern, since he was born in the 1920s. But so were many of the writers who came to fame in the 1950s and 60s, and they were in most cases very thoroughly corrupted by success.

To be a career failure as a writer may, of course, lead to negative emotions such as envy, bitterness or even hatred. It seems to have had the opposite effect on Arkle, since his latest works are even more serenely optimistic and joyful than his earliest (which is saying something!).

I know very little about the man outside of his books; but one of his disciples told me that Arkle was puzzled at people's lack of interest in the good news he communicated - apparently people found what he said very inspiring and enthusing, but seldom 'came back for more' or made any discernible changes.

A couple of other people who met him told me that he had never mentioned his 'spiritual' interests but was simply a quiet man who mostly listened intently rather than spoke.

So, my assumption is that one benefit of obscurity for Arkle was a serenity and purity of vision that lasted and probably grew right up until his death; whereas in almost all the cases of well know writer on spiritual topics there is a very obvious corruption, populism and lack of integrity that rapidly overwhelms their work and makes it ring false.

Of course his audience must number, at most, hundreds - whereas popular writers have audiences a thousandfold greater.

And while Arkle made his living in the manual work of renovating houses for sale and rent (his wife as business manager); successful spiritual writers make their living from lecturing, media work and selling books.

But, in the end, I cannot help but conclude that while obscurity does not lead to integrity; the obscurity was necessary to Arkle's integrity.

And there may well be a lesson in this - at least for those who care about integrity.

Monday 18 January 2016

The Genius Famine - my new book is due out soon

If any bloggers feel they would like to read and potentially review this book (in an e-mail-able page proof version) please contact me at brucedotcharltonatncldotacdotuk and I may send them a copy!

(This 'offer' is also open to regular commenters, who are not required to review it but merely to send me some personal feedback.)

Otherwise, it can be ordered from Amazon (and will be available more cheaply on Kindle)