The young child knows that the world is created, and by a creator - the child spontaneously goes-along with this, unconsciously, without a choice...
Injustice is the violation of divine intent as manifested in creation - to be unjust is to reject the intent behind creation.
Then, often, the idea of the world as created comes to awareness - and is rejected (once known it can be rejected). The world is reconceptualised as accidental, something that just is...
This is an act of freedom, an ultimate and isolated act of freedom - the freedom to be existentially cut-off; so as not to be subject to creation and the intent of the creator.
The sense of justice is not eradicated - but justice lacks any basis. One it has been asserted that there is no reason to reality, there can be no justice...
Yet the demand for justice cannot be expunged - the cry of 'it's notfair' sounds throughout history, among people of all ages and cultures; and is as common (or more so) among those who reject the reality of creation and of God, and among those who oppose the purpose of creation.
The self just-is autonomous from the rest of reality, not wholly but to an inextinguishable degree. From this fortress Man asserts his inaleinable right to reject an alliance with creation - but Man does not enjoy being utterly alone, utterly cut-off from any possibility of meaning, purpose and relationship.
The autonomous self screams that It Is Not Fair - His cut-off freedom, and isolated Justice demand that the world be subordinated to himself; who did not create it, but who will not acknowledge either that it was created or will not agree with the purposes and meanings and relations made manifest by the creator.
He sets-up as a rival God, and tries to recruit followers who will acknowledge his own status - but an anti-God whose 'good news' consists in the fact that 'You-too (like me) can rejects creation and the creator; you-too (like me) can hold out against the deity that made everything Good.
The final act of Justice as it dwindles toward nothing, is to cry against the injustice of having-to be a part of pre-existent, other-made creation if we want real justice: rejection of that compulsion is that last and decisive act.
Freedom-in-autonomy asserted above and against everything else.
To become an anti-God of this sort (and in this kind of way) is not an exceptional nor unusual achievement achievement. It is not even rare - but perhaps mainstream in the modern West (at least apparently-so): This is a society of would-be anti-Gods, each aspiring to usurp creation under his own sovereignty, and ultimately and inevitably failing to do so because everybody wants to be his own anti-God and to reject the overlordship of all other anti-Gods.
Meanwhile, the anti-Gods form a loose and mutually-hostile alliance to make more anti-Gods, each of them presumably in hope of enlarging the pool of potential recruits for their own attempted takeover of creation.
Hence the insistent cry for justice, and the anger at injustice - anger at the base-injustice that autonomous freedom in a meaningless reality would, if achieved, be an eternity of meaninglessness.
There is no mystery about this, it isn't complicated, we all know the answer from personal experience.
The realm of universal reality was the same as we were immersed-in as children - which we knew as children; but which we were not conscious of until we began to separate from it. There is creation, and we are in creation. And creation is a process, dynamic, continuous... alive, conscious, purposive.
We lived in that realm; but as children it was unconscious, spontaneous and we did not influence it - we simply were swept-along by it, in it.
So where was it? This was the realm of spirit, and it was everywhere - inside things; alive, conscious, purpose - and we could have relationships with its manifestations.
It was multiple, many-centred, pluralistic, with concentrations but also everything linked.
The spiritual reality was unseen, unperceived, but everywhere and in everything - and between things too; and initially we did not need to seek access to it - we were just in it...
Well, not completely in it, not equally with everything unbounded, since we are incarnate beings - we have bodies - and when things are solid, there is a concentration and something of a boundary...
(This is also the same universal realm inhabited - seemingly - by the most ancient form of hunter gatherers; like the Kung San and the Hazda; but not, for example, the Australian Aborigines who were totemists, and accessed this spirit realm via specific gateways. The Ancient Egyptians called it the Dwat and underwent special rituals and used special objects to be able to get access to the spirit-underworld - they were becoming more separated and more autonomous in their agency.)
So, universal reality began as the inner and spiritual aspect of everything - there was change, and this change was the nature of transformation at a perceptible level (Men, animals, plants, landscape features were inter-changeable over time). Underneath everything was fixed in amount and did not change, and the surface changes were cyclical; indeed a re-cycling of Real Life. The (divinely planned, destined) future ought-to-be that we choose to return to contact with the inner and spiritual aspect of everything. We need to rediscover that universal reality is everywhere and in everything. But having lost contact and then returned to contact, having become self-aware and come to know that we know... things have changed - new possibilities have emerged.
So, it is always there:
1. First we take it for granted, we know it but don't know that we know. We are simply a-part-of creation...
2. Then it becomes known, as we begin to separate our-selves from the universal background. We began to know it only as we began to lose contact with it...
3. Then, as we become fully-aware of our-selves as autonomus agents... we lose contact with it. This is the current mainstream Western situation, the alienated adolescence of the individual.
4. From now we need to regain contact with it - but because we are now fully-aware of our selves, we will be explicitly conscious of it...
And, therefore, we can (from now) both know-it and participate-in-it. We are part of creation, and also autonomous from creation - we experience this and know this; thus we can take-part-in creation.
(To the extent we participate-in creation - we are thus-far divine, God's collaborators in the work of creation.)
I have previously described the currently well-advanced totalitarian/ transhumanist agenda - in particular that it has a spiritual goal: the goal that as many people as possible will choose self-damnation because they will have come to embrace an inversion of values (the reversal of virtue and sin, beauty and ugliness, truth and lies etc).
If this is ever achieved - if The System gets to a point where it can engineer damnationby rendering free agency ineffectual: then that will be the end of the world.
I mean, that would be a point at which God would bring to an end the 'experiment' of human life on earth. That is what our loving Heavenly Father would surely do - because to have his children born into the certainty of damnation would be an evil that could be avoided by ending the world.
I don't know whether it is, in fact, possible to engineer damnation - perhaps it is not. Perhaps it is just a foolish dream of the forces of evil, and they are wasting their time in trying to achieve it. (I incline to this interpretation myself.)
But if it is possible, then it will not be allowed.
Which implies that at present, since the world continues, it is not possible to engineer damnation - and that we are wholly responsible for our choices.
And that, as a society, we have firmly and decisively chosen evil over Good: specifically, have chosen to assume the incoherent nihilism of materialism over the reality of the divine.
Bureaucracy is the major mechanism by which purposive evil has created The System which is incrementally reaching to new places and situations, while simultaneously working at an ever-smaller level of surveillance and control.
It is a modern phenomenon, designed and intended as a mechanism for the exclusion of the divine, the spiritual... the exclusion of everything but a single, global, official model of reality that is defined and enforced as the only reality.
Bureaucracy is materialism as a metaphysical assumption; abstraction implemented in concrete, socio-political form; the justification of a value system which denies the possibility of justification.
(This is not intended to be a uniform, stable and coherent reality - that was old-style totalitarianism; but our current Bureaucracy is a constantly changing New Left reality of perpetual revolution - The System is continuous transition and at war with itself - a situation designed to induce fear, resentment and despair.)
Coming at this point, Bureaucracy makes passive and unconscious that which has already becomes active and conscious.
Materialism is intrinsically dishonest - since it entails the forced-forgetting that materialism cannot prove itself. Most traditional systems were examples of circular reasoning based on explicit assumptions - but Bureaucracy denies that it has assumptions; it presents-itself to-itself as pure mechanism, pure empiricism; enforcing its own truth while denying the reality of truth.
Bureaucracy is indeed the purposive attempt to destroy purpose.
This is a subject which I have experienced from both sides. Although I was never famous, I used to have a large 'audience' in the sense that up until I wrote regularly for The Times (of London), New Scientist and appeared on BBC TV; as well as writing for and/or being written about in the major Medical and Scientific journals (Lancet, BMJ, Science). This in addition to having the outlet of 'my own' international biomedical journal, which I edited.
In stages over the past 20 years I did less and less of this; and for the past decade have been mostly blogging (and writing a few small books for a small publisher with small sales). My 'audience' is thus a tiny fraction of what it was. My attempts to 'communicate' have, apparently, all-but collapsed...
Part of this was economic (major journals stopped using freelance writers from the middle 1990s), part of it was chronic illness (migraines - making travelling difficult), part of it was being sacked from my editing job and then stopping participating in all forms of peer review; part of it was becoming a Christian and thereby, incrementally, developing socio-political views putting me into an unmeasurably small minority.
While I was wrong about most important things, and while I stayed on at least the edge of the mainstream, plenty of people were 'interested' in my communications; but the closer I got to truth, honesty, and doing what I really ought to be doing with my life, the smaller the audience.
But what about this 'audience'? It is clear that - even at peak exposure - in retrospect nobody was taking any notice of what I said and it made no difference to anything. I could write for The Times, and I got no response (except a decent sized cheque); I could appear on national TV and the results were imperceptible. All the bad things I was working to reverse instead gathered strength; all the good I was defending either disappeared or became corrupted and inverted.
And this is intrinsic to what gets called 'communication' - communication is reliably only a one-way process.
In sending out a communication, I know what I am trying to say, but I have no idea whether anybody reads it, whether they pay attention, whether they understand, or remember, and whether it makes any difference in the direction I intended. In some instances, things I wrote and said were noticed, but understood in the opposite to my intended sense and influenced policy in reverse; or led to a backlash that encouraged my enemies.
Eventually I concluded that if communication was all that existed - then there was no point in communicating. We might as well, all of us, shut-up and block our ears - or jump off a cliff - for all the positive good it does.
In fact, the whole question of 'an audience' prejudges the whole issue in a way that makes nonsense of human culture as a whole. If an audience was necessary - then it would not be worth having.
Unless there is a universally accessible reality in which Men can participate directly; then there is no real-communication but only the kind of fake noise that is represented by the mass media with its mass audiences accessible-to/ controlled-by a Global Cabal of servants to evil.
But if there is a universal reality that we can all, each and individually, potentially know and creatively contribute to; and if that universal reality is eternal... well then the matter of 'audeince' becomes strictly irrelevant.
Communication conceptualised as a system within which we seek an 'audience is revealed as a materialist, dishonest, non-existent parody of the reality of divine creation. Our proper aspiration is to become able to know divine creation and harmoniously to join with God as sub-creators.
And this happens (when it happens) in a mode (that I have termed Primary Thinking) that has absolutely nothing to do with the mass-perceptible public realm of communication and audiences.
Following on from my comment to yesterday's piece on Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe - with its mention of a Handelian pastiche (a musical pastiche being a new composition in the style of/ using the musical language of some other composer) - here is another example from Princess Ida.
The trio 'I am a maiden' is for two tenors and a baritone (leading to very pleasing 'close harmony' in three parts) who are disguising themselves as girls to infiltrate a women's university and court some of the residents. The situation is a froth of nonsense and broad slapstick humour - but Gilbert's words are a model of wit and skill, and Sullivan provides music that is a gem of baroque-ish pastiche.
The main baroque element is the basso continuo-style accompaniment - which is wonderfully melodic and sprightly as well as carrying the implicit harmony; and the use of a descending sequence (same musical phase repeated lower - Vivaldi is full of these) in the third line of the verses.
As so often (when at his best), Sullivan gives us the first two verses as repeats - so we can enjoy the melody a second time; and then varies it in a lower range for the third verse when the baritone sings. The alternation of harmony with unison is apt as well as deft - and the ending is just right.
The first time I heard this (in an amateur performance, accompanied only by piano) I was absolutely bowled-over by the richness of the total conception - so much skill and attention expended on two and a half minutes.
Yet this joyous example of perfection-in-miniature is 'just' a lesser known song from one of Gilbert and Sullivan's least popular Savoy Operas!
Having been a doctor or a scientist or some kind of an academic for much of my life, I have been focused on 'understanding' - and indeed my natural disposition has also pointed that way.
But 'understanding' the world is problematic, because what it really amounts to is making simple models of the world, and using these for prediction and manipulation. All human understanding is inevitably simplified - due to the inevitable constraints and also because that is implicitly the purpose of the whole business... to take the 'infinitely' complex and interconnected world and render it into something simple enough that we can deal with.
This also means that all understanding is wrong - we know it is wrong because we know that most things have been left out, and because to make a model we draw-a-line around a bit of the world and treat it as separate when in reality everything is somewhat connected with everything else.
So understanding the world is - no matter how apparently useful - an exercise in error.
We know that models are false, and we can never know that they are applicable or not - and we can't ever really know except in terms of the model itself - because on major simplification of models is that the outcomes are selective and limited.
And we might know a model worked - in its own terms - up to 'now'; but (as the history of science amply shows) situations may arise in which a previously useful (predictive, manipulative) model breaks-down and fails even to satisfy its own very circumscribed criteria...
The main problem with thinking in terms of models, however, is to believe that they are True. This is what Owen Barfield termed Idolatry, the worshipping of the model as an idol. As when Galileo asserted that his model was really-true - and refused to regard it as merely a more-or-less useful/ better model (hypothesis/ theory).
The modern error has been to assert that Galileo was right, when in fact we know for sure that he was wrong... we just keep on doing this! We assert that the models of science/ technology/ medicine, economics etc are true - when in fact they are never true... and often only last a few months or years before being superseded by something else we 'believe' is true.
It is a shallow and foolish error - a deep metaphysical error; but it is an error that pervades modern life and which is enforced with strong sanctions.
It was an insight of Goethe that models are not knowledge, and that 'knowing' something is more analogous to knowing a person than to modelling a phenomenon. That is, we get to know a friend, we do 'understand' a friend - we do not hypothesis and test models of their behaviour - making and checking predictions, trying to perform manipulations etc. That is what 'managers' do, not friends!
We get to know a friends by... well being with them, thinking about them, being concerned about them... stuff like that. We may know our mother or father in this way, although we cannot and do not want to create a simplified model of them - and if we do, we don't suppose that the model has captured their essence; in fact we know for sure that all such models are wrong.
Through human history we went from knowing, to understanding, and now we should go back to knowing - but this time knowing that we know. Our original knowing (as children, as early Man) was unconscious, was simply taking-for-granted - but now we need consciously to know what we are doing, and to choose it rather than simply taking it for granted.
This is, indeed, the task of tasks which confronts us.
Smack in the middle of Gilbert and Sullivan's run of nine great Savoy Operas (from HMS Pinafore to The Gondoliers) comes Iolanthe - which is musically probably the best of the lot - as seen in the Overture (which established the Mendelsohnian flavour, retained throughout:
Considering the whole opera; Sullivan's gifts and skill are evident not only in the sheer quantity of lovely melodies, and the unsurpassed deftness and inventiveness of orchestration and accompaniment; but in a seamless quality of cohesion to the score - which moves from one delight to another and also has a distinctive pastoral quality throughout.
Plus, Gilbert's wit and satire are as good as anywhere; and somehow retain their freshness despite massive changes in society since the height of the Victorian era. For an English audeince, there are several 'belly laughs'.
As a young man I was a good actor but only an adequate singer; and the part of Strephon in Iolanthe was the most significant role I ever did. There isn't a massive amount of singing to do as Strephon (he does not have his own aria, for example); but for much of the opera people are singing about him; because the plot hinges on the fact that he is half a fairy (literally, his upper half... down to the waist) - his mother being the immortal Iolanthe, and his father a mortal man whose identity is unknown until the end.
The excellence of Iolanthe reaches its peak in the Finale to Act one which is 20 minutes of continuous and extremely varied music; never less than very good and at times supremely good. The marvels fly-past thick-and-fast... enough to provide highlights for three or four normal, 'successful', musicals. The deftness and elegance of the musical passages and accompaniments is, throughout, at the highest level of skill and fluency.
Here is the version conducted by Malcolm Sargent from 1958 (which I have on vinyl). Among the many excellent performances, that of Monica Sinclair as the Queen of the Fairies stands-out as being among the very best bits of contralto singing I have ever heard anywhere from anybody!
If you want to follow the Libretto, a version can be found here:
Bear in mind that our understanding of the ultimate nature of reality is concerned with assumptions - metaphysics - and there is no 'evidence' for it. On the other hand, there must be first assumptions; and these assumptions have immense consequences.
The primordial situation is pluralistic - many things, not one thing.
These primordial things are agents - which is to say they are dynamic entities: each agent a self-generating source of... thought. Thus ultimate reality is dynamic, changing. It is organised to the extent of there being distinct agents - but no further.
Thus ultimate reality is alive - all agents are alive.
('Polarity' or 'polar logic' is a consequence of this primordial situation - it is a metaphysics of dynamic, self-generating, plural agency.)
Among these eternally existing primordial agents is God; and God (at some point) creates our world by 'shaping' the primordial agents.
God does this with the objective and hope of developing other agents like God - so that God will not be alone, so that God will have a family. Creation is motivated by the desire for more Gods.
Creation is the cohesion and harmonisation of agents - by love. Love is the primary cause of creation - at the heart of everything that is created.
In sum, primary reality is multiply-dynamic, held-together and brought into harmony by love.
In creation there is an unfolding, a development - due to the dynamic interaction of agents; this is destined (ie. has a direction and goal intended by God) but is not determined, because of agency.
In fact the development is itself creation. Creat-ivity is agency participating in the developmental-unfolding of reality.
Consciousness is a necessary, intrinsic aspect of agency and life - but consciousness varies greatly in quality and quantity. The direction of the evolutionary-development of consciousness is towards greater awareness of itself and its operations.
In an ultimate sense, therefore, reality is dynamic - thus always changing; but also plural, thus permanently structured.
'Good' is that which affiliates with creation - with cohesion and harmony - with love. Good is an opt-into creation.
Evil is that which opposes creation - opposes love, cohesion and harmony. Evil is the intended destruction of creation.
Every agent is - in any particular action - aimed-at, tending-toward, either good or evil.
Above are three recently posted examples of William Arkle's paintings from the Facebook pages curated by his son Nick. These are all in what I would broadly call his 'naive' style - characterised by freshness and simplicity. I particularly like the lower landscape with figures; which has a real 'holiday' atmosphere about it - perhaps a holiday as imagined or remembered by a child.
One of the worst things about philosophy is the preponderance of bad advice and bad examples - there is far more destructive nonsense than anything valid or helpful.
Even the matter of what-philosophy-is isn't exempt; because there is a long tradition that philosophy ought to be essentially interactive - a face-to-face discussion, something taught at an academy, a program of study, a set of canonical authors etc. All of this seems to me as pernicious nonsense.
Philosophy ought to be mostly about thinking (not speaking, reading, writing or anything else); a specific person, thinking on some matter of personal concern; reflecting, contemplating, niggling-away at some stuff for a sustained period of time; trying to satisfy himself about it - rather than any other external evaluation.
Philosophy just doesn't happen during speech, debating, arguing and the like - there is a near zero chance that any philosophical experience or learning will happen under such circumstances - such activities interfere-with philosophy rather than being it.
When there are clever and learned people having some kind of to-and-fro about something, or a wise and wonderful person expounding on something while others listen - we can be sure that philosophy has been rigorously excluded from the situation.
Philosophy is too slow, i requires too much repeated experience, our philosophical learning is too idiosyncratic and unpredictable for there to be any possibility of 'real-time' philosophy.
Those (many) philosophers who have said that the essence of what they did was some kind of a social interaction - whether Socrates in the forum, Plato or Aristotle in their schools... the Vienna Circles discussing logic and evidence, Wittgenstein in a deckchair surrounded by disciples, Isaiah Berlin meeting with dons to reflect on language - all this was the indulgence of philosophical vice or exploitation - philosophically-bad-for the recipients, if not the expounder.
The real thing is utterly personal in inwardly motivated - and inwardly rewarded. It is done for personal satisfaction, and the pseudo-appreciation of other people is far more likely to harm than to help the process.
Philosophy is something we do for our-selves. It is based on whatever seems to address our concerns. And we must evaluate it in the most complete and personal fashion possible in light of those concerns.
Clarity about all this is hard to attain and hold - but potentially helpful.
There is a shape to history (human, and ultimately planetary history) - but the shape is not seen in the usual focus of historians, but in the history of consciousness.
History has a direction - and intended direction; which is to say a purpose. But that destiny can be paused or diverted.
The direction cannot, however, be reversed.
Because we are talking of consciousness we cannot ever go-back. Adolescents behaving like children may perhaps be better than them remaining as perpetual adolescents; but adolescents behaving like children are not the same as children, because they have been-through childhood.
What drives the current and recent development of human consciousness are unconscious-impulses - instincts - that affect Men. These impulses originate in the divine, and they are intended to be spiritual impulses: that is, instincts intended to eventuate in the spiritual realm.
That is, these driving instincts are referenced to goals in ultimate, eternal and spiritual reality (which is that universal reality of divine creation which we may access and participate-in by the Primary Thinking of our real self).
But when Men refuse to acknowledge the reality of the spiritual realm, will not recognise the divine-within, and will not think from their real self with agency and awareness...
Then these divine impulses will remain unconscious, and will become manifested in the material realm instead of the spiritual realm. What was intended to be a spiritual development of consciousness is then distorted into a parodic idol; hellish instead of heavenly.
For example; the divine spiritual impulse was for men to recognise - to know by direct apprehension, that we ouselves and all men have a partly-divine nature as children of God, and that our destiny is to live by loving participation in universal creating-reality.
The materialist distortion is socialism, communism, Leftism in its many manifestations as it has grown over the past couple of centuries (from early roots in pacifism); that is The System aspiring towards total ideological propaganda, monitoring and control; externally to impose a hellish materialist parody of the divine impulses.
The consequent materialist parody is most clearly seen in the modern results of the sexual revolution. The divine impulse for the development of consciousness in relation to sexual morality (as for all virtues, and the pursuit of beauty and truth) was that these universal realities become apprehended directly by conscious intuition, and freely lived-by in recognition of their Goodness. Instead the modern world has a literally-hellish materialist parody of sex and sexuality - legalistically defined, ever-more prescribed and imposed, justified and sustained by lies.
So, the malaise and malignancy of modernity can be seen as a consequence of rejecting divine destiny; and this rejection is possible because the destiny entails that what was unconscious becomes conscious, what was obeyed because of authority becomes known-as-Good, and what was known-about becomes known-directly...
All of which requires individual agency and personal effort. Nobody and nothing can make us do this. Indeed, we cannot even learn from experience what to do, so long as we continue to hold to materialism, or indeed to hope for a return to an earlier era of unconscious obedience to external (benign, parental) authority.
We are in a situation where we cannot stay-the-same (because we are a slippery-slope to hell-on-earth) nor go backwards, and spiritually growing-up is the only Good possibility.
Yet we must choose this, each for himself or herself. We must understand and we must learn; and this takes effort; it will not 'just-happen'.
On the positive side; if we do understand, and do learn, and then choose - we will succeed. Because we will be following the divinely-destined path, will be fuelled and directed by those spiritual impulses and instincts I described at the beginning.
England was probably the first country to adopt the mindset that led to the materialisation of consciousness and the present-day attitudes in which God has no place. It was a pioneer in many areas that formed the contemporary world.
You can't trace this back to any single formational event or time but Protestantism was certainly one step towards the separation of the natural and supernatural worlds, and then the English Civil War was another. One religious, the other political.
The fact that both of these things may have had positive elements to them is beside the point. The basic truth is that they opened up a gap between the spiritual and the material which, once opened, could be expanded exponentially until the point was reached at which the spiritual was so far removed it no longer existed in any real sense and could just be denied reality.
That is now. Consciousness has effectively contracted to the material which is not just perceived as primary but as all there is. This has affected even religion which is largely earthbound and moribund these days.
That contraction may have been beneficial in some areas, such as the development of certain qualities of selfhood and the exploration and dominance of the physical world, but these cannot be said to compensate for the spiritual loss that has accompanied them...
There is a prevalent notion that something ought to be done. But there is not much clarity about what counts as actually doing something; and even less about what it is worthwhile to Do.
For some people doing is communication - at least speaking to a person or persons, but preferably mass communication. But how much counts as mass?
Commenting pseudonymously on a blog - is that doing? What about photocopying sheets of papers and leaving them for people to find? Graffiti of slogans? Writing a blog? Memes on Twitter?
Are we talking about the mainstream mass media with audiences in millions - national newspapers and magazines, TV, movies - do they count as doing something? Or are all these just writing, not reallydoing?
Is politics doing, or is it just a talking shop? Forming organisations, sitting on committees, voting, petitions... Taking legal action... Are these really doing anything substantive, or just paper exercises?
Marching, rioting, fighting, breaking-stuff - is that what people mean by doing: 'direct action'? Or do they mean building, creating, making-stuff?
Does it matter how big the things is that is built, or damaged? How many people know about it? Whether the backlash/ reaction outmatches the original doing?
And then - what of our talents. Maybe we would benefit from a Leader - but few of us are leaders (very few actual 'leaders' are really leaders, come to that!), In fact few of us have any exceptional talents to do anything, of any kind. The average person is... just average. Is the average person expected to do anything, or only exceptional people?
Pretty clearly, none of this is really doing. Real doing is - has to be - something that everybody must be able to do: starting Now.
And that limits Doing to... well, work it out for yourself.
Edited from Chapter 13, the final one, of Unancestral Voice by Owen Barfield (1965).
By the Adversaries, Barfield means Lucifer and Ahriman, who are conceptualised as as actual but distinct aspects of 'Satan' - they are the adversaries of Christ's plan for the development of Men to the fully-divine form of consciousness. This idea comes from Rudolf Steiner, but is too complex to explain here.
In what follows, Barfield makes a subtle distinction concerning evil that I consider to be not just misleading, but false - however (in the parts I have emphasised in bold text) he also makes a deep, vital, important and neglected point. Square brackets indicate editorial additions.
"[The Adversaries seek, not transformation but either continuity or substitution.
"We have spoken little as yet of good and evil. If you are wise you will not think of the adversaries as evil.
"Not they, but what they do - if man fails to prevent it - is evil. "They are not evil, because it is only in the activity of preventing them that Man achieves freedom: the freedom without his transformation [i.e. resurrection to eternal life] would not be self-transformation."
Now, I regard the best definition of evil to be that which opposes the divine destiny for Man; and in that respect, the adversaries certainly are evil; since opposition to God and to Jesus Christ is precisely what they do...
I think what Barfield means here is that the adversaries just are the way they are; and God has made this world such that Satan's activities are a part of it: in other words, opposition is allowed.
That is just a fact of mortal incarnate life. God has his reasons; which we personally may or may not understand - and which nobody understands in detail.
However, Barfield wants to put the focus on a place we seldom allow; which is that the major evil in this world comes from Man's failure to oppose, to prevent, that which the Adversaries want to do.
In a sense demonic evil is just a fact of life, about which we personally can do nothing. But demonic evil nearly-always works by Men's implementation. And another fact is that Men have freedom (agency) either to implement or to oppose evil.
Assuming that we are here to experience and learn from life - this is one vital thing we are here to learn: we are here to learn to 'prevent' evil; that is not to implement it, to work against it.
We should ideally never allow ourselves to think along the lines of 'the devil made me do it'. And when we do think like this, it must be repented.
What Barfield is saying here is that we need to learn to take responsibility for the evil that is done - and to take responsibility for 'preventing' evil as best we may; because that is to be free; and to be free, to embrace our being as a moral agent, is one of the essential things that God wants from us.
Edited from Unancestral Voice by Owen Barfield (1965).
"I still wonder", said Chevalier, "if it is really as important as you suggest for people to find a meaning in history?"
"I will tell you one reason why it is important", came the swift answer. "As long as a man sees history as a meaningless jumble of events, he will see his own life - which is a part of history - and the lives of those around him in the same light... Just one-damn-thing -after another."
To find meaning in our own lives, or the lives of our friends, family, or those we admire - entails that history has a meaning; which entails that history has a direction, a destiny, an intended plan that is good.
It is also necessary that our own lives (and everybody else's life) be joined together; and joined with the destiny of history.
For there to be meaning in one thing requires a great deal more - in fact meaning in one thing requires meaning in every-thing.
And - taking a further step, which can't be explained briefly here, but may be obvious... Meaning in everything also requires that everything be alive and (to some degree, in some way) conscious...
Conversely... to deny meaning, shape, purpose to history (including that history which is the origin and evolution of the planet and life) - is to deny meaning in Everything.
I know that Jesus was essential. I know that when he was born into this world, somehow everything in the universe changed.
I also know that this was not primarily a matter of sin - it really wasn't: that is a narrow and partial misunderstanding of 'saviour'.
Christ was a transformation of possibility - so great that I can't summarise it.
I can't do much more than perceive an outline in a blurry fashion... Or rather, I perceive it all but blurred and stretching into a distance, such that I know there are more vital details beyond my clear vision, but can't distinguish them.
Christ did so much. And that continues. It is by Christ that we continue to experience meaning, purpose, miracles - that we rest upon love - that we know that creation is good, and that we are part of it and can participate in it.
All this happened because of Jesus and could not otherwise have happened.
The reason (or reasons) why Jesus is essential are very difficult to comprehend and express - and yet that knowledge is so strong and sure... it is only the failure to explain it that threatens the knowledge itself.
You ask why Jesus is absolutely and uniquely essential - I fail to provide a satisfactory answer (I am not happy with the answer, you are not happy with the answer) - My failure is seen as falsifying the assertion...
If Jesus was subtracted from history, so that he never was, and never was going-to-be... If he had never been part of the plan... If life and the universe had been made only by God the creator and nothing else... then life would have been futile.
Life would have gone nowhere, achieved nothing: it would not have been worthwhile.
Life would, indeed, have been A Bad Idea.
It is Christ which/ who made and makes it All worthwhile.
Somehow the scope and scale of the reality of What Jesus Did has been missed, has been metaphysically denied, has been wrongly-explained. We've explained it to ourselves (for 2000 years) in various partial and distorted ways... and then we have been trapped-by our own limited explanations...
We cannot communicate it, not even to ourselves - yet we insist on the primacy of communication, and insist on living-by that which can be communicated... The tail is wagging the dog.
There was creation - ongoing; and there was Jesus Christ - ongoing. The first made everything possible; the second made it worthwhile.
But ask me to say why and how in a few comprehensible words - or say it in many incomprehensible words - and I cannot say anything that does not grossly misrepresent the fact and its meaning.
We cannot even explain the reality of one single person to another single person. Is it surprising we cannot provide a general explanation of Jesus Christ suitable for humanity?
How can the people of Albion be supine in the face of the Telford (etc) mass, organised, long-term, officially-known-but-allowed; rape and violent abuse of uncounted thousands of children and the vulnerable?
A late painting by William Arkle including his favourite subject matter of the divine smiling face
Throughout his life (1925-2000) the spiritual philosopher and artist William Arkle developed and lived by a type of esoteric Christianity which has become one of the great influences on my life. His last published words are therefore of particular interest. But not only the words. What was special about Arkle is that he lived by his beliefs. Colin Wilson described him as one of the half dozen most remarkable men he had met; precisely because of the harmony between his ideals and his lived consciousness. I have confirmed this by discussions with several people who knew him, including his son Nick. In some ways Arkle's beliefs were stable from the 1950s through to his death in 2000; and this stability can be seen both in the writings from his first pamphlet (The Hand of God, in 1960) via his two books (A Geography of Consciousness, 1974 and The Great Gift, 1977) to the last writings published on the internet; and by the themes, and recurrent symbolism, of his mature paintings (despite many varieties of style). In the paintings; as well as sea shores, mountains, skies, rivers and the like; there are specific distinctive subjects - such as teapots and cups, or small boats. But most characteristic is the large smiling divine face - hovering above the picture, implicitly unseen by most people - sometimes with nurturing arms and hands, but most often variations on the theme of of that enigmatically-smiling face. I regard William Arkle as a genuinely advanced spiritual soul; and therefore it was a fact that he was trying to communicate his vision across a great gulf to reach the rest of us - aspiring perhaps, but ourselves not very far along that path.
This, I think, is the core reason why his paintings and words both tend to strike people (at least initially) as simplistic and naive: too much 'sweetness and light' and too little of that corruption and darkness which modern materialist Man seems to want in his art and literature. Arkle was perfectly aware of this, but would not compromise on what he saw as the truth about reality. And through his life into old age, his 'vision' became more and more positive, optimistic and serene. Anyway, in Arkle's 'last words' - published as the Foreword to a large web site made for him by Michael Perry (no longer available); he wrote a characteristic short essay that - as so often - implies a great deal more than seems. I analyse the whole thing below. My comments are in italics:
I very nearly called this web site 'The Play of William Arkle', and then I felt that it would sound rather too casual for most people and even an insult to the endeavour that is brought to the resolving of the mysteries of life.
The reason that the word 'play' suggested itself is that the journey of understanding seems to lead from the level of human survival as a personality in this world, through to a spiritual view that takes survival of our spiritual self for granted; and then on again into the appreciation of the all-encompassing smile of our Divine Creator.
Arkle describes a three-step progression:
1. Human survival as a personality in this incarnate, material world. 2. A 'spiritual' view that takes for granted that the 'soul' survives death, and makes this a solid basis, a metaphysical framework, for living. 3. An interwoven understanding of the 'all encompassing smile' of the divine creator; 'our' creator because we are true children of the divine creator.
In other words; after we cease to push-away knowledge of our own soul, and the pervasive presence of our creator, we can begin to understand the implications and begin to live by them.
This Divine Smile says a very simple thing, which is that the everlasting nature of its Spirit can have only two options: either it remains in its Absolute condition of Blissful non-action; or it can engage in action through the creation of play-grounds. This means creating theatres of time, space and lots of things - from a condition of no action or time or space or things.
The divine smile - in its divinity, and its love for us as men and as individuals - gives us two positive options; plus a negative alternative which Arkle only obliquely implies. What is important is that these two options were the same as confronted the creator. The first in a path of pure 'static' contemplation in a state of bliss. (That is, the state of Nirvana.) The second is the one which God actually took; which is to engage in loving, creative action: creation of The World, of reality - with its time, space, matter and differentiation into many entities including persons.
Our Creator felt that the first choice of 'no action' could becoming boring because there was no adventure, surprise or growth involved. The livingness of The Spirit felt itself to be in need of such adventure as an expression of joyful love and fun. So the second choice came about purely for the exercise of joy and love and fun.
This explains why God made the choice of action and creation. Arkle intuits that it was the preference for change, including unpredictability. This is a statement regarding the deep and intrinsic nature of God as a person. The fact is stated in a typically down-to-earth way ('boring', adventure', 'fun' etc. and 'play' coming up next) that is shocking, or banal, according to taste; and which I regard as expressive of the difficulty of communicating across a spiritual gulf - because there really is no way we can fully understand what is being said unless and until we our-selves attain such an intuitive and direct knowledge of the nature of God, as a real and living person.
The only word I could find to cover the activity of joy and love and fun was the word play, but unless it is approached in the right way the word does not carry the correct significance. And thus the whole of this web site is a journey into the understanding of The Creator's view of the word play.
You will find that my own earlier understandings moved gradually into this way of talking about our reality. It seemed to become more and more light-hearted while being able to sympathise with all the conditions of growth which can feel to be the conditions of fear and anxiety. Thus the big game of life at play has conditions within it which can descend to the very opposites of its initial intention.
God has taken the second option of action and creation; but we - as agent persons - are free to disagree with God's choice. There are two possible ways of disagreeing - the first is to reject personhood and prefer the bliss of Nirvana - to return to the immersive static-state of absorption in which everything began.
But it is the second freedom to which Arkle refers when he mentions 'the opposites of the initial intention'. We are also free to disagree wit the whole scheme of creation and of love between persons. We are thus free to be anti-creation, anti-love: instead of creating in harmony with divine creation we can destroy-creation, and instead of living by love for the divine plan and other persons we can live from-and-for our-selves in fear and resentment of other persons - the state called 'pride'...
When we understand that God's disliked loneliness and boredom and sought 'fun' and 'friends' with whom to share creativity; we may regard this either as generous sharing; or we may regard it as selfish and exploitative of God. The latter inference is what leads to the many of the aspects of the world in opposition to the intention of God.
These opposite conditions are the result of our Creator deciding to give us the Gift of being able to become real players in our own right at this adventure which is being undertaken. This is why the picture book was called The Great Gift and why the writings in it referred to God as being our friend in this one life endeavour. Later on this was changed to the expression God, The Player Friend.
We are 'real players' in the 'adventure' of mortal incarnate living. Within creation, there are those who are free to regard loving creation as wrong, and to work against it. It is part of the plan that those who decide to favour option one (Nirvana) or to oppose option two (to act against love and creation) are allowed to do this, and to 'put their case' to others. For God's hoped-for friends to be real they must positively understand and agree to the divine plan; including that they need to understand and reject the alternatives.
Such a situation is allowed-to work-itself-out in the world for the simple reason that it is the only way that the ultimate aim can be achieved. Nobody is compelled. Indeed, the nature of love and creation is such that nobody can be compelled.
Arkle's concept of 'play' is the experience from-which we may learn; but what we learn is up-to each individual. All options are 'on the table'. The possibilities are known, and competing - even fighting. We must and will, all of us, take sides - because there is no neutral ground. We may change our minds during mortal incarnate life, and perhaps after - but at any given moment we are on one side, and not on the other two sides. This is the nature and purpose of the play of our lives.
As for me, I have kept the name William Arkle. I like the name because it implies that my Will is doing its best to be a small expression of the Ark of Life, The Heart of the Creator Friend.
However my close associates now find me calling myself Billy The Kid.
Thus Arkle closes his valedictory with a modest and whimsical set of puns...
This is an era in which the major institutions are declining - to be replaced by The (single, linked) Bureaucracy.
This has been a major fact of my adult life - the gradual recognition that all of the institutions with which I was directly involved: schools, universities, the medical profession, the health services, biomedical science and science in general... have all Gone!
Sometimes the shell remains, but what is within the shell has been hollowed out and replaced with The Bureaucracy; what the institution used-to-do has been redirected and repurposed into the uniform objectives of The Bureaucracy.
And what does The Bureaucracy want? Well, at a proximate level it wants total-control; it wants to know what everybody is doing (ideally, what they are thinking) at every moment of every day, such that this can be regulated and directed. The desire for totalitarianism clearly suffices for short-termism - but raises the question of the ultimate goal.
Towards what is The Bureaucracy aiming?
This may be clarified by considering what superficially-seems to be The Bureaucracy's only rival: the Mass Media. In fact, they are merely rivalrous divisions within the same organisation.
The Mass Media attracts 24/ 7 attention and mental participation, it is very-highly addictive such that its compulsion is in the form of desire - and therefore the MM has the same objective of totalitarian thought-control as The Bureaucracy. And the Media, in its core activity and overall tendency, always pushes (either directly, or implicitly) for more surveillance and more regulation - for more Bureaucracy.
In sum, the Mass Media gives the impetus and justification to the Bureaucracy, and 'corrects' it when it strays from The Program; and each component of The Bureaucracy responds in part directly to the Mass Media, and in part to the other components of The Bureaucracy.
For The Bureaucracy 'reality' is what the Mass Media is saying, and what other parts of the Bureaucracy is communicating. That's it. That is the whole of reality: there is nothing more.
As for the Masses - they are paid by The Bureaucracy (one way or another, usually directly - if not indirectly); and spend their money, time and effort on The Mass Media. These are the whole of reality: there is nothing more.
(Whatever else seems to exist is purely personal, subjective, evanescent, contingent - presumably some delusion, the result of ignornance or childishness, irrational; mere wishful thinking. Objective Reality IS the Bureaucracy and the Mass Media.)
But what is The Bureaucracy (considered as a cohesive Thing) aiming-at: why does it want totalitarian control?
That is the bad news - because it turns-out that The Bureaucracy and the Mass Media are both, at the highest levels, pursuing a demonic agenda; and therefore what it wants is destruction of The Good (truth, beauty, virtue, coherence) and to persuade all humans to reject (explicitly, deliberately) salvation into everlasting life in Heaven.
At the top, at the highest level, ultimately setting-the agenda are literal demonic powers. Not many of them - they work indirectly via humans using bribery, intimidation and lying propaganda - but they are the primary movers and shakers both.
In sum, the modern world has become a vast machine of spiritual damnation; a single mechanism with an ever-finer mesh to capture ever-more people in an ever-tighter constraint - aiming to poison that which is good; to promote, reward, enforce that which is dishonest, ugly, wicked and insane.
SO - as individuals, we look at the world, and we look for groups, organisations, clubs, colleges, guilds, movements, parties and all manner of collectivities - to provide us with knowledge, encouragement, and to amplify our influence...
And we find that there are none (or hardly any, small, weak, poor, despised; and only minimally effectual. And that, for various reasons, we personally cannot participate in them).
We find ourselves confronted by this vast machine of damnation - and we are on-our-own.
On our own because of the wholesale corruption; the possibility of living-well by participation-in, obedience-to some Good external authority and groups has been deleted.
Every-body must - and this is not avoidable - therefore always exercise discernment; must evaluate, judge, discriminate; and must find their own motivations, courage, and direction. There is no other Good option on offer.
Like it or not, want it or not; this is un-evade-able: it is the inescapable situation in-which we find-ourselves.
This is precisely the core situation of modernity; it is the experience we are here (in mortal incarnate life) to experience, it is the lesson we personally are here to learn; it is why we were born now and here, rather than some other time or place: it is the challenge that we, personally, must confront and overcome.
And, for a Christian with faith in a loving God who is our Father and creator of this world, and whose Son made possible our resurrection to divinity - and whose guidance and wisdom is universally and personally accessible to all men as The Holy Ghost - who is our living, individual direction-finder and inspiration...
For such a Christian this colossal monolith of inter-connected evil is a challenge that each of us - individually and 'alone' - can overcome.
I have been interested in consciousness, and unusual conscious states, for my whole adult life and continuing - but in various ways and with different focuses.
c1974: I discovered the work of Robert Graves; first the Claudius novels, then the essays and criticism. I became fascinated by his remarks concerning the poetic trance, and the possibilities of non-logical leaps of inference and types of knowledge. Bernard Shaw's writings on Creative Evolution (Man and Superman, Back to Methuselah) pointed at higher consciousness as the (impersonal) aim of Life - this amplified by a mystical nature writer called John Stewart Collis. HD Thoreau's Walden and Journals described moments of connection with nature, which I sometimes experienced.
1978: I discovered Colin Wilson's work, with its primary focus on attaining higher forms of consciousness - since then I carefully read through most of his books, many several times. About this same time I encountered CG Jung, and the idea of archetypes that lent depth, universality and significance to life and art. A book of essays by composer Michael Tippett (Moving into Aquarius) talked of the importance of this kind of thing in artistic creation.
1994: I began an active scientific study of consciousness from the perspective of the theory of evolution by natural selection. I began to publish on the subject. To Thoreau I added an engagement with RW Emerson and other 'related' authors like Walt Whitman, William James, Robert Frost.
1998: Shamanism was of increasing interest - I read anthropological texts, and also - from about 2001 - Neo-Jungian writers such as Joseph Campbell and James Hillman.
2010: Having become a Christian, I investigated Eastern Orthodoxy (and the analogous 'Celtic'/ Anglo Saxon British tradition) - i.e. the practices of constantly-praying/ meditating ascetic monks and hermits, wonder-working Saints etc.
c2013: Having committed to Mormon theology and metaphysics; this was the beginning of my current phase of great interest in William Arkle, Owen Barfield and Rudolf Steiner, supplemented by William Blake and ST Coleridge.
So, for me, consciousness has been (in different, sometimes contrasting, ways) the single major intellectual and personal interest over a span of more than four decades - and continuing.
Looking back on my life, I can see that a major cause of misery and suffering was when I lived against my personal destiny. That is, when I had made wrong life choices and persisted in them - I suffered. This suffering was of an existential nature - deep and private, not superficial and public.
What seemed to happen then was a waning of drive and motivation, a growing discontent and low-grade misery. A feeling of meaninglessness and of pointlessness. And alienation - being cut-off from people, the world, life.
My surface life might be comfortable, might contain excitement, fun, be well-rewarded. Status and self-esteem were not a problem. But underneath...
In other words; when my life was on the wrong track, when I had taken a wrong turn and was moving further and further away from the right path - vitality drained away and an uneasy angst accumulated - regardless of how superficially pleasant and pleasurable that life might be.
And of course this is how it would naturally be, if a loving God was guiding us, his children. He would not want us to be diverted from what we ought to do by wrong decisions, and would make sure that we knew when - deep down - our lives had gone wrong and were getting wronger.
Whether we take any notice, is up to us; whether we put matters right is up to us - but we cannot say we were not aware of the problem, we cannot say that we were misled. If people, like myself, choose to blind themselves to the reality of divine destiny, then that is also open to us - but it cannot be done without consequences in terms of existential suffering.
Existential suffering of precisely the kind (and increasing severity) which I see all around me in the modern world.
People are being told, they are being shown, they are feeling that they have made wrong assumptions, wrong decisions, and are persisting in them - all of this by their own personal choices.
Corrective counter-knowledge is being applied to their souls; every hour of every day; steadily, and with increasing force - this existential suffering has that meaning.
People cannot be made to take notice of, nor to understand, such divine communications - but they are certainly being given every encouragement to do so.
I found this from five years ago - with zero recollection of having written it; when I was googling this subject - because we are today having exactly the same weather again.
In what seems to be the coldest March for many decades, my locality has experienced a couple of weeks of daily 'snow': but a strange kind of snow which is somewhat like hail, or sometimes hail that is somewhat like snow - either way it never lies for long, and accumulates like little drifts of granules rather than in layers.
My 10 yr old daughter has come-up with a useful set of terms to describe this unusual icy precipitation which has some of the properties of snow and some of hail.
Snoil - (pronounced snoyl) mostly snow but particulate, a bit like hail
Snil - exactly half way between snow and hail
Snail - mostly hail, but with a bit of snowlike softness
As you can see, the proportion of letters from each word, snow and hail, reflect the proportion of snow-like or hail-like properties - e.g. snoil has three letters from snow (sno) and two from hail (il) - while snail is the opposite, having two letters from snow (sn) and three letters from hail (ail).
This new nomenclature is proving itself to be usefully descriptive, and (more importantly) generative of the kind of micro-discussion of weather which we British seem to require as part of our daily diet - for example, emotional debate (confident assertions and incredulous counter-assertions) about whether the stuff on top of the car is best described as snoil or snil...
Colin Wilson was the first to recognise that human consciousness changed in 1740; and what marked this historic moment was the publication in London of Pamela: or Virtue Rewarded, by Samuel Richardson - which was the first novel.
The novel produced an instant sensation and within months had spawned numerous imitations. And the novel was the first evidence of the power of Imagination. Romanticism was born.
From that moment, human imagination exploded in the Western nations: the British Isles, Germany, France - spreading to all the developed countries and increasing until it was the dominant social theme by around 1800 - and the world was never the same again.
But if 1740 really was The Moment - then the direction of causality remains to be established.
Colin Wilson argued that The Novel caused the change in consciousness; but I would argue that the change in consciousness caused The Novel - and that Pamela was merely the first evidence that Man (specifically Western Man) had already begun to undergo a change in consciousness.
Here we come to the ambiguity in the term 'evolution'. Wilson saw the evolution of human consciousness; but he saw this as consciousness adapting to changed circumstances - he saw consciousness as 'passively' following changes in the environment...
But I see a process of developmental unfolding, in accordance with divine destiny. Thus I see human consciousness as developing a greatly-enhanced power of Imagination as a process of a long term plan for humanity. The novel was an early product of this change.
Consciousness is itself the driving force; and it was the change in consciousness which drove the changes in the environment - such as the Romantic Movement and the Industrial Revolution.
Most historians of ideas, on the contrary, regard Romanticism as a reaction-to modernity - especially a reaction-to the Industrial Revolution. (e.g. That Romanticism was a daydream of escape into magic and nature from the grimy and alienating 'realities' of industrialisation.) But this can't be right if we consider Pamela as the beginning of it all, since in 1740 the Industrial Revolution was as yet so small in scale as to be almost imperceptible. The greatest commentator of the age, Samuel Johnson, saw continuity, not revolution.
Instead, I would say that both The Novel and the Industrial Revolution were different products of the same driving, qualitative change in human consciousness; a change that affected England before it affected anywhere else - but which before long had affected everywhere else in Western and Central Europe and the diaspora of these peoples.
This general insight - of changing consciousness driving culture - was articulated by Rudolf Steiner and Owen Barfield; although neither emphasised much the point that this was a developmental divine destiny; and that its ultimate aim was the aim of God in creation: to enable Man to rise to full divinity.
Enhanced Imagination was something that was imposed-upon Western Man - it was not his choice, he was passively-swept-along by this change in consciousness.
But 250 years later I think we can perceive that Imagination was only meant to be the first step - and the divine plan was that Imagination would lead on to Man's explicit choice to embrace an Intuitive consciousness that was also conscious and free. That is, Man needed voluntarily to embrace what I have termed Primary Thinking.
So, the intention was that Imagination would show us the way - but Imagination is not-necessarily-real. Imagination was meant to lead-onto Intuitive Primary Thinking. While Imagination is creative in the realm of public communications, Intuition is creative in terms of universal reality - Intuition is, in fact, human creativity in the context of on-going divine creation. Intuition is Man's participation in God's creativity.
Yet since 1740 this evolution, this developmental unfolding of consciousness, has stalled; and we now live in a world where Imagination is encapsulated, hermetically sealed-off from Real Life which is The System, The Bureaucracy, an invasive totalitarian web of surveillance and control... Intuition (or claims of Intuition) is regarded as merely wishful thinking, evidence of childishness, or an evil attempt to manipulate others for personal advantage...
This happened because, unlike previous unfoldings of human conscious development, this last one (into the divine type of consciousness - divine in quality albeit not - initially - in quantity or scope) must be consciously chosen.
(We must consciously and explicitly choose to become gods - we cannot be made gods unconsciously and without our consent and cooperation.)
We must become explicitly aware of the next-step, then need to choose it. And this entails becoming explicitly aware of God's Plan - of our divine destiny - and choosing to join this; to be, live and work in harmony with God's Plan.
So far - very few people seem to have done this - of those we know, perhaps Goethe, William Blake, ST Coleridge, Rudolf Steiner, Owen Barfield are among the well-known examples of people who have made this choice; who have made this choice and qualitative step...
But culturally - the divine destiny of consciousness has been roundly and comprehensively rejected by modern Western cultures; as foolish, childish, meaningless nonsense - itself evil or tending-to evil.
Modern Culture is therefore divided between two wrong answers: between those who reject the assumption of God, and those who reject the assumption of a developmental unfolding of human consciousness.
Yet my belief is that both need to be accepted - which entails recognising them explicitly, and choosing them freely. Only then can Man take-up and resume his development towards divine consciousness.
Over at Albion Awakening, John Fitzgerald discusses the special qualities of The Mark of the Horse Lord, by Rosemary Sutcliff...
Sutcliff's descriptions of people, places, and the natural world are atmospheric and richly-textured. Her characters are rounded and believable. The story seems to spring from them fully formed - like Athene from the head of Zeus - as if the tale already exists in some archetypal world of Platonic Forms and Sutcliff has merely picked up its wavelength and written it down in one sitting. Any author who creates this impression in the reader's mind is clearly, in my view, a great artist. The reality of even gaining access to that primordial realm, then crafting and shaping a story out of what one encounters there, is always (in my experience anyway) a colossally tough affair...
The Mark of the Horse Lord is full of big ideas as well - loyalty, honour, magic, faith, fraternity, trust, the bond between men and women, and the use and abuse of power. It's a tough, realistic read, despite the glittering prose, but the adult themes are explored in a manner that in no way undermines the innocence of Sutcliff's young readers. On the contrary, it's an education in what makes people tick - what they'll fight and die for, and how far an individual is prepared to go to become something greater than he currently is...
Though her books have been enjoyed for decades by both sexes, I would say there is something particularly valuable here for young men, particularly in an age like the present where so much confusion and disorientation reigns concerning traditional male values and the role of men in society. The Mark of the Horse Lord is the story of a warrior - a man who has to fight every inch of the way - in himself, in his own community, and in the wider world of tribal and imperial conflict. Phaedrus finds his journey from gladiator to king tough going to say the least, but he sticks to his guns, trusts his intuition, does what he feels in his gut to be right, and grows in the end into something almost Arthurian, far more royal and archetypal than the impersonator and figurehead he was originally supposed to be.
The best thing of all about this book is that it posits a world freighted with meaning and value. It stands, as such, as a terrific antidote to hopelessness and despair. The ending may not be conventionally happy, but I found it deeply fulfilling in all the ways that matter. There is a pattern and harmony behind the plot's cut and thrust which Phaedrus begins to sense as the novel approaches its conclusion. But it only reveals itself and he only enters into it when he is ready, and that is what occurs at the very end of the book. Read the whole thing...
With the death of Stephen Hawking, famous more for being crippled and anti-religion than for the scope of his scientific achievements, and the non-personing of Jim Watson in 2007; most people could not name a single living scientist - nor could a single living scientist's name be recognised by most people.
The reason is obvious enough - real science has disappeared from the official and professional institutions and been replaced by, absorbed by, The Bureaucracy. The biggest and most heavily-funded 'scientific' projects are actually engineering (the human genome project, hadron collider, renewed interest in space travel...) and/ or a pack of lies propagated for political reasons (anthropogenic global warming, the best-selling 'new' medical drugs...).
The 'scientists' are just careerist bureaucrats, doing what they are told by their 'line managers', who are themselves keyed-into the rest of The Bureaucracy - just like everyone else.
The sixties counter-culture has been completely absorbed by the mass media amplified by personal computers and ubiquitous 'smart'-phones - and political 'dissent' and 'radicalism' is mainstream, taught in schools and by state propaganda; subsidised and promoted by The Bureaucracy.
Now science is bureaucracy; consequently The Bureaucracy is science. We believe and obey because Truth is now consensus, and consensus is manufactured by managed-committees, by procedures and by votes - and the bureaucratic consensus is validated by internal bureaucratic mechanisms that allocate funding, publication, promotions, publicity, awards and prizes.
At the basic Christian level it is to regard sex as legitimate only within the context of marriage between a man and a women.
Other types of sex being sinful in the specific sense of requiring repentance.
But that is a negative, exclusionary definition; and I would (from my perspective) go beyond it to state the principles positively.
That is: the highest ideal of human life is marriage and family. The highest ideal of marriage is monogamous. And the Highest ideal of monogamy is an eternal commitment - going beyond death into resurrected life.
Note: "ideal". Since there is no such thing as equality or neutrality - all phenomena must be ranked according to the ideal - and the ideal references this ranking.
The basis of these ideals entails than men and women are qualitatively-different in some ultimate spiritual way and in some divinely-ordained fashion - and not merely as social roles, nor merely as biological contingency.
Thus marriage is a higher ideal than celibacy, monogamy than polygamy - including serial polygamy (multiple marriages for any reason); marriage with children than without; permanent marriage intending an eternal relation than until death.
Now, this is an imperfect world inhabited by imperfect people - and we must, indeed, assume that this is by divine intent and design; since mortal life is for experiencing and learning. So ideals are very often impossible in practice - but that does not stop them being the ideal.
The difference is that when we fall short of ideals we need to repent - and by repent I mean acknowledge the reality of, and divine-intention behind, the ideal.
So I am not talking about what people achieve in life, in adhereing to thse ideals - I am talking about what they regard as ideal, and what they regard as requiring repentance. It is not in terms of behaviour that they are judged - but in terms of their ideals - their motivations.
What is the point of all this? the point is that the sexual revolution is the prime litmus test of our time and place - and the alignment of the modern spiritual warfare is therefore most simply and validly defined in terms of attitude to The Sexual Revolution: that is, insofar as a person's attitude challenges the above ideals.
All those who favour the sexual revolution, in all or any of the ways in contradiction to the ideals - are On The Other Side, overall and in net-effect. Insofar as they try to justify or promote ideals in line with the sexual revolution - they are in a state of unrepented sin, hence deliberately choosing to reject salvation.
That means most-people - That means nearly-everybody.
CC makes some points that are obviously true when they've been stated, yet not obvious until after they have-been stated.
Here I lightly-edit two of his comments together:
Most people are not scientists and don’t do any science, only benefiting from science indirectly. Science is largely irrelevant to everyday life.
Religion on the other hand deals with life directly, and provides answers to the problems people face every day. Yet most modern Western people are vigorously opposed not just to the answers religion provides but to acknowledging life’s questions at all.
People actually live their lives primarily in a religious, non-physical world of moral decisions and human relationships, yet they refuse to accept this obvious fact and only consider religious ideas in the most provisional, uncommitted way possible.
Philosophy is similar to religion in that philosophy engages with the questions of life directly; but philosophy is also too much like science - in that most people aren’t philosophers and don’t do philosophy. Philosophy is for specialists.
Philosophy presents a trap; as those people who are philosophers and do produce satisfying answers to life’s problems try to shine a light for others so they can reach the same conclusions about life… but it never works.
Partly this is because philosophy specializes; so it only provides very specific and very partial answers for certain areas of life (unlike religion, which is mostly comprehensive). But mainly it’s because ordinary people don’t do philosophy.
There’s a reason most people on Earth for most of history have been religious.
NOTE: I was a late convert to Christianity, and before this I tried to live by science and philosophy; which is perhaps why this remark hit home.
The problems are that neither S nor P are adequate - because neither can justify itself - neither science nor philosophy can say why they-themselves are valid, nor why they should be made the centre of life. There is, therefore, a dishonesty woven-into the very idea of putting either of these first.
Also, I found that there are very, very few real scientists - or philosopher - nowadays; and indeed almost-all of the high status, powerful, well-known scientists and philosophers are actually corrupt careerists - in effect anti-scientists and anti-philosophers have taken-over and now 'run the show'.
Religion can be, often is, dishonest insofar as it denies its own basis in direct intuition; but it is not a necessary nor instrinsic attribute of religion to deny its own roots. Christianity, in particular, has its strong tradition (the true tradition) in the act of conversion, a voluntary affiliation, being born-again - as origination from an opt-in.
The mainstream Christian denominations in The West have also been taken-over, subverted, and inverted by their leadership - however, the simple essence of Christianity (what it ought to be) is, consequently, perhaps clearer than ever before in the past 2000 years.
We all of us deal with the everyday problems of life - like it or no. And anyone who chooses may reject the culturally-mainstream 'provisional, uncommited' attitude to this.
All we need to do - but need means must, to get the ball-rolling'; is to take such matters seriously from a religious perspective. That's the decisive move, and the means of escape.