Sunday 30 June 2019

Chapter 21 of the Fourth Gospel (of 'John') is not authentic

Since I collected my mini-book Lazarus Writes, about the Fourth Gospel ('John'), my then-belief that Chapter 21 was added considerably later has been amplified into a belief that it was added by another hand - i.e. not by the disciple who wrote (most of) the first 20 Chapters.

I already knew that the Gospel - from structural and narrative evidence - clearly finished at the end of Chapter 20. But I decided to go-along-with the traditional idea that the extra Chapter was added by the same author, later. 

The reason I now have for rejecting Chapter 21 is essentially intuitive from reading the first 20 chapters, and the 21st, and forming the hardening conviction that 21 is qualitatively different, has a different flavour. But mainly that Chapter 21 is 'making points' alien to the rest of the Gospel.

But then I began to reflect on why it had taken me such a time to reject Chapter 21. And there were two. First that I very much liked the closing verse:

25: And there are also many other things which Iesus did, the which if they should be written euery one, I suppose that euen the world it selfe could not conteine the bookes that should be written, Amen.

However, this liking of verse 25 is balanced by the dubious, authorially-alien explicit assertiveness of the previous verse, which rings false: This is the Disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things, and we know that his testimonie is true.

I also liked - and had been influenced by - this passage: 21-23 Peter seeing him, saith to Iesus, Lord, and what shall this man doe? Iesus saith vnto him, If I will that he tary till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that Disciple should not die: yet Iesus sayd not vnto him, He shall not die: but, If I will that he tary till I come, what is that to thee?

It was this passage which originally set me on the path to understanding that the resurrected Lazarus was the author of the Gospel; so I had a kind of gratitude and affection towards it. But it now seems to me that there is no compelling reason why this would mean that Chapter 21 was personally later added by Lazarus, rather than somebody else who simply knew-that the author of 1-20 was the resurrected Lazarus.

What counts against Chapter 21 being authored by the same author as 1-20? Firstly, that 21 is almost entirely about Peter - rather than telling us anything substantive about Jesus. From the perspective of the author of Chapters 1-20 and the clear and simple message he gives us - why bother adding 21 and spoiling the magnificent structure, muddying the clarity?

Secondly, that it includes the incomprehensible section on 'feed my lambs/ sheep' - which is unlike 1-20 in doctrine and substance - in the sense that there seems to be a new doctrine being introduced, and one that gives Peter a special role in the work of Jesus. Chapters 1-20 are all about the radical, personal, simplicity that if we follow Jesus with love, trust, faith (knowing him the fully-divine Son of God), then we will attain to life everlasting. The Holy Ghost/ Comforter provides all the guidance we each need.

It seems dissonant that this last and later Chapter should introduce a special, apparently vital, 'feeding' role for Peter. This strikes me as an alien, post hoc element, justifying intrusion. In other words, I regard it as having been added to justify why Peter had, by this later time - and after Peter's death, organised A Church with himself as leader of it.

Therefore, I now regard the Fourth Gospel as running from Chapters one to twenty only (noting a few probable excisions and additions).

Saturday 29 June 2019

The System versus Creation

Things are coming to a point; getting very simple; we have a single clear, dichotomous choice in Life.

The two sides in the spiritual war are God's Creation (universal and eternal) - and on the other side The System of this world; the demonically-managed, global, totalitarian bureaucratic-media complex.

There used to be other 'options' in the sense of worldly things that were Not in the System - some jobs, aspects of culture, some pastimes, some clubs etc... but these are being incrementally eliminated.

In this world (to a greatening extent) there is just The System.

The thing is; now there are no nuances. Choosing one political party rather than another does not matter: both are The System; and The System includes All the major, or large, or powerful social institutions and corporations - is assimilating the medium-sized, and moving towards the smallest.

We must and will choose between Creation and System - if we have not already done so. Nearly everybody, so far, has chosen The System; and there is less and less space in this world for those who choose Creation.

Friday 28 June 2019

Tolkien's eccentric lunar astronomy - updated

 Contra JRRT, this crescent moon seen in the evening can only be Setting in the West, not Rising in the East...

At the Notion Club Papers, I have revised and slightly supplemented my blog post of six years ago where I pointed-out JRR Tolkien's false beliefs about the moon - in particular that a new moon could rise shortly after sunset. And I have made a suggestion as to where and why this error may have arisen.

Northumbrian slip jigs

Need to go to 37:58 on the first video:

Notes: Wallington is (lovely) place in Northumberland, 'Fairly shot of' means 'well rid of'

Slip jig is the term for jigs with a 9/8 time signature (diddly diddly diddly) instead of the more usual 6/8 jig (diddly diddly). Northumberland has developed its own variant of these tunes, based on the distinctive characteristics of the Northumbrian Pipes - tunes with an emphasis on arpeggios (broken chords), and a tendency to staccato articulation.

Also distinctive is that these slip jigs 'end' on the dominant chord; which means they don't really end but either stop abruptly, need an additional tonic chord, or else they seem to want to go on and on, round and round, forever.

These (especially Drops of Brandy) are the favourite tunes to play at the end of the 'ceilidhs' (barn dances) which are popular here, since they accompany the traditional final dance of the evening - 'Strip the Willow'. Which may be so vigorous that (when over-excited or unskilled men are involved) it can be dangerous; my daughter was at such a dance when two of the girls were taken to hospital afterwards having suffered significant injuries from being swung too hard, fast and often.

The dance has a hop-step movement, which means that it syncopates across the bar lines for a 9/8; each 'diddly' being either a hop or a step, making two diddlys per bar which has three diddlys - and therefore the order of hopping and stepping within the bar is different for each adjacent bar.

That's how it 'works' musically; but, anyway, in practice such syncopation probably accounts for some of the almost magical, elated feeling when dancing Strip the Willow to slip jigs.

When a man really thinks; he is a spiritual being, in a world beyond life and death...

Thinking can be understood only when it is seen as a power in man which, in its own essential nature, does not belong to the external world at all. 

On the contrary, in its own being and nature, thinking belongs in the spiritual world. We already experience the spiritual world, though not consciously, when we really think; i.e. when our thinking is not merely acting as a mirror reflecting external phenomena. 

When we are engaged in real thinking, then we have the possibility of experiencing ourselves as thinkers

If man becomes conscious of himself within thinking, he knows himself to be in a world that exists beyond life and death. 

Nothing is more certain than when man thinks he is then active as a spiritual being

Edited from Lecture 1 of Rudolf Steiner's The Karma of Materialism - lectures given in 1917

I find the above passage to be striking and absolutely convincing. This is not a matter of evidence - indeed I can't imagine that any form of evidence could be adduced either for or against its truth. It is a metaphysical statement concerning our nature and the world - and as such we can/ must accept or reject it.

Either our real thinking is of this nature, or it is not - and the truth of the matter is only ascertained as a consequence of some kind of thinking.

For me, the above passage from Steiner resonates immediately with my own deepest intuitions - more than this, it describes my intuitions about intuitive thinking itself.

Much hinges on the distinction between real thinking and that which is merely a mirror of external phenomena - in its purest form this is a feature of early childhood. A young child is hardly conscious of himself thinking - experience flows into him, he is immersed-in phenomena, he is passive to experience; or else he acts, unthinkingly, from instinct.

As we develop, we separate our-selves from phenomena - eventually this separation is experienced as complete. Much (or all) of our thinking is still dictated by phenomena - especially in this days of mass and social media; and when not by phenomena, by memories of phenomena.

Perhaps very little thinking each day, perhaps none, is generated from our real-selves - uncaused thinking - thinking from that within us which is divine... but that is the real thinking to which Steiner refers. Only that thinking is 'in a world that exists beyond life and death'.

How do we know when it is happening? It is by an intuitive certainty of reflection: we think, we know we think, and we know that this thinking is real... That is what Steiner means when he says we 'know' ourselves in a world beyond life and death, and are 'certain' of this.

I understand this to mean that such a situation is as certain as anything can be to us - despite that modernity has trained us that such intuitions have zero intrinsic validity.

Steiner remarks elsewhere that when a man begins to doubt his own intuitions, he is in a terrible situation - he has in practice become a nihilist, doubting his own thinking he necessarily doubts everything - including the validity of that self which does the doubting...

And then He Is Lost - and passive to manipulation; which is the normal situation that has been engineered by The Establishment, and embraced by The Masses in this time and place.

But if you personally would instead prefer to experience living as a spiritual being in a world beyond life and death - the possibility is in your own hands: or thoughts. It is the primary act of the Romantic Christian.

Thursday 27 June 2019

The religion of a scientist

Up to the time of my conversion to Christianity - I was not without religion. And in some ways it was satisfactory, but the ways in which it was not are instructive.

If we analyse the situation in terms of the transcendental qualities of Truth, Beauty and Virtue in Unity; I had the first two.

As a vocational scientist, I was exceptionally devoted to the truth - in small and in large. As a deep appreciator and (somewhat) practitioner of the arts (especially literature and music) I discerned and loved beauty. Indeed, in my life, these two - Truth and Beauty - were substantially unified. For example; I recognised that scientific truth was accompanied, and identified as, beautiful.

But I lacked a proper appreciation of Virtue; and as such was readily manipulated by the Establishment into tracking my understanding of virtue against the imposed trends of modernity.

Furthermore, denying God, I did not have a sense of the Unity of everything in God's creation; and was plagued by a doubt in the reality of purpose and meaning.

Becoming a Christian; I had the great experience of feeling Truth and Beauty being joined with Virtue; locked in a Unity.

How The System (the global empire of evil) has "Got Us"

I am continually surprised at how most people are oblivious to what is going on in the world, despite that it happens everyday in their own personal experience - and indeed, most people are personally involved (especially in their paid employment) with the implementation of lies, ugliness and sin.

But for the large majority who are atheist, it is understandable - because if this mortal life is everything-there-is for each of us; then any glimmering recognition of our stark choice is very difficult to acknowledge. So it is suppressed.

I think we all know un-consciously and denied that there is a global empire of evil. The people who are in charge of all the major global institutions, and the people who are in charge of all the major Western institutions (politics, the military, major churches, civil administration, the mass media, law, education, health services, the police) are in an alliance - they are The System. I mean the single, interconnected, totalitarian bureaucracy combined with the mass propaganda machine that is the mass/ social media.

(Recalling, also, that both bureaucracy and the mass media are intrinsically and necessarily evil things - they are intrinsically destructive of Good.)

We all know unconsciously that this is the case, and we know also that The System is overall evil, net evil - that is it has evil intent - although modern people can only, inaccurately, define evil in terms of cruelty and material greed.

But we also sense, albeit vaguely, that this means that the evil global empire has Got Us - precisely because it rules all the major social institutions. If the forces of Good start to win - the the evil empire can, and will, pull the plug on its empire.

Once the power of evil have captured the leadership of all the major social institutions, they can destroy them at will. Since all the modern world is densely interconnected, it will all fall together.

And if the evil powers are about to lose the spiritual war, destroy the world empire is exactly what they will so. They will pull-down the vast web of law, trade, military, communications; backed-up by armed force and armies of bureaucrats... pretty much everything that is not small, local, familial and religious; and they will do it swiftly, legally, officially, with all the necessary orders and permissions (obviously, since these will be granted by others in the empire system!).

Self interest of the elites will not prevent this 'pulling down of the house on your own head', since the human leadership of the global institutions are ultimately servants-of, or even possessed-by actual demons - who are immortal spirits that can personally survive any amount of worldly destruction.

Anyway, we can observe that humans will strategically and deliberately inflict long-term general destruction quite cheerfully; so long as the inflicter benefits in the short term, and is expecting to be the last man standing - for example, the pattern of lust/sadism-murder-suicide seen among serial killers, tyrants, dictators, gangsters, senior bureaucrats and the like.

My point is:

1. There really is - here and now - a global empire controlled by the forces of evil; I mean the normal, universal, mainstream bureaucratic/ mass media System. That is in-place.

2. Because the evil servants are in control of The System, they will not allow the forces of good to take over The System (even if such a remote possibility could happen). They can and will instead destroy The System (which is, after all, extremely vulnerable - due to its massive interconnectedness, and the vast global population).

3. Therefore; if we accept The System, we are aligning ourselves with evil, we are becoming evil, and we are choosing self damnation. This everybody knows at an unconscious, inarticulate level - but most people deny or reject this knowledge; because they do not believe in God, hence do not believe in evil (because evil is that which opposes God and creation).

4. Those who reject The System and reject evil are - pretty much - accepting the collapse of The System. Because they cannot win. Victory over The System is destruction of The System - and that would mean, for most people in the world, suffering and death.

5. Yet accepting The System is no lasting answer even for those who are prepared to embrace evil (those prepared to make the Evil Deal) as the price of survival and to escape suffering; because a 'system of evil' is a contradiction in terms, and as evil increases, the system will collapse from its internal contradictions.

6. In practice, therefore The Evil Deal is simply to survive and thrive for a little more time, as our payment for assisting the implementation of the agenda of destruction.
7. Our task, as Christians, is therefore to reject evil and embrace Good, despite all the above - and to do so in a Romantic spirit!

We need to accept, explicitly and consciously, all the above (or something very like it) as the facts of our world; and nonetheless to live in the kind of way that Christians are supposed to live - with love and without fear.

Thus, this can only be done, we can only be Good, on the basis of a sure and certain personal faith in the Heavenly eternal life to come which has been promised by Jesus to all who follow him.  

That is more important than anything else; because without it we will not have the motivation to be Good.

Note added: This lovely and inspiring video, from one of the Apostles of the CJCLDS church, captures the spirit of confident hope for Heaven that we all - each as individuals - will need: - H/T Bookslinger. 

Wednesday 26 June 2019

Felton Lonnin - sung in the Northumbrian dialect

First of all - listen to this lovely song by the High Level Ranters (one of my favourite folk groups back in the day). The song in 3/4 (boom-chacha; waltz time), followed by the same tune sped-up as a jig (diddly-diddly; 6/8).

Singer is Johnny Handle; instrumentation is whistle and accordeon (3/4); changing to Northumbrian pipes, fiddle and accordeon (6/8).

The song is in Northumbrian dialect, as it is spoken to the north of Newcastle. So, see if you can make out what the song is about just from listening

Now, listen again with the following 'crib' - I've translated the dialect:

Felton Lonnin - Felton is a village in Northumberland, a lonnin is a lane

Now the kye [cows] came home but I saw not my hinny, [term of endearment]
The kye came home but I saw not me bairn.[child]
I'd rather lose all the kye than lose my hinny,
I'd rather lose all the kye than lose my bairn.

Fair faced is my hinny, his blue eyes are shining,
His hair in curled ringlets all sweet to my sight.
So mount the old pony and gan [go] and seek after him
Bring to his mammy her only delight.

Now he's always out roaming the long summer days through,
He's always out roaming away from the farm,
Hedges and ditches and valleys and fellsides [hillsides].
I hope that my bairnie has taken no harm.

I've searched in the meadow and in the four acre
And stockyards and byers [animal sheds] but nothing did I find.
So, off you go daddy, and look for your laddie
And bring to his mammy some peace to her mind.

...So, this is a mother whose young child is prone to wander and has gone missing from the farm, singing to her husband to get-on the pony and go-out and 'seek after' (ie. find) him.

Tuesday 25 June 2019

A modern Merlin

The modern Merlin might be here?

Of all archetypal characters (also, I believe, an historical character - or more than one), perhaps Merlin is the one who most interests and excites me - and I set to thinking about what a modern Merlin would be like.

The original Merlin was probably the last of the druids, perhaps a Christian pagan with one foot in each camp; and one of the last great spiritual leaders who retained the ancient shamanic ability to perceive and work with the spiritual realm - the realm of the 'old gods' and natural entities.

A modern Merlin would be a throw-forward rather than back; he would be one who had moved forward, partly but significantly, to the world of 'final participation' - that is, he would think in harmony with the spiritual world, and thereby his own personal creativity would be woven-into the divine creation.

The new Merlin would be creative, therefore, but in a way that would be knowable only to those who could also follow him across into the new mode of spirituality. He would be working on transforming the matrix of being in which we all dwell, but of which only few are explicitly aware. Nonetheless - he would transform and expand the possibilities for his 'nation' - which nation would, I imagine, be the nation of Albion/ Logres - that spiritual nation of the ideal Britain.

The original Merlin was perhaps mainly a prophet - and this has come down to us as cryptic prophecies of the kind that are only understood after they have come to pass. The main value of this seems to be validation of the wisdom and authority of the prophet, who may then be of value as a counsellor, and adviser for the King.

What would prophecy be like in this time and place, at the end of the age of Ahrimanic materialism? Well, Merlin must be valuable, and that kind of prophecy is not what is needed. Valid prophecy is ignored or denied. And we have no Kings, nor anybody in power that would heed wise counsel (the word wizard is linked to wise). And his wisdom would need to be accessible without mediation of communication media - since he would surely be censored and deplatformed....

Instead what is needed is inspirational prophecy, encouragement - that is, a prophet who will fill us with courage and guide us in the right direction.

So, I can imagine a modern Merlin who would fill the spiritual world with all manner of such guidance and joy; so that anyone who asked for help would be able to tap-into this source. Anyone who was aligned with divine destiny would be able to draw upon the inspiration and courage that Merlin had woven into the spiritual life of the nation - would be filled by that wisdom.

Such a Merlin might therefore be invisible, unknown - he could be anyone, anywhere within the grounds of 'Merlin's Precinct' of Britain, who was doing this spiritual work from which all who were capable of benefiting could benefit. Quite likely he would - in this mortal life, anyway - be known only by what he had done, and not at all by who he was.

SK Orr is trying to make it home

"...I am prone to periods of deep melancholy, and yesterday was one of those days.

Near sunset, I went outside to replenish bird feeders and look at the sky. The sounds of the day were dimming down, and I felt that familiar homesick feeling — the Welsh call it hiraeath — that sends an inexpressible longing for something unnamed through my spirit. It’s an odd thing, really…a sense of the awareness of suffering in this life, the absolute inevitability of suffering…and a gradual, almost pleasurable increase in the certainty of suffering.

With age comes a curious degree of resolute reality, and when that reality accrues in the rafters of one’s mind — as it is accruing in mine — a thoughtful man realizes that he has expended a staggering amount of his life dreading and trying to avoid suffering.

And all for nothing. All that effort, all that planning and dodging and strategizing, and then one day he stands in the damp grass of his back yard while his dogs writhe in joy on their backs and he realizes that he is as exposed to pain as he is to the suspended ceiling of sky.

And at such moments, all he can really do is watch the world around him, with all its actions and inhabitants..."

Read the whole thing... a lovely, lyrical meditation by blogger SK Orr at Steeple Tea.

Monday 24 June 2019

Justice (by William Arkle - section 1)

Another subject to be studied in the light of this theory is one of justice. This is not the sort of justice which is instituted in our systems of law. It is the idea and sense of justice which we relate to ourselves in the circumstances we are born into and the fortune and luck we experience in our lives.

Because the theory indicates that we are already individuals before birth, this individual nature is not sown at random into any situation on earth. It is not fortuitous the way that some are born to good parents and others to bad parents, and this is not some Divine blank spot.

We must clarify our ideas concerning the nature of the working of justice as it affects the structure of our lives and the experiences that come our way.

It must be decided if we are in a purely mechanical system of reciprocal effect, or whether we are in a system which combines both.

The first section of Justice - Chapter 12 from A Geography of Consciousness by William Arkle, 1974 p 169. 

Notes: I intend to go through the entirety of this chapter, because it is probably my favourite in Arkle's most concentrated distillation of insights: A Geography of Consciousness.

Arkle begins with the assumption, which I share, that we 'begin as individuals' - that is, when we incarnate in this earthly life, we are already unique individuals - unique souls. Then he observes that each unique soul is born into a different circumstance - time, place, parents, social circumstances etc. Arkle is also assuming that there is a loving creator God, who made this earth and and therefore designed our lives for our ultimate benefit.

He then observes that it is not conceivable that a loving creator God would simply scatter our souls 'at random' into this world without taking any account of the extremely varied circumstances here that soul might land.

And if not randomly, then God must have placed each soul into the specific circumstances in which it was born, and with regard to the likely future development of these circumstances of time, place, parents etc.

To believe otherwise is to assume that there is a Divine blank spot, by which God designs the world with all its variety, and creates our unique selves, but then (at the last moment!) makes zero attempt to match up the soul with the best place for its development...

So, if we believe in a loving creator God; we can infer that we were placed in circumstances that we conducive to our personal needs. These 'needs' being related primarily to our ultimate and eternal development after biological death - not to our needs during this mortal life (which for most people is extremely brief, since many have died in the womb and many others at birth, or shortly after).

Secondly, Arkle sets up another dichotomy concerning justice.

There seem to be two possibilities: one is that we inhabit a 'purely mechanical system of reciprocal effect' in which so-called-justice is simply the playing-out of this causality. Justice would then simply be our temporary and purely-personal feelings about the current and local workings of this deterministic causal system (and indeed these feelings would simply be determined in the same way as everything else).

On the other hand, there might be a system of 'conscious intelligent effect' - in which justice relates to matters such as our personal evaluation of the intentions of conscious beings.

A third possibility is that we inhabit some combination of rigid-mechanical and conscious-intelligent - one system primary and the other secondary - one within the other; or both operating in parallel perhaps.

Arkle's way is not really to 'argue' about which of these is true (a logically-impossible thing, since both are assumptions upon which the validity of any specific argument depends); but to state the possibilities, and invite us to reflect deeply on which we personally really believe; on the basis that primary intuition is the basis of all knowledge.

One who believes in a deterministic system need read no further. One who believes that we are unique souls that were were  'placed' in our circumstances by a loving creator God may then proceed to reflect on the nature of Justice as this chapter continues...

The primary sin of Modern Man

I have to call it a sin, rather than an error, because it is a choice made despite our better instincts - nonetheless it is so common, so universal, that it is almost asif the sin is a part of normal socialisation, of growing-up in The West.

The sin is 'materialism' - which could also be called positivism, reductionism, scientism... it is the standard assumed view of all public discourse for several generations, so it doesn't have a commonly used name; since we don't name our assumptions, and are seldom even aware of them.

Materialism is what blocks that which is most necessary for us to be aware of: which is our knowledge of the reality of that 'matrix' of Beings which make up this world. The awareness that this world is alive, conscious and has purpose. We all have this knowledge, but we lack awareness of this knowledge and deny it by assumptions that (at some point in our development) we have chosen to adopt.

It is all One Big Thing, really - but there are various aspects to the assumption:

Deadness - There isn't even a word for this assumption, which almost everybody assumes... It is that ultimately everything is or will be Not Alive, but Dead. We exist in a Dead universe (the stars, planets, moon are all Dead; all submicroscopic stuff is Dead), and living things are made of Dead components. Ultimately, everything is reducible to Physics, and the entities of Physics (waves, particles, forces etc) are Not Alive, not Conscious, lack innate purpose. What is denied is our inborn assumption (and that of most people in history) that reality consists of living, and (in different ways) conscious Beings. Apparently everyone believes this at some level, but Modern man denies it - by assumption.

Entropy - We believe in the reality of entropy - the tendency to chaos, but not of love. Entropy is assumed as a universal reality, an inevitable force, a tendency of everything everywhere - breaking down, corrupting, destroying everything all of the time... but we deny by assumption the reality of any similarly universal tendency in the direction of development, creativity, life, consciousness etc.

Natural Selection - We believe that this is the sole explanation of the adaptiveness and range of life on earth - that it is the origin of life, the only cause of the variety of species, the single reason for the emergence of Man and individual Men. We deny by assumption that any of the above has any purpose; we deny that there is any reason for any of it, we deny any meaning to it. The assumption is that Natural selection Just Is, and Just Does.

You get the idea. Always and everywhere, Modern Man assumes a one-sided view of existence - he assumes that underlying reality is dead, chaotic, going nowhere and without meaning. This has not been discovered but is assumed. This assumption is not natural but chosen; and that choice was personal.

If we call this materialism, then materialism is our great sin.


Sunday 23 June 2019

Watch with Mother

When I was a young child, there were only a handful of TV programmes available (and we had a very small monochrome TV/ Radio) - but some of these had a very powerful effect on me,. Especially Watch with Mother, which was on the BBC (one of the two TV channels) from (I think) 1.30 to 1.45 pm - after which we would switch over to radio.

I literally loved Watch with Mother - especially the puppet shows The Woodentops and Andy Pandy. I remember both of the episodes linked below quite distinctly, having seen each several times; because the programmes were frequently repeated on a cycle.

These were already old programmes when I saw them in the early-mid 1960s, and the picture was so fuzzy, and our television so small (and also fuzzy), that we used to sit on the floor only about 3 feet away from the screen.

The Woodentops were idyllic tales of a rural family. Our favourite character was the baby - for obvious reasons when you see this episode. The first few minutes are comic genius:

The introduction, and ending - with the lovely music by Grieg and the way the family wave goodbye, are so sweetly-sad that I can't watch them without tearing-up.

These old shows certainly had real magic about them, which instantly takes me back to that young child's view of the world.

Andy Pandy was another favourite specifically because of the character of Teddy (we actually used to rather resent Andy and Looby Lou - whom we regarded as smug and spoiled) - the puppetry of Teddy is a work of genius - you can't take your eyes off him.

We used to be so sorry at the end of each episode (a wistful, sweet farewell song) that my sister and I would fight to kiss the on-screen Teddy.

After switching-off the TV there was another ritual as the picture dwindled to a bright spot which we called 'the star' - and we needed to keep watching until it had completely disappeared.

And then it was the Home Service on the radio, and Listen with Mother: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin..."

Saturday 22 June 2019

What does it mean to 'follow' Jesus?

What does it mean to 'follow' Jesus? In essence it means to follow Jesus through death and to the divine, resurrected life eternal.

But what does 'following' mean?

The explanation of what it means is covered in the Fourth Gospel, particularly in the section on the Good Shepherd. Because (naturally enough) this 'process' has to be 'explained' in a symbolic/ metaphorical kind of way.

In brief 'following' is done by Loving Jesus; other words having faith, trusting, knowing that he is Good, wanting-this for your-self.

The kind of thing is much like the young child's love, faith trust in his mother and father (in an ideal family) - the knowledge that Jesus has our best interests at heart, the confidence that whatever he does is for our ultimate benefit (whatever the short-term, surface appearance of things may be).

The point is that following Jesus is a personal relationship - not a prescription, not a set of abstractions. It cannot be listed as 'what to do' any more that you can make a comprehensive checklist of 'being married' or 'being a son'. The primary reality is the quality of the relationship - which is loving, and the nature of 'love' intended is of the same quality as the ideal of within-family love.

The journey from mortal to immortal life is one that can only be done with a Guide - no map, no set of instructions, will suffice - only a Guide, in whom we have absolute confidence - and for this journey there is only One Guide who Knows the Way.

So the path from this mortal life to eternal, resurrected, divine life is one that we can only follow by following Jesus, we cannot find our own way, we must have him (and nobody else) as our Guide - he goes ahead, he shows the way; and because we Love him we have the confidence and trust to walk behind (in his footsteps) until we arrive.

Friday 21 June 2019

The old 'clarifying' task of the writer is obsolete

For a long time (maybe 250 years?) it was implicitly recognised that a major task of the writer was to clarify, that is to make clearer, the human condition. And the human condition was The World - the writers vocation was a 'worldly' task.

The assumption was that the world was muddled, ambiguous, confusing; and therefore a writer ought to dig beneath the surface to reveal its underlying true nature.

This clarification-role was especially the case for non-fiction writers - for many philosophers, essayists, 'public intellectuals' - but was substantially the case even for fiction writers such as George Eliot and Charles Dickens, playwrights such as Oscar Wilde and Bernard Shaw, and even poets such as TS Eliot or WH Auden.

I have written hundreds of such 'decoding' articles myself - purporting to look behind the obvious in science, medicine, psychiatry, the media... and tell the reader what was 'really' going on.  

But here-and-now, things are clear already; things have come to a point; it Has Happened. Good and evil are separate and diverging - now it is a matter of choosing sides...

The important things are as obvious now as ever they will be. So there is no genuine role for a writer who looks behind the obvious...

By 'things' I mean the important things are obvious (important in terms of the human condition) - I don't mean the specialist minutiae that bombard the modern citizen. These can be clarified (science stories, news stories, health stories, the nature of new laws and public personalities...) but, really, who cares? What does it matter?

All Men have sufficient innate judgement to know without being told what is true and false, beautiful and ugly, virtuous and evil in this world we live in - because these are Now So Obvious.

But of course, most people make the wrong choices: choose dishonesty, ugliness and immorality - defend, advocate and reward these evils. The big question is not, therefore, what lies behind or beneath the obvious surface of thing - the big questions are: How come Modern Man does not perceive the obvious? How come so many Modern Men choose the side of evil?

The hope of a Christian writer is to make a positive difference to some of his readers. Among potential readers, there are some who already agree - they may be encouraged and that is worthwhile, but the difference a writer makes is not crucial.

At the opposite extreme, there are those potential readers who know the nature and identity of Good, and have rejected it. But not much can be done about them. They don't want what Jesus offers; and it would be a waste of effort for writers to address such people. We should follow the example of Jesus in his ministry; and set aside such hardened cases. 

The hope of a writer is therefore not to clarify, and he cannot convert a hardened opponent; yet he wants to do more than preach to the choir... What then?

My hope is to address the reader who knows - but unconsciously the evils of the modern world; the hope is to bring this implicit, nagging, unaware discernment of reality to the surface, and to affirm its validity.

My belief is that most people are equipped (as a result of our divine origins as children of God) with a true inner guidance system, that can potentially be checked and affirmed with revelations from the Holy Ghost. This can be termed intuition - or direct knowing.

The situation is that this is in-place, and operating, in many people - but many are unaware of this; and of those who are aware, many ignore their inner promptings because they have assumed that intuition is merely social conditioning or wishful thinking.

In sum, the hope is to enable people to feel, know and acknowledge the validity of their own intuition... That is, to become aware of the ongoing workings of their real, divine self; and to recognise that this is a better guide to virtue and wickedness, beauty and ugliness, truth and lies - than is the mainstream indoctrination by the mass media, education system, 'science', law and the other official sources - including most self-identified churches, most of the time.

I address people who already know that we are in a culture war, a spiritual war; and in this war there are two sides. (If they don't already know, then it cannot be proved to them - because they have chosen to resist acknowledging the obvious.)

A choice of side must and will be made - and among those who have chosen the side of God, my hope is to suggest how someone who has chosen Good may proceed to live; given the realities of an ever-more corrupted world.

Note: The recent blog post on the sexual revolution illustrates, I believe, the adverse consequences of failing to know, feel and acknowledge the validity of their intuition. Our destiny was and is to become more consciously intuitive - but this destiny has been widely ignored or refused. In other words, most people know intuitively - but unconsciously - the wrongness of the sexual revolution. My hope is that people may first become aware of these intutions of sex and sexuality; and secondly that people will recognise the validity of such intuitions - which further means understanding something of why (and under what circumstances) intutions are valid.

What is a Christian? A Christian is someone who would follow Jesus through death

Who is a Christian? What is a real 'heresy', and which heresies matter and which (ultimately) do not?

It does not seem as if general abstract answers to this question are satisfactory when applied to actual specific individuals. All too often the individual who is 'on paper' a solid Christian, actually seems not to be; and another individual with all kinds of apparently heretical ideas seems to be a real Christian.

As nearly-always, it is a matter of motivation - so the question boils down to a matter of evaluating another person's motivation.

Of course, such evaluation is prone to error, since we lack direct mind-to-mind access to the motivations of another; but on the other hand, Life depends on being able to judge motivations. Actual life is impossible without such an ability; so we can, do and must judge motivations of other people.

What, then, should we be looking for in evaluating whether or not someone is a Christian?

I think this question to ask is along-the-lines-of: Would he follow Jesus through death to eternal resurrected life?

So it is not the conceptualisation of Jesus that is crucial, but the attitude to Jesus.

When it is said that 'Jesus is both God and Man' - this ought not to be regarded at the level of philosophical explanation; but rather a way of saying that Jesus needs to be (in our hearts) both personal and divine for us to want to follow him (as a person) and for him to be able to give us life eternal (as divine).

Someone who regarded Jesus in their hearts as wholly a person (not divine) - say as a great teacher or prophet - may love Jesus; but such a Jesus would not be able to offer resurrection, so could not be followed through death.

At the other extreme, someone who regarded Jesus as wholly divine but not a person, somebody who saw Jesus as essentially a powerful abstraction - such as a creative force, faster spiritual vibration, high-frequency influence on matter, or a glowing light of joy - would not be able to love or follow such an impersonal entity.

I hope this gives the idea of what I am talking about. But what makes a person a Christian or not is not captured by such definitions - the definitions are secondary. The primary reality is the motivation of the heart with respect to Jesus.

Analysis of what a person knows or says about the nature of Jesus is not necessarily relevant, any more than we can evaluate the real motivations of a person by recording and analysing their speech - because people lie, people err or lack intellectual capacity, people deceive themselves as to the truth of their own motivations...

Because we need to know whether other people rally are Christians, there is no way of evading the need for a direct, intuitive, personal evaluation of the motivation of the other - and we need to have faith that we can and are able to make such evaluations; that God would not have left us bereft of such a vital ability.

Thursday 20 June 2019

Why was 1960s style hedonic sexual individualism abandoned?

It is easy to get distracted and misled by the fact that the sexual revolution began (mid 1960s) with an explicit assertion of the 'rights' of individuals to 'do whatever they wanted with whoever/ whatever they wanted' - the principle of open-ended and impulsive hedonism. Free love etc. - with an emphasis on extreme heterosexual promiscuity (because that is what most men 'want' at the purely-hedonic level).

The 'problem' was to persuade most women that they wanted it too. And in practice this required social indoctrination (by the fake female peer group of the mass media) and liberal usage of alcohol and drugs, and engineered pro-promiscuous social situations.

Most people fail to recognise that this ultra-libertarian and individualist 'let it all hang out', 'follow your dreams and impulses' spirit has long since been replaced by something very different in spirit: something collective, bureaucratic, totalitarian.

Perhaps the feminists began it with the slogan and idea: The personal is political.

This, unnoticed at the time, was a repudiation and reversal of carefree, individualist hedonism - and the assertion that all thought and actions (including sexual) were primarily political, hence collective, statements. At exactly this point - and, significantly, under the explicit guidance of women - began the assertion that The System had the authority, right and power to take-over sexuality.

Nowadays, the realm of sex and sexuality has been drained of hedonic significance and become a realm of earnest and hectoring political monitoring, propaganda and control - in an inverted morality by which sexual acts, including their discussion, are the primary theme used to enforce a top-down, collective ethos.

To be included in the totalitarian system, sex must be made explicit and universally discussed. But - as everyone feels and knows - the realm of sex is thereby enslaved to that system. When everything is shared socially and officially, and when that social and official realm has been absorbed into the social control system (with rewards, threats, sanctions) - we have what we recognise as modern reality of the sexual revolution.

60's sexuality was always a 'stalking horse' - a fake policy, a temporary battering ram for use against the 'repressive' Christian churches, behind which the real (global establishment) agenda was advanced.

Nowadays, the pro-impulsive sixties ethos is merely exploited as a lure (e.g. in pop videos, adverts and similar), to get people interested, to get them pro-sexual revolution with the promise of pleasure; before the transition into top-down, bureaucratic totalitarianism; where sex and sexuality becomes a controlled, symbolic demonstration of everybody's subordination to The System.

Note: For the sex n drugs n rock-and-roll generation, the sexual revolution has been a classic example of 'bait and switch'. They began as selfish, hedonic rebels; and ended as titled and awarded chairmen of bureaucracies encouraging/ celebrating/ imposing ever more laws, procedures and codes-of-practice and crushing all freedom and pleasure in the name of 'diversity' and 'inclusion'. Their always-evil-motivations are clearly revealed by the fact that so very few of them have chosen to refuse this trajectory, or even to acknowledge the U-turn in the sexual revolution. The few that have done so tend to be notorious and vilified - Camille Paglia is an example, who apparently remained an unreconstrcted 60s radical, and denied/ was refused the Establishment plaudits of her contemporaries. The System has attempted to crush her more than once, and currently. 

Further Note: I refrained from the use of the (handy) Steiner nomenclature; but I am obviously describing the way that a brief Luciferic hedonic anti-System sexual revolution in the 1960s; fed-into a prolonged Ahrimanic phase (still ongoing) in which the sexual revolution is primarily a series of excuses for more bureaucracy, hence further extension and tightening of the totalitarian System. The trajectory from anti-System to Pro-System - and many individuals undergo this exact same trajectory in their own personal development - because without God The System is inevitable and supreme as the only societal source of meaning and purpose - so being anti-System is ultimately futile, and Lucifer always leads to Ahriman.

Wednesday 19 June 2019

Mapping the sexual revolution - by Frank Berger

Frank Berger has provided a detailed, stepwise account of the sexual revolution during the past half century or so.

In course of explaining the spiritual causes of what is going on in Western Societies, he references Rudolf Steiner's 1918 prophecy (contained in Work of the Angels in Man's Astral Body) that I have discussed often on this blog.

In terms of prophecy, I would add the short dystopian novella Night Operation by Owen Barfield (1975) - a section of which can be seen here.

In short, Barfield was aware that human sexuality was likely to become perverted, inverted and evil - as a matter of official approval and public policy. Significantly, Barfield was a co-translator of the Steiner 1918 lecture.

Why did I take so long to become a Christian? What was the intellectual block?

I did not become a Christian until my 49th year - yet I have been very interested in the possibility for at least 25 years - when I was reading a fair bit of Christian theology. It a sense I wanted to become a Christian. It is interesting to understand why it took me such a long time; what blocked me - and how I overcame that block.

The answer is that there was more than one thing that needed to happen - but one intellectual block, was that I felt compelled to take-on a package of beliefs; a package that had been predefined by a church - whichever church of which I would then become a member and obedient adherent.

That was certainly what I got from reading about Christianity and conversion - for example in GK Chesterton, who always presented Catholicism as a coherent and complete body of mandatory beliefs and practices. To become a Christin would, therefore, be to take on some such complete package as - in effect - all and equally true.

That presented a problem for me. I was being asked to accept all or nothing, the whole package or none of it; and, in converting, solemnly swear to my acceptance). Yet I could not accept all of any church I knew about. - as a lifelong scientist that would have been impossible, it would have been starkly dishonest.

I had never subordinated by truth-judgement to any other person or a group on a permanent basis, and I knew in my heart that for me to do so would be wrong - for me, truth, personally established, was a bottom line. 

I needed to find a way-out from this impasse; and it came in my drawing a comparison between science and Christianity - or more exactly between science and the actuality of any-particular-Christian-church.

I realised that for me to believe the truth of a scientific theory, I was not required to believe the theory in every particular - indeed, to be an active and practising scientist entailed believing in the error and incompleteness of an already-existing scientific theory (or in an error in the evidence and its interpretation).

After all that is what scientists do; they work on the errors within a system that they regard as overall-true.

I realised that I could become a Christian on the same basis - that in fact I believed it was overall true, but not true in all details; exactly like I believed for science. I could be as confident of the overall truth of Christianity as I was in any overall truth of science.

That was what unblocked Christianity for me; and so I became a Christian 'in my head', privately; but felt that I could not announce the fact until I had decided which church I would join; since I (then, not now) felt that Christianity could only exist within a church - a valid church (of which there seemed to be several, although I didn't know much about their current situation).

In practice, the only church I could join, or re-join, was the Church of England into-which I was baptised as an infant - because converting to any other church would mean swearing to the truth of many specifics that I did not believe were true (all churches require far more affirmation and promising from adult converts than of infants and children; far more of new converts than of already members).

So I 'reactivated' my Church of England membership, and announced that I was A Christian.

This was only the beginning, and indeed the phase lasted only a few months. But it was how I overcame the intellectual block.

Tuesday 18 June 2019

Absence of God entails nihilism; but God alone does not cure nihilism (the cure requires Jesus Christ)

Absence of God causes nihilism. But the mere fact of the reality of God does not solve nihilism. God is necessary but not sufficient.

This is indeed why Christianity is necessary. If God was sufficient, there would be no need for Jesus - and Judaism/ Islam would be better (being more simply coherent and not having that distraction).

God is an essential part of the solution to nihilism - God is the primary creator. And creation is love-in-action.

Nihilism is solved (for God as well as for ourselves) by creation - more exactly by our choice in permanently joining creation as eternal and divine (i.e. resurrected) Men. We do this because of love.

The solution to nihilism is participation in loving-creation.

When I state baldly that it is The Solution - more exactly it is the solution for those for whom it is the solution: me for example.

I can understand why loving-creation might not be the solution for someone incapable of love (for example) - such a person might not have a solution to nihilism (e.g. a genuine psychopath).

Or, a person who deeply and permanently disliked all Men and prefers solitude to family (e.g. perhaps a genuine adherent of ascetic negative Buddhism who has no attachment to anything).

What about the past? - when Men had god/s but were not-Christian - and were not nihilistic? The answer relates to the evolution of consciousness. In the past (and still, for some Men in the present) their consciousness is not sufficiently developed that they can be nihilists - a nihilist must be sufficiently self-aware to recognise he is not the universe.

Young children, also, are not nihilists - because children do not distinguish them-selves from the not-self. They are (almost wholly) immersed-in reality.

What of Satan - what does he offer? To those who cannot or do not love; it may be the 'promise' of having consciousness abolished, so as to escape nihilism in just-being - and that state of just-being made pleasurable by using other beings for that pleasure.

So the answers to nihilism (in those sufficiently developed in consciousness to experience nihilism) include to join loving-creation on the one hand; and annihilation of consciousness (and the capacity for nihilism) on the other hand. 

To put it simply, God made creation so that there was a purpose and meaning in the midst of chaos (chaos entails nihilism); and creation is an opt-in cure for nihilism for those of us who want it.

Note: The above post is an edited and expanded version of a response to WmJas in a comment thread to an earlier post:

Monday 17 June 2019

My lame claim to fame - I'm featured in a Michael Crichton thriller

It's his 2006 novel Next - in which there is a page describing an article I wrote as an editorial for the journal I then edited: Medical Hypotheses.

(A couple of my friends were shocked by this when lying on the beach absorbed in their holiday reading...)

As a result, the idea was picked up and featured by the New York Times as one of their big ideas of that year. And, presumably, because of that - it has been featured in Wikipedia ever since.

I don't think much of the idea, myself. Not one of my best...

This is the text:

British Researcher Blames Formal Education - Professors, Scientists "Strikingly Immature"

If you believe the adults around you are acting like children, you're probably right. In technical terms, it is called "psychological neoteny," the persistence of childhood behavior into adulthood. And it's on the rise.

According to Dr. Bruce Charlton, evolutionary psychiatrist at Newcastle upon Tyne, human beings now take longer to reach mental maturity — and many never do so at all.

Charlton believes this is an accidental by-product of formal education that lasts well into the twenties. "Formal education requires a child-like stance of receptivity," which "counteracts the attainment of psychological maturity" that would normally occur in the late teens or early twenties.

He notes that "academics, teachers, scientists and many other professionals are often strikingly immature." He calls them "unpredictable, unbalanced in priorities, and tending to overreact."

Earlier human societies, such as hunter-gatherers, were more stable and thus adulthood was attained in the teen years. Now, however, with rapid social change and less reliance on physical strength, maturity is more often postponed. He notes that markers of maturity such as graduation from college, marriage, and first child formerly occurred at fixed ages, but now may happen over a span of decades.

Thus, he says, "in an important psychological sense, some modern people never actually become adults."

Charlton thinks this may be adaptive. "A child-like flexibility of attitudes, behaviors and knowledge" may be useful in navigating the increased instability of the modern world, he says, where people are more likely to change jobs, learn new skills, move to new places. But this comes at the cost of "short attention span, frenetic novelty- seeking, ever shorter cycles of arbitrary fashion, and... a pervasive emotional and spiritual shallowness." He added that modern people "lack a profundity of character which seemed commoner in the past."

This Romantic era and the end of all groups...

Rudolf Steiner prophecied that there would be a second coming of Christ 'in the etheric' from about 1933 - and somehow Anthroposophists still believe that this has actually happened; despite that the 'evidence' for this event includes the coming to power of National Socialism in Germany!

And since the hippies of the middle 1960s, there has been a constant undercurrent with waves of belief in a happening and incipient New Age of the spirit, of enhanced consciousness. The term New Age itself became popular in the 1980s with much activity related to neo-shamanism, neo-paganism etc.; and in the late 90s the coming millenium led to another crest of expectation. Then there was another surge of excitement related to the Mayan Calendar ending on the winter solstice of December 2012.

There is currently, I think, another post 2016 resurgence of belief that there is an awakening of Western Man, a mass seeing-through of the lies and propaganda of the Illuminati - this supposedly signalled by a increased populism and higher profile (including banning) of people like David Icke, Julian Assange and Alex Jones specifically, alternative/ 'conspiracy' theories of politics and society more generally. Many apparently expect major positive spiritual and consciousness change - and soon.

What fascinates me is not so much the expectation, but how - time after time - people can become convinced that the New Age is actually happening.

People who claim that there are more people haveing more spiritual experiences (more visions, more miracles, more paranormal events...); that there is a massive change enhancement of spiritual interests - a shift away from materialism, consumerism, the mainstream. That people are becoming more idealistic, more elevated in consciousness and so on. Not just the hope of change, but a conviction that chnage is already ongoing and afoot.

I have heard such things claimed by hundreds of people, spread over many decades; and flying in the face of very obvious, massive and relentless (albeit stepwise and incremental) increases in materialism, consumerism, politicisation, bureaucracy, progressive narrowing of minds and public discourse; increases in surveillance, propaganda advertising, micro-social control. 

How does this happen? How can people believe the opposite of what is obvious in the face of what one would suppose to be contrary evidence?  If the burning of the Reichstag really counts as evidence for the second coming of Christ (as I have heard several eminent Anthroposophists claim), then surely anything can prove anything!

My feeling is that it is to do with the way that groups work on the individual - and the way that  individuals have usually known truth. The New Age types of spirituality are strongly associated with 'group work' of various kinds, and I think it is the 'psychodynamics' of groups that explain the sense of objective spiritual progress that comes to grip so many minds so strongly.

A small intense group can, it seems, come to believe and validate almost anything. The groups have experiences together - whether that be visions, mediumship, channeling. or experiences in relation to UFOs, megaliths or crop circles; and the process by which knowledge and emotions reflect back-and-forth within the group, combined with relations of authority and discipleship and emotional dependence and support, can create an experience of amplification and increase - that is felt as a generalised awakening in The World.

On top of this the expansion of mass media and bureaucracy has affected all forms of organisation - so that there are more books, materials and media generally on almost every topic - including all kinds of spirituality. Organisations that survive have (almost always) either become very intensely inter-personal (as described above) - or else have grown, combined, become professionalised, subsidised... become gripped by the perspective of management, public relations and propaganda (as can be seen from web pages and brochures).

So that it becomes normal within nearly-all groups to perceive that things are moving in the desired direction. After all, that is what people in groups tell each other, and to be a group-member that must be believed.  

This is another reason why I think that this Romantic era implies the end of all groups except for the family, marriage and close friendships (usually dyadic). In sum; I have come to believe that all other forms of human groups have become agents for creating and sustaining delusions.

The New Age delusion, in its various forms, is just one of many such. And the way-out is for each individual to take full responsibility for his own assumptions, love, faith, beliefs and hopes; and adhere strongly only to those personally affirmed by direct intuition.

In this sense, we are On Our Own - but of course, we are never truly on our own, and that is the other side of this Romantic era; we are in society with the divine, the dead and all those whom we love. And it is the reality of that relational experience which makes possible the radical autonomy that is being compelled upon us.

The incoherent insanity of having forgotten God

Solzhenitsyn famously, and accurately, stated that the root of the problem of our time and culture is that Men Have Forgotten God. This is just a fact - but when Men have indeed forgotten God, then that fact is invisible to them, because their thinking has become incoherent as a consequence.

I know this from both side, because I was an atheist from most of my life; and I know that my thinking was intractably incoherent. I even knew it at the time. Being an honest person, my life was a sequence of attempts to find some kind of basis for morality, art and science - and the sequential discovery that I could not find any such basis.

Socialism, liberalism (social democracy), environmentalism, Small-is-Beautiful distributism, anarchism, conservatism, libertarianism, pragmatism - trying to be apolitical... I was interested by many (non-God) spiritualities at different times. I was sometimes Establishment, other times bohemian. I kept seeking and changing, because - when pushed - nothing made any sense. 

My profoundest intuitions were therefore in continual danger of erosion - because if one's fundamental convictions are false and incoherent, then one becomes a victim of circumstance, and convictions can drift open-endedly - in practice, nearly always in the direction of mainstream social norms; because - why not?

Because Men have forgotten God - are all sorts of incoherent nonsense has become mainstream - and what is mainstream has become mandatory - because why not? Indeed nearly everything pushed by the mass media, politics, the bureaucracy, the churches and charities is not so much wrong as incoherent nonsense.

What can people who have forgotten God do when incoherent nonsense (e.g. feminism, antiracism, multiculturalism) is pushed at them, when they can make no sense of the world and of their lives? When self-contradiction is built-into law and enforced by employers.

When every organisation and institution, everywhere, is corrupting and collapsing; but collapse and corruption is celebrated as a A Good Thing. Destruction and chaos are relabelled creative diversity - because when God is forgotten there is no difference.

Without God there is no purpose, without purpose there is no meaning - so obviously nothing makes sense; obviously nothing ever can make sense.

Yet, as children of God, we cannot help but look for purpose and meaning - we cannot help seeking, but by denying God we have ensured in advance that our search will certainly be fruitless. Any truth, beauty, moral conviction; any meaning or purpose we think we have found in one place - will certainly be contradicted by those we find in other places - because there is nothing to hold it all together.

Modern Man - each and individually, has chosen to assume that God is not and never was, so all is mechanical; and it has both made him mad and unable to detect his own madness.

Every individual is equipped with what he needs to know God, discern purpose and find meaning in Life. When he does not do this, but instead bases his existence upon a denial of coherence, then he has only himself to blame.

Modern Man - one at a time, person by person, each in his freedom and responsibility - is insisting that life is nonsense; and finds confirmation of this assumption everywhere he looks and whatever happens.

If insane incoherent nonsense is what Modern Man wants, that is exactly what he will get. 

Note - What we have is insane incoherent nonsense. Nonsense can be coherent - like the world of Lewis Carroll; insanity can be coherent - with systematic delusions; incoherence can be sane - like that of the unintelligent and uninformed. We have them all together and at once. Because without God - why not? 

Further note: I think that a big problem among modern people is that they expect nihilism passively to be 'solved for them', without activity on their part, without decision, without choice, without the exercise of free agency. Indeed, for modern Man it is a measure of authenticity when life irresisitibly imposes itself upon us - whether we like it or not. But, for modern man - with his high level of self-awareness - that rules-out any answer; thus the path of attempting to extinguish consciousness by numbing with distractions or immersion in virtual reality media; or intoxication with drugs/ sex and other overpowering stimuli. 

How truth is both objective and subjective

Yesterday I described how men and women characteristically - but in different ways - tend to regard Truth in a passive and materialist sense, as being That Which Overwhelms. Men by the overwhelming of imposing force, women by the overwhelming of social (especially peer group) consensus.

But that is, of course, potentially to leave out the spiritual aspect of life - the divine aspect; since the overwhelming is mostly (women especially, but nearly always men too) done by 'other people'.

And so we have these 'operational definitions' of truth that are, in practice, very 'relativistic' - in the sense that if lots of people, or just a few powerful/ high status people, decide something - then we are naturally - at a materialist level - inclined passively to accept it as true.

As I say, this is truth as 'that which overwhelms'; such a truth 'comes from outside' each us us - we are 'victims' of truth. If that was all-there-is top truth (in practice) then there could be no truth - because consensus isn't truth, power isn't truth...

If there is to be truth at all - and if that truth is to be something we personally endorse, rather than being compelled to submit-to; then there must be a higher truth that is not psychological but objective; and active, not passive. Because if truth is merely the external coercing, and our-selves submitting - then it would not be something that we personally would want. We would be merely slaves to truth.

(Obviously!) on the other hand, truth can't be something we make-up for ourselves - as a kind of wishful thinking.

Yet for most people these are the only choices - truth is either seen as that which is imposed (which in practice is usually 'other people'), or whatever-I-say (which is truth-as-delusion, since truth is private and unique).

In sum - these are demonic views of truth - with the choice being submission or pride, a hierarchy of coercion - we submit to the truths of those more powerful, and impose our own truth upon those whom we can dominate: i.e. the hierarchy of Hell.

This is another argument for the Goodness of Final Participation. That the truth that is Good, the truth which Saves, the truth which brings us towards being ourselves gods in harmony with the purposes of God - all these are the truth of Participation. They are voluntary truths in the sense that the truth is God's creation, we choose to endorse the purpose and nature of that creation, and because of love we joining our-selves to that ongoing work of creation.

So truth is not compelled but chosen - hence subjective; and truth is also objective and not just a figment of my mind, but has universality. And truth is mine, because I contribute to it; and truth is for anybody else who also chooses the heavenly life of collaborating in the work of creation.

Sunday 16 June 2019

Venom (2018) - The inverted world of professional movie reviewers

I watch several movies a week on tv with the family - mostly kids' movies, superheroes and scifi; and (like so much else) movie reviews are a microcosm of 'what's wrong' with our society.

I seldom read the reviews when the film comes-out, but generally check them after I've seen it for myself; and have found a reliable pattern of inversion. In other words, the professional critics, writing for the mainstream media - with pretty high consistency, give positive reviews to bad movies, and damning reviews to good movies.

This fits the pattern throughout the mass media which I noted in my Addicted to Distraction book: the mass media present bad as good and good as bad; except when they praise a good thing for a bad reason, or damn a bad thing for a bad reason.

Movie critics objectively display two characteristics - the first is moral inversion, the second is servile obedience; so that reviewers all evaluate in lockstep, revealing that their 'opinions' are dictated - and these opinions are all anti-Good (anti-God, anti-Christian, pro-sexual revolution, pro-totalitarian). They are also incompetent at a very basic level - incapable of evaluating scriptwriting, directing, acting, editing and the other aspects of movie making.

All of which is exactly what would be expected from the products of modern mainstream bureaucracies.

The most recent example was the superhero movie Venom (2018) which was panned by the critics, and received the very low rating of 29% (from about 300 critics) on Rotten Tomatoes aggregator. Meanwhile the audience rating on the same site is 81% approval from over 30,000 reviewers, which gets it exactly right. The critics are wrong, as usual; Venom is a clearly above average - but not all time great - movie.

Venom was an unusual, and satisfying, movie experience. Unusually, it began slowly and built up to end very well - and it was the right length. (So many movies start well but end poorly, and are overlong - because edited sub-optimally.) The protagonist acting from Tom Hardy was very good. And there was significant, and rather inspiring, character development from not just the hero, but the alien parasite - that caught me by surprise!

The macrocosm can be seen in the microcosm - to know the essence of what is happening in the secret enclaves of the evil global establishment, we only need to watch a movie then read the reviews.

Remember the Matrix! - an idea for encouraging primary thinking

I quite often find myself stuck in a low level of consciousness. Striving against this, attempting to raise my superficial, passive thinking towards Primary Thinking is ineffective. Not just ineffective but also frustrating and despair-inducing.

It is indeed a classic example of the error of trying to use will-power to 'take heaven by storm' (as if God did not want the best for us) - or the old error of trying lift oneself by pulling on the bootlaces.

Last week I wrote of the helpfulness of some passages by Rudolf Steiner in which he talked of 'reading between the lines of life' - and that this was the place to look for, and find, the divine. My post triggered a beautifully-written and well-expressed response from SK Orr on the Steeple Tea blog.

So, what I need is a reminder - something to put my mind onto the right track; and a thought that the phrase Remember the Matrix might suffice.

This phrase appeals because it puns on the movie 'The Matrix' - but the meaning of matrix here is that within-which something is developed and grows. Thus the word 'matrix' derives from womb - and this fits with the hunter gatherer idea of nature as a nurturing mother.

So, it is my intention to remember the matrix, to recall to mind the background of life that sustains us and enables everything; the primary reality of a world in which nearly everything 'works' most of the time - without which the bad stuff could not happen, because there would be nothing for it to happen-to...

In the beginning - what were we (you and I)?

There was no beginning in time - because all Beings are eternal, including you and me. There is no time at which we were not.

What are Beings? Beings are uncaused causes, origins of action - not merely consequences.

And all Beings are self-sustaining and indestructible; beings develop, they transform - but they never began, they always were; and they never end.

So, there is no primordial self, no irreducible minimum to which has been added. Rather, when we became children of God, our Heavenly Parents; that was A beginning - the beginning of us as Persons.

However, it was not The beginning - we existed, and always had existed, before we became children of God. And that is (in a sense) why we can be free, why we are agents. We develop and change through time, but we have no beginning, we are defined by lineage - we always were.

That is who we are.

Men and women have different operational definitions of reality - more on the dyadic relationship

For men, reality is loyalty; it is that to which we are loyal; and men's loyalty goes to that which they can depend-upon - to that which is solid. And solidity is seen in terms of ability to dominate - to dominate others, to dominate the situation - to impose-itself upon things. So - for men, truth is that which dominates.

For women, reality is derived from interaction with others (especially other women, but people generally). Reality comes, therefore, from that in the woman that is reflected by others - that from other women that is reflected in herself. The validation is in emotional support - that which sustains her. So - for women, truth is that which sustains.

Both dominating truth and sustaining truth capture an important 'half' of reality. Both are partial, both are prone to error, manipulation and abuse. The two together, not fused but separate and complementary, are a microcosm of reality in its wholeness. And that is not one-sided but rather a simplified (because finite) completeness. So the dyad is stronger than either alone; the dyad of a man and a woman is, potentially, the complete Man.  

Effort and forcing are inappropriate, counterproductive, in the spiritual life

On the one hand, if we do nothing - then nothing will happen.

But it is abundantly clear that to make the spiritual life and act of 'will power' is ineffective at best or disaster and self-damnation at worst - essentially because (absent the proper spirit, whose absence makes the spiritual quest necessary in the first place...) that entity which wills-with-power, can only be a false personality, and not the real self. Will power can only dig us deeper into our delusions.

In his booklet The Hologram and Mind, from about 1990, William Arkle wrote (this is edited from the full account at the link):

We can imagine that the synthesis of question and reply happens through a method which is as subtly as the genius of mind is subtle. And yet, the two processes of question and answer are clear and distinct. 

The ability to pose a good problem or ask a good question is as much a part of the genius as that which is liable to bring forth a good response. 

The attitude of trust on the part of the questioner is also an integral part of the value of the reply. The fact that effort and force is alien to the correct working of this creative synthesis is apparent in the realisation that the' reference beam' of the hologram of mind (which corresponds to the nature of God) is only too glad to give of its best to the 'working beam' (which corresponds to our our true self). 

God does not need to be either forced or even coaxed. Pressure of this sort is almost equivalent to rape, and simply shows that the individual has not reached the level of evolution of consciousness which knows how to behave with proper respect. 

Such an immature person has not realised that force is distorting the question being asked, and preconditioning the answer.

My interpretation:  This is about as strong language as Arkle ever uses, when he compares to attempted-rape the use of effort, force, coaxing in relation to asking God (our Heavenly Parents) for answers. Since God loves us, since we are God's children - there is no good reason for such an attitude.

God is only too glad to give of his best to each of his children; and to strive and strain to compel God's help can only come from a misunderstanding, a false understanding, an inversion of God's relation to us.

So we ought not to strive and strain - what then? I would say to 'remember' - as when William Wildblood, in his recent book, reminds us to Remember the Creator. The spiritual life is mostly a matter of remembering.

Saturday 15 June 2019

How can a genius of Romantic Christianity affect society more widely?

This question arises when comparing the 'impact' of Rudolf Steiner - who founded an international society and movement; and William Arkle, who died known only to a 'handful' of people and remains almost wholly obscure.

In general, the most valuable kind of genius is one who dicovers something 'simple'; that is, something that was difficult to discover (because, in fact, it was Not discovered until the genius did it) but, once discovered, easy to learn.

This can be seen by technologies such as the bow and arrow, wheel or arch, whose origins are unknown, were absent from many (or all) ancient cultures, and were (I believe we can infer) discovered by specific persons (i.e. geniuses) in particular times and places.

More recent examples would include the technologies of the agricultural and industrial revolutions, which were adopted quickly and widely - oince the intellectual heavy lifting had been done by specific geniuses (who often gained nothing personally from the inventions)

Rudolf Steiner was a genius of Romantic Christianity; but he made many serious strategic errors; and in the end embedded his major (and simple) discoveries in a vast structure of mostly-dubious factual-assertion; which formed the (infallible) scriptures of a bureaucractic Anthroposophical Society; housed in a grandiose headquarters of concrete (in both senses) buildings; engaged in all sorts of formal/ procedural/ bureaucratic institutional activities relating to education, medicine, agriculture, the arts etc.

In sum, Steiner attempted to 'impose' his esoteric message on the world via an organisation, by a stepwise process, that is - by a kind of compulsion - and this is an internally-contradictory, hence ineffectual, strategy.

The outcome is that it is very hard to find the core spirit of Steiner anywhere in the world; except among a handful of individuals who are essentially outside of the Society and institutional structures (and even these Steinerites usually remain captivated by the Ahrimanic distortions of their Master, rather than discarding them).

In sum, that of Steiner which we can perceive is merely the distortion. 

By contrast, except for a few disciples (who have not, apparently, made public their thoughts) anyone who has come to share Arkle's ideas must re-experience them for himself.

In other words, insofar as he has affected people, Arkle can only have influenced other people via imperceptible esoteric and direct spiritual routes. One who would share Arkle's thinking, needs to do so on the 'plane' of ultimate and universal reality - since their is neither System nor Institutions to 'educate' him. 

The question is whether the existence and effect of such esoteric and direct ways of sharing are really-real (or just wishful thinking).

It strikes me that William Arkle, especially in his pictures and his 'simple' prose pieces - such as Letter from a Father, Equations of Being and the Late Prose items - made some very simple spiritual discoveries that therefore could be learned rapidly and applied very widely.

Arkle's core insight is that we can come directly and by experience to know the detailed and personal love of God the Creator for ourselves; which will give us a great confidence and faith in our own lives.

And the fact that we are God's children means that we have a share of his divinity, and this will guide us through - enable us to learn from - all possible experiences that our life brings us.

The point is that all this is knowable for ourselves, once we know about it. It is effective, if we genuinely believe it is true. The insight is very simple, and our life can be very simple.

Of course, in works like A Geography of Consciousness or Hologram and Mind; Arkle also produced works with a great deal of complexity, involving metaphors drawn from physics and engineering.

The underlying message remains simple, and I think these complex works were produced as a form of persuasive rhetoric in response to the typical kinds of questioning of modern intellectuals, who are unable to take-seriously or to believe the truth of anything that is simple and obvious.

These works of Arkles function mostly like the mathematical 'working' done to convince a skeptic, when the actual result may be simple; they provide models or analogies of spiritual truths that strike us as childishly obvious; and by that hope to get past the 'watchful dragons' of the modern skeptical intellect (based upon deep and denied reductionist assumptions and dishonest arguments).

It would seem to me that Arkle 'must have' had a considerable influence on The World; since someone of his spiritual quality could not help but have done so! But not, of course, by the normal, perceptible, means of 'communication'.

Instead, I regard the creative insights of Arkle as having made a permanent addition to the primary thought-world that is the basis of divine creation. Anyone who engages in primary thinking, who has direct intuition, may therefore encounter Arkle's insights for themselves and without ever having heard of Arkle.

As a genius, Arkle was able to think some things for the first time; but now they have been-thought - and these thoughts are available to 'everybody' who would not have had the genius to create them anew from scratch.

Since Love is primary and a part of creation; I would further emphasise that the 'spead' of Arkle's ideas depends upon love. The 'range of effect' is therefore set by the scope of Arkle's love, and the difference made will be initially in realtion to that scope.

For example, when Arkle painted something with love that embodied his genius insights, those things will have been strengthened and sustained by that love - in an objective fashion: they will have been 'Romanticised' in an objective and universal sense. A better known example would be Walter Scott or Wordsworth, who permanently transformed the power of The Scottish Borders and the Lake District (and similar landscapes) to inspire and elevate us - even for those who have never read either.

I am suggesting that - as an example, but much more widely - the Scottish Border and the Lake Distict were objectively changed by Scott and Wordsworth - we who lovingly-experience them now, do so in a way that is qualitatively different from the way such landscapes were experienced 300 years ago - and indeed we cannot recover the way they used to be regarded. And later on Tolkien further modified our experience of landscapes.

The new experience is unlocked by shared love.

This can be explained (to use the terminology of Steiner's Philosophy of Freedom) in terms of the concepts we use to interpret the raw perceptual data and memories of these places - our concepts are, when they are true, drawn from the universal, impersonal store of divine creation - and this store has been modified by the 'final participation' of human geniuses.

This, then, (as a general mechanism) is the main way in which a spiritual genius like Steiner or Arkle affects the world; not by their communications, and certainly not by institutional transmission - but by participating-in, and permanently transforming, the ongoing nature of divine creation - henceforth available to all that are attuned to it.