Wednesday 31 July 2019

How does morality fit-into Christianity?

By my understanding - there are two common wrong ways of conceptualising Christianity: one is the traditional, the other liberal.

The traditional is that Christianity is primarily a system of morality; and salvation (i.e. resurrection into Heaven) is a reward for a 100% effort to live in accordance with a moral system (repenting all failures to do so).

Traditionalists believe that to advocate and/or not to repent, sexual behaviour outside the code is at least a self-exclusion from Heaven, or (more traditionally) an absolute barrier to acceptance in Heaven.

The liberal view is that Christianity is a gift of salvation from Christ to all; and has essentially nothing to do with morality, especially not with sexual wishes, expressions and behaviours.

Nowadays; the traditional way, in practice, puts a system of sexual morality at the heart of Christian living; while the liberal believes that sexual morality is a matter of worldly expedience merely - an accidental (non essential) product of individual disposition and social circumstance.

Liberals believe that anybody who wants it can dwell in Heaven post-mortem - and sexual behaviour is of near-zero significance; except that those who falsely-insist sex is primary are excluded from Heaven; on the basis that if the sexual code adherents were included, then Heaven would not be Heaven.

I regard both as wrong. Essentially, Christianity is about mortality, not morality; but morality is linked with resurrection into Heaven. I need to explain this, because it is not obvious to most people.

Where does Christian morality come-from? I believe it comes, ultimately, from the condition of Heaven; which is 'organised' (spontaneously, naturally) on the principle of loving creation.

Heaven is a matter of immortal, resurrected persons living (loving, creating) in families*. 

Yes, Heaven is for all of those who want it; but - because Heaven is 'a family affair' - sexual morality is deeply linked with the wanting of Heaven. Because sexual morality is about families.

Those who - in mortal life (unless they repent) - reject the Heavenly-reality of marriage and family Do Not Want Heaven; and therefore will not have it.

Any explicit this-worldly System or legal code of morality - including sexual morality - will inevitably be deficient; since all verbal expressions are both incomplete and distorted. Nonetheless, there is, in actually-existing reality, a morality of Heaven.

The morality of Heaven is based on love, and love is bound-up with creation - the primary (but not only) form of creation is generation, reproduction, i.e. family.

The reality is that we Just Are God's Children and spiritual siblings; Jesus is our brother. It is ultimately all a matter of relations and relationships.

This mortal life is a domain of learning, therefore not intended as a place of perfection; mortal living is temporary, intrinsically corrupted and corrupting; and our salvation is to become saved-from this intrinsic sin. Sin is the condition of mortality. To be saved from sin is to want what Heaven offers - immortal resurrection into the condition of Heaven.

Those who do not want resurrection, and/or who do not want to remain conscious and free agent selves, and/or those who do not want family - all such do not want Heaven; and will not have it.

Why do people reject family? Look around, it isn't uncommon...

Some expediently reject their actual mortal family, perhaps because their earthly family is unloving - some are rejected-by their families; but that is not significant unless they reject the ideal of family.

Many who have utterly miserable and dread-full actual mortal families will - and perhaps with greater intensity - wish for a life of ideal, immortal, uncorrupted family life. They will yearn for the ideality of Heaven because the actuality of earth makes them aware of their need and desire for the truth of family.

Such will be saved, and will find their way to Heaven; because that is precisely what Jesus made possible.

But it seems that there are many (especially nowadays, in the West) who reject family - not in practice but in principle; not specifically but generally.

Often because the Heavenly condition of loving creation in familial relationships (including Men and extending to the divine  - the divine being Men in exalted condition) is something they reject as an ideal.

Such may want to be fully independent agents, without any family ties; perhaps because family ties block what they most want - which may be sexual, or may be related to other gratifications from status, power or whatever. A prime motivator of anything other-than the family ideal, means they do not want what Jesus offers.

There are those who reject the ideal of divine Heavenly family - and therefore in this mortal life they quite spontaneously seek other primary goals; and advocate other ideals...

Some do not want resurrection but prefer to remain spirits. Some do not want to become more divine, but are satisfied with them-selves as they are. Some do not want eternal life of any kind. Some hope for an end to their consciousness - they are tormented by self-awareness. Some want eternal happiness, but do not want eternal and loving relationships. Some want to use people, not love people.

None of these want Heaven; and (since God loves us) they will not have Heaven forced-upon them; theirs is some other destiny.

So, in an ultimate sense, the link between salvation and mortality is real because of our motivation and our ideals.

Those who are motivated to accept Jesus Christ's gift of Heavenly life will - quite naturally and spontaneously, as a consequence of this motivation - have and express and advocate the ideals of Heavenly life during their mortal lives... albeit that ideal will always be modified and impaired by mortal constraints of human limitations in understanding and corruption.

After all, salvation to eternal life is salvation-from these mortal constraints. Salvation is necessarily on the other side of 'biological death'; so there is zero possibility of attaining the ideal in this mortal life.

But not-to-have the ideal is not-to-get the ideal.

Therefore, actual earthly morality is inextricably-linked with immortal Heavenly life.

In other language: ultimately and primarily, sin is the condition of mortality, not morality; and morality is necessarily a part of Heavenly immortality.

Thus Heavenly immortality is attainable only via the motivations of mortal morality. 

*Note: It might be asked where this idea of Heaven organised in families comes from? Three possible, staged, answers are that 1. The idea is to be found in the Fourth Gospel. 2. This is confirmed and amplifed by the Mormon Restoration. And 3. that anyone who has this idea may have it confirmed by divine revelation and direct intuition.

Christian! Know thy enemy - from "wild-eyed blogger and mystic Bruce Charlton"

Picture of Bruce Charlton from a decade ago

Stock Photo of a 'wild-eyed' man

A phrase that makes my day! Yesterday, I was so-described by commenter Charles W Abbott at Arnold Kling's blog (a place I used to frequent at one time, when I was a libertarian, modernizer non-Christian). It is that 'wild-eyed' that I particularly like. If only...

Anyway, CWA linked to a previous post of mine that I had entirely forgotten, but which seems to me spot-on in its reasoning. I learned something from it.

But then; I would say that, wouldn't I - being a wild-eyed mystic and all?...

Is the Left the enemy of Christianity?

Of course it is! - how much objective evidence do you need? And not merely the enemy, but the victor against Christianity.

Yet somehow this plain fact is not obvious, is unclear, is indeed denied both by the Left (the victors) and Christians (the defeated).

Is not this strange?

What, then, is 'an enemy'?

An enemy is not someone with whom you disagree (hardly anybody wholly agrees with anybody else, after all) - but the enemy is somebody who attacks you, who wages war on you, who tries to destroy you (or destroy something about you which is important to you).

I think this makes matters a bit clearer. The Left is the enemy of Christians because it attacks Christianity and has been attacking Christianity for a very long time.

(Indeed, the Left has by now defeated 'official' Christianity - which currently exists as a kind of Vichy regime or puppet government, with a Quisling leadership.)

However, there is the problem of covert enemies - enemies who pretend not to be attacking or waging war or trying to destroy; and secular Leftism/ Liberalism is one of these kinds of enemy.

Indeed, the Left does not itself really understand that it is specifically anti-Christian, is built-upon anti-Christianity more than upon anything else. Thus, the Left denies that it is the enemy of Christianity, and individual Leftists do not feel themselves to be the enemy of Christianity.

And this is something that Christians (and specifically Christians) find it very hard to deal with!

For example, the Left simply cannot see the truly massive torment and slaughter of Bishops, Priests, Monks and devout laity in the Russian revolution as having been a deliberate and focused attempt at annihilation (what people nowadays tern genocide). They regard it as merely collateral damage from an ideological/ political difference.

Nobody doubts that the Nazis wanted to destroy the Jews - because they said they did; but Communists deny that they wanted to destroy the Christians - indeed, it is quite possible that individual Soviet Communists (who imprisoned, tortured, slaughtered millions of Christians, because they were Christians) did not even feel in their hearts that they were anti-Christian - they simply regarded themselves as implementing an abstract ideology.

Much the same applies to the modern politically correct Left - they see themselves as fighting for abstractions such as equality, social justice, diversity, inclusion... and the fact that Christianity and Christians (and not other religions) is has been and is being (one way or another) all-but annihilated in the Western nations is a somewhat unfortunate, albeit necessary, unintended consequence.

This also explains why the wholesale 'ethnic cleansing' and genocide of Christians in Africa, the Middle East and parts of South Asia is of no interest to Western Leftists.

(For about 15 years we have been living through numerically and geographically perhaps the harshest period of explicit Christian persecution in 2000 years - especially the near elimination of Christianity from much of the Middle East - but the West has not even noticed!)

A tribe is united against an enemy who openly attack and explicitly wages war on them - and the tribe of Christians has often been united - tragically, all too often one tribe of Christians against another - and there is of course one enemy of exactly this type: to regard them as an enemy of Christianity, all one has to do is believe what they say.

But the prime enemy of secular Leftism is altogether a slipperier thing for Western Christians to understand, because the sustained culture war against Christianity is unacknowledged and denied by the enemy even as they attack, even as they wage war, even as they defeat mainstream Christianity - even as they are dancing in the streets and on the mass media to celebrate the latest triumphant elimination of Christian morality from Law!

Christians are up-against an enemy who denies that they are an enemy, an enemy who does not even know that they are our enemies -  an enemy that reframes their sustained and strategic attempt to annihilate Christianity under a variety of abstract universal concepts.

Christians are up-against an enemy which attacks by making rules that are only accidentally, only contingently, only unintendedly interpreted to be applied to Christians specifically... and which are - it just happens, in practice - seldom or never applied to other religions.

At every stage of the war against Christianity there is a self-denial and also a public denial of any strategic intent to attack Christians.

So Christians are put into the position of - as it were - telling, or persuading, dominant secular Leftism that it is our enemy! - in the face of sincere protestations from Liberals that they are nothing of the sort!

And this is something that Christians, and Christians specifically, find it very hard to do.

I mean Christians find it hard to label others as their enemy when that enemy denies any specific hostile intent, and especially when those enemies do not even feel hostile intent. This seems like picking a fight, seems like judging the hearts of Men - seems, in short, an unChristian sort of thing to do.

My understanding is that this Leftist strategy of denial evolved by a kind of natural selection over many generations; it evolved because it is what works best against Christians.

I mean Leftism evolved to be maximally lethal to Christianity in the context of what was a more-or-less Christian society - therefore the weapons and defences of Leftism are optimized for use against Christians, and the forces of the Left are all aligned against Christianity: the Leftist cannons are all pointing at Christians!

(And this also, perhaps, explains why the Left is so utterly helpless, suicidally helpless, against other and non-Christian religions, who attack from a different direction and under a different flag.)

The Left has evolved to destroy Christianity, while denying that that is what it is doing; and while being unaware that that is what it is doing.

Modern Western Christians have been defeated by an enemy who has never acknowledged that it is an enemy of Christianity - not even to itself.

Tuesday 30 July 2019

Evaluating Charles Williams - John Fitzgerald

John Fitzgerald has posted a wide-ranging review of Lindop's biography of the Inkling Charles Williams (my own stab at the business is here); continuing the ongoing and fascinating project of trying to attain an overall evaluation of this most contradictory and elusive of literary figures.

The nature of Sin in the Fourth Gospel: If Resurrection is the cure, then Sin is Mortality

WmJas has clarified for me that the phrase that Jesus was 'the Lamb of God', was a reference to the Passover feats, and its use of a male lamb's blood to avert death.

Thus, when (in the Fourth Gospel) John the Baptist calls Jesus the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, he was not using sin to mean immorality (as we do nowadays). JtB intended sin to mean (something like) the condition of mortality.

Sin is about mortality, not morality.

We need an explanation that fits the cure Jesus was offering - eternal resurrected life - with the disease from which Man is suffering, ie. sin.

Rephrased: The true explanation of John's phrase must make sense of 'sin' in such a way such that life everlasting could be understood to cure it.


Question: Why and how would Men being resurrected cure the world of sin?

Answer: When sin means our mortal state, and all that entails - corruption, decay, disease, weakness as well as death - sin is (and is caused by) the impermanence and transitoriness of all things.

That was the sin of the world which Jesus came to take-away.

Monday 29 July 2019

Tom Bombadil and Final Participation

If you don't already know them; I would highly-recommend The Letters of JRR Tolkien, edited by Humphrey Carpenter (1981) which are absolutely packed with fascinating and deep reflections.

In Letter 144 (25 April 1954) Tolkien makes a thought-provoking comment about the presence of Tom Bombadil in Lord of the Rings, and his importance to the story - which hits home on a matter I have been reflecting about over the past few years; the matter of the ideal form of human society, and (therefore) the nature of Heaven:

The story (of LotR) is cast in terms of a good side and a bad side, beauty against ruthless ugliness, tyranny against kingship, moderated freedom with consent against compulsion that has long lost any object save mere power, and so on; but both sides in some degree, conservative or destructive, want a measure of control. 

But if you have, as it were, taken a 'vow of poverty', renounced control, and take your delight in things for themselves without reference to yourself, watching, observing, and to some extent knowing; then the question of the rights and wrongs of power and control might become utterly meaningless to you, and the means of power quite valueless. 

It is a natural pacifist view, which always arises in the mind when there is a war. 

But the view of Rivendell [i.e. the Council of Elrond] seems to be that it is an excellent thing to have represented, but that there are in fact things with which it cannot cope; and upon which its existence nonetheless depends. Ultimately only the victory of the West will allow Bombadil to continue, or even to survive. Nothing would be left for him in the world of Sauron.

I cannot, nowadays, shake the thought that it is the true goal of our Christian destiny to 'renounce control' in much the way that Bombadil represents; and that kingship, moderated freedom with consent; and an ideal of the control of the better over the worse - are all mortal expediencies that do not reflect the reality of Heaven.

What is more, the traditionalist ethical ideal epitomised by agrarian (pre-industrial) societies such as all those depicted in LotR (with the exception of the Ents and the Woses of the Druadan forest - since even Bombadil has a garden), seem more and more like mortal expediencies representing a phase in Man's development. The era of 'moderated control with consent' seems like an historic phase now receding.

Such ideals; which we see so inspiringly realised in the High Elves, Numenorean Men of Gondor, and even the Dwarves of Moria - are characterised by great arts and crafts, songs and poetry, courage and nobility, lore and knowledge... All of these ideals have been fading for several or many generations; and there seems waning support - and growing hostility - towards the requisite institutional basis of such a society (royals and nobles, guilds and professions, hierarchy and ritual, apprentices and canons).

In Barfield's terms, traditional society in LotR represents the evolving phase bridging between the unconscious immersive life of Original Participation (Ents and Woses) and the modern, disenchanted, materialist world termed the Consciousness Soul.

This evolution from Original Participation to the Consciousness Soul can be seen in terms of incrementally increasing control. As control increases, and in order to enable control; Man has become detached from nature, from The World; and regards living Nature as merely Things; so much material to be manipulated. Somehow, we have never been able to stop this tendency for increasing control at any intermediate or optimal level; once begun the quest for greater control seem to feed upon itself.

All moderating of the raw greed and lust for domination is, dissolved to mark the triumph of the bad side, ruthless ugliness, mere power and - inevitably - destruction. The spirit of Morgoth, Sauron and Saruman has already prevailed at the highest levels of authority, and the program is being rolled-out with accelerating velocity.

What lies beyond, and after this mortal life, is Final Participation, which is similar to what Bombadil represents. Final Participation is a renunciation of control - in contrast with Original Participation when control was neither sought nor even possible.

Voluntary renunciation of control power, domination, manipulation comes after the fullness of control has been either been grasped or else at least comprehended. My feeling is that this is what Bombadil represents; my notion is that at some point Bombadil had the possibility of power, domination and control - and chose to renounce it.

The tough aspect is that this is also a renunciation of much that we value most - such as arts, crafts, science, canonical accumulation of texts and the like. It is, in a genuine sense, a voluntary renunciation of civilisation.

In a sense this is an impossibility, just as pacifism is an impossibility in time of war (or, as pacifism is dependent upon that which it repudiates). Nonetheless, despite impossibility; what I think we have - at present, here and now - is the situation in which there is an irrevocable and cumulative loss of faith in those compromises (moderated controls) upon which civilisation depends - there is a mass withdrawal of 'consent'.

On one side this process is being encouraged, top-down, with evil motivation, by those who seek the destruction of civilisation because they believe it will lead to the self-chosen damnation of souls. This is Tolkien's bad side.

On the other side - which constitutes most of the good side; this top-down dismantling is opposed by (broadly) well motivated persons traditional religion and reactionaries of various types. However, it seems likely to me that the society they are fighting For (their positive goals, their alternative to the destructions and inversions of top-down evil) cannot happen.

'Moderated control by consent' is an earlier phase (the long transition-between Original Participation and the Consciousness Soul); a phase now gone, now not genuinely wanted, now irrecoverable. I feel that we either have been, or will be, called-upon to move beyond the incipient or actual absolute totalitarianism of the Consciousness Soul - move on to a Bombadil-like renunciation of power and the desire for control.

In Final Participation we are called-upon to take delight in things for themselves without reference to ourselves, watching, observing, and to some extent knowing; we are called upon to participate in creation directly in thinking - and not via arts and crafts and science.

This will come beyond death, because it is the nature of Heaven. The still-open question is whether it is meant also to come before death; or whether in this world it is impossible to actualise, and instead an ideal that we affirm even as we are overwhelmed by the worldly triumph of control.

Why does God smile or frown, when we turn to him?

I look at IT, and then IT looks at me with 'that' smile... It seems to be able to smile on everything, whatever it is. How can it do that unless everything, whatever it is, is something to be glad about?... 'I only smile like this because I know that everything that is happening is in place of nothing happening. I want you to smile on Me as I smile on you'. From William Arkle

We sometime turn from our worldly living, and turn to God - what then do we 'see'? Does God smile upon us with joy, or does he frown ? Well, that depends...

God is creating reality, and God is our Father. He looks upon us with love, because we are his children. Knowing this; when we turn to God, we see him smile.

We may suppose that God is smiling with that loving joy of a father who is always watching his young children playing; and then one of the children turns to look for his Daddy - and of course his Daddy is smiling!

When God's children are cringing with fear of a wrathful God, when they believe the creator to be a hypersensitive tyrant that demands incessant servile submission... Well, when such a child turns towards such a God, he does not see a smiling father; but the frowning countenance of a cruel, oppressive despot.

Imagine being our God, and perceiving that so many of his children regard him as a despot, a slave-master! A loving father does not want his children to be turning towards him in terror, submission, propitiation; cringing with gratitude at being spared the lash.

We need to be clear: is our God to be the loving Father, who hopes for our love in return? Or is God essentially a ruler who wants obedience; whose love is conditional on devoted service? 

A child who trusts in his divine father's love will turn and see his father smiling; the child who is convinced that God is primarily a King or Dictator will surely see him frowning.

Sunday 28 July 2019

What is freedom, and why is it A Good Thing (despite that only some people want it)

Freedom exists only in the realm of thinking; and only in the realm of universal eternal thinking - and freedom is Final Participation.

That is, freedom is consciousness of the thinking of the real self. It is the affirmation and assent and choice of the thinking that comes 'from' the real self.

Yet why is this free? It sounds like it is just a conscious acceptance of a situation that goes on unconsciously. After all, every-thing is alive and conscious to some degree - and every-thing passively participates in ongoing divine creation; simply by being...

Thus, reality is made of beings (alive, and to some degree conscious) but nearly all of these beings participate in creation without their own awareness of the fact. A young child, simply by being, is woven-into divine create-ing by virtue of that being's uniqueness.

Yet that young child is not free - or hardly so, because he is not conscious.

Freedom comes in when a being becomes conscious of his own thinking, that that thinking is a part of creation - and that the thinking is woven-into the on-going creation in a way that is permanent and universally accessible in the realm of primary thinking

It is by that consciousness that we become free, hence divine; and we become divine because we then knowingly participate in God's work of creation.

It is, in other words, the 'feedback loop' that makes us free - being conscious of our own primary thinking, to positively want for that primary thinking to weave into creation; and conscious also that our primary thinking has from that point onward changed the nature of created reality, which then comes back to us in our own primary thinking.

By freedom we become 'insiders' to God's divine work of creation, to some extent partners in it - and irrevocably. And, when this happens, we know (consciously) that it has happened or is happening.

Now, not everybody wants this and presumably most things (such as minerals) cannot have it. Most of creation is passive because unconscious. This is lower in the scale of divinity, but everything that is part of loving creation is that. It all makes a difference, it is all necessary to the whole.

And because consciousness has degrees, every-thing can know that to some extent that it is a part of creation, and can rejoice in that fact. Pleasure and happiness are not closely associated with freedom; indeed freedom probably diminishes happiness for some or most (just as many people are happier as children than as adolescents or grown-ups).

So among the unique beings of reality, there are all manner of stages and phases and choices - and only some can and want to become divine in the same quality as God the prime creator. But that at least some beings (such as you and me) should wish this, and achieve this, is the hope of God; and indeed the prime purpose of creation.

Our freedom is good because it is what God hopes from us and why God made this creation; but freedom is only good - indeed it is only possible - if freedom is also what we want.

The strangeness of Christianity (in the Fourth Gospel)

A man emerges, Jesus - who is instantly recognised, on sight, by John the Baptist as being the Messiah: the Lamb of God who will take away the sin's of the world. When John baptises him, John perceives that the Spirit of God does not only touch and depart, as usual; but uniquely stays with this man: Jesus has become divine.

What does it mean that Jesus would 'take away' sin? Sin seems to mean all the transitory nature of satisfaction in this world, the corruptions, the selfishness, that which contributes to the recurrent sense that life is travail and loss. Jesus will take away Mortality and all its badness, all that we know in our hearts to be intrinsically wrong about life.

This Jesus immediately recognised and accepted John's divine identification, immediately changed his life; took on the role or Messiah. What, then, did this man Jesus say about himself and what he brought?

That he brought, he made possible, an altogether higher, better, permanently-satisfying way of living. So, this good life Jesus gave would be not just greater than anything we had or could ever experience; it would be ever-lasting, it would be eternal.

Further; this good life would be experienced in our bodies, we would live forever and satisfyingly as embodied men; in bodies that would could not be destroyed. How extraordinary!

But - and Jesus was clear about this - we could reach this state of the Good Life (Jesus himself could only reach this state) only by first dying and then 'resurrecting'. The Good Life Jesus promised was on the other side of death!

And Jesus himself would 'show' that what he claimed was true, and how it worked; first by 'demonstrating' the process on his friend Lazarus; and then by himself going-through this same death and resurrection. How strange!

Why must Men die in order to be remade for the Good Life? Jesus did not explain. It seemed to be something to do with the fact that mortal bodies were intrinsically corruptible; and to 'make' eternal bodies required this process of 'resurrection'. 

But why did Men need to live the Good Life in bodies? Why not as spirits? That was perhaps the strangest thing of all. Again; Jesus did not explain, but the fact seemed to be quite definite.

What Jesus did explain, was that if we wanted this Good Life for ourselves, we needed in some sense to follow him. And that this following was a matter of love; the Good Life was itself a thing of love, the GL was joined by loving.

The Good Life was made possible by Jesus's love for each and every Man; and the 'process' was completed by each Man who wanted this Good Life loving Jesus. It had to be our decision, each individual's decision.

This business was not something done by God, to Men - or for Men. This step was a thing that we needed to do for our-selves; there were two sides, and we each must participate in the process - God's side of the matter being accomplished by a Holy Spirit or Comforter, which Jesus would send after he himself left the mortal world. Jesus implied that this Holy Ghost was in some sense himself, returned, in a form who was accessible to any Man who wanted it. 

And that was it, pretty much! That was the essence of the thing. Having made this clear, Jesus went ahead and did it; he completed the process.

Writing about it later, Lazarus noted that not many people were keen to accept the gift Jesus had brought; indeed they mostly reacted with anger and hostility, and indeed killed Jesus on the flimsiest of excuses (and also killed John the Baptist).

This reflected badly on Men; but it was hardly surprising - it was indeed exactly the kind of thing (sin) that Jesus had enabled us to escape from. However, it did not affect what Jesus had done for us.

The Good Life was from now a permanent possibility for any Man; albeit only attainable on the other side of death and by the choice of love.

(Note: The above is written in something of the style of Charles Williams in his books He Came Down From Heaven and The Descent of the Dove; although my interpretation of Jesus's work is extremely different from CW, and my expression is intended to be clear rather than esoteric.) 

Friday 26 July 2019

Not even trying - Beauty edition

Some years ago I wrote a book about science having abandoned even the attempt to speak and discover the truth about reality; but the same story could be told about the entirety of Western civilisation with respect to beauty.

As usual, this has been a top down process. It began about a century ago after World War I with the advent of Modernism is art - in fine art with the likes of Picasso, in Literature with TS Eliot and James Joyce, in classical music with Schoenberg and Stravinsky, in architecture with Le Courbusier and Bauhaus...

These massively influential artists were unlike the geniuses of previous generations because they were not even trying to create beauty.

After World War II this became mainstream; ordinary local government officials, administrators and managers of all kinds became united in their indifference to beauty, even disdain for 'conventional' ideas of beauty, which was regarded as kitsch, outmoded, probably patriarchal and racist too.

The indifference to beauty was initially excused by claiming a focus on efficiency, cheapness, egalitarian social engineering; or that the pursuit was of a higher and more contemporary and forward-looking form of beauty... but it very soon became clear that the motivation was in fact a hostility to beauty

This can best be seen from Architecture, that most public of arts.

What is significant is not so much the ugliness of modern buildings and the built environment - ugliness has always been common, especially where there is poverty; but the fact (and it is a solid, established fact) that people are not even striving for the beautiful.

In terms of the externals; universities like Oxford and Cambridge were international magnets for students, faculty and visitors because of the beauty - yet they consistently themselves built (and allowed) the erection of vile and brutal buildings among and nearby the loveliness. e.g. the Cambridge History building from 1963:

At my alma mata Durham - similarly an architectural jewel; in 1966 the expanding university built a brutalist, grey, grime-streaked concrete box as their students union.

This has, of course, continued and increased - everywhere. In situations where there was every reason - every commercial, monetary, expedient, materialist reason to aim for beauty; ugliness was insisted-upon.

The same applies to the insides of buildings. Instead of trying to make public work and life environments pleasing, cheerful, beautiful - the choice was to aim for bleakness, oppression, noise and lack-of-privacy.

In recent decades, even when building offices for themselves - the places where they will spend many hours per day; management have created nightmarish 1984 conditions. Below is the aptly named Portcullis House, the business annexe to the Houses of Parliament, where Member of Parliament have their meetings etc. They actually made this for themselves,

This cost a quarter of a billion pounds 20 years ago: the physical manifestation of an aspiring global totalitarian regime

What can we conclude? As William Arkle said: "If the individual is degenerating then his idea of beauty will be degenerate also".

Beauty is an index of the soul; beauty(with truth and virtue) is one of the prime transcendental values, and an indifference to beauty is a sign of the canker of corruption already present and growing in a person or a group.

By the time active and sacrificial hostility to beauty has become manifest, we are deep into the inversion of values; a situation when beauty and ugliness have changed positions, and evil is being pursued purposively.

We see it all around us. This is a world where Satan rules.

Thursday 25 July 2019

How to tell if somebody in public life is a liar; and the mental mutilation of compulsory dishonesty

This is not difficult nowadays, in the modern West - because all of Them, everybody, without any exceptions; are constant, habitual, practised liars. The interesting aspect is what this means; how it affects us.

I find it astonishing when somebody or another in public life is accused of being A Liar. Such are always somebody on the so-called Right - but actually the moderate-Left, because there are zero people in public life who aren't on the Left.

But they All lie, all the time; the people making the accusation, the people reporting it, the people trying to refute it; the people discussing the issue: it is a community of liars. If they were not liars, if they were honest, they would not be in public life.

Lying-to-order is nowadays an absolute pre-requisite of being given a position of high power, wealth or status.

Of course they don't lie equally - some tell bigger lies than others, some tell lies more frequently than others; and of course some are better at concealing their dishonesty than others (e.g. psychopaths, who lack empathy and deeply regard all other people as subjects for manipulation, are usually the most convincing liars; the best con artists).

The thing about honesty is that it is one of the virtues which is actually possible to do for considerable periods of time - and almost anybody can achieve it (if they want to, and if they are prepared to take the consequences). Most people can be honest; at least, to such a level that the occasional lie stands-out (and can therefore, in principle, be acknowledged and/ or repented).

The possibility of sustained 'perfection' does not (for the majority of people) apply to all of the virtues (e.g. love, courage, humility); but it does apply to honesty. We can genuinely aspire to be perfectly honest; and to know whenever we fail to attain that idea. 

I know this because when I began as a scientist most of the scientists I met were completely honest about their science. (Those who were not were mostly famous and powerful US scientists, in medical research.) Nowadays, almost no (self-styled) scientists are completely honest - and most are habitually and increasingly dishonest; so I saw the transition, which happened within a generation.

I know the possibility of perfect honesty, and the consequences of abandoning the ideal.

Scientists were probably the last group in The West to adhere to an ethic of honesty; so since science was corrupted we now live in a world of pervasive and escalating dishonesty - in which liars incessantly (and dishonestly) accuse each other of lying.

Some of these liars are so deeply, habitually, professionally dishonest that they do not know the differencetruth and lie. There are all sorts of defence mechanisms and projection at work; some of them are engaged in strategically planned deceptions.

But we don't have the time or the information to distinguish between them, nor or to make quantitative evaluations of the relative degrees to which any specific individual is lying. However, in an ultimate sense, we don't need to know any more than that a person or institution is A Liar - at which point we ought to stop listening to them and ignore what they say; and certainly we should stop trusting them.

Yet the awareness of this situation is minuscule. People don't merely believe the liars, the systematic misleaders, the propagandists and hypers; they actually enforce an ethic that such people must be believed.

Anyone who refuses to believe the pronouncements of known liars in government, the media, the churches or elsewhere is accused of being evasive, of cherry picking - and of course, in a world of liars, they may indeed be engaged in simply reinforcing their own prejudices.

This especially applies to atrocity stories - of war, disaster, crimes, victimisation, fraud, good-works or spitefulness... the basic bread and butter of modern gossip. When some powerful group states that some atrocity has happened, we are expected to believe it or else be regarded as evil - indeed dangerous.

In sum, we know for sure that all official and influential sources are always liars; but belief in their lies has become the usual mechanism by which in-group identity is established.  

Belief in lies is our modern initiation ceremony; and this initiation never stops, we repeat it every day, many times per day.

Instead of accepting (for example) some kind of trial of courage or infliction of pain as a coming of age - or else be outcast; we moderns must accept the mental mutilation of believing lies (like pervasive sexism/ racism, CO2 climate change, or the reality of sex change) - Or Else Be Outcast.   

This is part of the highly-effective and evil system of totalitarian control.

To know that someone lies, to nonetheless believe those lies, and to know that one is believing lies - is one important reason why almost the entire populations of the UK and other Western nations are literally psychotic.

And this is what enables the evil totalitarian system of virtuality that we all, to a greater or lesser extant, inhabit.

Wednesday 24 July 2019

Ashington Magic: Sixty percent of England's major team sports achievements featured players from Ashington, Northumberland

 A flattering photo of Ashington colliery and terraces, 1924. In my memory Ashington is always black and white

Ashington, an (ahem) 'unglamorous' mining village in Northumberland, is well known for producing sporting superstars - originally footballers, nowadays cricket fast bowlers. Indeed, of the (only!) five biggest-impact England international team sports triumphs of my lifetime, Ashington players were involved in three.

1966 Football World Cup - the brothers Bobby and Jackie Charlton (no relation, unfortunately) were in the eleven. Bobby is often regarded as the best England footballer ever, and among a handful of the best in the world.

2003 Rugby World Cup - No Ashington-born. The nearest was fly-half Jonny Wilkinson who went to university in Durham and played professionally in Newcastle. 

2005 Cricket Ashes (England versus Australia) contest. Regarded as probably the best cricket test match series ever. Featured fast bowler Steve Harmison throughout.

2010 Cricket T20 World Cup - No Ashingtonians. The nearest was captain Paul Collingwood, who came from nearby Shotley Bridge in County Durham.

2019 Cricket One Day International World Cup, from just over a week ago. Regarded as perhaps the most exciting cricket match ever. Featured Mark Wood.

Aside, Ashington was also the birthplace of Sheila Armstrong, perhaps the best English opera and oratorio soprano from the nineteen sixties through the eighties.  

Why such a concentration of excellence from such a utilitarian place - established several generations ago and still continuing? It is a mystery - all the more mysterious to those who know Ashington.

Note: My connection is that my Dad comes from the adjacent seaside village, Newbiggin by the Sea (birthplace of James Shepherd, the greatest cornet player ever), where I spent my holidays twice a year through childhood. Newbiggin people rather looked-down on Ashington. To us, Ashington was merely the location of a toy shop (Crisp's?) where we went for our summer holiday present. That's it. 

The task of a Romantic Christian: Our imperative destiny of becoming conscious of that which is currently unconscious

The idea of Romantic Christianity is that we must and should move forward to a new era of consciousness - because consciousness is necessary for free agency.

We can be free only when we are conscious; insofar as the unconscious affects us without our awareness then we are not free.

So secular modernity is impossible, because it is not Christian hence basically false - and evil because it is by nature and intent totalitarian (Ahrimanic); mainstream Romanticism is impossible because it is not Christian, and aims-at the unconscious, instinctive, unfree, not-grown-up (Luciferic); traditional Christianity is impossible because it relies upon the objective efficacy of words, rituals, symbols, institutions that have become subjective and ineffective. And, anyway, we cannot go back to traditional Christianity because human evolution is developmental (thus irreversible - like an adolescent cannot become a child).  

The fact that secular modernity, Romanticism and Christianity are all impossible does not, of course, prove that Romantic Christianity is possible - nor does it prove that Rom Christ would be desirable. The possibility and desirability of Romantic Christianity are firmly conjectural.

We should therefore be clear that there can be no publicly compelling proof that Romantic Christianity is what we must and ought-to have. So, in principle, we can only be Romantic Christians on the basis of 'evidence' that is personal individual, and - in that sense - 'subjective'.

However, Romantic Christianity includes the assertion that genuine subjectivity (intuition from of the real and divine self) is also objective, universal and eternal (objective, that is, within constraints of our perspective, experience and capability). True subjectivity is real objectivity.

In sum; to be a Romantic Christian is a matter of primary personal conviction. Either you have this, or you do not. If you don't have it, no evidence can convince you; if do have it, no evidence can disprove your conviction.

And such conviction can only be attained by consciously seeking it, and can only be apprehended by consciously knowing it and freely embracing it.

And if such is achieved; there is no more to be done with respect to proofs and evidence. One then Just Is a Romantic Christian; and our task and destiny then becomes (as I began by saying) incrementally to become conscious of all that is unconscious; to freely choose that which is spontaneously, intrinsically, naturally true.

Jesus was nasty - and, nowadays, real Christians cannot be nice

Nearly all the nice people have long since abandoned Christianity; there are only more-or-less nasty people remaining (among whom I count myself).

Luckily, this doesn't matter - at least, nastiness doesn't matter in the ways that really matter.

Jesus was, of course - overall - a nasty person. He had his nice moments; but for the nice people he would certainly have seemed nasty. Jesus was, indeed, loathed and feared by the nice people of his era; because he upset and insulted people; he made others unhappy, miserable and afraid; he gratuitously stirred-up trouble of many kinds.

And Jesus had that defining nasty quality of not being bothered what other people thought of him.

The terrible, nowadays fatal, weakness of nice people is that they need to be regarded as nice by other people; their self-image is an internalisation of other people. Niceness is a deep conformity.

Yet here and now; our society has made it impossible for Christians to be nice; the great mass of culture has put us into a position in which to remain Christian is to be seen as nasty. Modernity has engineered multiple, sequential situations by which each Christian is 'put on the spot', where openly being Christian is regarded as nasty.

This only applies to Christians; because when those of other religions are isolated, put on the spot, and required to defend their religion - other people feel sorry for them. They are seen as victims. People from other religions are regarded as only superficially nasty, but deep-down they are always nice. Misguided, but still nice.

But people do Not feel sorry for Christians, because Christians are regarded as deep-down nasty. Therefore, Christians don't have to do anything much at all, in order to be seen as nasty.

For nice people this situation is intolerable. When put on the spot, they will capitulate - because when niceness is the core virtue, not to capitulate is nasty, in their own eyes.

Nice people therefore cannot accept that our society has become evil; that the masses are evil; that people running society, both churches and other institutions, are evil. And evil not in the usual mixed way, but strategically evil by intent. For nice people; it is just nasty to regard the Archbishop of Canterbury, the BBC, Oxford University, the European Union, the United Nations - as purposively evil.

Nice people cannot even entertain the hypothesis that these entities are evil, that our mainstream society is evil; for them, such ideas are necessarily paranoid, and ultimately therefore projected by nasty-folk: for them, to impute evil to the authorities and the masses is literally intolerable.

Such ideas are simply Not Thought. It is as-if basic-niceness is a Law of Nature, that must apply to all times and places and peoples.

It is a psychological necessity for nice people to believe that nearly everybodyand everything, everywhere is basically nice and well-motivated. Consequently, for nice people; the only true, deep, genuine nastiness is to assert that most people and institutions are corrupt and wicked, that our laws and regulations are intended to encourage evil and destroy Good.

We can say that for many earlier generations it was possible for nice people to be Christians; but that no longer applies.

Nice people cannot now be Christians. Here and now; all Christians are nasty; and any nice person that is currently Christian is destined to leave the faith, sooner or later, and probably very soon.

Which is not to say, far from it, that all nasty people are Christians! But to assert that real and solid Christians will henceforth be drawn from the population of nasties.

Thus will the Christian prophecies be fulfilled; and real Christians will be seen as an evil minority of nasty individuals; while the numerous nice Antichrists will assume the official mantle of the Christian churches, and all other species of moral leadership.

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Alternatives to Heaven - active and passive evil or love

'Regular Readers' will know that I have an understanding of Christianity that sees God's creation as emerging from Chaos; that God made creation from a disorder of pre-existing primordial beings, which were already and from eternity somewhat alive and conscious.

Creation therefore began with God, grew from God's work, and is a dynamic and expanding thing. 

God's creation is made with love as its glue; creation 'uses' (to be materialistic) love as the attractive force that orders chaos into creation.

This is, ultimately, why Christians regard love as primary - because love is that which makes creation. Without love there is chaos.

So, creation (or Heaven) is ultimately an opt-in thing. because love is not compelled, we can only opt-into Heaven.

Creation has-been set-up, and is an ongoing project; and our primary decision is whether to join this project or not. To join the project we must share its aims. To share the aims entails joining the web of love which binds the participants, as creation continues to grow.

Love is what enables creation to be dynamic and open-ended, while not flying-apart or drifting off-course - love is what gives direction and coherence' and this love is the interpersonal love of beings.

For this to work, creation needs to be ruled by love; to be ruled by love means that the participants in creation must have chosen it - and that choice must be both freely made and irreversible.

(We must be able to assume that this is indeed possible: that part of free agency is the freedom to make irreversible commitments based on love.) 

So creation is much like an ideal family - in that when a family loves one another; they can continue to hold together through time, while constantly and permanently growing and changing. 

This view makes evil a very different thing from traditional Classical Christian metaphysics. For me, most evil is a form of parasitism; it is the choice to feed-off creation without making the commitment to love.

There is an alliance of evil (the devil, demons and other beings) - but ultimately this alliance is merely a temporary - because expedient - mutual exploitation. The purposes of evil are not aligned, there is no commitment to evil; there is merely a shared motivation to favour self over creation.

Different evil beings may be more selfish on the one hand, or more motivated by a negative, destructive hatred of creation.

Probably self-interest - that is 'using' creation for pleasure - is the commonest evil. But at higher levels of strategic evil there is a hatred of creation that goes beyond selfish, emotion-based hedonism in taking an abstract delight in the destruction of creation; turning creation against-itself.

I think there are two strands at work in evil (distinguishable; but not fully separable and tending to converge over time)*. There is the kind of Luciferic selfish hedonic evil that seeks not to destroy but to 'farm' creation for personal gratification. This is evil as a parasite; and insofar as it is strategic, the goal is to get as much personal pleasure as possible for as long as possible. All of creation is to be used.

But, like any parasitism, there is no real balance point between maximising the short and long term; and the innate tendency is, sooner or later, to take too much from the host (especially when competing with other parasites) over the immediate and short term; and thus 'accidentally' to destroy the host, like a cancer.

The cold hatred of Ahrimanic evil is more purely destructive. The motivation is resentment rather than pleasure; negativity rather than desires like pride, lust, greed, or sloth. For the satisfaction is in reduction.

The ultimate goal is destruction of all creation (including God); reducing it down to the level of unconscious chaos. Implicitly, the goal is to kill everybody and smash everything until one is the last conscious being; and then to kill oneself. The desire is to undo creation.

(In practice to destroy one's own consciousness; and return the universe to primordial disorder; but minus God. This may be impossible, but is the implicit ideal of the purest form of evil.)   

There is, however, a third strand - another alternative to Heaven; which is Nirvana. The key to Nirvana is the obliteration of consciousness, the loss of awareness of the self. It is a total opt-out from both Heaven and selfishness in the only way possible - since being is eternal. Thus it aims at total unawareness of anything - mere simple being.

Total lack of consciousness may be impossible for eternal indestructible beings. But it seems that God can gift people a minimal, here-and-now, awareness of a blissful kind; if they are willing to commit them-selves to an impersonal, abstract and non-specific or general love of creation.

This, I take it, is what happens when Hindus or Buddhists achieve their religious goals.

I think these three - Heaven (active personal love), Evil (exploitation or destruction of creation) and Nirvana (passive abstract love) are probably the only possible alternative 'destinations' for our souls.

Love must actively be chosen - so, in this sense, evil is the 'default choice' - it is where we begin. But in another sense, we are all born-into God's creation - inside the web of love that sustains creation.

So the choice of love may be seen as simply the choice to remain where we already are, that is 'in' creation. Therefore, in another sense, evil is also chosen actively, since it involves rejecting our actually-existing situation.

In sum; for those who love, evil involves an active rejection of that love; for those who do not love, evil is the natural default choice. Since most love is personal, love is what draws us to Heaven.

*Note: Ahrimanic and Luciferic evil can also be understood in terms of Morgoth's versus Sauron's evil; according to a distinction Tolkien made in some unpublished later writings, which are quoted here

Monday 22 July 2019

My retrospective review of The Inklings by Humphrey Carpenter (1978)

...Can be found over at The Notion Club Papers.

A (sort of) pilgrimage to Saint Julian of Norwich

I failed to visit the church and shrine of 'Lady Julian' or, St Julian (1342-1429) as she deserves to be called, in my last visit to Norwich; and regretted the fact - so this time it became a priority, and because of that element of pilgrimage, my wife and I were rewarded by a quietly sweet experience that we shall not forget.

St Julian is both a great writer, whose beautiful Middle English poetic-prose translates so much better than her contemporaries Chaucer, Langland and the Gawain poet that we feel no loss from the original; and an important ascetic mystic in the contemplative Orthodox and 'Platonic' tradition.

For me, her work communicates the same quality as Thomas Traherne - an immersion in the transcendental beauty, truth and virtue of God's love. She induces a kind of suspension of Time, a state of being; glimpses of perfection.

She lived for some decades as an 'anchorite' in a cell attached to the church which now bears her name and the site is now the place of a small, plain and tranquil chapel dedicated to her.

Outside in the churchyard, the tranquil contemplative quality still remains after 600 years.

And next door, there is a very charmingly unprofessional little room with books, cards, mementoes and a few modest refreshments that seems to have retained the spirit of the cell among its inhabitants - so little commercialism or vulgarity as to seem like a timeslip back sixty years to a more innocent age.

I find a direct and powerful appeal in the contemplative life and work of St Julian, and visiting the place reinforced this. I regard this type of spirituality as valid, but ultimately a thing from a past era of human consciousness, which we can glimpse and briefly attain and learn-from; but which we cannot sustain.

Indeed, I believe, we should not (as a generalisation) be trying to emulate the kind of life and and state-of-being that St Julian so inspiringly lived as a permanent thing; our task is different.

We can, however, experience this vicariously; and I recognise that her work has a quality of permanent value; perhaps because of the sweetness and loveliness of Julian's nature as a saintly person, which jumps across the centuries when we read her words, or think about her or her place of dwelling.

And in this he showed me a little thing, the quantity of a hazel nut, lying in the palm of my hand, as it seemed. And it was as round as any ball. I looked upon it with the eye of my understanding, and thought, 'What may this be?' And it was answered generally thus, 'It is all that is made.' I marveled how it might last, for I thought it might suddenly have fallen to nothing for littleness. And I was answered in my understanding: It lasts and ever shall, for God loves it. And so have all things their beginning by the love of God.

In this little thing I saw three properties. The first is that God made it. The second that God loves it. And the third, that God keeps it. But what is this to me? Truly, the Creator, the Keeper, the Lover. For until I am substantially “oned” to him, I may never have full rest nor true bliss. That is to say, until I be so fastened to him that there is nothing that is made between my God and me.

This little thing which is created seemed to me as if it could have fallen into nothing because of its littleness. We need to have knowledge of this, so that we may delight in despising as nothing everything created, so as to love and have uncreated God. For this is the reason why our hearts and souls are not in perfect ease, because here we seek rest in this thing which is so little, in which there is no rest, and we do not know our God who is almighty, all wise and all good, for he is true rest. God wishes to be known, and it pleases him that we should rest in him; for everything which is beneath him is not sufficient for us. And this is the reason why no soul is at rest until it has despised as nothing all things which are created. When it by its will has become nothing for love, to have him who is everything, then is it able to receive spiritual rest. (1st Revelation)

In middle English, in context...

In this same time our Lord shewed to me a ghostly sight of His homely loveing. I saw that He is to us everything that is good and comfortable for us. He is oure clotheing, that for love wrappeth us, halsyth us, and all becloseth us for tender love, that He may never leeve us, being to us althing that is gode as to myne understondyng.

Also in this He shewed a littil thing the quantitye of an hesil nutt in the palme of my hand, and it was as round as a balle. I lokid there upon with eye of my understondyng and thowte, What may this be? And it was generally answered thus: It is all that is made. I mervellid how it might lesten, for methowte it might suddenly have fallen to nowte for littil. And I was answered in my understondyng, It lesteth and ever shall, for God loveth it; and so all thing hath the being be the love of God.

In this littil thing I saw three properties: the first is that God made it, the second is that God loveth it, the third, that God kepith it. But what is to me sothly the maker, the keper, and the lover I canot tell, for till I am substantially onyd to Him I may never have full rest ne very blisse; that is to sey, that I be so festined to Him, that there is right nowte that is made betwix my God and me. It needyth us to have knoweing of the littlehede of creatures and to nowtyn allthing that is made for to love and howe God that is unmade.

For this is the cause why we be not all in ease of herete and soule, for we sekyn here rest in those things that is so littil, wherin is no rest, and know not our God that is al mighty, al wise, all gode; for He is the very rest. God will be knowen, and Him liketh that we rest in Him. For all that is beneth Him sufficeth not us. And this is the cause why that no soule is restid till it is nowted of all things that is made. Whan he is willfully nowtid for love, to have Him that is all, then is he abyl to receive ghostly rest.

Also our Lord God shewed that it is full gret plesance to Him that a sily soule come to Him nakidly and pleynly and homely. For this is the kinde yernings of the soule by the touching of the Holy Ghost, as be the understondyng that I have in this sheweing: "God of Thy goodnesse, give me Thyselfe, for Thou art enow to me, and I may nothing aske that is less that may be full worshippe to Thee. And if I aske anything that is lesse, ever me wantith; but only in Thee I have all."

And these words arn full lovesome to the soule, and full nere, touchen the will of God and His goodness. For His goodness comprehendith all His creatures and all His blissid works and overpassith without end. For He is the endleshede, and He hath made us only to Himselfe and restorid us be His blissid passion, and kepith us in His blissid love; and all this is of His goodness.

Virtuality versus Reality

We need a single world for the fake, virtual reality which The System of totalitarian media-bureaucracy is imposing and enforcing on us - and virtuality seems like a good word to hijack for the purpose, since it explains itself - being a condensation of virtual-reality: that manufactured and illusory world that is passively accepted by our senses as reality, familiar from the modern mass media.

The nature of our modern spiritual war is therefore one of Virtuality versus Reality. Our task in life is to distinguish the dominant, official, fashionable, and increasingly compulsory Virtuality which is lived-in by all institutions; from the eternal and universal reality that we can access as individuals who are each potentially in touch with the divine.

Reality is, in other words, nowadays only accessible by the individual prepared to stand apart, and prepared to acknowledge the reality of a divine and spiritual world. Whereas Virtuality is what modern Western people will passively absorb simply by being raised and working and functioning in society.

The great advantage of reality is that it only requires a minority of one, because each may know it directly and for himself; its great disadvantage that under current conditions it must be held despite being a minority of one, and in the teeth of universal worldly denial and condemnation - since so few are choosing it, so many and so powerful opposing it.

And the word 'choose' is accurate, because under current conditions and with Man's mind as it is; choice is mandatory - even when choice is denied. On the one hand passivity and unconsciousness lead to Virtuality, on the other hand reality is the spontaneous product of conscious and active living from one's true self - but both are chosen.

It is a feature of the modern condition that every possibility presents itself as a choice - matters that used to be regarded as brute facts - such as psychological and physical differences between men and women, or the impossibility of changing from one to the other - are now matters of choice. Matters of survival and sustained life were once regarded as fundamental, now a manufactured ephemeral virtuality of fake news, fake fashions and fake morality occupies the centre stage in the world and in most private lives.

Modern Man chooses; and has-chosen to reject facts and live by his choices: and this, multipled millionfold, is the basis of virtuality.

Anyone can choose reality at any time; but to do this he must recognise the basis and possibility of choice; and he must choose to stand alone in a very basic sense; alone in 'the world' of senses and publicly shared concepts; but in reality (which is spiritual) he is with God, and with all those who have also made the choice against virtuality and for reality.

Sunday 21 July 2019

Heaven should be our primary concern: Jesus's Main message is his offer of everlasting/ eternal life

What is the main thing that Jesus taught? The answer from the Fourth Gospel (the most authoritative scripture) is that he brought the possibility of everlasting or eternal life; by which Jesus meant our immortal resurrection to life in Heaven.

In brief, the core of Christianity ought to be knowledge of Heaven, and the implications of this knowledge for this mortal life (including what we need to do if we want immortal Heavenly life for ourselves).

In support of this; I have collected the verses that specifically reference everlasting and eternal life in the Fourth Gospel. 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.

That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 

The essential teaching is summarised in the final verse of Chapter 20, ending the Gospel proper: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

The Anglican shrine at Walsingham - a visit

Inside the Holy House

Walsingham, with its shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary - grew from Anglo-Saxon origins to become the premier pilgrimage site in England during the later Middle Ages; before it was destroyed by Henry VIII in the Dissolution of the Monasteries (he had himself, with his wife, made the pilgrimage as a younger man).

Walsingham was revived by Anglo-Catholics as an Anglican shrine from the 1920s (and also has a Roman Catholic shrine from around the same time). As we were nearby, my family decided to visit the place and take a look. (We did not have time to visit the Roman Catholic shrine.)

This wasn't a pilgrimage; but simply driven by a curiosity derived from the period when I frequently attended the Little Mass in an Anglo Catholic church, and heard about their annual bus trips to Walsingham.

Well, somewhat to our surprise, we liked it very much! There is a small enclosed area with a museum and garden, with stations of the cross leading to an outdoor altar. And there is a chapel and the main church, which is built around a 'replica' representing the Holy House where Mary was met by Gabriel and Jesus was conceived.

These grounds have a powerful tranquillity about them - to step inside is like entering a 'bubble' of calm. 

The surrounding small church is decorated with a wonderful and astonishing richness and colour; with a stunning density (for such a recent building) of stained glass, many statues, wood carving, murals, relics, stones from (destroyed) ancient monasteries, a holy well and font, plaques, tombs with carved representations, ornate lettering - and many tiny chapels.

I found it wholly delightful. I am very fond of the architecture of Gothic revival buildings, especially those with a Romantic vision of the Medieval era (such as the chapels at Worcester College, Oxford; or the castle at Lindisfarne; or Walter Scott's house at Abbotsford) - and this was perhaps the best of any I have encountered.

It was charming and eccentric; but also permeated by religious enthusiasm. I would term its building, elaboration, attention to detail and continued maintenance a literal 'labour of love'. 

I don't have any very general conclusions as to the 'implications' of my experience; but would simply say that it is well worth a visit, and demonstrates that there was a powerful and active Catholic tradition within the Church of England over the past century and until fairly recently.

What should be the basis of sexual morality (for grown-up adults)

Continuing from yesterday's post on the psychological corruptions of the sexual revolution; I need to move on to the matter of the source of our sexual morality.

There is (as CS Lewis argued in The Abolition of Man, where he called it the Tao) a large agreement in traditional societies about the nature of morality. Nonetheless, there are some distinctively Christian aspects; and anyway traditionalist arguments have lost their power to persuade; and indeed become inverted into exemplars of oppression. Similarly, all external sources of morality have long-since been subverted by the utilitarian this-worldly evaluation system of modern societies.

Therefore, morality can now come only from within; that is, we need to know intuitively the nature of morality from our deepest intuitions, from that true self which is divine by virtue of each being a child of God*.

In other words, our morality can come only after our religion or theology, and on the basis of our knowing that there is God the creator, and that God is loving and we are familially linked with God; and may choose to accept Jesus's offer of eternal resurrected life and join with God in the 'work of creation'.

Creation is the key. Everything that is part of creation is 'joined' by loving relations; and can be understood as something like an ongoing state of flow and development. It can be imagined as something like a web of relationships, moving through time, developing and changing; but held together by the web of attracting love between the individuals who choose to be part of it.

This joining is meant to be a choice (not merely something unconsciously taken for granted from social conditioning), inded Just Is a choice - therefore Christian morality is ultimately justifiable 'only' for Christians.

But for Christians; we have consciously made a choice to join, after our deaths, with the existing family of God in the work of creation; our morality, or 'how to behave' will flow from this knowledge and choice.

A Christian will know, not just theoretically but as a matter of experience, how the universe has been set-up, what it is for, how it is supposed to 'go'.

Therefore; any Christian can know, from inner apprehension, everything he needs to know about morality - but this knowledge will Not be in the form of laws or principle or commands - but will be a knowledge based on how creation is meant to go and our specific and personal experiences.

Morality is a word for that which conduces to loving creation as a whole, and through eternity.

Of course, as finite and mortal individuals we can know only a (small, distorted) part of this, from a particular perspective - and we are prone to error. Nonetheless, we can know the fact of our limitation and we can also know when we have erred; because will will perceive our increasing divergence from loving creation.

Since creation is ongoing in time, any error or falsehood will tend to point us off to one side and away from creation. It is our love that lets us know when we are wrong about morality, when our understanding or choice is leading us away from creation.

This divergence can be set right by repentance; and indeed must be set right by repentance else we will be led increasingly away from the 'web of love'.

In sum; as Christians who have chosen to ally our-selves with God in the work of ongoing creation; we each, as individuals, can know sexual morality as we can know any other form of morality.

But there is a special relevance to sexual morality precisely because it is linked so closely to the matter of familial relations, which are the basis of creation.

Creation is held-together in a familial way - and sex is closely related to family relations - both biologically in earthly mortal life; but also spiritually and ultimately. Especially obviously this is so when we consider matters 'eternally' and begin to recognise the nature of the manyfold links of love in the web in ever-developing creation.

We may or may not be able to 'predict' what is a sin in advance of doing it; but we will know what is a sin from our inner experience if we have done it; and we will know this by its effect on that ongoing web of loving relations that constitutes creation... we will experience an increasing divergence from loving creation: we will experience a diminution of love in our own life.

* Note - In this post I am talking about the morality of spiritually grown-up adults, to which they should graduate if ever they emerge from adolescence (most do not). For children, traditional, external sources of authority are still required.

Saturday 20 July 2019

The psychological mechanisms by which the sexual revolution corrupts people

The wonderfully articulate and interesting Roman Catholic, and Thomistic philosopher, Ed Feser has written a very valuable blog post about the psychological mechanisms by which sexual revolution has broadly corrupting effects- drawing substantially on the insights of Aquinas.

Many of these observations ring true, and indeed I have often witnessed the way in which unrepented sexual sin has a very generally destructive effect on morality. It is, indeed, so common as to be normal in recent decades.

This helps us to understand the synergy between the sexual revolution and Leftism: since the middle 1960s, Leftism has promoted the sexual revolution as perhaps its primary weapon, and those who have most avidly embraced the sexual revolution in their own lives, tend to become the craziest (most irrational and aggressive) Leftists.

Read the whole thing - but here is a sample:

Aquinas notes that “lust…is about the greatest of pleasures; and these absorb the mind more than any others.” Sexual pleasure is like the pleasure of alcohol use in being perfectly innocent in itself, but also very easy to abuse.

Hence, even in someone with otherwise normal sexual desires, a preoccupation with matters of sex has a tendency to cause him to act foolishly in various ways – to exaggerate the importance of sex, to pursue it in ways that are detrimental to his own well-being and that of people who depend on him, to construct rationalizations for such foolish pursuit, and so forth.

In someone with abnormal sexual desires, the effect is even worse. For what determines the good use of a human faculty is the end or purpose toward which it is directed by nature. Hence a healthy moral psychology requires a firm intuitive grasp of what is natural and what is contrary to nature’s purposes.

Repeatedly taking sexual pleasure in activity that is directly contrary to nature’s ends dulls the intellect’s perception of nature, to the point that the very idea that some things are contrary to the natural order loses its hold upon the mind. The intellect thereby loses its grip on moral reality.

Note: This links in my mind with the way that systematic perverse sexual initiation practices have, apparently, been used to create and sustain a politically leftist, upper class, secret combination within the evangelical wing of the Church of England; which - by its control of appointments and promotions; by blackmail and bribes -  has engineered the corruption of Anglicanism from the top. If you wondered why such an incompetent, lying mediocrity as Justin Welby effortlessly became the Archbishop of Canterbury, you need wonder no more...

Friday 19 July 2019

What is true about anarchism?

There was a period in my early adulthood when I tried to 'be' an anarchist. Somehow it seemed to me the only coherent way to formulate my radicalism. I had begun as a socialist, but could not make sense of any of its variants, and anarchism was the purest and most extreme version I could imagine, so I took it to that level and had nowhere further to move.

Yet on the other hand, the political formulations of anarchism were nonsensical and extremely dull! And attracted some of the worst of characters.

Yet again, something drew me to something about the idea. I discovered what this was when, as an evolutionary psychologist, I studied the information about human ancestors. That they were believed to be simple, immediate return, nonpolitical, animistic hunter gatherers - spontaneous anarchists.

Such societies lacked politics because they relied on the spontaneous organization of the extended family.

I recognized that much of our alienation and angst was due to us having been "designed" for this anarchistic life.

The picture was amplified by recognising, from Owen Barfield, that 'animism' was actually original participation; when we were immersed in the spiritual world of the Gods.

This provides the answer, I think. Anarchism is an Ahrimanic materialist distortion of the abstracted politics of the spiritual (romantic) hunter gatherer life we instinctively crave.

But what we actually Need, since consciousness has evolved and history is irreversible, is final participation by which we consciously choose that which was spontaneous and involuntary. We return to the spiritual world in thinking.

Such reasoning seems to entail that a return to simple familial forms is desirable and should be chosen - it may also tend (over time, incrementally) to be imposed by the collapse of civilization.

Thursday 18 July 2019

Faith is needed for objective understanding

Faith is usually understood to mean something like wishful thinking - "It is so because I want it so"... Faith is contrasted with objective understanding.

But the opposite is true - faith is Necessary for objective understanding. Since this world was created by God, we can understand it only by seeing it from God's perspective, rather than from any of the hypothetical perspectives that did Not lead to creation.

For example, many people see the world from their own perspective, as if the world was, or should be, designed to make them constantly happy.

Others, in the mass media for instance, depict the world from a demonic perspective; a world of predators and prey, exploiters and exploited...

But if this actually is a created world, made by a God who loves us - then these and other alternatives are objectively wrong.

Faith is a felt acknowledgement of God's love, and it leads to understanding because we can empathically identify with God's perspective, we can personally know what kind of things God would and wouldn't be aiming-at.

This is possible because there is something of God in each of us, something divine; because we are God's children - and we have divinity by inheritance.

This can be called an inner guidance system, or conceptualized as the way in which we each may share in the divine understanding, the True understanding of reality.

Monday 15 July 2019

To decline/ reject Christianity is to render Life futile

If it is correct to say, as I do, that this mortal life was created for a reason; then if that reason is rejected, it must tend to render our life futile.

So, there is a choice. We are not compelled, but need actively to choose the post-mortal Heavenly and eternal life that Jesus made possible for us. And since that is a positive choice, it is not-irrational to reject Heaven.

Yet to live in a world, to live a life, that is Designed for our personal education aimed at Heaven; yet to decline the offer of Heaven, does mean that our mortal life has been pointless, in an ultimate sense.

It would be like spending one's entire life at medical school while determined never to become a doctor. To train as a marathon runner for decades, yet never run a marathon. To practise scales and arpeggios on the piano, yet never play a tune.

That is, indeed, the situation for the billions of people who now live and have-lived mortal lives; while declining to accept the gift of Jesus.

If such people are theists, they will (I think) move on to something much like their religions describe - Nirvana, paradise, unconsciousness...

(If they have mistaken the purpose of this world, their lives will be structured according to that mistake. As if they were actually at medical school, but believed they were being trained as a lawyer....)

But mortal incarnated life on earth - This Life - is not a necessary experience for the attainment of any of these not-Christian religious objectives.

Non-Christian religious might as well have gone straight to that state, without living-through this Life. Entering Nirvana, or paradise, does not require a prior mortal life - you might as well be born there.

If you do Not want to become a doctor, it is pointless to spend your life at medical school - training for a profession you have no intention ever of practising.

(This is what I mean about this Life being futile if Jesus's gift is rejected.)

As for those who are atheists, those who deny that this World was created and deny it has a purpose... they are objectively insane. Incoherently delusional; with disorganised thinking and a purely subjective understanding of reality; because without creation all meaning is personal and arbitrary: That is all that is possible, That has been chosen.

Atheists are at medical school, but deny the reality, even the possibility, of becoming a doctor. Their lives are not just futile but crazy, since they necessarily, by assumption, experience all educational experience as arbitrary torment or random pleasure.