Saturday 31 August 2019

Insufficient motivation is why modern Christians cannot be traditionalists (Or, nobody loves a modern bureaucracy.)

One thing that has changed a lot since the last major Western Christian revival (i.e. that of the 1939-45 World War); which is that a modern Christian must be far more personally motivated - and, where that necessary motivation is to be 'found' is not susceptible of a single, general, socially-applicable answer. 

Seventy years ago CS Lewis was able to write about Christianity in a way that pretty much rejected mysticism and personal spirituality; because the Western churches were still sufficiently strong that a Christian could focus mainly on obedience to church rules and teachings. It was, in other words, still possible to be a (mostly) passive Christian.

This was never a very good kind of Christian to be - it is, indeed, pretty strongly against the basic nature of the faith; and if a religion based upon obedience is what is wanted, then other religions do this much better than Christianity ever could. Christianity's most formidable rival is very clear about what is required of its adherents, and although difficult, this is finite and do-able - but those Christians who see their faith in such terms are flying in the face of its nature, and swimming against the current.  

Anyway, nowadays the passive Christians have mostly ceased to be Christians; and the traditionalists who yearn for a return to obedience-based faith sound less convincing with every year; and soon will become unable to convince even themselves.

This is because we cannot be motivated to obedience when the church has become (substantially) just another branch of the global careerist political bureaucracy.

Labile dishonest bureaucracy may be a sufficient motivator when it is paying you a salary, but otherwise it is not the kind-of-thing that inspires motivation - and certainly not the kind of thing to inspire loyalty.

One cannot be loyal to something impersonal and always changing; the greatest loyalty is to that which is loved and respected, which has integrity and reliability: that which lasting and strong (apparently permanent) .

One can only be strongly loyal and obedient to something that is (pretty much) the opposite of a modern, faceless, arbitrary, petty bureaucracy that most churches have become. Churches are - here, now, mostly - manned by a rotating cast of despicables: cowards, placemen, drones, incompetents, showmen and psychopaths.

Therefore, although I can certainly understand and empathise with the desire of Christian traditionalists for a simple faith characterised by obedience and loyalty; they have-found, they will and shall continue-to-find, that as Christians they Cannot Do It.

They will not be able to generate and maintain motivation to believe, obey and be loyal to the kind of organisation that the modern churches have become.

And if such people want to be or remain Christian, they will have to seek motivation that actually works. Which requires (to some significant extent), to seek the divine within themselves - by whatever means is effective.

And that means mysticism.

Long Meg and her Daughters - a Cumbrian stone circle

Long Meg and her Daughters is a surprisingly large Neolithic stone circle in Cumberland, near Penrith; which we visited recently. It was an enjoyable experience - as others have found.  The site originally will have had a very broad 360 degree view to distant hills and horizons; and it slopes slightly toward the Pennines, as if the shape was intended to be visible from the flanks of Cross Fell and thereabouts.

It has several special features - first is Long Meg herself - a red sandstone pillar with 'rock art' concentric circular symbols still visible on one face (archaeology suggests there was originally another similar pillar, making an 'entrance); and the main circle of her daughters - made of grey stones; through which a small road goes.

Of the circles I have visited, it is most like Avebury, although smaller. The Daughter stones vary a lot in size - reinforcing my idea that each stone probably symbolically represented (was 'like') an individual person (or deity). Also the Daughters are spread-out, with no impression of ever having been contiguous. This differs from other Cumbrian circles such as Swinside and Castlerigg, which look as if originally the stones were placed close together, contiguously, to make an enclosing-excluding 'wall'.

A similarity with Castlerigg is that there is an area that looks as if there are extra stones that perhaps originally made a 'sanctuary' or 'chapel' jutting-in from the perimeter. 

From the fact that so many survived 4000 years plus; the British Isles must once have been covered in these and similar structures in the late Neothlithic-Bronze Age - I find it quite a remarkable thing to imagine moving through such a 'ritual landscape'. The stone circles are associated with other features such as pathways, parallel ditches (cursus), and various types of burial (some long barrows predate the stone circles).

The circles themselves seem like sky temples to me. I am impressed by the fact they don't have anything at the centre - just like the sky; but I don't believe that most of the stone circles have significant astronomical alignments. They are just not sufficiently regular geometric structures - the stones are very rugged and various in size and shape - and most are not even true circles. (e.g. LM and her Ds is flattened on one side).

My current guess is that the circles were dedicated to the sky god/s and stones were added to after the deaths of significant persons - or perhaps to represent gods. But they were clearly very important indeed - the sheer size of some stones is evidence of the work required to make them. The positions are distinctive and rare. They are part of complexly-shaped landscapes.

Probably, this was a literate society (the 'rock art' being the remnants of their 'writing'); and the number of these temples suggests a large pantheon, or in some way different functions of different temples (as with the much better documented and contemporary Egyptian religion).

I get the impression of life lived in this context; of life being a movement-through these sacred landscapes - perhaps following narratives of divine history; people continually reliving the primal stories of their gods.

Friday 30 August 2019

More on the stupid meme that the modern Left are the new 'puritans'

Further to my recent post; I think I am clearer as to the strange support given to the stupid idea that the modern Left are the new 'puritans': it seems that Catholics (Roman, Anglo, perhaps Orthodox) are using the argument as a way of refighting the Reformation.

The core problem with the Left=Puritan argument is that it puts politics above Christianity; in that it implicitly argues that political expediency ought to be primary in deciding the nature of Christianity.

In other words, the implicit assumption is that Christianity is to be understood as a part of The State, and in terms of how best a nation may be governed.

The Left=Puritan idea is a way of reasserting either the ideal of the Constantine/ Byzantine/ Anglican synthesis of Roman State and the Christian Church; or the Medieval 'City of Man'-'City of God' separate-realms division between the King and the Pope. Implicitly, the core question being addressed is the problem of how Christianity may function in the administration of a stable state.

This is understandable among members of the 'secular-Right' who regard religion as a means to an end; and therefore hate and fear serious, zealous, primarily motivating Christianity; they prefer a tolerant, insipid, 'Sunday' Christianity of reasonable men and moderation - something that fits smoothly into the Establishment.

But such a style of argument ought to be regarded as abhorrent by serious Catholic Christians; those who put their religion above politics... yet such people are in fact making this argument; whether by error or confusion, or from falling into sin. They ought to be giving credit for serious Christian faith as more important than political expediency; but have fallen into putting expediency first.

Such a view equates 'puritans' with the political perils that ensue when individual Man is in a personal relationship with Jesus, or God the Father. So, it is a re-run of one aspect of the Reformation; which was between serious Christians (mostly of lower and middling classes) and the Establishment supporters of the political expediency of moderation and corruption.

So the equation is made between the destabilising effects of zeal and enthusiasm - or personal religion; and what are assumed to be similar defects in the modern New Left. (This is, anyway, not what I personally see among modern Leftists - who seem to be mostly timid bureaucrats rather than wild zealots, but that is aside.)

The fault is that this is to equate Christian zeal (even if erroneous in one way or another) with political zeal. It is, in fact, to see Christianity in terms of politics. Examine the arguments, and you will see that this is so.

Further, I think those who use modern Leftism to excoriate what they suppose to be puritanism are making a rhetorical mistake if they suppose that an argument in favour of the moderate corruption and reasonableness of a mature and stable Byzantine or Holy Roman monarchy will inspire and fire the individual idealism and courage necessary to roll-back the New Left.

Given the ubiquity and degree of top-down corruption (mainly politicization) in the Catholic (and other mainstream) churches; the only possible future of Christianity in the West is to be strong, personal and primary.

And for such Christians to set-aside the political wrangles, and especially arguments about political expediency, until after Western Men has recovered (or generated anew) a living, inspiring, motivating Christian faith.

Thursday 29 August 2019

Thoughts on the Riders of Rohan

There is a sense in which the other races, including the higher Men of Gondor both envy and look-down-on the Men of Rohan - and the unselfconscious nobility they achieve in the recklessness and panache of their cavalry charge against the besieging forces around Minas Tirith make perhaps the highest point of sheer wonder in the entire work of Lord of the Rings - Tolkien mentioned that the horns of the Rohirrim at dawn was perhaps his own favourite moment.

Read the whole thing over at The Notion Club Papers

Wednesday 28 August 2019

We want, and fear, significance in Life

We want significance in our lives; but we fear it too. Significance implies that what we think, say and do have permanence and universality; but that clashes with a sinful desire that we can act without consequences, avoid responsibility.

The desire for significance also gets mixed-up with the desire for esteem, status, prestige - which lead to types of pleasurable feeling. Yet in wanting significance in our lives, we want an objective, solid, reality - not merely our personal feelings.

In essence, in wanting objective, solid significance; I think we want that potentially other people may always be able to know that which is important that we think or do.

We want other people to be able to find out and know what Good we did, for themselves - without relying on persuading them, or manipulating them in any way. (The modern brainwashing of celebrity status by the mass and social media and their false, dishonest, artificial virtuality does not suffice.)

Why should we want significance, rather than merely wanting pleasure for ourselves - here-and-now?

Ultimately, because of love. If we love, we want a shared world - that is an objective reality.

Heaven is the situation in which there is significance, permanence, universality; and Heaven is a place of love - and only of those who love.

Those who do not love, do not want significance, reality, objectivity, permanence; those who do not love want perpetual pleasure - regardless of what happened in the past. Hell is a subjective world, a world where My subjectivity - because My pleasure - is primary.

By contrast; a world of relationships, like Heaven, must be objective; and to want objectivity is to want significance.

Tuesday 27 August 2019

England cricket - back in my heart again

Something I did not see - Stokes's Low key celebration of his century (100 runs) - he still needed another 35 runs

I was not enjoying much of this summer's Ashes Test series; because of the batting. England's current Test batting is probably the worst it has been in the history of the professional sport; while watching our (very good) bowlers utterly failing to get-out the Australian Steve Smith has been almost unbearable. Smith is probably the best batsman of the past half century; but is a nasty person, a cheat and horribly ugly to watch.

Yet on Sunday afternoon was one of the miraculous things of sport, when England were (as usual) heading inexorably towards another heavy and deserved defeat; and then this was almost single-handedly - and impossibly - turned to victory by the batting of Ben Stokes.

Expert judges of the game with decades of experience (eg. Geoffrey Boycott - a man not given to hyperbole, to put it mildly) called it the greatest innings they had ever seen; given the context (Ashes on the line), the superb quality of the Australian bowling, the sheer pressure...

I was very involved with the experience, and 'yet' - as with several of my favourite sporting events - I was listening on radio (Test Match Special). The visual events therefore happening in my imagination (of course I knew, from previous TV, what everybody looked like and how they played). And I could scarcely have enjoyed it more!

It's interesting, and probably significant; that apparently less is more, sometimes - maybe often. The absence of the visual apparently engaged the emotions more than if I could have seen it. Less passive and externally-manipulated; more active and free.

Monday 26 August 2019

Given the many and serious disadvantages; why become a Christian?

There are serious and up-front disadvantages to becoming a Christian here and now, in this place and time.

Being a Christian will get in the way of your sex life and sexuality, your career prospects; and your desire to attain high status and wield power.

That's a pretty comprehensive set of disadvantages!

So what do you get in return, as it were...

A Great Deal, is the answer.

You get meaning, truth and purpose.

You get sure and certain hope; in resurrected life everlasting.

You get significance in what you do in this life; your experiences and what you learn from them have permanent reality; that means your love is permanent, your creation (as it is conceived in your thought - not merely as implemented materially) is permanent.

Your life will have a reason; that means your specific actual life that you are in here-and-now; this will be known as something specifically For You; something from-which you can and should be getting the experiences that you personally most need; and that starts immediately and never stops.

Awareness of your own sin is painful - but is not all bad! It is all and completely fully repent-able, and the flip-side is to know that you have an essence of divinity, and this can (and should) be developed to greater and greater god-like-ness; again starting straight way.

So Christianity is not all doom, gloom and misery - far from it.

The actuality of Mere Christianity: the age of Christian individuals in friendship

The end of institutions has brought-down the churches, such that very few Christians can find co-religionists for friendship. But the other side of the coin is that when each serious Christian is a one-off, then denomination is no barrier to friendship, alliance, learning, encouragement...

We discover by lived experience that there really is a Mere Christianity, and it turns out to be theologically much more extensive than CS Lewis supposed - although in practice, Lewis found such valuable interaction with his anthroposophist friends Barfield and Harwood that they were made his literary executors.

Likewise, in practice, it seems that even the strictest and most loyal members of the most rigorous and tightly-defined churches do have mutually valuable and Christian interactions across a considerable range of doctrines and theologies - in revealed-preference to co-religionists.

In other words, in this era, as institutions become corrupted by materialism and bureaucracy; it is the specific person that matters most. Or, only a few individuals hold-out against the spiritual corruption and seek better, and each values other such people.

So, as in so many ways The Inklings were pioneers, and calling them The Oxford Christians was prescient rather than an over simplification. The seriousness of personal Christian engagement was far more important than differences in institutional affiliations.

My own Christian alliances and friendships are likewise very varied in terms of institutional affiliations and indeed metaphysical assumptions. It turns out that there are as many ways to be a real Christian as there are ways of being a fake, pseudo-Christian.

Sunday 25 August 2019

The death of institutional partisanship

This is the normal thing, or has been for hundreds, thousands of years. People are loyal to some institutions - nowadays a political party or ideology; at other times to a denominational church, a nation or town, a guild or trades union...

And they are against the others.

The underlying assumption of institutional partisanship is that we are well-motivated, they are not.

We make mistakes, they do bad things because it is their nature. We are overall good and tending to good; their flaws and sins made their evil inevitable.

And so on. But this attitudes has become impossible for some, and is becoming more so for more. It is a matter of honesty.

Whether because of the corruption of institutions, which is now so obvious as to be ignore-able only by self-blinding; or whether (as I think) because the development of human consciousness; the effect is that we can no longer regard institutions (not even churches) as well - or badly-motivated, but only specific people.

We used to naturally regard institutions as persons, capable of moral life, like human persons; now, we can't honestly make ourselves believe it. A bureaucracy cannot truly be regarded as a person! (Not even when it is a church.)

No longer can we ally in institutions, because we know we will be betrayed (or will betray). We can ally with individuals, and on the basis of what we discern of their hearts. But these allies will come from all over the place, will hold a variety of specific convictions.

Our friends will specifically be chosen on what we infer of their character, and not by virtue of membership.

Saturday 24 August 2019

Becoming more divine: Conscious, detached, distanced learning from experience

A new and core aspect of modernity is that we are required to become aware of that which it was (in earlier cultural phases) sufficient to be and do unconsciously.

We don't just need to learn implicitly (and to do what is right), but also to know explicitly what we learn (to be aware of what is right).

But why? One short answer is that we need this to grow towards divinity, because gods are explicitly aware of what they know; and need to be aware in order to create harmoniously.

A longer answer is that knowledge needs to become objective as well as subjective. Objectivity implies that knowledge is universal (the same for all who know, or at least there being the same ultimate basis for everyone's knowing - despite differences in capacity and personal biases).

And objectivity also implies that there is a detachment.

Detachment means (here) being outside a specific experience, such that we become clear about what is universal. Clarity is another name for consciousness, because with clarity the universal emerges from the particular - we apprehend that which we need to learn.

Because this is learning; for experience to become useful for the future, learning must extract the universal from multitude of unique, specific situations. This can be done without awareness, as happens in simple animals, and also in plants.

But we need clarity about what is universal to move towards divinity. It is no longer sufficient just to learn, we must also know consciously what we have-learned.

It is more-developed consciousness to know with clarity what we have learned, even when a person has learned less than (is a worse person than) one who knows only implicitly.

By close analogy, a child may be - usually is - more Good than an adult; nonetheless our task is to grow up (that is to develop not necessarily to fully-divine spiritual adulthood; but progress to that level destined by our eternal nature).

Note: The above is my re-expression of ideas from William Arkle.

Friday 23 August 2019

Messing About on the River, sung by Josh MacRae - five reasons why it's good

As featured on Children's Favourites/ Junior Choice BBC Radio Home Service in my childhood

1. The splish -- splosh -- water percussive accompaniment
2. The tune - Tony Hatch, one of the best
3. The lyrics (Les Reed) - well-turned, consistently interesting
4. The singing - relaxed, very pleasant
5. The mood and sentiment

Thursday 22 August 2019

Where does religion come from? Given that religion is necessary (but not sufficient) for the long term survival of humans

The history of human societies is consistent with an assertion that religion is necessary for long-term human survival.

Without a religion, humans go crazy (become incoherent about matters of basic common sense - look around you...) and they despair; strategically destroying their own societies; and on-average they grossly fail to reproduce even at the minimum replacement level.

Of course some religions 'work' better than others in any particular situation, they out-compete the others; but I want to focus on the fact that religion-as-such is necessary, and to ask: Where does religion come from?

A true but partial answer is that a religious perspective is built-into all healthy humans, and is present at least in young childhood - even if it is later suppressed or lost.  In other words, religion is innate; and atheism and materialism are acquired.

But why is religion innate? Why are we all born into the world with a spontaneously religious attitude - believing in all sorts of immaterial things like the soul, gods, life beyond death, the aliveness and consciousness of (what adults term) 'inanimate' objects etc. ?

One answer is that religion is a fortunate accident.

It 'just happened', for no purposive reason (maybe some undirected mutations that just happened to happen...); but religion is found in humans because if it were not found, then there would be no humans.

(As a negative thought experiment: those ancient humans that inherited an immunity to religion, did not leave behind as many offspring, so their genes became extinct - or something on those lines...)

This is a non-explanation, masquerading as an explanation; but some modern people are happy for things to be non-explained that way - and if so then that is an end of discussion.

Or else (if we actual require a real explanation) religion was Put There.

But what-by? Some kind of deity must be the answer; even if that deity is just 'the way things are in this universe'. Or it may be put-there by a personal god or gods.

Religion may be found because it is 'in-born' or because it is externally-communicated - or both.

If it is inborn; then we know about religion by knowing what is within us (by introspection, or intuition); although we will surely make mistakes about this knowledge due to our limited capacity and various biases (accounting for the variety of religions around the world and through time).

(And - for Christians - we all know inwardly about religion because we are children of God; we know about deity because there is deity within each of us.)

And/ or we may have religion communicated to us by revelation (by being told by the deity, one way or another) - or some variant of revelation, such as divination. Again the constraints will apply - we can only know as limited by our capacity and via our personal biases.

That seems to be the situation: everybody normal (non-pathological) is born with religion built-in by some combination of, or selection from, inborn-internal and revealed-external sources. Such 'generic' religion is necessary for the sustainable biological and psychological functioning of humans.

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Are there secular ideological 'substitutes' for religion? No, not Really

The main point about so-called substitutes for religion that are not actual religions, that that They Don't Work. That is, secular 'substitutes' for religion are not really substitutes; because they do not perform the same function.

After Christianity began to decline in The West, in the early 1800s, the first ideological substitutes included pacifism, abolition (i.e. of slavery), nationalism and socialism. Nowadays, when there are very few self-identified Christians (and even fewer real Christians) it is often said that ideologies such as feminism, antiracism, sexual subversion and revolution, and environmentalism (i.e. the spectrum of post-sixties New Left-ism) have become substitute religions; imposing increasingly elaborate and extensive rituals, and requiring frequent pious affirmations and ejaculations.

But although there are superficial similarities, modern ideologies are not genuine substitutes for religion because they are materialist and this-worldly; which means that their bottom line is merely the temporary and contingent state of human psychological gratification.

Because modern ideologies exclude God, gods, the spiritual world, the soul, existence beyond biological death and all the rest of it; ideologies do not provide any deep or lasting basis for human motivation.

Aside from family love; religion was the single most powerful long-term motivator of Men. The ability of religion to motivate powerfully was based upon its 'supernatural' aspects; and when these were discarded, so was the power to motivate.

Some of the secular ideologies in the first generation after real-religion was abandoned did retain a residual power to motivate; especially among those who were brought-up religiously. Strong motivation was (in effect) carried-over from the childhood religious environment.

For example the first generation of Soviet Communists included some highly motivated (and therefore self-sacrificing) individuals, with a religious level of devotion to the cause. But this rapidly faded as genuine atheism and materialism took a grip, and the later USSR suffered profound - indeed fatal - nihilism and despair.

The immediately post-Christian Nationalists were also sometimes highly motivated, to the level of great courage and personal self-sacrifice. But the example of German National Socialism shows that this seemed also to require a strongly mystical and supernaturalist quality. In other words, an element of real religion.

In sum; at a personal level, then, there is no ideological substitute for real religion. Confirmation is that the absence of a real religion is invariably associated with significant sub-fertility (i.e. average fertility rate significantly less than two children per woman).

Self-chosen extinction is the ultimate evidence for grossly deficient motivation at the population level.

In a social sense, the Mass Media has become the main substitute religion, in terms of being the centre of general social attention.

For all known historical societies; 'religion' (broadly defined, but always 'supernaturalist') was the primary agent of social cohesion. These were the beliefs and practices that united societies. Nowadays, the nearest equivalent are the Mass (and social) Media; that provide the common subject matter and perspectives of conversations and policies.

So, the Mass Media construct and shape reality for modern societies in a broadly similar way that religions used to.Are they then the new religion?

No, because there is a fundamental and decisive difference; which is that religions are cohesive, while the modern Mass Media are fissile. Modern Mass Media are negative, not positive; they are against, not for.

Of course the Mass Media are chaotic, multi-perspectival and self-contradicting at the micro-level; but overall and in the long-term they are organised by hostility to The Good and to God; by their subversion, destruction and inversion of all that was held true, beautiful and virtuous; by their erosion of all taboos and exclusions.

In other words, (real) religions hold things together; while the Media breaks things apart.

So there is no substitute for religion; but only partial and superficially-similar analogies to religion. Some aspects of real religion can be substituted by secular alternatives, but not all; and not the most important.

The socially-visible defect of the modern ideologies and Media is that they fail to provide motivation and fail to provide positive grounds for cohesion. Thus we get societies of demotivated and isolated, increasingly mutually-hostile, individuals.

It is therefore misleading to talk about substitutes for religion. The stark fact is that there is no substitute for religion, and it is lack of religion - specifically Christianity - that is the prime cause of our condition.

If ever we want The West to become motivated and positively purposeful, and to sustain itself rather than committing slow-suicide; there must first be religion.

Tuesday 20 August 2019

Is it 'irresponsible' for the government and mass media deliberately to whip-up hatred, fear and resentment?

No, irresponsible is the wrong concept; because the Establishment are not strategically aiming at building and sustaining a stable and prosperous society - but the reverse.

They really are evil, and they really do have an evil plan - a plan to destroy or invert all that is Good: so whipping-up hatred, fear and resentment about class, race, sexuality, the environment etc etc is exactly what They exist to do.

What do you think of (what has become of) Environmentalism?

William Wildblood discusses the subject, and several people (including myself and John Fitz)  weigh-in with comments.

I find the environmental 'movement' over the past 50 years to be a valuable case history of the manner in which good is corrupted and turned to evil in a secular and hedonic society - its particular value for me is that I have been something of an insider.

Nowadays, environmentalism is about as thoroughly corrupted and turned to evil as any political movement ever has been; as bad as communism (which it much resembles).

To me (having seen the whole thing unfold, knowing that the Global Establishment is behind it) this is a No-Brainer - but the fact that so many people continue to take environmentalism seriously as a force for good; simply emphasises the large and widening gulf between my perspective and the mainstream.

Accelerating censorship and suppression of free speech

In the past year or so, the genial and articulate conspiracy theory expert Andy Thomas has become a correspondent; and yesterday he posted a video of a recent presentation he made about the currently rapidly accelerating censorship; especially of his field; which is faced with total elimination from the public arena (including being unable to hire large rooms for private meetings).

(Note: Andy speaks from a broadly mainstream small-l-leftist and non-Christian perspective; my own views are much more hard-line, and are religiously-derived.) 

If you want the facts about what is happening, then watch Andy's presentation, or read Vox Day's blog. It is happening; and we already live in a very different - and much less free - world, than that of three years ago.

As a strategy for implementing the totalitarian agenda, the acceleration of censorship seems to be working very well; because many people and organisations approve (including all of the most rich, powerful and influential ones); most people barely notice or deny that it is happening; and of those who are concerned, extremely few care enough to do anything of any kind.

I still believe that 2016 was a window of possibility for a spiritual awakening, an increased chance of Romantic Christianity beginning to take-hold; but this possibility was only a window, and it is now being slammed-shut.

Because censorship is a second-order issue, which is why hardly anybody cares about it. There has never been much positive support for free speech, or for freedom, among those who disagree with what is being proposed.

Perhaps only among scientists, for a few generations from the late 19th century to the middle 20th century, was there a genuine ethic of free speech; and that attitude was incrementally crushed and extinguished from the middle 1960s with the advent of the New Left.

Censorship or its opposite are second-order because they are means to an end; and our society is indifferent to censorship because it has no 'end', no purpose, no meaning. By default, the Global Establishment and their minions (who are - by contrast - working towards a goal) are therefore able to use censorship as part of controlling public discourse to advance their agenda of evil.

So long as there is no agenda for Good - i.e. no religion in The West; the agenda of evil will inevitably win - since it has a purpose (albeit a negative purpose: i.e. the destruction of Good).

So our concern should not be with censorship as such, since that is just a symptom, a means to evil ends. We can and will do nothing substantive until After we have reason to oppose evil; that is, until After we have an agenda for Good.

Our basic situation is therefore unchanged from 2016 - we must have a spiritual awakening, and it must come first.

Note: Since England has Not had a spiritual awakening; even if Brexit does happen later this year (which is uncertain), it will not do England any good overall. Despite being A Good Thing in itself; Brexit will, in other words, inevitably be turned to evil ends. Because motivation is primary, and motivation will out. Any change that is made from wrong motivations (and there are no other motivations in current public discourse - only wrong ones) will surely turn-out wrong. 

Monday 19 August 2019

Christian evangelism - Why double-negative Christianity has failed, and Fourth Gospel positivity should be deployed

The Fourth Gospel is based on the positive and enhancing gift from Jesus of Life Everlasting in Heaven, with everyone who chooses likewise; offered to all those who love, trust, believe-in and follow Jesus.

(And therefore, naturally, live accordingly.)

But because of the historical ignoring or subordination of the Fourth Gospel, and doctrines and practices based on the Synoptic Gospels, the Epistles and other parts of the Bible, or church authority, or tradition, or philosophy... for most of its history nearly all of Christian evangelism has been based on a double-negative strategy.

The double-negative strategy is to state that Christianity will save Men from something horrible.

So, without Christianity Men face negatives such as fear of Hell, extinction, misery, futility, guilt; and the message is that Jesus came to save us from these negatives.

But this no longer works in the modern world because our culture is psychological, and the negatives are regarded as psychological symptoms. So the negatives of life (fear, despair, guilt etc) are seen as emotional states; and the strategy for dealing-with them is this-worldly therapeutic.

Modern culture offers to 'save' us from such emotional states (either now or in the future) by essentially technological means such as politics, sex, drugs and distractions. If we are afraid, we take a tranquilliser; if we are miserable we take an antidepressant or get drunk, if we feel guilty we take our minds off the problem by immersion in mass and social media... etc.

However, if (like me) you regard the Fourth Gospel as the heart and true message of Christianity; then Christians can offer something that the secular culture has completely failed to address; which is an escape from  nihilism, despair and alienation; or, to put it positively - the provision of meaning, purpose and hope.

And the message and lesson is simple: If you want this - life eternal, as divine beings participating in God's creation - then You Can Have It.

(But... To have it You Must Really Want It.)

Eternal Life does not come to everybody, because we are free agents and Heaven is the kind of condition must actively be chosen; and most modern people (apparently) don't want it and reject it.

You must want Heaven more than anything else.

And that's all.

(But for most people, that is way too much...)

Ingwaz is the essence of Romantic Christianity

The word Ingwaz seems a useful term, that I invented a few years ago, but haven't much used for emphasising that Romanticism is not a static-state of things; but a be-ing, a develop-ing, a perpetual becom-ing.

Ingwaz could be translated as 'process', or that word used instead - but I find that word to be too abstract and to have too many misleading connotations derived from physics. (Also there have been and are 'process theologies of Christianity that are Not what I mean.)

To be a Romantic is to engage in Ingway with respect to reality; that is, one rejects the objective and systematic account of external reality as primary; and begins the business of 're-imagining' it in personal experience.

But Ingwaz is not a means to an end but the end in itself; it does not aim at any final point because it is the participation in divine creation; and creation has no end. So, when applied to Christianity, Ingwaz is the grappling with given aspects - such as scripture, doctrine, creeds, institutions, morals; in order to appropriate them to the distinctive, here-and-now, living individual experience of the Christian.

To be Good, Ingwaz must - of course- be well-motivated; in brief it must be motivated by the desire for truth, beauty and virtue. It must Not, therefore, be motivated by (for example) the desire to adapt Christianity to one's own sexual or political desires, or to the desire for power or pleasure.

But this means that it is an error to look for any fixed and final statement from Ingwaz. It is to be judged on whether the practitioner is succeeding in vitalizing Christianity - firstly in himself, secondly in the reader or onlooker. 

This can be illustrated with poetry. For example William Blake in his Marriage of Heaven and Hell is engaged in Ingwaz. e.g.

In seed-time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.
Drive your cart and your plough over the bones of the dead.
The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.
Prudence is a rich ugly old maid courted by Incapacity.
He who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence.

The cut worm forgives the plough.
Dip him in the river who loves water.
A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.
He whose face gives no light shall never become a star.

Eternity is in love with the productions of time.
The busy bee has no time for sorrow.
The hours of folly are measured by the clock, but of wisdom no clock can measure.
All wholesome food is caught without a net or a trap.
Bring out number, weight, and measure in a year of dearth.

No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.
A dead body revenges not injuries.
The most sublime act is to set another before you.
If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.
Folly is the cloak of knavery.
Shame is Pride’s cloak.

Blake is engaged in an argument with himself, is hammering out partial statements from inner insights. He is making Christianity live for himself as he composes, for us as we read (assuming we are able to appreciate his work).

So long as we are satisfied with Blake's intent; to then extract dogmatic statements from Blake, and to evaluate him in terms of Christian orthodoxy is both crazy and ultimately self-destructive of real Christianity.

By my understanding, such attitudes from Christians have been a partial but significant cause of the demise of Christianity in the West; since they drive-out net-well-motivated creative Christians, often and tempt them into apostasy. 

If we take Ingwaz as a correct description of Romanticism, we can find Romantic Christianity in some unlikely places; such as the early poetry of the Scottish poet Hugh MacDiarmid - who is better known as a highly political and materialist writer, a Communist and Scottish Nationalist who advocated permanent revolution; and who said many hostile things against Christianity generally, and specifically the Scottish Free Kirk brand of his upbringing.

But in his first three volumes of Scots language lyrics of 1925-7 - Sangshaw, Penny Wheep and the epic A Drunk Man looks at the Thistle; which contain by-far his best work - MacD engages in Ingwaz applied to Christianity in most of the most powerful poems and sections.

In a little-known longer-poem from Sangshaw; MacDiarmid engages in an extraordinary, beautiful and inspiring 'cosmic' exploration of God, death and creation. I lack the patience to type in the whole poem, but here are a few stanzas (I've translated a few key words in [square brackets]:

I was as blithe to be alive [happy]
As ony man could be, 
And felt as gin the haill braid warl' [whole broad world]
Were made yince-yirn for me. [especially]

I wot I kept my senses keen, 
I wot I used them weel. 
As God felt when he made the warl'
I aye socht to feel. ...

O I wist it was a bonny warl'
That lies forenenst a' men, [over against all]
But it's naething but a shaddaw-show
To the warl' that I saw then. ...

Wae's me that thocht I kent the warl' [knew]
Wae's me that made a God, 
My senses five and their millions mair
Were like bones beneauth a sod. 

For the world is like a flourishing tree, 
And God is like the sun; 
But they or I to either lie, 
Like deid folk in the grun'. [dead, ground]

There are all kinds of ways that this poem could be criticised from an orthodox Christian position, not least for collapsing the distinction between God's creation and that of a man; the world especially made for the poet; the general pantheistic feel etc. It might be assumed that the 'shadow show' reference was a positive statement of Platonism. The idea that Heaven and Hell are (merely) perspectives on mortal life is also put forward...

Well, this is the crux of what confronts us, here and now and for the past two centuries plus.

Are we to take our deepest convictions from outside, from that dead materialist external world which is what modern Man experiences outside of his own subjectivity? Or are we to make a new synthesis of inner and outer, each for himself, from our own thinking and based on intuition (that is, God within each of us - present because we are his literal children)?

If we are to live by experience in the real world that is God's creation; I believe that we need to engage in Ingwaz, as applied to all aspects of Christianity that we personally find essential; in sequence, perpetually.

Sadly, MacDiarmid was corrupted away from this, by his radicalism and the usual modern combination of sexual and political revolution. The reason was probably that his motives had always been too mixed, and various temptations were too much to resist and were not repented.

McD discarded Christianity as conflicting with sex (and alcoholic intoxication and continual cultural conflict, advocated as sources of vitality) and Communism (advocated on the basis of Lenin and Stalin being more realistic saviours than Christ); and embraced earthly and mortal utopianism as a goal... while simultaneously (paradoxically) asserting that ultimately things would never become any better... while continuing to assert a kind of anti-rational mysticism, but one that was metaphysically without foundation. 

Well, such is life. But there are several artists, writers, philosophers and other culturally creative persons who went through a phase of Romantic Christianity en route to becoming (usually) mainstream materialist Leftists of one or another flavour. JK Rowling is perhaps the best current example.

Yet, their work is available for us to benefit from, if we wish.

The philosophical genius of Rudolf Steiner

I have held-off writing about Steiner's The Riddles of Philosophy, because I have not finished reading it; I have spent a couple of years on the job, so far.

Whether I ever get through it entirely, I can't say - this is a work of such density as well as scope. It is a history of philosophy from its beginnings, and not just describing the stages and phases of philosophical development, but making it so the reader can experience them for himself.

I have been reading philosophy, off and on, for more than forty years; and I have never experiened anything approaching this book as an interpretative work. Steiner truly seems to have mastered the great philosophers; in the sense of having serially re-lived the essence of their work in the thought-context of their times.

Of course, this entails taking a very particular perspective on the history of philosophy - one which sees philosophical development as emanating from the (divinely-destined) psychological-spiritual development of Men through the ages of the world.

...Yet this perspective is one with which few will agree, as things stand. Nonetheless, the quality of the results serve as an indirect validation of Steiner's assumptions.

Excerpt from The Riddles of Philosophy -- Chapter 5: The World Conceptions of the Modern Age of Thought Evolution ; or you can listen to the chapter, and whole book, being read by Dale Brunsvold.

A world conception has to be expressed in thoughts. But the convincing strength of thought, which had found its climax in Platonism and which in Aristotelianism unfolded in an unquestioned way, had vanished from the impulses of man's soul. Only the spiritually bold nature of Spinoza was capable of deriving the energy from the mathematical mode of thinking to elaborate thought into a world conception that should point as far as the ground of the world.

The thinkers of the eighteenth century could not yet feel the life-energy of thought that allows them to experience themselves as human beings securely placed into a spiritually real world. Lessing stands among them as a prophet in feeling the force of the self-conscious ego in such a way that he attributes to the soul the transition through repeated terrestrial lives.

The fact that thought no longer entered the field of consciousness as it did for Plato was unconsciously felt like a nightmare in questions of world conceptions. For Plato, it manifested itself with its supporting energy and its saturated content as an active entity of the world.

Now, thought was felt as emerging from the substrata of self-consciousness. One was aware of the necessity to supply it with supporting strength through whatever powers one could summon. 

Time and again this supporting energy was looked for in the truth of belief or in the depth of the heart, forces that were considered to be stronger than thought, which was felt to be pale and abstract. 

This is what many souls continually experience with respect to thought. They feel it as a mere soul content out of which they are incapable of deriving the energy that could grant them the necessary security to be found in the knowledge that man may know himself rooted with his being in the spiritual ground of the world.

Such souls are impressed with the logical nature of thought; they recognize such thought as a force that would be needed to construct a scientific world view, but they demand a force that has a stronger effect on them when they look for a world conception embracing the highest knowledge.

Such souls lack the spiritual boldness of Spinoza needed to feel thought as the source of world creation, and thus to know themselves with thought at the world's foundation. As a result of this soul constitution, man often scorns thought while he constructs a world conception; he therefore feels his self-consciousness more securely supported in the darkness of the forces of feeling and emotion. There are people to whom a conception appears the less valuable for its relation to the riddles of the world, the more this conception tends to leave the darkness of the emotional sphere and enter into the light of thought.

We find such a mood of soul in I. G. Hamann (died 1788). He was, like many a personality of this kind, a great stimulator, but with a genius like Hamann, ideas brought up from the dark depths of the soul have a more intense effect on others than thoughts expressed in rational form. In the tone of the oracles Hamann expressed himself on questions that fill the philosophical life of his time. 

He had a stimulating effect on Herder as on others. A mystic feeling, often of a poetistic coloring, pervades his oracular sayings. The urge of the time is manifested chaotically in them for an experience of a force of the self-conscious soul that can serve as supporting nucleus for everything that man means to lift into awareness about world and life.

It is characteristic of this age for its representative spirits to feel that one must submerge into the depth of the soul to find the point in which the soul is linked up with the eternal ground of the world; out of the insight into this connection, out of the source of self-consciousness, one must gain a world picture. 

A considerable gap exists, however, between what man actually was able to embrace with his spiritual energies and this inner root of the self-consciousness. 

In their spiritual exertion, the representative spirits do not penetrate to the point from which they dimly feel their task originates. They go in circles, as it were, around the cause of their world riddle without coming nearer to it...

Carl Spitzweg - Painter (1808-1885)

I stumbled across this charming and amusing painter's work; he seems to be the German Norman Rockwell.

Friday 16 August 2019

Modern culture isn't "polarised" - but the opposite!

People are always saying that our culture is increasingly 'polarised', in the sense of there being a gulf of attitude, incomprehension and mutual aggression between - say - those pro-and against Brexit, Trump or Mass Immigration...

But this is merely a squabble between Tweedledum and Tweedledummer about what to eat for dinner. In a more rigorous and fundamental sense, our culture is narrower in views and more homogeneous in opinion than ever before.

What They really mean by 'polarisation' is that there are still a handful of people who dissent from the totalitarian bureaucratic Leftist agenda.

Everybody is materialist and anti-Christian (including most of those who regard themselves as spiritual or Christians).

Everybody is in favour of a utilitarian morality; in which the bottom-line rationale of all social policy is increasing the short-term happiness of (some) people between birth and biological death.

Everybody is in favour of the sexual revolution in at least one of its major components. While there is some mild dispute about the reality of claims that people can and should 'change sex'; there is a massive majority that favour sex outside marriage and easy divorce. Everybody supports the vast and interlocking mass of laws, regulations and public attitudes that systematically override and subvert marriage and family.

By 'everybody' I mean that those who genuinely dissent are a tiny minority of powerless, silent, ignored or vilified individuals.

When it comes to supporting actively-evil insanity over the long-term and universally; we are surely the least polarised society in human history.

Was is Ritual for? Spiritually, and psychologically?

Ritual is about getting contact with the divine, especially when otherwise contact would not occur.

The great age of ritual was the long 'agrarian' period (after the invention of agriculture) - that period of increasing government and formal structures. The agrarian phase came between the original, fluidly and spontaneously organised 'hunter gatherer' type societies where people lived immersed-in spirit and in constant contact-with the gods; and 'modernity' where most people never experience the spirit world, and deny the reality of gods.

To put it another way - ritual is associated with priests; and priests are essential for contact with the  divine. The earliest societies did not need priests although their 'shamans' were useful. And in the modern period priests have dwindled to 'a job' - and been replaced by journalists, public relations specialists and similar commissars and ideologues.

Ritual formed a channel between the individual and the divine.

Without ritual there was no channel, and many or most people could not experience the divine.

Nowadays we think of this subjectively, in terms of psychology; e.g. that ritual trains concentration, and focuses attention, creates a particular and receptive state of mind. But originally, ritual was objective.

Done correctly - and by real priests, ritual changed the world.

As a general observation, it seems that in modernity and increasingly; ritual has lost its effect. Subjectively, people are alienated, cut-off and isolated from the divine and therefore from each other; they no longer experience concentration, focus, receptivity in response to ritual.

Much more importantly, ritual no longer opens an objective channel to divinity. Human consciousness has changed, developed; such that there is no spontaneous link to the divine and ritual is ineffectual.

In sum: we cannot passively experience the divine. To experience God and the spirit world is nowadays an active, purposive choice.

Therefore, as we develop from childhood, we moderns lose our original and spontaneous immersion in the divine; but ritual can no longer serve to keep us in contact with the divine - so most people are cut-off from spontaneous experience of the divine.

And people do not make the attempt actively to choose to re-establish contact; either because they think the divine is non-existent, the task impossible, or else they do not know how and cannot recognise contact when it happens.

Indeed, after a failed attempt at people living by personal ritual (from - say - the middle 1950s to the 1990s); ritual has nowadays becomes primarily evil and satanic in its purpose and effect.

It seems that the Global Establishment continue to deploy ritual (and associated symbolism) as initiations and to enforce loyalty. For the masses; major public events deploy media-peer pressure, crowd-effects, music, sound, intoxication - both to manipulate ritual participants to the desired hedonic and nihilistic materialist world view; and to appease guilt by orgies of mutual virtue signalling (e.g relating to 'charities', awareness, celebration, protest, mourning and other supposedly-good causes). 

However, as I have often argued on this blog, it is the contention of Romantic Christianity that there are truly-Good post-ritual, post-priest-mediated; chosen and individual-led ways that the modern individual can and should resume contact with the divine: specifically with God and the spirit world.

And, although these ways are done by the individual (and the individual must be responsible for them) - by reconnecting with the divine, they also re-open the doors to other people (living and dead) in a directly-experienced and un-mediated way.

The past is impossible and regressive, the present is intolerable (and 'progress' based in materialist modernity is purposively-evil); therefore we should turn our effort and attention to the future.

Thursday 15 August 2019

Freemasonry - Good, bad or what?

A few days ago I read this analysis of the history of Freemasonry by the always interesting, often wise, Rudolf Steiner expert Terry Boardman.

I don't have any very strong views on the subject. When I was a young man, I had a generally benign view of Masons on the basis that I regard Mozart's The Magic Flute as the greatest opera ever written - and that was all about Masonry. eg. from 41 minutes:

I think some of my more remote relatives in Northern Ireland were Masons (and were very decent people), and I had liked the reconstructed Masonic Lodge at nearby Beamish Museum. The Mormon prophet Joseph Smith was a Mason, and introduced elements of it into the LDS Temple design and practices.

Broadly, I regarded Masonry as a charitable organisation where respectable men could meet and do men's things, and perhaps also get something of the spirituality, ritual and symbolism that they were so starved of by mainstream secular-materialism. 

Masonic Hall at Beamish, County Durham

On the other hand, I was aware that people said Masons favoured each other, in local cabals of middle class men; and then from the 1980s, that there were also elaborate deep-historical theories about Masonic influence at a very high level - these are the subject of Terry Boardman's essay linked above.

My current view is that probably all of the above is true; and that the meaning of Masonry depends very much on local and temporal factors which may be net-good or net-evil; but I also believe that that there is an esoteric and occult aspect to high level Masonry that is purposively malign (from a Christian perspective).

Masonry is about Enlightenment - especially its 18th century manifestation - which is deistic (rather than theistic); and opinions about Masonry often divide according to whether Enlightenment is seen as a good or bad thing. A litmus test is the French Revolution - and was it well, or wickedly, motivated - for the Western intellectual class, the French Revolution was well-motivated but unfortunately went off the rails: too far too fast. The same people think much the same about the Russian and Chinese communists revolutions.

For mainstream secular intellectuals, Enlightenment was all about 'reason'; and reason was to be defined and implemented by an elite of wise and educated rulers. Masonry seems to fit with that world view. Apparently, the ritual and symbolism, the secretiveness, the oaths etc. seem to add something that is still needed, even among those who profess to live by reason - and apparently the same sort of thing continues today among the Global Establishment - albeit with a much more explicitly evil aspect to the procedures.

(In a nutshell; the trajectory of the Enlightenment project seems to have been from 'Magic Flute' to 'friends of Epstein...')

In essence, I suspect that Masonry may have long included a core strand that was intentionally anti-Christian, and pro-totalitarian. What I am unsure about is whether this badness comes from the Masonry, or whether the rich and powerful corrupted Masonry with their agenda, in the way that they corrupt everything thing else.

All major modern institutions have, by now, been thus corrupted: the legal system, civil service, universities, science, mainstream 'Christian' churches... all began as having much good about them; all nowadays are top-down net-evil in intention and in effect.

Presumably Masonry is similar; although it may have been one of the first institutions to be thus corrupted - leading to its mixed reputation.

Note: I draw potential commenters attention to the rule in the sidebar: "If my post avoids being specific, I generally will not post comments that are specific."

Wednesday 14 August 2019

Reform or collapse: Does it matter what people say (or write) or what they do?

A detailed comment from 'whitestone' yesterday suggested that we are currently seeing the beginnings of an awakening from the sleep of materialistic Leftism - although I'm not sure whether he meant a Christian revival or (merely) a backlash against the long term trend towards Leftism.

I quite often get comments or correspondence saying that I am too pessimistic, and that there are signs of change. They've been wrong so far, but maybe they will be right now, or soon? After all, if change ever happened (they say) it would probably (?) happen in small ways at first; detectable by someone on the lookout. Right?

In general, I don't take much notice of what people say, only what they do. Some things that people say are significant enough to count as actions, but most are not. Most people do not take seriously what they say, do not feel bound by previous utterances - regard statement as merely a temporary expedient tactic en route to some other, quite different purpose.

Then again, even actions may be so regarded - and can effectively be deniable and denied; especially with the help of mass media framing. It is pretty easy to reverse the perceived meaning of actions.

So maybe neither words nor actions are of much significance. So, what am I looking-for? What would I regard as a significant change of tide?

The answer is that any genuine change of direction would be very obvious indeed, happening on a timescale of days.

Yes, astute observers might see signs a few days earlier than everybody else; but if the great steamroller of the evil agenda really was shuddering to a halt and then reversing - or if a new impulse had arisen in the souls of Men, and they began to live on a different (and religious) basis; this would not be something we would need to go looking-for...

The reaction of the Global Establishment would be Absolutely Massive, far beyond anything we have ever seen. All the major social institutions would be activated - because they are all led by secular Leftists who have subscribed to the agenda of evil.

We would see large and impossible to ignore reactions from the mass media, in state propaganda systems; from our employers, schools, and major corporations - and the mainstream Christian churches.

All Hell would (literally) Break Loose.

Change would, in other words, be rapid or not at all. This I regard as a property of large complex systems; and our virtuality - the single, globally linked bureaucracy - is a very large and very complex system.

It is, I believe, a property of large and complex systems that they are effective at maintaining themselves against many kinds of small scale threats. They simply 'heal over' the damage from a multitude of manageable problems and pathologies - as does the human body.

But when there is System Failure (which is what we are talking about) there is a very rapid and accelerating (positive feedback) domino-effect; by which failure in one part causes failure in others - rather like overwhelming septicaemia.

If the global bureaucracy of virtuality is stressed beyond its capacity to heal; the system will collapse very rapidly indeed; with change spreading out like a worldwide, accelerating and growing tsunami. It will affect everybody on the planet.

Nothing on the scale will have been seen in history, because there are now seven billion people plus - whereas for most of history there was max one billion; often a lot less. The whole world is linked and interdependent now; whereas in the past it was divided into self-sufficient segments.

In the past you could (and people, diseases and starvation did) wipe-out any segment - town, region, nation, continent - and the others would continue all-but untroubled.

(Old societies were more like a tree; which can lose branches, roots, half the trunk - indeed almost everything can be destroyed; and yet the tree may regrow from what remains.)

Now, everybody depends on everybody else; every system is specialised - none can survive alone, coordination is essential.

Small percentage losses are worked around; but when the System is stressed too much; with too great or too many failures - the whole System will collapse and die. 

That is what reversing Leftism would be like; or else Leftism would not really be reversed, but would simply heal and recommence its previous growth (as happened so many times in the past).

Tuesday 13 August 2019

The stupid meme that Leftists are the New Puritans

I think it was perhaps Mencius Moldbug who originated the stupid idea - which I have seen repeated in hundreds of different versions - that the current, mainstream, politically correct Left are puritans.

Of course there is a grain of truth, else the idea would have gone nowhere. The grain is that New Left is a descendant of the New England Puritans who emigrated from (mostly) East Anglia, became the Boston Brahmins, founded Harvard etc.

And this class, via various mutations including the Transcendentalists and their circle of radicals Unitarians, abolitionists, feminists etc) evolved into the post Civil War US ruling class; who were the fount of post-middle-1960s New Leftism.

OK. But to call the New Left puritans is something only a non-Christian could do, for at least two very obvious reasons.

1. A puritan is very religiously Christian, and believes that this should permeate every aspect of social and personal life.

2. A puritan advocates that sex be confined to (a single, permanent) marriage. In other words, a puritan rejects the entirety of the post-sixties sexual revolution.

Since Leftists are not Christian, and since they are (in theory and in practice) sexual revolutionaries; the idea that Leftists are puritans is wrong. 

The fact that so many supposedly 'Right wing' anti-political correctness commenters accuse Leftists of being puritans, simply shows that those who make the accusation are themselves not Christian and are pro-sexual revolution. In other words, to accuse Leftists of puritanism is itself evidence of Leftism! 

Such an accusation could only come from someone who does not take real religion seriously, and who regards sex and sexuality as trivial

In other words, the accusation that Leftists are puritans could only come from a Leftist. 

A Leftist can concisely be defined as anyone who is not primarily religious, as a principle of social organisation Or, a Leftist is anyone who puts forward any this-worldly principle (happiness, equality, justice, freedom, prosperity, minimisation of suffering, law and order, science...) as the primary goal of social organisation.

And the easiest sign of a Leftist is: someone who is in-favour-of the sexual revolution. 

Note: At least in the USA; the use of 'puritan' as a term of insult seems to have been popularised among the intellectual elite from the socialist, pro-communist left of the early 20th century; such as Van Wyck Brooks's influential 'Wine of the Puritans' of 1908. 

Monday 12 August 2019

How to pray by writing

At his Steeple Tea blog, SK Orr shares his experiences of praying - and suggests a method of actively-writing prayers that he has devised and found effective. Some readers here may also find it helpful; so why not take a look?

There is no such thing as a traditional Western society (at least, not for hundreds of years)

What I was looking-for was a system that was stable, self-sustaining, and self-defending - generation after generation. What I found was never this.

When I became a Christian, I was profoundly aware that this state of permanent revolution was not 'progress' but instability and destruction - and it could only end in collapse. So I began to look for a prior point of stability (and goodness) that we might realistically aspire to return to. But the more closely I looked, the more I realised that there was no such point.

The Roman Catholic church seems superficially to be a candidate; but in reality the history of the church has been one of continual and radical change - generation upon generation. A particularly striking example of this was that Thomas Aquinas produced the greatest-ever synthesis of philosophy, done in support of Scholastic theology - yet just a generation afterwards, it began to be picked apart by Duns Scotus, Occam and the like.

Eastern Orthodoxy claimed to be a much more tradition-orientated type of Christianity; yet again this was superficial. In the history of the Eastern Roman Empire, there was crisis after crisis of theology and practice; and the same applied to Holy Russia.

The same applied elsewhere. Indeed the insight originally came to me while writing a book about Medical Education (The Making of a Doctor, 1992). That was when I first became aware of the fact that there never had been - for two generations consecutively - a traditional system of Medical Education. As soon as the modern concept of a doctor began to be defined in the middle 1800s, the system was always changing. Specifically, every generation of doctors had a significantly different educational system than the previous one. And the same applied to medical health services.

I later noticed that exactly the same applied to science - and wrote about it in Not Even Trying (2012) - as soon as there was the job of 'A Scientist'' the system of training, and the lived professional experience, of a scientist began changing such that each generation was different from the previous one - there was continual specialisation, expansion, extension of the training, increased size of 'teams'. There was orientation towards publication numbers as a measure of professional success, then 'impact', then a primary focus on grants. And so on.

My conclusion is that - at least in recorded history (and perhaps it is linked to social conditions leading to the the record-ing of history) there has never been a stable system; there had never been a Tradition in the sense I sought - and so many other people have sought.

Tradition is an illusion - produced partly by our own, uni-generational, experience as a norm; and partly by the assumption that it is how things work. Our method of analysis and explanation is one that is cross-sectional, and with a built-in assumption of stability.

This, I think, is one of the reasons why - in practice - it never happens that a society 're-sets' to an earlier stage; even when it acknowledged that later states are worse and earlier was better. It would only be possible to re-set if there was a stable system - but if the system had always been in a permanent state of transition, with all its component causes changing - then of course a re-set is impossible.

This is an important lesson for Christians. In most ways, past societies were more Christian than the present; and modernity (especially since the Industrial Revolution, but arguably since the Great Schism, Renaissance or Reformation - according to taste) there has been a zig-zag but progressive decline in Christianity in the West. And no system has lasted more than a normal human lifetime.

Yet we cannot go back to a traditional past, because it Never Was - the past was always fundamentally unstable. It is not just that we cannot undo what has been done, cannot put the genie back in the bottle - and of course most people do not believe (as I do) in an historical change and development of human consciousness...

But aside from those reasons, there is also this reality of generation upon generational change, such that 'tradition' is a moving-target, a dynamic and unstable flux, as impossible to grasp as a barrel of eels.

My point is that answers to the question "where should we go from here?" cannot include 'backwards'.

We can and should learn from aspects of the past, and can reintroduce practices from the past; but only piecemeal, and the later context will make them work differently. To re-emphasise; we cannot return to any earlier 'set-point'.

I personally have found this helpfully clarifying. History does Not repeat itself (except partially or superficially). There may Have-been cycles, but that doesn't mean that there Will-Be cycles.

Anything that is possible will start from here; and whatever happens will be unprecedented.

Those are the framing constraints on speculation and action; and apply to all alternative futures.

Sunday 11 August 2019

The Good Shepherd - the centre of the Fourth Gospel

The extended section when Jesus speaks of the Good Shepherd* comes halfway through the Fourth Gospel, and probably constitutes the heart of its teaching.

Here Jesus seems to be telling us the 'mechanism' by which he, personally, is offering us life everlasting; here he tells us by a long metaphor-parable just how-it-works.

It is about the Good Shepherd (and no other) saving his sheep from being killed; and we know from the rest of the Gospel that this means saving Man from death, by enabling resurrected life eternal in Heaven. The Good Shepherd leads his sheep through death to Heaven.

We hear about the two-sidedness of salvation: 'I know my sheep and are known of mine'. The Good Shepherd seeks us out, and we each recognise him.

On the one hand, fake shepherds (the hireling) cannot save. On the other hand, those who do not 'know' (believe-in, love, trust, have-faith-in) Jesus will not be saved.

What is led? The soul, after death. But why does it need to be led - why can't it find its own way to salvation? Because after death the soul becomes 'helpless', lacks agency - like a young child, a ghost, a sheep.

If unable to help itself, how then can the soul follow Jesus? Because - like a young child, or sheep - the dead soul still can recognise and love; and 'follow'.

Where does this happen? In the 'underworld'. Without Jesus, the disembodied, ghostly, demented dead souls wander like lost sheep - as described in pre-Christian accounts such as Hades of the Greeks, or Sheol of the Ancient Hebrews.  

But how does Jesus save the dead souls? Everybody has known Jesus as spirits in the premortal world, so everybody can recognise him in the underworld; but only those who love Jesus will want to follow him.

So loving dead souls are the sheep that can recognise Jesus: the Good Shepherd, they can follow Jesus, and Jesus can lead them to Resurrected Life Everlasting. 

Note: Souls that do not love Jesus will recognise him, but will not want to follow him. There are significant nuances to this, relating to love of 'neighbour' and the desires of individual souls; but that is the basic model. 

Further note: This seems to be very hard for moderns to grasp; they seem to think that Jesus ought-to save people even when they don't want it - should compel people to Heaven because that is what is good for them - and if Jesus does not do this, then he is wicked. 

But this attitude is totalitarian - based on the secular ideology of utilitarianism so beloved by the modern Establishment - who like to believe that (being wiser, cleverer and more virtuous people than the masses) they are 'managing' the world, 'for their own good'. 

But Christianity is based around the creative freedom and agency of each individual person. This means that nobody can be saved against their will; each individual can, if he wills, defy the wishes of God. Whether you regard this a a good thing (I do) it is a fact of post-mortal life - Heaven must be chosen. 

*John.10 [1] Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. [2] But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. [3] To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. [4] And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. [5] And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. [6] This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. [7] Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. [8] All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. [9] I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. [10] The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. [11] I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. [12] But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. [13] The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. [14] I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. [15] As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. [16] And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. [17] Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. [18] No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. [19] There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. [20] And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? [21] Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind? [22] And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. [23] And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. [24] Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. [25] Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. [26] But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. [27] My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: [28] And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

Saturday 10 August 2019

Projecting an earthly mortal society of Final Participation

If I am correct that the development of human consciousness will compel the collapse of civilisation, then it should be possible to say something about the kind of society that would eventually follow. In other words, I will project the nature of a society - here on earth, and with mortal Men - of Final Participation.

The present stage has been called the Consciousness Soul; and it is intensely individualistic compared with the societies of the past. In particular, our evaluations will be, need to be, and ought to be coming from our true selves; by intuition, primary thinking, direct knowing.

In the past, Group Selection of Men was a reality - we lived and died by virtue of our membership of groups; and this groupishness was an objective psychological reality. We could not help but regard ourselves as primarily members of a group - more exactly of nested groups: family, clan, nation etc. 

Groups that evoked the most powerful and courageous motivations would tend to prevail over the long term.

But in the modern era (beginning over the past few hundred years, and especially since about 1800) a new felt and experienced detachment developed (the evolution, from within, according to divine plan; of the Consciousness Soul).

Bottom-up, group-selected groups crumbled, because the mechanism that enabled group selection was removed. Modern groupishness is therefore top-down, necessarily coercive and imposed; it is totalitarian.

Therefore the war for the Consciousness Soul is between totalitarianism imposed-on the CS; and the stage that follows the CS - which is Final Participation. However, totalitarianism is self-destroying; so it will not last. We are concerned with what will come after.   

This means that the future of society will be based upon the cohesion of love: which means real, actual, effective, en-couraging love - of specific persons: family primarily, secondarily real and committed friends (currently so rare as to be almost extinct).

The society that emerges from such a bottom-up situation will presumably be the same in its structure as the societies that came before agriculture and civilisation. Low technology, probably illiterate, without strategic planning, no government, little differentiation of function except for that deriving from individuality, sex and age... Short lifespan, low density population, an immediate return economy of hunting, gathering and making for imminent use. In sum, a society much as (is believed to have) existed in the paleolithic era. 

What would be different is that while past societies were based upon the spontaneous, unconscious, groupishness of Original Participation; a state of 'immersive Being' --- the society of Final Participation would be one based on the experienced conviction that reality is to be found in the universality and objectivity of conscious thinking.

If the ancient paleolithic Original Participation society was based on instinct; the future society of Final Participation would be based on intuition.

There seem to be problems with this vision of the future. There is an economic problem, since efficient extraction of food and resources seems to be precluded. Hence the necessarily low density of sustainable population. Problems would be solved on a case by case basis, in accordance with individual circumstances - location, season, personnel etc.

But in FP, there would be no system or formula - answers would Not be the  same every time, nor the same for all people. People would Just Know what specifically to do here and now and for the best; whereas in OP people Just Did what needed to be done; without knowing why. All decisions would be made on this intuitive basis.

To move to this society can be resisted. It is a basic social situation that may (by the collapse of all possible alternatives) be imposed on an unwilling population who deny intuition and who damn themselves.

Or such a society may arise quite naturally from Romantic Christians doing the right things, making the right evaluations on the right basis; and rejecting the side of evil.

Trolling us with abstractions; tempting us to reframe and re-define...

There is nothing the modern demon loves more than to ensnare people into discussing abstractions.

To trap one group of people inside an abstractions such as racism or climate change (two of the most successful) - and then to suck-in more people to analysing, reframing, by re-defining what racism and climate change Really are (or ought to be). The business goes on forever.

Now that the evil-abstraction-mongers control almost the entirety of the communications system - from the mass media, through publishing and retail; to schools universities and research institutions - intellectual Life seems to have become a continual 'defence' against being-trolled with ridiculous wicked nonsense (equality, diversity, feminism, white nationalism/ supremacy...) that 'cries out' for our immediate and personal clarification and correction...

Yet this never does any good, and the 'need' for it never ends...

And then suddenly death looms, and we realise that have wasted our lives discussing The Enemy's agenda...

Just exactly as They wanted us to...

Note: of course (as well as abstractions) there is A Lot of trolling with specific egregious concrete abuses against Christians (especially - and the not-sufficiently-Left more generally); and much of the anti-Left media do considerable harm (overall) by linking to these, and by thus maintaining a continuous, daily diet of Their agenda. There are some benefits from developing a critique of standard strategies of evil, by decoding and reframing news stories - for example. But overall - since This Never Stops - drawing continuous attention to abuses amounts to a (mostly-inadvertent) collusion with the agenda of the Enemy. Which is one reason why I try to avoid topical discussions here, especially of the "Look at this stupid/evil!" type.

Further Note: A double-negative is different-from a positive; because only a positive induces sustaining courage. We have a lot more double-negative propaganda than is good for us; and it doesn't add-up to anything substantive - as can be observed. Double-negative thinking, at best, induces fear-driven desperation - not courage. But sustained fear is susceptible to habituation (the same dose loses effect), and paralyses rather than energizes. That is why only 'religion' can save us; because Men are innately religious creatures. Without religion we are fatally and incurably maimed - but any saving religion simply must be believed. To plan an 'expedient' religion, 'designed' to save civilization, will fail with 100% certainty; will, indeed, make matters worse quicker.