Monday 22 March 2021

An Englishman's discernment is his castle

That, at least, is what should be his castle.

It always was a vain boast to say an Englishman's home is his castle - but it was so to a much greater extent in the past than it has been over recent decades - and especially in the past year. 

What this unpacks to mean is that the free Englishman can do what he wants within his house - implicitly, so long as this is not illegal or immoral. Maybe this remains true in a legalistic sense; but now everything/anything is potentially illegal and the morality is inverted so that what was immoral is currently valorized while many virtues are redefined as wicked. 

Consequently, we are all - to a considerable and increasing extent - slaves; in that we do not 'own' our-selves. Like serfs we are not permitted to travel. Like slaves we must do as our Masters say; and must not even speak anything against our Masters - on pain of punishments that escalate by the month.

Yet what we can and must do is retain our discernment; that is, our independent evaluation of what is good and evil, right and wrong. 

Our thoughts Just Are Free, and (for a Christian), ultimately (i.e. over the long-term of eternity), our thoughts matter more than our actions: how we choose to judge, what we choose to think, is of greater consequences than what we are compelled to do physically. 

This is a heavy responsibility and a difficult challenge; since we tend to align our discernment and thinking with our actions; in order to 'justify' what we have-done. 

This has to stop! For the sake of our immortal souls. 

We need to stop justifying what we do, and be ready to discern and repent the many wrong actions we will, inevitably, make.  

The Good News is that this will suffice, it is enough for salvation, and resurrection into Heavenly Life Eternal - and that should be sufficient inducement. 

In many ways we (here and now) have it easy! We are not expected to attain the heroic activities of the great saints; 'merely' to see though to the reality, and acknowledge its true validity. 

But it turns-out to be difficult even to do this, for most people. Yet that is what they absolutely need to do: it is the Task of These Times. 

It is why we are here. 


Jonathan said...

Bruce, how can we be make sure our thoughts are free i.e. how can we break free of the Brave New World conditioning?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Jonathan - Take care how you frame your question!

You seem to be asking here for an external formula for validation of what is the bottom line validation of intuition or direct knowing.

Free thinking of the real (and divine) Self cannot be validated by any other thing - or else it is not free.

So the answer comes to each individually, from a clarification of false assumptions. But this is the divine within us, it is that of us which is eternal - and every person is capable of it; and most people will actually be doing it (sometimes) so it is more a question of recognizing and valuing it, when it happens.

If you word search intuition, direct knowing, and heart thinking on this blog, it *may* help; or (and this is a tough assignment) read Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy of Freedom, perhaps along with his book Truth and Knowledge and a supplementary collection of his writing by Otto Palmer called 'Rudolf Steiner on his book The Philosophy of Freedom'. Or, if it suits you better, you might try reading William Arkle's A Geography of Consciousness - but again that is a tough read. Or Owen Barfield's What Coleridge Thought - again dense and difficult.

The thing itself is utterly simple, but writing *about* it is very difficult! But honest enquiry cannot help but reveal it.

jas said...

In George Orwell's 1984 Winston knew that his only means of survival in the midst of the madness was his own discernment (of the true facts)...and this sadly did not stand up to his own fear of pain (the rats). I wonder how many of us will be able to go through our worst physical and emotional fears in order to keep our discernment intact?

Bruce Charlton said...

@jas - The difference is repentance. Orwell was not a Christian (at least, not in writing 1984). If a Christian can hold onto that fact, then no matter what he does through intimidation or his own weakness; then it can be wiped away by repentance and the love of Jesus Christ.

As I have often said; a slave can be made to *do* anything on pain of torment or death; yet a slave may be a Christian. It is a choice.

Of course, a martyr may accept pain or death rather than do that which is contrary to his faith; and that is a higher path with (I assume) a special reward/ outcome - e.g. to be a saint. But one does not need to be a saint to be a Christian.

Jonathan said...

Thank you Bruce, that helps.

Very interesting points about 1984 also. Orwell said about That Hideous Strength that "Mr. Lewis appears to believe in the existence of such spirits, and of benevolent ones as well. He is entitled to his beliefs, but they weaken his story, not only because they offend the average reader’s sense of probability but because in effect they decide the issue in advance. When one is told that God and the Devil are in conflict one always knows which side is going to win. The whole drama of the struggle against evil lies in the fact that one does not have supernatural aid."

But precisely because Orwell denies God in 1984, he also makes it impossible for Winston's side to win ('Do you believe in God, Winston?'

'Then what is it, this principle that will defeat us?'

'I don't know. The spirit of Man.')

Deep inside Orwell knew that it is a war that cannot be won without God.

Amethyst Dominica said...

Knowing that God wins in the end doesn't destroy the drama. The drama revolves around "And how many is the Devil going to take down with him?"

Bruce Charlton said...

@AD - Yes God wins, in the sense that there is Heaven and it is eternal.

But the open and active question is who, and how many, will choose resurrected life in Heaven - and how many will choose their own damnation.