Thursday, 29 September 2022

Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy - a writer of rare wisdom and intelligence

I have a long-term fascination with the prophet and enchanter Merlin, who I regard as representative of an archetypal figure of the human imagination. 

One of the very best books about this character are the three novels by Mary Stewart, that begin with The Crystal Cave. I find Stewart's Merlin to be a very sympathetic and impressive character - such that - to have written him - the author herself must have been (or contained) similar wisdom and intelligence as her hero displays. 

In this respect Stewart reminds me of Tolkien; because the 'secret' of the unmatched excellence of Tolkien's work, is the true greatness of the man himself - his depth and goodness, intelligence and learning. And it is the lack of such qualities that consigns Tolkien's many followers to a lower rank of quality - however good they may be at the craft of writing. 

While not of Tolkien's unique greatness; Mary Stewart must have been a person of exceptional quality to have the ability to create scenes of great power and memorability.   


Although she was regarded by many as the best of 'romantic novelists', that is a woman-orientated genre; and so I first heard of Stewart only when I was a don at University College, Durham, and studying in the English school. Some of the older academics had known of Mary Rainbow (as she then was) from when she was a brilliant student, then a lecturer, in English, at Durham; and spoke of her with a affectionate and respectful remembrance that I found striking (although I cannot recall any details). 

I then thought no more of her, until the Merlin trilogy was recommended by my wife, who had read it as a teenager (and also several of her romantic fiction books - my wife has read a lot more modern fiction than I have).  

I enjoyed my first read-through enough to embark on a re-read a few years later - i.e. just recently, and continuing (mostly listened-to as audible books, partly read as text). 


I have some reservations about the trilogy. 

It is generally slow moving, and in particular takes a while to get-going in the first book. It has no humour at all! and the seriousness, and bleakness of some setting, can be oppressive. 

And the third book (The Last Enchanter) goes off the rails in the middle, by trying to stick to some medieveal/ chivalric plot elements taken from Malory; which do not fit this novel's Dark Age setting from the 400s AD.

But taken overall - and judged by its many high-points - the Merlin Trilogy is a great achievement. And the character of Merlin himself is one of the most realistically- and deeply-admirable you will encounter outside of Tolkien.


Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Proxy evil is worse that doing it oneself - more on the Sorathic takeover

The Western powers standard procedure for doing evil dirty-work is via proxies. 

In international politics, this means via bribing/ blackmailing national leaders - or 'opposition' leaders, bribing/ blackmailing 'terrorist' and 'protest' groups... 

Bribing/ blackmailing other-people to do whatever evil we want done. 

In within-nation politics it means buying/ blackmailing proxies such as Corporations, Trades Unions, NGOs, charities, think tanks, 'opposition' parties, mass media controllers - and indeed the leadership of any and every significant institution - from lawyers and doctors, teachers and researchers, priests and pastors, police and military. 


Such indirect action via proxies is slower, less reliable, uncertain in outcome - but highly effective when the work is primarily destructive - and the most 'advanced' form of evil (what I term 'Sorathic' evil) is, indeed, very 'purely' destructive in its motivation.  

As Sorathic evil increasingly takes-over dominance from the previously hegemonic Ahrimanic evil (i.e. an evil aiming primarily at control, rather than directly at destruction; the evil of bureaucratic totalitarianism); we can see more and more acts of purposive destruction; performed by increasingly numerous, remote and distanced proxies.

The effects are unpredictable - but that does not matter to the Sorathic spirit, since increasing destruction is easy to accomplish, and can be attained by many routes and methods.  


Whoever is behind the evil acts, whoever was motivated to do them and made the decision - is, in practice, nearly always separated from the 'implementation' by several removes.  

More often than not - this person or group is unknown, and unknowable - they 'get away with it'; and the official blame (if any) always lands elsewhere: usually on the proxy minion/ hit man who did the dirty-work; sometimes on the proxy boss who was bribed/ blackmailed to arrange the 'hit'. 

Thus those with greatest power are distanced from the action, and from the consequences of their decisions; and are always able publicly to deny and avoid responsibility for them - and even to deny that they have any significant power. 


Such is the way that the world operates. It is totalitarian, but a very different totalitarianism from that of a century ago; where the Dictators were famous/ notorious - known to all; and operated via a personal cult. 

Dictators often made a point of claiming power and responsibility even beyond that they really possessed. 

Such a leader presented himself as embodying the nation and its spirit - and this justified his (claimed) absolute power. 


Matters are very different now: Evil has evolved - is now impersonal, indeed anonymous; covert and diffuse, and works by contrived confusion and self-contradiction (PSYOPS).

Modern evil is proxy evil - and proxy evil is even-worse than direct evil; in the sense that proxy evil is always deliberated, contrived, planned... whereas direct evil may be impulsive and due to a temporary failure to resist strong temptation. 

In sum: the motivation of proxy evil is always actively-evil and evidence of a strategic commitment to evil-purpose; whereas the motivation of direct evil may be negative, passive; due to weakness rather than a person confirmed in evil purpose. 


By analogy; a murderer (or saboteur...) is often less culpable than someone who arranges an assassination or a 'hit' (or act of destruction, intended to cause suffering and death...) via several proxies - even, or especially, because the instigator of a cleverly-contrived proxy killing (or act of sabotage...) may escape scot free, unnoticed, and unpunished by Law. 


Evil has evolved... And yet the essence of matters are still the same! 

The purpose of evil in this world remains as it always was: to oppose God and divine creation, to seek the damnation of Men. 

We do not need to know the specific human sources of evil in order to recognize and oppose evil - which is just as well, because we almost-never shall. 


The key is that we personally, as individuals, need to be able and willing to recognize and oppose evil for ourselves - not, therefore, relying-upon any external source (purporting to provide us with knowledge and evaluation) in order to identify and interpret the reality or source of evil. 

We should not be striving to out-source our moral discernment - not even to the (increasingly corrupt and evil-allied) Christian churches; just as we cannot out-source our personal salvation. 

We should also refrain from futile attempts to pin-down 'responsibility' for evil acts in a world which has been elaborately structured to conceal responsibility. 


What can be observed now is the Sorathic spirit of pure destructive evil using the (already existing) vast and elaborate Ahrimanic System of bureaucratic-totalitarian surveillance and control... simply to destroy! 

Simply to smash, kill, maim, immiserate - on the biggest scale possible! 

By war, famine, plague, poison, sabotage; and any other means that presents itself. 

And spiritually - which is most important - Sorathic evil seeks to generate ever more fear, resentment, and despair. 


It is probably impossible to prevent massive physical destruction - with the world structured as it is, and when most Men have rejected God. 

But we personally can work to prevent spiritual destruction - in ourselves; and can seek universal and eternal spiritual creation by our own attainment of Primary Thinking (no matter how partially or briefly this is attained). 

And this, of itself, opposes Sorathic evil, because it breaks the link between imposed physical destruction and the outcome of spiritual damnation. 

Insofar as we can overcome in ourselves the intended fear, resentment or despair - by the Christian virtues of Faith, Hope and Love: then we have (at that moment) won the spiritual battle of this world in our-selves, and to an extent among those whom we love. 

And such victories are permanent in their consequences.  


Tuesday, 27 September 2022

What is the reason for the correlation of ontogeny and phylogeny in the evolutionary-development of human consciousness?

It has been noticed for more than a century that there is a broad correlation between ontogeny and phylogeny. Ontogeny is the development of an organism through its lifespan, while phylogeny refers to the sequence of forms leading from earlier to later members of the same presumed evolutionary lineage. 

In terms of the evolutionary-development of conscience something analogous (and perhaps homologous - i.e. from the same causes) is seen in the change of consciousness during a human lifespan, and throughout human history. 

In other words, the sequential development of consciousness from early through late childhood, into adolescence and adulthood; is similar to the sequence of human cultural conscience from the hunter-gatherer nomadic (analogous to early childhood); agrarian/ classical-medieval (older childhood); modern (adolescence) -- and the human society of 'adulthood' lies in the future (if enough people choose that path) and corresponds to whatever emerges from the first glimpses of what I have termed Primary Thinking, heart-thinking, or the state of Final Participation.   


Why should this be? Why should our lifespan development correspond to the characteristic evolution of consciousness throughout history? 

The explanation given by Rudolf Steiner and Owen Barfield is a version of reincarnation: that each modern individual has been incarnated multiple times in historical societies through history; so that the eternal 'self' (which persist between incarnations) undergoes cumulative linear transformation as a result of experience and learning. 

In other words, modern people are more mature and developed than in the past, as a consequence of having incarnated many times before, in many types of society.  


But I regard reincarnation as having been (whether wholly or mostly) ended by the work of Jesus Christ; such that since the time of Christ's death, Men have (pretty much) ceased to reincarnate; but instead make a choice between accepting or rejecting resurrected eternal life in Heaven. 

(I think that there may be exceptions when some of those who reject Heaven may be allowed further reincarnation; when the souls desire and may benefit from this in terms of coming later to embrace resurrection due to further experience.) 

Therefore I find myself advocating much the same scheme of evolutionary-development of consciousness - but without reincarnation as the explanation. What then is my explanation for (on average) 'more mature' souls being reincarnated in modern than in hunter-gatherer times? 


(Note: 'More mature' does not correspond to 'better' in terms of more-Good or more likely to attain salvation. It just means more-mature. Plenty of adults are worse people than most children; many people get worse as they grow-up; and probably more modern children would choose salvation than modern adults. Nonetheless adults are indeed, on-average, more mature in consciousness than children.) 


My answer to this relationship between ontogeny and phylogeny is to focus on the experiences we accumulate in pre-mortal life. 

Following Mormon theology, I believe that we all had an (eternal) pre-mortal existence as immaterial spirits. In other words; before we incarnated into mortal bodies we were immortal spirits; and resurrected-incarnated immortality must be preceded by phases of spirit immortality and incarnated mortality. 

The immortal pre-mortal spirits are each unique in terms of their original disposition and the differences due to different experience as spirits. 

I don't think all pre-mortal spirits do the same thing (i.e. they have different 'jobs' or functions); but some at least are 'angels' - messengers and workers for the will of God. 


(Other 'angels' are resurrected Men - so there are two types of angel: pre-mortal spirit, and post-mortal incarnate.) 


Some of these spirit angels are apparently closely concerned with life on earth: some are what is termed 'guardian angels', that work very closely with incarnated mortal humans. 

As the name implies, pre-mortal spirit angels do not have as much agency (or free will) as us mortal incarnates - they function more as intermediaries between God and mortal Men, conduits of God's will - they are, nonetheless, individuals, each an early step in Man's potential development. 

(Potential development, because some pre-mortal spirits may choose to remain at that stage indefinitely. Mortal incarnation is optional, chosen.)

For instance, pre-mortal angels may be a link Men to God's presence, God's will, and a spiritual between Men. They may also perform miracles, under direction of God. They are agents in making early Man more naturally and spontaneously spiritual than modern Man. 

In other words, an abundance of pre-mortal angels working closely with incarnate mortal Men may help account for the characteristics of Original Participation. Furthermore, these angels are building-up experience through living (spiritually) in close association with many of the various earlier forms of human society. 


Later in history, after the time of Jesus Christ; at various points some of these angels are incarnated as mortal Men; and bring into mortal life the same maturity they have developed as pre-mortal angels. 

Therefore, the evolution of consciousness through history is due to the greater maturity of more experienced incarnated souls; due to their having themselves lived-through much of previous human history - not incarnated, but in the form of spirits. 

Part of this maturity is the 'spiritual adolescence' that rejects the spiritual influence of pre-mortal angels; rather as teenagers reject influence-by and association-with children. 


One consequence of this scheme is that many of the pre-mortal spirit-angels live more like learners than helpers

Thus 'guardian angels' may actually be more concerned with their own learning than with providing irreplaceable 'services'. 

(Interestingly, this corresponds with the view of 'learner angels in some popular depictions - for what that is worth).


The above implies that some of us who are currently incarnated have probably been around and closely involved with human society and individuals at several or many times and places in human history - perhaps as pre-Christ reincarnates, and/or as post-Christ spirit-angels. 

Why, then, do most people not remember something of this? 

Well, some people do! And others have an implicit memory - like the memory of a dream (because spirit life has dream like qualities); but a dream than affects waking life.   


Or even more like the implicit memories of very early childhood - mostly unrecalled, but affecting us in many ways. 

If that is something like the way that these things work; then maybe many of us do have some kind of memories of this sort - perhaps evident in some of our innate aptitudes and preferences - as well as our varying degrees of innate, accumulated spiritual maturity 

 

Men and women *cannot* revert to traditional sex roles (at least, not without net-harm)

Modern, mainstream, official and mandatory ideas about sex and sexuality are so dishonest, inverted, and extreme in their evil - that it is very tempting to wish to re-assert, and seek to impose, traditional sexual relationships. 

But this cannot happen, and indeed should not be attempted. 

The results would be overwhelmingly negative, in terms of what God wants from us here-and-now. 


Reversion to traditional roles cannot happen (without net-harm) because men and women are now - at this stage and phase in the development of our consciousness - meant-to-be (and are) much more unique as beings, than was taken account of in the 'intellectual soul' (i.e. traditional-classical-medieval) ways of thinking. 

Our modern souls (in the 'consciousness soul' phase) rebel against being crammed into simple-and-few categories that are never quite right - because being crammed-into a few fixed roles thwarts that seeking after divinely-loving co-creativity which is our destiny

Therefore, traditional roles could now only be imposed (artificially, top-down) by a system of overwhelming coercion; which would have other and strongly-negative side effects. 


Of course, the devil has (via his favourite instrument of socio-political totalitarian globalist leftism) taken this fact, and twisted it by the sexual revolution, into the opposed-to-Good evils of modern sex/uality we see all around us. That is true and terrible. 

But the double-negative strategy of opposing the oppositional is not a path to Good. 

Traditional attitudes and roles cannot now be re-imposed except coercively - and in ways that would be net-harmful.


Men and women can no longer operate in a positive creative way within the roles prescribed by traditional categories, nor by any modification of such categories.

There is no formula, checklist or blueprint for what men and women ought to do in their relationships. All beautiful, good and true relationships between men and women are each essentially unique.  

(You may have noticed that among all the Good marriages that you know - and I mean marriages that you know genuinely and spiritually, and by personal experience over time, and have judged as good - each such marriage is essentially unique.) 


In rejecting the utterly-fake, inverted and manipulated hedonic 'individualism' of the World Establishment manipulators - we should instead seek the genuine spiritual individualism of Romantic Christianity

The categories of 'man' or 'woman' are, indeed, eternal metaphysical realities, and the original basis of divine creation.

But each real and valid actual relationship of a man and a woman is nonetheless between unique beings; and needs to be approached as such.  

Sunday, 25 September 2022

Should we seek 'depth' in life? Yes, but...

As a late teen and young adult, I was almost obsessed with the idea of finding more depth of life - a more fundamental satisfaction than accorded by the mundane social interactions, workplace and media that took-up so much of my existence. 

It seems that many people experience this craving - yet, on investigation - there are few (or no) people who actually achieve the goal of a life of satisfying and sustained depth of gratification.

The most anybody realizes is living-in-depth, in an intermittent and partial fashion. For almost everybody, including great Saints and creative geniuses as well as the good and integrated people - the basic tenor of life is mundane. 


Is that goal then impossible to achieve? 

Is it then a 'waste' of time' - because unattainable - to reject superficiality and seek more depth?

Yes, sustained depth is impossible; but no, it is not a waste of time seeking it. 


To attain this answer required several changes in the ultimate metaphysical assumptions of by teens and early adult life: I needed to acknowledge the reality of a personal and loving God, and that this was a creation in which I dwelt. 

I also needed to acknowledge that this mortal life only makes sense (and satisfies) when it is regarded as an essential preparation - that is, a time for learning - before eternal resurrected and Heavenly life. 

Once these were accepted, I could regard this mortal life as essentially spiritual in nature; and, as such, a series of potential 'lessons' or challenges' - problems or 'learning experiences' - some 'given' by providence, others by my own efforts (for ill, as well as for good). 


Although success in learning from these life-experiences was typically partial, and always intermittent; in an eternal and resurrected context, it is worthwhile to live 'in search of depth' because dissatisfaction with the mundane and the merely-material is a good way of remaining open to the spiritual possibilities; so we don't miss them, and make the most of them.

A successful life is therefore possible, even when - considered in isolation - all mortal lives are a failure. 


Saturday, 24 September 2022

Chivalry - with reference to fighter pilots of the First and Second World Wars


The 35 minute 'dogfight' duel between Manfred von Richthofen and Lanoe Hawker. The Red Baron expended 899 rounds of ammunition that missed entirely; but the last bullet hit Hawker in the head. It seems that this was vR's proudest victory, and the salvaged machine gun from his DH2 was mounted over the Baron's front door. Hawker was given a burial beside his machine with full military honours and an inscription  reading: GEFALLEN NACH HELDENHAFEN LUFTKAMPF - Fallen after heroic air combat


I have been reading an excellent, idiosyncratic, book called Signed with their honour: The story of chivalry in air warfare 1914-45 by Piet J Meirjering (1987) 


   
Parachute escape from an observation balloon WWI

It is about chivalry in air combat - mainly in the First, but to some extent also the Second, World War. 


For example; the question of whether it was legitimate to shoot a parachutist from an observation balloon in WWI - or from an aircraft in WWII. The official instructions were typically that enemy aircrew should be killed - thereby eliminating a valuable war resource, unless they were falling into home territory where it could be assumed they would be made prisoner - and interrogated. 

But many pilots would not shoot parachutists; it seemed wrong to kill a helpless man, whatever the rationale. 

In a telling episode from WWII: Hermann Goering (an air ace of WWI0) asked Adolf Galland (WWII ace) what he would do if instructed to shoot parachutists. Galland braced himself, and stated that he would resist such instructions with all the power at his disposal. Goering (affectionately gripping Galland's shoulders) said he would have expected nothing less - and no more was heard of the idea. 


This was only one aspect in a war environment that sustained a broadly chivalric ethic: Signed with their honour provides many examples, some of which moved me deeply. 

For instance, the British and German aviators would often inform each other when a pilot had been captured or killed; sometimes exchanging personal goods for prisoners or from the deceased. (This behaviour is described in the WWI Biggles books - which are substantially accurate, albeit selective.) 

This would involve the considerable risk of flying over the opponents aerodrome and dropping a package with a streamer - the friendly messengers would naturally be subject to anti-aircraft fire, and the danger of interception - just as if he were intending strafing or bombing. 

Pilots would also wine and dine each other when they were captured unharmed - before sending the opposite number to be a prisoner of war. Descriptions of honourable burial ceremonies, and photographs of pilot's graves were sometimes forwarded between pilots - to be forwarded to relatives. 


The book raises interesting questions about the features of air combat that encouraged a resurgence of these chivalric practices - which had seldom been seen since the late middle ages. The author points to the individualism of the combat, and the high degree of autonomy of action in WWI. The decline of these aspects - as air forces were brought under generic military discipline, and mass tactics were deployed - lends weight to the importance of this factor. 

Yet, individualism is not enough. I think there is a more general point to be made. Chivalry seems to grow spontaneously when individuals are embedded in a elite role or profession; and when members of such a corps have a fellow-feeling for those who are similarly 'initiated'. This was the situation of the original medieval knights, who formulated the chivalric ideals. 

In other words, there needs to be both a strong, and tight knit, group identity or esprit de corps (courage being sustained by mutual cooperation and protection) - and also a high degree of individual autonomy within that elite group. To put it the other way around; for chivalry to thrive, individual autonomy must be combined with strong affective bonds to a specialist group. 

In such situations, honour is extended to both sides in a competition or conflict - even war. 


I caught the tail-end of this in having trained as a doctor. Those who had been through the tough and transformative process of medical initiations, had a spontaneous fellow-feeling with other doctors; and this transcended national boundaries.  

It was such attitudes of 'professionalism' that led doctors to work hard and to a high standard - in order to gain status among colleagues; and to form a cohesive grouping. This led doctors to favour each other on the one hand (for example providing free consultations and perhaps treatment to colleagues and their families), and on the other stood in the path of the managerial control of medicine. It also sustained high morale - such that doctors tended to work for many years and decline retirement. 

It was an obstacle to full-bureaucracy that caused such professionalism to be all-but eliminated by changes to medical training and practice (except in a few specialties, such as some types of surgery, where it still hangs-on). 

The deliberate crushing of medical esprit was, of course, rationalized in terms of preventing real or imagined abuses (such as snobbery and racism) - but in fact, the bureaucratic-managerial takeover was at work in all such professions and jobs: science, law, among clergy, the police; and of course the elite military units. 

All in all of these, the ethic of hard work, cooperation, and higher-then-necessary standards have been eroded. Nowadays, medical morale is low and declining; and indeed most professionals retire as soon as financially possible.   


In the process of managerial takeover; both elitism and freedom were stripped-out and replaced by procedures of ever-greater scope and detail. 

Autonomy of individuals has been demonized as a threat to social justice (even when associated with the highest levels of 'functional' performance); and only that which is thoroughly monitored and controlled (i.e. by managers) is said to be fair and 'efficient'.

As so often; outsiders resentment against functional-elites has been stoked-up to destroy those who most effectively resisted the totalitarian agenda. Those who effectively do necessary work have been bureaucratically-subordinated to those who claim impartially to manage.    

And the (surely obvious?) fact that what results is merely control-of-everything by controlled-bureaucrats, and that bureaucracy innately grows in size and complexity while declining in efficiency and effectiveness - is never mentioned, and kept-off the agenda. 


In such a world of operationalized resentment and disregard for functionality - there is no place for chivalry. 


Friday, 23 September 2022

Spiritual versus Physical thinking - Understanding Primary Thinking by Primary Thinking

I have been writing about Primary Thinking for several years, as the mode of Final Participation. But, via an episode of Primary Thinking, some things became clear to me yesterday. 

Hardly anybody is interested by these metaphysical posts; so for those who are I will give it more or less straight: as it came to me: 


This mortal and material world is a closed system, dominated by entropy; it is an energy-consuming world where the tendency is towards destruction, decay and death. 

By contrast the spiritual world is the opposite, being eternal and immaterial. It is the world of divine creation, where 'energy' is renewed. Creation adds; and is 'negentropic' - entropy-reducing. 

Where there is creation, there is an open system; overall increasing in value.  


Thinking can be entropic, or else creative. These are qualitatively different. 

Mundane, everyday thinking is brain-based, therefore entropic; uses energy (including electricity), is causally-determined (each step caused by a preceding step) - and therefore mundane thinking tends towards degeneration and collapse.


But Primary Thinking is immaterial, spiritual; does not depend on the physical nervous system. It is generative (not caused by preceding factors, not a consequence of what went before); contributing something extra (something for nothing!) to created-reality.

We could picture spiritual thinking breaking-in upon physical thinking, transforming it, inserting-into it; because the material is a sub-set of the spiritual (the spiritual is the whole; the physical merely part of that whole). 

Primary Thinking is a divine attribute, the divine form of creation. We can do it only because we are children of God, and share in God's divinity. 

And we can only do it somewhat, sometimes - because we dwell in mortal bodies in this material, entropic world.  

Thus, Primary Thinking changes created-reality; changes the world! - and for the better: changes it permanently, eternally. 


Primary Thinking is always a positive good and "for the better", because Primary Thinking only happens when we our-selves are in harmony with, pursuing the same creative goals as, God. 

Primary Thinking is always 'about' something, always goal-directed: it is purposive thinking, and the purposes are in-line with divine creation. 

There is no formula for 'doing' Primary Thinking; except that we need to acknowledge its importance and be aware when it happens. The occurrence is a by-product of serious and sincere effort to understand, to know; in context of love of God and chosen-affiliation to the creative work of God. 


When all such factors are lined-up; we will (temporarily) be able to overcome the entropic nature of this mortal life; take-up our divine heritage as children of God, partake of the divine way of thinking, and participate in on-going creation. 

And if we do so, we can be (and will be) confident that - by our thinking, directly and eternally - we shall have changed the world for the better.   


Note: The above insight was - somehow - triggered by listening to a November 15th 1917 lecture by Rudolf Steiner in an audio version read by Dale Brunsvold. A text version is at https://rsarchive.org/Lectures/19171115p01.html. 

Thursday, 22 September 2022

Jung versus Steiner

It is striking that two of the most influential spiritual writers (and movement-leaders) of the early twentieth century - CG Jung and Rudolf Steiner - both lived in Switzerland at the same time, and not far apart - and saying many of the same things...

Yet, apparently (from what little was written or recorded) the two men cordially disliked and rejected one another. 

This mutual dislike is not difficult to understand; but it is unfortunate - especially for Jung; because Steiner's work contained the answer to Jung's insoluble problem of how to 'integrate' Modern Man, and to overcome his alienation. 


Jung was far more prestigious a person - by birth and education, and concerned to maintain his upper class social status. To him, Steiner must have appeared as what he mostly was (from the bulk of his writings and lectures); just another Theosophist; an upstart cultist, locked-into what Jung frequently described the typical errors of the Theosophical Society; that is, a false emphasis that led to modern Westerners, superficially and selectively, trying to copy knowledge and practices from a promiscuous brew of 'Eastern' religion and philosophy. 

Such an attitude from Jung would, I don't doubt, strike Steiner as both ignorant and snobbish; Steiner being older and from a working class Austrian background.  

Also Steiner was, by nature, a 'right man' who would never acknowledge that his ideas had changed or that he ever made an error - and so he never repudiated his usage of the vast body of standard, mainstream Theosophical Society-derived 'information' (identical with, and presumably derived from, Madame Blavatsky, and her successors) about Man and Cosmology, that quantitatively dominate Steiner's public discourses. 

Steiner, indeed, reacted very badly to any criticism, including thoughtful, informed and sympathetic critiques; almost never refuting it directly but instead engaging in irrelevant and blistering ad hominem rants to his loyal followers! Whereas Jung, despite being far moodier, more selfish and bad-tempered than Steiner in his personal relationships, displayed a kind of sublime indifference to his critics.


Yet, buried within this mass of errors, and arbitrary (and implausible) assertions concerning medicine, education, agriculture, and anything else that anybody asked him about - Steiner contains the insight which could have made coherent sense from Jung's almost random, and contradictory, insights.  

Steiner's early books that led to The Philosophy of Freedom, and his later remarks derived from these works - including some of his cultural and prophetic insights concerning the 'destiny' of modern Man and what would happen if this destiny was rejected, were exactly what Jung most needed to know

Jung - who lived with a sound mind until 1961, might even have found these ideas more lucidly expounded by Steiner's posthumous disciple Owen Barfield; e.g. in Romanticism comes of age (1944), or Saving the appearances (1957).  


The core problem that Jung needed to solve, and never did solve; was that his idea of an integrated and un-alienated Man was that of an earlier stage of human history, a child, a dreamer or a psychotic. This arose because Jung regarded a life dominated by the mythic collective unconscious as the ideal and answer. 

To solve this, Jug needed a true and sufficiently-complete set of basic, metaphysical assumptions; on which could be built practical advice. But Jung's metaphysics was incomplete.  

Jung's solution to modern Man' search for soul was therefore to engage deliberately with the collective unconscious, and to become conscious of its content; to seek there the unity and engagement that was lacking. 


This was correct as far as it went; but Jung's methods all involved an atavistic, regressive, sinking-down into the unconscious, and aiming to bring-back the findings. 

He advised seeking a half-way state between the modern consciousness and ancient un-consciousness; striving either to maintain awareness and memory during a descent towards dreams or psychosis; or else assembling an intermediate and symbolic discourse (or images, ideas etc.) to bridge between them. 

In Steiner/ Barfield terms, Jung only acknowledged Original Participation and the modern Consciousness Soul - but disregarded Final Participation. 


From Steiner/ Barfield's perspective; Jung was trying and failing, because it is not possible to reverse the direction of human developmental-evolution. It is not possible to return to something like the Classical-Medieval mindset; during which Man lived-in, and was satisfied-by, Public Systems of symbol, ritual, sacred text and picture mythic or legendary narrative, allegory and the like. 

Jung, in essence, was advocating that modern Man re-create (by acts of personal - and private - creativity) some such symbolic intermediary for himself; make his own 'private religion'. This is what Jung did himself, in his private notebooks, his sculptures and pictures. 

But Jung also stated that any such private spirituality nonetheless had universal significance; so long as it drew from the collective unconscious. 


What emerged was unsatisfactory - it alleviated to some partial and temporary degree the alienation and dis-integration of modern Man (i.e. it has symptomatic therapeutic value) - but the method was inadequate, just didn't work well enough

It did not suffice. 

Why? Because we cannot return with full consciousness and memory and control of our thoughts to the collective unconscious/ Original Participation. What Jung offered was - at best - an alternation between modern consciousness and a simulacrum of the more ancient mind - but not the actuality of the ancient mind. 

The intermediate state of active imagination was - in effect - a kind of lucid dreaming or dissociated semi-sleep state; and this state is both unstable ('metastable' tending either toward waking or sleep) and also insufficient as a solution to the problems of modern Man. 

It is trying to be simultaneously passive, spontaneous and-unconscious; and at the same time active, creative and conscious. These are opposite states - and can only be alternated or else 'averaged'.  

Hence Jung and Jungians can be observed to lack the hallmarks of wisdom, insight, discernment etc. which would characterize an integrated and unalienated person; and they lack the resources (or honesty) to explain this failure.    


Steiner/ Barfield's solution was a third state that Barfield termed Final Participation; in which integration and participation (i.e. escape from alienation) was attained in a new and qualitatively different kind of thinking*. 

This was conceptualized primarily as a learning experience; and the fullness and permanency of this state could be attained only in Heaven (or else after many further incarnations) - thereby explaining its own 'failure': i.e. why Final Participation could only be partial and temporary in this mortal life.  

Jung believed in a life after death, but never integrated this with his other ideas; which his why his ideas have been merely therapeutic - i.e. directed at making this mortal life less miserable and more fulfilling. 

Jung's concepts therefore underlie much of New Age spirituality - which operates at the level of consumption and lifestyle: a quantitative amplification of whatever ideology is already present (nearly-always mainstream leftist); but without the strength to have a qualitative impact; without providing a profound or powerful alternative and satisfying motivation for modern living. 


Therefore, I regard Jung as one of those sources that are harmful if pursued primarily: Jung will not lead anyone to The Truth

But, for those who have already grasped The Truth and who have a Romantic Christian attitude (ie. with personal intuitive discernment acknowledged as the basis of metaphysics); then Jung's work can be an exciting and valuable resource. Read selectively; Jung can even be seen as himself a proto-Romantic Christian. 

Jung's ideas are overall a mass of contradictions: wisdom and foolishness; insight and triviality; truth-seeking and self-serving dishonesty... 

But if approached in the properly critical spirit, we may discover there many helpful and inspiring formulations.  


*Note: By contrast, Jung's reports of his own experiences of the collective unconscious are perceptual. That is; Jung describes visions, conversations and dramatic scenarios between himself and persons or events. These have a 'hallucinatory' quality - i.e. they are subjective, private perceptions; outwith normal discourse and imperceptible to others. 

Further comment: If the reader is unclear about any of the terminology used above, I would advise doing a word/s search on this blog (search box located to the upper left corner of the opening screen) to get background or further explanation.  

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Freudianism in the USA, and its enduring harm to global public discourse (including the Secular Right, 'manosphere' and 'Trad' Christians)

Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis was mainly adopted in the USA, where it soon permeated almost the entirety of social discourse - and did immense and lasting harm. 


Of course, few people have ever been-through anything like a full 'analysis' - i.e. an hour, three times a week for several or many years, done by an accredited analyst who had himself been analyzed.

(Except for Freud himself. Founders of initiatory organizations, somehow, themselves never require the prolonged and systematic they require of their followers. Rudolf Steiner was the same in this regard. I suppose this exemplifies Weber's discussion of charisma and bureaucracy, and how the one invariably assimilates to the other.) 

But a very high proportion of people in the USA, especially among the ruling and professional classes, have spent significant time in 'therapy' of one sort or another; and all these therapies are more-or-less-closely descended from Freud in terms of their broad assumptions, and effects

(e.g. In a month at a medical school in Texas, I met only one person who had Not experienced psychotherapy.) 


All sorts of aspects of psychoanalysis became embedded in US life. For example, the idea of psychological 'traumas' being The cause of 'problems' later - this assumption forms the basis of most modern biographies. 

Or, the 'confessional' way of interacting; whereby people 'spill the beans' about themselves, their history and their feelings, as a major mode of social interaction, even among strangers - and the assumption that Not to do this is unhealthy: storing-up problems for the future. 

Extending from this, is the notion that 'repressing' any feeling does harm, whereby expressing it - doing it - is healthy and a sign of good adjustment. This, especially and above all, in the realm of sex and sexuality; where in fact the anti-Freudian idea is that desires need to be 'acted-out' rather than being purely articulated and discussed. 

('Strict' Freudian analysis takes places entirely within the consultation room.) 

The archetypical American extraversion and action-orientation thereby fused with Freud's abstract intellectualism, to produce a kind of public and explicit drama from the (all-but endless) speaking and listening, thinking and discussing of strict psychoanalysis. 

Consequently, psychoanalysis and 'therapy' of all kinds became, in the USA, heavily sexualized - with sexual relationships between therapists and clients almost normal, certainly unremarkable. 


More generally, psychoanalysis led to the idea that 'it's good to talk', to interact, to socialize, to have lots and lots of 'friends'; and that these friends are (primarily) 'supportive'  and 'encouraging' in terms of their comments.

And the flipside of this has been first to 'problematize' and then to punish the opposite: i.e. comments - or facial expressions - that make people 'feel bad'. Leading onto the ludicrous discourse of 'micro-aggressions' being developed, taken seriously; and then deployed as a core political weapon. 

Similarly, the culture of 'analysis' and 'therapy' created and sustained the discourse and legislation based on 'unconscious racism' (or sexism, or *phobias) - which is posited as the primary cause of any difference in outcomes that disfavour an officially-privileged (i.e. officially labelled 'oppressed') group. This represents Freud's 'unconscious'; literalized and weaponized for social control.  


Therefore, we can see that Freud was the origin of the New Left, with its psychological focus and (racial, sexual, etc.) 'victim groups'; which - from the middle 1960s - displaced the Old Left (which had been rooted in economics and class analysis). 

The US way of understanding was quickly (almost instantly) exported to the rest of the world, mainly by domination of mass media, but also by the US status of political hegemony.  


These and other themes were generated in the USA in the wake of the Freudian cultural-takeover back in the middle twentieth century. Freudian ideas (in culturally-adapted forms), in fact, became metaphysical assumptions: basic assumptions regarding the nature of reality - in particular the human condition. 

Mainstream US life came to be rooted in the atheism, materialism, psychologism derived from Freud and therapy; combined with a hedonism (or utilitarianism) the Americans added to it. 

This means that the framework of modern mass media - from news stories to movies and TV drama, and the interactions of social media - substantially dictates the approved content, and the status hierarchies.

(And these are sustained and manipulated - for Their own ends - by those with power, naturally.)  


This began the process we now see at an advanced and degenerate stage of evolved corruption. Psychologism 'infects' many areas of American discourse; even among those who regard themselves as on The Right or at least against The Left - even among Christians!

For example; the current (weird) 'manosphere' obsessions with the 'socio-sexual hierarchies' (alpha, beta, gamma men, and so forth); or the endless discussion of blue, red, black and white 'pills'... indeed much of the everyday discussion in this general corner of the internet, and among 'trad' Christians of several denominations and churches... 

Yet these discourses are derived from that same toxic set of attitudes and concepts that - broadly - evolved from Freudian psychoanalysis. 

They are, indeed, instances of Residual Unresolved Positivism - and thus also of Residual Unresolved Leftism - and they work-against Christianity at a structural, metaphysical level


Serious Christians would, I believe, be well-advised to recognize the malign roots of these ultimately New Left discourses; and to identify, and repent, their own impulse to engage in such thinking and interaction.    

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

The death of QEII - yet another litmus test for Christians

The litmus tests arrive thick and fast with accelerating speed; for the simple reason that this Western world is controlled by those who follow a demonic agenda; and They will use all the weapons at their disposal - which include nearly-all the power, wealth, status and fame in the public arena. 

The litmus tests have long since divided Western Christians from the rest; and now are functioning to divide among Christians.

Those who fail litmus tests have chosen to ally with one or other of the major agenda items by which the totalitarian globalists have chosen to corrupt the world, and to invert our values. This is, quite simply, choosing the side of Satan in the spiritual war against God and creation. 

Unless repented, such a person has de facto ceased to be Christian; however he may self-identify. 


This self-separation happens naturally, as our culture and society - our civilization - becomes further advanced in corruption. 

All major institutions, including those that were net-good, are now net-bad (i.e. overall affiliated with the demonic powers of purposive evil); and the residual good that was in them is being driven out incrementally. 

The death of Queen Elizabeth II is a case in point. The whole process of 'national mourning' leading up to the funeral was a top-down dictated operation; controlled by exactly the same powers and principalities who have devised, administered and propagandized the birdemic-peck, climate emergency suicide, Fire Nation hating/ WWIII-driving/ self-annihilation, antiracism-driven national destruction by mass immigration, and the world-historic evils of the transagenda and its sexual revolution origins. 


The Exact Same People who do all that stuff, have been managing the 'national mourning' process for the past dozen days

That is all we need to know

This, therefore, should be just another easy-peasy test of our discernment; and yet it is a test that vast swathes of self-styled traditionalists and 'conservative' Christians have failed spectacularly; sometimes under the lying pretense that the world of 2022 is fundamentally the same as it was forty, fifty, sixty years ago - often in the grip of a nostalgia that has been manipulated to serve the strategy of Satan. 


Evil can only enter where it is invited; and the fact that we have a situation of top-down global totalitarian evil has only arisen and can only progress because hundreds of millions of people have invited this evil into their hearts - in defiance of the simple and obvious dictates of conscience. 

We must therefore discern and identify and reject evil - which we can identify by its provenance, and by the tenacity and vigor with which it is pursued. 

This really is not difficult; therefore failure to do it, is commensurately lethal. 

   

Handel 'oboe concertos' ASMF/ Marriner/ Lord (1965)


I bought this LP in a sale at JG Windows, Newcastle upon Tyne, in the summer of 1979. 

As I recall, we arose early, went in a group and queued outside before the opening. This was one of several bargains I managed to clinch -- despite the aggressive elbowing and grabbing by a local, leather-jacketed, leftist vicar; who harvested several score of the merchandise before most people could get near to the racks.    


It seems that I have probably listened to this collection of pieces as often as any LP that I ever owned. Somehow I never tire of it. (Indeed, this version of the vinyl is crackly and scratchy enough to be my own!) 

The playing is consummate; with the Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields at the peak of their powers under Neville Marriner; and solo work from oboist Roger Lord - whose tone and phrasing are simple perfection. 

And the pieces by Handel include moments of utter sublimity - especially in the slow movements. That of the G minor concerto No. 3 must surely be one of the most soaring, plangent, melodies in the entire baroque repertoire. Notice how subtly, yet with maximum effectiveness, Lord adds idiomatic decorations to the repeats. 


Sunday, 18 September 2022

I do not believe that any of the churches can make any eternal commitments or covenants during this mortal life

I do not think I have written about this before, or at least not explicitly; but my move to Romantic Christianity came when I explicitly acknowledged to myself that I do not believe that any of the churches can make any eternal commitments or covenants (binding agreements) during this mortal life. 

In other words, and despite claims to the contrary, I cannot accept that any of the acts of churches have the eternal quality claimed for them and their rituals - whether that is baptism, marriage, Holy Communion, ordination or any other. 

I believe that these are (or can be) man-made and mortal attempts to bind-us to good - they are (or can be) the best we can do or aspire to... 

But I cannot accept that any are truly effectual in the supernatural and divine way claimed. 


This mortal life is - at its base, ultimately - insufficient, it is a thing of change, corruption, and death - we are ruled by entropy: nothing of it lasts forever. 

This was known and accepted by the ancients; and Jesus Christ did not change that fact; but gave us solid hope of eternal, resurrected and Heavenly life beyond death.

The churches are of this mortal life, and of Man; and no church can overcome the nature of mortal life...


But we, as individual persons, can overcome this world, after this world; by following Jesus Christ. 


Note added: I am not at all saying that all commitments and covenants of all churches are worthless; but I am saying that the churches do not have the capacity to render permanent and binding that which is subject to the changes of this-world. Also, I am not saying that the things of this mortal life have only ephemeral value - on the contrary, I believe that our thoughts and actions (including commitments and covenants) may have eternal value... But this eternal value is realized only in eternal, not mortal, life. It is in resurrected and heavenly life that the temporary phenomena of mortality are rendered permanent. 

Outside-in: My current philosophical endeavor

Slowly re-reading Owen Barfield's Worlds Apart (1963); I have become much more aware of a major metaphysical difference between Barfield's world view, and the usual assumptions of modern Man. Or, rather, I have become more aware of its importance. 

This is the difference between inside-out and outside-in


Our usual practice for explaining something is inside-out. 

We start by assuming an inner core or essence; and then regard this as changing that which is outside. Thus, our identity is regarded as inside us, and (it is supposed) DNA (inside the fertilized egg) is assumed to build an organism around itself. In classical geometry - we start by defining a point, then a plane, then 3D shapes...

But there is another way of explaining: from the outside-in. In geometric terms, projective geometry is an outside-in set of primary assumptions, entailing a different conceptualization of 3D space. 

For instance, in describing the development of organisms, many of the most thoughtful biologists have been impelled to assume that there are influences from outside: this is why Rupert Sheldrake was impelled to posit morphogenetic fields, within-which organisms were shaped. 

But Sheldrake remains within a positivist framework; and the Romantic Christian can more simply and comprehensibly assume some combination of the spiritual being (extending beyond the body) shaping the physical body within; in the context of the divine work of creation - which can work from outwith the body being formed. Thus morphogenesis and development generally, combine inner and outer influences. 

 

Where are we - our-selves? 

Usually, the assumption is that we our inside our heads, in our brains - somewhere behind the eyes. But many people have experiences (of many kinds) that suggest our-selves extend beyond the surface of our bodies - in particular that we may experience (apparently) being aware of things beyond our senses.

I think it likely that we can be non-sensorily (i.e. directly, unmediated) aware of other beings - other living, purposive, conscious entities. 

Most obviously we may be aware of other people in our environment; but also (sometimes) animals, plants; and indeed things are are generally supposed Not to be alive - such as aspects of landscape and environment (e.g. mountains, rivers; and indeed man-made entities such as cities).

I have said awareness extends beyond our bodies - but I would add that it does tend to diminish with distance; so that we are more aware of that which is nearer. 

However, awareness seems to be extendable (perhaps without any absolute limit) when there is some kind of sympathetic resonance - at strongest love, more weakly familiarity - between beings. Thus we may become aware of some remote being by attuning, imagining, or in some way symbolically depicting - in a nutshell, thinking about that being.  


Is this plausible and, if so, how is it possible? The answers depend (as usual) on what we have chosen as our fundamental metaphysical assumptions concerning the nature of reality. I tend to assume that originally we were spiritual beings that lived in a constant, unconscious, spontaneous and immersive state of non-sensory awareness of other beings - and with very little self-awareness. We were thus, largely, passively borne-along by the oceanic tides of created reality.  

Part of what made us the self-conscious and detached-feeling beings we are now, was exactly the exclusion of awareness of surrounding beings. We shut our-selves up in our bodies; and interacted more-and-more exclusively via our senses. 

Thus, modern man is all-but insensible concerning the living and purposive nature of his environment - which is perhaps how he can live in such spiritually hostile situations as the modern city, housing and workplace - in spiritual situations that may be almost unbearable (and, at least, very unpleasant) to a young child, an innocent tribal person - or someone who has re-opened his direct spiritual awareness.


The idea is that we all originally lived passively and without choice in a situation of direct (not sensory) spiritual awareness; but en route to becoming free agents we needed to cut-ourselves-off from this. But only en route, and as a transient phase, was this necessary. 

From where we now are the task is uncompleted, and we each need to make the choice to become directly aware of the beings that surround us, at all times and in all places. 

This requires a shift of attention, but since this awareness is not sensory, we should not focus on sensory input - nor indeed on memories that are remembrance of sensory knowledge.  

Furthermore, we should assume that this knowledge and awareness arises as primary thinking - neither in the form of inner perceptions (such as innerly-perceived visions or voices); nor in terms of symbols (such as inner language)... instead by direct apprehension; by thinking arising in our own thinking.  


Instead we may focus on our "feelings" - more exactly our spiritual responses to other beings; because these are often a non-conscious residual impression of direct awareness. For example, by becoming aware of our previously unconscious feelings; we may discover that we have discernments concerning the goodness or evil of another person (or other being), or the rightness or wrongness of some action. We may become aware of our environment - its threats, or its sustaining and educative aspects.  


In terms of meditation; once we have internalized the idea that we are not 'inside looking out' but that instead direct awareness of other (including spiritual) beings sometimes comes from outside-in, and that we must consciously choose to connect with this knowledge; then we will realize that many traditional meditative techniques and goals are likely to be counter-productive. And may find other directions and ways of spiritual striving that serve our purposes more helpfully. 


Saturday, 17 September 2022

Madness - a very English ska-pop band



Ever since I first heard them, I was very keen on the band Madness, which was at its best from 1979-1985; although most of the best work was early. 

The band were working class cockneys from North London, and had known each other since childhood; sang with their natural English accents, and often about the events of ordinary life. 

The musical style was - rhythmically - heavily influenced by Jamaican Ska and Rocksteady reggae (their name came from a track by Prince Buster and that is who is referenced by the first track below: The Prince); but they put an unique stamp on it, and used careful and effective arrangements (for which I think the keyboardist, Mike Barson, was mostly responsible). It often had the quality of a fairground organ. 

As musicians, they were excellent. The lead singer - Suggs - had a distinctive and very natural way of putting across a lyric. And the seventh member of the band - Chas Smash - provided much of their special visual identity with his original (and effective) style of dancing and fashion (see videos below, most clearly on Baggy Trousers), backing vocals; and his interjections and interactions with Suggs. 

Indeed, the brilliance of Madness was very much visual, with a trademark way of marching in-line and in-step, as a kind of human caterpillar (see illustration above) which featured in most of their videos); and various other tropes such as a manic, bared-teeth, fixed 'smile' - and particular ways of moving, interacting - as well as dancing. 

In general, a surreal - hit and miss, semi-private, take-it-or-leave it - style of humour - which they called 'nutty'.   

All very different, and English - and, although something of a British 'institution' - the band never made significant popular headway in the USA. 

But best and most important was the music, some of which has a permanent appeal to me:






Friday, 16 September 2022

The argument from "I'm not listening!"

It is often important to understand, and to recognize when one does Not understand - I suppose that is generally agreed. 

(Indeed, I attribute most of whatever 'success' I had in science and medical theory to an innate ability to realize that I did Not understand; when everybody else (wrongly) assumed they Did.) 

It could be said that pretending to understand (including pretending to oneself) some-thing that is actually self-contradictory or incoherent; is a common entry-point for strategic evil (as we should observe all around us with mainstream, dominant leftism, and its Litmus Test issues). 

Yet the claim not to understand, or the failure to understand something without making significant serious effort to understand; can also serve as a cloak for strategic evil. 


This happens when someone who is too lazy, distracted, or manipulated to discern for himself - rejects the true discernment of others by claiming not to know about it, or not to understand it. 

I term this the 'I'm not listening strategy' of compliance to evil - because it is analogous to covering your ears, humming and singing loudly - so as Not to hear something you do Not want to hear.  

It is this which keeps people manipulated and controlled by the social sources of power and 'authority' (which are the most short-term-expedient to 'believe' - which is why people want to believe them); because it is trivially easy to discover and learn the incoherence and self-contradictions of the mainstream and mandatory; and to find other and more-coherent/ true perspectives. 

After all (in these 'end times') that which is mainstream and mandatory is grossly incoherent and self-contradictory; therefore it requires very little honest effort to discover it; and correspondingly great effort to block-out realization of the fact.   


The above analysis is clinched by observing that politically-correct, leftist SJWs project onto their opponents exactly their own sins - including of "I'm not listening". 

...Hence the massive efforts to 'raise consciousness', 'change attitudes' and 'inform' the masses about leftist-project-stuff like 'climate', trans-QWERTY, Fire-Nation-phobia, and antiracism - stuff that is being pushed-at people 24/7; in an unremitting deluge from the mass media, bureaucracies and all large organizations and institutions. 

As If anybody, anywhere, could be unaware of this stuff; could Not have heard the (incoherent) 'arguments' and (self-contradicting) 'evidence' 1000-times-over! 

And Yet anyone who dissents from The Narrative is accused of closing his ears to 'the evidence'. to logic, reason and expertise... 


The lesson I draw is that (as always) there is no 'safe' middle road for a Christian; but some-times he absolutely-needs to listen to truth and be aware of incoherence; and some-times he should strive to block-out the lies, distortions and misleadings of evil. 

Discernment is needed; therefore discernment is a duty: and a duty that cannot be out-sourced.

Once that personal responsibility is recognized - discernment is easy.  


Thursday, 15 September 2022

Our memories of paradise...

The paradise-imago - or myth, or story - is the symbol par excellence

I imagine that is why it is so universal and why it has so many ramifying significances. 

Paradise is the symbol of symbols; because it symbolizes, not so much any single non-physical archetype, but non-physical existence in general - non-physical existence as such

You will never understand symbols until you have grasped that pre-historic man in his unconscious goes back - not to the animal kingdom, as the nineteenth century fondly imagined - but to a paradisal state where there was no death; because there was no matter.

Edited from page 124 of Worlds Apart by Owen Barfield (1963)


This passage, put into the mouth of "Sanderson", describes a key assumption of Owen Barfield's metaphysics - which he derived from Rudolf Steiner and which I learned from him; which is an inversion of the usual assumption that matter precedes spirit. Barfield instead regards matter as 'condensing' from spirit; as a 'concentrated' form of spirit. 

And Barfield also assumes that we (and all physical Beings) all existed as spirit, before we incarnated - before we transformed into bodies. This is part of Mormon theology (thus preceding Steiner). 


In this mortal incarnation; bodies bring death - and indeed this physical world is a world of death (of entropy). 

But we have memories of having lived in a past world without death - a world of spirit: we have memories of 'paradise', and these are widely manifested in many symbols, myths, and nostalgia for a Golden Age. 

And Christians have faith in the hope of living in a future world without death; which is a world of resurrection. A world where we (and other Beings) are incarnated in bodies that do Not die: bodies and physical forms that are everlasting, immortal, eternal.  


Biggest belly-laugh of the day, so far!

This morning I received the following incisive remark from that most courageous and morally-responsible of my commenters, "Anonymous":

Why do you repeatedly censor your critics and evade public scrutiny?

Sadly, it is probably just a bot-generated troll; but if it was really-real, the degree of unreflective cognitive dissonance would have been priceless. 

But even as an auto-troll; this is a particularly 2022 kind of situation - where actual people are algorithmically berated for their impersonal inhumanity, by random electronic spam.


Wednesday, 14 September 2022

On what grounds do people choose their ultimate (metaphysical) assumptions about Reality?

I am slowly and carefully re-reading Owen Barfield's Worlds Apart (1963) - one of his best books - which is a profound 'Platonic dialogue' between characters representing different philosophical and scientific viewpoints. 

I have just worked through sections in which Linguistic Philosophy, and then Freudian Psychoanalysis, are expounded: firstly in all their irrefutable nature, as if each 'must be' true; and then revealed to be wholly a product of assumptions that have been chosen.  


This is how it is - at least in our era: we choose our reality by choosing our fundamental assumptions about the nature of reality (i.e. metaphysics; which is that philosophy which is concerned with the deepest assumptions of the nature of reality). 

Choosing and accepting different sets of assumptions leads to different world views - each of which is irrefutable once entered. If you have ever talked with a Marxist, Freudian, or SJW - you will know that there is no possible evidence that does or could refute their system - once the assumptions of that system are accepted; and, indeed, exactly the same applies to a Christian of any denomination, or to adherents to other religions. 

The conclusion is that our relationship with the world is rooted in metaphysical assumptions, and these assumptions are chosen... Thus we choose our reality


So what determines our choice of assumptions? Why does somebody choose one reality rather than another? In particular - why do so many people choose assumptions about reality that lead to a miserable, futile, meaningless, demotivated life? 

To be specific, and to take a mostly-past example, why did so many people (especially Americans) choose to believe Freudian Psychoanalysis was the truth about reality; when that reality was so utterly nihilistic? 

Those who chose the metaphysics of psychoanalysis could, in principle, have chosen assumptions that sustained purpose in life, life beyond death, and a meaning in life that included real and eternal relations with other Men, Nature and God... Yet all this was rejected in favour of embracing psychoanalysis...

As an up-to-date example we have the dominating, hegemonic, political attitude of 'leftism' (including All mainstream political groupings and parties) - which again is rooted in metaphysical assumptions that see human life as purposeless, meaningless, and oppositional (rather than creative) in its ultimate nature. 

Why would anybody - so many hundreds of millions of people - choose to believe assumptions that lead to such a pointless and worthless concept of their own (and everybody else's) life?


I think we can see the answer in terms of a basically perverse attitude, that regards anything bleak and depressing as thereby true. 

There is a prior, and unconscious/ unarticulated, assumption that anything true, beautiful and virtuous is a fake. 

This is the idea that has, for the past century, sustained high-status art and literature which is overwhelmingly (and deliberately) hope-less and hope-destroying, disgusting... Which assumes that life is futile and seeks to reveal the selfishness, hedonism, manipulation that lies beneath all apparent 'good'. 

In other words; people in The West overwhelmingly choose to choose a reality in which evil is true, and Good (and God) are fakes. And they regard anything else as childish, ignorant, deluded - or some kind of fraud. 


Where does this attitude come from? I believe that it is rooted in the pre-mortal nature of those people who are incarnated in the modern era; amplified by evil-choices un-repented, and reinforced by the society which these people have built. 

In other words, the ultimate cause is the innate nature of Men; but Men are free agents; and their disposition does not dictate their choices. Yet men have, overwhelmingly, chosen to make choices to disbelieve in God, the soul, the spiritual world; and more recently to reject God and favour the side of the devil. 

Men are not naturally Christian, but have chosen actively to reject Christianity, including the promise of eternal resurrected life - and to regard it as an evil which should be eradicated. 

Thus Men who were born with a greater disposition to evil, and a lesser spontaneous knowledge and experience of the divine, have amplified (rather than repented and worked against) these traits; which is why Men (in the West, primarily) have overwhelmingly and increasingly chosen to believe nihilistic metaphysical assumptions. 


My conclusion is that people actually choose the reality they live-by (whether consciously, or mostly unconsciously); and most people in The West have apparently made the choice to believe ultimate assumptions about reality that lead to the conviction that life is futile and without coherence, and is extinguished at death.

This, in turn, leads to a conviction that there is nothing to be learned from life, that the short-term is the only dependable reality, and that our personal state of happiness/ pleasure (or misery/ pain) is the only reality that really matters. 

There is no long-term (especially not eternal) purpose; so there is no long-term or strong motivation. 

There is no reason to remember experience (because our reality is not permanent in value), and no possibility of valuable learning (because here-and-now is the only dependable truth) - therefore people try (as best they may) to live in the present, and to live in accordance with... whatever incentives are most dominant in the present.  


So far it seems that our dispositions tend to dictate our choice of assumptions; but of course we are (by our nature) free agents and able to choose differently. 

But we can choose differently only if we are consciously aware of the fact of our choosing

If we are unaware that there are metaphysical assumptions, and that we have in fact chosen to believe some assumptions rather than others - then we are trapped; because the assumptions dictate what counts as evidence. 

Freudianism (or Marxism, or Scientism, of Christianity...) explains all possible 'evidence'; therefore only when the Freudian realizes that he has chosen to believe this and this as his assumptions concerning the nature of reality, is he then able to choose differently


What might be his motivations for choosing differently? 

Well, at one superficial level he might want to choose the beliefs that sustain the 'happiest' possible life, in which there was present those motivations that are subjectively most satisfying. But in practice, that does not seem to work - modern men are pre-immunized against this; by the assumptions that such happiness-seeking people are mindless, gullible fools; or else cunning manipulators.  

We cannot, of course, make an appeal to 'the truth' because that is begging the question: The Truth is precisely what needs to be established by choice of assumptions. Once someone has already made a choice of assumptions (and this applies to all post-adolescents), then 'the truth' of whatever he has chosen is confirmed by all subsequent experience. 


I think the only possible motivator to change assumptions is intuition, that deepest and most ineradicable of evaluative inner convictions. 

If the Freudian can get to the point of recognizing and becoming aware of his own primary assumptions and the fact that he has chosen to believe them rather than other assumptions; then intuition can (and will) get to work on them.

All assumptions are chosen in modernity - yet intuition recognizes some as arbitrary while others 'ring true'; some assumptions are dead, inactive, unsustaining - while others awaken motivation, creativity - and Love. 


Perhaps Love is The most important thing. Anyone who is capable of Love and values Love; will find his intuition working on his own core assumptions, evaluating them in terms of Love. 

And it is Love that leads a Man to reject the assumptions of Psychoanalysis, Linguistic Analysis, Scientism, Leftism etc... (i.e. recognizing them as love-denying, love-less and love-destroying assumptions) and which begins to move his choices towards Christianity...

And - by Love - within Christianity; his chosen assumptions will move towards that true Christianity that was exemplified and taught by Jesus Christ - rather than the errors and perversions of Men.


Tuesday, 13 September 2022

The problem for Christians is not sinning, so much as the refusal to repent

The deep problem is not that so many Christians have allied themselves with the evil globalist totalitarian Establishment with regard to... whatever Litmus Test issue They are 'currently' pushing onto the masses (the birdemic and its peck, QWERTY and the transagenda, antiracism, climate emergency, mandatory WWIII and hatred of the Fire Nation etc.)

(Even if you do not know, and cannot be bothered to find-out, specifically how these particular policies are important elements of an organized agenda of purposive evil - their provenance and the way in which they are pushed on us should immediately tell us that they are evil by intent and in effect.) 

These are not really the problem so much as the failure to repent

I really don't see why self-identified Christians find this repentance so impossibly difficult! 


I can certainly understand that someone would comply with the peck, tell lies, pretend antiracism, or fail any of the other Litmus Tests. Most especially (and especially for women) there is the spontaneous and instinctive human fear of social ostracism. For men; the fear of poverty, scapegoating and low status. So it is easy to understand why people - including Christians - cannot resist sinning. 

But I don't understand why Christians find it so difficult, apparently impossible, to acknowledge that they yielded to sin and need to repent. 

Surely, all Christians recognize that we all sin many times every day, for many reasons (both defensible and shameful); and that we are indeed orientated towards sin (ie. away from God's will and purposes) for much or most of the time.

Surely these sins are no different? We are all too weak, and the temptations too strong, for anyone to avoid sinning. But for Christians that should be a given, and is certainly no barrier to salvation If Only we acknowledge and repent our sins.


Probably the problem is that too many Christians are clinging to the churches, in their human and institutional manifestations, with loyalty and obedience; as if churches were immune to the sins of Men! 

Thus - men ignore, and indeed deny, those many sins which churches do not actively specify, and for which churches do not require specific repentance; perhaps most especially the characteristically Satanic sin of lying, untruthfulness, dishonesty and deliberate misleading (a sin of which the churches are themselves such egregious offenders). 

Any individual Christian can repent from his own God-given powers of discernment and the guidance of the Holy Ghost - but Not if he has handed-over discernment to some external authority... 


But sinning is about our orientation: our choice of sides: our affiliation with either the side of God, or the side against-God. 

There are innumerable sins, but orientation is what makes a sin a sin.

And to join the side of evil is to sin, and in a particularly compounded fashion - because it is a strategic denial of sin, that therefore denies the need for repentance.  


Of course; all the above depends upon a Christian's ability to recognize the side of Satan; to recognize that the dominant, mainstream world-system of Western politics, Big Finance and Corporations, Mass Media and all the major institutions such as law, churches, science, education, health, police and military etc... That these are - overall, and overwhelmingly - the lieutenants, servants and dupes of demonic evil.   

But if a Christian cannot recognize that - can he really be a Christian? 

Can he really be said to have chosen to seek salvation by following Jesus Christ - when In Fact he serves The Enemy in all the respects that The Enemy regards as most important? 

I think not. 


Thanks to my pen-pal Serhei for help with this argument. 

Why did prophecy work in the past, but not any more?

Prophecy - in the sense of inspired and accurate prediction of the future - clearly worked in the past: history is brimming with examples. 

Yet nowadays most people don't believe in prophecy, nor are there any recognized prophets. 

That's a pretty big change in assumptions - and indeed experiences! How could it have happened? 


The usual modern explanation is that prophecy never did work, but people in the past were (some combination of) gullible and manipulated, whereas (implicitly) modern people are not.... Yaas, well...

Setting that aside; I think it reasonable to assume that people in the past were indeed capable of inspired and accurate prediction of the future; but modern people are not. 

The answer, I think, is due to changes in human consciousness. OK, but what changes?


Firstly; modern people are not often capable of inspiration - but even among those who are, accurate prediction of the future is very rare, and I would guess that no self-described prophet has much recognition... Or at least, not for long.

Personally, I think there still is some capacity for the not-many-people who are genuinely inspired to prophecy accurately about themselves; when they are inspired - but this kind of modern prophecy is not socially-generalizable in the way that prophecy used to be.

In other words; modern prophecy (insofar as it exists) is individual not social; and this is one reason why people do no believe-in prophets.    


My best explanation of the loss of prophecy and the role of prophet is that in the past (and the further back, the more this was the case) Men were mentally-immersed-in human society and nature, and were in communion with the world of 'the gods' and spirits. 

Therefore, prophecy was both from this immersed-state of knowing where the whole of creation currently-was, and was-going; and also the prophecy concerned a much-less-free creation. In the past; nothing was significantly insulated-from creation, or exempted from the insights of prophecy; because for the ancients nothing was independent-of or alienated-from creation. Men were unfree.  

In other words; the prophet knew where things were going, and nobody was sufficiently independent of the 'group mind' to resist or reject 'where things were going'.

Everybody shared this knowledge implicitly, unconsciously (and spontaneously) - and the prophet was ('simply') someone who was aware of this general knowledge, and could articulate it - and once articulated by a prophet, the knowledge could be recognized by others.  


But in modern consciousness (what Steiner called the Consciousness Soul); from adolescence onward Men are no longer immersed-in 'the world'; and Men are instead (like it or not) cut-off from spontaneous knowledge of the group, nature, the gods and spirits... 

Modern Man is compelled to be free, and therefore compelled to choose. 

This is why Modern Man is now controlled by bureaucracy and the mass media, and by 'incentives' - this is 'necessary' because he lacks the old, spontaneous and mostly-unconscious immersive sociality and connection with the world. 

Now cohesion is from control, and control is top-down; and a matter of propaganda, bribes and threats - channeling choices (including denial of the reality of choice). 


Prophecy is lost because Men are no longer immersed in a common world, and prophecy is impossible because Men are all cut off from that communion with life and the world which used to enable prophecy - and which made it (all but) impossible for individuals to opt-out.

Now, we find our-selves already opted-out; and the necessity is to opt-in - and to choose that which is opted-into


Monday, 12 September 2022

Socio-Political, Jungian, Romantic Christian - Three ways of regarding JRRT Tolkien's work

Looking back over the past fifty years I have been reading Tolkien; I can perceive that my attitude to the books (especially The Lord of the Rings) falls into three broad phases. 


Socio-Political

When I began reading, in my middle teens, I regarded LotR as, pretty much, a blueprint for how we ought to live in a socio-political sense. My attitude was that the lesson of the book was that we ought to deindustrialize substantially, and return to an agrarian society, divided into mostly self-sufficient units (i.e. a kind of feudalism), based upon a much simpler level of technology. 

Thus, my interest in Tolkien led to an interest in pre-modern history - Celtic, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Medieval. And also an interest in the 'self-sufficiency' and 'intermediate technology' movements, 'ecology', and the politics of William Cobbett, HD Thoreau, William Morris, RH Tawney, the 'distributism' of Hilaire Belloc and GK Chesterton, and EF Schumacher of 'Small is Beautiful' fame.  

In essence; I saw the spirit of Tolkien located in a type of society; and I hoped to live by this spirit via living in what I understood to be a Tolkienian society. I therefore read the books almost as if they were a manual or blueprint for how we ought to live. 


Jungian

In younger adult life, I lost faith in both the power and goodness of politics - and realized that its direction was against the agrarian. I realized that Men were not passive products of social systems - and I developed the broadly-Jungian idea that 'the psyche' was the primary reality. 

I saw the psyche as a third realm in-between the subjectivity of the everyday and mundane mind on the one hand, and the objectivity of the material world (including society and politics) on the other hand. 

My broad conclusion was that the 'lessons' of Tolkien ought to be developed in terms of living in accordance with the collective unconscious - which I saw as an objective realm of archetypal and mythic realities that was shared by all Men. 

In sum; I saw Tolkien as the greatest modern exemplification of this mythic world; and reading him as a way of discovering and strengthening the mythic in my own life; with the goal of living an integrated life - feeling part of society and guided by the wisdom of myth. 


Romantic Christian

In middle age I became a Christian, and then more and more of a 'Romantic' Christian - under the influence of Mormon theology; and writers such as Blake, Coleridge, Steiner, Barfield and Arkle. 

Thus, from about 2009, I began increasingly to read and experience Tolkien in a different way. This new era began with my immersion in JRRT's posthumously-published and unfinished novel: The Notion Club Papers. The NCPs contains a good deal of Tolkien autobiography, and was intended as a framework and bridge between the modern world and the world of the 'legendarium' (ie. the Silmarillion annals, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings). 

The Notion Club Papers blog then began to record a new practice of reading Tolkien, and some of the other Inklings, as what used to be termed 'devotional literature' - in the same spirit that past generations might have read Milton's Paradise Lost or Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress

So, this is where I am now: in my third era of Tolkien. 


Sunday, 11 September 2022

"An inflexion-point in the collapse of The West" - My review of Amazon's "Rings of Power"

Galadriel - a face you would never tire of slapping...

I have watched the first three episodes of Amazon's Rings of Power pseudo-Tolkien series; and - although it is indeed very bad, as everyone with a capacity for valid judgment realizes - I think the fundamental quality of its badness has been somewhat misrepresented by the reviews I have seen. 


My personal context is that the show is so completely un-Tolkienian (in all but a few names) that it is actually much less painful to watch than I have feared it would be... at least much less painful in that way. 

I feared some kind of cunning and parodic subversion, which would tend to exploit and twist Tolkien, intending subtly to reshape and poison ones memories and concepts - and to program the expectations of new Tolkien readers with a false and evil frame. 

But Rings of Power comes across as something else altogether - something rather more like the TV series of Sword of Shannara (but, in effect, much worse). Sure - RoP grossly misrepresents Tolkien - but so grossly that it ceases to be Tolkien altogether. 

Therefore, I could not help but watch RoP in its own terms; forgetting my lifelong love of Tolkien's work and judging the show purely as if it was an original fantasy series. 

And it is that that level where lies The Problem - or rather the lethal combination of problems. 


Rings of Power is very badly done in its conception, plotting, script and editing. 

It also strikes me as badly cast, acted and directed (in particular there is an absence of 'star quality' - the mysterious and unfakeable capacity of some actors to hold attention and impress). 

However, these are not The Problem; because when the problems of a show are so fundamental - appropriate casting and good acting, with well-directed 'stars' in the major roles, could not make a qualitative difference to the effectiveness.  


The key word for Rings of Power is "inept". 

Despite, or more likely because of, its expensiveness; RoP fails to reach even the minimum acceptable standards of conception, plotting, script and editing. 

In watching TV; one just comes to take these for granted, even in shows one dislikes, even in shows that fail overall... One takes for granted that a show knows what it is trying to do, contains comprehensible storylines, with characters whose basic motivations and intentions are expressed in dialogue and action. 

And one expects that the editing of a show (its construction from the various plotlines, moving between the characters) is at least clear and unobtrusive...

One expects to understand what is going on, and to have an implicit sense of the kind of show one is watching (even when one dislikes this), and the kind of place it is aiming-at (even when the destination is somewhere nasty or dull). 


But it is in providing these fundamentals that Rings of Power fails most egregiously. 

For instance; there are (already) scores of 'characters' in dozens of settings - so none of them can possibly be knowable, and hardly any can be, or become, memorable. 

After being introduced-to an incomprehensible array of named characters in many civilizations in the first two parts; the third episode added yet another: "Numenor".

This showered us with even more new characters (Queen, Elendil, Isildur, Isildur's sister, some blacksmith bloke and his redshirt pals); each provided with an ultra-rapidly-sketched, supposedly defining- and motivating- backstory. 

During which Galadriel's shipwreck companion is 'developed' as yet another utterly unsympathetic 'major character' - by showing how just selfish, lying and gratuitously vicious he is; yet with the impression that he is intended to be a charming and brilliant rogue in the Han Solo mode.   


But surely it is basic 'film school' stuff to keep the number of characters, themes, and settings down to a manageable number? 

It is difficult enough to manage the plot with even six major characters, but it is certainly impossible-cubed to write a good script with as many "characters" as in Rings of Power; where every change of scene and episode piles more and yet more upon us. 

Certainly I don't care about any of the characters (and am actively bored or irritated by most); and the fact that the script is a gross, serial offender against the writers' workshop dictum "show, don't tell" is another problem. We are continually being told things about the races and characters, that are immediately and comprehensively contradicted by what we are shown

For instance the pseudo-hobbit 'Harfoots' keep telling each other, and singing, (both in a nauseatingly sentimental fashion), about how they have 'big hearts', and help each other - and that this is the basis of 'who we are'... But we are shown that they spend all their time bickering and confronting each other (and lying and stealing) - exactly like a cheap and nasty TV soap. 

When one old chap suffers a painful twisted ankle that persists such that he can't pull his handcart when the Harfoots are about to migrate - the near-universal expectation among the tribe is that he and his family will simply be left behind to die! 

This contradiction is compounded by an extraordinarily overlong and tedious scene; in which the Harfoots are shown reading a list of those previously left behind, with a cod-religious chorus intoning that 'we will wait for them' - i.e. exactly what they did not


There is one memorable character, called Galadriel - who we are told is an heroic leader; but who is shown as a sour-faced, over-promoted middle-manager; an entitled "Karen" - who happens to have ridiculously incredible super-powers (such as being able to swim - apparently - across thousands of miles of ocean). 

But her greatest super-power is certainly her egotistic selfishness. If she is pulled from the freezing sea, or is starving and gets handed food; she does not say thank you, nor indicate gratitude in any shape or form. Instead, whenever Galadriel is helped, she simply demands that her rescuers will instantly provide whatever resources and assistance her current whim dictates. 

Even this might be dramatically excusable for the major character if she had charm, charisma, allure... but there we are up-against the problem of miscasting compounded by bad direction (in which the actress is required to adopt the same peevish, gimlet-eyed, sour-mouthed facial expression through thick and thin - albeit admittedly her face is already well-suited to this). 

And Galadriel is supposed to function as a unifying thread through this sprawling mess? 

 

The editing is terrible - beyond bad. Some scenes are so rapid that we have little or no idea what has happened. This applies particularly to some of the fights - which are very badly paced, and lack key elements that let the audience understand what is going-on. 

Many other scenes are uneventful and inconclusive interactions without narrative relevance ('plot loops') drawn-out with numbing tedium. 

The pacing between scenes is astonishingly poorly done. Indeed, I have never experienced any editing quite so narratively disruptive on professional TV. 

The action cuts back and forth between the innumerable characters and locations, but the time flows with widely differing speeds. In the whole second episode; some scenes showed that days were passing and quite a lot happening... during which an Elf spent the entire period trudging along a short tunnel. 

 

In sum - I was expecting the Rings of Power At Least to achieve the level of a mainstream, clich├ęd, stereotyped, emotionally-manipulative and sometimes-exciting show (like Sword of Shannara) - but it does not reach even such modest heights.  

I am genuinely fascinated that such an inept, amateurish, ineffectual and ultra-expensive mess as RoP could have happened at all: I keep watching because I can hardly believe what I am seeing... 

In this regard, I think Rings of Power is a genuinely significant inflexion-point in the ongoing collapse of civilizational efficiency and effectiveness - akin to the UK Millennium Dome ("expensive, ugly, boring, unpopular and late"). Incompetence of this degree is no accident - but is instead diagnostic. 

Never in the history of light entertainment were so many resources expended to so little effect to benefit so few