Friday 30 June 2023

Radical implications of the "Mandela Effect"

I have written before about what I think is really going-on in the discussions of The Mandela Effect. Another way of thinking about it; is that it is to do with concepts of Time. 

Some twenty years ago; I wrote an essay about the contrast between Ceremonial Time and Technological Time. Ceremonial Time could be called subjective time, based on human memory as it works in an oral and illiterate culture; whereas Technological Time is the, now dominant, modern idea of time as objective, consensual; and where the bottom line is in written history, and scientific concepts and measures. 

My feeling is that much discussion of The Mandela Effect is rooted in a spontaneous (to young children, and ancestral men), unconscious, and instinctive desire to reassert the primacy of Ceremonial Time; rooted in spontaneous, emotionally-inflected, and human-centred, memory. 

But this is (exactly because rooted in the unconscious and instinctive - hence opaque to analysis) confused by trying to hold-onto various aspects of Technological Time.

For instance the reality of the Mandela Effect is asserted by referencing books and other written material; or movie films, TV, computers, and other technologies that have significant roots outside of the mind; in memory cues that are materialized in symbolic, encoded, linguistic, and visual representations.

The debate focuses on asserts about differences between past and present artifacts. And it focuses on trying to convince other people about the validity of our own memories compared with current public information.  

I find this contradictory. 

This is moving back and forth between the official and external, now and then; and back and forth between our own subjective memories and the attempt to make others regard our assertions about these memories as externally-valid truths. 

But if we desire to assert the primacy of the subjective, directly-known and human; then we should not use the objective, symbolic and technological as evidence. 

Discussion of the Mandela Effects seems to arise from a profound dissatisfaction at the destructive violence that our bureaucratic-mass media and totalitarian world is doing to both our basic humanity and freedom, and furthermore our spiritual nature and destiny. 

As such, I think it points at a much more extreme and radically-different way of thinking and being, then such discourse currently attains.

I think the concern over would-be Mandela Effects should be addressed by making the choice to root our primary assumptions concerning reality in that which is not just our own memories and reasoning (which are, after all, subject to change, including distortions); but to root them in a vision of life as - ultimately - a matter of living Beings who are in relationships. Therefore, altogether separate from (and immune to!) the domination of external, institutional and codified forms of knowing.  

We each need to develop a separate interior discourse from that which imposes upon us from externally: from the public, officialdom, the media...

This interior discourse needs to be Christian, by which I mean our inner discourse needs to be aligned-with, in harmony with, the purposes and nature of divine creation - insofar as we can know this.  

If such an inner and God-orientated discourse includes significant knowledge that contradicts what we are being told by public institutions that we know to be corrupt (at best) and (increasingly) demonic in overall-control...

Well, then we know what we ought to believe in our hearts - don't we? 

In which case, trying to convince others that 1. their understanding of 2. our reports of 3. what we currently remember.. is pretty irrelevant - both to us, and even more to them. They ought to be doing the inner work for themselves - otherwise, their discourse will simply be a different variant of passively accepting external data; which is (both cognitively and spiritually) much like soaking-up official-media propaganda.  

Truth versus Christianity - which ought to come first?

He, who begins by loving Christianity better than Truth, will proceed by loving his own Sect or Church better than Christianity, and end in loving himself better than all.

Aphorism XXV - from Aids to Reflection by ST Coleridge

Coleridge's aphorism is true - but...

The "but" comes from something about Truth that is apparent to us now, in a way that was not to STC a century ago. 

This "something" is that Truth - as Coleridge meant it - is rooted in Christianity; such that the modern post-Christian/ secular idea of Truth has been fatally weakened as a personal motivator; even when it has not been altogether demoted to insignificance, or inverted to serve expediency. 

In other words; Coleridge is actually drawing a distinction here between what might be termed fidelity to divinely-created reality (which is what STC calls Truth); and the diktat of what official Church authorities happen currently to be asserting (which is what STC calls Christianity). 

Coleridge is implicitly stating the Romantic recognition (optional then, unavoidable now) that our personal conviction of Truth does and should have priority over institutional aspects; or that individual discernment and judgments are primary; and organizational statements are secondary. 

More simply still: 

We are each-of-us necessarily and unavoidably responsible for the content of our religion. 

Wednesday 28 June 2023

How is it that Western civilization keeps on Not collapsing (so far)

Anyone who was driven, by some inner compulsion, to read this blog in chronological order, from the summer of 2010 when I began to write on a daily basis (!); would rapidly discover that I have been expecting (therefore in a sense predicting) the collapse of our civilization - for most of the past 12 years!

Clearly, that has not happened! At least, not yet; and it is interesting to speculate why not. 

I am as sure now as I was then that our System is unsustainable; and for a multitude of reasons - that multitudinousness of individually-fatal stresses being why the civilization is inevitably doomed; since all causes cannot be addressed at once, or quickly enough -- even if there was a will to reverse the causes of collapse: which there is not.

Also because (and for the first time in history) a deliberate and strategic, top-down program for destruction of Western civilization.

This encompasses neglecting, worsening and denying 'natural' problems (such sub-fertility - which is itself a consequence of deliberately-encouraged religious apostasy and the exclusion of the spiritual from public discourse). 

...And gratuitously creating many new and individually-lethal System stresses (mass immigration, 'climate change', antiracism, birdemic-peck etc.).  

If this analysis is broadly correct; how, then, has the System survived? 

The answer I have gradually come to accept is that 'the conspiracy theorist' point-of-view is broadly true; in that most of the acute problems - apparent 'emergencies', and genuine catastrophes - are either permitted or actively-caused by the System itself. And therefore, when the System feels threatened - it simply stops causing these problems. 

It is relatively easy to stop creating crises, because people (on the whole) will only cause problems when encouraged, assisted and subsidized to do so. Thus, huge areas of national or local crisis can (if the will exists) be all-but eliminated - simply by removing the massive structures of positives incentives that have been their ultimate cause. 

The reason I took so foolishly long to recognize the self-caused nature of most crises and emergencies; is that I used to know (from personal experience) a fair bit about the people who were leaders at a regional and national level - and I realized that they 'believed in' what they were doing - believed that they were 'doing good' with their various lethal schemes. 

And therefore it seemed to me that National 'elites' were observably not conspiring actively to inflict social problems.   

Where I went wrong is assuming that the regional/ national leadership class were actual leaders. I did not then see that all their important instructions were coming-down from a much smaller, supra-national global 'elite' - which was the level at which strategic decisions were made. 

National governments and media, multinational corporations and large social institutions (such as the UK National Health Service) are just middle managers, just minions, just implementers of plans set at different levels. 

In other words, it is at the large - geopolitical - scale where the ultimate decisions are made and the ultimate causes of many problems set-into-motion. Vast areas such as 'the economy', 'finance', 'science'. 'health', the mass media etc. are managed to a very high degree. 

Visible, impacting, crises and problems in all of major social systems are mostly deliberately caused - but caused at a hierarchical level far above the level at which they are 'managed'. 

Thus the managers are often genuinely striving, in their minds - albeit dishonestly and incompetently - to address the problems... 

Albeit; among managers 'addressing' a problem does not mean solving or eliminating the problem - it means 'responding' to it; doing some-thing that can plausibly (i.e. plausibly to managers) be argued to be a 'positive' and helpful response, within the constraints of careerism and bureaucratization.   

Anyway; setting aside nuances for the sake of clarity; while the System or Western Civilization is indeed doomed to collapse; I have often been fooled by deliberately-caused crises and emergencies, into believing that the collapse was imminent - whereas, because the acute crisis/ emergency (whether of the economy, finance, health - or whatever) was deliberately-caused - the crisis/ emergency could later - when it had cause the desired results (and, at least, up-until-now) just as easily be cured. 

So much for the surface...

Deep down, however; the longer the System persists while continuing to be degraded; and while its efficiency, effectiveness, and self-regulating honesty are all incrementally being-destroyed - the more that the depth and breadth of eventual/ inevitable collapse will continue to increase. 

So the 'good' news is that Western civilization has not collapsed yet; but continues along its paths of value-inversion, mass spiritual damnation, and the active pursuit of evil goals...

The bad news is that - when it does happen, and it will - the collapse of The West will now be far worse than it would have been a decade ago. 

Tuesday 27 June 2023

Jesus Christ and the Second Creation

By "Second Creation" I mean Heaven - and that Heaven was made a possibility by the work of Jesus Christ. 

I feel strongly that what Jesus offered to Men was an added possibility (resurrection and Heaven) - added-to what was possible before Jesus. Yet, because it became available, and was something brought to the attention of all (after death, if not before) - the act of choosing to accept or reject Heaven, takes on a significance that did not exist before Jesus. 

It is rather like someone offered promotion at work. Whether he accepts or declines that promotion, either way there are consequences. After the choice, he is not the same as before the choice. The reality of that choice is unavoidable transformation. 

So it is with resurrection. The possibility of choosing to live wholly by love, choosing our own transformation to become wholly good and immortal - to leave-behind all of us that is corruption, disease, sin, and death... That chance/ choice/ offer is bound to change us - whether we accept or reject the possibility. 

To know and reject a reality of good; is different from never having had the possibility of becoming good. 

Thus Hell arose as a consequence of Heaven. 


But why must we die to become good? Presumably, because of the profundity of the transformation. We must be unmade before we can sufficiently be remade. 

But why must we incarnate, and into mortal bodies? Why not resurrect from being spirits; or incarnate directly into resurrected bodies? Because we must be bounded from God in order (eternally) to choose God, to affiliate with God: to be remade such as we shall thence be eternally affiliated with God in love. 

...Such a decision can only be made from a situation of separation from God; such an outcome can only come from active participation in the remaking of the self - which again requires separation of the individual will from God. 

...We must stand apart and on our own feet, in order to be able to come-together - with two purposes and two wills in eternal and loving harmony. 

So an intermediate stage of incarnate but mortal life is necessary between pre-mortal spirit and post-mortal resurrected life. 

What about Jesus - was he predestined from before incarnation to do what he did? No, that cannot be - Jesus must have been fully an agent in order to do what he did; therefore he was not constrained to choose as he did, but he freely chose to do what he did - from his own nature and self.

It was not foreknown that Jesus would be The Christ until he made that commitment, and became The Christ (anything else denies his agency, and destroys the necessity for Jesus's divinity).  

Jesus first became divine (at his baptism, apparently); then died, was resurrected, and finally ascended to Heaven. 

He did this that we Men may achieve the same end result, but in a different order

We (in contrast to Jesus) first die; and then are resurrected to eternal divine life in Heaven (i.e. divinity, resurrection, Heaven - come after death and, pretty much, all at once, it seems). 

(One exception: Lazarus was resurrected through the divine nature of Jesus, but before Jesus was resurrected - and only later, if at all - unrecorded - ascended to Heaven. Such exceptions are part of God's nature and working; because all individual Men are unique - indeed, all Beings are unique - so it would make no sense to be constrained to deal with multitudes of unique Beings in accordance with a standard pattern. By the very nature of things, there will be exceptions - therefore, exceptions to regularities or rules, are actually part of the rules!) 

In sum; I find it very helpful to regard the work of Jesus Christ as a second creation

The second creation was not 'logically' necessary; it was instead a gift, an offer, a possibility. 

After death; a Man might choose to remain in the first creation (with various possibilities); or else to undergo the transformation called resurrection - requisite to dwell eternally in the second creation. 

This possibility of Heaven changed the human condition thenceforth! 

Because to accept, or to reject, this gift, this possibility - divides Mankind: divides indeed all the Beings of creation.  

That's me, that is...

There have been men in all ages, who have been impelled as by an instinct to propose their own nature as a problem, and who devote their attempts to its solution.

ST Coleridge, Biographia Literaria

I read this today, the sentence striking upon me as if encountered for the first time; and thought - Yes! And I am one of those men.

Monday 26 June 2023

Romanticism Come of Age; a second edition of the biography of Owen Barfield by Simon Blaxland-de Lange

Simon Blaxland-de Lange. Owen Barfield: Romanticism come of age. Temple Lodge Publishing: Forest Row, UK, 2006/ Second Edition 2021. pp. xvii, 367. 

Blaxland-de Lange's is the only biography of Owen Barfield, and it is very good. 

Indeed, because its greatest strength is that BdL has such a deep understanding of Barfield's ideas, this biography is a way by which someone could approach reading Barfield from scratch. By reading the biography first, the potential explorer can discover which of Barfield's very various books he would be most likely to enjoy and appreciate - and therefore where he might best start reading. 

The biography's great strength, might also be regarded as a stumbling block; which is that BdL is - like Barfield - a serious, indeed professional, Anthroposophist - a follower of Rudolf Steiner. 

This has the great advantage of providing valid and thorough explanations of this aspect of Barfield, which aspect is usually so badly covered by most other writers about Barfield - few of whom have made the (considerable!) effort necessary to get to grips with Steiner's vast oeuvre

On the other hand; the book is written on the basis of Anthroposophical assumptions, and includes reference to Steiner concepts; that will strike the na├»ve reader as bizarre, as well as startling. Yet, there is also a good deal of Steiner, and indeed the core of his work; that is potentially of primary importance to everyone; so to attain understanding is well worth a bit of effort.   

The organization of the book is somewhat eccentric. It begins conventionally enough, with a "biographical sketch" which gives an overview of Barfield's life, and some of the major incidents - ending with some snapshots of his attitudes and concerns at the end of his ninety-nine year life. 

After this, the book is presented in a thematic way, with different chapters covering different aspects of Barfield's life and ideas - and these chapters are not in any overall chronological arrangement, but instead each chapter includes whatever is relevant to its particular concern. 

This means that - after the first overview - the book chapters can be read, without loss, in almost any order; and this has been my practice over the decade-plus since I bought the first edition. 

Second edition differences are minimal. Indeed, I could only myself detect the addition of an Appendix making available for the first time Psychography; which was an aborted draft attempt, from the late 1940s, at a spiritual autobiography by Barfield - which runs at 12 pages, and stops in Barfield's late teens. 

This is well worth reading, as a further insight into some fundamental aspects of Barfield - including his extreme shyness and reserve in talking on the topic of himself. 

For instance, he writes about the psychological effects of his problem with stammering; but never actually says what that problem was! If the reader did not already know about this problem from elsewhere, then the passage would be highly mystifying - and the problem sounds more sinister, and shameful, than it actually was.  

In sum: Romanticism Come of Age is probably the only indispensable book about Owen Barfield - anyone who is interested by Barfield will want a copy, and will consult it frequently. 

Saturday 24 June 2023

Stanley Messenger on distinguishing healthly from unhealthly "psychic experiences"

Daily inner life for the majority of westerners is nowadays little more than a lonely restless chat-show. 

Apart from those who simply talk to themselves all day there are many whose inner lives are numbly silent till someone addresses them. Then there is a minority who pray, and a still smaller number who meditate. Of those a tiny number reach a level of mystical contemplation, or, on a different path, give themselves over to some degree of trance-mediumship. 

In recent years there has been an increase in a kind of inner life which differs from these in a significant way... In these situations a person’s focus of identity, the groundedness at the centre of their own consciousness, is not only not weakened or disturbed, it is on the contrary considerably strengthened and enhanced. 

By natural endowment, or more frequently by a degree of more or less conscious self-training, often through meditation or kindred practices, normal consciousness has been expanded and enhanced

The experience is that the person feels there is more inner space. Within this space all kinds of imaginative exercises can take place. 

Different people have different talents in this regard. Some are more easily able to visualise inner events. Some have more facility in hearing them. Others again have the facility for constructing a framework for other conscious presences to occupy. 

People’s experiences are almost infinitely varied in this regard. Some people remember their awareness of other entities in their inner world since early childhood, often lost as they grow older. Others construct inner worlds which are in the first place almost wholly imaginary, and only gradually become occupied with thoughts and pictures in later life which are recognisably derived from other realities. 

The great difference between genuine, healthy psychic experience and the pathological situations described above is that the healthy experiences are always in control. Even when quite unfamiliar expansions take place they always do so from within. 

It is the self-awareness which grows, and the self­-awareness which contains the expansion. One never has the sense of losing touch. 

Moreover, everything is experienced as being under the protection of love. This inner love is the crucial yardstick. In pathological conditions there is always an underlying uneasiness and fear.

Excerpted and edited from Dancing with Tears - by Stanley Messenger, 1999

Stanley Messenger (1917-2013) was a scholar of Rudolf Steiner, whose explanations I often find to be clearer and more memorable than those of his Master. 

He also gave special attention to this question of what might be termed 'occult', 'psychic' or 'clairvoyant' experiences; and how these have been changed by the evolutionary-development of Western Man's consciousness - and especially in the period approaching and following the millennium.  

Unsurprisingly, and like Steiner himself in this regard; Stanley M was not able fully to live up to his own peak level of understanding; and often 'lapsed' back into seeking and overvaluing exactly the kind of spiritual experiences that - elsewhere - he so lucidly had explained were dubious and prone to mislead.

Nonetheless, explanations like that above are very helpful in understanding the kind of thing we ought to be aiming for - the kind of thing I have (in different words) variously tried to formulate as primary-thinking/ heart-thinking/ direct-knowing - or Owen Barfield's concept of Final Participation.  

Whereas spiritual experiences of the past tended to be approached by striving for an opening of the mind, a passive acceptance of - and being overwhelmed-by - perceptual information (seeing visions and hearing words, having conversations)...

What Stanley M is describing could, by contrast, be regarded as conscious and actively experienced throughout, and not-perceptual - but instead directly known in our thinking. 

Instead of being overwhelmed by the experience - such as happens in trance mediumship, or automatic writing - the participant retains a sense of full control of a process of thinking that is quantitatively (even qualitatively) strengthened and increased in scope and surety - compared with normal thinking. 

And while past experiences were often sought for practical and functional purposes; the newer experiences will only happen "under the protection of love" - which I take to mean that love (not curiosity, not usefulness, not power - for instance) must be the motivation.  

The main problem with the new kind of psychic experiences is that of wishful-thinking. This temptation is, to some extent, avoidable by being aware of false motivations such as ego or advantage; and by refraining from learning material for the purposes of teaching, or to-order: e.g. in groups convened at a particular time and place for the purpose. 

This is one of the areas in which I think Stanley M went wrong - as you may see from reading more of the Dances with Tears booklet - he describes working for many years with a group - dedicated to making contact with spiritual beings; aiming to collecting detailed information from such beings on specified topics; and engaging in lecturing, workshop, and writing projects in order to disseminate the resulting material. 

The result was mostly made-up wishful-thinking, in line with the group's pre-existing beliefs and prejudices; and in conformity with too much, too-credulously-accepted, mainstream New Age output of that era (1980s and 90s). 

The genuine, valid spiritual teaching was mostly swamped by the sheer volume of personality-level, socially-shaped, stuff. 

Indeed, in a lecture, Stanley M acknowledged that he had been told that only about 5% of the material he got was genuinely from the supposed communicating entity (viz. the Archangel Michael) - the other 95% from himself. 

While Stanley felt that even 5% of spiritual truth was valuable; my feeling is that the amount of conceptual distortion with so much personal invention is so great that it is, in practice, impossible to filter-out the truly factual 5%. 

At any rate, what he and his group got by such means seems (as with the similar case of Steiner) to be mostly wrong - in many, very misleading, ways. 

My strong feeling is that it would be much preferable to have only the 5% that is valid; and be content with a small volume of relatively simple 'information' -- than to build all sorts of castles in the air (on subjects like UFOs and Crop Circles, and an impending mass spiritual awakening) from great swathes of wishful-thinking; exacerbated (not corrected) by consensus-group-dynamics.

Nonetheless, with these caveats; I am confident that Stanley Messenger had much wisdom to impart concerning the principles of what is most needed here-and-now. 

And if he did not personally live-up-to the highest levels of his aspirations, and was tripped-up by his own need for spiritual excitement and a desire for feeling incremental spiritual progress; then so are we, all of us, unable to stay at our own best levels at all times. 

As always, the material needs to be explored in a discriminating fashion, and with properly 'loving' motivation; if the good and valid it genuinely includes, is to be sifted from the wishful-thinking, misleading, and irrelevant material. 

Time to die? Don't envy those whose main aim is survival - their punishment will be if they get what they want

So often in life, the worst punishment that anyone can be given, is when they get what they want. This, because - very often, what we want derives from sinful and unrepented desires. 

If we actually get it, then we will also get the inevitable consequences - inner spiritual and outer natural - of embracing sin. 

This applies equally, and for the same basic reason, to the child who wants to live on sweets; the adolescent who wants vast quantities and variety of sex; the adult who wants high status, massive wealth, and real power. 

The global totalitarian leadership class seem most to want Giga-death for the masses, and survival for themselves (themselves, not their family descendants - of which they often have none) - indeed, some kind of this-worldly everlastingly-extended life

Such appears to be a major motive behind Their relentless activity; such is apparently what is planned - with some degree of secrecy. 

Since those who read this are likely to be among the planned-to-be-destroyed masses (as are most of those who regard themselves as exempted!) - it is tempting to feel jealous of those whose survival is organized. 

Maybe we even want to join Them in surviving through to Their Brave New World - but hoping to set-up a society more to our taste - in some unnoticed corner exempted from Their rule, and where They will leave us unmolested?  

A time will come to every Man when it is time to die - and when that time arrives, he will know it. 

The way things are shaping; such a time will, probably soon, come to a very large number of people over a short timescale. 

When that time comes, we ought not fight for survival; but fight to do what is right - which we will also know, at the time. 

Survival then becomes a temptation; and there will be many specious arguments as to why 'my' survival (for at least a bit longer) will seem like a good and necessary thing - despite that we know the proper time has come to put our survival as a lower priority than what is needed.  

Therefore it is a bad habit to develop a primary concern with survival. 

We all die, sooner or later, and for a follower of Christ that is a good thing, when it happens at the right time - despite the ineradicably tragic impact of mortal death. 

Most of us (me included) would do well to think more about the inevitability and ultimate rewards of death; and that therefore discerning and embracing our own time to die is a great gift, as well as a profound challenge. 

Following Jesus Christ offers something different from either this-worldly, or next-worldly religion

One of the problems throughout the history of Christianity has been that it has sometimes been framed as this-worldly, and sometimes as next-worldly - maybe sometimes some half-way-house compromise; whereas it is actually neither. 

This third-thing is not - of itself - difficult to understand; except that people will not give-up pre-existing categories of either/or, of what they already think Christianity is. 

The two ways of doing this, came under categories of complete acceptance of, and immersion in, this world - or the complete rejection of this-world as merely illusion, merely-sin. 

Obviously, the mainstream modern materialist way is complete and exclusive acceptance of this world, the attempt to maximize pleasure and eliminate suffering, and total rejection of everything 'spiritual'. 

But there is also an allowed (and to some extent encouraged) backup - which is the permissible 'oneness' spirituality; that has been Western manufactured from elements of Hinduism and Buddhism. This aims an annihilation of all separateness, all ego and thinking, re-absorption into the abstract and im-personal divine - as much as possible during this life (by meditation), and wholly after death.   

Christianity - by contrast - is about following Jesus Christ through-death, to resurrection and Heaven. Resurrection, Heaven and Jesus are all regarded as involving actual individual (free, agent) persons; and the ideal destination and state is loving and personal relationships, on earth and in Heaven.

With Christianity - those who choose salvation will remain them-selves, eternally. 

Why is this so difficult to grasp? Why do so many people try to stuff Christianity into just-this-world or abstract-other-world boxes?

Simply, but profoundly, because the metaphysical assumptions of modern man regard the personal as only this-worldly; hence time-bound, changeable - always being-corrupted toward a death which is annihilation of the self. 

The options for someone with such fundamental assumptions about reality are therefore either consciously choosing to accept the actuality of change and corruption - that is sin: which means denying any fundamental difference between sin and virtue; or else to yearn for a permanent escape from change and corruption that can only be into the un-conscious, impersonal, the abstract, the time-less - entailing the loss of that which makes us persons. 

This explains why modern materialism can comfortably coexist with oneness spirituality - the one accepts, the other desires, annihilation of 'the self'. 

And why, in practice, the advocates of other-worldly oneness spirituality are typically eagerly on-board-with the primary strategies of this-worldly totalitarianism

Friday 23 June 2023

Being a Christian: If it's so simple, why is it so difficult?

Being a Christian is clearly very difficult in the West in 2023 - because (apparently) extremely few people seem to be doing it. 

Yet it must also be extremely simple. 

Why do I say it must be simple to be a Christian? 

Because we know that God is the creator, who makes the-world-around-us; and also that he is Our Father, and loves each of us, as His child. 

Such a God would obviously both want- and be able-to make it simple to do what was necessary to follow Jesus Christ to salvation...

Simple enough for children, for simple people, for weak people living in evil environments... And simple enough to happen in just a moment (as often depicted in the Gospels). 

So why is it so difficult, nowadays?

One reason is that Christianity is "too simple" - which puts of those who have pretentions to intellectuality (and that means a lot of people nowadays!). A simple answer is regarded as facile: for modern Men, simple = simplistic. 

Another is that resurrection into Heaven seems obviously "too good to be true". Generations of propaganda have made people assume that the truth is we are meaningless accidents in a purposeless universe; so any positive view of life must be merely wishful thinking or delusion.  

Another is that Christianity is first and foremost "not of this world" - it is directed at resurrection after death; whereas most people regard death as a final annihilation; and therefore seek, above all, to change their own lives and "the world" for the better. 

Given that becoming a Christian leads to a loss of status in Western nations; the outcome for a new Christian (and all real Christians must -sooner or later - be 'new') is usually that of making his own life immediately less esteemed and less successful. 

Furthermore - and more deeply - becoming a Western Christian in 2023 is active and participative: we ourselves have to do most of the work. 

Whereas, what people mostly want (especially modern Western people) is to be overwhelmed by 'reality' - indeed, for most people, reality just is that which most strongly overwhelms us.

People expect to be overwhelmed by Christianity like they might be overwhelmed by a blockbuster movie, or a media-stoked frenzy, or a multi-pronged propaganda campaign.

Whereas, to become a Christian 2023; entails ignoring all that is most culturally-overwhelming and making a solo-decision, perhaps without social encouragement or support (indeed, quite the opposite); making-up one's own mind by going against what mainstream opinions regards as "the evidence" or good-reasons; and taking full responsibility for one's beliefs and behavioural ideals in a situation where even the self-identified Christian churches are urging different things.    

These are just some of the reasons why being a Christian in 2023 is so very difficult; even though it is also so very simple. 

Thursday 22 June 2023

How did Karl Popper's Open Society attack on totalitarianism, itself become totalitarian?

I only know of Karl Popper's book The Open Society and its Enemies at second-hand - initially from Popper by Brian Magee (1974); and from references in Popper's autobiography which I read aged nineteen - and in many other places. 

I never read the big book itself, because (for most of my adult life) I already knew I would agree with it - and there seemed no point. 

The basic idea is that societies must be (like science a century ago) open to dissent, indeed encouraging of all debate; and thereby error can be corrected, and a closer approach to the truth can be discovered. 

Yet there can never be a positive formulation of truth, exception provisionally - for further evaluation - so societies must always remain "open".* 

The notion was one of a dynamic society; always questing, always critical, always self-correcting; always hypothetical, never dogmatic. 

I never revised my positive attitude to the Open Society until after I became a Christian. 

However; in the early 2000s I was re-reading Popper's ideas, and became aware that their major supporter was a chap called George Soros+ - who funded specific people (one of whom was a colleague), organizations, publications promoting the Open Society. 

What a helpful chap!

GS was supporting the autonomy of civil society, protecting freedom of expression, encouraging a free interaction of arguments... and so on. 

(+Yes, that George Soros.) 

So, how did Popper's Open Society ideas - apparently formulated specifically to explain why early 20th century totalitarianism was morally wrong and intellectually bankrupt; end-up by seamlessly evolving-into a primary rationalization for a global totalitarianism of greater scope and thoroughness than ever was achieved before? 

I think the reason is simple - which is that the Open Society is a godless ideology, a secular and atheistic society, promoted by those who have abandoned their religion; which therefore is all-about means and nothing-about ends. 

Indeed, the open Society idea tries to make a virtue of its own deficiencies; by claiming that only a life, society and world based upon process-merely is genuinely good. Goodness has been redefined as process!

Any idea that there is a good that ought to be pursued by various means, is declared totalitarian. It is replaced by the idea that good inheres in the means - good is 'whatever results from the proper process'. 

And the 'proper process'? Well...

Articulated as such, the Open Society is now a universal rationalization for the direction and content of official modernity - however that is currently-defined... 

Nowadays, justice is whatever results from the legal process (regardless of the corrupt actualities of that process); education is 'whatever-happens' at officially-validated schools and colleges; 'quality' is whatever-emanates-from 'quality-assured' (auditable) management systems...

Democracy is whatever emanates from the actual system of voting (including whatever latest corruptions and disregarding all propaganda and ideological coercion) - and whatever comes from the 'democratically-elected' government is therefore good. 

Science is whatever professional and accredited scientists are saying today. 

In a nutshell; the Open Society is a philosophical justification for The System is Always Right

It turns out that - lacking God or any roots in the spiritual - the 'Openness' of an Open Society can be redefined into its opposite.  

Why not? 

So long as the society - the System - continues to declare itself "open", then it is said to be superior to others that are based-on ideas of truth being separable from process.

If the Open Society is wrong now, is revealed as evil and totalitarian ; then maybe it always was intended thus - maybe it was engineered (under demonic influence) as a stalking horse against God, divine creation and The Good? 

That is suggested by the obvious fact that those who adhered to these 'liberal ideas' so very seldom jumped the ship and blew the whistle, when Openness became ever more obviously closed censorship, exclusion of dissent, and micro-control of mass thought and behaviour. 

And, because no Good was allowed to be distinguishable from approved-process - because Goodness was held to inhere in The System itself; all this vast apparatus of totalitarian control was routinely deployed against whatever was true, beautiful or virtuous. 

(As we may see all around.)

The flaw was always there - when Popper talked of the need to be illiberal in defense of liberal ideas - intolerant of "intolerance"; yet neglected that he had abolished all criteria for knowing the truth or the good. Liberalism was un-rooted, set-adrift, opened to endless redefinitions in light of the expediency of the-current-system protecting itself. 

Anyway; the fate of Popper's Open Society over the past century is a case history of the way in which (like Zombies) - ideas and ideals, as well as persons and institutions, can-be (have-already-been) subverted, killed, hollowed-out, and replaced with their opposites.  

In other words: an inverted-world, of inverted values: where Open means Closed; freedom means omni-surveillance and micro-control; and where the Open Society is a ruthless, world-wide, oligarchical, piratical-looting dictatorship. 

*This links with Poppers 'falsification' idea of science; whereby - supposedly - an hypothesis can never be proved, but can be refuted. Science can demonstrate wrongness, but not rightness. This concept of science is (if taken seriously) a vast negation of knowledge - as science moves from error to error, based on hypothesis that have Not Yet been disproved, but may be at some future point. (It also removes the individual scientist's personal motivations, ability and truthfulness from consideration - because "science" is the process, not the person! In other words, this is writing a blank-cheque for corruption and dishonesty in science.) By Popper's account, this makes science into an 'open society' in miniature - the first such, and the most highly-developed. Yet, science too is now a closed society. While continuing to pay loud and continuous lip-service to the same ideals of a century ago - science now is in actuality a merely branch-office of the totalitarian bureaucracy, like everything else - its role merely to manufacture rationalizations for... whatever the global leadership class currently want to do. 

The paradox of history in Christianity

Christianity is a religion rooted in history - it depends on the reality that Jesus was born, died, resurrected, ascended - and necessarily in some place and time. 

Although what Jesus does not, it seems to me, hinge upon him being born in any particular place or time - these things must have-happened, and during human history. 

Therefore; Christianity cannot be - as apparently Buddhism is (at least, to Western scholars) - almost indifferent to whether any particular Buddha ever existed at all any actual point of history. Or whether that Buddha is instead 'merely' a vehicle for education, a story pointing at truth, the symbolic exemplification of a particular teaching. 

Yet, although Jesus must be historical; on the other hand he should not be primarily historical. 

It is a snare when Christians become so fixed upon the historical aspects of Christianity; that they become slaves to the academic historical disciplines - comparative study of ancient languages, the study of ancient texts, archaeology etc. 

This is not a solid basis for faith - as evidenced  by the fact that Christian churches have declined and collapsed over the past couple of centuries, while Christian scholarship has waxed, and accumulated vast amounts of contextual evidence and interpretative sophistication.

Christianity (it seems to me) needs to be rooted in personal interaction between the individual and Jesus Christ. 

This means that a Christianity that depends on academic historical knowledge is at second-hand - just as a Christianity rooted in obedience to a church is secondhand, or a Christianity rooted in adherence to tradition is secondhand... 

This despite the potentially great value of such secondary supports and knowledge-bases. The root needs to be personal.  

What we seem to end-up-with is the 'paradox' that Christianity cannot be derived from any kind of "history", but neither can Christianity be something essentially symbolic - that is, subjectively-created, like a poem. 

But paradox indicates that we have asked the wrong question, or made false assumptions. In this case we have assumed a too-restricted understanding of knowledge sources, and of history. 

We have conflated the secondary social and the primary personal... 

Conflated the business of attaining and enforcing scholarly consensus by agreeing upon a limited and simplified models and approved methods, by professional training and accreditation etc (all of which social institutions and mechanisms can-be, and have-been, corrupted to anti-Christian aims)... 

And we are mixing-this-up with the qualitatively different matter of achieving a strong, adequately true and accurate, and sufficiently-stable, personal faith that we may live-by.


In other words; the paradox of history in Christianity points us at the need to consider an altogether other form of knowing the past - a different way of getting historical knowledge that is neither symbolic nor academic. 

It is a way of knowing that is 'objective' in the sense that it regards the history of Jesus as real, happening in a real place and time; and also 'subjective' in the sense that this knowledge is derived from personal - and spiritual - ways of knowing. 

In sum: I think we each need to seek whatever historical knowledge is necessary, primarily by personal endeavor and from the guidance of the Holy Ghost - by direct-knowing, mind-to-mind. 

Often by formulating our own ideas (using whatever sources we regard as authoritative, and we can discover and grasp sufficiently) - and seeking for intuitive divine endorsement of those ideas. 

This is, of course, a trial-and-error process - since it depends on our own capacities and is affected by our own motivations. Nonetheless; if we are genuinely seeking the truth, we will (by living personal interaction with the Holy Ghost, by the divine within each of us) be guided through our own errors; will zig-zag to sufficient truth for our purposes


Wednesday 21 June 2023

Is war "good for business"? Is that why it happens, now?

I am not a pacifist: sometimes war is better than the actual alternatives; but war needs a good reason. 

For a Christian, looting (killing, torture, rape etc.) is not a "good" reason, but an evil reason for war - or indeed for anything else. 

Those who claim that war is good for business are wrong (assuming 'business' means the real economy) - except in the trivial sense that anything may be "good for" some-body, in the short-term. 

War involves getting many of your best people killed, and making lots of stuff then destroying it. That's not good economics; and can only be made to look good (for a while) by fake accounting. 

Specific individuals and particular groups will nearly always benefit from war, by well-known means and in well known ways; and such people encourage starting wars, sustaining wars, and escalating wars. 

That is, of course, parasitic behaviour.

Any society that has been taken-over by war parasites, profiteers, pirates - those who lust for looting - and is run for their benefit - cannot last; and does not deserve to last. 

Such is bad enough, and may explain much of the evil of war through history; but here-and-now looters do not stand at the apex of the pyramid of power. 

Nowadays there are those who stand-behind the parasites and looters, who stand outside of nations, corporations and institutions; those who use the looters to achieve other objectives - and will discard the looters once the value has gone.

What do They want from war? 

The answer is: They want different things at different times. For many decades up to 2020; They (mostly) wanted a single global totalitarian system based on inverted-values - therefore the wars were limited and localized.

But now They want a global and un-limited war: a war of mass destruction. 

A war in which They will 'sacrifice' not only those who are inexpedient but also (and mainly) a war in which 'sacrifice' is the main point.  

Imagine a war in which the parasites, looters, profiteers, pirates inflicted so much damage, so quickly, that they killed themselves... 

That is the kind of war They want. That is the kind of war They are currently working to expand. 

It's a tough thing to sell! Indeed, They (being small in number, and depending on the labour of others) can only sell it by deception, concealment, and gross misrepresentation of reality. 

But that is exactly what we now have, and to an advanced degree - at least in The West: legacy of the 2020 global coup

The system of lies, distortions and exclusions that constitutes the entirety of government, official, legal,  mass media and corporate/ institutional discourse is (not by accident) The Perfect Vehicle for getting the ruling classes to destroy themselves (as well as everybody else) in a world-wide total-war.   

Enough changes upstream can be made to have inevitably destructive, and multiplicative, consequences downstream - such that the destruction will be unstoppable once it is triggered. 

And - because the institutional rulers swim (every hour of every day) in an ocean of untruthfulness, manipulation and inverted-values - the world leadership class are oblivious and will never understand what they have done...

Because they have embraced the inverted-values of global totalitarianism; the leadership class will never realize what has been done with-them and to-them - never acknowledge their own complicity in great evil.  

As the world goes down into chaos; the leadership class (and their managerial-intellectual minions, and many of the manipulated-masses) will blame Good for the consequences of their own evil, and will thereby unrepentantly damn themselves...

Which is exactly what They most want...

Because (you guessed it!) They are (Of Course) the demons. 

Everyday life with ST Coleridge

I currently continue my years-long attempt (thus far, only partially successful) to 'get' Samuel Taylor Coleridge; this time by reading the second volume ("Darker Reflection") of Richard Holmes's very chunky two-volume biography, from about 25 years ago. 

It is an immersive experience; since the impression given is one of an almost day-by-day account of Coleridge's moods and doings: and these were extremely various, wide-ranging and unpredictable.

STC was an extraordinary character - even in that age of extraordinary characters. I am currently focused on the period around 1810; when Coleridge was in his middle and late thirties. Under the impulses of his nature, and opium addiction; he mostly behaved in an utterly unreasonable and demanding manner - and yet was mostly not just tolerated but cherished. 

What amazes me is that Coleridge's genius was not only acknowledged, but very widely supported. 

At this point, STC was publishing a (more-or-less) weekly subscription magazine called The Friend, which consisted of long, intricate, rambling essays on all sorts of fundamental questions. These issues are unreadably dense for my taste, and most people nowadays. 

Yet there were some hundreds of subscribers, including a couple of dozen members of parliament, bishops, professors - and some of the most eminent of the age such as Humphrey Davey and Walter Scott. 

What is striking to me, is that these people were prepared to work very hard in their reading, in order to grapple with fundamental matters, when they regarded the author as a man of worthwhile insight and knowledge. 

This is analogous to the attitude of those who knew and supported Coleridge. They were able to discern the depth of his genius through a very unappealing but much more obvious surface of gross unreliability; a characterological inability to complete what he began - or even to begin what he had promised. 

I find myself impressed at their discernment of STC's genius through such clouds of obscurity and chaos - and also their capacity to suffer all manner of inconveniences, rudeness and inconsideration, and let-downs - without giving-up on him. 

By contrast with now; I am struck both by the presence of geniuses of a scale and intensity now absent; and also of a society which valued genius - and was prepared to make allowances for it. 

Both are needed if genius is to have a society-wide and beneficial effect. 

Tuesday 20 June 2023

Four interacting abstract tendencies or forces - or else one Being: Why I found it necessary to revise the "polar metaphysics" of Coleridge/ Barfield/ Arkle

The transcendental philosopher says; grant me a nature having two contrary forces, the one of which tends to expand infinitely, while the other strives to apprehend or find itself in this infinity, and I will cause the world of intelligences with the whole system of their representations to rise up before you. Every other science presupposes intelligence as already existing and complete: the philosopher contemplates it in its growth, and as it were represents its history to the mind from its birth to its maturity....

It is equally clear that two equal forces acting in opposite directions, both being finite and each distinguished from the other by its direction only, must neutralize or reduce each other to inaction. Now the transcendental philosophy demands; first, that two forces should be conceived which counteract each other by their essential nature; not only not in consequence of the accidental direction of each, but as prior to all direction, nay, as the primary forces from which the conditions of all possible directions are derivative and deducible: secondly, that these forces should be assumed to be both alike infinite, both alike indestructible. The problem will then be to discover the result or product of two such forces, as distinguished from the result of those forces which are finite, and derive their difference solely from the circumstance of their direction. 

When we have formed a scheme or outline of these two different kinds of force, and of their different results, by the process of discursive reasoning, it will then remain for us to elevate the thesis from notional to actual, by contemplating intuitively this one power with its two inherent indestructible yet counteracting forces, and the results or generations to which their inter-penetration gives existence, in the living principle and in the process of our own self-consciousness.

from Biographia Literaria by ST Coleridge, 1817.


The above passage has stood for over two hundred years as the basis of a "polar metaphysics" that has underpinned several of the most valid and coherent metaphysical explanations of a Romanticism compatible with Christianity

These include the work of Owen Barfield (especially as elucidated in his book What Coleridge Thought) and William Arkle (appearing as contrasting feminine and masculine poles, geometrically or by analogy with physics described in A Geography of Consciousness and The Hologram and Mind). 

Although these two 'contrary forces' can indeed be the basis of a coherent and valuable metaphysics; as Coleridge immediately makes apparent it is also necessary to add further assumptions - such as that these forces are 'infinite' and 'indestructible'; in other words, eternally self-originating and self-sustaining. 

It is also necessary to add at least a further two similar factors; namely purpose and time; because to explain the phenomena of this world it is necessary to explain change, and necessary too to explain the direction (teleology) of change. 

Put together; these are the basis of Coleridge's Polar Metaphysics/ Polarity/ Polar Logic; which was his fundamental and most original philosophical idea - an idea never popular, seldom well-understood, yet nonetheless always retaining influence.

[Note: It should be noticed that Coleridge's Polarity is almost the opposite of what modern people mean by "polarization".] 

So, we get what amounts to a complex, abstract, dynamic, and difficult to conceptualize, explanatory scheme - with at least four elements.

Moreover; polarity a 'model' of reality that does not arise from common sense, and is utterly incomprehensible to children, or simple people, or those incapable of or unwilling to make sustained and concentrated effort. 

Thus; having grappled with Polar Metaphysics until I felt I did understand it - I still found it very difficult to explain, such that it was difficult to be sure I had genuinely understood it - or indeed that other people had understood it.

Furthermore; given that Polarity/ Polar Logic was associated by Coleridge by the idea of an animated universe: a reality in which nothing was "dead" or "mineral"; and instead everything was alive, conscious, purposive... 

Given this; the metaphysics of Polarity led to the strange and wrong-seeming necessity to explain organisms and other actual, concrete and experienced living beings, in terms of these abstract forces and tendencies...

This felt the wrong way round! Surely the primary reality was the living beings, and the abstract explanations are (merely) ways of conceptualizing their attributes? 

So, I decided to dispense with the abstractions of Polarity/ Polar Logic and start by assuming the primacy of "beings". 

It is such Beings (each, in some degree and to some extent - alive, conscious, purposive) that already-contain, inextricably, as of their ultimate nature, attributes that can be distinguished in terms of the categories of polarity.

It is Beings for which we assume attributes such as being 'infinite' and 'indestructible'; eternally self-originating and self-sustaining.  

Beings, in other words, are actual things (but including immaterial 'spiritual' things) that do not need to be 'explained' because each Beings has always been; and each Being has essential attributes by which (as we know from our experience of our-selves and other Beings) there can be change, even transformation - while remaining the same Being - while retaining its eternal identity.       

Therefore; I assume (I define) Beings as innately comprising all the needful aspects which might abstractly be considered as elements of Polarity. 

Beings are the primary categorical assumption of my metaphysics: Beings are how the universe of reality is (and always has-been) divided. 

To which must be added the possibility of relationships between these eternal Beings - and then, I think we have a far more concrete and comprehensible scheme than Coleridge's: yet one that can equally well Cause the world of intelligences with the whole system of their representations to rise up before you!


Monday 19 June 2023

The hope (not mine) of a divine negentropic/ alchemical redemption of this mortal life and world

As I have previous said, from reading the Fourth Gospel as well as the core sense of Christianity, I do not believe that Jesus Christ promised a Second Coming. On the contrary, I believe Jesus fully achieved everything he incarnated to achieve in a cosmological sense - in terms of changing reality; and that since ascension His role is to guide all who ask for His help, by the Holy Ghost. 

But a familiar worldly-Messianic project of redemption of this sinful and suffering mortal life, of Jesus returning to take-up kingship of a New and Purified this-world, seems to have been introduced into Christianity at an early stage - and continues. 

For such redemption to happen, this-world would need to be remade, in such a way that all that is evil and of-sin - including death - would be removed, purified, transformed; and only Good remain. 

This might be envisaged to happen all-at-once at the second coming; but there have always (I think) been some who saw this happening gradually, incrementally, a bit at a time. 

I first understood this in listening to lectures by Stanley Messenger in which he expounded the ideas of Rudolf Steiner. In this explanation, the spilled blood of the crucified Christ entered the substance of the Being that is planet earth; and initiated a process of transformation that could be explained in terms of alchemy and homoeopathy; and would lead eventually to the total redemption of earth and everything the dwells here. In the end (as I understand it) there would be a complete integration of all, into full accord with divine purposes. 

I have also come across what seems to me a variation of this basic idea in Philip K Dick's Exegesis; where he is discussing Jacob Bohme and AN Whitehead. PKD's version is that this reality began as dominated by chaos and continues as entropy. God began creation in this context; and there has since been a process by which creation gradually overtook chaos; in which negentropy incrementally overwhelms entropy... Until either at or by the Second Coming, the process is completed and all that is evil, destructive - all suffering and pain - is transformed into Goodness and Happiness. 

My above summaries are themselves of secondary sources, thus unreliable as to detail - but I offer them as the kind of thing that would need to happen if this mortal world were to be saved, redeemed, made into Heaven on Earth. In other worlds, all that is evil, all destructive change, all death - would need to be transformed into harmony with divine creation. 

And this transformation is regarded as something that will happen. It is not a matter of choice, but of processes acting-irresistibly-upon Beings. Evil and Sin are eliminated by being made good. 

Now - I regard this as both impossible - because evil cannot be made Good; and undesirable to Christians - because salvation must be chosen.  

More fundamentally; I do not believe that this is what will happen! I think it is a mistake to suppose that Jesus said he would make Heaven on earth, or by processes incrementally to transform mortal to immortal life. 

The real situation is much simpler; which is that evil and sin will not because cannot be eliminated in this world and mortal life; which is why we must die and be resurrected to enter the state of only-Goodness: we must be born again.  

Those, and only those, who choose resurrection (and allow/ embrace the necessary transformative changes to themselves) will be added to Heaven, will join Heavenly life - leaving-behind their sins and all evil; and from thence, living only by love. 

This mortal realm with its sins and evil will be left-behind; as a place for those who choose to hold to their sins and evil, and those who choose not to live wholly by love. 

Such must happen; in order that Heaven be possible; and it must happen because eternal Beings must dwell somewhere.

And if Beings do not want to dwell in Heaven, then they will remain in some part or variant of the mixed-world of this-world of mortality - where entropy and creation contend. 

Ultimately; there is no Duty to love God (an uncomfortable but necessary truth)

The developments of human consciousness over the past two thousand years have exposed what are often experienced as some uncomfortable truths about the Christian's ultimate relationship to God. 

At the time of Christ, Men did not experiences themselves as fully differentiated individuals - life was (to a significant, often large) extent; experienced as a group-member. 

And society was organized in the same way - men were classified by nation, tribe, caste, occupation, family-membership etc. -- and these relationships were mandatory and governed by duties on both sides. Duty was, indeed, a foundational virtue in such societies. 

The existentialist feeling, first articulated specifically in the early 21st century by Heidegger, of experiencing oneself as having been "thrown" into this world - without consent; seems to have been almost-entirely absent. Men came to consciousness already belonging "in" the world, in their situation; and accepting the duties thereof.

Duty was necessary (or, at least, expedient) because in a society thus organized; those who shirked their duties were coercively transferring responsibilities onto other Men's shoulders. 

The undutiful were parasitizing on the group - and thereby benefitting (perhaps thriving) at the expense of the dutiful. 

This leeching behaviour could not be allowed to expand beyond some small size, or else the group would inevitably be destroyed.  

In such societies the Christian religion, like other religions, was often treated as a matter of group membership. 

In Anglo Saxon or Viking England, when the King became Christian, it was felt to be natural and inevitable that all his subjects underwent mass baptism - and believed. Just as the warrior or peasant was bound to his Lord by bonds of mandatory duty, a duty which he would often embrace as his primary ethic; so he experienced the same kind of relationship with God.   

But over the past centuries, Men's minds have changed. Modern Man's consciousness Just Is extremely different. 

Men can, and often do, differentiate themselves from whatever group of which they find themselves members - or choose some other group with which to affiliate. Furthermore (especially in The West, but to some degree everywhere); there is little or no sense of duty in such relationships; and little reciprocity felt on either side. 

This decline of inner-duty has - in practice - had many deleterious effects; and will probably contribute to the destruction of Western civilization. Yet (as the other side of the same coin) these Western societies only exist and used-to thrive; as a consequence of the same changes in human consciousness away-from the group and towards individuality, that are now destroying them. 

But - to understand this ancient mind-set requires that - although we now know that duty and love can be separated (and indeed Just Are separated); for these Men of the past, the two quite naturally went together. 

This happened then in much the same way as it does even nowadays for (most) young children in close families: the young child conflates love of parents with duty to parents.

And the mother and father does the same with each child. Thus a loving mother of a baby would say it is her duty to feed and care for the child - but also she wants to do so; and, so long as love is constant, does not need to be coerced by a sense of duty. 

A loving mother would be annoyed and insulted if her care for her baby was assumed to be motivated by fear of laws, or a sense of duty to The State. 

In other words: love transcends duty

(And this is the core of the lesson for Christians.)

Love renders duty unnecessary - and indeed reveals duty to be an alien intrusion. 

And therein lies the rub! In practice; some mothers do not love their babies; and then her proper care may be imposed from externally - made a matter of enforced duty. 

And even the most loving of mothers - someone who has (insofar as this is possible) made as strong a commitment to love their child as she is capable of making - may find that there are times and situations when that love wavers; and then a sense of duty may be needed to 'step-in' temprarily until love resumes. 

Yet to place duty as the primary motivator for child-care instead of love - on the basis that in this mortal life love cannot always be relied-upon; is at best (and even when genuinely motivated for children's best interests - which is apparently very seldom to judge by the high rates of child neglect, abuse and exploitation in institutions) a social expedient. 

An expedient needed in this mortal life where sin contends with virtue - but far from ideal. 

Certainly duty is not the ideal basis for the best child care. We can easily imagine - and probably have experienced - a much better basis: namely love.

And this is why Christians should not - nowadays - discuss God in terms of duty. To the modern consciousness, this gives an utterly false picture of the desired nature of the relationship between God and each Man. 

This relationship between God and Man is ideally one of mutual love. 

On the side of God it is already one of constant and eternal love; and it is for each Man to choose whether or not he desires to return that love, to make love mutual. 

But, the tough truth is that love cannot be coerced; it must be given, over and again, moment-by-moment - and lower values such as duty, obligation, or avoidance of guilt, or expediency - should not be the basis of that love. 

And Christians should not urge them either - because that is to devalue our relationship with God. 

The same choice comes to all modern adolescents. After natural development (aided by social corruption) takes them to a point of detachment from parents, often a degree of hostility; the adolescents or young adults must choose whether or not to love their mothers and fathers. 

While dutiful behaviour can be externally imposed, to some degree, on adolescents and adults; and while they can can be psychologically manipulated by playing-upon negative feelings of duty, guilt etc; we readily recognize that this is ultimately counter-productive. 

Unless love is freely given from a positive impulse, from the depths of oneself, and by choice - it is just some kind of expediency - and not Christian. 

 And yet, at the same time, we recognize that in this mortal world of change, decay, death and evil; we cannot rely on love to be continuously active. We cannot be sure to hold-to eternal commitments in this mortal life.

We may be fooled by cunning evil-propaganda, warped by social pressures that we are too weak to withstand, become diseased, or broken by life... Many adverse possibilities may supervene. 

We can decide what we want here-and-now; but only make eternal commitments in and for the life to come after death. 

It was part of the gift of Jesus Christ to make this possible. He made it possible for us to choose the ideal of love, and by resurrection to enter a situation where all is regulated by love; because love is eternally mutual among all who dwell therein; and that love is unopposed by sin, by death, or by expediency. 

For such reasons, it seems to me that modern Christians should clarify their own understanding of this existential reality of the gratuitousness of love; and also grasp that while love may be our ideal in this mortal world...

Love can be (but can only be) full and everlasting in the resurrected life beyond death: in Heaven. 

And that is a world that has transcended duty. 

Sunday 18 June 2023

More on the spiritual experience of Direct-Knowing

The idea of Direct-Knowing has an important place in my understanding of the world; because I think it is the proper and best kind of 'spiritual experience' for the typical consciousness of a typical modern, Western Man.

Another important principle is that God wishes us to be active in our spiritual lives - to be conscious, to choose our direction. 

Because we live these mortal lives in order spiritually to learn (i.e. theosis) - and active learning is the most effective learning; when we meet life half-way, when we discern and interpret the lessons of experience. 

Active learning is indeed perhaps the only truly effective, kind of spiritual learning. Passive learning is unconscious, unchosen, and therefore essentially irrelevant to Christian theosis; because Christianity is an opt-in religion, and cannot be imposed. 

Real Christianity is not a social practice nor a habit; it must itself actively be chosen (sooner or later). 

Putting together direct-knowing with the principle of activity - I suggest that the usual way we experience direct-knowing is when we receive an intuitive affirmation of the validity* of some thought that we are currently thinking.

In other words, we ourselves must first think the thoughts

We - by our own efforts, or explorations, need to come-up with some kind of conceptual or factual knowledge - and this is 'directly' affirmed: it is endowed with a sense of valid insight. 

Direct-thinking is therefore not an emotion that accompanies a thought - it is a cognitive quality of validity... 

A recognition of such validity may be followed by an emotion, probably will; and this might be joy or excitement, or alternatively the emotions could also be shock or dread. But the apprehension of knowledge is separate from our emotional response to it.

Also; direct-knowing does not typically mean that we experience an 'alien' thought 'appearing' in the stream of our own thinking. 

More often the direct-thinking arises in the context of an ongoing stream of consciousness, which may be very mundane and non-valid - and the particular thought is plucked-out of" this stream. Emphasized. Highlighted. 

This is the necessity of spiritual striving; because - by reading, conversation, thinking, having particular experiences etc; we must firstly have the thoughts that become recognized as direct-knowing

*Validity does not mean necessarily-true (and, anyway, truth can only be conceptualized in a partial way, and the part is only a part of the whole creation). What is happening in direct-thinking is that there is a mind-to-mind contact; at that moment we are thinking the same thoughts as another Being. Most of our relationships is indirect, via communications that must be transmitted, received, interpreted... But with direct-knowing, we have the experience of knowing some-thing of another Being. The value of this knowing depends on the Being - but it is always valuable to know, rather than - as usual - to make indirect assumptions merely.

The character of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel

The author of the Fourth Gospel (who I believe to be the risen Lazarus) is the only person in the Bible who claims to be a witness of the last three years of Jesus's life and teachings, and a disciple. 

He is the only one who knew Jesus personally, loved and was loved-by him; and so is (presumably) the single person in the best position to provide a true account of Jesus's character during the period of his ministry, death and resurrection. 

In the first Chapters of the Fourth Gospel, there is initially more about John (the Baptist) than Jesus, and more of his words. 

Jesus only gradually gets-into the narrative from a few phrases of reported conversation with the disciples and his mother, and the account of the 'scourging' of the Temple; until the interaction with Nicodemus. 

Even from these snatches of conversation, it seems that Jesus is enigmatic, even mercurial. He does not answer direct questions; but instead responds with a further question, or a 'riddle' or a 'story'. 

This, together with the violent actions at the temple, depict Jesus as a confrontational personality: very much "in your face", regardless of whoever he is currently interacting with.  

But there is another side: Jesus as Prophet. These prophetic utterances are often prefaced with "Verily, Verily, I say unto you..."

The first is during the meeting with Nathaniel in Chapter One: Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man

Jesus here introduces the term "Son of man" for himself*. Again we can see that - even when teaching directly - by modern standards Jesus's speech is what we moderns might term poetic or symbolic (i.e. it means more than it says, and means several things at once). 

The truth of such prophetic statements is occult: i.e. hidden, non-obvious to mundane understanding. Thus; when teaching spiritually, Jesus employs a spiritual - unworldly, unpractical - form of language.   

Then, in Chapter 3, when when Jesus meets Nicodemus, we get a great outpouring of such vatic teachings. 

We get, indeed, the essence of Jesus's work and message distilled in its entirety

And different versions of this core-teaching recur several times throughout this Gospel - sometimes encapsulating in a verse or two; sometimes in an extended parable-teaching, such as "the feeding of the five thousand" or The Good Shepherd. 

The impression of Jesus as a character in the Fourth Gospel is very striking indeed! 

He is volatile, unpredictable, moody; fearless, elusive, direct, kind, harsh, empathic, highly intellectual, simple like a child - each as he discerns that the occasion demands. 

(A word for this personality type in the classical-medieval astrological system is "Mercurial" : as described by CS Lewis in The Discarded Image, and explicated by Michael Ward in The Narnia Code.)

And then Jesus may suddenly - as it were - stand tall and speak from the great prophetic heights of one who is the 'only begotten Son of God".

...Which I take to mean the first and only among all of God's children who fully understands, and is in full accord-with The Creator's divine purposes and will. 

The One who is uniquely capable of offering a path to all men, all those who are (unlike himself) 'sinners - out-of-accord with God and desirers of death... 

Offering all such men a path to everlasting life on the far side of death when they are Born Again; all this by the simple act of 'believing on' Him! That is (approximately) knowing who He is, and following him to Heaven - but after death, by being 'born-again' or resurrected:

[16] For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [17] For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. [18] He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

The "already" of to be "condemned already", means that this is not a threat of punishment - but a rescue from the otherwise inevitable fate of men before the time of Jesus: which was to die and descend, as discarnate "ghosts", to witless and depersonalized mere-existence in Sheol/ Hades/ the underworld. 

(There to await the coming of Jesus, and the coming of choice.)

Hell only emerged after Jesus, because Hell is the choice of those who know, but reject and oppose Jesus's offer and gift of resurrected eternal Heavenly life - which is a very different matter from passively having-imposed the default state of Sheol. 

* Chapter 3: [12] If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? [13] And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. [14] And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: [15] That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 

Jesus is here saying, in vatic-poetic mode - that he himself is the Son of man who 'ascended up to Heaven' - when baptized by John and becoming fully-divine albeit mortal; having come 'down from heaven' as a man in perfect accord with God the Father; and therefore 'which is in heaven' even as he speaks with Nicodemus (heaven being a place or state of those Beings whose natures are in full and eternal harmony with God's creative will).  

Note added: It is often said that Jesus wants us to become more like him. The implication is that we ought to behave more like Jesus; model our behaviour on that of Jesus. I don't see it, it would anyway be impossible; and I do not believe it is true. Jesus wants us to believe-on and to follow him - but surely not to behave like him, nor have characters like his character. The essence of Christianity is resurrection, which is a wholly-good and eternal restoration of our-self! Heaven is full of unique characters, each contributing something unique hence vital: not populated by Jesus-copies! (Which would, if true, be redundant and render eternal life futile.)  

Saturday 17 June 2023

Christianity in time, in history

I was reading a chapter by RJ Reilly called "A note on Barfield, romanticism and time"; in the 1976 Owen Barfield Festschrift "The Evolution of Consciousness" - in which Reilly begins by making some striking and insightful points about the fact that Christianity is located in history, posits a sequence of events that are changes, and a goal (i.e. resurrection, everlasting Heavenly life). 

It would seem obvious that the metaphysical roots, its most most fundamental assumptions, would include 'time' - not Time as some kind of separable abstract entity; but time inextricably woven into the basic assumed realities of Christianity.

Yet (as Reilly's chapter goes on to describe) many Christians - especially among philosophers and theologians - have felt it necessary to root Christianity in the Time-less and the unchanging. This decision - sooner or later, somewhere or another - leads to a contradiction; whereby the historical, sequential nature of Christianity meets-up with its supposed eternal but unchanging ground. 

The contradiction may linguistically be reframed - as a paradox, mystery, polarity, or whatever; but I regard these tactics as ultimately hypnotic word-spells, intended to stop-thinking. 

It is extremely rare to come-across a Christian who accepts what I regard as the necessity to base Christianity in ultimate metaphysical explanations that sustain the need for history, sequence, change, a goal...  

Barfield himself was Not one of these Christians. He continued to try and ground time-located/ directed Christianity in "the unchanging" - he merely attempted this in a different place and with a different terminology; but with the same contradiction (as indeed there must always be since a situation of change and no-change cannot be combined). 

This feeling that changelessness, no-time, is The ultimate reality - permeates Eastern Religion in general, and much of Western - such as Platonism and its developments - but it is in practice an "elite" concern. It seems that intellectuals - because of their propensity to speak and write in abstractions; are perhaps disposed to assume that such timeless and general entities are ultimate; and/or to regard the final goal of life as one of unchanging spiritual bliss - including an end to the thinking which is both the distinction and the curse of being an intellectual. 

The contradiction between the eternal and unchanging, and life, is necessarily found in all religions that include no-time as a fundamental assumption; although it varies where and how this contradiction is manifest. In Christianity, the contradiction undercuts the simplicity and clarity of understanding what Jesus did and taught. In Hinduism and Buddhism, the contradiction is instead between theory and practice - because the theory states that life is irredeemably worthless in its entirety.

Yet these are religions - making many discernments of values and practice, and having elaborate rituals, requirements, symbolism etc. There are all kinds of hypnotic word-spells that purport to join-together the time-less and time-bound; but they are psychological manipulations, not genuine understanding. 

Children, tribal peoples, and simple folk often have a very different way of talking about such things - yet typically implicit and unconscious; which is rooted in the assumption that the world is made of Beings - living, conscious, purposive Beings; that change and may transform, but can neither be created nor destroyed: they Just Are, and Always Have Been.

There never has been any good reason why Christianity shouldn't share exactly this 'primitive, Beings-based metaphysics - but explicitly rather than unconsciously and by implication; yet the first known person to understand Christianity in this apparently obvious and common-sensical fashion seems to have been Joseph Smith (the Mormon prophet) from about 1830!  

Neither Barfield, nor Steiner his Master, knew anything about Mormon theology, and did not make this inference on their own - so both remain captive to the contradiction. 

I regard it as a serious weakness of Christianity that the class of intellectuals and theologians have (like those of other religions) violated and over-written the innate and spontaneous assumptions about reality, with which we all came into the world; and replaced them with something that does not make sense.

Presumably, we are all intrinsically capable of recovering our original unconscious child's understanding, of making it conscious to our adult minds, and choosing to accept it as true.  

That sounds simple and easy, but the rarity with which it is achieved suggests that - although it may indeed be simple - it is not easy. 

Metaphysics never is easy to do; which is why our Western world is so deeply and widely corrupted, and still getting worse. 

Friday 16 June 2023

A (very) brief history of (my) theology

To supplement what I recently wrote about my philosophy - I will do the same for my Christian theology. 

After I became a Christian, I spent about five years - having initially been strongly influenced in my conversion by CS Lewis's "Mere" Christianity; exploring the varieties of classical theology - Anglican-protestant/ evangelical (Stott, Packer etc), Anglo-Catholic, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox.

Before finally settling-upon Mormon metaphysical theology and philosophy, as the framework for my Christianity. 

(Note: This is little known at all - even among Mormons - and ignored, contradicted, or overwritten by a good deal of the dominant Mormon doctrine, discourse, and practice.)

Within a couple of years I had substantially modified, extended and supplemented this by considerations drawn from William Arkle and Owen Barfield (and Barfield's mentor: Rudolf Steiner).

The process was, pretty much, finished - for the time being at least - some five years ago; by my time spent focusing on reading and re-reading the Fourth Gospel, with the attitude that it was the first and most authoritative source of information on Jesus's life and teachings. 

The resulting schema was then made simpler and more coherent (as I conceive such things) by introducing my own conviction of a wholly-living/ conscious/ purposive created-reality; constituted by Beings - understood to be the primary and eternal realities of existence; and the relations between Beings as what provides the structure of known reality. 

Thursday 15 June 2023

Spiritual prepping: The fable of the ant and the locusts

While it is certainly provident to be prepared for short term or focused disasters or discontinuities in The System; the commonly expressed notion of 'prepping' is delusional nonsense when it comes to the kind of societal/ civilizational collapse that threatens The West (and probably The World). 

The preppers see themselves as the ants in Aesop's fable of the ants and the grasshopper. When times get tough, the ants will eat their supplies and the 'good-time' grasshopper will sing until he starves to death. 

But this fable has it that there is only one grasshopper and plenty of ants; whereas the equivalent in The West is a just a few ants, often just one ant - but a vast swarm of locusts

The fable of the ant and the locusts; raises the question of whether the vast swarm of locusts will immediately lie down and die of starvation - leaving the ant to subsist on his stores and build a new world. 

Or whether the locust swarm will immediately eat all the supplies of the ant at their first feelings of serious hunger; and probably eat the ant himself. 

Some preppers make a big deal of their supplies of 'guns and ammo' - but the locusts have plenty of those too, and vastly outnumber the ant. 

And some of the chief locusts also have bombs and rockets; and locusts will support their own kind. 

As I have said before, if things get really tough - as I believe they will; then prepping will merely serve to keep the locusts alive for a little bit longer.  

A Man should not aspire to be a metaphorical ant! - concerned only with bodily survival and reproduction; survival for what can only be a little bit longer, because all shall and should die. 

The 'prepping' we, each of us, absolutely need to do is spiritual - not physical; and that means being able to discern, detect, and understand the difference between the sides of Good and evil.

And it means knowing when, on a timescale of eternity; there are more important things than staying-alive for a bit longer than one's improvident neighbours

Furthermore: if/ when your faith in God is strong; you will realize that the perceived material realm is (merely) a sub-set of the spiritual; and that a single Man whose thinking, striving and choosing are in spiritual harmony with God; has a far more powerfully-beneficial effect on The World - than any conceivable number of well-armed but dubiously-motivated ants ever would or could. 

Self-accusations of "wishful thinking" versus honesty

One of the reasons that it is so important here-and-now (it was not always thus) for Modern Man to recognize that all possible knowledge relies on fundamental (metaphysical assumptions) that ought-to-be intuitively endorsed -- is that otherwise we can be so dishonest with ourselves, that our entire belief-system becomes distorted and incoherent. 

A specific instance is my own - pre-Christian - decades-long belief that death brought a total annihilation of body, mind... everything about a person. Any suggesting of anything personal (or a soul or spirit) that survived death - was blocked as obviously as wishful thinking. 

The dishonesty was that I actually had some such assumption myself. If I was honest with myself, I assumed that at least some people in some way continued after death.

But, because I regarded this as wishful thinking; I dishonestly denied this conviction of mine. 

Another example was about morality. As is very common, I would come across people doing some thing or another to themselves; which my official utilitarian secular ethics said 'did nobody any harm' - and therefore was not-wrong... 

And yet - if I was honest - I could not shake-off the intuitive conviction that it was wrong. I assumed (wishfully?) that my own moral sense in this instance was merely socially-inculcated, and therefore meant nothing. 

Therefore, I dishonestly denied my own unshakeable moral conviction that this particular self-act was wrong; at the price of obliterating the validity of all my moral convictions. 

Because, after all, why had I assumed that acts done-to-oneself were necessarily morally neutral; whereas acts done to others were the sole proper domain of morality? What was that principle based-upon? 

Was it not just-as arbitrary, just -s socially-inculcated, to say that morality was only about acts affecting others, as the unshakeable feeling that private acts were morally significant? 

You see how dishonesty-to-oneself is used to deal with moral incoherence, with value=-incoherence in general?  

And perhaps you also see that all values eventually reach a terminus at which we each, as individuals, must make an 'intuitive' evaluation, about what we personally regard as Good and True? 

That our values are always, at root, our own responsibility - and that attempts to deny this are dishonest? 

And perhaps, too, you may see how corrosive to Good and True values it may be, when one tries to deny this; that people can only deny it by lying to themselves about themselves - and how doing this will always have destructive consequences that will tend to ramify under-cover of this dishonesty? 


Note added: Dishonesty with oneself is commonest among the mainstream materialist ideology of the West; but is also found among those who are "lifestyle religious" - those who regard the Main Thing about religion as being particular behaviours. 

Further note: Honesty must be distinguished from 'doubt'. There is a state of modern 'doubt' that paralyses and causes despair. It often seeks relief in dishonest certainty; attained by surrender to arbitrary external authority - that is: from expediency masquerading as conviction. 

But doubt may also lead to simple despair, and a desire for self-annihilation. It is therefore vital to realize that honest conviction rooted in fundamental intuition is distinct from 'certainty' - especially when certainty is assumed to entail something-like 100% correctness with zero possibility of error. 

The search for such certainty as pre-condition for 'belief' - the insistence upon a situation clearly impossible in this mortal world - is a chimera; a trap set by evil. 

Yet while certainty is indeed a snare; solid conviction sufficient to live - or die - by; is attainable by anyone who is honest with himself, and who pursues his surface beliefs to their intuitively-endorsed roots.