Monday 31 July 2023

What happens after death to those who reject resurrection?

What happens after death to those who reject resurrection? 

I find this an endlessly fascinating question, and one I feel impelled to return to; especially when I remember to take into account that everybody is, ultimately, an unique individual; and there is no reason why all unique humans should fall into a fixed number of categories. 

As I have often said; the first approximation is that what happens after death depends on what we want and choose. God "gives us what we want". 

But this applies primarily to our subjective experience after death - i.e. it is our post-mortal subjective experience that God gives us. 

So that those who want not-to-exist, that is who want to have themselves annihilated (as is the case for many atheists), will have that experience of annihilation. 

In other words, they will cease to be aware of their own existence; despite that (as I assume) beings are eternal and cannot be annihilated (although they can and do change, transform).

Those do not want to be resurrected (and dwell in the state of Heaven); but want to remain self-aware as spirits; will (I think) get what they want. But then the question arises as to where they go as spirits, and what they do?  

Some spirits become demons, and return to earth to do that stuff. Others seem to reject leaving earth in the first place, and after death of the body voluntarily remain 'attached' to the material in some way as what we call ghosts

Others who choose to reject resurrection and remain as spirits; seem mainly to be motivated by a desire to avoid all suffering, to rule-out all negative experience - they seek 'peace', 'bliss', non-being yet not to the degree of annihilation of awareness. They often also seek a kind of universal awareness (oneness), of a contemplative and passive kind; such that ideally they want to experience everything as Good, but not intervene, and not create (because that would be to add something from oneself, and would imply that reality was ultimately incomplete). 

My guess is that they would gravitate towards some kind of impersonal and abstract communion with God the Creator; but not recognizing God as a person; instead regarding God as a deity - as abstract tendencies and properties. In other words, these souls would take the side of creation (and therefore oppose Satan and the demons) - but by regarding creation as an abstract direction. 

Such an idea lies behind Platonism, Neo-Platonism (and their descendants) and the Life Force (and other names) which was popular among some intellectuals of the late 19th, early 20th century; and was seen as embodying positive values such as consciousness, intelligence, creativity - but in an abstract and impersonal way that 'used' Beings, and ultimately would discard Beings such as to exist in a purely spiritual, immaterial, ideal way. 

Then there are those who choose to be reincarnated, for what are apparently quite a wide range of reasons. By their own accounts; some who choose reincarnation just don't want to die from mortal life, and therefore they just want to repeat the experience of living. While others seek further mortal experiences, with the hope of learning more by having different kinds of experience. 

Some would-be reincarnators apparently regard reality as a test; and each incarnation as imposed upon them; as punishment from failure or a challenge to do better. Such a reality/ universe may be unchanging - or else cyclical  

By contrast; from what is known of hunter-gatherer tribal peoples; they seem to want to be reincarnated within a known circle of beings that include humans (mostly genetic relatives) and also some kinds of animals - or maybe even other more remote kinds of being (what we would term' vegetable' or 'mineral'). 

This comes from a perspective that sees the world, reality, as a fixed thing within-which energies cycle and Beings transform, so there is never an exact repetition yet everything - overall- remains the same. 

I have classified people above, but my exact understanding is that individual persons may want individual outcomes. Within these many and various individual outcomes there is the great division between those who take the side of God and creation, and those who oppose them. 

Christians are those who both take the side of God and creation; and also choose resurrection into Heaven. So, this means that in principle there are (many) ways of being on the right side, but not being a Christian.

But that is in principle, and not in practice. In practice - it seems to me that people are lying to themselves, and trying to fool themselves on a massive scale. They are telling other people, and glibly reassuring themselves that Of Course they want X - yet their lives and opinions suggest that they really want something else altogether. 

In particular, it seems to me that extremely few people really want the Christian destination of resurrection into Heaven. 

We first need to be honest with ourselves about what we really want - in an unconscious and habitual way.

And then - having brought to conscious and explicit awareness what has previously been unconscious and implicit  - we further need to decide whether that is really what we want for our-selves - on a timescale of eternity

Sin often deceives us by short-termism, and selfishness; and the deception works by an unexamined and automatic assumption that what we want in the short term will be what we want forever; and by the assumption that gratifying our purely selfish pleasures and personally avoiding suffering, will suffice as an entire way of living.

With this situation, it is a very pure and ideal form of choice we will make - it is not a matter of what we can manage to achieve among the problems and limitations of mortal life. It is simply a decision. 

Decisions rely upon motivations, and motivations are a fact. In this mortal life, weak motivations are useless - our behaviours is a product of strong motivations.  

But in eternal life; we may choose to endorse and live by our weak motivations: this is part of the gift of Jesus Christ.

Jesus made it so that we can choose our weak motivations as the basis for eternal life. We may be (most people are) dominated by sinful motivations, by selfishness, hedonism, spitefulness... But we can choose to recognize these as sins and repent them; which means that we leave them behind at resurrection, discard them in order to enter the state of Heaven.   

This, then, is something we can do now, with some reasonable hope that it will effect our 'final' decision after death. We can see our situation clearly - both in terms of the possibilities, and in terms of our real selves, and across the open-ended timescale of eternity. 

The powers of evil, that are hostile to divine creation, operate by keeping us unconscious of such distinctions, by inducing people to regard their own here-and-now inclinations as the best guide to eternal choices. 

And then the powers of evil work (tirelessly, across many human generations) to fill our unconscious motivations and habits with a mish-mash of selfishness, impulsivity, hedonism, fear, resentment, despair and all manner of 'sins' which share the tendency to make that 'final', post-mortal choice one that will serve the agenda of evil - and not what would be best for us in an eternal timescale. 

So often in modern life, the crucial requirement is to become aware of that which is unconscious, and to understand matters from the proper and larger perspective - in a situation where the opposite is encouraged and enforced.  

Such a framework will then interact with our own individual real nature; such that it is hardly to be expected that everyone will make the same choice; or that everyone will choose resurrection. 

Yet it may be that many of the other choices are being made on the basis of misunderstandings, or of too short-termist and selfish a consideration; without adequate thought: that is, on the basis of wrong understandings, from incomplete and false information. 

God will - broadly speaking - give each Being what he wants after death: where 'wants' is understood in personal-experiential terms, and so that it does not interfere with the salvation choices of other Beings. 

Yet that question of "what we really want", includes considering whether we really want it; and whether it is really 'us' that wants

This is where our hard spiritual work ought to be focused - in terms of conscious clarification and truthful consideration. And this is something that cannot be imposed, only encouraged; but we can only do this voluntarily, by and for ourselves.  

Sunday 30 July 2023

Christianity: complexity versus simplicity

Traditional and orthodox church-based Christianity is extremely complex; and so are many of the 'occult' forms of Christianity involving graded initiations, rituals, symbolic systems, and training of the mind. Indeed, in a generic sense; traditional churches and occult Christianity can be seen as variations on the same theme: aiming-at the same endlessly-complex way-of-living as a Christian.

There are many advantages in making Christianity endlessly complex! 

For instance, such Christianity is inexhaustible, there is always something else to do - indeed always many possible things to do; so that the complex-Christian can always find something to do to suit every mood and circumstance. 

So what the complex Christian 'needs to do' is always far greater than what he has-done or could-do. There is scripture to study, and liturgy and other rituals in which to participate. There are many forms of prayer to be learned and practiced - some of these very difficult, some very tough. There are ascetic practices, and celebrations. There is a vast world of scholarship - learning Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Aramaic; individually and comparatively with historical context... There is history, archaeology - and these stretch over many places and times going back thousands of years. And there is a massive world of socio-politics in relation to the church - from the international and geopolitical to local congregational matters and everything in between. There are intellectual and abstract matters of theology and philosophy; and there are matters of personality and relationships...

The above only sketches out the limitless complexity of "Christian living" as it is conceived by many of its major representative institutions; and traditionally through most of history. 

What all these share in common is an emphasis on the external location of Christian life. The complexity creates an external world which the Christian inhabits. Much of the power lies externally, and therefore 'happens-to' the individual Christian. 

In a sense, the Christian invests himself (potentially without limit, because there is always more-to-do) into this external and complex world, in order to be able to draw-upon it: in order to be positively affected by-it. 

Furthermore; Christians can share in this external world - it forms a tangible and material link between Christians; and via this physical instantiation of Christianity, individual Christians and group-Christianity both relate to all the activities of society and culture generally. 

There is no aspect of culture that cannot, in this way, be linked with Christianity: politics, the military, law, the arts, science, education... In principle, there are (or can be) Christian aspects and relations of all these. 

When Christianity is thus complex and external, everything in the world is a part of it; and can be seen to be a part of it by all participants. 

But this conceptualizing of Christianity as external and complex carries several disadvantages - both innately and in current/ modern practice. 

The current/ modern practice is that - because this kind of Christianity is external and complex; it has been infiltrated, subverted, and then destroyed or inverted in multiple ways and from multiple directions simultaneously - such that the major churches have all been enlisted in the mainstream, secular, leftists and totalitarian agenda. 

This was evident during early 2020, when church leadership willingly (avidly) suspended the core activities of their churches - without time limitations. 

But even if the churches had not been corrupted and conscripted; there are still innate problems with the idea of Christian living as ultra-complex and externally located. 

There is a price to pay for the many advantages listed above; and that price is the habitual subordination of our self to external influences and causes, to external powers

Whenever there is an intermediate between our-selves and God, or the divine in any manifestation, then that intermediate has power over us: whether than intermediate be symbol, ritual, hierarchy, scholarship, intellectual discipline, learned abilities, or whatever. 

Although complex-external Christianity does not exclude direct, personal and experiential aspects; these are subordinated-to (embedded-in) the complex forms. Thus the experiential aspects are intermittent (because there is So Much else that must be done); and therefore the Christian often lives from memory, rather than in the here and now.

And vast complexity ties each Christian to the mundane

...The experienced consciousness is held in the mundane stance, for all of the time that a Christian is participating in that huge range and intricacies of the "Christian world". 

In a nutshell; the problem with complex-external Christianity is that it is mostly (indeed, nearly-all) discourse about-God, about-Jesus, and about-... everything else that it includes. It is largely secondhand. It leaves the central 'problem' of Life untouched. 

What Christians most need (and often crave) is not mundane discourse about God but experience-of God; and we desire that this be continuous not intermittent; here-and-now and not mere memories that we once-upon-a-time had such experience.  

What we need and want is somewhat like a young child's relationship with his living and loving parents. 

The child ideally (and sometime in practice) experiences that parental love as a continuous factor in his life; ever-present; confident and trusting; a background, a safety-net, an enfolding medium through-which the child moves. 

So, this represents a simple and inner-derived, experiential Christian path through life, to contrast with the complex and external. 

Such a simple path is rooted in knowing the nature and motivations of God - who is creator of this world and strands towards us as a loving parent. 

The inner Christian path is based in having a loving relationship with this God; primarily individual, but also as member of a family of Christians.

And the relevant Christian spiritual activity is directed towards recovering this primal simplicity; discovering, clarifying, and choosing, this loving and personal relationship: recovering it when we go astray.  

Complex external Christianity aims to steer us through life by means of multitudinous sources of guidance - some exact, other generic and with rules of extrapolation/ interpolation. 

Simple and inner Christianity works instead from a strong sense of God's nature, motivations, purposes, and love - and that which is divine with each-of-us -- and it is prayerful meditation directed towards such personal "sources" which provides needful guidance... When that is not already obvious. 

Saturday 29 July 2023

Why do Christian theologians so-much want God to be "unchanging", when He obviously isn't and can't be?

It is a kind of obvious common sense that the Christian God must be responsive to us. 

And to respond is to change

Yet it is a Big Thing - and apparently has been since not-long-after the ascension of Jesus - that God should be unchanging, always the same. 

This is asserted all over the place among theologians, by Catholics and Protestants; yet it is clearly nonsense in terms of our relationship with God... So why is the idea such a dogmatic obsession?  

Why? To cut my answer short, the reason is that theologians are (and - it seems - always have been) captives of their own philosophical categories inherited from the ancient Greeks and Romans; which see the alternatives as a thing changing or not-changing, and can therefore see no way that God's identity as God can be maintained except by His never-changing. 

But this way of regarding identity is not the one which we were born believing, and not how we assume identity through time

Instead; we regard someone as staying the same person when they continuously exist.

My mother was my mother throughout her mortal life and beyond, despite whatever transformations her mind or body may undergo (development, ageing, dying, resurrection); so long as she continuously remains that person. 

She can respond to my needs; and be changed by these interactions - yet she still remains herself. 

Analogously; there is no reason to assume that God must not change in order to remain the entity, the being, the person that is God.  

What of nature, in particular of Goodness? There may be a concern that is God could change open-endedly in response to His interactions with Men and creation; then he might sooner-or-later cease to be Good? 

But that is only so in this mortal life, where our natures are partly sinful and our motivations are mixed. 

Christians believe that God is wholly Good by nature and in His motivations - and there is zero reason why God's characteristic and defining nature and motivations should change as a consequence of interactions - no matter how much God is changed by the interactions.  

As usual, I trace the problem down to fundamental metaphysical assumptions; and to the too-common inability to recognize when we are assuming, and when what is assumed could be different in reality. 

So long as people decide (assume) that all valid metaphysical possibilities have necessarily been captured by previous generations of philosophers and theologians, and our job as Christians is simply to choose between them -- then we remain trapped by their errors, omissions, limitations - and any differences in consciousness they had from us.

I contend that Men are spontaneously wiser than they realize, and in particular we come into this world with the divine gift of a broadly-correct understanding of its basic nature - for example, the assumptions that the world is alive and conscious ("animism"), and that our thinking interacts with the world. 

After all; why wouldn't God provide His children with broadly-correct assumptions built-in? 

It seems an obvious necessity. 

Thus ordinary Men have often been wiser than theologians; and lived Christianity truer and more-Good than than the often unloving, impersonal, Christianity of the theologians. 

Ordinary Christians have always known that God is changed by us, just as parents are changed by their children. This is not a problem - indeed it is absolutely necessary for the Christian God. A God who is not changed by His children is imaginable, and indeed such an understanding of God is common now and has-been through history. But this is not the Christian God. 

The Art of the Recorder - 1975 LP by David Munrow et al

Here is a treat for you! - a record that I borrowed from the Bristol record library back in 1975, and recorded on cassette tape for my own usage (except for the modern music at the end) - long since lost or broken, alas. 

It has many gems featring recorder as solo, in ensemble, or as obbligato, spanning several centuries - including such songs as "Sheep may safely graze" sung by Norma Burrowes, Robert Lloyd singing "Ruddier than the cherry", Martyn Hill doing a Shakespeare song by Arne, and James Bowman's superb rendering of Esurientes from Bach's Magnificat. These are all singers that I enjoyed 'in real life over' the next few years; and indeed I once sang in a choir for which Martyn Hill was the tenor soloist. 

This LP was also where I first came across that absolute gem by Bach featuring a pair of recorders, which I have twice featured on this blog. 

David Munrow was an important figure in my development of appreciation for "early music", and early classical music - both through his playing of various wind instruments; and from his scholarly and educational activities on vinyl and via TV and radio. He committed suicide in his thirties, almost out-of-the-blue, apparently; but the suicide was never mentioned at the time, and I never understood why he had died so young, until several years later. 

I retain a special fondness for the Treble Recorder, which has an unique, innate, plaintive and yearning quality. It was reintroduced to classical music in Germany, especially by Arnold Dolmetsch - but I always found Dolmetsch's playing to be rather constipated and lacking inspiration. 

It took Munrow to 'free' the recorder from the smoke of academicism - where it now basks openly!

Friday 28 July 2023

When motivations are double-negative, the world cannot help but be a nasty place

I am sometimes astonished by people's blindness to the obvious fact that their whole lives are based on double-negative motivations; and that therefore they can only motivate themselves to get-through life, by maintaining a continuous state of frothing anger and seething resentment...

And then they develop a scheme of inverted values by-which this state of angry resentment is regarded as right, proper, praiseworthy!

Of course; in this totalitarian-secular world, where all major institutions are left-affiliated - double-negativity is inevitable, since that is the basis and nature of leftism

But, sadly, a great deal of Christianity (as well as other religions) is also mostly negative and oppositional in its theology, hence its motivations

So we are all surrounded by encouragements to base our lives on negativity, on oppositions; and to value only this...

What eventuates is a public, social, political, media world in a waxing-and-waning (but never-ending) frenzy of opposition to... something or another (mostly or wholly made-up, invented, manipulated)...

And this being resisted and opposed by Christians on a point-by-point basis; such that the end-result is a Christianity of triple-negation! 

(That is, group Christian life substantially consists of Christians opposing the secular-leftists, who are themselves motivated by one or many of the oppositional leftist ideologies such as socialism, feminism, racism, climate change, healthism, anti-Fire-Nationism...)

And public discourse is consequently oppositional in nature - consisting of ginning-up personal disputes, and escalating the interpersonal rhetoric; presumably in an attempt at avoiding self-awareness of the sheer flimsiness, feebleness and radical incoherence of one's own motivations.

This has been going-on for more than three decades even in science, and for more than sixty years in general culture; and so most people know nothing different. They apparently imagine that such spiteful scapegoating and schoolboy scrapping always has been the underlying nature of discourse on ideas, morality and the purpose of life. 

In such a world; a serious Christian who engages in public discourse will be corrupted by the process - one way or another: either by its becoming a demonstration of ritualized submission of Christianity to leftism; or else by him being dragged into the melee of name-calling, face-scratching and hair-pulling enacted as spectacle in front of a contrived media-cheerleading audience and its dopey addicts. 

Luckily for Christians, none of this is necessary. The powers of evil are very concerned to distract Christians from, or to deny, the spiritual power and effectiveness of the single soul. Very concerned to corral and corrupt the single soul, by insisting Christianity is only valid when engaged in group or corporate activity.  

Yet, on the contrary; any individual who achieves clarity in his thinking, clarifies thinking for Mankind. Any Man who is well-motivated, even for ten minutes!, creates a positive spiritual template for others. Someone that seeks and attains guidance from his real-divine self or from the Holy Ghost, makes it easier for this to be repeated by himself and others

All true thinking makes possibilities and alters the balance of powers. 

Why? Because although our experience is one of alienated consciousness and solitude, the fact is that all Men are spiritually 'linked' in vital respects - or, more exactly, Men share in a condition of inhabiting a "spiritual thought-world" - a world of mutual knowing and interactions.

Ancient tribal Men knew this innately - and lived by it; and we each personally spontaneously used-to know this as young children - we knew that some of our thoughts could be known by others, and that we could know the thinking of others; that we were never alone, that our dreams and thoughts potentially affected the world for better, or worse. 

CG Jung got it partly-right but distorted, with the Collective Unconscious - his basic point that we inhabit a kind of spiritual underworld was correct; and that this accounts for the very possibility of communication and knowledge.  

The personal is political; but not by material means (as leftists suppose) but because 'the spiritual' is public - potentially.  

In 'making the world a better place', or indeed in helping a neighbour; it is not just that we don't need to use the material mechanisms of human society - but that these mechanisms thwart betterment, and twist it to evil ends. 

The only proper reason for public discourse (like this!) is insofar as it contributes towards personal clarity and strengthens positive motivations

That work is done by the spiritual act of composition; as the benefit of thinking is done by the spiritual act of having right-thoughts. The achievement is at that point - and not by the later possibility of its physical spread and 'influence' of words, images, concepts...

We really do not need to worry about access to media or the levers of power; about accuracy or misrepresentation; about communication, about persuasion, about winning (fake) arguments! 

(Indeed we must not worry about such things - because such things work precisely by the corrosive effect of such worry. Worry about the material manifestation of communications is therefore a sin, that requires to be recognized and repented. Writers and other public discoursers need to be aware of this, or else the spiritual good of their activity will be undone, and they will be corrupted by their activities: as is so often evident.) 

We 'only' need to take care of our side of things! 

Anything we say that is right and Good will (insofar as it is helpful) be taken-up and woven into ongoing-creation by God. 

Anything we think right; any needful discernment, any repentance or other decision to reject an evil, will have its positive effect on the spiritual world. 

Since Modern man is blind and insensible; Our first and most important job is to become aware: to understand, become conscious, make the right choices and clarify our desire to follow Jesus Christ, for resurrection into Heaven, to live eternally and Sons and Daughter of God. 

Nothing is more important than this, nothing is more effective.

Everything we require for the job is supplied us; nothing else is needed that what we have and can get; and nothing external can stop us from doing the job. 

Thursday 27 July 2023

Creativity in Christianity, and the problem of suffering

Creativity means bringing original (i.e. originating is us) thinking from one's own self to problems -- not, therefore, merely mix-and-matching among what (we suppose) others to have said on the problem. 

And the big problem for Christians, in the past couple of centuries, has been the problem of suffering. 

It is a real eye-opener to realize just how Big a problem suffering has been. I've been re-reading Robert Frost's poems and biographies lately, and he was yet-another Christian of recent engagement (Philip K Dick was another) who expended decades of serious effort (trying-out this and that scheme or suggestion) in trying to understand the problem of suffering in this mortal life on earth; and without ever attaining a satisfactory or satisfying solution. Or even one an answer that was clear and comprehensible, and avoided confusion and contradiction. 

This strikes me as a pretty damning failure - at least for Christianity as it has been conceptualized whether traditionally, or in more 'modern' way -- and it applies too, to 'Old Testament'-dominated Christians (like Frost) - who end-up with a God who barely resembles that described and exemplified by Jesus Christ; but instead an incomprehensible tyrant who (in practice) inverts the truth that God is Love, to the opposite of "Love is God" (that is, the un-Christian assertion that whatever 'God' does is Love by definition - and without regard to Man's understanding and experiences of Love). 

When intelligent and creative people grapple for many years with a problem they fail to solve and yet - by its nature - is one that needs to be solved by every Christian*; this, for me, is prima facie evidence that they are clinging to at least one false fundamental-assumption that is blocking what would otherwise be a straightforward solution.  

(*I'd have thought it was obvious that every Christian needs to be able to understand why a wholly-Good God who is the creator; permits suffering, including (apparent) extreme suffering and early deaths innocents such as young children, in this world. This is not trivial, and it needs a solution that is clear and satisfying - or else, loss of faith in such a God is logical, perhaps entailed.) 

My answer is that these creative and intelligent people have applied their intelligence but not their creativity to the problem! 

In other words, they have accepted the problem as defined by their predecessors, instead of evaluating the formulation of the problem. 

A wrongly-formulated problem is insoluble, no matter what intelligence and resources are applied to it; while a well-formulated problem is always soluble when that solution is necessary to salvation (because that's the way that a Good creator God will naturally set-up his universe).

I have been through this trajectory myself. When I became a Christian I was determined that the truth was already known (revealed) and stated, by some or other church - or at least some individual within a church; and my job was to find it, understand it, believe it, and obey it. 

I therefore made a pretty determined effort to switch-off my creativity when it came to Christianity: my effort was to discern for sure, maybe to select (albeit as little as possible); but not to change anything, and certainly not to add anything! 

It was only after I found that crucial problems were not soluble, never had been solved satisfactorily and clearly, and that no amount of selection and recombination - at least, not when ruled by established principles) would work; that I was compelled to get creative about Christianity. 

(Either that or knowingly to accept swirlingly-abstract fudges, or known pseudo-answers). 

As I have often described, I discovered a couple or more false assumptions that trapped Christianity, and prevented a solution to the problem of suffering. 

One of the first and worst was the very common assumption that God was omnipotent and omniscient so that creation was entirely a product of God's positive will; and another assumption was that Jesus Christ's teaching and efforts were directed at "making a better world" - at improving this mortal life - perhaps even perfecting this mortal life at some point. 

Once I realized that God instead was (no matter how vastly powerful in creation) engaged in a creative war of Good against evil in reality; and that Jesus's primary achievement was to make-possible eternal resurrected life; did I realize that the problem of  suffering was a wrongly-formulated question.

Jesus did not promise a better mortal world - nor a world of less suffering: certainly not a mortal world of perfection! 

Nor did he wish to set up a church as an essential intermediary between individual Men and the divine; and make his followers obey a church primarily - instead, he sent the Holy Ghost for our essential and always-wise guidance. 

Jesus did not promise even an improvement of this mortal life. Instead; Jesus's promises of happiness were directed at post-mortal life, and not at flaw-less-perfection, but at our becoming Sons and Daughters of God - divine creative-Beings like Jesus himself. 

God did not create suffering, which has always-been wherever there was free-agency (until Jesus enabled Heaven). God's creation is directed against primordial suffering and conflict between Beings; but God did not promise to remove suffering, which is impossible in this mortal world. Suffering is only overcome (via Jesus's teaching and work) in the post-mortal, resurrected life-everlasting, world of Heaven. 

Suffering in this mortal world is therefore inevitable, because of the nature of this world and the Beings who inhabit it; and therefore God uses this world to prepare us for the resurrected world of Heaven which those who desire it may choose - and where there is positive love, joy, creativity, energy, satisfaction (instead of the mere negation of suffering). 

Thus we arrive at some simple and comprehensible understandings of these vital matters - but only by applying our creativity, as well as our intelligence

Monday 24 July 2023

Can fundamental assumptions *really* be chosen?

There is a school of though that says our fundamental assumptions cannot consciously be chosen - or, more accurately, that if they are thus chosen then they will be feeble. The idea is that only those fundamental beliefs which we have without choice are genuinely motivating. 

Robert Frost indignantly denounced college teaching that 'frisks Freshmen of their principles'. At Bread Loaf in 1925 he declared that a boy with all his beliefs drawn out of him is in no condition to learn. Or even to live. Everybody needs some beliefs as unquestionable as the axioms of geometry*. No postulates deliberately adopted could ever have the force. We had to have unarguable, undemonstrable, unmistakeable axioms, just three or four. And if we didn't abuse our minds we should surely have them. One such is genuineness is better than pretense. Another is that meanness is intolerable in oneself. And another is that death is better than being untrustworthy. 

From A Swinger of Birches: a portrait of Robert Frost, by Sidney Cox (1957)  

There is something valid in this argument, that requires response, because our fundamental assumptions are not arbitrary. 

We surely cannot just stick a pin in a list and choose anything that comes-up as our baseline beliefs, and then expect to be motivated strongly enough to resist being derailed by the many temptations of life and infirmities of our own nature. 

On the other hand, it seems obvious that - on the one hand - peoples fundamental assumptions are being inculcated-into-them by deliberate and socio-political propaganda, in ways that harm the people. So, if we just accept our assumptions as something 'given', we are in fact merely blinding ourselves to our own exploitative psychological enslavement.  

Furthermore; modern motivations are actually very feeble, by comparison with the past; as can be seen by the collapse of personal courage and individuality of character - which has been very obvious and evident over recent decades. The docility, homogeneity, and automatic-obedience of Western Man is now astonishing to behold; when compared with the middle twentieth century. 

So, it seems that there is no valuable alternative but to become aware of our own deepest values, assumptions, metaphysical beliefs; and to evaluate them; and then to choose between possibilities. 

It is this choosing upon which all depends: because what we choose must not only be something we regard as right, true, correct; but it must also be something that provides us with a strong motivation - such that we can avoid being deflected off-course by the first problem, the first contrary expediency, we encounter... 

So that we may have the courage of our convictions... Because - without courage, convictions are worthless.  

People often talk as if 'will power', determination is the answer; but the strength of will-power itself derives from fundamental convictions. It is our assumptions that provide the power of will. So our will cannot overcome feeble and false assumptions. Again we are returned to the need to choose assumptions; but to choose the right assumptions. 

Choosing our assumptions is (and should be) more like a quest, or a path of discovery; than it is like an arbitrary coin-flip. 

It is a matter of finding our most fundamental values. We each need to find-out what things we most value, deep down, through time. 

These profound values may be very different from, may indeed oppose or contradict, the values we have expressed, or implemented in previous living. Our fundamental values may be a kind of secret knowing: and, at first, secret even from our conscious-selves.

It may also be the case that these fundamental values turn out to be inconsistent among themselves, that they clash - and therefore tend to cancel-out: this may be another cause of feeble motivation and cowardice of conviction.   

So the choosing of deep assumptions is also, potentially, a choosing-between. 

What is the it that does the exploring, questing, discovering, choosing? That's another matter - I am talking about the real self or true self - which is also the divine self

Only when it is the divine self who is doing the choosing can we expect a Good outcome. 

If, instead, the above process was merely done by our 'personality self', that 'self' constructed by societal inculcation, a mere selfish-self, and pleasure-seeking self, or any other kind of evil-motivated self... Then clearly the end result is going to be bad (i.e. bad in a Christian sense). 

It would then merely be a choice made by that which is propagandized, passive, controlled... Thus no real 'choice' at all... 

Therefore, as always, there are (at least) two changes that must be made, two processes that must simultaneously be implemented

...This is nearly always true. When only one obstacle is before us, when only one kind of change is needed for our betterment; it will usually be overcome sooner or later, spontaneously, without need for profound change.

What separates us from awakening, from betterment, from initiation of a positive transformative process; is the requirement for (at least) two simultaneous efforts: in this case 1. the need to find and work-with our real/ divine self, in 2. the project searching-for and choosing our fundamental assumptions.  

In conclusion: Yes! fundamental assumptions really can be known, evaluated, and chosen; but for this to be valuable and effective entails that we discover something about our deepest values, and also that this 'discovery' is accomplished by that which is divine within us. 


*Note. The fact that there is more-than-one axiomatic system of geometry, more than one set of postulates - and that the best choice between axioms depends on the function to which the geometry is being-put - undercuts Frosts analogy in an ultimate sense; although it still retains rhetorical validity. 

Sunday 23 July 2023

Discerning within the mainstream media: pick the least-worst side, then move-on...

We cannot be neutral, nor can we ignore that which impinges upon our attention. These are psychological facts. 

The mass media knows this, as do all the other agents of totalitarianism in government, education, corporations etc - i.e. The System. 

The System therefore 'plays' us, be generating a continuous stream of issues, of moral 'stories'; in which there are two sides both of which are on the overall-side of evil. These manufactured disputes are the basis of nearly all mainstream public discourse. 

It is important to recognize that (very-nearly...) all of these disputes occur amongst the agents of evil - of different types of evil; else they would not be given media prominence at all

They may involve lustful evil versus organized evil, short-term evil versus long-term, destructive evil versus systemic evil... 

But all those issues that become mainstream are ones in which both alternatives lead to support of one or another item on the agenda of evil.   

It would be nice if we could be unaware of these stories, if we could ignore them; but the fact is that for many people, most of the time - they cannot be ignored. The issues of the day reach us, by multiple channels: we are confronted by them; and our innate human nature dictates that we cannot be neutral about them, we cannot ignore them... 

We are drawn-in, despite ourselves.

What to do? As I say, the problem is essentially unavoidable for most of us. No matter how we try, the issues will get through. What then?

My advice is to accept that we are moral beings, that we are innate discerners and evaluators; and that we might as well accept that, recognize that we are being asked to choose between evils, make the choice of the lesser evil... And just move-on

We must not - because that is the System-intent, the System wants us to do this - get drawn into expending energy and effort in promoting, or even defending, the lesser evil.  

Because we cannot help it - we make a discernment between evils; but we should not waste further effort on the matter, and should nip-in-the-bud any tendency emotionally to invest in the lesser-evil side.

Support, effort, energy - these ought to be reserved for The Good. 

No matter how little it seems, no matter that we are told it is futile; our thinking/ emotional/ intellectual/ active-physical support of that which is Good; is exactly how the world is made better, and how Men may be brought to Truth. 

Support for the least-worst option of the lesser evil will just sustain, strengthen, and ensure the triumph of evil. But when we support Good - any Good, no matter how small - then, by doing so, we will shift the balance of power somewhat in the right direction.  

Saturday 22 July 2023

Why is it that we cannot escape the Matrix? (Because it is our own distorted consciousness that is making it.)

I am fascinated - and, in general terms - convinced-by Rudolf Steiner's Zurich prophecy of 1918

Steiner said, in essence, that if Mankind continued to hold-to 'materialism', and to reject the reality and primacy of the spiritual; then this would distort human consciousness. Until, by about 2000AD, the process would lead to the great evils of value-inversion: in other words, evil done with belief that it is good. 

Steiner's prophecies have been fulfilled - most obviously in terms of the sexual revolution

And it seems to me that the prophecies have come true for the reason that Steiner predicted: that, by rejecting our destiny to overcome materialism (by voluntarily choosing to become more consciously spiritual), modern Man's distorted consciousness has distorted the whole world

This happens because Man's consciousness participates in the creation of reality; thus Men co-create reality. 

When our consciousness becomes evilly-distorted, so does the world. So, the origin of the Matrix/ The System/ the totalitarian world-order is in the minds of Men; and the Matrix arises from the collusive choices of Men - including our-selves. 

This is why the Matrix is now world-wide and penetrates through all social institutions; and why we cannot escape it whatever the location, and whoever we mix-with: because it is our own distorted consciousness that is making it. 

We - collectively - bring the Matrix with us, wherever we go.  

And the only escape is by development of consciousness in the direction that is ordained for us: towards conscious awareness and choice of the spiritual in life and reality. 

But, as yet, Mankind does not want this, wants instead the Matrix - and our hopes and efforts are directed merely towards amelioration of the excesses and incoherencies of the Matrix. 

Only when we are ready to take the first steps, in our own minds, outside the Matrix and into the domain of spirit; will it begin to cease to dominate the world. 

Friday 21 July 2023

What is the ultimate source of Christian morality (and good living)? Three basic factors

If you, like me, regard as obsolete and (very obviously!) ineffective as of 2023, the traditional idea that Christian morality has the form of a set of laws and rules that were dictated by God and Jesus Christ, and transmitted by The Church, The Bible, Apostolic Tradition etc. -- Then we need to consider what, instead, are the alternative sources of Christian morality. 

The root of Christian morality is first the loving nature of the person who is God the Creator; and secondly our parent-child relationship with Him. 

Our specific and moment-by-moment morality - and our understanding of what we ought to do, and ought not to do - is a consequence of this relationship. 

A close analogy is therefore with morals and values within an ideally-loving human family. 

These do not rely upon fixed lists of general rules, but are much more specific to the nature, age, situation, needs of the individual child and the family context - yet, this relationship-based (instead of rule-based) situation does Not imply relativity or 'anything goes' amorality; because instead a good family is able to create and sustain the highest known (most just and agreed-upon) levels of moral behaviour and good values. 

We might characterize the ideal family situation as one in which the family is bound-together by mutual love, and given direction by in lived-and-experienced knowledge of God's intended goals of creation. And in which morality, and right-action generally, are specific to the person and their situation - because our loving creator-God tailors the individual life of each of His children to provide the conditions they (we) need. 

This matter of the goal of creation, leads on to the third factor in Christian morality; which is resurrection into eternal life in Heaven. Heaven is the goal of creation. 

Because resurrection is eternal, this temporary mortal life is given permanent value; because resurrection is of our-self, we as unique persons bring something distinctive and irreplaceable to the life of Heaven. 

Thus, for each of us, our individual mortal life is tailored-towards the need for resurrection: That is, for each of us to chose Heaven and freely to choose resurrection. 

In other words; Christian morality and values only work if we live both desiring and in expectation of resurrection and Heaven. 

It is the confident expectation of eternal life in Heaven that sets the basic frame for our mortal life on earth. 

To summarize: the roots of our specific morality are based in all-three-of:

1. That God the creator is our loving Father (or loving parents, as I believe).

2. Our relationship with God is that of a loving family - mutual love between parents and child (corresponding to Love of God, the first great commandment), and between God's children (love of 'neighbour': the second). 

3. Our choice and expectation of resurrection into eternal life in Heaven: the gift of Jesus Christ. 

Do you really want to be free? Then know that Thinking is the domain of freedom (but only when that Thinking is free!)

Back in the 1890s (but almost ignored) Rudolf Steiner made clear that freedom (such as free will') is actually the domain of thinking - in other words, it is not 'will' that is free, so much as thinking. 

But not all thinking is free - nor even most thinking: but only that thinking which is free!

In other words, there is a kind of thinking in which we are free, and we know that we are free. And it is only there and then that we really are free. 

One value of Steiner's philosophical writing, and that of Owen Barfield afterwards, was therefore to inform us of this fact of freedom in (a kind of) thinking; explain why it was the case that thinking was potentially the domain of freedom - and therefore assist us in the recognition, acknowledgment, and pursuit of freedom in thinking. 

(At least, for those people who desire freedom - which is, apparently, far from everybody.) 

Active thinking of any kind is indeed rare - mostly thinking is almost automatic... Almost, but never quite... because always there is some degree of choice and will that directs thinking down one path from the possibility of others

This is why our thinking is always our responsibility - because we have chosen its path. 

No matter how relatively-restricted the 'input' provided by our surrounding world, and no matter how deeply inculcated are our habits of interpretation; there never a single path of thinking, but instead are always many possibilities that must be chosen-between...

From deciding what (from all of reality) to attend to, and keep attending to; through how to interpret the data that comes-in, and what (if anything) to do about our conclusions - from a positive or negative evaluation, through to what physical action to take.  

Therefore, because it is always a consequence of choice and will; thinking is never neutral, but always value-laden. 

Thinking (even when almost automatic) is never free from responsibility; but always moral, aesthetic and concerned with the truth (even when, as often, the choice of thinking is to reject virtue, beauty, honesty - or maybe to choose their opposites). 

We are always and necessarily choosing our thinking, and that thinking goes on all the time that we have any comprehension of the world. 

Because; when thinking stops, as in deep sleep, the world loses meaning. 

What actually happens is that - for most people, most of the time - chosen thinking is as automatic as possible. The choice is to align thinking with what is dominant in the external world, as it impinges upon us: official, media, and social.

In other words, people choose to direct their attention to... whatever people and powers at-this-moment are 'telling' them is important; and they think in ways (e.g. using values and methods) that they have absorbed from this same external world. 

And, although alternative paths of attending and interpreting will always be presenting themselves from the vast external world and also from impulses and intuitions arising from within our-selves; and although these alternatives will challenge the ongoing schemes of attention and interpretation we have absorbed from externally -- nonetheless, habit and expediency mean that it requires only only a little will and choice to stick-to the mainstream-approved form of thinking.

Such 'mundane' thinking is unfree - and this unfreedom has been, and continually is-being, chosen. 

We are - all of us - responsible for the mental enslavement of our own thinking.   

So... the fact that it does require even this little will and choice means, on the one hand, that we are responsible, and to-blame-for, our habitual mainstream opinions and convictions. 

Yet, because there always must be this irreducible element of will and choice; on the other hand, externally-controlled, unfree thinking can be changed: and freedom of thinking with a cosmic scope and creative power can instead emerge and be enjoyed - by those who desire it. 

The method is simply one of willing a redirection of attention, and making different choices. 

But for this freedom to be Good and not to be merely-arbitrary; and to motivate and energize the new thinking to overcome the old; entails that such redirection be motivated from that within us which is its real, true, virtuous and beautiful - because divine, and in contact with God

We need to discover within us (because it is typically lost or even hidden, suppressed, rejected...) that true 'self' which stands beyond all external influence, and is the origin of freedom in thinking. 

...And how do we do that? 

Well, we start by wanting it; and wanting it is the basis for changing our will, our choices, and overcoming those massively-inculcated habits that currently prevent us from attaining freedom.

If we do not want freedom then we will not have it; because we will choose to be unfree, because that is easiest, most expedient: the default. 

But if we do want freedom in thinking, then nothing on earth or elsewhere can stop us from attaining freedom; because that is precisely the nature of freedom!

Thursday 20 July 2023

Control of our thinking is the totalitarian objective - the ultimate PSYOPS

Just as the mass media is ultimately "about" itself rather than any specific content; so the vast, global, totalitarian apparatus (media, bureaucracy, all major institutions) is to control thinking as such, rather than to inculcate any specific content to thinking. 

Thus totalitarianism seeks to direct thinking, and to link that thinking to a continuous infusion of external stimulus

What results is thinking of a certain character. The characteristic is that people think about subject matter that is being fed to them, using concepts and interpretations that are fed to them; and that this thinking forms the dominant subject matter of human interactions. 

And, sometimes, control of thinking is a PSYOPS; a form of psychological torment that is enjoyed by the Beings who control our social systems. 

The masses are fed with stuff that induces terror and despair; perspectives that make one group resent and hate another; creates enormous edifices of pseudo-knowledge that people then take seriously; or the stuff is simply incoherent, illogical, self-contradicting - and induces bewilderment and numbed passivity. 

The global totalitarian thought-control System can therefore serve many purposes; and satisfy many desires of those who control it.  

Social media amplify, rather then counteract, the mass media; because people mostly talk about what they think about; and what they mostly think about comes from the mass media - usually in terms of subject matter, but also in terms of the categories and assumptions by which discussion proceeds. Thus not just the topic but the scope of social media discourse is totalitarian-controlled. 

Because people are always-absorbing that which they think-about; this sets up habits of thinking that crowd-out other possible ways of thinking - other subject matter, yes; but more importantly other modes of thinking altogether. 

A modern person therefore finds himself enmeshed in toils of bad thinking habits of a mundane/ worldly content, and passive in form; with priorities, interests, assumptions etc. that are chosen by the dominant totalitarians on the one side, and reinforced by most social interactions on the other.

Where can something different and better be sought? 

Until the past few decades, there were realms of groupish human discourse and action that was somewhat or almost-completely autonomous - the realms of entertainment, the arts, hobbies, social activities, the church... 

But, of course All of these have long-since been infiltrated and subverted, and they are now dominated by exactly the same totalitarianism as described above - the phenomena variously termed leftism, political correctness, or wokeness. 

As of 2023; there is no safe place to escape from totalitarianism - at least not into any large grouping or large social activity. 

Even families are being destroyed by anti-family laws and practices and by subversion of individual members. 

2020 and its sequelae demonstrated that only the most loving family relationships and strongest friendships can survive a participant expressing significant dissent from the confines of totalitarian-approved discourse - when the totalitarian System is making a massive push on any particular theme.

As usual nowadays, each individual is thrown back onto his own powers of discernment, analysis, understanding. 

If we do not want to think just whatever They want us to think-about; and in only the ways that They want us to think it - then we must embark upon some kind of personal quest to discover the real and better alternative. 

As of 2023; any easily available or obvious source of external guidance is almost certain to be corrupted; and will (sooner or later) channel us back to the totalitarian-approved main stream. 

So it is up to each of us to seek the answer; made more difficult that the answer will be - to some significant extent - unique to each individual; since our needs and destiny are distinctive. 

The reward, however, is great if we can escape the gravitational tractor-beams of the totalitarian thought-control System: to discover what we ought to be thinking about, and how we ought to be thinking. 

Because the right kind of thinking is one of the very few positively-transformative events that can happen in this world - and because such thinking leads-on to other, and similarly good, outcomes.

Wednesday 19 July 2023

What kind of thinking we should be aiming for, and the essence of Anthroposophy, in 10 minutes (from Joel Wendt)

This is a very dense video describing that thinking for which I believe we ought to be aiming; here termed Pure Thinking. 

It is also described as the true meaning of "Anthroposophy" - which is not content; but a method or path or state-of-being, "leading from the spiritual in Man, to the spiritual in creation" (This being my translation of Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts Number 1) . 

I have also called Pure Thinking primary thinking and heart-thinking. It produces the experience that Owen Barfield called Final Participation - that is, a thinking that contains awareness of its own participation in the creation of reality. 

What it is, and what it does; the above 10 minute video from Joel Wendt will tell you.

"How to do it" is something that depends on motivation, and a proper motivation cannot be conjured to order... 

I would say that Pure Thinking can only happen in consequence of a motivation from love and to Good, which could be analyzed further as a motivation towards the transcendentals of truth, beauty and virtue. 

Thus I have experienced Pure Thinking when doing science or philosophy, when creating some artistic artefact or performance, and when genuinely trying to discern the right choice or path in life. 

But I cannot long sustain it, and the attempt ends it; nor can I have it for wanting or trying...

Probably because such motivation is usually a mask for the desire for a pleasurable experience, to achieve some-thing for egotistical or expedient reasons, or from wanting to escape the mundane boredom of everyday living.

Good motivation therefore comes before Pure Thinking - yet Pure Thinking is the best possible way to discern the evaluations of our divine self - potentially forming a virtuous circle (if only we can refrain from trying to use its understandings for unworthy goals!).  

Note: In fact I do not believe that even Rudolf Steiner himself could engage in Pure Thinking at will, sustainedly, frequently, or reliably. Instead I am pretty sure that from the time he joined the Theosophical Society (some years after publishing the philosophical books, mentioned in the video) Steiner usually deployed partial mediumistic trance states of 'altered consciousness' in order to generate much of the content of the vast volume of published Spiritual Science... 

Which is why most of the content is wrong

The difference between old-fashioned discernment, and Romantic Christianity

There is a sense in which all Christians have always practiced "discernment". 

That is, Christians could only seldom - and never continuously - live in complete and perfect obedience to The Church (whatever that church might be). Because the situations of life are specific, while rules are general; and because there was always a degree (sometimes a very large degree) of disunity (or at least ambiguity) among the statements and instructions of church authorities. 

So people might not know exactly what to do, and would need to make up their own minds; or people would have to decide who to obey when contradictory instructions were given - and so forth. 

But this kind of discernment acknowledged that ultimately - legitimate authority lay externally from each Man - in the church - mediated by the church, not the individual person; and that therefore discernment was being used to discover the true nature of that authority. 

The core purpose of ancient unity was a life of obedience. 

This ancient kind of discernment was essentially passive and partly unconscious - indeed, it had something of the quality of an 'unfortunate necessity'. Ideally, as little discernment as possible would be necessary in life - because church guidance was clear and unified, and people would be naturally obedient. 

And when life did not change much from one generation to another: such an ideal could be approached closely. 

Indeed, the ideal of ancient discernment was to forget itself, and to assume that the Christian life was a life of simple obedience to the church; unchanging and clear guidance for in navigating-through the recurrent, repeating, problems of human life. 

At all costs, awareness of the discernment of individual persons was not supposed to extend to a sense of active responsibility for one's salvation and conducting life. The desired discernment was externally-directed, towards discovering the true-source of guidance within the church - and was not striving to be self-aware.   

The consciousnesses of modern Men are differently constituted; and this affects both laymen and priests, those within and outside the churches: all churches.

Overwhelmingly; Modern Man experiences himself (whether he likes it or not) as starting from the situation of being cut-off from the institutions of his society. His condition is one of alienation.

He no longer takes institutions for granted, can no longer un-consciously follow their guidance, can no longer actually-be passive and obedient merely. 

This alienation, cut-offness, is now simply taken for granted as the basis of our society, in multiple forms of discourse. It does not need arguing - it is just assumed as a situation, as a problem. 

Life is experienced as choices; and these choices impinge on consciousness - we choose and are aware that we choose. 

Such awareness permeates modern discourse - it is the subject matter of the vast bulk of modern stories and narratives - such that we simply take it for granted. Yet to experience life as multiple choices is recent, modern; and was not an aspect of ancient human life (except maybe for a very few exceptional individuals). 

What this modern consciousness means is that the ancient discernment is not possible

I would also argue that ancient discernment is not desirable either; that ancient discernment is now "not a good thing" - but the fact of its impossibility is one reason why striving for it is not desirable.

But what we have nowadays instead of ancient discernment is self-blinding and dishonesty. In other words people who claim to be anciently-discerning are actually obscuring their own acts of conscious discernment (perhaps by not-thinking, by distraction, by projection...) - or else they know they are consciously discerning but lie about the fact - maybe for exploitative, maybe for manipulative reasons.   

At the very least; ancient discernment is nowadays something chosen, rather than something spontaneous; it is something we are aware or doing (or, more often, as aspiring to do) rather than something so natural that it Just Happens. 

What Romantic Christianity does is to recognize the change in consciousness; and to assume (from an understanding of world history, and the nature of the divine plan) that this change was of-God. 

In other words; modern man's consciousness is different because (and in so far as) God wants it that way - for our own good, for the good of our actual, specific souls; as these were incarnated into this mortal life. 

God wants for us to make conscious choices, and to know we are doing so: and to take responsibility for doing so! 

God does not want for us not-to-think, to distract or suppress awareness; to pretend that 'nothing has happened' and that the religious life Now is the same as for a Catholic peasant in the Christian-permeated (no-alternatives) societies of the Middle Ages. 

God does not want us to be dishonest with ourselves or with others - even (especially!) when this dishonesty is self-justified as a "necessary lie" for the public good... Does not want that we try and pretend that our Christian life can be, or is; one of 'simple obedience' to a church whose ultimate goodness and authority should simply be taken for granted. 

Surely? God wants for us to be honest: therefore wants us to be honest about our situation - and honest that it is what it is

Nowadays discernment is far more necessary, more frequent; and far more conscious - than ever in the past; and this Just Has overturned the earlier ideal of the Christian life as being one of passive, unconscious, self-forgetful obedience to an external institution - A Church.  

We now actually-have (like it or not) an active role in chiseling-out our own path through life. We are aware of being personally responsible for many discernments about which we could, in the past, have been unconscious. 

Our situation is what it is, our discernment ought to be active, we should take full responsibility for the necessary and frequent choices of Christian living, and we should strive-for, and explicitly acknowledge, the fullest-possible consciousness of all this! 

That is perhaps one fundamental assumption of "Romantic Christianity": deliberately taking conscious and personal responsibility for that which - in the past - were often matters of obedience to an external (ideal) institution.  

Tuesday 18 July 2023

What Gnosticism is Not...

This is a slightly-edited version of a comment at the Orthosphere, written in response to a post by Kristor. This, in turn, was based on my comment to a recent post by Francis Berger.

@ Kristor - Am I correct in assuming that you - and those you implicitly address in this post - are deriving your understanding of (what you term) "Gnosticism" from the US political philosopher Eric Voegelin? 

(Whether influenced directly - or via those who were, in turn, strongly-influenced by V. - such as Lawrence Auster.)

That, in other words, Voegelin's conceptualization came first, and set the template within-which your understanding of historical Gnosticism has developed?

If so; this may account for this "Gnosticism"'s bizarre irrelevance to actual historical Gnosticism! 

What you call Gnosticism here (and other Orthosphere authors, in other posts) is so different from what I derived from reading about the ancient Gnostics, that I find it impossible to get from one to the other.

Clearly there must be an unmentioned third factor at work, behind the scenes - which I guess to be Voegelin.

If your concept of Gnosticism derived from Voegelin, it is important to clarify that Voegelin was not a Christian, was not engaged in any kind of Christian discourse or project; and he was indeed one of those who (mistakenly!) regarded leftism as a Christian 'heresy'.

Most importantly; Voegelin cannot have known much about real-life historical Gnosticism, because the relevant Gnostic texts (Nag Hammadi library especially) had not been translated when he was writing.

So - Why should Voegelin's ideas of Gnosticism have any validity At All?

Some modern *individuals* have become fascinated by historical Gnosticism - especially through the 1960s as the texts were first made available in translation (e.g. Philip K Dick via his friend Bishop James Pike, who was involved in the translations) - but the most basic Gnostic idea that earth was created by 'the devil' and that all matter is evil - is not a part of any modern Christian *church* that I've ever come across.

The nearest equivalent would be the "perennial philosophers" (usually operating within New Age discourse nowadays) who have adopted the basic assumptions and methods of "Eastern Religions" and absorb into this bits of Christianity in an eclectic fashion.

These have retained the ultimate ideal of escaping the material altogether, and ascending into a realm of pure spirit (ie. rejecting bodily resurrection). And such people are often very interested by the actual Gnostic writings - especially the Gospel of Thomas (very Neo-Platonic), and of that of Mary Magdalene (for feminist reasons). But not many such people claim to be "Christians".

In sum... Surely it is Not legitimate to equate Voegelin's modern socio-political terminology with an actual ancient religion/s - especially an ancient religion that seems to have left no institutional descendent?

I find this kind of "Gnostic" discourse so vague and slippery that it seems like no more than shadow-boxing - generative of neither heat nor light - with a bit of passive-aggressive name-calling thrown in!


Note: I personally find near-zero appeal in the actual ancient Gnostics - who I regard (in a nutshell) as the result of maintaining the metaphysics and social structures of pagan, Neo-Platonic secret cults; and absorbing into these groups some of the Christian terminology and history.

I therefore find the Gnostics to be (merely) a more extreme version (more pagan/ Platonic, less Christian) of the same process that led to the mainstream orthodox Christian church (which I regard as a product of exactly the same errors and processes).

The actual historical Gnostic metaphysical assumptions are mostly in direct opposition to (and incompatible with) my own most important assumptions concerning reality.

I would also add that modern individualism/alienation of thinking was Not an aspect of Gnosticism - was indeed all-but impossible to Men of that era. The Gnostics were, it seems, a variety of groups - individual judgment was immersed in a secret and disciplined cult with graded initiations (and no doubt punishments for transgression).

A secret initiatory group-cult is pretty-much the opposite of that explicitly individual discernment and taking of personal responsibility for one's Christianity, which is meant by "Romantic" Christianity.

Monday 17 July 2023

If this world is ruled by evil Men, affiliated with Satan - what does this tell us about God? (Concerning negative versus positive Christians)

It is important for people to realize, to acknowledge, that the global leadership class of 2023 - especially those of The West - are affiliated to evil; i.e. are allied with Satan and against God and divine creation

But making this acknowledgement is not sufficient to be Christian, because the Christian God is Good - and Good by (the best and highest) human standards  of Good - as exemplified and taught by Jesus Christ. 

In other words; to be Christian, we must also correctly understand how it is that God, the creator, who is wholly-Good - makes things, such that this world is ruled by evil Men who serve the agenda of Satan. 

In other words; we need to understand enough about the nature and motivations of God to make sense of the current fact of things-now being substantially under evil leadership. 

And there are (from a Christian perspective) right and wrong ways of understanding this.

As so often nowadays; this line of reflection almost immediately gets-down to fundamental assumptions concerning the nature of reality - especially the nature of God (in other words - to metaphysics). 

And as so often nowadays; such reflections operate as a stress test on some of the historical incoherences of Christianity - in this instance, the dogma that the Christian God is an Omni-God (omnipotent, omniscient, and creating everything from nothing).

When the Omni-God concept is made primary - then there is no real Good or evil; because everything is of-God. 

Our human ideas of Good and evil are then merely the delusions of Beings who have been made depraved and weak, and forced (for incomprehensible reasons) to dwell in the realm of an evil dictator - with the only goal the negative one of acknowledging our own depravity and that evil of our situation. 

Somehow; this acknowledgement of evil is supposed to be the only path to our personal salvation. And yet this (we must believe) was the only and best way that we (who are supposed to be completely made by God, in complete accordance with God's designs, and having experiences completely dictated by God or God's servants) can escape eternal torment.    

I have noticed that some of the Christians who pass the Litmus Tests of our time - and who therefore appear to be 'good Christians' - are doing so negatively rather than positively. In other words - such Christians recognize the evil of the Litmus Test issues - but only because they regard this whole world as essentially evil

Such negative Christians regard Men as essentially depraved creatures who inhabit a world that God has given to the rulership of Satan; and which Satan - who is a sadistic, lying tyrant - operates as a prison of torment.   

In other words; such negative Christians regard God as Good (in some ultimate and abstract sense) but one whose Goodness is morally-incomprehensible - because God (as an Omni-God, qualitatively utterly distinct from men) operates by values that are beyond human comprehension and empathy. 

Because if a Man were to treat his children in this way, he would be regarded as a moral monster! 

An analogy might be parents who deliberately choose to send their son to a boarding school whose headmaster is a sadistic tyrant, and who employs sadistic tyrants as teachers; and these teachers ensure that the most sadistic and tyrannical of the boys are praised and rewarded, and encouraged to torment the children at the school and expunge anything in them that is Good or joyful. 

Even more extremely; since these parents are 'omnipotent and omniscient' - we must assume that they might not have sent their son to boarding school at all, but chose to. And they might instead have picked a better Headmaster who had some Good motivations and employed a better staff and encouraged Goodness in the boys... 

But no! These parents chose to force their kid to inhabit torture-school...

And further - these parents must be regarded as having made their son such that he was by nature depraved, that he was corruptible by evil; he is set-up (by his creation-from-nothing) such that he cannot resist corruption.  

Such choices are de facto imputed to the Omni-God - and belief in Omni-God is then made mandatory for Christians... 

Negative Christians are driven to such extremes by their dogmatic adherence to the Omni-God. 

In the past, it was possible, indeed not unusual, for Christians who believed in an Omni-God to operate in a way that was inconsistent with their belief - and which instead focused on the nature, example and teachings of Jesus. 

But nowadays, because of the stresses of these times - the contradictions of mainstream, orthodox Christian theology have been brought to the surface, and confronted by a more evil world than ever before - a world in which the organized institutional 'Christian' churches have (almost-) all chosen to obey the totalitarian agenda of evil, and who actively-support many or most of the globalist-leftist Litmus Test issues. 

Yet to regard this world and Men as essentially evil is to reject that which is specifically Christian, and to adopt a Judaic/ Old Testament/ Islamic - or even quasi-Gnostic - view of God; as incomprehensible or even apparently evil by even the best human standards. 

(The Gnostics believed, in essence, that this world - and all 'matter' - was created and operated by 'the devil'; and was therefore wholly negative, operating only as a test to elicit a spiritual and other worldly desire. For the Gnostics, we Men could not learn anything positive from our experience in this world - we could only learn the negative lesson of its evil, and experience the desire to escape from matter into pure spirit. Meanwhile - for Gnostics - knowledge of God could only be negative ('negative theology') - we could say what God was not; but could state nothing positive and substantive about God. In other words; this is a double-negative theology - in which 'Good' is only the negation of evil. While there are no modern day Gnostics - it can be seen that this negative metaphysical attitude has been, and still is, a feature of many religions and spiritualities. This is also revealed by the commonly-expressed double-negative conception of salvation; which is so often described as as an escape from default-torment - e.g. "Jesus came to save Men from Hell".) 

It seems obvious to me that Christians - i.e. those who follow Jesus Christ - cannot (and should not) follow this path of regarding this world as created by God as a prison ruled by a tormenter; and of God's nature as utterly unlike even the best aspects of the best of of Men.

The test of these times involves both accepting that this world is indeed ruled by evil men who serve Satan; and also understanding that God is Good - and Good by the best standards of the best of Men in this actual world. 

This means that (in 2023) Christians are being compelled explicitly to reject the old error of the Omni-God in Christianity - failure to do so is pushing Christians towards a kind of double-negative pseudo-Christianity, in which God and the ultimates have more in common with the world-view of Judaism, Islam, or even the Gnostic...

In other words; we are called-upon explicitly to reject a type of 'Christianity' that demands (above all else) complete obedience to the incomprehensible and (to us ultimately depraved humans) apparently-immoral demands of all-powerful and abstractly inhuman deity.

Such a Christianity has no essential role for Jesus Christ as such - its theology and demands are wholly-derivable from God as-was before the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ: Jesus has been wholly-absorbed-into the Omni-God (as must all of creation be absorbed into an Omni-God). 

Such a pseudo-Christianity is an Old Testament religion (plus/ minus various Greek and Roman philosophical assumptions) - and such remains the case no matter what lip-service is paid to the importance of Jesus.  

In one version; Jesus has been absorbed into an already-existing Old Testament project, without any qualitative break or inflexion; in another version Jesus is just treated as-if he was simply God the Creator.  

To be a positive Christian in 2023 therefore entails more than just rejecting the temptations of the Litmus Tests on the basis that the world world is evil and God made it this way. 

We cannot negative our way out of trouble! 

Good comes from Good, not from a vast piling of evil upon evil. When Christians find themselves talking as if Good could come from evils, they ought to regard this as a reductio ad absurdum - and examine their assumptions that led to this non-sense! 

Christians need to be led by Jesus Christ, not by a pre-Christian conception of an Omni-God. 

A Christian in 2023 needs to detect and reject evil - yes!

But only as a means to the end of pursuing positive Good. 


Note added: The reader may notice that I emphasized 2023 throughout. Negative Christianity often worked well in practice in earlier eras - and this is also useful to understand. Firstly, Men had a different and more group-ish (immersive, passive, un-conscious) form of consciousness in the pre-modern era; and this resulted in society-wide forms of religion. The positive aspects of even the most negative theologies were therefore sometimes ameliorated by positive social practices - particularly those handed-down by tradition. One example would be that of Eastern Orthodox Christianity as found in the Byzantine Empire, or Holy Russia. As well as an ascetic and meditative monasticism rooted in negative theology; there were all kinds of ritual and symbolic practices that were part of everyday life and provided a counterbalancing of warmth, aesthetic satisfaction, colour, energy - often the veneration of Mary, the Mother of God was a particular route for this. Something analogous can be seen in some Medieval Roman Catholic societies of Western Europe. But things have changed - modern Men's consciousness is more autonomous and individualistic and consciously aware of things once taken-for-granted so that we must choose much that was previously spontaneous; automatically absorbed from society. Now (2023) there are no Christian societies that provide that kind of communal and primarily-motivating religious life. Each Christian is, in an existential sense, "on his own". Therefore the long-standing flaws of mainstream Christian theology have been unmasked. Thus life in 2023 is always and everywhere a testing-time for Christians; in ways that 1223, 1523, or even 1823 - were not (or not always).  

Sunday 16 July 2023

The ongoing destruction of The West is ultimately due to "definite, deliberate, serious, cold, malevolent intent" - William Wildblood writes

William Wildblood has just published one of his special 'overview' pieces, in which many threads and issues are included and interwoven; with that serene, impartial incisiveness that WW does better than anyone!

Here is an edited sample - but you should Read The Whole Thing:

Just as there is a hierarchy of good, so there is a hierarchy of evil. 

At the upper levels of this hierarchy there is intent, definite, deliberate, serious, cold, malevolent intent. At mid and lower levels, not so much, at least not so much in the sense of something planned and acknowledged. 

Some of these people may want to destroy but they tell themselves they are motivated by honest impulses to make a better world. No doubt there are elements of that in their psychological makeup but there are also strong feelings of anger and hatred plus the afore-mentioned resentment. 

They are co-opted by those at higher levels because of some personal moral defect or intellectual weakness or spiritual vacuity. They are unwitting servants of evil but they would not be co-optable if there was not this attraction to sin or spiritual blindness within them. 

But we are all sinners so what's the difference? It is precisely this. Yes, we are all sinners but some of us recognise this and struggle against it while others allow themselves to be defined by it. 

These people justify, excuse, even celebrate their sin. They identify with it and do not allow true spiritual feeling to reveal it for what it is. It is their treasure, their pet, rather than their burden, their pride rather than their shame. 

Nothing in this world is 100% one thing. None of us are perfect and none of us are wholly bad. 

And yet, the world is moving in a direction in which the dividing line between sheep and goats - between those who, on the whole, wish to love and serve God, the truth, the good, however they might define it; and those who, in one way or another, serve the forces of anti-God, anti-truth, anti-good - is being drawn. 

Tests are underway. They examine our spiritual responses to situations and ideas, but be careful of that word spiritual...

For instance, everyone would say that God loves us - but what does he love? Does God love us as we are, or does He love the soul rather than the earthly personality? 

Both you say? Then does he love the murderer as murderer? 

This is an extreme example but it illustrates the point that though God loves the sinner he does not love the sinner as sinner

If the sinner will not let go of his sin, he is separating himself from God's love. 

God's love will always be there should the sinner repent and, for the sake of the soul, God will do what he can to bring that sinner to repentance - but God cannot override free will.

Saturday 15 July 2023

Christianity and paganism

Over the past couple of hundred years, supposed-'parallels' between Christianity and paganism (or other religions) have often been pointed-out -- usually in an anti-Christian context such as trying to prove Christianity is not true; or not different from other religions (merely a derivative copy), or that Christianity is different but an inferior corruption of earlier patterns.

I mean such aspects (beloved of comparative religionists) as the birth to a virgin of the divine hero, the sacrifice of the divine hero (perhaps by something-like crucifixion), death and rebirth of a god... that kind of thing. In other words; similarities between Gospel accounts of the Jesus story on the one hand; and folklore, myth and other-religions on the other hand - parallels that are sometimes reasonably - but sometimes much less! - plausible. 

Nowadays it strikes me that these alleged parallels and similarities to paganism etc. are always to those aspects of Christianity that I regard as either not being core Christian; or indeed tending to be anti-Christian and contradictory accretions to Christianity. 

In other words, I feel that these may well be pagan survivals into Christianity. More exactly (I strongly suspect) the simple truth of Christianity was paganized from very early by those who 'inserted' the Christian message into a variety pre-existing pagan beliefs (just as an analogous process "Judaized" Christianty). These pagan framings ranged from the abstract and intellectually-complex 'omni-God' of the philosophers, to the 'primitive' and pagan idea of God as a tyrant-king who demands sacrifices as propitiation. (Sacrifice and propitiation were also a part of the Ancient Hebrew idea of God, as depicted in the Old Testament.)  

Very unfortunately; mainstream Christianity was never cleansed of these alien and contradictory accretions - quite the opposite! They were often made into mandatory dogmas! 

But the simple truth of Christianity - that those who follow Jesus may be resurrected to eternal life in Heaven - is absolutely unique to Christianity. 

'Rebirth' is not resurrection! To attain eternal life via mortal-death is not the same as never-dying. To be resurrected into embodied form, and with our-selves preserved, is not the same as becoming eternal spirits, nor the same as living in an inert, unthinking and self-less bliss. 

And the timeline of Christianity, with a start and end-point - beginning with Jesus, and achieving its objective with our post-mortal resurrection - is different from the timelessness and unchanging/ undifferentiated nature of abstract paganism; and from the cyclically repeating worlds of other religions. 

And whether Jesus was born to a virgin, or died painfully by crucifixion, are not of the essence...

Maybe the lesson that modern Christians ought to have drawn from the attacks by comparative religionists and "anything but Christianity" neo-pagans, eclectics, and perennialists; should-have-been to set our house in order...

Christians can candidly acknowledged that mainstream Christianity, as well as various unorthodox and 'heretical' versions, have over the centuries included many pagan and Jewish elements, and these elements have, at times, dominated. 

But Christians here-and-now can and should clarify, and expound, and make focal the simple essence of Christianity; and push to the edges (ignore, or make personal and voluntary) inessentials and the contradictory elements...

Because the supposedly-pagan aspects of Christianity are exactly the ones that - whatever the original reasons behind their association with Christianity, and whatever the reasons for their continued presence - don't fundamentally matter to the reality of Christianity: i.e. to what Jesus Christ offers us, personally, now.  

Note added: I regard paganism as the spontaneous spirituality (not necessarily a religion) of ancient people and children. We (probably) all go through a phase of spontaneous paganism in our early life, whether or not that is overwritten by some other religion. But modern Man moves beyond spontaneous paganism; and while he may advocate neo-paganism and identify as a pagan - it cannot be a strong motivator, as evidence by the mainstream, or globalist-totalitarian, or merely self-gratifying, socio-political views of neo-pagans. This happens because the neo-pagan negative rejection of God's creation, is far more powerful than any positive spirituality - so de facto alliance with the dominant, worldwide, value-inverted Satanic leadership is highly likely. 

Friday 14 July 2023

The Sorathic scheme of damnation

The Sorathic is the most 'advanced" form of evil - an evil of negation, of destruction; motivated by a mastering spite that over-rides even the self-interest of the evil-doer.

How does Sorathic evil play-out in the world today? What is The Plan?

Quite simply... It is to induce such fear, fatigue, misery, confusion and despair - that the response is a desire for Escape.

Escape into - by escalating stages - distraction, travel or migration, sensory stimulation, intoxication...

Eventually... escape into "death"; specifically a death where the desired death is rest, peace, dreamless sleep, without awareness, without sense of self... ultimately, escape from "being". 

A death of utter annihilation.

(No exaggeration here: modern people openly, explicitly express desire for just such annihilation.)

In essence; the Sorathic strategy is to induce people to desire escape from a negative mortal-life into a greater-negative state beyond.

At first; the desired escape into negation may be temporary - a holiday, break, rest... 

Later; the desire for a permanent solution to "life", awareness, consciousness; an eternal and irrevocable escape from all possible suffering...

Thus, broadly, the Sorathic plan for damnation is by means of infliction of maximum destruction of... whatever is good, whatever is of-God, whatever is divinely-created... 

To create maximum suffering... 

To induce mass nihilism and the mass desire for eternal self-destruction.