Tuesday 31 October 2023

Are Litmus Test traps difficult to avoid? Not really, not so far...

It has been noticed in this corner of the blogosphere; that the Litmus Test issue of the current Arrakis war has flipped some people (both Christian and 'based') to the Establishment side. 

The observation is that a significant number of individuals who had seen-through the birdemic, antiracism, climate energy etc. and stayed on the right side of the spiritual war - have fallen for the aggressively pro-CHOAM Western Establishment line (with anyone who fails to toe this line branded racist). These people have, in effect, changed sides in the spiritual war - at least on this major issue; and, unless they repent, we can expect them to 'converge' increasingly from now onwards. 

Less remarked is that those who have taken the side of the Fremen in the Arrakis conflict are doing exactly the same thing, but less obviously! 

Because, on this issue, the mainstream media and political institutions are, in fact, divided between a pro-CHOAM majority and a pro-Fremen minority - but both are included within the mainstream narrative, both have significant Establishment support: both are part of The Narrative. 

This may sound fiendishly clever, implying that it is therefore difficult (impossible?) for anyone to navigate such Litmus Tests - where, apparently, people are caught by whatever their choice. 

But really this isn't difficult! The rule is that anything which features strongly in the mainstream media, and major point-of-view - whether presented as pro- or contra- is significantly and decisively wrong. The very fact of major and sustained media coverage shows this. 

Whenever the mass media makes a big story, and whenever that story is presented as having two sides; we can be sure that we are being played and the side of real Good is not being mentioned

Both presented choices of mainstream sides are surely wrong; because Establishment-endorsed. 

As I say, this isn't difficult - so far; although it may be more difficult to learn where the concealed, un-mentioned Good choice actually lies - if there is one

If there is one... because with some major mainstream issues, there is no Good position that can be adopted; the whole issue is rotten. When both sides are wrong, the whole issue is tainted. 

The Fremen war is an example of this: it represents a black hole for true values. It insatiably sucks-up attention, learning, evaluation, opinions; and triggers participants to engage in prognostication and policy-mongering. 

Another example is electoral politics: the entire discourse of 'parties'. 'leaders' and 'elections' is itself a corruption; and participation is itself a choice of taking the wrong side. 

Whatever it is that the evil-liars of the Establishment want us to attend-to and discuss: we know that must be wrong - and the rule applies to (supposed) minority and unpopular attitudes and ideologies (e.g. pro-Fremen, pro-Trump, sensible environmentalism, 'free speech', meritocracy...) as much as to the mass- and leadership-endorsed opinions.


Monday 30 October 2023

Erecting a "middle realm" between the private-subjective and public-objective is a Dead End

Through the twentieth century, but especially since the late 1960s - and associated with Hippy/ New Age spirituality - there have been many repeated attempts to erect a middle realm to mediate between the private and subjective realms, and the public and objective realm. 

In other words - for many people The spiritual problem of modernity is alienation: the severing between subjective and objective - and the consequent denigration of the subjective; so that modern people experience life as a personally-purposeless and -meaningless, temporary and brief, state of mere-existence in an indifferent universe, which is operating on the basis of randomness and mechanical causality. 

In the pre-modern era, this situation was - to varying degrees - ameliorated by "the church"; which provided a shared, public, 'sacred-realm' of ritual and symbolism. 

This meant that the individual had an indirect (because mediated) relationship with divine reality; yet the symbolism and ritual was (although intermittent) so effective in bridging the gap, as to enable engagement ('participation') between Man and reality; making life broadly tolerable, and sometimes spiritually-fulfilling. 

Due (I believe) ultimately to changed in Man's consciousness, the symbolism and ritual lost its connecting-power; and left modern Man bereft and alienated. The new and traditional 'middle realm' systems were, implicitly, an attempt to replace what the churches had once provided. 

There have been, and are, many middle realm systems. 

One, and the most explicit, was provided by CG Jung and various neo-Jungians such as Joseph Campbell and James Hillman. Such people envisaged an underlying, mostly unconscious, collective "objective psyche"; shared by all Men in all times and places. 

The idea was that modern, subjective Man could engage with this middle realm of the Psyche as a kind of symbolic/ ritual bridge - accessed via meditation, dream, psychotherapy, personal creativity (arts, crafts) etc.  

Such Jungian ideas provided a rationale for a massive resurgence in occult traditions and new systems of symbol and ritual; which had the advantage over traditional churches of novelty and abundance. Novelty and abundance together overcome habituation and fatigue; so that a whole life could be spent in exploring, sampling, and permutating spiritual systems selected from the New Age smorgasbord.  

So, there have been big revivals of astrology, Tarot, alchemy, , numerology, Neo-Platonism and the like; and new systems based on UFOs, crop circles, geomancy, earth energies, cosmic radiations - and a multitude of healing therapies with spiritual implications. 

I'm afraid I regard all such attempts as essentially misguided because regressive, hence ineffective. 

And indeed, despite great hopes for a "New Age" inspired global spiritual revival, the world has become more and more materialistic, bureaucratic, and totalitarian. Spirituality (as well as religion) has been eliminated from the public realm in the West.

(Or, at the least, reduced to reactive, insincere, and ineffectual rhetoric - such as the regular call from-and-to explicit atheists to 'pray' for such-and-such victims. Politics now - very obviously - drives religion; and spirituality merely fits-around prior left-ideologies such as antiracism, carbon-environmentalism, socialism, feminism, healthism etc.) 

Middle realm construction and advocacy is misguided, ineffectual and a dead-end. 

What actually happens with such middle realm constructions, is that they become absorbed-into materialism. Instead of making a bridge connecting modern Man from the material to the spiritual; these systems either do nothing but provide lifestyle options...

Or else the rituals and symbols crystallize into the material to become large, difficult and complex systems - the preserve of experts and professionals - standing between the individual and the spiritual in much the same way as institutional churches. 

This is why I am filled with a mixture of boredom and dismay whenever I come-across one of these middle realm systems; describing some large/ difficult-to-understand/ complex layer of ideas; or purporting to give 'information' or 'teaching' concerning the higher or spiritual world (which spiritual world always seems to resemble a complex, hierarchical, multi-specialized, multi-national corporation, or bloated state bureaucracy!). 

These middle realms purport to be bridges and mediations; but I see just-another barrier.  

After many centuries during which the effectiveness of mediation has progressively dwindled; and all churches and religions have become corrupted to the agenda of this-worldly, materialist-leftist, socio-politics; we are now confronted by a situation in which our choice is either to abandon the subjective along with the spiritual (and accept our status as depersonalized 'units' in a transhumanist world)...

Or else: To approach reality (including God) directly and (as much as possible) un-mediated. 

What blocks the Christian possibility for modern people? At Least Two things...

One of the reasons that argument and persuasion (in general) are ineffective with modern people; is that their wrong ideas are based upon more-than-one false assumption

This means that if just one false assumption is challenged (and an argument can only do one thing at a time); the error remains - because held in place by the (currently unaddressed) false assumption

Modern Man begins with a conviction that death is annihilation - that death of the body (including brain, and all brain activity) entails total destruction of that person. 

Thus; rejection of the desirability of eternal resurrected life by following Jesus Christ, is held in place by the modern person's materialism; his unbelief in even the possibility of life after death; unbelief in a spirit (or soul) that can exist without the body and after the death of the body. 

To become a Christian, a person first needs to cease to be a "materialist". 

But, when a modern person is persuaded that there is more than "the material" the spirit is real, that there is a world of the spirit; then this is not sufficient to direct him towards becoming a Christian. 

Those who newly believe in a world of spirit are presented with - on the one hand - a Christianity that is manifest in the materialism of this-world, including the bureaucratic-institutional reality of the churches... 

And on the other hand, the newly 'spiritual' individual is culturally offered a variety of pure-spirit, 'oneness' ideals* - whereby the spirit is presented as a separate and superior realm of being, and the individual self (and our  thinking) as this-worldly incarnation-caused delusions that need to be overcome in order to enter fully the realm of spirit. 

Repelled by the bureaucratic materialism of Christian churches (each of which presents itself as essential in order to achieve salvation after death)...

The newly-spiritual person is told that he needs to leave behind his ego-self (and our thinking)

Therefore; the idea of bodily resurrection after death becomes regarded not so much as nonsense; as actively undesirable - a 'clinging' to the delusion that is the body, and an egotistical refusal to give-up the autonomous thinking agent.   

This is important: After (and this is a difficult transition) a modern person becomes convinced that there is a spiritual realm; that the spiritual is eternal and therefore superior to the corruption and death of this world; and that he will survive bodily death in a spirit form... Then he is inclined to regard the Christian offer of bodily resurrection as a childish thing, a kind of simplistic regression, a step backwards not forwards.

The newly-spiritual person is likely to regard with disdain (or dismay) the Christian ideal of remaining a separate being from God - both physically separated by having a body, and mentally-separated by retaining selfhood and the capacity for independent thinking. 

While Christians regard love as existing between free-individuals; the newly-spiritual modern person is more likely to understand "love" as being universally-directed at the entirety of reality; and a state of complete absorption-into "the divine", which is also "everything".

For the newly spiritual modern person; 'spirituality' implies a giving-up of individuality, and a return to an original state of undifferentiated oneness

So, instead of the self being annihilated at death by ceasing to exist (as mainstream modern people believe); the self is annihilated after death by giving-up its selfhood and autonomy, and all capacity for thought - by assimilating-into-universality.      

My point is that the Christian finds himself at (at least!...) two removes from conversion of a mainstream modern materialist. 

One (big) step being to induce belief in the realm of spirit; but then there comes a whole other business of trying to explain what resurrection means, why Christians want it, what Heaven is like...

And why Christians desire to retain personal agency, the capacity for thought, and gain a "new body" after death

*Oneness spirituality may also appear in the guise of a quest for 'wholeness' or 'holism'; under the assumption that anything less than everything is incomplete, and thereby insufficient. Christianity is about eternally loving relationships, (and with each loving relationship unique, irreplaceable) - not about attaining oneness/ universality/ wholeness/ holism. 

Saturday 28 October 2023

Heaven is a choice, not a reward

I am very dismayed when (which is often, usual) I come across Christians who conceptualize Heaven in terms of a reward of some sort, and God as some sort of spiritual examiner - allocating salvation on the basis of performance. 

And threaten the agents of evil with exclusion from Heaven; or express delight at the misery to be caused by their exclusion.*

This asserted scheme is a terrible, false, and deeply aversive misrepresentation. 

The reality of the situation is - surely? - much better expressed by presenting Heaven as a choice? 

To enter Heaven is a choice - and, because Heaven is a situation utterly without evil (or else it would not be Heaven) - to exercise that choice entails leaving behind all this is evil in us... 

Discarding at the porch all that is evil; heaping each and all of our sins and defects "in a pile on the doorstep"; before proceeding through the gates of resurrection, and on to Heaven. 

Anyone can enter Heaven who wishes to do so - so long as he will pay the price of admission; and everyone capable of wanting Heaven is capable of paying the price of admission - because that price is (simply) to disarm himself of all that is not-Good. 

Those who insist on holding-onto their sins, are denied admission whether they want Heaven or not - which is a simple matter of coherence, because insofar as they 'want' Heaven, those who will Not discard-repent all their sins have decided that (in fact) they want their sin/s more than they want Heaven. 

But that reality is not well expressed in terms of God's allocating places in Heaven, and each Man being brought to the bar of God's judgment'. 

We choose or reject Heaven and what is needful to become a part of Heaven; we are not barred from Heaven by anything except our own choice.  

In a salvation-focused sense; all our mortal life can be boiled-down to that point on the threshold of Heaven when we decide whether irrevocably to allow our-selves to be made-Good... or Not.  

But, it is a choice

Jesus came to give us this chance, to offer the gift of Heaven. Whether we take that chance, and accept that gift, is up to each-of-us. 

*Rhetorically speaking, this is actually counterproductive. The majority of unbelievers regard such threats as a lame joke made by pathetic losers. And, more generally, those who do not go to Heaven overwhelmingly don't want to go to Heaven - are repulsed or bored by the whole idea of Heaven. So there is not much reason to suppose they will regret being "somewhere else" - at least, not at first.    

Friday 27 October 2023

The Jesus Prayer lifeline - a personal perspective

The Jesus Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me, A sinner. 

For about the last decade the Jesus Prayer has been a spiritual lifeline

That is a pretty exact analogy - when I am stunned, confused, feel myself slipping, it is what I repeat to myself in a kind of desperation. 

And like a lifeline - once I have been saved from the immediate threat of drowning, I would move on to other things; other prayers or meditations. 

So I don't go along with the Eastern Orthodox ideal of aiming to say the Jesus Prayer 24/7. I think that would be like living one's life doing not much but gripping onto a lifeline; and I am sure that God wants more than that from most of us. 

But a lifeline is a precious thing to have access to; and the Jesus Prayer can helpfully become almost an automatic response to the sense of being 'swept away' by the tide of evil*.

*That's why the "a sinner" at the end is valuable. It is at those moments of incipient and beginning (as well as done) sin when the prayer has most value for me; including for such mainstream modern sins as fear, resentment and despair. 

H/T Adam Piggott for triggering this comment through his post.

The sufferings of this world should Not be regarded as the primary issue of life

It is not the Christian view; but it is very common among both secular/ atheist/ materialists and those of an "Eastern religion"/ oneness/ perennial philosophy type - to regard the sufferings of this mortal life and earthly-world as The Main Issue of Life. 

This is often true implicitly, even when it not stated and affirmed. 

If the suffering is the Main Issue, then its alleviation and elimination are the primary concern. But there is a contradiction between believing that quantitative alleviation of suffering is worthwhile - or whether partial alleviation is meaningless/ actually futile; and only the qualitative elimination of suffering is a valid goal. 

Mainstream politics and its majority-adherents can never seem able to decide whether what they regard as quantitative improvement in (for instance) racist attitudes is worth having; or whether this makes no essential difference, and after some 70 years of active social engineering things are just as bad as ever. 

The tone flips back and forth between self-congratulation at the huge improvements (as the left sees it) since the middle 1960s; and assertions of here-and-now massive, vicious, endemic, 'systemic' racism that permeates and distorts every social institution in The West (and which it ought to be the number one global priority to address immediately). 

I regard this deep incoherence as a modern, secular version of a deep confusion and incoherence that permeates the metaphysical-religious stance which focuses on suffering. Whenever Christianity has focused on this-world conditions, it enters an identical contradiction. 

It is due to the assumption of an objective and subjective world: once this is assumed as reality then there can be no coherent answer to the problem of suffering. 

One reason is because suffering is subjective, yet all action taken to alleviate or eliminate suffering is objective. We live in a world that regards thinking as private, having no effect outside the brain and body; yet we purport to dedicate the world to alleviation of the subjective state of suffering - when thinking (including suffering) is something about which outsiders can know nothing 'objectively'.

Another reason is that we partly believe that suffering is quantitative, such that being imprisoned under harsh condition is worse suffering than somebody saying something mean to us. Yet at other times 'micro-aggressions' (i.e. somebody saying something mean, that hurts another person's feelings - allegedly) is treated as an absolute offence for which no punishment can be too severe (loss of employment, social vilification, violence...). 

Modern Man affects to be focused on suffering as The Evil that must be addressed; but cannot decide whether suffering is quantitative, such that mass genocide is worse than a single death, and enslavement worse than suffering subjective micro-aggressions - and such sufferings can be diminished over time; and this is "progress"...

Or; whether suffering is qualitative and absolute - such that all suffering is equal, and there can be (and has been) no "progress" in the elimination of suffering in this world or in individual persons; and only the 100% elimination of all forms of suffering is really worthwhile. 

Furthermore, anyone who thinks deeply and consecutively on the subject will realize that much suffering is innate to the human condition of this mortal life: disease cannot be eliminated, neither can degeneration, neither can death - and the sufferings caused by the death (etc) of others. And there are many natural disasters and constraints. 

And - of course - much suffering is a consequence of humans living together in society such that we impinge-upon each other's gratifications in a multitude of ways; yet for individuals to live utterly without society is not just impossible, but also a nightmare of suffering.

My conclusion is that to focus on suffering on suffering as The Problem of this mortal life and the world is not just wrong but incoherent; and will lead to permanent frustration and meaningless contradictions. 

If we do - at present - regard suffering as the primary problem of existence; then we are in error

And we therefore need to examine and change our fundamental assumptions. 

Note added: It may not be at all easy to change our assumptions regarding suffering. For modern people in the conditions in-which we find-ourselves; it is often quite spontaneous to focus-upon - and be overwhelmed-by - the vast scale of suffering in life: of human, plants, animals, and even for the planet. This applies to self-identified Christians, as to everybody else. What I am saying is that this focus is incoherent, hence futile, consequently counter-productive. We ought not to accept the suffering-focus; but should fight against it - even though this likely will lead to subjective guilt - at least initially; and almost certainly accusations of being 'uncaring'.  

Thursday 26 October 2023

Too much information! (On gossiping about Jesus, etc.)

Christians sometimes develop a spiritually-unhealthy desire to gossip about Jesus; and, maybe, a craving to know more and more information about Jesus's life and teachings - then we could answer some burning question, or another; get fuller guidance of what to believe, how to live etc...

I have come to feel that this is a spiritually unhealthy attitude for the 21st century. 

But what about Jesus? Surely it would be good to know more about Jesus?...

Well, I feel we 'know' far too much about Jesus! 

(And most of it is wrong.) 

If everything known about Jesus had been the Fourth Gospel ("John") - that would have been better than what happened; but even that is really too much. 

There is too much so that people get confused, bits have been added, errors have crept in... The simple and necessary truth is there (and oft-repeated) but (history shows...) that isn't enough!

Once people get that craving for "more information", once they need (for whatever reason - professionally, to fill-in-time) to gossip and speculate about Jesus... Well, there is no end to the business, and it soon swamps and displaces the needful.    

But what is the needful, and how could people know it? 

In the end, this question can only be addressed and (maybe) answered by paying personal attention to knowing, understanding, experiencing in-and-for ourselves. 

Supposing that we only knew about Jesus that he died and he rose from the dead and ascended to Heaven, and said that others could do the same by 'following' him. 

Suppose we each then had to try and work-out what this meant, understand what it meant for each-of-us; and what it meant for this problem or question in my everyday life now? Suppose that we were trying to know this for our-selves, and not trying to justify ourselves to others?...

Supposing we needed to find answers to the innumerable and open-endedly-varied questions and difficulties of our life, by working from the simplicity of understanding Jesus? 

What I am suggesting is almost the opposite of the traditional idea that being-a-Christian is a matter of learning a lot of stuff and then doing what it says - and refraining from whatever it prohibits - and (if in doubt) only doing what it says. 

Opposite to a top-down, complexly-attempting to be a comprehensive notion; opposite to "Christianity as a blueprint for life"... 

What I am advocating is that the real Christianity is something very small, simple, and quickly graspable about Jesus... Yet its existential and specific understanding is a lifetime's work; and (unlike many other religions) it is a life's work for each and every Christian.

And realizing-this and doing-this is (pretty much) what makes you a Christian.

(Even if you reach no stable conclusion, or a mistaken conclusion.)

Tuesday 24 October 2023

Everybody judges people by inferred motivations (and in light of their own)

I try to judge people by their motivations. But - of course! - we must infer motivations; and this inference is influenced by our own motivation. 

So if we are motivated to find fault: fault will be found; and vice versa if we are attracted to someone for any reason, we this may distort our inferences concerning her or his motivations. 

Thus inference is not what people call "an exact science" - but then again, what is? (Certainly Not science...). 

Nonetheless, everything depends upon our inferences, and inferences cannot be avoided - so, we ought to take them seriously; and part of that is to acknowledge fully and explicitly, that our most basic and necessary assumptions concerning life, people, ourselves - are dependent on inferences.  

And of these inferences some of the most important concern motivation. We cannot really evaluate validity or goodness without making inferences about motivation. 

This is because motivation is the key to understanding - the motivations we attribute, will shape our understanding - to such a degree that the meaning of any given act may be opposite if one motivation is assumed, than if another is assumed.

The insight is relevant to life, obviously; for example we need to make inferences concerning our family and friends, the people we love, the people with whom we work... 

And inferences the people we 'encounter' through the mass media and via official channels. To understand the views of someone (or some institution) cited in the mass media; we make inferences about the motivations of that person cited; and we ought also to make inferences about the medium itself - the journalist who 'researched' and wrote the story, the editors who passed it, the PR and advertisers who decided to give it prominence...

In reading this post and this blog, you need to make - and have already made - inferences concerning my motivations in writing it. 

Inferring is vital and unavoidable and we necessarily make our most important life-decisions on the basis of inferences;  yet inference is inexact and errors are possible; and there is no conceivable way in which errors can always be avoided. 

So far as I can tell; there is only one way of improving our inferences; which is to be aware of as many of them as possible; and alert to significant counter-evidence that we maybe got them wrong.

Then, if we are convinced by the counter-evidence (and the inferred motivations of those who provided it!), we need to be prepared to revise our previous inferences of motivation. 

Note: Examples might clarify. 

I am willing to put up with a lot of contrary ideas from someone who I regard as well motivated: Philip K Dick is an example. I suppose I disagree with him pretty fundamentally on many of the most important matters on which he expresses an opinion - such as the fundamental nature of Christianity. Nonetheless; I am sure he was well motivated, so I enjoy reading and re-reading his work. 

Opposite examples are when someone who I believe to be wrongly-motivated is ignored by me; despite expressing views with which I strongly agree. Example would be: anyone strongly-featured approvingly or given high-level exposure of any kind in the mass media; or anyone in a leadership position of any large/ prestigious/ wealthy/ influential Western institution. 

Monday 23 October 2023

The Spear of Destiny and the National Socialist German Workers' Party

I've just re-read an enjoyable light novel called Looking for the King; which is set in 1940 just before the Battle of Britain, It concerns two Americans (young man and woman) visiting England, getting caught up in a quest for the Spear of Destiny, and being helped in this search by The Inklings (and falling in love). 

Over the years I have heard, from several directions, about the real and imaginary occult and magical propensities of the "National Socialist German Workers' Party" (NSGWP)*. 

The idea is that there was an occult battle going-on - directed against Britain - at the same time as the war was being fought on the physical level. 

Some of this material is real: for example, there was Dion Fortune's Magical Battle of Britain; or Churchill's "silent minute" - which were both supposed to mobilize the power of mass meditation and prayer, against presumed counter-forces. 

On the other hand, a fair bit of the material I have encountered seems to be descended from a fictional (pretending to be factual) account by anthroposophist Trevor Ravenscroft * about Adolf's supposed quest for the Spear of Destiny Indeed this strange book seems to be a concealed and unacknowledged, but highly influential, pop-history classic. 

As I mentioned before; there was indeed an important and socially-motivating spiritual dimension to the socialism and nationalism of the NSGWP; which was completely absent from the other (and even worse) totalitarian dictatorship of Lenin and Stalin in the USSR. 

This means that it was rational to fear the potential for occult spiritual attack from Germany (as well as the threat of material invasion), whereas the idea would seem absurd with respect to the USSR - who had slaughtered (etc) many thousands of priests, monks and nuns; and many millions of devout Christians - in their attempt utterly to eradicate the spiritual. 

But to my mind this unspirituality does not reflect to the credit of the USSR. The Communist ideology was indeed more advanced in its materialistic-evil, than was the partially-reactionary (because anti-communist) socialism of the NSGWP. 

Plus, there is, and was, the influential crypto-communist aspect of the British and American ruling classes; which put the USSR as a higher priority than Britain and America. 

So, even though the USSR was on the same side as Germany in 1940; and even though the USSR had, by the Battle of Britain,  invaded and occupied 2/3 of the British ally Poland -- the UK did not declare war on the USSR, hardly seemed to recognize them as an enemy - and since airbrushed history and national memory accordingly. 

While unconstrained fantasies of the occult and magical evil of the NSGWP (and allegorical equivalents) constitute a staple of mass media, movies, TV and novels - the greater, more enduring, and still-with-us cancer of the ideology of Communism (and its evolutionary descendants) have (during my lifetime) been almost washed-away from Western consciousness. 

* I like to use the full name of the party - here in an English translation - to emphasize just how explicitly leftist they were. Socialist Worker Parties are leftist parties - but Nationalist SWPs are usually left-anti-communist. But not always. In Scotland, the Nationalists were originally also (substantially) communists (or similar); and nowadays are mainstream pro-totalitarian leftist. Anyway, the point is that the hatred between fascist and communist was a civil war of the left; not a difference between extremes.  

** Trevor Ravenscroft's son, saxophonist Raphael, was also a massive, covert social influence via his solo on the bluesy single Baker Street. 

Spook spirituality

The Establishment has become extremely dominant in the world now; far more thoroughly than ever in the past - because of the mass and social media, globalization, and the way that the leadership class (of all major social institutions) is now enlisted in the leftist-project.

Everybody knows - because it has been going on for centuries, indeed millennia - that the ruling class uses religion to control populations. But because religion had an ultimate reference outside of this world and the material realm, this limited the way it could be used. 

Nowadays religion has been replaced as a tool-of-control by a materialist, this-worldly, secular ideology ("leftism" in its various and evolving manifestations) - which substantially (not entirely) encompasses the leadership class of the whole world. 

And ideology - in contrast to religion - is this-worldly, materialist, lacks reference to anything else - and therefore there is no limit to the usage to which ideology can be put by the rulers. 

Of course; religions and churches still exist, but it seems perfectly clear that all of these (at least, those with significant size, power, wealth etc.) are incorporated into the mainstream leftist ideology; and are on-board with the materialist-this-worldly agenda in its essentials.  

It is much less well appreciated that the same applies to 'spirituality'. 

Looking back over the Western spirituality movement - which goes back to the late 19th century - one can see the fingerprints of the Establishment with respect to many of the key, influential individuals and 'movements'. 

I have described how the introduction of "Eastern" religion and spirituality of a oneness type has been promoted officially - presumably due to its complementarity with the materialist-this-world core agenda. Much the same can be said of the (indirect but effective) promotion of drugs for spiritual usage in the 1950s and 60s; 'countercultural' lifestyles, pop and rock music, sexual promiscuity and 'experiment, and the New Age... 

By my judgment; it has been sufficiently documented that all the above was - covertly but consistently - supported by Establishment elements; and was involved with intelligence/ spying/ "spooks" - through tools such as class and family connections, covert influence on the mass media, selective subsidies or harassment - etc. 

I think there is insufficient awareness of the way that spirituality movements, teachings, lifestyles; have-been and are manipulated; in a way that is highly analogous to the way 'institutional religion' was controlled by the ruling class in earlier centuries - and that this continues.  

This is masked by the false assumption that spirituality is 'purer' than religion - and intrinsically anti-Establishment, individualistic etc; yet that is clearly not the case in the sense that the 'spiritual' people are a very homogenous group in terms of their affiliation to the officially-promoted side in the major social-cultural-political issues of these times: egalitarianism, feminism, antiracism, diversity, climate-based environmentalism, the sexual revolution and so forth.  

Indeed, the control of spiritual movements is so effective that this is invisible to those concerned. The pressures applied are so deep and pervasive as to seem like natural phenomena, forces of nature! 

The exact same people who subscribe to the globalist establishment agenda (on an almost point-by-point basis) therefore also and simultaneously regard themselves as radicals and rebels; fighting government, big corporations, officialdom etc! 

Consequently; the very same people (and institutions) who are most feted as leaders of the counter-culture, 'alternative' lifestyles, spiritual detachment, un-worldliness; those who pride themselves on their bold stances against authority! - are exactly those most likely to be agents, tools or dupes of the Establishment "Spook Agenda"!

The evidence is there, easily seen - in terms of background, affiliations, core beliefs; and the fact of high levels of mainstream public attention, esteem markers and and status - but such evidence makes no difference without the framework of assumptions that allow it to be interpreted as such.  

My take-home point is that while 'everybody' has encountered the idea that church religion can be (and has been) used by the ruling classes as a mechanism for mind-control; the same also applies to 20th and 21st century form of spirituality. 

And the obvious way in which apparently religious leaders (at many hierarchical levels) could actually be agents, tools or dupes for a socio-political agenda - is mirrored by the supposedly rebellious, radical, counter-cultural, alternative, spiritual leaders and 'influencers' of today. 

It is real, it happens, it is all around us; and the chances are that you are, or have-been - like me - (wittingly, to various degrees - or not) significantly involved in "the spook agenda" yourselves. 

Sunday 22 October 2023

From a united-leftist war to a leftist civil war (Ahrimanic to Sorathic)

First: every voice in the Western mainstream sociopolitical and institutional discourse is leftist - including those who call themselves (maybe believe themselves?) to be on the right (conservatives, republicans, nationalists, libertarians etc.). 

The 2022 war of the West versus the Fire Nation had the whole the the Western establishment united and on the same side: dissent was censored, the mass media were all presenting minor variations of the same message. 

It could be seen, at least superficially, as a war of the united globalist totalitarians against those who would dissent from their agenda

On the face of it, the anti-Fire nation war was therefore an Ahrimanic war; of the materialist-totalitarians, against the only bastion of Christian civilization. 

The new war of the past couple of weeks (in the desert lands of Arrakis between the original native Fremen and the recent colonists of CHOAM) is very different. 

(With the partial exception of the USA); we can see that the Western mass media are divided between the sides; within-nations, the Western populations are divided; there is no serious censorship - and both sides are being allowed to argue and present their cases (and disseminate their propaganda, including reporting of large rallies) within mainstream Western discourse.

So the new Arrakis war is in essence, and by design, a civil war, happening within the West; and between Western parties.   

Given that this war was was deliberately triggered (by agents operation on both 'sides') we can see that this is a further development of the trend for increasingly dominant Sorathic evil in the West - evident since the summer of 2020. 

Unlike with the FN war - here there is no good side; that is, no side fighting for Christian good - and the Arrakis war's nature is (very evidently) motivated by mutual resentment and spite, and mutual desire for annihilation...

The prospect if for no national winners, and destruction all-round. 

Pure Sorath.  

Wasps versus Hoverflies

Not a wasp...

I hate wasps. They are one of the few actively malicious creatures in these placid British Isles; and one of few kinds of animal that I would like to see become extinct. 

A wasp will seek-out and sting somebody for no discernible reason, out of sheer spite; I have, indeed, seen a wasp do this to three people, one after the other - who were simply standing in a row, in the open, doing nothing (waiting to be photographed) - and nowhere near any possible wasp's nest. 

But hoverflies are a different story. I love this sweet little wasp-mimic. 

Although they benefit from looking like the evil wasps, they are among the most harmless and beneficial of garden dwellers. They are great aerial acrobats; with their alternation between stationary hovering, instantaneous rotation, and invisible zooming.

They even seem to have a nice and friendly face - for an insect; and radiate a kind of benignity. 

(Apparently, this beneficence is 'scientifically' true; and the hoverfly group is supposedly one of the most ecologically vital contributors to the English countryside.)   

Saturday 21 October 2023

A direct link to the tear ducts - Mozart's Letter Duet from Figaro

As so often, here is some Saturday morning music; the Letter Duet from Act II of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro:

I think it is may impossible for me to listen to this piece without tears streaming down my face; although I suppose I could distract and harden myself against its effects if, for example, I was driving a car at the time...

I picked this performance from the many on the many on YouTube by superb performers, because - even though this is roughly recorded and imperfectly balanced due to the live performance; conductor James Levine seems to catch the ideal tempo and instrumental effects - yielding the biggest emotional punch.

Aside from the always delicious combination of soprano and mezzo, what really gets me about this duet is the (mostly) woodwind accompaniment; which is something that is utterly characteristic of Mozart; and so often leads to his very greatest effects and moments. 

So, even if you know this already, then perhaps this time you might focus on the orchestra; and regard the voices as instruments. 

There is a very simple, rhythmic, arpeggiated accompaniment throughout; upon-which Mozart 'paints' his woodwind effects, and-against which the voices syncopate and overlap teasingly, before joining together in close harmony. The "half-way" moment at 1:27 when everything drops-out for for a moment except the oboe, which plays a descending five-note phrase, is so simple and wonderful that it defies analysis. 

Concerning the singing; the melody is occasionally 'decorated' by ascending "grace notes"; when the singer initially hits and accentuates a note below the 'target', before rising to the expected note. This is almost a trope for Mozart - in his instrumental music as well as vocal; he seems to have loved the effect of poignant yearning. 

As so often with Mozart's peak experiences (and perhaps especially in this opera); his 'raw material', the action and words in context of the plot; seem everyday, light, trivial... Indeed, in this case the letter is part of a rather sordid plot between the Countess (soprano) and her maid (mezzo) to entrap the Count in a fake adulterous intrigue.   

Yet, somehow, Mozart brings a quality extraordinarily subtle and delicate to the piece. And we are raised far above the mundane. 

Friday 20 October 2023

The Romantic Christian spiritual life as primarily creative; a Genius Quest

Romantic Christianity understands the future of Christianity to be one in which the individual person takes ultimate responsibility for his most profound beliefs. 

Because of the corruption-to-evil of the institution of the Western world, including all the major churches; this implies the need for a Christian life of creative discovery, and that this life needs to be self-motivated. 

To be sustainable through difficulties, this kind of creative life must provide personal motivations and rewards - or else it will not be begun, or will soon be abandoned. 


People are most creative when creativity is supported with positive and rewarding emotions and/or provides relief from negative or aversive emotions. 

This would seem to work in three stages: Discontent –> Delight –> Satisfaction. 

This corresponding to: Perceiving a Problem –> Having an Insight –> Generating a Solution.

Therefore, creativity is driven by a negative or ‘Dysphoric’ feeling – that some state of affairs produces an emotion of dissatisfaction. 

"The creative" then turns his attention to this ‘‘problem’’ – and he enjoys working on the problem (that is, he enjoys ‘being creative’); and finally he may come up with an insight which leads to a euphoric feeling of delight. 

So, The Creative is rewarded up-front for generating insights – by working on a problem he both gets relief from a negative state of inner dissatisfaction and is also positively rewarded by an inner fulfilment by the work – and this happens whether or not his insights eventually turn-out to be answers. 

As such, The Creative will tend to generate insights for the sheer fun of it! – and even if the insights turn-out to be trivial, erroneous, useless, or harmful. This provides his day-to-day motivation for being-creative. 

But, finally, with persistence and luck on his side; let us say that The Creative comes up with a solution to the problem: a solution which, for a shortish period (minutes or hours, perhaps), makes him feel joyously happy or ‘Euphoric’! Thus a Dysphoric state of Discontent has then been replaced by a Euphoric state; and when Euphoria subsides the successful creative will move onto a longer-term and sustained state of satisfaction or gratification – and this can be termed ‘Euthymic’, meaning a state of ‘normal’ good mood. 

Therefore, first Euphoria, then Euthymia are the emotional rewards for creativity. So, in terms of phenomenology, it goes: Dysphoria – Euphoria – Euthymia Or, in English: Discontent, Bliss, Satisfaction.

In terms of the larger picture of Life, this is the discontented state of seeking Destiny and the gratification of discovering it; embarking on a Quest – which is itself a satisfying albeit frustrating activity; and finally achieving Illumination – which leads to an acute state of bliss then a chronic state of satisfaction (and quite likely a new search for another Destiny). 

Therefore, for the creative person, a normal life in conformity with social expectations is unsatisfying; but being creative is rewarding. Such a person will be spontaneously creative, as a consequence of their inner drives and personal satisfactions; and creative whether asked to be creative or not, whether it is useful or not, and whether he is sufficiently knowledgeable and competent for the task or not.

Romantic Christianity therefore entails that being A Creative is not the preserve of traditional geniuses; but becomes the norm for Christians. 

In other words; each Christian should become a Genius of his own fundamental and ultimate Christianity; even when, as usually happens, he chooses to retain an affiliation to some denomination or church with respect to less-fundamental and more-superficial aspects of his faith and life. 

His base-faith is required to be the work of his genius, else he will not be sufficiently motivated in the world as-now; yet part of this base-faith may entail the insight that "such-and-such a church" is (at present) valid and helpful for his Christian life. 

But the first step for a Romantic Christian is to discover what it is that we will be creative about, what really motivates us from-within and is in accordance with divine creation; and finding that is the beginning of his "genius quest". 

Note: The above passage, starting with "People are most creative", and ending with "task or not" is lightly-edited from my co-authored (with Ed Dutton) book The Genius Famine

I have been re-reading this book for the first time since it was published nearly eight years ago, and have found it to be (somewhat surprisingly) Very Good! Helped by Ed's input; it reads excitingly (for this kind of book), and I had actually forgotten writing several of the ideas and insights that seemed most valid. So I am (re-) learning something, just from reading my own stuff.

Anyway, I would recommend The Genius Famine to my readers, as being much-more-relevant-than-expected to the project of Romantic Christianity. 

You can read the text version linked above for free, but the Kindle version is a lot more user-friendly. (The paper version seems over-priced; and was badly typeset, unfortunately.) 

Wednesday 18 October 2023

Tolkien's methods of space- and time-travel, by transcarnation and reincarnation

Tolkien thought deeply about how we might actually travel in space and time; and his answers are described in the Notion Club Papers - as explained in a new post at my blog of that name.

What is the meaning of the "woman taken in adultery" story in John Chapter 8?

In my mini-'book' on the Fourth Gospel; I describe my assumptions in reading the Bible; which lead to me to the Fourth Gospel ("John") as the most authoritative Book; and which govern my interpretation of that Gospel. 

Much of this has to do with the unit of meaning that I focus upon - which is neither the Bible as a whole, nor a verse by verse (nor word by word) meaning; but more like a focus on the Book and the narrative-units within it. 

In particular, I pay attention to that which is repeated and re-explained - which I regard as less subject to later error, interpolations, and excisions.

To take a particular example: how do I look-at the episode from the IV Gospel often called "the woman taken in adultery" [see below for text]: What does this episode mean, how do I understand it?

For a start; I am aware of the overall and two-fold message of the IV Gospel; which is (approximately) that we each may have 'salvation' (i.e. eternal resurrected life) by 'following' Jesus. 

This overall message is stated several times, in different ways, throughout the Gospel from its beginning to its end (i.e. the verses at the end of Chapter 20 - Chapter 21 being, I believe, a later addition by another hand). 

In this episode the two-fold message is re-stated, using the frequent 'poetic-metaphor' of light;  in verse 12: Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. 

This core 'Christian' message required, at the time, refuting a different and prevalent idea; which was that salvation was a matter of avoiding sin, and avoiding sin was a matter of following The Law. 

This is what I think this adultery episode is about. Jesus is confronted by a woman who has sinned, who has broken the law; and, by the old rule, was therefore legitimately 'condemned' to death - and thereby (by the then understanding of 'death') 'damned' to dwell as a depersonalized, demented ghost in Sheol. 

Jesus desires to replace this scheme with one in which death is not damnation; but instead resurrection to a higher, better, fully-loving eternal life in Heaven. 

And this Life Everlasting is to be attained Not by avoiding proscribed sins, but by following Jesus. 

On the one hand; Jesus asserts that it is futile to suppose that we can avoid sin. This story demonstrates that we are all sinners, and therefore there is 'nothing special' about the woman taken in adultery. By the old religion we are all in the same boat as her; all 'deserving' of death for transgressing one or more of The Laws, therefore all destined for damnation (later, if not sooner)...

(In this regard; it needs to be remembered that in the IV Gospel, 'sin' and 'death' are almost synonymous. This is a key that unlocks many otherwise rather obscure passages.)

But the 'good news' Jesus brings and makes possible; is that none of this endemic and universal sinning ultimately matters if we choose follow Jesus; where 'following' means (almost literally) recapitulating his path from this mortal life, through death, and to resurrection in Heaven.

(We are made able to follow Jesus by loving him; which partly means wanting and affirming and committing-to God and divine creation; and this includes rejecting sin/ death. Sin is whatever conflicts with love; and therefore must be repudiated to dwell in Heaven. This is what we term repentance.)

That is what I understand this story to mean, and which fits with the reality and essential nature of Jesus, and with the Gospel as a whole and its repetitions - and therefore I pretty much ignore those specific verses that clash or contradict. 

For example when Jesus is quoted as saying to the woman 'sin no more'; then I note that this is literally false; because it is impossible Not to sin, as Jesus has just demonstrated; therefore this phrase is either a later and mistaken interpolation (which is what I assume), or else must be interpreted in a very contextualized meaning (if you can be bothered!).

Or, what about the business of Jesus writing on the ground? That is obscure, and might be incomplete (due to some later loss or deletion), interpolated; or else the act had some then-understandable 'metaphorical/ poetic' meaning, that has since been lost. 

But it does not really matter - and we need not get hung-up on it; once we understand the necessary and core meaning of the episode as a whole.

So, this is a specific example of how I read the IV Gospel, how I go-about discerning truth from error.

If there are other bits of the IV Gospel that you are seriously confused or 'hung-up' on; you might mention them in the Comments; and I may try to demonstrate how I have understood them - according to this scheme. 

John.8 [1] Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. [2] And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. [3] And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, [4] They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. [5] Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? [6] This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. [7] So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. [8] And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. [9] And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. [10] When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? [11] She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. [12] Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Problems with my name...

I suppose everybody has problems with their names; because we use them under such widely varied situations and among so many strangers and in unforeseen places. Whereas, originally, our given names would have been used only by those few - maybe a few hundred at most - who already knew us as individuals. 

In general I have been very happy with Bruce Charlton - but there is a long-term and recurrent problem with Bruce. When speaking the name - say in a classroom, or over the telephone - people can't distinguish it. 

I have better-than-average diction (as a consequence of lecturing and some acting) but I still cannot make Bruce clear aurally - people hear it as Buu or maybe Buuss. Inevitably, I need to spell it out...

In Scotland, where the name comes-from (via the French of those dreaded Normans, I'm sorry to say) there is a rolled R, to assist with the earlier part of the word; turning the English monosyllable into almost two syllables: Brrr-ous

Ideally, though, to make the word clear aurally would require breaking it into three: Ber-us-ah, maybe...

Charlton has been less of a problem; and the surname was well known in my childhood from the footballer Bobby, who was perhaps - with Pele - the most famous soccer player in the whole world - indeed one of the most famous Englishmen.  

(e.g. - This really happened - Foreigner from the Far East: Where do you come from? Answer: England. Far Eastern Foreigner (smiling and gesturing): Ah - Bobby Charlton!) 

The surname is Northumbrian, and common around here; although rare in and around Bristol where I grew-up (there were only two or three Charltons listed in the phonebook).

Aurally, the name is usually clear. Although, when I lived in Scotland I had, of course, to pronounce it with the rolled R which broke it into three - Cha-rrrul-ton.

The only problem came in the USA, when I was a visiting medical student at Harvard, and used to get paged as "Dac-tor Carlton"... 

A pronunciation that was, frankly, inexcusable; given that Charlton Heston was one of the most famous American film actors of that era; and his name was always pronounced pronounced properly - with an initial Chu, not a Ku

But that is a problem with Americans - not with Charlton!

If Americans can pronounce a word wrongly: they will. A good example was pointed-out by my brother. 

English spelling is, of course, difficult/ irrational*; and the floating, bouyant, navigational device is pronounced Boy, but spelled Buoy. This confuses English children when encountering the written word; and they often mispronounce it as something-like Boo-oy, or Bu-oy. 

The Americans decided to mispronounce this strange spelling of Buoy, but in a way that is not phonetic! As Boo-ee!

'Nuff said. 

*Thanks, largely, to classically-trained and Francophile lexicographers; who insisted upon spelling spoken-words (including many place names) in forced-accordance with their idiosyncratic and erroneous etymologies. 

Leftist trends are a materialist distortion of innate, spiritual motivations

There is an analytic idea, which I took and somewhat adapted from Rudolf Steiner; and which I have found useful. It is that the leftist trends of the past three centuries (e.g. pacifism, abolition, socialism, nationalism, feminism, vegetarianism, antiracism, environmentalism) are materialist distortions of underlying changes in men's emerging spiritual instincts and motivations. 

Leftism is the greatest evil in the world today, because it represents a vast, changing, expanding range of materializations of spiritual impulses

The reason that leftism is a novelty in human history, is because Men have changed. 

And Men have changed ultimately and necessarily for spiritual reasons, reasons that are (no matter how much distorted) originally in accordance with God's plans of creation. 

That is, Man's nature is meant to change through history; in part because different civilizations and societies provide different experiences that are valuable for different souls. God made the world, and God made this way, and he made a world that was meant to 'evolve'. 

But, for God, reality is that the spiritual is always primary. Because 'the material' (which is also always spiritual) is a sub-set of the spiritual. Modern Man has inverted this reality by making the material not just primary but the only reality: in modernity, the spiritual is denied reality. For so long as the spiritual is denied its reality and primacy; we will live in evil-times - since our ultimate values (i.e. the deepest metaphysical assumptions that rationalize our everyday values) are necessarily inverted. 

Leftism ultimately derives from the inevitable distortions that occur when Man's spiritual evolution is forced-into materialist models, and provided with fake materialist solutions.  

We can see this everywhere, all over the political spectrum. A spiritual value, which has some kind of spontaneous inner existence; can only enter public discourse by being 'modelled' materially. Thus human spiritual problems are inevitably re-cast as material problems. This is inevitable because - for our society - only the material is really-real. 

This material model them leads to - apparent - solutions to the original human problem; which are of course material solutions - that is, the solutions derived from the theory are always 'answers' to do with making, destroying, moving, reshaping physical things.  

And therefore leftism always, inevitably, fuels totalitarianism; because when the answers to real human problems are always conceptualized in material terms, then the obvious way - indeed, the imperative - is to impose these material pseudo-answers, by whatever means seems likely to be most effective. 

Therefore; leftism always reduces to the insatiable demand for power over Men; the need for power being rationalized by the imperative of coercively imposing pseudo-materialist solutions, to fake-materializations of genuine but spiritual problems.  

Thus society and civilization is colonized by leftism; colonized incrementally; by materialistic theories that falsely 'explain' spiritual motivations and spiritual phenomena; and by the consequent materialist solutions to the problems thus conceived. 

The deep motivations underlying leftism are therefore spiritual; which is why leftism is powerful and enduring, why leftism is innerly-experienced as value-imperatives. 

But leftism is always and necessarily evil; because these valid inner spiritual motivations are reduced and re-cast into false, outer, material forms. 

Tuesday 17 October 2023

Footage of Stukas in a vertical dive

Those who are fascinated by dive-bombers in general, and the Stuka in particular, will enjoy the original footage of (almost-) vertical sustained and controlled diving in the above recent video. This was something that the Ju-87 could and did do, allowing unmatched accuracy; and which (probably) no other aircaft in history has been able to achieve. 

We need-to learn-to do-without "spiritual technologies"

At this phase and stage of things; I am increasingly convinced that we need to work-towards doing-without "spiritual technologies"; because such technologies become less-and-less effective at achieving their aims, and more-and-more likely to corrupt people into alignment with the increasingly evil rulership of this mortal world. 

By spiritual* "technologies" I mean all the many kinds of mediators and aids to spirituality - including some that were once regarded as absolutely essential to Christian salvation. 

I mean "technologies" such as spiritual (or holy) books, artefacts, institutions, activities (e.g. rituals), initiation procedures, drugs, meditative practices and so forth.   

All spiritual technologies in all areas of their usage are weakening, dwindling in effect, and now seem (ever-more-clearly, to me!) to be treated as little more than lifestyle options (almost clubs or 'hobbies') - even/ especially among those who most stridently assert their primacy. 

(For instance: the way that the Roman Catholic Church suspended Mass internationally and without time-limit in 2022, demonstrated their real attitude to such sacraments - Analogous examples could be found for the other Christian denominations and major religions.)

If Not Then What? If we are, as I think we must - sooner or later - to do without these; what instead can guide us and motivate us? 

If we do not have such law-books, such 'blueprints' for living; we instead need:

First - to be clearer about our ultimate aims.

Second - to be clear about the values, according to which such aims will be pursued.

Third - to be conscious of our strongest inner motivations; and seek among them for motivations in accordance with the aims and values we choose to pursue. 

*"Spiritual" I regard as (approximately, in brief) having to do with awareness of dwelling in a living divine creation. Such spirituality is (now, and increasingly) an essential pre-requisite to Christianity. 

Sarah Beth Briggs plays some first-rate (yes!) Mendelssohn: Variations Serieuses Opus 54

A couple of weeks ago I went to a superb piano recital by Sarah Beth Briggs; a local lass who English readers might remembers as the youngest (then) finalist of the BBC Young Musician of the Year in 1984; and who I first heard about (from music student friends) as a prodigy-pupil of Denis Matthews

It was a superb concert; and, for me, the highlight was Mendelssohn's "serious variations" Opus 54. I had never heard these before, yet they are the only work of Mendelssohn's I have encountered that I would regard as truly First Rate; excepting his overture to Midsummer Night's Dream - written at 17, and the only great music to have been composed by a child - 17 years old. 

SBB's performance of the Mendelssohn was one of those rare live-music occasions when I was absolutely riveted and entranced - I felt present at one of the musical events of my life. 

At the interval I bought Sarah Beth Brigg's recent CD "Variations" which included this, and several other pieces featured in the recital. I have been re-listening to the Serious Variations repeatedly ever since, and remain extremely impressed and moved by them. 

The rest of the disc is very good too, including Beethoven's variations on God Save the King which I had always assumed were just a kind of over-extended Teutonic joke! The concert revealed them to be of tremendously exciting virtuosity, consistently interesting, and thoroughly enjoyable!  

I did not believe Mendelssohn to be capable of such depth of musicality as he achieves in Opus 54; yet this work is as good as my very favourite Beethoven sonatas and variations; pieces I know very well from a span of more than four decades. 

Anyway: you can hear a snippet of SBB's performance from 3:30 here - or find other performances of the Mendelssohn Variations Serieuses on YouTube - I haven't yet investigated these, but Murray Perahia's performance would be a good bet.  

Monday 16 October 2023

You can't stay out of trouble by being-careful

Back in 2011, I wrote a mini-book called Thought Prison, which was focused on the New Left/ Political Correctness or what we would now call 'woke' ideology -- which, I argued, encompassed the entire mainstream of political and social discourse - including the supposed secular/ not-religious 'right' such as conservatives, republicans, libertarians and nationalists. 

I pointed-out that (even then, a dozen-plus years ago) in such a society of perpetual and self-consuming revolution, there was no way that anyone could - by choice - keep his head down, keep quiet, and stay out of trouble. 

If They, for any reason at all - even momentary expedience - want to get You, or Your institution, corporation, organization/ club/ charity or any grouping - They will get you.  

Because They control the mass/social media, and because the Masses (still!) believe the media and are addicted to it; even if you haven't actually done something anti-woke, They can and will just make up lies that you did do it*.

Enough people with power and influence will believe Them+; and will think you deserve, and therefore support, whatever punishment They decide to inflict; or whatever mob They decide to unleash upon you inflict (with Establishment-protected impunity).   

If They want to get you, They will get you - and what you have done or haven't makes not the slightest difference. 

You cannot stop this. 

Any 'apology' will simply be taken as an admission of guilt; but They will also invent an apology from you (that you never made) if and when it suits the current agenda.   

And you can't do anything about this - except on your side

What can you do, then? 

For a start; you might as well cease to worry and don't bother to take defensive action. Be honest with yourself (and those you trust), always exercise your spiritual freedom to choose your beliefs in opposition to the evil ideology of the Establishment. 

You should not be afraid - either in anticipation, or if the worst happens. Fear is not just futile but a sin. 

If you are afraid, acknowledge it is a sin, and repent it. That will help in and of itself. 

Beyond that; the only antidote to fear is faith in God (the Christian God, who is The Creator, wholly loving, and personally concerned with You); so you should regard your own fear as a stimulus to greater faith.  

How much of this you choose to speak, broadcast, or argue; is a personal and secondary matter. The vital consideration is that you take full personal responsibility for your values and discernment of truth, beauty and virtue... 

Be explicit and fully-conscious of all this, in your own mind. 

By full responsibility, I mean your personal responsibility before God and in context of light of life eternal - which are what matter ultimately.  

Believing because of a primary obedience to what your church is currently teaching is a failure to take personal responsibility. As of 2023; those who refuse ultimate responsibility, and claim merely to be following the church's instructions, are just as complicit with the Establishment as those who believe the mass media's evil lies.  

*I have personally experienced this twice - in 2008 and 2010. For example, the biggest circulation UK newspaper, who had never spoke with me quoted - in quotation marks! - something I had not said and did not believe. They just invented it, for the story and or impersonal malice. I have personally known several others to whom this happened. Such spiteful lying has been normal, routine media behaviour for many years. 

+Indeed, almost everybody - except your closest family and friends, will believe anything published against you that is disseminated in the mass media; even if they have known you for years personally, worked alongside you perhaps; and even after you refute the falsehoods face-to-face. (Actually, people do often this even with respect to malicious gossip of unknown provenance.) 

This degree of stubborn mindless credulity I found to be a real eye-opener! - although 2020 et al has demonstrated the obedient-slave mass phenomenon to all with eyes to see.  

Sunday 15 October 2023


Nostalgia was originally used to describe a kind of pathological (painful - even potentially fatal) homesickness; but is now much more widely used to mean a yearning for something in the past (time of life, place, person, group) - which yearning may be deep, rich and pleasurable. 

Although it is generally regarded as a rather weak and sentimental affliction; I regard nostalgia as, in itself, a Good Thing, especially in potential - because to experience nostalgia is a sign of depth of nature, perhaps evidence of the capability for love; a looking beyond the currently dominating incentives of here-and-now.

But nostalgia is just a beginning; and what matter is what happens next. Like most things, nostalgia can lead to bad outcomes. 

For example, it can lead to the attempt to return to childhood, or a futile attempts to rebuild that which has irrevocably gone (and which probably ought not to be rebuilt anyway). This error might be termed "nostalgia as an end in itself". 

It may also represent (or lead to) a spiritually dangerous things, which is trying to recover and re-live an earlier stage of oneself; trying to undo and forget (rather than learn from and repent) aspects of one's life. 

Or, the opposite; the impossibility of returning to the earlier situation may lead to a kind of despair. The past is seen as entropically-doomed because the world inevitably decays, our memory always degrades, the past is annihilated, death by destruction is the end of all...

This error might be termed nostalgia as a deceptive (because unattainable) vision of the impossible Good. 

Either way; nostalgia can lead to a kind of life-sapping attitude - especially in a secular-materialist society such as ours (one which favours and rewards psychopathic callousness); which perhaps accounts for nostalgia's low-status reputation. 

If, on the other hand, someone has an assumption of his own life as a stage and phase in the experience of an eternal soul; and has the expectation of resurrected life in Heaven to follow death; then nostalgia can assume a very positive role in life, and beyond. 

Nostalgia (potentially) points us in a direction that recognizes the positive value of our own past experiences; and these experiences may include imaginative and empathic experiences; for example the best experiences from reading, arts, television; and the experiences of people with whom we identify (both those people we have known or met, and those about-whom we have learned). 

We may realistically expect such nostalgia experienced in this mortal life, to form (in ways not explicitly comprehensible at present) a vital part of our eternal life in Heaven. 

Friday 13 October 2023

How the thinking of one person can change the world for the better

I regard it as a simple fact that the thinking of a single person can change the world, and for the better. 

1. It is "thinking" that has the effect, not necessarily a physical-action.

2. As little as one person thinking may be effectual, not necessarily any group, institution or nation.

3. "Change the world", i.e. the 'external' world: the world (including people) outside the 'brain' of the thinker.

4. "For the better", which is change-positively and in line with the will and intention of God. 

(Provoking widespread negative change is easy and common - a spiteful gossip can do it; but I am here talking about a positive and personal contribution to all of divine creation.) 

It may be helpful to draw together the assumptions that lie behind such a statement. 

1. Thoughts are actions in the real world. 

(I was originally convinced of this by Rudolf Steiner's Truth and Knowledge, and The Philosophy of Freedom; and the work of Owen Barfield - such as Saving the Appearances.) 

2. We live in A Creation - and God is the creator, loves us and is concerned with us each as individuals -- all human beings constitute (in some literal sense) God's family of children. 

3. Therefore, God is able and willing - through His ongoing-creation - to take-up, amplify and spread-through-creation any specific thought (or other action) from any one of His Children - when this thought contributes positively to the goals of creation. 

Our main business, therefore; is to think good, positive thoughts - true, beautiful, virtuous; and if we do this, then God can and will take-up these thoughts; and make of them what He will in the world at large. 

Thursday 12 October 2023

Mainstream Left-Right totalitarians, versus the Radical Left (agents of chaos) - Office politics among the demon-affiliated

The Left includes all of the discourse in the public space - so it can be called more accurately the Left-Right - which primary objective is totalitarian - that is, it aims at omni-surveillance and total-control - with the spiritual objective of normalizing and propagating value-inversion, and thereby mass human damnation. 

The Left has a minority radical wing, whose primary objective is chaos i.e. violent 'revolution'. The radical Left are agents of chaos, their methods are often chaotic, and they desire increased chaos as an outcome. 

The mainstream-totalitarian Left and the radical-revolutionaries can be distinguished, in terms of their priority and main methods; but they cannot be divided - because they are both part of the same movement of the Left; and each depends on the other. 

The totalitarians need the radical, because radicals are the fantasy heroes, inventers, and 'conscience' (actually, a kind-of inverted anti-conscience!) of the bureaucrats and functionaries. The radicals are the energy and inspiration; the avant-garde - and the totalitarians follow. 

And the radicals need the totalitarians; because it is the bureaucrats and mass media who create the protected and subsidized environment in which radicals can survive and thrive, which provide exposure and influence via the media, and who defend the radicals against the only real enemies of the Left-Right (i.e. real Christians). 

What we are seeing at present, is one of the periodic spats of office politics within the Left-Right. 

The demon-serving powers of evil who sit above the mainstream, have set up a new Leftist Civil War within the mainstream - a war between the totalitarian majority mainstream, who support one side; and the radical minority mainstream who support the other. 

This new war will energize and entertain the mainstream of both kinds - especially those who have become bored and directionless. It gives them something urgent to fight for. 

The 2022 war was useless for this purpose; because the entire mainstream, both totalitarians and radicals, were solidly united in opposition to the Fire Nation. Dull, dull, dull...

But the totalitarians and radicals of the mainstream are really excited just now! Both taking hard-lines, and flinging outrageous accusations at each other; because this is a power struggle within The Party, among those who currently control the world. 

Because it is a power struggle among individuals of totalitarian and radical cast, the personal stakes are high! Potential rewards and punishments are extremely different according to who is winning. 

But it is fun, also, because (unlike the Fire Nation situation, where mainstream dissent is crushed) ultimately the new-war stakes are so low! 

The stakes are low* in the sense that neither side of the mainstream can really win; therefore, ultimately (at least among those who aren't merely dupes) neither totalitarians nor radicals really want to win - in the sense of permanently vanquishing their 'enemy'. 

Individuals and parties within the Left just want more power for themselves and their gang. That's all. 

They are all on the same side, totalitarians and radicals sides need each other, and work-together in synergy. 

However this new war turns-out for the agents of chaos personally; the radicals have already won. 

They have already won even if (for instance) all the radicals are soon stripped of power, imprisoned, or killed. Because it is easy to make new radicals. If necessary; new, 'replacement' radicals can be generated by the mainstream at the drop of a hat and in large numbers, in just a few days or weeks - as was discovered in the 1960s and confirmed in the summer of 2020. 

The radicals have already won; because the world has been pushed much further towards the chaos they desire: towards some kind of System-collapse.

And the totalitarians have already lost - because, with every passing week, the global bureaucrats have less and less control of humanities attitudes, thoughts, behaviours. And while radicals are quick and easy to produce; it has taken many decades to build The System.  


*This is, perhaps, an exemplar of Sayre's Law, which states that in any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues. The reason is probably that personal stakes are relatively highest when matters of fundamental value are least; maybe because when micro-issues of merely-relative value are concerned, then the reason for such differences are mostly personal. 

Wednesday 11 October 2023

Spiritual preparation for war: looking beyond mortal life (in both directions)

As the Sorathic powers do their best to escalate the current war in scope and severity; preparation becomes urgent - and since this is primarily a spiritual war, and the world is more evil-affiliated than ever before (so far as we know): spiritual preparation is primary. 

The main spiritual preparation for an increased possibility of death (oneself perhaps; but more likely from the broader range of loved ones, family, friends, neighbours) is to be on the right side. This means having primary affiliation not to any socio-political entity; but to the side of God, divine creation and Jesus Christ: to want salvation and be prepared to leave-behind all yours sins (i.e. repent) in order to reach Heaven. 

But, beyond that, I think it is a great help to put this mortal life into context; which (for me) is to look beyond mortal life in both directions

That is; our life now is in a frame; from-within-which we should both be looking back to before this incarnated/ embodied mortal life -- as well as looking forward to after and beyond this life - to what comes after the body dies. 

In other words; we need to to understand that birth was not the beginning nor is death the end; and we urgently need to sort-out the relevant realities of this situation for ourselves; what it implies for us, and for everyone-else. 

This means that, as well as acknowledging your basic situation; you ought to continue and analyze whether or not you are really satisfied with what you currently are telling yourself is really-true...

And whether you personally endorse your current understanding of "the human condition" from your deepest intuitive convictions

(...Whether, that is, you are prepared to take individual responsibility for your convictions - and not try to hand-over ultimate responsibility to some external institution or source.)

As of 2023, as we now are; only on such a basis can we be prepared for death - which is vital whether or not any of us (later or soon) are involved in a destructive war. 

Tuesday 10 October 2023

Crisis, what crisis? The best time for spiritual action

Cover art from the Crisis, what crisis? The 1975 LP by Supertramp - deservedly, one of the most popular bands of my middle teens; because of their touches of inspired lyricism. (Of course, the underlying value-tendency of the lyrics was net-evil - but so it goes with successful mass culture. And beauty is always good.) At the time I never noticed how enormous are the sunbathing bloke's feet - human flippers!

When there is an official crisis - as at present; all the presented options are wrong - because all are misdirections from what we ought to be doing. 

The three options at present are actively to support one side or the other, or active pacifism

The idea is encapsulated by the message behind the illustration above: we, each and all, should Do Something... Now! Before it is too late! And that something we must do is always material, physical, socio-political (even if, nowadays, symbolic-virtual).  

In effect: the presented-options are all attempting a negation of the negative - which is not a positive. The crisis is the negative, and the choice of actions are designed to negate that negative. 

In theory this might be asserted as 'clearing the ground' for something positive; but that only applies when there is a positive to begin-with. 

And here-and-now, there just isn't. 

To demand we do something, when all the somethings are supportive of one-evil-or-another is a recipe for making things worse. 

What about when the underlying problem of the crisis is spiritual not material - including the exclusion of the spiritual as well as the prevalent value-inversion? What then?

Well, clearly, the response to a spiritually-caused crisis ought to be spiritual -- and yet, the urgency is always for some choice of physical action. 

They always say, and with upfront validity, "Let's just sort-out this crisis first; and then - when this immediate and acute situation is over - that is the right time when we can (and should!) sort-out the spiritual stuff."

Superficially sensible... apparently the only realistic option; but only if you fail to notice that aiding evil (of any kind) is bound to make matters worse overall - and worse spiritually (because that is exactly what we are supposed to set-aside). 

So, what we are being asked to do is to select between counter-productive options: especially when the crisis has not (yet) physically upon us, except virtually; and when the inhabitants of totalitarian bureaucracies are (by design) materially powerless.

And, what when the crisis is never over; but instead we move (or rather, are-moved) from one emergency to the next? The time for spiritual re-evaluation will never be ripe, will never happen

Yet;  if or when a crisis is resolved, and another has not been assembled, then the spiritual urgency has diminished, the masses are then lulled and distracted by the pleasures of peace and prosperity. 

Official crisis is always the necessary time for spiritual re-evaluation; when 'issues' become real, when mortal life is revealed for the serious thing it is

Also; spiritual re-alignment is the only way to solve the crisis. 

From where we now stand, all options are bad, all futures are negative, all actions lead to greater harm... 

Only from a different spiritual perspective may we - possibly, if we are serious about it, and put the spirit first - perceive a positive future; and only a positive future can do us genuine good.