Sunday 31 March 2024

Fight, Fight, Fight is only a variant of "If only everybody would just be Nice"

Things are much worse than most people think! That is clear from the "If only" conversations and writings that seem to have plagued the world for hundreds of years at least. 

So many people though history have pointed out that "If only" people would just be nice, kind, reasonable, sensible, or whatever - "then" how much better this world would be...  

Yes indeed; but the Whole Point is that People are not thus, and show no signs of significant improvement in their natures.


A variant of this are the appeals for people to Fight this, that or the other. "If only" a few people would awaken to their own power, band together, organize, vote, Fight - "then" we could win. "Such exhortations are always, whether explicitly or implicitly, about "us" and what "we" could do if only we would Fight.  

Yes indeed; but the Whole Point is that (here and now, in "real" life) people don't and won't fight.

Or, at least, they will fight only when they are compelled by the government, get paid, or attain high status for fighting. Although some people will fight without reward; from their pleasure in destruction, bullying, and infliction of pain.  

And therefore (because their motivations are bad) people will only in practice fight on the side of evil - because, in terms of spiritual virtue: motivations are what matter.  


What's more, even if people could be well-motivated to fight on the side of God and Good; who exactly would they fight? 

The answer is that those who fought for Good would need to fight those on the side of evil. 

But things are much worse that most people think; and those on the side of evil are not a handful of Dark Lords and elite lieutenants, the elimination of whom would win the spiritual war; but instead those on the side of evil is... Almost Everybody. 


If you really (rather than merely rhetorically) were to fight, fight, Fight; then your would nearly-always start by fighting your family and friends, moving on to neighbours and colleagues, very soon including almost-everybody... those involved in almost-every social system: those responsible for food, water, energy, building and repair, trade and transport, retail etc. - as well as police and the military.  

The evil that rules this world, controls all these, and the other (politics, media, law, education, health,. arts, science...), social systems - so all-of-them is exactly who and what you would need to Fight. 

And even supposing you were able to inflict significant damage on Them; by destroying The System; you would certainly cause the sooner (rather than later) collapse of Western Civilization*. 


Things are much worse than most people think; and even if people and this world were utterly different from what they actually are - the dewy-eyed optimism of those who exhort us to Fight reveals their na├»ve ignorance of how bad things actually are, how pervasive and (in its various, or specific manifestations) overwhelmingly popular is the agenda of evil. 


Realistically; there is no basis for optimism: that is, there is no basis for believing that the world can or will become significantly better than it is now

But for a Christian this is not a counsel of despair, because Heaven is not of this world, and Jesus Christ's promises are of resurrection for those who follow Him - real Christianity is not a programme of socio-political reform. 

In other words: the cure for despair is not optimism but hope; not group belief in a high probability of amelioration or improvement but the personal certainty of salvation. 


*Of course, the underlying motivations of the fight-fight-fight brigade are often (apparently) selfish or in service to evil. Some are using this rhetoric to "make a buck", to build a business, build a cult around themselves, support the "party"; others are paid shills or state-employed agents provocateurs. Others are just LARPing as tough guys. But some are, no doubt, sincere but misguided - and they are the focus of the post.  

Saturday 30 March 2024

Beaconsfield, Berkshire - the most impressive literary town in England?


If you had asked me last week what was the most impressive literary town (not city) in England; I would probably have said Keswick, in the Lake District - despite that the major figure among Lakeland writers - William Wordsworth - was born and resided nearby, rather than in Keswick itself. 

But I now realize that the prize must go to Beaconsfield (pronounced "Beckonsfield") in Berkshire. 


I should have noticed the fact years ago, but had not made the connection until I began listening to the audiobook of Terry Pratchett's authorized biography "A Life with Footnotes". 

I had not clocked that Pratchett was born and raised in Beaconsfield; but I knew that GK Chesterton had been a long-term resident, and that Robert Frost had also lived there while he was in England. Already a very impressive trio!

But when I checked the relevant page in Wikipedia I was reminded that Enid Blyton had also resided in that small town; along with a large number of other eminent authors including Edmund Burke, Benjamin Disraeli, and Alison Uttley. 


While Beaconsfield's roster probably does not match Concord, Massachusetts (Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott...) in terms of literary significance and influence - it is nonetheless probably unbeatable in the UK. 

Or is it? 

Any other suggestions?


 

The literally delusional nature of that resentment which motivates so much socio-political action

The thing about paranoid and persecutory delusions (that is; beliefs that are false, strongly held, powerfully-motivating, in practice irrefutable), is that they cannot be contradicted by further knowledge or experience. 

Once a person has decided that X is "out to get them", is-harming or will-harm them in some way; then the whole cognitive apparatus is orientated towards collecting evidence based on this assumption. The assumption shapes the entire realm of facts, interpretation and theory. 


This delusional mechanism happens at the individual level; but also the long-standing, and sometimes all-consuming, resentments of history are understandable in this way. e.g. In the world today one race may attribute its low socio-economic situation to the effect of racism; while another race infers the reality of massive and worldwide racism despite occupying the highest socio-economic status and power. 

Once the assumption of racism, or sexism, or "fill-in the word"-phobia has been made, and once a person (or race/ sex/ orientation) builds its motivational system around racism - there is no possible empirical evidence or argument that can shake this delusion


In a very fundamental sense, it does not matter whether there is some or even a great deal of truth to the delusion of being-persecuted. The point is that the delusion is a psychological and motivational fact, for which reality is an irrelevance. Once established, a change in reality does not change the delusion. 

Therefore, when delusional thinking underlies political movement (as it so often does), when one group is delusionally-convinced of the hostility of another; then there can - in principle - be no political solution to the problem. 

Even a "final solution" of eradication of the perceived threat will fail; because it will turn-out that the threat has not, after all, been eradicated - but continues in some covert or crypto- form! The currently influential concept of implicit racism is a clear example... Even after all perceptible racism has been eliminated, racism nonetheless remains - and all the more threatening because of its invisibility.   


I have termed these "theory of mind" delusions; because they are based on normal cognitive processes (i.e. they are Not psychotic) and instead are rooted in a false inference concerning the intent and motivations of others - but this false inference cannot be corrected by evidence, because other people's minds are not transparent, and can only be inferred indirectly. 

What this means (as I - apparently - never tire of saying!) is that recognizing and critiquing the basis of underlying assumptions is of extreme importance


We all base our understanding upon assumptions of a metaphysical kind, that can neither be proved nor refuted; therefore we have a profound individual responsibility to examine our own baseline assumptions about the world with respect to coherence, and "good-ness" - because some assumptions sustain a good life and society, while others are deeply and incurably pernicious in their effects.

And ultimately the spiritual victims of that resentment which is rooted in delusional thinking, is the resenter himself; because resentment is a sin that must (like all sins) be repented if we are to want to choose salvation. 

(...Because we cannot carry our resentments into Heaven, which is a place motivated only by Love: we must check our resentment in at the door - permanently. One who does not want to leave-behind all sins, does not want Heaven - but something-else instead.)

(...And, resentment is an especially pervasive and dangerous sin to modern Western Man; because it is widely inculcated, engineered, encouraged, rewarded - sometimes mandatory.)


In sum: theory of mind rooted assumptions are inevitable and ubiquitous forms of thinking; what makes an assumption "delusional" is essentially that it is an evil model of reality.

Even when delusional thinking has some factual basis, it is an evil; because it is a spiritually-false orientation of life - a projection of attention and motivation onto "other people" that denies our absolute personal responsibility for our own salvation and theosis.  

The harm of such delusions is primarily spiritual and related to eternal post-mortal life; although the material harms caused by this trap of thinking during this world and life may also be colossal.
 

Friday 29 March 2024

My rather tepid Good Friday...

This Good Friday I find myself more-than-usually afflicted by the life-long prejudice against the time and place of Jesus's life and ministry. 

I never have, and still don't, find it inspiring or very interesting to focus on the facts and images of The Holy Land AD 30-33-ish. 

This was enough to push and keep me away from Christianity for most of my life - since (by contrast, and like Tolkien and CS Lewis) I am much more attracted by "northerness" of a Germanic, Scandinavian and British kind. 

So, I don't much want to be constantly reminded that Jesus was of a different kind, and in a very different place (and exactly this constant-reminding is the staple diet, dished out my most sermons I have heard...). 

Therefore, my inclination is to react against the usual practice of tying Christianity (or rather being a Christian) to the historical and geographical context of Jesus. 

I don't suppose I am alone in this! It is obvious that many Christian cultures have preferred to re-imagine Jesus in terms of their own times and places, or to focus on local Saints and Heroes of faith. 

This is - however - particularly difficult in Easter; where the whole thing is very specifically located. It maybe helps account (although there are also other reasons) for my lukewarm attitude to this part of the liturgical calendar - despite its status as officially the most important Christian festival.  

Therefore: I wish a Happy (ish...) Easter to all my readers!


Note added: Although prejudice should be acknowledged as such; I can justify my indifference on the grounds that far too much attention has been paid to the historical aspects of Jesus, and far too little about what he did. I believe that understanding what Jesus did, renders the historical and geographical aspects all-but irrelevant; and something that probably should (largely) be set-aside (for most people, most of the time), once the significance is grasped. 

Thursday 28 March 2024

Why are innately-evil people incarnated?

Our thoughts may be transparent, but our fundamental selves are not.

Thus God knows what we are thinking, but does not know our "hearts". 


This is important to recognize, because it explains why so many people are incarnated into this mortal life, who seem to be evil; and evil in an apparently unredeemable way. Who appear to be utterly incapable of love, or to hate love - and who behave accordingly. 


If the human heart/ soul/ ultimate-self were transparent to God - i.e. if God knew for sure that such people were structurally incapable of love - then there would be no reason for innately-evil people to be incarnated into mortal life...

Because mortal life could do such persons no good, because they are incapable of learning the lessons of this world; and because there are many reasons for hope-lessly evil people not to be incarnated - since they cause so much suffering, and may induce other people to engage in and desire evil.   


This world and life therefore make best sense if we realize that God does not know our fundamental nature, cannot see into our "hearts;  and cannot be sure of any individual that he will not at some point in his life; learn-spiritually, repent, and eventually accept the gift of Salvation. 


Such is one reason why this world contains individuals who truly are greatly evil, some who were (apparently) born evil, some who seem incapable of good - even some who, in their hearts (if anyone but knew that) may be totally evil. 


NOTE: It is likely that very few of the famously historically evil leaders were innately and totally evil, since this would usually be a bar to social success and power. Past societies were also alert and keen to exclude or eliminate (one way or another) such persons. Total evil is most likely to be seen among children, youths, and among obscure adults; and is probably much commoner in modern societies - where value-inversion is positively-regarded, official and enforced. 

Wednesday 27 March 2024

Tolkien's Roman Catholicism - a recent book by Holly Ordway

Tolkien always stated himself to be a devout Roman Catholic; yet the specific details of what this meant for his personal life have, thus far, been rather sketchy. A new spiritual biography Tolkien's Faith, by Holly Ordway (pictured above), provides the needful detail and contemporary context; and I review this over at the Notion Club Papers blog


Tuesday 26 March 2024

Should you be worried about the widespread adulteration of food?

No - you should Not be worried about the adulteration of food. 

I am sure that food is adulterated with all manner of undesirable things. 

But you should not worry about it - because adulteration is everywhere, affects almost everything, and there is nothing you can do about it. 

You don't even know which of so many are the most significant problems, nor what they do to you. (And quite likely neither do those who are doing the adulterating.)


Understand that it is the easiest thing in the world to contaminate food, it requires no intelligence, and very little knowledge - and there are so many forms of contamination, that avoidance is impossible and worry is a waste of time. 


They
control all the major institutions of the Western world, and there are innumerable ways to adulterate food. 

If They want to adulterate the food - or the water supply, or farm-land and farm animals, or medicines, or anything - then They can and will do so - whenever They so choose - and with impunity. 


Trying to evade that which is ubiquitous is futile. Worse; food-phobia is a Black Hole of attention, resources and time

(Just think of vegans... OK, enough! Now stop thinking of vegans. Doesn't that feel better?) 


They would love for us all to expend our mortal lives in trying to avoid and escape that which can neither be avoided nor escaped. 

What They do NOT want us to attend to, is that battle that each person fights for himself and that only himself can fight: the spiritual war of these End Times.


Philip K Dick, Tim Powers, and CS Lewis

This section of Philip K Dick's novel Valis (1981) always cracks me up, whenever I re-read it: 

It was a mainstay of Kevin's bag of verbal tricks that the universe consisted of misery and hostility and would get you in the end. He looked at the universe the way most people regard an unpaid bill; eventually they will force payment. The universe reeled you out, let you flop and thrash and then reeled you in. Kevin waited constantly for this to begin with him, with me, with David and especially with Sherri. 

As to Horselover Fat, Kevin believed that the line hadn't been payed out in years; Fat had long been in the part of the cycle where they reel you back in. He considered Fat not just potentially doomed but doomed in fact. 

Fat had the good sense not to discuss Gloria Knudson and her death in front of Kevin. Had he done so, Kevin would add her to his dead cat. He would be talking about whipping her out from under his coat on judgment day, along with the cat. 

Being a Catholic, David always traced everything wrong back to man's free will. This used to annoy even me. I once asked him if Sherri getting cancer consisted of an instance of free will, knowing as I did that David kept up with all the latest news in the field of pyschology and would make the mistake of claiming that Sherri had subconsciously wanted to get cancer and so had shut down her immune system, a view floating around in advanced psychological circles at that time. Sure enough, David fell for it and said so. 

"Then why did she get well?" I asked. "Did she subconsciously want to get well?" 

David looked perplexed. If he consigned her illness to her own mind he was stuck with having to consign her remission to mundane and not supernatural causes. God had nothing to do with it 

"What C. S. Lewis would say," David began, which at once angered Fat, who was present. It maddened him when David turned to C. S. Lewis to bolster his straight-down-the-pipe orthodoxy. 

**

The character of Kevin in Valis was based on SciFi writer KW Jeter; while David was based on Tim Powers. These were, at the time, young undergraduate students at the California State University at Fullerton; and the three men - together with James Blaylock, who does not feature in Valis* - would meet regularly for long rambling philosophical conversations sparked by PKD's current musings from Exegesis

I find these remembered and reimagined conversations to be among my favourite sections of Valis; and the subsequent Spiritual Quest on which the "three" contrasting friends embark, is a strange but appealing twist on the Fellowship of Lord of the Rings, of St Anne's in CS Lewis's That Hideous Strength - or indeed in almost every fantasy novel, movie and role-playing game since.  

In an interview; Powers confirmed the CS Lewis theme of the debates:  

[Tim Powers]: I remember reading Valis, and at one point Phil says, “David,” that is Powers, “had withdrawn into himself in some sort of catatonic way when confronted with the savior reincarnated. The Catholic Church had taught him how to do this. How to shut down his senses when confronted with something that violated Catholic orthodoxy.” 

I remember telling Phil, “What the hell is that? What are you talking about here, man?” He just sort of went, “Heeheeheehee.” 

And at one point in the book the Phil Dick character says to the Powers character, “Would you please not tell us what C.S. Lewis would say about this? Could you do us that one favor?” 

And I said, “I don’t quote C.S. Lewis all the time.” And again, he sort of went, “Heeheehee.” 

[Interviewer]: That’s the thing I wanted to ask you about. Were you that big of a devotee of C. S. Lewis and are you still? 

[Powers]: Oh yeah, I love Lewis. I reread him all the time. Largely his nonfiction, though his fiction is lots of fun, too. And G.K. Chesterton. I’m still a practicing Catholic, not lapsed or recovering.

**

I think this so reliably makes me chuckle, because I too was prone to quote CS Lewis on all manner of disputes, for the first couple of years after I became a Christian. This reflected the course of my particular path, and the role that Lewis played in it. 

I am very grateful to Lewis for his role in my becoming a Christian, and several of his books and arguments have stayed with me. 

On the other hand; it was not until I began to reject many of CS Lewis's most basic assumptions that I began to attain coherence of Christian faith - and to extricate myself from enmeshment in the futile and harmful church disputes that plague modern Christianity. 

Presumably, PKD concluded something similar... 
 

*I guess that Blaylock was omitted from the novel either because his personality did not fit the necessary stereotypes to enable amusing arguments, or because in Valis PKD is (usually) split across two characters (in the same body): Phil, the narrator, a SciFi author; and Horselover Fat, the crazy protagonist ("Philip" means "Horselover", while "Fat" is a German translation of "Dick"). So the generation of four-way conversations did not require the presence of a Blaylock-derivative. 

Monday 25 March 2024

In the Fourth Gospel: Light is Life

In the Fourth Gospel, I have found it is helpful to regard the word "light" as usually meaning "life" - in particular resurrected eternal life. Light means more than this, because words in Greek 2000 years ago has multiple and simultaneous meanings - but thinking of light as life as a first approximation, can be helpful. 

This helps understand what Jesus is saying towards the end of the 12th Chapter. You can read the whole thing here; but I am going to select what I believe are the important and original passages on a particular theme of light and life.

Selected, because some parts of the 12th Chapter strike me a probable later additions by another hand; of an interpretative and commentary nature; thereby interpolating sometimes alien theological assumptions or church-justifying practices.

I have included my own interpretative notes in italics. These notes are abbreviated, and made themselves be unclear - but maybe they will provide helpful hints on what Jesus is getting at - and what he is not getting at

 

[24] Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 

We all (including Jesus himself) need to die in order to attain resurrected, eternal Heavenly life. 


[25] He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 

Those who make this mortal life their priority, will not achieve resurrection; only those who recognize that our ultimate destination and gratification lies on the other side of death, will attain everlasting life. 

"Hateth" is intended in a non literal, not absolute, and relative sense - Jesus means that all the value of life in this world is given by the reality of life after resurrection. 


[26] If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. 

Jesus is saying he will die and be resurrected (where I am), and those who love him may follow this same path to be in the same place and state - and that this following is the path to eternal life in Heaven - anyone who does, in this sense of "follow" Jesus, will follow the same path to Heaven. 

In other word; Jesus is Not asking men to serve him as servants as a pre-requisite and price necessary to being allowed eternal life. From context this would be utterly alien to teachings of the Gospel and Chapter. He is saying that nature of the "service" Jesus requires is to "follow" him.   


[31] Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 

Jesus is announcing that Men may henceforth escape from the devil, may live only by good and free from all evil - as made clear before, this is escape on the other side of death. In other words; the escape from evil is via resurrection. 


[32] And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 

Jesus, in being "lifted up" from the earth, will attain resurrected Heavenly life in "Heaven" - which word includes the meaning of sky; and by love of Jesus all men may choose to follow where he has gone "up" into Heaven. I think that "drawing" us to Heaven is meant as a variation on the path being by following Jesus: Jesus makes the path, and all we need to do is follow that path. 

(Contra the omitted following verses; this verse is not about Jesus being raised from the ground by the execution process of killing somebody on a cross! That is not the subject of this discourse.) 


[35] Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. [36] While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. 

Probably controversially (!); I think this is not primarily Jesus talking about himself as "the light" and that he will soon die; but instead Jesus talking about mortal life, and how mortal life should be conducted (i.e. our proper attitude to living) while yet we still live - i.e. before we die. 

I think Jesus is saying that we need to attend to our mortal lives (walk while ye have the light), while we live. The alternative is that darkness will come upon you - that you will die - and Not be resurrected. "He that walketh in darkness" is one who denies the reality or possibility of eternal life; and therefore knows not what will happen, where he will go, after death. 

While we are alive - while we have light - we ought to believe in the light: that is, we ought to acknowledge the significance of this mortal life. 

"While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light." I think Jesus is implying that, on the one hand our ultimate priority must be eternal resurrected life. But on the other hand - while we live now, although this mortal life is temporary, we have important work to do. We ought not to wish our mortal lives away. 

Profoundly; to be children of eternal life entails that we be children of this mortal life. It is neither atheistic materialism and its exclusive focus on this mortal incarnate life; nor the life-denying philosophies that regard embodied mortal life as profoundly negative and yearn for eternal life (typically as spirits). 

Even more strongly, if we do Not give this mortal life its due importance, we are also becoming children of darkness and not children of life: we are embracing death and not resurrection.   


[46] I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. [47] And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.

Roughly speaking; Jesus is reaffirming that his "job" is to bring "light" to the world, that is - resurrected eternal Heavenly life

Darkness is the death which is ghost-like severance of spirit from body (the Sheol of the Ancient Hebrews, the Hades of the Ancient Greeks), in which men abode until Jesus made possible resurrection. 

Not as a judge, implies that Jesus is offering this as a gift, as a possibility, available to all men by their own choice, and not in terms of some judgment of Jesus about our suitability. 

Overall; Jesus is talking about the new possibility of resurrection, and how attaining this gift is made possible. 


Something snapped. The world turns on its dark side - It is winter.


The poignant chorus that opens Michael Tippet's A Child of our Time came to mind this morning, as I contemplated my sense of a turn towards darkness, a line being crossed, apparent extinction of the possibility of this-worldly hope. 


This is, of course, not prove-able by any material/ objective/ public "evidence" or logic; but I feel that something which was holding-back some significant number of Men to be motivated by God and Good, seems to me to have snapped. Snapped in response to the unremitting destructiveness and aggressive untruthfulness of the Western leadership class. 

Some slender yet lingering optimism has blinked out; a belief concerning the possibility that National and Globalist rulers ("Them") could - sometime soon - perhaps learn from experience, might awaken to spiritual reality, and potentially step backwards from teetering on the knife-edge that they have constructed for Mankind. 

Some aspiration that others, elsewhere in the world, would (overall, in principle) cleave to God's agenda - in face of the general trend. 

I sense that the camel's back has broken under the final straw. Inner intimations of Good groupings somewhere, somehow! - feelings that I hardly knew I previously held - have been snuffed-out like a guttering candle. 


"They" have (it seems) pushed, and pushed, with their reckless escalating of threats to Mankind being used to blackmail compliance; until just-now the constraints on fallible mortal Men have snapped; and suddenly many have switched from Good motivations to evil motivations. 

The tragedy of sustained war (of any kind, but especially a spiritual war) is that while explicit material aims may remain the same; and the sides in dispute may be much as before in their membership; the spiritual situation has been transformed - because suddenly "good aims" are poisoned by evil underlying spiritual motivations. 

Then, a side that was Good, is now motivated by evil.


Those demon-servants who asserted the evil of their enemies from the beginning, see themselves vindicated. "See!" they say, "I always told you they are wicked!" ; whereas it was actually the effect of their own unremitting spite against their enemies that sapped the will-to-Good - brutalized, and finally broke the minds of the once-Good. 

Once someone is committed to evil, they can always find plenty of evidence of evil in others - because evil always is present in others. 

This world and its Beings is mixed between God and Satan. It is not our-selves, but only our spiritual affiliations, that can be for-good. 


Yet, in the spiritual war, because a commitment to God, Good, divine creation - is an inner thing that cannot be proved or refuted in any objective fashion, it can be claimed by anyone. 

Claimed especially by those who serve the agenda of evil, and who live by lies and are driven by a positive belief in sin. 


In such matters we must - because there is no alternative, as well as because it is what God desires of us  - use personal discernment. And take personal responsibility for this usage - not sheltering behind some external "authority" whose inner true-motivations we almost-never can know. 

(In this modern era, appeals to authority are merely rhetorical, not real; mere "public discourse" and not a valid basis for determining our eternal destiny.) 

Our basic spiritual task in a world that has indeed "turned to the dark side" is not qualitatively different from that which has confronted earlier generations; and we in the West have already been living in such a world of spiritual "winter" for some decades.  

There are no "good sides" anymore, not anywhere in the material world, but only in the spiritual world. And this is a lesson well worth learning, essential indeed; so that we are not led astray by loyalty to nations, institutions, corporations, churches who in their hearts have embraced sinful motives!  


Sunday 24 March 2024

Getting what you want, or believe, after death - How does this work for the God-rejecting, the demon-affiliated?

For those unfamiliar with this blog, I should clarify my oft-reiterated view that - in broad terms - I believe that people "get what they want" after death. 

This, in the sense that they will subjectively-experience (or be-aware-of) something like what they want and ask-for (or "believe in") in terms of reincarnation or paradise (of the various types), life as a kind of ghost (Sheol, Hades, ghosts on earth etc.), Nirvana, extinction, and so forth. 

Whatever they want, that (or something essentially of its nature) is what they experience.

Therefore "all religions are true" - by this meaning, anyway. 


(I think it a valuable exercise - or thought experiment - to compare religions, and Christian denominations, in this way. Suppose that they really offer what they promise to adherents. You will find that each is very different - and also that some offer a great deal more than others, as their "highest" reward.) 


An apparent exception to getting what you want is when people are affiliated to demons and desire things evil - in which case they are delivered to the demons with whom they have chosen to affiliate. 

But this is also "getting what they want", even though they will not like what they get; because what is at issue is opposition to God, God's agenda, divine creation - and all that is Good in this context. 

To affiliate oneself in opposition to creation in such a fundamental fashion, is a negation - rather than a positive desire; it is a dis-belief rather than a belief. 


The party of Satan (i.e. the demons, and their servants) is therefore the gang of those who are united only in terms of what they oppose, what they do not want. 

The relationships between the demon-affiliated Beings is therefore, in ultimate terms, necessarily oppositional. 

There is no loyalty between them, because there is no love; no genuine cooperation but only mutual exploitation, sometimes a temporary alliance for mutual advantage: no long-term plan but only competing expediencies of the individual Beings.


Consequently, while they may experience temporary pleasures; the situational and intrinsic misery of demons and their affiliates is also their choice. 

By their bottom-line rejection of divine creation; a choice has been made that has the inevitable consequence of existence without purpose, without meaning; thus without hope. 

In other words: a choice of eternal despair*.


*If it sounds implausible that anyone would choose despair; then you might consider what normal, mainstream, atheistic materialists assert concerning the purposelessness, meaninglessness, and essential horror of life - and (they are sure) will happen to them after death (utter annihilation). And consider how vehemently such people will defend the necessity, truth, inevitability of their choice of belief. Consider also their aggressive, scornful attitude towards any person or religion that asserts (or chooses to believe) that life has purpose, meaning, is ultimately Good, and/or has a "happy ending". I find it all-too-easy to imagine that such Beings will choose despair, and stick with their choice.   

Saturday 23 March 2024

Yes - but what should we actually DO? (More on life as a spiritual quest)

I remain sure that we are walking a tightrope; vacillating on the cusp of WWIII... A situation quite deliberately contrived by the anonymous (but closely demon-allied - and spitefully-destructive) powers that deceptively control the Western leadership class - who are themselves (still) consumed with fantasies of a single, global, totalitarian System; that they imagine will be dedicated to their various Leftist goals (that they imagine will diminish human suffering and implement social justice and that stuff).

The entirety of mainstream politics and public discourse in The West (including the pseudo-populists and pretend radicals) are merely office squabbles within the totalitarian bureaucracy. 


In terms of public life, the available choice is therefore between either shoring-up the crumbling Evil Empire; or working to accelerate the inevitable collapse of the Empire by encouraging socio-economic collapse (by starvation, disease, poisonings, induced mental illness etc). 

This, by making and sustaining international and civil wars - while personally exploiting the situation for temporary short-term hedonism (in a nutshell: looting the maelstrom). 

(A situation I have previously summarized as the choice between Ahrimanic and Sorathic evils.)


To engage in politics is therefore to join with one or other evil, and thereby to embark on the self-consuming, downslope towards self-chosen damnation and the inevitability of eternal misery. 

But if not, then what? 

If we disengage from public politics - what will then happen?

Most people seem to feel that disengaging their core motivations and daily actions from the hamster wheel of opinions concerning politics, mass media, office infighting, and scheming for personal gratification - amounts to "quietism" at best but more likely to "defeatism" and a pathetic state of victimhood: surrender, submission and despair. 

And this would be true - so long as we were operating from the mainstream materialistic assumptions of our civilization and culture. 


Yet, if we decide instead to acknowledge the reality and primacy of the spiritual realm - a whole range of different possibilities emerge. 

Then the quest of our mortal existence is primarily spiritual, is rooted in the spiritual; and if the spiritual is recognized to include and be led by the realms of thinking; then we find-ourselves in a very different world and life.  

If every day is regarded as the latest installment in a spiritual quest, then the trials and triumphs of life are taken away from the control of the material institutions of this world: the governments, bureaucracies, corporations etc. 


We instead enter and inhabit a world in which we personally have a significant role to play, a job to do; always things to learn; always new understandings to grapple-with. 

This is not a condition of bliss; but a world of extreme variety of challenges and difficulties. Analogously to the quest of a fairy tale; there are challenges and hazards; and times of rest and recuperation. There is the cruelty and deceptions of ogres and witches; but also there is help unforeseen from good wizards and kind old ladies. 

There are enemies all around us! But - also, the enemies are within as well as without; since we are all a mixture of good and evil motivations and loyalties. 

Although we may choose to take the side of good; we can never (in this mortal life) permanently escape the tendencies and temptations of evil, which will will weaken, subvert, and try to invert - our good intentions. 

Indeed, the less problem we have from external enemies, the more dominant become the internal. Even if we lived in an ideal society where we had no enemies but only helpful friends; we would still be faced by potentially spiritually-lethal hazards. 

(Even the greatest saints spend much time fighting inner demons - because, as saints, they were much more aware of them than most people - the saints did not "project" by blaming others, what actually were their own weaknesses and sins.)


The life of spiritual quest never ends - at least not until after death; and, although we can expect to win some of the battles, we cannot win any final victory during this mortal life. 

Therefore such a quest requires not just courage, but actual heroism. All the more so because we cannot (and should not) expect the traditional material rewards of a fairytale hero - the cheering crowds, parades to honour us, a great feast and the rewards of treasure and the hand in marriage of a beautiful princess...

(In our world, such public rewards go to the most obedient and effective servants of Satan.) 

There are rewards, spiritual rewards - mostly small and temporary, but some larger and more lasting. Yet these rewards are invisible to most - or sometimes all - of the people around us; and it is part of the heroism that this reality be accepted.


In conclusion; a life of spiritual quest, taken with the ultimate (because eternal) seriousness it demands, is not an easy life option; but it is one that everybody can do (and should do) - whatever his circumstances, whatever his aptitudes. 

What I am trying to get across here, is that even in a public and material world of only bad alternatives, only choices between lesser-evils; a world ruled by affiliates of Satan and collapsing towards the celebration of sins...

Even in such a world as this; our personal life can (if we personally choose to make it so, and if we do then nobody and nothing can prevent it) become one of positive personal action: every minute of every day. 


On a daily basis, hour by hour, moment by moment; we (that is, you and me) can be fighting the good fight while motivated by attainable goals. 

We can have the deep life satisfactions of working for positive (and potentially eternal) good - no matter what our situation may be; no matter what happens in the material world.

And, because the spiritual is primary and the material is just a manifestation of the spiritual; we can confidently know that all spiritual benefit Will Have material consequences - whether or not we notice, know, or understand the exact workings of such outcomes.    


Friday 22 March 2024

Only Christianity offers a cure to entropy and evil - all other religions and ideologies are palliative

Palliative medicine is the name for a speciality when, at the end of life ( a terminal illness) the focus moves from curing to helping the patient feel better. But ultimately all of medicine is palliative, because all "cures" are partial and temporary; and everybody degenerates and dies eventually...

 

Analogously; all secular ideologies (all politics, all social reform and radicalism) are palliative - even when imagined to be wholly effective - palliative, because they do not address the core problems of this life on earth; which are entropy and evil. 

(Entropy being the tendency of creation to fall back into chaos leading to degeneration and death; evil being the purposive opposition to God's plans of divine creation.)


But, assuming that all religions do indeed offer what they claim; only Christianity claims to cure the core problems of mortal life: only Heaven claims to be a complete and permanent cure for entropy and evil. 

All other religions are variously palliative - in their aspiration, in their promises. 


The difference between Christianity and all other options is firstly Resurrection of our-selves, so that we remain ourselves - but everlasting and without evil, but wholly and forever living by love of God and Fellow Men. 

And secondly; the Christian aim is Heaven - when is understood as a Second Creation, inhabited only by those Beings who have eternally committed to live by love only; and thereby left-behind "sin". That is they have left-behind both evil and entropy. 

Such that Heaven is wholly creative


Heavenly resurrected life does not solve all problems of existence, and is not intended to do so; because there is endless scope for love and creation. But Christian Heaven does claim to solve the problems of evil and entropy: solve them once and for all. Nobody else even claims that - every other option is palliative: at best. 


Thursday 21 March 2024

Why is Heaven postponed?

Why is Heaven postponed? Why should we be made to wait? Why can't we have Heaven now - whether here on earth, or elsewhere? Why are we compelled to go through all this mucking about in mortal life? 


This is, and perhaps always has been, the most powerful question for those who believe in a Good God. And it is a killer question for those who believe in an Omni-God. If God really is all powerful and also really is Good - then why must we wait, when we could have it now? 

Self-identified Christians are afflicted as strongly as anyone else. In the time of Jesus it seems that most people Did not Want what He offered. They instead wanted Jesus to be the Messiah. 

In other words they wanted a better mortal life now, more than they wanted resurrected everlasting life. 

Or else they did not really believe Jesus's promise of eternal joy beyond death. 

Or maybe they demanded both: paradise on earth now (or ASAP), and after death then eternal resurrected life in Heaven? 

The killer question for Christianity is: Why can't people have what they most want? 


The official compromise answer was that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, but Heaven on Earth must wait until after his second coming... 

But this compromise doesn't work at all well. The killer question still stands: Why must we wait, if Jesus is God, and God is omnipotent? 

Why - if He really is omnipotent - didn't Jesus finish his work in the first coming? 

Why - if He is really Good - does Jesus allow, indeed actually cause (because as Omni-God He is omnipotent, and created absolutely everything) even the very worst the sufferings of mortal life? Why do this when (apparently) He could give us Heaven Now? 

And if a wholly-Good God allows/ actively-causes all the nasty stuff He does in this mortal life; then is this really a definition of a Good God that we would really want for ourselves? 

How could we have faith in and trust and love such a God; a God with such incomprehensible and apparently evil understandings of Good? 


It has the same for most Christians for the past two thousand years and continuing; what these "Christians" really want is a better world now, rather than Heaven later. 

For example; they want their church to become powerful enough to impose a better world now; indeed many Christians believe that one-or-another Christian church did indeed impose a better world in some times and places - and regard this as a primary justification for Christianity.

But if then, why not now?   

Or, such church-Christians believe that Christians are better people now, than not-Christians. (Or - at least - they believe their affiliated church's kind of Christians are better people.) 

They believe this despite that better-people-now wasn't what Jesus promised - any more than he promised a better-world-now. 


Because of its implicit determination to put this world first, in a context of asserting an Omni-God; historical Christianity really has painted itself into a corner; and from here it is clear that messing around with incomprehensibly complex abstractions does not convince people anymore - if ever it really did convince, rather than compel obedience.

There are two answers. The first is to be clear that Jesus's Kingdom is, as he repeatedly said in many ways, Not Of This World. Jesus promised us eternal resurrected life after death in Heaven - and if that is not what you want above all; then maybe you aren't really a Christian? 


Secondly; we need to to explain why Heaven must be after death and resurrection, and cannot be Now - in this mortal earthly life. 

(This entails (inter alia) that the (un-Biblical) Omni-God assertion must be dropped; and God clearly conceptualized as The Prime Creator who worked and continues to work creation with already-existent Beings in an already-existing universe - a universe that already contained evil.)


To answer the question of why we must wait for Heaven, we need some such concept as the Second Creation (if not exactly that) to explain clearly and simply how it is that (as Jesus often explained - and as is obvious to observation!) this mortal life cannot become Heaven; and that is why God the Prime Creator was not sufficient; and that is why Jesus was necessary - and therefore why it is only on the other side of death that evil can be left-behind, and we can enter Heaven.  


(...Only after which can we understand the real purpose of this mortal life - which is, to learn spiritually in preparation for Heaven; and the constraints of evil and entropy within-which God's creative power operates on earth and in mortality.)


NOTE ADDED 23rd March 2024

For those unfamiliar with this blog, I should clarify my reiterated view that - in broad terms - I believe that people "get what they want" after death. In the sense that they will subjectively-experience (or be-aware-of) something like what they want and ask-for (or "believe in") in terms of reincarnation or paradise (of the various types), life as a kind of ghost (Sheol, Hades, ghosts on earth etc.), Nirvana, extinction. The exception is when people are affiliated to demons and desire things evil - in which case they are delivered to the demons with whom they have chosen to affiliate - but this is also "getting what they want", even though they will not like what they get.  

Wednesday 20 March 2024

Why should I care if a mouse has hay fever?


Observing the above at a pharmacist's, I was struck by the question of why on earth the manufacturers would suppose that I, or anybody else, would care enough about mice with hayfever to buy this product? 

And then - presumably - we are supposed to go to the immense trouble and inconvenience - even danger - of capturing and treating these unfortunate rodents? Pah!

You probably think me callous. But, for my part, any such mice can just shelter in their burrows and endure their "itchy, sore and watery eyes" - I do not intend to do anything whatsoever to resolve their problem. 

On this matter, I am unrepentant. 


Actors who don't act

Some very famous and respected actors have a deficit that is not so much they can't act, but that - for whatever reason - they just don't act. 

The much awarded Eddie Redmayne is one example: he just doesn't act. 

I'm not sure how I would describe what he is doing, but it isn't acting. Just look for yourself - setting aside that you have been told he is a great actor - and you will see; especially if you compare what he is doing with somebody in the same movie who is a good actor. 

This effect can be simulated by bad direction or poor script working on a good actor. For instance, Nicholas Cage is an excellent actor, but has been in a a lot of badly-scripted and/or poorly-directed movies, so you might get the impression he is a bad actor. 

On the other hand, to be accurate; at his worst, Nick Cage seems like a bad actor - but what he is doing is, nonetheless, still "acting". My best guess is that Eddie Redmayne can't act, since he apparently never does, and always seems exactly the same. 

I have reached the same conclusion about Millie Bobby Brown. She is neither a good nor a bad actor: she just doesn't act at all. Which is probably why everything she is involved in, that I have seen, was embarrassingly awkward and the ensemble just didn't work. 

Both ER and MBB have a an inhuman, android, replicant quality about them; a deficiency of empathic connection; which reveals itself in blank eyes...

It must be a literal kind of nightmare for an actor to be compelled to participate in a scene with one of these not-actors. They function like anti-drama vampires. It's almost a "super villain" ability - the ability to negate the acting-powers of any actor within their force field radius.  

Don't-act-ors destroy dramatic coherence and make everybody else look bad, by themselves being sub-bad to the point of making a powerful impression on the casual viewer. 

They exist like blank-eyed rocks, while all around collapses into frustrated impotence. 

And that's apparently what gets you the big awards nowadays!

     

Review of a biography of Neville Cardus - The Great Romantic by Duncan Hamilton (2019)

I first came across the name of Neville Cardus in 1976, the year after he died, when reading a book review published in The New Statesman. This was a collection of interviews by Robin Daniels called Conversations with Cardus. For some reason, the title stuck permanently in my memory. 

Shortly afterwards, I found on our bookshelves at home a 1945 "war economy standard" publication of Ten Composers by Neville Cardus; which my father (a Sergeant in the Education Corps of the British Army occupying Germany) had saved from the ruins of the 6th Airborne Division library, which had been cleared-out and awaited disposal. 

I still have the book - its spine partially detached to reveal the binding was made from paper scavenged from some book about Belfast featuring a chap called Heeney. A note in my handwriting says that I first read it in 1977. 

I must admit that I didn't much like Ten Composers, mainly because - apart from Schubert, Wagner and Richard Strauss - it featured musicians of the "romantic" era that were of little interest to me; and this was reflected in Cardus's evaluations. At that time, I was interested in Baroque and Classical-era music, and Opera - and nothing much else. 

But, music criticism has never been much of an influence on me; and I have not found a single "classic" volume to which I return, and re-read - not even Bernard Shaw. I think it just seems to be the case that writing about music does not rise above the level of journalistic notices or recommendations for recordings. 

I believe that the best (i.e. highest) way to learn about music is to listen, and re-listen (when possible) with close attention - and (when possible) with empathy..

Only after which does greater knowledge about music become helpful. 


It was not until the mid-1990s when I belatedly began to develop an (armchair) interest in cricket; that I began to read Cardus in some volume, and to appreciate his special qualities as the very first great sports writer (not just cricket writer) - to whom all since are indebted. 

Because the thing about Cardus was that he was simultaneously (although cricket first) the undisputed best cricket correspondent in England (and latterly Australia) - and one of a handful of the most influential music critics of Britain. 

But, for me, Cardus's cricket writing is better and more important - both historically, and in human terms. 


There must be something very special about an author who can make me read through a collection entitled The Roses Matches 1919-1939 - a series of match reports from the Manchester Guardian newspaper concerning the annual first class (nowadays also other types of cricket, and sport) between the counties of Lancashire (Cardus's county) and Yorkshire

I found his Autobiography to be compelling, too; and there are several other collections I own, or read in library copies - including (after a couple of decades delay) Conversations with Cardus

Not only is Cardus great, but pretty much every worthwhile cricket writing since is indebted, in some way, to the example or encouragement of Cardus. For example, CLR James (who went on to write Beyond a Boundary) was directly helped to publish for the Manchester Guardian by Cardus's interventions, after James arrived in Lancashire to provide support for Learie Constantine.  


All this was brought back to mind by my reading (actually, audiobook listening) of Duncan Hamilton's biography of Cardus - The Great Romantic

I found this to be a masterly piece of work - extremely skillfully constructed, so as to be completely comprehensible as an account of a life, while always compellingly interesting. 

Hamilton (who is himself an immensely distinguished sports journalist - thrice recipient of the top British annual award in the field) clarifies just how original and excellent was Cardus's early work as cricket correspondent between the First and Second world wars: how he changed what the public expected from cricket writing, and the whole way that journalists would approach their job. 

Cardus even changed the way that people watched cricket - by depicting it as a drama of interacting personalities and aptitudes; or even as a microcosm of Life. 


Cardus the man was very interesting, but not much likeable, to my evaluation. Yet, as so often, it was the man's deficiencies that fuelled his virtues. He was a genius of his craft; and geniuses are typically of-a-piece in terms of character and achievement; and Hamilton lets us see how this combination worked in the case of Neville Cardus. 


The spiritual significance of that "holiday" feeling


"Holiday" by William Arkle (painted in the 1950s)

Edited from notes by Arkle for Holiday from his collection of pictures, prose and poetry: The Great Gift (1977).

**

"Holiday" portrays the joy and zest and expansion of awareness that can come with the true spirit of holiday, in which many poetic elements of beauty are mixed together and concentrated into moments of splendour. 

As we all know, these moments come to us in unpredictable ways, and not always in settings of this sort. 

We also know that it is unlikely we will be able to repeat the moments just as we would like. We can return to the same place and try to reproduce the same physical situation again, yet nothing will happen.

We must therefore cherish such moments and value them deeply; in so doing we are more likely to extract the content of them, after which we may be blessed by another experience. 

But if we don't take the trouble to work on the first experience, we can understand that it would be bad for us to get others gratuitously, for this would weaken our ability to generate our own strength and endeavor. 

**

My Notes on Arkle's notes:

Arkle's simple little picture Holiday, depicts that kind of "opening-out" of consciousness that may be experienced at the very start of an ideal holiday - when we are in a place of our choice, relieved from work and duties, and with leisure to notice and engage with the simple things of living in this world. 

The first point, is that such experiences should be regarded as significant, worth considering. They are not merely pleasant-but-temporary hedonic emotional states, with merely physical causes. They ought to be seen as potentially spiritually worthwhile.   

But Arkle also makes clear that this delightful mental state is not wholly a spiritual end in itself - but ought to be regarded as an experience from which we are supposed to learn. 

Nor is the holiday mood something that we should seek to repeat and repeat; because this will not work - ultimately because to desire to repeat without change is to fail to learn. (Neither should we try to overcome jadedness with one place by seeking novelty from holidaying elsewhere - for the same reason.)


We can think of all this in terms of Arkle's last sentence, which relates to what God wants from us in this mortal life: he wants that we should (as much as possible) "generate our own strength and endeavour". 

That is: God wants that we should do as much as possible for ourselves - spiritually, metaphysically, with respect to baseline understandings and motivations - rather than passively responding to our surroundings. 

And similarly that we should do so, for "our own" reasons that come from within. What this means to Arkle is: know and act for reasons derived from our True Self (an eternal and potentially-divine entity that incarnated into mortal life and survives "death")  -- rather than behaving in obedience to "others" such as to deny primary responsibility; or behaving in response to to motivations from that externally-constructed False Personality which tends to monopolize our internal stream of consciousness.  


Briefly put: Arkle is encouraging an attitude that seeks to learn from our experiences, rather than an attitude of seeking pleasurable experiences. And that we should strive to understand, and to live, from-within; rather than passively to absorb stimuli and be-shaped from-without. 


Monday 18 March 2024

Some aphorisms on How To Proceed from a baseline in materialistic modernity

The only valid place from which to proceed, is a conscious apprehension of the real self: a direct-knowing without words, pictures, symbols, feelings, or logic. 

Negative learning can never point in a positive direction. 

Disillusion is only valuable when it leads to reality - not to another illusion. 

Cynicism causes demotivation, which leads to external control by short-term environmental stimuli. 

However things may have been in other times and places; there is now an absolute need, and no substitute, for living with conscious purpose in a meaningful reality. 

The starting point for discovery of meaning is the purpose of everything; which entails recognizing reality as A Creation. 


Sunday 17 March 2024

IPL (Indian Premier League) - a concentrated study in character

Maheesh Theekshana - The Sri Lankan who is Chennai Super Kings's resident "mystery spinner" - 
in the midst of bowling one of his incomprehensible deliveries

Last year, my most enjoyable cricket included watching almost all of the IPL - Indian Premier League

It is quite surprising how much I enjoy this, but I think I understand some of the reasons. There are many characters on show - and, while Test Match cricket is the ultimate revelation of character in sport - character become concentrated in the shortest form of cricket. 

Each bowler has only a maximum of 24 legal deliveries - so that every single one counts for something.  With only 120 deliveries per innings; each batter is under immense pressure to score quickly, yet too much haste leads to disaster.  

Thus, after each delivery there is a significant shift of probabilities. And as the match reaches its close, the probability-shift per-delivery increases - so that there can be wider and wilder shifts on a ball-by-ball basis.

All this is enhanced by the stakes. The IPL is by-far the biggest-money competition in cricket; indeed on a per-hour basis, IPL cricket is among the highest paid of all sports. And India is a nation both in-love-with and obsessed-by cricket; and a nation that can flip from euphoria to utter misery, adulation to vilification, in the space of minutes. 

The escalating ball-by-ball pressure is squeezed against the skills of the player - honed by years of practice, but prone to the vagaries of form and the unique match situation. 

At the end of all this, it is character that often shines-through. Some characters break, others transcend the situation. 

And there can be only one winner.

Yet, on another day - in another situation, the personnel may be reversed: the once-mighty may be brought low, and the recently-humiliated may triumph.  


Self-improvements must now come from the True Self. Problems of attaining both goodness and higher consciousness

It used to be almost universal that becoming more-good, a better person, was a thing that was imposed from externally. 

Society imposed values in a mandatory and exclusive fashion; or maybe the individual's role was to choose (from available external options) what set-of-values he would impose on himself. 

And when (with the advent of "romanticism") the increasingly-alienated people of The West began to become concerned with attaining higher consciousness; the solution was presented in similar terms: as externally-defined methods or techniques that were practiced until habitual. 


But we cannot, anymore, impose goodness from outside; neither can we achieve a higher, more spiritual or romantic consciousness by learning techniques. 

Both goodness and higher consciousness need to be be discovered within - and their sources are different, albeit related. 

They are related because attaining higher consciousness requires that our selves simultaneously be aligned with divine creation: only from a basis of harmony with God's creative intent, can we "connect" with our True Selves within, and with The World all around us. 


All of which explains both the failure of all systematic attempts to raise human consciousness, and also the failures of Christian (and other) churches to attain their goals. 


There are, it turns out, serious problems with what used to be standard procedures for self-improvement. 

First that we are unwilling to leave-off from seeking external solutions. We want answers to come from public discourse, and be applicable generally. 

Another problem is that we are not spontaneously conscious of our True Selves; and are instead conscious of a variety of superficial and "false" selves that have been constructed by our net-evil society interacting with those of our values that are dissonant-with or opposed-to divine creation. 

In other words, our consciousness (that from-which we are aware) is not located inside the True Self, but needs to discover and become aware of it. 


Since we are creatures of mixed motivations, it is difficult for this state of awareness-of-True Self to be sustained - we are easily distracted by mundane considerations that seem to promise current gratifications, or seem more urgent. 

After all, during this mortal life almost-anything can seem in the here-and-now - and in a way it is! - more urgent than the meaning and direction of divine creation - including our death and resurrection.

Furthermore, the True Self cannot be discovered by the exercise of Will Power - if (as is usually the case) that Will is located in a an external-false self!


So, to escape the Normal Human Condition of alienated consciousness is alliance with the powers of this-worldly evil, turns out to be a completely new and different kind of problem than anything else we are ever likely to have heard-of or tried!

To genuinely improve ourselves is not just difficult (that has always been the case) but traditional-methods diligently pursued - indeed "methods" as such! - are at best useless, and may well make things even-worse. 

Which helps explain why genuine self-improvement (whether of goodness or higher consciousness) seems only rarely and temporarily to be achieved. 


Saturday 16 March 2024

The utter uselessness of hedonic pragmatism as moral discernment

A couple of days ago I devised another new name for the almost universal basis of moral discourse and assertions of moral behaviour in the world today: hedonic pragmatism.

What is striking about this, is that - although almost everybody talks (almost all the time) about practical measures to improve human happiness or reduce human misery; the whole business is absolutely useless and goes nowhere.  

Obviously. 

There is no objective or coherent way of reasoning about such matters as whether political change/ social policy X, or the leadership of person Y, is likely to lead to greater overall happiness or reduce misery - and, more strikingly, no way to discover this even in retrospect. 

The outcome of moral discussion is almost wholly predicted by assumptions, and observations about what has happened or might happen seem to make no difference whatsoever. On the basis of assumptions and not of observations, X or Y is either good or bad, the consequences are (or have been) good or bad. 

There are apparently no limits and no agreed discernments. After some political change a nation might rapidly descend into a maelstrom of starvation, theft, rape and murder - even civil war - and there may be a majority consensus who will argue that the change was nonetheless a very good thing. Examples abound.  

Vast resources and effort of time are expended on discovering, generating, and propagating "facts" - but they make no significant difference to moral evaluations - the more people talk about "evidence", the more irrelevant it becomes. The more people talk about rational decision making, the greater the tyranny of ideology.  

Rather than deploring this state of affairs, we ought to accept it as a fact of our time and place; and act accordingly to withdraw from the utter futility and uselessness of hedonic pragmatism. 

**

Note added: This is another in a long series of posts here about the primacy of assumptions - which ultimately are metaphysical assumptions; and how these - not experiences, not facts, not evidence - are what shape our relationship with the world. And Therefore how we need (yes need) to become aware of our own basic assumptions, and need then to examine them. Because if the assumptions are wrong, then everything will be wrong

Friday 15 March 2024

Not Even Trying is the new normal, and represents mass affiliation to evil

A while ago I wrote a little book about the corruption of science for which I devised the title Not Even Trying - with respect to scientists and truth. 

But, except at the highest levels - where the agenda is actively evil -  the strategic and inbuilt attitude of not even trying to perform one's designated function; is absolutely normal, mainstream in The West. 


Mainstream politicians of all ideologies and parties claim to favour economic growth, or military strength, or law and order - but none of them are trying to achieve these at the level of strategy - no matter how much low and micro-level efforts are put into such goals. 

In practice, all positive working level initiatives are long-term undermined and overwhelmed by the middle managerial indifference to designated functionality. 

Thus an individual doctor or nurse may have genuine concern with the health of patients, but health systems are not even trying to improve the health of people - but instead pursue a mixture of middle managerial power-seeking and careerism with the deep agendas of totalitarianism, or spiteful destruction. 


Or consider transport, which is mostly by roads. At the low level and short-term of businesses attempting to establish good deliveries and logistics, there may be a genuine focus on functionality. 

But local and national politicians and the civil service are not even trying to improve transport; instead using their control of resources and regulatory means to degrade and close roads and slow communications; and to render vehicles inefficient and ineffective - especially by means of the fake-environmental agenda linked to "carbon" and "climate change".  

And above this level are the Western-based global establishment whose evil agenda is conscious and deliberate; who are now not even trying to enable their supposed totalitarian policies to operate. "They" are instead using the overall power to create generalized chaos by multiple means: mass migrations, race war, inter-national war, the destruction of agriculture and international trade, encouragement of disease and mass poisoning etc. etc. 

 

What we have is a world where those who have power, wealth, high status; are not even trying to use these resources to attain positive functional goals. 

Yet they are not instead, as through much of history, instead using their control of resources for long-term self-enrichment of their clan or people. We are not dealing with "normal" human incompetence , errors, or mere corruption. 

Instead, there is a profound malaise of values


There are active, double-negative, inverted ideologies at work and dominant; which is exactly why such trends are not self-correcting but instead robust and still-increasing. 

What we are witnessing is, in other words, the all-but unopposed (because invisible or denied) triumph of evil on a very large scale...

Evil in the hearts of Men is always present; but now it is manifested in allegiance to a multi-level Satanic alliance in opposition to God... And to divine creation.


Because, ultimately, it is Men's opposition to divine creation which leads to deliberate dysfunctionality and bureaucratic indifference - to the phenomenon of Not Even Trying to perform one's designated role.  


Thursday 14 March 2024

Optimism is Not a Christian virtue!

That's it really... 

(Just a reminder.) 


Why does the problem of evil lead to loss of Christian faith - but only in the "modern" era?

It has become a commonplace observation that Modern people tend to lose faith when they experience pain, suffering - in a word evil. 

It is therefore assumed - and this appears to be true quite often - that such experiences as bereavement, illness, famine, war... will tend to induce Christians to lose their faith on the basis that these are incompatible with a God supposed to have created everything, and be both Good and Omnipotent. 

The reasoning goes that if mortal life is suffering from evil, then that idea of God cannot be true - therefore Christianity must be false. 


My point here is that this reason for loss of Christian faith is a Modern and "Western" phenomenon -- something that seems to have been a feature only of the "modern" era, which might be asserted to have begun (in Western Europe) around 1500, become common (in some groups) in the middle 1700s - and socially-dominant from the later 1800s; until nowadays it is all-but universal. 


Nowadays in the West it is quite normal for previously devout churchgoing Christians to experience that their faith is At Least strongly challenged by extreme adversity; by personal experience of the evils of this mortal life.    

Yet, there really is very little evidence of this happening in the first 3/4 of Christianity - it is recorded, but exceptional - despite at-least equally great (perhaps greater) human suffering. 

Indeed the opposite was more usual: the assumption that the more humans suffered, the more devoutly Christian they became. 

For instance; in a medieval work like Piers Plowman (c 1380-1400) the starving and diseased poor were generally regarded as better Christians (on average) than the idle and luxurious rich. 

It was indeed a commonplace that peace, prosperity, and comfort were the main enemies of Christianity.  


In other words; with the advent and spread of Modernity, there has been a reversal of the effect of evil experiences on people. 

I believe that the reason has been that modern consciousness has changed from the pre-modern - "consciousness" meaning (roughly) our degree of self-awareness, and the way our minds spontaneously interpret the world.  

Modern consciousness apparently began in the upper and educated classes, giving the earliest inklings and examples among the likes of poets and writers; and spread progressively downwards through almost-whole Western populations - albeit probably less-so in other places and cultures. 

But it is modern consciousness that has led to our explicit and personal awareness of the "problem of evil". 


This seems to me one of the major ways in which our basic situation in the world has changed. The experience of evil has always been part of life; but the response of people has almost inverted; exactly because modern Man experiences himself qualitatively differently from pre-modern times. 

Adult modern man is spontaneously (almost universally) cut-off and "alienated" from God, spirits, indeed the world of the spirit which used to be either spontaneously apparent in ancient times - or (later) was easily evoked by religious symbolism, language, ritual and (in general) Christian societal organization. 

What is obvious - indeed apparently unavoidable - to modern consciousness; was invisible or insignificant to most people in the past. 

Insofar as modern man is passive he does not experience God, and is atheist - hence unChristian. 


The particular power of the experience of the problem of evil in losing Christian faith is that modern Man surveys the claims of Christianity from outside

Pre-modern Man was spontaneously "inside" Christianity; hence he mostly did not even notice the contradiction between the existence of evil and assertion of a God who is both Omnipotent and Good.

Nowadays - surveying Christian claims "objectively", modern man can hardly fail to notice the contradictions. It seems merely rational to abandon belief in a contradiction. 


Of course, there are innumerable long and complex rationalizations as to how it is possible for God to have created everything, and also be omnipotent - and yet there be evil in the world. 

Yet these arguments have, for many and various reasons (including that they are, in my opinion, all of them fundamentally incoherent!), failed to convince

In practice; the stark and observable experiences of evil powerfully refute the idea of a personal, all-creating, omnipotent and wholly-good God in the context of modern consciousness

In this context; so long as Christians Insist that God Must Be creator-of-all, and omnipotent, and wholly-Good - for so long will the experience of evil lead quite naturally to the abandonment of Christianity. 

 

Note: The answer, as I see it, is to abandon the idea of an Omni-God. In other words, now that we recognize the incoherence of a wholly-Good God as all-creating and omnipotent - it is the attributes of all-creating and omnipotence that should be discarded. The alternative path of insisting-upon God's omnipotence and all-creating nature is - in practice - to move Christianity towards the mind-set of Judaism or Islam - where God is not argued to be "good" by Man's evaluations - but rather the argument goes in the opposite direction: that whatever God does, is what counts as good. It is the difference between "God is Good", and "Good is God" - as Charles Williams put it. In other words, when Christians find themselves asserting - whether explicitly or implicitly - that Good is God, then they have moved out of Christianity and into the theology of strict monotheism.  

Wednesday 13 March 2024

I share in some Oscars for Poor Things (sort of...)

She's crying because I wasn't invited - presumably 

I noticed, rather belatedly, that "my" movie (which I haven't actually seen) seems to have scooped-up most of the 2024 Oscars that were left-over from Oppenheimer (which also I haven't seen). 

Since the movie was based-on the work by Alasdair Gray that I had most to do with the writing-of; clearly my contribution must have been decisive. 

I should add that nobody from the film's production team has yet been in contact to thank me for making them so much money and prestige. 

Ingrates... 


Hedonic pragmatism is not Christian morality

It is understandable that people would want to do practical and maybe-effective things intended to make themselves (or other people they care about) happier, or suffer less - this could be termed hedonic pragmatism.  

Understandable... But this isn't Christian morality - it's just what any animal would do. In an appropriate environment, either instinctively or by learning from experience; animals will tend to do what gives pleasure or avoids pain.

This Not Christian Moral status is unaffected by translating hedonic pragmatism to politics and social policy - e.g. by discussing how to make ourselves (or those we care about) happier, more functional, wealthier, more secure, higher status, more attractive (to those we desire to attract) etc etc.

...I emphasize that hedonic pragmatism is not Christian morality; but it is the moral basis of materialistic leftism in all its many varieties - which include socialism, feminism, antiracism, environmentalism, healthism - also (supposedly "right wing") conservatism, republicanism, libertarianism, nationalism - and indeed all liberal-Christianity and (de facto, if not in theory) all mainstream Christian churches. 

(Thus all the large, powerful, wealthily, or high status Christian churches prioritize Not Christian Morality above Christian aims: they run their churches within, and supportive-of, most of the core strategic priorities of materialistic leftism.)

All of these isms and weak-religions place this-worldly gratification as first priority. 


And therefore all the rival forms of hedonic pragmatism - such as the debates, battles and wars of mainstream politics - are just inter-departmental infighting about the best methods to reach the same general goal; or else about the priorities within that general goal; or sometimes disputes about who ought we most ought to cared about.


Only a very few individual persons (not institutions) who are serious religious people, of whom only some are Christians, have as genuine life-priority something that is Not hedonic pragmatism. 

And these are focused on life-beyond-life, life after biological death - the fate of the soul/spirit following the death of the body.  

Jesus's Kingdom is not of this world


Note: This post was stimulated by a couple of satirical rants from Frank Berger!

Tuesday 12 March 2024

Blacksmith slave to an evil Lord: a parable for here-and-now

Assume you are a blacksmith and slave to an evil Lord...

(If it helps, you might imagine yourself a Saxon under the Norman yoke.) 


The Lord is evil in the sense that he organizes his entire estate to provide-for a gang dedicated to theft, arson, rape, torture and (just plain) murder. 

(Pretty much your standard Norman, in other words.) 


As a slave you are dispensable to the Lord, and your two options in life are therefore: 

1. To do what you are told - or 

2. Be killed. 


In other words, your freedom of moral action is restricted to refusing an order and getting killed for it. 

It can further be understood that if you do not do what you are told, there will be another who shall take your place and do it instead. So your refusal to do an evil act is purely moral (i.e between you and God) - it does not have any material effect. 

And let us further assume that you have a beloved wife and children, and if you are killed then they will die of starvation. 


The above scenario is not terribly far fetched, and there must have been many millions of people throughout history who lived in a way that approximates to the above. 

Furthermore, to anticipate; I would like you to draw out the moral analogies between the above situation; and the conditions under which you and I live. 


As a blacksmith, much of what you do is of general value: you make ploughs and sickles and the like. 

Yet anything and everything you make is ultimately (even if indirectly) used to sustain the evil Lord and his purpose. Much of the food grown goes to sustain his murderous gang, and so forth. 

But let's say, you feel morally OK so long as you are making ploughs and household goods, because they have at least a dual usage - good as well as evil... 


Then the Lord instructs you to make nothing but weapons - swords, halberds, spears... These are only going to be used for intimidation and violence. 

(But they also have some kind of defensive role - keeping away the other evil Lords who would slaughter you, and your family.) 


Then the Lord says that you must make iron instruments of torture, of various types. 

(These devices have no use but to inflict pain: they are for evil and evil only.) 


Then the Lord requires you to use your expertise in metals to assist in the process of torture - you will in fact become the Lord's expert torturer. 

(Now you are personally required to take an active role in the evil Lord's evil work.) 


The question is: at what point in this escalation, if any, is it right and necessary to refuse, and to be-killed, and your family also be-killed?


And, however you answer this; the moral point of this parable I ask you to grasp; is that these are all points on a quantitative scale - because whatever you do, you are materially assisting the work of evil. 

To close the loop: in this global totalitarian world that you and I inhabit; although the situation is less extreme and clear-cut: we are all the blacksmith slave. 

And I suggest we all ought, at some level, to acknowledge the moral facts and take personal responsibility; not in order to change the world for the better - but in order that we may repent.