Saturday 29 June 2024

The palliative life versus the purposive life

One lethal consequence of the mainstream modern assumption that death is annihilation, is that it renders this mortal life merely palliative. 

Because life is assumed to end in nothingness, mortal existence cannot be more than palliative: i.e. a series of temporary attempts to avoid or alleviate suffering... and maybe attain some temporary pleasures.

This nihilism is what seems like ordinary "common sense" to the modern Western mind, and has done for several generations. 

It is the great benefit of assuming a continuation of life beyond this mortal life, that it makes it possible to have a positive purpose - because there is the prospect of carrying-forward something of whatever we have done in this life. 

This benefit of a potentially purposive life, may derive from a variety of convictions about the nature of life-beyond-life (e.g. resurrection, reincarnation, forms of paradise etc). 

The point is that a continuation of our life after death is what makes purpose possible; whereas the contrary belief that we are extinguished at death, makes any subjective feeling of life-purpose into just a futile delusion. 

Given that so many people in The West (especially among the higher and leadership classes) apparently regard their own death as absolute the end of themselves, and anything else as mere wishful thinking -- many things about the experienced futility and evil of life in Western modernity become understandable - indeed inevitable.  

Friday 28 June 2024

Emotions: can't live with them, can't live without them...

Because emotions are partly physical, we cannot lead a spiritually satisfactory mortal life

This statement sounds startling (or just plain false!) but it derives from the nature and properties of emotions; and their role in this mortal life. 

Emotions derive, significantly, from the state of our physical bodies - our body state (including especially the hormone and neural activity) as sensed and interpreted by our brains. This is not the whole story, but there is a sense in which we cannot get away from the physical when it comes to emotions. 

There have been many attempts through history to train people to become spiritually independent of the emotions - i.e. the tradition of religious asceticism. 

But all valid authorities agree that humans can never be wholly free of the passions: the spirit can never become independent of the body. The tyranny of emotions may be diminished, but this lessening is never more than a quantitative change; a reduction of the causative drive; but never an elimination of our subjection to emotion. 

Furthermore, when asceticism works and there is a successful diminution of the strength of emotions - this has bad effects as well as the desired good ones. There is some degree of demotivation, and of disengagement from life; because it is emotions that link us to the world, other people, other beings. 

For instance, the technical word for a person who lacks sympathy or empathy - which means the capacity to feel the emotions of another - is psychopath. A psychopath is one who lacks the automatic and innate response to resonate emotionally with others. 

It is this unemotionality which (to some degree) underpins cold, selfish cruelty without remorse.  

Thus on the one hand we are (to an extent) slaves to our emotions, hence our bodies - and bodies are subject to the entropic changes of degeneration, disease and death; and also to the temptations of evil. 

Yet if it was possible to reduce or eliminate emotionality; we would also thereby lessen vital aspects of our basic humanity. 

For me, this emphasizes that our mortal life is not the kind of thing that can be perfected; and that even the scope for improvement is limited, since there is a "swings and roundabouts" quality to many basic human changes. 

And, in turn, this brings me back to the fact that when Jesus offered Mankind the chance of resurrected eternal life in Heaven - a life in which we remain our-selves, and retain our emotional nature but perfected by love; He was offering the greatest gift that it was possible for us to receive - and exactly the best response to this fundamental problem of human existence. 


Thursday 27 June 2024

Reading JRR Tolkien aged thirteen made me a Romantic "Outsider"

Over at The Notion Club Papers blog; I discuss the life-transforming effect that reading The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings had upon me; such that, from then onward, there was always a strong underlying element or Romanticism in my nature - something that made me identify most with those individuals that Colin Wilson famously termed The Outsiders


Wednesday 26 June 2024

The asymmetry of "good" and evil actions

It is striking (when you think about it) how it is easy to recognize - and be confident of the identity of - evil actions; but not good ones. 

There are plenty of well known actions that are evil with such a high degree of certainty as to make it nigh impossible to imagine any situation in which they could deliberately and consciously be done from genuinely good motivations.   

Yet, because good and evil are not symmetrical, the same does not apply to good actions. I can't think of any action that is good in and of itself - what makes it good comes from the motivation, and from that motivation proceeding from a full accordance with God's creative will. 

This is why it is so much easier to talk about "goodness" in double-negatives; in terms of opposing evil rather than genuinely doing good. 

It is the doing of good that is the problem; because nothing "done" is good in and of itself - we just can't get away from why it is done.   

People really want good to be definable in terms of acts; because if it could be, then good could be made into a plan, described in bullet points; and "implemented" on the world and other-people.  

Yet it is the fact that good cannot validly be thus conceptualized that has made all schemes for making-the-world-a-better-place (i.e. the entirety of politics and social engineering) into the realm of such self-deception, lies and horrors.

I suspect that we can only really-do real-good in those sadly-brief moments in which we are ourselves really good - when really-are on God's wavelength, as it were. 

And of course that means that the real-good which is done by us is only seldom in any objectively observable or definable form - but most likely to be in our thinking, a particular choice, a word or phrase, or some very particular (maybe unnoticed) action.  


Cosmic Resurrection!

Resurrection is not an end-point but the beginning of a new phase of our eternal beingness: it is a transformation of our being. 

We remain ourselves through the transformation, but are transformed from mortal and partly evil persons into eternal and wholly-good persons. 

Because we remain ourselves before and after resurrection, this means that the existential situation and task in life remains essentially the same - or, at least, it can be. 

Resurrection is what makes us able to do our life-task fully and always, instead of just partly and intermittently (which is the best that can be achieved in mortal life). 

This means that we can reasonably, and with expectation of some success, aspire to live a Heavenly life now; albeit our situation in mortal life is qualitatively different from that after resurrection; since here we must contend with entropy and evil - in ourselves, as well as in others and the world. 

The expectation of resurrection therefore inspires a cosmic perspective! 

When I recognize that this mortal life is not the only thing nor merely "a means to an end"; then I can actually begin to get-on with the business of an eternal participant in divine creation - Starting Now!

Tuesday 25 June 2024

A Country Camera - 1844-1914, by Gordon Winter

 A book recommendation for people who like this sort of thing. 

I rediscovered this marvellous book that I originally bought in my mid-teens; and which consists of photographs of English country life from before World War I. 

As I browsed, I found myself drawn into another era and a different way of living, by deft synthesis of well-chosen pictures with the personable style, and individual detail, of the text commentaries. The book induced a mild trance-like state: a transportation of consciousness.  

Originally published in 1966 by the Country Life magazine - A Country Camera seems to have been the model upon which innumerable later collections of historical photographs was based. 

It can still be bought cheaply second-hand - here is a sample of the photos:

Some more Laeth aphorisms

A nice new batch of aphorisms from Laeth - here's a few selected favourites:

if you're not ruffling feathers, you're probably feathering your nest. 

philosophy is a superficial understanding of depths. creativity is a deep understanding of surfaces. 

if your enlightenment doesn't allow you to see all the tragedy and horror that exists in the world and does not fill you with holy anger and disgust, then it's not really a light, it's just a pacifier you suck. excuse me, forgot a comma. 

it's true, you didn't ask to be born. you answered. 

i should have paid more attention in school. there were many times i was distracted and didn't notice how stupid it was. 

mormon theology had a profound, life changing impact on me. i wouldn't go so far as to say it saved my life, but it definitely saved my creativity. so in a sense, it did something even better. 

now there are only doctor disappointments and you don't even have to schedule them

Salvation is a direction - not a goal

Salvation - resurrected eternal life in heaven - should be the direction of our life, not its goal. 

A direction provides a context and perspective for living. We know where we are going, we know we are going there - and we live in that environment of expectation. 

This direction shapes Christian life. 

But when salvation is instead understood as the goal of our life; then Christianity gets to be something like a politician trying to get elected, or studying for a scholarship examination, or winning a court case. 

We are already in God's family - it's a matter of recognizing that family as good, a matter of affiliating with our family (similar to the choice that most adolescents are confronted with). A matter of affiliating our purposes with those of our divine family; and therefore not affiliating our purposes with others who have chosen to reject (and attack?) that divine family.

Christian life isn't about believing and doing a "million" things derived from scripture, nor about obeying a million instructions from a church. 

It is (or should be) about aligning ourselves with a few, and simple, understandings of reality.

All this is part of weaning our-selves off the expectation that our personal faith ought to satisfy some external this-worldly arbiter; I mean the strange but prevalent notion that "what matters" is justifying ourselves to "other people" - (or to what we infer about other people, since we seldom really know with surety). 

It often seems to me that the greatest but most misguided act of faith is in the superior-to-ourselves honesty, competence and motivations of "other people" - whether those people are current or past, whether written or embodied in a bureaucracy. 

I see this as an attempted denial of ultimate personal responsibility for our own Christian understanding, faith and life; and I regard protestations that this deference to "other people" is due to the virtue of humility, to be nearly always a false evasion (as evidenced by their gross - ahem - "lack of humility" in all other respects!). 

But in the end this issue of humility just kicks the can; since understanding the nature, role and importance of humility is yet another issue about which we must decide whether to take personal responsibility, or to submit to the Superior wisdom) of other-people...

And then: how can we (how actually do we) discern which other-people are of superior wisdom to ourselves? If we answer in terms of a consensus of history; then which consensus? 

And why should consensus be wiser than the individual - who says, and is it right that those who say it must be believed? 

Wherever we squirm, we will find that ultimately everything has been underpinned by our own personal decision and choices. I think we will also find that the reality of our solid faith is much much simpler than the millions upon millions of explanations and rules and practices that are supposedly "Christianity" - and which we have actually derived by subordinating our personal responsibility to a wide range of "other people" - about whose competence, nature and intent we are essentially ignorant. 

Monday 24 June 2024

World War III and the economy of damnation

That the highest level of the Western Establishment are all-out attempting to engineer an all-out World War III is now becoming generally acknowledged among those who are minimally-informed and can think. 

But their reason for doing so is still nearly-always misunderstood - because the ultimate explanation for why the globalist "elites" want such a war invariably grounds-out in terms of the desire for money and power. 

Whereas the real reason is spiritual, is evil; and is concerned with damnation rather than with this-world. 

In a nutshell: the global-elites want WWIII and they want it now because they are servants of demons (or actually demonically possessed); and the demons believe that the kind of war they desire will lead to mass damnation - in a way that world wars of the past probably did not. 

There are different levels of power in the Establishment, and different reasons why war would lead to damnation. 

The highest level of people of whom we know the names (but who are in fact dupes of the real global elites) are the likes of multi-national and national leaders, senior managers of mega-corps, media barons, tech moguls, and max prestige intellectuals. 

These mostly want WWIII because they believe it will make them richer and/or more powerful (and get more sex/ torture of the kind they desire); and because they regard the Little People as Human Resources at best, and useless eaters in the mass. 

Others among them have embraced transcendental value-inversion, and believe that war will enable them to persuade or impose such values upon the world.   

And such motivations are more than sufficient to ensure that when these lose power, status, wealth as a consequence of war and die, they will do so in despair. And some will actively choose damnation because to them, real-evil is regarded as "good" (and vice versa). 

The mass of Western bureaucrats, functionaries, officials, middle managers, teachers, entertainers and the like; passively approve of WWIII from a mixture of deliberate self-blinding and ignorance, dishonesty in thought/ speech and deed (so that they either refuse to believe what is actually happening - including in war, or interpret it to mean the opposite), and from their obedience to power in pursuit of status, security, fame etc. 

These myrmidons-of-evil are mostly fuelled by fear, resentment, envy, pride, luxury, and other sins that they regard as virtues. 

They disbelieve in the reality of God, divine creation, and Jesus Christ - and will choose damnation because they regard the whole idea of salvation as childish, dumb, insane, or evil.  

Although not so extremely evil as the above, and more likely therefore to repent and choose salvation (post-mortally, if not before) the Western masses are Godless and a-spiritual; and therefore have become thoroughly corrupted by short-termism and selfishness, by cowardice and hedonism.

These too are likely to choose damnation - in substantial numbers, at least. 

This - or something like it - is the economy of damnation that has led those most demonic (who are also among the most powerful) to unrelenting and strategic efforts to engulf the world in war. 

Past wars were often double-edged in their effect on damnation; with Men pushed towards extremes of virtue, as well as vice. 

But now, with the world as it currently-is; global and unrestricted war apparently looks to the demons like a near certain bet for damnation on a truly colossal scale - which explains the escalating rhetoric or and unending stream of ever-more-extreme provocations and atrocities.  


Note: The economy of damnation works on probabilities and percentages of men in the mass. Of course, any individual is always free to repent up until the final post-mortal commitment; but the demons can do nothing about that. They work by trying to make it as sure as possible that repentance will not happen - by inducing people to want and choose... something (anything!) else than salvation. 

"Thrownness" (Heidegger's Geworfenheit) is an existential fact of life

Heidegger is credited with having given a name - in German Geworfenheit, in English "Thrownness" - for the situation in which we already-find-ourselves in the world; that realization (which often happens during adolescence) that we are in an already-existing world - as if we had been thrown into existence, and must make of it what we can. 

Thrownness is, it seems to me, part of the development of consciousness - an aspect of the awakening of self-consciousness; which on the one hand is a separation from The World; and on the other hand the possibility of freedom. 

Thrownness can therefore be understood (and felt) as fundamentally negative-alienation or as positive-agency. 

Thrownness is, of course, both alienation and agency - the one cannot be without the other. But if there is meaning to thrownness, fundamentally one aspect must be primary, and the other secondary.

People react to the sense of thrownness in many ways, often (it seems) negatively - as when they complain "but I didn't ask to be born!" 

And when people react in that way, they seldom realize that by doing so they have already "begged the question"; in other words, by regarding thrownness as "not my fault" they have already assumed that their own life has no purpose or meaning. 

However, as always, the experience of thrownness is not a raw-fact; but brings with it its own interpretation - it arises in the context of a theory which gives meaning. 

Indeed; feeling that one has been "thrown" into the world willy-nilly, and without consent, to sink-or-swim; is embedded in a set of assumptions - which seem to me to point-at an unloving, or perhaps evil, deity who does the "throwing". 

More often, thrownness is supposed to be evidence for (or consistent with) atheism: an emotional subjective response to the operations of blind and indifferent material-causality and/or random chance.  

Yet, even for a theist who believes that this is a creation we inhabit, and that each living-soul has some purpose and meaning to his existence; there is an underlying existential aspect to this awakening into awareness of "me, here, now" - because it usually seems that creation is already up-and-running, and already has a divine purpose and "rules". 

We therefore find-ourselves confronted by a necessary choice: 

Do we, or shall we) personally approve-of, or do we instead reject, this ongoing creation in which we awake and find-ourselves?   

It seems to me important that we recognize this as a choice, and take personal responsibility for the way that we answer it.

Indeed; I think this is one of those choices that always gets answered in our lives: implicitly if not explicitly, unconsciously when not consciously...

That is: we shall always be taking either an adversarial or affiliative (negative or positive) attitude towards ongoing divine creation. 

Either choosing to join-with and be an ally to God; or else God's enemy. 

?Depicting Heidegger's personal response to his awakening to "thrownness"...

Saturday 22 June 2024

Why modern Men (unlike earlier generations) need to regard Christian love as personal - not abstract

I tackle this vital matter over at the Notion Club Papers blog - focusing on the specific example of the author and "Inkling" Charles Williams (1886-1945).

Thursday 20 June 2024

The ratio of doing to thinking

Thinking is much more difficult and rare than doing - it is also of low status; which is why so little thinking gets done. 

I first realized this some forty years ago when I began to work as a laboratory research scientist, and noticed that there was (in the biological and medical sciences anyway) extremely little thinking about the meaning of what we were doing. 

There was, indeed, active hostility (and scorn) directed against anything that challenged, or even seriously analysed, whatever the currently-accepted meanings and purposes of research-doing. 

The ratio of doing to thinking was so high, that it seemed to me that very few bioscientists ever thought consecutively and in a focused way for even ten minutes about their subject, or even their results. 

(I formulated this in a kind of slogan that anyone who did succeed in thinking for ten minutes about the implications and purposes of some research, thereby became a leading theoretician in that field.)

I was much more disposed towards thinking-hard than I was to doing-hard (long hours in the lab were mostly a chore, though this was my daily work environment for more than seven years, in the end); I soon decided that my "edge" as a scientist would come from focusing on solo theory rather than the usual practice of trying to generate vast quantities of data by forming vast teams of collaborators*

I felt, and still feel, that this was a flaw in the biosciences and medicine (attempting to remedy which was why I edited Medical Hypotheses for seven years) - and I think the same applies to other sciences. 

So far as I can gather - even the theoretical scientists don't really think, but just apply externally-learned models in a routine fashion. In other words; theory is not thinking! - or, seldom so.  

Eventually; this insight became a kind of Master Theory about Life! For nearly everybody, it seems that the ratio of doing to thinking is way too high; indeed apparently infinitely high in many people (i.e. they never think consecutively and in a focused way; so the ratio is some-quantity, divided by zero).  

And this is a major reason why our civilization is where it is: self-painted into a corner where it is purposively destroying itself - and simultaneously trying to bring-down the rest of the world from spite.  

No amount of doing will help - only thinking. 

Some serious and sustained thinking... very likely coming at the cost of less doing. 

*Note - on-average modern researchers do Not, contrary to almost universal perception, publish significantly more papers than earlier scientists who worked largely alone. What the moderns actually do, is work in much larger teams, and share in more publications. The bigger the team, the more shared-publications. But when the number of publications is divided by the number of authors (which has increased many-fold) - there seems to have been no significant change in average publication rates. 

Wednesday 19 June 2024

We cannot know What to do, so long as we are Wrongly-motivated

We cannot know what to do, so long as we are wrongly-motivated.

This is something everybody seems to find it very difficult to grasp and hold-onto... 

That, while we are in a situation of wrong-motivation, we cannot know what is best for us to do. 

Therefore; any plans we make while wrongly-motivated, will be bad plans - will make things worse

As Western society as a whole, and a large majority of its individual persons, are here-and-now so very wrongly-motivated - there is currently no possibility at all of making - or even recognizing - plans for a better future

Yet, this is what people constantly clamour for! Indeed, they demand detailed flow-charts of how to manufacture a better future. 

Unsurprisingly; all the strategies that emanate from The West, and are supported by the usual run of corrupt and dishonest Westerners - are dystopian in the extreme! Their methods and aims are nightmarish, claustrophobic, anti-human, anti-life; because that is the only kind of plan we can imagine. 

This ought to be obvious common sense. And it is a measure of the depth of corruption that it is not obvious - and that so many people instead suppose that people and societies who have embraced value-inversion yet deny it, might somehow be able to contrive a "road map" to social regeneration...

Before we can even imagine a better world and how to get it - let alone commence to make such a world; we must first become better people...

Indeed; not just "better" but transformed people: transformed in terms of our motivations; or it could be said transformed in terms of our perspective on reality and our place in it.

This sounds wildly optimistic and ambitious; and yet it it is a thing that any person can do for-himself; and cannot be prevented from doing.

It's all a question of wanting; and so we return to motivation...  

Tuesday 18 June 2024

Should we seek for God among the "trash" of Western culture?

In his Exegesis; Philip K Dick often returns to the theme that God - and The Good - could be found among the "trash" of civilization - and only among the trash:

The right place to look for the Almighty is, e.g., in the trash in the alley. And for Satan in vast cathedrals etc. 

This fitted with PKD's sustained interest in historical Gnosticism; by which this world is made by The Devil, who is an evil demiurge; such that God (and Good) can only penetrate this world (and eventually redeem it - make it good) by stealth and in-disguise. 

Such Gnosticism (which he knew of partly via his friend the Bishop of California Jim Pike, who was involved in translating the Nag Hammadi library) appealed to PKD because he was very aware of the evils of this world, especially its suffering. 

PKD could not make intuitive sense of the traditional-orthodox-canonical Christian view that such a world as we inhabit was created and sustained by a wholly-good and omnipotent God. On the other hand; PKD was not satisfied by the explanations of Gnosticism either - and therefore the Exegesis displays many oscillations and explorations, and never settles on a final or wholly-satisfying explanation. 

Leaving aside what I regard as the mistaken metaphysical assumptions of ancient Gnosticism (and indeed traditional canonical Christianity) - there is certainly a strong case to be made that real Christianity is now to be found only among the detritus and at the edges of modern Western Culture; and not in the cathedrals, temples, churches, seminaries and theological colleges, or their like. Nor indeed in mainstream mass media; nor high status education and academia.  

As Western Culture has become totalitarian and corrupted - then every-thing that is mainstream, official, popular, powerful, wealthy and high status; has been brought within the evil-motivated totalitarian System, and under the ultimate control of literal demons. 

Here-and-now; any-thing that is not on-board-with, and supportive-of, the totality of systemic evil is forced to the margins; and demonized as "trash". 

Christians themselves are already - and increasingly - regarded-as, and treated-as, trash by the world of mainstream officialdom and mass media; and the more truly-Christian a person may be, the more he will be despised. 

So that the end-result is superficially very much as assumed by ancient Gnostics and their sympathizers such as PKD; despite that PKD was essentially a man-of-the-left, and there is a significant element of 60s counter-culture "nostalgie de la boue" -style posturing about the notion of seeking "God" in the trash!

Nonetheless, and despite all reservations and contextualization; it is probably true in essence. 

Although most of the trash of our civilization is indeed rubbish, and some of it is very evil; as of 2024, in The West, we won't find God anywhere else. 

Monday 17 June 2024

Our ruling class are incompetent, but that is not the big problem

The Western ruling class's preparations to create and escalate global war have been yet another Litmus Test of our time...

Revealing that the vast majority of even those commenters who regard themselves as solidly anti-Left "realists", cannot comprehend how bad things really are. 

There has been for many years, and it is still increasing, a repetitive trope about how dumb, stupid, and all-round incompetent are the Western leadership class. 

Anti-Woke analysts and commenters work themselves into a frenzy of exposition concerning declining IQ, declining competence, and idiotic doubling-down on mistakes. 

All this is perfectly true, in itself - but incompetence is not the underlying and causal problem! 

The big problem is evil, not incompetence. 

The problem is evil motivations.

The problem is what the ruling class want; not their inability to achieve it!

If the ruling class were more able and intelligent (and less corrupt) then they would be using their competence to do more evil. 

The reason this is a Litmus Test is that it reflects the inability of most people, of almost everybody - it seems, to acknowledge and recognize the reality of deliberate, purposive evil.

Most people don't even seem to notice that the "incompetence" always works in the same direction (i.e. towards evil) - whereas genuine incompetence would err on both sides of right action, and would sometimes seek good by accident! 

And if you can't see evil when it is staring you in the face and doing its best to destroy the world... well, then you are absolutely certain to get it badly wrong about the motivations of the Western ruling class.  


From "obedient love" to "chosen love" (pre-mortal to post-mortal life)

My understanding is that we originated in terms of divine creation as spirit-Beings, living in a situation of "obedient love" with respect to God. 

In that sense we began as "angels" - perfectly-Good servants and messengers of God, but without agency (i.e. "free will").

This was our spiritual childhood, because we loved by means of obedience. We found our-selves living "in" God's love, but un-consciously; therefore passively and spontaneously we accepted love as the basis for life (and creation). 

As consciousness developed (some Beings developed faster than others, and probably some did not develop to this point) we became agents capable of choice. Capable of choosing to accept or reject our then-current state. 

We became capable of choosing to reject the state of living "in" love. 

Then some pre-mortal spirits (i.e. the demons - and perhaps the Devil first of all) chose to reject and oppose God and divine creation. The rejecters remain as pre-mortal spirits, but have chosen disobedience to God and opposition to divine creation. 

Thus evil entered creation.   

Others chose the next step in development; which is to incarnate as a mortal Beings - after which temporary phase there is the opportunity actively to choose to live eternally "in" love; as resurrected incarnate Beings in the state of Heaven. 

Thus; we begin as spirits unconsciously living in a child-like state of obedient love; then (due to Jesus Christ's work) those of us who chose the temporary path of mortal incarnation will have the opportunity consciously to opt-into living eternally in a mature-adult state of chosen love.  

The pre-mortal state is one of living wholly in-love, but it is not Heaven; nor is it conscious, nor active. 

Heaven is a wholly-Good state inhabited by those who have-been mortal incarnates, and who then have consciously chosen to live eternally in-love.  


The point of this post is to emphasize that we have not known Heaven. Heaven lies in our future (if we make that choice) but not in our past. 

Motivation trumps power

In this UK and US election year, people are induced to focus on power, and what they think they might do with it if they got it - or what those we most dislike might do it us if the power went to them. 

But in a society in which evil motivations predominate - and where personal motivation is at an all-time historical nadir - such that people are easily induced to be motivated for or against almost anything, and then abandon or reverse this motivation on a sixpence... 

In such a society of endemic, pervasive, near-universal demotivation and false motivations - the distribution of power is of very subordinate relevance.   

Unless the problem of motivation is first solved - that is, unless people are motivated towards Good rather than evils, and their motivations are internal and personal rather than passively responsive to external manipulation - then distribution of power is almost irrelevant. 

In a situation where Good is absent altogether (or motivated so feebly as to be a misleading distraction); we can (and are encouraged to) analyse and quibble about the lesser of evils, which particular fake-puppet-personality we prefer from a cast of obedient-drones and controllable-psychopaths.

But all available options are wrongly-motivated; therefore all options are evil - and, in a complicated and chaotic world - a world consisting of distortion, hype and outright lies; which particular option is the least evil cannot be predicted.  

The imperative is to recognize just how very bad things are - ultimately in a spiritual sense - and that from this spiritual corruption comes the situation of endemic, pervasive, near-universal demotivation and false motivations. 

Hardly anyone I speak-with or read seems remotely to realize the depth and extent of our current civilizational malaise - and this indictment includes all the most famous and influential "dissenting" voices.

From where we actually are, the only positive way forward entails a transformation and reversal of many of those assumptions that we hold most dear, or regard as obvious and unchallengeable. 

That is just how it is. 

Whether it is at all likely to happen is another matter! But that's what must happen - else present trends will continue towards predictably destructive ends. 

Sunday 16 June 2024

"You've gotta believe-in" doesn't work anymore: now, you need to Know (-directly)

When so many people expend so much energy propagating that you've got to believe-in... something; then you eventually realize that nobody really believes in anything. 

For a long time, people could be induced to believe in things by social structuring; then for a while-more belief was created and sustained by inducing people to participate in rituals, study, self-disciplines; and then that phase passed. 

For a short period more; it was widely asserted that this inability to believe meant that anyone could believe anything - simply by choosing. 

Someone could - by wanting - learn to "believe-in yourself", or believe-in any kind of religion, spirituality, or political ideology...

Someone could (it was said) induce belief by replacing external social structures with a personally-chosen framework....

The implicit theory was something-like this: 

First; you chose what to believe...

Then you build your own belief-sustaining system...

Finally you stepped inside and... 

Believed - from then-onwards.  

Yet that interchangeability of belief also implied that if you could believe any-thing, then you ought to be believe... whatever was currently-approved/imposed by the rulers

Because if not, if there was no consensus of belief; then "chaos would ensue"; than which anything is better (so most people felt). 

Meanwhile - nobody really believed anything: because belief was (for pretty obvious reasons!) self-subverted by its own arbitrary-ness. 

If we can "believe anything" then, actually, we cannot believe anything.

And that is where things now stand. 

Believe-in doesn't work. 

Now, what we need is to-know

And that means we need to know without having first to believe-in. 

And that means we need to know directly, by a single inner act of knowing that does not depend on any intermediaries that must be believed-in...

That is we need to know without believing that words/ concepts/ symbols capture -real-reality, we need to know without having first to believe-in some particular person or institution (or church).  

Direct-knowing in this way can be called intuition - and it not only can but must become the ultimate basis for life, because it is the only potentially solid basis: the only basis that is not merely a floating island adrift in the sea of culture. 

Direct-knowing is when the island of our expressed belief is merely the tip of a root that extends to the bedrock of reality. 

And on that rock...

Saturday 15 June 2024

The Old Vicarage, Grantchester by Rupert Brooke

Say, is there Beauty yet to find? 
And Certainty? and Quiet kind? 
Deep meadows yet, for to forget 
The lies, and truths, and pain? . . . oh! yet 
Stands the Church clock at ten to three? 
And is there honey still for tea?

These final lines of Rupert Brooke's 1912 poem are perhaps the most famous, because so yearningly evocative, expressions of Edwardian nostalgia - which seem to foreshadow the terrible losses (and in Brooke's case, death on active service) suffered by the gilded youth of the English upper classes in the 1914-18 War. 

And of all such youth, Brooke was certainly the most gilded! - since he was so perfect an example of the then-ideal of male beauty as to have become the centre of a considerable and worshipping cult (and being English upper class, this was from both sexes). 

All of which does not much endear him to me! Brooke was, indeed, a Norman among Normans...

Yet; in his longish poem "Grantchester"; Brooke achieved a marvelously enjoyable and satisfying piece of verse. The whole poem is actually of considerable complexity; having the epigraph "Cafe des Westens, Berlin, May 1912" - so the set-up is of Brooke, sitting abroad in Germany, miserable, and remembering the happiest year of his life living in Grantchester - a village situated a few miles along the river from Cambridge University where he was an undergraduate.   

What is startling after this introductory section - which contains another section that has entered common parlance:

Oh! there the chestnuts, summer through, 
Beside the river make for you 
A tunnel of green gloom, and sleep 
Deeply above; and green and deep 
The stream mysterious glides beneath, 
Green as a dream and deep as death. 

Is that there arrives a section of superb comic verse: 

God! I will pack, and take a train, 
And get me to England once again! 
For England’s the one land, I know, 
Where men with Splendid Hearts may go; 
And Cambridgeshire, of all England, 
The shire for Men who Understand; 
And of THAT district I prefer 
The lovely hamlet Grantchester. 

Yet, despite his hyperbolically expressed love of Cambridgeshire (albeit knowingly-inaccurate! Because Grantchester is not a hamlet but a village; a parish, with a church!); Brooke then (with deliberate absurdity) lists many towns and villages near to Grantchester, and waspishly (and arbitrarily) satirizes them for their various supposed inferiorities. e.g:

And folks in Shelford and those parts 
Have twisted lips and twisted hearts, 
And Barton men make Cockney rhymes, 
And Coton’s full of nameless crimes, 
And things are done you’d not believe 
At Madingley on Christmas Eve.  

Light or Comic Verse must exhibit technical perfection - and this does; and more generally "Grantchester" is remarkable for the way in which its short line rhymed couplets remain continually interesting and surprising; despite that this is probably the dullest of all verse forms - witness most of the 18th century English poets - Pope, Dryden, Johnson... who I find all-but unreadable.    

Probably my favourite humorous section of the poem comes somewhat earlier; describing a ghostly fairy-tale scene, set in the immediate surroundings of the Grantchester Old Vicarage where Brooke dwelt during his glorious year: 

And in that garden, black and white, 
Creep whispers through the grass all night; 
And spectral dance, before the dawn, 
A hundred Vicars down the lawn; 
Curates, long dust, will come and go 
On lissom, clerical, printless toe; 
And oft between the boughs is seen 
The sly shade of a Rural Dean . . . 

I would indeed classify "Grantchester" as verse, rather than poetry (as I understand it) - it is an exemplar of the classical rather than romantic tradition. Its considerable delights are not at the very highest level. 

And, as for Brooke himself - he is best appreciated as the original basis of what soon became an archetypal ideal. 

By contrast; I find the historical-biographical "reality" of his life among the Cambridge Apostles, the "Bloomsbury Group" and Fabian Society to be repellant, sordid, corrupt.

Best ignored; or viewed through a rose-tinted retrospectoscope!

And, of course; properly understood and responded-to, the legend is what matters most. 


This post was triggered by a couple of visits to Grantchester over past months; eating lunch in the Orchard Tea Garden that contains a little Rupert Brooke museum. 

And then picking-up (from a sales display at St Andrew and St Mary's church, Grantchester) a very enjoyable photographic and explanatory edition of the poem (done by a couple of the local residents) which I recommend to anyone intrigued by my comments above:

Rupert Brooke's Grantchester, by Francis Burkitt and Christine Jennings (2010).  

Friday 14 June 2024

Materialism, Oneness, Christian: three incompatible world-views

 1. Mainstream Western Secular Materialism

This world is entropic - Life arises accidentally from unlife and soon reverts to it. All that is personal and distinct is temporary and tends towards disorder. Annihilation of every-"thing" is the ultimate destination.

2. Oneness

This world began and ends as One, anything else is illusion. The tendency is towards dissolution of all that is distinct; all beings, all persons, all "things", our-selves.

3. Christian 

The persons, beings, forms of this entropic and illusory world, are a learning-stage or phase, en route to the potential choice of eternal resurrection.

The distinctively Christian essence of resurrection is that our ultimate goal and destiny can be one in which some individual persons, beings, life, forms... order and structure; may choose to become everlasting.

These three world-views are incompatible. Only one can be real, and we can choose only one. 

I think it is best to consider which we would most desire for ourselves; and if the answer is Christian, then recognize that our destiny is one that we must (therefore shall) choose.

Tuesday 11 June 2024

"Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad" - True... but why?

I am thinking, here, about the Western leadership class. That they are mad is clear, that they are en route to utter destruction I believe. That is where the 'madness' comes in. 

That 'the gods' wish to extirpate the Western leadership class seems obvious, and the reasons why are also obvious; but for the requisite irreversible annihilation certainly to happen requires that the elites become insane - not merely in losing their spontaneous sense of self-preservation, but actively willing self-annihilation. 

Otherwise, sans lunacy, a sane elite would pull-back just enough to avert nemesis; and survive to wreak further havoc. 

Since the gods want to ensure this does not happen, they first ensure that the Western leadership are mad.

(Reposted, slightly edited, from 2010.)

Monday 10 June 2024

Why aren't people naturally and spontaneously wholly-Good?

It seems evident to me that nobody is naturally and spontaneously Good - that is, nobody lives wholly in harmony with God's creation and intentions. Indeed, we don't, any of us, get anywhere near this ideal! (i.e. We are all "sinners", as Jesus said.)

Why should this be? Why is it that - as created Beings dwelling in a wholly-Good-God's creation - we are not wholly-Good? 

My answer is that we ourselves are not wholly created Beings; but are instead eternal Beings who existed from before divine creation; and therefore we are now a mixture of God's creation and our primordial selves. 

Our primordial selves are what make us genuinely free Beings, and also what means that we are not wholly aligned with divine creation.

That we are "mixed" entails that some of what makes us is a "product" of divine creation, and some of what makes us is not.   

Thus we find-ourselves. We know from experience what it is to be in harmony with God's creative will; and we also know otherwise. 

At one level; this finite mortal life is therefore a time of choice; when that which is free in us needs to make a choice whether to affiliate with God's creation... Or not. 

We are what we are; and in terms of God's purpose for our mortal lives, this means that we not meant to be naturally and spontaneously wholly-Good - but to make this choice...

Do we want to commit fully and eternally to live in harmony with God's creation - in which case we choose to follow Jesus Christ to Heaven (that being the method by which such a goal is attained)? 

Or, do we want to disengage from creation; and return to something like the primordial state of isolation, non-communication with other Beings, a state of barely-conscious "beingness"?  

Or, do we choose to oppose God and divine creation... Perhaps because we resent having being co-opted into this scheme in the first place; or because we dislike our presumed role and situation in the scheme of creations, or because the price of choosing Heaven is too great (i.e. we do not want to live forever wholly by love) ... Or for any reason.

That is the choice of this mortal life; and there are no other options. 

Sunday 9 June 2024

Improving people by stealth? No longer possible... (Example of The Lord of the Rings)

A feature of Mankind in these times is that we cannot be made Good unless we are aware of it, and agree to it. 

'Twas not always thus; because in the past Man's consciousness was (to an extent, albeit declining through history) much more shared and pooled (and, to us, dream-like), consciousness was less alienated from The World, less aware, much less divided and personal. 

In that situation, a great deal of our Goodness was absorbed passively from our surrounding situation - much as happens with most children even nowadays.  

In that situation, it was possible to improve people "by stealth" by appealing (in effect) to their "subconscious" mind - by contacting and influencing not-conscious mental processes, that were not subject to voluntary control. 

It was then possible (to some extent) to Make Men Good

And this was, indeed, the basis of "Christendom" - of human societies organized on the basis of Christianity - such as those of the Eastern Roman Empire ("Byzantium") or the Roman Catholic nations of Medieval Europe. 

But now, and especially in the West, Men are alienated, cut-off from that spontaneous group-consciousness. 

So there is little or no power in the world now to make people into better people (I mean better in Christian terms - spiritually better, more Good). 

Instead, people must make themselves better, and must do so by conscious choice.

As an example of the ineffectiveness to do good to people; consider The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, which I regard as an exceptionally Good book (Good in terns of its values) - as well as being widely popular. 

Since there is a Good book read by many millions of people, one might suppose that this would mean that LotR is doing Good to some (or many) people. 

But that certainly does not seem to be the case! The evidence is that those who are most engaged with Tolkien's work; whether as readers, official fans, scholar or whatever it might be - are strikingly "normal" (for here-and-now) and mainstream in their expressed sociopolitical views. 

In other words, there is nothing to suggest that reading Lord of the Rings repeatedly, in depth and with avidity; has made any significant difference to their Goodness (by Christian standards). 

Indeed, it is clear that even immersion in Tolkien, is perfectly compatible with living as a cheerful and willing servant of the totalitarian agenda of evil!   

If it was possible to do Good by stealth - then that would be happening with Lord of the Rings! 

But it is not happening - there is no sign of it. Those who benefit from the Goodness of LotR, do so by being consciously open to that Goodness and actively embracing it. 

Otherwise Good is not done. 

This applies generally. Christians cannot change sociopolitical circumstances to Do Good to people. 

However the situation is not symmetrical; and people can be (and are, on a massive scale) be corrupted to greater evil, in a passive and un-conscious way; and there is a truly colossal apparatus of media and bureaucracy that is net-dedicated to exactly this agenda. 

Therefore, as so often (and to quote Lord of the Rings) we cannot use the One Ring to fight Sauron: that is, Christians cannot use the apparatus of propaganda and influencing to pursue a Christian agenda by passive and unconscious inculcation of Good values.

Here-and-now: Men can be "made evil" (only needing passive and unconscious consent); but Men can not be made good. 

And, insofar as this appears to work, and some "Good value" is successfully implanted by stealth; then it will in fact achieve the opposite of Good overall.

Because by encouraging people to be open to and live from external values (of any kind) - to embrace values that they have absorbed passively and unconsciously - creates a mind-set that will be overwhelmed by the far greater quantity and socially compelling influx of external values in support of the Agenda of Evil. 

NOTE ADDED: An extension of this argument is that systems of training or initiation - that used unconsciously to inculcate positive values into such groups as doctors, lawyers, priests and monks - now do no positive Good whatsoever... unless, met with a positive, active, conscious will and decision; on the part of the trainee/ initiate -- such that any specific programme of training/ initiation is rendered inessential or redundant. In other words; we can no longer train people to be better people (but only worse people)... Furthermore; this extends to societies - such that even if it could happen in the West (which it couldn't); a restored "Christendom" would no longer work. 

Friday 7 June 2024

"Why not sin?" Should rather be conceptualized as: "Why be Good?"

Why not sin? 

First - we need to get rid of the double-negative theology implicit in "why not sin" and reconceptualise the problem as the positively aspirational: "Why be Good?". 

After all; I understand sin to be any and all departures from the positive situation of living in full harmony with the wholly-loving aims and nature of God's ongoing creation. 

"A sin" is thus any thing - any impulse, thought, action - which does not harmonize with divine love. There are therefore innumerable "sins", and everybody "sins" nearly-all of the time. 

Since sin is best defined in terms of departure from Good; it is clearly much better (positively) to aim at being-Good - rather than (negatively) trying not-to-do not-Good! 

(To get some-place - i.e. heaven - it is insufficient to be told when we stray off the path; we most need to know where we are going, and how to get there!)

For me; the answer to "Why be Good?" is that I desire to live "wholly by Love" - to live in accordance with God's ongoing divine creation - which derives from God's love, and is motivated by love. 

Indeed; anyone who wants Heaven, surely wants to live by love? 

(Else why would he want Heaven forever?

Expressed otherwise: Why on earth would anyone who ultimately desired to live eternally in complete accordance with love; not want to do so here-and-now, and all of the time? 

Wanting to live by love is just characteristic of the kind-of-person who wants eternally to dwell in Heaven after death. 

Yet of course we are tempted - over and again, very frequently - to live other-than by full accordance with love: to live out-of-harmony with divine creation, because it is short-term gratifying for us to do so. 

And therefore we often fail to resist these temptations; and we sin for much of the time. 

So we do not, as a matter of fact, resist temptation - and we do instead often choose to live out-of-harmony with divine creation. 

Given that fact; it might be asked: why should we even try to resist temptation? 

Why - since we fail all the time, and will continue to fail - don't we just accept the reality of sin; and sin whenever it is gratifying or convenient?

But I have already answered that question. 

The answer to "Why be Good?" is: 

If I am someone who desires resurrected eternal life in Heaven; then no matter how often and badly I fail to live the Heavenly life during this earthly mortal life - I will never stop repenting my failures, and never cease from trying to live better; simply because a life in harmony with God's loving creation is the life I want, more than I want anything else. 

H/T To David Earle for a comment that helped trigger this post.  

Is this mortal life basically OK?

"Is this mortal life basically OK?"

I sometimes think that this question (or something like it) is the root of philosophy. 

"Is this mortal life basically OK?" seems to be something that - although in theory it need not be asked (and maybe there are animals, and perhaps some humans, that never ask it); in practice it seems to be something that demands and gets an answer (even if we aren't aware of this answer).  

Because, even to ask whether mortal life is OK, is already to have acknowledged that it is not OK - or, at least not sufficiently so.  

Although there seem always to have been plenty of those who argue that life is perfect just-as-it-is; these have always needed to add "if only people would realize it!" - which modification then (in practice) leads to all kinds of attempts at psychological-spiritual training, discipline, meditation etc. in order that people can be made to realize this-life (as-is) is OK, or even utterly wonderful. 

That need to be made to realize that life really-is OK, even the need to explain that it is OK (properly regarded); is in itself, evidence of something being wrong with this mortal life - and to invite the question of why it is wrong.  

In other words; while anybody can answer "Yes!" to the question; for this Yes! to be more than empty words, more than optimistic day-dreaming (or, indeed, cynical attempts at manipulation or careerism) - immediately entails an acknowledgement that the very fact the question has-been-asked, means that life as-is, is actually not OK. 

Therefore; if we are rigorous about it; we already know that this mortal life is basically not OK. 

And that something is therefore demanded of us - even if that something is "merely" an acknowledgement of the intractable insufficiency of life.  

Since life is not OK - what then? 

Probably the most prevalent and deeply believed answer in the world - at least in the Western world - is the Leftist Answer: the implicit answer that motivates attitudes and behaviours in vast numbers of people. 

To the question "Is this mortal life basically OK?"; the Leftist Answer is (approximately): "No, not at present - but it could be made so."

The Leftist answer implies that, unless life is accepted to be insufficient when it could be OK; the world needs to embark upon a purposive transformation of this mortal life

Leftism embarks upon this transformation of life; makes some change, makes indeed several changes; but it turns-out that life is still Not-OK. 

It turns-out that (apparently) if life is to be transformed such that becomes OK, this needs many changes - many radical (deep) changes. 

Thus the Leftist strategy turns-out to be open-endedly expansile.

Leftism entails, indeed demands, ever more and more changes - yet life still is not OK... 

The conclusion is that nothing less than a Total transformation of life is required - change must be universal - it must therefore be imposed and enforced. 

Hence Leftism is totalitarian - if the assumption is that this-world can be make OK by transforming it - and when it is assumed that there is nothing-but this-world; and when anything less that total transformation always fails... 

Then totalitarian power to impose total change, is not just an unfortunate necessity but a moral imperative. 

No matter how often and how badly the Leftist project to transform this world and make it OK has failed in the past; since it is (by assumption) Mankind's only hope, then There Is No Alternative but to aim at an ever more-totalitarian, more-universal, and more-coercively-mandatory transformation: a New World Order. 

The Christian answer is that this mortal life is indeed not OK when considered as a separate entity; and what makes mortal-life Not-OK are ineradicable by human action. Because these include evil, degenerative change ("entropy"), and death; all of which constitute part-of everybody, and of all beings. 

Evil, entropy and (especially) death are built-into this mortal world: therefore this world is Not-OK.   

But (fortunately) mortal life is not necessarily the whole story; and mortal life is OK when regarded as an "educational" phase that leads to Heaven. 

For Christians; mortal life in isolation is not OK; but with Heaven to follow it and lived with that expectation, mortal life is OK. 

Wednesday 5 June 2024

Spite is all around us; invisible, dominant: the fruit of resentment, fuelled by despair

Spite, spitefulness is a strong candidate for The Worst Sin (I've blogged on this often). 

Another word for (aspects of) spite is Schadenfreude - but this is more often treated as an amusing foible, trivialized; than recognized as among the worst of evils. 

Surely we can all, if honest, recognize in ourselves (and infer in others) this most evil of evils: a desire to harm others, to make others suffer: a motivation that will, at extremes, risk or sacrifice even oneself? 

Surely we have all felt an arising impulse that responds to awareness of happiness, beauty, moral decency, honesty in other people or the world around us... with an impulse of hatred, the urge to destroy it, to smash it. 

We observe perfection; and then a stab of desire to mar that perfection. The urge may even be yielded to, when "harmless" - as when we see a perfect reflection cast by a still pool of water... And then respond by smashing it to smithereens by hurling a rock into it! 

"Harmless" fun, maybe - a tiny lapse, in the scheme of things; no lasting harm done... Yet if we examine the motivations for such everyday (trivial) destructions, we may (if honest) find spite at the root of it.

Likewise for our actions against others. These may be rationalized as necessary, or because "he deserves it"; but at root, the motivation may be spiteful: "I want to see him suffer".  

Most people, most of the time, squash such vile feelings in themselves (and certainly try to forget them) - but surely we have all experienced them? 

And - if we have any insight or capacity to reflect - seen this in other people (including the best people, at times; including those we love the most), and perhaps been at the receiving end of it? 

People who cause trouble among groups of friends - break-up friendships, relationships, even marriages; who spread malicious rumours, mislead, misreport, life; who engage in "he said, she said" betrayals. 

And surely we have at least thought about doing such things ourselves?  

Spite is ignoble, it is despicable - but it is real.

It is found to some degree in almost everybody, and it is the master sin ruling some people (and many demons). It is seen all through human history, and all around us - yet, spite is hardly acknowledged. 

(Except, maybe, in stories about youngish children! Enid Blyton often included spiteful characters, named as such, in her stories - which is how I first put a name to it.)

It is regarded as more sophisticated and pseudo-intelligent to analyse spite in terms of other motivations - especially disguised forms of self-interest. So, the harming of B by A is likely to be described in terms of how harming B benefits A (perhaps indirectly, or over the long-term). 

But the point is not whether spite can be explained-away - Of Course it can! 

The point is to to Ask The Question. Is this spite?

We absolutely need to know whether whether spite is the real motivator behind behaviour; because if it is, then such behaviour cannot be appeased by fulfilling self-interest. 

And, like most sins, spite feeds on its own gratification. When infliction of harm brings gratification, then the infliction of more harm to more targets will probably follow.    

Spite cannot be bought-off. Spite will not be satisfied by less than suffering and destruction. 

Thus when spite is explained-away - this merely allows for the undetected and more effective deployment of more spite. 

And spite is a natural product of the besetting modern sin of resentment - with the dominant ideology of The West being the creation, encouragement, subsidy and protection of ever-more "resentment groups" defined in terms of class, sex, race, sexuality or... whatever*. 

And (in the West, the developed world) this is a world of despair (whether actual or incipient). Because nearly everybody lives-by the assumptions that reality has no purpose or meaning, and that human life is followed by annihilation. 

With such assumptions; existential despair is normal and rational; such that self-distraction from this (supposed-) reality has become perhaps the primary life goal.    

When we have so many people who fundamentally assume themselves to be victims, and who despair; the ground is prepared for the operations of spite - first directed against those who are most resented (i.e. the supposed "oppressors"); but soon (as the sin takes grip) directed against pretty much anyone who in any way irritates us. 

When the most spite-dominated people are also among the most powerful, wealthy, high status, and influential in the world - then we have.... Well, we have exactly what we see around us in the world of geopolitics, global strategy, and the international and national leadership class. 

A world in which anything that is (or seems to be) of-God, or Good; anything apparently manifesting the transcendental values of Truth, Beauty or Virtue. Anything wholesome, innocent, natural, spontaneous, care-free... Any such becomes a prime target for spitefully-motivated attack. 

Yet, up to now, spite is invisible. Trivialized. Explained-away. 

By refusing to recognize the operations of spite in ourselves - failing thereby to acknowledge and to repent its sinful nature; we thereby fail to recognize spite in others. 

So spite can be everywhere, dominant, and increasing - yet we choose to be self-blinkered against perceiving it. 

And until we are aware of spite; the operations of spite cannot be resisted - either in ourselves, or others. 

* Leftism now rules the West and much of the world; and Leftism is a negative, oppositional ideology built upon resentment, and depending upon continuing expansion of resentment. The so-called political "Right" (of all types) is merely a variant of Leftism**. This can be seen in its domination by resentments, but of a different inflexion; typically inversions of mainstream Leftism: e.g. resenting women instead of the Leftist resentment of men, resenting the Left-approved races etc. Of course, such motivating resentment is rationalized and explained-away on quasi-objective grounds - yet the actuality of resentment as prime motivator is sometimes revealed when spite-driven desires or fantasies are expressed; as well as by the relentlessly negative and oppositional focus of Rightist discourse (against, against, AGAINST!). 

**The only alternative to the Left is religion. All secularism, all atheism, all materialism is ultimately Leftist. 

H/T - This was stimulated by a comment from Avro G

Monday 3 June 2024

Is your understanding of Heaven minimalist or maximalist?

It is striking how often the expressed Christian understanding of Heaven is extremely "minimalist". In other words; the idea is that very little happens in Heaven. 

Furthermore, in such a Heaven we ourselves are simplified (by subtraction of all sin).

Heavenly life is thus described very simply; including discarding almost everything most people might most value in this mortal life; such as family and marriage; and our most cherished creative and other activities. 

Sometimes, indeed, Heavenly life is reduced to the single activity of communion with the divine. 

This sounds, on the face of it, pretty un-appealing - except as a relief and escape from suffering. 

The usual answer to such objections is that we shall ourselves by-then have-been transformed... 

Such that what seems now to be an aetiolated existence; will, when we are actually in that situation, be wholly satisfying; indeed joyful beyond our current possibility of understanding. 

It is probably clear from the above that I - by contrast - regard Heaven in a "maximalist" kind of way; as greatly enriched by more, and continuousness, of broadly the same kind of positive things that are best in this mortal life. 

Thus I regard Heaven as a place of more, and more loving, and everlasting relationships - including family, marriage, friendship; and ultimately loving relationships of other forms with other kinds of ("non-human") resurrected Beings such as animals, plants, and natural elemental Beings. 

And I regard Heaven as a place of "work" - the best kind of work; that work which derives from creative love. 

Which is to say creative work, fulfilling work; work that adds-to, enhances, enriches divine creation. 

But to return to the minimalist view of Heaven - assuming (as I do) that it is indeed mistaken, and apparently rather ineffective as a positive inducement; it is interesting to speculate why it arose? Why might people have decided that Heaven must be minimalist?

I think it is partly hinted above, by the idea that after sin has been stripped-away; not much would remain. 

Maybe also that it is easier to imagine perfection (which is how some people regard Heaven, although I think this is a mistaken emphasis - because implicitly static) if that perfection is simple?

I think there is also a residue of "historical Gnosticism"; by which I mean the pre-existing (among pagan Romans and Greeks) Neo-Platonism that captured mainstream and traditional Christianity (and not just the recognized Gnostic sects). 

This philosophical ideology (permanently) embedded within-itself what might be termed the religion of "Gospel Christianity" by its metaphysical insistence on philosophical concepts as a mandatory framework for Christianity. 

(Such as an infinite gulf between creator and created, strict monotheism (leading to the abstractions of Trinitarianism in order to encompass the divinity of Jesus); creation being from nothing (rather than an organizing of pre-existent chaotic "stuff"), and God and the divine world being "outside of Time". There are more.) 

Other aspects of this pre-Christian philosophy included a belief that the material was innately evil, and the the purely spiritual was therefore the proper aim; and this led to an ascetic ideal that strove to achieve the greatest possible independence from the material body during mortal life; essentially by subtractive disciplines. 

From this perspective, it is natural to regard Heaven minimalistically, and the denizens of Heaven likewise. 

And the assumption that the divine world - in order to be wholly good - must not change; probably led to the deletion of sequential Time from Heaven - such that there was neither need nor possibility of resurrected Men doing anything in Heaven. They would simple "be". 

(Even the doctrine of resurrection after death, which could hardly be ignored; was transformed into an abstracted, spiritualized, "resurrection body" - which body ended by being hardly regarded as material at all - but instead something more like light than everlasting flesh.) 

Of course the minimalist Heaven may include elements of reaction against pagan (and other) understandings of the post-mortal life as simply a continuation and enhancement of this mortal life - with more of our desires fulfilled, and less of the sufferings. 

These are seen as wish-fulfilment merely - and wish-fulfilment is not (by such an analysis) distinguished from selfish day-dreaming fantasies (e.g. imagining post-mortal luxuries of sex, feasting and/or fighting - according to taste). 

It was probably not until the advent of Mormonism from 1830 that an explicitly maximalist understanding of Heaven (more consistent with the Gospels, common-sensically understood - especially the Fourth gospel) was rediscovered and linked with a metaphysical theology. 

This included a focus on marriage and procreation, family life, and co-creative activities in loving cooperation with God the Father - and a "evolutionary" emphasis on divine creation as eternally "ongoing", continuous, eternally being added-to. 

Ultimately, as always, this question of minimalist versus maximalist understanding of Heaven, reduces to a question of personal discernment based on the deepest intuition that we can arrive-at. Having consciously clarified our awareness of the alternatives, we each need to decide which are true possibilities, and which we most desire for our-selves.


Note: This post was stimulated by a comment from NLR at the NCP Blog

Sunday 2 June 2024

Things are Much worse than military analysts assume; because the Western strategists want to Lose, not win (and maximize destruction while doing so)

While the cultivated ignorance and delusional nature of mainstream Western officials and media are predictable appalling; the supposedly alternative analyses of the West versus Fire Nation war is more deeply concerning to me. 

The military experts and analysts persist in regarding this as a modern version of the kind of wars throughout history; whereas this is a situation the world has never before experienced.

Because the leadership of the Western (i.e. globalist) world (and I mean the real leadership, those who set the Western strategy) are qualitatively different in their motivations from any group of leaders in world history

The military expert analysts assume that the West ultimately wants the West to win this war - which is Not True. 

Those who are strategically responsible for the FN war, its continuation and escalation towards totality; primarily want the West to lose

That is their core motivation. "They" mainly want the West to be destroyed * - and the FN war is one of several, simultaneously pursued, means to that end.

Destruction of the Fire Nation, Earth Nation and other places are also real motivators - but secondary, optional. 

(Other means to the end of Western destruction include other wars; but also the many long-term self-destructive strategies I call Litmus Tests: e.g. the birdemic-peck, the climate agenda, the sexual revolution, the "antiracism" agenda - and the whole raft of leftist political auto-lethalities.)


On the other side; the core and strategic motivation of the Fire Nation is easily understandable (for normal people!), conventional, and historically multi-precedented - the FN mainly wants Not to lose. Wants to preserve and strengthen its culture and people. 

So the FN War is grossly asymmetrical in terms of motivations; in a way never before seen - at least never on a sustained and global scale. 

Indeed, the FN conflict may not even qualify as a "war" in the conventional sense; because The goal of the Western leadership is an orgy of insane multi-national mutual- and self- destruction - which is not really "a war"...

But that is precisely what the Western leadership strategists are working towards...

And for as long as so many people are so utterly unaware of the fact; for so long as they continue to think of this as "just-another war", like so many wars before: for so long They will continue to progress incrementally towards their major goal of destructive chaos primarily affecting the West. 

Note added: An overall interpretative perspective on the nature of the FN war (and the world generally) does not derive from evidence, and cannot therefore be overturned by observations - it is a matter of assumptions not empirical data. (Because assumptions both select and interpret the data.) Nonetheless, the immediate action of the Western side in coercively-imposing self-destructive sanctions, and the way that the West has continued to increase these in the face of massive evidence of their self-destructive nature; plus the self-destructive act of the West destroying a major conduit for Western energy supply - could certainly be taken as consistent-with the assumption that the war is primarily aimed against the West.   

Why do (some) people Yearn for resurrected life in Heaven?

Some people - myself included (although apparently not many people, in the modern West) - yearn for resurrected Heavenly life. It's what we want more than anything: for us, without it, life is purpose-less and meaning-less and irrelevant. 

But why this yearning? Given that we have never experienced it - but have instead always dwelt in a reality that is dominated by entropy and death; and furthermore, a reality made much worse by the operations of evil within ourselves and the rest of the world. 

From where, then, comes that "vision" of Everlasting Goodness which draws (some of) us towards Heaven?

Maybe it comes from our personal experience - and this is something we all experience, although only some are aware of it - of the "spiritual war" between divine creation on the one hand; and the opposed tendencies of entropic chaos and purposive evil on the other hand

We all experience divine creation in ourselves (whether or not we are conscious of it), and it is all around us.

Yet we also experience that in This World divine creation is continually being dissolved and destroyed (both from within us and externally) - so our experiences of divine creation are temporary and partial. 

Yet it is these temporary and partial experiences of divine creation that (may) form the basis of our yearning for the eternal and unopposed divine creation of resurrected life in Heaven. 


Saturday 1 June 2024

Towards the End of the Morning, a novel by Michael Frayn, 1967

I re-read this old favourite comic novel over the past couple of days. I had lost my original copy from 1978, and so I needed to buy another. 

This is one of those things about the embarrassments and foibles among the upper middle classes (apparently all Cambridge University graduates) - in this case, mostly "Fleet Street" (i.e. London) journalists and their wives and girlfriends. 

This sounds utterly unpromising (and ultimately it is), but there are some very good life-observations of the kind that stay with you permanently; and some laugh-out-loud funny set pieces that are the equal of anything. 

The main character's experience doing a television talk-show is so funny that I can recall sitting somewhere like an airport lounge or a place waiting for a ferry, and laughing literally uncontrollably, so that dozens of other passengers were turning and staring at me as if I was insane or having a seizure - but I just couldn't stop myself. 

So, TTEOTM is worth reading. 

But I also found it a profoundly nihilistic book; at times (when it gets serious) the narrative actually expresses this explicitly - that Life is purposeless and meaningless; and overall and especially as Life unfolds: it is a pretty miserable and hope-less business.  

In this respect, the author Michael Frayn epitomizes (for evidence: read his Wiki entry) the trajectory of Western Culture since WWII. He was one of the first generation of upper middle class atheist-leftists who took over the Mass Media in those decades; and by the time this novel was published (1967) this takeover was all-but complete.  

Journalism had been a mostly lower/middle class job, done by grammar school boys who left at about 16 and served an apprenticeship; as depicted in Michael Green's (excellent) autobiographies The boy who shot down an airship, and Nobody hurt in small earthquake

But by the 1960s print media was dominated by upper class boys and girls arriving straight from university, especially Oxford and Cambridge. Newspapers (and broadcast media) shifted from being about news; to being "opinion" concerning all aspects of society, politics and culture (i.e. leftist propaganda).  

And the new generation of upper class, public school, and university media people; brought with them the New Leftism - focused on promoting the sexual revolution, antiracism, feminism - and the rest of it. 

Michael Frayn is a good example, because he was (unlike modern Leftists) genuinely very intelligent, very talented - and able to be very funny. 

He was successful as a journalist, novelist and playwright - and was generally supposed to be, not just clever, but a deep thinker; because he had studied philosophy, and even published an academic book on the subject!

Frayn is one of the reasons why the mainstream modern culture of hedonic nihilism happened - he was talented, trendy, admired; he made the new ideology seem cool, fun, exciting... 

And by contrast Frayn, subtly and by insinuation mainly, made all-that-stuff about God, creation, the world of spirit, existence beyond death etc. seem... childish, silly, obsolete, low status^


In retrospect; it is obvious that Frayn was not a creative thinker - but was instead a highly-able exponent of standard-mainstream ideology; a founder-member of the "chattering classes"; one who took all his primary assumptions from his niche social milieu, and was unable (or uninterested) to seek or understand beyond this. 

And this is manifested in Towards the End of the Morning because - well, it doesn't really end. There is no sense of satisfaction or closure, it just stops*. 

The simple reason for this, is that it is an honest account of how Frayn saw Life: for Frayn (and his numerous ilk) Life is something that goes on for a while; one tries to get as much amusement from living as possible; one works to attain an interesting, enjoyable and well-regarded existence... For a while. 

And, then... Life Just Stops.    

^. The given-rationale for getting rid of that religion stuff, was that it stood in the way of a life devoted to optimizing the emotions. This was especially necessary if life in reality was nothing-but these emotions (as "science" had apparently proved).  

*Note added: It is significant that a novel of broadly the same genre as TTEOTM from about a decade earlier was Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim; has a traditional kind of ending - with the hero getting the girl and - in effect - striding off into the sunrise of a glorious future. Amis was born earlier enough to have been conscripted into the Second World War, and (although firmly of the materialist-atheist generation) was more of a transitional figure into modernism than Frayn.