Saturday, 24 March 2018

"Doing" philosophy - a solitary and sustained business

One of the worst things about philosophy is the preponderance of bad advice and bad examples - there is far more destructive nonsense than anything valid or helpful.

Even the matter of what-philosophy-is isn't exempt; because there is a long tradition that philosophy ought to be essentially interactive - a face-to-face discussion, something taught at an academy, a program of study, a set of canonical authors etc. All of this seems to me as pernicious nonsense.

Philosophy ought to be mostly about thinking (not speaking, reading, writing or anything else); a specific person, thinking on some matter of personal concern; reflecting, contemplating, niggling-away at some stuff for a sustained period of time; trying to satisfy himself about it - rather than any other external evaluation.

Philosophy just doesn't happen during speech, debating, arguing and the like - there is a near zero chance that any philosophical experience or learning will happen under such circumstances - such activities interfere-with philosophy rather than being it.

When there are clever and learned people having some kind of to-and-fro about something, or a wise and wonderful person expounding on something while others listen - we can be sure that philosophy has been rigorously excluded from the situation. 

Philosophy is too slow, i requires too much repeated experience, our philosophical learning is too idiosyncratic and unpredictable for there to be any possibility of 'real-time' philosophy.

Those (many) philosophers who have said that the essence of what they did was some kind of a social interaction - whether Socrates in the forum, Plato or Aristotle in their schools... the Vienna Circles discussing logic and evidence, Wittgenstein in a deckchair surrounded by disciples, Isaiah Berlin meeting with dons to reflect on language - all this was the indulgence of philosophical vice or exploitation - philosophically-bad-for the recipients, if not the expounder.

The real thing is utterly personal in inwardly motivated - and inwardly rewarded. It is done for personal satisfaction, and the pseudo-appreciation of other people is far more likely to harm than to help the process. 

Philosophy is something we do for our-selves. It is based on whatever seems to address our concerns. And we must evaluate it in the most complete and personal fashion possible in light of those concerns.

Clarity about all this is hard to attain and hold - but potentially helpful.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Improved proverbs No. 1: 'You can't both keep your cake and eat it'

This is often not understood; probably because the 'have' in the original ('You can't have your cake and eat it') is ambiguous - since having a cake can mean eating it.

And the proverb is the wrong way round: actually you can (...first...) 'have' your cake and (...then...) eat it - plus the phrase really needs a 'too' or 'as well' at the end.

Thus: 'You can't both keep your cake and eat it'. 

There is a shape to history; and it is of-consciousness

There is a shape to history (human, and ultimately planetary history) - but the shape is not seen in the usual focus of historians, but in the history of consciousness.

History has a direction - and intended direction; which is to say a purpose. But that destiny can be paused or diverted.

The direction cannot, however, be reversed.

Because we are talking of consciousness we cannot ever go-back. Adolescents behaving like children may perhaps be better than them remaining as perpetual adolescents; but adolescents behaving like children are not the same as children, because they have been-through childhood.

What drives the current and recent development of human consciousness are unconscious-impulses - instincts - that affect Men. These impulses originate in the divine, and they are intended to be spiritual impulses: that is, instincts intended to eventuate in the spiritual realm.

That is, these driving instincts are referenced to goals in ultimate, eternal  and spiritual reality (which is that universal reality of divine creation which we may access and participate-in by the Primary Thinking of our real self).

But when Men refuse to acknowledge the reality of the spiritual realm, will not recognise the divine-within, and will not think from their real self with agency and awareness...

Then these divine impulses will remain unconscious, and will become manifested in the material realm instead of the spiritual realm. What was intended to be a spiritual development of consciousness is then distorted into a parodic idol; hellish instead of heavenly.

For example; the divine spiritual impulse was for men to recognise - to know by direct apprehension, that we ouselves and all men have a partly-divine nature as children of God, and that our destiny is to live by loving participation in universal creating-reality.

The materialist distortion is socialism, communism, Leftism in its many manifestations as it has grown over the past couple of centuries (from early roots in pacifism); that is The System aspiring towards total ideological propaganda, monitoring and control; externally to impose a hellish materialist parody of the divine impulses.

The consequent materialist parody is most clearly seen in the modern results of the sexual revolution. The divine impulse for the development of consciousness in relation to sexual morality (as for all virtues, and the pursuit of beauty and truth) was that these universal realities become apprehended directly by conscious intuition, and freely lived-by in recognition of their Goodness. Instead the modern world has a literally-hellish materialist parody of sex and sexuality - legalistically defined,  ever-more prescribed and imposed, justified and sustained by lies.

So, the malaise and malignancy of modernity can be seen as a consequence of rejecting divine destiny; and this rejection is possible because the destiny entails that what was unconscious becomes conscious, what was obeyed because of authority becomes known-as-Good, and what was known-about becomes known-directly...

All of which requires individual agency and personal effort. Nobody and nothing can make us do this. Indeed, we cannot even learn from experience what to do, so long as we continue to hold to materialism, or indeed to hope for a return to an earlier era of unconscious obedience to external (benign, parental) authority.

We are in a situation where we cannot stay-the-same (because we are a slippery-slope to hell-on-earth) nor go backwards, and spiritually growing-up is the only Good possibility.

Yet we must choose this, each for himself or herself. We must understand and we must learn; and this takes effort; it will not 'just-happen'.

On the positive side; if we do understand, and do learn, and then choose - we will succeed. Because we will be following the divinely-destined path, will be fuelled and directed by those spiritual impulses and instincts I described at the beginning.

So nothing can stop us.

The above is my re-expression of a lecture of Rudolf Steiner from 1918, which I have often written about, sometimes translated as The work of the angels in Man's astral body

England led the world into materialism - and ought to be leading it out

William Wildblood writes at Albion Awakening:

England was probably the first country to adopt the mindset that led to the materialisation of consciousness and the present-day attitudes in which God has no place. It was a pioneer in many areas that formed the contemporary world. 

You can't trace this back to any single formational event or time but Protestantism was certainly one step towards the separation of the natural and supernatural worlds, and then the English Civil War was another. One religious, the other political. 

The fact that both of these things may have had positive elements to them is beside the point. The basic truth is that they opened up a gap between the spiritual and the material which, once opened, could be expanded exponentially until the point was reached at which the spiritual was so far removed it no longer existed in any real sense and could just be denied reality. 

That is now. Consciousness has effectively contracted to the material which is not just perceived as primary but as all there is. This has affected even religion which is largely earthbound and moribund these days. 

That contraction may have been beneficial in some areas, such as the development of certain qualities of selfhood and the exploration and dominance of the physical world, but these cannot be said to compensate for the spiritual loss that has accompanied them...

Read the whole thing...

Thursday, 22 March 2018

What should we DO? (And what counts as Doing?)

There is a prevalent notion that something ought to be done. But there is not much clarity about what counts as actually doing something; and even less about what it is worthwhile to Do.

For some people doing is communication - at least speaking to a person or persons, but preferably mass communication. But how much counts as mass?

Commenting pseudonymously on a blog - is that doing? What about photocopying sheets of papers and leaving them for people to find? Graffiti of slogans? Writing a blog? Memes on Twitter?

Are we talking about the mainstream mass media with audiences in millions - national newspapers and magazines, TV, movies - do they count as doing something? Or are all these just writing, not really doing?

Is politics doing, or is it just a talking shop? Forming organisations, sitting on committees, voting, petitions... Taking legal action... Are these really doing anything substantive, or just paper exercises?

Marching, rioting, fighting, breaking-stuff - is that what people mean by doing: 'direct action'? Or do they mean building, creating, making-stuff?

Does it matter how big the things is that is built, or damaged? How many people know about it? Whether the backlash/ reaction outmatches the original doing?

And then - what of our talents. Maybe we would benefit from a Leader - but few of us are leaders (very few actual 'leaders' are really leaders, come to that!), In fact few of us have any exceptional talents to do anything, of any kind. The average person is... just average. Is the average person expected to do anything, or only exceptional people?

Pretty clearly, none of this is really doing. Real doing is - has to be - something that everybody must be able to do: starting Now.

And that limits Doing to... well, work it out for yourself.

That's the answer.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

What is evil about the 'Adversaries'?

Edited from Chapter 13, the final one, of Unancestral Voice by Owen Barfield (1965).

By the Adversaries, Barfield means Lucifer and Ahriman, who are conceptualised as as actual but distinct aspects of 'Satan' - they are the adversaries of Christ's plan for the development of Men to the fully-divine form of consciousness. This idea comes from Rudolf Steiner, but is too complex to explain here. 

In what follows, Barfield makes a subtle distinction concerning evil that I consider to be not just misleading, but false - however (in the parts I have emphasised in bold text) he also makes a deep, vital, important and neglected point. Square brackets indicate editorial additions.

"[The Adversaries seek, not transformation but either continuity or substitution. 

"We have spoken little as yet of good and evil. If you are wise you will not think of the adversaries as evil. 

"Not they, but what they do - if man fails to prevent it - is evil.  

"They are not evil, because it is only in the activity of preventing them that Man achieves freedom: the freedom without his transformation [i.e. resurrection to eternal life] would not be self-transformation."

Now, I regard the best definition of evil to be that which opposes the divine destiny for Man; and in that respect, the adversaries certainly are evil; since opposition to God and to Jesus Christ is precisely what they do...

I think what Barfield means here is that the adversaries just are the way they are; and God has made this world such that Satan's activities are a part of it: in other words, opposition is allowed.

That is just a fact of mortal incarnate life. God has his reasons; which we personally may or may not understand - and which nobody understands in detail.

However, Barfield wants to put the focus on a place we seldom allow; which is that the major evil in this world comes from Man's failure to oppose, to prevent, that which the Adversaries want to do.

In a sense demonic evil is just a fact of life, about which we personally can do nothing. But demonic evil nearly-always works by Men's implementation. And another fact is that Men have freedom (agency) either to implement or to oppose evil.

Assuming that we are here to experience and learn from life - this is one vital thing we are here to learn: we are here to learn to 'prevent' evil; that is not to implement it, to work against it.

We should ideally never allow ourselves to think along the lines of 'the devil made me do it'. And when we do think like this, it must be repented.

What Barfield is saying here is that we need to learn to take responsibility for the evil that is done - and to take responsibility for 'preventing' evil as best we may; because that is to be free; and to be free, to embrace our being as a moral agent, is one of the essential things that God wants from us.

Should history be understood as a meaningful process of development?

Edited from Unancestral Voice by Owen Barfield (1965).

"I still wonder", said Chevalier, "if it is really as important as you suggest for people to find a meaning in history?"

"I will tell you one reason why it is important", came the swift answer. "As long as a man sees history as a meaningless jumble of events, he will see his own life - which is a part of history - and the lives of those around him in the same light... Just one-damn-thing -after another."

To find meaning in our own lives, or the lives of our friends, family, or those we admire - entails that history has a meaning; which entails that history has a direction, a destiny, an intended plan that is good.

It is also necessary that our own lives (and everybody else's life) be joined together; and joined with the destiny of history.

For there to be meaning in one thing requires a great deal more - in fact meaning in one thing requires meaning in every-thing.

And - taking a further step, which can't be explained briefly here, but may be obvious... Meaning in everything also requires that everything be alive and (to some degree, in some way) conscious...

Conversely... to deny meaning, shape, purpose to history (including that history which is the origin and evolution of the planet and life) - is to deny meaning in Everything.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

We need Romanticism, and Romanticism needs Christianity and Time

I explain why at Albion Awakening.

On being unable to explain What Exactly Jesus Did

I know that Jesus was essential. I know that when he was born into this world, somehow everything in the universe changed.

I also know that this was not primarily a matter of sin - it really wasn't: that is a narrow and partial misunderstanding of 'saviour'.

Christ was a transformation of possibility - so great that I can't summarise it.

I can't do much more than perceive an outline in a blurry fashion... Or rather, I perceive it all but blurred and stretching into a distance, such that I know there are more vital details beyond my clear vision, but can't distinguish them.

Christ did so much. And that continues. It is by Christ that we continue to experience meaning, purpose, miracles - that we rest upon love - that we know that creation is good, and that we are part of it and can participate in it.

All this happened because of Jesus and could not otherwise have happened.

The reason (or reasons) why Jesus is essential are very difficult to comprehend and express - and yet that knowledge is so strong and sure... it is only the failure to explain it that threatens the knowledge itself.

You ask why Jesus is absolutely and uniquely essential - I fail to provide a satisfactory answer (I am not happy with the answer, you are not happy with the answer) - My failure is seen as falsifying the assertion...

If Jesus was subtracted from history, so that he never was, and never was going-to-be... If he had never been part of the plan... If life and the universe had been made only by God the creator and nothing else... then life would have been futile.

Life would have gone nowhere, achieved nothing: it would not have been worthwhile.

Life would, indeed, have been A Bad Idea.

It is Christ which/ who made and makes it All worthwhile.

Somehow the scope and scale of the reality of What Jesus Did has been missed, has been metaphysically denied, has been wrongly-explained. We've explained it to ourselves (for 2000 years) in various partial and distorted ways... and then we have been trapped-by our own limited explanations...

We cannot communicate it, not even to ourselves - yet we insist on the primacy of communication, and insist on living-by that which can be communicated... The tail is wagging the dog. 

There was creation - ongoing; and there was Jesus Christ - ongoing. The first made everything possible; the second made it worthwhile.

But ask me to say why and how in a few comprehensible words - or say it in many incomprehensible words - and I cannot say anything that does not grossly misrepresent the fact and its meaning.

We cannot even explain the reality of one single person to another single person. Is it surprising we cannot provide a general explanation of Jesus Christ suitable for humanity?

But we can get-to-know a person. 

Monday, 19 March 2018

How can the people of Albion be supine in the face of Telford (etc)

How can the people of Albion be supine in the face of the Telford (etc) mass, organised, long-term, officially-known-but-allowed; rape and violent abuse of uncounted thousands of children and the vulnerable?

The short answer, and only a short anwer is needed, is at Albion Awakening

The all encompassing smile of our divine creator - analysing the last words of William Arkle

 A late painting by William Arkle including his favourite subject matter of the divine smiling face

Throughout his life (1925-2000) the spiritual philosopher and artist William Arkle developed and lived by a type of esoteric Christianity which has become one of the great influences on my life. His last published words are therefore of particular interest.

But not only the words. What was special about Arkle is that he lived by his beliefs. Colin Wilson described him as one of the half dozen most remarkable men he had met; precisely because of the harmony between his ideals and his lived consciousness. I have confirmed this by discussions with several people who knew him, including his son Nick.

In some ways Arkle's beliefs were stable from the 1950s through to his death in 2000; and this stability can be seen both in the writings from his first pamphlet (The Hand of God, in 1960) via his two books (A Geography of Consciousness, 1974 and The Great Gift, 1977) to the last writings published on the internet; and by the themes, and recurrent symbolism, of his mature paintings (despite many varieties of style).

In the paintings; as well as sea shores, mountains, skies, rivers and the like; there are specific distinctive subjects - such as teapots and cups, or small boats. But most characteristic is the large smiling divine face - hovering above the picture, implicitly unseen by most people - sometimes with nurturing arms and hands, but most often variations on the theme of of that enigmatically-smiling face.

I regard William Arkle as a genuinely advanced spiritual soul; and therefore it was a fact that he was trying to communicate his vision across a great gulf to reach the rest of us - aspiring perhaps, but ourselves not very far along that path. 

This, I think, is the core reason why his paintings and words both tend to strike people (at least initially) as simplistic and naive: too much 'sweetness and light' and too little of that corruption and darkness which modern materialist Man seems to want in his art and literature.

Arkle was perfectly aware of this, but would not compromise on what he saw as the truth about reality. And through his life into old age, his 'vision' became more and more positive, optimistic and serene.

Anyway, in Arkle's 'last words' - published as the Foreword to a large web site made for him by Michael Perry (no longer available); he wrote a characteristic short essay that - as so often - implies a great deal more than seems.

I analyse the whole thing below. My comments are in italics:

I very nearly called this web site 'The Play of William Arkle', and then I felt that it would sound rather too casual for most people and even an insult to the endeavour that is brought to the resolving of the mysteries of life.

The reason that the word 'play' suggested itself is that the journey of understanding seems to lead from the level of human survival as a personality in this world, through to a spiritual view that takes survival of our spiritual self for granted; and then on again into the appreciation of the all-encompassing smile of our Divine Creator.

Arkle describes a three-step progression: 

1. Human survival as a personality in this incarnate, material world.
2.  A 'spiritual' view that takes for granted that the 'soul' survives death, and makes this a solid basis, a metaphysical framework, for living. 
3. An interwoven understanding of the 'all encompassing smile' of the divine creator; 'our' creator because we are true children of the divine creator. 

In other words; after we cease to push-away knowledge of our own soul, and the pervasive presence of our creator, we can begin to understand the implications and begin to live by them.

This Divine Smile says a very simple thing, which is that the everlasting nature of its Spirit can have only two options: either it remains in its Absolute condition of Blissful non-action; or it can engage in action through the creation of play-grounds. This means creating theatres of time, space and lots of things - from a condition of no action or time or space or things.

The divine smile - in its divinity, and its love for us as men and as individuals - gives us two positive options; plus a negative alternative which Arkle only obliquely implies. What is important is that these two options were the same as confronted the creator. The first in a path of pure 'static' contemplation in a state of bliss. (That is, the state of Nirvana.) The second is the one which God actually took; which is to engage in loving, creative action: creation of The World, of reality - with its time, space, matter and differentiation into many entities including persons. 

Our Creator felt that the first choice of 'no action' could becoming boring because there was no adventure, surprise or growth involved. The livingness of The Spirit felt itself to be in need of such adventure as an expression of joyful love and fun. So the second choice came about purely for the exercise of joy and love and fun.

This explains why God made the choice of action and creation. Arkle intuits that it was the preference for change, including unpredictability. This is a statement regarding the deep and intrinsic nature of God as a person. The fact is stated in a typically down-to-earth way ('boring', adventure', 'fun' etc. and 'play' coming up next) that is shocking, or banal, according to taste; and which I regard as expressive of the difficulty of communicating across a spiritual gulf - because there really is no way we can fully understand what is being said unless and until we our-selves attain such an intuitive and direct knowledge of the nature of God, as a real and living person.  

The only word I could find to cover the activity of joy and love and fun was the word play, but unless it is approached in the right way the word does not carry the correct significance. And thus the whole of this web site is a journey into the understanding of The Creator's view of the word play.

You will find that my own earlier understandings moved gradually into this way of talking about our reality. It seemed to become more and more light-hearted while being able to sympathise with all the conditions of growth which can feel to be the conditions of fear and anxiety. Thus the big game of life at play has conditions within it which can descend to the very opposites of its initial intention.

God has taken the second option of action and creation; but we - as agent persons - are free to disagree with God's choice. There are two possible ways of disagreeing - the first is to reject personhood and prefer the bliss of Nirvana - to return to the immersive static-state of absorption in which everything began. 

But it is the second freedom to which Arkle refers when he mentions 'the opposites of the initial intention'. We are also free to disagree wit the whole scheme of creation and of love between persons. We are thus free to be anti-creation, anti-love: instead of creating in harmony with divine creation we can destroy-creation, and instead of living by love for the divine plan and other persons we can live from-and-for our-selves in fear and resentment of other persons - the state called 'pride'...

When we understand that God's disliked loneliness and boredom and sought 'fun' and 'friends' with whom to share creativity; we may regard this either as generous sharing; or we may regard it as selfish and exploitative of God. The latter inference is what leads to the many of the aspects of the world in opposition to the intention of God.       

These opposite conditions are the result of our Creator deciding to give us the Gift of being able to become real players in our own right at this adventure which is being undertaken. This is why the picture book was called The Great Gift and why the writings in it referred to God as being our friend in this one life endeavour. Later on this was changed to the expression God, The Player Friend.

We are 'real players' in the 'adventure' of mortal incarnate living. Within creation, there are those who are free to regard loving creation as wrong, and to work against it. It is part of the plan that those who decide to favour option one (Nirvana) or to oppose option two (to act against love and creation) are allowed to do this, and to 'put their case' to others. For God's hoped-for friends to be real they must positively understand and agree to the divine plan; including that they need to understand and reject the alternatives. 

Such a situation is allowed-to work-itself-out in the world for the simple reason that it is the only way that the ultimate aim can be achieved. Nobody is compelled. Indeed, the nature of love and creation is such that nobody can be compelled.  

Arkle's concept of 'play' is the experience from-which we may learn; but what we learn is up-to each individual. All options are 'on the table'. The possibilities are known, and competing - even fighting. 

We must and will, all of us, take sides - because there is no neutral ground. We may change our minds during mortal incarnate life, and perhaps after - but at any given moment we are on one side, and not on the other two sides. This is the nature and purpose of the play of our lives.

As for me, I have kept the name William Arkle. I like the name because it implies that my Will is doing its best to be a small expression of the Ark of Life, The Heart of the Creator Friend.

However my close associates now find me calling myself Billy The Kid.

Thus Arkle closes his valedictory with a modest and whimsical set of puns...

The decline of institutions - the rise of The Bureaucracy

This is an era in which the major institutions are declining - to be replaced by The (single, linked) Bureaucracy.

This has been a major fact of my adult life - the gradual recognition that all of the institutions with which I was directly involved: schools, universities, the medical profession, the health services, biomedical science and science in general... have all Gone!

Sometimes the shell remains, but what is within the shell has been hollowed out and replaced with The Bureaucracy; what the institution used-to-do has been redirected and repurposed into the uniform objectives of The Bureaucracy.

And what does The Bureaucracy want? Well, at a proximate level it wants total-control; it wants to know what everybody is doing (ideally, what they are thinking) at every moment of every day, such that this can be regulated and directed. The desire for totalitarianism clearly suffices for short-termism - but raises the question of the ultimate goal.

Towards what is The Bureaucracy aiming?

This may be clarified by considering what superficially-seems to be The Bureaucracy's only rival: the Mass Media. In fact, they are merely rivalrous divisions within the same organisation.

The Mass Media attracts 24/ 7 attention and mental participation, it is very-highly addictive such that its compulsion is in the form of desire - and therefore the MM has the same objective of totalitarian thought-control as The Bureaucracy. And the Media, in its core activity and overall tendency, always pushes (either directly, or implicitly) for more surveillance and more regulation - for more Bureaucracy.

In sum, the Mass Media gives the impetus and justification to the Bureaucracy, and 'corrects' it when it strays from The Program; and each component of The Bureaucracy responds in part directly to the Mass Media, and in part to the other components of The Bureaucracy.

For The Bureaucracy 'reality' is what the Mass Media is saying, and what other parts of the Bureaucracy is communicating. That's it. That is the whole of reality: there is nothing more. 

As for the Masses - they are paid by The Bureaucracy (one way or another, usually directly - if not indirectly); and spend their money, time and effort on The Mass Media. These are the whole of reality: there is nothing more.

(Whatever else seems to exist is purely personal, subjective, evanescent, contingent - presumably some delusion, the result of ignornance or childishness, irrational; mere wishful thinking. Objective Reality IS the Bureaucracy and the Mass Media.)

But what is The Bureaucracy (considered as a cohesive Thing) aiming-at: why does it want totalitarian control?

That is the bad news - because it turns-out that The Bureaucracy and the Mass Media are both, at the highest levels, pursuing a demonic agenda; and therefore what it wants is destruction of The Good (truth, beauty, virtue, coherence) and to persuade all humans to reject (explicitly, deliberately) salvation into everlasting life in Heaven.

At the top, at the highest level, ultimately setting-the agenda are literal demonic powers. Not many of them - they work indirectly via humans using bribery, intimidation and lying propaganda - but they are the primary movers and shakers both.  

In sum, the modern world has become a vast machine of spiritual damnation; a single mechanism with an ever-finer mesh to capture ever-more people in an ever-tighter constraint - aiming to poison that which is good; to promote, reward, enforce that which is dishonest, ugly, wicked and insane.

SO - as individuals, we look at the world, and we look for groups, organisations, clubs, colleges, guilds, movements, parties and all manner of collectivities - to provide us with knowledge, encouragement, and to amplify our influence...

And we find that there are none (or hardly any, small, weak, poor, despised; and only minimally effectual. And that, for various reasons, we personally cannot participate in them).

We find ourselves confronted by this vast machine of damnation - and we are on-our-own.

On our own because of the wholesale corruption; the possibility of living-well by participation-in, obedience-to some Good external authority and groups has been deleted.

Every-body must - and this is not avoidable - therefore always exercise discernment; must evaluate, judge, discriminate; and must find their own motivations, courage, and direction. There is no other Good option on offer.

Like it or not, want it or not; this is un-evade-able: it is the inescapable situation in-which we find-ourselves.   

This is precisely the core situation of modernity; it is the experience we are here (in mortal incarnate life) to experience, it is the lesson we personally are here to learn; it is why we were born now and here, rather than some other time or place: it is the challenge that we, personally, must confront and overcome.

And, for a Christian with faith in a loving God who is our Father and creator of this world, and whose Son made possible our resurrection to divinity - and whose guidance and wisdom is universally and personally accessible to all men as The Holy Ghost - who is our living, individual direction-finder and inspiration...

For such a Christian this colossal monolith of inter-connected evil is a challenge that each of us - individually and 'alone' - can overcome.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

My lifelong interest in consciousness

I have been interested in consciousness, and unusual conscious states, for my whole adult life and continuing - but in various ways and with different focuses.

c1974: I discovered the work of Robert Graves; first the Claudius novels, then the essays and criticism. I became fascinated by his remarks concerning the poetic trance, and the possibilities of non-logical leaps of inference and types of knowledge. Bernard Shaw's writings on Creative Evolution (Man and Superman, Back to Methuselah) pointed at higher consciousness as the (impersonal) aim of Life - this amplified by a mystical nature writer called John Stewart Collis. HD Thoreau's Walden and Journals described moments of connection with nature, which I sometimes experienced.

1978: I discovered Colin Wilson's work, with its primary focus on attaining higher forms of consciousness - since then I carefully read through most of his books, many several times. About this same time I encountered CG Jung, and the idea of archetypes that lent depth, universality and significance to life and art. A book of essays by composer Michael Tippett (Moving into Aquarius) talked of the importance of this kind of thing in artistic creation.

1994: I began an active scientific study of consciousness from the perspective of the theory of evolution by natural selection. I began to publish on the subject. To Thoreau I added an engagement with RW Emerson and other 'related' authors like Walt Whitman, William James, Robert Frost.

1998: Shamanism was of increasing interest - I read anthropological texts, and also - from about 2001 - Neo-Jungian writers such as Joseph Campbell and James Hillman.

2010: Having become a Christian, I investigated Eastern Orthodoxy (and the analogous 'Celtic'/ Anglo Saxon British tradition) - i.e. the practices of constantly-praying/ meditating ascetic monks and hermits, wonder-working Saints etc.

c2013: Having committed to Mormon theology and metaphysics; this was the beginning of my current phase of great interest in William Arkle, Owen Barfield and Rudolf Steiner, supplemented by William Blake and ST Coleridge.

So, for me, consciousness has been (in different, sometimes contrasting, ways) the single major intellectual and personal interest over a span of more than four decades - and continuing.

Living against our personal destiny is a neglected source of existential suffering in the world

Looking back on my life, I can see that a major cause of misery and suffering was when I lived against my personal destiny. That is, when I had made wrong life choices and persisted in them - I suffered. This suffering was of an existential nature - deep and private, not superficial and public. 

What seemed to happen then was a waning of drive and motivation, a growing discontent and low-grade misery. A feeling of meaninglessness and of pointlessness. And alienation - being cut-off from people, the world, life. 

My surface life might be comfortable, might contain excitement, fun, be well-rewarded. Status and self-esteem were not a problem. But underneath...

In other words; when my life was on the wrong track, when I had taken a wrong turn and was moving further and further away from the right path - vitality drained away and an uneasy angst accumulated - regardless of how superficially pleasant and pleasurable that life might be.

And of course this is how it would naturally be, if a loving God was guiding us, his children. He would not want us to be diverted from what we ought to do by wrong decisions, and would make sure that we knew when - deep down - our lives had gone wrong and were getting wronger.

Whether we take any notice, is up to us; whether we put matters right is up to us - but we cannot say we were not aware of the problem, we cannot say that we were misled. If people, like myself, choose to blind themselves to the reality of divine destiny, then that is also open to us - but it cannot be done without consequences in terms of existential suffering.

Existential suffering of precisely the kind (and increasing severity) which I see all around me in the modern world.

People are being told, they are being shown, they are feeling that they have made wrong assumptions, wrong decisions, and are persisting in them - all of this by their own personal choices.

Corrective counter-knowledge is being applied to their souls; every hour of every day; steadily, and with increasing force - this existential suffering has that meaning.

People cannot be made to take notice of, nor to understand, such divine communications - but they are certainly being given every encouragement to do so.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Snow, snoil, snil, snail, hail

I found this from five years ago - with zero recollection of having written it; when I was googling this subject - because we are today having exactly the same weather again. 

In what seems to be the coldest March for many decades, my locality has experienced a couple of weeks of daily 'snow': but a strange kind of snow which is somewhat like hail, or sometimes hail that is somewhat like snow - either way it never lies for long, and accumulates like little drifts of granules rather than in layers.

My 10 yr old daughter has come-up with a useful set of terms to describe this unusual icy precipitation which has some of the properties of snow and some of hail.


Snoil - (pronounced snoyl) mostly snow but particulate, a bit like hail

Snil - exactly half way between snow and hail

Snail - mostly hail, but with a bit of snowlike softness


As you can see, the proportion of letters from each word, snow and hail, reflect the proportion of snow-like or hail-like properties - e.g. snoil has three letters from snow (sno) and two from hail (il) - while snail is the opposite, having two letters from snow (sn) and three letters from hail (ail).

This new nomenclature is proving itself to be usefully descriptive, and (more importantly) generative of the kind of micro-discussion of weather which we British seem to require as part of our daily diet - for example, emotional debate (confident assertions and incredulous counter-assertions) about whether the stuff on top of the car is best described as snoil or snil...

1740 - The dawn of Romanticism; the year that human consciousness changed

Colin Wilson was the first to recognise that human consciousness changed in 1740; and what marked this historic moment was the publication in London of Pamela: or Virtue Rewarded, by Samuel Richardson - which was the first novel.

The novel produced an instant sensation and within months had spawned numerous imitations. And the novel was the first evidence of the power of Imagination. Romanticism was born.

From that moment, human imagination exploded in the Western nations: the British Isles, Germany, France - spreading to all the developed countries and increasing until it was the dominant social theme by around 1800 - and the world was never the same again.

But if 1740 really was The Moment - then the direction of causality remains to be established.

Colin Wilson argued that The Novel caused the change in consciousness; but I would argue that the change in consciousness caused The Novel - and that Pamela was merely the first evidence that Man (specifically Western Man) had already begun to undergo a change in consciousness.

Here we come to the ambiguity in the term 'evolution'. Wilson saw the evolution of human consciousness; but he saw this as consciousness adapting to changed circumstances - he saw consciousness as 'passively' following changes in the environment...

But I see a process of developmental unfolding, in accordance with divine destiny. Thus I see human consciousness as developing a greatly-enhanced power of Imagination as a process of a long term plan for humanity. The novel was an early product of this change.

Consciousness is itself the driving force; and it was the change in consciousness which drove the changes in the environment - such as the Romantic Movement and the Industrial Revolution.

Most historians of ideas, on the contrary, regard Romanticism as a reaction-to modernity - especially a reaction-to the Industrial Revolution. (e.g. That Romanticism was a daydream of escape into magic and nature from the grimy and alienating 'realities' of industrialisation.) But this can't be right if we consider Pamela as the beginning of it all, since in 1740 the Industrial Revolution was as yet so small in scale as to be almost imperceptible. The greatest commentator of the age, Samuel Johnson, saw continuity, not revolution.

Instead, I would say that both The Novel and the Industrial Revolution were different products of the same driving, qualitative change in human consciousness; a change that affected England before it affected anywhere else - but which before long had affected everywhere else in Western and Central Europe and the diaspora of these peoples.

This general insight - of changing consciousness driving culture - was articulated by Rudolf Steiner and Owen Barfield; although neither emphasised much the point that this was a developmental divine destiny; and that its ultimate aim was the aim of God in creation: to enable Man to rise to full divinity.

Enhanced Imagination was something that was imposed-upon Western Man - it was not his choice, he was passively-swept-along by this change in consciousness.

But 250 years later I think we can perceive that Imagination was only meant to be the first step - and the divine plan was that Imagination would lead on to Man's explicit choice to embrace an Intuitive consciousness that was also conscious and free. That is, Man needed voluntarily to embrace what I have termed Primary Thinking.

So, the intention was that Imagination would show us the way - but Imagination is not-necessarily-real. Imagination was meant to lead-onto Intuitive Primary Thinking. While Imagination is creative in the realm of public communications, Intuition is creative in terms of universal reality - Intuition is, in fact, human creativity in the context of on-going divine creation. Intuition is Man's participation in God's creativity.

Yet since 1740 this evolution, this developmental unfolding of consciousness, has stalled; and we now live in a world where Imagination is encapsulated, hermetically sealed-off from Real Life which is The System, The Bureaucracy, an invasive totalitarian web of surveillance and control... Intuition (or claims of Intuition) is regarded as merely wishful thinking, evidence of childishness, or an evil attempt to manipulate others for personal advantage...

This happened because, unlike previous unfoldings of human conscious development, this last one (into the divine type of consciousness - divine in quality albeit not - initially - in quantity or scope) must be consciously chosen.

(We must consciously and explicitly choose to become gods - we cannot be made gods unconsciously and without our consent and cooperation.)

We must become explicitly aware of the next-step, then need to choose it. And this entails becoming explicitly aware of God's Plan - of our divine destiny - and choosing to join this; to be, live and work in harmony with God's Plan.

So far - very few people seem to have done this - of those we know, perhaps Goethe, William Blake, ST Coleridge, Rudolf Steiner, Owen Barfield are among the well-known examples of people who have made this choice; who have made this choice and qualitative step...

But culturally - the divine destiny of consciousness has been roundly and comprehensively rejected by modern Western cultures; as foolish, childish, meaningless nonsense - itself evil or tending-to evil.

Modern Culture is therefore divided between two wrong answers: between those who reject the assumption of God, and those who reject the assumption of a developmental unfolding of human consciousness.

Yet my belief is that both need to be accepted - which entails recognising them explicitly, and choosing them freely. Only then can Man take-up and resume his development towards divine consciousness.

Friday, 16 March 2018

"A world freighted with meaning and value"

Over at Albion Awakening, John Fitzgerald discusses the special qualities of The Mark of the Horse Lord, by Rosemary Sutcliff...

Sutcliff's descriptions of people, places, and the natural world are atmospheric and richly-textured. Her characters are rounded and believable. The story seems to spring from them fully formed - like Athene from the head of Zeus - as if the tale already exists in some archetypal world of Platonic Forms and Sutcliff has merely picked up its wavelength and written it down in one sitting. Any author who creates this impression in the reader's mind is clearly, in my view, a great artist. The reality of even gaining access to that primordial realm, then crafting and shaping a story out of what one encounters there, is always (in my experience anyway) a colossally tough affair...

The Mark of the Horse Lord is full of big ideas as well - loyalty, honour, magic, faith, fraternity, trust, the bond between men and women, and the use and abuse of power. It's a tough, realistic read, despite the glittering prose, but the adult themes are explored in a manner that in no way undermines the innocence of Sutcliff's young readers. On the contrary, it's an education in what makes people tick - what they'll fight and die for, and how far an individual is prepared to go to become something greater than he currently is...

Though her books have been enjoyed for decades by both sexes, I would say there is something particularly valuable here for young men, particularly in an age like the present where so much confusion and disorientation reigns concerning traditional male values and the role of men in society. The Mark of the Horse Lord is the story of a warrior - a man who has to fight every inch of the way - in himself, in his own community, and in the wider world of tribal and imperial conflict. Phaedrus finds his journey from gladiator to king tough going to say the least, but he sticks to his guns, trusts his intuition, does what he feels in his gut to be right, and grows in the end into something almost Arthurian, far more royal and archetypal than the impersonator and figurehead he was originally supposed to be.

The best thing of all about this book is that it posits a world freighted with meaning and value. It stands, as such, as a terrific antidote to hopelessness and despair. The ending may not be conventionally happy, but I found it deeply fulfilling in all the ways that matter. There is a pattern and harmony behind the plot's cut and thrust which Phaedrus begins to sense as the novel approaches its conclusion. But it only reveals itself and he only enters into it when he is ready, and that is what occurs at the very end of the book.

Read the whole thing...

Thursday, 15 March 2018

The death of Stephen Hawking, nothing-butness and The Bureaucracy

From Albion Awakening...

With the death of Stephen Hawking, famous more for being crippled and anti-religion than for the scope of his scientific achievements, and the non-personing of Jim Watson in 2007; most people could not name a single living scientist - nor could a single living scientist's name be recognised by most people.

The reason is obvious enough - real science has disappeared from the official and professional institutions and been replaced by, absorbed by, The Bureaucracy. The biggest and most heavily-funded 'scientific' projects are actually engineering (the human genome project, hadron collider, renewed interest in space travel...) and/ or a pack of lies propagated for political reasons (anthropogenic global warming, the best-selling 'new' medical drugs...).

The 'scientists' are just careerist bureaucrats, doing what they are told by their 'line managers', who are themselves keyed-into the rest of The Bureaucracy - just like everyone else.

The sixties counter-culture has been completely absorbed by the mass media amplified by personal computers and ubiquitous 'smart'-phones - and political 'dissent' and 'radicalism' is mainstream, taught in schools and by state propaganda; subsidised and promoted by The Bureaucracy.

Now science is bureaucracy; consequently The Bureaucracy is science. We believe and obey because Truth is now consensus, and consensus is manufactured by managed-committees, by procedures and by votes - and the bureaucratic consensus is validated by internal bureaucratic mechanisms that allocate funding, publication, promotions, publicity, awards and prizes. 

...  Read the whole thing at Albion Awakening

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

What is it to reject the sexual revolution?

At the basic Christian level it is to regard sex as legitimate only within the context of marriage between a man and a women.

Other types of sex being sinful in the specific sense of requiring repentance.

But that is a negative, exclusionary definition; and I would (from my perspective) go beyond it to state the principles positively.

That is: the highest ideal of human life is marriage and family. The highest ideal of marriage is monogamous. And the Highest ideal of monogamy is an eternal commitment - going beyond death into resurrected life.

Note: "ideal". Since there is no such thing as equality or neutrality - all phenomena must be ranked according to the ideal - and the ideal references this ranking.

The basis of these ideals entails than men and women are qualitatively-different in some ultimate spiritual way and in some divinely-ordained fashion - and not merely as social roles, nor merely as biological contingency. 

Thus marriage is a higher ideal than celibacy, monogamy than polygamy - including serial polygamy (multiple marriages for any reason); marriage with children than without; permanent marriage intending an eternal relation than until death.

Now, this is an imperfect world inhabited by imperfect people - and we must, indeed, assume that this is by divine intent and design; since mortal life is for experiencing and learning. So ideals are very often impossible in practice - but that does not stop them being the ideal.

The difference is that when we fall short of ideals we need to repent - and by repent I mean acknowledge the reality of, and divine-intention behind, the ideal.

So I am not talking about what people achieve in life, in adhereing to thse ideals - I am talking about what they regard as ideal, and what they regard as requiring repentance. It is not in terms of behaviour that they are judged - but in terms of their ideals - their motivations. 

What is the point of all this? the point is that the sexual revolution is the prime litmus test of our time and place - and the alignment of the modern spiritual warfare is therefore most simply and validly defined in terms of attitude to The Sexual Revolution: that is, insofar as a person's attitude challenges the above ideals.

All those who favour the sexual revolution, in all or any of the ways in contradiction to the ideals - are On The Other Side, overall and in net-effect. Insofar as they try to justify or promote ideals in line with the sexual revolution - they are in a state of unrepented sin, hence deliberately choosing to reject salvation.

That means most-people - That means nearly-everybody.

But such is the nature of this era.

Most people have always been religious - for good reason (remarks by Carter Craft)

There have been some excellent comments at the Junior Ganymede blog by Carter Craft (who has also commented quite often here) .

CC makes some points that are obviously true when they've been stated, yet not obvious until after they have-been stated.

Here I lightly-edit two of his comments together:

Most people are not scientists and don’t do any science, only benefiting from science indirectly. Science is largely irrelevant to everyday life. 

Religion on the other hand deals with life directly, and provides answers to the problems people face every day. Yet most modern Western people are vigorously opposed not just to the answers religion provides but to acknowledging life’s questions at all. 

People actually live their lives primarily in a religious, non-physical world of moral decisions and human relationships, yet they refuse to accept this obvious fact and only consider religious ideas in the most provisional, uncommitted way possible. 

Philosophy is similar to religion in that philosophy engages with the questions of life directly; but philosophy is also too much like science - in that most people aren’t philosophers and don’t do philosophy. Philosophy is for specialists. 

Philosophy presents a trap; as those people who are philosophers and do produce satisfying answers to life’s problems try to shine a light for others so they can reach the same conclusions about life… but it never works. 

Partly this is because philosophy specializes; so it only provides very specific and very partial answers for certain areas of life (unlike religion, which is mostly comprehensive). But mainly it’s because ordinary people don’t do philosophy. 

There’s a reason most people on Earth for most of history have been religious.

NOTE: I was a late convert to Christianity, and before this I tried to live by science and philosophy; which is perhaps why this remark hit home.

The problems are that neither S nor P are adequate - because neither can justify itself - neither science nor philosophy can say why they-themselves are valid, nor why they should be made the centre of life. There is, therefore, a dishonesty woven-into the very idea of putting either of these first.

Also, I found that there are very, very few real scientists - or philosopher - nowadays; and indeed almost-all of the high status, powerful, well-known scientists and philosophers are actually corrupt careerists - in effect anti-scientists and anti-philosophers have taken-over and now 'run the show'. 

Religion can be, often is, dishonest insofar as it denies its own basis in direct intuition; but it is not a necessary nor instrinsic attribute of religion to deny its own roots. Christianity, in particular, has its strong tradition (the true tradition) in the act of conversion, a voluntary affiliation, being born-again - as origination from an opt-in.

The mainstream Christian denominations in The West have also been taken-over, subverted, and inverted by their leadership - however, the simple essence of Christianity (what it ought to be) is, consequently, perhaps clearer than ever before in the past 2000 years.

We all of us deal with the everyday problems of life - like it or no. And anyone who chooses may reject the culturally-mainstream 'provisional, uncommited' attitude to this.

All we need to do - but need means must, to get the ball-rolling'; is to take such matters seriously from a religious perspective. That's the decisive move, and the means of escape.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

My review of a Thomist account of Tolkien's metaphysics (book by Jonathan S McIntosh)...

...Can be found at the Notion Club Paper's blog.


In The Flame Imperishable, Jonathan McIntosh argues that JRR Tolkien's work was written from a background in Thomistic philosophy - which Tolkien absorbed during his childhood, especially; and furthermore that Tolkien's major work in the Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion was written such as to be compatible-with the basic principles of Thomism.

This, McIntosh proves!...