Thursday, 17 August 2017

How can loving God be *commanded* as more important than anything else?

Matthew: Chapter 22: 34-40. But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

There is no doubt that The Bible, including the Old Testament Ten Commandments and the Gospels, commands us to Love God as the first, greatest and most important thing we must do...

But how is this possible? How may love be commanded?

The apparent problem is that we assume Love is a feeling, and a feeling cannot be manufactured; but even if it could, what would be the good of manufacturing a feeling of Love for God?

My understanding is that the The First and Great Commandment is about metaphysics, not feelings; it is about our first principles as a Christian, our most basic assumptions concerning how things truly are, how reality works.

Therefore, we are being told that everything in the Christian life 'hangs' on our assumption that God loves us. That is why God made everything, why God made this earth, why God made men and women, why we are incarnated and placed in mortal lives, and why we experience all the things we experience including death. All this is because God loves us.

It implies also the the nature of God is such that he loves - however we envisage God, we must represent the deity in a way compatible with love being God's primary characteristic.

How we may do this is set-out: because the most frequent term for God in the Gospels is 'Father'; and we are described as Sons and Daughters of God.

In sum, the Christian must interpret life and the world in this way - as a product of God's love. And this is non-negotiable - it is not put forward as a proposition to be tested by experience or reason; it is a metaphysical assumption.

If we ever interpret anything as contradictory to the fact and assumption of God loving us; we are definitely making a mistake.

But how can each of us, personally, reach such an assumption? Well, how did we, as (let's assume) a child of a real life loving Father and Mother, reach a similar assumption about our parents? Not from evidence, clearly - not from some kind of balance-sheet.

Such convictions come from direct, intuitive knowing - beyond the senses, beyond logic, beyond measurement. And that this direct form of intuitive knowledge is valid, is therefore required by Christianity.

If you want to be a Christian, you must know that God loves us; and know it in the same kind of way that you know your Father and Mother love you. And live life on that basis. That is the first and great commandment.

And you must find this out by introspection, by intuition; you must just-know-it above and beyond and behind all other things you know; this solid assumption framing and interpreting all other things you know.

And that this direct knowing of God's love is possible and valid and achievable is also implied by the first and great commandment. 

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

What to do in the forthcoming eclipse?

Demons and their servants will - I guess - be very keen that people experience the eclipse only at second hand - via the mass media; and that the experience will be undermined by social media and technology (if someone is trying to get a good photograph of the eclipse, they will not be having a spiritual experience).

So, maybe what we ought to do is to experience the solar eclipse (whether the totality or more likely some degree of partial eclipse) in as simple, direct, quiet, thoughtful and solitary fashion as may be contrived...

More background can be found at Albion Awakening.

Fake news is good news: We should want a worse (not better) mass media: Spiritual repentance and awakening cannot come via the mass media - only in reaction against it

The mass media is a distraction from what Western Man ought to be thinking, experiencing, understanding, aiming-at.

Spiritual repentance and awakening must be an individual choice; a choice of each individual - and would constitute an extreme turn-around from current attitudes and assumptions. Because it amounts to a metaphysical revolution, this would either happen rapidly or not at all.

Awakening would require a disengagement from the mass media, based upon a recognition of its net-evil; and a turning-to the true-self and God-within.

The individual must attend to the most direct experience. Awakening therefore cannot come from anything which is second-hand, and reported in the virtual/ fake world of the mass media.

The mass media is (and must be recognised as) a demonic tool (overall); and the strategy of evil is therefore to keep everybody possible fixated-upon the media for as much time as possible - naturally there will then take their overall world picture from it.

Enlightenment cannot come even from the tiny minority of good bits of the mass media - except insofar as they trigger a withdrawal from the mass media in its totality. 

Therefore, the worse the mass media becomes - the more extreme its fakery and oppression and censorship of truth, beauty and virtue; the more insistent and sickening its promotion of lies, ugliness, short-term selfishness and pride; the more its manufactured dishonesty clashes with directly-known reality etc. - the better is the prospect of stimulating revulsion and Awakening.

We shouldn't want a better mass media, but a more-obviously-worse one.

The media's only catastrophic error would be over-reach and premature extremism - such that too-many people too-quickly recognised it for what it is; and withdrew. 

Of course, we are free agents - and many or most people might still decide to stick with media reality instead of what they know, no matter how bad the mass media becomes - and predictable consequences will follow; but the more clearly people recognise that that is the decision they are making - the more likely that they will repent and awaken.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Wonderful new Facebook resource on William Arkle

Provided by his son Nick Arkle - this resource has some amazing new pictures and photographs

Some more pictures are at my William Arkle blog.

"We are not alone" - Indeed; but how may we detect the fact? Advice from William Wildblood

We are not alone.

The spiritual world is always with us and seeks to inspire us, but we must cleanse our hearts and minds to be able to detect this.

We must stand aside from 'this world' but not disdain it or our fellow men and women even when they are in thrall to the enemy (let's call a spade a spade). They are God's children just as we are. He wants to bring them to him however far they wander but, ultimately, it is their choice. God forces no one.

So listen for the voice within. Blot out the noise of this world, however persuasive and confident it sounds. Know that the darkness of this time was prophesied and so was the light that eventually follows after. Keep faithful, watch and pray and don't worry if you appear to be alone.

By and large the computer revolution is a weapon in the hands of the forces of materialism and atheism but you can take advantage of it too, as this blog does, if you recognise and stay alert to its predominantly negative aspect. Through this means you can connect to people around the world who think as you do and so know that there are others like you.

You may be heavily outnumbered but you are not alone. Through enduring this time of trial you have the opportunity of making greater progress than you might have done living in a more spiritually congenial time.

More of William Wildblood's essay, and a discussion in the comments, can be found at Albion Awakening.

Look to motives, not to words: Ignore the 'facts', attack the motives

The mainstream secular Left lies, all the time - in every paragraph; and that is an evil: both in itself, and because its creates a world where public truth is impossible.

But one thing they do which is right is to look behind the words and to the motivations of their enemies  - and this is why their lies are effective.

They ignore what we actually say (the facts) and attack our motives. And that is exactly the correct thing to do.

(Correct assuming we are honest, which they are not.)

There is no point in arguing with the words of the secular Left - because they are liars. Their supreme idea of truth is the legal one of deniable-misleading.

It does not matter what people say, it does not matter what the official and media sources 'report', their statistics do not matter: the 'evidence' does not matter. It is all poisoned from its very root.

We need to focus on motivations. We must focus on motivations. We ask: 'What are the motivations driving what these people are saying and doing?' (Because everything they say and do is a product of these motivations.)

That is where the primary inference is made, which guides all other evaluations: what are the motivations of the mainstream secular leadership of this, our society?

This is what we must each of us decide, what we must infer (because nobody 'authoritative' can tell us - at least not until after we have evaluated/ inferred who is authoritative).

You don't need to - indeed should not - look at The News; unless you believe that the people who produce it are well-motivated. There are a limitless number of ways to lie and mislead - and if that is their motivation, that is what they will be doing.

When it comes to important matters (and indeed most matters) - Don't take any notice of the media, or of bureaucrats, or of the leadership class: Christians know (or ought to know) they are corrupt, liars who have actively-evil motivations or who serve the agenda of active evil - inverting of Goods: destructive of truth, beauty, virtue.

Focus on motivations; not 'facts'/ lies. Attack the motivations, not the specifics.

(And when people cannot or will not recognise evil motivations; there is nothing that can be done to convince them, no evidence, no logic - that is their decision, and they will take the spiritual consequences. Pass on.)

Monday, 14 August 2017

The surest kind of knowledge

The surest kind of knowledge is inner, direct, unmediated - intuitive.

Not a 'communication' - not perceived in words, writing or images (all of which need to be interpreted; there is always a gap between seeing and believing).

But instead occurring in thinking, as knowing. Simple, known-fully and with no gap.

Requiring no 'evidence' because all evidence is uncertain, all inference is prone to error, all reasoning depends on the assuming of mapping reasoning onto reality...

But this is typically ignored, or explained away, nowadays - because modern metaphysics says intuition has zero reality and objectivity.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

A modern fairy-tale of winning the spiritual war - adapted from CS Lewis's That Hideous Strength

I am currently halfway through listening to the excellent audiobook version of CS Lewis's That Hideous Strength ('THS'), read by Stephen Pacey (who played Del Tarrant in the excellent 1970s BBC Sci-Fi series Blake's 7).

From a perspective and through a lens derived from CS Lewis's best friend Owen Barfield; I can imagine a revised version of THS, in line with my understanding of our situation some seventy years on from the publication of THS in 1945...

One major difference would be that Lewis has his heroes (the St Anne's fellowship) essentially passive in their obedience to orders coming from the 'angelic' helpers. Nowadays, we would not receive these orders. We would have-to work things out for ourselves, as best we could. Or, more exactly, we would need to develop the spiritual perspective and abilities which would enable this working-out. We would need to develop what Barfield termed Final Participation.

Final Participation is something which can only come from the choice and will or each of us, as individuals. It cannot be conferred upon us - indeed the essence of it is that we are free and agent. Final Participation is precisely a personal, experiential effort-full thing. We need to look-within to seek god-in-us, to find our divine self - and to become aware of this.

Here and now - we aren't going to be able to wait or hope for leadership; probably we will be literally on-our-own: alone... at least in many practical respects. This because our current situation is not a recapitulation of monasticism or the like; the destruction, subversion and inversion of groups is at the heart of the evil of our modern condition.

A modern THS would perhaps be about the good characters, the heroes of St Anne's, individually and dispersed. About moral choices made alone and in the context of an overwhelmingly large and powerful Establishment of Evil that is not recent (like The NICE in THS), but has been in place and in control for at least two generations.

The angels ('eldils') would not be perceptible in the necessary state of consciousness of Final Participation; they would not visit, we could not see them - and neither would we hear them speak in words; not even words formed in our minds. Instead, angels would communicate directly by joining their thinking with ours.

However, we - in our thinking - would always be free and agent - in control. Hence we could block contact with the angels, if we chose. And we could not (merely) open our minds to them. Rather, we would actively be thinking is such a way that we could share in their thoughts, and they in ours.

How could help come? In defeating a vast and powerful evil Establishment, clearly help is essential. THS had the Original Participation magic of Merlin, and direct and miraculous aid from the eldils/ angels. What might we have, now?

Well, it would be imperceptible to direct observation. It would be behind the scenes - by synchronicity. Natural phenomena (rain, wind, sun, tides, earth movements...) would - 'coincidentlally' - favour Good and be hostile to evil.

Enemies would be repenting (as the situation clarifies) and changing sides, ceasing to do their evil duties, turning to sabotage the evil plans.

There would be events of exceeding improbability - actually miracles, but always explicable in terms of chance. Perfect-Storms of 'luck' - both good and ill 'luck' - good fortune for the Good and adverse chance for the evil. Cumulatively piling-on, and on.

(These being proximal consequences of distal and subtle angelic interventions; behind-the-scenes changes of arrangements; altering small upstream occurrences to generate large downstream effects...)

How about our own personal strength, motivation, will - and love? How could these be sustained when we are on-our-own? I assume there will be positive-feedback reinforcements of such things. As the situation develops, evil becomes clearer, becomes un-masked. Because evil is a trial of our strength and a mode of spiritual development; it may be like exercising in a gym - immediate effort being rewarded, some time after, by greater strength.

The key and core is motivation; the guiding principle is honesty; and the goal is love (towards which we are pointed by the discernment of the heart; which knows truth, beauty and virtue - and their opposites).

We must be self-sufficient in terms of motivations; but this is only possible through the gift of repentance from Christ. Trial and error will get us where we need to be; but only when error is acknowledged and repented.

The war is between those who acknowledge and experience the spiritual world, the immaterial world, the world of God; and those who don't. Between those who know we are all children of God and destined to become free; and those who believe themselves and everyone else to be evolved automata subject to rigid determinism alleviated only by randomness. Between those who take ultimate responsibility and look to god-within; and those who hope for external intervention for rescue.

The happy ending of a new THS would be very happy indeed! A world of free, agent, people affiliated in loving families and with close friends; a world therefore open-ended, of creativity. Not a utopia; but an active, developing, expanding, deeply-rewarding world of perpetual interest, challenges, increasing awareness and understanding - making, doing and thinking.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Who - exactly - are the (evil-motivated) Global Conspiracy/ Establishment/ Hidden Hand?

Why is it so hard (given the colossal amount of supporting evidence) for the Western population to believe that there is a group of very powerful people in the world who are not just trying to enrich themselves, not just incompetent fools - but who are strategically evil - that is, actively and explicitly pursuing an agenda designed to harm?

There are at least several reasons - and they are related to mass secularism, atheism, the rejection of Christianity - and the consequent incoherence, alienation, nihilism and despair.

1. Spiritual not material

The first is that the evil they do is primarily spiritual, not material.

Most conspiracy theorists assert that the Global Elite are trying to cause death, disease, poverty and misery - but they are not going to convince many people in a world where the opposite trends have been in place for decades: massive world population growth continuing, extending average lifespans, excess production of food and other essentials - as well as trivialities and luxuries, Western medicine everywhere, including the poorest places - the populations of which therefore continue to grow rapidly...

Either such an elite is not very powerful, grossly incompetent, or counter productive!

2. Minds not bodies

Only from a Christian perspective can we perceive that the trend is not material but spiritual; and towards a state of value inversion rather than physical suffering.

For instance; we can all recognise that we are living in a society of near-total surveillance (for most of the population - e.g. nearly every social media user with a smart phone) - but hardly anybody understands why.

The reason is quite simple: surveillance leads onto control - but it is minds that are to be controlled, primarily (not bodies). The System intends to convert humans minds into conduits for externally-derived information and stimulation; and has apparently persuaded the mass  public that this is precisely what it most wants to happen.

When there is sufficiently high volume and rapid throughput of attention-grabbing stimuli - then humans will be unable to think for-themselves and will be completely at the mercy of those who control the throughput.

3. Damnation not death

The evil Establishment are, at some level and in some ways, demonically controlled - which means that their objective is spiritual warfare, not physical warfare; and their ultimate aim is damnation of souls, not the suffering or death of bodies.

So the Hidden Hand is quite happy to promote pleasure and prosperity, extend lifespan, pursue World Peace or anything else that may help in achieving their real goal of damning souls.

4. Damnation is difficult

It is, however, difficult to attain the damnation of souls - because the world was created and is sustained by a loving God, whose children we are. Since the time of Jesus Christ; there are many ways that we can escape damnation and accept eternal life and spiritual growth to becomes full sons and daughters of God.

The basic fact is that all damnation is self-damnation; so the problem for demonic powers is to induce people to reject salvation and thereby damn themselves.

The most potent cure for this world (in some way established, made effectual, by the life/ death/ resurrection of Jesus) is repentance - which is an acknowledgement of the rightness and desirability of God's plan for men and women.

5. Repentance

The big problem of the Enemy is that at any time, in any place, anybody may repent and accept the gift of Jesus - and escape the fate of damnation which is prepared for them. How, then, to stop Men repenting?

This is where totalitarian surveillance and control comes in. Once thought has been taken-over; then its content can be subverted then inverted. Good and bad are reverse; truth and lies, beauty and ugliness, virtue and sin... all can be upended and Men made actively to desire damnation on the basis that they judge it to be superior to salvation.

When effective, this pre-treatment will ensure that someone given a clear choice, knowing all the outcomes, will choose damnation in preference to salvation; will indeed regard salvation as evil.

So, who exactly are the Global Conspiracy? The answer is that it doesn't matter - what does matter is that you yourself are standing upon firm ground from which you can validly evaluate. You yourself must have a solid and coherent basis for judgment - and then whatever tricks are applied, from whatever quarter, you will be superior to them and able to rise above them.

Things are certainly bad, in a spiritual sense, in the world now - perhaps worse than ever before. But they are not too bad for us to cope. And if we do root ourselves in the stability of truth, beauty and virtue; and if we can find these within ourselves so that we are autonomous from corruptible institutions - then the multiplicity of threats and challenges will become transformed into a source of greater strength and clearer understanding.

By resisting that which seeks to overcome us, we grow; by overcoming resistance, we grow. With repentance, we cannot lose (so long as we want to win).

Thinking as the primary thing: as an end in itself (meditations in a migraine)

Yesterday - as not infrequently happens - I had a sustained and severe migraine which was not fully controllable: consequently I had a lot of time to think, but much of the time found it very difficult to think.

But at certain phases and balances of the pain and its treatment, again not unusually, I was able to think with exceptional lucidity; perhaps because (most activities being necessarily suppressed) the process of thinking then feels to be detached from other mental events; and can be isolated, studied, and simultaneously experienced...

Anyway, I then experienced (and made notes on) what I had previously often argued-for - that thinking is the primary thing and should be regarded as (pretty much) an end in itself.

Whereas typically we regard thinking as merely a means to some other end - as a thing justified by results. We try to use thinking to achieve some goal or another; we don't in general try to live-in our thinking, nor to enhance our thinking - to purify or strengthen the process... That is seldom or never the case.

In some ways it is hard to believe that a single person, thinking, is of prime importance in the vast scheme of things; in other ways - when it is actually happening - nothing seems more likely. It seems obvious and natural than that this thinking, going on here-and-now, is indeed the most important of things - is of universal and permanent significance. 

When it is clear and strong, when I am alert and aware, the activity of thinking really does feel just like what I have worked-it-out it to be: the main thing.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Where Romanticism went wrong: the example of Thoreau, Walden and his journals

Thoreau was probably the first writer of the Romantic movement (called Transcendentalism in New England) that I deeply engaged-with, some four decades ago; and he has continued to be a favourite - I have read several scores of books by and about him. I regard Thoreau as one of the greatest prose writers ever, a genius of high rank, and one with whom I feel a special affinity.


But if considered in terms of the evolutionary development of human consciousness, Thoreau was a dead-end; and indeed a clear exemplar of where Romanticism went wrong and failed to fulfil its destiny as intended the future of Man.

In the first place, Thoreau abandoned Christianity - replacing it with a very relativistic, fluid, not really serious, imprecise kind of deism and interest in Hinduism. This was a disaster, intellectually speaking; because it is never clear in Thoreau whether he regards nature as truly meaningful, or merely a 'projection' of his own psychological wishes. Indeed, there are passages of Thoreau in which he seems to regard the world almost solipsistically - as if the essence of his relationship with the world was only the maximisation of his own psychological gratifications. In the Economy chapter of Walden he explicitly depicts Life as a zero-sum transaction between his own selfishness and the world's demands on him; and expresses a determination that he will get the best of this bargain.

By abandoning any serious theism; Thoreau rendered his entire thought arbitrary - and opening his interpretations to the gravitational pull of the modern hedonic bottom-line of Life-as-therapy. It is in this sense that Thoreau can justly be called escapist; in that he advocates (and to some extent practised - although not consistently) the idea of avoiding responsibility, living for the moment (ie short-term gratification), living for oneself (pleasing oneself, self-training an indifference to the evaluations of anybody else).

But, putting that aside - let us concentrate on Thoreau's consciousness. In the autobiographical Walden, Thoreau's own consciousness is depicted in a very appealing fashion. The Thoreau character in the book lives in nature in a fashion and with a thoroughness that is most appealing to alienated modern Man: he notices everything in nature and is sensitive to the slightest changes, he responds powerfully, and is deeply-satisfied by his responses... His whole life is depicted as simply moving from one intense, epiphanic experience to another - all the while in an elevated, ecstatic stream of consciousness...

Of course this is writing. And Walden was written and re-written many times over many years - it is a carefully, brilliantly, crafted artifact - it is not an account of Thoreau's actual life or his mind. If we compare the book Walden with Thoreau's journals, we can see that his working life at about this time consisted of walking and writing; he would take walks, during walks he would make notes, and then he would write-up these walks for his journal; the journals were then the source of his books (some of them only published posthumously). The walks, the life, the experiences were (in a sense) fuel for the writing.

However, the point is that Thoreau's consciousness was a modern self-consciousness; he was not immersed-in nature in the way that American Indians were (or seemed to be). Thoreau had a great love for, and knowledge of, the American Indians - but the consciousness he saw in them was not his own consciousness. They were in nature in a largely unselfconscious and passively-accepting way that was utterly alien to Thoreau. By contrast, when Thoreau experienced nature it was purposively, to be remembered, reflected-on and written-about.

My point here is that this actuality is concealed in Walden and the other books. The Thoreau character is depicted rather as if he were himself an Indian.

In essence, Thoreau's consciousness - his experience of Life, including Nature - took place with full self-consciousness and in thinking. (And of course writing - but primarily in thinking.) Yet he did not depict himself as a man who experienced Life in the way he actually did; and furthermore, he seemed to regard the actuality as an intrinsically second-rate and still-alienated way of being.

My contention is that for Thoreau to have taken to completion the impulse of Romanticism, he would have needed to depict himself as he was: that is, a man who lived primarily in thinking. It was in thinking, self-consciously, in full alertness, that Thoreau was aware of Nature and of himself in nature - and the two were brought together deliberately, purposively, in the process of actual thinking.

Yet the yearning, the aspiration, the hope of Thoreau is seemingly for a life immersed and unselfconscious; a life like an idealised Indian who simply is, within nature, a part of nature.

What would have been needed for Thoreau to fulfil the destiny of Romanticism, would have been for him to develop a Christian understanding of the world as creation, as having meaning and purpose and himself as a part of this - but with his own unique role; an agent and an active co-creator, not merely a passive component.

And Thoreau would need to have recognised that his own self-conscious thinking was not only the place and activity within which he actually lived; but that this was a good thing, indeed the best thing! Instead of implicitly denying (by leaving-out) the aware observer, his world view should have recognised that this was exactly his destiny.

It would have been a matter of validating in theory what he actually did in practice.

And instead of trying to lose-himself in the epiphanic moment, and claiming that the moment included all; Thoreau should have aimed at strengthening his active, aware thinking so that it could match and surpass the power of the unselfconscious, passive, immersed experience.

This would, of course, have entailed a recognition that thinking is not merely a second-rate version of experience; not merely a pale reflection of the engaged life; but that thinking is Real Life; that thinking is real, really-real - that, in thinking, Man is potentially tasting the divine life and and becoming an actual co-creator. 

In saying that about what Thoreau should have done, I am asserting also that Thoreau really could have done this. Had he made different choices, he really could have taken this other path I outline above.

Why did he not? Well, in a nutshell, because he made bad decisions, wrong decisions - he equated Christianity (and theism) with Calvinism and churches and rejected both; he accepted that thinking was merely theory and experience was superior; he focused more upon crafting a work of genius (Walden) and seeking recognition for this, than on living life as a genius; he came to regard politics, and telling other people what was right and what to do, as being more urgently important than Man living a truly spiritual life - or, at least, he dishonestly tried to conflate the two.

The work that Thoreau chose not to do has still not been done; although we who live now have the good fortune that Owen Barfield has been able to explain all this; building on the insights of the early Rudolf Steiner.

But the primary task remains; and the solution has been indicated in theory and our task is to realise it in practice; in our own lives. The task is to live spiritually, as the Thoreau character mostly does as depicted in Walden. But to realise that to attain this entails a new and better kind of thinking, which is more like that practiced by Thoreau in the process of writing Walden.

This entails achieving a metaphysical understanding of thinking which recognises its validity and potential; and then practising this in our own living, as best we can - and (while patiently) this as our first, most urgent and significant priority.

Taliesin - Bard of Britain. Written by John Fitzgerald and illustrated by Rob Floyd

Three drops of inspiration, by Rob Floyd 

There is a treat for those who love Welsh and Arthurian legend over at Albion Awakening - written by John Fitzgerald and illustrated by his friend and collaborator Rob Floyd:

The story of Britain unfolded before my inner eye, unfurling like a tapestry or scroll. It was a magnificent tale, tainted here and there by materialism and greed, but powered in the main by courage and creative flair. I saw as far as the Dark Time and the light that shines beyond it - the spiritual blindness that beset the land, the implosion of the House of Windsor, then the War of Contending Flags - black and multi-coloured - that laid the Island of the Mighty waste. And then that winter dawn when a King of ancient line returned from the East, stepping down from his ship at Thanet as the Romans did of old. A universal shout of joy rang out across the realm and that night Arthur's Beacons were relit, from St. Michael's Mount to Flamborough Head. Next day the rumours began - from Devon and Cornwall - that Jesus Himself was back, walking along the rocky shore, telling stories, healing the sick, and giving bread and wine to rich and poor and good and bad alike. 

The whole thing is at Albion Awakening

Notice of the new movie Dunkirk

This can be brief: Dunkirk is one of the best movies I have seen.

I was rather dragged-along to the cinema by my wife, who is currently reading the history of World War II; but from a couple of minutes into the movie I was gripped, held, and never let go until the end. It is extremely exciting, deeply moving, indeed inspiring.

(And - related - there is no trace whatsover of political correctness - what a blessed relief that was!)

The movie seems very original in many ways: it is done as a classical epic, when we are thrown into the middle of action without set-up or explanation. It has little (but telling) dialogue. There is no padding - every scene tells. It relies on excellent acting rather than stars.

That said, it was almost unbearably affecting at times - both positively as well as negatively. Indeed, the moment when I came nearest to losing control, and had to gulp-back an actual sob - not entirely effectively, was actually the happiest scene. But it would be hard to watch the movie again, knowing the effect it will have.

Anyway, I hope have said enough that you can make up your own mind about whether this is the kind of thing you want to experience.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

We need to cure our impatient addiction to understanding, predicting and shaping the world (it just leads to fakery, anyway)

Modern people have an impatient addictive compulsion towards understanding, predicting and intervening in the world to change it in more gratifying directions - and being both modern and secular; they combine this impatient addiction with short-termist selfishness.

The combination of demanding Capability-Now results in error and dishonesty on a scale never before seen - with the global We Can Control The Future Climate Of The Earth (if only you will give us enough power) Scam utterly-dwarfing any self-deceptive idiocy of earlier times.

Attempts to introduce some degree of critical thinking or prudence into public policy have been completely without effect; so I think we can only begin to break-out of the destructive cycle of dishonest motivations, fake knowledge and fake technology by first stepping back from the pernicious urge to shape everything in-line with whatever today's urgent imperative happens to be being-peddled by the mass media.

But this, of course, will not work nor even be attempted unless embedded in a large scale religious perspective that informs the human condition and our personal destiny; but if we do have such a perspective then we can and should take several large steps back from the interventional mania - which is wholly manipulated by what David Icke has neatly termed the Problem-Reaction-Solution news cycle.

That is, the Western rulers create a problem, which evokes a reaction - and then they offer a (pre-planned) 'solution' that is calculated to maintain and amplify the original problem (this being conducted via the mainstream mass media).

Think of mainstream discourse on immigration, terrorism, education, poverty, foreign policy... No 'solution' ever 'solves' the problem; instead all 'solutions' feed the problem.

So long as we respond to every manipulated 'outrage' with a reflex and urgent demand for solutions, this will just continue happening and happening; and the underlying structural reality will just keep getting worse and worse.

We need to start relating to the world in a baseline fashion more like that of young children or hunter gatherers - that is, we need to acknowledge the realities of the world rather than trying to manipulate the world.

Insofar as modern Western Man really has learnt to manipulate the world in some ways; this has been a product of the sustained and honest effort of a relatively small number of well-motivated individuals - if the effort is badly-motivated, too short or poisoned by hype, spin, and lies - then the results are guaranteed to be bad, one way or the other.

Absent Truth, Beauty and Virtue we will not, in fact, be manipulating the world, but instead facilitating the manipulation-of ourselves.

William James (in 1909) on the fundamental problems of mainstream classical Christian theology

In this passage, from A Pluralistic Universe, of 1909, a set of lectures by the most eminent of US philosophers William James, expresses very exactly my own view of what is fundamentally wrong with the normal mainstream Christian philosophy. It is telling that these remarks come from a century ago; and of course such matters have become much clearer and more extreme since then.

On the surface level, it is for such reasons that Western culture will not, indeed cannot, go back to traditional forms of Christianity; but the deeper reason is that Man's consciousness has changed, has developed according to divine destiny; and Christians need to - and eventually they will - attain a basic (metaphysical) understanding which reflects this changed consciousness.


The generic term spiritualism, which I began by using merely as the opposite of materialism, thus subdivides into two species, the more intimate one of which is monistic and the less intimate dualistic. The dualistic species is the theism that reached its elaboration in the scholastic philosophy, while the monistic species is the pantheism spoken of sometimes simply as idealism, and sometimes as 'post-kantian' or 'absolute' idealism. Dualistic theism is professed as firmly as ever at all catholic seats of learning, whereas it has of late years tended to disappear at our british and american universities, and to be replaced by a monistic pantheism more or less open or disguised. I have an impression that ever since T.H. Green's time absolute idealism has been decidedly in the ascendent at Oxford. It is in the ascendent at my own university of Harvard.

Absolute idealism attains, I said, to the more intimate point of view; but the statement needs some explanation. So far as theism represents the world as God's world, and God as what Matthew Arnold called a magnified non-natural man, it would seem as if the inner quality of the world remained human, and as if our relations with it might be intimate enough—for what is best in ourselves appears then also outside of ourselves, and we and the universe are of the same spiritual species. So far, so good, then; and one might consequently ask, What more of intimacy do you require? To which the answer is that to be like a thing is not as intimate a relation as to be substantially fused into it, to form one continuous soul and body with it; and that pantheistic idealism, making us entitatively one with God, attains this higher reach of intimacy.

The theistic conception, picturing God and his creation as entities distinct from each other, still leaves the human subject outside of the deepest reality in the universe. God is from eternity complete, it says, and sufficient unto himself; he throws off the world by a free act and as an extraneous substance, and he throws off man as a third substance, extraneous to both the world and himself. Between them, God says 'one,' the world says 'two,' and man says 'three,'—that is the orthodox theistic view. And orthodox theism has been so jealous of God's glory that it has taken pains to exaggerate everything in the notion of him that could make for isolation and separateness. Page upon page in scholastic books go to prove that God is in no sense implicated by his creative act, or involved in his creation. That his relation to the creatures he has made should make any difference to him, carry any consequence, or qualify his being, is repudiated as a pantheistic slur upon his self-sufficingness. I said a moment ago that theism treats us and God as of the same species, but from the orthodox point of view that was a slip of language. God and his creatures are toto genere distinct in the scholastic theology, they have absolutely nothing in common; nay, it degrades God to attribute to him any generic nature whatever; he can be classed with nothing. There is a sense, then, in which philosophic theism makes us outsiders and keeps us foreigners in relation to God, in which, at any rate, his connexion with us appears as unilateral and not reciprocal. His action can affect us, but he can never be affected by our reaction. Our relation, in short, is not a strictly social relation. Of course in common men's religion the relation is believed to be social, but that is only one of the many differences between religion and theology.

This essential dualism of the theistic view has all sorts of collateral consequences. Man being an outsider and a mere subject to God, not his intimate partner, a character of externality invades the field. God is not heart of our heart and reason of our reason, but our magistrate, rather; and mechanically to obey his commands, however strange they may be, remains our only moral duty. Conceptions of criminal law have in fact played a great part in defining our relations with him. Our relations with speculative truth show the same externality. One of our duties is to know truth, and rationalist thinkers have always assumed it to be our sovereign duty. But in scholastic theism we find truth already instituted and established without our help, complete apart from our knowing; and the most we can do is to acknowledge it passively and adhere to it, altho such adhesion as ours can make no jot of difference to what is adhered to. The situation here again is radically dualistic. It is not as if the world came to know itself, or God came to know himself, partly through us, as pantheistic idealists have maintained, but truth exists per se and absolutely, by God's grace and decree, no matter who of us knows it or is ignorant, and it would continue to exist unaltered, even though we finite knowers were all annihilated.

It has to be confessed that this dualism and lack of intimacy has always operated as a drag and handicap on Christian thought. Orthodox theology has had to wage a steady fight within the schools against the various forms of pantheistic heresy which the mystical experiences of religious persons, on the one hand, and the formal or aesthetic superiorities of monism to dualism, on the other, kept producing. God as intimate soul and reason of the universe has always seemed to some people a more worthy conception than God as external creator. So conceived, he appeared to unify the world more perfectly, he made it less finite and mechanical, and in comparison with such a God an external creator seemed more like the product of a childish fancy. I have been told by Hindoos that the great obstacle to the spread of Christianity in their country is the puerility of our dogma of creation. It has not sweep and infinity enough to meet the requirements of even the illiterate natives of India.

Assuredly most members of this audience are ready to side with Hinduism in this matter. Those of us who are sexagenarians have witnessed in our own persons one of those gradual mutations of intellectual climate, due to innumerable influences, that make the thought of a past generation seem as foreign to its successor as if it were the expression of a different race of men. The theological machinery that spoke so livingly to our ancestors, with its finite age of the world, its creation out of nothing, its juridical morality and eschatology, its relish for rewards and punishments, its treatment of God as an external contriver, an 'intelligent and moral governor,' sounds as odd to most of us as if it were some outlandish savage religion.

From A Pluralistic Universe by William James, 1909 Available at Project Gutenberg.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

What is Romanticism? How should the relations of men and women be understood? The key to our destiny

Romanticism is the future, even after more than 200 years of its incompleteness, its failure; because Romanticism is the only movement of honest men's minds that is a third path: not the past of institutionally-based religious traditionalism; not the present of secular Leftist materialist individuality; but a future of individually-based religiousness.

Romanticism is based on the texture of life itself, and the discernment of the heart. It is the antithesis of the bureaucratic, office life and of the shallow, atomised, emotional manipulations of modern mass media and leisure; it also rejects the ideals of obedience, submission and group-conformity that traditionalism put at the centre of its moral systems.

Romanticism takes its measure from the texture of life and finds what it seeks in the best moments of actual life, and in a more sustained fashion in the romantic arts.

For example in what-it-is that makes the world of Lord of the Rings so deeply appealing to some modern minds, or (to go back to its beginning) the worlds of Blake, Wordsworth, Goethe, Novalis... It is that quality of enchantment, of being-enchanted - but being-enchanted not deceptively, not as a false day-dream; but the kind of enchantment that is a disenchantment, a clarification and revealing of beauty, truth and reality.

(A matter almost of dramatising life, and knowing it is dramatised, and living-in this drama.)

Romanticism is what makes us look around with such profound dissatisfaction at culture; at mass culture, official culture, high culture, at the culture of existing churches and their services; at the people who speak out in the public realms and what they say and - even more - how they say it. They are all talking heads or dancing puppets, they are all disengaged and lost, they are never serious about the realities of mortal life!

What we need, and need is the word for it; is the element represented by elves in Lord of the Rings - indeed we need that and more. But we do need a sense of life as continuing creation, meaning and purpose and of us each as engaged in this living, conscious activity. We need to be within this aliveness and consciousness - and at the same time to know that we are within it - so we may rest and work in this state without evasion or blindness: the maximum of consciousness.

Enchantment, magic - these are terms we use. Children - young children - experience life this way; but they are inside the stream of life, and hardly conscious of themselves; whereas we are all overwhelming conscious of our-selves except when we (our selves) deliberately self-obliterate with the mass media, with drugs, with numbing frenzy or despair.

Only God can produce and sustain the enchantment we seek - there is no secular magic: it cannot even be simulated.

...Think of the most wonderful of godless utopias: William Morris's News From Nowhere (1890) - a great creative genius pulls-out the stops to depict the best world he can imagine, and it is utterly dead! So much more the ideal societies of now - those vile politically-correct utopias of micro-managed abstract symbolism, made by what people 'ought' to enjoy but actually can't; and yet enjoyment is their only bottom-line. Utopias of guilt and despair made worse by faked morality and manufactured appreciation - like the depicted worlds of propaganda and public relations emanating from committees of the managerial drones and psychopaths who run modern institutions, here and now...

Enchantment comes only from a group that is made of individuals affectively-affiliated - that is from families and marriages, and from real friendships (which are precious but exceedingly rare, especially nowadays; modern friendships are nearly-all mutual emotional exploitation and tactical alliances). All this needs a totally different conception than exists of what life is about, and how life needs to be arranged: around-what life needs to be arranged.

At present we can barely even speak about this - especially not in the public arena. And of course nobody can be persuaded - the need to be persuaded and resistance to persuasion are the depth of the problem and why it has resisted solution for 200-plus years...

No that is wrong, it is not 'the problem' but we ourselves who have been and are resisting solution for 200-plus years; trapped by our fear of awareness, our desire for pleasure, our lust for power; trapped by the forces of darkness which offer short term gratifications of many kinds, and promise protection from horror and despair, and the misery of those we most resent. We are being willingly led by the nose into our doom - and that is why we are damned: I mean the willingness, expressed by the stubborn, deep-rooted resistance to embarking on the proper life we used-to know we ought-to be doing.

If we are experts in anything, it is in self-blinding; failing to see the obvious - stridently-denying the almost-overwhelming in our-selves; which is the radical, profound, incurable unsatisfactoriness of present and past living - and the different and only-yet-imagined nature of that which we are destined to strive-for.

As a concrete example - that vital subject of the relations between men and women. 

How can anybody (I mean from our hearts, here and now) be happy with how this matter has been approached; how it has been enforced at any point in history up to the present, and with the public ideas proposed for the future?

The current state of sexual politics is evil; but the past state was also wrong, distorted, crudely-simplistic... And the problem was the nature of past past societies in which the individual was forced to conform to group ideals - it was the group which was dominant; and since each human is unique, every possible, every imaginable group ideal represents a harsh distortion and a mental tyranny.

The only future our hearts endorse is one in which men and women are complementary individuals; that is both known to be different and complementary (the two complements making one) and individuals (each different from every other in the past, present and the future).

(If our deepest understanding of the relationship between a man and a woman can be captured in a rule, law, bureacratic regulation; then we know for sure it is wrong. I mean we - each of us - know for sure. In our hearts we know it. And don't tell me that we 'have to' have this, that or some-other principle - I am not interested in expediency, indeed expediency is precisely what is paralysing our thought. We must first think - indeed imagine, fully - with absolute clarity, about what should-be; expediency is entirely a different matter.)

This is a situation that cannot be captured, and ought not be controlled, by any form of groupish social organisation, any law or generalisation. It requires an entirely different basic understanding, a different logic.

And that goes back to the beginnings of Romanticism. The necessary logic was defined, albeit abstractly and in a way that is very difficult to understand, by Coleridge; in the concept of polarity or polar logic. But the answer was given, and we can make it clearer and simpler now that the pioneering and heavy-lifting has been done by a genius.

Let that be a guide... Until we have each reached a position from-which we can explain how the relations of men and women can be conceptualised such as to satisfy the deepest desires of our hearts - until such a time, we shall remain lost and despairing, and doomed to self-damnation.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Spiritual Destruction or Awakening - The Choice is Ours

William Wildblood is on fine form at Albion Awakening - here is an excerpt:

Present day conditions are well nigh ideal for spiritual destruction. We have a comfortable material existence and a superficially plausible explanation for why life exists, plausible enough to satisfy those who aren't willing to look more deeply anyway, coupled with a technology that gives us an abundance of toys to distract us from our inner emptiness.

Furthermore the sexual revolution has led to a spiritual desensitivity which would have shocked our ancestors, the wisest of whom knew that releasing the sexual energy from a proper constraint (constraint not repression) is profoundly destructive on many levels, both spiritual and material. The wisest knew and the rest more or less followed, certainly in terms of how society and culture were ordered which is the important thing. Laws will always be broken but without law there is chaos, and that's what we have today if you observe from the vantage point of the spiritual plane.

Now this deferment of collapse can't go on forever but it seems it will go on for as long as possible, the better to entrap as many souls as possible in a downward spiral.


Reincarnation versus Pre-mortal existence

The above is a live issue for me - because several of the thinkers on religion whom I most respect believe in (some version of) reincarnation - that is, of a 'system' by which people have more than one mortal, incarnate life.

Reincarnation is, indeed, apparently the usual belief of tribal 'hunter gatherer' peoples, who generally believe that souls are of a fixed number but may be re-born, and/or may transform to and from souls of animals and other beings; so it may seem that some intuition of this kind is 'built-into' human beings.

I suspect that what is actually built-in, but to degrees varying between individuals, is the sense or memory that our personal, individual life did not begin with our conception or birth; but that we had a previous existence before we were incarnated (i.e. before we got a body). 

This, for me personally, is a basic datum; it is a solid feeling  - that I personally existed before the time I had this mortal life and body.

But how to interpret this basic datum of pre-existence is where the major disagreement comes-in.

The usual idea among intellectuals in this modern corner of the earth over the past couple of hundred years is that this datum of pre-existence either does not exist or else that it is a delusion derived from wishful thinking, primitive and unscientific world views, immaturity, manipulation by ruling elites, or something or another... merely incoherent nonsense without any actual, or even possible, factual or evidential basis.

I am quite happy to acknowledge that the pre-existence datum is not universal to each and every individual; in the sense that many/ most people apparently cannot remember how differently they thought as a child, and many people apparently cannot introspect, and many people are dishonest; and quite a few people suffer from mental pathologies of various kinds, some of which so dominate their minds that they cannot be clear about much else... 

Leaving that aside, my personal conviction is that this pre-existence datum is true; and/ but also that this, here-and-now, is the first and only time I have lived on earth with a body - this is my only incarnation.

Such is, indeed, the standard Mormon view which convinces me on intuitive grounds and by personal revelation; but it is perhaps unique among the overall majority of mankind of the past and present (Hindus and Buddhists for instance) who assert multiple reincarnations, and the majority of Christians who have asserted that our personal life was created by God from nothing at some point at or between conception and birth.

Like the tribal hunter-gatherers, Mormons tend to regard pre-existence as a datum - so that our essential souls or spirits or selves 'always have been' in some form or another, before they are incarnated. It follows that at any point some souls, spirits, selves are not incarnated - this perhaps being the basis of the 'spirit world' of the unseen.

There is disagreement over whether, or how, these non-incarnated spirits are present in this world, and the possible extent of our interaction; but my current understanding is that pre-mortal spiritual life is engaged with mortal life on earth - that these spirits are present and involved; and that is, I think, why some people (so many people) have a sense of having lived before their current lives, a sense of having lived in the past.

In other words; the datum is (I think) having been alive before this incarnation, and present and engaged with earthly life; but there is a difference of interpretation of this datum with some people (who believe in reincarnation) feeling that the datum implies past incarnate mortal lives; while other people (such as myself, and some Mormons) believing that the datum is due to our previous spirit existence being active in earthly affairs.

But whether as pre-mortal spirits or in previous incarnations; what may be the purpose of our prior involvement with earthly affairs? In principle, the reasons might include that we were present: 1. As servants, for the good of the mortals alive in that era; or 2. As learners, gathering experiences aimed-at our own long-term spiritual progress.

Or both. We may have been 'angels' - i.e. spirits who were helpers and messengers of the divine; and we may also have been experiencing, learning and becoming more spiritually advanced.

(And there is, of course, the dark side to be considered. As pre-mortal spirits, according to what seems to be given in Christian scriptures and revelations, some unincarnated spirits are evil anti-angels - actively intervening in mortal life but against the divine plan: hinderers rather than helpers. And some mortal incarnates also take the same side.)

Anyway - my point here is that If we agree on the truth of the datum of a reality-based sense of our personal pre-existence and involvement in earthly affairs; then there can be agreement that each of us has direct knowledge of previous eras (times and places) based on our own experiences. 

Note: a further disagreement about the datum concerns the extent to which our pre-existence was defined. Some assert that pre-existence may include having lived as non-human entities, or as humans of the other sex; whereas my intuition is that we have 'always' been Men in general and men or women in particular; and that feelings of qualitatively-other identities are due to us having worked-with e.g. the other sex, animals, plants, minerals... rather than having actually-been e.g. the other sex, animals, plants, minerals. The confusion (as I interpret it) arises from our pre-mortal unincarnated and spiritual nature; which was less bounded, more overlapping, and with a much less-fully-differentiated 'self'.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

The Method of Jesus - So absolutely right; but why so indirect?

Giving somebody the Gospels to read can provide a confusing experience. Assuming that Jesus was - through his life and ministry, trying to tell us something new and important, he went about it in a strange way. Why?

Why are the stories of Jesus's life mostly a matter of him telling parables, performing wonders and making enigmatic comments? What did he mean by this?

Owen Barfield has an astonishing chapter called The Mystery of the Kingdom in Saving the Appearances (1957) which suggests the answer. He analyses the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 20: 9-13; Mark 4: 9-12; Luke 8: 9-10) - in particular "For whoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away, even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing, see not; and hearing, they hear not, neither do they understand."

Barfield remarks that, taken as it stands, this seems immoral, indeed brutal. But traced to the relevant implied passages of the Old Testament, the parable seems to be talking about idolatry - and in Jesus's time, the major Jewish idolatry was of Pharisaism: idolatry of The Law. That is, seeing the word of God as something 'out there', something literal, something interpreted by expert-rulers to which 'we' need (merely) to submit, passively. 

To paraphrase Barfield (as I understand him) the suggestion is that Jesus is introducing a new era in which we must live from-within, from God-in-us, creatively and imaginatively. In the Gospels; Jesus himself seems to 'model' this life for us; living from the heart, from inner evaluations - by personal prayer, personal revelations, by intuitive and imaginative acts of many kinds.

Suddenly, the whole Method of Jesus seems to make sense! The parables are designed to compel people to use their imagination in understanding (or else, merely be confused) - in their very nature, parables are the opposite of legalism: they are non-rule-like, indirect, inexplicit/ implicit, un-paraphrase-able...

Much the same can be said of the miracles - their 'meaning' is not something that can satisfactorily be set out 'in prose' - in the same way that the meaning of a true poem cannot be set out in prose. And more generally, perhaps especially in John's Gospel (written by his beloved disciple, and one of the great artistic and philosophical geniuses of the ancient world - at least on a par with Plato); Jesus will seldom give a straight answer to a straight question - nearly always he is allusive, poetic, hinting...

The idea seems to be that to understand the Gospels we must meet the words and actions of Christ with a response from within ourselves - and nothing else will suffice! Attempts to extract a 'system of laws and instructions which can be codified and forced-upon people are thwarted (or such attempts at paraphrasing are made to feel, to the evaluation of our hearts, deeply unconvincing, obtuse, manipulative).

Barfield is saying that to someone 'that hath' the capacity to meet Jesus's words and actions with an imaginative response from that which is divine within them; then there is given understanding - and growth towards god-hood. But to someone 'that hath not' this capacity... well the whole thing seems absurd and nonsensical at best, and perhaps a cynical and brutal exercise in evasion and arrogance.

In cosmic terms; the life of Christ marks the (divinely intended) turning-point in the historical evolutionary unfolding consciousness of Man - the subtleties and many aspects of of which I will have to leave-aside at present. (Please read the chapter - and indeed the book; but don't expect a quick and easy comprehension.)

What I take from all this, is a new appreciation of the absolute appropriateness of what Jesus said and did, and the wrong-headed (indeed idolatrous) literalness with which this has been so often misinterpreted by those who 'hath not', who do not understand, who are seeking to make Christianity into just-another-religion of obedience to social control: of passive submission external laws, rituals and rules.

We cannot be given Christianity, we cannot be given an understanding of the meaning of Jesus; each person must gain this for himself or herself by developing within that which Christ wanted us to develop, and gave us the means of developing. But we, personally, must do it - and there are no shortcuts or signposted paths; the Method is active, creative, imaginative, intuitive.

How should I understand a poem, a painting, a piece of music? Think of the nature of the only true answer to such questions, and how an inner development of imagination is required... Analogously; 'what did Jesus teach; what did he mean?' are questions of the same general type. 

CS Lewis in Newcastle

In early 1943, CS Lewis and his brother came to Newcastle upon Tyne to give the Riddell Lectures; later published as The Abolition of Man - regarded by Owen Barfield (and some others) as Lewis's greatest essays of all.

The subject matter of the lectures, and a visit to Durham City 20 miles south, also provided the germ of That Hideous Strength (1945) - which is one of Lewis's most loved and influential novels (and Walter Hooper's favourite of all Lewis's works).

So an account of the Lewis brother's trip to the North East of England is of more than merely parochial significance - this is now freely available thanks to Joel Heck's Chronologically Lewis web resource.

Who are the readers of Albion Awakening?

Comments invited over at AA...