Wednesday, 30 December 2015

The demotivating effect of Residual Unresolved Positivism (RUP) - and the instant cure!

Owen Barfield invented the term Residual Unresolved Positivism (RUP) to refer to a Positivist attitude which persisted unconsciously, unknown, and against the will of the person who held to it.

Positivism is the (usually implicit) belief system that all valid knowledge comes via the senses (and not, for example, from revelation or imagination) - it is sometimes called Scientism, and is the metaphysics which is mainstream in modernity - although usually only articulated by scientists with a bent for philosophy.

RUP can have a life-sapping effect - a demotivating effect - an alienating effect - the effect of draining meaning from life; and I experienced this myself over the past week and a bit during which I have been trying to finish a big theoretical paper on the subject of Group Selection in Biology (from the perspective of Systems Theory) - and when I have experienced a cumulative inner resistance, a dysphoric sense of boredom, futility and angst about the project. Yesterday I got to the point when I was unable and unwilling to proceed, and resolved to abandon the project for a while.

 Today I cracked-open a newly purchased book - History, Guilt and Habit, by Owen Barfield, and read a couple of pages of the chapter on Evolution. Suddenly it became clear that I was suffering from the effects of Residual Unresolved Positivism - and I immediately felt cured: I also felt motivated, enthused and excited.

Until that exact moment, I had been wondering whether I was actually physically ill, with some subclinical infection or autoimmune disease or something - so profound was my demotivation. I felt that I ought to be getting on with the group selection paper, I couldn't; but I couldn't get myself to do anything else, because I felt I ought to be working on the paper...

The problem was quite simple. Because I was writing the paper for a biological audience, I was constrained by staying within the biological paradigm - which lies within positivism, and strictly excludes any religious or even metaphysical material.

(It would, in any case, be utterly self-defeating if it was included - since 99% (approximately!) of biologists are actively atheist, and would instantly write off anything even hinting at Christian assumptions.) 

As always, when I am working on theoretical science, I was intensely absorbed in thinking about group selection, and indeed had been for some weeks. By this I mean devoting a level of sustained and recurrent time and effort to thinking about the problem, to a degree which most people have never done on any subject - because this is what is required for theoretical endeavour.

[For instance, I had been thinking on and off, and hard, about the nature of depression for about fifteen years before I made a breakthrough in 1999. Of course there is reading, observation and conversation (also sometimes experimenting) - as well as thinking. But for genuine theoretical work, the proportion of thinking to empirical input is several-fold in favour of just-thinking. Since thinking (and even reading!) does not count as an academic, scholarly or scientific activity (if an academic was to say they had been 'thinking a lot' recently, they certainly would be regarded as making a feeble excuse for doing nothing at all; this goes some way towards explaining the dire state of modern intellectual discourse.]

However, this focused intensity on Group Selection meant that I was trapping myself - for long intense, recurrent periods - inside the positivistic biological world view.

I was trapping myself therefore inside a world without meaning and purpose  - a dead world without God.

And it was this which was cumulatively demotivating me - because it removed all genuine significance from my task (which by default just became a matter of ego, careerism and the like). 

It just took attention to those few words from Owen Barfield to remind me of what was real and matters... and I was free!

(But modernity is implicitly and pervasively positivist; and most modern people never do acknowledge the falsity of positivism and the metaphysical realities I share with Owen Barfield - so presumably most people remain trapped inside a world of meaninglessness and purposelessness and are motivated only by ego, careerism and short-termist pleasure; without any hope of escape because they do not acknowledge anywhere they could escape-to.)

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Why are people so afraid of being wrong about Christianity being true?

I don't know - but they are.

People don't seem to worry much about being wrong about the truth of many other things - but they really, really don't want to believe Christianity if there is any chance they may be mistaken.

Sometimes the reason given is that Christianity is too good to be true, other times that it is not good enough. Either way they don't want to believe in Christianity unless they can be 100 percent certain with zero possibility of error.

Strange but true. Of course, on such a basis, a Christian is the one thing in the whole world that they never can be.

Note - This post comes from reflecting on 'Pascal's Wager' - which I think is, at root - and considered in context, concerned with exactly this matter.

Is the modern Mass Media a complex system? No

The Mass Media is the system that dominates the modern world, having taken over from politics, which took over from religion.

Clearly, the Mass Media - by which I mean newspapers, magazine, TV, radio and the internet and social media; all put together - is huge - far bigger than any other social system there ever has been.

Huge - but is it complex?

No it isn't.

A complex system is subdivided hierarchically, by specialised function - and such subdivisions are sustained and reproduced over time. By contrast, the modern Mass Media is almost formless.

Compare the Medieval State in England - which was a truly complex system and which persisted for several hundred years.

There was a hierarchy of information processing starting with the strategic and unifying person of The King, and descending through Princes, Earls, Lords, Knights, Gentlemen and Commoners (this was also the military hierarchy, since fighting was the main role of the aristocracy).

There was another closely related functional hierarchy of the Church with the Pope, Archbishops, Bishops, Priests Deacons and many minor clergy - and the laity. The aristocracy and the Church perfomed different aspects of the ruling function - coercive force and cohesion/ motivation.

There was an economic hierarchy too - including most people. Within common people there were apprenticed craftsmen in Guilds, lower level craftsmen, and some rich merchants as a middle class; among the 'peasants' there were many levels from freemen, via cottars and villeins and the like, down to landless serfs (I can't recall the precise order).

The whole society was strcutured, inter-related and held together by many laws, rules, and traditional practises.

My point is that Medieval Europe is what a complex social system looks like. Compare the modern Mass Media - it simply is not organised, it is a maelstrom.

The fundamental simplicity of the modern Mass Media can be seen in its uniformity. On any particular day, the whole vast sea of communications is massively dominated by relatively few 'stories', and these stories are found 'everywhere'.

Quantitatively, the mass media includes very few things, and deals with them very simply - and these few things are found 'everywhere' in the system and almost instantly.

All this is the exact opposite of a truly complex system in which information is processed by specialized individuals, working in specialised divisions and subdivisions, and through multiple hierarchical levels leading up to a specific person who ensures purpose and direction.

That is because a truly complex system has coherence and purpose - indeed the coherence is in-service-of its purpose.

The modern Mass Media has no teleology, it is not going anywhere, it is not trying to achieve anything positive - it is, indeed, a system of parasitic destruction: a simple system which feeds-off more complex systems (until, eventually the Mass Media kills its host - or is defeated first).

Thus, modern life may be informationally overwhelming, in terms of the sheer mass of 'stuff' being deluged over us - but this multiplicity is not complexity, any more than a polluted river containing millions of different and varying toxic chemicals is a complex ecosystem.

The Modern Mass media is just a massively-multi-component mixture - in formal terms of information processing, it is not a complex system.

Monday, 28 December 2015

The year's reading in review

While I read much less than I once did - I am delighted to have made some significant 'discoveries' both in fiction and non-fiction through 2015.

1. In fiction the main discovery was Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke (2004) which was certainly one of the best novels I have ever read - and within my favourite adult fantasy genre. I was put onto this by a BBC TV adaptation which was significantly flawed, but whose first two episodes conveyed enough of the novel's virtues to get me to read it.

2. The other discovery was another fantasy-genre writer Brandon Sanderson. This is very recent - I read the teen-fantasy The Rithmatist a few months ago

And just a few days ago finished a very long and extremely enjoyable audiobook version of the first version of a projected ten-volume adult fantasy called The Way of Kings.

Sanderson strikes me as an exceptionally deep and knowledgeable writer - he is also highly prolific and only about forty years old, which is particularly pleasing.

3. After many years of trying and failing to get onto his wavelength, the writing of Owen Barfield was unlocked for me by The Fellowship, a new group biography og The Inklings

Since then I have had great benefit from reading some of Barfield's philosophical books and individual essays.

4. Barfield was an Anthroposophist which again pointed me at Rudolf Steiner, which led to the discovery of Jeremy Naydler - a modern English writer on spiritual and philosophical themes who has particular expertise on Ancient Egypt. Convergently listening to an audiobook of teen-fantasy writer Rick Riordan's Ancient Egyptian Gods series The Kane Chronicles with the family (as in-car entertainment) led me to want to read more about Egypt.

5. I have also continued to read slowly, and reflect considerably upon, the writings of William Arkle - but strictly speaking, that was a 2014 discovery...


What are the social ill-effects of the genius famine in the arts? (What are 'the arts' for, anyway?)

The lack of genius in some of the arts such as fine art and classical music may be accepted as true, but what is its effect? What are we missing?

The questions is ultimately one about the proper function of art - what is art supposed to do? Why does art exist at all?

Only if we know the function of art could we understand why art's supreme practitioners might have value, and then understand what the lack of living representatives if such practitioners might do.


This question has not proved at all easy to answer over the past couple of hundred - even for the most dedicated and enthusiastic advocates of 'the arts'. Indeed, the most extreme advocates, 'aesthetes - who tried to build their lives around the appreciation and practise of art and to make life itself an art - were reduced to incoherent babble about 'art for art's sake'.

And the reason for this difficulty is simple enough: it is that secular culture, culture which denies the reality of religion, cannot answer any 'why' questions.

The only possible answer to 'why' questions is some kind of story, purpose or teleology of life. Only if we know where life-in-general is supposed to go and our own role in it, can we explain the role of any-thing in particular - such as art.

From the perspective of my Christianity, the function of art is seen in terms of a long, interrupted progression, potentially towards divinity; a vision of life in which love is the primary value, and other values including creativity rank very high indeed.

The transcendent Good, within which such progression occurs, has been traditionally and usefully separated into Truth, Beauty and Virtue. So, in a metaphysical sense, the Good - including Beauty - are part of the backdrop or frame within-which the prime drama of the human story happens - the value of Beauty is built-into the fabric of reality. Beauty is therefore extremely important!


Yet, we immediately notice that our recognition and appreciation of Beauty is 'also' subjective, and relative - there is a lot of disagreement about the specifics.

However, there is also the feeling that disagreement about the specifics of art - disputes over who are the greatest geniuses - or an inability to appreciate Shakespeare, Rembrandt or Beethoven - or disagreements over whether Bach, Mozart, Beethoven or Wagner was the greatest - and so on... such inconsistencies do not really matter, so long as the basic aims and purposes are correct.

The basic assumption that makes art valuable runs along the lines that:

Art is about Beauty, and Beauty is part of The Good. 

The artistic genius and art itself is therefore a kind of human-bridge between ourselves and the transcendental value of beauty. Art is, must be, about Beauty - and forms a kind of framework or explanation, an education and training, about Beauty.


Therefore art is not neutral, neither is it optional, and it is highly consequential. A specific culture's art and appreciation of art is indeed a fundamental aspect of its nature - and this is related via Beauty to the most fundamental distinction of Good and evil.

The lack of living geniuses is therefore rather like a lack of living prophets. A lack of living prophets means that there is nobody authoritative to interpret and explain uncertainties and ambiguities of religious scripture and doctrine - the prophet is a mediator.

A lack of living geniuses is similar although in a way that is more like showing than explaining - the work of an artistic genius is itself a kind of model of how to relate to reality in terms of beauty - it is an experience of how to identify and respond to beauty.

If we having no living genius to do this for our time and circumstances, and in face of new and specific problems and deliberate obfuscations, then we must make do with past geniuses - and we come a much less-direct, a 'silver', antiquarian or museum culture.


Of course, there are many types of art, seldom living geniuses in all of them all of the time, and there is another possibility of using the achievements of genius domain and applying it to others.. Thus some cultures (in an particular time and place) are dominated by painting, others by poetry, others by music.

In the modern West, it seems to me that the highest levels of achievement are probably in fiction, novels - especially 'genre' novels such as fantasy. By contrast, poetry and drama are in a bad way.

In that sense, we are living in a literary prose culture - and our primary genius is in that domain.

Since the best modern fiction is more 'niche' than the novel used to be, the scale of genius is probably less than in the past - but the possibility exists for benefiting from such living interpreters and intermediaries as the basis for a relationship to Life and an answer to fundamental problems; including an interpretation which spills over into other domains such as music and art.


This happens by reading books, novels of genius; imaginatively entering into the worlds made by genius, and actually experiencing the way that we as individuals may experience Beauty 'inside' the experience of those worlds.

The example is now historical, but the reason why reading The Lord of the Ring's by JRR Tolkien was so important in my life was that the experience educated me into an experience of fictive life (life inside the fiction) that solved (more or less) the problem of relating to beauty which I experienced in modern everyday life. Tolkien's genius was to create a proper relation to Beauty inside his world, and I was able to learn from this.

It is the lack of this possibility which causes deep problems when genius is absent, and when art is corrupted - especially when art claims to be nothing to do with Beauty, or advocates the destruction of Beauty as a deeper Beauty, or the shock value of ugliness as a kind of Beauty, or subordinates Beauty to politics.


In sum, we live in an era when the problem is not so much lack of genius, nor of low quality of art - but one where anti-Art (based on an ideal of anti-Beauty, which is therefore anti-Good) is officially propagated as mainstream.

This is... confusing. It is easy to know what the arts are for in a sane society; but in our society of deliberate insanity, where 'arts' may legitimately be themselves ugly, promote ugliness, subvert and destroy Beauty, and deconstruct the meaning of 'art'... well, the (officially approved) arts merely contribute to the state of delusion and despair.

But in a 'normal' (rather than an inverted) society, the role and function of art and the artist including The Genius is much easier to discern. Art in such a society is an extremely important part of The Good Life and an obvious source of understanding, motivation and enhancement.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

The Genius Famine in the arts

The 'genius famine' in art and music has been just as damaging as has the decline of genius in science and technology; and has contibuted to the alienation and demotivation characteristic of modernity. 

The 'last geniuses' in these fields - such as Picasso and Duchamp, Schoenberg and Stravinsky - left their subject in chaos (they were, in effect, 'evil geniuses').

In the century since, there have not been further geniuses of equivalent stature (or at least, not recognized geniuses) to re-order and re-energize these subjects; and who could re-connect them with the mass of non-expert people in Western societies. 

Thus art and music have declined into being either mass entertainment (commercial illustration, pop music); or at their hiighest status levels into elite professional subjects - sustained by subsidies from state bureacracies, and where the 'audiences' (such as they are, which is tiny) are critics, academicians and academics - plus financial speculators in the case of the Fine Arts.

Although this situation is dire, it is exactly the kind of impasse which a real genius - but only a genius - can see the way-out from.

The fact that we have remained stuck in this cul-de-sac for four generations is itself strong evidence for the reality of the genius famine.   

Note: The publication of my most recent book The Genius Famine (co-written with Ed Dutton) approaches in about one month -

Friday, 25 December 2015

Alienation, to some minimal degree, is always a part of the mortal human condition

By William Arkle 

If we consider the relationship between human consciousness and the spiritual or divine consciousness - then mortal Man is alienated from the divine to some - very varied - degree; in the sense that there is always a sense of separation that must be overcome.

Even in the most spiritual societies, there is a need for some act of will or, more often, ritual process, in order to overcome this alienation.

Among animistic hunter gatherers, the shamans will undergo fasting, or prolonged dancing, or drumming, or something like lucid dreaming - in order to reach a state of transformed consciousness in which the spiritual realm may be contacted. In ancient Egypt, there was a prolonged and elite training, and many symbols, talismans and rituals, to bridge the gap between the mundane and the divine.

Among Hindus there is the discipline of yoga, among Zen Buddhists there is the prolonged training of sitting, and monastic disciplines.

Among Christians there are the monastic traditions, rules and supervisions of Eastern and Western Catholicism - fasting, vigils (prolonged wakefulness), sustained and repeated prayer, and other ascetic practises.

Modern man is, of course, far more alienated than any of these. Indeed, it seems that some Men are wholly alienated - and never at any times in their waking life achieve a bridging of the gap between human consciousness and the spiritual realm (and they regard dream consciousness as a mere delusional epiphenomenon).

So severe is modern alienation that I regard it as the most subjectively obvious of spiritual pathologies - modern Man's existential aloneness, his sense of being cut-off from the spiritual and the divine is probably more acutely painful than his lack of meaning and purpose in life. Modern man's alienation is, indeed, apparently so severe that he feels dead-inside.

Alienation can be solved by a fundamental change in conscious attitude - but to be effective this change must be accompanied by a new metaphysical system that regards the new consciousness as potentially real (therefore not merely a delusion, not just wishful thinking).

But the Christian needs to know that alienation is not all bad! In the sense that our aim is a relationship with God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost - and relationship entails separation.

Our goal is not an obliteration of our consciousness, not a fusion with the divine nor an absorption into the divine - not a loss of self - instead a loss of false selves and a living from our real self in a loving relationship.

What of those who do not want to retain the self, but who do want to become One with the divine? My understanding is that this is allowed by God - although it is not what he most wants for us and from us. Since it was God who (necessarily) unilaterally gifted us with consciousness, He is aware that there are some who prefer not to accept this gift - and it is a gift which must be accepted voluntarily, without coercion. So we can take back this gift and return to the primordial state of non-consciousness (in a state of eternal bliss in the present).

But for Christians we should not crave such a state, because we have Love as our primary value, which entails relationships, which entails consciousness. There is always therefore some barrier, some line between our-self and other-selves - some element which could be termed alienation.

What we need is to be able to cross this line more easily and more often - to the degree of becoming aware of, communicating with, the spiritual and divine realms. 

This is a secret world - consider Arkle's businessman painting above. The man is in the loving, caring embrace of a spiritual being - is he aware of the fact, or is his awareness turned away? The picture is enigmatic, and we would have no way of knowing how the man is experiencing the situation.

But the benign divine and spiritual realm is always there, waiting for our attention, hoping for our communication, yearning for acknowledgement of the loving relationship.

Happy Christmas.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

The Metaphysics of The Family, revisited

Consider the significance of the family unit as we experience it for ourselves. Reflect that it may hold within it the secret of the underlying pattern of the whole of the manifested universe. 

Edited from page 206 of A Geography of Consciousness, by William Arkle, 1974.

Metaphysics refers to our basic understanding of reality - the structure or pattern of reality. The earliest philosopher in Ancient Greek were metaphysicians; as they tried to understand whether reality was fundamental static, or changing and how these were related; whether it was ultimately water, air, fire and so on.

Historical Christianity mostly inherited its various metaphysics from the Classical Greek and  Roman world; but there was another and very different understanding basic reality that came from the Ancient Hebrews - of reality as primarily about human relationships and specifically family relationships.

So there are writings of God as a Father to the Nation of the Jews in the Old Testament - and the language of the New Testament has multiple references to Christ as Son of God or Son of Man; and to Men as Sons of Gods, heirs, adopted by God and so forth.

Probably, most intellectual Christians over the past two millenia have regarded the theological language of Classic Metaphysics as 'True'' descriptions of  reality (although there have been strong disputes within that traditions - between especially between Platonists such as Augustine of Hippo and Aristotelians such as Aquinas). By contrast the language of human relationships has been regarded as not literally true but metaphorical, illustrative.

For example, Jesus Christ has generally been conceptualized in abstract philosphical terms, such as the language of the Athanasian Creed: 

we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons: nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son: and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one: the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son: and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate: and the Holy Ghost uncreate. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible: and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible. The Father eternal, the Son eternal: and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals: but one eternal. As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated: but one uncreated, and one incomprehensible.
This is typical of the abstract philosophical discourse of Classical metaphysics, and this metaphysical style has generally been regarded by theologians as literally true as a description of reality -- indeed mandatorily true, dogma, an article of faith when incororated in creeds and confessions. The philosophical dogmas of Christiology and the Trinity are often taken to define Christianity. By contrast, the language of human relationships - of Family, Fathers, Sons and the 'interpersonal' idea of Love etc - has been regarded as symbolic, metaphorical, illustrative, optional. 

But there has always existed an alternative possibility within Christianity, which is to regard the Hebrew discourse of human relationships as being literally true (i.e. as true as we are capable of knowing); and the language of Classical Philosophy as illustrative, symbolic and secondary. This discourse is one which regards ultimate reality as being best captured by the language of family.

This is what I mean by the Metaphysics of Family - the idea that discourse of family is the best, primary, most literally true way of conceptualizing ultimate reality.

The Metaphysics of The Family therefore does not explain the basic and fundamental structure of reality in terns of stasis, change, forms, the nature of Time and eternity, identity, properties (such as omniscience and omnipotence) -- But instead reality is conceptualised in abstracted ideal terms derived-from the type of relationship characteristic of Family: the reality and distinctness of men and women, parents and children, marriage and procreation, and the structural primacy of loving relationships.

I am, of course, talking here about the (often implicit) metaphysical theology associated with Mormonism and 'the Restoration' -- and emphasising how on the one hand it represents a massive departure from the tradition of intellectual and philosophical theology going back to Greek and Roman times; and how on the other hand it is an abstract and systematic crystallisation of what has probably been the mainstream and most common understanding of Christianity among ordinary, simple people whose conceptualisation derived from the abundant Biblical discourse of family relationships.

I personally find the Metaphysics of The Family to be a deep, revealed truth of reality.

For me, 'The Family' is therefore not merely an important moral value (e.g. 'family values' which Christians might promote as one of several moral values); but the fundamental principle that holds within it nothing less than the secret of the underlying pattern of the whole of the manifested universe.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Great Rubbish Beards of All Time

I personally cannot grow a decent beard (fair skin, reddish hair, Nordic ancestry etc) - but I have done my bit for the aesthetics of earthly life by remaining clean shaven.

It therefore offends me particularly, when famous people sport rubbish beards and nobody calls them on it.

So... Second runner up: The egregious jerk Russell Brand -

Runner up: The massively talented (but weedily hirsute) Johnny Depp -

The Winner, rubbishest Beard of All Time - that over-rated, pretentious embodiment of alopecia areata... Che Guevara!

A litmus test - what do you think about the current rapid growth of Christianity in Africa, China, the Arabian penninsula?

While the situation of Christianity in The West is dire, whichever way you look at it, there are places in Africa, Asia (especially China) and in some Arabian countries where Christianity is growing fast and Christians are active, devout, energetic - to the point that the numerical decline of The West is approximately balanced by expansion elsewhere.


So - What do you think abut this growth?

This is a litmus test issue, because of the nature of the churches that are growing - on the whole this massive growth is among what is termed 'Renewalist' churches - that it to say Pentecostal and Charismatic churches.

What distinguishes this low church Protestant tradition is therefore a perspective which emphasises a renewal of the person following (but not usually simultaneous with) conversion - as evidenced by what may be termed gifts of the Holy Spirit.

In the case of Petecostalism, there is the focus on speaking in tongues, but the worldwide phenomenon is not so tightly defined - a range of gifts are recognized and important such as healings, prophecy, miracles, visions - all manner of what might be termed 'supernatural' evidences.

In Africa, this work of the Holy Ghost and a life of faith is apparently often linked to worldly success - health, happiness, prosperity, marriage, children etc. These are taken to be the rewards of faith and also evidence of faith.

This world phenomenon ought to make Western Christians confront the nature of their own faith.

Is this growth of Christianity something to be celebrated by Western Christians, despite that it is happening among churches and people who - if they were located in the West - would be regarded with dismay, and indeed strongly disapproved of, by most Christian commentators from most of the major Western denominations?

In a phrase: is the actual worldwide growth of Christianity A Good Thing, or not? 

This question leads onto a consideration of who counts as a Christian - or more exactly, when is identifying as a Christian beneficial, and when is it harmful (it could hardly make no difference at all!). National surveys focus on 'self-identified' Christians - yet no actual serious Christian believes that everyone on the world who says (or claims) they are 'A Christian' really is one. 

(Many mainstream Christians would not regard me as a Christian, after all, since - although I am not a member of the CJCLDS - my beliefs are Mormon. They must them decide whether Mormon Christians are, on the whole or in my case, a good albeit imperfect thing, or a bad and dangerous thing. Assuming my beliefs 'make a difference' to me and my behaviour - they must surely be one or the other - beneficial or harmful.)

My impression is that people distinguish between a type of Christianity that is appropriate for African or Chinese in their own nations - and what is appropriate for the West, so they can celebrate growth of types of Christianity in other places that they would argue vehemently against in the West. But with unprecedented world population movements this attitude may not be viable - aside from the fact that  it seems evasive to the point of dishonesty.

The question Western Christians need to ask themselves - from their perspective as devout and serious Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists, Anglicans, Orthodox, or from being a Jehovah's Witness, a Mormon or whatever - is whether they personally would approve of a Western Christian revival IF it was of the same type as actual recent and current Christian growth in other parts of the world? 

If Pentecostal and Charismatic churches of many shapes and sizes began to spring up in The West with a focus on personal supernatural experiences - if these churches changed people's lives, lent them enthusiasm, courage, energy... would you be pleased, or dismayed? 

Because such a phenomenon could not be a matter of indifference. Sooner or later you, like everyone, would need to take sides and decide: Are such Christian churches to be encouraged, or suppressed? 

This makes a valuable, and educative, thought experiment - one from which you might learn something about yourself and your faith - and maybe even change yourself. 

Monday, 21 December 2015

William Arkle and spiritual preparedness

I have derived tremendous spiritual nourishment from the writings of William Arkle. Indeed, over the past couple of years I have studied his available work with perhaps more detailed attention than I have ever given to anything.

Since there were multiple examples of synchronicity pointing me at Arkle dating from 1977, how did it take me so long to engage with his work? And would it have been better (better for me) if I had taken one of these opportunities and got to know Arkle personally before he died in 2000?

It is quite possible that in failing to get to know the man I have stunted my spiritual development irrevocably. But on the other hand, by Arkle's own scheme of understanding, this may have been an example of progress by trial and error, and learning from mistakes; such that eventually my understanding will be deeper than if I had known the man, and had absorbed his teaching more directly and easily.

In particular, it seems probable that I would not have been prepared for Arkle until very recently - and that I simply could not have understood his work at any time before I actually did.

Most obviously, I was not a Christian until 2008 and would have lacked that necessary context. But even more exactly, it was not until late in 2012 that I had clarified my Christian faith to the point of realizing that I believed Mormon Christianity specifically and fully.

Once that background was in place, I was ready to receive Arkle's teachings within that framework; so that I could benefit from his many detailed clarifications, but without becoming entangled by his 'errors'. For example, Arkle's proposals of multiple reincarnations as normal and necessary for Men, or of Angels being a separate creation from Man.

(I now interpret these as being Arkle's misinterpretations of genuine revelations that were actually related to pre-mortal spirit life, the voluntary status of incarnate mortal life, and the doctrine of multiple levels of post-mortal salvation.)

I hope the above interpretation is not just Pollyanna-ish, everything-is-always-for-the-best, wishful thinking - but that in this specific instance perhaps things really did work-out as-well-as (realistically, and given my own deficiencies) they could have done.

Recommending the movie Inside Out

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Why we need a Saviour - the bottom-line meaning of Christmas

This inspiring two minute video shows that it is possible to communicate solid theology simply, briefly and also movingly. It honestly contrasts the essence of life-without - and then life-with, Jesus.

The video fits well with my earlier post today, because it emphasises that the ultimate meaning is ultimate healing - that is, healing overall and in the end.

(Not complete happiness nor freedom from suffering from here and now and onwards: not necessarily, therefore, a measurably and objectively better world in terms of gross well-being.)

Therefore, it is a grossly false emphasis, as many secular people do, to try and evaluate the validity Christianity in worldly terms - in terms of what it does in this world, in this mortal life. No sense can be made of it that way - the whole exercise is self-refuting.

Yes! - the availability of real, complete and immediate forgiveness is an incalculable current Good. But for this to mean more than mere 'psychotherapy' or a 'happy pill', entails that the true perspective simply must be extended to include the eternal world after death - and then it all fits into place.

(This thought experiment must, at least, be entertained if the Christian message can be understood.)

Because it is our knowledge of the eternal, post-mortal future which makes real, meaningful, purposive (and not just wishful thinking or self-delusion) the instant and lasting joy of accepting Christ. 

(Not, of course, that this 135 second video gives all the answers to all questions about Christianity! That is the work of more than a lifetime of endeavour. But a clear, basic, necessary and sufficient understanding.)

Christ and Healing

It is striking how often Christ is shown healing, and how often Christianity is associated with actual medical-type healing.

Presumably this is more than a metaphor of re-birth. I think we are probably intended to regard every healing in a spiritual sense - in particular every time we ourselves are healed, then we ought to regard this as a rebirth - a miniature version of salvation.

This is easy to forget or to misattribute by a reductionist physical framework. When delivered from an agonising headache we are more likely to give thanks to aspirin, a physician or a pharmacist than to God.

But that deliverance, that healing, is supposed to be a fresh start. We are born again every time we are healed - if only we can see it that way.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Why should we obey God?

Why should we be obedient to God?

Answer: because we are his children, and he is our loving Father.

We therefore know that God has our personal best interests at heart. It is God's love for us that is the reason why we should obey him.

In other words, obedience not the bottom-line, but God's Love is - obedience is justified in terms of love.

The other major monotheism is not based on God understood as a loving Father, but on an almighty God. The reason for obedience is God's absolute power - for them, obedience is the bottom-line. Obedience is justified in terms of supreme authority.

It is the difference between obedience to your own loving Father, and obedience to your Emperor.

Friday, 18 December 2015

In our innermost heart has been set the best of our nature (and not, therefore, original sin)

While we must be wise and take account of our limitations in autonomy; without the desire to enter into life and gather its experiences we will fail to live as God intends for us.

We should therefore be wary of being 'too virtuous' by negative avoidance of action, when this prevents us living fully; since not even trying to live is the worst thing we can do.

The idea of original sin may be crippling of our purpose in life, because its sets something rotten in the heart of our being where, to the contrary, our Divine Parents have set the best of our nature - that which is of God.

With the idea of original sin, the mainspring of our life is broken - because we come to believe that the core of our nature is rotten. Yet it is upon this core of our nature which we must draw, if we are to survive this world and enter most fully into life.

Indeed, the suspicion insinuated by the doctrine of original sin destroys not only our sense of self-worth and the energies we need from it; but also denies the validity of any instinctive recognition and understanding of the difference between Good and evil, and the value of God; when we need Him to take-over after our own efforts have proven inadequate, which they often will.

And who can value a God who created us rotten at heart, and who then makes a great play out of saving us from this wretched condition? This cannot be the behaviour of that Loving Father which we know our true God to be.

Original sin is a paradox which, if accepted fully, would destroy the possibility of valid discernment - leaving us helpless in the world: helpless to know good, helpless to know God.

(Paraphrased, edited and expanded from the Chapter entitled 'Sin' in A Geography of Consciousness by William Arkle, 1974.)

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Leftism is not a Religion: Leftism is universal acid, but Religion is universal glue

Continued from:

While there are superficial resemblances between Leftism and Religion, Leftism is in essence anti-Religion; and this can be seen from the fact that Leftism is universal acid, while Religion is universal glue.

Both Leftism and Religion tend to subordinate other functional social systems - so that in a Leftist society (in the modern West) all social institutions become primarily Leftist institutions - so that the civil administration (state bureaucracies), schools, universities, churches, hospitals, the legal system, the military, charities etc increasingly and more-completely trend to have Leftist priorities (feminism, antiracism, diversity, environmentalism etc) as their bottom-line function. The sticker label functions such as education, health, law, military effectiveness etc. recede further and further - and get sacrificed more or less completely to Leftist priorities.

Religion is superficially similar in the sense that in a fully religious state (e.g. the Byzantine Empire, Medieval Europe in the ages of faith, Puritan New England or the Mormon state under Brigham Young) all social functions are subordinated to the Religious imperative, and aimed at Religious Priorities.

But although superficially similar - there is a deep difference. Under Leftism the functional institutions are subverted; under Religion they are organised.

Leftism is like acid, in that it destroys the functionality of all social systems:Leftism dis-integrates. Education substantially ceases to be education, health services cease to promote health, the legal system becomes unjust - not by accident but by its intent and nature.

Of course this is constrained in any actually surviving society, because at some point in the advancing wave of Leftism (the 'march through the institutions'), the acid will have dissolved everything which does necessary and useful work, and which holds the state together - and society will collapse. Collapse is what happens when enough acid is applied for long enough.

But Religion works as a glue to hold together all the social institutions - binds them and keeps them pointing in the same direction: Religion imposes cohesion. The systems are subordinated, inevitably the efficiency and effectiveness of any specific system will be compromised to some extent - but the aim is not to destroy institutions but to harness them to Religious goals.

For example, university professors will be required to profess the Religion (or, at least, not to attack it), doctors will be required to practise within Religious constraints, lawyers will be expected to ignore or even contradict laws if or when they come into conflict with Religious morality.

Glue usually does slow up things, and can even clog things - but the overall imperative of sustaining and promoting Religion means that this is not intended - the society is meant to be Religious and also functional - and as efficient as is compatible with this goal.

This is the big, and crucial difference between Leftism and Religion - a difference as large as that between acid and glue.

Joseph's perspective on Jesus's birth and childhood

This is a fresh and moving depiction of scripture (lasting seven minutes); weaving some familiar episodes from the birth and childhood of Jesus, but focused on Joseph's role and responses - done with few words and most of the communication by facial expression.

I found it very effective - and a high quality piece of film making. 

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Leftism is universal acid

Daniel Dennett once said that Natural Selection was universal acid - in that it consumed everything in came in contact with - including any container it was put in.

But he was wrong about that - mainstream evolutionists are in practice highly selective in their application of evolutionary theory and particularly reluctant to follow Darwin's lead and apply it to understanding historical and geographical differences between humans. They seem quite happy to pretend that Natural Selection has been empirically verified as the single explanation of all forms of life on earth, while denying the vastly documented evidence of adaptation within the human species.

Evolutionists are, in a nutshell, selective about applying evolutionary theory because they are Leftists - and it is Leftism that determines how natural selection is used. 

Because it is Leftism that is the universal acid - or the nearest known approach to that mythic substance.

Leftism eats away at whatever container it is put in - whether that container be religion, science, education, the legal system, the military or whatever. All these started out carrying a small beaker of Leftism, and ended-up being dissolved into Leftism.

And Leftism really is like acid - it destroys the functionality of all social systems, reduces them to a confluent lagoon of Leftism - but does not thereby unify them. Religions may dominate social systems, and make them cohere into the shape imposed by the religion; but Leftism subverts social systems so that they blend without coherence; they join up to make a chaos, a Brownian motion of randomly jiggling radical notions.

I have seen this again and again - I have seen many individual people incrementally consumed by Leftism - starting-out as vocational scientists, academics doctors, teachers, librarians... but over the decades worked upon by the vessel of Leftism they harboured, becoming corrupted into routinely-dishonest, gibbering slogan-mongers.

And the same has happened to all the major social systems of Britain - all are increasingly indistinguishable, all have been corroded by the acid of Leftism and expend their core energies espousing the identical set of subversive Leftist causes.

Yes - it is Leftism that is the true universal acid. 

Faith, Love and Hope

Faith is trust in God.

Trust is justified because of God's Love for us.

God loves us personally because he is our Father.

Hope comes from knowing that God, our loving Father, is also the Creator.

What is your favourite internet thing?

Mine is certainly Amazon - not many aspects of the internet have so much improved my quality of life.

This began even back when Amazon was about books. In 1998 I visited the USA, and bought two stuffed US Mail Bag's worth of books to be shipped back to England - books about RW Emerson and the New England Transcendentalists that were essentially unobtainable in the UK (except at ridiculous prices - or by travelling to Hay on Wye Book Town).

Just a year later I realised that the situation had changed, and within a couple more years the world was My Oyster so far as second hand book availability was concerned.  Of course I will still travel an hour to browse a really good bookshop, as a 'fishing expedition' - but the actual business of getting a particular title to read has been transformed.

However, the main value of Amazon is revealed at this time of year in buying Christmas presents. I have discovered, to my surprise, that I really enjoy buying people presents (so long as I know what they like - which isn't always the case) - but I never previously realized the fact because I really hate shopping.

(Except for secondhand books, of course - but that isn't 'shopping' - it being more akin to a religious ritual.)

So Amazon lets me get presents from a huge range at a reasonable price - without shopping. My pre-Christmas experience has gone from one of utter dread at the prospect of facing massive crowds and queues to get a present that is... not quite right - to a positive pleasure at 'giving'.

No other internet platform or medium has made such a plus-difference to my quality of life.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

"The Academy of St Martin in the Fields, directed by Neville Marriner" - a hallmark of immaculate musicality

My American readers who like classical music may perhaps be insufficiently aware of the work of Neville Marriner - who directed (from the Orchestral Leader's Desk) or conducted the London based chamber orchestra The Academy of St Martin in the Fields through their heyday of the nineteen sixties and seventies - and produced hundreds of unsurpassed performances of the repertoire from Baroque to Classical.

Marriner (although knighted) somehow never achieved the cachet of the British conductors of full orchestras - yet his interpretations were always among the very best on vinyl. The playing of his band was beauteous, flawless, flexible, and exceptionally well phrased: they set the standard at a time when there were many exceptionally good chamber orchestras in Britain, Germany and Italy.

Most impressively these perfomances stand the test of time - they can be listed-to over and again without fatigue and with continued admiration.

This golden age of great chamber orchestras was (for me at least) brought to an end by the emergence of early instrument ensembles and 'historically correct' performances - which provided a novelty soundscape, some extreme tempos and weird style - but which were often just Not Very Musical.

(Egregious examples of this are Trevor Pinnock and Roger Norrington and their bands - conductors who, I am afraid, Simply Cannot Phrase - and their performances have a horribly chopped-up, static-block quality which I find intolerable.)

Anyway, if you like Correlli, Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart and their contemporaries - you cannot-go-wrong-with, you cannot-do-better-than, a perfomance labelled 'The Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Directed by Neville Marriner'.

As a taster, here is a snippet of Vivaldi with the solo part taken by Carmel Caine - who often became the leader when Marriner was conducting from the podium - She had a delicious, haunting tone and an inspired way of phrasing baroque music.

Group selection is necessary to life

Group selection does *not* require competition

Why does modern culture avoid thinking about death (and sleep)? Surely the reason is obvious

We use the word 'death' as if it has an agreed meaning, but it does not.

For mainstream modern secular culture, death merely means the complete cessation of existence - which is not a very interesting subject. So it is unsurprising that moderns do not think much about death: what is there to think about?

But death means extremely different things to different people at different times in history. For example, modern people are amazed or appalled by the Ancient Egyptian's 'obsession' with death - those mummies, pyramids, statues... their most famous title is probably The Egyptian Book of the Dead.

We wonder how and why they could be fascinated by such a subject! - it seems to us like an avoidance of life.

But of course 'death' for Egyptians was a completely different thing - it was the Dwat (also spelled Duat) which was the origin of everything, as well as the terminus of everything. It was the realm of the unseen - of essences, spirits, gods, the sleeping soul - the residence of those who had 'died' and those yet to be born.

The Dwat was reality - more real than this world: knowledge of the Dwat was power.

So, by modern standards, Ancient Egyptian 'death' was more like our idea of 'real life'. How utterly misleading to assume that death-then was like death-now.

It is not surprising that modern people avoid thinking and talking about death - modern death is a fact with implications; but really it is of little interest.

In a smaller way, the same applies to that foretaste of death - sleep. Modern Western culture is less interested in sleep than any other culture I have ever heard of; and this is utterly unsurprising since we regard sleep purely negatively. Lack of sleep can make us feel bad, and function badly - but aside from this biological 'need', sleep is of no interest.

We nowadays regard dreams as meaningless epiphenomena - or, at most, diagnostic signs of some kind of personal mental ailment. (Most of the sleep researchers have been psychiatrists!) A few people are interested in lucid dreams - but only as a kind of thrill - a private movie theatre, as it were.

But past societies (and modern non-Western societies) believed that all sorts of extremely interesting and important things happened during sleep.

We might get messages or revelations from the divine, or might spiritually travel to other places or other realities - there to have experiences impossible during waking times. Most societies have believed in prophetic dreams (indeed, unofficial folk culture still does - even in the West).

Indeed, it has not been unusual for people to regard the world of sleep as more real and more important than the waking world. There have been 'sleep specialists' - such as some types of shamans - in some societies.

So, the unimportance and uninteresting nature of death and sleep to moderns is unsurprising, given what we think they are.

And thereby modern culture has eliminated the significance of most of human life - eliminated the positive and unique value of 1/3 of our mortal existence; eliminated the significance of those who have died and our lives after deaths; eliminated the importance of the unseen and invisible.

And - having performed this hatchet job of destruction against most of existence and reality - modern people then complain that their lives are shallow and meaningless!

Monday, 14 December 2015

Reconceptualizing group selection using Luhmann's theory of complex systems

Human group selection and complex-systems theory

Music for Christmas/ not Christmas music - Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush (feat Ian Bairnston electric guitar)

So much to love about this - one of the best singles ever released.

Kate Bush's 'mad' vocals; a mesmerising and unique harmonic progression throughout - made clear by an exceptionally fine bass guitar part; plus of course the legendary electric guitar solo from Ian Bairnston which comes in from about three minutes - at first just hanging there, as a single sustained note, then developing into a truly inspired, lyrical and ecstatic solo (some of the best of which is reserved for the fade-out - to catch which you will need to turn the speakers up to 11).

Satan's grievance - or, giving the Devil his due

My understanding is that - however unwise - it is not irrational to reject salvation.

Damnation is a rejection of The Good, and a rejection of the possibility of Good; especially in the sense that damnation is ultimate and isolated subjectivism.

My understanding of Satan's grievance is that he was made a Son of God without his consent; and became conscious to find himself in a world in which all Goodness, all meaning, purpose and all possible relationships are God's creation and therefore operate in accordance with God's rule and plans.

There is no other world - except the world of chaos (outwith creation) and the world of the ego, which has some residue to the primordial, non-conscious entity from-which God made Satan his child.

My (Mormon metaphysical) understanding is that God the Father found himself as the only conscious intelligence among many primordial unconscious intelligences - and God's primal decision was to make us, these unconscious intelligences, His Children; and making us His children was (from Man's perspective) His primal act

(I am leaving aside the role of Heavenly Mother in this, for simplicity and also because I am unsure of it - but naturally She was vital in the generation of God's children.)

It is important to recognise that this primal act was, necessarily, done without our consent - because we were not capable of consent until after we had become children of God. Furthermore, God's motivation in making us his children is open to interpretation: there are those of us who know that it was done from love, and for our progression and elevation to a fully-divine status such as has been achieved by Jesus Christ, and may be achieved by others.

But there are others - Satan is one - who resent being made children of God, resent being presented with a fait accompli of an ordered universe; and who believe that God made us His children from selfish, not loving, motives - perhaps that He created us to serve and worship Him - as creatures to Lord it over, to Boss about, that we were created as inferiors to make God feel important... that kind of interpretation. 

Satan is intelligent enough to know that by rejecting God's Goodness, he has rejected all possibility of Goodness; by rejecting God's order - meaning, purpose, plan - he is rejecting all possibility of order; by rejecting God's family, he is rejecting all possible relationships and choosing ultimate, existential isolation...

But this knowledge does not lead Satan to repentance, nor even to sadness; but instead to greater hatred of God and resentment of his own predicament.

Thus far Satan's choice is a choice to reject salvation, Goodness and relationships - but thus far Satan would be the main person to suffer (although God clearly grieves deeply at the loss of a loved Son, the ultimate rejection by a loved Son). Thus far, Satan's choices are mainly a matter for sorrow and sympathy.

But Satan went beyond this sad situation, to wish for others to make the same choice as himself - despite that Satan knows for sure that this choice can lead only to misery, loneliness, futility. And in doing this, Satan made the active choice of evil.

Satan's attaining of consolation and taking of pleasure from the contemplation of others being induced to choose misery, loneliness, futility... his attempt to achieve this outcome by dishonesty - by selection, distortion and outright lies...

It is this choice that makes Satan - and those others who have made his choices and who, more-or-less, serve him (or at least unite in opposition to God) - from a cause for pity into an evil that is abhorrent, and which must be fought and defeated.  

Sunday, 13 December 2015

What is behind the Climate Change/ Global Warming/ Carbon Dioxide stuff?

How can one even begin to articulate the sheer grandiose mass delusionality of 'world leaders' debating whether they will 'allow' the global temperature to rise by 1.5 or 2.0 degrees!

The plain fact is that there is zero evidence that anybody can predict future climate - indeed the Climate Scientists have not even tried (instead they have focused 100 percent on 'predicting' past climate changes - and do an appalling job even of that - as is inevitable when they are not truthful, and not even trying to be truthful).

But as for the idea of controlling future climate to within 0.5 degrees Celcius... Well, this beggars belief.

Either they truly are insane, or are stupid to a degree unequalled in history, or they are pursuing an entirely different agenda and merely using global warming talk/ legislation as an excuse for doing something/s else.

I personally think there is a mixture or all these factors - but that the unrelenting, delusional, evidence-resistant focus on this particular topic for more than a generation (in a world where the news headlines change by the hour, and nearly everything goes down the memory hole; and no managers stick to anything for very long but are blown about like weather vanes) means there is a very strong strategic thrust behind the CO2/ climate agenda.

In a nutshell, I infer that the Global Warming insanity is a vital part of the New Leftist agenda (perhaps the major plank in addition to the sexual revolution) - and that Satan must (ultimately) be behind it: because it seems necessary to posit immortal purposive evil as the explanation for how many of the butterfly-minds and woodentop-heads of world politics have all been kept pointed for so long in the same direction; and marshalled in pursuit of policies bespoke-tailored for rationalizing totalitarian self-destruction of The West.

Alliance (and a response to the accusation of wishful thinking)

We should regard ourselves as being, as we actually are, in an alliance with God.

The plan was God's; we agreed to it and volunteered for mortal life. God placed us; we choose, struggle, err, repent, strive.

God is our loving Father (loving and Father); and we can be aware that He is in control of our ultimate situation; and therefore will never place us in an impossible situation - but always we should feel in alliance with Him and look for the ways which He has provided for our education and growth towards divinity.

(We may place ourselves in an appalling position, it may seem impossible in terms of the choices and actions we have made - but it never is impossible: repentance is always efficacious, no matter how painful.)

Is this merely wishful thinking? Well, it is certainly something well worth wishing for! The true understanding of Life is indeed optimistic, positive, hope-full.

In our alliance with God we cooperate to live in this mortal world while firstly giving it full value, yet in the fullest possible awareness of its eternal context.

But, the method is by choices, striving, trial and error, and education by consequences - including suffering, requiring the recognition that it has some-times been self-inflicted. Life requires surviving without succumbing to either hatred or pride, or eroded by despair - but instead fuelled by love and courage underpinned by hope.

Actual life is not easy, and is not meant to be easy - so is this metaphysical model merely a product of wishful thinking?

Would not wishful thinking make life entirely easy, pleasant, comfortable, interesting - with guarantees? None of this is true of Christian theology - so if it was merely wishful thinking, then it makes a poor job of it.

No - this is realism: and the reality is (we realise with joy!) that mortal life is in its essence (not continuously nor necessarily by quantitative measure) optimistic and positive - ourselves and God:

We are in-it together, in alliance.

Saturday, 12 December 2015


Compensation is the universal rule of life - as Ralph Waldo Emerson intuited.

When worldly fellowship is lacking, God will ensure that we do not lack for other-worldly fellowship.

(On condition of our choices and effort, of our repentance and self-correction.)

The rise of fantasy literature, and indeed the whole positive side of the arts, sciences, mass media and modern communications is a part of this: almost all technology, despite its being overall and in intention destructive, but makes it possible to find compensatory good. 

The modern situation that creates the problem will (or some adjacent aspect will) create new possibilities of solution that are sufficient to the problem. 

So - as the social nature of society is subverted and suppressed, and collapses around us; we have a multitude of new communications with fellows emerging - to some extent even in this mortal world, but also in the other and invisible world - the imagination.

(Which is, of course, a real place with real and valid content!)

RW Emerson's essay Compensation 

Friday, 11 December 2015

We are not alone when we have formulated and embraced the task of spiritual progression (despite appearances)

Hope and courage may be sapped when an individual has worked-out what is going on in this world, has recognised God's plan for our salvation and progression towards divinity and begun to work toward it... and then finds himself (apparently) alone, isolated, without any visible means of support.

Yet, the difficulties of raising our level of consciousness, the obstacles in ourselves and from the world about us, are so great that the task is impossible to achieve alone.

So, the seeker and striver cries in his heart: where is my Fellowship of the Ring?

The answer is that although we are seldom part of any recognisable physical group of any significant size, strength and cohesion; we are indeed part of groups, indeed hierarchies of groups, at a spiritual and psychological level - can we but become aware of them.

Because help and guidance are necessary, they are provided; but (as always) they can only be given if they are accepted, and they will only be given on condition of our own voluntary efforts - otherwise help and guidance would prevent, rather than assist, our education and growth.

Thus, we will be put in touch with the most suitable group for our needs and our situation; and we will be shown the next step - and enabled to take it.

This help on condition of acceptance and effort can be termed Passive Help - and it is the main way that we are helped. Active Help is rare since it is only truly helpful when we lack responsibility or are unprepared and unable.

We are never alone, never without supervision, never without fellowship - however, we are not prevented from making mistakes (from 'burning our fingers'), nor from experiencing their consequences; especially with respect to pride. Pride is the major problem, so pride must recurrently be humbled - pride must again and again be brought to self-awareness with the possibility of repentance.

Only when we get past the false interpretations of pride can we see through to our real selves in our true relation to God.

How may we recognise the main group to which we belong? Not by a common vocation nor by proximity or frequency of meeting; but by a particular Quality of Attitude - it is by this that we stimulate and inform each other by indirect, even roundabout, means - often through what may seem to be coincidences but are in fact communications. This we mutually recognise.

It is not easy it is not meant to be easy - but the potential to discover and work in these psycho-spiritual groups is always possible and unobviously pervasive.

Paraphrased from the chapter The Problems - in A Geography of Consciousness by William Arkle (1974)
See also:

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Tolkien's tree immortalized by art

Preparing the ground for mass Christian revival in The West by the opening of individual hearts

The ground must be prepared before a (hoped for) religious leader can emerge - the mass of black birds that is modern man must be seeking a perch before they can find and roost-upon that bare winter tree which is modern Christianity: such that it suddenly appears to be standing in full leaf!

The main work to be done is in the hearts of Men - many, many Men - a faith grounded in prayer and personal reflection or meditation: an opening of the heart to God.

That opening is an acknowledgement God is real, a personage, loves us as individuals, and will communicate by any and all means possible.

(Recognising that we ourselves are the main barrier to God's communications - blocking and distorting in multiple ways.)

For a Great Awakening we must trust in God's power to find a path into each and every heart that is opened to Him; and nothing else is necessary to begin the process.

Joiners (Carpenters) do most of the work building a house

We have recently had a fairly large building project on our house - nearly four months of work. And I noticed again what I have seen before; which is that Joiners (Carpenters) do most of the work - they were first to come at the beginning and last to leave at the end of the project; and present on most days - also the Foreman was a Joiner.

This would probably be taken for granted by US readers, since their houses are often timber framed and visibly clad in wood - but British houses like mine are brick/ breeze block built, or sometimes stone faced; with a double-skinned wall having air circulating through it, to prevent problems from damp. 

The building of even just part of a house is a remarkably complex process of organising specialists, who mostly come - then go. There were men who made the foundations, bricklayers, roofers, the plumber, the electrician, plasterers, painters; and a specialist who laid the wooden floor. 

In a sense the work of the other specialist builders was more obvious than the Joiners - whose work was often hidden, or simple taken for granted - but clearly they were the spine around which all the other artisans fitted - which was presumably why the Foreman was a Joiner.

My interest is partly because my Father used to assist Joiners when he was young, as holiday work - he then became a woodwork teacher, later retraining as a dentist - eventually a Professor, Chair and Dean of the Edinburgh Dental School. He was often doing woodwork - especially making furniture - during my childhood. In extreme old age he retains a love of wood, especially fine joinery, and passed this appreciation (but not the aptitude) on to me in part; I can recognise several of the commoner type of wood, which most people can't - and appreciate workmanship - so I am pleased to know that this ancient craft retains such a central role in the building of modern houses.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Why have the hard-Left focused so strategically and relentlessly on Israel-'Palestine'?

I could never really take seriously the hard Left's continual focus on Israel-Palestine issues - why so crazily obsess about the travails and misdemeanours of a country the size and population of Scotland, in a sea of enemies? - until I was confronted with it on a regular basis in the context of serving on a trades union committee that had been thoroughly infiltrated by the Socialist Worker's Party.

(Yes, it really happened to me! Hard though it is to believe...)

Almost every meeting finished with us discussing an anti-Israel or pro-'Palestinian' agenda item. And these agenda items have never gone away, but crop-up recurrently wherever the Left has most influence.

Why has the Left chosen to make Israel a long-term, strategic, relentless, focus for propaganda and action? We can be sure that there must be a a very good reason - 'good' that is in terms of the Left's goals of subverting, destroying and ultimately inverting the Good.

Fist we need to note that the Left obsession began only in the mid 1960s and built up over the next decade. After Israel was formed the Left loved it - but early Israel was an idealistic secular socialist state. So part of the Left's hatred of Israel comes from Israel's abandonment of extreme Leftism.

But this is not enough to account for the sustained focus. The Left focuses on Israel because it is the Holocaust State, the refuge for the most famous victim group of modern times - and the modern view of the Holocaust was itself a post-60s (and Leftist) phenomenon.

The Left recognizes that to have succeeded (as they have) in confusing, subverting and finally inverting the moral status of Israel-specifically and above all others; represents an existential triumph of the first order.

The annihilation of Israel (which the Left hopes and plans for) would therefore be one of the greatest of all victories for evil - precisely because-of the symbolic role of Israel (which the Left itself helped to create).

But it is not the 'mere' annihilation of Israel that the Left craves - it is for that annihilation to be accepted, even celebrated - even, or especially, by the Jews themselves.

And that is the goal and reason for the Leftist obsession with Israel. 

And, yes - it is a very pure form of evil. Exactly.

Note: I do not propose to discuss the Israel-'Palestine' situation except to say that it really is not complicated - unless you want to make it complicated. At any rate it is no more complicated than anything else of its kind - and the fact that so many moder people deny that there are goodies and baddies, or invert them, is merely a sign of moral corruption. Also, I use 'Palestine' in quotes because the term is ambiguous - the Left talks of 'Palestine' partly as an existing, partly an aspirational nation state - but the Arab division of the former British Mandate was created at the same time as Israel and still exists - and is called Jordan. So Jordan already-is the nation state of Palestine.It may also be worth clarifying that my understanding is that the intelligence behind this whole strategy is Satan; and that the many evil humans involved are merely servants, dupes, idiots, pawns and mercenaries - who will themselves be next on the list when Satan has finished this work. 

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Christmas in Wales and the West Country - and Newcastle upon Tyne

A Child's Christmas in Wales - written and read by Dylan Thomas

Carol Singing - From Cider with Rosie, by Laurie Lee 

My own legendary carol singing came in 1979, when the six of us who shared a flat at college (two medical students, two lawyers, two music students - three of us tenors and three basses) plus, I suppose, some girl music students for the soprano and alto lines.

The singing would have been pretty good - we were all active in multiple choirs, and sang in four part harmony - probably David Willcocks arrangements.

This large-ish group went around to sing at only three houses: Emeritus Reader in Music Fred Hudson, current Reader Percy Lovell and then the Professor of music: Denis Matthews - concert pianist and scholar of Beethoven's sketch books...

That was the bit I most recall - sitting around his concert Steinway in a shadowy living room, sipping and nibbling something festive while 'Dennis' played and spoke. The bit I most remember - I think - was him extemporaneously playing Oh Little Town of Bethlehem with one hand, and some of Elgar's enigma variations with the other - and then triumphantly illustrating how Tiptoe through the Tulips might (tongue in cheek) be Elgar's mysterious and undiscovered theme...

Magical at the time, mythic in memory.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Group selection should not be seen as a last resort - but the best model for some situations (Also, how Globalization has weakened group selection of humans)

White Guilt - its nature and significance

There is a phenomenon that is very real, very strong, very resistant to fact - and yet very easily manipulated... that is sometimes called White Guilt in the US, or Liberal Guilt, or in the UK was more likely to be associated with being Upper Class, English and Socialist - but White Guilt is not a bad name, since it is essentially a matter of the guilt of The West: of the European peoples and their diaspora.

Is White Guilt justified? Well, obviously not in the way that the New Left - the Left of political correctness and diversity - say that it is justified - since that view is uninformed, dishonest, incoherent and actively evil.

But White Guilt is indeed justified in terms of the failure of Western Civilisation - when that failure is seen in terms of apostasy: in terms, that is, of abandonment of Christianity, and the adoption of secular, materialistic, and hedonistic goals (especially the sexual revolution, which puts subverted/ inverted sex and sexuality at the heart of the human condition).

In sum, White Guilt is caused by Leftism (that is, historically, anti-Christian, anti-religious anti-metaphysical in its origin and basis); which is consistent with the obvious fact that Leftists are most susceptible to White Guilt, and as societies have become more Leftist, they have become overwhelmed by White Guilt: have become paralysed, filled with self-hatred and a semi-covert wish for personal and cultural death.

So specific White Guilt is merely a specific instance of the general, legitimate and proper shame of those who have abandoned the proper and necessary centrality of Christianity to the West and who support further abandonment - and who implicitly (but against their explicit will) recognize that without a Christian rationale - more generally without a central religious basis - The West is necessarily an evil civilisation. 

White Guilt is not a problem, and was not a problem, among those whose civilisational goals are most deeply and genuinely rooted in Christianity.

Although; deep and rooted Christians will acknowledge that The West, as it now is and increasingly is becoming, does not deserve to survive and will not survive; such people demand repentance, and know that repentance is necessary, as the pre-requisite of continuation of The West: but this is not a matter of guilt, but a tragic matter of fact.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

What did Christ save us from? Discarnate unconsciousness (Hell = Sheol/ Hades + Insight)

Jesus Christ is known to have saved us - but what from?

From what the Ancient Hebrews of the Old Testament called Sheol (which is much the same a what the Ancient Greeks called Hades). And the descriptions of Sheol/ Hades are of a state of discarnate un-consciousness.

So - before Christ, when mortal Men died, they lost their bodies and their 'wits' - they become 'demented', lost self-awareness, lost the meaning and purpose of existence, lost all relationships with other Men and with God.

And this is what Christ saved us from - because after Christ Men are resurrected - that is they have restored and perfected bodies, and become again capable (indeed in an enhanced way) of consciousness: they have real relationships, their lives are self-aware with meaning and purpose.

Sheol/ Hades is the consequence of the death of an incarnate mortal. Yet (Mormons believe, and so do I) that before mortality we had a spiritual existence in which we were conscious souls, had relationships, meaning and purpose.

From this I infer that our incarnation as mortal Men was not merely our souls being given a body - but that the soul and body become one, interpenetrated - such that when the body dies, our souls are left incomplete - as described for Sheol/ Hades.

It was always a part of the plan that Jesus Christ would remedy this state (only the fully-divine Christ being incarnated, dying and Himself being resurrected could accomplish this) - and that Jesus would by his mystical work enable resurrection, and thereby restoration of our wholeness.

Why then did the advent of Christ also bring Hell - a place of tormented rather than 'demented' souls as in Sheol/ Hades?

Because Christ brought post-mortal awareness - we must choose to accept Christ's gift of resurrection and a post-mortal eternal life as Sons and Daughters of God, siblings of Christ - of working towards higher levels of our divinization. And to chose this entails to remain aware in the post-mortal state.

Therefore, Hell is Sheol/ Hades PLUS post-mortal awareness: Hell is Hades but ALSO to know Hades - to know that we chose Hades above Heaven and to experience meaninglessness, purposelessness and existential alone-ness.

(Approximately) Hell = Hades + Insight   

A predeliction for open and parallel fifths - another Christmas spirit piece: Malpas Wassail by The Watersons

Open-fifths, or bare-fifths are the chord made by an octave with just the fifth note in the middle - for example C-G-C. I developed a great liking for this - mainly because it created what I thought of as a 'medieval' sound - and partly because it is disliked by mainstream classical compositional theory yet seems quite natural to amateur/ folk composers.

I first knowingly came across it in a Steeleye Span song - The King - it was pointed out by my school music teacher:

The drones of a bagpipe or hurdy gurdy are (usually) open fifths. They create a space within which the melody moves. 

This led onto a special liking for the use of parallel open-fifths - when two parts move in-parallel a fifth apart; as used in the early parts of the Tallis Fantasia by Vaughan Williams (parallel fifths are usually regarded as incompetent part writing in classical music - and often they are!):

But my favourite was to use a bare fifth as the cadence - the final chord - of some kind of unaccompanied harmony - as with the middle of the chorus from Malpas Wassail by The Watersons - the bit where the tenor slides up onto the high falsetto top note - which I found, and still find, electrifying.

Indeed the practice of sliding ('portamento') between notes, and chords, with all its dissonances-in-passing, is a marvellous aspect of some vocal folk music:

Saturday, 5 December 2015

My blogging persona - honest yet radically incomplete

It seems that I may have misled some readers recently: I am not, in fact, in any kind of desperate psychological state - but I can see how that might have been the impression created.

My sincere thanks to those who have expressed sympathy and offered assistance.

Although I do not blog about it, because it is private; I am, perhaps more than anybody I know, a family man. My life is rooted, and much of my time every day is spent, in this close and loving environment - with school age children still at home. I have indeed been exceptionally fortunate.

The blog is my public face, and not the most important aspect of my being - it is written by a persona: honest (so far as it goes - although not completely and explicitly truth-full, because that is illegal and dangerous in Britain); and certainly not false, but it is radically and deliberately incomplete. 

So, inevitably, blog readers who know me only from blogging, probably do not know me in an holistic fashion; because the most important thing about my life does not get onto this blog.

Therefore, when the voice who writes this blog seems to be miserable and desperate; it is quite possible, indeed more than likely, that the man behind the voice is 'in a good place'.

Getting with the Christmas Spirit - Steeleye Span The Boar's Head Carol

This begins as a really wonderful bit of un-accommpanied singing by a line-up of Steeleye Span (not the one depicted) containing three of the premier vocalists of the British folk scene - Maddy Prior, Martin Carthy (providing a rock solid bass - sounding rather like a human Crumhorn); and John Kirkpatrick as tenor - not quite of the god-like status of Prior and Carthy, but probably the best-ever anglo-concertina/ melodeon player. 

Plus the excellent Tim Hart and Rick Kemp to make an exceptionally rich sound (I'm guessing the drummer Nigel Pegrum didn't sing).

But Kirkpatrick had a considerable gift for harmonization - and my assumption is that it was he who made the exceptionally varied and evolving vocal arrangement.

Anyway, this is one of those pieces that when I hear it 'the centuries roll back'.

Interestingly, I believe I was at the first public perfomance of this piece by the new Steeleye line-up of 1977 - somewhere (I have forgotten where) in rural mid-Somerset.

Friday, 4 December 2015

I'm dreaming of a Scheidt Christmas

I think you may agree that this music is a load of (Samuel) Scheidt (1587-1654)... but none the worse for that.

Countercurrents among Hedgehogs and Foxes


A classification of two polar types among 'dichter und denker', creative artists and intellectuals, has been described by Isaiah Berlin in term of Hedgehogs and Foxes - Hedgehogs who know one-thing and Foxes who know many-things; those who are systematic and those who are many-fold...

- Langland versus Chaucer, Dante versus Shakespeare, Heidegger versus Wittgenstein, Bach versus Beethoven, Hegel versus William James, Henry James versus Walter Scott... and so forth.

But people seldom self-identify either as having one one big idea or as having many unrelated ideas. Hedgehogs like to believe that they have many strings to their bows - and do not often notice that they are saying the same thing over and over again with variations.

Foxes, on the other hand, do not like to suppose that their various activities are 'randomly' unrelated - but like to claim that they are all facets of some central and unifying idea, some deep theme.

Thus biography most often tells of Hedgehogs who want to be, who clam to be Foxes - and vice versa (this was, indeed, the main theme of Isaiah Berlin's essay on the subject).

So perhaps this is the true division of poets and thinkers - into Hedgehogs who want to be Foxes, and Foxes who claim to be Hedgehogs?   

Myself? Well, I think of myself as a Fox - but no doubt there is one, or just a few, themes upon which I merely ring changes - and long term readers can probably see the same basic idea coming up again and again, thinly-disguised under various headings.

So maybe I am really a Hedgehog with pretentions of Foxitudosity?... 

Thursday, 3 December 2015

The end and death of politics and current affairs

Considering the considerable volume of sociopolitical punditry that I have emitted from my gob and pen over the years; maybe this is the resolution to go cold turkey by a hopeless junkie - but I have had enough of pointlessly pointing out the obvious; and now feel inclined simply to shut-up and suffer in silence (rather than rage-raging against the dying of the light).

The loop of spiritual rejection and consequence is well set as far as I can see in all directions; and there seems a general satisfaction at the prospect before us.

Of course there is some half-hearted denial of where self-hatred and nihilism will lead - but I intuit the intent of mass suicide (plus, maybe some mass humane killing) as a way to 'escape' the inevitable consequences of hedonic secular Leftism.

I intuit in the hearts of many, many Men a secret plan to die just as things begin to fall apart, and before personal suffering gets too bad - and with the smug assurance of having done the right thing.

This frame of mind lies far beyond reach of soi disant clever punditry, beyond reach of any conceivable earthly campaign. I am convinced that it is a snare, and counter productive, to engage.

The greatest act of faith is actually to have faith  - faith that right thoughts and attitudes and personal actions will be of the greatest possible value (given that all possibilities are contingent upon a multitude of autonomous individual choices).