Saturday, 17 February 2018

Movie review: Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

(Four stars out of a possible five. No spoilers - but if you are already sure that intend to watch Blade Runner 2049, I would advise Not reading the following.)

The recent Blade Runner sequel will appeal to those who loved the 1981 original (I rate it as one of the very best movies ever) - indeed, the new Blade Runner is specifically for such people.

As such it is a worthy attempt, and has a lot of good stuff in it, and is worth watching - but the movie ultimately fails to satisfy.

Why? Well, to satisfy, either the screenplay would have needed to provide more, or else there would have to be one or more actors who was able to give the kind of inspired, uncanny, spontaneous and poetic performance that Rutger Haur provided in the original (and which - with a first rate film score and brilliant editing - made one of the great scenes in movie history).

The parts involving the evil genius just didn't 'work' - they needed something more, but instead they strove for meaning by sheer length of slow, close-up exposition and silent acting; and by repetitious elements (plus some gratuitous and unworthy use of reiterated 'pork-pie peril', presumably to try and compensate for this lack)...

The editing of Blade Runner 2049 was deficient throughout; and the flow and shape of key scenes was thus spoiled - and the narrative lost focus in the later part of the movie, moving towards the climax - consequently the film (running at about 2:45) is a good half-hour too long, and could probably be enhanced by re-cutting.

In sum, I was left unsatisfied - especially by the climactic scene, which was dramatically-botched.

Yet, Blade Runner 2049 is a high aspiring, and high quality movie - and I feel it will stay with me.

If World War II had been based-on The Lord of the Rings...

A first version of the following post appeared on my Notion Club Papers blog a couple of years ago, and proved popular among some people - including Fantasy author L Jagi Lamplighter. So I though I'd re-run it on this blog, lightly edited...

In his Foreword to the 1966 Second Edition of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien was at pains to emphasise that the book was Not an allegory: in particular it was not an allegory of the 1939-45 World War:

The real war does not resemble the legendary war in its process or its conclusion. If it had inspired or directed the development of the legend, then certainly the Ring would have been seized and used against Sauron; he would not have been annihilated but enslaved, and Barad-dûr would not have been destroyed but occupied. Saruman, failing to get possession of the Ring, would in the confusion and treacheries of the time have found in Mordor the missing links in his own researches into Ring-lore, and before long he would have made a Great Ring of his own with which to challenge the self-styled Ruler of Middle-earth. In that conflict both sides would have held hobbits in hatred and contempt: they would not long have survived even as slaves.

We could, inverting Tolkien's point, play with the idea of what would have happened in WW II if it had followed the lines of LotR...


The One Ring = The Atom Bomb

Sauron = Hitler
Mordor = Germany under National Socialism

Saruman = Stalin
Isengard = Moscow

The Free Peoples = USA and UK

The plot would focus on the destruction of the Atom Bomb (and implicitly all knowledge required to make it) by a small team of English patriots led by George Orwell, who infiltrate Germany and destroy the evil research establishment which is making the A-bomb.

The team are 'helped' by a slimy little creature called Mussolini, who gets them into the lab but intends to seize the death weapon for himself.

The climactic end would be the death of Mussolini; killed when the ready-for-use bomb prototype explodes in his face as he tries to steal it. A chain reaction speads through Nazi HQ and Hitler and his Nazi-Nazguls are caught in the conflagration, ending the National Socialist regime.

Orwell and his 'batman' servant Monty are airlifted from the blazing ruins at the last moment. 

Europe comes under the rule of the restored King Albrecht - the exiled Duke of Bavaria, and heir to the United States monarchy. He had been given the throne by popular acclaim during the course of the war, and is now ruling from his palace in Richmond, Virginia.

The Holy Roman Empire is thus restored. 

En route there would be the destruction of the Soviet Union, the restoration of the Tsar, and the exile of Stalin.

After Moscow is obliterated by enraged Finns wearing Mech suits; Stalin makes his way to England, where he is welcomed by the quisling Communist Prime Minister, Konni Zilliacus. Stalin swiftly invites foreign mercenaries, takes over in a secret coup, enslaves the native English and manages to pollute or destroy much of the countryside before Orwell and his English patriots return and raise a successful counter-revolution.

After the scouring of England, the defeated Stalin is stabbed by his creepy deputy Lavrentiy Beria - who is immediately executed by a mob of pitchfork-wielding rustics (despite Orwell's protests...).

England repudiates industrialisation, is demilitarised, sealed against immigration, and made into a clan-based dominion ruled by benign hereditary aristocrats - under the personal protection of King Albrecht.

Orwell, traumatised and made consumptive by his wartime experiences, sails West toward the sunset in a small boat and eventually arrives in... Ireland; where he ends his days peacefully as a subsistence crofter...

(No wonder Tolkien cordially disliked allegory, 'in all its manifestations'...)

Friday, 16 February 2018

Can evil be 'pure evil' - or is evil always a misguided desire to do good?

This is an old Christian debate - as, as usual, the answer depends on metaphysical assumptions.

There is a traditional and respectable Christian argument that there cannot be pure evil, because evil is essentially the lack or 'privation' of good. This (strange) conclusion arises from the metaphysical assumption that God created everything, from nothing (ex nihilo); and God is wholly good; therefore everything that is - is good in an ultimate sense.

By this account evil is a misguided good. An example would be Adolf Hitler, who seems (when committing his greatest atrocities) to have sincerely believed (most of the time, anyway) he was doing good according to his own ideas of good.

To go further, by this account evil is a kind of insanity. People are simply irrational to suppose that they can oppose God; because, as they themselves are wholly elements of God's creation, they have no basis for opposing God's creation.

Therefore - from such metaphysical assumptions - there cannot be 'pure evil'. 


However, the Mormon Christian metaphysics allows for real evil, 'pure evil' - evil for its own sake.

God created from pre-existent stuff; and men were, in some essence, co-eternal with God - therefore Men can genuinely oppose God's creation from that part of them that was not created by God.

From such assumptions (which I personally hold) it is therefore possible to do pure evil; by purely opposing God's creation without any attempt to aid creation or any created entity - indeed to attack creation at the cost of expending effort, and indeed at the cost of one's own happiness, health, and life.

By this account the purest evil is not really such epic and infamous inflictors of human suffering such as Hitler - but spitefulness, and related sins such as envy and resentment.

This is the infliction of harm for the sake of inflicting harm - a child breaking another child's beloved toy; an internet troll writing something intended to annoy or wound; someone who says or does things specifically in order to 'wind-up' another person; or a political leader who acts to induce spite, resentment and envy in the population. 

Thus pure evil is something of which many, indeed most, people are guilty. And the most evil public figures are not those who cause the most death and destruction - but those who systematically stir-up spite, resentment and envy.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

What did Feminism (etc) get right?

Feminism is a bad thing, and whatever the intention of the original advocates - the intentions of modern feminists are evil (as revealed by their actions).

But all successful evil contains Good else it cannot be at all persuasive; and feminism has been extremely successful. Therefore, it is unlikely and probably undesirable merely to undo it.

Furthermore, by my general understanding, feminism is a sub-branch of that Leftism which grew from the late 1700s in Britain as a bad response to the good (indeed divine) destiny represented by romanticism.

So, the case of feminism is a microcosm of the general problem that we are confronted by the insanity and evil of the anti-Christian atheist Left - but the only proffered alternative is a reactionary-traditionalist re-set to (pretty much) pre-modern conditions.

Notably, both alternatives will destroy modern, post-industrial revolution, civilisation - so that seems doomed from all perspectives.  However, if we consider the good impulse of romanticism - of which leftisms such as feminism are a perversion, I think we get the individual rebelling against the imposition of system.

The general sense of this argument is that Civilisation is an external system, and intrinsically oppressive - and this oppression was amplified by the industrial revolution. I mean that we seem to be expected to fit our-selves into The System - and this System also includes traditional religion; which regards the individual's primary duty as obedience to a prior set of beliefs, rules, practices etc.

Leftism was based on the promise that the traditional system could be replaced by a new system that would be built-around The Individual. A top-down system to impose individuality...! People ought to have noticed that this is self-contradictory - however they didn't and they still don't notice this.

If we know in our hearts that what we want is a life that 'serves' the individual, is built around and from the individual; the implication is of the abolition of politics, economics, law and so forth - these being in essence components of The System. Instead of being based on Organisation, life would need to be small scale and based on the family.

(We want Gemeinschaft and not Gesellschaft - to use the classification of Tonnies and Weber from a century ago.)

I keep coming-around to this same conclusion, from different directions and different arguments: the end of civilisation, a return to small-scale, familial tribalism - but this time by choice and in full self-consciousness and with spiritual Christian motivation: based on Direct Christianity.

I keep returning to the conviction that this is what will happen, that all other alternatives are closing-off or being rejected.

So, what did feminism get right? That each person is and ought to be known as an unique individual.

What did feminism miss out? That men and women are (ultimately, over an eternal timescale) distinct and complementary parts of the One Complete Human: Man - as a complete entity, which must be achieved and is not 'given' - is a man and a woman as an eternal loving dyad.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

The nature of historical Giants

My speculations are over at Albion Awakening.

An excerpt:

The original inhabitants of the island of Albion - or Merlin's Enclosure, as it was first called, Merlin being the presiding deity - were a race of Giants. Indeed, the name of Albion comes from their king.

When the island was first settled by normal-sized Men (Brutus the Trojan and his followers - great grandson of Aeneas) - it was necessary to defeat resident Giant population. Gogmagog was the most famous of these - apparently a small and weak example of the race. However, a remnant of Giants continued as an occasional menace for a very long time afterwards.

Giants crop-up in many historical, religious, legendary and mythical sources, from all over the world; so there is no good reason to doubt their reality - except that we don't seem to have any nowadays. Much the same applies to the races of elves/ fairies and to dwarves - there is ample evidence for their existence in earlier time; far more evidence than for most supposed facts of history.

But of course, that does not mean that Modern Man would be able to perceive Giants, fairies or dwarfs, even if they were present - since we are self-blinded to much of the primary reality of this world; and furthermore treat as dogmatically-real many things which are imperceptible and undetectable (except by long chains of insecure and labile inferences). 

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

For lovers of Wind in the Willows...

A delightful discussion by William Wildblood of the meeting of Rat and Mole with the God Pan, in the Piper at the Gates of Dawn chapter; over at Albion Awakening.

What is happening in dreams?

As I have said before, I don't think we have to, or are 'supposed to' remember dreams - at least not normally. But dream experiences affect us - they are remembered and make a difference to our behaviour.

This we can infer from those dreams that we do remember - we know that they have affected us, we know that they can alter our attitudes to people, places, events; our likes and dislikes, our apparently-spontaneous motivations...

Indeed, the effect of a dream may be most powerful when we do not recall the dream, and when therefore the influence it has can operate unchecked. Perhaps we specifically remember only those dreams that we do Not want to influence us; these dreams which we want to be able consciously to refute or resist in our awake life.

The basic experience of dreaming is that we leave the body and go somewhere else - the body remaining (pretty much) inert and insensible. Yet that place we go is accessed from-within. And that dream place is quite different in form and kind, from any place we experience in awake life.

In dreams the 'law of attraction' is seemingly at work. It seems that our emotions create the dream - it seems that our fears become manifest: we fear a tiger, then a tiger appears...

I regard this as an illusion. In reality the dreaming mind is attuned to the dream future.

This future-focus is at the cost of the dream past; which is continually dissolving behind us, slipping from our grasp. And it is the opposite of awake life - when we know the past (especially recent past) but not the future.

In a dream we live in the future; but in awake life we live in the past...

Consequently, in dreaming we lose the ability to think strategically (and make sense of the big picture) because we are thinking tactically: coping with the dream events are they arise, being aware of things that are just-about-to-happen...

(Is this the basic state of being a young child, or a paranoid psychotic with ideas of self-reference? Is it, indeed, the 'cause' of paranoia?)

So, the 'law of attraction' is Not because we 'attract' to us that which we expect; it is Not a matter of life conforming to our emotions...

Instead, it is that we know-in-advance what will happen; therefore our emotions respond to the future and prepare us for the future.

In dreams we already-know how we will choose, and what we will do. Because - for the future-orientated dream mind - we already-have chosen, we already-have done.

This is a negation of agency (free will) within the dream.

But the agency comes in the dream creation, our personal making of the dream, as we move-through the dream-world. Thus the dream comes-from-us - even though its components are given, and already-present in the dream world.

That is how we know the dream future; how we know in advance what will happen.

We comprehend our perspective on the dream world, and create-from-it our dream - by our agency - and according to what experiences we need, or would most benefit from.

The Christian dilemma: the failure-to-convince of the Trinitarian mantra

The Christology and Trinitarian disputes of the early Christian Church came from the clash of two irreconcilable desires of early church intellectuals, the theologians, who had been trained in pagan (Greek and Roman) metaphysical philosophy.

First, they wanted to be able to state that there was one God - because they had a prior commitment to philosophical arguments that led to the inference of one God as the basis of unity and coherence in reality; and secondly, they wanted to be able to state that Jesus was God.

Jesus was God, so there were at least two gods; but there could only be one God - for philosophical reasons, based on pre-Christian assumptions.

In simple logic, one of these two sides ought to give-way - and for a Christian the obvious side that needed to give way was that there was only one god. Christ implies polytheism. But for a convinced Classical philosopher, this could not be true...

This is the Christian dilemma.

In other words, Christians actually are, and ought to be, regarded as poly-theists - as Jews and Muslims have always correctly asserted! Christian polytheism was the position reached by Mormonism some 1800 years later.

Mormon theology is simple, clear, coherent, and honest (and beautiful) - and it is Christian: Christ-centred and based on the divinity of Christ.

Thus, Mormons (eventually...) solved the Christian dilemma by holding-fast to the divinity of Christ, and chucking-out monotheism.

In doing so, the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith created the first explicitly pluralistic metaphysical philosophy - a couple of generations before it was set down academically by his fellow American William James.

But the early Christian intellectuals were, apparently, as much psychologically-wedded to the truth of philosophical monotheism as they were committed to belief in the divinity of Christ. They demanded to fit the divinity of Christ into the pre-existing pagan philosophical scheme. Yet this cannot be made to make sense...

So these early theologians eventually devised a none-sensical mish-mash of words, to assert that there was only one God and that Jesus was God.

Both-together and ignoring-contradictions.

In such wise they 'solved' the Christian dilemma by denying that there was a contradiction. The dilemma was 'solved' by (complexly, not simply) denying there ever had been a dilemma...

They devised a 'mantra' - a form of words (the Athanasian Creed), and then insisted that all Christians would assert this form-of-words (or, later and elsewhere, something analogous) as the core truth of the faith. To the extent that many/ most Christians describe themselves primarily as Trinitarians!

The mantra was strictly nonsense; but the nonsense was relabelled mystery, or a higher truth beyond common sense and logic - and that has been the situation in mainstream Christianity ever since.

Well this is what happened - but did it work?

It 'worked' within the Christian churchs, mostly; by sociologically-solving the particularly vicious Christological disputes among the intellectual leadership within the Christian churches. Those who remained, agreed-to-agree on the validity of the mantra.

But what of the wider world? Did the Trinitarian mantra convince ordinary people, non-intellectuals, those without a stake in the hierarchy? If Mormons eventually took the simple-coherent polytheist-path to solve the Christian dilemma; what about the the simple-coherent monotheist path? Did anybody reject the Trinitarian mantra and take the monotheist path?

Well, it seems that nobody knows the exact historical details - but my assumption is that Islam was the actual monotheist solution to the problem of the Christian dilemma. In Islam the oneness of God was retained, at the cost of the divinity of Christ; who instead became regarded as a great prophet.

Simple, clear, coherent, and honest.

But, obviously, not Christian.

The rapid and permanent rise of Islam seems to show the deep and intractable failure of the Trinitarian mantra - and how vital it is that the basic explanation at the core of a religion makes straightforward common-sense.

There is no more powerful a critique against the fundamental error in building Christianity on meaningless metaphysics and evasive theology than the rise and success of Islam. Islam is the failure of the Trinitarian mantra: Islam is the consequence of trying to evade the Christian dilemma.

The above analysis is one (but not the only) reason why I am a believer in Mormon Christian metaphysics and theology.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Good Vibrations? High Frequencies?

It is common in spiritual writing over the past decades to discuss the raising of consciousness, the evolution of Man towards divinity, in terms of a higher Vibrational state, or high Frequency communications. This is done by many authors and thinkers - including some that I greatly respect (such as William Arkle).

It goes along with several other physics derived terms used in spiritual discussion - Energy is one popular one (especially in Alternative Healing) and of course Light - which is used often in the Bible...

There is a question of the extent to which these are intended to be literal or metaphorical. However, the work of Owen Barfield on the development of language tells us that this literal versus metaphorical distinction may be an artefact of modernity - and not an aspect of reality.

Reality may be, and probably usually-is, both literal and metaphorical; in the sense that literal factuality does not capture the 'symbolism' or meaning of facts, while the symbolism tends to discount or ignore the question of factuality.

So, I recall reading in the Russian Orthodox literature about light emanating from Saints being both literal and symbolic. My understanding is that such glowing could, in principle, be photographed or filmed - and was, in that sense, 'objective'. On the other hand, demons may, it was said, appear in the guise of brightly-glowing angels... so light is not 'evidence' of Goodness.

The question about Frequency/ Vibration is whether there is supposed to be a literal, factual aspect to the description; is high frequency consciousness something that might, in principle, be measurable by a device? Some New Age thinkers clearly suppose so.

But the perspective of Barfield and Rudolf Steiner was that objective phenomena are always and inevitably known via consciousness; and when consciousness is different, what is objective is different. This would include physical records such as photographs, videos, readouts... in reality they are interpretable, know-able, only by human consciousness, and when human consciousness changes, so does our knowledge of such records.

(Perception is thus bound-up-with knowledge.)

In other words, there is no-such-thing as objectivity separable from human consciousness.

This suggests that there may in reality be something describable as a frequency or vibrational state of consciousness, and this attribute may be perceptible or even measurable in some states of consciousness but not others.

On the other hand, I question whether this physics-based way of describing and discussing life and consciousness has in fact been effective - whether this way of speaking and writing is a good idea? My objection is that it is abstract, in the sense of being the opposite of personal.

There is a major divide among those interested in religion ad spirituality between those who seek to escape persons and regard reality as abstract; and the opposite. In general, the movement through human history is to regard higher, more true religion as being abstract. Probably because we all start out, as young children, seeing the world as animated and conscious (everything significant as alive and purposive, motivated - everything as quasi-persons) - then growing-up and becoming intelligent and wise is seen as an incremental process of abstraction.

We mostly regard the abstract as real, useful, generalisable; the personal as childish, unintelligent, crazy... and indeed children, mentally handicapped and psychotic people are often and characteristically 'animistic' in their thinking. (Paranoia, in the technical sense of self-referential delusions, is the natural state of the naive human.) 

To discuss spirituality in terms of Vibrations, Frequency, Energy and Light are all ways of abstraction. Abstraction has been the trend for hundreds, even thousands, of years... And how is this abstraction working out, thus far?...

Well, abstraction is alienation, disconnection; it is to understand God as a series of attributes or properties, God's goals as akin to setting-up a machine, a computer, a force-field... a complex system. It is to see persons in terms of how they serve abstractions; virtues in terms of how we interact with a system; sins and vices as disruptions to our efficient functioning.

In sum, such language feeds an understanding of the universe as unalive and unfolding with inevitability and impartially... when, surely, as Christians we ought to be understanding reality in terms of persons, not the universe; in terms of personal aims, wants, needs, hopes... and of course love?

The recourse to physics concepts as a key metaphor or and the bottom-line factual-symbolic primary description of life, is a thing fraught with hazard; at least for the modern mind.

It is, at any rate, something I am working on noticing and expunging from my own thinking. The intent being to replace it with a conscious animism, an aware knowledge of reality as ultimately - factually-symbolically - consisting in living conscious Beings.

Such an animism is regarded as objective, meaning (as objective always does, in reality) shared perceptually between those of the same quality of consciousness. Those of a different quality of consciousness (such as the mass of modern people, and indeed the naive and child-like, would not and could not perceive this reality of reality-as-Beings.

That is to be expected....

(Note: Reality consists of Beings; including parts or components of Beings... Not everything in reality is a conscious Being in its own right; just as our right thumb, a lymphocyte in the blood, or a calcium ion in our nervous system are not individual Beings, in their own right. Yet everything not itself A Being, is part-of A Being.)

Sunday, 11 February 2018

The Christian challenge of modernity - not yet faced

If, as I said yesterday, it is correct that Christianity was bound-to an unsatisfactory (and pre-Christian) metaphysics at an early point in its history - what was the effect?

Well, clearly, for several times and places over the past 2000 years, there have been great, indeed superlative, individual Christians - and there have also been (much more rarely and temporarily) fine Christian societies (albeit of very small scale, by modern standards).

So it could be argued, from its 'fruits' or outcome, that the mainstream Christian metaphysics was true, because it has sometimes sustained good Christians, or that at least it it can't be bad enough actually to prevent someone being a good Christian. Or that Christian metaphysics is irrelevant - because the real thing about Christianity is not metaphysics...

It is quite true that the real thing about Christianity is not metaphysics - otherwise it would not be possible legitimately to discuss the two separately - but that does not make metaphysics irrelevant.

My understanding is that the wrong metaphysics did not matter as much in the past as it does now (and for the past couple of centuries) - although it did have adverse consequences in the long and bitter (and profoundly un-Christian) 'heresy' disputes, wars and persecutions concerning Christology and the Trinity.

The fact that modern Christian churches remain unable to acknowledge the basic wrongness of the early-centuries church reactions to the Monophysite, Arian, Pelagian etc disputes has become something like a fatal flaw at the heart of things. The whole way that these disputes in the early Christian centuries arose, were formulated and conducted is clear evidence of profound wrongness in the way that the Christian churches were set-up from the start...

Christianity was muddling on - sometimes overall-Good, many times Not, until its great challenge began to emerge at about the time of the industrial revolution in the later 1700s: the challenge of modernity.

My understanding is that the challenge was divine in origin - it was the unfolding of Man's destiny that was desired; it was the irresistible pressure to make a Christianity that was conscious, explicit and based in the individual's direct knowledge of God and thus the individual's agency: the individual's autonomous free will.

The impulse behind modernity was the developmental push towards Man becoming more like God, during mortal life.

However, this pressure did not, except in a few individual persons, lead to the God-desired change. Men did not understand the need to develop what I have termed Direct Christianity.

Instead, Western human agency split between reaction and radicalism: between a doubling-down on tradition and conservatism; versus a this-worldly materialist throwing-out of Christianity, and all acknowledgement of the reality of the spiritual, of purpose, of meaning.

Attempts to 'liberalise' metaphysically-unreformed Christianity became assimilated to the secular materialist ideology. Attempts to be spiritual but not Christian very rapidly assimilated to the secular materialist ideology.

Extremely few people apparently understood the need to be both Christian and spiritual, to be individualistic and Christian; to be guided by intuition - but as a tough inner conviction of Good and source of resistance to adverse social pressure - and not merely as an excuse for short term hedonism and careerist or status-seeking self-aggrandisement. 

We now know, 200 years later, that tradition-conservatism failed to prevail or even to defend itself - and the perspective of this-worldly materialism has triumphed in this world. God and the immaterial are excluded from the public realm - and increasingly from private thinking. And the Global monitoring-control system of bureaucracy and the mass media are successfully pursuing goals that are more obviously demonic with each passing year.

The large and powerful Christian churches are by now de facto assimilated into secular materialism and have become fake/ pseudo Christian - while covertly anti-Christian; meanwhile the various traditionalist-reactionary and really-Christian churches are wedded to an indefensible metaphysics, as they have been for up-to 1900 years.
(This secular materialism triumphant is 'Leftism' - understood to include all worldly-materialism including the fascism, national socialism, conservatives, Republicans, libertarians etc - as well as the entire self-identified Left. It is the ideology of the entire Global Establishment at its elite level.)

What modernity has done is to probe and probe at the metaphysical flaws and inconsistencies of mainstream historically-dominant Christianity; and because these metaphysical flaws are intractable (they are built-into the assumptions), and because the mainstream theologians are unable or unwilling even to acknowledge that metaphysics is separable from the Christian religion; the mainstream can only double-down on them, and hope that the lethal criticisms will eventually go away.

But whatever (apparently) happens, my understanding is that the deep problem remains that divine destiny, 'the challenge of modernity', has been refused.

We now know in our hearts that while most of modernity-triumphant is evil and evil-seeking; some of the original impulse towards modernity was valid and necessary for man's spiritual development. We know in our hearts that both available sides are wrong - Leftism is wrong and evil in motivation; traditionalist Christianity tries to do Good... but is crippled and poisoned by a kind of fundamental and chronic metaphysical dishonesty.

Since no group in the modern world is prepared to tackle this matter head-on and explicitly - and indeed it is possible that no actually existing group can do so - since in this time and place groups may exist to serve the individual in his spiritual development, rather than the other way around... Then the implication seems to be that each individual person needs to take-on this heavy responsibility for his own spiritual development and theosis.

Our great fortune is that we are children of God the creator of this world and he would not leave us bereft of help. What we need to do we can do.

This is not, and cannot be, a matter of replicating the strategies of an earlier era - building churches, ideologies - persuading via the spoken and written word - getting power and protection... If it is truly individual, and truly based upon direct knowledge of the spiritual and the divine - then we have nobody to 'persuade' of truth, except our-selves.


Saturday, 10 February 2018

We (including Christians) need to fix our (implicit) metaphysics

A big problem, perhaps The problem, is that we have an incoherent metaphysics - that is, our basic assumptions are incoherent; or, at least, if all metaphysics is incoherent to some extent, ours is incoherent where metaphysics are most needed, where incoherence does the most damage.

Of course nobody wants to talk about, let alone think about, metaphysics - and especially their own metaphysical assumptions. I know that for a fact, and I don't know what can be done about it - but I need to sort out these matters for myself, and writing helps...

Fundamentally, we think of Things in terms of static categories (like A Being, Love and Creation) - but we ought to think of Things in terms of dynamic 'processes' (like Be-ing, Love-ing and Create-ing). We need a metaphysics that some have called 'polarity' - but this has proved almost impossible to explain, at least I have thus far failed to make it clear - probably due to the tendency to begin the explanation by stating categories...

I agree with Owen Barfield and Rudolf Steiner (as I interpret them) that a vital aspect of the work of Jesus Christ was, in some poorly understood and ill-defined sense, to divide History between a passive, unconscious mode of being BC, and the advent of (what was intended to be) an active and conscious mode of being AD.

For example, BC the idea of a Good life was strict obedience to external laws, rules, rituals (static categories) - whereas Christ brought the ideal of conscious agency, personal discernment, and and loving - all of which are active, dynamic (or polarities, if you prefer).

But mainstream Christianity made an unfortunate error in trying to assimilate the Christian message - which was one of radical metaphysical change - to the pre-existing systems of Greek and Roman Philosophy; leading to intractable contradictions and confusions, lack of understanding and clarity.

For example, if you understand agency/ free will as a category or Thing done by A Being - they you can't make any sense of it. But if you understanding it as a process done by an entity whose essence is Be-ing... then its importance and nature become clearer (or, would do, if this whole way of thinking was more less alien, familiar).

The problem is that no matter what mainstream 'static' Christianity asserts - in matters such as the reality of agency, or the primacy of Love - its deep structure contradicts. Mainstream Christian metaphysics cannot help but see Love as a static thing, maybe like a force or like a feeling; but working by a sort of attraction between categorical persons - because it envisages a reality that is, in essence and reality, eternal, unchanging, perfectly perfect.

It can be expressed in terms of Time. Mainstream Christianity and the near universal metaphysics of modernity regards Time in a static way as identical with a moment. In the Hindu/ Buddhist version, this means that any moment is exactly like any other moment and a microcosm of eternity.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was one who brought this into the Western mainstream explicitly, with this idea of a moment as an epiphany of all; Life being (ideally) known to be a series of such epiphanic moments - each moment equivalent. Strictly, such a moment takes zero time, it 'out-of Time' - so there is an equivalence between eternity and the instant. The ultimate goal is a Nirvana in which all change ceases, bliss reigns, and the only awareness is of this fixed state of bliss.

Well, that is one way of looking at it - but the other, is that we continue living and the epiphanic total-moment gets swept into our past, and the best we can hope for is another such moment, and another... Life then has no direction or goal, it is merely a sequence of instants...

This has been combined with an atheistic utilitarianism (Life conceptualised as being hedonic; about maximising pleasure and minimising suffering) - and descended into the modern West as an implicit (unconscious, unexamined, unacknowledged) metaphysics of Life as a series of atomistic, disconnected moments.

Each Life moment 'ought to be' as gratifying as possible - and each moment is on the one hand infinitely important (like the international firestorm that follows the use of a politically-incorrect taboo word or hate-fact) - yet also each moment is utterly insignificant because it is superseded by other moments, and there is zero continuity between the moments.

This is the modern metaphysic: on the one hand; our life is going nowhere and has no meaning because it is merely a sequence of isolated moments; therefore nothing matters, things don't add up, death is merely a cessation to this arbitrary sequence. On the other hand; nothing can be or is more important than each moment, than This moment - and nothing should be allowed to stand in the way of alleviating momentary suffering or enabling and maximising momentary pleasure.

Most 'mainstream' Christians (in the main denominations) would acknowledge that the modern metaphysics is bad; but would not acknowledge that their own metaphysics shares exactly the same problems and is at-war-with Jesus's teaching and indeed cosmic effect on Man and Reality.

But I see this all the time, in contradictions, complexities and 'mysteries' that Christianity is obliged to introduce to distract from this deep problem. Of course the deep problem - the fundamental contradiction - is not solved; but people are typically sufficiently confused and distracted to assume that it has been solved.

When the problem is simple, yet the supposed answer is complex - people generally assume that the answer is true but they haven't really understood it. Or they may assume that their understanding of the problem was 'simplistic. However such a situation is basically-unsatisfactory and - over time - has been a weak point probed and exploited by those hostile to Christianity.

In sum, the Christian responses to the problems such Free Will the Problem of Pain/ existence of evil, the 'virtuous Pagan' problem - caused by the universality of Christ's message contrasted with the extreme geographical and temporal restriction of the scripture, the church and its personnel, or any specific denomination; the need for developmental-evolutionary change of Men (theosis) - the weakness of the answers strikes the outsider as evasive failures.

Mainstream Christianity has failed metaphysically to reconcile many key aspects of the implicit nature of Jesus's life and teaching with the explicit explanations of it. The resulting dissatisfaction has - overall - led to an incremental 'liberalism' that merely masks apostasy and has gradually subordinated Christianity to prevalent secular norms - which are themselves metaphysically even-less coherent than the flawed understanding of Christianity they presume to replace!

I see all this in terms of the working-out of error through time, in which early errors become every larger and more obvious in their incoherent and false consequences. Looking around the modern Western world at the mainstream secular hedonism and its religious including Christian alternative, I see nothing that gets-right what really needs to be got right at an explicit metaphysical level.

But knowing that there is something seriously wrong does not tell us what is wrong nor how to set it right...

My contention is that the surface wrongness lies very deep in the metaphysical assumptions, and that there is an alternative tradition of Christian metaphysics based in a developmental-evolutionary and dynamic state of assumptions - still lacking a lucid account - which, once habitual, either solves or dissolves these hitherto intractable problems.

This sounds awfully complex itself - but in fact the real Christian metaphysics can be expressed so simply that a child can comprehend it; because is the metaphysics of God's created Reality as composed entirely of living Beings.

(Including parts or components of beings - which is how many mineral entities can be understood; not whole Beings of themselves, but all parts of some living Being. e.g. A mountain may be a Being, a grain of soil probably is not.)

In brief, metaphysically we need to return to something very like the simple transforming animism of early childhood and early Man. Everything that is, is 'alive' and 'conscious' in the sense of being intrinsically dynamic, purposive, growing-destined - and related (by love-ing) to everything else created and to the creator.

On such a basis a Christian life may be led, and understood consciously, and pursued with agency.

Of course, even when metaphysics is coherent where it needs to be, the great challenges of mortal life remain - right metaphysics only gives us the correct starting-point and the understanding necessary to know that we have a purpose and it s nature. It is up to each of us to pursue that purpose, as it affects us each specifically and uniquely.

Friday, 9 February 2018

The modern loss of authority means that authority really has been lost

The loss of authority - which has been remarked on frequently as an aspect of modernity, especially since the nineteen sixties (and is, indeed, discussed in Pascal's Pensees from about 350 years ago) has proved to be an intractable thing.

There are many well-argued defences of the necessity and benefits of authority, but they seem ineffectual. And anyone who attempts to live under authority will rapidly discover that it has gone, is absent, cannot be found.

(Someone who tries to 'find' authority and then submit to it is, indeed, engaged in an essentially paradocical exercise.)

Yes, there is charisma, there is expertise, there is power (to bribe and harm), there is sheer, dazzling fame (a lot of that)... but these are all known to be arbitrary.

It seems that authority is one of those things that exists only unconsciously; and evaporates under explicitness.

This applies with particular force to the primary authority, which is religious authority.

Religion used to be based-on authority; but is no longer. In general, legalistic bureaucracy has replaced authority - not just in practice, but also in people's conceptualisations - they actually imagine and experience authority as bureaucratic, indeed they can't even think of authority in any other way.

So - let's say that in a public sense authority is gone, cannot be found anywhere in the modern world. And let's assume that once authority has gone, the state is permanent - that authority cannot consciously be created, that its erasure is a solid fact.

(The best hope of those who wish to restore authority and see no alternative to authority seems to be a kind of re-set in which humanity forgets everything... and then authority can spontaneously re-emerge so that it is again unconscious and understood/ felt as wholly natural.)

What should we then do? Clearly we cannot really live without guidance, and equally I think we can immediately intuit that any source of guidance other than the authoritative is not genuine guidance but either something arbitrarily imposed or else self-chosen - and therefore no real guidance at all!

I see this apparently irreversible disappearance of authority is one of those ways in which things are coming to a point in the modern world.

We are all being painted into a corner, a corner from-which we may either look for divine guidance from intuitive sources (direct knowledge by prayer and/or meditation); or else we have no guidance at all... and life becomes intractably arbitrary, purposeless and meaningless.

If authority is gone, really gone as it seems to be, then direct guidance from God is our only hope.

And, that being the case, and given the nature of our God, we can each of us be absolutely confident that sufficient guidance, objectively-valid guidance, from these inner sources will be forthcoming.


Thursday, 8 February 2018

My Bacon Number is 2 (via Pierce Brosnan...)

By the original criteria, my Bacon Number is infinite, since I have never acted in a movie; but inflation affects Bacon Numbers just as it does everything else - and the site now allows Bacon Number calculations for any medium featured on IMDB...