Thursday, 19 April 2018

Creativity and the family

Note: Perhaps William Arkle's greatest contribution to my Christian faith has been in the area of divine purpose, which is the subject of this essay

By understanding (through direct intuitive knowing) something of God's nature, purpose, and love - or, by hearing suggestions of such matters, and testing them ourselves by prayer and meditation - we are given The Key to this world. 

Another Key is the family; which (in its ideal form, readily extrapolated from our own experiences and yearnings) is a microcosm of the whole of reality. 

Here, then, is an except from the Divine Purpose essay by William Arkle: 

We realise that there are people who are able to conceive of this manifest universe as an outgrowth from some haphazard life which is fumbling its way by accidents from one thing to another. I cannot sustain such a theory since I am aware that the organisation of matter has to reach an extremely high degree indeed before life can even begin a fumbling of any sort. Our time and attention is too valuable to remain in, what are for me, such unproductive fields. We must observe all things, but not limit them to the tangible and the 'scientific', particularly when we realise that our own consciousness is neither tangible nor 'scientific'.

My observations lead me to a purposeful God, a living responsive creative source, whose motives we may begin to discover in the way of our own nature and environment are formulated. Many of these qualities have become so clear to me that I would like to bring them to your notice in a direct manner. To you, my propositions may well be faulty and insubstantial, but I will endeavour to place them before you in an order which seems to me to have some relevance.

Let me start with a simple thing. You will have noticed that those people among us whom we sense to have gone furthest in the development and expression of their nature have shown clearly that they attach greater importance to qualitative matters than quantitative ones. (By this I mean that they can be seen to be concerned to do one thing really well rather than many things less well. They are people who for instance, would rather write one good book than several indifferent ones, who would choose one deeply valuable friendship rather than many semi-friendships.)

They are also concerned to be strong, but not powerful, concerned to add value to life and other people, never to take it away. They try to fulfil themselves in such a manner that they also fulfil others. They appear to gain as much satisfaction from the quality of experience they can afford to others as they gain for themselves. They seem to share their life with others while at the same time drawing out the possibilities of those others. In a word they endeavour to make all things freshly 'new' and thus non-repetitive.

If we call this manifest universe creation, then these people want to be creative within it. They would appear to be the ones who achieve real friendship and who also add creatively to the life about them. They see the value in their creative living in terms of adding to the significance of life, but not in any form of cleverness which may well detract from the significance of life. So they do not seek to be important, yet they have a clear-cut hierarchy of values which would enable them to recognise the best things in people and the best people among things.

Such individuals, if they do influence people profoundly, take care not to do it through any form of power which over-rides the individual wishes of those people, for, more than any others, they value the uniqueness and autonomy of individuals. Every individual is valued as another unique polarity of life with whom an endless variety of expressions is possible. The loss of any individuality is an absolute loss to all living potential, and the diminishment of any individual (in respect of the deepest level of that person’s being) the greatest of tragedies.

Now I have been making this point because what I want to observe are principles which I feel can take us a long way into the understanding of the creative impulse. If we, out of our experience, follow human nature up to its highest expression we get well into the nature we expect belongs to that of the spring of creation. If we then combine with this the situation of the family group, we already have a good motive and a good method of achieving that motive.

The workings of the family group can be observed closely by us, and can be seen to be an excellent way of developing the potentiality of an individual in such a way that the child takes on the reality of its separate existence in a gradual way, and then is encouraged to stand alone.

In the proper family relationship the child is instinctively aware that the ties of childhood must be broken and then, ideally, replaced with an entirely voluntary friendship. I say ideally because it is quite rare for the full cycle of the family to be fulfilled, for this requires a number of mature attitudes which do not often arise. The parents have to be wise, and the child has to be wise, and so too few children succeed in becoming real friends with their parents, certainly in the deep sense of their true being.

I observe that the friendship of true being can arise in our world, but I also notice that so few people are able to demonstrate the characteristics of true being, that it does not arise very often. I must then say that the true friendship of true being is a rare phenomenon and we have much to learn about the nature of this relationship.

From The Great Gift, by William Arkle (1977). 

Why are the global elites getting so crazy-careless? - Are they afraid of something looming?

Maybe - as I argue here; but either way, it does provide more favourable conditions for a mass spiritual awakening: a real Christian revival.

Why The Owl Service is best: Ressentiment and Alan Garner

Alan Garner has often claimed to be motivated, as a writer, by anger - which he present as a righteous anger on behalf of others. But the sad reality is that he is all-too-often motivated by ressentiment: Nietzsche's term for a selfish, brooding, envy and spite - resentment, a kind of pride.

My conviction is that Garner began, all-but free of resentment - so in the first two books (Weirdstone of Brisingamen, Moon of Gomrath) it is absent. But it makes an appearance in Elidor as class consciousness - and, for me, significantly mars that book.

But with The Owl Service, which was written next - and perhaps because it is set in Wales rather than Garner's native Cheshire, giving distance - the ressentiment is taken-up into the story; and is overcome triumphantly in one of the best endings of any book, ever.

Consequently, the Owl Service is the summit of Garner's achievement - a 'perfect' (ie. unimproveable) book for older children to set alongside the greatest in that genre.

With Red Shift, the ressentiment returns in force, with endless brooding-on, depiction-of, the problems of a working class intellectual (i.e. Garner himself, or how he sees himself). And the pretentiousness of writing style (belated late modernism - of the Ezra Pound, Basil Bunting type) becomes solidified and inescapable.

His last novel, Boneland, ends with a categorical repudiation (to me, a betrayal) of the vision of his early novels - consigning them to a psychotherapeutic pseudo-reality.

After all, in the end - Garner's great gifts and vision and dedication and honesty are all overwhelmed by his lack of spiritual development - by his spiritual degeneration through adulthood. Since the writing is constrained by the man; how could it be otherwise?

Nobody - through a long life - not the genius artist - not anybody; can escape the malign consequences of rejecting God, of setting oneself against God...

The problem of fuzzy thinking...

...Is a common one for me. Indeed, I seldom seem to have a really clear head, except in the mornings - and even then not always.

It is a difficulty in concentrating, at one level - a tendency for thoughts to drift passively. More insidiously, the thoughts don't properly connect-up - one thought does not arise from another in a linear sequence, but they hop around - sparking and fizzling and doing nothing useful.

And yet, although dependent on external stimulation, I feel cut off from it. Because when thoughts are merely being-triggered, and don't amount to anything sustained, then one is (pretty much) stuck inside the buzzing confusion of the mind.

Of course, some extreme event or disaster will summon the energies - but that is just another version of passivity...

What I want is for thought to come from me, from the real me - and for that thinking to obliterate the gap between myself and everything else.

When this desired situation arises (or is, somehow, induced) then there is a sense of omniscience... not of 'knowing everything' but that everything being-thought is real. Everything I think IS.

This is to participate in creation, working from my own small but distinctive corner of creation.

It's rare; but that is what I am supposed to be learning to do.


Wednesday, 18 April 2018

What is the greatest imaginable gift?

Excerpted from The Great Gift (1977), by William Arkle:

If we achieve the ability to observe clearly from the ground where this imagination is free and relatively unconditioned we can begin to ask ourselves the question, "What is the greatest and most valuable gift I would like to be given?"

We should take a long time to delve into our whole private universe to come-up with the best possible answer. I think that the answer we would find we arrived at would be that the greatest and most valuable thing we could ever wish for is 'Ourself'.

We would find, I believe, that, when we had become satiated with all the immediately beautiful and delightful things that our imagination first of all thinks it would like, such as 'the heavenly life' with all the attributes of peace, beauty, serenity, love and bliss, then, and only then, might we begin to realise that there was something we might learn to value even more.

This deeper value, I feel, would be based on our realisation that we were not able to use and develop our independent creative and responsible faculties in such a heaven.

Now these independent creative responsibilities require all our integrity and effort to function properly because, if we look at them, we will discover that there is only one thing which they want to be engaged in, and that is the discovery and expression of 'the impossibly beautiful and valuable thing'.

Our real independent spirit is not truly interested in doing the possible beautiful things, although it does them as a proper part of its natural and responsible behaviour. This spirit is more truthfully always preparing to take a deep breath and try to do some wonderful thing that it can only aspire to and cannot already achieve.

This is a fact which stems from the truth of our Being which reflects the nature and attitude of the Creator.

I shall now turn the tables and say that, if we next use our independent imagination and put ourselves in the place of the Creator, there is nothing we will be able to come-up-with as a more worthwhile thing to create than a means of bringing into existence some other real independent beings with whom we could enter into creative living as friends and sharers of one another’s experience.

And then we can look at what we consider the nature of friendship to be, and find out why it becomes such an important part of our experience.

We have a deep desire to share our independent imaginative and creative living with other independent beings.

To bring an impossibly beautiful thing within the scope of our expression is a very desirable achievement, but to be able to share the values of the achievement with other independent sources of appreciation and valuation, such as another person who is your friend, is even more desirable.

We feel that to get the greatest benefit from our creative endeavours we must share the fruits of the endeavour with others.

From the essay Creative Friendship.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

On 'being musical'

I am a fair bit above-average in my 'musicality' although I've never performed any instrument to a significant level: that is, I hear what is going-on in music, and it affects me quite powerfully.

This is a plus when it comes to the appreciation of good music, well-performed - but is, under normal circumstances, more of a curse.

For example, a powerful memory of childhood (still with power to alter my mood) is the leaden misery of attending church; mainly due to the miserable hymns, miserably performed.

Even as a young child, I only liked a few hymns, and I only liked these when they were performed well - by which I meant with sincerity and dedication...

To hear bad hymns, or to hear any kind of hymn drearily intoned at about half the proper tempo and with a further rallentando at the end of each verse, and with an indeterminate-number-of-beats gap between verses... To hear a sluggish and rasping church organ, or fluting and over-articulating boys choir...

All this for me this was not-merely not-enjoyable, but actively unpleasant: a kind of moment-by-moment torment.

Even nowadays - music is seldom 'background' for me; in the sense that when I dislike it, it makes me feel worse.

In sum, I find it all-but impossible to ignore music; and since there is a lot more bad music than good, and a lot more bad performance than good; this does considerable net-harm to my mood.

People who don't really appreciate music, people whom music does not-much affect, will find this pretentious or feeble-minded; but so far as I can tell it is hard-wired - and I am stuck with it.

And, quite likely, it is an impulse towards my greater than usual desire for solitude: by avoiding other people, I avoid their music and the almost-inevitable depressive effect that has on me.


Monday, 16 April 2018

Dreaming Sleep and Death/ Hades/ Sheol

It strikes me that dreaming sleep (of the usual, broadly nightmarish or bewildering kind) is often like the 'underworld' death as envisaged by the Ancient Greeks (Hades) and Ancient Hebrews (Sheol) - that is a 'demented', passive state of very partial awareness - with perplexity as the dominant emotion.

In sleep; life happens-to-us and we strive, and fail, to make sense of it, and to cope with it. Our minds are porous and connected with the dream environment - we are like the 'gibbering ghosts' of the underworld.

In dreams the environment affects our mind - and our mind affects the environment in a reciprocal causality. We are acted-upon rather than acting: there is no freedom in a dream...

The gift of Jesus is to be born-again, to waken from this unending nightmare - awaken to resurrected eternal life - that is by incarnation to be separate from the environment and act to act in free agency from it; to be alert and conscious and creative in relation to the environment rather than swept-along passively, uncomprehendingly, in perpetual bewilderment.

Dreaming sleep is a temporary death - although modern Man assumes that death is a non-being much like deep sleep: unconsciousness and oblivion, rather than the underworld, nightmare state of dreaming sleep. But by dreaming sleep, of the nightmarish/ bizarre/ confusing/ helpless kind... we can know what it is we are being rescued-from.

Jesus came to rescue Man from the inevitability of the underworld nightmare of death - by resurrection; and with the offer of a gift of life eternal, which is a creative state of divine being.

(But death is necessary: to be reborn we must die; and death is bitter vinegar, as well as purifying hyssop.)

Centrality of the Holy Ghost (i.e. Jesus)

We are born as children of God, thus have within-us that which is divine.

As such we can recognise, we can know the Holy Ghost - which is divine.

Indeed, the Holy Ghost is Jesus Christ himself, which he sent after his ascension; as is expedient for us because the Holy Ghost is universal; available to all Men.

To believe in Jesus is the same as to trust, have faith in, and to love the Holy Ghost. (And vice versa.)

This, everyone and anyone can do - no matter what their personal circumstances.

Because all have a divine self, and all have access to the Holy Ghost.

And this is to be 'A Christian'. A real Christian.

(Even if when you have never heard of Christ; even if/ when Jesus is misidentified or misunderstood explicitly...)

Because what Men say, what Men teach is contingent and cannot be 'controlled' (even if God wished to control it).

What is needed must - in contrast - be certain, universal, immune to Men's wishes or abilities, and the uncertainties of circumstances.

What is needed must not depend upon prior knowledge.

And what is needed must be sufficient (even if it is not optimal).

Obviously so: Jesus loves us and is the creator and sustainer of this world; and he would surely not have left us with anything less?

*Why* do we need to know that the people who run the world are evil?

Not, I hasten to add, in order that they might therefore be stopped... That is a different matter of probabilities and choices involving multiple 'other people' as well as God's plans.

The real reason is essentially twofold - first that we be not misled; and secondly that if our discernment cannot detect the ruling evil, then we are ourselves deficient.

I mean that when a person cannot detect evil when they encounter evil; then there is something seriously wrong with them. Often this wrongness is self-inflicted (people do detect evil - at first, but over-ride their own alarm systems, ignore the evil - and end-up denying evil, hence serving evil).

But if we do not recognise the evil of the powers of the world, then they will divert us away from God and from Jesus Christ. In a thousand and more ways; evil powers will consume our attention, effort and time in thinking/ feeling/ doing things that are not what we ought to be doing.

Yet, knowing the evil of the powers of this world is only a beginning. It does not make us right, of course.

But it is - for most people - impossible to function as we should function in this world (which is, after all, a world in which a single, vast, linked, totalitarian bureaucracy and social manipulation system penetrates everywhere and into all human affairs) unless we understand that the world is against us: that what the world wants for us is the opposite of what God wants for us (including that the world wants us to deny the reality of God).

This is the flipside of economic/ political/ legal globalisation and the vast expansion of the mass/ social media... In the past people didn't need to know much about the nature of powers of the world (which were local and limited in scope, anyway). Now we pretty much have-to.

It used to be possible to be 'neutral' about the motives of the Big Powers and Top People, or at least to ignore the issue... But now we can only choose between regarding them as overall-Good, or net-evil.

And upon that decision may hinge our eternal destiny.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Falling out-of-love with cricket...

My earliest blog (that wasn't merely a repository) was about cricket - it was called The Doosra, and was somewhat focused on the question of how this method of bowling was being attempted by a new breed of offspin bowlers.

I came late to an enjoyment of cricket - it was the summer of 1992, the 18th June, second day of the Lord's Test Match - and I was listening to Test Match Special on the car radio as I drove back to Glasgow in Scotland (where I then lived) from an overnight stay in Kircudbricht. I think the only reason I was listening is that - in this rather remote part of Scotland, Radio 4 Long Wave was the only accessible channel, and that was broadcasting cricket...

My original interest was to discover what 'leg spinner' meant; and this proved surprisingly difficult! But after that my interest in cricket grew rapidly, and was mostly focused on the craft of spin bowling.

(I can't do it myself; and never have been able to bowl or throw without shoulder pain - even as a kid; so the interest was purely theoretical. Indeed, I was permanently put off playing cricket as soon as we were compelled to use a hard leather ball instead of a tennis ball, from about aged 10 - due to repeated finger injuries. Yet the fact that in India and Pakistan (especially) they uses a duct-taped tennis ball for cricket up to semi-professional level doesn't seem to have impaired their prowess one whit.)

Anyway, my love of cricket became integrated with daily life - and (as for many people) reached its peak in the famous 2005 Ashes (i.e. England versus Australia) series; then had a second peak when England won the beat Australia-at-home in 2010-11. 

When T20 (20 overs per side) cricket was invented, I at first enjoyed it a lot; although I immediately saw that the bowlers should be allowed five overs maximum, each, instead of the current four, if the game was to retain the proper balance.

But domestic franchise T20 cricket (led by the Indian Premier League; IPL) became a vast money spinner, as a monochrome slugfest of about 8 runs per over or more; while 50 overs-per-side one day cricket and 5-day test match cricket have dwindled.

Currently I find the IPL unwatchable - a huge, dull, fake; and test matches duller and more depressing with each series; and am only really engaged by good 50 over cricket in the context of a five match competition or the World Cup...

For me the decisive moment was the year the Doosra was banned - 2015. (Especially the banning of the world's premier spinner - the immaculate Saed Ajmal.)  It was banned (rather than modifying the laws of cricket to accommodate this delightful innovation, as had happened often in the history of the game) essentially because the batters found it too hard to deal with when trying to hit sixes, and it limited the colossal run totals in T20...

Anyway, I have fallen out of love with cricket. The essence of cricket is personality; and the longer forms of the game provided unmatched opportunity to see personality unfold in a competitive context. Cricket really could be a microcosm of Life. But with its commercialisation and simplification, that has ceased to be the case - and cricket players in context of actual matches have become almost as dull as tennis players, swimmers and cyclists; and nearly as thuggish and graceless as footballers...

Plus, political correctness has, and it took a long time, finally penetrated and permeated the heart of cricket; destroying truthfulness and integrity, and making everything beautiful into a political/ bureaucratic attitude - as it always does...

I still watch in hopes - and there are still highlights (the England versus New Zealand series recently was good, far better than The Ashes - although the 'crowds' watching were tiny). But the fact is that the love has dwindled, the magic has all-but gone. 

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Favourite poets of the twentieth century from the British Isles...

John Fitzgerald and I come up with two lists of our personal 'greats' but with zero overlap! John's choice of authors is modernist and 'epic'; mine, traditional and lyric.

Just goes to show the richness of choice...

It was ancient legalism that killed Jesus (as it kills all Goodness, now)

The following is edited from Lecture 5 of The Karma of Materialism (1917) by Rudolf Steiner and translated by Owen Barfield

It was also inevitable that an ahrimanic [i.e. Satanic-materialistic] code of law should be particularly in evidence and concentrated, so to speak, at one particular spot on the earth at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha [i.e. the death and resurrection of Jesus].

Such circumstances did not prevail everywhere, but in this one place the social structure was completely ahrimanic. 

Therefore the appearance of its very antithesis - the appearance of a God - was for this society the most hateful thing that could happen, it had to be eliminated...

Two things in particular brought about this social structure. First, the kind of thoughts that had evolved out of Judaic law, were so saturated with ahrimanic forces that by means of them there was no possibility of grasping the fact that a God could come so close to man as was the case of Christ Jesus. This was something Judaic law had of necessity to reject. 

Secondly, the Romans were also responsible for the death of Christ Jesus; they were a powerful and efficient force in establishing the external side of the social structure. One cannot imagine a more powerful example than the social structure created by Roman Imperialism, particularly at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha. Yet at the moment the Mystery of Golgotha is enacted, Pilate, the representative of the strongest earthly power, proves a weakling when faced with spiritual power. He is incapable of coming to any insight or to make any decision about what is to happen.

This phenomenon of satanic materialism is therefore connected with the Mystery of Golgotha... it took place at a time when mankind was least able to understand

In earlier times the advent of Christ would have been understood, but when it actually happened it was not understood.


Note: Rudolf Steiner's idea of 'Ahriman' is a demonic being/ set of beings - roughly similar to the concept of Satan is the character of The Devil - a demon whose distinctive tempting of Men is this-worldly materialism, legalism, denial of the reality of the spiritual; who works by-means-of procedures and laws, organisation and systems; and who typically works-via emotions such as fear, resentment and demotivation.

Clearly, the ahrimanic has been The rising ideology in The West since the modern era (post 1600s) and since about 1800 is now globally dominant in the form of the single-interlinked, expanding totalitarian bureaucracy.

Steiner's point is that the timing and placing of Christ's life was such that the reality of the Son of God could not be acknowledged by either of the dominant institutions.

The Jews could see no further than that Jesus transgressed The Law - that was the whole of their perspective (just like any typical modern official with her standard practices, or the PC Thought Police and their many and multiplying taboo words/ facts); the Romans regarded stability of their systematic regime as the priority; and Jesus as having provoked a dangerous, albeit irrational, response from the Jews.

Both Jews and Romans were blinkered to any genuine and significant spiritual realities; such that it was either impossible or irrelevant that Jesus might be exactly who-and-what he said he was. Contrary evidence was by definition false; all eye-witnesses were by definition fools or manipulators.

The 'obvious' and apparently unavoidable, conclusion for Jews and Romans alike was to 'eliminate the problem' - by killing Jesus.

So, despite that all the people involved in the death of Jesus had free will, and any of them could have chosen Not to kill him; in an era of established and accepted Ahrimanic dominance it was almost inevitable that Jesus would be killed by 'the authorities' one way or another, living in that place and at that time.

(And this was why the death by murder of Jesus could be fore-known, prophecied - despite the free will of Men.) 

The many lessons for today are obvious enough...

Friday, 13 April 2018

How these evil times brought me to Jesus

I think that if I had been born into less evil times, I probably would never have become a Christian.

The reason is that I have always had an ethic of truthfulness - that was what I tried hardest to live up to. And this was a reason why I studied science and became a scientist...

What if I had been just left-alone to get-on-with my science? - as the previous several generations had been 

- Well, then I would never have realised the incoherence of my convictions; I would never have become a Christian.

Thus the evil of the world, the increasing evil of the world, brought me to a point of clarity and choice that otherwise I might never have reached. 

Read the whole thing at Albion Awakening...

Atheism isn't the problem: A-Jesus-ism is the problem

Atheism is the disbelief in God, which really means the lack of 'faith' in God, which really means not trusting God...

Of course modern atheists actually deny any kind of deity whatsoever. But that is really just a symptom of a very temporo-spatially-restricted metaphysical incapacity - the inability or unwillingness to think-about first things.

From the Fourth Gospel (written by the Beloved Disciple often called John) it is clear that if we have Jesus, we have everything - and Jesus is with us each directly in the person of the Holy Ghost.

Jesus is what brings eternal life - Heavenly life as children of God destined to a similar quality of divinity as Jesus himself (if we want it); and it is Jesus in whom we must have the same trust as a loving child of loving parents. A trust based-upon direct personal knowledge, personal contact of a spiritual kind.

It's really very simple, and is there for the asking. But we must ask. This gift is not forced-upon us. Heaven is only for those who want to be there, who love to be there.

(Historical evidence suggests that such persons may be a minority, and perhaps a small minority. This self-exclusion is very sad indeed for those who love the self-excluders. They will be missed greatly, and the gap they leave cannot be filled. All we can do - but this would should do - is try to ensure that they make their decision based on truth about the nature of the gift.)

It is really very simple - terrifyingly so, in a sense... And of course it changes everything - just as being the loving child of loving parents changes everything by contrast with being a feral child, or the resentful child of coldly-exploitative parents.

It changes everything - forever.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

We are currently being driven towards a new form of consciousness, a new way of thinking

When Owen Barfield writes about 'the evolution of consciousness' - he is talking process that is driving human development.

Barfield is not, therefore, regarding consciousness is something which respond-to historical change; but the opposite. So, he is saying that it was a change in the consciousness of Western Man that drove the scientific revolution and 'materialism': first consciousness changed and then science arose...

And therefore Barfield is contradicting any idea that 'modern Man's different way of thinking is a product of the scientific revolution. He was also contradicting the idea that the change in consciousness was due to natural selection. Rather Barfield is stating that changes in consciousness have been driven-by the unfolding of a divine plan (or 'destiny') for Man.

(A plan/ destiny aiming, ultimately, at the divinisation or theosis of Man - Man becoming a god (or full Son of God, as the New Testament terms it), with a god-like way of thinking.)

The development of new forms of human thinking is something which has (again according to Barfield) happened several times in human history, and indeed prehistory. However, in the past the changes in consciousness were driven at an unconscious level and required only the passive acceptance of Men.

Currently (at least since the Romantic movement of the late 1700s), and for the first time, we are experiencing an unconscious drive towards a new kind of consciousness that will not happen unless and until it becomes conscious and chosen.

So, our current situation is that we are being driven 'instinctually' (unconsciously) towards a new consciousness / a new way of thinking. But for it actually to happen requires that we become 1. consciously, explicitly aware of what is going-on; 2. then accept this destined change, but; 3. not just accept it, because we need also to; 4. actively embrace and work-at creating this change in ourselves.

In sum; the modern situation is that we must each, personally, want-to ally our-selves with the destined change in thought and consciousness, and must make efforts to make these changes in our-selves.

Or... it will not happen; and because we cannot go-back to an earleir state of consciousness (any more than an adolescent can become an actual child again), we will remain 'stuck' in the current phase of alienated consciousness - the problems from which will continue to be cumulative.

So far, very few individuals have done this four stage process of theosis - and the great majority of people in the West remain entirely unconscious of what is going-on behind-the-scenes.

Nonetheless, at an unconscious level - the instinctive drive towards the next, and final (because divine) qualitative development of thinking continues; and leads to many undesirable outcomes.

My (no spoilers) mini-review of The Boss Baby (2017)

Can be found at Junior Ganymede.

The dead-eyed masses, the snake-eyed elites... more about the soul in the eyes

We should not complain about being excluded from the high levels of modern mainstream discourse - we should want an end to it, not to become complicit.

If someone does get-into a position of high status, power, fame; and remains there for more than a short time - it can easily be seen what happens to them: sooner rather than later they change (you can see it for yourself); they change from being one of the dead-eyed masses to one of the snake-eyed elite manipulators.

(Zombie to reptile...) 

To be elite is to be an active servant of evil, necessarily: because The System is evil.

(The System is a godless materialist bureaucracy, which means totalitarian, which means intrinsically and necessarily destructive of Good - of even the possibility of Good).

To make a wall in the mind between types of thinking is first to suppress and then to imprison the real (divine) self: this is to become a dead-eyed one.  

The light goes-out as the soul leaves the eyes.

The dead-eyed masses are, mentally, a loose collection of superficial selves - merely cognitive-processes: artificial, externally-driven, passive, unfree. The real self is gone, inaccessible - God-within-us has been imprisoned.

When the real self has-been walled-off, the eyes go dead. People are tools, not selves.

The snake-eyed ones are what our ancestors would have called 'demonically posessed' - that is, their real-divine self has not only been imprisoned, but replaced with demonic will.

Their eyes are not dead, but demonically-alive - snake-eyes: manipulative, lacking empathy; coldly enjoying only domination, deception, the destruction of beauty; the infliction of all types of suffering and (especially) of fear.

Sometimes a dead-eyed one will become 'useful enough' to become snake-eyed - the once dead eyes begin to glitter with calculating malice. This is promotion! This is to join the elites! The demon sits within, looking-out, gleeful at the situation.

To be dead-eyed is the norm among adults - although they can more-often be observed among teens, and even some younger children. It is the common response to the evil of the world - to ignore, cut-off, imprison the real self and develop a 'shell'. To do what 'works' instead of what we ought.

Only belief, faith, trust in the Holy Ghost is a defence - otherwise everybody succumbs, sooner or later.  Just look around...

But the soul may rekindle - this can only be done consciously, by choice, deliberately. And it can only be done with external help.

The opportunity of repentance and belief is always there, but we our-selves must grasp it; and to do so we must know it to be real and Good.

The soul may re-kindle, the real-self may break-free and activate; and the eyes may come-alive, may light-up with a glowing warmth!

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

The new/ return-to animism and anthropomorphism: clarifying the key concepts from Steiner and Barfield

For the past couple of years I have understood the essence of Rudolf Steiner and Owen Barfield in relation to thinking, and during that time I have striven to re-express these more simply in order to make them more widely known. But it has been hard to achieve this goal, and my estimate of my own success has not been great. 

For example the vital idea of 'polarity'. If you follow the previous link you will see some of my attempts at explicating polarity. However, I have come to realise that root problem relates to polarity being a metaphor derived from physics (i.e. from magnetism) - often with mathematical (e.g. geometric) aspects. And this makes it difficult to apply to the situation of human reality.

So Coleridge, for example, argued cogently and (to me) convincingly 200 years ago that we must have a logic based on polarity - but it is terribly difficult to grasp what he meant by this, and how we would go about such a change, and what positive difference it might make... William Blake seemed to express much the same conviction as Coleridge in some of his poems - especially the early aphorisms... but again it's a big jump from appreciating poetic 'paradoxes' to changing the structure of mainstream thinking.

But is, instead, we use biological metaphors and analogies to explain the same essential situation, then it is much more comprehensible. So, if we do our philosophy in terms of life, development, growth etc - then we find that we don't need a special concept of polarity. A living being generates contrasts and differences that can be distinguished (as we validly and usefully distinguish the several organs of a body, such as the heart); yet these distinctions are not separable (as we cannot separate the heart from the rest of the body, without killing both).

In fat, a thoroughgoing animism, or anthropomorphism, seems to be the best solution to many difficulties. And this has the added advantage of fitting with our own childhood experiences as well as the evolutionary-developmental-history of human consciousness. We can see that our task is to return to the simple, childlike animism and anthropomorphism - but this time not unconsciously and because we know no differently, but deliberately and in full awareness of what we are doing.  

In a sense; Coleridge, Steiner and Barfield all knew this and explicitly said this; but they did not follow-through with the task of ejecting physics and mathematics from their explanatory schemata and replacing them with the child-like way of thinking of reality as alive, conscious, purposive - and with the relations between entities understood as relationships between beings.

Or consider the way that Steiner and Barfield describe the evolution of consciousness through various stages - and the possible future of the Imaginative Soul/ Final Participation. We seem to see a mechanical universe going-through various phases towards a predetermined outcome (and Steiner, especially, attaches all kinds of mystical-numbers of years to these phases and the way they play out - with predictions stretching millennia into the future).

How much clearer it is to state that the evolution of consciousness happens because God wants it to happen and influences the world accordingly; but only insofar as each Man chooses (from his agency) to ally himself with God's plan. Man's destiny is therefore what God hopes will happen, it can be achieved only incrementally, but each individual must choose to cooperate; and might well choose to oppose.  

Animism and anthropomorphism are only 'childish' in a bad sense insofar as the child knows nothing different than them (and much the same applies to Men in simple, tribal hunter gatherer societies). Modern Man knows many different ways of thinking - especially the simplified-modelling of reality with mathematics and the sciences; and every model is partial and distorted and of ultimately unknowable generalisability... all of the explanations of mathematics and science are at bottom only simplified models that may, or may not, be useful for some specific purpose and situation.

Yet reality is as it always was. There is nothing childish about recognising that we were correct about the ultimate nature of reality when we were children and before Men had civilisations - after all nothing has ever disproved it!

God does not 'need' Man, but has a definite purpose in creating Man - from William Arkle

My own understanding is that the Creator, who is also God, is self sufficient in a sense. That is to imply that, although we need God, in every meaning of that term, God does not need us in the same way.

Against this we have to set the understanding that if God didn’t have a purpose which included us, no doubt He would not have gone to all this trouble of bringing us into existence. But to have a purpose in which we can play some part is quite a different thing from having an absolute need of us in the way that we have an absolute need of God.

In the way that a child needs its mother and father, we need God for sustenance and support of our own reality because our own reality rests upon the reality of God, and all our sustenance comes from that reality. But in quite a different way, I believe, our God wishes us to come to life, to come to a full expression of our potential, our Divine reality, and that must be for a purpose which is not essential to the Being of the Creator, but which may be essential to a particular longing and delight in the heart of the understanding of that Creator.

In simple words, I think that the Creator wishes to have other individual divine Beings who can be His friends with whom He can share the content of His own reality, with whom He can enter into conversation, understanding and discussion about possible experiments in living, in trying to go beyond the understanding that God has already, which to us, at our stage of development, seems infinite, but this is obviously only a relative term, and is not infinite to the Creator’s possible understanding.

Therefore we can suggest that it is within our understanding that the Creator wishes to go beyond His own highest qualities. It is not outside the bounds of possibility that this is a fact, and the Creator is aware of His desire, of His longing, not only to share His understanding with friends, but also to enter into life and living experiments with those friends, in such a way that their collective understanding can go beyond the qualities which the Creator has within His understanding already; qualities of beauty, of virtue, of character, which the Creator already knows about but which, in the depth of His spirit, He will never be satisfied to rest in.

An extract from the essay The Nature of God, from The Great Gift by William Arkle, 1977 

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

The completion of Romanticism and the Inklings

Owen Barfield's understanding of Romanticism as an uncompleted destiny is of primary importance to an integrated view of The Inklings. Barfield articulated this very clearly in Romanticism Comes of Age (1944) as well as subsequent books; but none of the other Inklings seems to have understood or been-persuaded-by the argument.

Read the whole thing at The Notion Club Papers: an Inklings blog...

Practical things to do that improve reality, forever

 From Henry Works by DB Johnson

How may we actually, in practice, assist in sustaining and developing the spirit of Albion; or anything else in this mortal life that we love?

In a nutshell; we do it by being fully here and fully conscious - such that my own thinking of that time, place and nature is woven-into the evolving web of creation.

More at Albion Awakening...