Friday, 28 April 2017

Remembering Robert M Pirsig

Robert M Pirsig - author of one of my long-term favourite books Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, died a few days ago at the age of 88.

I first read ZAMM aged 17 - when I thought it probably contained The Answer to Life. It didn't - mostly because it rejected religion; and I was never able to use its ideas to achieve a viable set of assumptions. Nonetheless, it is a wise, powerful and beautiful book - certainly one of my 'best books of the twentieth century'.

Over the years, I published a couple of articles about ZAMM:

http://www.moq.org/forum/BruceCharlton/APhilosophicalNovel-ZenAndTheArtOfMotorcycleMaintenance.html

http://medicalhypotheses.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/electroshock-and-pirsig.html

The whole book can be found at:

http://projectavalon.net/forum4/showthread.php?9963-PDF-book-Zen-and-the-Art-of-Motorcycle-Maintenance-by-Robert-Pirsig

The audiobook version is excellent; and uses the same narrator - Michael Kramer - who reads Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan's epic fantasies...  Here's a bit of it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsUFwhi65ig


Q: How Important was The Inklings to its members? A: Variously...

http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/how-important-were-inklings-to-inklings.html

The lazy, sub-human passivity fantasy - but we need to be active, purposive, conscious and free

I find that a snare of spiritual and religious life is the desire to take an essentially passive role and be overwhelmed into assent.

The notion that if only we would stop resisting; then we would quite naturally and spontaneously be convinced and coerced into the proper frame of mind, perspective, way of behaviour.

The idea that a spiritual/ religious awakening/ rebirth - to be valid - ought to hit a mass of people like a tidal wave or a blast of electromagnetic radiation or a mind-warping, psychedelic drug - smashing us into some new mental conformation by main force, whether we like it or like-it-not...

But I am sure that all valid spiritual and religious change is agent - that is, it must come from our freedom, from our true-self thinking;not from animal instinct, nor from derangement or disease or devolution; and indeed I have become ever-more aware that the particular task of modern Man in the modern situation is actively, explicitly, deliberately and by choice to move forward along the line of full consciousness of phenomena.

Modern spiritual rebirth therefore cannot happen without each of us as individuals knowing that it has happened; furthermore it cannot happen unless we will it to happen, want it to happen, work for it to happen... perfectly consciously and explicitly.

The spiritual laziness and self-blinding and self-indulgence of modern Western Man knows no bounds! Yet if we wish to move forward, we must discard our passivity fantasy, our notion that only what is overwhelming and external is 'real' - and accept that we are destined and intended and supposed to be conscious agents - like God.

***

NOTE added: Many people believe that only if one is overwhelmed - emotionally, viscerally - is a conversion experience authentic. This seems to be the lesson of some conversion stories from earlier cultural eras - and it was the implicit basis of 1960s countercultural spirituality based on delirious altered states of consciousness (shamanism, drugs, sex etc).

Yet it is characteristic of modern culture that we distrust the validity of any such experience - and disbelieve (in practice) anything which is 'unconscious', 'instinctive', 'nonrational'.

(Despite two centuries of exhortations that our lives should be utterly 'natural', spontaneous, child-like, a restoration of original tribal spirituality... the cultural trend has been unrelebntingly in the opposite direction. We now live under micro-managerial totalitarianism with an all intrusive and pervasive and addictive mass media. A return to instinctive spirituality is just Not Going To Happen.)

This combination of assumptions has been a major reason why spirituality (and serious religion) has been driven utterly out from the domain of public discourse and to the fringes of life, to private subjectivity and 'lifestyle'.

It seems clear to me that for our time and place, spiritual experience must not be either/ or; either bureaucratic materialist rationality or unconscious instinct - but needs to be fully conscious and explicit while also being powerfully intuitive - hence convincing. This combination does not 'come naturally' which is why our spiritual future is one of deliberate purpose and choice... or else it won't happen.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Q: Why is it that secular people cannot understand the nature of The Left? A: They don't believe in demons

From Zippy Catholic "in fact liberalism is rationally incoherent, all the way down "
https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2017/04/25/finding-unity-in-a-pile-of-skulls

I regard this as a vital insight - at least it was for me; the opponents to the Left have wasted far too much time and energy - and have distracted themselves from their proper job - by trying and failing (repeatedly) to encapsulate the Left's essential positive doctrines; which don't exist, but mutate for expediency. 

The way to understand the Left is that it is oppositional.

But this is seldom understood. Why? Because what the Left ultimately opposes is Christianity: real Christianity and not the hollowed shell of the modern mainstream Christian churches (institutions that have as much to do with Christianity as colleges have to do with education, or the European Union legal system has to do with justice). 
 
And this carries the implication that the true (covert) leaders of the Left necessarily believe-in the reality of Christianity - otherwise they could not oppose it.

Yep - the Leftist leadership believe-in the supernatural reality of Christianity: believe it and reject it. 

This carries the further implication - utterly unacceptable and incomprehensible to secular people - that the Left cannot be understood unless you personally believe in the reality of demons - I mean supernatural, purposive, personified, active opponents of God's plan of salvation.

I'm afraid that it is necessary to believe in demons (immortal evil spirits) to account for the Left's strategic destructiveness extending over many human generations; and the cohesiveness of purpose behind so many persons and institutions - despite the inadeequacy of perceptible systems of coordination and control.

Those for whom demons are ridiculous nonsense - and who cannot ally themselves with God's plans - cannot understand and cannot genuinely oppose the Left.

This does not leave many people in the West who do genuinely oppose the Left - and this is a fact: albeit an regrettable one.


Tuesday, 25 April 2017

No more heroes anymore? Reflections on Colin Wilson's The Age of Defeat (1959)

http://albionawakening.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/heroes-and-heaven.html



From 21 April - somebody did something to this blog...

From 21 April, the traffic for this blog has suddenly and without precedent plummeted - halved from over 3000 to about 1500 daily views; and also the Google daily search listings for my name have halved.

(Indeed this trend of - deliberately - declining sensitivity for Google searches has been going on for more than a year.)

I've no idea what happened - but somebody, somewhere apparently doesn't like me - or people like me - or blogs... and some kind of new block or delisting or whatever is now/ was put in place.

Not surprising, nor unexpected; and anything which reduces Mass Media impact in this way is overall a trend to be valued -

But I thought this should be noted; and that a new (and probably self-destructive - hooray!) phase of strategically anti-Christian Leftism via escalated web control is probably, recently, underway.

Note: My personal hunch is that the reduction is due to fewer people viewing the old, archived blog posts - rather than a reduction in viewers of new posts, the numbers for which seem pretty much unchanged. Perhaps a new search engine algorithm has down-rated blog posts?

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Who was the genius behind the Hunter Gatherer concept? Implications for Christian 'traditionalists'

Sometime in - perhaps - the middle 1960s, some genius, somewhere came up with the concept of hunter-gatherers (aka nomadic foragers) as a way of distinguishing the original type of human society and its more recent homologues.

Before that time; all the non-literate, tribal, simple or primitive societies were jumbled together - including herders, gardeners, sedentary gatherers (like the Pacific Northwest Amerindians) and small-scale mobile agriculturalists.

But once that genius - whoever it was - had drawn a line around the hunter gatherers - all sorts of important aspects about human nature and prehistory became much clearer.

Since I discovered this distinction in the middle 1990s, I have been fascinated by the perspective it brings to the human condition. An early paper looked at economics and the sense of 'justice':

https://www.hedweb.com/bgcharlton/evolpsych.html

But later I became focused on the spiritual side:

https://www.hedweb.com/bgcharlton/meaning-of-life.html

I have since been aware that many or most people's ideas of 'traditional' human life refer to the agricultural and settled existence which emerged only from about 12,000 years ago in the Middle East, and much more recently in other parts of the world.

The implications for Christianity are particularly relevant - since Christianity only emerged after the development of agriculture - and indeed in the context of the Roman Empire. Many of the features of Christian churches have reflected these 'middling' type, complex agriculturally-based societies; yet Christianity is a universal religion.

Many Christians have assumed that organisational and social aspects of complex agricultural societies are intrinsic and necessary to Christianity - and indeed that Christian eternity is to be spent in some Heavenly version of a Roman city... but it seems implausible.

I think it is valuable to do the thought experiment of imagining Christianity in the context of a simple, nomadic, illiterate hunter gatherer society without economic specialisation. And since this was how humans began, it could be that it will also be how will humans end - and there seems to be an important sense that the hunter gatherer life is the one most people feel is the most natural and spontaneous way of living.

This idea seems more and more convincing to me at present - that human history (perhaps extending into life beyond biological death) will describe a vast circle from then back-to the hunter gatherer way of life; but that our return will be qualitatively different in a spiritual and psychological sense; because Men have evolved in their consciousness, and Mankind has evolved in its cumulative experience.

In the meantime, and in a world where all major institutions - including nearly all major churches (including those with roots in the Roman Empire and its descendents) - are subverted, inverted, and corrupting to the point that they are anti-Christian and pro-materialist in net efffect; I find it inspiring to suppose that Christianity's future may be in a form that would be possible and powerful for any kind of human grouping: even the smallest scale, illiterate, simple band of nomadic foragers...

Saturday, 22 April 2017

We modern Westerners are the Have Nots of the world and history...

http://www.jrganymede.com/2017/04/22/the-haves-and-the-have-nots

One implication is that, instead of feeling paralysed with guilt at our privilege; we need to be energised to identify, survive and fight the unprecedented levels of spiritual poverty which it has been our fortune to be born-into.

Friday, 21 April 2017

The disgusting triviality with which prosperity has been used - an 'Outsider's perspective

It was way back in my early teens - and probably as a consequence of reading Tolkien, plus my high regard for literature, music and architecture - that I recognised prosperity ought to be (is 'intended' to be) used for higher goals than the cyclical search for more material goods (status symbols), distraction and amusement.

For a while, I thought that this view would become general, and it really would happen... that people would wake-up to the possibilities of using the peace and prosperity of The West to pursue whatever might be regarded as higher goals...

I soaked myself in the writings of those who had - even since the 1700s, but mainly in the 1800s and onwards - advocated such a perspective. The basic, simple idea was that we should have 'enough' - then we should pursue the life of the mind. By the 1970s we certainly had enough...

As an atheist; my idea of the highest goal was actually the arts and science; to be some kind of creative artist or scientist seemed like the highest goal. I chose the professional path of science - but it took a long time for me to find a branch of it where I could feel a genuine sense of vocation; and in the mean time I had a second string in trying to excel in one or other of the arts (acting, singing, folk and R&B music; writing scripts, poetry, stories, criticism, philosophy...).

But - to my credit - I never for long (although it did happen in the early 2000s) fell-into the mainstream materialist nonsense that the goal of life ought to be more and more material stuff, more and more travel, more pleasures and distraction... I felt that it was obvious we ought to move beyond this.

I still do - and I continue to be amazed and disgusted that this basic, simple, obvious insight remains so rare - and that so many people are utterly uninterested in understanding the meaning and purpose of life, the idea that they ought to be discovering and pursuing whatever they suppose to be the highest goals.

Even among those who are not merely passive consumers; some people spent literally hours every single day on pursuing their own health/ beauty/ fitness with great effort and straining - and not even five minutes per month seriously and strenuously thinking and working on higher things.

For me - this is an alien world; and it always has been. Hardly anybody I have ever met thinks as I do - but it was a great inspiration to discover some fellow spirits through reading - this formed the staple activity of my mid teen years: communing with such spirits.

It wasn't until I was 19 years old that I saw the whole phenomenon set-out and analysed explicitly by Colin Wilson in his introduction to William Arkle's A Geography of Consciousness and CW's own first book from 1956: The Outsider.


Thursday, 20 April 2017

Why is resurrection necessary?

http://www.jrganymede.com/2017/04/20/the-necessity-of-resurrection

The coming British General Election - what I hope will happen...



Note: The (ironically-deployed!) painting above is The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by the Northumbrian painter John Martin (1759-1854)

Banging on-and-on about salvation but ignoring theosis

I think this may be counterproductive, overall, in the modern West.

Of course, salvation is the most essential - whereas theosis (spiritual progression, sanctification or deification - the becoming-more-divine while during mortal life) can seem like a sort of 'optional extra'; but that is not really the case, because one without the other leads to trouble.

Those of us who got beyond childhood must know what to do in our lives - and a purely salvation -orientated Christianity cannot tell us that. It is extraordinary how Christians know, on the one hand, that anybody may saved in a moment (by repentance and acceptance) - yet they also apparently assert that the whole of the rest of life is also about retaining, securing this salvation.

In fact the rest of life ought to be about becoming more divine - theosis.

But within theosis there is a large range of assertion - the Eastern Orthodox understand theosis mainly in terms of the primacy of the ascetic, monastic (or hermit) life; and how closely this can be approximated. Other traditions see theosis mainly in terms of Good Works of various types.

Furthermore, there is a tendency to regard theosis as a process of convergence upon a single template - all humans trying to become more like the great Saints or a specific Saint, or Christ - 'modelling' all human lives towards convergence upon what is known of the life of (say) Francis of Assisi or Jesus.

It depends what you suppose the ultimate purpose of creation to be. If you suppose that the creator wanted all humans to be the same-kind-of-perfect, like 'clones'; then theosis will indeed be a single model or pattern. Many Christians do understand Heaven to be a state in which all that is individual is discarded - included the sexes as well as whatever is distinctive about our ultimates selves...

- But, if you agree with the idea that God wants us each to develop towards being ultimately, a fully divine but utterly unique, and individual, and distinct son or daughter of God...

- Then you will need to regard your own theosis as (although, of course, constrained/ guided by the commandments and constraints of Christianity) ultimately an unique destiny which you, personally, must discover and develop.

This, is a worthy focus of a human life, no matter what is nature or length - a goal both in general and also in all particulars; a goal that is absolutely personal and also harmonious with the creation.


Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Prophecy and the future

Prophecy is not essentially about foretelling - it is really a matter of describing destinies and the consequences of refusing it. Because; when it comes to serious matters there are only two main choices - assent or refusal.

Prophecy is therefore a description of the destined path - and by 'destined' I mean the specific path that is a consequence of how the individual harmonises with the divine plan. This path may be functional and not precise: it may be that there are several functional possibilities that fulfil the divine plan and our own specific nature...

The threatening side of prophecy, the consequences (usually dire) of refusing the destined path, describes what will happen if.

Any timescale attached to prophecy is also functional - a depends on future acts of agency - so the only way that highly specific dates, times and places can be attached to prophecy is when there is a direct divine intervention scheduled - and there aren't may situations when that is appropriate from a functional perspective.

True prophecy provides understanding of what we ought to do - and what happens if we don't do it.

Monday, 17 April 2017

The end of Western institutions? What next?

Almost all large, powerful, high status Western social institutions (including churches) are now very corrupt indeed, and getting even worse. This means that they are not even trying to do what is supposed to be their function.

(Schools and colleges are not trying to educate, military and police not trying to defend, philosophy and science not trying to discover truth, law not trying to to be just, art not trying to create beauty etc.)

For those who have noticed this and acknowledged the near completeness of destruction - especially at the level of leadership and management, who are broadly as strategically-evil-as-they-can-get-away-with - the usual proposal is either radical reform of existing institutions; or their abolition and replacement with new and functional institutions.

But maybe this is the end. After all, this corruption has been proceeding unabated for several generations. Maybe institutions are just a phase in the evolution of human consciousness - and the best imaginable future is post-institutional...

Institutions are all deeply flawed by the way that the institution comes first and individual persons must be moulded (or mould themselves) to fit-into them - this is fundamentally unideal in a creation where each man and woman is unique and has an unique destiny.

It seems that the original human societies - of small nomadic tribes - lacked institutions, and were built around the relationships, dispositions, talents and motivations of the individuals who constituted them - and maybe that is how humans are ideally meant to be; and maybe institutions are a regrettable necessity imposed by coercion as a response to violence and want...

Maybe the destiny of Man (one way or another, by an easy-pleasant way potentially, but more likely a path of extreme suffering imposed by our evil choices) is to go beyond institutions; for the wheel to turn full circle and return to a pre-institutional non-organisation - but this time 'inhabited' by very different people...

Such could only happen after Men have become better; after Men have become spiritual Christians advanced in consciousness; but if (or when) this eventually happens, I would suppose that the future is non-institutional.

Meanwhile - Men are not better (but instead worse) and we cannot do without institutions, and they need to be as good as we can make them - and we must strive to be honest and demand honesty and reality from the actually-existing institutions.

But it may well be that they are on-the-way-out, and that institutions are no more than a stop-gap, and fundamentally unsaveable - and therefore institutions may never be revitalised.

It makes a difference, I think. 

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Simple explanations are always wrong, and so are complex explanations - but complex explanations are more misleading

This is a view I have always held about science - that the best explanations are so simple that there is the least danger of us accepting them as literal truth. By contrast complex explanations are wrong but more likely to mislead us into supposing that they are complete... having struggled to understand and remembering them, we may develop an excessive devotion to their literal truthfulness.

All explanations are partial - the best explanations are valid but imprecise: a blurred picture, as it were. The blurriness ought to be a constant reminder that the image is not the thing itself.

But most explanations are partial and biased and highly precise - such as the statistical models and measurements so beloved by bureaucrats and pseudo-scientists. They are like tiny, sharp pictures of tiny, broken pieces of reality - with an implicit denial that anything else in reality matters apart from a single tiny sharp picture of a detached fragment.

Because the partial fragment is sharply seen, it is - in practice, although denied in theory - regarded as the only thing known, the only thing of importance. This is normal and usual in recent generations in philosophy, science, in management... in all modern institutions; and indeed the legalism ('Phariseeism') of ancient religions is another expression of the same phenomenon.

(So much 'logic' - and mathematics as applied to actual situations - has exactly this falsehood; the units of reasoning are apparently precise but actual broken fragments of arbitrarily-defined real-world significance.) 

Instead, we can adopt a very simple idea of 'the whole thing' - with a clear accompanying comprehension that it is only a blurry and imprecise vision of totality, with exceptions.

So - in terms of the divine plan and the human conditions; all we need is a simple idea of the nature of the divine (loving, personal) and purpose (to raise us towards divinity) - and an expectations that exact personal individual specifics cannot be clearly defined for all individuals in any comprehensive overview description.

These must necessarily be sorted-out, as best we can, using that inner guidance system which is another factor described in the simple idea. 


[The idea behind this is that of understanding the human condition in relation to matters such as our original creation, being children of God, pre-mortal life, incarnation and the possibility of re-incarnation, death and resurrection, the qualities of eternal life, the levels of consciousness... Any possible schema we may make to describe the actual situation is open to the true criticism that it over-simple. And yet the proper answer is not to increase the complexity of the schema in response to every criticism, to cover every eventuality... but instead to accept that - since we are each individual and unique persons - each destiny and trajectory is also unique and individual - so any possible expressible schema is inadequate to cover all actual and possible eventualities. Reality is both coherent And extraordinarily various!]   

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Personal revelations of God the Father and Jesus Christ need to come before understanding spiritual reality (the Holy Ghost)

Plenty of people in the world - indeed, most people in the world, and virtually everyone who ever lived until the past several generations - believed in spirits; and indeed they believed in deity.

But, here and now things are more constrained. For one who believes in the reality and necessity of a spiritual destiny of Man and of each individual man and woman (you and me included) there is a necessary order in which we must attain knowledge; and this knowledge must be by personal revelation - by individual conviction.

Because, following on many decades of accelerating subversion and destruction of traditional, unreflective, 'automatic' spirituality - modern spirituality must be conscious, explicit and indeed personal, individual; addressed at the free agent which is our truest self.

So, in modern conditions we are inculcated with unbelief - and as a consequnce we are insane, lost and alienated; and this must be re-built, step-wise - since we cannot do everything all at once.

We must rebuild our fundamental, metaphysical assumptions - rebuild from foundations upward. 

The foundation is to begin with deity, with God - that reality is is neither random nor are we merely a product of rigid causes... we each need to know that reality is created, hence has meaning and purpose. This must be the first revelation, our first personal conviction.

Then we need to know that this deity is God, that he is a person, that we are children of God - and therefore each of us may individually have direct knowledge of God (because we are like him; being offspring, we are of the same ultimate nature).

The revelation of Christ is necessary if we are to know that our future is one of meaningful purpose, genuine relationship and ultimate happiness; because it is Christ's gift to provide us with eternal life and the possibility of spiritual development after death.

(Without Christ, our fate is, at bottom, a bleak one - and this was easily understood 2000 years ago. The question then was whether the claims of Jesus were true - if they were true, then to 'believe in' then was 'a no brainer' assuming that happiness was wanted. Nowadays, largely because of atheism - that is, unbelief in deity and creation - people reject Christianity because it often interferes with optimising short term happiness in mortal life. However, we cannot believe in Christ by simple tradition and common sense - now we must have a solid, personal revelation of his truth.)

And only after the convictions of God and Christ are in-place, can we truly believe (that is actually live-by) the reality of the spiritual world - the Holy Ghost, as it were.

Here and now, our understanding of a revelation of the reality of the spiritual world can only be in the context or framework of God and Christ.

At this point - one is fully a Christian. 

What then of a church?

Clearly, it is possible to be a Christian without believeing in the claims of any particular Church - but there are potentially (although not necessarily in practice) advantages to some Christian Churches - and it is likely that most Christians will at least explore the claims of the churches, of the various Christian denominations...

Each church asks different things before acknowledging belief - and many have different layers or levels of committment. But, since Christianity is ultimately a matter of the heart, the first step is again a personal revelation - that is, one may have a personal revelation of the truth of a particular church.

Only if this happens there is a further choice of whether to seek to join that church of which one has a personal revelation.

Thus - the process of being a Christian under modern conditions is much more individual and multi-layered than it used to be; it is much more conscious, explicit and a consequence of deliberate effort.

This is harder work and has more pitfalls than things used to be - but on the other hand, that is how things are - and we simply have-to work with it.

Also, such results are very solid at a personal level; and the nature of this kind of individually-validated faith is precisely what is required to be Christian in these end times or latter days; where we cannot any longer depend on social and institutional support.

(Rather; modern society and institutions - including most self-identified 'Christian' churches - are overwhelmingly against Goodness, against truth, and against us - and indeed, propagate an inverted various deadly brews of atheism, Christ-denial, and unspiritual materialism.)  




Friday, 7 April 2017

Destiny is freedom (agency) and Freedom is in thinking - not passivity, nor freedom of action

What are we aiming at in life? What is our destiny?

Well, part of it is freedom, which implies agency: acting from our-selves, and more exactly from our true selves rather than from false, superficial or merely habitual selves.

This is important, because it rules out a common fantasy - and a fantasy common to both secular and religious people who both often yearn to be overwhelmed, to passively be swept-up by life and bundled along in a state of fulfilment; without need (or possibility) of freedom, or of conscious agency. Such a situation as may be recalled from a (happy) childhood, or imagined for an earlier and simpler state of culture.

Yet this is both impossible and undesirable. Impossible because the dream has been there for generations, probably for centuries - and we are no further toward achieving it, although it would apparently be quite simple to do so. Undesirable because to return to full passivity in practice means intoxication or psychosis - and anything short of full passivity entails an awareness of falseness.

And undesirable too because of our destiny... but of course, that is something which each must ascertain for himself or herself.

But if we are not meant to be passive, and are instead meant to be active in living by agency and in freedom - it is important to recognise that this is primarily achieved in thinking. We may be, at times and in some situations, wholly-free in our thinking in a way that does not apply to our actions.

Actions are always constrained - but thinking may be free.

This primacy of thinking is hard for us to grasp and take seriously - but it seems to be correct. It is, however, not easy to do often or for sustained periods. Because freedom of thinking is only possible when we are thinking with our real, true and divine self - and that happens less nowadays than at any time in human history.

Why less now? Because of our wrong metaphysics and because of the unprecedented levels of mind-control, by which our thinking becomes merely part of vast and pervasive processing systems such as the mass media and the interlinked bureaucracies - our modern minds are often little more than conduits for externally-generated material...

So, thinking from the real self is a considerable challenge - yet if we do not do it, then we are not free - we are merely caused.


What state of consciousness are we aiming for? The metaphysics of everyday Life, the Universe and Everything

One of the blockages to metaphysical renewal is that people tend to want the wrong thing.

Plenty of folk dislike the deadness and meaninglessness and alienation imposed by the modern metaphysics - but what they instead want is a visionary world in which they see things like spirits, elves and auras; hear things like voices and celestial or fay music...

Alienated modern people want to be overwhelmed by meanings and beauties - to have all their objections swept aside by the senses - because (the idea goes) seeing is believing - and if not seeing then at least hearing.

But that vision of the world is behind us, and cannot be restored except in dreams, intoxication or psychosis - experiences which are seldom pleasant and never functional. And if discovering meaning, purpose and relation was as easy as that - it would already have happened.

What, then, awaits - what are we aiming for?

The result of a new metaphysics is apparent at the levels of thinking and knowing... In effect, we perceive the same things, but interpret them differently; or, we have the same sensations but notice and pay attention to very different aspects. We have the same spontaneous thoughts, but there is a large difference in which ones we take seriously and which ones we reject.

The fact is that what we suppose to be 'objective' sensations and perceptions are grossly over-rated and misunderstood by the mainstream modern metaphysics. We already know, from science as well as our own experiences, that what is perceived depends on our own attitudes and preconceptions - yet we persist in behaving as if sensations are the only reality.

Most modern people are made impatient, bored or annoyed by metaphysics - they prefer 'hard facts' and 'evidence' and 'reality' - even though anyone who thinks consecutively for five minutes knows that all of these depend upon the underlying and structuring assumptions - tat is, on metaphysics.

So, the answer - what we seek - is actually very simple indeed; yet opposed by a lifetime of bad habits and the falsehood is enforced by the vast and all-pervading, immersive mass of modern culture: the mass media, bureaucracy; and most of art, science, literature... even poetry.

We need a change of mind, a change of assumptions, a change of interpretations. Yet these interpretations are not arbitrary, nor are they susceptible to wishful thinking - to avoid alienation and despair we cannot instead just interpret the world however we want-to, the way that 'makes us happy' because then we would know we were trying to fool ourselves, and it wouldn't work...

Metaphysical change only works when we regard it as real - and that involves taking another step back. .


Thursday, 6 April 2017

Ahriman: the demon of bureaucracy

Whenever Ahriman sees a committee at work compiling statues, he is in his element! Point 1, Point 2, Point 3... First this will be done, then that; thirdly this member has these rights, fourthly that member ought to do such-and-such. The member would not dream, of course, of respecting these rights, nor doing what it says at all... But this part of it does not matter. The important thing is to compile the statutes and cultivate the Ahrimanic spirit.

Ahriman would like people to be active, but everything must be run along programmed lines. Everything should be forced into legal terms... Every morning, a person should (as it were) find a list lying on his bedspread telling him what to do throughout the day, and he should do it mechanically...

We do, of course, now and again see modern human beings rebelling against the work of Ahriman; grumbling about bureaucracy, which is absolutely Ahrimanic - complaining about the stereotyping of education and so on. But as a rule they only fall deeper into what they are trying to get away from.

The only thing that can lead us out from all this, is a complete change of attitude; a turning towards knowledge of the spirit, to the kind of thing that will once more fill our thinking with genuine spirituality - so that the living spirit can take hold of our whole being, and not merely our head.

From a lecture by Rudolf Steiner - 1921.
http://albionawakening.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/bureaucracy-and-ahrimanic-influence.html

A walk in the country: The metaphysics of Life, the Universe and Everything

The vital importance of metaphysics in everyday Life can be seen by considering a typical walk in the country - first from the perspective of mainstream modern metaphysics, then from how things ought to be.

How modern metaphysics demeans life

Imagine walking on a beautiful day through beautiful countryside - and how everything that is experienced is undermined by our typical modern metaphysical assumptions...

The sky is a glorious, electric blue... and I feel elated; until I reflect that this apparent blueness is some kind of perceptual illusion caused by the interaction of the earth's atmosphere with light from the sun.

The sun is warm, and very air feels soft between my fingers and I am at peace... until I reflect that 'really' the sun is merely a ball of incandescent gas, of terrifying temperature; and the softness of the air merely an effect of some specific combination of moisture and temperature acting on the nerve endings of my skin.

I feel filled with well being... until I recognise that this must merely be due to some combination of neurotransmitters and hormones, a product of ancestral evolution which was shaped merely by traits that led to reproductive success.

That magnificent beech tree, with its translucent green leaves outlined against the blue of the sky, seems like a wise companion to this walk... until I reflect that it is just a plant with no feelings; and the leaves are only that colour due to the chlorophyll which is used in photosynthesis.

That sandstone boulder has a remarkable shape, which seems significant... until I reflect that it is just a dead lump of inert unconscious matter - shaped randomly by the forces of wind and water...

You get the idea? Modern metaphysics works to destroy the validity and significance of our best and highest moments - reducing them to contingent, random or merely-causal effects; and reducing our own responses to similarly meaningless factors.

Our metaphysics is that everything that happens is either merely the inevitable cause of something equally meaningless that happened before; or some random and pointless event. The ideas of meaning, purpose and the notion that any of this has anything significant to do with me and my hopes is written off as a delusion - a delusion that may be explained only in similarly meaningless terms.

But suppose we had a better metaphysics? How might things look then?

A better metaphysics

I walk in the country and I know that everything I perceive, everything I think, has meaning - even when I do not know what that meaning is exactly; even when I cannot understand it ever - I know that there is meaning.

I know that the meaning has to do with a divine purpose - that this world around me is in fact a creation - not just a collection of arbitrary stuff.

I know that the divine purpose has the unity which comes from creation being the product of a personal God - what is more, a God like myself, a God of whom I am a child.

And that, because I am a child of God; I too share in divinity; and indeed share in some knowledge of God's nature and purposes - I know that I can know enough of these matters such that I can lead my life well.

What, then, of all the specifics I have mentioned above - sky, sun, warm air, physical sensations, tree and rock? I know that they have meaning, purpose and relevance... but what, exactly?

Well, I don't necessarily know their individual meaning and purposes, and especially I don't know exactly. But I do know in a general sense that they are all alive in some shape or form; all conscious in some way and degree; and that they are all potentially beings with whom I can have a personal relationship of some kind.

I know this because they are all creations; and all of creation has to do with myself specifically, as one of God's children generally - our fates are interwoven.

Instead of nothing having any meaning or purpose - everything has meaning and purpose and is in communication and in relation... even though this is almost-wholly mysterious I know this is true, and that specific knowledge on such matters is possible, at some point or in some circumstances nothing meaningful is unknowable; everything is potentially knowable, experience-able.

That - then - is the difference metaphysics can make: all the difference in the world.
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http://metaphysicsofeverydaylife.blogspot.co.uk