Saturday, 25 June 2016

The Secret People by GK Chesterton

Smile at us, pay us, pass us; but do not quite forget;
For we are the people of England, that never have spoken yet.
There is many a fat farmer that drinks less cheerfully,
There is many a free French peasant who is richer and sadder than we.
There are no folk in the whole world so helpless or so wise.
There is hunger in our bellies, there is laughter in our eyes;
You laugh at us and love us, both mugs and eyes are wet:
Only you do not know us. For we have not spoken yet.

The fine French kings came over in a flutter of flags and dames.
We liked their smiles and battles, but we never could say their names.
The blood ran red to Bosworth and the high French lords went down;
There was naught but a naked people under a naked crown.
And the eyes of the King’s Servants turned terribly every way,
And the gold of the King’s Servants rose higher every day.
They burnt the homes of the shaven men, that had been quaint and kind,
Till there was no bed in a monk’s house, nor food that man could find.
The inns of God where no man paid, that were the wall of the weak.
The King’s Servants ate them all. And still we did not speak.

And the face of the King’s Servants grew greater than the King:
He tricked them, and they trapped him, and stood round him in a ring.
The new grave lords closed round him, that had eaten the abbey’s fruits,
And the men of the new religion, with their bibles in their boots,
We saw their shoulders moving, to menace or discuss,
And some were pure and some were vile; but none took heed of us.
We saw the King as they killed him, and his face was proud and pale;
And a few men talked of freedom, while England talked of ale.

A war that we understood not came over the world and woke
Americans, Frenchmen, Irish; but we knew not the things they spoke.
They talked about rights and nature and peace and the people’s reign:
And the squires, our masters, bade us fight; and scorned us never again.
Weak if we be for ever, could none condemn us then;
Men called us serfs and drudges; men knew that we were men.
In foam and flame at Trafalgar, on Albuera plains,
We did and died like lions, to keep ourselves in chains,
We lay in living ruins; firing and fearing not
The strange fierce face of the Frenchmen who knew for what they fought,
And the man who seemed to be more than a man we strained against and broke;
And we broke our own rights with him. And still we never spoke.

Our patch of glory ended; we never heard guns again.
But the squire seemed struck in the saddle; he was foolish, as if in pain,
He leaned on a staggering lawyer, he clutched a cringing Jew,
He was stricken; it may be, after all, he was stricken at Waterloo.
Or perhaps the shades of the shaven men, whose spoil is in his house,
Come back in shining shapes at last to spoil his last carouse:
We only know the last sad squires rode slowly towards the sea,
And a new people takes the land: and still it is not we.

They have given us into the hand of new unhappy lords,
Lords without anger or honour, who dare not carry their swords.
They fight by shuffling papers; they have bright dead alien eyes;
They look at our labour and laughter as a tired man looks at flies.
And the load of their loveless pity is worse than the ancient wrongs,
Their doors are shut in the evening; and they know no songs.

We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet,
Yet is there no man speaketh as we speak in the street.
It may be we shall rise the last as Frenchmen rose the first,
Our wrath come after Russia’s wrath and our wrath be the worst.
It may be we are meant to mark with our riot and our rest
God’s scorn for all men governing. It may be beer is best.
But we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet.
Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget.


Perhaps GK Chesterton's hour has come? 
If you have a Kindle e-book - why not treat yourself to the Delphi Complete Works - which costs almost nothing; or start collecting the paper editions secondhand. 
But where to start? Chesterton was a poet, novelist, playwright, extended non-fiction writer - but probably excelled at the short essay, above all. My personal favourites (and I have not read everything, by a long chalk):
Among novels: The Napoleon of Notting Hill
Among poems: The Ballad of the White Horse
Among Non-Fiction (and these are his best genre, for me): Heretics, Orthodoxy - and the early essay collections such as All Things Considered, and What's Wrong with the World.  
The Autobiography

Friday, 24 June 2016

Brexit - blip or inflexion point?

It seems that there is a reasonably strong majority vote for the UK Leave-ing the European Union - the size of is very significant in England (because Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to Remain).

The pattern is that the Establishment-dominated regions of England voted Remain; and everywhere else voted to Brexit.

Unsurprisingly, the situation seems to be that the majority of those with highest status, power, education and wealth (i.e. the Secular Left, Politically Correct Social Justice Warriors) want to remain in the EU - everybody else, not.

The referendum campaign in the mass media was overwhelmingly-dominated by Remain - but the effects of decades of corruption and self-destruction in this class was very evident - in that the Remain campaign held all the cards, but was ineffectual to the point of counter-productive in its tactics.

Remain had no honest and positive message because there exists no positive message for them to have - they merely offered 'more of the same', which is very obviously killing us.

('Very obviously' to anyone with common sense - leaving the EU is a 'no-brainer', but among the Establishment it is lack of a functioning intelligence that disables them. They are self-bewildered, and delusional Clever Sillies; insane rather than dumb; evilly-motivated rather than incompetent.)

Instead Remain relied almost exclusively on inciting fear and hatred, but succeeded only in making clear that Remain was itself motivated by fear, hatred and destructive zeal - (truthfully) signalling that Remain regarded the voting majority as dumb, crazy or wicked and therefore deserving of cultural (and probably physical) annihilation.

But a vote entails merely marking a piece of paper - and of itself is no more significant than an opinion poll - and it has for a long time been known that most English people wanted to leave the EU. So this referendum may mean nothing. It may be a mere 'blip' in the down-trend.

One scenario is that pretty soon, the fickle, mass media-addicted majority will soon forget this vote, just like they have forgotten many other (should-have-been) highly significant events over the past decades. (The mass media, after all, are overwhelmingly in favour of Remain.)

Very clearly, the vote is evidence of a massive popular rejection of the Establishment leadership (as well as the EU, which is part of precisely the same nexus).

But a negative impulse is insignificant - in and of itself merely a venting of disgust.

What will happen now depends on whether the majority vote is evidence of a positive and strategic resolve towards a new future for England: this would have to be some kind of 'spiritual' movement, a new destiny for the nation; because that is the only kind of thing which motivates large populations over long periods of time.

I have said, many times, that net-positive change entails some kind of religious (and specifically Christian) revival - because I believe that 'nationalism' is a spent-force in the history of The West.

A Religious Revival is possible, but is it at all plausible?

We will soon see.

Leaving aside media reports, which are all more-or-less false, what do I perceive? Last night, at about 11pm, after the polls has closed, there was an extraordinary and unusual silence. I live near to the centre of the city, and usually - at night - there is a lot of traffic noise, sirens, shouting and whatnot; especially in a balmy night like last night, when the bedroom windows were wide-open. I had forgotten that it was the referendum day (not having taken part) and commented on the eerie silence to my wife - who reminded me what had just happened.

It really felt exactly like the country was holding its breath - poised on the crux of a decision.

So, now we know the decision. But not what will happen next. The hatred of the English leadership class for the mass of English people and for the country was absolutely crystal-clear during the referendum campaign - so now everybody knows exactly where they stand.

Clearly the referendum triggered a pause and some greater-than-usual degree of thought around the UK - an unfamiliar situation. The immediate question is whether members of the Ruling Establishment have also been part of this reflection, and whether any or many will take a step-back from the mood of self-hatred and strategy of suicide which (with the EU) they have driven for the past 50 years. This may turn-out to be an inflexion-point when the down-trend towards self-annihilation takes a sharp up-tick.

Or, we may find that the Establishment are so deeply corrupted that they will engage in a hate-fuelled fit of destructive pique.

Either way, things have now 'come to a point' as CS Lewis put I (in That Hideous Strength) - the issues are becoming very clear, the sides are very distinct.

The next few days, weeks and months will be crucial...

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Why are people so eager to listen to lying?

This is a genuine puzzle. There is a sense in which we cannot avoid people lying to us - but it is striking that people will go to great lengths - in terms of moving themselves from one place to another, spending money, and directing their attention for considerable periods - to sit and be lied to.

It is not as if this is unusual - it is usual and normal. As a generalisation that is almost 100 percent true; every time somebody famous, powerful, or high status communicates - they will be lying. Sometimes they lie so much that there are only a few snippets of reality dotted among their comments, other times they speak mostly true things but from a lying perspective deliberately to mislead, other times they just slip one important lie into a background of true facts...

But - if people were honest with themselves - they know that they are being lied-to in public discourse - pretty much all of the time and by everyone. It is a web of lies.

People know at some level that the people addressing them are not even trying to be truthful - but are trying to 'sell' them something or another, or manipulate than for the good of somebody else, or simply as part of the kind of status competitions which humans so often regard as the main business of life.

Given that there is such an awareness, then why to people go to such extreme efforts to listen to lies? Why don't they do anything at all to avoid being lied to? Why, on the contrary do they bask in lies?

Why? - The answer must surely be because people are very thoroughly corrupt? Because, so far as I can see, only a person who was very corrupt would want to be lied to; and since almost everybody behaves consistently with the fact of wanting to be lied to - then almost everybody is corrupt.

The populations of The West are full of complaints about each other's behaviours, the way they are treated, or the way some people treat other people... but then they actively sustain a network of lies, counter lies and the acceptance of lying... Those very few people who try to be truthful, or who will not passively accept lying are ignored or persecuted - to general approval...

Indeed, openly to disbelieve someone - even in an environment which makes no attempt at truthfulness and where dishonesty is meat and drink, and a lucrative career - is regarded as an awe-full insult and an outrage. Yet another lie!

Whose fault is all this? Clearly there is responsibility - such things don't 'just happen'.

Modern people would, of course, like to blame somebody else for the situation - just as they do for everything. Or else they would assert that nobody is responsible personally, that these things are due to larger forces, out of their own control and anybody's control...

But of course that will not wash, not really. Each person just-is responsible for their own life - nobody else is. And if they know-about the lying (and they do) and they don't just accept but actively choose to swim-in the sea of lies... then they already have-made a fundamental decision of the type of world they want.

And that kind of wanting will always be gratified: it is a standing invitation to evil, saying 'Come in! You are welcome in my heart'. 

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The reason for Either/ Or Metaphysics (In sum: it is the most important topic in the modern world)

Metaphysics (that is, the philosophy of fundamental assumptions) seems to be a matter of dichotomies: of Either/ Or.

But Modern Man is impatient of metaphysics, and especially of metaphysical argument.

So the idea here is to clarify the Either/ Or by stating the metaphysical dichotomy very briefly, illustrating it with a personal example from my life - and then leaving the choice to the reader.

In particular I wish to expose the fact that metaphysics is non-optional. We have always made metaphysical assumptions - and these underpin the way we use evidence and indeed what we recognise as facts; but these metaphysical assumptions are usually unexamined and often denied.

This is just plain wrong.

When a person's metaphysical assumptions are bad, as is the case for almost everybody in The West, then that person's life will be bad - and what is more, they will be utterly trapped in that badness.

Hence, metaphysics is perhaps the single most important topic in the modern world.    

Either/ Or Metaphysics - Deity or not?

Either - Deism

Deism is the assumption of a single, overall, unifying - but potentially abstract and impersonal - source of order and meaning for reality.

Deism therefore refers to the assumption of some kind of Deity; but this is not the same as theism. Theism refers more specifically to the reality of gods or God. (Therefore, all Theists are Deists; but not all Deists are Theists.)

Deity might not be any kind of god; but instead be assumed to be something abstract; some kind of principle, tendency, process, or ultimate structure.

Deism implies a coherent universe, a coherent reality.


Or - Not-Deism

Not-Deism implies that there is no coherent basis to reality; reality just-is - it could have been otherwise, and it could become otherwise.

Because there is assumed to be no Deity, there is no reason why things should stay as they are

Strictly, nothing can be explained in terms of 'why' it is as it is, because there is no overall order to relate it to - but explanation can only proceed in terms of describing (or theorising about) how something came to be, historically (and contingently - it could have been otherwise).


Personal Illustration

When I was an atheist theoretical biologist I was looking to explain biological phenomena in one of two ways. Either as a consequence of adaptive selection across multiple generations - or else the assumption that there was no relevant explanation: things were 'accidental'.

The assumption was that most biological phenomena had no explanation in terms of natural selection. For example, bones are white because they are made of chemicals such as calcium phosphate that just happens to be white - and blood gets its colour from haemoglobin that just happens to be red; but the colour of bones and blood has no biological explanation - it is an accident.

A few biological phenomena - such as the mammalian eye - were 'explained' in theoretical terms as a consequence of a sequence of purposeless genetic mutations that incrementally led to the progressive elaboration of - probably - transparent skin above light sensitive neural tissue, a recessed pit for this light sensitive tissue (to provide directional information), a transparent lens to focus the light... and so forth.

Each stage was a consequence of purposeless mutations which led to undirected body changes that were preserved and amplified because they increased differential reproductive success. But there was no overall purpose to the changes, there was no meaning to the existence of the mammalian eye except that is what just happened to have been the outcome of what happened in the past - there was no guarantee that the eye would not be changed or lost in future generations.

And these negatives are a consequence of the fact that modern biology assumes there is no Deity and therefore there is no planned, directed, created, organised cohesion to reality.

For Not-Deism the ultimate reality is that stuff happens, or does not happen. Indeed, for Not-Deism there is nothing to suggest that stuff really- does happen - because everything we 'know' we 'think', and thinking is itself a consequence of unorganised accidental processes - unplanned, undirected and so on...

Any apparent organisation anywhere is only apparent - we have no way of knowing that there really is organisation because we have already assumed (by Not-Deism) that there is no ultimate organisation in reality.

For Deism, by contrast, assumes that there is some kind of organisation, cohesion, order to reality. From my perspective as a biologists, I noticed that many mathematicians and theoretical physicists expressed Deistic views: for example that mathematics was universally and necessarily true, and the organizing principle of reality.

As a Non-Deist biologist I regarded this as a residual superstition, or a pretentiousness to which mathamatical people were prone - the conceit that their own special aptitude gave them privileged access to reality and therefore unique prestige.

My own views were that mathematics was a closed system of tautologies, nothing really meant anything, and the universe was (probably) chaos - a mixture of apparent randomness caused by some kind of deep determinism - or perhaps apparent determinism caused by deep randomness... we had no real way of knowing.

Just stuff-happening and probably changing (but who knows?), on-and-on, with no point or purpose. That was the consequence of my assumption of Not-Deism. 

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

What kind of answer does Modern Man need?

Modern Man has deep and terminal problems - he needs an answer.

But the answer must be very quick and self-validating. (So much so that there is not time or energy for re-stating the question before providing the answer.)

Modern Man needs his world re-making at a blow (With one bound, Jack was free!)

On minute he will be reading, or going about his business - then a momentary pause: he reads, hears, sees something. And very suddenly, there is a simultaneous earthquake, volcano and the formation of anew mountain or an island.

The old has gone - the new is in place: ready to be colonised.

Monday, 20 June 2016

The necessity for Firm Perswasion

I asked: 'does a firm perswasion that a thing is so, make it so?' 
He replied: 'All poets believe that it does, & in ages of imagination this firm perswasion removed mountains; but many are not capable of a firm perswasion of any thing. 

From The Marriage of Heaven and Hell by William Blake


One way to conceptualise the modern problem is that 'many are not capable of firm perswasion'. And without it - nothing is possible except mere subsistence and a condition of existential angst and always-pressing nihilism.

To be firmly persuaded of the truth and reality of anything, requires that:

1. There can be such as thing as real and true knowledge.

2. This is accessible to us.

3. We will know when we have it.

4. We cannot be put off it - cannot be confused, or have our confidence falsely eroded; cannot have our knowledge destroyed or distorted...

All this is indeed possible - so long as we are prepared to examine and modify our fundamental metaphysical assumptions.


But against this is the spirit of the age which labels Firm Perswasion as certainty - and says many negative things about certainty, including:

1. Certainty is impossible - knowledge is only relative, approximate, labile, perspectival, contingent etc. etc.

2. The is no 'us' with which to be certain - because consciousness is an illusion, the 'I' is an artifact, it does nothing, is a fake etc. etc.

3. The public will always disagree about everything, and people cannot be convinced by anything etc. etc.

4. Certainty is anyway irrelevant - what matters is what we feel/ think/ do. (Or something.)

5. Certainty is bad - a source of infinite evil: Certain people have been responsible for most of the world's horrors - it is better to be un-certain, continually to treat one's views with skepticism, to doubt etc. etc.

6. Certainty is boring.

7. Certainty is death: the end of vitality. 

So - on the one hand - Firm Perswasion is necessary and we can have it if we want it.

On the other hand, we don't really want it.

The centre has not moved Left - there is no centre

It is about three years since I started blogging the ideas that found their way into my mini-book about the mass media, Addicted to Distraction -

http://addictedtodistraction.blogspot.co.uk

Since then I have been doing my best not to take notice of the mass media - but to be honest I have not done very well. It is extremely difficult to avoid the most harmful and significant onslaughts of propaganda - since they come at you from all sides, including other people's opinions and questions.

It seems clear that human beings are 'built' so as to 'take sides' on any question, and this - combined with modern Man's lack of any religious centre - is what makes us so easy to manipulate by selective and distorted reporting.


But although everything I see is consistent with the world being run by demons whose goal is the destruction - preferably by inversion - of all that is good; the single most striking thing is that the populations of The West (of Europe and the Anglosphere) seem not to care that they are continually lied-to and manipulated.

Actually, it is far worse than not caring. Although strategic and purposive evil emanates from the leadership elite, not from the population at large; there is a groundswell of active, mass, popular collusion in the process - and it is this which makes the adverse trend literally irresistible (without some mass, powerful religious and spiritual revival).

What seems evident is that there is (for whatever combination of reasons) no centre to modern public life - that is, no point around which oscillation occurs.


I do not mean that the centre has 'moved left' - that was an early phase - things now are much worse than that.

I mean that there isn't any centre at all.

That is not to say that 'anything goes' - because at any moment discourse is heavily constrained - but that there is no cohesive point around-which things are organised. The centre has a location only for the duration of an utterance - then reappears somewhere (unpredictably) elsewhere.


Most of what happens in the mass media is irrelevant and insignificant - but the big news stories are relevant and significant, and these are where the lack of centre shows-up; because there is no position from which to resist the concerted efforts of coordinated elite opinion to shape attitudes and opinions.

So the forces of evil always win - overall and on the whole.

After each major saturation news coverage, there is a permanent and almost universal degradation of public opinion that is not recovered.


The reason that people are not noticing what is happening is precisely that there is no centre and that they themselves have no centre - individuals with no centre do not posses a point of view from which change may be detected and measured.

This is also why the mass of men leads lives of quiet desperation without knowing it. The paradox of modernity is that of people assert that they have good lives in a good society which is engaged in moral progression - but have no hope for anything.

People have a public mask that says one kind of thing, and an invisible shadow that continually plots and schemes for personal and societal extinction. The mask is a fake, and the shadow knows it.

(And when Man has no religion there is nothing else but masks and shadows - it is masks and shadows all the way down.) 


And people are so deeply disgusted at themselves that - from their anti-religious stance, with no other alternatives - annihilation is the best option.

Hence, people actively welcome being lied to, manipulated, whipped-up into fake frenzies of adulation and indignation, crushed down into passive terror and despair. This is what the people want, and this is what the media delivers - and the masses don't just lap it up, but seek it out and pipe it into their minds at high pressure 24/7. They feel that this is no worse than they deserve.

Schadenfreude is the only thriving business in the modern soul - where the only solid reality is the sneering satisfaction of the shadow-self triumphing at the incremental come-uppance of that smug, gullible idiot which is the respectable public persona.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Unorthodox Christianity versus Liberal Christianity

Among Orthodox Christians of various churches and denominations, there is a tendency to conflate unorthodox Christians with Liberals - but (leaving-out the inevitable gray areas of overlap) these are in principle quite different - and the tendency to lump the two together has been a factor in driving some extremely creative, honest and vital individuals altogether out of Christianity and into an opposition which has sometimes been devastating.

The lineage of Christians who have perhaps most deeply recognized the importance of imagination as a form of knowledge are all unorthodox - William Blake, ST Coleridge, Rudolf Steiner, Owen Barfield, William Arkle. But they are not Liberal.

A 'liberal Christian', by contrast, is not really a Christian; but instead one who (in practice - even when this is denied in words) subordinates Christianity to the changing dominant secular ideology of the day. This is almost always achieved by dilution' - that is, by a reduction in the scope, status, power, strength, devoutness, centrality of Christianity in their own lives - and the proposal and policy that this should be the case for others.

Liberals can usually be identified at a large scale by evaluating their attitudes to the 'hot button' or 'litmus test' political issues of their day - when they always side with the secualr ideology; and at a small scale by evaluating their attitude towards those (orthodoxly defined) sins that they themselves are most inclined and prone to - do they fully acknowledge that these are sins, and the necessity for repentance?

It is interesting that almost all high level creative activity is necessarily unorthodox - even when the individual is highly orthodox in their religious observances - consider Tolkien and Lewis.

JRR Tolkien was 100% orthodox in his Roman Catholicism - but in his best creative writings on or about Christianity, he is extremely unorthodox: e.g. the theology of his Silmarillion legendarium - with its many gods, and reincarnating elves; and the allegories of Leaf by Niggle or of Smith of Wootton Major.

CS Lewis was very conventional in his Anglican worship, and advocacy for others - but his creative allegorial theologies of the Narnia Chronicles, and of his brilliant and underrated The Great Divorce - are unorthodox.

Both Tolkien and Lewis are often (by legalistic and literalistic Christians) regarded as unorthodox (and rejected, and labelled as evil) by the mere fact of writing fantasy, and including magic in their worlds. (Numerous YouTube videos attest to this orthodox attitude.)

In sum, I consider the unorthodoxy of individuals to be a vital and positive feature of Christianity; not least because all creative people are almost always unorthodox when they are being creative - and if Christainity expels and excludes all creativity, or treats it as too hazardous for wise men to risk; then Christianity will become dead obedience to external rules - and therefore not Christian at all.

Of course there are hazards to unorthodoxy. And people may be deceptive - may attack, and attempt to subvert Christianity under the guise of creativity. But there is no 'safe' path for Christians - hazards lie on both sides - orthodoxy is prone to apostasy just as is as unorthodoxy. On the other hand, all paths are 'safe' given the right attitudes of love and repentance. 

The orthodox ideal should not be that indvidual creativity be weakened, shackled or destroyed because it is too hazardous, but the opposite.

The ideal is that ultimately (further on in our theosis) all real and true Christians will quite spontaneously become unorthodox - simply by the spontaneous exercise of their natural, God-given, creativity which is an intrinsic part of their real, divine selves.

Who are 'we' English?

I was fortunate enough to have been brought-up on the children's history of England as a moral story - with goodies and baddies interacting to provide a clear, comprehensible and memorable narrative. (The one that was mocked, in a way comprehensible only to informed insiders, in Sellar and Yeatman's humorous book: 1066 and All That.)

In this history there were three-and-a-half main invasions that were clearly moralised in terms of the peoples: the Roman invasion of the Ancient Britons (we did not talk much of 'Celts' at that time); the Anglo-Saxon and Jutes invasion of the Ancient Britons; the Viking/ Dane's half-invasion of the Anglo-Saxons; and the Normans invasion of the Anglo-Saxons.

Among these the 'goodies' were the Ancient Britons both times; and then the Anglo Saxons. The interesting thing is that 'we' were first the Ancient Britons and then, after they had been defeated, 'we' became the Anglo-Saxons.

But this is not modern - the same shift can be seen in the earliest chroniclers of British History from the Saxon times up through into the medieval era - the general stance is that the goodies were the Britons/ Celts and the baddies were the invading Anglo-Saxons, even when written from the Saxon victors (or Nomran occupiers) perspective. The whole Arthurian and Merlin legend, always popular, is based on this implicit assumption.

I think the key to this is that sometimes the moral good is derived from patriotism - so that the resident English (i.e the Ancient Britons get the moral approval when against Romans - despite druidic human sacrifices and the benefits of Roman Civilisation'); but that this aspect is trumped by religion.

Religion trumps patriotism.

So that when there is a Christian versus a Heathen conflict, then the Christian side will always be the goodies. This is why the Ancient Britons were the goodies in the post-Roman conflicts until the Anglo-Saxons became Christian; and why the Christian Anglo-Saxons were goodies against the pagan Vikings (despite that people such as myself - i.e. the blue-eyed - almost certainly descend from the Scandinavians, because that was where the blue-eyed mutation occurred).

When it comes to the final invasion of 1066 - and the Anglo-Saxons versus Norman conflict - we have Christians versus Christians for the first time in our island history.

Therefore, the Saxons are strongly felt to be the goodies, and 'we' are the armies of Harold, defending against the alien William the aggressor and usurper - because when both sides are Christian, 'we' defaults to the resident Anglo-Saxon English, i.e. on patriotic grounds.

Friday, 17 June 2016

What God most wants - from William Arkle


Once upon a time there was a wonderful God sitting on his throne amidst a great light who's expression was of magnificent beauty, glory and power. 

Around the throne were countless people enjoying his presence and worshipping him with songs and praise. But one of that number noticed that every now and again God gave him a wink

At first he thought it must be an illusion but it happened again and again. 

Finally, one day the crowd moved and drifted about in such a way that he came very close to God. Then again he saw the wink and the look straight at him, just him amongst all those others, and he heard a whisper: Hey, come round the back after that last show, if you can spare the time.  

Well of course he did go. So after the last performance that night, round the back there was this God waiting. 

Hallo, God said, come up here to my little hill overlooking the sea, I would like you to come and sit with me on my lawn and Daisy patch. We can have a cup of tea together and a pipe and look at the view. 

I love to take my costume off at the end of the day and relax. Although I have all that worship and praise, there are times when I like to get away from it all and be quiet. I like to come here and look at the sea on a lovely day, with the mountains beyond and the feeling of this little garden up here on the hill. 

For although I have so many beautiful children to look after and enjoy, and although they say such nice things about me and serve me in every sort of way... I get so lonely. 

You see, I don't have many friends

No one recognises me after the show when my make-up is off. I have to be like you saw me, for they all expect it of me; but I am more delighted than you can imagine that you have come here with me so that we can sit together and I can show you this small garden and the view from my heart. 

From the Conclusion to A Geography of Consciousness by William Arkle (1974)


In these final words to his difficult and abstract book, Arkle provides this simple vignette to emphasise some of his key messages.

1. What God most wants from us and from all of creation, ultimately, is friendship - that is to say, mutuality in its highest and most creative form; but also in its humblest and most homely form.

2. God's motivation in this can be understood as loneliness, the lack of anyone like himself to be-with - or, more positively, as a deep and endless delight in companionship.

3. Therefore, creation is structured such that we can, over long stretches of time and with considerable effort (and only if we choose and want this) learn from experiences to become more-and-more like God until we are eventually on the same level.

4. Therefore, ultimately, God does not really care much for being praised and worshipped, especially when it gets in the way of developing a close and evenly-balanced relationship. 

For more Arkle go to: http://williamarkle.blogspot.co.uk

How seriously should we take Art, Literature, Science and the like?

In discussing Robert Graves's The White Goddess on this blog a couple of days ago, I described how in later life he advocated a vision of past and future society that was based around the necessary conditions for poets to write the best poetry. In fact, this vision actually derived narrowly from his own idiosyncratic psycho-sexual preferences - but my point is that Graves elevated poetry to the level of primary importance in his life and in the human world.

In a word, Graves made poetry into a religion - and he wasn't alone.

At around the same time - especially in the late 19th and early 20th century - a lot of people were doing an analogous thing with whatever happened to be their own vocation. Visual artists lived to paint and expected society to be organised around that activity, musicians to compose; and creative scientists also lived by the same credo. Each creative person made a religion of their vocation.

This attitude of giving extreme and indeed near-total priority to one's own creative endeavours certainly fuelled the quality of each of these activities - for a while.

And this was part of the mass apostasy of The West, a transitional phase in the decline of faith. So, creative people who had been brought-up as Christians - or sometimes Jews - and to put their religion first; would lose their childhood faith and instead put their work first. The initial consequence was that the work benefited from the extra time and effort being channelled into it - which seemed to validate the decision in terms of that the greatest geniuses were most often 'free-thinkers' (in that loaded phrase).

Indeed, in popular evaluations, confirmed by the biographies of many Men of exceptional achievement, there seemed to be a stark conflict between religion and the creative arts and sciences. Religion was seen as a constraint at best, a distortion always, and often a source of dishonesty and falsehood when it came to the Arts ans Sciences. The honest truth seeker and revolutionary thinker was seen as obviously an atheist.

What was not appreciated was that devotion to creative work, in whatever branch of human endeavour, was not self-validating in practise - because there are powerful social (and personal) forces that tend to re-frame the arts and sciences as merely a personal gratification for the creator, and from a social perspective merely a means to an end.

Anyone who was serious and personally motivated about his work would sooner or later run up against this. For instance, as a scientist and an academic, I felt that I had work that I ought to be doing - as best I could; but the local and general context for both science and academic work saw it as a means to various ends. My immediate colleagues would want me to collaborate in group projects, the institution would want me to do things which contributed to institutional goals, society at large would want things that would lead - in the immediate term - to increased prosperity, comfort, alleviating of suffering, or (especially) that could be used to justify and validate progressive political programmes.

I would recurrently have conversations with those placed in administrative charge who urged me to abandon whatever I was doing and work with colleagues, apply for grants, try to publish in high visibility journal,s stop doing things which might bring bad publicity... and so on. Carrots of promotion were talked of, and sanctions for refusal were hinted at.

In sum, the modern context is, and has been for several decades, that any creative person who is self-motivated is always, sooner or later and usually sooner, in practise encouraged to abandon whatever he wants to do and to do what somebody else (various other people) thinks is a good idea.

Now, this is not new and surely applied to the creative people of the past as much or more than it does now. But, what is new is that modern people inhabit a secular world; a world in which religion is either altogether absent or reduced to being a lifestyle choice.

How, then, does a typical modern secular person react when he is put under pressure to abandon what he understands to be his creative role or duty? How does he react when it proves to be an immediate (and probably long term) disadvantage to his health and wealth and status to continue along his self-chosen path; how does he react when all the objective rewards are stacked on the side of expediency and obedience rather than principle?

My observation is that in such a dilemma the modern creative nearly always abandons his individual creative path, and does what most benefits his career.

And the reason is obvious - in a world where justification is in terms of increasing the happiness or reducing the possible suffering of 'people'; the creative individual cannot justify to himself, let alone to his bosses, why high level activity in the arts or sciences should have any special value. Indeed, to be creative seems like selfishness - putting one's own happiness above the security and status of one's colleagues, one's institution and society in general.

To do what is being asked is seen as altruism - as living for the benefit of others (and also good for one's own prestige!); but to do what one feels ought to be done appears as merely selfish and wilful. That was very clearly how my own refusals to abandon what I regarded as my proper work seemed to those who urged me to be more public spirited - their faces, tone of voice and words were filled with frustration, exasperation, anger.

To pursue - without any guarantee or even probability of success - a line of work that took no account of either career or collective goals seemed to them both puzzling and perverse. In my heart I felt that I had to try to do whatever I felt I ought to do - but of course I also had my doubts about myself.

In face of such a reasonable attitude as expressed by colleagues and bosses; as an avowed atheist I could provide no higher justification for my decisions that that they felt innately right; but I had to acknowledge that I may be mistaken, this feeling could easily be a delusion.

So I was thrown back onto mere self-assertion: to some variant of that is how it seems to me!
And to a kind of naked self-assertion - along the lines that I would do this or the other unless or until I was actively stopped from doing it.

My point here is not to suggest that I was vindicated and everybody else proved wrong - because I wasn't vindicated; at least not in any publicly recognisable fashion. My point is that the modern equivalent of Robert Graves or any other person who feels they ought to put their art first will not be able to justify ploughing a personal furrow to themselves and others, because the option to make arts and sciences into mini-religions is no longer available in a world without any religion.

Modern artists and scientists cannot make their work into a religion because they don't believe in any religion - they explicitly believe that only this life matters (there is nothing else) and that there are no objective standards of truth or beauty (these are evolving social conventions) - and in the end everything ca only be justified in terms of making human lives happier or less miserable.

Anyone who believes that their own personal idea of essential work in the arts or sciences takes priority over the public consensus of what is important, is nowadays placed in a minority of one with no possible means of justification. And (when there are no standards external to society) being in a minority of one and insisting on your personal interpretation above that of everyone else is a definition of either stupidity, delusion, or antisocial selfishness.

So in our secular society, without God or any kind of deity, the vocational poet, philosopher, artist, scientist or whatever is pretty much extinct.

So how did I manage to stick to my vocation despite being an atheist? I think the reason is that I was actually a practical but unacknowledged deist. I really did believe in objective, impersonal standards and goals. I could not justify this belief and I did not admit it publicly (because I had no arguments to support it0 - but secretly I knew that the universe had order, purpose and meaning, and that I had some personal role to play in it.

Somehow, this implicit deism was enough to keep me on a path of pursuing, albeit without much 'success', what I regarded as the most important thing I could do. I know of several others who pursue a vocational and creative path, strengthened by the same deep down denied deism as sustained me.

But the situation is one of cognitive dissonance ad intractable ambivalence; and the mass apostasy from religion has understandably led-on-to a mass apostasy from the arts and sciences, and their assimilation into the mainstream world of Leftist bureaucratic careerism - which is the stark reality behind the dishonest facade of modern arts and sciences. 

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Implications of the reality of Mother in Heaven

(Continuing from: http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=mother+in+heaven )

Our contemporary problems require recognition of our Mother in Heaven (wife of our Heavenly Father, literal Mother of us all in our pre-mortal lives as spirits) - who is concerned by the minute details of her childrens' lives - such matters are the crux of things.

Having recognised her reality we surely cannot, and should not, continue to ignore or reject her?

When Feminism asserted that The Personal is Political this was an attempt at total thought-control and subversion by the political (paternal) realm - henceforth nothing was to be exempted from regulation by feminist ideology. This constitutes a theft from the domain of Mother in Heaven; whose concern is not ideological but whose concern is a consequence of the fact that she loves us and wants the best for us.

When ideologies - or even religions, even Christianity - seek to regulate the minutiae of life according to ideas, laws, regulations and the like abstractions and generalisations - then this is a theft from the domain of Mother in Heaven; it is a subversion of love by principles.

(It is ironic, but in no way surprising, that feminism operates by imposing a tyranny of crushing, one-sided paternalism into the maternal realm. Unsurprising because Feminism is rooted in hatred of Motherhood.)

Once we know that Mother in Heaven is real (which knowledge comes from personal revelation) then we cannot rest until we know her (which is not the same as knowing-about her). That is what Mothers want.  Mothers want to stay in touch with their children.

The centuries, millennia, of neglect and rejection of Mother in Heaven is a great sorrow to her, and a constant source of loneliness to us. She does not at all want worship; there is nothing whatsoever here about setting-up as a rival deity to her beloved eternal husband God the Father. What she wants is something altogether different - less public, formal, aesthetic - much more direct, personal and homely.

Mother in Heaven is complementary with our Father. The Father cannot adequately substitute for the Mother. What is natural and proper and fully-wholesome and requisite from the Mother; is totalitarian dictatorship - an iron cage - emanating from the Father.   

A Man appreciates, sometimes even understands, a Woman. But he cannot be woman, he cannot think it. At the conceptual level his truth is one that is external; empathy but not identity. Therefore for a Man or a Woman the opposite sex is necessary for wholeness; necessary and not an optional enhancement; but absolutely required.

Organised religion is necessary; and it just-is innately patriarchal. (If not, to the extent it is not, it very rapidly dwindles to extinction - always and without exception.)

That is a clue - Mother in Heaven is necessary as part of our Christian religion but not as part of official discourse. So our relationship with Mother in Heaven cannot truly be a part of religious dogma, public worship and communal praise, rites, rituals, sacrifices or whatever else may be regarded as more or less necessary for God the Father. She is not far off, but just over the shoulder; merely a whispers length distant.  

In sum, Mother in Heaven does not want our worship; she wants to know, to help, to comfort, to nurture, to teach, to advise, to share our living and to be involved; day to day. Nothing is too small a matter, nothing too individual, everything is significant. She has billions of children - each one of us endlessly interesting, always important.

For her there is no Big Picture - but billions of infinitely detailed miniatures.

Leftism survives its absurdities, failures, and craziness and will destroy us; simply because The West absolutely refuses to be religious (and this is because of Sex)

The title says it.

The core reason why Leftism, Liberalism, Political Correctness and the Social Justice Warriors have been winning and winning and winning for fifty years and more - is their offer of Sexual Liberation.

The Left offers Sex - whatever you want, potentially unbounded, and religion does not: all religions are restrctive about sex - and the mainstream socio-political opposition to the Left (the secular Right) are perfectly clear that they want the sex more than they want anything else.

It really does not matter how psychotic life becomes in the West - how obvious are the absurdities of Political Correctness - how wicked are the inversions of truth, beauty and virtue... there will not be and cannot be a backlash against Leftism, except on the other side of a mass religious revival.

It is precisely because the Left absolutely and categorically refuses to be religious that we have Leftism.  No matter what happens, the West stubbornly and categorically refuses to be religious.

(I mean seriously religious - religious so that it makes a difference, so that it leads to significant self-sacrifice; not being 'spiritual' as part of a lifestyle, nor being 'liberally' or 'moderately' religious = primarily Leftist with religion fitted-around.)

The West refuses to be religious because of Sex - because all religions demand sacrifices when it comes to sex; and Westerners will not make these sacrifices.

Nearly everybody in The West has their own sexual 'thing' which they most hope for, and which religion would take away from them (or make them feel bad about) - sex before marriage, sex with lots of people, extramarital sex, sex with anybody or anything other than your spouse...

Most people don't ever get what they want, sexually, but they live in hope of it - and religion takes away that hope; takes away their 'right' to live-by that hope.

And that is intolerable to Modern Man. Modern Man will tolerate anything rather than that - including the collapse of the system which provides him with peace, prosperity, comfort, convenience and distraction.

Ultimately Modern Man will not get what he wants - because that is impossible in this mortal life, and that kind of wanting puts each individual at odds with every other human being, and the whole of creation.

I'm not saying that the one and only reason that each and every secular Western Person who rejects religion has done so because he will not give-up his or her 'rights' to some religiously-forbidden sexual possibilities.

Not quite everyone, there are probably a few exceptions, those whose rejection of religion is principled and un-self-interested and really-and-truly nothing to do with sex, not fundamentally based-on sex, not even deep down in their secret fantasy life...

Maybe you are one of them; but probably not. 

Will the future be Logres or Britain? - a guest post from John Fitzgerald

The Royal Family, as you rightly pointed out in your post, 'What Will Happen When the Queen Dies?'

 http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/what-will-happen-when-queen-dies.html 

have a tendency to polarise opinion.

Some see them as active agents of evil and willing participants in the ongoing dissolution of British culture and society. Others view the Sovereign as a genuine 'still point of the turning world', a bulwark of stability in the face of a collapse which would only career downwards at an even more breakneck speed without the Queen's restraining hand.

There is much, as you say, which is unknown about the aims and intentions of the inner circle of Royals. The truth, I feel, lies (as ever) somewhere between the extremes. There are, however, a series of storm clouds gathering vis-a-vis the succession.

The poet Kathleen Raine (1898 - 2003) had, I recall, a remarkably exalted view of Prince Charles and his role and destiny in our island story. She saw him as standing at the heart of what she called the 'Great Battle', a standard bearer and lightning rod for everything good, beautiful and true.

I've lionised Charles before on these pages to a gentle hum of disapproval, so I won't labour the point, save to say that his tremendous advocacy of Middle Eastern Christians has led some commentators (in The Catholic Herald notably) to speculate that he might be on the point of converting to Orthodoxy. Another potential reason, therefore, why he might find his path to the throne blocked.

I can certainly foresee a degree of tension between partisans of Charles and supporters of William. There is an apocalyptic French prophecy from the Middle Ages (I forget the source) which speaks of great troubles in France followed by a civil war in England sparked by a Sovereign's death and a dispute over the succession.

On that eschatological note, there are three monarchical restorations, I feel, which could potentially occur in the near future and shift the level of debate, due to the extent to which they could possibly be seen as prefigurations of the return of Christ as Judge and King. These restorations could come about as a reaction to political and economic collapse, as an act of defiance against tyranny or as a spontaneous realisation and insight into the spiritual significance and symbolic depth of the Crown.

'If Christ is to return,' as the theologian John Milbank puts it, 'then so too is Arthur.' The three countries in question are France, Russia and Logres. I'll come to Logres shortly, but first the other two points of the triangle -

(1) France, because of her centuries-old commitment to civilised values, especially in scholarship and the Arts; the longevity of her monarchy (496 - 1793), and her Christian witness and elevated status as 'eldest daughter of the Church' - and

(2) Russia, due to the spiritual intensity of her people (as reflected in Russian music and literature) and the idea of Moscow as the 'Third Rome', the true successor to Imperial Rome and Byzantium. Whether this claim is grounded in anything substantial or not, the very fact that it is made reveals a religious vision and an awareness of history way beyond the reach of most Western nations.

Logres is something different. It is the inner, spiritual side of what is commonly known as Britain. It is hidden, invisible, unmanifest - yet always there for discerning eyes to catch a glimpse from time to time. The writer Paddy Leigh Fermor, for instance, saw the ruined abbeys of post-Reformation England as the 'peaks of a vanished Atlantis drowned four centuries deep.'

It is C.S Lewis, however, who really sees beyond the screen of surface appearance in this sizzling passage from 'That Hideous Strength':

'It all began,' said Dr. Dimble, 'when we discovered that the Arthurian story is mostly true history. There was a moment in the Sixth Century when something that is always trying to break through into this country nearly succeeded. Logres was our name for it ... And then we gradually began to see all English history in a new way. We discovered the haunting.' 'What haunting?' asked Camilla. 'How something we may call Britain is always haunted by something we may call Logres. Haven't you noticed that we are two countries? After every Arthur, a Mordred; behind every Milton, a Cromwell: a nation of poets, a nation of shopkeepers. Is it any wonder they call us hypocrites? But what they mistake for hypocrisy is really the struggle between Logres and Britain.' 

Whatever our thrust and counter-thrust regarding the Windsors, it seems fair to say that they belong to Britain rather than Logres. They may well represent the very best of Britain, but there is a qualitative gap between Britain and Logres which they simply cannot bridge. They're not on that level.

Well then, who is? The Jacobite in me would plump for a restoration of the Stuarts and the return of the 'King over the Water' but that again would be to plant my standard on too low - too materialistic - a plane. Logres doesn't work like that. We would be best advised to turn to Lewis again and the continuation of the above-quoted passage, where Dimble asserts that there has been a 'secret Logres in the very heart of Britain all these years: an unbroken succession of Pendragons.'

This suggestion of a secret or alternative line of Sovereigns chimes well with similar motifs in other countries and cultures - the clandestine Merovingian bloodline in France, for example, or the Hidden Imam of Shia Islam. It ties in too with the universal myth of the Sleeping King, as recounted in this part of the world in the story of King Arthur and his Knights asleep in a treasure-filled cave, awaiting the hour of their country's greatest need, when they will wake and rise again to expel once and for all evil from her shores.

These themes, to my mind, have the ring of truth - not the empirical truth of an 'evidence base' but the truth of myth and story, which is an altogether deeper and richer thing, analogous to the 'Deeper Magic From Before the Dawn of Time' that Lewis writes of in 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'.

It is this level of truth that Winston Churchill tuned into during the Second World War. He recognised in his country's story - its highs and lows, twists and turns and narrative ups and downs - a greater depth of truth than the shortfall in money, manpower and arms, which daunted so many. The 'evidence base' spoke of a prudent acquiescence to the inevitable and a necessary accommodation with the enemy. The 'story' (a la Arthur and Alfred the Great) sang of turning the tables and setting the odds at nought.

This is how Churchill won hearts and minds. He backed the story and built his strategy on that. He chose, in short, Logres over Britain.

Which begs the question, did Churchill himself belong to the hidden line of Pendragons? It is an entertaining thought. Let's leave the last word to Lewis:

'Some of the Pendragons have been known to history, though not under that name. Others you have never heard of. But in every age they and the little Logres which gathered around them have been the fingers which gave the tiny shove and the almost imperceptible pull to prod England out of her drunken sleep or to draw her back from the final outrage into which Britain tempted her.'

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

JS Bach's Chaconne for Saxophone Quartet

This piece of music originates as a movement from one of JS Bach's Partitas for solo violin - and as such is maybe the greatest single piece of music for that solo instrument. It is also well known in Busoni's transcription for piano - which is also one of my favourite pieces. Here it is done extremely well in a live performance by the Morosco Saxophone Quartet - a combination of soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxes. Listen to the whole thing - the music is quite astonishingly inventive around a very simple repeating bass/ chordal structure (which is what a 'chaconne' is) - and the arrangement by a chap called Andrew Charlton brings out the variety beautifully.

The White Goddess of (and by) Robert Graves

The author Robert Graves (1895-1985) was one of the major influences of my teens - being the first grown-up novelist I read. Graves thought of himself as a poet and was best known during his life as a historical novelist (especially for I Claudius and Claudius the God set in Rome at the time of the Caesars).

But Graves's poetry seems lacking in warmth and spontaneity and his work is not 'well loved', his poetic reputation is not very significant, and he left behind no really good anthology lyric to remember him by. And, since the highly successful BBC TV series of the Claudius novels in the mid-seventies, his novels have fallen from public view and are no longer generally known.

It would probably astonish and appal Graves to know that his major influence has been via non-fiction prose: specifically the early 'autobiography' Goodbye To All That - which contains classic descriptions of trench warfare from the 1914-18 world war, and has been adopted as a kind of founding document of pacifist radical rebellion; and a strange book called The White Goddess which is the source for the major deity of modern neo-paganism (especially Wiccan witches) - the 'Triple' Moon Goddess (maiden, mother and crone).

For many years I used to carry Graves's White Goddess around with me - I still have the same Faber paperback 1961 edition (now with the cover detached). The book partly fed, and partly was  responsible for, my basic spiritual stance - which was a kind of non-realist pagan-flavoured veneration of the moon, trees, water, landscape - and the idea of 'poetry' as the basis of Life - right through until my mid forties.

Looking again at the WG , it is clear that I barely ever looked at the middle of the book - but read and re-read the first and last chapters. Indeed, I was almost indifferent the the attempt to document and prove Graves's various theses about pre-history and history. What made an impact on me was Graves's tome of voice: the 'superb' conviction with which he stated himself.

As so often in my reading, I was more impressed by the diagnosis than the prescription; Graves's diagnosis of the alienated spiritual malaise of modern times is spot-on, in a spiritual sense; and as powerful as any I have seen. His prescription - a (supposed) 'return' to worshipping the Triple Moon Goddess (as he imagines her) was never very convincing, especially as his descriptions of this supposed ancient religion were so utterly horrific.

By Graves's own accounts, the world of the White Goddess is repellent - so much so, that for once a psychological-sexual explanation seems to be correct: Graves made the White Goddess as a rationalisation of his own sexual life and preferences as they related to his poetic work. The idea is that the most ancient, natural and satisfying human society is a matriarchy in which a cruel and capricious ruling Queen has a series of sexual relationships with infatuated poets, whom she has put to death when she is tired of them. The poets gain from this arrangement the energies and inspiration to write their poems (for a short while).

The whole 'system' has nothing to offer anybody else than the Goddess/ Queen and her series of Poets - except the profundity and power of the resulting poems.

In other words, Graves's White Goddess is partly a 'projection' of the way that Graves 'needed' to be slavishly infatuated to a beautiful woman of strong but fickle conviction and preferences who despised him... in order to find the motivation to write poems - and partly, reciprocally, Graves's own life became modelled on this myth which he had created.

What I now perceive is a very sensationalist, self-dramatising, immature and adolescent psychology at work here - an apotheosis of the ignorant, hopeless teenage 'crush'. Which is no doubt why the scheme appealed to me! - and also why it has gone to to exert such deep influence on modern New Age/ feminist-flavoured, neo-pagan spirituality (which is, typically of modern cultural products, nothing if not adolescent in its framework and aspirations).

My current evaluation is that this book is well worth looking into for its early and late chapters and the sense of the alienation of modern life. Furthermore, in its inchoate and trivial way, I think the basic instinct in favour of a truly female balancing influence on spiritual life is correct (including the criticisms of this being lacking in Christianity) - although the usual materialist way this feminine impulse has come through into current culture is perversely opposite to what is needed; and has made things vastly and intractably worse.

In the end, The White Goddess is deceptive in that it adopts a reductive, and 'explaining away' attitude towards myth (Graves delights in explaining myths as merely encoded history, and not magical or spiritual at all); and his view of a revived Goddess worship was - ultimately - a kind of self-conscious play-acting: Graves did not really believe in the reality of a White Triple Goddess, and there was always a playful ironic quality about his assertions, in line with its all being a literary conceit or rhetorical strategy.

The spiritual vision advocated in The White Goddess is purely this-worldly (e.g. there is no life beyond death, souls are not real, there is no creator deity), and related to the getting of this-worldly power (albeit poetic power) - meaning that Graves's is essentially a modern and secular world view: it is indeed neo-pagan - a Post-Victorian revivalist personal spirituality, and not truly a pagan religion (as he imagined it was).

The middle of the book is an impenetrable morass of pseudo-scholarly, but occassionally inspired, quibbling and pedantry. But if (as GB Shaw said) the essence of style is effectiveness of assertion, then Graves was a great prose stylist - and his prose never got better (more effective) than in the framing sections of The White Goddess. That is the secret of this book's enduring, albeit occult, success.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

The sex-addicted society

We live in a sex-addicted society: a society where the primary motivation is sex. So far, so uncontroversial.

What is a sex-addict?

It is not the narrowly-defined person who is addicted to having sex; but the person who organizes-his-life-around sex - such a person might never have had sex, but sex dominates his life like heroin dominates a junkie.

But then isn't this just our culture? Isn't the mass media sex-addicted - newspapers, magazines, social media; isn't almost all comedy, art, music? Public discourse generally?

And doesn't sex addiction characterize the micro-level of daily life inside almost all organizations, institutions, schools, groupings...

Of course, all is deniable - but not due to sublimation (the supposed channeling of sexual motivation into other domains), rather to self-deception.

Since the culture of sex addiction is 99.99 percent strategy, a long-termist vague plan/motivation with a small chance of payoff; then the fact that so much is underpinned by a sexual motivation is typically deniable - indeed it may be be non-transparent to the addict, who fails to perceive that their whole intricate world view - their politics, their style, their every choice - is ultimately organized by a sexual calculus.

How has this arisen and become established as the-water-we-swim-in in modern secular culture?

Denial of the power of sex

1. The decline of religion.

2. The denial of the power of sex.

Yet the culture of sex addiction has not turned out to be like a DH Lawrence novel in which sex has obviously displaced Christianity as a sacred and transformative/ transcendent overwhelming chthonic force...

No, it turns-out to be the opposite - we inhabit a culture which, while dominated by sex, simultaneously denies the power of sex; a culture which regards sex as 'merely' a lifestyle option, recreational, fun, a distraction, positive - a culture in which sexual desire is used to shape the society and at the same time which trivializes sexual desire, laughs at it!

(Except that to thwart the exercise of this lifestyle option is, in a non-religious society, a sin - a sin against the very core of a person's system of living. The denial of this particular kind of recreation is therefore an existential threat to person-hood. But this seeming contradiction is not a paradox: because unless the power of sex was denied, society could not neglect to take sex seriously, and would therefore structure society to control sex - which social control would constrain the power of sex to dominate society. Thus the society of sexual addiction is predicated upon a denial of the power of sex.)

The sex addicted culture arose partly by propaganda, was sped-up by propaganda; but sex needs no propaganda - sex is very powerful indeed; so powerful that nothing short of real, old-time religion can begin to tame or control it.

So the best way to create a sex-controlled society, is to deny that sex controls people.

The 'discovery' that sex is not, never was, a problem

Until the mid twentieth century, men and women were essentially never alone together unless chaperoned e.g. JRR Tolkien was allowed to give individual teaching to girl students, but only in his house with his wife present; not in his office, unchaperoned.

Then very suddenly all this stuff was 'discovered' to be not-a-problem after all, and chaperones were discarded (even in medicine - except specifically for examination of sexual regions), and workforces and educational institutions were integrated, and men and women were treated as identical interchangeable units.

And sexuality was officially not-a-problem - and any problems caused by sex were blamed on the individuals, bad individuals.

(Most obviously blamed on bad men. And of course the new assumptions indeed gave great scope to bad men. But it gives even more scope to bad women; becuase women - as females - have intrinsically greater power in the sexual arena; plus an intrinsic assumption of victimhood and associated sympathy - this being a mainstream doctrine of evolutionary biology. Originally, evolutionary realities had been subordinated to religious imperatives expressed through culture; but absent religion, biology rules culture, untrammeled.)

Consequently, because the power of sex was denied, and because sex really was a very powerful force, everything and every situation became sexualized - potentially or actually.

A society officially sex-blind, of interchangeable human units

Officially and in principle there was not a problem; and at the same time, and again officially, all the above situations became a seething mass of harrassment, discrimination, coercive sexualization, menace, oppression and the rest of it.

So, in principle there was no problem with treating men and women as identical and interchangeable and in control of sex.

Yet in practice, the sexual problems were perceived as vast and almost intractable - requiring ubiquitous micro-supervision and a new, expansile bureaucratic apparatus of institutional and legal protections.

Furthermore, since the decline of religion stripped life of meaning and purpose and enforced alienation on an epidemic scale; sexuality became the major source of social energy, which micro-motivated social life - sexualization became pervasive.

Pervasive, yet always deniable. Because sex was (officially) trivial, hence it did not need to be controlled hence it expanded without constraint; and when sex becomes nearly universal, it becomes almost invisible and almost-wholly theoretical - and dissociated from actual physical sex.

Powerful because it is everywhere, potentially; yet weak because it is spread-out everywhere. 

The only 'problem' is the people who are not sex-obsessed...

In such a world of sexually-addicted people driven by sexual energies, yet oblivious and indeed blinded-against the fact; the only 'problem' people are those who try to control, limit, restrain, and focus sexuality: i.e. the (few, remaining) religious.

Now, the religious are the only people who explicitly recognize sex for what it is - a vastly powerful force, a potentially overwhelming addiction, the major source of personal energy; thus something that must (if it is not to take-over) be shaped and clarified.

Hence the sex addicted majority regard the sexually-constrained religious minority as being sex-obsessed!

After all, if you are not religious, then what is there to worry about if sex does take-over everything, and if everybody (of all ages) does live 24/7 in a sexualized environment?

Indeed, the non-religious are grateful for their sex addiction - sex is what gets them up in the morning, dressed, and makes them go to work, and do work, and then leave work to socialize; sex makes them take interesting holidays and talk about them; sex keeps them smart and active and sociable.

If it wasn't for sex, most people would utterly lack effective motivation and would probably do nothing - they would have nothing to live-for...

(This can be seen embedded in modern society's attitude to ageing. Adult maturity, serious marriage and family - and even more old age - are feared and seen as 'bad things' insofar as they are all associated with reduced sexual attractiveness and/ or sexual activity. To be describe someone as 'hot' is regarded as a compliment - despite that the term implies apparent sexually availablility at least as much as it describes sexual desirability.) 

Sex addiction versus the family religious unit

Not many people now live outside of this bubble of sex addiction; and the contrast is not between the sexually active and the celibate (most celibates are part of the world organized around sexual motivations); but between the world of sexual addiction and the family.

That is the polarity: sex-addiction versus the family

Thus the family has become the primary religious unit, and the primary anti-radical force.

The hippies were correct: a life organized around sex is the primary counter-cultural force, the force most profoundly and most powerfully destructive of society.

Hence destruction of the family has become the primary focus of nihilistic secular Leftism - at first covertly, but now explicitly.

And every strong family which to any significant extent 'holds-out' against the dominant radicalism of the sexual revolution, is nowadays necessarily a religious unit - although the religious nature of the forces which hold a family together may well be implicit and self-disguised, may be non-institutional and unarticulated.


(The above is a lightly-edited and re-titled repost from March 2013.)
(Clarification - Religion does not mean Christianity alone, but includes other religions, and includes strong non-institutional individual religiosity that shapes that person's life. All sex addicts are non-religious (even if they self-identify as religious); all non-religious people may be presumed to be sex addicts until-proven-otherwise (that is, until it is clear from their life choices that this is not so) - because it takes a very powerful life goal/ ideology to overcome sex addiction, and aside from religion there aren't many of these. But when a person really has a dominating, underpinning but non-religious and non-sexual life goal/ ideology, then the fact is very obvious indeed. Such people are rare and stand-out sharply from the norm, their behaviour is very different from average.)

Monday, 13 June 2016

What will happen when The Queen dies?

Queen Elizabeth II is now ninety - what will happen when she dies?

Most people would say 'nothing much' - and that would seem to be the result of rational and evidential analysis.

But it may be that the Queen - over a period of more than 60 years and in many nations - is much more deeply woven into the world's destiny (for ill and for good) than we realise. It may be that the removal of this continuity (including psychologically) will have very great effects; not least because there are profound uncertainties about what will happen in terms of succession.

Nearly everybody assumes that her son will seamlessly take-over; but the transition cannot be seamless since Charles is (in various ways) ineligible for the throne by traditional standards, due to the Monarch's position at the head of the Anglican Communion* - and if Charles does, or does not, become King, then either way there will certainly be major implications and consequences in many areas. It has been quite usual in history for stable and solid monarchies to be followed by bitter, ramifying and spreading succession disputes**.   

Since we have little reliable knowledge about the realities of high politics, and continually underestimate the degree of corruption and evil at the highest levels, it is almost impossible for someone like me to know what has been going-on and what would happen on the Queen's death (and the people in a position to 'know' are, inevitably it seems, part of the corruption and therefore blinded by their own lack of discernment). We don't know what truly is the role of the monarch here and now - we don't know of the compromises and sordid deals that have been struck.

The Queen personally seems to be a sincere and devout Christian - yet she has presided over (and barely if ever criticised) one of the most appalling and complete moral and spiritual degenerations of national public life in the history of the known world: such that the United Kingdom is now a hollow shell of evasion, pretence, lies and indulgence; with no positive role, purpose or meaning whatsoever.

Either the Queen is herself an intrinsic part of the systematic corruption - or else her situation has been one of 'Shakespearian' tragedy of a kind seldom seen: the isolation of a single good woman surrounded by overwhelming demonic forces. I don't know which, and probably this will only be apparent as it happens or in retrospect.

England has a destiny, which takes the shape of a national story; and I feel that a sensitive and informed individual may be able to sense where this story is taking-us.

It may be that when the Queen dies, we will very suddenly realise that we are in the grip of an almost irresistible narrative which will sweep and tumble us into some very different situation than now - whether we like it or not. But, at present, I cannot intuit it.




Notes:
*I know this from someone who is deeply - and appropriately - knowledgeable on the subject. From his perspective, Charles's ineligibility to inherit the throne is clear-cut and definite.
**At least four plausibly strong/ influential sides in such a dispute spring to mind: 1. Supporters of Charles; 2. Supporters of Charles's son William; 3. Those who propose radical 'reform' or 'modernisation' of the constitution before making a decision; 4. Those who wish to abolish the monarchy.  

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Regular readers - what, of the things I have (ever) written is your personal favourite?

How can modern people ignore death? Because they dwell inside a bubble of perpetual rebellion and fashion

Many thinkers of the past commented that death was the primary problem in life - but this is apparently not the case for a typical modern person. How can this be?

The reason lies in the fundamental metaphysical assumptions of modern secular ideology: because the fundamental assumption is that the universe of everything is a mixture of rigid determination and randomness (don't ask me how!) and therefore death is merely to be expected: for moderns death is built-in and therefore 'not a problem'.

What IS a problem - a BIG problem - for moderns is understanding or explaining anything 'Good' - such as the values of truth, beauty and virtue; and also structuring principles such as purpose, meaning and relationships. What is a serious problem is why people (in a determined/ random, pointless universe) should be motivated to do anything, or even to exist.

How is this modern problem of 'nihilism', in practise, dealt with? First: it is not well dealt with - and modern societies are all demotivated and dying - both ideologically they are self-hating and biologically they are voluntarily going extinct by the basic failure to reproduce themselves.

But modern people nonetheless get up in the mornings, and do stuff, and mostly they try and stay healthy and alive  - so the question is why?

The answer is - I think - related to the fact that moderns live in a perpetual adolescence - that is, a perpetual state between childhood and maturity; rejecting the spontaneous instinctiveness of childhood and rejecting the responsibilities and overview and long-termism of maturity.

What adolescents live-by is - in a word - fashion. Fashion is what defines the adolescent group, against children and against adults - fashion comes from peer groups - it has no intrinsic meaning but is random variation - yet it is mandatory, motivating, and taken with total seriousness. And then it changes, and changes again, forever and with no ultimate aim or reason.

Adolescents - and modern people generally - live in and for this perpetual bubble of the peer group. And this tells them what to do - but not why, except that otherwise they will lose peer status and that is the ultimate catastrophe because no greater or more lasting reality is acknowledged.

Modern people therefore live in a state of perpetual rebellion and unending transition - and this is what motivates. Such as it - feebly - is. Adolescents get angry, get into fights, have infatuations, will take great risks - and so do moderns.

But such motivations point nowhere, and over time, they go nowhere - because (from that perspective inside which they dwell) there is nowhere to go.


(Note: Christians recognise that, standing above all this random churning, are the forces of purposive evil; which ensure that the net direction of the whole system is toward destruction of The Good. But most of the modern people inside the bubble of perpetual adolescent rebellion are unaware of the fact, and would deny the possibility or reality of evil even if they were made aware.)