Sunday 24 February 2019

What evidence for the evolutionary-development of consciousness in Western Man?

On the face of it, there seems little evidence for anything like a divinely destined evolution of consciousness in Western Man. Looking around in the public realm, or even in direct and personal experience; there seems little to suggest anything of the kind. Nothing that looks like 'progress'.

This is because of two things: 1. Materialism and 2. Negativity.

The materialism which absolutely monopolises modern public life means that consciousness appears only in an indirect way. We only see the indirect effect, the consequences, of consciousness change - and we see only its material - this worldly - manifestations.

Abstraction - including the reduction of qualities to the pseudo-materialism of number - is a major aspect of materialism.Indeed, it is more extreme: qualities are denied reality (because qualities are material) yet simultaneously these non-existent qualities are given numbers and used for calculation of decisions. This is the basis of such managerial technologies of quality managements, racial and sexual monitoring etc. 

The negativity means that the change is expressed by criticism, and not by positive assertion. We get some (materialist) version of what people do Not want; but don't get an expression of their goals.

So, the evolution of consciousness can be seen in the dominant aspects of the dominant ideology of Leftism - but reduced and one-sidely.

Take feminism. The positive spiritual ideals of feminism are related to the positive aspiration of a permanent, literally-divine spiritual and creative marriage relation between a man and woman after death and in the life everlasting as Children of God.

But modern feminism has reject the ideal along with the eternal; and the true spiritual impulse has been concretised to this-worldly economics and power differences. The imperfections of mortal marriage means that marriage itself is rejected as oppressive. What remains is only the negative side of anti-Man aggression- and this is implemented materially in laws and regulations. The deterioration in relationships between men and women is then celebrated.

Another aspect of the evolution of consciousness is an awareness of the uniqueness of each individual, and the knowledge that we have a divine seed within each of us - so that we may grow to become a distinct creative deity - each contributing to God's work of creation.

But of this modern culture expresses only the material aspect: we take into account only that which is measurable and mortal - even while refusing to allow the validity of any measure.

There is a negative refusal at accept any rationale for any economic differences - but without any positive desire for actual equality. We reject actual equality, because we demand that differences in individual circumstances be taken into account; but reject any actual method of doing this.

There is a rejection of legal and cultural impartiality, as a sham and a mask for prejudice; but reject individual judgement as also obviously prejudiced.

More generally; modern Leftism generally regards any reference to to the ideals of post-mortal life as merely an excuse for injustices during mortal life ('pie in the sky', 'jam tomorrow').

Another instance: Leftism celebrates racial and ethnic differences, yet refuses to tolerate racial inequalities; and (negatively) there is no acceptable, objective categorisation of race, ethnicity, culture or economics... Race is simultaneously deconstructed and its reality denied - because race is not material; and abstracted into numbers, so as to be implemented in the material processes of modern government.

The same applies to sex and sexual ientity. Modern negativism denies the reality of these categories because they are not material and do not have hard edges; modern materialism simultaneously creates abstract and hard-edged sexual categories for monitoring and control purposes.

In sum; the ideology of Leftism is implicitly trying, but of course failing, to build a positive system from a host of negative rejections. It is always appealing to morality while its materialism erodes the validity of all moral systems.

So Modern Man does indeed show evidence of the development of underlying positive impulses; but because of (covert, denied) metaphysical assumptions these are systematically distorted such that there is not even the possibility of good outcomes, and we get that moral inversion by which bad consequences are regarded as evidence of virtuous motives.

This is why anti-spiritual, mortal-life-focused Leftism has been the main tool of the dark forces; since a system of inevitable, irreconcilable, competing negativities is the perfect seedbed for evil.

In inducing modern Western Man to accept materialism and reject all spiritual things as impossible; and in making these beliefs a matter of deep, metaphysical assumption - woven invisibly into the enitre realm of public discourse; the demonic powers have created a machine by which even good and necessary impulses can only be manifested as evil.

Thursday 21 February 2019

Inspiration, imagination and intuition

Human development - of the maturing individual and also throughout the evolving of the race - can be understood to follow a path from inspiration, through the transitional state of imagination, and with the ideal destination of intuition.

(I derive these terms from Rudolf Steiner - but, while valuable, I regard his sequence, analysis and treatment of them to be significantly mistaken. For example he wrongly puts Imagination as first and Inspiration as intermediate, and argues Inspiration as primarily analogous to 'hearing'.)

Inspiration - This is the state characteristic of childhood and ancient Men. It locates knowledge outside the individual in God, or the Muses etc.); acknowledges the possibility of genuinely new knowledge; and regards knowledge as actively put-into the individual - who passively receives it. The self is porous to reality.

Imagination - This is the state characteristic of adolescence and modern man. Imagination is a step forward of maturity, in the sense that it is an active process, which may be consciously pursued. However, Imagination denies the possibility of genuinely new-and-true knowledge of reality; and regards Imagination as (merely) the recombination, extrapolation and interpolation of psychological images derived (passively) from experience and inheritance. In essence, Imagination is all we can 'know' but is solipsistic; the self is cut-off, disconnected-from, reality - so Imagination is merely an internal swirling of delusory patterns.

Intuition - This is the state of direct, or primary, knowing. It is a meeting of reality half-way; it is the mind actively-grasping reality; and of reality as created such that this activity be both possible and Good. Intuition regards knowledge as outside, and also regards Imagination as (potentially) knowledge. The self and reality are re-connected; but Not by passive-porosity - instead by the self and reality meeting in the realm of intuitive thinking: which is conscious knowledge.

Sunday 17 February 2019

Prayer is participation

I think it has to be assumed that only some prayers are 'effective' - and that there are many prayers that are 'wrong', and make no difference - for example being mere habitual repetitions, or askings for bad things.

But there is no doubt that some prayers are effective: all Christians know this from experience. This probably happens because prayer can be an act of creation: more precisely in prayer we can participate in God's ongoing creation.

That is how prayer can affect the future - we personally enter-into the creation, and add to it our personal creativity.

That is how we, individually, make a difference by our prayer. Creativity is always happening; and then we pray and introduce a new element by our prayer - so that the future is changed.

Changing the future is a creative act. Prayer is, in effect, each of us working-with God.

Prayer works by love: love is that which is aligned-with God's motivation in creation. It is love that 'ensures' our prayer is aligned with the goodness of divine creation.

This happens because love is the basis of creation - it is the cohesion of creation. Love is what allows personal creativity to be real - because by real I mean that our creativity is permanently woven-into creation.

Only loving prayer is effective - because unloving prayer is incompatible with creation.

Conversely, when we pray with Love - and only then; what we pray is intrinsically creative. And loving prayer is always effective - loving prayer changes the future.

This does not mean that the effect of prayer is predictable by us, nor that praying for some specific thing always gets us just what we ask-for.

But loving prayer always makes a difference, and that difference is always positive (when seen from a God's eye view).

Tuesday 12 February 2019

Romantic Religion: A Study of Owen Barfield, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams and J. R. R. Tolkien by RJ Reilly (1971/ 2006)

Over the past couple of years I have come to regard Romantic Religion by RJ Reilly as one of the very best books I have read - I am now on my third slow, detailed read-through.

The book is probably the earliest (1971) serious study of the ideas of The Inklings - and its central chapters focus on Owen Barfield, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams and J. R. R. Tolkien. As such, and despite its narrowish selectivity; RR remains far-and-away the deepest and best explanation/ analysis/ advocacy of the underlying (implicit) significance of this literary, philosophical and theological group of friends.

The title Romantic Religion encapsulates the thesis; although in fact it would be more accurate if the title were Romantic Christianity, since that is The religion at issue here; and one that could not be substituted by any other.

The method is to define Romanticism, mainly by means of its historical lineage; and then (in the first main section) to use Barfield as the philosopher who best understood Romanticism and its unique significance and necessity. Lewis, Williams and Tolkien are then considered separately in terms of how they exemplify, and how diverge from, the framework of Barfield.

This time reading; I have become convinced that Romantic Christianity is the best term for what I personally believe, and regard as the essential future of Western Man - and especially English Man! I shall probably be referring to myself, in shorthand, as a Romantic Christian from now onward.

Of course Romantic (and Romanticism) are mostly, in the cultural mainstream of the past century and more, rather widely differently understood from the Inklings (and especially Barfield) mode. Indeed, 'romantic' is usually a pejorative or pitying term, signifying escapist, wish-fulfilling unrealism.

Nonetheless, Romantic remains the best term, for both its historical and etymological accuracy - and because many of the common ideas of 'Romantic' are entirely appropriate and correct from a Barfieldian-Inklings perspective: for example, a focus on love, creativity, fantasy and imagination, nature, ecstatic emotion, inspiration and intuition.

All of these seem to me desirable, as well as necessary; so long as they are rooted in Christianity. Indeed, it was-and-is the subtraction of Christianity from Romanticism, as early as Byron and Shelley, that led to the degeneration of the historical Romantic movement: degeneration into hedonism, Leftist politics and the sexual revolution.

No doubt I shall quote from Romantic Religion in the future; but anyone who shares my conviction on these matters, and who is prepared to make the effort to engage with such a book, would need to read RR if note entirely, then at least extensively.

Note: I find it significant that such an outstanding piece of intellectual and critical work, by such an deeply intelligent and rigorous scholar, should originally have been done as a PhD thesis at Michigan State University (a long way from the Ivy League); by an academic who was teaching rather than research orientated (he spent his career at the University of Detroit); and it was issued by an obscure publisher: The University of Georgia Press. This confirms a pattern I have often observed with genuinely high quality and original work in the late 20th century - it comes from the cultural periphery, not the centre. Or rather - what is officially the centre is actually trivial, derivative or corrupting - almost wholly, and vice versa. The reasons will be obvious to regular readers of this blog.  

Implications of Steiner's great 1918 Zurich prophecy

As I keep revisiting Rudolf Steiner's now-validated century old prophecy; I realise that, although the prophecy is about Western society, and what it needed to do - but hasn't done; and although the prophecy has been fulfilled at this social level - its true implications are for the individual.

The prophecy was based upon an understanding of what would happen if Western man continued in the path of increasing materialism/ positivism, scientism/ reductionism in public discourse and private thinking - and we did continue.

The spiritual realm is now regarded as purely 'subjective' - hence not really real, hence without relevance for social living. Reality is mainstream-structurally-regarded as meaningless, hope-less, going-nowhere; and we our-selves as irrelevant.

It is, of course, a disaster that The West has made these choices; but the lesson of the prophecy was actually for individuals primarily - it was that we must (and must means must) develop our spiritual consciousness into new realms - more exactly into a 'animism of thinking': a recognition that ultimate reality consists of living, conscious, purposive Beings in a creation that has been transformed by Christ.

This means that the modern public discourse has become - in rejecting God, Christ and the Holy Ghost - (quite literally) insane - as well as calamitous and dull.

But this operates at the individual level - and the social level cannot budge without first the transformation of individual consciousness - and this transformation can only be done by conscious choice; it cannot be coerced or compelled; nor can people be induced to do it by unconscious manipulation/ propaganda/ habit-training.

We must now choose the Good - because evil is the default. 

The the lesson of the true prophecy is for you, and me, and everyone as an individual. It tells us what we must do if we are to avoid the general fate of our society: mental sickness, despair and demotivation.

Thursday 7 February 2019

Actually achieving Final Participation - but being unaware of the fact

Many or most people achieve Final Participation quite frequently - and in a reductionistic, psychological sense: it isn't all that difficult to do so.

The problem is that achieved Final Participation is not noticed; or when noticed it is rejected as unimportant.

In a minimal sense - Final Participation is happening to me in those, mostly brief, 'moments' when I look at the stars or a beautiful and beloved landscape, read and really 'get' The Lord of the Rings, am suddenly moved by music and recognise it happening to me, or become aware of myself among my family, or awaken in the night feeling my-self to be at the centre of a great field of awareness.

That is IT - but it is generally regarded as trivial or delusional - just a random firing of neurons, or evidence of the human ability to imagine themselves more significant than they really are... In a word: the subjective experience is regarded as merely subjective - and having no relevance or importance to anybody else or any-thing else.

And this interpretation is understandable; because by this-worldly criteria it is nearly-always true.

For a start - we expect to be overwhelmed by reality (when it is really-real). We figure that anything real will impose-itself on us, so that we cannot resist it - that we will be swept-along by real-reality... so brief and delicate moments are not what we are looking for.

And secondly - our interest in reality is typically a (covert) interest in power. We are prepared to believe that something brief, delicate and subjective is real if - like mathematics, science, and engineering - it promises to bring us power.

Such power might be personal enhancements (such as money, a job, high status) or it might be more remote and idealistic power - the power to build a bridge or cure pneumonia... but our interest in subtle, non-overwhelming reality is linked to our optimism that it will have 'cash-value' in our mortal lives. 

So we seldom notice Final Participation because it is outside of our metaphysical assumptions about what is really real - but even when we do notice it, our interest usually fades rapidly when it becomes apparent that we cannot use that knowledge to improve our lives: when we realise that such knowledge is not power.

Indeed, the knowledge that we get from such moments as I listed is not easy to share - it is not translatable into the common language of our times - partly because that common language excludes such matters, and partly because we don't even know how we might be able to communicate or explain such matters beyond (as I did above) merely describing the situation in which it happened.

It seems that an important part of it is that there must be a direct form of knowing, a knowing without communication - so that two people might know exactly the same thing without sensory perception or having to interpret symbols... by some mechanism whereby the same knowledge is being (simultaneously) shared...

Since the entirety of modern culture is based on the assumption that no such mechanism can exist, that all knowledge arises by a complex, multistage and unreliable chain of communication-steps... well we can barely even formulate the possibility of direct knowing.

However, however, however... If we are able to understand that these brief and delicate moments of Final Participation are In Fact direct glimpses of truth and reality; attained because our minds are (briefly) attuned with the divine creation - we can see why they are brief and incommunicable; and we can also see why the knowledge we attain is disconnected from power.

When we are directly observing divine creation, we are indeed only one step away from actually joining-in-with divine creation - but that is a vast step, seldom taken. It is one things to observe reality - but another and qualitatively more-difficult thing to engage in the making of reality; because for creation to continue entails that it be coherent, harmonious - that all additions to creation be fruitful and (of course) Good.

You and I are (almost certainly) a very long way from being able to contribute to divine creation; because we are not in harmony with the divine. (In other language, we are creatures of sin.) But I am not saying it is impossible for a mortal Man to add something to creation - indeed, that is precisely what a true creative genius has done (done objectively; whether or not recognised by fellow men).

But we can also see that the situation in which this happens is rare and unstable. When the situation is right, when a person is (however briefly) truly aligned-with the goals of divine creation - when he observes and loves creation... then it may be that his own divinity, his own agency, may not only observe but also contribute to on-going creation in some way - quantitatively microscopic, but eternal and therefore significant.

Perhaps, indeed, there is do distinction between observing and co-creating; perhaps these ephemeral moments of Joy are in fact our own, individual, nano-contibutions to the actuality of divine creation? I would not rule it out - and indeed perhaps this is why we are mortally alive - our destined purpose. Perhaps the contributions of mortal men - no matter how small and infrequent - offer something of great and permanent value to the vast totality of God's creation? 

Yet even if or when this happens, there need not be any observable relationship with mortal life in this world. Such a happening is Not about power, Not about 'will power', not about the limited situation of a 'successful' (comfortable, convenient, pleasurable) mortal and earth-bound life; but way beyond and above and far wider-than such superficial and ephemeral considerations.

Monday 4 February 2019

The lineage of Romantic Christianity in England (a sort-of manifesto: a testimony)

To define Romanticism with precision has proved impossible - because it is a movement, a phase in human consciousness; but those who feel it will recognise it when we see it.  

To be included in this list, one must be both Romantic and Christian (and be someone whose work I personally respond-to):

William Blake
William Wordsworth
ST Coleridge

Then came several generations during which the Romantics were not Christian, and the Christians were not Romantic. Exceptions include George Macdonald and GK Chesterton, who link between the early Romantic Christians and the Inklings. Both of these I somewhat like, especially GKC - but I am unable to engage whole-heartedly.

Charles Williams
JRR Tolkien
CS Lewis
Owen Barfield

William Arkle

Current representatives of whom I am aware include Jeremy Naydler, Terry Boardman, and the Albion Awakening bloggers: William Wildblood, John Fitzgerald and myself.


The influence of Rudolf Steiner is evident; since although Anthroposophists are extremely rare in England - Barfield, Naydler and Boardman are all of that ilk. This is evidence that Romanticism fits most comfortably with heterodox Christianity - despite that Tolkien (Roman Catholic) and Lewis (Church of England) were orthodox in their practice. Indeed; Blake, Barfield (for much of his life), Arkle and most of the currently alive people - are (I believe) essentially unaffiliated Christians; whose religious and spiritual practice is mostly and in-principle individual rather than communal.

The Steiner link is also important because Germany (in the sense of the Central European German-speaking culture - including Austria and Switzerland, and some culturally-Germanic cities not nowadays in Germany) was the other great origin of Romanticism - with Herder, Goethe, Schiller etc. However until Steiner's 'conversion' in about 1898; the German Romantic literary tradition was not really Christian. An exception is Novalis - the father of Romantic Christianity in Germany.

It might also be argued that CG Jung (1875-1961) is also part of the German tradition of Romantic Christianity - although (as so often with Jung) his status as a Christian is ambiguous - overall, I would say that by the end of his life, Jung should indeed be regarded as a Christian.  

There are not many on this list; because I don't know of many Romantic Christians. It is a job still to be done, by each individual - since Romantic Christianity must be experiential (knowing 'about' it does not suffice).

However, I regard both Barfield and Arkle as having essentially done the necessary work and, uniquely, achieved Romantic Christianity: both in their theory and in their living.

Mainstream Christianity still tends to regard Traditionalism as a 'safe' path to salvation; and theosis as too 'risky' - and Romanticism is about theosis.

But for the Romantic Christian there is no 'safe' path in the modern world; and traditionalism has in fact become impossible (judged at the deepest level of motivation); as well as sub-optimally desirable. We feel that, in modern conditions, salvation requires theosis; so a purely salvation orientation can only be a kind of 'rescue' procedure.

Because ultimately Romanticism is not a 'reaction' against the Industrial Revolution, modernity and bureaucracy; rather, Romanticism is a positive path of divine destiny, concerned with human evolutionary-development of consciousness.

The aim of Romantic Christianity is (implicitly) to attain the divine form of cosnciousness (what Barfield termed Final Participation) as the primary goal of mortal life at this era of history. In different words: the aim is to restore the unity of Life - including the healing of the split between mind and matter, subjective and objective... to cure the malaise of alienation.

Romantic Christianity is both theoretical (metaphysical) and practical (experiential) - ideas and living both need to change; because otherwise the two aspects will be at contradictory, at war - and therefore unattainable in life.

The Romantic Christian demands that life be Christian - as its root and frame; and also demands that life (including Christianity) be Romantic - therefore it cannot accept the ultimate of primary necessity of System, organisation, institution, bureaucracy... these are all to be regarded as evils; even if, sometimes (in mortal life); expedient or even temoprarily-necessary evils - evils that challenge us to love, faith and hope; and to grow.

Love and creativity are the goal; with creativity as located in thinking, and thinking regarded as universal and primary. 

Friday 1 February 2019

The Devil, Satan, Lucifer, Sorath... One or how many demonic leaders?

The demon's problem is that, by Not incarnating and having separated themselves from God's direct presence in Heaven, they are not-easily brought-to-a-point...

They are eternal and indestructible spirits who have taken the side against Creation; and as such they are Not-very-good at learning from experience.

Perhaps, the hellish economy works more by a kind of 'natural selection' among demons, rather than by the learning and development of individual demons.

That is, maybe the individual demons stay much the same (because they don't learn from experience), but one or another comes to the fore at different times and places and situations; for which they happen to be best adapted.

Some rise, some fall back down the hierarchy; and the supreme Leader varies at different times, and perhaps too in different places - hence the several names for the chief demon in different sources and cultures.

So The Devil may be sometimes the passionate and charismatic Lucifer, sometimes the coldly bureaucratic Ahriman, sometimes the sadistic Sorath - whatever is working most effectively here-and-now in the work of opposition to God, Good and Creation?

Romantic Christianity to replace the sexual revolution

The sexual revolution currently does sterling work in maintaining the totalitarian bureaucracy; mainly as a fantasy, but also as an actuality (being bound up with travel and intoxication, the other great fantasy self-manipulations).

This is another reason why Romantic Christianity is what we need. If Christianity is bureaucratic, it is just like 'work' - which people hate, even as they clamour for ever more bureaucracy.

And Romantic Christianity is individual - each must 'do it' for himself; because no institution or group will be encourgeing him.

Indeed, whenever some modern group does appear to be encouraging this, it is invariably a fake or a deception - as with the 1960s counterculture embrace of William Blake. What was actually on offer Blake minus Christ, which made a decisive and deadly difference. Or sometimes there is Christianity without Romanticism - which entails a passive, externally-applied Romanticism.