Saturday 11 December 2021

My special gratitude to Owen Barfield

When I encounter a special author, I will initially hurl myself into trying to understand him - read many books, think a lot, take notes (in a meditative fashion); and often talk and write about these experiences. 

After a while, when I have become surer of what they mean and have a fairly sold grasp on it; I find that what I have learned amounts to some particular things; but I then need to detach these specifics from the whole of the writer's assertions - because I have never found any writer whose views I can endorse or believe fully.

Eventually, I get to a point where I have (more or less) obtained 'what I needed' from a writer; and may (more or less) cease to re-read or explore actively that author's works. 

I have, at this point, built-into my own philosophy of life, some elements from the special author; and from then onwards, these ideas may undergo further development and refinement - and may indeed end-up by being very different from how they are in that author's own work. 

So, the end result is that I retain a special gratitude to the author for insights that I needed; but I have ceased actively to engage with that author, and am then often more aware of my points of disagreement with him, rather than agreement. 

Yet the core debt remains - I have been changed, and for the better, by the encounter. 

I have almost reached this stage with Owen Barfield. I do continue to engage with his writings; in a cyclical fashion - but his importance to me has by-now been fed-into my own philosophy-of-life, and they have interacted with other ideas from elsewhere; have been modified; and have developed in (sometimes) different directions. 

Looking back; what I got from Owen Barfield - in a general sense - was a positive and hopeful attitude to life, deriving from his articulation of Final Participation

Until I encountered Final Participation, I could not see any positive direction for human life - here and now. I saw life as a binary choice between the present and the past; a present which was alienated and increasingly evil - and a past which seemed both irrecoverable and harmful to try and recover. 

It was as if an adolescent hated being an adolescent, and yearned for childhood - but knew that childhood could not be recovered - so that this mortal life had no real hope within itself: no real positive purpose. 

But through his concept of Final Participation; Barfield made me realize that there was a third possibility. Barfield terms the 'childhood' state Original Participation and the adolescent state Consciousness Soul; and he analyses how the one derived from the other through a process of unfolding development of consciousness, that stretched across different generations and historical eras. 

The 'original' participation was an immersive, passive, unconscious sense of being part of the world and knowing the spiritual; while the consciousness soul was that active, self-conscious way of thinking that finds itself cut-off - alienated - from the spiritual, and indeed from the world. 

I personally have found (since adolescence) this cut-offness, this being an 'observer' of life, trapped inside one's head - locked into one's thinking; to be appalling. It removed depth and meaning from experience, it dissolved all sense of purpose. 

This was a demotivating and depressing situation - which recurred daily, almost hourly, and needed always to be fought; but where the fighting seemed to provide no more then a subjective and ephemeral amelioration. 

For me alienation was The Problem of my adult life - and I was always seeking solutions; but never found any that were convincing, effective, strategic. 

Barfield convinced me that this development pointed forward to Final Participation which was an active, chosen, conscious state of being part-of the world; and of contributing creatively to the world. 

I realized that many of my best and most hopeful experiences in life could be seen as glimpses of this Final Participation state, but without Barfield's insights I could not make sense of them - could not learn the lessons they had to teach...

Instead I merely treasured these 'moments' (epiphanies', 'peak experiences'. moments of 'joy'); held onto them, and tried to seek them out - but with small and dwindling success... And the treasuring of these moments was itself alienating - given their temporary and very partial nature.     

But now, with Barfield's analysis to help; these moments could be seen in terms of a developmental process, a growing towards a future and better state - and this future and better state could be recognized as resurrected eternal life in Heaven. 

Having been given certain analytic tools and deep insights by Barfield; I was then starting to use them in a Christian context that I had already in-place, but which was deficient in exactly the areas that Barfield supplied. I began to see - more and more clearly - my path to the Romantic Christianity that I had always implicitly wanted but had not been able to articulate. 

That is; a Christianity that supplied the Romanticism which could cure my alienation, cut-offness, trapped-in-the-headness which had been left almost untouched (or even exacerbated) by mainstream Christianity.  

I found (I find, now) that I was was going beyond Barfield, and into areas where he would very probably not have followed; but I could not have done so without Barfield's help. 

So, now I find myself having integrated Barfield into my own thinking; having changed some of his core ideas in the process - yet I know the Barfieldian provenance of my situation; and that he ranks as one of a handful of vital sources in my own deepest convictions. 

Friday 26 November 2021

Confusing selection-replacement with transformative developmental-evolution... The covertly suicidal impulse in Artificial Intelligence, Transhumanism, and Oneness spiritualities

There is a very prevalent logical error that pervades our culture; so thoroughly pervades it that it is all-but invisible, and difficult to understand. 

The error is to confuse annihilation and replacement, with transformational development

This error was made clear to me only in recent years and through reading Owen Barfield; but until that point (around 2014) I too was in thrall to the mistake. 

We have a deep, ancient and primary understanding of 'evolution' as a process akin to the development of an acorn to an oak tree, and egg to a chicken, a newborn baby to an adult. 

That is, we understand evolution to be a transformation of the self - while retaining the identity of the self. 

This could be called developmental-transformative evolution

In this primary understanding of evolution; the Being remains itself - but changes form. 

Thus, if we (as Christians) imagine our future spiritual evolution from this mortal life to resurrected eternal life; this is a 'process' during which we remain our-self but undergo developmental or transformative changes in both body and mind. 

The result is that our resurrected eternal self is the same person as he was during mortal life. And in Heaven we can 'recognize' others whom we knew in mortal life: they are still themselves.

But from the time that evolution by natural selection became a dominant social paradigm (during the late 1900s) there has emerged a qualitatively different conception of 'evolution'

This could be called selection-reproductive evolution

The key to this concept is selection acting on reproduction. Evolution of this sort 'happens' after reproduction, and is defined in terms of changed offspring. Therefore it is Not about transformation of the same-self; but replacement of the original parent by following generations. 

With selection-reproductive evolution; a variety of different types - different selves - compete; some reproduce differentially more than others; and evolution has occurred when either one or just-some of the original selves continue to reproduce. 

Meanwhile the other selves have Not reproduced, and their continuity has been annihilated. 

So this concept is based on Darwinian ideas of natural selection; and entails not transformation but replacement. After such selectional evolution, what persists is Not the previous self - but a different self: a different Being; because offspring are different Beings than their parents.  

In a brief phrase: natural selection is reproductive replacement. It is all-about replacing one thing with some other thing

Some survive and others do not; and those which survive replace those which do not. 

Because if the identity of the organism is being defined in terms of its genetic composition; then any genetic change is itself a kind of replacement. 

Following Barfield; I believe that many people are often deeply confused between these two concepts of evolution. The seem to believe emotionally that they are proposing a developmental-transformative evolution; when in fact they are advocating replacement of one thing by another. 

For instance; when people are keen on a future based upon Artificial Intelligence, or the Transhumanist changing of Man (by means of drugs, genetic engineering, inorganic implants, links to computers or the internet etc); they seem to suppose that this is an transformational enhancement of Men

But in fact such aspirations are simply the annihilation of Men and their replacement. Replacement of Men with... something else. 

In spiritual terms; AI and Transhumanism are therefore advocating covert suicide: suicide, because they themselves (and all other Men) will cease to exist; covert, because this desire for self-destruction is hidden by an irrelevant focus on what might replace us. 

This is closely analogous to a plan to solve the problems of this Earth by exploding the planet - and then calling Mars 'the new and better Earth'. Maybe Mars is better (fewer problems), maybe not - but better or worse, Mars is Not an evolved Earth; it is some-thing different. 

So much is fairly obvious; but the 'afterlife' proposed and yearned-for by many people shares this fundamentally suicidal impulse; because it hopes for the total destruction of the body, the self, the ego and all that is individual - by its absorption into the impersonal and discarnate divine.  

I am talking about the Oneness spiritual movement - which is so much a feature of the New Age in The West. This talks constantly about how all things truly are one, and how separation into persons is an illusion (Maya), and a 'sin'; and separation of Man from God is an illusion and a sin. 

According to Oneness; in reality there are no persons, no Men - only one God; and that God is not a person - because the divine encompasses everything, so there can be no definition or description of God. 

Nothing specific can be said about the divine except for an infinite series of denials of all less-than-total claims of God's nature: i.e. a negative theology of what God is not.

To hope for the 'evolution' of my-self, and Mankind, into One; is therefore to hope-for one's own annihilation and replacement. 

There would be - could be -  no continuity between me-now, and now living Men - and the aimed for annihilation of separateness into divine unity.

Oneness spirituality is not to solve any of the problems of the world; but to destroy the world - to destroy every-thing... and replace it with something else. 

It is solving the problem of misery and suffering in life, by ending all life - by killing everything. 

In other words; Oneness offers exactly the same kind of 'solution' to the problem of Man's mortal life as does Artificial Intelligence and Transhumanism

Oneness is just as much a covert advocacy of suicide, as are the schemes of technological replacement of Man by... 'something better'. 

And the reason why this is not immediately obvious; is that our culture has become deeply confused by the two concepts of evolution.

And has erroneously carried-over the spiritual aspirations of evolution understood as transformative-development, into the annihilation-seeking mechanisms of transformative-replacement.

Owen Barfield's epistemological terminology of 'consciousness', contrasted with Rudolf Steiner's epistemology of 'thinking'

Owen Barfield regarded himself as a disciple of Rudolf Steiner - in a not-altogether healthy way; because it exerted a constraining effect on his potential and caused Barfield to leave out - unexplained - considerable aspects of his world view. 

Instead Barfield, at a certain point, would merely recommend his audience to 'read Steiner'; which is, for most people, way too much to ask; since locating and extracting the undoubtedly gold insights from Steiner's voluminous dross of error and nonsense is the work of several years hard labour...

I speak as one of not-many of Barfield's great admirers who actually have put-in these years of work. Having done so; I was rather surprised to find that Barfield makes a very noticeable change to Steiner's terminology from The Philosophy of Freedom (insights from-which form an essential basis to Barfield's schema as expressed in (for example) Saving the Appearances, Unancestral Voice, Speaker's Meaning and History, Guilt and Habit.

How do we attain knowledge of reality, and is such knowledge indeed possible? This question forms the basis of that branch of 'modern' (post-medieval) philosophy called epistemology

However, the modern attempt to make epistemology fundamental (as does so much 19th and 20th century philosophy) is actually an error, and has gone nowhere. 

Nowhere; because epistemology takes-for-granted the primary level of philosophy, which is metaphysics: that discourse which tries to describe our most fundamental assumptions about the nature of reality

Thus, both Steiner and Barfield fail to describe their primary assumptions about reality before they embark describing their model of knowledge - which has the effect of giving these models a rather arbitrary, take-it-or-leave it quality. 

(For instance, both Steiner and Barfield ought to describe what they assume about God before they describe what they believe about knowledge; since for them both the possibility of knowledge depends on a personal creator God who has certain attitudes towards Men.) 

Nonetheless, since I share broadly the same metaphysical assumptions as Steiner and Barfield, I regard their models of knowledge as very useful - which is all that can reasonably be asked of any simple model of reality; especially one that aims at a time-less hence 'static', cross-sectional description of reality. 

The following is a comparison of the terminological equivalents of the epistemological models of Steiner and Barfield: 

Rudolf Steiner

Percept + Concept = Thinking

Owen Barfield

Perception + Thinking = Consciousness

The potential confusion when reading these authors is that they use thinking to mean different things: Steiner's thinking is the end result of our perceptions of the world being understood and interpreted by concepts. 

But for Barfield, thinking is (more or less) what Steiner means by concepts': the processes by which we understand and interpret perceptions  - or 'images' in the case of ancient Man, whose perceptions came packaged with meanings. 

Steiner thus talks a lot about 'thinking' of a particular kind (e.g. 'pure' thinking, or 'heart-thinking') as being the main aim of modern Man; the destined path ahead. This thinking (says Steiner) can be cultivated by meditative exercises which are intended to (but actually do not!) promote the desired kind of thinking. The desired kind of thinking is itself True Knowledge - and this is therefore Steiner's epistemology.

By contrast; Barfield talks about the destined and desirable future state of Consciousness; which is self-aware, active and chosen (rather than unconscious, passive and automatic): he calls this Final Participation; and for Barfield this is True Knowledge - as well as the proper aim of created Man (because Final Participation is to join with God in the work of creation).

After struggling to 'get' this for a few years; I think the above equivalence is broadly correct; and might be helpful to those who wish to read both Steiner and Barfield.   

Thursday 28 October 2021

Owen Barfield and the incoherence of modernity

Yesterday I was re-reading Owen Barfield's Saving the Appearances; which was published in 1957, more than 60 years ago. This book is not an easy read (and most readers seem not to have understood it - including most Barfield scholars), but it is tremendously rigorous and incisive to the point of being life-changing. 

Barfield reaches the conclusion - which I cannot fault - that the way of thinking and reasoning, the mainstream philosophy and ideology, of the 'modern world' of the 1950s, is utterly incoherent. In his analysis, I think Barfield goes deeper than almost anyone else I have encountered. 

[I will not engage in the futile attempt to 'summarize' StP - the 'point' of the book is to work-though the argument. But, anyway, the purpose here is simply to accept the main thrust of the book's reasoning and conclusions, and consider the implications.]

This is my first point: that by the 1950s it was already clear to any thoughtful person that mainstream and ruling ideas in the major areas of culture did not make sense. Barfield analyzed this fundamental incoherence better than anyone perhaps; but the insight was pretty general. 

At any rate, I am sure he was correct - and he was correct that the set of ideas that are foundational to the whole functioning of the modern world as it was in the 1950s was so absolutely, fundamentally, self-contradictory that... Well what? 

In 1957 Barfield assumed that such a degree and depth of incoherence could not possibly survive, and that therefore it must change. Barfield, at points, warned what kind of consequences there must be if the world view did Not change; but he clearly assumed that things would change - and that the prevailing philosophy-ideology would move decisively in the direction of recognizing the primary of the spiritual over (and before, in terms of existence in time) the material; the guideingness of 'evolution' of consciousness in the history of reality; the way that reality is necessarily co-created and shaped by the presence and interpreting consciousness... and so forth. 

But it did not happen. Although there have been intermittent recognitions of the unsatisfactory nature of mainstream 'reality', these have taken the form of attempts to return to the instinctive and unconscious; as with the 1960s counter-culture, or the 1980s New Age - both of which have remained culturally-active; in private subjectivity and in mass culture. Or else less influential attempts to return the world to the lesser, but still fundamental, incoherences of 'the past'. 

[Barfield, following Steiner, was guilty of this; insofar as both attempted to fight the incoherences of system with alternative - somewhat less-incoherent - systems; a venture that began with Goethe's attempt to make biology into a differently-systematic science incorporating a systematized version of imagination. Steiner's ideas for agriculture, education, medicine, threefold societies etc, and Barfield's advocacy (in StA) of a new 'system of imagination', are both examples of laying this false trail. Imagination just is Not systematic, and a new world view based on intuitive direct-knowing or heart-thinking cannot be systematized. Cannot means can not.)   

The incoherent world-view of public discourse did Not change; but, necessarily, continued to worsen since it developed from the same incoherent assumptions.

What happened was that instead of becoming coherent; over the past decades more-and-more cultural ways evolved (and were successfully imposed) to make that incoherence not-apparent, or to deny its significance. 

Until we reach The World Now - where incoherence is extreme, global and mandatory - but is almost completely occult; hidden by the universality of bureaucracy, micro-specialization and dishonesty - fueled by mass emotional manipulation via the mass/ social media. 

We now experience a world of astonishingly vast and increasing chaos of incoherence; in which the monolithic nature of global totalitarianism is itself regarded as The Objective Reality (objective because there is nothing else in official public discourse, and only this reality is 'shared'); and where any individuals who recognize its incoherence and strategic evil are already and increasingly labelled as merely isolated instances of cut-off (insane, idiotic and/or wicked) pure-subjectivity.

[The official consensus of world experts versus... just your personal opinion.] 

Steiner and Barfield did indeed foresee these consequences - and wrote prophetically of the nature of our current world 'if' we failed to awaken to their insights. A Steiner lecture of 1918 and remarks by Barfield in StA and his (1984 published) novella Night Operation, are instances. 

But neither Steiner nor Barfield emphasized such 'if not, then...' prophecies; because both expected that culture would correct itself - because the problems were so obvious, and were getting worse.  

I think the actual state of the world now was (and is) missed, because modern people focus upon abstract and specialized matters such as politics, science and philosophy - and the impulses which drives these; whereas the dominant impulse throughout has been purposive evil - the agenda of the devil/ Satan and the demonic spirits. Steiner and Barfield were both guilty of this - seldom discussing God and never (I think) framing their arguments in terms of God and his creative aims. 

When we are up-against supernatural evil; no amount of reform within the domains of politics/ science/ philosophy - nor any other social system such as law, education, medicine, the military or churches - can effectively oppose it. Any local improvement in a specific area of discourse is quickly outflanked by continued degeneration in many or most others. 

It is akin to trying to correct the dishonesty of the global establishment. If an official statement or line-of-argument is revealed as a gross and deliberate lie (that is a lie-rooted discourse such as the birdemic-peck, climate change, antiracism, feminism or the trans-agenda - or any of the multiple sublies within these discourses); then the lie is still operating and indeed accelerating in all the other social systems - media, corporate, legal and so forth. 

The societal assumption is that any number of proven Establishment lies are specific and encapsulated; while the validity of the total system is unchallenged because assumed. 

In other words, the actual root and motivation of that expanding incoherence which Steiner and Barfield exposed was undying evil spirits operating across many human generations; whose agenda is the destruction of God, the good and divine creation. 

The problem of incoherence was Not based in philosophical error, nor the limitations of science; nor the aims of politicians, bureaucrats or judges. 

We have - all along - been dealing-with the war between, on the one hand, God and Jesus Christ - with their aim of saving mortal Men to a resurrected life of growing more divine; and on the other hand, the many-fold powers of evil that oppose all this.

Evil is not trying to sustain any particular alternative evil reality; but to oppose The Good by whatever means seem to be effective at any particular time or place. Hence evil is protean, mutating, and cannot positively be defined in terms of what it 'wants'. 

For evil, incoherence is a feature, not a bug; and the more that actually-existing incoherence is accepted, embraced, and defended as real, true, necessary and Good - the greater is the triumph of evil. 

So here we are Now! The most extreme adverse prophecies of Steiner and Barfield have come true; evil is globally officially endorsed and imposed - and yet so extreme and pervasive is Man's corruption that he (mostly) does not even notice (and strenuously denies) that ruling-evil, and its explicit and implicit tendency.

And/but insofar as Modern Man can perceive evils - he sees No Alternative. 

After so many decades; Modern Man has incoherence baked-into his world view - which is a measure of his evil nature; and therefore sustains the only 'unity' and possibility of public that he can believe-in - which is that ever-shifting consensus of demonically-controlled, monolithic global totalitarianism.


Tuesday 27 July 2021

Truth-seeking and truth-speaking... Why does anybody ever do it?

The theme and conclusion of my 2012 book Not Even Trying was that real science (which is almost extinct now) was 'simply' the dedication of a group of people to seek the truth about some-thing, and to communicate honestly about it. 

That is all that can be said - as a generalization - about so-called 'scientific method'. 

But even to say this is to say a great deal - and to describe a situation that has been extremely rare in world history - and is extremely rare now. It was really only from approximately the middle 1600s to the middle 1900s in Britain and some parts of Europe (and their diaspora) that this situation prevailed to a significant degree. 

The thing it; to be a 'truthful' person is extremely rare; and to be a truthful person who is sufficiently interested in some particular 'thing' that one will work, over a significant period of time, to discover the reality of it - is much rarer still. And to have a society that values such an activity is so rare that - as I said - it perhaps only grew and survived in one place for a few hundred years. 

Anyone who is really concerned by the truth of a particular thing will rapidly realize that hardly anybody else is interested enough to make their opinion of any value. Furthermore, he will realize that few people are interested in truth at all

Truth is, at best, a low-ranked priority for most people, most of the time. Most people are orientated towards other people (whether real people, or nowadays virtual). 

Most people believe that 'truth' is just something rhetorical; something manufactured (expediently, for short term use) to support their current views of how inter-human affairs ought to proceed - or simply to support what they themselves happen to want to do. 

If you are a real scientist; you soon realize not only that extremely few other real scientists share your dedication to the truth of your particular thing; but also that few people care about truth at all

One of the most striking aspects of the leftist (political correctness) witch hunts that have been such a feature of the West since the late 1960s (and I have personally been involved in several of these; both as subject and an active participant) is the complete indifference to truth of almost everybody involved. Nobody cares what is true; only what effect a belief might have (and they always claim to be able to predict what effect a belief will have). 

Indeed, indifference is not accurate - there is a hostility to truth, and even more than this a hostility to the idea of truth. The idea that there is a true and real reality is what is the cause of such venom on the left. The left regards reality as relativistic, and something created by consensus (including 'peer review') and imposed by power.  

Yet, it must be acknowledged that there is something valid in the leftist critique - because the traditional idea of a single objective truth 'out there' waiting to be discovered, is also wrong. Science is necessarily a human activity, and real scientific truth does depend on the evaluations and judgments of people - albeit of truth-seeking and truth-seeking people. 

But then 'who decides' - and on what grounds - which people are the real scientists - especially in a world of professional science.

You cannot get away from people, from human minds, form personal judgments... Except by dishonestly disguising these with committees, votes, protocols etc - which themselves are merely either arbitrary or derived from human minds/ judgements etc as to 'what counts as' true...

At first it seems like we have a choice of just two wrong ideas. One is the idea that scientific truth does not depend on people, the other that it depends only on people. 

My answer is that the possibility of real science depends on Christian assumptions concerning the fundamental nature of reality. These include that there is a God who is creator of reality, and who loves Men - who are God's  children and made 'in God's image'.  

These assumptions must be in place for a scientist to seek and speak truth in a particular domain, for a human endeavor to seek truth to be possibly successful; and common enough that he can find other whose interest is the same. 

The assumptions can survive the loss of Christian faith in a person - for a while; or may occur in an individual of another religion (e.g. Judaism) who has absorbed, assimilated and endorsed sufficient of these assumptions from a Christian society. 

But the assumptions necessary for science cannot survive the comprehensive replacement of Christianity in a society's ways of thinking and behaving. Such a society has no reason to seek truth; and (consequently) insufficient desire to do so. 

This framework sees the scientific search for truth as being an impulse to know the reality of God's creation. The scientific impulse in Men shares in the divine creative impulse - therefore it is Good.

But to know the reality of creation (i.e. to seek and speak truth) entails aligning oneself with God's creative purposes. 

From this perspective, we can see that science is a potentially creative activity (one of many; including, but not restricted to; the arts, music, literature, philosophy, scholarship) in which Men may lend their minds and efforts to understanding the divine creative project in one particular area, and with the hope of participating in God's creation. 

The above model explains why science (as a social activity) once existed; and why science has not existed in most times and places. 

Leftist relativistic anti-science (which nw rules the world of public discourse) functions to oppose God and creation; and instead to assert that reality (ie. divine creation) does not exist/ does not matter - and that we have no obligation to seek or live-by creation.

And instead to take a this-worldly attitude of life - as being only about inter-human relationships of (for example) power and pleasure; to which considerations of truth and reality ought to be subordinated. For instance; such (common, officially-endorsed) ideas as that 'science' properly exists to increase human happiness, to alleviate suffering, to sustain a world of social justice, or to preserve the environment. 

Yet when 'science' serves such goals - instead of being truth-seeking/ speaking, then it simply becomes a part of the Establishment System, as now; and un-truthful and dishonest from top to bottom; in great and in small matters.  

Thus real science (which has always been rare, and is now all-but extinct) is a creative act of some Men which - if it is Good - will be aligned with God's plans. Real science cannot exist in a genuinely atheistic and materialistic society, where Christian beliefs have been displaced by The System. 

Monday 26 July 2021

Imagination has become social reality

We tend to assume - following decades of mass media propaganda - that 'imagination' is always a good thing. Probably, that was the case in the past, when imagination was used to 'to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature' - that is, to imagine variants based-upon the natural

But since the Romantic era, imagination has extended beyond nature, and from the early 20th century has become autonomous. From the early 20th century, with modernism, surrealism, Dadaism etc - imagination became often a parody, subversion or inversion of the natural. 

Furthermore, as modern Man became alienated from the divine and spiritual (that is; at first able to ignore, then unable to perceive, the divine and spiritual realms) this cut-off imagination became reality.

So that in the modern, official and mass media, legal and corporate world - un-real, aspirational, asserted and enforced ideas very rapidly become normalized, accepted and then (to all intents and purposes) 'real'. 

In other words, humans now - as a matter of mundane everyday practice - imagine and make their own reality. The world is convulsed and organized according to these imagined and made realities such as the birdemic, antiracism, climate emergency and the trans-agenda. 

Apparently any-thing - any statement, any morality, any imperative, can be made-real now, and generally accepted as real - with little or no strain or sense of dissonance - even when it is a complete fabrication or an inversion of the natural. 

Indeed; that official-reality is a total invention or an inversion of natural-reality is generally taken to indicate its moral superiority (consequently; to privilege the natural is termed 'fascism'; and is demonized and suppressed). 

From this we may see that modern Men are so constituted that they will believe what they imagine; and they can be induced to imagine almost anything - especially by means of the mass media with its combination of fake-news, gossip and ideologically-shaped entertainments. 

And people do not distinguish between sources of imaginations and assertions - and seldom recall or discern-between the provenance of 'knowledge' - so that beliefs are as likely to be shaped by overt fictions (a movie) as by supposed facts (taught at school).

(Although, with institutional convergence - all sources of imagination/ fact are being forcibly harmonized to the leftist, materialist, anti-Christian ideology.)

People are psychologically-made such as to privilege this media world as objective and primary, because it is widely-shared and enforced by the powerful - and they subordinate and ignore their own conscience, observations and reasoning, because these are (merely) private.

In sum - Modern Man imagines his reality; and his imagination is fed to him by the mass media; so, for modern Man; reality is whatever assumptions the mass media is currently operating on

(And by 'currently' I mean 'the last few days' - and today's mass media assumptions may be the opposite of last week's, or the assumptions may imply the opposite of the media interpretation - but none of this matters: today's assumptions rule whatever.) 

This is why the media can report as reality un-natural phenomena such as the imagined birdemic plague or climate catastrophe, can invert racial and sexual realities, can state that men and women are flexibly- and wholly-interconvertible - and will be believed; to an unrestricted degree... To the extent of structuring and administering the whole world policy and human micro-interactions alike. 

Life is made, and re-made, on the basis of these (and any other potential, equally arbitrary) imaginations.  

The capacity to make imagination into reality is thus a double-edged sword which pushes the world towards extremes of good or evil. Good imaginations can be made real - but so can evil imaginations; and indeed imagination can abolish or invert the distinction between good and evil. 

Armed with this power; Man is called-upon, each as an individual, to imagine the good - and to eschew the evil; to imagine the beautiful and true and coherent... 

But in practice, the opposite has happened. 

Man has refused to acknowledge or exercise his power to imagine God, good and divine creation; has refused to imagine a living and conscious universe in which each of us has an unique contribution to make...

And therefore has opened himself to become a passive conduit for the imaginations of the evil powers who have taken-over the public world .

And this remains un-recognized because of Man's capacity to imagine evil as Good; and undiscerned because of Man's willed self-subordination to external, evil-aligned, values. 

See Owen Barfield's book - Saving the Appearances (1957) for a source of the above ideas. 

Residual Unresolved Leftism

It is a feature of the spiritual war nowadays that The Enemy (i.e. those on the side of Satan, against God) are dispersed in many places, deny any self-definition; and indeed are just part of normal, mainstream 'public opinion' as revealed in officialdom, institutions and the media, 

It is sometimes said that this makes evil difficult to discern - on the assumption that the evil is hidden among the good, in many and changing forms, under many and changing names and deceptive rhetoric...

But the truth is that evil is very easy to discern nowadays; indeed evil has never been easier to discern IF the line dividing good from evil is drawn in the right place. 

The problem that many people have in discerning evil is that they are retaining too much evil in their own assumptions, in their own world view. 

They are (in effect) trying to use a line between good and evil, when that line has been positioned such as to include evil; therefore they find the discernment to be difficult and unsure. 

This is seen, for example, in what Owen Barfield termed RUP - Residual Unresolved Positivism - something to which everyone brought up in The West is prone. 

RUP is a matter of retaining 'materialist', 'scientistic', 'reductionistic' assumptions that were unconsciously absorbed in childhood and adolescence, are invisible to normal introspection, and which have become habitual framers of thinking. 

This happens when we consciously oppose positivism, wish for a fully-spiritual life, yet keep un-consciously falling back into positivistic ways of regarding the world; therefore we sometimes fail to detect (and may end-up supporting) positivism when it is being deployed by the powers of evil. 

Another - just as common and related - problem is RUL - Residual Unresolved Leftism

The assumptions of Leftism (e.g. Leftist concepts of equality, social justice, diversity, environmentalism, antiracism, feminism, sexual revolution, the mainstream hedonic utilitarian morality etc) is pervasive in public discourse as background assumptions. 

Very few people in The West are altogether free of these false, tendentious, evil-tending ideas - and Christians, as much as most, often cherish such ideals - or try to do so. 

RUL therefore confuses our discernment of evil; since Leftism has been a major (probably The major) strategy of evil in the modern world. 

Thus there is evil at work in the world and impinging upon our personal lives, yet because some evil in our-selves matches that external evil, we fail to recognize its true nature. 

With RUL, the line has been drawn wrongly; too close to evil - not including all of evil; with some evils left-over on the side of good; so discernment begins to seem difficult, complex... 

We become confused, disorientated, unsure of what to do and what to reject. 

But the difficulties and complexities are an artefact of the line being drawn in the wrong place - due to Residual Unresolved Leftism. If we can identify and repent all of our Leftist assumptions, the task of discernment is revealed as simple - indeed it has probably never been simpler than Now! 

But another difficulty is that when the line between good and evil has been drawn correctly, and discernment is swift and decisive - it will be found that most of the world, and pretty much all of officialdom, major institutions, and the mass media - are on the side of evil

It will also be found, more disturbingly, that most people are on the side of evil; which means that most individual persons we encounter will support the side of evil - will be cooperating-with and probably defending/ advocating/ working-for the powers of evil. 

And this applies even in Christian churches and among the leadership of Christian churches; because being on the side of evil is not about one's majority or average beliefs. 

Even one Leftist belief or assumption suffices to corrupt; because (as of 2020) the tendency of institutions and their choice between good and evil sides may be dictated by a single Leftist belief (such as the Litmus Tests). 

This may be disturbing, unfamiliar, and often demoralizing. 

Yet we should remember that with normal Christianity; any single unrepented sin - no matter how 'small' - is sufficient to cause damnation; because we only truly desire Heaven when we are prepared to give-up all sin for it. Heaven is a place without sin; and nobody can enter it who has not repudiated sin. 

Here on earth, something analogous applies to the sins of Leftism. To be on the side of God, persons and institutions must reject the devil and all his works. 

This does not mean any kind of impossibly perfect standard of behaviour - but repentance - which is the correct detection and identification of sin as sin -and the 'in principle' willingness to discard it. 

Perfection of thoughts and values is impossible in this mortal earthly life; but repentance is always and everywhere open to any person or institution. 

Residual Unresolved Leftism is a serious problem because sin is unrecognized, is indeed defended and advocated; and the consequence is that perception of discernment as difficult and uncertain - in a world where in fact evil is more naked and extreme than ever before. 

So, if you are confused, and find evil difficult to discern; look within for those unrepented sins which are probably the source of the problem. 

One great and immediate advantage of eliminating Residual Unresolved Leftism is that we attain clarity about the spiritual war of this world; and can set-to on the task of fighting that war instead of being enmeshed in confusion. 

Such clarity of discernment is liberating, exciting, and motivating! Which is just what most-people most-need in a world such as this. 

Tuesday 29 June 2021

Consciously overcoming the division of sleep from consciousness

It is interesting to consider how the relationship between sleeping states - deep sleep and dreaming sleep - and the awake state may have changed through the evolutionary development of Men. 

If we start with the historical (and early childhood) conscious state termed Original Participation by Owen Barfield; then it was a striking idea of Rudolf Steiner that this is characterized by what we would consider a less complete difference between sleep and waking. The awake person was not so fully awake is the case now; and aspects of deep and dreaming sleep remained active throughout the daytime. 

This would be a more passive and unconscious form of waking; whereby we were involuntarily influenced by the sleeping states; immersed-in them. In Original Participation Man's consciousness was integrated, but dominated by sleep.  

A suggestion is that the sleep states are (in some fashion) in communication with the divine and spiritual world; and therefore in Original Participation awake Man has direct experiential knowledge of the gods and spiritual reality. This may be why all early Men and all young children assume the reality of gods and the spiritual realm - because the experience and know it; not just when asleep but all of the time.

The idea is that, as Man's consciousness evolved through history, the division between sleeping and waking states became more distinct; until with modern Man it was complete (the phase called the Consciousness Soul). We are not aware of our sleeping and dreaming consciousness while awake (although they continue); and indeed we almost never remember anything from deep sleep, and even dream memories tend to be absent, partial or uncertain.   

It struck me that presumably the same applies in the opposite direction: that waking consciousness has probably lost access to deep and dreaming sleep. Perhaps in earlier phases, waking consciousness could affect dreaming sleep, and even deep sleep; and therefore in original Participation these sleeping states were more conscious, more subject to waking motivations, and probably more memorable. 

Whereas nowadays (for many people) dreams are characterized by their own crazy illogic and irrelevance; perhaps for early Men they were coherent, useful, memorable - by the waking Man. And maybe something analogous applied even with the slower, simpler, 'tidal' consciousness-world of deep sleep. 

(Steiner suggests that in dreaming sleep, ancient Man - and children - are in communion with the lower angelic powers; and in deep sleep, the higher angels - or, I would guess, perhaps even the simple and basic aspects of the knowledge of God, Jesus Christ and/or the Holy Ghost.) 

So, modern Man's consciousness states are not integrated; but instead divided, alienated, encapsulated. 

And what of the goal of Final Participation? We might assume that the division between sleeping and waking would again become crossable, 'permeable' - but this time dominated by waking consciousness and by its capacity for free agency, for conscious choice. 

Thus we may be able to choose to bring our waking consciousness and cross into dreaming, and even deep sleep; there to both gain conscious control of these states, and to remember better what happens in them. 

So we may again become integrated in our consciousness; but this time with awakeness dominating. 

However, this state is voluntary - not automatic; conscious not unconscious; and is subject to the constraints of Final Participation - which is, after all, an attainment of divine consciousness (albeit usually partial and always temporary) even when we are mortal on earth. 

Therefore, we might be able to choose to bring awake consciousness into dreaming and deep sleep; but only insofar as we our-selves are aligned with God's purposes, meanings and mode of thinking. 

If a person has chosen the side of Satan against God, then Final Participation is not (at that time) possible. 

Furthermore sin interferes with Final Participation. Un-repented sin blocks FP in the long term (because we are not aligned with the divine); while currently-active sin in thinking will curtail FP for its duration; which is surely one reason, albeit not the only reason, why Final Participation is always temporary - indeed usually very brief.  

Nonetheless, even with all these provisos, this gives an idea of what to aim for in Final Participation how to go about it; and how to know when it has happened. That is, we can aim towards more frequent and fuller integration of the waking and sleep states; do so consciously; and within a Christian context.