Wednesday, 24 May 2017

When the problem, the limitation, is in my-self... (and the example of Rudolf Steiner)

It is hard, but not impossible, to change oneself - including for the better.

That, indeed, is the problem at present - the barrier to doing what needs to be done is not in The World nor in My Circumstances but in myself - or perhaps more specifically my-self.

I am the constraint. I cannot proceed further until I myself have developed further.

I think I know what needs to be done, but doing it is not quick and not straightforward (else there would be more examples of success - and indeed there are very, very few I have heard of who have ever done what I intend to do in terms of developing my way of experiencing, being and thinking).

But there is precedent; Rudolf Steiner wrote his early philosophical books (the one about Goethe's implicit world view, the PhD thesis and his Philosophy of Freedom) a few years before he actually made the breakthrough into the kind of thinking he had already described in such detail.

The one led to the other: metaphysics preceded an evolution of consciousness.

From The Story of my Life - Rudolf Steiner's autobiography, chapter 22:

At the end of the Weimar period of my life I had passed my thirty-sixth year. One year previously a profound revolution had already begun in my mind. With my departure from Weimar this became a decisive experience. 

It was quite independent of the change in the external relationships of my life, even though this also was very great. The realization of that which can be experienced in the spiritual world had always been to me something self-evident; to grasp the sense world in full awareness had always caused me the greatest difficulty. It was as if I had not been able to pour the soul's experience deeply enough into the sense-organs to bring the soul into union with the full content of what was experienced by the senses. 

This changed entirely from the beginning of my thirty sixth year. My capacities for observing things and events in the physical world took form both in the direction of adequacy and of depth of penetration. This was true both in the matter of science and also of the external life. 

Whereas before this time the conditions had been such that large scientific combinations which must be grasped in a spiritual fashion were appropriated by me without mental effort, and that sense-perceptions, and especially the holding of such facts in memory, required the greatest effort on my part, everything now became quite different. 

An attentiveness not previously present to that which appeals to sense-perception now awakened in me. Details became important; I had the feeling that the sense-world had something to reveal which it alone could reveal. I came to think one's ideal should be to learn to know this world solely through that which it has to say, without man's interjecting himself into this by means of his thought, or by some other soul-content arising within him. I became aware that I was experiencing a human revolution at a far later period of life than other persons. 

But I saw also that this fact carried very special consequences for the soul's life. I learned that, because men pass early out of the soul's weaving in the spiritual world to an experience of the physical, they attain to no pure conception of either the spiritual or the physical world. They mingle permanently in a wholly instinctive way that which things say to their senses with that which the mind experiences through the spirit and which it then uses in combination in order to “conceive” things. 

For me the enhancement and deepening of the powers of sense-observation meant that I was given an entirely new world. The placing of oneself objectively, quite free from everything subjective in the mind, over against the sense-world revealed something concerning which a spiritual perception had nothing to say.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Why - ultimately - is civilisation intolerable?

I certainly appreciate the benefits of civilisation (indeed I once wrote a book-length 'hymn' to the advantages of the post-industrial revolution); but ultimately the degree of compulsion and distortion of human life (by specialization, partiality, repetition - the need to treat the world as raw material; the need to treat people as 'human resources'...) is probably not possible to justify; and - really - we shouldn't even try.

Perhaps it was acceptable and spiritually advantageous for Man to have a period of this kind of thinking, knowing, being... but any such advantages were exhausted long before the end of the 19th century. Since then we have just been digging deeper and deeper into error and desolation.

The predictable consequence is that now - as well as being thoroughly addicted to materialism and distraction; we have accumulated an extra six billion people who would die if humanity was to advance to the kind of life which we ought to be aiming at.

Nonetheless - let not the good become the enemy of the best! Let's not idealise the tyranny of civilisation. 

Note: The above was partly stimulated by reflecting on the social policies advocated by Rudolf Steiner - such as the 'threefold' organisation of society and the Waldorf schools. What strikes me about these is the mismatch between Steiner's soaring and open-ended vision of humans enaged in becoming gods by the evolution of consciousness through vast timescales on the one hand; and on the other his elaborate schemes and plans for making states and schools just a little bit better... 

Illiterate, tribal Christianity - The Outsider's utopian hope for society and politics - The Outsider's Handbook and Pocket Companion

Past Outsiders have been blocked and trapped by their assumptions: primarily by their belief that Christianity was superseded. This is an error: the future is Christian; and the only relevant question is Christianity of what kind?

In terms of the desired social changes - Outsiders have lacked ambition and radicalism - hopes have seldom been more than keeping society in its basic nature but wanting to make more niches for Outsiders such as themselves - and, of course, according a higher status to Outsiders...

But a society based upon the creative and self-motivated individual would need to be utterly different from any society since the agricultural revolution about 12,000 years ago.

Indeed, a society based on the aptitudes and destinies of individuals would need to be a tribal and familial society - in basic form much like those of hunter-gatherers.

Such a society is the only type which can be natural and spontaneous, which can avoid the alienation inextricable from complex social organisation - specialisation, coercion, planning: fitting people into pre-decided roles...

The difference is that the original hunter gatherer type societies are largely un-conscious; lacking in awareness of their knowledge. Such societies are similar to the life of early childhood in the way that tradition is simply accepted, society is accepted, morality is accepted... indeed such things are not consciously known, there is no awareness of 'religion' or 'law' - for example - these are simply how life is done...

But a future society which would fulfil the hope of Outsiders would - inevitably - be aware of its behaviours; including that all behaviours are partly-given and partly-chosen - that is: humans participate in creating the meaning and purpose of Life.

In effect, the future (the intended or destined future) is that we return to the same kind of spontaneous and natural way of living as in the simplest early societies - yet with the enhanced awareness, knowledge and participation of fully agent individuals.   

(Children and hunter gatherers are hardly aware of themselves as distinct from their societies - but human destiny is to be conscious agents; so the future is of living in 'tradition' as it happens quite naturally, with full awareness and by choice.)

Such a society is not likely to be literate - nor is it likely to have a priesthood - nor rituals; no churches or temples - and presumably no scriptures.

We need to be able to imagine a Christianity which is orally-transmitted; indeed more than this. We should recall that there are immaterial, non-sensory modes of communication; and Christianity can and should be known by such ways (if or when we lived in a higher state of consciousness).

Christ was a fact, a cosmic fact, a living fact - he changed everything, forever...

Therefore, Christ can be known without scripture, and without us being told about him - he can be known directly, and in a way fully adequate to the needs of a Christian life.

If/ when such a time arrives when Men have developed their consciousness to a level that we can simply perceive reality; we will be able to know Christ (rather than merely know-about him). Such a Christianity might be very simple, in some respects perhaps fluid; yet it could be true in all necessary respects, and of immense personal power, because fully experienced.

The Outsider therefore needs to be able to think, to imagine, beyond beyond complexity, organisation, specialisation, books, plans and fixed institutions... beyond what we take for granted (and which will, indeed, be necessary and beneficial for a long time to come, very probably).

We cannot, therefore, root our ultimate convictions in things that may be contingent upon particular and temporary types of civilisation - when the future may well undo civilisation - as something which has served its purpose; and must give-way to higher and better things.  

Monday, 22 May 2017

Inspiration, Imagination and Intuition: The Outsider's Handbook and Pocket Companion -

1. Be open to Inspiration

2. Grasp with Imagination

3. Test with Intuition

The aim is to base assumptions on self-validating intuitions.

Whatever is - is obvious

(...When clarity has been attained; which typically takes right-motivation, effort and time.)

We can only rest on that which we spontaneously acknowledge - acknowledge from our real-true-divine self. During consciousness at its best and highest. That is intuition.

(The test of intuition is intuition: it is self-validating. The process may be repeated as often as subjectively required to check for foundational solidity.)

The Outsider's Handbook and Pocket Companion - What to do and what not to do

What to do and what not to do

What to do: Recognise, firmly, that you need to be both spiritual and Christian - a more spiritual experience of living is the means, and Christianity reveals the end.

Christianity is the frame; greater consciousness the method; either without the other is futile.  

What not to do: Commit to any aspect of the sexual revolution.

Sex and sexuality have been the corruption and inversion of nearly all Outsiders for the past century and more - and the main reason why most recent geniuses have been evil in their effect.

(The Sexual Revolution is the stiletto and the sledge-hammer of Satan: the major means of damning the world. Sex is, after all - and after religion - the second most powerful human motivation; we cannot and should-not do without it - making sex an uniquely plausible and powerful mechanism for corrupting humanity.)

What then? Find your individual but divinely-ordained destiny - the first and most important step is to recognise that there is a destiny; that it is both personal and universal.

(You probably won't know how your destiny works, but so long as you discover what you should be doing that does not matter, at present.)

Sunday, 21 May 2017

A viable future of The West must be Christian and spiritual (not primarily nationalist - which merely advances the evil totalitarian agenda)

It seems to be common for people to conflate, to assume the sameness of, a revival of national power and prestige with a revival of Christianity. This conflation seems to happen both on the mainstream political 'Right' as well as the Left (who bracket nationalism and Christianity under the category of 'fascism' which they bestow indiscriminately upon all their opponents).

But although de-nationalisation and anti-Christianity are being simultaneously pursued by the Leftist Establishment; the two do not necessarily go together, indeed I think they cannot (in principle) be pursued in parallel - we must choose one or the other as priority.

If it is accepted (which I argue elsewhere at length) that the Global Establishment is purposively evil, being tools of the demonic powers dedicated to the damnation of Man - then we can see that the anti-Christian agenda is primary; and the globalist agenda is a means to that end.

The Right-wing nationalist agenda sees engineered mass immigration and population replacement as a toll for destroying Western Civilisation; and the main modern problem. But from a Christian perspective this is a secondary problem, and not the main goal of those who pursue demographic destruction.

For Christians, the role of demographic destruction is to induce fear, hatred and chaos - justifying the extension and completeness of the materialist, surveillance and micro-managed totalitarian state which is already substantially in-place.

This planned totalitarian society will be used to (attempt to) destroy Christianity, and indeed all transcendental thought - by deluging the mind with constant input, by rendering the will passive, by filling thought with bad stuff, and by manipulating emotions: by burying our true free selves under layers of engineered and automatic habits and responses.

But the planned totalitarian future can only be resisted by a society that has higher goals than the modern 'utilitarian' public ethic of maximising pleasure and minimising suffering during mortal life. If our feelings and pleasures are to be the bottom line, the totalitarianism will not be resisted, because totalitarianism can sell itself as the best and only means to human 'happiness' (as with Aldous Huxley's Brave New World).

So a Christian revival is the priority; and this would be welcome from whatever source - however, to be effective against the prevalent materialism of modernity, any Christian revival needs to be spiritual.

Spiritual sounds vague - but what is needed is anything-but vague. It is indeed radical beyond anything we have yet experienced (except among a tiny minority). Recent and current Christianity (and I mean among good and sincere Christians) is very materialist - very assimilated to modernity; it is a set of beliefs, a set of assented 'fact'; rather than that different way of thinking, perceiving, and experiencing which is required.

To get back to priorities - the observable fact is that over the past twenty years the British population, hence culture, has been replaced by a variety of other people and cultures - typically non-Western. This has been enabled and facilitated by native sub-fertility; which is itself the major symptom of nihilism and despair - i.e. the British people in a deep sense, en masse, want to become extinct.

That national despair (consequent upon wholesale and near-complete abandonment of Christianity - including among self-identified mainstream Christians and especially their leaders), ultimately, is also why the British have passively-consented-to being substantially replaced; with very little discussion, indeed very little awareness of what is visibly and rapidly happening.

This analysis reveals that nihilistic despair, hope-less-ness, demotivation is the core problem for Britain (and The West generally). Also, awareness of the evil agenda of demographically-induced chaos leading to fear and hatred makes clear that the evil agenda will not be prevented, but will instead be assisted and advanced, by any nationalism based upon fear and hatred.

In a nutshell; there is only one positive option for Britain and that is a Christian awakening distinguished by a new and qualitatively-different perspective on reality; a new and spiritual way of perceiving and thinking.

Furthermore; such a Christian awakening needs to encompass regent migrants to Britain - if hate, fear and chaos are to be avoided.

In other words, National cohesion must be based on religion first, transcending cultural and racial differences. Indeed, religion (and only some religions) are the only known effective basis of long term, non-tyrannical social cohesion among people of different cultures and natures.

To put it another way; the future is totalitarian tyranny or a society based on one, shared religion; and that can only be Christianity; and an effective Christianity needs to be spiritual (non-materialist).

Unless there is Christianity and that Christianity embodies a different and spiritual (non materialist) way of being - then we will remain trapped in nihilism and despair.

(Note: The reason to be Christian, and to aim for a new and spiritual Christian way of being, is that this is true, and best, and indeed divinely destined. Above I am arguing for its expediency - which is true - but secondary.)

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Men understand women better than women understand men...

Since equality 'never' happens in nature; either men must understand women better than women understand men; or else women understand men better than men understand women – on average.

(Or, the difference could be too small to make a difference, except perhaps at the extremes.)

So which is it?

I would say the answer is obvious: men understand women better than vice versa!

More exactly, over time most men learn to understand women better and better; but women instead learn to tolerate that which they do not ever understand.

Why? Perhaps because biologically men court and women choose; so men are in surplus and women a shortage; therefore a man typically wants and needs to understand women, so that a women will mate with him and raise his offspring (because if she doesn't, they will all die - so mating is only a first step). 

(There may also be more existential reasons why men are more motivated to understand 'reality'.)

But a woman (a young healthy woman, anyway) is intrinsically in-demand, and doesn’t really need to understand men – just to pick the best one available…

Cross posted from - where there are some comments. 

Friday, 19 May 2017

Fascism was the problem, not the 'horsewhipping' incident: Was Colin Wilson the first victim of political correctness in 1956?

Colin Wilson had a meteoric rise to fame in 1956 when his first book 'The Outsider' was published - but within months he was being vilified and shunned by the British Establishment; and his reputation has never yet recovered among their descendants.

The usual reason given is 'the horsewhipping incident' which was splashed all over the newspapers - in which Wilson's cohabiting girlfriend's father arrived at his door to threaten him with a horsewhip as punishment for various sexual acts (some real - e.g Wilson was married to someone else at the time; some imaginary and based on having read a fictional diary as if it was factual).

Supposedly, after this salacious incident, Wilson became a mere 'tabloid' character ('famous for being famous') and nobody could ever again take Wilson seriously.

But I don't believe this is true. Sexual misdemeanours and embarrassing, even humiliating, sex-related media scandals were quite normal - indeed more usual than not - for radical Left-wing intellectuals throughout the whole twentieth century; and particularly in from the mid fifties and into the later sixties. The horsewhip incident would normally have enhanced Wilson's reputation --- If he had been a Leftist...

The real 'problem' for Colin Wilson is that he was regarded as a fascist - and that was, and is, unforgivable. It was, and is, enough to exclude him from approval by the Establishment forever.

It must be recognised that Wilson's fascism was as that word is defined by the communist-sympathising Left of his era. In other words Wilson's fascism was because he was known to be anti-Communist. At the time Wilson was mildly Leftist in politics; but that did not, and does not, matter - fascism was and is defined by the Left as being against whatever happens to be the dominant Leftist ideology of the era, and in the fifties that was Soviet Communism.

On top of that Wilson was known to be focused on religious and spiritual matters - rather than socio-economic equality - and this was (and still is) regarded as fascist (despite that fascism was a secular, typically anti-Christian, ideology). But the Left was correct that most thoughtful and coherent religious people are anti-Communist, and anti running society on primarily Leftist lines; and that was (and remains) enough to make them a fascist.

On top of this, Wilson was a close friend of Bill Hopkins, who really was a kind-of fascist! Other, later, friends included Brocard Sewell and Henry 'Tarka the Otter' Williamson who were friends and supporters of Oswald Mosley - the would-be British Nazi dictator of the 1930s. So Wilson's circle in 1956 and later did contain 'real' fascists - Wilson did not shun and vilify them, as the Establishment require/d.

At any rate, the emerging Angry Young Men literary group, of which Wilson was one of the originals; was soon divided (and divided itself) into Left and not-Left/ religious sides - and Wilson found himself on the shunned side of that divide; as did Bill Hopkins and Stuart Holroyd, whose careers were also permanently blighted.    

I am not claiming that the horsewhip incident and the sexual scandal was utterly irrelevant to Wilson being regarded for the next sixty years as either a pariah or a joke; but that 1. it was insufficient to account for Wilson's lifetime of shunning and 2. that the scapegoating sanctions would not have been applied to Wilson if he had been an adherent of the mainstream, pro-communist establishment.

So, in a sense, Colin Wilson was the first prominent person to be a victim of what would later be called a political correctness witch-hunt; and which is so regular a feature of modern public life.

Biographical reference: Beyond the Robot: the life and work of Colin Wilson, by Gary Lachman, 2016.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

The nature of atheism (and other undermining un-beliefs)

It is natural, normal, spontaneous to believe in God and in the world of the spirit (which I here term the Holy Ghost - I simply mean the immaterial divine as it permeates everything).

So how is it that modern people do not believe in either God or the Spirit? It is a matter of explaining-away - a matter of having alternative explanations for universal human experiences.

I know this from the decades when I was an atheist and a materialist - I had all the spontaneous intimations of the divine which people had in the past and continue to have in non-Western societies. That is, I felt that the universe of reality had purpose, hence meaning - that it was ordered rather than chaotic; that what happened mattered.

But I explained away this spontaneous insight as being, for example, a product of the way that humans evolved, or the way our sensory organs or brain just-happened to be made. This was a tragic thing for me, or anyone else, to do; because it meant that deep down I regarded everything that was and had been and could be - absolutely everything - as pointless and meaningless.

Such a conviction lay behind, or below all experience - undermining it, eroding it, subverting it into a conviction of delusion; it meant that I did not believe in my own experience, my own thinking...

The experience of everything being alive and sentient was equally solid - it was how I responded to the situation I was in, whenever I was aware of it. Sometimes it was a delightful benign and beautiful situation - at other times it was a deadly, oppressive sense of malignity around me. This I explained-away as a projection of my own emotions onto the surroundings.

And what of Jesus Christ? It is possible (many do) to believe in God and the Holy Ghost but not in Christ; but what is missing from such a belief. From my perspective the reality of Christ is mainly (but not only) about the possibility of becoming like Christ - Jesus was God as Man who was resurrected to eternal life and full divinity, as a gift which we may choose to accept.

In a nutshell, the reality of Christ is the reality of eternal family - which is, for me, necessary to a hope-full life. An eternity of solitude, even if it were blissful, is a sad, sad thing - a thing which would negate much of what has been most valued in my mortal life.

And more? Well, in this mortal life there is the mystery and magical otherness of Woman, and there is marriage; and the possibility that this too will be permanent and eternal. For me, this has become bound-up with my belief in the reality that God is both man and woman: both Heavenly Father and Mother. To accept the common idea that sex is a temporary state and marriage must end at death... these too are sad and lonely beliefs; which also undermine my spontaneous experience of life at-its-best.

Yet more? Creativity... this has been a big factor in my life; I mean the need to be writing, playing music, singing, connecting with literature, art... Is this just a pastime, a lifestyle? Or is it the same kind of thing that I would be expecting to do in eternity? Is eternity active, evolving, open-ended?

The alternative notion of an eternity that is timeless and in essentials changeless; perhaps worshipping or simply being... to some this is an ideal but to me this devalues my experience of what is Good. It is a kind of unbelief. I was delighted to discover and feel the truth of a view of Heaven and eternity as endless creativity.

In sum - the ideal is love: love implies people, family, marriage, children, creativity - all these, and more no doubt. Before any may be believed they must be understood and imaginatively entertained as possibilities - conviction may, or may not, follow....

Sex and sexuality - back to basics

The division of people into men and women is treated superficially; but it is a fundamental, indeed metaphysical, matter.

I think there are ultimately three basic possibilities: the distinction may be an accident, an increment or permanent.

If an accident; sex is erased at death, a temporary contingency, and of zero ultimate significance to our ultimate self and its fate.

If an increment; sex is an aspect of mortal life that has permanent consequences - it is a step towards higher things.

If permanent; humanity is divided into men and women from eternity to eternity, there are two types of self; and the implication is that the complete person is a dyad of man with woman.

(This reality of sexual distinction is - by the above account - a fact; prior and post to earthly accidents and appearances.)

Which of the three is a matter of metaphysical discernment, not a matter of evidence (because evidence is a product of metaphysical assumptions).

What seems coherent to me, overall, is that sex is permanent; and I have confirmed this to my satisfaction by intuition and personal revelation.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

We have forgotten God

The quote is from Alexander Solzhenitsyn - as the ultimate reason for the modern malaise

This is covered very well in a recent podcast in the context of US youth alienation/ disaffection/ drug-and-social-media addiction/ abuse - and Fake News created by the mainstream media from the excellent Anglican Unscripted:

Freedom and the internet/ computers (and the limits of epistemology without metaphysics) - from Stephen Talbott

(Edited from an essay Computers, the Internet, and the Abdication of Consciousness by Stephen Talbott - square brackets indicate my addition.) 

Freedom only seems to make sense as a name for the movement towards responsible wakefulness, and not as a name for a presumed ideal state. 

The ideal of freedom applies only to a state of [directional] transition. We are works in progress. 

Every move towards health is also a move towards wholeness and integrity. Insofar as the Net succeeds in distracting us from ourselves, it will prove a personal and social disaster. 

The temptations for distraction and sleepwalking [our lives away] are on every hand. But we should not forget that these temptations are also invitations to discovery within ourselves a higher power of wholeness and integrity. 

The computer is our hope if we can accept it as our enemy. As our friend [i.e. if we trust it] the computer will destroy us.


Stephen Talbott is an Anthroposophist (follower of Rudolf Steiner) whose work was much appreciated by Owen Barfield. He is indeed extremely insightful and interesting, and makes many vital suggestions which ought to be adopted; and I would recommend browsing his copious writings.

However, Talbott is also one of those frustratingly incomplete writers - because he restricts himself to epistemology (the philosophy concerning knowledge) without ever clarifying his metaphysics (his fundamental assumptions); in particular - he apparently never references Christianity or even God.

Therefore, ultimately, Talbott's only argument for changing 'the way we know' is that this would be better for our here-and-now health and happiness - as when, above, he references our ultimate goals as integrity and wholeness, and our ultimate ills as personal and social disaster (implicitly suffering).

Lacking a basis in metaphysics, and indeed God; this is all that can ever be argued in favour of anything.

And modern people will simply, and rationally, be able to respond that they, personally, happen to feel differently about their happiness and what they need to do to avoid suffering.

But a Christian discussing epistemology or any kind of fundamental philosophy can and should reference to the fact that we are God's children and we inhabit God's creation - and our ultimate purpose in life (our reason for living) is not, therefore, health and happiness - but the co-fulfilment of God's purposes for creation.

Only thus can we get outside of the modern ethic of utilitarianism, with its absurd assertion of arbitrary, labile and manipulable personal feelings as the bottom-line justification and purpose of everything.

‘Rejection due to imperfection!’ versus ‘If not – then what?’

We need to evaluate in terms of comparisons with the actual – including actual historical and actual elsewhere (but overall, as a package; not by cherry-picking one aspect from an integrated whole) – and even comparison with the actual possible, when that is done with honesty and care.

Modern Leftism is essentially negative – lacking even the utopia of Marxism; it is based on generating outrage about decontextualised imperfections (because decontextualised, the outrage is unbounded… ‘Death to micro-aggressors!’).

Never: ‘Rejection due to imperfection!’ – and always: ‘If not – then what?’

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

'My' church in the international media for doing a Good and Brave Thing

Last week, the church I am mainly associated-with, Jesmond Parish Church (JPC), hit the international mass media headlines for doing a good and brave thing. This is the church I most support, and where my family members have been attending services, and a variety of clubs and events, for the past decade.

What they did, was to have one of the senior priests ordained as a bishop, outside the normal Church of England channels.

Most of the Anglicans in the world are outside the Church of England - it is indeed the third largest Christian denomination after Roman and Orthodox Catholics - and JPC had Rev Jonathan Pryke made a bishop by another branch of the Anglican church from South Africa. 

The significance of this act is that the Church of England (CoE) is an episcopal church - i.e. run by bishops, who ordain priests. But the CoE has become taken over by Leftists (aka 'Liberal' Christians), who are engaged in incrementally eradicating real Christians; and converting the organisation into a Christian-tinged Leftist political pressure group.

Liberalisation/ corruption of the CoE has been done mostly top-down; by controlling who was appointed bishops. This involved excluding 'conservatives' - i.e. theologically serious Anglo Catholics and conservative evangelicals such as the clergy of JPC: essentially everyone who disagrees with the sexual revolution is excluded.

And because bishops control the ordination of priests, this has corrupted the training colleges; and because bishops appoint priests to CoE churches this has been used to destroy conservative churches whenever their Vicars or Rectors come-up for replacement (when they retire or move-on). In other words, the CoE is being systematically purged of real Christians.

The JPC action is the first step in creating alternative arrangements for the besieged Christians who remain in the Church of England - presumably Jonathan Pryke will be the first of several 'conservative' bishops who can ordain new priests, validate new training arrangements, perform confirmations and organise missionary work within Britain.

In some ways it is a small step - but in terms of the CoE this is a big deal - opening possibilities of all kinds of sanctions (official and unofficial); most importantly this is the first proactive counter-strike by UK Anglican conservatives, who have been used-to decade after decade of defeats and retreats.

I can take zero credit for this; but I am delighted that this bold step was taken by 'my' church!

More information on the legal and political ramifications can be found at Gavin Ashenden's blog:

Monday, 15 May 2017

Where do true hypotheses come from?

It is a justifiable demand of science that we should limit ourselves to experience.

But it is a no less justifiable demand that we should seek for the inner law of experience.

Therefore this “inner” must itself appear at some place in experience.

Experience is thus deepened by the help of experience itself. Our theory of knowledge makes the demand for experience in the very highest form; it repels every attempt to introduce something into experience from without.

This theory finds even thought-characterizations within experience. The form in which thought enters into manifestation is the same as that of the rest of the world of experience.

From Rudolf Steiner's The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception. (1886). C. THOUGHT: VIII: Thinking as a Higher Experience within Experience.

Since there are an 'infinite' number of false hypotheses - but only one true; how is it that true theories can sometimes be discovered?

(If the 'search space' is essentially infinite, how could we ever find the truth? It would be harder than finding a needle in a haystack - indeed it would be impossible.)

The answer is that the concepts of science (hypotheses and theories) are given by experience itself - when science is being done properly. They are not invented, nor are they arbitrary - they are found in thinking, in the same thought-world where we are aware of perceptions.

Theories are not derived from facts; nor are facts controlled by theories - but both are found together in the process of thinking.

This happens and is possible and objective (the same always and for everybody, regardless of their mental makeup) because the world of thinking is single, unified - and therefore thinking is not inside each individual mind, but is a universal realm.

We discover true hypotheses by attaining to a clear knowing, by achieving a transparency of thinking. (Such transparency must, in practice, be achieved actively - not least by rejecting false assumptions.)

Truth is then seen - but it is not imposed on us; it is possible to know and to deny (that is a consequence of human agency, or free will).

The proper conduct of science involves attaining this clear seeing - which is a question of attitude, which is dependent on motivation: on wanting, more than anything, to know.

The way in which thought-content 'meets us' is the guarantee of its essential truth. In other words intuition.

Error in science is therefore essentially a matter of dishonesty - (usually) failure to await the attainment of transparency and the occurrence of clear seeing and its intuitive validation - and instead dishonestly to 'invent' an hypothesis; or else (more rarely) dishonest denial of what has been clearly seen and known.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

What was Robert M Pirsig's IQ?

Since his death a few weeks ago, I have been thinking about Robert Pirsig and his book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (ZAMM):

I have started listening to the audiotape version of ZAMM as my 'kitchen chores' book; and re-reading Mark Richardson's valuable roadtrip/ Pirsig biography 'Zen and Now'.

I also remembered an earlier blog post about Robert Pirsig's oft-mentioned IQ being 170 - and the case for suggesting it could equally well have been described as an IQ of 127-135 (about two standard deviations above average, rather than about five).

This chart gives the IQ percentages and rarities, for a test average 100 and a standard deviation of 15 - however, I think the Stanford Binet would have had an SD of 16 at that time:

The piece seems worth re-posting:


IQ is not a precise measurement - especially not at the individual level, and especially not at the highest levels of intelligence when the whole concept of general intelligence breaks-down and there are increasing divergences between specific types of cognitive ability.
There is a tendency to focus upon a person's highest-ever IQ measure - for example in the (excellent!) philosophical novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance the author Robert Pirsig notes the startling fact (and it is a fact) that his (Stanford-Binet) IQ was measured at 170 at the age of nine - which is a level supposedly attained by one in fifty thousand (although such ratios are a result of extrapolation, not measurement).

But an IQ measure in childhood - even on a comprehensive test such as Stanford Binet, is not a measure of adult IQ - except approximately (presumably due to inter-individual differences in the rate of maturation towards mature adulthood). 
A document on Pirsig's Wikipedia pages (Talk section) purports to be an official testimonial of Pirsig's IQ measurements from 1961 (when he was about 33 years old) and it reads:



   June 14,1961
   To Whom it May Concern:
   Subject: Indices of the Intellectual Capacity of Robert M. Pirsig

Mr. Pirsig was a subject in one of the institute’s longitudinal research projects and was extensively evaluated as a preschool, elementary, secondary, college and adult on various measures of intellectual ability. A summary of these measures is presented below.

Childhood tests: Mr. Pirsig was administered seven individual intelligence tests between the ages of two and ten. He performed consistently at the 99 plus percentile during this period.

His IQ on the Stanford Binet Form M administered in 1938 when he was nine and a half years old was 170, a level reached by about 2 chilldren in 100,000 at that age level.

In 1949 he took the Miller's Analogy at the Univer. of Minn.. His raw score was 83 and his percentile standing for entering graduate students at the University of Minnesota was 96%tile.

In 1961 he was administered a series of adult tests as part of e follow up study of intelligence. The General Aptitude Test Battery of the United States Employment Service was administered with the following results:
   General Intelligence .......99 % ile
   Verbal Ability .............98 % ile
   Numerical Ability ..........96 % ile
   Spacial Ability ............99 % ile
   John G. Hurst, PhD   Assistant Professor


So, as well as the stratospheric IQ 170, there are other measures at more modest levels around 130 plus a bit (top 2 percent).

Of course there may be ceiling effects - some IQ measures don't try to go higher than the top centile.

But still, lacking that age nine test - and most nine year old's don't have a detailed  IQ personal evaluation - Pirsig's measured IQ would be quoted at about around one in fifty or one in a hundred - rather than 1: 50,000.

Ultra-high IQ measures must be taken with a pinch of salt; because 1. at the individual level IQ measures are not terribly reliable; 2. high levels of IQ do not reflect general intelligence, but more specialized cognitive ability; and 3. even when honest, the number we hear about may be a one-off, and the highest ever recorded from perhaps multiple attempts at many lengths and types of IQ test.

Note: I find it rather annoying when people describe those with a very high IQ as being a 'genius' for that reason, and without taking into account creativity. Most very high IQ people are not especially  creative - and very few of them are geniuses. 

In Terman's prospective study of  1,444 very high IQ Californian children there was many high achievers but no geniuses.  By contrast Terman's Stanford Binet IQ test failed to detect two Geniuses - William Shockley and Luiz Alvarez - very probably because they just had a bad test day, but maybe because the Stanford Binet was mostly a word based test, and Shcokley and Alvarez were both physicists. All IQ tests are, in the end, just tests - and only an indirect measure of 'g'.

However, Pirsig did have a creative personality, as well as high intelligence; and the achievement of writing ZAMM - a first-rate book of its genre - was enough for me to call him a genius; albeit the fact that it was his only achievement at that level (his other philosophical novel Lila being much inferior) would make him a somewhat minor genius by world-historical standards.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Utopia and imagination

While it is an error of the first order to suppose that we can make a solid paradise around us during our earthly mortal life; it is also an error of similar magnitude to suppose we can do without an earthly utopia to aim at.

Lacking any reasonably clear and comprehensible notion of what kind of earthly mortal society we want, we become either short-termist/ expedient or demotivated/ suicidal.

My conviction is that none of the past utopias are viable - being either too unbelievable or else too uninspiring - therefore our future utopia must be imaginative.

For example; the 'Shire' like utopia of William Cobbett/ Distributism/ Small is Beautiful/ Self Sufficiency - I mean an agrarian society of free peasants (and no Lords), each with 'three acres and a cow' - has proven itself to be unviable and (in practice) unappealing... insufficiently motivating.

More exactly, it needs to be imagin-ative but not imagin-ary.

I think the creative thinkers, poets, artists and dreamers of the past have already told us what this imaginative utopia should be - in broad brush-strokes.

If we can identify empathically with the visionary mental landscapes of William Blake or Wordsworth, we can get some idea of the glorious scope and depth I am thinking of. Or, more exactly, there is the mindscape of Goethe or his amplifier Rudolf Steiner; or some of Jung's accounts of the Collective Unconscious - with its vivid myths and archetypes...

My contention is that all these are perspectives on the same thing, the same place; a real place - objective, universally accessible and of primary importance and yet/also a country 'of the mind'.

We need to develop that understanding - pioneered by ST Coleridge, and clarified by Owen Barfield - which recognises that we already live in a world co-constructed by our own imagination.

And we have the possibility of first becoming aware of this world of imagination - and dwelling in it; and then, ultimately - and this is the utopia - becoming an active participant in its creative processes.

Beyond the Grey Havens... by John Fitzgerald

(Excerpted from John Fitzgerald's essay at Albion Awakening)

And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed on into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance in the air  and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.

... This luminous vision, I believe, is the intended destiny of each and every one of us, articulating, in its primal beauty and simplicity, the deepest longing of the human heart. It points us to the root and source of our being, which ultimately lies beyond the parameters of this world. In his essay, The Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis says that we all have a desire for a 'far off country' like an inconsolable inner pang - 'a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience...'

The Deceiver, however, wishes us to believe that our deepest desires can be satisfied here in this world. He offers us a range of seductive options that promise everything but deliver nothing, leading only to the dusty corridors and empty lumber rooms of his barren, mechanistic universe.

We live and move and have our being in this world. We are meant to enjoy it and do good in it, but it should never be mistaken for our abiding home. It can never fully satisfy...

Tolkien was fully grounded in the flesh and blood reality of this world, while at the same time keeping his gaze fixed on the deeper, wider, truer reality beyond the Grey Havens. As very young men, before the First World War, Tolkien and his friends believed that they had been 'granted some spark of fire ... that was destined to kindle a new light, or, what is the same thing, rekindle an old light in the world.' (Tolkien, Letters no. 5). Tolkien, through his writings, certainly succeeded in this mission.

It is for ourselves, as apostles and evangelists of a new spiritual Christianity in this land, to build on his (and Lewis's) work of imaginative engagement. The way to do this, in my view, is to speak directly to the human heart, the place where this deepest longing sits. This comes before anything else - dogma, ideology, and even our frustration with the societal decay and dissolution of values gathering pace around us.

No matter how corrupted, compromised or confused a person has become, that deepest desire - that primal beauty and simplicity - is always there, waiting for a look, a word or a gesture to kindle it into life, blaze forth and shock the world.

Our world of alienation


The main problem now, and for a couple of hundred years, is alienation. It is more obvious now than ever before, because so many people have led lives of peace, comfort, convenience and prosperity – lives that might have seemed paradisal to those in the past. Yet people are deeply discontented; and indeed expend great time and effort on distracting themselves and in blotting out consciousness with intoxication.

Materialism says we ought to be happy and fulfilled; but daily, hourly experience is of emptiness, meaninglessness, purposelessness and disconnection. Modern people are lonely from simple lack of human contact with those (mostly family) who love them; but modern people are also existentially lonely in the deep sense that even when surrounded by others, they feel cut-off – even when surrounded by pleasures and comforts, they are pressed-upon by a horrible recognition that it is all arbitrary, futile, temporary…

Some of us can remember times in our childhood when this was not so; when everything around us was alive, conscious – we were part of the world and the world was extended from us. Life might be pleasurable or miserable; but it meant something, and it was going somewhere – and we were immersed in this process, an integral part of it.

This childhood relation to reality was not, of course, an explicit awareness – indeed that was a vital part of its reality. Our lack of awareness of our selves as separate was the reason why we experienced life as an undivided whole. And it was the incremental increase in self-awareness which caused us to become cut-off from the world: which led to us regarding the rest of the world as things rather than beings.

Indeed, so extreme is the alienation of the modern world that not only do we regard the rest of reality as things – we even regard ourselves as things. In public discourse it is normal, in a sense compulsory (if you don’t want to be seen as crazy) to speak of humans as accidental products of contingent evolutionary processes, as passive ‘victims’ of our childhood experiences; and of personality and ability and uniqueness as being the kind of information pattern that could n principle be downloaded into a computer, or transferred to another person.

In fact we are even alienated from our own thoughts - which means that we don't trust the content of our own minds. This is common nowadays, indeed regarded as sophisticated. Yet - in a world-historical perspective - this is a quite extraordinary situation. And, unless the intrinsic absurdity and nihilism is explicitly recognised, it is a hellish trap from which we cannot ever escape, because we do not perceive that we are trapped.

The expression ‘meat robot’ encapsulates this mainstream world view – the view underpinning the mass media; the single, linked mega-bureaucracy of the modern state; the world of mainstream arts and ideas… it is constantly pressing upon us as an underlying and mostly explicitly-denied anti-reality.

Our thought world is one in which everything solid and objective points to the meaninglessness, purposelessness and isolation of life – that our life is indeed an illusion, a self-deception – and at the same time all this is being implicitly denied by the demands for our compassion, generosity, hard work, good behaviour… and all the idealisms of mainstream politics which must be taken with the utmost seriousness – egalitarianism, anti-sexism, anti-racism… all that socio-political stuff we ‘meat robots’ are supposed to be committed to, to sacrifice our livelihoods and futures to…

Alienation is a nightmare – a self-contradictory state which imposes itself and denies itself simultaneously. We are blamed for not being contented with materialism, and it is demanded that we feel and express ‘concern’ for vague ideals; we are manipulated and pressured into the shallowest consumerism and slavish fashion-following and mocked for it. Alienation is a nightmare because all possibilities within that world are bad, incoherent, and purposeless – according to the world of the nightmare there is nowhere to escape from the nightmare – the nightmare is everything and everywhere because it is metaphysical. We have been trapped by our assumptions.  

But change the assumptions and we are free.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Vastly overpaid lectures are just bribes: hidden in plain sight

Q: Why do famous people with access to valuable secrets get paid silly money for giving 'lectures'?

A: The money is a bribe - the public payment for private information or covert influence.

Bribes are of course illegal; while paying somebody silly money for a 'lecture' is not. But the money goes from one pocket to another, just the same.

Simple, really, if you understand what is going-on, and join the dots.

Loving God, child of God

A loving God?
While many people find it easy to acknowledge some kind of deity; there is an idea prevalent that to assume God loves us, each as individuals, is a belief that smacks too much of wishful thinking; or else is just a plain denial of the nature of the world.
But if a loving God is understood to be a metaphysical assumption, then matters become much clearer.
A metaphysical assumption is not based on ‘evidence’ – so the personal or global balance of good and evil, pleasure and pain, nice and nasty is irrelevant to the question of whether God loves us: completely irrelevant. Until this is understood, there will be hopeless confusion on this question.
The way I think about it is that a child’s experience of the world – the extent to which the child is wicked, or in pain or experiences nasty conditions; cannot be used to infer how much that child’s parents love him.
Of course, some people conflate that question of God’s love with an assumption about God being omnipotent – and then they recognise the problem that if God is both loving and omnipotent, then the world God made seems to be significantly sub-optimal.
But in reality, there is no reason to assume that God’s power and God’s love are both necessarily true. Or that what these concepts mean is clear. In sum, lovingness and omnipotence are two separate questions, and they must be considered separately.
The idea that God loves each of us is indeed unusual in world religions – probably most religions have had an unloving God or gods; so why do I believe it is true? What grounds for such belief could there be?
The most convincing grounds are a personal conviction that it is true.
However, this leads on to the question of how we might know such a thing, even if it was true; and I understand the answer to be that God is within me, as well as outside of me. Because God is within me, I can have direct personal experience of God and of his nature. I can know God, and know what he is like.
A Child of God
It is metaphysically important that we are children of God, because this is the reason why we have been made such that we can understand reality.
Because I am a son of God, I am partly divine; and this is why I can understand the truth about things.
If I had been a creature that was purely and only the product of natural selection, there would be no reason at all why I should be able to discern the truth about things – since I would be optimised only with respect to reproductive success, not truth.
However, since I am partly divine, and since God created this reality; I am potentially able to know the truth about reality.
Destiny and purpose
Furthermore; my being a child of God is the reason for my destiny; in the sense that my understanding is that God ‘had children’ in order that they may be able (potentially) to grow-up to be fully divine, like God.
So, another metaphysical assumption is that we begin as partly divine, and by choice and experience may become more and more fully divine – and indeed reality is set-up with the primary purpose that this be possible and encouraged.
The world is as-it-is not as an end in itself, but as a means to an end; the world is intended to be an educational process, not a final result.
How is this known by me? I think it is a further insight built upon those previously mentioned. Given a conviction of the reality and lovingness of God, and the fact of being able to understand God from within – knowledge of my personal destiny – my purpose in this world - is also available, directly.
Is this reasoning merely circular? Not merely – because it is based on assumptions that such-and-such Just Is. These assumptions necessarily include that such and such Just Is sufficient ‘evidence’ to confirm the earlier assumptions.
So metaphysics is an incremental matter of discovering, making explicit, what we actually are assuming – which may then lead to us changing these original basic assumptions to make new basic assumption that we can endorse fully.
Having established these basic assumptions about the nature of things (to our own satisfaction) they may be built upon, and extrapolated – such inferences themselves being retested (at various stages and phases) by the same basic mechanisms that established the basic assumptions.
There is a testing and feedback mechanism, as well as a process of extrapolative reasoning. If, for whatever reason, we begin to feel uncertain, to doubt; then we can go back and start again, as often as seems necessary.