Sunday, 23 July 2017

Life as learning not being: the significance of Peak Experiences for Final Participation

We tend to think of consciousness or thinking as a state of being; and notice that we fail to attain and sustain this state of being. For example that our peak experiences are infrequent and brief - normal life is lived at a lower level...

However, this is an incorrect inference based on a false assumption based on a misunderstanding of the nature of life, and what we are supposed to be gaining from it. The (divinely) desired purpose of life is not to achieve a state but to experience a process of learning.

Life should be a process of learning, of transformative learning. What ought to happen in a peak experience is that we are having an experience during which we are learning about life; being transformed by life in a positive way (in the kind of way that our creator intends; tending to cause theosis or making us become more-divine, more god-like). 

And, in this age of Man, e should be aware of this process and its consequences. It is good if we know-about peak experiences, when they are happening, that we are learning-from them and what we have learnt...

The perspective is that this kind of aware experiencing of our selves in the moment - the state of being as instead a dynamic thing - this is the vision of life as experience, learning, 'education' towards divinity which is primarily aimed-at fulfilment after mortality (i.e. in our resurrected life that comes after mortal death).

In this era of Man, the aim is especially of greater consciousness; therefore we should strive to be explicitly aware of the process of incremental, developmental change of our consciousness that comes from serial experiences, expanded learning, awareness, reflection.

Life brings us the necessary experiences; or role is mainly to be aware of them and make the best of them. And repentance  (always vital for Christians) can be understood as explicit knowledge of when our response to experience has been beneficial - and when not.

 

Saturday, 22 July 2017

What's the time? A traditional rhyme for 5 year olds (and a version for younger kids)

What's the time?
Half past nine.
Hang your knickers on the line.
When a policeman comes along
Don't forget to put them on!

This is the risque version guaranteed to raise a snigger in the playground.

For younger kids who don't find knickers, or lack of them, to be intrinsically humorous, there is an alternative neat final couplet:

What's the time?
Half past nine.
Hang your knickers on the line.
When they're dry, take them in
And put them in a biscuit tin!

'Collected' Backwell, Somerset, England - c 1964-5


Friday, 21 July 2017

The People want metaphysics! (but they don't realise it...)

It was more than 100 years ago Rudolf Steiner noted that the (German-speaking) public were no longer interested in academic philosophy in the way they had been a couple of generations earlier; the situation prevails - except when people get close to addressing metaphysical concerns about the ultimate nature of reality.

It was the 'epistemological turn' (away from metaphysics and towards epistemology - a focus on knowing, justification, logic etc) from the mid-1900s, that killed real philosophy - and thus spontaneous public interest in the subject. Since then, academic philosophers write purely for one another, the subject is free-spinning cog; its effect is subversive not constructive.

(Modern professional philosophers are often clever; but actually have nothing to be clever about. Hence the leading figures seem to project a peculiarly unjustifiable smugness, presumably based on the delusion that they are of the lineage of Socrates and Plato, rather than prime destroyers of that lineage...)

Revivals of philosophical interest are usually focused on 'middle-brow' but fundamental-problem-orientated work on the nature of the human condition - e.g. the popular existentialism of the 1950s epitomised by Colin Wilson, Robert Pirsig's writings on Quality from the 1970s, and the like (not much since Pirsig, however...); these tackling core aspects of the basis for living, meaning, purpose etc.

It seems the people want metaphysics! - even though they don't know the name, and would not like it if they did.

However they want metaphysics, although they don't realise it, because they need it - indeed they need it more than anything else; because it is unknown, unexamined and denied false-basic-assumptions about reality that have created and sustained the nihilism and despair which is at the root of modern self-hatred and covert-strategic suicide.


Ancient temple site I discovered in Northumberland's Cheviot Hills! - well, sort of...


Note the remains of a ?ritual labyrinth ascending to its peak (akin to Glastonbury Tor?)...

More at:

https://albionawakening.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/heddon-hill-and-ingram-church-john.html

My Marshall McLuhan book, and the reader's favourite: Addicted to Distraction

I get the impression that my 2014 book on the mass media (and dedicated to the memory of Marshall McLuhan) Addicted to Distraction is the most popular among readers (which, admittedly, isn't saying very much!)

Anyway for those of you who don't know, as well as traditional paper copy; it is available free online in an unformatted text version (to copy, paste and print):

http://addictedtodistraction.blogspot.co.uk

Or, properly formatted, for a nominal price from Amazon Kindle.

The book was given very pleasing endorsements by Jim Kalb and John C Wright:

In this groundbreaking study, Bruce Charlton sheds brilliant light on fundamental features of our current situation. He develops Marshall McLuhan's insight that "the medium is the message" into a deeply illuminating account of the mass media as a self-sustaining techno-cultural system that absorbs the whole of human life into a virtual world of willfulness and unreality. Like Plato in his Myth of the Cave, he calls for each of us to turn away from flickering images and toward realities. We need to heed that call. --James Kalb: author of The Tyranny of Liberalism and Against Inclusiveness

Addicted to Distraction by Bruce G Charlton is a brilliant, pithy, and incisive analysis and condemnation of the modern mass media and its semipurposeful agenda of permanent revolution, permanent hysteria, and permanent chaos. His comments are as cutting as the scalpel of a surgeon performing an autopsy, and his insights a bright and clear as the merciless lights in an operating theater. Can a fish drown? Can it even notice the waters in which it lives and moves? No more than can we notice the totalitarian relativism of the modern mass media. The Mass Media is a roaring, grinding attention-grabbing machine which operates with no set purpose; except the purpose to subvert, uncreate, mock and destroy. It does not matter what the media destroys. Pointless subversion is the point of the media, and the medium is the message. By all means read and understand this book ... and then go out by yourself into the calm and silent wilderness for a year. --John C Wright, author and Nebula Award finalist

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Tolkien's creative method

http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/trotters-feet-moon-and-tolkiens.html

Why was metaphysics rejected by modern philosophers?

Metaphysics is concerned with the ultimate nature of reality - which throughout human history was regarded as the single most important intellectual subject. Yet from the middle 19th century, it incrementally became the consensus among philosophers that metaphysics was meaningless, nonsense or actively harmful - and almost all philosophers worked at a more superficial level of 'analysis' in fields such as epistemology (concerning the possibility of knowledge, or logic, or ethics or whatever.

These philosophers assumed that they had dispensed with metaphysics, but of course they had not; they simply became unaware of (or denied) their own assumptions concerning the nature of reality; and in almost all cases this included the assumption that there was no god, reality was not 'created' nor sustained by a god, and certainly that reality was not created for Man and for individual men and women.


What were the criticisms of the philosophical activity of metaphysics that led to its rejection? These are some:

1. That it is purely subjective - everybody has their own individual and idiosyncratic ideas (unless some individual or groups succeeds in imposing their metaphysics on many other people).

 2. That metaphysical statements are imprecise - so imprecise as to be useless, meaningless, platitudinous, non-contributory. This would include ideas such as 'god', 'creation', Man, Good and so on.

3. That metaphysics had a covert agenda (of some kind of religious, reactionary, oppressive type)  - an agenda which could be avoided by avoiding metaphysics.

4 That there is no evidence for (or against) metaphysical statements. Thus they are meaningless, nonsensical, or not-what-they-seem.

The recommendations from such analysis were that people should stop using metaphysical language; should stop talking-about, discussing, or arguing-about metaphysics. The safest thing was to remain silent on the topic; but when people refused to keep quiet on the subject, they should be ridiculed as stupid, crazy or confused (or covertly malign).

(This implicitly applied to nearly all of philosophy before the early 1900s; unless it could - like selective readings of Aristotle, Locke, Hume, Kant etc, be seen as the first baby-steps towards a state of non-metaphysics.)


BUT...

1. That metaphysics is subjectively inflected, includes subjectivity, does not imply that it is purely subjective.

2. That metaphysical statements are imprecise does not imply that they are therefore utterly useless as communications. That communications are unreliable does not imply that nothing is being communicated-about.

3. That metaphysicians have a covert agenda does not imply that that a covert agenda can be (or has been) avoided by avoiding mention of metaphysics.

4. That metaphysical statements cannot be verified or refuted by empirical, observational, experimental, experiential evidence is, in the first place: not distinctive to metaphysical statements (it applies to all statements since there are no non-arbitrary rules to generate truth from empirical data); and secondly untrue in the sense that metaphysical statements can be tested from consistency (the demand for consistency being and implicit but denied metaphysical assumption of many self-styled opponents of metaphysics; and thirdly, subtracting metaphysics makes many observable differences to human life (or else the advocates of ignoring metaphysics would not bother advocating) - thus particular metaphysics does not lack distal empirical consequences.

We must ask why insist on silence about metaphysics? Why introduce this ethical imperative? On what grounds?

The usual answer is to say that the new (post-empirical) philosophy is about achieving clarity... but why is clarity supposed to be a good or desirable thing? In the first place there is zero evidence that clarity is helpful (philosophers don't have observably better, happier or less-suffering lives than a controlled comparison group of non-philosophers; nobody even tries to suggest that they do).

And clarity is very obviously not important in leading a good life - honest philosophers will usually admit that a comforting delusion is a better basis for happiness than (supposed) clarity.

And who says that modern philosophers are clear? Nobody else finds them at all clear! Indeed, they are a by-word for un-clarity, and modern philosophical work is avoided by everybody who does not have a professional reason to engage with it! (Non-philosophers usually find pre-moderns to be much clearer, and more helpful in living.)


If we are to exclude and forbid metaphysics, why on earth stop there? All the strictures brought against metaphysics apply far more widely - probably to all language, all communications, all statements about the world... The terminus of anti-metaphysics is indeed nihilism: the denial of any real-reality (or any which can be understood or spoken of); and nihilism leads to despair.

In sum; the rejection of metaphysics - which has affected essentially all modern professional philosophy - is dishonest (being prejudicially but arbitrarily applied only to metaphysics, but not to favoured forms of knowledge); incompetent (being grossly over-inclusive in its criticisms, but failing to see this); and clearly (therefore) driven by a hidden agenda (or else why would all acknowledged professional philosophers have followed the 'party line' so slavishly).

That hidden agenda, driving anti-metaphysics, is precisely the destruction of all values (i.e. nihilism).


As an alternative I suggest the following:

If we accept that an individual may have knowledge (and if we don't accept this we must stop at that point, because discussion really is futile!) then - given the intrinsic uncertainties of communication - there must be a direct way of knowing that does not involve communication.

In other words, at least some individuals must, in principle, be able to apprehend reality directly (even if this apprehension is regarded as susceptible to partiality and distortion, due to the finite nature of individuals).

Direct knowing must include metaphysics, or else all other forms of knowledge are intrinsically undermined.

(If metaphysics is possible and defined as the most fundamental form of knowledge, then all more superficial forms of knowledge rely upon it - and wrong or absent metaphysics will undermine all other forms of knowledge.)

This leaves open the specific nature of metaphysics. People must be able to know it, but need not be able to communicate it - precisely because they can know it directly.

Wittgenstien and Christianity, and his late-life corruption

I have been reading Ray Monk's biography of Ludwig Wittgenstein - and found the first part very useful and helpful; but had to stop reading soon after Wittgenstein's return to Cambridge in 1929 with his commencement on revising his earlier views expressed in the Tractatus Logico -hilosophicus (published in 1921)...

I had to stop reading because the corruption of Wittgenstein, and his malign effect on so many other people, became too painful to continue.

My understanding is that Wittgenstein was - until shortly after the 1914-18 world war - a deeply religious man who was on the verge of being fully Christian but never crossed that line; after this time his work was a massive, nihilistic rationalisation of his rejection of Christianity.

Metaphysics was at the root. In Tractatus, Wittgenstein wrote a primarily metaphysical book but made the error of assuming that logic was the basis of all philosophy; this he excluded metaphysics from philosophical communications (he continued, avidly, to speak about metaphysics outwith his philosophical work); not because it was unimportant - quite the contrary, but because it was not part of logic.

In Tractatus Wittgenstein made an arbitrary but unjustifiable decision to assert that on the one hand logic could be apprehended by direct knowing ('seeing) but that metaphysics could not ('saying'); therefore he asserted that logic was communicable but not metaphysics.

But there is no reason why metaphysics could not be directly apprehended in exactly the same way that the basic, atomic propositions of logic can be apprehended; therefore there was no reason to exclude metaphysics. However, this was one point on which Wittgenstein became inflexible - he revised almost everything in his philosophical 'system' but not the exclusion of metaphysics.

For Wittgenstein - nothing knowable was really-real.

Thus Wittgenstein's proto-Christian religion was subverted; because Christianity became merely a psychological state. For example, he repeatedly said to many people that while he respected the Roman Catholic Church (in which he had been brought-up) he 'could not' believe all the necessary parts of doctrine.

Wittgenstein seems on the one had (by his repetition of it) to suppose he has said something profound here; yet also seems to be unaware that his personal inability (on a particular day) to believe in something is what is truly subjective; and that the proper question was whether or not that 'something' is true, is really-real!

(Who cares what Wittgenstein happens to think today about Transubstantiation? He often changes his mind! - The proper (metaphysical) question is whether Transubstantiation is a reality, or not? The exact answer 'yes' or 'no' is not (in my opinion) essential to being a Christian; but any Christian must regard this question as a matter of being about-reality, not of being about-individual-human-psychology.)

As a further, and deeper, example: Wittgenstein in his early life correctly recognised that true Christian loving-faith 'casteth out fear'. He was deeply fascinated by accounts which showed that deeply faithful Christians were not worried about the future, about what 'might happen'...

He saw that fear is, in a deep sense, the opposite of love: if we truly believe in the Christian God (creator, god of love, personally concerned by us his children) then there is no ultimate reason to fear anything.

But, Wittgenstein came to regard this 'fear' as a psychological state purely! When the proper understanding of evil-fear is a kind of existential angst; the fear that is cast-out by faith is not merely a human emotion (which in this mixed world is unlikely to conform to any ideal) but the ultimate assumptions concerning the nature of the world.

It is, most exactly, metaphysical fear which is cast out - it is the assumption that fear has a necessary place in our lives that is cast-out by Christian love, by faith in the loving-nature of a creator god.

Wittgenstein went from rejecting speaking about metaphysics in his early work (Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent." were the final words. The error is in the word must.); to rejecting all possibility of metaphysics in his later work - in which everything reduces to (current, evanescent) psychology, to therapy, to 'usefulness', to 'life' (to 'language games').

Wittgenstein made it impossible for himself to become a Christian; and thereby damned himself and everybody else who took him seriously and deeply. He also made many people (especially those closest to him) very miserable in this mortal life (and did not seem to apologise, repent, or even notice the fact - unlike in his early life) - consistent with demonstrating that the exclusion of metaphysics does have distal consequences (see blog post below).

And that is why the second half of Wittgenstein's biography is too painful for me to read...


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

We, here and now, are the ultimate Outsiders - embrace your fate!

In the sixty years since Colin Wilson published The Outsider - describing the state of sociological, psychological and spiritual alienation characteristic of the past couple of centuries - the situation has changed.

In 1956 it was possible to regard the Outsider as being rescued from his predicament by external change - but now he can only rescue himself. The current Outsider has only one place to look for help: within himself.

Thus - in politics and sociology there are no utopias, and all large institutions are thoroughly corrupted including the main churches. The intellectual elites are dishonest and incompetent. Science in 1956 was overwhelmingly successful - but has become a careerist bureaucracy. The universities seemed like a haven of privilege and leisure; but they are now the habitus of petty officials, dishonest spinners and box tickers.

We have no leaders - only middle managers and psychopaths - therefore, we must rely on ourselves. There is nobody else to turn-to. We must find what we need in our-selves - because it will not be supplied by any person or institution.

We, here and now, are the ultimate Outsiders because we have nowhere to turn - indeed, there are very few other people even to talk with about such matters. We are fortunate indeed if we have a marriage and family to sustain us - because these too have been destroyed over the past 60 years.

We are forced either to seek oblivion in distraction and intoxication or suicide - to escape alienation by escaping consciousness; or else to look within. We we cannot trust anybody, we must trust ourselves.

But looking within is the answer! It always was - if only the Outsider had allowed himself to acknowledge the reality of God!

When we look within, and begin to dismantle the false selves and automatic thinking, we find God.

The old Outsiders such as Nietzsche regarded the God-within (the Self) as an alternative to God; but we know that the God within is God. Since we are God's children we ourselves are divine, which means we have 'inherited' divinity. God is within us as well as without - the external God is denied us but God within is undeniable.

We can, should and will find Christianity within us - we can find Christianity despite being denied true and valid scriptures, tradition, legitimate religious teaching, rituals... we can find Christianity within us with total confidence because we know our loving God who created and sustains reality would not leave us unprovided for.

If within is the only place left to us; then within will suffice - we will find there everything we need.

We will find faith, courage, and motivation; we will find love.

We are in a situation where - if we honestly seek to answer the condition of alienation, nihilism and despair - there is no alternative to doing what we should anyway be doing: looking within - to find not only our true selves, but God and all the necessities that only God can provide.

We have the possibility of a degree of spiritual agency, freedom and autonomy seldom seen in the history of the world. And everything is channelling us towards exactly that.

We are fated to be the Ultimate Outsiders - like it or not. But we can solve the problem of alienation by willingly becoming the Ultimate Outsiders indeed! By embracing, rather than avoiding, reality - we can become free, true and live from our divinity (albeit partially, with frequent errors and sins - but that is enough).

We cannot be made to make the right choice - we might instead contiue to choose oblivion and the destruction of consciousness... drugs, social media, transgressive sex - even the destruction of our own persons by transhumanist technologies.

However, that choice is becoming clearer and clearer, more and more conscious - to the point of being unavoidable.

Yes indeed, things are 'coming to a point'...


Note: The crux of my point is that God (as Christians understand God: creator, loving, and a personal God - concerned by every individual) would not leave anybody, at any time or in any place, bereft of spiritual necessities. The world, as we experience it, is adeqaute. Indeed, since life is not a random accident; in some vital sense you and I personally (and everybody else) have been placed into mortal life in a time and at a place suited to our individual needs for experiencing and learning. 

Monday, 17 July 2017

Sure knowledge is based upon direct apprehension of a situation of absolute simplicity and clarity

I have seen a convergence of several strands of my interest in 'intuition' and metaphysics.

The surest, indeed the only sure, knowledge we have comes from our direct apprehension of a situation of absolute simplicity and clarity: nothing can be surer than this; and it can retrospectively validate a system of metaphysics which is that such direct knowing is fundamental.

It seems that - for instance - Wittgenstein's method (all through his work, including both early and late) was to strive (by multiple attacks on a problem) to attain exactly this situation. In his early Tractatus he called it 'showing' as contrasted with saying - he meant that knowledge should be based on that which is so simple and clear that it can be comprehended and known wholly and instantly. His last work - On Certainty - is the most comprehensive and sustained example of the 'method' - trying again and again to attain exactly the right question, the right example - so that 'certainty' can be understood all-at-once.

Goethe's concept of observation and experiment was identical at root: he strove in his science to attain a clear and simple view of the phenomenon so that it could be grasped whole. An ideal experiment was aiming at exactly the same - purposively creating a situation of clarity and simplicity when observation did not yield it. 

(The usual idea of an experiment is to contrive a controlled observation to test an hypothesis. But this merely evades the idea of where true hypotheses come-from - Goethe's deeper insight in that true hypotheses come from this intuitive clear-simple apprehension.) 

Socrates questioning can be seen in the same light - not as 'dialectic' (whatever that might be supposed to mean, I have never been able to understand it) - the attempt to frame the problem so lucidly that the answer becomes obvious (or else to show that the usual way of framing it, the usual form of questions, do not yield such a situation, but only contradictions and complexities).

Rudolf Steiner (much influenced by Goethe) likewise regards 'pure' thinking as aiming at just this: his intuition refers to a simple view; his use of the term clairvoyance has the literal meaning of clear-seeing.

This 'method' is absolutely general. It can and should be applied to all forms of knowing - whether logic, science, ethics, metaphysics, religion or whatever.



To get true answers: Ask the right questions... In the right metaphysical context

This isn't a straightforward matter - indeed it can take a lot of sustained effort.

If the metaphysical context is wrong then the answers will be false. For example, if the contextual metaphysical assumptions exclude purpose and meaning; then any answer to a specific question will be pointless and futile. 

If the specific questions being asked are wrongly framed (including the wrong assumptions) then any answer to them is bound to be wrong - partial, distorted or inverted.

The right question will be one that leads to an answer so clear, simple and obvious; that it is directly understandable.

But how do you get to ask the right questions in the right metaphysical context? Mostly by being motivated - driven - internally to keep-seeking, keep-trying; keep brooding and testing putative answers; mobilise the whole self and being in the search.

And of course this must be an honest quest for understanding; and not a covert grab at power, status or whatever.

In other words; to get true answers you need to be that rare thing - a real philosopher.


The West must go beyond 'reason' - a synthesis and analysis by William Wildblood

A powerful and motivating piece by William Wildblood at the Albion Awakening blog.

Here is an excerpt:

The fundamental problem is this.  The West is going along with, even instigating, its own destruction because of self-hatred on the one hand and loss of confidence and general lack of concern with what is right on the other. This clearly shows a culture that has come to the end of its time and a conclusion might be that the West is dying and there is not much point in trying to resist that.

But I don't agree. Yes, it may well be dying and we should not expect any sudden resurrection but that is no reason to go quietly. We should not meekly accept this destruction but stand against it, not with the hope of preventing it but with the aim of providing a beacon to all those being dragged down who might be desperately searching for some kind of light in the darkness that surrounds them.

The West was (not exclusively but largely) formed by Christianity. Its rejection of Christianity has left it spiritually high and dry and that has been taken advantage of by, I have to say, forces of evil who seek spiritual destruction.  Hence the situation we have today with all the anti-spiritual ideologies we are surrounded by which can only lead us to a kind of nihilism. These ideologies can be grouped together under the broad umbrella term of 'the left', the real agenda of which has always been the destruction of religion though it is happy to have tamed versions of religion existing if these have adopted its core principles over and above their spiritual aspect which is now seen in the light of those principles. Thus many versions of Christianity have been 'liberalised' and today would not be able to make such standard traditional statements 
as the expression of homosexuality is a spiritual error, woman should be the helpmate of man rather than his equal in all things (meaning equal in terms of function not worth) and mass immigration destroys the spiritual cohesion of a nation, without being described (and mocked) as 'extremist'.


The great difficulty for a traditional conservative thinker nowadays is this. We live in an age that worships reason and thinks it is the highest faculty we have. A spiritual person knows that is nonsense but cannot prove it to someone who cannot see it because that person lacks, or denies themselves, the wherewithal to do so. I personally believe this is often a matter of will not intellect which compounds the problem. The materialist wants to believe what he does thus doing the very thing he accuses the religious person of doing, a common phenomenon.


So many things are known, by common sense, instinct, intuition, faith, tradition, call it what you will, that cannot be rationally proved because reason belongs to the material as opposed to the spiritual world. It is phenomenally based and cannot go unaided beyond that. It stops at the doorway to spiritual reality. And this is why the traditional right is always on the back foot against the left. The left is a rationally constructed ideology. It has no basis in truth, in what fundamentally is, but it is reasonable, logical and even right according to the materialistic parameters it has set up and in which it operates. Any version of the right that accepts those parameters, and most seem to today, has lost the battle before it starts. If those parameters apply then there is no rational argument against the left. Of course they don't apply, and reality is reality so there is always an argument against them but it is intuitive and founded on spiritual truth. You can't prove it or even argue it within the limitations of the world the left has constructed for itself.


Therefore I say that if Albion (or anywhere else) is to awaken from its current spiritual stupor it must reject reason. Don't be alarmed. I'm not suggesting a retreat to irrational behaviour. I am saying that it must reject the pre-eminence of reason. It must go beyond reason to imagination and inner vision. It must see that the square of this world doesn't exist by itself but is an expression of the cube of a higher one. At the very least it must return to common sense and instinct and an appreciation of the natural order. If we can't reach the spiritual just yet then at least let us recover the natural. The rational is no place to be.

Read the rest at:

http://albionawakening.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/the-overturning-of-natural-order.html


Sunday, 16 July 2017

Church of England has just officially abandoned Christianity

You can hear the story from the Anglican Unscripted guys: First Kevin and Gavin describe what happened at Synod from the English perspective:


Then Kevin and George look at the international implications:


Of course this has seemed inevitable for a long time - it is more than thirty years since the tide turned decisively.

(See Crockford's file: Gareth Bennett and the death of the Anglican mind by William Oddie, 1989.)

But there has to be a moment when the line is crossed, and it has now actually happened: it's official.

To use a favourite phrase of CS Lewis - things are coming to a point. Matters are becoming crystal clear. The sheep and the goats are now in separate flocks.


Wittgenstein versus Turing

In Ray Monk's biography of Ludwig Wittgenstein, there is a striking account of the weekly discussions on the foundations of mathematics between Wittgenstein and Alan Turing. I found myself in agreement with W. and it seemed to me that Turing had been unable to grasp his own error, because he could not free himself from the mathematical thought-world and its assumptions. Turing  could not see, or even acknowledge the reality of, a bigger picture than mathematics.

Wittgenstein was stating that understanding was a simple direct intuitive grasp - when we know that we know; whereas Turing was arguing that we know we understand when the results 'work' - we know mathematics is right because a bridge made using calculations does not fall down - and errors in mathematics will lead to bridges falling down.  

The argument is a version of one in which I have participated many times - on both sides at different points. For Wittgenstein, understanding was the most important thing in the world - his whole life was driven by his need to understand. He therefore saw that there was no relationship between understanding and practical results (as we presume we know them) - that science, mathematics, engineering have nothing to do with understanding.

Turing, in a sense, was saying that understanding doesn't matter; what matters is whether we can predict and manipulate the world to achieve our desires. Thus a computer does not understand what it does - but this doesn't matter if it can do things we find useful.

Wittgenstein would realise that the usefulness of computers is beside the point - it just is not relevant to the question of understanding.

To put it another way, Turing regarded 'models' as the furthest we can go in understanding. Each model is a deliberately simplified (hence ultimately false) description of total-reality; but that doesn't matter because (for Turing) all thinking is some kind of model.

Whereas Wittgenstein regarded understanding as the basis of everything; for Turing understanding would just have been a transient psychological state - ultimately a kind of delusion.

Turing's 'proof' that understanding is models only is to point at the (apparent) achievements of modern life - look at that bridge, that computer; look at modern man's capability... That is the result of models, useful models - and there is no truth beyond usefulness, but no further truth is needed...

Whereas Wittgenstein would say that Turing did not understand him; and Turing did not understand his own lack of understanding. Turing displayed a kind of impatience, an inability or unwillingness to see things how Wittgenstein saw them.

Wittgenstein knew what Turing meant, because Wittgenstein had believed the same himself; but further thinking had led to a simple, direct understanding that revealed that Turing's view was false. Wittgenstein had thought the way Turing did, then moved beyond it into a situation so clear it needed no further justification.

The exchange between Wittgenstein seems to me a microcosm of many arguments and discussions that go on - or rather that fail to happen because one of the parties simply has not though long, hard, deeply enough to know that they are wrong; and when that party has 'more important things to do' than achieve the clarity and simplicity to which such thinking will eventually lead.

Thus many clever people (and there are few cleverer than Turing) are wrong about fundamental matters; not least because they are impatient to get on with their main line of work, research, creative endeavour... Yet they do not escape their wrongness; and the wrongness of Turing is not invalidated by the success of and ubiquity of computers - rather, Turing's error is built-into the modern world: baked into it indeed since our tests of whether something works have themselves become pragmatic.

So now we have, in effect, the situation of non-understanding computers evaluating the truth (i.e. true understanding) of non-understanding computers - because the matter of real (simple direct, intuitive) understanding has become regarded as merely subjective, psychological, contingent. Modern man therefore demands that the need for understanding be eliminated - and he sets-up procedural systems to evaluate the 'truth' (or 'quality') of science, mathematics, engineering and everything else; without any need for (and indeed deliberately excluding) human understanding.

These systems are supposed to be indifferent to whether or not a person has thought deeply and long, whether they understand of merely manipulate. Indeed there is now a suspicion of, hostility to, anything which is not obvious to 'anybody' - including 'anybody' who has never thought about it and never achieved a state of understanding.

A typical modern bureaucrat (and most modern people are bureaucrats, whether professionally or in their private lives) would be saying to Wittgenstein, over and again: That's just your opinion.

(And anyway, do you want us to live in the stone age, or what?)

Wittgenstein would know that he was right, and he would know this for absolute certain - but probably would not be able to convince anybody else. If he couldn't convince Turing that there was more to understanding than models - what chance would have Wittgenstein have with the average modern middle manager, or academic-careerist, or official, or media propagandist?

 


Saturday, 15 July 2017

Spiritual implications of the metaphysical complementarity of men and women

If, as I assume, all persons are either men or women; and this goes back to our primordial origins in the eternity of pre-mortal life and forward to the eternity of post-mortal life; then the consequences are vast - and largely unexplored.

There is no generic human - all individuals are part of a person and unity and wholeness come from the loving dyad of a man and woman.

What seems like (or is promoted as) a battle of the sexes, or vying for domination between sexes, or patriarchy versus feminism, is actually and properly (merely) a process of experiencing and learning. The ultimate reality of the situation towards which divine destiny is tending is the dyadic love of a man and woman true marriage: this is the only completion and wholeness of human life.

Now, when it comes to the situation of an individual in mortal life - this is bound to have some vital relevance; although it may not be (in fact, by design) the most important or prominent aspect of a specific individual's life.

(We each have different and unique primary needs for learning in this life - some lives end very quickly - even in the womb; some lives are constrained by serious handicap or disease or situation; some lives are celibate - more are unmarried; the sexes may be segregated or pitted against one another - or individuality crushed by society; and many cultures have-been and are actively hostile to even an approximation of true-divine marriage.)

Due to the radical incompleteness of each sex, the relationship between men and women goes far, far beyond the realm of reproduction - and includes all the highest and most important aspects of thinking.

It isn't just that men and women think differently, have different abilities and dispositions; it is that only when there is a dyadic fusion of both a man and a woman, then the fullness and truth of perception, insight, knowledge and creativity can be.

(This applies to individual persons - a man and a woman; and it also applies if or when there is a true, organic, familial society - the men as a real group, and the women as a real group, will have analogous complementarity. The 'social organism' is intended, destined, to be complementary also.)  


An appreciation of CS Lewis's That Hideous Strength - by John Fitzgerald

It is my impression that CS Lewis's 'fairy-tale for grown-ups' That Hideous Strength (1945) is - for many conservatives, traditionalists, and spiritual Christians - the single premier work from all the many which describe, understand, and prophesy the end-of, the modern spiritual condition (which is scientism, materialism, positivism, demonic inversion of The Good etc).

At the Albion Awakening blog; John Fitzgerald gives us his appreciation of this book in a complex yet integrated piece that includes personal memoir, literary criticism, and fiction:
https://albionawakening.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/journey-to-centre-of-earth.html


Friday, 14 July 2017

Expounding unique views

I have always found that the more I thought-about and worked-on a theme, the more distinctive my views became - distinctive from those of other people. In the end, they were unique: nobody else shared them. Nobody at all.

And, of course, my assumption was that this was distinctiveness arose because other people had not thought as much, as accurately or as honestly as myself - while those others assume that whatever was distinctive about my views was in error.

Ultimately, this is a matter of self-trust and other trust: how much do I trust myself, how much do I trust others? Do I trust myself enough to stand against... everybody (one versus all); do I trust any other person or group enough to squash my own deepest and best and most intuitive thoughts?

As a matter almost of technique in writing - problems arise from distinctiveness. Either one simply states the conclusions without defence - to stand or fall in terms of their intuitive appeal or coherence; or else one references, evidences, buttresses each individual statement and ingredient of the distinctive idea, to emphasise that although the overall idea is unique, its components are agreed.

But then, will any casual reader take one person's view against a lot of others... on the whole, people want o 'back a winner' and will side with the majority, right or wrong. This is attractive because rewarded; and also attractive from fear of isolation.

Most people have never been isolated, except in nightmares; and not many people are able or willing to acknowledge when they are. After all, an unique person is 1. probably wrong, 2. weak, 3. maybe crazy, and 4. even if they are right, then since nobody believes it, then it doesn't make any difference.

What I find interesting is that a set of unique ideas is often very appealing in context of a biography - we want people we read about to be unique, and strange - or else why read about them? But in a non-fiction context, we seem to want consensus, solid 'facts' and standard interpretations - indeed, it is more important not to be wrong, than to be right!

(John Cowper Powys is among the strangest of people, and/ but wrote one of the best autobiographies.)

Those writers and thinkers who have strange and unique ideas are often - for such reasons - best known in a biographical than expository fashion... for example Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Charles Williams...

It seems that the human personality provides a more powerful and flexible integration than any overall conceptual framework.


Thursday, 13 July 2017

Heavenly Mother - Why and Not

'God' is a dyad of Heavenly Mother and Father, they are co-creators and parents of all. The metaphysical reality is that all persons are male or female and there is no-one who is neither or both.

The whole person is therefore neither man nor woman - each being incomplete - but a dyad of the two complementary persons man and woman; sealed in an eternal loving relationship.

Traditional Christianity - for good reasons - has focused on God the Father, but the time has come for change. While we might continue to refer to 'God' as tacitly implying the two personages, this is coming to seem evasive, and even dishonest.

Of course the potential for being misunderstood, and deliberately misrepresented, is vast - it is a hazardous, dangerous doctrine; but that applies to Christianity in general - and so, where there is need, hazard does not deter.

The key fact is the grounding in the dyadic and complementary metaphysics; this is the basic assumption, which is attested by direct intuitive knowing and coherence, not by empirical 'evidence'. It is thus metaphysical assumption rooted in faith and personal knowledge which clarifies and protects the concept of Heavenly Mother.

What she is, is a matter that need attention, now.

*

What she is not?... She is not the same as the Father, not another name for the Father, certainly not an equal to the Father. Complementarity means dissimilarity: two complementary things are not the same, are not equal - their quality is that both in combination are needed to make the whole, the unit.

Heavenly Mother is a part of the dyad of God - not a Goddess; she is not any kind of revival - because she has never been acknowledged nor known up to now. She is of the future, not the past.

She is nothing to do with feminism, and is indeed ultimately the opposite of feminism. She is not in any way 'for women' rather than or in preference to being for men (any more that the legitimate Queen of a nation is for the women of that nation more than the men! Or that mothers are for their daughters more than their sons. Nonsense!).

She is not a 'balance' yet not a take-over either... Heavenly Mother is a fact and a necessity.

*

Heavenly Mother is a mystery - because divine; but she is a person we already know, from our long pre-mortal lives as her sons and daughters; we have known her for as long as we consciously knew anything.

If, for good reasons, we have been focused on Heavenly Father (and the reality of our Mother awaited the Mormon revelations of the middle 1800s) - then why do we need her now?

We need her now because the unilateral focus on the Father is preventing our divinely-destined spiritual progression. Where we are now (culturally, individually) is nihilism, despair and death; but we cannot (and should not) go back (which is why all attempts have failed); yet going forward is blocked by a partial and distorted understanding which cuts to the root; progression entails acknowledging the fullness of fundamental understanding, and building-upon that.

At some deep and intuitive level we know this, or we can know it - each for himself or herself - for the asking (serious asking). And we can find out more, and as much as we need, by addressing questions in prayer and meditation and listening for the responses - observing the responses.

(This is not really a matter of 'worship' because the incremental collapse of that concept is representative of the reasons why our Heavenly Mother's time has come. It is instead a matter of acknowledged reality, followed by love; and of conversation, communion, communication.)

*

This is not a matter of capturing Heavenly Mother in definitions, any more than this is helpful for our Father; because persons are known, not defined.

There is no need and little value from dividing-up the powers and responsibilities of our Heavenly parents any more than our real parents - yes they are different, and rightly; but no, the difference is not a consequence of, nor captured by, legal categories.

Persons are primary; loving relations are the cohesion and source of organisation.

*

How important is this - is it necessary? Since the idea of Heavenly Mother is unsafe, will be deliberately and carelessly misunderstood and misrepresented, will be a reason for hatred and loathing... is she not better set-aside, down-played, kept-quiet about?

That is a decision you need to make for yourself. You need to feel that Heavenly Mother is something we need to know - now: urgently; and which honesty requires that we know - openly, explicitly; knowledge the lack of which is poisoning us in many ways.

The impulse is there, the impulse is in our hearts and unfolding in Western culture. If the impulse is refused and kept  unconscious; it will nonetheless emerge in distorted and inverted forms (like feminism, like misogyny, like resentment and competitive exploitation between men and women).

But if Heavenly Mother is acknowledged and takes her place explicitly and joyously as a completion of our knowledge of God and the basis of our mortal lives; then the destined new era of consciousness may commence.


Wednesday, 12 July 2017

The reason for the modern predicament (and why we are alive, now)

It seems an especially hard time to be alive - for those in The West who experience the alienation propagated by modern culture.

We are in a thought-world where subjectivity can poison but not heal. Where we believe the nihilistic promptings of imagination and readily accept the idea of futility - yet reject the good news brought us from that same quarter.

The resistance of this problem, decades after its formulation, is the resistance we have to a metaphysics of meaning - and that even the problem of the problem is a challenge, a learning experience potentially - indeed it is perhaps the learning experience of all.

Because the modern predicament is the crux of all things: Is the universe Good - was it created, is it meaningful, purposive - does it have a place for each of us specifically, a destiny, a path, and an achievable goal? Does death render everything futile or is it an essential step to a great gift?

All these characteristic, modern, alienation problems; are forcing us to confront the most essential of all questions. They bring us to face the ultimate choice, which all must face.

Because reality is a participated reality - reality just does not force itself upon us; we must always decide, choose, to make reality.

The 'facts' are insufficient, the facts are always insufficient to compel choice. That is the nature of things.

Reality is as reality is; but we cannot make sense of it without our-selves evaluating and interpreting - and rejecting or endorsing.

For each Man it is as for Jesus and Lucifer. The facts are the same; the difference is a personal act of understanding those facts. Ultimately it is a choice between alliance with the creator, or imposing our-selves on creation.

Is the world a family to be part-of; or a situation to be made the best-of?

The modern predicament brings us to this situation, unavoidably - although part of the reality of the situation is that understanding the nature of our personal predicament is exactly the point at issue.

Monday, 10 July 2017

How I should deal with the demand for opinions

One of the ways that thinking is kept locked into materialism and superficiality, is the deluge of 'news' that demands attention, evaluation and suggestions about what-should-be-done...

The problem with all such is assuming we know the situation's relevance and significance for each individual.

But we don't and never can. Consequently the whole discourse is conducted by false selves in accordance with socially inculcated evaluations.

Instead, I should regard all such in terms of only the thinking of that real true and divine self, whose evaluations are intrinsically valid.

What cannot be or is not evaluated by the real self is simply, swiftly set-aside.



Thursday, 6 July 2017

1967 - the year of failed spiritual awakening - another on its way, soon?

I can recall that in 1967 'everything changed' - the whole feel of things was transformed. I was a young child of about 8 years old, but it is a distinct memory.

Why did everything change, and suddenly?

It was - I believe - something external and supernatural that came-upon Britain, and indeed Europe, the USA and the whole Western and developed world - and it was this inner and spiritual wave that caused so many observable and measurable transformations to happen simultaneously.

My understanding was that this transformative influence was divine rather than demonic in origin and intention - it was a change of human consciousness; however, human agency, people's choices, the response of Western Man to the divine stimulus was overwhelmingly (albeit not entirely) hedonic, selfish and short-termist; and the main consequence of the transformative influence was that multi-pronged battering-ram of evil which is The Sexual Revolution.

(Also the whole complex of New Leftism: antiracism, Western self-hatred, national suicide, mass media addiction and the rest of it - in sum, 1967 was when the Old economic-Left tipped-over into the New cultural-Left.)

A further point, which came even before any moral decision; was that the prevalent mainstream public ingrained materialism of the West meant that the spiritual impulse could only be misperceived in a materialist guise. So what should have been a spiritual revolution - a turn-towards acnowledgment of and participation-in the spiritual realm (and consciously known as such), was instead regarded as a political revolution, a sexual, personal, psychological, musical revolution... that is as almost any kind of material change but not the intended spiritual one.  

My point is that a divinely-ordained but invisible transformation of consciousness was imposed-upon Western humanity very suddenly and very powerfully, and everything changed in the perceptible world; but the fact of human agency, the interacting decisions of the mass of people, meant that this was almost-instantly twisted to evil rather than to Good.

Now, of course, people were strongly encouraged - by government (political and administrative) and the mass media - to make the wrong choices; indeed there was a kind of frenzy of propaganda for evil at that time - coming from law, the arts, sciences... almost everywhere. And on the whole, the leadership of the mainstream Christian churches joined-in with enthusiasm.

The big question is: was 1967 the last chance of the West; or - now we are fifty years down the line - might something of the sort happen again? And is it possible that - if it did happen again, if there was another sudden, powerful, universal, supernaturally sourced transformation of consciousness - would people decide differently, could they (in sufficient number, and with sufficient courage) make the right choices? Could people this time actually acknowledge and become aware of the spirit, of the unerceived, supersensible reality?

I - and some others - have a feeling that we are about to experience another intervention like 1967. I'm not at all certain about it - and no doubt the timing or even actuality of such things is under continuous evaluation. But I can't shake off the feeling that something of the kind is coming; not because the times are right for people to choose well; but because it is getting too-late, and soon people will be in no position to choose...

The outcome of such things are not destined, nor can they be pre-decided. But maybe forewarned is forearmed.