Sunday 29 December 2019

The Masters and Jesus

I was asked in a comment on the previous post if my views on spiritual matters have evolved since I wrote Meeting the Masters which was in 2010 though it wasn't published until 2012. What I would say in response to this is in one sense no, in another yes, and in a third, my views are evolving all the time. I realise, however, that is a singularly unhelpful answer! 

What I mean is that my fundamental spiritual idea of the reality of God and of our purpose in this world as to conform our being more and more to his remains unchanged. It cannot change. It's the same with regard to my belief in the reality of the Masters as messengers from God. I have more or less the same approach to basic spiritual truths as I have done since the age of 22 when I first properly encountered them. However, within that basic form there is room for growth which is how I understand the word evolve.

When I wrote Meeting the Masters my aim was to present the Masters and describe my experience with them. This happened as is related in the book and I thought it a story worth telling, given its unusual nature and how it might be a support to sympathetically inclined people. To know that there exist spiritual beings who can carry something of the love and truth of God to earthly humanity, even if we are not aware of them, is surely a consolation in times of struggle and doubt. 

I wrote the book in the context of a fairly universal type of spirituality because that seemed the best way to do it at the time and it roughly matched my position then. Some might see that as New Age-ish though I would not go along with such an assessment since I have always rejected the New Age as a hotchpotch of beliefs, more concerned with the psychic than the spiritual and the creation than the Creator. But my approach was not specifically Christian which has concerned some people because of the warnings against false prophets and psychic wonders given by Christianity. I was always very aware of the dangers of the psychic world and the illusions to be found there. I mentioned this regularly throughout the book. Nevertheless, it is a mistake to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Angels have been known to come to men since Biblical times and they still do. Some angels are demons posing as celestial beings, of that there's no doubt. But not all are and it is up to us to develop discernment to tell the difference. It's not that hard if one has a true desire to know God and are not looking for personal advancement. 

I am not and have never been an orthodox Christian but I regard Christ as the Saviour and Son of God and always have. He is not just another enlightened spiritual teacher and to see him like that would be to cast him as some sort of crypto-Buddhist and basically ignore everything he says about himself. I don't see how this is a feasible view at all. If he was just a spiritual teacher then he was wrong in many of the things he said, and if that's the case what sort of spiritual teacher was he? No, you cannot see Christ merely as an Eastern-style guru. The Buddha, who I regard as the pre-eminent spiritual teacher in the ordinary sense, proclaimed he had found a way. But Christ said he was the Way. These are two totally different things. You can have spirituality without Christ but Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No spiritual teacher, enlightened or otherwise, could ever say this.

Some people have asked why the Masters did not talk of Christ. They actually did mention Jesus in a general sense and he was the only person they ever did mention, but it is true they did not say he was the Son of God. They did refer to him as the Great Master, though, and they also often spoke of the Most High which is a Christian and Jewish reference to God. But the reason they didn't mention Christ more specifically is because they never told me what to believe. That was my responsibility. They gave general spiritual instruction tailored to my needs, essentially revolving around humility and love which are the primary Christian virtues, but they wanted me to grow from within rather than imitate them. It was up to me to forge my own path and find things out for myself because this is how we grow. I firmly believe that they inspired me in certain directions from within but they did not do that through the words they spoke. Any philosophy, metaphysics, religion or theology I might have would have to come from me. I had to make my own mistakes in that regard and learn from them. If we are ever to become as they are, which is the goal for all of us, this is the only way.

I have learnt from other religions, mostly Hinduism and Buddhism, but these have always been peripheral to Christianity, supplements rather than replacements. You might ask why anyone would need supplements and, of course, you don't. Everything necessary for spiritual salvation is in the teachings and person of Christ. But we do live in an age when we have access to almost everything there has ever been and I think we can use that to our advantage though it can also be confusing, distracting and lead astray. Again, though, that is up to us, to our own discernment and spiritual integrity. Eastern religions can help to supply a sense of God's immanence which has been slightly lacking in Christianity (though it is there) and that is how I have used them. But they do not have Christ and that means there is a hole at their centre. For Westerners certainly, I'm not sure about Easterners. The hole would still be there but God may have provided compensation. Christ came for all men but perhaps he is sometimes present without being obviously so. I don't know, though I would add that, even if that is the case, it is not the same thing and only a kind of stop-gap because of the mercy of God.

I hope if you read my book you will see that Christ is the main influence even if that is not presented in an overtly Christian way. Passages such as "the Masters could often sound much more like wise abbots of a Christian monastery than teachers of enlightenment" point, or were intended to point, in that direction. As was the statement that there is a secret beyond non-duality which is duality. I should also say that their medium, Michael Lord, was and remained a Christian until his dying day. He was more orthodox than me and actually insisted that we went to church every Sunday when we lived in India as it wouldn't be right, in his eyes, not to do so when we were supposed to be leading a spiritual life. He meant that it was all very well to have an inner spiritual life but one should observe outer practice too. So we went to the Victorian Holy Trinity church in Yercaud and I read the lesson there regularly. I've just looked the church up and found some pictures of it. It was a simple but beautiful little church with a small but devout congregation. The priest had to come up every Sunday from the nearest big town which was Salem, about 25 miles away. I'm glad to see it still exists 

The commenter also asked how I understand my experiences with the Masters in the light of 1 John 4:1-3 which is the famous passage saying we should not believe every spirit because there are many false prophets and the way to tell true from false is to see if they acknowledge that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. I clearly can't ask the Masters that now and I didn't think to at the time. To me it was obvious that they were who they said they were from many indications of their love and wisdom and essential absolute goodness. But I'm not convinced by this passage anyway. I wonder if it might be specific to the time it was written. After all, it would not be difficult for a deceiving spirit to say Jesus was the Son of God. Certainly, if it denies that then steer clear but there is no reason why a deceptive spirit could not go along with that and then work its mischief. It's not as though they can't be deceptive! To be honest, the only way to tell true from false is through spiritual discernment. There's no magic tool, and why should there be? We are not children and God does not want us to be. If we fall for a deceptive spirit that will be our own fault, because we are promised something or our ego is flattered or we hold false ideas in the first place.

There is one thing I can say on this subject though. An experience that has many parallels with mine is detailed in a couple of books written in the 1950s, The Boy and the Brothers and Towards the Mysteries. This is the story of a young man who was used by the Masters as a medium. The books are written by an Irishwoman called Swami Omananda, née Maud McCarthy. Her Indian name might put some people off but that would be a mistake, I think. She was a devout spiritual seeker and served the Masters faithfully. But, as in my case, they did not tell her what to believe outwardly so she chose her own path.

Near the end of the second book there is a passage in which Swami Omananda asks a Master about Christ, saying that as much as she loved him (the Master), this love did not replace her love for Christ which had only grown with time. Was this wrong, she asked? Presumably she felt she was being a bit disloyal to the teachers who had given her so much. The reply more than satisfied her. Not only was it not wrong, it was absolutely right! Christ was the Master of all the Masters. He was the Lord. You can read a post I wrote on this a few years ago here and also the relevant extract from the book.

This echoes my feelings. I love the Masters who spoke to me and I would be more than honoured to be counted as one of their pupils. But they do not replace Christ. Nothing can replace Christ who is the Son of God and Saviour of humanity.

Tuesday 24 December 2019

Christmas Darkness and Light

Human beings descended from the unity of unindividualised spirit into the duality of matter where they are able to develop their individual selves. The time of pre-history was the time of the descent. History begins when human individuality has started to have a significant impact on consciousness. When the descent has reached its furthest point, meaning consciousness is fully embedded in matter, it must be redirected upwards or else it will stay where it is, stuck. Its momentum has carried it down to the earth but now something radically different is required to turn it around and start it on its ascent back to spirit. That something was the birth of Christ.

We had come down from the realms of light into material darkness. We had reached the bottom. Christ was born to reorient us to the light and enable us to transform our earthly selves into true (rather than potential) sons and daughters of God through assimilation into his being. This requires that we freely give ourselves to Christ and so, in return, can partake of his being. Unity of consciousness is known in a way that combines the individual with God without loss of either. Originally, we were one with God but did not know it. Then we knew we were separate from God. The intended final state is that we become consciously one with God and with all other spiritual beings in a union of love and creative self-expression.

Christmas is at the darkest time of the year, when the days are short and the nights are long. The symbolism here is that the first Christmas occurred when human consciousness was at its darkest, at the nadir of its descent, deeply locked into the world of matter. Christ's birth changed that even though it may be hard to believe, given what has happened since and especially given the rampant materialism of the present day. But Christ's birth served to turn us around and re-polarise our individual selves to God. If we accepted him, that is. Many people have done precisely that but we live at a time of mass apostasy when recalcitrant souls are being given another, maybe a last, chance to turn to the light. The options of God or no God are being clearly laid out but the choice is not made easy or it would not be a true test of the heart. Evil can appear good to those whose heart inclines towards evil. This is a time of reckoning.

The symbolism of Christmas is that of light appearing in darkness. Let us remind ourselves of that at this time of deep outer darkness. Christ was physically born 2,000 odd years ago but he can be born in us spiritually at any time. Light in darkness.

Happy Christmas!

Saturday 21 December 2019

God is Not Nice

There was a post on the Junior Ganymede site which I saw via Bruce Charlton's blog recently that was called The Vice of Being Nice. Clever title! As I consider the modern attitude of seeing niceness as a cardinal virtue a big spiritual mistake, I had a look at it. There was a little flow chart illustrating how niceness can distort love and contradict standing up for something which encapsulates the problem very well.

I commented that being nice is putting feelings before facts which sometimes is just kind-heartedness but at others plain wrong or even spiritually disastrous. It all depends on what the facts actually are. I was not meaning, any more than the writer of the post, that niceness was a bad thing. In everyday life, it's clearly, er, a very nice thing. But when it comes down to fundamental reality then pandering to people's feelings under all circumstances can easily mean encouraging the lie. Seeing being nice as primary risks allowing good and evil equal rights which is what I meant by spiritually disastrous. And, when you think about it, the modern obsession with equality boils down to a desire for niceness. It's just not fair if we aren't equal so let's be nice and pretend we are. The trouble is this just results in a major reduction of truth and quality in all areas. It weakens everything including love which is what it is presumably supposed to be upholding. Why? Because it transforms love from something deep and strong and real and true and wise and holy and good to a little parody of itself, something not felt just painted on the outside.

In no spiritual tradition are we enjoined to be nice. To be kind, yes, but not nice. There's a difference. Niceness relates to making a situation frictionless and pleasant on its own terms here and now, regardless of reality. It's actually a materialistic virtue in that it seeks harmony at the everyday worldly level without acknowledgement of higher truths. By definition, it prizes unity and peace while ignoring facts or a reality deeper than that of outer appearance. To reject this frame of mind is precisely what Christ meant when he said he came to bring a sword not peace. A sword divides and separates. It can kill. A sword is not nice but it defends truth. Peace tolerates evil and lies, or can do. Christ did bring peace but it was the peace that passes human understanding which is of a different order altogether.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Do we fear what is nice? Of course not. Nice is always safe but God is not safe. He will tear out your old self and make you something entirely new. Does niceness demand anything? No, it does not but God demands everything and will not let you hold anything back. It's all or nothing with God, and he demands your soul with a fierce authority. That is, he demands it if you wish to give it. He demands nothing unless you want him but, if you do want him, he is ruthless in his requirements.

God is not nice. He is a blazing light that illumines the saint and burns the unrepentant sinner.

Tuesday 17 December 2019

Christianity's Influence on the West

I recently watched a video on Youtube (see here) in which two eminent intellectuals, the author Tom Holland and the philosopher AC Grayling, debated whether Christianity had given the West its human values with the former saying it had and the latter denying that. It actually struck me as a fairly pointless argument. Of course, Christianity made the West what it was and, of course, there were other influences involved, most notably Classical civilisation. They also discussed whether humanism was a form of Christianity, just one without God, with the first saying it was and the second disputing that, pointing to Greek antecedents and maintaining that similar beliefs had arisen elsewhere, most obviously in India and China. But since humanism arose in a profoundly Christian world here again the conclusion seems obvious. On one level, it may be innate to human beings. It would be strange if it were not given human beings, all of them not just Christians, are made in the image of God. But, on another, in its developed form it only took hold in the Christian world. It seemed to me that what CS Lewis called the Tao was available to men everywhere, which no one would question, but Tom Holland was saying the West had something more than the Tao and it got that from Christianity.

I agree with Tom Holland. Any other position seems perverse to me, the mind believing what the emotions or the will want it to believe. Besides this is surely not the question. The question should be, is Christianity true? Was Christ the Son of God, the Logos? Is salvation, meaning salvation from the world, the flesh and the devil, attained through Christ? Can we be raised to a higher state of being through Christ? When you put the matter like this, it is not whether the West was formed by Christianity that matters. It's whether we can be transformed in and by and through Christ. That is the only question that really matters in life. And the answer is yes. For when you come down to it, Christianity has something that no other religion has. Yes, there are similar teachings elsewhere but no other religion has Christ and it is the person of Christ that is the essential and critical spiritual truth even more than the teachings. "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life" means what it says.

Saturday 14 December 2019

The Demon of the Left

The only bishop in the Church of England with a public profile I know of who is actually a real Christian and fights for the truth of Christ is Gavin Ashenden. Just after the election I looked at his Twitter account where he had posted a couple of videos concerning reactions by the left to their defeat. The account is here and the videos are on 13th December, one beginning "This reminds me of a psychotic episode" and the other " The Left at work, celebrating their rejection of hate". 

Now, I didn't vote for reasons I have given in earlier posts but the result was clearly the best one possible. Seeing these reactions confirmed something I have known for a long while but rarely seen displayed so openly. The left is quite literally demonic. That is to say, there is a demon that animates their whole anti-God and nature ideology and feeds it with hatred and resentment, and those inclined to these negative states are susceptible to the influence of this demon and sometimes possessed by it. That is why great swathes of the English working classes abandoned Labour in this election and voted, quite possibly praying to their forefathers for forgiveness, for Boris Johnson. Their left was not demonic even if, as I would maintain, the seeds were there. But generally it was a party that fought for the working man. Fair enough. But the modern left has ignored, worse it's rejected, these people and looked for new groups through which it can push its agenda of spiritual destruction.  The modern left is demonic, witness its reaction to those who oppose it both in America and here, When they don't get their way they go slightly mad, a sure sign of possession. When the right lose they go away to lick their wounds but when the left lose they also lose their reason. The mask slips and the hatred is naked as it is in these two videos. 

Just after I'd written this I went back to the account to check the link worked and the bishop had posted a third video beginning "I advise not viewing this overflowing etc". It's possibly the worst of all, considering it's coming from a young girl who hopes to be a doctor. The chief emotion it stirs is pity that a person can debase herself to this degree. Hopefully in later life she will look back at this and shudder in embarrassment.

Trials on the Path

I want to say a few words about something the Masters told me on more than one occasion during the times they spoke to me. What they said was words to the effect (and I am not quoting verbatim here as in the book but from memory and in my own words though the sense is theirs) that, "You will be subjected to extreme provocation at certain times in your life. This is because the dark forces always attack those who seek to tread the spiritual path but it is also to test your ability to remain calm and not react because of pride or self-will. Accept these attacks humbly even if you believe them to be unreasonable and unjust."

I am not mentioning this here because of a personal situation but for more universal reasons because I think this kind of thing happens to everyone who tries to lead a life in which spiritual concerns come first. You will be attacked. Perhaps by outsiders, colleagues or perhaps by friends and even family. The attacks will possibly contain elements of truth but truth blown up out of proportion and with no sense of a more balanced point of view. We all have faults. These will be homed in on and used to completely define your personality as though the faults were all it were. Sometimes the whole point will be that the attacks are clearly totally unreasonable. This is to get you to react with self-righteous indignation. The fact that you are right will be used to deceive you into thinking that your reaction is right which, of course, it isn't.

I think the only solution when faced with personal attacks is to remember how Jesus behaved when he was attacked in this manner. He remained calm and said nothing. He did not try to justify himself. He did not pity himself even when his friends either abandoned him or actually turned on him. Nothing was more unjust than what he had to endure. 

But he was Jesus, you might say. We can't live like that! Yes, we can. We can certainly try to do so. In fact, we must do so. That was the example he set, the example was specifically for us to follow. He was not doing anything that his followers could not do as the early martyrs demonstrated. It is highly unlikely that we will be called upon to do anything as dramatic as them but we will be personally traduced. This may be on account of our beliefs but it may also be for who we are or how we behave. Anyone who sincerely wishes to follow Christ is stepping out of the mainstream and bringing completely different rules to the game. They might seem exacting, intolerant, critical, judgemental (in the world's eyes) and they might be condemned on just these grounds. But we have to stand firm while always remembering that it should be our behaviour that judges the world more than our words by which I mean that those who would follow Christ must set a personal example.

The dark forces have a lot of power in the world today, partly because they are unacknowledged and their way of working unrecognised. They can act through those close to us, professionally or personally. But God can bring good out of evil and this is one of those tests that burn out self-concern from our character and enable us to turn to God more fully. It has to be said, too, that sometimes something in the attack may have an element of truth to it and we would do well to see that even if the bulk of it is unjust. 

Thursday 12 December 2019

Right and Left

Sometimes I amuse myself by trying to reduce the difference between right and left to just one basic thing. That's because I believe that what ultimately lies behind these two attitudes reflects a duality in reality that goes beyond mere politics. Manifested reality is built on complementary opposites and the interaction between them. Otherwise it could not be. If everything was one then nothing, no thing, could ever arise. There needs to be this duality in reality in order for creation to take place. This is why we speak of spirit and matter and why there is subject and object.

What is this fundamental difference? It can be equated to that between justice and mercy or hierarchy and oneness or quality and quantity or liberty and constraint or the individual and the group etc, etc. All these things reflect something of the essential divide between right and left, and you can see that when we put the question in these terms they both have something real as a foundation. I am not saying they are equally valid in this world but they are both built on something real even if they are at several removes from the thing itself.  They can be said to have a metaphysical foundation of sorts, however crooked the building on top of that might be.

There is another difference, though, which in modern times has come to the fore and this division is not a product of any existent thing in reality. This division is between truth and a lie. 

The difference between right and left now (with the proviso that much called right today is just a milder form of left) is between belief in objective truth and belief in truth that can be made into what you want it to be.

If you have one person who thinks that things have their own reality independent of anything we might believe or want, and another who thinks that we can make things into what we want them to be (which means they have no independent reality), there can be no meeting between the two. As each side takes its beliefs to their logical conclusions they will get further and further apart, and glib appeals to sit down and talk and find some kind of unity become meaningless. This is the situation we are in today and the matter is serious because if it continues it could lead to war. 

Is there any means of providing some kind of rapprochement between these two sides? In a world based on materialism, the answer must be no. They can never meet because they position themselves in exact opposition to each other. The only possible way to transcend their differences is to move to a spiritual level where all things can be reconciled but this would not affect each side equally. The spiritual position asserts that there is an objective reality so the right is correct and the left is wrong. However, the leftist desire to remake reality according to its own desires can be satisfied to an extent by recognising that in God all questions are answered and all suffering is removed. Problems associated with unfairness and inequality are resolved as each soul who turns to God is rewarded according to its measure and none is short-changed because of an excess to another. The promised land of milk and honey where everything is as it should ideally be does exist but it only exists on a spiritual level and in spiritual terms. It can never be brought about in the material world except as a consequence of spiritual seeing.

If right and left are ever to find common ground, something that looks increasingly unlikely, they must raise their eyes from earth to heaven. The nature of this world is such that there can be no answer to the problems of life in terms of this world being its own cause or reward or truth. The two facets of created reality can only be united and reconciled on the spiritual level. 

Today is a General Election in the UK. I don't vote. Firstly because all parties are actively anti-spiritual and, though I don't say they're all as bad as each other (socialism, for instance, denies the individual and human freedom which is the whole point of creation), they're all bad now. But, secondly, I don't vote because I think universal franchise is insane. How can you decide how a country should be governed by a majority vote? You may as well just toss a coin. Voting is simply a way to make people think they have some influence in a system which is largely rigged anyway but even if it were all above board it would still be an absurd way to go about things. Universal suffrage is based on the idea of equality with everyone equally entitled to have an opinion on any particular issue but human beings are not equal. They never have been and never will be. They have equal potential as souls but how that potential is developed or manifested varies enormously. I would go so far as to say that equality is anti-religious in that it denies the order God has created. Naturally, this does not mean that all people should not be treated with justice.

The outcome of the election will make little real difference to the country. I don't say all outcomes are identical in impact because that is not the case but the solution to our current problems is not political. Continuing with the farce of modern democracy just puts off the day of reckoning. Truth is not determined by a majority opinion. That is why I will not be voting. 

Monday 9 December 2019

A Walk Along the Downs

I used to live just outside Eastbourne on the Sussex coast and often walked along the downs between the town and Beachy Head, the notorious cliff favoured by would-be suicides because of the large sheer drop to the rocky beach below. But it is very beautiful and I chose it for the cover of my Meeting the Masters book. That stretch of coast with its white cliffs and soft downs with the open sea to one side is very evocative of Albion for me. There's something almost prehistoric about it.

I had cause to go to Eastbourne last week and, my business complete, thought I'd walk across the downs to Beachy Head as I used regularly to do 20 years before. I set off down the path that started where the parade along the beach front stopped. The weather was a little chilly and the sky cloudy but with a bit of sun peeping through now and then. Good walking weather. 

The path to the coast

After a few hundred yards I noticed I was being followed by several of what I like to think were ravens but which were probably crows. They were quite big though. The initial group were joined by more and more until there were over twenty. Some of them followed behind but others flew ahead and landed on the path just in front of me. Others kept to one side so I was almost surrounded by them. But they weren't menacing in any way. Nothing Hitchcockian about them. In fact, they actually seemed friendly and almost treating me as a guest on their territory. I had a sandwich with me and gave them a few crumbs of that which, of course, encouraged them.

The birds ahead of me

The birds behind me. They were nearer than it seems in the photos.

It was a strange and I have to say rather nice experience. The birds were almost like a little troop of friendly puppies, cawing away now and then but not excessively. I chatted to them, thanking them for their attention and asking them about their lives. They seemed to listen and I got some caws back.  I walked along and they kept pace with me by walking a bit themselves then flying a little and they kept this up all along the downs until we got to the hill which leads up to the top of Beachy Head. Then most of them peeled off and headed away on other business but 3 remained for a while and one stayed with me all the way to the top and even when I turned around to go back to the town which I did along the upper edge of the downs rather than by the coastal path which was the way I'd come.

Beachy Head lighthouse. A fuzzy photo because the wind on the exposed hill made my hands shake

I have to confess that I played a little game with myself during this walk with the ravens (oh all right, crows). Inspired by the Albion-like landscape of the downs and the sea which must have been just as it was thousands of years ago, I imagined myself as an ancient druid with his flock of familiars in the form of birds. Ridiculous, I know, but the fact is this little experience did summon up some primeval feelings of being in tune with the natural world before the material dimension started to close in on us and we commenced our journey to full separation of the outer world and inner consciousness. 

But deep down I know it was probably all to do with the sandwich in my pocket.

Friday 6 December 2019

Evil is Not Good

I regard it as a major error to see evil as a tool wielded by God to bring about greater understanding and development. This is a fairly common trope, whether as a Christian heresy, a variation on Eastern monism or an example of the sort of Western occultism that seeks to present itself as more 'advanced' than religion for the unenlightened masses. But it is wrong.

Roughly speaking, the theory goes that without darkness you could not know light so certain angels act on behalf of God as forces of darkness and contraction. They do what we, in our short-sightedness, call evil but they are working for the spread of good. Lucifer, of course, means Light Bearer and, according to this idea, that is what he still is. He is the force that brings about individuality and breaks down spiritual inertia so that new growth may arise. He is sometimes even thought of as Christ's dark twin, the two working in tandem to bring about spiritual evolution as the One splits into the Many before recombining as the One.

I think this is pernicious nonsense. Tolkien (as usual) had it right. In his creation myth, the One God teaches the archangels who are the children of his thought to sing creation into being which they proceed to do along the harmonious guidelines laid down by God. But they have a certain amount of freedom too and one archangel brings in discordant elements, the product of his incipient egotism. Several times God corrects this by introducing new themes that balance it out but it seems that the end product, Earth, is still somewhat corrupted. Evil has come through the pride of the rebellious archangel and though God can use that evil to bring about some new good, the evil is certainly not the source of the good or the necessary means for it. It's more a matter of making a virtue out of necessity. Evil here is not a form of good but a perversion of it.

It is important to see this correctly or you can fall into the trap of justifying evil and not standing against it as the enemy of good rather than its accomplice. And that means you will become an apologist for evil or even an enabler of it. This is the philosophy of people who eschew divine simplicity in favour of over-elaborate cosmologies that appeal to the intellect. It can be dispelled by a proper understanding of Christ who leaves us in doubt that evil is not good. It is evil.

Wednesday 4 December 2019

The Soul's Choice

My last post talked about the soul or spiritual self and its earthly representative which is us as we feel ourselves to be down here in the world. A question I thought of at the time, and even wrote a partial response to but didn't publish, was what happens to the soul if the earthly self rejects God. Bruce Charlton's recent post (see here) asking where evil comes from and setting out his vision of the whole spiritual process has brought that question back into focus for me.

The soul may be defined as our spiritual self but that is in relation to the earthly, phenomenal self. The soul is not perfect or, at least, not brought to full perfection. As Bruce points out, it lacks agency and this is why it needs to experience life in the material world, the world that is perceived as separate from God. If the soul through its earthly persona turns to God, at a time when it knows separation from God, that demonstrates that its inner compass is true. It has a choice which it does not have on its own level and it has chosen well. Its choice is in harmony with life. But if the soul, again through its earthly persona, does not turn to God that demonstrates it has chosen evil (evil being defined as non-God) as opposed to good. Its inner orientation has been shown to be false, basically pointing to itself as prior rather than God. This cannot be demonstrated on its own level where there is no choice. It is only when the soul descends to a world of good and evil that its essential nature can be brought out through revealing how it reacts to the choice of God or no God. Both possibilities are given to it in this world. The fact of God should be clear to the unclouded mind but we are given grounds for plausible deniability. If you don't want to believe, you don't have to.

The soul may be spiritual but it is not, in Christian parlance, resurrected. I would make the distinction in this context between spiritual and divine with the one conceived merely as non-material while the other is fully and consciously aligned with God. If the soul through its worldly self choses God then that soul is saved and will eventually, when fully purified of all residual sin, be resurrected. It will ascend to heaven. It is not currently in heaven but in a spiritual zone between earth and heaven. This is a zone of peace and goodness but one in which God is felt rather than known. There is bliss and love but these are largely passive in contradistinction to the creative freedom and active love of the heavenly world. In terms of luminescence you might envisage it as a place of moonlight rather than radiant sunlight.

On the other hand, if the soul through its earthly self rejects God then that soul will, in terms of spiritual consciousness, fall instead of rise and it will find itself in a world that reflects its internal state. Hell as an environment is the reflection of the inner consciousness of the individual soul who goes there. A darkened mind will find itself in a corresponding locale.

To ascend to heaven the soul needs to fill itself with light. This light must come from Christ. Within each soul there is an image of Christ but this image can only become spiritually alive when, like a candle lit by a flame, it is lit by Christ himself and that can only happen when the soul in this world opens itself up to Christ. But this must be the true Christ not some mind-created sentimentalised facsimile of him and that means that the individual human mind must be responding to the true soul image which it can only do by going beyond itself to the spiritual reality within.

Sunday 1 December 2019

The Higher Self

Seen in its own light this world has never seemed completely real to me and nor have I, as I am, seemed completely real to myself. Now, I definitely don't mean that it is all an illusion. That is not the case. But I would say that both the world and I (and you, of course) are but the outermost parts of something much more substantial. The illusion is to identify this world with the whole world and yourself solely with your outer parts meaning mind as well as body. For instance, I don't think the person called William Wildblood is my whole self. He is real enough but he only represents a limited aspect of the true self. He is the expressed part on Earth of something more fundamental. A few people identify themselves largely with their bodies, many more identify themselves with their minds, their thoughts, desires and so on. But the true self is a spiritual being of which the earthly self is but a projected part, something like a multidimensional thing squeezed into a three-dimensional pot. It is the phenomenal representative of a spiritual being.

Even most people who call themselves spiritual identify themselves with their material selves and worldly personality. They seek to make that better. But this approach can lead to a kind of materialistic spirituality in which the earthly ego is regarded as the one to be saved when in fact it is the earthly ego and its goals and desires that must be put in their place before anyone can be born again in the spirit.

The higher self is our real spiritual being, the central sun, which, as it were, sends down a ray of itself to the physical world in order to gain the experience of life in matter which it needs in order to grow.  As the old adage has it, it is separation that leads to completion. You need to break up unity in order to become aware of unity. This earthly representative of the soul in matter consists of mental, emotional and physical parts but with connections to higher levels, principally through the conscience and the imagination, that can be opened up and developed with proper practice and right motivation.

It is probable that the soul on its own level cannot grow or cannot grow in as comprehensive a way as it can in the physical world where it is largely on its own so obliged to develop its mental side and also become a full individual therefore more independent and freer. So we need to leave the spiritual security of the soul to become fully conscious of it and to develop its creative powers. This we do through the earthly personality but that it is more the vessel for our endeavours. It should not be the main focus for them. At the same time, to regard the earthly personality as spiritually irrelevant and as something to be left behind is also wrong. The idea is to combine the two. They are both part of our whole self. Nevertheless it is the soul or higher self that is the centre of our true being. That is the core of our identity.

When the Masters told me that "the greater part of you remains with us" they were referring to the soul. Note that they call it the greater part. They do not call it the real part or the true part. The earthly personality is part of what we are but it is not the whole of what we are.

Wednesday 27 November 2019

Why Did the New Age Movement Fail?

Because it did fail.

Whether the revival of interest in mysticism, esotericism and the occult that fell under the umbrella term of the New Age, roughly lasting from the 1960s to the end of the millennium, was something that was divinely inspired which went awry because of a failure to live up to its ideals or whether it was just a response to natural cycles or maybe an attempt by dark powers to divert spiritual aspiration into psychic channels, one would have to say it was not a resounding success in terms of fostering real spirituality. For some people it might have been an inspiration to higher things but only if they went beyond it as it was in itself, using it as a springboard to greater understanding and leaving it behind like milk to meat in St Paul's analogy. But there is no doubt that, in itself and its attitude to the spiritual world, it was shallow and self-indulgent.

The New Age was born from two things. The descent of religion into dull conventionalism and outer observance and the increasing desire of a substantial minority to experience something of the reality that was thought to be behind the original religious impulse. I have no doubt that the widespread consumption of psychedelic drugs fed into the process too. The whole thing was given a boost by the increasing availability of spiritual books written from the perspective of a variety of traditions and also the exposure to Eastern religion of large numbers of people. This had all happened before, coincidentally or not during the same decades at the end of the 19th century and then to a limited extent and only amongst the intelligentsia in the 1920s. But at the end of the 20th century it was more widespread and open to most sections of society.

The keyword of the New Age would be experience. People wanted spiritual experience. This is fine up to a point. Personal experience can give the subject greater individual insight into the structure of reality and confirm what religion only teaches about. But the important thing about experience is the experiencer. Why is he seeking experience and what does he do with it once it has passed? Does he seek to repeat it for the pleasure he gets from it (even if he calls that 'bliss') or does he use it to learn more about himself and the world? If the latter, what sort of things is he looking for? Knowledge, power, higher consciousness? This was the primary problem with the New Age. It attracted people to higher things who were motivated by their lower nature and it did not do enough to discourage that or instruct its adherents in the proper traditional ways of spiritual development, particularly when it came to the purification of the aforementioned lower nature.

People were in it for what they could get out of it. That is not a good approach to the spiritual path which should be based on the love of God.

The New Age emphasised immanence over transcendence. As a corrective to past over-emphasis on transcendence, this was good but it had a fatal flaw. The focus on human potential and subsequent demotion of God left it exposed to self-absorption and narcissism. It may have talked about transcending the ego but if it's the ego itself who is behind this then it's like trying to make yourself taller by standing on your head. There is also the problem that when you prioritise the immanent nature of divinity you fall into the ludicrous trap of believing that you make your own reality. There is no real objective truth to which you have to coordinate your being. Reality can be what you want it to be. This was another widespread illusion associated with New Age thought.

This dismantling of the objective nature of reality was a major contributory factor for the strong correlation there is between the New Age and leftism with its Utopian idealism based on bending truth to ideology. It also partially explains why the New Age was so easily corrupted by the sexual revolution, not seeing any real conflict between sex and spirituality or even regarding the two as somehow interlinked so you can have such travesties as sacred sexuality with no recognition of the inherent absurdity of such a thing. That's because there is a relationship between sex and spirituality in that they involve the same energy but going in different directions. Either up to head and heart or down to the sexual centres. Just as water cannot run in two directions at the same time in the same river nor can the creative energy. This doesn't mean celibacy is required for spiritual aspirants but control and the submission of lust to love certainly is.

And there is one final fatal flaw in most New Age spirituality. The absence of Christ who is either ignored altogether or just reduced to a spiritual teacher, one among many, teaching higher consciousness like a guru. For us in the West (and maybe elsewhere but the New Age was a Western thing), genuine spiritual transformation, call it salvation, is only possible through the Logos as incarnated, spiritually as well as physically, in Christ. There are other forms of spirituality but none that actually save the soul in the sense of redeeming it from this world which term I use to include the psychic dimensions that surround the physical realm just as much as the physical realm itself.

In many ways the New Age was a return to pre-Christian forms of religion but there is a big problem with that. These forms, call them paganism, served a purpose in the time before Christ but Christ's advent changed everything. The necessary approach to spirituality changed which is why you cannot go back. Christ really did bring something different and new and better and all earlier religions were put in his shade. They had served their purpose but they now lacked something vital. The institutional shortcomings of the Christian religion are well-known but its essence remains as true as ever and there is nothing else that can substitute for it. And there is no substitute for Christ. The New Age ignored this which is the primary reason for its failure.

Saturday 23 November 2019

Britain and the EU

Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. We are told that if we leave the EU we will lose many advantages such as open borders, the single market, cooperation on security and medicine, freedom of movement, peace etc, and descend into rabid nationalism. This shows how little the highly-educated elite understand of real life, the deeper life in which man does not live by bread (or pottage) alone.

It is said that more intelligent people support the remain option. They are not more intelligent as real intelligence is measured. They are just more brainwashed by the modern education system (the longer you stay in it, the more it gets you), more indoctrinated by theory and ideology and more attached to the post-modern world in which there is no meaning and all value is measured by economics, pleasure or material convenience. They are more sophisticated perhaps, but less in tune with blood and earth and soul, true things. This is because a higher IQ level often results in lower instinctive understanding as culture replaces nature, making such people more prone to the idealistic foolishness that will destroy them. This is not an argument in favour of ignorance and stupidity but of the arid nature of rational intelligence unsupported by spiritual intuition.

The EU wants to be an empire, a European empire on a par with Russia or China or the USA. However, it has no roots in anything traditionally European which means Christian. It is more like an attempt to recreate the Napoleonic empire that actually was a disruption of the true European ideal in that it was based on a materialistic conception of human beings. The EU observes the same principle, the principle that the true end of man lies in this world and that his individuality must be subsumed in an overall collectivism, one based on inclusivity rather than quality. Individuality is theoretically encouraged but only within the limiting framework of an agreed set of restrictions.

I am against the EU because it means more government, more control, more bureaucracy, more domination by unaccountable elites, more centralisation, more secrecy. It means less freedom, less individuality, less honesty, less humanity. It means succumbing to the technocrats and proud rationalists who inhabit a world of ideology and abstract theory that has very little connection to the flesh and blood reality of human needs and desires, indeed human nature itself, let alone spiritual truths. The European Union is and always has been an organisation that is intended to override national sovereignty and eventually sink all the countries which form it into a supranational body run by an elite who see themselves as accountable to no one except themselves. This is the ideology of the cold intellectual who denies all natural human instincts in the name of his frigid theories.

The EU is a modern Tower of Babel, an attempt to build a utopia without reference to the transcendent, but if you try to build a single structure of that size from such disparate elements as countries with hundreds of years of their own traditions it will fragment because there is no inner connection to the centre. Everything must have a centre. What is the centre of the EU? There is none. People point to the ideal of a body that enables cooperation and prevents local wars but nobody loves the EU, however convenient they may find it, and in practice it is just a federal superstate run by a technocratic elite, a liberal organisation that seeks to impose liberal dogma and stifle real freedom in the name of an atheistic humanism which, by definition, is fundamentally nihilistic.

So it is necessary that Britain leaves the EU if it is to regain its soul. However, merely to leave and carry on in the same materialistic way is just swapping one evil for another. Leaving is only the first step on a long road, a necessary but not sufficient condition for Britain to shake off its spiritual torpor. As things stand I do not feel that Brexit will change anything serious. The populace is too addicted to money and pleasure, the culture is too corrupting and the politicians are mostly snake oil salesmen though admittedly it is democracy that makes that inevitable. But this is not a defeatist attitude because I believe that individuals can wake up. All institutions are corrupt and no help will come from any of them but now is the time for truth to be pursued inwardly by those who are serious about what it is to be a human being. That is the question we must all seek to answer. What is a human being? Anyone reading this must ask themselves that question. If you don't you are failing in the purpose of your life. The answer can be found but only by those who really want to know it and will not rest content with palliatives.

Britain must leave the EU in order to avoid being swallowed up by a system that is being used to crush its spiritual growth. But once that is done a greater decision must be taken. Will we just pursue material goals, amusement and diversion as before? Or will we ask ourselves serious questions about our purpose and destiny? Will we accept responsibility for our souls or simply fritter our lives away with entertainment or in the search for unrealisable political utopias? The question as to purpose must be asked by each individual. It cannot be a collective thing but the more individuals who do ask it, the more likelihood there is of the country as a whole breaking out of its spiritual paralysis.

The upcoming General Election in the UK is largely a distraction. I don't say the outcome makes no difference but it is unlikely to make much real difference which is why I regard the act of voting in the modern world as simply perpetuating the current rotten system. There are those who don't vote because they can't be bothered and that is a negative act. But then there are those who will not vote because they see this as making them complicit in playing a game in which two sides are set against each other in order that the battle between the two may distract one from seeing that the truth is in neither. Each has little bits of truth though I am not saying that one is as bad as the other. It's usually obvious that one is worse but that fact constantly lures people into making a choice, even if it is a reluctant one. However, all such people do is allow the game to continue. I am not calling for revolution or anything absurd like that (absurd because outer revolution without inner transformation just means more of the same once things have settled down) but the realisation that life is spiritual not political. This realisation would not solve all problems overnight but it would put us on the proper footing. At the moment, all political parties see life in materialistic terms so they are all effectively saying the same thing, just in different ways. It's as though they are arguing about which base camp is best but no one actually wants to start to climb.

Naturally, I am aware of all the arguments in favour of voting, that it is better to choose the least bad option, that not voting is a dereliction of duty, that the advantages of a democratic society are such that its drawbacks should be overlooked, that it is better than the alternative. All these are reasonable arguments and I have inclined towards them myself at various times in the past. They are hard to dismiss. Nevertheless, I now believe that the situation is such that they no longer apply and they just allow a bad situation to continue and, in fact, to get worse. And so I now reject them. Some things can be mended but others are so far gone that repair is no longer possible. 

Thursday 21 November 2019

Mother Louis of Yercaud

When Michael Lord and I lived in India between 1980 and 1985 we became friendly with a nun called Mother Louis. We met her at the local convent school where Michael, as the nearest thing to a local celebrity, had been asked to give out the prizes on sports day. Yercaud, the small town in South India where we lived, was 5,000 feet up in the hills and, because of its climate, regarded as a good place for private schools of which there were a couple in the district, modelled on their English equivalents. Mother Louis was Irish and had the rosiest cheeks I've ever seen. She also had the merriest laugh and the sweetest nature. I have to say that sometimes nuns can seem rather sour and have seemingly taken the veil because their marriage prospects are dim. Mother Louis was nothing like that. She would have made a wonderful wife and mother but she had chosen God and I think he had got a pretty good deal.

I'm writing this post because I thought of Mother Louis just recently, probably for the first time in years. So, as you do nowadays, I googled her name with Yercaud at the end of it. I didn't expect to come up with anything but I did. It turns out that she died only a few weeks ago in September at the age of 90. Here are some pictures of her taken off the Facebook page where this was announced.

Elsewhere she is described as a Galway Mother Teresa which is a bit over the top but she spent more than 60 years in India working with children and the local poor and was loved by everyone who came into contact with her. Michael and I used to go to her convent every so often for tea and cakes. I wasn't a Catholic but she was as kind to me as she was to everyone else and she struck me as someone who simply loved human beings with a deep genuine love because of her love for Jesus. She radiated goodness and a visit to her was a sort of cleansing experience in that you felt that some people really do manifest the truths of their religion in a way that cuts straight through theology or ideology or anything intellectual. 

This is completely unlike my other posts here except for one thing. My current understanding of spirituality is that it is fundamentally all about the reality of the person but a person can only really grow into their true self when they are aligned with Christ. Mother Louis was a living example of that.

Monday 18 November 2019

Intellect and Intuition

This is a revamped version of a post from 6 years ago. I'd forgotten about it until I received an email reminding me of it and that made me think the subject was worth looking at again. Probably the major factor in our current state of spiritual arrested development is that we have failed to move on from an intellectual focus to an intuitive one. Intelligence is a good thing but if it is not supplemented by intuition it can be turn against itself and work destructively. We can see this all around us in the modern world. Highly intelligent people are often (not always) more likely to be atheists but that's because their mental development is lop-sided. In a properly ordered society they would be encouraged to develop intuition so they would not get lured into cul de sacs of abstraction and theory.   I'm not a great enthusiast for Madame Blavatsky but when she said that the (intellectual) mind is the slayer of the real, she was right.

Our world view today is formed by reason and the intellectual approach. Theoretically, at least. In actual fact emotional reactions, even among those who regard themselves as intellectuals, are far more prevalent than usually admitted. Prejudice and wishful thinking are rife but still reason is meant to be our guiding star in the sense that it is the highest we are prepared to acknowledge. Let us, therefore, assume that we do really live by reason in the 21st century.

Now, to live your life on a rational basis is certainly much better than to live it according to unthinking automatic reactions based on physical or emotional responses because it is more or less objective and takes many different factors into account. But reason is still very limited because it is a mental activity and the mind (as we currently experience it) is restricted in its field of operation to the material level, that is, the level of form. This means that reason, on its own, is a quite inadequate way of appraising reality in its totality. Unsupported, it is unable to see that there is anything beyond the material level, and, as a result, will often deny that there is. 

But there is a transcendent dimension to life and knowledge of that puts everything else in an entirely different perspective. We don’t normally experience this higher dimension (the adjective is correct since it is a dimension of greater insight and freedom) because we are so identified in this world with our material selves, but, if we allow ourselves to do so, we can sense it, and we also have it revealed to us through religion. The expression that revelation takes may not appeal to the modern mind, precisely with its focus on the rational, but an unbiased sensibility should be able to see that the truth is there behind the possibly out-moded presentation. The question is, how can we move beyond simple faith and access that truth ourselves? Not through reason which largely relies for its data on input from the senses so cannot see behind the appearance of a thing to the thing in itself. We must try some other way.

There are really only two ways. Experience is one. Those who have been fortunate enough to have had a spiritual experience find that it takes them beyond the view of the world as described by reason alone while in no way conflicting with what is sane or rational. The other way is through the intuition, taking care to differentiate that from gut instinct which is a non-conscious response to external stimuli. Intuition, on the other hand, is fully conscious. It is the light of God reflected in the human soul and it is that faculty in us that enables us to know by direct perception.

The person limited to reason will usually deny the existence of direct perception or else claim that what is called that just falls into the hunch or vague feeling category. Hence that it is purely subjective. However, the fact that such a person may be right about that in many cases does not invalidate the reality of true intuition. It simply means that in our current state of spiritual development (or spiritual ignorance) imitations of it abound, and the lower is regularly mistaken for the higher.

Reason is always dualistic. There is always the thinker and the thought, and the thinker thinks his thought. But the intuition is not like that. It comes into being seemingly independent of the person in whose consciousness it appears. It is not born of experience, either personal or collective, for it is not the product of the past but arises spontaneously out of the living present, the ever-existing moment. It links the individual to the universal and the source of all things. It is objective, whole and, most of all, illuminating. Reason seeks to dispel darkness bit by bit and never succeeds totally but the intuition lights up the mind with complete clarity, revealing truth in its pristine purity. Furthermore, what we know through reason is always external to ourselves but with the intuition knowing is part of being for it comes from identification with what you truly are.

Once we accept the reality of the spiritual intuition we will naturally wish to know how to develop a proper response to it. It’s really quite simple. As implied above, intuition will open up to the degree you coordinate your being to the reality of the higher worlds; that is to say, to the extent you bring yourself into harmony with the intrinsic quality of those worlds. This requires a radical reassessment of your life’s purpose followed by realignment of all the levels of your being. Thus, it is not simply a question of believing in spiritual things and hoping for the best but of truly perceiving what is higher and of God and what is lower and of man, and then living according to the former. It is not a matter of passively sitting in meditation and waiting for insights to pop into your head nor does it involve ‘raising your consciousness’ (whatever that means). It is an active thing and it requires, first, purifying yourself of worldly desires and ambitions, and then doing exactly the same thing on the spiritual level. Many aspirants to the divine mysteries merely transfer the focus of their egotistical attention from one plane to another but it is still the ego seeking reward for itself and no spiritual benefit will come from that. I don’t wish to sound harsh here but the first requirement for any serious spiritual aspirant is honesty. If you aspire to truth you must start by being completely truthful with yourself. Anything less and you are simply wasting your time.

Just as we identify thought with the head and instinct with the gut so we can identify the seat of the intuition as the heart. The heart is the centre of our being. It is where we are joined to all creation and, symbolically speaking, where spirit is anchored in the body. The sun can also be regarded as a symbol for the spiritual intelligence with the moon, shining by reflected light, standing for the ordinary mind. Taking this analogy further, we can compare the darkness of night with our current state of spiritual unawareness, illumined only by a few pale shafts of light here and there, while the dawning of the day foreshadows the awakening of spiritual knowledge.

All seekers need to develop intuitive sensibility but this is not the work of a few months or even a few years and during that time they should bear in mind that, while we should learn to trust our intuition, we must also be careful to distinguish between that and wishful thinking. Those of us who have started the climb out of this world into the next need to be alert to the fact that, while we may be becoming more sensitive to spiritual truth, we are still limited by our mental attachments and our conditioning. We still have our desires, fears and prejudices, and our intuitive awareness will not be perfect until we have surmounted these. Always remember that the intuition is not personal. It will enable you to see the truth but, for as long as you are identified with your lower self, it comes to you filtered through the mind.

Reason is a God-given faculty which helps us to make sense of this world and shape it to our will. But it tells us nothing about ultimate things. It knows nothing about the world beyond this one and cannot reveal where we have come from or where we should be going.  A person limited to reason is spiritually blind and ontologically ignorant and will remain so until their inner eye starts to open. This is the eye of the Intuition, the organ of spiritual vision, and only when the mind is illumined by the light from that eye can it be said to have truly awakened.

Friday 15 November 2019

Freud and Jung

I would say these two men did a great deal of harm to human beings in the 20th century. I believe neither of them are generally regarded with that much respect nowadays in the profession they more or less established but, nonetheless, many of their ideas have become absorbed into the general consciousness and continue to do their nefarious work.

If the sexual revolution of the 1960s can be laid at the door of any one man, it would be Freud. Although still not recognised as the destructive force it can be, because we are such materialists, we will one day be forced to recognise that if the sexual instinct is not ruled by a religious understanding then human beings will no longer be able to look up to the sky to see what lies beyond it, and civilisation will start unravelling. We will return to the mud. Freud gave spurious authority to that mud by presenting it as foundational to the reality of what we are. But we were formed of the dust of the earth and the breath of God.

The idea of an atheist pronouncing on the mysteries of the human mind is so absurd you would have thought that Freud's pretensions to knowledge on the subject would be seen as incoherent, but they had enough plausibility to convince a generation softened up by the retreat of religion in the face of materialistic science that he was onto something. It's the old story of a half-truth being worse than a lie. Perhaps the part of the mind he defined as the unconscious had been neglected by earlier generations but to give it such a prominent role in human psychology, and to build a theory of repression on top of it, only serves to encourage and release instincts which are meant to be superseded by first rational and then spiritual impulses. It is not a question of denying the past or the lower or the more primitive but of seeing it in the light of the higher. If it is the higher that is denied then the lower assumes much more importance than it should have. Freud did deny the higher and that fact undermines his whole system.

Jung supposedly reacted to that and tried to re-establish a spiritual sensibility. But did he really? Not in my view. What he did was reduce the spiritual to the psychological which means see the transcendent in the light of the immanent. He reduced God to Man. He might have corrected Freud's reductionism but he established his own which is almost more harmful in the sense that the corruption of the best is the worst. Jung employed pseudo-spiritual terminology and hijacked certain ancient spiritual techniques to bring the divine down to the level of the human mind where it becomes enclosed in our own limitations instead of breaking down those limitations and enabling us to rise above them which it can only do when it remains on its own plane. God is not the image of the Self. He is God.

Jung's big mistake opened the door to many spiritual forms in the late 20th century which sought to steal spirituality from God. They thought they could be more than religion but ended up being less. Both Freud and Jung were false prophets. Their influence was huge but it was only possible in a world that had lost touch with spiritual truth and needed a substitute to compensate for that. They are examples of materialism and the false spirituality that arises as a result of materialism, and although they are no longer regarded with the reverence of earlier decades the damage they did with their ideas has entered the mainstream and carries on undermining the truth.

Monday 11 November 2019

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

I'm not sure if we ever mentioned Rudyard Kipling on Albion Awakening but if we didn't let me rectify that now because he certainly belongs there. Puck of Pooks Hill is all about Albion, and even The Jungle Book and Kim have a taste of it, especially the latter, despite being set in India. Here, though, I want to look at his poem 'The Gods of the Copybook Headings' which, in a certain manner, is all about the times we live in. Here it is.

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.
We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.
We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.
With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.
When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."
On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."
In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."
Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.
As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wobbling back to the Fire;
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Who are these Gods? As far as I understand it, they represent common sense and native instinct as opposed to fanciful ideology and utopian theory. They are constantly neglected but they always return when the fancy stuff leads to disaster as it unfailingly does. As it is doing now. Clever, unwise people think they know better than the dunderheads of the past. They think human beings can be improved from without, that they can be coerced into goodness, but every experiment in this direction denies inbuilt reality, the reality that water is wet and fire burns, and instead of the promised Utopia we get a version of hell. 

Look at that line 'all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins'. Is that not where we are today? Then there is the Fuller Life which starts by loving your neighbour and ends by loving his wife until women had no more children and men lost reason and faith. That's liberalism in a nutshell. And note that it's not just faith that is lost. Reason goes too as it is doing in our day. When you cut yourself off from truth, you have nothing to anchor you in reality. You go mad. 

The poem was published 100 years ago this year. Already the direction was indicated but I don't suppose Kipling could have imagined where it would end up. But he knew the path it would take.

Copybooks were books in which you wrote down the same thing many times. This was partly to improve your handwriting but also to impress the lines, a maxim maybe or a rule, on your memory. Dismissed as parrot learning but it actually worked. Naturally, the virtue of the thing depends on what you are writing but, if it is a piece of sage advice, as it usually was, this is probably the best way to get it to stick in your mind and protect you against the fashionable raving of experimentalists who always believe they can improve the world but don't bother finding out first what the world actually is.

Beware the smooth-talking Gods of the Market Place. What they have to sell is spiritual poison.