Wednesday 29 May 2019

Is This What It's All Come To?

I know a man now in his eighties. He has led a successful and fulfilled life. He rose high in his profession and was widely respected by his peers. He had a happy marriage with several children and now has numerous grandchildren who love him and whom he loves. His life has not been without suffering but, on the whole, it has been a good one. And he's a good and honourable man. But he has no religious belief at all. As far as he is concerned, it's all childish nonsense, wish fulfilment and make-believe.

Now he is wracked with pain from various ailments to do with old age. Worse, his wife may be dying and he won't be far behind. He is frightened. 

He reminds me of my own father who was always a proud (in a good way), independent, self-reliant sort of person but who was brought low by a stroke and became a shadow of himself. He had a vague religious belief but had left it to one side for most of his life, seeing it as something that wasn't really that important compared to the actual reality of life here and now. It wasn't strong enough to sustain him when it came down to the wire. Both these people come to the end, the point to which all lives inevitably tend, and suddenly are faced with the bitter (to them) truth. This is it. There is no more. All pleasures have faded and disappeared, past joys and happiness really are past. They are dust and ashes. There is nothing left but pain, suffering and then darkness. Non-existence. There was never any meaning in anything.

This is a truly pitiful state to be in. It leaves the person in it with few options.  Some might think there is a kind of bleak heroism in defiance, in saying I have lived my life and have no regrets. Death, do your worst! Perhaps there is but I think this is really just bravado. It achieves nothing. And it is prideful. Most people are not able to be like this anyway. They, like the person I describe above, become frightened. The reality of life and death, hitherto not fully thought about, becomes apparent and they risk being overwhelmed and dying in a state of hopelessness though I believe that at the end people are often aided by a feeling of acceptance. God is merciful.

The other option is repentance. Some might say it is cowardly to turn to God when you are dying. I would say it is sensible. You can put all your intellectualising aside and just become what you always have been really which is a naked child. Become a naked child and turn to God and you will not be left comfortless. Choose light rather than darkness.

Sunday 26 May 2019

World's Woe

Here's something that I won't do again very often, if at all, but I've shared it elsewhere so thought I might put it here too. 

When I was at school doing A level English I wrote a poem in which all the words began with a W (for obvious reasons plus I was born on a Wednesday). That was lost years ago but I've tried to reconstruct it from memory so some of this is old and some new and some a mixture of the two. Lowercase omega is like a w and is the last letter of the Greek alphabet so the poem was about the end of things. 

Nowadays I might call that the Kali Yuga and that is the subject of this poem. The last phase of a world cycle when the environment, both physical and psychological, degrades and not just the spiritual but the natural too is overturned with understanding of the true good lost, to be replaced by a pseudo-good based on the primacy of humanity in and for itself. But, because this is a lie, the world deteriorates and many people who notice this now happening completely fail to see that it is they who are responsible. There is a grim humour in the current lamentations of leftists about how bad things are getting (Trump, Brexit etc) for they don't realise that it is they who have caused this reaction by their anti-God and anti-Nature behaviour of the last 50 years. When your thoughts and actions are out of harmony with reality then chaos and disruption are the inevitable consequence. Monsters breed monsters.

World's Woe

When will we wonder why we went wandering wistfully woodways?
Will we walk with wizards while whispering women wait without?
What will we wear when water weeps?
Why waste words with wicked wastrels?

Wild winds worsen wintry weather
Worthless worship weakens warriors
Winners welcome wagers with winks
Wisdom will warm when wedlock wanes

Weaklings, wet with wine, whimper while wolves watch
Weeping willows waver, wormy, weedy, wasted
Wounded wombs wither, wealth wilts
Wives, widows, witches, woeful world

Whitewashed wills weave worn words
War waxes while whips whirl
Whether warnings work when we wake weary
Wonders witnessed within will.

A friendly critic told me that the poem as a poem would be improved if I allowed myself to break the w rule occasionally. He's quite right. For instance, the last two lines could be made clearer. They mean that outer warnings won't stir us when our minds have been dulled and desensitised by the distortions of modernity so inner spiritual awakening is required. However, I was hoping to create an incantationary quality too and that would be diminished. I like the idea of a poem as a magical spell and with the sense somewhat hidden.

Thursday 23 May 2019

You Are Not a Spiritual Person If You do Not Reject the World

You can substitute the words religious or Christian and it comes to the same thing. If you do not reject the world then you are not a spiritual person. I don't mean you need to become a monk or nun which is an outer rejection and suitable for some people as it is not for others. The rejection required is inner and is not of the world as God's creation and a place of beauty and many wonders but of the world's values and standards. I can't tell you the number of times I have read or heard someone say "I'm a very spiritual person..." and then proceed with the usual liberal clich├ęs and platitudes. What they don't realise is that they may have some kind of spiritual sensibility but their real religion is the religion of humanity, and the religion of humanity is the deadly enemy of spiritual truth. Why? Because it brings spiritual truth down to the level of humanity in and for itself and without reference to the transcendent God except as seen in the context of the earthly human being who is primary.

The crucial point is this. Are we made for this world or for a higher world with this one principally a means of preparing us for that? If we are made for a higher world then what we seem to be in this world is not what we really are. We are completely different sorts of beings. That's because a higher world is not just this world intensified but something qualitatively different. Therefore a form of spirituality that caters to us as we are in this world is actually an anti-spirituality. It is one that looks to improve rather than transform and so will probably make things worse since an improved version of what is wrong to start off with may be harder to transform than the original. 

Thus we can say that humanitarianism doesn't understand what a human being is, seeing it in strictly materialistic terms even when sometimes a vague and generalised spiritual component is thrown in. But even if it is, that is still more of an add-on than the fundamental reality. Human beings can only begin to understand what they are when they see themselves as something greater than what they appear to be. That is because our threefold mental, emotional, physical nature is just the part of us that functions in the material world. The spiritual self that holds together and animates these 'bodies' is of a different order altogether, and it is that spiritual self that is the reality of a human being.

This rejection of humanitarianism doesn't mean that a true spirituality is not dedicated to the well-being of the human. But it does mean that it is always theocentric not anthropocentric and so things that are important to materialistic humanitarianism such as political ideas of human rights, freedom and equality are seen in context of the reality of the soul and its nature, purpose and goal rather than their own context. This goal is not the happiness or alleviation of suffering of the worldly self but is focused in transcendence. For a true spirituality is always vertically orientated as opposed to the horizontal orientation of humanitarianism, and these two approaches are not equivalent since the one sees the human being as multi-dimensional while the other is limited to the familiar three-dimensional model.

The essence of humanitarianism is equality which derives from its horizontal, quantitative focus and its denial of transcendence. When transcendence and the vertical are introduced into the mix, as they should be, then you have something different and that is the idea of hierarchy. But note that the horizontal axis still remains. It is just that it is not all there is, and what this means is that human beings now relate to each other in two ways, one of which is equality but the other is hierarchical.

The multidimensional/transcendental nature of true spirituality is why religion requires sacrifice and renunciation, why it has a strong ascetic side, demands purity and how its object strikes awe, even fear, in the heart of the believer, an emotion totally alien to the humanitarian unless he steals it from religion because he is conscious of its absence in his own ideological system. Some people think that you should not fear God because he is loving and good, and fear is always bad. This is a worldly infection that has been picked up by superficial religious believers. The person who doesn't fear God is a fool. Not because God is not loving and good but because he is incomprehensible and so far beyond us that we are as nothing And yet we are made in his image and he dwells within us. Of such apparent paradoxes is true religion made.

When the tide of Christianity began to go out sometime, for the sake of argument, in the 18th century, it left something behind it on the sand. This was humanitarianism, all that remained of Christianity's spiritual vitality being a kind of worldly sediment. Many people then thought that the real essence of Christianity was what was left, a way for human beings to relate to each other in this world. Of course, the truth was exactly the opposite. What was left was the shadow as it fell on Earth. What had departed was the light. For the whole point of Christianity was its spiritual content in general and Christ himself in particular. Not Christ as a great teacher or even prophet but as the Son of God, born to save the world who died on the cross and rose from the dead three days later. To save the world from what? The usual answers are sin and ignorance which is correct, but I would add that it was also to save the world from the idea of goodness separate from God. For seeing goodness in the light of God transforms it from something that operates only on a worldly level to a cosmic universal that has the power not just to polish the base metal of humanity but to turn it into gold. And this is the difference between humanitarianism and true religion and why focus on one will destroy the other.

Saturday 18 May 2019

Justice and Mercy

This is in part a continuation or restatement of the previous post, Love and Law. Sometimes expressing the same thing in a slightly different way brings it into greater focus.

Everything in this world is a form of some divine reality. Often a highly distorted or even perverted form, but nothing takes its rise from nothing. Everything is based on something real. For example, in the political arena, liberalism can be seen as the secularisation of mercy. Likewise, conservatism takes a similar role with regard to justice.

Thus, we can say that secularisation drives a wedge between divine justice and mercy, separating them and turning them into rivals instead of two halves of one whole. This separation can only be resolved in God. Only in him can justice and mercy be properly reconciled so that each is given its due and neither takes too dominant a position. Justice and mercy have their rise in the spiritual and when politicised or brought down to the secular world they can give birth to false and counterfeit forms which distort what they are.

In this way extreme liberalism turns into immorality and hates virtue while extreme conservatism becomes tyrannical and oppressive. In the West today, the modern irreligious liberal uses the excuse of tolerance and unity to dismantle truth (necessarily a separative thing since because there is the true, there must also be the false) and weaken real spirituality, though he may accept a version that panders to his political ideology and therefore isn't spiritual at all. In certain Islamic countries, the extreme conservative, through too fixed an adherence to the letter of the law, banishes mercy and compassion from his heart (notwithstanding their mention in his scripture) and so his religion is hard, unyielding and crushes openness to the spirit.

Each detests the other but neither is acceptable to God who is truth and love combined. And yet it seems clear that, although God is Love, he must primarily be Truth since love is part of truth more than truth is part of love. Just as duality (love) must be rooted in unity (truth). At the same time, in practical terms you cannot separate the two. They are always and forever part of the same root reality.

Justice and mercy can only properly be understood as expressions of the One God which means that only those who acknowledge God can balance the two correctly within themselves or even understand what they really are. This, it should be understood, is not an intellectual matter. When your heart and will are aligned with God, when you situate your being in his, you will automatically respond to life in terms of justice and mercy. You won't have to think about how much of each one should apply to any given situation. That is for the ideologues who look at life through the distorting prism of a theory to which they then have to force themselves and everything else to adapt. But for the spiritual person, all responses are completely natural with no thought required and no theory to be obeyed.

If God were not just, there could be no truth. If he were not merciful, there would be no love. But justice must come before mercy even if mercy may sometimes override justice. That is because mercy only makes sense in the context of justice. Its very existence implies the prior existence of justice since without justice there would be no need for mercy. That is not to say one is more true than the other for both are fully true, fully real. But in the same way as the Father comes before the Son, so it is with justice and mercy. There are both aspects of divine reality but there is still a kind of hierarchy and this relationship has implications for things both in this world and the next.

Wednesday 15 May 2019

Love and Law

It's a great shame there is only one word for love in English. It has led to all kinds of misapprehensions with earthly love being confused for spiritual love and then love itself regarded as the prime virtue which overrides all other considerations. It is an excuse for anything, even what has always been regarded as sin.

The first focus of love must be God. Without this love no others can be called spiritual, however meritorious they might appear on their own level. But spiritual love is directed primarily to God and only then out towards the creation which is always seen in the light of God not its own light (though it has its own secondary light too. That is the point of it, after all).

The modern liberal Christian says a lot about love but little about the law forgetting that the one without the other is impossible in a spiritual context. The two must always go together and cannot be separated. Considered apart, they are not spiritual but material corruptions of the spiritual.

A fine case in point was the preacher at the royal wedding last year. (See here for a post on that). He was a typical example of the false teacher leading his flock astray. For him (apparently) the human version of love was little different to spiritual love even though the one is clearly based on the earthly self while the other is centred in God. Obviously, the two are not wholly different since the former partakes of the latter but it does so as filtered through the worldly ego often taking on several false ideas in the process, one of which being that any love that makes us feel good emotionally is spiritually justified.

If people knew the difference between agape and other forms of love we might not have this kind of confusion or muddying of the water. Jesus defined true spiritual love for us when he said that "if you love me, you keep my commandments". Any love that does not inspire the one loving to keep the commandments (and to do so with joy) is not agape. True love always inspires the lover to purity.

Saturday 11 May 2019

There is No Rational Basis for Equality

If you believe in God and think that God exists in everyone, you must also see that not everyone reflects the reality of what God is to the same degree. For all people may be manifestations of God but clearly none are perfect manifestations which means there are greater and lesser manifestations.

If you don't believe in God but think that we all have some kind of universal spiritual component within us then you must still accept that our awareness and understanding of it differs hugely. As does our ability to express it.

And if you are a materialist then you believe that nothing has real meaning or value anyway (unless artificially invented by us) so equality is a redundant concept. It's merely an ideological abstraction, an aspiration without real substance. If a materialist wants to say that we all have equal value then that value, according to his scheme of things, is precisely nothing. We are all equal, but equally worthless.

Equality as a real thing rather than a vague abstraction is only possible in something like an ant colony. It would demand the complete abolition of individuality.

It is a materialistic perversion of a spiritual truth, namely that God does exist in every human being who, by virtue of that fact, all have the potential to awaken spiritually and become godlike themselves. But we are all at very different stages of that journey and some will never reach the destination. Moreover, even when the destination is reached, we will not be equal because we all express our spiritual realisation in individual ways.

Equality is a one-dimensional view of the world which collapses reality to the horizontal, the material level, ignoring the vertical axis of soul. The very concept should be rejected and replaced with ideas of justice and fairness where these are appropriate. That is because to keep equality in any form whatsoever inevitably reinforces the notion of equality pure and simple as an absolute.

How did this absurd idea ever come about when it is so contrary to reason? One can only assume that it is a misconception of Christian teaching, basing itself on the idea that all human beings have the divine within them and, in that sense, all have value and the same divine potential. But to go from that to a belief in equality here and now in this mortal world is an utter non sequitur. As my teachers said, "men are by no means equal on the earth plane".

Proponents of the idea perhaps think that without it the door is open for exploitation of the weak by the strong, but that is akin to saying that the idea may be false but it can have good results or that the means justify the ends which is an axiom any schoolchild should know to be false since a cause and its effect cannot be separated. There are other ways of preventing the abuse of a truth than by propagating a lie. Besides, this exploitation would only occur when the belief in human inequality was interpreted materialistically, that is to say, without the corresponding belief in God. The problem is not inequality but inequality seen through the lens of atheism or false spiritual beliefs which are grounded in worldly interpretations of spirituality. In all cases, the solution is a correct spiritual understanding that sees the presence of God in all human beings, but that presence existing as a potential that needs to be developed.

Equality is actually destructive to the understanding of God because, by limiting everything to the same level, it destroys a proper sense of hierarchy and transcendence. That means that God is reduced in majesty and mystery. In fact, ultimately, if you believe in equality you will eventually believe yourself to be equal to God. And that means you won't believe in God. But without God, as we can see quite clearly now, there is only nihilism and despair, kept at bay by the need for constant entertainment whether that be of the popular variety or the intellectual. Equality, far from being a spiritual belief, as it is often conceived of nowadays, is actually the product of a pure anti-spiritual materialism.

Once again we see that when humanity abandons belief in a transcendent reality it loses itself in invented substitutions that lead it ever further into illusion. And the end result of living in illusion is always spiritual disaster. This all stems from the replacement of true religion with the worship by humanity of itself and the failure to understand that if humanity does not look beyond itself for its true fulfilment it will quickly sink into something less than itself. Egalitarianism is actually all about the promotion of quantity to a universal good and the concomitant destruction of quality.

There is more on this subject in a previous post here.