Saturday 30 January 2021

Can Meditation Make You Self-Satisfied?

Yes, it certainly can and often does. Here's an article in the Daily Telegraph that goes into the hows and whys of that a little. It is something that is well-known in monastic circles, and spiritual directors have always warned novices about the dangers of inflation, as it's called, but as meditation has entered the mainstream, often repackaged as mindfulness, its potential problems have been neglected.

The principal problem arises from the disconnect that has come about between 'spirituality' and religion. People take to meditation and other spiritual practices with the desire to gain something. They are in effect simply transferring their desire for consumer goods to the spiritual plane but it's exactly the same process at work. Wanting something to boost your sense of self. It doesn't matter if you become a vegan, live a simple life reducing your needs to the minimum and all the rest of it. Everything depends on motivation. A greedy, lustful winebibber with a fundamentally decent heart is closer to God than someone who eats next to nothing, practises austerities and meditates 4 hours a day but whose heart is not open to their Creator. Meditation only works in the way intended when it is balanced by a proper spiritual focus by which I do not mean a desire to achieve spiritual goals or gain spiritual gifts but a true dedication to God. Many results can arise from meditation which can be confused as spiritual but they really only relate to the psychic or supernatural, terms which properly refer the intermediate world that exists between the material and the true spiritual, the world of magic, occultism and most forms of what are regarded as higher consciousness, that is to say, consciousness released from the immediate restrictions of matter but not from ego.

I meditated for 21 years and it gave me a sense of detachment from this world which had its pros and cons. I consider I derived benefits from the pursuit but I now tend to believe that meditation, a bit like Buddhism in its original form, is something that should be practised by dedicated monks in the context of a religion with its own proper disciplines and moral structure. It can be practised outside of that scenario but then you have to be a very well-motivated and spiritually self-organised person to avoid its pitfalls, many of which can be grouped together under the umbrella of spiritual narcissism. It can be very hard to retain a proper perspective about oneself and life in general if one is constantly looking for spiritual experiences. Still harder if one gets them.

If I could say one thing to all meditators it would be this. The true spiritual path is not about higher states of consciousness. It has to do with the sanctification of the soul. It is not so much about transcending the sense of self as bringing that into complete alignment with God. You are not a spiritual person if you receive spiritual gifts. You are on the way to becoming one (always by the grace of God) if you can forego spiritual pleasure and accept spiritual pain, should it come, by increasing your dedication to God.

Monday 25 January 2021

Renewing the Pagan in Me

I live just outside London and, though it is not the country proper, there are several local walks that take me into woods and onto downs and there is even a nature reserve not far away. I go for a walk every day, roughly an hour and a half in duration, but at the moment I can only walk in daylight at the weekend though I also enjoy tramping around in the dark especially when the moon is out or a clear sky shows lots of stars. 

A couple of weeks ago I went up onto Epsom Downs which is a large open grassy area on elevated ground. Because it is so open you get an excellent view of the sky and can take in its vastness so I spend a lot of time there just looking up. I saw this intriguing cloud formation.

It's Great Britain, isn't it? Floating up in the sky. Some of the Scottish islands even show up at the top. You could also, exercising some imagination admittedly, take the long thin strip of cloud beneath it as the Continent.

Last Saturday I went to the nature reserve mentioned above. To be honest, calling it a nature reserve is a bit of a stretch. It's really just some scrub and chalk grassland that has been reclaimed from abandoned playing fields but apparently the original field was mentioned in Magna Carta and artefacts dating back to the Neolithic and Bronze Ages have been found in the vicinity. Pottery, flints, that kind of thing. The current reserve is about 80 acres in size and there are often sheep and cattle grazing there. Skylarks can be seen too if you're lucky. But this time all I saw in the sky were some more clouds in the evening sun. "Hello" I said to myself, "It's the Himalayas over Surrey".

Well, it looked more like the sun on snow-capped peaks a few seconds before I took the photo.

I carried on with the circular walk around Priest Hill, as it is called, and came across a small group of cattle.

For some reason I took a fancy to the brown and white one and we exchanged a few pleasantries about the weather and if the grass was good. Then she lost interest and went back to her herbivorous duties. But she is pretty, isn't she? At least, I think she's a she.

The next day, Sunday, I got up early just before sunrise. Looking out of the window I saw a dramatic conflagration. It was a visual Gloria, the angels cheering the dawning of day. I thought of Phoebus Apollo hitching his chariot to the sun, the horses snorting and stamping their hooves, impatient for a headlong charge across the heavens.

Then shortly afterwards it began to snow. To go from fire to ice in a couple of hours was quite a contrast.

In the afternoon I went for a walk on the local common. It's called a common but is now more of a wood with mostly oak trees though there are many other varieties such as ash, birch, hazel and holly. It covers over 400 acres. There are a couple of large ponds, one built by medieval monks as a fish pond, and various forms of wildlife including roe deer which can be seen occasionally if you are quiet. There are adders and grass snakes and several birds species amongst which are yellowhammers in the right season which is not now. The ponds are visited by heron, grebes, geese, ducks and teal and, though I've never seen one there, kingfishers too, by repute anyway.

The Great Pond built by monks (photo not taken by me yesterday)

There wasn't much to be seen yesterday though I did hear owls in the late afternoon. The ground had recently been very soggy because of all the rain we've been having but the snow and freezing temperature had made it quite hard and pleasant to walk on. The inclement weather also seemed to have deterred other walkers for I saw hardly anyone else out.

There is a particular tree on this walk that I have decided is the Lord of the Forest. He stands a little taller than the others but it is not that which gives him his air of authority. He seems to spread further and be planted more deeply than those around him. Other trees stand back from him a little, respectfully giving him the extra space he merits. On a couple of occasions I have asked for his advice, talking not just to him but to the Creator through him. I once asked him for a boon to do with my family and felt I should make an offering of some kind. All I had in my pocket was a pencil and a handkerchief so I gave him the pencil, throwing it in his direction. The boon has not yet been granted but I know these things work out in their own way and their own time.

I don't know if readers find this sort of thing foolish or superstitious but I can understand our ancestors worshipping objects of nature. For the wiser among them these objects might have been important not so much for themselves but as mediums through which to access spirit. If, as this tree seems to do, they carry some special quality, if they manifest some almost archetypal power, they can be channels to the divine world.  I don't live in a world of original participation when Man and Nature were not fully separated out, but I can sympathise with that state and, while realising the impossibility, indeed spiritual error, of trying to recapture it, still believe that we should attempt to perceive the immanence of nature, the presence in created objects of their spiritual origin. If I talk to the tree I am really using the tree to talk to God. The tree is not an idol, sacred in itself, but something like an icon, a focal point for the divine and a way through this world to a higher one.

Friday 22 January 2021

Things to Come

 To all those concerned about current political events, I would say, don't be. The world situation has long been such that no external help can be expected. In fact, it is not even desirable because what is happening today is a spiritual test. In times that are orientated towards a true vision of God, there is no particular test. But we are now expected to maintain a connection to truth inwardly even when it is dismissed as a lie and an illusion.

Do you really think that if Donald Trump had won the recent American election things would have been much different spiritually? Some of the more obvious desecrations of the human spirit might not have happened as quickly as they probably will, but the general trend would not have changed.The ongoing destruction of truth would have continued. Are we any better off in that respect than 4 years ago? Of course not. We are worse off. The only question is whether we would have been even worse off than we are. I'm sure we would have been but it's only a relative thing.

I'm not saying it doesn't matter who wins elections but it doesn't matter much now. There is no political knight in shining armour and there is not meant to be. I repeat. Now is a time for holding fast to truth when it has been abandoned outwardly. Don't expect someone else to save you. You have to save yourself. This is your responsibility. Don't waste your energies and passions on political matters. Focus on the spiritual and understand that when you do that you have to make sacrifices and you have to expect suffering. There is no way round this. Spiritual paths that don't involve sacrifice and suffering are not ones that lead to God.

Rejoice that the secular world is now truly revealed as one of complete lies. As long as you thought truth might win, you would still be involved in the world. I'm not saying you should abandon the world or cease to proclaim truth but don't expect many people to listen or imagine  that the current situation will get any better. Our job, those of us who wish to serve God, is to reach out to individuals. The world may fall into darkness but in that darkness light will shine more brightly.

No doubt false saviours will arise even now. They will say "Follow me, believe in me and all will be well." Don't be misled. God does not want his children to remain children and he is not going to send a leader to whom we can hand over our responsibility. You must be your own leader. Of course, there will be those who can offer guidance but this guidance is only there to push you in the direction you already want to go. You should not expect your guides to do more than this and any who claim they can should be ignored. God will guide you from within your own heart if you allow him to do so which means stand ready in humility and love of truth and goodness.

The future is likely to be a global totalitarianism with a humanitarian veneer. It may incorporate the notion of God but it will deny all that is real about God. In the West (I don't know about the East) everything that does not actively stand against this will be incorporated into it. No one will be able to stand on the sidelines. No one will be allowed to be neutral. The only thing that can withstand this takeover of the soul, for that is what it is, is Christ. Other forms of spirituality will not be strong enough to resist evil, defined here as rejection of God and the laws of Creation. Those who practise them will be swept up into the over-arching anti-spiritual belief system in which Man is basically his own God and makes his own reality. Only those who remain faithful to Christ can hold out against this because only they will have the strength to resist, a strength given them by the supreme reality of Christ.

Recent events should have taught serious Christians or anyone correctly orientated to spiritual reality not to expect salvation from the outer world. I am neither a pessimist nor a defeatist. There is great hope for the future but this will manifest on the spiritual plane and only those who dedicate themselves to the truth of God will realise it. But it is not going to be a collective thing. Everything now is down to the individual.

Tuesday 19 January 2021

Unity and Division

 We all know, we can all sense, that something very powerful is in the air. There are obvious outer signs, as in plagues and political turmoil, but the real crisis is spiritual. The sifting process of sheep and goats is well under way. Now, divisions are going to increase and all those who call out for unity, thinking that unity is necessarily a good thing are going to be disappointed. There cannot be unity between good and evil, right and wrong, truth and falsehood, and these things are being separated out. We are experiencing a ratcheting up of spiritual tension, perhaps even the prophesied time when members of the same household will look at each other with incomprehension and deep hostility, when, according to Luke 12:53, "They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” See here, for instance.

Modern forms of spirituality always emphasis unity. And, in many circumstances, unity is undoubtedly a good thing. The attempt to overcome division and reach a point of mutual understanding is right and proper, but only when division is superficial. When, as increasingly now, it is fundamental, you reach a point when to talk of unity is naive foolishness. When too much has to be sacrificed to reach unity, what good is it? We live in a world of darkness in which powerful forces work against God and creation. There cannot be unity in such a world. Unity can and should be reached between such complementary things as man and woman but not between opposites which are mutually exclusive.

However, if division is inevitable we must try to avoid some of the usual consequences of division. Anger and hatred are also increasing now it seems. We must try very hard not to succumb to these because they will turn good to evil. We may be directed towards God in our minds but if our hearts are full of hatred then our true orientation is in the other direction. This is why we are told to love our enemies. Not so much for their sake as for our own. We must not let ourselves be poisoned by our resistance to evil. Recognise it, denounce it, fight it but do not let it into your own heart. I say this because I see the tendency in myself and I know it is wrong. We need Christ to discern truth from lies and we also need him to show us us to respond to the lies.

Sunday 17 January 2021

Showing My True Colours

 It was recently brought to my attention that I have been trading under a false flag as the photograph on the right hand side of the blog did not represent what I look like now. Understandably, given it was taken about 10 years ago around the time I wrote Meeting the Masters since when time has taken its toll. So I have replaced that version with the most recent photo I have though that has a lockdown beard which has now gone and I don't normally look quite so glum. But I never could smile for the camera.

You might ask why I include a photograph of myself at all. The reason is similar to why I use my real name online. I think people reading the blog should know who they are dealing with, and a person's face does say something about that person. This seems particularly appropriate at the present time when faces and the vital human element they represent are being increasingly banned from public view.

Thursday 14 January 2021

Intuition, the Only True Knowledge

Spiritual knowledge comes from spiritual perception. It is not acquired through reason or deduction or calculation or even thought as ordinarily understood. It is intuitive. It is knowing by seeing. Seeing with the mind but from the heart. It is the very opposite to what drives much thinking in the world today which is ideological, meaning the mind attaches itself to an idea and frames its thought around that. Ideology is a kind of dark distortion or inversion of intuition, a false perception heavily contaminated by opinion, desire, resentment, envy and a host of other fixations and disturbances of the lower mind, the lower mind being the mind that can only operate in the material world because it is closed to the transcendent.

To the person whose intuitive powers are unawakened and whose natural instincts have been suppressed, which is most people today, someone who experiences the world through intuition might appear eccentric, even mad. But it is like an individual who only sees in black and white denying colour. "Look at the reds, blues and oranges!" "What do you mean? It's all shades of gray." Intuition is not a quality only accessible to a privileged few. It is open to all but it must be developed. It starts off in a small way but eventually becomes the dominant mode of cognition as one opens oneself up to the reality it reveals. However, it can be parodied by the spiritually undeveloped mind and it can also be imitated by those who, recognising its significance, desire it but have not sufficiently purified their soul of spiritual greed and worldliness. And even genuine intuition is often mixed up with lower level impulses, thoughts, prejudices, desires and the like which it is the spiritual disciple's job to become aware of and clean up.

The development of intuition is the most important task for any spiritual aspirant. However religious you are in terms of faith, however many good works you do, however much you may pray or meditate or whatever practise you engage in to become more aware of higher reality, whatever metaphysical knowledge you may possess, if you have not properly developed intuition you are on the outside looking in and therefore cannot truly be called a person of spiritual understanding. Of course, none of us can be called that really but there are degrees of understanding in the context of this world and so, within that context, this proviso can apply. Every state of being can be described in terms of its means of apprehension of reality. The animal state is instinctive, the human state is mental (intellectual/rational). The spiritual state is intuitive. Develop intuition and you see the world for what it is. Fail to do so and you remain in ignorance, however clever you might be.

I've written about intuition several times before but I bring it up now because it is more important than ever in the context of what is happening in the world today. With regard to the lockdowns, the goals behind the climate change agenda, the American election and many of the fashionable dogmas of modern thought (I really should put scare quotes around that), intuition tells you, even without common sense, direct evidence and reason, that officially sanctioned opinion is wrong and that the truth is elsewhere. And why would it not be? Look at the people peddling these stories in politics and the media. You can see that their hearts and minds and wills are are in no way aligned with God and his purpose for creation. This affects an individual's relationship with truth. It sours his soul and cuts him off from intuition. He will believe what suits him not what actually is. Of course, that accusation is levelled by such people against those who oppose them but the key difference is love. If you love truth, you will know it. Love and intuition are actually closely related, being two sides of the same spiritual coin, two attributes of a soul turned towards God. Too many people in the world today have rejected God and do not love truth.

Monday 11 January 2021

Don't Lose Sight of the True Goal

 There is a danger that people at the moment may define spirituality in terms of resistance to what is going on in the world. More or less all of what is going on is clearly inspired by what we may call, somewhat melodramatically perhaps but accurately, the dark powers. Of that there is no doubt. Aided and abetted by their countless foot soldiers, who, incidentally, will be eaten up and swallowed when they've served their purpose, evil is all around us at the moment, setting the agenda and smearing and crushing all opposition. 

However, resistance to it can lead one into ego-centred, anti-spiritual behaviour if you allow yourself to be diverted from a proper focus on God and the spiritual path into the attempt to engage in some kind of counter-revolution on the worldly plane. Then  you become caught up in a spiral of action and reaction, all of which is determined by the devil who is only to happy if you fight him on his own battleground using the weapons he has chosen. 

In that case you are externalising the spiritual battle which really should be taking place on the level of your own soul. This doesn't mean you let evil get its way. You must stand against it but if you fight fire with fire you just create a big conflagration. There are two things you should do. First of all, try to clear your own heart as much as possible of anger and hatred. This is hard when faced with obvious evil but it must be done. At least, you must try to objectify the anger and hatred, experience it but not let it sway your mind or dominate your emotions. Keep it at a distance without getting enmeshed in it. 

Then you do as Jesus did which was not to fight evil directly on its own level but demonstrate good. Don't be drawn into evil by evil. That's what it wants because then it's got you. This must be why Jesus said "Resist not evil" which is an often misunderstood instruction. It doesn't mean you should ignore evil but that you should not let it into your heart even when you are confronting it. But you should confront it as Jesus did when he overthrew the moneylenders' tables at the temple. That demonstrates that there's no one size fits all approach to this matter. Different situations demand different responses.

What happens in the world is important but only to the extent that it reflects what happens in the hearts of individuals. You have been given one major task in this life. That is to perfect your own soul or, if perfect is too strong a word, to direct it Godwards at all times and in all circumstances. Don't be distracted from that task by outrage at what is taking place in the world. Do what you can when you can but always keep your eyes on the true goal which is the salvation of your own soul. The battle is primarily spiritual.

Jesus did not come to make this world into heaven. He came to show us the way to heaven. We should certainly try to make this world as good as it can be, if for no other reason than to make it somewhere conducive to the spiritual path, but we should not make the mistake of focusing all our energies on life in this world even in times as dark as these.

Saturday 9 January 2021

Good and Evil Redefined

We live in very dark times, who could doubt it? And yet most people simply will not see it. I say will rather than do because I firmly believe it is a matter of choice. Most people have given their allegiance to the prince of this world and do not want to accept spiritual truth. Even if they do nominally as with the churches they don't really because accepting spiritual truth means seeing everything in the material world in the light of God. Everything. But the modern churches see even God in the light of Man for the most part which is why they have largely given themselves over to the false religion of humanitarianism in which God takes a secondary role. Love God and love your neighbour has been replaced by behave as though you love everyone, and often those who are not your neighbour more than your actual neighbour.

I don't understand exactly what went on in the American election but even I can see something very wrong took place. The one-sidedness of the media and of all the talking heads trotted out to tut-tut sanctimoniously is truly extraordinary and tells me we are living in a world of lies and deceit unparalleled in Western history. America certainly is a battleground, or a focal point of the global battleground, but I have to say that whatever happens there in the immediate future the general trajectory is likely to be downwards. Outer forces aligned with God can make valiant rearguard actions but they are doomed to failure or worldly failure anyway. This is not a time when good can triumph in the world. It is a time when the souls of human beings are being weighed in the balance, when the spiritual darkness will be ramped up and God can see who is faithful to him when to be so runs counter to everything the world considers good. Good and evil now are not what they seem to the conventionally minded. They are to do with faithfulness to God and his goals for creation. This is the time for the judgment of hearts and what takes place externally is very much secondary.

So, strangely enough, this is actually a time for optimism. Not that the world may turn a corner but that the faithful may soon claim their reward. The test is upon us and all we have to do is hold fast in love of God and the true good. It is that love which is the light that rescues us from the darkness of the present day.

Thursday 7 January 2021

The Absolute Necessity of Christ Today

When I started this blog nearly 8 years ago I didn't write about current events going on in the outer world. I focused entirely on spiritual concerns because that was my area of interest. The world had clearly entered into a phase of greater materialism and atheism than ever before but the insanity had not spread so far as to have become the all-enveloping thing it is now. The growth of spiritual evil (meaning the denial of God and the laws of creation and actions and thoughts springing from that) was apparent but it hadn't swept away all traditional understanding which was based on the recognition of God and the objective reality of nature. People weren't actively spiritual but nor were they actively anti-spiritual.

But now they are. Now the beliefs enforced by society, by academia, by the media, by science and by every branch of human thought and activity up to and including most churches, are actively anti-spiritual and so now I do feel it necessary to comment on the outer world occasionally. In the not too distant past a person could lead a life based on true spiritual principles and not be ostracised by society. That is becoming increasingly difficult. Now, if you wish to follow God and live a life in accordance with the values and truths of creation, you must say about most things in the outer world. "This is wrong." You may not yet be required to say it publicly but you must say it to yourself.

And this is why we need Jesus. He is the lodestone of truth. Referring back to the post about a review of my Remember the Creator book, I was criticised for emphasising in that book the spiritual supremacy of Christ by someone who had found his path in Eastern religion. I won't repeat what I said there but I would like to say that I don't think Eastern religions (as practised by Westerners, I should stress) can save people from absorption by the evil that has taken over the world today. They can be too easily accommodated to that, especially if they are of the non-dualistic sort (which most are in one way or another) which do not give proper reality to creation or distinguish sufficiently between what is in heaven and what is on this earth. If you are directing your attention to a purely spiritual state in which the created world only exists as a basically unreal phenomenon then you will be unequipped to confront the reality of spiritual evil which means you will either let it pass or, more likely, be absorbed by it to some degree. Unless you stand against it, fully and whole-heartedly, you will become part of it. The only way to do this, to stand against it, is to recognise Christ who through his incarnation has given full reality to creation. It always was part of the divine but the incarnation has made it, and everything in it, completely so. 

I wrote the above a couple of days ago. Coincidentally, Bruce Charlton published a similar piece yesterday about the shortcomings of what he calls Oneness spirituality, essentially non-duality, the form of mysticism in which everything is boiled down to the Absolute and the created world and the individuals in it have minimal meaning. I made the following comment which (slightly edited) will serve to conclude this post. 

The inadequacy of Oneness as a spiritual path is becoming more clear in the context of the present world. Its great weakness is that it cannot fight evil because it doesn't recognise evil and is therefore absorbed by it. Its practitioners won't admit to that but that is the effective outcome of a Oneness doctrine. In a way, Oneness is a sort of spiritual materialism as it focuses entirely on quantity (that quantity being 1), dismissing quality as somehow illusionary or, at least, on a second and insignificant level of reality. However, creation is all about investing life with quality. Oneness sees no need in creation and can't explain it.

A spiritual attitude in which everything is seen as one cannot distinguish properly between good and evil and nor can it deal with a material world which has been corrupted. You cannot deny the corruption by claiming that all is one. The worlds of spirit and matter have different rules and to treat the material world as though it were the spiritual will not work. You get to heaven by overcoming the world not by pretending it already is heaven. And the way for us to overcome the world is through Christ who was the first to overcome the world himself and not just escape it.


Monday 4 January 2021

Disagree to Agree

It is often said as though it were a matter of good behaviour that we should respect each other's opinions and not brand those we disagree with as misguided, mad or or even evil but just as people who take a different view and who may have as much reason for that as we do for ours. The Archbishop of Canterbury made the same point on television a while ago saying that if we don't accept other people's right to their own beliefs, we risk sliding into extremism and hatred. Everyone has the right to their own view and no one has all the truth. We must all respect each other and not think we alone have the truth. That was the gist of what he said.

This is all very nice and civilised and, up to a point, it is correct. We should respect others. Truth does have more than one facet and it can be approached from different angles. The problem with this attitude, though, is that it results in a cultural/philosophical/spiritual relativism with nothing better than anything else. For the fact is that truth and falsehood, right and wrong, good and bad do exist, and people often make what they maintain as purely intellectual choices based on their own inner state of being. A person orientated to the true good will follow what accords with that. Somebody not so orientated will not do so and will perhaps believe and promote ideas that work against the true good because these ideas support his own inclinations. In this sense, you can say that good people believe good and true things and bad people believe bad  and false things. It has not escaped notice that many leftists often are so because of envy and resentment. So, although it might be more pleasant to be in a position where we could just agree to disagree in a friendly fashion, it is also the case that sometimes you cannot do this because certain beliefs are founded on lies and even evil. This is more the case than ever now when things are "coming to a point" by which is meant what might previously have been seen as shades of grey are more clearly becoming black and white.

If you and I disagree whether Bach or Beethoven is the greater composer, there is no problem. If you prefer Beethoven I won't call you mad or bad. But if you and I disagree over whether God exists or not then we are not standing on equal ground. God exists. That is the truth. To say that God does not exist is a falsehood. I don't necessarily claim you are mad or bad not to believe in God but you are certainly wrong and you may well be rejecting God because of something mad or bad within you. There are other beliefs which even the friendly and tolerant archbishop would hold to be mad or bad, such as the right to kill for personal advantage. So, the question is not whether some opinions are mad and bad and can only be held by mad and bad people but which ones these are and how many of them there may be.

Real intelligence tends to make people think the same thing with regard to matters of truth and ultimate concern. How could it not? If intelligence really is intelligent it must be directed towards the truth. The truth is one thing.  It may have different aspects to it but it is one fundamental reality and if we are correctly oriented we will see it because it is within us as well as "out there". There is one truth and it is everywhere. So really all intelligent people should agree about the basics. They may differ in externals but as regards the reality of the universe and of man there should not be any real disagreement. To take a different view is unintelligent. We can't agree to disagree when there is truth and falsehood. To allow this gives the devil rights he does not deserve.

The Masters who spoke to me were all individuals but they all spoke from the same place of understanding. They all agreed. There was no dispute among them because they lived in truth. Those who live in truth cannot compromise with those who live in falsehood, and, because we live in a moral universe, it has to be said that those who live in falsehood do so because they themselves are false. Spiritual truth is not just an intellectual matter, not just matter of knowledge. It is also a moral matter.

Beliefs have real consequences in the world. These consequences can be good or evil. Therefore beliefs count and they count a great deal. We cannot respect the beliefs of those who proclaim untruths.

Added note: I've just realised I had the title of this piece back to front. It makes better sense now.

Saturday 2 January 2021

Obsolete Words

Do the following words have any meaning in the context of the atheistic, materialistic world of enforced equality and diversity in which we live? Or do they describe old-fashioned, outmoded concepts? If they don't have any meaning where did the meaning they obviously once must have had come from? Was it purely illusionary or did it derive from something we have now forgotten or, worse, denied and rejected?
















I am tempted to add Beauty and Truth. 

Some of these words might still mean something but do they mean what they did? Can they mean what they did in a world that denies transcendence? And are you content to live in a world in which these words have no meaning other than perhaps a literary or artistic one?

Note: The idea for this post comes from Owen Barfield, specifically his short science fiction story Night Operation which describes how our world might be in the 22nd century. Most people live underground in disused sewer systems, driven there by fear of terrorist attacks and airborne biochemical invasions. Barfield doesn't mention climate change but that could also be called into play as a reason for fleeing the open-skied Earth and Nature in this way. Life has been reduced to its biological side only though supported by advanced technology. Barfield's insight is that the meaning of words can change and when that happens we might lose connection to the reality originally described by those words. Then the words might disappear altogether and we have no access to the concepts behind them. Even if we might sense these concepts, without words to describe them we are extremely limited in our ability to come to terms with them. Words can imprison but they can also liberate and release. Without them we would be little better than animals and if we reduce our lexicon qualitatively (quantitatively also but the qualitative sense is more important) we reduce ourselves as human beings.