Tuesday 30 May 2023

Communication and the Lack of it

 How do you communicate with people? It might seem obvious. You talk, you converse, you write, you debate and so on. But how do you really get through to people? Increasingly, I notice that everyone thinks what they think and hardly anyone ever changes their mind. As people think and believe radically different things, that's a problem. Has it always been like this? To a degree, no doubt, but it seems to be getting worse. Perhaps this is because of social media where people can find their little niche and then just stay there, but I don't see this as the whole cause. The more self-centred we become, and as a race we are becoming much more self-centred, partly because of the culture, partly because of the nature of human development, the more this problem arises.

I know two people so encrusted in self-delusion that nothing can get through to them. One seems to be animated by the spirit of destruction, anger, resentment and the like, the other by the spirit of nihilism, a kind of cold intellectualism. In their own eyes they have formed their opinions from reason but in fact that is generously supplemented, underpinned really, by prejudices, fears and insecurities, and they use these opinions as a kind of self-protection and justification of personal shortcomings. I wonder if this is common. When talking to these people I notice they never actually listen to what I say or respond to points I might have made. The former constantly interrupts anyway and the latter hides behind an intellectual wall which simply rebuffs anything that does not conform to his personal ideology. Neither are in any way open to truth. They are so identified with their world view that they cannot accept anything that does not square with it. It seems that if they did allow this their very sense of self would start to crumble.

Now, I know we all share this attitude to a certain extent. I'm not immune myself. It is a general human failing but in these people, as I think in many others now, it has become absolute. When I talk to them about anything outside their bubble of belief I hit a wall and they become defensive and antagonistic. As this bubble is, in the one case, far left ideology, and, in the other, atheistic materialism, that is very destructive. But in fact it would also be destructive if the bubble were formed from truth or relative truth. Even a believing Christian must be open to truth beyond his belief. If he is not it risks either crystallising or becomes like an ingrowing toenail by which I mean a limiting rather than a liberating factor in his life. If something is not open to growth and development then it is likely to turn bad. Growth and development doesn't mean radical change. In religious terms it simply means greater height and depth.

What causes this attitude of closed-offness? Two things, I would say. One is a very strong sense of ego. That's not a strong self or even sense of self but a strong attachment to self. Self is exclusive, all-important, but it is also fragile and needs to be supported by ideas that are relevant not because of their conformity to truth but by how much they reinforce the ego and can uphold and justify its prejudices and allay its fears. 

The other factor, of course, is loss of religion. Religion can be made to support ego but generally it is the one thing stronger than ego in that God is clearly greater than self. If there is nothing greater than self the way is clear for self to become a god in its own right. This, I believe, is what is happening to these people and many others.

What's the cure? It's the same cure as for all the ills of life in this mortal world. Love of God or love of truth. If you love truth more than yourself or, at least, more than your personal opinions, then your mind is open. If not then it is not or not properly. But love of truth needs to develop into love of God because God is Truth and so if you really do love truth, you must eventually see this.

More and more people back themselves into an intellectual corner because of their egos. The only way out of this is through humility and love which are the primary Christian virtues but they are also the virtues we sorely lack today though we do have the pretence of them. The two protagonists in my tale would acknowledge their importance but this is also a major problem, A proud, angry person who knows he is proud and angry is closer to salvation than someone who believes or has made himself believe he already has all the required virtues. I once asked the nihilist if he thought he was a good person. He is highly moral in his own way and was surprised by the question. "Of course, I am" he said, "I certainly always try to be." I'm sure he does according to his ideology but it largely involves playing a role he thinks is the right one. It is not natural and without thought. None of it is spontaneous or comes from the heart. I told him I didn't think I was a good person (and I'm sure he agreed!) and I wasn't trying to outperform him in the virtue stakes in saying this but the fact is that anyone who has any sense of God knows how far they are from where they should be. Only the self-satisfied think they are good.

My teachers once told me that you teach best by silence and the rays you give out. I see the wisdom of this. When you talk you can be perceived as challenging or being engaged in a game in which there must be a winner and a loser. That naturally arouses the sense of a fight and brings reaction. But example gets round that problem. There is no confrontation. A person open to being changed is more likely to change if they feel they are not being forced to change. A person not open might also be more susceptible as the influence will work on a subconscious level. I recognise this is a lesson I still have to learn properly. Sometimes the best and soundest communication is through silence.

Thursday 25 May 2023

The Spiritual Battle

 One of the advantages of being alive now is that we have easy access to all the religious traditions of the past. This can expand our spiritual horizons though I admit it can also lead to confusion and more breadth but less depth as we turn from one thing to another without ever fully engaging with anything. That is certainly a real possibility but then I believe all traditions are now running dry, and that the spiritual light is disappearing from every one of them, whether it be Buddhism, Islam or even formal Christianity*. That is not to say there is no point attending to the teachings of these traditions and no spiritual benefit to be had from fully committing to them but it is not what it was. I know many people will disagree but how much of that disagreement comes from real understanding and how much from hope, wishful thinking or attachment? We should all do what we feel we are called to do but we should make sure that we really are being called to do that, and that the calling comes from the soul and not some level of our personality. The present time is one in which we largely have to tread an inner path which will necessarily have a strong individual element though see below for how individual should be qualified in this respect.

One of the things a Western Christian might learn from another tradition is the Hindu idea of the Kali Yuga. There is an equivalence in Christianity with the concept of the End Times and also Greek thought has the various ages of Man known best from the writings of Hesiod in which we descend from Gold to Silver to Bronze to Heroic and then now which is the Iron Age. This is a descent because standards of behaviour deteriorate and so does the capacity for human happiness. So, the West does have this idea to counter the more modern concept of progress but it is developed more fully in Indian thought. I presume most readers are familiar with the Kali Yuga so I won't go into details but I would like to draw attention to its inevitability. It is, in fact, an example of the universal principle (in the material world) of entropy. Without an infusion of spiritual energy things will get worse. There have been many infusions of spiritual energy, chief of which, obviously, being the Incarnation, but the well is now running very dry which explains the spiritually catastrophic (not too strong a word) state we are in.

If something is inevitable what should our reaction be? Ignore it and go along with the ride? Certainly not. That is to participate in it, contribute to it. Fight it with all we have? Maybe, but that is to engage in a war you cannot win and you may well be drawn into what you are fighting by combatting it on its own level. Withdraw into the desert or mountains (so to speak)? That is an option that may work for some and I did it myself for 20 years but there is a potential element of self-absorption at play. 

There is no one solution which will work for everyone always but I think the old advice to watch and pray is good. Attempt to live and speak the truth wherever you find yourself and respond to the needs of the moment as they present themselves. The most important thing in the Kali Yuga/End Times is to construct and preserve an inner link to God and then you will know what to do. It won't be the same for everyone. There will always be an individual aspect involved, particularly now when the spiritual path becomes more individual the further you go on it (individual opened to God not enclosed within itself). But remember that if you fight the world you often end up becoming the world. Focus on the inner fight because that is one you really can win.

*Though not Christ himself, of course.

Friday 19 May 2023

The Wisdom of the Left

 It's a contradiction in terms, isn't it? Can a left wing person or a left wing principle ever be thought of as wise? I don't think so and the reason is that leftism is an entirely secular ideology. Wisdom is surely a spiritual thing. It must be as it goes beyond logic, reason and, particularly, ideology. We may talk about the wisdom of crowds but that is really a misuse of the word. It just means a kind of natural instinct. Even the wisdom of age is just knowledge gleaned from experience. But true wisdom is perception into the heart of spiritual reality and it cannot be in any way associated with leftism which only relates to social and economic matters, in other words, worldliness. I realise there exist spiritual and religious people with left wing views but I see that as an inconsistency in them, an inability to understand the reality of spirit. It's rather like serving God and Mammon. One of them has to fall by the wayside. A spiritual leftist will always have one foot in this world. He is always grafting his spirituality onto his worldliness rather than taking everything from true spiritual perception.

I am not saying that the political right is in any way wise. That's obviously not the case but the point is that wisdom accepts the primacy of the spiritual world and leftism actually arose as a specific rejection of that. Check your history if you don't believe me. Wisdom is neither left nor right but leftist principles are a categorical denial of wisdom which is based in the reality of God as God and not as a humanist reconstruction of God.

Another point I would make to support this argument is that wisdom is hierarchical whereas leftism is rooted in egalitarianism. That is almost its defining principle. It leaves out the transcendent but wisdom derives from knowledge of transcendental reality.

This may seem a trivial thing but I see it as pointing to something very significant and that is the fundamental emptiness, even inhumanity, of leftist thought. It lacks, it cannot ever have, wisdom and therefore it only touches the most superficial level of the human experience and appeals to the most basic desires and ambitions of the human soul. But today we are ruled by leftist principles. Where are they taking us?

Added note: It might be thought that one could write a similar piece putting the word right in place of left but the reality is that the secular right only exists as an opposition/reaction to the left which was the initial disruptive ideology and therefore is part of the same anti-spiritual dynamic. However, to the extent that it does seek to preserve some vestiges of spiritual understanding, or what would derive from that, it has some small connection to the ground from which wisdom arises.

Saturday 13 May 2023

Jesus Was a Refugee

Yes, Jesus was a refugee for a relatively brief period when his family went into a neighbouring country to escape King Herod. But I don't suppose they received any financial assistance from that country and nor would they have had a say in how it was run. Furthermore, they returned to their own country as soon as they could. The Holy Family's situation was not parallel to that of most refugees today which point I only make to show the weakness of the Jesus was a refugee argument made by those who somehow seem to think it can be applied to any and everyone who claims refugee status nowadays and used in the broader sense to justify the modern phenomenon of mass immigration.

Mass immigration inevitably destroys a country. The physical entity will remain, a society of some sort may endure but it will be nothing like the country that existed before. That is effectively destroyed. You might say time changes a country anyway but there is organic change and then there is complete revolution. One is growth but the other is replacement. Mass immigration is replacement. There are no two ways about this. I was brought up in London. The city now is a totally different place with totally different people. Obviously times change but this is not change. It is radical transformation. You might say this is not a bad thing. It just is what it is. However, the fact remains that London and its people as they were for a very long time have gone.

People emigrate to a country because they think they will have a better life there but might it be that human beings are not all the same and that the people who made the better off country have certain qualities that others do not have or not to the same degree? That means that any country that undergoes mass immigration will, over time, begin to resemble those countries, worse off, from which the immigrants came. This may not be inevitable if the newcomers can be properly integrated but the whole point of mass immigration, such as almost all Western countries have endured over the last 2 to 3 decades, is that the excessively large numbers means they cannot be  integrated. Then trust between the various communities diminishes to the point that social cohesion starts to dissolve and the sense of nation identity is lost.

Jesus tells an often quoted parable about the sheep and the goats in Matthew chapter 25. He relates how the righteous will be rewarded for their good deeds on Earth. These include feeding him when he was hungry and looking after him when he was sick. When those so commended are puzzled about this he tells them that what they did for the least of his brothers they did for him. Note that word. Brothers. There is no suggestion that this has a universal application. It surely refers to those who share Jesus's vision of life and whose hearts are set on the Kingdom of Heaven as opposed to this world. Your spiritual brother is not every other human being, regardless of what he believes and his attitude to life, but those human beings who acknowledge and accept God. This doesn't mean you shouldn't help others when you can, you certainly should, but nor does it mean that a nation is spiritually obliged to have an open door policy. Besides which personal morality and national policy are not and should not be the same thing. And after all, isn't loving your neighbour primarily to do with loving your neighbour? Mass immigration by its effect on a country is very likely to harm many of your actual neighbours, i.e. fellow countryman and women, in the sense of putting pressure on house prices, welfare, education and health budgets and many other aspects of life not to mention the general culture and sense of nationhood. There is a glib, sentimental morality that just looks to the obvious and the immediately pleasing, and there is a more mature and spiritually balanced morality that looks at the wider picture and takes into account the deeper ramifications of a particular act.

The fact is that mass immigration has been used as a specific tool, one of several but a significant one, to destroy the West. The West must be destroyed because its civilisation and culture were grounded in Christianity. To that end compassion has been weaponised and turned against itself. I have to say that only the naive and those of bad faith are duped by this but there are a lot of them especially in the intellectual classes. These people want to feel morally superior and so they adopt certain attitudes that will help them do so. They also live in the world of abstract theory as opposed to reality and thus are easy victims to ideological propaganda which a simpler mindset would see through because it clashes with everyday reality.

The Archbishop of Canterbury may have good intentions or think he does but we know what they say about those.  No doubt he means well but what does it mean to mean well? Does it mean he's doing what he thinks is right or Christian? What if he doesn't know what is right or, indeed, Christian? His Christianity is clearly heavily mixed up with, and I would say confused with, Enlightenment humanism which was a specific rejection of supernatural Christianity and promoted its social aspect, its least important aspect, to become not just the totality of moral understanding but also to a universal plane. So, the Archbishop may mean well according to his limited grasp of spiritual reality but his morality is grounded in Enlightenment humanism rather than Christianity. He is a materialist.

The left doesn't like boundaries but God does. He has created very strict boundaries between spirit and matter, Heaven and Hell and even, so esotericists inform us, between the various levels of the higher worlds to which you can only ascend when spiritually qualified to do so. This does not mean that boundaries should never be crossed but nor should they be totally disregarded. Boundaries protect and good things need protection in a world in which the darkness is always trying to overcome the light.

I am not against immigration per se but like everything it depends on the time and the place. It is sometimes right and often wrong, depending on circumstances. A country's first responsibility is to the people who live there. Certainly, if it can, it should extend a welcome to others who may be persecuted in their own lands but this cannot be an endless process or the nation will effectively be committing suicide. The Bible  says that we should welcome the stranger but it doesn't say you should carry on doing this until you have destroyed your own nation. This is the disastrous path the West is set upon. 

Wednesday 10 May 2023


I've noticed among the present generation of young men, those just at the beginning of adulthood, there is a lot of talk about masculinity and how to express that in today's world. I fully understand this. We live in a highly feminised world in which the male is increasingly disenfranchised and almost all expressions of masculinity regarded with disfavour. Any young man must find a way to deal with this. Either he succumbs to it or else he resists it. He can go along with it outwardly but plough his own course anyway or  he can stand out against it and, as it were, assert his rights as a man. The latter reaction is the right one and the healthiest for society as long as it is channelled correctly and does not tip over into aggression, violence, excessive dominance and so on. All the things we know so well because these extremes of corrupted masculinity, always condemned by any civilised man, have been depicted as masculinity, tout court, by the reigning feminist ideology.

From what I gather, current interpretations of masculinity among the younger generation seem to involve various factors ranging from the good, courage, independence  and personal responsibility, to the neutral, earning lots of money, to the slightly suspect, spending long hours at the gym in order to build the perfect body. You must know how to fight and also how to lead so there is a physical side but there is also a mental and moral side which has to do with authority and command. In the marital sphere they certainly don't want to be led by the nose by a woman but nor do they want to dominate their woman excessively though they do see themselves as necessarily head of their household. All that seems reasonable to me. We know this is the natural way of being and feminism/equality can only exist in a denatured world in which a lot of civilizational fat has been built up which can support this indulgence.

The problem as I see it is that there is no or very little mention of God. For there is a worldly masculinity but there is also a spiritual one. In fact, there might be said to be two spiritual ones. The first is that of the general man who lives in the world. He supports his family and is the head of his household but he does this under God. The laws and rules he upholds are those of religion not his own. This is the normal, traditional way. 

But then there is the masculinity of those who do not live in the world, not in their minds and hearts anyway. The primary task of these people is to stand for the truth, to assert it at all times and to live it. I am not saying women cannot do this but it is not their primary responsibility and since women tend to conform to whatever is around them it is much less likely they will stand for truth in an era which denies it. Masculinity for the spiritually focussed man is not about success and dominance, at least not success and dominance in the world. It is about spiritual values and this may mean turning the other cheek rather than striking the hardest blow. It may mean sacrifice rather than conquest and accepting a lesser role rather than ruling. It is not that masculinity is turned on its head but it is expressed spiritually rather than in a worldly fashion. A blade can be used to kill or to heal but it is the same blade.

I applaud the rediscovery of masculinity. Men should be able to seek and use power responsibly. That is their role but there are different sorts of power and there are different ways to use it. Ultimately, everything must be in the service of God and truth, and the most masculine person is the one who goes from self-assertion to self-dominance to self-abnegation to self-transcendence. But he must travel through all these stages to reach the last.

Saturday 6 May 2023

Scrubbing the Floor

The greatest barrier to spiritual progress is pride. I am aware of this failing in myself but I believe we all have pride in some form or another because it is part of being human and having a human ego. In a way, it is both necessary and inevitable because it goes along with the development of a strong self, and we need a strong self in order to be fully individual which is the purpose of us as created beings. That being said, though perhaps inevitable up to a point and maybe even useful at a certain stage in our evolutionary unfoldment, pride must be overcome or, from being an initial source of strength for a developing ego, it becomes a chain that binds us to the earth and from there it locks us up in a prison of separation from life. Pride in self limits us to the self and the more it does so, the more the self contracts becoming harder and heavier. Density and weight equate to darkness. Pride leads to hell and hell is dead weight and darkness.

Scrubbing the floor engenders humility. My teachers told me the reason I had come back to Earth was to learn humility.  That's come back not come. I know that many readers of this blog are Christian and most Christians don't believe in reincarnation but I do though whether it applies to every soul on the planet or only some I couldn't say. One cannot assume we all are going through precisely the same type of training, and there are many dimensions of being that the evolving soul can experience. Nonetheless, I do believe that reincarnation is a major mechanism for the development of the human soul. But it is voluntary. Souls on higher planes may reach a point at which they can go no further unless they have experience in the material realm and so they return, guided by their teachers. I am not saying that Heaven and Hell do not exist and that our choices and actions here do not determine our post-mortem state but it may be that most people only reach a definitive and determining state at the end of a cycle of earthly incarnations. There are many planes of being in the universe which extends much further on the vertical axis than it does on the horizontal one.

We live in an age in which the desire for fame and power and admiration has reached an alarmingly high level, pushed to even more excessive heights by the technology we have at our disposal. This means we live in an age in which pride and lack of humility are potentially more present in a wider section of the population than ever before. This is just one more reason why it is such a spiritually perilous time in which to be alive though the positive side to this is that where there is great risk there can also be great opportunity. Fame and power are very much two edged swords and what Jesus said about rich people going to heaven applies in just the same way to those with fame and power. So be careful what you wish for.

With respect to fame and power, you might think that the most spiritually advanced people are the spiritual leaders, the popes, Dalai Lamas, gurus, swamis etc, but this is by no means necessarily the case. In fact, a public spiritual position often has a strong worldly element to it, and can be a corrupting influence. Often the greatest souls have no position. One should not have an inverted spiritual snobbery about this or use it as an excuse for failure but sometimes for humility to be more than skin deep the soul must be reduced to scrubbing the floor, figuratively at least. In his short novel The Great Divorce which concerns the split between Heaven and Hell, C.S. Lewis has a character in Heaven whom the narrator initially mistakes for the Virgin Mary herself because of her beauty and the glory that surrounds her. She is in fact Sarah Smith from Golders Green, a worldly nobody who led a hard and obscure life but who has been transfigured by love. It may indeed have been the hardness and obscurity of her life that were the conditions that polished her soul though they are certainly not enough on their own. She would have had to have responded to them in a spiritually mature and creative way, accepting what God sent her with gratitude and humility, a lesson for us all.