Wednesday 29 November 2023

Reply to GunnerQ

 A blogger called GunnerQ has responded to my last post about the Masters. He was not impressed. As matter of fact, I don't actually disagree with a lot of what he says. The original article was one I wrote some years ago when I was more of a universalist than I am now and expressed myself a little differently to how I would today. At the same time, I do stand by the essentials of what the article says. There are spiritual beings who have won through the travails and tests of this world and they do stand ready to help those who are receptive to their impression. There are demons and imposters too, no doubt about that, and they are probably more readily accessible to the psychically inclined but why should we let the reality of lies deter us from the fact of truth?

GunnerQ quotes a few sections from the article and comments on them so I will do the same. He takes this passage

"the word (Master) describes souls who have mastered their lower nature, overcome the world, the flesh and the devil and passed out of the ordinary human kingdom into the fifth kingdom, that of souls united in full consciousness with God"

He responds that "we need a Savior because we cannot master ourselves and overcome the world. If you don’t know this then have you even tried to be good?"

I know what he means and he's not wrong but he has misunderstood me or I have expressed myself badly or perhaps we are just coming at things from a slightly different perspective. We assuredly cannot attain any kind of spiritual perfection by our own efforts. All comes from grace. However, it is by our own efforts that we make ourselves able to receive grace through purification of the heart and mind. That's surely standard Christian doctrine. Mastering the lower nature means controlling anger, lust, tendency to lie etc. Obeying the 10 Commandments and the injunctions to love God and love our neighbour. It means living a life of faith, hope and charity rather than one of disbelief, greed and selfishness. It's tilling the soil but obviously only God can plant the seed. Still, the ground must be well prepared if the seed is to grow as it should.

He doesn't like the phrase" divinization of consciousness". Again, I take his point. It's a clumsy phrase and many seekers after higher consciousness are indulging in the satanic attempt to be spiritual without God. On the other hand, there clearly is higher consciousness. To think we will be as we are now when we reach heaven makes no sense at all. Heaven is not just a pretty place. That's the paradise of the other big religion.

GunnerQ also doesn't like the idea of achieving theosis. Fair enough, if it's taken to mean doing that by one's own efforts but that's not how I meant it or how it would be understood in Orthodox religion from where the concept comes. Becoming a saint is the hardest thing any human being can ever do. It does require work and great effort. It's not just a matter of believing in Jesus. But GunnerQ says that the only difference between sinner and saint is repentance and that is just wrong. Repentance is merely the beginning of the road to sainthood, and it's a long hard road.

There is quite a bit more and I don't want to go through it all but I would like to correct misunderstanding, some of which I acknowledge is my fault because the article is quite old and the ideas are expressed in language that comes more from esoteric terminology than I would normally use now. A major point is that GunnerQ seems to think that I am saying the Masters come from the astral plane whereas I am saying precisely the opposite. What is called the astral plane is the plane of illusion and is where the demons operate. Then he decides that I am claiming that “I am a wise, immortal Master Spirit who has transcended mortal limitations to achieve oneness with God Himself". Not sure where he got that from but may I reassure him that nothing is further from the truth. Like him, I am a human sinner struggling to make his way in life and be faithful to God.

He concludes "Mr. Wildblood needs to accept that demons got to him in his youth, and consequently, he filled his head with esoteric garbage for many years. He’ll never overcome his human nature… let alone achieve perfection… on his own efforts. Any spirit that says otherwise, is a demon wanting company in Hell. Any human who says otherwise, has rejected the only spiritual superman that he’ll ever encounter."

I cannot overcome my fallen human nature on my own. I need Christ to enable me to do that. However, Christ needs my help too. I have to fight the falseness within me on a daily basis. I cannot just say I believe in Jesus and leave it at that. I have to fight the evil in my heart and cultivate the good and it's a constant battle. I am sure GunnerQ would agree. 

Finally, I would say "by their fruits"etc. The spirits (for want of a better word) who spoke to me were pure and good and holy, full of wisdom and love. For GunnerQ to assume they were demons is rather presumptuous but I know he only does it to protect the truth as he sees it and that's reasonable enough.  I didn't accept them indiscriminately but to have rejected them out of fear or suspicion would have been quite wrong and increased experience only confirmed their authenticity as far as I am concerned. I am greatly indebted to them for their spiritual advice and for pointing out the flaws in my character I needed to work on. That's all they did though always lovingly, albeit sometimes sternly too. In the context of the relationship I was a novice and they acted like a kind of father superior. However, let me reassure readers of this blog that if obliged to choose between them and Jesus I would choose Jesus every time but then I believe they were and are working under the overall leadership of Christ. A monk in a monastery obeys his abbot but sees the abbot as representing Christ. That was my position.

Anyhow I am grateful to GunnerQ for giving me the opportunity to clear up any misunderstanding. I don't think he and I are as far apart as it might seem.

Monday 27 November 2023

Behind the Scenes Spiritual Guides

 It's possible that some readers of this blog who have only come to it recently are not aware of its initiating inspiration, referred to in the title of the blog. I am not saying the writings here have any special authority. For better or worse they are just me but they do derive in part from experiences I had as a young man when I was given instruction by beings from the spiritual world who are traditionally referred to as Masters. The word describes souls who have mastered their lower nature, overcome the world, the flesh and the devil and passed out of the ordinary human kingdom into the fifth kingdom, that of souls united in full consciousness with God. In Christian terminology this would be souls who have achieved theosis which is very different to salvation as it implies that the soul has not just turned to God but has actually made the spiritual journey that leads to the divinization of consciousness. Here's the difference. Salvation means to follow Christ. Theosis is to become like him in the sense of allowing him to be born and grow to maturity in your heart. This is a long and arduous process but the saints and other great spiritual figures of the past have proved it can be done by those prepared to make the necessary sacrifice of the earthly self. That is what the Crucifixion means.

There follows an article, slightly edited, from my book The Spiritual Crisis of Modern Man which explains something about these Masters. I know some people are suspicious of such beings, fearing demonic deception but we should not let the existence of fake coin blind us to the reality of authentic currency. At the same time, deception assuredly does exist but that is what we have intuition for, to sort out true from false.

What Are Masters?


In this article, I hope to shed some light on the idea of discarnate spiritual Masters as the enlightened guides of humanity, and to set out what they are and what they are not. This is an area in which there is a lot of illusion and confusion. The purpose of the article is to show why that is so and to clarify, for believer and sceptic alike, what remains a difficult subject.

For over a hundred years now the idea of spiritual Masters has been well established in Western esoteric thought and, one might add, myth. These are alleged to be beings who have gone beyond the need for the human experience and now exist in a state of elevated consciousness, free of the limitations of material form as we know it. They have realised their oneness with God. The Theosophical Mahatmas were probably the first of these Masters to be presented to the general public but many other groups and individuals have claimed contact with similar or identical beings since, and there are a number of teachings, received in various ways, supposedly deriving from them. Some of these teachings can be spiritually instructive. Others are clearly false. What is the reality behind all this, if indeed there is one?

The Masters as presented by the Theosophists started off as flesh and blood figures, enlightened but physically incarnate though dwelling in Himalayan remoteness. Recent research has suggested that they may originally have been based on actual people encountered by Madame Blavatsky on her wanderings; people she then used as models for the Masters who would therefore be largely her creation, in appearance at least. But that’s certainly not how they were thought of at the time and subsequent Theosophical leaders expanded on the original picture of the Masters considerably, elevating them to almost Christ-like figures which is slightly odd since they were essentially Buddhists. They promoted the young Krishnamurti as their intended mouthpiece only to be discomfited when he rejected the position intended for him, apparently turning his back on the whole idea of Masters. However, the concept of spiritual supermen did not go away. It was taken up by other groups and is now an intrinsic part of New Age thought with a variety of channelled communications purportedly emanating from what has come to be called the Spiritual Hierarchy. For the interested layperson separating fact from fiction in all this can be something of a challenge.

You might think that either such Masters exist or they don’t exist but it’s not quite that straightforward. In a famous passage, Dion Fortune said “The Masters as you picture them are all ‘imagination’. I did not say that the Masters were imagination (but) the Masters as they are supposed to be in popular would-be esoteric thought are pure fiction.” This remark makes clear that the Masters are real but they are not as we think they are or as presented by some of those claiming to represent them. This does not necessarily mean that such people are deliberately misleading us and to understand why this is so we have to understand something of the composition of the higher worlds from whence these people say they derive their inspiration.

Esoteric thought tells us that between the physical and purely spiritual worlds there exists a realm corresponding to the human psyche which is often called the astral plane. This is non-physical but still material in that it is a plane of form and multiplicity. It has no permanent reality but is formed of the wishes, desires and thoughts of human beings built up over thousands of years. It is the world to which belong the emotions and the imaginative impulses of humanity, and, significantly for our topic, the substance of which it is formed is readily responsive to thought. What this means is that the psychically sensitive person can either create, through imagination and aspiration, an image of a Master or else ‘tune in’ to a pre-existing one. If he lacks spiritual discernment he may mistake the image for the reality. This image or thought-form is not inert like a statue but may acquire a kind of life of its own. It may be capable of giving teachings that reflect its creator’s already existing spiritual knowledge and thus give the impression of a certain attainment.

This is one source of confusion, one that relates to the imagination spoken of by Dion Fortune, but the matter is further complicated by the fact that there exist on this astral plane disembodied beings who may pose as, or even consider themselves to be, Masters. These beings may have a sophisticated knowledge of the inner worlds but that does not mean they have transcended identification with the ego self which would be the case with a genuine Master. This is why they still function at lower levels. They may give teachings which to the intellect seem good and true but which will lack the transformative impulse that would come from one who might give similar teachings having personally realised their essence. Moreover, these lesser teachings will always contain flaws that act like vinegar in milk, souring the whole.

The Masters are not focused in the psychic worlds. They are not, except in the rarest of cases, the beings that communicate through channelling. Their field of operation is the spiritual world which transcends the phenomenal realms of change and multiplicity of which the psychic is still a part. Only very seldom do they descend below this level. They are not the exotically named and elaborately titled figures of occult fantasy.

What then are they? They are men made perfect who have overcome all attachments to the material world and, putting the matter in good old-fashioned terms, cleansed their souls of sin. They are human souls, like us, but they are at one with their source in God as we are not. For them the earthly mind is no longer the focal point of consciousness but that which gives form to consciousness, and their teachings and methods of teaching reflect this reality. Hence, their preferred means of communication is not mind to mind but soul to soul which is to say, on an intuitive rather than a mental level, through impression not words. They teach spirituality spiritually.

Now this does not mean that the Masters never communicate more directly. Most certainly not everything that is claimed to emanate from them does so but there are occasions when they approach incarnate humanity on a less rarefied level, and a small number of teachings have been transmitted that do bear their imprint. It is not for me to say what may or may not be authentic. That is something we must work out for ourselves since this is how we develop spiritual discernment, and the awakening of the mind in the heart is the principal goal of all spiritual endeavour. One thing I would say though. The Masters teach of and from the soul by which I mean the spiritual component of our being which exists beyond form and the mind as normally conceived. They certainly do not deny the individual but the bedrock of their teaching is that we should forget our everyday, earthly self, the ego, and strive to live in God. Any teaching which does not have this at its heart is not from them.


If we would hear the Master's voice we must learn to step out of the worldly mind and disentangle ourselves from attachment to material things, not just objects but ideas as well. If we wish to respond to the true Masters and not their astral reflection then we must subdue what relates to the astral plane within us, self-centred desire, wishful thinking, pre-conceived ideas and the like. We must be able to remain faithful to the highest that is within us regardless of pressures from outside which can take many forms and include even the apparently wise.

What motivates the Masters as teachers is love. If we can summon up in ourselves just a fraction of that love they can draw near to us. We may not be consciously aware of their presence but they will be able to inspire us and bring us into a closer union with our own soul which, after all, is the real goal of the spiritual path.

Christians who are dubious about such matters should know that this is just another term for the Company of Saints. We should certainly be alert to demonic deception as we should to fake gurus in the spiritual world, of whom there are plenty. We should always ask how much of the spirit of Christ is present here. The advice given by St John in chapter 4 of his 1st epistle remains the touchstone.


Thursday 23 November 2023

What is Leftism?

Premise: Leftism is the putrefaction that arises from the decaying body of a once creative and correctly ordered civilisation that has abandoned or lost touch with its guiding principles.

Response: A less harsh appraisal might be to say that leftism is what arises when a society loses proper spiritual understanding and transfers the energies that pertain to the spiritual level to the material. So in its distorted way it is a response to spiritual impulse but on the wrong level and, as such, is anti-spiritual since it purloins what applies to a higher area of life and misapplies it to a lower, thereby effectively shutting out the higher. Its fundamental principle is egalitarianism and the end result of this, indeed its intention when you understand that it is put forward and encouraged by demonic powers, is to shut out access to the higher and reduce everything to the lower.

But why does all this come about? The answer is that leftism is at root a rebellion against God and the natural order of creation. We may dress it up and say it's a desire for fairness prompted by compassion which, of course, is how it would define itself, but much of that is window dressing and masks an underlying motive of spiritual rebellion. I believe research has shown that leftists are often more selfish and unfeeling in their personal behaviour once you take them out of the warm waters of ideological abstract theory.

I was thinking the other day of the English Civil War which was one of the earliest manifestations of what became leftism. The old joke was that the Roundheads (the leftists of their day) were right but repulsive and the Cavaliers were wrong but romantic. However, in a situation such as this right and wrong are not so easily assigned. There was moral right and wrong on both sides. Also, both sides would have believed, or believed they believed, in God. And yet despite the relative good and bad of each side's moral position in worldly terms there was a fundamental difference and one that brings out the division between the two sides today. One side saw this world in terms of the higher reality. Down here should conform to up there. King Charles' belief in the divine right of kings comes from this. We may not share this belief but we can recognise someone for whom all power flowed from the divine and who saw this world in terms of the next. The other side saw the higher world to a large extent in terms of this world. Its priorities, despite its strong religious convictions, were to do with justice in this world. I say they had strong religious convictions and they did but their descendants today do not for the most part and this is precisely because of their antecedents' priorities. They have inherited the worldly focus and as a result lost the religious sensibility because that was always secondary. Even though the Roundheads would have seen themselves as highly religious their religion had lost its proper supernatural grounding.

This pattern repeated itself in various ways throughout the ensuing battles between left and right but the right henceforth was never pure as such. It always absorbed more and more of the leftist ethos as it fought one losing battle after another. Every time it lost it regrouped, took on some of its opponent's ideology and the damage to spiritual focus became more severe. This is what I mean by leftism being a rebellion against God. Its ends are to further the human being's growth in a context voided of a true spiritual centre which would be in God. They will adopt a false spiritual centre to fit in with their self-serving ends but it is always secondary, never primary.

Of course, rebellion against God is not the only motivating force behind leftism. There are praiseworthy elements such as the desire to help the poor, the weak and other victims of society. It could never have taken root and spread so widely if that were not the case, and that is why it is difficult to criticise in a world that doesn't recognise God. But the good in it should not disguise its basic spiritual rottenness.

I haven't attempted a full definition of leftism here because its focus constantly changes as does the ground on which it situates itself. But basically any world view which does not have God at its centre is leftist and when I say God I mean the true God who has a spiritual purpose for human souls and who puts them on this Earth to fulfil that purpose. There are many false gods who come about to answer various human desires and deficiencies.

Conclusion: Leftism is a spiritual disease akin to atheism. It can only end in nihilism.

Cure: The reorientation of the human heart to spiritual reality.

Monday 20 November 2023

Islam in the West

God, being God, can bring good out of evil but to what extent does the good he is able to create mitigate the initial evil and would it be better just to do away with that evil? This is the problem we are faced with in Islam in the West. The religion came about as a Christian heresy or, since it did not come from within Christianity itself but from outside, appropriation might be a better word to use. It based itself on a huge simplification of Christian doctrine which is at once its strength and its weakness. Strength because it makes it easier to comprehend for ordinary people and weakness because it sacrifices depth for surface. Its prophet clearly had some kind of supernatural experience but since his level of spiritual understanding was not very high so the level of inspiration he received as well as his ability to interpret it were also not very high. The first contact he had with the spirit he identified as Gabriel when this spirit choked and nearly suffocated him sounds more demonic than angelic.

Well-meaning people want to find common ground between religions. They will say we all worship the same God only in different ways but just because there are similarities between religions, as there inevitably must be, does not mean they all have equal access to truth. You have to examine the ground from which they grew. The ground of Buddhism was the Buddha, a man of great spiritual insight who gave birth to a profound psychological and philosophical system that reflects his own supreme attainment. Christianity has Christ, the Son of God, who has given the highest spiritual revelation so far to mankind and who, it surely cannot be doubted by the unprejudiced mind, summed up divine being in his person as no one else has. That's even without taking the resurrection into account. Islam has Muhammad, a warlord who broke several of the 10 commandments on a regular basis but who nonetheless preached a form of monotheism to pagan polytheists. However, a comparison between Jesus and Muhammad is so spiritually one-sided it's absurd to think that the religions they inspired can be regarded as in any way equal.

Just because Christians, Jews and Muslims claim the same origins does not mean they have the same spiritual authority for their religions. The latter two are formed from human interpretation of archaic revelation that has been superseded. They have failed to take into account the higher revelation of Christ, and not just by neglect but by deliberate rejection in both cases. This marks them out as founded in error, to say the least. Now, God can straighten a crooked branch, to an extent maybe not completely, and there will presumably be as many potentially good people from these religious backgrounds as there are in Christianity and good people can get the best from their religion. But they will still be working with an inferior product and this should be recognised. Just because there are good and bad people in all religions does not mean that all religions are equally good or bad or equally efficacious in the business of religions which is saving souls, guiding them to the true God.

In modern times all religions have lost most of whatever spiritual power they once had. This means that more and more people if they would get to grips with their spiritual destiny need to start to become aware of the inner path. There are doorways to the inner path in all religions but only Christianity has Christ and Christ is the true light that illuminates the path. He makes it easier to tread and it is also him that awaits at the end. Islam by downgrading Christ to a mere human prophet does not know what it should be working towards. It has no light at the end of its path unlike Christianity. It is true that official church religion is moribund but the figure of Christ is always there to act as a personal saviour. Islam has nothing like this which is why it is a spiritual dead end.

I have written this series of posts about Islam because recent protests around the world have reminded us of the idea, long scoffed at by the smart people, that unless the West wakes up it risks being submerged by an alien and backward culture. The European nations, if they would preserve their cultural and spiritual integrity, urgently need to rediscover their Christian soul. The secular leftism they have embraced will not be strong enough to defend itself against the growth of an ideology which can never tolerate anything that is not itself. 

Thursday 16 November 2023


 Some people would say that any religion is better than none. Any acknowledgement of God is better than rejecting him. I would say, it depends. For one thing it depends on what sort of God you follow. What are his demands and expectations, how does he frame the good? My last two posts have been about Islam which is the second most followed religion in the world, reaching about 25% of humanity. There are many good things in Islam such as faith in God, prayer, almsgiving, fasting, pilgrimage, the so called 5 pillars. These are undoubtedly beneficial to the soul on a certain level, turning it away from worldly preoccupation and setting it facing the spiritual world. But in the form in which they are presented and followed they are good for child souls, souls who need external and strict guidance, souls who have not yet separated from the herd. They are not so good for more developed souls who are beginning to take spiritual responsibility for themselves and who seek something more than a codified, outward form of religion. Then they become restrictive. Sufism was provided for such souls but it never really established itself other than on the peripheries of the Muslim world, and was often condemned by the mainstream as heretical.

If Islam is to become a spiritually positive force in the world instead of being the largely negative force it often is then it must change. But first of all, why negative? For reasons already given. It is intellectually and morally one-dimensional and restrictive. It functions as a rigid and unbending, therefore not open to creative growth, system for people who are relatively undeveloped, both mentally and spiritually. So, although it is good for souls on a certain level, it forces the mind into a small box from which it is forbidden to escape. It is closed off to the fresh, revivifying winds of spirit having ordained that the whole truth was spoken once and for all 1400 years ago. Nothing can ever change from that.

But that is not all. Islam must renounce its intellectual and political territorial ambitions and its religious exclusivism. Like Marxism, it is a totalitarian ideology, one that demands complete control and absolute authority. It has sought to propagate itself through violence and this is sanctioned in its source texts. It must completely abandon that aspect of its supposed mission and stick to the 5 pillars. But that is not all either. Even these 5 pillars must be seen in a different light, as signposts to inner understanding rather than rules and regulations to be followed without thought. In religion there is an outer path and an inner path. Islam has always given the outer path even more importance than most other religions and goodness knows that this is a fault common to them all. Christianity has been guilty of the same thing though, I would maintain, to a lesser extent.

Islam was born in warfare and it spread through the sword. One cannot pretend otherwise. This aspect of its heritage must be completely renounced if it is to serve the will of God, but that will be very difficult because it will mean a radical reinterpretation of its core beliefs and an acceptance that its prophet was not the perfect image of a man they say he was. Jesus said he did not come to bring peace but a sword, but quite obviously he meant by this the sword of truth which separates truth from lies, good from evil, love from hate. He also said those who live by the sword, die by the sword. Unfortunately, it is the second usage that Islam has followed.

In the days when I studied the various mystical traditions I found Sufism one of the most interesting, full of wisdom and insight and including many souls of great spiritual power and authority. Sufism contains the inner principles behind Islam and interprets the fairly simplistic injunctions of the Qur'an on a genuinely spiritual level. Muslims who wish to be closer to the guiding impulse behind their faith should explore Sufi teachings more deeply and give up once and for all the intolerant political side of the religion. They should also know that Islam is not and never was intended for the West. Those who try to enforce it on Western countries are not doing the will of God but going directly against it

Monday 13 November 2023

When God Becomes Caesar

 If the religion that was the subject of the last post were just a religion it would still be a somewhat crude simplification of more profound spiritual teachings promulgated by a charismatic medium with a powerful sense of self, but it would not be a problem for those outside the circle of the faithful. But it is not just a religion. It aims to encompass every aspect of life leaving nothing to the individual human being whose only task is to submit. As a result, there is no separation between religion and politics. There is not a religious version of this religion and a political one. These are two aspects of the same thing. Christ said "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's" drawing a clear distinction between the spiritual and temporal aspects of life, but for this religion God is Caesar and the effect of that is to reduce the human to nothing, stripping him of proper agency, creative potential and freedom.

This religion must dominate every single aspect of the life of its believers, not just the spiritual, not just the political but the social too. It even forbids certain forms of artistic expression which you might think a good idea seeing where complete freedom in that regard has got us to in the West over the last century, but the result in this case has been spiritually crippling not ennobling. To be sure, there is some beautiful architecture and design and poetry produced by the adherents of this religion but these are often produced in spite of it not inspired by it. The fact that it is forbidden to show the human form is very revealing. It demonstrates that humanity is effectively banned. For the Christian, God is revealed in the human form but in this religion he remains totally transcendent and cannot be approached except in a servile way.

The faithful in this religion are under instruction to convert everyone to their cause and not to rest until they have done so. They are even authorised to lie and deceive to this end as long as that is to the unbeliever. That is regarded as a virtuous act and history shows that they will go along with their hosts when in a minority only to enforce their will when their numbers are sufficient. It is naive to ignore this reality but that is just what the West has been doing. 

What is the solution to this problem, since a problem it is and one that will get worse? From the point of view of the West it is to recognise the reality of the situation. These believers believe in their religion and they will obey its diktats so we should know what these are. For the believers themselves the only way forward is religious reform. Their focus on prayer is commendable but they have to abandon those aspects of their religion that may have been appropriate 1300 years ago but are not now. Actually, I doubt they were even then but anyway humanity has evolved. If you have any understanding of the way God works you will see that his aim is to bring us up, not to crystallise us in ways of the past but to spiritualise our understanding. Therefore, these believers need to pay much more attention to the mystical path of their religion, to Sufism, for God has sent them this in an attempt to remedy foundational mistakes.The letter kills but the spirit gives life. This is the primary lesson the followers of this religion need to learn.

If the modern world demonstrates the tragic results of banishing God from the world and giving all power and authority to man then this religion has precisely the opposite problem. That may tempt some people to see it as solution to the problems of modernity. In fact, as opposites reflect each other, it is equally flawed, just in a different way. The only real solution is to see God and man as partners working together creatively though with God, of course, as the senior partner. And where do we see this brought to perfection? In Christ who remains the template for genuine spiritual understanding.

Friday 10 November 2023

The Abolition of Man

 I was flipping through The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis recently, a book I last read quite a long time ago and the contents of which I had forgotten. It's a short work, based on lectures he gave in 1943 and is not overtly religious in theme even though it is in essence. What it does is defend universal spiritual values against the contemporary assault on them, specifically in the field of education, which denied that moral and aesthetic values were grounded in something objective. It was the beginning of the moral relativism, now so firmly established, which dismisses the idea that there are universal truths and these are rooted in an absolute reality. Lewis argues for something he calls in this book the Tao, the word deriving, of course, from ancient Chinese philosophy, which is something like Ma'at in ancient Egypt or just objective reality, the foundation truth of the universe and of being in general. The Tao is not provable by materialistic, rational, intellectual, logical, scientific means because it derives from a ground much deeper than can be accessed by these on their own. It is recognised, known, accepted, seen (or not by the spiritually blind) but it is not verifiable by empirical evidence as that phrase is normally understood. It should be self-evident but cannot be proved by any of the ways materialists demand proof.

At the end of these lectures Lewis provides a compendium of sayings illustrative of Natural Law drawn from many different sources and traditions ranging from Egyptian, Roman, Greek and Chinese to Christian, Hindu and Jewish to Norse, Anglo-Saxon, Babylonian, American Indian and Australian Aborigine. But there is nothing from the second main monotheistic religion. 

This might seem a strange oversight, if oversight it is, but it reminded me of the time I first became interested in spiritual matters and studied scriptures from all the main traditions. I already knew the Bible reasonably well but reread the New Testament in the light of my new-found interests and beliefs. I read Hindu and Buddhist scriptures, the classics of Taoism and Zen and also some collections of wise words similar to Lewis's compendium. All these spoke of mystical understanding, perhaps in different ways and on different levels and some more than others but they all had an insight into higher reality. Then I read the holy book of the second main monotheistic religion expecting to find more of the same. What a disappointment. There was nothing in this frankly hotch-potch collection of writings that approached the profundity of other scriptures. It barely reached the level of Old Testament spiritual understanding, never mind the New Testament. It was clear that the compiler of this text, which seemed like a New Age channelling, albeit in the context of its time and place, was nowhere near the spiritual level of the founders of other religions. 

Now, maybe these teachings were a step forward for the people of that time and place but they have little to say to us today unlike other scriptures which can transcend time and place and still speak to us across the centuries. It is often said that the three monotheistic religions worship the same God but they approach him in such different ways that that is hard to maintain in any seriousness. For the Christian, God is a loving Father but the God depicted in this holy book demands total allegiance as a despot does from a slave. He may be a benign despot if you obey him but he leaves no room for you as a free individual.

I'm not disputing there are many pious worshippers of God in this religion but there are also encouragements to violence and though these are often glossed over and excused by believers they are plainly there in the source texts which are the holy book and the recorded sayings of its founder who was a war leader as much as he was a prophet. The extremism in this religion is fundamental to it. The West used to know that, and from hard won experience.

Despite what you might be thinking I am not writing this in the context of the present conflict in the Middle East. It's not the Middle East I am concerned about but the West. The second main monotheistic religion is not willing to share power. It will accommodate itself to its perceived rivals in the short term only for long term advantage. That has been demonstrated historically repeatedly. If the modernist ethos of relativism, as described by C.S. Lewis, is one way of abolishing man so too is an absolutist religion which gives all power to the deity and leaves no freedom for the individual human soul. It must obey. It must submit. It's in the name. But God does not want obedience. He wants love. 


Monday 6 November 2023

Tolkien's Letters

 It seems that the collection of letters written by Tolkien to various family members, friends and Lord of the Rings enthusiasts that was published in 1981 was only the tip of his correspondence iceberg. Like many of his generation he was a prolific letter writer, and an expanded edition which includes hundreds of previously unseen letters is due out this month. See here. I would expect the cream of the crop to have appeared already but I don't doubt there will be treasures of wisdom in the new batch. Even in the few extracts in the linked article there are some tellings insights. For example, he talks of birthdays and says that "Very few men, but practically all women set great store by dates and anniversaries". This after one of his sons had forgotten his mother's birthday. So true!

Then, very pertinently for the present time, he writes in 1956 about the reaction in the country to the Suez crisis. He says "I am really alarmed at the hysteria in this country. It may well be a prelude to mob-rule! Half Oxford is in a kind of screaming frenzy" and then talks of "Armed “pacifism”, destroying the vehicles of innocent citizens" and "Dons yelling “fascist”, at high table, at colleagues who in mild voices venture to disagree with them". It seems the academic world was already well on the way to its present state of spiritual corruption. He sums it all up by writing the profound truth that "What a rot and stink is left by liberalism devoid of religion". This is our modern world in a nutshell though, of course, we are much more advanced than was the case in Tolkien's day. Further on in this same letter he comments that "All leftists are anti-philology" which is an interesting observation.

In 1961 he writes that "Oxford continues to suffer from the ravages of the machine-worshippers. I remember it as a little old university town nestling in the country – and it had about 55,000 inhabitants. It now has nearly 100,000 more, sprawls in every direction, and is jammed with noise and smell; and every now & again the most ­hideous buildings go up." He does praise the removal of slum dwellings on the edge of town but there is no doubt that in his mind the cons are worse than the pros.

Later on he tells us that "Orc I derived from Anglo-Saxon, a word meaning a demon, usually supposed to be derived from the Latin Orcus – Hell. But I doubt this, though the ­matter is too involved to set out here. Warg is simple. It is an old word for wolf, which also had the sense of an outlaw or hunted criminal." I have alway thought these words and many others in Tolkien's creation actually speak of what they are. His genius extended into many fields but perhaps manifested most strongly in that of language which is not surprising since language was his business. Anyway, every word and every name too in Tolkien just seems right. No other author comes close to him in this respect.

Friday 3 November 2023

Book Published

My new book By No Means Equal was published in the US on November 1st. It came out last Friday in the UK. If I worked in marketing and had a flexible relationship with the truth I could say it contains definitive proof of the soul but I don't and it doesn't. What it does do, though, is lay out the grounds for the spiritual primacy of individuality and freedom, and say how the reality of these fundamental principles stands in direct opposition to the contemporary ideology of equality. Which, it could be argued, amounts to almost the same thing as my imaginary marketing man is saying. For my contention is that the current obsession with equality, which sometimes presents itself as an almost spiritual belief, is in fact deeply materialistic as it reduces the individual to a unit in the collective, a unit that can be weighed, measured and slotted into the System. A controllable and controlled unit. It robs the human being of its humanity.

I suppose one of the reasons the belief in equality has taken root is because it seems to offer a degree of fairness. It also assuages the guilt of the rich and powerful who can carry on being rich and powerful as long as they are seen to disapprove of such things in theory. It is also a more feminine way of looking at the world and society has become increasingly feminised over the last few decades. Men are more naturally hierarchical and competitive but women tend more to cooperation which fits better with the equality dogma. But one could just as well say it has come about because of the desire of those at the lower end of the scale of whatever it might be to chop down those with more. This is certainly a factor but only one of many, some rooted in the desire to be fair and some in envy.

However, all of that is besides the point. The simple question to ask about equality is, "Is it true?". Everything else is irrelevant. We might want it to be true for whatever reason but if it's not true there's an end of it. And the fact is it's not true. Those who see themselves as superior might feel guilty about that and those who see themselves as inferior might feel resentment but these emotions do not alter reality. Equality is a lie.

Of course, an argument might be that equality may not exist now but we should work towards it for a fairer and better society. But what are you saying if you argue that? That society should be built on a palpable falsehood? This could never work as reality would sooner or later break through. In the meantime the inevitable result of your foolish experiment would be a lowering of standards because that is what enforced equality means. The only way you can bring it about is to bring down the higher to the level of the lower. Destroy the ladder of hierarchy and there is nothing left to climb. You remain earthbound. Examined properly, equality is just about the most anti-spiritual doctrine you could have.

This is what the book is about.