Thursday, 8 December 2016

Technology and the Smartphone

More and more people are uneasy about the dehumanising effects of modern technology, particularly the ubiquitous use of the smartphone to which the younger generation are, without exaggeration, addicted. I have felt extremely ambivalent about all this since the early days of the computer.  I remember being told by many people who identified themselves with New Age types of spirituality in the 1980s that computer technology was inspired by God or the spiritual powers or whatever form of hidden reality they believed in, but I instinctively resisted this. Ditto for the worldwide connectivity of the internet which was supposed to be a forerunner of spiritual consciousness. To me the whole technology was a parody of true spiritual understanding, Satan aping God as he likes to do but doing so in a crude and materialistic way since he is unable to do otherwise. As time has gone by I have become ever more convinced that modern computer technology is, to put it bluntly, demonically inspired, if not in its actual origin then certainly in its development and use and exploitation. How can it be otherwise since it substitutes breadth for depth, the exterior for the interior and makes everything so easy that it loses its flavour and nourishment? Those who understand will know what I mean. Others might perhaps ponder on the difference between material and spiritual progress and see that the two don't necessarily go together, and are sometimes at complete odds.

There is an often quoted passage from the book of Revelation which can be taken to be referring to the outcome of this form of technology without too much stretching of the imagination.

"And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God's wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulphur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshippers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.” (Rev 14:9-11)

Strong stuff that would probably be considered hate speech nowadays. But let's consider what it might mean in relation to modern computer technology. You can't call this technology evil in itself, and the use of it is not sinful as such though it can open the door to all sorts of temptations and distractions. Therefore it can undoubtedly lead to potential sins not to mention ever more separation from the spiritual world. Nonetheless, worshipping the beast and receiving the mark must entail more than simply using a computer or smartphone.

The devil is no fool. He works in stages, leading us from seemingly innocent pursuits and preoccupations more and more deeply into his net until we end up doing and thinking and feeling things we never would have done when we started. So once we have become so addicted to our smartphones that we cannot imagine life without them he will introduce another level and then another and so on until there will finally come a point at which we will be led to make a conscious decision as to whether to carry on down this path or turn back. Carrying on will, in some way, mean renouncing God and utterly rejecting spiritual truth. 

Perhaps by then we will only be able to engage in any kind of economic activity if we allow ourselves to receive some kind of 'tag', even an implant, to get which we might have to take an oath of commitment to something that, in effect, denies God. Things do seem to be tending in that direction. So the time may come when we will have to choose whether to continue receiving our habitual worldly benefits, or maybe receive even greater benefits which we might not be aware of now but which will seem very attractive then, or not, and if we wish to get these things then we may have to do something similar to swearing allegiance to the old Roman gods, only something far more serious in its implications because it will require not just an outer gesture as that did but a real inner act of submission. By then the establishment hierarchy will probably be devil worshippers of some sort, though it will be perceived far less crudely than that, of course. It will doubtless seem sophisticated and spiritually advanced though it will clearly lack Christ in spirit and probably in name too since the name of Christ is a holy one that cannot be defiled. But anyone wishing to receive the favour and privileges of the establishment, or even lead a normal life in the world with money, material comfort and all the perks of modernity, will have to make a similar commitment to the 'beast'. They will have to accept its 'mark' in return for being allowed full participation as a citizen of a global government.

Hysterical fear-mongering? Perhaps. It is only an imaginary speculation. Nevertheless the signs of the times are pointing in this direction for those whose spiritual eyes are in any way open, and who have paid attention to the warnings we have been given from tradition.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Male/Female Complementarity

I have an observation to make about the complementary role of the sexes which will be controversial nowadays but which I suspect most people know in their hearts to be true. Which is probably why it is so often resisted in this most irreligious of ages, irreligion being a manifestation of egotistic rebellion against truth.

In every pair of complements there is always one that is more fundamental than the other. One of which the other is the opposite in the duality of expressed reality; expressed reality necessarily being dualistic or nothing could be expressed in the first place. In the male/female pair this is the male. This statement is reinforced by the fact that God or spirit is almost always considered male (all souls are female or passive/receptive to God) and Nature or matter (mater) always seen as female. Those few metaphysical systems in which the Great Goddess is seen as absolute are clearly distortions of reality in that she is the Terrible Mother who may relate to her children with a fierce passion but she also devours them. There is no sense in these systems of the fundamental reality of the Good, the Beautiful and the True and that's because not only is the transcendent Father and Creator denied, reduced at best to a sort of emasculated consort or son, but even the true spiritual feminine is distorted, largely replaced with a semi-monster who must be propitiated with death and sacrifice. The Great Goddess is merely Nature writ large with all of the amorality of Nature seen purely as Nature. She is Matter translated to the status of Spirit but retaining her material/natural characteristics and hence she is a deformed version of ultimate reality, understandable only in the light of a primitive and debased religion which projected Nature onto the spiritual world because it was unable to comprehend the proper reality and transcendence of spirit.

In Indian philosophy the foundational masculine and feminine principles are described as purusha and prakriti and have a similar relationship to that of spirit and matter. Most other religions also relate the Father to Sky/heaven and the Mother to Earth/nature and a complementary but hierarchical relationship is either stated or implied. And it is interesting to note that in the Garden of Eden Eve was created as a companion to Adam not vice versa. This can be seen as expressing in real terms how, on an abstract level, positive and negative always exist together but negative exists as the balancing opposite to positive which is primary in that positive has to be conceived before negative can be, even if the coming into being of the two is instantaneous. The two of them must always exist together but still there is this primacy to one of them. It's the same with light and dark. For original light does not arise in darkness since there might be said to be no darkness until light is there to reveal it. Thus with the arising of light darkness comes too. I am not giving this as a literal parallel of the masculine/feminine duality but simply an example of how one half of a pair of complements will precede the other even when they both come about together.

Obviously what I say here can be (and will be by those who want to do so) dismissed as a rationalisation of 
the desire of men to dominate or have power over women but I think an objective view will see that it is far more fundamental than that. I don't dispute that this desire may well exist (as may its opposite) but it is better seen as a consequence of the fallen nature of both men and women and so a corruption of what I am talking about here rather than the reason for it. We should reject the corruption by all means but not the reality of which it is a corruption.

So my statement here will be controversial today when to dispute egalitarianism in any form is the major sin. It is also open to misinterpretation and misuse so I should add that it does not mean that man is intrinsically superior to woman. They are meant to be, after all, complementary equals. Furthermore, in the context of any two individuals, a woman may just as well be superior to a man as a man may be to a woman. Moreover, precisely because they are complementary, there are going to be situations where the feminine rightly dominates the masculine. But abstractly considered and on the whole, man is, or should be, the first among equals in the context of the two just as is the case with spirit and matter. And this is reflected, in an obvious physical sense, by the fact that man is on average slightly taller than woman. An apparently trivial, even silly, point that nevertheless does echo a more fundamental truth because the same patterns prevail throughout nature. Besides which nothing is meaningless in a universe created by God. Even the fact that we say man and woman, husband and wife, has a reason grounded in truth. The two are a complementary pair and go together, each balancing, rounding out, completing and fulfilling the other, but one comes first in the context of the pair. Not first in terms of seniority but primary in terms of the order of being and how being is manifested.

It is obvious how this relationship of slightly imbalanced balance in which hierarchy and equality both exist at the same time causes confusion and can be corrupted. It certainly has been in the past  which is the reason for the sorry state of affairs today. And that is why it has to be seen in the overall reality of the light of God. If both men and women walk in that light, truly so rather than in name only, there is no danger of distorting a natural but delicately poised reality. If they do not then human egos enter in and that is always a corrupting factor.

To illustrate what I mean by this think of the masculine and feminine principles as expanding and contracting forces. If the expanding (or differentiating) force is too powerful things will tear apart but if the contracting (or unifying) force dominates then they will be crushed, eventually breaking down and leading to a situation of complete stasis. However if the expanding force is stronger than the contracting by the right, not too large, amount, there will be a balanced state of growth. The law of the manifested universe is growth. It is the masculine principle that drives this but for growth to be stable this must be counterbalanced by the feminine principle with its nurturing and protective quantities. If these gain the upper hand, however, then growth will stall and eventually rewind. That is why matriarchal societies continue in the same way for centuries without any real development, eventually stagnating.

This instinctively known fact does not mean man should rule or dominate woman in the way it has been misconceived to imply in the past. It is meant to be a loving complementarity with each side supplying what the other lacks and each taking the lead in different, appropriate, situations - even if it is incumbent on both sexes to develop qualities associated with the other and express them in the context of their own being.  But it does mean that overall the male is the lead principle and that should be recognised if a loving and respectful harmony is to be maintained. At the same time, something like the old attitudes of chivalry and noblesse oblige should prevail because these guard against abuse and the turning of a good rule into a tyranny.

Everything depends on getting your metaphysics right. The modern world view is based on a materialistic understanding of the world. Therefore it is built on a false foundation and its ideas are based on unreality. Traditional societies had a more natural understanding, often unsophisticated but instinctively correct. They understood that the male/female duality was in some sense a reflection of the duality of Creator and Creation, God and Nature, Heaven and Earth and this meant something more than a crude equality.

Lest anyone think this is somehow devaluing women let me state my belief that it actually validates the feminine half of mankind far more than feminism, the modern dogma on this question, does for that seeks to deny woman her true worth and turn her into an imitation man.

I don't wish this post to be taken as saying that man is innately superior to woman because that would be a misunderstanding of its premise. I said this earlier but it's worth repeating. The idea is that, ontologically speaking and in terms of basic root reality and on the level of the archetypes (which, of course, should be reflected on all lower levels), one comes before the other even though, as a complementary pairing, the two always exist together. And in expressed reality you would have the King and Queen (in that order) on the horizontal plane but you would also have the Queen and her courtiers when relationships are vertically considered. This is the ideal to which we should conform if we wish to be true to how things are.

I've written more on this subject here.
God as Father and Mother

Friday, 2 December 2016

St Godric

I have put a post on Albion Awakening about Godric the hermit who was born around the time of the Norman Conquest and lived for over 100 years. He was also the composer of the first songs in English for which music survives. Or maybe I should say he received rather than composed these songs since they are supposed to have been given him in vision by the Virgin Mary amongst others..

Thursday, 1 December 2016

There Can be No Such Thing As Secular Morality

Most people in the modern world grow up in households in which the prevailing moral ideas are shaped by a type of secular humanism which might appear not too different to Christianity if it were a religion purely of this world with no sense of the next*. That’s not surprising since secular humanism has borrowed much of its moral position from Christianity, but it leads many people to think that secular humanism has taken all the important bits of Christianity and got rid of the superfluous stuff. The truth is precisely the opposite.

What is left out is the reality of the absolute and this is the foundation of all the rest. Without the fatherhood of God the brotherhood of man has no meaning, and the undoubted moral falling away in the West and elsewhere comes from replacing a morality rooted in spiritual truth with a secular morality that has no roots in anything real. The result is that each generation becomes further separated from the idea of spiritual truth and, as it does, its sense of a genuine moral order, founded on a real transcendent truth is diminished. 

Once you start to separate human intellect and will and feelings from their proper source in spiritual realities you lose the all important connection between the human being as he is here in this world and his true origin and purpose which is in higher dimensions of existence.

For the fact is that the basis for an objective standard of morality can only come from something eternal that is outside the human mind. This is God and it must be a personal God too because impersonal reality is just that, impersonal. An impersonal reality would be truth only but a full and complete morality must be based on love and truth equally and that means a personal God. Only if founded on a transcendent reality can morality itself be real in the sense of being the same at all times and in all places and not contingent on external factors. But any morality that comes from the human mind will inevitably be conditional and dependent on circumstances affecting that mind. In consequence it will be both mutable and relative. 

Secular morality denies religion so it has to look elsewhere to justify itself. Often nowadays it looks to science but science can only examine the realm of nature and nature cannot explain itself so science has nothing to say about true morality. This is an inversion of truth in which the tail is seen to be wagging the dog. No wonder it get everything back to front. And when it comes down to it the very phrase 'secular morality' is a contradiction in terms since secular means something of this world while morality if it is to be grounded in anything real necessarily implies something beyond this world, something that takes its origin from a timeless reality of truth and goodness. If there is not this reality then any system of behaviour is arbitrary and meaningless and one is not better than another from an absolute point of view. This leaves you with a morality that can change at any time and a changing morality is no morality at all.

The point I am making here does not mean that an atheist can never act from a moral position. Of course he can but what I am saying is that if he does, and that position coincides with what is generally accepted as goodness, he can have no real reason for doing so according to his belief of how reality is structured. Indeed, without some kind of sense of an absolute that overrides everything in this world and against which everything in this world must be measured how can the atheist actually define anything as 'good' as such? His belief, logically considered, must mean that there is no real moral difference between a Hitler and a saint. Each is just pursuing his own subjective preference and there is no real reason to say that one is better or worse than the other. Against what true yardstick would you be measuring this? The common good? But there is no common good if all we are is animated matter. Without an over-arching reality we are all just locked in our little selves with no true connection to anybody else. Consequently there is no real reason for me to care about you except for any advantage it might bring me. And that is why I say there can be no such thing as secular morality.

* Which a lot of contemporary Christianity is becoming but that's another story.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Secular Humanism and Sin

Secular humanism is the standard modern belief system, supposedly derived from science and the ideals of the French Revolution but actually a sort of perversion of Christian ideals which has taken a part of the truth and puffed it up out of all proportion in the context of the whole, at the same time neglecting, if not categorically denying, other more important parts. But whatever its initial inspiration, it is now clearly driven by forces seeking to separate Man more and more from God, to lead him to deny his source and restrict himself to the material world. For the last few decades one of the key ways these forces have been doing this is by attempting to deconstruct the human form in terms of its fundamental identity as two distinct and complementary sexes. Once this reality is lost the human being is disconnected from spiritual truth and its nature can be reassembled from below.  If this sounds a little excessive to you that merely shows how far the process has already gone. Previous generations, or maybe even you a few years ago, would not have thought so.

Secular humanism, which is fundamentally atheistic, has taken much of its moral code from Christianity but it leaves out the most important part, and the one which is the bedrock of all else, which is to love God.  It also misinterprets the commandment to love your neighbor, taking it as affirming egalitarianism and rejecting discrimination. However, as the Masters said to me, human beings are by no means equal on the earth plane (they are equal as human beings but not as expressed forms of the human being), and the wisest course is to treat people with fairness and justice but not necessarily equally, a subtle but crucial difference. This demands judgement which secular humanism doesn't like, always preferring, theoretically at least, to treat everyone the same. 

Truth can be represented by a cross with a vertical and a horizontal axis and it should never be forgotten that the latter hangs on the former. But this is precisely what secular humanism does forget (or deliberately ignore), treating the horizontal axis is if it were all there is. However when you expand your parameters beyond the second commandment to include the first you see that loving God necessarily demands loving truth, and that means that you are obliged to condemn falsehood where you see it and not simply support your neighbour in his acts and beliefs regardless of what they are. The humanist way, which is relativistic, thinks that loving your neighbour means accepting him whatever he does or thinks as long as it doesn’t cause obvious harm to others but this can easily amount to the denial of God and absolute truth. This is not love but sentimentality and moral relativism.

For the injunction to love the sinner does not mean that you don’t recognize his sin as sin or that he is a sinner. You cannot use the theory of love to deny the reality of objective truth, and if you do you will have neither for love, real love, always goes hand in hand with truth. True love does not forbear to point out right from wrong. After all, what is the greater love, to encourage someone happily walking towards the edge of a cliff or to pull him back?

So the way love approaches the reality of sin is to say that, yes, it is sin but there is the possibility of repentance and forgiveness. It does not simply deny that the sin is sin because if it did it would be complicit in keeping the person in the sinful state without offering him a way out to the life more abundant, the life of joy rather than pleasure. Does love make a prison more comfortable or offer a way of escape?

When it comes down to it secular humanism can only end in one thing and that is nihilism. You might not think so at the moment because people are often better than the belief system they espouse since God is within us whether we acknowledge him or not. But the more the West uses up its moral inheritance from Christianity, and the further its morals come from their true source, the more nihilistic it will become until its morality will be just a matter of utilitarianism. Secular humanism cannot stretch us or help us grow out of our limited self-enclosed state. It cannot encourage the God within to come out for it does not acknowledge him. The only way it can go is down.

N.B. Many people dislike the word 'sin' because it implies unworthiness, condemnation and all sorts of negative things. But the reality is that it is a perfectly good word to describe that which separates the human being from its Maker and its proper spiritual destiny, and that's a serious matter.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

St Cuthbert

The man on the white horse comes to heal Cuthbert

St Cuthbert was one of the early British saints. Known as the Apostle of Northumbria and widely venerated throughout and after his life, his relics survived the dissolution of the monasteries and are still, nearly 1400 years after his death, kept in Durham Cathedral.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Sexual Morality

I saw an article the other day by a well-known Christian philosopher in which he said that such things as pre-marital sex, adultery, the practice of homosexuality and abortion, in other words all those things given the green light by the sexual revolution of the 1960s, were wrong because God said so through Holy Scripture or the church. I disagree. It may well be the case that these things are wrong but it just isn't enough to put it like that nowadays. We are no longer children. Now we must ask that if God says so, why does he say so? If he said the opposite (obviously impossible in reality but theoretically possible), would we just change our ways on that basis? I don’t believe that God wants us to obey him as though he were a tyrant and we his subjects, not the Christian God anyway though some other versions of the divine personage might fall into that category. Above all, he wants us to join him in understanding why right is right and wrong is wrong. And it’s not just because he has ordained it so. Or rather it is, but there is a reason.

It isn't good enough any longer to give a rule without giving the reason for that rule, and if we are told to give up a seeming good we are entitled to ask if this is because of a greater good. In this instance that is precisely the reason. Our Creator is not a spoilsport or puritanical misery. He wants nothing but our good and our happiness, but he knows that our real good lies in spiritual things and this means that we must learn to identify our true nature with the soul, our spiritual being, not personal desires of mind and body. These are not illegitimate because, of course, the mind and body are part of what we are. However they need to be seen in their correct place and very often, in our marred post-lapsarian world, their expression, you might say, their unnatural expression, conflicts with the requirements of the soul and prevents a proper understanding of it.  This is quite apart from any societal breakdown an unrestricted sexual morality might bring in its wake.

Sex is the most powerful force known to us and that is not surprising since it is the source and means of creativity.  It is the result of splitting original unity into two, a necessary split if the unmanifest was to become manifest and creation enabled to take place. However, without being controlled in some way, it can destroy a civilisation. It can certainly derail it from any spiritual achievement, and it seems all cultures have recognised this especially in the periods of their building up. In the period of their decadence and decline it's quite another story, and the examples of past history should be a warning to us.

The more you allow yourself to be dominated by your worldly mind and physical body, the more you will be identified with these aspects of your being and the less you will be able to respond to the soul which is the spiritual component of your being.  The more you act in a way that contradicts truth, the more you will separate yourself from truth until there will come a point at which you will cease to even recognise it and deny its very existence.

As sex is the strongest force there is it needs to be controlled and managed, and the best way to do this is through fidelity to one partner in marriage in which the physical aspect of sex is viewed through a spiritual prism as a reflection of a higher truth. And this is the point. Physical sex is the reflection of a higher truth and if the physical aspect is over-emphasised then its higher aspects will not be able to make their appearance in the individual’s mind. The mind will be too taken up with the lower (lower because relating purely to the physical body) aspects. This is not some kind of Gnostic denial of the body but a recognition of the hierarchical nature of man’s being. Man has many levels to his being and focusing too much on lower levels will block access to higher ones. This is why sex unconstrained by love will dull perception and cloud spiritual vision, and why an over concern with physical pleasure will deaden receptivity to the inner soul and its intuitive faculties.

At the same time it is true that sometimes when a person begins to open himself up to higher levels of being through the creative imagination the downpour of energy will over-stimulate to the point that the sexual nature is also stirred up excessively. We can often see this in the lives of poets, artists and the like. However this is a preliminary phase and a more developed understanding and response will bring about stability. There will still be an increased sensitivity to beauty and a yearning towards union but it will be spiritual rather than physical union that now takes precedence.

This gives us a clue as to why the current sexual over-emphasis and stimulation must be viewed in a negative light. It is quite simply that the sexual and spiritual forces in man are one and the same which is why energy, if directed into the lower channel, cannot go into the higher. Celibacy is not necessarily required. That could cause more trouble than it’s worth if it leads to an inner frustration in which the mind gravitates to thoughts about sex more than it would in the context of a healthy expression. But discipline and control and recognition that the sexual impulse belongs to man’s animal nature not his angelic side are. And, of course, in an naturally ordered world even the physical expression of sex should diminish once an individual goes past the point of having children, something that our current attitude, which encourages even elderly people long past child bearing age to carry on having sex, would completely reject. But these people are at an age when they should be thinking more and more about their spiritual growth, and it is a poisoned society that encourages them to neglect this and attempt to prolong their youth.

So the philosopher was right in the moral position he took but I think that the reasons he gave for it were insufficient. It is surely better to understand why we should behave in a certain way than just to be told that we should with no explanation given.