Tuesday, 30 August 2016

England and music, story and fable

Posts by William Wildblood and John Fitzgerald at Albion Awakening


Sunday, 28 August 2016

Posting at Albion Awakening

For a few days I will be posting at my Albion Awakening blog, so please follow the link...


Saturday, 27 August 2016

The RVI (Recognise, Validity, Importance) mantra

RVI - Recognise, Validity, Importance

To experience a phenomenon in the world as alive, meaningful, significant to us personally; we need to Recognise the experience is happening; acknowledge the Validity of the experience (that it is something real and true); and recognise that the experience is Important (not an accident, not random nor an epiphenomenon - but a significant occurrence that needs to be taken note of).


Friday, 26 August 2016

Jung interview from 1959 - CG Jung at his best!

I thought I had already watched this interview, but if I really had then I had forgotten: it is excellent.

I have read a lot of Jung up to about eight years ago and even more (purportedly) about Jung - but this is the best and clearest and most impressive I have ever seen.

Reading Jung is mostly an exercise in boredom and frustration; and most of the books about him don't get him right, or focus on some of the many things wrong with the man and his life. In his writing he seems paralysed by the "Germanic Professorial" mode of defensive prose - so that nothing is ever said clearly because there is so much qualification that it amounts to obfuscation; and this sometimes reaches the point of dishonesty, where Jung is often deliberately misleading the reader about his own more 'outlandish' views.

Anyway, in this interview done near the end of Jung's long and vigorous life, Jung seems to have set-aside his self-defeating caution, and is very open and candid in his answers, despite using his second language - and reveals himself to be a theist, living in sure expectation of continued existence beyond mortal death, and indeed a mystical Christian of solid conviction (he says he knows, not 'believes' such things - something which is very hard to be sure of, in the writings).

The interview is interesting in its form. The interviewer (John Freeman - who was also a left-wing professional politician) comes across as a typically modernist and materialistic journalist - whose personal interest is more Freudian than Jungian (Freeman asks Jung Freudian questions about his childhood, and probes the relationship with Freud); but he listens respectfully and patiently to Jung's more dsitinctive and significant spiritual and religious discussions, and does not distort the final cut to suit his own prejudices.

The result is a vivid personal portrait - which made me recogise for the first time how impressive Jung was 'face to face' and verbally; and how this must have been the primary basis of his reputation; as was also the case for Coleridge, for example - or Charles Williams. How fortunate that we have this interview to show us what could otherwise only have been assumed about Jung - and how such an interview might have been to help us understand some geniuses of the more remote past, who gave their best in speaking rather than writing.

If you wish to try reading Jung, the only two things I could recommend are the spiritual autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections which was written from dictation by Aniela Jaffe; and another late piece: The Undiscovered Self.

Ultimately, I think that Jung did not succeed in solving the fundamental problems of modernity - either in theory or in practice. What he was advocating, in the search for meaning and purpose - amounted to an alternation between public life as a normal mainstream alienated modern 'official' consciousness; and regenerating, therapeutic interludes of something like the immersive consciousness (ie. Barfield's Original Participation) of childhood and tribal Man - including the visionary, divinatory and animistic life of those modes.

Jung did not - as did his older contemporary and Swiss neighbour Rudolf Steiner (or his younger contemporary Owen Barfield) perceive a way beyond this dichotomy. Nonetheless Jung provided an accurate 'diagnosis' and a partially-helpful therapy for the modern condition.

The future of consciousness


Thursday, 25 August 2016

True Intuition, Divination and Final Participation

Divination enables us to become aware of the subtle psychic and spiritual forces that are at work in the background of our lives, determining the events that arise. Contemporary divinatory systems [e.g. Astrology, Tarot, Runes, the I Ching] are by no means atavistic throwbacks to an age long since surpassed, but are underpinned by a new and subtle understanding of the subtle energies that are active behind the scenes of our conscious knowing...

Nevertheless, divination does need to be approached in a different way from how it was approached in antiquity, because although it may reveal to us the spiritual and archetypal condition that lie behind a given situation, our relationship to these factors cannot be the same as that of people in antiquity...

We fail to realize our true human potential to the extent that we do not act freely... If, therefore, we practice divination, we do not do so to submit ourselves to the will of the gods, but rather to gain greater insight into our situation in order to come to a freely chosen decision as to how best to act. 

From pp 180-1 of The Future of the Ancient World, by Jeremy Naydler, 2009.

Throughout my life, and including my younger days, long before I was a Christian, I intermittently tried various divinatory practices. In my mid-twenties I bought Jung's book about the I Ching and tried to use it with coins; later I tried using runes drawn from a bag, and Tarot cards. I never persisted long with any of these things and never reached any conclusion about them - indeed, it was the lack of any validating intuitive feedback which made me give up so easily.

It now seems to me that I was self-blocked from getting attached, or addicted, to divination on the basis that I was trying to use it for the wrong reasons and with the wrong underlying motivation. For me these were technologies of power and/ or evidence of underlying 'atavistic yearnings' (yearning for the past un-conscious and immersive participation in reality, characteristic of childhood and hunter gatherer states).

Rudolf Steiner provides some clarification of this in his repeated cautions and strictures against the deployment of altered states of consciousness as technologies of clairvoyance - his insistence that the modern and future mystic should be alert, awake and purposive: that the modern clairvoyant (as a general rule, although there are exceptions) would work-from the 'consciousness soul'; and not therefore from 'passive' experiences and states such as dreams, dreamlike trances, sedating or hallucinatory drugs; not characterised by visions, hallucinations, speaking in tongues or similar signs; and we should eschew automatic writing, Ouija boards, unaware channelling and so forth.

(Probably - ultimately - excluding therefore the likes of astrology, the I Ching, runes and Tarot - excluding them, that is, as routine or focal spiritual practices - although presumably these could be acceptable and valuable as occassional, educational and remedial practices.)  

As a generalisation I believe Steiner was correct and making an important point - that the destined spiritual future is not one that incorporates technologies of divination; but that regards them as at most temporary expedients: ways of moving to the next step, means to an end.

What we ought to be aiming-at is simply to know - but to know from the basis of our alert, awake, purposive real selves (our souls).

This is true intuition - not the act of 'looking within', but the act of locating, then living-from our real selves. 

David Gascoyne - poet (1916-2001)


The first Albion Awakening post from John Fitzgerald.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Why do we ask for, or need, 'proof' of the existence of God? Past, Present and Future... Rudolf Steiner

Before the fifteenth century, men did not speak in indefinite terms as was current later, and this very indefiniteness was untruthful. When speaking of intuitions, of moral intuitions he spoke of that which rose up in his inner being, of which he had a picture as real as the world of Nature when he opened his eyes in the morning. 

Outside he saw Nature around him, the plants and the clouds; when he looked into his inner being, there arose the Spiritual, the Moral as it was given to him. 

The further we go back in evolution the more we find that the rising tip of an inner realm into human experience was a matter of course...

 In the days when speech, from being an inner reality was lapsing into untruthfulness, proof for the existence of God came into evidence. Had anyone during the first centuries of Christianity spoken about proofs for the existence of God, as Anselm of Canterbury, people would not have known what was meant. In earlier times they would have known still less!

For in the second or third century before Christ, to speak of proofs for the existence of God would have been as if someone sitting there in the first row were to stand up and I were to say: “Mr. X stands there,” and someone in the room were to assert “No, that must first be proved!” 

What man experienced as the divine was a Being of full reality standing before his soul. He was endowed with the faculty of perception for what he called divine; this God appears primitive and incomplete in the eyes of modern man... 

The men of that age had no desire to hear about proofs, for that would have seemed absurd. Man began to “prove” the existence of the divine when he had lost it, when it was no longer perceived by inner, spiritual perception. 


So - Man began with a direct, obvious, common sense experience of the divine in life. Then, by stages went into a state of mind (in which we still dwell, in the modern West) where we not only fail to perceive the divine, but deny its reality and even deny its possibility.

This process of becoming cut-off from the divine bears a significant resemblence to the phase of adolescence, when the individual Man becomes cut-off from his family and the mythic world of childhood, and finds himself utterly, existentially, alone - unable to believe in the reality of anything outside of his own mind.

This is, however, supposed to be a phase - a necessary phase in the development of full self-consciousness and autonmy - but a phase and not a lasting state. 

The phase of adolescence is, like the phase of being cut-off from direct apprehension of the divine, needs to be and is meant to be no more than a 'moment', a minima or 'dead-centre' between the main possibilities of child like absorption-in the divine world, and an adult state of a loving relationship-with the diivine world.

Modern Man is stuck in the phase of being cut-off from the divine, and has been stuck for so long that he has begun to doubt not just the reality of the world outside the mind but the mind itself, so all reality begins to dissolve into nihilism.

Therefore the great need, the first step - here and now - is not for 'proof' of God but for experience of the divine - acknowledged as divine.

From that first step may come understanding of the nature of the divine - but first we need to know the divine is real; know this by personal experience. 

Jesus, Blake, Arthur and Somerset...


Tuesday, 23 August 2016

We are living under Plan B for Modern Western individuals and societies

Fairly obviously, things weren't meant to be as they have turned out! - we are living aganst God's plan for us: God's Plan A failed because we didn't want it, wouldn't have it.

But, if we have - as a civilisation, and most individuals - rejected Plan A which was the fastest, best and highest possible plan for Man's future; then we are instead living under divine Plan B.

The condition of Modern Western Man - his life divided between an Official World of pseudo-rational bureaucracy, and a Mass Media World of the deification of impulse and identity...

Man as just-an-Abstraction versus Man as just-an-Animal...

Since, that is, we find ourselves in a state of desperation; divided between, oscillating between, Intellect and Instinct, and without Heart -- a choice neither remotely satisfying nor adequate to our needs -- Then this can be seen as a long, slow-and-painful route to the same goal as Plan A.

Man is an agent, choice is intrinsic to the human condition - we are 'free' to reject God, divine order, the supersensible - free to reject purpose meaning and divine love as the basis of creation - free to reject creation itself...

And we have rejected all of these - but God has not given up on us! We rejected Plan A and are therefore living under Plan B.

Plan B is severely suboptimal - but it can get us to the same place in the end - thanks to Plan B we will be given another chance and choice.

Consequent upon our choice to reject a unified and divinely-ordered world where we recognise all Men as Sons and Daughters of God; the world as alive and our destiny through eternity to become fully children of God -- we are living in a world of despair interspersed with distraction; where life is draining of the last vestiges of purpose and meaning, and human relationships devolve to a dynamic balance of exploitation...

The division between subjective and objective, instinct and intellect, get greater and greater until - as individuals and as a society - we come to a point where they are unendurable.

We will be forced to choose between living purely-selfish, short-termist and self-gratifying lives - slaves to our animal impulses - and allowing civilisation, social organisation, virtue, to collapse altogether; or else live as slaves to The System, cogs in a machine, microchips serving the internet, serfs of The demonic Establishment - 'transhuman' because much-less-than human.

Or, when Plan B has run its course; we will at long last abandon the Modern Western assumptions - no God or gods, no reality of Good (no truth, no beauty, no virtue), no soul, no life beyond mortality, no objective purpose or meaning, no real relationships, no permanence, no validity - those seductive metaphysical poisons that have led us - finally - to an insane choice of false options.

Of course, we may still choose damnation

Living up to the myths of Albion; living imagination


Monday, 22 August 2016

What does 'Albion' mean? England... and Scotland? And Wales?


State of consciousness is the end point

I awoke from nostalgic dreams into a sad, pessimistic, weak-feeling and almost despairing frame of mind - hard to shake-off, self-perpetuating.

And yet within not many minutes I snapped right out of it, in a moment - a matter of seconds - by listening to a few words from William Arkle that reminded me what I was and of my situation.


Instead of seeing myself in the materialistic light of 'this world' with its inevitability of transience and decline of all good things; I very suddenly remembered that I was: an unique, eternal, immortal being - experiencing this life on earth in the context of permanence and growth towards a state of fuller divinity and love. 

We don't need a complex analysis and a list of prescriptions; what we need and crave is that state of consciousness which is the end point of our striving.

Hearing just a few of Arkle's words reminded me of that 'wide-angle' state of consciousness; and the state of consciousness I then became, was itself the best possible thing that I could possibly do in the world. 

That state of consciousness was the best thing I could do in the world.  

We aren't aiming at some specific better arrangement of people and stuff the world - but are aiming at a way of being; and if we achieve this in ourselves, then that is the first - but also in a sense the last - step in the matter.

If we can be in the right way then that is what 'has an effect' - true consciousness is both end and means.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Albion Awakening - a new blog

I have begun a new blog, with John Fitzgerald and William Wildblood as collaborators, on the theme of spiritual Britain, and especially England - potentially awakening from centuries of slumber.


The blog sees itself as working in a lineage of 'Romanticism' which I perceive as including (but not restricted to) the likes of William Blake, ST Coleridge, William Wordsworth, JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, Owen Barfield, William Arkle; and (currently) Jermey Naydler and the fictional worlds of JK Rowling's Harry Potter and Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell...

(John and William will be adding to this list from their distinctive personal experiences.)

That is, English Christians of creativity and intuition who are especially concerned with the transformation of human consciousness. 

We sense a time of stirring, and perhaps an impending moment of decision; and the blog is primarily intended to provide clarification, inspiration and daily encouragement to those who hope for that new and spiritual England we can call Albion.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Why are The Olympics so very important to the evil global Establishment?

It certainly seems to be the case that the current Olympic Games are something that the evil international conspiracy is very keen that we should engage with - in the mass media, attention to the subject seems to be directly proportional to advocacy of the secular Left Establishment agenda.

I can see lost of small ways in which the Olympics are themselves bad, and symbolise badness - but I can't really understand why the global are elite are so very, very keen on it.

Perhaps - as so often - there is one, key destructive 'message', smuggled-in among the hoo-hah and hullbaloo - and all the more effective for being implicit and in the background?...

Any suggestions?

Thursday, 18 August 2016

A walk through paradise

We took a walk through the Rothbury Hills on a sunny day. At times it was like being isolated in a sea of purple, bee-droning, honey-scented heather - nothing visible except the distant 'sacred mountain' of Simonside in one direction, and the border ridge of the Cheviot Hills in another.

It really was perfection on earth; in the sense that we could not wish to be anywhere else or doing anything else - a complete experience.

Note: The above, lovely, photos are what the landscape looked like; but I didn't take them myself - they are from the internet. At the time, I was too absorbed in the moment to want to take pictures of it - even if I had brought my camera.

In what way does God value Love? What kind of Love does he want from us? From William Arkle

It is essential to stop teaching morality in terms which can be mistaken for the philosophy of external and obvious valuation; of valuation which concedes that behaviour must be good if it is not ‘found-out’ to be bad. Rather must it be said that unless the inner aspect of one's attitude is healthy, the result of any behaviour will be psychological unrest and discontent.

One may succeed in the world and gain the adoration of many people, but if this is to fail to remain true to innermost nature it will mean failure in our own judgement of ourself and in the relating of our many parts to our whole nature. Since this is the root cause of unhappiness it is also where real success and failure lies and where one reaps and enjoys the real treasures of existence.

The essence of real religious and moral aspiration is not between ourselves and God but between ourselves and our Self. At the same time the monitoring activity of God and his many divine assistants is necessary, but not as a substitute for Self-confrontation, but rather to ensure that this condition comes about.

Aspirations towards God are therefore of the utmost value, not as a means of becoming a slave or servant of God, but in order that they can be directed towards the true goal which is the valuation of our True Self.

As we direct the love our children have for us in such a way that it enlarges their own nature and not in order to make them more devoted and servile, so our divine parents divert our love in such a way that it reflects back into our own essential nature again.

Love is therefore valued by God, not as something he wishes to possess, but as a positive expression of our highest attitude which he can receive in the spirit in which it is offered and then use for his creative work. This is the bringing of our individual nature to a condition of divine Self-consciousness.
Extracted from the close of the Chapter 'Education' in William Arkle's A Geography of Consciousness (1974)


This is a passage which is easy to misunderstand but which I have found to be important. Arkle is clarifying the kind of God wants for us by examining the kind of love we want (or ought to want) from our growing-up children.

In other words, God wants us to give our love from our deep and true self, by an act of agency - and not from the kind of servile devotion that is implicitly based more upon terror than adoration. Arkle is saying that we ought not to fear God (any more than an adult Man ought to fear his father) - but to trust in God's love. 

Of course, a lot of our lives are spent growing-up - but it is important to know what is being aimed-at in full adulthood - not least so that we don't get into bad habits or have false structuring beliefs and expectations. 

Arkle here, as elsewhere, is suspicious of the traditional Christian emphasis on 'worship' as the defining quality of Man's relationship to God. While it is right and proper for a young boy to worship his father - this is not a suitable basis for a grown-up child's relationship with his father.

Arkle is suggesting that the same applies to religion - and he bases this on his intuitive understanding of the fundamental reason why God (who is in fact a dyad of Heavenly Parents) created Men (their sons and daughters) and everything else.

Arkle believes that the rationale for creation was ultimately in order that some (as many as possible) Men might 'evolve' and grow from our current partial and embryonic divinity to a full divinity on the same level as our Heavenly Parents. Therefore, our mother and father in heaven do not want us to get stuck in a stance that regards them as infinitely remote - but rather as finitely (albeit vastly) remote, and incrementally approachable over time. 

We probably tend to feel a superstitious anxiety about thinking or doing this; as if God was some kind of hyper-irritable and easily-offended tyrant; but Arkle is trying to reassure us that friendly affection and trusting confidence is exactly the attitude that God most wants us to have; as illustrated here:


See also a fuller excerpt of the above at:

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The essence of Colin Wilson

Colin Wilson wrote a very large number of books - non-fiction, novels and articles - but he was a 'hedgehog' thinker who had a single core insight or essence that was endlessly re-explained, elaborated and extended.

This essence was Wilson's metaphysical assumption that Man is potentially as good as his best moments.

For Wilson, the starting point was therefore to reflect on those times in life when the mental state and powers were at their peak - when you felt at your best and when the world felt like an excellent place. His 'optimistic' assumption is that the best times ought to be regarded as the baseline state.

Most people - in contrast - are pessimistic; and regard the best times as aberrations. Since they are not permanent, and may be very brief and infrequent - most people take the baseline of life to be the normal average level of feeling and functioning.

Even worse, for the past century or so the mainstream intellectual elite - especially the artists and authors - have propagated a view that the worst times (of suffering, nihilism, despair) are actually the realest representations of the nature of life and the good moments are merely ephemeral illusions: for the bulk of influential intellectuals - suffering, nihilism and despair are the truth.

But Wilson's contention was that the optimistic view is the true one - and the proper interpretation of the fact that the best times may be the exception rather than the rule, is that Man (as a species and as individual) is on an evolutionary trajectory towards an era when our highest-ever moments become the norm; and indeed become higher.

So, the best times of our lives therefore need to be noticed, identified, focused-upon, learnt-from and built-upon - aiming towards a future of continuous, enhanced and fulfilling consciousness.

And that is the basis of Wilson's serious writing; and indeed much of his lighter work too. 

See also: https://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=colin+wilson

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The highest form of love (from William Arkle)

In the highest form of active love we must have the one who loves and the one who is loved in order to arrive at a responsive situation. So we have two individuals, our God of love and the one who loves Him, but it is very important to realise that at this precise degree of love the one who loves God enters into a Divine relationship in which both individuals are of the same order, even if God is far more mature than the individual who is loving him.

So at the moment that the individual really loves God as another individual who can be loved, then the two of them become friends in the Divine nature or specieshood to which they both belong. This means that God no longer has to be God, but can become a friend to the one who loves Him and can love his friend back again in the way that love must if it is to express the fulfilment of its nature.

The one who loves God also gradually realises that he is loving a real responsive individual with whom he is now a friend, and this experience is confirmed by all the other experiences of love to be different from worship. For worship is a sort of one-sided love which does not allow for a response and therefore cannot move into friendship, because in worship we do not relate to God as a living being but we idealise God in a fixed image that we have in our own understanding and thus we prevent Him coming alive. We do this, no doubt, out of a diminished sense of our own value and adequacy and out of a sense of modesty. But we only have to look at the nature of love for a moment to realise that the truest form of love does not have to behave in this manner to whatever it finds desirable to love.

In fact we discover that it is most unkind to worship others rather than to love them because it fixes them in a mould they do not wish to be fixed in; in fact by worshipping people we imprison them. But love does not wish to imprison the one it loves, above all, love longs to give expansion and enhanced beingness to the one it loves. Love longs to be in a creative and growing relation- ship with the one it loves. Love is the highest expression of life itself, and life is never static, but always wishes to be aspiring and developing towards new and untried possibilities ties.

So what I feel the term a loving God really means, is that this God is trying to develop us to a stage where we can become His friends in this deeply loving, active, personalised way which allows the creative fruits of a friendship to arise between them which constantly keeps pace with the liveliness and creative aspiration of the living spirit of our common Divine Specieshood.

When we enter this loving friendship with God, which enables Him to be a responsive individual as we are, then we discover that we are also able to befriend one another as well. And thus we find that God becomes our wisest and best friend among many friends. And if we look into the deep heart of love we will see that this is exactly what it has always wished for, and it is the motivation and mainspring behind the whole process that we know of as creation.

Extracted from the essay 'Divine Love' in the book The Great Gift (1977) by William Arkle.


Greed as a front for evil - The absurdity of dogmatic economic explanations for human motivation

Among radicals - both on the mainstream left and on the 'secular right' (which is actually just a branch of the secular left) - it is normal, and regarded as sophisticated, to explain everything large scale than happens in the world as a result of economic motivations.

It is surprising that the mainstream 'right' should go in for this, since it is so obviously a Marx-derived practise - but it is true.

Indeed, this delusion affects almost everyone when trying to explain something they don't like - i.e the perpetrators are accused of monetary greed: greedy bankers, developers, capitalists, trades unions, politicians, feminists, antiracists, social justice warriors... all are often accused by their enemies of lining their nests, of being covertly and primarily motivated by economic advantage.

At times this reaches the point of absurdity - Western politicians who are destroying their economies with mass unrestricted immigration are accused of seeking economic advantage. Of course, there is always an advantage for a few even in a mass collapse; what is happening is that the unit of analysis is continually being redefined and narrowed (salami sliced) until someone can be found who has an economic advantage (whether short-, medium- or long-term)... and then that is accepted as the explanations.

Indeed, most analysis does not seem happy until it has reached this point: i.e. an explanation in terms of greed for money.

But the idea that economic factors are the bottom line explanation for human behaviour is very recent, artificial, and abstract. By contrast, the idea that some people are motivated by evil is ancient, spontaneous and concrete. (Think of fairy tales and myths.)

But - since evil is defined in relation to its hostility to good (Subversion, Destruction or Inversion of Good) - then evil does require that the arguer acknowledge the reality of Good.

And this is the problem. Secular people (and indeed many religious people) have trouble believing in the reality of evil as a primary explanation in human affairs, because they have trouble believing in Good. They regard Good as merely subjective, a point of view - therefore they cannot imagine that the motivation to attack it could be a powerful factor in Life.

There are at least seven 'deadly sins' traditionally recognised, and avarice is only one of them! 

The Establishment, the global conspiracy, are indeed very rich indeed; but they are not rich because they are evil, their evil being a means to the end of wealth... The truth is most worse. The truth is that they are rich in order to do more evil: their vast wealth is a means to the end of subverting, destroying and (especially) inverting Good.

Maybe that is another factor behind the assumption of bottom-line economic motivations: the truth is so much scarier.

Monday, 15 August 2016

At root, everything depends on individual human discernment... Then what?

The modern condition derives from the realisation (whether explicit or covert) that at root everything, all possible knowledge, depends on human individual discernment: that is personal judgement.

No other source of knowledge (neither church not state) will suffice - since the authority of any and every possible source itself depends on discernment.

No external authority or consensus can replace discernment, because there must first be a judgement as to whether that authority or consensus is valid. Therefore individual responsibility is ultimate; and no Man can plead that he was merely following orders by deferring to another - because he at least chose whose orders to follow.

(In the past, it was possible to avoid the recognition that all depended on discernment, because most people were immersed-in and inculcated-with a single specific external perspective from birth; and no alternative was available. But once the non-conscious cycle of monolithic indoctrination is broken, once consciousness has been activited and the individual regards his-self as distinguishable from the group-mind- then that innocent state becomes impossible.)

No Man can now escape responsibility by pointing at an institution, person, book, law or process (like 'science', or democracy or any other kind of voting); because the authority of that book or law and its interpretation was itself likewise a product of judgement - and he knows it.

The reaction to this slowly dawning recognition of dependence on discernment has been extremely varied - from religion based upon exactly this discernment, to a nihilism which denies that validity of of all purpose, meaning and reality itself; and in the middle numerous incoherent pseudo doctrines reasserting the primary of external authority in ways that (fairly obviously) do not convince even those who argue for them.

My own view is that everything really is dependent on individual discernment, and this insight or reality should be embraced and carried-through to a stable and solid basis for life. The problem is that people have the initial insight - then stop thinking.

Most people when the insight dawns (during adolescence) that everything depends on discernment - metaphorically throw up their hands; and either lapse into a nihilism which implicitly regards discernment as a contingent and arbitrary process and denies any validity to discernment; or else they react-against the insight by subordinating themselves to some external authority while denying that they have used discernment in making this decision. (They consciously make an act of discernment to recognise primary authority; then try to forget and deny that primary act of discernment.)

The correct answer and a coherent attitude comes from accepting the reality and fundamental nature of discernment - and exploring its nature and implications; not ceasing exploration until the answer we have - in broad brush if not in every last detail - has itself been validated by discernment.

At that point we have escaped paradox, nihilism and the arbitrary; and found a secure basis for our own Life.

But each Man must do this for himself - and if reaching a stable basis takes a lifetime, then a lifetime is what must be allocated to the quest; because nothing is more important.

This just is an inescapable consequence of the primacy of discernment (or rather, the consequence can be escaped only negatively - i.e. by not thinking, by forgetting or distraction.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Why isn't earth Heavenly? From William Arkle

I feel that it is possible to say that, if the Creator had simply wanted us to become beautiful, righteous children who did nothing but be good, as it were, and delight in the Divine quality of loving, blissful, beautiful serenity, then He would have arranged for us to be born directly into heaven where we would have been with all these qualities.

But if that had happened, then we would have lacked the understanding we are gaining through living through all those beautiful, heavenly qualities and their opposite, such as ugliness and unkindness and hatred and confusion, and pain and sorrow and grief and loneliness. Now, through the understanding of these, negative qualities, we come to know what positive qualities really are; but if we had only known the positive qualities, we wouldn't truly have known what they were. We would have been with them but we would have had nothing to compare them with. 

And it is only through the art of comparison that we come to an under- standing of the qualities that we handle and are capable of handling. 

We cannot become the friends, that the Creator wishes us to become to one another and to Himself, if we have not got the ability to understand the nature of the qualities that are available to our being. It's no good if we simply live as heavenly beings in heaven because we would have little companionship with one another, or for the Creator, in a creative sense. We would have no ability to discuss the merits of the qualities that we know about. 

But if we have lived through them, as we do on earth; and their opposites, as we do on earth, then we would develop an ability to understand, objectively, the significance of beauty, of truth, of honesty, of things like kindness and care. How would we know about loving kindness or loving care in a place like heaven? There would be no need for kindness or for caring as we know it, everything would have been taken care of. There would be nothing to be kind about. 

We would be with the quality of love, but we wouldn't be able to express it in the form of care, and we wouldn't know very much about the sort of qualities that come out of the experience of great friendship. And these are the things that I think the Creator longs to give to us and wants to share with us in His nature. 

From the essay The Resolution of Grief in The Great Gift by William Arkle (1977) - entire essay at:


Saturday, 13 August 2016

Nothing good on the internet

Every month, most days of the month, I find it harder to find anything at all that is worth looking at on the internet - well, anything good and new.

(The good stuff is pretty-much all old stuff - old books, essays, interviews, music, poems and the like.)

This is the ultimate extremity of the traditonal complaint of my generation that 'There's nothing good on The Telly'.

In my childhood this referred to two channels (BBC & ITV); by early adulthood it was four (plus BBC2 and much later Channel 4); from c 1980 supplemented by video recordings. Then from the late 90s the internet began to take over and there seemed to me at the time such a richness of good stuff that life was too short to get through it...

This was an illusion. Almost everything I used to read I would now regard as pernicious, pretentious, dishonest, foolish, hope-draining, blind-making, painting-into-the corner rubbish.

Quite possibly the criticism of nothing good also applies to this blog; I wouldn't know because I only write it, I don't have to read it.

But it is a fact - and it is actually a kind of progress in my own discernment. There never was much good on the internet; although there was more good stuff 15+ years ago than there is now; because the decline in honesty, beauty and virtue has been very rapid indeed!: news, magazines, personal web pages, blogs etc - like the major social institutions, and the traditional mass media - have gotten much worse, and the decline is palpable season by season.

However, mostly this is things coming to a point, getting clearer - the difference between the sides of God and Satan, Good and Evil, Love and Inversion, spiritual Christianity and secular Leftism are all getting painfully clear, obvious and explicit; so that it is now clear, obvious and explicit that very-nearly-everything, almost-everywhere on the internet aims to be destructive of Good; and is destructive of Good.

(Indeed, so is almost everything that supposes itself, or advertises itself, as going against secular Leftism, materialism, despairing nihilism - including nearly all the self-styled Christian material. This too I feel in my heart to be overwhelmingly nasty, cold and hard, fear and hate driven, power and ego driven... dragging me down to the same low level as mainstream modern society. Actively repellant, and increasingly therefore avoided.)

The internet is not just a trivial yet addictive waste of time, but a pernicious and systematic attempt to demoralise, terrorise and corrupt each and every one of us.

No need for hysterics! - that is just the way it is, and we must be calmly realistic about the fact.

As a strong generalisation there is indeed nothing good on the internet - and ever less.

NOTE: This was the general theme of my 2014 book Addicted to Distraction  - http://addictedtodistraction.blogspot.co.uk - but three years down the line from writing it, I would now regard that volume as having been insufficiently strongly expressed.

More on the role of women in the spiritual life of the nation (from DE Faulkner Jones The English Spirit - 1935)

Edited and paraphrased by me from the chapter entitled The Holy Grail, in The English Spirit by DE Faulkner Jones, 1935: 

Rudolf Steiner stated that in every human being there is the 'self' or Ego enclosed within three sheaths of Astral, Etheric and Physical bodies. 

In the Ancient world, women were considered to represent the Astral and Etheric principles: Astral representing Feelings, and Etheric representing Habits of Thought. 

(By contrast men, collectively, represented the divinely-guided Will/ Ego, and also Physical action.)

The Ego is the innermost part of the human being whereas the Physical body (chief instrument of the will) is the outermost part. The principles especially strong in women are thus 'sandwiched in' between those principles especially strong in men. 

Just as in the individual man or woman an Ego concept should properly pass-through two definite stages of first being brooded-over in feeling and then planned out by the logical intellect before it can emerge as action; so too in human society new thoughts may originate in men, but ought then to be received by the women of the community (for 'brooding over' and 'planning out') before leading to action. 

No action can be truly Christian unless all four principles are equally represented in it (and therefore, at the social level, unless women have received the creative impulses into Soul, and approved the validity of action).

Women have a very special power of 'feeling' a thought. Through the plastic forces of the Soul, women can grasp a thought in all its bearings; can brood in imagination over all its implications, all its complications; can quicken thought into life, embue it with warmth and enthusiasm, and with something akin to the powerful working of nature-forces. 

And finally the power of judgment, the practical common-sense, the mother-wit which enables a woman to make the best use of materials placed at her disposal (and which most women are exercising almost every minute of the day)  - all this makes her know how an idea should best be organised and inserted into the round of life.

Friday, 12 August 2016

The spiritual role of women as the Soul of a nation (specifically of England) - from The English Spirit by DE Faulkner Jones (1935)

I have just been reading a remarkable book The English Spirit by Doris Eveline Faulkner Jones, an Anthroposophist and English teacher at the Manchester High School for Girls. I came across this book by a long and detailed review written by Owen Barfield and published back in 1935 just after the book was published -


There was enough in this review to induce me to read the English Spirit for myself - plus my intense and increasing interest in the subject matter. Barfield continued to be impressed by this book and forty-six years later wrote an Introduction when the English Spirit was re-published.

My impression is that this is an extremely impressive book - intense, passionate, and deeply intuitive in an unique way. It is, indeed, one of the most deeply original non-fiction books I have read by a woman.

One aspect is Faulkner Jones understanding of the spiritual nature of women and womens' role in the life of a nation - especially England, and since the time of Christ (she argues, following Rudolf Steiner, that Christ's work gave women an essential societal role that had previously been lacking.

Here is Barfield's summary of this aspect, from his review:

Before the coming of the Christ the Spiritual world worked through the (group) Ego directly into the physical (blood). Actually the human being has two intermediate principles, the astral and the etheric; but in pre-christian times these were not yet spiritualised; they were on a “natural” plane. Nevertheless the course taken by the Christ being in his incarnation in Jesus of Nazareth was not the old one, direct from Ego to physical. He passed through and filled the astral and etheric bodies first. Consequently the path of the divine impulse, and indeed of every concept, on its way down into the human will now lies from the Ego through the astral and etheric into the physical, the will-element in man. This fact has completely altered the social significance of woman. Ego and physical are predominantly masculine principles, whereas astral and etheric (the “soul” element) are feminine. Thus there is a sense in which the women of any community are the soul of that community. A new social idea must pass through them before it can be realised properly in action. A new spiritual impulse would thus be grasped or conceived in the first place mainly by the men of a nation, it would then be welcomed by the “creative receptivity” of the women, entering in this way into the life of feeling (astral) and of habitual everyday thought (etheric) of the nation. Finally the nation’s will (expressed again mainly through its men) would seize on the impulse as elaborated and carry it into action. A terrible example of the disaster which is now inevitable if the intermediate stage is omitted, industrial England was built by the new ideas of mechanism and individualism before they had had time to be modified, corrected, humanised by the sense and sensibility of women. The idea was applied with fanatical enthusiasm regardless of its practical consequences and their resultant misery – which women would have been wise enough to foresee.

Faulkner Jones clarifies what is need from women - and which only women can provide - with two specific historical examples: Queen Elizabeth I and Florence Nightingale (Edited by me):

One might call the special gift of women 'creative receptivity', and it should be used in close co-operation with the 'creative activity' of men. There is no question of superiority or inferiority: both types of creative energy are equally necessary for the harmonious working of daily life.

An example of the harmonious working-together of the male and female principles in social life is medicine in the nineteenth century. New discoveries were revolutionising medical work when there emerged in Florence Nightingale a woman powerful enough to feel deeply, and comprehend fully, the importance of these discoveries and of medical work in general. 

It was through her work in founding and organising nursing as a profession for women that the new medical ideas, generated through the male creative intellect, could be applied beneficently and systematically, on a wide basis, to all the classes of the community. Without the steady, loving, systematised, daily and hourly attention of trained nurses, the most brilliant surgical or medical treatment would fail. 

The Elizabethan period is a remarkable example of a short, though highly important, epoch, marked by harmonious interplay between the male and female principles. 

Neither Elizabeth, nor any other woman, herself initiated a single important idea in either the spiritual or material planes. But the Queen was creatively receptive to a degree hardly yet attained by any other woman; being able to grasp and hold, by means of her spiritualised soul-faculties, everything of importance that was happening in the civilised world of her day. 

Her foreign policy was so involved that historians find the greatest difficulty in disentangling its subtle threads; but those threads were woven with ease by Elizabeth, and that their final result was something in the way of a consummate masterpiece of political skill is denied by few. 

In England, no important thought could become action without passing through the filter of Elizabeth's great soul. 

Her male subjects, powerful individualities though they were, were willing not to act until she was ready, until she gave the sign. There can be little doubt that, left entirely to their own will, they would have plunged the country into external strife, civil and religious conflicts. 

Elizabeth's powerful mind was of the receptive, meditative, judging, discriminating, discerning type; eminently fitted to guide and control the fiery will-forces of the male. The men of her age felt in her a force equal in power to their own, but different in kind; and knew instinctively that by submitting their will to her guidance they were expressing their own Ego in the fullest, richest, most human manner.

And in Faulkner Jones's own words (edited by me):

All English Christians, and English women especially, bear a heavy weight of responsibility at this moment of time. They must feel and understand the Christ concept. Unless or until they do this, neither concept nor theory will be able to reach the will and pass directly into action. 

The will of England is paralysed because the Soul of England is asleep - sunk in lethargy, dissipated in the pursuit of unimportant personal interests, blind to what is happening in the objective world. 

Let English women once awaken to a sense of duty, to a knowledge of the lofty part they must play in the life of the nation, and this country will be saved from the creeping death that is now destroying it daily. 

The concepts of salvation are here in the world: the men of the nation possess sufficient will-power to carry them onto the plane of external life. But these concepts have not been received with living warmth into the feelings: they have neither stirred the imagination nor the heart; for the majority of those who have accepted them have received them with a dry, abstract, logical intellect. 

Considered collectively, the women of England stand for the Soul of England; and thoughts so vast in their import that they concern the whole nation must pass through that Soul, before they can be translated into action. 

If England fails the world, at this crucial point in history, it will be through the intellectual sloth, the stultified imagination, the deadened hearts, of English women. 

Written eighty years ago and looking back; we can now see with unambiguous clarity that England has thus far failed the world. But Faulkner Jones's inspired prophecies may help us to clarify the nature of that failure - and how, even now, albeit too late for optimal results - much might even yet be done by a renewed spiritual consciousness among English women, the Soul of the nation. 

Why is God apparently hidden? - a three-point explanation

1. God is the creator and our loving Father (i.e. we are his children). We, then, are eternal and immortal but immature proto-gods; and the creator's goal is to raise us up to his 'adult' level, by providing an environment in which we may evolve through through an extremely long and varied sequence of experiences and decisions (including, but not restricted to, those of embodied mortal life).

But, because each of us is a proto-god, this can only happen if we want it to happen, if we want to evolve to full divinity in company of our loving spiritual family.

Therefore, mortal life on earth is essentially a learning process, and the basic situation is that we do things for ourselves, work things out for ourselves, make our own choices and take the consequences.

2. But that is no reason why God should be hidden.

However, in fact God has not been hidden - as a general, world-historical rule. Almost everybody who lives and who has lived, finds the presence of divinity to be obvious. It is Modern, Western Man specifically who complains that God is hidden - this means that the basic problem is that MWM is self-blinded to the presence of God.

Yet there are wide disagreements concerning the nature of divinity - why should this be? Why should the specific nature of God be obscure? The reason is simply that each Man is a proto-divinity, and embryonic-God, an entity of potentially vast love, creativity and knowledge...

Therefore, knowledge cannot be forced upon us, we are not 'sponges' waiting to be filled: we are 'co-gods' with attitudes, ideas, motivations of our own; therefore we must learn by the tough but deep road of trial and error, engagement and experience and so forth - knowledge is (as ultimately it must be if it is to be our owned knowledge) an active achievement. 

3. There is an evolutionary sequence to go through in the path to higher divinity. This entails that each Man begin with the primal infant-like state of immersive but relatively passive awareness of God; passive in the sense that we had a minimal and poorly-differentiated awareness of ourselves - we did not feel fully separate from God.

Then each must pass through a state of full clarity and consciousness of our-selves as distinct beings from God. This phase - which may be momentary - is en route to the goal of simultaneous awareness of Ourselves and God.

So, in every human life evolving towards full deity, there will necessarily be a moment-at-least of awareness, of separation of our-selves from God.

Modern Western Man is, however, (and for various reasons; mostly his own wicked fault) stuck in that necessary moment - and stubbornly refusing to move-on: hence MWM cannot perceive God, and God seems to be hidden.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

What are the best observable criteria for a successful country, society or culture? Three suggestions...

1. Religion: A vigorous, pervasive, personally-engaged, positively-inflected religious life.

2. Love: Above-replacement fertility rates; loving families are valued and usual.

3. Soul: Individuals who are acting-from their own souls (not passively-controlled by the external environment). This means relationships are deep and valid; and also means that what people do is expressive of their real selves. 

NOTE: I didn't mention anything about Peace, Prosperity or Comfort - because although they are very nice, they are at best a means to an end - and, lacking RLS, the country/ society/ culture lacks meaning, purpose or genuine relationships - so PP&C are merely ephemeral epiphenomena.

This analysis gives a very different result from the kind of survey which focus upon stats derived from the likes of Longevity, Health, Economics, Political systems, Crime, Violence, Education, Innovation etc.

Freedom is not in choosing, it is in seeing the irrelevance of choice - from William Arkle

We have a certain amount of freedom of choice, but we are in a situation where we do not necessarily gain what we want by using this freedom. Rather do we profit best by sensing which are the sweet apples and which are the sour apples, and accepting the fact that we have no control over what is in the baskets.

At the moment our idea of freedom is the ability to make ourselves miserable and ill by eating all the apples in the first basket we choose. We don't like people to think we have made a mistake, and we feel that to possess and to consume a larger number of apples than other people is a measure of our success and intrinsic worth.

But freedom is far more subtle than that, for it involves the ability to choose that which is most fitting for the nature we possess and the situation in which we find ourselves.

Since we typically hardly concern ourselves with what we are, or what the significance of the universe is, it is not surprising that our concept of freedom is nothing more than a tribulation to us, and a mockery of our potential responsibility and aspiration. So not only is it virtually impossible for us to have freedom of motivation, or as people call it 'free will', but neither is there any particular point in possessing it, since it will not bring us to what we really want, but only bring us to what we think we want, or what we think we should want.

The little motivation we have should all be concentrated on the very light touch necessary to manipulate the helm of our ship.

We must realise that our job here is to learn to sail our ship well; then, and only then, to make a journey in it. We do not control the wind or the water and it does little good to pretend to be a type of boat which we are not. We must take a good look at our ship and our sails for they are already there. We must study the wind and the sea and learn to use them to move about safely and efficiently. We must ask and seek to know what lands are at hand, and we must decide which are the most favourable to the capability of our craft and the direction of the wind and state of the sea and visibility. We must record of how much food we can take and how well we can sail. By the time we have done all this, there will be no 'choice'!

To make a journey in a craft which we cannot handle to a destination we are not in a position to reach, just for the sake of feeling we have made a free choice, is a form of insanity which we are all inclined to indulge in, but which has no place in the scheme of things. The sooner we understand this the better, and it will save us the time and energy we waste in talking about freedom; for what we are really doing is trying to avoid the experience and understanding which is beyond the verbal level and beyond the level of prestige and self satisfaction.

This is the poetic and intuitive consciousness which enables us to begin to have a true knowledge of what is. After we have achieved this consciousness, the idea of freedom of choice or freedom of motivation no longer concerns us, because we will be too busy living our true nature.

What freedom of choice really means - how we should understand the matter - is as the ability we must develop to sense the whole of the situation in which we are involved, both in our own nature and in the world around us, and then to take the best course available.

Then we will recognise that real freedom is not in choosing, it is in seeing the irrelevance of choice.

Edited from the end of the chapter 'Conditioning Factors', in A Geography of Consciousness by William Arkle (1974)

We cannot be free unless we have "the ability to choose that which is most fitting for the nature we possess and the situation in which we find ourselves." This includes the matter of what I term living from our True Self - because a very big problem for modern people is that they cannot be free because they do not know themselves - they merely know a constellation of false selves which are partly adopted (eg. for increasing efficiency at work, the 'hardening' used to cope with an alien and hostile environment) and partly imposed (by the mass media, including advertising; and propaganda from many sources including the arts and entertainment). 

If a typical modern person tries to be 'free' , he will typically be freeing, trying to develop, some kind of created and constructed fake-identity - which is likely to do more harm than good. Hence the failure of 'self-realisation' movements in modern secular culture. 

For example, in a culture where everybody is not just a fake but a whole constellation of contradictory fakes, self-realisation typically leads to nothing higher or better than a life of impulsive, short-termism and self-indulgence - such as sexual promiscuity, increased drug and alcohol usage, declining personal hygiene, sponging and tantrums. 

As nearly always, the difficulty of improving our selves and our condition involves at least tow, more-or-less simultaneous, moves: find our true selves and discover the truth of our essential situation (which is a matter of transforming our basic assumptions and explanations). 

But only if both these can be done, can we know what we ought to do in our lives. Lacking such knowledge, we will not do what we ought; but with such knowledge then there are not multiple lifestyle 'options', there is only the 'choice' of walking our destined, optimal, best path - or not.  

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

'Thirty' white horses on a red hill? The insoluble riddle

In The Hobbit chapter Riddles in the dark, Bilbo asks Gollum the riddle

Thirty white horses on a red hill, 
First they champ, 
Then they stamp, 
Then they stand still.

But people have thirty-two teeth, assuming there is a full set - and not 'thirty'!

Indeed, it would be unlikely to have thirty teeth, since the number is not divisible by four, which means that two of the teeth would (presumably, if the upper and lower jaws have the same kind of teeth) be unopposed and bite onto gum.

Interestingly, this error was missed in The Annotated Hobbit by Douglas A Anderson (2002). although I noticed, and was puzzled by, it decades ago (and plenty of other people on the internet have noticed the discrepancy).

Therefore, the riddle is - strictly, insoluble - unless we allow for congenital abnormality, dental surgery, or traumatic loss (of lesser severity than that which led to Gollum having 'only six' teeth)...

Note: I should clarify that Tolkien didn't invent this riddle - which is 'traditional'; as are most of theother riddles in this chapter.

Why are They trying so hard to terrify us? Manipulation of modern populations through extreme fear: strategic induction of appeasement and tonic immobility

If I am reading the current situation correctly; They (that is The Establishment; that is the global conspiracy led by demonic forced of evil, and those humans possessed by them, and their enslaved or servile helpers) are responding to the current potential awakening of Men with a strategy of terrifying, terrorising, Western populations.

Q: What do they hope to achieve? A: Such an extremity of daily fear that the mass of the population switch to appeasement of that which is feared; or become psychologically-frozen with overwhelming anxiety.

These states of appeasement and 'tonic immobility' are described in an important overview of the evolutionary aspects of anxiety from a New Zealand psychiatrist called Chris Cantor - which I excerpt below.


The take home message, is that when anxiety becomes overwhelming and is perceived to be inescapable, then behaviours result which seem superficially paradoxical. An example of appeasement is when a kidnap, or torture, victim gives up hope and befriends, defends, worships the person or group who are tormenting them (e.g. Stockholm Syndrome). An example of tonic immobility is when rabbits confronted by a predator almost upon-them will freeze instead of fleeing and accepts the will of the predator - this may be part of a 'dissociation' state in which animals become insensitive to pain - because the body expects agony, the 'mind' becomes detached from the body.

The reason I believe that modern Western populations are being systematically 'groomed' for appeasement and immobility is that on the one hand the Establishment is working (mostly behind the scenes, and deniably) to encourage ever-more acts of terror all over the place - and of implementing 'responses' which both fail to stop the terror (and punishing those who might stop the terror) while themselves increasing awareness of terror; and also lyingly refusing ever to join-the-dots (that is Conspiract Theory Wingnuttery!) and thereby claiming that atrocities are 'random' - inexplicable, unmotivated, by 'normal people' same as you and me - and therefore dishonestly implying that terror atrocities could (and will) be done by anybody, happen to anybody, at any time or place.

Fear is thereby channelled into being pervasive, extreme and inescapable; and the response to such fear is usually appeasement of that which is feared; or an anaesthetic state of passive acceptance of the worst.

Perfect! Job done! Self-chosen damnation en masse!


The answer?

No matter what happens: Do Not Fear.

Rise above it. Take the eternal perspective, proper to an immortal soul.

Know that you are ultimately untouchable by any evil the world can throw at you - unless you choose to invite it into your soul and accept it at its own evaluation.

Recall that the creator of everything is your loving Father, and no matter what you have done up to now, you will be washed clean and given a fresh start merely by acknowledging the goodness, truth and beauty of his plan for our salvation and raising to be Sons and Daughter of divinity.

Each individual who refuses to fear, but trusts in eternal hope, will sabotage to a significant extent the demonic plan - enough such people will defeat the terror plan altogether by irresistible yet unseen causes.  


Abstract from - Chris Cantor. Post-traumatic stress disorder: evolutionary perspectives. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 2009; 43: 1038-1048 http://anp.sagepub.com/content/43/11/1038.full 

Fear is the key emotion of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Fear's evolved function is motivating survival via defensive behaviours. Defensive behaviours have been highly conserved throughout mammalian species; hence much may be learned from ethology. Predation pressure drove the early evolution of defences, laying foundations in the more ancient brain structures. Conspecific (same species) pressure has been a more recent evolutionary influence, but along with environmental threats it has dominated PTSD research. Anti-predator responses involve both avoiding a predator's sensory field and avoiding detection if within it, as well as escape behaviours. More effective avoidance results in less need for escape behaviours, suggesting that avoidance is biologically distinct from flight. Recognizing the predation, environmental and conspecific origins of defence may result in clearer definition of PTSD phenomena. Defence can also be viewed in the stages of no threat, potential threat, encounter and circa strike. Specific defences are used sequentially and according to contexts, loosely in the order: avoidance, attentive immobility, withdrawal, aggressive defence, appeasement and tonic immobility. The DSM-IV criteria and PTSD research show substantial congruence with the model proposed: that PTSD is a disorder of heightened defence involving six key defences used in conjunction with vigilance and risk assessment according to contexts. Human research is reviewed in this respect with reference to laboratory and wild animal observations providing new insights. Understanding individual perceptual issues (e.g. predictability and controllability) relevant to these phenomena, combined with defence strategy recalibration and neuronal plasticity research goes some way to explaining why some traumatized individuals develop PTSD when others do not. 



Cantor and Price recently published in this Journal a detailed review of appeasement reactions, providing animal and human observations suggesting that appeasement is the foundation of complex PTSD [13], and so I only make brief mention of it here. Appeasement's association with conspecifics suggests a more recent triune brain heritage than defences evolving from predation. De-escalation is one of appeasement's core functions [45]. Defeated primates have been observed to retreat, only to return to the dominant conspecific and protest until signals of acceptance are elicited, a phenomenon known as ‘reverted escape’ [46]. It involves flight to the source of the threat. The dominant may engage in further coercion, with the subordinate responding with more appeasement, reinforcing their social bond with due recognition of status. This is commonly observed with abused spouses and children [13]. From an evolutionary perspective subordinates often have to maintain group membership for survival, and dominants need to maintain group cohesion. A specific traumatic context, traumatic defeat plus an inescapable relationship with a dominant oppressor, resulting in specific PTSD symptoms, suggests that PTSD research may benefit from greater consideration of contexts: predator, conspecific and environmental, combined with other contextual characteristics. This might lead to greater understandability and predictability of treatment responses. It contrasts with a general malfunctioning disease-based approach. ‘PTSD’ may be better viewed as the ‘PTSDs’ (plural).

Tonic immobility

Tonic immobility is the final defence in the chain of anti-predator responses: nature has one last desperate measure [47]. It is widely represented throughout the animal world in insects, crustaceans, fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds [27,31]. It arises in situations of immediate ‘predatory imminence’ (and its conspecific or environmental counterparts). It is an involuntary state of profound motor inhibition despite fully preserved consciousness, activated by extreme fear, perceived inescapable circumstances, usually involving an obviously more powerful predator or conspecific [3,48]. In animals it usually involves restraint. On termination of tonic immobility sudden recovery and flight may occur but this is neither as precipitous nor as reliable as that following attentive immobility [10]. Tonic immobility may persist beyond release [27] and in chickens has been observed to last up to 5¾ h [49]. It may promote survival through inhibition of predator killing reflexes, confusion of predators, deterrence through raising the possibility of diseased dead meat and lowering of blood pressure, which reduces blood loss from injuries [3,31]. With conspecifics its submissive aspects may serve also as appeasement to deter more serious assault. During tonic immobility animals remain largely unresponsive to external stimuli. The immobility involves either muscular hypo- or hyper-tonicity, waxy flexibility, suppression of vocal behaviour, intermittent eye closure, parkinsonian-like tremors with changes in heart rate, decreased temperature, increased respiratory rate and electrocardiogram changes [27,49,50]. Experimental pre-induction shocks stimulating fear and/or adrenalin injections can greatly extend tonic immobility, whereas increasing familiarity with the threat decreases it. Waxy flexibility in combat victims presenting with tonic immobility may be misdiagnosed as psychotic catatonia [51]. There are many similarities and differences between tonic immobility and catatonia [52]. Tonic immobility evolved as a fear response for present threats. With humans such responses may be activated by fear but maintained by a cognitive focus on potential (i.e. future) threats, with those threats remaining undetected, resulting in a protracted state of immobility commonly described as catatonic stupor. The linkage of catatonia with defence against ill-defined threats is further supported by catatonic excitement being associated with undirected assaultativeness. Some conversion reactions may reflect animal defence behaviours [12,53]. Accounts of the immobility involved in World War I shell shock are often difficult to differentiate between catatonia, conversion or tonic immobility. Some support for this arises from neurophysiological findings of hyperactive monitoring during motor-initiating decisions in subjects with conversion paresis of one arm [54]. In contemporary humans tonic immobility is commonly experienced with conspecific encounters in rape-induced paralysis [27,30,55]. A total of 37% of 35 rape victims were found to have experienced tonic immobility [56]. It also has been found in victims of other sexual abuse and some non-sexual violence. Heidt et al. found that 52% of women with histories of childhood sexual abuse reported tonic immobility in response to the abuse [57]. Older perpetrators and greater age differentials (suggesting perceived inescapability) between the abusers and children were both associated with greater tonic immobility, which was associated with greater distress, peritraumatic dissociation, depression, anxiety and PTSD. Similarly, 41.7% of survivors of adult sexual assault reported significant immobility during their most recent assault, and 10.4% reported extreme immobility [58]. Rape victims may be insensitive to pain during tonic immobility [27]. Tonic immobility may be a key determinant of PTSD outcome following sexual assault. Tonic immobility was found to partially mediate the relationship between fear and both overall PTSD symptom severity and PTSD avoidance/numbing [49]. Further, the relationship between perceived inescapability and PTSD symptom severity and avoidance/numbing was fully mediated by tonic immobility. No relationship was found between tonic immobility and hyperarousal symptoms, suggesting that, like appeasement, tonic immobility may generate specific PTSD symptomatology and that tonic immobility-driven PTSD may be less responsive to arousal-lowering treatments. Non-sexual conspecific assaults have also involved tonic immobility, with 43% of victims of urban violence reporting peritraumatic tonic immobility, which emerged as a marker for poorer responses to psychotropics [59]. Tonic immobility, but not dissociation or panic, predicted PTSD symptom severity after controlling for potential confounders in urban violence victims [60]. The preservation of awareness with an inability to voluntarily respond implies dissociation [3]. Depersonalization (detachment from self) but not derealization (detachment from environment) was found to be associated with tonic immobility, but the reverse occurred with fear [58]. This fits with depersonalization having an internal focus on why one is not responding, whereas in derealization the focus is more external. Dissociative identity disorder patients often become immobile, enter trance-like states and report out-of-body experiences or dissociative amnesia [30]. While tonic immobility is not associated with all types of dissociation, might there be a subtype of dissociation specific to tonic immobility?

But is it cricket? Renaming and repurposing as subversive strategies

Things change, and evolve, and sometimes - at some point - we have to say that they have become something different; even if they retain the same name.

Cricket evolved, and fused with rounders, to become baseball - and got a different name (justified, in this instance). Cricket evolved, and became T20 - and kept the name (which also, overall seems right... but moving towards the edge of plausibility).

In the modern world, where managers have taken-over from do-ers, there are two managerial trends - one is to rename things despite the fact they stay the same, and the other is to keep the name but obliterate what used to go by that name and do something almost-completely different.

Both are, of course, covertly motivated by the desire to destroy and disorientate everything and everybody.

In Britain many of the counties were renamed in the 1970s - names that went back to medieval, or even earlier, times were obliterated and replaced. In Scotland, Clackmannashire - named after a Celtic tribe - was renamed... Central Region. At a lower level, it is standard routine for bureaucrats to rename organisations - new signs, logos, letterheads etc.

Renaming is nearly always a sign of an organisation succumbing to BS management - the modern European Union is an exemplar, having begun as the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community.

Schools and Colleges that change their names are typically those that have decided to invest in PR rather than substance. Also school 'pupils' are now renamed 'students' by the media, even in the early teens - whereas until a dozen years ago this referred only to those in higher education.

(For all that , the names are often indicative of the true nature of what is going on. When the EEC became the EU is was a signal of aiming at a single totalitarian Euro state. And all the British places re-named 'Mandela' (after either Nelson, or his egregious wife) during the 1980s and 90s were a solid sign of Political Correctness and Leftist subversion/ inversion becoming The Establishment.)

Among Schools, Colleges and Universities; there has been a hollowing-out and near-complete replacement of what these institutions actually do; the same applies to science, medicine, law, the police... the phenomenon is very general, almost universal.

It is most obvious in 'charities' - where the trend has been for all national, wealthy charities to become almost-completely Left Wing lobbying and activist groups, with just a 'front' of their former functions kept-going. Oxfam was originally an Oxford-based organisation for providing famine-relief, 'Barnados' used to run orphanages, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds used to... protect birds, the Salvation Army used to be a Christian denomination. The Army Benevolent Fund used to assist wounded soldiers until shortly before it was renamed The Soldier's Charity...

But these and all other major national charities are now 'NGOs' - whose (astonishingly well-paid) leaderships are part of the we of The Establishment, and dedicated to the strategic and incremental demoralisation and self-damnation of humankind.

We live in a public world in which 'nothing is what it seems' - at least at the level of what gets into the mass media and official communications.

Yet to notice such obvious facts, is supposed to be cynical, negative and paranoid; despite that cynicism, negativity and paranoia in other contexts are the favoured modern attitudes; assiduously propagated by the mass media.

And many of these things are designed to create a background and continual state of angst and fear among the populace - a low-level of consciousness, a short-termist and reactive survivalism. 

Let us not, then, dwell upon such matters - but simply accept that this is how things actually are (no point in trying to persuade other people who don't want to know); personally ignore and reject the official and media agendas on the basis that they are always false in some important way - and get on with making ourselves more spiritual and religious people (people who who don't depend on being fed the agenda, who are not addicted to the day's talking-points); and deal with the stuff we actually believe to be important, and know from personal intuition and experience amplified with common sense.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

The 'sacred landscape' of England is the opposite of geometric!

We took a rail trip out to Hexham yesterday - a favourite place. The Abbey, in an earlier version built by St Wilfrid during Northumbria's 'golden age' was once the largest building in Europe, north of the Alps.

The views of the River Tyne and its valley, seen from the train window, are evidence of the wonderful strength of beauty that remains, waiting; and it is delightful that the buskers (i.e. street musicians - a melodeon player in one place, and two fiddlers in another) were playing folk music - including this (first) tune:

Anyway, as I travelled out I was reading a collection of John Michell's essays (Writings and rants of a radical traditionalist - recommended by this site's sometime guest blogger John Fitzgerald: Thanks!) - and reflecting on Michell's popularisation of the idea of the sacred landscape of Britain.

But Michell was a 'geomancer' and described the sacred landscape in terms of straight tracks, roads and Ley Lines of energy force - the ancient sites along along such alignments - and the detailed geometric/ astronomically-oriented  diagrams of monuments such as Stonehenge - this kind of thing:

Michell also painted geometric designs, e.g.:

But, I am struck by exactly the opposite!

That the sacred landscape of England - in large and in microcosm is extremely irregular, asymmetric and un-geometric - and this applies to Neolithic/ Bronze Age - Celtic or Anglo Saxon designs, sites, roads etc - I see little in the way of straight lines, sharp points, repeating patterns:

So, although I am pleased that John Michell drew attention to the subject of sacred landscape - I feel he was barking up the wrong tree in discussing it in terms of geometry and numerology.

This would, indeed, be appropriate to somewhere like Ancient Egypt, with its stereotypical obelisks, pyramids, right-angles - sharp edges, smoothed and polished stone - all silhouetted against a plain blue sky...

But England is all mists, rugged rocks, and wavy lines - it was an English painter (Hogarth) who said the line of beauty was a curve - and English literature prizes its array of unique characters (not 'representative' 'types') which fill Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dickens... Harry Potter.

John Michell was a Christianised (but not actually Christian) Platonist - with a strong element of the Pythagorean number mystic. This is alien to my temperament! - I find it a mystery why anyone would want to 'explain' spiritual beauty with mathematics!

Why would so many people want so much to describe everything as ultimately a matter of geometric shapes, or of 'fractals'!

Yet to regard mathematics as the underlying truth or reality - the archetypal world of 'forms' - is a deep and powerful urge among many, probably most, Western intellectuals since Ancient Greek times. So they see nothing absurd or contrived about covering the British landscape with abstract lines, angles and shapes drawn on maps, and aligned.

Although I reject this approach, I don't have any equally comprehensible and depict-able alternative for the sacred landscape - so me it is a miracle of intuitively sensed but undescribable rightness - like an unique character from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales or Shakespeare's plays, the 'design' can be shown and felt, but not made into a formula.