Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 retrospective

Baahubali I and his bow-toting GF out-Legolasing Legolas 

I shan't wish you a nappy NY because I have an aversion to that pseudo-celebration about which I have blogged before - yet I do get caught-up in the brooding and summarising - so what has happened? 

1. Contrary to expectations, I am still blogging, at the same old rate of about one and a half posts per day.

2. This was a year in which I reached a further and deeper appreciation of the work of Owen Barfield - supplemented by a full engagement with Rudolf Steiner's early philosophy - culminating in a formulation of primary thinking which I have found helpful indeed.

3. One of the best events was a really enjoyable visit to William Arkle's son, Nick (and his wife Tara) which was a tremendous help in clarifying my understanding of the philosopher's life and character - discovering Nick's new Facebook pages on his Father's art works plus many personal photos was a very powerful experience.

4. 2017 was the year in which I listened to eleven volumes (1-8 and 12-14) of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time on audiobook - about 500 hours of listening... I got a great deal of enjoyment from it, and was several times moved to tears - although I would have to regard it as a Fantasy serial-by-instalments, rather than any kind of 'novel'. There was a sense of stringing-it-out as the series progressed, which is why I skipped the final three Jordan-solo volumes to get to the Brandon Sanderson completion. I can't regard the ending as very satisfying, since it seemed to go on forever (the Last Battle lasting many hundreds of pages, and the need to finish-off the arcs of dozens of character and plot threads becoming rather tedious to me). Still, I am glad to have 'read' it, and it was a good experience to live in that fascinating world for an hour or two a day.

5. The British Establishment/ secular Leftism/ the demonic agenda resumed normal service after the scare of Brexit was neutralised. Partly as a consequence of this - as well as Barfield/ Steiner - I got a clearer understanding of the nature of the prevailing and increasing totalitarianism; and how I personally should respond to it.

6. The main lesson of the year is to reinforce that the most important thing is metaphysics: to examine our primary assumptions; because they are what is dooming us.

7. A wholehearted recommendation is to watch the two-part Bollywood epic fantasy movie Baahubali - which is tremendously inventive and enjoyable: a kind of Indian version of the Lord of the Rings films. The battles are remarkable: hundreds upon hundreds of people get killed - but never in the same way twice! There is beauty, humour, love and a mythic feel - plus a tremendous amount of corny-ness, absurdity, and a nearly-total lack of restraint.

Thinking inside a remote-controlled robot suit: a thought experiment

If we consider life as thinking and acting (thought versus action) - it is vital to recognise that thinking comes first. Indeed Primary Thinking (a particular type of thinking) is the main task of our era.

Yet pretty much all social and legal interpretation is against this; and Christians are also very much at fault in regarding a persons actions as of first importance, even when it comes to spiritual matters - ignoring thinking.

Thinking comes first in reality, because thinking is potentially free; whereas action is always, and often heavily, constrained. We can think, from our real-divine selves - in absolute freedom; but this can never be the case for our acting.

Thinking may be free: but acting is always constrained.

As a thought experiment, consider life in a remote-controlled robot suit: an 'exoskeleton' or 'mech suit' - so we dwell inside a metal shell that is being compelled to do things by a remote-control mechanism.

Imagine being inside this shell - thinking freely about the world, understanding in some ways, and wanting to act in some ways - yet our actions, our limb movements - what we do - is being compelled by the robot suit (and whoever controls it).

So, we are constantly observing our bodies doing things we do not want to do, under compulsion of the robot suit. 

Inside this shell we can think freely - but our limbs are (mostly) being forced, by the superior strength of the robot suit, into doing things that are not chosen by us - but are compelled on us.

However, to be more accurate, we should regard the power of the robot suit to be greater than our own muscular strength - but only quantitatively greater - because it is sometimes possible for us to resist and even overcome the robot suit for some period of time - by exerting all our muscular strength against it. However, this overcoming the suit is exhausting, and therefore sooner or later we will tire and the robot suit will again take-over...

Thus our situation is that on the one hand we are compelled to act in specific ways by the external control of the suit; yet on the other hand we can sometimes force the suit to act in ways that our free-thinking desires.

This combination of freedom and constraint may then be used-against-us; if our thoughts are judged by our actions - from the correct fact that actions are visible while thoughts are not; plus the false assertion that, because we can sometimes act as we think, then we could (in principle) always act as we think...

So people whose thoughts are detached from their actions, but not wholly detached, are treated as if their actions are of first importance, and their 'real' thoughts can be inferred from their observed actions.

This is deadly: because instead of thought being free and knowingly-experienced as free - thought becomes regarded as constrained by action.

And if/ when a society can (mostly) compel action (like a robot suit compels action), then society can claim to control thoughts - because thoughts are (in practice) being assumed by inference from actions; thoughts are being regarded as secondary, to the point of irrelevance...

Society puts us in a robot suit, which externally-forces us to do this-and-that - then society tells us that we chose to do this-and-that! That we wanted to do this-and-that. That what we did and continue to do is the real us... 

The analogy in this thought experiment is that living in human society is like being encased in a robot suit - our actions are mostly compelled; but by exerting maximum effort and concentration we can sometimes briefly overcome this compulsion; and either refuse to act or - even more rarely and for lesser periods of time - overcome the suit and act against the compulsion.

Different people find themselves in different types of robot suit, with different compulsions at work - these correspond to our different bodies and personalities and the different social and political circumstances in which we find ourselves.

So our exoskeletal robot suit has different strength, robustness, intelligence, different ways of understanding and behaving, and is externally operated by very different compulsions - according to time and place.

This is our situation. We may have the intuitive insight that our thinking is of first relevance and our actions are being compelled - but 'other people' and the rules and assumptions of social institutions are judging us by our actions.

And this even applies to many Christian churches for much of the time. We may repent in our thought world... But our repentance is judged by changes in the behaviour of the robot suit - and that suit does not reflect our own Primary Thinking.

Indeed we mostly have a very imperfect degree of control of the suit, and the suit frequently forces us to do things we do not want to do... We try to resist it, but we get tired and distracted, and sooner or later, the suit takes-over again...

While we focus our efforts on forcing the suit to perform one particular action, we find that another part of the suit is being remotely-controlled to do something against our wishes. So while we effortfully-compel the suit-hand to stroke a dog, we realise the suit-foot is meanwhile kicking that dog...

The purpose of this thought experiment is to remind us that in an ultimate sense the most important things that happen in our lives are happening in thought, not action; and that the understandable tendency to focus on actions as 'evidence' of thinking can be deeply malign - especially if we ourselves come to believe it.

When that happens; we may come to believe that repentance means nothing unless it is revealed in action, in a change of life. And then to believe that that repentance in thought - as an act of thinking - is, of itself, worthless...

If, then, the robot suit cannot be compelled in practice fully to act-out our thought-repentance, then we may be convinced that the repentance was unreal merely because consistent reform of our actions was not possible...

In sum, societal control of actions has been metaphysically (i.e. by assumption) represented as societal control of thought. In truth; the robot suit of our our charecter, bodies and society cannot ever fully-control thinking. But if we allow ourselves to be convinced by this action-over-thinking metaphysics, we will find that we cannot repent unless society wills it! - and our society does not will it...

By granting primacy to action over thought, Christian repentance is lost to us; the robot suit (and its remote-controllers) take charge; and our damnation is assured.

Note: Imagine the situation of the above-illustrated soldier. The 'exoskeleton' might serve as a strength enhancement for much of the time; but that soldier's movements and actions could in principle, to greater or lesser degrees, be influenced or taken-over by a remote operator. Such a soldier could not be judged by his actions - but only by his thoughts.

Another Note: The above was prompted by what I regard as a major method of corruption in the modern West; which is, by one means or another - often sexual but there are many possibilities - to induce a young person to some sinful act or another under the understanding that having performed this action defines them. Repentance is ruled-out since anything less than 100 percent perfection of behaviour (i.e. of action) is regarded as insincere and hypocritical. Yet perfection is unattainable - for everyone, but especially so for adolescents. In such a society it is vital to regard the autonomous divine thinking self (our thinking self at its best and highest and purest) as the real and defining self.


Saturday, 30 December 2017

Certainty, like happiness, is meant to be a temporary state

Certainty is a chimera - in the sense that we cannot long be consciously certain. The consciousness dissipates the certainty: on reflection, certainty turns to smoke...

As children we are certain only because we are un-conscious - as soon as self-awareness begins to emerge, then so does uncertainty.

It is one of those things that simply formulating the question 'are you certain' leads to only one answer - that we are not certain: not absolutely 100 percent certain... We are not certain for every moment of every day, in all possible conditions...

In this mortal life, certainty is indeed attainable but only for our best 'moments' - because we are here to learn (the main purpose of sustained mortal life is learning) - and certainty is a motivation and a temporary reward for learning.

But it would be bad for any of us to get stuck passively 'basking in certainty', because there is always more for us to learn. Thus the conviction of certainty always subsides, and we return to striving...

In this sense, certainty is like happiness - it is intended to motivate us, and reward us - but not to be a steady state of being.

Indeed, it might be said that certainty is a form of happiness...

Friday, 29 December 2017

Geoffrey of Monmouth - Hero of Albion!

Two (fanciful) depictions of Geoffrey of Monmouth (c. 1100 – c. 1155) - Who should be regarded, or so I suggest, as perhaps the greatest historian of true-Britain - that is, of Albion...

The wrongness of consensus (and statistics) for establishing the truth

Something I learned early in science (and the same applies in all genuine scholarship) is that consensus is not truth; indeed, most often, the consensus is sure to be wrong. The same, and for ultimately the same reason, applies to the use of statistics.

When individual scientists disagree this is likely to be because they differ in things like ability, motivation, knowledge and honesty. The scientist most-likely to be correct in the one that excels in such characteristics. By taking a consensus of scholarship what is actually happening is that the best information is being obscured by worse information.

This can be seen in statistics, which is based upon averaging. Averaging takes the best data points and weights them with worse data points: data lower in (some dimension of) quality.

For example, in the egregious technique of meta-analysis, if there happen to be any really good studies (eg conducted by scientists that excel in ability, motivation, knowledge and honesty etc) then these will be combined with worse studies that will surely impair, obscure or perhaps even reverse their conclusions.

The correct mode of scholarship is to evaluate the work of each scholar (including each scientist) as a qualitatively distinct unit. Anything which obscures or over-rides this fact is a corruption - whether  that is some consensus mechanisms, or a 'consensus of data-points' - i.e. statistics.

See also: and its references

Note: Consensus and statistics alike have become dominant in research ("science") as the subject first professionalised, then expanded its personnel a-hundredfold; partly because modern "scientists" areby-now merely careerist bureaucrats: wrongly-motivated, incompetent and dishonest, who know-no-better (and care less). And partly because by such means the 99% non-real-scientists are thereby able to participate in the process, instead of being utterly ignored and irrelevant - as they deserve.

The Red Pill must indeed be A Pill (metaphorically)

In The Matrix movie (1999) there is a literal Red Pill by means of which individuals may wake-up from the fake-reality that surrrounds them and perceive the real-reality:

In the movie, the Red Pill offers truth at the price of suffering while the Blue Pill offers pleasant illusion... however this is only superficially accurate.

In real life, the Blue Pill offers nihilistic despair palliated by distractions.

(e.g. A life without purpose, meaning or real-relationship to anything - from-which we are distracted by mass/ social media, sex, status games, and temporary absorptions by work and leisure.)

While 'waking-up' from the controlled-dream that is modern virtual-reality will inevitably entail a short -term loss of pleasure; in fact the Red Pill operates as something more like a euphoriant; a euphoriant whose deep happiness is only delayed by the delay of 'absorption'.

(i.e. Life after the Red Pill is happier than life before the Red Pill; the awakened are happier than the dreamers... but there is a delay.)

The Red Pill must be a 'pill', because otherwise it will not work. In other words, we need to take-in the cure at a single gulp.

Like most effective pills, the Red Pill does more-than-one-thing - yet the medicine must be simple enough that it can be taken all-at-once.

Why? Because the evil pseudo-reality of The Matrix has several vital components - and The Matrix survives because if only one accepted-falsehood is destroyed, then the other accepted-falsehoods allow The Matrix to heal.

Thus, if we challenge only one aspect of the falsehood, while continuing to accept another falsehood, then we are still living in falsehood. Only when all of the foundational falsehoods are challenged simultaneously can we escape the Matrix...

The cure for The Matrix is therefore a single pill. The pill needs to have more than one action, more than one component - but these must all be taken together, must all act simultaneously.

Therefore, the components of the Red Pill must be very carefully selected - as few as possible (to fit them all into a single pill) but as many as necessary (for the pill to have a permanent effect).

There are many Red Pills on offer - and it seems that the usual effect is to return the taker to The Matrix but with the illusion that they have escaped it. These are the most dangerous 'Red Pills'; perhaps the only truly dangerous Red Pills - Fake Red Pills merely offer novel distractions but leave The Matrix intact - and safe.

(Those who talk most about themselves having-been Red-Pilled are examples of 'false-awakening': still asleep but merely dreaming that they have awoken; in-thrall to Matrix metaphysics of materialism, scientism, positivism; more-deeply engaged-by the distractions of The Matrix.)

However there are some Red Pills that have worked for some people - but their composition seems to vary...

So - in practice we do not know what is really a Red Pill until it has already-done its work; and even then, it is hard to know whether it really has worked without direct knowledge of that specific person.

In the end, to escape the chronic misery of life in The Matrix, we must self-experiment; and self-evaluate the effectiveness of each plausibly-effectual Red Pill - honestly and rigorously; and intuitively*.

(*Intuitively, because there is no valid 'evidence' outside of the assumptions of The System... What counts as evidence within The Matrix does not counts as evidence to The Awakened; and vice versa. Only that which lies outwith all systems can evaluate a system: the intuitive heart, the real-divine self...)

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Given the pervasive propaganda and thought-control - how do people know that modern life is wrong?

The basic underlying emotion in modernity is alienated despair; and modern culture is essentially a distraction from that fact: distraction mainly via the mass media, sex and intoxication - but also by careerism, consumerism, status games and the like.

But, given the totalitarian thought control of modern society - especially since the bureaucratic-managerial takeover of the modern workplace and the addiction to social media - how do people know that they are not living as they should?

Why are people not just used-to, accepting-of modern conditions? Why aren't they satisfied by a life of regimented distraction? How do people know there exists a better possibility than is on offer in The Matrix? 

There are two main contradictory experiences that point beyond what we have. The first is early childhood.

In early childhood we experience what Owen Barfield called Original Participation - that is the immersive experience of being a part of the world, and the world being alive and conscious. Some people have explicit memories of this childhood state, but everybody has an implicit memory of it.

The other experience is dreaming. Many dreams are not pleasant, most dreams are not remembered; but like childhood memories - whether explicit or implicit - in dreams we experience an unalienated existence: the dream life is meaning and purpose and relatedness to reality.

So even the most indoctrinated and enthusiastic modern person has a deep and expansive reservoir of experience that contradicts the shallowness, literalism and emotional manipulations of modernity.

Yet it is not enough - because childhood and dream states are both regressive: pointing back towards unconsciousness. This is the potential importance of imagination - that it can point forward, as a first step.

But only a first step. Imagination should be a transition towards that conscious form of intuition that I have called Primary Thinking.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Mortal life is divine-learning - Repentance is explicit divine-learning

I assume that mortal life is about learning, spiritual learning - that is, we have experiences, and therefore, if we make the right choices, opportunities to make spiritual progression towards divinity (i.e. theosis or sanctification).

I shall call this primary purpose of mortality divine-learning...

(The framework of which is that each us is incarnated into a personal situation - in time and space, with particular parents - where our lives have the greatest possibility of divine-leading to the experiences that we, personally, most need.)

But what does this 'divine-learning' mean? Well, what this learning is Not is learning in the everyday or scientific sense of observable 'behavioural-change' in mortal life. Because behavioural-change can't be what learning is about; because we humans are not designed that way, and neither is the world.

(We mortals are feeble, labile, distractible, prone to disease and sin etc. ; and our world is full of evil, temptations, sufferings and distractions (as well as love and creativity). Therefore, unless God is incompetent - which as creator he is not, then Christians (who acknowledge God the creator as wholly Good, and our Father) need to assume that this is (on the whole) the kind of world we need.)

Divine-learning - that learning from Life that you and I are living for - is about something much more than mere behavioural change; it is about a real, permanent... indeed eternal and spiritual change. The learning of our mortal life is designed to benefit our eternal life.

Divine-learning = Positive spiritually-progressing change that affects that which is eternal in us, lasting forever, beyond our mortal death.  

Thus, when we (mortal incarnate Men) learn in this divine sense; it entails a change in reality.

It is repentance (a gift made possible by Jesus) that makes this learning possible.

(Before Jesus - repentance was not possible; without Jesus, repentance would not be possible - thanks to Jesus, repentance became always possible for everybody and anybody - including those who lived before Jesus.)

But what is repentance? - in this ultimate sense of divine-learning which goes far beyond observable mortal behavioural change?...

Repentance was a gift of Jesus - his incarnation, death and resurrection. By repentance, Jesus brought-in the change that from-now-on Men would not only learn passively and unconsciously (like young children)... but in the new dispensation that Christ initiated, our learning would be self-active, conscious, explicit to our-selves.

And this is repentance; repentance is actively learning from our mortal experiences, and knowing that we are learning, and knowing what we have learned. And this is what is permanent - going beyond the contingencies of the behaviours of our mortal lives.

Repentance = explicit and permanent learning from the experiences of mortal life.

Does nothing *really* matter?

Whenever I hear or read someone who has adopted an 'Eastern'-type of religion or spirituality (modelled on Zen/ Buddhism, Hinduism or the like); I feel the horror of a viewpoint that this life, this world, is illusion - temporary, insignificant in itself.

The suffering of life is hear dealt-with by denying its significance. This deals with the suffering - but at the cost of making (or trying to make) the whole business futile.

If that was the whole story, the obvious conclusion would be to get-out-of life as quickly as possible: suicide - and it is noteworthy that in the real-life Eastern religions suicide is harshly penalised (with adverse consequences beyond death) - except in specific and socially-controlled situations (such as the 'honour' of seppuku).

But in The West, lacking such social sanctions, Eastern-style religiosity is a life-draining doctrine. It saves from the horror of life, but at the lethal cost of destroying real significance in anything that could possibly happen in life. All is illusion - good, bad and indifferent alike are illusion - and all is soon washed away...

Another factor is the individual's ultimate yearning; and this may be a key. It seems to me that there are those in the world for whom the highest good they can imagine is a state of permanent bliss - with only enough self-awareness to be aware of that bliss.

For such people, the business of mortal life, in a mortal world; the business of loving 'personal relationships' in a marriage, a family, a deep friendship; the business of creativity... all such businesses fail to interest, satisfy, inspire...

For such people; even if they were 100 percent sure of the creation of God the Father and the reality of the promises of Jesus Christ; 100% sure of the reality of the Christian Heaven and of living in a personal and loving relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ; even if (for Mormon Christians) they were sure of eternal celestial marriage, of living and growing and developing towards divinity in eternal families...

Even if all this was known to be true and as represented - the problem would remain that such people do not like or want such things. They do not want love, creativity, or 'other people'... They simply want eternal impersonal unaware bliss.

For such people, mortal life really is understood to be a waste of time and effort - the sufferings cannot possibly be compensated by anything good that might happen - they want out of life; and the only thing that stops them is fear that this will make matters even worse.

As I am a Christian who values (some) other people, love, and creation - these things do matter more than anything to me; but I can understand the perspective from which they do not - and that some people really want nothing more from reality than a pleasing state of permanent-opt-out. And I presume that Heavenly Father has made provision for this desire - perhaps many such spirits have been incarnated into Eastern countries for such reasons...

However, a perhaps-surprising number of self-identified Christians have a perspective on this-world which is not much different from the Eastern view described above - with an almost-wholly negative view of life, and an aspiration for the after-life which is hardly-distinguishable from that 'static' state of Nirvana I described above.

This is perhaps mainly due to the 'Platonic' metaphysical framework of many mainstream Christians (strong since the very early years of Christianity, imported from pre-Christian Roman paganism) that sees post-mortal life in Heaven as perfection, permanence and reality; in contrast to earthly mortal life which is ultimately corrupt and changing and therefore unreal. Platonic Christianity may therefore become, in practice, very similar to Eastern religions - especially in its monastic and contemplative forms (which tend to be the most highly valued in this type of Christianity).

My understanding is that Christians need a metaphysics which values this world, which values it positively - and not merely in terms of avoiding damnation, and which regards at least some aspects of our mortal life as of permanent significance; indeed of permanent reality.

And these aspects are exactly what potentially gives absolute, positive and eternal value to mortal life.

And the fact that our bodies will die and the earth itself is impermanent does not affect that fact.

If Heaven is seen in terms of being like these most significant experiences aspects of mortal life - then the experiences of Christian Heaven are to-do-with Love as an eternally creative, growing,  developing and unfolding relationship between persons. This is the essence of creation - creation is personal.

(Persons including fully-divine persons as well as Men - and the rest of the world is seen as alive and conscious and relate-able: in Heaven there are no 'things'.)

For me; the experiences that affect me most deeply in mortal life are seen by me as those which I  consciously know to be real and permanently valuable. This value is not a matter of memory, it is not washed away by time or age or death - it is eternal.

(How this 'works' I am not sure; but that it works I am sure.)

To answer the question 'Does nothing really matter?' The answer is that some of our life experiences do really matter - indeed, in an eternal perspective, nothing matters more than these experiences.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Five degrees of Political Correctness/ "convergence"

My basic understanding is that Political Correctness/ Secular Leftism is here-and-now pervasive in all large or powerful institutions and organisations in the developed world - in all the mainstream political groups and parties (right, left and centre, nationalist and internationalist, totalitarian and libertarian) - and in all the individual persons in positions of significant leadership and power.

Digging deeper, metaphysically this represents that major type of Positivism (aka. materialism, reductionism, scientism) that dominates the modern era (increasingly since roughly the 1600s, obvious since about 1800, dominant since the middle 1960s).

Nonetheless, although I regard the most important insight to be that the PC ideology is pervasive - there is a secondary question of degree of 'covergence' - and 'Vox Day' has come up with a thought-provoking preliminary checklist for classification

Convergence describes the degree to which an organization prioritizes social justice. There are five stages of corporate convergence:

Infiltrated. The corporation has been entered by people devoted to social justice, but they do not have any significant influence or authority within the company. Employees are hired, fired, and promoted on the basis of either merit or connections. The marketing tends to reflect the company's products and services.

Lightly Converged. The social justice infiltrators have begun to move into their preferred areas, such as Human Resources and Marketing, but they don't have any real influence over the corporation's policies or corporate strategies. The company starts to make occasional noises about "outreach" and "diversity", but doesn't actually change its employment practices. The marketing is still mostly about the company's products, but now features improbably diverse scenarios.

Moderately Converged. Social justice advocates now control Human Resources, which is used as a corporate high ground to exert influence over other departments as well as the executive team. The corporate marketing begins to devote more attention to signaling corporate virtue than selling its products. Managers are encouraged to hire diverse candidates and to stop holding low-performance employees accountable. HR begins holding mandatory awareness sessions and hiring diversity consultants. The corporation's customer service begins to go downhill.

Heavily Converged. Social justice advocates now control the corporate high ground and the strategic centers. Significant elements of the executive team and the board are devoted to social justice, often in a very public manner. Implicit hiring quotas are imposed and it becomes almost impossible to fire anyone for anything short of murder in the workplace. HR openly dictates corporate policy to employees, often without consulting the executives. The marketing materials not only signal corporate virtue, but openly advocate various social justice issues. The corporation shows indifference to its core customer base and begins to obsess over new markets that mostly exist in its imagination.

Fully Converged. The corporation devotes significant resources to social causes that have absolutely nothing to do with its core business activities. Human Resources is transformed into a full Inquisition, imposing its policies without restraint and striking fear into everyone from the Chairman of the Board on down. The CEO regularly mouths social justice platitudes in the place of corporate strategies and the marketing materials are so full of virtue-signaling and social justice advocacy that it becomes difficult to tell from them what the company actually does or sells. The corporation now shows open contempt for its customers.

This seems like an accurate classification, overall (including that there is no zero-point mentioned - because I would assert that all corporations are at least 'infiltrated').

I would have three suggestions:

1. The corporations/ organisations/ institutions I know best - UK Universities and the NHS - seem to lie in-between moderately-and heavily converged; i.e. to be moderately transitioning to heavily converged.

If this is, indeed, the commonest current state, then perhaps it should have its own category?

2. "Managers are encouraged to ... stop holding low-performance employees accountable."

This is correct in terms of accountability for employee performance in what is advertised as the institution's core business activities (products, services or whatever).

But does not seem to capture the whole picture, in the sense that my impression is that increasingly even the slightest degree of complaint, dissent or disobedience often seems to be enough to provoke sanctions from HR (legal sanctions, entrapment/ dirty tricks, and full-on psychological threats and harassment) - even when that employee contributes greatly to the core business.

So, as with most tyrannies, in the modern institution obedience to (the real) authority is the primary virtue, and disobedience the only sanctioned sin.   

3. The essence of political correctness is that it is oppositional (i.e. the Left is always, overall and strategically opposed to The Good - but what aspect of Good is being attacked varies by time and place).

'Convergence' therefore has no stable positive doctrine. No 'utopia'. By which I mean that the positive doctrines (equality, antiracism, feminism, the sexual revolution in its various aspects) are merely expedient and temporary; so that in-groups and out-groups are frequently being changed.

Therefore, in the converged corporation (as in the Soviet Union) nobody and no group is ever safe - at least, not for long. Any sometime celebrated and indulged group (e.g. The Proletariat) can later become relabelled as public enemy number one (white, male, native-born 'rednecks').

Monday, 25 December 2017

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas (JRR Tolkien's Father Christmas Letters)

Sunday, 24 December 2017

You can't be right by accident (provenance is the hallmark of reality)

A stopped clock is not right twice a day - it is never right; because it never knows it is right.

It is knowing that is everything - and knowing is a matter of provenance: that is, a matter of where the knowledge comes from - its lineage.

A distorted version of this view is common - perhaps normal - among unreflective scientists, who regard provenance in terms of 'evidence'; begging the question of what counts as evidence.

But the corruption of science shows us that what counts as evidence, what counts as correct interpretation of evidence, is part of a circularity of definition which pre-decides all questions.

This is why we cannot, nowadays, avoid explicit metaphysics. We can no longer take metaphysics for granted (that genie is out of the bottle) - nor can we pretend that evidence supersedes metaphysics (unless we are happy to accept that hermetically-sealed bureaucratic careerism really-is science).

So we can only be right on the basis of true metaphysics, true basic-assumptions - and true basic assumptions can only be known (here and now) by the direct and intuitive knowing of our divine selves.

So it is that specific provenance - direct knowing of our divine selves - which is the sole guarantor of truth.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Two basic opposite strategies for initiating primary thinking/ final participation

If you are sleepwalking the fake-dreamworld of feely-manipulated modernity... awaken, realise it is a dream -- then lucid dream the dreamworld...

Or, if you are alert but locked-into literalism, materialism, positivism (trapped in scientism = the iron-cage of bureaucracy)... overview, grasp-it-whole as a single apprehension then inuitively
evaluate the validity...

Þis kyng lay at Camylot vpon Krystmasse...

Some favourite bits of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight at Albion Awakening...

Friday, 22 December 2017

Good King Wensas...

My approximate vision of King Wensas - 'Bring me flesh! etc.'

I am one of those who remember what it was like to be a young child.

At Infant School, we were taught to sing hymns and carols 'by ear' - and almost never saw the words (and certainly not the music) written down.

It was an immersive experience to engage in singing - I was hardly aware of myself, and not aware of my own voice among the droning mass. But, although 'hardly', I was aware of myself - in an observing way that did not allow for much of an active role.

I was aware of my-self even from age five, when I began school - because I began school twice. I attended for about a month in Devon before we moved to live in Somerset - when I had to go through the business again...

Two 'first day at school' experiences in just a few weeks... This was perhaps one of the least enjoyable things of my entire life; since I did not like going to school in the first place.

The reason I recall self-awareness is The Lord's Prayer. In Devon we had apparently been taught the 1928 Prayer Book revision which changes three words - whereas in Somerset we used the original translation. I remember chanting 'Our Father who art in in Heaven' (as I had learned at my first school) - when everybody around me was saying 'which art in Heaven'. They were saying it wrong.

There was also a hymn that I had been taught using the word Jesu, when the new school was singing Jesus - and again my interesting reaction was to bellow-out the right word Jesu in face of the hundreds of others doing it wrong

(I suppose that response was unusual for a child, since most children are instinctive conformists - but the child is father to the man; and this was only the first of many times since, that I have found myself in a minority of one but with a conviction that everybody else was wrong: not myself.)

Wrt. Jesu/ Jesus: in part, mine was perhaps a primitive aesthetic response - since I recall that the word Jes-yoo sounded better in this particular hymn. This would not not surprising, since presumably using the word Jesu was a 'poetic' distortion, devised for exactly that purpose. But mostly it was because Jesu was right, because that was what I had first learned.

I can also recall a vague but ineffectual puzzlement at what I was singing. It was not unusual for us to be singing things we did not understand, so various types of nonsense based on mishearing were common.

Good King Wensas
Last looked out
On the feast of Stephen...

Those were the right words; and I was actually annoyed when (years later) somebody tried to explain about Wenceslas.

Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was crew-ell
When a poor man came inside
Gathering winter few-ooh-ell

Why, I wondered, did the poor man expect to find winter fuel indoors? I vaguely speculated he might be burning furniture.

Bring me flesh and bring me wine
Bring me pine logs hither

I pictured a bloated, boozy King Wensas greedily shouting for more than his fair share of food and drink, and using-up the scarce firewood, during this exceptionally harsh winter. The moral of this carol was - presumably - don't be like King Wensas!

Thou and I shall see him dine
When we bearthemthither

What? Who was this 'him' they were talking-about? And bearthemthither was a strange word - what could it mean?

Thus was my infant life. The world was confusing, overwhelming; and much of it was arbitrary and senseless.

Unsurprising that I clung so tenaciously to what I first learned - and in that smaller, kinder, familiar and more natural place of Devon; rather than this bigger, harsher Somerset: so full of strangers.

To hold fast to that which we first learned is a form of loyalty: Devon already had my loyalty - Somerset had yet to earn it...

And loyalty is one of the most basic tribal emotions. Once again ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny: individual development relives the evolution of society... or, actually, vice versa.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

The Artificial Intelligence agenda

The idea behind Artificial Intelligence (AI) (I mean the ultimate demonic strategy, implemented by The Establishment) is to replace the 'human mind' with something less-than-human under the pretence of making us more-than-human.

Transhumanism is the advertisement - Subhumanism is the product.

I don't think replacement is actually possible - but it is certainly possible to amplify considerably - using AI, preferably implanted - the damage of social media in suppressing consciousness.

The method is, mainly, distraction. But distraction from what? What is it that they want to distract us from?

Higher consciousness (Final Participation by Primary Thinking) is the answer - and the thing about the next-step in consciousness is that it must be chosen/ willed/ wanted. So, if AI can continually distract and gratify/ terrify us; then we will probably not-choose/ not-will/ not-want to make that step into Final Participation.

The evil Establishment want people to not-want higher consciousness - and instead to choose one of two options:

The first is un-consciousness (what Rudolf Steiner terms the Luciferic path). This is, roughly speaking, the mass media in its immersive and passive-inducing forms.

The second is alienated consciousness (what Steiner terms the Ahrimanic path). And this is approximately bureaucracy - to live-within The Total System: constrained by the materialist, positivistic perspective... purposeless, meaningless... each self-aware individual a disconnected consciousness.

What is Not wanted is for our self-consciousness to expand to include everything real - that our awake self-awareness become directly and intuitively aware of the totality.

And what is also Not wanted is that our unconscious, passive, manipulated minds wake-up inside the dream.

What Artificial Intelligence is intended to prevent is that we choose to become scientists of the divine and lucid dreamers of this world.

Undulation, consciousness and Life

Life is undulation: life is meant to be undulation: consciousness is undulating.

The main undulation is between waking and sleeping - during sleep there is undulation between deep sleep and dreaming.

While awake there is also undulation in consciousness - between the three major types of Original Participation, the Consciousness Soul and Final Participation - that is; between childlike, adolescent-like and grown-up-divine consciousness - that is; between immersive-in-life un-consicousness -- alienated/ cut-off-from-life self-consciousness -- and conscious participation with reality...

Much of this blog has recently been concerned with the attainment of Final Participation - by means of Primary Thinking; but I have neglected to emphasise that we cannot do Primary Thinking all-the-time, and more than we could stay awake all-the-time. And, more importantly, it would not be desirable for us to live in Final Participation all-the-time - any more than to be awake/ asleep all the time.

Undulation is part of the essence of life; because life is dynamic, polar; life is about love - love is something that entails movement - movement requires undulation...

It isn't just that we cannot be in any fixed and permanent state, but that this would be a denial of the very nature of reality. I am talking, here, about the metaphysical nature of things...

If it is accepted that ultimate reality is a thing that is dynamic/ polar/ moving - then this just is how things are. It is not a matter of what is expedient, or pleasurable, or good-for-us - but that things always are going to be undulating.

Our remote tribal ancestors seemed to understand this, in one way - in that they regarded life as transformation, a cycling of states - an endless mixing and recombining of the same fixed ultimate material...

Our own metaphysics is, by contrast, open-ended, and genuinely creative; yet it returns to that old idea of transformation of state, of life as undulating - but we see this as the means by which there is creation.

But love gives the clearest example. In Love (and I do not mean in-and-out-of love - but staying In love) there is undulation - Love is NOT (think about it, contra what some have said) a steady solid unchanging state of being; love is intrinsically undulating: that is its life and livingess.

We stay-in love, but undulating. Same for life, same for our own specific life.

Do not grasp and hold onto one state, not even the best and most divine state - but undulate; as is right and necessary.

Note: This idea comes, today, from what Rudolf Steiner termed 'oscillation' (in translation), and from what William Arkle describes in A Geography of Consciousness, in the chapter 'Astrology' - it is also memorably discussed in CS Lewis's Screwtape Letters (although I feel that the point is undercut by Lewis's neo-Platonic metaphysics; which philosophy suggests to me that undulation is 'merely' an expedient of mortal life - to be dispensed-with in Heaven...).

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Trapped in a simplified model: my own experience with natural selection

A Fly Bottle. The fly flies up-into it (by analogy, he unwittingly makes a metaphysical assumption); but gets trapped in the bottle - eventually expiring into the pool of water. He does not instinctively fly downwards, and never discovers the escape route (by which he entered). To escape, the fly needs to retrace the route by which he got trapped: that is, by analogy, to discover the metaphysical assumptions that led to his current deadly situation. Only by such a retracing and discovery could the fly revise his 'assumptions', overcome his short-termist instincts ('always fly upwards'/ always do what is immediately expedient), and thereby become free of their potentially-lethal consequences. Since 'the fly' will not do this for himself - the metaphysician must teach him to do it!

I have been teaching and doing scholarship in the field of evolution by natural selection for more than twenty years; and have been deeply interested by the theory for much longer than that. There is a real sense in which I love the theory of evolution by natural selection!

Yet, what I will describe here is how mastery of this theory included - for a long time - being trapped by the metaphysical assumptions of natural selection. Love became an infatuation which was (like most infatuations) destructive.

When operating within the theory of natural selection - when actually thinking with its assumptions, definitions and procedures - it was not possible to perceive beyond or outside it. And, since this theorising was the most difficult and high-level activity I engaged in, and since it was the major conscious focus of my life for many years (at least 15 years, full-on) this exerted a distorting effect on my whole world view.    

The serious business began one afternoon in May 1994, sitting in a garden in the sun, reading an interview in Omni magazine with the evolutionary psychologist Margie Profet; and realising that that was what I wanted to do - and what I had, unwittingly, been preparing myself to do, since my middle teens.

I knew, after seven-plus years working in laboratories that: 1. I was a scientist, but 2, I was not an experimentalist - not from lack of aptitude, but from lack of interest. And 3. that theory was My Thing - I has enjoyed writing theoretical papers about my experiments far more than doing the experiments - and that is very unusual in biology.

(Biologists spend hundreds-fold more hours in doing than in thinking - and if that sounds like a criticism: it is! Doctors are even worse. Anyone in biology or medicine who has once spent fifteen consecutive minutes in really thinking about their subject, counts as an extraordinary egg-head.)

One of my greatest pleasures had been prolonged and deep conversations about biology - in the broadest and most historically-informed sense - with Dr Tim Horder, an anatomist at Oxford; where I would visit each year specifically for that purpose. I was already a doctor and a (sort-of) psychiatrist - but it was Tim that made me think as a biologist.

So, my problem had been how to become a theoretical scientist in biology; especially in a world where theoretical biology was almost-wholly mathematical-computational, but I was trained as a doctor. When I discovered evolutionary psychology, I discovered something I could do and that I was well-prepared to do - especially in relation to psychiatry.

I threw myself into evolutionary theory with immense energy and zeal - rising early to read books and papers, and seeking out people to talk-with and write-to. The learning curve was very steep, and I was writing theory papers within not-many weeks; and developing grandiose projects for changing everything...

In order to contribute to evolutionary ideas in biology and medicine, I needed to train my thinking to operate accurately within the constraints and according to the rules - and I became capable of both rigour and creativity in that field. The process led to many papers, and a book (Psychiatry and the Human Condition). 

My interest in biological evolution by natural selection then broadened (strongly influenced by a computer scientist colleague, Peter Andras), and eventually became utterly abstract; as I moved into Systems Theory (of the type articulated by the German legal theoretician and sociologist Niklas Luhmann). This was (or could be understood as) an absolutely general theory of selection - understood (by assumption) as the primary and metaphysical reality. This shift was marked by the Appendix to my next book - The Modernization Imperative.

It was indeed A Theory of Everything - and I proceeded to apply it... well, if not to everything, then at least to a wide range of phenomena including university education and research, science, medicine, health services, management and modern society in general. 

I was, in once sense, by now utterly trapped by my assumptions! I saw the world through selection-theory spectacles.

But, I had the advantage that although this was true at the level of habit; I was aware (thanks to this aspect of Luhmann being very explicit) of the nature of these assumptions - and that they were indeed assumed, and were not entailed.

And it gradually dawned on me that I was not compelled by these assumptions - that, indeed, they were intuitively unconvincing - and that they led to many consequences that I simply could not go-along-with... things like the destruction of all objectivity, and the impossibility of knowledge about anything (even systems theory itself, even oneself)!

So I knew that I was basing my fundamental beliefs on assumptions, I knew exactly what these assumptions were, I knew these assumptions were self-refuting; and I realised that such metaphysical assumptions have ramifying consequences of the greatest possible significance all-over life and reality.

Thus I was prepared and ready to change my ultimate assumptions, as I eventually did when I became a Christian; then again when I became (theologically, but not practically) a Mormon Christian.

That is where I am now - my interest/ obsession with natural selection went from biology, to general theory of complex systems, to metaphysics - to being focused on those first assumptions.

And I have developed a heightened awareness of the way in which we can be captured by our assumptions. The more we practise thinking within our assumptions, the better we get at doing so; but also the more prone we become to living as-if the whole of reality was actually nothing-more-than our simplified model-of-it.

Specialism of thinking, bureaucracy and alienation

If primary thinking is our unbounded scope, the opposite applies to the thought-world we inhabit in modern society.

It began with Law - which sampled from infinite reality just a few aspects for attention, and dealt with them according to standard procedures. When one is operating within Law, within the legal 'system' - and if one is competent - one is alienated from reality and from the processes of Life.

Law deals with a biased and ultra-simplified model of life - thinking as a lawyer is to think within this simple model and using only this simple model.

The same applies to all other professional discourses - medicine, the military, science (and all the sub-sciences); but the major alienating system nowadays is bureaucracy.

All bureaucracies - by their operational definitions and standard procedures - are and impose simplified and biased models of reality.  And bureaucracies have extended into ever-more of life - and the different bureaucracies have linked-up via a huge increase in laws, regulations, subsidies, taxes, grants, monitoring, auditing etc. etc.

So the modern condition is to inhabit, and to think within and by the rules of, an almost-total bureaucracy - which has specialised sub-branches (such as law, medicine, science, the police, the branches of government, the mass media) - but which is incrementally converging into a single system, with a single set of master-priorities.

In a formal sense this convergence on master-priorities is not a bad thing - indeed it is a good thing: after all, the ideal is that all social systems be permeated and controlled by the master priority of Christianity (leaving-aside what specifically that would entail).

What is bad is that is two-fold:

Firstly and most obviously, the master priorities are evil. they are negative, destructive and ultimately inverting of Good.

But secondly they are simplified models of reality - and thus necessarily false and inadequate.

My focus on Primary Thinking is to emphasise that with primary thinking is a way of knowing the world that is unbounded and works by spontaneous, satisfying and intrinsically-valid processes.

Primary thinking ought to be the master priority - an un-alienated, participating way of thinking; not limited by professional or expedient boundaries - but inclusive of everything that is relevant and true; and - although limited in scope and precision - and in expression; intrinsically-valid within those bounds.

In sum: Bureaucracy is alienation; increase in bureaucracy is increase in alienation - consequently modernity is (from this reason alone - although there are others) already highly-alienated and becoming ever-more-so.

Was is more, the alienation is inescapable. The linked-unified bureaucracy is becoming ever harder to escape, as it absorbs ever-more of life - but even when it is escaped, the alternative thought worlds are almost-always narrow, partial, tightly defined, standardised in procedure and process...

Thus social media is not an escape from alienation, it is merely a different species of alienation. And that is the best we can manage - in modernity we take a break from one type of alienation by engaging in a different type of alienation - but the fact of alienation is constant. 

Only if we practise an unalienated way of being - that is participation - can we escape alienation even for a moment. The first escape is into unconsciousness (sleep, trance, intoxication...) - but that is to cease to be fully-human (and anyway when we are truly unconscious, we do not know we have escaped alienation).

The importance of primary thinking is that in-it we escape alienation, and we enter and participate-in a world of unbounded scope and reality; we do not think within definitions nor according to procedures, but whatever is thought is spontaneous and true.

(Expressing the insights of primary thinking is, however, neither spontaneous nor true! On the contrary, it must be another model.)

Primary thinking is therefore intrinsically-gratifying, and self-reinforcing. It is also intrinsically self-validating - if we allow it to be.

The question each of us ought to examine is whether (and, related, why) such thinking is indeed to be considered as real.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

We need simplicity - Why?

Because we need to be able to grasp the essence whole and instantly.

Only then can we know...

(This applies everywhere, even in science: the highest creative breakthroughs are experienced as utterly simple. The complex justifications, explications and implications are merely for those who don't really understand.)

Albion Awakening reading list... and more

A burst of activity over at Albion Awakening!

An awakening of Albion book list from William Wildblood, with additions in the comments from John Fitzgerald and myself.

From John Fitzgerald; an evaluation of DH Lawrence, including some powerful reasons why (despite all the sex and anti-Christian church stuff) even conservatives, traditionalists and Spiritual Christians might consider taking a closer look at his work (perhaps especially Women in Love).

And from myself: a look back at the spiritual non-event that was 2017 (so far...)

Inexplicable and instant celebrity - a sign of the evil Establishment at work (i.e. the strategic demonic agenda)

A flattering photograph of Sir Jimmy Savile - charity fund-raiser, Papal knight, friend of the Royal Family and Margaret Thatcher etc. One of the most evil men in the history of Britain. The snake-eyes tell you everything you need to know of his true nature

It isn't a new phenomenon, but perhaps nowadays more frequent and obvious than ever before, that very suddenly and from nowhere a person IS a celebrity; despite his or her lack of looks, talent or charm.

And these inexplicable celebrities often seem to be the worst ones, the most evil in their effect.

This is because this kind of manufactured fame and influence is a product of the pervasive and extensive power of the evil (global, demonic) Establishment; who can (not always, but with a high degree of reliability) manufacture celebrity pretty-much at will and from the most unpromising material.

A very clear and early example of the phenomenon was Jimmy Savile. We can perceive now (at least those capable of perception can perceive) that Savile's colossal, decades-long celebrity was manufactured, sustained and protected by the Establishment mainly on the basis of his functioning as a procurer of children for sexual abuse by the elites.

Most manufactured-celebrities do not have so important a role as Savile - and presumably function merely as agents of corruption via the mass media, spreading-out into the unified-linked-bureaucracy; for instance by lending support to and promoting the short-termist-hedonic sexual revolution (the prime agent of corruption in modernity) and the totalitarian, materialist Left-agenda.

Of course, there are many celebrities who attained their position by talent, beauty and/or charm - and these must be corrupted after-the-fact. Usually they are quite-readily so-corrupted (by sex, fame or money - combined with intimidation) - but clearly this process is less reliable; and there is a danger that meritocratic celebrities may rebel against the agenda and their celebrity then needs to be destroyed - although this can be difficult (eg. Jim Carrey, at present; Mel Gibson a few years ago).

Anyway - it is always worth a second look when some person, or some issue (e.g. the 'trans' agenda) suddenly arrives from nowhere to become an apparent public obsession; such phenomena are strong prima facie evidence of the strategic demonic agenda in-action.

Was the destruction of The Temple in Jerusalem, AD70, the Day of the Lord?

I met up with Alastair Roberts yesterday for a long conversation, during which he outlined to me his understanding of the spiritual significance of the destruction of The Temple in Jerusalem, in AD 70.

Alastair seems to have a deep and intuitive understanding of the Old Testament, and of the prophetic context - and he was able to paint a picture of the cataclysmic, end-of-dispensation, end-of-the-world impact of this event; the consequences of which continue to resonate.

In this article, some of the aspects Alastair described in our talk are covered; and here is an excerpt. The set-up is the apparent failure of Jesus's prophecies of imminent return:

"The earliest Church’s expectation of Christ’s imminent return has long been a source of theological discomfort and apologetic embarrassment for many Christians. The apparent failure of New Testament prophecy throws the reliability of Christ himself as a prophet into serious question. Christ and the apostles who bore witness to him declared firmly that he was coming soon, yet here we are, almost two thousand years later."

Alastair's understanding is that - understood in context of what was implied by Christ's return, Christ did indeed return and establish a 'new world order':

 For [the Apostle] Peter, the destruction of the Temple would have closed a window of time in which the old covenant and new covenant orders overlapped and changes the way that God relates to humanity in general.

With the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in AD70, that route of access to God is completely closed off, leaving nothing but judgment for those who continue to rely upon it. This is the melting of the firmament and the elements, the removal of the protective cover that the Temple afforded the people of the land and their works.

With the decisive destruction of Jerusalem and its temple, the entire theo-political firmament is brought crashing down. In the internal Jewish and Jewish-Christian debate about the continuance of God’s special covenant with Israel, the destruction of the Temple marked a turning point. For these early Christians, there was no longer a nation with a special holy status or proximity to God, with the other nations ordered relative to it. The rule of the Messiah has been declared and all politics is now redefined relative to him. The kingdoms of the earth belong to our Lord and all rulers are but stewards, responsible to administer justice in submission to him until his kingdom is consummated.

AD70 introduces the de-sacralized time in which we now live. Israel no longer holds the status of a holy nation and no sacred polity has taken its place. All humanity and every ruler are now called to prepare themselves for the consummation of the kingdom of the Christ, for which the Church serves as an anticipatory sign and witness. All political idolatries that would usurp his right must be dethroned, all stewards of rule and authority must humble themselves and acknowledge his claim, and earth must prepare herself to receive her King.

After AD70, a new heavens and a new earth is established. God deals with people on different terms. A world order structured around the Temple in Jerusalem, marked for condemnation in Jesus’ ministry, death, and resurrection, is finally be torn down and a new world order structured around the New Jerusalem and the coming kingdom, where there is no longer Jew nor Gentile, is established in its place, one that will eventually grow to fill the entire earth, as Daniel foretold...

The Transfiguration of Christ has also an important relevance to the prophecies of return, as Alastair outlines here.

This interpretation seems to me to point-at an inspiring sense of how God works; then and, of course, now.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Worst and best Christmas carols

 (The central Wise Man has a particularly amusing facial expression...)

The worst of the common Christmas carols is Once in Royal David's city - for three reasons:

1. It opens nearly every carol concert, due to a tradition established by King's College, Cambridge - which also means the first verse is usually sung unaccompanied by a boy treble who is seldom quite secure enough for such an exposed role...

2. The tune is dreary and there are too many verses (six).

3. The lyrics are both excruciatingly bad and theologically malign.

The key word of the carol is 'lowly': stood a lowly cattle shed (although I sang it as 'lonely' as a child, which is preferable); the poor and mean and lowly; the lowly maiden; poor lowly stable...

We also have such insipid stuff as 'mother mild'; and the cringe-inducing and dishonest propaganda: 'Christian children all must be/ Mild, obedient, good as he.' (This, of the same Jesus who left his parents at the Temple without explanation and was gone for Three Days!) Followed by Jesus as 'little, weak and helpless', 'dear and gentle'... Ach!

To be fair, there are some good things too, especially in the last two verses; reminding us that the author also wrote memorable words for two of the hymns with the best tunes: 'All things bright and beautiful', and 'There is a green hill far away'.

('...Without a city wall'... although as a child I wondered why a green hill would be expected to have a city wall...)


One of the best Christmas Carols is We Three Kings. Alright - the tune is a bit simple for grown-ups; but is a rollicking riot when 'sung' (with 'appropriate' gestures) by infant-school-aged boys.

And the lyrics symbolically encapsulate the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ in a way that should be the envy of most sermon-writers:

We three kings of Orient are;
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again,
King forever, ceasing never,
Over us all to reign.


Frankincense to offer have I;
Incense owns a Deity nigh;
Prayer and praising, all men raising,
Worship Him God Most High.


Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone cold tomb.


Glorious now behold Him arise;
King and God and sacrifice;
Alleluia!, Alleluia!,
Earth to Heaven replies.


And how good is that fourth verse, about myrrh! I can still recall being haunted by it, as a young child.

 Aled 'I'm walking in the air' Jones; I'll bet he got sick of singing 'Once in royal David's'...