Thursday, 18 June 2020

New Atheism


All dogma is wrong, I'm dogmatic about that.

On atheism. 

I consider new atheism defeated and pompous. You can derive a living spirituality from first principles and the nature of consciousness, understanding the role and value of myth and legend in shaping our collective psyche through history. So the metaphors and language and symbols of religion and spirituality have enormous power simply through their psychological reality. And all we can experience of the world comes to us as "psychological reality", so the life that legend and myth and religion and spirituality have within the collective psyche is the same kind of life as our normal experience of life.

So to just pretend it is all meaningless and without value is to grossly misunderstand yourself, your own own personal and psychological history, and to misunderstand the world.

Our subconscious mind forms gods out of the lives we live for none of us are separate from those around us and ideas and concepts are shared and can be bigger and older than any individual. It's a facet of evolution and the way we think together and our minds are formed in relation to one another from what came before. What the conscious rational mind thinks it believes is more or less irrelevant. Such a small part of the totality of who we are. What we call God is simply the way our subconscious connects to and interacts with "everything".

We are all merely the product of history, both psychologically and genetically we were formed out of what came before us. We partake of the nature of the world which has created us.

It has been said: "your holy books are all flawed and all have caused more misery and suffering than they are worth".

Of course they're flawed, they're written by humans. To imagine otherwise is foolish and to imagine they have no beauty because they are merely human is just as foolish. Humans cause wars and they use books as an excuse. Religion is a symptom of the human condition not a cause of it.

To not believe that the sacred and the holy can exist because suffering and evil exist. To refuse to see beauty in order to be right. That's not right, that's ridiculous. 

In my own life and the lives of others I have seen that transcendent experiences are beautiful, especially shared ones. Religions of all kinds seem to chart humanity's attempt to find and honour those experiences in their lives and all have varying degrees of success and sometimes horrible failure in that goal as they are all human constructs and symptoms of the human condition. To disdain them all without second glance, and to dishonour those who seek truth and beauty through them, seems like a sad mistake to my mind.

Proverbs 1:7 The respect of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but fools despise instruction.


"In this life beware, for not much is true although there is a truth and it matters very much how you lie."

Signs You're in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship

客户是上帝

Signs you're in an emotionally abusive relationship. These are some related but different ways your emotions and experience of life might be invalidated or ignored by the other person in a relationship.
  • Their feelings are regularly your fault, you're responsible for their emotions.
  • When they have an emotional reaction to something the idea that they should do inner work on their character is a great affront and unreasonable.
  • You have to modify your behaviour and character to be acceptable, parts of you they can't cope with are "bad".
  • Their emotions are more important than yours, you don't have real feelings and should look after theirs more.
  • The fact that you're not perfect and have made mistakes in life invalidates your point of view and feelings. You can't have an opinion on yourself or them until you're perfect.
  • Little interest in understanding you as you are, much interest in changing your behaviour to match their expectations and desires.
  • Their understanding of you and your behaviour, and the interpretation of their friends, is more real to them than what you say and think and feel. You're wrong about you and they're right.
  • Any discussion requires you to first accept that their point of view is right and yours is wrong.
  • They won't acknowledge your point of view and can't describe it to you because it's important to them to not really see and understand your point of view to be able to reject it easily. 
  • When their behaviour, over a prolonged period of time, causes emotions like anger or pain or upset then your emotional response is the problem. Their emotions are valid yours are invalid. Caring for other people, unselfishness, means you caring about them and their feelings not the other way round.
  • If there are incompatible desires and needs in the relationship you should drop yours.
  • Their behaviour and feelings are out of their control so you need to modify yours for them to be alright.
  • Any problems of theirs, including abusive behaviour, are due to the past and probably also your fault. You need to change and also to be understanding of them because they can't/don't need to change.
  • Their idea of who you are and who you should be are based on abstract stereotypes, probably gender based.
  • Any feelings of yours they don't like are unacceptable and you have to change. Any feelings of theirs that you don't like are probably your fault and you need to accept them as they are.
  • You should be fully in control of your behaviour and feelings and they can't possibly be expected to do the same.
I've spent a lot of time examining the  question of how responsible for other people's feelings we are in relationship to other people. I have come to a final conclusion that I am happy settles this question once and for all:
We're all inextricably intertwined and the question of how responsible for another person's feelings you are can never be answered satisfactorily.

"To me the gift of hospitality means to give of your best."

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Love is the Law but what is the Law

I'm a will with an imagination, that's what I Am.

I'm a devotee of several religions, one of my favourites is Thelema which I describe like this:
The pursuit of knowing and exercising your true will, in accordance with the great work, understanding that love is the law. Every person is a star. 
The two most important precepts of Thelema are:
  • Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.
  • Love is the law, love under will. We choose to love.
Both of these precepts are to do with will and both are to do with the law. The will is clearly of central importance to Thelema. To do your true will is to be the complete and actualised self, the sacred self. Doing your true will is as much about being all it is possible for you to be, the best and most powerful version of you, as it is about knowing what to do. What you do comes out of who you are and in turn shapes who you will become.

But what is the law of which the precepts speak and particularly what does it mean to say that love is the law? The beauty is that these precepts have an intuitive understanding which requires little explanation. When I first heard these precepts they resonated with me and I knew they were right and to that extent Thelema was true, in the way that religions can be true.

There's a parallel between the law of the precepts and the legal code, the law of the land we are subject to whether we like it or not. The philosophy of law is called Jurisprudence. 

As I grew up I had a quick mind and enjoyed arguing, so I wanted to go to Cambridge university and study law and become a barrister. During my first year at Corpus Christi College Cambridge I studied Criminal law, Tort law, Roman law and British Constitutional law and passed my exams. During that time I was introduced to the teachings of Aleister Crowley and almost immediately thereafter went mad. I was thrown out of the college midway through my second year and became homeless and ended up in prison and after that onto a religious cult where I lived communally for ten years as a true believer without money or personal possessions, selling bricks for a living and devoted to seeking the knowledge of God. During that time I taught myself to program computers and eventually moved out with a wife to start new adventures and a career as a computer programmer. 

Long before all that I was brought up as a good Evanjellyfish. The smell of home baked bread and women in long dresses playing tambourines from the home church movement of the seventies are amongst my earliest memories. The parallel between religious law and what we normally call law was always clear to me. What is the basis of personal moral culpability for your actions? This seemed to be the core question for both religious law and the legal code. Much of the religion I was taught and pursued was concerned with understanding the law of God.

Under the British law criminal liability requires two components; the mens rea (the guilty mind) and the actus reus (the guilty act). There is no liability unless a crime has actually been committed, this is the actus reus although attempt and intent as separate offences (for some crimes only) complicate the situation. For those offences the attempt or the intent to commit an offence is the actus reus. The mens rea requires intent, without the intent (the will you might say) to commit an offence there is no offence. If you trip and hurt someone then it's an accident not assault because there was no intent to injure. This is except for strict liability offences like speeding in a car or being in possession of controlled substances where the burden of proof is reversed and there is no presumption of innocence and you have to explain yourself. Intent is key under the law.

To live in any modern society is to live subject to the law of the land, to live under the law and under the rule of law. The law is dominant by recourse to great strength and even armies and calls for your submission. To follow the law is to be upstanding and lawful. To break the law is to be criminal and subject to the weight and force of the law. The law is over us. The law is the expression of rulership and defines the bounds and parameters of that rulership and conveys legitimacy to it. The law also confers legitimacy to force and even violence which can be used to enforce the rule of law and the will of the law. The rule of law is backed by the rule of force. Some might fail to see a distinction between the rule of law and the rule of force, especially where the law is cruel and unjust. However, the rule of law may give way to the rule of love for just as the rule of force enables the rule of law so the rule of law may enable the rule of love.

Crowley, the founder of Thelema, came from a religious society and had a religious upbringing and Thelema sprung out from that well. The Book of the Law and the law itself are ideas that have been explored through religion and mysticism spanning the aeons and epochs, the stretch and the gape, of human history. Moral law or religious law might be good descriptions of what the law is when we say "love is the law", but what we are grasping at is a universal law for life. A natural law like the law of gravity. The law by which the spiritual person operates and functions, flowing in harmony within and transcending the bounds of circumstance. By living in accordance with the operation of this law, or by earnestly seeking to do so with an honest heart that is determined to rid itself of inner guile and self deception, we can be reconciled to ourselves and to one another and to the world we find ourselves in and the worlds and possible worlds we collectively create together. The kingdom will be found amongst us and within us: the place where love rules and love is the law. If this law has any meaning that is. I know this law by another name: radical inclusion. Love is the law, if you cannot love you will not remain although grace abounds. The kingdom of heaven, Kether in Malkuth.

Christianity and Judaism share some of their holy texts with the first five books of the Bible, the books of the law, making up the Torah. Torah means Instruction, or Law, also called the Pentateuch. The defining symbol of humanity receiving the law from G-d, in these religions, is Moses being given the ten commandments on stone tablets on Mount Sinai after receiving the name of God in the wilderness from the burning bush, the fire which burns but does not consume, and then defeating the magic of the Egyptians and leading the Israelites out of Egypt and into the wilderness. 

This happens in the book of Exodus. God makes a covenant with his chosen people, the children of God, that if they obey his law they will be his people and he will be their God and God will defeat their enemies and lead them into the promised land.

This is a fairly long passage, skip over the part beginning "Be careful not to make a treaty..." all the way up to "The the Lord said to Moses..." near the end. The middle bit is the law being given and it doesn't make much sense from the perspective of about 4000 years away.

Exodus 34: 8-28
Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. “Lord,” he said, “if I have found favor in your eyes, then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance.”

Then the Lord said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you. Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. a Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

“Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices. And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.

“Do not make any idols.
“Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Aviv, for in that month you came out of Egypt.
“The first offspring of every womb belongs to me, including all the firstborn males of your livestock, whether from herd or flock. Redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem all your firstborn sons.
“No one is to appear before me empty-handed.
“Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.
“Celebrate the Festival of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering at the turn of the year. Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign Lord, the God of Israel. I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the Lord your God.
“Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast, and do not let any of the sacrifice from the Passover Festival remain until morning.
“Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God.
“Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.
Notice how the writer couldn't resist including a dig against the goddess Asherah, who is also known as Ishtar, Ashtoreth and Astarte and associated with the morning star and by some traditions she was a consort to Yahweh. To the Hebrews she was a demon goddess. 

The law is a series of rules to follow for life. The Hebrews of this time didn't believe in life after death, so there was no heaven nor any threat of eternal damnation or hell at this time. Notice what a low opinion Moses, and by extension God, already has of his people in this telling of the myth and how the words of the covenant written on the tablets are the words of the law, the commandments.

Huge chunks of the Old Testament are devoted to more of the law, various rules about living about slaves about menstruating and crime and punishment and about festivals and the temple. Every aspect of life and religion seems to be covered in a confusing and contradictory collection of arbitrary rules which are mostly nonsensical from the perspective of the twentieth century unless you squint real hard.

The set of rules, the law, rapidly grew. Breaking the law, sin, required a blood sacrifice to God for atonement because the life is in the blood. The Jews were also forbidden from eating the blood of animals.

Leviticus 17: 11-12:
For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. Therefore I say to the Israelites, “None of you may eat blood, nor may any foreigner residing among you eat blood.”
So unless we are to permit universal and ultimate truth to the exoteric understanding of the rules laid out in Leviticus and Numbers we may only find value in these stories through an alternative understanding. The Jewish tradition is that the Torah was written by Moses. This seems unlikely as it includes the account of his death and beyond. Scholars I favour favour the idea that the books of the law were the collected Rabbinical teachings of the centuries, compiled after the tribes of Benjamin and Judah returned from exile in Babylon and rebuilt the temple starting the second temple era. This was done by Zerubbabel, one of my favourite names from the bible to say Zee-rubba-bel, and the Prophet Joshua and supported by the Persian King Cyrus. The books of the law were probably compiled by Ezra and the laws were never all in force at one time, indeed you can't follow them all. Some, like the laws and rules around the year of jubilee when slaves were to be freed and land returned to its original owner, there is no evidence they were ever put into practise.

The Jews were looking to understand the law of God, the set of rules they could understand to live by and be in covenant with God and receive the promise that comes with that. What we see in the books of the law is the story of their attempt at that understanding. 

Some of the laws, particularly around the keeping of slaves, seem abhorrent to us today and indeed objectively as we define objective morality they are. Yet there are extant similar legal codes from which the Hebraic ones undoubtedly derived and build on. They add new provisions and add some legal protection for slaves. Objectively immoral law which clearly has no relevance other than historical for today, a curse on those morons who seek to apply Old Testament law to justify their hate, but it was as far as humanity as manifested in those cultures had evolved socially at that point. We see the social evolution of humanity and a record of the moral philosophy of the time as flawed as it is and awful in consequence too.

The mess of the Old Testament law points us to a truth about the nature of law, both as religious law and legal code. Any rule applied diligently will create new injustices on either side of the law. Some will be treated too harshly and some too leniently. To rectify this the law can be more nuanced, more law. So it is in the nature of any legal code based on rules to grow as it creates new injustices requiring the remedy of new rules which themselves create new injustices.

The Old Testament also points to something new, something that will be better and the relationship of the people of God to the law will be different. The law will be written in their hearts and minds, no longer something that needs to be learned or studied but innate and indwelling. The law will be written on their hearts and minds.

Jeremiah 31: 33-34
“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.

No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,”
We see a parallel prophecy from the prophet Joel in a prophecy referred to as The Day of the Lord. "I will pour out my spirit on all flesh" is said to herald the New Age.

Joel 2:28-30
And afterward,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.

Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
I will show wonders in the heavens
and on the earth,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
So far we have only looked at the understanding of religious law from the Old Testament and the myth of the incarnation of the Christ archetype, for which the New Testament are the holy texts and in which the Christ archetype is given the title Lucifer in the apocalypse of John chapter 22 verse 16, are concerned about the law very much.

The arc of books of the Old Testament, for the word Bible has as its root the Latin word Biblia and is related to the French word bibliothèque meaning library, is the story of the creation and fall and then God giving the law and calling a chosen people and the law stubbornly refusing to redeem those people. We suspect the authors of the Bible didn't really like people very much and we read the legends with that in mind, but there are further legends of the man I will refer to as Joshua the Christ for reasons described in footnote 1 [1]. The question of the historicity [2] of these legends and teachings are as relevant as they are for the historicity of Crowley to his legends and teachings.

We can see the myth of the Christ as being the fulfilment of the law, as the fulfilment of the blood price for suffering. The old law is swept away and a new covenant and a new perfected law comes in. In the incarnation, in the Christ, God is fully human and human is fully God and the barrier between heaven and earth and God and man is no more and no intermediary or priest is needed to have the knowledge of God.

In various scriptures we see the understanding that the law is a curse, for only through knowing the law can we know we have broken the law. It is the law that creates the opportunity for transgression. We can see this  as the old law, the letter of the law. To rely on the law for righteousness requires the keeping of every bit of the law, every jot and tittle, or we become transgressors. The law can only condemn.

Romans 3:20
Because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.
Romans 7:7
What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet. 
Galatians 3:10
For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”
We see a new understanding brought in, all of the law and the prophets have a simpler solution. Indeed love is said to be the fulfilment of the law. Here we find teaching that sounds identical to the precepts of Thelema we revere.

Matthew 22:34-40
Hearing that Joshua had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Joshua replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Galatians 5:14
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself."
Romans 13:8-10
Let no obligation remain, except the continuing obligation to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
And yet there exists a tension for the teachings also teach that the law remains and does not pass away.

Matthew 5:17–18
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”
What is the mystical element and act of the myth of the Christ archetype that wrought this change?

The blood sacrifice of the Christ fulfilling the requirement of blood for sin. In the Hebrew temple a heavy curtain, the veil separates the holy of holies from the part of the temple the people may enter. The presence and glory of Adonai, the Lord, may fall on the holy of holies and the priest therein but not onto the people. The priest ministers the presence and word of God to the people and there is a divide between God and humanity. 

At the point the Christ dies that veil is torn in two. 

Matthew 27:51
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split.
The metaphor of the cross is that the gap between God and the people is removed. No priest, no intermediary is required to know God although the office and role of Priest is still to minister the sacred and the holy to the people. Also at the point of death.

John 19:30
So when Joshua had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
It is finished! The great work is both complete and begun. 

The key point of this transition and change of perspective, backed by the force of legend, is that law is no longer contained or constrained by a list of rules. Now love is the law. There is no objective, inhuman, condemning standard to be measured against. Instead the measure and the rule is love. The fulfilment of the law means the end to rule based law. There is no set of rules by which the law can be laid out other than "love is the law".

Understanding the nature of the law is not enough to fully understand "love is the law", in order to understand in fullness we must also perceive the nature of love. Love is not weak, love is fierce. Love needs no defence she comes in like a lion. Love carries the power of rulership. 

Here I turn to some religious poetry on the law and the nature of love:
Righteousness does not come from following the law, because you can't. Instead love has fulfilled and perfected the law, and love is the law. And by grace, we can love. When we love we fulfil the law, and righteousness is made complete in us for love is perfect and without blemish.

For the fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Against such, there is no law.

The spirit is the spirit of love, both the essence and the substance of love.

Grace is not given that we might follow the law, for we are no longer slaves to the law. Grace is given that we might love for when we love we fulfil the law. Righteousness, being made right, comes through grace as we are perfected by love.

What then is sin? Sin is the opposite of righteousness and since righteousness comes through love, sin is the failure to love. And that's it, that's the full list. If we fulfil the law we do not sin.

Where we do not love we dwell in darkness, for love is the light. Love is both the path and the means to find the path, both the freedom and the being made free.
1 Corinthians 10:23 All things are permitted.
Titus 1:15 To the pure all things are pure.
So what does it mean to say that love is the law? It means that love is law by which we may operate in harmony and may be reconciled to ourselves. Like the law of gravity it is the law of nature. It also means that the right operation and exercise and function of love is to rule. Love under will, we choose to love. It means that love rules.

Other holy texts teach and confirm that love is the law. The record of the Old Testament shows us the nature of humanity's search to know the law of God and speaks of an age to come and the New Testament teaches on the new law and the new covenant that comes with it. An understanding of the teaching of the Christ to mean that the kingdom of heaven is now and is found in shared lives. That love is the law, that the rule of love is now and is also the age to come. 


[1] The name Jesus came from corrupted men translating the gospels from Greek into Latin so that normal people couldn't read them. That name is an Anglicisation of the Latin translation of the Greek variant of the Hebrew name Yeshua. The Hebrew name is closest to, and a late Bible variant of, the English name Joshua. Joshua the Christ, quite a different character from the plastic and concrete and so very white Jesus.

[2] From Wikipedia on the historicity of Joshua the Christ:
Non-Christian sources used to study and establish the historicity of Jesus include the first century Jewish historian Josephus and Roman historian Tacitus. These sources are compared to Christian sources, such as the Pauline letters and synoptic gospels, and are usually independent of each other; that is, the Jewish sources do not draw upon the Roman sources. Similarities and differences between these sources are used in the authentication process
There's no evidence at all to the accuracy of the gospels. All it's possible to know from the evidence and the spread of the early church is this: something the fuck happened. Yet still this magic, spread at the point of a Roman sword, conquered the globe. The rotting remains of the unholy alliance of sword and religion in that name remain to this day and is ruled from the Vatican. Meanwhile other prophets of the one holy divine name appear and reaffirm that love is the law.


"But the greatest people," says King Lamus, "are those that refuse to be treated like squalling children, who insist on facing reality in every form, and tear off ruthlessly the bandages from their own wounds.” -- Diary of a Drug Fiend

I think love is simply divine, just heavenly.

George William Curry and Pathfinder Squadron 627



A 627 Squadron Mosquito

I went to visit my Dad today and spent about an hour talking to him before he got too tired. He's dying of cancer but as always he was in a cheerful mood. He told me a bit more of the story about his Dad who he never knew. His Mum hardly ever talked about him so what he knows comes from some of Granny's papers and my Dad's investigation after she died. He found a whole new branch of his family including Aunts and cousins and a Great Aunt Olive.

Before joining the RAF George William Curry worked for an insurance company called UKAPIAN. The only remnant of UKAPIAN now is one page on the website of Axa who ended up buying them, but they started life as a motor insurance company run by a temperance society. Teetotalers are good customers for a motor insurance company but there wasn't enough of them and UKAPIAN had to branch out. At any rate my Dad has George's beer tankard. My Dad's middle name is George, as is my brother David's middle name and my son Benjamin's.

At the start of the second world war the standard deviation, the average distance of a bomb from where it was supposed to go, was about five miles. A chap called Leonard Cheshire who flew Lancaster bombers had the idea of dive bombing to a few hundred feet and dropping coloured incendiaries on the targets. This proved to be a great idea, except that the Lancaster bombers were made of metal and at a few hundred feet above ground could be hit by rifle and small arms fire and chewed to pieces.

Leonard switched to the De Havilland Mosquito fighter-bomber plane which was faster and more manoeuvrable. It was also a wooden plane and you could merrily punch holes in it with gay abandon and so long as you didn't hit a control wire it would keep on flying. The wooden structure made it virtually invisible to radar. A single Pathfinder could drop flares on multiple targets, so a squadron of Pathfinders could support a whole group of squadrons of bombers.

After the introduction of the Pathfinders the standard deviation for the British bombs dropped to 1 mile.

George was already a pilot in the RAF when the second world war started and he was part of the Battle of Britain. He joined the newly formed Pathfinder Squadron 627. George was an acting Wing Commander during the war but left at the lower rank of Squadron Leader.  55 000 people from Bomber Command died during the war and vacancies were frequent. Although the lifespan of a Pathfinder was normally days George survived the war and was one of only a handful of pilots to  receive both Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and  Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) medals twice. DSO with bar and DFC with bar, four medals.

Left to Right: LAC Harding, ground crew; the navigator Flight Sergeant Ranshaw and the pilot Flight Sergeant Marshallsay; groundcrew, LAC James Wookey and LAC Kingscott.

The London Gazette of October 1944 remarks:
Fourth Supplement to the London Gazette of Friday the 13th of October 1944 - Tuesday 17 October 1944

Distinguished Service Order

Acting Wing Commander George William CURRY DFC. (86389), RAFVR, 627 Sqn.

Since assuming command of his squadron, Wing Commander Curry has taken part in a number of operations against a variety of enemy targets. His great determination and capable leadership have resulted in many successful operations. On several occasions his aircraft has been damaged by anti-aircraft fire. The exceptional energy and initiative which this officer has displayed, together with his outstanding keenness and cheerful personality, have had a most marked effect upon the morale and efficiency of his squadron. He has set a worthy example.
And then in February 1945:
Fourth Supplement to the London Gazette of Friday the 23rd of February, 1945 - TUESDAY, 27 FEBRUARY, 1945

Air Ministry, 27th February, 1945.

The KING has been graciously pleased to approve
the following awards in recognition of gallantry and
devotion to duty in the execution of air operations: 

Bar to Distinguished Service Order.
Acting Wing Commander George William CURRY, DSO, DFC (86389), RAFVR, 627 Sqn.

Wing Commander Curry has completed a second tour of operational duty during which he has completed many notable sorties. On one occasion he took part in an attack which resulted in the breaching of the Dortmund-Ems Canal. On another occasion, Wing Commander Curry led the squadron on a target far into enemy territory. Whilst over the target considerable anti-aircraft fire was encountered. Every aircraft was hit. Nevertheless, the operation was completed successfully. Munchen-Gladbach, Stuttgart, Brunswick and Bremerhaven have been among the various targets Wing Commander Curry has attacked. This gallant and resourceful squadron commander has set a splendid example to all.
After the war George remained in the RAF and flew Venom jets. Every year he would take part in the Battle of Britain celebrations. In September 1948, out of practise flying the wooden Mosquitos, on the day before the celebration George crashed attempting a low roll with him and Flight Lieutenant on board. Both of them died. One of the few things that Granny told Dad was that the Flight Lieutenant was the pilot and George was the co-pilot, but my Dad doesn't think a Flight Lieutenant would have been the pilot. George is laid to rest in Coningsby cemetery military graves section. 

My Dad has no memory of his father but he has his log books and he remembers the rationing that was still in place after the war. Because George died on duty Granny got a decent sized pension. She went on to marry Peter John Foord who I knew as Grandpa and who raised my father as a son and whose name I bear twice.



Thursday, 11 June 2020

Angelology: The Celestial Hierarchy


Other is real, other is different, other is also love.

Angels, and knowledge and conversation (K&C) with the Holy Guardian Angel, are important in the religion of Thelema and other mystical traditions. But what is, or could be, an angel?

Our idea of angels and the mythos and tradition of angelic beings largely originated in the Abrahamic religions. Far from the insipid creatures, or babies baring their bottoms, of picture postcards the angels were depicted as terrifying creatures of flame. They brought death and destruction, or great news, and sometimes walked amongst us. The Holy Guardian Angel, within Thelema at least, is an extension of the higher self and a connection with the divine. 

So what could an angel be, do we have to believe in the supernatural to think about them? Angels are myths and legends. Angels are ideas, thought forms. Angels are a part of history, part of our culture, part of our collective psyche and part of our reality through the way those legends emerged from the collective mind and how those stories went on to shape and influence society and humanity. Angels are the gods and the archetypes. Angels are spiritual entities, pure living consciousness, an aspect of the divine. All these and more are ways of thinking about angels: angelology.

Within Christian mysticism the standard work on angelology is the sixth century Celestial Hierarchies, by Dionysius the Aeropagite.
In this work he wrote not just about the different ranks and categories of angels but also the hierarchy itself. As above, so below. In all this not forgetting that a demon is merely an angel whom you do not like the look of.

For more on angels and demons and what reality and nature they might have that can withstand the gaze of rational eye perhaps read:
The first hierarchy, the most powerful of angels who do not suffer mortal eye are closest to G-d by proximity and nature for there is no difference.  The Cherubim and Seraphim are closest to G-d partaking most directly of the divine light and nature, casting their rays onto the lower hierarchies of archangels and angels who in their turn cast forth the divine light unto the mundane spheres in which all things live and move and have their being.

One of the most vivid descriptions of angels is from the prophecy of Ezekiel in the Old Testament. Ezekiel chapter 1 from verse 4:
I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north—an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal, and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was human, but each of them had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands. All four of them had faces and wings, and the wings of one touched the wings of another. Each one went straight ahead; they did not turn as they moved.

Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a human being, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle. Such were their faces. They each had two wings spreading out upward, each wing touching that of the creature on either side; and each had two other wings covering its body. Each one went straight ahead. Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, without turning as they went. The appearance of the living creatures was like burning coals of fire or like torches. Fire moved back and forth among the creatures; it was bright, and lightning flashed out of it. The creatures sped back and forth like flashes of lightning.

As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground beside each creature with its four faces. This was the appearance and structure of the wheels: They sparkled like topaz, and all four looked alike. Each appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel. As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the creatures faced; the wheels did not change direction as the creatures went. Their rims were high and awesome, and all four rims were full of eyes all around.

When the living creatures moved, the wheels beside them moved; and when the living creatures rose from the ground, the wheels also rose. Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, and the wheels would rise along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. When the creatures moved, they also moved; when the creatures stood still, they also stood still; and when the creatures rose from the ground, the wheels rose along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

Spread out above the heads of the living creatures was what looked something like a vault, sparkling like crystal, and awesome. Under the vault their wings were stretched out one toward the other, and each had two wings covering its body. When the creatures moved, I heard the sound of their wings, like the roar of rushing waters, like the voice of the Almighty, like the tumult of an army. When they stood still, they lowered their wings.
Here is an extract from the Celestial Hierarchies on the first rank of the angelic hierarchy. 
CAPUT VII.

Concerning the Seraphim and Cherubim and Thrones, and concerning their first Hierarchy.

Section I.

We, whilst admitting this as the arrangement of the holy Hierarchies, affirm, that every appellation of the celestial Minds denotes the Godlike characteristic of each; and those who know Hebrew affirm, that the holy designation of the Seraphim denotes either that they are kindling or burning; and that of Cherubim, a fulness of knowledge or stream of wisdom. Naturally, then, the first (order) of the Heavenly Hierarchies is ministered by the most exalted Beings, holding, as it does, a rank which is higher than all, from the fact, that it is established immediately around God, and that the first-wrought Divine manifestations and perfections pass earlier to it, as being nearest. They are called, then, "Burning," and Thrones, and Stream of Wisdom----by a name which sets forth their Godlike conditions. The appellation of Seraphim plainly teaches their ever moving around things Divine, and constancy, and warmth, and keenness, and the seething of that persistent, indomitable, and inflexible perpetual motion, and the vigorous assimilation and elevation of the subordinate, as giving new life and rekindling them to the same heat; and purifying through fire and burnt-offering, and the light-like and light-shedding characteristic which can never be concealed or consumed, and remains always the same, which destroys and dispels every kind of obscure darkness. But the appellation of the Cherubim denotes their knowledge and their vision of God, and their readiness to receive the highest gift of light, and their power of contemplating the super-Divine comeliness in its first revealed power, and their being filled anew with the impartation which maketh wise, and their ungrudging communication to those next to them, by the stream of the given wisdom. The appellation of the most exalted and pre-eminent Thrones denotes their manifest exaltation above every grovelling inferiority, and their supermundane tendency towards higher things; and their unswerving separation from all remoteness; and their invariable and firmly-fixed settlement around the veritable Highest, with the whole force of their powers; and their receptivity of the supremely Divine approach, in the absence of all passion and earthly tendency, and their bearing God; and the ardent expansion of themselves for the Divine receptions.

Section II.

This, then, is the revelation of their names, so far as we can give it; and we ought to say what we think their Hierarchy is. For I suppose we have sufficiently shewn above, that the purpose of every Hierarchy is an unswerving devotion to the divine imitation of the Divine Likeness, and that every Hierarchical function is set apart for the sacred reception and distribution of an undefiled purification, and Divine Light, and perfecting science.

And now I pray that I may speak worthily of the most exalted Minds----how the Hierarchy amongst them is exhibited through the Oracles.
On the hierarchy itself, and the ordering of the Elohim who are the angelic host, as an ordering of creation.
Section I.

Hierarchy is, in my judgment, a sacred order and science and operation, assimilated, as far as attainable, to the likeness of God, and conducted to the illuminations granted to it from God, according to capacity, with a view to the Divine imitation. Now the God-becoming Beauty, as simple, as good, as source of initiation, is altogether free from any dissimilarity, and imparts its own proper light to each according to their fitness, and perfects in most Divine initiation, as becomes the undeviating moulding of those who are being initiated harmoniously to itself. 

Section II.

The purpose, then, of Hierarchy is the assimilation and union, as far as attainable, with God, having Him Leader of all religious science and operation, by looking unflinchingly to His most Divine comeliness, and copying, as far as possible, and by perfecting its own followers as Divine images, mirrors most luminous and without flaw, receptive of the primal light and the supremely Divine ray, and devoutly filled with the entrusted radiance, and again, spreading this radiance ungrudgingly to those after it, in accordance with the supremely Divine regulations. For it is not lawful for the Mystic Rites of sacred things, or for things religiously done, to practise anything whatever beyond the sacred regulations of their own proper function. Nor even must they attempt otherwise, if they desire to attain its deifying splendour, and look to it religiously, and are moulded after the example of each of the holy minds. He, then, who mentions Hierarchy, denotes a certain altogether Holy Order, an image of the supremely Divine freshness, ministering the mysteries of its own illumination in hierarchical ranks, and sciences, and assimilated to its own proper Head as far as lawful.

For each of those who have been called into the Hierarchy, find their perfection in being carried to the Divine imitation in their own proper degree; and, what is more Divine than all, in becoming a fellow-worker with God, as the Oracles say, and in shewing the Divine energy in himself manifested as far as possible. For it is an Hierarchical regulation that some are purified and that others purify; that some are enlightened and others enlighten; that some are perfected and others perfect; the Divine imitation will fit each one in this fashion. The Divine blessedness, to speak after the manner of men, is indeed unstained by any dissimilarity, and is full of invisible light----perfect, and needing no perfection; cleansing, illuminating, and perfecting, yea, rather a holy purification, and illumination, and perfection----above purification, above light, preeminently perfect, self-perfect source and cause of every Hierarchy, and elevated pre-eminently above every holy thing.
And last, on the use of metaphor and poetic language within the visions of Revelation and others who have tried to describe the angels to us.
It is necessary then, as I think, first to set forth what we think is the purpose of every Hierarchy, and what benefit each one confers upon its followers; and next to celebrate the Heavenly Hierarchies according to their revelation in the Oracles; then following these Oracles, to say in what sacred forms the holy writings of the Oracles depict the celestial orders, and to what sort of simplicity we must be carried through the representations; in order that we also may not, like the vulgar, irreverently think that the heavenly and Godlike minds are certain many-footed and many-faced creatures, or moulded to the brutishness of oxen, or the savage form of lions, and fashioned like the hooked beaks of eagles, or the feathery down of birds, and should imagine that there are certain wheels of fire above the heaven, or material thrones upon which the Godhead may recline, or certain many-coloured horses, and spear-bearing leaders of the host, and whatever else was transmitted by the Oracles to us under multifarious symbols of sacred imagery.

And indeed, the Word of God artlessly makes use of poetic representations of sacred things, respecting the shapeless minds, out of regard to our intelligence, so to speak, consulting a mode of education proper and natural to it, and moulding the inspired writings for it.

 
"The one true religion is worship.

Adore love.
Revere love as sacred and holy.
Bow to her wherever you meet her.

And why do I believe that is true? Because in all my investigation, all the things I've seen that a person could believe, that truth I think is the most beautiful. 

That's my ultimate measure. If I believe this what sort of person will that make me? What creates beauty?

For not that everything that is beautiful is true, but the deepest truths about life are so very beautiful that if something is not beautiful then it is not one of the deepest truths about life."

Saturday, 6 June 2020

Tales from the Past: Spiritual Mastery, Psychotherapy, Meditation and Worship


The black hoods of The Cult of Joshua the Christ

I had more money than I'd ever had before when I went to university. There were no tuition fees then and I got a student loan and a full grant because my dad had recently gone full time self employed and founded 4-sight consulting. Rent for digs at Corpus Christi College Cambridge were very reasonably priced although I never did get that room at old court. The new court is only 400 years old, the old court is 600 years old and is exquisite. The oldest courtyard in Cambridge I fell in love at first sight, past the alley with the bins.

In my first year I had a room off an alley off of new court. In my second year I had a room at Newnham court, where I went mad. Going mad was literally the worst thing I could possibly imagine. That's how it worked. That was my madness. And I hated myself for it. That part made perfect sense, for as far as I could tell everyone else hated me too. 

So now I always imagine that the best might be true, and I go for that. In as much as I am able. And when I was so glad to be alive again I sang so loudly. My only prayer. May I sing of what might be all my days. 

When I was going mad, a psychosis spanning two years really, it seemed like a Buddhist priest was using magic to steal my soul. I knew that if I stopped believing it then it wouldn't be true. But I didn't know how not to believe something that seemed to be happening.  It took a long time to go mad but I worked very hard at it and it cost me everything. 

It taught me that spiritual mastery is control of the mind.
The master thinks what she wants to think and does not think what she does not want to think.
There did come a point with the worship and the LSD that I just decided to run until I broke. I worshipped with thousands of people over a few years. I have a very loud voice and I had singing lessons for a year from a classical singing teacher.

I could worship very loudly. Above amplified music in a large hall. I worshipped with thousands with the Jesus Fellowship, the cult I belonged to for the best part of twenty years all told. Ten years living communally with no money or personal possessions devoted to seeking the kingdom of heaven. My worship style wasn't always appreciated there so the worship leaders and I learned to worship together. Sort of in combat. I worshipped at two Jesus Culture conferences in Birmingham, with Soul Survivor once a month for a couple of years or so and three of their Naturally Supernatural conferences. At the first conference Mike Pilavachi asked me not to be quite so enthusiastic. I told him I could turn the volume down. I worshipped near him, by chance, a few times and won his trust and got to know Tom, Andy and Beth and the team. I lived to worship. To hug and to worship.

I was taught Christianity was a religion of war. Spiritual war in the only war that matters. And worship is the weapon of warfare - for in the music the angels and demons dance and sing. And the music is us.

But how do you  worship Jesus with integrity without being able to be certain? You accept that you cannot have certainty on anything (traditional exceptions apply) and you rejoice in the uncertainty of it all. We rejoice in the uncertainty for it makes the best possible. (If maybe a touch improbable.) That's how I used to do it anyway. 

I'm not a Christian now. When I was this was my Christianity:
I've also taken Ayahuasca and Bufo Alvarius with Shamen in sacred settings.

My favourite trick was the lucky coincidence that a transatlantic flight is about the same length as a good LSD trip. I took 900μg one flight and my soul boiled. 300 people with nowhere to go and they're stuck there with you. I was very nice, I'd get to know the flight attendants and I only set the smoke alarm off with my vape once.

My spiritual practise alongside this was rigorous meditation, worship and meetings three times a week and psychotherapy. Oh and we practised hospitality an average of three times a week, having friends for meals, pretty religiously for about five years. Delia's cooking is legendary. The meditation was Buddhist mindfulness of breathing, as taught by the Buddha in the Sutras. An hour a day, six days a week, for seven years. Also practised with a religious devotion. Ironically perhaps I only did it six days a week as I didn't want to be too religious over it.

I've been doing Jungian psychotherapy with Deborah who is  Grey Matters Psychotherapy who I recommend with all my heart. Virtual sessions, just over two years actually. The first few were paid for by the cult through one of the schemes to help the people like me they fucked up. I was a little radicalised. 

In case you wondered what happened to my church they fought like hell and it's now being broken up and people are having breakdowns. It's a terrible story. They wouldn't throw me out though. Had to pretend to be polite. Was very weird and now I hate them as much as they hated me, except the ones I don't. And I'm having therapy.

The worship was good though. I'd like to find a new way to do that. To burn with a pure flame. Live to hug and to worship.

I hated him, Noel. The senior apostolic leader of the cult. He did say some good things and such a constant burning angry passion. Always on full blast and we were always on the move up and down the country, evangelism campaign after campaign. Perpetually exhausting, "burn out for Jesus" we'd exclaim. I hated Noel but there he was, there I was, and I could see something really beautiful. And everyone suffered anyway. It wasn't as bad as the world I'd come from. So I decided I didn't understand and left it at that. For a long while.

So there were those of us trying to live a beautiful shared life, with all money shared and shared vision and purpose. And there were a bunch of arsehole leaders who were dicks. But that was Christianity anyway. I did rise to the heady ranks of Leading Serving Brother (a low rung but women were excluded nonetheless) and I shepherded a couple of young brothers. All that was stripped away when we moved out. There was a curse on those who broke the covenant of community and I lived under it for years. But I'd discovered Python and my mind was alive and I had to program.

The name Jesus was created by corrupted men translating the gospels from Greek into Latin so that normal people couldn't read it. The common name is an anglicisation of the Latin translation of the Greek variant of the Hebrew name Yeshua. The Hebrew name is closest to and a variant of the English name Joshua [1]. The conventional version of Jesus portrayed by Christianity is either the plastic Jesus, fake and cheap and tacky, or the concrete Jesus, hard and cold and unyielding. Joshua the Christ is a very different character. The legend is powerful whatever the truth from millennia ago might be.

Lucifer, a traditional name for Satan which means enemy, means light-bringer. In Revelation 22:16 that title, bright morning star, is given to the Christ. The Satanic Fellowship of the black hoods of The Cult of Joshua the Christ chooses to be enemy, Satan who is sacred self, to the evil god of conventional Christianity identified with the superego. 

Our dark lord Lucifer died for our sins. Hell is vanquished and all the demons rage at his command.

If God exists it's only made of the same stuff as our experience of life. Some people don't think that's real, but then what is real? It's all in your mind.
Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
For we (together) have the mind of the Christ. The Christ mind. Krishna consciousness. Metaphors, like the cross. It is finished. 
The great work is both complete and begun.
The rule of love is now and is the age to come.
It's all poetry. The very best philosophy is poetry on the nature of love. For not that everything that is beautiful is true, but the deepest truths about life are so very beautiful that if something is not beautiful then it isn't one of the deepest truths about life. 

At the moment the Christ died, so the myth tells us, the veil was torn from top to bottom. The veil was a heavy curtain in the temple separating the people from the holy of holies, only a priest could enter into the holy of holies and minister between humanity and God. 

In that moment as the veil tore the difference between man and God was erased. No intermediary needed. Religion tries so desperately to put it back.

After my madness and a brief spell in prison I ended up living in the same house as the Cult leader of the largest Christian cult (living communally - including the catholic church I was told) in Europe as a single brother in a dormitory for seven years. Then for three years in an adjacent shared house as a married man.

The senior apostolic leader ruled with an iron fist. Many cult tactics, isolation from family, the one true Zion mentality. People went mad and killed themselves. Lives and dreams were crushed. I arrived broken, homeless and recently mad. I'm so angry about the blasphemy of it all and all the horrible things that are coming to light that happened in the darkness in that place. Their own horror take them.

But still somehow true fellowship blossomed in that place. The understanding of the teachings of Christ that heaven is now and found in shared lives. The only bit of the bible you really need is the first letter of John who explains Christ best. 1 John 4 7:8
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
And then you worship love, all the time. 
Adore love. Revere love as sacred and holy.
Bow to her wherever you meet her.

It's just the smart thing to do.

[1] Wikipedia has this to say on the Hebrew name Yeshua:

Yeshua (ישוע, with vowel pointing יֵשׁוּעַ – yēšūă‘ in Hebrew) was a common alternative form of the name יְהוֹשֻׁעַ ("Yehoshua" – Joshua) in later books of the Hebrew Bible and among Jews of the Second Temple period. The name corresponds to the Greek spelling Iesous (Ἰησοῦς), from which, through the Latin Iesus, comes the English spelling Jesus.

The Hebrew spelling Yeshua (ישוע) appears in some later books of the Hebrew Bible. Once for Joshua the son of Nun, and 28 times for Joshua the High Priest and other priests called Jeshua – although these same priests are also given the spelling Joshua in 11 further instances in the books of Haggai and Zechariah. It differs from the usual Hebrew Bible spelling of Joshua (יְהוֹשֻׁעַ y'hoshuaʿ)
The name יֵשׁוּעַ "Yeshua" (transliterated in the English Old Testament as Jeshua) is a late form of the Biblical Hebrew name יְהוֹשֻׁעַ Yehoshua (Joshua), and spelled with a waw in the second syllable. The Late Biblical Hebrew spellings for earlier names often contracted the theophoric element Yeho- to Yo-. Thus יהוחנן Yehochanan contracted to יוחנן Yochanan.

Jesus (IPA: /ˈdʒiːzəs/) is a masculine given name derived from the name Iēsous (Greek: Ἰησοῦς), the Greek form of the Hebrew name Yeshua or Y'shua (Hebrew: ישוע‎). As its roots lie in the name Yeshua/Y'shua, it is etymologically related to another biblical name, Joshua.

Short Meditations: Judgement, Faustus the Imp, Invisible Sky Friends and a Curse Against the City of Tyre

Abide

Judgement

Don't live under other people's judgements. Judging people is one of the worst character traits I know. I reserve judgement for those who judge and try to walk with compassion otherwise. Judging people is one of the ways we routinely and callously hurt each other. It's how we enforce social rules of one kind or another, and you know what I think of rules. It often presents as an outright refusal to see or acknowledge a different point of view.

Untangling yourself from other people's judgements, especially if you've taken them on over years, is very painful and hard. Particularly hard and painful if they won't see it of course. 

Then people judge you for rejecting their judgement. In that situation you actually cannot win, they're not interested in discussion only in being right. It's a standard character trait in most people, myself included of course, so it's worth watching out for.

It's in situations where the judgement is presented as an attack, and one you're supposed to take on board. In that situation the right response, I believe, is to stand up for yourself because you also have compassion on yourself and reject the judgement. I think you can both acknowledge how damaging judgement is and still have compassion. If you go into attack mode to defend yourself you're just as bad. You're doing the same thing. So stand up for yourself, including being real about the judgement and the fact that it hurts you, but don't reject the person doing it.

Even when you're being judged use compassion. I think compassion is how you understand people. You can still come to the conclusion that they're a bit nasty and you have to be a bit careful with them, like boundaries, and still have compassion. I think compassion, hard to do when you're in pain or afraid of being hurt, is the most sensible way to see the world - and compassion goes hand in hand with wisdom and wisdom isn't gullible or weak.

Basically judgement is "you are bad". You can reject that whilst staying willing to discuss your opinions. The judgement presents as people telling you what you meant rather than being willing to listen to what you meant.
If you're in the wrong, because you misunderstood something, the judgement that this makes you a bad person is also still wrong. You can accept the mistake and attempt to rectify whilst still rejecting the idea of "blame" or that it makes you a bad person. People want you to respond to judgement with guilt as a way of proving you've accepted their point of view. That is actually a facet of evil. Why do you want people to feel bad? Surely having them see your point of view without having to feel bad about it is a much more sensible way to get them to see your point of view.

We're not bad people. We do get things wrong. Even genuinely bad people are bad for a reason even if that's only genetics and privilege. They didn't ask to be born. They might need wiping off the face of the earth, but we can do without it being personal.


Faustus the Imp

Every demon will tell you the devil sent them. Don't listen to them. They lie!

I think this one was called Faustus. Let them plead for their souls like everyone else. You know what he said to me? "We're gonna need some actual Nazi killers before this day is done", "you better find me some then" I replied, "bring them to me".

The cheek of that imp. I like him, he can stay. If he finds me some hunters that is.


Trauma

The moral imperative is to resolve your own trauma lest you inflict it on others. 
Alas, the cruel joke of life is that the only way to resolve it is to inflict it on others. For whence did it come, and thusly it departs also. 

So choose well and inflict wisely. 

Judiciously.

Turn to look upon your demon and it flees in the direction of your gaze. Thus you may never see her clearly, only her heel in parting.


Invisible Sky Friends

Once again, in a debate on Facebook which I'm enjoying increasingly these days, someone said "it ought to be considered a mental illness to talk to your invisible sky friend", as a way of demonstrating what they thought of religion. I have an interesting history, with religion. My favourite religion, of which I am an ordained priest, is Dudeism. It is a religion which manages to be wholly true by having but one teaching. Abide.

On the topic of invisible sky friends here is my reply.

I have a different take. I think "god" is an evolutionary facet of the human mind. It's how we connect to "everything" on a subconscious level, and what the conscious rational mind thinks it believes is more or less irrelevant. The flotsam and jetsam of the mind and something to argue about or kill people over, alas. The conscious and rational mind is such a small part of the totality of who we are.

For sure Sturgeon's law applies to religion just it applies to everything else in life, but there is also great beauty and wisdom to be found in religious teachings that many overlook. For example this beautiful philosophy on the nature of love and was the heart of my own Christianity, when I was a Christian. It was the foundation of both my belief and practise. 1 John 4: 7-8
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
More importantly in my own life and the lives of others I have seen that transcendent experiences are beautiful, especially shared ones. Religions of all kinds seem to chart humanity's attempt to find and honour those experiences in their lives and all have varying degrees of success and sometimes horrible failure in that goal as they are all human constructs and symptoms of the human condition. To disdain them all without second glance, and to dishonour those who seek truth and beauty through them, seems like a sad mistake.

I can only say that because I have seen beautiful things and beautiful hearts in and through religion and I've known beautiful love through the idea of god, as well as experiencing the full range of human failings and cruelty.

The religion is abstract, the cruelty is real and comes from people. I despise the false and ugly religion that does such harm, and which did such harm to me too. I really hate it. I hate dead religion with every fibre of my being. But not because the idea of god has no value, I hate it because it could have such value and they pervert it for evil reasons.


Intersectional Feminism

There's a lot of misunderstanding by those, usually white, who object to the idea of privilege. For many, who have felt their own suffering keenly, the idea that they are advantaged over others seems to minimise their suffering and convey an obligation they don't want.

I think what people miss is that privilege isn't a negative. We're all privileged in some ways and oppressed in others. That's why intersectional feminism, the creation of black women philosophers, is beautiful. 

The understanding that many axes of privilege and oppression intersect uniquely in every life. 

So we use our privilege to help others where we can, because the oppression that we've experienced enables us to empathise with others oppressed in the same or different ways.

A black man has male privilege. A straight cis black woman has privilege for her sexual and gender identity. That doesn't minimise their suffering, it's just a statement of reality. As a white cis male I have a lot of privilege. As a Jewish neurodiverse cult survivor, pansexual, ex-homeless, ex-prisoner, ex-christian I've experienced many kinds of oppression too. Intersectional feminism helps me to understand myself and the world. It's a useful lense, a tool and framework for understanding.

Privilege isn't a very hard concept to understand. Some people work very hard not to understand it. Denying the suffering and oppression of others is evil. Accepting an unjust society without objecting and speaking out is evil. Don't be evil.


Ayahuasca

The active ingredient in Ayahuasca is DMT, one of the most powerful psychoactive substances known to man. You can't absorb DMT via the stomach, it doesn't cross the blood brain barrier, so normally you vape it. Sometimes DMT is mixed with another herb, like Salvia, to make Changa which you can smoke. A DMT trip is intense and powerful and very visual and lasts about fifteen minutes. It always floors me, gripping the ground and speaking into the earth.

The leaves of Ayahuasca contain large quantities of DMT. The root, which is a mild toxin, acts as a fixative. So if you take both you have a powerful trip that lasts about six hours, during which you can't walk for the first few hours probably, and most people purge (puke) due to the toxin. Some people have visions, some people find great healing from trauma, and some people go mad. 

I've taken Ayahuasca seven times, each time with Shamen. Taking Ayahuasca in sacred ceremonies is part of the Shamanic religion. The plant is the mother Aya and drinking the tea is a sacrament. Like any psychoactive she will mislead you if that is what you want.

Unfortunately due to the Psychoactive Substances Act of 2016 Ayahuasca is now illegal in the UK. Religious persecution.

When looking for a Shamen Sturgeon's law applies. Unless you trust to the fates, which we all must of course for we are in their hands.

There is a stronger form of DMT, 5-MeO-DMT called the God molecule, contained in the toxin of the Bufo Alvarius toad. This I have only smoked twice, also with Shamen. 


Curse Against the City of Tyre

Part of a letter I sent to the Jesus Fellowship Community trust and senior leaders in February 2018. This was the cult I lived communally with for ten years and was a member of for the best part of twenty years.

Unfortunately what I warned of in this letter is now happening. I may have been a bit angry at the time. This curse against the city of Tyre, according to the legend, was delivered by the prophet Ezekiel and is recorded in Ezekiel chapter 26. Although Tyre was later destroyed it wasn't quite in the manner of Ezekiel's prophecy. Close enough though.

It is possible that the only memory of the Jesus Fellowship Church will be the evil it did, the only record in the book of life against those who led it the suffering you caused. Don't let that happen. Behave honourably. This is one of the fates that awaits you.

Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against you, Tyre, and I will bring many nations against you, like the sea casting up its waves.

They will destroy the walls of Tyre and pull down her towers; I will scrape away her rubble and make her a bare rock. Out in the sea she will become a place to spread fishnets, for I have spoken, declares the Sovereign Lord. She will become plunder for the nations, and her settlements on the mainland will be ravaged by the sword. Then they will know that I am the Lord.
...
They will plunder your wealth and loot your merchandise; they will break down your walls and demolish your fine houses and throw your stones, timber and rubble into the sea. I will put an end to your noisy songs, and the music of your harps will be heard no more. I will make you a bare rock, and you will become a place to spread fishnets.


Identity

I identify as an outgoing introvert. I'm an introvert, I find social scenes tiring and I recharge my batteries by myself or with small groups of close friends. I can don the mask of the extrovert though, and enjoy social scenes and meeting new people. 

I'm a Leo born in the year of the Tiger. 

I'm of the Slytherin house, Gryffindor rising. 

The last time I took a Meyers Briggs test I got ENFP (campaigner). I used to get INFJ (idealist). Things change. 

Interesting and fun frameworks to understand yourself with. 


"You tell people you have a Jewish mother and they say I don't really understand what that's supposed to mean, and you say yeah, you got it."

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Deriving the Scientific Method and a Nice Life Philosophy from Descartes' Second Meditation




I'm particularly fond of Decartes' second meditation on certainty. From this we can derive both the scientific method and a lovely life philosophy.

Descartes' second meditation was on what you could possibly know with absolute certainty. That wasn't a dream or illusion or misunderstanding. His conclusion was famously "cogito ergo sum". Usually rendered "I think therefore I Am", but perhaps more true to his meaning is "there is thought, therefore there is a thinker". Nothing else can you know with absolute certainty.

I quite like my Buddhist rendering "in thought there is an experience of self, in the thought of the world there is an experience of other".

Best of all I like my Judeo-Christian rendering, based on the meaning of YHVH, Yahweh, the holiest name of G-d given to Moses in the burning bush, the fire that burns but does not consume when he asked G-d their name and they replied יהוה.

Read right to left the Hebrew letters yodh, he, waw and he. Meaning I Am.

Descartes' concluded in his second meditation that the only thing you can know with absolute certainty is I Am.

So, everything else we can't be absolutely certain about. It might even be a dream. You know your memory and your senses play tricks on you and cognitive biases like confirmation bias where you look for things to confirm what you already believe distort your perception of reality.

So you build up models of the world. Maybe various different ones with differing degrees of probability. The level of your confidence. And you test your models. Try them out. Build up your confidence in them. You're always willing to be wrong, but you know why you think what you think and you adjust to new information as it comes in.

That's the basis of the scientific method.

We build up models of reality knowing they're not perfect but because they're testable we're able to verify whether or not they're a better model than the one we had before.

Narnia

On the topic of the name of G-d, YHVH, let's take a detour via Narnia. I took the name of my personal moral law from Narnia. I call it the Aslan rule: what other people do is Narnia business. 

A fragment of one of my favourite, but alas shortest, poems is also inspired in part by Narnia. 
IAO I adore thee, magickal thou art. Evoe. IAO the black and red sigil of my desire that is also my love. Evoe, the green, white and silver response soft sighs from every evergreen bowed gentle with snow.
IAO is the Greek form of the Tegtragrammoton, YHVH, the holiest name of God. Iota Alpha Omega, the beginning to the end as the smallest possible unit. Notable as the name of G-d beloved by the Thelemites.

Evoe is the Bacchanalian exclamation of fervour and was the battle cry of some of the armies of Narnia as they went to war in The Last Battle.


"Demons are made of the souls of the suffering, Angels the vengeful tears of the same. A trapped demon sings until whatever has it caught dies. A trapped angel sings until whatever has it caught awakens to freedom."

A Collection of Short Memories: The Great Work, Karen, Homophobia, The Police & more

The only work worth doing is the great work

The Great Work

Here's an example of the great work. Once in a fetish club in Bedford I met a man who said he was learning to be a hypnotist and he asked if could he try and hypnotise me. 
He was small and bald and bespectacled and looked exactly as an aspiring hypnotist should look. 

I'm sceptical of and intrigued by hypnotism so naturally I agreed. After an initial preamble he proceeded very assiduously as far as I could tell to do nothing for some moments after which he declared that I could not be hypnotised and bid me good day. 

I do wonder if he's going around and trying to hypnotise people into believing that they can't be hypnotised. I approve.

Karen

I grew up in the days of the hippy convoy. Two girls who liked me, Karen and Debbie, called me the hippy convoy when I was walking past Badger's Close to Tytherington Comprehensive school in Macclesfield, carrying my beaten up cornet case as it was the day of my music lesson. I was twelve. Karen was chunky and Debbie was tiny and blonde; all of us in school uniforms. We were walking past a block of flats with me dawdling along the sun bleached concrete capping of a brick wall that enclosed the grounds of the flats and their car park. They walked alongside me hurling insults. We were just opposite the house where the daughters of Mrs Gottleib, my favourite primary school teacher, would sunbathe in bikinis in the front garden. I may have been in the house and seen the back garden once, but it's a very distant memory.

The Worst Story in the World

On the way back home from a trip to the States I once heard the worst story in the world. I was sitting in the heat of the morning sun outside one of the Heathrow terminals waiting for Delia to pull illicitly into the drop off zone and pick me up. 

A homeless man came near me, scruffy khaki coat wrapping him in the sun and raggedy trainers and just as raggedy a beard. After a while he started to tell me his story. He's from India and he used to live with his wife and family, He'd never quite got round to sorting out his immigration status but worked in restaurants where that wasn't so much an issue.
 
Unfortunately he'd taken to beating his wife and eventually she'd gone to the police and he was thrown in prison. Now he was out, a convicted domestic abuser and the judge placed a restraining order so he's not allowed back near the house. So he's also homeless and of course his unsettled immigration status didn't go without notice, so not only does he have to report to probation but he's not getting any benefits and obviously he won't be able to stay in the country if he lets them take him away*. Looking as homeless as he is none of the restaurants will hire him.

His wife wanted him back, he told me. She was going  to ask the judge to lift the order he said and he showed me his prison release papers. He so clearly and desperately wanted money. You'll have to beg I told him. He didn't ask me for any money so I didn't give him any. I asked him why not go back to India. He looked at me in horror and told me there was nothing for him there and he wasn't going back, no matter how bad it was here.


Homophobia

Funnily enough one of the reasons I'm so passionately against homophobia is because of being bullied for being gay when I was at school. I wasn't gay and the bullying was awful. So I know what it feels like. Evil fuckers.

When I left the school where I feared for my life because of the bullying a teacher told me I'd deserved it.

I was beaten up on the streets by rich fuckers in Cambridge just for being homeless. They threw coins at me before starting and then I was rescued by a woman passing by.

I was thrown out of home and into prison for being mad.

I know a bit about darkness. It's not all bad!

Isaiah 45:3 I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.

Baptism

On the cusp of insanity on a cold night in Cambridge I jumped into the river Cam. It was cold, so cold it knocked the breath out of me sharply and the current started to take me downstream. The stone bank I'd jumped from was a few feet above the water. Cold slimy stone that I couldn't grasp, and I couldn't swim against the current to the steps just a few yards away. I couldn't cry out but there was no-one there anyway. That was it I was going to drown.

So I relaxed. What else could I do. The current swept me further downstream and the stone turned to mud and I scrambled out of the river and away onto the grand college dinner in the grand college hall, the only one I attended.

In the face of death anyone who doesn't say I don't know is a fool. We all get to find out one way or another.

The Police

My weirdest experience of the police here in the UK was very soon after I'd been enlightened, when I was mad. 

I was walking the road from Harpenden to St Albans, Verulamium the Romans called it and the A5 runs right through it. The A5 is an old Roman road from London to Wales. It was Wales where the Romans slaughtered the druids and years after this tale I found myself living in a farmhouse called New River belonging to a cult. On the A5. 

Anyway, no-one would give me a lift so I was walking in the middle of the road. Some police arrived and with the help of some handcuffs persuaded me to join them in their car. I remember the bite of the cuffs against my wrists. 

In a police cell in St Albans I was sure I would ascend so I removed all my clothing and passed them through the hatch. The police women in attendance giggled and took my clothing. 

After some time I was cold. My time had not yet come. I think they gave me back my clothes. 

Then I walked to Cambridge. I did get one lift for a few miles. From a police car.




"The religion of Thelema: The systematic pursuit of knowing and exercising your true will, in accordance with the great work, understanding that love is the law. Every person is a star."