December 8, 2022
It has been even more common of late than it used to be to hear politicians and other individuals in positions of leadership praising high voter turnout in elections. In connection with this, it may be worth noting that limited turnout tends in fact to be one of the great safeguards of democracies. Now, I obviously do not mean to suggest that suppressing the vote is a good or acceptable thing to do, nor would I deny that in an ideal situation every citizen takes his political responsibilities seriously, makes considerable efforts to be well-informed, and goes to vote. But as long as such an ideal is not reached, the fact that individuals who either do not care very much or do not make efforts to be well-informed frequently chose not to vote is probably more of a blessing than a curse.
I am also not altogether convinced that governments should take it as their business to be so obsessed about voter turnout, or even to encourage everyone to vote per se, as opposed to encouraging everyone to be more civic minded and leave it at that. Political leaders should be concerned about stimulating citizens’ sense of civic responsibility, to be sure, but insofar as electoral turnout as a stand-alone metric goes, a fixation with that appears inappropriate.
There are a few countries in the world where voting is mandatory, notably in Latin America. I think a law to that effect is misguided and almost certainly does more harm than good. And it may be worth pointing out that it can do harm not only in the sense of leading to worse candidates being elected than would otherwise be the case, but also in the sense of saddling individuals with greater karma than they would otherwise be saddled with. The truth is that to participate in an election carries karmic repercussions, much like pretty much every consequential thing someone does carries karmic repercussions. To vote for a bad candidate, in other words, is not something that comes without negative consequences on an individual and spiritual level, in addition to the negative consequences that could come to the country as a whole if that candidate were to win election. It also bears pointing out, however, that failing to go vote for a good candidate when it is important for your country to do so can carry negative karmic consequences in its turn. I think it is important for citizens to be able to look at the situation in this sort of light. And I also think that the more they do so, the more electoral participation rates will ultimately rise for the better.
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December 7, 2022
There have been numerous reports of vaccination rates among children in some developed countries for things like measles and mumps having dropped significantly since the pandemic, and of there now being increasing numbers of cases of these diseases in numerous areas. It was altogether predictable that uptake of other vaccines would suffer in consequence of the madness that occurred in connection with the covid vaccines, and individuals who instigated or endorsed that madness ought to come to terms with their responsibility for consequences such as this. There has been little evidence of this happening, however, but rather the overriding narrative has predictably been one of blaming parents for their mistrust, their irresponsibility and their acceptance of misinformation.
Trust in governments and institutions is always a rather delicate thing, and those in positions of leadership have a great responsibility to act in ways that nurture rather than threaten that trust. There has been so much going on in the last few years that has very starkly failed this test, with various elements of our response to the pandemic providing among the most egregious examples. In addition to the great harm that has been brought about by the direct consequences of misguided, divisive and tyrannical policies, there is also great harm that has and will continue to come about by the indirect consequences of the damage that these policies did to trust, norms, precedents and social cohesion. And to the (individual and collective) karma that has accrued from the former will be added the (individual and collective) karma that has and continues to accrue from the latter.
Vaccination in general is undoubtedly a great blessing – it is difficult to imagine what the world would be like today if there were no such thing as vaccines. It is probably also correct to say that the development of covid vaccines was a positive thing, and that taking one of those vaccines represented a good option for many individuals in the circumstances. The few people who see the development and distribution of all covid vaccines as a great tragedy or as some sort of nefarious plot come across to me as pretty crazy in their views on the matter. But covid is a very different disease from measles, and the various covid vaccines are very different vaccines from the measles vaccine (and from each other). No vaccine should be compulsory in my opinion, nor in my opinion should the decision to vaccinate a child fall to anyone other than its parents. But the compulsoriness of all vaccines does not bother me equally, although instigating policies remotely like those that were instigated in connection with the covid vaccine for any vaccine would bother me greatly.
I suspect that there are always arguments that can be made for or against any vaccine, and the idea that any vaccine is entirely free of any potential negative effects is almost certainly wrong. I do not see the prospect that as medical science keeps progressing and pathogens in their turn keep evolving we are likely to end up with a steadily growing regimen of vaccinations as an altogether encouraging one. I think there are inevitably going to be shifts in how we approach such issues, and a good place to start for helping to move things in a constructive direction while minimizing negative consequences and maximizing positive outcomes would be for leadership figures and medical experts to be honest, introspective and where necessary apologetic about the good, the bad and the ugly of our response to the pandemic.
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November 15, 2022
The starkly divergent ways in which many western countries treat homosexuality and gender dysphoria and the way in which many Islamic countries do has been brought to the fore in the context of the world cup in Qatar. That country has among the strictest laws on this issue, and teams from western countries like the US are taking symbolic actions to protest the situation there. Now, I would like to point out that although I diverge far from prevailing attitudes in the West in my opinions on how homosexuality and gender dysphoria should be dealt with, I don’t agree with Qatar’s laws either.
A core point, however, which the majority of people in western nations seem to be largely ignorant of, is that what they have made of their attitudes and policies towards homosexuality and gender dysphoria at home is today a major cause behind the starkly divergent policies, attitudes and laws that subsist in much of the rest of the world—not only in Islamic countries, but also in parts of Africa, Latin America and Asia. Whatever role traditional values, religion and the like may have played (and continue to play) in setting policy on these issues in those countries, a crucial if not defining reason today is the debacle we have made in the West by embracing an opposite extreme. We have done such a good job of proving that middle ground on these issues is all but impossible to achieve, that people in large parts of the world are much more dismissive than they would otherwise be to revising some of their more repressive laws. People in the west seem to have little idea of just how harmful their demonstration of the dangers of stepping onto a slippery slope that leads to things like the genital mutilation of children, kindergarten drag queen shows, and ideological compliance as a condition for employment has been to promoting more reasonable laws abroad. And they also seem to have little idea of how making what pretty much amounts to a religion out of these issues is hardening attitudes among religious people all over the place.
The more godless and immoral people become, the more tragically their efforts to make the world a better place tend to backfire, and the more ineffective, self-defeating or inadvertently harmful their efforts to deal with a whole litany of issues and crises tend to get. This is a principle that has been on very clear display in all sorts of contexts of late, including the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the global economy. It is also on pretty clear display right now in Qatar, where besides embarrassing themselves and causing offense, Western teams are almost certainly managing to harm the cause of individuals they profess to care about.
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November 13, 2022
Two significant messages that came out of polling and analysis from the recent US midterm elections are that many people considered the economy, inflation and crime to be key issues (which generally pushed them in the direction of voting for Republicans), and that many people considered keeping abortion legal to be a key issue (which generally pushed them in the direction of voting for Democrats). Now, it is not really known how many people who would otherwise have voted Republican ended up voting Democrat because of their pro-choice stance, nor in how many individual races this might have changed the result. But it presumably occurred with some frequency, and quite possibly had a far-from-negligible impact.
It is worth noting some of the spiritual and karmic implications here. Directly because of their commitment to abortion, significant numbers of people not only voted in such a way as is likely to prolong and worsen the negative economic and social conditions in the country, many of them actually did so by explicitly balancing considerations along such lines. For the sake of preserving the institutionalization of one of man’s greatest inhumanities to man, in other words, significant numbers of people supported the disastrous current Democratic regime—and in no small number of cases they did so on the basis of a conscious balancing act that saw them depart from voting in the way in which their consideration of the economy, inflation and crime would have led them to go.
Observing this helps to reinforce the point that negative karmic recompense is never so much a punishment for sin, as it is a self-inflicted consequence of sin—and generally speaking, in one way or another, it even ends up being a self-endorsed consequence. God does not so much punish people for their sins, but rather they punish themselves through their sinfulness. And in one way or another, they generally tend to run towards the karmic retribution when it is due, and to affirm or provoke it in some meaningful sense of the word. This is a principle that appears to have been on fairly striking display during this election.
It seems fairly obvious to me that abortion was effectively set up by divine providence to be a major issue, not only in this particular year, but also in this particular election. A decision appears to have been made that the time has arrived for the people of America to be forced to come to terms with this heinous act and its implications. Revisiting this issue and bringing it to some sort of new resolution appears by all accounts to be intricately tied up with the serious economic, political, and social issues the country is currently facing. And this was directly reflected in the election.
It is also noteworthy that certain prominent Republican senators presented an initiative a few weeks before the election to the effect of establishing a federal late-term abortion ban. This ran counter to the idea that abortion should be left up to individual states to decide, and therefore threw the issue rather more prominently into the election than would otherwise have been the case. From a strategic perspective, given the overall mood and consensus in the country, presenting this shortly before the election comes across as having been remarkably ill-advised. But from a perspective that takes into account the role of divine providence, it makes a lot of sense that these senators would have felt prompted to bring forth such a proposal at the particular time they did.
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September 24, 2022
We live in a time of rampant and spiraling immorality and a time of rampant and spiraling inflation. There is a significantly deeper connection between the two than is commonly acknowledged, and their correlation is far from incidental. A collective failure to be firmly grounded in objective values on the inner can hardly but play into a collective failure to find, establish or sustain anything approaching a stable store of value on the outer. It is hardly surprising, then, that a people who have proven themselves acquiescent to an insidious erosion of standards in their society should find themselves plagued by an insidious erosion in the worth of their currency.
Furthermore, an anything goes sort of attitude when it comes to personal uprightness and ethical norms can hardly but play into an anything goes sort of attitude to how money is disbursed and how economic tools are wielded. Doubling the national debt for a cause in the context of the pandemic or blowing up the international economic order for a cause in the context of the war in Ukraine could hardly have come so naturally or be accepted so casually if citizens were not so naturally and casually prepared to sacrifice equality and fairness for a cause in the context of equity and inclusion, or to let go of long-held norms of behavior for a cause in the context of progress and inclusion.
The truth is that a godless and immoral people rarely remain a prosperous people for very long, much as they rarely remain a free people for very long. And in both cases, there are spiritual dynamics and karmic factors that play a role in how things develop, at the same time as there are obviously also outer dynamics and factors that play a role. Whatever the outer causes behind inflation and economic recession may be, in other words, there are also and concurrently spiritual causes and dynamics influencing why, how and when such developments happen. And the interface between the two kinds of causes is a lot easier to understand when you understand how people’s immorality is leading them to make irrational, misguided and fanatical choices of an economic nature, as well as of a political nature.
Whatever else the solution to getting inflation under control might involve, we will need to come to term with the fact that it is imperative to learn to anchor virtue in the world if we would succeed in anchoring value in anything of the world. We will furthermore need to come to terms with the principle that sustaining conditions that are conducive to human well-being and flourishing on the outer is strongly contingent upon employing such conditions to pursue personal growth and refinement on the inner.
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August 27, 2022
It has been extensively reported and discussed in the media that numerous Republican candidates have received significant funding and other aid in their primary campaigns from Democratic party organizations or supporters. In particular, it has been the more socially-conservative, pro-life or Trump-endorsed candidates that have received this support. The motivation behind this has been to create a situation where candidates who were perceived as extremist (or who could more convincingly be painted in such a light) would represent the Republican party in the general election, in the hope that such a candidate would then be easier for the Democratic nominee to defeat.
To whatever extent this strategy may either succeed or fail in the upcoming election (and to whatever extent these candidates may be either strong or weak candidates), it is worth noting that there are significant implications that go beyond this election. To finance, help or otherwise promote a candidate entails throwing one’s support behind them, as well as behind the vision or movement they represent. Such an endorsement is significant on a spiritual level, in the sense that it establishes a mandate of broad-based public support for taking the country in a particular direction.
God undoubtedly has a plan for where the United States should go, and yet here on Earth we are in a very significant sense of the word responsible for choosing our own destiny. And so, if things are to move powerfully in the right direction, then it very much has to be through the will and support of the people that we elect to go that way. And to a remarkable extent (and in remarkable ways), such broad will and support are increasingly coalescing around a particular movement and vision. Not only is a large-part of the population rallying around this movement and vision deliberately (due to polarization and a host of factors both spiritual and worldly), a significant part of the rest of the population who are against the movement are nevertheless inadvertently throwing their support behind it as well. This contributes to establishing a mandate, even as it demonstrates how divine providence can function in such a way as to respect the authority God has given to humanity to choose their own destiny here on Earth.
More and more, the nation is rallying around a particular movement and vision of a positive, promising and portentous kind. Much of the nation is doing so deliberately and intentionally (which is of course the biggest positive news), but there is also a significant part of the nation that is doing so inadvertently, or despite themselves, so to speak. It is important to see that the latter can carry significant positive repercussions and portents as well.
What is going on brings to mind the statement made by the High Priest in the lead-up to Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion, where he said that “it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people.” Now, the principle which the High Priest was invoking and the pretext upon which he was invoking it were dishonorable and iniquitous. And yet, he inadvertently affirmed a great and revolutionary truth. And the fact that the individual holding the office of High Priest should affirm this truth prior to Jesus’ persecution and death was very significant, which is why John made a big deal of it in his gospel.
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June 5, 2022
A fair bit of attention has been given to Russia’s refusal to call what it is doing in Ukraine a war or an invasion, but rather to refer to it as a “special military operation” and to persecute individuals, companies and media outlets at home that fail to go along with its narrative. I certainly agree that this is both ridiculous and troubling. But it bears pointing out that it is hardly all that different from insisting on referring to killing babies in the womb as a “healthcare procedure” in response to “choosing to terminate a pregnancy,” or insisting on referring to men with gender dysphoria as “transgender women.”
Something that should be quite obvious from much that has been happening in the last little while is that language can quite quickly become a remarkably subjective, polarized, weaponized and ideologically-driven thing, whenever people and nations descend into godlessness and immorality. The more a society steers away from fundamental values and standards, opts for overbearing government, and loses sight of the centrality of walking earnestly after the spirit, the more of a devolution you tend to see in language and its uses and abuses.
This largely attests to just how significant a thing language and words actually are from a spiritual perspective. There is more to Christ’s proclaimed role as “word incarnate” than is generally acknowledged, while the implied connection to language is less purely metaphorical than is generally assumed. Words are powerful and consequential things, and their conscientious and respectful use bears a close affinity to creativity and the power of creation. The observation that societies generally end up making a mockery of language in one way or another when they make a mockery of divine principles and precepts is hardly coincidental. To espouse or embody “the way, the truth and the life” goes hand in hand with “receiving in meekness the engrafted word,” and this at least partially reflected in how it is only when a people or a country remains reasonably centered in the ways of God that the use of language in society steers clear of the sort of subjectivity, farce, polarization and devolution that we are presently seeing so much of. The latter is taking a fairly different form in certain countries as compared to others, but there is a fair bit that is universal about how language is increasingly tied up with tyranny, groupthink, uncritical attitudes and ridiculous standards of behaviour.
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April 14, 2022
In his letter to the Romans, Paul talks about people who “changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator.” This is a very pertinent indictment of present times. We are increasingly reaching a point as a society where we are not just focused on the human for want of being focused on the divine, but also downright worshiping man in lieu of worshiping God. Individuals, societies, governments and even many religious organizations are moving beyond being humanists or preaching a social doctrine, to the point of veritably worshiping or idolizing man and the human condition. There is thus something distinctly religious about many people’s attitudes towards each other and towards the collective these days, even as God is pushed ever further to the sidelines or out of the picture.
This is the only way to understand what is going on when it comes to the growing cult-like nature of a focus on diversity, inclusion and equity, to gender nonsense, to socialism, to victimization narratives, and to the way these things are all coming together to make for something increasingly overbearing, unhinged, bizarre and doctrinal.
We furthermore see how this is going hand-in-hand with turning truth into lies. Good is evil and evil is good; men are women and women are men; truth is falsity and falsity is truth; moderation is extremism and extremism is moderation; and so on and so forth. So much in society appears to be getting ever more muddled, subjective, arbitrary and fake, even as people are engaging in more and more wickedness, depravity and counterproductive efforts in their attempts to do good and to live as they believe they ought.
All of this is also going hand-in-hand with the other things Paul mentions in the same chapter. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools:” The most worldly-sophisticated among us are descending more precipitously into Marxist and woke madness than anyone else, as evident in out-of-control universities, corporations and government agencies. “Dishonouring their own bodies between themselves:” Sexual immorality of various forms—including the sexualization of young children—is reaching new heights, even as people’s attitudes towards sexuality and related issues are increasingly infused with self-righteousness and groupthink. And so on with much of the rest Paul writes.
The message that ought to come out of all of this loudly and clearly is that we desperately need to get back on track by quite explicitly worshiping God and acknowledging that the relationship between man and man must crucially be seen as secondary to the relationship between man and God. The truth is that a social doctrine is always a very poor substitute for a religious doctrine. Furthermore, the soul being the innately spiritual entity it is, individuals and societies are all but guaranteed to descend into increasingly ludicrous, unhinged, depraved and destructive worship and idolatry of the human when people en masse let off from worshiping, loving and pursuing God with all that doing so implies. No amount of good intentions towards their fellow man will then be able to keep them and their countries from spiraling into immorality and madness.
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January 12, 2022
The premier of my province in one of his recent covid rants railed against the ten percent or so of the eligible population who hadn’t gotten vaccinated and how they stood in the way of “the ninety percent of the population who made some sacrifices.” Now, on the face of it this makes little sense. I mean, how could getting something that’s safe and effective and could very well save your own life be a sacrifice? How could giving into enormous societal pressure and escaping from intense persecution be a sacrifice? The whole idea that getting the vaccine equates to making some sacrifices is actually very likely to significantly contribute to further entrenching people in their beliefs that there must be something wrong with the vaccines. It's also rather insulting to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people who’ve made all sorts of real sacrifices in connection with the pandemic.
But the comment is very valuable in how it reveals the mindset behind so much of what’s been going on, and when understood in that sort of light it makes a fair bit of sense. It’s a mindset that pretty much can’t help but equate making sacrifices with going along with whatever the state, the collective or the experts demand. Submitting to authority or orthodoxy on the one hand, and doing one’s part, being responsible or making sacrifices on the other, have come to be so fundamentally entwined in the minds of many who most ardently advocate for all of this, that they really can’t seem to look at the issue any other way. This is a very clear example of what the psychology behind exalting the state as God looks like, which is always a major part of the rise of socialism, communism or the radical left within a society.
Now, I think this is the real danger behind the vaccination drive – the way it’s been set up in such a way as to play powerfully into growing socialist/communist/collectivist sentiments and exalting the state as God. Somehow the idea that doing what’s right is essentially equivalent (rather than just incidentally equivalent) to doing what the state or the collective would compel you to do has grown very strong over the course of the pandemic. And many people who would not outwardly consider themselves to hold such a belief or to have shifted in such a direction are nevertheless increasingly assessing things as if they do and behaving accordingly.
It's also to be noted that the belief that going along with whatever the state or the collective demands qualifies as sacrifice is almost like a religious tenet for many people. And this is because it props up a belief that doing something they were strongly inclined to do anyway and that comes at little or no cost to themselves could nevertheless qualify as a sacrifice. Believing that makes them feel better, because it effectively comes down to seeing a way for redemption or moral probity to be open to them without having to make any of the real sacrifices or deep inner reorientation that genuine redemption and uprightness will demand. The truth, of course, is that genuine sacrifice – the sort of sacrifice that will get you into heaven or fix so much that is deeply wrong in the world – is rather different. And whether taking the vaccine is a good idea or not, in one way or another walking a path of genuine sacrifice is going to look a lot more like what the unvaccinated are currently going through than what the vaccinated are going through.
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November 18, 2021
In news stories about some of the new pandemic restrictions being put into place in European countries and elsewhere, something that comes up fairly frequently is a quotation from a government official in which he justifies the government’s actions by arguing that that state has a primal responsibility to prevent harm from coming to its citizens. Now, this may seem like a sound enough claim, if not almost a self-evident one. But it really isn’t either. In fact, it’s largely false.
The state has a much greater responsibility to do no harm to its citizens than to prevent harm from coming to its citizens. Now, this does not necessarily mean that it ought never to take any action that might harm a few people relatively mildly while preventing considerably greater harm from coming to many more people. But it does mean that it ought not to ground its policies and actions on anything resembling a linear harm-calculation on these sorts of terms. It rather ought to calculate things in such a way as to put significantly greater weight on not doing harm than on preventing harm, because the state has a much more primal responsibility when it comes to the former than when it comes to the latter.
This is reflected in how, when newly elected leaders are sworn into office, they are generally made to swear an oath along the lines that they will uphold the law, the constitution and the fundamental rights of the people. They aren’t presented with an oath to the effect of going all out to protect everyone and anyone from themselves and each other, or anything along those sorts of lines. This situation is similar to what we find in the Hippocratic oath used in the medical profession, which stresses a primal responsibility to do no harm, along with a respect for medical privacy and the like.
We find an expression of the same general principle in Jesus’ instruction to his followers “if you love me, keep my commandments.” He didn’t say “if ye love me, go all out in your efforts to be a do-gooder, or to rearrange the world as it ought to be re-arranged,” or anything to that effect. This is because obedience and respect for fundamental precepts, principles and proscriptions is crucially primary to anything else when it comes to righteousness and upright living. This serves as a critical first principle in religion, and it urgently needs to be recognized as a critical first principle in government as well. Such a recognition has in fact been widespread in most western countries until fairly recently, but lately the situation has begun to seriously shift in many jurisdictions. This has not just occurred in connection with the pandemic, but in connection with numerous other issues as well. It is a very troubling and portentous shift.
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November 10, 2021
In my province, there was a vaccine mandate announced early in the autumn for all staff in medical institutions and retirement homes that was to take effect on October 15th. On October 14th it was delayed for a month, because it was determined that the small percentage of staff who would have to be let go would be enough to seriously undermine the healthcare system. A few weeks later, it was rescinded altogether. This conjunction of tyranny, farce, incompetence, hypocrisy and pretense on the part of the government was instructive to witness, not to mention somewhat amusing. But I found something else I witnessed in connection with these developments even more instructive, as well as more concerning.
At a nursing home shortly before the mandate was originally to go into effect, there was a page-long letter posted from the management to the staff about the coming requirements. This letter did not just lay out the details about the mandate, what it stipulated, and the fact that it was a legal requirement. It also went quite profusely out of its way to stress that what was stipulated was perfectly aligned with the institution’s core values, that it represented the only responsible thing to do, that the management team entirely agreed with it, that this sort of action presented the only tenable way to make it through the pandemic, and so forth.
When the mandate was delayed and subsequently rescinded by the government, this retirement home did not to enforce any sort of independent mandate of its own, although doing so would not have been illegal. It also had not imposed any independent mandate prior to the government-announced mandate, which would not have been illegal either. A similar sort of situation doubtlessly played itself out in a fair number of other retirement homes across the province.
This pattern of response concerns me more than the mandates themselves, because it is so illustrative of a situation where the state is coming to be related to more and more as to God. The government is not just being deferred to with regard to what the law will be, but also all but bowed to as a fount of moral standards. Throwing the full weight of one’s own ethical pontification behind whatever edicts come from above is becoming an increasingly ubiquitous thing to do, without there being much evidence of people then feeling any particular obligation to independently endorse a course of action when those above cease to endorse it. Shockingly many people are gravitating towards an ethical disposition that is all too keen to take whatever the state comes up with in a given moment as the natural parameters for what is laudable to whole-heartedly support in that moment.
This has in fact been a major theme to come out of the pandemic, and it has provided us with countless seemingly small and everyday examples of how communism (or at least the sort of reasoning, mindset and disposition that precedes and undergirds it) is creeping into our society. We might not be all that far removed from the sort of situation they have in China, where “Xi Jinping Thought” can become not only official doctrine but a key part of the national ethos all but overnight, because the powers that be say that it should.
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April 18, 2021
It is interesting and encouraging to read news articles about how individuals and groups are succeeding with things like launching new social media sites that bypass corporations committed to the stifling of free speech, or publishing conservative-themed documentaries despite everything the leftist-biased film industry is doing to make that very difficult. It is also interesting and encouraging to read articles about how various state legislatures and governors are succeeding in drafting and enacting laws on a wide range of urgent issues, such as election integrity, public safety, combating censorship and much else besides, despite all that is pitted against taking such measures. A powerful message that is coming out of these developments is that it seems to take a new level of ingenuity, flexibility, independence, collaboration and boldness to accomplish all sorts of things that used to be much more straightforward to accomplish. And another powerful message is that it looks like the nation may well be up to the challenge.
What we presently see occurring could be said to be somewhat like a second American Revolution. Whereas in the first revolution the principal opponent was a particular foreign power, here the principal opponent could be said to be “the world” in the negative Biblical sense of the word. The world as the conglomerate, collectivist, globalist, conformist force which it has so clearly become—which force appears intent on stifling freedom, prosperity, spirituality, limited government and much else besides. In both cases, the nation was or is faced with an urgent need (as well as a unique opportunity) to do things differently and to throw a great degree of resolve, ingenuity, courage and conviction into a struggle for the sake of establishing, sustaining and enshrining liberty and a uniquely laudable way of life.
The whole world appears to be in a very significant sense of the word on the cusp of a serious revolution. And I am not referring to anything along the lines of a socialist revolution, a globalist reset, a geo-political power struggle, or the need to counter any or all of these things. That mostly just sets the stage for the real revolution which seems destined to take off, as well as to press home the urgency of engaging in such a revolution. It is rather a revolution in consciousness, a revolution of a resurgent spirituality, and a revolution along the lines of rejecting the tyranny of “the world” with all that it has come to represent. This revolution once again heralds an era of greater prosperity, innovation, freedom, peace and a potential flourishing of civilization. And America once again appears to be on the forefront of things.
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April 13, 2021
This past weekend there were once again violent riots in Minneapolis, as well as closer to home in Montreal. Both started as protests, in the former case in response to a police shooting, in the latter in response to heavy-handed pandemic measures. And in both cases, there ended up being a lot of damage done to stores and other businesses in the area. In reading the news about each of these events, a common theme that was repeatedly expressed was about how shocking and regrettable it was that protesters would do all this harm to local businesses, especially given how difficult a time those businesses were already having because of pandemic restrictions. Although I certainly don’t mean to suggest that what happened in either city was in any way acceptable, it nevertheless struck me how almost nobody seemed to realize the great irony of such a sentiment.
The way these protests turned into destructive riots (and the way so many other protests have been turning into destructive riots since the pandemic started) is very much an imitation of the way in which society’s approach to fighting the pandemic itself has turned into a very destructive assault against businesses, prosperity and civil liberties. Now, you can debate whether what we did in response to the pandemic was justified or not all you want, but the truth remains that we established a very powerful and dangerous precedent that if your cause is important enough and the implications of doing nothing are serious enough, then almost nothing should be off the table. If what you are trying to accomplish or prevent is serious and urgent enough, in other words, almost no rules, norms, precedents or considerations about what is fair should be beyond repeal. Establishing such a precedent might well prove to be among the most consequential and deleterious consequences of the whole situation surrounding the pandemic and the measures that have been taken to combat it, which is obviously saying a lot.
Regardless of what your beliefs might be about how much worse the death toll from the virus might have been if we had responded to it in a less extreme manner, you cannot really deny that how we did respond has been radical. And in a world that was already all too prone to radicalism before the pandemic hit, this very broad-scale normalization of the idea that in a desperate enough situation just about nothing should be off the table has probably done more harm than almost anyone yet realizes. Many of the rioters is Minneapolis doubtlessly thought along the lines that systemic racism, police violence, entrenched social injustices and whatever else were critical enough issues that almost anything was justified in order to ensure that their message was heard, that pressure was brought to bear, and that change was forced to occur. This is very akin to how jihadist terrorists think and behave, as well as to how communist revolutionaries think and behave. It is also very akin to how the majority of health experts and government leaders have been thinking and behaving of late, and that is very important to acknowledge.
Besides needing to take into account all of the other forms of harm our response to the pandemic has caused when it comes to deciding how to move forward with combating the virus, it is altogether imperative that we take into account how much harm we are doing simply by contributing to the normalization of radicalism and to setting a precedent that in sufficiently serious situations just about anything goes.
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March 14, 2021
A major lesson we are all doubtlessly intended to have learned through the pandemic is how important it is to employ spiritual resources in fighting a major crisis in addition to physical ones. Now, we are clearly not yet at the point as a society where it would be reasonable to respond to the threat posed by the virus exclusively with spiritual tools, without implementing some considerable physical measures at well. The president of Tanzania has repeatedly claimed that his country would defeat the virus through prayer. On the one hand, this is a major breath of fresh air, and I really wish more leaders around the world would acknowledge the importance of prayer in tackling the virus. On the other hand, his approach goes too far in the sense that Tanzania like any other country is not at a point where relying on spiritual resources alone is likely to prove a responsible course to take. Wouldn’t it be awesome if there could be leaders in countries around the world who brought a balanced perspective and capacity for judgment which took into account the importance both of spiritual measures and of reasonable and moderate physical measures to tackle the virus? People who could combine the sort of outer strategy advocated by Tegnell in Sweden with the sort of spiritual focus brought by Magufuli in Tanzania while taking into account local conditions?
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February 22, 2021
I’ve found one of the most valuable news sites of late to be Epoch Times. This is a news organization that was founded by Falun Gong, which is a religious movement that has been (and continues to be) famously singled out for persecution by the Chinese government. This has led me to wonder just why this is. Why does the Chinese communist regime feel so strongly threatened by this organization in particular? It is not a religious movement that is all that well known outside of China, nor one that stands out for any great controversy in its history as far as I'm aware. So, what's so special about it? With only a modicum of research, I think the answer to this question is actually pretty obvious.
Paraphrasing somewhat, the key sentence in the Wikipedia article on the organization describes it as a spiritual movement which “combines Qigong exercises with a moral philosophy and Buddhist/Taoist elements.” Now, Qigong is a term that refers to non-physical energy, especially as it relates to human beings. And so, Qigong exercises denote practices that have a focus on increasing, regulating, tapping, mastering or exploiting the flow of such energy. There are many different movements that have sought to do this sort of thing in one way or another, which includes practices as diverse as acupuncture and western-style yoga. The majority of these movements, however, are not really spiritual or religious in character. They acknowledge the presence of non-physical energy in the human organism and the potential usefulness of learning to deal with that energy in some way, but they don’t approach the topic from an explicitly theological, religious or even moral standpoint per se.
At the other end of the spectrum, you have churches and explicitly religious movements, which by and large almost entirely ignore this kind of thing. And that is especially true when it comes to almost everything that may be characterized as “mainstream” religion. With all of their emphasis on God, morality, the afterlife, and the non-physical dimensions of the life of the soul, the majority of these organizations are remarkably dismissive of almost anything that deals explicitly with consciously increasing, regulating, tapping, mastering or exploiting the flow of non-physical energy. It should however be noted that when you penetrate to the mystical core of many religions, the picture begins to change significantly. Christian mysticism, Muslim Sufism, Hindu yogi philosophy and the like all get into this sort of thing to some extent. And many of the historical saints in these and other religions almost certainly engaged in such practices, because that is pretty much the only way to “do” things spiritually (heal, precipitate, levitate, decrease your sensitivity to pain, etc.).
Now, the coming together of the two (Qigong practices and an explicitly spiritual, moral, religious or theological outlook and approach) is very portentous. Things like acupuncture and western-style yoga are valuable for what they are, even as mainstream religion is valuable for what it is, but each is limited. You really need practices of energy regulation to become spiritual on the one hand, and religious practices to become scientifically mystical on the other, in order to get to a point where things really start to get interesting and powerfully transformative in the broadest sense of the word. When you start to realize that gaining greater mastery of non-physical energy flow ultimately comes down to a discipline of devotion and has to begin with the great commandment of striving to love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength, you get to a whole new level relative to trying to gain such mastery in more circumscribed ways. Similarly, when you start to realize that taking religion as seriously as it ultimately demands to be taken requires delving into a scientific application of mystical principles that largely comes down to dealing with non-physical energy through mental exertion, emotional exertion, and even a spiritual form of physical exertion, you get to a whole new level relative to a religion that ignores most of that.
This is almost certainly where Falun Gong as an organization and movement stands out. It is also almost certainly a key part of its intended role or mission to bring this sort of synthesis to China, through a practice and doctrine that is particularly suited to Chinese traditions by drawing on Buddhism, Taoism and the like. And the Chinese communist regime is right to feel distinctly threatened by this, even as those who have a vested interest in keeping people in bondage in any sense of the word anywhere in the world are right to feel threatened by similar movements and organizations. These sorts of developments—which show many signs of being destined to seriously take off in the coming era—are very portentous. There are few things that are likely to play as large a role in bringing about a serious positive transformation in society as are developments along these sorts of lines broadly conceived. It may also be worth noting in connection with has been said that Falun Gong member’s relative mastery in an explicitly spiritual or religious form of non-physical energy regulation may be very plausibly put forward as a reason for why they might stand out as particularly attractive subjects for organ harvesting.
[Note: In response to a request for feedback on this from the organization, I was directed to this webpage along with a note that "what you wrote has merit, but is quite focused just on the issue of religion/spirituality and misses some of the major points discussed in the article above."]
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February 18, 2021
With the renewed focus on the climate change and global warming narratives in government, the media and elsewhere, it may be worth pointing out one of the major motivations behind this. Namely, to distract people’s attention from the fact that we’re in a period of accelerated karmic return. This descent of karma is taking numerous forms, including (rather obviously) plagues and health threats, economic disruption, war and violence in many parts of the world, and persecution of various kinds. But an additional form which it is taking is that of natural disasters, extreme weather events and disruptive irregularities in climate.
Now, the majority of people who contribute to fueling the hysteria and hype surrounding climate change and a supposed looming environmental apocalypse almost certainly do not look at things from this sort of perspective. Rather, they do so on the basis of misguided good intentions and/or a desire for control or political gain. But at least a few who are behind these narratives assuredly do look at things from a perspective that takes into account karma, divine cycles and the plans and purposes of God.
Periods of crisis almost always lead to significant numbers of people turning more earnestly to God and to things of the spirit. And so, something which those who are consciously at enmity with God are eager to avoid is to have large numbers of people begin to draw connections between sin and its karmic consequences. The idea, for example, that things like hurricanes may be in part due to things like abortion is one they want to suppress at all costs. And so, we’re seeing a renewed and intensified effort to put all of the focus on the human and physical causes behind natural disasters and extreme weather.
Now, I do not mean to say that physical causes do not play a significant role in addition to spiritual ones. Nor do I mean to deny that global temperatures may be rising as a result of an increased humanly-induced release of carbon into the atmosphere per se. And I certainly do not mean to say that taking better care of the environment is not both laudable and urgent. But there are two things I do mean to say. First of all, that the hysteria behind global warming is overblown in and of itself. And secondly, that whatever else may go into the complex interplay of physical and spiritual causal factors behind the extreme weather and natural disasters we’ve been experiencing, we are assuredly reaping a karmic whirlwind of our own immoral sowing.
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January 16, 2021
As much of the world remains deeply committed to an unprecedentedly destructive and wide-scale effort to fight off a major health threat, it may be worth stressing a very obvious yet all too easily forgotten point. Namely, the point I mean to underscore is that it is impossible to prevent anyone’s death. Throughout all of history, no human death has ever yet been prevented, and this seems unlikely to change anytime soon. Everyone who’s ever been born has died, or else will die in at most a little over a hundred years. And so, the best that can ever be done is to postpone anyone’s death. Now, postponing deaths is obviously a worthwhile endeavour, and one that may be worth a fair bit of collective pain—perhaps even a lot of it. But it is not worth an infinite or arbitrarily limitless amount of harm on other metrics. All of the morally-charged nonsense about how lives trump everything else notwithstanding, decisions regarding what sort of measures are justified to take in the face of a pandemic are always going to come down to policy choices that demand judgement, prudence and the weighing of various values and factors. And in order to be in a reasonable position to engage in such a process of judgment and weighing, it is very useful to bear in mind that a human life cannot ultimately be saved.
Now, there is something that can ultimately be saved, and that is a soul. Of course, no individual can save another man’s soul, nor can a society save the soul of any of its members. Any individual can only ever save his own soul, and he can only ever do so by and with the grace of God. But society can play a major role in creating and sustaining the sort of conditions which are relatively conducive to souls being saved. Or else it can abdicate on its responsibility to do as much, and pave the way instead for conditions which are considerably less conducive thereto. This is crucial to bear in mind when it comes to weighing the relative value of postponing deaths versus considerations regarding the economy, individual liberties, quality and dignity of life, social cohesion, size of government, and the type of country we’ll be left with when the page on the pandemic finally turns.
Seeking to determine what are reasonable and justified measures to take in the face of a pandemic is a complex process. You have to weigh postponing deaths that might be caused by the virus against collateral deaths and health implications, such as through suicides, drug overdoses, delayed surgeries, reduced physical fitness, mental health challenges, depression, poverty, and whatever else. You have to weigh postponing deaths against the very real intrinsic value of sustaining things like quality of life, prosperity, limited government, fundamental freedoms, and a particular kind of society founded on certain values and norms. And you have to weigh postponing deaths against the ramifications which the measures that you are considering taking might have upon the spiritual fabric of society and the fate of souls.
The sort of extreme and extended measures which many countries are taking to combat the pandemic are likely to prove considerably more questionable on all three counts than the tragically immature capacities for judgment of many who have advocated their adoption appear capable of recognizing. In particular, the third type of considerations have in the case of many jurisdictions failed to enter at all into attempts on the part of leaders to weigh the relative merits of various courses of action. This ought to be seen as deeply problematic. Among the worst ramifications of the course many countries are on may well come down to exacerbating the trend of bringing people to trust in the state in lieu of trusting in God. Another very serious ramification is that ending up with a more socialist, authoritarian, bureaucratic, and wide-reaching government is likely to make walking earnestly after the spirit considerably more difficult and less intuitive. This also connects to the observation that the drive on the outer to compel people to conform to health measures is playing powerfully into a drive on the inner to compel them to conform to the ways and standards of the world.
Something that tends to go hand-in-hand with the realization that lives cannot ultimately be saved—while souls can (and must) be saved—is the further realization that a lifetime is not ultimately something to get through, but rather an opportunity to get somewhere. The principal goal of life is neither to live as long as possible, nor to live as comfortably, happily or freely of want as possible. Rather, it is to make as much inner progress towards salvation as possible. This is not to say that attempting to secure a long and comfortable life to as many people as possible is not generally a valuable objective. It is generally a valuable objective, and it is also something that tends to play powerfully into the latter. But it is quite critical for individuals and society at large not to lose sight of what the real overarching purpose of life actually is. When you see this, it is also a lot easier to understand why abandoning a sense of perspective in the face of the pandemic is playing itself out hand-in-hand with a major turn towards socialism, wealth redistribution and big government in many countries.
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January 8, 2021
The idea that Trump’s remaining president is so critical to the future of the country or so integral to God’s will that anyone and anything that stands in the way of it must be evil, corrupt, traitorous or tragically weak is closely analogous to the idea that the pandemic poses such a grave threat that it justifies almost any policies and restrictions to fight it, no matter how much harm they may do to the economy, social cohesion and civic liberties. We’ve seen many supporters of president Trump quite suddenly, viciously and unjustifiably turn against Mike Pence of all people in the last couple of weeks, who is by all accounts a man of great moral integrity, a man with great respect for the constitution, and a man who has been remarkably loyal to the president all along. This is indicative of an extremism born of being so rigidly attached to a certain outcome, a certain person or a certain narrative as to lose much of a sense of perspective or a capacity for judgment.
This sort of extremism is all too rampant on both the left and the right. And it ultimately requires widespread extremism on two sides in order for communism to take root. The extremism on the left may well serve as the driving force in this regard, but it will then largely come down to the question of what sort of opposition it faces on the right that will determine whether or not it will succeed. If the opposition it faces is substantially fanatical, extremist or unhinged, our fate is probably sealed. Our fate is also probably sealed if that opposition is substantially wavering, weak or irresolute. And so, we quite urgently need to figure out how to avoid both sides of this. The events of this week and the way in which a tragic boiling over on the right has been immediately and forcefully seized on by the left to intensify censorship and political persecution among other things bears this out.
To remain non-fanatical in such crazy and intense times as we are currently passing through—without becoming passive, complacent or resigned to just go with the flow—is likely to prove genuinely difficult. It will also almost certainly require becoming significantly more grounded and tethered in a way that can only be accomplished by walking more earnestly after the spirit. In order to avoid either reacting in negative or destructive ways on the one hand or becoming submissive on the other, we all need to anchor more of the mind which was in Christ Jesus. It will take a substantial measure of that Christ mind to find ourselves in the sort of position where we can individually and collectively fight fire with fire without burning the whole house down.
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January 1, 2021
Secular humanism has not only gotten to the point where it’s now quite obviously and incontrovertibly functioning as a religion, but also to the point where a large and growing number of its adherents have become fanatics. Both the way many people relate to its tenets (from the systemic racism narrative, to responses to the pandemic, to abortion on demand, to issues relating to the environment) and the way they’re increasingly unwilling to brook any disagreement is evidence of this. It’s not just a matter of things having become more polarized, partisan and radicalized, it’s also a matter of a secular humanistic worldview, perspective and approach having inexorably morphed over the last few decades into a religion, and then further morphed into an increasingly zealous, inflexible and uncompromising one. It no longer functions (if indeed it ever did) as an alternative to a theological worldview, perspective and approach, or as something that is at all compatible with the latter. It rather functions increasingly overtly as a religion in its own right: a religion in which the state effectively occupies the position of God, and one that is by its very nature deeply antithetical to and intolerant of any other.
One of the most important lessons to have emerged from recent times is that the much-lauded separation of religion and the state has failed. And this failure has furthermore played itself out in such a way as to very strongly suggest that such a separation cannot but invariably fail. It has failed in the sense that in lieu of a state that acknowledges the role of God, we now have the state being ever more explicitly and powerfully exalted and worshiped as God. This is evident in many different ways and on many different levels. You have people so explicitly looking to the state for atonement for systemic racism as an analog to some sort of original sin. You have the presentation of pandemic restrictions (especially over the holidays) in many jurisdictions in terms of a moral contract between the individual and the government, where submission earns rewards from a benevolent ruling class. And you have ever more palpable elements of idolatry qualifying many people’s relationship with their leaders, as well as many institutions’ relationship with them.
It may be worth noting that exalting the state as God is a defining characteristic of communism—perhaps the defining characteristic of it. Communism simply cannot be instituted or subsist without a large proportion of the population not only broadly dismissing religion, but furthermore being fundamentally anti-religious. Or rather, being fundamentally anti-God, in the sense that the worship of the state, the government or the collective comes to actively usurp the place of worship of the deity. Human beings will invariably worship something. They will either worship God (with the end result of saintliness and responsible, limited government), or they will worship the state, the collective and/or an elite (with the end result of moral degradation and an authoritarian, all-encompassing government).
There are no viable solutions to the mess we’re in apart from turning much more seriously and explicitly to God. And it’s encouraging to witness that increasingly many people appear to be coming to realize this in the US, as well as to a lesser extent in Canada and many European countries. It is becoming ever more obvious that the negative, destructive and insidious trends and forces at play in society cannot be effectively turned around or overcome by mere human efforts, projects and responses. It will demand a concurrent spiritual shift. This does not at all mean that things should move towards a theocracy, towards a government that imposes any particular views on anyone, or towards a marriage of any particular church and the state. Rather, it means having a populace who overwhelmingly acknowledge the supremacy and sovereignty of God, along with a government that reflects this. Significant care should be taken that religion and the state do not become entangled in a wrong or inappropriate manner. But it should also be recognized that few situations are more detrimental and dangerous than allowing secular-humanism to assume the role of state religion.
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December 30, 2020
I think that unless we make very rapid progress towards entering a more enlightened age and getting much more morally, religiously and civically grounded as a people, the era of democracy is probably pretty close to over. Furthermore, if we do not make such rapid progress, I think that may actually be a good thing. Democracies are not designed to deal with the sort of situation we have just seen in the American presidential election, where there is such an extreme difference in candidates and roughly half the country supports either one, with a large proportion of those on either side doing so very passionately. It also simply isn't a viable or workable form of government for a deeply immoral, self-centered, irreligious, ignorant, fearful or fanaticized people. If we do not make very rapid forward progress, we're almost certainly going to end up with some sort of oligarchy one way or the other, and this would probably actually be better under those kinds of circumstances than continuing with an increasingly shaky democracy. The degree of tyranny would be less under an oligarchy—even one substantially controlled by a corrupt elite—than it would be under a democracy where the majority of the populace is as immoral, unhinged, fanatical, ignorant, self-righteous and reactionary as they are fast becoming. If we move any further in that direction or the demographic balance of power moves even further towards the social justice warrior mob, the all but inevitable end of democracy in any meaningful sense of the word would function almost as a merciful coup de grace.
I think there is still much hope that in America, Canada and other countries the people will prove themselves worthy and capable of governing themselves. In fact, there are a lot of positive shifts and developments pulling in such a direction in the United States, Canada and elsewhere. But there are a lot of shifts and developments pulling in an opposite direction as well. And the time frame for sorting out which way the chips are going to fall doesn't look like it's going to be a very long one.
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December 22, 2020
There’s been a lot of talk about how hopeful people are that things will soon return to something resembling normal in the nation and the world. This has been amplified by a number of things, such as the year 2020 finally drawing to a close, vaccines being rolled out, the presidential inauguration coming up, radical leftist riots having largely sputtered out, and the like. I think this is a fairly unlikely prediction, which I’d like to take the chance to explain.
The first thing to recognize is just how far from normal the world has been for quite some time. When you look at things like abortion, gender nonsense, mass migrations, government corruption, the state of education, and the significant breakdown of many of our institutions, it’s pretty clear that things had gotten pretty extreme and ridiculous well before they departed so much more palpably from “normal” in this past year. Where we were before things took a major turn towards greater craziness was at a point of fairly rampant moral, social, political and spiritual decline. And however you want to look at it, remaining at such a point without things snapping one way or the other was never really going to be sustainable for very much longer. Things could not and still cannot but take a significant turn either for the better or the worse. And the truth appears to be that we are still not really prepared to go firmly in either direction, nor have we really resolved as yet which direction it will be. Furthermore, there’s simply been too much stirred up, exposed, awakened and upset over the course of this tumultuous year to settle back for long into anything resembling the condition things were previously in.
If we’re going to enter a new era of greater spirituality and peace, we’re by all accounts not there yet. People en masse haven’t really learned the lessons they need to learn, come to the resolutions they need to come to, or turned to God to the extent that will prove necessary. There is undoubtedly more of an accelerated karmic descent in store before we firmly settle into such an era, whatever that may look like. And furthermore, those who are so adamantly opposed to having the nation and the world settle on such a course aren’t through with their opposition, their raging, or their antics. Socialism, China, the power elite, reactionary tendencies and fanatical elements at home and abroad have all been far from defeated or put in their place.
On the other hand, if we’re going to settle the other way, people en masse (thankfully) haven’t yet significantly resigned to that either. There’s still too much spirituality, too much of a spirit of freedom, too much goodwill, too much resilience, too much independence of thought, too much of a fighting spirit, and too much of a reaction to the menace of overbearing government. If a globalist reset, the dominance of China, debilitating communism, a failed state at home, and/or whatever exactly a negative future might hold in store are going to be our lot, there’s almost certainly going to be a fair bit more of a messy tug of war before we firmly settle into that.
And so, I think it’s fairly safe to say that things are likely to get crazier before they get less so, although just what this will look like is difficult to say. I for one am willing to bet, in any case, that 2021 will be remembered as a more tumultuous, challenging and perhaps even more consequential and surprising year than 2020. I’m also willing to bet that we will eventually make a fairly explicit choice to go forwards rather than backwards. I believe God’s still intends to save this planet. I believe He’s still playing to win. I believe He still has a fair bit up his sleeve. And I believe He still has enough of a critical mass of all that’s good in the world to work with. That large numbers of people appear to be becoming significantly more conscious about being part of that critical mass and significantly more aware of some of what that entails may well be the most encouraging thing to come out of this past year. And this is important to see, because getting through the next one may well demand all of the encouragement we can muster.
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December 3, 2020
We live on a pretty ridiculous planet. I think this is a realization that has been getting through to a lot of people of late, to a significantly greater extent than used to be the case. And this might not only be seen as a pretty positive development in itself, it might also be quite plausibly seen as a significant part of what we are all intended to learn and to come to terms with during this tumultuous period.
If the world is all too ridiculous a place, you really can’t afford to identify with it too closely or to think of yourself as more than temporarily passing through it. It can be a lot harder to dissociate yourself from the world in the right sense of the word when that world comes across to you as a relatively stable, sensible, fair and reasonable place, than when it becomes all too obvious that it really isn’t any of those things. This brings to mind an insightful question posed by Henry David Thoreau, who asked: “what is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?” Well, it’s becoming pretty clear that we don’t have a very tolerable planet to put a house on at present. But if we can do without a semi-permanent habitation here for the moment, why can’t we do so indefinitely?
Now, I do not at all mean to say that what happens in the world is not important, nor that we should cease be concerned about which way certain things go. But I do think that if large numbers of people were to take the world itself a whole less seriously than they have been wont to take it—as well as relate to their experiences and responsibilities in the world more explicitly from the context of a mere temporary sojourner within it—that would almost certainly be very conducive to having the world end up a lot less messed up a place quite quickly. Recognizing how ridiculous a place the world can be and then internalizing the personal implications of such a recognition may well be right among the most crucial requisites to fairly expeditiously making the world into as relatively reasonable a place as we can and ought to make it. And of all of the lessons we are intended to be learning during this present period (and there are doubtlessly many), this is probably far from the least important.
Once you are in a position where you are able and inclined to relate to the world from the standpoint of a mere temporary sojourner within it, it also becomes a lot easier and more intuitive to relate to it as a classroom. And this is very important, because the world is not just set up as a place for souls to pass through (as opposed to a place for them to semi-permanently dwell in per se), it is also quite explicitly set up as a place for them to learn and to be tested. Seeing this can be very helpful for the sake of coming to terms with the downright surreal nature of much of what has been going on in the last little while.
I remember from when I was in high school how different an environment a classroom could suddenly become on the day of a major exam. The desks would be spaced far apart, instead of being where they usually were; you were no longer allowed to talk to other students; some of the educational material on the walls was removed; the schedule of the day was likely to have been quite different from that of an ordinary instructional day; and the teacher morphed into a peculiar sort of petty cop. Now, it can be very helpful to be able to look at what’s been going on in the country and the world over the last year (or number of years) in a somewhat analogous light. So much about life has become significantly less familiar, stable and secure. Many individuals, governments and institutions have been behaving very bizarrely, to put it mildly, and often very erratically to boot. Truth and facts suddenly seem a lot more difficult to ascertain about a whole lot of things. Many institutions and organizations that used to be (or at least appeared) reassuringly competent and impartial have become (or else revealed themselves to be) threateningly partisan and/or unsettlingly incompetent. And so forth.
All of this not only attests to the fact that we are going through a major period of testing and the completion of a cycle, it also reinforces the need to relate to the world as a schoolroom and as a place that we are mostly just intended to pass through, as opposed to a place to semi-permanently settle. The two sides of this are quite closely connected. And they are also quite closely connected to individually and collectively figuring out how to nevertheless make of the world as reasonable as possible a place to spend time in. Questioning the use of a house on an intolerable planet—or the need of a house on any sort of planet—may well help considerably to get us to a point where the planet as a whole will start to much more closely resemble our true home.
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November 22, 2020
The idea has often been expressed of late that the past few years (and this last year in particular) have revealed America to be a nation in serious decline. I think that there is both truth and falsity in this statement, and it might be worth clearing this up. The West in general has been going through a period of considerable moral, spiritual, cultural and political decline for at least a number of decades. This has been evident on many different levels and in many different fields. But many people who are very quick to pronounce the US in particular as being in a condition of serious decline are almost certainly interpreting as signs of decline things that ought also to be seen as attesting to the fact that its decline is being more vigorously challenged than is the case in most other countries.
An analogy may be helpful. Someone who is addicted to drugs is likely to come across as being in a relatively poor state. But as long as he keeps fairly discreetly feeding his addiction while going about his daily life, he is also likely to come across as reasonably civil, pleasant and composed most of the time. But if and when he starts to seriously try to kick his habit, his short-term comportment will almost certainly take a considerable turn for the worse. In order to make a fair assessment about America’s state of decline based on much of what has been going on in the last little while (the rioting, the embarrassing state of its media and academic institutions, the mess of an election it just had, etc.), this sort of a point of perspective needs to be taken into account.
Countries like Canada and much of western Europe are in as bad or worse a shape as the US is when it comes to their moral, spiritual, cultural and political condition. But this may not be as powerfully evident, largely because in many of those countries that state of decline is not being as effectively challenged. It is also almost certainly the case that most of those countries are not under the same level of attack from powerful nefarious forces both from within their own borders and from abroad. To turn back to our analogy, these countries are neither as seriously trying to kick their negative habit, nor are they surrounded by the same level of peer pressure to continue engaging in it.
All of this is not at all to say that America’s very real state of decline is not a major problem. It certainly is a major problem. And it is a problem that certainly cannot be adequately addressed purely through politics or social reforms. It will rather demand a deep-seated and far-reaching process, which process will need to begin at the level of the individual and involve a powerful spiritual element. To the extent that such a process of challenging what needs to be challenged is successfully persevered in, let us hope that other nations will be encouraged to follow in America’s footsteps despite all of the embarrassing and disconcerting fallout that may continue for some time yet to be on display.
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November 16, 2020
At this juncture, while the final outcome of the presidential election is still undecided, it may be worth reiterating to what an extent this whole moment of decision and the lead-up towards it has fit into the mold of what you tend to see at the point of a supreme test in the life of a soul. The nation as a whole has been going through something very closely analogous to what an individual soul goes through when it comes to a point where a fairly definitive choice needs to be made between the higher self and the lesser self (the right-handed path and the left-handed path).
Such a choice almost always occurs in the context of what in much spiritual parlance is referred to as a “dark night”—a period where the soul is more than usually weighed down by its karma, cut off from God, and/or under siege from the world. The net effect of such a dark night is that the soul then finds itself in a place where it feels above-averagely burdened, confused and alone. And that burden, confusion and aloneness are then not only things that it needs to confront and deal with in and of themselves, they also serve to frame the moment of choice it is intended to face and the personal sacrifice or surrender it is intended to make.
Now, a period of exceptional burden, confusion and aloneness is a very apt description of what much of the world—but also most particularly the nation of America—has been going through this year. Burden obviously in the sense of a heavy karmic return in the form of the pandemic and the measures that have been taken in the name of combating it. Burden also in the form of the egregious degree of condemnation that has been hurled at the populace under the pretext of exposing systemic racism and all of the other moral vituperations of an increasingly unhinged and radical left. Confusion from a media that appears to have forfeited most of its capacity for insight and objectivity, right alongside its impartiality. Confusion also from the whole general ethos of the times, where truth comes across as increasingly relative, shifting and subjective, and where it seems so incredibly difficult to get a clear sense of just what is and isn’t going on with regard to the pandemic, the election, or just about anything else. Aloneness as an upshot of the great degree of polarization in the nation with all that it entails, along with the general sense of living in a deeply divided country. Aloneness also in the sense of the majority of people in many of the countries with which the US has the greatest affinity and the strongest ties rooting overwhelmingly for the anti-American candidate. And aloneness furthermore in the sense of so many institutions and organizations that used to be impartial conspiring as it were to force a particular choice and a particular narrative.
It is important to realize that things have in an important sense of the word been set up so as to allow these various factors to come together in the sort of way in which we have seen them coming together. And although there are no small number of malicious and compromising individuals in the world who have played their various roles in this regard, a key part of the explanation for why things have played themselves out as they have also comes down to God’s role in setting the stage for the sort of moment of choice he would have the nation face in this hour. There are all sorts of negative forces and dynamics at work in the world, but a significant part of the reason for why so many of them have come together so as to reach a serious fever pitch and to produce the extraordinary (and extraordinarily challenging) circumstances we have witnessed in this particular year and cycle, is that God has seen fit to allow this sort of a crucial period of trial and choice to descend upon the country.
Now, it can be very powerfully encouraging if you are able to see things for what they are in these sorts of terms. And it can then also be very encouraging to bear in mind that God never tempts any individual or any nation beyond what they are able to bear or beyond what they are able to successfully pass through. Both the test itself and the circumstances that frame the test are always tailored to what the soul (or the nation, or the planet) is able to handle and is able to rightly respond to. And the greater the challenge and the darker the night, the more a right choice can (and ought to be) anticipated to prove a very powerful, definitive and consequential thing. It is also worth stressing in this regard that the scope of the choice which the nation and its citizens have been facing goes beyond just the election itself (although that is certainly a key part of it). It also extends to decisions, shifts and a coming to terms that need to be made on an interior and personal level. These, together with the right outcome in the election itself, are intended to set the nation up for what we should certainly hope and expect to be a bright new morn.
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November 9, 2020
If there was major fraud in the US presidential election, and if that fraud is exposed, and if the results are thereby overturned so that Trump ends up beating Biden after all, then this will have the effect of making the implications of his win that much deeper and more consequential. The repudiation of “the world” by “the people” will be that much stronger, after the world has rallied around Biden’s supposed win. The judgment upon those who have conspired against Trump and his administration during the last five years will be that much more forceful, if a significant number of them prove to have been either complicit in or willfully dismissive of electoral fraud. And the implications of what was and is at stake in the election will be that much more apparent, if Biden and the democrats’ transition plan and agenda moving forward are already in motion before the final verdict is pronounced. Furthermore, we would be all but guaranteed to see a significantly greater level of mob violence, mayhem and general hysteria if Trump ultimately wins even after Biden’s supposed win has already been pronounced, celebrated and taken for granted, than would have been the case if Trump had won outright in the first place. All of this would have the effect of throwing the divisions and the polarization in the country to the fore all the more powerfully, which could well be seen as playing into a divine intent to have this election and this year more generally serve as a real turning point in the battle between light and darkness, and in setting the course of the nation for the next few decades and beyond.
I am not sure if the election was in fact stolen or not. It is also possible that the American people and America as a nation really did fail the test that this election represented, and that they will now have to live with the consequences. But it certainly seems quite possible that it was—perhaps even probable. And seeing the potential implications if that was in fact the case in these sorts of terms can be very helpful for the sake of maintaining a sense of hope and perspective as things move towards a more definitive conclusion. If Trump is ultimately declared the winner—after his loss has been so broadly feted, accepted and embraced by the left and by many world leaders; despite losing the popular vote; and with the reluctant involvement of the supreme court—we might well conclude that the whole test and trial which the election represented will have played itself out in such a manner as to force to the greatest degree possible a very serious and deeply consequential coming to terms. This might in fact be just what is needed in order for the nation to ultimately most quickly and effectively pass through what it needs to pass through, and then to find itself well positioned to confidently stride into a new era of greater enlightenment and peace. Or is all of this just wishful or apocalyptic thinking at this point?
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October 22, 2020
When I see people embracing or enforcing pandemic measures so religiously, I often can’t help but think that if people generally approached religion itself half as religiously, it’s unlikely we’d long have a pandemic at all. What if each time we encountered someone policing, reinforcing or droning in things like wearing a mask, washing your hands or keeping your distance, we instead experienced a powerful prodding or pricking of the spirit to turn to God, keep the flame, offer prayers and fiats, and the like? What if the whole focus on shaming or coercing people to embrace the new normal gave way instead to a growing spirit of repentance? What if physical measures to combat the disease were quite explicitly presented as a useful adjunct to spiritual measures of so doing, rather than the latter (insofar as they’re not ignored altogether) being overwhelming viewed as a mere afterthought to the former?
Have any political leaders pushed for repentance in the face of what is effectively a major descent of karma? Repentance as individuals and as a society for things like abortion and teaching young children in schools to question their gender, for example? Neither the idea that religion and spirituality could be a key part of the solution to the pandemic, nor the idea that our disregard for life and for basic standards of behavior could be a key part of what made us as a society so vulnerable to it in the first place appear to be gaining much traction. But both sides of this may not only be integral to a reasonable sense of perspective on the whole situation, but also key parts of the lesson we are intended to learn through what we are going through.
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September 20, 2020
In reading some of the comments to news articles on the death of supreme court justice Ginsburg, I found a significant number which expressed an idea to the effect that there was something pre-ordained about what was happening and when. “It’s fate,” one person simply wrote, while another responded to a statement to the effect that Ginsburg hoped to outlive Trump’s (first) term with “but God had other plans.” This sort of a sentiment about how both the general course of events and the timing of particular developments within that course are indicative of the active role of divine providence appears to be a growing one.
It is certainly true that God has a plan for how things are to develop in the nation and the world, as well as that specific developments and when and how these occur can at times be quite plausibly read as indicators of his active role and influence. Something that is important to see in this regard, in any case, is that God’s primary goal insofar as he directs events to unfold in a certain manner is often to effect a requisite level of exposure and to give people all of the proof and clarity they need in order to see where things really stand and to evaluate the individuals and issues involved for who and what they really are. Another supreme court justice confirmation spectacle at this particular point in the game is very likely to deliver just that, and so it might quite reasonably be interpreted as an event designed to give to the people all of the evidence they could possibly require in order to choose wisely come election day.
Projecting from the last such confirmation hearing and the way things have developed since then, what we are now likely to witness is an additional step-up in reactionary and self-destructive hysteria and antics. This can and should serve as very powerfully revelatory with regard to what is at stake in the election and where candidates and leaders really stand. Insofar as this is likely to come with significant disruption, destruction and strains on social cohesion, it is good to reflect on how things could have been allowed to develop to the point where the populace needs that sort and level of display as a lead-up to a key moment of choice. It is also worth noting that a significant part of the reason for why some of the more astute on the left are so eager to avoid a nomination battle at this point in the game is almost certainly because they fear such additional exposure and its potential implications.
Of one thing we can in any case be sure, whatever God’s active role in the timing of Ginsburg’s death or any other development: God knows what he’s doing. And a large part of what He’s doing (now as always) is to set His people up so they are in a position to know what to do. That both sides in the battle we are currently in are becoming increasing aware of this as that battle intensifies is probably to be expected.
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September 19, 2020
One of the most noteworthy developments that have come from the whole situation with the pandemic and our reaction to it has been how much more patronizing and condescending so many governments and political leaders have become—as if they weren’t patronizing and condescending enough to begin with. Seeing political figures on the news chiding people for their irresponsible behavior and attitudes in the face of continued or rising infections has pretty much become a daily occurrence in many places. There is this increasingly dominant and entrenched narrative, which goes something along the lines that people are so inherently inclined to keep irresponsibly behaving like people naturally behave, that they need a government that’s constantly pushing, compelling and cajoling them to act responsibly and to confront their inner weaknesses.
Besides everything else that the virus and our reaction to it have unleashed, one very significant thing it has given rise to is this sort of a greatly intensified and nearly continuous flow of condemnation. This should not just be seen as a mere side effect or secondary implication of the whole situation, but rather as a fairly key part of the whole challenge and trial which the pandemic presents us with. It also plays powerfully into (and sets things up for) other avenues of condemnation, such as that embedded in the whole systemic racism narrative, as well as that surrounding climate change.
Our governments have long been way too predisposed to condescendingly heap condemnation upon the populace, but we have perhaps never seen as intense, widespread and deeply problematic a manifestation of this as we do at present. The whole system has largely come to be predicated along such lines, so that many well-meaning individuals who enter into a position of political leadership quite naturally come to see it as their role to assume such a line, at the same time as the populace becomes ever more inured and conditioned to their government relating to them in such a manner. This is a very harmful situation, and one in which the sort of victim consciousness which we repeatedly see being pushed upon (and often embraced by) various minority groups is also being pushed upon (and largely embraced by) the people as a whole.
People increasingly look to the government for redemption, rather than to God. This is a major factor when it comes to setting things up for socialism, communism, authoritarianism, a breakdown of democratic ideals, and a repudiation of objective values and standards, at the same time as it is also a consequence of having been moving in that direction for quite some time. This whole situation quite urgently needs to be seen for what it is, so that we can all individually and collectively snap out of the downward spiral that threatens to engulf us and to destroy our civilization.
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September 17, 2020
In order to understand all that’s going on during these tumultuous times, it’s crucial to realize that we’re in the midst of a transition to a new age similar to that which occurred at the time of Jesus’ ministry. There are particular cycles which govern the spiritual evolution of the Earth and the souls assigned to embody upon it, among the most significant of which are the astrological ages which are somewhat over two thousand years in length.
Besides triggering an accelerated and intensified karmic return, periods of spiritual transition and reorientation entail a serious coming to terms. In a more than ordinary manner, people then end up both individually and collectively confronted with a fairly stark choice to either come up higher or descend lower. During such periods of transition, more than at any other time, almost everyone ends up compelled to align more closely to objective values and to reject the downward-spiraling ways, norms and standards of the world. When people either cannot or will not do so, they then become very susceptible to seriously losing it. It really kind of comes down to either catching the wave of a divinely-ordained shifting and coming to terms, or else being swallowed by that wave.
We’re currently seeing a lot of both sides of this around the world in general, and in the United States in particular. America is very much at the forefront of the inner changes that are occurring, because as a nation it’s intended to play a key role in anchoring this new age with all that it portends. And so, all over the world—but here most notably—you see a lot of people either waking up in the sense of becoming more grounded, or else losing it in a fairly deep-seated sense of the word. Many people are getting seriously unhinged—and it doesn’t just come down to Trump, or politics more generally, or the pandemic, or social issues, or anything and everything else that’s going on in the world on the outer, although these all help to set the stage. It also comes down to something spiritual and deeply interior.
Large numbers of people are becoming increasingly radicalized, fanatical, driven by fear, and experiencing a serious degradation of their sense of perspective. This can only really be understood if you’re able to see things in this sort of light. People being swallowed by the wave of a divinely-ordained shifting and coming to terms—hand in hand with an accelerating karmic return and the ever more desperate antics of the wicked—this lies behind much of the madness that we see playing itself out.
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September 12, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has produced a degree of fear and of loss of perspective that are seriously out of proportion to the actual severity of the direct threat it poses. Furthermore, this fear and loss of perspective have played a very large role in bringing about a situation where the overall negative repercussions (those of the virus itself, combined with those of the measures that have been taken in the name of combatting it) are a lot worse than they could and should have been. There are a number of reasons for this. But among those reasons, there’s one that’s played a very significant role, but that’s (not too surprisingly) been hardly acknowledged at all. Namely, what I’m referring to is the truth that the high degree of fear, overreaction and loss of perspective which the pandemic has brought about is due in significant part to the fact that its appearance so obviously represents a major karmic retribution, as well as that it so obviously portends a divinely-ordained shift in world affairs and a serious coming to terms.
Even when people don’t explicitly recognize this for what it is, their limited intuitive sense of where things stand in this regard is nevertheless likely to have an affect on how they come to internalize and deal with the whole situation. People feel or intuit something of the karmic weight behind what’s come upon their country and planet, as well as of the process of inner and outer reckoning which this portends. Even if they don’t recognize this for what it is, it nevertheless has an effect on them and (side by side with the media and a whole host of worldly factors) sets them up to feel more threatened and victimized by the whole situation than they otherwise would. Understanding this is not only central to understanding the situation we presently find ourselves in, but also to gaining a reasonable sense of how to move forward in the context the pandemic provides. When you allow yourself and your nation to be overrun by a sense of victimization which is triggered by some form of karmic retribution, you also set yourself and your nation up to be overrun by that event itself to a much greater extent than you otherwise would.
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September 10, 2020
It’s quite remarkable how polarized the political and social situation in America has become, not to mention how quickly that polarization has been building and continues to intensify. It’s not just a matter of the two parties and their supporters moving further apart ideologically, and of the majority of people becoming increasingly deeply set in their support for one side or the other. It’s also the extent to which this is being reflected in almost all aspects of life and society.
You have all sorts of companies threatened with boycotts by one side or the other over positions they have taken or support for candidates, policies and movements they have expressed. You have the politicization of sports, hand-in-hand with many sport leagues’ newfound and contentious attitude towards advocating controversial social issues and movements. You have increasingly partisan news networks, along with a situation where supporters of one or the other side overwhelming each follow their own networks. You have a politicization of the justice system, with an ever more evident and consequential divide between liberal and conservative justices, district attorneys, and the like. And you even have a situation where it looks like adherents of the two parties will overwhelming vote in different ways, with Democrats predominantly doing so by mail and Republicans in person. Furthermore, there’s increasing strains on civility between adherents of the two sides in public interactions, as less tolerance seems to exist for people who advocate or support political and social positions contrary to one’s own. This also appears to be increasingly penetrating into families, as you read more and more statements to the effect of “my brother/wife/whoever is Republican/Democrat, but I still love them,” as though that’s suddenly something that needs to be defended or isn’t as much of a given as it used to be.
Now, I don’t mean to suggest that all of this polarization and the tension that goes along with it is a good thing, nor that it ought to be encouraged. But I do think that it’s important to realize that what we see happening in this regard is not just an unfortunate side effect of all else that’s going on (or of what public figures and the news have been saying or doing), but rather also a largely unavoidable aspect of the whole situation surrounding the major choice the nation’s facing and the magnitude of the potential repercussions of that choice. In effect, it’s a sign that we’re facing an Armageddon-like confrontation and moment of decision. And it really ought to be recognized as such. All of this polarization and tension—whatever else it may be, and whatever sort of outer causes and events may be contributing to it—is a sign of the crucialness of the test the nation is facing and of the magnitude of what’s at stake both on the outer and on the inner.
The type and level of polarization and tension we’ve been witnessing and the manner in which this has been playing itself out ought also to be seen as a clear indication that there’s a major differential of good and evil at play. We couldn’t have what we have in this regard if both sides were similarly good or similarly bad—although this obviously doesn’t mean that either side is perfect or that both sides don’t have well-meaning individuals in their ranks. It can only have come about because we’re facing a situation where Good and Evil as absolutes are very consequentially present in the equation, and where however imperfect either option and however muddled the whole situation may be, there’s nevertheless a well-defined right and wrong way to go. If we had a situation where both sides were similarly bad, we could well have a lot of tension, but that tension would both be and feel different.
It’s also important to recognize that we haven’t just gotten to this situation on our own, as a consequence of the words and actions of particular individuals, or because of the way in which developments and affairs just happen to have played themselves out. Rather, there’s a major sense in which the hand of providence has been active in bringing the country to the position it’s presently in. America is, in effect, intended to not merely face another reasonably consequential election like many it’s faced in the past, but rather to face at this particular moment in her history a particularly stark choice with particularly far-reaching repercussions—a major point of the “Y” on the road, where a collective choice to either go to the left or go to the right is forced upon its people. This fact in itself—the fact that’s it’s a divinely intended test and turning point, whatever else it may be—is something that’s making itself quite keenly felt. And people are inadvertently reacting to this, even inasmuch as they may not recognize it for what it is in those sorts of terms. Furthermore, when a majority of people feel the great moral weight of what the country is facing, yet many of them fail to discern which way things fall, both sides tend to get more militant, entrenched and zealous. All of this is part of the dynamics of how these sorts of watershed moments in a country’s trajectory work–the mechanics, if you will, of how highly consequential turning points in national or world affairs build up to what they end up being, within a context where both human and divine factors converge.
It can be useful and valuable to examine how you’re prone to respond to the polarization and tension that’s currently going on as a phenomenon in itself. How, in other words, are you prone to react not only to the gravity of the issues and developments—and to the policies and personalities on either side—but also to the widespread polarization and tension surrounding all of this taken in itself. And how are you predisposed to respond to a felt inner strain accompanying a felt outer strain, and to factor that into your attempts to discern where things stand and what is the right way to go? Responsible citizenship ultimately demands responsive “soul-ship.” With this I mean that meeting all of the demands of upright living and making well-informed political and social choices will ultimately require both turning to God and tuning into greater spiritual sensitivity. And attempting to come to terms with some of the broad implications of the particularly acute moment of decision the country is presently facing may prove very conducive to this, even as having significant numbers of people doing as much may prove altogether requisite to having the nation both emerge on the right side and get through the whole ordeal in reasonably good order.
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September 8, 2020
With all of the absurd positions many people are taking and all of the unhinged and reactionary ways they’re behaving in the current social and political climate, it’s important to come to terms with a key reason for why the majority of them are doing so. Although there are a significant number of individuals who are malicious or deeply corrupt who are furthering the sorts of divisive narratives, fake issues, spurious causes and overblown responses we’ve been seeing, the majority of people who buy into all or much of this do so because they’re eager to be moral but have no idea what so being actually looks like. Masses of people who are desperate to do what is commendable, right, ethical or praiseworthy, but who have hardly any clue about how to go about it: this is a defining characteristic of the current social and political landscape and the current tumultuous times we are living in. And it’s something that’s very important to see and acknowledge, while so seeing and acknowledging is also very central to maintaining a charitable mindset. With this I mean that recognizing the extent to which well-meaning people gone astray can come to be so deeply, dangerously and ridiculously conditioned to the ways of the world is almost certain to prove requisite to avoid finding yourself moving towards condemnation.
We so desperately need a widespread individual and societal return to basic and fundamental principles. In the absence of such a return, people will keep making ever greater fools of themselves as they grasp after ideals, values and standards in the only way in which they know how to do so from the impressionable, hypersensitive and self-righteous perch they have secured for themselves in a relativistic social and moral set up. The ever-shifting contours of that set up are substantially controlled by individuals for whom division and degeneration are goals, for whom the manipulation of moods, trends and norms are a game, and for whom disdain for those they purport to be in the business of raising up is second nature. It is totally beneath the dignity for the majority who really ought to know better to fall for this, and yet so many of them do. But it’s quite imperative that you retain a key sense of that dignity in your attempts to come to terms with this problem, as well as in deliberating on how best to address it.
A civilization eventually gets to the point where it either spiritualizes or collapses, and inasmuch as it either flirts with or wholeheartedly embraces the latter course, it’s almost bound to make a religion and a cult out of all sorts of things in the process. We can only hope and pray that much of the current madness gripping the nation will prove to be but a temporary fling, and that people by and large retain a great enough capacity for self-reflection as to eventually have a gnawing sense of how ridiculous and feeble they’re becoming spur a renewed search for a real peg on which to hang their ardor and zeal.
A very key lesson that everyone needs to learn is that you cannot escape the fact that the great commandment is the cornerstone and foundation of any genuine morality. If you don’t know what it means and implies to obey this commandment (to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength), you urgently have to learn. And if you don’t feel you have a capacity and inclination to do as much, you urgently have to work on developing such a capacity and inclination. There’s simply no way around the primacy of this commandment and all that that primacy implies. There’s no other tenable way to move forward, and when you approach upright living in a way that fails to acknowledge this, that is both the height of folly and a clear sign of immaturity.
If people continue to insist on grasping at ideals in a way that bypasses the great commandment, their idealism is bound to prove hollow. If they continue to go the way of worshiping the creation more than the creator, they are bound to do much harm in their attempts to right wrongs. If they don’t turn the innately devotional disposition of the soul in the direction it needs to be turned, they’ll find themselves in a downward-spiralling rut of idolatry that’s very likely to give way to ever more dangerous and ineffectual fanaticism. And if they continue to bypass what it really takes to fortify their character and grow in inner stature of soul, even as they pursue all sorts of outer goals that glisten with a virtuous sheen, the principal positive implications of any changes they bring about in the world are likely to be along the lines of highlighting to others how dangerous it is to be conditioned to worldly ways and standards. Let’s hope and pray that significant numbers learn and assimilate this lesson before the burden of proof is so great that it’s too late to turn things around.
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September 6, 2020
A lot of the emphasis in response to recent developments in the United States has been on how crucial it is to resist the concerted thrust for anarchy, communism, indoctrination and condemnation we are presently witnessing, to re-elect president Trump and Republicans more generally, and to hold together the country in every sense in which it needs to be held together. This is very understandable and certainly well-founded. But something we cannot afford to overlook in the process is just how valuable a thing the exposure that has been going on as part and parcel of all of this is in itself. To put it somewhat bluntly, evil and its roots and workings have been laid bare in all (or much) of their repugnant subtleties and extravagancies to an extent that hasn’t happened for quite some time, and this exposure is something that continues to intensify. Many individuals in positions of leadership who have long been pitted against life, principle, objective values, sensible government and the innate innocence of the majority of the populace are suddenly behaving so explicitly and manifestly for just who they are, that a lot of people who never used to take much notice suddenly almost can’t help but do so. And a lot of others who are deeply caught up and implicated in the ways of these malicious individuals and in the ways of a world gone seriously astray are acting in so deranged, unhinged and reactionary a manner as to throw into very clear light just how crucial it is not to allow oneself to be so caught up and implicated.
All of this exposure and the sort of tensions it has given rise to ought not just to be seen as a mere side effect or unfortunate implication of the positive strides that have been made or of the generally turbulent times in which we are living, but rather as a major and defining aspect of the whole process we’re going through (and are intended to be going through). This exposure—for all of the disruption and distress that has gone along with it—ought to be seen as a blessing for what it is in itself, as well as a most necessary and portentous development that is playing itself out right alongside a host of other necessary and portentous developments. It is also rather important to recognize in this regard that evil is very much in a position of acute weakness when it is clearly brought to light, for all that its intensified huffing and puffing at such a time may threaten to blow many things down. But the American people (and those of other nations who may not be as far from a similar brink as they might believe themselves to be) crucially need to recognize such exposure for what it is and to act upon it. What’s been going on—and all that increasingly obviously lies behind those goings on—needs to be heard by the many as a powerful rallying cry. And that rallying cry must not only be responded to politically and socially, but also introspectively and spiritually, as we each try to come to terms with the broad scope of what meeting the challenges of the times will demand of us individually and collectively.
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September 1, 2020
It’s interesting to note how the 2020 election is falling into a very similar pattern as that of 2016, but at a more intense level. The same voices in the media, the political establishment, Hollywood and elsewhere are parroting almost the exact same message as they did then, with the same sort of hysteria, explicit and unapologetic bias, self-righteous moralizing, and the like. They’re still stuck on the line of Trump being a racist, a sexist, dangerously erratic, and all the rest of it. The Democratic party once again finds itself saddled with a candidate that’s both very obviously corrupt and deeply uninspiring, and that candidate has once again been very clearly propelled to the position he’s in more by the machinations of the political class than by the voice of the electorate. Furthermore, that candidate faced off against the exact same principal opponent in the primaries as Clinton did four years ago, which opponent presented almost the exact same message as he did then and brought almost the exact same level of groundswell support.
Trump hasn’t changed very much. And his opponents have by and large fallen into almost the exact same reactionary patterns of behavior as they previously fell into, pretty much despite themselves. It’s almost as if most of them simply couldn’t behave and respond differently than how they are in fact behaving and responding, even if everything they hold near and dear depended upon it. This is very interesting to observe.
The current election almost feels like a repeat of the last, and yet at the same time it’s so clearly more than just a repeat. In order to understand this, it’s useful to compare the situation the country’s facing to that of someone who’s been trying to kick a negative addiction such as smoking or drinking. Relatively many people manage to quit for a number of weeks or even a month or two, but relatively fewer succeed in doing so permanently. And many individuals fall into such a pattern numerous times, as they repeatedly quit, while never quite managing to do so definitively, but rather keep ending up eventually falling back into their old habits. This is because of the way that cravings and everything that goes along with those cravings (in terms of self-pity and psychological dynamics and the like) are liable to come back a few weeks or months down the road—almost as it seems out of nowhere—and do so with a real vengeance. It then takes a deeper level of resolve, along with some significant soul searching, to secure a more definitive victory. And when people do succeed in doing as much, they usually end up quite likely never to smoke or drink again. (For those who are familiar with this sort of parlance, what I’m talking about here has to do with the two-step process of binding and then casting out the dweller on the threshold.)
The thing Trump’s (and the American people’s) enemies in Washington and the media have been most desperate to avoid over the past four years is for his presidency to become broadly normalized in the eyes of the populace. For people to realize that life not only goes on, but that it does so fairly reasonably. For them to realize that his presidency doesn’t represent an acute national catastrophe, whatever the extent to which they might disagree with some or many of his policies and actions. For them to realize that breaking with much of the political establishment and a significant part of the globalist world order doesn’t mean abandoning basic principles of sensible government and sensitive diplomacy. For them to realize that he’s fairly conservative, populist and nationalist in where he stands, but hardly extreme or radical for all of that in most of what he believes and does. For them to realize that he’s obviously quite different from most of his predecessors, but hardly beyond the scope of some of the more colorful characters the nation’s given rise to in the past, or that the citizens of a republic as dynamic as theirs should expect to see popping into the limelight from time to time.
This is somewhat analogous to the situation with the much-touted second wave of the coronavirus which we’re supposedly going to be facing this fall or winter. We’ve all learned that the virus can be nasty and that it’s more than just another strain of flu. But everyone now also crucially knows that it’s nowhere near as apocalyptic as it was originally presented (or framed) to be.
The current thrust for anarchy, rioting and a breakdown of law and order—as well as much else that’s been going on this tumultuous year—ought to be understood in this sort of context. Individuals in the Democratic party, the media and elsewhere who retain a sufficient capacity for reflection can’t help but see themselves largely stuck in the same sort of reactionary rut as they previously fell into, while being swept to much the same sort of confrontation which bruised them so grievously four years ago. And in their desperation to avoid a repeat outcome, many of them will do well nigh anything that they (rightly or wrongly) believe might sufficiently shake things up as to change the fundamental equation. The American people similarly need to realize that their nation’s barrelling towards an almost eerily similar, yet at the same time presciently different, electoral showdown from that which it faced a few short years back. Whether (and to whatever extent) they may see in this the hand of providence, the outworking of impersonal social and historical forces, the whim of circumstance operating within the peculiar confines of human nature, or the continued outplaying of deep-seated national stresses and strains, they really need to come to terms with just what this might portend.
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August 30, 2020
To condemn historical figures from America’s early history as racist for not having been more adamantly against slavery is closely analogous to condemning their modern-day counterparts as child haters for not being adamantly against abortion. Both slavery and abortion are terrible things, but they also are (or were) each in their respective time very deeply entrenched evils. If you can find someone who condones slavery in America today, you could very justifiably and convincingly present them in a terrible light. Similarly, someone who condoned killing babies in the womb in eighteenth century America would have been seen by their contemporaries in a very similar guise. To condone something that is wrong when its practice is not to any significant degree entrenched, established, customary, routine or broadly accepted is much more powerfully indicative of a serious flaw of character than to do so when that is not the case. This is not to say that there are not objective and timeless standards of right and wrong. There most certainly are, and we ought each to do our best to discern those standards through all of the societal norms of our day, and to live up to and champion them. But we are all bound to approach this task in the particular context of the times in which we live.
When you lose the sense of perspective that comes with acknowledging this (along with the charitable disposition that goes hand-in-hand with that sense of perspective), you will very quickly find your propensity to condemn others to be a rapidly inflationary one. Your condemnation of some will swiftly become condemnation of many, and then of well-nigh everyone—yourself not excluded. Condemnation will become a way of life, if you do not allow elements of what has (or had at the time) become a way of life to factor into your assessment of individuals and their legacies. When you appreciate this, you are also likely to appreciate the great import of Christ’s teaching that you really ought to judge and condemn no one. Furthermore, you will be likely to appreciate that this teaching does not at all advocate relinquishing a keen and informed capacity for discernment, evaluation and appraisal, but rather implies honing that capacity by conditioning yourself to the precepts of charity.